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Question: Is heavy lifting, with the goal of gaining mass, a bad idea during wrestling season? Will this have adverse affects on agility? What type of training regimen would you recommend for a high shcool teen?
(Don from Mickleton, N.J.
Don thanks for writing, the answer to your question is yes and no. It's a bad idea if you are working to stay in the weight class you are now in. If you are working to get the next class then it doesn't have to be. If you continue to work on your agility as you train it will only enhance it. As far as recommending a protocol I don't do this over the net, you are more than welcome to come to Camden and let's see what you can do and take it from there.
Question: What do you think is the single most important psychological aspect to training athletes? I know that you have a psychology background, and getting athletes to believe in themselves is important if you want them to achieve their goals.
(Dave from Mechanicsburg,
I think that the single most important psychological aspect of training athletes is to get them to trust you as a coach. Today's athlete is a little more aware as to how things should be and aren't in a hurry to listen to someone they don't trust. Work to get the athlete to know that you will always have their best interest at heart. In the words of the immortal Muhammed Ali, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Those are words to live by.
Question: My son (who is 8 years old) plays baseball and is just starting to show interest in weight training. Other people have told us that weight training will help with many aspects of baseball--(the obvious being strength and also speed enhancement). Is this correct and is there special weight training equipment for kids?
(Audra from West Palm Beach)
Audra all of those things are true, but the one thing that you didn't mention about what people were telling you is that weight training before puberty is not going to help. The body of an 8 year old is not set up to weight train. So give him a few more years before doing anything like that.
Question: My friend has been told to just do cardio fitness to loose the fat as this is more difficult to get rid of around the muscle if she was to do weight machines too. I have been told to do a combination of cardio and light weights as the muscle turns into fat. Who is correct? Please can you advise me. (Jessica from London)
Jessica, muscle will never turn into fat or vice versa, they are too different tissues. I'm a believer in cardio work and moderate weight lifting. Doing this will go a long way in helping you reach your goals.
Question: Dear Graig, I am a principal of a Catholic elementary school in Chicago. One of our teacher coaches assigned the "box drill" to certain members of our 7th & 8th grade boys' basketball team in lieu of a school detention. The parents of one student complained that the drill was "unorthodox" and should be considered "corporal punishment." I don't believe that the teacher coach had corporal punishment in mind and want to settle this issue fairly and honestly. Are you familiar with the "box drill"? Is it a strengthening exercise that can be used with kids? I have spent a lot of time trying to find an answer on the internet but to no avail. HELP! Thank you. (Jo Ann from Blue Island, Illinois)
I am familiar with the box drill, and I agree that I don't believe that the coach/teacher had corporal punishment on his mind, but I am not a real big fan of it. I agree with the parent, the drill is a little unorthodox and I don't suggest it being used on 7th and 8th grade boys. I just beleive that there are too many things that can go wrong. It is thought to be a good way to enhance strength by some people but not by me. I hope this answers your question.
Question: Hey I read alot of the Q's and A's on your sight and really picked up alot, but I was wondering if you could give me some tips on ab excercises. Everytime I try to do situps/crunches, or leg raises, my back hurts so bad i cant continue. I am 20 years old 6'2 215 lbs, I lift weights 4 days a week and have no back problems with any other excerises, even back routines are fine. Can you tell me if this is normal, or are there alternative excercises? I'd really appreciate any help you could give me. (Joe from Philadelphia, PA)
More often than not the back pain you are having is due to a muscle imbalance. Your abs are stronger than your back. What you want to do is to start concentrating on the "Core" your abs hips and back. Working on those muscles as a group will go a long way in helping you get better go to our "FYI" section you will see all types of publications by Human Kinectics. The reason I am telling you this is because there is a really good book By Greg Brittneham called "Stronger Abs and Back" This will help you.
Question: Almost a month ago I was at the GYM doing my normal monday night chest routine. However, I got there a few mintues late and my lifting partner was already 1 or 2 sets ahead of me on the Flat bench press. So, I jumped in and didn't warm up properly. I started with 135 for 12, 185 for 10 then went right up to 225. (I USUALLY ALLWAYS GOTO 205) for about 6 ~ 8 before going up to 225 for 5 or 6 reps. At 225 on my 5th rep I felt some pain in my chest/shoulder area. But, I decided to continue lifting and proceed to increase the weight up to 250 for 2 reps. At this weight I still felt "something" in my chest / arm pit area. I then went back down to 225 fearing I didn't warm up properly... at this weight I felt a "POP" in my chest and arm pit.. After that I couldn't lift my own arm over my head. This was a month ago.

Since that time I had my "DOCTOR" tell me nothing was wrong.... but I couldn't lift 10 pounds if I tried. I have sinec went to a specialist who requested 2 MRI's and I am now in physical therapy to help with a slightly torn pec. To quote my MRI report " There is a abnormal t2 hyperintensity in the anteriior or superficial protion of the pectoralis major mescle extending to the myotendinous junction. These findings could reflect a intrasubstance tear or muscle strain."

I just started rehab 3 weeks after the inital injury. They had me doing some stretching and strengthing exercises. I was trying to do the seated machine bench press and struggled with 30lbs because of a tightness and pain in that area. Is there anything I should be doing or taking to help speed along the healing process. I am currently taking 9 advil aday. 3 in the morning, afternoon and night. Therapy is applying ultrasound to the affected areas. And I am using ICE and Heat at home. A friend told me to try GLUTAMINE and suppliment high amounts of Vitamin C.

Do you have any other ideas that will help speed up my recovery period? (Brian from Luzerne, PA)

Brian, thanks for writing. Let me say one thing, wasn't it rushing into your training session that got you into this situation? Take it slow and easy, listen to your health care practioner and let your body heal at it's own pace. You'll be glad you did.
Question: I have two questions for you. Firstly, how do you feel about kids (age 12 and up) doing iso-kinetic training? Do you think it has any effect on thier growth plates? (Jonell from Santa Clarita, California)
I am a believer that most training systems if done properly will result in some type of positive benefit. Understand that the statements I am about to make are my own opinion and should be taken as so. With that said, training for strength and cardiovascular enhancement at the same time is kind of like an oxymoron. Without knowing what sport you are preparing for I won't talk in absolutes, but most sports really don't have a "cardio" component in its truest sense of the word. By that I mean that most sports are intermittent bouts of explosive movements followed by period of inactivity. So unless the sport is a marathon or something else of that nature you would be better suited to train along those same patterns. As far as the growth plates being effected, like I stated earlier, if the guildelines for the protocol are followed their should be no adverse reaction to the growth plates.
Question: I am the varsity baseball coach at Paoli High School in Paoli, IN. I am looking for an 8 week program that my pitchers can use to get their arms into shape for the upcominfg season. Any ideas? (Douglas from Paoli, IN)
The mistake some coaches make, when dealing with pitchers is to think that a strong arm makes for a better pitcher. That much is true, but thinking of a pitcher in terms of the whole body will not only make his arm stronger but his mind. The first thing to examine is how strong are the legs of your pitchers? The great Nolan Ryan showed the world that it's all about the legs. Once you create the foundation then everything else falls into place. After the legs, check out their shoulders. Better yet, the rotator cuff you want to make sure that this group of muscles is given the proper attention. Check out the rest of our website click on "Need2Know" and you will find an article or two about getting fit for baseball.
Question: My daughter, Nicole, plays Lacrosse for Jackson Memorial High School in Jackson, NJ (you know, home of Great Adventure!). The team, in only their second year, went from an expected losing record to 12-0 in their conference and 16-0 overall, only losing the last two games of the year - one in their conference championship and the other in the early rounds of the NJ state tournament, which was won by Moorestown. Anyway, this year, their third (and my daughter's second) year of lacrosse promises another extraordinary leap for the girls of Jackson; this holds true, I believe, for my daughter, too, who will probably start for the team this year as a sophomore. What's my problem, then, you say? It's conditioning, of course: my daughter is looking at ways in which she can not only STAY in shape during the long winter but ways in which she might IMPROVE her strength and stamina in preparation for the coming Lacrosse season. She is very motivated but needs her fat! (Dan from Jackson, NJ)
Nicole sounds like the type of athletes most coaches dream of and I wish her continued success. When you wrote you didn't give to much of an idea as to what the situation is, will she be training in a weightroom? What type of stuff is she doing now? what are her goals? Answers to these questions are needed so that I am not telling you stuff you already know or may be doing. I want to make sure that Nicole is training smart, anyone can work hard, but it's the athletes that work smart that get ahead. Check out the rest of our website, it will be a start and once you get me the answers to the questions I've asked we will work together to create a situation that will enhance Nicole's ability to compete.
Question: What do you recommend for time duration (minimum/maximum) between sets? (John from Caledonia)
Depending on the desired effect, the rest period can vary anywhere from 30 seconds to up to 3 minutes. Power lifters tend to need more rest since they are working with greater loads. Athletes tend not to need as much rest since the desired effect is to "teach" their bodies how to rest in short periods of time. Case in point, football players generally have up to 60 seconds in between plays. It is our goal to have our players ready to go again at full speed with that rest interval. Another factor is the fitness level of the athlete. If an athlete is not very fit, then they will need more time to rest before attempting their next set. As the fitness level improves the rest interval will come down and intensity will go up.
Question: Is there a weight machine or weight bench made for children? What do you think of a 10 year old wanting a weight bench? (Margaret from Sidney, NY)
Margaret, thanks for writing. There is a line of equipment made for children, the name of it escapes me right now, but you could contact some of the major distributors and they should be able to help you. As far as my thoughts on a 10 year wanting a weight bench, my main concern is what is the motivation. I've been in the business for quite some time and have not run across too many kids that age who are that into lifting. If this is something that the child feels strongly about I say get someone who knows how to instruct lifters that age and show as much support as you can and see where this goes. I'm truly interested in this situation. Please keep in touch and let me know how this turns out.
Question: I was wondering, what work outs do you recommend to make my upper body look bigger. Kind of like Goldberg's or one of them football player guys. The problem is I'm only 17. Do you think it's too early for me to be like doing weights at this age? Give me some tips, cuz I'm in desperate need to get bigger fast. (Phalen from Carson, California)
Depending your body structure, looking like "Goldberg" might not be in your future. Lifting at 17 may not be a bad thing as long as your health care practioner is ok with it. Get with someone who will be able to help keep an eye out for you while you are lifting so that if you have to make a change in your program the right ones will be made. Also check out our website click on "Need2Know" and you will find all types of tips on getting big.
Question: I have a question. I'm trying to gain weight for this tryout for a football team. But I'm too skinny and light to pass the age-limit. I've been taking this creatine fuel drink that I bought. Will I be ever to gain 25 lbs. in a month? (Joe from Delano)
To answer your question in a word, no. Gaining 25 pounds in one month is a little too much to ask. Talk with the coaches and see if there is another tryout date. If so, get ready for that one. If not, I suggest you go to the tryout and just do the best you can. Good luck and keep me posted.
Question: My question is in regards to coming back from an injury. I recently suffered a grade 2 tear in my left pectoral muscle. I of course bruised very heavily and still have some swelling. I did visit the doctor to make sure that it was not a complete tear. I am eager to get back in the gym, but would obviously not do anything heavy with involving my chest. I am wondering what type of exercises you recommend and how long before I can start doing any type of exercise with my chest muscles. Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer. (Chris from Akron)
Answer: Chris I'm sorry to hear about your injury. The only thing I will suggest is that you listen to your health care practitioner. I wouldn't do anything that is not recommend by him/her. Just kick back and enjoy the time off, catch up with friends or read some good books, but as far as doing any lifting I would find something else to do until it healed.
Question: I am a freshman at my high school and just finished my first football season. I played mostly defensive back and a little receiver. I would like to increase my acceleration and reaction time when the ball is in the air. We are just getting started on a normal workout routine which is 3 days a week doing three sets of ten at flat bench, pull downs, squat, and military press. Our coaches haven't started us on any leg workouts yet other than squat. I not taking any supplements either. Should I take any supplements? If so which ones? And what workouts do you recommend for acceleration and quickness on top of what I am doing? Thanks for any advice you can give. (Matt from Dana Point)
Answer: I've found that with high school athletes they don't really need to spend great amounts of time in the weightroom. When dealing with guys around your age we work to create strength first by using your own body weight. I would like to see you do walking lunges without any weight to start. Using a basketball court lunge out to half court, when you get to half court lunge back backward. Don't worry about falling, because you will, but the more you do this the better off you will be. Once you come back to the baseline lunge forward to the opposite baseline, when you get there come back backwards again do this 2 times to start and you will find that your hips will be on fire. Once you get that feeling you will be on the road to becoming faster than you've ever imagined.
Question: Hi, I am a 13 year old boy and I want to get ripped. I was wandering if creatine is safe for me to take??? (Ryan from Pittsburgh, PA)
Answer: Ryan, I would check with my health care practitioner before getting on creatine. Long terms studies have yet to be completed so as far as it being safe to take is not up to me. I will say this, my athletes that take it follow the instructions carefully and we have yet to have anyone have any type of negative reaction. Understand this, I'm not saying that it's safe for you, I'm just passing along what our experience has been with it. Good luck and stay in touch.
What type of things can I do to improve my tennis game in the area of strength and conditioning? (Chaim from Philadelphia, PA)
Answer: Chaim, thanks for writing. The answer to your question lies in the areas that you are weak in. I really don't like to put general information out. Tell me what you feel your weakness is, and we will work together to correct them. For example, I have a player who felt her first step could be better. We spent some time working on it and now she has gotten to so many more drop shots that the drop shot is not as neffective against her as it once was. I have another player who wanted to work on their conditioning, so he jogged alot. We changed the way he trained. Tennis is a balastic sport with lots of explosive moves. Once we started doing a speed package, he found that his "conditioning" got better because he was playing shorter points. He was playing shorter points because he was getting to balls quicker which allowed him to be in better position to hit better shots, ergo, shorter points.
I just wanted to know an effective way to work out my lower abs. My upper abdominal are fine, I got like a four pack up there, but my lower once don't seem to be taking any shape. (Charles from Carson)
Answer: Charles thanks for writing, but I hate to be the one to tell you, there is no such thing as a "Lower Ab" The Abdominal muscle is all one unit, the muscle group that people tend to confuse the lower ab for is actually the Hip Flexor. The only thing I can tell you is to keep a close eye on your fat intake and the rest of your "6 Pack" should show up soon.
How do I build arm strength to be able to throw the ball with more speed? (Richie from Watsonville)
Answer: The answer to your question is not about arm strength. Baseball players use more than just their arms to throw a ball. What you want to concentrate on is training the rotator cuff, a group of muscles in the shoulder, that when injured can keep you off the field for a long time. You also want to work on your hip and leg strength since both of those muscle groups are heavily involved in the throwing motion. Check out our website and click on "Tips" and look for our baseball/softball workout.

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