Nov 24, 2002

Periodization for the Athlete and Announcements

"The time we live in requires a new way of thinking." -Albert Einstein
We would like to discuss three issues in this post... A question, and two announcements. First a recent question from a reader asks,
"Should training intensity change or be cycled to assure peak performance at the most important track meets? Do you strength train first then practice your sport right after? For example......when doing speed work, I thought you would do sprint workout first followed by strength training. I`m confused!!!!"

We are not big advocates of periodization. That being said though we do believe that around 2-3 weeks before the meet you are preparing for, such as districts, sectionals or state, you need to back off to one training session per week. Keep in mind we still believe that workout should be an all-out intense training session, not a raising or lowing of the set/rep scheme as you normally would in a periodization program.

One session per week through the conference meet and districts would be sufficient. It is a myth that athletes will lose strength after 4 days of a layoff, (assuming you are working with high levels of intensity). If someone tells you this, ignore them. Then 2 weeks before state, which is one week before sectionals, (here in Missouri anyway), stop training all together to ensure that your athletes are recovered.

In regards to the order of your workout. We feel you should always do your skill training first and weight training after. During the season, I suggest that you train 2 times per week depending on the athlete's level.

Next, We would like to fill you in on our plans for the 2003 Strength & Conditioning Clinic. We have tentatively set a spring date on May 5th. However, we are also looking in to hosting a 2003 football rules interpretations meeting that will coincide with our clinic in order to encourage the attendance of more area football coaches. Should we secure the rules interpretations meeting along with our clinic, the date would be moved back to late July. We should know more concerning the actual date of the clinic within a few weeks.

We have set the structure of the clinic to be jam-packed with solid, strength training fundamentals while at the same time being brief. We think this fits in well with being Productive and Efficient!

Tentatively, Coach Mike Lawrence, Head Strength Coach at Missouri Southern University, and Jonathan Gray, Assistant Strength Coach at Missouri Southern, have agreed to speak at the event. We are excited to have them and are sure those in attendance will learn a great deal. If you are near the Kansas City area we encourage you to plan on attending.

Lastly, I wanted to comment on the Store Front. Please do not think that we are just trying to "make-a-buck" on our readers. We are not in this thing to make money, that should go without saying. The time and effort we put into producing this web site is worth it just for the people we have had the opportunity to get to know and the ideas and dialogue that it has generated. We thought that it might be fun to have a unique t-shirt or coffee mug for ourselves and while we were at it we offer them to you as well.

We hope you have a great holiday and have much to be thankful for.

Nov 19, 2002

Use Common Sense

"Life is a garden.. so dig it." -Joe Dirt
Coaches have long instructed athletes to perform exercises quickly thinking that this will be best to increase the athletes' power. The fact is that the faster the repetition the less productive in terms of developing power and explosiveness. It is obvious that if the weight can be moved quickly then the load is too light to develop significant power. also finds it very interesting that none of these Olympic lifting advocates believe that constant muscle tension is an important factor in developing power. This ensures that the muscles are doing the work. Why is it that these coaches stay away from this issue?

Another issue that we have addressed before and will address again is the issue of safety in a strength training program. Studies do indicate the reps that are performed slow produce more force output and therefore more power.

That being the case, wouldn't the slower method be the choice for our athletes? This is another issue that finds incredibly surprising. We receive e-mails from coaches saying that the Olympic movements and their variations are actually more safe than the slow movements.


Brainwashing has been very powerful the past 40 years. Coaches, think for yourself. Don't let others convince you that this is true. Common sense tells you otherwise.

Another comment that we receive from coaches, which relates to the topic of rep speed, "Take a look at [University Football Powerhouse], they haven't won but 4 games in the past 2 years. It's because they did away with power cleans 2 years ago". Huh?

There are many variables that play into a successful program and the lifting program is a part of it. However, if not doing power cleans was the sole reason than what happened to the thousands of high school and college programs that have similar losing records. They do power cleans as part of their program. So, that argument is mute.

The last example of ignorant comments we will address is that many coaches are convinced that teams such as Penn State, Michigan, Notre Dame recruit the best athletes in the nation and that is why they can get away with not doing power cleans and other Olympic lifts and variations. Huh?

These coaches must be kidding but unfortunately they are not. They also go on by saying that teams such as Nebraska always gets average athletes and the Olympic movements develop these athletes into great athletes. If that were the case what happened this year? Our point being... Doing power cleans and other quick lifts does not ensure victory any more than not doing them ensures failure.

Coaches, you have to come up with something better than that to convince yourself, and others, that training at a fast speed is best for athletes. If anybody has any comments about this article, let us know. If you have any ignorant comments made by people, send them our way and we will post-em up.

If you have questions or comments about this web site or strength development or training please drop us a note

Nov 11, 2002

In-Season/Off-Season Strength Training

Veterans Day "There was a lot of excitement when we heard about the Armistice . . . some of them old fellas was walkin' on the streets with open Bibles in their hands. All the shops were shut down. I never seen the people so crazy . . . confetti was a-flying in all directions . . . I'll never forget it." -James Hughes
We have had some concerns about high school athletes that participate in multiple sports. For example, many athletes, play football in the fall, wrestle or basketball in the winter, and run track or play baseball in the spring. When does the athlete strength train?

No coach of any sport wants their athletes to strength train in the winter or spring for football and have it effect their in-season performance. We all need to realize that strength training is a year round activity and it would be mistake to not train during a particular season.

For multi-sport athletes, training twice per week is recommended. Mike Vorkapich, who is the strength trainer at Michigan State University for the basketball team, recommends that high school athletes that participate in football in the fall and basketball in the winter should train twice per week during basketball season. The workout should be reduced in the number of exercises as is traditional in-season training workout. The session should be the day after the game and after practice which will ensure maximum recovery before the next game. believes that this approach makes sense and is very sound. Coach Vorkapich also believes that it is a myth that strength training during the season will affect the athletes shot. He has not found this to be the case and neither have we. feels that all coaches should be on the same page in a school and organize a plan for all athletes to train year round regardless of the sport they are in at that time. It is for the benefit of the athlete to do so. Do not be the lone coach that does not want his athletes lifting during the season in fear that it will affect their performance. This is incorrect, selfish and does not benefit your team, the individual athlete, or the school itself. Work as team and you will get better results than you ever would have imagined.


***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***