Strength Performance Network

John Mikula's Blog (197)

Training Mechanisms

It doesn't matter what your training for, the reality is that all training is specific to how and in what manner you train.  That's pretty simple right?  I prudent review of comprehensive literature supports this notion.  In this context, using exercises like barbell squats to improve sprint speed almost makes zero sense.  Why, sure barbell squats can improve leg strength, but so can a lot of other exercises.  In a very, very minimal sense barbell squats don't…


Added by John Mikula on March 3, 2018 at 7:17am — No Comments

Notecards: Pre-Hab

I use the heck out of notecards for just about every aspect of strength and conditioning planning.  They are compact and easy to use; however, unformatted notecards can be uninviting to use.  So, I design and format my own cards and put them in my Coach's Companion planner.  

This card is formatted for a pre-hab circuit.  Pre-hab is a very important aspect of comprehensive strength and conditioning.  In some cases,…


Added by John Mikula on March 3, 2018 at 6:48am — No Comments

White Boards

I like to use whiteboards when facilitating physical training.  They serve as a constructive piece of communication and can be quite an effective teaching aid.  I format my whiteboards so that session information can be coordinated in the way I want it to be facilitated.  I also like to use magnets with my mobile boards so that I can hang them up and free my hands to teach and/or demonstrate.…


Added by John Mikula on March 3, 2018 at 6:34am — No Comments

Making Some Training Sense

I love to train.  I love to teach and coach, too.  I just have a keen interest in the whole process.  Having said this, I find myself examining some strength and conditioning practices and am having difficulty making sense of training.

I don't believe the process should be too complicated in helping prepare others to do battle, functional as a tactical operator, or compete on the athletic playing field.  An elemental…


Added by John Mikula on February 15, 2018 at 6:34pm — No Comments

Tug of War

I'm not a big fan of tug of war type activities.  Yeah, this is a popular team building and "toughness" type of event in strength and conditioning for athletes, but one not without potential for injury (I know it looks cool).  There are a lot of other modalities that can easily take the place of tug of war.  I'd like to ask what are the gains from this activity?  What are the risks?  Compared to other things coaches can do to engage in spirited team-building do…


Added by John Mikula on January 25, 2018 at 6:32pm — No Comments

The Runner's Body

One book that I keep re-reading and referring to others is The Runner's Body by Tucker, Dugas, and Fitzgerald.   The title is a little deceptive although running is the premise for the book, the information contained is somewhat global.  To me, this is a must read for any…


Added by John Mikula on January 11, 2018 at 6:58pm — 1 Comment

Sports Fit?

What does it mean to be physically fit for your sport?  If you think you know, what are your references based off of?  Personal experience, got it from a book, learned from someone else, comes from a computer program?  Have you matched up the sources above with actual outcomes?

Shouldn't we, as coaches, be asking ourselves the simple question of "sports-fitness" over and over again and compare that to what we…


Added by John Mikula on January 11, 2018 at 6:51pm — No Comments

Training Curves and The Growth Mindset

Training (human development) is like plotting points on a curve, right?  So, where are you on the curve?  Where is your process and the athletes you work with?  Are you more on the side of the curve plotted with "fixed" training and beliefs, i.e., there's only one way to train?  Or, are you more on the side of the curve plotted towards "continual growth" i.e., a growth mindset?

One individual that I really enjoy…


Added by John Mikula on December 16, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Understand Systems, then Understand Athletes

The harnessing of the human body into a specific pathway for athletic or tactical production is a complex process.  Personally, I think one that starts with examining human systems, first, then understanding the needs of the athlete.  Ultimately, we should try and make sense of the performance continuum (prep, practice, performance) and how the related stress affects individual human systems. …


Added by John Mikula on December 16, 2017 at 12:44pm — No Comments

Generating New Ideas

I kind of think training is all about generating ideas and following up on them to see if they're usable in the context of each situation.  Ideas take time to develop and usually involve not just thought and reflection, but something or someone to bounce those thoughts off of. 

For me, I try and work my training thoughts out within the context of those I train with during my own workouts long before I commit to using them with…


Added by John Mikula on November 4, 2017 at 10:00am — No Comments

Preparation is the Key

The human body is very complex.  Training it for sports, battle, and life requires some considerable thought, effort, and reflection.  I like the research method approach whereas I prescribe training elements, evaluate their effectiveness and outcomes, and make judgements as far as how to adapt.…


Added by John Mikula on October 1, 2017 at 7:30am — No Comments

Considering Function

It would be foolish to not consider function during training, but the dynamic understanding and intent of function-ability can easily be misunderstood.  Case in point, we have functional training, but often these modalities are just physical therapy exercises or Yoga poses that pertain to these settings.  We have functional movement screens, great, but again the value outside of clinical applications of highlighting injury or potential for injury is not clearly…


Added by John Mikula on September 17, 2017 at 11:50am — No Comments

Compared to What?

I think it's invaluable to be able to compare training progress and process especially with similar entities. There's are a lot of dynamics at play which contribute to why something works in one situation and not in another.  "Works" meaning the training makes a measurable difference in relation to the intended outcome.  For example, if the intended outcome of a training program is to help produce hardy, more dynamic athletes how would I know if training contributed…


Added by John Mikula on September 13, 2017 at 7:37pm — No Comments

What to Reward

Reward drives human behavior.  Undoubtedly, fitness is a behavior.   Ultimately, we'd like athletes' behavior to be driven more by intrinsic or internal rewards than by external sources, but this type of thinking takes time to develop.  

So, what can we extrinsically reward in terms of fitness behavior?  Here's a place where the prudent coach really has to put some effort into thinking about the big picture.  The trap…


Added by John Mikula on September 11, 2017 at 8:52pm — No Comments

Adapt and Survive defines the word adapt as the ability to adjust oneself to different conditions, environment, ect.  Charles Darwin suggested that adaptation is more of a causal factor for survival than strength or…


Added by John Mikula on September 2, 2017 at 9:00pm — No Comments

Learning Context

The context in which we learn is highly important, but sometimes it impairs our development as a coach and how we help shape the future of athletes.  Learning context refers to the environment and/or situation in which knowledge and behavior is developed.  This association can be very strong and motivating in regards to future learning and perceptions.  It can open doors to learning, but close them, too.

Contextual learning…


Added by John Mikula on August 20, 2017 at 11:30am — No Comments

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

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