Dr. Andy Galpin is a tenured professor in the Center for Sport Performance at CSU Fullerton, where he teaches classes and runs the BMEP (Biochemistry and Molecular Exercise Physiology) Lab. He won a DIII National Championship in football while earning his undergraduate degree in exercise science at Linfield College (2005). He received his master’s degree in human movement sciences from the University of Memphis (2008) and his Ph.D. in Human Bioenergetics from Ball State University (2011).
Andy is an active member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine and serves on the advisory board of many private and nonprofit companies in the area of human performance. He is the author of the best-selling book Unplugged and routinely speaks at conferences and clinics, and in podcasts, around the world. Dr. Galpin is a high-performance coach and consultant to numerous professional athletes (MMA, boxing, wrestling, BJJ, MLB, NFL, etc.).
Freelap USA: Your clever way of using an LPT for the Drive Block test is gaining some small traction with coaches who want to train offensive linemen smarter. Given the fact that most programs can’t use muscle fiber testing, do you think that down the road (in the next decade), genetics will be accessible to evaluate youth athletes, so they are properly managed over years instead of improperly trained?
Andy Galpin: No. I’m not sure we’ll ever get to this level with youth athletes. I’m not even sure we want to.
The problem is this is all founded upon several flawed assumptions. First, genetics do not often determine a single trait. More likely, at best they will predict some small percentage of the variance, leaving a landslide of other factors that should be considered when determining training approaches. Second, they won’t understand context, human desire, goals, maturity, etc. It’s simply too crude to be able to outsource to coaching.
Freelap USA: Overspeed is sometimes used in sprinting, but you did an investigation to assist hip rotation and bat speed. Given that parents are sometimes lured into gimmicks with baseball, what do you think sports coaches and families should know about rotational power in sport? Should athletes still stay with conventional training?
Andy Galpin: Yeah, we didn’t have much luck with that study. In fact, part of the reason we did it was just to see for ourselves how feasible it was or wasn’t. Turns out, it’s not. For athletes with a specific issue, I could see using the gimmicks—but for youth, stick to the basics.For athletes with a specific issue, I could see using the gimmicks—but for youth, stick to the basics, says @DrAndyGalpin. Click To Tweet
I work with an MLB all-star pitcher (Cy Young winner), and we played with the rotational tricks for almost a year. Very little luck. This offseason, we’re ditching almost all of it.
Freelap USA: While flying may be reduced in elite sport, we still see teams having to manage long travel periods in the air. Your research on blood flow was fantastic, but for those who have yet to read it, what can they do to help improve travel?
Andy Galpin: Travel gets people in a few ways. First is the change in circadian rhythms (if changing time zones). Make sure you utilize food, sleep, and bright lights appropriately before and during travel—this helps tremendously. If your travel is local, but you’ll be sitting in a car/bus for several hours, it’s very important to stimulate blood flow as much as possible during that time. Get up every hour (if on a plane) and do 50 squats, 25 push-ups, whatever.
I recommend wearing tight compression gear on as much of your body as possible. We will also use e-stim units, manual massage (i.e., just use your own hands), massage toys, and compression units (e.g., Normatec, etc.) as much as possible during the travel as well. BFR is a great little trick too. Finally, HYDRATE! Before, during, and after. You need way, way, way more water and electrolytes than you think. Way more.
Freelap USA: Years ago, you did a study comparing hex bar deadlifts to back squats for potentiation purposes. With research showing that some athletes respond well to conventional back squat exercises, do you think the hex bar is a better option entirely or just specifically better in that study?
Andy Galpin: It’s pretty hard to get me to admit that any exercise is ever “better” than another. In this case, the back squat has several benefits or special features that the hex bar DL does not. For me, it’s never about better or worse. It’s always about understanding the pros versus the cons; the strengths versus the weaknesses. I still utilize both exercises in my programming.
Freelap USA: You do a lot of education to make science more accessible to the masses. As a researcher who does deep analysis of physiology, how do you see your information helping youth sports and wellness programs in the future?
Andy Galpin: I’m not sure it will. Science is about exploring the unknown, so I make no promises of productivity.The vast majority of knowledge needed to improve the quality of youth sport training is already here…it’s simply a matter of disseminating what we have and improving its execution, says @DrAndyGalpin. Click To Tweet
As we continue drilling down on several topics, we’ll keep learning, but I believe the vast majority of knowledge needed to improve the quality of youth sport training is already here—it’s probably been around for quite some time. It’s not a matter of generating new knowledge here; it’s simply a matter of disseminating what we have and improving the quality of execution.
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