Just Fly Performance Podcast

By Joel Smith, Just-Fly-Sports.com

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The Just Fly Performance Podcast is dedicated to all aspects of athletic performance training, with an emphasis on speed and power development. Featured on the show are coaches and experts in the spectrum of sport performance, ranging from strength and conditioning, to track and field, to sport psychology. Hosted by Joel Smith, the Just Fly Performance Podcast brings you some of the best information on modern athletic performance available.

Episode Date
326: Adarian Barr on Stress, Strain and Redefining “Stiffness” in Athletic Movement
Today’s episode features movement coach, inventor and innovator, Adarian Barr.  Adarian has been one of the absolute biggest influences on me in my coaching, as well as my own personal movement and training practices.  You will be hard pressed to find an individual who sees movement in the detail that Adarian does, while also having the experiential and coaching knowledge to back it up. One of the biggest things I’ve learned from working with Adarian is improving my understanding of how joints work in the scope of human motion.  From the first time I met Adarian, I remember him discussing the spiraling actions of movement to take the slack out of the system, and how he prefers discussing movement on the motion of joints, rather than muscles.  I remember working on what happened when my joints were in flexion, rather than trying to resist, or “punch” my way through movement, the results of which were numerous post-university sprinting bests, and a quantum leap forward in the way I coached athletes. “Stiffness” is a commonly discussed term in the world of athletic movement.  Athletes are generally instructed to “be stiffer” in their lower body to jump higher and run faster.  The truth of the matter though, is that in motion, there must be something in the body that deforms, and the ultimate stiffness is a limb in a cast. On today’s podcast, Adarian takes us through what he considers true joint “stiffness” to really be, when it comes to human motion and movement, and throughout the discussion, creates the grounds for better terminology on the level of the coach, when we speak about joint deformity, stress and strain, in the scope of sprinting, jumping, track and field, and beyond.  This is a podcast that will powerfully impact your mindset on the nature of plyometric exercises, sprinting motions and constraints, and how athletes move ideally in their sport. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:50 – Adarian’s background in his college studies in the realm of music and athletic movement 10:30 – What “ankle stiffness”, or being “stiff” in the context of athletics, means to Adarian 24:20 – The dynamics of strain passing through joints in movement 26:30 – How much strain exists in various joints throughout acceleration and upright sprinting 36:00 – Horizontal and vertical forces in sprinting, in relationship to levers and friction 39:40 – Long to high bounding and hurdling dynamics 44:20 – How to train an athlete who needs to get up off the ground more quickly in regards to strain and quickness 55:40 – How stress and strain fit with the biomechanics of sprinting, using straight leg bounding as an example “Stiffness to me means you aren’t moving very well, you aren’t moving fluidly… it’s not a good term… at some point in time, it means that joint’s not moving” “If there’s movement at the ankle joint, how can it be stiff?” “You got to get things to work together in pairs” “How we operate in the air, is different than how we operate on the ground” “Any type of force is stress.  The strain is resistance to that force… that’s how I engage in these things; the stress, the strain and the amount of deformity I get” “Class 1 low strain low resistance, lots of movement at the ankle joint; class 2, very little deformity, very little movement at the ankle joint” “At the start, things have to fold up, at top-end, things don’t have to fold up as much” “At the start, the first thing I have to do is get to a class 2 lever, but it doesn’t take much strain to resist that force, since there isn’t a large amount of force yet”
Sep 29, 2022
325: David Grey on Lower-Leg Dynamics, “Fatigue Contrasts”, and Rethinking the Term “Corrective Exercise”
Today’s episode features biomechanics specialist, David Grey.  David is the founder of David Grey Rehab, where he works with clients from all walks of life. David’s specialty is assessing his clients gait cycle in depth to develop a plan to help restore the movement or movements they struggle to perform.  David has learned under a number of great mentors in the world of human movement, athletic development, gymnastics, Chinese martial arts, and biomechanics, and is an expansive thinker, blending many elements of human movement together in a down to earth way we can all resonate with. Humans absolutely love to categorize things, and put things in boxes.  For those in their initial learning stages, this can really be helpful to the learning process, but at some point, we need to see the grey, or continuum-like nature of things, and how training interacts on its different levels.  When we put things in the box of simply being a “corrective” exercise, for example, it loses touch with many of the helpful principles of training and overload that come in more “standard” training exercises.  When we can see things from an expansive viewpoint, we can start to gather the wisdom regarding how different pieces of training work together. On today’s show David, puts many things together in regards to good functioning of the kinetic chain for not only knee health, but also better movement.  We talk about the muscles of the lower leg, where he stands (and how he has changed) on the level of more “bodybuilding” oriented training methods, keeping things simple in exercise progression (and how putting “corrective exercise” in a box is a bad idea), sensory awareness and fatigue contrasts, and finally, a ridiculously good summary on how David approaches knee rehab and health from a multi-factorial perspective. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com Find out more about the the online course, Elastic Essentials, by heading to justflysports.thinkific.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 3:48 – David’s experience in his United States tour 11:56 – Discussing the muscles of the lower leg, and their importance in movement 21:16 – Simplifying some exercise methods that improve hamstring calf interaction 25:30 – Where muscles sit on the “joints act, muscles react” end of the spectrum in the sense of simply training a muscle to alleviate joint pain or optimize the kinetic chain 36:10 – How to keep things “simple” in a rehab and “corrective exercise” space, and the “sensory to intensity” scale 41:55 – David’s use of “fatigue contrasts” in training and working with longer-ground contact plyometrics 57:27 – David’s current multi-lateral keys to knee training and rehab as he sees it and summarizes it “With movement, you can talk about it all you want, but they need a chance to experience it and feel it” “Even with slower running, the soleus has a lot of load going through it” “If you think going for a jog is easy, it’s easy for a lot of muscles, but it’s not easy on the soleus” “The gastroc has a lot of pre-activation before the foot hits the floor, the soleus has very little.  But when the foot hits the floor, the gastroc cools down and the soleus goes through the roof” “A muscle like the soleus and glute max takes time to produce force, because of the shape of the muscle, but they are way stronger… there are other muscles that can contract quicker, but they are not as strong” “Those types of (roller bridge) exercises open you up to a lot of sensation” “Before full body strength work, that’s where we start to isolate a lot of muscles (for those who have inhibited muscles)”
Sep 22, 2022
324: Jared Burton on Rethinking Work Capacity, Over-Training, and Adaptation Through the Lens of Athlete Perception
Today’s episode features Jared Burton.  Jared is a human performance specialist, chiropractic student, and health coach.  He got his coaching start working with Brady Volmering of DAC baseball, and has spent recent years coaching, consulting and running educational courses in the private sector.  Jared focuses on engaging all aspects of an athlete’s being, providing the knowledge for the individual to thrive in their domain. In the world of coaching and human performance, the road to success is often thought of on the level of do “A”, in “B” amount, so you can accomplish “C”.  The focus on typically on numbers, exercises, and (often) a linear cueing process for those said movements.  We are so quick to judge programs entirely based on numbers and exercises. What we don’t consider often enough is the complex factors surrounding the volume that is administered.  There are elite athletes who have won gold medals and set world records who do a lot of volume that would “crush” other athletes (think the athletes that survived the Soviet or Bulgarian training systems, or modern-day athletes, such as Karsten Warholm, the 400m hurdle world record holder).  We need to ask ourselves, “what is the difference, or elements, that allowed the athlete to tolerate that?”.  Is it that their musculo-skeletal system was somehow just “better” than the other trainees, or are there other additional elements to consider?  The more elite coaches I’ve had the opportunity to work with, the more I realize that good coaches intuitively key into the mental and emotional state of the athlete, as well as the physiological management. On today’s podcast, Jared chats on managing high training volumes, work capacity dynamics, the critical role of boredom/interest in training, athlete self-discovery, and much more.  This is a podcast that causes you to ask questions, and gives us a new and interesting perspective on the dynamics of training. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:10 – The nature of Jared’s training experiment, where he only performed extreme iso holds and dunking (in his quest for a higher vertical jump) 9:45 – Thoughts on the process of assessing athletes, and drawing out physical and emotional weak-points 12:15 – How “obsessive” or “unreasonable” training, such as bounding every day, could actually be a powerful performance tool, and how we actually classify fatigue in training 28:45 – How to manage higher volume training so athletes don’t get injured or decrease their performance 42:30 – The role of self-discovery and creativity in athletic performance training 45:36 – Thoughts on mixing game like activities with specific training outputs (such as a 10m fly or dunking a basketball) 57:28 – Mental associations, boredom/interest, and training principles 1:05:55 – Jared’s thoughts on the “Easy Strength” mentality on weights and barbell training “As I was holding the isometrics, I was creating the reality of: “what would it feel like as I dunk”” “How do you meet an athlete where you are at in their current state; how do you expose them, and how do you draw out they creativity within them” “The more awareness they have, the more ability they have to create.  The goal is for them to be the captain of their own ship” “The amount of volume that kids or athletes experience in a game is 5 to 10 times the amount of actual stimulus that we even give them in the training aspect; I follow along with the idea that the training must be more intense and strenuous than the actual activity itself” “The biggest thing, regardless of how you train,
Sep 15, 2022
323: Leo Ryan on The Power of Breath Training for Workout Recovery and Athletic Capacity
Today’s episode features performance coach and breathing specialist, Leo Ryan.  Leo is the founder of Innate-Strength.com.  Leo has studied from many elite personal training, physical therapy and breathing schools including Dip. Buteyko Method, Wim Hof, Oxygen Advantage Master Instructor, Fascial Stretch Therapist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Pilates.  Leo previously appeared on episode 219 speaking on many elements of breath training for athletic performance including nose vs mouth breathing in training, breath hold time as a readiness indicator, and more. The use of one’s breath for training and overall well-being has become more and more on my radar with each passing year.  From my foray into the endurance end of the competitive spectrum (Spartan Racing in 2019), to understanding the role of rib cage expansion in movement biomechanics, to breathing for energy and recovery, to the training practices of the old-school strongmen, in each year of my life, understanding and training the breath becomes more substantial. On today’s show, Leo Ryan returns to dig into the role of breath training, and its role in recovery, both within the workout itself, and in day-to-day recovery from training efforts.  We often talk about having an adequate “aerobic base”, but for some reason, the actual core of that aerobic base, which is “breathing”, is rarely considered, and Leo goes into making capacity workouts even more effective through breathing mechanics, physiology and rhythm.  Leo will also cover the role of CO2 and CO2 tolerance in human and athletic function, rhythmic aspects of breathing in athletic performance, and then some dynamics on breathing in the scope of strength training sessions. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:57 – Thoughts on Irish Dancing and athletic performance, from Leo’s perspective residing in Ireland 13:00 – Getting deeper into the role of breathing and breath-work in helping athletes recover from intense workouts 27:00 – The state of world health and strength on the human level, in the scope of modern society 32:00 – How one’s breathing throughout the day can dictate one’s recovery from training 41:27 – The specifics of Leo’s breath training that helped his training group to drastically improve their recovery in a 10-day period 46:00 – The dynamics of breathing rhythm on health and performance 52:20 – Controlled exhale dynamics and the importance of CO2 tolerance in athletic development 1:05:40 – Thoughts on breathing in the scope of heavier strength training, from a recovery and pressure dynamics perspective “There is a lot of footwork, a lot of high kicks, and a lot of fast feet (in Irish dancing) so for improving your speed for sport, it’s absolutely incredible” “Paul Chek said it beautifully that “every summer has its winter” and if you don’t take your winter, winter is going to take you” “The breath is a phenomenal window into how your whole body and mind is working; and then you can use the breath to upregulate or downregulate the system as needed” “(After over-using coffee) when you have your morning coffee, you are just getting yourself up to baseline” “The breath is a beautiful guide to rebuilding your baselines, and making sense of where you are in the world” “My idea of breath training is restoring your breath back to baseline” “They ran (12 minutes max) their way first; then they trained for 10 days in nasal breathing and breath techniques, and then they ran it again; and they ran it my way.  What I found was a 1-2% performance improvement, but I found a 40% recovery improvement”
Sep 08, 2022
322: John Garrish on Progressing Gallops, Skips and Bounds in Explosive Athletic Development
Today’s episode features strength and track coach, John Garrish.  John is the director of athletic development at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida, and the school’s head track coach.  John was recently voted the 2022 National High School Strength Coach of the Year by the National High School Strength Coach’s Association.  John appeared previously on the show discussing his speed training approach in episode 182. The symbiosis of track and football is often discussed in the process of training, and importantly so.  What is talked about less, are some of the specifics of what track has to offer, not just in the sprints, but also in events like triple jump, that can enhance an athletes speed, power, elasticity and overall movement profile, in their other sports. John was a hammer thrower in his college years, as well as a former football player.  The hammer throw is, of all the throws, the one that requires the greatest symbiosis and harmony with the implement.  The triple jump (bounding) requires a tremendous symbiosis with the ground, and how one interacts with it.  You can easily see John’s experience and intuition of track and S&C concepts emerge in his progression of bound, skip, hop and overall elastic training with his athletes. On the show today, John covers thoughts on hand position and “elastic/rigidity” vs. “muscular” sprint strategies in athletes as they move from youth to high-school levels.  This sets the stage for his talk on his galloping, skipping and bounding progressions, and how he keeps movement quality and velocity at the core of the progression.  John talks about how he keeps the training fun and intentional, and how he changes emphasis as athletes move from middle school, to high school years.  This show is a beautiful fusion of team sport S&C, and track and field concepts, and can be used to help any athlete develop more fluid, dynamic power outputs on the field of play. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com Find out more about the the online course, Elastic Essentials, by heading to justflysports.thinkific.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 3:50 – What a typical workout looks like for John, and how he does bounds, skips and gallops himself to be a better coach in those movements 8:29 – Thoughts on hand-position in young athletes vs. older athletes, the use of rigid, splayed fingers, and how that rigid-open-hand strategy might change, as athletes get older 28:36 – How John evolved skips and gallops from elementary school, into their middle and high school years 37:21 – John’s take on more traditional extensive hops, in light of his use of skips, gallops and hops 44:37 – Different constraints and emphasis of skips and bounds are that John utilizes in his scholastic and open-large group training sessions 54:07 – How to give athletes balance in their skip and gallop profile without diminishing their “superpower” 1:00:59 – John’s thoughts on when to get bounding in the mix for athletes, and how to progress it 1:15:17 – Using backwards single leg hops for athletes, its benefits, and potential link to being able to bound forward for distance “I felt that unless I at least had the comfort of the ability to demonstrate, or perform these movements (bounds, gallops, skips) myself, then I felt there was no way I could verbalize it to my athletes; or find lesser cues, or a tactile cue to get the athlete to feel it as well” “Some of the fastest girls I’ve seen at track meets do display that splayed hand position (when sprinting)… but as they progress in middle school you see less dominance of that hand position”
Sep 01, 2022
321: Katie St. Clair on Staggered Squats, Single Leg Mastery, and Dealing with High Foot Arches
Today’s episode features strength coach and biomechanics educator, Katie St. Clair.  Katie been training general population and athletes for over 20 years, and is the creator of the Empowered Performance Program.  She is one of my go-to sources of knowledge for all things biomechanics, and the finer details of human movement.  She previously appeared on episode 279 of the podcast, speaking on biomechanical facets of running, lifting and athletic movement. Humans explore movement in a variety of ways as they grow from youth to adulthood.  We skip, run, sprint, throw, bend and twist with substantial variability, all through the medium of self-learning.  For some reason, as soon as weight lifting enters the picture, variation tends to go by the wayside, and a rigid bilateral (or even unilateral) method of moving that is pasted onto all athletes, is applied.  Human beings are complex, we differ from one another, not only in our builds and structures, but also in how our bodies have compensated and compressed in particular ways over time.  In this sense, our weightlifting programs should offer at least some room for each individual to learn more about the nuances of how each lift might be set up, or tweaked, in a manner the athlete could be optimally responsive to. On today’s show, Katie goes in detail on staggered-stance squatting and deadlifting, and how it can be leveraged based on the asymmetrical nature of an athlete’s body.  She also gets into detail on single leg lifting, and how turning into, or away from the leg being worked can emphasize various elements of the exercise.  She finishes by touching on hinging, posterior compression, and the link between high, rigid foot arches and what is happening upstream in the body.  Throughout the conversation, Katie highlights how each of these lifting variations can be utilized to bring the athletic body into greater balance, where needed. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:22 – The ideology behind staggered stance squatting, and how it can fit with athlete’s natural asymmetry 10:35 – What types of individuals would be the best candidates to give a left leg back, staggered squat to, in training 15:35 – The role of biofeedback in exploring squat and deadlift stance 25:00 – Thoughts on doing the stagger in a squat or deadlift one way, vs. both ways with athletes 31:06 – How to set athletes up, in a high-performance training program, to help them learn more about how their bodies work in a manner that will help them for a lifetime 44:11 – Single leg squat training with a turn at the top of the bottom to bias various elements of the gait cycle 48:30 – How to improve one’s pistol squatting on the left leg if an individual lacks the ability to internally rotate their left hip 58:25 – Katie’s thoughts on narrow and wide ISA’s, and how to look at deadlifting and hinging from that perspective 1:10:49 – Where to start with someone with high arches, or “banana feet”, and how the pelvic floor plays into that 1:21:38 – Using the pigeon stretch for clients with posterior compression in wide ISA’s vs. narrow ISA’s “Because of our natural asymmetry and organ position, the pelvis starts to turn to the right” “There are so many ways that the body is clever about maintaining that forward motion” “I used to do drills where I would reset my pelvis more back to the left, to get myself in a good position, and then go squat, but it still didn’t feel right….(but instead) In adding load and pulling my left foot back and sensing the outside of my left heel and inside of my right heel; just that little tiny maneuver,
Aug 25, 2022
320: James DiBiasio and Collin Taylor on Leveling Up Skills, Speed and Capacity in a Total Training Program
Today’s episode features performance coaches James DiBiasio and Collin (CT) Taylor.  James and CT work at T3 performance in Avon, Ohio, and have a progressive approach to athletic performance training, encapsulating strength, movement, athleticism in a holistic manner that fits with the progression of athletic skill, and leveling up one’s abilities as a human being.  James and CT were both college athletes in baseball and football respectively, and CT played arena football after his NCAA years.  In addition to their coaching, James and CT have been running the “Cutoffs and Coffee” podcast since 2020, having interviewed nearly 50 different guests. It’s been enjoyable to see more elements of chaos, risk, perception/reaction, and overall athleticism, emerge in the sports performance process in recent years.  Humans are the species on this planet with the greatest overall dexterity of skills, and yet, this dexterity is rarely leveraged in the average “training program” to a shade of its potential.  “Training” is something that is traditionally heavy on data, but low on chaos, and yet, sport, as well as the array of FLOW inducing human movement practices, are quite the opposite.  Yes, we still want to perform movements that improve the strength of muscles and tissues, while increasing capacity, but at the same time, we also want to give athletes challenges that allow them to expand their athleticism.  On the show today, James and CT get into how they have incorporated a variety of athletic skills, flips, and calisthenic movements into their training, how much their athletes enjoy it, and how it links to dynamics on the field of play.  They chat about how to leverage principles of intuition and chaos in the training day, and even week, speed training constraints, and finally, James and CT finish with an insightful view on the role of “difficult” training routines, and higher volume capacity-oriented training sets.  This was a fun podcast with a lot of take-aways, and highlights the ways that the field of athletic performance training is expanding and evolving. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 3:58 – Who wins the “bang energy” drink quantity competition between James, CT and Will Ratelle 6:49 – How James and CT use calisthenics, flips and tricks to level up their physical abilities 13:02 – How training movement skills and a variety of abilities has inspired the linking of these various flips, tricks and skills with traditional athletic performance 26:15 – How risk becoming involved in a skill changes the dynamic nature of that movement 36:00 – How James and CT look at training in its ability to prepare an athlete for working with other coaches, or situations where the work may be unpredictable 38:36 – How James and CT’s evolved training programs are perceived by parents and other coaches, and how they have gained trust over the years 43:05 – Moving through an “intuitive warmup” into a more programmed primary strength training session, and how a powerful warmup with a lot of “human” elements can make the strength training portion much better 52:31 – Changing the environment and the drill to get an outcome vs. trying to coach and cue excessively 1:04:07 – How to put difficult/capacity training exercises in context, and how to utilize higher volume training to athlete’s advantage “We’ll play around on the bars when we are in a training session with athletes, we’ll goof around and do different warmup styles, front flips and rolls, exciting and non-normal movements that can pique curiosity, and maybe after the training session,
Aug 18, 2022
319: Cal Dietz, Dan Fichter and Chris Korfist: A Roundtable Discussion on Advanced Speed and Power Training Methods
Today’s episode welcomes back coaches Cal Dietz, Dan Fichter and Chris Korfist in a truly epic multi-guest podcast.  The amount of coaching and learning experienced between Cal, Dan and Chris is staggering, and they have been influencing the training practices of other coaches since the early 2000’s. Speed training is always a fun topic, with a lot of resonance to many coaches, because it is the intersection of strength and function.  Training speed requires an understanding of both force and biomechanics.  It requires knowing ideas on both cueing, and athlete psychology.  Since acquiring better maximal velocity is hard, it forces us to level up on multiple levels of our coaching, and that process of improvement can filter out into other aspects of performance and injury prevention. On the show today, fresh off of their recent speed training clinic collaboration, Cal, Dan, Chris and I talk about a variety of topics on speed and athletic performance, including “muscular vs. elastic” athletes, the importance of strong feet (and toes), reflexive plyometric and speed training, as well as the best weight room exercises and alignments that have a higher transfer point to actual sport running.  This was a really enjoyable podcast to put together. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 2:50 – Who wins the quality sleep award between Cal, Dan and Chris 5:45 – Looking back on elastic vs. muscular athletes in light of the DB Hammer era, relative to now where we are talking more about wide and narrow ISA athletes 15:42 – Thoughts on athletes who do better to train with weights above 80% of their lifting max, and then athletes who do better with less, and how to train these athletes year-round 19:12 – Dan’s take on altitude drops, and how much athletes can progress into drops, or be more responsive to it than others 22:25 – The reflexive nature of things like dropping, falling and “plyo-soidal” oriented over-speed training 33:00 – Some different strategies Chris sees in sprinting on the 1080 with elastic vs. muscular athletes in mind 40:21 – Foot and toe strength, athlete function, and the role of the nervous system 50:05 – Thoughts on foot positions in light of weight-room work, and its link to sport speed 54:38 – How stronger athletes can manage a wider step width in a sprint start, vs. weaker athletes 1:03:58 – How athletes work off of coach’s mirroring of a movement 1:07:55 – Cal, Dan and Chris’s favorite single leg training movements for speed and athletic movement, particularly the “Yuri” hip flexor training movement 1:18:10 – Moving past “barbell hip thrusts” in training into standing or 45 degree hyper type versions “I think the elastic component boils down to altitude drops” Fichter “Everyone is going to deal with that collision in a different way, sometimes it is going to have to do with tendon length, or isometric strength” Korfist “Isometrics correlated a lot closer to increasing power, after an isometric block with my throwers, than it did my sprinters” Dietz “The throwers produced a lot more force above 60%, the runners produced a lot more force below 60%” “I can give you examples where something works for my athletes, and then 16 weeks later, it might make them worse, and that’s the art of coaching” “Is the hormonal/global response (from lifting heavy weights) going to outweigh the negatives?” Korfist “We’ve trained a lot of people without jumping at all, just landings” Fichter “I tested a kid with some reflexes that were off, and as soon as we implemented some overspeed work with the 1080,
Aug 11, 2022
318: Pat Davidson on Aerial and Terrestrial Factors in Athletic Performance Training
Today’s episode features Pat Davidson, Ph.D..  Pat is an independent trainer and educator in NYC.  Pat is the creator of the “Rethinking the Big Patterns” lecture series, is a former college professor, and is one of the most intelligent coaches I know in the world of fitness and human performance.  As an athlete, Pat has an extensive training background including time in strongman, mixed martial arts, and many types of weightlifting activities.  He has been a guest on multiple prior episodes of this series. The human body is quite complex, as is the potential array of training interventions we can impose on it.  To ease this process, and help us to direct our focus, it can be helpful to categorize means and methods.  We have spoken on this podcast often about compression, expansion, mid-early-late stance, and other biomechanical topics.  Outside of these ideas, training can also be, simply, considered in light of spending more, or less time on the ground and in contact with objects. On the podcast today, Pat shares his thoughts on a new idea in categorizing athletes and training means, which is based on that contact with the ground and deformable objects.  This goes beyond muscles, and into the sum total of a variety of muscle, joint and pressure system actions that deal with more, or less points of contact for an athletic movement. Within this system of “high ground” and “low ground”, Pat goes into exercise classification, as well as an explanation why more “aerial” exercise, such as movements involving a level of balance, are as popular as they are, based on the ground/aerial spectrum and links to athleticism.  Pat also gets into the role of the feet, particularly in mid-stance, on the tail end of this enlightening conversation.  This talk really helps us see a number of training means in a new and helpful light. Pat and I had a long and awesome talk here; based on some logistics with production and time, we’ll be jumping right into the meat and potatoes of our talk. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com Find out more about the the online course, Elastic Essentials, by heading to justflysports.thinkific.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:10 – How the number of movements and skills involved in a sport can impact the training concepts 6:17 – How sports can be “more grounded” or “less grounded” 22:32 – The links between good movers, and their ability to move when the amount of “ground” is reduced for them 30:36 – How far to take and maximize “high ground” activities, in light of other athletic activities 38:31 – The link between “low ground” athletic activities and “functional training” methods 49:00 – Single leg vs. bilateral training in terms of being “high ground” or “low ground” 1:01:04 – How being in hockey skates/rollerblades, or sprinting in track spikes make movements “higher ground” 1:05.45 – Pat’s thought’s on addressing mid-stance in light of “more ground” or “less ground” 1:16:56 – The role of mid-stance in transitioning to “forefoot rocker”, or up onto the ball of the foot “The more stuff there is outside of you that you can push against, and the less deformable that stuff is, the more “ground” (type of athlete) that is” “The low ground athletes are like half-pipe skateboarders, snowboarders, olympic divers, acrobats” “High ground individuals; a powerlifter is the highest ground I can think of, weightlifters, bodybuilders, interior linemen in football” “If you look at the characteristics of low ground and high ground athletes, they tend to be very different from each other” “The 100m is an instructive thing,
Aug 04, 2022
317: Jeff Howser on Speed Training Wisdom From the Dark Side of the Moon
Today’s episode features track and sport performance coach, Jeff Howser.  Jeff has been coaching track and field since 1971, and was himself a 6x ACC champion, named as one of the ACC’s top 50 track athletes of all time in 2003.  Jeff was a sprints and hurdles coach at Florida, UCLA, NC State, Duke and UNC before his time as a speed and sports performance coach, back at Duke University. If you caught the classic episode on oscillatory strength training with Sheldon Dunlap you may have heard Sheldon mention Jeff as a source of his oscillatory rep training knowledge.  In addition to a number of elite track and field competitors, Jeff also trained the top high school 40-yard dash runner in history, who ran a 4.25 second effort. In the world of speed training, many folks gravitate towards the “neat, packaged” training methods that are easy to understand and copy, such as sprint skip drills (A-skips, etc.).  Unfortunately, these drills don’t transfer to speed in nearly the capacity that we would hope for.  As Jeff says “I’ve never seen anyone skip their way to being fast”.  True speed is a little more complex, as it involves horizontal velocity and rotation, but is still, simple at its core given the self-organizing ability of the body. In his decades in track and field, Jeff has seen numerous pendulum shifts in how speed is coached, and has experienced a wide variety of training methods.  As Jeff has said, we often go to clinics and seminars to be fed the same information with a different coat of paint.  The “dark side” of the moon represents what we haven’t seen in the world of performance, and this episode is an epitome of that. On today’s show, Jeff goes into how sprint training has changed in the last 50 years, what he does, and doesn’t find helpful in speed development, a variety of sprint and speed training constraints and self-governing drills, oscillatory lifting and power development principles, and much more.  This show blends several important elements of biomechanics, strength and program philosophy that are impactful for any coach or athlete. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 3:57 – Jeff’s background and story in track and field, and his transition to university speed and strength coaching 8:29 – What track and field/speed coaching was like in the 1970’s, and how it has progressed since then 16:17 – What is the same, and what is different in training team sport athletes, and track and field athletes, in regards to their sprint technique 23:55 – Mistakes Jeff seeing being made in synchronizing the strength and speed components of a program 26:25 – Discussing the role of oscillation training in power development for the athletic program 33:22 – Running a periodization model on the level of “syncing and linking”, going power first and building strength on top of it 39:56 – Jeff’s thoughts on the “canned” (mach) sprint drills that are very popular in training 43:16 – “Down-the-Line” sprinting, and how this benefits athletes and emulates aspects seen in elite sprinters 50:25 – Why Jeff uses “flat footed” running as a sprint constraint, and how this can help substantially once they go back to “normal” running 51:50 – How and why Jeff started using “groucho” runs, which are similar to “squatty runs” 1:01:33 – Details of Jeff’s training of an athlete who went from 4.45 to a 4.25 40-yard dash and ran the fastest high school clocking of all time “Back in my day (in the 1970’s) I was actually taught to stay on the ground and push as long as you can, as hard as you can… I had to change my philosophy, I used to coach the way I was coached; when the evidence is there,
Jul 28, 2022
316: Simon Capon on Present-Moment Awareness and Flow-State Cultivation
Today’s episode features sports psychologist, Simon Capon.  Simon is a hypnotherapist, Master NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) practitioner, as well as the author of the book “It’s Time to Start Winning.” Since 2006 Simon has worked with professional athletes, using variety of techniques including skills from NLP and hypnotherapy.  He has inspired athletes, footballers and numerous others to achieve national, international and world titles. Simon’s philosophy is simple, create self-belief and your behaviors and actions will change and so will your results.  Simon previously appeared on episode #198 of the podcast, speaking particularly on the link between body language and mental state in athletics, as well as managing the emotional brain for performance. As Logan Christopher puts it, we are always “mentally training” whether we think we are or not.  If we do nothing dedicated to improving the processes and habits related to managing the mind well, we will simply revert to the default programming.  By focusing on the role of the mind, we can improve our motivation, consistency, clutch performance, physical abilities, as well as find a greater sense of purpose and enjoyment in each training session. In this show, Simon speaks at length on methods to stay in the present moment, how to use particular strategies to engage the sensory systems of the body, turn of the judging mind, and get into FLOW states.  He discusses the role of visual focus (peripheral vs. narrow) in sport, linking higher purposes and emotions into our movement/training, as well as a “process oriented” approach to goal setting. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:45 – Why spending time on a cell-phone between training sets takes one out of the present moment, and what to focus on between sets instead 13:15 – The link between modern lifestyle technology use, dopamine addiction, and the negative brain chemistry momentum generated by continually checking one’s phone 16:45 – Principles that lead to the “unconscious” flow state in sport performance 19:45 – Strategies on how to get into the FLOW state in sport 25:45 – The “Know-Nothing” state and how to use one’s senses to get into FLOW states 31:45 – How one’s visual field adjustments factor into one’s sport skill performance 35:45 – Principles of non-attachment and over-trying in sport 38:45 – “Chunking” a long and demanding task into smaller parts to improve mental focus and resilience 45:45 – Digging into purpose and higher emotions in the course of difficult training sessions 61:00 – Balancing process vs. outcome goals “Wherever you are, be there…. (if you are on your phone) we aren’t really present in the gym” “Energy flows where focus goes… wherever you are, put your heart and soul into it” “It’s not just about the gym, it’s in other areas of your life as well” “(In an athletic flow state) There’s no internal dialogue, there’s no judgements, there’s no thoughts” “We can’t always keep (the critical inner voice) quiet, but we can keep it occupied” “(Widening your field of vision, noticing your breathing, using all of your senses with your internal and external environment) allows you to play your sport freely…… it comes from a technique called the “know-nothing state”” “Mental focus follows visual focus” “Every time you go to the table, your job is to execute the strategy (not to “win the game”), it’s to be at your best, and if you are at your best, winning the tournament will most certainly happen” “Purpose is one of those things that we often under-estimate” “We all have an ego, but when you can channel it so it has a contribution to othe...
Jul 21, 2022
315: Rick Franzblau on Sprint and Strength Training Optimization Based on Athlete Structural Type
Today’s episode brings back Rick Franzblau, assistant AD for Olympic Sports Performance at Clemson University.  In his two decades in athletic performance, Rick has worked with a wide variety of sports, as well as gained an incredible amount of knowledge in both the technology, and biomechanics ends of the coaching spectrum.  Rick, as with many other biomechanics topic guests on this podcast, has been a mentee of Bill Hartman, and has appeared previously on episode 94, talking about force/velocity metrics in sprinting and lifting. There is a lot of time spent, talking about an “optimal technique” for various sport skills (such as sprinting).  We also tend to look for “optimal lifts” or exercises for athletes, as well as optimal drills athletes are supposed to perform with “perfect form” to attain an ideal technique. What the mentality described in the above paragraph doesn’t consider is that athletes come in different shapes and structures, which cause what is optimal to differ.  Wide ISA athletes, for example, are fantastic at short bursts of compression, have lower centers of mass, and can manage frontside sprint mechanics relatively easily.  On the other hand, narrow ISA individuals use longer ranges of motion to distribute force, have a higher center of mass, rotate more easily, and can use backside running mechanics better than wide-ISA’s.  Additionally, there is a spectrum of these athletic structures, and not simply 2 solid types. On today’s show, Rick goes into detail on the impact and role of compression in human movement and performance training, the strengths and weaknesses of the narrow vs. wide ISA archetypes, what differences show up in locomotion and sprint training, as well as how he approaches strength training for the spectrum of wide to narrow individuals.  Today’s show reminds us (thankfully) that there is no magic-bullet for all athletes, and helps us with the over-arching principles that can guide training for different populations to reach their highest potential. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com Find out more about the the online course, Elastic Essentials, by heading to justflysports.thinkific.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:00 – How the direction of Rick’s performance testing and KPI’s has changed over the last few years 8:00 – How structure and thorax build will play a strong role in what Rick is seeing from them on rate of development on the force plate 23:00 – What to give to a compressed narrow individual to help them in a vertical jump 25:00 – Narrow vs. Wide ISA acceleration mechanics 34:00 – Thoughts on how to help a narrow ISA improve their ability to get lower and achieve better compression in sprint acceleration, and why Rick has gotten away from heavy sled sprints for narrow ISA athletes on the 1080 44:00 – How a coach’s own personal body structure can create a bias for how they end up training athletes they work with 47:00 – Wide ISA athletes, and why they may have an easier time accessing front-side mechanics in running 56:00 – Narrow ISA athletes and backside sprint mechanics, as well as attaining appropriate range and sprint bandwidths for each athlete 58:00 – How force plate data and structural bandwidths determine how to train team sport athletes for the sake of injury prevention and sport specific KPI’s 1:10:00 – How Rick alters weightroom training for narrow vs. wide ISA athletes 1:17:00 – Rick’s take on oscillatory reps in the weightroom, and quick-impulse lifts, especially for narrow infra-sternal angle athletes “(Regarding infrasternal angle archetypes) It’s not to claim buckets that people fall into; it’s a spec...
Jul 14, 2022
314: Alex Effer on “Jacked Shoulders” in Sprinting, Athletic Squatting Mechanics, and Rotational Dynamics of Locomotion
Today’s episode brings back Alex Effer.  Alex is the owner of Resilient Training, and has extensive experience in strength & conditioning, exercise physiology and the biomechanical function of the body.  He also runs educational mentorships teaching biomechanics to therapists, trainers and coaches.  Alex was recently on the show talking about the mechanics of the early to late stance spectrum and it’s implications for performance training. Something that has been dramatically under-studied in running, jumping, cutting and locomotion in general is the role of the upper body.  Since the arms don’t directly “put force into the ground” and the world of sports performance and running is mostly concerned with vertical force concepts; the role of the arms gets relatively little attention in movement. This is unfortunate for a few reasons.  One is that sport movement has strong horizontal and rotational components that demand an understanding of how the upper body matches and assists with the forces that are “coming up from below”.  Two is that the joints of the upper body tend to have a lot in common with the alignment and actions of corresponding joints in the lower body.  When we understand how the upper body aligns and operates, we can optimize our training for it in the gym, as well as better understand cueing and motor learning constraints in dynamic motion. Today’s topics progress in a trend of “expansion to compression”, starting with a chat on the expansive effect of aerobic training (as well as the trendy thera-gun) and Alex’s favorite restorative and re-positioning aerobic methods.  We then get into rotational dynamics in squatting, focusing on the actions of the lower leg, and finish the chat with a comprehensive discussion on the role of the upper body in sprinting, how to train propulsive IR for the upper body in the gym, as well as touching on improving hip extension quality for athletic power. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 5:00 – Why Alex thinks that the Theragun is actually a useful tool in the scope of training 15:00 – Thoughts on the use of aerobic training, and blood flow as an “inside out” expansive stimulus to the muscle and the body in general 22:30 – The importance of tibial internal rotation, and how it fits in with the ability to squat and bend the knee 33:30 – How to restore tibial internal rotation for improved squatting and knee mechanics 38:15 – Talking about Chris Korfist’s “rocker squats”, and viability in regards to specifically improving tibial internal rotation 44:00 – Isometrics and work done at shallower knee angles for knee health in respect to the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis muscles 51:00 – The importance of hip and shoulder internal rotation in sprinting, and the role of the upper body in helping the lower body to get off the ground more quickly. 1:07:30 – Narrow vs. Wide infra-sternal angle athletes in regards to upper body dynamics , and general biomechanics in sprinting 1:13:00 – Alex’s take on hip extension in sprinting and how to improve it 1:22:00 – The role of hill sprinting in improving hip extension, as well as the benefits of walking down the hill in terms of priming the body to leverage the glutes better on the way back up 1:24:00 – Why Alex likes hip thrusts with the feet elevated, relative to hip height 1:28:00 – Some key exercises to improve shoulder internal rotation for sprinting “The vibration aspect of the Theragun I really like; if you slow the landing of running or sprinting, you will see a vibration or wave-like effect of the muscle upon impact” “Whatever my upper back or torso is going to do; I am going to ha...
Jul 07, 2022
313: Joel Smith Q&A on Exercise Selection, Sport Speed Concepts, and Jump Training Setups
Today’s episode features a question and answer session with Joel Smith. On the show today, I answer questions related to “are there any bad exercises?”, sport speed concepts, jump training, “switching” sprint drills, and much more.  I love being able to highlight and integrate information from so many of the past guests on this podcast into my own training, coaching, and ultimately, the answers I provide on this show.  In many senses of the word, this is truly an “integration” episode of the podcast series. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 3:16 –Is there any such thing as a bad exercise? 17:19 –How do we speed up soccer players? 30:25 –Do you find value in spending time on switching drills? 45:07 –Athletes who take too many steps in a start or acceleration. 53:19 –Does walking affect fast-twitch fibers? 54:45 –Setups for high jump off-season/yearly plyo program for high level jumpers? 1:01:36 –How to speed jump like elite high jumpers? About Joel Smith Joel Smith is the founder of Just Fly Sports and is a sports performance/track coach in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Joel hosts the Just Fly Performance Podcast, has authored several books on athletic performance, and in 2021, released the integrative training course, “Elastic Essentials”.  He currently trains clients in the in-person and online space. Joel was formerly a strength coach for 8 years at UC Berkeley, working with the Swim teams and professional swimmers, as well as tennis, water polo, and track and field.  A track coach of 15 years, Joel coached for the Diablo Valley Track and Field Club for 7 years, and also has 6 years of experience coaching sprints, jumps, hurdles, pole vault and multi-events on the collegiate level, working at Wilmington College, and the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, along with his current work with master’s, high school and collegiate individuals. Joel has had the honor of working with a number of elite athletes, but also takes great joy in helping amateur athletes and individuals reach their training goals through an integrative training approach with a heavy emphasis on biomechanics, motor learning, mental preparation, and physiological adaptation.  His mission through Just Fly Sports is: “Empowering the Evolution of Sport and Human Movement”.  As a former NAIA All-American track athlete, Joel enjoys all aspects of human movement and performance, from rock climbing, to track events and weightlifting, to throwing the frisbee with his young children and playing in nature.
Jun 30, 2022
312: Rob Gray on Higher Athletic Ceilings with Differential Learning and Optimized Variability Training
Today’s episode welcomes back to the show, Rob Gray, professor at Arizona State University and host of the Perception & Action Podcast.  Rob Gray has been conducting research on, and teaching courses related to perceptual-motor skill for over 25 years.  He focuses heavily on the application of basic theory to address real-world challenges, having consulted with numerous professional and governmental entities, and has developed a VR baseball training system that has been used in over 25 published studies.  Rob is the author of the book “How We Learn to Move: A Revolution in the Way We Coach and Practice Sports Skills”. You cannot separate the world of athletic development, even pure “power” training, from concepts on motor learning.  If we look at interest in athletic performance topics by “need”, speed training will typically be first on the list.  At its core, sprinting, lifting (and every other athletic skill) has its roots in how we learn. The great thing about motor learning knowledge, is that it can both allow you to have a better training session on the day, as well as month to month, and year over year.  Training done only on the level of raw “power” as a general quality, and explicit instruction will create early ceilings for athletes in their career.  Understanding motor learning allows for more involved daily training sessions, and better flourishing of skills that grow like a tree, over time.  Whether you work in sport, in the gym, or as a parent/athlete, understanding how we learn goes a massively long way in becoming the best version of one’s self athletically and from a movement perspective. In episode 293, Rob got into the constraints-led approach to movement vs. “teaching fundamentals”, and in this episode, he goes into CLA’s counter-part: differential learning.  Rob will get into the nuances of differential learning on the novice and advanced level.  In the back end of the show, we’ll talk about “stacking constraints”, games, exploration, using the “velocity dial” as a constraint, and finally, the promising results of Rob’s research showing the effectiveness of a variable practice model. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 5:07 – How differential learning is different than the constraints led approach in athletic development 12:10 – Using differential learning as a recovery tool from intense training means 15:51 – Using constraints within the scope of differential learning and vice versa 21:28 – If and how differential learning or the CLA led approach can be too “widespread” vs. focused towards a movement goal 25:02 – Some games Rob would specifically utilize in training tennis players using constraints and differential learning 28:11 – The advantage of free flowing sports with limited rules and setups for children in the process of youth sports 36:05 – How performing exploratory movements in the weight room can fit with differential learning concepts 41:55 – Rob’s take on the innate ability of athletes to figure out movement on their own, and when to dig into constraints more deeply to help determine why they may not be solving a problem well, and the integration of analogies into the process 44:23 – Thoughts on manipulating velocity and time as a constraint, and the relationship between intensifying constraints, and the amount of movement solutions 53:30 – How using variable learning and constraint led approaches can improve players ceilings in long-term development 59:52 – The specifics of Rob’s landmark study with baseball players and long-term development “The constraints led approach is a bit more focused… you have a rough idea of where they want to be,
Jun 23, 2022
311: Kyle Dobbs on “Macro-to-Micro” Thinking in Strength, Speed and Corrective Exercise
Today’s episode features Kyle Dobbs.  Kyle is the owner and founder of Compound Performance which offers online training, facility consulting and a personal trainer mentorship.  He has an extensive biomechanics and human movement background (having trained 15,000+ sessions), and has been a two time previous guest on this podcast. In the world of training and performance, it’s easy to get caught up in prescribing a lot of exercises that offer a relatively low training effect in the grand scheme of things.  Healthy and capable athletes are often assigned a substantial load of low-level “prehab” style and corrective exercises that they often do not need.  In doing so, both a level of boredom, fatigue and just simply wasting time, happens in the scope of a program. For my own training journey, I’ve seen my own pendulum swing from a relatively minimal approach to the number of movements, to having a great deal of training exercises, back down to a smaller and more manageable core of training movements in a session.  As I’ve learned to tweak and adjust the big lifts, and even plyometric and sprint variations, I realize that I can often check off a lot of training boxes with these movements, without needing to regress things too far. On the show today, Kyle will speak on where and when we tend to get overly complex, or overly regressive in our training and programming.  He’ll talk about what he prioritizes when it comes to assigning training for clients, as well as a “macro-to-micro” way of thinking in looking at the entirety of training.  Kyle will get into specifics on what this style of thinking and prioritization means for things like the big lifts, speed training, and core work, as well as touch how on biomechanical differences such as infra-sternal angle play a role in his programming. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 3:41 – How Kyle’s run training has been developing, since he has been getting back into his two years ago after being a high level college 400m runner 7:41 – Kyle’s thoughts on where we tend to get overly complex in the physical preparation/strength & conditioning industry 11:58 – How Kyle prioritizes exercises based on the task requirements of the athlete 16:19 – Thoughts on working macro-to-micro, versus micro-to-macro 28:50 – How Kyle will avoid trying to regress individuals to a low-level, rudimentary version of an exercise if possible, and his take on “pre-hab” work 36:50 – The usefulness of hill sprints as a “macro” exercise for glutes, lower legs, and hip extension quality 40:56 – The spectrum of perceived complexity as athletes move from a beginner to a more advanced level 48:40 – Kyle’s take on some gym movements that “check a lot of boxes” in athletic movement 56:01 – How much of Kyle’s programming ends up being different on account of being a wide vs. narrow infrasternal angle “If we can’t match the stress that an athlete is going to be encountering in their actual sport, it isn’t going to have a huge return” “I want to be able to pick the biggest return on investment from a training perspective; those are going to go into my primary buckets from a programming perspective” “If I have somebody who really needs to zoom into the micro, and we really need to get into the biomechanics weeds and decrease the training stress, those are people that we refer out to another specialist… having a good network allows you to focus on the things that you are good at and that you really like to do.  I learned early in my career that, I don’t like to be the rehab guy” “That’s my problem with the biomechanics led approach,
Jun 16, 2022
310: Andrew Sheaff on A Fusion of Track and Swimming Concepts in Athletic Speed Development
Today’s episode features swim coach Andrew Sheaff.  Andrew is an assistant swimming coach at the University of Virginia, winners of the last two NCAA women’s championships.  In addition to swim coaching, Sheaff has an extensive background in strength and conditioning, including an internship under Buddy Morris.  A collegiate swimmer at Pittsburgh, Sheaff was named the Senior Athlete of Distinction. He was a four-time Big East Academic All-Star and a four-time University Scholar Athlete.  He writes on numerous aspects of coaching education at his website, coachandrewsheaff.com . A quote on Andrew’s blog that made a lot of sense to me was a quote by former cricket player and ESPN writer, Ed Smith, that “Because the important things are hard to coach, it is tempting to take refuge in the small, irrelevant things because they are easy.”  I find this to be extremely relevant to many approaches to athletic development where drills are often over-emphasized and over-controlled, while the actual sporting skill is often left relatively un-changed from season to season. I have found it a common theme, in modern coaching, to attempt to overly “control” an athlete’s technique through the over-use of drills, exact positions, and discrete instructions.  This can range from cues in the weight room (butt back, chest out, through the heels!) to the track (heel up, knee up, toe up!) to exact arm positions for swimming movements. On the show today, Andrew speaks on elements of control vs. athlete empowerment in coaching.  He talks on training methods that lead to lasting change in technique and performance, with an emphasis on the constraints-led approach.  This podcast was a fun cross-pollination of ideas between the worlds of swimming, track and physical preparation, with important concepts for any coach or athlete.  Whether you are interested in speed training, technical development, or just overall coaching practice, you are sure to find this a really informative conversation. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com Find out more about the the online course, Elastic Essentials, by heading to justflysports.thinkific.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:51 – Why Andrew got into both physical preparation/S&C, as well as swim coaching, in his coaching career 6:35 – Why Andrew believes swim training remained so “old school” (based on large yardages and distances) for so long, compared to track and field 8:53 – Why so many coaches take refuge in the small/easy/controllable things, when more focus is needed on bigger, but more rewarding, real problems in athletics 12:10 – How coaches seeking “too much control” plays out in the world of swimming 15:36 – Basics of how Andrew uses constraints to allow swimmers problem solving opportunities, vs. trying to control smaller elements of the stroke 23:46 – Bondarchuk’s “Push the Hammer” cue, and the power of slightly ambiguous coaching instructions that don’t over-control the athlete’s movements 31:28 – How the unique situation of training in a 25 yard or 50 meter pool, can create more interesting training options for swim athletes in terms of constraints 35:13 – How Andrew uses constraints that are purely for exploratory perspective, versus constraints from a timed perspective 41:23 – How fatiguing particular body sections or muscles can offer a unique constraint in both swimming, or land activities such as plyometrics 46:04 – The spectrum of “boredom tolerance” between athletes, and how Andrew manages this in practice 51:58 – Why and how Andrew thinks more “standard volume” type training methods can be successful, and if they are sustainable or not
Jun 09, 2022
309: Rob Assise on Plyometric Complexes, “Crescendo Sets” and Variability in Speed and Power Training
Today’s episode features Rob Assise.  Rob has 19 years of experience teaching mathematics and coaching track and field at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. He also has coached football and cross country, and is also the owner of the private training business, Re-evolution athletics.  Rob has appeared on multiple prior episodes of the podcast, speaking on his unique approach to jumps training that combines the practice with many sport-like elements. Track and field offers us a great insight as to the effectiveness of a variety of training methods, because each method will be ultimately judged by how fast an athlete ended up running, how far or high they jumped, or how far they threw.  In track and field, we combine power alongside technical development in the process of achieving event mastery. Rob has a creative and integrative process to his own training methods, and on today’s show, he speaks largely on some “crescendo style” adjustments to common plyometric and sprint drills that he uses to help athletes improve their technique and rhythmic ability over a period of time. On the show Rob talks about his recent sprint-jump complexes, use of asymmetrical plyometrics, and where he has gone with the “minimal effective dose” style of training.  He also shares his thoughts on tempo sprints in the role of jump training, and as we have spoken on in other podcasts, manipulating velocity in a movement in order to improve not only one’s speed, to help them clear up technical issues. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:17 – How Rob’s last track season turned out, and an overview of some things he changed and learned 7:15 – The purpose, and implementation of “crescendo” style plyometric training 23:05 – Specific “nuts and bolts” of “crescendo” style plyometrics in terms of sets, reps and intensities 28:20 – Thoughts on the crescendo effect, and wave-loading for fly-10 sprints, and then in the weight room 34:09 – Rob’s ideas for using basketball hoops with his track and field jumps group, and ideas for a warmup and training circuit blending basketball and track ideas 38:54 – Some of Rob’s training complexes that mix top-end speed, and controllable jump takeoffs 42:31 – How biomechanical issues in sprinting and jumping could be potentially solved via increased velocity 46:34 – How Rob has moved away, within his training group, from the “minimal effective dose” idea, especially in the volume of his long-jump approaches 50:35 – Rob’s take on tempo training and long sprints with his training group 57:34 – How Rob has been using asymmetrical skips and bounding to better replicate some jump takeoffs, and then to help teach bounding better “That skill (how to bounce) isn’t necessarily there with athletes” “We brought (the crescendo principle) into all of our regular plyos, the bounds, the gallops, the skips, the run-run-jumps” “If an athlete isn’t getting the RSI I want, I’ll make it a “speed gate golf” game, and we’ll (try exactly for a lower RSI) for a few sets, and then they’ll come back and hit a PR” “Something I need to more of that has a lot of power is the single leg bounds or hopping… with the crescendo style, that’s something I’m going to focus on more, moving forward” “If I played basketball, and I could only make layups or 3 pointers, there may be a role for me, but it would be better if I could hit a mid-range jumper, right?” “Whenever I write up a practice plan, it’s all a complex” “Now days I have no problem with having athletes take 10 long jump approaches in a session, where before, I may have capped it at 4” “I get a lot of benefits of tempo from doing jump type ...
Jun 02, 2022
308: Will Ratelle on Explosive Training Specificity, Olympic Lift Debates, and Avoiding Redundant Exercises
Today’s episode features Will Ratelle.  Will is a strength coach, at the University of North Dakota, working with football, basketball, volleyball and tennis athletes. He is also the owner of “W2 Performance”.  Prior to working in the performance field, he spent time as a professional football player, spending time with the Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, and Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL). In the supportive role of physical preparation/S&C, it is very easy to partition the process of weightlifting away from the actual needs and demand of explosive, chaotic sports.  It’s also easy to get carried away with excessive auxiliary work, or “atomizing” facets of power work/RFD that don’t end up transferring to actual explosive sport skills.  In this sense, it’s helpful to personally spend time in sport, in skill acquisition, and in strength development one’s self, to intuitively understand the balance, and synergy, between athletic components. Will’s athletic background, love for sport and play, and raw “horsepower” is a unique combination.  He was a semi-pro athlete, can clean and jerk 198kg, dunks a basketball with ease, and also loves to play a variety of games and sports.  Will has an analytical process to his performance programming, and asks important questions that have use really dig into the why of what we are doing in the gym (and beyond). On the show today, Will talks about his athletic, game-play and strength background, and how despite being more than physically capable, did not make the pro level of football.  Will then goes into ideas on what we should actually be looking to improve/intensity in the gym setting.  He chats on how to avoid training things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of everything an athlete is asked to do.  Will finishes with his thoughts on the specificity of potentiation, jump and sprint variability training, and then a great take on the “Olympic lifts vs. loaded jumps” debate. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 3:40 – How many “Bang” energy drinks Will believes the typical strength coach should consume daily 4:51 – Will’s background in athletics, sport, and athletic performance 9:53 – The importance of play in fitness and boosting overall athletic qualities 16:02 – Why Will, despite being athletically physically superior to many other football players, did not make it as a pro-football player and what he has learned from that 21:35 – Will thoughts on things he would choose to intensify in the gym, such as barbell velocity 27:17 – Thoughts on “generalized” power training methods 33:39 – Will’s take on not wasting time in the gym, and how to avoid redundancy in the course of training 47:58 – Will’s thoughts on heavy strongman work, squats and deadlifts and the optimal potentiation for sport skills 55:15 – How Will approaches jump and sprint variability in his warmups for training 1:03:46 – Will’s take on loaded jumps versus Olympic lifting, and the utility of Olympic lifting in sport preparation “It’s really difficult to get people,who are my peers, on a Saturday afternoon, to go play racquetball, or go play pickleball, or something like that…. When you do get a group of people to go play a game like that, they always say, “we should do this more often”” “I think a lot of times (playing) is going to have a better training effect than going in the gym for an hour” “I didn’t have the (tactical) ability that would have been required for me to play at that level… the general perception action abilities were right up there with anybody else, I just didn’t have the specific perception action abilities”
May 26, 2022
307: Dan John on High-Velocity Learning, Games for Explosive Athletes, and Training Synergy
Today’s episode features strength coach, track coach and writer, Dan John.  Dan is a legendary contributor to the world of human performance, having written numerous top-selling books in strength development, such as “Easy Strength”, as well as having coached and taught athletes for decades.  He has been a multi-time guest on this podcast, and is one of the greatest influences on the way I see the process of sport performance today. In the world of athletics, it becomes very easy to dissect elements of performance or biomechanics down to a level of minutia where things can actually lose effectiveness, efficiency, or both.  In large, fast, multi-joint movements, for example, we reap value that is often times “greater than the sum of its parts” when we are talking about the best way to achieve functional lower body development (such as using a squat or deadlift, rather than several machine based exercises to train the same muscles).  Fast sprinting is a more effective way to train the hamstrings than breaking hamstring training down into a series of strength exercises (although you can certainly do both).  In a similar vein, a game like volleyball or basketball is often times better than the sum of its parts in terms of agility and plyometric training.  Within the scope of complexity and velocity, the human body is forced to adapt to a higher level than a “broken down” versions. In his vast experience, Dan John has been able to see what “big things” in training are truly important, and how we can close the gap that so often appears between common training practices and competition.  He knows how to combine key elements in training and one’s life outside of training to create synergistic effects. On the podcast today, Dan speaks whole-part-whole teaching, and how training get actually get dissected to the point where we are creating gaps in actual competitive performance.  He will talk about the role of games (not specific to one’s primary sport) in athletic performance, in the off-season, in-season, and as a form of conditioning.  From there Dan goes into motor learning wisdom in coaching, and how he uses elements of velocity, complexity, rhythm and relaxation to help athletes adapt to better technical proficiency, as well as dealing with over-analytical athletes in this process.  Finally, Dan finishes the show with some practical wisdom on sets and reps in the grand scheme of program design, as well as some thoughts on periodization.  It’s always an honor to have Dan on, and listen to his coaching wisdom from decades in his craft. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:00 – Whole-Part-Whole teaching, and principles of not overly dissecting movements in the process of athletic development 9:19 – Principles on synergy, and the “sum of the parts” being greater than the individual elements, when it comes to a sport or major human movement 16:08 – The importance of games in athletic programming, and how game play can fulfill many conditioning needs of athletes without over-complicating the process 22:21 – How the “fundamentals” of free play and overall athleticism are critical in the general development of athletes 28:50 – What Dan’s throw practices look like in terms of the proportion of drills or constraints vs. traditional throws 33:45 – How giving athletes more complexity can be a cure for “monkey brain”, or over-thinking athletes 43:43 – Dan’s take on the “Rewzon study” on variable long jump training, and how it carries into his throws practice 54:23 – Advanced, or “magic” drills in track and field, or sports performance 1:04:10 – Dan’s thoughts on where to get started with “sets and reps” in ...
May 19, 2022
306: Rolf Ohman on The Elastic Strength Index and Specificity of Power Development in Athletics
Today’s episode features coach and inventor, Rolf Ohman.  Rolf was born in Sweden but grew up in Brisbane, Australia. He has worked for over 40 years in international sports, as an athlete (Decathlon) and as coach at International and National level.  He was the Head Coach for the Dalian Olympic Sports Center 2016-17 and Assistant Head Coach Chinese National Team Sprints/Jumps 2018-19.  Rolf is the inventor of the 1080 Technology (such as the 1080 sprint device), and has substantial experience in both the data-based and practical aspects of coaching and training. In the recent Randy Huntingon podcasts, Randy spoke about how doing hurdle hops over too high of hurdles had the tendency to “kill elasticity”.  Rolf Ohman has worked with Randy, and has substantial experience linking the ground contact times in plyometric exercises, as well as the impulse times of various movements in the weight room, to what is observed in athletics.  Track and field athletes have faster impulse needs than team sport athletes as well, and Rolf has worked with both populations, and understands which metrics should be optimized in training for different situations. On today’s podcast, Rolf will speak on the specific drawbacks to using too high of hurdles in bilateral plyometric training, and gives his specific recommendations for which heights he feels are maximally beneficial for both track and team sport individuals.  He’ll speak on various elements of transfer in the weight room, such as the progression of the Olympic lifts, as well as thoughts on the transfer present in different elements of gym training, such as the impulse dynamics of lifting seen in elite athletes.  Rolf finishes with some thoughts on youth and long term development on the terms of speed and power.  Ultimately, this episode helps us to better understand closing the “gap” we often see between the gym, and the forces present on the field of play. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Lost Empire Herbs, and the Elastic Essentials online course. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com Find out more about the the online course, Elastic Essentials, by heading to justflysports.thinkific.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:42 – Rolf’s take on the height in hurdle hops, and how it impacts the elasticity of the exercise, as well as drawbacks to using too high of hurdles in the movement 11:13 – What the typical hurdle heights Rolf uses for track and non-track athletes in plyometric training 17:50 – Why Rolf chooses to progress the Olympic lifts in the course of training like he does 24:37 – Rolf’s use of partial vs. full ranges of motion in strength training for athletes 38:29 – Thoughts on oscillating isometric exercises with lifts, compared to a Keiser or air-powered machine setup 52:08 – How contact times and hurdle hop heights change for team sports vs. track 58:59 – How limb speed gets “set” before the age of 15 in athletes, and if athletes miss critical speed windows of training, they will be in a limited place in future performance “There aren’t a lot of guys around who can produce any sort of RSI index from 1 meter drop jumps… when I use high hurdle hops, which I rarely do, it might be in a setting when I’m seeking some kind of force production” “If I build maximum strength for my long jumpers with contact times in the 250-300ms range, is that going to help me?” “If whatever you’re doing in training is on one end of the spectrum, and competition is on the other end of the spectrum, that is “gap-osis”… if that gap is too big, you are going to be in trouble” “In the first 100-150 milliseconds (of a lift) the athletes who are the best really shine there” “We’re coordinating the neural system (in the weight room) we are creating...
May 12, 2022
305: Tim Anderson on Rolling Techniques to Move Better, Improve Gait, and “Connect the X” of the Body
Today’s episode features Tim Anderson.  Tim is the co-owner of the Original Strength Institute, and has been a personal trainer for over 20 years.  He has written and co-written many books on human performance including The Becoming Bulletproof Project, Habitual Strength, Pressing RESET, and Original Strength Performance. When it comes down to it, his message is simple yet powerful: We were created to feel good and be strong throughout life. It is because of Tim that I’ve developed a fascination with crawling, and largely, a fascination with bodyweight training in general.  So often, our thought on bodyweight training is one that revolves around ways to produce copious amounts of muscle tension, such as in gymnastics, which is great, and do so in volumes that can produce slabs of muscle.  At the same time, bodyweight training is much more than simply looking for alternative ways to seek hypertrophy.  Training with one’s bodyweight allows for a variety of reciprocal movement actions, where energy is stored and released, transmitting itself through the hands, spine, pelvis and feet.  Training with one’s bodyweight also allows us to hone on rudimentary and reflexive movement skills, such as crawling. Tim appeared on episode #154 of the podcast, talking about the power of crawling and reflexive movement.  On the tail end of that show, Tim discussed rolling for a few minutes, but I wanted to get him back to dig more thoroughly into that topic. On today’s show, Tim goes into the benefits of rolling, and how he progresses and instructs it for his clients.  He speaks about rolling on the level of the vestibular system, joint rotation (particularly internal rotation), the gait cycle, sensation and awareness, and more.  At the end of the show, we talk about modulating speeds and rhythms in ground-work, and finally, Tim gets into how his own personal workouts and training have progressed over time, and how rolling plays an important part of his own daily strength routine. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 3:28 – The purpose of rolling for human performance, and how Tim progresses it for clients 7:09 – The possibility of rolling to improve balance, coordination and dexterity through stimulation of the vestibular system 13:46 – Tim’s description of segmental rolling and how to progress it over time 23:30 – How much rolling Tim prescribes for various clients and individuals 26:53 – The specific elements in the process of rolling that helps to “connect the X” of the torso 32:21 – Ideas on using rolling or similar connective movements between more intensive main training sets 39:17 – How Tim looks at rolling and similar movements in light of their capacity to help improve internal rotation in individuals 46:44 – Addressing various speeds or rhythms to training movements 50:27 – What Tim’s early workouts looked like, and what his training has transitioned to now that he has gotten into his Original Strength workouts 58:29 – Ideas on super-slow crawling and the benefits of controlled bodyweight movement 1:04:02 – What the head and eye position should be like in the course of rolling “Our skin is our largest tactile organ, and when we roll, we are stimulating the skin a lot” “If you could imagine that your body is a sponge, and everything out there is information; so when you are rolling on the ground, you are trying to take that sponge and soak in the information everywhere” “If we do these three things, we’ll more than likely stay healthy throughout our lives: The first one is breath properly with your diaphragm, nasal breathe, keep the tongue on the roof of your mouth.
May 05, 2022
304: Rafe Kelley and Charles St. John on “Supercharging” Games and Building Dynamic Learning Models
Today’s episode features Rafe Kelly and Charles St. John.  Rafe is the owner of Evolve Move Play, and has studied and taught a multitude of movement practices spanning gymnastics, parkour, martial arts, weightlifting, Cross-fit and more for decades.  His passion to is help people build the physical practice that will help make them the strongest, most adaptable and resilient version of themselves in movement and in life.  Charles has been training parkour since 2009, and coaching it since 2012. He carries multiple parkour coaching certifications and is a certified personal trainer for general fitness, while he currently coaches at the APEX Denver Parkour (Apexdenver.com) and Circus facility in Colorado. Motor learning is the worldview by which you keep yourself from over-compartmentalizing elements of a total training program.  It’s how you discover the window, or lens by which an athlete acquires mastery in their sport, and also determines how you go about constructing a training session with the “whole” in mind.  It allows one to see the forest from the trees in the process of athletic mastery.  If we only listen to “speed”, “output” and “drill” oriented material, and leave out the actual over-arching process of motor learning in any sort of athletic performance discussion, we end up with a more over-compartmentalized, less sustainable, less effective, and less enjoyable model of training On the podcast today, Rafe and Charles speak in the first half, on games they particularly enjoy from a true “generalist” point of view; games that encapsulate the most essential elements of “human-ness” in movement.  These game principles can be plugged into either general (for the sake of better outputs for the subsequent training session), or specific warmups (for the sake of “donor” learning to the main session).  In the second half, we get into a detailed discussion on dynamic points of learning and coaching, speaking on points of drill vs. holistic approach to skills, frequency of feedback (and types of feedback), working with highly analytical athletes, checking the effectiveness of one’s cues, and much more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:41 – Why Rafe and Charles love rugby as a multi-dimensional game that encapsulates a lot of human qualities and opportunities 14:12 – “Hybrid” games that coaches like to play as a generalist warmup to a strength training session, and the emergence of “king of the course” 23:21 – How to craft a “donor” activity to prepare for your primary training activity 32:49 – What the balance is, in parkour, on teaching actual technique, vs. decisions 52:08 – How to properly tell stories and frame skills to an athlete, without letting words get in the way 1:02:11 – How many efforts to let an athlete perform, before coaches should seek to intervene in the form of a cue or instruction, and how to help athletes be better self-learners 1:14:34 – Cueing and instructing athletes who may desire more structure than others 1:22:37 – Thoughts on velocity of a movement, and the transferability of drills, or slower versions of skills, versus fast movements 1:27:02 – “Feeding the Error” and principles of variable learning that can assist in skill development 1:32:38 – How to improve learning by reducing potential “fear” constraints in sports with a potential risk element “I would contest that (rugby) is the best designed ball sport… it’s the only sport I played that allowed for a range of body types” “Team sports have all of (generalist fitness) demands in them… and you have to do it in a team manner, you have to cooperate with other people”
Apr 28, 2022
303: Rocky Snyder on Optimizing Foot and Glute Function with a Joint-Based Approach to Training
Today’s show features biomechanist, coach and author, Rocky Snyder.  Rocky is the owner of “Rocky’s Fitness” in Santa Cruz, California.  Rocky is an accomplished personal trainer with an absolutely immense library of knowledge in multiple disciplines of human performance, such as biomechanics, exercise selection and neurology. Rocky is the author of the book “Return to Center” and has a track record on being able to restore functional movement ability to even the most difficult client cases. In the world of training, we have a “muscle-centric” approach, and then a “joint-centric” approach to performance.  I have found that while training and centering one’s efforts on muscles and their actions can definitely be helpful, an approach that can serve a greater percentage of clients in a sustainable manner is one that understands joint mechanics, and how muscles will respond to one’s joint positions.  Muscles that are long, short, weak or tight are as such, because they are responding to an individual’s joint mechanics, and therefore the related demands they are constantly placed under. Today’s episode focuses on the joint mechanics of the feet and hips.  Rocky starts by highlighting elements of proper pronation and supination (with an extra emphasis on the action of the foot’s transverse arch in movement, it’s link to glute function and how we can assess how well it is being utilized) and how we can look for a deficiency in either area.  Rocky then gets into practical exercise interventions in the world of lunge motions, standing twists, and why Rocky favors spiraling single leg training to glute-bridge oriented exercises for a functional glute training effect.  Finally, Rocky gives his take on how loaded carries fit with the gait cycle, and can “balance out” and restore athletes from compressive gym work. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com Find out more about the the online course, Elastic Essentials, by heading to justflysports.thinkific.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:28 – How Rocky got started in fitness, and the different areas of the field he has layered onto his approach, such as biomechanics, neurology and breathwork (evolution from outdoor athlete, to gym rat, into functional fitness/neurology/biomechanics) 10:43 – Rocky’s experience in coaching youth sports 13:39 – What Rocky thinks on the idea of “over-pronation” and what that term means to him 22:30 – The importance of “anchoring the transverse arch” on pronation mechanics and glute utilization in gait 34:26 – How to improve pronation, and solve the issue of “over-pronation” in an athlete 40:17 – Considering barbell hip thrusts in light of knowing more about pronation and spirals in the body, to activate glutes 46:48 – What Rocky is looking for on the level of the pelvis when it comes to pronation 53:35 – The link between sprinting, anterior and posterior pelvic tilt 58:05 – What Rocky is looking at in a reverse glider lunge exercise in terms of pronation and supination 1:03:30 – The importance of a straight back leg in the isometric lunge exercise in terms of the reciprocal action of the body 1:07:52 – The importance of supination in the foot, and how to create a balance of pronation and supination in the feet in various exercises 1:16:45 – How loaded carries fit with expansion bias and functional core strength, for the human body “I couldn’t stand gyms when I was growing up, I grew up in the backwoods of New England, I grew up doing rock climbing, cross country skiing, whitewater canoeing, but I was also a gymnast and got into wrestling” “My work originally started with muscular-centric loading… but now there’s also motor neurology and b...
Apr 21, 2022
302: Jeremy Frisch, Austin Jochum and Jake Tuura on Engineering “Athlete-Centered” Training and Problem Solving Athletic Development
Today’s show features a roundtable discussion featuring Jeremy Frisch, Austin Jochum and Jake Tuura.  Jeremy is the owner of Achieve Performance Training, Austin runs Jochum Strength, and Jake is the owner of “Jacked Athlete”.  All three of these individuals were previously strength coaches of NCAA DI institutions before getting into the private sector of training. Recently Jake hosted Austin on his podcast, having a conversation about quitting their jobs as NCAA strength coaches to venture into the private sector.  I found that talk very interesting, as I’ve recently been in the same situation, and I think a lot about the way that modern sport and university “systems” are put together.  Often times, we are victims of either in-effective, or over-structuring in organizations, in a way that can leave us disconnected and/or overly-compartmentalized.  In a variety of “private sector jobs”, people tend to wear more hats.  In sports performance, this could be: strength coach, skill coach, fitness coach, and physical educator to name a few. Today’s show isn’t so much about quitting a scholastic strength coaching job, but more-so on the experience of now-private sector coaches who wear those multiple-hats.  It’s on how that helps us view the predicament of modern sports in a new way, along with engineering solutions.  Despite our coaching setting, we all should aspire to be problem solvers. On today’s episode, our panel speaks on paths away from the college training sector, and how getting into the private sector has allowed them to really focus on the pressing needs in modern sports, such as the “lost” art of physical education, play and then a greater understanding on building robustness and keeping athletes healthy.  Whether you are a scholastic or private coach, this is a great show to step back and take a more zoomed-out perspective on effectively training athletes for long-term success. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 3:22 – Jeremy, Austin and Jake’s story of transitioning into the private sector of performance 12:30 – How the extra work a college strength coach puts in can fall to the wayside when a sport coach doesn’t listen or runs a poorly designed practice plan 22:12 – What are some of the big elements of change that have come with moving from the college gig to the private sector 36:10 – “Weaponizing” what you are passionate about in training and performance 38:12 – What Jeremy Frisch has seen from 12 years of being in the private sector, how much he feels kids can get back if they miss critical movement skills early on 42:44 – Where Austin and Jake see their process moving in the next 10 years as coaches, now that they have more freedom to explore things they want 51:35 – Jeremy’s take on the importance of physical education for strength and sport coaches 58:34 – Questioning old narratives of warmups and training in sports performance 1:03:46 – Closing thoughts on the integration of sport and strength and conditioning “Why is everything so isolated in sports, why do we have so many people who specialize in one thing” “My first month (as a DI strength coach) I realized that a lot of athletes had limitations that I wasn’t going to fix, and over time that sort of got to me, and I realized I could really make a difference if I went back and worked with younger athletes” “When I was at Holy Cross I had 15 teams throughout the year” “We have to earn our jobs with new tools, with new shiny toys we present to the sport coach” “I never feel like I am dying in a game when I am going out to catch a pass, I’m pretty recovered, we don’t have to run to death….
Apr 14, 2022
301: Randy Huntington Answers Listener Questions on Speed and Power Development
Today’s show welcomes back track coach Randy Huntington, a track coach who has spent his recent years as the national track and field coach for the Chinese Athletics association.  Randy has coached numerous Olympians, gold medalists, and world record holders in his time as a track coach, and one of his recent successes was training Su Bingtian, Asian record holder in the 100m dash.  Bingtian, en-route to his 9.84 second run, covered 60m in 6.29 seconds and 40 yards in 4.08 seconds as per NFL combine timing. The past shows with Randy have been loaded with the wisdom of an elite coach and have been very popular.  For this episode, Randy took listener questions, and gives his answers on a variety of topics.  Some particular trends for this show included his specific speed training workouts and intensities, his thoughts on traditional strength and hypertrophy methods for speed and power, coaching relaxation and sprint technique, as well as Randy’s thoughts on the ever-debated Nordic hamstring exercise (and hamstring injury prevention training in general).  This and much more is covered on this tremendous Q&A episode. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. 4:11 – The importance of intuition in coaching and performance 7:33 – How understanding the response of animals can help coaches gain better intuition with training human athletes 11:27 – How to “rig” a seated calf machine to attempt to replicate the Keiser seated calf machine 15:23 – Randy’s thoughts on strength development for speed 22:49 – Randy’s favorite top speed and acceleration sessions 28:25 – How does Randy teach relaxation in sprinting, and his thoughts on mini-hurdles/wickets 31:03 – Why Randy doesn’t have his athletes train flying sprints at their maximal speed 37:02 – Considerations in how Randy uses “time of task” sprints, versus simply sprinting a distance for time 42:35 – A recap of how Randy uses water and general strength based recovery methods 45:17 – More thoughts on how and why Randy doesn’t train his flying sprints at maximal velocity each week 48:09 – How Randy’s training has evolved over his years as a coach 52:46 – Teaching acceleration mechanics to young athletes who don’t have much physical strength yet 54:56 – What key data points does Randy use to assess his athletic process 1:00:00 – Randy’s thoughts on overspeed “wind-shield” training such as used by Marcell Jacobs 1:06:39 – How Randy alters strength training when sprinters are in-season 1:07:51 – How Randy would train an athlete who is naturally weak, and if he plays to an athlete’s strengths, or works primarily to bring up weaknesses 1:11:38 – Randy’s thoughts on hamstring injury prevention and Nordic hamstrings “I try not to do too hard of strength training, until people can execute the technical (speed) component I want them to, unless that technical component needs strength to happen.  I don’t look at strength training as a way to create anything, because I first want them to be able to get them to move through the (skill) positions that are necessary, and then we add strength on top of that” “We still interpret power as force only… mostly because we haven’t had very effective ways to test it” “My basic pattern is heavy sled, 50% of bodyweight or higher, then 1080, using 15-20% of bodyweight, then unloaded” “We mostly use 6” mini-hurdles” “I rarely go above 95% (of max speed) (in flying sprints in training)” “I use (time of task) sprints specifically for testing” “I only test the 30m fly (max) at most every 6 weeks, and usually every 2 months” “Flying 30 is my big (“data oriented”) test” “I don’t look at the weight of the clean,
Apr 07, 2022
300: Bobby Whyte on Game-Specific Acceleration, Motor Learning and Confidence Building in Basketball Performance Training
Today’s show welcomes back Bobby Whyte.  Bobby is an athletic performance and basketball skill enhancement trainer operating out of northern New Jersey.  Bobby recently appeared on episode 178 of the podcast https://www.just-fly-sports.com/podcast-178-bobby-whyte/, speaking on his integration of strength and skill training for basketball. The world of sports performance can easily suffer from isolationism in the realm of strength, speed and movement skill.  In the recent podcast with Tony Villani, the difference between 40-yard dash speed, and actual game speed in the NFL was made very clear.  We need to understand more about the nuances, and principles of movement in sport to prepare athletes for it, instead of over-focusing on linear speed mechanics. When we understand the over-arching principles of learning and movement, we can apply them to any sport or skill.  Throughout this podcast, we’ve had intelligent minds like Adarian Barr speaking on biomechanical principles, and then folks like Michael Zweifel, Tyler Yearby, and Rob Gray talking about foundational principles of learning and skill acquisition.  Bobby Whyte has been using those principles, and tying it all together in his basketball performance program. On the show today, Bobby Whyte speaks how he has taken concepts picked up from Adarian Barr and applied them to movement training and acceleration in the game of basketball.  He shares his thoughts on key physical abilities in basketball, and how he uses motor learning principles to help athletes improve their specific skill array for the game.  Bobby will speak on how he has taken motor learning principles into landing mechanics and common injury prevention themes in training, and finally Bobby will talk about how he specifically seeks to develop the all-important confidence level in his players in his training sessions. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com Find out more about the the online course, Elastic Essentials, by heading to justflysports.thinkific.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 5:21 – What Bobby has been learning and integrating since his last time on the podcast 2 years ago 6:45 – How Bobby has integrated some of Adarian Barr concepts directly into basketball speed and movement training 18:49 – How basketball, and related movement training, has universal application into many other sports, such as football 24:44 – Key physical abilities on the basketball court that can transfer into great gameplay 28:33 – The importance of chaos in basketball qualities and carryover 35:26 – How Bobby views landing and landing mechanics for his basketball athletes, and how good general strength training can go a long way in helping prevent injury without needing to do plyometrics where athletes need to move a “certain way” 42:45 – Bobby’s take on feedback and instruction in the course of coaching his athletes, and avoiding over-coaching 51:54 – How confidence in one’s specific game and skill abilities is a key and defining factor in athletes that make it to the next level of performance 59:01 – What is a “good drill”? 1:03:14 – Bobby’s thoughts on the benefits and drawbacks of the vast amount of information available to athletes today “The best athletes can maintain (Adarian Barr’s) athletic posture until… it’s time to cut, it’s time to shoot, etc.” “When I’m falling (to drop into a basketball move), I’m almost pulling myself down” “A lot of players will go into that horizontal fall, and there will be a pause before they get moving… our goal is to smooth that out” “They players that struggle with (coming up off the knees into an acceleration) struggle to get on their arches”
Mar 31, 2022
299: Tony Villani on NFL Combine Speed, Game Speed, and Focusing Where it Counts
Today’s show welcomes Tony Villlani, sports performance coach and owner of XPE sports in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Tony has coached over twenty #1 finishes in the NFL combine and is the creator of the Game Speed and Separation Movement Web.  Tony has worked with many of the top NFL players in the league, but will tell you that his learning from those athletes was a much bigger deal in Tony’s development than the fact that he “trained them”. Clearly you have to have a level of speed that’s well above average to be successful at many high level sports.  At the same time, the fastest athletes in sports where having a level of speed is important, such as at the NFL combine, are not the successful ones in pro-football. Interestingly, the fastest receivers in the history of the combine have never had truly successful careers.  This brings up the question, not only why this is, but also, how can we distribute our training efforts over time to optimize the way that athletes actually move on the field?  Clearly, we need to work to get athletes fast in a linear sense, but how much are we helping if we overly focus on linear speed (and spend lots of time hair splitting linear speed in twitter arguments) and don’t address the types of speed utilized in sport. Tony deeply understands the nuances and categories of direction change in sport, and actively trains these components in his sessions.  This isn’t to say that Tony doesn’t love traditional speed training (just look at his combine success) but he also loves building speed that gives athletes the highest chance of success in their sport. On the show today, Tony talks about how he “ratios” linear speed training to game-speed training, as well as how he frames NFL combine style training in light of game speed to those trainees.  He’ll get into why he feels that the fastest athletes in the history of the combine have never been the best actual football players, and then gets into a substantial layout of his key points in change of direction training.  Tony also lists some key aspects of offensive and defensive agility, as well as how agility can differ between sports.  This was a podcast that you’ll never forget if you train any type of athlete for speed in their sport. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. To try Pine Pollen for FREE (just pay for shipping), head to: justflypinepollen.com View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 6:07 – How having young children has taught Tony about the process of athletic development 7:47 – Tony’s take on the balance of how linear and game-speed training should progress as an athlete develops 23:48 – Tony’s thoughts on why the very fastest NFL receivers in the combine actually never had a good playing career 29:22 – Approaching linear speed development when an athlete is truly not as fast as they need to be from that perspective 36:14 – Tony’s take on the inverse relationship between the 40 yard dash times and 3-cone/shuttle events in the NFL combine 41:29 – How Tony feels the NFL combine agility tests transfer to performance, and what he does for agility instead 54:12 – Comparing types of game speed between athletes, and the general zones of speed pro football athletes will use in competitions 59:58 – Tony’s finer-point breakdown of change of direction technique 1:07:42 – How Tony views “first chance” opportunity in change of direction (one point of attack opportunity) in football vs. basketball or soccer “Everyone should get as fast as they can possibly get with their own genetics, but after that, I turn off the (linear) speed switch” “With our combine athletes, it’s, unfortunately, how to teach them to run out of control… I always tell our combine athletes, quit thinking of football, think track and being out of control”
Mar 24, 2022
Dr. Mark Wetzel on Neurological Strength, Emotional States, and Isometric Mastery
Today’s show welcomes back chiropractor and neurology expert, Dr. Mark Wetzel.  Mark has been on this show numerous times talking about the effectiveness of long isometric holds, as well as digging into many aspects of their performance. So often in the training and performance field, we just look at exercises, sets and reps, but then don’t desire to dig into the nuance of those movements we are programming.  With isometrics, we can certainly get results by simply having athletes hold positions indiscriminately, but we can multiply those results by understanding the underlying mechanisms that help make isometrics more effective. One of the beautiful things about isometric holds is that the lack of movement brings one’s awareness to a high level, and one’s ability to focus on things like breathing, posture and muscle tensioning, on a higher level.  One’s mental and emotional state has an extremely close correlation with the length of time that you can hold the movement. Holding isometrics for extended periods of time also has an impact on the fascial lines of the body, and even the meridian lines (if your belief system takes you that far).  Isometrics are truly a “total body”, functional experience. On today’s show, Mark Wetzel gives his thoughts on how a positive mental state can increase one’s ability to hold an isometric position (or increase muscle-endurance in general).  He’ll speak extensively on the postural and muscle-tone aspects of holding an isometric, as well as speak on the connections made between the fascial/meridian lines, electric signals, an organ function.  Finally, Mark gives his take on what he feels “neurological” strength truly is, and how this is manifested in a program. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 5:24 – Mark’s thoughts on the mental and emotional aspects of fatigue (and perceived fatigue) during a difficult or taxing movement such as an isometric 14:34 – What it means to be “in position” as an athlete gets into an isometric hold 24:47 – Why some athletes have a lot of trouble “pulling down” into an isometric position, and discussing the use of “constraints” such as a band around the shin, to help an athlete pull down into an isometric 34:19 – Using a one-arm bench press hold to help improve the pushing ability and breathing of individuals who struggle with isometric pushup holds 42:01 – What “good posture” means for Mark 47:05 – Mark’s take on organ health, meridian lines and reflexes, particularly in light of utilizing isometric exercises 57:52 – What it means to have “neurological strength” from a Mark’s perspective as a chiropractor with neurological training 1:05:35 – Depth jumps and drop landings as an assessment of neurological efficiency “When I am in those moments (of fatigue) I try to bring up some sort of happiness or joyful emotion to try and take my mind off of it” “The “fear based” mentality is almost a traditional way of training” “Posture comes back to the breath; typically when people have bad posture it is because they have bad breathing mechanics” “When you do a bunch of calf rebounds in a row, your body will position you in a way that (you have to be in to keep breathing under fatigue)” “You can accomplish so much in an isometric exercise by focusing on “where is my breathing”” “I always back up (a chiropractic adjustment) with exercise” “The meridian lines are all connected to an organ” “What’s cool about an isometric is that you are creating a lot of tone throughout the whole body” “If the brain is telling a muscle to stay weak, then it is going to stay weak no matter what you do” “The more you can stay calm, breathe, smile to yourself while you are going through that discomfort,
Mar 17, 2022
Kurt Hester on The Power of Training and Connecting with Athletes on the Human Level
Today’s show is with performance coach, Kurt Hester.  Kurt is currently the Head of Football Preparation at the University of Tulane, and was previously the head strength coach at Lousiana Tech University from 2013 to 2021.  He has decades of experience coaching in both the collegiate, and private sectors, and is the author of the book: ”Rants of a Strength and Conditioning Madman”. When it comes to the results we get out of a training program (or the experience an athlete has in a sport organization), we usually think on the level of sets, reps and exercises.  What we typically don’t consider as much, is how an athlete perceives the training from an emotional and sub-conscious, perspective, and how important building the right relationship is to the holistic success of the program. Kurt Hester is the kind of strength coach I wish I had when I was a young athlete.  When we talk about what it means to be a coach, and to be a servant-leader, Kurt is one of the first individuals that comes to mind.  He not only has been studying and living the art of physical training for almost half a century, but he also has a focused sense of how to train individuals on both the athlete, and human levels. On the show today, Kurt talks about how he connects with his athletes on the “human” level, to help improve their total experience as an athlete, gain trust, and improve the quality of training sessions.  He’ll talk about how he uses games and fun activities to improve, not only the emotional content of the training sessions, but also the total effort level of the athletes.  Finally, Kurt digs into some details around the sports performance industry itself, what he considers “mental toughness” to truly be, and gives his advice on developmental practices in leadership and communication. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 5:31 – How Kurt started to survey his athletes to learn more about them, and how this helped him to connect with athletes on a stronger level 10:14 – How to command a room in a coaching setting, while still getting to know athletes on a more personal level 13:27 – How players at Kurt’s former university rated the importance of the “strength coach” so high, in regards to why they attended the school 17:432 – Why Kurt uses games as a critical portion of his physical preparation program, as well as the injury prevention benefits of using game-based agility training 29:17 – Kurt’s learnings in his training with elite track and field athletes in the 1980’s and how many “modern” training methods have been around for a long time 32:14 – How strength coaches should have good all-around GPP, and be able to play games, do dynamic warmups, and demonstrate sprinting 40:15 – What Kurt would re-brand the field of sports performance 48:53 – What Kurt considers “mental strength” and “toughness” to truly be, in light of sports performance training 58:32 – Kurt’s advice on helping coaches to be able to understand athletes and lead them on a better level “You can’t serve who you don’t know” “The athletes who trusted me, and I had the best relationship with, those were the ones who excelled the most… the closer I had a relationship with them that was not about (sports) where they trusted me at a very high level, they developed at a faster rate than an athlete I wasn’t close to” “A lot of strength and football coaches think that, if you have fun, that you are not working hard or at a proficient, high level, and I never wanted to be in this field, to not have fun” “Most athletes don’t like to train, and that’s what most strength coaches don’t get… 99% of strength coaches do not understand that fact, they are not you! So that’s always in the back of my mind,
Mar 10, 2022
Dan Cleather on The Truth on “Force Absorption”, Deceleration and Triple-Extension in Sports Training
Today’s show is with coach and educator, Dan Cleather.  Dan is a reader in strength and conditioning and the programme director of the MSc in strength and conditioning at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK.  Dan began coaching at Cal State Long Beach, and then worked at the English Institute of Sport.  He has coached national and international medalists across a wide range of sports, and in particular has worked with World and Olympic champions. Dan is the author of several books on the topics of science and sports performance, including “Force”: The Biomechanics of Training, and “The Little Black Book of Training Wisdom”.  Dan has published over 40 peer-reviewed and scientific articles, and is a founder member of the UK Strength and Conditioning Association. When it comes to performance training, coaches often cite a disconnect between what they are coaching, and what actually happens when an athlete competes.  We can gain a greater understanding of this issue by simply looking at how movement actually happens in sport, and how athletes actually manage forces.  Many control points in coaching tend to revolve around slow, or easily observable aspects of movement (usually the end-points), when the complex reality of movement renders coaching around these endpoints obsolete, if not counter-productive. On the show today, Dan will share with us how he views common coaching practices revolving around scientific terminology, such as “force absorption”.  He’ll go into some fallacies around force-based principles involving landing dynamics in sport, deceleration training, and how coaches go about instructing Olympic weightlifting.  Dan will speak on where science, and “evidence-based” practices fit in with one’s coaching philosophy and intuition, and will share his thoughts on the link between gardening plants and coaching athletes. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points: 4:37 – Dan’s background as an athlete and what got him into strength and conditioning 7:58 – Dan’s take on learning skills as a coach, in order to be a better learning (and coach) of skills 15:11 – Dan’s thoughts on what applying science to training actually is 22:42 – How coaches tend to frame “force-absorption” in athletics, and what it actually is 32:47 – Thoughts on the body dealing with forces from a perspective of being a “machine” or from a self-organizing perspective 41:27 – Dan’s thoughts on any sort of deceleration training for sport, and how coaches tend to spend too much time on versions of movement that are too reductionist 48:20 – The link between seeds, plants, gardening and athletic performance 52:58 – Dan’s take on traditional Olympic lifting practices in light of force development “The more skills you learn, the better you get at learning skills” “Evidence based doesn’t mean that the science is prescriptive, we see 8 parts of a 30 piece jigsaw puzzle, which are the bits of evidence we are getting from the science, and we work out the rest of what that puzzle looks like based on our experience, our discussions with the coaches, etc.” “The scientific evidence is an important part of our philosophy but it’s our philosophy that guides the decisions that we make” “If you do something because your previous coach did it, that’s the evidence of what they did” “Coaches find out what works, and 25 years later, the sport scientists come along and explain why… if you had to wait for the science before you were prepared to make a decision then you wouldn’t be able to do very much” “Absorption implies that there is something you have got that is being sucked up by something, and can be released later” “We call a softer landing with more flexion of the knees and hips “force absorption”,
Mar 03, 2022
295: Boo Schexnayder on The Intelligent Simplification of Speed, Power and Skill in the Training Process
Today’s show is with Boo Schexnayder.  Boo is a current strength coach and former jumps coach at Louisiana State University, and is regarded internationally as a leading authority in training design.  Boo has been a two-time previous guest on the podcast talking about speed and power training setups.  In a world of complexity, and nearly infinite ways to train athletes, Boo knows the art of managing athletic performance by using training means that are not more complex than they need to be. In my coaching (and athletic) years, I have loved looking into all of the complexities, and details of the human body, training, motor learning and biomechanics.  It’s always been a swinging pendulum in terms of digging in to understand important training nuances, but then zooming back out, to pull along the key pieces of what it really important, both in general, and for each individual athlete. When we over-complicate training, over-coach, and give out exercises that require too much distraction from actual outputs or muscular adaptations, we create a diminished experience for the athlete, and also create a program that is harder to learn from as a coach.  Knowing how and when to make the complex simple is a mark of an accomplished coach who can really transmit training to an athlete in a way that allows them to self-organize to their highest potential, both on the level of skill development, and maximal outputs. On the show today, Boo goes in detail on his own upbringing and mentorships in coaching that have led him to become the coach he is today.  He speaks particularly how his work in the rehab process gave him increased confidence in his regular coaching abilities.  Boo will speak on the process of how far he will go on the complexity rung in the gym, and how he balances coaching skill and technique with the self-organizing ability of the athlete.  Finally, Boo gives some of his thoughts on training that focuses on an athlete’s strength, and his take on heavy partial lifts in the gym in respect to the total training system. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:02 – Boo’s early development as a coach, early mentors, and his work in rehab that led him to where he is now 15:30 – Some specifics that Boo learned from the world of rehabilitation that intertwined with his performance coaching practice, and how rehab and training follow the same principles and draw from the same well 21:50 – Boo’s advice on arriving at the place where things can be made optimally simple in coaching 25:10 – Why coaches end up chasing things in athletics that aren’t that important 36:28 – Where Boo draws the line on complexity in the weightroom to the point where exercises aren’t helping to accomplish the primary goal of training 40:26 – The extent of complexity Boo would utilize for single leg movements 46:01 – How athletes must train their strengths in order to potentiate their weaknesses 52:48 – A discussion on how the Buffalo Bills didn’t squat in season and still experienced substantial success 57:20 – Boo’s take on heavy quarter squats and partial step ups in performance training (vs. full range of motion) “The earliest (change) is when I finally understood specificity and I developed a healthy non-respect for coaching culture, I realized that a lot of coaching is traditional and needs to be evaluated” “Another bright light that came on is when I got involved in the rehab field” “I think the key thing to keeping things simple is understanding what you are trying to accomplish” “So much of what we do in traditional coaching cultures is just filler work” “I feel that one thing that holds back lots of coaches is technology, there is so much technology out there that so many coaches have b...
Feb 24, 2022
Nick Winkelman on Dynamics of a Meaningful Learning Process in Athletic Development
Today’s show is with Nick Winkelman.  Nick is the head of athletic performance & science for the Irish Rugby Football Union. Prior to working for Irish Rugby, Nick was the director of education for EXOS.  Nick is an internationally recognized speaker on human performance and coaching science, and is the author of the book, “The Language of Coaching”.  Nick previously appeared on episode 193 of the podcast where he went in detail on internal and external cues, analogies, and what it takes to make cues more effective. One of the major shifts in my coaching career and personal movement/training practice has been understanding the “art” of coaching on the levels of psychology, motor learning, and how we actually go about instructing athletes in the course of the training session.  As coaches, we all tend to start out with a combination of what we did ourselves as athlete, and then whatever training frameworks we learned in our education process. When we look at any training session, whether it is sport skill or gym work, it’s par for the course to look at it on the level of tactics, sets and reps, which drills to use, or x’s and o’s.  It’s far more rare to look at the session on the level of meaning and engagement, and how we can work cohesively with athletes to better communicate with them, direct their attention, and allow them to understand, on a deeper level, what improving their sport technique feels like (and not to just intellectualize the process).  Improving one’s ability in this “soft” side of the coaching equation will help improve the long term success and sustainability of the training process. On the show today, Nick speaks on principles of attentional focus, and how factors such as motivation and novelty can direct an athlete’s attentional focus in training.  Nick will discuss cueing dynamics on a level of meaningfulness and embodiment to the athlete, moving past simply intellectualizing instruction (and how we can improve our dialogue in that process).  Finally, Nick will give his take on how coaches can become better story-tellers to their athletes in communicating ideas and instruction. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:03 – Why Nick believes that the “soft” practices in athletics (communication/cueing/motor learning/etc.) are less-traveled in the process of performance training 2:19 – Dynamics of attention, motivation and novelty in athletic performance 29:03 – “Survival” oriented coaching situations as a means to gain the attention of athletes 31:41 – How to go through the process of making coaching and cueing more meaningful to the athlete through listening to the athlete 43:14 – How the shortcoming of internal cues can teach us more about how we learn and function as humans, and how cues and attention placed external to the body can help the “one-ness” of movement fully form 52:12 – Nick’s take on the place and context of internal cueing in the process of coaching athletes 57:33 – How “noticing”/awareness of one’s body in the midst of movement fits in with the cueing eco-system 1:01:28 – Nick’s take on personal practices for coaches that can help them paint better pictures with their words when they are actually coaching “Over time, every coach who is attentive and self-aware to the journey, starts to pick up on “a weak signal”, and they start to realize, that “hold on… not everyone responds to programming the same way, so I might have to individualize… and not everyone responds to the same communication style” “What are we trying to get people to do: We are trying to get people to focus their attention on the right things, in the right way, at the right time” “Attention is like a spotlight, and we can’t actually increase the size of the spot...
Feb 17, 2022
293: Rob Gray on The Superiority of Constraints and Variability over Drills and “Perfect Form” in Athletic Performance
Today’s show is with Rob Gray, professor at Arizona State University and Host of the Perception & Action Podcast.  Rob Gray is a professor at Arizona State University who has been conducting research on and teaching courses related to perceptual-motor skill for over 25 years.  Rob focuses heavily on the application of basic theory to address real-world challenges, having consulted with numerous professional and governmental entities, and has developed a VR baseball training system that has been used in over 25 published studies.  Rob is the author of the book “How We Learn to Move: A Revolution in the Way We Coach and Practice Sports Skills”. When it comes to anything we do athletically: playing a sport, sprinting, lifting weights, even holding an isometric position; all of these things are learned skills.  So often, the various compartments of athletics, the sport coach, the strength coach, the rehab specialist, are relatively disconnected, and there is often no common playbook when it comes to athletics and the learning process. The principles of the way we learn, and how this learning fits with our movement strategy and ability, are universal.  By understanding what it takes to be a better mover via the learning process, we have an understanding of the general process of athletic performance training from a broader frame of mind. On today’s show, Rob Gray speaks about the fallacy of training a “perfect technique” via drills or repeated cues.  He talks about why using a constraints-led approach to help shore up any key movement attractors (technique) is an ideal way to facilitate skill development.  Rob will get into his take on how to approach learning the “fundamentals” in any sport skill, and also get into important concepts of variability in sport, the differences between novice and elite in variability, and then how there can be “good” or “bad” variability in sport training.  Finally, Rob covers the role of variability in injury prevention, and talks about the sport coach/strength coach relationship in light of variability and the constraints led approach to skills. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:05 – The story of Tim Tebow, and how he was so dominant on the NCAA level, but why his NFL career was very unsuccessful from a perspective of throwing biomechanics 9:08 – Rob’s take on the idea of “perfect technique” 13:47 – Approaching the “fundamentals” in any given skill, in the learning process 23:37 – Looking at drill-work in sport and its original intended purpose 25:33 – How much variability elite versus amateur athletes exhibit in their skills 28:59 – Variability across a spectrum of skills, such as running in football versus running on a track in sprinting 32:42 – Using variability in “basic” sports such as track and field or swimming 39:17 – How variability changes as one moves from novice, to intermediate, to expert, particularly on the level of an individual sport, like track and field 45:28 – Rob’s take on variability and injury-prevention 50:57 – The idea of donor sports and how those sports can offer helpful variability to one’s eventual sport specialization 56:35 – How strength coaches might be able to use variability in the gym that might connect to skills athletes are trying to improve on the field “There can’t be one perfect, ideal way, because the world is not staying the same around you” “Being skillful is not about repeating the same solution to the problem, it’s about repeating coming up with solutions to problems” “I like to think about giving athletes problems to solve instead of the solution”
Feb 10, 2022
Daniel Bove on Lifting Heavy on Game Days and the Essentials of the Quadrant System
Today’s show is with performance director Daniel Bove.  After spending several seasons with the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns, Daniel is now the Director of Performance and Sports Science for the New Orleans Pelicans, and is also the author of the book, “The Quadrant System, Navigating Stress in Team Sport”. As Michael Zweifel has said previously on the podcast, every coach should have the opportunity to work with youth athletes, and pro sports, at some point in their career.  I’ve done a lot of shows talking about youth sport concepts, as well as principles of training through the lens of a child development, but I haven’t done as many shows detailing some of the nuances of working with a pro population specifically. When it comes to that other end of the spectrum, with professional athletes, the art of strength & conditioning is largely the art of “load management” and stress consolidation, especially over the course of long competitive seasons.  This art of training athletes at the highest level is certainly interesting if you are in the small percentage of coaches who work in this group, but the concepts and ideas behind it can be helpful to understand, regardless of what population you end up working with. Daniel has come up with a unique system of load consolidation, working with an NBA population that makes a lot of sense.  Not only is “The Quadrant System” a wise method for pro athletes, but understanding the Quadrant System is also helpful from the perspective of understanding “high-low” style training in general (making high days truly “high” and low days, truly “low”), as well as the art of dealing with monotony over the course of long training periods.  On the show today, Daniel gets into his four quadrants of training (recovery, repetition, speed and of course, strength), and how he utilizes these methods of loading through different points in an in-season training schedule, as well as off-season. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:23 – How Daniel categorizes load for athletes that he works with 14:48 – How the quadrants might alter as athletes get further down away from the pro-level 15:58 – How high-low training and undulation of the type of stimulus players get offers substantial benefits for players, particularly those in the course of long playing seasons 20:22 – Daniel’s take on the “speed day” in the quadrant system, and how that balances with the explosive work and speed players are doing in their practice 25:48 – How the quadrant system may change when the strength coach doesn’t have a “seat at the table” of the sport coaches and practice volumes 32:05 – Validating heavy lifting in season, on the terms of what Daniel is seeing from data and force plates, and what types of volumes athletes are doing for heavy strength work in season 37:05 – How to approach heavy lifting after game-day if players had a poor game 40:24 – Daniel’s experience with buy-in and the spectrum of players responses in regards to heavy lifting on game-days 43:01 – Nuances of the heavy strength day and how Daniel chooses to load athletes on that day 44:45 – How Daniel approaches tendon health and the repetition day/quadrant 2 47:58 – How the quadrant system changes when athletes are in the off-season or in developmental cases in-season 50:14 – Daniel’s view on a daily micro-dosing program, versus a high-low, quadrant system oriented program, and common movements that may actually be micro-dosed in the pro/NBA setting 55:04 – How Daniel uses work that creates more movement potential within the hips, as a preparation for players to use that range of motion effectively on t...
Feb 03, 2022
Brady Volmering on Breaking Barriers by Training the Human First
Today’s show is with coach Brady Volmering.  Brady is the owner of DAC Performance and Health. After starting out in the world of baseball skill training, he’s since moved into the human performance arena, putting the focus on increasing the capacity of the human being.  Brady looks at what “training the human being” actually means and how that relates to increases in specific sports performance. Ever since I’ve been in a formal weight room training setting for athletes, I’ve really wondered about the thought process of how the various barbell and dumbbell exercises were going to help athletes actually be better at what they do on the field.  I’ve always tried to keep a close eye on elements of gym training that could possibly link to athletes who were more successful in their actual sport. It’s important to ask the question: “what is training?”, and realize that the answer includes “how” just as much as “what”.  Weights are just one tool, or manifestation of the ability to be strong, and if we zoom out from the tool of barbells and dumbbells, we can look at the process of training and adaptation on a broader level.  Muscle tension (and relaxation) can be achieved in a wide variety of ways.  If we take a close look at the mental, emotional, and physical components can be put into the simplest of exercises, we can make then a better conduit by which to improve the whole state of the athlete’s system. On today’s podcast, Brady gives us his experiences with training athletes on a “human” level.  He goes into the tool of isometric holds, and how to modulate those to draw out different intentions, into ideas on learning the way a child does, the importance of menu systems, as well as “breaking the rules” with higher repetition training schemes (and the qualities it takes to adapt to “unreasonable” training loads).  This is an “outside the box” episode that covers a lot of important concepts in training the total human for sport and beyond. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:51 – How Brady started in the specific skill training of baseball players, and how he transitioned into more “human level” training and performance 9:09 – How Brady views the transfer of training ideology in light of the “human layer”, or GPP layer of performance 15:35 – Different intentions Brady prescribes during exercises, particularly isometric type exercises 22:31 – Elements Brady notices that transfer between human-level skills and how an athlete is performing in their sport 29:22 – The mentality by which children make rapid progress in skills, and how to harness that developmental ideal 39:16 – How Brady looks at menu systems for athletes, and giving them the power of choice 47:49 – Brady’s take on “breaking the rules” with high volume training experiences 58:36 – Thoughts on the balance and handing of high volume training versus the minimal effective dose of work 1:02:32 – “Human level” principles of athletes who can absorb and adapt to training volume on a higher level 1:07:58 – What an average training session looks like for Brady in light of the principles discussed in the show 1:11:50 – How to look at sets and reps, versus the construct of time, to direct intention of the athlete 1:14:07 – Some single-joint, high rep modalities that Brady enjoys using at the end of training sessions “When I’m training a human, I’m not thinking at all about transfer to their sport” “The goal is the deep pushup is for them to direct their intent into whatever it is they are doing; the pushup is just one way to practice that” “That’s where the human aspect of things is “how can we go into the hum...
Jan 27, 2022
Adarian Barr on Rotational Forces, Torque and Speed-Multipliers in Athletic Movement
Today’s show is with coach and inventor Adarian Barr.  Adarian has spent decades coaching in the college and private sector, and currently consults with a variety of coaches in multiple sports.  Adarian has been a guest on this podcast many times, and has a unique, connected, and incredibly detailed perspective on the drivers of human movement. One piece of movement that we haven’t made a theme for this show yet is getting into rotational, “tumbling” actions of joints.  When we think of “rotational force” in movement, we often just think of “twisting in the weight room”, or training “transverse plane”.  When it comes to “front to back” movements, it is common to simply think in terms of perpendicular forces in terms of movement.  With perpendicular actions, think of a coach telling an athlete to stab or drive their shin straight down to the ground in acceleration, for example, or any coaching cue that has to do with “pushing the ground away”. In any sport movement, however, the tumbling, or “pitching” motion of body segments (such as the shins) are going to be massively important when it comes to speed.  It’s easy to load hundreds of pounds on a calf raise (a perpendicular force) but to be fast, think sprinting and throwing, rotation is inevitable, so it pays to be familiar with it to make better sense of movement coaching, and building better drills and constraints for athletes. On today’s episode, Adarian will speak on perpendicular versus rotational aspects of movement, and what it means for exercises, especially common sprint drills.  He’ll talk about the actions of the various lever systems in the body, and how to optimize the way we load these levers for a variety of movements (with sprinting as the primary example) as we use rotation to move with speed.  Adarian will talk about the ideas of “big and small wheels” as well as how not to make the wheel action of limbs a square one, as well as other interesting universal movement concepts. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:20 – Looking at a “lever based approach” as opposed to a “force based” approach to biomechanics and movement 12:55 – The scope of true “perpendicular” movements in training, such as in-place pogo hops, in light of athletic movement that is rotational in nature 16:56 – A discussion on the hamstrings, and their role in rotational torque 22:01 – How to treat “perpendicular” oriented movements in regards to their transient, isometric nature 28:59 – The nature of the glutes and their rotational properties 30:55 – How to maximize “class 3” lever actions in the body as speed multipliers 33:30 – Squatty running and single leg bounding as rotational assessments and training paradigms 36:44 – Adarian’s take on upper body equivalents to folded running 46:13 – The principle of “big and small wheels” in movement, as well as why a circular wheel is superior to a square wheel 50:37 – How athletes will shift their “wheel size” when it comes to different athletic outcomes 55:44 – What is a “good” big wheel, and what things happening make a wheel “poor”, as well as how many sprint drills don’t actually train rotation 1:03.42 – A recap on the types of levers present in movement 1:05:20 – Looking at rotation and class 3 opportunities in the weight room 1:10:40 – What roller skating can teach us about levers and human movement “There is no way to move without a rotational component being added in there” “Everything we do is rotational, but the math is hard” “When we talk about sagittal, frontal and transverse plane, that is a location… a better term is pitch, yaw and roll”
Jan 20, 2022
Angus Bradley on Squatting, Delayed Knee Extension and Foot Dynamics in Athletic Movement
Today’s show is with Angus Bradley.  Angus is a strength coach and podcast host from Sydney, Australia.  He coaches out of Sydney CBD, co-hosts the Hyperformance podcast with his brother, Oscar, and is also an avid surfer.  Angus appeared previously on episode 249 of the podcast, talking about compressive strategies in weightlifting, as well as the impacts of those compressive effects on narrow infra-sternal angle individuals in particular. Angus is one of the most brilliant, and practical individuals I know in the world of strength training biomechanics, and connecting it to movement and practical outcomes.  When it comes to making sense of how our body structure and pressure systems fit with different setups in the weight room, and how this might apply to dynamic movement, Angus is a top individual to learn from. So often in the weight room, we will say that it is all “general” (which technically it is) but then use that as an excuse not to understand the movements we are utilizing in detail that fit with greater concepts of the gait cycle.  Connecting strength work to the gait cycle is key in better strength training practices, as well as individualization. On the show today, Angus covers the dimensions of exercises based on center of mass position relative to the foot, and how this connects with the gait cycle, as well as how much an athlete is being “pushed forward” (and why that is important).  He’ll cover delayed knee extension in both lifting and sprinting (and how they might connect), concepts of foot shapes, and gait, as well as his take on “floating heel” work not potentially being everything it’s cracked up to be.  Angus will also give some practical ideas on giving more sensory information to athletes unable to access early stance well, how far to take wide and narrow ISA types in terms of “balancing their weaknesses”, and much more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:25 – How doing the “wrong” intervention in training can still lead to positive results 11:30 – Understanding the implications of working through the various positions of the center of mass in relation to the position of the feet, and what this means for degrees of freedom in movement 18:30 – Some performance implications of wide-vs. narrow ISA’s in regards to mid and late stance, and jump technique 23:15 – The idea of “hamstring curling” one’s self out of the hole of a squat in order to delay knee extension 28:45 – Where Angus sees the benefit in “floating heel” training, and where he finds it not very beneficial 34:45 – How to re-train athletes to “let their femurs be” in squatting when they’ve been taught to shove their knees out in the past 39:30 – Thoughts on oscillatory squatting (and split squatting) and its impact on the mid-stance phase of lifting 43:30 – A discussion on developing mid-stance, narrow ISA’s and single leg squatting 49:00 – Flat vs. high arched individuals and what this means for how this impacts athletes in early vs. late propulsion 56:50 – How Angus’s lockdown sprint work went, and lessons he learned with squatted running 1:02:00 – Thoughts on the role of the adductors in movement, why some people may feel them more (or less) in sprinting, and how to train them in the gym “You can grab (IR and ER) if you just start pulling athletes back… heavy lifting just has a tendency to shove people forward” “A sign of a good athlete to me, is they will respond to their environment” “You can simplify it by looking at where they are in the sagittal plane and looking at that map of the foot, looking at where they are in relation to that base of support… if the center of...
Jan 13, 2022
Joel Smith Q&A on Reflexive Dynamics of Athleticism and Surfing the Force-Velocity Curve
Today’s show is a Q&A with Joel Smith.  It’s a lot of fun to see the questions you all have, and putting together a list of answers. Some major themes in this show included the dynamics of how an athlete learns and acquires a skill, how to give athletes ideal constraints to learn a skill better (particularly on the level of the arms in sprinting and step-action in jumping), and then questions on training the spectrum of the force velocity curve. There also were a lot of questions and answers that lent to training individualization based on the individual structure of the body and if one is a “power or speed” based athlete, which relates to an athlete’s ribcage structure and ISA bias, and of course, a lot of speed oriented questions. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 1:15 – The difference in training fascial vs. elastic athletes 7:33 – How to train a “power” sprinter with poor top end speed 13:40 – Thoughts on training at different points on the force-velocity curve 24:06 – Arm action in sprinting, and constraint-driven coaching versus “positional” coaching 34:14 – Structuring a weight training and performance program for speed and acceleration 36:32 – Why some athletes have a long vs. short penultimate step in jumping 40:45 – Thoughts on in-season programming for team sports 46:56 – Dealing with a toe-sprain and learning to feel other parts of the foot 48:30 – Frequency of training with bodyweight iso holds 49:37 – Thoughts on “inside edge” vs. “outside edge” in movement and training 54:35 – Fascial awareness in movement 55:42 – Is concentric power building in the weightroom worthwhile? 57:01 – How to use falling/slipping/stumbling reflexes to our advantage in training About Joel Smith Joel Smith is the founder of Just Fly Sports and is a sports performance coach in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Joel hosts the Just Fly Performance Podcast, has authored several books on athletic performance, and trains numerous clients in the in-person and online space.  Joel was formerly a strength coach for 8 years at UC Berkeley, working with the Swim teams and post-graduate professional swimmers, as well as tennis, water polo, and track and field.  A track coach of 11 years, Joel coached for the Diablo Valley Track and Field Club for 7 years, and also has 6 years of experience coaching sprints, jumps, hurdles, pole vault and multi-events on the collegiate level, working at Wilmington College, and the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. Joel has coached 2 national champions, multiple All-Americans and school record holders in his time as a track coach. In the realm of strength and conditioning, his programs have assisted 5 athletes to Olympic berths that produced 9 medals and a world record performance at Rio in 2016. In 2011, Joel began Just Fly Sports with Jake Clark as a central platform to promote information for athletes and coaches to reach their highest potential.  In 2016 the first episode of the “Just Fly Performance Podcast” was released, now a leading source of education in the sports performance field.  The evolving mission of Just Fly Sports is focused on teaching athletes to realize their true, innate power, and achieve the highest joy in their training, competition, and in the community.
Jan 06, 2022
Helen Hall on Heel Striking and Leveraging Hills for Foot Function in Running Performance
Today’s show welcomes back running coach and biomechanist, Helen Hall.  Helen is the author of “Even With Your Shoes On”.  She is an endurance athlete, minimalist ultra-distance runner, 6 times Ironman and credited with being the world’s first ‘barefoot’ Iron(wo)man.  Helen is the owner of the Perpetual Forward Motion School of Efficient Running, as well as a running injury clinic, using the latest movement science and gait analysis technology to help people find solutions for their pain and injuries.  She appeared on episode 180 speaking on all things joint mechanics and technique in running. One of the most common things I hear (and have seen, especially in my club track years) about athletes is those who have a heavy heel strike when they run.  Excessive passive forces in athletic motion is never a good thing, but it’s always important to understand binary concepts (you had a heel-strike or you didn’t) in further detail.  There is a spectrum of potential foot strike positions in running, and nobody stays on their heel in gait, as we always move towards the forefoot. On the show today, Helen goes in depth on heel striking and the biomechanics of the heel in the running cycle, as well as the difference in heel striking motions in jogging versus sprinting.  One of the topics I frequently enjoy covering is how the human body can interact with nature and natural features to optimize itself (which includes optimizing running technique) and Helen speaks on how one can use uphill and downhill grades to help athletes and individuals self-organize their own optimal running technique. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:27 – Why Helen feels individuals heel strike in the first place 11:33 – Helen’s “happy medium” when it comes to socks in running 14:28 – Helen’s view on the heel bone and pronation in the initial strike in running 21:03 – How Helen would help an athlete who heel strikes in a sprint when it is not desired 29:28 – The importance of relaxation and “letting” the body move and react, versus trying to force the body into motion 38:41 – Nuances of using uphill and downhill running, what to notice, and how to integrate that into one’s stride 45:29 – How un-even surfaces can create grounds by which individuals can self-organize their stride and foot action 48:35 – How to leverage hills to optimize the function of the glutes in running “I never change somebody’s first point of contact; their bodies change their first point of contact themselves” “There can’t be a right or wrong, since there are so many people whose first point of contact is the heel, and they are not in pain” “If you land in front of the heel, then you get the eccentric loading of the Achilles and what it attaches to” “People decide they are in “this camp” or “that camp” and thereby the camps run parallel to each other and never exchange ideas” “You want to be landing, not in a pronating foot.. in the context of running… the descent is arguably a posteriorly tilted calcaneus because you are landing in a supinating foot… unless your foot is going to go “splat” immediately” “You want to land on a foot that is relaxed enough to give” “They are reaching for the step, and by reaching on the step through hip flexion, they are ending up on their heel first, and that may be giving them more control as they go through the forefoot” “In my experience, people do not go back to the heel-strike, and all you need is a slope (to correct it)” “If you want to slow down, the most natural thing in the world is to shove your foot out, and brake with your heel”
Dec 30, 2021
JB Morin on Horizontal Sprint Forces in Running Velocity and Injury Risk Reduction
Today’s show welcomes back JB Morin.  JB Morin is currently full professor and head of sports science and the physical education department at the University of Saint-Etienne.  He has been involved in sport science research for over 15 years, and has published over 50 peer-reviewed journals since 2004.  JB is a world-leading researcher on all things sprint related, having collaborated with and analyzed some of the world’s best sprinters, such as Christophe Lemaitre. JB also does lots of sprint research that is highly applicable to team sport settings, such as information that can be gleaned from force-velocity profiling.  He has been a 2x previous guest on this podcast, speaking on elements of heavy sled training, force-velocity profiling, and much more. When it comes to sprinting from point A to point B, the time on the clock does not necessarily represent the strategy an athlete used to get there.  Athletes who can direct their sprint forces in more of a horizontal vector are going to be able to reach higher top velocities, and be more resilient towards injury. The question then becomes, how do we assess, and train athletes in respect to the direction they are producing sprint forces?  In today’s episode, JB speaks on how the specifics of an athlete’s force production (in the horizontal vs. vertical direction) will highlight elements of how fatigued that individual is, and their predisposition to injury in the short term.  JB also goes into how to measure force production in sprinting, new research on joint actions in early and late acceleration, hill training vs. sleds, hamstring research, and more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:00 –  Some new work that has come out in sprint research recently, showing the importance of the hip and ankle outputs in sprinting, even in the first few steps of acceleration 16:20 –  Thoughts on sprint technique, or force-velocity profiling and how that might link to potential injury in team sport situations 24:00 –  The relationship (and differences) between one’s maximal horizontal force, and their maximal sprint speed, and what it means for injury risk 30:50 –  How having a poor maximal horizontal force output can show up in the biomechanics of how an athlete is sprinting 37:15 –  How elite athletes will start to change their force-production orientation (less horizontal, over time) once fatigue starts to set in during a training session 45:00 –  How hill training compares to heavy sled training in terms of forces and velocity 50:30 –  New studies and thoughts on hamstring injury in athletics 54:20 –  Thoughts on training the feet and lower leg for the sake of sprinting 58:40 –  JB’s thoughts on how to set up good research on sprinting in athletics “75% of the energy that is generated to run is generated at the hip and calf level” “Team sport is so chaotic, it’s the worst way to assess an athlete’s acceleration capability, the game environment is not reproducible” “Our studies show that pre-season maximal force output is not related to (injury risk) but when you measure that maximal force output throughout the season, the last measurement is related to the risk of injury in that measurement period” “You need to measure (force/velocity) regularly, not only in the pre-season period… there are so many changes throughout the season” “You can have people with the same 25 meter splits, but different profiles at the beginning of the spectrum or the end of the spectrum” “If you take two athletes with the same magnitude of ground reaction force, the best in acceleration will be the most horizontally oriented vector”
Dec 23, 2021
Randy Huntington on Training Cycles, Water Work, and a “Recovery First” Mindset in Speed and Power Training
Today’s show welcomes back Randy Huntington for a “part 2” of the recent episode #282 , speaking on the success of Chinese sprinter, Su Bingtian, and the third podcast with Randy in total.  Randy is a track and field coach who has spent his recent years as the national track and field coach for the Chinese athletics association and has over 45 years of coaching experience. Huntington is rated as a USATF Master Coach in the jumps, has been the coach for many world-class athletes over the years, including eight Olympians and seven World Championship Team members.  Mike Powell and Willie Banks set world records in the long jump and triple jump, respectively, while under his tutelage. In the last podcast, Randy spoke on several elements of the training methods that helped Su Bingtian to become the fastest accelerator of all time, such as sled and resisted sprint training, special strength work, and more.  There was still a lot left to cover after the last episode, so for this show, we will dive back in (literally, in regards to the water training) to Randy’s training methodology. For today’s episode, Randy speaks in depth on Su Bingtian’s weekly training setup, and how he spaces out the weekly work, with a focus on rest and recovery.  He will get into the topic of training density, and how this can be modulated with training cycles of various lengths (as opposed to only sticking with a traditional 7-day cycle).  Randy will get into elements of water training, tempo sprint training, his version of over-speed work, and much more.  This is an awesome compliment to the popular “part 1” of my recent chatting with Randy, and great material for coaches in any discipline. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:39 –  Details on Su’s weekly training setup, and how “work + rest = adaptation” 11:17 – Thoughts on how much, and how often to apply tempo work to team training 15:35 – How various cultures can have an impact on the type of training that athletes in that culture will optimally respond to 18:56 – The importance of water training for recovery, and recovery training in general, in Randy’s program 36:51 – Why the biggest need in coaching is on the level of youth coaches, and not those who work with elite athletes 42:06 –  How Randy isolates the specific focus of his training sessions, not doing too much work all in one session 46:06 – Individual factors in elastic vs. muscular athletes in the construction of a training program 51:51 – The power of being able to move athletes around selectively amongst training groups in individual sports 55:21 – How Randy looks at long term training and seasonal shifts in training emphasis 59:51 – Principles on going beyond a typical 7-day weekly training cycle, into 9 and 10 day cycles. 1:04:51 – How Randy utilizes the “bigger players” in a training year (such as intense training methods, heavy lifting, intense plyos, etc.) and how he measures and manages recovery 1:12:06 – How Randy applies overspeed training with his athletes “I look at work, but I put the rest in first in the week, and then I follow it back up with what work we are going to do prior to the rest” “I like using pulse (for tempo training), I’d rather use SMO2 (when I can)… that gives me a very accurate appraisal of when to go again” “I make our strength coaches run (tempo) with the sprinters” “In China, you can’t give them a lot of time off, they fall apart very quickly if they have a lot of time off (Koreans were like the too)” “How do you increase density without (going to steroids)… that’s how I arrived at (water training)… my whole approach has been recove...
Dec 16, 2021
Dr. Edythe Heus on The Dynamics of Fascial and Balance Training
Our guest for today’s show is Dr. Edythe Heus.  Dr. Heus is a nationally known chiropractor utilizing kinesiology with 22 years of experience.  She is the founder of the RevinMo, a unique corrective exercise program and co-author of ProBodX.  Dr. Heus is a thoughtful investigator whose diagnosis and treatment is based on specialized knowledge of the body's interconnectedness. Dr. Heus has enjoyed great success, and works with many professional and Olympic athletes. When training individuals, it’s easiest to focus only on “outputs”, such as the load on the bar, or how fast an individual ran through sprint gates.  In taking a full-view at training, it’s also important to understand more subtle inputs, and how the body organizes movement from a fascial perspective. I’ve routinely noticed in the world of track and field, and swimming, a cycle where athletes experience an injury, have to do “rehab” (subtle) work (and also get a deload from the typical intense work they are doing) and come back to their sport to set personal bests within a few weeks or months.  As such, it’s worthwhile to study the full spectrum of “rehab to outputs” in human and athletic performance, and how we can organize each of these methods through a training session, or one’s career. On the show today, Dr. Heus will speak on balance and proprioceptive training methods, such as pipes and slant boards, advanced foot training concepts, and information on the fascia and how it responds to various training methods.  This is an important concept for anyone, and particularly those individuals who wish to learn more about the “softer” side of performance that can make a large impact on one’s function and resistance to injury. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:00 – How Edythe got into a more “alternative” position on exercise and training in her career 19:30 – Deeper thoughts on balance training, and how it benefits the nervous system 38:30 – From a balance perspective, what athletes should be able to do from a fundamental movement perspective 56:00 – Assessing the feet and the abdominals in the course of balance-oriented training 1:02.00 – Using slant boards to train the feet 1:06:00 – Edythe’s thoughts on toe strength 1:21:15 – How Edythe can feel the fascial system working in a particular exercise, and what exactly is “fascial training” “A quality of a person’s life is directly related to the health of their feet” “I see what I do, whether it is treatment or training, because I don’t separate those, as a collaborative team effort (between myself and the client)” “(I want to know) why are we not getting the response from the nervous system or the fascia that is possible?” “Balance, for me, isn’t just standing on unstable surfaces” “Balance is a form of novelty, and the brain thrives on novelty… I also challenge them textually” “Instability just simply, makes the cerebellum work” “Balance comes in so that your inner and outer environment can better communicate with each other” “One of the components I think is critical in training is a perception of risk” “Do some of my stuff before the lift, do it after, and then your lift is going to be better, and you are going to build on what you gained from that lifting, so heavy weight stuff definitely has to be on a stable surface” “I don’t think that without an unstable surface, that you are going to get all parts of your being integrated” “We want to automate as much as possible so there is not much thinking involved, so when you do have a skill you actually want to learn, you’ve got more bandwidth for that skill,
Dec 09, 2021
Erik Huddleston on Exercise Selection and Periodization Based on Expansion-Compression Continuum
Our guest for today’s show is Erik Huddleston.  Erik was recently on the podcast, on episode 269, speaking about important elements of squat technique based on individual frames of the athlete.  After the show, I had some other important questions left over that I wanted to discuss, and also in that time, Erik has made a career transition to working in the NBA. Erik is currently an assistant sports performance coach with the Indiana Pacers and head performance coach for their G-League affiliate, the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants. He is the former director of performance at Indianapolis Fitness & Sports Training (IFAST), along with having NCAA D1 experience. When we program training for athletes, what factors are we considering when we select exercises? Do we just pick movements that are novel and random, or do we have a greater philosophy that helps us decide what types of movements to use, and when?  What about timing, such as exercise selection in the training sessions coming off of, or leading them up to competitions or tough practice periods?  Or, do we ever ask ourselves about what an athlete’s development level (youth vs. pro) might mean for them with the types of exercises we are prescribing from a compression and expansion perspective? On the show today, Erik speaks on organizing exercise selection based on an athlete’s training schedule (such as post or pre-competition periods of the training week, or even training year), how to use weight placement to train various athlete body types, and some critical differences in training, from an expansion/compression perspective, regarding youth vs pro level athletes.  It’s so easy to fan-boy (or girl) over the workouts of “elite” athletes, but the key to good coaching is always knowing how to engage an athlete where they are at in their own development. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:28 – How to organize training based off of periods of “expansion” and “compression” 11:42 – How Erik quantifies what players are experiencing in practice and games from a “expansion/compression” perspective, and how to give them what they don’t have then, in a gym setting 14:54 – Exercise selection principles that help athletes optimally reset in their “off” days 21:55 – How to adjust exercises to help them ramp up to a game or competition situation 24:20 – What a pre-season training load looks like compared to in-season in professional basketball 29:00 – What pre-season training looks like in high school sports where athletes have a lot more time to prepare without high volume sport loadings 34:41 – Situations where more compression will help an athlete, vs. situations where it will potentially hurt an athlete 39:25 – How to set up training for “pylon” shaped individuals to help their reversal ability in jumping and athletics 46:20 – How “flipping the pylon” of the torso, and having wide shoulders impacts squatting selection 52:06 – How the shape of one’s torso impacts the types of plyometric exercises that players should utilize 54:46 – How to prescribe jump programming to individuals who have a hard time yielding in their movement relative to the ground 59:10 – How to approach plyometrics and jump training for youth athletes vs. elite athletes who are already at a relatively high level, and playing jump oriented sports constantly “Keeping player assets on the court is the most important part of my job” “Give them some of what they don’t have that they are getting from the training and the basketball stimulus” “I have to assume that the vast things that are occurring on the court are output driven… that’s where we get into that com...
Dec 02, 2021
Randy Huntington on Special Strength, Reactivity, and Building a 4.07s 40-Yard Dash
Our guest for today’s show is Randy Huntington.  Randy is a track and field coach, who has spent his recent years as the national track and field coach for the Chinese athletics association and has over 45 years of coaching experience.  Huntington is rated as a USATF Master Coach in the jumps, has been the coach for many world-class athletes over the years, including eight Olympians and seven World Championship Team members.  Mike Powell and Willie Banks set world records in the long jump and triple jump, respectively, while under his tutelage. More recently, Randy has had tremendous success coaching in Asia, a capstone of which has been Su Bingtian, who recently set the Asian 100m dash record of 9.83 seconds at age 31.  En route to his 100m record, Su broke the world record in the 60m (as a split time) with a 6.29, which converts to around a 4.07s 40 yard dash. When a teenager, or relatively untrained individual takes a few tenths off of their 40 yard dash, or drops a half second in the 100m dash over several years time, this is a normal and natural occurrence, and isn’t something that really demands digging far into.  On the other hand, when an already elite athlete, who is at, or slightly past their “prime” years, moves into their 30s and smashes sprint records, this is something that is truly worth putting a close eye on. On the show today, Randy Huntington speaks on some of the training elements that helped sprinter, Su Bingtian achieve his recent results.  Randy goes into his views on special strength training for speed, particularly on the level of the lower leg, and speaks on the use of banded and wearable resistance in speed training, as well as some nuts and bolts on resisted and sled sprint work.  On the back end of the show, Randy gets into training the elastic and fascial systems of an athlete, and how to optimize an athlete’s elastic response to training in plyometrics and beyond. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, Inside Tracker, and Lost Empire Herbs. For 25% off of an Inside Tracker order go to info.insidetracker.com/justflysports For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:02 – What’s been happening with Randy in his last 4 years of coaching, particularly with Su Bingtian and his success 12:24 – Some of the big training elements that helped Su Bingtian get down to 9.83/6.29 from 10.0/6.50 in his time working with Randy 18:37 – Using banded and wearable resistance methods for improving speed and “bridging” the gap between the weight room and the track 25:58 – Randy’s advice for using sleds/heavy sleds in training 32:59 – The “train your frame” system and the importance of body proportions and structure on optimal sporting events for athletes 37:01 – How Randy uses sleds for contrast training, as well as concepts on wave-loading and how many sets in a row to utilize 40:25 – The importance of elastic energy in athletic performance, and how under-estimated the elastic contribution to performance is, as well as how important dynamic elastic ability is for running endurance 50:44 – The nature of the advanced spikes and track surface used in the Tokyo Olympic games, and its impact on athletes 55:04 – Randy’s take on optimizing the elastic and fascial systems of an athlete, as well as a chat on ground contact times in plyometrics 1:06.28 – How improved foot strength played into Su’s improvement in the 100m dash, as well as in various portions of the race, as well as how Randy trained Su’s foot strength 1:08:26 – The role of harmonics and resonance between one’s foot/body and the running surface, especially in the course of a 100m dash race 1:19.56 – How to increase the eccentric rate of development in standard exercises, such as a partner pushing a partner down into an exercise 1:28.
Nov 24, 2021
Logan Christopher on Critical Mental Training Concepts and Athlete Learning Styles
Our guest for today’s show is Logan Christopher.  Logan is a strongman, author, owner of Legendary Strength and CEO of Lost Empire Herbs.  Logan previously appeared on episode 111 and episode 187, where he discussed mental training in depth, as well as the “6 layers” of strength.  Logan has also written several books including “Mental Muscle” and “Powered by Nature”, both of which I have found impactful reads.  Logan is a master of using the natural machinery of the body, our mind, and our environment to help us reach our highest potential as humans. An interesting saying you hear over and over again is that “the game is all mental”, or it is “90% mental” by many elite athletes.  Although there are general physical standards to be successful in many sports (think of the body type of a runner or a jumper, or the long arms that are very helpful in making it to the NBA) it is impossible to overlook the role of the mind, especially in elite performers.  Perhaps one’s genetic structure can help one to “get in the door” in the sport they are most suited for, but it is always going to be the mind that allows them higher levels of success. On the show today, Logan talks about many facets of both physical and mental training.  He starts with an important facet of coaching we haven’t gotten much into before, and that is on the language a coach uses to describe exercises, and training in general, and how these can impact training outcomes.  He also speaks on specific learning styles that can also be used in one’s visualization routines, as well as his take on the use of analogies and imagination in athletic skill performance.  Logan also goes into elements of old-school strongman training, as well as a quick take on why testosterone has dropped across the world over the last 50-100 years by a substantial margin. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:40 – Talking about managing training in context of holding back and achieving balance in order to have continual progress 11:10 – How the language a coach uses in the course of a workout can impact the outcome of the training (especially on the level of over-training) 14:25 – The four learning styles, and how to leverage these learning styles for better training results 20:40 – How to specifically optimize the auditory learning style in training 23:10 – How to approach strengths vs. weaknesses in terms of the four learning styles and physical training 32:00 – How analogies, as spoken about by Nick Winkelman, can be effective for athletes in light of Neurolinguistic programming philosophy 33:40 – How imaginatory ability impacts one’s physical and athletic abilities 39:10 – If Logan could pick only one mental training tool for himself now, and then 10 years ago, what he would utilize 43:10 – How much mental training Logan does now that he has over a decade of mental training under his belt 50:10 – Some old school strongman lift performances from the past that haven’t been touched in the last 50 years 55:25 – Speaking on the link between breathing and strongman training 59:10 – Why testosterone has dropped so much in the last 50 years “Typically I don’t even refer to my workouts as workouts, I refer to them as “training”” “I like to use the word “severety” for “effort” instead (of intensity)” “Words do matter, this is going to change the results we get” “(With language) taking a small thing and compounding it over time is going to be a big difference” “The four (learning) styles are visual, auditory, kinesthetic and digital” “Most people in sport tend to be kinesthetic learners…. The visual and kinesthetic are common in athletes” “As a coach, we are going to coach predominantly in our own style” “Very often,
Nov 18, 2021
Austin Jochum on Flowing From “Chaos to Order” and The Process of Multi-Dimensional Athletic Development
Our guest for today’s show is Austin Jochum.  Austin is the owner of Jochum Strength where he works with athletes and “washed up movers” to become the best versions of themselves.  He is also the host of the Jochum Strength Podcast.  Austin was a former NCAA D3 All-American football player and a hammer thrower (MIAC weight throw champion) at the University of St. Thomas, where he is now the speed and strength coach for the football team.  Austin has appeared on episode 213, and also has written numerous articles for Just Fly Sports. One common theme of this podcast for so many years has been finding ways to make one’s training transfer to sport more, not just on the physical and mechanical level, but also on the mental and emotional level, and on a perception-reaction level.  At some point, the hair splitting that happens in regards to weight room exercises (arguments on what set-rep scheme to use, single leg vs. bilateral lifting, etc.), or the minutia of biomechanics, can start to take away from developing other important components of athletics. Austin Jochum is a pioneer in the blending of sport elements into the traditional gym setting for athletes.  He is a meathead, but also a die-hard athletic-mover, and passionately trains in a way that encompasses both the archetypes of strength, and performing ideally in one’s sport and movement practice. For the show today, Austin speaks on the art of developing a love for movement and play in athletes, how to build a “scorer’s” mentality, as well as how to optimize game-based scenarios in the gym to help improve transfer to the field.  He then gets into an excellent discussion on exposing athletes to their weaknesses in a gym-game setting, and finishes with how he sets up his own training programs from not only a physical, but also a mental/emotional perspective, moving from external to internal states, relating each type of training stress to the emotional state of the athlete. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:00 – A story of two different soccer coaches and their approaches to training with their groups 11:00 – The link between love of movement/sport, obsession, and subsequent greatness, 15:30 – How to preserve, and grow, love for movement in coaching athletes 18:30 – Thoughts on “leveling up” on the levels of movement, as well as mental and emotional levels, in a training session 27:30 – How to set up games in a training session that can help to build a “scorer’s mentality” in athletes 29:00 – How to modulate the space of the field, and 1v1, or 2v2 type situations that can help athletes 36:00 – How to transfer between what athletes are really good, and really bad at, in their sport in order to create more robust athletic ability 44:30 – Insecurities that are wrapped up in not being able to expose one’s self to failure 51:30 – The importance of being on the fringe, and evolving the field, and realizing that no one individual has all of the answers 59:30 – The line between order and chaos within a training session, and how a strength session looks for Austin, and how he moves from fun, to funneling the energy into outputs or skill, then taking the athletes into themselves “If you listen to really really good athletes talk, I look at my own past successes, it is because you are obsessed with it… and how do you become obsessed with something? You gotta fall in love with it” “Something we’ve been doing is saying, “if this kid scores”, it’s worth two points, so now the stud who is always scoring is going to find a way to give the ball to someone else, he is going to expand the field” “Watch when your athlete, the first time you meet your athlete, watch how they walk into the gym, because you’ll know right away,
Nov 11, 2021
Katie St. Clair on “Inside-Out”, Biomechanical Approach for Improved Squatting, Running and Overall Athleticism
Our guest for today’s show is Katie St. Clair.  Katie is a strength and conditioning coach out of Charleston, SC who has been training general population and athletes for over 20 years, and is the creator of the Empowered Performance Program. She is passionate about helping everyone reclaim movement and find joy and reduction of pain using sound biomechanical principles alongside proper breathing.  Katie has embarked on a journey of learning and combining that knowledge with her love of athletic movement, as well as her passion for empowering female movement professionals, with the intent to elevate the entire industry standard. In my last few years as a coach, I’ve become more and more aware of the underlying physical and structural characteristics of athletes that work to determine biomechanics that show up when they perform various sporting skills.  I’ve really enjoyed having a variety of coaches on this show who have gone in detail on the biomechanics of the human body, (the pelvis, ribcage, breathing, etc.) and then have linked that up with what we might see in athletic movement, such as sprinting and jumping to name a few. Katie is an expert in human performance, and the fine details of human movement.  On today’s show, she takes us on an approach to forward pelvic tilt, breathing mechanics, abdominal function, the feet, proper squatting, plyometrics and more that comes from a perspective of the underlying function of the human body.  Katie helps us understand the “inside” mechanisms that are so often leading to compromised movement seen on the “outside”. So often we have athletes who just can’t seem to “find” the right joint motions in their movement, and this is when we need to have the ability to go a level deeper in our coaching, or our ability to know when to “refer out” to experts better able to cater to those areas.  The more you know from “the inside out”, the greater the bandwidth of athletes you can serve in your efforts. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:45 – What led Katie into working in fitness and performance 10:15 – Katie’s “inside out” view, of helping athletes acquire better technique via changes on the level of the thorax, pelvis and rib-cage 15:45 – The art of coaching humans in a manner that helps them self-organize and learn to move effectively 18:45 – How being biased, or stuck, in anterior tilt impacts one’s ability to move, and how to help athletes get out of that position 25:45 – How to use inhalation and exhalation to neurologically reinforce supination/ER and pronation/IR 42:15 – General primers on how to start working with breathing and breath for clients 45:50 – Ideas on how compression can drive expansion on the opposite side of the body, and ideas on “functional” abdominal muscles 49:50 – Katie’s view on building strength at length with the abdominal wall 55:50 – Why some athletes (particularly female swimmers) often have a lot of spinal extension patterning in a pushup movement, and then what to do about it (if it is even a big deal in that group) 1:00.05 – Hypermobility as systemic laxity, versus adaptations that can lead to acquired hypermobility in the limbs via proximal stiffness 1:05.35 – The dichotomy between accessing the heels, and then moving into the forefoot in the process of squatting 1:14.50 – Dynamics of “no-toes” squatting and what it can do for athletes, and how it zeros in on the mid-foot 1:17.50 – The balance between being able to keep the heel down and pronate, and then get off the heel to make the foot a second class lever, in squatting and even in running/jumping 1:29.50 – How to help people who struggle to yield to gravity be able to do so, and achieve better glute activation in the process
Nov 04, 2021
Dr. Chris Gaviglio on Building Strength and Maximizing Recovery with Blood Flow Restriction Training
Today’s show features Dr. Chris Gaviglio.  Chris is a current senior strength and conditioning coach for the Queensland Academy of Sport, working with Olympic-based sports and athletes.  Chris has been involved with elite sport for over 15 years working across multiple Olympic sports and professional football in both the northern and southern hemispheres.  Chris provides applied sports science projects for the athletes he works with, particularly in the areas of salivary hormones, passive heat maintenance, blood flow restriction training, warm-up strategies, and power/strength development. I don’t often do shows that center around a piece of training technology, and the main reason for that is simply accessibility.  If a training tool costs thousands of dollars, it isn’t something a large proportion of the athletic, and even coaching population can rationalize having in their training arsenal.  The nice thing about blood flow restriction training is that it is available at a relatively low price point, with common units starting around $300USD.  Other setups using squat wraps, for example, can be done basically for free, but I would recommend using an automated system for the safety and precision of band tightness (see show notes regarding safety considerations and contraindications to BFR, such as concussions or deep vein thrombosis). Blood Flow restriction training has been a training tool that has been on my radar for a long time.  After seeing the results that a high-level Olympic swimmer I worked with got from them, and then hearing some results from Nicolai Morris having a 1.5 second drop in the 100 freestyle of a swimmer as well, as well as several of my coaching colleagues using the method, I knew that there was absolutely something to BFR that I needed to get further into.  In using the AirBands from Vald performance myself, I continued to realize how beneficial this training stimulus is to our physiological response. For today’s show, Chris takes us into many topics of BFR, including its mechanisms and many benefits.  As opposed to methods of mechanical stress (such as plyometrics, sprinting, heavy strength training methods) which tend to dominate this shows podcasts) BFR is a physiological stressor, and through this discussion, we can gain an appreciation for the contrast of physiological stress to more mechanical means.  Chris finishes the show talking about how coaches and athletes can integrate BFR training, and gives many anecdotes and points of research, on how BFR can improve strength and speed recovery. Finally, our sponsor, Simplifaster is doing a Blood Flow Restiction cuff giveaway (Vald Airbands) so if you would like to get in on that, until November 11th, you can sign up for a chance to win a free pair of cuffs at bit.ly/freebfr . Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:00 – Chris’s experiment during quarantine using lighter, or minimal weights in an at-home training setting 17:00 – Discussion on using lighter implements and bodyweight in developing one’s athleticism 20:30 – What blood flow restriction training is, and where it originated from 27:00 – How the metabolic stress from BFR creates beneficial responses, similar to high-load lifting 35:25 – What BFR definitely helps with, and what elements of performance it is not as helpful for 41:25 – How BFR can help with creating “mild to moderate” doses of lactate – Using BFR style work in warming up for a training session 53:10 – If there are any similar places in sport where athletes will experience situations similar to what is created with BFR means 57:00 – How to get as close to BFR as one can in a gym without any sort of cuffs or wraps 1:00:00 – Anecdotes on how to integrate BFR in performance an...
Oct 28, 2021
Frank Forencich on Respecting our “Primal Roots” in the Process of Training, Movement and Life
Today’s show features Frank Forencich.  Frank is an internationally recognized leader in health and performance education. He has over thirty years of teaching experience in martial art and health education. Frank holds black belt rankings in karate and aikido and has traveled to Africa on several occasions to study human origins and the ancestral environment. A former columnist for Paleo Magazine, Frank is the author of numerous books about health and the human predicament, including “The Exuberant Animal”, the book I read that originally led me to Frank’s work. We live in a time where early sport specialization and pressure has led to burnout and high injury rates amongst athletes, but the “rabbit hole” to a dis-satisfaction with sport and movement in general for so many, goes much deeper than that.  As much as we fall prey to the stress-laden, year-round competitive schedule that leads athletes to higher pressure situations at younger ages, we also have “forgotten” our roots as athletes, and more importantly, as human beings, in so many senses of the word.  We miss out on both training results, satisfaction and longevity by failing to study our ancestral nature. On today’s show, Frank Forencich goes into many important elements of our humanity that can help athletes not only recover and train better, but also help increase enjoyment of the training process.  These elements include human biorhythms, dance, play and exploration, getting in the dirt, benefits of training in nature, purpose driven movement, and more.  This podcast was truly important on the level of helping us use the principles of nature that define who we are, to help us in training, and far beyond. If you bring drums into your gym, or for your workout after this episode, PLEASE let me know. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:20 – Key trends seen in the animal kingdom, in physical movement that humans should pay attention to our own movement practices 11:50 – “Effortful striving” in human training versus more of a purpose-driven approach that is characteristic to non-human animals 20:30 – What the idea of “dancing being the original PE” means to athletes and all-human 28:20 – How play and exploration influences how we adapt to movement and training 33:50 – Frank’s thoughts on when to specialize in a sport, or movement practice 35:20 – The difference between the “jungle animal” and the “desert animal” and what this means for humans, training and moving in context with their environment 38:35 – The impact of bioregion on movement practice 40:40 – The impact of training in nature, versus training in an indoor gym setting, and then the “Bio-Philic” need of humans in regards to connection with nature 45:45 – Jim Thorpe’s primal and natural training methods 48:20 – The importance of getting “in the dirt” and actually connecting with dirt and the earth itself for the sake of the micro-biome 54:05 – Low hanging fruits on how to deal with stress better in context of our human biology 58:05 – The role of the athlete in modern society 1:01:55 –  How to build a total training day based on the rhythms and mechanisms of the human being “There is no emphasis on appearance (regarding movement and “exercise” as observed in the animal kingdom)” “It’s important to remember that sports are movement specialties” “In human athletics, there is constant striving all the time that is divorced from habitat; it is almost as if we are training in a bubble” “For the playful athlete, the motivation is purely intrinsic” “We’ve lost sight of the fact that the dose makes the poison, the dose makes the medicine… the wisdom lies in remembering the shape of the inverse U-curve”
Oct 21, 2021
276: Michael Zweifel on Mirroring and Reinforcing Elite Athleticism in the Warm-Up Process
Today’s show welcomes back coach Michael Zweifel.  Michael is the owner and head of sports performance for “Building Better Athletes” performance center in Dubuque, Iowa.  Building Better Athletes focuses on building the athlete from the ground up by mastering the fundamentals of movement mastery, strength/power training, recovery modalities, and promoting ownership in athletes.  Michael is also a team member of the movement education group, “Emergence”.  He has been a frequent guest on this podcast, speaking on topics of perception-reaction, exploration in the weight room, creativity and more. As I’ve grown as a coach (and a human mover/athlete) it’s been really enjoyable to experience sport, and movement in different ways.  In working in a college weight room, it was also very interesting to pay attention to the defining characteristics of the best athletes.  They weren’t always the strongest, or even the fastest, but they could move and react incredibly well in context of their sport… and they loved to play.  One of the things I’ve been enjoying doing recently, is coaching youth sports (5 year olds, to be exact) and it’s a learning experience that impacts my philosophy, all the way up the chain into high level performers. With play and exploration at the core of athleticism and sport, why is it that the culture of the gym (and in many sports performance settings) completely the opposite?  So much of modern sport acts like athletes are robots, a culture based on lines and whistles, and a perception of needing to do everything one particular way. On today’s show, Michael Zweifel goes into a deep dive on how his warmups fit with the key characteristics of elite athleticism. He speaks on how he connects his warmups to core human instincts and needs, and talks about how to develop a love for movement and play that transcends organized sport play.  Michael and I also take on a broad-scope discussion on the over-structuring that is rampant in sport (and our culture in general).  This show is truly important in light of our modern sport culture. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:50 – Michael’s thoughts on trail running, longer runs, and elasticity 13:20 – Michael’s biggest changes in his warmup process over the last decade 16:30 – What Michael would take back with him in terms of his warmups and training if he returned to the university sector of training 21:50 – Comparing “routine” warmups (lines, movement prep, etc.) versus a more dynamic and adaptive form of warming up for a training session 28:50 – Speaking on the different stages of the warmup defined by Emergence: Ownership, exploration and attunement 33:50 – If there are any general warmups that Michael’s athletes will actually do, and how he approaches that type of work 35:50 – A broader-scope discussion on coaching, creativity versus militaristic coaching 48:00 – What age groups and settings Michael feels sports performance coaches should work with to optimally learn the nature of training sport 52:50 – The critical nature of play for human beings, and how professional athletes are very play driven 1:05.35 – How Michael might lead up to a more output driven day in the gym from a warmup perspective 1:07:50 – Some more specific changes in the warmup process that Michael has made in the last few years: Applying “levels” in sport and human movement 1:14:50 – The sad reality of kids quitting sports early, and without preparedness for how to enjoy life from a movement practice at that point 1:20:50 – Key differences in what Michael has in the warmups of different age groups (elementary school, middle school, high school, etc.) “What transitioned my warmup was being in the private sector.
Oct 14, 2021
Kibwé Johnson on “The Tao of the Hammer”: Awareness, Reflexiveness, and Individuality in Sport Technique
Today’s show is with Kibwé Johnson.  Kibwé is the director of track and field at SPIRE Academy, in Geneva, Ohio, and the founder of FORTIUS performance.  Prior to SPIRE, Kibwe coached throws at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for 4 years. In his time as an athlete, Kibwé established himself as one of the USA’s best hammer throwers by being ranked first or second for over a decade, and his personal best of 80.31m/263’5” in 2011 the best mark by an American hammer thrower in over ten years.  He also owns the world’s all-time best HT/DT/WT combination of distances. Kibwé has personally worked with some of the most well regarded coaches in the US and internationally.  His coach for his final 10 years, Dr. Anatoliy Bondarchuk, greatly influenced the development of Kibwé’s own methodologies.  Kibwé’s coaching philosophy is built on communication and cites his experiences as a husband and father with learning how to become more effective as a coach. In my time as a coach, I’ve learned that technique and skill are more than a set of instructions, or a final “model” to shoot for through a series of drills and cues.  Although these instructions can certainly be helpful for lower level performers, once an athlete gets to a more advanced level of performance, drills lose their luster, and we must become more attuned to the actual interaction between the athlete and their environment (implements, the ground, gravity, etc.). On the show today, Kibwé talks about his experiences as an athlete, particularly with Dr. Bondarchuk that helped him develop as a thrower, and in his eventual career as a coach.  He talks about the unique, high velocity and cyclical elements of the hammer that demand a particular relationship to the instrument, and things we can take from this relationship that can transfer to other skills, or life itself.  Finally, Kibwe speaks extensively about drills, vs. holistic skill performance, and the many “subtle” elements, such as awareness, that go into enhancing holistic performance on the highest levels. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:40 – Kibwé’s evolution as an athlete, and what led him to his philosophy of “The Tao of the Hammer” 10:25 – Kibwé’s experience in working with Dr. Bondarchuk and how the communication barrier actually helped Kibwé to figure out his throw without the use of words or cues 18:20 – How the hammer throw in track and field is unique in respect to other throwing events due to its unique, very high velocity rotational dynamics 21:10 – Kibwé’s take on teaching athlete’s fundamental positions vs. letting them figure out skills in a different manner (or on their own), particularly in context of the hammer throw 26:40 – How acquiring the “feeling” of a good throw is helpful to scale to throws of all distances 32:25 – How people tend to want a “list of things” when doing something, and the battle of getting an athlete outside of a list of cues, and to facilitate them figuring things out on their own 34:40 – How to learn, from a “Tao of the Hammer” perspective, and what awareness in a hammer throw means to Kibwé 46:40 – Examples of elite athletes who have had their mechanics “fixed”, as per a “technical model” and had poor seasons or failed to improve 51:25 – How Kibwé would address a “mistake” in an athlete’s throwing, and portions of an athlete’s technique 56:40 – Where drills fall short in training a complex movement, such as the hammer throw 1:02:40 – Reactivity as needed between the hammer and the athlete, and how to “do less” in the course of a throw from a perspective of actively putting force into the implement “It really came down to trying to find the words to explain how I was feeling when I felt my best; because I w...
Oct 07, 2021
Alex Effer on “Stance-Driven” Performance Training, Crawling Mechanics, and Sensory Movement Principles
Today’s show is with Alex Effer, owner of Resilient Training and Rehabilitation.  Alex has treated and trained a variety of clients, from professional and amateur athletes, to a wide spectrum of the general population, ranging from those with certain medical conditions, to postoperative rehabilitation and individuals with chronic and complex pain.  Alex has experience as an exercise physiologist, a strength and conditioning coach, and has consulted with a number of elite and Olympic organizations.  Alex has taken a tremendous amount of continuing education courses and is on the leading edge of modern training theory. There are loads of different continuing education courses and theories, each carrying methods to train athletes from perspectives on breathing, corrective exercise, and exercise variations, to name a few.  It is in the process of getting to the core principles that define these many training systems, that we can gain a greater level of wisdom to make better decisions in exercise selection and training organization. For today’s podcast, Alex speaks on his continuing education journey, and core principles that many current courses in human performance/assessment and biomechanics tend to have in common.  He speaks on how to dial up, or down, points of contact in a movement to help an athlete achieve better mastery over a skill or core human function. In the second half of the show, Alex gives some analysis and progressions with functional training movements, such as crab walks, and bear crawls, and then talks about how some “meathead” oriented exercises are actually more functional than we give the credit for.  Finally, Alex talks about exercises that either “push an athlete backwards in the chest” or “push them forwards” from the back, and how those ramifications can go into, not ony the way we select exercises, but aso the way that we periodize and organize our training programs. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:15 – Common trends that Alex found in his educational process, having taken “all the courses” 13:30 – How Alex looks at force vectors in training and movement, and the difference between walking and running when assessing gait and looking at these force vectors 20:15 – Where Alex has gotten most of his information in training when considering PRI versus other educational systems (such as DNS or SFMA) 22:15 – Why it may be a faulty method to try to compare babies to adults in terms of baseline movement patterning 30:00 – How to transition a client from 12 points of contact, to only 2, and how to use the extra points of contact to improve one’s movement ability when athletes may struggle with standing motions 44:30 – Assessing crab walks, and explaining (or regressing) why athletes might not be able to lift their hips up while performing the crab walk 51:15 – Why some “fitness/bodybuilding” movement can have athletic movement applications, such as a tricep kickback or arm curl coupled with head turn 56:15 – How athletes doing exercises in a manner that “feels good” often times is an optimal method of them doing that movement, versus whatever the commonly accepted technical model for that exercise might be 1:00:00 – Alex’s theory on periodizing training based on early, mid and late stance oriented movements 1:12:15 – Viewing training intervention as either “pulling someone back” or “pushing them forward” “When you take every single course, you kind of get mind-blown by them the first time… and then you hit a client that totally goes against all the algorithms and everything they say, and you have to pivot” “(all the continuing education courses) believe in some sort of respiration and how that affects the body”
Sep 30, 2021
Lance Walker on Optimizing the Hips and Spine for Athletic Speed and Resiliency
Today’s show is with Lance Walker.  Lance is the Global Director of Performance at the Michael Johnson Performance Center where he designs and implements performance training programming for local and international youth, collegiate, and professional athletes in all sports. Prior to MJP, Lance served as Director of Performance Training at Integrated Athletic Development, as well as having served as an assistant strength coach with the Dallas Cowboys, as well as the University of Oklahoma.  Lance is also a current Registered Physical Therapist in the state of Texas, giving him a unique blend of skills and lenses by which to observe athletic performance. In looking at what makes athletes operate at a high level, we can’t go too far without looking at the actions of the pelvis and spine.  As both a strength coach, and physical therapist, Lance has detailed knowledge of both the anatomy and fine-tuned function of this region, as well as more global concepts, linking it to sprinting and general strength training. For today’s show, Lance takes us on a journey of hip function, and how that function ties into sprinting and athletic movement.  He goes into pelvic dynamics in the weight room (including some important points on split squatting and the hips), as well as how using horizontal resistance combined with vertical exercises can drive unique and more specific adaptations.  Finally, talks about some key strength movements to achieve better pelvic function for speed and resiliency. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:30 – How Lance looks at the action of the pelvis in sprinting and human movement 19:00 – Pelvic dynamics in bilateral sagittal plane activity (squatting and deadlifting) versus sprinting, and helping athletes determine their own individual squat depth 21:30 – How a rear foot elevated split squat can create lumbo-sacral torsion that could provoke injury in the pelvis 34:30 – How to help athletes who are not reciprocal in the pelvis improve their pelvic action in sprinting, and Lance’s view on core and trunk training for athlete 38:00 – The role of hip flexors in training for speed and athletic performance 50:30 – How adding horizontal band resistance can dynamically change strength training exercises 54:30 – The idea of hip separation in fast sprinters (front knee and back knee distance) and if this is a good idea to specifically train in practice “That pelvis motion, rotation and listing, that’s my focus now, both from a dysfunction standpoint and a speed standpoint” “The body needs to set up and list the pelvis to be fast” “Optimized motion should probably be the approach, and let’s just not stabilize the tar out of it and make everything move around this stable, fictitious pelvis” “It’s like you are setting the spring so when you throw it, it abducts, externally rotates and extends, and when it hits the ground, it’s still rotating” “There was this incredible increase in pubic symphysis issues… there was this mad rush to load this split stance stuff, because, nobody hurt their back anymore, and “it’s more functional”” “Hip flexor strength is a thing!” “Just stretching the hip flexors, and strengthening the abdominal wall doesn’t help (anterior pelvic tilt) those people” “When you are doing your leg drop series, don’t put your hands under your pelvis” “(Regarding the supine leg drop test without the low back arching up) The one’s that have a lot of issues, the bottom 10-20%, chronic hamstrings, spondy, all those things, yeah that’s a test (that failing fits with getting hurt more often)” “That’s a key concept in hamstring rehab is training the hamstring while training the hip flexor” “We worked with elite distance runners at MJP,
Sep 23, 2021
Christian Thibaudeau on Power Training Complexes and Athletic Skill Development
Today’s show is with Christian Thibaudeau.  Christian has been a strength coach for nearly 2 decades, working with athletes from nearly 30 sports.  He has written four books and has pioneered multiple educational courses, including the Neuro-typing system, which goes in-depth on how to train athletes in the weight room (and beyond) based on their own individual dispositions. I have had Christian on the podcast many times talking about neuro-typing, but more recently I’ve been digging into his knowledge of various types of training repetitions (Omni-rep) which we talked about on podcast 221.  As per any strength coach I am aware of, Christian has the greatest knowledge of set-rep schemes and combinations available for training, and, as such, I have really enjoyed the chance to speak to him on the terms of training complexes and schemes. On the show, Christian gets into power training complexes, and the possibility of utilizing sport skills in the total framework.  He also talks about how to periodize and assign the use of complexes, as the method “costs” more in terms of the adaptive resources of the athlete. Finally, Christian spends time talking about training stimulus, and how to create the “purest” possible adaptation for an athlete with the minimal amount of noise in the system, ending with a description of his double and triple progression systems. The interesting thing with this talk was that it was almost more about what not to do, than what to do.  In times like these, where coaches are armed with a massive arsenal of possibilities at their fingertips, the need for wisdom on how to actually utilize and progress the methods, without adding excess noise to the system, is at a premium. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:45 – Recent insights from Christian on watching his children grow and mature in regards to sport preference, behavior and physical abilities 13:30 – Christian’s thoughts on introducing specific sport skills into power training complexes 25:45 – Why more movements in a complex is more neurologically demanding, and how to choose how many exercises in a complex, based on the type of athlete you are working with 32:15 – Christian’s take on when to use (or not use) power complexes in a training year, based on the athlete 47:45 – How to increase training stimulus, and how to progress in training without adding volume, or even weight 59:45 – Why it is important not to give a client what you, as a coach, are currently in love with in terms of training methods 1:05:45 – How to make training the “purest” it can possibly be, reducing all un-necessary noise in a program to help athletes adapt in as direct of way that is possible 1:12.00 – Christian’s take on using bar-speed monitor units for athletes in light of adrenaline increases and intensification factors 1:22.00 – Using very simple lifts, such as a leg press, in order to put minimal stress into a training program where an athlete is doing a non-strength sport 1:28.00 – Christian’s simple-strength progression method, the “triple progression method” that offers a low level of noise and a long-term progression potential for an athlete “The simple fact that it feels lighter (doing a light set, after doing a heavy set), it will make you more confident, and you will produce more force” “The closer both movements are together, the easier the brain will connect both (for the brain to transfer to sport skill)” “That’s one of the issues with complexes is that they will raise adrenaline more than any training benefit you can find; which is a benefit in the short term… the downside of that is the more adrenaline you produce in training, the more likely you are to suffer from training burnout”
Sep 16, 2021
Gavin MacMillan on Redefining Balance, Motor Control, and Force Production in Athletic Performance Training
Today’s show is with Gavin MacMillan, sports performance coach and founder of Sport Science Lab. Growing up in Toronto Canada, he participated in 7 high school sports, and received a tennis scholarship from San Jose State University.  In 2001 Gavin founded Sport Science Lab where he has experienced a great deal of success training athletes and teams at every level in multiple sports. I’ve personally had a mixed relationship with barbells in the course of my own athletic career.  I’ve had positive (squatting sub-maximally 1x a week being a staple in my best athletic year), but also several negative experiences, one of which was my surprise at age 20, I had spent fall of work increasing my best clean from 225 to 245lb, yet high jumped only 6’1” the first two meets of the year (my PR from high school being 6’8”).  In my first few years as a college track coach, I learned quickly that an athlete who learns to lift barbells better is not necessarily a faster athlete. When I was 21, I stumbled across a book called “Pro-Bod-X” by Marv Marinovich and Edyth Hues.  The training methods within were like nothing I’d ever seen, incorporating a lot of unstable surfaces, and they didn’t use heavy weights.  Doing the workouts for just over a month, I was pleasantly surprised by just how easily I was moving and jumping in my pickup basketball games. Gavin MacMillan does not use barbells in his training program, and yet gets incredible results on the level of building speed, reactivity, jumping ability, and tremendous resistance to injury.  He has a strong use of balance and proprioception based movements in his training program.  Regardless of where you stand in closeness traditional weightlifting/lifting maxes as a form of progress in a program, you will be a better coach by understanding Gavin’s approach to training athletes, as well as his own experiences as an athlete that led him there. On the show today, Gavin shares his background as an athlete, his results using a non-barbell based training program, concepts on force-production training without using barbells, foot training, and the role of athletic balance training that can be merged with resistance training means for big improvements in reactive outputs. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:15 – Gavin’s athletic background (which included ballet and figure skating), and how he got into sports performance coaching 12:30 – Gavin’s experience with traditional barbell weight training, and how he ended up going away from these methods in his own training, and with athletes he worked with 21:15 – Taking a step away from traditional barbell training, and how Gavin was able to transform the injury-reduction factor of a professional Rugby team, setting the record for the fewest player minutes lost 29:15 – Gavin’s answer to the question on, how to train an athlete who needs to get generally bigger and stronger, without using traditional barbell methods 33:00 – Gavin’s thoughts on how to train strength and force for people who don’t have access to advanced training machines 46:30 – Talking on what one sport might be able to offer another from an explosive perspective, such as the impact of figure skating in Gavin’s upbringing 52:00 – Elements of a fast transition to the ball of the foot 54:00 – How squatting with a foot on a balance disc fundamentally changes the exercise adaptation, soreness, and athleticism 1:04.15 – The various surfaces that Gavin uses with his athletes, that optimizes their interaction between the foot and the ground 1:10.30 – How Gavin uses isometrics to produce high rates of force development, without generating large amounts of muscle soreness 1:20.30 – Ideas on the rhythm of moving a load in training
Sep 09, 2021
270: James Baker on Strength, Plyometrics, and Movement Variety in the Process of Long-Term Athletic Development
Today’s show is with athletic performance coach and long term athletic development expert, James Baker.  James is one of the co-founders of the LTAD Network, and is currently a Strength & Conditioning coach and Performance Support Lead at the Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar.  James has a unique blend of skills and experience as a S&C coach, PE teacher, sport scientist and researcher. So many times in sports performance, and particularly in the sub-set of speed and power training, we look to focus on the most high intensity methods we can possibly utilize to achieve adaptations in athletes.  Or perhaps, we inquire to the optimal technical or tactical methods for the sport in front of us. Unfortunately, we don’t tend to look much at the entire, long-term process of an athlete achieving their best possible result in a sport, as well as being well balanced outside of their sport specific ventures.  To give athletes the best training experience, we need to have a thorough understanding on how they might respond various training methods along different points in their athletic journey. Look at the long term process; look at the love of movement and play outside of one’s specific sport, better understand the entire umbrella of what it means to be both human and an athlete On today’s show, James will discuss the difference between early specialization and early engagement, and the need for athletes to love and appreciate other forms of movement and play as their sport career unfolds.  He will also take on free-moving sports like parkour in relation to ball sports, and then deliver some great ideas on progressing plyometric and strength training means over the course of an athlete’s development. For those of you who don’t work directly with growing athletes, realize that by learning more about how young athletes develop, you can learn a lot more about the mature athlete in front of you, and the process that led him or her there. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:02 – What key changes James feels could help young athletes as they go through the levels of sport without burning out 8:49 – The importance of athletes learning to love and appreciate other forms of movement practice outside of their primary sport 14:23 – James’ thoughts on early specialization versus early engagement in a sport 22:05 – Thoughts on early specialization and mental burnout in sport 24:44 – James take on using other/alternative sports in the course of a traditional sport training program 31:01 – When to incorporate, and then intensify strength training in young athletes 34:23 – Standards to “earn the barbell” in the training of young athletes 40:00 – How an athlete’s peak-height-velocity timing will impact whether or not strength training will be helping them to benefit explosively as an athlete 46:45 – How athletes who have less muscle mass may respond less favorably to strength training to improve speed and power outputs across a full spectrum of age ranges 48:07 – How peak-height-velocity will impact an athlete’s reactivity and ground contact times 51:06 – Plyometric progression ideas for young athletes in regards to pogo hops and depth jumps “The danger of athletics is kids wrap up their identity with being a sportsperson” “If anything needs to change, it’s the support network around those kids (that don’t make the next level) and helping them transition” “I think it’s a case of early engagement versus early specialization (especially in “high skill” sports)… getting them in front of good coaches early, but not having that be the only thing they do” “(Regarding how early success does not correlate heavily with later success in “physical sports”) The physical qualities create a bi...
Sep 02, 2021
Erik Huddleston on Foot Concepts, Stance Mechanics, and Maximizing Squat Variations for Athletic Power
Today’s show is with athletic performance coach, Erik Huddleston.  Erik is currently the Director of Performance at Indianapolis Fitness & Sports Training (IFAST) and a performance consultant for a number of professional baseball & basketball teams. Erik previously spent time at Indiana University & Texas Tech University with the men’s basketball teams. So often in the course of using barbell methods for athletic performance, there are often movements that are considered sacred cows of training.  There also tends to be common thoughts as to how these lifts should be performed, such as all athletes needing to squat heavy “ass to grass”.  In reality, athletes come in all shapes, sizes and structures.  Athletes of varying shapes may respond to various types of barbell lifts differently, and there are ways to optimize training for performance, and robustness when considering structural differences of athletes. Advanced and elite athletes will tend to utilize the feet, and stance in different ways as well.  Knowing how an athlete is leveraging the gait cycle, and what points they are particularly biasing to achieve their performances, is important when thinking about which lift variations we might want to utilize with them over time. For today’s episode, Erik takes us on a deep dive into squatting and how it relates to the “reversal ability” of athletes, given their individual shapes and structures.  He also relates the phases of gait (early,mid,late stance) to squatting and jumping concepts, to help us better understand how to give athletes what they need at particular points in their career.  Erik cover important elements of single leg squatting as well, in this highly detailed chat on performance training. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:00 – Some of the things Erik has learned from spending time in both the collegiate and private sectors of training 9:00 – Things that Erik looks at in training video that he may be addressing in the gym setting 15:00 – Managing squatting and squat training in light of the various phases of stance 25:20 – How to “bucket” athletes based on need in squatting, in terms of depth and heel-elevation, particularly those with wider hips and narrower shoulders 35:00 – How an athlete’s body shape and structure will tend to determine their functional ability and biomechanics 49:00 – Self-selection principles when it comes to strength and power exercises and coaching 52:00 – Shin angle principles in light of squatting and reversal power 55:00 – How single leg differs from double leg training in terms of pelvic-sacrum action and pressurization 1:00.30 – What Erik is looking for in the stances of the foot when an athlete is jumping or dunking 1:05.30 – Why banded work can cause athletes to “over-push” in jumping, and the impulse related nature of “point zero” in a jump 1:11.30 – More talk on jumping in regards to single leg jumping and accessing late-stance, and why advanced athletes tend to be more late-stance dominant 1:22:00 – Erik’s take on athletes who are early-stance dominant, and how to help them overcome resistance, create compression, and ideally get to mid and late stance more easily “An ability to translate through the phases of gait is something that I look at (when assessing video)” “Some kids are naturally not going to be able to get lower in that athletic stance” “Gait is a constant falling and catching yourself as you go forward” “If the tibia moves forward and your heel is on the ground, you are moving towards the middle phase of propulsion…. as soon as the calcaneus breaks the ground you are in a later phase of propulsion” “(Internal rotation) doesn’t allow for a lot of general movement qualities… or a fluid...
Aug 26, 2021
Ben Askren on Creativity in Sport and Developing an Elite Competitor’s Mindset
Today’s show is with Ben Askren, former mixed martial artist and wrestler, who is now a wrestling coach (amongst his other ventures).  Ben is one of the most successful wrestlers, and MMA fighters of all time, known for his unique style and technical skills. Ben’s NCAA career consisted of a 157-8 overall record. His final two years were dominant with an 87-0 record capped by back-to-back national championships (2006 & 2007). Ben was a four-time all-American, and two-time recipient of the Dan Hodge Trophy (the college wrestling equivalent of the Heisman).  Askren was the former Bellator and ONE Welterweight Champion, remaining undefeated for over a decade before competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and had a final win-loss record of 19 and 2.  Ben has co-founded Askren Wrestling Academy (AWA) with his brother Max. They currently operate 5 gyms. I am perpetually fascinated by elite talent in sport.  In training athletes, so often we take for granted, the long term process, the mental process, and the creativity that makes some athletes so elite.  It is very easy to get “sucked in” to sets, reps, exercises and positions, and fail to nurture both the individual creative and mental processes that are going to help athletes succeed as the level of competition rises. On today’s podcast, Ben takes us through his early life in sport, and about when he made the transition from multi-sport athlete to specialist in wrestling.  He shares about the grounds the led to some big leaps in his creative ability as an athlete, and the balance between creativity and structure in the development of a young athlete.  Finally Ben shares lots of information on developing one’s practice of mental composition for athletic performance. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:53 – What inspired Ben to make the jump from wrestling to MMA fighting in his career 8:52 – Ben’s athletic background from a young age, starting from a multi-sport perspective, and how that eventually funneled into specializing in wrestling 15:52 – Prime coaches and mentors in Ben’s athletic career that impacted his formation as an athlete 18:16 – Ben discusses his practice of study in his own development into an elite wrestler and fighter 21:24 – The balance between creativity and structure in training wrestlers as they go from youth to a mature athlete 22:59 – How Ben’s wrestling academies teach children with individual facets of performance in mind 25:56 – Thoughts on teaching athletes to deal with adversity in their sporting careers, and as they advance in level of competition 33:14 – A conversation on the value of submaximal lifting versus heavy strength training in performance training 44:04 – Development of young wrestling athletes, and how early success is not a requirement for later successes 50:17 – How to educate parents to buy into the long term vision of success for their athletes, and why the youth sport system (and monetization) is not set up in favor of long term athlete success 55:40 – How to manage stress and anxiety in big competitions 58:03 – How Ben approaches mental training in practice and competition 1:03:49 – Tactics to minimize anxiety in competition “(When I made the decision to specialize in Wrestling after freshman year of high school) At that time, that was totally unheard of… all specialization was much more limited at that point in time” “I try to not let the parents push the kid into more participation, I want it to be the kid’s choice” “I know there are some people who say you should never specialize, and I strongly disagree with that… at my academy, there are certain kids who going into their freshman year are 92 pounds, what other sports can they play?”
Aug 19, 2021
Joel Smith Q&A on Integrated Sprint Training, Elasticity, Biomechanics, and Coaching Frameworks
Today’s show is a Q&A with Joel Smith.  We are back again for a series of your questions and my best answers.  Today’s show is by theme “The Speed Show” with a ton of questions on speed, acceleration, max velocity, muscle-relaxation speed, and even working with distance runners.  Sprinting is always going to be a synthesis of so many elements of human performance, and is one of the highest-reaching challenges for any coach in athletic coaching (which is why it’s also such a rewarding puzzle to solve). Outside of the common speed questions; I also had an interesting question on how to assess “swings in the pendulum” of training methods.  The awareness by which we get to our own coaching biases is important, so I’ll dig into some ideas there as well. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 1:59 – How to fix heel-striking in athletes 12:56 – A step by step process on helping athletes improve hip extension and delay knee extension 19:50 – Thoughts on flat feet being an advantage since you enter mid stance more quickly? 22:16 – The top 2-3 faults, issues I commonly coach as it pertains to start out of blocks, acceleration in those first 2-3 steps, and common drills I utilize for correcting said issues. 33:57 – How to periodize maximal velocity work. Once intensity is at the max and assisted/overspeed is touched upon sporadically, where do we go from there? 43:18 – Thoughts on setting up a weight room/jumping/sprinting program for high school XC runners. Training age with me 1-3 years. 50:44 – How do you balance your stance/beliefs when training philosophy and paradigm swings like a pendulum? 56:54 – In regards to the Soviet research on muscle relaxation times being the differentiating factor between their elite and non-elite athletes, what are some methods to train relaxation times? Show Notes Dave O’Sullivan Slouches https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYD4Jx_IXSw Usain Bolt Warming Up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW9GxrrSDFg&t=163s About Joel Smith Joel Smith is the founder of Just Fly Sports and is a sports performance coach in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Joel hosts the Just Fly Performance Podcast, has authored several books on athletic performance, and trains numerous clients in the in-person and online space.  Joel was formerly a strength coach for 8 years at UC Berkeley, working with the Swim teams and post-graduate professional swimmers, as well as tennis, water polo, and track and field.  A track coach of 11 years, Joel coached for the Diablo Valley Track and Field Club for 7 years, and also has 6 years of experience coaching sprints, jumps, hurdles, pole vault and multi-events on the collegiate level, working at Wilmington College, and the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. Joel has coached 2 national champions, multiple All-Americans and school record holders in his time as a track coach. In the realm of strength and conditioning, his programs have assisted 5 athletes to Olympic berths that produced 9 medals and a world record performance at Rio in 2016. In 2011, Joel began Just Fly Sports with Jake Clark as a central platform to promote information for athletes and coaches to reach their highest potential.  In 2016 the first episode of the “Just Fly Performance Podcast” was released, now a leading source of education in the sports performance field.  The evolving mission of Just Fly Sports is focused on teaching athletes to realize their true, innate power, and achieve the highest joy in their training, competition, and in the community.
Aug 12, 2021
Jake Tuura on Jump Training, Knee Rehab Protocols, and Games + Community as Ultimate Power Potentiators
Today’s show is with Jake Tuura.  Jake currently works at Velocity Training Center as a strength and conditioning coach. Prior to Velocity, Jake was a collegiate S&C coach for 7 years.  Jake is the owner of jackedathlete.com where he teaches athletes and coaches principles on muscle gain, jumping higher, and rehab from jumper’s knee. Training for things like vertical jump and sprinting are enjoyable to discuss, but we need to always be zooming out into more global concepts of performance.  For example, you may tweak every ounce of your training to help an athlete jump 4” (10cm) higher, but what if that athlete just got into a really good community where athletes were doing various dunks, and found that simply being in that environment unlocked 4” of jumping gain, that was eventually able to filter over into their permanent results?  Or perhaps look at the formation of jumpers who are obsessed with jumping as youths, doing dozens, if not hundreds, of jumps each day? Also, understanding how to be consistent as per staying healthy is not often considered as it should be, particularly for jump-related sports. Jake Tuura has been on a journey of sport performance exploration for years, and offers grounded solutions for those seeking muscle gain, performance increase and pain reduction.  On the show today, Jake talks about what he has been learning since leaving the university sector in strength and conditioning, as well as updated knowledge in the vertical jump training space.  Jake also talks about how to use games as the ultimate warmup (and workout, when combined with sprints and jumps) for athletes, and finished with some great points on knee pain and rehab, and points where isometric exercises might not be the panacea that it is so often offered as. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:56 – Some of the last things Jake learned as a college strength and conditioning coach 16:31 – What Jake has learned working in the private sector of sports performance since moving beyond his university coaching job 18:44 – Thoughts on using games with pro-level players versus younger athletes 25:29 – Things that Jake has been compiling in the last few years in regards to vertical jump training 38:21 – What Jake has noticed in elite dunking athletes in regards to their training history and jumping volumes 46:22 – The importance of using sport play as either an advanced warmup or potentiation for jumps or even sprints 51:59 – Thoughts on penultimate length in a running two leg jump” 58:13 – Looking at isometric training, versus kinetic chain training and general strength conditioning when it comes to knee rehabilitation and injury prevention “When you are a college strength coach, you think that everyone really wants to be in (the weightroom)” “You are warming up their bodies, but are you thinking of how you are impacting their brains?... they are like zombies” “If you are a college strength coach, there are 1000’s of kids who will do your job for free… and you have to impress the head coach” “I think we need to start vertical jump training with the objective starting point of physics, and then you can create a good plan” “Can you get stronger by just jumping? Yes you can; but… some people are just not built for that, and they need extra training… sometimes freak athletes, they may not need the extra training, they were just born for it” “(In regards to knee pain) Jumping as high as possible for a decently high volume… would a caveman do that?” “The pro-dunkers, would jump every day (growing up) and as they get older and increase outputs, they do not jump every single day; and they always get into strength training” “Having the people to do dunk sessions with is huge; we h...
Aug 05, 2021
Angus Ross on Spinal Engine Dynamics and Asymmetrical Training in Sprinting and Athletic Development
Today’s show is with Angus Ross.  Angus is a senior strength and conditioning specialist with High Performance Sport New Zealand, with a particular interest in track and field athletes.  He has worked with a number of sports at an elite level within the NZ system, including sprint cycling and skeleton in recent years. Angus has a PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Queensland, and is also a Winter Olympian in his own right having competed at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Games. Angus has been a two time previous guest within the first hundred episodes of the podcast.  In the time since we last talked, Angus has traveled the world and has spent time with some leading edge strength coaches, such as Jerome Simian.  His curiosity and angles of looking at performance training has made him a truly enjoyable guest to have on this show time and again. One topic I’ve heard in the world of training is “the spinal engine”.  I have been working extensively in the last year in the realms of getting the ribs and spine to work alongside the hips more effectively in sprinting, throwing, jumping and overall athletic movement.  When Angus told me he had been doing a lot of research into spinal engine work over the last few years, I was excited, and when Angus actually went into the details of it all, I was truly inspired.  Angus’s work connects so many dots in regards to concepts I’ve been thinking of on my own end. On the show today, Angus speaks about his take on spinal engine theory, rhythmic movement, sprint (and iso hold) asymmetry and how some athletes may need to take advantage of the movement of the spine more than others.  He also talks about long and short hold isometrics, and proprioception training.  This was a phenomenal chat with lots of immediate ideas for any athlete or coach. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:15 – Spinal engine theory vs. a leg spring model 11:26 – How the mobility of spine and ribs can benefit you as an athlete 15:42 – Resources and inspiration for exercises and drills to improve spinal mobility and range 19:09 – A discussion on asymmetry in sprinting 21:43 – Benefits of looking at data & the role of intuition and feelings in martial arts 24:58 – Rhythm in Athletes: What you can learn from trying martial arts and other rhythmic sports 32:17 – Who can benefit from spinal engine theory? 34:21 – Asymmetrical training & What Angus learned from training with Jerome Simian 48:38 – How and why to use long duration isometrics in training 54:03 – Static stretching before sprinting & Pros and cons of extreme iso holds 57:11 – Insights on short isometric holds 1:01:07 – Thoughts on proprioceptive training: Weight lifting, joint proprioception, and utilization of balance and stability “The concept (of spinal engine theory) is that if you laterally flex a lordotic spine, is that it induces an axial torque and a rotation of the pelvis” “When you look at things through the spinal engine lens, it’s really very different to the leg spring model.” “It begs the question: Should we be training lateral flexion per say and is range of motion a critical factor?” “Most of our elite runners are short trunk, long legs and that’s what we say is the normal, but if you don’t have that, can you compensate by becoming a different style of runner and using what you do have to facilitate your ability to try and relate?” “You need the hardware to be able to run that software and if you can’t get them in those positions…you’re gonna give them coaching cues all day long and it won’t do them any bloody good because they can’t get in those positions anyway.” “I’ve found the lateral drills to be fantastic with helping people eliminate crossover running.
Jul 29, 2021
Conor Harris on Gait-Based Split Squats and Advanced Lifting Mechanics in Athletic Development
Today’s show is with Conor Harris.  Conor is a strength & conditioning coach specializing in biomechanics and movement quality. He is the founder of Pinnacle Performance in Portland, Oregon where he trains all levels of athletes and general population clientele. He has worked in a wide variety of environments such as D1 Collegiate Baseball, EXOS, High School, and private performance training facilities. If there is one big element that is infiltrating modern training and performance right now (at least I hope it is), it is the attention to the quality of movement, and the particular impacts that doing one type of lift (say rear foot elevated vs. front foot elevated split squat) will have on an athlete.  So often, we just move through a variety of movements in a training program, without really thinking about the experience that those training methods are actually giving to that athlete’s body. Conor Harris is a young coach who has really zeroed in on the impacts of various movements on an athlete, and how those movements fit in with what an athlete is missing (or on the flip-side, is already strong in) in their gait pattern.  At the end of the day, every training movement we utilize should come back to how an athlete moves, or intends to move, in their sport.  The training we use should have the capacity to fill in any needed “gaps” in a movement profile that may be pre-disposing an athlete to pain, or injury. On today’s show, Conor will take us through concepts of late vs. early stance dominance in athletes, and how split squat variations will preferentially engage those stance dynamics for the purposes of injury prevention, or enhanced performance.  We’ll get into how squatting with heels elevated, or hinging with the toes elevated, can benefit the athlete through rotation of the leg bones, and finish with some great ideas on how to help restore internal rotation to athletes, as well as some big rocks of athletic glute activation. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:20 – Elements that help athletes pronate in the gym with more “common” exercises 12:40 – How to differentiate between a “late stance” and “early stance” dominant individual 19:20 – Why the sport of basketball emphasizes “late” stance more than many other sports 23:00 – Ideas on when to actually intervene with an athlete if you suspect an imbalance or movement inefficiency 38:00 – How foot position in a split stance exercise impacts rotation and joint dynamics 45:30 – Thoughts on split squatting with a (hard) balance disc in the front foot 49:15 – Conor’s big rocks in helping to restore an internal rotation deficit in athletes 56:00 – How to squat for maximal glute activation, via stretch-loading the glutes “Your joint positions, your tests all reflect that you spend a lot of time in late stance; a basketball player is a perfect example, someone who is constantly on their toes to be athletic.  These people often present with a certain foot presentation where their toes are pointing away from the midline of their body” “If you strike the ground and you don’t have that nice heel reference then it is going to be more difficult to get your heel forward, if you are starting in the position where you can’t get the pronation to resupination” “Anything that drives the knee over the toe a lot is going to allow for that internal rotation of the tibia to occur, as well as pronation of the foot.  That heel elevated split squat can be a really good way to do that” “When I think of a contralateral load, I think of that as a reference to find your heel or midfoot.  An ipsilateral load is better to find mid-foot to toe-off.  If I wanted to find that earlier phase of pronation I’m a fan of using that contralateral l...
Jul 22, 2021
Daniel Back on Advancing Methods in Jump and Sprint Training for Athletes
Today’s show is with athletic performance coach, Dan Back.  Dan Back is the founder of “Jump Science” and is also a coach at Xceleration sports performance in Austin, Texas.  Dan reached an elite level in his own vertical jump and dunking ability, and has been helping athletes run faster, jump higher and improve overall physical performance for over a decade.  I first met Dan in my own time at Wisconsin, LaCrosse, where I was working on my master’s degree in applied sport sciences. When it comes to sports performance training, the two “KPI”s we are routinely searching for, are undoubtedly sprint speed and jumping ability.  Improvements here are harder to come by than simply improving a barbell strength exercise that is brand new to an individual.  On top of this, the higher velocity the movement, generally, the more difficult it is to improve. This is where there is a big difference in simply knowing information about training, and spending time talking to coaches who have been working hard on this skill themselves for years, and then have transmitted that knowledge into working with others.  Dan is a coach who really embodies what he is teaching on a regular basis. On today’s show, Dan talks about how his plyometric programs have changed over the years, where his plyometrics volume has shifted, volume in performing variations of various sport jumps, as well as in submaximal plyometrics, where big rocks like depth jumps fit in now. Key elements Dan looks at when coaching speed that fit with reactive abilities RSI, Strength/speed alternation, and knowing that you aren’t losing too much “explosive or maximal strength in the pursuit of speed Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:41 – Dan’s evolution as an athlete and coach & how he became interested in sports performance 9:52 – Making jump training a sport: Is low rim dunk training the most effective for young athletes? 14:10 – Sport jumps vs. “Fun” jumps & How have your views on plyometrics evolved over time? 17:24 – Filling in the gaps in athletic history 20:01 – What staple plyometrics do you use in your training besides jumping? 25:34 – Building up from small, quick, easy movements 31:05 – Are there plyometrics Dan don’t use anymore? 32:38 – How Dan utilizes sprinting, warmups, and other exercises in athletic training 39:51 – Measuring RSI in sprinting and how to “reverse engineer” RSI from a “sprint first” perspective 46:33 – Dan’s approach to elimination and reintroduction of strength training and how to ensure one is not losing their maximal or explosive strength abilities when working on speed “I love [low rim dunk training] and I do think there’s a superiority there compared to just trying to touch the rim or touch the back board. One, because it’s just more fun. Two, to have success in the training, but then also there’s just this component of it’s not like a workout.” “Having that fun and even that creative, ideas-based, like oh I’m gonna try this dunk or I’m gonna try to dunk off one leg or whatever… having that fun, creative environment definitely makes a difference for the motor learning side of things and the motivation side of things.” “Hurdle hops are good but this is like a complimentary, forced development exercise. We want to have the base be not plyometrics, but the base be fun jumping and hopefully even diverse fun jumping.” “I believe in jump technique, I don’t overdo it… Sometimes if they don’t have those key skills, it’s like you’re kinda getting strong and not realizing any of it.” “Nowadays, really I would say sprinting is the plyometric that I have gravitated the most toward trying to make sure that is included in an athlete’s overall workload.”
Jul 15, 2021
Graeme Morris on A Practical Approach to Game Speed, Oscillatory Isometrics, and Explosive Strength Training Methods in Athletic Performance
Today’s show is with strength coach, Graeme Morris.  Graeme is a performance coach that consults for a variety of team sport and combat athletes including world and Australian champions in Muay Thai. He is also the head strength and conditioning coach for the AFL umpires and has previously worked in rugby league for 6 seasons. Graeme has experience learning from many leading coaches, and has integrated it into a balance that he sees fit for his own training populations. There are so many topics in the world of sports performance in regards to speed and strength.  I often get a lot of questions on how I end up integrating much of it into a practical training session.  At the end of the day, seeing the art of how coaches take information, and use it practically with athletes helps tie the content in the many conversations I have together. On today’s show, Graeme takes us into his own integration of the two most common interests of performance coaches: Game-speed and strength/power development.  Graeme speaks on his usage of closed versus open agility work, and lateral speed development, linear speed, and “robust running” ideas for team sport players.  He also goes into his strength methods for athletes, how “specific” to get in the weight room, and particularly how he gets into various oscillatory strength methods to help his athletes maximize their power outputs, and finally, some ideas from training combat athletes. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:15 – Graeme’s mentors and influences on his sports performance philosophy 5:45 – Graeme’s take on closed vs. open agility training for his athlete populations 19:00 – Talking about linear speed drills, “switching”, mini-hurdles, and more in the development of speed for team sport athletes 27:45 – A discussion on working in small vs. open spaces and its impact on how an athlete’s muscle groups and energy systems are impacted 30:45 – How Graeme’s role as a strength coach fits into game speed, in respect to the coach’s technical/tactical plans for the team 35:15 – The story of “never go full Bosch” and Graeme’s approach to more “specific lifts” in the weightroom 40:30 – Where Graeme stands on the 1x20 lifting spectrum 43:00 – Graeme’s experience with oscillating lifting reps for a variety of athlete populations 58:00 – Working with Cal Dietz’s “reflexive trimetric” training method 1:04:00 – Core foot training movements that Graeme utilizes in his programming “If an athlete doesn’t have multiple tools to begin with; it’s hard to select the right tool… I look at shuffle positions, crossover step, basic backpedaling.  We are starting in a closed scenario, maybe resisted to slow it down a little more” “When you look on social media, you always see the best athletes…. It’s always great to see what people are doing online but they are always putting the most talented athlete; people are afraid to show the least talented” “When players reach where I am trying to get them to (from a linear speed perspective) then I will sprinkle in robust running methods… I find people will skip that initial step and go right into (robust running)” “I think you can get a lot of game speed in your technical/tactical drills” “In defense we are trying to take away space from the competition, in attack, we are trying to create space… you know these guys, you know they are not quick, but they always seem to have time on the field” “We need to have these drills that are executed at game speed, or above” “When you are working in a short space, that is going to put more stress on the calf, groin and glute area.  When you work in a more open space, that is going to put more stress on the hamstrings, and it’s often more aerobic”
Jul 08, 2021
Gary Ward on Spiraling Foot Mechanics for Optimized Gait, Achilles Tendonitis Prevention, and Improved Athleticism
Today’s show is with biomechanist Gary Ward.  Gary is the author of “What the Foot” and founder of “Anatomy in Motion” (as well as the “Wake Your Feet Up” and “Wake Your Body Up” courses).   Gary is known for solving unsolvable pain in minutes, not months, and his passion for the foot hugely influenced his interpretation of human movement. Gary’s foot wedges and training system have had a massive impact on my approach to training athletes in a single leg setting, and between Gary’s influence, and that of running coach Helen Hall (a student of Gary’s), my approach to gait, running and the foot is forever changed for the better.  Gary has been a previous 2x guest on this podcast, speaking on the topics of human movement principles, pronation, “duck feet” and much more. In my ever-running interest in the foot and lower leg, and its role in human movement, I have been very interested in the role of the rear-foot in the past few years.  Initially, I found that I was able to rid myself of plaguing Achilles tendon issues by mobilizing my calcaneus bone, which tuned me into the importance of looking beyond “foot stiffness” as a cover-all in lower leg performance.  From there, I’ve become increasingly more interested in the role of the rearfoot in not only injury prevention, but also athletic performance situations. On the show today, Gary Ward is back to take us on a deep dive into concepts of forefoot-rearfoot opposition and the role of the heel bone in pronation, supination and gait mechanics.  He’ll go into how a well-functioning rear-foot plays into the gait cycle, and how this also works with the ability to get into the ball of the foot well in athletic movements.  Gary will give some practical examples on how to check one’s rearfoot function, and we conclude the show getting into some nuts and bolts of squatting mechanics in light of 3D human movement. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:37 – A recap on foot opposition, and how the twisting and spiraling of the foot works into human movement 22:03 – Gary’s take on how rearfoot mobility and foot opposition plays into the ability to get to the ball of the foot well in athletic movement 37:39 – How pronation and supination changes as ground speeds increase from walking to sprinting 49:10 – How to check for limited range in the rear foot, and how to get the rearfoot moving 58:52 – How the body will compensate upstream if it is getting too much or too little movement in the foot 1:04:12 – How arch height in barbell squatting impacts the athletic result of a barbell lift, and if the arches should flatten in a barbell squat 1:10.09 – Squatting and effortlessness in human movement “The rearfoot is the calcaneus and the talus” “When the calcaneus moves down, the navicular moves up” “If there was a midfoot bone, I would say the cuboid is a midfoot bone… out of the 26 bones, we’ve got one midfoot bone.  Otherwise, what we are really looking at is the forefoot opposing the rearfoot, and it does it in all three planes” “The lowering of the arch is an opening of the joints at the base of the foot” “If you roll pressure towards the inside edge of the foot, then you will initiate an eversion in your rear foot, but if I take the 5th metatarsal head off the ground, then what you lose is the opposition” “There’s only one way to get the shin forward, and keep the heel on the ground for too long, and that’s to maintain a pronated foot position” “If your foot does not pronate at the time it is supposed to, then the body will continue to pronate the foot until it reaches the amount of pronation it needs” “You do need to get that (calcaneus) eversion to get into that toe rocker of the push-off phase”
Jul 01, 2021
Scott Robinson on The Power of Intention, Reward-Systems, and Celebration as a Neurological Driver in Athletics
Today’s show is with Scott Robinson, neurology expert, consultant and personal trainer.  Scott is an Applied Movement Neurology Master practitioner and has worked successfully with all levels of neurological complexity in his time training and coaching a wide variety of clients.  Scott is a specialist in dealing with a variety of neurological issues, such as weakness, pain, range of motion and trauma to the emotional systems, amongst many others.  Scott is a former Taekwondo athlete and has more than 20 years of experience in Applied Movement Neurology. Scott previously appeared on episode #188 of the podcast, and on the last show, talked about inhibitory factors of the nervous system, the importance of belief systems on training, fascia and foam rolling, and also how to optimize novel motor response in a training session. The role of the brain and nervous system in an athlete’s performance is of absolute importance in the role of training and competition.  We must regularly draw neurological links between the two, instead of living in the isolated environment of the exercises or drills we are teaching or coaching.  By understanding more about what makes elite athletes tick from a body-mind perspective, we can really dial in on how to optimally set up each and every training session and competition preparation. In this podcast, Scott gets into ideas on a “neurological checklist” in the midst of training or competition for athlete to utilize.  He also talks about dopamine and reward in athletic training and performance, “celebration” as a neurological learning tactic, the importance of intention setting in coaching and athletics, and much more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:30 – How to get further into the “present moment” in training or competition, and how to go through a mental checklist to get in the ideal mental zone 15:30 – How celebrating one’s performance can draw the brain’s attention to desirable outputs 32:30 – How to build up dopamine and reward responses in athletes, via celebration or intermittent rewards for athletes 44:00 – How to set intentions as a coach (or athlete) to help maximize one’s effectiveness and gain new insight on a situation 1:01:50 – How celebration of performance is a characteristic of an elite athlete, and how to practically put celebration into day to day training “If you are trying to learn a new skill, the first thing the brain will do is search its’ memory-bank and look for relevant data… when it finds some relevant data and it believes it can put together a movement from memory and experience, that may not be what you are looking for” “When I changed the focus and got the brain to acknowledge the errors and correct, there was a very different result, and to me, that is your present moment awareness” “The brain hates an open loop, it hates loops that are unclosed” “What you are doing (when you celebrate) is draw the brain’s attention to a desirable output” “You can celebrate with a fist pump, but you want to make it novel, you need to create attention” “Attention, urgency and alertness are the 3 keys for neuroplastic change…. Add emotion to things and it’s like a fuel source, it supercharges the moment” “You don’t “build” strength, your nervous system grants you strength” “If you have access to 100% of the nervous system, then you can see maximal strength” “The brain also receives dopamine for a “near-win”… gamblers brains can’t tell the different between a win and a near-miss” “You can withhold the celebration, you can withhold the reward, and then the brain will look to solve that problem by giving more, by increasing the output even further” “If you are actually prepared to play with some of these (withh...
Jun 24, 2021
Keir Wenham-Flatt and Nick DiMarco on Power Training Auto-Regulation, Need-Based Training “Buckets”, and Specific Conditioning Dynamics
Today’s show is with sports performance coaches Nick DiMarco and Keir Wenham-Flatt.  Nick DiMarco is the director of sports performance at Elon University.  He is a leader in the NCAA University coaching system in the realms of high performance ideology.  As a former professional athlete (NY Jets and Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker in 2014), Nick is well versed in the intuitive aspects of what it takes to be a high achieving athlete. Keir Wenham-Flatt is a strength and conditioning coach and educator.  He has a background in American football and experience within professional rugby for nearly a decade in five different countries: the U.K., Australia, China, Japan, and Argentina. Keir is the founder of the Strength Coach Network and Rugby Strength Coach, and has been a prominent figure in coaching education.  Both coaches have been prior guests on the podcast, speaking on topics ranging from perception-reaction and training transfer, to mental resiliency. The art of preparing athletes in team sport goes far beyond strength development, and even linear speed.  Knowing which elements of physical preparation are the “lowest hanging fruit” for each athlete, and how to appropriately progress them through their careers is a trademark of an experienced and thoughtful coach.  Many athletes in college football will barely improve in speed versus their high school abilities, especially after their first year of college strength training. On the show today, Nick and Keir will get into the finer points of off-season and pre-season training for American football, and how to place players in training priority groups based on need, such as strength, speed, or body mass-composition factors.  They also speak on how to utilize auto-regulation to make the process of maintaining (or improving) performance factors as quickly as humanly possible.  Finally, topics of specific conditioning means and methods to meet the demands of the game are discussed in depth, and particularly in how collision sports differ from contact sports in this regard. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:15 – Off-season and pre-season training emphasis in American football physical preparation 16:36 – Nick’s different programs and “buckets” for various needs of his NCAA football athletes 22:11 – How to auto-regulate strength, power and speed markers once an athlete already has the pre-requisite levels of maximal strength for their sport 38:58 – Thoughts on the demands of long-drives and the extreme ends of game speed-endurance and its impacts on how coaches should go about a conditioning program 48:24 – Keir and Nick talking about the “Robustness Bucket” in working with athlete populations 56:10 – How Keir and Nick steer training into reactive game-speed oriented tasks as the pre-season nears “Why do they break in camp? It’s not from a lack of exposure to heavy weight-training” Wenham-Flatt “Ask yourself, “What do you get most tired doing, what do you do most often, what is tied most to the outcome of the game?” that is the stuff that you need to be a master of, and robust to, in context of your position” Wenham-Flatt “With regard to the developmental stuff, where-ever possible, the answer would be auto-regulation; if you are auto-regulating every set in a target ability, you are hitting the maximum productive value of that session” Wenham-Flatt “There are anthropometric barriers to entry you must clear as you if you want to thrive in your position, and they go up, as the levels go up” Wenham-Flatt “1RM barbell strength is going to transfer to explosive movement to a point, and it’s lower than people think” Wenham-Flatt “I think one of the reasons most athletes make a lot of progress early on,
Jun 17, 2021
Jeremiah Flood on The Speed of Body and Mind in Athletic Development and Performance
Today’s show is with sports performance coach, Jeremiah Flood.  Jeremiah is the owner of Flood Sports, a sports training company in Southern California whose mission is to facilitate the development of mindful and adaptable athletes.  Jeremiah is a former NCAA D1 defensive back at FIU where he earned his B.S. and M.S. in Exercise Science. After becoming a CSCS and working with Women's Volleyball and Soccer at his Alma Mater, He found the sport of Rugby, spent some time in USA rugby academy and garnered a professional contract.  Jeremiah looks to enhance the soft skills, such as decision-making and confidence in training the speed of both the mind and body in training. Strength is a relatively easy quality to develop in athletes, while speed on the other hand, is a more complex, but in many ways, more rewarding venture.  In the realm of athletics, “speed” is multi-factorial, and just because an athlete is fast over 20,60, or 200 meters, does not mean that they will be equally as fast in the speed of a game.  Game-speed involves complex decision making processes, mixed in with emotional management and confidence under a variety of stressful conditions.  To be skilled in facilitating means to improve game speed requires a holistic and dedicated approach. On the show today, Jeremiah takes us through his unique approach to building the speed of the mind and body.  On the physical level, we talk about his approach to testing and training linear outputs, such as sprinting and jumping.  On the mental level we get into the facilitating of the development of self-awareness, confidence and specific reactivity in athletes as it pertains to sport, and how speed and power can be blended with mental elements.  Finally, Jeremiah gives us some great “nuts and bolts” talk on how a daily training session unfolds under his process. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:55 – How Jeremiah pivoted his training as a result of the covid-19 pandemic 7:30 – Training athletes when there’s no official tournaments or competition 10:08 – How to play “Gatorball” & why it’s a great game for young athletes to play 15:05 – Why blend cognitive development with physical development? & Jeremiah’s experience evolving as a college athlete 17:52 – How Jeremiah gives feedback to athletes on self-talk, self-reflection, and having a routine 22:32 – Jeremiah’s thoughts on working with an athlete who doesn’t seem motivated to formally “train” or do particular exercises or drills 27:17 – How often is pure speed the limiting factor for athletes to reach their goals? 33:06 – Basic “game speed” principles and practices 37:25 – The duties of a strength coach for high school and middle school athletes 40:48 – Jeremiah’s approach to testing athletes’ performance 49:44 – Toughness & the significance of doing things you don’t want to do 57:05 – Neural-perplexity: Challenging an athlete’s cognitive load and speeding up the brain’s reactivity 1:02:42 – What does an average training session look like for Jeremiah and his athletes “If I could go back in time, I would loved to have had a physical preparation coach who not only could’ve helped me in my physical abilities, as I loved, but also to tie that in with the mental and emotional, perceptive and reactive, all those elements that, holistically speaking, can help us maximize our outputs in the games we play.” “When I was transitioning from college football to rugby, it’s obviously a huge difference in skillsets, perception, action as far as catching, keeping your eyes ahead of you and passing… it really forced me to build that ability to scan the field. I didn’t have that when I first tried to play rugby and I thought I could just use my speed and physicality,...
Jun 10, 2021
Adarian Barr on “Collision Management” in Jumping, Landing, Throwing, and Sprinting
Today’s show is with sport movement expert Adarian Barr.  Adarian has been a many-time guest on this podcast, and has been my primary mentor in the world of sport movement and biomechanics.  Adarian has many years of coaching experience on the college, high school, club and private level of track and field, as well as in private sports training and movement analysis. There is a lot of talk in sports performance circles about “absorbing force”, as well as being able to “decelerate” in order to “accelerate”.  Although it is certainly helpful to speak outside of concentric/pushing muscle actions only in athletics, a key point is that sport movement is much more than simply accelerating and decelerating things.  Moving outwards to another layer of awareness, sport is much more about re-directing momentum than it is abruptly stopping and starting it.  Many top experts in speed training now are putting much less emphasis on deceleration, and more on change of direction. Change of direction concepts can be taken into much more than just running, however, but can be looked at in jumping, throwing, and pretty much any sport skill an athlete will undertake.  When we look at the dynamic work we are doing in training from a “collision” perspective, it helps us to appreciate athletic movement, and movement transfer to a higher degree. On today’s show, Adarian Barr talks details on setting up and managing collisions in sport movements, as well as lots of plyometric considerations.  We finish off the show with a brief chat on how this applies distinctly to the foot and sprinting from a timing and lever-based perspective. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:13 Adarian’s take on training landings and a criticism of “snap down” exercises to train landings 14:44 Why it takes guts to hit a big collision in sport, and Adarian’s top collisions for athletic performance ability 21:35 Discussing the “ultimate” collision in sport, the javelin-throw final step 31:13 Considerations on setting up, and managing collisions in sport 34:30 Thoughts on using small boxes to manipulate jump takeoffs in track and field 40:25 Low rim dunks in basketball, in respect to collision management 44:55 Adarian’s thoughts on if “landing training” is a good idea for athletes 46:25 What plyometrics actually transfer well to setting up and managing collisions 53:40 Squatting and folding up in context of plyometrics and sprinting 1:01:13 How we can get to the ball of the foot at an optimal rate in sport movement “There is something people don’t understand about collisions; the impact force at the feet is not the same as what is being transferred to the rest of the body” “I’m not trying to absorb (the collision) I’m trying to manage (the collision)…. We are not taught to manage the collisions, we are taught to absorb.  If you are practicing to absorb collisions, you had better be strong” “There’s very little times where you are going to come to an abrupt halt in a landing (like a snap-down)” “When I chew my food, I do a plyometric” “If you want to build up that (collision management ability) teach everyone to triple jump” “What do athletes do better than anybody else, they manage collisions better than anybody else, because they don’t have fear” “As soon as you have fear in the equation, all of a sudden, you can’t manage the collision and you have problems” “People miss, more than anything, is how you set up the collision; and snap downs don’t teach you to set up the collision” “Two things to know: 1. How do I set up the collision, and 2. How do I manage the collision” “When the (cricket bowler) takes that big leap (4 steps out from the plant), that’s where it all starts”
Jun 03, 2021
Sam Wuest on Fascial Dynamics, Martial Arts, and Posture in Elastic Athletic Performance
Today’s show is with Sam Wuest.  Sam is the head coach and manager of Intention Athletic Club based out of South Florida.  A licensed acupuncturist and former collegiate track & field coach specializing in the jumping events, Sam owes much of his unique perspective to apprenticeships with Ukrainian Olympic Hurdle Coach Olex Ponomarenko and several master acupuncturists as well as his continued education within Daoist Gate’s martial arts and meditation programs. Sam has been a writer of some of the most popular articles on Just Fly Sports, on the importance of rotation in sprinting, jumping and sport jumping movements, such as dunking a basketball.  Sam is a holistic, outside the box thinker who has been able to blend several unique worlds of thought into his own process of training integrated athleticism. So much of our modern thought on sports performance comes from “Western thought”, which focuses largely on forces, muscles, and things that can be easily quantified in training.  You’ll often hear things like “producing the most force in the least time” or “maximal stiffness” as common pursuits in athlete training.  It’s not that these ideas aren’t important, but what we don’t consider is the other “side” of training that involves things that are harder to quantify, such as timing, fluidity, connectedness of the body and mental-emotional factors. On today’s show, Sam gets into the fine points of posture and expanding joint positions, what it means to train an athlete from a “fascial” perspective, and how his influences from the martial arts have made a major impact on how he goes about training athletes.  He also closes with a bit on how to balance a training program from a philosophical perspective of “yin and yang”. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:42 - What can martial arts teach us about movement quality? 10:39 - Why we talk about fascia & What “fascia” means from a performance perspective 13:55 - Why focus on postural cues in athletes? 17:34 - The role of contractile elements in the body & The importance of timing in jumping 21:21 - Posture, the long spine, & The Alexander Technique in relation to athletic performance 31:53 - Fascial stretching & coming back from an injury 38:03 - Engaging the anterior of the body & Internal vs. External cueing 42:04 - Martial arts drills, mobility exercises, and mindfulness techniques Sam uses to expand the long spine and the tensegrity system 58:29 - The yin and yang of a training cycle: What a week of training for Sam’s athletes looks like 1:10:02 - Why you should finish your day with a parasympathetic cool-down “All these different movement styles, martial art styles… especially the ones that say they’re internal, you’ll see that they’ll use the body in a different way because they’re not trying to use them in the same way as an external martial art… because you’re using different sections of your body in a particular way and you might be mobilizing different things that I think, in strength and conditioning, we don’t often assume can or should move.” “When we talk about the fascia, it’s adjusting one area of the body to check the tissue length in the other area of the body. So when we talk about tendon strength versus maybe muscle strength, we’re talking about adjusting big muscle strength in the gym, usually if you see a body builder… their biceps are not big all the way through the upper arm.... Whereas someone who has more of a tendon or even elastic structure… you’ll often see that the muscle is almost more spread out because the tendons and the connective tissue at the joint level has also developed.” “A lot of the little postural adjustments are to adjust the tensegrity...
May 27, 2021
Johan Lahti on Holistic Assessment and Programming for Hamstring Injury Prevention
Today’s show is with athletic performance coach and hamstring injury research specialist, Johan Lahti.  Johan is an S&C coach (CSCS) at R5 Athletics & Health in Helsinki, Finland. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. on a multifactorial approach for hamstring injury risk reduction in professional soccer under the supervision of Professor JB Morin and Dr. Pascal Edouard via the University of Cote d’Azur.  Johan is a practitioner who truly has a hand in both the worlds of the art and the science of athletic development. Hamstring strains are not only one of the most common muscular injuries in sport, but also will be more likely to happen once an athlete has had this issue in the past.  The human body is a complex organism, and as easy as it can be to pin the cause of an injury to one source, we most always take a broad and holistic approach to these issues.  Johan recently did a fantastic explanation of his hamstring injury prevention methods for a Simplifaster interview, where multiple causes and solutions to hamstring problems were addressed, such as running technique vs. hamstring strength training, mobility and hamstring risk, pelvic tilt and more. In today’s podcast Johan and I chat about an athlete’s strength vs. their raw technique when it comes to lifting, and what resistance training exercises have the greatest impact on the hamstrings from a prevention standpoint.  We talk about running technique and hamstring injury, mobility and flexibility, and proprioception, and cognitive demand, all related to hamstring injury risk prevention. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:31 - What inspired Johan to research hamstrings & His greatest mentors 8:05 - Strength vs. Running technique in hamstring injury prevention 12:43 - Factoring in ultra-specific hamstring training, like Nordic exercises 17:57 - Efficiency in hamstring research and technique 19:59 - Running mechanics: Correlations between on-field running techniques and hamstring injury 23:25 - Factoring in sports that require holding something in your hands while running, like a field hockey stick 24:55 - Stretching and strength training in hamstring injury prevention and mobility/range of motion 32:07 - If you just do max velocity sprint work, will your hamstrings organically get better at end range? 36:48 - Fascicle testing & Sprinting vs. Isolated exercises 42:48 - The best protocol for preventing hamstring injury and keeping hamstrings healthy 44:43 - Lumbopelvic movement measurements & Sprint mechanics 50:41 - Starting at a young age: Building better postures and movement in sprint techniques 53:12 - Thoughts on posterior chain training “Looking at the hamstrings particularly, it is amazing, not only the sagittal plane or the front to back, but also the rotational component of this muscle group and how it works to help us perform as athletes is absolutely amazing.” “Let’s say if you’re doing a squat, a force plate can read a specific Newton output but they can produce that force by different strategies so… the end result is the same in terms of Newtons, but are they technically producing strength for different tasks even though it’s defined as a squat? So that is really interesting and I think that should be discussed more. That’s why I don’t like to separate strength and technique… but evidently it needs to be done in terms of research.” “It’s difficult to answer that question of ‘what is the optimal exercise?’ I think if you’re ticking those boxes, then you could argue that some exercises are doing enough if you have other exercises ticking the rest of the boxes.” “There’s so much money going into hamstring research, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone picked [time efficiency] up as a res...
May 20, 2021
James Wild on The Art and Science of Sprint Profiling and Specific Strength Thresholds
Today’s show is with James Wild.  James is a coach, an applied researcher and a performance consultant.  Currently, James leads the speed program for Harlequins rugby men’s team and is Head of Performance for England Women’s Lacrosse.  He also leads modules in skill acquisition and strength & conditioning at the University of Surrey.  James is in the final stages of completing a PhD in the biomechanics and motor control of team sport athletes during sprint acceleration and is the author of “Strength Training for Speed”. When it comes to speed, it’s always helpful to look at things from both the perspective of the coaching eye and applied biomechanics, and then on the other end, from more raw perspectives of strength and data points.  When we look at both the qualitative and the quantitative, we can get a fuller total picture of what it takes to maximize an athlete’s speed potential in a manner that sticks over time and gets results.  James is not only great with sprinting data points, but he has also been in the trenches coaching athletes for 20 years with many high level athletes, and his combination of the data, as well as in the art of coaching offers valuable insight for any coach. On the show today, James and I talk about his process of building an acceleration profile for athletes, rate vs. stride-length dominance, foot vs. hip dominant strategies in sprinting, resisted sprinting, minimal explosive strength standards for sprint performance, and more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:38 - James’ main objective with his PhD work 6:30 - The results of James’ sprint acceleration polls on social media 9:53 - The effects of acute, verbal interventions on sprinting improvement 13:34 - How to analyze and experiment with athletes’ sprinting using continuums 17:45 - How to allow athletes to experience continuums 23:47 - Running with low knees vs. high knees & Variability in performance 27:11 - The importance of incorporating experiential nature into training 29:05 - Key markers and components of acceleration profiles & Cluster analysis 34:58 - 4 main strategies for sprinting & Exploring athletes’ reliance 39:36 - The quickest way James has facilitated change in sprint acceleration performance 44:46 - The role of technical changes vs. improving strength qualities 51:51 - 3 strength measures & Single leg jump in place test 55:56 - Analyzing hip and foot-dominance in athletes 1:00:12 - How does DRF help project horizontal force or convert force to a horizontal acceleration? & Using a sled to train “It’s certainly not been my experience that there is this one size fits all, classical model [of sprinting] that we can shoehorn everyone into and that they will run faster as a result.” “One of the things I do will be to longitudinally track their spatial/temporal variables and try and look at essentially what it is that they’re doing when they’re running their fastest. So, it’s this concept of finding out the athlete’s reliance.” “If I’m working with an athlete for the first time or the first few sessions… whilst I’m collecting that data, I want them to experience what it feels like to move along that continuum of greater step length or greater step rate so that by the time I’ve finished some kind of analysis and have an understanding of where their reliance is at… they’ve got prior experience now with adjusting according to that continuum, so it just makes coaching a lot easier.” “They’re never gonna sprint the same way twice in a game, really, so they need to be able to adapt to those novel situations… they’re never going to produce exactly the same step… there’s going to be variability in everything they do,
May 13, 2021
253: Joel Smith Q&A on Organic Speed Training, Olympic Weightlifting, Isometrics and More
Today’s show is a Q&A with Joel Smith, answering your questions on training and human performance.  It’s great to see what’s on everyone’s minds from a training perspective, as well as be able to synthesize thoughts on each question. On the Q&A today, we have a wide range of questions, but the focal points are things like speed training for athletes new to training, coaching speed in a manner that doesn’t cause negative compensations, isometric training, weightlifting, and even swimming. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Podcast Questions/Topics What is a simple way to recover from an ACL and meniscus injury and surgery? Programming/training strategies for more strength and muscle driven athletes when limited access to weights? Still worth transitioning to more elastic training style even if they thrive with more longer GCT and joint angle strategies? Which is more spiritually demanding: 5 minute lunge or 3 minute scap hang? Your favorite workouts for speed development (mainly for athletes new to track) What’s the purpose of eccentric loading for speed and jumps? How do you like to teach hip extension? Thoughts on hang power snatches? Best cues or general approach to single leg jumping off the non-dominant foot. Vestibular training assessment, your take, valuable resources for that etc. Can we do extreme isometric lunges every day? What’s the best way to get athletes to always train with intent? What are some things you’ve found that can help your athletes give more. In terms of their efforts and intent during a workout to get the most out of every session. The balance of hypertrophy and RFD in throwing and swinging sports. In a conversation on pronation, Gary Ward mentioned he would not advise powerlifters to pronate under load, but he would for anyone else. If running and jumping causes more force than weight does most of the time, why would he recommend it for that but not for lifting? Specific foot exercises for high arches? Suggested protocol for rehabbing Achilles tendinopathy? Gary ward’s wedges, suspension drop. How to incorporate rhythm in training? How do you structure a warm-up for elastic/max-speed sprinting? Games into drills into progressive efforts? As a coach, what are you looking at in real time when an athlete is performing, say acceleration? What is the mental process in your head to make your job easier? Optimal level of stiffness and compliance in athletes. Assessments and training. Is coaching dorsiflexion a double edged sword? Does cueing it too persistently result in athletes losing that nice shin angle too early during drive phase? Some drills for jumping technique? Weight room training, plyos, etc as it pertains to high school mid distance- XC. Also, good resources. Coupling load - plyo exercises for post activation potentiation. Do you differentiate between swimming techniques the amount of heavy strength training that they do? Elastic Vs muscular athletes (a backstroker vs a breastroker for example). I found that normally, simultaneous technique athletes are more muscle driven, comparing to the others. I would like to know your thoughts on that and the effects that too much heavy barbell has on the rhythmic component of the swimming technique. About Joel Smith Joel Smith is the founder of Just Fly Sports and trains athletes and clients in partnership with Evolutionary Fitness in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Joel hosts the Just Fly Performance Podcast, has authored several books on athletic performance, and trains numerous clients in the in-person and online space.  Joel was formerly a strength coach for 8 years at UC Berkeley, working with the Swim teams and post-graduate professional swimmers, as well as tennis, water polo,
May 06, 2021
Andrew Cormier and Joel Reinhardt on Reducing Noise and Building a Speed-Based Training Culture in Team Sport Preparation
Today’s show brings on coaches Andrew Cormier and Joel Reinhardt.  Andrew Cormier is a sports performance coach at the University of Massachusetts, working with the men’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, and softball programs.  Joel Reinhardt is the Assistant Director of Sports Performance at the University of Massachusetts, working with football and women’s lacrosse.  Together, Andrew and Joel run the sprint-jump-throw.com website, as well as the Sprint Jump Throw Performance Podcast. Speed training, on the surface is a very simple venture.  High quality sprinting efforts in a fresh state is key to getting faster.  For track and field this is quite simple, but for team sports, this becomes more difficult, since it’s harder to control fatigue, as well as address the many facets of speed displayed in the course of a game, compared to a simple linear sprint race. Andrew and Joel are two young coaches with a view on speed training for sport that blends “Feed the Cats” ideologies, into their progressive system that seeks to eliminate the noise from an athlete’s regimen.  On the show today, Andrew and Joel talk about a speed-based model that they utilize in their team sport preparation, running technique and options in the course of game play, and their model of cueing and instructing athletes. Andrew and Joel have taken on an approach to “rank-record-publish” in speed-based training that gives athletes unique motivation in regards to improving this critical component of athleticism.  Throughout the podcast, we also chat about the role of visual field, perception and body language in the development of game speed, as well as diversity in running “options” that high level athletes display.  We finish this chat with Andrew and Joel’s take on the utilization of tempo in resistance training, and how much we really need to rely on the weight room for power if speed-based ranking systems are being utilized outside of it. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:05 Andrew and Joel’s history in working together as coaches and how their podcast came together 11:05 How Andrew and Joel are building a “feed the cats” model of speed development in the context of team sports 18:35 How to replace linear-extensive tempo and long runs with more coordination driven, locomotion-complex style running for field sport athletes 27:50 What KPI’s Andrew and Joel are looking to boost throughout the year in regards to team sport physical needs, and how maximal sprints are ranked-recorded-published 39:35 How to work with athletes who are regularly in the last places in speed-based measurements 42:20 How Andrew and Joel consider change of direction ability in their training regime 57:55 Approaching running technique in light of the needs of team sports and the various types of running that may be present in team sports 1:09.20 Ideas on approaching bar tempo in a weightroom setting “It’s prioritizing the high speed components of the game, and then filling in the cracks elsewhere” Reinhardt “If we are trying to build some sort of physical stimulus, we always go back to “how can we build this playing lacrosse” Reinhardt “Instead of (traditional tempo or a long boring run for soccer players) now we are throwing a bunch of different movements at them (such as gallops)” Cormier “In season we only supplement fly 10’s (for field sport athletes)” Reinhardt We track (fly 10’s) as soon as we are done tracking it, I rank them, send it in the group message, put it top to bottom, color code it, green to red, mark PR’s on there, and they get all excited about it… the slight shift in language even within the team, instead of girls asking “how can I get in better shape” they ask, “how can I get faster” Reinhardt
Apr 29, 2021
Ryan Banta and Derek Hansen on The Value of Tempo Sprint Training for Speed Development and Team Sport Preparation
Today’s show brings on Ryan Banta and Derek Hansen. Ryan Banta is a coach with more than 19 years of experience and the author of the Sprinter’s Compendium. At the high school level, Ryan has numerous state champions and finalists, and he is a frequent contributor to many top platforms in athletic performance. Derek Hansen is an International Sport Performance Consultant that has been working with athletes all ages and abilities in speed, strength and power sports since 1988.  After a long career as a university strength coach, as well as track and field coach, Derek now serves as a performance consultant to numerous professional teams in the NFL, NBA, MLS and NHL, as well as major NCAA Division 1 programs throughout North America. Both Ryan and Derek were very early guests on this podcast, and I’m happy to have them back to discuss a subject that I think has a lot of far reaching implications into one’s total performance program, which is “tempo training”.  Tempo is an age old method of sprint training, and generally refers to repeated, submaximal sprint efforts, such as 8x200m, or 5x300m, on relatively short rests, with limited recovery.  For team sports, it could mean running a series of shorter, but more numerous sprints, on incomplete rest intervals. Pendulums swing in all fields, and the sports performance field is no exception.  As with many tools, tempo has been abused by track and team sport coaches alike to the point where athletes do not make beneficial adaptations in power or maximal speed, so a reversal (such as what we see in systems such as Tony Holler’s) was well warranted.  It’s always important view training constructs from all sides, and talking with these two wise coaches is important to gain a greater understanding of this element of training, and its proper use.  Derek and Ryan get into the usefulness of tempo running for both physiological and technical adaptations, and then get into appropriate training prescriptions for track and team sport alike. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 7:42 – A Question: “If you were running a sprint program for building absolute speed, would you pick strength training or tempo running outside of your short sprint practice?” 10:25 – The benefits and misconceptions of submaximal (60-70%) effort running 18:03 – Experimenting with volume and intensity in tempo running 24:12 – Building structure and capacity through circuits vs. submaximal running & Safe training for injured athletes 31:30 – Flooring/surface dependence for tempo running and circuits 33:47 – The significance of the type of athlete in volume in tempo running 40:51 – Implementing tempo running into team sport training 46:28 – Why coaches and trainers have moved away from tempo training in their sport preparation 50:23 – The role of specificity in tempo training 52:49 – Speed development in tennis preparation and the role of tempo sprint training 54:46 – How Derek prescribes tempo volumes in track and team sports 1:00:55 – Incorporating muscle dominance and intervals in tempo running & Making it relatable to the athlete 1:08:10 – Final advice on tempo running Quotes “Basically [tempo running] is just running with incomplete recoveries at a submaximal pace and, as we all know, this method is very frequently abused by a lot of coaches.” “Working at different velocities obviously gives you some flexibility around the effect you’re going to have in terms of energy systems and building foundations around the athlete.” “A tempo run with short recovery allows for the body to use that hydrogen ions or lactate as a fuel. It allows the body to increase its ability to buffer the waste so that you’re not necessarily using that workout to get bett...
Apr 22, 2021
Eamonn Flanagan on Plyometric Progressions, Jump Testing and Moving the Right Needle in Training
Today’s show brings on Eamonn Flanagan.  Eamonn is the lead Strength & Conditioning Consultant with the Sport Ireland Institute where he manages the S&C support to Ireland's Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Amongst other areas of expertise, Eamonn is a leading coach in both the science and practice of jump training and plyometrics, has a PhD. in Sports Biomechanics and previously worked in professional rugby over a decade. Plyometrics and jump training is a common, and enjoyable training topic, one of the reasons being that leaping ability is generally a sign of superior athletic ability.  Jump training goes far beyond simply being able to dunk a basketball or reach the top-10 of a highlight series however; as it’s also a useful predictor of various athletic qualities, and if those qualities are actually being improved (often times, we see a lifting related quality improve without moving the needle on important jump related qualities).  The data-based approach to jump monitoring can come across as mundane, but Eamonn approaches it from a practical perspective that represents his coaching intuition, as well as that of his sport science abilities. On today’s show, Eamonn talks about what stiffness is, and isn’t in plyometrics, and what makes a good athlete from a plyometric and reactive perspective.  We talk about plyometric progressions, and some points of intent Eamonn looks for in plyometric activity that most coaches overlook.  Eamonn also talks about the fallacy that coaches can get into when jump testing, and how the test can no longer “be the test” when you use it too often.  He also covers what “stiffness” really is in plyometrics, single vs. double leg metrics in jump testing, and how to optimally manage jump testing history in uncovering puzzles of injury. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 05:55 – What drew Eamonn to jump testing and plyometrics in sports science? 08:50 – How Eamonn experimented and learned all aspects of plyometrics simultaneously 09:37 – What does the ideal athlete looks like from a plyometric perspective? 12:20 – How to go about training an athlete’s jump-based weaknesses and the idea of a “minimal reactive strength” 19:07 – Stiffness and reactive strength in the context of jump testing 28:12 – Determining what jump tests to use with certain athletic groups & what tests to use for an explosive short-burst acceleration athlete 40:55 – How often concentric jump testing could or should be done 44:47 – Eamonn’s four phases of plyometric for improving raw metrics & the role of finding relaxation in training 51:58 – One of the biggest mistakes strength coaches make in plyometric training 56:59 – Insights into single leg vs. double leg reactive strength testing & the importance of record-keeping in sports performance and training “When we’re talking about jump testing… I like to keep things pretty simple. So, while I might have access to tools like force plates, when I think about jump testing, I’m more thinking about incredibly simple metrics and I’m more thinking about a variety of different jumps rather than these incredibly in-depth metrics from a single jump.” “I think the beauty of looking at athletes’ plyometric ability is that, for me, there is no one way to do things, there is no ultimate because ultimately, what it’s about is performance. It’s about outcome… and there is an infinite number of ways to achieve that.” “In terms of addressing weaknesses… if you feel that there’s really some areas there where it’s not so much a weakness as a real deficiency, then I think you want to get after that.” “The device you use to measure, as well as the surface on which you perform the tests, can be quiet variable in terms of their impact on...
Apr 15, 2021
249: Angus Bradley on Best Squatting Practices, True Posterior Chain Training, and Managing the “Soccer Ball in Your Ribs”
Today’s show brings on Angus Bradley.  Angus is a strength coach and podcast host from Sydney, Australia.  He coaches out of Sydney CBD, and co-hosts the Hyperformance podcast with his brother, Oscar.  After focusing primarily on weightlifting for the first half of his career Angus finds himself spending as much time “outside of his lane” as possible trying to identify the principles that transcend all human movement.  Like many guests on this show, Angus has been well-educated in the compression/expansion training ideals proliferated by Bill Hartman that are pushing our industry forward.  Angus is frequently sharing next level knowledge from his social media platform and podcast, and he works with a diverse crowd from strongman to surfing and everything in between. I’ve always been trying to “figure out” weightlifting in context of athletic performance.  There are coaches with a lot of different opinions on which lifts athletes should do, and some elite sports performance professionals have athletes do little to even no traditional barbell work.  In my own journey, I found myself a much more powerful, but slightly less elastic athlete in my mid-20s after 12 years of loading my body through squats, Olympic lifts and the like.  On the flip-side, I’ve had athletes who I honestly believe would struggle to achieve their highest peak without some solid help from barbell work.  Rather than only assigning more, or less lifting to a particular athlete, I enjoy knowing the binding principles of barbell work and different body types. In my search for answers, Angus Bradley is a huge wealth of knowledge.  He is highly experienced in weightlifting methods and has a deep understanding of the principles of compression and expansion in a variety of exercises, and in determining strategies based on body type.  On the show today, Angus talks about squatting and hinging from ribcage and pelvic floor perspectives, the importance and impact of pressure management in how “strong” athletes are at various lifts, and how to train and manage various body types in light of preventing un-wanted compensations and shape changes in the body.  This is a podcast I wish I had listened to myself, 15 years ago. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:30 Breaking existing paradigms in the performance training industry, and how Angus thinks of the “necessary patterns” of squat, hinge, push, pull for training athletes 12:45 How a squat differs from a hinge from a pelvic floor pressure management perspective 17:00 A re-hash of “expanded” vs. “compressed” types of athletes, as well as a chat on compressive strategies in the big lifts 28:15 The compressive strategies by which athletes actually lift increasing weights in training vs. an increased activation of relative motor units and other factors that tie more readily into athletic performance 44:05 How to look at an athlete who wants to increase vertical jump in light of an athlete’s pressure management strategy 52:30 Some rules of thumb in navigating the day by day process of adding weight in strength training without piling on compressive compensations in athletes 59:15 The errors we have made in posterior chain training, and how to address the posterior chain in context of compression and expansion strategies 1:05.45 How an athlete becomes “quad dominant” and how to work with that in light of pressure systems “The S&C world has always looked to powerlifting, and said, “well you are the squat guys, can you tell us how to squat?” “But there is a certain kind of quality that we are trying to capture when we prescribe a squat or a hinge…. it’s no longer about where the bar is on your body, but what is the muscular strategy at the thorax and the pelvis”
Apr 08, 2021
Jamie Smith on Beating “Over-Coaching” Through Natural Learning, Training Menus and Athlete Autonomy
Today’s show brings on Jamie Smith, founder of the “U of Strength”.  Jamie Smith has coached a variety of athletes from the novice to elite skill levels, including several NHL, NBA and MLS athletes.  He has been a prior guest on the podcast, as well as having done an extensive webinar for Just Fly Sports, speaking on perception-action topics and building robust athletes in a manner that transcends simply getting them “stronger”. As long as I’ve been in the sports performance profession, I’ve realized just how important it is to look at every way you can impact the performance of an athlete, on the levels of strength, speed, mentality, perception, decision-making, special-strength, and more.  Jamie is the epitome of a coach who is truly passionate about making athletes better at the sports they play through a comprehensive approach. In the modern day, a comprehensive approach is truly important, since we relate athlete response to that of a machine.  Athletes are so heavily coached, scheduled and instructed, that they rarely get the autonomy and creative license they need to reach their own optimal performance.  Coaches also tend to mis-place their actual role in the process of working with athletes, and don’t allow athletes enough ownership and say in the training process to the point where they will struggle in achieving their ideal training result, overcoming stressful competition situations, and even in life beyond sport. Last podcast, we went into the perception-action component of making a well-rounded athlete, and this episode we get info full-circle development by means of training variability, the use of nature and natural surfaces, menu systems and athlete autonomy, competition, long-term athletic development, and more.  Jamie takes the art of the coach as a guide seriously, and in the world of over-coached and robotic athletes, Jamie is a beacon of light for young athletes looking to reach high levels of not only performance, but also self-efficacy, confidence and life-preparedness. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 04:23 – The benefits of training in nature for young and older athletes 12:02 – The importance of conscious risk-taking in training 13:23 – Thinking about a child’s future in sport, and how training in nature will impact it 17:30 – Improving happiness in youth sports by incorporating fun and playfulness 24:11 – How to integrate nature into training athletes 28:37 – Thoughts on coaching as a dynamic partnership 33:51 – The role of observation in coaching and focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses + A big misconception of coaches 44:53 – What a training session looks like for Jamie’s athletes, and the art of using menu-systems 56:07 – Competition options in older athletes 57:45 – The role of athlete interest and collaboration in the results of a training program “At the beginning of every day, me and my assistant, I brief him and we go over what the objective is, what we need to improve on as coaches or as a whole, as a program, and one of the things we talk about is who can say the least amount of words.” “A lot of people, to wake up the feet, would roll with a sensory ball or spikey ball, shit we did isometrics, we did different gate patterns walking up and down, walking tall, walking in a tunnel… completely barefoot walking through the rocks.” “The big thing I tell athletes is: we want you to become comfortable in uncomfortable situations.” “[Barefoot training is] not great if you’re on a wood floor or a totally flat floor where there’s zero sensory information coming in. It’s really not a whole lot better than being in shoes, to be honest. You have to have these little sensations or irritations and you combine that with differe...
Apr 01, 2021
Dave O’Sullivan on A Foot-Bridge Masterclass for Better Hip Extension Power, Stronger Feet and Reduced Knee Pain
Today’s show brings on elite physiotherapist David O’Sullivan.  Dave has worked as sports physio with England Rugby Union in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and with England Rugby League in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in Australia.  Dave is the founder of the ProSport Academy and now teaches his step by step pro sport approach that he uses with his own sporting and non-sporting patients in private practice to therapists all over the world. Dave’s mission is to empower people to restore control through their body and minds so they can truly live.  He has been a mentor to some well-known coaches/therapists such as previous podcast guest, David Grey. Knee pain and lower limb injury prevention are important topics.  Nearly every coach (and clearly therapist) will deal with either preventing or treating these issues with their athletes.  I enjoy learning about how to prevent knee or Achilles tendon pain, but I truly enjoy these conversations when we can take these principles of performance and scale them up to modes that can be used in late rehab or full-scale performance training. In today’s talk with Dave O’Sullivan, we’ll go into the basic muscle firing patterns that set up the baseline for performance in any bridging activity.  Dave will get into the importance of the Soleus muscle as a lower-body lynchpin, and how to optimally coordinate this muscle, along with the hamstrings in a spectrum of bridging exercises with specific cues for the feet.  We’ll take this all the way to how Dave utilizes jump training methods and drivers, along with foot cueing, to help athletes achieve a seamless and confident return to play.  Whether you are a therapist, strength coach or track coach, this is an information packed and truly relevant episode. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:00 Discussing the systems that have influenced Dave the most in his career as a physiotherapist, and how he has synthesized them into his current system 12:20 Dave’s thoughts on the spectrum between basic rehab, and high performance return to play methods in the actions of the foot 22:40 How Dave wants the foot, and mid-foot to engage through various squatting actions, including the “split slouch” exercise 33:10 Mid-foot supine bridging drills as a regression for athletes who cannot tolerate proper load standing on the hamstring and soleus muscles 43:30 A discussion on cueing the mid-foot and how to cue the foot in rehab exercises, versus dynamic movements such as running or sprinting 50:30 Comparing low-hip position hip bridges with standard weighted hip thrust exercises, as well as the role of heel vs. mid-foot pushing in glute bridge work 1:01:30 How to know when to move athletes past supine bridges and slouches pushing through the mid-foot, and into more advanced work 1:08:45 Using “drivers” to help athletes with various jump landings in a return to play situation 1:17:00 When you actually do want to have athletes push through the big toe, versus when to leave it alone “When they go into the real world; the stress and movement, there is so much stimulus going into the nervous system, it’s so much different than being in the physio room doing 3 sets of 10 or a breathing exercise” “I just want to put load on these tissues, and let the system self-organize” “When that foot hits the floor, the soleus (muscle) is the king…. if you had to have one muscle for knee pain, that’s it…. the soleus takes between 6 and 8 times the bodyweight” “That’s an awareness to me that a lot of athletes have skipped, the mid-foot… athletes who stay on their heels or on their toes miss that mid-foot” “The interesting thing with the mid-foot and the soleus is that the soleus has to work with every other muscle in ...
Mar 25, 2021
246: Rafe Kelley on The Art of Rhythm, Fluidity and Timing in Athletic Performance Training
Today’s show brings back Rafe Kelley, owner of Evolve, Move, Play.  Rafe has experience with dozens of movement styles, playing many sports, including gymnastics, learning dance, exploring parkour and studying many forms of the martial arts and MMA styles. When it comes to human movement, and the story and history behind our movement, Rafe is my go-to expert.  Rafe’s students have ranged from world-class parkour athletes, to MMA fighters, to untrained grandmothers.  He has been a two time guest on this podcast, and offers knowledge from a source that is largely un-touched by mainstream strength and athletic development. On previous shows, I have talked with Rafe about our movement roots, structured vs. unstructured training, play based training, and emotional and cognitive links between play, performance and adaptation.  Episode #174 was one of the most transformative episodes I had done in terms of how it immediately impacted my work in my own group training sessions afterwards. On this show, I wanted to tap into more of Rafe’s knowledge of human movement in terms of his experience with martial arts, fighting and modern dance.  The sports performance industry talks about force a lot, but it is critical to look at the best athletes in the world on a level comparing to them with dancers, instead of powerlifters, to get a fuller understanding of the required timings and rhythms.  Today’s podcast is a wonderful experience in discussing the deeper movement qualities that really make elite athletes and how we can consider those qualities of rhythm and fluidity in our own training designs. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs.  For 15% off your Lost Empire Herbs order, head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:20 Discussing complexity in training, and how to get more work and effectiveness in a shorter period of time 13:49 Quantifying fatigue in basketball and parkour, and concepts on how risk increases session fatigue, and extreme depth landings in parkour 23:34 Philosophy on movement quality in the martial arts, parkour, and athletic movement in general, and questions on if Rafe takes time out of parkour itself to spend time on movement quality 35:53 Rhythmic qualities of movement in athletics, and how to improve athletic performance from a rhythmic perspective 55:16 Points on the use and relationship of dance and ethnic dance styles, to athletic performance 1:00:08 Animal forms and flow in training and human movement “The neurological fatigue associated with a parkour session is not simply associated with how many approach runs did you do, or how big were the jumps.  It was more associated with how much risk, or how threatened your nervous system was by the jumps that you were taking on” “One of the master-keys for re-covering the capacity of my lower limb was tibial rotation drills” “When you are working with a novice athlete, a lot of times the answer is just that they need to do the thing more.  But when that doesn’t fix it, you have to ask, “why isn’t self-organization working”.” “If I initiate a punch, I want that punch to land, and I want my hand to be hard, and my body to be hard as the punch lands, but any time is it hard before it lands, is slowing me down, and wasting my energy…. how sensitive is the foot when it is hitting the ground” “The timing of force production is massive; it’s the harmony of the body as its hitting the ground; the ability to find that moment.  You have do (purposefully) do things, to get (timing)” “I think of it, kind of like music.  Every set of movements or a solution to a problem is like a set of beats.  You can have an optimal set of beats, or you can have noisy extra beats that aren’t contributing to the harmony of the piece” “What (Josef) talked about the first time I talked to him was: “When an athlete has ...
Mar 18, 2021
245: Kyle Dobbs and David Grey on Mastering Rib Cage Dynamics for Powerful Running, Cutting, Mobility, and Total Human Performance
Today’s show brings back guests Kyle Dobbs and David Grey for an epic meeting of two biomechanical minds.  I’ve learned a lot from both Kyle and David on and off of this podcast.  Both David and Kyle’s prior episodes have been in our all-time top-listened shows, and I’m excited to get them together for a show. Kyle Dobbs is the owner and founder of Compound Performance which offers online training, facility consulting and a personal trainer mentorship.  He a leading expert in integrating complex movement principles into physical training methods for multiple human disciplines.   David Grey is a biomechanics specialist based in Waterford, Ireland.  He is the creator of the “Lower Body Basics” programs, and has learned under a number of great mentors in the world of movement, S&C, gymnastics, mobility, martial arts, and biomechanics. One element of human performance I’m always looking to become better versed in is breathing, posture, pressure dynamics and how these elements impact our movement and performance potential.  From lifting, to running, to changing direction explosively, how we “stack” and align our pressure centers and body structures makes a big impact on how well we can perform those skills and be free of injury. On today’s podcast, Kyle and David go in depth on rib cage dynamics, breathing and pressure management in context of crawling and running.  We’ll also touch on posture, training the frontal plane, and finish with some talk on the feet, plantar fasciitis, and thoughts on coaching preferential foot pressures in movement. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 6:05 How Kyle and David look to explain and sequence breathing work within the course of a session 15:05  Ways to observe groups in crawling and locomotion exercises, and how to observe links between those movements and rib cage and breath action 23:50 How Kyle and David address the reciprocal action of the ribs seen in locomotion in breathing and breath work 32:35 What you might see in a crawl or squat that shows that an athlete is compressed, as well as compensation patterns that lead to stiff lumbar spine actions 39:55 How a “ribs first” mentality is critical when it comes to posture and spinal alignment 45:55 Discussing the frontal plane in athletic movement and how muscular strategy switches to respiratory strategy as one moves from lifting to sprinting to distance running 55:25 Training the breath in various exercises outside of ground-based positions 1:06:25 Advice and ideas on dealing with plantar fasciitis in athletes, as well as dynamics of calcaneal motion and how it fits with the rest of the kinetic chain 1:15:25 Thoughts on preferential pressures on different portions of the foot for athletic movements “I will ask my clients to do a toe touch, squat, range of motion, and then we’ll try a positional breathing drill that makes sense in my mind, and if we re-test, it should be better… if it’s not better we are doing the wrong thing” Grey “Your body, from an autonomic position, is going to prioritize breathing over everything else” Dobbs “If you are already in an extended position, and posteriorly compressed in that position, then you don’t have any more extension to actually be able to leverage, so we talk about getting more of a neutral posture, more flexion so that you actually have a larger bandwidth to drive extension when needed” Dobbs “When you look at a 90/90 breathing position, you flip it over and put someone in a crawling position, and it’s basically a 90/90 with a reach up into the sky” Grey “If we can get the rib cage moving, and get people to feel their body and be aware of their body, the breathing can be the result of that sometimes” Grey
Mar 11, 2021
244: Cal Dietz on Advancing Contrast Training and 20m Dash Splits for Athletic Speed Optimization
Today’s show features Cal Dietz.  Cal has been the Head Olympic Strength and Conditioning coach for numerous sports at the University of Minnesota since 2000, has worked with hundreds of successful athletes and team, and is the co-author of the top-selling book “Triphasic Training”.  Cal has a multi-time guest on this show, most recently appearing in episode #168 (one of our most popular episodes of all time) on single leg training methods alongside Cameron Josse and Chad Dennis. Cal’s ideas on complex training (French contrast and potentiation clusters) have made a huge impact on the formulation of my own programs and methods.   French Contrast as a training ideology and method has probably been one of the most consistent elements of my training for many years now.  Cal is never one to sit still, and has recently made further advances in his complex training sets as they relate to our neurological and technical adaptations to these movements. On today’s show, Cal talks extensively about his new methods in complex training for improving sprint speed.  As Cal has talked about on previous episodes, even bilateral hurdle hops have the potential to “mess athletes up” neurologically, and so Cal goes in detail on how his complex training sets are now adjusted to address that.  Ultimately, Cal has formulated his gym training for the primary purpose of improving sprint speed and sprint mechanics.  We will also get into Cal’s take on block periodization, and how Cal uses 5,10 and 20 yard dash markers to help determine an athlete’s primary training emphasis for the next block of work. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 05:10 – Breaking a lot of eggs to make a cake: Training Cal and Joel has utilized in that past that may not have worked out so well for the athlete in the process of growing as a coach 12:52 – Cal’s experience with various methods of training + How he trained his son during covid-19 19:56 – Using running and speed to assess athletes, and creating the required adaptations 25:53 – What led Cal to utilizing block method training and block overloads 29:51 – Interpreting and discussing maximal velocity as a training lynchpin 31:45 – Using squats + Examples of “sprint-centric” exercise sets Cal uses 41:34 – What Cal’s working on: Optimizing exercises for your athletes as individuals + Exercises that are best for your brain 43:09 – Quad-dominant vs. Posterior chain dominant athlete assessments + Cal’s 5-10-20 tool 50:45 – The 5-10-20 tool simplified 54:00 – Exercises Cal would assign for Joel, as someone who needs isometric strength? + The best single leg exercise for building leg strength “Usually I had a download (de-load) week and then I’d change the exercise. Then, I started changing the exercises in the download week so the volume was low… that matched the following week so they didn’t get sore starting with the higher volume… I found that when I implemented a new exercise, that’s when they got sore.” “I trained an agonistic muscle with an antagonistic muscle… so what happened was, it didn’t cause a compensation pattern and it kept the global neurological sequence of the nervous system in the right pattern the whole time and it optimized it.” “Running is one of the greatest assessments of any athlete.” “I call it global neurological sequence, it’s just the order and sequence your body moves.” “Max velocity is an indicator of potential in the nervous system, let’s be honest.” “I would start my first set with my quad-dominant athletes at the rear posterior chain exercise and then cycle through everything, which is actually better, Joel, for my weight room functioning.” “I was able to create a tool off a 10-20-yard dash that told me what their weakest link was in training. So, it’s an indicator of what they need for the next two to four weeks in training...
Mar 04, 2021
243: Jeremy Frisch and Calin Butterfield on Advancing Complexity in Plyometrics, Jump Training Concepts, and Athletic Lessons from Downhill Racing Sports
Today’s show features Jeremy Frisch and Calin Butterfield.  Jeremy is the owner and director of Achieve Performance Training in Clinton, Mass, has been a multi-time guest on the show with all-things youth and creative training, game-play and long-term development.  Jeremy is not only a strength coach, but also has skin in the game as a youth sports coach, and provides an incredible holistic perspective on the entire umbrella of athletic development.  Calin Butterfield is the high performance manager at U.S. Ski & Snowboard.  He worked for EXOS for about 8 years as a Coach across all different spaces including Phoenix, Dallas, SF at Ft. Bragg, Adidas America, and the Mayo Clinic.  Calin and Jeremy are working together now on concepts related to long term development of ski and snowboard athletes. So often, we have our “standard plyometric battery” in performance training, but we cling to these fundamentals hard when we would be served well to be observing jump training and movement in a variety of mediums to create ideas for our plyometric progression.  Studying athletes in sports that demand fast reactions, impactful landings, high risk, and rewards for creativity have a lot to offer when it comes to looking at our own training designs for the athletes we serve. Together, Jeremy and Calin will talk about their collaboration together with skiing, the use and progression of games with young athletes up to college level, plyometric progressions and advancing complexity, and how the natural warmup process in ski and snowboard (terrain park) can give us ideas that we can port over into how we can prepare athletes for sport.  There is a lot of great information in this podcast that can be useful for sport coaches, strength coaches and skiiers alike. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 05:25 – The background of Calin and Jeremy’s careers and collaboration 08:30 – How does gameplay fit into a sport like skiing? 16:42 – When people tend to peak in skiing and snowboarding and how this fits into proportion of game play at different ages 24:18 – The power in connecting to the outcome and having multiple avenues to get to that outcome 27:02 – Attrition from training + creating enjoyable training experiences for kids 36:48 – How autonomy and feedback in the warm-up process changes as athletes get older and the reality of “perfect landings” in plyometric exercise 41:52 – The relationship between landing variability and chronic sport landing overload 45:57 – Reducing training down to information + plyometrics and progressions in skiing and snowboarding 48:03 – Long-term development in skiing and supplementing with traditional land-based training 52:37 – What it looks like to build an athlete up in high-adrenaline sport training 55:22 – How the aerial nature of skiing and snowboarding have an impact on Jeremy and Calin in their training process “[Skiing is] an early engagement sport, technically, like there’s skills that you have to learn from a sliding perspective, but that oftentimes turns into really early specialization and spending too much time skiing.” “The mentality of most of the athletes that make it to a high level in ski racing or free skiing… is intense, it’s almost like dare devil, formula one… The game aspect and how it translates into sport, I think, is very much on the physical side. I think the mental side is completely unique.” “What we try to do… is really just force environments that get them to explore their bodies, their joints, how to maneuver around certain objects or other people, and really just try to get the out of their comfort zone and using games, it’s a lot more fun for them.” “We so underestimate the difference between a child and an adult and keeping people in flow states. I just think that’s such a mistake that’s proliferated.”
Feb 25, 2021
242: Bobby Stroupe on Evolved Foot and Upper Body Work, Single-Set Training Models, and the Holistic Value of a Sports Performance Professional
Today’s show welcomes back coach Bobby Stroupe.  Bobby Stroupe is the Founder and President of Athlete Performance Enhancement Center (APEC) and has directed human performance systems for nearly 20 years, working with a full range of athletes from youth to professional. In my search for higher-transfer, holistic methodology in sports performance training, I’ve met few coaches who have covered more bases than Bobby Stroupe.  On our last show, which aired just over a month ago, we talked about several of Bobby’s “unorthodox” methods in training speed, power strength and more in light of athletic needs, and I still had about half of the questions left on my own list to ask him. Bobby is back on the show to cover the rest of the questions we missed last time.  He will discuss his influences and how he got to where he is today as a coach, including some of the mentors and coaches that have influenced the way he trains. Bobby explains how he incorporates heavier strength training into his sessions and how his single set mentality is a huge impactor on performance (and a defining factor of great athletes).   Finally, Bobby shares his views on upper body training, as well as training the foot and the relationship between the two. In the middle of the show, Bobby gets into the “8 factors” by which a strength coach can impact an athlete, which was such gold! I hope you come away from this show as excited as I was about coaching my next training session. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 04:41 – The story behind DJ Stroupebob 06:01 – How Bobby differentiates himself and his unorthodox training system from other coaches 07:30 – Influential mentors and coaches Bobby has learned from + Lessons learned from studying animal movement and mastering gravity and space 14:49 – How much time do you spend on heavy-weight lifting versus other types of training? 19:52 – Lifting is like a drug + Metrics Bobby measures and pays attention to 23:17 – From 7-day cycles to 14 or 21-day cycles in assigning the frequency of heavy strength work 24:42 – Bobby’s thoughts on the single set mentality 29:20 – How to get improve your athletes’ single set mentality, especially for overly analytical athletes 31:19 – Applying Parkinson’s Law to athletes 34:36 – Ideas on partnering with sport coaches and incorporating sports specific movements in training 37:01 – Having a holistic influence to make our value seen: 10 ways coaches affect athletes 40:27 – Bobby’s perception of other successful coaches + How to expand your coaching capabilities 43:35 – His approach to and evolution with upper body training for athletes + The relationship between the feet and upper body 46:11 – How do you use weighted gloves, clubs, maces and other training tools? 50:25 – When you should not use weighted balls and gloves 54:12 – Complexities in training the foot + Basic foot functions to see before elevating training 1:01:43 – What is a driver? “There’s no doubt that knowing what gets your athletes going is part of your job.” “You can do high-level, max strength work and have minimal volume on that in the course of an entire training curriculum over time and still get incredible results with a little less of some of the effects of overdoing strength training that you really don’t want… strength training is more effective when it’s not overdone.” “You can see how these different animals with their physiology and their climate and their environment approach tactical movement strategies and technical movement strategies… and for me, in watching that, I think you can learn a lot about how to utilize gravity as a resource instead of relying on strength.” “If strength is what you do most,
Feb 18, 2021
241: Michael Camporini and Justin Moore on Learning to Yield in the Gym, Clarifying “Stiffness”, and Understanding Stretch-Shortening Dynamics in Athletic Movement
Our guests today are Justin Moore and Michael Camporini.  Justin is a master instructor and the professional development manager at Parabolic Performance and Rehab.  Justin has been a popular guest on the podcast many times in the past, discussing advanced biomechanical principles in regards to things like breathing, positioning in strength training, and much more. Michael Camporini, "Campo", is a sports physical therapist in Phoenix, AZ, and previously worked with athletes of all different levels and ages with experience as a strength coach at Parabolic.  He has completed internships with Resilient Physical Therapy and IFAST, as well as completing a clinical rotation with Bill Hartman. You may have heard me speak on the drawbacks of doing too much strength and barbell training many times in the past.  Unless we have some ideas of the exact, negative structural changes that happen with excessive barbell lifting strain (and how to reverse them) we might potentially live in a world where heavy weightlifting is some sort of bogey-man we can’t quite define the effects of.  This is important because some athletes need heavier training, while others do not. Recently, Justin Moore (who has a long history of heavy strength training) had a significant knee injury that occurred while demonstrating a skipping exercise (he had injured his knee multiple times in the past), that led him to reach out to Mike Camporini to help him create an intervention program, which led Justin to playing flag football pain free and moving extremely well.  On the podcast today, Justin and Campo talk about the intervention, the issues Justin had from years of too much lifting strain, and how they reclaimed his range of motion and athletic ability.  This podcast goes into many concepts of human function, stretch shortening cycle dynamics, compression versus expansion, defining what “stiffness” really is in context of sport skill, and much more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 6:35 Justin’s history of knee injury, and his athletic pursuits that contributed to not being an optimally functional athlete 21:35 How Justin would approach taking compressive lifting away from an individual, and what might warrant the need to avoid bilateral lifting in a program 30:35 What KPI’s in terms of range of motion are Justin and Campo looking at for field based athletes who need to run, jump and change direction 40:55 Thoughts on lifting strategies that produce excess stiffness in an athlete’s system, and how stiffness and stretch-shortening action can be specific to athletic action 52:25 Why being overly “stiff” in a standing vertical jump will negatively impact jump height and resiliency and topics on being “expanded” vs. “compressed” 1:13.45 Some of the tests and corrective strategies that Campo and Justin went through to help fix some of Justin’s faulty mechanics 1:24.35 The use of yielding and oscillating work to help improve the quality of Justin’s movement strategy “Those elements, those compressive training strategies that you do over years to build the strength, to build the muscle.  Those lead to structural changes and certain biases that you need to give time to create any adaptation in the other direction” Moore “When we look as an individual’s situation, we say, what does this person need to reach their goals, where is their endgame, and then we establish things we need to track and we don’t want to lose” Campo “There is a stretch shortening cycle in Olympic lifting or Powerlifting, it is just going to be different compared to throwing a baseball” Campo “How he is behaving and creating these motion deficits is also influencing how he is absorbing energy, or can potentially absorb energy within his elastic tiss...
Feb 11, 2021
240: Steven Kotler on Flow State Concepts, Motivation and Goal-Setting for Optimal Athletic Performance and Career Longevity
Our guest today is Steven Kotler, best-selling author and renowned Flow-State expert.  Steven is the author of 9 best-selling books (3 of which are NYT Best-Sellers), which include The Art of Impossible, Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman (Rise of Superman was my initial introduction to Steven’s work) and others.  His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into 40 languages, and has appeared in over 100 publications. Steven is the executive director of the Flow Research Collective, and is one of the world’s leading experts on human performance.  He has been involved in a number of extreme sports, such as surfing, downhill mountain biking and skiing, and has learned (and participated with) from a number of the world’s greatest athletes in this arena. One element of athletic performance that I’m adamant about pursuing is the idea that we must get outside the known field of “athletic performance” and into other fields of human performance to maximize our service to the athletes we train.  We can only grow so much without “getting outside of the box” of our typical field education and integrating more global concepts of human performance. In this podcast with Steven Kotler, we discuss numerous elements of neuro-biology and flow as it relates to goal setting, burnout, skill progression, career progression, and much more.  This was a podcast that truly integrates many concepts coaches (hopefully) are familiar with, and helps us to understand them more fully from a biological perspective, as well as one we can also integrate into our daily lives. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 5:50 Steven’s favorite extreme sport memory in his years of working alongside many elite athletes 10:10 How risk of injury (or death) impacts a sport from multiple perspectives 14:35 Goal setting for athletes, with a perspective on general biological principles 25:50 Motivational factors for athletes across their career, and why some athletes may burnout 34:55 How solving multiple problems at once is a key to getting more flow out of mundane activities 41:40 Clarifying how coaches can disturb progress in regards to mastery as a motivational tool 45:30 Challenge-skill balance in sport training and optimal progression models in regards to flow states 53:25 The importance of social support networks in facilitation of flow and athletic performance 57:10 How to manage flow with strength work, and how having one big flow day can impact the next few weeks of your training 1:02.50 How to manage the “dial of flow” in regards to daily practice “I always say, “If you can’t get seriously injured, it’s not really a sport” and I know a lot of people who play tennis or golf would disagree with me, and I’m happy for the argument… I do think it’s a different game when that is the stakes” “The interesting thing about peak performance is that, it doesn’t matter if you are going after capital “I” Impossible, or you are trying to improve your tennis game, or you are trying to be a little better at work, the biology is the same, the tool-set is the same, and how you get there is the same” “(In extreme sports with potential mortal consequences) On the inside, it doesn’t feel like that, it feels like progression in any other sport” “We live in a reality that is shaped by 2 things, our fears and our goals” “For sure you need 3 levels of goals in your life… Mission levels goals (I want to be a great runner), high-hard goals (1-5 year step, run the New York Marathon), then you need clear goals, your daily to do list” “Clear goals are one of the pre-conditions that lead to flow” “Properly set high-hard goals will increase motivation by 11-25%” “The biggest driver for humans is meaningful pro...
Feb 04, 2021
239: Nicolai Morris on Reverse-Engineering Athletic Movement Through Gymnastic Progressions and Rough-Housing
Our guest today is Nicolai Morris, strength and conditioning specialist with High Performance Sport, New Zealand.  Nicolai is the lead S&C with the New Zealand Women’s (Field) Hockey Team (Blacksticks) as well as coaching an international elite high jumper.  From Nicolai’s athletic career origins as a swimmer, she has honed her eye for movement through a wide range of land and sea-based sports and athletic situations. Nicolai has previously worked with New Zealand Rowing in the elite and U23/Junior pathways as well as, multitude of sports in her role as strength and conditioning specialist at Sydney University including swimming, track and field, rugby, rugby 7’s, water polo and soccer. She also worked as the Head strength and conditioning coach for the Australian Beach Handball team and the NSW Women’s State of Origin team. Nicolai is a ASCA Level 2, Pro-Scheme Elite coach, and a Masters in Strength and Conditioning with over a decade of coaching experience. We talk on this podcast often about going beyond simply looking at, and emphasizing weightlifting maxes for athletic performance improvement; moving into some of the finer biomechanical details of speed, jumping and athletic technique.  At the roots of all technical ability in sport is baseline human ability to sense and coordinate ourselves in space.  Although we have had good conversation on the importance of developing body control and coordination in regards to training children, it’s not often we speak on how to integrate gymnastic and coordinative ability into training with mature athletes, despite the fact that there are so many “poor movers” on this level, whose base line functioning often leaves them pre-disposed for injury. On today’s podcast, Nicolai speaks about her transition as a swimmer to strength coach, as well as a deep-dive into the role that gymnastics and rough-housing work plays in the developmental process of her athletes.  She also speaks on building buy-in and belief from her athletes (and team management/head sports coaches) from a female perspective, and we close out the show with a brief chat on blood flow restriction training (BFR). Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 3:40 How Nicolai went from a swimmer to a physical preparation coach 7:45 How Nicolai incorporates gymnastic work and general work to improve movement quality across sports and age groups 21:00 Progressing gymnastic work based on their ability and sport needs 28:05 Correlations between gymnastic movement ability and some of the best athletes Nicolai has worked with 31:15 How Nicolai integrates gymnastic and movement training into her own regimen 36:10 Integrating roughhousing work into training, and differences between genders in this type of work 51:25 Buy in/attitudes of males/females vs. coaches in working as a female 1:01.40 How Nicolai made a big impact with a team by focusing on the needs of her team versus traditional coaching expectations 1:05.40 Nicolai’s experience with blood flow restriction training and the benefits for middle-distance energy system athletes “If a squat would make all athletes Olympic champions, then we would have more people who squat well performing at a higher level… we have to get that transfer and that connection” “You’d ask people to say “what’s the coolest thing you can do into the foam pit”, and they’d do backflips, and gainers…. they’d push their body to a place that it had never been before” “My main 3 gymnastics elements that I use are tumbling, hanging variations, and handstand variations, and depending on what athletes I got, it has a higher relevance… I’m in hockey right now and it has more relevance for my goalies” “The only thing that took my shoulder pain away was gymnastics...
Jan 28, 2021
238: Alex Brooker and Mike Guadango on The Power of Belief, Placebo Effects in Training-Rehab and Becoming Your Own Coaching Superhero
Our guests today are Mike Guadango and Alex Brooker.  Mike and Alex (“Brooker”) met when Alex interned for Mike at DeFranco’s gym a decade ago, and they now have a podcast together, “The Mike and Brooker Show”, in addition to their coaching careers. Alex is the owner and operator of Pathfinder, a private training service focused on performance psychology and physical preparation for professional athletes.  In addition to traditional schooling, Alex is now pursuing his PhD in Self-Hypnosis at the University of Bern.  Mike is currently a Coach, Writer & Owner at Freak Strength.  He has been mentored by coaching greats such as Buddy Morris and James Smith, and started his career working at DeFranco’s gym.  Mike has coached levels of athletes from many different professional sports to Olympic medalists to pre-pubescent athletes, as well as consulting for high caliber athletes and coaches worldwide. As an ever-optimistic individual, it’s important for me to have conversations with those who have a different way of looking at what actually works in the world of sports performance.  In the coaching world, it is extremely easy to have worked with an athlete who has achieved a high result, and then rationalize the factors that led to their success.  It is very easy for us all as coaches to think of our own training as highly optimal, but a question to ask is how often and effectively we truly challenge our reasoning? In looking at training closely, it is helpful to fully understand the power of belief, as well as placebo effects in not only training, but also pain science and rehabilitation.  Understanding human adaptation to training and rehab stimulus requires, not only an understanding of the body, but also of the mind. In today’s podcast, Mike and Alex “Brooker” talk about how they have evolved themselves as coaches, moving into the realms of hypnosis/mental training, acupuncture and rehabilitation.  We spend a lot of time chatting about the power of belief and the ability of the mind to supercede a “poor” training program, and how the fundamentals of adaptation style can be seen in rudimentary rehab.  Finally, Mike, Brooker and I spend some time discussing some training points such as play, competition in training, and training transfer.  This was a fun show with speakers of 3 clearly diverse viewpoints, which always makes for great discussion. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage.   Head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 6:15 Mike and Brooker’s moves into more alternative forms of human performance, and a philosophy of when to move on from hair splitting in strength training methods 15:00 Thoughts on a system that prioritizes play and autonomy as a substantial shift in a positive direction towards the sports performance industry 32:30 Thoughts on whether or not gym training should carry mental, emotional and physical elements of what is required of a person in their sport 46:25 How and why our interventions in strength, performance or pain reduction actually work, and how much we really know about these mechanisms 55:55 How Mike and Brooker diverted from the traditional routes of strength, performance and data in athlete performance training 1:05:30 More on Mike and Brooker’s “skill stacking” in their human performance pursuits 1:13:10 Mike and Brooker’s use of high-transference exercises to athletic performance 1:15:30 In 10-15 years, where do Mike and Brooker picture themselves “Even if there is a difference between the two (exercises), and transferability, how much of a difference is it really?” “15% of who you are as an athlete, you actually have some type of control over” “The more high talented people you work with, the room to improve them in the gym gets smaller, but the room to F them up gets higher”
Jan 21, 2021
237: Patrick Coyne on Holistically Challenging Athletes, Evolved Speed Training, and the Art of Sports Performance “From the Heart”
Our guest today is Pat Coyne, coach and owner of Black Sheep Performance in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Pat started helping clients of all levels reach their fullest potential after his career as a 4-star high school football recruit ended in college due to injury.  Pat started Black Sheep Performance in 2018 on the side of a house in Cincinnati, OH. Within 3 years BSP organically outgrew itself, working from renting gym space, to a barn, to a state of the art 11,000 sq. foot training facility. Pat has mentored under some of the top coaches in the nation, is a progressive thinker, and gets great results with his clients in his fast-growing business.  When I moved back to Ohio in July, I connected with Pat shortly thereafter and have gotten several training sessions and conversations in with him since then.  Pat has a training style that fuses many of the elements I consider essential: A great environment, room for exploration/creativity, competition and reaction, as well as an integration of modern speed training methods, such as those taught by multi-time podcast guest, Adarian Barr. As such, it was only a matter of time until Pat and I sat down together and recorded a podcast.  Two of the big things that Pat and I are both passionate about are being life-long learners and then looking at (and experiencing) the holistic effects of things like the training environment, athlete autonomy/creativity, and the effects of music, rhythm and reactions on performance.  On this podcast, Pat and I go into his background as an athlete and coach, his thoughts on structured vs. unstructured/open training, his progressions on speed training, rhythm, timing, how he challenges athletes on a holistic level, and some deeper discussion on the evolution of the human/sports performance industry. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 5:30 Pat’s medieval gear in his gym, as well as his background as a top-ranked high school quarterback, and his transition into strength and conditioning 11:15 What Pat believes held him back from being successful on the college level after being very successful (and physically fit and gifted) in high school, and what he would tell his younger self from his place now as a coach 16:00 How Pat uses games and a holistic approach to connect dots in his training programs/process 27:40 Ideas on how structured versus unstructured training, as well as the importance of being in the moment without expectations, in the training setting 46:50 How Pat’s speed training process has changed over his years as a coach 54:15 A chat on rhythm and timing in coaching speed and athletic movement, as well as using musical beats to time up various training movements 1:04.00 What Pat sees as the evolving purpose of the profession of a strength coach and the deeper purposes of training and coaching in the physical realm 1:14.15 Three things that go into Pat’s mind before each training session that tell him “this is what will make a great session” “(To my younger self) I would go and spend time doing everything that I didn’t want to do” “You have these training sessions which are comfortable and build people up, and it’s very ego driven to where you have your athletes feeling to where they crushed the day, and there is truth in that.  But.. how uncomfortable did you make your athletes in a healthy way, in a safe environment, to where they could fail, to where you could see how resilient that athlete is becoming” “I want to see the full human being first, then we can smack the weights” “I feel like you make the most progress when you are having fun… why does a kid make progress so fast.  Why do we throw that out when we are working with a pro athlete?” “They may have got their asses kicked,
Jan 14, 2021
236: Bobby Stroupe on The Rising Tide of Performance Transfer to Sport: Locomotion Complexes, Vortex Plyometrics, and Time-Space Constraints
Our guest today is Bobby Stroupe, founder and president of Athlete Performance Enhancement Center (APEC).  Bobby has directed human performance systems for nearly 20 years.  His coaching ranges from youth athletes to some of the top names in multiple professional sports, including first round picks, as well as Super Bowl and World Series champions.  Bobby is well-known for his work in the physical preparation realm of Patrick Mahomes, quarterback of the recent Superbowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. After doing 235 episodes of this podcast, and opening up my eyes to more and more of the performance space, I’m always excited to find those coaches who are spearheading creative and effective training methods in athletic performance transfer.  When I recently watched Bobby Stroupe’s presentation at the recent “Track Football Consortium” regarding his methods in working with Patrick Mahomes, I was like a kid in a candy shop, viewing training methods that replicated many time and space requirements of sport play without being mechanical or contrived. Bobby is not only a holistic and open minded coach, but he is also an incredibly thorough and detailed thinker.  There are so many points of carry-over in what Bobby does, I believe that studying his work is essential if we are to reach the point of getting our training to truly transfer to the field of play.  Bobby achieves this transfer in a way that still pays homage to traditional principles of force development and human performance, but is able to add in the tri-planar and chaotic nature of what athletes will encounter in sport. On today’s podcast, Bobby gets into a variety of his “unorthodox” training methods, including locomotion complexes, tri-planar plyometrics and strength training, complex training, long-term development, and athlete autonomy.  Again, with the interest of transfer to sport in mind, any aspiring coach should be familiar with the work of Bobby Stroupe and Team APEC. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 6:15 What Bobby and I have learned about coaching from being fathers of young children 11:00 Bobby’s take on working with athletes from a young age, and how his team approaches long term athletic development 21:05 Bobby’s thoughts on being able to follow elite athletes for an extended period of time, as many professional athletes have been working at APEC since they were quite young 23:25 How human locomotion is taught using “locomotion complexes”, triplanar and scalar breakdowns of basic motions such as skips, caraocas, and gallops 36:40 Multiplanar jumps and how Bobby will complex these movements in with more static strength training means 46:35 Using different body alignments in strength training movements, as well as Bobby’s work with lunge matrixes using different foot positions 56:26 Bobby’s background with therapeutic education, and how that has impacted his work as a strength/physical preparation coach 1:04:00 Bobby’s take on the efficacy of technology for training athletes “What we want kids to say is, APEC is so fun we went up there and played for an hour and I wish I could come every day” “If someone comes up and tells us what we want them to do with their kid, we tell them that generally, it’s not a good fit” “Typically, middle school, with what we do, the girls are fairly dominant by the time they are in 7th grade” “We want to educate the individual on what makes them unique, what are their gifts?” “You will not find more variance than (coaching 40 middle school kids in one session) that in any training situation” “The number one rule of locomotion is “you do not restrict an athlete in space”” “There’s no better way to (calibrate) than letting the body move through space on i...
Jan 07, 2021
235: Rob Assise on New Ideas in Complex-Training Methods and Advanced Bounding Progressions
Our guest today is Rob Assise, track coach at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.  Rob has 17 years of coaching experience, and has been a regular speaker and writer in the realms of track and field, plyometrics and speed training.  He previously appeared on episode #95 and #196 of the podcast. One of the more fascinating ideas that I’ve been working with over time, as a coach, has been the idea of using a “long-burst” training movement of around 10-30 seconds, to help improve the power output of “short-burst” movements, such as a jump or short sprint.  Dr. Mark Wetzel spoke about this in depth on a recent episode and his take on it has confirmed things that I’ve seen anecdotally for some time, as well as read up on years ago in the mysterious “Greatest Sports Training Book Ever” by “DB Hammer” with the “AN1” and “AN2” bracket systems. Rob has taken those bracket systems and has done some creative training work with them recently, where he has also infused “infinity walks” which Dan Fichter talked about on a recent episode, into the mix.  Rob talks about that today, as well as ways that this concept can be taken creatively for track and field athletes.  In the second half of this show, Rob and I talk plyometric concepts, and how to build bounding and plyometric training “from the feet up” and “from ground contact times upward”. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 6:35 Catching up with the struggles of being a high school coach in this period of history 9:50 How Rob has been creating workouts with complementary energy system brackets (i.e. a speed-endurance energy system work recovering a sprint system, and vice versa) 18:50 Ideas on how to optimize track and field events based off of game play and opposing energy systems 28:35 How Rob has observed warmup preferences and tendencies based on an athlete’s neurotype 31:35 Rob’s take on teaching bounding and bound progressions, as well as ideas with bounding with different foot strike emphasis 50:05 Using power metrics in conjunction with bounding using the Muscle Lab Contact Grid, as well as contact time based bound teaching ideas 56:55 How Rob manages contact times for depth jumping, hurdle hops and traditional plyometrics 60:40 How Rob’s thoughts on speed training have evolved over the last few years, as well as “bleed” versus “blast” methods in working flying 10 sprints “A typical thing we’ll do right off the bat; we’ll do an altitude drop, something intense, then they’ll go into doing something like a speed Russian lunge for 30 seconds, and then they’ll go into doing an infinity walk, or crawl or carry, for about 90 seconds, and then they’ll do something to failure, like hanging from a bar or doing a cross-crawl superman or something like that; something that falls into one exercise recovering another” “One thing that might be overlooked the most on the infinity walk is the vision component” “I’ve thought about the idea of, do a couple of (high or long) jumps, then go to a basketball court and play 3 on 3 real quick (and then come back to do more jumps)” “We would just give athletes at the start of practice on a Friday an option to do whatever they wanted to do in the warmup.  The type 1’s would always do something where they were competing.  The Type 2’s, it would depend who they were hanging out with.  The type 3 would literally go through the same warmup they would go through every day… if you just give athletes 10 minutes and watch what they do, it tells you basically what they are” “We work heel to toe on a low intensity (to teach bounding)” “I think you have to rotate through the ball of the first metatarsal when you are doing the lateral bound; you are also getting more of the lateral sling involved with it” ...
Dec 30, 2020
234: Dan John on The Art of Letting Go, Relaxation, and Conquering the “Monkey Brain” in Power Performance
Our guest today is Dan John who is a strength coach, track coach, master’s track athlete, best-selling author, and all around sage of wisdom on all-things strength training for athletics and life itself. Dan’s work has been profoundly impactful on my coaching, and training practice.  The older and more experienced I get as a coach, the more I find his reduction to the essentials, as well as global thinking, extremely valuable.  Dan appeared on podcast episode #96 with one of my favorite conversations since the start of this podcast series. If you’ve been around elite coaches and athletes for long enough, you start to realize trends that go beyond the sets, reps and training prescriptions that work their way into the results that are being achieved in competition.  Elite athletes are strong enough for their sport, as well as being (hopefully) adequate in general physical measures, but they also tend to have elite levels of relaxation and tension management.  Many times, the best competitors carry a different outlook on competition itself. For today’s show, Dan covers ideas on the art of “letting go” and achieving better performance through superior relaxation and tension management.  He also gets into some of the creative coaching practices he utilized for his throwers, such as playing unique games, “range” throwing, constraint based turns in the circle, and super-setting kettlebell work with throwing.  Finally, other important elements, such as the importance of being “deprived” of a good training environment, and elastic athletic performance are addressed in this conversation with a strength and track legend. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Head to www.lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 6:00 Things Dan thought was under-appreciated or went under the radar in the original “Easy Strength” book, (and a discussion on the idea of what is truly important in training, and not digging too far into details until basic standards of performance are met) 13:00 The usefulness of games for track athletes in regards to their overall conditioning with a level of specificity to their sport, and examples of games that Dan would play with his track athletes 17:00 The power of not having expectations in having one’s highest performance 24:00 Thoughts on the “right amount” of effort in one’s skills and events in competition 0:36 The art of deprivation, etc. in regards to training equipment or commonly used exercises 45:00 A chat on the integration of kettlebell training into athletic movement 50:50 The art of relaxation in throwing, sprinting and even weightlifting exercises, as well as a unique coaching system for varied tensioning in the athlete’s body during lifts “I coach the hands and feet, I try to make them like mini-trampolines (a lot of bounce to the hands and feet)” “The shoulders and the hips, I use the old Chinese medicine term, the “4-knots” tight enough to stay on, loose enough that you can un-string them” “We as Americans have this love affair with these dressed up fancy programs on a spreadsheet… and it’s all crap… until they are throwing over 200,210 (feet) we don’t have to worry about the small details” “With my throwers, we do almost zero conditioning, but on Friday’s, we always play a game” “When you have no expectations, you let things happen (specifically in context of track and field throwing)… life at its highest end.. it’s effortless” “It’s the art of practicing letting go… I think that a true meditation might be as good as (that extra little bit of conditioning) because practicing letting things happen, especially in track and field (is important).’ “Track and field is nothing but “bows and arrows”. When you high jump, you turn various parts of your body into a bow and arrow,
Dec 23, 2020
233: Lee Taft on “High-Velocity” Games and Reactivity for Developing and Established Athletes
Our guest today is athletic movement specialist Lee Taft.  Lee is one of the most highly respected game speed development coaches in the world, and has taught his methods around the world.  Lee combines an extensive knowledge of sport movement and physical education means and brings this into the physical preparation space in a meaningful way.  Lee has appeared twice prior on the Just Fly Performance podcast and has been a great source of practical ideas and knowledge on speed development for me over my years as a coach. One of the big things I find more and more coaches looking for is ideas on the long term development of an athlete.  By the time an athlete gets to high school, let alone college and the pro’s, the vast majority of the “ground-work” has been done in regards to the speed and reaction abilities of that athlete-specific to their sport.  Unfortunately, there are many pitfalls for young athletes, who miss many critical windows of early development for a variety of reasons. This podcast is all about the development of speed from a young age, how velocity rules training (even if technique is “ugly” early on) as well as some varied topics on Lee’s take on warmups for training, and sport, as well as thoughts on vision training and low-box training for athletes.  Whether you work with youth, or established athletes, or are a sport parent, this is essential information. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster and Lost Empire Herbs. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage.     Head to lostempireherbs.com/justfly for 15% off of your purchase! Timestamps and Main Points 6:10 What coaching athletes in the private sector was like in the 1990’s, as well as the state of athletes in that time period, versus the 2010’s and beyond 10:40 Some of the big rocks that have caused young athletes time to get taken up, and increase pressure and strain 15:40 Fun games and warmup ideas for athletes 28:55 How Lee designs his warmups and creates a competitive situation with reactive tracking work 32:30 How Lee links his warmups to the rest of his workouts, and how he will utilize games that fit with the greater theme of the session 35:10 Key performance indicators that Lee looks at in regards to how well his game-speed training is transferring 45:40 Some things that are doing a disservice to athletes early on in their development of game-speed, etc., and the importance of maximal velocity training for young athletes, and how skill development can come along gradually 57:00 Advice for an athlete in their warmup for a sport game (versus warming up for a practice) 59:55 How Lee looks at vision training from a “raw” perspective 1:09.10 How “low-box” training works and how Lee uses it in his performance regimen “Back then, it was really common for parents to say “Lee, we need something for our kids to do, what do you got? Now days, it’s the opposite” “We talk about ACL’s now, like we talk about drinking water… it was this big news (back in the 1990’s)… mentally kids are not absorbed in any one process, because they can’t” “I could get results quicker back then (in the 1990’s), just through sound training, because (the athletes) had more to give me.  Now, you take one step forward, you take another step back” “Sometimes I don’t want then thinking… just go play, react!” “I love soccer related things for athletes that don’t play soccer, it’s tremendous for the groin and adductors, especially when they aren’t used to doing it” “Kids don’t know how to read spin (on a ball) unless they are exposed to it” “Days vary, because if I sense the athletes are fatigued, tired, bored, upset, we play a lot… I’ll sprinkle in teaching while they are playing, but that will be the bulk of the workout” “We’ve put them in situations where they have to make good decisions, and that’s how I judge (KPI’s for game-speed transfer)”
Dec 17, 2020
232: Dan Fichter on Infinity Runs, Sensory-Motor Optimization and the “Neurology Driven” Warmup in Athletics |Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Our guest today is Dan Fichter, owner and operator of WannaGetFast, a sports performance facility in Rochester, New York.  He is one of the leading experts in applying clinical neurology into athletic rehabilitation and sport performance applications.  Dan has been mentored by a variety of elite coaches, therapists, and neurologists, and has trained numerous professional athletes and Olympians across a variety of sports.  He has been a multi-time guest on the podcast, with one of the most popular episodes of all-time being a joint discussion with Chris Korfist on “DB Hammer” training methods (an old-school classic). It’s somewhat of a “woke” term to mention the nervous system in training, as Matt Cooper said on a recent podcast.  Although it is easy to pay homage to the nervous system as the ultimate controller of training results, it is much more complicated to actually observe and specifically train the CNS.  This is where people like Dan Fichter are awesome resources in regards to being able to take the complex inter-disciplinary work on the subject, and tie it into simple methods we can use in our own practices. On today’s show, Dan runs through a wide swath of nervous system training topics, centering on isometrics, as well as their role in light of long term athletic development, crawling and the nervous system, infinity walks, as well as his keys to a good warmup from a neurological perspective.  There was a huge amount of practical training gold in this episode. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 7:00 The top 3 things Dan learned from Jay Schroeder that have stuck with him over his years as a coach, particularly that of isometric exercise and intention 13:30 How isometrics specifically help create a condition for the body to solve a functional problem 20:30 How Dan’s exercise distributions have been altered over time (isometrics, bodyweight and traditional lifts) 27:00 Where Dan fits on the “5 minute hold” to shorter isometric hold spectrum 31:30 Questions on, “are isometrics alone enough to help an athlete overcome their injuries” 34:45 Crawling and links to neurology, as well as why it’s important to crawl in an extended posture position and the head up 39:45 How sensory stimulation precedes motor output in athletes, and the importance of stimulating athletes on a sensory level 47:00 The power of infinity walks in empowering an athlete on a neurological and sensory perspective, and how this can tie into, and be complexed with, other athletic skills 54:45 Things that Dan finds essential in the warmup process for his athletes 56:25 The electrical ramifications of tapping the heel in an athletic movement “As Jay says, “everybody is fast, and everybody is strong, they just can’t display it”” “Every step you take, the body finds the easiest and safest path, to complete the task” “When it comes to neurology, you have to hit it perfect, and when you hit it perfect, magic things happen” “Jay used to say this all the time “water will find the crack”” “One of my most favorite things I’ve learned from Jay’s was “quick style” exercises; my favorite exercise is a towel curl press, where they curl (the towel) up, they press it over their head, they pull it down, and then they extend their triceps, so there is everything about upper body movement in one exercise, and as Jay says, it’s recovering you while its training you” “When you get into studying the brain, it’s a flexion/extension synergy” “When you trace a complex movement, your cerebellum lights up like it’s nobody’s business” “For a 10 year old, I have them hold isometrics as long as they can… the younger you are the longer we’ll hold it.  The older you are,
Dec 10, 2020
231: Dr. Mark Wetzel on “Energy-System Oscillation” for Explosive Performance, Recovery and Maximizing Isometric Transfer | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Our guest today is Dr. Mark Wetzel, chiropractor and neurology expert based out of Nashville, Tennessee.  Mark has been a guest on the show several times before, speaking about the physiological and neurological elements of the training method of “extreme isometrics” as well as the fantastic results that he achieved from using the method with a high school baseball team. Isometric holds of all sorts have become very popular in training in recent years, and for good reason.  Where typical “up and down” lifting is a bit of a shotgun approach to performance, isometrics can isolate very specific elements of our physiology, and allow us to devote the body’s resources to these specific elements, rather than a wider array of general elements that we find in more traditional strength methods. One of the things you may remember Mark talking about on previous shows is the idea of “cycling through the energy systems” while performing a long isometric hold, and if one can make it through all of these energy systems, then a large benefit can be derived by the athlete.  In recent conversations with Mark, he has been taking this further by teaching me how training maximally in one “energy system bracket” can optimize your performance in another “energy system bracket”. For example, most people in track and field are familiar with the idea of feeling more “warmed up” to do an explosive jump after running a 100 or 200-meter dash maximally.  In the team sport world, playing a pick-up game of basketball is often a better warm-up for explosive jumping than doing basically any sort of “traditional” warmup that you might find.  On the podcast today, Mark and I dig into these concepts, as well as reinforcing many important elements of the isometric hold itself, such as breathing, intention, posture and much more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:05 Why do an “extreme isometric” for 5 minutes, instead of just 2-3 minutes in length 17:40 What Mark sees in the midst of fatigue in an extreme isometric hold and how this resonates with what happens in sport and life itself in uncomfortable circumstances 26:00 The role and sequence of breathing in isometrics and exercise in general and how it contributes to one’s results and recovery from other bouts of training 33:00 Staying in a parasympathetic state, and letting the body choose when it wants to go sympathetic 35:00 The role of intention and focus in isometric lunges and beyond 43:50 Thoughts on the idea of using one energy system to recover another, and how a longer duration burst can improve a lower duration burst and vice versa “The last 2 minutes (of a 5 minute extreme isometric) is when you can really tap into that Cori cycle” “When we lose focus during (those last minutes of an extreme isometric lunge), we have to restart the (energetic) process” “It’s not so much like, I need to grunt it out and hold that 5 minutes because it’s going to make me better at what I’m doing.  It’s more about how much can I stay focused and how much can I hold the intention of what I’m doing in that 3-5’ window is going exponentially make you more successful at whatever you are trying to accomplish outside the isometric” “When you talk to yourself (positively) you release dopamine; and dopamine is going to help you hold on (to the isometric) slightly longer.  Changing how you view yourself is going to help you hold on to that isometric” “When visual people start to suffer (in an isometric) their eyes start wandering… if you are an auditory person, you are going to yell a lot, and if you are kinesthetic, those are the figety ones” “Isometrics will teach you to keep calm through real life situations”
Dec 03, 2020
230: Steffan Jones on Isometrics, Variability and “2nd Generation” French Contrast Training Methods in Fast-Bowling and Athletic Skill Development | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Our guest today is cricket fast-bowling coach and overall motor learning wizard, Steffan Jones.  Stefan is the last “dual pro” between rugby and cricket, and is an ex-cricketeer turned coach.  He is one of the world leading experts in regards to not only fast-bowling training, but also topics such as training individualization, motor learning and the process of reaching the highest possible level of one’s sport skill.   Stefan has worked with many of the world’s leading organizations and athletes in his work in the sport of Cricket.  He has written much about his own training process in the many articles that he has put forth on Just Fly Sports, which essentially amounts to a medium sized book.  His synthesis of his motor-learning model he calls “The Skill-Stability Paradigm” which is applicable to any sport skill you can imagine.  On our last podcast together, we went heavily into the specific strength needed to throw a cricket ball at high speeds, and some of the specialty methods used to train that strength, such as isometric training and isometric-skill complexes.  This podcast builds on that episode by covering the means by which Stefan uses variability to further the training effect, and explore the possibilities of a sport skill to their highest potential. Topics today include: A chat on how Adarian Barr’s teachings on collisions factor into fast-bowling The role of training variability in skill building The role of fatigue in variability, “second generation” French Contrast Robustness How extreme-isometrics and stretch loading means can play a role in helping athletes to higher levels of skill on their sport, in conjunction with the necessary maximal power and elasticity needed.   This is an awesome show for any coach or athlete interested in training, and goes well beyond cricket itself.  Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.  View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:00 What Steffan has been busy with lately in regards to his coaching, and how he tests his ideas on himself first prior to integration with athletes 7:45 What one thing Steffan is using now as a coach that he would “train” his former self with as an athlete 17:45 Maximal rigidity in limbs in athletic movements versus a more “controlled collision in training” 24:45 The role of general strength means in Steffan’s program 31:30 How extreme isometrics and stretch-loading impacts proprioception 36:30 How Steffan measures outputs and drop-offs in fast-bowling and isometrics 40:50 How Steffan adds variability into his training and exercise sessions 50:30 The “Two-Minute Drill” invented by Jeremy Fischer and how that can utilize fatigue to help athletes increase the amount of elastic elements in the movement 57:00 Thoughts on “second generation” contrast, and some of Steffan’s samples for using this method to improve the skill of fast-bowling “Technique underpins everything, you cannot run away from poor technique” “The fascia does determine the success of a skill that does happen as fast as a skill such as quick bowling does” “Adarian said, it’s not about deceleration (on front foot contact) it’s about controlling the collision and maintaining momentum, and that to me, shifted my mindset” “For me, concentrics, there’s no purpose for training sport.  Sport happens too quickly for a concentric contraction” “For me, isometrics should be the number one exercise.  Alex Natera is doing some good work and the skill stability feeds off of that”  “I always have some sort of number when I’m doing isometrics” “Cognitive fatigue only affects submaximal work; cognitive fatigue doesn’t affect high intensity work” “Same but different, medicine ball work in my same drop and block position.
Nov 26, 2020
229: Adarian Barr on Decoding the Weight Room (and Olympic Lifts) for Athletic Performance Transfer | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Our guest today is Adarian Barr, athletic movement coach, inventor and performance consultant.  Adarian has been a mentor to me for almost 5 years, and opened up my eyes to the movement potential of the human body, how to observe it, and coach it more optimally.  He has been on this podcast for many prior episodes, and has recorded a number of webinars for Just Fly Sports.  The best way I can describe Adarian is that he just sees things that nobody else does in human movement, and creates a wonderful groundwork for us to creatively express those principles in our own training setups. One of the biggest realizations, that I’m still regularly checking in on the implications of in my day to day coaching and athletic life, is how, when the joints and levers of the body are working optimally in “3D”, we tend to need much less barbell strength than we think we do to reach our highest speed performance potential.  Not only this, but when we only operate in “2D” and don’t use our levers well, we need more weight room strength to be better athletes in that 2D paradigm. One thing that Adarian does not post about often is weightlifting.  Part of this is because the world of coaching is very hung up on “force” as a binary entity in human movement, and we need more education on joints and movement, rather than how to split hairs on lifting sets and reps.  Adarian’s eye for movement does go well into the weightlifting world, however, and was can learn a lot from his recent observation in the area. On today’s podcast, we dive into the Olympic lifts in particular, and how they can either foster athleticism, or suppress it, based on the lever systems we use in the execution of the lift.  We get into this, and much more, such as the feet, torque, the drawbacks of hinging in the weight room, crawling, natural learning and much more in this in-depth episode. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:00 The redundancy of “coaching up” natural-skill-based human strength movements 16:45 Adarian’s history with weightlifting as a football player and track and field athlete 24:50 Deconstructing the Olympic lifts in regards to what transfers to athletic speed and what does not 33:40 Good and poor “class 1” levers of the foot 41:25 Thoughts on the initial stages of the pull off the ground in athleticism 45:25 Using the hands more effectively to change the emphasis of exercise to the body 50:10 Full catches in the Olympic lifts, foot pressure and internal rotation, and how these can be optimized for athletic transfer 57:10 Why Adarian is not a fan of hinging from a foot loading perspective “The feet are pointing out for a reason in (natural) squatting, because the calves are rotating them” “A lot of people equate lifting to athletic ability, that the lift makes you athletic.  The biggest thing is when I see the levers…. Some people when they (Olypmic) lift to get strong, I see them shrug, then they do a plantar-flex, which is a class 1 lever, then they catch the bar.  That’s not going to transfer over (to athleticism) they are probably just going to get stronger” “What do they say, look at the (lift) numbers he is doing that’s what made him fast.  No! He can do those (lift) numbers because he is fast!” “I used to think (Olympic lifters) were bumping the bar with their hips.  What do you actually see? When they hit the bar with class 2 (foot position) it bumps them backwards (class 2 being advantageous for athleticism)” “If the Achilles (tendon) isn’t working, you will be quad dominant or hamstring dominant” “There are two “class 1” motions, there’s inversion/eversion, and there is plantarflexion dorsiflexion.  Those ones that use inversion/eversion are going to really do som...
Nov 19, 2020
228: Mike Kozak on Building Speed and Athletic Movement from the “Arches” Upwards | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Our guest today is the owner of SOAR fitness in Columbus Ohio, Mike Kozak.  Mike previously appeared on podcast #184 and has written several articles for Just Fly Sports.  Notably, Mike has mentored extensively under Adarian Barr, and frequently posts the exercise and training progressions based on Adarian’s work. Speed is always en vogue in the world of athletics, but something important to understand is that running and moving right not only will make athletes faster, but also make them more resilient and robust, reducing injury rates.  When we move as nature intended, and then amplify that in our training, we can make the most out of free-energy return systems.  When we simply “produce more force” and muscle our movements, we may gain some speed in the short term, but we can do it at the cost of higher risks of injury and a lower total athletic ceiling. Mike has experience, not only with Adarian Barr’s methods, but he also has worked closely with elite physical therapists who have extensive knowledge of advanced methods such as PRI and the work of Bill Hartman.  On today’s podcast, we are looking at the nuts and bolts of Mike’s performance program “from the ground up” starting with how he addresses the feet and an athlete’s posture, and then designs drills and tasks from that standpoint.  We also touch on elements further up the kinetic chain, and how this can impact how we look at the entire athletic system.  This was a fantastic, practical episode that features many important elements that we need to be addressing in the training of our athletes to fully integrate the feet, hips, spine and posture. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:30 How adjusting to outdoor workouts with no weights due to COVID restrictions created a unique and effective training environment for Mike and his athletes 16:55 How Mike does not have a formal strength and conditioning background, and how his own experience as an athlete, as well as his physical education experience, formed the base of how he now trains athletes 22:20 Staples of Mike’s program that he learned from Adarian Barr, starting from the level of the foot, and how he works his way up the kinetic chain 27:15 How Mike works on dorsiflexion (or doesn’t) and how he emphasizes the action of the foot as a second class lever in athletes 40:35 How Mike teaches the foot working as a second class lever to improve the efficiency of the Achilles tendon, as well as the preservation of kinetic energy 53:00 Ideas on the transverse arch of the foot and how this applies to athletic performance 58:00 How the feet relate to what is happening upstream in the kinetic chain (hip internal rotation, expansion, compression, etc.) “The start of our session used to be foam rolling, honestly just to take attendance (we don’t do that anymore).  Let’s use the start of our session to do something these kids never do” “To me, level 1 is, do you have any idea what your feet are doing, and most kids do not… if I can get kids to now understand the tripod, not be a toe gripper, and then can I effectively get them on the inside edge (unless you are over-pronated)” “The main thing I try to get across to my kids is, “shin’s going down, heel’s coming up”” “If they (the athlete’s) do it already, I don’t have any reason to fill their minds with information they don’t need.. they are already there!” “If the shin keeps moving forward, and the heel stays down, you are staying in first class, you are just stretching the Achilles.  If you are someone who has a lot of dorsiflexion range, then your athletic posture has to dial you into a start stance that gets that heel to pull up faster” “A person who has less dorsiflexion range may strike (in accel...
Nov 12, 2020
227: Dr. Pat Davidson on Pressure-Based Principles for Elastic Power and Athleticism | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
I’m happy to welcome Dr. Pat Davidson back to the podcast.  Pat is an independent trainer, consultant, author, and lecturer in New York City.  He is the author of MASS and MASS2 and is the developer of the “Rethinking the Big Patterns” lecture series, as well as an upcoming book on the same topic.  Pat is one of the most intelligent individuals I know when it comes to human performance, and communicates his knowledge in a manner that makes it easy to understand difficult concepts.  He has been a guest on episodes #88 and #122 of this show as well speaking on topics such as an educated approach to movement screens and re-evaluating the “big lifts” in light of athletic performance. That combination of intelligence and communication is paramount for the topic we’ll be tackling today, which is pressure systems and their correspondence to our movement patterns.  That sounds kind of complicated, but in reality, it’s as simple as looking at the dynamics of a bouncing ball, or the lungs expanding with air.  Pat has extensive experience learning from leading organizations and individuals in this area, such as the Postural Restoration Institute and Bill Hartman. The ability to look at the human body as a pressure system is important because it helps us link what is happening in various gym exercises, as well as what we see in particular athletic presentations (internal vs. external rotation for example), and then look at how that fits to an elastic (tendon and static spring) based strategy of movement, and a more muscular strategy. In addition to a discussion on pressure, Pat also discusses his take on having a “strength score” for athletes in the weight room that normalizes performance metrics based on things like limb length and height.  He also gets into ideas on how to “de-compress” the athlete who is compressed in a manner that may be negative to their overall performance.  This was a really smart show with some powerful principles for any athlete or coach who wants to navigate the weight room without harming elastic power outputs. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage Timestamps and Main Points 4:40 Pat’s history of athletics and his recent thoughts in regards to normalizing weight room outputs across a variety of athletes with different heights and levers 30:40 Implications of athletes who “over-lift” in dynamic outputs and what physiological elements are playing a role in diminished movement abilities 35:30 Expansion and compression rules in regards to the movement of the human body 44:30 From a rib-cage perspective, what happens when the body becomes too compressed from a front-to-back perspective that often happens from excessive bilateral lifting 51:00 My personal journey in barbell squatting and Pat’s analysis of my tendencies towards compressive forces that allowed me to retain my elasticity well (and how I ended up hurting that elasticity later on) 1:12.10 How to work with athletes with substantial anterio-posterior compression to get into becoming more elastic and robust “Who measures the distance (of a lift), nobody measures the distance.  It’s half of the equation of work” “You get punished in many ways, in the reward system of the weight room.  If you go full range, and have to use less weight, that’s a “punishment”.  If you have to do less reps, that’s a “punishment”.” “You are going to want to make progress so much (in the weight room) you will lie to yourself (by subtly cheating lifts)” “You can recognize people that have done a tremendous amount of strength training; it’s visually obvious.  Watch wrestlers or bodybuilders go out for a jog.  The whole body turns like a refrigerator” “Movement goes older than biology, it’s pre-biological.
Nov 05, 2020
226: Brandon Byrd on Rotating Sprint Variations for Huge Speed and Performance PB’s | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s podcast features speed and strength coach Brandon Byrd.  Brandon Byrd is the owner of Byrd’s Sports Performance in Orefield, Pennsylvania.  Brandon is an alumni of the University of Pittsburgh and has learned from elite coaches such as Louie Simmons, Charlie Francis, Buddy Morris and others. Brandon’s unique blend of rotating training stimuli, and his competitive, PR driven environment has elicited noteworthy speed, power and strength gains in his athletes. If you follow Brandon on social media, you’ll see the regular occurrence of sprint and jump records from his athletes.  Brandon has some of the highest-output training out there in his ability to cultivate speed and strength. I always enjoy digging into the training of elite coaches, into the nuts and bolts that drives their systems.  Some of the running themes on this show have been ideas such as the rotation of big training stimuli from week to week (such as in EP 190 with Grant Fowler), the power of resisted sprinting (EP 12 and 63 with JB Morin and Cameron Josse), overspeed sprinting (EP 51 with Chris Korfist), and then the power of competition and PR’s (EP 135 with Tony Holler). This episode with coach Brandon Byrd truly brings all of those elements together in a way that gets some of the best training results you’ll find.  On today’s podcast, Brandon goes into the core of his system, and how he rotates his sprint efforts based on the needs of the athlete, to get the most out of their system.  He also goes into his background with Westside Barbell, and the elements he learned from Louie Simmons that go into his training, as well as strength pre-requisites he carries for his athletes to optimize their readiness for the strength and speed program. (Note that when Brandon is talking about fly 10’s he is talking yards, not meters) Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage Timestamps and Main Points 5:00 Brandon’s main influences in athletic performance and speed training 11:30 How principles of West-side Barbell training show up in Brandon’s sprint training system 22:45 How Brandon rotates uphill and downhill sprinting to blast personal bests in speed 29:30 How Brandon uses wickets in context of his speed and sprint training 39:30 Concepts in using resisted sprinting, as well as jump training in Brandon’s program 45:20 More specifics on how Brandon rotates and progresses his speed and sprint training throughout the training year, and also how he modulates this for stride length, vs. stride frequency style athletes 58:50 What Brandon’s weekly sprint setup looks like for athletes 1:07.20 The power of “PR”s in Brandon’s system and how that feeds into his entire training session “Once you can control 90% of the force-velocity curve, you can create great athletes” “I don’t think the FMS is a great thing, because when you are sitting statically and not under high forces or high loads, everyone is going to look great, but once you are high speeds in sprinting, or high loads in lifting, you are going to see some weaknesses” “I believe your technique in sprinting is determined by your weaknesses… once you fix their weaknesses, then it is easier to fix technique” “Glute, hamstring, and opposite QL, those must fire explosively and fast, and they all must be strong… when I start an athlete, the first thing I do test is that QL” “In my gym, if you can’t do so much in a 45 degree hyperextension, I can’t put a bar on your back” “The body is scared to go faster… it hates change, so you have to force change by changing modalities… regular sprinting can’t do all those things (in context of using uphill, downhill and resisted sprinting to help break barriers)” “65-75% of the kids I get are heel strikers; they have to run fo...
Oct 29, 2020
225: Kevin Foster and Grant Fowler on Updated Non-Linear Training Methods for High-Powered Athleticism | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s podcast features Grant Fowler and Kevin Foster. Kevin Foster is a former NCAA DI javelin thrower training for the 2021 Olympic trials.  He is the owner of the Javelin Anatomy Instagram page, a regular writer for Just Fly Sports, and was the guest on episode #164. of the podcast. Grant Fowler is the owner of Fowler Fitness in The Woodlands, Texas.  Grant works as a private training and online performance consultant and specializes in program design and injury prevention.  Grant is a different thinker who has a distinctive “non-linear” and adaptable style to his training program design and previously appeared on episode #190 of the podcast. In one of my recent chats with Kevin, he mentioned how his training for javelin had exploded in his time working under the GPP programming of Grant Fowler.  As we chatted about on episode #190, Grant has a rotating-PR version of training for performance, and uses a unique non-linear style in his work.  Kevin’s strength and athleticism reached new levels using this method, and so on the podcast today, we dig into some of the specifics and philosophies that went into building Kevin’s training program. In addition to Kevin’s training for javelin throwing, we also get into some great discussion on mobility training, training holism and reductionism, general strength and capacity, and much more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage Timestamps and Main Points 6:20 What Kevin Foster has been learning in regards to the importance and specifics of what a general foundation should look like for an athlete, and the negative aspects of skipping this type of work in favor of maximal power work too soon in a system 12:20 How much mobility do athletes really, truly need in their programs? 14:20 The possibility of looking at training “too” holistically, and never doing any specific isolated work to approach weak points 24:20 Ideas on time spent actually working on one’s maximal strength capabilities, and then how rotating those movements fits into continual progress with less effort 33:20 How Kevin’s training progress exploded while utilizing Grant’s training system in regards to lift strength and short-approach javelin throws 41:20 How Grant structured Kevin’s training program utilizing a rotation of maximal effort lifts, and any adjustments that have come in since last program 56:20 Ideas on individualizing workouts on a day in favor of athletes being able to make PR’s and create incremental progress 1:00.35 How to taper in a program where you have a non-linear progression 1:04.50 Kevin’s take on getting the needed general tools to achieve the highest specific mastery in sport, and considerations on where too much focus on maximal strength could potentially be a drawback 1:15.50 Grant’s two favorite recovery modalities for athletes “We go straight into these programs that revolve around powerlifting and Olympic lifting, max vertical jumps, velocity-based training, this that and the other, but we ignore the foundation of isolated joint mobility, getting your hips moving, spine moving, spinal segmentation” Foster “There are some people who look at training, almost too holistically.  There was a point in time when it was almost too reductionist” Fowler “I think that stretching goes hand in hand with relaxation, and too many athletes have the ability to turn off their muscles.  Relaxation is the single most under-appreciated elements of athleticism out there right now” Foster “We maximal strength train people for 20-30 minutes, maybe at the most, and in-between that we are doing a lot of other things” Fowler “When I go in the gym, it’s easy to pick an exercise, pick a rep scheme you haven’t done in a while,
Oct 22, 2020
224: Michelle Boland and Tim Richardt on A Modern Approach to Exercise Categorization and Transfer in S&C | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s podcast features Dr. Michelle Boland and Dr. Tim Richardt, speaking on the topic of exercise categorization and classification, as well as the process of selecting and integrating gym training movements based on the specific needs of athletes and clients. Michelle Boland is the owner of michelleboland-training.com and has several years of professional experience as an NCAA DI strength coach working with nationally ranked teams, and a wide variety of sports. Michelle is a leader in the integration of concepts rooted in the work of PRI and Bill Hartman into practical sports performance application.  Michelle has appeared previously on this podcast on episode #108 speaking on functional performance training based on PRI ideals and more. (You can grab Michelle’s “Resource Road Map”, a compilation of the best resources in the fitness industry for free at michelleboland-training.com/resource-road-map) Tim Richardt is a physical therapist and CSCS who has been a competitive runner and strength training junkie since the age of 14.  Tim has an awesome blend on knowledge on all things running, rehab, gait, and strength training principles.  Tim’s personal journey through injury and rehabilitation, including 2 hip surgeries, has given him unique insight into effective long-term resolution of overuse injuries among endurance and strength athletes. In traditional strength and conditioning and fitness models, we tend to have things like “squat”, “hinge”, “push”, “pull”, and perhaps several other movements, based on our preference, when working with athletes.  Although the “old-school” classification certainly serves to facilitate a general balance of forces and muscle groups, we can improve our process even further by understanding how the human body works in gait and dynamic movement, and then reverse-engineer our exercise selection from there.  When our movement execution processes can match gaps, or reinforce strengths in running, jumping, throwing and sport movement technique, we can eliminate guess work and give our clients, and/or ourselves, greater results. On today’s show, Michelle and Tim speak on the evolution of their training processes and how they classify movements in the gym.  We get heavily into running as a specific example, and how to reverse engineer training movements based on run technique.  We also finish with chatting on how Michelle and Tim continue to integrate the “big lifts” into their programs, and what adjustments they have made in the versions of those lifts that stick with them in their training schemes. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage Timestamps and Main Points 5:20 Michelle and Tim’s recent modes of exercise and training and what they have learned from them 9:20 How Tim has been incorporating “one arm running” into his training and coaching routines 15:00 Tim and Michelle’s journey of evolving the lifts they utilized 20:50 What role do the big lifts still play in Michelle and Tim’s program, in light of other evolving categorizations 35:15 What starting point do Tim and Michelle go from when constructing a strength program for performance (for running specifically) 45:50 Adjusting the lifts in a program based on biomechanical running goals of the athlete 58:40 How a performance-driven session for Michelle goes in light of the big lifts and a modern idea on exercise classification “We need to get out of these gross (exercise) categorizations that have really come from other sports (powerlifting, Olympic lifting)” Boland “There is a difference between fitness and movement” Boland “I think there is a huge benefit to bilateral lifts because we can hit them as a high intensity stimulus and maintain that over time, and then use split stance,
Oct 15, 2020
223: Charlie Reid on a Learner-Centered Approach to Performance and Dissolving the Term of “Corrective Exercise” | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s podcast features personal trainer, massage therapist and musician, Charlie Reid. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area for 8 years of my life brought with it the opportunity to meet and learn from many wonderful and knowledgeable coaches and trainers.  One of those that I met was Charlie, who I met at Pat Davidson’s “Rethinking the Big Patterns” seminar. Charlie and I later were able to both spend time at Kezar stadium learning sprint and movement philosophy from Adarian Barr, while having plenty of conversations on training. Charlie is one of the smartest and wisest coaches that you may not know.  His base of knowledge is massive, as well as the range of those coaches and systems he has spent time learning from.  If there is a system of thought out there in the world of movement and human performance, there is a good chance Charlie has experience with it.  Charlie is not only a strength coach, but also a certified massage practitioner, and spent years as a professional musician. On the podcast today, Charlie helps us “zoom out” our views on things like stretching, corrective exercise and motor learning.  At the core of our chat today is an extended discussion on the redundancy of the term “corrective exercise” and how to look at the body in a manner that leaves us wondering what truly needs to be corrected.  We also get into a learner-centered approach, and how facilitating that approach may differ from working from novices, up to more advanced athletes. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage Timestamps and Main Points 5:50 What Charlie learned from a silent meditation retreat, and what he learned from that in regards to exercise and the body 9:50 The relationship between long isometric holds, fatigue and heart rate variability 17:00 Charlie’s experience with the Egoscue method, and what good could possibly come from holding a passive stretch for such a long period of time 23:20 Ideas on Feldenkrais and the body’s ability to heal itself, as well as teaching individuals to help themselves as the highest order priority in coaching 36:05 Charlie’s take on corrective work and rehab based on a learner-centered approach versus a structured approach 48:05 How being a massage and body-worker has helped Charlie to acquire a better understanding of the body and how to train individuals 57:20 How Charlie puts together a rehab/training program based on common principles and concepts 1:01:20 Where respiration and breathing has landed for Charlie and how he integrates it “As soon as we get the slightest bit of discomfort, we cringe up, and tighten up, instead of softening around the pain” “I wonder if you could look at someone’s HRV score, and correlate that with their ability to tolerate long isometrics” “Two of the most common reasons why bodies get better is novelty and graded exposure” “Feldenkrais never told you what to do, you got to come up with your own solutions, that is the highest level” “When you give constraints for a beginner, maybe it’s better to create more structure first” “The consumer really drives (which coach) gets the dollars, and that’s really frustrating (in light of a “position driven” versus “learner driven” approach to training)” “I’m less and less a fan of “corrective” exercise, it’s kind of a popular word, I know language is important, but I don’t know if we are correcting anything.  They are low-force, inner directed mindful exercises to generate some awareness around something” “I’m always asking the questions, say you are doing a side-clam for your glute medius, but show me where that goes, show me where that’s eventually going to lead to” “I don’t love the term “corrective exercise”, it’s all just gradations of movement”
Oct 08, 2020
222: Ty Terrell on Practical Speed, Squat and Core Training Methods for High Athletic Transfer | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s podcast welcomes coach Ty Terrell.  Ty is currently an NBA physical preparation coach and has a wealth of experience ranging from training athletes out of a garage, to coaching high school basketball, to being mentored by some of the top professionals in the coaching industry.  Individuals such as Lee Taft, Bill Hartman, and Mike Robertson have fostered in Ty a unique and powerful perspective on blending gym-training methods with athletic biomechanics and outputs. A running theme of this show has been using gym training methods to cater to the organic manner by which athletes live and move, rather than working against it.  In a recent episode, #220, Kyle Dobbs talked about “hingy, knees-out squats” and the cascade of negative effects these brought out in the athletic population.  Personally, I had loads of elasticity in my teens and early 20’s, but I slowly started to lose the “elastic monster” by starting to train “by the book” according to current strength and conditioning methods and protocols. This show (and podcast in general) is about winning that elastic power back.  Ty Terrell starts off by sharing some of the key points he learned in his beginnings as a coach under Lee Taft in regards to training athlete speed and movement.  From there, we transition into all things squatting, and the load-unload, “expand-compress” paradigm that has come out of the work and ideas of Bill Hartman, and how this relates to athletic movement on the court or field of play.  We finish with some practical ideas on how to make trunk and core training highly transferable, and represent the movement principles we want to embody in our total-body athletic movements. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:00 Ty’s start with Lee Taft, and some cornerstone teachings he has learned from Lee that have kept with him in his coaching 10:45 How to use bands and resistance to create lines of force on an athlete that can help them use joints better, or get into desired athletic positions 23:45 Approaching elite athletes versus youth in regards to training their sport movement ability 34:00 Questions on general versus any sort of specific skill movement training for a professional athlete 41:45 How athletic movement works in light of the expansion and compression of the pelvic floor, and the body in general 57:30 The effect of overly “hinging” every lift, and how a state of anterior tilt reduces aerobic capacity and even muscular compliance and elasticity 1:06.30 Reflexive core training and experiences to help athletes train their trunk and pelvis in a manner that reflects load and explode paradigms “When I started, it was important that Lee made me be a coach first (before the standard “textbook” learning)” “As long as you have forward momentum, it’s OK not to be perfect today” “Those are the three things that you are looking at in a single motion in athletics: Can you achieve the position, can you produce the force you need to in the time you need to, and can you do it in the context of the situation” “If you get a 10-year old, they are pretty compliant.  They don’t have years of physical stress to let compensatory strategies come into play” “With the younger kids, you don’t necessarily have to focus on power to improve power because they are just improving everything” “It’s the simple stuff (the pro athlete) doesn’t do well (such as a basic squat pattern), because they never had to… I’ll say this, it’s the fundamentals that save pro athletes” “How many times can you do near-max efforts before your body can’t handle it, and says, “I need to cheat somehow”” “The number one thing I find (the NBA population) needs is the ability to squat.
Oct 01, 2020
221: Christian Thibaudeau on Omni-Rep Training for Speed-Power Athletes | Sponsored By SimpliFaster
Today’s podcast welcomes back coach Christian Thibaudeau to the podcast.  Christian has been a strength coach for nearly 2 decades, working with athletes from nearly 30 sports.  He has written four books and has pioneered multiple educational courses, including the Neuro-typing system, which goes in-depth on how to train athletes in the weight room (and beyond) based on their own individual dispositions. Christian has been a 4-time prior guest on the podcast, and is a true wealth of information.  Our recent episode, #208, had lots of great information about the topic of adrenaline as an over-training marker, as well as how to manage this hormone in the course of programming and the workout session.  One thing that I had hoped to cover on that episode, but missed out on due to time constraints, was to get into Christian’s take on using the 3-muscle phases (concentric, isometric, eccentric) in training athletes. Emphasizing various muscle phases in training is certainly nothing new.  My own training design for athletes is often based on a hybrid of 14-day squat cycles, along with elements of the “Triphasic Training” system.  Christian has been using rep-style emphasis in his programming for two decades, and has loads of practical ideas and training examples that can help us get a better understanding of these methods.  You won’t find a more comprehensive episode out there on training using various contraction types than this one, as well as how each type fits into the individual characteristics and response of each athlete. Finally, although not required, I’d recommend you check out episode 77 with Christian, which is a tremendous overview of the 5 different types of athlete according to their response and preference to training means and methods. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 7:20 Why Christian is not going to write a book on golf training 14:05 Christian’s views on “alternative” forms of training, i.e. bodyweight, gymnastics, macebells, etc. 18:05 How the emphasis of “omni-reps” change when working with athletes vs. general population, and those simply interested in increasing strength and muscle size 24:20 How to approach hypertrophy training for athletes in regards to the neural intensity of exercises 30:35 Using all three types of muscle contractions in the same training week, versus using a single-mode and changing it every 2-3 weeks 39:20 Why you don’t need to train all three types of contractions to the same degree, in advanced athletes, versus novice and intermediate athletes 49:50 Particular phase of contraction methods that are most effective in regards to the three phases of muscle contraction 58:20 Dosage of advanced lifting methods in regards to adrenaline and neuro-type of the athlete 1:22.20 How plyometrics can complement or replace other phase-training methods in the process of the training cycle “I have a lot of respect for strength coaches working with rotational athletes, it’s a very big challenge” “Sometimes we do pure isometrics, but most of the time we do stato-dynamic contractions, which means we include pauses at various positions of the rep” “With average people just wanting to look better, I moved more towards a body-part, antagonistic split (chest-biceps one day/quad-hamstring another day); the main difference is that with average people who just want to gain muscle, we train all three contractions in the same workout” “The reason (for not doing all three modes of contraction in the same workout) is that athletes do other stuff than lifting; they are going to be sprinting, doing conditioning and practicing their sport.  You want to keep neurological resources available you do not want to burn out your adregenergic rec...
Sep 24, 2020
220: Kyle Dobbs on Redeeming Internal Rotation in the Gym for Elastic Athletic Performance | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s podcast features coach and consultant, Kyle Dobbs.  Kyle is the owner and founder of Compound Performance which offers online training, facility consulting, and a personal trainer mentorship. Kyle has trained 15,000+ sessions and has experienced substantial success as a coach and educator.  Kyle has an extensive biomechanics and human movement background which he integrates into his gym prescriptions to help athletes achieve their fullest movement, and transferable strength potential.  He reaches thousands of coaches regularly through his Instagram account where he offers practical movement solutions in the gym to help people get stronger in context of how we are meant to move as humans. One of the topics that I am most passionate about in training is in regards to why in the world athletes can increase their strength outputs in the gym, but become slower and lose elasticity in things such as jumping in the process.  I tend to see athletic outcomes of barbell strength tools as a sliding scale of increased performance due to increased power outputs and increased tissue strength, and then potentially decreased performance due to the body adapting to the needs of moving a heavy external object, and being coached to do so in a way that works against the gait cycle.  This topic of the gait cycle and squatting/lifting is what this show is all about. In today’s episode, Kyle goes in-depth on all things squatting and the gait cycle, and offers real-world solutions to help athletes lift weights, as per the needs of one who needs to sprint, jump, cut and hit.  Kyle also lays out helpful ideas on how to restore internal rotation abilities in those athletes in need of this vital element of movement.  At the end of this show, you’ll know the crucial mechanical differences between back squatting and front squatting, powerlifting squats, and Olympic squats, that make a real difference on our biomechanics and transfer to athleticism. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage.   Timestamps and Main Points 4:00 How doing manual labor and playing one’s sport through high school led Kyle to being more athletic than improving his squat and deadlift in college and becoming slower 7:00 How starting running again after spending years training primarily lifting and gym training has gone for Kyle, and what goes through Kyle’s mind in his run training 12:20 Thoracic dynamics, breathing and run performance concepts 24:15 Kyle’s evolution in the big axially loaded lifts, and their relationship to gait and reciprocal human movement 32:20 Internal and external femur rotation mechanics in squatting, and how hinging-squats have a negative effect on internal rotation capabilities for athletes 39:50 Distinguishing between “good” knees in, and “bad” knees in during a squat, based on adduction and internal rotation mechanics 46:30 Kyle’s taking on intentionally squeezing the glutes at the top of a squat 50:35 Reasons that you usually see Olympic lifters knees “clicking in” when coming up from the bottom of a squat, versus what you tend to see in a powerlifter 1:01:35 General principles in exercise selection and execution regarding squatting with athletes 1:04:50 Functional coaching points in unilateral training exercises 1:06:50 How to restore femoral internal rotation in athletes who are lacking it “I’m someone who for the last 5 or 6 years has done almost exclusively weight training, so getting back into unilateral reciprocal and trying to find femur IR, has been fun” “I think more about respiration (when running)” “As someone who has been doing a lot of bilateral, kind of more supinated based lifting, it is hard for me to get “inside edge” without consciously thinking about it”
Sep 17, 2020
219: Leo Ryan on Marathons with Zero Run Training and the Power of Breath Training for Athletic Performance and Mental Clarity | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s podcast features performance coach and breathing specialist, Leo Ryan. Leo is the founder of Innate-Strength.com. He has studied athletic training, health and breathing since he healed himself of asthma in 2004. Leo has achieved a prolific amount of education in human performance and breathwork.  He has attained multiple diplomas and certificates from many elite personal training, physical therapy and breathing schools including Dip. Buteyko Method, Wim Hof Instructor, Oxygen Advantage Master Instructor, Fascial Stretch Therapist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Pilates teacher. Leo’s love and experience for health and physical performance has seen him research more than 70 breathing techniques, mentor with coaches to Olympians, UFC Fighters and World Champions. Breathing is truly on the top of the totem pole when it comes to our day to day health and well-being (we take around 20,000 breaths per day).  It has a massive impact on our mental state, as well as the physiology of the body, in addition to its implications for athletic performance.  We can run longer, recover faster, and gain enhanced mind-body states through simple breathing drills, as well as becoming more educated on the topic. Today’s show was longer than average, largely because the concept of performance breathing is so expansive, and we as a coaching community, generally don’t approach it in much depth.  Often times we are just told to belly breathe, or nose breathe, and leave it at that.  In this show, Leo covers all aspects of our breath, including nose breathing versus mouth breathing for performance, breathing as a readiness assessment, performance versus recovery breathing, diaphragm release techniques, and much more (including his experience in running a marathon, and recovering from it extremely well, despite ZERO run training).  This is yet another “staple” episode, as it truly covers this intersection of health, well-being, and athlete performance in the topic of the breath. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:30 Leo’s story of running a marathon on zero run training through optimal breath work and breathing techniques 16:30 Training repeat versus short sprint ability with nose versus mouth breathing 19:30 The importance of an aerobic base for the majority of athletes, and how breathing plays into this base 24:30 Why breathing and breath training is so under-appreciated by many coaches and individuals in training 29:30 How Leo uses breathing as a readiness assessment as opposed to HRV 43:15 Leo’s battle with asthma, and how that led him to studying breathing and breath for athletic performance enhancement 53:10 What people should be able to do with their breath, and “hardware” issues that could hold back the ability to breathe well 1:00:20 Breath training in context of a typical gym session with Leo 1:05:00 The link between breathing, adrenaline, and recovery times in training 1:15:00 Tensioning the body through breathing for improved power application 1:23:30 Methods to restore the function of the diaphragm “If I really wanted to perform in marathon, and hit a PB, and I trained for it fully, I wouldn’t mouth-tape (nose breathe)” “We know that pure mouth breathing will burn more sugar than nasal breathing” “Unless you are a pure power sport like Olympic weightlifting, a powerlifting type sport, you do want a decent aerobic base to you” “The benefits of breath training is all about recovery; for me, it is the main recovery modality, it’s where it all starts” “You don’t want oxygen just in the blood, you want it in the cell” “There are psychological aspects to breathing as well” “I only use HRV now with people who are not tuned into thei...
Sep 10, 2020
218: Matt Cooper on Fascial Systems, Proprioception and the Human Performance Engine | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features performance coach and nutritionist, Matt Cooper.  Matt has been a multi-time podcast guest and writer on Just Fly Sports, and trains athletes and individuals out of his gym in Los Angeles, California.  Matt is a bright young coach who has encapsulated many of the training concepts from top coaches, nutritionists, and human performance specialists, into his own system which keeps the athlete operating in proper neurological and fascial harmony. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed observing in the work that Matt is doing is his incorporation of the work pioneered by Marv Marinovich and Jay Schroeder, into his own training design.  The combination of proprioception, reaction, and neurological emphasis is something that creates explosive and adaptive athletes, with a priority on the function of the body, rather than a priority on lifting a barbell max at all costs (and when you respect the nervous system in training, you tend to get improved lifting numbers without the neurological cost that comes from hammering away at bilateral sagittal plane lifts). Recently, a few arenas of training that Matt has been working through that I found particularly intriguing, were his thoughts on training the fascial system, as well as a recent article of his defending proprioceptive training, when we define its role in the training process correctly.  For today’s podcast, Matt talks about the role of the fascial system in human movement, as well as its importance in regards to training in light of exercise selection.  Matt also talks about proprioceptive training, its role in light of the greater training process, and practical exercises for training both the proprioceptive and fascial systems. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 6:15 What training the fascial system means to Matt 16:15 Methods to engage the fascial system appropriately in training 24:45 Reasons that barbell squatting can cause neurological irritants to high-performance athletics over time 37:35 Training movements that can improve tensegrity in the body and fascial function 46:15 How Matt programs Olympic lifting and Keiser/Supercat machines, in respect to the feet and fascial dynamics 53:15 The value of proprioceptive and dynamic balance work in training and performance “The fascia being well-wound together is not just an injury prevention concept, but the fascia being well-woven together like a basket, that actually helps store, transfer and release elastic energy effortlessly” “(In a powerlifting squat) the athlete’s fascia has to revolve around the bar path” “If the fascia is adapting around these big compound movements, and they are the centerpiece of our training, then we are sort of adapting athletes neuro-myo-fascially to be sagittal movers, and not everything else” “You can do corrective exercises in a way that get the neuro-myo-fascial segments of the body well-orchestrated” “The main emphasis of our training is one that respects natural biomechanics” “You are setting off a completely different muscle firing pattern by having someone squat off the heel; and the heaviest load is going to happen at the joint angle that is most compromised” “The engine of the car in humans is a lot more horizontal, it’s push-pull; this is the engine that really drives the car, and if you really (axially) stack the body, chances are you are not going to see that turn into more fluid movement” “If I’m doing a little too much sagittal lifting, the movement is too much about the bar and the bar path, and the athlete has to mechanically adapt around that load” “I’ve been having my guys do Olympic lifts, pretty much all off the forefoot” “The bread and butter should not be the pure sagittal...
Sep 03, 2020
217: Brett Bartholomew on Communication, Human Dynamics and the Evolution of Coaching in Sport | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features performance coach, author, and speaker, Brett Bartholomew.  Brett is the founder of “Art of Coaching™”, which works with corporations in the financial and tech sector, medical professionals, military, as well as professional sporting organizations to enhance their leadership ability through improved communication and understanding of human behavior.  Brett is the author of the best-selling book “Conscious Coaching”, and has spoken worldwide on performance and communication topics.  Brett has served as a performance coach for a diverse range of athletes, ranging from youth to Olympians, those in nearly every professional sport, as well as those in the U.S. Special Forces and Fortune 500 companies. Coaching is a rapidly evolving field.  Strength coaches must grow in a multi-disciplinary manner on a variety of levels to stay competitive and serve athletes better.  Sport skill coaches cannot simply use the same rigid cues and drill sets and methods that their coach used on them.  Rather, a thorough understanding of human learning and psychology, a more holistic model must be found to facilitate the optimal technical and tactical development of the athlete. Brett Bartholomew has evolved greatly in his time as a coach, and his diverse coaching background has given him the means to see a large problem in the field: A lack of education, skills, and emphasis in general on communication and understanding of human behavior.  Being a better communicator means acquiring better buy-in, more effort, and more enjoyment on the part of those we are coaching, and there are a lot of means by which we can improve in this arena as coaches.  On today’s show, Brett talks about why communication has been under-emphasized in coaching (despite its importance) how improving in this area can improve athlete outputs, as well as practices and exercises that coaches can utilize to improve their own leadership and communication abilities. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 3:30 Key moments in Brett’s evolution as a coach, and his drive towards an emphasis on communication in learning 11:45 Why communication is under-emphasized in most coach education programs, and why coaches are often blind to their own coaching communication abilities 20:40 Concrete outcomes of better communication on the level of the coach and athlete 26:10 How improving one’s communication can help one’s evolution as a coach and leader 38:00 Impression management in life, as well as in the coaching profession 44:10 Types of activities that can make a coach better in a chaotic environment “Most leaders at companies at high level organizations are making decisions with less than 70% of the information that they need” “Athletes are people first… you have to show varying levels of yourself, building buy in requires you to get on the level of other people” “Why do we think we are so good at communication when so few people get evaluated (in communication)” “We think that just because we value getting information a certain way, that other people value that way as well” “When the foundation of coaching is communicating with others, and knowing how to translate literally and metaphorically what you mean to broader audience, and you can’t do that, something has gone wrong” “You need to be able to tune your message into different frequencies” “If you are a better communicator, you are going to get more out of people” “Success with high performance environments is not just about managing an athlete’s training, it’s about managing the athlete themselves, and their environment” “There’s 5-6 forms of various impression management tactics people use, and once you know them,
Aug 27, 2020
216: Paul Cater on Flow, Rhythm and Awareness: Exploring the Training Session as a Mirror to Sport and Beyond | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features coach Paul Cater, speaking on his holistic approach to athlete training sessions.  Paul has pioneered a way of training that makes the session a heightened experience on multiple levels, versus a scripted “to-do” list. Paul is the owner of the Alpha Project, a gym in Salinas, California.  He has worked with a wide variety of athletes, from those at the highest professional level in pro Rugby (London Wasps) and pro Baseball (Baltimore Orioles), to local youth sport athletes, as well as those in the general population in a wide variety of age ranges.  Paul has lived and trained athletes internationally and has a wide swath of cultural experience.  He has been a “partial episode” guest of the podcast on episode #197, where he discussed the art of story-telling in the training session, as well as a return to the importance of sprinting as a cornerstone movement in his years of coaching.  Paul has also written a number of impactful articles on Just Fly Sports over the years on the level of taking the “robotic” elements out of sport preparation and bringing in a holistic, thoughtful, aware, and “human” form of coaching. Of all the individuals who have had an impact on my coaching and training, I don’t think I can say anyone has had more of an impact on how I run my training sessions than Paul Cater.  Paul has taught me the art of bringing life and energy into a training session, and as well as using a combination of training methods and environment to be completely in the moment of the training itself.  Through my own observation of, and training with Paul, I have gained insight that can make a training session really come to life in the same manner that sport, or a powerful life experience, does. On the show today, Paul will talk about his philosophy on the flow of a training session, and how his unique model presents athletes the opportunity to grow on multiple levels (awareness, vulnerability, rhythm, variable work modes, etc.).  He’ll get into the “nuts and bolts” of awareness practices, music selection, rhythmic development, and much more.  This is a unique and essential episode, and one that has the potential to really transform one’s coaching practice in a positive way. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:35 How life-threatening situations can create unique mind-body physical stimuli 11:05 Looking at the rhythm and flow of a training session, and how all pieces must work together to create a more optimal session 24:20 How Paul invokes awareness with his athletes at the beginning of a session, and how he helps them turn on a switch to enter the training state 32:05 Vulnerability in a training session and how it contributes to the total development of an athlete 38:40 Rhythm development, and the creative usage of music and dance elements in a training session 58:55 Other key elements Paul works to incorporate in his training session 1:02:05 How the workout changes and filters into the primary strength training element of the training day “These kids, it’s like they are adrenaline junkies, they have to have this massive hype, or musical element (to train)… creating an experience of a deep introspective state, all the way to the collective experience of competition, there is a whole spectrum there” “You have to create a natural awareness of rhythm, and melody, tuning, so to speak, at the beginning of a session” “Are the kids going through quiet time, before the hype time.  It’s hard to sell rest time” “That’s what’s going to limit injuries going forward is knowing athletes beyond a data point or a typical analytic.  It’s a courageous path, I think, to really have a comprehensive program at any level”
Aug 20, 2020
215: Chris Korfist on New Advances in Sprint Training and Mind-Body Concepts in Athletics | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features speed coach and human performance expert, Chris Korfist.  Chris is a multi-time guest on the podcast and is back for a solo-interview show where he gets into his recent developments in speed training, as well as a great conversation about mind-body concepts and their relationship to sport, and even life itself. Chris Korfist has been a high school coach in track and football for almost 30 years, with more than 80 All-State athletes.  He owns the “Slow Guy Speed School” that helps develop athletes ranging from World Champion to middle school. He has consulted with professional sports teams all over the world, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, and Rugby League, and is an advisor for Auckland University of Technology’s SPRINZ.  Chris also co-owns the Track Football Consortium, and co-founded Reflexive Performance Reset. It is always good to sit down and just have a great sprinting/speed conversation, as in so many ways, speed is a universal concept to us as human beings, regardless of our exact sport or movement practice.  Sprinting represents the highest coordination demand output that the human body can do, and improvements in maximal sprint velocity are some of the hardest earned in training, but also some of the most rewarding.  Chris has been on several of my podcasts in the last few years, but we haven’t had a true “speed training” talk since our first episode together around 4 years ago. In addition to some great novel concepts on speed training covered on this show (such as asymmetrical sprint training and shin-drop methods), Chris also gets into a topic that may be more powerful and relevant for many athletes than particular speed training methods (although we want to do them all well), which is the power of the mind to impact posture, power outputs, sport skill, and attitudes of the opposing team.  If you get all of the speed training right, but get posture and confidence wrong, one’s highest potential will never be reached. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 13:35 Updates and new ideas in Chris’s sprint program the last several years 26:05 Foot training, and how subtle variability can make a big impact on exercise outputs and effects 32:05 Using resisted sprint training to help technical elements, such as shin drop 40:25 Why Chris changed over from straight-leg bounding/primetimes into preferring flexed-leg bounding/flexed-leg primetimes 43:45 Mind-Body Training: The story behind saying “I am the Greatest!” before doing a sprint or jump, etc. and improving performance substantially 55:05 Mirroring in athletic performance “I think in the (bent-knee primetime) position, it is going to be more appropriate to changing the lever, loading the ankle, and getting a more realistic toe-position (than a straight-leg primetime)” “Where you walk on your knees and you try to crush your calf to your hamstring… that’s a great exercise (for sprinting)… We wear the LILA calf sleeves when we do those to bring the focus on picking the shin up” “It’s a monster of a workout, when you just put weights on one (LILA) sleeve… you can put it on the same arm, same leg, and now it’s a huge core challenge” “If I’m slowing down one leg, the other leg has to go faster” “Kids would run faster fly 10’s when we put the (LILA) sleeve on one side” “Change your toe position and do the (lateral line hop) and it’s a completely different exercise.  The slightest variation in your limbs completely change what the exercise is.  You are changing slack, distances, recruitment patterns, fascial patterns, and all that” “I started pulling kids out of the start.  So I am focusing on, do I have time to get that shin down if that’s really what I’m focusing on”
Aug 13, 2020
214: Scot Prohaska on Total Athlete Development, Leadership, and The Six Lanes of High Performance | Sponsored by SimpliFaster.com
Today’s episode features athletic performance coach, Scot Prohaska.  Scot is distinguished as a nationally recognized sports and executive performance consultant.  Scot runs his performance center out of Los Angeles, California, and works with a wide range of athletes, from professionals and Olympians at the highest level, to scholastic athletes. Scot has traveled across the globe studying with leading experts in exercise physiology, kinesiology, physical therapy, biomechanics, strength, conditioning, nutrition, mental and emotional focus, as well as strength.  Through his years of coaching, and learning from leaders in multiple fields, Scot has developed the “Six Lanes of High Performance”, which is a holistic view at looking at all elements that go into being an athlete (not just the physical element).  Scot’s athletes not only find success on the field, but are impacted by his work on a holistic level, and often achieve positions of leadership in their subsequent athletic, and life, endeavors. As I’ve gone further along in physical preparation/athletic performance, I’ve truly realized that there is much more to offer athletes than simply increasing their 1-rep maxes in lifts, or even trying to increase KPI metrics, such as sprint ability or jump height.  These improvements are enjoyable to attain, but I’ve noticed that they don’t always transfer to winning on the field.  Through looking to other elements of athletics, such as the mental-emotional side, perceptual and visual ability, and recovery to name a few, we can offer athletes so much more than simply the ability to increase their muscular strength, and even physical outputs. On today’s show, Scot will cover some of his key mentors and life experiences that brought him to his current view of sport performance.  He’ll cover the “6 Lanes of High Performance” (Psychology, Sensory Motor, Technical, Tactical, Physical Preparation, Recovery, and Restoration) and get into these distinguishing traits of high performers, as well as how he assesses and trains those traits in his own athletes.  He also gets into the 11 leadership tenets he teaches, which have powerful effects on not only the success of the individual as a part of a team, but also into life beyond sport. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 4:45 Defining moments in Scot’s career as an athlete and young coach that led him to where he is today 8:15 What success in sport really means to Scot 12:15 Some major mentors in Scot’s coaching process 16:25 An overview of the “six lanes” of performance and why they are important 32:40 The importance of universal distinctions for key facets of behavioral and emotional traits in athletes 35:55 How an experience in Scot’s facility, in relation to the 6 lanes, unfolds 43:35 The results of the “six lanes” in regards to high rates of leadership and sport captain position acquisition of Scot’s former athletes 47:00 Digging into the elements of leadership in Scot’s system, particularly that of ambition in athletes 59:40 How to teach/cultivate innovation in a weight room style setting 1.04:40 How Scott cultivates optimal communication in his training groups “If you are living your dream, you are feeling fulfilled, then that is success to me.  Enjoying the daily optimal experience seems to be sustainable to me.” “Where I’ve really found immense value (in behavior chance, sport psychology, leadership and team cohesion) is Special Forces training” “It starts with self-regulation in three domains: the physical (can you push through difficult physical conditions), the mental (can they stay focused), and then there’s the emotional (can they shift into the right emotion at the right time)” “When you change behaviors you see a lot of things change physically,
Aug 06, 2020
213: Austin Jochum on Bringing the Training Session to Life: A Creative and Transferable Approach to Athletic Development | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features strength and athletic movement coach Austin Jochum.  Austin is the owner of Jochum Strength where he works with athletes and “washed up movers” to become the best versions of themselves. He also hosts the Jochum Strength podcast, and was a former D3 All-American football player and a hammer thrower at the University of St.Thomas, where he is now the strength coach for the football team. In training athletes, amongst many other lessons, I’ve learned two big things in my 8 years as a full-time strength coach.  One is that the athlete experience supersedes the need for a traditional written training structure, and two is that better performances in the “big lifts” are often not an indicator for having better performance on the field of play.  To dissect these issues and achieve multi-lateral development with more potential transfer to sport, an approach that considers emotional and environmental factors in the training process is a must.  Athlete autonomy, decision making, emotional growth, and creativity are universal structures that can find transfer to other areas of life outside the weight room, including sport. I was a guest on Austin’s podcast a few months ago, and in talking to him, truly enjoyed his approach to holistic athletic development, and his digging into the total process to a much greater degree than simply building up lifts and taking athletes through canned mobility and stability progressions.  Austin is a young coach with a huge passion for finding transferable performance to athletes on all levels.  Through a variety of methods, he gives athletes the maximal opportunity to become the strongest version of themselves through creative methods that prioritize autonomy, emotional development, and decision making.  On today’s show, Austin covers the experiences he had as an athlete that has impacted his creative approach to coaching.  He goes in-depth on the emotional development of athletes, fostering autonomy, and how each session facilitates a maximal “aliveness” and intention, as it moves from creative/perceptive movement training, into the primary strength work, and then autonomy-driven auxiliary training. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 7:05 Austin’s background as an athlete, how the weight-room directed mindset hurt his ability to fully express his athleticism, and how it has formed who he is as a coach 16:05 Mental toughness as specific to various outputs and game situations, and dealing with an athlete’s weak points 34:05 How Austin encourages problem-solving and athlete autonomy in his training sessions 42:05 Creating a training environment that allows for failure and exploration 51:10 Austin’s split between structured and creative training in his athlete sessions 56:10 How to approach auxiliary work at the end of a training session in a manner that keeps energy and intention up “This is how I look at it now, 'how can I expose athletes (to their weak points)' ” “As a strength coach, if I am not competing in a sport, or experiencing the same emotional stress, then I write this perfect program up of squats, bench, output-based.. they jump higher and sprint faster, so “I did a good job as a coach”, but can they process the emotional stuff?” “Is it output that matters, or is it sport that matters, and what you need to do in the situation?” “A lot of athletes come in these days and just want to be told what to do, but that’s not what happens, you have to make decisions” “Giving the athlete the opportunity to make the drill more realistic, the energy in the room went sky high.  The athlete knows that environment better than you” “When do we fail in training anymore?
Jul 30, 2020
212: David Grey on Barefoot Dynamics, Foot Actions, and a Joint-Based Approach to Relieving Tendon Pain | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features biomechanics specialist and rehabilitation expert, David Grey.  David runs the Grey Injury Clinic and helps athletes with injury, pain, rehab, and performance.  David has learned under a great number of mentors, and is influenced greatly by the work of Gary Ward who is a 2x previous podcast guest and the creator of the “Anatomy in Motion” system.  David is also influenced by systems such as PRI and the martial arts. Through his diverse studies and experience, David is able to get athletes and clients out of pain who have previously been through months of traditional therapy with limited results.  He previously appeared on episode #160 of the podcast where he spoke on the link between pronation and using the glutes effectively. In training and rehab, we so often look to exercises that strengthen, before we put a priority on biomechanics and joint actions.  The problem is, that in treating pain, unless we fix the biomechanics, no matter how good the strength treatment was, the problem will eventually return.  We know that in performance training, we want to build a “base of technique” because the way our body forms from a myo-fascial perspective as a season of training unfolds is going to be based on our technique.  Bad technique can yield the result of muscles getting active and trained that shouldn’t, and other important muscle groups getting under-developed.  By training the right joint motions, and getting the feet to work properly, we take a huge step in getting athletes to reaching their highest potential. On the podcast today, David goes through a joint-based approach to working with those who have Achilles pain, and particularly, knee pain.  He gets into the necessary co-contractions needed to help stabilize the knee joint, and why calcaneus mobility is important for both Achilles tendon and knee tendon injury prevention.  We start out the talk with a chat on the feet, how barefoot training might not be all that it’s cracked up to be for some athletes, and the balance between pronation and supination of the foot in performance training.  All this and more is in the latest podcast. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 5:00 The importance of supination in human movement and athletics, as well as why it is more important to think in terms of pronat-ing and supinat-ing rather than pronation and supination. 12:00 How sensation on the sole of the foot is essential for pronating properly and why simply walking around barefoot may not be truly helpful. 26:30 Supination, and its relationship between running, jumping and power in propulsion 36:00 Why joint motion should be the root of our efforts in injury prevention, rather than simply treating the tissue through strength-based exercises 45:30 Major biomechanical issues that show up with those athletes who have knee pain 50:00 The importance of stiffness, when called upon, in preventing knee pain 54:30 Using isometrics to assist co-contractions to help improve knee function 1:04.30 Thoughts on a joint based approach to knee pain “I would be much happier with you having a flat foot that can experience some pronation and supination, versus a person with a neutral foot who can experience neither” “People saying that “pronation is bad” is like saying “you shouldn’t bend your spine to the left” “A collapse and a pronation are two different things” “I don’t sell posture as a way to fix pain, I only relate to posture as a way to access movement” “(In regards to tendon pain) If we are always going to presume that the tendon is the problem, then we are always going to assume that strength is the answer… but the problem is not always the tendon”
Jul 23, 2020
211: Cory Schlesinger Q&A on Autonomy-Driven Sports Performance, Isometric Training, and the Sport-Skill Continuum | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Phoenix Suns' head strength coach, Cory Schlesinger (and myself) answering questions on athletic performance training sent in from listeners.  Topics for this show ranged from programming based on athlete-autonomy, to isometrics, to foot training, as well as important questions on blending strength work into a level of high-performance play where sport skill development far super-cedes one’s physical strength development. Cory previously appeared on this show for episode #138 and is a popular speaker and podcast guest.  Cory’s creative, yet practical style is an “athlete-first” method that gets results and leaves athletes with not only a first-class physical training experience but also facilitates their ownership in the process. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.   View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 4:50 The utilization of tumbling and wrestling means into athletes of various levels of development (college/amateur, up to pro) 22:40 What the “Sun Café” is, and how it deals with the power of autonomy 34:05 Cory’s favorite isometric exercises for athletes 44:10 Achilles tendon injury prevention and gait biomechanics 51:50 Using floating heel work to improve the connection from the foot to the hip 0:58 Progressing an athlete’s strength development in tandem with their skill development “You genetically gifted athletes who don’t need a lot of bar(bell) work, to be honest” “Certain people need experiences that are a new experience, or experiences that give them a lot of confidence” “Your grinders… what makes them confident? Squatting heavy weight, and you have got to give them that, but how do I expose them to things they are not good at to make their human capacities better?” “You leave breadcrumbs to where you think the athlete needs to go” “When I saw squat numbers go up, when I saw force place numbers go up… I did not see wins go up!” “I don’t care what squat pattern a kid does, I really don’t” “At Stanford, there was an environment where they got to pick the squat pattern, the extension pattern, whatever the meat and potatoes was that day” “There is nothing more intentful, than them getting to choose what they want to do… having that autonomy is going to drive more results than them getting to predict their own success” “Just because they do a between-the-legs dunk doesn’t make them a good athlete, that’s just one aspect of athleticism” “The biggest low hanging fruit to get work done for me, is isometrics” “My favorite (isometric) is a yielding isometric at the sporting angles that they create the most often” “One of my favorite movements to load up is safety bar split, with a Hatfield hold (with a floating heel)” “The one thing I do the most when identifying energy leaks, is super-heavy prowler pushes” “In isometrics, if you put them in a position for long enough, you are going to see where their energy leaks are” “The prowler was the original “floating heel squat”, if you do it right (without letting the heels mash down)” “That’s how most Achilles tears happen (in basketball), is that false step, right into that forward (drive)” About Cory Schlesinger @schlesstrength Cory Schlesinger is currently the head strength and conditioning coach at the Phoenix Suns.  He has over a decade of experience as a strength and conditioning coach, having spent the previous three seasons at Stanford University.  Cory also has experience working at UAB, and Santa Clara University.  Schlesinger also has experience as a coach at the Olympic Training Center and as a sports nutritionist for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes. Cory has worked with NBA and NFL players as well as Olympic Games athletes.
Jul 16, 2020
210: Josh Hingst Interviews Joel Smith on Training Topics of Speed and Power Development in American Football and Field Sports | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features a special guest interviewer, Josh Hingst, head strength coach of the 2018 Superbowl Champion, Philadelphia Eagles, who interviews me on a number of questions related to training American Football.  I met Josh in Barcelona, Spain back in 2005, and I’m happy that we’ve been in correspondence since that time.  I originally meant to interview Josh for an episode, but Josh flipped the script on me, so to speak, asking if he could interview me for a show. Josh’s experience before working with the Eagles includes work at the Jacksonville Jaguars, the University of Nebraska, the Atlanta Falcons, and Florida State University.  Josh has experience serving not only as a strength coach, but also in roles as a sports nutritionist, and he is the co-author of the book “The Athlete’s Guide to Sports Supplements” in 2013 while serving as the director of sports nutrition at the University of Nebraska. I don’t have much experience working in American football specifically, although I’ve been fortunate to be connected with, and be able to interview many experts in this realm in the past several years.  In this interview, it is truly humbling to be interviewed by Josh, whose has such an incredible resume in his work with football on the college and professional level.  It was good to get his feedback to my own responses as we cover many important topics to athletic development pertaining to football, although my answers cover elements that can pertain to all levels of sport development.  In this show, we talk on speed development, hamstring injury prevention, training the foot, biomechanics, isometrics, and much more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 2:40  My take on sprint mechanics and running drills for athletes in team sports 18:30 How to coach the “squatty run” and how it ties in with acceleration and even top-end running mechanics 22:25 Major concepts I’ve learned from Adarian Barr and how they have impacted my coaching: Foot steering, “millimeters-to-waves”, Achilles tendon concepts, lever-class systems in the foot, and more 32:05 Concepts on the foot in athleticism and injury prevention 47:55 Thoughts on extreme isometrics and oscillatory isometrics 54:00 Hamstring injury prevention in regards to running mechanics and beyond 1:00.10 My take on yearly planning in regards to maximal strength training, as well as how to plan post-season transition periods and athlete autonomy About Josh Hingst Josh was named the Eagles strength and conditioning coach during the off-season of 2013. Since that time Hingst has helped the Eagles to pioneer an innovative Performance Science approach to training. Prior to joining the Eagles, Hingst spent the 2012 season as the assistant strength and conditioning coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. From 2009-2011 Hingst served as the Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Nebraska and during this time he co-authored the book‚ The Athlete’s Guide to Sports Supplements, which was published in 2013. His first NFL experience came in 2008 working as the Team Nutritionist for the Atlanta Falcons. Before his stint in Atlanta, Hingst spent five years in strength and conditioning and sports nutrition capacities at Florida State, where he earned his master’s degree in clinical nutrition with an emphasis in sports nutrition. A native of Hooper, NE, Hingst received his bachelor degrees in nutritional sciences and dietetics and exercise science from Nebraska in 2001. He also served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Huskers while enrolled as a student.
Jul 09, 2020
209: Rocky Snyder on The Gait Cycle, Single Leg Work, and True Functional Training for Elite Athleticism | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features personal trainer and human movement expert, Rocky Snyder.  Rocky is the owner of Rocky’s Fitness in Santa Cruz, California, and is an experienced personal trainer, as well as an accomplished surfer and snowboarder.  Rocky has taken an absolutely immense amount of continuing education in human performance and is the author of four books.  His most recent being “Return to Center” , which featured a unique integration of a joint-based model of training and movement coaching, combined with neurological assessment of effectiveness. “Return to Center” is the first training book in a very long time (outside of “Even with Your Shoes On” by Helen Hall that I read earlier this year), that I absolutely devoured (both books has heavy inspiration from Gary Ward, who has been a 2 time guest on this podcast, and developed the “Flow-Motion” model of tri-planar joint based analysis of human movement). When it comes to “functional training” we often think of things like working on balance boards, or perhaps in a more realistic world, things like single-leg training and lots of bodyweight gait-pattern style movements, like crawling and heavy carries.  Even in using these movements which are inherently more tied to human gait, they are often still performed under “manufactured” paradigms that take them outside of the scope of natural human movement and elasticity.  Rocky has an incredible command of human movement principles, and can describe how these principles are showing up (or not!) in any exercise done in the gym, which is really the core of what we might call functional training. For today’s podcast, Rocky tackles questions regarding his own joint-centered approach to training, as well as specifically how he looks at lunges and single-leg training in relation to the gait cycle, and how doing this optimally will improve joint health, VMO, and glute development, as well as athletic performance markers and injury reduction.  This was a show that is a real key-stone in being able to truly train athletes on an individual level. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Timestamps and Main Points 8:10 Key aspects of Rocky’s journey of movement and learning about the human body 22:40 How Rocky assesses clients using a tri-planar and joint-centered approach 29:10 How Rocky uses lunges in all three planes to assess athletes 45:40 When inward knee travel becomes a problem to Rocky in athletic movement 56:10 How to observe athletes to determine if athletes have excessive medial knee travel in their general movements 59:10 How to train squatting under load with respect to the natural movement 1:03.10 Rocky’s take on bilateral to unilateral/functional work in a training program Quotes “When getting the body to move as joints are expected to move, amazing things can happen” “If we bring the body back into a more centrated place, the brain is going to allow a greater deal of force production” “If you’re not going to explore how the (frontal and transverse planes) move then it’s going to reduce your ability to produce force in the sagittal plane” “By knowing how the joints move in any exercise, it can tell the coach exactly what you are missing… the bottom line is that you should know how the body moves” “The knee, when it pronates, should be flexing and externally rotating… the knee joint itself is rotating towards the midline faster than the tibia… am I seeing that when someone is lunging, or are they keeping it over the second toe because they have been told that it shouldn’t drive inward” “A lunge is just an exaggeration of a walk, a gait pattern, that’s what a lunge should be” “(In a lunge) Is the pelvis rotating away from the back leg and towards the front leg”
Jul 03, 2020
208: Christian Thibaudeau on Adrenaline, Muscle Tone and Optimizing Training Splits in Athletic Performance | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features strength coach Christian Thibaudeau.  Christian has been involved in the business of training for the last 18 years, having worked with athletes from 28 different sports.  He is a prolific writer and presenter, having written four books, as well as presenting to top coaches and organizations all over the world. Christian is also the creator of the Neuro-typing system, which classifies athletes according to the neurotransmitters they seek out.  This system has the categories of 1A,1B,2A,2B and 3, and Christian has covered this topic extensively on this podcast, as well as many other shows. There are many intersections of the neuro-typing system, as well as other categories of individualization.  As discussed on my recent talk with Ross Jeffs, the “concentric”, “elastic” and “metabolic” sprinter types tend to fit with the 1A,1B and 2A neuro-types in regards to their strengths and optimal training regimen. One element of training that I’ve been considering a lot is optimal training splits for sprinting and jumping athletes, and reconciling 4-day training splits (or even 6-day) where there is an intensive CNS element, versus more of a “high-low” split that Charlie Francis made so popular. This new podcast with Christian digs into understanding how to give athletes their best training split by understanding the relationship of adrenaline to overtraining.  It also looks at things like muscle tone as how one can make a better assessment of an athlete, what training they may respond best to, as well as how to assess them on a daily and weekly basis, and make the best training adjustments.  Christian covers this, nutrition, child development and creativity, and much more on this information-packed show. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 6:25  Christian’s recent thoughts on child development 12:25  The importance of creativity in early age, and how to cultivate it in developmental stages 28:45 Overview and updates of the neurotyping system from a perspective of COMT, serotonin, adrenaline, and methylation 53:15 Muscle tone, neuro-types and training splits 1:17.55 The role of carbohydrates, cortisol, and adrenaline in training Quotes “Any type of blue light or screen time is the number one enemy to child development” “You will always have what I call grinders… they will never become the stars, and the stars are those that have that little extra something, and that comes from creativity” “That’s one trait of high acetylcholine individuals, they will be more creative” “Some people will break down adrenaline super-fast, and if they can do that, they can tolerate a lot more training stimulus.  That is why some people naturally can tolerate a boatload of volume” “COMT is the enzyme that breaks down adrenaline.  The one that is fast will break down adrenaline very quickly after release, on the other hand if I have someone with a slow variation of the COMT enzyme, when you release adrenaline it stays high forever” “The type 3 is very similar to the type 1a from a genetic perspective.  Both have poor methylation, both have slow COMT, they don’t clear out adrenaline fast” “Carbohydrates control adrenaline” “The 1B is only aggressive under high adrenaline… they will be super chill until it counts” “The 1B if he fails he will just try again.  The 2A, looking foolish is destructive, because what others think of him is super important” “Anxiety is nothing more than your brain firing too fast for you to control it” “That person (who has high muscle tone) always has high adrenaline.  To me that person has slow COMT, he doesn’t break down adrenaline fast” “9 times out of 10 what we call overtraining is a desensitization of the beta-adrenergic receptors”
Jun 25, 2020
207: Edward Yu on Slowing Down to Run Faster and Integrating Sensory Awareness into Technical Acquisition | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Feldenkrais practitioner and human movement specialist, Edward Yu.  Edward is a former triathlete, current martial arts enthusiast, and perennial student of Masters Li Xueyi and Ge Guoliang in the art of Bagua.  Edward has worked with members of the US Olympic Track Team as well as those in the Portuguese National Ballet.  Edward is also the author of “Slowing Down to Run Faster” the impetus of which came years after Edward quit running and discovered that conventional approaches to training are not always effective in turning people into better athletes.  Edward’s interest in how people learn and process information has led him to mix the disparate fields of sports, martial arts, dance, psychology, cognitive science, information theory, and political economy into both his teaching and writing. Learning about human movement and the acquisition of technique in sport skill has been an incredible, yet humbling journey for me.  After hearing cue after cue from coaches that never worked, I was always looking into how we actually process and acquire skills as human beings.  Two areas that I’ve dipped my toe into that I feel are vastly under-appreciated in sports performance are the martial arts, and then the world of movement through sensory awareness (such as the Feldenkrais method). Today’s podcast is all about exploring human movement and sport technique from a wider lens.  On the show, Edward and I cover many aspects that are particularly human when working on sport skills, such as over-trying, self-sabotage and motivational factors.  Edwards also gets into his ideas on our sensory and motor development has humans, how our skills as adults hinge on things we need to learn as children, and how understanding that can lead us into new territory when it comes to guiding athletes to their optimal technique. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 6:25 Why people lose the joy of running and turn the action into a shuffle 13:25 The roots of “too much effort” in training and competition and how to combat it 21:55 How adult human beings self-sabotage their movements versus the purity of movements in children 34:40 How to look at motivation in context of our own movement practice, as well as learning to be easier on ourselves 43:10 How to improve one’s technique by learning to “slow down to run faster” 55:55 Ideas on exercises that can foster better learning in regards to running 1:08.25 How to use the slowing down method to gain awareness of the feet in running Quotes “If you don’t feel powerful (running), you aren’t going to enjoy it very much” “We have a culture that’s really heavy handed with using will power and discipline and pushing to try and get results” “I think if we look at the individual without looking at culture, and political economy, we are missing a lot.  You have to look at both together” “The self-sabotage in our culture has a lot to do with habits.  If you just removed (the chair (from our culture) you gain a lot of advantages” “If something is not learned in childhood, it is going to affect all more advanced/directed movement in the future.  If we don’t go back and try to learn those fundaments, they will not be as efficient as they could be in the future” “The potential for learning is not as vast (in animals versus for humans)” “To learn to fun faster, you need to know what it means to learn” “The way we are often coached is to try to imitate the ideal, but you can’t imitate what you don’t know in your own body” “The fundaments for learning appear from the time we exit the womb, to the time we are 6,7,8, and a lot of that happens on the ground.  It is very powerful to go on the ground, and explore movement in many different configurations and various constraints o...
Jun 18, 2020
206: Ross Jeffs on Individualizing Speed Training by Understanding Concentric, Elastic and Metabolic Sprint Types | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features track and sports performance coach, Ross Jeffs.  Ross is a sprints, jumps and hurdles coach at the Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar.  He formerly worked in the Netherlands as a sprints and jumps coach at Atletiek Trainingscentrum Rotterdam, and has also coached under the guidance of Jonas Dodoo within the Speedworks system.   Ross has also worked with a number of athletes from a range of sports including a grand slam tennis player, professional boxers, Olympic medallists from basketball and rugby sevens, and World Cup finalists in rugby.  Ross appeared on the podcast recently in episode 145. In the training of athletes, be it in track and field or team sports, not all athletes respond to the same stimulus in the same way.  Give 20 random athletes a diet of fast sprinting and heavy weightlifting, and some will respond amazingly well to it, others average, and some poorly.  The same thing could be said of a plyometric focused program, as well as other types of setups.  I first remember this idea of individualization in reading how the late Charlie Francis had mentioned some athletes liking heavy lifting, others plyometrics and bounding, while others responded well to the use of tempo training.  Since then, I’ve been able to dig into things like Christian Thibaudeau’s neurotyping system, as well as Ross Jeff’s “trainers vs. racers” ideas on designing programs for athletes based on how far or close they can get to their competitive best in a practice environment. Ross Jeffs is one of my favorite coaches and thinkers when it comes to training setups and organization to get the most out of athletes.  He is continually asking questions and getting outside the box in order to help coaches and athletes understand training, adaptation and peaking better.  Our conversation focus today is on sprinting, and how the differences of “concentric oriented”, “elastic oriented” or “metabolic oriented” are going to impact how these athletes are best trained and coached.  This episode is also incredibly valuable for team sport coaches, where there is guaranteed to be more diversity than in a single track and field event in the process of coaching. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 3:20 An overview of Ross’s classifications of concentric, elastic and metabolic sprinters 18:15 How the different sprint types (concentric, elastic, metabolic) might fit with Christian Thibaudeau’s neurotyping system 26:00 The squatted element of how concentric runners tend to enjoy the weightroom, squatting, and are better at sprinting and accelerating with lower centers of mass 30:30 How to help concentric dominant athletes become better at their weakness, which is top-end velocity running 35:25 Unpacking the need for variety in rhythmic upright running in elastic runners 49:10 Strength training ideas in regards to elastic sprinters 53:40 Metabolic sprinters and stride length/frequency concepts 56:10 How big of a factor nature vs. nurture is in the different types of sprinters 1:00:10 Rules of thumb in training strengths versus weaknesses based on sprint type 1:03.00 Thoughts on sprint typing and working in team sports 1:06.25 If the ideas of “trainers” vs. “racers” fits into the sprint typing model at all Quotes “Concentric sprinters run fast because of their strong strength and power capabilities.  These are usually your 60m and 100m specialists.  They perform very well in countermovement jumps and have a deeper lowering phase” “Concentric sprinters prefer less lactic tempo running” “They like to do jumps which utilize long stretch shortening cycle mechanisms” “They also seem to respond well to full-range heay movement” “When we sprint and strike the ground, the majority of energy is produced by the lower limb and...
Jun 11, 2020
205: Boo Schexnayder on Training Organization, Variation and “Trump Card” Workouts for Maximal Power Performance | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Boo Schexnayder, current strength coach and former jumps coach at Louisiana State University.  Boo is regarded internationally as a leading authority in training design, possessing 37 years of experience in the coaching and consulting fields. Most noted for his 12 years on the Track and Field coaching staff at LSU, he is regarded as one of the world’s premier coaches, having developed 19 NCAA Champions and 10 Olympians.  Boo is one of the world’s leading authorities on training for speed and power on a variety of levels. I get a lot of requests on the show to talk about training organization and programming, and we had a great chat with Grant Fowler for episode #190, but outside of that show, talks on programming have been a bit sparse, so I was really excited to get Boo back on the line to have a great chat on programming and organization. This show gets into it.  It’s one of the best talks I’ve had on straight-forward planning and organization for speed and power training.  Although Boo’s deepest and most well-known experience is with track and field, there is a huge gold-mine of information for working with team sport athletes as well.  For the episode Boo takes us far into his thoughts on how he builds a power development program through the year, from his “home base” power workouts, working into his more intense work and “trump cards” that he selectively plays when he wants athletes to be their best.  We also get into a lot of great information on recovery workouts, de-loading schemes, plyometric training for team sport athletes, full vs. partial range thoughts, and much more.  This is not an episode that you casually listen to, it’s one that you really study. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 6:20 How Boo approaches changing themes in year round training for speed and power athletes, as well as Boo’s take on “proprioceptive staleness” 11:00 How Boo cycles his power training means throughout the year and how he leaves himself work to build on, as well as his “home base” workouts versus his high intensity power workouts 24:20 Boo’s take on training novice versus advanced athletes from a power perspective 25:20 Boo’s favorite “trump card” workout sets to use when peaking athletes for maximal performance 30:30 Boo’s take on building work capacity and how to optimally use recovery days 39:40 How to look at training a team sport athlete from a jump training and plyometric perspective versus a track and field athlete 45:55 Loading to deloading ratios throughout the year for various athletes 51:40 Using higher frequency work in training days, and how that fits in on the periodization timeline 57:25 Thoughts on unilateral work, bilateral work and range of motion in lifting Quotes  “Mental staleness is something all good athletes have to trudge through, but physical staleness is a problem” “I think variety in training has a lot to do with proprioceptive shortness” “A lot of times I change (exercises) for the sake of change and variety” “Ultimately, my goal is to get the intensities in my power training as high as I possibly can.  I always say that the intensity you reach is the level of performance you are going to get” “There is going to come a time when athletes have seen everything you have and you have to use variety, you have to use creative set-rep loading schemes to move them along” “I save most of the things I use for variety and variance like trump cards at critical spots” “Lower ends of power development provide support for the more intense bouts of reaching that you do: Things like acceleration development, light Olympic lifts, rudimentary plyometrics, those types of things are always in my program from day 1 to day last” “With older athletes,
Jun 04, 2020
204: Max Shank on Primal Strength, Elasticity and Holistic Athletic Development | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Max Shank, fitness coach and owner of Ambition Athletics in Encinitas, California.  Max has written 3 books, taught over a hundred courses in countries around the world and is the creator of the “5-minute-flow”.  Max is an avid learner, having picked up guitar, piano, and drums as an adult, in addition to the dozens of physical movement skills he has acquired.   As a personal trainer, Max has moved his focus from basic strength training to a holistic approach of overall fitness and health. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed in observing Max’s work over the years is his passion for movement and learning.  Max is a coach who is the epitome of getting outside the box, and taking a holistic approach to coaching, training and human development.  His methods of working towards becoming an “athletic ninja” have relevance towards the goals of any trainee. On today’s show, Max gets into skill training from a practical and philosophical perspective, music’s relationship with training, using play dance in training, developing elasticity, training the foot, and much more.  This is a fantastic show that blends a lot of different elements of life itself, to get a deeper view on our training practice.  Whether you deal with only athletes, or work heavily in general fitness, there is a ton of gold in this episode. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 3:50 How music fits in with physical music in Max’s philosophy 10:50 Why doing work that is more engaging emotionally is a more sustainable practice in exercise 21:20 Why a diversity and love of movement is often lacking in a strength and conditioning environment 25:50 What an exercise program means to Max and why we should pick means of training that come from intrinsic motivation rather than looking a particular way 40:45 How Max views the relationship between play and training 50:25 The mind-body relationship when it comes to difficult work and the sustainability of difficult training protocols 58:00 Some of Max’s favorite tools for strength and movement 1:02.45  How Max views elasticity and elastic strength development  “The use of a metronome is outrageous.  Playing too slow, playing too fast.  Doing it deliberately wrong, and seeing if you can work your way back into it.  Being able to express emotional content into what you are doing, whether it’s tennis or boxing, or wrestling or something, and doing the same thing with an instrument, there are so many parallels” “There’s the part from Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon” where he tells the kid to put emotional content (into his physical practice)” “Music is relationships and ratios put together in time” “Dancers are savage athletes who have a huge variety of skills and ranges of motion, and fantastic body control” “You have two hearts, and one of them is your feet.  You don’t get amazing venous return from your lower extremities without movement” “That’s the point of training is for it to be intrinsically enjoyable, so the experience right now, itself should be fun, and it should be something that you would want to do if you didn’t get any results from it… if you didn’t build one muscle fiber from it, would you still do the thing.  That’s a pretty good indicator that it’s a rich experience” “If you are just doing the pushups so your arms will get bigger, then you are sort of trapped.  Pick something that you would be happy to do even if it didn’t build muscle or lose fat” “I probably do at least a few minutes of drumming before I get my training done… it’s just fun, it feels good.  All of my training is that way.” “(Regarding training and play) Ideally you would want to structure your training playfully, so you look forward to it.  So you look forward to the stimulus you are trying to e...
May 28, 2020
203: Eric Cressey on the Evolution of Shoulder Training, Work Capacity and Specificity in Professional Baseball Performance | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features strength coach and gym owner, Eric Cressey.  Eric Cressey is the president and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance (CSP), with facilities in both Hudson, MA and Jupiter, FL.  Behind Eric’s expertise, CSP has established itself as a go-to high-performance facility to both local athletes and those that come from across the country and abroad to experience CSP’s cutting-edge methods.  Eric also works with the New York Yankees as the Director of Player Health and Performance.  In the past five years, 125 CSP athletes have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, and CSP works with players from all 30 MLB organizations. The field of sports performance is rapidly evolving, especially in the private sector where sport skills and specific strength are becoming increasingly blended.  Compared to a decade or more ago, strength and sports performance coaches are learning more and more about the specific biomechanics and KPI’s that lead to success of their athletes on the field.  Additionally, ideas on shoulder injury prevention and rehabilitation for athletic populations are also changing fast.  Modern sport coaching is also getting better, albeit more slowly than what athletes would like, in methods to develop an optimal specific work capacity for their players rather than old school methods of slogging laps. To keep up in a fast-changing world, I was really excited to catch up with Eric Cressey and see how his process has evolved in his years as a coach and business owner.  As a man who works with many of the top athletes, coaches and therapists in the world, seeing how Eric’s process has grown over the years is an enlightening conversation.  Some of the areas we get into specifically involve the blend of sport and strength coaching, shoulder health, work capacity, maximal strength training, and more.  This was a brief, but information dense episode that coaches and athletes of any sport (but particularly over-head and throwing sports) can get a lot out of. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.   Timestamps and Main Points 5:55 How Eric got into coaching strength training and performance for baseball players 9:40 Eric’s transition into getting into the technical and biomechanical side of pitching 20:25 How getting into pitching mechanics has had an impact on Eric’s strength program 23:25 How Eric’s thoughts on strength training and powerlifting in working with athletes have changed over the years 27:55 How Eric’s thoughts on shoulder training and injury prevention have evolved over time 35:55 Pros and cons of using fixed vs. free scapular movements with athletes 36:55 Indicators from watching athletes move in the weightroom as to their chances of a acquiring a shoulder injury in sport 38:55 Building work capacity in baseball players 44:55 How Eric looks at asymmetry in baseball players  “I wrote up a weighted ball and extreme long toss program, and I got a text when he had thrown live against the hitters at Harvard, he said I was 91-94mph, then we saw some 95s and 96s, he had a life changing velocity jump” “A strength and conditioning coach is writing a throwing program, that’s never happened” “Weighted implements had been around for a long time, but they haven’t been utilized… it got me thinking about weighted balls, medicine balls (for throwing enhancement).  Training in those middle grounds seemed to have a lot of value” “There are things that are being coached mechanically that are well intentioned but they don’t take into account the limitations that an athlete has, he just can’t get into the positions they need” “Pitching mechanics are actually the most heavily debated topic out there” “We want to prepare our athletes for a chaotic world, a lack of predictability”
May 21, 2020
202: Matt Jordan on Bringing Clarity to a Complex World of Data in Training and Sport Science | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features strength coach and consultant, Dr. Matt Jordan.  Matt is a strength and conditioning coach/performance consultant for elite athletes with six Olympic cycles of experience. He holds a Master of Science in Exercise and Neuromuscular Physiology, and a PhD in Medical Science from the University of Calgary. Matt has consulted with more than 30 Olympic and World Championship medalists and provides expertise to high performance organizations in the NHL, NBA, NFL, and military. He is currently the Director of Sport Science at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and leads the Sport Science/Sport Medicine program for Alpine Canada. In training athletes, it’s very easy to simply get caught in the way of thinking that we were brought up into in our own time as athletes and as young coaches.  If we don’t ever get some sort of data behind the methods we are performing week in and week out, it’s hard to know what to change and why. When it comes to making meaningful decisions on key performance metrics, reducing the noise in a system, and using simple and consistent measures to help guide performance, Dr. Matt Jordan is the guy that you want to talk to.  On today’s episode, Matt gets into this subject, particularly on the topics of periodization and training organization, as well as data collection and the use of vertical jump profiling as a measure of performance fatigability.  He also gets into the job of a strength coach in context of a total high performance system with the idea of reducing noise in the system in mind. Ultimately, this show is about helping coaching learn to make their training decisions and their data collection more simple, meaningful and integrated to help improve clarity in programming, and results. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 3:15  Positives and negatives to the traditional model of periodization 12:30 How ideas on periodization might change when moving from a sport of high complexity to one of low complexity 21:00 Some thoughts on reducing the noise in a high performance system when there are multiple practitioners working with the athletes (strength coaches and team sport coaches) 36:00  How vertical jump profiling can fit into the bigger picture of an athlete’s total training for their sport 45:20  How performance fatigability differs from how well the competitive exercise is improving  “There is not a lot of good data to support periodization, but as anybody who has done this in the real world, we understand that sequencing and organization of training stimulus, and interference effects are very much real things and therefore require some thought which is the cornerstone of periodization” “In all disciplines, whether you are a teacher or a physician, there is a very big struggle to override your experience and the way you’ve always done things, rather than a data-driven approach” “Weather shaped how people trained for decades, even after they didn’t have weather to contend with” “If (as a strength coach) you can’t adapt to the culture (of a team sport) you can’t give those athletes what they need to succeed” “If you don’t have trust, you can’t have impact” “With an alpine skier, it’s really tough to pull a number out that says “this is how well you are performing today” “Performance fatigability is the effects of fatigue on performance” “In a lot of sports, the competitive exercise (CE) is just super complex” “I say to coaches, “what is your pan evaporation?”,  Find your simple metrics, repeatable over time, stick with them.  They help bring clarity to a complex world that we are trying to understand” “It’s really tough to understand things when you start noisy” About Matt Jordan @JordanStrength Dr.
May 14, 2020
201: Alex Natera on the Origin of Run-Specific Isometrics and Their Integration in Team Sport Play vs. Training Sprinters | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Alex Natera, senior athletic performance specialist at the GWS Giants of the AFL.  Alex has over twenty years of experience in high performance sport including time spent as a professional sportsman, a technical coach, a sport science lecturer, a published scientific researcher and his primary role as strength & conditioning coach.  Prior to the Giants, Alex was the senior strength and conditioning coach at Aspire Academy. Alex’s original article on isometric training that was specific to training sprinters “broke the internet” several years ago.   In it, Alex laid out an approach to training sprinters (and speed in general) in the weightroom in a manner that was very novel to anything coaches had seen before, using isometric exercises to hone specific elements of the run cycle.   This was followed up by podcast #86 where Alex took us in the nuts and bolts of the training system for sprinters. Since our last podcast, Alex, has spent a lot of time working with, not sprinters, but team sport athletes.  As much as the specificity of Alex’s isometrics to running still ring true in the scenario of training team sport athletes, working with this population versus sprinters is really a different “beast” than sprinters, who are more or less fresh all of the time and are athletic freaks.  On today’s show, Alex gets into the fine points of how he is incorporating his system into a team sport training regime.  Other topics we will cover will be Alex’s take on hamstring training for team sport athletes vs. sprinters, as well as a fun story regarding how the run-specific isometric protocol originated in the first place. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 6:00 The history of Run-Specific isometrics, and the necessity that sparked the protocol that has now become very popular and effective in training sprint velocity 26:00 Strength norms for the knee, hip and ankle in run specific ISO’s 30:05 Some of the big differences in applying run-specific isometrics in team sport athletes, specifically Australian rules football, versus pure sprinters 42:00 How Run-Specific isometrics have a strong impact on running efficiency in team sport athletes who have long distances to navigate with each game 50:40 What Alex does when force plates are not available for Run-specific isometric training 52:30 Some of Alex’s methods in addressing hamstring injuries in team sport athletes Quotes  “I was involved in isometric training, back to when I was a little kid in the martial arts” “I attest my strength in the scrum as a player completely to isometrics” “Our guys were getting a training effect from (weekly) mid-thigh pull assessments” “(A modern pentathlete) got 25% stronger in isometric mid-thigh pull, and then things like contact time at race pace, running economy, these things had a really positive shift” “I agree, isometrics are the safest mode of lifting work” “There is this minority group that can ruin themselves doing too much maximal isometric work” “(For the modern pentathlete) We did 3 sets of 3x4 second pushes (in the single leg isometric mid-thigh pull), mostly around the 90% effort mark” “It’s about 5x bodyweight for knee ISO push, for ankle ISO push, it’s about 3.5x bodyweight, for your hip ISO push, now it’s system mass, and it’s 3.5 times the system mass” “When it comes to team sports (versus sprinting), it’s a whole new level with fatigue; they are always fatigued” “The challenge is how do you incorporate isometrics into that program in a team sport athletes where the bucket it already full? Something has to come out of the bucket to put it back in” “The easiest thing to take out of the program is the volume of traditional lifting” “We certainly give small doses of isometric work,
May 07, 2020
200: Scott Salwasser on “Zero-to-100” Training After a Long Layoff, Speed Work for Lineman, and the Agility Continuum | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features sports performance coach Scott Salwasser.  Scott has been a multiple time guest on this show, talking about speed training in football, force-velocity profiling, and perception/reaction work.  Scott is currently the assistant director of strength and conditioning for football at the University of South Carolina.   Scott has worked as a sports performance coach for nearly 2 decades, and has worked at a number of NCAA DI universities, as well as in the NFL, and in the private training sector. When it comes to training, Scott is one of the most practical and grounded coaches that I know, and has an incredible ability to take complex concepts, and create a simple and effective training solution.  Scott works with a variety of technologies, such as force plates, GPS, 1080 Sprint technology, and more, and is able to break things down to simple terms as to how he is utilizing them, and the tangible results he is seeing with his players. Today’s show covers a number of important topics such as going into Scott’s speed program for lineman, what tendencies they have from a force-velocity perspective, as well as giving more perspective on the nuts and bolts of his perception-action and agility program.  A highly relevant aspect of today’s show is Scott’s experience in helping athletes get back to a high level of performance in a short period of time after a layoff, which is very pertinent to many situations coaches will be finding themselves in, in the near future.  While working at Cal, Scott helped a key player who was down with a virus for the majority of spring training get back to competition shape quickly in the summer, using a variety of feedback tools, and goes in depth on his methodology in today’s episode. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 8:30  Scott’s transition from working with skill players in football to working with lineman 14:30 How the NFL combine, although limited in transfer to the game, does at least provide a level of comparison from year to year 17:30What Scott’s speed program looks like for a lineman 21:30 How Scott’s perception/action work has progressed throughout the year and his movement of closed into progressively more reactive movement scenarios 35:45 How Scott has leveraged GPS, heart-rate and force plates to help an athlete get back and ready to play fall football in a very short period of time in summer after the athlete was sick for a large portion of the spring training season 54:50 How Scott has been using force-velocity profiling, specifically with football lineman  “What I do like about (predictable agility drills) is that they are very high-speed, high-force.  It’s like exposing someone to high speed sprinting in many ways, it’s an overload” “(Perception/Action) isn’t just putting them out there and having them play tag” “Initially, you might work on closed cuts, that’s a predictable response.  Then you start layering on and adjusting the environment, adding a reactive component to that response” “You then start to integrate (agility) into more real life situations, closer to the sport, it might be adding bodies,  it might be manipulating the area, it might be manipulating the rules of the drill” “The need for (perception/action) drills are more or less necessary depending on what the coaching staff is doing.  You want to focus on what the players are not getting” “The better we can understand each other’s specialties (in a high performance system) the better we’ll all be as a whole” “(My special teams coach) was able to start at a more advanced stage in special teams education because I had already done a lot of the introductory drills that he had planned on doing” “If you have a great decision maker who can’t move properly,
Apr 30, 2020
199: Jeff Moyer on The Synergy of Training, Reconditioning, and ACL Injury Prevention | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Jeff Moyer, owner of Dynamic Correspondence Sports Training in Pittsburgh, PA.  Jeff has been a multi-time guest on the show, appearing as a solo guest in two shows, and on three roundtables.  His expertise includes elements such as Soviet training systems, motor learning, skill acquisition, pain reduction and reconditioning.  Jeff is highly driven by learning and is continually on the cutting edge of the industry, yet is also highly practical and results driven in his coaching and training. ACL injury prevention, and injury prevention in general, is a massive portion of the job of a sports performance coach, yet, it is important to ask, is a good injury prevention program any different  in nature than a good performance training program? Jeff Moyer has gotten tremendous results, not only in the injury rates of his athletes, but also in the speed by which he assists athletes in their return to play.  Jeff has been known to help athletes get back on the field, 5 and a half months after ACL surgery, but the tools he uses to do so are not far removed from his primary philosophy on strength training, biomechanics and performance. In today’s show, Jeff takes us inside his methods when it comes to a deeper look at ACL injury factors, as well as how his reconditioning and rehabilitation program mirrors his performance program elements.  We also get into some essential details of some unique weightlifting elements, plyometric training, as well as his use of the “Total Motion Release” system, which harnesses the cross-over effect in the brain to help athletes move and function better Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 3:50 Jeff’s take on promoting a training program specifically as an “ACL Prevention Program” 11:50 How Jeff is developing athletes from a perceptual standpoint, that can not only improve performance but also with the potential to reduce injury 19:50 Key performance indicators in change of direction that can keep athletes healthier and performing better 25:15 Philosophy of training tempo in weightlifting, as well as utilization of the 1x20 program and other training means that are useful in a reconditioning setting 36:50 Jeff’s take on plyometric and jump training, and how it compliments his lifting program 38:50 A look inside Jeff’s rapid-reconditioning program, working reconditioning alongside, ACL rehab 47:40 Jeff’s use of the Total Motion Release System in reducing pain and improving performance, and discussing the power of the cross-over effect in the brain  “There was a perceptive aspect to the (ACL) injury, and defensive players were more likely to tear their ACL than offensive players” “I think it’s crap to say that we have a prevention program and a rehab program or whatever, I think they are all one and the same (performance and prevention).  I think a prevention program is something that doctors pitch to make money” “That’s how I do my workout, 50% of it is weights, and 50% is the perceptual side” “I want the outside leg being the leg we plant and cut off of (in change of direction)” “Our training and rehab program are similar, we both start on 1x20; exercise selection is a missing conversation I don’t hear a lot when other people talk about 1x20, they just talk about sets and reps” “I find that the kBox is more joint friendly than traditional barbells” “Not early on in a training career is eccentric training important, you should look more to general strength” “The first thing (in an injury) is I seek to fix what is being protected.  Scars can be very disruptive to fascia or meridian lines” “That is a cheap and easy tool to use (in rehab) just go lie on the grass a half hour a couple of times a day” “Square 1 System has been a game changer for me”
Apr 23, 2020
198: Simon Capon on Mental Training, Body Language and Staying in the Present for Better Athletic (and Human) Performance | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features sports psychologist, Simon Capon.  Simon is a hypnotherapist, Master NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) practitioner, as well as the author of the book "It’s Time to Start Winning." Since 2006 Simon has worked with professional athletes, using variety of techniques including skills from NLP and hypnotherapy.  He has inspired athletes, footballers and numerous others to achieve national, international and world titles. Simon’s philosophy is simple, create self-belief and your behaviors and actions will change and so will your results, this will have the effect of reinforcing your belief as a winning performer. Belief in your ability is imperative at high-level competitive sport. For all of the time we spend on learning about training our muscles and nervous system, we probably look into the impact of our mind and belief systems on our results with about 1/100th of the intensity.  This is ironic, because the linchpin for so many athletes in their sport success is one of a limiting self-belief, rather than gaining a few more inches on one’s vertical jump or tenths of a second in sprinting speed.  Not only this, but one’s belief systems have a massive impact on how we train and condition our bodies to the point where a stronger mind can create better physical training results as well. I found Simon Capon’s book after coming across his hypnosis for sprinting (his is the only one I’ve been able to find across the entire world-wide-web).  Shortly thereafter, I read Simon’s book, and found it a tremendous source of information, particularly on using our physiology in a positive way to impact our mind.   On the show today, Simon talks about his process of assessing mental training needs, the link between our body and mind (and how to “hack” into our deeper emotional brain), how to unwire limiting belief systems, and the importance of the present moment (and how to live there, rather than in the past or future).  This was an awesome show that has relevance far beyond just the field of play. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 6:00 Simon’s introduction to Sports Psychology and Neuro-linguistic Programming 14:20 Simon’s process of assessing mental skills and needs 23:50 The link between our body, our posture, and how it connects with our minds and our performance 34:20 Methods for using one’s body language and posture to create a mental and emotional response 44:15 How we can get a better handle on our emotional brain to keep our performance consistent and at a high level 55:45 How to unwire one’s thoughts caused from prior negative feedback from a coach 1:00.30 How athletes can fully engage themselves in the present moment  “I had a great fear of what people expected from me as a player” “If I was more mentally prepared, I would have fulfilled my full potential (as a player)” “We need to create a state of mind that is exactly the same as whatever we are doing.  So whether we are training or in a competitive state it makes no difference.  The reality is that we are creating habits and automatic responses, so whatever you are doing, it is the same response time after time” “Whenever there has been a poor performance, we get a piece of paper and write all the ways we can make the next performance better… We don’t ask “what went wrong”” “We have to fail to be able to improve.  Failure is a must and it must be accepted as feedback” “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, there is always someone who will come along and take the top spot” “Whenever I come out, you either get all of me, or none of me, and my confidence comes purely from my physiology: proud, tall, shoulders back, head held high, confident in each step” “If you can put your focus onto your state (your physiology) and your...
Apr 16, 2020
197: How COVID19 is Taking us to the Core of Training and Human Movement, Part II: Talks with Paul Cater, Rachel Balkovec and Rafe Kelley | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features segments with Paul Cater, Rachel Balkovec and Rafe Kelley in part II of our mini-series on perspectives in this time of social distancing and staying-at-home on coaching, training and becoming the strongest version of ourselves. Paul Cater is the founder of the “Alpha Project” in Salinas, California, and has over 18 years of experience as an international strength and conditioning coach.  Paul has worked with the London Wasps Premier Rugby Team, the Baltimore Orioles, USA Rugby, as well as numerous high school, college and professional athletes.  Paul has written a number of popular articles on Just Fly Sports on the topics of coaching, creativity and service, and makes his first appearance on the podcast. Rachel Balkovec is a pro baseball hitting coach, working with the New York Yankees.  She has made history in acquiring her role in her current position, as well as when she become a minor league strength and conditioning coordinator for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2011-15.  Rachel has also worked in strength and conditioning for the Houston Astros, as well as the Dutch national baseball and softball teams as well as many other successful organizations.  She recently appeared on episode 194 of this podcast talking about coaching and organizational leadership. Rafe Kelley is the owner of Evolve, Move, Play, and was a guest on episode 174 of the podcast.  Rafe’s primary specialization is parkour, and he also has experience in modern training disciplines such as sprinting, basketball, gymnastics, crossfit, FRC, modern dance and many others.  Rafe’s passion to is help people build the physical practice that will help make them the strongest, most adaptable and resilient version of themselves in movement and in life. This episode furthers our topic from last week, which is lessons learned from our “downtime” from in-person coaching, as well as how we are training and learning without our typical gym facilities.  Times where things “contract” (as opposed to the typical expansion), as well as times of necessity are always powerful learning experiences, and I’ve learned something valuable from each of the 6 coaches in this short series, and I know you will as well. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.   Timestamps and Main Points 3:00  How spending so much time running a business had taken Paul Cater away from the core of training itself 7:45  Expanding the idea of storytelling in a training session and the importance of creativity in coaching 18:00  How sprinting should be a solid root of an athlete or even coach’s movement and training practice 25:20  How Rachel Balkovec has been adjusting her training routine since being taken from her typical gym 31:20  How Rachel maintains awareness, as well as trains, her breathing in various situations 38:50  Things Rachel is learning in general in this time period 43:20  How Rafe’s personal practice hasn’t been altered due to his “atypical” training environment 53:20  How a typical play session in nature can shake out for Rafe 58:20  Comparing the physical effects of natural parkour to other barbell practices 1:03.50  How introducing obstacles and challenges into running can improve engagement and variability  “It’s been a blessing to be forced to stay home” Paul Cater “Most of the coaches I know and respect will put more of a priority on the barbell rather than the “sprint first” mentality, it’s the path of least resistance…. It’s harder to go outside and have a really in depth sprint session” Paul Cater “Every training session really, is an experience.  Within that every day is a story, an epoch, a saga of overcoming.  Hill running is a metaphor… there’s something about running up a hill” Paul Cater “There is something in animal intuition to ascend and to climb” Paul ...
Apr 09, 2020
196: How COVID19 is Taking us Back to the Core of Training and Human Movement, Part I: Talks with Jeremy Frisch, Rob Assise and Dr. Tommy John | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode (part I of II) is actually three talks in one show, featuring segments with Jeremy Frisch, Rob Assise, and Dr. Tommy John. In our current world situation, many have found themselves without our typical training structures.  This can be anything from not having a team, or partners, to train with anymore, a lack of gym space, and a lack of a training equipment in general.  It’s times like these that, although tough, can allow us to shave things down, to the essentials of how we are training, and perhaps more importantly, why we are training in the first place.  Each of our guests have had one or multiple appearances on the show before and were those who have a unique perspective on getting to the core essentials of training and movement. Jeremy Frisch is a former NCAA D1 strength coach who is now the owner of Achieve Performance in Clinton, Massachusetts.  He is a leader in youth training and play, as well as all-around performance coach who works with athletes of all levels.   Jeremy not only coaches physical prep methods, but is also involved in team sport coaching on the youth level. Rob Assise is a teacher and track coach at Homewood-Flossmoor high school who has written some fantastic articles (How I Deal with the Restrictions of COVID-19 and One Man’s Dive Into Extreme Isometrics) on his use of “Extreme Isometrics” in his at-home workouts, a topic of which we went into detail on for today’s show. Dr. Tommy John is a chiropractor, author and performance coach who is no stranger to this show.  Tommy has an awesome ability to blend health, training and big-picture ideas into a powerful message in our own performance.  His workout, training style, and overall message is one that brings out our true power as human beings. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 3:45 Jeremy Frisch’s take on how COVID19 is bringing children back to a more natural mode of play, albeit in context of current restrictions 8:50  The difference between movement and exercise for children, and when they are mature enough to make that distinction 13:35 Jeremy’s own workouts, and what he does to train in his basement gym setup 21:40  What Rob’s workout is looking like with his own daily schedule 29:45  How using extreme ISO’s offers good benefits for endurance of speed and strength qualities to athletes 35:00  Tommy John’s workouts and how they haven’t really changed much since quarantines 45:45  The importance of cultivating a creative practice in coaching 54:00  The inner meaning behind why we train, and the distinction between playing and training  “(kids) Riding bikes has been brought back from the ashes, which is nice to see” “I feel there is a silver lining, because of some of the things that are happening out in the world, we have to go back to what we were doing when we were kids” “While moving is great for kids, they don’t have the maturity to understand what exercise really is” “I felt like I could feel the (cycling of energy systems) in the last minute, or minute an a half of a lunge.  It’s something you have to try and see” “I hated doing the 5 minute ISO lunge while I was doing it, but afterwards I felt completely at peace.  I never regretted it afterwards” “(After doing 5 minute ISO lunges 11x a week) playing “old man basketball”, flat out, I just did not get tired.  I was able to go as hard as I could, for pretty much the whole game” “My training has not changed much, but my miles in walking have” Dr. Tommy John “We’re all artists, whether it’s programming or bringing in information in a creative way” “I love walking because it’s an ever-changing environment, it’s outside… there’s different people, there’s different flowers, there’s different shades of light… it’s almost like a movie”
Apr 02, 2020
195: Dr. Marc Bubbs on Gut-Biomes, “Phone-Vacations,” Sleep and a “Human First” Perspective to Athletic Performance | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Marc Bubbs, naturopathic doctor, performance nutritionist, and author of the best-selling new book "PEAK - The New Science of Athletic Performance That Is Revolutionizing Sport." An integrated and personalized approach to health, nutrition, training, recovery and mindset. Marc currently serves as the Performance Nutrition Lead for the Canadian Men's National Basketball Team and has a portfolio of elite and professional athletes in Canada, USA, UK and Europe.  He is also the host of the Dr. Bubbs Performance Podcast, bringing together insights from world-leading experts in health, nutrition, training, recovery and mindset. Having better health (things such as having good nutrition, a diverse gut-biome, strong immune system, adequate sleep and a de-stressed mind) is impactful for not only athletes, but the general population, and is therefore a distinctly “human” element of the human -> athlete -> specialist sequence.  When it comes to athletics, however, markers of health are not always put as much of a priority compared to training methods and sport skills.  As Mark mentions on the show, consistency as a result of good health is very important when it comes to achieving better training over a period of time. Topics on this episode include the essential elements of a health-centered approach to athletics and human performance, including sleep, gut-biome & nutrition, mental training and mindfulness in a “screen-time” age, and even concepts on team cohesion revolving around food and nutrition.  This is a podcast that not only helps to fill those gaps between training and the human being, but also is one that helps us to continually have a “human first”, “athlete second” perspective that is so important to the well-being of those we serve in the field. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 3:40 Marc’s background in the industry of health and athletics 6:10 The crossover between health and fitness/performance and importance of consistency 10:20 When health related decisions (e.g. sleep and nutrition) really start showing up for athletes in their performance 14:40 How cooking, food and the related community is an important part of team  culture and cohesion in sports 19:25 The “triage” list in starting to work with an athlete on prioritizing health before training modalities, and all this well before recovery modalities (Penfold’s pyramid) 24:55 Sleep debt and athletic performance 34:10 How humming and singing provides beneficial adaptations to the human body and can create more grounds for group cohesion 36:10 The importance of one’s gut microbiome in health and human performance 49:40 Mental and psychological training and relaxation methods for athletes  “When we look at some of the research around national to international competitors (in endurance sports), we see that international level competitors get sick 40% less than national level competitors, so if you can just show up every day in the gym or not miss practice, and just not miss days, at the end of that year or block of four years you are going to be that much further ahead than the competition” "If you have got a 44” vertical leap and are the fastest guy on the floor, do we really need all these other things, or is just keeping you healthy enough to show up every day the key performance lever?” “In the UK, half of the grocery bill is spent on processed foods…. If you head to Paris, only 14% is spent on processed foods” “A lot of (team culture) starts with food (sitting at the dinner table together)” “The night before a game, athletes tend not to sleep well” “If a guy is getting less than 6.5 and gets his sleep up to 7.5, he can improve his testosterone by 10-15%” “Nowadays, everyone is lying there,
Mar 26, 2020
194: Rachel Balkovec on High Performance Team Culture, Tough Love and Transitioning From S&C to Hitting Coach in Pro Baseball | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Rachel Balvokec, a professional baseball hitting coach working with the New York Yankees.  Rachel made headlines when she become a minor league strength and conditioning coordinator and coach for the St Louis Cardinals from 2011-15.  Rachel also has experience working with the Houston Astros, as well as the Dutch national baseball and softball teams, and has also worked with many successful organizations such as EXOS, Louisiana State University, the White Sox and many others.  She is also a former NCAA Division I softball catcher. When working in any sort of team environment, knowing keys of successful organizational culture is not an option if you wish to be great.  Those of us working in the coaching field often have many different “hats” that we wear, be it strength coach, sport coach, nutritionist, or “unofficial sport psychologist” (or maybe even official sport psychologist).  It’s very easy to get buried in the X’s and O’s of exercise selection and periodization (and it’s good to have these things mastered) but it’s critical to zoom out and look at the greater principles that lead to the success of an organization. This show is about both of those things.  On the front-end, Rachel talks about what she has learned as a strength coach that she’s carried with her into her time as a hitting coach.  She discusses what spurred her to move “up the ladder” in regards to the amount of change and impact she new she could make on players by moving to sport coach, as she moves towards her ultimate goal of being a general manager.  Ultimately though, this show is really about the second portion, which is high-performance leadership, team culture, and tough love.  It’s about what’s really demanded at the highest levels of competition and performance, whether in a sports, military operations, or business. Finally, be sure to support what Rachel is doing from a humanitarian perspective with her Go Fund Me Page for supporting those impacted economically by our current COVID19 crisis. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Timestamps and Main Points 6:20  Rachel talks about her transition from strength and conditioning coach, to hitting coach, and her career aspirations 20:20  How Rachel approaches hitting coaching in light of her former strength and conditioning experience and how helpful it is for sport coaches to have S&C experience 24:40  How Rachel views periodization for working with hitters, and how hitting is  generally behind pitching in regards to the application of sport training principles 32:05  General concepts in regards to what good hitters can do from a weightroom perspective 36:40  Rachel’s rear view thoughts on the strength and conditioning industry and advice for strength coaches 41:35  Rachel’s perspective on what a strength coach offers from beyond a strength, KPI and “X’s and O’s” perspective.  What the heart of being a strength coach really is. 47:00  Thoughts on tough love and culture in winning teams 58:00  Rachel’s take on why Augie Garrido’s “chewing out” of his players an example of tough love and the importance of “high support, high demand” parenting, coaching and leadership 1:12:30 Critical Hardships in Rachel’s life that formed who she is now "There’s something to be said in having a larger role if you can have an administrative position” “No matter what was going on in the field, I could go and crush it in the weight room where 1+1 =2” “It’s not tough (not doing the strength and conditioning workouts anymore) because my passion has always been coaching” “Being a hitting coach is not that different for me personally (than s&c).  Now I’m just coaching the body to do something else” “Every strength coach’s dream is to have a sport coach who used to be a strength coach”
Mar 19, 2020
193: Nick Winkelman on The Language of Coaching and Skill Acquisition | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Nick Winkelman, head of athletic performance and science for the Irish Rugby Football Union.   Nick was formerly the director of education for EXOS, and oversaw the speed and assessment component of their combine development program.  Nick is an internationally recognized speaker, and has his Ph.D with a focus on motor learning and sprinting.  Nick also has an anticipated upcoming book called “The Language of Coaching” where he goes in detail on his learnings and methods on the impact that communication has on an athlete’s ability to learn and perform movements. Just like we’ve mentioned on episodes talking about mental training for sport, the art of communicating with athletes, and how we talk to their conscious and subconscious mind is heralded, but not given much actual attention in our daily processes.  Perhaps its because coaching, and specifically strength & conditioning often seems to draw more numbers and qualitative driven individuals than those concerned with the inherent artistry involved in the coaching profession, and in being a human being in general.  This being said, I’m really excited to have Nick on the show this week, because he is a master of the “conversation” we coaches have with athletes to help lead them to their highest potential on a physical, mental and emotional level. On today’s show, Nick goes into how he became interested in coaching cues and communication, ideas on coaching cue differences, the importance and effects of using analogies, and much more.  This episode is a must listen, because this is the type of material that isn’t emphasized in modern coaching curriculums, but at the same time, might be the biggest thing holding coaches and athletes back from reaching their highest level of performance and enjoyment in sport and human movement. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points How Nick got interested in the art of cueing and language to assist in skill acquisition Why some cues and coaching models cause technique to not be retained well and how we can make our technical coaching practice “stick” better Some primary differences between internal and external cues The power of simple awareness versus hardline internal cues The power of analogies in creating imagery for athletes that assists them in technical acquisition How creativity is an important element of becoming better at the technical instruction of athletes "And then I thought to myself, "What's the number one variable, what's the number one coaching strategy that I am using to manipulate how they run?" i.e. the coordination and quality of their movement, and it hit me: my voice, my cuing, my coaching." "When I say coach I'm really talking about movement professionals in general. So if you teach movement for a living, I'm calling you a coach. Because... ...my definition of a coach is anyone that helps to move others to the place they want to be.” "I'll define a cue as the last idea that goes in an athletes head before they move." "If I want to put a little bit more energy behind that cue, I might say, drive the bar away from the bench. So the bench itself has nothing directly to do with the outcome, but by giving that focused thought of, bar away from bench, it allows me to narrow my focus in on a very tangible goal and the environment helps me do that." "So internal and external cues tend to be literal, they reference the literal body or the literal world around me that I can touch feel and see. But analogies reference the figurative and leverage the mind’s visual system to be able to move 'as if'." "When it comes to the type of things you should think about while you move, to optimize performance now, but most importantly learning later, the cues that fall on the external and that analogy side,
Mar 12, 2020
192: Gary Ward on High Arches, “Turned Out” Feet and Awakening the Lower Leg for Optimal Movement and Athleticism | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features biomechanist and foot expert, Gary Ward.  Gary is the author of the book “What the Foot” inventor of the “Flow Motion Model”, and gives his “Anatomy in Motion” clinics throughout the world.  He is a leading thinker in human movement and mechanics, and is a master of getting people to function better through giving them back their joint movement and sensation.  Gary was a guest back on podcast #98 where he went in depth on the importance of proper pronation and how to teach it along with many other concepts on foot health and performance. The foot (and human body in general) is an incredibly complex structure, and often times we reduce our understanding of it down to “just stretch this muscle and strengthen this other one”, or “let’s try to point those feet or knees in a particular direction that we deem correct”.  At the end of the day, the body is always doing the best that it can, given the sensory information that it has.  When we lack sensory information, we will have trouble moving our joints and bones properly, and things tend to go downhill from there.  Gary helps us to holistically understand the way the body works based on its own incredible ability to interpret information and heal itself. For today’s episode, Gary and I talk about some performance-driven issues and aspects of foot training.  We start out with a chat about those athletes who tend to walk with the toes “turned out” and if this is something that should be labeled as “dysfunctional” and in need of correction.  We also cover thoughts on athletes with high arches, and elements that are interfering with their ability to flatten the arch and pronate.  We also get into instructing athletes in single leg stance drills and how this relates to the concept of “finding center” (and how the use of wedges, paper or even blocks of cheese can help fill in sensory gaps in stance).  Finally, we cover the idea of pronation versus over-pronation, and how the oppositional action of the foot is an important consideration in the ability to “put on the accelerator without the brake” in movement and gait. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Thoughts on athletes whose feet are pointing outwards (duck foot) What does dysfunction really mean? Gary’s take on the idea of “dysfunction” and how to interpret it instead How to help athletes with high arches pronate correctly Gary’s thoughts on “finding center” and what stability really means How to instruct athletes who are performing single leg stance drills Pronation versus “over-pronation” in athletes “I never really view anything as a problem, I view things as information” “I’m not a big fan of the word dysfunction, because it becomes something you want to fix, rather than something you want to understand” “If you turn your feet out, what you notice is that your foot will pronate” “The vast majority of muscles in the foot are supinators” “It’s impossible to externally rotate a femur on a pronating foot” “A foot that’s turned out will have a rotational influence on the pelvis” “When I see someone with their foot turned out, rather than think I need to turn that in and be the correction, the information I am getting from that person is that they are turning that foot out to generate that pronation” “What’s always been exciting to me is to see unconscious change… the more you try the less you get.  You have to get the environment right” “You don’t want to fight (the body) because we know that fight creates conflict… you need to remove the obstacles and encourage things to do the thing they are meant to do” “I say that joints give muscles something to do” “Most people’s feet end up very limited in movement” “Why do people turn their feet out,
Mar 05, 2020
191: Adarian Barr on Working With Gravity and Fast-Isometrics For Better Sprinting, Jumping and Sport Movement | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features coach, biomechanist and inventor, Adarian Barr.  Adarian Barr is a unique mind in the world of sport movement who has not only given me dozens of paradigm shifting, “aha” moments, but has also retooled the way that I personally think about human movement and the related coaching process.  Adarian has coached at numerous Universities, and continues to train and consult athletes, as well as educate coaches through his work at barrunning.com.   He has been on four previous episodes of this podcast, each one with unique and paradigm-shifting ideas on how we approach athletic movement, these being: Episode #64 on Biomechanical Myths and Truths in Sprinting Episode #105 on Power in Athletic Asymmetry Episode #132 on Ground Impulse as a Biomechanical Lynchpin in Sprinting and Athletic Movement Episode #147 on Foot Pressure and “Arch-Centered” Athletic Performance Many times in athletic movement, we see the fastest athletes doing things that are just a little different than the slower athletes, and I think that we subconsciously recognize these elements.  Often, athletes who can sprint fast and jump high move effortlessly and gracefully, but also with a little bit of “swagger” and bounce to their movement.  Today we are taking a deep dive into the bobbing that elites exhibit, and how this is a function of their relationship to the fall of gravity to better load, and unload joints. On today’s show, Adarian goes in depth on how athletes can learn to work “with gravity” and falling better, and also avoid interrupting the proper work of gravity through knowing how many coaching cues and drills can create problems.  We also go into how the fastest sprinters are using gravity to accelerate faster than their competitors.  In the back half of the show, we get into the idea of muscle isometrics as the ultimate fast-twitch “brake” of the body, how this works in sprinting, and how we can harness it in the weight room. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points A description of the essential “two falls” that are happening during running and sprinting How common sprint cues or instructions can actually interfere with the way that we should be working with gravity in running How using gravity to “fall farther” in athletic movement can create faster sprinting and higher jumping Methods to move with gravity better for better sprinting and jumping How and why muscles will selectively fire isometrically to stop a joint in human movement Using isometrics and oscillatory isometrics in the weightroom as a compliment to athletic movement in sport How the body can use isometric muscle actions in top-end speed to increase the stride length “The things people are missing out on is: falling is it” “If you only fall an inch (while accelerating) there’s not much to it” “Instead of things working in pairs or tandems, we seem to make things conflict” “You have to understand you are falling first, and not interrupt it, second thing is you have to figure out how to fall faster” “When you try to punch the ground yourself (while running), the brain is not expecting that” “Those that fall the farthest (working with gravity in athletic movement) will run the fastest and jump the highest, it’s that simple” “There is a big difference between running 1 inch and 5 inches” “If you really want to work stairs or hills, you have to squat down low to get the (gravity) effect” “The pull gets you into the fall… if you go to push, it makes you stand up.  You are trying to pull yourself into the fall” “The first step is to be aware of gravity, so we don’t interrupt it” “A skips and B skips are great interrupters (of gravity) because I am being trying to get my leg back down so fast before I get a chance to fall”
Feb 27, 2020
190: Grant Fowler on Non-Linear Training Programs and the Flow of Exercise Rotation | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Grant Fowler, owner of Fowler Fitness in The Woodlands, Texas.  Grant is a creative coach and performance consultant who has been getting some fantastic results with his athletes in the realms of strength, speed and power.  Grant is a different thinker who has a distinctive “non-linear” and adaptable style to his training program design, where exercises and their variations are changing from week to week in a manner that allows for regular personal bests.  Recent podcast guest Kevin Foster has been training under Grant’s program on his run for the 2020 Olympic Trials, and has been easily breaking many lifting and performance personal bests since working with Grant. I haven’t had a lot of episodes on writing training programs, yet programming for training is one of my favorite things to talk about.  It’s good to have a show periodically where we really get into the nuts and bolts of a training program, since this is the most “raw” form of conversation, in regards to what actually happens in training and the subsequent results.  The art and science of writing a training program (yes, there is a significant element of art to it) is a multi-factorial venture considering the different physical and psychological systems of the body. On the show today, Grant gets into the fine details on his approach to a fluid training model where exercises and variations of exercises change from week to week in a model inspired by Westside Barbell, but adapted for the needs of athletes.  Grant will specifically get into how he rotates the “big lifts” in a max effort format, versus his rotation of the smaller lifts in the program over time.  We talk about how the stress level of a given session, including mental fatigue, impacts how often exercises are rotated across the breadth of a training month, and beyond. The thought that resonates in my mind with Grants system is similar to my time working in an old beat “Mixing” program called “Fruity Loops” where various tracks are laid over each other to provide a song.  Some lines are brought in more frequently, others less, to create the art-form of the audio experience.  In my last 5 years of coaching particularly, I’ve been using a lot of 14-day training cycles, so it was awesome to get inside Grant’s programming mind in creating a variable training stimulus. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points: Grant’s non-traditional start to his coaching career and it’s impact on his creativity The biggest influences Grant has had in the way he approaches the creation of training methods How Grant has utilized some themes from Westside Powerlifting in regards to the rotation of exercises, in creating his own system for training athletes How Grant rotates “big lifts” versus dynamic and auxiliary exercises in his program Thoughts on the differences between repeating the same workout frequently (such as the Bondarchuk method) versus not repeating the same workout in a 2-3 week time span How Grant programs for those who are tapering, peaking, or in-season How Grant uses and cycles long-duration isometrics in his program Examining a sample monthly training period in Grant’s system “Nothing in a complex system behaves in a linear way” “We are changing the way we do our core exercises (i.e. squat, bench) every week” “The athletes are coming to the gym and always able to hit some type of PR” “The “dynamic effort” days are almost more variable, we’re always cycling exercises and tempos on that dynamic effort day” “The way we implement variation is based on what I feel they haven’t done in a while; if they hit a heavy 8, they won’t hit a heavy 8 the following week, they might do a heavy 3” “A lot of our workouts are written, on the fly sometimes” “With the accessory exercises,
Feb 20, 2020
189: Evan Peikon on Harnessing Energy System Feedback for Optimal Individualization of Strength, Size and Endurance Training | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Evan Peikon.  Evan is a coach, physiologist, and educator at the Training Think Tank HQ in Atlanta, GA. He has experience working with athletes on-site and remotely across the U.S. and internationally.  Evan is a former track and field athlete and has learned from world-leading experts in applied muscle physiology and performance. I’ve recently found myself thinking about the topic of lactate as a factor in training, and how we should look to manage higher repetition training sets (such as 1x20, or the Inno-sport “AN2” bracket of work), longer sprints and lactate buffering work in general, in athletes.  I’ve also recently read Pavel Tsatsouline’s book “The Quick and the Dead”, presenting an “anti-lactate” view on training, but then think about contrasting this to the results Mark Wetzel (and many others) have gotten from doing long duration extreme isometrics with their athletes in the realms of strength and work capacity. I also think about ideas from the track and field world, such as Boo Schexnayder looking for a mild to moderate dose of lactate as a result of dense power training (such as 12x30m sprint accelerations) in some training periods, as well as Andy Eggerth mentioning how some athletes need to have some longer sprints present in peaking portions of the year, where they are accumulating a little bit of lactate. Evan Peikon is a fantastic source of information in this regard, as he has had tremendous mentors in the energy system world (such as Aaron Davis) and is regularly synthesizing his wealth of knowledge in working with a population where lactate is an ever-present reality, that of cross-fit competitors. On the show today, we talk about energy systems in an applied manner, and in a holistic manner that shows oxygen saturation as a rate-limiting factor that supercedes the thought process of lactate levels in muscle in regards to training effects and how long recovery processes will take.  This show is great for learning more about training individualization, as we go in depth on all things running, strength training, fast-twitch recruitment, 1x20 method and more, in regards to muscle oxygen, lactate and how it impacts our programming and methods. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Evan’s background as an athlete and what drew his interest in lactate and oxygen’s role in assessing training differences in athletes What it means to have good or poor respiratory versus oxygen delivery in athletes Why having high muscular tension can reduce the ability of the heart to deliver oxygen to the muscle Thoughts on training the aerobic system for a short-burst power athlete How athletes can self-regulate workouts in a manner where they avoid staying in muscle hypoxia (in order to maximize their ability to recover from the workout) Thoughts on “Anti-Glycolytic Training” or training with the distinct purpose of not training to the point where significant lactate accumulates in the muscle Ideas on a “sweet spot” of sustained muscular work and physiological response Training for the sake of preferential improvement of fast twitch fibers Using an “ends to middle” style approach where power and aerobic work are trained early, and the lactate buffer zone is trained later in training “I think the 800m run lends itself well to being that event that sparks your curiosity (on how such a spectrum of body types and training styles can excel at it)” “What is one man’s junk (running) volume, is another man’s great training tool” “I like the term “delivery” instead of cardiac output” “A delivery limitation is kind of a battle between the heart and local muscle physiology.  The muscle could vaso-dilate more than the heart could pump against (due to tension).
Feb 13, 2020
188: Scott Robinson on The Nervous System, Overcoming Mental Barriers and Advanced Athlete Learning Concepts | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features neurology expert and personal trainer, Scott Robinson.  Scott is an Applied Movement Neurology (AMN) master practitioner and the creator of AMN Neuro-Flexibility.  He has worked successfully with all levels of neurological complexity in his time training and coaching a wide variety of clients.  Scott is a specialist in dealing with a variety of neurological issues, such as weakness, pain, compensations, range of motion and trauma to the emotional systems, amongst many others.  Scott is a former athlete in Taekwondo and has more than 20 years of experience in Applied Movement Neurology.  Scott also runs the Instagram account @the.brain.guy and is a presenter and practitioner at integrated vitality retreats. The nervous system is always an important and popular topic in the world of not only athletic performance, but human performance and development in general.    Our emotions and subconscious state, as well as our bioelectric network are all substantial players in how we train and recover, as well as stay healthy in the process.  Good coaches know these elements intuitively, but we are now starting to be able to point out the science and ideas behind it all.  Today’s show takes a step back from sets, reps and exercises, and looks at these higher-order influences on athletic performance from a perspective of the brain and nervous system. On the show, Scott talks about inhibitive factors of the nervous system, as well as the important leap in looking from athletes only in a chemical perspective, and to a bioelectric perspective, which has implications running into things like fascial performance and therapeutic modalities.   He also gets into the role of emotions and beliefs and their impact on training, as well as methods that can be used to help clear these inhibiting factors.  Finally, we get into an awesome talk on the critical factors by which learning can take place in a session, and how this impacts our entry point into the workout itself, drawing a lot of parallels with my prior show with Rafe Kelley.  This show starts great, and just gets better as we go along, and has tons of gems throughout that are truly game-changing for any coach or athlete. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Scott’s background as a distance runner and martial artist, as well as how he got into neurology and brain-science and its connection with athletics Elements that hold the nervous system back from producing the strength it is capable of (bioelectric dysfunction, nociception, etc.) How Scott looks at a client from a bioelectric perspective How foam rollers really work in regards to the body, the nervous system and performance The role of emotions in training and how emotion plays a role in adapting to exercise The use of emotional freedom technique to help clear limbic trauma that is inhibiting performance on the sporting field Why the “Haka” is so powerful for the All-Blacks, but also an unfair advantage in regards of it’s emotional impact on the other team Ways that we can allow our brain to learn better, particularly in context of physical activity The role of attention and novelty in athlete learning How to use novelty in warm-up games to stimulate and drive urgency and attention and drive better learning “Bioelectricity underpins everything in the nervous system… I work with that bioelectricity and anywhere in the body there is dysfunction or pain or weakness, or anything that’s not quite right, you’ll find that there will be an altered bioelectric charge” “Medical science tends to look at the body almost from a chemical perspective” “The extracellular matrix is kind of like the body’s wi-fi network” “One of the biggest things I see in terms of change, is we clear the brain map (out of a pain based r...
Feb 06, 2020
187: Logan Christopher on the Pyramid of Athleticism and Human Performance | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Logan Christopher, strongman, author, owner of Legendary Strength and CEO of Lost Empire Herbs.  Logan previously appeared on episode 111 where he discussed mental training in depth, including the utilization of hypnosis and mental anchors. Alongside his athletic and business pursuits, Logan has also written several books including “Mental Muscle” and “Powered by Nature”, both of which I have found impactful reads.  Logan is a master of using the natural machinery of the body and our environment to help us reach our highest potential as humans. I wanted to get Logan back on the show for a few reasons.  One was that he lives only an hour and a half away from me in Santa Cruz, and I knew that it would be a blast to train with him prior to recording the show.  Secondly, I had took some inspiration from my past show with Logan and started using his mental training hypnosis tracks prior to my training sessions, along with using his herbs, primarily his “Phoenix” formula (containing herbs such as Ant Extract and Pine Pollen) as well as an adaptogenic mushroom tincture I put in my morning coffee.  The results, were profound.  Although I don’t like to pin training gains on one thing only, I managed to jump higher that year at age 35 than I had in the last 5 years.  My training and overall strength had found rapid improvement, and I knew there was something special to this process.  Finally, I had been reading Logan’s articles around the time I started using his herbs and came across a drawing he referred to as the “Pyramid of Strength” (see show notes), and with everything I head learned about training the last few years, this made perfect sense to me, so I wanted to explore it in depth. On today’s show, we cover just that, the Pyramid of strength, and get Logan’s take on each layer (Mental, Training, Sleep, Diet,Herbs/ Supplements, Spiritual) of what makes us thrive as athletes and human beings. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.   Key Points How awkward objects and kettlebells can add value to a training sessions The layout and inspiration behind Logan’s “Pyramid of Strength” How mental state in the gym and training filters over into one’s sport How Logan approaches sleep and recovery in his own training An overview of performance herbalism and how herbalism differs from chemically driven supplements The drawbacks of typical chemical pre-workouts and herbal alternatives to these The primary herbs to look at for athletic performance Logan’s coffee additives (or replacement) for a more natural energy source “For most guys the color pink is actually going to weaken them” “Every single (training) system out there is a limited collection of movements and if we are looking at health, all around athleticism, the more different movements you’ll do, the better off you’ll be” “We are thinking and feeling beings; that involves everything we are doing.  There is often a cursory acknowledgement of mental aspects of training, but there often isn’t a dialing into that and a mental understanding” “For performance, diet is not the most important thing, because how many Olympic athletes are eating Cheetos and crap food?  Most of these athletes are younger guys, so there is a period you can do that, but if you want long term performance, that is not a sustainable thing” “I would say that everyone is visualizing before an exercise, but they may not be aware of it, period” “Often, people think of just getting to this ideal technique, but there are layers and layers of improving your internal technique and how you are talking to yourself, things that are going on inside, and that’s still all technique as well” “Music is used to control state, and it’s a very effective method for doing so” “Before you do an exercise,
Jan 30, 2020
186: Joel Smith Q&A on Sprint Training Methods and Running Biomechanics, Physical Preparation and Motor Learning Topics | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode is a question and answer session where I take a break from the typical interview format and reflect on listener questions.  I always enjoy doing these shows, since it’s great to get a pulse on what training topics are on the mind of the coaching community. For this show, the particular focus was questions on sprinting and sprint training, as well as a lot of ideas on jumping in conjunction with foot strength.  We also touched on a lot of physical preparation principles, such as correction of asymmetry and how I’ve changed my philosophy in working with team sport athletes over time. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Things I’ve changed in working with team sports My thoughts on the Soviet training literature Foot strength and single leg jumping ability How I would create a training program for a U20 sprint program Volumes of sprinting and bounding for dunk/jump training What I would utilize in the weightroom if I had only one exercise to perform Tempo sprints for single leg jumping Maximal speed sprinting as opposed to slightly submaximal speed work Thoughts on the POSE method in running Asymmetric in the weightroom versus dynamic performance Thoughts on movement and Ido Portal style training How a one foot jumper can get better at two foot jumping How I utilize Marinovich training methods in my own training programs How I’ve adjusted Triphasic Training means based on neuro-types and individual athlete response About Joel Smith Joel Smith is an NCAA Division I Strength Coach working in the PAC12 conference.  A track coach of 11 years, Joel is also a coach for the Diablo Valley Track and Field Club, and also has 6 years of experience coaching sprints, jumps, hurdles, pole vault and multi-events on the collegiate level. Joel has coached 2 national champions, multiple All-Americans and school record holders in his time as a track coach. In the realm of strength and conditioning, his programs have assisted 5 athletes to Olympic berths that produced 9 medals and a world record performance in Rio in 2016. In 2011, Joel began Just Fly Sports with Jake Clark as a central platform to promote information for athletes and coaches to reach their highest potential.  The first episode of the “Just Fly Performance Podcast” was released in 2016, now a leading source of education in the sports performance field. Before working in the PAC12 conference, Joel spent 6 years in the realms of coaching, college lecturing, personal training, and thesis research.  Joel’s certifications include Neurological and Physical Typing from BATI, CSCS, MAT Jumpstart, and NKT level 1, as well as USA Track and Field credentials.  Joel is also well-versed in the Be-Activated protocols as taught by Douglas Heel, and has been extensively mentored by sprint and sport movement coach Adarian Barr.
Jan 24, 2020
185: András Hegyi on Hamstring Function and Impacts of Sprinting and the Weightroom | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features András Hegyi, a final-stage Ph.D. student working at the Neuromuscular Research Center at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.  His Ph.D. work focuses on regional and inter-muscular hamstrings EMG activity in different hamstring exercises and in running. Hegyi's recently published thesis can be found at University of Jyväskylä. Hegyi is interested in improving biomechanical methodologies to assess hamstrings to further understand hamstring muscle function and injury mechanisms. We’ve done some great episodes on hamstring injury prevention in the past, such as episode 161 with Jake Schuster and 158 with JB Morin.  This show is another fantastic addition to that series as András is a wealth of knowledge on the topic, being well versed on what the research yields in regards to many aspects of training and hamstring development, as well as what is functionally asked of the hamstrings in sprinting and sport. When it comes to hamstrings and injury prevention, a common question is: “What exercises should I do in the gym to help this process”?  An important aspect of the gym and sprinting is that the way these elements “hit the hamstrings” is quite different.  It is important to know what we can, and can’t do in the weightroom to create robust athletes. In this episode, András goes into hamstring strain mechanisms, Nordic hamstrings and variations, different gym exercises that hit different aspects of the hamstring musculature, sprinting and it’s role in injury prevention.  He also shares his thoughts on training the adductor magnus as a synergist of the hamstring.  Another important point covered is the importance of individual muscle activation differences in sprinting versus what we see in the gym, which has big implications on how we are training and assessing athletes. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points András’ background as an athlete and researcher Primary reasons for a hamstring strains from a physiological and biomechanical perspective Dynamics of isometric exercises and muscle-tendon activity Thoughts on if a Nordic hamstring is actually an eccentric exercise Nordic hamstring training and rotational elements of the hamstring The diver and glider exercises for hamstring health How doing a Nordic hamstring with flexed versus extended hips changes the training effect of the movement Anterior pelvic tilt and effect on the hamstring during a Nordic hamstring The role of sprinting in injury prevention Training for the adductor magnus and it’s role in hip extension and hamstring injury prevention “The magnitude of fiber stretch is a good predictor of strain injury” “When we stretch a muscle to failure, highly activated muscle absorbs more energy than passive muscle” “The hamstrings must absorb a lot of energy in the late swing phase of running” “The muscle cannot tolerate the same amount of stretch when it is fatigued” “Increased hamstrings activity decreases the magnitude of fiber stretch in the late swing phase” “A big anterior pelvic tilt stretches the (hamstring more) and it typically increases with fatigue” “(In a Nordic hamstring) there is actually a shortening behavior of the fascicles first, then there it’s kind of isometric, and the eccentric only happens at the peak knee flexion torque” “Eccentrics help you to absorb more energy in the late swing phase of running” “When the hips were flexed to 90 degrees, then we reached much higher knee flexion torque; but interestingly the hamstrings activation was much lower, and what this means is that we have more inhibition in the hamstrings and the passive force was higher.  With flexed hips, we have more of an eccentric component, you are stretching the elastic elements more”
Jan 16, 2020
184: Mike Kozak and Stephen Laflamme on Advanced Squat and Jump Training Methods Through Functional Assessment | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features gym owner and sports performance coach Mike Kozak and physical therapist, Stephen Laflamme.   Mike Kozak is the Owner of SOAR Fitness in Columbus, Ohio.  He has trained hundreds of youth athletes as well as a number of current and prospective college and pro athletes. Mike has previously worked as a physical education teacher and youth basketball coach.  He frequently hosts “Rewire” clinics with Adarian Barr and is a fervent student of biomechanics and cutting edge sports performance techniques. He has written several articles for Just Fly Sports. Stephen Laflamme attained his clinical Doctorate of Physical Therapy from The Ohio State University in 2016 and graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 with a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science; also attaining his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certification.  Stephen competed twice in the Arnold Weightlifting Championships and qualified for the 2015 National University Championship in weightlifting. Stephen has traveled the country to be a part of the nation's best educational programs and learn from the nation's best professionals. When it comes to things like bilateral and single leg squatting, everyone tends to have their own favorite variations, but how often do we think about exactly why we are performing a front, Zercher or RFE split squat?  Are we prescribing these exercises based on what other coaches are utilizing, or based on the individual characteristics and needs of our athletes? In today’s episode Mike and Stephen get into both general and specific principles in catering to athletes optimally in these basic strength movements.  We had a great recent episode with Justin Moore in episode 176 talking about “knees in” from a holistic perspective, getting into the hydraulics of the body and the pelvic floor.  In this episode we continue in that vein, and get particularly into this dynamic in squatting, landing and jumping, and the differences that exist here, as well as practical training ramifications.  Finally, Mike and Stephen talk about training the foot, as well as integrating some concepts learned from Adarian Barr.  Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.  Key Points General squatting concepts that make the movement more athletic Squat method difference based on hip structure (eg. anterior vs. posterior tilted) Why you might Zercher squat an athlete vs. front squat, as well as how various positions in RFE split squat bias different elements of movement Approaching athletes who lack hip internal rotation in a sequential manner “Knees in” concepts, timing, and jump training Squatting in respect to “knees out” and hip internal rotation Generalities in ACL prevention training Working with athletes who over-pronate “On my end, higher box safety bar squats seem to be the one that works the best for the majority of my population” Kozak “We’ve been big on the heels elevated ramps (while squatting)… putting them up on that buys them some more room to sit down” Kozak “In order to squat effectively, you need to be able to posteriorly rotate the pelvis, and the hamstrings are a really important muscle to be able to do that; by squatting to a high box, the hamstrings always stay within the range of motion where they can contribute to hip extension” Laflamme  “A split squat with my left foot in front and a kettlebell in my right hand would bias internal rotation of my front leg.  A kettlebell in my left hand would bias external rotation” Laflamme “If someone is really spongy when they land and can’t get off the ground quick, those are the people you see with the sway back posture, and it looks like the hips are tipped backwards.  By bringing them forward and getting a little more trunk inclination it helps unweight the pelvic fl...
Jan 09, 2020
183: Dr. Nick Serio on Innovative Special Strength Training for Throwers and Rotational Athletes | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Dr. Nick Serio.  Nick received his doctorate of education in sport and performance psychology from the University of Western States.  He is the co-owner and general manager of the “Athlete’s Warehouse” located in Pleasantville, New York. Nick also serves as the head pitching coach at Fox Lane high school, where the baseball team has had tremendous success.   I watched Nick’s presentation on medicine ball training he did at the NISMAT symposium, which was a phenomenal and creative demonstration of special strength training for pitchers.  Nick’s work is the epitome of the full-spectrum blend of knowledge of sport specific skill needs, appropriate special strength exercises, as well as solid general strength principles.    Nick’s special strength medicine ball programming is facilitating significant increases in players throwing speeds, all while keeping their arms healthy, as they avoid throwing baseballs year round (a huge factor in getting injured or burning out early).  Despite the impressive results he gets, Nick is a very honest and transparent individual, as he also indicates the many other training modalities the players are doing (plyometrics, resistance training) as well as simply growing and maturing. Regardless, Nick’s creative solutions to training are something special to learn about, and have ramifications for all throwing athletes, and rotational sports. On the show today, Nick goes into the factors contributing to the massive injury increases in baseball, and how his medicine ball program can help combat this.  He also chats about general principles in training throwers, postural issues, and then gets into the fine points of his medicine ball training program. Nick also addresses the action of the front block leg in throwing, which is a universal principle, applicable to a great variety of rotational sports.  Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.  Key Points An assessment of the factors contributing to the massive increases in injury in baseball How Nick approaches upper and lower extremity work for throwing and rotational athletes from a general weightroom perspective Addressing postural issues with throwing athletes A full description of Nick’s medicine ball training program designed to improve pitch mechanics and velocity while taking load off of the arm and elbow Training the action of the front leg, the block or brake leg in throwing and swinging actions “There is a lot going on at younger ages that is missed because we are focusing so much on major league baseball.  The demands to get recruited and how we get recruited right now, put a tremendous amount of stress on a young pitcher’s arm” “We created a system to try and attain this velocity (needed to reach the next athletic level) without putting further stress on them (through medicine ball training)”   “In the past, it was the parents that have the answers, today, it is the kids who have the answers” “I think it’s ridiculous that we have a pitch count in baseball… how many of those pitches in that 100 pitches were maximal intent? Well that’s going to take way more of a taxation of his out than a 2 outs, no runners on situation” “When you look at most high level throwers, they are going to have retroversion in their shoulder, and that’s from throwing at that younger age; their body is doing that at those morphing times where we are going to have those improvements” “Any real rotational athlete we’re looking at a couple things: we are looking at the reverse lunge… we love the overhead squat… and then a bear crawl, we are infatuated with crawling.. and then obviously sprinting” “It’s difficult for me to differentiate the shoulder region from the hip region if I don’t account for the lat”
Jan 02, 2020
182: John Garrish on Innovative Speed Training Progressions | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features John Garrish, director of athletic development & performance at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida, and the school’s head track and field coach.  John has previously served as the Director of Athletic Performance with the Florida Rugby Union’s High-Performance Program 7’s team, and has been involved in numerous other strength and sport coaching roles. He also serves as the National High School Strength Coaches Association Regional Board Member for the Southeast. John is a passionate, creative and detail oriented coach, who distributes his methods freely through his social media outlets.  At North Broward prep, John has the challenges of teaching speed and athletic movement to large groups of athletes at a time.  In doing so, he has implemented a variety of unique mini-hurdle variations with arm position, as well as hand and finger positioning, these each having unique impacts on the athletes.  John is a tremendous compiler of data and sprint images, and it was a joy to pick his brain on his speed training implementation and discoveries. On the show today, John covers his management of the weight room at North Broward and how he manages large groups of athletes with a small support staff.  He describes his use of gallops and various skips as an important part of his warm-up process, and then gets into all of the mini-hurdle speed constraints in his program, which is a true highlight.   This was a fantastic episode on speed training for not just the high school athlete, but any athlete seeking improved speed and explosive ability. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. View more podcast episodes at the podcast homepage. Key Points John’s management of the weight room at North Broward Prep John’s assessment process having a large number of athletes John’s use of gallops and skips in training his athletes Progressions as young athletes pass through John’s program Various constraints John utilizes in his flying sprint training How John has experimented with various hand positions during sprinting   “Usually what I look for (in assistant high school coaches) there is I find the teachers on campus that the students love, because there’s something different about them and they bring out passion in the students” “The kids know there is going to be some sort of assessment on a daily basis” “My first 3-4 years I avoided the 40 yard dash like the plague, but I was timing 30m dashes, and kids were asking what it would be in their 40 yard dash” “I think the more we get back to skips, and gallops and hops and jumps, the better for the long term development of our kids” “Once we started (skips) going for speed, seeing some positions the athletes found themselves in was pretty cool to see” “From a standpoint of those fly’s and sprints we’re testing, there are 3 big challenges we are going to look at for our students: There is an overhead.  Rotation is big.  And then also drills that help us focus on better front-side action (but realizing what’s happening within context with the ground.” “One of the things I was seeing (running fly sprints with a stick overhead) is I was seeing an over-correction and an excessive arch in the spine, and it might look good in a kinogram, but it wasn’t what our students need was” “If we use constraints, (we) still use rotation, they’ve never over-corrected with too much rotation” “I started toying with different hand positions with pulsers or weights (during fly sprints), I don’t think that’s a thing we looked at much during the first three years” “Normal grip with the pulsers, or anything in the hands, with acceleration that was really forceful, but when we got to upright running, it wasn’t how I wanted it to be” “What you saw the hand starting to do,
Dec 26, 2019
181: Tyler Yearby and Michael Zweifel on Creating Robust Athletes in the Weight Room Through Variability and Creative Movement | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Tyler Yearby and Michael Zweifel. Tyler Yearby is a Former Strength & Conditioning Coach at Northeastern State University and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities who has delivered over 200 domestic & international continuing education courses, workshops, and conference presentations in 12 countries.  Tyler has, and continues to work with athletes ranging from youth to professional.  Michael Zweifel is the owner and head of sports performance for “Building Better Athletes” performance center in Dubuque, Iowa.  Michael has been on a number of previous Just Fly Performance Podcast episodes, focusing largely on the development of reactive agility and transferable sport movement.  Tyler and Michael are both a part of “Emergence” which is a movement skill education company. When it comes to building athletes in the agility and change of direction space, attitudes are changing and coaches are realizing how important it is to teach perception and decision making in a variety of situations, to eventually transfer better to sport.  Agility done for the sake of running through cones as fast as possible is very limited in what it can do for an athlete in a chaotic sport environment, and podcast #76 was the epitome of that information. Today’s show takes those same ideas of reactivity and creative movement, and puts it into the structure of the weight room: resistance training and plyometric exercises.  Tyler and Michael try to mirror their approach to an “athlete based” model of problem solving throughout an entire program, and in this episode they share how creative means are utilized in the weight room to not only improve movement and robustness, but also stoke the fires of athlete creativity.  On the show today, we dig into what these sequences look like, and get to the core of “athlete centered” training in the weight room on the level of variability, and much more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points What the motor learning concept of “repetition without repetition” means on a basic level How Michael and Tyler are using motor learning and “repetition without repetition” principles in the weightroom What a typical “repetition without repetition” weightroom training sequence would look like in the pre-season training period What “athlete centered” training and coaching looks like How ideas on variability affect plyometric and reactive training How to adjust training variability based on an athlete’s readiness “Repetition without repetition is not the means to solving a given motor problem, but the process of that solution.  It is the changing and improving from rep to rep and the means of that, so everything essentially slightly changes as we perform any type of motor action”  Yearby “We view sport as a problem solving activity… we view the weightroom as assistive to this problem solving activity”  Zweifel “(In regards of variables to change from set to set) One (variation) is tempo, the other is stance” Yearby “(Regarding lifting in awkward positions) Don’t our athletes need to be able to express force, despite the compromised positions they find themselves in the field?” Zweifel “The learning centered approach doesn’t mean that you let the athlete do whatever they want” Yearby “For me personally, in my athletes, I’ll gladly take a 20% weight reduction in a compound lift to have on this repetition without repetition scheme (different types of repetitions each set or rep)” Zweifel “My athletes have given me a ton of feedback that me allowing them to explore in the weightroom, to be creative, and to own their own movements in the weightroom, have given them the confidence to do the same things out in the field” Zweifel “For an initial starting point,
Dec 19, 2019
180: Helen Hall on Optimizing Posture, Glutes and Joint Mechanics in Running and Beyond | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features running coach, biomechanist, and endurance athlete, Helen Hall.  Helen is the author of “Even With Your Shoes On”, a comprehensive manual on teaching running in a natural manner based on the sensory capabilities of the human body.  She is a minimalist ultra-distance runner, 6 times Ironman and credited with being the world’s first ‘barefoot’ Iron(wo)man.  Helen is the owner of the Perpetual Forward Motion School of Efficient Running, as well as a running injury clinic.  Helen uses the latest movement science and gait analysis technology to help people find solutions for their pain and injuries. Helen is a level 4 Anatomy in Motion practitioner (former podcast guest Gary Ward’s system).  Helen’s framework of building running technique based on sensory feedback, joint motion, and self-organization is unique and a breath of fresh air, given the lack of importance many coaching systems place on body awareness and natural learning.  Even if you aren’t interested in running, the principles from Helen’s system carry over to sprinting, jumping and any other human movement that involves the gait cycle. In the last five to ten years, many of my own ideas on what constitutes effective technical coaching have been reformulated, based on the sensory and self-organization capabilities of the human body.   Helen’s book has been a capstone of sorts on this period of learning in my own life, so I was excited to get her on the show to talk about her approach to coaching. On the show, we talk about how and why running shouldn’t be an injury-inducing form of exercise, as well as many points on Helen’s philosophy of improving running and human movement.  Some specifics include the importance of awareness, why moving joints is superior to manual “muscle activation”, using lunge variations to determine glute contribution to running, as well as building running technique from a sagittal to frontal to transverse plane sequence, specifically addressing the role of posture and fixing “crossover” running. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points The question of jogging and running as a natural form of exercise, and if we as humans are actually “born to run” How a person can find their own best running technique through a process of noticing one’s own body Answering the question if there is ever room for internal cues in a coaching system Why activating and moving joints is superior to concentrically activating muscles for performance Using lunge variations to see if a runner could activate their glutes while moving How to build running technique through awareness and joint mobiliziation drills from a sagittal, frontal and then transverse plane sequence How to optimize running posture using wall-based spinal alignments How to fix crossover gait using frontal plane drill work “I passionately believe we are (born to run) because toddlers are at it before they really even can walk well” “Running is just another speed, another gear.  A whole array of different speeds is what we do well.  Going further and going long is what we do best of all.  Enduring is in our evolutionary history” “People are disconnected from the way that they are doing anything… nobody notices anything.” “When a person runs and gets injured, is it how their body wants to run, or is it what they’ve been taught or think they should be doing.  If it’s not what their body wants to do, but it’s being inflicted on the body by an opinion, then it’s quite possible that the body might not like it” “It’s not about telling people “how to”…. There’s a lot of confusion because so many of these “guidelines” contradict each other” “Let’s start by exploring, how do you walk, and when you go from your walk into your run, what changes?”
Dec 12, 2019
179: Erik Korem and Keir Wenham-Flatt on Game Speed, Mental Resilience and the Governing Dynamics of Sport Performance | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Erik Korem and Keir Wenham-Flatt.  Erik Korem is the associate athletic director for student athlete high-performance and Keir Wenham-Flatt is the coordinator of football performance.   Erik and Keir are a veritable all-star team of athletic development, with knowledge spanning all arenas of performance that transfers to the field. Erik brings nearly two decades of national expertise to his current position at William and Mary at the professional and collegiate levels, most recently, serving as the Director of Sports Science for the National Football League's Houston Texans, and previously, the high-performance coordination at the University of Kentucky football.  Keir has extensive experience in rugby physical preparation, and recently has expanded his repertoire to American football and University Olympic sports in his employment in the USA, in addition to his founding of rugbystrengthcoach.com. As we’ve talked about on other shows, strength, and even speed, is only a part of the equation on preparing athletes to be their best on the day of competition (albeit, an important part).  This podcast goes in depth on how Erik and Keir approach those two facets of performance from a perspective of maximal efficiency and effectiveness. The show expands to more “global” topics of high performance which includes the specificity of “mental toughness” and performance in high-pressure situations, as well as the role of emotional state in long-term sport success.  We also cover ideas regarding a global model (James Smith’s book “Governing Dynamics” is a big one here) of sport training that can help synchronize sport and strength coaches in their combined efforts.  We also get into the data provided by GPS, focusing on how team speed readings are an indicator of the flow of game play. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Erik and Keir’s thoughts on agility and change of direction training on the field of play The use of maximal speed training for the sake of injury prevention in American football How GPS and game speed and acceleration can be a significant factor in looking at the strategy of how a football game is played How Erik and Keir utilize athlete performance logs and wellness readings The specificity of “toughness” and resilience in high pressure and over-time play situations How the “Governing Dynamics of Sport” is impacting conversations that Erik and Keir are having with the sport coaches at their university The importance of mental and emotional factors and sport success, especially at higher levels Year to year progressions in strength training for athletes for maximal long-term development Quotes “You can have two athletes in the same position, with different physical gifts who solve a problem with two different means, and what we try and do is provide them with a guided learning environment to discover what works (for change of direction in a game like setting)”  Wenham-Flatt “How many times do you have to see an elite athlete do something that’s “wrong” before you understand that they are probably doing it the right way”  Wenham-Flatt “There are three ways to win warfare: More force, more speed, or misdirection… when everybody is different, everybody is going to be naturally geared towards solving sport problems by different means.  The less you have of one thing, the more you need of the others” Wenham-Flatt “For the most part we are getting guys to that 90% (sprinting in season) threshold or greater, our skills and our mid-skill positions” Korem “In games, it’s not always great to say “oh! We had all these players run over X amount of speed” because it could mean that they are chasing somebody” Korem “Bryan Mann released a paper this year from his days at Mizzou,
Dec 05, 2019
178: Bobby Whyte on Holistic Strength and Skill Training for Basketball and Beyond | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Bobby Whyte, an athletic performance and basketball skill enhancement trainer operating out of Northern New Jersey. Focusing on developing the complete player athlete, Bobby practices the “Evaluate – Educate -Empower” program he experienced first hand growing up training with now world-renowned trainers and specialists.  Bobby has worked with athletes ranging from beginner to NBA/NFL/Overseas Professionals. Most recently, he spent 6 months working in China as the Head Strength Coach for the Guangxi Rhinos. Bobby’s story is inspirational, overcoming severe struggles in his early 20’s, to turning his life around and becoming a top-level basketball skills and athletic performance trainer.  His story is the epitome of the idea of going through the deepest valley in order to reach the highest mountain.  Bobby is the exact kind of coach I would have loved to have as a young athlete, he truly cares about the individual person, more than he cares about the results that they achieve (although he is excellent at getting those sporting results). Bobby is a coach who trains physical development and skills all under one roof, as he is a certified strength coach, as well as an expert developer of basketball abilities.  In today’s podcast, Bobby begins with his own inspirational story, and how it has impacted his coaching and investment in the lives of his athletes on a daily basis.  In terms of training and technical information, Bobby takes us through his program from general skill to specific skill development, and everything in between.   He also gives us his take on the over-specialization of young basketball players and his use of breathing techniques help athletes de-stress.  This episode is a chance to step inside the life of a coach who is changing the lives of those he works with. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Bobby’s story of how he turned his life around in a positive direction and got into coaching Bobby’s philosophy of putting the athlete first, personally, before their sport performance training Ideas on the general physical skills needed to support the game of basketball A typical training day with Bobby as he covers both skill and strength work Bobby’s baselines for each player he works with from a physical perspective Thoughts on the FMS and movement screening in general Key movements Bobby wants his athletes to be good at in the sport of basketball Bobby’s thoughts on year round basketball and over-specialization Bobby’s use of breath work in his training space “As bad as my life was, I don’t regret it, because it’s turned me into the person I am today… my ability to relate with people who struggle” “99% of my clients are basketball players, and I could care less if they become a really great basketball player if they don’t like who they see in the morning when they look in the mirror” “The more I learn about my athletes, the more I can help” “Before we get in the gym, the court, before we even get there, I just want to sit down and talk…. I ask them “what’s important to you”… the more I ask what’s important to you, the more I get from surface level stuff, to soul level stuff, the stuff that’s really driving them” “By putting it all (strength and skill work) under one roof, I’ve streamlined it, I’ve simplified it.  I’ve created a place where my basketball players can come to one spot and get to the next level on where they need to go” “I’m always focused on the movement first, can they own the position? Are they stable on one foot, do they decelerate properly, can they get to the right positions that are going to carry over to sport” “My goal is not to get a kid to a 21 (in the FMS) my goal is to get him better in his sport”
Nov 29, 2019
177: Dr. Michael Yessis on Better Sport Skill Acquisition in the Gym for Maximal Performance | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Dr. Michael Yessis, who appeared previously on episode #142 of this podcast, going in depth on the 1x20 strength training system and its advantages, as well as the importance of not over-developing an athlete’s general strength in favor of their sport skill.  Today’s episode builds on that last show, by going into Doc’s take on skill acquisition and how it sets up a training program. For every 10 shows and articles on strength training in athletic performance, you might get one on skill development and acquisition, if you are lucky, and these are never the popular pieces of work.  At the end of the day, a primary goal of strength training is to allow an athlete to set up the effective execution of their sport skill.  Basic skills would include running faster and jumping higher, but also spread to things like swinging, throwing and changing directions on the field, as well as the finer points of various sports. For me, it’s always been hard to think I did a “good job” in teaching an athlete to do a barbell lift properly, while knowing that their capacity to perform their sport skill was poor and I was doing nothing else to help improve it.  Even with the silos and lines that are drawn in the modern strength coach/sport coach setup, the strength coach can, at the very least, by understanding the demands of sport skill, help create the capacity for better sport skill performance, and at the most, offer special strength exercises that can significantly help the athlete in their sport skill and therefore sport gameplay, leading to a better chance of winning the game. In this show that Doc and I may not see eye to eye on absolutely everything in the change of direction space, but he really makes me think, and given his knowledge base and experience as well as the results that many coaches are getting with his training methods, this episode is a fantastic resource for anyone working with athletes.  Doc also has a book out called “Building a Better Athlete” that encapsulates many of the ideas discussed in this episode. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Doc’s take on the evolution and relationships of strength coach versus a sport coach The Soviet’s use of other games for mental relaxation, even in “in season” play Doc’s thoughts on which mainline sport skills that all strength coaches should have a basic working biomechanical knowledge of What knowledge a coach should have on the skill of change of direction for athletes, and Doc’s take on agility training Doc’s take on the concept of a “perfect technique” in sport skill Key technical points on the skill of throwing, and improving the “front leg action” in this situation The importance of using special exercises to shore up biomechanical gaps in technique What a training year looks like for an athlete who already has the requisite general strength ability for their sport Why only playing one’s sport will yield a ceiling in performance (with no other emphasis or concentration of skills) Quotes “Skill, in my estimation, determines your workout.  Without looking at skill, or the sill execution, your program is not the best that it can be” “The more skills athlete’s learn, the greater is their motor development, which allows them to be even better in the sport that they specialize in” “They need all the basic skills: running, jumping, throwing, kicking, hitting, to really learn them and understand them.  Right now, I have seen very few strength coaches have a handle on what constitutes effective running” “If they are missing certain athletes of their skill execution, I come up with a strength exercise that duplicates what’s missing.  That exercise duplicates the same neuromuscular pathway that’s used in the execution of that skill”
Nov 21, 2019
176: Justin Moore on “Knees In”, Fluid Dynamics of the Body and Better Injury Prevention Training | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Justin Moore.  Justin is the head performance coach at Parabolic Performance and Rehab in Montclair, New Jersey. Justin has worked with athletes of all ages and abilities, from eight-years-old to professional football players in the National Football League (NFL) and Olympic-level Ice Skaters and Ice Dancers.  He has been highly involved in the process of helping elite college football players prepare for the NFL Combine.  Justin also has advanced knowledge of the concepts of PRI as well as Bill Hartman and other elite coaches, giving him a very thorough lens by which he observes the body in training.  He has previously appeared on this podcast twice, on episodes 78 and 124. An area of biomechanics and sports performance that is (thankfully) getting more attention is the internal rotation and “knees in” phenomenon that all of the great jumpers in the world utilize (albeit to varying degrees).  If the knees don’t travel inwards in a reactive jump, then elastic energy transfer is lost and an athlete also loses the ability to create a strong triangle structure with their feet and legs. The question with the “knees in” equation is “when does it become a problem”?  A large amount of athletic performance programs will simply try to coach all athletes into a robotic motion where the knees don’t travel inwards at all in an attempt to avoid injury (and also assuming that the knees traveling inwards is the problem in all athletes) and in the process, rob them of elastic power.  As with anything, there is a bandwidth, just like the concepts of pronation.  Pronation is good, while being stuck in pronation is bad. To fully understand when the natural and effective internal rotation and “knees in” can become an issue, Justin Moore gives us a thorough explanation, as well as many case study anecdotes.  In this episode, Justin uses a lot of fluid dynamics examples, and takes a lot of work from Bill Hartman to explore deeply this corner of human performance.  This episode is quite intensive and is one of those shows that you truly can study, since the material is quite foundational to the way we observe and train athletes. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Basic mechanics of why knees will rotate in during jumping and squatting from a perspective of pelvic mechanics and thorax hydraulics How to determine when “knees in” is potentially excessive or problematic and how to approach it Where to start: feet vs. the hips when there is knee pain in an athlete Use of the modified Ober’s test to assess adduction capability of the femur How pressurization of the trunk impacts an athlete’s ability to produce force versus having movement options How being internally or externally rotated in the femurs can impact standing versus multi-jump performance Quotes “We see this (knees in strategy) from the best athletes in the world… when you look at the best lifters in the world, they all do it, when you look at the best jumpers in the world, they all do it” “As I begin in a standing position, and I descend into a squat, I am going to be externally rotating, and I am going to be inhaling and expanding, and my pelvic floor is going to be descending.  When I hit the sticking point, what I am going to see is a reversal of that.  I am going to see internal rotation, I am going to see exhalation, compression, and ascension of the pelvic floor” “The pelvic floor ascending is propulsion… it is shooting my guts back up into my thorax as I exhale” “When I look at somebody who is jumping, I see an individual who is utilizing an internal rotation and adduction moment of the femurs in order to allow them to open the pelvic outlet which allows me to ascend the pelvic floor…. It is a propulsive strategy”
Nov 14, 2019
Dr. Ryan Foley and Dr. Kyle Paxton on Enhancing The Sensory System of an Athlete for Precision and Power
Today’s episode features physical therapists, Ryan Foley and Kyle Paxton.  Together they run the continuing education business: “Integrated Kinetic Neurology”. Dr. Ryan Foley, co-founder of IKN has worked with a number of high level athletes, and owns Evolve Physiotherapy.  He has studied applied functional neurology methods, specifically Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflex, along with other applied neuroscience approaches to help get people get out of pain and improve function. Kyle Paxton’s successes and experiences with neurology based training interventions led him to the development of IKN, and Kyle has strategically shaped the techniques involved in IKN to ensure a practical and effective teaching process of neurology for performance and therapy interventions. I always enjoy learning about the role of the nervous system in training.  As Kyle mentions early in this show “when you really think about it, everything is neurology”.  The nervous system is a very complex entity, however, and personally I’ve seen loads of “neural” training ideas that can get extremely complicated and involved, leading me to wonder how much the placebo effect is in play and how sustained the results are. That’s where the practicality and dedication of Ryan and Kyle come in, and today’s show narrows neural training down to the specific sensory inputs of the body: proprioception, vestibular and ocular channels.   Without sensation, we can’t feel safe to move with power and grace, and if I’ve learned anything as a coach, it’s to value the sensory map of an athlete immensely in conjunction with their sport technique.  This valuable episode covers those points, as well as performance topics such as “dual tasking, isometric training integration, and more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Ryan and Kyle’s backgrounds and interest in neurology and performance The primary sensory systems that contribute to human movement and why they matter The role of the eyes and intention in human performance Why bracing the core doesn’t work with the performance principles of neurology Ways to enhance isometric training using the hands, feet or eyes “Dual Tasking” and isometric training Why athletes might place their free hand on a muscle or body region subconsciously during an exercise How to use the eyes and vestibular system to drive more tone into a body area Any potential value in balance oriented sensory work prior to heavier strength training “When you really think about it, everything is neurology” “Sensory feedback both from an internal perspective and external perspective is what drives our ability to respond to the world around us” “The sensory systems allow you to fully utilize the actual structure that you have” “If you can start to understand that the proprioceptive system, the visual system and the vestibular system are the primary drivers of how our body can respond to the outside world, then it can really start to change the lens that you look at your programming through” “When I think of the (core) versus the limbs, there is a lot more purposeful and intentional control to control my limbs in the real world, versus my (core) which is more subcortical and reflexive in movement control” “The eyes allow us to maintain that smooth coordination through our hands and through our feet.  Whenever I’m doing any isometric work, or any kind of movement based work I typically have a lot of intention through my eyes and the target and I’m putting a lot of importance on how the hands are dissipating load through the limb and how the feet are dissipating load through the lower body” “I don’t want a lot of noise in my nervous system when I’m trying to move in a particular direction” “Isometrics really allow you to experience load in a safe ...
Nov 07, 2019
174: Rafe Kelley on Returning to the Core of Human Performance and Movement | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Rafe Kelley, owner of Evolve, Move, Play, a business designed to use movement practice to develop more resilient and embodied humans.  Rafe was a basketball player and gymnast (and gymnastics coach) in his teens, and started in the martial arts at 6 years old, studying Tang Soo Do, Aikido, Kung Fu, Kick Boxing, BJJ and Muay Thai.  He has experience in modern training disciplines such as sprinting, gymnastics, crossfit, FRC, modern dance and many others. His primary specialization is in parkour, where Rafe co-founded Parkour visions at age 23, and eventually left to form Evolve, Move, Play.  Rafe’s passion to is help people build the physical practice that will help make them the strongest, most adaptable and resilient version of themselves in movement and in life. When we think of training, we think of lifting weights, growing muscles and quantified training programs.  At the end of the day, this concept of “training” is really a smaller part of the entire paradigm of human movement.  Sports performance coaches tend to think of “movement” as not really being “training”, but when we see things such as the strength to bodyweight ratios of gymnastics, the jumping abilities of basketball/volleyball players, or the dynamic power (and also jumping ability) of a parkour athlete, we realize that play and flowing movement has a critical role in maximizing one’s total development (and do so in a more embodied way). In this crucial episode, Rafe goes in depth on structured vs. unstructured training ratios, warmup concepts, variability, athleticism and lessons gained from parkour, ideas on complex vs. simple training means and much more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Rafe’s background in athletics and what led him to the movement practice of parkour Generalist vs. Specialist considerations in training Ratios of structured to unstructured training for better athlete engagement and success Impact of a play-based warmup on subsequent training in a session Lessons from parkour based training, and it’s impact on more traditional training for outcomes such as vertical jump training The impact of more complex training means on more simple physical qualities Rafe’s vision for the future of movement and fitness in our culture “I think the biggest problem we face in our industry is the problem of motivation” “We’ve got a 30 billion dollar fitness industry, and we have the most unhealthy population in the world” “What everybody needs to engage in a physical practice is they need some combination of feeling safe enough, feeling like they are supported properly (having social support and not feeling disapproval) and they need a balance between structure and novelty” “If you have that 80/20 rule (80% of the results with first 20% of the effort), you want to as a generalist, be in the 20% of all these different practices, but you always need room for play” “Within my own practice and working with people, I find that I weave back and forth between more structure and less structure….In life we’re always dealing with this balance between order and chaos” “The tao is the point between perfect order and chaos… the way” “(Regarding the warmup) We always work on flow, we always work on some games where we are chasing each other, and we work on some games where we are sparring, some body to body stuff” “I don’t like to start with really structured, rote stuff in the beginning because it bores me.  I like to get emotionally warmed up for a session first, and then I do the hard work” “We don’t think enough about how much the emotional and cognitive impact of training impacts the training effect” “We don’t think enough about how much the emotional and cognitive aspect of training impacts the training effect….
Oct 31, 2019
173: Dr. Mark Wetzel on Isometrics, Extreme Slows, Breathing and Survival Mechanisms | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Chiropractor and neurology expert, Dr. Mark Wetzel. Dr. Mark is based in Nashville, TN and received his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Northwestern Health Science University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He has a diverse experience and is an expert in the neurology branch of chiropractic care and sports performance. Last time on the podcast, Dr. Mark went in depth on extreme isometrics, their proper execution, function and physiology (particularly in regards to energy systems), as well as why the 5 minute mark is substantial marker in carrying out the training.  Extreme isometrics and all things related have been of substantial interest on this podcast, not only due to the athletic performance aspects, but also the tendon health portion of the work. When it comes to extreme isometrics, however, it is much more common to see athletes doing them wrong than right.  Extreme iso’s, as well as much of Jay’s work has almost a mythical quality to it, so nuts and bolts shows that dissect the method are a lot of fun for me, and highly relevant. On today’s show, Dr. Mark goes further down the isometric rabbit hole, highlighting not only technique, but practical results from his integration of the method into training a baseball team.  He’ll also get into the neurology of muscle compensation patterns, extreme iso’s and extreme slow work, a chat on central nervous system fatigue, breathing, and more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points What a “muscle compensation” is and what it means for athletic performance How extreme isometrics and extreme slows play into (correcting) compensation patterning The difference between “extreme slows” and traditional 5 to 10 second eccentric training Mark’s case study work using a series of long isometric holds with a varsity baseball team When the work of extreme isometrics/extreme slows is finished and you can move beyond them in training Concepts on tracking central nervous system fatigue The importance of the eyes in monitoring CNS fatigue How to perform correct breathing Ideas on tapering, the modern ideology versus a more progressive view “When I think of a compensation, it’s altering your movement to make your body breathe more efficiently” “A compensation: your body is altering homeostasis to make sure you survive in that given moment” “Our lifestyle is encouraging (muscle) compensations” “At a high velocity is when your compensation will come out, if we are going slow and steady, we can catch it before we injure ourselves” “When you look at an isometric, you can tell where their body is immediately faulty (what will materialize in dynamic movement such as sprints)” “You can use an extreme slow to learn exactly where their compensation is” “I’ve come to the conclusion that the “perfect position” doesn’t really exist” “The goal of an isometric is to be as centrally stabilized as possible… you can stabilize a LOT in the lunge, I think that’s what makes the lunge to beneficial you can get a whole body contraction in the lunge” “If you can hold 5 minute (isometric positions) then we can progress into the weight room” “We used wall sits, lunges, iso crunch, single leg raise, scap hang, pushup, and prone glute ham where you are laying on your s “When you do an isometric, you need to be really in tune with yourself and you need to understand what is going on with your body and why you are doing an isometric, and why you are constantly engaging and pulling yourself into position, and if you don’t understand why you are doing that, then you never really should progress out of isometrics” “An isometric, the purpose to me is that you are eliminating compensations” “Basically, CNS fatigue is just a fancy word for “too stressed””
Oct 24, 2019
172: Fergus Connolly and Cameron Josse on The Process of Winning Ball Games and Integrating The 4 Coactives of Athletic Development | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Fergus Connolly, renowned expert on team performance success factors and holistic integration and welcomes back coach Cameron Josse, director of sports performance for DeFranco’s Training Systems. When it comes to athletics and sports performance, we tend to start in the world of muscles, forces, tissues and exercise physiology.  What isn’t often covered when working with athletes is the multi-factorial considerations that go into actually winning ball games such as game speed, ball speed, technical abilities, tactics and psychological considerations.  One of my favorite quotes on the industry of strength and conditioning is from Mark Watts, which basically says, “don’t take credit for your teams wins when you won’t take credit for their losses”. Most strength coaches want to be able to play a greater role in what it takes to win a ball game than just getting athletes stronger, since eventually that becomes an end unto itself.  On the flip side, sport coaches having a better knowledge of exactly how strength and fitness (and the specificity of that fitness) fit into gameplay helps the total effort of training athletes become better.  To create a better model that can help all parties working with the athlete work in better cohesion, Fergus and Cameron teamed up to write “The Process”.  which is a follow up to Fergus’s renowned book “Game Changer”, on holistic factors in sport success. Today’s podcast is all about the big picture in what it takes to win games, write great training programs from a team sport perspective, and integrate the goals of the sport coaches with strength training more optimally.  It also draws many parallels between concepts such as “short to long” in track and field and in the technical development of team sport athletes, as well other similarities in building a “base of technique” and working from “little to big”.  Other concepts discussed include the 4 Coactive Model of athletic success, the importance of a unified model of winning factors, trends in a successful training week, and more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.   Key Points Why it is important for a strength and conditioning/sports performance coach to understand a unified model of factors that lead teams to win games The role of fitness and conditioning in a unified model of sports performance, and how “lack of fitness” often takes the fault in a loss Trends in a successful sport practice training week in team sports/field sports with the goal of optimizing all four elements in the 4-Coactive model What a “Morphocycle” training template looks like for team sport training Cameron and Fergus’ take on building game speed and the role of the strength coach How to optimize sport movement and game speed training from a “small” to “big” manner “If we have this game model approach, then we can communicate that to the entire staff” ~Josse “Nobody asks you what your bench is or your squat is when you walk on the field, it’s can you play the game.  If we focus on adding 5 more pounds on a bench or squat, that’s not really solving the problem” ~Connolly “I see a lot of strength coaches nowadays that want to have too much control over the whole process (of game conditioning)” ~Josse “The game is what’s most important so we’re looking at all the layers that go into that preparation process leading into that game, and that’s got to align all four co-activates, and by four co-actives, we’re referring to tactical preparation, technical preparation, psychological preparation and physical preparation” ~Josse “They are starting to understand two key things (the importance of) the alignment and cohesiveness between all the different stakeholders in the team’s operation, and second, the ability to reduce the total amount of work the players ...
Oct 17, 2019
171: Jay DeMayo, Jeff Moyer, and Michael Zweifel on A Transferrable Agility and Change of Direction Training Roundtable | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode is a special roundtable featuring all previous podcast guests, Jay DeMayo, Jeff Moyer and Michael Zweifel. Jay DeMayo is a long time strength coach at the University of Richmond, working primarily with basketball along with several other sports.  He also heads up the Central Virginia Sports Performance Seminar and Podcast. Jeff Moyer is the owner at DC Sports Training and is well versed in all things Russian sports performance, and has appeared on this show multiple times, as well as having written a large number of articles on a variety of topics involving the transfer of training to sport. Michael Zweifel has been a prior podcast guest twice and has written a large number of articles regarding the perception and reaction approach to improving in-game movement and agility. In the world of agility training there is a big shift happening in terms of moving things into the perceptual space, and for good reason.  Athletes who fail to make the right decisions in a game will be at a huge disadvantage, regardless of how good their raw ability to change direction devoid of a stimulus is.   Does this mean, however, that all traditional agility and change of direction training is dead? What should we do with all of the more traditional thoughts on agility training in terms of developing the raw physical skills associated with change of direction? This expert crew is going to dissect the answer to these questions and much more for us on the show today. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points: Philosophy of what good change of direction on the field of play entails Thoughts on baseline physical abilities for better change of direction Change of direction KPI’s for athletes Different approaches to the value and integration of non-perceptive change of direction work How to record or quantify the results of an agility program (if this is even possible currently) Defining pieces of agility ability and who may need work beyond perceptive and decision making training Some of the special exercises Jeff Moyer and Jay DeMayo utilize in their work Summary statement of each coach in regards to agility, perception and reaction “In field based sports, change of direction means the basics of what we are trying to teach, and agility means implementing into a situation where it is responsive to some sort of stimulus”  DeMayo “I want athletes to be able to solve problems on their own without me giving them the answers” Zweifel “In the biomechanics of change of direction, you always have to look at it in the context it is going to be asked in sport… if we are going to change technique or biomechanics, we have to do it within the context of which it is going to be asked in sport” Zweifel “I think that one thing is we would see a lot of carryover and success (into agility) with the integration of some form of extensive method jumping” Moyer “I don’t think there’s so much a biomechanical model; there’s KPI’s” Moyer “If you watch sports a lot of athletes don’t (decelerate) on two legs, they do it on one leg… one of the things I look for is how many steps does it take for an athlete to stop” Moyer “What I hope for is that it looks crisper when they are doing it (COD in sport) and they shouldn’t be thinking about it when they are doing it” DeMayo “In actual open sports, how well you perceive the information in the environment, that will directly dictate mechanics, kinematics” Zweifel “(Regarding defining the results of a COD/agility program) A lot of it’s qualitative” Moyer “It is a learned error, a perceptual error, or a physical error, those are the three things I go through”  Moyer “Know your sport more, watch practices, get Hudl and look at practice, go to games, that’s the number one way I’ve seen it,
Oct 10, 2019
170: Andy Ryland on “Developing Humans First, Athletes Second and Sport Specialists Third” | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Andy Ryland senior manager of education and training at USA Football since 2010.  Andy was a former Penn State linebacker and a member of the U.S. Men’s Rugby team and is widely recognized as a foremost expert on developing the fundamentals for successful shoulder tackling. In youth sports and beyond, cultivating skill acquisition, reactive ability and creativity are foundational in allowing athlete’s success.  In a current landscape where literally no certification or formal education is required to be a sport coach, there is a gap to be bridged in creating systems that help athletes along a great path of long-term development. Victory-centric team models shortchange multi-lateral development by specializing an athlete in a position early.  Coaches use drills and robotic systems more than they foster situational adaptivity and creative solutions.  If you listened to podcast #136 with James Smith of the “U of Strength” then you likely remember James talking about how robotic he sees sport coaching, and this being a reason why he incorporates perception and reaction work in his own training. In today’s podcast, Andy digs into a variety of topics on sport skill acquisition and long term development, including the difference between “free flow” and structured sports (and how playing one can enhance the other), bandwidth on cueing and instruction, speed training in context of USA Football, barbell training, selecting a secondary or off-season sport, and more. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points The complimentary nature of rugby to football, as well as potential drawbacks in it’s dual sport nature How “free-flow” sports are different than structured sports by nature, and what athletic skills they develop Bandwidth on how much instruction young athletes are given, and how much they should be coached as they get older Speed training development in the context of USA Football How creating and reacting to situations is more important than canned and robotic drills in building athletes How to select the best off-season sport or secondary sport for young football players Progressions on bringing barbell training into youth athletics, particularly in football, the original and pinnacle sport in regards to S&C Andrews thoughts on the credentialing process of youth sport coaches “I think (rugby and football) compliment each other really well.  You’re gonna get a huge amount of physical training volume from the running volume within rugby, there’s some great evasive skills, plus the reading and spatial awareness is different in rugby than it is in football” “Free-flow sports, soccer, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, whatever it is; small sided games are much more common, because you are training these players in dynamic environments in decision making, that offense to deference transition that free flow” “Are we going to let someone self-organize into a tackle?” “Why on the first rep of the drill are we instantly shouting so many cues and corrections?” “Sorting it out in your own body can take 2 or 3 reps, so can I let them explore? The coaching cue I give on the first rep of a new drill more than any other is “it’s a new drill, it’s cool, first rep you’ll sort it out, here we go” and let them find it before we start nailing them with all these specific cues and details” “One of our taglines is “Humans First, Athletes Second, Football Players Third”” “When we are dealing with athletes that aren’t anywhere close to their genetic potential, everything is improving everything” “For the sake of a coach’s resume, we’re going to have a kid do one thing, and he’s going to be useful for the team because he does one thing, and that sounds great for a victory-centric model,
Oct 03, 2019
169: Miguel Aragoncillo on Massive Performance Increases Through Skill and S&C Integration | Sponsored by Simplifaster
Today’s episode features Miguel Aragoncillo, strength coach and skill acquisition specialist based out of Boston, MA.  Miguel has worked with athletes of all levels, and now specializes in working with baseball pitchers where he is getting serious results through integration of skill and motor learning tools.  Miguel has a significant background in PRI and worked as an assistant in multiple courses.  He also has a unique athletic backstory, as he was a break-dancer before moving into a coaching role. Miguel is one of the most intelligent and innovative coaches in the field.  He is pushing human performance forward by integrating what he has learned in the world of strength and conditioning, neuro-mechanics and skill acquisition, and is using that to get results such as tacking 5-7MPH on pitching speed in a matter of minutes. Our field is still growing at a rapid rate.  Although hard-line definitions of the scope of a strength coach definitely exist in the university and professional sectors, there is no doubt as to the inter-disciplinary nature of sports performance, as well as the impact that the wide-scope of S&C related concepts can have on the next level up on the performance pyramid, that of sport skill itself.  This is something that Mike Guadango mentioned in podcast #151, and has been resonating with me for some time. Miguel’s intelligent take on the performance industry has been on my radar for some time.  On today’s show, Miguel and I chat about guiding athletes in the process of skill acquisition, through processes on creating drills to improve sport skills, integrating biomechanical and PRI based concepts, and also setting up sport skill training through sensory contrasts. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points How Miguel got into strength and conditioning, and eventually, into coaching baseball pitchers How to guide athletes correctly in skill acquisition without over-cueing and over-coaching Miguel’s thought process on creating drills to improve sport skills Integrating biomechanics and PRI based concepts into a sport skill teaching process Setting up sport skill training through sensory contrast How Miguel sets of resistance training for young athletes outside of actual skill coaching “If I’m trying to help individuals to throw faster, I can get them to deadlift 500lbs for reps, to have vertical jumps and bounds for so many feet, we can do RSI, etc. etc., but what happens when someone simply doesn’t know what it means to throw” “You don’t need a lot of drills in order to improve one’s relationship with one’s own body” “When we do any movement, I show them the movement, and then I ask them, “what do you feel”…. “where do you feel”, “what do you feel”, why do you feel it”” “I’m allowing the individual to self-organize on the context of building a better mental representation of what their body is doing” “Internal cueing, in my head, is a good thing… because even sometimes the experts will need an internal cue to be more aware of something that they are lacking” “The funny thing is you are always using some type of constraints, but you are not really thinking of it like that” “I will literally just say, do you want me to explain this drill, or do you just want to do it” “Pitching is both a frontal and transverse dominant plane” “When you do a non-manual technique of some sort to gain range of motion, now you need to go through a guided discovery process doing the terminal skillsets with different constraints, and that’s where it gets fun” “If you ever watch me coach, I almost never say no… I’ve read a lot of research speaking about negative feedback.  It’s something I’ve picked up and I found out it works really well” “We will do an integrated movement, we feel certain things,
Sep 26, 2019
168: Unilateral and Bilateral Training: Periodization, Neurology and Integration Roundtable with Cal Dietz, Cameron Josse and Chad Dennis | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features an expert roundtable on an integrative view of single and double leg (unilateral and bilateral) training.  Experts include Cal Dietz, author of Triphasic Training and University of Minnesota strength coach, Cameron Josse, director of sports performance at DeFranco’s gym (co-author of “The Process”), and Chad Dennis, veteran NCAA and professional level strength coach who is now director of performance for the XFL Seattle Dragons. Single and double leg training is hotly debated in many cases, each method with its own unique aspects, benefits and drawbacks.  In the majority of situations, single leg training is used as a warmup or auxillary while the “big lifts” dominate the landscape of exercise.  Taking a wider view of these training modalities is important when it comes to optimal integration into our own training. On the show today, myself, Cal, Cameron and Chad go over many ideas on this topic, particularly the idea of using single leg training as the primary method in earlier training phases (accumulation, GPP, etc.) and moving towards bilateral dominated training in later training phases (intensification, SPP, etc.). We also take a deep dive into the neurological aspects of barbell (and jump) training, as the ramifications of movements with many, vs. few degrees of freedom (i.e. a walking rotational lunge vs. a heavy quarter squat).   This episode is rounded out by a chat on unilateral jumping progressions and using dynamic work to prepare tissues for the rigors of high intensity training and in-season play. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points A thesis summary of building a foundation of single leg training and then filtering into double leg training Different approaches to periodization and planning in regards to single and double leg training Neurological Ramifications of unilateral vs. bilateral training via threat response Approaches to jump training periodization looking at single and double leg periodization A discussion on using unilateral work in the weightroom, and on field (jumps and sprints) to prepare tissues of the body for the season Quotes from Cal Dietz, Cameron Josse and Chad Dennis “I’m looking at a  progression where we start with a foundation of coordination (single leg/more degrees of freedom) and we transfer that into really high outputs (bilateral training)” ~Cam Josse “Unilateral work favors the cross crawl concept” ~Dietz “I’m not a big fan of single leg squat with dumbbells, because I don’t feel there is enough stress, in my opinion” ~Dietz “In the bilateral (lifting and even plyometric), I didn’t get a good neural feedback loop” ~Dietz “I haven’t found one of my athletes that didn’t go into threat with a double leg, or get better (neurological) responses from a split squat stance” ~Dietz “How do I fix that threat? I just have them march.  If they do a hurdle hop, the next four steps are marching steps, and that takes them out of that threat as they go to the next exercise” ~Dietz “There was a great tissue resiliency built from doing (single leg rudiment hops, filtering into bounding over time, as well as a unilateral to bilateral progression in the weightroom) from the joints, especially in the lower leg” ~Dennis “It makes a lot of sense to use unilateral training in the early during these early periods in the training year, it could be 6-8 weeks, it could be 4 weeks really.  I’m thinking field first, weightroom second” ~Josse “If you are in the weightroom, it’s naturally multi-planar, just because you are on one leg more degree of freedom are involved” ~Josse “If we are concentrating speed and power on the field, how do we support that in the weightroom? Bilateral activities” ~Josse “While we are emphasizing force and accumulation,
Sep 19, 2019
167: Doug Kechijian: Navigating the Grey Areas of Anti-Rotation Training, Self-Organization, Internal Cueing, and Beyond | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Doug Kechijian, therapist, coach and owner of Resilient Performance Systems.  Resilient’s clientele includes athletes and operators from a variety of professional and collegiate sports, as well as, federal law enforcement tactical teams, military special operations forces, and those with a history of persistent pain and extensive surgical backgrounds Before beginning his sports medicine practice, Doug was a Pararescueman in the U.S. Air force where he deployed throughout the world to help provide technical rescue capability and emergency medical care to U.S and allied forces.  Additionally, Doug is the host of the “Resilient Performance Podcast” featuring a number of thought leaders. Doug is introspective, humble, and transparent.  His diverse experience and education, as well as his own practice of learning and reading has given him an wide lens perspective on many domains of the human performance sector.  As a field (and with anything) it’s easy to make noise, or get noticed, based on extreme viewpoints, often talking about avoiding a common practice in coaching, such as “don’t squat”, “don’t lift weights”, “don’t internal cue”, “don’t do drills”, “don’t foam roll”, etc. Doug is a coach who really makes me think in his drive to find the truth in things, and avoid the tribe mentality in coaching stances.  In the spirit of that, I wanted to tackle some facets of the field that tend to be looked at in a black and white frame, but in reality are more grey, which is in the realms of rotational core training, self-organization and when to intervene in coaching versus letting athletes figure things out themselves unimpeded. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points Doug’s transition from the military to physical therapy and his approach to learning and growing in the field Concepts on core-bracing and anti-rotation versus a more fluid and dynamic view on trunk training Ideas on self-organization in athletics: when and how to intervene “When you prepare to be good enough at a lot of different things, you recognize patterns and commonalities across these skillsets, across these diverse fields” “When it comes to learning, people love formulas… but now I realize that learning is a lot more messy” “There is always this range between being a specialist and a generalist” “I think reading outside your field is what helps you to connect dots and see the bigger picture” “Scientists and all us of want to prove certain things, and often times, just confirm our biases” “If you don’t see the bigger picture, then that’s where we get these silos between strength and conditioning, and physical therapy, and sport coaches, and all of these things exist on a continuum” “For most people, I don’t know if a palloff press is dynamic enough or challenging enough… you want to integrate that stiffness in a contextually specific way” “I don’t teach people specific bracing techniques, because people do that stuff reflexively well, with the caveat that you’re putting them in a good position” “We’ve made lifting weights way too difficult, it’s not calculus” “Every intervention has un-intended consequences” “If the key to rotational performance is to relax and get really stiff…. If that’s what we are really chasing from a rotational performance standpoint, if we are tell people when they do these activities to deliberately brace, are we inhibiting their ability to relax?” “If you only have one way to do something, then under stress, you have no options!” “I think it’s dangerous to assume that every movement that emerges organically is best for the athlete, because it might not be a choice, so you want to give people choices and at least give them the requisite foundational joint positions or motor skills,
Sep 12, 2019
166: Greg Potter: The Effects and Application of Circadian Rhythm on Nutrition, Workout, and Sleep Enhancement | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features Greg Potter.  Greg is a former sprint coach (he has written some fantastic Q and A pieces for Just Fly Sports in the past regarding all things sprint training) who is now a Ph.D and expert on Circadian Rhythms and their impact on our health and well-being. Greg is the former content director at HumanOS.me and now works as the chief scientific officer of a health-tech startup.  Greg’s work at the University of Leeds on sleep, diet, and metabolic health was featured by the likes of the BBC World Service, the Washington Post, and Reuters. As a sprint coach, Greg coached a sprinter to four gold medals at the European Championships. Greg has also worked with groups such as The United States Naval Special Warfare Command on health and performance optimization. Today’s show is all about our body’s “clocks” (Circadian Rhythms) impact our health, metabolism, ability to train, and our ability to recover via sleep.  It’s important to know how to train, but it’s also critical, especially in our modern digital age, to understand how to better recover and live based off of our innate wirings. Topics addressed on today’s show include the basics of circadian rhythms and impact on nutrition, sleep, training, and metabolism (fat loss).  Greg also gives plenty of tips and ideas on how to optimize our lives based off our own circadian rhythms.  The back half of the show in particular has a lot of great concepts on training optimization based on time of day. Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more. Key Points What circadian rhythms are and what they mean to us What the modern lifestyle (in terms of artificial light cycles and ever-abundant foot availability) means for our health and function The metabolic advantages of early day, time restricted eating Nutritional concepts in a non-training day for a speed-power athlete who wants to stay lean Greg’s take on the ketogenic diet Ideas on timing multiple workouts in a day with various emphasis Variation in VO2 max based on time of day The importance of naps for strength and power performance The importance of body temperature in speed and power performance Artificial light and its impact on our daily rhythms and clocks How to use light-based products and apps to help synchronize the body clock “The most important time cue in resetting our biological rhythms with the 24 hour day is the light/dark cycle and the problem of course is that now we live these 24/7 life cycles where we have artificial light cycles at night, we spend too much time indoors during the day time, we have round-the-clock food access, and because of all these different factors we behave in a way that is discordant with our biological rhythms” “Our bodies are best set to digest food in the daytime” “Insulin sensitivity is higher in the daytime than the nighttime, our bodies are primed for eating during the daytime” “Skipping breakfast is associated with negative health outcomes and eating at nighttime is associated with negative health outcomes” “(For time restricted eating) I would stick to a 6-12 hour caloric period that finishes at least 2 hours before you plan to go to bed, but earlier than that is probably better.” “What we want is a nice high-amplitude rhythm in core body temperature… it’s generally highest in the late afternoon, which is the best time for strength and power exercise for that reason” “I think it’s smart to give our digestive tracts a break each 24 hours” “(Peripheral clocks) seem to be primarily set by our food intakes each day” “I would recommend that your final meal of the day is relatively small compared to others” “When people consume regular meals at scheduled times, they tend to burn more calories after consuming those meals”
Sep 05, 2019
165: Jeremy Frisch and Dr. Tommy John on High Performance Movement Training and Sport Coaching Integration | Sponsored by SimpliFaster
Today’s episode features founder of Achieve Performance, Jeremy Frisch, and guest co-host, Dr. Tommy John.  Both of these individuals are making a big difference in not only the world of youth sports, but also in teaching the importance of global human movement skills, as well as in bringing the importance of movement as a necessary and healing force to the general population. Jeremy Frisch has been a past guest on episodes 100 and 134, and Dr. Tommy John has been a guest on 101 and 139.   These two guys both have a passion for redeeming what our sports industry has become in regards to not only sky-rocketing injuries, but also restoring the core of what it means to be a kid, an athlete, and a human being, which is creativity, play, and free movement, before external parameters, competition, stress and judgment are all added through early specializa