strength training

Myth #2: Strength training will stunt the growth of children.

It still amazes me that parents won’t hesitate to get their young children (6-7 years old) involved in sports such as football, gymnastics, basketball and soccer, yet they feel that participating in a strength-training program is damaging to their children’s bone health and will stunt their growth. Nothing can be further from the truth.

The fact of the matter is that running, jumping and tackling can create loading on a child’s body which is up to ten times greater than most strength training exercises. In other words, the physical demands on a child’s body are far greater on the athletic field compared to the weightroom. Parents who don’t let their children participate in resistance training are actually increasing their children’s risk for injury on the athletic field.

There have even been position stands by such organizations as the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggesting that children can benefit from participation in a properly designed and supervised resistance training program. Position stands recommend that prepubescent children shouldn’t lift maximal weights; they should lift weights that can be lifted for at least six repetitions with proper form.

Strength training in this manner can be the most potent exercise stimulus for bone growth and development. In fact, research has shown that young weightlifters have greater bone densities than individuals who don’t lift. Thus, the positive benefits of resistance training for bone health, injury prevention and improved athletic performance are far greater than the risks.

J. Defranco           #3 of Top Ten Traininig Myths



I have been inspired to write this post from a person I don’t even know who told me I was wrong in my thinking on myths.  There is no way I am wrong because if you notice at the bottom Joe D. is the author.  Occasionally I will use other sources to add other reliable information to my blog.  However, I always acknowledge where these articles come from.  I will start out by saying that not only is Joe D. correct, I am also correct or I would have never posted his myth. 

Let me first explain that in order to do any type of aerobic conditioning (plyometrics) you have to have some sort of muscle development.  For example, think of the time you or a person you know broke a leg and had a cast put on it.  What happens to the muscle?  The muscle begins to atrophy (loses muscle), right!  Depending on how long the cast was on or how long a person has gone without using this damaged limb, will determine what a person can or cannot do after the removal of this cast.  Let’s say the cast was on for 8-weeks.  Who does a doctor send you to after the removal of this cast?  A physical therapist right! (Which most people fail to follow through on).  Does a physical therapist have you go out and jog (plyometrics) a mile before they have you do resistance training to rebuild the muscle.  Of course not, even though the bone is healed (and in most cases stronger than before, due to the calcification around the break area), you must develop a level of strength to engage in any high impact plyometrics (running).  We have all seen the knees buckle on a baby that is learing to walk and using the coffee table to hold themselves up? 

Knee pain, joint pain, and lower leg muscle tension is a common concern for most runners, especially if you haven’t developed any level of strength (not in all cases).  Now, take into consideration that both legs have been inactive for a prolonged period of time and are weak in comparison to a person’s overall bodyweight.  Please consider, if you’re overweight or just beginning a fitness program, beware of any type of high impact plyometrics (especially running off/on concrete) before building a solid foundation of strength.   


bigwinisland.jpg  I will never walk another 18 holes of golf again in my lifetime.  I know on some courses walking isn’t even permitted, but for a below average golfer, walking should never be allowed on any course. 

I have a few friends that believe golf is a non-physical sport and requires little, if any, physical conditioning.  Little do they realize that the best golfers in the world engage in some sort of strength and/or conditioning, and the ones that don’t consistently train, rarely finish high on the leaderboards.  All physical activities require some sort of general physical preparedness, golf is physical, it is an activity, and you better be prepared.  Watching athletes on television has a tendency of making things look relatively easy while  novice athletes have a misconception in regards to the amount of hard-work and effort required to play on a professional level. 

Lets take into consideration that some of us are decent to bad players, in other words, we are lucky if we play bogey golf.  For a novice golfer let’s add in the fact that you have to swing the club with extreme effort at least 2 times per hole, and on par 5’s sometimes three heavy effort swings.  Now we’ll add in the fact that, if you’re not on the tour or a scratch golfer, you have to play out of trouble most of the time.  Golf courses measure the distances from the tee box to the green., in other words, they don’t zig-zag throughout the course on each individual hole like I do.  (I guess it’s a way of getting my moneys worth)  I actually considered doing the math on how I can turn a standard 5500 yard course into over 8000 yards.  Needless to say, I hit the ball hard, I hit long, and I don’t play very well, which means, I am all over the place.  

Whenever a sport or a game has a large prize pool or hefty salaries you’d best believe that most players stay in some sort of shape.  Could golfers be in better conditioning?  Probably!  However, the same goes for most athletes in every other sport. 



I had to post this because my mother just totally annoyed me by telling my daughter that stretch bands are good for women because they don’t give you manly muscles.  I want to make it clear right now, bands develop muscle and they are not isolated for women only.  Where did she hear that?  My mother is 60 years old and I know for a fact that I have exposed the “manly muscle” myth to her.  My point here is, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, please do not engage in conversations if you don’t have facts. 

bodybuilder.jpgMyth #5: Women should focus on performing aerobic activities because weight training will give them a “manly” appearance.

This myth just won’t go away, mainly because of bodybuilding magazines. People associate females who strength-train with the female bodybuilders pictured in bodybuilding magazines. Professional female bodybuilders usually resemble men because of the massive amount of anabolic, androgenic drugs they consume. However, these “females” shouldn’t be confused with drug-free women who incorporate resistance training into their fitness programs. The next time that this topic comes up, remember the following facts: 1) Much of the difference in muscle mass between males and females is attributed to hormones, specifically, Testosterone. On average, men produce ten times more Testosterone than females. Unless you’re a female who’s taking anabolic steroids or other male hormones, lifting weights will not make you look like a man! It’s actually harder for most females to build muscle compared to their male counterparts. 2) There’s also a difference in muscle mass distribution between men and women, especially in the upper body. If you do build a significant amount of muscle, you still won’t look masculine. So, it’s important to remember that male hormones and muscle mass distribution are the two main reasons that men usually carry more muscle than woman. Ladies, get in the weightroom!


J. Defranco           #5 of Top Ten Traininig Myths


I didn’t have much time to update today but I just finished watching the Mayweather/De La Hoya fight and wanted to give you all the update to the first race.  If any of you saw these athletes, you had to be in awe.  Boxers have always amazed me. 

The two of us are totally pleased with the 18:10 that he ran in his first 5k after a full year lay off.  Sure, we would’ve loved to see him crush the field, however, this is not what we are training for.  Eighteen-ten was good enough for a fourth place finish which kept him a full 2:30+ off the leader.  His next race is a 10k on June 16th.  This gives us a full month and a half to train, therefore, we should really see an improvement.

Remember, training a marathon runner is something new for me and this is the first time that Keir has ever used a personal trainer to improve his speed-strength.  As with any type of training we all must follow a systematic approach for long-term strength, conditioning, speed, athlete specific, weight-loss or whatever else.  I could train him and produce instant results, but the long-term effects would prove detrimental.  Building this foundation is as important as building a house on rock.  I’ve included this piece from one of the best trainers and sports scientists in the world.

 A premature velocity increase negatively influences the devleopment of the degree of training.  Thus, in sports disciplines requiring speed-strength, this method causes excessive muscular fatigue (in some cases even injuries) and an alteration of the bio-dynamic structure and rhythm of movements.  As a consequence, the morphological and functional specialization process is slowed down, while motor co-ordination is created that does not correspond to competition conditions.  A gradual increase in the intensity of the load, spread over a longer period, produces a greater and more stable development of the functional possibilities.  (Y. Verkhoshansky)

This applies to any ‘instant results” methods used in todays weight-loss, strength, and fitness societies.  They may satisfy a short-term want, but the negative future impact will prove detrimental.  Long-term progress, improvement, health and conditioning will likely suffer. 


My marathon runner (Keir) is racing today in his first 5k of the season.  Even though I do realize what we have done so far has only helped with his endurance, I also know that it has had a minimal effect.  Today I will share the first two of the five strength and conditioning phases that we have to go through in order for Keir to be in peak conditioning for the September marathon. 

Our first phase is his Adaptation period.  This period is utilized to help his body become accustomed to the new demands that strength-training will place on him.  Even though Keir has maintained some conditioning year round, we still utilize this brief period of training to avoid shocking the central nervous system and potentially injuring muscles or joints with this added stress.   

The second phase is his Foundational period which is pretty much where we are right now.  This is where I have placed a little more stress on the muscles to prepare his body for heavier weights (strength).  During this period of training I will incorporate high reps with about 55% of his one repitition max.  This is where I need Keir’s body to respond to strength-training by developing total body-strength and muscle endurance. 

We all have to realize that becoming an above average athlete is a slow gradual process, sometimes taking multiple years to peak.  Some novice runners or weight-lifters fall prey to the “more is better” fallacy.  When we take on this “more is better attitude” we are more susceptible to injury, overtaining, and failure (burnout).  It is imperative that we take the human body through its much needed transitional phases of training to ensure a positive training effect.    

You can read my previous entries here on Keir’s strength- training in preparation for this years marathon.


Well, yesterday I managed to figure out a recipe to accomplish my daily 4200+ calories.  With my son’s baseball game last night I was forced to train later than I normally do, therefore, my post-training meal would have to be later than normal.  

During the time I was training, my wife went to the grocery and for whatever reason decided to buy two half-gallons of ice-cream.  Naturally, I wasn’t happy because I knew I would eat some and because I have a sweet tooth, I might not be able to stop.  On the other hand, I knew I needed more calories and because she buys natural ice-cream (no additives or high fructose corn syrup),  I began to rationalize and justify why eating this ice-cream wouldn’t hurt.  Boom, here’s my bright idea. 

About 30 minutes after training I always take a protein supplement, glutamine, and my BCAA’s.  At this point I knew I was way under my caloric requirements and because I had a three hour window of opportunity post-workout to consume about 1/3 of my calories, I was going to take full advantage.  This is when I looked at my protein, looked at this ice-cream, then looked in the cupboard to see if the blender was still there (you never where anything might be around here).  My last ditch efforts to consume these calories were between 8:30 and 11:30 pm.  During this time frame I managed to mix 96 grams of protein with 2 cups of Oreo cookie ice-cream, in two separate shakes.  🙂  With milk added that’s a grand total of 1340 calories in a 2 hour period of time.  I’m pretty sure I got my 4200, but the problem came when I went to mix a protein shake today, I almost got nauseated. 

If you have read my MENTAL TOUGHNESS post, it explains that I am on a mission to gain 15 or more lbs. by eating like a pig, training hard, and eliminating all cardio so that I can build muscle then lean back down to around 8% LBM.  It’s not a matter of gaining that worries me, it’s a matter of hating cardio and seeing if I have the mental toughness that it requires to attain my goals.