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How to get the most out of medicine balls

This article was originally posted on High Performance West. Jonathan Marcus is building a great platform over there, so check it out

When I was first handed a medicine ball in training, the first thought that came to mind was “the grind.” I had a preconceived notion of the medicine ball as an arcane training tool used exclusively in vintage newsreels of calisthenics. Individuals would pick up a heavy leather ball and grind through exercises with a partner. The public image of medicine balls has change a lot in the decades since, but often the intent in medicine ball training – the grind – remains. That’s unfortunate as it keeps us from getting the most out of a great training tool. Read more

GAINcast Episode 111: No weight room, no problem

There’s no doubt that you can get athletes strong in the weight room. But that’s not the only path to strength. On this episode we talk about what can be accomplished outside the weight room, with examples from our experiences working with different sports. Not only can athletes accomplish a lot outside the weight room, but it also offers many distinct advantages in some areas. Read more

Muscle firing – where’s the switch?

“A lot of things weren’t firing — his glutes, his hips, thighs.” (Training Guru to the star players – name deleted to protect the guilty) told the newspaper. “I wouldn’t say his condition was the most severe, I wouldn’t say it was the best . . . But if I were to classify it on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the most extreme, I’d say he was definitely in the seven, eight category.” Read more

Making connections

Body is a complex adaptive system, not a bio-machine or bio-computer. Given that the body is a kinetic chain and all systems of the body work synergistically to produce efficient movement then training is all about connections. How can we better link, sync and coordinate to enhance efficient movement. Biomechanically it helps to think toe nails to finger nails, everything is connected. Read more

GAINcast Episode 88: After the Test (with Ola Eriksrud)

Norwegian coach and researcher Ola Eriksrud is a master at creating innovative testing portfolios. What sets his testing apart is not just what he tests, but how the tests fit into the broader training process. Testing is just the first layer in the process and in order for the test to be helpful, information learned from testing has to be actionable. On this episode of the podcast Eriksrud walks us through some of his approach to testing and also discusses various aspects of coordination such as dynamic postural control, core training, and hamstrings. Read more

Neural Confusion

Neural confusion is a term, a metaphor if you will, that I use to explain what happens when you use exercises that attempt to isolate one muscle at one joint either to enhance performance or to prevent injury. Read more

Sports Science Monthly – August 2017

Welcome to this month’s edition of Sports Science Monthly, where we take a look at recent research in the realm of sports science. In this edition, we take a look at running coordination, the nature vs nurture debate, causes of illnesses and injuries, vitamin D supplementation, caffeine, and test familiarization. Read more

An Introduction to Hammerobics

When you read Frans Bosch’s critique of traditional strength training, two main elements stand out: traditional lifting lacks transfer as it is based on different coordination, and traditional lifting lacks the variation inherent in sport. In his book Bosch outlines a different approach to strength training and while we can argue about his approach it is hard to deny the issues he is working to solve. As a hammer thrower, I am constantly thinking about how our event can address these issues, a topic Bondarchuk has spent his life working on. In this month’s Strength and Conditioning Journal, Olympic champion Koji Murofushi, University of Georgia coach Don Babbitt, and Ken Ohta describe their framework for addressing the problem. They call it hammerobics. Read more

GAINcast Episode 65: Conditioning Pitchers

Springtime means baseball and on this episode we look specifically at the conditioning needs of pitchers. Pitching is an extremely fast and explosive movement that has unique conditioning demands, yet most conditioning programs are based on tradition rather than being optimized to the needs of the players. On this episode of the podcast Vern Gambetta shares best practices developed while working with top club in Major League Baseball. Read more

Training, Fast and Slow

Earlier this month I wrote about how the universality of fartleks. The concept comes from the world or running, but I outlined how one could implement such speed play in throwing. This isn’t just a concept that sounds fun and cool; it also has some science to back it up and can be applied in preparation for any number of sports. Read more