When periodizing movement training or “speed work,” BPS found its best to plan a 4-week mesocycle. We take into consideration active recovery days, “off days,” neurological specific days, linear speed days, position specific days, and aerobic conditioning days. Typically our high neurological days are on Mondays due to the fact that most athletes will be “off” Saturday and Sunday and it is important to stimulate the athletes neurological system into a heightened state. We do this first thing in the week so we can enhance performance on our aggressive linear speed day and position day that will follow the “neuro-Monday”. Wednesday is typically our active recovery day to allow the body to adapt from the training in first half of the week. This will help our athletes get the most out of our position work on Thursday and conditioning work on Friday. Each week progresses in volume and difficulty of exercises as well as intensity and specificity.
Given our success with the NFL Draft Preparation, one of our most common requests is preparation for football combines. Obviously speed is a premium for any type of testing – as the 40yd dash has become the ultimate standard of speed in this country, specifically for football players.
The BPS philosophy has always been very simple – build a solid foundation of general strength and power, transfer it to more specific forms of dynamic strength and power and rate of force development. This in itself is the best form of “speed training” there is. In a sense, we’ve always had success in “training muscles, not motions.” Build a foundation of muscle strength and power, transfer it, and then utilize it.
- From Ankle to Knee
- 1st and foremost; Many ankle dysfunctions can lead to knee, low back, and shoulder pain/discomfort due to compensation patterns.
- Many times we can correct ankle dysfunction building stability, which will allow the knee, back, and shoulders to return to “normal” function without the body needing to compensate.
- Our support system prep exercise, specifically the back dorsiflexion series is great for increasing ankle dorsiflexion, strength, and mobility. When the exercise is progressed with more speed and more force put through the ankle join, the ankle adapts stronger. When the ankle is isometrically held in dorsiflexion the knee also flexes while the musculature surrounding the knee isometrically contracts during ground contact. This important isometric contraction at the end, controllable, range of motion at the ankle joint, is the fastest method to gain strength. Decreased pain and discomfort for the ankle, knee, low back, and shoulder/neck area can be achieved when this base of support for the body becomes strong and less dysfunctional.
One of the most common ailments of people of all ages (athletes or the general population) is low back pain. It is so common and causes so many issues that there is an entire specialty (Chiropractic) that is dedicated to this condition. The reasons is because of the severity of what could happen if low back pain continues without treatment – pinched nerves, degenerative discs, arthritis, ruptured discs, etc.
Many of the most common treatments are – spinal adjustments, modalities, increasing flexibility/mobility of the hips, strengthening, etc. Some of these can be very expensive – in addition to the degree of uncertainty that may arise when trying to choose a specialist that fits your situation.
As with any human motion, an athlete first needs to accelerate whether he/she is walking, running, or sprinting. This starts from the bottom (ground contact) making the foot and ankle (support systems) a prime factor for first step acceleration. Keep in mind; the strength and mobility of the foot will determine the level of speed and efficiency for which the first step occurs. Most of the time we are asked how to apply these coaching cues to a sprint so we will address this topic.
- The Ankle Stretch Reflex
- Minimize the total time of stretch reflex between the ground contact phase and toe off phase of movement and you will maximize the power of the first step. Take the back foot in a 40 yard dash start for example: If you can cue (back ankle in the “locked” position) and train an athlete to have great ankle mobility while having a “stiff” strong ankle, you can decrease the athletes’ stretch reflex time and thus initiate a faster first step into the acceleration phase of a sprint.
- Arm Action
- To initiate the first stride into a sprint or run you must simultaneously initiate an arm action. This mean the right arm must move forward very fast to quickly force the left leg into a forward motion acceleration stride. Once the arm and leg reach the controllable end range of motion, the right arm will rapidly fire backwards (stretch reflex), thus making the left leg fire rapidly downward (stretch reflex) and behind the athletes’ center of gravity. Therefore, cueing a powerful arm action stretch reflex will greatly increase the power of the first step acceleration stride.
- “JUMP OUT”
- Saying this very loudly to an athlete prior to a sprint will stimulate his fight or flight response within the body. This response may increase adrenaline, a powerful chemical that will increase heart rate and deliver more nutrients to the muscles faster. This will allow for muscles, especially the gluteal muscles, to more powerfully contract and directly increase the speed of the first step in acceleration.
**For complete instructional videos on exercises that can enhance the acceleration stride and more sign up for our BPSU online university and attend our Level 1 or Level 2 Workshops @ http://www.bommaritoperformance.com/workshops/bps-university/
We were featured in a very interesting article in Forbes in in 2015 that was discussing our success with our NFL Draft Preparation program. The “success” that was outlined in this article dealt with some aspects of the success of our clients – how well they performed at the pre-Draft events (like the NFL Combine, All-Star Games, etc.) and how well they did in the draft. To our pleasant surprise, one of the main focal points of the entire article was the business side of this process. The business side focused on the schedules, the accommodations, our dealings with agents and NFL teams, the operations, the performance/medical/nutritional/football skills staff, and most important – the finances.
A vast amount of literature exists for bounding plyometric drills when it comes to forward sprinting. Acceleration bounds with a piston action (alternating leg and single leg) can be used to enhance first step, acceleration, and continuation through the drive phase. It can also be used to enhance any re-acceleration out of any deceleration or change of direction. Absolute speed bounding with a cyclical action (alternating leg only) can be used to enhance the “transition” of gravity dictates the body becomes upright, and continuation onto absolute speed and absolute speed maintenance.
Plyometrics implemented to enhance deceleration mechanics is extremely efficient, but often under-utilized in many programs. Any change of direction can be considered a form of deceleration. In addition, any change of speed, even in a linear direction, can also be considered a form of deceleration. The BPS Acceleration-Deceleration Zone series on the University exemplifies a great basic form of overall deceleration and re-acceleration. As previously noted, this can be an excellent training system to enhance any change-of-direction, any change of speed in a linear motion, and any change of speed into a change-of-direction. All of which will occur in any sport at any position at various speeds and angles.
When planning out a preparation for the movement/speed/conditioning session for the day, it’s always a good idea to include a good amount of exercises that is as specific to the patterns that will actually be performed. In the Preparation section of Bommarito University, there are 4 primary sections for Preparation to be performed at the beginning of all sessions. And the overall Preparation can be best described as CNS Activation and Muscle/Joint Preparation Systems (CAMPS):
- Support System Preparation – primarily the “impact” joints of the toes, feet, and ankle
- Trunk/Spine Preparation
- Suspension / Support / Trunk (SST) Systems Preparation – focusing on the “link” between the Support and Trunk/Spine which is the suspension system through the hips, knees, and pelvis
- Unloaded Speed/Movement Preparation
When focusing specifically on the SST Systems Preparation, notice there is an extremely large volume of exercise choices in the database for all 4 sections. The 4 sections of the SST are:
For years, the “Bench Press” has been the gold standard for athletes and fitness enthusiasts for total upper body strength. In today’s era of Sports Performance, various strength components of all form of upper body pressing remains a highly controversial subject. There are some that feel that Bench Press strength (and strength endurance) it is still the gold standard for measurements of overall strength of the upper body. There are some that feel that it is overrated, and prefer to train upper body pressing around what they consider to be more “functional” forms of upper body pressing. Through all of the online controversy, one important truth remains to be constant – upper body pressing strength, in ALL its forms, is absolutely essential to all sports and levels of athletes. This article will break down all forms of pressing strength; discuss the various components of how to maximize each form; and discuss all of the arguments in terms of level of importance and sport specificity.
When thinking about multi-directional movements, many coaches think only in terms of changing directions. While that is certainly important, there are many additional aspects to consider with regards to movement and speed patterns in “multiple directions”, even before a direction change occurs off of the pattern. For instance, an analysis of what is occurring during a highly dynamic “lateral” motion, which is a pattern that is commonly placed into speed/movement-training programs could lead to three primary options:
- LATERAL RUN (LR)
- BACK LATERAL RUN (BLR)
- BACK ANGLE LATERAL RUN (BALR)
There are numerous other primary options for movement in a multi-directional sense – such as lateral shuffle, backpedal/anglepedal, and forward multi-directional – but they are more controlled motions. Looking at a faster, more dynamic motion, including when it needs to be executed at full speed, the three primary aforementioned motions apply.
BPS 6-Zone System – The key to maximizing Fat Loss Without Over-Training
- Quality over Quantity
- Convenient Training Schedule for Hectic Lifestyle
- Efficient workout that provides most “Bang for Buck”
As trainers, we are constantly fighting logistics. Logistics of how often a client can attend training sessions, the session length, and the maximum intensity that can be sustained each session. Hence, we are always trying to find the most efficiency for the allotted time. Most group fitness classes, Cross-Fit, or even athletic speed/conditioning sessions do a great job of working within a key energy system that make quick gains. However, if you limit your training to one or two energy system zones (even the key zones), you can never make maximal gains; and you will never be as efficient in these key zones. The BPS 6-Zone System allows for ALL of the cardio zones to be taken into account over a training cycle – obviously emphasizing certain zones, but never leaving anything out. This can be implemented into athletic programs or for regular fitness clients or groups. That’s the most intriguing part of this 6-Zone System – it can really apply to any fitness client or group at any level. The difference will be the mode of training or exercise equipment and overall intensity within the session. Also for athletes, the frequency of each zone per month-microcycle can change dependent on the sport and off-season phase.
- Ankle Dorsiflexion
As with most movements from walking to sprinting to squatting, ankle dorsiflexion strength and mobility is crucial. The higher the degree of ankle dorsiflexion the greater the shin can move anteriorly. When the knee is able to move forward the knee will flex more and the hip will also flex to a greater degree (i.e. triple flexor response). Thus, more ankle dorsiflexion leads to greater degrees of flexion for the triple flexor response. As for the 40yd-start, the more the ankle can dorsiflex the closer to parallel the shin becomes. Keep in mind Newton’s third law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This is important because if the back leg shin is too vertical the force directed into the ground is more vertical than horizontal. This means, the force will push the athlete vertical when “jumping” out of the start rather than horizontal. Ideally, the back leg shin will be as parallel as possible to the floor so the direction of force is mostly horizontal. Once this shin angle is set, the athlete will “jump” out of the 40yd-start horizontally in the direction of the sprint. Maximizing dorsiflexion will maximize speed.
How to prepare for a training session could arguably be one of the most important and underrated factors in overall performance. It has also been a very controversial subject in the industry – with heated arguments on either side of numerous factors related to preparation:
- Stretching versus No Stretching
- Static Stretching versus Active Stretching
- Long Warm-up versus Short Warm-up
- Light Cardio pre and Stretching post versus
- Different types of “Active stretches” – detrimental or not
- Levels and intensity of the cardiovascular component of the Warm-up
There are literally thousands of articles and blogs and online forums and chat rooms related to the subject of the “Warm-up”. Most of the arguments focus on irrelevant topics of so-called “experts” just stirring up controversy to garner attention. In reviewing literature, it’s always important to identify two important factors:
- Is it based off proven scientific principles?
- If so, is the applied methods proposed make sense based on the scientific principles listed?
Having reviewed all of the articles and all of the relevant scientific literature out there, one important question must be raised, that is not discussed in today’s industry:
For any upper-body strengthening program to truly be efficient, there must be proper joint preparation. This is beyond just a standard “warm-up”. This is really focusing on preparing the joints for the motions that will be encompassed within the session. It’s also important to remember this type of preparation of the joints is a training system over time – not just to prepare for the succeeding workout. As with any warm-up / preparation, the stimulus can be overloaded over time, as the various systems of strength are increased and overloaded throughout the overall program.
The obvious basics of strengthening always centers on these main aspects – absolute strength, speed strength, dynamic eccentric loading, and reversal strength. No matter what the “theme of the day” is – one (or more) of these main four aspects are centered within two primary upper body motions – pressing strength, and pulling strength. To properly prepare joints for all aspects of strength with pressing and pulling motions, an understanding of all of the main joints and main joint motions for the upper body is essential:
3 Rules for Youth Athlete Speed Development
- The Structure Rule
CAMPS – Before any training sessions, it is always important to have the structure of the training session outlined for maximal efficiency to maximize adaptations. First, we need to increase the threshold ability of accepting and redirecting force for the ankles, knees, hips, trunk, and upper extremities. This means, a well-designed CAMPS is vital for ensuring an athlete is prepared to execute the planned work for the day. For example, start with SSP and progress from isometric modifications to full reflexive movements. Once the base of support for the body is strong and tissue temperature is elevated, progress into SST that is skewed to prepare the muscles related to the planned movement or exercises of the day.
Draft prep movement training can be a challenging periodization to plan for since there is a short mesocycle of typically 8 weeks. The goal is to reach the highest genetic potential of speed for each athlete safely but quickly. You will see how we periodize for our draft prep training down to the week, day, and exercise.
The format we use to lay out the periodization is organized so we can see the day and type of training to the left. Moving to the right you’ll see the aspect of training weather its camps, plyometrics, technical drills, or application drills. Our camps are always first and designed to specifically prepare the athlete for the type of training planned for that day. For instance, Mondays and Thursdays are agility days that involve lots of lateral change of direction may dictate that more lateral lunging or hip adduction/abduction focused exercises will be implemented into CAMPS. Plyometrics typically follow CAMPS. Application typically follows the plyometrics and the technical drills are implemented between application drills based on flaws the athlete may present during the application drill. The volume (reps and sets) for each application drill depends on form and injury imitations. Typically, if the athlete is healthy high volume of basic level speed work is recommended in the first week. The focus of Tuesdays and Fridays is linear speed. Wednesday is our active recovery day with the focus on doing speed drills in our Olympic pool. The pool allows us to de-load the joints since the pool water will support half the weight of the athlete.
- Lateral Box Jump Series
Good Evening to All,
Our BPSU Workshops for the year of 2017 registration are available now! If you are interested or need more information, please contact our BPSU director at [email protected] Happy training!
Adam Boily MS, MATJS, USAW
Here might be the most commonly asked question a strength & conditioning professional must answer to youth athlete parents.
“Will my 13 year old child (or younger or teenager) have a stunted growth from lifting weights?”
It depends. It depends if the athlete is exercising biomechanically correct or not. Stunted bone growth may occur when the open growth plates located at the ends of bones become damaged. Damaged open growth plates can happen for various reasons, which include an injury from sport or poor exercising technique. For example, if a 12 yo athlete playing soccer sustains a trauma to the knee in a soccer game, he/she could incur growth plate damage around the knee. Another way an athlete can sustain growth plate damage in the knee would be biomechanically incorrect weight-bearing exercises. Say a 10 yo athlete is front squatting and during every repetition their right knee caves in with a valgus moment. If an expert S&C coach is not there coaching the athlete out of these poor mechanics, overtime knee growth plate damage might occur before the plate close. However, most youth athletes will not experience growth plate damage from training or in sport as long as qualified professionals are monitoring exercises.