Movement is the most important piece to both the long and short-term physical development of an athlete. In the short term, I improve quality of movement by re-establishing fundamental movement patterns that create ideal stabilization and joint centration. This allows the force to be transferred efficiently through an athlete’s body into the ground or implement, creating a platform to make them as powerful as possible throughout any given movement (whether that be sprinting, jumping, hitting, throwing, or swimming).
Take for example an athlete I just recently started working with. In the first two weeks (4 workouts), his 40 decreased by .4 seconds, his vert improved by 2 inches, his broad jump by 14 inches, his back squat by over 60 lbs and his bench by 40 lbs. During that time, we didn’t do an ounce of lifting, but re-established ideal stabilization via his deep stabilizing system, using breathing, intra-abdominal pressure, and changed his loading pattern through his pelvis and lower extremities. The change took a kid who couldn’t squat lower than 100 degrees of hip flexion, and couldn’t touch his toes, to squatting ass to grass under load. Again, this was a total of 4 hours of training and it’s not the first time this has happened.
In the long term, ideal movement and loading patterns will create the greatest amount of playing longevity, allowing for the heaviest loads to be lifted, the greatest distances to be traveled vertically and horizontally, the greatest speeds run, thrown, and the greatest speeds applied to a bar over the duration of the athletes career.
I’d like to think that my athletes tend to be the healthiest and strongest on their teams, although they don’t certainly come in that way. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve started with an athlete in pain, who finds themselves pain free after the first day, if not the first week, and it stays that way.
On a side note, yes, I’m a strength coach, not a Physical Therapist. If the pain is caused by poor joint positioning and I have an easy, hands free way of correcting it, I will take care of it. If not, I have the top physiotherapist within a half-mile of my gym who I refer to.
When movement patterns and programming are the same, an athlete’s mentality and heart is the biggest predictor of performance. I want an athlete to be hungry for growth. Growth in the gym creates growth of an individual. Generally speaking growth in the gym is three fold: physical growth, growth in knowledge, and growth in character. Each area of growth has a direct impact on growth in one of the other departments.
Physical growth doesn’t have to mean huge legs, huge arms, and a huge chest. Rather, I like to think more in terms of athletic goals like vertical and broad jump, 10 yard sprint, and max squat. We see improvements in strength, power, speed and quality of movement, and also physical growth.
Growth in knowledge means an athlete has a greater understanding of movement, cuing for exercises, and understanding of the whys behind the programming. The more an athlete knows, the greater, and hopefully more motivated they will be when it comes to each and every time they step into the gym and under the bar.
Growth in character comes when you face adversity. Athletes train to get better. In order to get better you have to realize something is wrong, or realize that you need help to get to the next level. In terms of physiology, its pretty similar, your create a stress within your body, and this stress is what ultimately allows you to adapt and grow. Every day in the gym I challenge my athletes to get better. They understand that heavier loads are earned. Athletes must show me they are strong enough to increase the load on the bar or dumbbell. It’s a proving ground that keeps athlete’s hungry and understanding that things in life are earned, and not just given to them.
Exercise programming for the athletes at 1RM Performance is very progressive. I’m personally a huge fan of DNS to correct and progress ideal movement patterns and re-establishing our deep stabilizing sytems. For those that show ideal movement qualities I'm a huge fan of Cal Dietz’s Triphasic training, and after spending a weekend with him in April, I like it, and him even more. His advanced methods bring athletes that no other programming I have ever seen can bring someone, naturally. However, like everything else, before we get to any Triphasic programming, certain standards must be met. By blending the two, I feel as if I can take athletes to levels they have never been, never imagined, all while keeping and or making them healthier.
My programming is athlete dependent. Movement quality and overall strength dictates an athletes program. If an athlete has ideal movement, I will move them into advanced programs once they improve their overall strength.
It would be impossible to say at two week an athlete will be doing this, at 9 weeks, you will be doing that. I can say though, that when an athlete has ideal loading, ideal joint centration and stabilization through exercises and movement, and actually understand these positions and cueing, its pedal to the metal and magic happens.
In my opinion, executing exercises under load with poor joint positioning, will lead to greater injuries and pain in your clients, then if they would have never lifted a weight at all. But, being someone who has trained for my years with poor loading and positioning, I would not have changed a thing, and still love everything that I achieved and learned through all of those years.
The three avenues that I use to progress an athlete fastest and smartest have taken thousands of hours in the gym working with athletes, and thousands of hours outside of the gym continuing to learn, grow, progress in different aspects of training and life.
Each aspect of training can have a negative or positive effect on the other. A positive mentality will lead to greater results in the programming and often result in more attention paid to the movement. Better movement will improve your ability to squat, which in turn will improve your focus and desire to train. Solid programming will improve your ability to move and keep you hungry and driven to keep getting better. At the same time a negative attitude will ruin your progress training, will lead negative body language keeping you in decentrated positions, and actually lead to injuries. EVERYTHING IS RELATED!
Things are continuing to evolve in my mind and with my athletes every week. Things are continually getting better and better for the athletes here at 1RM Performance. The only direction that things head here are forward. Although there are lateralizations within the programs, however, every step to the side leads to a greater step forward.