Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Can you play up to pressure?

There is a rule in sports and in life as far as I can tell. It's the 30% rule.

Under pressure athletes will play 30% better or 30% worse. So are you an athlete that steps up or wimps out. Either way, you're training needs to prepare yourself for those moments. Every move, down, practice, every moment needs to be done with as if it were everything. Think of how much effort, focus, and tenacity that will take. This is how champions are made, and by that I don't mean all athletes that are good, I mean champions.

I don't know where I originally heard this saying but I use it all the time with my athletes. I'm sure it came from football though. It's

"Always move forward"

I used to take it simply as, on offense move the ball forward, on defensive drive them back, when you hit a guy drive through him, that kind of thing.

The cool thing is that the other day I used it in reference to playing football, my athlete complained about something else going on his life and I had to explain how it applies to more than just football. He texted me later telling me how he understood. I like moments like that.

New years resolutions are crap

It's about that stupid ass time of year again. When you all poop out your new years resolutions. Personally I hate these stupid things. If you really wanted to do something about it you would've by now. Everyone is guilty of it (some more than others) but there's a reason people come up with excuses not to do something, even when they really want to do it. You've heard it.

I don't know all the answers but what I've found so far is that people are afraid. Not afraid of actually having it, but of accomplishing it. Afraid of what it will take to earn it. In my life I've found one simple truth, there is no easy quick fix to the great things you want. You want to be the best athlete on the field, lose 80lbs, make a ton of money, etc....It's gonna come one way, and you gotta earn it. That means no excuses, no holding back, no tomorrow's.

You are the only thing holding yourself back. Fear is a terrible little deal.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Work:Rest Rations don't matter....??

I'm gonna keep this pretty simple, but since everyone right now is on the holiday edge it would seem appropriate to promote a little way to reduce stress.

First of all, when it comes to program design everyone's worried about what cycle/phase their in. I will tell you some pretty great advice given to me by Paul Chek once, and it was that there is only one cycle to worry about, until that is mastered nothing else will matter, and that cycle is the Circadian cycle. Circadian rhythm is what gets thrown off when you travel long distances and get jet lag, and is based on sunlight. Get it?

So until you get the daily cycle and what you need to do during that daily cycle it is absolutely pointless to move on from there. So you need food, sleep, exercise, recreation, work, and relationships. Missing any one of these and you're missing out on life.

This is NOT me but he does a good job of backing me up. So in the end, eat whole foods that taste good, sleep, stay social, and enjoy relationships, exercise, work while you're at work then leave it there, and get outside and partake in something enjoyable. We may live in the midwest where it happens to be a nice and cozy cold and snowy, but there's plenty to do. Take your kids out and pull them on the sled. It's a great workout and your kids will love it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lessons of Strength: Florida Gators

"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."

Psychology will always beat physiology.

"Talent will never replace hard work."

These could go on forever, and you've probably heard most of them. But truth is perception of what's hard is a daunting idea. You're athletes might think they're working hard, but I almost guarantee you they've not even gotten close to potential....Yet.

Here's a clip from University of Florida. The guy might still be playing with a group he didn't recruit but like it or not he's getting it done and so are his guys. There's lessons here.

Even though I can't stand an immature, cry baby, wimp of a quarterback. But Urban Meyer says it just the way it needs to be said.
Just for the hell of it, this is one of my favorite quotes.

"You have to beat the best to be the best."

How's that for pressure? Get's me going.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lessons of Strength: Pete Carroll USC

This is what it's about man. Ask any coach anywhere. Strength practices, environment, and a relentless desire to improve and you have yourself an athlete that's gonna be successful.

You can say what you want about USC this year, they're still one of the most successful teams in history.

And Chris Carlisle (USC's Strength Coach) knows his stuff. It's not about being a weight room hero. The weight room is nothing but preparation to enhance what you already have.

On board with Boyle...Getting deep with Squats

I've referred to Michael Boyle before in this blog and I'm about to again. B/c a few weeks ago, he came out with a new DVD set, and one of the things he came out with was so preposterous that it shook the very ground work of the strength and conditioning realm.

Coach Boyle is preaching against doing conventional back squats. WHAT, WHAT, WHAT?!?! (intened to be said with rapid succession.)
In history this type of innovation would be either hailed as heroic or dispised as lunacy.

Seems some really don't like this very much. As is evident here.

I don't know though. I've not met Coach Boyle personally but he seems to always have validity behind what he says (meaning he doesn't talk out of his ass). I do think it's possible that the reason he is so highly regarded for his strength and conditioning practices is more due to his incredible ability to communicate than his ability to transform athletes, but that's part of it too, and I doubt neither. (can we stop and appreciate the terribleness of that sentence).....

Now all in all, I personally cannot remember the last time I did a conventional squat. So am I with Coach Boyle? Yes and No. It wouldn't be me to give such a clear cut answer would it?

I find his reasoning for the Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat without doubt to be ironclad. The weak point of a squat is the low back. It's the reason we cannot get maximal force output. So we switch to one leg and bang, we can do way more than half the weight of our max squat on a single leg.

I doubt I could squat 450lbs without a box under me, but I can do well over 225lbs on each leg for reps. See what I mean.

I also see safety as a benefit.
Crazy right? Well, a friend of mine was lifting the other day, sat back on the box and couldn't get back off. Along with that, the idiot didn't set the safety bars and could NOT drop it. He sat there for almost 5 minutes while some skinny little blonde lady tried to figure out how to move the safety bars so he could drop it. Nice huh?

Buuuuuuut.............. I do find good reason to still include box squats, other single leg squat variations, the use of bands and chains, along with variations of deadlifts.

One thing I will add to the pile is that I do quite honestly dislike single leg squats without the use of a box. Especially when performing them on ground level. Either sit back on a box (my preference 95% of the time, b/c you get more from the glutes and hamstrings, can load sooner, and don't get that ridiculous rounding of the back), or stand on the edge of the box.

I'll also add that I absolutely hate leg pressing. I think it's one of the biggest bullshit, panzy ass wastes of time. Go do something real. It's about as bad as a leg extension. I wouldn't be caught dead on a leg extension, ever.

All in all, I find pretty much everyone to be correct. Powerlifters have to practice squatting. Athletes need maximal force output from one leg at a time (you only run with one foot at a time, then the other), and both are trying to stay healthy enough to perform at their best. But I train athletes that need to be able to run, and they have NOT done any conventional squats for a very long time and wont be anytime soon. This is simply because there's too many other things they need that are going to help them excel.

Leave a comment. People are getting pretty ridic about this, so it'd be good to hear some opinions.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lunges of Death Challenge: Diesel Crew

This was the last nice day before winter arrived and pummeled us with snow. Good thing we took the opportunity.

I had been wanting to do this for awhile, and it seemed like a good day. The field was pretty wet and muddy, you can see me slip a few times. So not the best of conditions, but this would've been brutal either way. I don't train for this kind of endurance activity but really thought I could do it. Sadly disappointed even now.

Janet did awesome, she's quite the little badass. The lunges got a little shallow towards the end, but you can go try it and find out for yourself. It's tough.

And here's me. 20 yards in, I knew it was going to be much tougher than I expected. It sucked. My back was on fire the whole time, and it felt like someone was shoving screwdrivers in each of my glutes. Also took me forever, maybe next time.
I'd like to see you beat it though. 185lbs, how far can you take it?

Till next time. Peace.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

At some point everyone needs a pep talk

Professional athletes are lucky, they get pep talks regularly. Now I say lucky loosely because they earned it. No one got to the pros sitting on their butts playing play station and eating twinkies all day. But, at some point they had something that sparked them to action and lit a fire inside them to make them go for it all.

I've seen this before but it wasn't until today that I decided to do something about it. First of all share it and second of all challenge you. Watch and read on.
  1. Personal Goal
  2. Career Goal
  3. Social Contribution
When he says that what pops into your head? I'm honestly asking you too. In fact I'm calling you out. I want you to write exactly what you feel below in the comments section for everyone to see. Reasons being:
  1. People are much more inclined to act when they tell other people of what they plan to do. So you want to lift 600lbs off the ground, you tell everyone around you. You want to break your smoking habit, you tell everyone you know. You want to lose fat, and I guarantee you that if everyone knows you'll be more likely to keep your hands off the cookies and other crap.
  2. We learn through our relationships and interactions with others. One goal, experience, phrase, gesture can be that helping hand. Relationships are pivotal. It's just like he says, at the end we'll always know we could've done more. Give back.
  3. I'm purely curious (and you are too). I want to know what drives you, gets you out of bed in the morning, what makes you stand up and act as if you just got done watching one of the first four Rocky movies?
So, I told you I list mine so here you go:
  1. Personal goal: One is that I want to take 600lbs off the floor. Second is relationships man, all of them. To be the best friend that I can be, and life hasn't called on me to be a husband or father yet but when that time comes I want to be the best that I can (both of those can wait as long as they like). But, when I look back at my life, I'm going to ask what kind of friend was I, what kind of husband, what kind of father, and I want no doubts in my mind.
  2. Career goal: I want to be in a position where I can provide for myself very comfortably, without debt, and full peace of mind. I really have no interest in living a stardom life style or anything to that affect. But do I wanna take a trip to Hawaii at some point? Hell yes!! and more than once. But then I also that I'm comfortable enough to give back.
  3. Social contribution: I want the programs that I run to reach and help hundreds and thousands of kids to give them a way to learn and grow with each other. Things like character, work ethic, relationships, and how to be their own success. That's why I do what I do, period.
Now it's your turn. Go ahead the box is waiting for you.