Friday’s Final Thoughts

       This is my first installment of a new series I am going to start called Friday’s Final Thoughts. At the end of each week I feel like I have accumulated a wealth of new knowledge that I am either still trying to process, implement, or have implemented. My goal is to try to share it with you and get you’re two cents on if I am on the right track or if I am still the dumbest guy in the room. What you read in this segment is not necessary right or wrong but is designed to be thought provoking and hopefully can help other strength coaches with similar questions they might be having.

        This week I spent some time listening to Jay DeMayo’s podcast with Dr. Bryan Mann, and two with Jeff Moyer. I have to thank my good friend and strength coach Robb Hornett for the introduction to Jay’s podcast and seminar. On top of listening to some top-notch podcast I read a very good article from SpartaPoint on Why Bodyweight % isn’t What it Sounds. Sometimes it seems like the world is trying to speak to you when everything you hear in a week seems to tie together.

        A great podcast from Doctor Mann had me thinking, “can you really individualize a whole team?” After this week I have changed my stance from “yes” too “to a degree”. One it depends on how big the team is, how long I have with that team, how advanced the training age of the athletes are and do their positions in their sport require different skill sets. We all love football so lets look at how one might be able to individualize a lifting session;

  • Positional needs: Strength, Speed, and Strength-Speed
  • Training age: Low, Medium, High
  • Percentages based off bodyweight?

        Now I feel the first two would take some upfront organizational work but are manageable depending on staffing, weight room size and amount of time the team can be train. However the third thought (Percentages based off bodyweight) I have never given much thought before this week and it goes to prove why I view myself as the dumbest person in the room.

         I have been trying to find a way to easily monitor stress that is applied to our athletes. Seeing how the majority of them are currently in high school that play multiple sports, have homework, and have social lives. I have always been a huge fan of velocity based training as it becomes easy to adjust weight based off speeds however when I opened my own facility tendo’s weren’t in the budget. This led me to the Auto-regulatory Progressive Resistance Exercise Method which I found great for allowing the athletes to make changes, and show us who was lifting more than they should, and who was under lifting.

         Well after this weeks learning I am one trying to figure out more information on the 1x20 method that was discussed in the podcast, and if I want to use it in our programming. Secondly I am rethinking how we use percentages with our athletes. I am thinking of how I could move towards a system that allows the athlete to train off bodyweight percentages. Here are my reasons one it has a high validity as each you are using the same scale every day, and gives us a great system of checks and balances. Often times we struggle with classifying our athletes as to what their training age is and where they should be in our programming scheme. Such as how long do I keep an athlete in GPP and basic strength work? Does using bodyweight percentages give us a hardline that tells us when to move on?

        As strength coaches I feel we all want the same thing; to make their athletes as relatively strong as possible. The next question I have been asking myself is “how strong is strong?” the reason being is we saw our pro guys deadlifting and squatting in the four and five hundreds.  This left me wondering at what point is their safety out weigh the coolness and sizzle of lifting really heavy. When listening to Doctor Mann on the podcast he dropped a gem of 2 to 2.5 times an athletes body weight may be strong enough. If we are using these numbers (I need to do more research on this before moving forward) and we start programing our athletes based off bodyweight percentages then I feel we have found a way that is relative, has great validity, gives us checks and balances, and is a great practical metric that helps us guide athletes in a developmental model. I welcome all feedback, thoughts, and questions.