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Programming

Content specific to exercise protocol and design.

Posted by on in Programming

I don’t speak Italian fluently but with the help of technology I can understand each and every line of The Godfather. Foreign language is unfortunately foreign to me. Different countries speak different languages’ that their respective “tribes” understand. Seth Godin in his book “Tribes” explains that a tribe is a group of people (large or small), who are connected to one anther by an idea, common interest, principal or leader. Strength and Conditioning Coaches, we are a tribe! Our themes, connections and leaders unite us in the strength game. However, one of our biggest problems is this: We don’t speak the same language! No Habla Strength and Conditioning! Travel to France, people speak French, travel to Spain, people speak Spanish, travel to any weight room in the country and coaches simply don’t speak the same language. I can’t tell you how many programs I’ve looked at where I had NO idea what the coach was asking for from his/her athletes. If this is confusing to us, how do you think the athletes feel?

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Program design is a nearly extinct art form based on sound principals and components. It is backed by current science and practical application. It takes years to master through education, mentorship and deliberate practice. A well-educated trainer/coach can defend each and every exercise in their program and explain why it is applicable to their training population(s). One size does not fit all! Weight loss clients train differently than elite athletes. Program design is a GPS system; it guides us through the obstacles taking our clients step by step to their final destinations.

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Either way we choose to look at it, we will all spend money on health.  The question is how we spend it.  It is much wiser to invest in “preventative” measures such as proper diet and exercise as opposed to “reactionary” measures such as disease and injury.  Our nation is fat (2007, 74.1% of Americans were considered obese) and does not move well.  Coupled with this problem is the fact that when many consumers’ are finally ready to exercise they are un-educated as to what constitutes effective/safe protocol.  We are consumed with the “magic pill” mentality of quick fixes.  It is not an easy problem to solve and the Hollywood angle only makes it worse.  Shows like The Biggest Loser and “celebrity” trainers offering professional advice only muddies the waters and makes our jobs that much more difficult. 

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I never thought I’d use the words billiards and strength training in the same article, but the fact is that there is some correlation.  Cuing is a tool used in both professions.  Using the proper cue in pool allows the ball to travel in its destined path with efficiency and ease.  Strength and Conditioning is no different!  Cuing is an art/tool that allows ease, understanding and efficiency in the weight room.  There are two types of cues that reinforce proper motor programming, verbal and physical.  Combined, these cues build technical proficiency without “over coaching” and confusing athletes by speaking a different language.  The key to cuing is SIMPLICITY.  Below are several of my favorite verbal and physical cues.  Some are original; many are “borrowed” from well-respected coaches in the industry.

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Posted by on in Programming

As coaches we demand a lot from our athletes.  Attention to detail, technical proficiency and a solid effort each and every session.  We also expect our athletes/clients to represent themselves positively away from the weight room; making good choices like wearing their seat belts, drinking plenty of water, flossing, and performing well in the classroom (Thanks Coach John!).  We are more than just coaches; we are educators, teachers and role models.  How would you feel if any of your athletes broke the law?  I know plenty of Coaches would take it personal!  If we expect this from our athletes, why do so many strength coaches break the law(s)?  No, I don’t mean stealing or wearing seatbelts; I’m referring to the Laws of basic biomechanics, Newton’s laws.  

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