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Safe, Effective Strength Training for Athletes

October 28 "This is a business of breaking hearts." -John Gagliardi, Head Football Coach at St. John's University on putting together the travel list each week

Dear StrongerAthletes.com: New Coach Seeks Information

Coach,
I am the head football coach at Andover HS in Andover, MN. We opened our HS this fall and were just able to get our weightroom running about three weeks ago. The coach that was originally hired used the HIT program before and ordered all Hammer Strength and Nautilus equipment. Since my background was not in this type of program, I am looking for as much assistance as possible.

I am hoping to get information on lifting cycles and protocols. Please point me in the right direction with any information you might have.

Thanks,
Rich Wilkie
Andover High School Football

Coach,
First, congratulations on the new job. Secondly, it shows an amazing amount of maturity on your part in being willing to learn.

We would love to be of any assistance we could in this situation. Being in Minnesota is your first advantage. You should contact any of the following people and get a first hand look at what they are doing in their weight rooms. I believe Coach Carlson is the strength coach at Chaska High School and his brother Luke is at Blaine High School. Either way I know both of those school train with HIT. Shokapee, Coon Rapids, Buffalo and Richfield also use HIT. Coach Kyle Inforzato is at Richfield, I believe, and would be very helpful. Coach Wetzal with the Vikings would also be a great guy to visit with as he runs a HIT style program at the pro-level.

I am aware of 2 videos that I have seen on sale through Championship Video that were produced by Ken Mannie and another by University of Detroit Mercy Strength Coach Jim Kielbaso. They would be excellent resources to use. Matt Bryzcki's book "A Practical Approach to Strength Training" is a great resource especially as an introduction to the philosophy.

We offer a training manual and video that would at the very least give you something tangible to use with your kids. In a nutshell we encourage coaches to teach their athletes to train to muscular failure in 1 set of each exercise. We emphasize lowering the weight slowly and under control with continued movement throughout the lift. We discourage the use of any momentum as we feel it 1) takes the stress off of the working muscle and 2) could be dangerous.

Depending on who you talk to various movements will be recommended. There of course is no "right" number or certain movements that should be used. We recommend a protocol that hits all of the muscle groups while also being time efficient.

I am of course not doing justice to the philosophy or the what's and why's but this should give you an idea. Look around for strength clinics this winter and spring. We came up to the Strength and Science Seminar last February at Blaine High School. Scott Savor, who is now the strength coach at Mercy-Detroit (I think) hosted that clinic.

We are thinking about hosting a clinic an Kansas City this Spring. My point being that you could find great information at something of that sort. A word of caution. Now that you are open to learning about this philosophy of training, do not let others discourage you from learning as much as you can about it. I coach football too. I used BFS for years with my teams. I just feel that I've found a safer, better way that I am comfortable with. Other football coaches think I'm crazy but it's their loss as far as I'm concerned.

Coach, please feel free to write back with any other questions. There is a lot of information out there on HIT training for football and athletics. You can start with our past articles or the resources I mentioned earlier. Contact those schools in your area and go check out what they are doing.

Good Luck,

Sam Knopik
StrongerAthletes.com

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