I have sent football players to college and the NFL only to see them regress in strength and speed. A football player while in high school ran a 5.2 second 40 at 175lb, and after 6 months of training at Westside and a new bodyweight of 225lbs he ran a 4.7 at Penn State and I will close with this:
A girl training for the US bob sled team came to train at Westside for 3.5 weeks. Her deadlift went from 305 to 365 in that time, and her progress in jumping in the power clean also improved greatly. But after making the team she injured a hamstring. Why? This is ridiculous to say the least.
One of the problems is that they followed an old method of periodization. This method has three training periods: Accumulation, Intensification, and Transformation.
In the accumulation phase, great volume is done for raising all levels of special strength and conditioning.
In the intensification phase the athlete uses mostly sports specific exercises as well as raising the intensity or speed of movements. The theory is this cannot last long or maintained for a prolonged period of time.
In the final phase of Transformation the athlete now aims for sports results while a small portion of exercises from the accumulation is done. Next, a detraining phase is performed for 4-6 weeks and an attempt to use low intensity exercises to raise volume is done.
The ball players or track and field athletes then start over for next season starting back at the same level of sports performance as the before and start over again. This is ridiculous to me.
I recently sent two track girls on full scholarships. At the end of the high school track season, one ran with a track club leaving all the general training behind. The result was a loss of muscle mass and a reduction in her running times for the 100-200 meter and 400 meter and her previous 50.5″ box jump regressed to 44″. The other girls stayed at Westside to train, but this was against her college coaches’ wishes. At her college track tests, she broke most of the school’s records (ie the med ball work and she had a vertical jump of 33.5″)
While on track and field I trained a 70 ft 10″ shot putter and a 210 plus discus thrower and while at Westside no throws were performed, only special strength training. After going out west, only throws were done with no weight training. I called and asked how their throws were going: the reply?
The strength in the correct muscle groups has been lost up to a possible 20%. This makes it impossible to use in the technical phase. People, you don’t retain strength, speed, explosive power, or even flexibility or mobility without continued training.
And back to football…
I recall when you could tell a football player by his neck, but not now. They seem to be afraid to work the neck like it should be worked. Also the other end of the spine – meaning the lower back- is also neglected almost entirely. This is where hamstring injuries happen. Weak lower backs mean weak hamstrings. Weak hamstrings means your players will tear them. It is important to learn how to train hard, but safe.
Case in point: The steel curtain or the linemen of the early Pittsburg Steelers all could bench 500 or more pounds and high box squat 600 and 650 for reps. Ask yourself what has happened?
There is no need to start over. A group of wrestlers finished the regular season, but instead of doing nothing they went to a MMA club and practiced Judo, Samba, and Ju Jitsu along with the styles of wrestling. Of course they also maintained their conditioning that was shown for the three new disciplines by their instructors. A proud return to high school wrestling the next year made them not only in better shape than at the end of last year, but had also increased their technical skills as well. This is an example of correct training as used in the conjugate system.
You must change your training somewhat to avoid accommodation. If you continually use the same training over and over you will go backwards or go through a detraining period. In running, this is referred to as the speed barrier. This occurs after doing the same sport. No matter how fast you want to run, you simply can’t until you bring forth a new training stimulus to your program. This can be avoided by doing something many coaches seldom do:
READ A BOOK
I am not criticizing but merely analyzing. Here is a small list to start with:
1. Soviet Training and Recovery Methods by Rick Brunner and Ben Tabatchnik Phd
2. Special Strength Training Manual for Coaches by Uri Verkhoshansky and Natalia Verkhoshansky
3. Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir M Zatsiorsky and William J Kraemer
4. Science of Sports Training by Thomas Kurz
5. Strength and Power in Sport edited by P.V Komi
And last but not least, Basic Physics by Karl Kuhn
Look at Newton’s 3 Laws and find out how to increase K-E and you will be a better coach