Young Athletes: When is it Time to Start Specializing Your Training?

When making a decision on when to begin specializing a young athlete’s training regimine, consider a few things:

Most research on the subject has shown that;

1)Early specialization leads to rapid improvement, with performance peaks at age 15 or 16

2)Early specialization tends to lead to inconsistent athletic performance

3) Early specialization leads to burnout often by the age of 18

4)Early specialization often leads to injury because of rapid improvement without physical readiness (immature physique)

In contrast, what is termed “multilateral development” (Bompa, Periodization) or training involving no set skill or specialization, but  general athletic improvement through a variety of modalities and training methods, leads to:

1)Slower improvement, but peaks in athletic performance past the age of 18 when the athlete is physiologically ready for the adaptations

2)Consistent and progressive improvements in performance

3)A longer athletic career

4)Fewer injuries due to progress when the athlete is physiologically and psychologically mature

In summation, don’t rush specialization in the training program of a young athlete.  Focus on refining a variety of basic human movement patterns and generalizing the training program to improve in a wide scope of athletic movement.  Most successful college and professional athletes peak at the right time due to a background in training which involves a variety of sports and training methods as opposed to specializing in only one athletic endeavor at an early age.

For more information on athletic performance enhancement, contact Emerge Fitness Training and speak to one of the many certified strength and conditioning specialists.

Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Lacrosse Takes Over North America

Check out Emrge’s fall article in the St. Louis Sport Magazine written by Aaron Randolph by clicking the below picture.


Over the past two decades, lacrosse has become the fastest growing sport in North America, with staggering growth at the youth level. As a result of that growth, there is a growing need within the field of strength and conditioning to understand the physical requirements of the sport and the proper techniques used to enhance performance.
Where most coaches go wrong in sports like basketball, soccer and lacrosse is to think that because the athletes may be moving around for longer periods of time versus baseball or football, this must mean the athletes need to have a great deal of aerobic endurance. This is absolutely not the case; sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and lacrosse are dominated by anaerobic power, meaning the athletes perform work in short segments of time at maximal or near maximal effort with approximately one or two times the rest at moderate to low intensities.
Typically, we see lacrosse athletes performing more than 100 work repetitions per game, lasting primarily between five and 30 seconds in duration with up to a minute rest between each repetition. With this in mind, coaches would be much better off utilizing sprint intervals, fartlek training or “gasser” type conditioning versus long slow distance. Aerobic training at longer distances and slower speed will only make your athletes slower. The key is to get the lacrosse player to utilize speed and quickness in a repetitive manner by allowing for sufficient rest between intervals so that each effort is at or near maximal intensity because this is similar to what they do during the game.
Additionally, lacrosse is highly dependent on athletes’ ability to create space, thus the ability to accelerate and decelerate trumps maximal speed more often than not. This simply means that it might be a good idea for a coach to spend more time working on acceleration drills such as a one knee start, falling start or even single leg plyometrics versus longer maximal attainment sprints like wind sprints or flying start sprints.
In addition to acceleration and deceleration focused drills, coaches might want to consider their athletes’ strength-to-mass ratio in determining acceleration or deceleration ability. Instead of being concerned with how much he or she can squat, be more concerned about how much he or she can squat when compared to his or her body weight. For example, take a one repetition maximum for the squat and divide it by their body weight. Anywhere below a 1.5 is suboptimal and anywhere above a 1.5 is sufficient. The higher the ratio, the better the athlete will be able to start, stop and move their body around the field.
Lastly, one would also want to consider utilizing a high degree of rotational power training. Trunk rotation around the spine is crucial for the athlete’s ability to manipulate the lacrosse stick while passing and shooting. Rotational power output can be increased essentially in two ways: developing a stronger core and a faster rotation. A coach, for example, would not only want to do heavy medicine ball training but also light and quick medicine ball training to maximize trunk rotation velocity.
When it comes to strength and conditioning, there are many avenues of investigation a professional can and should look into. For now, we have uncovered three of the main factors that need to be considered for training for lacrosse; the sport is highly anaerobic, creating space is the key to success for offenders and closing space is the key for defenders and when it comes to core training, focus on the rotational aspect. Keeping these ideas in mind will surely give the lacrosse athlete a heightened potential for success and performance.

For more information on performance specific workouts, go to

True Cost of Inactivity

True Cost Of Inactivity





Long Term Health Risks

Long Term

Cost Risk

Long Term Health Benefits

Long Term

Cost Benefit

Increased Risk For Developing A Chronic Disease: Chronic Diseases Account for 76% of total healthcare costs in the U.S.

+$330 in medical costs per year compared to active adults

Improves your chances of living longer and at a higher quality of living. Reduced risk of developing a chronic disease

Spend less in total annual medical costs by $330 annually

23% of all Deaths are associated with chronic diseases

+$1200 More to treat an obese adult for the same condition as healthy adult

Decrease Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, Coronary Artery Disease

Spend less on procedures or conditions by $1200 annually

Increase Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, Coronary Artery Disease

+$3074 in extra annual costs to treat your chronic disease

Decrease Risk of Cardio Pulmonary Disease

Increased productivity at work

Increase Risk of Cardio Pulmonary Disease

+$4672 in extra annual costs to treat two chronic diseases

Decreased Risk of Developing Diabetes

Less time off from sick days

Increased Risk of Developing Diabetes

More sick days per year versus active adults

Decrease Risk of Cancer

Aid the reduction of medical costs in the U.S.

Increase Risk of Cancer

$163 billion lost in the economy as a result of obese and sedentary adults

Decreased Risk of Bone Mineral Density Loss

Limit costs and associated with chronic disease

Increased Risk of Bone Mineral Density Loss

Cardiovascular Disease Costs the US $298.2 Billion/year

Increased Strength

Reduced cost toward prescription medications

Decreased Strength

Type 2 Diabetes costs the US $98 Billion/year

Increased Energy Levels

Limit chance and cost associated with acute injuries

Decreased Energy Levels


Increased Functional Mobility

Decreased Functional Mobility

Decreased Risk For Falls

Increased Risk For Falls

Decreased Risk of Injury and Broken Bones

Increased Risk of Injury and Broken Bones

Improved Mood

Improved Self Esteem


Increased Brain Function

Build and Reinforce BONE Through Resistance Training

Click on the image for a squat demonstration with Dianne Garrison (Emerge client with a bone formation goal)

Of the many positive benefits of resistance training exercise, perhaps the least heralded is weight training’s potential ability to build and reinforce bone. Almost everyone understands by now the strength enhancing, metabolism boosting effects of a resistance training program, but most don’t know (or simply under utilize) the potential bone strengthening benefits. Resistance training can help build and reinforce bone in two basic ways: 1) by loading the body axially, pressure is applied to bones that literally cause them to bend at their weakest points. Simply stated, these weak points are recognized by the body and the bone is reinforced by bone mineralization at that weak point. Axially loading is loading the body through the spine, using multiple joint exercises like the squat, power clean, and deadlift. 2) By gaining strength and adding size to muscle fiber, you are increasing the force exerted on your bones. A bone has to increase its mass and strength to deal with this new force. Bone mineral density is then increased in that specific area (corresponding with the muscle being worked).

Some points to remember when exercising specifically to increase bone formation are to;

1) Vary the exercises regularly, using a variety of different joint angles

2) In general, use compound exercises like the deadlift versus single joint exercises like the biceps curl.

3) Use progressively resistance, continue to increase the resistance when you are able.


For more information on this fitness goal or any other fitness goal, contact any trainer at Emerge.

Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Emerge Olympics 2012


We’re nearly half way into the Olympics, and Emerge is addicted to watching everything.  All three of our tv’s are on various channels to catch all of the events throughout the day. In fact, we are going one step further, and Kimberly has come up with “Emerge Olympics”- Boot Camp, Monday, August 6th.  Each class will be set  up with the typical 10-11 station format, however, each will represent an Olympic event (rowing, swimming, volleyball, etc).  Class size is limited to 11 a class, so spots are filling up fast! The 6:30 class is open for anyone who would like to participate!  Boot Camps are $11.  For more information to sign up, either comment on Facebook or email Kimberly at


EMERGE Fitness Training's Annual BBQ

Calling All EMERGE Clients!!!

We are pleased to have you as one of our clients and we would like to show you our appreciation and gratitude for giving us the opportunity to serve your health, wellness, and sport needs. Join us on August 11th, 2012 from 12pm to 5pm at  Wapelhorst Park 1874 Muegge Road  St. Charles, MO 63301 for our Annual BBQ!!

Please RSVP at the front desk next to the sign-in sheets or email us your RSVP at


Food Will Be Catered By Valenti’s Meat Market and Deli

Youth & Adult Beverages Will Be Provided

BYOB If You Have a Particular Taste Outside Standard Beer, Soda, or Water.

Music and Family Friendly Entertainment Will Also Be Provided

Round Robin Washers Tournament

Winning Team Receives 2 Free Sessions Per Player and the washers set.

Sign Up For Washers By Listing Your Team Name and Player Names When You RSVP

Socialize Playing Bags, Lawn Golf, and Frisbee While The Children Enjoy a

Bounce House, Snow Cones, Ice Cream Truck, and Balloon Artist

Let Emerge Show You How Much We Appreciate You As A Valued Client!!

New USA Weightlifting (Olympic Lifting) Services

USA Weightlifting, also known as Olympic Lifting consists of the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch. These two movements represent an essential training component applicable to all individual and team based sports. Interested in learning more about these two lifts and how they can enhance you performance, check out Emerge Fitness’s new USA Weightlifting Camps and One-on-One training at

Emerge Fitness Training Boot Camp Challenge

Earn your shirt!

Beginning Monday, July 2nd, Emerge Fitness will begin it’s first “Boot Camp Challenge”.  Every client who completes 20 classes between July 2nd and December 31st* will receive their own Emerge Fitness Boot Camp shirt. All regular boot camp classes count towards your total, which means you can earn 1,2,3,4, or even 5 days towards your 20 per week!

If you are currently a regular at any of the boot camp classes, you are already registered, however if you want to begin, just sign up with any boot camp instructors or with Ben at the front desk.

Shirts will be available in men and women sizes.  These shirts will not be available for purchase, you can only earn one!


View the design:  Emerge Fitness Boot Camp Challenge Shirt – Scroll down to see front and back. (Black Shirts with white print)


* “Get Fit for Fido” charity boot camp does not count towards the 20 classes.


Make Sure You Know Your "Box" Before Thinking Outside of It

Make sure you know your box before thinking outside of it.

I recently read a blog by a very successful strength coach in Boston named Mike Boyle. He made a statement in that blog that most are conditioned to immediately act negatively to. He said, about thinking outside the box, that “there is a reason there is a box.” His implication that he made very clear in the rest of the blog post is that the box created a boundary that you want to consider before stepping over. “Thunking outside the box” had been a saying universally championed in almost all facets of life. It sounds good and implies creative thinking. Fair enough. The problem comes from thinking outside an area that most people don’t understand in the first place. In other words, thinking outside a box when you don’t even understand the basics of that box. In fitness, and in personal training  , this can be a relevant  idea. The box is there for a reason.

The box contains the fundamentals that must be MASTERED before exploring outside into unchartered territory. For many, the time it takes to master these sometimes very complicated fundamentals is not appealing.  Some opt for the newest, seemingly innovative training ideas without regard to the “why am I doing this?” question crossing there mind. Thinking creatively and developing innovative training techniques is a great thing, but make sure that the base in which these new ideas are stemming from is strong.

Trainers and trainees, UNDERSTAND THE BOX, however small it may seem, before blindly venturing out of it.
Matthew Pirtle, MA, CSCS