Random Thoughts from Todd Hamer

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Random Thoughts from Todd Hamer

Todd Hamer is one of the most high-energy coaches I’ve ever encountered.  However, unlike many coaches who attempt to use their energy to make up for a lack of knowledge and experience, Todd is a guy who really knows his stuff and understands how to coach.  He really cares about his athletes and knows how to speak their language.  Enjoy.

1. Watch your athlete’s feet! When an athlete is squatting, all of the force they are creating is being transferred through the feet. When your athlete begins the descent, do their feet stay flat on the ground? When they get to the bottom of their squat, do their shoes roll in or out? Or, can you see the weight shift forward? I have noticed that even when a squat looks good, if you really look at what the feet are doing, you can follow the chain to where the problem is and then fix that.

2. I was put on this earth to kill the word “core.” Every day, someone says to me, “my core is weak.” The reason that I am here to kill this word is because it means nothing. Define the core? When someone says their core is weak, to me it means they are weak. We have been so overexposed to the “core” that we have forgotten how to get stronger. It has been shown time and time again that all the muscles that people call the “core” are worked in a squat, clean, overhead squat and many other multi-joint movements. So get away from the core and get strong. I promise you can get a six pack.  For more information, check out Jim Smith’s Combat Core Manual.

3. Train more odd lifts. I (like many others) was to dogmatic in my approach to training athletes. People like DieselCrew.com and EliteFTS.com have helped me think more about how I am training my athletes. Why do we use barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags ect? Why not trees and stones. It is important to get your athletes off the platform and away from the known and into the unknown. Sports are chaotic events; do not be afraid of some chaos in your training.

4. 90% of athletes overthink.  What is the training age of your athletes? This is a question that you should ask yourself about every one of the people you train. The younger the training age, the less advanced the program should be. Most athletes want the newest craziest exercise and program. The problem is that most athletes just need to get stronger and more mobile. This can be accomplished with just working hard and sticking to the basics. Most of the time if an athlete’s squat form improves, then his mobility will improve along with his strength levels. Quit looking for the Holy Grail of training and start training.

5. Extend your network.  Your network is everyone to whom you speak; make it larger. I have been lucky to be able to learn from and share ideas with hundreds of strength coaches, personal trainers, doctors, rehab specialists, and many other professionals. Each of these people have taught me something new about what I do. This is true for both business and personal facets of my life. I often hear other strength coaches say they will not listen to someone because they don’t work with athletes or they do not know what I do. So what? We must bring people in this field together if we ever want our field to grow.

About Todd Hamer

Todd Hamer has been working in the strength and conditioning field for seven years and has held positions at Marist College, the Citadel, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania State University, and George Mason. He is now the head strength and conditioning coach at Robert Morris University.  Todd has also worked as a personal trainer and consultant in several different facilities throughout his career.  In his spare time, Todd is a competitive powerlifter with best lifts of a 545 lb squat, a 375 lb bench, and a 500 lb deadlift. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, he received his bachelor’s of science degree in exercise science from Penn State in 1999 and his master’s of science degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in August 2002.

Until next time, train hard and have fun!

All the Best,