Taking leg circuits to the next level

Every year I become more and more convinced of the effectiveness of the Gambetta Leg Circuits. A simple combination of four exercises ticks so many boxes for me in training: it is efficient, improves coordination, and develops strength all at the same time. For those familiar or unfamiliar with leg circuits, I hope this article explain a bit about how they work and some new variations that can make them an even better tool for training. Read more

5 thoughts on the core from October HMMR Hangout

On Thursday we hosted our most recent HMMR Member Hangout on core strength and trunk stability. Hangouts are one of the benefits of being a HMMR Plus member, they give you a chance to talk shop with some of the best in the business. This month Vern GambettaJames MarshallMike BahnSteve Myrland and several more guest members joined in the conversation and here are a few of the things I learned. Read more

Feedback should be reflective, not reflexive

The best feedback for coaches often comes from the people doing the training themselves: the athletes. Nobody knows better how training went than the people who did it. Being able to identify and articulate that feedback is a skill that must be honed and developed like anything else. Read more

Finding the first step: how to optimize training to start the season

This article is adapted from a piece I wrote for Athletics Weekly in September 2018.

When we think about conditioning, one time of year comes to mind: the preseason. As the season ends, the next year inevitably starts with a rest phase, followed by rigorous preseason training. As many sports are about to head into their training camps for the fall season, it is time to rethink our approach to the preseason. Read more

Sprinting: the ultimate strength training exercise

One of the key principles of training is overload. The overload principle states that body system adaptation fails to occur without an overloading stimulus. In other words, we have to give the body a challenge beyond what we are accustomed to in order to adapt to a higher level of performance. Somewhere along the way coaches started to think that we can only find overload in the weight room. In reality, for some qualities that is the last place we want to look. Maximum speed sprinting, for example, can provide overload in many areas that no other exercises can match. Read more

Using time as a training variable

When we pick up a barbell and perform a lift, we normally focus on just two things: the weight and the number of repetitions. These are undoubtedly key variables to use improving performance, but they miss a lot nuance that goes into getting better. A few years ago I was talking with former discus thrower Adam Kuehl about what other variables he feels are overlooked and his answer was quick: time. Read more

Thoughts on progressing the athlete

I’ve been thinking a lot about progressions lately. This month’s site theme is the young athlete, and that goes hand in hand with progressions. I’ll also be moderating a panel discussion on the topic at GAIN in two weeks. As a result I’ve got a bunch of random ideas floating around in my head on the topic. The following is not a set of answers on how to progress the athlete, but rather a compilation of things I am thinking about. Read more

An introduction to using games in training

One big trend in training over the past decade has been the increased use of games. The Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) movement in physical education first started a conversation about strategically used games rather than technical drills to teach skills and tactics. Over the last few years, the use of games for athletic development has also get its moment in the spotlight thanks to social media as coaches realize the concept can apply even more so in the realm of physical preparation. Read more

A case study in holistic exercise design with Jean-Pierre Egger

As Chris McCormick wrote about yesterday, strength coaches can contribute significantly to the development of an athlete’s mental skills. But doing so isn’t about making them work until they puke. It’s about preparation with purpose. Read more

How to fall on your ass and get up to win gold

Imagine this: you are an up and coming 24-year-old hammer thrower ranked in the world’s top 10. You arrived at the Olympics in the best shape of your life, having qualified in fourth position and been on the podium in every meet except one that year. As you leave the call room in the depths of the stadium and emerge onto the track you’re greeted by more than 110,000 fans and also by torrential downpour. The throwing rings has quickly turned into a slippery lake. Read more