I originally wrote this article for the Atomic Athletic Bomb Proof Bulletin January 21, 2003. It's still good stuff today.
All the best,
Steel Fitness Clinic With Dr. Ken
by Roger LaPointe
With almost 100 strength training enthusiasts in attendance, Dr. Ken Leistner started off his strength training seminar at STEEL Fitness with some demonstrations. The January 11, 2003 clinic topic was “Functional Training For Athletes”, with an emphasis on football players. Before getting started, people were already asking what we were going to cover. They played right into Dr. Ken’s hands.
Dr. Ken Leistner pressing a custom Shot Loading Globe Barbell from Atomic Athletic.
As I did a Steinborn Lift, Dr. Ken said, “Hey, Roger, that’s pretty cool. But I have never seen that move on the football field. I don’t think that’s functional.” Then he did some beautiful Atomic Ball lifts, and it was my turn. “Dr. Ken, that’s some nice stone lifting, but football players are not shaped like granite balls. I don’t really think that’s functional.” Admitting that I was also correct, Dr. Ken read several quotes from noted fitness experts, who strangely contradicted each other as to the definition of functional training. Doc delivered the final blow to the trendy buzzword when he concluded that he should probably have Atomic Athletic design a 15 pound tooth brush, so he could excel at one of his daily activities.
“Exercises that help one excel at daily activities”, is the only definition of functional training with which all the experts could agree. Clearly, functional training is a meaningless concept. So how does one gain size, get stronger and play better? No matter how you train, and a variety of exercises is best, you must work hard. If you are doing leg presses or dragging an anchor chain, neither one will do anything unless you are pushing yourself hard today and even harder tomorrow. We showed several tapes, including some of Dr. Ken’s private collection with collegiate athletes training with competitive strongman tools, standard gym equipment and even professional Basque stone lifters. The one common element was the driven psyche of each athlete as they pushed the absolute limit.
Dr. Ken drew on a vast array of knowledge, gained over 40 years in the iron game, as a coach and an athlete. His stories about past greats, and current stars, like New York Giant’s Frank Ferrara, really kept the crowd mesmerized. Dr. Ken even brought individuals out of the crowd for mini workout demonstrations. Throughout the clinic, the reporters from New York Newsday were writing furiously. Keep checking the fitness pages for the Newsday report.
I would like to thank the staff of STEEL Fitness for inviting me to speak with Dr. Ken. They have a first class facility that would be my first training choice if I lived in the area. It was also an honor for me to be on the same stage with someone who has had such an impact on the sports I love. I highly recommend going to any clinic where Dr. Ken Leistner is involved, the four and one half hours at the clinic flew by.