Entries by Vern Gambetta

Running Mechanics – Part One

Running is a fundamental locomotor skill. It is a very natural activity. Unfortunately because of our sedentary lifestyle and activity deprived society this natural skill rapidly erodes in accordance with the law of reversibility. As with any skill if is not used it is quickly lost. Generally, young children run naturally with fundamentally sound running mechanics. We need to insure that this natural activity is reinforced through activity and play during childhood, so that in adolescence and latter all that is necessary is to reawaken those childhood movement patterns. If the skill has been lost through disuse it is tough to reacquire.

In running, as in all movement, there are three constants

GAIN 2013 – The Experience

I am in the midst of GAIN withdrawal syndrome. What is that? Well it is actually pretty simple, after you spend five days with highly motivated coaches, therapists and teachers who are hungry to learn and willing to share and you leave there is a very empty feeling. It is so stimulating and uplifting to be in that environment that it is difficult to return to the daily routine. Only 12 more months until GAIN 2014!

Developing Athletes

I have signed a contract with Human Kinetics to write a new book tentatively titled “Developing Athletes.” In many ways it is a follow-up and update on Athletic Development – The Art & Science of Functional Sports Conditioning. The goal is to take a long hard hard look at the theory and practice of long term athlete development. I intend to seperate fact from fiction and look closely at model programs that have successfully developed athletes with an emphasis on why. It is going to be a big job; I plan on starting writing in earnest as soon as I return from GAIN. It should be published in late 2014. Any ideas or input you might have would be appreciated. The following is the introduction book that I wrote in my book proposal.

Functional Training – Method or Madness? Part Three

All movement is functional; it is just to what degree is it functional. Function is integrated multi-directional movement. Functional movement is meaningful movement that is part of a chain reaction, not an isolated event. Movement occurs on a continuum of function. Some movements are more functional than other based on the end object of the training.

Functional Training – Method or Madness? Part Two

I have never been reluctant to challenge conventional wisdom and it was conventional wisdom that was causing us to stagnate in training. It just was not getting the job done. I felt there had to more than max V02 and other artificial measurements of performance, more than just mindlessly running straight ahead, more than excessive emphasis on heavy lifting, more than fancy machines that isolated body parts and more than static stretching. I leaned heavily on the work of Logan & McKinney and their classic text Kinesiology, Knott & Voss and their work on Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation and John Jesse and his approach to performance training and injury prevention. It was a move away from a linear reductionist and segmented view of the body to a holistic, synergistic quantum approach. In so many ways what evolved as functional training taps into old tried and true concepts and methods that were once the norm and then fell out of favor for various reasons. The saying that everything old is new again could not be truer.

Functional Training – Method or Madness? Part One

As someone who is considered the father of functional sports training I think it is time to revisit the concept in order to better understand it – Where did it come from, how it evolved, where it is today and where it is going. Functional training is a label for a concept. As with any label it is subject to various interpretations. I originally conceived it as multi lateral training integrating various training modalities (medicine ball, stretch cord, weight training, dumbbells, body weight etc.) to produce significant adaptation in specific performance parameters. It trains all systems of the body while recognizing and respecting the wisdom of the body. The end result is a highly adaptable athlete who is able to perform without limitations in the competitive environment. Contrast this to biased one- sided training that results in adapted athletes who are inconsistent in performance and prone to injury.

Age & Experiences

Hopefully with age comes wisdom. I don’t think I am any smarter today at age 66 that was at 26 or 36; I think I have learned from many experiences, some good, some bad, some successes and some failures. I certainly have many more questions than answers. I think the key is continually learning. It really is an attitude, a mindset, you can learn from anyone and any situation. I try to learn from everyone I meet and from every situation.

WOD – Fundamentally Flawed

WOD is an acronym for workout of the day. Is a cornerstone of a popular fitness craze that needs to be totally re-examined in light of the injuries caused by it and the number of people put in the hospital with Rhabdomyolysis (That is for another blog at another time) Let’s look at WOD in the light of what training should be. The workout, the individual training session is the building block of a comprehensive training program. No one workout is an end unto itself; each workout is a means to an end. Yesterday’s workout should seamlessly flow into today’s works and today’s workout should set up and connect with tomorrow’s workout. That is sound training – simple and effective. In addition each workout is not designed to be as hard it can be. There is a rhythm, a flow of alternating hard and easy workouts all designed to achieve adaptation to the desired training stimulus.

The S&C Wasteland

Now is the time to take a step back and look at the approach to Strength & Conditioning as it has evolved. Basically what we see happening is that we have the means to an end (Strength Training) become an end unto itself. Instead of having sport demands and qualities of the individual athlete drive the training the emphasis is on chasing numbers in the weight room.

The Basics – Mastery Nothing Less!

If you don’t get the basics right then everything that follows will be compromised. In my experience the difference between good and great is that that the great ones always pay attention to the basics and have flawless mastery of the basics. They never stray far from the fundamentals; in fact no matter where they are in their career they touch the basics everyday. Sure it is mundane, some have called it boring, but to be the best requires mastery of the basics. Advanced skill and technique is built upon sound fundamentals.