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.

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
Cleveland Browns # 69

It is easy for our young athletes to find a place to “workout”. There are many places popping up from former athletes who know what worked for them and who may be “certified” by unofficial, substandard organizations.

But then there is SFAS…owned and led by Ed Wietholder and his team of critically certified training professionals who understand the biomechanics and physical responses of performance-based training. This understanding results in the human body’s best opportunity for building and maintaining progress throughout their sports careers. Yes, there is science behind exercise and training and this team knows it inside out and upside down. They do this through balancing growth with agility and strength improvements while reducing the risk of injury both during and between seasons of these hard pushing athletes. Many of the SFAS athletes play more than one sport or more than one role in the same sport. The SFAS team evaluates, prescribes, re-evaluates and adjusts for each sport, each season and most importantly, each athlete – not a cookie cutter service. SFAS trainers communicate as a team to deliver the best unique situational plan for each athlete.  And add to this, they push your limits with intensity but in a fun atmosphere. The banter with the training staff and other local athletes creates a motivating family-like atmosphere. In two words, THEY CARE. Beyond the technical aspects, the respect the SFAS team shows to coaches and programs to complement their directives and to push the athlete both mentally and physically is obvious and reflects their knowledge of sport-athlete roles and the game. The well-rounded approach has resulted in many, many successful high school, college and professional level athletes. Personally, I have a tri-sport female athlete who has to work on her current sport while coming off the previous season’s sport (always simultaneous) and with the mindset and plans of getting ready for the third sport season year after year. Her high school is blessed with many great athletes, especially in her graduating class, so the competition is real and the seasons are long. The strength and agility needs of one sport can be very different from another.  I would not trust her training to anyone else. The SFAS team has built her both mentally and physically and she carries it out. Her performance has improved consistently in each sport throughout her growth years (with some inherent growth issues and process of her own).  The mental and confidence growth support from her SFAS team is beyond words.  Recently, as her basketball team heads to states for another year, she was unable to schedule her SFAS sessions due to her commitments.  She finally, after 4 weeks, was able to go back to her routine.  She came home from her session and said (with a bounce in her step), “I really missed my SFAS training and my SFAS family.  I feel great and it makes me happy to go there.  I feel like they always know exactly what I need.”  They do. From dealing with the process of severe osgood-schlatter disease to school challenges to transitioning between sports while playing a completely different sport…they do it all!  Thank you Ed and your SFAS team for helping Lydia succeed as an athlete and as a person. It takes a village and you are definitely a big part of ours. 

Lydia Shaw           Thomas Jefferson High School, XC/Basketball/Track

Jefferson University, XC and Track, NCAA Division II, CACC

Major: Architecture and Design

By: Lisa Steiner Shaw, PhD, Industrial Engineering, Human Movement Studies

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