program design

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Big Buildings Need Solid Foundations

The principle of progression says that fitness and sports need to be viewed as a series of steps, each of which builds on what came before. The idea here is that by following this principle, you have athletes with a solid base in terms of skills, athleticism, and fitness. Failing to follow this principle results in some serious gaps in fitness and skills and limits athletic development because of those gaps. It may also contribute to injuries due to weaknesses...

Are Hex Bar Deadlifts Better?

hexagonal bar

In recent years, the hexagonal deadlift (i.e. the trap bar) has gained in popularity with athletic strength and conditioning circles. The argument is that it puts the body in a safer position to perform the deadlift and may allow for more weight to be lifted. Some coaches swear by this exercise.   Like a lot of “new” things, there is resistance to this. In the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Lockie et al compared the conventional deadlift to the...

The Prone Kettlebell Row

The prone kettlebell row is an exercise that develops the muscles of the back, shoulders, arms, and core. It requires the athlete to develop balance and muscular endurance to perform. It also has the flexibility of being able to be programmed as a strength, hypertrophy, or conditioning exercise.   To perform this exercise you need a kettlebell and some open space. Get into a modified push-up position (what my military friends call the “front lean and rest” position), with the...

The Windmill Is A Valuable Addition to Your Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebells provide an enormous amount of flexibility in terms of the exercises that you can do with them. Some of these exercises train balance, proprioception, mobility, strength, and endurance in really creative ways. Not only do exercises like this provide a great deal of benefit, they keep athletes challenged and engaged.   The kettlebell windmill is one such exercise. This exercise is performed with the kettlebell in one hand at a time. It works on mobility through the shoulders, thoracic...

Upper Body Strength Matters

  We spend a lot of time focusing on pressing with the strength training for athletes. The bench press is the king of pressing exercises, closely followed by the military press. Now, while it is true that we’ll never perform sports while lying on our backs and pushing something away from us, these are still important exercises because they help to strengthen the upper body and to ensure that this is not a week link in our athlete’s performance.  ...