As coaches and athletes we’re always in pursuit of the same thing:
And that progress will come in many different shapes and sizes. For one person it may mean losing 15 lbs, for another it may mean deadlifting 500lbs, and for another it may mean winning a world championship.
At the end of the day, however, progress is always the uniting principle by which we can gauge the effectiveness of a training program:
Is it taking you/he/she closer towards their goal?
If yes, then you’re making progress.
If no, then you’re not.
BUT, here's the magical question: how do I or my athletes make progress?
But not just any stress, it has to be the right type of stressor, at the right time, in the right amount. If any of those factors are off, then you won't be incurring the type of positive adaptation you're looking for.
While there are many variables to consider when putting together a comprehensive training program, I'd like to...
“I’m absolutely stuffed; I feel like I’m going to explode. I’m so dead from eating all of this food but I can only eat so much (incredible laughter ensues)...On the way home, can we stop at a gas station to grab a few muscle milks?” While sitting in a Chipotle in Columbus, Ohio, Zach Hadge sat complaining about his “sour belly” from the bolus of food he just had. Except, bolus is an exaggeration and it was maybe more like a forkful
Immediately after hearing this I started laughing because I knew once I looked at his plate it was going to be full. Sure enough, it was, it literally could have been returned for full price. It looked like he did nothing more than twirl around some sour cream. He should have been starving, on account of the fact that he missed breakfast, and trying to gain weight for the Arnold. Instead, he ate minimal food, and drank maybe two of the four muscle milks we got on the way home.
Now I am not sharing this...
You have to figure out what you want in life. Not what you say you want, but what you actually want. I don’t really know what I want at this point. I have ambiguous thoughts about things that would be nice. These are things I might say to myself inside my own head right now, like…I’d like to be really strong…I’d like to learn a lot of powerful information in regards to being an awesome strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer, and mentor…I’d like to be financially successful and well marketed within the fitness industry…I’d like a lot of people to know who I am and to think very highly of me. Are any of these things truly tangible goals? Not really. Do I have specific actionable steps to put in place to help me reach these vague things? When I’m honest with myself, the answer is no. I’m floating in some ways. What I need is a specific goal to reach. What I need is a plan to get there.
During my time at Defrancos Training Systems, formerly of New Jersey, I was exposed to a crazy idea: every lift, every cut in sports, every time you take a step, you’re in one of three phases of movement.
You are slowing down (eccentric contractions)
Reversing or stopping the movement (isometric contraction or amortization)
Propelling yourself or a body segment to a different space all together (concentric contraction)
The idea of the different phases of movement is not anything revolutionary, but to train each separately to build up a lift or dynamic movement to a whole new level was!
The idea came from strength and conditioning coach Cal Dietz from the University of Minnesota and PHD candidate Ben Peterson. Both coauthored Triphasic Training: A Systematic Approach to Elite Speed and Explosive Strength Training Performance. While the programming in the latter parts of the book may be a little complicated, the beginning and background on the breakdown of...
On your mark…get set…go! And we were off. Pseudo running/crawling our way to the 20-yard line.
As we reached the 20-yard line, someone tripped over their hands and fell flat on their face, while the rest of us made the turn back towards the starting the line.
The return trip was rather uneventful, and we all crossed unscathed jumping up to cheer on the rest of our team. I’m not entirely sure how the event ended, or even how old I was, but I vividly remember my first bear crawl experience.
Maybe you can relate to the above story. You get put in teams, someone yells go, you “run” as fast as you can on all fours, and then watch as everyone else does the same. It may have served as conditioning, a mild form of punishment, or just to fill time, but either way we’re on the same page.
Although the competition and...