Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

6 things my staff and I notice with soccer athletes over the last 21 years:

1) Everyone could use some more strength. All else aside, more strength makes you flat out more athletic. Power is your ability to recruit strength in a hurry and is a requirement during sprinting. Power also helps during cutting, jumping and kicking. Strength and stability keeps you from getting knocked off of the ball.

2) The athletes could use some more oblique and abdominal strength, stability and power. Your lower abdomen provides the anchor from which all movement can occur. This helps when you are kicking, jumping or sprinting. Have you ever watched a player run fast without the ball and look like he or she is speed skating? This tends to happen a lot with soccer. Sometimes it is motor and is a result of elbows that are flailing to the outside but more often it is the hips that are rotating. Force generated by the hip flexors and powerful arm action can’t be controlled by the body’s secondary rotational stabilizer, the obliques.  This produces a roll in the hips, a zigzag foot strike pattern and arm action that belongs on the ice, not on the soccer field.

3) Many of the players use a crossover step to move laterally without the ball instead of an open step. Takes longer and is inefficient in moving short distances.

4) Many athletes do not dorsiflex(pull the toes up) at the ankle during planting and during the recovery phase of sprinting. This is sometimes not a natural occurrence, particularly with soccer players who must point their toes to kick! As the shin swings forward right before ground contact, a nice dorsiflexed ankle provides a shorter lever at the knee(easier to turn over) as well a more efficient ground contact in line with the hips, not in front of the hips. Dorsiflexed ankles also send a warning to the knee joint and hip joint that they need to be ready to fire in advance.

5)Many players have a false step that wastes time and is inefficient.

6)Many players overstride as witnessed by a late recovery  evidenced by the foot finishing “high” when observed from the rear. This is “braking” actually.

Contact us to fix these issues.

Ed,

“I wanted to thank you for the work you and the other trainers have done with my children.  They both play soccer and this training was perfect for them.  When my son first came to you he was fast, but he ran out of control.  You not only improved his speed, but greatly increased the control he runs under.  His lateral movement and change of direction have improved tremendously.  This has enabled him to play his position with the speed and agility needed.  My daughter has also increased her speed and has become a stronger player.  She played her first game since last fall last weekend and other parents were commenting on how much faster she is now.  It is that noticeable.  They will be continuing with the program.  I am so pleased with their progress that I am having my youngest daughter begin the training.”

Again, thanks for your efforts.

Sincerely,

Patrick Maloney

 

www.strengthfitnessandspeed.com

Prologue: In eighth grade, my basketball crew and I were weekly regulars at Strength, Fitness, and Speed under Mr. Wieth. We would go to work on our vertical leaps, speed, agility, quickness, and strength. During one of our training sessions, I noticed one of my teammates slacking. He was just there going through the motions, and even laid down on a bench in the middle of a workout to rest! Being the (physically larger) leader that I was, I walked up to him, sat on him, and told him he better get his butt in gear. Immediately after, Mr. Wieth (jokingly) said, “Chris, if you ever need a job, you know where to find me!” Just five years later, finishing my freshman year of college, I showed back up at Strength, Fitness, and Speed and took him up on that offer.

 

As a sophomore in high school, I experienced physical therapy firsthand. I spent several months in and out of physical therapy for different ailments – shoulder pain, multiple bouts of low back pain, and chronic neck and upper extremity pain. This experience left me with a desire to pursue a career in the PT field.

Because of these ailments, I eventually stopped participating in high school sports. Instead I focused on the physiology and coaching aspect of sports and performance, which soon became my passion. To this day, many of my high school friends still comment on “that huge book” I would carry around from class to class. That book was my first personal trainer’s certification book. I often studied this material when I likely should have been studying for my actual classes!

Since high school, I’ve worked constantly to increase my knowledge of the human body and sport performance. I have since graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, received a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist title, and am currently enrolled in Pitt’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Having this advanced knowledge has increased my abilities to improve our athletes’ success in many aspects at Strength, Fitness, and Speed.

A good example of how my education has helped a developing athlete comes from one of the hardest workers at the gym. He is currently a senior football player, though has now become enthralled with the sport of powerlifting. While I would mainly train him and his team for football, we always found ourselves talking about how to better set-up for the bench press, his current personal record lifts, or tips and cues for the deadlift. I was able to help coach him through his first powerlifting meet in Summer of 2018 where he broke the PA state teen record for the bench press. He is currently in-season for football, though will continue to compete in the off-season and push his limits of powerlifting, hopefully breaking more records along the way.

Another example involves a current Division II football lineman that I have worked with for many years. His first few sessions in high school, we realized we had a lot of work to do on footwork, quickness, and coordination. After many seasons of him working with the team at SFAS, he was able to land a starting lineman job at his high school, and soon begin to get offers from different colleges to play there.

While intensely training for his time in college, this athlete began to suffer from low back pain. He began to see a physical therapist, while continuing his training with us. The physical therapist had him performing rehabilitation exercises to strengthen and coordinate his core and proximal musculature.

Meanwhile, we continued his return-to-sport training and strengthening. With my education on his limitations and impairments, we spent time all the way up until he had to leave for camp working on getting back into playing shape. He is currently a freshman at a Division II school and is redshirting this year to continue his rehab, get a good jump on his education, and prepare for the rest of his football career.

While I could never take credit for any of the hard work that these athletes put in, I like to think some of my knowledge, coaching, and motivation has guided them toward the amazing success that they have had.

About the Author:

Chris Serrao
Sports Performance Coach
SPT, CSCS, Sport Performance
Coach Chris is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist that is currently enrolled in The University of Pittsburgh’s Number 1 ranked Doctor of Physical Therapy program. He received his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Pitt in 2018. Throughout his life, Chris played basketball, volleyball, and football, though eventually found his niche in the weightroom, now competing in powerlifting competitions across the country. He boasts lifts of a 555 pound back squat, 355 pound bench press, and 615 pound deadlift and uses his strength and athletic background to better train athletes of all ages and skill levels.

5 keys to athleticism

Posted: September 27, 2019 in Uncategorized

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

This will be a chance for those not yet part of the SFAS family to check out the facility, observe some training, speak to our staff and to get an opportunity to sign up for 50% discounted functional assessments. All current and past SFAS family members are welcome to attend!

    • Meet Coach Ed and get a perspective on 40 plus years of trends and what is effective in training. What looks “cool” may not do much for the athlete at all.
    • Meet Dr. Jake Wietholder and get his take on corrective exercise
    • Meet the excellent staff and observe some training
    • There will be an opportunity to schedule a 50% discounted functional assessment for attending
    • Of course some snacks(healthy!) and….some not so much2016-07-27 18.34.40_IMG8474-45

 

Baseball/Softball SSAQ 2019

Posted: September 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

Strength, Fitness And Speed, Inc.'s Blog

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.
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…

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Back to the Future

Posted: April 17, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

By Edward K. Wietholder, BS, CSCS, CPT
A glaring weakness, from a bodybuilder’s point of view, of many trainees is the width of the latissimus dorsi. This is usually more apparent in natural trainees as it is really not natural to be able to hang glide without any extraneous equipment. Anyhow, no matter what most “wide latted” individuals may tell you, pronated wide grip chinning is not really the exercise to focus on.
The latissimus dorsi has an origin on the lower six thoracic vertebrae, all of the lumbar vertebrae, crests of the ilium and sacrum(upper pelvis and just above the buttocks), and the lower four ribs. The muscle group inserts on the medial side(closer to the midline) of the humerus(upper arm bone). The function of the latissimus is to extend(draw upper arm downward in the front to back plane), adduct(draw upper arm down in the left to right plane), and internally rotate the arm at the shoulder. Other interesting visible muscles that round out the back include the teres major which mimics the function of the latissimus. The middle and lower trapezius, a kite shaped muscle, is also visible from the rear. The trapezius is designed to function in harmony with other muscles of the shoulder, otherwise known as scapulohumeral rhythm. The upper and lower trapezius serve to upwardly rotate the scapula, which occurs when the arm is raised to the front or side. The middle trapezius and rhomboids allow for downward rotation of the scapula. When acting alone, the upper trapezius will elevate and retract(bring shoulder blades together) the scapula. The middle acting alone retracts the scapula. The lower will depress and retract the scapula(scapula moves down and in).
If one thinks for a moment about a set of partial wide grip chins, two things are happening that are not conducive to maximum lat stimulation. First, the biceps should be placed in the most advantageous line of pull possible. This is either supinated or neutral. Second, the grip should be shoulder width. The biceps group is weaker and fatigues before the latissimus. It does not make sense to place the biceps in a less advantageous line of pull. On the contrary, it needs to be placed in the strongest pulling position to allow the lats to go to a further point of fatigue. More fibers in the lat are recruited and pushed to exhaustion. These are simple concepts and should be applied to all of one’s exercises.

It becomes apparent that the shoulder width, supinated or neutral grip chin should be your core exercise. The latissimus needs to be placed in the position to be able to be pushed as far into exhaustion as possible before the biceps give out. The way to do this is to let the biceps function in their strongest pulling position. The first exercise in your back routine should be the shoulder width grip chin. This is the hardest group for most trainees to develop and most energy and time should be spent on it. After a good warm up, one should get to the business set of chins. By the way, do not waste an ounce of energy on your warm up sets. The first warm up should be for higher repetitions, say 8 or 10, to elevate local temperature and increase blood flow to the areas being worked. The second and third warm ups should be more for preparing the neural pathways. If the work set will be done for 6 reps, then the second warm up should be done for 3 or 4 reps. Every effort should be made to make this weight feel as light as possible. This is good mentally and it also prepares you for maximum recruitment during the set. The final warm up should be 20-30 pounds less than your work set and should be done for 1-2 repetitions. Again, every effort should be made to make the weight feel as light as possible. Prepare the mind for maximum recruitment and build confidence. Nothing ends a set faster than taking the weight off of the ground or rack and thinking that it feels heavy. This is an incorrect approach. Doubt causes antagonistic muscle groups to contract and prime movers are inhibited as a neural protective mechanism. When you get to the work set, the chin needs to be performed with controlled ferocity. The chin or pulldown bar needs squeezed for all of your ability. Pull up without swinging your lower torso or kicking your legs. Pull the elbows along your sides until the chin clears the bar. Lower under control until your torso is fully extended at the bottom of the movement. Do not “dislocate” the shoulders at the bottom. Stay tight and repeat the motion for the required number of repetitions. 2 sets of this movement is plenty.
A rowing motion also needs to be included to work on the “roadmap” portion of the back as well. The chin action works these muscles , but the rowing aspect allows greater stress to be focused on the middle and lower trapezius, rhomboids, and the teres major. In addition, deep to the trapezius lies the rhomboids which have postural effects and the strength of which helps to avoid the slope shouldered look. If you decide to chin like described earlier, then the rows may be more beneficial if you get the elbows out and away from the body at 45 degrees or greater. This evokes a different firing pattern since this is a different plane of motion relative to the chins. We are talking either the supported or non supported versions of the good old fashioned bent row. If you decide to choose the non supported version, you should have a healthy lower back. Maintain the natural curve as you bend at the waist. Keeping the low back fixed, row the weight to the lower sternum. No bouncing, rocking, or utilizing the low back for assistance. Another variation would include the supinated grip bent over row, utilized a great deal by Dorian Yates. The advantage of this motion is that the biceps are placed in their most advantageous line of pull and allow the back to go to a further point of exhaustion before the weaker biceps give out. 1-2 sets of one of these movements is plenty.

A motion to hit the spinal erectors should be used as well. The king of the hill concerning the development of these muscles would be the deadlift. The deadlift should not be worked on back day, but on leg day instead. Another benefit of the deadlift is that it is one of those exercises that really hits the entire body from head to toe. As a result it is very effective in stimulating the release of testosterone as well. The mechanism by which the big basic exercises do this is thought to be because of large production of metabolic acid due to and in conjunction with large muscles being used. Total work is also a factor in effecting an increased output of testosterone. Reps on the deadlift could be higher to take advantage of this benefit., say 8 to 10 or so.
An alternative way to do deadlifts would be to utilize the old time 20 rep deadlift routines that were touted as being able to pack on lots of muscle mass. Both criteria for maximizing testosterone secretion are overwhelmingly met. Maybe those old timers were on to something. I achieved my personal bests on a lot of my movements while on a 20 rep deadlift routine. I am convinced that the anabolic effects of the 20 rep style had something to do with this.
In summing, an effective back routine for natural trainees might look something like this:
1)Chins 2-3 work sets of 6-8 reps
2)Rows 2-3 work sets of 6-8 reps
3)Deadlifts 1 work set of 8-10 reps or 20 rep style(done on leg day)
Can’t grow on only 5-7 work sets, right? Wrong. A work set by the way is do or die. Not half assed.
Simple, concise, and to the point. Focus on controlled progression, attempting to add no more than 1-2 pounds per week when the weights begin to get heavy. Oh yeah, did I fail to mention that another byproduct of this routine is some size to the biceps? The chin up is the secret king of the upper body exercises. SFAMN

Having a rough day?

Posted: April 3, 2019 in Uncategorized

I often think of this story when I am facing a new opportunity or feeling anxious about existing events or life changes. My 3rd great grandfather Francois Coudriet and grandmother Marguerite immigrated here to the US from France in the early 1800s with a young son and one on the way. The courage and confidence in the face of uncertainty and fear is amazing as I am sure many others faced at this time in search of opportunity and a better life with NO SAFETY NET. I suck it up and move ahead with confidence always when I think of it.

At the age of twenty-four he married Marguerite Bueret, she was born
in 1804, and on September 2, 1928 their first child was born, a son, Serdon N. Two years later, with Marguerite pregnant, they sailed to Philadelphia to make a home in the New World.

In Philadelphia a Mr. John Keating proceeded to encourage a settlement
there by offering twelve acres to the first twelve settlers. Mr. Keating
had laid out 22,000 acres and had published descriptions of the tract
in France. The sale of these lands began in 1827.

The difficulties and hardships that confronted Francois and his wife, who was with child, and with two and one half year old Serdon are unimaginable, as they sailed across the ocean, landing in Philadelphia and probably following the roads along the Schuylkill river headed west.

They then set out for Harrisburg (probably having talked with Mr. Keating) and when they reached Lebanon, their second child was born on May 10, 1831. It is imagined they traveled with a wagon, a team of horses and a cow trailing along in back. Conditions obviously were quite rugged.

When Marguerite had recovered from childbirth, they proceeded to Harrisburg and then up the Susquehanna to Williamsport. From there, again following the river, they traveled to Bellefonte, leaving the last of the “roads” soon after they left Williamsport. When Francois arrived in Bellefonte he had one dollar and twenty cents in his pocket, the last of the savings he had accumulated to get passage across the ocean and to outfit himself to come this far. He obtained employment in a blast furnace making barely enough to support himself and his family. He was not satisfied and it was during this time that he made several trips to what was known as the “Keating” lands, as Covington township was then styled and after careful selection he purchased fifty acres in this region and was given as an incentive the twelve acres as one of the first settlers. He obtained employment and built his own Log Cabin from trees on his property with no assistance. He later became a successful businessman as did his sons.

No reward without risk. The risks we take almost always have a “safety net”. The people of this time did not. Way impressive.