First off, OSU was fucking amazing. Schools don't look like this back in Massachusetts. It was easily twice the size of the biggest campus we have (UMass Amherst?) and it was an absolutely gorgeous campus.
The conference was hosted by Mark Watts from EliteFTS and featured a fantastic lineup including names like Dan John, Cal Dietz, Bryan Mann and Meg Stone and was attended by about 150 people from all over the state (it's a big damn state).
Truth be told I was most excited to hear Dan John speak (I even shook his hand!); I've been reading and digesting his writing since I first become interested in getting strong and I base a large portion of my training philosophy on his teachings (the other part of my philosophy is Cressey Performance stuff). Dan presented on his 5 basic human movements and why they are important; stuff that I've read about 100 times, but it was great to actually hear him talk about it in person. He also talked about the utilization of standards and "gaps" to round out a training program for a team. Basically, if your strength standard for your team is "205 front squat, 205 clean, 275 squat" and you have one kid who squats 465, cleans 315 and front squats 330 then that is great; you have a stud athlete and he probably performs really well on the field. But, if you also have 10 kids who squat 165, clean 115 and front squat 120, then your TEAM isn't goin to be as good as it could be. If you "lift the bottom" of the team and get them stronger, rather than getting that one stud up to a 500 pound squat, then your whole unit will perform better.
Cal Dietz (University of Minnesota) was the other guy I was really looking forward to hearing speak. His system, Triphasic Training, has taken the strength and conditioning world by storm in the last two years and with good reason. Cal has an abundance of national titles and championships and various other awesome accolades under his belt. I wanted to hear Cal speak to get "sold" on the Triphasic system. I've read the book and I understand the premise of the system and why it works, but I really don't understand how I'm able to apply it to athletes that I work with. Even hearing Cal talk about it, it sounds like a pretty advanced program that is best applied to advanced/elite athletes. However, he made it seem as if it also wouldn't be as effective with a guy who'd been a pro for 10 years since his body has made so many adaptations that he'd be better off with some block periodization that was explicitly focused on one training effect.
I'm sold on Triphasic, I am. I understand that it's a fantastic system that utilizes some pretty nifty tricks to train the body to accept and adapt to more stress. But for a high school aged (or even a young college athlete) I don't think that it's a more effective way of training someone than the way I've been doing it. If your athlete is only able to squat 225, then he probably needs to get stronger so that he is able to produce more force (horsepower is useless without more torque). I hope to God that I someday get an athlete advanced enough to apply Triphasic to their program.
It was a very cool event and made me realize a few important things:
- I need my back to bigger in a fucking hurry. #bodyimageissues
- Everyone who's stronger than me (read: a lot of people) have hands that are as thick as a porterhouse steak
- I'm on the right track with my training philosophy.
- I've still got a ton of shit to learn.
Going to conferences are a great thing only if you're able to decipher what is useful to you and what isn't. Not everything that is presented is applicable or necessary for you and your athletes. If you start throwing all of these principles into your training programs willy-nilly then you're going to just end up with the proverbial "shit soup".
Have a great day and go lift some heavy shit!