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Once more, with power!

I started writing the "Power Line" in 1975. At the time, I worked for a man named Joe. He was, and still is, the football coach at Penn State.

I wrote my last column in 1985. At that time, I worked for another man named Joe. This Joe was the coach of the Washington Redskins; and he went on to win three Super Bowls and make the NFL Hall of Fame.

My first and last columns book-ended a meaningful era for me. It was the period in which I developed as a conditioning coach. It provided a forum for much of my conceptual thinking and, very importantly, taught me to rely upon facts and shoot straight from the hip.

Over the years 1979 to 1985, "Power Line"...

* Warned about steroids at a time it wasn't popular to speak out against them.

* Presented the high-intensity strength programs used at Penn State and with the Redskins.

* Expounded the manual-resistance concept developed at West Point and Penn State.

* Offered a way for the physical-education instructor to teach weight training in the classroom, using lesson plans and exam questions.

* Stressed the importance of prioritizing neck development and urged coaches to emphasize in-season weight training.

* Offered coaches, athletes, and teachers an opportunity to ask questions about fitness. Hundreds of questions flowed in from all over the country, and many of them were answered in the "Power Line."

Twelve years have passed since my last column.

In that time, we experienced the exhilaration of winning Super Bowls and the frustration of losing seasons.

We mourned the end of Coach Gibbs' brilliant career and experienced the excitement of a new era with Norv Turner.

We observed many changes in the area of fitness and nutrition. Fully equipped state-of-the-art facilities have sprouted up all over the country, and every high school and college has a well-designed strength and conditioning program.

Perhaps the most impressive phenomenon has been the pervasiveness of strength training. Whereas at one time only football players and wrestlers pumped iron throughout the year, we now find athletes in all sports fighting for time in overcrowded weightrooms.

And the weight room is no longer a male preserve. Most female athletes are also "steeling" the time for rigorous strength training. In fact, many companies are designing special equipment for them.

Another significant development in strength training and conditioning is that women are no longer forced to seek advice from men. The field is now full of competent female experts with the experience and technical background to organize and administer their own strength programs.

Still another universal positive in the field is that young people do not have to wait until they get to high school and college to learn about fitness, conditioning, and strength. Many, if not most, of them are growing up in fitness environments.

Their parents belong to a generation of joggers and lifters. Family health club memberships are part of the baby boomer lifestyle. Children have grown up watching their parents grunt and groan on treadmills and exercise machines.

Every community has its health club, complete with the newest and most popular equipment on the market. Certified personal trainers are available to help teach and motivate clients in the clubs or in the privacy of their home gyms.

Computer software provides up-to-date information on exercise and nutrition. We are exposed to cable TV shows, hundreds of books, and dozens of newsletters on the subject. Even equipment companies are designing better products.

Another major change since our last column is the interest in health foods and supplements. Thousands of products claim they can make you run faster and jump higher. Stricter testing has all but eliminated steroid use in the NFL and major colleges.

Bubba Tyer, head trainer for the Redskins, top-ranks the following list of modern changes in training:

* The arthroscope and other surgical procedures that allow our athletes to recover more efficiently and quickly.

* The doctors and trainers who are more knowledgeable and aggressive in rehab protocols.

* MRI's help in diagnosing all kinds of structural damage.

* The growth of rehab centers with qualified physical therapists that accelerate the healing process and the return of injured athletes.

As you old-timers have probably noticed, something new has been added to the "Power Line" - a coauthor named Jason Arapoff, my assistant with the Redskins. Jason lettered in football at Springfield College, and is a rising star in the conditioning profession. He has already helped take the Redskins program to a new level. Our goal is to help you do the same with yours.

Plug in the new "Power Line!" It will bring you a wide range of useful information on such subjects as strength, speed, nutrition, conditioning, fitness misconceptions, and training tips.

Every now and then, it will include a "quote from the locker room" - a nugget from an outstanding athlete.

And don't forget. If you have a question on fitness, strength training, or conditioning, send it right in. Note: In the interests of time, space, and practicality, please confine yourself to questions that can be answered in a few paragraphs.
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Title Annotation:strength training
Author:Arapoff, Jason
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Aug 1, 1997
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