Can someone please tell me how duplicating on the field or court movements that always occur in a RANDOM environment in a predictable training environment constitutes movement training? Sure absolutely for the novice executing predictable cuts in front of a dummy or dancing in the ladder helps but man alive after a while this becomes nothing more than a dynamic warm up. You have to figure out how to take a piece of a movement and overload it to make the whole movement better and this only can occur in a random unpredictable training environment with intermediate through advanced athletes. Otherwise you are merely demonstrating movement, not improving it.

Disclaimer: These should not be used during a lower body strength or power cycle. These should not be used when you anticipate a sprint or lower body power test like vertical jump, etc. They are meant for an off season bump to your training.

You could use them on leg day maybe at the end of day. Or you could use them solo.

Here is the key. You must pick a weight that you can do for 10 failing at around 10. Then with 2-3 breaths between reps do 10 more reps with the same weight after that. 20 should be impossible but get it anyway. You should tease the body about survival a bit.

Why do these work? Read On. It gets thick. Read it anyway.

GROWTH HORMONE

 Growth hormone(GH) is a peptide hormone that is produced in the anterior segment of the pituitary gland. GH has a role in the growth and development of bone, connective, visceral, adipose, and muscle tissue. GH may act either indirectly or directly. Directly speaking, GH may bind directly to a GH receptor on a muscle cell where it then exerts its anabolic effect. On the other hand, some studies show that GH exerts its effects indirectly by stimulating the release of somatomedins from the liver. Somatomedins bind to the plasma membrane of the muscle cell, where it carries out growth promoting effects. Regardless of how GH works its magic, it promotes the hypertrophic response by stimulating amino acid transport into the muscle cell and translating these amino acids into protein. GH output is obviously something we want to maximize, so what is the best way to do it?

In most studies it appears that GH release is related to intensity of exercise, volume of work performed, and shorter rest periods. In one particular study, a comparison between 2 different exercise protocols on evoked GH responses during and after weight training exercise was carefully observed.(10) One protocol consisted of 5 sets of 5 repetitions with a variety of basic exercises using a weight that was 80-95% of each movement’s 1 repetition maximum. A second protocol consisted of 3 sets of 10 repetitions with the same exercises using a weight that was 70-85% of each movement’s 1 repetition maximum. Rest periods for the first protocol were 3 minutes. Rest periods for the second protocol were 1 minute. Growth hormone levels during and after exercise were significantly higher using the second exercise protocol. Lactate levels increased during the second exercise protocol and not in the first, leading the researchers to believe that lactate may be the stimulus for GH increases. Other studies bear out the same contention.(11)

Diet also has important ramifications concerning GH release. During the first 1-2 hours of sleep, a significant pulse of GH is released into the bloodstream. The presence of glucose in the bloodstream, and therefore usually insulin,  has been shown to inhibit GH secretion. Therefore, theoretically it seems to make sense to avoid a high carbohydrate meal close to bedtime. A better option would be a high protein shake or snack coupled with some low glycemic index carbohydrates so as to minimize a large increase in insulin.

                                                              TESTOSTERONE

Testosterone is a steroid hormone that has an anabolic effect on skeletal muscle tissue. Anyone who has seen an athlete that supplements with anabolic steroids can see what modified testosterone can do.

Anyhow, under normal physiologic conditions a region of the brain called the hypothalamus secretes GnRH which stimulates the anterior segment of the pituitary gland to release LH(luteinizing hormone) into the bloodstream. LH then stimulates the Leydig cells of the testes to create and release testosterone into the circulation. At rest, 97% to 99% of this hormone is bound to SHBG(sex hormone binding globulin) or albumin. The rest is active and free to exert its effects.(2) Anabolic effects are due to the fact that testosterone increases protein synthesis and decreases protein catabolism within the muscle fiber. To delve a little further yet, testosterone binds with receptors in the cytosol of the cell which causes an increase in the transcription of the genes located on nuclear DNA that code for the synthesis of muscle proteins. The messenger RNA that results from this returns to the cell cytosol where actual protein synthesis occurs.(3) This is great but how do you get your testes to make more of this stuff? Several studies demonstrate that weight training induces elevated testosterone levels during and after exercise. It seems as if the most important factors in eliciting an elevated testosterone response are the amount of muscle mass used in a movement as well as the total work performed.(4,5) This tells us that for the most efficient testosterone release we want to be sure to include the squat, deadlift, and bench press in our routines. Doing higher rep sets of 10 and even 12 so as to increase total work performed may be advantageous in maximizing testosterone output. Sets of 5 repetitions still have their place in any routine, but they are not as efficient in eliciting testosterone secretion.

How about those old time 20 rep squat routines that were touted as being able to pack on lots of muscle mass and add to your vitality. Both criteria for maximizing testosterone secretion are overwhelmingly met. Maybe those old timers were onto something. Myself and many of my clients achieved personal best lifts in UPPER BODY lifts while on a 20 rep squat cycle. This implies that one must look not just at the effects of a specific exercise on a target movement or bodypart, but systemic effects of various schemes as well.

Enough said.

The Gap

Posted: September 14, 2020 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

One of the best books that I have ever read is the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by the late Steven Covey about 25 years ago before I started my entrepreneurial venture. There are 2 parts of this book that really resonated with me.

The first was the notion of the gap between a stimulus that you receive and your response to it. First and foremost a theme that ties many of the principles together is self awareness. You are not your thoughts, your background, what life had dealt you, or how people treat you. What you are is your response to those things. In many ways this is mindfulness and “Zen” like.  It sounds very simple but just so powerful. It is applicable on so many levels. At the root of it is your ability to feel secure with your own principles and not giving “you” away to the pressure you receive from an event or another person. Think and pause before you react.

The second was a comment he made to not “get caught up in the THICK of THIN things. Things that matter the most such as your principles and family should not be at the mercy of self imposed deadlines, the opinions others have of you, or a junk filled email list. This certainly involves saying “NO” to requests others have of you. If they are a friend or a truly supportive family member they will understand. If you are too worried what they think of you because you told them NO then you have some interior work to do. If you say YES to a very thin thing you may have said NO to something more important without literally doing so. 

The book is a fantastic read and even better as a guide and reminder.

We train teams, small groups and individuals.

We also have a batting cage and turf available for skills practices.

We will focus on the field specific aspects of speed such as lateral quickness for middle infielders, out of the box speed, breaking on the ball speed, and first step quickness. 60 yard dash work can be addressed.
Regarding the throwing arm, exercises that target the rotator cuff, such as a variety of internal and external rotation movements will be utilized. Scapular strength and stability will also be addressed. Since the bicep also plays a role in stabilizing this joint, it too will be strengthened.
Core stability and rotational power, when combined with the above work, leads to a more powerful throwing arm that is less apt to become injured.
A special concern to pitchers includes the maintenance and strengthening of the rotator cuff. Large amounts of energy are absorbed by the body as the hand releases the pitch. This stress should be transferred to the stronger scapular stabilizers rather than the rotator cuff. Training this area together with certain plyometric moves, direct cuff work, and closed chain movements reduces the incidence of injury and strengthens the throwing arm.

“I thought the Strength, Fitness And Speed program really helped me learn how to train like a pro athlete”
-Tom Shirley

I first came across Strength, Speed and Fitness when I was the head baseball coach at Kiski Area.  At that time I was astounded at the progress the players that trained with them made in the short period of time they had worked with them.  As each of the players became faster, stronger and more agile, their level of play and their self-confidence greatly improved.I am presently the head baseball coach at Belle Vernon Area.  Once again I am seeing the benefits of their program in the 12 players that are regularly working under them.  Their improvement has been so significant that other players on our teams (middle school up) are taking notice.  In fact, no less than seven players and their parents have approached me to get information on their program to make arrangements to begin working with them at the conclusion of our current season.

As a former professional baseball scout and a former college coach, I highly recommend their program for any players wanting to increase their chances of playing at the next level.

Daryl Hixenbaugh

Past Head Baseball Coach Belle Vernon Area High School

Softball Strength Speed and Power

Posted: September 2, 2020 in Uncategorized

What is it exactly that we work on with our Softball athletes?

We have lots of experience in this area as we have trained teams from Nitro, Team PA, Outlaws, Predators, Renegades, Riot and multiple high school teams.

Things we work on:

1)Action: Dynamic warm Up, Stretch

Benefit: Proprioception development, Increased Core Temperature for better training performance

2)Action: Mechanical adjustments, sprint techniques evolving to very specific basepath and positional speed.

Benefit: Beating out infield hits, stretching singles into doubles, better reaction and getting to infield hits and fly balls. Better mechanics means more EFFICIENT movement.

3) Action: Overloading the athletic movements with resistance and assistance.

Benefit: Contrast training provides better neuromuscular recruitment and power in movements. Example: pre training athletes exhibit much less muscle recruitment than trained athletes. Contrast training and complexing a plyo and a resisted movement enhances recruitment leading to much improved getting out of the box and exploding to a space.

4)Action: Progressing movements from closed(predictable) to open(random).

Benefit: Better transference to the field. There is very little ready –set- go in sports and softball. Movement must be reactive, not on your own cue.

5) Power development in the body, including lower core education and activation and development of explosive rotational core power using med balls and plyometric drills

Benefit: All movement originates in the low core. The low core is your anchor. A stronger educated lower abdomen provides an anchor from which an athlete can turn powerfully on a pitch or launch a fast pitch. All movement originates in the lower abdomen. Rotational core power provides greater velocity off of the bat, a stronger throwing arm and a more efficient consistent swing.

6)Leg strength and stability and ground contact work

Benefit: Reduced chances of cruciate ligament knee injuries

7)Upper Body strength and power transfer

Benefit: Increased bat speed and better power transfer from legs to hands

Keeping at it with smarts

Posted: September 2, 2020 in Uncategorized

stranger thingsI want to urge everyone to never lose sight of their goals. Do not let anyone take anything from you. If you do not give it to them, they cannot have it. That includes your dignity, confidence and esteem. Don’t play like  a coach who is not too “high” on you expects you to play, play like you can.

We have some student athletes here at SFAS or others I train offsite who never seem to take a rep or a workout off. Workouts are tough, smart and efficient.

On the other hand I see video of athletes doing old school leg presses with tons of weight, looks great but then over time their quads balloon and their hamstrings are about as big a pencil. Ham tears and injuries since their powerful quads can’t be held in check by their hamstrings for landings, decelerations, etc.

Can you tell me what a seated sloppy supported dumbbell press wearing a weightlifting belt that shrinks your waist from 32 to 26 is going to do for you? Sit down=lack of core. Add a belt to the mix=turn off TVA muscle which is your body’s own weightlifting belt. End result=inability transfer any upper body power from this pathetic exercise. However I see it prescribed by “trainers” frequently.

The Deadlift is often a sight to behold humping it up, corkscrewing, spiraling and turning the spine into a C. If you started and maintained it that way, OK. If you started with a neutral spine and ended up looking like an inverted U don’t complain 2 years from now when you have this burning stab all of a sudden in your L5-S1 region.

Or how about a cheating seated wide grip pulldown? WTF?

Let’s not even get into the Olympic Lifts and how they are abused with atrocious form.

Keep it smart!!

 

 

THE CASE FOR IN SEASON TRAINING

Posted: August 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

IN SEASON  STRENGTH/SAQ CLASSES

We have run 22 very successful years of these sessions with dedicated FALL SPORTS players from the area. These classes have covered the maintenance of speed, agility and quickness and getting a jump on showcase event prep. Recovery techniques involving lactic acid clearance and myofascial release are also being used. The football players have also benefited from working on hand speed and hand eye with special techniques we’ve developed through the years. We will be running these classes throughout the high school/junior high school season. To get involved email us at ed@strengthfitnessandspeed.com.

More Importance of In Season Maintenance

A recent research study entitled, “DETRAINING AND TAPERING ADAPTATION ON STRENGTH AND POWER PERFORMANCE” was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Aug. 2007 and provides definitive scientific data that addresses your question of whether it is worth maintaining some level of training frequency versus stopping altogether and participating in a sport.  In the study, speed and strength training was conducted for 16 weeks prior to the experimental detraining (DTR) or maintenance (MT) work.  Following the training period, DTR stopped additional exercise; the other group, MT, performed low volume, high intensity work periodically.  Both groups continued to participate in their given sport.  Following 4 weeks of this modification, DTR lost some strength but had over a 15% decrease in muscle power (slower running speed and lower vertical jump), while  MT (the group that continued with their performance training) showed a small increase in strength and maintained power (maintenance of performance gains)

Progress and Success

Posted: August 12, 2020 in Uncategorized

I was on a trip to Disney in 2003 and we stopped in at the Hall of Presidents. There was a great scene there that stuck with me and it was a conversation between Mark Twain and Ben Franklin I believe. Twain said, “The greatest enemy to progress is success.”

After thinking about this off and on through the years there are several reasons why this is true. One would be the obvious which means you get complacent and let yourself get comfortable with the status quo. Problem is things around you are always changing and you must be aware of this whether it is how you live your life, money decisions, business decisions, etc.

Another less obvious reason is that you are making progress and doing well and be wrong about the reasons why you are making progress. A training example would go as follows. Someone has been lifting for only a few years and decides that more will be better. They get locked into what they see on youtube or online magazines and figure that they can live in the gym and make better progress. I am here to tell you that this could not be further from the truth. You actually need MORE recovery time as you get better at generating training intensity. In the end your nervous system recovery will be the limiting factor. There is no natural drug free override of this mechanism. But I digress.

A simple business example would be thinking that running a certain ad online will lead to more business since the same ad led to big results in the past. You neglect to look further into who has seen this ad and realize that it fell into a region with high discretionary income. Wasn’t necessarily the ad but the market that it reached.

The devil is always in the details. I have made it part of my everyday learning to study mental models and ways of thinking outside of my own paradigms. Knowing the absolute causes of the effects you are experiencing will greatly enhance your own chances of “success”.

It also doesn’t hurt to take a pause when presented with a stimulus to prevent a knee-jerk reaction which you will regret later on. There is a time to think quick and a time to think slow. It’s in the way that you use it.

“Progress” is nothing more than an outcome of which you need to be really certain of the source.

Threes and Fives

Posted: July 22, 2020 in Uncategorized

Myth: Running stadium steps will get you faster

Reality: Running endless steps will shorten your stride length, ruin your fast twitch
composition, and foster recruitment of slow twitch fibers when the athlete thinks of
“sprinting”.

Myth: It has to feel “hard” and burn to make you faster. You should not be able to walk
when you are done.

Reality: For athletes that train with us, “Do you ever notice a theme of 3s and 5s during
your training here? Do you notice that usually the stuff that makes you dead in the legs
happens more towards the end of your session when freshness is not critical?
Here is why. Explosive movement requires an immediate recruitment of fast twitch
fiber. Let’s look at resisted sprinting. First rep feels good, second rep feels decent, third rep
pretty good, fourth rep a little drop off, and fifth rep has you about 80% of your fresh
effort. In addition to depleting CP energy storage, this drop off corresponds to the fatiguing
of your FT(fast twitch fibers). The intermediate fibers, which can be trained to become FT
or ST(slow twitch), are ready to learn what they are going to do in the future. Do we stop
here for a break or do we continue for another 5 reps? Depends.
If you are conditioning, want to recover better at half time, or are looking at distance
related events, roll on. If you want to get more explosive and faster a break in the action is
warranted. Let’s look at what happens from reps 6 to 10. Your fast twitch fibers are
essentially toast at this point. You will now be “teaching” the key intermediate fibers, which
can adapt to become good at explosion or endurance, to become good for marathons or
distance related events. Your brain will also be learning to recruit slow twitch fibers to help
you sprint. Again: YOUR BRAIN WILL BE LEARNING TO RECRUIT SLOW TWITCH
FIBERS TO HELP YOU RUN FAST. Bad idea for speed development. There is an
expression: “Train slow, be slow. Train fast, be fast.”

Taken from Coach Ed’s emanual Capture5 Important Keys to Developing Athleticism

Written by

One of Pennsylvania’s most educated and experienced Sports Performance Trainers

Ed Wietholder

 

The following list is by no means all-encompassing but provides some insight into some of the most glaring points that have jumped out at me through the last 40 years of my own training as well as those that I have trained. By no means was I a gifted athlete but years ago at the age of 36 I ran a 4.6 40 yard dash and vertical jumped 36 inches. I also managed to dunk a basketball at a height of 5′ 10″. This was not by accident or due to a gift but because I have learned and observed training outcomes for a very long time. Please take a few minutes and look over my list.

 

1)Put more empahasis on strength, power, explosion and speed than muscular and aerobic endurance.

In other words more strength, fitness and speed and less crossfit and long slow distance running.

The most common question we get is, “Did he or she work hard?”. Did they sweat? Did they breathe heavy? Most of these questions are related to conditioning. Athletes have plenty of time for conditioning. What most lack is explosion. Who cares if you can finish the soccer or basketball or football game without being tired? Did you move explosively during it enough to have an impact on the game? It’s great to be able to get through the game, but were you quick enough during it?

Conditioning and speed, agility quickness training are mutually exclusive events.

When baseball players prep for the season, many teams run distance only.  3 miles per day, 3 times per week. What about speed in the field or on the bases? It would take 2 seasons to run what some teams condition with in a week. THIS MAKES NO SENSE. Especially when you lose 3 close games due to a ball dropping in or getting thrown out at second when stealing or not beating out an infield hit.

Puking during a conditioning workout is one thing. Puking during a speed workout is impossible. Here’s why. When you condition, your body produces a boat load of metabolic acid especially when video gamers start conditioning for the first time. Metabolic acid in copious amounts completely inhibits the firing of any fast twitch fiber that one is trying to tap for SPEED TRAINING. Puking=lack of conditioning, conditioning, eating bad food, virus, nerves. Not explosive training. Not anywhere remotely close.

All you have to do is look at what happens to vertical leap, 10 yard dash, broad jump and 40 yard dash after a 6 week bout of high rep band squats for time. Or what happens after a division I soccer player trains like a marathoner.

Decreases of 4-6 inches in the vert and worsening dash times of .2-.3 seconds are not uncommon.

You can do all of the plyometric and speed drills in the world but if you don’t have  a strong, stable base you will reap very little benefit.

 

2)Work your brakes!

Athletes work linear speed like crazy but the problem is unless you are a track athlete you will have to be able to stop and restart. Stay off of the leg press machine and spend more time in the squat rack. While you are in the squat rack, don’t bounce out of the bottom position, use your hamstrings and glutes down there.

Make sure your ground mechanics are appropriate when you are training. Knees over toes, dorsiflexed ankle on contact. Don’t  feel  for the ground with a pointed toe. Get your hips down! Avoid excessive vertical movement when you are moving laterally.

 

3)Rely more and more on “open” drills.

Ready….
Set……
Go…..
only gets you so far.
You need to perform drills that involve you reacting to a variety of stimuli including contact, visual and auditory. There needs to be a reactive component to your training. You can prove it to yourself by first reacting to a “go” command without false stepping. Next try doing it reacting to a clap or thrown ball. See what I mean?

Your ability to stop and start unpredictably is at the root of agility.

If you do not add the element of surprise(open drills) to your agility repertoire, you become good at a skill like you get good at a golf swing or dancing or a ladder or cone drill.

Multiple studies bear this out.

Once the foundation of good mechanics is laid, unpredictability must follow unless you just want to be a combine or showcase star only.

 

4)Spend more time actually developing your athleticism.

There comes a point in time when being in 2 leagues, for 3 teams and running around reaches a point of diminishing returns.

Your swing is flawless….but has no pop. Will playing for 3 teams make it better?

Your soccer foot skills are great…….but you run like a dump truck. Will playing rec, travel and cup all in the same season fix this?

You are running track to get faster…….will running the mile or throwing the discus make this better?

There comes a point in time when an athlete needs to focus on his or her athleticism. You can’t do this by demonstrating the skills that you have. You must overload with some strength, speed, and agility training and allow time to RECOVER. Try playing for one team, one sport at a time during season.

 

5)Continue training In season! A recent research study entitled, “DETRAINING AND TAPERING ADAPTATION ON STRENGTH AND POWER PERFORMANCE” was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Aug. 2007 and provides definitive scientific data that addresses your question of whether it is worth maintaining some level of training frequency versus stopping altogether and participating in a sport.  In the study, speed and strength training was conducted for 16 weeks prior to the experimental detraining (DTR) or maintenance (MT) work.  Following the training period, DTR stopped additional exercise; the other group, MT, performed low volume, high intensity work periodically.  Both groups continued to participate in their given sport.  Following 4 weeks of this modification, DTR lost some strength but had over a 15% decrease in muscle power (slower running speed and lower vertical jump), while  MT (the group that continued with their performance training) showed a small increase in strength and maintained power (maintenance of performance gains)

 

About the Author

Ed Wietholder is the founder and owner of Strength Fitness and Speed, Inc. Ed has trained many athletes and non athletes as well from the Pittsburgh area. In addition, many have benefited from his routine design and consultation across the United States.

Ed has authored many articles that have appeared in national and international magazines.

Ed has trained and consulted for many High School, Collegiate and Professional teams.

 

What others are saying about Ed Wietholder

Big thanks to Ed Wietholder of Strength Fitness & Speed for the workout and always taking care of me when I’m back in Pittsburgh! Great dude!
Thanks Ed for all the help getting here! If anyone sees this and is in the south hills of Pittsburgh, they should check out Ed Wietholder‘s work!

Chase Winovich
University Of Michigan Football #15
New England Patriots # 50

 

“Coach Ed Wietholder has worked with our Bethel Park Lady Hawk Basketball Program for ten consecutive years. We would not even entertain the thought of having preseason conditioning without him. Coach Ed combines agility, flexibility, strength, stamina, and core exercises into every one of his workouts. It’s easy for me as a coach to make my girls run for conditioning, but that’s just not enough anymore. Today’s high school varsity athlete needs to be cross-trained and that’s right where Coach Ed fits into our program. There is no doubt in my mind that working with him has greatly contributed to success. We have reached the playoffs each of the seasons he has trained us, with the highlight coming in 2013 when we won the program’s first WPIAL championship in history. The Lady Hawk Basketball Team is made tougher, faster, and stronger by Coach Ed and Strength, Fitness And Speed. I highly recommend Ed Wietholder for any aspect of training, team or individual. You will become a better athlete (or team) as a result.”

 

Jonna Burke

Head Varsity Coach

Bethel Park Lady Hawk Basketball

Find out more about Ed and Strength, Fitness And Speed, Inc. –   www.strengthfitnessandspeed.com