Good morning! I hope everyone had a great weekend. This week's "Stuff to Read" was a breeze to pull together, as there was some outstanding content on the 'Net since our last installment. Before we get to it, though, just a friendly reminder that my 30 Days of Arm Care feature is currently at Day 28. You can view all the videos on Twitter and Instagram using the #30DaysOfArmCare hashtag. Now, on to the good stuff!
Physical Preparation Podcast with Dr. Stuart McGill - Bold statement: this was probably the best podcast to which I've ever listened. Dr. McGill is so smart and cutting-edge that you can't drive while listening to his stuff or else you'll find yourself pulling over constantly to scribble notes.
Yesterday was a busy travel day for our family as we headed up to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving week, so this list of recommended reading comes a day late. It turned out well, as I updated the list with a few articles that were just posted yesterday.
Before we get to the reading list, though, I wanted to give you two quick reminders:
1. Our Black Friday sale is currently taking place. You can get 20% off on a bunch of my products using the coupon code BF2016. Click here for more information.
2. My 30 Days of Arm Care series is also ongoing. You can see all these videos (currently on day 9) via the hashtag #30DaysOfArmCare on both Twitter and Instagram.
Now, we're on to the content...
30 Seconds of Undivided Attention - I'd argue that this might be the single most important blog many novice trainees can do to take their strength and conditioning results to the next level. The ability to "flip the switch" and train hard is essential - and it's one reason why so many individuals make huge strides when they get in the right training environment. Huge thumbs up to CSP coach Tony Bonvechio for pulling this together.
3 Reasons Athletes Get Injured - Mike Robertson delivered some great stuff in this week's article. Injuries are multifactorial, but Mike hits on some of the big rocks in this one.
It's been a crazy weekend of travel, as we wrapped up this year's Area Code Training Camps tour with events in Oakland and Los Angeles on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. I'm sorry to say that things were a bit too crazy to get a new blog posted last week, but we'll make up for it with some new content this week. With that said, let's start off with some recommended reading to kick off the week:
#30DaysOfArmCare - This is a new series I just started up now that the MLB offseason is in full swing. Starting today, I'll be posting a new arm care video tutorial each day for the next month. You can follow along using this hashtag on either Twitter or Instagram.
Metabolic Cooking - I've long been a fan of this great cookbook from Dave Ruel, and it's currently on sale at an all-time low price of $10. That's an unreal price to get a bunch of recipes you'll use for many years to come.
Top Tweet of the Week
Love when teams send minor leaguers home with body fat % targets for spring training...after feeding them white bread for previous 7 months.
I just finished the 23-hour drive down to Jupiter, Florida from Massachusetts, the Patriots lost yesterday, and I got crushed in Fantasy Football. In other words, you could say that it was a rough weekend - but I certainly won't. Why? Playoff baseball is kicking off this week, so things are looking awesome! How awesome is this time of year? Speaking of awesome, here's some great reading from around the web from the past week:
Having an Approach to Having an Approach - In case you missed it, here's a guest post I wrote up for my business partner, Pete Dupuis. First impressions really matter, and these are some strategies to make the most of them.
The Like Switch - I listened to this audiobook on my ride down to FL, and found it pretty interest. Dr. Jack Schafer is a retired FBI agent, and he discussed a lot of tactics he used in everything from befriending spies, to interrogating suspects, to reading people. As a coach, it made me realize that we can enhance our coaching and rapport-building efforts with some non-verbal adjustments. And, as a speaker, it gave me some ideas on how to "read" audiences. I'd definitely recommend it regardless of your line of work.
The Physical Preparation Podcast with Chris Chase - I covered this on my drive as well; Mike Robertson interviewed Atlanta Hawks Athletic Performance Coach Chris Chase, and it was outstanding. This is a really good listen on both the off-season and in-season training side of things.
Top Tweet of the Week:
I don't talk about politics on social media because deadlifts and fastballs are a lot cooler.
Another week, another Patriots win and fantasy football victory for me! I'll keep talking about it in this weekly blog until the luck wears off!
That said, let's look at some top picks from around the web from the past week:
They Myths of Mental Toughness Training: Part 1 and Part 2 - Doug Kechijian is a super bright physical therapist who also happens to have extensive military experience. So, you could say that this fantastic two-part article comes from excellent perspectives in multiple regards.
Physical Preparation Podcast with Boo Schexnayder - This podcast from Mike Robertson is several months old, but I actually went back and listened to it a second time. There are loads of pearls of wisdom in there for any coach from any discipline.
Podcast Q&A with Dr. Stuart McGill - There was some excellent information on the lower back front in this interview for Dean Somerset's site. The discussion of calcification in the spine of lifters of various proficiency is fascinating, and is around the 18-minute mark.
I hope everyone had a great weekend. Here's some recommended strength and conditioning material to kick off the new week:
Physical Preparation with Josh Bonhotal - Josh has been a friend for close to a decade now, and he's doing some great stuff with Purdue's men's basketball and diving teams. I noticed a lot of parallels to what we do with our up-and-coming baseball players from a long-term development standpoint.
With this week's release of Mike Robertson and Joe Kenn's Elite Athletic Development 3.0 DVD set, Cressey Sports Performance coach Nancy Newell and I put our heads together to highlight 12 of the key takeaways from this great new resource.
1. Coaching jump and landing technique is a must.
The “athletic position” occurs in every sport. If you want athletes to apply force, they also need to understand how to absorb force. With ACL injuries on the rise, it’s no surprise that 60-70% of these injuries result from non-contact incidences. This means that kids are getting hurt because they haven’t learned or practiced this technique.
Try these approaches:
a. Deceleration on two legs (Vertical Jump with Stick)
b. Deceleration on one leg (Heiden with Stick)
c. Upper body deceleration (Medicine Ball Work)
2. Don’t count the reps; make the reps count.
It can be challenging for a youth athlete to perform a set of ten bodyweight squats with perfect technique.
[bctt tweet= "Remember: the single-most transferable trait of an excellent program is confidence."]
If you start to see their form going down the drain, break the reps up into smaller pieces of success. Instead of performing one set of ten reps, you might perform five sets of two reps. The athlete will gain confidence, learn and retain HOW to perform the movement.
3. Teach athletes to “push,” not “pull.”
A common mistake athletes make is having the mentality to “pull” weight off the floor. When we pull weight off the floor, a large portion of that force produced comes from our lower back. If you can teach an athlete to apply force into the ground by “pushing,” a large majority of that force comes from our posterior chain and creates a strong, stable base for our bodies to produce force.
4. Use single leg strength to achieve stability and control, not maximal strength.
While incredibly important, single-leg work is not the best way to get “globally” strong. In a bilateral exercise such as the squat and deadlift, you have a larger base of support to move more weight using mostly prime movers (hamstrings, quads, glutes). A single leg exercise with a smaller base of support places more emphasis on owning and controlling our bodies through multiple planes of motion. Use single-leg exercises to fill in the gaps between maximal strength and stability.
5. Attitude controls your efforts.
One of the most impactful quotes Joe Kenn had during Elite Athletic Development 3.0 was, “You’re not giving good effort with a bad attitude.” Young athletes feed off coaches’ energy, so if you're upset about something personal that happened and you bring that to the weight room, your athletes will likely adopt that same poor attitude about today.
[bctt tweet="Your attitude is the number one dictator of the success of your program."]
You need to have the utmost confidence in yourself to achieve what you set out to complete for each day.
6. Get young athletes proficient in fundamental movements.
This may seem like a no brainer; however, many coaches are willing to place an external load on an athlete before they can confidently control their own bodyweight. Fundamentals are the building blocks for getting stronger, performing better and – most above all – staying injury-free. Youth training should not be about a “quick fix.” It should be about developing efficient motor patterns, skills, and confidence to form a robust foundation for long-term athletic development.
7. “Once relative strength is compromised, continuing to focus on maximal strength becomes an issue.” -Loren Landow
Robertson and Kenn highly urged everyone to over-emphasize general basic strength qualities because strength is a skill. Once you start to “own” this skill, you can start to add layers to challenge your mental and physical strength. Use layering to prepare your athletes for the next phase of training. As an example:
Phase 1: Bodyweight w/3second quasi ISO hold
Phase 2: KB Goblet Squat w/3second lowering/ Explosive concentric
Phase 3: 2KB Squat
8. “There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs.”
In your personal life, career, athletics you can’t be afraid to work hard. The most valuable teaching tool is experience, and experience comes from jumping on opportunities to learn from smarter, more experienced people than you. Set your goals high, but don’t jump stairs.
9. Building a more robust athlete comes from the bottom of the pyramid.
If you want to maximize your training results, you have to maximize recovery. One way to kick start recovery is to be consistent with the little things at the bottom of the pyramid (sleep, nutrition, and soft-tissue work). These variables can have a dramatic impact on one's ability to feel good and stay healthy for the long haul. For example, take an athlete who works out 3x/week for one hour. That’s three hours out of 168 hours in a week. Your training makes up less than 3% of your week, but those "tiny" elements at the base of the pyramid that make up a big chunk of the remaining 97%.
10. An efficient warm up has three broad components:
a. Physiology - We want our athletes to warm-up to increase tissue temperature, improve joint lubrication (especially for the older athletes), and fire up the nervous system.
b. Biomechanics - We aim to optimize alignment; isolate then integrate; and sync up the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
c. Specific - We want to reflect the actual nature of the activities that follow, whether we're incorporate lifting weights or training speed/power.
11. High-intensity/anaerobic exercise is built from a low-intensity/aerobic base.
Focusing year-round on just high-intensity work with your athlete will result in a less than impressive work capacity and performance. Instead, use various forms of cardiac output work to expand your pyramid base and help your reach higher anaerobic peaks.
12. Everybody is an athlete.
Regardless of age and training experience, everyone can benefit from training power. Power is vital for overall athleticism, but it is unfortunately one of the first physical qualities we lose as we age. By respecting all the elements on the force-velocity curve you can help anyone get stronger, faster, and more explosive.
Here's an extended warm-up example that would constitute power training in these individuals:
-Low amplitude/high velocity (jump rope)
-Upper body throw (overhead med ball stomp)
-High amplitude/low(er) velocity (Heidens)
As I noted earlier, Mike Robertson and Joe Kenn's new Elite Athletic Development 3.0 seminar DVD set is on sale for $100 off through this Friday (7/22) at midnight. I would consider it an outstanding investment for any strength and conditioning professional. For more information, head HERE.
About the Co-Author
Nancy Newell (@NancyNewell2) is a strength and conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, MA. Nancy earned her Bachelors Degree in Fitness Development from the State University of New York at Cortland. You can read more from her at www.NancyNewell.com.
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