A Few Weeks in the Weight Room

If you're a strength coach you definitely know that the rules and regulations set forth by the powers that be are all based in logic, common sense and reason.  It is clear we are being (mis) lead by the some of the dimmest minds in the world.

Since we don't make enough money to make the big decisions, we get to suck on it.  If you all are in my boat, which I'm sure you are, it's an understatement to say it's a shit show.  There are a lot of "higher ups" that are being exposed as the useless cogs that they really are.  Us peons are the ones that suffer the ills of their incompetency.

We are lucky enough to have two inadequate training facilities, but at least we have two.  Between our two weight rooms, we are seeing 100 groups per week.  I guarantee that you all have similar situations.

Like clockwork, sport coaches think that their team is the only team that we ever have to consider.  I spoke with my supervisor and asked if he thought sending our schedule to all of the coaches so they could see the "open slots" we have in case we need to make adjustments because of conflicts that are just inevitable sometimes.  He thought that would be a good idea.

As I described it to him, we have 100 practices a week in two different buildings.  As much as this sucks, I think there are some good things to take from it.

  1. Strength coaches are going to find out if they really want to be strength coaches.
  2. This is a good opportunity to learn how to "change" your personality based on the team/culture you're coaching (football culture is different than basketball - male v. female...).
  3. It's a chance for you to "show" your athletes how to stay focused when they're tired, etc...  They'll figure out how busy you are and if you keep your shit together and handle your business you'll teach a lesson far more important than sets and reps.
  4. You have a chance to really critique yourself and make immediate improvements.  I have 6 different football groups so I run the same workout 6 times.  Each time I get better at the explanation etc...  Take advantage of this to improve yourself.  I know I get complacent and this stupid schedule hasn't allowed that to happen.
  5. Get used to taking notes on every workout.  We have 62 workouts in the main weight room and 38 in our smaller one.  Workouts/groups run together.  Regardless of our schedule we still need to give the athletes the best we have.  At the end of a 12-15 hour day you'll be hard pressed to remember that 6am group.  Take good notes so you can be on top of how things are going.
  6. I preach this all the time anyway, but keep your programming simple.  Recycle some if the teams are similar.  Be very efficient.  Don't use complicated exercises that need a ton of coaching and explanation... you're going to get tired of explaining the same thing.  There's never a good time to use gimmicks.  Now that fact is even more true.  Basic fundamental movements - Ground-based, Multi-joint, Compound Movements Trained Explosively.

Here's an example of what my programming looks like right now.  I have about 50 minutes to train the kids and 10 to clean for the next group.

  1. Dynamic Warm-up (based on the military burpee): general movement and mobility - 6 minutes
  2. Forward Rolls/Cartwheels/Jumps - 4 minutes
  3. Main Lift (will start pairing an Assistance Exercise with it) - 10-12 minutes
  4. Circuit: 3 exercises/5 rounds w/45 second rest between sets - 12 minutes
  5. Specialty work: one could label this as "sport-specific" - this is the stuff I do to address the shoulder of a Baseball or Volleyball player, the neck and yoke of a Football player, etc... and all ab work. - 8 minutes
  6. Post-Lift Mobility and stretch - 8 minutes.

At the end of each workout we've addressed:

  • General Strength (Main Lift and Circuit)
  • Hypertrophy (Circuit)
  • Conditioning (Circuit and voluntary running I recommend)
  • Jumping 9Explosive - will add Olympic Lifts soon)
  • Body Awareness (Forward Rolls and Cartwheels)
  • Mobility (Warm-up/Cooldown)
  • Injury Prevention (The whole damn thing)

If I stick to this basic set up I can be sure I'm covering what needs to be covered - check the boxes, if you will.  With a 10 minute cleaning period between groups it also causes me to stay on track and very focused during training sessions.  Things need to be explained well so that there's little chance for mental error by the athletes.  All of this means I need to be very efficient in my programming.  ONLY use the things that work.  Never use gimmicks.  If you are a gimmicker, save them for when things gets back to normal.

As we all know, my training is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing and it's taking a backseat.  I'm doing 3 Main workouts a week and 2 other bodyweight/sled workouts.  I'm not following a progression.  I just have some numbers I'm very comfortable working with ad I stay in that range based on how I feel.  My main goal right now is to just keep training because I know at some point I'll be able to put a little more focus on my own stuff.

Until next time, I hope you're all enjoying sleep deprivation and overwork like I am.

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