Saturday, August 30, 2008

I've a training camp this week

I'll be in the hopefully sunny south of France for the next 7 days working so go away and do some bloody work and stop wasting your time checking my blog for updates.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Man märker andras fel och glömmer sina egna.

I really need to work harder to be more positive...I came out of a meeting today at which I commented on what a bunch of whiners they all were because they spent half the meeting complaining about how crap other coaches were...guess what the first thing I did when I got back to the gym was? Well I won't make you guess...I immediately started bitching and moaning about how crap they all were.

Anyway...I'm going to start worrying more about myself and what I do and less about others and what they are doing...that includes thinking more about what I'm doing wrong.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A quick lunchtime blog

I don't know why leg pressing gets such a bad rap? I think it is one of those fad things...that all machine exercises are inherently bad and that everything has to be done with free weights.

We do a lot of single leg work...well not me obviously...I don't train for religious reasons...but THEY do a lot of single leg work.

I'll tell you something else that will shock you....we do a lot of seated leg extensions as well...shocked? You know in 20 years I've never seen and I can't think of one single athlete that I know of that has ever had any sort of knee injury I could possibly attribute any contribution to from doing leg extensions...what I do know is that in 20 odd years of coaching and training probably 50 or more athletes alone who have fixed or reduced tendonitis type knee issues doing amongst other things controlled eccentrics on the leg extension machine....but what the hell would I know.

Anyway here is another standing ab/trunk band variation.

Try not to look as uncomfortable with it as this guy.

Speaking of Snipers

Anonymous said...
Will there is a serious image right violation in the use of this footage but we will be willing to overlook this if you can tell us what it all means?

Even if I do tell wouldn't understand what I said.

How does this test compare to the original 'Bleep test' or the '150m shuttle' test?

Those tests are looking at very different things...different physical capacities.

Some players who I would have considered amongst the fittest in the squad seem to have higher rates of fatigue.

You've actually had more chance to look through the results than I have from the sounds of it.

Does this directly correlate to less cv capacity.

This test does not measure 'fitness' in the sense of cardiovascular is a sprint repeatability test...although it is in some way giving us an idea of the effectiveness of the athletes cardiovascular system in replenishing ATP-PC.

This test I'm sure some players will do the test with bodies not fully recovered or at least different rates of recovery from previous individual activity.I presume this could impact on results.

Yes and absolutely.

Then you have those coming back from injury, while personally, I was delighted to get through it, I was waiting for the sniper's bullet,which i feel affected my willingness to fully extend(best excuse I can come up with).

Probably a better excuse than most I've heard from you.

Nonetheless look forward to doing my next one to compare. But a greater understanding of the test will help too. So if you know of coach who can tell me please forward details!!! DF

What I plan to do is to order and rank all the results with regard to the various capacities I'm looking at and I will post it here as well. As I've said before I'm am really trying to resist the urge to 'lecture' in this blog but to rather just show what is done with regards to strength and conditioning.

I will write a proper explanation though in this case with regards to this particular test.

It's almost 2.00am and I've my first client at 7.00am which means getting up at 6.00am just to psyche myself up and get my head right so I don't start throwing people off Dun Laoghaire pier when I get down there...and believe tests my self control every I know that's a crap explanation but it'll have to do for now.

Actually...I was waiting for a video to upload so I might as well give you the short version:

Some really basic exercise physiology basically have 3 types of fuels sources for on field or on court that allows you to do very little for almost indefinite periods of time. One that allows you to do just a bit for maybe an hour or so and one that allows you to go eyeballs out for a bit under 10 seconds. I'm not going to get into a whole spiel on energy systems...that's what google is for...suffice to say that you can walk endlessly and jog for a good while but sprinting you can only do for a very short period of time...and your ability to sprint and sprint often is what wins games.

Just about every court or field came involves lots of doing very little or doing just a bit interspersed with a lot of periods of going eyeballs out for very short bursts of time.

My problem is with the way that most coaches/trainers prepare their athletes/players is that they spend way too much time preparing for the doing very little and doing just a bit and not enough time on the going eyeballs out bit.

The fact of the matter is that the thing that really separates the winners from the losers in field and court games is the ability to sprint and sprint repeatedly and to do that you have to be able to recover and replenish those energy stores asap to allow you to do that. When you can''re body tries to find a way anyhow and that's why you go 'lactic'...because your body is trying to find a way to replenish those stores when you can't. It never ceases to amaze me when coaches, trainers, players say that some athlete isn't 'fit'...they then think the answer is to go and do 'fitness' some more laps...go for a jog...they know what they are looking at when they see someone that they think is unfit...but they actually have absolutely no understanding of how to fix it or to improve it. Now I could go off on a tangent here because that 'fitness' work that they are suggesting will actually help...up to a point but not for the reasons that they think it does...but that's another story. So back to my point...if I have one...that to be able to sprint repeatedly you need to do two things...refill your energy stores, get rid of any by-products of energy production and or get better at tolerating those by-products...preferably...all of the above.

So what we are seeing with this test is the following:

1. Their speed of 40 the ads say...Speed Kills...but it also wins games.
2. Their speed repeatability...if you look at Cooper's scores compared to Farrell's you'll see that Coops only ran as slow as Dessie's fastest sprint of his 10 on his very last effort.

The video just finished uploading so I'll leave it least till later...there is heaps more to say...and as some of you well know...I'm just the man to say it so I will go into more depth later.

By the more standing trunk/ab work.

I can't believe I waited till 2.22am for this to upload!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I hope you can use the scroll function

I have put all the data for the 3 athletes in the video in the relevant post.

As for the questions:

Kira said...
I didn't understand this test.
What's not to understand? We do 3 40m speed tests to get the best possible time...this is done after a 20 minute warm up. Then we do 10 40 metre sprints...once you start..the clock starts and every 30 seconds you repeat a sprint till you have done 10. You do each one as hard as you can.

Can you simplify your explanation for us slow learners :)
Tell me if you are still struggling to keep up?

After taking this test, what does it show you?
Have a look at the data and tell me what you think it shows? I won't leave it at that...I will make a post tomorrow and tell you what it shows.

And what do you do with the information you've learned?
Basically as I've said often...I love testing...I live for testing...I test a lot...I want to see who's fast and who's not...who can be fast often and who can't...I want to make the fast guys faster and the slow guys fast and have them all be faster more often.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I also wanted to say well done to Cookies on his (near) International Caps

I neglected amongst others things I neglected to do this week to say congrats to Cookies AKA 'The Muffin' AKA 'Shiner' who has worked his not insubstantial hole off in the gym before heading to the US to represent the US of A against two top European club sides. When I'm not busy not training athletes and players competing on this side of the Atlantic I have to not be training athletes and players who are competing on the other side of the Atlantic as's hard not being me.

Use your weight Cookies.

Long time no blog...

...and that doesn't look like changing in the near future.

I thought I'd post something a little different today.

This is from the other day and thought some might find it interesting as I've had a few emails about what testing I do outside of the gym.

Well this is one of those tests.

Phosphate Decrement Test (PDT)

What I'm looking for from this testing is the fastest PDT, slowest PDT, mean PDT, the fastest PDT compared with their best 40m sprint time and their percentage of fatigue.



EFFORT - 0.99
%FATIGUE - 11.13



EFFORT - 0.98
FATIGUE - 17.34



EFFORT - 0.96
FATIGUE - 11.56

Comparing the 40m standing sprint time with the fastest decrement repeat gives a good indication of the effort made by each athlete in the first repeats of the
PDT. By dividing the athlete 40m sprint time by the fastest repetition of the PDT (Stand 40m Time/PDT Fastest)x 100 will give a percentage value. This value should be <97%. Percentage fatigue gives an indication of how much the player fatigued or dropped off
over the 10 repeats. This is expressed as a percentage and is obtained by:
((PDT Slowest - PDT Fastest)/PDT Fastest) x 100. The mean PDT is simply the average of all 10 repeats.

I will post all the data that corresponds with this video as soon as I get a chance to go through it is one of the many things that I should be doing rather than blogging.

If anyone in Ireland particularly is interested in having their team or teams properly tested drop me an email. This includes the speed, power, agility and fitness testing....this is just one of many tests. I'll post some more of the tests when I get the I said...I need a full time videographer to follow me around but I'll make an effort to to show more of the testing

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This has to be quick

1. This is a hip pop up.

2. Here is today's session for some of the rugby lads.

How fast was that?

The best total so far today for the body weight circuit was 42reps of each in 15 minutes....83kg athlete...did 42 pull ups, 42 85kg deadlift's and benched 85kg for 42 reps...give it a crack and let me know how many you get done...I suggest starting off with pull ups...then do the same amount of reps on the deadlift and the bench and see how many circuits you can get done in 15 minutes.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A change of pace this week.

I thought I would post some of the lads session today because it might look a little different to what you've seen before.

Warm Up
Single Leg Hip Pop Ups - 3x8
Overhead Med Ball Squats - 3x8
High Step Ups - 3x5 each leg...this is a step up done on a box at mid thigh height. All the weight is taken of the rear leg and the step up is done driving through the heel on the box.
Cleans - 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1...just to give you an idea of what this looks like in 'real' life...60, 70, 80, 70, 80, 90, 80, 90, 100kgs.
Box Squat - 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1...just to give you an idea of what this looks like in 'real' life...100, 120, 140, 120, 140, 160, 140, 160, 180kgs.

This is an absolutely rubbish single.

So we did it again...I hate finishing on a crap rep.

DB RDL's - 3x8
Weighted Bridging - 3x60 seconds
Chest Supported Row - 6, 4, 2, 6, 4, 2, 6, 4, 2...I think you probably get the idea now.
Blast Strap Push Ups - 5x10
Lateral Woodchoppers - 3x8 each side.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I've missed just about the entire Olympics

Today is the first day I've actually had a chance to catch much. I have made a special effort to watch the events in which I've had an interest in certain athletes but asides from that...this whole Olympics has passed me by....a very sad state of affairs...I suppose I've got 4 years to try to get my work in order to free up some more time.

Homework Questions and Comments
Kira said...
Will said . . .
"2. I only get to work with them in bursts of days or at most 2 or 3 weeks at any one time."

That would be difficult. I'm starting to get the impression that coaching requires a very intuitive mind. With that short amount of time, you wouldn't get the opportunity to rely on excessive testing and analysis. Is that right?

It is much easier to coach someone online or distance coach them or whatever you want to call it once you have actually seen them train yourself but yes, you're right it is not the easiest but you have to do what you can...keeping it simple is the key.

Will said . . .
"4. The other difficulty is that the schedule gets thrown out constantly depending upon whether they make the 1st Round or the Final or whether they make the cut."

Hadn't thought about that.
Scheduling would be a frickin' nightmare! That'd piss me off!

I pretty much do this with all my athletes anyway. I've a long term plan sketched out...usually for the season. Then have a 6 or 8 week training block more specifically laid out. Then I pretty much fiddle and refine the programs on a week to week basis. Also making changes and adjustments day to day. Some days athletes just aren't 'on' and it is just stupid to make them do what it says in their program just because it is written down.

August 15, 2008 6:29 AM
Adrienl said...
Also a bit late but with the side run drill was that for conditioning alone or was it also to drill better movement patterns.

It is never too late. That drill and all the others were done for conditioning but yes, I do use it to improve running technique as well and like everything else I'd like to do but have absolutely no time for I actually want to do more coaching video stuff to post. So rather than just posting vids of athletes training or testing I want to get someone else to hold the camera so I can post vids of 'how I coach' to give people a bit better idea of what I'm on about.

could i also enquire as to the level of this team?

They are an Irish Men's Superleague team.

August 15, 2008 9:04 PM
lylemcd said...


How much do you pay these actors weekly to pretend to be your athletes?

They work for peanuts and scoops of protein....the usual...fats and protein.

I hope you're selling a lot of books to cover it through your blog.

My books are selling fantastically well. As you can imagine my warm and welcoming personality that I've been cunningly cultivating for years has translated into massive interweb profits.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 I lied...nothing new there

I thought I'd quickly post this before I hit the sack.

This guy was in for his first session with me today. Good natural athlete with a good training and playing history. I was in early and so was he so I had a chance to video all his testing. I'm just going to post it and go to bed. I've plenty to say about it and I'll come back to this and all the questions posted recently on Sunday as promised.

1RM Bench Press

Firstly...this bench is all kinds of ugly. His grip is too narrow, his elbows too wide, he benches too high a line, he benches too long a line, his set up is all wrong and his trunk movement and hip lift on the bench makes it all kind of 'just plain wrong'. This lad has a lot of natural strength and when we tidy up his technique and put it all into the bar he'll add 15kgs to his bench in the next couple of months and make me look like a genius if he does what he's told.

Repetition Pull Ups

This is pretty straight forward. He did well. A boat load of scap and shoulder work and he'll get 12 reps easily. Like a lot of athletes he actually has more strength than he can display because of poor joint stability and control.

Push Ups in 60 seconds

His Push Ups and Inverted Rows are in the balance I would like...we just need to get the totals up. Would like to see him get 60 push ups and 30+ inverted rows.

Inverted Rows in 60 seconds

See above.

1RM TrapBar Deadlift

Like his bench...his technique is appalling...but we'll fix that and he'll do 200kgs next time he tests if he does what he's told.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I've been very busy...

...I won't say any more because I know you don't want want updates.

I will try to do a proper update on the weekend...I know this sounds like yet another of my clever marketing ploys to 'pimp' my non existent products and to 'promote' my non existent telling you all not to bother checking out the blog again till Monday because I don't think I'll have time to do anything till Sunday afternoon. I'm trying to see if driving traffic off my blog will increase the massive income I derive from it.

So read this then promise me you won't come back till Monday...I'll feel guilty otherwise.

So anyway had a flying visit from one of the professional athletes that I apparently don't work with today. I might blog more about some of these guys in the future because I think some people might find it interesting. Managing tennis & golf professionals in particular has a lot of interesting challenges as far as strength and conditioning is concerned. Just off the top of my head some of these issues are as follows.

1. A number of the pro athletes I work with are on the road travelling and competing usually 9-11 months of the year especially in tennis and golf.
2. I only get to work with them in bursts of days or at most 2 or 3 weeks at any one time.
3. The facilities are so variable depending on where and when tournaments are on so everything has to be modified or developed on the fly as far as their training programs are concerned.
4. The other difficulty is that the schedule gets thrown out constantly depending upon whether they make the 1st Round or the Final or whether they make the cut.

Like I said I'll blog about all these things later when I have more time....but for now...take a look at this and tell me whether this is the same better or worse?



I thought I would sneakily come back and start editing and adding to old posts that I didn't have time to comment on completely at the time I posted them.

We can start from the head down.
1. If you look at both videos you can see the amount of 'chin poke' in the first. That has pretty much been eradicated in the second.
2. Look at the difference in the starting position alone in the left shoulder let alone the better control he has over it.

Better symmetry and better control = Good.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Only time for a quickie

Have a lot on the next couple of days so the blogging will be pretty sparse but I thought something is better than nothing. Set my stop watch and have given myself 20 minutes to blog and I've just wasted 2 minutes telling you that.

Did some basketball tonight and I thought I might just give you an idea of how I put together training sessions because I don't think I have spoken about my basketball work before.

Our training session looked as follows:

15 minutes warm up, mobility and dynamic flexibility work.
10 minutes full court game - 4 minute 30 second halves with 1 min recovery
10 minutes conditioning work - L & R side shuffle 3 sets, 1 min recovery, L & R side run 3 sets, 1 min recovery, L & R side shuffle 2 sets, 1 min recovery, L & R side run 2 sets, 1 min recovery.
10 minutes full court game - 4 minute 30 second halves with 1 min recovery
10 minutes conditioning work - Pass and run drill...the same one that you've seen the rugby lads do, the Gaelic football lads do and the same drill you'll see the hockey girls do next week. They did 20, 40, 60 with 30 second recovery and 1 minute between sets.
10 minutes full court game - 4 minute 30 second halves with 1 min recovery
10 minutes conditioning work - reaction work in pairs working on the transition from side shuffle to forward run and backward running.
10 minutes full court game - 4 minute 30 second halves with 1 min recovery
Cool down and shooting practice.

I thought I better post this because according to internet law...if I don't have video of it then it never happened. This is just an example of a side run.

I made it with 2 minutes to spare.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I've never seen anyone so excited to do blast strap rows...

Poison was definitely getting his pump the end of a long session...Conor was looking on and couldn't believe the levels of intensity that Poison was displaying.

Great morning in the gym a group of the lads did the following session:

Warm Up & Mobility Work
Push Press/Jerk - 3x5, 5x2
Trap Bar Deadlift – 3x8, 3x4, 3x2
Elevated Split Squats – 4x12
Standing Ab Pull Downs – 5x12
Bench Press – 3x8, 3x4, 3x2
Blast Strap Inverted Rows – 5x12
Lo-Hi Wood Choppers – 2x12 each side

I think it only took 3 or 4 hours.

Rammer was putting a swiss ball to some use...he is mastering his Jedi powers.

What he was actually doing was neck bridges...a straight bridge then controlled flexion and extension followed by lateral work.

After a 30 second bridge he did some flexion and extension.

The some lateral work...I'm sure you get the idea.

120kg attempted batten twirl...he'd be such a hot cheerleader now he's lost his muffin tops.

I posted a vid of me crapping on/coaching some clients and athletes on the bench. So I thought I would post a vid of Lisa's first set.

Throwing this up just for interests sake. Also so we can see where she gets to in 1-3 months.

Putting the dangers of Windscreen Wipers and Sit Ups into perspective...

...this is not to say that proper exercise technique and application should be dismissed but come on seriously...this is training...this isn't even being done competitively

Some live scrummaging you think sit ups is the biggest risk to these lads backs?

Logi played most of the games at the end of last season while recovering from a broken back...and wasn't from doing sit ups or windscreen wipers.

I bet the lads wish that it was Logi who one the Fatathon...thankfully though he's only 120+kgs.

Logi likes lineout's only because being lifted is so slimming.

This is why we push press.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I don't just stand around abusing people....

....well I mainly do that...but sometimes I try to fit some coaching in.

I thought I'd post this so we can all argue about it.

I really should pay more attention to my appearance and attire...I could shave and tuck my shirt in so my hairy gut isn't hanging out...but I can't see that happening any time soon.

Some good points raised

ian has left a new comment on your post "I once said something that upset someone":

I'm not qualified to comment - but that hasn't stopped me before.
It shouldn't stop anyone.

you need to start with the athlete first...not with the program or 'training system'

That pretty much sums it up.

It seems inevitable that coaches will favour certain methods and tools to enhance their athletes - no problem with that if they are getting results - but it seems reasonable to me that a good coach will use the right method or the right tool at certain times depending on the unique attributes of each athlete.
This is one of the reasons that I think it is so funny that people 1. Get programs off the interweb and 2. That they follow them. I've seen guys walking around the gym with copies of Arnold's Encyclopaedia of Training or whatever it is called. Arnold's routine work for Arnold....I hate to break this to everyone doing his routine but YOU ARE NOT Arnold.

If there was a single perfect program for sport all coaches would be using it.

Kira has left a new comment on your post "I once said something that upset someone":

Loved this post. I think I understood what you were saying. Is this right . . .

The individuality of athletes means coaches can't rely on any predetermined training style to get results.

The athlete's particular attributes, abilities, injuries, needs etc. determine the methods you use to train them.

Coaches that limit themselves to a specific training methodology and refuse to look at how other people do things are tools.
You should have a blog...because it would be a lot better than this one clearly.

One of the things I've been struggling with is sort of related to this proximity bias, but in relation to the way athletes 'break up' their various aspects of training into segments.

Say if your a strength and conditioning coach and you're given a boxer to train. And you give him some strength and cardio work and test him after eight weeks and he's improved on both accounts, at least ACCORDING TO THE EXERCISES YOU USED TO TEST HIM WITH. Does this mean you've succeeded as a strength and conditioning coach?
Yes and no...Yes, in that with some of the athletes I have I have absolutely no input of the technical and or tactical aspects of their would I want to. No, in that naturally I want my athletes what ever the sport and whatever the input I have to perform better. The problem comes in regard to testing in not measuring what you think you are measuring. Just as an rugby one of the commonly used tests for measuring the 'conditioning' or 'fitness' of players was and still is with some coaches...a 3km run. I don't think that test is measuring what these coaches and trainers 'think' it is measuring. Do you?

What if it doesn't make any difference to his achievements in the ring in general OR WORSE (?) the strength and conditioning improvements seen in the gym (and proven by the tests) aren't evident in the ring.
This will often happen...the best athletes don't necessarily make the best players. I can name a lot of world class players who are incredibly poor performers when it comes to testing. That doesn't mean that your training is wrong or worthless or looking to improve isn't is just a fact of life.

There's one muay thai dude I trained under when I was recently in Thailand (he's ranked 8th in Thailand). He is incredibly 'strong' at grappling, and his kicks and punches are very powerful by anyone's standards. That being said, I very much doubt he does any 'strength and conditioning' training outside of pushups, pullups, crunches and long runs. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't bench, squat or deadlift very high numbers at all if put to a 'test'. Yet, as I said, he's feared for his strength in the grapple and the bone crunching power of his kicks. And he's managed to reach an elite level in his sport with this simple approach.
I can tell you from experience a lot of great 'players' have been excluded from teams even at international level due to the fact that they were considered poor 'athletes'. I've had and still have a lot of guys who are just naturally athletic and perform better in testing on the back of relatively little formal training than my most dedicated and hardest training athletes. Naturally I still take all the credit for the total freaks that I have...I mean I might be dumb but I'm not stupid.

You have to understand the context of training in sport. The bench press is not a predictor of sports performance. I am not testing it because it is. It is a way to develop physiological and neurological attributes that are beneficial and through the performance of the sport involved can have a certain amount of carry over to the sport you are performing. As usual my brain is aching from my complete inability to verbalise the concepts of training that swirl around in my pea sized brain.

Will said . . .

"In short my style is results based. I test all the time... every 6-8 weeks for the full tests and 3-4 weeks for mid cycle testing. Athletes and clients either get better or worse. I prefer better but don't mind worse because even if they do get worse I get something from it. I get to find out what doesn't work."

Can strength and conditioning coaches be said to suffer from proximity bias in that they often assume if an athlete improves his bench, deadlift, pushups, chinups, etc. (or whatever strength and conditioning tests they use) the athlete will automatically be better at his sport.
Yes...absolutely. Teams should obviously not be picked on the basis of testing results. I could take any team or any sport in which I work and find you two athletes that are similar in terms of testing performance yet miles apart in terms of the levels at which they compete.

I'm not sure about this. I'm starting to think this whole training thing is much more complicated and 'entangled' than what people think.
You think?

I read somewhere that Lance Armstrong entered the NY marathon and finished around 800th (?). He'd be close to one of the best 'endurance' athletes out there, but he couldn't 'transfer' his bike 'endurance' to running 'endurance''. Yet people still talk about 'endurance' as if it's some kind of generalized attribute.
Absolutely...but they are pretty much morons.

Is all 'strength and conditioning' like this?
A lot of it...yes.

I gotta stop there. I need to sleep. Sorry about the disjointed post. I'm still working through these issues in my head (which is slow at processing at the best of times).

Joel Hallstrom has left a new comment on your post "I once said something that upset someone":

Good post Kira. Im like ian, aint sure if im qualifed to comment but since will wanted a discussion i though id do it anyway...
Training adaptions are highly specific. The transfer of training gain is much lower in good athletes. Thats why the higher an athletes fitness is, the more specific adaption. For a beginner most exercises are useful and probably both strength and speed will improve with some simple strength training.
There's alot of factors that are important do determine the force generated by an athlete, resistance is one.
Lets take an example from "Science and practice of strength training by zatsiorsky".

- A young athlete begin to train with free weights and at first he can squat his BW. In vertical jump he does 40 cm. After 2 years he can squat 2xBW and his vertical jump increases to 60 cm. After two more years he can squat 3xBW. However, his jump performance is not improved because the short takeoff time (the rate of force development) rather than maximal absolute force that now is the limiting factor. Many good athletes need to develop rate of force but continue to train for maximal muscular strength.

I would guess thats why Will have some numbers (depending on what sport you do) that you need to get up to. And until you get to those number there's not that need for developing rate of force since the strength is your limiting factor.
My philosophy is basically this....strength is the vessel and power is what you put into it...if you have a small vessel or little strength it really doesn't matter how much power work you do it will only achieve so a bigger vessel and you get a lot more out of the power work you do.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

There are no lengths I won't go to to carry on this charade

I read again today that apparently I'm a much do you think these people think it is costing me to employ all these athletes?

I just chucked this in for interests sake...this is the drill that I posted about before...keep it a secret though...I don't want the footballers, rugby, hockey, basketball, Gaelic football or hurling knowing that they are all doing similar drills.

Good session on the pitch tonight...even if I dragged it on a little late. A good mix of skills and fitness. Unfortunately the summer is well an truly ending...the light is definitely fading.

Any one want to take a guess how many All Ireland, Provincial and Club Championships these lads have between them? If I'm playing 7 a side...I'd want to be on their team...only because I'm a spoiler and I'd like to hold them back.

I know a lot of people don't know what Gaelic Football is...this won't help much but I'm sure you'll get the idea.

This is Gaelic football...only explaining because the majority of people reading this blog are foreigners...bloody foreigners.

What are you guys going to do when I go to France and am out of blog range....and by 'you guys' I mean Ian, Kira, Joel, Mimo and Anonymous. Actually Mimo should come over from Portugal and make himself useful and Joel can come and be physio...that will cut down my workload hugely...I'll go to the beach...actually...we'll probably need a physio for after matches.

I can't wait to get to France...I like their style...I bet the lads can't wait either.

I'm not sure exactly what the commentators were saying but I bet it was something along the lines of..'That's gotta hurt!'

I love getting emails like these...

This is an email I just received from ROK. I thought I'd post it because I always believe in credit it where it is due....particularly when it also means making a total show out of others....which everyone who knows me knows I am a massive fan of.

Hi Will
I'm off to Bulgaria tomorrow but I thought you'd like to hear this story. The boys team came to Luxembourg as well and they found out about all the push ups I can do. They were all like no way you probably cant even do one. So, I had to prove them wrong and I did all my push ups and none of the boys could beat me. None of the English boys team could beat me either. I think I did 20 maybe 30 more than the highest boy?

Any way,

Apparently she got all manner of excuses from the'your arms are too far apart....where have I heard that before...oh yeah...that's right...on the world wide interweb.

ROK is off representing her country in Basketball...not bad for someone who'd only done push ups on her knees when she started with me.

ROK...other wise known as have to admit she's pretty scary looking!

By the way...I've read the comments that Ian, Kira and Joel added and when I get home from work tonight I will deal with them...some great points made and you should check them out if you haven't...the first things that spring to mind are the following:

1. Obviously a good number of people reading the blog are smarter than me.
2. Why is it that everyone who comments here is far more articulate than me?
3. That I am such a poor writer everyone who comments on what I've written posts as if they are translating what I've written from another language...almost 50% of posts contain the phrase...'I think what Will meant was...' or some variation on that theme.

It's great to be out on the pitch

It is getting busier and busier now with the Rugby, Gaelic Football and Basketball seasons all starting to ramp up but am loving it all the same.

Last night was a pretty tough session. I wish I had of videoed the lads first set of intervals and their last. There is naturally a fitness element in all the technical and tactical work they do but the fitness work to a good bit out of all of them.

The first block of fitness work was as follows:

20, 40 & 60 second intervals on a 10 by 10 metre square with 4 lads on each corner. They passed the passed then ran to the cone on which the player they passed it to was standing...touched the cone and tried to get back to the cone they started on. They got 30 seconds rest between the 20 and 40 second interval and the 40 & 60 second. They then had a minute to get to another square and form another group. They did another block then got 2 minutes recovery. They did 4 blocks in total. So essentially it was 8 minutes of total work time and 9 minutes of don't think if you asked any of them they'd think it was only 8 minutes of work...and I definitely don't any of them would think they had that much recovery.

This is just technical work to get body positioning right....and it is done at about 47.89%...I think some of you are going to be shocked when you see what 'full contact' work looks like up close and personal.

We also got in a lot of rucking practice as well as a good amount of other technical work between mini games. We did a good solid 1 hour & 35 minutes of training on the pitch.

Mean while the girls were back in the gym looking after what we all know is really important when it comes to sports performance...blasting the guns.

Getting ready for the Gun Show!

Some players today are looking after their rest and regeneration...while others have a boat load of work to do to get up to speed before the season really kicks off.

Regeneration is important...even if it is tedious and boring.

I wonder how many push ups this unit could do? I guess we'll never know...or should I say...some of you will never know....(don't's an inside joke).

There is no 'team program' every player is different and every player is looking after what they need to do in what they most need to improve in the next 3 that getting faster, fitter, stronger or leaner. There is a team 'template' and group training but outside that everyone in every team has different work to do.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I once said something that upset someone

Only once mind you but it scarred me terribly as you can well imagine...I'm very sensitive to the needs and feelings of others as you all know very well.

Now I'm very sketchy on the exact details mainly because I'm pretty sketchy at the best of times but it went something like this. Someone produced an article that was published by Elite. Elite for those of you who don't know was and probably still is to a certain extant a powerlifting orientated site...that's changing a little of late...that isn't a good or bad's just a thing. They sell lifting equipment and training related gear of all sorts. Elite has also produced and published some excellent articles...they've published some articles that I think are crap but keep in mind I am a bit of an a-hole and I think a lot of stuff is crap but on the whole I think it's a great site. Now I know what you're thinking...shut up and get to the point...well it's my blog and I take as long as I like. So anyway...some powerlifter or powerlifters wrote an article on 'sports training' and basically they wrote about how powerlifting, the three lifts and powerlifting style programs were perfect for sport.

Now what happened next was that I made a post on a forum about how that was crap and made some comments about 'proximity bias'. Now the point I was getting at is that 1. there is no 'perfect' way to train. Powerlifting isn't the perfect way to prepare for sport....except for powerlifting. Olympic lifting isn't the perfect way to prepare for sport...except Olympic lifting. Bodybuilding isn't the perfect way to prepare for sport...unless you're gay....not that there's anything wrong with that. 2. That you see proximity bias everywhere in coaching. If you get a powerlifter to train you for sport or to write an article about training for sport don't be too surprised when you end up powerlifting or on the benefits of the three lifts when preparing for sport. If you get an Olympic lifter to train you then don't be surprised when you end up standing in the gym holding weights over your head and if you get a bodybuilder to train you for sport don't be surprised when you end up helping him paint on his tan and rubbing him down with oil. This is proximity bias.

Any way what happened next was that someone took my post and copied and pasted it over at Elite and a little shit fit ensued. What I was trying to get at is that you need to start with the athlete first...not with the program or 'training system'.

The thing is I always come back to this point because I get asked a lot what my training philosophy is? What my training style is? Why I don't do more Olympic lifting? Why I don't do more powerlifting style programs? Why there aren't more mirrors in the gym?

I've tried pretty much everything when it comes to training. I've worked with and under coaches who were influenced by lots of different training philosophies and styles. The stuff that worked I use...the stuff that didn't I still learned from and still try every once and a while when I think it might or could perhaps work. In short my style is results based. I test all the time...every 6-8 weeks for the full tests and 3-4 weeks for mid cycle testing. Athletes and clients either get better or worse. I prefer better but don't mind worse because even if they do get worse I get something from it. I get to find out what doesn't work.

So in short...just because someone says somthing is crap or dangerous you need to do the following in no partiular order:
1. Some common bloody sense.
2. You need to filter those comments or advice through your own experience.
3. Look for proximity bias.
4. Look for a vested interest. I don't actually trust a lot of researchers as far as I could throw them...and that's not a long way...because a lot of them are fat and look like they've never trained a day in their life and I've a dodgy back and or skinny and frail looking and appear as if they've never trained a day in their life and that they'd possibly die on impact. I say this as someone involved in academia. I start every project with my conclusion and work my way backwards. If you asked me to prove that bilateral squatting was bad for sport...I bet I could and if you wanted me to find out it was good for sport...I bet I could. Well maybe not squatting....but I'm sure you get what I mean.
5. I'm sure there's a 5 but it's late and I have to be up early.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

When bulking goes wrong...

...a client was doubting that I was ever 138kgs...this should help put those doubts to bed for good.

I only lost weight so the beer cans wouldn't get in the way when I was watching TV.

Killer did his mid cycle testing today. He weighed in at 93ish kgs and proceeded to box squat 165kg for a triple, bench press 95kg for 10 reps and tripled 31kg on his pull up test.

He got 130kg on his last mid cycle test and I wanted to get this up. He was lacking some lower back strength and hip mobility so we targeted that. He'll do 2 more weeks of this program before we have an unloading week and get stuck into a new up...we're going to get his bench up to 12 reps at 95kgs.

Here is his program from the previous 3 weeks.

Session 1
Warm Up + Mobility Work
Snatch Grips Deadlifts (3 w/u) - 5 sets of 12 reps
Leg Extensions - 3 sets of 15 reps (each leg)
Ab Pull Downs – 3 sets of 20 reps
Flat DB Bench Press - 5 sets of 8 reps
Unsupported DB Rows - 3 sets of 12 reps
Torque Press - 4 sets of 8 reps with a 30 second hold on the final rep of each set.
1A Ezy Bar Bicep Curls – 3 sets of 12 reps
1B Ezy Bar Overhead Tricep Extensions - 3 sets of 12 reps

Session 2
Warm Up + Mobility Work
Sternum Pull Ups - 8 sets of 5 reps
Blast Strap Push Ups - 4 sets of 15 reps
Side Bridging (60 secs) – 4 sets of 60 secs
Leg Press - (3 w/u) - 5 sets of 12 reps
Seated Leg Curls - 3 sets of 15 reps
45 deg Back Extensions - 5 sets of 8 reps

Session 3
Warm Up + Mobility Work
Full Squat - 5 sets of 12 reps

Killer doing Full Squats
Natural Reverse Hypers - 3 sets of 12 reps
Roll Outs - 4 sets of 15 reps
Inverted Blast Strap Rows - 4 sets of 15 reps
DB Hammer Curls - 3 sets of 12 reps
Lying Tricep Extensions - 3 sets of 12 reps

I know you hate Pull Up naturally it is all I want to post now.

I had to go to the video tape...but yes..he got the 3rd.

I do wish I had more athletes like all honesty...I've probably missed more of the training sessions I was to take than Killer has.

Quotes of the Week
Killer - 'You know those deep squats you had me doing really worked!'
I think these guys just think I pull these programs out of my hole sometimes?

Someone talking about Chops and the fact that he had been given permission to miss training as his girlfriend was returning from a 2 month holiday - 'He's going to miss training to go out and pick up his girlfriend from the airport then spend the weekend with her.'
Someone else - 'That's the gayest thing I've ever heard'.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Questions and something hopefully resembling answers

ian said...
Hi Will,
I've got a few very dull questions - if only I had your wit and repartee - but since every blog has its studious reader it might as well be me.

Regarding Laura & Lisa:
Did they put themselves up for 4 sessions Monday to Thursday?
We decided this together.

In this day and age where we see trainers/coaches promising more fat loss in less time, your 4 x 1hour+ sessions are quite a commitment.
If you think they are going to get away with an hours training you are having a laugh. I'd say it'll be closer to 90 minutes.

ian said...
I knew it was going to be 60mins plus - and fair play to the girls for committing to 90mins.
They want to be hotties...and that don't come easy.

I have never believed in the rigid 1 hour exactly sessions generally used by trainers and gyms - I just think you do what you need to do however long it takes - even if that means a 30 minutes session 1 day and a 75 minute session another.
I think Johnny and Daz have the record...I think they did a 4 and half hour session the other day...that was 5 exercises from memory.

ian said...
I was referring mainly to personal training clients with full time jobs and kids where the norm seems to be to allocate blocks of 60minute sessions - you know the drill - warmup, cardio, machine weight training, stretch and they're done - I detest this approach and have never understood this dogmaic approach.
I think it is stupid as well...with a lot of my personal training clients I don't have them warm up at all...I mean seriously why the hell would I waste 10-15 minutes warming up if they are going to be doing bodyweight lunges, push ups and bridging for example. I see trainers warm up their clients all the time then doing bicep curls with them with 5kg dumbbells...give me a break.

How much time do you give to screening your personal training clients and since fat loss is the goal what static/dynamic tests do you think are worth doing?
As much time as I think I need...depends why they are standing in front of me. Every session that every athlete or client does with me they are being assessed. Sometimes I get people training for a while so I can work out 'what' exactly I need to assess.

ian said....
I was referring mainly to fat loss clients - other then assessing how fat they are (I like the sight test - I can look at someone and in an instant can assess them as being fat - no calipers, no scales - works a treat) - I was wondering how much attention you would initially pay to their mobility, strength and so on - which isn't what they came to see you about to start with - but then your last comment about training people for a while made me realise you can assess a lot of stuff once you get them on the program.
Exactly...if I see something wrong or that doesn't look right then I'll assess it so I can do something about it and then assess it on an ongoing basis to see if I'm making inroads. I mean I also see some trainers doing full one hour functional movement screening and assessments...they do it because they can...rather than because it's waste of time most of the time for the majority of clients...I could give their clients the same feedback without ever seeing them...your hamstrings are too tight, your hip mobility is poor, your trunk strength isn't what it should be and your shoulders are a total!

I imagine it is possible to over do the assessments when really the only thing the client is interested in is if their dress fits better :)

I know there are an infinite number of ways to structure your sessions - and I'm sure you do - but you seem to like the strength stuff interspersed with cardio.
This is just one of a number of formats and it is probably the format that I use the least actually.

Do you like the format because the clients can keep the intensity up on the cardio due to the rest they get while doing strength - or is it a nice structure because the mixing up of strength and cardio keeps boredom away? I'm trying not to look too deep into this - but I know that's how it comes across :)
Don't ever worry about how your questions come I've said before the more specific the question the more specific my answer will be...and if you aren't 100% sure what I'm getting at with my answer...ask more I also of the reasons I'm doing this is because I am not the best at explaining myself and I know that so asking questions helps me as much as it may help you. I think this works well with fat loss and conditioning for sport. You'll see most of my cardio is distance based rather than time....if athletes want to go harder and get it finished quicker I'm all the happier. The blocks of strength work are time based because I want the athletes get better at managing their work capacity. I think they find it easier to get their heads around the fact that whatever I'm having them do is only going to last 15 minutes. I let peoples competitive nature take care of the rest.

For nutrition do you just tell the girls to clean up their act for the first month and see how they go?

Do you just use the Tanita scales to measure body fat or do you get the calipers out?
Photos I think work better. Scale weight can be deceptive. Calipers are crap for fat people. Electrical impedance devices are extremely unreliable. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Joel Hallström said...
What's your view on rotation exercises at the lumbar spine like the windscreen whiper? Ive seen a few coaches taking them of the program after reading Shirley Sarhmann's Treatment of movement Impairment Syndromes Movement in which she states that :"Rotation of the lumbar spine is more dangerous than beneficial and rotation of the pelvis and lower extremities to one side while the trunk remain stable or is rotated to the other side is particularly dangerous"
I've read the work...just happen to think a lot of it irrelevant. Let me put it this way...what do you think is more dangerous or potentially harmful...windscreen wipers or getting punched repeatedly in the face? What about woodchoppers or say packing a scrum?

Which do you think might be potentially more dangerous?

You really need to rely on common sense and experience when you read stuff like this...I also know a lot of trainers that have stopped doing sit ups because apparently lumbar flexion is also more dangerous than beneficial...I mean for heavens sake...give me a break. Where do you honestly think sit ups done properly rank with regard to the causes of back injury?

My point being that there are a lot of exercises and activities that can potentially cause injury...should we go out of our way to do exercises that are reckless or should we avoid all potentially harmful activity? I don't think so...what would we have left to do?

Anonymous said...
Exactly what kind of fitness center are you running, sir??
Not sure you could really call it a fitness centre.

Artie said...
It's probably been discussed, but I'm lazy: if you want to increase for example a 100 kg 1 RM front squat 5-10 kg, what would be your specific scheme to increase the load (from WO to WO)? Or do you just follow the Westside style and "try" to go for a 1-3 rep max each time? Thanks!
Cmon can do better than that...this is a crap question. Have a think about it and try again.

I mean how does who increase their 1RM front squat from 100kgs? What have they been doing previously? What is their technique like? Are they really quad dominant? Do they have a really weak back? What's their trunk strength like?
Do you think both these guys need to do the same thing to improve their 1RM bench for instance?

lylemcd said...
How can you supervise non-existent/fake athletes?
I know I know...especially when I have all my non-existent/fake marketing plans to put into motion and my non-existent/fake books to promote.