Program Information

SAPT College Baseball Training Testimonials: Red Dowdell, Ryan Dickt, & Kent Blackstone

A number of our athletes are headed off to compete in collegiate sports this year, and three of our baseball guys were kind enough to take a couple moments in order to provide some insight into how training at SAPT has helped them to prepare for the high level of competition they'll be facing this upcoming season. I should also note that what they didn't say on camera is that they are some of the hardest working athletes I know, giving it their 100% each and every single time they walked in the door. A good training program is nothing without the athlete following it through no matter what "life" throws at them outside the gym walls, so I tip my hat to these guys for consistently training with conviction and purpose, and setting a shining example to everyone who's fortunate enough to work alongside them.

Take it away fellas!

Red Dowdell - Virginia Military Institute

Position: Catcher High School (Senior) Honors: First-Team All-Met 2012, National District Player of the Year 2012

(Note: Below is Red hitting a big deadlift PR at the end of in-season training this past Spring)


Ryan Dickt - Patrick Henry Junior College

Position: Catcher High School (Senior) Honors: National District Player of the Year 2012, 2nd Team All-Region

(Note: Below is Ryan performing a ground-to-standing transitional movement drill in preparation for the upcoming baseball season.)


 Kent Blackstone - New Mexico State University

Position: Shortstop High School (Senior) Honors: First-Team All Met 2012

Best of luck to all you gentlemen this next year!

50% OFF: The 50/50 Training Challenge

The 50/50 Training Challenge - 50% OFF for 1 Special Team!

If you're a regular reader of SAPTstrength, you've no doubt noticed our recent introduction of Mental Mondays which is leading the way to SAPT's additional focus towards mental preparation and coaching. Well, Mental Mondays are merely the tip of the iceberg in new service offerings that are directed at one specific portion of our mission statement:

Our mission is to provide quality comprehensive training products and services to help facilitate and educate our clientele towards athletic and intellectual success on every level from amateur to professional. To achieve our mission we will conduct business with the following responsibilities in mind: obey the law, take care of our employees, take care of our clientele, respect our competition, respect our environment, participate in our community...

I crafted that statement over 5 years ago. Happily, we've been adhering to this mission quite well. But, there is one main area that still needs work:

  • " facilitate and educate our clientele towards... intellectual success on every level..." This one's now in our crosshairs!

Since we've recently teamed up with CAPE Performance Mental Coach Brian Levenson, SAPT is now capable of formally addressing the intellectual (or mental) success of our clients!

Our first official combined service offering is called The 50/50 Challenge.

This challenge is a grueling combination of physical and mental training challenges to help your team improve cohesion and learn to handle & overcome adversity. *Think of this as similar in end goal to ropes courses, but with a direct link to tangible performance indicators and much closer to sport itself.

Throughout this one-day physical and mental intensive session, you and the team's coaching staff will learn how to reinforce your team’s and each individual’s mental approach to all aspects of training.

Your athletes will finish the day with a thorough understanding of how their mental game impacts and affects everything from their rehab programs, weight training, practices, and - ultimately - wins and losses.

Uncover and discover a secondary layer of benefits reaped from your team’s regular practices, strength and conditioning program, and competitions as the 5 Primary Physical and Mental Training Themes converge throughout the day:

  1. Focus and Concentration 
  2. Team Cohesion 
  3. Preparation/Routine 
  4. Energy Management
  5. Controlling Controllables 

Coaches: Steve Reed and Brian Levenson

Location: The SAPT training facility

Date: We will try to stick to Saturdays (but this can be customized)

Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM for this special offering

Cost: 1000.00 per team 500.00 for one special team!

Why the deep discount? It's simple, we've already booked some local NCAA D1 college programs and need the chance to get in a practice run to work out any kinks that may pop up!

If you want to take advantage of this offer, you must have a team that is available to come to the SAPT training facility for this challenge NO LATER THAN SEPTEMBER 1st!

Email, ME:, to get signed up!

After all, you don't have to lose games to learn how to handle adversity!


Muscle Confusion? Legit or Nonsense Term?

The p90x system has popularized the phrase “muscle confusion” with claims, within the infomercial, referring to the “training science of muscle confusion.” My question is this: Is “muscle confusion” based in “training science?” Oh, and, what the heck is “training science?”

Here is a portion of the p90x pitch:

Alright, muscle confusion… sounds good. Let’s see what a search of scientific research journals pulls up for me:

Only 10 results – hmmmm – that’s not usually a good sign…

  1. Serotonin Syndrome – Muscle Rigidity and Confusion in the Older Adult.
  2. Renal failure in a patient with…
  3. Confusion between physicians & dentists about muscle-type pain…
  4. Preventing falls and fall-related injuries in hospitals.

Nothing related so, I’ll stop there and spare you the rest of the list.

Sadly, “muscle confusion” doesn’t seem to be based anywhere in science.

Well, let’s go ahead and see what kind of research supports “training science:”

  1. Basic science research and education: a priority for training…
  2. Training and career development in clinical and translational science: an opportunity for rehabilitation scientists.
  3. Science in Mental Health Training and Practice…
  4. Eating for Performance: Bringing Science to the Training Table.

Not quite what I was looking for, but the list goes on and on.

Perhaps most perplexing is that a comprehensive research journal search with the phrases “muscle confusion” and “training science” yield absolutely no results! Tony Horton, have you lied to us all?!?

In fact, there are only two papers that come up relating to p90x – one is from Men’s Fitness (let’s throw that one out). And the other is from FireRescue Magazine, more detailed than Men’s Fitness, yes, but a far cry from the “training science” research I was hoping to find!

Okay, let’s give Tony Horton one more chance and find out what papers he has authored:

Another head-scratcher, neither “Tony Horton” nor “Anthony Horton” returned any results.

Oh well, I guess I’ll have to answer my own question from the top of this post.

So, what does “the training science of muscle confusion” mean?

My take is that it is essentially a nonsense term/phrase used for marketing to laypeople.

“Training science” can probably best be relabeled as exercise science (now this is a real phrase… in fact entire bachelor's degrees are labeled as such). Personally, I think exercise science is as easy to understand as “training science,” so I don’t know why they wouldn’t market it correctly in this way.

“Muscle confusion” seems to be very much a dummy term. From the marketing, it seems like the p90x folks are alluding to their programming and the manipulation of variables (sets, reps, mode, method, etc.). The actual term is “periodization” and this can take on a variety of shapes and sizes to elicit the result you’re looking for.

Perhaps the marketing magic-makers think the layperson is not capable of learning new words like “periodization?”

The bottom line?

  1. I’ve watched the p90x DVDs and I think the creativity of exercises and simple exercise progressions are quite good.
  2. Personally, I know at least 50 people (all happen to be current or former high-level athletes) who have tried p90x. None of them have completed the program.
  3. I think it is shameful the way the fitness industry allows itself to market to people’s egos, fears, and insecurities. This product is no different.

If you want to try it, go for it! It’s way better than sitting on the couch and a gigantic step-up from Jane Fonda tapes or going to a commercial gym to mindlessly wander around. But, I must say it is an extremely aggressive way to start a training program and, much like CrossFit, you may be best served to begin a training program that is moderately paced and conservatively planned to get you prepared for the full regimen.

Remember, in the world of strength, conditioning, and fitness, it is NEVER an all or none proposition. Any system that makes you feel that way, guarantees results, or sets a time limit on your progress should likely be avoided.

Research Supports ACL Tear Prevention Programs Beginning at Age 11 for Girls

A recent study: Anterior cruciate ligament laxity and strength of quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip abductors in young pre-pubescent female soccer players over time: a three-year prospective longitudinal pilot study.

…whoo, long title… as I was saying, a recent study was published in Orthopedic Physical Therapy Practice that clearly demonstrates the timeframe and magnitude to which the strength balance of young females’ bodies begins to become unbalanced.

Here’s the abstract:

Purpose: This was a longitudinal study to determine the effects of maturation on anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) laxity and muscle strength in pre-pubescent female soccer players. Methods: ACL laxity and quadriceps, hamstrings, and abductors strength were measured annually from 2006 through 2008 in 22 pre-pubescent female soccer players, ages 7-12yrs. Results: ACL laxity increased 2.2 mm (p < 0.0002) in 2007 and 1.7 mm (p < 0.005) in 2008. Quadriceps strength increased 1.9 kg (p < 0.01) in 2007 and 2.1 kg (p < 0.009) in 2008. No significant change was noted in the hamstrings. Abductor strength decreased 3.0 kg (p < 0.0001) in 2007 and 2.3 kg (p < 0.0001) in 2008. Quadriceps to hamstring (Q/H) ratio decreased 0.4 kg (p < 0.02) in 2008. Conclusion: ACL laxity increased with age in pre-pubescent girls. The high Q/H ratio, and decreased abductor muscle strength, indicates an increased risk of ACL injury. Significant changes at age 11.5 occur both in ACL laxity and muscle strength, just one year prior to average age of menses. Girls may be approaching puberty with preexisting muscle weakness and imbalance that may expose them to ACL injury.

The critical pieces to pull from the abstract refer to the combined effects of a high strength ratio between the quadriceps and hamstrings (ideally, you want them to be well balanced and fairly even), the decreasing strength of the abductors (they keep the knee from "caving"), and ever increasing strength of the quadriceps.

It’s worth noting that this study was conducted on girls who are athletes, female soccer players to be exact. So, the increase in ACL laxity was not due to inactivity.

I think it is fantastic that the exact age – 11.5 years – has been pinpointed as the most significant time when this shift towards imbalance is occurring.

What should you do? Well, if you have a daughter, I’d suggest getting her started in a program that has a strong (and highly successful) ACL tear prevention protocol. Like, ahem, SAPT. Training to prevent ACL tears is serious business and, in the long run, it will cost a lot less to PREVENT a tear that to surgically repair and rehab a tear.

As a side note: If you haven’t seen my series on Healthy Knee MUST’s on you should take a look. I go into detail on knee structure and prevention strategies.

A Tip on Programming

If you truly want to become stronger it’s very important that you take careful consideration when planning your training program.  One of the biggest factors that comes into play when doing this is understanding your strengths and weaknesses.  Unfortunately when this task is undertaken solo the former rather than the latter becomes the focus of the program. Usually what happens when you write your own training program is that unbeknownst to you, you have programmed everything your good at and absolutely nothing you’re bad at.  Congratulations, you’re going to spend the next 12 weeks not getting any stronger!  So the question becomes, how do we avoid wasting 12 weeks of our life?  Simple, DON’T do your own programming. The best thing to do is to sit down with someone who is qualified and experienced when it comes to programming (do not ask your training partner, chances are they probably have the same problems you have and are just as biased).  Talk to them about your goals, strengths, and problem areas. Based on the information you give them and the programming knowledge they have, they will write you a program that you will absolutely hate!  Why will you hate it?  Because, it’s going to be filled with a bunch of stuff you’re not good at and honestly who wants to work 4-5 days a week on things they are terrible at?  Nobody! But, I promise that you WILL come out 12 weeks later a STRONGER person than when you went in.  Trust me I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else;I would much rather feel like Wolverine in the weight room instead of Howard the Duck.

Don’t believe me?  I’ll show you.  Below you will find two training days from two different programs.  The first was written for me by current strength coach, powerlifter, and friend Gabe Naspinski.  The basis of which can be found by reading Gabe’s article for EliteFTS.  The second is a day that I wrote for myself a while ago.



A1) Conventional DL from Deficit 9X2/60% A1) DE Sumo DL with Chains 8X3 50%+50lbs of Chains
B1) SSB Low Box Squat w/ pause 4X6 B1) Low Box Squat 4X8
B2) Pullups throughout session 40 total C1) Barbell Rollouts 3XAMAP
C1) Band Pull Throughs 3x15 C2) Reverse Hyper 4X10
C2) Static/Dynamic Ab Movement of my choice


I know they don’t seem completely different but let me explain why the day Gabe planned is better for me than the one that I programmed.  First let me give you a little background on myself.  I have been pulling sumo for the last two years because I’m better at it and that’s how I compete.  I am terrible off the floor when deadlifting but pretty good when it comes to locking out at the top.  I am also weak out of the hole of  my squat but again, pretty good at locking them out.  Lastly, I have weak glutes, hamstrings and upper back.  Just with that little bit of information it’s easy to see why Gabe’s training day is superior to the one I programmed.

Let’s look at A1; he has me pulling conventional AND from a deficit (this guy has it out for me).  This allows me to work on almost all of my weaknesses.  Pulling  conventional and from a deficit will allow me to get better out of the bottom due to the increased range of motion and it will work on my hamstring and glute weakness as well as my upper back.  Now is what I programmed bad?  No, but it’s not exposing nor is it helping me work on my weaknesses nearly as much as what Gabe gave me.

We’ll end with talking about the B series.  With this series we have two squat variations, again nothing to different.  The main difference is the type of barbell used and the utilization of the pause.  He has me using a SSB (safety squat bar) which positions the bar higher on my back causing a greater emphasis on back strength as opposed to a straight bar, thus allowing me to work on my upper back weakness.  Again, I’m weak out of the bottom of my squat and my glute strength is sorely lacking so naturally we are going to incorporate a low box, which Gabe and I both did.  There is one glaring difference though between his and mine….the dreaded PAUSE in the bottom.  Now the pause I’m using is only a second long but that one second pause is a dagger (I’m not joking, go try it).  This pause is going to allow me to get stronger out of the bottom while also putting much more emphasis on my glutes.  Lastly in the B series, you’ll notice the 40 pullups throughout session that are in Gabe’s program and not in mine.  Remember that whole weak upper back thing? Interestingly enough Gabe decided to give me upper back work EVERYDAY of my program (I told you this guy has it out for me).  But again, my back weakness has been my downfall and he’s making me face it every day forcing me to get stronger.

As I said at the beginning, it’s important for everyone to know their strengths and weaknesses (especially their weaknesses).  One weakness that we all share when it comes to training is thinking that we are unbiased when it comes to writing our own program.  You might work on SOME of your problem areas if you write your own program but I guarantee it’s not going to be the same as someone else writing it.  Don’t spend weeks on end not getting any better, it’s a waste.

Remember, friends don’t let friends write their own programs.

5 reasons why SAPT’s adult training options are for you!

5.  Because rather than perpetuate imbalances with your current 60 minute wander around the gym/sit on the recumbent bike, mouth agape routine, you’ll be provided a thorough individualized training program applicable to your specific needs and goals allowing you to hit the gym with vigor and purpose.  Dare I say you’ll experience results?

4.  Because you won’t be allowed to avoid the things you hate, the things you didn’t know you hated, and learn to embrace these things as the most important parts of your week (well, almost most important).  Learn to enjoy movement prep, mobility, and soft tissue drills designed specifically to improve active range of motion around joints and soft tissue quality.  Muscular knots and adhesions don’t resolve themselves through quick, unfocused static stretching routines; in actuality, they’ll typically make the knot tighter leading to further discomfort.  Knead those knots and adhesions out with our localized soft tissue techniques and experience improved recovery, less inhibited movement patterns, and a general feeling of relief.

3.   Though you’ll miss the SAPT coaching staff and community feel of the SAPT training facility during your offsite training sessions, you’ll be able to pacify our SAPT cravings through our thorough and extensive, mobile devise accessible, SAPT Exercise Database.  Enjoy the descriptive prose and meticulous demonstrations to ensure you’re executing with perfect form even offsite, on your time.  There’s only one way to garner the intended benefit of a training stimulus, and it’s through perfect execution.  Going through the motions will elicit blah training effects, plus it’s kind-of unsafe…You exercise to improve your health, right?

2.  To stave off type II (fast twitch) muscular atrophy and neural drive impairment.  As one ages, without central nervous system activation, and therefore limited type II stimulation, type II fibers will actually disappear (to never return again) and thus significantly lower strength and power output levels.  Not only does this present grim performance and overall functionality implications, but structural repercussions as well.  Because type II fibers are more hypertrophy inclined, neglecting their recruitment will overtime significantly speed-up muscle mass decline.  Consider there is a 10% decrease in total number of muscle fibers per decade after the age of 50, and it’s a wonder the majority of the “well-seasoned” population hasn’t evolved into soft, slithering, amoebas of goo (HA, I had fun writing that!).  Our adult programming safely implements compound movements and drills designed to improve power output to elicit the physiological responses necessary to ward off the dreaded “amoeba of goo” condition.  Besides, throwing medicine balls is just freakin’ fun.

1.  Because you’ll relearn how to take time for…yourself…it’s okay, you’re allowed.

Your first step towards a more pain-free, stronger, youthful you in 2012, starts by clicking here…

You’ll love it…