Home Posts tagged "Strength Training" (Page 8)

Your Routine, In-Season and Off-Season

Q: I was an online consulting client of yours for a few months this summer, and I was very happy with the results. It's definitely showing through where I wanted it to - playing basketball (I'm more explosive, no nagging pains, being able to play above the rim at 5'9"). I am familiar with your approach to training, and have utilized the outline layed out in your off-season manual, but now that my basketball league (it's an adult city league) has started I'm wondering what your approach to in-season training is. In the off-season I was lifting 4x/week with an upper/lower split, and now during the season I lift total body 2x/week. Do you do heavy max effort work in-season, e.g. singles over 90%, or is it more submaximal work for strength maintenance? How do you consolidate lifting so that you're fresh enough to make progress in the gym. but without interfering with games? If it helps, my basic layout is as follows: If it helps, my basic layout is as follows: Sunday PM: basketball game Monday PM: soft-tissue work (foam roller/lacrosse ball) and extended mobility work Tuesday PM: Lifting (with soft-tissue work and mobility warm-up): 1. Heavy squat/deadlift (3-5RM) 2. Unilateral (usually reverse lunges or bulgarian split squats) 3a. Pushups with blast straps 3b. High-rep band face pulls 4a. Posterior chain exercise (GHR or kettlebell swings) 4b. Side bridge Wednesday PM: basketball game Thursday PM: Lifting (with soft-tissue work and mobility warm-up): 1. Heavy chin-ups (3-5RM) 2. Unilateral (single-leg deadlifts or bowler squats) 3. Inverted rows 4. DB push press 5a. Light posterior chain exercise (swiss ball hip extension + leg curl or band good mornings) 5b. Pallof press or cable woodchop Friday AM: Basketball Practice (skill work, no scrimmaging) Saturday AM: soft-tissue work (foam roller/lacrosse ball) and extended mobility work Any input or direction you could give me on in-season lifting is most appreciated A: In-season, it’s important to keep the intensity up, just doing enough to maintain or slightly increase strength. It does NOT take much volume. Still, you have to listen to athletes; if they're beaten up, scale back a bit. As far as consolidation is concerned, it depends on the sport in question, to be honest. With pitchers, for example, I like heavy lower body sessions within 24 hours after a start. With basketball (practice, at least), I love doing the heavy work pre-on-court stuff and then coming back to assistance work after the on-court work. Great stuff. Try doing that before your basketball games - seriously. You could also move Thursday's session to post-basketball on Friday. I would actually look to get in a third session, if possible - just some upper body stuff here or there. My experience has been that in-season training is about frequency more than duration; it makes a big difference in terms of quality of work and acute endocrine benefits. Eric Cressey Step-by-step what it takes to become a superior athlete.
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Five Tips from Mike Boyle

Many people know that Mike Boyle has probably trained more high-level athletes than anyone on the planet right now. What many people might not know about Mike is that he's helped countless coaches in their career paths; you'll find "Boyle Disciples" all over collegiate and professional strength and conditioning and in the private sector. To that end, I thought it would be great if Mike targeted his random thoughts to the up-and-comers in the business (I know, I know; it's not exactly random). 1. There are only two ways to learn: experience and reading. If you think you can get good in this field in a 40-hour week you’re crazy. If a 40-hour week is your goal, find a new field. Read Alwyn Cosgrove and Jason Ferruggia’s article “The Business.” 2. Train clients or athletes at least 20 hours a week. This is the proving ground for your booksmarts. Ideas are just that; see if you can implement them. 3. If you want to succeed in the field, get yourself in shape. I frequently joke about the fact that I don’t look the part. I’m not very muscular and am old and bald – but I’m in reasonable shape for 47. At 27, you will NOT get the benefit of the doubt. No one wants an overweight trainer or a skinny trainer. They expect you to look the part. You don’t have to be huge, and you don’t have to be ripped, but you need to look like you exercise. 4. Never ask a client to do something you can’t demonstrate. You don’t have to be able to do exercises with huge weights, but you must master the exercises. Beside the fact that many people learn visually, how can you ask a client to something you can’t? 5. Read one self-help book for every field-related book. It’s called personal training for a reason. It’s about a person and his/her goals. Your knowledge of people will be as important as your knowledge of the subject matter. Years ago, someone asked me what the key to my success was. I told them that it was my ability to get people to do what I wanted them to do. You can find an interview I did with Mike at T-Nation a while back HERE. Eric Cressey
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Enhancing Elite Runners

Q: I recently had an 'elite' runner come through the clinic where I work. I won't get into his injuries but he is jacked up. He does absolutely no strength, flexibility, or mobility work. His warm up consists of jogging about 5 minutes. I'm sure this is a familiar scenario. My question is before you created such an outstanding reputation as a strength/rehab/corrective coach, how did you get athletes to buy in to what you are telling them? It appears that my sales pitch is lacking. Do you have any tips/attention getters that you find useful when dealing with know it all but know nothing athletes? I know you are extremely busy, any advice would be helpful. A: Sell him on the easy stuff, first. Hop on a foam roller and show him that you're pain free, and then stick him on one and let him appreciate how much it hurts on his TFL/ITB. Do the same with a lacrosse ball on his butt and calves. That shows the soft tissue differences between the two of you. Start simple instead of trying to overhaul everything. Give him some supine bridges, birddogs, and a few more mobility exercises to improve hip rotation and extension. Next, add in some lifting and swap a distance session for a sprint session. Sit down with him and talk footwear as well. Runners love to buy new sneakers. Win him over bit by bit. Eric Cressey
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Cry Me a River

Each week, a small army of high school athletes come to train at Cressey Performance. When you see athletes from several different towns on a daily basis, you start to notice many patterns. Some kids put their bags in one place every time. Others foam roll on a certain part of the turf. Some get covered in chalk, and others just sprinkle it on. A few wear their hats sideways. These are just personal habits, though. They don't necessarily comment on significant trends - something I've seen a lot of lately. And, they're getting pretty disturbing. I'm not just talking about childhood obesity, teenage pregnancy, spending too much time in front of the TV, or anything like that. This trend is much worse. You see, at some point, mankind de-evolved - or just "wussified" - and started perceiving Justin Timberlake as acceptable training music. I'm not kidding, folks. I get all excited when I hear Godsmack, Disturbed, Jay-Z, and Linkin Park on a new CD one of our guys burned. Then, just as one of our young studs gets himself under the giant cambered bar to dominate a heavy triple on box squats, his testosterone level magically drops to "Cry me a rivvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeerrrrrr....." Me: "Get the staple remover out of the office, Tony. He's stuck on the box and not coming up." Tony: "I think we're going to need a spatula for this one..." Honestly, people. Is it the soy in school lunches? The banning of dodgeball in gym classes? How did our young athletes come to think that the music you would play to seduce someone of the opposite sex (or, in my case, the music that would drive me to write a suicide note) could possibly be the same music that facilitates lifting heavy stuff? Justin Timberlake is weak. Too weak to bench 135. Too weak to pick up his shoes to put them on in the morning. And, definitely too weak to motivate someone who is already actually relatively strong. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for bringing sexy back. If you want to listen to JT, be my guest. Please just do so in a soundproof room in your secluded home when nobody is around. And please, turn the volume down and don't attempt to lift anything heavy for the duration of the CD. Eric Cressey
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A Lift Worth 15 Lbs of Mass

In an untrained lifter, deadlifts are a guaranteed 15 pounds of muscle mass. Think about it: you’re using your entire upper back, glutes, hamstrings, core musculature, and forearms. If you haven’t done anything with these muscles before, they’re going to get bigger quickly. Put 100 pounds on a newbie’s deadlift and you’ll bump him up a shirt size in no time. This principle can also be applied to experienced lifters who haven’t deadlifted in the past; leg curls just won’t get the job done to the same extent that heavy deadlifts and rack pulls will. For added upper back emphasis, try snatch grip versions. Eric Cressey
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One More Reason to Have Good Training Partners

I've written quite a bit in the past about the importance of having good training partners. These are lifters who know you and your tendencies: how to get you fired up, what type of training to which you respond best, and when to hold you back. Yes, a good training partner should know when to hold you back - just like coaches know when to play it conservative with their athletes at specific points in the season. Tony Gentilcore has been my training parter for over two years now. I know his strength levels, injury history, and what style of training best suits him for particular goals - and he knows the same about me. Last night, we were deadlifting for heavy singles on the trap bar, and Tony just didn't look good. Before he could even turn to talk to me after his last warm-up set (405 for a single), I told him to shut it down and do something else. His bar speed was down, and it just didn't look good. It was one of those nights to modify things on the fly and avoid getting hurt doing something stupid. So, he shut it down and went over to do some full squats with the safety squat bar for reps. He went on to get in some assistance work, and all the villagers rejoiced. With inexperienced lifters, sometimes, you have to push through not feeling so hot, as you're still dealing with an athlete who needs to practice technique. Or, in the case of in-season lifting, you may need to do what it takes to keep strength levels up. Ultimately, it comes down to asking yourself, "Can I achieve a training effect safely?" If the answer is no, you modify. If the answer is yes, you consider whether you need to play around with the loading parameters. Do you go from sets of three to sets of five? Do you drop a few sets? Do you swap some resistance training for added mobility and activation work? Extend the warm-up? Pick a different exercise and maintain the loading parameters? There are literally hundreds of potential modifications you can make. Only time, experience, and knowing the athlete in question will help you make the best decision. Eric Cressey
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Mental Athletic Performance Testing

In my off-season manual, I allude to several performance tests that I feel best demonstrate potential for athletic excellence. As a tag along to this, I've noticed several non-physical behavioral "tests" that show me an athlete is psychologically ready to commit to success. These issues are especially common in our high school athletes. 1. On the diet front, we ask our athletes to bring us two-day nutrition logs (one training day and one non-training day) so that we can evaluate how they can improve their diets. The more dedicated athlete, the sooner we get that back (if at all). 2. Also on the diet front, aside from those who are lactose-intolerant, athletes who complain about the taste of cottage cheese just never seem to "get it." These same individuals are usually the ones who dislike every flavor of protein powder imaginable. 3. Motivated athletes realize that if they fall off the wagon by eating some junk food, the entire day isn't "lost." They get back on track and call it water under the bridge. Less motivated athletes tend to just consider an entire day a way and have another bag of Twizzlers and a two-liter bottle of Coke. 4. One's response to injury is also always a good indicator of how bad one "wants it." The best athletes want to train through the injury - even though we don't advise it, obviously. With these individuals, we're big on showing them what they CAN do rather than just reaffirming what they CAN'T do. The idea is to continuously challenge them with movements that either a) allow them to train around the injury and b) movements that will help to rehabilitate the injury and/or prevent it from occurring again. The softest of the bunch usually skip the session because they want a pity party. As much as a stereotype as it may seem, my experience with female athletes in particular has been that injuries tend to lead to complete abstinence from exercise in favor of partaking in slumber parties with Ben and Jerry. 5. Some exercises - deadlifts, squats, single-leg work - are flat-out challenging. I love it when guys show up to the gym absolutely ready to get after these movements. It drives me crazy when guys only get pumped up for bench day, and would jump at the chance to miss lower-body training sessions. The more you learn to love an exercise, the faster you'll improve with it. Eric Cressey www.CresseyPerformance.com
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Phases of The Off-Season

Your off-season manual is very addictive. You have really put together something special. I got the manual yesterday and proceeded to read 3/4ths of it before it was 1:00am and I had to be at work at 7:30 the next morning. You write well and down to earth. I think you have a lot of talent writing; keep it up! Thanks for your awesome feedback; I'm glad you liked it! On another note I wanted to tell you I was deeply surprised about the different phases of the off-season. It is now apparent that I should set my late off-season to four weeks out from August 23(school starts). My question to you while I'm still in the main chunk of the off-season is what should I right now after I have completed a bunch of running volume? (for example last week I ran 8x60yd sprints with 30s rest after 8xdifferent speed drills usually lasting 15yrds like fall forwards) One week won't throw you off too much. I would just focus on complete recovery between movement training sets for the next two weeks, and then move to your late off-season. Remember that as a quarterback, you're not going to need to be as metabolically conditioned as another position that does a lot more running (unless you're a Michael Vick type, of course - and I'm not referring to your criminal record). Finally I'm going to an intense camp where I throw close to 300 passes a day. I don't know if you remember my program but it has such an emphasis on lat strength I'm wondering if you might be able to help me modify my program to help balance out all the volume? Thanks for your thoughts, Will Your best bet is to do a ton of external rotations at various positions (arms below and above 90 degrees of elevation). Include some seated rows as well as some higher rep DB stability ball bench presses every third week (in place of max effort work). Keep up the good work! Eric Cressey Pick Up Your Copy and Make the Most of Your Off-Season
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Defending the Deadlift

It’s been really busy up here with lots of projects and upcoming seminars on top of my normal workload, but fortunately, Myles Kantor recently interviewed me with a specific focus on the deadlift; the interview was just published by John Berardi at Precision Nutrition to give you some great content for this week. Check it out: Defending the Deadlift: An Interview with Coach and Powerlifter Eric Cressey
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The Dead Horse: Front Squats vs Back Squats

What is your opinion of front versus back squat? I question with my football players whether I should be doing back squat with some of my older kids; they all go off to college and do them. Recently I've run into a problem with kids going to the gyms to do back squat because we're not doing them at the school. I struggle between sticking to my guns and continuing to educate the kids on why we do front squat and feeling like If their going to back squat I'd rather have them lifting with me under supervision. Can you offer any guidance on this?
I don't do any full Olympic back squats anymore. All our quad dominant squatting is either front squats or Anderson front squats. When we're looking for more posterior chain emphasis while squatting, I will box squat them. Box squats get crucified by a lot of coaches simply because they don't know how to teach them - or they've watched someone else teach them poorly. I'm an accomplished powerlifter who has been around them long enough to know how to teach them very well, so they're a mainstay in my program. We go regular box squats, box squats with a front squat grip (awesome exercise), and safety squat bar box squats. The concerns with forward lean isn't as bad when you're only squatting to slightly below parallel and not giving the kid wiggle room to good morning the weight up out of the hole. Eric Cressey
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  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series