• A Case Against Specificity - By Mike Tuchscherer (PDF)

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      Pendulums swing to and fro. That’s what pendulums do. I see another pendulum swinging lately and this one has to do with exercise specificity. Not long ago, the pendulum was as far away from specificity as it gets. Lots of lifters and popular writers talked about what assistance exercises drove their lifts the most. In powerlifting, you had guys who never actually trained the contest lifts, yet did all manner of other lifts with varying degrees of non-specificity. I’ll admit that at one time I bought into this, but I’m happy to say I was impressionable at the time and have since grown out of it.

      Contrast that with what we see growing in popularity over the last couple of years. There has been a resurgent popularity in the SAID principle (specific adaptation to imposed demands). By in large I would say this is a very good thing, but like all things it can be taken too far. Some lifters are even ahead of this current trend and train only in hyper-specific ways (for example, ONLY perform their contest lifts and perform them using extreme loads at all times). The pendulum is swinging in this direction more, so I expect this to grow even more in popularity before it stops.

      By and large, I would say this is a positive thing. The trend toward greater specificity is a very positive thing for popular programming in strength sports. By neglecting the contest lifts, the Assistance-Only group fails to adequately prepare their body for the skills they seek to perfect. But like all pendulum swings, it can be taken too far. The Ultra-Specificity group fails to address key components of development that are not addressed with hyper-specific training.

      Since specificity is growing in popularity, I won’t spend much time discussing shortcomings of the Non-Specific training style. Lots of other authors are doing that and, once again, I agree with most of what is written; some of it resoundingly so. My caution is just that some are taking it too far. Don’t be one of those categorical, either-or thinkers that jams every round method in its square categorical box. Avail yourself to the nuance of viewing this as a sliding scale. ...more
      Comments 2 Comments
      1. Klæmint Vagadal's Avatar
        Klæmint Vagadal -
        Interesting stuff, as always. But is this not the same article, he wrote for Juggernaut?
      1. adam.palmer's Avatar
        adam.palmer -
        Yes, it is. The point being that we have all this amazing media that we've converted into an editorial/article format that's easily distributable. :-D