Evolution of Strength Training – A Personal Perspective – 51 Years of Experiences (Part Six)


In the last twenty years as have had the opportunity to work with a variety of sports and I was exposed to many theories and methods, but basically I found that at the end of the day it all came back to executing the basics of sound training principles consistently. It is so easy and somewhat trendy to copy the latest and greatest strength-training program of a great team or athlete, the monkey see, monkey do syndrome. If it is good for them and they just won the national championship then it is good for us. There is a prevalent attitude that the greatest testament for a piece of equipment or a particular training method is the affirmation of winning. What I have seen through my experience is that success is often achieved in spite of, not because of the training and that superior talent and genetics sometimes prevail. A good sound training program is not based on equipment or personalities, but on sound scientific training principles. We need to consider what is really high tech? I got a call recently from a friend who had just visited a new training facility, he could not wait to call me and tell me about the “high tech” facility he had just visited. They had a machine for everything. Everything was connected to a computer. What is more high tech- the machine or the body? I have come to the realization that the body is the ultimate high tech machine. The farther away we get from the body the less specific the training.

Where are we going? What have we learned? The key is the nervous system. That is what Sam Cunningham was trying to tell me in my first year of coaching. Just because he could not lift more weight that is not what is most important. It is how you can recruit and fire the muscles in a coordinated pattern that is most important. Strength training is about neural drive; it is training the command and control system. That is why it is so important to train movements not muscles! This is where we have to go in order to progress to do a better job of integrating strength training, making it specific in order to develop athleticism.

Next post I will summarize with conclusions, lessons learned and what to look for in the future.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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