New theories about strength training bombard us daily and it’s not always easy to separate fact from fad. Are weight training classes on the Internet as effective as traditional classes? Is it ever possible to override genetics to get the body of a movie star? Is it true that strength training has very little cardiovascular benefits? From the U.S. to Japan and Europe, there is a high demand for practical, science-based information.
Recently professionals from more than 30 countries flocked to Colorado Springs, Colorado to explore some of the most exciting new research and training techniques for improving athletic performance and fitness during the 6th International Conference for Strength Training. The Conference, the first ever of its type held in the US, was hosted by the NSCA ( and the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Participants included strength and conditioning coaches, sports scientists and fitness professionals.
The hot topics were easy to spot, crossing any cultural lines and language barriers that might have existed. For example, some men still strive for abs like a celebrity’s despite their own physiology. Can tactical strength training ever override genetics? This age-old question was reviewed from a fresh scientific perspective, and it was concluded that the benefits of a well-designed strength and conditioning program, and specific nutritional techniques, may be able to positively influence genetic attributes. However, genetics still play the greatest role in the results attained.
Another interesting discussion centered around the Internet. Can students really learn to weight train properly if they receive much of their instruction online? It was revealed that while technology can’t completely replace the benefits of having an instructor monitoring technique and progress, online learning was actually quite effective in teaching the basic skills.
Sports nutrition, particular the role of protein, is an area of never-ending controversy. How much should be consumed to build muscle? Is it best consumed before or after a training session? The surprising news that came out of the conference is that the role of nutrient timing has a much more profound effect on the accrual of lean tissue and muscle recovery than previously known.
Another enduring question is whether strength training can enhance cardiovascular health. The good news is that after reviewing the latest scientific findings, experts have concluded that strength training does help to improve resting heart rate and blood pressure, lipid (cholesterol) levels, blood pressure, peak oxygen consumption and helps to keep arterial walls pliant.
Participants also discovered the latest techniques for strength training based on the age of the athlete (ranging from children to aging individuals); and they learned new training techniques and considerations to better help those diagnosed with certain diseases including cardiovascular disease, leukemia, diabetes and breast cancer.
The participants have now returned home and will begin to funnel what they have learned to the mainstream population. From professional athletes to school-age sports participants, active people worldwide will ultimately gain from conferences such as this one.