NSCA’s Coaching Podcast, Episode 91: Dr. Tim Suchomel

by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*D and Timothy Suchomel, PhD, CSCS,*D, RSCC
Coaching Podcast December 2020


Dr. Tim Suchomel, Assistant Professor at Carroll University and Wisconsin State Director for the NSCA, talks to the NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, Eric McMahon, about the emerging role of sport science in strength and conditioning. Topics under discussion include Suchomel’s growing involvement with the NSCA, as well as weightlifting derivatives and their benefits for more individualized performance adaptations.

Find Dr. Suchomel on Twitter: @DrTSuchomel or Instagram: @drtsuchomel  or NSCA Sport Science and Performance Technology Special Interest Group | Find Eric on Instagram: @ericmcmahoncscs or Twitter: @ericmcmahoncscs

Show Notes

“I think everyone's starting to realize how important it is to be well read within the literature, to be able to implement the strategies that you're researching at the same time.” 8:55

“That's fine, but the fact of the matter is that we need to realize that strength and conditioning as a whole is grey. There's not one way to do things, and there's a time and a place, essentially, for everything.” 19:47

“The hex bar jump squat's a great exercise, but I remember, it was at NSCA clinic. Someone asked me, have you compared that with jump shrug? We have now.” 40:06

“…if you're really interested in someone's work, buy them a coffee. They'll sit down and talk to you for 20, 30 minutes. But it's making those connections, and then expanding on those connections.” 51:27

“…you're going to learn a lot just having conversations with these individuals who are doing the research, who are coaching these athletes and have good ideas. Just don't turn down those opportunities.” 55:04


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING]

[00:00:00.75] Welcome to the NSCA's Coaching Podcast episode 91.

[00:00:04.59] You're going to learn a lot just having conversations with these individuals who are doing their research, who are coaching these athletes, and have good ideas. You know, just don't turn down those opportunities.

[00:00:16.90] This is the NSCA's Coaching Podcast where we talk to strength and conditioning coaches about what you really need to know, but probably didn't learn in school. There's strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.

[00:00:27.31] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon. Today our guest is Dr. Tim Suchomel, Assistant Professor at Carroll University in Wisconsin. Tim is the Wisconsin State Director for the NSCA. He is also the chair of the NSCA Sports Science and Performance Technology Special Interest Group, so we have a lot of great things to talk about today. Tim, welcome.

[00:00:50.31] Thank you for having me.

[00:00:53.07] I'm really excited to have you on. First, really, and foremost, I want to thank you. You are one of the most loyal volunteers that we have within the NSCA community. You are involved, it seems to be, in everything. You recently spoke at our Advanced Periodization Virtual Clinic. You're speaking at the upcoming Coaches Conference, and you know, I really do want to thank you for your service and dedication to the NSCA. We truly value it, and thank you so much.

[00:01:26.96] Oh, I mean, I have to thank the NSCA as well for the opportunities, because the NSCA has kind of set me up throughout my career, in terms of my very first presentation was in 2010 at a state clinic, and the CSCS came right around that time, and everything, and that kind of laid the foundation of where I wanted to go. And the NSCA has provided a lot of opportunities to meet a lot of really interesting people that I still connect with. And I enjoy going to the conferences all the time, because you get to have those higher level conversations that you don't normally get to have every day, so I enjoy it. So thanks to the NSCA, honestly.

[00:02:13.34] Awesome. I look forward to diving into the sports science SIG and some of your research topics, but I wanted to get you started. Just open up, let us know what got you into this field, and just tell us about your path in the field of strength and conditioning.

[00:02:31.85] Well, like most, it all started with playing sports when I was a kid any time I could be outside, whether it was baseball street hockey. I have an older brother, so naturally, it was-- I'm a middle child, too, so it's coming out to be competitive all the time. I used to draw pictures of me beating my brother in certain sports. So the competitive nature was there, but I was never physically the size of the big athlete. I'm 5'6" and 1/2 and I weigh maybe 70 kilos, so I'm not going to turn any heads when I'm walking down the street.

[00:03:15.29] But at that point, I started to figure out that what I need to do to be competitive with other individuals who may be more physically or genetically gifted than I am. So what that led me to was playing several sports in high school, but also going on to college and pursuing a degree in kinesiology and strength and conditioning. And I really realized that I wanted to work with athletes. I wanted to work with healthy athletes, getting them stronger, getting them faster. But then that led me to another graduate internship with Bill Evan.

[00:03:53.78] Doing some research led me to pursue a master's degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and from there I realized that I really enjoyed the research part. But at the same time, I had the opportunity to kind of work as a GA in the weight room. So from there, I realized that I enjoyed doing both. I wanted to coach, but I also enjoyed the research. So I wanted to research what I wanted, and that led me to pursuing a doctoral, or a PhD, with Mike Stone at East Tennessee State. And thankfully there I also had the opportunity to do both, because within the curriculum, you are working as a full time strength coach sports scientist with a Division I team, but at the same time you're also completing research, whether it's with the monitoring data, or additional data that you would collect there as part of your doctoral work.

[00:04:48.26] So it was a very thorough experience for me, and three years flew by. I honestly wish I may have had one more there, but that led me to teaching, and I went one year at East Stroudsburg University, and then I was fortunate enough to move back to Carroll, which is about an hour away from my hometown. So it's nice to be back in Wisconsin minus the long, long winters that we have.

[00:05:15.49] Wow, that's awesome. You know, I want to ask you about academic programs in the strength and conditioning field. And a couple of notable programs that you've experienced, Wisconsin-La Crosse, ETSU, you're at Carroll. Speak to the value of academic preparation for coaches, and also the role that research plays in strengthening the profession.

[00:05:43.46] Yeah, so the academics, just purely from a program standpoint, it's really important for me, or I enjoyed it when I was going through my master's program is-- one of the first classes we took was kind of an exercise technique and coaching class. And really what that was is, OK, here's a power clean. How you're going to teach it, and part of the curriculum was, I'm going to give you a random exercise, and I want you to take me through how you're going to coach this exercise, and then we get feedback. So I thought that was incredibly valuable, and then we were able to do that on the floor with the athletes as part of our curriculum.

[00:06:24.29] At the same time, we were exposed to exercise testing and assessment. So we would test the teams periodically, whether it was a 30 yard sprint or anything like that. You know, we were doing timing gates, we would do body composition, we would do not as much-- not as much force plate stuff at the time, but we still were doing vertical jump testing whether it was on a jump mat, drop jump testing, that type of thing. So it was interesting to see kind of the performance side as well as the assessment side when it came to developing the athletes and kind of figuring out where they were. So clearly, from that standpoint, I thought the curriculum did a really good job.

[00:07:09.24] And then the opposite side-- or not the opposite side, but the coaching side of things, when you were able to be on the floor with the strength coach was there, you would kind of see how they would operate. So you're kind of forming your coaching philosophy on the fly with the stuff you're getting in the classroom, but also the experiences you had in the weight room.

[00:07:32.55] We had Dr. Paul Comfort on the podcast, and we also had Trent Lawton out of Rowing New Zealand, and I'm wondering, is there an emerging trend for dual coach researcher roles in the field? Is that something you have seen, or do you see this as kind of just a logical extension of the strength and conditioning curriculum, and quality coaches just pursuing that terminal degree?

[00:08:05.46] I mean, I can just say yes to everything, just because that's kind of the role that I have now, doing research and coaching at the same time. But the program that I came out of at East Tennessee State, as I mentioned, that is the curriculum, is you are working on your doctoral dissertation while serving as a full time strength and conditioning coach. So in that regard, you are expected to do both, and I know what Dr. Stone will say is that a good coach is a good sports scientist, and vise versa, assuming that you have the background that you need to have.

[00:08:45.03] At the same time, is there more people that are going that route? I think there are more people going that route, primarily because I think everyone's starting to realize how important it is to be well read within the literature, to be able to implement the strategies that you're researching at the same time. To use Paul or myself as an example, if we're doing any coaching, we're implementing weightlifting derivatives. And because we're doing that research where we know what we found, but now we're going to go implement it with our teams immediately, and in the role that I am as an educator, I can share that information with our graduate students as well. And they-- our graduate students here also serve in a role where they are working as coaches, but they're also getting exposed to the research side as well.

[00:09:41.93] So I personally think it's more beneficial to be in both fields, or at least be well read in the literature, versus just shunning one side or the other side, because personally I-- there's certainly people out there that they're really good coaches-- they may not be strong researchers. But on the opposite side, there's probably really good researchers who shouldn't be in the weight room at all.

[00:10:10.90] Yeah, absolutely I think about some of the advice that I hear in the field from coaches giving advice to young, aspiring coaches, and one of the themes across the board is, go get that master's degree. It's important to get that master's degree if you want to be a head strength and conditioning coach. And one of the-- you get that graduate-level education, probably the key takeaway is that you're exposed to more research methodology, statistics, little higher analytical outlook on the field. And then the other layer of that is that all coaches, if we go into the Essentials text that needs analysis, the testing and evaluation component is always there.

[00:10:58.73] So it's something that being connected with the research process, whether it be being that researcher yourself, or networking that out and connecting with researchers in the field, there's a huge value to that. Is that something that you have done in your time at ETSU, or at Carroll, worked with local programs, other coaches? And how do you see that as a need within the field?

[00:11:31.66] We've been reaching out. So we're in the process of forming a Performance Institute here at Carroll that will primarily service our athletes-- our athletes here at the University. However, as we continue to expand, part of our charge within the Institute is coach education. So that is setting up clinics with coaches. That is going out to the community coaches-- whether it's the area high schools, or even private institutes, or even fellow colleges-- and sharing the information that we have. Because we are doing the research with the athletes we're very hands on with them-- we're taking that white box approach so we can figure out what we put in, what we get out, but then what we-- the knowledge that we gain from that is what we're looking to share.

[00:12:22.33] And to be honest, as a researcher, I probably get more research ideas being in the weight room than I do just sitting in the lab. I think that's an important piece, is that you want to be able to answer the questions that, whether it's a strength and conditioning coach or sport code actually has, which is truly the quote-unquote sports science side rather than just the exercise science side. You want to understand what makes this athlete successful, how do I train this individual athlete who is incredibly elastic compared to the one that grinds through every single rep. So really, what it does is it allows us to take the evidence that we gain-- or sorry, the knowledge that we gain, so we can effectively design programs for every athlete that we come across.

[00:13:17.14] So you mentioned Dr. Stone, and you and Dr. Stone both spoke at the Advanced Periodization Virtual Clinic just this last week. We actually pre-recorded that event, and so while I was experiencing it live, you know, you did most of your work a while back now. But you spoke on eccentric training methods, and that's a topic that comes up pretty regularly, because it connects both to the performance enhancement side of things and also the injury prevention side of things in terms of the value of eccentric strength. Speak to your work with eccentric training, and why that is such an important topic within the field.

[00:14:07.12] Yeah, I think-- so our work with eccentric training, a lot of it up to this point has been preliminary. And I say preliminary because we're finishing up other projects right now, but my understanding of the eccentric literature is the fact that we know that these methods are beneficial, but there's more work that needs to be done. So if we're talking about something like AEL and weight releasers, if we have 80% on the bar and we're having-- you know, how much weight should fall off? Does that matter based on strength level? So there's a lot of questions that we don't currently have the answer to.

[00:14:49.56] The other thing that we have to think about is we can get eccentric benefits from a spectrum of different things-- whether we're doing tempo, weight releasers, whether we're doing weightlifting movements, whether we're just landing from different jumps-- there's a spectrum out there, and we need to come to the realization that the way we train eccentrically is going to be specific, not only to the phase of training, but probably the season of training, and the strength level of the individual as well. Another thing about eccentric training is the demand that you're placing on the athlete.

[00:15:29.34] If we're talking about something like tempo training, we know that it's going to increase time under tension. Time under tension can inevitably benefit things like work capacity. Well, there's a time and a place to develop work capacity. That means that we probably shouldn't be doing tempo training all the time. Novices may benefit more from tempo training, because the other thing that it does is it may benefit something like postural strength or positional strength as they're moving through the movement. We showed some force plate data that if you're actually talking about true force output, it's really not changing all that much as your descending, depending on the speed of the tempo.

[00:16:12.99] At the same time, you think about plyometrics. Plyometrics are a unique tool that every athlete can do, whether it's a novice athlete, an advanced athlete. Something as simple as a line hop does give you an eccentric stimulus. It's going to be low level versus something like a 24-inch drop jump. Completely different. So there's a spectrum that we should be incorporating. It's really just trying to answer the question of if and when with the athletes.

[00:16:46.40] So that was your topic at the Advanced Periodization Clinic, and that's what I really liked about the event, was that every topic got so specific into individual areas that really make up this more holistic view of periodization than maybe we have viewed it in the past. What were some of your takeaways from the event? I know you were really active on social media those days, tweeting out quotes from all the presenters. What did you think?

[00:17:18.99] I thought it was a good mix of different topics, as you mentioned. So you get the really strong foundational knowledge, and I thought that was day one in a nutshell, with-- you had what I like to call the Past President's Day. It was Doc Stone, you had Greg Haff, and you had Dr. Kraemer as well. So it was interesting the way that they approached periodization, just because it was all kind of unique.

[00:17:48.36] With Doc Stone, it was kind of interesting because some of it was review from what we covered as students in his classes, but they start to put out higher level ideas that not everyone usually thinks about. So a recent paper that I know Doc was on-- I can't remember who wrote it, but I think it was Kyle Travis-- was talking about task-specific hypertrophy. And to be honest, we haven't spent a lot of time talking about that. Sometimes when you hear hypertrophy as an undergraduate, you're like, OK, the muscle grows. Well, there's more to it than that.

[00:18:29.01] Is it sarcoplasmic? Is it the actual muscle fiber, or the myofibrillar hypertrophy? We know that there's a debate in terms of whether hypertrophy is going to relate to strength or not, and it really depends. I hate to use the science answer of "it depends," but depending on what we're talking about, it does. But then you had individuals like Cal Dietz.

[00:18:55.41] Cal Dietz is putting together some different ideas of how to train your athletes. I really enjoyed Matt Wenning's talk, as well. It's that it's just not things that you necessarily think about or encounter every day. Vernon Griffith, the way that he approaches things is always unique. I love following his stuff as well, just because he always has a unique take on it. And what I think everyone needs to realize, and what I think the conference did, was that it put into perspective that there's a big, big gray area when it comes to strength and conditioning.

[00:19:34.26] Now, prioritization, you could have that debate all day long. And like life now, it doesn't matter what you talk about. There's going to be people on both sides that are going to argue their viewpoint. That's fine, but the fact of the matter is that we need to realize that strength and conditioning as a whole is grey. There's not one way to do things, and there's a time and a place, essentially, for everything.

[00:19:59.12] And really, I can speak to this from my professional baseball background, is we have to be so grounded in be applied to make the program work. And one thing I really liked about the event is it really-- it went from that past President's Day, and got more and more applied, and broadened sort of the scope of what periodization has traditionally been viewed as. I'm thinking of the charts and graphs, and the linear models.

[00:20:31.79] And one thing Andrea Hudy said and it really, really hit me was, you know, is periodization dead? And I think she said it in the context of, we've now moved, you know, undulating, nonlinear, fluid periodization. We have to be flexible and make adjustments. How does that fit within an existing model?

[00:20:51.80] But I think that also speaks to the professionalism and the development of strength and conditioning professionals. That's something that we have all had to do, to continue to expand our mind, continue to expand our thought process. And so, yeah, I really enjoyed being part of that event. I know it was exciting for the NSCA to recreate an event that maybe a lot of people don't realize first happened back in 2007, connection through UConn. We had a few speakers-- Andrea Hudy, Greg Haff, and Bill Kraemer were all presenters at that first version.

[00:21:38.33] And so it's nice to see sort of the evolution of just the way we're looking at a topic like periodization, which, like you said, is so great. Tim, I'd like to ask you about some of your other work, and I know you're presenting on this topic at the upcoming Coaches Conference on weightlifting derivatives. This is something that, when I think of the Olympic lifting integration within strength and conditioning, I go back to college football and it wasn't the pressing snatch balance in the USAW language that we learned it by.

[00:22:21.46] We learned it through this more traditional college language language-- the power shrugs, in the high pulls, and the-- So when I read your research, It kind of brings me back to that collegiate model of Olympic lifting, in a way, that really came about just in the spirit of being more applied, and being sport-specific. Talk about your work with weightlifting derivatives, and just sort of how this body of work has progressed, and what you're going to talk about at coaches.

[00:23:00.96] The project that kind of started this for me was actually during my master's thesis at UW La Crosse, which was kind of interesting in the start of it, because that wasn't the original project that I was planning on doing. So the question really was, working with Dr. Glenn Wright was, if you remove the catch phase, does that make a difference when it comes to force, velocity, power output at the basic level? And so what we ended up looking at was the differences between a hang power clean a jump shrug, and a hang high pull.

[00:23:44.88] So every single movement was performed from the exact same position with the same type of countermovement. Starting at the power position, down to the knee countermovement, transition back, and then you're moving-- you're performing a second pull, but you're performing it slightly differently. With the jump shrug, we jumped as high as possible as the bar was coming back up. High pull, we elevated to chest height. And hang power clean we pulled it, dropped under of the bar, and caught it.

[00:24:10.53] And we did this across a spectrum of loads. It was 30%, 45%, 65%, and 80% of the hang power clean 1RM. So what we ended up finding with that was that the-- both of the pulling derivatives ended up putting out a greater amount of power output, a greater velocity-- and with the jump shrug, it ended up being a higher force output, as well. And this was unique across the loading spectrum, where the greatest differences were at the lightest loads.

[00:24:44.10] Now, when you're talking about doing a hang power clean at 30% and 45%, it's really difficult to get max effort out of an individual, because if they give max effort, you know, the bar is going to loop way above their head. It's going to come crashing down on them when they rack it. So what was interesting is that the differences actually got smaller as the load got heavier, meaning if you go look at the literature, you're going to find optimal power output with something like a hang power clean between 60% and 80%, depending on who you read.

[00:25:21.21] But what was really interesting is how high the power outputs were for individuals at really light loads for something like a jump shrug and a hang high pull. Jump shrug maximized power output at 30% of 1RM. The hang high pull max power output at 45% 1RM in this study , and this kind of led us to dig into this a little bit farther, is each exercise, individually, is going to be implemented a certain way. We view something like a jump shrug as more velocity-dominant exercise. So it's on one end of that force-velocity spectrum. You can still get really high power outputs if you do heavier loads, but your technique may start to fall off a little bit. Because you have that hip hinge movement, it's difficult to jump with heavier loads.

[00:26:15.80] Just look at something like a jump squat, or even a hex bar jump. Same thing with a high, pull is that we ended up finding that despite the high power outputs with light to moderate loads, it ended up being almost essentially the same when we got to about 80%, just because that's the point that the bar for something like a high pull is not going to go as high. It's going to go to that minimal height that you need to drop under the bar to catch it. So it's difficult to produce more power output that way. So we looked at this several different ways. We looked at it at an acute standpoint, where is just instantaneous variables, and then we ended up doing time normalized over the course of the entire movement.

[00:27:04.28] And what we ended up finding with that-- and that was work with Chris Sole was the movements are essentially the same through 80% to 85% of the movement, but the last 15% to 20% was that second pull. And because you're being fully ballistic with something like a jump shrug, that's going to maximize or really push that force output, and push that power output that much higher versus the other exercise. The high pull you, don't leave the ground, but you're maximizing that pull. The hang power clean, that you're not being ballistic. Instead of jumping off the ground up, you're moving your feet to the side. And so, I would-- it is ballistic, yes, because you kind of come off the ground, but it's almost semi-ballistic, ballistic because you're not maximizing effort to jump as high as possible.

[00:27:56.00] So this kind of coincided right around the same timeline as Paul Comfort was doing some of his work on the mid-thigh pull compared to a mid-thigh power clean hang power clean, and he was showing similar results when using a single load. So now working with Paul-- it was actually at an NSCA conference that I actually had one of my posters next to his student, John McMahon, and so we started talking. I saw Paul's name was on the poster, and then I got to meet Paul, and then from there it was let's collaborate. So through, thankfully again, an NSCA grant, we were able to-- we are able to do an international collaboration and actually do a training study to see, OK, we found these acute differences. Does it matter if you do these longitudinally?

[00:28:49.05] So the first study with the NSCA grant was an eight-week study in season with a variety of athletes over in the UK. And what we ended up finding, there's two groups. One group trained with catching variations, and the other group trained with pulling variations that were biomechanically similar. So if one group did a power clean from the floor, the other group did a pull from the floor, but they did it with the exact same loads. And what came out of that study is that regardless of the variable, whether it was 1RM power clean, whether it was isometric mid-thigh pull peak force or rapid force production, countermovement jump, squat jump. There was no difference between either group, and also no practical difference if you're talking about effect sizes.

[00:29:42.63] So that being said, the conclusion of that study was can train with either. It really doesn't matter which one you train with. So we took that a step farther with doing a 10-week training study here at Carroll, and we just finished that up within the last year. The thing took three years, but we got it done. So what we did is we did something similar to Paul, is we had a we had a catch group, we had a pull group that used the exact same loads, biomechanically similar movements. But what we also did is-- the unique thing about the pulls is that, because you're not catching it, you can use loads to over 100% of 1RM, and they are going to be less taxing because you're not catching it every single time in that rack position, having to lower it down and then do another repetition.

[00:30:38.52] So we were able to use a force overload during a strength endurance phase as well as a strength phase to really emphasize the force end of that force-velocity curve. We're using loads-- with some exercises, we use 135% of their power clean, 1RM, with a mid-thigh pull. But then when we transitioned into kind of our speed, strength phase here at the end, we started to shift to more velocity-dominant exercises with the jump shrug and a high pull. But at that point, we're using loads as low as 20% or 30% of 1RM to maximize that velocity piece.

[00:31:19.56] And what we ended up finding was across the board with a 1RM hang power clean, sprint speeds at 10, 20, and 30 meters, 505 change direction, isometric mid-thigh pull peak force-- every single variable we looked at favored this overload group that was loaded specific to each phase. So the take-home was if you're going to use pulling derivatives, load them specific to each phase. Now, this the group that kind of followed them was the pull group. With certain variables, they weren't different from the catch group, but they did also show better rapid force production compared to the catch group, and part of the reason why is, is that if you think about a pull-- like a mid-thigh pull-- you can use loads up to about 140% of 1RM. At least that's what's in the literature. You could probably go heavier than that.

[00:32:20.00] But you're using sub-maximum loads at that point, because your theoretical 1RM is much, much higher than what your power clean is. So you're really emphasizing velocity and rapid force production at that point. So altogether, where we are right now is we know pulls are beneficial. We have a general idea of kind of how we can implement them with the loads, but now the question is-- that we're trying to answer now, and this is an ongoing project-- is we know that you can implement catches or pulls. Just make sure that whatever stimulus you're giving the athlete is going to-- I should say catches, pulls, or a combination of both. It doesn't have to be one or the other, just to clarify.

[00:33:13.31] Whatever you're going to implement, we just need to make sure that we are providing the stimulus that is specific to each phase. What is going to maximize the benefit that we're trying to get? So you may maximize force output or strength with pulling derivatives, because you can use heavier loads. Maybe you want a moderate-loaded pull in there to maximize rate of force development. You can certainly do that, too. But where I was going with this is that if someone is going to implement pulling derivatives only, you can do that. The hard part, though, is that you-- all the research out there has been based on the percentage of 1RM of a catching derivative.

[00:33:56.63] So what we're trying to find is different ways to implement pulling derivatives without having to do a 1RM catch. So that's kind of our venture right now, and we have about seven or eight participants that have finished the study. So we're in the process of starting to analyze that, and just to foreshadow, we plan on presenting some of that at the National Clinic, hopefully, and as well as our State Clinic in April.

[00:34:24.57] I think that, as a field, we've gotten a lot better at specific applications of the force-velocity curve in your research along with a lot of other areas-- the velocity-based training and just the amount of force plate research that's coming out all really speaks to that. But one thing I think of is that not all body types do well with Olympic lifts. It's sometimes-- we don't talk about this a lot, but the technical load of learning a movement, and the strain that adds to a team program of, you know, is it an uphill battle to teach a movement that maybe isn't ideal for that athlete? And I think one of the real positives is that this gives us more options.

[00:35:18.19] The main takeaway that I would like coaches and other researchers to get from our work is we're not trying to take away lifts from anybody. We're not saying, oh, just because you can get better velocity better power output at this specific load. We're not saying don't ever do catching, and none of our research says don't ever catch. Not to self-promote, but I put together an article in the NSCA Coach called The Gray Area, referring to implementing weightlifting derivatives. And the idea here is that, depending on what we're trying to build at the time, you can use the catch, you can use to pull. It really doesn't matter.

[00:36:04.62] Based on Paul's work and our work, in terms of the training studies, using the same loads with derivatives, you can end up with the exact same stimulus. So we're not trying to create a this side versus the other side. We're fully-- we fully agree with the fact that you can implement both catching and pulling effectively as long as it's implemented specific to what you're trying to build at the time. So we're trying to expand the coaching toolbox by adding more options, as you mentioned, versus taking things away.

[00:36:38.14] Now I really like that, and like I mentioned, it is a re-emerging area of the field. And I wanted to give you a chance because you're dialed into both the practitioner side of things and the research side of things-- you know, what do you see coming in terms of emerging topics, or valuable topics that you see taking the field forward in the next few years?

[00:37:06.95] I know that we are talking about eccentric training earlier. I would like to think that we're going to get a better grasp on that than what we currently have. I think we-- like as we mentioned, we have a general idea of what works, we just need to do a better job of figuring out when and how to implement those types of methods. Because like anything in strength and conditioning, everything works until it doesn't. So it's really just finding, again, who can benefit from these, when can they benefit from them, is it necessary to implement them, how often should we be implementing them-- do certain strength levels dictate that we should be including more of these, less of these?

[00:37:53.51] I consider certain methods of eccentric training as kind of our advanced training methods, where you may be able to use them as kind of a novel training stimulus with individuals who have gotten, relatively speaking, stronger-- they've developed that strength reserve. So kind of a segue into another thing that I think is going to be continuing on and expanding more is individualized programming. Generally speaking, I like to think that we do a decent job at individualizing training. However, I think, especially with COVID now, we've kind of fallen back to this is what I want everyone and everybody to do to make sure we develop this baseline strength, et cetera.

[00:38:44.37] But some of the work that's been done on individual kind of force-velocity profiles, I think more of that's going to be developed, figuring out how different types of methods of training are going to shift that curve one side to the other. I think-- it's a very interesting topic. I think we're still scratching the surface of it. There's a lot more work to still be done on VBT, in my opinion. We're actually using velocity-based monitors doing the project that we are with weightlifting derivatives right now, and I think developing individual exercise velocity bands is going to be something that's going to be unique.

[00:39:33.29] Placing everything kind of on a spectrum is going to be something that's going to continue, and I think it's going to open up the eyes of coaches to this smattering of exercises that we have available to us. And again, it all comes down to the tools, equipment, and athletes that we have, because-- I can't say I've been in this debate, but people really like hex bar jump squats. That's great. The hex bar jump squat's a great exercise, but I remember, it was at NSCA clinic. Someone asked me, have you compared that with jump shrug? We have now.

[00:40:17.45] One exercise is going to be more of a strength, a force-dominant exercise versus a velocity-dominant. I think, hopefully, the goal of some of my research is to, again, provide coaches with more options, just so we don't get so stuck in our silos of, these are the exercises I have, this is what I'm always going to program, and no one's going to tell me otherwise. That's why, I think, the time that we stop learning is the time we stop growing as coaches. And again, I'm not calling anybody out at all, because we all kind of have our bread and butter exercises-- there's no doubt about that. But just knowing what else is out there is going to help us grow as professionals.

[00:41:04.19] That's a great segue to talk about the NSCA Sports Science and Performance Technology Special Interest Group. Tim, you're the Chair of that special interest group, and it is connected with the new certification program that's coming out by the NSCA in 2021. The Essentials of Sport Science Textbook will launch at the end of February 2021. So there's a lot of excitement building around that program, and this the special interest group has been a great way to communicate what's coming in terms of that program. Being the Chair of that program, talk about what's going on, some of the conversations, and just share that with our listeners so that they know where to go.

[00:42:00.25] Yeah, so the Facebook page that we have has been fairly active-- some times more than others, no doubt about that, because everyone's busy, whether it's our Zoom meetings, or Skype meetings, whatever. We always seem to be in front of a computer screen, but hop on the hop on the page. I think it's a unique place to share some information. So we've seen anything from sports science clinics, in terms of advertisements. We've seen-- you know, I occasionally will put in there a topic of conversation. You know, how are people dealing with COVID, what types of technologies do you find beneficial during these times when you don't get to be face-to-face with your athletes all the time--

[00:42:43.02] You know, are there different testing methods that you're going to be using with your athletes given our current restrictions? Even something as simple as, OK, hey, we heard about this new product. Has anyone else tried it? So I think, clearly from the technology side, there's a lot of conversation. At the same time, I think the conversation of really getting down to what is sports science, who functions as a sports scientist-- and I think part of our group is very unique, because we have people from a variety of backgrounds that can actually work in kind of a sports science role. And kind of as we talked about and with the virtual exhibition hall, as we kind of talked about, is someone like a strength and conditioning coach can certainly work as a sports scientist.

[00:43:36.71] You also have people who are engineers. You have people who are in data analytics. So a variety of people can function as sports scientists, and I think our SIG is going to continue to grow and be able to share more information about that.

[00:43:53.12] Yeah. One of the take-homes is that there are different types of sports scientists that exist. And that's the current professional landscape, and just being a broad focus group. We do have a broad audience represented within that group, but I will say that it truly is a place for-- if you're involved in the NSCA community, if you're a strength and conditioning coach, it's a great place to learn what's coming, in terms of what we've talked about-- the force-velocity curve, the technology, a lot of those tech driven topics. The research has been around on some of these topic areas for a number of years, but technology has really put some of these discussions back onto the forefront, because it's much more accessible to us.

[00:44:46.39] And that is one of the themes that I see in the conversation, and it's-- and I will just do a little plug for the special interest group program. This is an underutilized resource in the NSCA community that is incredibly valuable. It is-- other than going to a live event, which we haven't had a lot of this year, it is the best way to stay connected with other professionals in the field. It's just an active, ongoing conversation in a topic area that you're interested in, and we have over 20 special interest groups. We're adding them all the time.

[00:45:28.06] And there's a pathway-- if there's another topic that you would like to start a special interest group, that is something that is available to you as well. Tim, one thing I want to ask you, and you're such an active volunteer within the NSCA community-- the State Provincial Directors Program, the special interest groups-- speak to the value of being a volunteer with the NSCA, what that's done for you. And I know you touched on that a little bit, but talk a little bit about the pathway of just getting involved, because we do get a lot of questions of how do I-- who do I reach out to, or where do I find this information. Can you share that with us?

[00:46:14.53] Yeah. So the NSCA has been an invaluable resource for me just growing as a professional. I started off-- I didn't know much about the NSCA when I was in undergrad. I kind of knew what it was a little bit, but to be honest-- that was my first organization that I became a member of. Once we find out that we kind of have a passion for strength and conditioning, you get access to all their resources, whether it's the journals, whether it's the access to the clinic materials-- but it starts to open up other opportunities. But the main thing, for me, is the people, because I've been fortunate enough to meet so many people, whether it was just from a state clinic, where I wouldn't have met them previously.

[00:47:06.00] Had the experience when I was younger to-- in 2010, I was a senior in undergrad, and I was able to present at a Wisconsin state clinic-- very first presentation I ever did-- and what that kind of grew into was meeting people like Bill Kraemer. Bill Kraemer happened to be the keynote speaker at that clinic, but also meeting people locally like Brian Edlbeck Jason Roe, and both of those individuals served as state directors for our state clinics here in Wisconsin. And now being in that role currently is that you start to develop the relationships to figure out who can speak on this topic, who can I have this conversation with.

[00:47:56.70] But going to state clinics, regional clinics, national clinics-- the national clinic was the very first one I went. It was 2012 in Providence, and the unique thing about that to me was I had no idea what a national clinic was going to be like. I had a poster to present. I didn't know a lot of people. I knew my roommate at the time, who happened to be Jason Roe. I knew a couple of people that were going to be there, but beyond that, take all opportunities that are presented to you. And what I mean by that is you can't be afraid to go up and say hello to some of these-- who we consider as kind of the big wigs.

[00:48:41.96] I remember the very first time I met at NSCA in person Paul Comfort, Andy Fry, Sophia Nimphius talking with Dr. Stone and his wife Meg-- Greg Haff, Duncan French. I mean, all of these people were all people I had met for the very first time at MDA. And everyone knows who these people are. And the best part of all of that is they, the more you get to know them, they will take the opportunity to introduce you around, and you get to know other people. I found myself at a table having sushi-- didn't think it was going to happen-- Orlando, 2015, I think it was, sitting at a table with Mike Stone, Meg Stone, Jeff McBride, Travis Triplett, Greg Haff, Erin Haff.

[00:49:34.70] Sitting at a table with those people, you start to realize how connected that group is, and how many-- I think it was a while back when Greg Haff was President-- not a while back, but several years ago-- where he asked, how many of you were taught by Mike Stone? How many of you were taught by Bill Kraemer? And essentially the entire room was standing up. So getting to know these people and their networks, and getting involved in those networks, is such a rewarding experience, because once you know one person, you know another 20 people.

[00:50:10.31] And then the benefits of that is [AUDIO DROP] start to seek you out for-- whether it's speaking engagements, whether it is getting involved in this SIG. Eric, you went ahead and reached out to me to have kind of a conversation first about this SIG getting together, and kind of the sports science certification, and I'm incredibly thankful for [AUDIO DROP]. But my advice to people wanting to get involved with the NSCA is seize all opportunities, because there's plenty out there that are available. I tried to get on the research committee for four years, four or five years, and this was finally the year. So it's good to be able to serve in that capacity now, and what we all try to do is we try to pay it forward.

[00:51:01.50] Getting to know people like Jay Dawes and Nick Ratamess as well is-- all these people, they're all there to help you succeed. And no-one that I have met seems to be overly selfish. You know, we all have our things to do, so if someone is fully ingrained in their work on their computer, you don't have to go up and bug them. But maybe offer to buy-- if you're really interested in someone's work, buy them a coffee. They'll sit down and talk to you for 20, 30 minutes. But it's making those connections, and then expanding on those connections.

[00:51:38.88] I will say, just purely from the social media standpoint, I have met more people over Twitter and Instagram-- but then meeting them in person is just that much more rewarding. It's you have the conversation-- oh yeah, I'm going to be at this clinic. I'll catch up with you later. And that's kind of been how I got to know people like Rhodri Lloyd, and John McMahon. So I hate to name drop and everything, but this is my experience, and these are all people that I've been fortunate enough to get to know and continue to work with.

[00:52:15.60] Social media is definitely the new icebreaker, in a way, and one thing--

[00:52:22.59] Especially now.

[00:52:23.97] Yeah. Even just this podcast going virtual for the first time this year allowed us to have international guests that weren't at our live events. So yeah, I mean, it's kind of interesting when we talk about the performance technology within the special interest group. And you know, it all kind of comes back to communication tools, and that's truly what-- whether it's performance technology, or how we're connecting with our athletes verbally, sending them programs-- technology is largely based on the need for communication.

[00:53:06.60] And one thing that really comes to mind is, from my experience and what you just said is, NSCA events are largely about that connection element. And I think that is something that, in our conversations about future events, we all see the value of the research, and in the quality education content, and that's what we go there for. But when you get there, there's just there's such a large group of like-minded individuals that just have so many experiences to share.

[00:53:45.02] And so with that, I truly miss the live events, and I'm kind of digging myself into that rabbit hole a little bit of thinking, man, when are we going to get back to normal? But even if this time lasts for a while, I have really enjoyed just being able to connect virtually with people as well, and I think it challenges us to be a little bit more deliberate and tactful with the way we communicate. And getting face-to-face interaction, even if that is over a screen, and just how valuable that has been through 2020.

[00:54:25.69] I will tell people as well with national clinics, having been to a handful of them, the very first one I went to, my schedule was booked. 8:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 10 AM-- I'm going to every single talk. But what you're going to find the more that you end up going to those is that you're going to go to the talks that you're really interested in. It's not to say that you don't have some interest in others, but take the time to make the connections outside of those talks, because that's what's going to be-- sometimes you end up learning more outside of the talks-- don't get me wrong. You learn a lot inside the talks, too, but you're going to learn a lot just having conversations with these individuals who are doing the research, who are coaching these athletes and have good ideas. Just don't turn down those opportunities.

[00:55:19.69] Well, and there's a lot of follow up, too, on those interactions, and that's one of the huge takeaways, is you're going to stay in touch with those coaches, researchers, individuals, and they're going to stay in touch with you. And it really just builds a stronger strength and conditioning community. So Tim, I really appreciate you being on the podcast today. Learned a lot about kind of your research focus and some of the upcoming talks you had. Really excited that you were a part of the Advanced Periodization Clinic we just had. Truly a huge success for the NSCA and everybody who attended.

[00:56:00.40] Almost 1,500 attendees at that event, which is just a huge accomplishment considering the NSCA had never really done a lot of virtual events before the last couple of years. So really, really exciting on our end, and I know the coaches that have shared with us their feedback, it's been very positive. So I'm excited that that's the direction we're headed with things. Very thankful for your contributions as a volunteer, as a member as a coach, as a researcher, and I-- just to give you the opportunity, how can our listeners get in contact with you?

[00:56:35.86] Yeah, social media, on Twitter probably more than anything. Twitter and Instagram handle is @DrTSuchomel, and then on my Twitter I also have a link to my ResearchGate page, and the ResearchGate has, generally speaking, full texts of all of our research that's out there. Again, if someone reaches out to me, I'd try and get back to you. And generally speaking, I get back to back to everybody. But, @DrTSuchomel for Twitter and Instagram generally.

[00:57:12.58] Dr. Tim Suchomel, Assistant Professor, Carroll University. He's the Wisconsin State Director for the NSCA and the chair of the NSCA Sports Science and Performance Technology Special Interest Group. Tim, thanks for being on, and we'd also like to thank Sorinex Exercise Equipment, our sponsor on this podcast.

[00:57:33.97] And if you're engaged on social media, a lot like me, you'll also need to check out NSCA's Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And to all of you listening, we appreciate your support. Again, if you like the podcast, make sure you subscribe wherever you download your podcasts from, write us a review, and keep listening in. Thank you, and I look forward to talking with you all soon.

[00:57:51.74] This was the NSCA's Coaching Podcast. The National Strength and Conditioning Association was founded in 1978 by strength and conditioning coaches to share information, resources, and help advance the profession. Serving coaches for over 40 years, the NSCA is the trusted source for strength and conditioning professionals. Be sure to join us next time.

[00:58:10.18] [MUSIC PLAYING]

Reporting Errors: To report errors in a podcast episode requiring correction or clarification, email the editor at publications@nsca.com or write to NSCA, attn: Publications Dept., 1885 Bob Johnson Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80906. Your letter should be clearly marked as a letter of complaint. Please (a) identify in writing the precise factual errors in the published podcast episode (every false, factual assertion allegedly contained therein), (b) explain with specificity what the true facts are, and (c) include your full name and contact information.

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Eric L. McMahon, MEd, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D, RSCC*E

NSCA Headquarters

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Eric McMahon is the Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager at the NSCA Headquarters in Colorado Springs. He joined the NSCA Staff in 2020 with ove ...

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Timothy Suchomel, PhD, CSCS,*D, RSCC*D

East Tennessee State University

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Dr. Tim Suchomel is an associate professor of exercise science and the program director for the Sport Physiology and Performance Coaching graduate pro ...

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