My Training System and Philosophy
My training system and philosophy is based on my 20+ years experience in the industry, as well as scientific research and experience of many well respected strength and conditioning professionals around the world, and serves as a foundation for every single drill and exercise I use in my program. Before an athlete can lift a single load, a strength and conditioning coach must have a clear understanding of all aspects of the athletic development:
Every single drill and exercise the athlete will perform will cause his/her organism to adapt to the stimulus provided by the exercise. This is the most important undeniable biological attribute of a human organism. These adaptations are very specific to the stimulus (exercise, load, intensity) so the selection of exercises must be very specific to the individual athletic needs. Also, since the adaptations occur continuously, the strength and conditioning professional must possess knowledge and experience to manipulate the training program to achieve continuous training effect.
Ground Based Movements
Almost all exercises an athlete performs during training must be ground based and have most of the closed kinetic chain engage in either primary movement or stabilizing function. The more force an athlete can place onto the ground at the faster rate (RFD- rate of force development), the higher he can jump, the faster he can run, throw, punch, hit. The types of exercises that can promote the development of athlete’s closed kinetic chain and enhance the force production against the ground are the ones that are initiated with athlete’s feet on the ground. Lifting exercises and conditioning drills used in my program are designed to improve the ability of an athlete to increase the application of force against the ground, increasing athlete’s RFD, as well as encourage the athlete to stabilize his/her body structure.
Multiple Joint Actions
There is not one movement in any competitive sport that involves isolated contraction of muscles around one joint. Just watch any sport on any level to prove a point.
Three-dimensional Joint Movement
There are three planes of any athletic movement and athletes must perform exercises that involve execution of drills in all three dimensions. This will not only improve the development of the primary moving muscles, but the stabilizing muscles (Global and Local), as well. The only real way to go about this is through the use of the free weights and some cable apparatuses that allow changing direction of force production allowing a greater adaptation to a sport specific activity.
Explosive Training and Olympic Style Lifting
The athletic movements in any sport are very quick and explosive and should be reflected in the athlete’s program. Power equates to force executed at a high speed. Olympic Style lifts such as Power Clean and Power Snatch, series of Olympic Lifting assistance drills along with PROPER! Plyometric progression has been proven to be the best tool for increasing the recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibers. Olympic style lifting is a very powerful tool and its progressions must be coached by a very experienced professional.
Overload happens when the body responds to training loads greater than normal. Overload causes muscles to go into a catabolic state. The body then adapts with proper rest and nutrition. By compensating repeatedly, the muscle develops more strength, power, endurance or whatever other specific physical quality your training protocol aims to develop. The load or the amount of weight lifted in each exercise is a fundamental component of strength training.
Periodization or cycling the amount of stress given to the body over the course of micro and macro-cycle allows the body to recover, grow, and make strength gains. Varying volumes and intensities of an athlete’s training protocol is the method by which this is accomplished. This is to ensure the body does not become accustomed to the same stimulus over a period of time and become stagnant. Periodization allows for strength gains to be recurring regardless of the cycle. For instance:
The focus of the off-season program must be placed on the development of the athlete’s basal strength and conditioning levels. During this time you have the best opportunity to develop the physical qualities without having to consider the fatigue caused by active participation in competitive sport. During the in-season the emphasis of the training is placed on the competition; remaining injury free, and RETAINING! strength, speed, power and conditioning levels.
Specificity and Functionality Training
It is not enough to simply lift weights, but also to be able to transfer the gains made in the weight room to the sporting field. The well balanced Strength and Conditioning program will include number of exercises and drills that will improve athlete’s execution of sport specific movements. Commonly called Functional Exercises they COMPLEMENT athlete’s MAIN strength program, helping to assure that the athlete is well balanced and stable while on the sporting field and serve as a tool that helps to solidify all athletic gains.
Even though so much of your athleticism depends on genetic factors, don’t quit training - proper approach and methodical development of an athletic program can elicit proper adaptations to the “training” stress in the organism, allowing you to raise that “athletic potential ceiling”. At the end of the day, the level of your athleticism will still be dictated by some genetic factors, but if you don’t train you will never find out how good you can become.