We have great news! Recently we were selected to be a contributor to the Men’s Health Fitness Council. We’re humbled and honored. We plan to continue bringing you great tips and tricks for getting stronger, eating better and feeling better. This is an extremely valuable resource for us and we’re looking forward to passing it on to you.
About the Men’s Health Fitness Council:
Men’s Health Fitness Council is an invitation-only organization for fitness industry leaders. Members are hand selected by the Council’s community team have the opportunity to share their expert advice with MensHealth.com’s 14.9 million monthly readers.
The Fitness Council connects professionals in the health and fitness industry allowing them to share knowledge with other industry peers, act as a resource for industry leaders to exchange questions, insights, and advice to support each other as they build and grow their businesses.
A Peek Into the Training Regiment:
Strength training for swimmers is the foundation of our swimming training regiment here at the Athletic Strength Institute. Swimming is extremely demanding physically because of the need for strength, power, and endurance. We believe that its vital to concentrate on core strength and structural balance (especially of the shoulders) to see the kind of results we are seeing from our athletes.
The need for a solid base/core is crucial because a swimmer is using their muscles not only for stability but also for propulsion through the water. The key to success in the pool is about efficiency and being able to maintain good form throughout the duration of the race. In athletes, we typically see breakdowns in endurance and form once the core becomes fatigued. Once the core is fatigued it can also lead to altered shoulder function, which is why we specifically concentrate on building our athletes from the core out. If the core is strong and conditioned, it allows the legs and arms to focus on slicing through the water, thereby making you faster and more efficient.
If you are a swimmer or the parent of a competitive swimmer,we invite you to reach out. Whether you would like to schedule a structural balance assessment, help with your nutrition or a customized program to help you knife through the water and leave your competition in your wake… we are here to help and we’d love to start the conversation with you.
We have been working with Tyler Mitchell who plays point/shooting guard for Independence Home School in Lawrence Kansas. One of the key factors to performing well in basketball is explosiveness and lift. As athletes fatigue, their shooting form tends to deteriorate. The ability to maintain a consistent and repeatable motion is paramount to a high shooting percentage.
Tyler approached and expressed that he was interested in improving his performance. He didn’t feel like he was getting the level of attention and expertise he needed from his previous training methods. We started Tyler off with a structural balance assessment to establish a baseline. This also gave us the ability to track his progress.
Based on what we saw from his structural assessment, we designed a program specifically for him and the areas he needed improvement in. After working with us for several months, we began to fine tune his training for in-season play while also being respectful of recovery time between games and practices. In addition to improving his overall strength, we also focused on developing lower body power.
THE TRAINING PROGRAM: A DEEPER DIVE Tyler’s training started with first identifying his primary weaknesses, which was overall upper body strength and a slight imbalance of strength and flexibility between legs.
He initially tested poorly in the biacromial bench press so his upper body training was centered around primary pressing exercises with dumbbells and a lot of shoulder and scapular stabilization work. We focused on dumbbell work to improve unilateral (e.g. single-arm) strength and shoulder stability to better prepare for the follow-on barbell training.
His lower body training initially also focused on single-limb work using exercises like Split Squats and Step-Up variations using different implements (cable, dumbbells, barbell). Focusing on unilateral leg work allowed us to improve single-leg strength and flexibility of the hip flexors. The improvements in single-leg strength and flexibility better prepared him to perform the squat than if no unilateral work was performed at all.
We also worked on developing his posterior chain (low back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves). The posterior chain is frequently underdeveloped in many athletes. Increasing Tyler’s posterior chain strength was paramount to helping him achieve his goal of being able to dunk a basketball consistently, which he can now do.
The approach we took to Tyler’s training is the the approach we use with everyone we work with.
We first identify what’s holding them back from performing well:
Are they weak overall?
Are they extremely tight?
What faulty movement patterns do they have?
A comprehensive plan to address those limitations should be the first step when developing a training program because even the slightest weakness or tightness can lead to injury that could be otherwise avoided. Once these issues have been thoroughly addressed the athlete can then be progressed to more traditional training methods.
Tyler is now getting significantly more lift on his jump shots and he is able to maintain great form throughout the course of the entire game. Even when fatigued he is still performing well above the national averages. Quite simply this translates to better stats (note graphic below).
If you are a high school or college athlete or the parent of an athlete, we invite you call us today and schedule an appointment. We’d love to show you how we can make you perform better on game day.
ASI Trainer Jordan Helms featured on KU Athletics.com !
We’re super proud of one of our trainers, Jordan Helms. Jordan is a member of the KU Women’s rowing team and last season, she helped race the First Varsity Eight to earn Big 12 Boat of the Week honors.
“One of these other professionals in the field that Helms has learned from is the owner of Lawrence’s Athletic Strength Institute and mentor to Helms, Chris Dellasega, who argues that many strength and conditioning coaches have very similar approaches to various sports at different levels of competition. Dellasega says what sets Helms apart is her foundational knowledge, in addition to her hands-on experiences.
“You have to factor in that Jordan is a people person, she has an athletic background and she’s approaching strength and conditioning from a different perspective because she’s had exposure outside the collegiate setting,” Dellasega said. “I think that’s something that is very important for a lot of athletes and strength coaches – getting outside experience, by that I mean outside of what they’re used to. Experience that is completely outside of the box.”
With prior experience at another gym in Lawrence, Helms joined Dellasega’s team this year as a trainer. Currently, Helms focuses on coaching high school athletes with hopes of playing at the collegiate level in both one-on-one and small-group settings. We invite you to contact us and speak with Jordan about your fitness and athletic goals.
Caroline first began working with us in the middle of October 2016. She’s 19 years old and her primary goal was/is to lose body fat and lead a healthier overall lifestyle.
We started her on basic nutrition guidelines, such as consuming more protein and more vegetables and fruits. Now, being a college student it was a bit tough when she initially started. However, we worked with her to identify ways to consume more protein and vegetables.
After trying a few different strategies, we found supplementing her nutrition with smoothies containing a high quality protein powder, baby spinach, frozen berries, and some ground flax/chia seeds was an effective way for her to get the nutrients she needed. We also continue educating her making better overall food choices.
Caroline did travel home for Christmas break and admittedly didn’t make the best food decisions over the holidays. However, we stress, and continue to stress, that perfection isn’t necessary (or even attainable) for success, but consistency is.
We’ve found that a lack of planning and strategies for getting through stressful times and situations is why many people fail in their attempt to lose body fat. So, we’ve also worked with Caroline to develop strategies to stay on track in challenging situations so she can continue to make progress.
Caroline’s training has consisted of full-body workouts comprised of compound exercises in order to engage as much muscle mass as possible while also developing a base level of strength. When she first started training with us, some of the exercises we had her perform were new to her. As she continues improving the basics, her workouts have gotten more challenging.
The exercises Caroline has been performing have been done with moderately heavy weights (in relation to her strength levels) for high repetitions to take advantage of the body’s fat burning hormonal response under these circumstances. To further enhance this fat burning hormonal environment, we also keep the amount of rest between sets and between exercises to a minimum.
Like anything in life…if you put in the work…you will obtain the results. Want a beach body? Want to lose weight? Need to perform better on the football field?
Are you a first responder who needs to be in shape to perform your job at an optimal level?
I can deliver that to you.
We recently had the opportunity to go and work directly with Stephane Cazeault at his KILO Strength Society facility. Here is what we learned:
1)Structural Balance: Once someone has achieved structural balance, remedial shoulder exercises can be removed from programming for the next 12-weeks. However, some athletes will need continuous exposure to remedial work. In this case, exposing them to remedial shoulder exercises once per week is ideal.
2)Time Under Tension: Total time under tension is the determining factor when periodizing body composition programs. By comparison, training intensity and the total number of reps dictate the periodization scheme when the objective is to improve strength.
3)Beginner Response: Beginners typically respond well to full-body workouts. However, the stronger they get the less effective this approach becomes. At this point it is better to transition to an upper- and lower-body split.
4) Weak Scapular Retractors: If someone has weak scapular retractors the focus of the first 12-week training cycle should be on unilateral rowing variations to improve the strength of these muscles. This will improve scapular stability and overall shoulder mechanics.
5) One-and-a-Quarter Reps: One-and-a-quarter reps are the easiest modifier to implement to correct a strength deficiency in a lift by increasing the total time under tension per set at the weakest point in the strength curve.
6) The A series lift(s) dictates the training effect of the session: The primary exercise(s) in a workout dictates the overall training effect of a training session. The B series exercise(s) are assistance lift(s) that help improve performance in the primary lifts and the C series are remedial lift(s). Both the B and C series exercises should complement the primary (A series) lift(s) using different planes.
7)Eccentric Training: When using eccentric training methods they must be used two phases before strength is tested in a lift. Because slow eccentrics eliminate elastic energy a “faster” training method, such as myotatics, should be used in the following phase to regain elasticity and maximize the effectiveness of the eccentrics.
For example, a progression to peak the bench press over a 12-week cycle could look like the following:
Phase 1 – 1 & ¼ reps (quarter movement at the bottom)
Phase 2 – 6 second eccentrics
Phase 3 – Myotatic 1 & ¼ reps (quarter movement at the bottom)
Phase 4 – Peak
8) How much weight? The combined total of both dumbbells on a press should represent 90% of the load used when performing a barbell variation of the same exercise for the same number of reps. If not, more dumbbell work is needed.
9) Load: The load used in a single-arm dumbbell row should be the same amount used in a flat dumbbell press. For example, if someone is using 90-pound dumbbells in the flat dumbbell press they should also be able to perform the single-arm dumbbell row using a 90-pound dumbbell.
10) Developing an aerobic base: Developing an aerobic base is important for athletes and running for conditioning purposes (which is not to be confused with sprinting) can be useful to that end.
However, running as a form of conditioning should be confined to the General Preparation Phase. As the Specific Preparation Phase begins conditioning should be as specific to the sport as possible while developing the predominant energy system used in that sport.
11) Power is a product of strength and speed. Plyometrics improve the stretch-shortening cycle – a muscles ability to exert maximal force in the shortest time possible.
Therefore, when programming plyometrics sets should not take longer than 12 seconds to complete. Sets lasting longer than 12 seconds begin to eliminate the benefits of plyometric training and ultimately train the movement and athlete to become slower.
12)Loss of strength:In general, an athlete will begin losing the strength quality trained in the previous phase if the current training phase lasts longer than 4-weeks.
Andre is a two-time Olympian competing in the 1988 and 1992 Olympic games in the luge, was as an assistant coach at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, and served as the strength and conditioning coach for the Canadian national team. Andre has also coached over 30 athletes in different Olympic disciplines as well as professional athletes from the NFL, CFL, NHL, and Track and Field.
Over a 4-day period Andre taught his Hypertrophy and Energy System Academies. These courses covered training theory for beginner and advanced trainees, proper core training, shoulder health and training, energy system training for fat loss and conditioning, and how to perform a thorough structural screening to identify potential injuries before they occur.
Andre is considered to be a leading expert on hypertrophy and performance training. He is a Poliquin Level 5 Coach and we were glad to have him. Check out some of the pictures from the event.
This past weekend we had the privilege of attending the SWIS (Society of Weightlifting and Injury-Prevention Specialists) Symposium in Toronto. This symposium brought hundreds of personal trainers, chiropractors, massage therapists, nutritionists, strength and conditioning coaches, powerlifters, bodybuilders, gym owners, industry thought leaders, and key influencers together for a three days of lectures that discussed the optimization of training, diet, treatment, and rehab for themselves and their clients.
One of ASI’s core values is our commitment to continuing education. As trainers and coaches we believe it is our obligation to our clients and athletes to continue learning from the best coaches, doctors, and nutritionists in the world.
The SWIS Symposium was chock full of extremely valuable information. One of the highlights included learning muscle testing from Dr. David Leaf. Muscle testing assesses if specific muscles are working properly. When muscles that control a joint are not working properly this predisposes it to injury. Muscle testing identifies these muscles and provides the coach with the necessary information to develop a program to “re-educate” them.
We also had the pleasure of having lunch with Dr. Leaf where we discussed everything from performance and rehab methods he uses with his power-lifters, athletes from MLB, NFL, NHL, world class soccer players, and Olympic champions to common injuries seen in high school athletes and how to prevent them.
We also had the incredible privilege to meet legendary track star Ben Johnson who ran in arguably the best (and most controversial) 100m race in Olympic history.
We also had the opportunity to meet and learn from the world’s leading expert in low back disorders, Dr. Stuart McGill. Over the weekend we learned training techniques he uses with world-class athletes to strengthen the core, develop proper movement, endurance, speed, and power while minimizing injuries of the lower back.
Training Tips from Leaders in the Industry
While talking shop with Dr. McGill between lectures we discussed his research on the safest and most effect ways to strengthen the core coming away with some priceless training tips. We also discussed the studies Dr. McGill has done on the unbelievable core strength of World’s Strongest Man competitors and how their training methods can be adapted to improve athletic performance.
Another highlight was learning different strategies to correct technique in the Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Farmer’s Walk, and Atlas Stone Carry from 3x World’s Strongest Man champion Bill Kazmaier.
The most exciting highlight of the weekend was meeting and discussing business with EliteFTS founder and president Dave Tate. Dave gave a great presentation on gym ownership and how to fine-tune the questions you ask and the impact those questions have on your ability to make better business decisions. After his presentation Dave was generous with his time where we spoke for an hour one-on-one about how to grow a business.
We also attended lectures by Dr. Darryn Willoughby, Director of the Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition Laboratory at Baylor University, and Dr. Bob Rakowski, a certified clinical nutritionist and director of the Natural Medicine Center in Houston, on the nutritional and sleep needs of athletes.
ASI places continuing education as one of our top core values. In this industry the moment a coach/trainer/therapist stops learning is the moment they become obsolete. It is our commitment to the clients and athletes we work with to have the very best information available to ensure maximum results. It is for this reason that we consult and learn from the best in the industry.
Whether it is the court, field, pitch, mat, or the ice during the fall, you want to make sure you’re ready to perform at your peak level.
No matter your sport of choice, you want to be the best you can be. Are you getting the results you want from your current training program? Sure you’re probably seeing some progress, but we want to see you exceed expectations.
Some Tough Questions for You:
You’re strong as an ox, but are you moving well?
Is the same routine, done the same way REALLY the best approach?
Are you consistently getting stronger, faster, and more powerful?
How long is it taking you to recover after a tough workout or a close game?
What if we told you we can develop a custom workout, specifically designed for your position that would make you stronger, faster, more powerful, and help you recover quicker? Would you be interested then? We’ll venture a guess that you’ll answer with a resounding YES!
When its late in the game and the game is on the line, are you the “go-to” player, or just another player in the game.
At the Athletic Strength Institute we want to make you exceptional.
Call us today to get started. We’ll lay out an approach that will make you better. Our proprietary Fall Strength, Speed, and Agility Academy is designed to gets results.
Don’t just get in the game, revolutionize your game.