Tag Archive for: Specific Strength

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

Stop Lifting. Start Practicing.

It’s that time of the year where I spend a few days writing up 4 week winter break workouts for all my sport teams that will be off campus for the holiday break. As I was recently writing these, I had a few thoughts on the concept of strength training vs sport skill training and I plan to share some of those ideas in this blog post. My thoughts on this topic are all my own and stem from my past as a successful multi-sport athlete and my 6+ year career as a strength coach.

Heavy Squat set - close upAs most people reading this know, I work full-time as a collegiate strength and conditioning coach at Division I Ohio University. I have the luxury of working with hundreds of male and female athlete’s on a daily basis with one common goal: Increased athletic performance. For me, one of the hardest parts of my job is trying to educate coaches and athletes that simply coming in and lifting weights is not a guarantee you will be a better athlete. Gaining strength can help improve your overall athleticism, but it likely won’t do much to enhance your sport specific skill set. One of my biggest pet-peeves is when an athlete with sub-par sport specific skills devotes all of their off-season down time to the weight room and is never seen on the field, court, or arena working to improve the sport specific skill areas they clearly lack.
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