Archive | January, 2011

Correcting and Progressing The Single Leg Dead Lift

28 Jan
“If it is important do it everyday” – Dan John.

Great quote, couldn’t be more true. As it applies to designing strength training programs for the majority of clients and athletes there are a few key drills and movement patterns that should be addressed in every training session. Some of the things I use daily include the following… Continue reading

Low Back Reconditioning

19 Jan

In the wake of this past weeks snowstorm I had a client deliver  me the great news that this was the first time in over a decade that she did not suffer from debilitating back pain after shoveling her driveway. While this could have been just as much attributed to her shoveling mechanics as it could have been our training together it gave me a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Victories like this are far  more rewarding than improving the performance of an athlete, truly improving someone quality of life is a feeling that is second to none.

With this in mind I figured I would share the methodology that has been used with great success at MBSC to treat low back pain. It is important to remember as strength coaches and personal trainers we should only be treating non-painful dysfunction. Painful dysfunction falls uner the division of labor for physical therapists. As The Rock would say “Know Your Role!” and only treat what you are qualified to treat.

"Know Your Role, You Candy-Ass!!"

Continue reading

Epic Snowed-In Workout at The Strength Coach House

12 Jan

If you live in the Northeast then chances are you just got slammed with a whole bunch of snow just like I did here in Boston. With over two-feet of snow coming all over night it meant for a professional snow day for all of us at MBSC. Sorry, to all my clients but pulling out of my driveway is physically impossible.  So, after actually getting to sleep past 5 AM for the first time in weeks, eating an epic breakfast, and shoveling 2  tons of snow out of the driveway it was time for me and the room mates an in-home workout.

Before watching the video of our in-home workout be informed that I live in a house with 3 other strength and conditioning coaches. Henry Lau, Brendon Rearick and Ana Tocco are all great room mates and coaches and our unique situation allows us to have some great tools on hand for exercise. Tools included being a weight vest, sledgehammer, chains, medicine balls and bands. With that being said you could complete this in-home circuit with out any of the tools using just your body weight.

Here is how it went down

Snow Day Workout:

Complete 4x with no rest

1. Jump Squats x 10

2. Off-Loaded Straight Leg Sit-Ups x 5 each side

3. Overhead Squat x 10

4. Feet Elevated Band Resisted Push-Ups x 10

5. Band Resisted Good Mornings x 10

6. Band Pull-Aparts x 15

7. Wheel Rollouts x 10

8. Chain Loaded RFE x 8 each leg

9. Medicine Ball Wood Chop x 10 each side

10. Chain Curls x 10

If you are snowed in and need some good reading checkout some great posts from my room mates and friends.

Brendon Rearick: Drills for Better Posture and Shoulder Health

Ana Tocco: Strength Coach Roundtable Discussion #3

Marco Sanchez: In-Home Workout

Jaime Rodriguez: 2011 Goals and Training

A Real Life Hero

7 Jan

In life we hear people refer to individuals that they look up to as their “heroes” all of the time. It isn’t nearly as often though that we run into everyday individuals that portray real superhuman traits. It’s easy to garner admiration from others it’s another thing to be truly inspirational. Rudy Favard is someone who truly inspires.

As Senior captain Linebacker of the Malden Catholic High School Football team Rudy does more than just give the defense a lift. A reluctant hero Rudy volunteers his time to help serve a local family from Melrose who needs help transporting their severely disabled son.

Sam Parker, 8 years old suffers from Cerebral Palsy and is unable to see, speak or walk. Sam’s father suffers from a heart condition and is unable to carry his son up and down the 14 steps to his bed room. At 75 lbs Sam is too heavy for his mother to carry. When the Parker family reached out to local Malden Catholic High School for help, Rudy responded.

As viscous as Rudy is on the field he is as equally as caring and modest off of it. Volunteering up to 5 nights a week Rudy is there to carry Sam wherever he needs to be moved to. Spending a lot of time with the family Rudy has developed a brother-like relationship with Sam. The Parker family is forever grateful for the work done by Rudy reffering to him as “an answer to prayer, a great gift.”

I have had the pleasure of working with Rudy over the past year at MBSC as his strength and conditioning coach alongside of Anthony Morando. I can say Rudy is a truly unique individual for his age. I do not know of any 17 year old kids who have a such a mature and selfless view of the world. Check out the  spotlight feature that ABC World News did on Rudy below.

Check out the article here…


Get Your Mind Right

4 Jan

As I’ve begun to embark on the year 2011 I have been doing some serious thinking about the mindset necessary for me to see the most success possible over the next 365 days. Reading numerous personal growth books by authors like John Maxwell, Leo Babuta, Jim Loehr and Tony Scwhartz combined with the daily learning experiences that come with being a young professional have really motivated me to find the most effective mental approach to success.  I’m essentially searching to find the best way to “Get my mind right” for lack of a better term. Here are some of the ideas and strategies that I have gathered  and am starting to implement.

1). Get your feet on the ground as soon as you wake up.

I’ve always been pretty good at this but I don’t think it can be overstated. Getting up early makes you more productive. If you lay around in bed and fight getting up , then you are fighting productivity. Going from horizontal to vertical is the hardest part so suck it up, get on your feet and eat some breakfast it’s not that hard.

2). Set your attitude at breakfast, reset it at lunch and reflect on it at dinner.

When your eating your breakfast in the morning you have to lay out your attitude for the day. Attitudes are not set they have to be worked at consciously, and they can be changed at will with some presence of mind. For me, this involves getting a positive frame on everything that is going to come before me. Self loathing over how early or cold it is will only translate to a bad attitude once you get to work. Focus on the positive effect you will have on someone or something over the course of the day. For me, it is thinking about the athletes and PT clients whose lives I get to change daily.

At some checkpoint during the day take a few minutes to reaffirm your positive mindset and refocus your energy. Every bodies energy goes through ebbs and flows though out the course of a day, take a second think about where yours is at and how you can change it.

At the end of the day assess how you did. Rank yourself somehow. Reflect on what was good and what was bad. Make a plan to change it. Having a plan in place will allow you to maintain the best attitude and be as focused as possible everyday.

3). Have a daily agenda

Going through your day without an agenda is recipe for disaster when it comes to daily productivity.  Get a planner and make a daily list. It is so simple to do and can add so much focus to your life. Life is to busy to count on remembering things and I find myself to be especially forgetful. Having designations like Urgent, Semi-Urgent and Not Urgent can allow you to organize tasks into categories so that you can form an order of operations for yourself. Give your self a few tasks that need to get done today and attack them with everything you’ve got and then reassess what needs to be done.

4). Remind yourself that “Today Matters”

Ok I gotta give 100% credit to John Maxwell for this one since I’m using the title of his book but this is a must. Whatever your goals are for your life and your career remind yourself that each day is a process. Everyday is as important as the next to get to wherever you want to be.

As a strength coach I use this line of thinking to keep my energy up as I know that those that I train rely on it. I cannot let myself go through the motions. Their success depends on my coaching. My success will rely on their results. It’s all cyclical.

In my own training I think about how every rep in a given training session will affect  the next. Just the same as how my daily lifestyle choices will affect my recovery and produce a greater end result.

5). Learn Something

Learn everyday. Read or experience something relating to your profession that will make you smarter. Today, I was lucky enough to spend about 20 minutes watching Mike Boyle perform table assessments on a few football players and I learned a ton simply watching him work and listening to him talk. I could have chosen to go home and come back later as I had a break until my next client, instead I stuck around and walked right into a great learning opportunity. If you have time on your hands use it to learn and get better.

6). Disengage yourself from time to time

Everything we do requires energy. Whether a task is mental, physical, spiritual or emotional, energy of some capacity is required to complete it. As strength coaches we talk about work,  recovery and periodization in a physical sense all of the time. But do we ever periodize our own lives? Do we ever think of energy systems outside of the exercise physiology standpoint?

Without trying to sound too much like the zen-master I want to stress the importance of emotional and mental recovery. We cannot be plugged in all the time. Hard work is great, long workdays are required (I know all about it) and sometimes we gotta put in extra time to get things done but always having yourself turned up to 11 is not good.

Take time for recovery. Go home and get off the computer. Curfew you your e-mail, your Facebook, and your professional life. Let your mind escape by reading something completely unrelated, doing something recreational, enjoying company of family and friends. You’ll find yourself more renewed the following day and you’ll probably sleep better to boot.

It's ok to unplug sometimes

That was my top 6. I’d love it if you shared your ideas in the comments section!!