Posts Tagged ‘training’

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Saturday, October 22nd from 1PM until 4PM there will be a chance for those not yet part of the SFAS family to check out the facility, observe some training, speak to our staff and get an opportunity to sign up for discounted functional assessments. All current and past SFAS family members are also welcome to attend!

  • Meet Coach Ed and staff to get a perspective on 40 plus years of trends and what is effective in training. What looks “cool” may not do much for the athlete at all.
  • Meet Physical Therapist Dr. Jake Wietholder and get his take on corrective exercise
  • Meet the excellent staff and observe some client training and some interesting demos(schedule will post before the event)
  • 1PM until 2PM SFAS Athlete training session
  • 2PM until 3PM Coach Demonstrations including a pretty cool heavy 1 arm Barbell Snatch, Core work, Pegboard work, and a variety of other movements.
  • There will be an opportunity to schedule a discounted functional assessment for attending
  • Of course some snacks(healthy!) and….some not so much

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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