Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Jack of all trades

In recent years, there is a new trend in the world, and not only in the physical training world, but everywhere, concerning trying to achieve many goals at the same time, conquering the title 'Jack of all trades'.
I believe this is fine... As a goal!
As the way to get to that goal, it is far from optimal.
Our phisiolegy just doesnt work that way. SAID principle, adaptation, specialization and survivle mechanisms are main factors here, but I wont lecture you on that.
Recently I ran into a training program that is highly flawed by a generaly excelent strength coach, Christian Thibaudeau:
(ignore the supplement commercial at the start of the article)

Christian, who quotes coach-extraordiner' Charles Poliquin is breaking some of Poliquin's main rules about program design, among them specialization, broad pyramid sets and more.
Notice the equal quantity of volume divided among the various training
tools, while trying to achieve.... Everything.... And all at the same time.
I suspect this kind of program has no value, besides maybe for the complete beginner and as a general fitness tool. Not very useful.
I see this kind of thing everywhere, people trying to achieve everything
together at the same training micro/macro-cycle while only discovering they have achieved nothing.
Dont throw your adaptive body (and mind) into confusion. Even if you have multiple goals (I'm the first to admit that) periodize them wisely, move certain things into maintaince while pushing other things forward, you will see better results, quicker.
Having said that, taking a hypothetical trainee, put him into an intense crossfit program that includes OLifting, gymnasics and metcon work for 3 years and see where he gets. I'm sure an impressive improvement in many physical traits.
Take the same trainee and put him one year with a OLifting coach working OL mainly, one year with coach sommer, specializing in gymnastics strength elements and one year of implementation into metcon type of work and you get a much supperior athlete.
Isnt it obvious?

PS. For Coach Thibaudeau's sake, I have to admit I have commited the same sin in program design a few times in the past, it is just our nature to try to juggle all the balls.