Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Indestructible Shoulders

As a sports performance coach our job is to insure that our athletes are to be healthy before the season starts and while the season is going on. A lot of coaches neglect that part because it does not bring in the money. They would rather train them with parachutes, quick foot ladders, and speed and quickness drills because that stuff looks cool and will bring in the big bucks. That is why you see so many injuries in sports today, because instead of strengthening joints, muscles, and trying to increase bone density they are trying to get paid.

Here at Samson S&C we pride ourselves in having our athletes be prepared for the pounding they will endure during the season. A common injury that I see all the time is shoulder injuries whether it is an impingement, tear, or dislocation. These are common in all sports and should be paid attention to with great detail. We have our guys perform a series of warm ups that help stretch, stabilize, and strengthen the shoulder muscles.

The warm up consist of 100 skips jump rope. Foam roll your upper back and your lats to your rear delts. Then we will perform 10 reps of shoulder dislocations. Followed by 3 sets of 20 secs each arm of capsule stretching. After the stretch we hit some X jumping jacks, seal jumping jacks, and overhead jumping jacks. The last two warm ups we perform are Hammer slams 10 each side and slosh pipe circling. This is the warm up we perform with our athletes for their shoulder.

You will notice in our videos that we like to do a lot of shoulder exercises with rotation in them and overhead pressing. We cut out the overhead pressing when the season starts just because their shoulders are beat up from the wear and tear the season puts on their body. We like to incorporate seated DB cleans, L-raises, and internal and external rotator cuff into their programs. This allows us to strengthen the shoulder and add some extra mobility in it as well. We also do plyo push ups to help their shoulders get used to the blunt force they will receive in the season, the plyo's will help them develop a lot of their stabilizers and joint health. We also use heavy overhead presses as well to develop brute strength in their shoulders and to add on some much need size. We will have them use leg drive in all overhead movements so they don't have too much pressure on their shoulder joints.

Here is a video of a shoulder circuit we like to do for shoulder health and mobility.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Strong Core

Building a strong core is as important to an athlete as any thing else they do in the gym. The core is an area that starts right under your chest and goes down to right above your hips. Building strength and endurance in these muscles are extremely important for cutting on a dime and running a 4.3 40 yard dash. It helps keep you upright and stable when you squat or deadlift heavy. The main muscles you are working are the rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, and the erector spinae. If you can learn how to work these muscles and get strong with them then you will see everything you do increase tremendously. A few exercises you can do to strengthen these muscles are squats, deadlifts, good mornings, heavy abs, and back extensions. With our athletes we cycle ab circuits one day and then hit heavy abs the next day. This allows us to build strength and endurance in our core. Here is a few videos of some serious core training.

The first video is an endurance circuit.

This next video is a good way way to build a strong core by lifting heavy weight.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Train Them Differently?

I get a lot of questions on whether or not I train my female athletes the same way I train my male athletes. I then ask them "Do the female athletes want to get stronger and faster?" They say yes, so I say "Then of course I train them the same way." I train my athletes so they are bigger, stronger, and faster. I train their bodies to be able to handle the stress that athletics puts on their body. Now with girls you will have to focus on different aspects of the training, such as really focusing on developing hamstring strength to try and alleviate the strain on their ACL's. But we make them do box squats, box jumps, sled pulls, and anything else you can think of. We train athletes here and like athlete's and nothing else. Here is a video of one of our athlete's and a boot camp we held over the weekend, enjoy.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How to Increase Your Vertical

The vertical is an awesome test to see your athlete's lower body strength. This will allow you to see where they are, without having to put a barbell on their back. We have our guys re-test theirs every 12 weeks to see if the program is working for them.
Here are a few tips that we use with great success to help increase your vertical.

1. You have to get stronger. This is very important in the development of a high vert. The stronger you are the more force you will be able to generate when you going to attempt a jump.

2. Stretch out your hip flexor. Tight hip flexors will halt your vertical in its tracks. If your hip flexors are tight then they will try and pull you down as you accelerate and stretch in your jump. You want these loose so you can get full extension in your jump.

3. You must incorporate various plyometrics into your training. This will help you develop explosive lower body strength. You will use these in three to four week waves and be sure to add a lot of variety into them to keep your central nervous system stimulated. We have our athletes do box jumps, lunge jumps, death jumps, and broad jumps just to name a few. The sets should be high and the reps low and the rest high. You want to treat these as a Max Effort lift and give your body time to recover from your previous jumps.

4. Make sure you practice your vertical. There are numerous things that you must tweak to insure a great vert. It is not something you will just be able to do and get the best result possible.

5. Increase relative body strength and reduce body fat. This is pretty simple and self explanatory. Fat does not move as easily as muscle and you can't generate the same amount of force with fat as you can with muscles. Relative body strength means the ability to manipulate your own body weight in the way that you desire. A good indicator of this is a person's pull ups, if person can do a lot of pull ups than their 40 and vertical are going to be better then someone who can not.

Here is one of fullbacks training his Vertical for his Pro Day coming up in March.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why Max Effort?

You will see a lot of coaches performing HIT training with their athletes, others will do functional training, me, I am a little more old school. I like to lift HEAVY things. The reason behind this to recruit all the motor neurons you have and to exhaust your CNS so that you body has no other choice than to adapt and get bigger. Max Effort training is the superior way to increase intra and intermuscular coordination. The stronger you are the higher your rat of force development will. This will increase your 40 yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, and any other explosive movement you want to accomplish.

To perform a max effort movement one must work up to a weight that is 90% or higher than their training max and lift it 1 to 3 reps. Here is a video of some max effort benching that was performed at the gym today.

To fully reap the benefits of Max Effort training one must incorporate a dynamic effort day which we will discuss at another time.

225 Bench Test

We had some college kids down training for the holidays and they kept asking me how can I increase my reps on the bench test for the combine. Here are a few of the points I gave them.

1. Get Stronger- If you can increase your 1RM on your bench, than the 225 should feel lighter and lighter every time. You have to increase your back strength as well to help support your bench. A 405 bench presser will get more reps on the test than a guy who can lift 315.

2. Incorporate an Upper Body Rep Day- If you do not put your body through the practice of repping higher numbers than your body will not be used to the lactic acid build up and your reps will always fall short. When doing these higher reps your are building your lactic threshold so you can keep repping it out. When your body accumulates to much lactate your muscles cannot contract as forcefully, because your body can not use the same amount of motor units as it did in the beginning of your exercise.

3. Hold Your Breathe- Depending on your strength this will vary. I have a 425 bench so I hold my breathe for the first 10 reps and than re-breathe for 8 more reps and than 5 reps. Once I hit this mark I will drop down to two reps and than one at a time until I am done. This will help insure that your body stays tight through out the bench.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How to Get Started

Everybody has their way of assessing clients before they put them on a training program. The way I look at a new client is to test them by throwing them in with a group and seeing what they have. Your gym is not going to be for everyone and your new client will find out fast if they belong. You can evaluate their weaknesses by just watching them perform the exercises that you told him to do. After that then you can tweak your program a little to help build those weaknesses up. If your program is designed right than you should not have to make many changes only if they have a glaring weakness that needs special attention. This is what I recommend for people with lifting experience.

Now if they have a very limited experience with weights or no experience at all. We start them off with a base line month long program. This consist of a lot of body weight training, sandbag training, and sled pulling. This will help them develop the muscle and strength they need to progress. We use light weight and a lot of reps. We have certain test that they must pass before even getting under a bar and benching or squatting. If they can perform three sets of twenty push ups than they can advance to dumbbells and than advance to the bar when we feel comfortable.

Make sure you build your clients up. Don't start them off with weights they can not handle. This will wreck their confidence and might make them second guess being there. You want them to always get their prescribed reps and increase a little at a time every week to build them up. You have to know your clients and how to talk and respond to them. This is crucial to the success of your clients and of your business.