23 December, 2002

Improving Speed

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." -Albert Einstein
Merry Christmas from StrongerAthletes.com

Athletes and coaches are always seeking ways to improve their 40 yard dash. Aside
from genetics, smart strength training and efficient practicing of sprinting the 40 will be two important factors in improving your time.

We suggest the following methods to follow in order to improve your athletes' 40 times:

  • Practice your starts.

  • Practice running using good form.

  • Shed body fat without losing strength in the process.

  • Maintaining flexibility also plays an important factor.

Sounds pretty simple, huh. Based on muscle-fiber recruitment and the development of the fast-twitch muscle fibers, it is false to indicate in any way that lifting in a ballistic fashion will help your sprinting speed. Other gadgets used for resistance running are also not suggested. Do not waste your money and your athletes' time with such training methods.

If you have questions or comments about this web site or strength development or training please drop us a note.

If you aren't sure why ballistic movements aren't going to help your sprinting, read the following related articles:

16 December, 2002

Partial Reps

"I can take it... The tougher it gets, the cooler I get... " - Nixon
Partial reps is another technique used to increase the intensity of a working set. However, we do not advocate using partials reps as an entire set. The box squat
, which is a core lift in the BFS system, is a partial squat. The problem with this exercise and all partial movements is that not as much muscle fiber is recruited during the set. Full range of motion is necessary first in the set and taken to failure will work the maximum amount of muscle fiber. The athlete should use this technique to increase intensity only.

After reaching failure in the full range exercise then perform slow partial reps to failure. Performing them slowly will require fewer reps and really increase the intensity of the set increasing its productivity. Athletes should not use this technique very often or it might lead to overtraining which could slow progress.

Please let us hear your thoughts on this topic.

12 December, 2002

Dear StrongerAthletes.com: Stance on BFS

 "No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office." -George Bernard Shaw

We received this e-mail from Coach Nolan Pettis this week. He wants to know how we feel about the Bigger Faster Stronger training program that is popular with many high school coaches. This also seems to be an area of interest for local coaches here in Missouri, as it has been a popular topic on the local message board.


Do you think that 'Bigger Faster Stronger' is a good strength training program? Also, is your one set to failure program good for increasing size as well as strength?

Nolan Pettis, Track Coach

Coach Pettis,

First, I would like to make it plain that we have nothing against BFS or what they are doing for coaches and athletes. I think they do a great job promoting character issues that are so important when it comes to working with young people.

I used BFS with my former football team. We brought them in to do a clinic and they did an outstanding job getting the kids excited about strength training.

Since that time I was introduced to a philosophy that: 1) I have found to be safer in terms of eliminating the quick lifts, power clean, that is a cornerstone of the BFS program. 2) I have found more efficient in terms of eliminating the multiple sets required by the BFS periodization philosophy. I remember the heavy week called for as many as 5 sets. I have come to learn that 1 set is just as efficient in recruiting muscle fibers and building strength as multiple sets.

Many people are put off by the way BFS markets their product but I personally think they do a wonderful job promoting high school athletics and training. In short, I simply have found a training philosophy that I am more comfortable using with my athletes.

Where I may disagree with BFS's "Bulgarian Secrets" I think they are right on with their leadership development and character development programs. The people that I worked with from BFS are wonderful people and great coaches.

As far as size vs strength... everything I have read indicates that size is more genetic than anything else. Assuming one is following the overload principle their muscles will get bigger. Much of what you hear about lifting for high reps to do this or high weight to do that.. tone this or get cut etc... fall more under the urban myth category than it does strength science. I will try and get some more information about this topic to you.

Hope that helps.


AFCA Clinic

afcaWe are going to be in New Orleans January 5-8 for the American Football Coaches Association National Convention, (as coaches, not sponsors). If any of our readers are planning on attending we would love to visit with you.

If you have questions or comments about this web site or strength development or training please drop us a note at http://strongerathletes101.blogspot.com/contact/

***No Liability is assumed for any information written on the StrongerAthletes.com website. No medical advice is given on exercise. This advice should be obtained from a licensed health-care practitioner. Before anyone begins any exercise program, always consult your doctor. The articles are written by coaches that are giving advice on a safe, productive, and efficient method of strength training.***

07 December, 2002

Year One In Review

 "Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.." -Robert Browning
This week marks the anniversary of our first posting. It has been an awesome experience getting to know many of our readers and learning as much as we have along the way. From the feedback we receive from many of you we feel that this website serves a unique role. We try to present coaches with a sound strength training philosophy and then convince them of why it is sound in a manner that is mature and professional. Many times this past year we have posted the opinions of those who may disagree with our stance on training always giving them their due while at the same time explaining our position. We think this has been productive and useful for many strength coaches who are seeking answers as the develop their own training philosophies.

We feel that our posts fall into one of three categories: Philosophy Fundamentals where we outline what exactly we believe to be elements of safe, productive, and efficient training methods; Olympic Lifting Debate where we continue to answer questions and restate our fundamentals of why we believe these movements are unnecessary for training traditional sport athletes; and Various Reports, Biographies, Announcements I guess this is a catch all. We had our Mystery Guest feature for a while, and we reported on clinics we attended as well as information passed on to us from other readers.

Here is our Top 10 List of our favorite posts from the past year. These represent what we believe to be examples of why we have had so much success over the past 12 months

  • #10: Expressing Power vs Developing Power Who knows how many times we have had to explain this. This is a fundamental cornerstone to how we train our athletes.

  • #9: Father Lange A wonderful snapshot at the history of training.

  • #8: Transfer or Not to Transfer We take a close look at the Prinicple of Specificity.

  • #7: Dr. James Peterson We heard him speak in March. This man has much to give those who will listen.

  • #6: What is Productive & Efficient Training This outlines what we believe many strength coaches overlook... too much time spent in the weight room.

  • #5: Swiss Ball: The Super Tool We really like this one. Stick-Man makes another appearance and we really like Stick-Man.

  • #4: Creatine We felt it was time for others to take a sincere look at what many of today's athletes are putting into their bodies.

  • #3: Risk is Real We think this letter from a reader says a lot about the power strength coaches have and the responsibility that goes with the job.

  • #2: Science & Strength Research A reader wanted a list of where he could find articles that support our philosophies.

  • #1: Potential Injuries Here is where Stick-Man makes his first apperance! Safety... safety...safety. We will maintain that this is the number one responsibility of the strength coach in the weight room.

Thanks to those who have been with us from the beginning as well as those who have discovered us recently. We hope to continue to grow as a website and grow as coaches. Both of which could not be done without your help.