Labcoating

I thought I would create a place for general questions. Stuff that isn’t specific to any particular blog post but that you may have been wondering about. I thought this would be a good place to chuck around stuff in a bit more detail. Not neccessarily as a place to have in depth discussion but a good place to get quick answers whether they be the answer you were looking for or just a place to get pointed in the right direction.

90 thoughts on “Labcoating

  1. Hi Will,

    Trying to improve the number of pull-ups I can do. Are there any other exercises (besides pull-ups and assisted pull-ups) to help improve this?

    Thanks,

    Bart

  2. Will,

    In the “Questions, Questions, Quesitons” blog post I asked about making progress in strength during times of dieting. You said you would write up your “bit” then I could ask more questions if I need.

    Were you able to do that?

    I know you said you will have more time for blogging in February when things slow down for you. I can wait till then. Just wondering.

    Thank you.

  3. Drew,
    That is still sitting in my ‘To-Do List’ with the little red flag still staring me in the face telling me that it is overdue.

    In short you can most definitely make strength gains while dieting…a lot of people don’t make strength gains while dieting not because of the dieting itself but because of the method you are using. It is certainly possible to create a calorie deficit without losing significant amounts of lean muscle mass and without impacting your recovery to significantly.

  4. No problem, thanks for the shortened version.

    Well done getting this whole blog/website sorted out so quickly. The new format is great, much more user-friendly.

    I like this labcoat section, however, you may come to regret it. I’ll do my best not to annoy you with too many questions. Actually, considering it is YOUR blog, I might do my best TO annoy you.

  5. Just so you know that posting here isn’t a waste of time…I’ve been in contact with Bart and I am dragging him into the gym and we are going to work out how to fix his pull ups and we’ll film it and I’ll write a post detailing how we are going about it.

    He asked me in his email to not make him look like an idiot…what do you guys think the chances of that are?

    So anyway…that’s how it works…if you have a question I’ll not just tell you the answer I show you it.

  6. If someone (ME) was doing under and overs and could do the over portion well but sucked at the under portion, what would you recommend beyond doing more under and overs?

  7. stretch your foot further over on the other side of the bar going under . This puts your hips lowern and makes it easier to get under for me anyway.

  8. Will,

    I’m looking to improve my “general conditioning” (whatever the fuck that means). I’m a washed-up athlete who ocassionaly plays basketball and in the summer, football.

    I have access to a Concept2 and a stationary bike, and would like to incorporate some conditioning on my training days after lifting (currently on a 4-day split)

    I’m just not really sure where to start or how to progress myself.

  9. Barry said
    How about that neck strengthening post? Or will you cover it next weekend at the seminar?
    With your striking good looks and sultry eyes I think you’d make a perfect model…so I’ll take you through them on Tuesday when you train and film it all then.

  10. Coach, given adequate strength levels, how possible is it to develop RFD and reactive ability while also working on conditioning and performing endurance-oriented activities (cardio, soccer, MMA, etc)?

    Is there anything that can be done to keep those fast-twitch fiber from ‘suffering’? I understand achieving maximum explosiveness while doing lots of endurance activities are two things at complete opposite sides of the spectrum.

  11. VV said
    Coach,
    That’s really an American thing. I don’t mind people calling me coach…feel free to use my name though. Whether someone calls me Will or Coach I know whether they are doing so respectfully or not.

    given adequate strength levels, how possible is it to develop RFD and reactive ability while also working on conditioning and performing endurance-oriented activities (cardio, soccer, MMA, etc)?
    I think it is a lot easier than people make it out to be. It is good that you asked this question because it’ll be a good reminder for me to deal with it. I’ll do something on it for you tomorrow and post it up. There’s no reason you can’t be ‘fit’ and ‘explosive’.

    Is there anything that can be done to keep those fast-twitch fiber from ’suffering’? I understand achieving maximum explosiveness while doing lots of endurance activities are two things at complete opposite sides of the spectrum.
    I know what you are saying…and I know why you are saying it. I’ll leave this for now and cover it tomorrow for you…suffice to say I don’t think it is an either or thing…that you are either an endurance athlete or a power athlete. For me these two elements are on a spectrum…it’s just a matter of making sure you get your athletes on the right part of the spectrum to ensure optimal performance.

  12. VV said
    Nice. Looking forward to it.
    Mate I got Barry’s sessions mixed up. The session I want to show you and talk about will be done on Thursday so I will get onto this question on Thursday.

  13. Lyle/Will,

    I am looking for some information regarding sports/recovery drinks. What recovery drinks did you recommed to players post game/gym sessions. Also what players should take pre and during training/game.

    Thanks

    AL

  14. Al

    I’m not sure if will wants responses to questions here. If he wants, I can do a guest blog piece or something addressing it. Or make the seminar since I can babble about post workout nutrition for hours (my Protein book has a 35 page chapter on around workout nutrition).

    Lyle

  15. AL said
    Lyle/Will,
    I am looking for some information regarding sports/recovery drinks. What recovery drinks did you recommed to players post game/gym sessions. Also what players should take pre and during training/game.The sport is GAA Gaelic Football.

    Lyle said
    Al
    I’m not sure if will wants responses to questions here.
    I’ll make a post for this question because it gets asked a lot.

    If he wants, I can do a guest blog piece or something addressing it.
    That would be a great idea. Send it to me when you have it and I’ll post it up.

    Or make the seminar since I can babble about post workout nutrition for hours (my Protein book has a 35 page chapter on around workout nutrition).
    I’m looking forward to seeing if you can put me to sleep in person as fast as your books do.

  16. Lyle/Will,

    Thanks for the reply.
    I hope to attend the seminar in April. In the meantime Lyle If you could do a piece on the above that would be great. The team are due to play in important competition in 5 weeks.

    Regards,
    Al

  17. COACH

    i noticed at the seminar that you test your 1rm for horizontal pushing (bench) but not for horizontal pulling, i’m not including inverted rows because that was more of a test of muscular endurance, or would you consider the trap bar deadlift to feed into the strength of ones horizontal pulling. I am just wondering do you ever test the 1RM for horizontal pulling? mainly because i am sitting here with my ntl cut off and i dont have any american sitcoms to drown out my thoughts

    yours sincerily

    Erico

  18. I’m not Will but I will add my opinion: I’ve never found it particulary practical to test a 1RM for most pulling movements (deads are an exception, I’m talking about rows and such), form goes to hell in a handbasket and it doesn’t tell you anything.

    Oh yeah, and Will can delete this or whatever but, realistically, Al, I wo’nt get anything typed up about around workout nutrition in time for you to need it, too much else to do and I’m perpetually lazy. Email me at: lylemcdonald23@gmail.com and I”ll send you some stuff I already have written up.

    Lyle

  19. Coaches (Lyle/Will)

    thanks for your answer, what you say makes sense, I was just wondering about back strength and people’s obsession with anterior based weightlifting, now I know yourself and will wouldn’t fall into such a category.

    I had one of my final practical tests today where I was asked to write out a resistance programme for a triathlete, my “triathlete” was just another member of my class and when I was doing some tests on him I noticed how kyphotic(if that’s a word) his upper back was. I did the programme but whenever the supervisor wasn’t looking I was trying to test yer man and see how his back strength was, then I tried to hint that he should be doing such and such.

    He then had to write out a programme for me, I was to be a “total beginner” I was given the following:

    warm up 5mins on the crosstrainer
    pre stretch for my chest, back and triceps
    resistance: do some leg extensions, some leg curls, chest press, bicep curls and then some hammer curls
    then a 5 min walk on the treadmill

    This man will soon be instructing in a gym near you!!!

    • Chicks dig the pecs and guns, everybody knows that. Frankly, I’m more concerned that he had any leg work at all since that just takes time and energy away from the important muscles which are the pecs and guns.

      Can’t see the back and most people can’t train it worth a shit anyhow, so everybody just ignores it. It keeps rehab types in food money, there are always more shoulder problems to fix.

    • One comment about tri-geeks. Some of the upper back rounding may be as much neural as muscular. The position that you have to maintain on aero-bars teaches the body to go to that position and a lot of it is neurological and learned (some of it, of course, is changes in length/tension relationships and connective tissue stuff). Then again, fixing posture has a huge neural component as well.

      But, as an example, I’m far stronger in pulling then pressing (inasmuch as I have any upper body strength at all right now). If you saw me stand in ‘normal’ posture, you’d think I had a massive imbalance since I tend to show a typical internally rotated kyphotic posture.

      But if you saw me lift (e.g. RDL or deadlift), I can achieve a perfect upper back position. But I’m just awesome that way.

      So in my specific case, it’s just a learned thing from the completely fucked position I maintain in speed skating. When I’m done skating, there will be an awful lot of amusing rehab type stuff to fix this assuming I want to do any normal sport.

      Lyle

      • i can see what you mean about tri geeks and that cycling position, i would imagine the ironman racers suffer from it, as well as madness that it, this guy though was just a regular guy and the scenario was he was a tri athlete, he just likes to train what are now know as “KYLE’s Important muscles” da Pecs and Gunz 😉

  20. Will, I meant to post this question here for you after asking Lyle but a few friends showed up at my place with a bottle of whiskey, and well, I forget.

    This deals with the video of you explaining the strength targets for your athlete.

    I’m not a competitive athlete, rather a recreational one who is looking for a nice mix of strength and conditioning and trains as such.

    Would you use the same strength targets you use as a benchmark for your athletes for a general trainee (myself) looking for a mix of raw strength and conditioning/fitness? Or, would they be scaled back some?

    Thank you.

    • Drew said
      Will, I meant to post this question here for you after asking Lyle but a few friends showed up at my place with a bottle of whiskey, and well, I forget.
      These things happen.

      This deals with the video of you explaining the strength targets for your athlete.
      An excellent piece of cinematic work…can’t believe I didn’t get an Oscar for the best foreign fitness video.

      I’m not a competitive athlete, rather a recreational one who is looking for a nice mix of strength and conditioning and trains as such.
      It’s all about balance. It sounds like you’re on the right track.

      Would you use the same strength targets you use as a benchmark for your athletes for a general trainee (myself) looking for a mix of raw strength and conditioning/fitness?
      No.

      Or, would they be scaled back some?
      Absolutely. Can you squat or deadlift your bodyweight? Can you bench press 75% of your bodyweight? Can you do 25 push ups and 15 inverted rows in 60 seconds? That would be a good start. Can you do 4-6 pull ups? I think the ratios that I use are about right. Have you tried to do the tests? How did you get on?

      • Honestly, I prefer your video responses to the written ones. I think you should continue in this way.

        I have not done the tests yet but I will at the end of my current training cycle. I have met or am a bit over those standards you just listed. So atleast I’m off to a good start.

        Thanks.

        Drew

  21. Drew said
    Honestly, I prefer your video responses to the written ones. I think you should continue in this way.
    I think someone might have a little crush on me…that’s so cute.

    I have not done the tests yet but I will at the end of my current training cycle. I have met or am a bit over those standards you just listed.
    So…don’t keep us in suspense. Make some predictions based on your current efforts. What standards have you already hit? Which are you furthest away from?

    So atleast I’m off to a good start.
    Lets see how you get on when you test…you should film it and send it to me or post it so we can be the judge of what sort of start you are off to.

    • Dont flatter yourself.

      Well, my predications are that I am weak as shit for my size and should be moving more weight. More specifically, if I were to test next week I think I could pull, 250lbs DL(barbell), 225 bench, 7 pullups, 20 inverted rows, 40 pushups.

      Fuck, since you called me out, I want to test. Do you think I should stop my cycle, test, then re-evaluate?

      • Drew said
        Dont flatter yourself.
        No point playing hard to get now.

        Well, my predications are that I am weak as shit for my size and should be moving more weight.
        That’s the same for everyone. Doesn’t matter how far you get you always want to do more.

        More specifically, if I were to test next week I think I could pull, 250lbs DL(barbell), 225 bench, 7 pullups, 20 inverted rows, 40 pushups.
        What do you weigh? The push ups and inverted rows seem pretty balanced.

        Fuck, since you called me out, I want to test. Do you think I should stop my cycle, test, then re-evaluate?
        No. Just finish what you are up to and then test and lets see where you are at.

      • yeah those numbers mean shit without my wieght. 200lbs as of this morning.

        On Tuesday I am starting my deload week (I lift on Tue,Thurs,Sat,Sun). I am assuming I should test sometime at the end of this week. Any suggestions when?

  22. Hi Will,

    Thank you for responding to my request regarding the Fitness Testing of the Under 15s/18s. I liked the test you mentioned, the Spider Test, but do you have an article about the spider test or any more information about it so I can acquire more knowledge concerning this test.

    After I test the players using this Spider Test, would you have any conditioning program that will prepare them in order to get them fit? I am asking you this as I have yet to have the complete knowledge in fitness and would like your expertise on drills to condition them.

    In your Materials section, when I access for example Speed, Agility and Fitness Testing and Assessment it is password protected, do I have to register in order to access these pages? Is there any reason why this page is password protected?

    Lastly, about warm-ups, I need information concerning warming up the team for a typical training session. I need information regarding the dynamic and static stretching for Rugby League or cool-down activities. Is it possible for you to record a video of how you warm up your team?

    Thanks

    • Moey said
      Hi Will,

      Thank you for responding to my request regarding the Fitness Testing of the Under 15s/18s.
      That’s how we roll here.

      I liked the test you mentioned, the Spider Test, but do you have an article about the spider test or any more information about it so I can acquire more knowledge concerning this test.
      Do you have a computer jack that you can insert into your head and I will download all the information directly into your brain.

      You will have to have a search around. I know there is data out there as I was reading a study a little while back that has used the test and have seen it a fair few times before that.

      After I test the players using this Spider Test, would you have any conditioning program that will prepare them in order to get them fit?
      Do you want me to come and coach them for you as well?

      I am asking you this as I have yet to have the complete knowledge in fitness and would like your expertise on drills to condition them.
      Do your testing and let us see the results and we’ll take it from there.

      In your Materials section, when I access for example Speed, Agility and Fitness Testing and Assessment it is password protected, do I have to register in order to access these pages? Is there any reason why this page is password protected?
      This is true. The only people who have access to all that stuff are people who have attended my seminars.

      Lastly, about warm-ups, I need information concerning warming up the team for a typical training session. I need information regarding the dynamic and static stretching for Rugby League or cool-down activities. Is it possible for you to record a video of how you warm up your team?
      Sure. No problem. I’ll do that this week.

      Thanks

      • Thanks for answering my question with your sense of humor. I’m looking forward to your warm-up video

  23. Drew said
    yeah those numbers mean shit without my wieght. 200lbs as of this morning.
    That’s better…I was hoping that you weren’t going to say 400lbs.

    On Tuesday I am starting my deload week (I lift on Tue,Thurs,Sat,Sun). I am assuming I should test sometime at the end of this week. Any suggestions when?
    Then test on Tuesday then.

    • Ok will do.

      Do you have any suggestions on how to set up the push up and inverted rowing tests without having another person assiting, ie. the timing, repcount etc.

      • Push Ups are easy…just put d stopwatch under your face. I’d get a tennis ball to put under your sternum and count the touches. Inverted Rows are a little more difficult…you really should try to find someone to help you out with this.

      • A few final questions about the testing.

        What excersise order do you use in the testing?

        How long do you let the athletes rest between each excersise?

        I just want to mimic the test as close as possible to what you do.

        By the way, if this is answered somewhere on the blog feel free to tell me so and call me an idiot.

  24. Drew said
    A few final questions about the testing.
    What excersise order do you use in the testing?
    We always do it in the same order…Bench, Pull Ups, Push Ups, Inverted Rows, TrapBar Deadlift and then the Rowing Test.

    How long do you let the athletes rest between each excersise?
    As long as is necessary…but not more than an hour.

    I just want to mimic the test as close as possible to what you do.

    By the way, if this is answered somewhere on the blog feel free to tell me so and call me an idiot.
    It is and you are.

  25. Will,

    Great blog. Don’t know how I stumbled across it but never-the-less I have enjoyed having a good look through.

    I am strength and conditioning coach based out here in Maynooth. Kildare.

    How are you fixed to meet up for a coffee to discuss methods the week after next?

    It would be great to meet a fellow S and C coach in this area and open the tool box!

    Look forward to hearing from you

    John Laek

  26. Hi Will
    Realising your busy and all i was wondering if i could post an outline of my next cycle of training for myself to get your views/critique/abuse on it. So to save you issues and having done your basic tests i am wondering what other info you would need (beyond long term goals) so i am not totally wasting your time. The program is basically focused on getting me strong in my chosen lifts, healthy and leaving me ready for most team sports (but only as a mmaintence thing). The easy way would be to just cut and paste the stuff we talked about in i think that large post on testing.
    Thanks as always for your time and i look forward to the day informed performance gyms are found all across the globe.

    • Just put it down in an email and send it to me and I will post what you send along with my thoughts on it. I am working all day so I’ll be looking for a distraction at some stage today or tomorrow.

  27. Also while i am here have you by chance read or looked at any of michael tuchscherer’s manual it seems like the use of RPE would fit in really well with the latest rant blog about not using percentages and is something i am going to be experimenting with and becoming more aware off so my form doesn’t fall to shit.

  28. What’s the easiest, most convenient way to get to Dublin, coming from London?

    If possible, with same day arrival and departure. Ryanair, maybe?

  29. Hey Will. Fantastic blog. Hoping you could help me out with something I’ve seen a lot of conflicting information about.

    How much interval training or other work capacity stuff is appropriate when trying to gain strength? I’ve got zero interest in gaining mass for its own sake, but I’m very interested in getting stronger relative to my size. If that means getting a little bigger, then okay. My sport is soccer/basketball/lacrosse-style in that it requires quick bursts at high intensity interspersed with short recovery periods. How much can this capacity be trained while working on strength/speed/quickness, that is, very-high-intensity, long-recovery work?

    Thanks

  30. Hi Will,

    Would be interested to hear your opinion on this article:

    “Using full acceleration and velocity-dependant exercises to
    enhance power training” by Dan Baker (Brisbane Broncos) it is linked from his website at http://www.danbakerstrength.com/?p=32

    http://www.chost6.com/~danbaker/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/using_full_acceleration_and_velocity.pdf

    Basic points I got out of it:

    – Low level athletes should build strength/stability basis, though he defines this as “have attained a reasonable strength base, a training age of >
    1 year and who are > 15-16 years of age.”

    This is probably earlier than most would advocate, though he later states “After adequate or base levels of body/limb/joint control and stability and then general strength have been established in an athlete, they may seek to embrace power-training methods (Baker and Newton, 2005).” This I’d probably agree more with, not sure if this is likely to be attained within a year or so with a 15-16 year old in a team field sport though.

    – Power is developed through “full acceleration” which involves accelerating through full range of motion generally with release/take off, examples given were “such as a bench throw or jump squat in a Smith machine, see Photos 1-2, medicine ball throws, power pushups, power cleans
    and all the olympic lift variations etc.” I’m not sure I follow with power cleans, as the preparation for the catch somewhat prevents acceleration through full ROM, compared to releasing barbell/medicine ball or jumping.

    – Progression suggested seemed to be from (Full detail on page 6):

    Jumps/Med Ball Throws to loaded bench throws/squat jumps and simple olympic lifts to complex olympic lifts.

    – Resistance doesn’t really matter so much as peak/high power (assumedly given this is above threshold level for improvements) can be achieved at many loads, example given was similar power output for cleans at 30% vs 50-70%. He summarised this as “power cleans result in high power outputs across a wide spectrum of resistances, if technique and velocity are maintained. Technique and velocity before resistance should be the motto.”

    – Similarly for ballistic exercises (throws/jumps) technical and velocity decrements are monitored, and load is defined by these parameters.

    – For bench throws/jump squats, load was set at 50% of load of strength exercises that week, “if the athlete was using 70% 1RM for full squats for their strengthtraining
    portion of their program, then the power-training portion would use 35%
    1RM for jump squats.” This is suggested to ensure the athlete can always handle the load for the power exercises, as it will always be relatively small compared to the CURRENT load for the strength exercises, i.e. using 60% for jump squats when using 70% for normal squats would be difficult to accomplish.

    – Sets limited to 5-6 reps, often kept at 2-3 reps for higher load exercises (jump squats/cleans/bench throws at 45-55% or more in the case of cleans). Again velocity/technique the concern not volume. Ballistic exercises with lighter loads could go out to 8-10 reps, I guess you could more easily pause between throws/jumps than jump squats or bench throws so this certainly seemed logical.

    – Rest period comments were interesting, especially since the author has a very strong background in scientific measurement and application of power training. He suggested:

    “I have found that a 1.5 minute turnaround between sets is adequate, if the above
    repetition recommendations are adhered to. For example, an athlete doing 3
    reps on a bench throw with 50% 1RM can start a new set every 1.5 minutes, with
    no decrement in power output. Three reps on power training exercises takes
    less than 5 seconds, meaning a work: rest ratio of about 1:15 ~ cercertainly a long
    recovery ratio.”

    Obviously the usual recommendation is 5+ minutes so 90 seconds is a fair departure from the standard. He pointed out that for reasonable volume these rests would give 9-12 sets/hour which would result in very long workouts at times.

    All in all I thought this was a very logical and practical article, would be interested to hear your thoughts.

  31. Will,

    many coaches teach to (almost) always keep your shoulder blades back and down. I think Pavel calles this a “packed shoulder”. Now Mark Rippetoe recomments what he calls an “active shoulder” in the overhead press by which he means to raise your shoulders / shrug.

    To me personally the packed shoulder feels better, more natural and more stable. But maybe that’s a matter of practice?

    What do you teach your athletes?

    • Matt said
      Will,
      many coaches teach to (almost) always keep your shoulder blades back and down. I think Pavel calles this a “packed shoulder”. Now Mark Rippetoe recomments what he calls an “active shoulder” in the overhead press by which he means to raise your shoulders / shrug.
      I actually coach both…and do so for different reasons. I coach that ‘packed shoulder’ for military press testing…and heavy pressing…fixing the scapula leads to bigger numbers…this is actually a pretty important subject…not important compared to curing cancer but I think the whole shoulder control and stability is something that people…
      1. They just rate it or just don’t think is important.
      2. That everyone thinks they are fine and that they have it under control…until they test and fail miserably.
      3. They just don’t understand the link between the simple lack of shoulder control and stability and their upper body lifting performance.
      We also do work with what you’ve called an ‘active shoulder’. We do inverted shrugs as a warm up and shoulder stability/mobility drill and will often do supplementary barbell and dumbbell shoulder pressing along with snatch grip inverted shrugs with an ‘active shoulder’. Does that answer your question?

  32. Some good posts lately and i have had a thought recently that i was hoping to get your feedback on

    We know that you like testing and assessing your athletes, with strength tests and the spider test and many more. My question is do you have a set of tests for whether they have enough mobility, flexibility, correct movement patterns and other such ideas that focus on keeping the athlete healthy. You could easily think of a huge battery load of these, but i would believe that there would overlap between them.

    Therefore i am wondering if you might give some short lists such as most used, most failed and those that tell you the most (about the atheletes condition) in the least time.

    Thanks as always for your time

    • Adrienl said
      Some good posts lately and i have had a thought recently that i was hoping to get your feedback on

      We know that you like testing and assessing your athletes, with strength tests and the spider test and many more. My question is do you have a set of tests for whether they have enough mobility, flexibility, correct movement patterns and other such ideas that focus on keeping the athlete healthy.
      In short…no. There are things I do but I do them when I am looking for something in particular.

      You could easily think of a huge battery load of these, but i would believe that there would overlap between them.

      Therefore i am wondering if you might give some short lists such as most used, most failed and those that tell you the most (about the atheletes condition) in the least time.
      This is one of those ‘coaching’ things….with experience you get to know what you are looking at…you get to know when you are looking at weakness, imbalances or lack of mobility and flexibility.

      I know that isn’t the answer you were looking for.

      Thanks as always for your time
      No problem.

      • Actually that was the answer i started expecting. Its pretty easy to see what you mean by looking at the oh squat. If they don’t hit full depth you just ask why and can pretty quickly see where something is tight or loose or what not.
        Thanks for helping to confirm my vague suscpisions

  33. Hi Will – ab pulldowns – got any technique cues for these?

    When I’ve tried to do these previously they’ve become a hip flexor exercise and I’m putting this down to too much weight and/or poor technique – cheers.

      • For cable pulldown movmeents, most people end up keeping their back flat and just hinging at the hips, it lets them use more weight but doesn’t do jack for the abs.

        the key of course is to focus on getting good extension/flexion at the spine since that’s what the abs do. I cue people to focus on getting a nice arch at the top (chest high, tight arch in the low back) and then curl forwards, imagine you have a steel rod running crossways through your body at about belly button level and rotate around it.

        I’ve also simply stuck my arm in at about that level and told them to curl around the arm. Alternated with arching at the top of the movement. That usually gets it done since it gets them in the mindset of spinal flexion/extension rather than hip flexion/extension.

        You won’t be able to use nearly as much weight but you will feel it far more in the abs.

        Lyle

    • Is it not a hip flexor exercise if you move from the hip or a rectus dominant movement if you flex the trunk. Surely there is a carryover from the hip flexor version in the bracing position and therefore they are both valid as ab training… of course Lyle clearly like a good burn on the abs. Would the abs braced way of performing not enhance lumbar stability?

      • Maybe we should first define what the goal actually is? Is it training the abs isometrically or dynamically? What about the hip flexors?

        IME, most use cable ab work to train the abs dynamically in which case I stand by how I teach it.

        If your goal is different, so will your technique be. – Yoda

        Lyle

  34. Will, can you give me a quick rundown on the role of the erector spinae within the whole posterior chain? Is there a way to assess its strength or development?

    Thanks.

  35. Hi Will,

    Long time reader, love the blog. No idea why though.

    How do you handle rugby players training who need to add size while maintaining or improving conditioning levels? Is it as simple as pounding down food, or do you manipulate training as well?

    Kelvin G

  36. HI Will,

    Just watched some of your stuff about functional screening, you showed the OHS just wondering do you feel this alone is the one to be used or do you prefer the 7 tests used by Gray Cook? How do you go about it when you find compensations and coaching tips don’t rectify the issue? Stretching and Strengthening exercises?
    It was interesting to hear you talk about the screen and the way you use it with your athletes, Do you reckon young players should be screened or do you think that it should only happen if they display obvious problems in their movements on the field etc?

    Thanks

    Greg

  37. Hi will,
    I know you have worked(not sure if you still do) a lot in the rugby side of strength and conditioning I was wondering if you could point me towards some good resources for info on rugby strength and conditioning(books/coaches/blogs).

    Cheers

    J

    • Mate I can’t actually think of any in the strength and conditioning field. I don’t really looks at any websites or blogs in the rugby sphere. The best thing to do as always would be to go and do a coaching course with you national union. 1. You will get access to their resources. 2. You will meet other people in the same boat as you and be able to get info from them. 3. It is the best way to build up a network with experienced coaches who work in the field you are interested in.

      • Ok mate, cheers for the advice, I’m doing an upcoming rfu course, and working my way through the stuff irb has online, so hopefully they will be useful. I’ve read most of the stuff you’ve put up and find it very useful so thanks. How do you program pure acceleration work as in actualy doing 10s 20s etc. I put them first on a leg/weights day as to allow maximum rest between legs based days, and you often say that you dont think conditioning affects gym work but how much does pure acceleration work affect gym work, I still see strength increasing at the same time as speed but dont know if I’m hindering the progress of both by doing it that way. sorry to bug you with another question mate.

      • 1. No problem re the advice. I like talking about training so ask away. 2. Good work re doing the RFU course…that’s a great idea. 3. Reading my stuff…I’m not sure how much good that’ll do you but hopefully it passed some time. 4. With regard to programming…it’s very hard to give absolutes and ‘it depends’ is a shit answer. The thing is you really have to look at each element while considering the whole. 3 sprint sessions in a week is fine…the same 3 sprint sessions in a day is not fine. The example you’ve given would lead me to ask a few questions….’I put them first on a leg/weights day as to allow maximum rest between legs based days’ a) how many leg days are there in a week? b) what does the rest of the program look like? c) are we talking about an experienced or novice athlete? d) is this being implemented with an individual or a team? 5. If you are seeing progress….that is a good thing…people/coaches look for too much with regards returns…don’t be too greedy.

        I know I’ve just answered your questions with more questions but that’s just how I roll 🙂

      • Thanks mate I’m also tempted by the uksca courses but it gets mixed reviews so not sure. You’d be surprised between the drunken rants and lapses in posting its a quality source of info.
        (just to clarify I’m not talking from a hugely experienced standpoint, I’m just starting out, getting some more performance orientated clients, will be working with a few local clubs in the summer and will hopefully be doing an internship that starts in a couple of months, so below I’m gonna give my generalised idea so as to get more of your opinion :))
        I’d say 2-3 if speed was a priority or even 7 in a 14 day cycle
        a) It depends on priorites and current level but those I’ve worked with 3 if they’re fairly noobish to get them squatting/deadlifting/sprinting as often as possible and it allows 3 high stress days and 4 low stress. with those more advanced it gets more complicated and for example squatting on 2 days is perfect for some but too much stress for others, but more of a 2 upper 2 lower would probably become more appropriate which could allow for 2 speed/accel days.
        b)clarified mostly above i think but an example of a program I’m writing now is sunday upper monday sprints and lower tuesday active recovery/rest wednesday upper thursday sprints and upper friday conditioning/ rest sat recovery.
        c) i guess that is the biggest influence over a program as the intensity is obviously much greater for a more experienced person as they can a) apply more intensity b) move more weight c)move a lot faster. so obviously volume and frequency would be lower in the more experienced and intensity higher. but the opposite for more of a novice.
        d) at the minute I only work with individuals or very small groups but in the summer I will hopefully be working with some bigger groups for some local clubs preseason, how do you deal with bigger groups? (I’ve worked through most of your blog and read the post where you refer to this just wondering if you had anything to add or maybe have changed how you would do things.)

        thats alright i prefer that as it feels more like a discussion rather than getting generalities and non-answers as you find in some other resources.
        sorry for the hyooooooge post.

  38. Jason,
    Don’t be worried about the reviews….do whatever courses you can….get the course material….understand and absorb it and move on.

    I won’t comment on a) b) and c) because you are asking all the right questions and thinking about the right ‘stuff’ with regards training and if people are improving then you are on the ‘right’ track no matter what methodology you are using. You need to 1. Have some ‘philosophy’ for your training…some thinking behind it. 2. You need to document and record it. On the other side you need 3. People to implement it on and 4. You need to be able to asses and measure the changes so you can modify 1. and 2. based on the results. For about the last 10 years I’ve trained every athlete in every sport at every level from novice to elite with essentially the exact same ‘philosophy’….it look me 10 years of messing about and refining and studying and redesigning and juggling and failing and succeeding to get there….the reason I write about what I do is because it works…it ALWAYS works…yes, there are faster ways to improve (I know and understand how to do that as well) but with speed comes risk and I tend to coach sports people and injuring a sportsperson OFF their chosen field of competition is a sin….so what I do is conservative but it works…what I always hoped when writing this blog was that people would take what I’d done as a short cut to a good starting point and work from there….build on it and improve it….modify and develop it.

    You sound like you are well on your way.

    • Will,
      Thanks for all the advice mate I really appreciate it. I think I get what you mean by having a philosophy, there seems to be a lot of online “trainers” who think kettlebells, or oly lifting are the best way to train or that wsbb or charlie francis’ methods are the best methods to train rather than taking from each what works and building your own philosophy. I quess one of the most important things to develop is some kind of filter to understand what works for what and what/how you can apply things.
      How do you know when your pushing too fast or increasing risk of injury? do you use any tools like mike tuschererers’ or i it just through evaluating people as and when you see them?
      Also, How important is focusing on sprinting form/mechanics in feild based mixed sports(rugby/football/etc) because obviously they wont be sprinting in a game in the optimal fashion, but will the ability to get them moving as fast as possible in training have a bigger crossover to on the field speed?

      Thanks

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