What are you doing to get the best possible results from your athletes?
Whether you are planning the training for many athletes in a high school or college gym, or in a CrossFit type facility, there are many aspects you need to consider. The perfect plan can not be implemented if you do not have certain accessibility to knowledge, time or equipment. Here are some of the things that I find to be most important when programming for a large group of athletes:
These videos are getting more and more fun to put together. Sorry if you get kind of lost during the video, but this is how my brain works. I jump from here to there quite a bit, but in the end it all kind of comes together. The magic is in the video so grab yourself a Yuengling, kick back, enjoy the video, and get ready to be fired up for this next series of videos from these amazing coaches. On deck: Nia Shanks, Belton Lubas, Joe Carabase, Chris Reed and Mike Rojas.
The topic of the day is "What characteristics separate those who talk about making change in their lives and those who are taking action and getting shit done?"
Nia Shanks put it nicely when she talks about excuse makers & excuse breakers. Keeping things simple and not being overwhelmed complex strategies is key when beginning a journey of self improvement. Use basic drills that have little or no learning curve to eliminate frustration and keep things more enjoyable. She says it is crucial to set yourself up for success with proper planning.
Focusing on the positive & eliminate the negative, says Joe Carabase, can help you gain a perspective that can help keep you in the game. Don't overwhelm yourself with details, whether it's diet or exercise, just get started and you'll see how positive behavior breeds more positive behavior. Exercise is a gateway to more exercise, he says.
Belton Lubas realizes that for people to make serious changes in their life, they need to have a strong reason WHY they want to achieve or change a certain thing. Their goals need to be specific, and under no circumstances allow yourself to fail. You accomplish this by burning the bridges behind you so you have no choice but to move forward, there is no going back. Failure is not an option. Have a vision, have a goal and attack it. His biggest change occurred when his back was against the wall and he was all out of options, he had nothing to lose and something to prove.
We all WANT to drive a BMW, says Chris Reed, but an expensive car is not what we NEED to get us from point A to point B. Sack up and take action, don't fear consequences, and learn that failure is your greatest teacher, so the sooner you embrace it, the more you will learn and grow. We are all going to have tough times, but how you respond in those difficult times is going to measure your character, are you going to fight or will you flee?
The perfect time is never going to come, you must take action now and you will learn more as you go, says Mike Rojas. Find out whats holding you back, make that self discovery, take personal responsibility for your actions and embrace the consequences that you made for yourself.
Everyone should have a personal constitution, and every action you take should coincide with the goals that you set forth for yourself. Everything you do, ask yourself if it is helping you or hurting you. Nobody is going to wipe your ass for you when you shit the bed. Mistakes will happen, clean yourself up and get moving again. Check out the following video and share your thoughts below.
Grab your self a cold beer or two and enjoy this power packed chat with coaches from around the world, from different generations, spilling their guts on where they came from and how they evolved into the coaches and athletes they are today. As always, drop a comment on how and why your training has changed courses over the years and let us know who and what encouraged your new direction.
Coach Talk - Improving Athletic Development
Coach Talk - What are we missing?
By: Louie Simmons
When lifters repeatedly use the same simple method of training to raise their strength level, they will eventually stall. Like the scholar who must utilize many sources of information to achieve a higher level of knowledge, the lifter must incorporate new and more difficult exercises to raise their standards. Many have the theory that to squat, bench, or deadlift more, you simply have to do the three lifts. If it were that simple no one would need special exercises, machines, or systems of training. But we know this is not true.
Because lifters have different body types, they may excel at one lift but struggle with another. The great Lamar Gant was the only lifter I have known who held the world record deadlift and bench at the same time. There are men who hold three world records in the deadlift, yet can’t make the top 10 bench list. Their muscles in the upper body are, I’m sure, as strong as anyone’s, but they are limited by body structure, e.g., short torso, long arms. Many of us are affected by this. But is there an answer?
In the early 1970s, the Dynamo Club in the former Soviet Union had 70 highly skilled Olympic lifters. They were introduced to a system of 20-45 special exercises that were grouped into 2-4 exercises per work-out and were rotated as often as necessary to make continuous progress They soon found out that as the squat, good morning, back raise, glute/ham raise, or special pulls got stronger, so did their Olympic lifts. When asked about the system, only one lifter was satisfied with the number of special lifts; the rest wanted more to choose from. And so the conjugate system was originated.
When you have a body type that lacks say, the muscles that squat and yet you squat on a regular basis, then a coupling of special exercises for the glutes, hamstrings, hips, and lower back are needed to fortify those areas. These special exercises will en-able you to raise your squat once more.
Think about it if you read only one book, no matter how many times you read it, you will only learn so much. If you only squat, you will get only so strong because no new stimulus is introduced. This may not happen in the early stages of training, but as you become more advanced, you will need a more strenuous method of training. This training will indeed help your motor potential and help you to perfect your technical skill.
Before I present some examples of conjugate training, think about this. How much could you bench press the first time you tried? 200? 300 perhaps? Now how did you achieve that level of strength without ever having benched be-fore? You did it through simplified training such as pushups and pull-ups. Those of you who could bench 300 the first time will never double that amount without doing specialized work to raise your strength, right?
Here are some examples of the conjugate method. Glen Chabot bench presses only twice a month. Both times he uses a close-grip style He can do 405 for reps in the low teens. His best single close grip is 635 without a shirt. In between each workout, he rotates heavy dumbbell work on a flat or incline bench or very heavy bodybuilding exercises for lats, delts, pecs, and triceps.
This linking of special exercises has given Glen a 705 bench press at 275. Glen does not arch when he benches and has fairly long arms. He realized that he needed a special program to fortify his pressing muscles. This is a simple but very effective training program.
A more complex system is Kenny Patterson’s. He will do floor press, chain press, board press, incline press, and over-head press, just to name a few, rotating to a different- exercise each max effort day. On the dynamic day, Kenny uses three different grips on the bench press and uses 60% of his no-shirt max for 8 sets of 3 reps. He adds a lot of triceps extensions with dumbbells or the barbell, rows (one-arm, two-arm, chest-supported), pull downs, delt raises, and forearm work. This is a more complex system than Glen’s, but it suits Kenny’s needs. Kenny is a legitimate 700 bencher, having done it several times across the country.
Mike Ruggiera and myself just made 900 squats. It was a 50 pound increase for him and a 40-pound increase for me, yet we did not do a single regular squat in between meets. We do box squats on speed days with a large amount of bands and weight. We also use the reverse hyper machine and do glute/ham raises, pull-throughs, and abs. I pull a weighted sled before my squat workouts.
On max effort day, we do good mornings (five varieties), belt squats, speed deadlifts (60% for 6-8 singles), and Safety Power Squat Bar squats to different box heights. Mike also pulled his first 800 deadlift, without having done any conventional squats and no big deadlifts. After squatting he does deadlifts for singles with 60% for speed, and three days later he maxes out on special work: this is the conjugate method.
To push up a squat, heavy good mornings or squatting with different bars is done on max effort day. The different bars make squatting very awkward and extremely hard to do, much harder than a regular squat. (The same is true of box squats; they are harder than competition squats.) On max effort day we may do a type of squat on week 1, a good morning on week 2. and a front squat on week 3, each exercise contributing to the next week’s exercise, which in turn will build a bigger squat by strengthening the weaker muscle group and perfecting form.
The training is linked together, enabling you to raise your total. For instance, to build the glute and hamstring area, push up your reverse hyper extensions as hard as possible until your progress slows. Move on to pull-throughs for a week or two, until progress in these slows as well. Then go to glute/ham raises, and again push as fast and hard as possible. Then pull a sled walking forward to build the glutes/hamstrings. It is possible to continuously gain strength in any body part by switching special exercises. As the effectiveness of the exercise decreases, switch to another one. By training in this manner, it is possible to raise all types of strength throughout the year.
On max effort day the entire volume consists of unidirectional loading. One training workout contributes to the next. Keep in mind that if you train a lift at 90% or more for more than 3 weeks, your central nervous system is negatively and your progress will go backward. But by switching exercises each week (for the high-level lifter), you can use 100% and more each week. The sequence of exercises you use does not matter, as long as the load is maximal. The time it takes to do a maximal effort, for example in a low box squat with a Manta Ray, takes at least as long as max deadlift or squat. This is called “time under tension”.
The conjugate method also improves SPP (special physical preparedness e.g., speed deadlifts, plyometrics) and GPP (general physical preparedness; e.g., sled dragging). This is the most effective method to gain strength continuously throughout the year, with no ridiculous off-season. No one can afford to take time off. By maintaining the speed work for the three lifts and increasing general wonk (e.g., upper and lower body sled work, lats, abs, and triceps) you won’t go back-ward. There are many methods of training, but by incorporating the conjugate method, you can’t miss.
The following is a great summary of The Conjugate Method by EKnight from the innerwebz muscle forums:
For those who are curious, interested, or otherwise just looking for what is considered by most elite powerlifters as the best training regime, this is the Westside Barbell Club powerlifting routine. I used these training methods on the way to personal bests of 420 pound bench at a bodyweight of 140 pounds and 370 pound bench at 132. This is NOT a hypertrophy routine, should not be used by anyone who is still growing, anyone without spotters (yes, there are very heavy weight, low rep days), or anyone not medically cleared to lift heavy weight or exercise regularly. I have NO affiliation to the WSB club (they're in Ohio, I'm in the Southeast), and I give full credit to Louis Simmons for development of the routine and to Jim Wendler whose info I used to post this. Enjoy!
Sunday - Dynamic Effort Bench
Dynamic Bench Press
Monday - Max Effort Squat/DL
Max Effort Exercise
Wednesday - Max Effort Bench Press
Max Effort Exercise
Friday - Dynamic Squat/DL
Review of the Standard Template
2 days devoted to the bench press
2 days devoted to the squat/deadlift
2 days devoted to dynamic training
2 days devoted to max effort training
4 days devoted to repetition training
Now let's review some of the training parameters within this template. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to leave out chains and bands. Everything is going to be done with straight weight so there will be no confusion about percentages. Plus, I am going to leave out stance, grip changes, rest periods, etc. In reality, most of this stuff is inconsequential once you grasp the big picture.
Bench Press Parameters for the Standard Template (dynamic, max effort and repetition)
Dynamic bench press - 8 sets of 3 repetitions; all sets done are done with 55% of raw 1RM. Rest periods are approximately 60 seconds, but have never really seen the purpose of this, personally. The whole goal of speed day is to move the bar quickly on the concentric. If you need to take an extra minute to accomplish the goal of the day, then by all means, do so. Also, don't get too hung up on changing your grips. The only reason why I changed my grip on this day was to keep track of the number of sets I was doing. Again, remember why you are doing what you are doing.
Max effort bench press - this includes a variety of exercises, but the most common are the floor press, 2 board press, 3 board press, incline press and close grip bench press. On max effort bench press day, you pick one of these exercises and work to a 1RM. Most will switch to a different exercise every 1-2 weeks and simply try to break their record. On this day, based on your 1RM for THAT day, you will try to do 3 lifts at or above 90%. You can take as much rest as you want, but I would probably say around 3-5 minutes between your heaviest sets.
Triceps - one day is devoted to high intensity/low volume triceps work, the other is devoted to low intensity/high volume triceps. For example, high intensity triceps training would consist of 4 or 5 board presses or rack lockouts. The low intensity training will be geared to triceps extensions and pushdowns. On what day to put each of these is entirely up to you. In my experience, I've always had good results putting the high intensity day on dynamic bench day.
Shoulders - this is similar to the triceps in that there is a high intensity and low intensity day. The high intensity day is technically not high intensity, but high stress. In this category, I would put dumbbell bench press, dumbbell incline presses, military presses (with dumbbells or a straight bar) and dumbbell floor presses. In the low stress category, front raises, side raises and rear raises are good choices. Again, you can choose which day to put them on, but I liked putting the high stress shoulder training on dynamic bench day.
Lats/Upper back - Both days are devoted to lats and upper back and both are done with low intensity, high volume. The way that I worked this is that on Sunday, I would do lat work (usually a row or a pull-up) and no upper back work. On Wednesday, I would do another lat workout (but with a different exercise) and my low stress shoulder work would consist of a rear raise, face pull or a seated dumbbell power clean. So essentially, on the low stress shoulder day, I would kill two birds with one stone: an upper back exercise with a low stress shoulder movement. I did this because I never did front raises or side raises and felt that I got enough stimulation from my other work. It's not gospel, but it's something to think about.
Squat and Deadlift Parameters for the Standard Template
Dynamic Squat - All sets done on a parallel box. A three week wave is used using the following sets and reps.
Week 1 - 10x2 @ 50%
Week 2 - 10x2 @ 55%
Week 3 - 10x2 @ 60%
Upon completion of the 3rd week, you simply start the wave over again. All %'s are based on your best squat. Let's disregard equipment at this point and say it's based on your best 1RM of your box squat wearing whatever you usually wear on this day. Again, refer to my commentary on dynamic bench training regarding rest periods. This is not conditioning, this is speed work. Save your conditioning for another time.
Max Effort Squat and Deadlift - Similar to the max effort bench press, one exercise is used per week and worked up to a 1RM. Because most people have eliminated good mornings as a max effort exercise, I will choose the following for your exercises. I understand that many do not have these bars that I list, but this is the list, nonetheless:
Safety squat bar squat
Cambered bar squat
Manta Ray squat
(All squats are done on a low (1-2" below parallel), parallel or high (1-2" above parallel) box. As you can tell, there is a great many variations with these three exercises.
Rack deadlifts (or pin pulls)
Deadlifts while standing on elevated platform
Reverse band deadlifts
Again, you want to hit around 3 lifts at or above 90% of your 1RM for that day. Most people switch exercises every week or every 2 weeks. Try to break your PR from your previous effort. To make things easier, simply switch between a squat movement and a deadlift movement. Rest 3-5 minutes between your heaviest sets.
Hamstrings - now here is where things get tricky. Unlike the shoulders/triceps routine of high intensity/low intensity, many people are weak at such exercises as the glute ham raise that they simply need to do the exercise and not worry so much about sets/reps. If you don't fall into this category, you can do bodyweight glute ham raises on one day, and on the other day, you can add a band or a plate for resistance.
Low Back - Again, we cannot really isolate the lower back without hitting the glutes and hamstrings. But you can pick from exercises such as back raises, 45 degree back raises, Reverse Hyperextensions, pull-throughs and good mornings. Depending on how you do some of these exercises (i.e. with a great amount of intensity) you can use ONE of these for your hamstring and low back exercise. For example, good mornings can be done for both. If you were to pick reverse hyperextensions or pull-throughs, then you can get away with doing an extra hamstring exercise. Some people can train their lower back twice a week, others cannot. A good way to do this is to pick one "easy" exercise (R.H., pull-throughs, un-weighted back raises or band good mornings) on one day and pick a heavier exercise on the second lower body training day.
Abdominals - These are usually trained heavy twice a week in the standard template. Some good exercises to choose from weighted sit ups, Roman Chair sit-ups, stability ball, hanging leg raises, side bends. This is not very complicated but you just need to do them; that's usually the hardest part.
Click HERE if you are interested in learning more about The Conjugate Method and are ready to pursue real strength. This system can not be denied, if you are a seasoned lifter, give it a shot.
Last post I talked about the 5 best lower body exercises for athletes. In this post I will cover my top 5 upper body exercises for athletes.
While the power jerk is really a full body exercise, it often gets compared to the military press and push press. With that said, the power jerk is the king of overhead press variations. When done properly, you should be able to handle a lot more weight in the power or split jerk then in the military or push press.
While the other overhead press variations are good, the jerk is even better because it is a much more of an athletic movement. Without your legs producing a lot of force, you will never be able to jerk a good amount of weight.
Aside from deadlifts, I can’t think of many exercises that will address a weak grip, weak upper back and weak posterior chain like farmer walks. These are often weak areas for 90% of athletes.
One of the main benefits of farmer walks is they are less taxing on the body then deadlifts. Perform these by walking with heavy dumbbells, kettlebells for a certain distance or time.
"Its a great idea to end two or three training sessions a week with some form of carries. Start light and make short trips, work your way up over time. They are one of my favorite exercises due to the tons of benefits and accessibility of the exercise." - Matt Wichlinski
Push-ups are often overlooked as being too easy but the truth is when done correctly, push-ups are an excellent exercise to strengthen the pressing muscles. While the bench press is also great, I prefer push-ups because it is an open chained exercise where the scapula can move freely.
Gymnastic rings are my favorite variation because the shoulders and abs must work harder to stabilize.
I remember Joe DeFranco saying a long time ago that there was a correlation between how fast an athlete is and how many pull-ups he or she can do. Simply put, if you want to be fast, you need to have a high level of relative body strength and this is exactly what pull-ups measure.
Not only are pull-ups a great indication of relative body strength but they are also the best exercise to strengthen vertical pulling.
Having a strong back is critical to your shoulder health and there is no better way to strengthen your back then with rows. While there are many different variations of rows, chest supported rows are the most effective because there is no stress on the lower back (like in bent over rows) and more effective training stimulus then inverted rows.
While there are a ton of other great upper body exercises, these are my go to ones because they work! Remember when it comes to choosing exercises, there needs to be a reason why you are doing it. If not, then scrap it.
If you want a program specifically designed to increase your athleticism and transform you into a freak athlete, check out my Lift Like A Man Training Course.
Muscle Building Methods Down The Ages
Muscle Building! What wonderful vistas of unlimited power and might the phrase conjures up to the mind. And it is just that aspect of the building up of mighty muscular strength which I would like to deal with in the article of I trust will prove interesting on the subject of muscle culture.
After having given a deal of careful thought to the subject, I have conceived the idea of gathering together something which will appeal both to the young student of physical culture who knows little or nothing of the subject as an actual science, and also to the experienced physical culture enthusiasts who yet may glean a ray of knowledge from the reading about this wonderful science.
This video interview is a follow up from the "Improving Athletic Development" video we did recently. If you missed it, you can see it HERE. In this segment, we discuss what many athletes are missing in their training programs. See if you are guilty and how you can fix it.
Every coach's contact information and website can be found HERE. If you feel interested in one or more coaches POV, contact them and find out how to get involved and support their cause. I'll continue bringing you more interviews and videos, please post any comments or concerns you would like addressed or coaches you would like interviewed.
Because I love physical culture, and you do too, here is a gem that was written over a hundred years ago by one of the greatest strongmen that ever lived, Arthur Saxon. You will notice how some things come full circle, but every time they come around, hopefully we make them just a little better and don't take away from the original beauty.There are so many eye opening parts of this book that make you realize that what we think we are inventing today, was already introduced a long time ago. Some things have been lost, but thanks to those old time strength and mustache lovers these pages have been preserved for you to enjoy.
To read the book in its entirety, go the The Consummate Athlete HERE
Check out THE RUSSIAN LION & other badass strength products HERE
One last thing, Zach Even-Esh is having a sale on his Underground Strength Conference 2012 and it ENDS tonight at midnight. There are so many amazing things about this conference that will help your training AND your business skyrocket to the next level. Check out what some people are saying about it...
One of the many things I learned at the Underground Strength Conference 2012 was learning how to live a more fulfilling life. After the main introduction to the weekend by Zach Even-Esh, Jason C Brown was invited on stage to present on his topic and discuss what happiness and success means to him, and how we can all benefit from his evolution as a trainer, successful business owner, family man and athlete. This are just a few quick observations form listening to him, and it is only about 1/10th of the entire weekend.
You will never have to work or be forced to do anything if you engage in activities that bring you pleasure regularly. Find time for play, and make your work playtime as well. Resistance to do your job will be eliminated and thus you will have less friction. Less friction means more momentum. More momentum is more productivity and success.
Having a purpose means you will always have a strong reason why you are doing something. Without that strong "WHY?" it will always be easy to put things aside and procrastinate doing what needs to be done. Purpose is the pathway to high performance. What drives your lifestyle? Dig deep inside yourself and discover what your driving force is, and let that be your guide. Difficult times won't be as hard to push through when your purpose is set in stone. Remember, it's not what you're selling, it's what you stand for.
What do you want to be good at? What are you doing to make yourself better? How are you practicing living a more fulfilling life? Are you doing the same things that bring no results? Do you dread the boring mundane rituals of your life? Learn how to practice being more successful, stop rushing and quantifying everything, and find joy in practicing the things that you do everyday. Do you want to be more fit, do you practice training and eating well? You want to make more money, what are you practicing in those areas...
Many people focus only on the end result so much that they lose focus on the process and the experience that is going on in their lives. Don't get so caught up in looking so far down the path that you neglect the beauty that is right under your nose. Amazing things are happening everyday that transform your life and can propel you to greatness, but if you're too focused on only long term goals, you will miss great opportunities that can open your eyes up to amazing things.
You do not have to be in a specific place to be successful. You can make due with wherever you are and make the best of your current situation. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Embrace the beauty of what you have and where you are, you could be sitting on a gem but don't see it because its stuck up your ass.
You must be willing to put in your time and devote your energy into becoming better than you are. There are no quick fixes, be patient and persistent with your purpose. Consistently drive forward with your passion and focus on your development, this will ensure long term growth and success.
Do you have a plan of where you want to be in a year? Decide what it is you want, why you want it, and write down everything that needs to be done to make it happen. What do you want your legacy to be? What are you doing differently now that you weren't doing before? What's unique about your direction? What are you doing to change your life, or change other peoples lives for the better?
The world does not need another tutorial or exercise prescription, the secrets out (we have YouTube). We need more inspiration, motivation and direction. Most people know what to do, they just need the direction and motivation to get going.
Learn how to experience more pleasure, evolve for the better and enjoy life to the max. Embrace your unique abilities and discover your path. Don't resist growth or you will stress yourself out.
In one year, what will it take for you to be truly happy?
Check out the Underground Strength Conference 2012 HERE
Check out more of Jason C Brown and his Pathfinder Method HERE