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Strength & Power for Athletes
Train the Brain
Performance enhancement via weight training is a topic understood by a select few in today's confused fitness world. Athletes must "train the brain" to improve strength, power and performance. Athletes must refine the specific skills that can be applied to their sport. In other words, be specific; do not waste your time training for irrelevant skills. Finally, finding the weak links in the chain is the way to create a significant competitive edge. One must train hard, but more importantly, train SMART to reach full performance potential
Strength & Power
The nervous system plays a vital role in strength performance, while the muscles are secondary for the purposes of our conversation. A correlation between muscle size and strength does exist, but you would be amazed to see how strong people of smaller stature can become. Furthermore, pure strength is not always the most important component for improved performance. How quickly an athlete can apply that strength determines power output. Sports require power! A football player who can accelerate a barbell with 400 pounds in 2 seconds is more powerful than another athlete that can press 500 pounds in 3.5 seconds. A football coach would pick the more powerful player any day of the week.
You are only as strong as your weakest link!
The key to improving performance is addressing weak links that are holding you back. Many athletes make the mistake of continually training the same muscle groups and nervous system patterns. Failing to identify weaknesses will ensure failure! The exercises and/or training system you are not currently doing may be a better answer for you. Humans are creatures of habit, while athletes are creatures of obsession. I know of too many athletes who have executed the same training routines for years. All of these athletes have something in common. None of them make significant progress, and they fail to reach their goals.
Sports specificity is another aspect that is often overlooked. Unfortunately, many athletes are trained like bodybuilders. As a result, the athletes gain size and may look great, but do they have the necessary strength and power to gain an edge? Too many athletes look like Tarzan, but play like Jane! Athletes must train for the skills needed in their respective sports. A basketball player will need to train to maximize vertical jump while the same skill is not as crucial for tennis. Lets identify which skills you need to improve! Together we can work on developing your competitive advantage.
My experience with strength training is far different than most. I have been in the trenches myself as a Big Ten football player and powerlifter. Instructing as a strength and football coach has enabled me to gain an understanding of sport performance. My recent strength training experience at the University Nevada Las Vegas allowed me to work with a diverse group of male and female athletes. Working with many different people in a strength training capacity helped me to understand the vital skills needed to develop razor sharp competitive edges for athletes.
Addressing weak points can be difficult for an athlete. Oftentimes spotting the weak points is an elusive chore. My experience enables me to help you find the missing link! Lets discuss an example. A client of mine wanted to improve his bench press in the worse way. He was a dedicated athlete who trained smarter and harder than most. However he had a weak point that he never addressed. While attempting maximal bench efforts he would fail a couple inches off his chest. As always, his spotter would be there to help him through the sticking point. Both the trainee and the spotter noticed that a little help at the sticking point was all the trainee needed.
Finding the weak link
Brett came to me for help. My initial reaction was that he had a weak chest. Bench pressing requires the use of a few muscle groups but primarily chest and triceps are utilized. A weak chest results in failures close to the bottom of the movement while lagging triceps results in sticking points around the middle of the movement. I asked Brett to do a certain training drill that would assess specific sections of his bench press technique. Brett placed a three-inch board on top of his chest while benching. Amazingly enough he was able to bench heavier weights than ever before. Why? The board caused Brett to start the movement beyond the sticking point. We discovered Brett had very strong triceps since he was able to blast 300 pounds when using the board, but he struggled with 260 during a normal bench rep.
As a practitioner of strength training, I prescribed several exercises that would improve chest strength by increasing barbell speed and force through the currently weak range of motion. Eight weeks later, Brett broke his personal bench record of 280 with a 295-pound attempt. Other alterations to Brett's training also proved to be helpful. Brett hit a 325-pound max at a body weight of 181 pounds.
Preparing for an event
Recently, two former Big Ten football players asked me to help them with their XFL football league combine preparation. Three major performance exercises are measured- forty yard dash, vertical jump, and the 225-pound repetition bench press. I prescribed an adapted form of the Westside Barbell Club training system that makes use of compensatory acceleration training. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to consult with Dave Tate of Westside Barbell. Dave keeps me up-to-date on his latest developments. To make a long story short, Compensatory acceleration focuses on accelerating relatively low weights. The acceleration helps the athlete produce more force, tension and power. The affect on the nervous system is amazing. This system has produced several powerlifting world record holders. Several football organizations, in particular, have had tremendous success with adapted versions of this system.
My clients needed to improve their skills to be tested at the combine. As a result, we trained in a way that would maximize performance for those tests. Their max numbers may increase while we prepare for the combine, but that is a secondary issue. They need to be powerful and well prepared for challenges they will face. I adjusted their benching techniques and both athletes immediately increased their number of reps with 225. Certain tactics will add several reps or pounds to bench press performance. The specific squatting techniques utilized are great for the vertical jump and 40-yard dash. We use special rubber bands during our compensatory acceleration training to maximize nervous system reactions.
You can only reach your full potential if you train hard and smart. I can design the right program for your individual needs. You can worry about training hard and I will take care of all of the rest. Work with me and be reassured that all of your hard work will produce what we are all judged by;
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