Re: Dan Riley
Ok, few more things:
I believe in muscle specificity like he talks about--but you lift weights, it makes you good at lifting weights. Moving heavy things in action gets all that connective stuff working.
This is one of the problems with lifting on machines. Muscles function in coordinated groups. If the machine stabilizes the load for you then obviously your stabilizers aren't working. We have all heard that you are only as strong as your weakest link, well if your stabilizers are weak then performance will be compromised.
Another big topic in fitness is your "core". One of the best ways to train your core is squats and deadlifts. When you have a load on your shoulders or in your hands and your legs are providing the force to lift the weight the core is very active to stabilize the body. This is definitely a functional way to train the core. The cores main role is as a stabilizer. Think about it if you are attempting to drive someone off the line and you have a weak midsection you will lose energy there and some of the force will be lost. If your core is strong and stiff then more of the force generated by the legs will be transferred to the opponent. All of this related to showing strength on the field. I would rather have an athlete deadlift 400lbs then leg press 1000. I can almost guarantee that if all else is equal my deadlifter will out perform the leg presser on the field.
I've become a big believer in things that you do that improve balance and and muscles working in sports-oriented ways. Strength in movement.
If you want to improve strength in sports oriented ways then you better teach athletes to learn to absorb force. The body cannot produce more force then it can absorb. You ever notice that most athletes get injured when they are cutting or trying to quickly change direction? It is because forces were put on the body in such a way that tissues couldn't handle it and they tear. Teaching the body to decelerate is ultra important and guess what is one of the best ways to do this - plyometrics - the same ones Riley says he isn't crazy about.
Also, lifting with a slow controlled negative is not always the best way to train. Using exercises with a fast eccentric contraction and reversal can teach the body to absorb force thus helping prevent future injuries and improve sports performsnce. Of course it goes without saying that it must be performed properly, but when done properly it can devastatingly effective. It all goes back to a couple of comments I made earlier, the forces produced on the football all have some type of time constraint, meaning that everything happens quickly, both force absorption and force production. Your body has an instant to absorb the force of an oncoming tackler, or you have a fraction of a second to generate more force then the guy across from you to knock him back. There are some things you can do in the weightroom to help with this and some of the ways athletes train can actually hinder this. From what I have seen from Rileys stuff and admittedly I haven't seen all his material he may do more of the later. However, very few athletes at the professional level need much performance enhancement, unfortunately the ones that do probably aren't getting what they need. Could you imagine how effective Darius Walker could be if he could run a 4.4 forty!