Tag Archive for: Specific Strength

Strength vs. Skill

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

Specific About Strength

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

Strength as a Skill

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

Training Talk With Dave Tenney (Part 2)

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

Training Talk With Dave Tenney (Part 1)

The strength and conditioning community in Seattle has grown considerably since I moved away in 2008, so when I finally make it back to town my agenda is full of visits to different coaches and gyms. On my trip to Seattle in December I had one name high on my list to visit: renowned soccer strength and conditioning coach Dave Tenney. Read more

House of Cards

Build your athletes from the ground up. Emphasize training movements that connect and coordinate. Start with fundamental movements and add complexity as the athlete’s gain mastery of the fundamentals. Read more

The Roads to Rome

When I do a presentation about transfer of training, one of the points I emphasize is that almost anything transfers for a beginner. Even take a look at any of Bondarchuk’s correlation tables and you’ll see nearly every exercise with a high transfer. Just get them to work and they will improve. Because of this there are numerous ways to get an athlete to an intermediate level. You can rely on maximum strength. You can rely on size. You can rely on explosivity. You can rely on technique. You can rely on grit. You rely on special strength. All roads lead to Rome if being good is your goal.
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Searching for Specificity

In my 44 years of coaching I have gone back and forth in regard to specificity. At times I have tried to make training as specific as possible going to ridiculous lengths to simulate the sport. At other times it was not even a consideration, we just trained with no regard to whether or not it had any resemblance to the sport. Obviously those are the extremes. With accumulation of experiences and better understanding of the whole process of training I have come to a more moderate and I must say sane approach. Read more

One Trick Pony

6a00e5521cccd0883401b7c6cf70e1970b-320wiAre you preparing your athletes to be a one trick pony? What’s a one trick pony? A one trick pony is an athlete who is highly specialized in a narrow range of skill sets and conditioning. They are highly adapted to one way of doing things, very fixed in mindset and highly adapted. They are focused on what they cannot do. Read more

Hard Work

Everyone works hard. How is your hard work different than someone else’s? Are you doing anything different that will separate you from the pack? Are you doing it better? It is more than time on your feet accruing more miles or chasing a black line at the bottom of the pool. You could train a monkey to do that. Read more