Most of us at one point in our athletic careers or countless hours spent in the weight room have probably thought that the most important muscles we use in our bodies are the ones you can see when you flex in front of the mirror. The truth is the muscles we “can’t see in the mirror” and of the posterior chain are the most crucial for sports performance. If you fail to focus on developing strength, power, mobility, coordination, and even to accelerate speed, then you are in a position to fail and to get injured. There has been countless times while playing sports that my rear deltoid and my hamstrings would always be tight or not working as well as they could be. I neglected training the posterior chain and it held me back from performing better on the field.
If you have never really focused on training the posterior chain, it will be awkward at first and you will feel unbalanced. “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” is something I swear by and is what every great strength coach will always tell you. As an athlete, powerlifter, or weightlifter you got to master the basics and get strong in every single area in order to succeed. How do you get these muscles stronger, and more balanced? Pulling exercises (I will explain more later in this article). I asked Coach Dan Boothby about this. I asked him what he thought was more important when training. Is it pushing or pulling exercises? He told me that pulling is more important. When an athlete makes contact in any sport or gets physically “hit”, their body automatically falls into a fetal position. You want to do more “pulling” exercises so you are strong enough to keep yourself up as much as possible when you do get hit, or make contact with an opponent in sports.
Some of the muscles you should mainly focus on of the posterior chain are the lats, rhomboids, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, rear deltoids, and even your triceps (if you are not turning your arm in the mirror to flex those bad boys).
These are the muscles that are going to generate the most power and force in all of your movements as an athlete. They are the ones that will make you jump higher, accelerate quicker, and move better.
To further explain this article to you, let me give you some of the basic exercises you should begin doing in order to start building a strong, sturdy posterior chain which will ultimately improve your athletic career.
-Pull Ups (All variations)
-One Arm Dumbbell Rows
-Lat Pulldowns (with bands or machine)
Those are all the basic exercises that I am going to get into today. They are easy to do, and hard to mess up! In order to go more in depth with more exercises and how to do them properly leave a comment below with your email address.
This Wednesday, my fellow interns and I learned how to properly front squat, back squat, sumo dead lift and trap dead lift. Like every week, Dan showed us certain things to look for when performing specific exercises. The interns get a chance to cue each other on how to properly perform each exercise. Coaching each other helps the interns learn from mistakes. Lastly, it gives us a chance to ask Dan plenty questions to better understand his knowledge behind each exercise. These Level 2 lower body exercises tend to be used in power lifting. I was interested in learning more about power lifting and came across some tips when benching such as:
1) Position your body properly on the bench.
2) Get a firm grip.
3) Maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses with the proper grip width and arm position.
Long arms – elbows out, wider grip,
Short arms – elbows in, closer grip.
Weak pecs – elbows in, narrower grip Strong pecs – wider grip, elbows out
Weak front delts – elbows out, wide grip
Strong front delts – narrower grip, elbows close to torso
Weak triceps – elbows out, wider grip
Strong triceps – elbows in, closer grip
4) Use assistance exercises.
5) Lower and press the bar through the optimal path.
I also found some issues when performing a back squat:
1) Squat Depth- Not getting low enough is a problem, it could be due to tight ankles, inefficient hips or simple technique.
2) Full Rom- Essentially you want to use no weight and practice squatting using a box, therefore you can reach enough squat depth when its time to use weight.
3) Core Deficiencies- You want to be able control your breathing, the more tension equals more stability and more strength.
Athletes and power lifters need to make sure they are doing these exercises accurately and efficiently. As long as they maintain correct position and stability, they can guarantee results.
What is a Coaching Philosophy?
Being a coach can be challenging. You are not only concerned about each player, but the team as a whole. Therefore you need to be able to balance the player development and the team winning. One way that you can do this effectively is to create a coaching philosophy.
A coaching philosophy is a statement of what you value and how you will approach your coaching role. It covers your purpose as a coach, major objectives, and the beliefs and principles that you adhere to in order to achieve you objectives (Mitchell, 2013)
Many of the coaches I have had throughout my career in volleyball have made a major impact on my life, and I would like to be able to the same to the athletes and teams that I work with. Below is a coaching philosophy that I created, which incorporates things that I have learned from my previous coaches which help me to become the athlete I am today.
- Objectives: To help build athletes strength, speed, agility, etc. and decrease injury on the court, and to help build athletes confidence.
- Approach: Set realistic goals (focus on progress not perfection), keep the athletes accountable, acknowledge effort and progress of individuals and team, and the process is more important than the outcome.
- Values: Positivity, hard-work, Team over individual attitude, Willingness to learn or try new techniques
The link below is for an article written by Jeff Mitchell. This article can help you to create your own coaching philosophy.
FMS stands for Functional Movement Screen. FMS is a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns that are key to normal function by putting individuals through a series of movements, which include:
1. Deep squat
2. Hurdle step
3. Inline Lunge
4. Shoulder Mobility
5. Active Straight-leg Raise
6. Trunk Stability push-up
7. Rotary stability
Each of these seven movements helps to identify functional limitations and asymmetries that an individual may have. These limitations and asymmetries are issues that can reduce the effects of strength training and physical conditioning and distort body awareness.
It is important for and athlete to do the Functional Movement Screen before trying to do any load bearing activity in the weight room. If the athlete is unable to perform any of the 7 movements of the FMS they need to take steps to strengthen the weaknesses that were shown while performing the FMS test before progressing to a weight bearing activities such as a squat.
Last week I created my very own coaching philosophy, which included my core values, objectives and principles. Writing my coaching philosophy will give my coaching values consistency. Since my coaching philosophy is a rough draft at the moment, I can still make changes. During our educational period on Wednesday, we went over Level 1 Upper Body Exercises such as Tempo Push-Up, 1 Arm DB Bench with your feet on the bench, Prone DB Row, 1 Arm Cable Lat Pull-down, Supine Band Pull-apart, and Snow Devils. These exercises include working on your chest, latissimus dorsi muscles, and shoulders. Dan taught the interns how to use certain cues that will aid the athlete to use correct form along with helping us become better coaches.
The definition of metabolic conditioning is structured patterns of work and rest periods to prompt a certain response from the body. After research, an article I found describes metabolic conditioning as the response you want to maximize efficiency of a particular energy system. The body uses different ratios of work to rest periods and causes different energy systems to produce. Metabolism refers to the way your body breaks down food for energy. There are three primary pathways for metabolism which are the immediate system, the intermediate system and the long duration system. These systems provide different ways of achieving energy.
The Immediate system provides the fastest way to gain energy. It happens when performing exercises are less than 10 seconds long such as power exercises. These lifts roughly need 3-5min recovery time.
The Intermediate system provides energy for longer lasting activities, usually between 1-4 minutes. It is used in shorter duration with intense activities, including weightlifting and mid-distance running intervals, and takes about 1-3 minutes to recover.
The Long Duration System can go for hours of easy to moderate intensity work since the body has tons of fuel to burn for the system (fat). Recovery is just a matter of seconds.
Metabolic conditioning allows you to use different energy systems, taking into account rest periods using high intensity. Here are some workouts to look at:
Goal: Improve power
Focus: Immediate system
Work to rest ratio: 1:10
Box Jumps 10 seconds
Rest 1.5-2 minutes
Plyometric Push-ups 10 seconds
Rest 1.5-2 minutes
Broad Jumps 10 seconds
Rest 1.5-2 minutes
Goal: Improve sports performance
Focus: Intermediate system
Work to rest ratio: 1:2
Kettlebell swings 20 seconds
Rest 40 seconds
Kettlebell cleans 20 seconds
Rest 40 seconds
Kettlebell snatches 20 seconds
Rest 40 seconds
Kettlebell push-presses 20 seconds
Rest 40 seconds
Goal: Improve endurance performance
Focus: Long-Duration system
Work to rest ratio: 4:1
Kettlebell swings 30 seconds
Kettlebell cleans 30 seconds
Kettlebell snatches 30 seconds
Kettlebell push-presses 30 seconds
Rest 30 seconds
Goal: Get lean (combination of both short- and long-duration)
Work to rest ratio: 1:2 and 3:1 (perform each once a week)
Burpees 30 seconds
Rest 60 seconds
Jumping squats 30 seconds
Rest 60 seconds
Pull-ups 30 seconds
Rest 60 seconds
Mountain climbers 30 seconds
Rest 60 seconds
Squat to press 30 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Pull-up 30 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Jumping lunges 30 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Renegade rows 30 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Rest 1 minute then repeat 2x
Back in high school I can remember believing that running was the best way to get in shape before I discovered that I wanted to make a career out of strength and conditioning,
I remember going for long runs before my workouts when I would do 2-a-days to prepare for football. Looking back I realize that I should never have been even thinking about any long distance type running. My endurance did go up, but my body composition and muscle mass decreased. This caused me to be weaker and smaller than the guys I would go up against in football. It took a number on my knees, and ankles as well which led to injuries.
Although running so much was a bad choice for me or anyone as an athlete, it is something that taught me several different ways to develop speed, strength, and become more injury preventable.
If you are an athlete, a trainer, a strength coach, or just someone looking to get lean & hard, then start doing the following exercises often with your training routine for now on.
Farmer walks- These help with ankle injury prevention as well!
Tabata Farmer walks——30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. 5-8 Rounds
Sled drags to work the posterior chain.. Try 4-6 rounds of 80-100 feet using moderate to heavy weights
Sled Pushes are great as well for total body conditioning and to do as a FINISHER at the end of your workouts
Max Out Sprints- Perfect for developing power, and speed. I like 40 yarders, 60 yarders, and of course 110- yarders are great too.
Hill Sprints- 8-10 hill sprints once or twice a week will help athletes develop power and speed as well.
Depending on the athletes current condition, don’t take long rests in between sets. The goal here is to not only work on strength, endurance, speed, and fat loss, but to work on mental toughness as well.
So remember, stop running for long distances unless that is what you actually do for a sport. Focus more on conditioning drills like these that I have listed here for you. Watch your endurance sky rocket, total body strength gains, speed dramatically increase, body become rock hard, and mental toughness go beyond everyone around you.
Over the past couple weeks of observing athletes train specific workouts I haven’t seen before, I have always wanted to try them out for myself. Finally last week, Big Mike suggested that we get more familiar with these exercises. During our free time, the interns went through the motion.
Each of us were taught how to properly hip hinge, lunge, and squat using a PVC pipe. The pipe is used to guide you through the exercise using the correct technique. My fellow interns and I cued each other on technique using the PVC pipe. Mike then introduced us to using the proper form of “deadbug”. This workout was harder than it looked. After just a few minutes of reps on each exercise, my abdominal muscles felt sore. Going forward, I’m always going to be aware of having three points of contact as if I had a PVC pipe on my back.
This week, Dan demonstrated the correct form of Level 1 lower body exercises such as glute bridges, PVC hip hinges, assisted 1 leg SLDL, PVC split squat, assisted squat, and Keiser squat. I was more familiar with these exercises. Of course, with these exercises along with any other exercise, you want to find out whats working. For example, with glute bridges you want to drive through your heels. But, that’s not enough. You want to feel your glutes turn on. Sometimes using a mini band around your knees can help you use your glutes opposed to your hamstrings or lower back. In the future, I want to use these techniques to guide my friends, family, clients and whom ever else may be in need of proper form.
An exercise that I read about is called the 90/90 bridge with ball and balloon. This exercise is designed to enhance breathing, posture and stability in order to improve function and to lower pain of the person doing the exercise. This exercise is meant to increase respiration and limb movements. It also increases postural demands for stabilization. The Zone of Apposition (ZOA) is an area of the diaphragm that communicates to the inner aspect of the lower rib cage. The Zone of Apposition is important because it is controlled by the abdominal muscles and directs tension to the diaphragm. After researching the ball and balloon exercise I thought was very interesting and I would like to try it myself.
I’m interested in learning more about strength and conditioning in different ways using different types of exercises. Each week I’m learning about correct techniques that I can apply when I’m working with athletes. This up coming week I will create my very own coaching philosophy.
Every coach develops their own coaching philosophy’s over time by working with different athletes and providing their own personal experiences along with their own beliefs. After reading an article by Mark Guthrie, he helped break down some basic principles that coaches should incorporate into creating their own philosophies. He helped me in understanding that there are 8 core principles every coach, no matter what type of coach you may be, should use as a guideline.
The 8 core principles Guthrie had mentioned were:
- Be yourself.
- Define your coaching objectives.
- Establish rules.
- Build and nurture relationships with athletes.
- Be organized.
- Involve your assistant coaches.
- Help athletes manage their stress.
- Focus on the big picture.
Coaches want to try to instill these principles into their daily work with their athletes as well as with the other coaches that they work with. For example, building and nurturing relationships with athletes is a very important concept because you want to get to know all of your athletes on a personal basis so that they can instill trust into you. You also want to always remain professional at all times, and to make sure your athletes follow the rules and concepts you establish.
A lot of athletes, especially student athletes, have much more that they are going through and have on their plates, no matter what division they may be in. Between school work, personal life, and their sport of interest, you want to make sure you’re always understanding and encouraging the people you are working with. Many young athletes function more from an individual stand point, rather than working in a group. This is a key concept for coaches to understand and incorporate in their coaching strategies when working with their athletes when getting them all to work as a team.
With all of these principles mentioned above, you can create your own coaching philosophy. You can change these principles around and tweak them to what works for the way you coach, as well as to how your athletes and fellow coaches respond to your way of coaching and viewing concepts. Your coaching philosophy will continue to grow and evolve as your career goes on and as your experiences are expanding. I want to be able to incorporate these concepts into my own coaching philosophy, whether it’s to guide my family, friends, or athletes throughout my life and career.
Lately there has been a lot of tension going on in the industry all over the internet via facebook, youtube and twitter. It is mostly about who is wrong, who is right, who is good, and who is not good. Powerlifters are attacking cross fitters, cross fitters are attacking powerlifters, and everyone is wondering how these so called “fitness gurus” are making all of this money on the internet by imitating other strength
This is why I decided to limit the amount of stuff I read, watch, and listen to on the internet. Throughout my first 2 years of being a strength coach and personal trainer, I have been mislead a few times in order to learn a huge lesson I wanted to share with you…
Get “in the trenches” for hands on experience is simply the best way to learn, and have your core of coaches whose philosophies you truly believe in and want to apply to your own. How are you supposed to know when a strength coach is providing legitimate knowledge or not? You implement what you learn from them with your own training and your athletes. After that, you see what works, and what doesn’t work. Also, get some feedback. Ask your coaches, athletic trainers, or co-workers about their opinions on their products and information they are giving out.
1) Eric Cressey (www.ericcressey.com)
Eric mostly trains professional baseball players. All of his articles, books, and interviews provide quality content that will make you a better coach. He is very knowledgeable about the elbow and the shoulder.
2) Mike Robertson
Mike is a strength coach out of his own facility in Indiana. He trains high school, college, and professional athletes. He is mostly known for training NBA All-Star, Roy Hibbert. Mike Robertson’s interviews provide great content and open up your mind to new knowledge. my favorite quote by him is “if you’re not assessing, then your’e just guessing.
Also, the “7 R’s” by Mike Robertson is an awesome sequence for any strength coach creating a program in the: Release, Reset, Readiness, Reactive, Resistance Training, Regenerate, and Recover
3) Mike Boyle-
I think Mike Boyle is a love/hate type of strength coach. He has been in the field for 30 years and is a huge contribution towards making it a potential high paying career for anyone who is willing to put the work in. He runs www.strengthcoach.com which is a great place to connect with other strength coaches, and read tons of articles that will help you become more knowledgable. Also, he has several books out, and awesome interviews/tutorial videos on Youtube.
I was looking at some information on classical conditioning and thought some of its theories were applicable to coaching student athletes. As a coach you want to elicit a particular response from the athlete. You want them to work hard, and perform skills the right way. I believe some of the basic principles of classical conditioning can be of use.
Let’s start with the definition. classical conditioning is a type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus. By consistently presenting the stimulus you increase probability of the intended response. When the unconditioned response is present the stimulus will continue to be effective. If only the stimulus is present over time the response will began to weaken. During the period of time where the unconditioned stimulus is not present the previous response will spontaneously recover (bad habit returns).
Let’s say a basketball player wants to improve their shooting form. They are taught the efficient form (stimuli 1) and rewarded by making the shot and verbal cues (stimuli 2). If the result continues to be made baskets (unconditioned response) they will continue to follow the shooting form. When they experience a shooting slump the previous shooting form may surface again and the player may revert back to the old form (spontaneous recovery).
The key I believe is getting the player to buy-in to the thought that the form will work. This could work by explaining how it helps them specifically, by giving examples that they understand instead of having the “just do what I say” mentality. If they don’t buy-in there is a possibility they will listen to the personal trainer at their local gym or their best friend or anyone else with an opinion about training for their sport. This can be counter-productive to what a coach is trying to accomplish with players during the year. Arm them with facts and knowledge, because bad habits, once learned, are hard to break.
In the case of strength and conditioning, the players that are more susceptible are freshman, sophomores and transfer students. These players may need more guidance, more attention and need skills and expectations to be explained to them more often. It could be helpful to prevent old habits from resurfacing, or developing new inefficient ones.