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A Heck of A Strength Coach With a Great Message

The strength coach I am referring to is Dr. Ken. For those who don't know him, Dr. Ken (Leistner) has been a staple of the iron game for many, many years. His articles can typically be found in Ironmind's MILO Strength Training Journal. These articles preach hard work over anything else. No fancy training programs, no crazy bells and whistles. Pretty much get in the gym, squat and bust your butt.

I don't know Dr. Ken. I've never met him, and I have never talked to him on the phone. I do have a friend who frequently trains at Dr. Ken's garage and used to lift on a powerlifting team that Dr. Ken ran. Today I was talking to this friend, and I asked him what their programs were like when preparing for a meet. He told me that Dr. Ken would have them doing 20-rep sets of squats usually. For those not familiar, Dr. Ken is a big advocate of 20-rep sets of breathing squats – one all out set to failure. He said they would do that, and then about 5 or 6 weeks out they would get ready for the meet by hitting sets of 8's, 5's and triples.

While the approach is interesting, the thing that I took away most from this conversation was the message that Dr. Ken gave his athletes. My friend told me that they would train twice a week with Dr. Ken. During those two training sessions they would do their heavy lifting and their 20-rep sets of squats. Dr. Ken would tell them that the rest of the week, they better do some light lifting or some cardio to stay in shape. He told them that the 20 rep squats were important to keep their conditioning up. His message was "If you train with me, you train for overall health. Not just for a powerlifting meet." Great message, no? Go ahead, read it again "If you train with me, you train for overall health. Not just for a powerlifting meet."

I have read a lot of Dr. Ken's articles. I may not always agree on some of the training concepts. While I don't usually have athletes squat for all out 20-rep sets, it seems to be working for Dr. Ken, as he has trained several college and professional football players. He gets great results with his methods and that is the important thing. Whether I agree 100% or not, it doesn't matter. What matters is that what he is doing is working. I agree with him on working hard during your sets. I agree with him on developing a level of conditioning and pushing yourself. And more importantly, I agree with him on the overall message....Overall health is more important than athletic performance.

When you train; train with a purpose!