Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mimo...this is for you so stop complaining but...

...first things first.
ian said...

Did I hear you say "functional stretch"?
Yes, but 'functional' isn't a dirty word...no matter what Eric says...I actually have a copy of Eric's new book and plan to read it this weekend...I so hope that it's crap because I haven't really had a chance to bag anything for a while.

During the screening process I assume you will have a battery of static and dynamic tests you could use to supplement the visual cues that help to diagnose strengths, weaknesses, mobility etc
Yes, I do.

...if an athlete has pain where do you draw the line between continuing to tweak the training to relieve/resolve the pain and referring out to a physiotherapist?
Thankfully I work with some excellent physiotherapists...have so close a working relationship that I actually train some. That makes things easy for me. I've been working for long enough that I know where the line is.

Over the last few years it seems that there is a push to extend the skills of a strength and conditioning coach from purely getting the athletes conditioned for their sport...to also provide rehab programming to overcome soft tissue injuries. I thought it would be interesting to read your take on this.
Yeah...this goes both ways...and it is no good for anyone. Have a look at the curriculum for any physiotherapy course and tell me if you want any of them training you? I've had some amazing conversations with physiotherapists over the years where I have stood there speechless while they tried to tell me how to do my job...same as doctors as well....they are even funnier...clueless.

PS. I like the unedited version of the video.
It just too damned long to upload is all.

garrett said...

2. I am ALWAYS looking at achieving just one goal...physical harmony...does that sound ghey...well too bad...it's true. I'm always looking to balance people out firstly then secondly to raise all these levels at the same time. Does that make sense? I don't want athletes that can bench 150kgs, squat 100kgs and only do 2 pull ups...and I've seen these.

Will apart from lads who just like benching or bicep curls are the imbalances you commonly see in people a result of their training, their chosen sport or injuries they've picked along the way or all of the above.
All of the above but a large part of it is due to the fact that we have pretty much engineered physical activity out of our lives...too many people spend the majority of their time sitting on their hole. This leads to a lot of problems.

So anyway...Mimo has been email stalking me so I thought I would put up a Pre Session Session...that isn't a typo...this was a session that a small group of lads did before we did our main session.

Basically it goes like this...as you can see in the video below I've laid out a 10m section then 5m, then 10m and 5m and 10m, 5m and 10m.

So we warm up...jog 10m, lunge 5m for the length and jog back, do the same thing with sumo's, then hamstring walks, then quad walks, then leg swings etc etc.

The first drill was this one.

We did 3 sets of 3 reps...basically going easy on the first...which this was and then harder on the second rep and flat out on the last rep of the set.

They were to walk to the first line...jog to the second and then a two handed touch at the second line and then back to the first and over the second line and then same again all the way to the end.

The next one was basically a reaction drill...done in 3's. They jog easy out to the second line of cones...they have to back all the way back past the first line of cones at the very least...there are 3 sections and at each section a different member of the 3 calls the go...if you're not following this let me know...as this blog has well and truly demonstrated I'm hopeless at this sort of stuff.

The last drill we did was just a straight out sprints. First to the end of the first row of cones...then to the end of the second row and as you may have guest the last was to the end of the third. We did two sets of these with a full recovery between sets.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I forgot to answer this question apparently...

...Michael Sullivan said...

What percentage of your athletes need to use these progressions?

I would think that not very many do but a larger portion of your group training clients do.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

This is hopeless but better than nothing

I got an email with some good questions about what I do with athletes and clients that come for me the first time and how I program for them. So I want to try and explain a bit about that.

1. I do do a fair bit of 'screening' with athletes and clients but do it on an 'as needs be' basis. I know your next question is going to be how do I decide when it is needed and when it isn't and my answer to this would be completely useless to you as it is completely subjective. One thing I will tell you is that I look at athletes ALL THE TIME. I'm watching them from the minute they walk in, looking at how they walk, how they hold themselves, how they stand when they are relaxed, watching their form when they exercise looking for compensations and imbalances...I look at everything. They are all constantly being assessed...most of what I see or find I don't even discuss with them...why not? I'm glad you asked...1. because them knowing doesn't make any difference and in some cases it's actually more of a hindrance than a help and 2. because I'm really lazy and can't be bothered explaining everything endlessly. Instead I just add and alter elements of their program as required.

2. I am ALWAYS looking at achieving just one goal...physical harmony...does that sound ghey...well too bad...it's true. I'm always looking to balance people out firstly then secondly to raise all these levels at the same time. Does that make sense? I don't want athletes that can bench 150kgs, squat 100kgs and only do 2 pull ups...and I've seen these.

3. The only other thing that I'm looking to do is to make sure that there are no weak links in the chain...and everyone has these...something always has to be the weakest and I always try to be the one who works out what these are before anyone else does.

So that is pretty much what it all boils down to.

So where do I start program wise....well lets use a proper example.

Michael did his first session yesterday...up until then he's just been tooling around in the gym doing bits and pieces with the other lads. He has very little to no experience weight training but is keen to throw himself into the meet grinder and I'm only too happy to oblige him. So this is what his program looks like:

Session 1 – Squats and Pull Ups/Chins
Warm Up
Lower Body Mobility/Stability Work
Squat Variation – 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Supplementary Hamstring – 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
Core/Trunk Work - TBD
Upper Body Mobility/Stability Work
Pull Ups/Chins Variation - 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Supplementary Chest - 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
Arm Work - 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps

Session 2 - Deadlift and Bench
Warm Up
Lower Body Mobility/Stability Work
Deadlift Variation – 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Supplementary Quad dominant – 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
Core/Trunk Work - TBD
Upper Body Mobility/Stability Work
Horizontal Press Variation - 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Supplementary Back - 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
Arm Work - 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps

That's what it looks like when I write it initially...the actual exercise selection and the determination of the sets and reps happens later.

He did his first session yesterday and his second session today. What he's going to do is to do a version of session 1 and 2 on Monday and Tuesday and another variation of session 1 and 2 on Thursday and Friday. We'll do some conditioning work on Wednesday and Saturday if he's up to it but at the moment he's just as weak as piss and we'll try to fix that up first. He did his testing last Tuesday with everyone else so we'll see how he gets on when he tests in a couple of months time.

So what does his program look like in reality....well yesterday and today looked like this:

Session 1 – Squats and Pull Ups/Chins
Bike - 10mins
Overs and Unders - 2x8 each side
Hurdle Step - 2x8 each side
Kettlebell Goblet Squats – 5 sets of 12 reps

Single Stiff Leg Deadlift – 3 sets of 8 reps

I thought I better throw an explanation in here...all the vids that I chuck up here are usually done this way. I put the camera down, press record and then edit the clip down later on. I just thought I'd throw this up in it's entirety so everyone can see how much I love the sound of my own voice.

Bridging - 3x60 seconds
Chest Supported Scap Shrugs - 2x8
Pull Ups - 5 sets of 3 reps
Blast Strap Push Ups - 3 sets of 8 reps
Bicep Curls - 3 sets of 12 reps

Session 2 - Deadlift and Bench
Bike - 10 mins
Reverse Med Ball Lunge Twists - 2x8 each side
Single Leg Hip Pop Ups - 2x8 each side
Trap Bar Deadlift – 2x8 warm up, 5 sets of 3 reps
Single Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 8 reps each side
Ab Pull Downs
YTWL's - 3 sets of 5 of each as a complex
Incline DB Press - 2x8 warm up, 3 sets of 8 reps
Chest Supported Rows - 5 sets of 8 reps
Lying Tricep Extensions - 3 sets of 12 reps

Before someone points out that the sets and reps aren't exactly what I prescribed in the template originally...yes...I know that.

So I think that is me all blogged out till Monday so you can put the internet away and go out and do some training or have a beer.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just to balance out my negativity

Here a session that two of the girls did today.

10x150m followed by 20, 40, 60, 40, 20, 40, 60, 40, 20 and 60 second recoveries respectively.

Everyone rows whether they like it (which I don't think anyone does) or not (I think that's everyone)

Straight & Lateral Leg Swings - 2 sets of 8 of each on each side.
Single Leg Hip Pop Ups - 2 sets of 8 on each side.
1A Elevated Split Squats - 5 sets of 5 on each side.
1B Reactive Box Jumps - 5 sets of 3 reps.
Med Ball Wall Touches - 3x20.
2A Push Ups - 5 sets of 10 reps.
2B Med Ball Tosses - 5 sets of 5 reps.

Windmills - 2 sets of 8 reps on each side.

3A Inverted Rows - 5 sets of 5 reps.
3B Med Ball Slams - 5 sets of 5 reps.

Natural Reverse Hypers - 3 sets 12 reps.
The the row all over again with all the intervals between 30-35 seconds.

Fitzer however managed to do the last 3 of this last row all under 30 seconds...hence I owe her a pint.

Long time coming

I haven't had a little rant for a while....so I'll make this a quick lunch break rant.

Ian said this in response to something I'd posted:

Yep - I'm over the week after next.

What's with Irish coaches not visiting you in Dublin Will? It reminds me of the comments Alwyn Cosgrove has made about his staff attending presentations in Santa Clarita, CA, where he is based, with no attendance by his competition. I'm not even a coach or trainer but I figure spending time in the company of someone with 20 years coaching experience will advance my training.

I just have to say this because it is one of those things that cracks me up both in my day to day working life and on the internet.

Strength and Conditioning, Sports Training, Physical Fitness, Team Training...everyone thinks they have all the answers...they not only think that they understand the 'area' the funniest bit is that they think they are good at it....when any actual analysis of the results of their work would have you realise that they are obviously suffering a psychotic break. I'm talking about sports trainers, coaches, personal trainers, athletes as well as recreational gym goers....hell you can lump in sports fans and sports administrators as well. The majority of these people are so deluded that they are beyond help. I could give you thousands of examples because I collect 10 new examples every single day. I just realised I could go on about this subject for days...I won't inflict that on you though...let me be really specific here and deal with Ian's post and the reference to Alwyn's statement. I visit A LOT of gyms and I go to A LOT of training courses and seminars. I go to them here in Ireland as well as overseas. I consult with A LOT of other coaches...the reason I do this is because 1. I know what I'm good at. 2. More importantly I know what I'm not good at. 3. I realise that the majority of people in the industry don't do these things and that the majority of the people in the industry are completely idiotic hence doing the opposite of everyone else it must be the right and best thing to do.

I was trying to explain to a 20 year old athlete the other day who was contradicting me and giving me the benefit of his years of experience in training with regard to one of his fellow athletes....I basically explained the following:

1. I get paid to do my job...he doesn't even have a job.
2. As an athlete I coached myself to an elite level and competed internationally...he hasn't.
3. As a coach I've gotten A LOT of athletes to elite level and to international competition in A LOT of different sports in A LOT of different countries...he hasn't.
4. He's been actually training seriously for just over 2 years...the total size of his data pool with regard to training experience is just that...I have just over 200 athletes that I currently train...it's been as high as 380 and hasn't been less that 100 over the past 10 years...so even if we were to be ultra conservative and to completely ignore the 10 years prior to that our respective data pools of experience are currently 2 years versus 1000+ years....and that he should spend more time trying to catch up.
5. I tried to explain that he's an idiot because like most people he thinks what has worked for him will work for everyone and that this was the single biggest mistake that all sports trainers, coaches, personal trainers, athletes, recreational gym goers, sports fans and sports administrators make so that while he was an idiot he certainly was not alone there...that all these people like him believe sports performance comes down to a formula...that 1+1= Results or a recipe and that is just a matter of adding the ingredients...these are the same morons that do Arnold's program because they want to be huge, that follow Lance Armstrong's training program and think that they'll win Le Tour...it's just idiotic.
6. His eyes were welling up at this stage so I thought...I've gone this far...I might as well finish him off.
7. I was explaining that although I did maths at school, that I read The Economist, can read the Irish Tax Legislation and use a calculator that I get an accountant to do my taxes for me...I pay a professional to do the job. I don't ask for advice from friends, I don't get some guy in the newsagents who also reads The Economist to do them for me because that would be stupid.

If you don't GET what I'm getting at...you my friend are a part of the majority and it is likely to stay that way.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More on the testing

I want to say well done to a few people in no particular order:

Firstly...well done to Mark 'Sextoy' Sexton...when he started training in the gym this year he was a hideous fat mess...he was wider across the arse than across the shoulders...he was basically a fat cow.

When he last did his rowing test back on the 26th of June he did the following:
182m, 169m, 156m, 141m, 130m, 138m for a 916m total.

Yesterday he went:
182m, 179m, 165m, 156m, 161m, 158m for a 1001m total.

He pretty much hit all his targets on all the rest of his testing...I also want to say well to Fanj who tested after Sextoy and preceded to beat all Sextoy's results by whatever the bare minimum was to once again show every one just what sort of guy he is....unfortunately though for Fanj when I put all the results into the spreadsheet to work out the bodyweight relative scores Sextoy beat him in everything.

I also want to say well done to Paddington who after a 3 year taper managed to prove that age and clinical obesity are no impediment to outstanding sports performance.

Paddington is all over these Pull Ups previously in training...and yes...he did ask if he could use the band in testing.

I have to quickly go and do some more work but will do a bigger update this evening.

Testing Day

Yesterday afternoon and evening was a testing day

There were a lot of Personal Best performances and a fair few surprises...particularly for me.

I have to finish collating all the data but will update this post to make a few honourable mentions.

It was good to see a a few 20+ pull ups, 70+ push ups, 40+ inverted rows scores....never seen so many on a single testing day. So more to follow on this.

I saw this in today's Irish Independent

Leo Cullen lifts team-mate Brian O'Driscoll during Leinster rugby squad training yesterday

It looked so familiar....

Sort of like this...I mean I've got higher quality rugby players and athletes...obviously...but it's good to see the Leinster lads catching up.

While I'm at it I'd also like to thank all those Leinster, Rotherham and Clontarf strength and conditioning coaches. They deserve a lot of credit and have made me job so much easier. I mean between them they've all had Chops for years and years but none of them interfered with my future work by ever getting Chops strong enough to do a single Pull Up and by so doing didn't allow him to develop any bad habits...his personal best up till this year was 0...last night he did 8. Chops and I should really have done a DVD...0-8 Pull Ups in 4 months...but yet I still hear that a few people in one of those particular professional organisations mentioned above still don't think I've a clue what I'm talking about....maybe I'll send them Chops and my DVD for free.

Below is previously unseen footage of Chops first test.

Don't blink or you'll miss it

Attention: Mum & Nan please do not watch this video...it contains crude and vulgar language which you'll find as objectionable as I do.

This was from the 22nd of July

This is from yesterday the 23rd of September

But as I've said before...I really love that so many people think I'm wrong or that my ideas are rubbish....because if all the idiotic and moronic strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers out there agreed with me I'd have to throw myself off a power rack onto a plate tree and die a horrible and unsightly death. So here's to me always being wrong and continuing to get great results.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So nice to be missed...even if it is just Joel and Mimo

I actually have heard a few good rumours this week.
1. That I was sacked...this is really some feat...for someone that is self employed that is...although I do have a tendency for self loathing so I suppose if any one was going to sack me that it would actually be me.
2. That I was being sued...there's not much I can say about this one as just about everyone I come in contact with could have a pretty good shot at winning a case for defamation of character against me.
3. That my gym was being run by someone else...I wish.

Anyway...I'm too tired to start from where I left off so I'm just going to pretend like the last week never happened and just start from today.

I spent the best part of the morning talking to cardiologists about exercise...including the one smart arse surgeon who last time I presented made the quip when one of the others asked what sport I did myself...'From the looks of him he's always had a genetic predisposition towards coaching.'...I would of been mad but I had to give him that one...it was pretty good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Running late but..,.

...I thought I'd quickly throw this up...more to come.

Push Progression

Everyday I have is the same...I'm running late again...but here's another one.

Inverted Row Progressions

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm getting threatening emails

Most of them stating that my blog is crap or that it isn't updated enough...the funniest of all are the ones that telling me that my blog is crap AND that it isn't updated often enough...what's with that?

It isn't that I don't have stuff to blog about...it's that I don't have time to blog about it.

So I'll do my homework and try to do a proper update tomorrow.

Kira has left a new comment on your post "Early morning session":

Didn't know about the bare-foot thing.
You weren't born with shoes on...you do realise that you weren't born with shoes on don't you?

That's interesting.
You need to get out more...it really isn't that interesting.

Are those stretchy band exercises designed to make you more explosive?
Only when I load athletes into them and catapult them across the gym or do you mean the viper belts? The viper belts we use for lots of things...mainly I use them because they make things more difficult and athletes hates them...which makes me happy.

Or is there more to it than that?
Is that not enough?

And I think you're being too soft on Chops. I don't care how tired he was, he was hitting the mitts like a girl :)
Wait until you see his session this week. People will be sending him condolence cards.

João Mimoso has left a new comment on your post "Early morning session":

I use a lot of barefoot training with my basketball players and,so far, the feedback has been great.
First they were shocked, but now they do it spontaneously.
You mean they running around on the court and their shoes just come flying off and burst into flames?

There is plenty of research showing the benefits of this practice...and it just makes sense.
Cool...everyone knows how important supporting research is to my coaching practice.

Adrienl has left a new comment on your post "Early morning session":

hi will hope your trip went well
I got to drink a lot of beer...so yes, it went very well.

firstly eric cressy agress with you on the barefoot thing so you must be right.
Well if Eric says it then it must be true.

secondly i realise you've almost certainly forgotten this, what with your new contracts and such(congratulations on that), but i asked a question way back in this blog about wave loading as you were using it. Just wondering if i could get an answer there please.
1. Yes, I've forgotten it.
2. You want an answer to the thing that I've forgotten? Do you honestly think that I've forgot the question but remember the answer?

thirdly do you have or could you provide some details on how you trained ROK when she first started.
Maybe if I beg ROK she write something for the blog on it...let me take her on a little guilt trip and see if she tell you what she thinks about what she did. Leave that with me...if I can't guilt her into it I suppose I'll write something.

i am training a 16 year old soccer player who failed to complete a pushup, row or pullup and has massive mobility issues. just interested in seeing what you do with weak beginners as opposed to strong footballers.
thanks as always for your time
Sounds like a good video series...you'll have to wait and see how bored I get tomorrow and if I get REALLY bored I'll post a whole series just for you.

OK...that's a half hour of blogging...time to get back to work.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Early morning session

This is what the lads did....some of them anyway...others were sweating bullets and moaning and groaning in the gym...I know this because I could hear them from outside.

5 mins on the bike.

A 10 minute work block of the following:

5 lunges each leg with a 20 kg plate held to their chest.
5 Inverted Rows
5 Elevated Push Ups

The best was 10 sets in 10 minutes.


3 sets of the following:

1 set was as follows...
4 punches thrown at each cone done 3 times followed by 30 seconds recovery.
8 punches thrown at each cone done 3 times followed by 30 seconds recovery
12 punches thrown at each cone done 3 times followed by 60 seconds recovery before commencing the next set....you follow? They did 3 of these sets...the following footage was taken when Chops was doing his last lot of 12 punches in his final set.

He's got 60lbs in the X-vest (I told him it was only 40lbs...1. Because I knew that he wouldn't be able to convert lbs to kgs and 2. Because I knew that he'd know that 60lbs was a lot...no matter how you converted it.) and a viper belt attached to the vest.

By the way...I doubt he'd of been able to punch his way out of a wet paper bag at the end.

We went from his last set of these to 6 sets of down and ups with 30 second recoveries between sets.

Down and Ups with the X-vest and the Viper belt.

They finished off with some Out & Back & Out sprints.

These were done on the minute and 10 in total were done...they were taking about 8 seconds or so to complete so 52 seconds recovery.

...and before someone asks...yes, they can afford shoes and boots but I like to have as many of my athletes as possible do as many sessions as possible (read 1 or 2 a week) barefoot because it helps with ankle, knee and hip problems and its also good for calf and hamstring issues....well that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Talk about a shock to the system

From the sunny South of France to wet and miserable Kildare in a matter of days. Haven't really got time to update the blog tonight after what has been the second of what I've a feeling is going to be week of exceedingly long working days.

Importantly though...I want to know...was this a conversion or not?

Monday, September 8, 2008

769 unread work related emails...

...and 531 personal ones but obviously work comes first. I'm going to try to get through as many of them as possible today as I can.

As you may well have worked out for yourself I'm back from the sunny South of France.

I am going to do this blog entry in bits and pieces as and when I get the time this week so you'll have to come back to check it out as I'll continue with my blog entries as normal as well.

It was a week long training camp and we got some great work done...it went something like this:

Sunday - Travel Day.
Monday - AM: Fitness PM: Fitness and Skills
Tuesday - AM: Fitness PM: Fitness and Team Technical/Tactical Work
Wednesday - AM: Fitness PM: Fitness and Team Technical/Tactical Work
Thursday - AM: Rest & Recovery PM: Team Run
Friday - AM: Rest & Recovery PM: Match
Saturday - AM: OFF PM: USAP vs Stade Francais match.
Sunday - AM: OFF PM: Light Fitness

Monday - AM
The fitness work consisted of an extended warm up then the following.

A partner based strength circuit along with sprint repeats.

The players were paired up by weight and the exercise and sprints were as follows:

Push Up
Fireman's Squat
Inverted Rows
Squat and Curl

The task was to do as many reps as possible in 30 seconds before toeing the line and completing 3 sprints. The sprints consisted of a 20m sprint, 5m back pedal and 20m sprint with a recovery jog back to the start to get ready to commence the next sprint.

So 30 seconds of strength work, then 3 sprint and change over.

Here's an example...this was taken on their second or third block of work.

This is the push up variation...I would also like you to note that it is very much my voice in the background as I got a few emails which mentioned the rumour that I had been sacked and was being sued and had 'lost everything'...once again...I say once again because I hear about this rumour every few months...you can bet that the guys in the video wished this was true because this was considered one of the 'easier sessions'.

Fireman's Squat...I've cut these down as you don't need to see the whole thing to know what is going on...I'm sure you get the idea.

Inverted Rows.

Squat and Curl

We did 4 blocks of this with 2 minutes recovery in between and then played some conditioning games afterwards before heading back for a swim and some lunch.

Monday - PM

I'm not going to go through the details of every single session as it would take me hours and hours to detail them in entirety. But I want to give people an idea of what was going on and if people want to know more then you can ask questions.

The fitness component in the afternoon was primarily speed and agility work. Once again the players were paired up and completed over 2 separate drills and completed both drills on the left and right side to complete a 'block'. 10 blocks in total were completed.

Then we played another speed and agility again...the finale of which is posted below.

Put to the sword...in fairness to Roy...this was a tie breaker.

After this we broke into Forwards and Backs to do our technical and tactical work before coming back together for some team work.

The injured members of the squad were working hard as well to get back on the pitch as soon as possible.

We start our Jedi training as soon as possible.