Category Archives: Football

What it takes to succeed – A MUST READ!

This is a must read article for what it takes to succeed at not only golf but anything in life.  One of the best things I’ve read in recent memory and well worth the time for any athlete or coach.

grit

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Four Components of the Warm Up

One thing that often time gets overlooked is the warmup.  The warmup for my athletes is too important to brush over.  Time is a limiting factor in most of our day at the NCAA level so we use our warmup needs to achieve 4 things in each session:

1. Movement Skills – We utilize a variety of movements throughout the warmup as a means to increasing body temperature but even more importantly as a means of creating some kinesthetic awareness.  We want athletes to understand where their body is in space and recognize what is going on as they move.  This becomes even more important the younger the athlete.  Teaching a variety of skips, shuffles, bounds, jogs, all go towards improving movement skills.  We can then combine various arm swings, circles, etc. to add some complexity to the movement.  Coach Cal Dietz and his contributors over at http://www.XLAthlete.com have put together one of the best resources on general body movement and especially for young athletes.

XL Athlete Youth Dynamic Warm Up

2. Mobility – All warm ups should be geared towards increasing the movement around the joints.  The goal of any warmup should be to prepare the joints for loading and movement.  We can take time throughout our warmup to work on areas where more motion is necessary instead of perhaps using extra time throughout the training session.  Creating mobility throughout the hips and t-spine for example are the foundations of my warm ups.

3. Activation – Our lifestyles, genetics, imbalances all lead to inhibited muscle groups that need specific stimulation.  The most common of these tends to be the glutes in many athletes.  As I’ve written about before on this blog, in Upper and Lower Crossed Syndromes the glutes are just one of many muscles that can shut down.  Doing activation work in a warmup on a daily basis can go a long way in brining those areas around.  Varieties of hip raises, alternating hip raises, single leg stance work, can all be included in warm ups to turn on the glutes prior to training.  The same goes for other inhibited areas as in the lower trap, psoas, or maybe the rotator cuff.

Lower Crossed Syndrome I

Lower Crossed Syndrome II

4. Injury Prevention – Injuries come in plenty of shapes and sizes and we have to look multiple places when preventing injuries.  We may have to look at the sport, the position, male vs female, etc. to determine the best route in injury prevention.  Whatever the case many of these issues can be touched upon in the warmup as well.  A thorough warmup including the previous three pieces in itself serves as great prevention already.

Looking at the four components above may seem like a tall task to perform all in one warmup but we achieve all of this in less than 15 minutes in every one of our warm ups.  You may be asking how…. I like to pair our movement skills with #2 #3 and #4.  We may perform skips or backwards jogs for a desired distance then drop down and perform mobility work on the hips and t-spine.  As we progress through the warmup we move from mobility to more activation ie: hip raises, SL hip raises, etc. and then to injury prevention work which may include some form of rotator cuff, or maybe a strengthening movement for someone susceptible to an ACL injury.

Pallof Press

Quickly becoming one of my new favorite movements is the Cable Pallof Press.  We have used these with bands for years prior to having cable machines in our weight room, so there are other options for those of you who are without cables. 

The movement trains anti-rotation of the the trunk.  Creating strength through anti-rotational exercises also produces strength in rotational exercises, so we use them interchangeably.  Not only do our athletes feel this in their trunk but this is one of the best exercises for activating the adductors in the hips as well.  The movement incorporates everything from the chest to the knees. 

Those who have been reading this blog for a while understand this follows in my opinions on training the core as an entire unit.  I preach strength and stability of the torso/core all the time.  We don’t do situps, crunches, russian twists, leg raises, etc…..  This is one of our main rotational strength exercises for the current 3 week block of training our in-season baseball athletes.

Pull-ups, or Chin-ups

I read this article a while back in the NSCA Journal and forgot about it until I saw a post by Mike Reinold earlier this week. 

Surface Electromyographic Activation Patterns and Elbow Joint Motion During a Pull-Up, Chin-Up, or Perfect-Pullup™ Rotational Exercise


If you haven’t read the article its pretty evident that it compares muscle activation during the three variations of a pull-up.  The chart below details activation of external oblique, erector spinae, pec major, lower trap, infraspinatus, bicep, and lat.
The lats are all highly active in all three variations which is no surprise but  one of the most interesting points is that the pull-up actually has the highest activation within the lower trapezius, 56% for the pullup vs. 45% for the chin-up.  The lower trap was also the first muscle active within the exercises as the scapula is in an upwardly rotated position at the bottom position. 

I have talked at length about how important the lower trap is in athletes for proper shoulder function, especially overhead athletes.   The lower trap is an often overlooked muscle that will shut down during times of shoulder trouble much like its partner the serratus anterior.  Anything we can do to get more out of the lower trap is good.  Conversely, the chin-up has the highest activation within the biceps as well as pectoralis major, but the lowest in the lower trap. 

LOWER TRAP

Something I would like to see is the activation of the pec minor, and lower during the pull-up and chin-up with retraction and depression vs. rounding over at the top, as well as the differences with the neutral grip pull-up. 

All too often I see athletes that round over at the top of any pull-up / chin-up movement.  They end up doing the chin poke at the top with their back rounded over like the hunchback of N0tre Dame.  Essentially this is the upper crossed syndrome position and I am in full belief that you are eliminating the positive benefits of pull-ups for the scaps and reinforcing the negative ones that already persist in many athletes.   

Mike Reinold, trainer for the Boston Red Sox, mentions that the pull-up may be a better option for a baseball player due to the fact that the lower trap is more active and the bicep and chest is less active vs. the chin-up. 

I agree with Mike in that the pull-up may present be a better option because of activation.  At the same time my concern is that when we look at the externally rotated position of the pull-up, this is a position of vulnerability when it comes to SLAP tears.  High bicep activity in an externally rotated position can be a recipe for disaster.  This is how orthopaedic surgeons generally diagnose SLAP lesions. 

Just food for thought.

Beware of the BCS

There’s a couple of good reads that I wanted to point out this week.  One of them is over at EliteFTS.com and an interview with East Carolina Strength Coach Mike Golden. 

Q&A with Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Golden

By far the best article I read this week was in Sports Illustrated titled “Does it Matter” by Austin Murphy and Dan Wetzel.  The complete story can be found in the link below.  For those that are true college football fans this story is great at breaking down the fraud that runs rampant in the bowl system and why we will never see a playoff.  It makes you sick to read how much money that is being passed around to college presidents, athletic directors to support bowl games, as well as the bowl committee’s themselves just stealing cash.  CEO’s of the Sugar Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl each pocketed in excess of $600,000 from their games way back in 2007.  They also have the ability to take out no-interest loans from the money made in these games. 

Does It Matter

The article tells of teams like Ohio State losing roughly $80,000 when it’s all said and done to play in the Rose Bowl.  That’s what they had to pay out after they got paid their conference share of $2.2 million to play in the that game. 

It’s a great article and I’m glad to see someone finally had the stones to talk about the corruption that is titled the BCS.  We all know it’s because of the money but at least this article gives us insight into how and where the money is going.

How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

A friend of mine, Jim Kielbaso, posted a great article at his website www.UltimateStrengthAndConditioning.comThe article touches on being a strength coach at various levels as well as how to get into the field of strength and conditioning.  It’s extremely informative and insightful especially for those younger coaches who are in the process of making career choices, or still trying to break into the field of strength and conditioning. 

How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach

Another week of training is behind us for the baseball program.  This was Week 12 of the Fall Off-Season.  We only have 4 weeks left in the semester and really only 3 weeks left to train.  Time goes way too fast.  The players don’t realize how small of an opportunity they have between seasons to really get better. 

This week was our highest volume of speed work to date as well as intensity on our Main Effort movements. 

The video below gives a little of our training for the previous week.  It has a little of everything including some of our speed work, med-ball throws, and one of our team challenges. 

 

Hope everyone has a good weekend and GO FROGS!!!