Posts Tagged ‘strength training pittsburgh’

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!

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?

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.

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