“The Legends of Strength” Follow up

First, for my regular visitors, let me apologize for not adding any updates in the last few weeks. I have been doing a bit of running around the country which included visits to Ohio, Washington D.C., New York, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey.

I was in Ohio for one reason, The “Legends of Strength” clinic, organized, and hosted by Kim Wood. This event was awesome. It started on Friday night and Kim Wood spoke about the History of Strength Training in Football. Kim is a walking encyclopedia of both football and strength and conditioning knowledge and history. We all enjoyed the evening as Kim colorfully detailed the progression of strength training in Football from the early days up to the present.

Saturday morning started out with excellent presentations from two, top NFL strength coaches Dan Riley* and Mark Asanavich. Both of these gentleman were top notch, but I must say that for me, the highlight of the entire event was hearing Mark Asanavich give his clear and concise discussion of strength training which is Prudent, Productive, Practical and Purposeful. I highly recommend that if anyone ever finds that they have an opportunity to hear Mark speak, make sure you do not miss it.

Kim Woods son, John Wood gave brief talk on developing Functional Hand strength for sports. This is a subject that John knows a lot about, having closed the Iron Mind Captains of Crush # 3 gripper, when he was just 16 years old. Former Michigan Strength coach Mike Gittleson discussed techniques for developing the muscles of the head and neck in the safest and most efficient manner possible.

Not only was this a great event with awesome presenters, everyone there was someone worth getting to know. I met Tyler Hobson, who designs the Pendulum line of strength training equipment for Rodgers Athletics. Other notable folks in attendance were Ellington Darden, Jim Flanagan, Joe Cirullo, and Roger Schwab. Rock Oliver was there from the Unversity of Kentucky. Ben Oldham, the SEC Football Game Official and Rules Committee member. Kevin Tolbert former head S&C coach at Stanford, and now assistant Strength Coach with the San Francisco 49’ers. Also there were Ted Lambrinides from ASAP , and one of my favorite guys, strength coach Tom Kelso.

I can’t possibly remember everyone (there were probably close to 200 people there) but other cool folks in attendance were: Miami University Athletic Director Brad Bates. Mike Vorkapich from Michigan State. Aaron Hillmann from Michigan. Dave Andrews from the University of Cincinnati. Scott Savor-University of Tennessee, Biko and Denny Locascio from Sports and Field in Tampa. Baltimore Ravens Strength Staff Bob Rogucki and John Dunn. Former Buckeye National Champ Strength Coach Al Johnson, Smarter Team Training’s Rob Taylor came in from Maryland. Dir of Strength Training, Brent Rogers from the College of Mt. St. Joseph. Carlo Alvarez from Cincinnati St. Xavier High School. Ted Rath Asst from the Detroit Lions. Florida Asst Scott Holshopple. Scott Hayes from Fowlersville (Michigan) H.S. Football. Mike Shibinski, Cincinnati Elder High School’s new Defensive Back Coach.

All in all this was probably the best S&C clinic I have ever attended (and I have been to plenty). It is my understanding that Kim Wood plans on making this an annual event and I can only imagine that it will just keep getting better and better as the word spreads.

If there is another one next year, I will be there for sure.



TAKU’s NOTE: Just in case there are people out there who don’t know who Dan Riley is, here is some*Dan Riley info:

  • 27 years as strength and conditioning coach in the National Football League
  • Integral part of three Super Bowl Championships and four NFC Championships
  • 5 years as strength coach at Penn State and 4 years at the United State Military Academy at West Point
  • Author of four books on strength training

“The Meeting of the Tribes”

Former NFL Strength Coach, Kim Wood, will be directing “the best football strength training clinic….EVER. The one they’ll talk about for years”.

Kim Wood was one of the first strength coaches in the National Football League. Hired by the legendary Paul Brown, Coach Wood conducted the strength training program for the Cincinnati Bengals for 28 years. Two of the teams played in the Super Bowl…competing for the NFL’s biggest prize. Kim had the opportunity to work with some of the game’s finest players. Now, he’s planning on paying forward… a strength clinic that will provide training information…real information….that coaches can truly use to improve their programs.

This first of several clinics/ seminars planned is titled:

Football Strength Clinic #1 “The Legends”

Kim Wood, who created the world reknowned Hammer Strength machines, has assembled a speakers list:

1. Dan Riley: 30 year NFL Strength Coach. Multiple Super Bowls. Washington Redskins.
2. Mike Gittleson: 30 years University of Michigan. Bo Schembechler’s first and only strength coach.
3. John Wood: combat grip strength guru.
4. Mark Asanovich 14 year NFL Strength Coach.

Along with the gentleman mentioned above, there will be many other first tier speakers!

Kim Wood says….years ago, the NSCA invited Dan Riley to speak at their national clinic in Kansas City. It was a big move for the NSCA because they were concerned about having a “high intensity” strength coach at their big clinic. Anyway, Dan gave an awesome, high energy slide show and presentation of the Penn State Strength Program. People were stunned. At the conclusion of his talk, Danny made an interesting statement. He said, “I’m here to talk about strength training. Let’s all get together tonight, roll up our sleeves and get to know each other…and talk about what we’re here for….Strength Training”. There was an ice storm roaring outside and everyone was stranded at the hotel. Space wasn’t provided there for all of the coaches….but 70-80 guys got together in an empty hallway and ‘talked training’ till after midnight. That’s where I became friends with Mike Gittleson. It was the best clinic that I’ve ever been to. The upcoming clinic in June 2011 at Cincinnati follows the spirit of what Dan Riley triggered in K.C.” ….Kim Wood


I will be attending this event and am really looking forward to having an opportunity to both learn from and to work closely with, these living legends in the S & C community. I will be reporting back soon to share all I have learned. For information on how you can attend this clinic…please contact: Kim Wood Mail: C/O Football Strength Clinic P.O. Box 20178 Cincinnati,Ohio 45220 Email: k38wood@att.net

Train hard

Following up on last weeks excellent article from Dr Ken Leistner, this week I am presenting some more words of wisdom from John Wood. If you don’t know who John Wood is, you should. He is an athlete, and author, a coach and an entrepreneur. He has some great web-sites that are definitely worth checking out (see the links at the bottom).

Train hard

By John Wood

Early on, I was taught why training the legs was important, and why I needed a stronger neck, and how grip training would make me a better athlete– all simply necessary parts of training.

It made sense then, as it does now, that when you train, you should train everything – no real secret there, with the whole “chain is only as strong as its weakest link” thing.

I also was fortunate to learn why certain machines did have a place in a training program, and what advantages they could bring.

But despite my introduction and familiarity with these “unusual” types of training, the things that have always been consistent in my training — even from the very beginning — have been Effort and common sense.

I had the know-how to make the right choices, and when I trained, I put all I had into it.  Didn’t matter if it was high reps or low reps, didn’t matter if it was machines or barbells, didn’t matter if it was body-weight
or kettlebells…

The process couldn’t be any simpler, regardless of what I was training with:

1. Train a certain way
2. Recover
3. Get Stronger
4. Repeat

In short, I just trained, and didn’t worry about what anyone thought.  The results from said training were all I needed.  When someone trains a certain way, they come back a day latter a little bit stronger what else needs to be said?

But today we have all kinds of nonsense floating around about training…

Things like:

I hear that if you do any of your sets “to failure” you’ll burn out your central nervous system.

I hear that core strength and posterior chain work is THE most important thing you could ever do.

I hear that I should be training my “white fibers” and leaving the red fibers alone.

I hear that you can make an exercise “more functional” if you do it while standing on a beach ball.

I hear high reps are bad and low reps are good.

I hear low reps are bad and high reps are good.

I hear machines are “the devil.”

I hear bicep work is “worthless.”

I hear kettlebells are the greatest thing since sliced bread… but don’t you dare try to do any of those exercises with a dumbbell…

I hear conditioning work is a one-way ticket to over-training-ville.


So, what happened to “just training?”

Seriously, what happened to doing a couple basic exercises and focusing on just getting stronger?

What happened to understanding training so YOU can make the right choices despite what any guru or message board prophet says?

What happened to being strong AND in good shape
like a real athlete?

What happened to eating real food instead of

I really don’t know —  I do know that not everybody “falls for” what’s going around these days,  but many do, maybe they will come around, although probably not…

The fact of the matter is that when you train correctly, that is to say with overload, progression and recovery etc, all that scientific mumbo-jumbo that people like to spout is taken care of.  That’s right, train progressively and you’ll hit the type II white fibers, and the Golgi tendon apparati, and even the deep core…

Meanwhile, I’ll just keep training… somehow, I keep getting stronger, I hope you do the same.

TAKU’s Note: Well…there you go. It does not get much more straight forward then that. Pick a tool, pick a workout, and train hard. Check out some of Johns web-site links below. If you drop him a line, tell him TAKU sent you.