Thoughts For This Week

Movement Screen:

I like this article about the Atlanta Falcons and their use of the Functional Movement Screen and its application to their training in the weight room.  We use the screen at Ambition Athletics with every person that comes in the door.  One reason being, and I’ve said this before, I’m simple.  There are many other fine ways to screen or assess people but for me, the FMS just makes sense.  The screen itself can go very deep but as a whole, anyone can start to use it with just a little understanding of the human body and how to use the screen.  One of the things that I remember vividly from my time learning at Athletes Performance was how to grade the screen without over thinking things.  Whatever someone scores on the deep squat means that’s what their number is.  There is no jumping to conclusions until much later.  If someone scores a 1 in the deep squat, what does that mean?  Who cares?  It’s means they’re a 1, simple as that.  Further evaluation comes later.

I am sure there are many great strength coaches working in the NFL but I can appreciate the way Coy Wire and Tony Gonzalez realize the importance of what they are doing.  As Gray Cook points out, many of these guys have reached near their full potential.  Especially in the world of football, most of these guys have been bench pressing and squatting with a bar on their back since the age of 14.  Place years of wear and tear, injuries, and surgeries on top of that and working on some of the finer details of movement might take priority for a guy who already runs really fast and can hit like a freight train.  Now I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for some strength work, it just might be a little different than before or more importantly directed at the players’ weaknesses.

Low Reps:

I like low rep training.  It has really been my “thing” for a while now.  When I say low I mean likely 5 or less.  I like this for multiple reasons.  One, it likely means that you will use more weight.  Not necessarily heavy, but moderate to heavy.  That demands focus, which I like.  Focus can be lost for a lot of people when they get into a higher rep range, especially with a light weight.  You know, the old going through the motions thing.  I also think this generally keeps the quality higher.  Most of the time I would much rather have my clients, as well as myself, perform multiple sets at a high quality with low reps rather than high rep sets.  Lastly, I think low reps are a good to stay lean and NOT get huge.  The example that I always use goes as follows; For the average person, chin ups are difficult.  Doing 4 sets of 2 or 3 reps a couple times a week will make you strong.  However, if you were young dude “lookin’ to get yoked”, 15 to 20 chin ups per week is not a good way to get huge.  It’s likely going to take a lot more than that.  For those looking to stay fit and lean, the low volume approach (not a high number of reps) seems to work well.

A Common Theme:

Yesterday I was watching a Z-Health video and one of the things Dr. Eric Cobb said went something like this, “ What we don’t want to do is threaten them so much that they move more poorly from the training session…… Clients will spend 160 + hours away from you during the week…..  You don’t get better movement from poor movement.”  This got me thinking.  Those comments sound a lot like Mike Boyle talking about minimal effective dose, what Pavel says in “Power To The People”, Dan John in “Easy Strength”, and my boy Max Shank when he talks about The 80% Rule.  There are times to work hard and push it a litlle but you certainly don’t need to be crushing yourself every workout.  Think quality over quantity.

Highland Games Costa Mesa:

Please pretend that I am not talking in the 3rd person and that someone else is writing this part.  Ambition Athletics had a great weekend this Memorial Day competing in the Scottish Highland Games in Costa Mesa.  Mike finished 1st Overall in the Men’s “C” Class.  Brian had a great showing finishing 3rd in the same class.  Max finished 3rd in the Men’s Lighweight Class which was also great considering at the top of his class was a world record holder and world championship competitor.  Speaking of world records, when the extra event, the farmers walk, was held at the end of the day Brian proceeded to carry the 150 lb implements 500 ft which was in fact a new world record by nearly 100 ft.  Members Mike Dickun and Mike Grande also put in a good showing in the lightweight division.  Look for more info and more of a recap after the Vista Games the weekend of June 23rd and 24th.

– Mike Baltren

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