Strength Performance Network

John Mikula's Blog (181)

Training Smarter

Who the heck doesn't want to train smarter?  We all do, don't we?  At least we should, but on further review I don't know if many entities out there really want to train smarter.  I guess some do as long as it doesn't involve changing anything currently being done.  A more correct statement would be, "Who the heck doesn't want to look cooler when training?"  That's probably more correct.

There's a ton wrong with that train of…


Added by John Mikula on August 13, 2017 at 7:46pm — No Comments

Adapt and Survive

I don't think I can emphasize enough that the purpose of an athletic or tactical strength and conditioning program is to facilitate adaptation on some level.  The term adaptation means that an alteration has occurred in the structure or function of an organism to increase the chance of survival.  Now, we see this on-going all around us everyday in plants and animals, but with humans the change is sometimes less…


Added by John Mikula on July 23, 2017 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Prediction Models

What are training variable models that we can work towards tying to predict?  It's not easy to do; yet, its a highly valuable commodity.  Don't think so, just go ask about every team in the NFL who has been riddled with injuries during the past few seasons.  How did lack of training prediction models affect athletes' injury rates, performance, outcomes, team revenue, and coach's job security?

The easier route is just to take…


Added by John Mikula on July 9, 2017 at 7:30pm — No Comments

Training Grid


Added by John Mikula on July 3, 2017 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Purpose and Function

What's the purpose for your training?  What's the reason for why you train the way you do?

A. It's the way everyone else does

B. I read it in a book

C. I saw it on the internet

D. To meet the specific strength and conditioning needs of athletes 

What's the…


Added by John Mikula on July 1, 2017 at 10:18am — No Comments

A Few Observations

Here are a few observations from the past few years working with athletes and coaches:

1.  At the high school level, a football mentality seems to pervade as the training model for many athletes.

2.  Outside of the notion of Olympic weightlifting, there is a huge lack of diversely experienced and knowledgeable strength and conditioning coaches at all levels.

3.  Strength and conditioning coaches should be more proactive about preventing injuries through training rather…


Added by John Mikula on June 5, 2017 at 8:05am — No Comments

The Limitations of Specificity

Specificity really has its roots in the area of motor learning.  The Theory of Specificity of Motor Learning suggests that for motor skills to carry over outside of the practice environment, learning and development of the skills must resemble the environment that the motor skills are to be used in outside of the practice environment.  In the exercise realm, this theory has been broadened to include the same concept in…


Added by John Mikula on May 27, 2017 at 10:30pm — No Comments

Creating Counter Measures

NASA goes to great lengths to develop the physical-fitness of astronauts. As part of this program, astronauts go through exercise counter-measures training to help deal with the effects of being in space, specifically dealing with micro-gravity. Exercise is used in this capacity prior to a space-mission and for a lengthy period after to help the astronaut recovery from space-stress.

So, why don't we have a similar mindset to developing athletes? For sure, we're full onboard with the… Continue

Added by John Mikula on May 19, 2017 at 8:07am — No Comments

Base Camp

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think for most competitive athletes and certainly most tactical warriors base fitness is a necessity. Yet, base fitness and programs that emphasize this aspect of strength and conditioning get little air-play. Just talking about base-fitness doesn't sound glamorous, does it?

However, a base level of physical strength and endurance should underlie just about every strength and conditioning program. It's what we should build on and return to, no different… Continue

Added by John Mikula on May 17, 2017 at 7:51am — No Comments

Right Effort, Wrong Direction

Think about this, I could put in my blood, sweat, and tears in my training as an athlete, but if the effort is headed in the wrong direction, it is somewhat of a futile effort.  I think it's too easy as a strength and conditioning coach to focus on variables rather than the endgame of the athlete (right direction). 

What is the training endgame of the athlete?  To potentially better produce during competition, right.  Now, I'm…


Added by John Mikula on May 1, 2017 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Physical Fitness

Wikipedia defines physical fitness as a measure of the human body's ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypokinetic diseases, and to meet emergency situations.

I like this definition of physical fitness.  It describes what we're trying to achieve in many situations by employing strength training and conditioning activities.  I'll say…


Added by John Mikula on April 24, 2017 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Athletes and Injury Counseling

Well, last week marked another week with a trend that I'd care not to see.  Another week talking with athletes, former athletes, and others who are getting injured while training.  It really perplexes me to the point that I just don't get it.  I mean if an athlete is getting hurt while training, then why shift the blame to the athlete?  At some point, a prudent coach has to take a look at her or himself and query maybe its something I'm doing?…


Added by John Mikula on April 23, 2017 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Working Backwards

Steve Jobs had a saying something to the effect that before you develop the technology, you need to understand the customer experience and work backward from there.

Strength and conditioning coaches could learn from this. Instead of just developing pathways to develop… Continue

Added by John Mikula on April 17, 2017 at 7:48am — No Comments

Physiology and American Football

I love to ponder stuff.  I love to read research.  And, I love to read differing opinions of strength and conditioning.  I really look forward to having my thinking challenged.  I wasn't always this way, though.  There was a time that any challenge to my thinking made me bristle with antagonism, but over the years this has changed.  I think for the better.  I don't have all of the answers, actually probably very few, but I'm willing to keep trying to ask better…


Added by John Mikula on March 31, 2017 at 7:00pm — No Comments

The Nordic Hamstring Curl

One exercise that I'm going to go on record at this point as saying has potential to be more harmful…


Added by John Mikula on March 27, 2017 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Training Session Analysis

I feel that it is absolutely vital to ponder, quantify, qualify, and examine strength and conditioning training as it is being facilitated.  This means more than just writing on a dry erase board, Power Cleans, 3 x 6 at 85% 1 RM.  Training has to be more than just lifting a weight. …


Added by John Mikula on March 26, 2017 at 7:02am — No Comments

A Matter of Competency

One of the current problems facing the strength and conditioning profession (if we can term it that), is competency.  One definition that Webster uses to define competent is "having the ability to be legally qualified."  Right here, we should stop and ponder…


Added by John Mikula on March 25, 2017 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Make Meaning

Helping to prepare athletes for competition is really about making meaning rather than making athletes. Wait a minute, what do you mean by that, you might be asking? Making meaning is all about foster change, growth, development, and refinement.

So, how do I try and make meaning in those I work with? I think a lot of this starts with a good coaching mindset. What's my purpose? To help foster athletic development. How can I go about doing this? Try and employ a set of best practices for… Continue

Added by John Mikula on March 17, 2017 at 9:17am — No Comments

Training Structure

Hey, I've been accused of being an egg-head on many occasions and I'm ok with it. To me training is like one big research project that will never be finished. I train, myself, at least 5 days a week at about 0500. I really love the early morning hours. Another exercise physiologist trains with me a few days a week, another day I'm by myself in my lab training, and then a couple of days a week I employ tactical swimming. For me it works and gives me an opportunity to see training through a… Continue

Added by John Mikula on March 16, 2017 at 8:32am — No Comments


The mindset of an athlete may be his/her most valuable commodity. Strength and conditioning coaches play a valuable role in helping to shape young athletes and in more experienced athletes coaches can help athletes to train smarter and refine strength and conditioning on a more functional pathway.

It's important how we carry ourselves as coaches, as professionals, as helping agents. It's also very critical how we frame training in the context of trying to foster better… Continue

Added by John Mikula on March 15, 2017 at 8:17am — No Comments

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