Tom Kelso

Positive Role Models

By TAKU

Below is a list of some of the folks who have positively impacted me in my career as a strength and conditioning coach. Some of these people are friends of mine. Some I have been lucky enough to meet and spend time with, while others have led by example through their tireless efforts to promote safe, productive strength and conditioning practices. Not only have they positively impacted my own development, but their work has inspired and positively influenced numerous coaches within the industry, and countless athletes around the world. This list is presented in no particular order (it's not a top ten).

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Mark Asanovich
Mark Asanovich has years of NFL Strength and Conditioning experience. Including time with the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Jacksonville Jaguars strength and conditioning programs. His program emphasizes individual supervision of player workouts. It is his belief that players who are coached in the weight room will develop better results. The cornerstone of the program is to “maximize physical potential and minimize physical injury.” Asanovich has been a speaker for consecutive years at the Strong-S seminar in Tokyo that is organized by the renowned Japanese trainer Tatsuya Okawa.

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Matt Brzycki
Matt Brzycki has authored, co-authored and edited seventeen books. In addition, he has authored more than 435 articles/columns on strength and fitness that have appeared in 44 different publications. Matt has given presentations throughout the United States and Canada. He has also given presentations to the Central Intelligence Agency; US Customs and Border Protection; and US Secret Service Academy. He was appointed by the governor to serve on the New Jersey Council on Physical Fitness and Sports as well as the New Jersey Obesity Prevention Task Force.

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Dr. Ellington Darden
Dr. Ellington Darden is the leading disciple of the H.I.T. training method. Darden, for 17 years the director of research for Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries, is the author of such enormously popular books on high-intensity workouts as The Nautilus Book, High-Intensity Bodybuilding, and 100 High-Intensity Ways to Build Your Body, along with over 40 other fitness books.

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Patty Durell
Patty Durell has been helping people achieve their fitness goals for over 24 years. She is a Master Level Personal Trainer, Certified Conditioning Specialist, licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, and CEO of Rock Solid Fitness, an exclusive personal training studio in Dunedin, FL. She is also a member of Business Networking International, on the Board of Directors with the Chamber of Commerce in Dunedin, FL, and on the Advisory Board for the Palm Harbor University High School Medical Magnet program in Palm Harbor FL.

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Big Jim Flanagan
Jim Flangan met Henry “Milo” Steinborn, world’s strongest man at the time and champion wrestler, and began strength training under Milo’s guidance. He continued training with Milo for years to come and along the way met Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus and known worldwide as the man who changed the face of fitness forever. Arthur was a fitness genius and true living legend. Jim purchased a full line of Nautilus equipment from Arthur in 1973 and proceeded to open Orlando, Florida’s first fitness center, Jim Flanagan’s Nautilus Fitness Center.

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Mike Gittleson
Mike Gittleson spent thirty seasons as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the University of Michigan’s football program. He was appointed the athletic department’s first strength and conditioning coach in 1978. Gittleson was recognized by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society as the 2003 National Collegiate Football Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year. Gittleson maintained the overall training and conditioning of the football program in one of the finest facilities in the country. He developed a unique and scientific approach to Michigan’s conditioning program, tailoring each program to the individual player in order to provide the maximum physical output and the prevention of injuries.

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Arthur Jones
Arthur Jones’ ideas helped move the public’s notion of bodybuilding and strength-training exercise away from the hours in the gym using free weights to short, single set workouts focusing on maximum intensity, which, according to theory, triggers maximal muscular growth. His publications include the Nautilus Bulletins, which aim to dispel contemporary myths of exercise and training. The Nautilus machines and the company he formed to sell them made him a multimillionaire and landed him on the Forbes list of the 400 richest people. Jones also founded MedX Corporation, in which he invested millions to develop medical-based exercise and testing equipment targeting spinal rehabilitation and fitness.

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Dr. Ted Lambrinides
Dr. Ted Lambrinides is currently a strength and conditioning coach for the University of Kentucky. Ted did his undergraduate studies in business marketing and graduate studies in coaching and exercise science at The Ohio State University, where he began his career as a student assistant and graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach. After OSU, Lambrinides worked as director of education for two fitness companies, Nautilus Midwest and Hammer Strength Corporation.

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Dr. Ken Leistner
Dr. Ken Leistner, for decades a concerned voice in the powerlifting community as a competitor, trainer, judge, national athletes’ representative, and administrator, was the Feature Editor, monthly columnist, and the author of articles ranging from training advice to political commentary for POWERLIFTING USA Magazine. With over 1000 published articles in the area of strength enhancement and injury prevention and rehabilitation, Dr. Ken was asked to edit or rewrite the rulebook for two of Powerlifting’s major federations. Dr. Ken has served as a consultant to numerous university athletic programs and NFL coaching staffs. While many in the sport know Leistner through the Steel Tip Newsletter of the 1980’s, many articles, and former ownership of the National and World Championship winning Iron Island Gym, Dr. Ken is as well known for his contributions to the Chiropractic treatment protocols first used at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the design and prototyping of Nautilus and Hammer Strength equipment dating back to the early-1970’s.

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Ken Mannie
Ken Mannie has spent 24 years as Michigan State’s head strength and conditioning coach for football, while additionally directing and overseeing the strength and conditioning programs for all men’s and women’s sports. Mannie has been a keynote speaker and round-table participant at several national conventions and seminars. In both 2006 and 2007, Mannie was named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in recognition for his numerous and ongoing educational efforts in the field of strength and conditioning and in bringing awareness to the anabolic drug abuse problem in sports. He has been recognized and is widely published on his adamant stance against performance-enhancing drugs.

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Dan Riley
Dan Riley most recently was the strength and conditioning educator for the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute. Riley is a retired strength and conditioning coach having spent 27 of those years in the National Football League (19 with the Washington Redskins and eight with the Houston Texans) winning four Super Bowls. Prior to his stint with the Redskins, Riley spent five years as the strength coach at Penn State after serving four years as the strength coach at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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Dr. Wayne Westcott
Dr. Wayne Westcott has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Fitness Professionals, the Healthy American Fitness Leader Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and the Roberts-Gulick Award from the YMCA Association of Professional Directors, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Governor’s Committee on Physical Fitness and Sports, and the NOVA 7 Exercise Program Award from Fitness Management Magazine.

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Kim Wood
Kim Wood started weight training as a youngster, training to become a better wrestler and football player. He continued his training behind the scenes, as a running back at the University of Wisconsin in the sixties…. long before the fancy weight rooms and training complexes known to today’s players. Later, he worked for Arthur Jones, the legendary designer of the Nautilus machines. In 1975, Kim became one of the first strength coaches of professional football. During that time, he was also one of the three principals who created the now, world famous, Hammer Strength machines. He retired from the Bengals after 28 years with the team and was lucky enough to experience two Super Bowls along the way.

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Tom Kelso
For 23 years he was in the collegiate strength and conditioning profession, serving as the Head Coach for Strength and Conditioning at Saint Louis University (2004-2008), the University of Illinois at Chicago (2001-2004), Southeast Missouri State University (1991-2001), and the University of Florida (1988-1990). He got his start in the strength and conditioning field as an Assistant Strength Coach at Florida in 1984 where he was also a weight training instructor for the Department of Physical Education from 1985 to 1988. Tom Kelso is currently an Exercise Physiologist with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. He also trains clients through Pinnacle Personal & Performance Training in Chesterfield, Missouri.

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Along with my friend and mentor Jim Bryan, the above individuals represent some of the finest minds of the strength and conditioning community. If you are already familiar with some or all of the folks on this list, then count yourself lucky. If you have not explored their work, then I suggest you do so right away.

TAKU

10 Hard & Fast Rules of Strength Training

By Tom Kelso

 

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1. Be compliant and work hard.

Provided the ―X‘s and ―O‘s are in place, simply making a concerted effort to ―do something, do it on a regular schedule, and do it as hard as you can at the time will go a long way to maximizing your potential. It‘s 80% of the battle and the first requisite if anything is to be gained. Yes, there are specifics (type of exercises, number of reps, rep speed, weight loads, nutritional intake, etc.), but they are secondary to showing up and exuding effort as there are literally numerous ways to train.

2. Train with intensity (of effort).

Relative to the hard work aspect of point number one, its strength training! You‘re trying to create overload in the muscles, and proper overload means forcing the muscles to work beyond their existing capacity. This is not easy and manifests itself in temporary pain, discomfort, heavy breathing, light-headedness, etc. due to the intense effort put forth. High reps, low reps, dumbbells, machines, one set or 3 sets, somewhere in the endeavor a high degree of effort must be expended so the recruited muscle fibers adapt and improve their quality if maximum gains are to be obtained.

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3. Be safe.

The manner by which you train is a controllable variable in your long-term health and well-being. Exercise stresses the muscles, joints, and energy systems to create a positive adaptation to these stresses. Using proper exercise form is mandatory if one desires to train over the long-term. Proper body alignment / posture and controlled speed of movement through a safe range of motion makes the exercise safe not only during individual training sessions, but over all sessions year after year. The whole bouncing, yanking, and ballistic / explosive lifting debate ends abruptly here. Likewise, training loads, session volume, and number of training session per period need to fit so they do not over-stress and lead to chronic injuries and regression.

4. Use basic exercise movements.

One does not need to perform any complicated exercises nor a multitude of any exercise each and every workout. The ―Big Four can go a long way for the upper body: a chest push, a seated / bent-over row, an overhead push, and a pull down / pull up. Throw in another pushing and pulling angle (i.e., incline press and upright row) -- or a direct triceps and biceps exercise – and it‘s still simple and time-efficient. For the legs, a multi-joint glute / quad exercise and a hamstring exercise are the bare minimum such as a squat, dead lift, or leg press and a prone / seated leg curl or stiff-leg dead lift (RDL). A second multi-joint glute / quad exercise (i.e., lunge, single-leg squat/leg press) and direct calf work can also be added provided the total workout volume is not overly taxing.

5. If in doubt, SLOW DOWN!

Lift fast or lift slow? Who is right? The optimal speed-of-exercise camps are out there, and each espouses its own recommendations. The truth is, working to achieve a maximum number of repetitions in a set is the key to achieving optimal overload, regardless of exercise speed. In both cases – moving intentionally fast and slow, significant recruitment of muscle fibers will occur if one simply attempts to achieve maximum repetitions in the set. But here‘s the key point of this issue: too fast creates too much momentum and lessens the tension on the muscles and increases the risk of muscle / joint trauma due to the excessive acceleration (and consequent deceleration). So, if in doubt, SLOW DOWN! You will not SAFELY recruit the higher threshold fiber types any better when moving a resistance fast as compared to moving it slower. Move fast outside the weight room if you‘re a an athlete practicing a sport (which by the way can result in injury, and often times does, but it is a risk you take when you play sports!).
 

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6. Use a reasonable volume of training.

As mentioned in point number 4 above, there is no need to perform a high volume of exercises per session. This holds true for exercise sets. A 1 to 3 sets / exercise protocol is within reason and should be the guiding rule to create muscle overload. It‘s effective, time-efficient, and also facilitates recovery because the body doesn't have to deal with unnecessary stress bouts and energy depletion. Similarly, very intense training sessions require a few days to fully recover from, therefore two to three sessions per week should be the limit. If more people trained harder and took an extra day of recovery between these more intense sessions, there would be more muscle visible in the world.

7. Vary the number of repetitions.

Proper strength training should involve significant resistance to recruit and fatigue targeted muscle fibers. It is not advisable to perform hundreds of repetitions in an exercise set as the resistance needed for this would be too light and inadequate for creating muscle tension and overload. Because research is mixed on the exact number of repetitions needed for specific types of development (i.e., maximum strength, quick strength [explosion], increased muscle size, and extended force output [muscular endurance]), a wide range of repetitions can be used. A reasonable range of repetitions would be from four to twenty five, used systematically to enhance muscle capacity over the course of individual training period segments and the training year.

8. Vary exercises and workout day formats.

Proper strength training can be a grind due to its stressful nature, therefore to add variety to training, rotate exercises between workouts and alter the workout day formats throughout the training year. Examples: leg presses for workout A, barbell or machine squats for workout B, and dead lifts for workout C. Wide grip pulldowns for the upper back on workout 1, chin ups on workout 2, and close grip pulldowns on workout 3. Train ten weeks doing total body on Monday, upper body on Thursday, and lower body on Friday. For the next 8 weeks, switch to a total body workout every fourth day. Bottom line: use a variety of exercises and training day formats, but maintain consistency and progression.

9. Use sensible nutritional intake.

The good ole days of recommending fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat proteins, complex carbohydrates, and adequate hydration seem to have been be lost as there are a gazillion ergogenic aids and supplements are on the market. All are purported to enhance some elusive quality, namely increased muscle mass, strength, energy and / or leanness. They cost money, but so do trips to the local supermarket to obtain regular food products which we all have to do anyway. No one wants to hear this because it‘s boring, but if a person eats sensibly – that is, eats balanced meals derived from the four food groups obtainable at the supermarket and gets enough calories to support whatever is desired (i.e., weight gain, loss, maintenance) -- that in itself should be sufficient to reach their goal.

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10. Accept your body type and genetic limitations.

Last but not least is the genetic issue. I saved this for the end purposely as it is the greatest reality check of them all: you‘re stuck with your body type and genetic endowment no matter how much you wish it could change. Forty years ago I was 5‘-9, weighed approximately 155 to 160 pounds, and could maybe do 185 pounds for 10 repetitions in the bench press before I started serious strength training. Twenty five years ago, I was 5‘-9, weighed approximately 193 to 197 pounds, and could do 225 pounds for 9 repetitions in the bench press due to hard, consistent, and progressive training. Currently, I‘m 5‘-9, weigh approximately 185 pounds, and can do 175 pounds for 10 repetitions due to the fact I‘m 60 years old and trying to hang on to continued consistent, progressive training. I hate to admit it, but I‘m on the down-side. My shoulder bone/ligament structure isn't going to change, I‘m stuck with a 5‘-9 frame, but my body composition and strength levels can vary depending on how I train. My point is you‘re not going to make any major transformations in your strength and physique once you tap into your genetic potential. The key is to accept what you have and train intelligently within its confines.