If you watched Christian McCaffrey at the NFL combine, you couldn’t help but be impressed. He was fast, explosive and agile. But nevertheless he had some critics as his weightlifting numbers were not impressive. Interesting. I know for a fact that Stanford University has employed velocity-based training (VBT) methods with their football athletes in the past. To what extent McCaffrey used VBT I do not know, but whatever combination of methods he used it clearly got him results on the field. Maybe lifting all the weight possible like a weightlifter is not the end-all-be-all to being a top athlete. Read more
Recently I published an article on HMMR Media discussing the role of specific strength exercises in team sports. It is a difficult question that I often get confronted with since I speak and write frequently about specific strength. Contrary to what many people thing, it is not about simply putting work into different categories in training. Good training is about making sure each element is on target, no matter its category. On this episode we talk about how to stay on target and how we often ignore on field training as a means of physical preparation. Read more
A question that comes up nearly every time I present on specific strength exercises is whether such work in the weight room is really necessary for team sports. Athletes from these sports spend large quantities of time on the field and little time training off of it. As a result many strength coaches feel a need to balance out their training and focus only on general exercises once the athletes enter the weight room. I must admit, it is a great question. In fact, I’ve been pondering it for a few months now. Read more
Earlier this week we posted the first part in an interview with Frans Bosch. In it, we discussed chasing perfection, and the role of variation and attractors in motor learning. You can read the interview here. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. We continued the conversation to talk about some topics that are central to what I often write about: transfer, specificity, and transfer. In addition we ask him where his focus is heading forward. Read more
Last month I brought to light a proposal for European Athletics to transform the decathlon and heptathlon into a new event: the octathlon. In criticising the plan I noted that it failed because European Athletics doesn’t have a clear idea of what they are trying to fix about the multi-events in the first place. Unlike European Athletics, decathlete Tom FitzSimons has a clear idea of the issues facing the multi-events and as a guest on his podcast this week we chatted about some ways to help the sport. Read more
Coaches have a near limitless inventory of exercises to select from and navigating this topic can be difficult since even two exercises that look nearly identical can cause vastly different adaptations in an athlete. On this week’s episode we give some suggestion on how to evaluate the application of an exercise to your goals by focusing on the function. Read more
Dutch coach Frans Bosch started quite the conversation last year when he released the English edition of his book Strength Training and Coordination: An Integrative Approach. A look at how training methods have evolved over the last century shows a clear trend towards more specific training means. But so far there has yet to a clear look at comprehensive look at the topic in detail. Bondarchuk has written in detail about the connection between specificity and transfer, but does not spend much time answering why things work that way. Verkhoshansky wrote a book on the topic but the exercises he describes often do not fit into his own definition. Bosch’s book attempts to do just that by taking a 360-degree look at the topic. It puts specificity in context by looking at how we coordinate our bodies and how best to develop that coordination. Read more
Understanding the demands of your sport is the first step in effective program design. On this episode Vern walks through his four-step process of defining sport demands and provides some practical examples from world-class coaches.
This Episode’s Question: How can coaches define and address the demands of their sport?
As opposed to many ground based sports, the search for transfer from strength training for swimmers can be difficult. But that makes the process more interested. On this episode we talk with preeminent swimming strength coach and Bridge Athletic co-founder Nick Folker about the search for transfer as well as the role of technology in training. Read more
It is no secret that I am a big fan of late 1980s NBA basketball. In my opinion, these days are the apex of the league and one team had an unmatched zenith of competency and dominance, the 1985-86 Boston Celtics. The main catalyst for this team’s summit of competitive greatness was their leader, Larry Bird. Today many applaud Steph Curry’s work ethic and skill proficiency. While he is very good right now we should remember he was influenced by Kobe Bryant, who was influenced by Michael Jordan, who was influenced by Larry Bird. Read more