If you listen to our podcast, you’ll know I love training with medicine balls. The reason I like it so much because a good medicine ball throw requires you to recruit and coordinate forces from the entire body. This is also known as the summation of forces: when all body parts act simultaneously in practice, the strongest and lowest body parts around the center of gravity move first, followed by the weaker, lighter, and faster extremities. This is also known as sequential acceleration and results in successive force summation.
Coaches need a lot of tools in their toolbox. If all the strength coach knows is the barbell, then they are limiting their ability to solve more complex problems. Therefore for the site theme in April we chose going beyond the barbell, bringing together 3 new videos, 2 podcasts, and 5 articles to look at different ways coaches can solve problems with other training methods. All the links are below, but first I wanted to share a few ideas that crystallized in my mind this month. Read more
In my article last week I looked at the unique advantages offered by medicine ball training and how to design exercises to get the most out of the dynamic training tool. But once you find the right exercises you also need to put then into a plan. Should medicine ball training complement the primary sport work you are doing? Should it contrast it? And how do we make sure it doesn’t counteract it? Finding the right plan is perhaps more important than finding the right exercises. Read more
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
Earlier this week we looked at why runners need to lift. Now that you understand the why, let’s look at what kind of strength training provides the specific neuromuscular and physiological benefits we discussed above. To review, there are three purposes to lifting:
- Improve running economy;
- Provide movement patterns that contrast the repetitive nature of running; and
- Accelerate recovery to prepare for the next hard workout and to reduce injury potential.
It’s officially spring time and life is bustling all over the place. The same is true on the podcast where we have a hodgepodge of topics to cover on this week’s episode including medicine ball training, tips on hiring the right staff, meet management, why joggers need to watch out, and more. Read more
Strength coaches often take the weight room for granted. But what would you do if you did not have access to a bar and weights? On this week’s podcast we look at strategies to get stronger without weights. In addition, we tackle the latest listener questions. Read more
Everything old is new again. Medicine ball training has been around since Persian wrestlers trained with sand-filled bladders thousands of years ago. But over the past few decades medicine balls have received more widespread adoption as a tool to develop coordination and power. Today we release our latest HMMR Classroom video. This is the fifth in our series and it focuses on medicine balls. On the 20 minute video Nick Garcia and I discuss why we use medicine balls and then demonstrate four sample medicine ball routines. You can get a taste for what the video includes in the snippet below. Read more
Earlier last week I posted the first part of a training talk with the versatile coach Dan Pfaff. Pfaff has had unprecedented success across nearly every event including the sprints (1996 Olympic 100-meter gold medalist and former world-record-holder Donovan Bailey), jumps (2012 Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford), vaulting (2007 World Champion and US record holder Brad Walker), and throws (US discus record holder Suzy Powell). Pfaff is currently working as the lead jumps coach and Director of Education at the World Athletics Center.
We began our discussion by looking at ways to improve technique and his common approach to dissecting each event. Below we continue our discussion by talking about a few very important training concepts: intensity, density, and work capacity. Intensity is especially an interesting topic since many throwers focus exclusively on medium and high intensity exercises, while neglecting low intensity work. Like most elite coaches, Pfaff feels this is an important aspect of training and has some reasoning to back it up.