Mimo…this is for you so stop complaining but…

…first things first.
ian said…

Will,
Did I hear you say “functional stretch”?
Yes, but ‘functional’ isn’t a dirty word…no matter what Eric says…I actually have a copy of Eric’s new book and plan to read it this weekend…I so hope that it’s crap because I haven’t really had a chance to bag anything for a while.

During the screening process I assume you will have a battery of static and dynamic tests you could use to supplement the visual cues that help to diagnose strengths, weaknesses, mobility etc
Yes, I do.

…if an athlete has pain where do you draw the line between continuing to tweak the training to relieve/resolve the pain and referring out to a physiotherapist?
Thankfully I work with some excellent physiotherapists…have so close a working relationship that I actually train some. That makes things easy for me. I’ve been working for long enough that I know where the line is.

Over the last few years it seems that there is a push to extend the skills of a strength and conditioning coach from purely getting the athletes conditioned for their sport…to also provide rehab programming to overcome soft tissue injuries. I thought it would be interesting to read your take on this.
Yeah…this goes both ways…and it is no good for anyone. Have a look at the curriculum for any physiotherapy course and tell me if you want any of them training you? I’ve had some amazing conversations with physiotherapists over the years where I have stood there speechless while they tried to tell me how to do my job…same as doctors as well….they are even funnier…clueless.

PS. I like the unedited version of the video.
It just too damned long to upload is all.

garrett said…

2. I am ALWAYS looking at achieving just one goal…physical harmony…does that sound ghey…well too bad…it’s true. I’m always looking to balance people out firstly then secondly to raise all these levels at the same time. Does that make sense? I don’t want athletes that can bench 150kgs, squat 100kgs and only do 2 pull ups…and I’ve seen these.

Will apart from lads who just like benching or bicep curls are the imbalances you commonly see in people a result of their training, their chosen sport or injuries they’ve picked along the way or all of the above.
All of the above but a large part of it is due to the fact that we have pretty much engineered physical activity out of our lives…too many people spend the majority of their time sitting on their hole. This leads to a lot of problems.

So anyway…Mimo has been email stalking me so I thought I would put up a Pre Session Session…that isn’t a typo…this was a session that a small group of lads did before we did our main session.

Basically it goes like this…as you can see in the video below I’ve laid out a 10m section then 5m, then 10m and 5m and 10m, 5m and 10m.

So we warm up…jog 10m, lunge 5m for the length and jog back, do the same thing with sumo’s, then hamstring walks, then quad walks, then leg swings etc etc.

The first drill was this one.

This is hopeless but better than nothing

I got an email with some good questions about what I do with athletes and clients that come for me the first time and how I program for them. So I want to try and explain a bit about that.

1. I do do a fair bit of ‘screening’ with athletes and clients but do it on an ‘as needs be’ basis. I know your next question is going to be how do I decide when it is needed and when it isn’t and my answer to this would be completely useless to you as it is completely subjective. One thing I will tell you is that I look at athletes ALL THE TIME. I’m watching them from the minute they walk in, looking at how they walk, how they hold themselves, how they stand when they are relaxed, watching their form when they exercise looking for compensations and imbalances…I look at everything. They are all constantly being assessed…most of what I see or find I don’t even discuss with them…why not? I’m glad you asked…1. because them knowing doesn’t make any difference and in some cases it’s actually more of a hindrance than a help and 2. because I’m really lazy and can’t be bothered explaining everything endlessly. Instead I just add and alter elements of their program as required.

2. I am ALWAYS looking at achieving just one goal…physical harmony…does that sound ghey…well too bad…it’s true. I’m always looking to balance people out firstly then secondly to raise all these levels at the same time. Does that make sense? I don’t want athletes that can bench 150kgs, squat 100kgs and only do 2 pull ups…and I’ve seen these.

3. The only other thing that I’m looking to do is to make sure that there are no weak links in the chain…and everyone has these…something always has to be the weakest and I always try to be the one who works out what these are before anyone else does.

So that is pretty much what it all boils down to.

So where do I start program wise….well lets use a proper example.

Michael did his first session yesterday…up until then he’s just been tooling around in the gym doing bits and pieces with the other lads. He has very little to no experience weight training but is keen to throw himself into the meet grinder and I’m only too happy to oblige him. So this is what his program looks like:

Session 1 – Squats and Pull Ups/Chins
Warm Up
Lower Body Mobility/Stability Work
Squat Variation – 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Supplementary Hamstring – 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
Core/Trunk Work – TBD
Upper Body Mobility/Stability Work
Pull Ups/Chins Variation – 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Supplementary Chest – 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
Arm Work – 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps

Session 2 – Deadlift and Bench
Warm Up
Lower Body Mobility/Stability Work
Deadlift Variation – 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Supplementary Quad dominant – 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
Core/Trunk Work – TBD
Upper Body Mobility/Stability Work
Horizontal Press Variation – 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps
Supplementary Back – 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps
Arm Work – 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps

That’s what it looks like when I write it initially…the actual exercise selection and the determination of the sets and reps happens later.

He did his first session yesterday and his second session today. What he’s going to do is to do a version of session 1 and 2 on Monday and Tuesday and another variation of session 1 and 2 on Thursday and Friday. We’ll do some conditioning work on Wednesday and Saturday if he’s up to it but at the moment he’s just as weak as piss and we’ll try to fix that up first. He did his testing last Tuesday with everyone else so we’ll see how he gets on when he tests in a couple of months time.

So what does his program look like in reality….well yesterday and today looked like this:

Session 1 – Squats and Pull Ups/Chins
Bike – 10mins
Overs and Unders – 2×8 each side
Hurdle Step – 2×8 each side
Kettlebell Goblet Squats – 5 sets of 12 reps


I thought I better throw an explanation in here…all the vids that I chuck up here are usually done this way. I put the camera down, press record and then edit the clip down later on. I just thought I’d throw this up in it’s entirety so everyone can see how much I love the sound of my own voice.

Bridging – 3×60 seconds
Chest Supported Scap Shrugs – 2×8
Pull Ups – 5 sets of 3 reps
Blast Strap Push Ups – 3 sets of 8 reps
Bicep Curls – 3 sets of 12 reps

Session 2 – Deadlift and Bench
Bike – 10 mins
Reverse Med Ball Lunge Twists – 2×8 each side
Single Leg Hip Pop Ups – 2×8 each side
Trap Bar Deadlift – 2×8 warm up, 5 sets of 3 reps
Single Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 8 reps each side
Ab Pull Downs
YTWL’s – 3 sets of 5 of each as a complex
Incline DB Press – 2×8 warm up, 3 sets of 8 reps
Chest Supported Rows – 5 sets of 8 reps
Lying Tricep Extensions – 3 sets of 12 reps

Before someone points out that the sets and reps aren’t exactly what I prescribed in the template originally…yes…I know that.

So I think that is me all blogged out till Monday so you can put the internet away and go out and do some training or have a beer.

Just to balance out my negativity

Here a session that two of the girls did today.

Row:
10x150m followed by 20, 40, 60, 40, 20, 40, 60, 40, 20 and 60 second recoveries respectively.


Everyone rows whether they like it (which I don’t think anyone does) or not (I think that’s everyone)

Straight & Lateral Leg Swings – 2 sets of 8 of each on each side.
Single Leg Hip Pop Ups – 2 sets of 8 on each side.
1A Elevated Split Squats – 5 sets of 5 on each side.
1B Reactive Box Jumps – 5 sets of 3 reps.
Med Ball Wall Touches – 3×20.
2A Push Ups – 5 sets of 10 reps.
2B Med Ball Tosses – 5 sets of 5 reps.


3A Inverted Rows – 5 sets of 5 reps.
3B Med Ball Slams – 5 sets of 5 reps.

Natural Reverse Hypers – 3 sets 12 reps.
The the row all over again with all the intervals between 30-35 seconds.

Fitzer however managed to do the last 3 of this last row all under 30 seconds…hence I owe her a pint.

Long time coming

I haven’t had a little rant for a while….so I’ll make this a quick lunch break rant.

Ian said this in response to something I’d posted:

Yep – I’m over the week after next.

What’s with Irish coaches not visiting you in Dublin Will? It reminds me of the comments Alwyn Cosgrove has made about his staff attending presentations in Santa Clarita, CA, where he is based, with no attendance by his competition. I’m not even a coach or trainer but I figure spending time in the company of someone with 20 years coaching experience will advance my training.

I just have to say this because it is one of those things that cracks me up both in my day to day working life and on the internet.

Strength and Conditioning, Sports Training, Physical Fitness, Team Training…everyone thinks they have all the answers…they not only think that they understand the ‘area’ the funniest bit is that they think they are good at it….when any actual analysis of the results of their work would have you realise that they are obviously suffering a psychotic break. I’m talking about sports trainers, coaches, personal trainers, athletes as well as recreational gym goers….hell you can lump in sports fans and sports administrators as well. The majority of these people are so deluded that they are beyond help. I could give you thousands of examples because I collect 10 new examples every single day. I just realised I could go on about this subject for days…I won’t inflict that on you though…let me be really specific here and deal with Ian’s post and the reference to Alwyn’s statement. I visit A LOT of gyms and I go to A LOT of training courses and seminars. I go to them here in Ireland as well as overseas. I consult with A LOT of other coaches…the reason I do this is because 1. I know what I’m good at. 2. More importantly I know what I’m not good at. 3. I realise that the majority of people in the industry don’t do these things and that the majority of the people in the industry are completely idiotic hence doing the opposite of everyone else it must be the right and best thing to do.

I was trying to explain to a 20 year old athlete the other day who was contradicting me and giving me the benefit of his years of experience in training with regard to one of his fellow athletes….I basically explained the following:

1. I get paid to do my job…he doesn’t even have a job.
2. As an athlete I coached myself to an elite level and competed internationally…he hasn’t.
3. As a coach I’ve gotten A LOT of athletes to elite level and to international competition in A LOT of different sports in A LOT of different countries…he hasn’t.
4. He’s been actually training seriously for just over 2 years…the total size of his data pool with regard to training experience is just that…I have just over 200 athletes that I currently train…it’s been as high as 380 and hasn’t been less that 100 over the past 10 years…so even if we were to be ultra conservative and to completely ignore the 10 years prior to that our respective data pools of experience are currently 2 years versus 1000+ years….and that he should spend more time trying to catch up.
5. I tried to explain that he’s an idiot because like most people he thinks what has worked for him will work for everyone and that this was the single biggest mistake that all sports trainers, coaches, personal trainers, athletes, recreational gym goers, sports fans and sports administrators make so that while he was an idiot he certainly was not alone there…that all these people like him believe sports performance comes down to a formula…that 1+1= Results or a recipe and that is just a matter of adding the ingredients…these are the same morons that do Arnold’s program because they want to be huge, that follow Lance Armstrong’s training program and think that they’ll win Le Tour…it’s just idiotic.
6. His eyes were welling up at this stage so I thought…I’ve gone this far…I might as well finish him off.
7. I was explaining that although I did maths at school, that I read The Economist, can read the Irish Tax Legislation and use a calculator that I get an accountant to do my taxes for me…I pay a professional to do the job. I don’t ask for advice from friends, I don’t get some guy in the newsagents who also reads The Economist to do them for me because that would be stupid.

If you don’t GET what I’m getting at…you my friend are a part of the majority and it is likely to stay that way.

More on the testing

I want to say well done to a few people in no particular order:

Firstly…well done to Mark ‘Sextoy’ Sexton…when he started training in the gym this year he was a hideous fat mess…he was wider across the arse than across the shoulders…he was basically a fat cow.

When he last did his rowing test back on the 26th of June he did the following:
182m, 169m, 156m, 141m, 130m, 138m for a 916m total.

Yesterday he went:
182m, 179m, 165m, 156m, 161m, 158m for a 1001m total.

He pretty much hit all his targets on all the rest of his testing…I also want to say well to Fanj who tested after Sextoy and preceded to beat all Sextoy’s results by whatever the bare minimum was to once again show every one just what sort of guy he is….unfortunately though for Fanj when I put all the results into the spreadsheet to work out the bodyweight relative scores Sextoy beat him in everything.

I also want to say well done to Paddington who after a 3 year taper managed to prove that age and clinical obesity are no impediment to outstanding sports performance.

Paddington is all over these Pull Ups previously in training…and yes…he did ask if he could use the band in testing.

I have to quickly go and do some more work but will do a bigger update this evening.

Testing Day

Yesterday afternoon and evening was a testing day

There were a lot of Personal Best performances and a fair few surprises…particularly for me.

I have to finish collating all the data but will update this post to make a few honourable mentions.

It was good to see a a few 20+ pull ups, 70+ push ups, 40+ inverted rows scores….never seen so many on a single testing day. So more to follow on this.

I saw this in today’s Irish Independent


Leo Cullen lifts team-mate Brian O’Driscoll during Leinster rugby squad training yesterday

It looked so familiar….


This was from the 22nd of July

This is from yesterday the 23rd of September

But as I’ve said before…I really love that so many people think I’m wrong or that my ideas are rubbish….because if all the idiotic and moronic strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers out there agreed with me I’d have to throw myself off a power rack onto a plate tree and die a horrible and unsightly death. So here’s to me always being wrong and continuing to get great results.