The other day on twitter, @Grant_Jenkins wrote an brief article summarising the responses to a question posed by the Australian Strength & Conditioning Association: "What are 3 exercises every young Strength & Conditioning Coach should learn?" I saw the responses on twitter at the time, also read Grant's article and felt compelled to write:
Hi Grant, good idea to write this article.
Just to clarify, I'm uncomfortable with the amount of bilateral exercises in the survey, but my comment was actually more in relation to most of them being bilateral through the legs, more so than the arms. The way I see it, so little human movement occurs symmetrically through the legs or arms, that I don't understand why it would be emphasised so much in training. Unless of course the intention is to move as much external load as possible, as a measure of training success. Which if so, always seems to me, to be a superficial understanding of the demands in sport/movement.
Regarding your bench press comment, I'm wondering where the return on investment is for a tennis player? I see them serving (whole body multi-planar sling with rapid ER/IR at the shoulder), volleying (positioning to the ball and trunk-arm relationship) and hitting (the body throwing the arm and racquet head). Amongst other things, I see bench press being bilateral, no trunk or hip rotation and almost no shoulder rotation, very slow speeds in relation to tennis movements, performed lying on the back, and with a decent chance of developing chronic impingement/tightness due to decent tennis players “often” having long arms and hyper-mobile shoulders. How strong does someone have to be in bench press to hit a ball skilfully and when required, powerfully, and to stay away from injury?
It feels that the “typical” thinking/education/way of seeing for “typical” S&C coaches is around fitting a pre-selected group of exercises to the sport, athlete and person.
The other observation I make is the nature of the question asked by @ASCA_Conf: "What are 3 exercises every young Strength & Conditioning Coach should learn?" Does this mean that S&C is really just about advanced weight training/lifting exercises? Or are there other aspects that are just as critical?
This isn't mean to be an attack on you of course, and I'm not trying to argue supremacy of ideas, but more just to express how I see it. Maybe the label of "Strength & Conditioning" is part of the problem in how coaches see the role of what they do.