Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mobility training is fake stretching

The new athlete said to me: “I do my mobility work and then I feel good for a while but during the workout I feel all stiff again.”

I said: “Before we go any further I just to make it clear I don’t use the word ‘mobility’, at least not in the way it is currently used.”

Athlete: “Why not?”

IK: “I believe the term mobility is used to give people the feeling they are doing what stretching used to do for them before the ‘stretching inquisition’. In other words it’s fake stretching, and it’s about as effective as a fake.”

Athlete: “Why do people say stretching is bad and mobility exercises are better?”

IK: “Let me share with you my observations over the last few decades. First athletes stretched or they didn’t, depending on their sport historical or their own individual influences. For example, track and field and dance and martial arts and gymnastics were great examples of sports that stretched. But not the only ones. I can remember attention given to stretching in one of my first weightlifting books, and also in other strength books from the 1970s.

There was no judgment – you either did it or not. Then I noted the rise of popularity in stretching and at the same time the rise of individuals and organizations such as academic institutions keen to control sport and leave their foot print.

Now the individuals involved in seeking to be in control for the most part didn’t stretch themselves, were not flexible and no-one had worked out how to make money from stretching.

I believe this is why stretching is being demonized. I suggest that when those who seek to control information and trends find themselves able to touch their toes or make a quick buck, you will be given the green light.

But you don’t have to wait – you can take the benefits of stretching right now.

As for ‘mobility’ warm ups – apart from raising body and joint temperature (which are good things) they have no significant impact on flexibility. So stop kidding yourself. Stretch first, and then if you need or want specific warm ups, do activities that you are going to be done in load – not some non-specific irrelevant exercise just because everyone else is….

So if you are training with us, there will be no fake stretching….”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Are your single leg training concepts from the 1990s still relevant?

I recently received a email where the writer asked:

Dear Ian, I've come across your single leg 2 part routine limping into October online. This I believe is the gold dust I have been looking for. I've been attempting to create something similar to this without realizing it!

Is this something you would still recommend as I notice it was posted online in the late 90's? It still seems very relevant to me.

I feel it’s next to exactly what I'm looking for. A routine to follow for a 3-4 week phase that will help reduce any muscular imbalances I have before I start my pre season conditioning early June.

Any advice on this would be very much appreciated. Kind regards.”


This is what I responded with:

“This is a program that changed the way the world trains, and the reason why you were looking to create something similar - because it created a human trend that spread throughout the world. Take the concepts I promoted in the late 1990s about unilateral body weight lower body exercises, lines of movement, speed of movement, control drills prior to strength training and so on, out of those interesting books on ‘functional training’ and books would fall over, and no, despite the complete absence of ethical and professional referencing, that author did not come up with those ideas. What he do however was orchestrate the famous ‘Boston Walkout’….

Is the content of this 1990s program still relevant? I don’t produce trends. I produce concepts that serve forever. So yes, it is still relevant. It will not in itself solve your problems because it only addresses the strength side, and there is so much more to training as an athlete than ’strength and conditioning’, despite the dominant paradigm created by a historical incident of convenience in 1981. Keep in mind also that it is a generic program, not individualised.

On that point, on individualization, it’s ironic that the industry has not only failed to moved towards higher competency in individualization, but the trend based focus is attaches to (and you have been caught up in) has result, I suggest, in a move away from individualization. The art of individualizing training is not taught, and possessed by few. It goes a massive distance further than doing a weekend course with a three digit trademark certification and buying the related testing device.

On the point of relevance I developed these ideas during the late 1980s and early 1990s and published them after over a decade of experimentation and refining in the late 1990s. If you think the ideas may be dated, you are more alone than you may appreciate.

Now it was only about 5 years later, but I nearly fell out my chair and swallowed my protein shaker when I was sent (by a concerned colleague) a video from a 2003 seminar in Nevada where the presenter presented my unique approach to bodyweight exercises and then told the audience the only way to learn more about them was through personal communication with himself or by buying his book (must have had amnesia about the dozen or so resources he learnt them from that he could have recommended, or the actual source of the info…)

I was shattered to see virtually the entire contents of my ‘How to Write Strength Training Programs’ book (1998) repackaged verbatim and promoted as an ‘industry bible’, (verbatim and lightly paraphrased), in 2005 and again in 2009, with the ‘authors’ seeking to pass it off as their own works, sold for 3 times the price people would have paid for the original works.

I was ‘intrigued’ when I noted an article by a certain ‘functionalist’ author promoting the benefits of single leg exercises in around 2011, over 10 years since I championed the concept against industry beliefs, and in the same online magazine. I failed to see how you could publish with such ‘revolutionary’ ideas in the same magazine over a decade later! And then there was the national convention in a large island country where the key note speaker proudly presented on the concept of stability exercises etc., and new strength sub-quality that I published about in the early 1990s, nearly 20 years prior!

So if these otherwise ‘highly regarded’ industry experts (although I not sure how you get ‘highly respected’ when the C+V keyboard buttons are your best friend?) find worthiness to promote off these concepts some 10-20 years after they were first published (and up to 30 years after I began developing them conceptually), and the market didn’t react poorly to them (after all, some will only present on content they are confident will be ‘popular’ and ’trendy’) then this may be a hint of their timelessness!

I trust this answers your question.
--Ian King

Friday, April 24, 2015

When buff is 'bad'

I was near the finish line at a high school yesterday watching over 100 thirteen to fourteen year old boys complete a cross country race. As I do everywhere I studied their shape and development.

Apart from the expected changes some were experiencing consistent with entering the early teen age years, there was another noticeable physical sign on many of the boys.

It was apparent to me which of the boys was engaging in body shape changing strength training. Now for most the changes they were making would have been impressive – larger muscles, heavier and potentially stronger than they were or their peers were. This is what would catch the eye of most, and appear impressive.

And I have no doubt in the short term they will experience these benefits and feel rewarded for participating in what is considered normal and appropriate – the application of strength training to young athletes applied with the current paradigms.

However, based on over three decades of stuying the human body’s response to stimuli, and seeking to understand and then be able to predict the relationship between cerain stimuli in training and the incidence and severity of injury, I d did not share that feeling of being impressed.

Quite the opposite actually. I added more numbers to the sample group for the purposes of testing my hypothesis of future injuries patterns for these boys.

What I saw was a potential relationship where over 80% of these boys engaged in what is considered normal practice strength training will suffer injuries during the next few years BECAUSE of their strength training.

The most glaring imbalance I saw in their body was quad dominance, with their quad muscles over-shading lagging hip muscles – hamstrings and glues.

During the 1980s, after identifying muscle imbalance from traditional strength training, I began to develop a concept I called ‘:Lines of movement’. What resulted were six primary divisions or categories of exercise, which I didn’t publish until 1998.

These categories included:

• Hip dominant • Quad dominant • Horizontal push • Horizontal pull • Vertical push • Vertical pull Within a few years this concept was hijacked and published unreferenced by certain ‘writers’ keen to promote their self-interests, rather than the interests of the end-user, for whom it was developed.

Perhaps this is the reason why not only have we failed to fulfill the concept I developed nearly 30 years ago, we are arguably worse off as a society in relation to injuries that I suggest are a direct result of the training we do.

Once I realized the tragic direction the world has been taking in relation to training induced injuries, combined with the unfettered abuse of my concepts for self-serving purposes at the expense of the intended recipients – I have dedicated more time and energy to the purpose of helping people avoid the pitfalls presented by writers who for the most part lack real success in training, yet are ‘teachers’.

I have done a number of seminars throughout the world this year on this subject, and will peak this message at the November 2015 Society for Weight Training Specialists (SWIS) convention in Toronto, Canada – in addition to a number of presentation on this topic in a number of different countries during the remainder of the year.

I can only reach out and seek to warn parents and other care-givers – we need to pull back in the involvement of young athletes in the formal physical preparation program, especially strength training, until training methods and coach competencies are significantly higher.

If you have children in sport, or if you coach young athletes in physical training, I want to say thanks for contributing and look forward to meeting you in a seminar during 2015! The world need you to step up, up-skill and take great pride in ‘first, do no harm!’

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

if someone is using a cancer story or similar to promote themselves...

Belle Gibson admits lies

What do you think about a person lying about their cancer story to promote themselves?

Personally, I think it’s unacceptable for any person to use a fraudulent cancer story to promote themselves. In fact, I think its unacceptable for a person to promote themselves on cancer at all.

I suspect that the majority of people would think it’s few would ever question a person who made these claims, especially a person who has used stories such as these to create a large marketing perception of their greatness.

If nothing else, this incidence of fraudulent claims surrounding cancer provides an excellent wake-up call.

For anyone who has experienced the impact of real people having real cancer it’s tough to watch this behavior, where a person is fraudulently using cancer claims to promote their personal agendas.

To quote the interviewee in this clip “That’s how frauds get just often away with their behavior – that no one is on guard or responsible to make that person accountable….”.

I believe it is great that she stepped up and acknowledged the deception. It will stop people becoming victims to the lie, and remind all to review cancer claims before accepting them.

Real cancer affecting real people is a struggle that should not be exploited by those willing to lie, cheat and steal to achieve their personal objectives.

I believe that the moral of the story is - if someone is using a cancer story or similar to promote themselves, worth scratching below the surface….