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).

UM went from having HIT from 1979 until 07 with Gittleson then a non HIT program with Barwis (though his program was certainly not without issues as has been documented frequently on this site) and now they go back to a Ken Mannie version of HIT with the new guy (Aaron Wellman) having been at MSU in the early part of the last decade.

UM moves back to the HIT dark ages-unbelievable.

This kind of thing has been happening in CrossFit for years. Here’s an article in the NY Times from 2005.

Mr. Anderson, a 38-year-old member of the special weapons and tactics team in the sheriff’s office in Tacoma, Wash., left the gym with his muscles sapped and back pain so excruciating that he had to lie in the driveway to collect himself.

That night he went to the emergency room, where doctors told him he had rhabdomyolysis, which is caused when muscle fiber breaks down and is released into the bloodstream, poisoning the kidneys. He spent six days in intensive care.

Yet six months later Mr. Anderson, a former Army Ranger, was back in the gym, performing the very exercises that nearly killed him. “I see pushing my body to the point where the muscles destroy themselves as a huge benefit of CrossFit,” he said.

CrossFit’s other mascot is Uncle Rhabdo, another clown, whose kidneys have spilled onto the floor presumably due to rhabdomyolysis.


You would think that if the goal is increased strength the S&C coaches would look at the sports that specialize in strength (i.e. Olympic lifting, power lifting, strongmen, gymnasts) to see how those athletes train and then adapt it to supplement other sports.

Imagine trying to convince power lifters and Olympic lifters to adopt HIT or the UI type training protocols. I can hear the laughter already. Start with the people who actually specialize in how to build strength and then go from there.

the problem with many strength coaches is that they are often former athletes. This is by no means problematic in itself, but there tends to be a culture of “my coach did this so I do this” attitude. They tend to not learn outside of their narrow paradigm. I was lucky enough to have been in school when S&C was just beginning to become more prominent. There is no excuse for this antiquated methodology. I deal with a program where the coaches trash the hell out of athletes all the time. I could hang the guy on his own words. For one season I wrote and directed every speed and strength workout and the coach was quaoted in the paper as saying it was the “strongest and fastest team” he had ever had there. Guess what, I never did the crazy conditioning. The following, they adopted the Barwis methodology and I said sayonara. Not interested in wrecking kids. Just plain stupid.

The parent said that one player was told he had sustained “20 to 30 percent loss of kidney function and that the damage may or may not be repaired.”


I will be surprised if someone doesn’t get fired and/or sued.

I can’t wait for the new NCAA rules that will stem from the stupidity exercised in this case.

have to hear “we failed too many times and now we are going to find out who wants to be here” drivel one more time, I am going to hang myself. When in the hell did football become bootcamp and not about performance. You don’t treat Ferraris like Hummers. Why is it that NFL teams S&C is much less rigorous than college when the NFL game is much more rigorous? I hope that some of these idiots learn something from this situation. I have a gut feeling that there is going to be some massive fallout and some major changes pusuant to this.