This site is not the only place I write for. Below is an article I wrote for the Australian periodical Modern Athlete and Coach. They put together what is, in my opinion, the top athletics training periodical in the world with regular contributions from some of the leading names in the sport. They are kind enough to let me repost my article in full below. Read more
Readers of this site should know the name Harold Connolly. He was not just the last American to win gold in the hammer throw, but also a global celebrity in the 1950s as he overcame adversity to reach the top of his sport for more than a decade. After he retired from throwing he continued as a coach, mentor, and strong advocate for the hammer throw until his untimely death in 2010. What hammer throwers might not realize, however, was that despite all of Harold’s accomplishments was not even the most successful coach in his own household. That title belong to his wife: Pat Connolly. Read more
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Hey I was thinking about something that you said in your last Podcast. You said that at an elite level, nothing that is done in the weight room has very much positive correlation, which is of course one of the first things that you notice when you read Transfer of Training. Obviously, although there isn’t significant correlation of any single exercise once you reach an elite level, the thought must be that the entirety of the experience has some positive correlation or that there are benefits of weight training that are more indirect but still important. Is that the case? –Coach Dan Read more
Nick and I talk all the time about the simple exercise classification scheme we have taken from Bondarchuk. We try to focus more energy on the specific developmental exercises (SDEs) where the competition movement and strength training converge. But what do we look for when we choose an “specific strength” exercise from this category? And what are some of our favorites? On this week’s episode we dive into those questions. Read more
At the start of my training talk with strength coach John Pryor from the Japan Rugby squad, I mentioned his approach blew my mind. I’ve gotten to know a lot of strength coaches from a wide range of sports, but never before heard a field sport team use such a methodical approach to transfer of training, specific strength, and complex periodization as when he described the Japan squad’s buildup to this year’s World Cup. Read more
Any talk about implementing a specific strength training plan brings up the inevitable discussion of disrupting the athlete’s rhythm. In the throwing events we will often throw hammers that are heavier or lighter than normal in order to improve specific strength. There is no doubt this improves strength, but you also cannot deny that it changes the movement’s rhythmic structure. For this reason some coaches only throw the competition implement. No matter your conclusion, the important part is the analysis: as a coach you need look at whether the training will help your for the sport and the athlete. Where it might be a good idea to do certain types of special strength training in one sport, it could be inadvisable in another. And while one athlete can handle a certain loads of special strength work, another might break down. Throughout this all the overarching factor to consider is where the sport falls on the skill-strength continuum. Read more
At the start of the month I published an article in Athletics Weekly about specific strength. In it I give a brief introduction to exercise classification, specific strength, and some tips on implementing it to your event. Tom Crick also helped provide some great graphics to illustrate a few examples.
The article is adapted from my book The Ball and Chain where I cover this and other topics in more detail in Part IV: Training for the hammer throw. If you like it and want to learn more, pick up a copy of the full text. We also have some additional resources on this topic available for HMMR Media members, including Nick Garcia’s article on exercise classification for throwers and a post I wrote about specific strength in theory and practice. But this article isn’t just about the hammer or about throwing; it takes a look at a general idea that can be applied to any sport or event. Read more
We need to rethink how we conceptualize strength. It would be helpful to conceptualize strength as a skill, a finely tuned skill at that. Think of it not as a sledgehammer that delivers a blunt blow. Rather think of it as a pinprick, a very high force concentrated in a very small area. To do that demands incredible coordination and synchronization. Read more
Earlier in the week we posted part one of a training talk with Dave Tenney, the Sports Science and Performance Manager for Seattle Sounders FC. In the first part we focussed on his philosophy on sports-specific training and how he implements that in training. In this final part we continue the discussion and also dive into topics like individualization, and both the state of the sport and the role of strength and conditioning in it. Read more