My Father was a man of concise statements. He told you like it was and pulled no punches regardless of who it was he was talking to.

Dad Story #1: Many years ago, I failed to make the basketball team. I came home bitching up a storm about coaches favorites and how I was robbed. He basically told me he felt my pain and said to get my ass outside and practice so it does not happen again. Never blamed players, coaches or parents. Take matters into YOUR OWN HANDS. By the time 8th grade rolled around, I was a team captain.

Dad Story #2: Many years later I went on to describe a training routine to my father that consisted of super duper this and that and a special rep scheme that I felt allowed for my amazing progress at the time. I described my eating and rest between sets,etc.

So he said,”You think that you are  recruiting better from your chest and shoulders and this is driving it up better for you?”.

“Absolutely”, I said. 

“Your triceps are no longer your weak link I bet as well”,he said.

“Absolutely!”, I said

“So you are making your best lift because of all these things?”, he asked questioningly.

“No doubt!”‘, I said.

“Wrong. You are making your lift because of this.”, he said as he tapped his head several times.

Well said Dad. Thanks again. Your wisdom lives on.

HONORING ED WIETHOLDER SR. 1944-2006

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A lot of athletes spend too much time working in rep zones not in accordance with their goals. An old school 12/10/8/6/4/2 without knowledge of what you want to accomplish is a waste. Say you are in a strength phase of your lifting. Let’s say you use the 12 and fail at it. Fail with the last rep of 10. Fail with the last rep of 8. Fail with the last rep of 6. You get to your set of 4 and it feels like it weighs 50 more pounds than usual. Do you think your strength will improve using this system? Absolutely not. Try flipping it around and working from the bottom up 2/4/6/8/10/12. AFTER A SMART WARM UP. Also the heavy sets will have a carry over to the higher rep sets making them feel “lighter” You also trained the zone you were interested in and not the wrong fiber types.

Let’s say you want to get stronger in the Squat and you want to get 300×5. A smart warm up looks like 45×12, 135X8, 185×5, 225X3 275X1-2, 300×5. Don’t waste your gas on 5 rep sets with 225 and 275. 275 is a “neural primer” that makes the bar not feel like a truck on your shoulders when 300 arrives. That is the only purpose. Doubt inhibits contraction and you eliminate the “holy shit this is heavy” when you un rack the 300.

Your body will adapt specifically to the demands you place on it. Train smart.

Incorporating land-based strength and conditioning into a training regimen can give the athlete a competitive edge, especially in a sport where a 100th of a second is important. Full body strength and power exercises should be included when designing a program to reduce the risk of injury for the shoulder complex, knee joint, and hip abductors.

When designing a program, three phases of the swim should be examined for strength and conditioning exercise considerations: the start (the dive from starting blocks or side of the pool), the swim, and the turn (the reverse of direction upon reaching the wall, several different styles can be used depending on the swimming stroke.

Studies have shown that adding plyometric training and focusing on triple extension at the hip, knee, and ankle could decrease overall time. Box jumps, broad jumps, and scoop tosses that include vertical tosses can be performed for overall power. Additionally, these exercises can be adapted for specific training needs by using a modified horizontal scoop toss that simulates exploding off the blocks.

Due to a higher occurrence of shoulder injuries in swimmers, incorporating shoulder and rotator cuff exercises may help to reduce the occurrence of those injuries. Additionally, swimmers could benefit from rotator cuff strengthening exercises such as planks or stability ball walkouts.

The core should also be trained in all directions and planes of movement since a strong and stable core will allow the swimmer to produce powerful pulls and kicks for longer periods of time. In addition, rotation at the hips in the water uses arms obviously and not feet which are typically stabilizers when rotating at the trunk. Training should be performed accordingly.

The total program is affected by and should be planned in accordance with at what point of the season the athlete is in. Generally speaking, the program moves from very generalized in the off season to more specific as the season approaches. Initially strength gains and muscle mass, if needed, are emphasized. As the season approaches, more emphasis is placed on translating these gains to sport specific speed and power. The younger the athlete, the more skills training should be at the forefront. Provisions should be made in programs to blend skills and conditioning accordingly.

1. Unyielding in severity or strictness; unrelenting:

There seems to be a recurring theme common to the majority people that are successful and that is an unyielding commitment to achieving a desired outcome whether it takes days, months, or years.

8 years after receiving a “C” grade on his term paper at Yale on the FedEx process, Frederick Smith lined up 14 planes and 389 employees to deliver a less than amazing 186 packages. Wonder if he thought about making payroll? Things worked out pretty damn well for him. Relentless.

The KFC recipe was rejected 1009 times before being purchased. Colonel Sanders was pretty relentless.

Betty White was one of the most award-winning comedic actresses in history, but she didn’t become an icon until she joined the cast of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1973 at age 51.

Kurt Warner went from undrafted free agent unable to stick with a team resorting to stocking shelves in 1994 to NFL League MVP in 1999. Never stopped.

It also seems successful people can slow things down and focus on details without losing sight of a bigger picture.

Are you or do you want to be relentless?

In addition to performance coaching at the facility, Coach Anthony Winkler is presently providing Baseball/Softball Instruction at the SFAS Facility. He played baseball at Cal U and for the Pittsburgh Diamond Dawgs. He was also a coach for the Pittsburgh Diamond Dawgs. These sessions are by appointment.

TEAM TRAINING

Every year we have baseball and softball teams (10-12 athletes usually) come to our facility where we work on strength, speed and conditioning.

After training sessions or sometimes during teams hold practices and use our 2500 square turf side. We  have a functional batting cage here with L screen that could be utilized and astroturf for fielding/pitching. Teams in the past have also used portable hitting nets set up throughout.

Contact us for details.

Someone asked me what we work on with our softball athletes. Here is a short summary of some 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 

This is reprinted from the SFAS Newsletter March 2000. There is nothing like “strongman” lifting to cap power leaks. I’ve seen amazing lifters struggle to pick up furniture, move linemen in football, take hits in soccer, etc. Having your body work as a unit typically starting at the core builds what some call “farm strength” or old man strength. Did this lifting at Texas grove very early Sunday mornings in South Park. I still incorporate this lifting now. Here it is:

There is something about training in the great outdoors that sets it apart from training in a gym. Maybe it is the air or the sights of the fog slowly lifting off of the ground in the early morning. Or maybe it is the sun blasting through the trees. Or just maybe it is the exhilaration that one experiences from odd object lifting in the middle of nowhere. Something just plain primal about it.

First up is the sandbag carry. The sandbag is bear hugged and carried for 120 yards. Warm ups should start out with a very light bag, followed by progressively heavier weights. The work set should barely be able to be completed. Progression should be cut to a brick or 5 pounds of sand per week or so when it gets really tough. Next is the log on the shoulder walk. Spikes should be driven into this log in the future for the purpose of adding weight to it.

 The farmer’s walk with Olympic barbells is next with no collars. This is one of  best grip and wrist strength builders that exists. I have worked some turns into my course which calls for some coordination as well.

The stone flip is up next. My stone is actually a four foot cube of irregularly shaped concrete foundation which is flipped end over end until exhaustion sets in. Outstanding form must be maintained in this movement to avoid injury. The day is finished off with pushing a Jeep Cherokee up a slight grade. The quadricep and calf involvement is intense. The hormonal and metabolic stimulation from this type of training is phenomenal. All criteria for eliciting maximum GH and testosterone release are present. I believe this augments standard strength and conditioning type moves both in recovery and stimulation.

This type of training program represents a radical departure for most athletes in type of training as well as a reduction in volume. One thing that will be accomplished, however is the addition of new muscle, extreme core strengthening, and metabolic conditioning. An interesting thing to note about this type of training is that a feeling of euphoria is experienced at the end of a session, rather than fatigue. One is energized for the rest of the day and sleep is very good at night. Although I have seen it get a bad rap lately, if this type of training is done sensibly and with good form and slow progression, the results are outstanding. In addition to the dense, new muscle tissue, one feels a difference the next time they go to move an awkward item like a file cabinet or a couch or a nose tackle. The awkwardness does not hamper one’s lifting of these objects when this type of training is done. This is because the trunk and supportive muscles discussed earlier are much stronger than when just hit with free weights. If you are an athlete or a bodybuilder/weightlifter who hasn’t seen gains in a while or are looking for a change, give it a shot, you may like the results.

Remember to proceed with caution using this type of extreme training. Good Luck.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’ve seen it before and I’ll see it again. I saw it when my sons played many years ago. Playing for 3 teams or going to endless open gyms will not make you a better athlete. Your skills will improve to a point but the bottom line will be how strong, powerful, quick and explosive you are. Best players will play. Period. Whether they attended 100% of open gyms or put in time with 4 travel teams best players will play. Period. Are you getting as strong, fast and powerful as you need to be? Or is endless mindless repetition getting in the way?

On Saturday, October 22nd from 1PM until 4PM there 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 get an opportunity to sign up for discounted functional assessments. All current and past SFAS family members are also welcome to attend!

  • Meet Coach Ed and staff to 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 Physical Therapist Dr. Jake Wietholder and get his take on corrective exercise
  • Meet the excellent staff and observe some client training and some interesting demos(schedule will post before the event)
  • 1PM until 2PM SFAS Athlete training session
  • 2PM until 3PM Coach Demonstrations including a pretty cool heavy 1 arm Barbell Snatch, Core work, Pegboard work, and a variety of other movements.
  • There will be an opportunity to schedule a discounted functional assessment for attending
  • Of course some snacks(healthy!) and….some not so much

Many athletes complain to me and tell me that they can’t gain weight. They say they eat a lot but it is usually once per day. I get asked about protein shakes which at 30 grams or so top out around 120 calories. Not the exclusive answer. The answer is a mixture of carbs, fats and proteins in increased quantities. Most underweight athletes are way deficient in total calories.

Are you recovering? If the answer was just lift 3 hours per day and you will gain then things would be easy. 99% will get nowhere with that, it is a balancing act.

A lot of athletes try to follow the latest and greatest that they see online or on media. Problem is some of these authors are let’s say…. chemically enhanced and can recover with the best of them. Some athletes jump on their routine and make great gains. Others gain for a bit then plateau quickly since they can’t recover. Others get instant tendinitis or other problems because they are doing 10 times as much work as their genetics will tolerate. There really truly is no one right way to train for a specific goal. Some generalities exist with rep ranges and rest periods and such like sets of 15-25 will certainly get you more enduring but nor truly stronger.

Does speed and sprint work factor as one of your “leg days” ? If it doesn’t it should. Watch your gains increase by dropping that 3rd or even 2nd leg strength day.

The simplest most overlooked way to get stronger for most beginner and intermediate trainees is simple linear periodization. I know many athletes who spend 8 months in the weight room and then tell me they did not get any stronger. Start keeping records now. Work harder, not longer. Try overtraining every 3rd or 4th week of a 4-5 week strength cycle, then backing off the following week. Keep your total work volume low, intensity of effort high, eat well, sleep much and gain. You need to be concerned with when and how much weight you add to the bar, not how long you are in the weight room.

This is a description of how I ate back in the day trying to gain muscle with a very quick metabolism. It is not perfectly healthy but during extreme attempts to gain weight it is very hard to eat clean all day and consume enough calories when you are young. Breakfast was multiple eggs, oatmeal, wheat toast and Orange Juice. Lunch consisted of 2 turkey and ham sandwiches with lettuce and cheese, 1 peanut butter sandwich, and one half of a large bag of potato chips. Washed this down with a quart of lemonade. This is exactly how I ate my lunch in the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school. 3-4 similar meals like this during the day with an emphasis on cleaner proteins like fish and chicken and lean beef mixed with rice pasta and vegetables. A snack of Sunseri’s pizza in the evening. No shakes, supplements or magic potion. Add in a superior weight training plan with an emphasis on Deadlifts, Squatting and Pressing. Gained about 15 pounds. Adding a protein shake alone for weight gain is like dropping 1 drop of red dye in the ocean and expecting it to turn red. Waistline did not budge.

If you are playing sports you must also consider positional needs and whether you need this muscle mass to just be there, or to explode, to move, etc.

The answers we need are right in front of our faces. No need to make things harder than they are.