Coach Taylor featured on STACK!

www.SMARTERTeamTraining.comAnd the tips keep on coming from Coach Taylor! This one features three videos and some good old fashion questions and answers from a recent interview with Coach Taylor and STACK. Check out the post by clicking the STACK logo above. Let STT know what you think of what Coach Taylor had to say by leaving a comment below.

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Coach/Trainer Interview for September 2010

This month STT interviews Nick Wilson. Coach Wilson is an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Detroit Mercy. Nick came to UDM from the Detroit Tigers, where he worked within the Tigers’ minor league affiliates in Lakeland, FL (High A), and Toledo, OH (AAA) as a strength and conditioning coach. He also held the same position within the Minnesota Twins (AA) and Cincinnati Reds (High A) organizations.

STT would like to thank Coach Wilson for taking the time to answer a few questions. You may have met Nick at the Michigan Clinic this past May where he did an excellent job. Coach Wilson answers questions that most young strength and conditioning professionals will have to think about. See how Nick answers the tough questions that STT asks below!

STT: Please provide your educational background including undergrad, graduate experience and certifications.

Coach Wilson: I graduated with a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

STT: How did you become involved in the industry?

Coach Wilson: I got involved in the industry in the same way so many other before me have.  I played sports my entire life and wanted to be a part of them in any way, shape, or form.  Once I realized that I wasn’t good enough to play I decided that trying to make athletes better was an avenue I wanted to try.  I did an internship at UDM, under Jim Kielbaso, and loved everything about working with athletes and doing everything I could to make them better.

STT: What is your specialization? Feel free to expand upon your job responsibilities, interests or current project you are working on.

Coach Wilson: As far as a specialization I really don’t have one.  My main focus right now at UDM is Men/Women’s Lacrosse but I work with all the teams as evenly as possible.

STT: What aspect of the field do you enjoy the most? Feel free to elaborate and provide multiple examples.

Coach Wilson: The most enjoyable part of my job is seeing my athletes succeed.  Seeing them win championships and also becoming better people.  One example is watching our Men’s Lacrosse team win their first game in their short history.  I feel that it was that moment when they realized that all the hard work, early mornings, and long lifting/running sessions really paid off.  Another enjoyable part is when coaches/athletes thank you for the hard work that you put in.  It really makes you feel like you are doing your job when they come back and thank you.

STT: Will aerobic exercise hurt muscle growth?

Coach Wilson: Ultimately yes. It all goes back to your goals and what you are working toward.

STT: What things should I know before starting a training program?

Coach Wilson: Just what your goals are.  If you go into a training program blindly and don’t have a goal in mind you are just training to train.  Having a goal helps you know why you are doing something and helps you stay focused.

STT: What is the best meal after weight lifting/training?

Coach Wilson: Peanut butter sandwich and a glass of chocolate milk.  Those two food items give you most of the nutrients that are needed to begin and aid in recovery.

STT: How often should I strength train?

Coach Wilson: I try to get my athletes 2-3 times per week for full body workouts.  This can and does change drastically based on time of year, in/out of season, and practice schedules.

STT: How does strength training change with the level of athlete?

Coach Wilson: This always depends on the age and experience of the athlete.  Younger athletes should focus on body control and technique.  As the athlete gets older/more experienced then the weights and exercises will become more complex.  Finally as the athlete reaches an elite level the focus in on injury prevention and function.

STT: How do I determine how long I should rest between sets?

Coach Wilson: This all depends on the intensity of the exercise, the type, and the purpose of training.  You need to focus on your goals and know what you are trying to accomplish while you are training.

STT: Why is an elevated heart rate alone not always a valid indicator of an effective aerobic-training stimulus?

Coach Wilson: You can get your heart rate elevated in almost anything you do which doesn’t mean you are training aerobically.

STT: What resources (web, dvd, books) do you use to learn about sprint technique and drills to improve speed?

Coach Wilson: When I need to learn about sprint technique and drills to improve speed, I go to Total Performance Training Center in Wixom, MI.  Jim Kielbaso and his staff have a lot of  insight to the new techniques and are experienced at teaching sprint mechanics.

STT: What do you notice most about athletes coming out of high school today?

Coach Wilson: Athletes today have a lower tolerance for hard work.  They think that they work hard but the intensity at each level goes up the further you go.

Keep in touch with STT for more interviews from coaches around the world.  For more information about upcoming interviews, and to keep in touch with STT, join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook by searching SMARTER Team Training.

I hope all is well.  Have a great day!

www.smarterteamtraining.com

Coach/Trainer Interview for August 2010

This month STT interviews Rick Court. Coach Court is the Director of Football Strength and Conditioning at the University of Toledo. Rick played baseball at Michigan State University and started in strength and conditioning in his last year as a intern.

STT would like to thank Coach Court for taking the time to answer a few questions. I have actually witnessed Rick’s early morning Friday in-season lifts for the scout team. His intensity and attention to detail is contagious. Check out Coach Court’s Q&A session with STT below!

STT: Please provide your educational background including undergrad, graduate experience and certifications.

Coach Court: I graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology. I pursued my MS in Sports Administration at Eastern Kentucky University. And, I am certified by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.

STT: How did you become involved in the industry?

Coach Court: I knew I wanted to be a strength coach from the time I entered college. I trained as a student athlete and was lucky enough to intern when I was done playing baseball. From there I knew I had a passion for it and just tried to learn as much as I could. I was lucky to get a paid internship at Bowling Green. I always tried to go above and beyond with every sport that I was involved with.

STT: What is your specialization? Feel free to expand upon your job responsibilities, interests or current project you are working on.

Coach Court: At Toledo, I am in charge of every aspect of Strength and Conditioning as it pertains to the football program. Many other responsibilities come as well: nutrition, training table, rehabilitation, recovery, motivation and many other aspects that arise.

STT: What aspect of the field do you enjoy the most? Feel free to elaborate and provide multiple examples.

Coach Court: I enjoy the relationships with the athletes the most. I love being able to help and guide them in life. Discipline and accountability is such a huge thing in football but also in school and life. The feeling after winning and knowing what these players sacrifice to win and succeed in everything is so gratifying.

STT: Do you have other tips to help players maintain performance (or delay fatigue) throughout a game?

Coach Court: At Toledo we basically have food available constantly (team meals and snacks). Each player feels different on game day so I feel we need to cater to all needs. We also have fluids (Gatorade/water/juice) everywhere all week at most times of the year. Those are huge intangible things I think help us during the season.

STT: For today’s Strength & Conditioning specialist, what type of academic and professional training can optimize a young person’s chances for success in the field in the 21st century?

Coach Court: A couple things:

1. Get a degree that allows you to teach in high school… I think those jobs will bet huge in the near future

2. Volunteer and intern as much as you can in different environments. Most GA’s I know have earned that spot through hard work at that unpaid level. Keep your mouth shut, listen, and out work people!

3. Constantly look for ways to improve: read, call people on the phone, and visit places.

4. Most importantly… don’t get side tracked by guru things… training is simple! TRAIN KIDS HARD AND SAFE!

STT: What would you tell the Strength & Conditioning coach that wants to keep up with current research from sport scientist? What ideas do you have for initiating such contacts?

Coach Court: Wow, good question. I am not sure if some of those people are always right. Pick people you trust and build a great relationship with them. Make sure what you learn is practical and can help you and your athletes.

STT: Years ago, the stability ball was the hot trend in the fitness field…one year ago it was the kettlebell (and kinda still is). What current ‘trend’ do you see in the fitness field today?

Coach Court: A lot of things: kettlebells, ropes, and med balls. Things that have been around and are coming back. I think people need to realize some of that stuff is not practical. All the balance, core, and functional training is really blown up way too much. We need to spend more time training muscles hard through a full range of motion and include hard conditioning. We need to make sure we are also training the neck and posterior chain consistently and progressively.

STT: Where do you use plyometrics in your weekly plan? Do the plyometrics come after weight work or before? On the day of weight work or the day after?

Coach Court: We use some type of plyometrics multiple times per week in the weight room during workouts/ in the sand / on the field.

STT: What sport skills can you improve during your strength and conditioning workouts?

Coach Court: We have sport specific conditioning and sport specific skill workouts to get better at our sport. In the weight room we get stronger to have the ability to optimize those skills.

STT: What are some of the mental roadblocks athletes have in regards to their training and performance on and off the field?

Coach Court: Early on lack of understanding of what hard work is and what expectations are at the college level. After they realize what the college level is about, there could be potential for many roadblocks. Realization of lack of ability (or lack of confidence), social relations, family relations, not knowing there team role, home sickness, etc. It is imperative as a strength coach to have relationship with the players so you can help to blast through these barriers.

Keep in touch with STT for an interview with Nick Wilson the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Detroit Mercy.  For more information about upcoming interviews, and to keep in touch with STT, join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook by searching SMARTER Team Training.

I hope all is well.  Have a great day!

www.smarterteamtraining.com

Coach/Trainer Interview for July 2010

This month STT interviews Adam Feit. Coach Feit is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI. Adam was at the University of Louisville before accepting the position at EMU. Coach Feit also heads the Young Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (YSCCa).

STT would like to thank Coach Feit for taking the time to answer a few questions. Adam has done a great job promoting and reaching out to the profession through the YSCCa. I’m sure you will be able to see what sets Coach Feit apart by reading the Q&A between STT and Coach Feit below!

STT: Please provide your educational background including undergrad, graduate experience and certifications.

Coach Feit: I graduated from Springfield College (MA) in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science – Applied Exercise Science. From there I pursued my Master of Science- Exercise Science and Health Promotion from California University (PA) graduating in 2009.  Currently, I hold the following certifications: NSCA-CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), ISSA-SPN (Specialist in Performance Nutrition), NASM-PES (Performance Enhancement Specialist), CSCCa-SCCC  (Strength and Conditioning Coach certified), NASE (Specialist in Speed and Explosion for Sports Competition), Power Pilates Mat Training-I (Pilates Mat Routine certified), USAW-Level I (Weightlifting Coach certified), as well as being CPR/AED/1st aid certified.

STT: How did you become involved in the industry?

Coach Feit: I became heavily involved during my undergraduate years at Springfield College (MA). In order to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, we had to complete a variety of practicums to get quality experience in the field. I was fortunate to be around great GA coaches at Springfield who put up with my questions and complaints while I was learning in the field. If it wasn’t for the program at Springfield, I think I would be where a lot of aspiring strength and conditioning coaches would be; without a job because they didn’t get enough “experience” and meet the right people.

STT: What is your specialization? Feel free to expand upon your job responsibilities, interests or current project you are working on.

Coach Feit: I wouldn’t say I have any specializations, but I thoroughly enjoy the nutrition aspects of sports performance. After holding weight to play offensive line at Springfield, I made it a personal mission to get healthy quick and “look the part” before I ventured into the field. Ever since then, I’ve studied, researched and applied techniques to keep my performance at the top level. Again. I’ve been fortunate to be around great coaches who have given me free-reign to develop nutritional programs for our athletes and speak on the national level on nutritional strategies for college athletes.

Besides getting settled into my first head coaching position and learning to manage my own staff and 21 Division 1 sports, I am  involved in raising the bar of an online network of young strength and conditioning coaches called the YSCCa. The YSCCa exists to serve all coaches so that we can all learn from one another through various discussions, e-mails and newsletters all year long, not just at national conferences.

STT: What aspect of the field do you enjoy the most? Feel free to elaborate and provide multiple examples.

Coach Feit: I love how we have to continue to stay on our “A” game and make ourselves better. There is always a constant push in the back telling us we have to continue to learn and develop. Most people go to a 9-5 job, sit in a cubicle and leave without adding any value to a person’s life. The field of sports performance requires that we absorb, modify and apply from clinics, coaches and educational materials so we can continue to provide the best strategies of performance enhancement.

Now don’t get me wrong. Getting up at 4:30am everyday grinds on you after a full winter and summer training season. But when your athletes bring everything together at that one precise moment during competition, that’s something you never forget. Taking athletes for what they are now and helping them develop over the course of your program is something truly special. When they finally “connect the dots” between strength and conditioning and athletic performance,  we have done our jobs as mentors and coaches.

STT: What things should I know before starting a training program?

Coach Feit: Know where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. Too many coaches and athletes want to train just to fill time and put in sweat equity. It takes more than squatting and sweating to build a better athlete. Have a goal, write it down,  and apply everything you can (within scientific and practical reasoning) to help you get there.

STT: Should I train a muscle if it’s sore?

Coach Feit: Absolutely. Soreness means the fight for balance has been disrupted and stress has been applied to the body. Many techniques have been proven to reduce the severity of soreness and assist with recovery (dynamic flexibility, stretching, soft tissue work, general cardiovascular training and even lifting itself). We cannot neglect the areas of our body because we are sore. Failure to remove waste products, re-establish range of motion and movement patterns will only leave us more sore, longer.

STT: What is the best meal after weight lifting training?

Coach Feit: That is completely dependent on what your goal is. Body composition plays a huge role in managing post-workout meal planning. Whether you are trying to gain weight or lose weight, there should be some source of fast digesting protein and carbohydrate right after training. Fat should be limited as this delays the emptying of the nutrients from the stomach into the muscles for recovery. Athletes looking to gain lean muscle should obviously focus on nutrient and calorically dense foods to maintain a positive caloric surplus for growth. Athletes looking to lose body fat should focus on smaller portions and utilize carbohydrate timing throughout the day to tap into fat reserves.

STT: What is the risk of injury when doing weight lifting?

Coach Feit: The risk of injury weight lifting is the same as any other activity in which we were not taught to perform correctly. Using a keyboard, walking across the street, taking the groceries out of our trunk…all carry the same risk. John Wooden refers to the laws of learning when teaching skills. We need EXPLANATION, DEMONSTRATION, IMITATION, CORRECTION, and IMITATION to be successful.

STT: How does strength training change with the level of athlete?

Coach Feit: Novices and beginners need more repetition to groove motor patterns and become familiar with exercise technique. Advanced athletes need less repetition and more change so they continue to make gains throughout their development. I highly recommend everyone read up on Joe Kenn’s block system and tier system training for his unique categories of athlete development. It’s safe to say that a 2 star recruit off Rivals.com MUST be on a different program than your 5th year All-American defensive tackle. Failure to do so shows lack of knowledge, care and pursuit to make your athletes the best they can possibly be.

STT: How many sets, reps and what intensity should I use for different goals such as strength, power, endurance and hypertrophy?

Coach Feit: Everybody is different on this topic. I personally use AS Prilepin recommendations and relative intensity categories for explosive strength development. Endurance and hypertrophy are products of repetitive efforts and changes in overall muscle tension. Charles Poliquin says it’s about the repetition. HIT coaches will tell you it’s the effort or intensity. There is no one way of developing a stronger, more powerful, in-shape, and bigger athlete. We must look to all strength disciplines for our answers and get creative with our programming.

STT: Why is an elevated heart rate alone not always a valid indicator of an effective aerobic-training stimulus?

Coach Feit: Changes in heart rate can occur through a wide variety of mechanisms. Getting up to speak in front of 100 people, preparing for a ME back squat or running 300 yard shuttles on a 60 second goal time will all elevate our heart rate. Sometimes an athlete can forget to regulate his/her breathing and then all of a sudden they’re still in the “anaerobic-training zone” doing aerobic work. I personally do not have any experience with heart rate training with teams. However, I have seen with my own training that just because I have an elevated heart rate does not mean I am working hard and vice versa.

STT: How do you define agility?

Coach Feit: In its most basic form, agility is the ability to change direction quickly, efficiently and under control. I classify agility in two categories; programmed and reactive. Programmed agility drills are drills where the athlete knows the sequence beforehand. Reactive agility is more appropriate for sports because it forces the athlete to react to a visual, auditory or combination of both commands during a agility drill, as they will have to respond to a change in movement from their opponent in sport.

STT: What do you see as the next big thing in strength training?

Coach Feit: From looking at the publications, I think we will see a lot more work with team heart rate training and vibration training. Both definitely have their perks for athlete development, but are also very expensive. As more practical research is performed outside the laboratory and in real weight rooms, we will definitely see more programs utilizing these methods.

STT: What are your viewpoints on optimizing recovery and regenerations?

Coach Feit: I believe the biggest factors affecting recovery and regeneration are sleep and nutrition. It doesn’t matter what advanced periodization scheme we are using or auto-regulation machine we hook our athletes up to, if they are not eating or sleeping, we will continue to have our results compromised. We have to remember that gains are not made in the 1-2 hours they spend with us training per day, but rather during the other 22-23 hours away from us.

Keep in touch with STT for an interview with Rick Court. Coach Court is the Director of Football Strength and Conditioning at the University of Toledo.  For more information about upcoming interviews, and to keep in touch with STT, join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook by searching SMARTER Team Training.

I hope all is well.  Have a great day!

www.smarterteamtraining.com

Coach/Trainer interview for June 2010

This month STT interviews Billy Wunderlich.  Coach Wunderlich is a Parisi Performance Coach and Personal trainer at LifeBridge Health and Fitness in Baltimore, MD. Billy was a mult- sport athlete through high school, and played Ice Hockey in college. He accepted an internship and look at what has done with his opportunity.

STT would like to thank Coach Wunderlich for taking the time to answer a few questions. Billy does a great job at LifeBridge and you can read below to see his passion for working with a broad demographic of clients and athletes. Check out the Q&A between STT and Coach Wunderlich below!

STT: Please provide your educational background including undergrad, graduate experience and certifications.

Coach Wunderlich: I graduated from Towson University in 2006 with a BS in Sports Management.  I was a Multi sport athlete through high school, and played Ice Hockey for Towson.  I am a NSCA CSCS as well as a Parisi Performance Coach.

STT: How did you become involved in the industry?

Coach Wunderlich: During my senior year of college,  I took an internship at LifeBridge and since then have been learning and evolving my training philosophy ever since.

STT: What is your specialization? Feel free to expand upon your job responsibilities, interests or current project you are working on.

Coach Wunderlich: Tough question.  My specialization is working with athletes as well as clients seeking rapid fat loss.  My interest? Where do I start, I want to find a group of people who have the same level of fire and emotion for training that I do.  When I find them, I would like to find a facility that can stand the heat, and attract people who want to share our passion and get stronger.  I tip my hat to guys like DeFranco, Evan-esh, cosgrove, Tate and Rooney who have harbored that passion and built upon it.  I’m just biding my time.

STT: What aspect of the field do you enjoy the most? Feel free to elaborate and provide multiple examples.

Coach Wunderlich: I enjoy educating people.  When a client or athlete comes to me and asks a question, my job is to convey the information in such a way that it sticks.  When the light bulb goes off right above their head and they get giddy like a schoolgirl, that’s what I love most about my job.  Second to educating, is sharing my passion for fitness.  I love unloading my passion on people and watching it inspire them to get in the best shape of their lives.  I believe Tony Robbins said it best-“energy is created through movement, so GET MOVING!”

STT: If I’m doing both aerobic exercise and weight training, which one should be done first?

Coach Wunderlich: I get this question all the time from people looking to lose weight.  In my opinion, a general rule of thumb, whether the goal is to burn fat or put on mass while getting lean the answer is the same- warm up, hit the weights, scrape your self off the floor, and then do the mindless cardio that you feel the need to do.  The science is plain an simple, weight training is a picky animal, aerobic cardio is a scavenger.  What I mean by that is, in order to give 100% to weight training and pack on the valuable lean muscle you need glucose, aerobic cardio will take anything left.  With my clientele, I will not start the session unless they are properly warmed up. After that we hit some activation exercises depending on what’s on the menu. Once we get done what we need to, we hit a few rounds of a full body complex, weighted stair sprints or sprint hills.  Any way you look at it, you need to smash your metabolism when your fresh, you can hit the elliptical in your sleep.

STT: What’s a good weight lifting routine for a beginner?

Coach Wunderlich: A good weightlifting program for a beginner consists of body weight training, period.  In this industry I see way too much emphasis on the “flashy” stuff.  I absolutely cringe when I see a middle school kid pick up a pair of 90lb dumbbells and go to bench them, only to have a 3 inch range of motion.  When I work beginners, we work on a proper technique: push-up, pull-up, trunk stability, overhead squat with a PVC pipe, and a walking lunge.  In addition to those I will work on different animal walks like a bear crawl, inchworm, crab walk, spidermans and more.  I’ve had a group of professional soccer players cry after 8-10 mins of animals, which just illustrates that athletes and the general population alike are very weak when it comes to linking their chains up and utilizing their entire body.

STT: Does age make a difference in a weight training program?

Coach Wunderlich: Age makes a difference in designing a training program. However, training age takes precedence, and by training age I consider time spent with proper technique in practice.  For example my oldest client sought me out being a 40 year old avid Colorado skier, 5’11 190 lbs who wrestled his way through high school and into college.  His experience in lifting had been body part splits, leg press, bench press, curl, and so on.  I thought he was in shape by the way he looked and from the conversations we’d had.  Little did I know, 12 minutes into our first dynamic warm-up and he was turning 2 shades of green and heavy cold sweats.  It just goes to show, that no matter how old or how long they have been training, what really counts is whether or not the work they were putting in was quality.

STT: If I’m trying to lose weight, should I hop on the treadmill for 60 mins, or is it better to raise the intensity and shorten the duration?

Coach Wunderlich: I think Mr. Poliquin said it best, ” we, as a species were designed to throw the rock, not chase the rabbit.”  We were designed for 50 seconds or less of MAXIMUM effort.  Why the general population continuously attempts to fight evolution and natures design is beyond me.  I see people come in day after day and do their 3 hours of cardio and they look exactly the same as when I saw them for the first time two years ago!  Like my prior rant, if your health allows, give yourself 30 mins tops, run sprints, hills, weighted steps, or the prowler as hard as your heart allows, scrape yourself off the floor, and get sum quality food, rinse, rest and repeat.  Unless you are training for a long duration race, there should be no reason to perform endless cardio.  People feel the need to get on the gerbil wheel, plug in, watch their garbage reality TV, and hit Starbucks after for the coffee and crawler combo because they “deserve it.”  Something that gets me heated is when people tell me they don’t have enough time to do this or that.  The idea I try to convey, is time efficiency, and I see something wrong with doing something in 120 mins, which could take no more than 20 mins if done correctly.

STT: Has strength training changed? How is it evolving?

Coach Wunderlich: I do not think strength training has changed. I think evolution has occurred and will continue to take place.  This industry has coaches like Poliquin, Thibaudeau and Waterbury pushing the envelope every day on the science and protocols of strength training.  Some methods seem against the grain and outlandish at best, yet the old adage still stands, any program will work, but it wont work forever.  I think certain areas of science involved  in strength training have evolved to a greater extent than others, such as the understanding of nutrient timing and the importance of pre-workout nutrition.  One thing that I enjoy about the evolution of strength training is that many different ideologies are joining arms these days.  By that I mean, a decade or so ago, power lifters and bodybuilders kept to their own.  These days you see hybrid creations who look like Schwarzenegger, run like Johnson, and can pull like Bolton, its nothing less than amazing, and it all comes from having an open mind to any style of training and a training intensity worth beholding.

STT: What do you think about pre- and post- workout nutrition?

Coach Wunderlich: Absolutely crucial.  Ask any of my clients what the first thing from my mouth when i see them, “what did you eat today?”  The myriad of questions should be more like: how were the feedings yesterday, did you sleep at least 7-8 hours last night, what did you eat for breakfast, how was work/school today.  I try to ask these same questions before every session so that I reinforce the importance of nutrition, sleep and stress management.  Not only do I inquire about pre/post- workout nutrition, I also try to educate my clientele on what the proper choices of fuel.  The funny part about being a strength coach is when you get to know an client, you know before they do if they are getting sick, you know if they went out the night before or if they missed a meal.  In my experience people do not realize on a grand scale how important nutrition is.  It isn’t until they’ve cleaned up their diet for a month or so, after that period of time, they will know as soon as they hit a bad cheat meal.  When you eat clean, and nutrition is on point, when you fuel the body with garbage, its like a bad hangover, or as I like to illustrate: you wouldn’t fill a Formula-1 car up with crude oil and expect it to run the same would you?  Another part of nutrition I think is one of the most underrated and underutilized protocols is peri-workout nutrition, or the nutrients we take in during our workout, but we’ll save that novel for another day.

STT: What is the best form of cardiovascular exercise if someone is trying to get the most “bang for my buck”?

Coach Wunderlich: The best form of cardio in my opinion is (sand)dune sprints or pushing the prowler.  Once again, I prefer time efficiency, and the only thing that long distance cardio gets me boredom and beat up joints.  If cardio is what you are looking for, then you need to stoke the anaerobic fire, because one when you perform short, high intensity intervals you train both anaerobic and aerobic capacities, while low intensity cardio only trains the aerobic.  I think one of the most overlooked forms of cardio is swimming, I cannot express how therapeutic it is for the body with low resistance and NO impact, perfect for nagging joints namely shoulders.

STT: Does an aerobic workout cause an individuals’s resting metabolic rate to stay elevated for a long time after a workout (the so-called “after burn” effect)?

Coach Wunderlich: The answer to that question all depends on what is meant by long.  Long lasting, not in my opinion.  If you want to stoke the metabolism and have it burn hotter and longer throughout the day, then you need to hit maximum intensity.  Science shows that short bouts of  high intensity cause greater, and longer lasting effects on the metabolism post-exercise.

STT: What is functional strength training and are there any issues you see in how the general public functionally strength trains?

Coach Wunderlich: I think the fitness industry went way overboard on the functional training hype.  There is nothing functional about standing on one leg, curling a dumbbell while pressing another.  This is the garbage that I’m confronted with day after day, and when I inquire on purpose, I receive an attitude with the answer of  “it’s functional.”  Tell me the last time you saw someone performing that maneuver in their normal everyday tasks.  The definition of functional strength training is performing exercises that strengthen motor patterns used in everyday tasks.  Deadlifts are performed daily when something is lifted from the floor, squatting is performed every time you get up from a chair, and yes the bicep curl IS functional, think about every time a small child is lifted into the arms of a parent or guardian.  On a side note about functional training, I believe the explosion of kettlebell training was another blow to the fitness industry.  For example, true story, as i was walking through my fitness center, I was stopped by a young man showing his girlfriend his new kettlebell tricks.  “Am I doing this right?” he asked.  I kindly questioned, “what exactly are you trying to accomplish?”  The best way I can illustrate what he was doing was a  bent over, single arm rear delt kettlebell swing.  Pointing to his rear delt area cruising his pointer finger in the general area saying “I’m trying to work the back of my shoulder(5-7 second pause), right?”  The point I am trying to make, is the majority of the general population has no idea of what they are doing, but more important, WHY they are doing it.  Don’t get me wrong, kettlebells have their place in my programs, however you wont catch me prescribing it just to keep a client thinking he’s doing something “new.”

STT: How much emphasis do you place on analyzing athletes’ weaknesses?

Coach Wunderlich: In my opinion, analyzing the issues in an athletes structure, is as if not more important that a general physicians referral.  I’ll sum it up in three words, functional movement screening.  Here at our facility we use Gray Cook’s FMS system with each and every athlete we see.  If you know what to look for in the hips, ankles and shoulders through movement, you don’t necessarily need to put an athlete through an entire movement screening in order to asses their weaknesses, you can do it as you watch them perform lightweight and body exercises.  I cannot express the importance of being aware of an athlete’s physical issues, if they aren’t addressed properly, the athlete is bound for a hospital bed or a series of visits to the physical therapist.  In my experience, we have an abundance of programs in the industry which do not take the time to assess weaknesses, and essentially put the athletes through a meat grinder.

Keep in touch with STT for an interview with Adam Feit the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Eastern Michigan University. Coach Feit is also the head of the YSCCa.  For more information about upcoming interviews, and to keep in touch with STT, join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook by searching SMARTER Team Training.

I hope all is well.  Have a great day!

www.smarterteamtraining.com

Coach/Trainer interview for May 2010

This month STT interviews Brad Pantall.  Coach Pantall is the Head Speed, Strength, and Conditioning Coach for the Penn State University’s basketball programs. Before working with the basketball programs at PSU, Brad was an assistant with the Football program then moved to the Olympic sports side of the department. Coach Pantall has also worked with the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals throughout his career.

STT would like to thank Coach Pantall for taking the time to answer a few questions. Brad’s passion for training is obvious. Check out the Q&A between STT and Coach Pantall below!

STT: Please provide your educational background including undergrad, graduate experience and certifications.

B.S.:  Kinesiolgy / Exercise Sports Science;  The Pennsylvania State University

M.Ed.:  Counseling Education; The Pennsylvania State University

Certification:  USA Wt.Lifting Club Coach;  National Association Speed/Explosion

Member:  National Strength and Conditioning Association;  Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association

STT: How did you become involved in the industry?

Coach Pantall: Former Student-Athlete… I liked how/what my strength coach did and how that relationship influenced not only me but our team as a whole.

STT: What is your specialization? Feel free to expand upon your job responsibilities, interests or current project you are working on.

Coach Pantall: I would like to think getting the very most out of our student-athletes as a whole.  If I were to specify a ‘specialization’, I would say sport-specific energy system/conditioning training and enhance/optimal recovery tactics.  I have been fortunate to work with all sports and at all levels.

STT: What aspect of the field do you enjoy the most? Feel free to elaborate and provide multiple examples.

Coach Pantall: The day to day work, involvement and relationships with our student-athletes, seeing how they develop and seeing them have/take pride in the satisfaction and joy of growing and getting better. Not only in their relative sport but as a young adults in society.

STT: For today’s Strength & Conditioning specialist, what type of academic and professional training can optimize a young person’s chances for success in the field in the 21st century ?

Coach Pantall: I believe the key is spending time around great professionals.  If this is what you want to do (or in anything you want to do) start spending time in that particular industry/field.  Also, I think from an academic standpoint (outside of the norm) take as many counseling and nutrition classes you can.

STT: What recovery strategies after a hard workout do you recommend ?

Coach Pantall: Eat (correct foods and amounts) and sleep.

STT: Years ago, the stability ball was the hot trend in the fitness field…one year ago it was the kettlebell (and kinda still is). What current ‘trend’ do you see in the fitness field today ?

Coach Pantall: I feel like the TRX system, or ring type of modalities, have grown in popularity.

STT: Are there any common injuries you’ve seen athletes suffer from repeatedly? How could they have been addressed so they don’t occur in the future ?

Coach Pantall: Basic overuse stuff relative to each sport. My opinion is that this is from being too one-sport focused for too long. I still think young athletes should be/play multiple-sport athletes. Again, my opinion is this helps limit over-training, burnout and helps with balance as a whole; not only in sport but in life too.

STT: What characteristics of the athlete should be considered by anyone who is designing a program for youngsters, high school athletes, and/or college athletes ?

Coach Pantall: Age, interest, time available, physical limitations (all), sport demands/needs.

Keep in touch with STT for an interview with Billy Wunderlich from Parisi and LifeBridge Health and Fitness in Baltimore, MD.  For more information about upcoming interviews, and to keep in touch with STT, join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook by searching SMARTER Team Training.

I hope all is well.  Have a great day!

www.smarterteamtraining.com

Coach/Trainer interview for April 2010

This month STT interviews Beth Byron, Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at West Virginia University. Prior to coming to WVU in March of 2008, Coach Byron worked at USF for a year and half. She worked with Volleyball, Men’s & Women’s Soccer, Softball, Men’s Tennis, and Men’s and Women’s Golf. Now at WVU, Beth works with Gymnastics, Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving, and Women’s Tennis.

STT would like to thank Coach Byron for taking the time to answer a few questions.  Beth’s passion alone is worth finding out more about.  Check out the Q&A between STT and Coach Byron below!

STT: Please provide you educational background including undergrad, graduate experience and certifications.

Coach Byron: BS- Applied Science from Springfield College, MS- Human Performance- Strength & Conditioning from U of Wisconsin- LaCrosse, and CSCA-NSCA, CSCCA, USAW

STT: How did you become involved in the industry?

Coach Byron: I knew I wanted to work with athletes, but I didn’t want to work with athletes who were injured, rather I wanted to help prevent injury and enhance performance. I was an Applied Exercise Science major and Springfield and did internships at Mike Boyle’s and Holy Cross. I had great experiences, worked with great people who challenged me in different ways and I really enjoyed my internship experiences. I went on to UW-L for grad school and was a GA there where I was thrown right in as the strength coach for volleyball, women’s basketball, swimming & diving, and gymnastics. My GA experience was invaluable that it taught me a lot that I didn’t see as an intern; I learned a lot about dealing with coaches, different teams, and got better at writing programs.

STT: What is your specialization? Feel free to expand upon your job responsibilities, interests or current project you are working on.

Coach Byron: I would say that my specialization by default as a result of my experiences is Olympic sports. I say this as a “specialization” because coaching Olympic sport teams is commonly very different than coaching football or basketball teams. I find that the role that a strength & conditioning coach on a football or basketball coaching staff is completely different than that on say a track & field team, or a softball or swimming & diving team. Don’t get me wrong- I’m still their strength coach and I train them hard, but it is a completely different animal in a lot of aspects. I find that football and basketball coaches typically make their strength & conditioning program a higher priority than many (not all) Olympic sport coaches typically do. Also working with multiple teams teaches you to be more creative and resourceful with your scheduling, facility/equipment use, exercise selection, program design, and workout set up.

STT: What aspect of the field do you enjoy the most?  Feel free to elaborate and provide multiple examples.

Coach Byron: I mostly enjoy interacting with the athletes and seeing them grow as a person as their self-confidence improves, their work ethic improves, and they set higher standards for themselves. It’s a blast to go to their games/meets and watch them have lifetime best performances, but also knowing them as a person on a day to day basis is special too.

STT: What is your favorite exercise?

Coach Byron: I have two right now, and it was different a year ago and might be different next year; Trap Bar Dead Lift and Power Snatch…..ok three- Pull Ups.

STT: For today’s Strength & Conditioning specialist, what type of academic and professional training can optimize a young person’s chances for success in the field in the 21st century?

Coach Byron: I would recommend having a great internship experience that not only allows you to see the practical side of coaching and program design but also stresses the value of hard work, attention to detail, and communication. I’ve seen a lot of interns that think they want to be a strength coach and think this field is a good fit for them because they like to lift weights and be in a weight room- being a strength coach is so much more than that.

STT: How do you approach a parent who is seen teaching his child an exercise incorrectly or dangerously?

Coach Byron: I don’t think I’ve been in this situation dealing with college athletes. College athletes however are grossly missed informed about a lot of things in life through the media, their peers, etc. The best way you can teach them what is right is through consistency and accountability in your program and in the way you coach. Unfortunately accountability is grossly lacking in our society today and it has become a greater challenge to instill that into sport/academic programs. Communicating with them and educating them on nutrition, recovery methods, and technique come with repetition over time. Also teaching by example is HUGE, your athletes are watching you and take note how you conduct yourself and how hard you work

STT: Years ago, the stability ball was the hot trend in the fitness field…one year ago it was the kettlebell (and kinda still is). What current ‘trend’ do you see in the fitness field today?

Coach Byron: Strong man training, stuff like tire flips, rope pulls, farmers walks, sled pushes/pulling is becoming more common. I also think more metabolic work or circuit training during the early off season are also coming up a lot more. The strong man stuff and the circuits are great ways to keep the athletes interested and teaching them how to work hard.

STT: What strength coach or trainer has had the most impact on you and why?

Coach Byron: My first collegiate coaching experience was my internship at Holy Cross with Jeff Oliver and Brijesh Patel. They are both great coaches and great people and both have different strengths and personalities that really encouraged me and have greatly influenced me as a young coach. They also had so many teams to work with between just the two of them that I got to do a lot more hands on and coaching than a typical internship might offer. Also Cal Dietz at Minnesota helped prepare me for my first job when I was interning with him when I was finishing up my masters degree.

STT: What does the term plyometrics mean to you? How do you quantify plyometric work? Is it by numbers of reps, time of reps or some other method?

Coach Byron: Plyometrics to me: Activating the stretch shortening cycle in a safe environment to develop explosiveness with very good technique in and safe landing mechanics. To quantify this work I keep track of the number of reps of jumps/hops. Technically jump roping and running are also forms of plyometrics so I am just mindful of how much/distance we spend doing jump rope and/or running each week to prevent overtraining.

STT: What sport skills can you improve during your strength and conditioning workouts?

Coach Byron: Sport skills are improved during sport practice. Strength, power, work capacity, speed, etc are trained through various methods to help improve or sustain athletic performance. If you want to get better at throwing a shot put- which is extremely technical, you need to throw the shot. If you don’t throw the shot for a week or two but you’re in the gym benching, doing dips, pulls, squats, push jerks, plyos and whatever else don’t be surprised if your throws are shorter and your form is rusty the next time you step into the circle to throw. I strongly believe this for any sport skill, tennis, football, swimming, whatever. I’ve seen athletes improve in their agility or strength measures or even in their conditioning, but if they haven’t worked on their shots (tennis or basketball for example) they’ll be limited.

STT: Are there any common injuries you’ve seen athletes suffer from repeatedly? How could they have been addressed so they don’t occur in the future?

Coach Byron: With swimmers most commonly low back pain- in most cases I don’t think this is an injury per se but rather extreme discomfort due to tightness in the hip flexors (try swimming & kicking for 2 hrs and see how your hips feel after), and upper back and shoulders. I have my swimmers do lots stretching w/bands, foam rolling, and we work on hip mobility and posterior chain exercises.

STT: What are some key tips for successful strengthening of the body core?

Coach Byron: Make sure the back is strong with good posture.  A strong core is more than just crunches and plank holds. Make sure your workouts are balanced between pushes and pulls- and actually I might do a little more pulling to make sure the posterior chain is strong enough.

Keep in touch with STT for an interview with Brad Pantall, Head Speed, Strength, and Conditioning Coach for the Penn State University basketball programs.  For more information about upcoming interviews, and to keep in touch with STT, join our mailing list and follow us on Facebook by searching SMARTER Team Training.

I hope all is well.  Have a great day!

www.smarterteamtraining.com

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