As I start this new year, I’m wanting to really dig deep into more of my writing. Now, I’ve never been a fantastic writer but I enjoy getting my thoughts onto paper. I’m a far better presenter and lecturer but it’s now time to explore another facet of my teaching abilities. Last year I taught, lectured and had in my internships over 600 students collectively. I want to triple that this year and I’d love you to be apart of the journey.
Here, you’re going to get access to a bi-weekly run down of the tools, tricks and tips I use with my athletes. Period!
I’m not kidding. It’s the real deal. I’m going to be documenting what’s going on because of a few reasons…
1) The standard of S&C in the private sector needs to increase. Dramatically!
2) Having knowledge is never as fun as sharing and teaching.
3) I’m the kind of guy who also likes seeing others do well. A dying breed, I know.
So over the next 12 months (and hopefully even longer) humour me in reading my shit, listening to my voice and taking an in depth look at S&C in the private sector with individual and team based athletes. Oh, and the occasional private client too!
Let’s get started shall we?
Pearl #1 – Strength is always the main objective
It all seems a little simple right? Getting strong leads to more… strength.
Well indeed it does but it also sets up the foundation for a whole lot of other qualities like quickness, speed and also change of direction. In a recent study by my dear friend and college Tania Spiteri (and her team) conducted a study looking at ground reaction forces and joint angle movements in strong and weaker athletes. It sounds like a bit of a no brainer BUT the findings were really interesting with strong athletes being nearly 0.25m/s faster than weak athletes. Turn this into a real world scenario for a strength coach and by getting your athletes stronger (via strength training and COD training), you may be able to get them faster on the field. (Click the image to read more from the Strength And Conditioning Research Facebook page, they have some amazing studies that have been broken down for you guys to understand. Definitely worth a read)
If you have two athletes that are exactly the same in speed and quickness, you train one of them to become stronger in both musculature and connective tissue, you may be able to make them faster by a step. Doesn’t seem like much but the difference between your player that’s a step in front compared to the other may be a possession which could ultimately lead to a scoring opportunity. That’s a good enough reason for me to get athletes stronger because it helps them score more! (haha, see what I did there?)
This was sparked from when I was watching the NFL combine last year sometime and it has a spotlight on one of the players. I’d be lying if I could remember the players name or his stats except for the one that stated how much he could leg press. Over 1000 lbs was the total. Thats a significant amount of weight to lift on a machine. The problems however lies in the fact that a leg press has a very small amount of carry over to the sport of American Football. The stats you’s want to know (as a scout of a coach) is what are they squatting, deadlifting, chin up strength and their 40 yard time to name just a few.
The difference between your player that’s a step in front compared to the other may be a possession which could ultimately lead to a scoring opportunity.
Strength on a leg press has it’s advantages but is suited more towards bodybuilding than it does athletic development. Now before someone comes out and chews me out over this there is a catch. If I’m wanting to help one of my athletes (for a particular phase) put on some muscle mass, then sure, I’ll use the 45 degree leg press. The weight and volume would be applicable for hypertrophy. When it came to a strength phase of a portion of the their programming where I wanted to get them stronger, faster and/or quicker, they’ll be spending time under the barbell instead of the machine.
Pearl #2 – You can train the physical attributes, you can’t teach them the skill
As an athlete in my younger days (and playing both high level basketball and baseball) I had a natural talent at the sport that I loved. I practiced shooting and throwing until I went blue in the face. I didn’t do any strength training back then because I didn’t know enough about it nor was it something that was as easy to access as it is now.
Now as a strength coach for both these sports, I’ve noticed over the years that I can have a dramatic effect on the athlete’s skill levels by increasing their strength. However I don’t have the ability to increase the quality of their skill because that is another beast entirely.
For example, Jeremy Andrews, who’ve I’ve been working with for nearly 4 years now has seen a massive improvement in his jumps (as he is now a national level long jumper training with WAIS) due to the fact that we’ve added more muscle mass. This has lead to more contractibility of those muscles hence leading to a greater level of strength. The more muscle mass you have, the more potential you have to get stronger. It doesn’t always mean that you will become stronger because of increased levels of muscle mass.
To be honest, the first thing we did when we first started was just a bodybuilding program. He had god given talent in the jump but we both saw an opportunity to put some muscle mass on him. After about 1.2kg (over about 5-6 months) we went to the strength and power section of his programming. We saw a HUGE difference in his ability to jump because he was exploding out of the left leg and getting much more height, hence more distance. From there it was simply a case of get stronger at all costs which lead to an increase in muscle mass (as you can see from the image below.
Jeremy’s a smart cat. I’ll can tell you that for nothing. He has me write all his strength based programs as well as a having a sprint coach and a jumps coach. He is investing everything he has into getting better. I can’t take credit for all of his success over the years as I gladly share it with the other 2 gentlemen that helped him out along the way.
I get regular videos from Jeremy looking at his running and his jumping and how I can add from my end more in terms of S&C. I can get him strong and fast but the technique needed for running a 100m in 11.2 compared to 10.9 requires small and fine technique changes of which is outside of what I do. We have that help from his sprint coaches. The same goes for his jumping. The technique required to add 50cm to his jump in under 2 years required strength and also technique. You can’t have one without the other. If you don’t get your legs up high enough (during the middle of the actual long jump), you can’t extend forward and add another few centimeters to the jump. Small changes over time add up over time.
Moral: You have to piece together the attributes instead of trying to train them all together. One at a time and one will always take priority over others before it get’s the priority for it’s programming focus. It all swings in round-a-bouts.
Hard gainers just take a little more time. This is years of work and dedication. It’s also another 50cm+ on his long jump!
Pearl #3 – You may want to rethink the whole ‘Anabolic Window’ thing…
The long standing notion that you had only 20-30 minutes to get a protein shake into your system as to not lose any of the gains you made in the gym for that session (let alone any other session) is now looking like some hot air being spewed out by poorly educated bodybuilders and coaches.
In all honesty, I used to be an advocate of just getting into the habit of taking protein shakes or ingesting protein post workout either on you’re walking about the door or after you finishing having your shower and getting back to work. That was always my rule of thumb. I always thought it was funny that people would freak out if they took 32 minutes to get their shake into them and would panic thinking they’d lost the advantage of the ‘anabolic window’ and they were simply going to lose all their gains. To some it seems pretty logical, but then to the rest of the community, we got a kick out of it. To their defence, the logic behind fuelling your body post workout as quickly as possible makes logical sense but this is why we need to test these things by studying them and putting claims to the test.
You can get access to the full study here which was conducted by prominent strength and nutrition experts Schoenfeld, Aragon and Krieger. James Krieger also gives a very simplified and conclusive run down on his blog as to the results which you can find here.
…if you’re consuming a good dose of protein at regular intervals through the day, with some at some point before your workout and then again at some point later, there’s no need to perfectly time your intake immediately before or after your training. While more research is needed, the data currently suggests that the anabolic window is more like an anabolic barn door. – J. Krieger
Featured image courtesy of www.theshadowleague.com