This blog is devoted to physical health and performance for athletes. My primary interest is in athletic development, particularly the appropriate application of resistance training, weight training and weightlifting movements in athletes of all ages and levels of skill.
This is footage from the 2004 Midwest Championships--the first time I ever took video at a competition. JMBrown dukes it out with Danny Herr in a epic battle of 77 kg school-age dudes. It is a sentimental favorite.
Happy New Year to everyone! May your 2011 be filled with PR's on and off the platform.
Two great moments in time from the work of Bud Greenspan. He was the ultimate story teller and a friend of weightlifting, with his 1953 documentary of and then 1986 SI article remembering two-time US Olympian, John Davis. I would love to purchase his official Olympic documentaries if they are available. Does anyone know if they are for sale?
Until then, I will hunt around YouTube for some more Greenspan gems and try to find more on John Davis. It is so refreshing to read and see these stories of the human spirit and condition. So much of today's media, especially the sports media, focuses on the flashy trappings of professional athletes or the seedy underside of their lives. It's now all about entertainment and the freaks that entertain; not about the purity of a sport, sport skill or the head-to-head competition.
Most of you know have seen my videos and know I'm pretty competent with Dartfish. Great software, but it is expensive and in order to use it in the gym (via In The Action) you have to have your camera streaming to a laptop via Firewire cable or an IP camera set up. This can be a problem if you cannot leave things set up in the gym and there are other things and people flying around the gym. I'm not interested in leaving my laptop or camera around chalk, bouncing barbells or bounding bodies.
What to do? Well, I've used my circa 2000 Sony DSC camera quite successfully to take basic video, but the screen is really too small to see well, and there is no easy way to slow down the video or to quickly get it to people without importing the images to the laptop and emailing them after the session.
I've considered the Flip video cameras, but again, you need to connect the camera to a computer to send the files. The Flip Share / Library is very, very nice, but the screen is s…
The Fobers, owners of a plug-in NEV for 1.5 years now, will be first in line when this film hits the 314. We highly recommend watching Who Killed the Electric Car? to get a bit of the history of the electric car and the issues surrounding its success (or lack thereof) in the US.
This warm up series and video is like an early Christmas present! It is so refreshing to see someone else emphasize purposeful, dynamic mobility work and quality bottom position work with the barbell. I love the long pulls for both lifts. Lately I've been emphasizing the muscle snatch and clean with all of my athletes to help develop mobility, proper receiving position and smooth, close turnover for the snatch and clean. I will definitely be incorporating these barbell sequences into my warm ups.
And I could just hug Greg for asking people to maintain grip on the barbell with the clean long pulls into the receiving position on the shoulders! Solid racking of the bar on the shoulders in the bottom position demands a very specific shoulder flexibility. Yes, you need normal wrist and elbow mobility, but the key here is shoulder mobility; specifically BILATERAL shoulder external rotation in the context of BILATERAL shoulder flexion with normal thoracic spine mobility.
The Man received the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week. He and wife Lil are fabulous people--treasures of our fair city. This video captures Stan's graciousness, modesty and sense of humor. Happy 90th Birthday to Stan Musial, one of America's finest athletes and citizens.
PB&J, aka Ryan Pierson, travels with his new team, the Northeastern University Huskies to Carbondale, IL for a game against the SIU-C Salukis tomorrow morning at 9 am CT. The game will be televised on ESPN as a part of their College Basketball Tip-Off Marathon. The game will also appear online on ESPN3 if you want to watch a replay later or need an online diversion during the day.
Ryan was in the starting line up for the Huskies first game and victory over the Boston University Terriers last Friday, 66-64. He's #30 in the white jersey in the picture above. He tells me he is working hard and learning how to wrestle with the 7 ft + big dudes in practice. I'm looking forward to watching him play tomorrow. Guess I'm going to have to start calling him Soul Patch, since he's now sporting the very cool facial hair.
“@StLouisSmack: @pistl Can you buy by the slice in the restaurants?” thanks. We sell whole pies only.I have the same approach as Pi. There are no individual workouts posted here. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Every workout has a context, purpose and a goal. Not appropriate to sell by the slice.
Ready to bust out with "I'm a Little Tea Pot" at any moment!
The new kids on the block have been working hard over the summer and fall months. Their genes have blessed them with great height at such a young age--all are only 16 years old--three of them just last month! But gravity, super long femurs, tight hamstrings and school desks conspire against their spines. Muscles and tendons are desperately trying to keep up. So we move and groove, building awareness, alignment, mobility and strength in hopes of creating frames that will be mechanically resilient and resistant to the pounding these guys face on the basketball and volleyball court.
It takes time, patience and calories. And then more patience, more time, more calories, more reps, more sets, more purposeful mobility work to achieve the same movement competencies we ask of their shorter counterparts. For sure, each athlete has a few different tweaks to his programming and understands that he has specific issue…
Repost from Vern Gambetta's Functional Path Training blog this morning. If you have any questions about what this program is like, I'm happy to answer them also. I am proud to be part of the 2011 GAIN faculty.
2011 GAIN Apprentorship June 17 – 22
Be a leader! Apply now and join a select group of professionals at the 2011 GAIN Apprentorship. Our goal is to define the field of Athletic Development by educating professionals in foundational principles and methodology as applied to coaching, physical education and rehabilitation. This program is not for the faint of heart or dilettantes, it is intense, intellectually challenging and demanding.
GAIN Apprentorship = Apprenticeship + Mentorship
We combine both into a blend of theory and practice in a five-day residential coaching school format. This is an opportunity to observe, question, and explore the application of the Gambetta Method - Systematic Sport Development Model of training, teaching and injury rehabilitation.
Spent a beautiful weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. Met Kevin's college swim coach, Jack Pettinger. Took in the homecoming game and saw the fantastic UW Marching Band. These people have to be some of the most fit students on campus. We saw them working--marching and playing--from 9:30 am (11 am game time) until 2:30 with their 15 minute, 5th quarter performance. Groups came up into the stands to serenade us during the game, and they were wisely eating--just like athletes who needed some extra calories. I am sure most of the band members burn more calories than most of the football team on a home game day.
The video below has images from our visit, including the entire UW Band run on to the field and the 5th Quarter. If you squint and put it on 480p (yes, I know my 10 y.o. Sony needs to be replaced), you can see them high-stepping in place as the rest of the band runs on. The 5th Quarter is a long-standing tradition where the band comes back on the field and plays On Wisconsin,…
I first heard Jimmy Radcliffe speak at the 1999 NSCA Coaches College in Colorado Springs. He didn't just talk. The man jumped, hopped, bounded, skipped and ran with grace, precision and an explosiveness I had never seen. He spoke with wisdom and humility. At 5'6" and maybe a buck sixty, this guy was not what I imagined when I found out he was a Division I strength coach.
Since that time, I've had the opportunity to listen to and speak with Coach Radcliffe in depth at the 2009 and 2010 GAIN meetings. His background is in weightlifting and track & field. He is the consummate professional--the real deal when it comes to developing the complete athlete. No false bravado; no quick fixes. If you get the chance to hear him speak, jump, bound, skip and run to it.
Coach Radcliffe will be with me on the faculty at GAIN 2011. If you are interested in attending GAIN 2011, drop me a line.
Training is about building physical foundations in the context of fundamental movements. The movements begin with basic ground-based movements and then progress to more complex and sport-specific movements.
Physical foundations. What is that? Strength? Endurance? Work capacity? Mobility? Body awareness? It is all of these things, but in the context of movement skills. And this takes time. It begins with an evaluation of where the individual starts--posture, movement coordination, dynamic vs static abilities. It progresses with the individual. Some progress quickly. Others need time--more strength, more reps to master the movement, more time to adapt.
Training sessions apply constructive stress to the system. Over time, positive adaptations occur. More is not always better. High intensity is not always appropriate. Both are always tempting to do. You cannot groove skilled movement going balls to the wall, in a fatigued state. You go balls to the wall when you have mast…
Exhibit at OTC. Very pertinent to our two month journey that led to the event in COS.
A new friend visited us as we dined on the patio at Cheyenne Mountain Resort.
Kara and Melissa with 2008 Olympian, Kendrick Farris at the venue.
Kara and Melissa right outside the USA Weightlifting gym at the OTC. We observed some current resident athletes training Friday afternoon.
After dinner at Cheyenne Mountain. Great food, fantastic service and a wonderful view. The entire whirlwind weekend--96 hours--was a great finale to our two-month training. I will write more in detail about our experience this week.
If you are wondering if your classical lifts are in line with each other, or with your assistance lifts, check out the Sport Expert weightlifting calculator. The site also has some very good technique analysis from international competitions.
Here are a few clips of Kara's progress over the last 5 weeks. After training for a few days, it became clear to me that Kara would benefit from trying the split snatch. If someone has ankle, hip flexor, or shoulder/t-spine mobility limitations, the split snatch can be a great alternative. It is a very beautiful, athletic movement, as Kara demonstrates. Can you see the changes in her posture and overall mobility?
So glad Friday is here. It has been a long, but good week. Supposed to be beautiful this weekend, in the 70's. I am so ready for fall.
Recently, many of my CF friends have taken a greater interest in working on their mobility. This a good thing. Joint health and movement skill require a flexible, supple musculoskeletal system. One cannot effectively use strength and power without good mobility.
My four building blocks of physical health are awareness, alignment, mobility and strength. A training plan must develop all aspects of your movement system, not just strength and power. Mobility must be integrated and developed within the context of what you need to do. It must be a part of your training, not a random afterthought. If your programming is mindful and purposeful, then your training will not only work to make you stronger. It will also work to address your strength in the context of your mobility needs. Quality strength and power movement grooves mobility.
What is the angle of the shin when one lands with good mechanics on one foot? On two feet?
What is the angle of the shin when one uses proper acceleration mechanics?
What is the angle of the shin with skipping?
What is the angle of the shin in the "athletic stance" or "ready position" for many sports? Batting stance? Getting low on defense?
Doesn't effective ground-based force production require a coordinated effort using the foot, ankle, knee and hip?
Shouldn't the squat mechanics we teach support teaching a coordinated effort of the entire lower extremity, not just focus on the heel and the hip? The forefoot, midfoot, ankle and knee are also important parts of the equation. Center of pressure on the foot is dynamic, not static. Shouldn't the athlete learn to feel this? Isn't this a part of being balanced? Can we really reduce squat mechanics to the heel and the hip, when so much else of athletic movement calls for a positive shin angle and in…
He's driven almost3,000 miles over the last year without a single visit to the gas station. We track our monthly electricity usage and cannot discern an increase in our bill. We could be off-setting any increase by the fact that also dropped cable / network TV at the same time, so we do not run the projector very often.
It's very interesting to drive Elmo out among other cars. You realize just how powerful and large the average car is and how fast people drive on neighborhood roads. Few, if any, people drive the speed limit on roads with 30-40 mph limits unless a cop is visible. I even notice a difference in my temperament when I drive Elmo vs Sheila (2004 Subaru Forester XT, 5 speed). I have more patience and calm--I cannot really be in a hurry and I cannot use my car to vent frustration. It makes me wonder how different the roads would be if people could not show aggressiveness through their driving.
Speaking of calm, not having TV in the house for a year has been fan…
Today is the end of week three in our training for the hybrid Crossfit / USA Weightlifting competition October 1-3. I'm working with 4 individuals and we train 8+ hours a week, over 4 days. Two athletes only train 2x a week with my, while the others train 4 days. I told my 4x/week people that I would work with them only under the following conditions:
1. No Crossfit class workouts for duration of our training (2 months). If you have withdrawal or a panic attack, text me and I'll talk you down and give you something appropriate.
2. The following exercises are off limits: deadlifts, kipping pull ups, KTE, CF-style KB swings, ring dips, muscle ups, Prowler pushing, thrusters, push presses.
3. The following exercises are ok: double-unders, rowing, sprints, bodyweight squats, lunges, front squats (strict form), snatches, cleans, power and split jerks, incline DB presses, HSPU.
Just 8 weeks. I know you can do it. Let your bodies recover from your training for and participation…
I'm not an individual sport kinda athlete. Don't like being out there all alone in the discus ring or weightlifting platform; not blessed with raw explosiveness and athleticism. But put me on a team, where strategy, planning, knowledge of the sport, consistency and fundamentals count, and I'll be successful.
In high school volleyball, I was the setter. Too stubborn to get rid of my goofy-footed approach, my high school coach made me set and I thrived. In college, I loved directing a 5-1 offense and keeping the opposing team off-guard.
In high school basketball, I was the 2-guard and a small forward. My job wasn't to score, but to get the ball to Darla Pannier, our junior center who would go on to be a high school All-American. Darla had the school season scoring record; I had the season assist record only because of Darla. Nothing made me happier than drawing a defender off-balance and getting the ball to Darla for the "and-one." My husband is always hap…
I'm starting several new athletes over next few weeks. All will go through an initial 2 part evaluation that occurs over 2 days. I take the time to review past medical history with a parent, look at static and dynamic flexibility, upper and lower extremity strength, torso control with various movements and any other factor that might jump out at me, given PMH and their specific sport demands.
So the evaluation gives me a snapshot of where the athlete is now and then gives me insight into variables that may or may not impact training and performance down the road. I understand certain adaptations occur in sport, so I attend to them but keep in mind that I probably shouldn't try to fix it if it really ain't broke. I want to see if the athlete meets basic physical competencies--the physical building blocks that form the foundations for technical and tactical skills in the sport. And I want my tests to be relevant, measurable and meaningful.
There aren't many in-depth learning opportunities these days. I recently spent 6 full days immersed in topics that relate to LTAD (long-term athletic development) at the GAIN 2010 Apprentorship in Ft. Lauderdale. This was my second year to attend and my first to speak.
Some highlights of the event for me:
1. Diversity. As always, the diversity of the faculty and delegates makes this event unique. There are international / Olympic level coaches in dialogue with grass-roots physical educators and coaches. MDs, ATCs and PTs get together in group sessions in the evening to discuss barriers to patient care and how to overcome them. We in the US are exposed to the sport cultures of the UK, Europe and Australia. The threads that tie us together are a quest for physical health and performance for all levels of athlete. We still lack diversity as far as race and gender are concerned, but hopefully that will come around.
2. Professionalism and respect. The GAIN environment promotes …