Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Next Resource Every Strength Coach Needs

click me

Great New Resource:

Finding time for self-education is not an easy task when you are a fitness-therapy professional working 6am to 6pm. Every year we try to go to conferences and seminars, but as life takes place that does not always happen. With digital media capabilities we now have access to great resources like and Additionally, facebook and twitter provide a great platform for micro-blogging and getting information quick.

With a greater need for depth of understanding we can look to podcasts for help. Websites like provide a wealth of knowledge from authors like Mike Boyle, Gray Cook, Mark Verstegen, Brandon Marcelo and many more.

The next evolution in anytime education is here with the launch of webinars. From the comfort of your own home you can watch and listen-in as presentations are being given by leading authorities in the field of strength conditioning, personal training and sports therapy.

Anthony Renna, the forward thinking coach who brought us, now has developed a new webinar site called

Each month, members of the site will see at least 2 webinars from strength coaches like Michael Boyle, Alwyn Cosgrove, Brett Jones, Mike Robertson, and Eric Cressey; therapists like Gray Cook, Mike Reinold and Lee Burton. The site will also bring great coaches and therapists to the forefront who have not necessarily become mainstream.

The great thing about this site is that all of the webinars are being recorded so members can watch them anytime they want, there is no need to be present. There will also be a forum on the site that the presenters will be checking in on so members can ask any questions that they have about the webinars.

Check out the site and let me know your thoughts. I will be doing some talks on there in later months that will be in-line with some upcoming blogs I have planned.

Separate Yourself

Nick Winkelman
Director of Performance Education/Strength Coach
Athletes' Performance (Tempe, AZ)

Optimizing Recovery

Regeneration: Enhancing Recovery for Optimal Performance

Recovery through regeneration sessions and proper planning is critical to the success of every athlete/client. Within the Athletes' Performance Training System (APTS) there is a large focus on balancing the Work + Rest = Success equation. Work breaks the body down and it is the planned rest and recovery between training sessions that allows the athlete to achieve maximal performance and supercompensation. Within this equation the proper planning and periodization of work is just as important as the planned regeneration sessions used to enhance recovery. Kraemer (2) defines periodization as programmed variation in the training stimuli with the use of planned rest periods to augment recovery and restoration of an athlete’s potential. By this definition we can see that periodization is designed to optimize recovery which leads to supercompensation and therefore more work does not always relate to greater performance. Many leading authors would argue that the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), and more recently the Fitness-Fatigue Models (FFM), describe the physiological defense for using programmed variation through proper periodization (2). The FFM describes how there is a short-term fatigue effect that varies based on the type of work (i.e. Power vs. Endurance) followed by a long-term fitness or performance effect that is specific to the type of work (i.e. Maximal Strength vs. Hypertrophy). If work is reapplied during the fatigue state too often then performance will continue to fall and there is a potential for overtraining. For a detailed review on the FFM and the practical application for training please reference Chiu and Barnes (1). Additional reading on tapering and the proper use of the “Unload” is explained in the paper by Wilson and Wilson (3). The first step in optimal recovery is proper planning specific to the athlete’s abilities, sport demands, available time and the training age of the athlete.

Within the optimal periodization plan there needs to be planned regeneration sessions, active rest phases and periods of complete rest. The supplemental regeneration will focus on the following strategies: soft tissue through various self-myofascial techniques and stretching; proper nutrition; mindset and psychological stress management; sleep strategies and napping education. Self-myofascial techniques can be broken into general massage and local massage. General massage focuses on blood flow, lymphatic stimulation and general relaxation through the use of foam rolls, vibration and massage sticks. Local massage works towards the release of tissue adhesions and efforts are focused on specific trigger points using Trigger Point Technology tools, tennis ball + vibration and specific practitioner techniques (ex. Active Release Technique). These strategies will be followed by stretching methods that include joint mobility work, active isolated stretches and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. These methods are followed by hydrotherapy using the cold plunge and/or hot-cold contrast work. To enhance recovery further the use of compression garments can be provided for travel and wear at home.

Nutrition will be addressed day one with the athlete and an empowerment approach is used to give the athlete understanding and control of sustainable strategies. The following guidelines will be addressed in detail with each athlete that goes through the APTS: Meal spacing and timing; portion control based on goals, pre-workout nutrition, during workout nutrition, post workout nutrition, hydration, grocery shopping, and travel strategies.

It is critical to understand that stress is cumulative as explained by GAS, and stress outside of training can positively and/or negatively affect performance. For this reason we must monitor and manage any negative psychological stress outside and within training. Strategies that can be used or recommended include the following: Progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, meditation, music and aroma therapy, and many other relaxation based techniques.

Sleep is essential for mind body reconstruction and supplemental “Power Naps” are very important for optimal recovery. Going to bed before 10pm and getting 8-10hrs of sleep is not always a reality for the athletes/clients we work with. For this reason naps can be used to supplement, but not replace night time sleep. During a 20min nap the body will drop into brain frequencies that support memory, motor learning, mental recovery and general relaxation. The best time will typically be between 1-3pm, but an earlier nap prior to an afternoon training session is perfectly acceptable. It should be noted that progressive alarms that slowly bring the athlete/client to an awakened state can be recommended, and naps should be limited to 20min so not to fall into slow wave sleep which is extremely difficult to wake-up from and train.

There are many other strategies, but these are sustainable suggestions that can put an athlete in the best possible position to perform every time they step into the weight room or onto the field. In the end the best methods are those that the athlete believes in and feel empowered to complete on their own.

Athletes' Performance Training System: Regeneration

The following is an example of a perfect day scenario for optimal recovery:

8am: Breakfast + Hydration
9:45am: Pre-Workout Nutrition + Hydration
9:55am: Training Monitor
10am-11:00am: Training + Hydration (Electrolytes)
11:00-12pm: Soft-Tissue Work, Active Stretch, Post-Workout Nutrition + Hydration and Hydrotherapy
1pm: Lunch + Hydration
2pm-2:20pm: Nap
2:45pm: Pre-Workout Nutrition + Hydration
3pm-4pm: Training + Hydration (Electrolytes)
4pm-5pm: Soft-Tissue Work, Active Stretch, Post-Workout Nutrition + Hydration and Hydrotherapy
6pm: Dinner + Hydration
8pm: Snack
10pm: Bed

Chiu, L., and J. Barnes. The Fitness-Fatigue Model Revisted: Implications for Planning Short- and Long-Term Training. J Strength Cond. 25:42-51, 2003.

Haff, G. Roundtable Discussion: Periodization of Training- Part 1. J Strength Cond. 26:50-69, 2004.

Wilson, J., and G. Wilson. A Practical Approach to the Tape. J Strength Cond. 30:10-17, 2008.

Nick Winkelman CSCS, *D; NSCA-CPT, *D
Education Manger/ Performance Specialist
Athletes' Performance (Tempe, AZ)

Energy System Development

Energy System Development: Developing Movement Capacity

Energy System Development (ESD) plays a critical role within the Athletes' Performance Training System (APTS). ESD will be completed at the end of every workout unless otherwise specified by the therapy team or there are contraindications for any reason. Prior to the completion of the first ESD workout each athlete will complete a Peak VO2 test using the iMETT system and software. This 8-12min test is completed on a treadmill or bike and provides a detailed 3-Zone periodized heart rate system that is predicted off the actual Anaerobic Threshold (AT) and Peak VO2. Note that ventilation, heart rate and power is captured to provide highly specific training zones. The final product is a 5-Phase periodized conditioning plan designed to match the metabolic and movement demands of an athlete’s sport. Each phase will alternate the use of the following three heart rate zones: Yellow (85-95% of AT), Green (AT-110% of AT) and Red (110% of AT-Peak VO2 HR). These 3-Zones are then split into recovery days (Yellow Zone), medium days (Yellow, Green and Some Red) and hard days (Yellow, Green and Red). The emphasis of each zone will progress based on the athlete’s abilities, time availability and the needs of the sport.

Phase 1 (Base Development):

The dominant goal of Phase 1 is to create an aerobic energy system which will be the foundation of the following 4-Phases. To create a strong aerobic base the athlete will spend the majority of their time working around AT in the yellow and green zone with a progressive increase in red zone time as they improve. This will not only strengthen their aerobic capabilities, but also is critical in teaching them how to properly recover and introduce “true interval” training. This phase will last 1-7 weeks depending on the level of the athlete and any weight loss considerations that may need to be addressed before the intensity level is increased.

Phase 2 (True Interval Training):

The primary goal of Phase 2 is develop cardio and leg strength through the introduction of the red zone. This phase will still use cardio equipment, but the intensity achieved on medium and hard days will be significantly higher than the previous phase. True Interval training is characterized by the ability of the athlete to achieve and sustain the heart rates in their red zone for a period of time and then fully recover back down to their yellow zone. As the athlete improves they are able to achieve the higher heart rates sooner and sustain work/power at those levels for longer intervals. Additionally, the time to recovery decreases and we can use more advanced work to rest ratios. This phase will typically last 1-2 weeks and will prepare the athlete for the subsequent phases.

Phase 3 (Linear Movement):

The goal of Phase 3 is to introduce linear specific movements while addressing the metabolic and work to rest demands seen in their sport. When possible these sessions should be completed on the actual playing surface that the athlete will need to perform on. Note that movement quality is still emphasized in addition to the intensity needed to reach the heart rates in a given zone. The linear phase will last 1-2 weeks and workouts will only take place on the hard days due to the dominant focus on movement intensity. Therefore, the workouts on recovery and medium days will be completed on cardio equipment. This phase will use jog to sprint progressing to sprint to jog protocols for various time and distance intervals.

Phase 4 (Multi-Directional Movement):

The multi-directional phase is the same as the linear phase, but the movement focus will transition to change of direction and pivoting movements. Note that there is a dominant focus on acceleration and deceleration capabilities. Sessions will still take place on hard days using 6-cone drills to address the specific movements and metabolic demands of the athlete’s sport. Work to rest ratios will move from 1:2 to 2:1 once the athlete has shown mastery and adaptation.

Phase 5 (Sport Specific Movement):

This phase will introduce the actual technical/tactical drill work seen in the sport with emphasis in the specific work to rest ratios that characterize the sport. Keep in mind that work to rest ratios should reflect the random nature of the sport and the rest should also represent the type of rest the athlete will receive during play (i.e. Passive vs. Active).

Each phase represents a step to get the athlete in the metabolic and movement shape needed to play their sport at the highest level. This is done through specific heart rate training that focuses on capacity and power production. This is important because the athlete may have the cardio strength, but lacks the leg strength to sustain the power endurance demands of the sport. Therefore, the ability to increase speed, incline, resistance, reps per time interval and the actual monitoring of power (wattage) allows you to track heart rate and power adaptation through all 5 phases of training. The end goal should be to produce the sport specific energy systems matched with the appropriate lower body power endurance and movement durability.

Please see EPISODE 17 on for a detailed review of the Athletes' Performance ESD System by our lead Metabolic Specialist Paul Robbins.

Nick Winkelman CSCS, *D; NSCA-CPT, *D
Education Manger/ Performance Specialist
Athletes' Performance (Tempe, AZ)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Movement Based Program Design: Strength-Power Development

Developing the optimal strength training program to elicit maximal adaptation at an exact point in time is not an easy task and takes sound systems that are constantly being re-evaluated:

“The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.” -John Kenneth Galbraith

Within the Athletes' Performance Training System (APTS) we focus on the idea of Strength-Power to Support Movement with the focus being placed on the movement and strength qualities that are specific to the athlete’s sport. The goal should be that every percent improvement in the weight room transfers to some percent improvement in the specific sport. In a study by Wilson et al. (2) they found that a 21% improvement in 1RM Squat Strength resulted in a 21% improvement in Vertical Jump (VJ), but only a 2.3% improvement in 40-m run (3). This may be in part due to the greater movement specificity of the squat to VJ compared to the horizontal emphasis seen during the 40-m run. Despite the greater improvement seen in the VJ this does not mean that squatting is not important for sprinting, but rather we would need to incorporate horizontal focused training which is seen in previous components of the APTS (i.e. Plyometrics and Movement Skills). Additionally, patterns like a split squat and/or a single leg squat may have had a greater transfer do to the single leg nature of sprinting. Further examination could focus on what aspects of the 40-m run resulted in the greatest percent improvement versus percent improvement in final time (ex. 0-10m, 10-20m, and 20-40m). This is crucial because the movement qualities used during the Start and Acceleration are more reflective of the squat compared to the movement qualities seen during Absolute Speed. So when we start to examine the demands of the sport and evaluate transfer of training we need to be aware of what movement qualities are involved and how each aspect of the training will develop them separately (i.e. Strength-Power Session) and together (i.e. Movement Skills).

When it comes to designing the actual strength-power session we look at program design logic to drive the process. This means we will analyze the specific abilities of the athletes in terms of the movement-strength quality demands of their world and compare those to figure out the appropriate phase (Mesocycle) and periodization strategies needed to optimize improvement. Once this is determined we will look deeper at the schedule and time constraints to balance out each Microcycle (i.e. 1-week of training). Once we have determined time and phase strategies we are prepared to select what movements will be “split” over the course of each Microcycle.

“If we train muscles we will forget Movements, but if we train Movements we will never forget muscles”

Movement types are broken into the following categories: (1) Upper Body Pushing Vert-Horiz; (2) Upper Body Pulling Vert-Horiz; (3) Lower Body Pushing 1Leg-2Leg-Split; (4) Lower Body Pulling Hip-Knee Dominant. Movement’s types can be split up using the following examples: (1) Total Body; (2) Upper-Lower Body; (3) Total Body Mix. Once we have split up our movements we are prepared to choose exercises and progressions. For example, if the split was a total body mix over a four day training week then the movement types may be split as follows:

Week 1:

Monday (Primary-UB Push Horizontal and Secondary-LB Pull Hip Dominant 1-Leg)

Tuesday (Primary-LB Push 2-Leg and Secondary-UB Pull Horizontal)

Wednesday (Regeneration)

Thursday (Primary-LB Pull Hip Dominant 2-Leg and Secondary-UB Push Vertical)

Friday (Primary-UB Pull Vertical and Secondary-LB Push 1-Leg)

After choosing the exercises and progressions that will be used then we are prepared to prescribe repetitions, sets, tempo, loading methods, and rest. This entire process would be done for each phase of training which can last 3-4 weeks with the last week being an unload.

Athletes' Performance Training System: Strength Design
The following is an example of a Foundational Strength Day within a 3-week training phase using a total body mix split structure. Each column is representative of one week of training and each block should be completed in a circuit fashion prior to moving onto the next block. The goal of this phase would be movement proficiency, pillar strength, body awareness and correcting any gross asymmetries.
Prone Y's and T's 2x10ea
Leg Lowering Progression I 2x6-8ea
Diagonal Arm Lift 2x6ea
Standing T's x6
W1 2x8-10 W2 3x8-10 W3 3x6-8
AIS 90/90 Hamstring Stretch x6ea
W1 2x8-10 W2 3x8-10 W3 3x6-8
Seated Thoracic Rotation x4-6ea
W1 2x10ea W2 2x10ea W3 2x10ea
Prone Pillar Bridge W1 2x30s W2 2x45s W3 2x60s
Lateral Pillar Bridge W1 2x30s ea W2 2x45s ea W3 2x60s ea
Half-Kneeling Curl to Press W1 2x8-10ea W2 2x6-8ea W3 2x4-6ea
Physioball 2-Leg Curl W1 2x8-10 W2 2x6-8 W3 2x4-6
Physioball Straight Leg Bridge W1 2x30s W2 2x45s W3 2x60s
For more example programs go to and get a free trial membership and ask questions on the public forum.

Nick Winkelman CSCS, *D; NSCA-CPT, *D
Education Manger/ Performance Specialist
Athletes' Performance (Tempe, AZ)

Stone, M.H., M. Stone, and W.A. Sands. Principles and Practice of Resistance training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2007.

Wilson, G.J., A.J. Murphy, and A. Walshe. The specificity of strength training: the effect of posture. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 73:346-352, 1996.

Young, W.B. Transfer of Strength and Power Training to Sports Performance. International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance. 1:74-83, 2006.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Athletes' Performance Training System: Movement Skills

Movement Skills: Transitioning to a Dynamic Environment

Within the Athletes' Performance Training System (APTS) we place a heavy emphasis on movement quality, performance and durability. For these reasons we have a session that is solely focused on developing movement efficiency and power in an effort to mimic the demands of an athlete’s sport in addition to addressing their individual needs. Each Movement Skills (MS) session will focus on linear movement qualities and/or Multidirectional movement qualities, and will be broken into movement technique (Motor Learning Emphasis) and movement application (Power and Speed Emphasis) components. Additionally, the movement application component can be further broken down into pre-programmed drills and random drills.

At Athletes' Performance we will have two days dedicated to linear speed development (ex. Monday and Thursday) and two days dedicated to multidirectional speed development (ex. Tuesday and Friday). The actual MS session will last about 30-45min depending on whether the athlete is with us twice daily or once daily. On a linear speed day we will address one or more of the following qualities: Starts (ex. Flying, Falling, 2pt and 3pt), Acceleration (ex. 5-20 yards), Transition, Absolute Speed (ex. 20+ yards) and Deceleration. Note that these individual components will initially be taught on separate days and as the athlete shows proficiency we will start working on linking everything together.

On a multidirectional speed day we will focus on one or more of the following qualities: Shuffle, Cutting, Crossover Patterns, Backpedal, Drop Step, and Base Position. It should be noted that linear speed components can still be addressed on multidirectional days. These drills will initially be taught individually in a pre-programmed environment and eventually will be linked together in a random environment reflective of sport.

The eventual randomization of drills will be essential to the athlete’s success. Within sport they will be faced with various stimuli that include (Harbin et al. 1989):
Average Reaction Time

-0.142s (Auditory Stimuli)
-0.155s (Tactile Stimuli)
-0.194s (Visual Stimuli)

The reaction that results from these stimuli can be broken into two phases that include the latency phase (i.e. Time from sensory input to EMG) and the response phase or electromechanical delay (i.e. Time from EMG to motor action or movement). It has been stated that the latency phase is highly genetic and the response phase is trainable (Siff, 2004). For these reasons we must eventually place the athlete in a random environment as the actual learning and motor response is different than that experienced in pre-programmed drills.

As previously stated the session will be broken down into technical and application components. The technical component uses methods that focus on motor learning and reactive neuromuscular training techniques (See Athletic Body in Balance by Gray Cook). Methods may include the use of wall drills, harness drills, resisted-assisted bungee work and sled pulling. Note that the initial use of these methods focuses on teaching the athlete how to move correctly and increase movement awareness, but eventually can be used to overload movements patterns as is the case with sled work. Following the technical work is the application component which focuses on developing movement speed and power. Within this component we will focus on full-speed drills under no resistance or assistance. The goal is to apply the movements at speeds and within environments that reflect the athlete’s sport. For example, on a linear speed day with an acceleration emphasis we may ask the athlete to do 4-6x10 yard sprints with an emphasis on speed of movement. Each repetitions time would be monitored and once we see a drastic time decrease then the session is over (i.e. 10-20% decrease in time and/or speed). It should be noted that a new athlete will spend the majority of their time working on technique and as they achieve mastery they will focus a greater amount of their time on the sport specific application of those techniques.

Athletes' Performance Training System: Movement Skills

Linear Speed Day: Acceleration Emphasis
Technical Component (20min):
Wall Drills (45degree body lean):
o Posture Holds 20s ea
o Load and Lift w/ Contra-lateral Hip Flexion x5-10ea
o Load and Lift w/ Contra-Lateral Hip Extension-Flexion x5-10ea
o Marching x10-20 contacts ea
o Single Exchanges 1-2x5-10 ea
o Double-Triple Exchanges 1-2x5 ea
Harness Drills (45degree body lean): Note that the videos depict the proper movements without the harness.
o Marching 1-2x10-15yds
o Skipping 1-2x10-15yds
o Acceleration Runs 1-2x10-15yds
Application Component (10-20min)
Free Acceleration Runs (Falling Start):
o 4-6x10-15yd runs (1-3+ Minutes Between Repetitions)
(Session will stop once form and/or speed has decreased below the desired level of the coach)

Additional Acceleration Workout Example

Cook, G. Athletic Body in Balance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2003.

Gambetta, V. Athletic Development. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2007.

Harbin, G., L. Durst, and D. Harbin. Evaluation of Oculomotor Response in Relationship to Sports Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 21:258-262, 1989.

Siff, M.C. Supertraining. Denver, CO: Supertraining Institute, 2003.

Verstegen, M. Coordination and Agility. In: High-Performance Sports Conditioning. B. Foran (Ed.) Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2001.

Nick Winkelman CSCS, *D; NSCA-CPT, *D
Education Manger/ Performance Specialist
Athletes' Performance (Tempe, AZ)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Developing a Plyometric System

Plyometrics: Connecting the Weight Room to the Field

Plyometrics play an essential role in the Athletes' Performance Training System (APTS) and are critical to the success of our athletes. Plyometric training is used for Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention with a focus on high quality movement patterns. The ability to translate the strength and speed developed in the weight room to the field is paramount for our athletes. One of the primary ways we do this is through the proper implementation and execution of plyometrics. Within the APTS plyometrics will follow movement preparation and precede our movement skill session. This session will focus on specific movements, directions and strength-power qualities (i.e. movement initiation) based on the ability of the athlete in terms of that day’s movement session (ex. Linear focused plyometric session will precede a linear focused movement skills session). It should be noted that this session focuses on high quality movement patterns with an emphasis on maximal power production and rate of force development in an effort to potentiate the movement patterns used during the movement skills session.

Plyometrics may be defined as any movement that utilizes the Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC). The SSC can be defined as a concentric contraction that has been preceded immediately by an eccentric contraction. It is during the eccentric contraction or “pre-load” that we see multiple neuromuscular actions that facilitate greater force being produced during the concentric phase of a given movement. These actions include: (1) Increased time to develop force due to the eccentric and isometric “Pre-Load”, (2) Increased muscle stiffness and therefore the ability to store and release elastic energy during the concentric phase, (3) Potentiation of the Stretch Reflex due to the rapid lengthening seen during the eccentric phase of the motion. These actions result in greater force per unit of time (i.e. Rate of Force Production) being produced during the concentric phase. Researchers are still debating which variable is most responsible for the increase in force seen during the concentric phase and arguably these variables may be emphasized differently based on the plyometric movement being used (ex. Countermovement Jump vs. Depth Jump). For a great review on the SSC and the role of elasticity in human movement please see Wilson et al.

When designing a plyometric progression we must respect the demand placed on the nervous system and the tissue of the body. For these reasons we will use simple stability based progressions on the front side of a training program and move into more complex and power oriented progressions as movement mastery is achieved. Additionally, we will look very closely at not only the movement progressions, but also the volume of contacts used in a session and a week. Within the APTS we use plyometrics as a potentiator for the movement skill session and primarily focus on producing optimal power with every repetition executed. From a training adaptation standpoint we are looking for the following results: Improved landing and take-off quality; increased tissue tolerance and muscle stiffness (i.e. elasticity); and decreased amortization (time from the onset of the eccentric phase to the concentric phase) and coupling times (time from the end of the eccentric phase to the beginning of the concentric phase). It can be noted that if the focus is on power endurance, or the use plyometrics for work capacity, then you would see those executed after the movement skill session or directly integrated into an auxiliary circuit within our strength training component.

Plyometric Variables:

Movement Type:

· Jump: 2 Leg take-off with a 2 Leg landing
· Hop: 1 Leg take-off with the same 1 Leg landing
· Bound: 1 Leg take-off with the opposite 1 Leg landing
Movement Direction:
· Primary: Linear, Lateral or Rotational
· Emphasis: Vertical and/or Horizontal Displacement
Movement Initiation Progression-Continuum:

Drop Squat/Hop: From a standing position drop into desired landing position (ex. 1-Leg vs. 2-Leg Landing) with the emphasis being placed on movement mechanics. Strength-Power Quality: Low eccentric demand with landing focus

Non-Countermovement (NCM) to Box (3-12in): Not a true plyometric as there is at least a 2s pause prior to executing the concentric phase of the motion and therefore does not optimally use the SSC.
Strength-Power Quality: Contractile Focus (i.e. Starting Strength-Power) with moderate eccentric demand

Countermovement (CM) to Box (3-12in): True plyometric that uses an eccentric pre-load prior to quickly transitioning into the concentric phase of the motion.
Strength-Power Quality: Explosive Strength-Power focus with moderate-high eccentric demand

NCM on Ground
Strength-Power Quality:
Contractile Strength-Power (i.e. Starting Strength-Power) with moderate eccentric demand

CM on Ground
Strength-Power Quality:
Explosive Strength-Power focus with moderate-high eccentric demand

Double Contact (Stability): This initiation requires a person to set at the specific joint angles that they wish to take-off from and subsequently attack the ground to initiate a forceful SSC.
Strength-Power Quality: Contractile-reactive Strength-Power with high eccentric demand

Double Contact (Continuous): This initiation is executed in the same manner as the previous, but instead of stabilizing after each movement the person will land then immediately attack the ground to continue motion in the desired direction.
Strength-Power Quality: Reactive Strength-Power/power with high eccentric demand

Continuous: This initiation is executed with continuous contacts using the desired movements and directions.
Strength-Power Quality: Reactive Strength-Power with very high eccentric demand

Additional Load or Depth Work: To increase the eccentric demand a person can add load to the body or require that the person drop from a specific height prior to executing the desired movement. Both of these techniques are highly advanced and it can be recommended that you initially use simple movements, directions and initiation choices (ex. Linear-Vertical NCM-Jump w/ 20Lb weight vest).
Strength-Power Quality: Depends on movement initiation with extreme eccentric demand

From a cueing standpoint we will focus on hip, knee and ankle alignment in addition to proper trunk and arm action. Some example cues include: “Lock your ankle and land on ball of foot”; “Unlock your hips and sit behind your knee”; “Stomach tight when landing”; “Arms drive the hips up and pull the hips down”; “Drive your hips up through your chest”. We try to find the cue that maximizes results and minimizes paralysis through analysis.

As a general rule everyone will start with the base level progressions and move to the next level once they have reached mastery. This allows everyone within a group to learn the movements at the same time, but progress at an individualized level. A further note is that the initiations used are not only a progression, but also represent a continuum. For example, an NFL lineman may be at the level where they can use a continuous initiation, but they still need starting strength-power for there sport and therefore we would still want to use a NCM initiation within their plyometric program. Manage risk and maximize benefits while understanding that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to developing a seamlessly integrated plyometric progression.

Recommended Reading:
Aagaard, P., E.B. Simonsen, J.L. Andersen, P. Magnusson, and P. Dyhre-Poulsen. Increased rate of force development and neural drive of human skeletal muscle following resistance training. J Appl Physiol. 93:1318-1326, 2002.

McGuigan, M.R., T.L. Doyle, M. Newton, D.J. Edwards, S. Nimphius, and R.U. Newton. Eccentric utilization ratio: effect of sport and phase of training. J Strength Cond Res. 20:992-995, 2006.

Siff, M.C. Supertraining. Denver, CO: Supertraining Institute, 2003.

Stone, M.H., M. Stone, and W.A. Sands. Principles and Practice of Resistance training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2007.

Wilson, J.M., and E.P. Flanagan. The role of elastic energy in activities with high force and power requirements: a brief review. J Strength Cond Res. 22:1705-1715, 2008.

Zatsiorsky, V.M., and W.J. Kraemer. Science and Practice of Strength Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2006.

Listen to this podcast on

Nick Winkelman CSCS, *D; NSCA-CPT, *D
Education Manger/ Performance Specialist
Athletes' Performance (Tempe, AZ)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Athletes' Performance Team is at IHRSA

Special Update: IHRSA WEEK 2009

Athletes' Performance will be at the IHRSA 2009 Trade Show. IHRSA is a great organization that stands for, International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association: Organization that promotes fitness through education and sport club membership ( This is one of the top trade shows in the world for new equipment, methods, services, and anything cutting edge within the fitness and wellness field. Athletes' Performance will be here with KEISER ( at booth#728 and want to thank them for their long-term support in all of our verticals. Other partners at IHRSA include: Power Plate International, Perform Better, Woodway and AlterG, TRX Fitness Anywhere, and Octane. We are excited to support each of our partners as their equipment and services are instrumental in the execution of the Athletes' Performance Training Systems.

I will continue to Blog about IHRSA all week and keep everyone updated on the latest and greatest in performance training. For those of you who are going to be at IHRSA, please stop by the Keiser booth to see Athletes' performance and visit all of our world-class partners.

Thank You All

Twitter: for real-time updates.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Movement Prep: Movement Based Warm-Up
Movement Preparation (MP) follows Prehab in the Athletes' Performance training system and is the one component of the system that by itself can increase mobility, stability and the overall efficiency of movement patterns. This 4-step model will systematically prepare the body for any and all training in the gym/field or game of life. During MP our goal is to increase core temperature, address key mobility and stability demands, and activate the nervous system using movements and speeds specific to that day’s training session. This 4-step model will move from an isolation focus to a movement integration focus. Movements will initially be simple and slow moving towards more complex patterns at higher speeds. This allows us to safely and efficiently prepare the client’s “hardware” (i.e. Tissue and Joints) and “software” (i.e. Nervous System) for the training that follows.

Step 1 (Glute Activation): We start by activating the glutes using mini-bands around the knees and/or the ankles. The client will perform one round of movements with the legs completely extended and one round of movements in an athletic base where they are flexed at the hip, knee and ankle. Movements will be linearly and/or laterally focused based on the training session that follows

Step 2 (Dynamic Stretches): Glute activation will be followed by specific dynamic stretches that address key mobility and stability demands for that client in terms of that training day. These stretches can be executed in-place or moving over a distance for a designated series of repetitions.

Step 3 (Integrated Marching and Skipping): From dynamic stretches we move into specific marching and skipping patterns that focus on reactivity and force production through the hip, knee and ankle. These movements will be linearly and/or laterally focused based on the training session that follows.

Step 4 (Neural Activation/Rapid Response): From marching and skipping we move into rapid response. All movements will be done from an athletic base and the client will move through the hip, knee and ankle at high speeds for 3-5 second intervals. For example, 2 Inch Runs involve alternating the legs in place over a small amplitude as many times as can be controlled for a given time interval. Note that agility ladder work can fit into this section of the MP model.

Athletes’ Performance Training System: Movement Prep
Training Focus: 15 Minute Movement Prep with a focus on Multi-Directional Speed
Step 1 (Glute Activation) x10 repetitions per leg for each movement
Linear Base Position Mini-Band Walks
Lateral Straight Leg Mini-Band Walks
Step 2 (Dynamic Stretches) x3-6 repetitions for each movement
Elbow to Instep Stretch (World’s Greatest Stretch)
Backward Lunge
Knee Hug
Leg Cradle
Drop Lunge
Lateral Lunge
Step 3 (Integrated Marching and Skipping) 2x10-15yds for each movement
Lateral Pillar March
Lateral Pillar Skip
Step 4 (Rapid Response) 2x3-5s for each movement
2 Foot Lateral Base
Base Rotations

Check out the podcast (31.5) on this topic at

Next topic will cover integrated Plyometrics, "The Bridge Between Strength and Movement"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The AP Prehab System:

Prehab: Sustainable Injury Prevention

At Athletes' Performance our primary goal is to increase the career productivity and longevity of the athletes we work with. To do this we must be certain that their movement patterns are symmetrical and efficient. One of the ways we do this is through a section of our training system that we call Prehab. This is the first thing an athlete will do on the training floor and is meant to prepare the body based on individual needs.

We will look at an athlete’s Functional Movement Screen score, and based on the movement demands of that day’s session, we will look to correct 1-2 top priority movement patterns (ex. Correct for the Active Straight Leg Raise and Deep Squat Pattern). Once top priority movements have been established we will correct imbalances using specific Self-Myofascial Release (SMR), Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), and Activation strategies. We will use SMR on specific areas that may be tight, weak, and/or overactive. We will follow SMR with specific AIS for the same affected areas. This will allow us to move the muscle through an active range of motion, increase localized blood flow, and begin grooving isolated movement patterns. AIS will be followed by specific activation or corrective exercises that are meant to innervate weak or under-active muscles/movement patterns. For example, we may perform Side-Lying Hip Abduction with Internal Hip Rotation and Extension to focus on Posterior Glute Medius activation without dominant Tensor Fasciae Latea activation.

This system allows us to handle mobility and/or stability problems all while developing clean movement patterns. It is important to note that this section of the program is focused and we only use the necessary exercises to achieve the desired results. In our training system Prehab is followed by Movement Prep where we go from isolation and innervations to integrated movement.

Athletes’ Performance Training System: 10min Prehab Example
Training Day: Linear Speed Development (Acceleration Focus)

Soft-Tissue (Example Method: Foam Roll)- 30s each
Tennis Ball Foot (Arch) Rolls:
Foam Roll ITB:
Foam Roll Quads:
Foam Roll Deep-6 Hip Rotators:

Active Isolated Stretches (Method: Rope Stretch)- 1x5-10 2s holds ea
Calf Stretch:
Bent Knee Hamstring Stretch:
ITB Stretch:
Adduction Stretch:
Quad/Hip Flexor Stretch:

Activation Methods (Hip and Trunk Focus)- 1x10 ea
Diagonal Arm Lift:
Hip Abduction:
Hip External Rotation:
Hip Adduction:
Glute Bridge-Marching:

Recommended Reading:
Anatomy Trains by: Thomas Myers
Active Isolated Stretching: The Mattes Method by: Aaron Mattes
Athletic Body in Balance by: Gray Cook
Core Performance Essentials by: Mark Verstegen

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Athletes' Performance System

Methodology: A System Based Approach

The Athletes' Performance mission is to provide the finest performance methods, specialists, and facilities Seamlessly Integrated to efficiently and ethically enhance our athletes’ performance. Through this mission our goals are to improve the client’s performance, decrease their potential for injury, provide them with sustainable strategies, and put them in the best position to attain their goals. We found the only way to do this is by applying a systems based approach. Ralph Waldo Emerson has a quote that truly exemplifies this concept:

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble."

With so many methods out there it can become difficult to see the ‘forest from the trees,’ but with the proper systems in place a coach can have their tools and the toolbox to contain them all. It is the toolbox or system that is sustainable and as better methods are uncovered a trainers tools will change. Additionally, we need to break the stigma that there is only one way to do things and that you can’t have two different tools that do the same job. Whether you ‘draw in’ or ‘brace’ there is a time and place to use both of these methods and in some cases clients will respond to one better than the other. For this reason we are always open to new methods and know our systems are in place to allow for efficient execution of these strategies.

Athletes’ Performance Training System:

  • Evaluation: Athlete’s Abilities + Movement Demands = Proper Movement Based Planning
  • Prehab: Develop corrective strategies that take into account the athlete’s movement priorities in terms of the movement demands of that training session.
  • Movement Prep: Applying this 4-step system will not only physically prepare your athletes, but more importantly will be a sustainable tool for teaching and refining movement patterns.
  • Plyometrics: Using this session as a bridge between strength and movement skills is the key to developing powerful movement patterns. This session involves low quantity, high quality work to teach the athlete how to improve power production and rate of force development.
  • Movement Skills: This critical component of the training system is a blend of technique and power application that allows the athlete to execute in the same way they will on their field of play.
  • Strength and Power Session: Once in the weight room it is important to understand that it is not strength to support strength, but strength to support movement. We need to train at the speeds, loads, and movements pertinent to the athlete’s abilities and sport/position.
  • Energy System Development: This session is built to train the correct energy systems and attack individual deficits with pertinent movements in a fun and challenging environment.
  • Regeneration: It is important to understand that everything in the system will break the athlete down and this is the time when we educate and execute regeneration strategies to ensure optimal performance during future training sessions.

This first blog represents the basis for future posts and discussions. To reach optimal performance we must have a sustainable system in place.

"It is what you learn after you know it all that counts" -John Wooden

Thank You Team