Before an athlete moves toward complex movement skill, loaded movement training, and higher intensity output—a balance between technique, corrective work (e.g., mobility, stabilization, correcting faulty motor patterns, myofascial release), “heavy lifting” and power production—must be found.
Myofascial Release via rolling
It is important to evaluate each client/athlete’s training history in general. You must consider age, strength training experience, injury history, current movement mechanics, how much time you have to work with the athlete each week, and personal performance goals as it relates to health/fitness or a specific sport/activity.
Aged tiered skills acquisition
All of these factors tie directly to a daily exercise plan and impact how you vary blocks of training sessions throughout a number of weeks, months or year (periodization).
Working with an athlete who has a limited strength and conditioning background, or who hasn’t reached puberty yet, is going to require more focus on “perfect” exercise execution and entry level/foundation strength exercises.
Emphasizing technique, stance, stabilization and load progression
Working with as little as 40-50 percent of a one-repetition max will result in significant gains in strength/muscular endurance, and simultaneously—movement quality can be improved.
Conditioning can occur while simultaneously improving movement quality or learning more complex exercises
Interestingly, the stronger an athlete becomes, and the better he/she moves (technique), allows me to focus more on pure strength/power development, and corrective exercise. You might be asking, “Why corrective exercise for someone who is strong and moves well?” Corrective exercise is partially about injury prevention, and maintaining normal or improving overall movement pattern competency as it relates to positioning. For example, mobility might be a limitation for an athlete at this level with regard to optimal positioning in his/her sport or conditioning environment. Or, faulty compensatory motor patterning due to a previous injury could be the issue at hand.
This type of specialization training is a perfect fit, depending on personal need and the development stage from which an athlete currently operates. Additionally, a coach must always weigh the outcome and need for optimizing absolute weight lifted (check the egos re., poundage/kgs lifted)—versus training power at a lower percentage of a one repetition max, or introducing new exercises/progressions (e.g., clean pull/hang clean; finally progressing to a clean) or performing non-failure sets to boost power and reduce injury potential, as well as decrease recovery time between conditioning sessions.
Power development and technique focus—part of a complete approach to athlete and client development
Metabolic training (supplemental conditioning) is usually part of the mix, whether you’re, for example, running negative sprint splits and/or pushing-pulling sleds/tires (strength and/or metabolic, depending on loading).
Metabolic Conditioning and Agility: Body Mechanics
Developing motor skills that include basic and complex movement, outdoor skills and conditioning room skills—creates confidence in athletes who feel the difference. How do they know? Answer: When you get stronger and move better. Being able to execute movement skills motivates athletes or clients to take ownership of a program when they know training time transfers to improvements in their sport.
Every athlete should be able to, for example, stabilize the core, develop body control, hip-hinge, squat, push, pull, carry, as well as execute bilateral landings and single leg movements.
Movement faults should not be assessed (screens) once a year, but during every workout. If vigilant coaching is maintained with regard to proper head, scapular, lumbar spine, knee and foot positioning regardless of specific movement pattern, then assessment of movement quality is an ongoing process that is updated during every conditioning session, for each athlete.
Finally, it is important to keep in mind Miller’s Law, which is argued to be the most often cited paper in the field of psychology. The paper argues that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2. No athlete can retain every teaching point from session to session, but they can pattern in a few basic motor patterns, experiment with grips and stances, and learn how to use a variety of equipment. At the end of the day, the athlete will know they are closer to some of their long-term development goals, because they “got better.”
Did you get better today?
I got better today! #gaveall #neverquit #COREFX
Whether an athlete is participating in their first or hundredth session, he/she should always be provided with a training effect. Athletes expect to train hard, acquire gains, and for coaches to deliver on that promise. Athletes should come in with an attitude and expectation of “I will get better today!” and leave with a confident, “I got better today!” Anyone can “get better every day!” #allin #tryhard #mindset.
See Part 2