13 players were diagnosed with Rhabdomyolysis. When in the hell are these strength coaches going to get it through their heads that pulverizing kids is not only unnecessary, but plain dangerous. Iowa is shocked and said “It is strenuous. It is ambitious. The student-athletes know that,” he said. “This is an anomaly. We just haven’t seen this type of response before.” Followed by this craziness: Shane DiBona had described a workout last week on Facebook. “I had to squat 240 pounds 100 times and it was timed. I can’t walk and I fell down the stairs … lifes (sic) great,” the Register reported. Another player, freshman defensive lineman Carl Davis of Detroit, wrote Sunday that he couldn’t walk or feel his arms after performing 100 squats and 100 bench presses, and had “a whole weekend of soreness.” A third, freshman defensive back Tanner Miller of Kalona, Iowa, wrote on Tuesday that he had a “night in the hospital … couldn’t be a worse day.” More: University of Iowa doctor John Stokes, a kidney specialist who is not involved in the players’ treatment, said the common denominator is they had all participated in strenuous exercise, which commonly brings on the disorder in otherwise healthy young people. He said rhabdomyolysis is common among military recruits in boot camp and treatment usually focuses on trying to limit kidney damage.

“I’ve been at UI for 32 years and I don’t think I’ve seen 13 people get rhabdomyolysis,” he said. “It’s a fairly common diagnosis. This cluster would be unusual.”

When are these guys going to get it that this type of training is ignorant. I am a fan of hard work, but I just don’t get this stupidity that seems to run rampant in this industry.

It’s not the industry per se. It’s football.

Lyle, very true. It blows my mind. I have kids who are stronger at 17 than they are at 20 due to these great programs. It just strikes me as logical that there should be a progression in some common markers such as speed, strength, flexibility, not regression and injuries. I usually get 3 months to try to remedy all the damage inflicted during the “training process”. This is from some pretty prestigious universities as well. One of my kids told me his Ivy league S&C coach told him you can do powercleans everyday! I was like what planet does this guy live on?

Speedcoach, I seriously thought that the S&C program was way smarter than that! 100 squats and 100 bench presses, and there timed! Come on! I dont think my guys do that in 1 week! And thats lifting 3 days a week!

You can. Just ask the Bulgarians, arguably among the most succesful Olympic lifters in history.

Yes, but in the context of those programs you also have to account for the intensities and volumes used and how they are varied from day to day, as well as the fact that these are lifting specialists who are not using the weightlifting to complement other strenuous sports training.

you missed my point. I have seen little evidence of strength coaches in the USA at collegiate level show any form of restraint when it comes to loading. It is the weightlifting equivalent of doing 50x110 yard sprints after practice. It falls in the category of improper loading, improper rest, and generally poor results. Like Flash said, the Bulgarians are one sport athletes who do nothing but lift to improve…lifting. Much of their work is lower load and technique otherwise their nervous system would take a dump rather quickly. Listen, I love hard work as much as the next guy and I periodically make my guys go through some miserable shit just to test their mettle. I do not do it so that it interferes with the plan. Some of these ludicrous workout may take a month to fully recover from and just how much does it detract from the process? It’s January for heavens sake. I remember winter workouts being vomit sessions, but when you start inducing mass rhabdo, you need to rethink what you are doing. Seriously lost a ton of respect for Iowa S&C based on this pointless stupidity.

its only a matter of time before some of these crossfit programs have some problems with this as well.

Have any of these S&C coaches made even a vague attempt to explain the rationale behind their programs? And why would the head coaches allow their athletes to be trashed like that? Do they just blindly hand them over to the S&C staff without any thought as to how the workouts are supposed to integrate into the overall program? These are multimillion dollar sports programs. You would think someone is paying attention to how all the components are supposed to fit together.

I have heard of it happening.
Crossfit - like anything, can be abused or Used very well.
Like a lot of P.T.s with no experience and straight out of school, Crossfit in their hands is a disaster waiting to happen.

I haven’t heard anything specific to crossfit, but most of the cases of rhabdomyolysis that I’ve seen in the press are from personal training sessions rather than sports training. I think this results from getting carried away with the misguided notion that clients will not stick to it unless they see quick, dramatic results. S&C coaches in supposedly sophisticated sports programs should know better.

when you do your job correctly, nobody really notices. It’s called being efficient. I think some of these coaches need to put on a show to justify their salary. Barwis was making somewhere around $150K annual. When you get paid that, it’s almost as though guys start doing things just to make it more involved. I think a lot like Charlie told me, this is part art and part science. I think most of us have a grip on the science, the art is blending all the different facets of preparation while still moving performance forward. Call me simple, but I have tried every complex method around over the past 15 years and I keep coming back to the fact that simple stuff works best. It’s not rocket science. Apply stimulus, eat rest, reapply stimulus. Etc.

I’m still waiting to see Crossfit used well!

I couldn’t believe the silly stuff that people were doing in Crossfit-crazy Austin this summer. Run 400m, avoid resting. Do a bunch of crappy burpees. Repeat a bunch of times. Do a few sets of arched-back tire flips, followed by pathetic 1/4 pull-ups. Vomit. Workout over!

There’s a Crossfit gym down the street from me in Toronto, and from the sound of their workouts (overheard in the coffee shop) they don’t sound much better. I’ve never hated a workout concept so much!

Amen. Been there, done that.


In my experience, it’s the other way around! The S&C coach has to stop the head coach from trashing the athletes. Things like non stop plyos for 30 minutes, etc. Either way, it’s embarrassing as an college S&C coach to hear about stuff like this.

Oh great. If the ones who are supposed to keep things in check have no common sense themselves, imagine what insane workloads the head coaches are able to get a away with. Then combine the two. It’s a double whammy.

30 min. of plyos?!! Are you kidding me?

That’s been my experience as well. The S & C guys are frequently checking with the athletes they can trust to give them the straight scoop. They do it in order to adjust the workout if necesary due to an especially tough practice that the originally planned weight or speed session has to be altered, reduced or part of scrapped totally.

I’m currently dealing with an athlete who is injured due to the unsound training practices of the other sport coach (this is a two sport athlete though they are in their off-season) so now I need to adjust everything I’m doing to accelerate the recovery process-pulled high quad/hip flexor due no warm-up and right into sprints AS the warm-up. So I adjust everything and don’t allow the athlete to do any high intensity elements, no lower body weights other than glutes and hams (certainly no squats), sprints etc. But the other coach (in their off season) is insisting that the athlete does their full practice with plyos. As CF would say, it’s stupid beyond belief.

I’m trying to be very careful with athlete while the other coach is “toughening up” the athlete and the old classic, “getting her in shape”-in shape for what? the bench and the training room since she’ll be hurt all year.

While there are certainly bad strength coaches, many of the sports coaches are absolutely clueless when it comes to training, recovery. They want all the weight training their athletes do to be circuit style to be “more efficient with their time.” The strength coach (which I do for track along with the sport practice) insists, rightly so, that the athletes take full recoveries between speed work, weight work etc. and the training remains truly alactic anaerobic. One sport coach, said she strongly disagreed with that approach. So the strength coach asked her what would she like to see done differently, “I don’t know but not that.”

One has opened up near me i have just heard - might check it out.

I do some complex Routines with dumbbells that i have heard are similar to Crossfit - what’s different is the Rest between sessions and the duration of the Sets/session, and not letting people do it if they are not ready physically for it - form, technique, r.o.m. ect

I get Meat-head paying clients who want Results - but they assume super hard works like you listed that leave you shattered is the way to go. I spend more time Convincing these people Less is More than with anybody. Once results start to be shown, then the conversations become less and less.

it makes the univ of mich HIT program look good. I think that this is some serious negligence on the u of Iowa’s side.

Last night I was at the gym and there were 3 meat-heads who were all doing a leg day together. I had to share the squat rack with them (only one) so I counted…

They did something like 6x8 with heavy half squats, then 6x8 with heavy leg press (a seated, 45 degree inverted smith machine), then I think only 5x8 smith machine lunches - heavy weight of course, then then did supersets of quad extensions and ham curls, then I left as getting on to another leg press machine (sitting upright, push platform horizontally).