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Stuff You Need to Read!

Stuff You Need to Read!

There are obviously some super busy bloggers right now as I’ve seen some great stuff popping up on Twitter and Facebook. Here’s a few I’ve picked out:

A Coaches’ Guide to Strength Development – www.mcmillanspeed.com

speed training

McMillanSpeed.com

Stu McMillan’s Blog is an awesome resource to check out for some great information relating to training for strength, power and speed. He recently posted a 5 part series on strength development and it’s something you’ve got to read packed full of quality info, check it out below:

McMillanSpeed.com – A Coaches’ Guide to Strength Development Part 1

McMillanSpeed.com – A Coaches’ Guide to Strength Development Part 2

McMillanSpeed.com – A Coaches’ Guide to Strength Development Part 3

McMillanSpeed.com – A Coaches’ Guide to Strength Development Part 4

McMillanSpeed.com – A Coaches’ Guide to Strength Development Part 5

 

6 Reasons Why All Athletes Should SPRINT

A nice article by Mike Young summarising the benefits of sprinting for all athletes – check it out: Mike Young’s – 6 Reasons Why All Athletes Should Sprint

 

CHAOS Training Revisited – www.nickgrantham.com

Nick recently posted up a link to previous blog of his own and a nice journal article looking at agility training for more experienced athletes making use of the CHAOS style of training! Well worth a read – CHAOS Training Revisited

Enjoy!

The Impact of S&C In Schools – An Athlete Case Study

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The Impact of S&C In Schools – An Athlete Case Study

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There is no doubt in my mind that all schools should be working towards implementing a long term athlete development pathway. In schools, we have the more time than anyone to be able to positively impact up on young athletes.

We are at a point in time where the physical capabilities of young people are much lower than they used to be in a large number of cases.

Whilst many are actively playing in sport and developing sport specific skills, most are not being exposed to high quality movement training that enables them to develop a high level of athleticism to support their technical tactical development.

The Elite Performance Pathway

We have just completed the second academic year where we have delivered an in-curriculum Strength & Conditioning programme at Key Stage 4 (14-16 years old – Year 10 & Year 11).

Athletes on the programme receive 5 hours support across a two week timetable and are exposed to high quality training. We have developed a curriculum / pathway that covers movement preparation, strength training, jump/plyometric training, linear acceleration and top end speed, change of direction speed, agility and energy system development. In addition, they have completed psychological preparation workshops.

What the time in the school timetable provides is an incredible level of consistency, they have to turn up like they do to English & Maths. So what we’ve got is consistency beyond which I’ve ever been able to achieve with young athletes before.

When working as an external coach in schools previously, attendance at after school sessions was always variable due to other commitments in the evening, issues with travel getting to & from the sessions and clashes with sport specific training/fixtures.

The Impact

So people can understand the positive impact this type of programme can have I have included a real athlete profile of one of our 15 year old Rugby Players from this academic year.

Pre-training (Sept 2014)

Weight 64.1kg
10m Sprint – 1.96sec
Squat 10RM – 30kg
Bench 10RM – 30kg

Squat Jump* 35.8cm
Countermovement Jump* 47cm
Depth Jump (12″)* 39.4cm

*March 2015 measured with a Jump Mat

Post-training (July 2015)

Weight 64.5kg
10m Sprint – 1.81sec (-0.14sec)
Squat 10RM – 90kg (+60kg)
Bench 10RM – 65kg (+35kg)

Squat Jump 47cm (+11cm)
Counter Movement Jump 51.3cm (+4.3cm)
Depth Jump (12″) 46.7cm (+7.3cm)

There is still a long way to go with this athlete but what we have managed to put in place over the last 10 months is a foundation of strength to build up on over the next couple of years he is with us on the programme.

Another exciting development is that we are moving towards having a similar amount of time in the timetable at Key Stage 3 from September. We have been worked with an 11-14 year olds already but with much less time and consistency due to it being an extra-curricular session but we are really excited to see what the next academic year brings.

You can check out a more detailed insight to our school based LTAD system here with the full article featured in the UKSCA’s Professional Strength and Conditioning Journal.

Interested in joining other coaches to discuss LTAD? Check out the upcoming conference Child To Champion where a wide range of practitioners are coming together to present from different stages of the developmental continuum.

Mike Young Speed & Power Video

Mike Young Speed & Power Development Video

Back at the end of May we were fortunate enough to have Mike Young join us to deliver a two day workshop – An Integrated Approach to Speed & Power Development at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire.

We were joined by coaches from some of the leading sports organisations across the British Isles including Scottish Rugby Union, England Rugby, Wales Rugby Union, Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC, Exeter Chiefs and the English Cricket Board.

Across the two days Mike shared an incredible amount of information and provided real insight into how he develops speed and power with his athletes both in team sports and for his track athletes.

This included five different lectures and a series of field based sessions on the Saturday looking more specifically at Speed & Agility development followed by the Sunday where the focus shifted to Building A Bigger Engine for Speed & Power in the weight room.

There were lots of take home messages but here are three of my favourite points I took away:

1) Do the basics really well

What came across really clearly from Mike was that great coaches go about doing the basics extremely well, consistently over a long period of time. They also understanding what it takes to make athletes faster, and then specifically what the athletes’ need at a given point in time to help them get there.

When your athletes stop making progress from the basics, that is the time to ‘fire the gun’ and break out the more advanced training stimuli to get the extra speed and power your athletes require.

2) The Importance of Eccentric Strength & Power

Certainly one of the major eye opening areas for me was the importance of eccentric strength and power to creating super fast & agile athletes. I spent a lot of time chatting to Mike about this area over the four days he was with us and he had lots of creative methods of enhancing eccentric strength & power such as stiffness landings & jumps, release RDLs and rhythm squats. But he also introduced us to the Exxentric kBox3 which has made creating an eccentric overload a whole lot simpler and safer than traditional eccentric training methods using a barbell. Along with the kMeter to measure eccentric and concentric peak power, this bit of kit has added a completely new dimension to our training system from both a training and monitoring perspective. A big thanks to Mike for hauling it over from the states and introducing us to it!

3) Change of Direction in 4 Dimensions

When training to improve change of direction and agility for team sports, such as Rugby, Football and Basketball, as well as considering the usual forward, backward and lateral movement requirements we need to think about movement combinations that incorporate jumps.

For example, a defender in football jumps to head the ball away and then lands and has to close down a space/player or a basketball player jumps, blocks a shot, lands and then needs to accelerate to collect the ball down the court.

It seemed so obvious when Mike said it first, but it was an element that was missing from my sessions!

Check out the video for some more great info from Mike, we are working on the full video series being released soon! 

 

 

 

Nov – Dec KS4 EPP Programme

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November – December KS4 EPP Programme

Theme: Multi-Directional Speed & Agility & Strength Development

Foam Roll – Issue areas: Quads/Glutes/Calves/Hamstrings

Activation:

Lateral Mini-Band Walk x 10m
Monster Walk x 10m
Hip Flexor Activation x 10/leg
Shoulder Taps x 10/arm

Movement Prep:

x 10 reps per exercise

Glute Bridge / Cook Hip Lift
Overhead Squat
Full Spiderman + Press UP
Forward Lunge
Side Lunge
1 Leg SLDL
1 Leg Squat

Jumping:

Leap & Stick (In Place) 1 x 5/leg
Leap & Stick (Linear)  1 x 5/leg
Leap & Stick (Lateral)  1 x 5/leg

Hop & Stick (In Place) 1 x 5/leg
Hop & Stick (Linear) 1 x 5/leg
Hop & Stick (Lateral) 1 x 5/leg inside & outside

Multi-directional Speed & Agility:

Week 1: Cutting

Lateral Shuffle x 3
Rehearsed Cut x 3
Random Cut x 3
Spin Cut x 3
Speed Cut x 3

Strength & Power Development:

Clean from Thigh 2 x 6
Squat or Deadlift variation
DB Bench Press or DB Overhead Press
Split Squat or RFE Split Squat
Feet elevated TRX Row or Pull Up

Year 10 = 3 x 10 reps
Year 11 = 3 x 6-8 reps

Plank Combo – Left, Right & Front
Skydiver (Prone AW – Scap Retractions)

Recovery:

Full Chain Glute
Hip Flexor Lunge Sequence
Prayer Stretch
Pec Stretch
3D Calf Stretch

 

Split Squat – Unilateral Lower Body Level 1

SPLIT SQUAT

A great introductory unilateral movement when performed under bodyweight, can be progressed up to working under heavy loads with barbells and dumb bells gradually overtime making it a much more advanced movement at that point.

Loading options / progressions: bodyweight, dumb bells, single dumb bell (asymetrical load), barbell

Benefits:

Improved flexibility at the hip
Improved strength in the lower body
Improved stability

Technical points:

1) Keep a hip width gap between the feet for stability
2) Long stride out, knee should remain above the ankle throughout
3) Keep the torso up right
4) Drop the back knee down to the floor and return to the start position.

Resistance Training Matrix

Proformance Movement Matrix

Resistance Training Matrix

This resistance training movement matrix is designed to provide a progressive pathway of exercises for athletes young and old to develop their strength and power.

The prescription of sets, reps and loads is going to be dictated by the athletes biological age, training age and the objectives you are working towards and I would recommend working within the framework outlined in the UKSCA’s Youth Resistance Training Position Statement if you are working with athletes under the age of 18.

How they progress within each category will vary and they maybe operating at Level 5 in one category and Level 3 in another. Progression to the next level for me will be determined by technical competency in the previous level and completing a 3 week progression  of 8, 10 and 12 reps against bodyweight. Once an athlete can complete 3 sets of 12 reps with good technique I will move them up to the next level. After they have progressed through this I will then look at adding additional load.

It is worth noting that resistance training exercises should be included as part of a well rounded programme that also focuses on the development of flexibility, mobility, speed, agility and reactive strength (stretch shortening cycle) qualities.

Credits

The content of the movement matrix certainly isn’t original has been inspired by a number of sources and my own experience developing athletes of all ages. The broad categories are based upon those outlined in Rhodri Lloyd’s recent textbook Strength and Conditioning for Young Athletes for developing fundamental movement skills. Some of the exercise progressions particularly the single leg exercises have been strongly influenced by the work of Mike Boyle, and other coaches I have had the pleasure of talking to and working with such as Ed Archer and Rich Clarke of the Athlete Academy and Henry Davies at Cheltenham College. Credit must also go to John Noonan who introduced the concept of a movement matrix during his presentation at the UKSCA Annual Conference 2014.

Strength Training Fundamentals

STRENGTH TRAINING FUNDAMENTALS

Anyone looking to start strength training whether for your sport or an active lifestyle you should commit some time to learning the correct technique.

For me there are two major things (the programme itself excluded) that are going to go some way to dictating your progress from a strength training programme:

1)      The individual knowing the correct technique for the major exercises – squats, pushes, pulls, deadlifts

2)      The individual having the flexibility/range of movement to perform the major exercises – squats, pushes, pulls, deadlifts

Something I pride myself on as a coach is being a stickler for good form and quality movement through all exercises. The main reasons being:

1)      If you put the body in the right position for the exercise you will see much better progress out of it

2)      You are much less likely to get injured if you perform the exercise well

STRENGTH TRAINING LIMITING FACTORS

The biggest limiting factor to training for strength development I see amongst young athletes and a lot of older ones too is a lack of flexibility. Without flexibility it prevents them putting their body in the correct position to perform the strength exercises safely and effectively.

Aside from that some people just don’t know how to do the exercises properly, or having too much pride whilst training with someone of a much higher level than them and getting sucked in to lifting heavy loads before they are ready for it.

There are other factors such as injury history that may rule out certain exercises as well but that can’t be helped and you’ve just got to learn and adapt your exercise selection accordingly.

EARN THE RIGHT

I always tell the people who train with me that you earn the right to progress to more advanced training by demonstrating competence in the fundamentals.

Especially when working with young athletes the emphasis should be on establishing technique, but this is something I apply with older populations too.

Bottom line is if the technique isn’t good enough through an exercise, I’m not going to be loading it. I’ll have an athlete work at it unloaded or use an alternative that can be loaded until the technique is at the required standard.

Once the technique is sound the load can be progressed gradually.

STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISES – THE SQUAT

When it comes to improving performance and people’s functional fitness the fundamental movement I like people able to perform well is the squat.

Strength Training Exercises Squat

Sometimes there are the quick fixes to a poor squat just by adjusting the stance width to wide (heels at shoulder width) and toes turned out at 5 to 1 on the clock face opening the hips.

Strength Training Exercises

Or using 5-10 sec holds in the bottom of the prisoner squat or overhead squat (low load) if you’re looking to improve squat range of movement to be able to get your hips below the level of the knee so you can get the real performance benefits.

Sometimes though you’ve got to put the hard yards in and tackle those problem areas head on with some flexibility work. If that’s what it takes that’s what it takes. Earn the right.

If you can’t squat for any of the reasons mentioned above, get yourself in touch with a decent coach – I’d suggest checking out the UKSCA Accredited members list for your area on www.uksca.org.uk – who can help improve your technique and possibly help resolve any flexibility issues limiting your progress.

I use a squat facilitation system put together by Bob Wood of Physical Solutions, it is a great programme for improving most people’s squat, there are some that seem immune to it and destined to cause me sleepless nights as I try to unlock the movement puzzle, but generally it works well in getting athletes where they need to be in order to start strength training.

Learn more about fundamental training principles with Nick Grantham at his Physical Preparation for Performance Workshops & Speed Clinic 21st & 22nd February 2015. Nick will be covering 5 major areas: Programme Design, Core Training Concepts, Metabolic Mayham: A Modern Approach to Energy System Development, the Art & Science of Coaching and Speed, Agility and Change of Direction. For more information & to take advantage of the incredible Early Bird Discount Bundle >>CLICK HERE<< 

Strength Training: A Periodization Model

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Strength Training: A Periodization Model

As a coach one of the common things I hear when I’m talking to people about their strength training is that they’re banging away just trying to go heavier and heavier week on week.

Training in this way may get you results up to a point, but you’re going to hit a plateau at some point. In addition, if you’re always lifting at a 100% repetition max (RM) load (i.e. that maximum load you can lift for a given number of reps) you are constantly subjecting your body to a high level of stress that will result in a lot of fatigue & may in the long term result in over training.

The fact is you don’t have to max out every session to get stronger.

A system I have used with a lot of clients/athletes over the years is a step loading system varying loads across a training cycle between 80-105% of a rep max load. The loading pattern that has worked consistently for me is 80% – 90% – 95% – 105% then the pattern repeats itself.

Strength Training Periodization

With this system you lift “very heavy” (105% RM) once every 4 weeks and that week is followed by a recovery week of 80% RM to allow for supercompensation (see previous article on recovery for an explanation of this process) because the unloading gives your body an opportunity to recover. The process then repeats itself building the loads back up over the next few weeks from 80-90-95% to another 105% load.

In case that doesn’t make sense here’s an example programme to make it clearer:

Ex programme strength

Taking the example of the Back Squat – at the start of the cycle Client A is able to squat 100kg for 5 reps. Employing the above loading system for the next 4 weeks he squats as follows:

Week 1: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 80kg

Week 2: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 90kg

Week 3: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 95kg

Week 4: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 105kg

 

Having completed week 4 with a new 5RM of 105kg the next 4 weeks % RM loads are calculated from this new PB.

So based on 105kg 5RM the loads for the Back Squat for the second 4 week cycle would be:

Week 5: 4 x 5 reps @ 84kg (80%)

Week 6: 4 x 5 reps @ 94.5kg (90%)

Week 7: 4 x 5 reps @ 99.75kg (95%)

Week 8: 4 x 5 @ 110kg (105%)

 

Now this certainly isn’t the only way to get strong and there are lots of variations to the sets, reps and variations to %RM that you can utilise, but this system has produced consistent strength gains for me as a coach and reported improvements in the athlete’s physical and mental freshness/preparedness for their training after the carefully planned recovery weeks.

Learn more about Periodization and Programme Design with Nick Grantham at his Physical Preparation for Performance & Speed Workshops 21st & 22nd February 2015. Nick will be covering 5 major areas: Programme Design, Core Training Concepts, Metabolic Mayham: A Modern Approach to Energy System Development, the Art & Science of Coaching and Speed, Agility and Change of Direction. For more information & to take advantage of the incredible Early Bird Discount Bundle >>CLICK HERE<<