Posts Tagged ‘agility’

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.

A Junior High School Basketball player name Gavin approached us to ask me to help him develop his game to be able to play at a higher level.

After a functional assessment revealed some classic basketball imbalances we embarked on an interesting and what turned out to be record setting quest.

Over the next 12 weeks we addressed inadequate knee punching, overstriding and inefficient shin angles and a lack of drive at the shoulders which can contribute up to 10% of an athletes “oomph” when they accelerate. We also woke up his hamstrings since we explained his brakes would be key as much as his engine. We also addressed back jumping where athletes try to recruit slow twitch fibers in the back mistakenly rather than the power legs and glutes. We also provided some suggestions for alterations to his strength program getting into rep ranges designed to encourage fast twitch and enhance intermediate twitch conversion.

We introduced some work on eliminating false step and reaction work to movement, sound and color. Acceleration and Lateral movement continued to be overloaded.

We covered transition steps that occur when you have to stop start, turn and lateral transition, etc.

It should be noted that this young man never missed a training session and always took care of strength training sometimes at the facility and sometimes on his own.

Excellent outcome.

12 weeks later…Vertical Leap +10inches………..10 yard dash……. .45 improvement……. .6 improvement

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 training repertoire, you become good at a skill like you get good at a golf swing or dancing or a ladder or cone drill. I am dumbfounded when I watch speed “experts” have their athletes look like they are doing hopscotch Olympics preparation. Hop, skip jump over and over, backwards tip toe, repetitive, predictable and stupid.

Once the foundation of good mechanics is laid, unpredictability must follow unless you just want to be an instagram or combine or showcase star only.

Don’t play like a robot. Become an athlete.

I was on a trip to Disney in 2003 and we stopped in at the Hall of Presidents. There was a great scene there that stuck with me and it was a conversation between Mark Twain and Ben Franklin I believe. Twain said, “The greatest enemy to progress is success.”

After thinking about this off and on through the years there are several reasons why this is true. One would be the obvious which means you get complacent and let yourself get comfortable with the status quo. Problem is things around you are always changing and you must be aware of this whether it is how you live your life, money decisions, business decisions, etc.

Another less obvious reason is that you are making progress and doing well and be wrong about the reasons why you are making progress. A training example would go as follows. Someone has been lifting for only a few years and decides that more will be better. They get locked into what they see on youtube or online magazines and figure that they can live in the gym and make better progress. I am here to tell you that this could not be further from the truth. You actually need MORE recovery time as you get better at generating training intensity. In the end your nervous system recovery will be the limiting factor. There is no natural drug free override of this mechanism. But I digress.

A simple business example would be thinking that running a certain ad online will lead to more business since the same ad led to big results in the past. You neglect to look further into who has seen this ad and realize that it fell into a region with high discretionary income. Wasn’t necessarily the ad but the market that it reached.

The devil is always in the details. I have made it part of my everyday learning to study mental models and ways of thinking outside of my own paradigms. Knowing the absolute causes of the effects you are experiencing will greatly enhance your own chances of “success”.

It also doesn’t hurt to take a pause when presented with a stimulus to prevent a knee-jerk reaction which you will regret later on. There is a time to think quick and a time to think slow. It’s in the way that you use it.

“Progress” is nothing more than an outcome of which you need to be really certain of the source.

Q: When my daughter begins her training at her high school should we stop training here?

When our younger athletes start at the high schools we compliment the work they do there with our own.

Very few if any duplicate our movement and speed type training.

We compliment the weight training work at the school with our own not duplicate it.

She should try to remain an explosive athlete and avoid cross country type endurance or cross fit type high repetition training as her staple unless she will be participating in very high endurance type sports. Those modes should only be a compliment to her main focus.

Train fast be fast, train slow be slow.

Lineman Strength, Speed and Skills Camp


This camp will run for 8 weeks and will meet on Mondays and Fridays at 12 noon for 8 weeks at the Pleasant Hills Location and for some sessions a field to be named later in the South Hills. Sessions run for 60 minutes. Tuesdays are speed/strength and Fridays footwork and skill. Total cost of the camp is $349. This camp is not a 3 day deal, it is designed to actually create habits and improve strength, footwork and speed over a 2 month period. START DAY IS JUNE 9!

We will be working on total body strength, upper body power and hand quickness, short range acceleration, balance, capping power leaks and toughness.

Total cost of the camp is $349/athlete.

If 5 players sign up from same team, cost goes to $320/athlete.

Register at Contact Ed at for more details.


Cory Tucker is a standout lineman at Slippery Rock University. He is a student of the game and was recently named to the 1st team all region at SRU. Cory spent many years sports performance training under the tutelage of Ed Wietholder, founder and Director of Strength, Fitness And Speed, Inc. Cory will be handling all of the skills aspects and some of the strength and footwork development as well.

JT Colosimo attended Seton La Salle High School and is presently playing Football at Waynesburg University. In High School Football Football (letter winner) he was  second-team all-conference. JT spent many years sports performance training under the tutelage of Ed Wietholder, founder and Director of Strength, Fitness And Speed, Inc. JT’s father presently coaches football at Montour High School. JT will be handling all of the skills aspects and some of the strength and footwork development as well.

Ed Wietholder is the President and Founder of SFS, Inc. Over 30 years of experience in Strength, speed and conditioning. Read more about Ed at

SFAS LogoI just wanted to wish you a wonderful holiday season, and thank you for your support.

Whether you’ve been a client for years, a fan of our newsletter, or are just finding out about us for the first time, we’re honored to have you as a member of our community. Every day that we get to help you or your student athlete to become better  is truly a privilege.

Our plans for 2013 and beyond are very exciting. We’ll be expanding and remodeling our Pleasant Hills location, introducing an “open gym” membership concept, and increasing the knowledge and development of our already amazing coaches. Everything we do is geared towards helping you achieve your goals. The beauty of it is that it comes natural to all of us because it is indeed our passion.

Finally, even though I’ll be spending less time on the training floor after 5 PM due to my hectic very early morning and afternoons, I’ll be continuing to share my ideas on training through my coaches, the blog and other media channels. And that’s just for starters…

On behalf of everyone who works here: Thank you. We wouldn’t be here without you and we’ve been keenly aware of that for the last 14 years.

Best wishes to you and your family,


There is a danger of sports performance training becoming performed by unqualified, inexperienced individuals. There is also a danger that it will be about the cheapest price and easiest access.

Take a look at who you are training with and your group size.

Are you doing what everyone else in the class is doing even though they have different goals and individual needs?

Did you have  a needs analysis performed?

Beware of a cheaper training facility because it is usually coming with a price. The price being lack of credentials and individual customized attention. Not to mention lack of tracking workouts with no plan and no vision.

Cheap can actually come with a higher cost than quality.

Strength, Fitness And Speed Athletes enjoy the following benefits:

Why is Strength, Fitness And Speed, Inc. the leader in Sports Performance Training since 1998?  

The primary reason is that we know a template based program just does not fit every athlete’s needs. Systems developed in the 1980’s are no longer cutting edge. One standardized system cannot cover individual physiological differences in age, maturity and gender. Here are some more: 

1. Individualized and scientifically designed & time tested training programs

All of our programs are created by Ed Wietholder, well known speed and sports performance coach to numerous athletes across Pennsylvania. These are developed in conjunction with his head performance coaches and are based on the results of the athlete’s assessment, not what a chart or protocol may call for. Ed and his staff are well aware that each individual is unique and that programs must be designed for each individual’s physiology, gender and sport. One size does not fit all.  

2. A Functional assessment

You need a map to tell you where you are going. You need a starting point and the best route to reach your destination. We take baseline measures so that we can measure the routine’s effectiveness over time. Resisted and assisted work is extremely reinforcing to the nervous system. Corrective strength and nervous system reeducation are in order for most athletes at the initiation of their program before habits are reinforced.  

3. Individual tracking and ongoing fine tuning and progression

Every athlete has his or her own private database in which each workout is tracked and reevaluated over time. Athletes change and so does the workout stimulus. We have records for our athletes from the time that they are in grade school through college!  

4. Guaranteed personal attention from the coach

Athletes train in one on one settings unless specified by the athlete. We perform small group training if the athlete wishes to train with a group of teammates or friends with similar goals. We perform assessments on each individual in the group and we recommend whether or not the athletes should form a group or not. Quality before quantity!  

5. Fully functional facilities without the fluff!

Each of our facilities are 3,000 – 5,000 square feet with sprint tracks, agility areas, half basketball court (Irwin), strength training areas, and core training areas. Our facilities are equipped with all that you need for a fully functional, no nonsense training session.  

6. An open line of communication with the Sports Performance Director

Any questions parents or athletes have regarding training can be answered via email, in person, or the telephone. This gives the athletes and parents the opportunity to better understand the program and outcomes.

7. We are continuously improving and adding to our knowledge base

We strive to always offer our clients the best of what’s available in the sports performance, health and fitness industries. Current trends are evaluated and implemented if deemed appropriate.

Strength, Fitness And Speed, Inc. gets you off of the bench and into the game!