Learn how to quickly switch into a focused, but relaxed state for your training session or practice, while optimizing air flow pathways.
Sarah Walls gives advice and tips for strength coaches on trusting their instincts.
Part 3 of the "Common Beginner Mistakes" series is underway! Like all the great series' out there (Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Star Wars...), it's important that you check out each and every single one. Take a look back at Part 1 and Part 2. I'm sure you'll find a hidden gem or two in there that will help you make better progress in the weight room. As you may know, I'm a creature of habit. I tend to order the same meal from Taco Bell (6 crunch tacos), dry my body off in the same sequence after taking a shower (I know... I'm weird), and I always choose the color blue while playing Settlers of Catan. With that, let's check out a couple of videos of incredible feats of strength.
Mistake #7 - Program Hopping
"Programs Hoppers" are a severe annoyance to all experienced strength and conditioning coaches out. They typically suffer from a mild case of ADD, commitment issues, and a severe lack of gains. These individuals can often be seen at your local Crossfit gym, never performing the same workout twice. These people need a lesson in the mechanisms of musculoskeletal adaptation. Mentioned in part 2, a major principle behind strength training is called the SAID principle. This states that you body will form Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. In other words, your body will adapt to the stimulus that you apply to it, HOWEVER, it's critically important that you apply the stimulus for a sufficient period of time. If you're constantly changing the stimulus, the training effect will be negligible, and your body won't experience enough of the same stress to adapt and grow stronger.
This is why most of the established training programs are designed in blocks. The exercise selection inside of a single block is typically static, and each block typically lasts 3-4 weeks. This way your body has enough time to experience and adapt to the method of training. Now, I'm not advocating doing the same exact thing for 3 weeks straight. Another important principle of strength training is termed the Repeated Bout Effect. This principle states that as you apply a stimulus and your body recovers and adapts to it, the same stimulus will not elicit an equal amount of adaptation. Your body experiences a point of diminishing returns, and this is the reason we apply progressive overload and increase the weight on the bar over time. In this way, we're applying a slightly greater stimulus, but maintaining the movement and allowing our body to adapt to greater and greater amounts of the same stress, and grow stronger because of it. Here at SAPT, we program our clients in 4 week blocks, increasing volume over time, which in turn elicits progressive and consistent adaptation.
Mistake #8 - Sticking to the Same Program Too Long
Now, this may seem a bit contradictory to our previous point, but hear me out. I touched briefly on the Repeated Bout Effect above, and this point of diminishing returns applies to whole strength programs/methods of training as well. Eventually, if you continue to do the same thing over and over and over again, you'll reach a point where you just aren't making measurable amounts of progress. Once this occurs, you need to change the stimulus that you're applying to your body. This doesn't mean do 1 week of 5/3/1, 2 weeks of the Cube Method, and follow it us with another week of Starting Strength. You need to stick to a program to actually elicit the adaptation you are trying to achieve, and then mix it up and change the program once you've gotten all that you can from it.
This is a tricky concept, but in reality, you should be grateful for these training principles! They allow you to gain valuable training experience. All these programs are created using different training philosophies. They utilize different methods of manipulating volume over time to elicit strength gains. We're all unique human beings, and, because of this, we respond to stimuli in different ways and to different degrees. Some people respond better to high frequency training with low to moderate intensity loads, while others adapt more efficiently to lower volume, high intensity training plans. You may not respond to a training program in the same exact manner as your best friend, and you also may not adapt as well the second time you perform a program. As you become more and more experience in strength training, you'll discover what works best for you. You'll discover the style of training that meshes with your personality, lifestyle, and preferences, and, with a little bit of patience, you'll develop a system of eliciting strength gains progressively.
You must clearly understand the difference between basic training and special physical preparation. [SPP] is different for everybody; one beats up on a tire with a sledgehammer, another does figure eights with a kettlebell, and someone incline presses. Basic training is roughly the same in all sports and aims to increase general strength and muscle mass. Powerlifting was born as a competition in exercises everybody does.
— Nikolay Vitkevich
Don't you want to know more?
I wrote a guest post over at Concentric Brain you can read it HERE.
Following the loose theme we've had this month of volleyball training (but really, let's be honest, all of this can apply to most sports), I thought it would be beneficial to highlight a few other athletic skills/movements that are woefully under-trained in volleyball players. It's all about the vertical!
But not really.
It drives me nutso that coaches and parents and the players focus singularly on improving the vertical jump. Yes, it's important, but how does one get to the net to jump? How does one move fast enough to get behind the ball to pass it well?
I've worked with dozens and dozens of volleyball players and I've seen terrible movement quality all the other planes of motion. Great volleyball players are more than their vertical jump heights! (tweet that) I've listed a handful of movements that would behoove any volleyball player, and coaches, to implement in a regular training rotation.
I can, without exaggeration, tell you that I've seen volleyball players side shuffle with the grace of a new-born giraffe. How in the world can a volleyball player move around the court while keeping their eyes on the game, without side shuffling? Answer: Not possible. Side shuffling is the most efficient and most strategic way to move around the court.
Above are just a few examples of transitional movement drills. Along with side shuffling, there are times when players need to sprint forward or backpedal quickly and then run in a completely different direction. The ability to change directions rapidly is essential in volleyball, especially if there's a wild pass or tip off the net.
Yes, I know volleyball consists of jumping up and down, and not side-to-side, but reinforcing lateral movements is a boon for volleyball. Heidens also teach force absorption and production in the frontal (lateral) plane. Most of volleyball consists of lateral movements, so if a player is strong side-to-side, not only will it reduce injury risk but she will be more confident moving sideways and will thus do it more.
There are a lot of opportunities to dive, roll, and fall on the ground in volleyball. Learning how to do so safely is imperative. Learning how to pop back up again after a quick "hello" to the floor is vital for scoring points. Because rolling and tumbling is not a part of our everyday lives (at least, most of us) the vestibular system might be a bit slow in re-orienting. However, if you train rolls, you're also training the vestibular system and strengthening its ability to readjust quickly.
Add these into your training arsenal and there will be a guaranteed bump in performance.