In the previous MOCKtober posts the subject of resistance training kept coming up as the main catalyst for improvement of the other athletic qualities like power, speed and multi-directional speed development. So it goes without saying that our program at LFP is based around creating a resistance training program that leads to the not only large increases in overall strength, but also aids in the development of the other qualities. And another drastic point is it must be developed in a way that is transferable to an athletes sport.
Many high school age kids end up in a powerlifting program done at their high school. We see this most often because those facilities are more times than not are supervised by a football coach that went through a powerlifting program during his football playing career. Recently I watched a presentation from Jim Wendler from Elite FTS on how he developed the program he runs at a high school in Ohio. Now, for those that don't know, Elite FTS is an equipment company/organization that along with the Westside Barbell System (all from the same region of the country) have produced some of the world's greatest powerlifters that we have ever seen. So in this area of the country powerlifting has infiltrated the high school weightrooms, and this is not a bad thing because Jim is saying a lot of the same things we say. He may say things a little differently. We say that "every kids that enters our program will be best served upgrading their overall strength which will lead to increases in other athletic abilities such as speed, 1st step quickness, etc." And he would say "Every high school kid is weak and slow with no muscle." All joking aside, we are saying the same thing! That quote can be found in Part 2 of presentation from September of this year. If you have some time they are definitely worth a look.
Another takeaway from Part 2 is him saying “powerlifters don’t know anything about training athletes”. This was a realization that I went through as a young strength & conditioning professional who cut his strength training teeth locally at a powerlifting gym at the age of 13-14, went through a modified powerlifting program at Fairview High School and was blessed enough to play football at the D1 level at West Virginia University. And those "weightroom numbers" were a big part of my recruitment, as they went down on most of the information gathering forms that most Universities at the time used to start the recruiting process. But I realized that the countless hours in the weightroom that I spent going from a 550 lb. squat to a 600 lb. squat over a six month timeframe didn't necessarily make me a better football player. Would it have made me a better powerlifter… absolutely, but powerlifting wasn't my sport football was. That time could have been spent developing other facets of athleticism that could have upgraded performance on the field. I also could have developed strength that was more specific to sports.
At that exact time we had a gymnastics unit in our PE class, and one of the tests was a single leg squat where you pull one heel to your butt and squat down until that knee touched the ground and then stand back up. Here I was the record holder for the highest back squat of any athlete to ever attend my high school by over 100 lbs. and I could not complete this test which, due to its single leg nature, would have had a much greater carryover to sports. So this is part of the reason why you won't find back squat in our LFP programs, there are other reasons as well, but you will find a number of single leg squat variations and also a standard to which we progressively prepare our athletes to get stronger in.
But our greatest differentiating factor when it comes to resistance training is the Dynamic Variable Resistance Training (DVRT) system that we utilize with every athlete. Now this is a topic is so important that it will be expanded upon in numerous future posts, but essentially the system allows for the development of strength & power in three dimensional space with implements (primarily the Ultimate Sandbag in our system at LFP) that act in semi-unpredictable and/or dynamic ways. Now when you think of what the true needs of an athlete really are that sums it up pretty well, both on the performance enhancement side and the injury prevention side.
So stay tuned to our Facebook page over the next few weeks for more info and videos on the DVRT system and how we implement it with our athletes. Also, make sure you check out later in the week as we continue #MOCKtober discussing resistance training with the recent trend/fad of training athletes in a random/muscle-confused/circuit-style/workout-of-the-day style and why it is not only ineffective but dangerous. And always, we thank you for taking an interest in learning how we are #ChangingTheWaySportsPerformanceIsDone.