Posts

Isolationism

It is easy to get caught in the isolationist trap. Trying to isolate an energy system or any system of the body may be mentally convenient and look good in theory but in practice it is like chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. All systems of the body work together all the time and they work together synergistically to maintain a state of homeostasis. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

Performance Paradigm

Movement is quite simple and from that wonderful simplicity comes the complexity of sports skill and performance. Twenty-five years ago in an attempt to better explain movement and how we should effectively train movement I came up with this simple diagram I call the Performance Paradigm. It was somewhat like what Albert Szent-Gyorgi, once said, “Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.” Essentially it is the stretch shortening cycle of muscle with a more global interpretation and proprioception brought into consideration. It is the basis for what some people call the Gambetta Method; to me it is common sense. I use this to evaluate movement efficiency or deficiency and then to guide training and if necessary rehab. Read more

Vern Gambetta

Random Thoughts, Ideas and Observations

Coaching is teaching, the key to good teaching is communication and the key to communication is not more talking, it is more listening. Good coaches listen more and talk less. Then they act (not react) on what they hear. Read more

Vern Gambetta

Foundations of Functional Training

The body is a link system; this link system is referred to as the kinetic chain. Functional training is all about linkage – it is all about how all the parts of the chain work together in harmony to produce smooth efficient patterns of movement. Most conventional academic preparation in Exercise and Movement Science focuses on studying individual muscles based on classical anatomy. This is where the confusion begins as to what is functional movement. Read more

Connect The Dots

kinetic_chainGiven that the body is a kinetic chain and all systems of the body work synergistically to produce efficient movement then training is all about connections. Biomechanically think toenails to fingernails, everything is connected. The better and more effective the training the more effective the connections between body parts and the various systems of the body. We can isolate in theory and for mental convenience but that is not the way the body works in real life. As coaches we need to consciously make connections to make training more effective and efficient. Read more