Performance Training Methodology

Performance Training Methodology

The Umberger Performance Training Methodology is a collection of what has influenced our lives and athletic careers. Much of the influence in our methodology stems from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc Europe. Louie Simmons founded Westside Barbell on these principles. The major influences on the art and science of our methodology of performance enhancement are James Smith, Charlie Francis, Buddy Morris, Ralph Mann, Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky, Anatoliy Bondarchuk, Henk Kraajonov, Carl Valle, Todd Hamer, Lisa Regan, and many others. We have incorporated general life readings from Bruce Lee, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Brain Tracy, Covey, Zig Ziglar, and numerous other business/life books. Our life’s purpose is to enhance the lives of others. Our parents, the major influential people in our lives, did this for us. It is their guidance, passion for knowledge, confidence, and support that has molded our desire to never stop learning, reading, and discovering.

Bruce Lee took many of the ancient eastern martial arts, as well western arts, and combined them into Jeet Kun Do. Bruce felt that a single methodology left one limited, both in technique and mindset. As Bruce has stated, “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is essentially your own.” One can’t grow with limitations. We refuse to place them upon each other or others in our lives. We have broken free of the restrictions and ignorance that exists in the physical development and preparation of athletes in the United States.

With this in mind, we entered the world of performance enhancement early in our athletic careers. From the beginning we were open to all methodologies, always looking for a better, more efficient way to enhance our own performance. This obsession has led to Scott becoming a top expert in sports performance training and RJ to become a top 15% scorer and clutch playoff performer in the NHL.

Umberger Performance will combine any one of the following influences into a program to assist in developing the client according to their strengths, weaknesses, prior injuries, and goals:


  • Charlie Francis’s Vertical Integration-High/Low Methodology, Block Periodization, and the Conjugate Sequence System of Periodization (macro and micro cycle planning over the course of the year and career);
  • Traditional “speed” work for sprinting, acceleration, speed endurance(when applicable), 40 and 60-yard dash times, etc.  Track sprinters are the fastest athletes in the world.  “We do what they do” for much of our sprint training.
  • Westside Barbell’s application of Russian Science to strength enhancement in the squat, bench, and dead lift;
  • Strongman training for general strength, variety, and fun;
  • Olympic lifting where applicable;
  • The physical preparation of professional and amateur mixed martial artists(MMA) as well as boxers;
  • NHL combine and elite football and baseball camp preparation (skill associated with the preparation for those specific tests);
  • NFL, CFL, and Arena Combine Testing Preparation (skill associated with the preparation for those specific tests).

We place significant emphasis on running and jumping techniques as well as resistance training(lifting weights). The end goal is to target, develop, and enhance all the biological processes: strength, endurance, oxidative capacity, anaerobic power, lactate threshold, etc. The energy system is something that we consider to be sport specific and will accommodate to the individual sport requirements. Once the athlete reaches a level that justifies “special exercises” to enhance sport specific skills, they will be implemented. These exercises will be used to take the athlete to the next level verse trying to improve a power clean or squat, which will not transfer to the “playing field”. The athlete’s “on field” performance is judged through sports performance or through wins and losses not “weight room numbers”. They are athletes not weight lifters. There is a clear difference between the two despite even professional athletes experiencing success despite their antiquated training philosophies. Please do not take these comments to mean that we do not weight train. That couldn’t be any further from the truth. Strength is a VERY important piece of the puzzle, but it is only a piece.

Why Our Sports Performance Training is Different

We are different because we do not perform “sport specific” training on athletes that are not ready to be sports specific. With the exception of football, the practice verse games ration is at least 2:1 and at times 4:1.  (See Orthopedic Surgeon sees to many sports overuse injuries in young athletes) Without any prior background in sprinting, acceleration, deceleration, and jumping techniques along with very little background in physical fitness it makes little sense to “build a home without a foundation”.  Young children need to develop a physical fitness base for athleticism to be built upon (please see youth training for more information). Sports specific training does exist in Energy System Training (cardio) for high school level athletes and older because each sport has specific bioenergetics demands. Our #1 job is to improve performance.  It’s about do the right things at the right time as this article on the Russian Ice Hockey System outlines.  As stated earlier, improving performance means, by default, reducing injury risk and probability.

Here’s how that breaks down to the individual athlete:

#1. Improve athleticism (which leads to better sport skill acquisition which leads to better sports performance)
#2. Correct the imbalances caused by too many games (prevent overuse injuries)
#3. Prepare the athlete for the specific conditioning demands of their sport (train the bioenergetics)
#4. Improve/teach grit (work ethic and strength of character)
#5. Dominate the competition
 Complete Athletes = Increased Sports Performance

We produce complete athletes through our sports performance training. A complete athlete possesses an understanding with the goal to master proper sprinting, jumping, and change of direction techniques/skills. The general preparation characteristics listed below are the basis for which sport skill can be acquired as built upon:

  • Speed
  • Reactive/Elastic Ability
  • Power
  • Strength
  • Balance/Coordination/Rhythm/Timing
  • Mobility
  • Stamina
  • Suppleness (Moving and bending with agility; limber)

An athlete can be taught skill. High-level coaches want complete athletes. They are going to teach them the proper skills anyway. A highly skilled athlete is deadly!

Our youth are a generation of privilege and entitlement. In attempting to provide our youth with “what we didn’t have,” things have gotten out of control. More so now than ever, Umberger Performance strives to teach principles that not only breed success on the playing field but are also “must haves” as successful members of society!

The following was taken from an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette;

“If you’re looking at guys on our team for taking care of themselves and being in shape, preparing, I don’t think you’re going to find one better than Craig Adams, from his off-ice [training] in the summertime to what he does during the season,” said  Pittsburgh Penguins and 2014 USA Olympic Team Head Coach Dan Bylsma

Craig Adams works with personal trainer Scott Umberger (cousin of R.J. Umberger of the Columbus Blue Jackets). They share an interest in always seeking new techniques and workouts.
“He’s constantly evolving, trying to get better, more efficient, more specific, all those things,” Craig Adams said.

Recovery and Nutrition

This area is often overlooked by athletes. Said in a very elementary way, “Our workouts are only as good as your bodies ability to recover from them.” With our basic monitoring(daily athlete surveys and tracking nutrition intake) to cutting edge monitoring of muscle fiber make up, blood testing, heart rate variability(HRV) monitoring

We work with athletic teams’ coaches to help athletes achieve their dreams. Within our training system, we set our priorities on the Psychological, Physical, and Technical aspects of training. Through dream realization, we aim to inspire the athletes to achieve mastery over their minds and bodies. This confidence and strength is an unrealized benefit when they leave the playing field and have to make decisions daily in their lives and careers. Greatness isn’t hard to achieve per say. It’s rather simple if viewed from a distance. One must be disciplined, systematic, and driven.
It’s about heart, commitment, and desire. Insert company tag line, “Just do it!”