Stuff To Read

4 Key Strength Exercises for Endurance Athletes – Andrew Read

A great read from Andrew Read.  Although it is geared toward endurance athletes it applies to all athletes.  The point is, strength will help you get better at your respective sport, and that’s extremely important but there is a limit.  When all is said and done skill and technique will play a larger part.  As Andrew discusses, it is important for anyone to understand that at a certain level more time needs to be dedicated to skill work and minimal time, or just the bare essentials, dedicated to strength and power, especially in-season.  I love the prospect of explosive power and strength as much as anyone but it won’t help you dribble the ball while you fend off an opponent with your eyes down court.       At the same time, realize that not being strong is unacceptable.  There is even a book entitled “Easy Strength”.  In it Dan John and Pavel tackle the idea of adding easy strength as well as the benefits or more likely the pitfalls of trying to add poundage to already substantial lifts.  As Andrew says, figure out if you are am athlete who lifts or a lifter who dabbles in other sports.

InsideOut Coaching – Joe Ehrmann

This is the only book I have read of its kind.  Joe does an amazing job telling his life story as it related to sports and how he developed his current coaching style working with young athletes.  His purpose: “To help boys become men of empathy and integrity who will lead, be responsible, and change the world for good”.  I don’t know that I’ve read a more thought provoking book recently.  Joe really nails down what it means to be a teacher and coach of young people.  But again, I think this applies to most leadership roles.  All people need empathy and the opportunity to build relationships.  If you are a coach, you should absolutely read this book.  On that note I recently heard that NBC will be featuring teens in this season’s “The Biggest Loser”.  The producers and trainers, including Jillian Michaels are making promises that these kids will not be completely exploited and embarrassed.  Based on the shows history one can only hope that somebody read this book and go about this situation the right way.

Rocker-Bottom, Profile Type Shoes Do Not Increase Lower Extremity Muscle Activity or Energy Cost of Walking – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

Recently a study was published, and you can only get the abstract through the link, that rocker-bottom shoes such as Shape-Ups and MBT did not enhance lower limb activity and calorie burn.  Now, this is only one study, and I’ve written about this topic before, but I feel that these types of gimmicks are really a slap in the face to fitness professionals.  I understand that it’s really about making money but trying to sell people on the notion that a shoe is going to get a person in better shape is ridiculous, not to mention the potentially harmful effects of wearing such a (piece of crap) shoe.  That should be the next study, do such shoes do more harm than good?  Maybe they don’t and we can call it all a wash.  No benefit, no harm.  It’s just up to you if you want to put a ridiculous looking pillow on your foot.  Believe me, I’m not known for my stylish wardrobe, maybe more so my inability to shop for myself but I can say with certainty that all of the rocker-bottom shoes are pretty terrible to look at and are in no way stylish.  I think it’s also important to note the direction Skechers has gone recently with their latest shoes.  They are much more flexible like the design of the Nike Free and Reebok RealFlex, as well as “promote a mid-foot strike” and “brings you closer to a barefoot experience AND provides impact protection.”  This as opposed to “the heel strike and roll to the ball of the foot via the Kinetic Wedge mimics natural running motion” that Skechers gave us with their Resistance Runner.  A far different approach.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Integrity is high, I repeat integrity is high.

– Mike Baltren