We live in a world where athletes want to be bigger, faster, stronger, and they are willing to do almost anything in the weight room to meet these goals. Similarly, there are strength and conditioning coaches out there that believe picking up heavy weight is the key to getting strong. While this seems obvious and is certainly true, it is not as simple as just progressing weight or reps. On the other side of the spectrum are those who like to Olympic style lift – trying to move max weight at max velocity. Where there is a spectrum, a healthy balance probably exists somewhere in the middle, and exploring this may be a good option.
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The former end of the spectrum have many methodologies for getting strong, one example of which would be to simply increase resistance or volume (as mentioned before) over time – also known as progressive overload, a principle that is required to progress physically in any regard. Perhaps the easiest form of this would be to simply add one pound of weight (or even ½ pound) OR do one more repetition than the previous time an exercise was performed. This is a method proven to work with children all the way up to the highest level athletes. However, flaws do exist with this method. One is that it is easy to burnout doing this, and the body can become extremely worn out over time. Most coaches’ response to this flaw would be to simply decrease the resistance or volume on days when athlete and coach agree it would be beneficial to do so, what many refer to as a “back down day.” Over time, this will contribute to progress and allow the body to adapt accordingly.
While this is a good solution to a very prominent problem, another exists that is not so easily solved. At a certain point, this method will result in training with weights that are so heavy that it can be dangerous and even unhealthy to even lift with them. In addition, at such a heavy weight, it may take weeks to show any “real progress” by being able to add even one pound or rep, because the load puts such a stress on the body. Furthermore, weights this heavy are always lifted at incredibly slow velocity, and it can be argued that the central nervous system learns these patterns at that pace, and this can be detrimental to the actual sport an athletes plays. The question then needs to be asked, how else can strength coaches help their athletes make gains?
More and more research is being conducted and confirmed to show that lifting at high velocity is the best way to produce peak power. The weight for such lifts cannot be maximal and in fact will be relatively light. When this topic is presented, many turn right to Olympic lifts – the clean and jerk and the snatch, which are lifts performed at high velocity and the goal of which is traditionally peak power output. However, who is to say that other exercises – squat, deadlift, trap bar deadlift, RDL, good morning; even bench press, row, military press or pull-up/down – can’t be performed with light to medium weight and at max velocity? These are incredibly effective exercises, and performing them in such a manner correlates to sport neurologically, in that the CNS is trained to move at high speeds and fire simultaneously, producing immense amounts of power.
At SMARTER Team Training, we believe a healthy balance is necessary to achieve success in the weight room; and in fact we practice three main components of lifting: Lightweight, maximum velocity movements (i.e. sprinting or bodyweight jumping), medium weight movements for maximum power output, and heavy lifting. The mTOR pathway responds to the body reaching failure in all of these ways, and as stated before, a healthy balance is the key to success.
Check out what coaches from around the country, and world, are saying about their experience at our annual conference on when you CLICK HERE. The recap video from the #11thSCADConf, plus sneak peeks in to what makes this experience unique, have been added for you too. Be sure to visit STTEvents.com to see when we will be in your area.
Baseball player’s at the highest level play 162 games in around 180 days, and if you are lucky you get to experience the post-season. Many youth and high school players’ schedules resemble this intense one to two games a day with some tournaments having three games on the final day. The body takes a toll and therefore needs a consistent plan to prepare for the rigors of the game from shoulder health, to grip strength, to legs, mid-section, upper body, and conditioning too. Learn about how you can begin your comprehensive athlete development program with STT when you CLICK HERE.
SMARTER Team Training wants to work with you and your team. To learn more about the benefits of training throughout the year with STT go to STTPerformance.com.
Hand and finger strength is important to ensure longevity, and potentially athletic performance. Having a tool that can progressively overload the grip is a competitive advantage. Find out how we use the Pendulum Strength Grip Pro from Rogers Athletic when you CLICK HERE.
From deloading the spine to finding a better way to improve your bench, Janie and Rick from LoadTheBar.com have got your covered. Find out more about the Pit Shark line of strength training equipment when you CLICK HERE.