Friday, January 28, 2011

40 yard dash prep

Here is 2 video clips of Ricky Crawford performing drills from our 40 yard dash training day.

Single leg box jumps were performed immediately after warm ups before 10 yard start work.

We finished the day with heavy sled marches.

Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 Point of Emphasis #5

Consistency is Key

I have noticed a lot of my clients are making a solid attempt to get to the Soar at least 1x per week during their winter season. It makes a huge difference in maintaining the strength and power they built during the summer and fall months. Remember, it only takes 1 month of no training for your body to start de-training - getting weaker! So let's say a basketball player trains 2 - 3x per week from August to November but didn't touch a weight from December to March. Do you think this player is still strong in March? Don't you want to be your strongest for the tournaments?

Another point I want to make is that going to Soar is not something you just decide to do every now and then when you don't have anything else to do. One session every two weeks is not going to do anything to improve a young athlete's overall athleticism and strength. In my experience, it takes at least three months of consistent training ( 2x per week minimum) for the results that you want to see. So if you are a parent considering looking to get your young athlete started at Soar or somewhere else, analyze your schedule and finances to see if consistent training is feasible. It will help you get the most out of the training and the money you will spend on it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2011 Point of Emphasis #4

Train for Results, not to Feel Pain

Develop a set of goals you are training for (athletic performance, building muscle, fat loss ect.) and follow a long term program that gets you to that goal. Remember, you can't get into the physical shape you desire in one day or even one week. Keep in mind that less is usually more, especially if you are just getting back to training.

I am assuming that your goals are not increasing foot pain, throwing up after a workout or being so sore that you can't sit in your desk the next day. So, completely ignore any BS cliche like "No Pain, No Gain" and "Pain is Weakness". A properly designed workout should challenge you, stimulate you and leave you feeling better than when you started. Yes, some days and some exercises at Soar are harder then others as we always demand high intensity within every set. But, our goal is never to have you laying on the bathroom floor in a puddle of sweat and puke.

Ask yourself one simple question if you work with a trainer or strength coach....Am I paying for results? or....... Am I paying for someone to torture me? The same thing goes for parents who hire trainers for their kids. Are you paying to improve your kid's athleticism? or....Are you paying for them to be mindlessly run into the ground?

I hear it all the time when kids get dropped off by their parents. Kill em! Really? Is that what you want me to do with your child? You can take them to the local hill and accomplish that for much cheaper then a session at Soar.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Point of Empahis #3

Understanding the Physical Demands of Your Sport

This is a big one that is completely botched by many trainers and sports coaches in my experience. Hence the golden cliche training term - Sport Specific Training. For those who have not followed me in the past, Sport Specific Training does not mean swinging a baseball bat while standing on a wobble board. It does mean applying appropriate training protocols to get you in peak condition for the demands of your position and your sport. At Soar, a large percentage of my athletic clientele comes from football, baseball/softball, soccer,basketball lacrosse and volleyball so I will spend most of my time talking about those sports. I will talk briefly at the end for individual sports such as running and wrestling. I can take the main 6 sports I train and break them into 3 different categories.

1. Sports requiring continual multi - directional movement

Soccer, basketball, lacrosse

These sports require a blend of speed, agility, power and endurance. Just jumping high will not make you a great basketball player. But, being able to run a 6 minute mile won't either. So how do you correctly condition athletes for these sports?

In my experience with these athletes, a high percentage of them come to me in great condition, but lack strength. A good reason for this is it seems that all 3 of the sports have become year round sports. For basketball, it seems as if the AAU season runs into the start of fall conditioning. Soccer players have school season in the fall, indoor in the winter and club in the spring. Lacrosse has grown increasingly popular and it seems that most of my clients play a lot of indoor in the winter. So what is the best way to condition for these sports ..........UH PLAYING THE SPORTS. If you have soccer practice or skill training 3 days per week plus games - there is your conditioning. If you don't, then the rules change.

So is it necessary to condition a basketball team for an hour prior to a 1 hour open gym? Isn't playing 4 games of full court basketball enough conditioning? Do we need to do P90X plyometrics (which is the worst thing for any athlete) on the same day as 2 indoor lacrosse games? HELLLLLLLLLLLLL NO! No wonder why most basketball players have knee pain.

For these sports at SOAR, we adjust speed training volume to a minimum, focus on quality movement and then of course - GET STRONGER. See point of emphasis #1. Now if I was in full charge of a basketball team's off - season conditioning program, bet your last dollar that we would condition appropriately. But that is seldom the case. Most of these kids show up at the gym beat up for from their sport regimen the day before. It then becomes my job to get the body in order, not to run them into the ground.

Please note - sports that require multi - directional movement. Deceleration and multi - directional acceleration techniques must be worked on and conditioning should include those concepts. Just running 400s and 800s will not cut it if you are conditioning a team.

2. True Power Sports

Baseball/Softball and Volleyball

Have you ever watched a baseball game? It is possible that in the course of a baseball game that a position player could go 15 minutes without moving at full speed. Does hitting require endurance or power?

Certainly a softball pitcher needs specific conditioning, but they throw 1 pitch every 15 - 30 seconds. Then they rest for 5 - 15 minutes when their team is at the plate.

Volleyball is a little different because it involves lots of jumping and continual short burst reactions. But it is not like soccer and basketball as volleyball players seldom runs more than 5 yards at time. Since jumping and spiking is power in its purest form, I put volleyball with the power sports.

So why O why do I keep hearing about baseball and softball teams doing mindless amounts of long distance running and ridiculous body weight circuits for their strength training. Who would you rather have pitching for your team? - The girl who can dead lift 175lbs for 5 sets of 3 reps and can do 4 chin ups with no help or the girl who has been doing body weight circuits all winter. Who is going to steal more bases? - The kid who has been doing sled sprints or the kid who has been running 6 minute miles everyday. I think the answer is pretty obvious.

Don't pitch to this guy, he might bunt and try to run 10 laps around the field!

Well Mike, You don't think baseball/softball players and volleyball players require conditioning? They require some APPROPRIATE conditioning. Baseball/softball players definitely need true speed training and agility training. But in a game, how many times are they going to run at full speed for more then 50 yards - If they hit a double, triple or chase a ball into the gap, that's it. The last time I checked, 10 triples in a SEASON is a great amount. At SOAR, our answer to baseball/softball conditioning is simple - continue to lift heavy and run at high speeds, we just reduce rest periods as the season nears. As I said before, the training of pitchers and catchers is the only difference as they are involved in every play. But just like soccer skill practice or basketball skill lessons, pitching lessons are great conditioning for pitching! Every pitcher I have ever trained takes pitching lessons.

Volleyball, just like the sports in category #1, involves a very long club season. They condition at their practices, so they don't condition at SOAR. Volleyball involves so much jumping in practice and game play that learning how to absorb landing force and strengthening the necessary muscles is most important.

#3 Football

Football gets its own category for 2 reasons.

1. It is not a year round sport. There is no club football or AAU football.

2. The positions in football require uniquely different conditioning methods. Lineman need to be able to fire out of a stance and drive another large human being backwards. Receivers and DB's have lot more cutting and running to do. Position specific conditioning is extremely important in my opinion. Running lineman like receivers is a great way to have a lot of pulled hamstrings.

I have spoke many time before about how to appropriately train for football. If it is your only sport, you should spend December prepping the body for more intense lifting in the winter months. January - April involves some high speed work, heavy lifting (with good technique) and power training. In May - July, we start to amp up the running, but we still focus on maintaining the strength we built in the winter and spring. Remember, the average football play last 3 - 7 seconds with 25 - 40 seconds rest between plays. Running 110s and double gassers is not football specific! If my clients have to pass some kind of absurd test when they report to school, then we do what we can to have them ready.

Since most of my high school football players are required to lift at school, my job is ensuring they are doing the lifts properly with correct load, then filling in the holes. If your strength coach is an ex- bodybuilder or even worse - some guy who trains kids like he trained in the 80s - I wish you good luck. My advise it to find a local professional strength coach who can advise you on what to do.

Below is a link to a football workout I had some guys do last summer. There is a ton of football training info online, but make sure you determine what is legit, and what is total BS.

4. Individual sports

I train a few runners. Their conditioning is pretty simple - they run! Long distance running is great conditioning for - Long distance runners! They all still need to get stronger though. Every runner I have ever trained has told me that their times have improved and nagging injuries decreased after they began to participate in a properly designed strength program. For the average recreational runner, 2 - 3 days per week of basic strength training is ample.

As for other sports like wrestling, track and tennis, the process is simple. Analyze their practice and training regimen outside of Soar and make the best program to get them stronger for their sport. For instance, if I know a wrestler is being conditioned hard on the mat (how many wrestlers aren't), then we hit the essential lifts and keep volume pretty low. Just because wrestling is a physically demanding sport, it does not mean that wrestlers can do insane strength circuits all the time. They need to recover too!

The purpose of this email is to shed some light on a very important concept for all levels of athletes. If you want to be in peak condition for your sport, then you must consider the physical demands of the sport you play along with your practice regimen.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Points of Emphasis

Happy New Year! I have decided to start 2011 talking about a variety of topics that I see in the strength and conditioning world. My philosophies are a result of many hours of extensive research as well as 10 years of real experience with all levels of athletes. I plan to post these often over the next few weeks, so here are the first 2.

1. Get Stronger (big suprise huh)

It is the universal answer for almost every training related question I get.

How do I get faster? Get stronger

How do I stop getting hurt so much? Get stronger

How do I burn fat? Get stronger

How can I put on muscle? Get stronger

And so on and so forth.

In case it needs to be said, get as strong as possible WITH GOOD TECHNIQUE. Lifting too much weight with poor technique is the answer to this question......How do I get hurt during my off - season? DON'T GET HURT IN YOUR OFF-SEASON.

2. Some athletes won the genetic lottery...... many did not.

I have said this before....Lebron James could train at Curves and probably still be a tremendous basketball player. He is a genetic freak.

To keep it basic, there are two types of muscle fiber: fast twitch and slow twitch. Predominately fast twitch people lift lots of weight, run fast and jump high. Slow twitch people can run forever, but it take forever for them to get going. Although everyone can train to become more explosive, you cannot take a predominately slow twitch person and make them fast twitch.

Some people are just genetically blessed with lots of fast twitch muscle fiber. They are the kids who stick out in the 6th grade basketball game because they are naturally faster and more explosive then the other kids. Of course your neighbor who played Division 1 football and played in the NFL has a son who is the fastest kid on the block............ HIS DAD WAS FAST! The kid is blessed with the same genetic makeup. It's not fair, but it's reality.

Sure any kid can get bigger and faster with proper training. However, I am sorry to tell you that your 17 year old son who works very hard to run a 4.9 40 is never going to run a 4.5 Its just not in the cards for him.

If you are not a genetic freak, I am not telling you that you have no shot of getting a scholarship. Some genetic freaks are lazy and the rest of their peers catch up to them when they are in high school. I am just telling you to be realistic. Work hard, improve your skills, but also accept the fact that you won't have 36inch vertical and a 4.4 40.

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