John Cissik's

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Kettlebell Swings: Simple but Very Effective

The kettlebell swing exercise is one of my favorite exercises for metabolic conditioning, warming up, and even core training. It’s a relatively simple exercise to master, works most of the muscles of the body, is rhythmical in nature, and is conducive to having teams perform the exercise.   Let’s start with how to perform the exercise. This exercise begins with the kettlebell on the ground. Approach the kettlebell and straddle it. I like to have the feet about shoulder-width apart....

Lifting Weights Really is Good for Your Brain…

People have said for awhile that exercise is good for the brain. That’s a pretty broad statement and is usually associated with anecdotal evidence. In the Journal of Applied Physiology, Church et al have an interesting study looking at strength training and something called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).   BDNF is a protein that supports the survival of neurons in the nervous system, as well as growth and differentiation of new neurons. It is important for memory, neurogenesis (growing new...

Speed Training: You Don’t Need Frills

Speed is critical to sports performance. One of the side effects of the systematic incorporation of strength and conditioning into sports is that athletes are becoming bigger, stronger and they are a lot faster than they used to be. This means that if we have prospective athletes, speed training is something they are going to have to incorporate into their programs. Nowadays, lifting weights and practicing the sport are not enough!   In a previous post ( http://www.cissik.com/blog/2017/10/speed-running-fast-is-a-skill/ ), we...

Overload: You Can’t Get Better Without It

The overload principle is a fundamental one to strength and conditioning. Basically this says that in order to keep the body adapting, we have to find a way to make the workouts more difficult. If we don’t find a way to continually make the workouts more difficult over time, then we will stop getting stronger, larger, faster, and more powerful.   There’s a lot of ways that we can do this in strength and conditioning. We can increase the weight....

Agility Is About Sports Performance

Agility is probably one of the most difficult things to coach and it’s one of the things most susceptible to hype and guruisms. This post is going to present some thoughts about agility training and sports. At the end of the day, the most difficult thing about coaching agility is that you have to understand the sport and its movement patterns.   Drills teach us to be better at drills: The idea behind most agility drills is to take a...