NSCA National Convention 2014
This year’s National Convention in Las vegas was called Strength innovated and it lived up to the name. I had never been to the National Convention before even though I go to the NJ State one every year. So I decided now was the time to finally get out there. The fact that it was in Las vegas didn’t hurt either. The convention was at the Paris Hotel right on the strip. I mean who wouldn’t want to stay here?
The convention itself was really something else. It was the perfect blend of good solid informational sessions and practical information with a touch of hands on workshops that were top notch. The whole thing is a bit of a sensory overload and I tried to soak it all in as best I could. Some of it was mind-blowing and caused me to rethink a few things while other stuff re-affirmed that I was on the right path with some of my athletes training programs.
I wish I could tell you which was my favorite session but I really can’t so I will try to give a brief description of my favorites and what I learned.
Training the Post Rehabbed shoulder by Robert Panariello PT, ATC, CSCS, MS
This was a fascinating topic for me because I hardly know anyone who works out who doesn’t have shoulder pain from time to time. Also, with my baseball background he got into some discussion on training pitchers specifically which I enjoyed. Some of his tips were of hand position for bench press and any overhead lifts based on the posterior or anterior should injuries. With an anterior shoulder injury a close grip would be smarter and a wide grip for a posterior injury. He also suggested starting with floor starts or even racked start lying supine. Another tip that he gave was that volume not intensity caused shoulder injuries. This supports my theory that I would not have pitchers do excessive rotator cuff work in-season because their rotator cuffs are already strained due to pitching itself.
Understanding The Squat in Performance Training. Richard ULM, DC, MS, CSCS
Dr, Richard Ulm was interesting as well because I am not sure if he was a huge fan of the back squat for performance training. Not necessarily because of its benefits but because many people have the limited mobility to get into proper position with spinal compressions. He talked about foot position and being extremely important. He referenced the tripod position that your feet should be in during the squat where weight is distributed evenly on the foot. He said the very common valgus knee collapse which we see a lot of particularly in female athletes is a symptom of faulty foot positioning.
The Art and Science of Small Group Training. Martin Rooney. CSCS, MHS, PT
This just got me fired up. Martin Rooney a local Jersey guy basically talked about passion. Do your athletes have fun when they are training because at the end of the day if they have fun and enjoy working out that’s what will keep them coming back. The fact of the matter is I have never worked with a professional athlete and there is a chance I never will but if I can instill a passion for working out that will allow someone to continue to love fitness like I do long after they are done with me then my job is done. He also brought up the theory of Tired vs Better. A lot of trainers can make someone tired. A CSCS’s job is to make them better at their sport.
What We Say Matters: Uncovering The Truth About Cueing. Nick Winkelman, MSc, CSCS, *D, NSCA-CPT, *D, USAW, USATF
Nick is another legend in the business. He talked about some research on cueing that was very interesting. The research shows that athletes perform better when giving external cue’s as opposed to internal cue’s. For example, when starting a sprint if you were to say to an athlete that he or she should “extend their hips.” That is an internal cue. It won’t go over as well as if you were to say “Push off of the blocks.” That is an example of an external cue which iS saying the same thing but will lead to better performance.
Training the Overhead Athlete: Training Beyond the upper Extremities. Mark Kovacs. PhD, CSCS, *D, FACSM
Mark discussed training baseball pitchers, volleyball players, and swimmers in particular and the unique challenges that those sports present. His main point was that the overhead athlete will never be symmetrical and you have to account for that. For example a right handed pitcher throws with his right arm and lands on his left leg. Therefore that hip on the left side is taking the brunt of that pitching motion over and over again. The coach then would need to train eccentric strength and work on Range of Motion within that joint. Also typically for say a volleyball player they will lack external rotation in their dominant arm while having tight internal rotators. Mark did a great job at demonstrating why training the overhead athlete is very tricky and needs to be handled carefully.
Evident-Based Nutrient Timing: A New Paradigm. Brad Schoenfeld. MS, CSCS, CSPS, NSCA-CPT and Alan Argon, MS.
This one was about the research of the very common belief that a post workout window in which you have a limited amount of time to take in protein to reap the benefits. They showed a funny youtube clip about someone “missing their window” and being all depressed. Basically the research showed that post workout protein has very little effect on muscle hypertrophy. They equated it to maybe one pound of a muscle over a year’s time. Funny enough at the end Brad admitted that he still drink a protein shake post workout because in true meathead fashion one pound a year is not going to waste.
Writing an Off_Season Strength and Conditioning Program: The Entire Process. Bob Alejo, CSCS, RSCC, *E.
Bob Alejo is the former strength and conditions coach for teams like UCLA basketball and the Oakland A’s in baseball. Bob has done it all. He laid out his exact program that he nows uses at NC State and you can really see his attention to detail in planning for every day in a calendar year. That being said Bob said two things that stuck in my mind. Number on is you have to lift heavy. Bob is a fan of sets of 2 or 3 for maximal strength. He talked about having Tim Hudson of the Oakland A’s Benching and Squatting as heavy as possible. The other thing that Bob mentioned that held some weight in my eyes is that he felt like almost all High School athletes regardless of sport should basically follow the same training protocols. His reasoning for this was that strength is first and for most. Before you can work on power or speed an athlete needs to be strong. High School athletes typically have not been training long enough to have that effect yet. Bob said the concept of sport specific training was over-rated and I kind of agree.
Challenging Thought and Practices of Periodization: A Scientific Critique. Michael Zourdos. PhD, CSCS.
This was another one that re-affirmed something that I had been thinking for a while. Michael presented some research for a non-linear approach to strength and conditioning. The CSCS Text book teaches a linear periodized program where you stay in a phase for an extended period of time. For example you would do a endurance phase for four weeks followed by Strength, Hypertrophy, and Power. In a non-linear program you could do all of them in a given week. For example you might have one hypertrophy day, one strength day, and one power day. His research showed that this method actually increased strength. On top of that he theorized that you could probably custom the non-linear approach to the athlete. If you have a football player who needs to get bigger for his position you could perhaps do two hypertrophy days for every one strength and power day. You could also use a taper period before a big event or a season.
Squat Progressions. Joe Kenn. MA, CSCS, *D, RSCC, *E.
Joe Kenn is the NSCA Strength Coach of the year. He currently works for the Carolina Panthers. This one was not what I expected at all. This was a hands on session andJoe spent most of the worksop demonstrated how he got his large frame into drills for Hip Mobility. He also mentioned how he has his NFL lineman incorporate yoga and Pilates movements into their warmups. One of things that stood out to me was how Joe talked about how much he has changed over the years from how he thinks about things. His perception of concepts like hip mobility and foam rolling have changed quite a bit over the years.
Agility Progressions. Tim Morrill. MS, CSCS
This was another hands on session and perhaps this more than any other session the entire weekend kind of blew my mind. Tim and his staff use a logical and progressive way of teaching how to teach agility. In fact the first thing I did when I got home was look up his Twitter and youtube pages. I have started practicing his drills because I want to be able to do them competently before I begin to teach them to my athletes. This sessions probably left me more excited than any other.
I really can’t say enough good things about the NSCA’s national convention. It was a perfect blend of research, practical knowledge, and hands on learning sessions. I attended more sessions than I listed here but these were my highlights. There were also many other great presentations which I did not get the opportunity to see.
Just in case you thought it was all work and no play I did have tons of fun at night. I was able to meet and interact with people from places like Iowa, Cleveland, Maryland, and even plenty of faces from NJ. I found a ton of new people to follow on Twitter from the #National14 hashtag. I hope we can share our work from afar and support each other. Yes I also did some gambling every night and I even broke even which is a win considering how long I was there. I even had legends like Leo Totten and Bob Takano work with me on my snatch technique. These guys are both Olympic Lifting coaches and if that wasn’t fun I don’t know what is. If you need proof that I actually had fun here is a picture of me at the club Chateau which is the rooftop Club in the Paris hotel.