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2+2 Training

Athletic performance is a complicated beast. Without question each sport and individual position has different demands and requires a different level of preparedness and combination of the biomotor
abilities. In training and coaching for optimal performance, it is
important to realize that the best outcomes result from more than just
stimulus and adaptation, contrary to what you may believe.

While applying a stimulus and allowing for adaptation are critical and the first two steps in the training process, we must also know as coaches that the two components that follow are equally
important–stabilization and actualization.

Once an athlete adapts to a stimulus, we must be sure to provide them ample time to become accustomed to the new level of performance ability before using these performances to set training loads. In terms of the weight room, we cannot immediately begin scheduling lifts
at 90% of a 1RM that an athlete set yesterday. Instead, we need to
allow the the slower-adapting musculoskeletal system and it’s component
parts to catch up to the nervous system.

Additionally, we need to be able to have our athletes reach a state of competitive preparedness and put them in the best position possible to transfer their newly acquired proficiencies directly to the track or

If any of the four requisite components to smart programming are foregone, there is little doubt that your athletes will fail to achieve a performance level of which they are capable.

Stimulate, adapt, stabilize, actualize.

Best regards,
Carson Boddicker

Boddicker Performance

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Should You Stick to the Recipe?

Michael Boylewww.strengthcoach.comAnyone who knows me knows how much I like analogies. One area that continues to frustrate me is talking to trainers about programming. Often the conversation goes something like this, “I use a little of your stuff, a little of Mark Verstegen’s stuff and mix in a little of …”. In trying to describe how this works or potentially doesn’t work I’ve decided that a food analogy may be the best route. Some people can really cook, others need cookbooks and recipes. Some people write cookbooks, others read cookbooks. Even in the restaurant world, there are cooks and there are chefs. Cooks follow the recipes, chefs create the recipes. Those who know anything about cooking understand that every ingredient in a recipe has a purpose. You wouldn’t bake and simply leave out flour would you? The key is to figure out if at this stage of your career are you are a cook or a chef. Here are some basic guidelines.If you are writing your first program, you are probably a cook. You should find a recipe and follow it exactly.Think about it this way. If you were making something for the first time would you take two recipes from two different cookbooks and combine them? Would you add ingredients from one of the recipes while subtracting ingredients from the other? If you did this, would you expect the end product to taste good? What if you took two pancake recipes and both called for pancake mix and eggs but, you decided to double up on the pancake mix and simply omit the eggs. The end result would probably be pretty lousy pancakes, correct? What if you said, “I don’t like water, I’ll just put the dry powder in the pan and see if it will cook?” All of this seems foolish doesn’t it.Unfortunately, when it comes to program design, this is exactly what many coaches do. I have athletes who have trained with me for years and then become coaches themselves. Instead of using the program that was so successful for them, they alter it. Then they email me the program and say “can you look this over?”. Invariably the program is a little of mine and a little of theirs, with maybe a touch of third party. A combination of recipes if you will. Also invariably the program is poor. These are not experienced “chefs” yet they have chosen to alter the recipe to suit their taste. The better choice is to choose a recipe designed by a chef and then do a great job of making the meal. In other words, coach the heck out of the program you have successfully used.If you have been writing programs for few years, perhaps you are a sous-chef.The sous-chef is the second in command in the kitchen. Many third and fourth year coaches are sous-chefs. They have developed the ability to alter the recipe without spoiling the meal. They understand that ingredients can be altered but that there should be a plan and it should be followed. The sous chef also understands that the ratio of ingredients matters and that you don’t simply cook to your own taste.After five years of successful program design, you might now qualify as a chef.At this point you can contemplate bold changes to the recipe because you have extensive experience “cooking”. One famous coach used to say “it’s OK to break the rules, just make sure you understand the rules first”. After five years you should no longer be looking at a DVD and abandoning your whole program. Chefs don’t abandon their chosen cooking style after watching an episode of Hell’s Kitchen, instead you are now making small changes to what should be a system.Figure out if you are a cook or a chef. Don’t be afraid to copy if you are a beginner. In fact, I would encourage you to copy rather than to mix. I have said in previous writings that it is a mistake to copy programs. I guess what I should have said is it is a mistake to blindly copy programs. It is a mistake to copy bad programs. However, it may be very beneficial to copy good programs. I would rather you copy my program than attempt to add bits of my recipe to the recipes of others. If you are not confident yet in your ability to create a program, feel free to copy. I guess cookbooks were created for a reason.The idea is that eventually we all can become chefs but, we all start out as cooks.
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Direct from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics…..

By Scott Damman, Myotest, Inc.

(This is the first in a series of reports from Scott as he experiences the 2010 Olympics firsthand.)

Well, it is my first full day in Vancouver, and I am just getting into the feel of

the Winter Games. I must admit, it is a bit strange walking around a city where
rain jackets and umbrellas replace snow jackets and gloves. Vancouver is one of
the places that could just as logically host a Summer Olympics. But the
Canadian spirit is alive! Home country Olympic wearable sales are well over
expectations, and apartment balcony hanging flags are abundant. Numerous
languages are heard along the streets, and the Vancouver public transportation
is running full tilt — buses, Sky link trains, and the unique Sea Bus
connecting the Downtown to North Vancouver where the freestyle and snowboard
events take place.

Bode is back! After a goose egg in Turino, Bode Miller came back with a Bronze medal
today, in a downhill race where all of the big guns were running fast and
competing at a top level.

I am now off to the Swiss House to attend a reception celebrating Swiss technology
contributions to the Olympic Games. Dartfish CEO Victor Bergonzoli is the
keynote speaker. The Swiss House is the official gathering place of all things
Swiss related during the games, including receptions and medal celebrations.
Tonight will be special as Didier Defago won Gold today in the prestigious Men’s

Stay tuned for more from Scott as he provides his first-hand view of the 2010
Olympic experience from Vancouver.

For more information on how Myotest is helping athletes around the world to achieve
their own personal “Olympic” potential, visit their website at:

For more unique information from the realm of strength & conditioning and sports in general visit: The Strength Performance Blog

Myotest Promo 1
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It was first described to me during the summer of 2005 when I visited my good friend Mike Potenza, who was working at the time as the S&C coach at the University of Wisconsin for both the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams (by the way, both teams won national championships that year). He introduced me to Steve Myrland, a former strength and conditioning coach at both the professional and collegiate level and a guy that I now describe to others as simply “the strength Zen master.” While having coffee one morning, Steve was describing to Mike and I the frustration he was having with a college strength coach who only “saw the world through the hole in a 45 pound plate,” and the coach’s inability to see and embrace the importance of movement, function and anatomy. Now, all of us have taken a 45 pound plate from the rack, lifted it to squat bar height, peered through the tiny 2 inch hole and loaded it up onto the bar. The view just prior to loading is exactly what Steve was talking to me about. The world, (or weight room or even more simply your athlete’s performance continuum) has a very limited offering if only viewed through this hole, compared to the massive area that the plate encompasses, which basically equates to the entire rest of his or her development.

Up until that point in my very young career, I considered myself a “strength” guy. If it wasn’t heavy, it wasn’t training. If it didn’t have chains hanging off of it, or if your training partner didn’t have to pull the bar off your throat, then you simply weren’t working hard enough. About two minutes into our conversation I realized that I was one of the strength coaches that Steve was talking about. I guess the hole in the plate which I was coaching through at the time never allowed me to see the epidural injections that some of our athletes were getting due to their back pain, or the multiple ACL injuries our female athletes were incurring on a yearly basis. Steve challenged me to remove the dense piece of iron that obscured my vision and allowed me to evaluate and prescribe a training program that reflected the whole athlete (with respect to his/her sport, previous injury, movement impairments, volume at practice or games, current and future goals and yes, even strength development) and not just the athlete I once saw through the hole in the 45 pound plate.

Now, I’m still a strength guy, but my view on strength development (what really matters – a future blog) vs. numbers improvement (by any means necessary) has changed dramatically. The next time you load the bar and you peer through that tiny hole, I simply challenge you to think about athletic development in its totality. If all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail; if all you do is load plates, then the window in which you have viewed the world, and the development of your athletes have been limited. Believe me, the world looks a hole lot different when you begin to look at it with a pair of fresh eyes; or at least a pair not obscured by only iron.

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What you may not know about the pushup!!!

This post originally appeared on my blog about a month ago. I get a lot of feedback on it, so I thought I would throw it on here as well. You can find more at Thanks. Hope you enjoy.
The pushup is quite easily one of the best exercises athletes can do. Most will only associate pushups for the chest, shoulders, and triceps. But it's a great exercise for the total body and even more so the upper back. Reaping the benefits of the pushup means focusing on correct technique first and foremost. Quite possibly the best part of a correct pushup for my athletes is the scapular protraction we get at the top of the movement. Why is this important?
As the serratus contracts the scap rotates up

It activates the serratus anterior. If you didn't know, the serratus is a commonly inactive muscle that is extremely important for any overhead athletes, throwing and non-throwing. Dysfunction in the serratus causes the scapula to wing out, and creates instability where we want stability at all times. The function of the serratus is to help assist in upward rotation of the scapula. We want upward rotation in order create space for the glenohumeral joint and avoid impingement when we raise our arm. Very very important for overhead athletes! aka: pitchers, throwers, etc.

Inactive serratus causes winging!
Where the benefit lies is trying to push as far away from the floor as possible at the top of the pushup. Many athletes fail to get the benefits of the pushup by not completely finishing the rep. They may have locked out the arms but by letting the upper back sag in instead of extending out the serratus is deemed inactive. Also, don't let the lower back, and/or torso sag to the ground. Doing so not only hurts your efforts to fire the serratus but isn't doing your low back any favors. When this happens the scaps go into anterior tilt and the serratus is shut down once again. Many coaches have heard of the pushup plus exercise where the athlete does a pushup to extension then pushes their shoulders out a bit more. To me this is how a standard pushup should be done.

Fully extended!

Once your athletes have mastered the standard pushup, elevate their feet onto a 12" box. Serratus activation is highest in the feet elevated pushup position. I could go on and on all day about the benefits of the pushup and why all your athletes should be perfecting them. I have a future article coming out on this very topic. Until then, check out other posts i put up at

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When soreness is a good thing...

In the sporting world, soreness is a given at one point or another.This soreness can be from an increase in training load or even theprecursor to an injury that demands attention before the wheels falloff and training time is missed.

Lately, I’ve been doing a fair shakeof work with an athlete returning to high performance, and yesterday,she mentioned that she had become sore and fatigued in areas that shehad not been in a while. As she continued to speak, I had an “Ah-ha”moment.

In altering a person’s posture or movement patterns, stress will be transferred to previously unloaded (or minimally loaded) tissues that will then be challenged. Soreness in this case can be an indicator that there are changes in patterning being made, and that you may beheaded in the right direction.

That said, it is critical to understand that as performance specialists, our goal is not to create soreness. No, our goal is instead to bring about changes in patterning, joint centration, and strength with an intelligently designed and sensibly progressedprogram. Soreness is not the goal, it is just sometimes a byproduct ofchange.

Best regards,

Carson Boddicker

Boddicker Performance

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Lone Survivor

It’s been a long time since I have been consumed by a book. I usually have three or four going at once. Lone Survivor was a notable exception. I started on my way to LA on a Friday and was done on the following Thursday. I stayed up one night until after 11 reading which is very unlike me.As the title indicates Lone Survivor is the story of Marcus Luttrell, the only survivor of Navy Seal team wiped out in Afghanistan. I can simply say buy the book. I have actually purchased three copies to give to friends. It is a powerful story of friendship and patriotism. If you can read it without at least one tear I will be surprised.
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A Day in the Life

The following was first printed as an article at and is also included in my new book Advances in Functional Training.I often get asked, “How do you get so much done with your business, coaching, writing, speaking etc”.I usually try to give a humble answer and mumble something about hard work etc.The truth is there is a method to the madness and I’d like to share some of the things that have increased my productivity:1- Get up early. Successful people don’t hit the snooze button. I remember one great tip about waking up. “When the alarm goes off, get your feet on the ground” I have lived by this for at least twenty years and now rarely need an alarm. Years ago I also read somewhere that you should get out of bed when you wake up instead of rolling over. The concept is related to sleep quality and I have found it to be true. Fifteen minutes of “extra” sleep usually leaves you more tired. If I wake up within 30 minutes of when I am supposed to wake up I “get my feet on the ground”.2- Many people remark that they get emails from me at 4:45. That is because I get up, go to my computer, and check my email. I read another hint once that said “if you can respond in under a minute, do it now”. I have adopted that policy as best I can and it has really helped. I can interact with 100 people a day and do most of it before my family gets out of bed. The nice thing is that getting up early also allows me to help my wife by throwing in a load of laundry and allows me to spend time with my children in the morning when they get up.3- Write everything down. I have a notebook with me at all times for article ideas, program ideas, notes and To Do Lists. It’s much too easy to forget. Never trust your memory. I also have a Palm Treo phone for day-to-day stuff.4- Don’t try to do paperwork at work. I know this sounds silly but I get no paperwork done at work. I try to coach at work. I work at home in the morning. Work before the rest of the world rises and you will get more done.5- Don’t go out to eat lunch. What a waste of time. Lunch hour is for “normal” people who don’t like their job and need an hour away. Those that want to succeed will never waste even a half hour sitting and eating. Lunch takes all of 5 minutes. Dinner is a different story. Dinner is family time. I bank my “lunch time” so I can use it at dinner when I have my family. Another benefit of this is that it helps with weight control. I can’t seem to go into a sandwich shop and not walk out with a bag of chips. Often I have eaten them before I get my sandwich. Keep shakes on hand and eat every three hours while you work.6- Use commuting time. I often spend two hours a day in the car. Often, I will make all my phone calls for the day in the car and, record my podcast interviews with Anthony Renna ( from my car. The police may not like this but it is a great way to save time. Just promise me that you won’t text from the car. I also use the time to listen to my Ryan Lee Insider Audio CD’s and The Strength Coach Podcast or Fitcast7- Do brief workouts. Again, if you are busy you don’t have time to lift for two hours. I try to do 4-5 High Intensity Cardiovascular Workouts a week. These are either 12-14 minute threshold rides ( usually a five mile AirDyne for time) or a series of distances for time. My favorites are timed miles or half miles with a heartrate recovery. These workouts take a maximum of 20 minutes. In addition, I love Craig Ballantynes Bodyweight 100. It currently takes me less than 4 minutes to get a full body lift. I try to lift twice a week but, probably average one workout every five days.As I always say, the secret is there is no secret. Read about how to save time and to be more productive. Read The One Minute Manager. It’s a great start. Pick up little tricks. Success is really is about getting up and being organized. I personal train 10-15 hours a week, work as a college strength and conditioning coach ( BU is currently number 2 in the country) , coach Pro athletes 8 hrs a week all the while keeping up with writing, emails, and I love the idea of “ready-fire-aim” approach. I would rather have done one thing than thought about three. I read another great tip but, can’t remember where. The tip was to be a 90% person. If a success oriented person strives to do 100% they rarely complete anything. The advice was the last ten percent kills you and stalls you. I don’t worry any more if every article or DVD is perfect. I want to always deliver a quality product but, I don’t obsess over it any more. Don’t over –plan or over-think, just strive to get a lot done. Make a list and start checking stuff off.
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Distance runners are an interesting group. I know no other group of athletes who are more willing to train for hours on end for improvements as small as a fraction of a second. Many are so dedicated to the sport of running, their entire training volume consists ofrunning long miles with a few weekly sessions of higher intensityrunning over distances of 400 meters to several miles. While this doeswonders for the energy systems required to run fast and turn left, itonly serves to perpetuate movement dysfunction. If we are to succeedin the long term, we need to recognize that there is a demand forincreased physical preparedness beyond the traditional runner’s programoutlined in the above sentences. To achieve complete development, wemust be sure to touch on many aspects of fitness.

One area where a traditional runner can stand to improve a great deal is simply the introduction of faster running in his program. Now, I’m not referring to faster running in the form of 400m reps or even strides, but referring to faster running in the form of 40-60m repswith maximal recovery.

This is for a number of reasons including biomechanical, muscle activation, and also potentiation of longer distance runs.

During an easy run, the amount of hip flexion is significantly lower than during faster running. This creates a disproportionate pattern of activity among the hip flexors. Those that are most active in hip flexion from neutral to the first 75 degrees of hip flexion receive fartoo much work while the hip flexors that work above this range ofmotion (which is somewhat arbitrary), particularly the psoas andiliacus, do not do their fair share. Over time, the psoas becomesweakened while the low range hip flexors become excessively trained.When this athlete approaches the season and begins to run faster, wemay see these overworked muscles “give out” and lead to missed trainingtime with “pulls” or potentially problematic iliotibial bands (TFLhypertonicity).

By introducing a progressive speed program, we are able to facilitate the iliacus and psoas to a greater extent and achieve greater balance between all hip flexors. Given that the iliacus also has an attachment to the acetabular labrum, it may also play a role inhelping reduce capsular impingement between the labrum and femoral neck.

In addition to the hip flexors receiving better development, running at higher velocities helps ensure greater activation of the gluteus maximus which may be of use in preventing lumbo-pelvic-hip dysfunction and subsequent LE injury. This increased activation may be helpful inreducing femoral anterior glide due to the facilitating the gluteusmaximus’s ability to pull the femoral head posteriorly in the capsule.Also, increased activity of the gluteus maximus, a chief hip extensor,can potentiate faster running speeds.

It should be noted that no athlete should immediately jump into 40-60m runs with a flying start as their musculoskeletal system needs time to adjust to the stress. A progressive increase in speed of runs should be undertaken with the end in mind of running at 95-100% maximalvelocity. Also, distance runners have the tendency to believe thatrest is bad. In the case of maximal velocity training, rest can andshould be extensive to ensure adequate CNS and substrate recovery.

Stay tuned for more.

Best regards,

Carson Boddicker

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NSCA Bulletin Version 32.02 (February 2010)

For those interested, the latest NSCA bulletin has been published: Version 32.02, concerning the month of February 2010. Among other topics, new in this bulletin you will find: Japanese Documentary Film Crew Visits NSCA -Strength Coach Empowerment Luncheon -SSTC 2010 Wrap-Up -Certification News -NSCA Journals Online To view and/or download the document click here. NOTE: When clicking on the above link it may take up to 30-seconds for the bulletin to open. To view all previous bulletins, click here. For more information on NSCA Bulletins, call: 1-800-815-6826
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High Altitude Breathing

The endurance world loves the thought of “altitude training” and with good reason. Simply spending a few weeks at higher elevations can improve your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles, decrease your rating of perceived exertion when returning to sea level, and can help you cement motor engrams due to the reduced air resistance. Here in Flagstaff, there is always a rotation of high level athletes coming to train for a few weeks or months before returning to sea level training because they are looking for that extra 1%.While these are all great things for performance, one thing we as coaches fail to recognize is the impact that the ascent has on breathing patterns. Upon one’s ascent to altitude, there is a decrease in the partial pressure of oxygen, thus making hemoglobin saturation less effective. In response, the athlete is forced to breathe more frequently so as to elevate pulmonary ventilation. While this, in itself, is not a concern, if a sea-level athlete who is already an accessory breather or has a poorly maintained diaphragm, you’re almost certain to feed into inner unit dysfunction and predispose the athlete to injury.It appears that sea level born athletes tend to have a powerful response to hypoxia, whereas those who are born at altitude seem to have a “pre-setting” that leads to a minimal ventilatory response, so it may be less of a concern for these athletes returning to altitude.The best way around the effects of high elevation is to come to altitude already fit and well patterned. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get in shape at altitude, and a breathing pattern disorder will only make the process more difficult. Furthermore, some coaches like Wynn Gmitroski, who have had good success with altitude training, incorporate extensive use of yoga and deep breathing techniques into their programming. While it’s intention may not be to establish appropriate breathing patterns, it certainly can do the trick.Be well,Carson
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On Mental Toughness

It's been called the holy grail of an athlete’s mindset….mental toughness.This attribute is known to cause serious headaches among the sports performance coaching world! Why? Because time and again we all have worked with athletes who have better than average physical talent but because they lack mental toughness, they rarely amount to much in the athletic arena.So what’s our natural tendency when this occurs during training? We get L-N-BA.In other words, we tend to get loud, negative, and have a bad attitude in hopes that this form of communication and behavior will jump start a fire under our athletes. But does this really work?For a few athletes it may simply because of the fear factor. But even then it is often short-lived.Instead of ‘mental toughness’, we should just call it ‘toughness’ training. After all, that’s exactly what it is right?It’s about developing a ‘do not quit’ attitude in any given moment and is most often developed via strongman type training, the now popular cross-fit workouts, obstacle challenges, and a variety of other ‘survival’ training methods.However…in order to develop ‘mental toughness’, the second word in this phrase is only half of the equation!We’ve got the ‘tough’ part down but often forget about the mental piece.In part two I will discuss just what this ‘mental’ part means and how coaches can have a much greater impact in developing this attribute by taking one simple step!
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Want to Win the Batlle Against Aging?

Every day, it seems, there’s a new study espousing the benefits of exercise. Exercise helps you lose weight. Exercise makes you smarter. Exercise cures cancer. What’s next? Exercise makes you immortal?Well, not quite. But a new study has found that exercise actually reverses the aging process at the cellular level.The study, published in an online journal called PLoS One, studied 25 people over 65 for six months. A research team led by Dr Simon Melov from McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, Ontario took biopsies of their thigh muscles. Then they put the group on a strength-training regimen that included two hour-long sessions in the gym per week. At the end of the six months, they were biopsied again.The muscle cells were compared to the cells of a control group of young people (average age 22). At the beginning of the study, the older people’s cells were significantly different genetically from the younger people’s. But at the end of six months, a third of the genes within the cells had undergone significant changes. The cells that changed were involved in the functioning of mitochondria, which process nutrients into energy. And sure enough, study participants reported having more energy.“The genetic fingerprint [of the elderly participants] was reversed to that of younger people — not entirely, but enough to say that their genetic profile was more like that of young people than old people,” said Simon Melov, director of genomics at the Buck Institute in Novato, Calif.We’ve heard it before, but we’ll let Mr. Melov say it again.“It’s never too late to start exercising.”This study may be the most significant news for an aging population in the history. Although we cannot stop chronological aging, we can in fact reverse the cell change that comes with age. Take the time to go to the gym and start to turn back the clock.“Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle.”Simon Melov, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, Kenneth Beckman, Krysta Felkey, and Alan Hubbard.PLoS ONE 2(5): e465. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000465
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Coming Full Circle

This time of year always reminds me of why I enjoy being a strength & conditioning coach so much. Of course it’s exciting to help athletes improve, compete and reach their potential, but the past week has really brought out the real reason I’ve been able to stay passionate about this for so long.Most of us don’t get into this field to build relationships or to make an impact on people’s lives. More often, we become enthralled with the world of athletics and the excitement that goes along with it. Sure, we want to help people, but the thought of developing relationships is probably not what motivates most young coaches.Most realize the probability of getting rich in this field is far lower than in many other professions. Sure, there are coaches out there doing very well for themselves, but the majority of the professionals I know are somewhere between living comfortably and barely making it. Still, we plug along, knowing full well that we’d make a lot more money selling photocopy machines or medical supplies. There’s just something about this field that makes so many of us want to chase the “dream.” The dream of making it big. The dream of landing that “perfect” job. The dream of… name it.But, I can pretty much guarantee that most of us don’t chase the dream of getting to know some great people and making close friends. I know I didn’t. That’s a “dream” that takes a long time to even understand, and I feel blessed to have come to that point in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to make money, help athletes reach their potential, blah, blah, blah, but there’s another underlying theme that has emerged.Because it takes a while for many coaches to grow their income, there is plenty of attrition before the “real dream” is realized. This is not any easy business, and I’ve seen a lot of trainers drop out after just a few years. Not too many coaches get the satisfaction of starting a kid out in middle school, working with him through high school, staying in touch with him through big time college sports and professional preparation, and eventually have him come over during the holidays to spend time with the family and help pick out ice skates for their kids for Chistmas.That might sound silly, but it is just one of the experiences I recently had that made me really realize why I keep getting after it day after day, year after year. Having been in this “game” for nearly twenty years in both the college and private settings has taught me a lot, and I always seem to learn the best lessons when I’m not expecting them. I’m been fortunate enough to be involved in the lives of a lot of athletes, but the impact that they eventually have on my life is a true blessing.The holiday break brings a lot of college athletes back to train while they’re on vacation, and it’s a thrill to be able to catch up with them, see how they’re maturing and share some stories about life. As a former college strength coach, I know how hard athletes get pushed in college. For them to come back during their time off to get some more training in is a big statement about the experience they’ve had at our training center. It’s not just that they want to work out. They want to see us, share stories, and continue the relationships. They want to re-connect with people who made an impact on their lives and get re-energized at a place they feel helped them get ahead at one point in their lives.I experience this kind of thing every year, but this year it really hit be right between the eyes and made me realize how important we can be in people’s lives. Possibly more important, it made me realize how important that feeling is in my life. Knowing that I’m not just here to help a kid improve his 40 time, add a few reps to his bench press or alleviate some back pain is a big deal for me. It makes me realize that I’m part of something bigger – the lives of people – that is the real reward.Here are some of the things that recently happened to me and helped me realize what my job is all about. I hope you’ve had similar experiences and that reading these makes you think about how important they are to you, too. The impact you had on person’s life comes full circle when that person has an impact on you.- A female college soccer player whose family moved out of state, came back to train for a couple of weeks during her holiday break. She doesn’t even live near us anymore, but she wanted to spend time with us during her break. The big hug and smile I got from her along with her stories of college life meant a great deal to me.- A college football player came in to train during the break, but after recognizing there was a lot on his mind, we ended up talking for nearly two hours about a difficult situation he was experiencing. School wasn’t what he thought it was going to be and he wanted to talk about whether he should transfer or talk to the new coaching staff about changing some things. The two giant hugs and thanks I got after that conversation were priceless.- The hockey player who came over for dinner to spend time with my family and help pick out skates for my kids. I’ve made an impact on this man’s life, and now he’s making an impact on the lives of my children. Wow, what a great feeling.- The NFL player who called to see if I’d like to bring my kids to watch him play when he comes to town next week. I don’t get to work with this guy during his long season, so to know he’s thinking about me and my family is really meaningful.- The college track star who comes back every year to beat his brains out because he loves seeing everyone and getting re-energized by different workouts than he does at school.- Getting a call from two athletes I coached in the college setting who wanted to have lunch and catch up. One is now a nun and the other a new mom. What an honor it was to see how far they had come in their lives and for them to share photos and stories with me.- Numerous calls, texts or e-mails from athletes I worked with as a college coach wishing me a Merry Christmas.- A call from a co-worker asking if I wanted to bring my wife and kids out to dinner. Having co-workers who are good friends is a big factor in my ability to stay motivated.- Former interns calling or stopping by when they’re back in town.- Seeing two former athletes I trained (one a college football player and the other a student) working out together during break even though they go to different schools. It reminded me of myself at that age, wanting to work out with friends at other schools when we came home during vacation. They told me that working out together is “bonding time” just like I feel with certain people.If you’ve had things like this happen to you, you know what I’m talking about, but you may have never really thought about it this way. It’s a realization that you’ve impacted someone’s life, and now that relationship has an impact on you.For those coaches who haven’t been in the game very long, you probably aren’t even looking forward to this; it really doesn’t sound that great if you haven’t experienced it. It’s kind of like listening to people talk about their kids when you don’t have any. You just don’t get it. But, once you have your own kids, it’s almost fun to listen to other people talk about theirs.For me, having these relationships energizes me and makes me feel like the time and energy I spent with these athletes was worthwhile. More than just sets and reps, my staff and I have made an impact on a lot of lives. Those experiences don’t necessarily pay the bills, but they do motivate me to continually work hard, chase my own dreams and inspire others to chase theirs.The field of sports performance is exciting, but it’s easy to burn yourself out chasing false dreams and arguing about which training philosophy is the best. In my opinion, keeping in mind the best interests of everyone you work with is like a compass that will guide you in the right direction. It can keep you focused and ultimately help you achieve your own dreams. The field has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, but one thing I believe will never change is the fact that coaches have the ability to influence a lot of people and impact a lot of lives. When you get to the point where the people you have worked with make an impact on you, you’ll know things have come full circle, and that you’re living the dream.Jim Kielbaso MS,
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It All Comes Down to Anatomy and Physics

I often talk to young coaches and trainers who are frustrated by there inability to understand complex topics. Often the frustration is because they did not pay attention in college. I tell everyone I talk to that our field comes down to two things, anatomy and physics. If you didn’t pay attention in anatomy and physics you will struggle with the human body. My advice, pay attention. Don’t memorize anatomy , learn it. Immerse yourself in it.Kendall’s Muscles-Testing and Function is a great place to start. Expensive, yes. Worth it, yes. Quick tip- save $10 and by used. Most often you get an unopened college text from the person who did not pay attention in the first place. Worst case, you get a few margin notes from the previous owner.
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New Books to Check Out

Just wanted to give you guys a heads up on a few new books that have come out. I get sent a lot of books to review and want to share some with my readers:First up is the next installment in the Core Performance series Core Performance for WomenThe original Core Performance is one of my favorite books. I still recommend it for anyone looking for a book for a sophisticated beginner or an up and coming coach. I think this will be a great book for those who coach females.Next up are two new books from Adam Campbell and Men's and Women's Health. The Woman's Health Big Book of Exercisesand The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises . Adam has done a great job of raising the bar on these books. The exercises are very current, well described and well illustrated. If you are new to the field and looking for ideas and progressions you'll enjoy either book. I've read a couple of nutrition books and have to say that I really enjoyed Power of 4. Like many nutrition books some of the advice is unrealistic but, the book reads easy and has a lot of cutting edge ideas. Paula is definitely not your "skinny runner" type of nutritionist and is, at least in my mind, very accurate with her thoughts. If you have read a lot of the conventional nutrition stuff ( high carb-low fat blah, blah, blah) this book will be a paradigm shift.Cardio Strength by Robert Dos Remedios Dos second book is a good follow up up to his highly successful Power Training If you liked Power Training, I'm sure you'll like Cardio Strength Training.If you got a bunch of gift cards for Christmas, this might be a great way to spend them
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Most People are Dead at 35

A few years ago I listened to a Paul Chek nutrition CD and Chek used the following quote from a nutritionist. “Most people are dead at thirty-five, they just walk around for another thirty to forty more years.” The quote was intended to apply to most adults from a nutritional standpoint. I find the point both amusing and accurate from a physical standpoint also. By thirty-five most of the damage is done and without an intensive program of exercise, the damage is difficult to reverse.The truth is that quality of life begins to deteriorate after thirty for many people due to lack of exercise. Activities that were once simple and normal become increasingly difficult. The sad part is that the deterioration doesn’t become readily apparent until the fifties or sixties and at this point, it gets much harder to change. The baby boomers are fueling the personal training business in an attempt to improve not only the length of their life but the quality. However, the time to fight back is right now. Don’t wait until you are fifty and try to undo 20 years of damage. One of my favorite quotes is “the best time to plant a tree was three years ago. The next best time is today”. Don’t wait another day to begin an exercise program, start today.The truth is that obesity, neck pain, back pain, and so many of the debilitating conditions that we suffer from in adulthood are entirely preventable but, the earlier we start the better. Don’t make excuses. You only need about 30 minutes three days a week. Try to get 5 minutes of warm-up, 10 minutes of total body strength training and 15 minutes of cardiovascular work.The bottom line. Don’t walk around in a dying body. We would never treat our cars the way we treat our bodies. Imagine never changing the oil, using the cheapest possible gas, and driving until the tires are bald. Unfortunately this is the way we treat our bodies. The only problem is that we can’t buy a new body after we ruin the old one. The damage may be irreversible. If the damage is reversible, we need to reverse it with exercise instead of with drugs. Exercise is the most powerful wellness drug on the planet. It’s just difficult to take. Try taking a good dose of exercise three times a week and you might be able to throw away the Lipitor and the blood pressure medicine and all the other junk.
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This article is not about the bench press per se, but more a commentary on how the bench press has been used, trained, and interpreted in the past, and how the new Myotest technology will change the way look at the bench press and train it. Read the rest of the newsletter here.
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