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8/23/2014 10:31:12 PM - Matt
Mark,

I am a track and field coach for a D3 school, and a training power lifter. Am I forcing the issue by having my power athletes use different bars? For example safety squat bar or cambered bar. I know that with these younger athletes any squat is going to make them stronger. Also I only let them use the other bars if there are able to properly squat with the straight bar.

Thanks

Matt

Matt,

Thank you for the questions and it is a good one. This is the dilemma we as coaches often face, Especially being from a powerlifting background where we see so much benefit to rotating exercises.

I see both sides of this. I had a conversation with Jim Wendler and I asked him about using multiple bars. His thoughts were the same as a lot of coaches who work with beginners. Why add a specialty bar when they can't squat properly with a regular bar? This is the point you were getting at. I think at the same time different bars add a different stimulus and address weakpoints the athletes may have. Just because of my background and how I started in strength & conditioning, I like to use different bars even with beginners.

I feel you can get more benefit by reinforcing the same stance and coaching cues with different bars. It's a way to change the stimulus without changing technique.

What I am not a big fan of is using multiple stances, multiple bar placements, multiple tempos, etc. Change the bar, add bands or chains, but keep the technique basically the same.

So, if you are going to incorporate specialty bars into your program, think about these points.

1. Does using the specialty bar develop specific strength for track & field more than a straight bar? Does it correlate to number on the track and in the circle more?

2. Does using the specialty bars enhance the performance of the main movements in your program. In other words, if you are using the Barbell "back" Squat at your testing movement or you fee it has the best carryover for throwers, sprinters, jumpers, etc.; does using a specialty bar help the squat numbers.

3. Can you logistically implement specialty bars in your program? Do you have enough to have your team use them. Having one or two may not help. Even if you have a few (I know a place you can get more), then you could have them on a rotation.

Wk 1:
Throwers - SS Yoke Bar
Sprinters - Rackable Cambered bar
Jumpers and Vaulters - Straight bar

Rotate during week 2 and 3.


Basically, my opinion is that I don't think that using a straight bar is any more specific than using a specialty bar. In addition, I believe that using specialty bars in your program will increase the main movement.

Lastly, nothing teaches an athletes to stay tight in the upper back like a SS Yoke bar. Nothing helps a lifter stay tight better than a cambered bar. You get what I'm saying. You are training athletes, not powerlifters. Plus track and field is one of the easiest sports to determine if what you are doing int he weight room is correlating to success on the track or in the circle.

Matt, I hope this gave you some different insight or reinforced what you are already believed.

Please give Coach Kelton my best (we were together at Clarion) if you see him.





Go Ephs,
Mark Watts


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