Posts Tagged ‘Strength and Conditioning’

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

Advertisement

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.

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?

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?

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
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

One of the most common shared traits among successful people through the years that I have read about is a morning routine or ritual. It clears the brain and prepares the thought process for optimal functioning. Here is my routine that has evolved over the last several years.

Hopefully wake up.

Coffee has been brewing on a timer and is ready for me. I fill it up, heat it some more and feel the heat of the mug. I take a sip and relish the taste and smell. I feel fortunate to be so spoiled with coffee waiting for me.

Min 0-5. I journal. I write down 3 things I am thankful for. Some mornings the mood is not so great but I go ahead and do it anyways. Next I write down 3 things that would make the day great. Next I write down my mission statement for the day or mantra. My favorite is “strong like water mind like a lion”. Water can flow around effortlessly to accomplish or move and lift anything to accomplish. A lion’s mind is focused like a laser and random thoughts do not occupy their attention. Singularly, effortlessly focused.

Min 5-15. I meditate. Not chanting mantras with incense and levitation but just focusing on the breath. There really should not be a goal but when one realizes that stress and perception are not out there but come from within it feels like mission accomplished. Mind goes clear and optimal.

Min 15-60 or 90. I learn. Usually random but it ranges from learning new languages on Duolingo to Ted talks to Khan academy to learning geography on google earth to relativity on minute physics to name just a few.

This has really improved my concentration and ability to focus. If left unchecked I end up with so many ideas and thoughts I become very busy but not effective.

Just a mindful thought.

We train teams and players from all over Pennsylvania. We explode and react. After laying a foundation does it make sense to not focus on random movement drills? In other words repeating a know foot pattern then running to a spot where you know a ball or cone is becomes pretty useless? We see it frequently. Is there a reason to dance over hurdles before exploding to a known spot? Not really.

Here is what we choose to focus 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 a much improved “getting out of the box” and also 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 

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.

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

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. 

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

Major: Architecture and Design

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


“If one has failed to develop curiosity and interest in the early years, it is a good idea to acquire them now, before it is too late to improve the quality of life. To do so is fairly easy in principle, but more difficult in practice. Yet it is sure worth trying. The first step is to develop the habit of doing whatever needs to be done with concentrated attention, with skill rather than inertia. Even the most routine tasks, like washing dishes, dressing, or mowing the lawn become more rewarding if we approach them with the care it would take to make a work of art. The next step is to transfer some psychic energy each day from tasks that we don’t like doing, or from passive leisure, into something we never did before, or something we enjoy doing but don’t do often enough because it seems too much trouble. There are literally millions of potentially interesting things in the world to see, to do, to learn about. But they don’t become actually interesting until we devote attention to them.” -Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi(Described the concept of mental flow and peak performance)

Not enough is made of your body’s most powerful tool and that is the rational use of your mind. This is one of the most powerful notions that I have ever read. These concepts most certainly can be applied to training as well making the most repetitive drills and exercises seem brand new.

“The smarter I get the more I realize that I do not know.” -Ed Wietholder and a lot of other people

You find out life’s this game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small — I mean one-half a step too late, or too early, and you don’t quite make it. One-half second too slow, too fast, you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us.…..

When you transition and open your hips what part of your foot hits the ground first? (Should be ball)What does your shin angle look like?(should be positive) If not, why not? Is it a habit? Are your hips tight? Are you weak?

They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second…….

Are you addressing your weaknesses or are you hopping through hoops and ladders without correcting your flaws?

On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch, because we know when we add up all those inches that’s gonna make the fuckin’ difference between winning and losing! Between livin’ and dyin’!…….

Are you willing to put your brain to work and get into the science of training? If you are already athletic will you hide behind that or do you want to get even better?

I’ll tell you this: In any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die who’s gonna win that inch. And I know if I’m gonna have any life anymore, it’s because I’m still willin’ to fight and die for that inch. Because that’s what livin’ is! The six inches in front of your face!!

Will you work smartly and effectively as if your life depends on it or are you going to muddle through? It’s all about you vs. you and becoming the best you can be. No matter what you are striving to accomplish.

**Italics quotes courtesy of the movie Any Given Sunday(The inches speech as delivered by Al Pacino)