January 31 "I've never let formal education interfere with my learning." -Jim Bryan
Now that many schools and teams are well into their strength programs coaches are turning to various means of measuring progress. Many will have their athletes perform a one-rep max (1RM) all too often to check their strength. We feel that this may not be the wisest choice for measuring progress, primarily for safety reasons.
If you are training your athletes for traditional athletic competition and not power meets you could be putting your athletes at risk for no reason.
However, progression is important and should be consistently checked. We monitor to see that our athletes are either lifting more weight (in an appropriate rep range) than the workout before, or they are lifting the same weight for more reps. This should be sufficient.
We have observed another problem with checking the 1RM's. The athletes tend to focus on that particular performance too much and thus lower the focus away from the rest of the workout, or send the message that the rest of the workout is not important.
Not to open another can of worms, but… we also feel that many coaches put too much emphasis into testing vertical jump, long jump, 40 yard dash, etc... We believe the focus should be on strength training exclusively in the off-season. The real test is how well they perform at their specific sport, not vertical jumping, long jumping, or sprinting 40 yards in a straight line.
Is it safe for middle school athletes to do neck work on a four way neck machine. If so, how many sets and reps for these exercises. Thanks for your web site. I have learned a lot from it.
We think the neck machine is safe for the middle school athlete. Overall training however should focus on developing the skills of strength training at that age. If some kids can develop efficient neuromuscular pathways in the eighth grade they are in good shape. We recommend sets of 8-12 for the neck machine movement. We like to work the neck through manual resistance early in our workout. Hope that helps.
Please add Fowlerville H.S., Fowlerville, MI to your list of high schools who employ a non-olympic, non-plyo, safe, and sensible strength training and conditioning program. We have run this "non-traditional" type of program for the past 17 years. All our teams (especially football) have been very successful using these methods. I have gained a great deal of knowledge and experience from Mike Gittleson (Univ. of Michigan), Ken Mannie, Kim Wood, Dr. Ken Leistner, Dan Riley, Matt Bryzcki, and many others along the way. Our athletes learn how to train hard, and get the most out of each rep and set! You have a great site, enjoy reading it on a regular basis. Keep up the good work and spreading the word that: you don't have to follow the crowd to get the job done and be successful.
Fowlerville High School
Thanks for the support Coach!
If you have questions or comments about this web site or strength development or training please write strongerathletes