Thursday, September 23, 2010

Instability Training...!?.

I know as a Coach / Trainer, I am always trying to learn as much as I can. I'm constantly reading, listening and watching the new and innovative ways in which to get my clients the best results in the shortest amount of time. But...I don't agree with the latest fads that incorporate standing on a wobble board or Bosu ball while trying to perform a movement such as a squat.

I understand people love new things. It's always great to be the first person with a new toy, but let's not get carried away with this. Unstable surfaces do help proprioception in muscle fibers. So does changing the surface you would normally run on. Ex: Let's say you are a road runner, what if you tried getting out on the sand. It's a huge difference in how your body reacts and it stimulates different muscles. Plus you get the added benefit of the resistance the sand is providing.

You don't have to stand on a half moon and do squats in order to benefit from instability training. If you can't perform a normal back squat, there is no reason you should be getting on a wobble board and trying it on there in the first place. Trainers should rely on their knowledge and common sense vs the latest and greatest fad.

Check out this article from the National Strength & Conditioning Association:
Resistance Training Performed on Unstable Surfaces Does Not Increase the Activation of Muscles Contained in the Core.

In recent years, it has become in vogue to target the development
of the lumbopelvic and abdominal regions
of the body with the use of training activities performed
on unstable surfaces. Since there is a paucity of data examining
the efficacy of this type of training, researchers
from Eastern Illinois University recently examined the
muscle activation during resistance exercises performed
on stable and unstable surfaces. A total of twelve trained
men were recruited to be subjects in a quasi-experimental
crossover study where each subject performed four
different exercises on either a stable or unstable surface
with various intensities. Prior to initiation of the study,
all subjects underwent a 5-week familiarization period in
which the subjects were familiarized with each condition.
The exercises employed in this investigation included the
dead lift, back squat, overhead press, and curl. Three different
intensities were examined: 50% of one repetition
maximum (1-RM) performed on stable ground (50S), 50%
of (1-RM) performed on an unstable surface (50US), and
75% of (1-RM) performed on stable ground (75S). Electormyographic
(EMG) techniques were utilized to determine
the amount of activation for the rectus abdominis, external
obliques, transverse abdominis/internal obliques, and
erector spinae. There were no differences between the 50S
and 50US condition for any muscles assessed. Additionally,
there were no differences between the 75S and 50US
when examining the external obliques and erector spinae
across all lifts examined. The 75S condition resulted in a
significantly greater activation of the rectus abdominus
and the transverse abdominis/internal obliques during
the overhead press when compared to the 50US condition.
As a whole, this study revealed that training on an
unstable surface offers no core training benefit beyond
what is accomplished while training on stable surfaces.
This suggests that the use of stable surface training with
appropriate loading schemes allows for the training of
core musculature without adding unstable surfaces to the
training plan. Therefore, it may be recommended to not
use unstable surfaces as part of the overall athlete development
Willardson, JM, Fontana, FE, and Bressel, E. Effect of
surface stability on core muscle activity for dynamic
resistance exercises. Int J Sports Physiol Perform
4:97 – 109. 2009.

If you need to be unstable when you train, try this...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't Believe the Hype!

Here comes a rant for today's post...

I understand that I am in the business of marketing. I have to sell myself to every potential client that walks into my door. Believing in what I do is very simple, because I am confident in my abilities to get results (and fast).

What I don't understand is all these salesmen pedaling different gadgets and equipment that won't make an Athlete better. You see I was at a certain High School I train athletes at today, and the boys Basketball coach had a gentleman pitching these balance bands to his team. I walked into the weight room with 40 kids sitting down listening to this guy trying to get them to spend money on something they can't wear during a game.....(scratching my head).

Why isn't the coach teaching these guys how to lift properly instead of wasting their time trying to sell them something? I don't understand the motives but I do know those kids won't be bigger, stronger or more balanced then the kids they will face.

The same goes for seminars and clinincs that try and convince coaches to incorporate ladders and parachutes to make their athletes faster... What the F**K! I'm all for advances in technology and such, but please stop wasting your kids time by having them do and use shit that doesn't help them dominate their competition!

Watch this guy and see if this doesn't get you FIRED UP!


Saturday, September 18, 2010


This Blog post is extremely special to me and to the Gym... I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing athletes these past 2 years. With that being said, I want to announce our first (but not last) MLB Player to come out of STRONG 101 Gym!!!

Lucas Duda, is officially on the roster with the New York Mets.

He was referred to our gym through our very first client (Andy Bouchie of the Detroit Tigers AAA). We have been blessed to work with him for the past two off-seasons, and I believe he has taught us as much as we have taught him.

I feel honored to be working with these guys, because they trust their lively hood to us 5 months of the year. But, with great responsibility comes an even greater reward! In this case, after being in the league for just over two weeks Lucas hit his very first Major League HOMERUN last night. I was very proud to see his success first hand, and I can't wait for the rest of our athletes to flourish as well.

First MLB Double 9/16/2010
First MLB Homerun 9/17/2010

P.S. He was a stud on the 2004 CIF Champion Arlington High School (Riverside, CA) team, and then went on to play two years at the Univ. of Southern Cal. before being drafted by the N.Y. Mets.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Girls shouldn't lift weights...

I absolutlely agree! Girls shouldn't lift weights.

They should train!!!

Every female wether they are an athlete or not, should be in the gym training. Why? Because training with resistance will increase muscle and help burn fat. Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. Couple training with a solid meal plan and the results are limitless.

Athletic females, need to increase their speed, strength and explosiveness. This can only happen thru a proper training program. Another great benefit is it will help reduce inuries. Female athletes are 40% more likely to tear an ACL over their male counterparts. With somewhere around 200,000 kids tearing their ACL's this year, injury prevention is huge.

All sports require explosive speed and strength! So why not train like an ATHLETE?!.

Check out this video from this past summer...


Monday, September 6, 2010

Enough is Enough!

Attention all COACHES: Unless your coaching the Cross Country or long distance runners on your track team...Do Not make your athletes run past a 100 yd sprint or a steep hill less than 40 yds, as a form of conditioning or punishment!!!

It's f****n ridiculous when I have a high school baseball player come into the gym and say, "we ran 2.5 miles today as punishment." WTF! I am trying to pack on some serious muscle on these guys during the off-season and their coach is taking it all off in a day. Running anything further than a short sprint is reversing the effects of muscle building on athletes that don't compete in distance running.

Look at a Sprinters physique vs a Middle Distance runner.

You be the judge.

High School coaches, please use some common sense when training your athletes. If you're trying to create a team of studs, then don't run them into the ground with slow paced distance runs.

At our gym, we are trying to help your athletes become Bigger, Faster and especially Stronger! So let me leave you with this parting quote from the movie Jerry Maguire..."Help Me, Help You!"


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Condition them til they PUKE!

Conditioning is a huge part of most sports, especially in high school athletics. But, it is also a touchy subject for some coaches... Why, you may ask? Because, no one likes doing it but, it must be done. So how much is enough and when do you back off and know your team is ready?

Let's start with a good weight training program first: Squats, Bench and Power Cleans for Football...check! Wait, haven't we evolved into applying more than the basic three lifts? What about adding in some other main lifts (Kettlebells, Tire Flips, Farmer Walks) or bodyweight movements such as Push-ups and Pull-ups... Focus needs to be placed on getting stronger at moving your own body around before placing an external load. After that is accomplished, then we can focus on endurance and speed mechanics.

Once we have established a base program we can now implement a fundamental sprint and speed program that includes but is not limited to Plyos, Med Balls and running mechanics. Conditioning should include a proper warm-up, stretching (dynamic / static) and CORE exercises, as to prepare the body for the work load that will be placed on it. Now, in order for us to maintain the gains we have made in the weight room, running should be limited to short bursts such as sprints of 40 yds or less, hill sprints of 150 ft or less, or bleachers / stairs. Limiting the distance of each will help the athletes recover for their next sets / reps. We want to focus on fast twitch fibers being called upon with adequate rest periods for power and maximal speed.

If we don't focus on power output and adequate rest periods, then all the conditioning is a waste of time! We want to train our athletes with one thing in mind, "Bang for your Buck!"

Time is a limited resource, can we all agree with this? YES! Well if we only have one hour for the weight room and thirty minutes for conditioning...we need to squeeze the best results out of the least amount of time, with little to no wasted movements / effort. Let's push out all the excess 1 mile time trials for athletes that only run 100 yards on a field, 90 feet to each base or up and down a court during a game.

The best results will come from utilizing your time wisely in all modes of training. Conditioning your athletes to become better at each individual sport is our goal. Don't generalize the workout for time or distance. It won't help any of them and your team unity will be divided.

The final message is for the Coaches out there, Please stop generalizing your conditioning efforts, and focus on specific demands to your sport!