5 keys to athleticism

Posted: November 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

Taken from 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 30 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. This was not by accident or due to a gift a 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 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.

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

From the South Hills Record:

“Dom DeCicco Sr., head coach of the TJ boys’ basketball program, watched three of his sons go through Wietholder’ s program. His oldest son, Dom Jr., graduated from Pitt and now is on the Chicago Bears roster. In 2008 Zach, then a senior at TJ, and Brock, then a junior, started for the Jaguars’ undefeated state champion football team. “Before they go to combines, or anything of that nature, they usually go to Ed’s(SFS),” the father said of his sons.  “Ed is absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t recommend anyone higher.”

“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


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