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The first rule of Manual Resistance

Rose Bowl GameMike Gittleson was the Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Michigan for 30 years and was a part of 15 Football Championships in that time. He explains that the first rule of Manual Resistance is to make sure the athletes know the rules.

In or around 1979 Dan Riley introduced Manual Resistance to America, at the National Strength Coaches convention. Dan Riley is the best. Dan was then the Head Strength Coach at Penn State University. He was was also the Head Strength Coach at the Washington Redskins, the Houston Texans, and West Point. While with the Redskins, Riley served as an integral part of three Super Bowl Champions, and four NFC Championships. While at Penn State they competed for the National Championship in the Sugar Bowl.

Dan and I went to high school together and began our lifting careers out of the same local gym.

After the National Conference I began teaching Manual Resistance to our athletes, and the kids, and high schools coaches in the midwestern United States.

I quickly learned that it wasn’t if I knew the rules of Manual Resistance training, it was if they knew the rules. Every preseason, every postseason, every winter, every post-winter, and every summer we reviewed the rules of Manual Resistance.

Manual Resistance Manual Resistance

1). Make sure you and your spotter know and understand the rules.

2). The Lifter begins each exercise with the goal of 6-8 reps. This requires pacing, in other words, the first repetition is not an all out effort. The effort must be increasing for every subsequent repetition.

2a). The Spotter should allow the lifter to perform each repetition at the same pace or speed of movement. This will require different amounts of pressure by the spotter during the rep ( because of leverage). The lifter will feel as though the resistance is similar at all joint angles (the resistance will feel smooth).

3). The lowering phase of every repetition should be slower than the raising phase. A guide in learning manual resistance is raise the involved limbs up in 1-2 seconds or at a 1-2 count and lower them in 4-5 seconds or at a 4 or 5 count.

3a). The Spotter must make sure that they feel more force by the lifter during the lowering phase of each repetition.

4). The Lifter should continually contract their target musculature during the raising phase and the lowering phase of every repetition.

4a). The Spotter must give feedback to the lifter to ensure there is always a constant contraction on every repetition performed. The spotter should identify any relaxation or loss of force by the lifter during the movement.

5). The Lifter should pause with pressure against the spotter’s resistance at the top of every movement. Pausing with pressure and no relaxation is extremely difficult.

5a). The Spotter should insure the lifter is applying force at the top of the movement. The spotter must feel if the lifter is relaxing. The spotter must ease slowly into the lowering phase of the exercise. Slowly easing into the lowering phase or decent is extremely important.

Manual Resistance

Pendulum EquipmentManual Resistance was great 30 some odd years ago. Of course technology has allowed most of us to step away from it and build great weight rooms.

The issues you must keep in mind if Manual Resistance is an integral part of your program are:

1. Make sure your athletes no the rules and are motivated to train as well as coach.

2. Make sure all clean their hands.


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