Safe Effective Strength Training
February 7 "Look for players with character and ability. But remember, character comes first." –Joe Gibbs
Mark Asanovich was named Head Strength coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this week. Coach Asanovich brings a philosophy committed to weight room safety and productivity to Jacksonville. He recently has served under Brian Billick in Baltimore and Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay. Congratulations Coach.
StrongerAthletes.com advocates a fairly low number of sets in one training session. There are many very good programs that require the athlete to perform anywhere from 12-22 sets for one workout. We have had great success with our approach and know that others have had very good success with the high volume, or multiple-set, training.
The entire workout can last anywhere from 20-60 minutes depending on the athlete’s level of experience. We believe that the more advanced the athlete is in training, the lower the amount of exercise that is necessary to continue making progress. However, doing less exercise means that every set performed must be taken to muscular failure using the highest amount of intensity possible. There is no magic substitute for work.
Coaches must be careful in developing their program. For example, a problem may arise if one performs several chest exercises followed by the shoulders and triceps. The shoulders and triceps can be easily overtrained if not careful. Some of the smaller muscle groups do get trained sufficiently indirectly through other exercises. Depending on the selection of exercises, we do have our athletes perform 1 set for these smaller muscle groups and at times we will not.
Now, we do advocate some direct neck training because we have found that many exercises do not train the neck like we would like. Again, the exercises that you choose will determine if you must do direct work in all areas. We understand that many philosophies do emphasize direct work in all muscles. There are many factors that should determine this though. Intensity, exercises, technique, etc...
The least amount of exercise possible should be the goal of the trainer if they are wanting the most efficient program possible. Remember, the training in a lower volume session must be extremely intense. The more intense the athlete is the less he/she needs to do for progression to continue. Our program ranges anywhere from 6-12 exercises depending on the athlete.
Every athlete should eventually be on a program that is individualized to their level. It is not necessary nor productive to have all of your athletes performing the exact same program. While we understand that many programs do this with success it is important to keep in mind that every athlete recovers at their own rate. Adjustments, although minor, at times can easily be made by having an athlete skip an exercise for a few workouts if he needs more recovery time.
There are obviously many excellent programs out there and it is important that you sell your philosophy to your athletes. The bottom line is that your program should be safe, productive, and efficient. If one of these aspects is missing, then you should reevaluate what you are accomplishing in the weight room. Most importantly, all strength coaches, regardless of philosophy should understand why they are doing what they are doing. For the sake of your athletes don’t simply be a sheep following the herd… (or flock, gaggle… whatever you call a bunch a sheep.)
Let us know if we can assist your program in anyway and please send us your ideas as well as we would like to learn from your program and what your teams are doing. Nobody has the perfect program and we all can learn off of each other.
***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the StrongerAthlete.com website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***