In this episode, Ed and Jake Wietholder discuss the science of Physical Therapy as it stands alone as well as the implications it has for sports performance. The importance of recovery is also addressed.

Check out this episode!


Some overtrained athletes wear it like a badge of honor. “Ya I was in the gym for 4 hours today” as they leave with ice on their knees, shoulder and neck.

They could have accomplished more with a 1 hour session and even better recovered from it. Recovery is the limiting factor. Max out your sleep, diet, water intake, mindset and let nature take it’s course.

The right amount of training is the most you can do in a sensible training cycle that you recover 100% fully from. Otherwise what you have is a terrible waste of time where you regress instead of progress. Almost better off doing NOTHING.

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 5 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.

The simplest most overlooked way to get stronger for most athletes 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.

I want to refer you to an article on a topic that says it all. I used to write for a magazine called Hardgainer that Brooks Kubik was an author for. I have learned much through the years from Mr. Kubik’s knowledge. It is more about how he delivers it.

The World’s A Mighty Big Place by Brooks Kubik

The world’s a mighty big place.

There’s an awful lot of people living in the world.

In a place that big, with that many people, sometimes it seems like it doesn’t matter if you slack off a bit in your training. After all, there’s plenty of other days to train, and it won’t matter if you take it easy for once. Heck, it won’t matter if you even miss a day. You can always come in and do it tomorrow.

When you’re running sprints, you don’t always have to go full bore. You can slow down a step. The coach will never even know. And slowing down just a little tiny bit makes it hurt a whole lot less.

When you’re lifting weights, you don’t always have to go for that extra rep, or try to put more weight on the bar. Just make it look good. Throw in an extra grunt or two, and put on one of those big pain faces like the guys in the muscle mags when they do their photo shoots. The coach will never know.

You really don’t have to get up and go running before the sun is out. It’s okay to sleep in. No one will ever know.

You don’t have to do 200 pushups a day like you decided to do last week. You can do 50. Or you can skip ‘em today. No one will know.

You don’t have to watch your diet the way your Coach wants you to do. Going out with your buds for a double-dish pizza with everything on it is fine. Wash it down with a couple of cokes, and then go grab a burger and fries from Burger Heaven. You can always get back on your diet tomorrow. No one will ever be the wiser.

In fact, if you’ve got talent, skill and a little bit of speed, you can probably sleepwalk your way through 90 percent of the conditioning stuff that the Coach keeps talking about. Maybe it’s all for the second-stringers. The guys who don’t have God-given talent that you have. The guys who need to do grass drills because they have slow feet. The guys who need to do pushups because they aren’t very strong. The guys who need to watch what they eat because they don’t have a good metabolism.

You can think like that, and you can act like that, and no one will ever know. After all, the world’s a mighty big place. The Coach can’t be everywhere.

But if that’s how you approach things, think about this.

Somewhere, at another school, in another town, there’s a kid who’s your age and your size, and he plays the sport you do, and he’s got every bit of God-given talent that you have. In fact, we could put the two of you side by side right now, and you’d match up exactly equal.

But here’s something you need to know.

That very same kid is out there running full-bore sprints every single day. He runs them as hard as he can.

He never misses a weight lifting session, and when he lifts, he always goes for that extra rep. Some times he goes for two or even three extra reps. And he always tries to add weight to the bar.

He gets up every morning, rolls out of bed, throws on his sweats, and goes for a long run. He gets home about the time the sun is starting to climb over the horizon.

The Coach wanted him to do 200 pushups every day. He does 300.

He works as hard on his diet as he does on his training. He never eats anything unless it is going to give him energy to train, protein to grow, or vitamins and minerals to build his body. He doesn’t touch junk food or sweets. He can’t remember the last time he had pizza, French fries, a cookie or a candy bar.

Yes, the world’s a mighty big place.

But it becomes a mighty small place when there are two men running right at each other at top speed on an open field, one running for the winning touchdown and the other man the last defender blocking his path to the goal.

I’m older than you, and I’ve seen it happen over and over, and I know for a fact that this is going to happen.

It’s going to happen to you.

It’s all going to come down to you and him. Just the two of you. Right there in the middle of the field, in front of three thousand screaming fans.

You’re going to hit right there in the middle of the field, full force, one on one, with everything on the line. The whole season. It’s all gonna come down to this split second in time.

And that great big world out there shrinks right down to something small and tiny when two men hit try to occupy the same square foot of turf.

This will happen. I know it, your Coach knows it, and you know it.

So does the kid in the other school in the other town.

You will meet, you will hit, and one of you will knock the other one flat on his back right in front of the entire world.

Right now, I don’t know which of you is gonna end up making the play of the year, and which of you is gonna end up roiling in the dirt with tears in his eyes, crying like a baby because he missed the chance of a lifetime.

No one knows.

We don’t know, because we don’t know which of the two of you is gonna train harder.

It might be him. It might be you.

But it’s your decision…

-Brooks Kubik

There is a large difference between the notion of interest and dedication. Interest occurs when you look into something and get really excited about it. You might say, “I want to lose fat or gain some muscle.” “I want 20 more pounds on my Squat or Bench Press.” Dedication results when the actions are carried out that are required to achieve these goals no matter what.

I can remember having a workout scheduled with my middle school aged son at the basketball courts and he got an offer from his friends to go the high school football game instead. I asked him if he wanted to be a guy in the stands or a guy on the court or arena? He happily chose work. We could actually hear the game being announced from the courts we were at. Asked him if he ever wanted to hear his name mentioned? Dedication. Nothing happens while you are just watching.

Interest is the feeling you have when you start an exercise program and really believe that it is going to work. You sit down, organize a plan, and decide that you are going to start on Monday. Monday rolls around and you get an offer from friends to go to a movie and you opt for that rather than the training session. Dedication is turning down the offer, getting your butt to the gym or field, and getting your time in. Dedication causes you to take a rain check on the movie.

Interest is learning about how to increase your speed, wanting to increase it, and getting set to do so. Interest is also not doing the session because you are tired from some activity earlier in the day and thinking that this extra activity is enough work for your legs in a day. Dedication is getting your session in no matter what. Dedication has you taking pride in the fact that you are the one getting the extra edge.

Interest has you 4 weeks into a training program, getting frustrated, and quitting. Dedication has you sticking it out until 6-8 weeks when you can expect to see some results.

Interest has you stuffing food into your mouth at 10 P.M. and telling yourself that you can burn it off tomorrow. Dedication has you drinking water at 10 P.M. and burning fat the following day, rather than the snack.

Interest has you going to bed at 2 A.M. rather than 11 P.M. when you know you have a heavy leg workout in the morning. You rationalize coffee will take care of it. Dedication has you hitting the sack at 11 P.M. and having a great workout in the morning, rather than just taking care of it.

Whether you are dedicated or interested lies entirely in your mind. You are in the driver’s seat.

As an athlete becomes more advanced, the “whys” of doing a drill become more relevant. In addition athletes that travel a lot need to make their workouts super efficient and address any underlying issues. Time usage becomes more important

Example: With fall travel season approaching I watched an advanced High School middle infielder doing a long duration lateral 2 in(why?) in a ladder at full speed(took 10 seconds burst is now gone) sprinting(can’t go 100% at this point) to a cone diagonal 10 yards away(this is all counterclockwise) cutting at 45 degrees to another cone and another ladder 2 in sprinting diagonal to another cone, to a predetermined site(happen much?) to catch a ball. This is a glorified conditioning drill without any relevance to the sport. Something to do about 1% of your time and definitely not close to a season

Take some time and think about what you are doing or are being told to do by youtube or a bad “trainer”.

1 solution for a middle infielder: Not crossing over into technique of any sort but providing a resisted drill that is very relevant for the athlete that had a season coming up shortly to enhance relevant lateral movement. Bungees each side with medium drag so as not to interfere with already nice movement. Ground balls provided randomly. Simple, effective, efficient.

Lauren Vay EF Softball

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.


“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.


Patrick Maloney

Strength, Fitness And Speed Inc. has been a great experience for my son. The staff is full of knowledge and they push the athletes to be the best they can be. The kids want to work out harder to be the best at their sport. My son plays soccer year round and he said he feels stronger, has better balance, and can stop and start way better. Thank you to Ed and staff!

TJ Soccer Parent

Thomas Jefferson High School

P.S. I highly recommend this program to adults also!

The SFAS idea began in a Hot Tub

Posted: October 19, 2022 in Uncategorized

I have been involved in the acquisition of knowledge regarding the enhancement of
athletic strength, conditioning, speed and other attributes for over 30 years. One might say that it is a passion of mine. I have perused literally thousands of journals and books for new information that may be applied to enhance our clients’ results. Routines that I design are the end product of this knowledge combined with common sense application.
During much of this period I was a Pre-Medical school candidate at the University of
Pittsburgh. I graduated cum laude in 1988, was accepted at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, and decided to do research before entering. I spent 1 year doing research for the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and subsequently decided to learn how to be a Perfusionist. A Perfusionist works in the operating room running heart lung bypass machines that keep patients alive while a surgeon performs open heart surgery or heart/ lung transplantation.
I had the good fortune to work with a gifted Perfusion team and many outstanding
surgeons while at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh . I also saw many miracles taking place under the auspices of many gifted and talented individuals. During this time, my passion towards fitness, strength, and athleticism was satiated by writing for fitness magazines, reading medical and health journals such as the Journal of Applied Physiology, and designing routines for individuals on a freelance basis. I also obtained certifications in Personal Training through the American Council on Exercise and Strength and Conditioning for Sport through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

In 1997 while on vacation in the Outer Banks I came up with an idea of running a facility that focused on individual or small groups of clients vs. an open type of a gym. All sessions would be coached, tracked and implemented. I wanted to focus on having clients come consistently vs. having an open gym and having little used memberships. Little used or unused memberships are great for the big box gym cashflow but just no reward there of watching your clients progress.

Actual Tub Idea origin 1997

In 1998, I decided that I needed to pursue my passion all out and began taking steps
to start up Strength, Fitness And Speed and began training clients. In April of 1999 I officially started the business and was a perfusionist by day and a Strength and Conditioning Coach/Personal Trainer by night.
Training was performed in an addition that I built on my house. Off site work was done in every imaginable parking lot and basketball court in South Park that you could imagine. When the snow flew, I discovered a covered grove with a nice 60 foot runway. Old building #4 at the South Park Fairgrounds was also utilized. For many of our clients back in the day they remember how cold it was in there!!

2013-10-09 09.08.48

Humble beginnings 1998

I was also on call for emergencies and transplants 24 hours per day, 7 days per week every other week during this time. As the business grew, I was running out of time and energy. In March 2000, I left the Hospital to devote the necessary time to expanding the business and to fulfill the pursuit of my passion.

In July 2001, I began using the current Pleasant Hills location to train athletes.
As demand grew I began to assemble a staff that was chosen primarily for passion
and character as well as certification and education. We were also proud to be part of WPIAL and State Championship runs with TJ and South Park Football and Soccer. We also trained half of Bethel Park Football’s 2008 offense during their WPIAL run. I was also trainer to the 2013 Bethel Park Girls Basketball WPIAL Champion team. Still work with them in 2022.
In 2014 we decided it was time expand our operations in Pleasant Hills. We doubled our space to 5000 square feet and installed more equipment.

We set up a PT center within the facility run by Dr. Jake Wietholder, DPT. We anticipate small continuous improvement to our facility for years to come..

I receive emails and calls from clients all over the United States and have corresponded
with individuals in the UK as well as Australia . I have trained NFL athletes and have
caught football with a Pittsburgh Steeler Super Bowl winner. I have trained athletes that
have hit game winning shots at the buzzer in NCAA tournament action. I have received
texts from athletes after bowl game victories thanking me and asking what else they can do
to get to the next level. I have been truly blessed to follow my passion. There is nothing
more rewarding than watching the development of a student athlete as they progress
through junior and senior high school, college and out into their path in life. Since my company has been around for this long I have been honored to watch this cycle with many of our clients. Many student clients that I trained back when we started are now married with children!! Some of these children are training with us!! At Strength, Fitness And Speed, Inc, the key is that we continue to evolve and improve and always build better athletes one at a time.

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.


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.