Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Sled

Santa came to Soar a few days early and brought me the baddest sled known to man! Home made by my friend Travis with a steel construction beam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrtbnogs7zQ

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Run With Strength

For those of you who read my blogs/newletters on a regular basis, you already know that increasing strength will also increase your speed. But, you not only need to lift to be strong, you have to run with strength. I see nearly 40 kids per day at Soar, and lots of them make the same mistakes.

1. Lose control of their core or pillar. This is called an energy leak and basically results in them either falling down or stumbling. In order to put force in the ground, you must remain strong throughout the entire body.

2. Step instead of push. Even some of the really fast kids I train do this. Instead of pushing (putting force into the ground), they take lots of tiny steps. When they take off from a sprint start position, they just step forward with the back foot instead of pushing off the front foot. Stepping is slow, pushing is fast....end of discussion.

3. They do not finish each stride. Each stride should finish with full extension of the ankle, knee and hip. Failure to do this results in shorter strides and thus slower times.

All three of these errors are linked together. For instance, if you lose control of your core, you can't push as hard as you need to. Stepping outside your center of mass will result in folding at the core.

Bottom line, you need to train in the weight room to get strong (foundational exercises, plyometrics, sled training). Then you have to run with the strength you have built. Kids who are strong should look strong when they run.

Monday, November 22, 2010

MMA Training

This past Friday, one of my staff members, James Whiteman, was in the gym getting ready for his amateur MMA fight on Saturday December 4th. Since James does most of his strength and conditioning work on his own at his gym in Athens, he comes up to Soar on Fridays for some explosive training.

After full warm up, I had James and his partner do multi - directional single leg plyos in a ciruit format.

Box blast - 5each

rest 30 sec.

Lateral box blast 5 each

rest 30 sec

Lateral skater bound - 5 each

2 min rest and repeat

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s3jIF-DcZI


From there, we did some agility work that also involved explosive upper body MB throws. This is not something I normally do with athletes because it violates my principle of keeping drills simple. However, I like using the MB throws with agility for fighters since they are constantly moving and striking during there fights. We went with an approximate 3 to 1 work to rest ratio. The drills took about 10 sec and the rest was then 30 in between. The video clip below shows 1 set that James did. The actual workout was 4 sets in a row, then 1 :30 rest, then 4 more sets of a slightly different drill. We finished with forward and backward sled drags.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7UPFNhINyY

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Top 10 Exercise List

I hate the question...If you could only do just 1 exercise, what would it be? My answer to that question would be you are probably better off not working out.

Here is my top 10 favorite exercises for athletes in no particular order.

1. Trap Bar Dead Lift.

2. DB jump squats

3. Incline DB press

4. Vertical Chin ups or pull up variations

5. Horizontal pull ups with chains or TRX

6. 1 Leg Straight Leg Dead Lift

7. Sled pushes - or Prowler pushes

8. Single leg squats

9. Lateral single leg box jumps - to medial and lateral side of the knee

10. Prone and side bridging variaitions


These 10 exercises are not the end all be all to strength and conditioning. However, if you could only do 10 exercises in your weekly workouts, these would cover all the bases.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Equipment, Program, or Coaching

What is it that really makes an athlete stronger and faster? State of the art equipment? Expert program design? Effective coaching? If you have the budget of a division 1 university, then obviously you want it all. But, what if you are a high school basketball coach on a tight budget?

Let's address equipment first. Yes, you must have some equipment to produce speed and strength gains. Power racks, plyo boxes, sled, DBs and cable machines are all pieces that you will see at SOAR. However, if you walked in my gym for the first time, I guarantee you that the first words out of your mouth will not be "Wow, look at this beautiful facility!" In fact, its probably more like a dungeon then a palace. (For the record, it is clean and sanitary, just not pretty.)

Ask any long term client of mine how they feel about my facility and they will tell you that it doesn't matter. They are paying for my expertise and my coaching. There is no single piece of equipment that is going to make or break you as an athlete or general fitness client. In fact, I would run away from any trainer that lives and dies with one piece of equipment. Bottom line - If you are on a tight budget it would be much wiser to spend your money on good coaching instead of the newest piece of performance equipment.

Now onto program design. I spend hours per week designing programs for all my clients. As they become more advanced, that job becomes even more important. However, the best strength and power program in the world is worthless if you can't coach. You could copy all the programs in my data base, but if you don't understand human movement, it won't be the same. I see many high school programs using advanced power lifting programs to train their players. The program looks great on paper. But, if the kids are performing the lifts with poor technique and too heavy weight, the program might as well be a referral to a physical therapist.

So if I had to choose one - I would pick coaching. At SOAR, we coach.....all day long. We coach the warm-up, we coach how to jump, how to sprint, how to decelerate, how to squat, ect. Its the main reason our program is so successful for beginners and elite athletes. All clients receive a program and coaching that is tailored to their individual needs - expert coaching combined with expert program design.

In this day of age with all sorts of Internet programs, dvd's and elaborate equipment promising insane results in less then 6 weeks, the consumer needs to be wise. Will a DVD done at home really take you to the next level of athleticism if nobody is monitoring you? Can 1 piece of equipment really increase your vertical by 8 inches in 8 weeks if the seller has never seen you train before? Are you paying for a state of the art facility or the coaching that goes on inside of it?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Soar Warm Up Part 1

My client, George Bush from Strike Force MMA, performs the first part of our Warm Up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rQDeTQ5dvU

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Foam Rolling

Every client at SOAR starts their warm - up with a series of foam rolling exercises. Click the link below to see how it is done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2r9jc5pdxrU

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Single Leg Strength

Check out this video describing single leg lifts done at SOAR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vKY1pLjETE

Monday, August 2, 2010

Get Jacked Up!

One of the most popular phone calls I get from new clients go something like this "My son is a good athlete, pretty fast, he just needs to get bigger. He lifts 5 days a week at Fufu Fitness Center and hes just not gaining any weight." This is a good call to get because I know that I can help the client immediately, if they show up consistently.

This is how the progression goes:

1. We first establish the client's training age and ability. Training age is simply how many years the client has been lifting......correctly. For my kids who are under 15, their training age is automatically zero unless they prove otherwise. Kids like this are going to gain muscle simply by performing total body lifts with correct techniques. We add load as strength improves. We change programs every month and sets and reps usually range from 6 to 10. NEVER are we doing a chest day, a leg day or the worthless arm day.

2. For my clients who are in the 16 - college age and have training experience, this is when we really step it up. Depending on how many days per week the client is training, we use a combination of heavy upper body lifts, heavy lower body lifts, explosive lifts, high rep lifts and some body building exercises. This is when my job of program design really comes into play. I know when to pile it on and when to take a step back. One week we might Squat heavy, the next week we might Dead Lift heavy. Its pretty simple - Get really strong in the right exercises and eat a lot of good food. Sets and reps can vary dramatically from week to week and even day to day. This is one of the main differences between training under professional supervision and going to the gym and doing your own thing.

Here is where the average skinny person goes wrong:

1. Diet. They either don't eat enough good calories or just don't eat enough period. You must take in 500 cals more per day then you are expending to gain 1 lb. of muscle per week. For some really active 16 year olds, that could be well over 3000 cals per day. Your protein shake must have calories from carbs and fat in it. Just a protein shake will not get it done. If the protein shake you are drinking says 200 calories or less, give it to your grandma because its not going to put mass on you. The shake we use at SOAR has over 600 calories per serving - we taper the servings for smaller kids.

2. They go to the gym and do 3 sets of 10 reps on every machine for 1 body part. They do chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, shoulders on Wednesday, arms on Thursday and then probably chest again on Friday. Maybe they squeeze some leg extensions in there somewhere. This is the number one way to not get strong in the weight room. Get off the machines and pick up some free weights. Change your sets and reps by the week. Do total body lifts or a reasonable split if you are training 4x per week. There is no need to lift 5 days per week under any circumstance. Also, there is no reason to lift for more than 60 minutes. If you are spending 2 hours in the gym, you are either wasting your time or wasting someone else's time by talking too much.

3. Lack of rest. If you do not rest, your muscles will not grow. Sleep at least 7 hours per night. Take at least 1 day, preferably 2 days off from strenuous activity per week.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Speed and Agility Videos

I have had some time to shoot some video footage of our speed and agility instruction.

The first one is a multi- directional drill.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-3OTCZBBCU

This next video is a linear speed drill.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPF6GP3kbzs

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SOAR Fitness Update

The gym has been packed full of athletes since school has let out - the main reason why you have not seen any blogs lately. In fact, our morning sessions are completely full until August 1st. If you are looking to train with us, it will have to be in the evenings.

Thursday August 5th will be our first ever Female Athlete Training Clinic. There will be a tremendous amount of information provided on how to train the female athlete. I highly encourage any parent or coach of female athletes to attend - for FREE of course.

We are right in the middle of football conditioning for the guys who can make it in. My next few video blogs will be dedicated to this topic.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

THE BEST WAYS TO BE SLOW AND JUMP LOW

I spend a lot of time talking and writing about ways to improve athletic strength, speed and power, so today I figured I would do the opposite. So if you recognize some of the things on this list, then you are not getting as fast as you can possibly be.

1. Run slow. If you have read my blogs before, you know my feelings about long distance running for the speed athlete. If you goal is to be slow, keep running slow.

2. A. Don't lift legs at all.
B. Just do machine lifts for your legs like leg extensions and calf raises. Don't ever squat or lunge.
C. Do your squats and other leg lifts with bad form.
D. If you have good form on your squats and other leg lifts, keep lifting with light weight and doing sets of 8 - 12 reps. Avoid lifting heavy at all costs.

3. Do speed training every day. Don't rest between days or between sets. Keep running until you puke and run some more. If your body is tired, don't listen to it.

4. Warm up only by jogging and then sitting and stretching.

5. A.Do an internet jump training program that has a mindless amount of volume to it. Jump until your knees and shins hurt.
B. Don't do any form of plyometrics or jump training.

6. Don't stretch ever. Completely neglect your flexibility.

7. Sleep 6 hours or less per night.

8. Eat no fruits or vegetables. Eat french fries for lunch and pizza for dinner. Don't eat breakfast.

Again these are the best ways to be SLOW! Follow these simple steps and you will be slow as molasses in no time!


Keep in mind that our football guys are shifting from true speed training to specific conditioning. Although we are never running slow, their volume of running will increase dramatically in the next 6 weeks. Never confuse speed training for conditioning .

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Heavy Leg Workout

Since we are "technique guys" at SOAR, a lot of people confuse that with "we don't let guys lift heavy". That couldn't be further from the truth - if you have good technique and your training age allows you to lift heavy.

Today I had a junior linebacker in the gym who is one of the strongest high school kids I have ever seen. This is his workout.

1. After warm up - he did 3 sets of 8 multi - directional jumps over hurdles. The goal was to jump as high as possible with as little ground contact time as possible - a true plyometric.

2. Complex sets of Box squats with DB jump squats - Sets of 3 jumps squats were performed on the last 5 sets of squats.

135 - 8reps
225 - 6reps
315 - 4 reps
365 - 4 reps
385 - 4reps
405 - 4 reps
425 - 4 reps

3. Lateral squats with a 35 lb plate. 3 x 8 each leg. Lateral squatting is an often overlooked exercise for all athletes. If you play a multi - directional sport, you must lift in all planes of movement.

4. 1 Leg Straight leg Dead Lift. 3x6 We paired the first 2 sets with a single leg glute bridge for 30 seconds each leg.

5. Sled push for conditioning. He performed 8 10 yd pushes with 25 seconds rest in between.

Done. Saturday we will work on position drills and hit the upper body.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Football Conditioning Workout

Yesterday, I had a college offensive lineman and an All - State High School Defensive Lineman in the gym. I put them through a football specific conditioning workout. After full dynamic workout, this is how it went.

1.Box jumps 4x3 - 90 sec rest.

2. 3 step heavy band sequence - 2 sprints - 15 sec rest 2 shuffles right 15 sec rest 2 crossovers right 15 sec rest 2 shuffles left 15 sec rest 2 crossovers left 15 sec rest

The distance for each movement was about 3 - 4 yards. For the O Lineman, he performed a pull instead of a crossover. Each guy went through this 2 times.

3. 5 and back, 10 and back then 10 suicide. 2 times each way with 30 sec rest. This is when fatique set in.

4 minute rest

4. Heavy sled run 25 yds then backward sled drag 25yds - 2 sets per guy with 2 minutes rest in between.

4 minute rest

5. Leg curl on ball 2 x15 paired with heavy DB squat swing 2x15

Done. The workout took about 40 minutes after warm up. At no point did they run over 40yds. Each set/rep was performed at the highest intensity possible. That's training for football.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Correct Push Up Technique

It doesn' matter how many push ups you say can do if you can't do them right!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spring Basketball Training

Almost all of the high school basketball players I train also play AAU ball through the spring. Although they usually only practice 1 -2 times per week, their weekend schedule could involve as many as 5 - 7 games in a weekend. That's a ton of basketball games for a week, let alone a weekend. Now I am not going to get on my high horse and bash the AAU tournament circuit, but let's be real.....professional and college teams play 4 games per WEEK max, usually 2 -3.

Anyways, I have to be aware of how my clients feel after these weekends. If they train on Mondays, we will spend a ton of time recovering and very little time doing speed drills. Then, we primarily focus on upper body lifting. I try to keep our heavy leg day in the middle of the week to give ample time to recover until the next tournament. If we jump at all, it is low volume and usually to boxes to reduce landing impact.

Basically, its all about recovering and getting stronger. Speed and conditioning can wait until summer.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mental Toughness

A while back, I asked readers to suggest some topics for me to write about. I had a request on the great topic of mental strength or what I like to call "Mental Toughness". I actually wrote about this topic in a newsletter last year, so I decided to dig it up. Since then, I have ready many strength and conditioning books that touch on the topic. One quote that stuck out to me came from world renown trainer Alwyn Cosgrove - "Psychology trumps physiology every time." I read this in Mike Boyle's latest book - Advances in Functional Training. Mike was shocked that the college hockey team he worked with was getting stronger with a circuit model that usually does not elicit strength gains. Cosgrove's answer was simply saying that the athletes were responding to the competitive environment the circuit style of training created.

I felt this was great quote because it can work both ways. As in Boyle's case, the team was accomplishing way more than he expected because the guys were mentally tough. On the other hand, it is easy for some athletes to "psych themselves out" of performing well. I always tell my clients that I will never force them to do something I know they cannot do, but I will make them do something that they THINK they cannot do, but I KNOW they can.

I am not an expert on sports psychology, so the article below is more a description about how I feel about the subject and how mental toughness is part of our programs without the clients really knowing it.


When I watch some of the top athletes in the world such as Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant, the one thing that sticks out to me is how mentally tough they are. Even though they don't win every tournament or game, it seems like they are relentless in their pursuit of success. Kobe might miss 5 shots in a row, but he is going to keep shooting. Tiger might miss a putt or two, but when it comes to the 18th hole, you know he is going to make the putt to get into a playoff or win.

Now obviously we are not trying to turn 12 year old kids into Kobe Bryant over here at SOAR. But I see a lot of high school athletes who are very physically gifted, but lack mental toughness. Its easy for them to back out of a set of pull ups after 6 reps when I know they can get 8 or 10. When they make mistakes, they get rattled and frustrated instead of taking a deep breath and concentrating. I also see the opposite - kids who are not as physically gifted, but very successful because they will stop at nothing to get better. They make mistakes, but they don't let it get in the way of their improvement.

Working on mental toughness is an indirect part of our program. We certainly don't take time away from training to walk over hot coals. But when you have to drag a sled with 200lbs in it 40yds, there is a mental aspect to that. It would be easy to stop at the 35 yard mark when your quads are screaming and your body is telling you to stop. Or for our younger kids, its would be easy to stop a prone bridge or plank at 20 seconds when we are going for 30 seconds. Certain exercises and drills like that can help develop mental toughness in young athletes without them really knowing it.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Single Leg Box Blast

The box blast is my favorite single leg explosive exercise for many reasons. For one, the box reduces the amount of impact the jump has on the body. Since one foot will hit the box first when the body returns to the ground, it greatly reduces the impact of the landing on the knee joints. It is much easier for beginners to perform then power lunges and split squat jumps.

I also like it because my advanced athletes can perform it with weighted vests on or DB's in their hands with no problem. It also promotes the explosive push into the box that I am always trying to get my athletes to give into the floor when they run. This exercise can either be performed from a static position (pause in between jumps) or rapidly with as little time in between jumps as possible. One thing you want to look for is a strong torso. If the athlete or client folds at the center of the body when they land, that will greatly reduce the amount of force they can put into the box for the next jump.

It is not the only single leg plyometric we do, but besides box jumps, it is the one explosive exercise that all of my beginner clients can perform with ease and almost no chance of injury.




Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Basic Glute/Hamstring Exercises

This is the second part to the last blog. Here are our two basic Hip/Hamstring dominant exercises.


Basic Leg Exercises

One of the hardest things for the general fitness client to do is determine what leg exercises they should do. Let's start with what you should not do: 1. Skip legs entirely 2. Use machines such as leg extensions and leg curls. #1 is bad for obvious reasons if you are looking for a tone butt and legs. As for #2, leg extensions and leg curls are single joint exercises that only allow for movement from the knee joint and can probably do you more harm then good. Besides, you walk and run on your feet, so why train your legs in a chair.

If you are someone that experiences knee pain from squats or lunges, then chances are you are not doing them right or you need to strengthen some other areas of your body such as your glutes and hamstrings. We are going to stick with single leg exercises for now because I feel that they are the easiest to do correctly. The exercises in the videos below are basic single leg exercises that can be done with little or no equipment. Here is a sample set up for a legs in a total body workout.

Day 1 Step up 2x 8 each leg (the box in the video is 12" and a good height for beginners)
1 leg RDL (cone touch) 2x 8 each leg

Day 2 Split squat 2 x 8 each leg
Cook hip lift 2 x 8 each leg

The following week, move up to 2x 10 for each. In week 3, perform 2 x 12 each leg. After that, start to add weight or increase the height of the box for steps ups. Obviously, you know yourself better than I do, so if these exercises as shown are very easy, then you should add appropriate weight immediately. Remember, keep that heel on the ground or in the box!

Video for 1 leg RDL and Cook hip lift will be in the next blog.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Attacking Flexibility and Mobility at SOAR

Without question, the number one weakness of my clients across the board is flexibility and mobility (or lack of). According to Mike Boyle, flexibility is the range of motion around a joint and mobility is how well the joint moves. For example, holding a hamstring stretch would be flexibility and performing forward leg swings is mobility. Even if you don't completely understand the difference, please understand that both are extremely important for all athletes.

In the past, we really only focused on flexibility post workout. After much research, I have made some changes to our program both in warm - up and post workout. Here is an example of what I have done at SOAR to improve flexibility and mobility in our athletes.

1. We foam roll prior to every session to decrease muscle density. To be brief, foam rolling is basically self -massage.

2. All clients 14 and up perform some static stretching (flexibility) prior to their dynamic warm - up. Then those clients perform glute activation exercises with bands and on the floor. The glutes are probably the most important muscle in terms of speed and power and a lack of glute activation can lead to lower back pain.

3. After glute activation, clients perform mobility drills and dynamic stretching. So in the first 10 minutes of the session now, flexibility and mobility is our main focus. After dynamic stretching, clients then move into our speed drills such as skips, high knees, butt kickers, ect.

4. Beginner clients still perform our hip mobility program prior to each lifting session. Our more advanced clients still perform it at least once per week.

5. All clients have been giving a stretching sheet to do at home. Most of the reading I have done lately has told me that it is hard to improve flexibility immediately after a hard workout. So it is now on my clients to get it done at home.

6. We offer yoga class on Sundays at 4pm. Although I wish more of my athletes we in it, the class has gotten great reviews. We plan to offer another session at the end of April.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Looking for Topics

I am looking to answer any questions in regards to strength, speed and youth training. You can either post a comment to this blog or email me through our website. If I don't have the answer, I will find someone that does.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jump Training

It's the time of year that I get the same phone calls every day.......Mike....We need to get our son/daughter in a jump training program for basketball. Mike....can you put 6 inches on my vertical by next season? Mike....you focused primarily on strength last year, can we just do jump training this year?

I have said it before and I will say it again.....If you are improving your lower body strength, then you are also improving your ability to jump higher....safely. If you want to improve your jump, then you must train for strength and explosiveness. All of our programs at SOAR include a balanced combination of each. We do single leg lifts, 2 leg lifts, hamstring and glute exercises, Olympic Lifts, 1 leg jumps, 2 leg jumps, quick feet hops, skips and bounds. ALL of these help develop a well rounded explosive athlete.

Plyometrics (jump training exercises) are the most misunderstood and abused method of training for athletes. Unfortunately, if you look on the Internet, you will find all sorts of jump programs that make utterly ridiculous claims of improving your vertical by 8 inches in 8 weeks. Although I have seen that happen a few times in the last 10 years, there is no substitute for a comprehensive strength and conditioning program that uses a jump training progression in conjunction with a strength program. A proper progression of jump training involves a few weeks of box jumping to improve landing technique (see my older blog post on beginner power training). If you try to begin high intensity jump training without perfecting your landing technique, the results can be disastrous.

Jumping higher is a great goal for any athlete to have. In fact, I don't think I have trained any great athletes who don't jump high. But, please have a realistic and intelligent approach to your jump training regimen. Seek out a KNOWLEDGEABLE strength training professional in your area and you will not regret it.....and your knees will thank you later.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Baseball Speed Tip

I have seen many different ways to teach acceleration out of a base stealing stance. I am not really a "baseball guy" so I am sure that the stance can vary based on game situations. This video shows our way of turning and sprinting out of a still stance.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Proper shoes for training

Going out and buying the latest pair of "Lebrons" or "Under Armours" is obviously not going to magically transform your young athlete into a blue chip prospect. But, wearing the right kind of shoe and wearing it the right way could go a long way towards reducing the risk of serious injury. Improved footing and stability can also help with change of direction speed and overall athleticism. Here are a few tips if you are looking for new shoes to train in.

1. Kind of shoe - For the young, multi- sport athlete, I have found basketball shoes to be the best. They have great traction, ankle support and typically stay together for a while. Most kids seem to have a pair of basketball shoes anyways. For my more advanced clients, I recommend the new style training shoes that Nike and Under Armour have come out with. They are light, and have LATERAL support. Lateral support means that the side of the foot is supported by a sturdy material. They are also in the $50 - $80 range which I find reasonable these days.

The worst kind of shoe - running shoes. They are designed for running forward only, and slowly! You know you have a running shoe if the side of the foot is supported by mesh. I have actually seen kids' feet go right through the side of the shoe during multi - directional speed drills. Running shoes are great for every day activity and going out for a run, but not for high intensity training in all directions.

2. TIE YOUR SHOES EVERY TIME YOU PUT THEM ON! This one drives me nuts. If you can put your shoes on without untying them, then they can come off just as easily. Tie your shoes tight and double knot if necessary.

3. Shoe size. The unfortunate part of growing is that you grow out of your shoes and cloths. But, if you buy your shoes too big to account for growing, then the shoe is way too big initially. Here is a test......Have the athlete put the shoe on and stand up. If you can stick your entire finger between the heel and the back of the shoe all the way down to the sole, then they are too big. If the shoe is too big, then the foot slides in the shoe. Not only does this decrease the amount of force the athlete can put into the ground, it greatly increases the risk of serious ankle injury.

4. Bring your shoes to the gym in your hand or shoe bag. Basically, you training shoes should never touch the pavement, snow or grass. Use older pairs of shoes to walk outside. You will be amazed how much longer your shoes last.....and how much cleaner my floors will be in the winter!

Friday, February 5, 2010

National Signing Day


As any college football fan knows, this past Wednesday was National Signing Day for high school seniors. One of my long time clients, Alec Bartz, invited me to Orange High School to be there with him when he signed with Davidson. It was great to be there because in addition to Alec signing, two other SOAR clients were also signing. Corey Joe signed with Ashland University and Ross Smith, a client of Reggie Germany, signed with Holy Cross.

Even though signing at Davidson is not going to get the publicity that signing at Ohio State, Texas or Florida gets, it was still a very proud day for SOAR and an even prouder day for Alec's family. There are two very important lessons that can be learned from Alec's story.

1. When Alec started at SOAR in the summer of 2007, let's just keep it short and say the agility ladder was a sufficient workout for him. He was heavy on his feet, a little clumsy, and not the fastest kid I have ever seen.... As soon as his 07 season ended, Alec was right back in...for 8 months straight. He started to make great progress. He was a starter on his 08 varsity team at Orange. As soon as the 08 season ended, he was right back in. We realized his squat form was not very good and he took a step back to work on technique. Alec listened and his hard work started to pay off. He won the lineman MVP at the Schuman's Underclassman Combine. He was getting invited to college camps and then had another successful varsity season. The result was his signing on Wednesday. Three years ago, it didn't seem possible. But with consistency and dedication, it most definitely became a reality.

2. ACADEMICS. Alec is great student and to my knowledge a member of a few academic clubs at school. He is a student athlete in every way. The best way for the high school athlete who is not on the radar to get a scholarship it to have good grades.


Congratulations again to Alec, Ross and Corey.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

5 MUSTS for the Mult - Sport Athlete

This time of year at SOAR, I have a ton of athletes who are participating in winter lifting at school for football, conditioning and practicing for lacrosse or baseball, and trying to train with me. . Below are 5 MUSTS for any athlete who is training for or competing in two sports simultaneously. For the purpose of this article, I am focusing on those who play football and baseball/lacrosse. But, the information can be used for any athlete during any season.

1. Analyze your schedule. Put it on paper, preferably in a calender. This is the important information that someone like myself would need to see. What days do you lift at school? What days are lower body oriented? What days do you have lacrosse conditioning or skill practice? This information will help a good strength and conditioning coach put a weekly plan together for you. Once I see a kid's weekly training schedule, I suggest the best days for higher intensity training at SOAR. I also know what days should be recovery and flexibility oriented. Also, if you work out on your own, keep a log of your workouts.

2.Proper nutrition. Eat a good breakfast with whole grains, fruit and protein. Try to eat the healthiest lunch possible. If you are trying to gain weight, have some easy snacks in your locker such as protein bars or peanut butter crackers. If you are going from training right to another practice, then make sure you have a good small meal option (not fast food). Some athletes do well with a protein shake. Some can not handle the dairy during training. Know your budget and what you can eat. But absolutely do not try to train for 4 hours without eating since lunchtime. . Also, take a good multi- vitamin.

3. Warm - up properly - ALWAYS! If you are doing any form of high intensity practice, training or lifting, you MUST warm up. The warm up should elevate heart rate and body temperature, move all joints in dynamic range of motion, and prepare the central nervous system for full speed movement. Jogging does not accomplish this, neither does sitting down and stretching. If you are not sure how to do a dynamic warm-up, consult a professional such as myself.

4. SLEEP! At least 7 hours a night. Sleeping at study hall doesn't count.

5. Find time for yourself, family and friends. Sounds simple, but it is necessary to avoid burnout.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Football Combine - Bench Press Training

At football combines, the test for upper body strength/endurance is the Rep Maximum Test (225lb for NFL combine/pro days, 135 - 185lb for high school). There are two keys to increasing your reps for the test. You must improve max strength AND you must improve your endurance. Early in the training week we work on max strength and later in the week we do high repetition work. This is the most common set up used by the top strength coaches in the world.


Here is the heavy upper body workout done today at SOAR. This is week 2 of combine training.


Bench press - we worked up to heavy sets of 4 3 2 and 1 based on percentages of their estimated 1 rep max.


Pair 1 Incline DB press 3 x5
Half Kneeling Rotational Throw 2 x 1 0 each side

Triple set - Rear delt fly 2 x 10
Band push down - 2 x 30 sec.
DB zottman curl 2 x 15

Then the athletes performed an ab ciruit of 4 exercises.

Upper body pulling exercises were done yesterday with legs.

On Friday, the athletes will perform their first attempt at the 225 test. Then we will perform sets of max reps weighted push ups.





Tuesday, January 12, 2010

40 Yard Dash Training

The most important drill at a football combine is the 40 yard dash. In my experience, the best results I have seen have come from improving start stance and the first 10 yards of the sprint. Below is a video that shows one common error I see from a lot of football players when I first watch them run a 10 yard sprint.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

What up at SOAR for 2010

Happy New Year. Things are very busy here so I have had little time for the blog. Here are some things that will happen at SOAR in the winter of 2010.

1. Combine training for Pro Prospects has already started today 1/7. Lenny Wicks, a CB from Youngstown State is our first member of the 2010 combine class.

2. Saturday January 30th I am holding a free squat technique clinic from 12:30 to 2pm in Lewis Center. It is open to all athletes and coaches. Proper technique and progressions will be taught. Each athlete will also have their technique assessed. Call me at 614-306-9364 to reserve a spot.

3. Off - season training for all athletes has already started. Remember, if you train at school, we will design a program that complements your school one.

4. I will be at the Mintonette Volleyball Club on Sunday January 10th to do a speed and strength clinic specific for volleyball players.

Stay tuned to the blog, I will get some more video up as soon as I can.

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