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Experience Doesn’t Come Easily When It Comes to Strength and Conditioning Programs

Posted Oct 19 2011 10:00am

As I sat down to write this blog, I recalled a quote I heard some time ago, but only with a quick Google search did I discover that it came from Pete Seeger:

“Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t.”

Seeger might be in his 90s and done singing, this quote definitely still resounds – and will continue to do so – in the field of strength and conditioning, even if that wasn’t his intention.

I think one of the reasons it gets us thinking so much is that there really isn’t a lot of fine print to read; the strength and conditioning field is still in its infancy, especially since there was very little research in this area before the 1980s.  And, just when we think we learn something and publish it in the textbook, we discover that it’s completely false ( the lactic acid debacle was a great example).   Moreover, we’re dealing with constantly changing demographics; as examples, obesity is rising dramatically, and early youth sports specialization is destroying kids’ bodies and fundamentally changing the way that they develop (examples here and here ).

So, it’s hard to learn how to do things the right way (or at least head in that direction) when the information wasn’t available – and the population to which it applies is constantly changing.  It’s like trying to change the tire on a moving car – and doing so without having instructions on how to use the jack in the first place.

Moreover, even when the information is out there, we appreciate that no two people respond to the same stimulus in the same way – and my experiences with baseball players with elbow pain serves as a great example.  I’ve seen dozens of post Tommy John surgery athletes in my career.  Some start throwing before the three-month mark, and others aren’t throwing until six months post-op.  Everyone heals differently – and even once they get back to throwing, every guy is unique.  Some have more shoulder stiffness than elbow stiffness after the long layoff, where it might be vice versa for other guys.  Additionally, many post ulnar nerve transposition pitchers have a lot of elbow stiffness when they return to throwing at 6-12 weeks post-op, while others have absolutely zero complications with their return-to-throwing progression.

If the game is changing, and we never really knew what the game was in the first place – and each person is unique, what do we do?

The only thing we can do is draw on personal experience and the lessons that it’s provided to us.

To that end, if you’re an up-and-comer in the field, you have to look at continuing education as a multi-pronged approach.  You’ve got to read the textbooks and stay on top of the most up-to-date research, but you also have to be “in the trenches” to test-drive concepts and see how they work.

If you’re not in the industry – but want to make sure that you’re getting the best possible strength and conditioning programs – you need to seek out expert advice from someone who has “been there, done that.”  Honestly would you want to be on the table for a surgeon’s first surgery? I know I wouldn’t.

A final option, at the very least, is to educate yourself fully on how to write your own workout routines. That’s one reason why I created two free webinars for you: The #1 Reason You Are Not Making Progress and How to Create a Real Strength and Conditioning Program.

You can check them both out HERE at absolutely no charge.  I’d just ask that you help spread the word with a Facebook “like” or comment or “Tweet” if you enjoyed what you saw.

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