Sport Specific Training in Pittsburgh or Sport Injury?

I’m pretty agitated today.  Why am at the point where I want to vomit?  A few times over the past month a few of my clients came in laughing and telling me that I needed to watch this video on XZY site.  They are laughing with “poop eating grins” because they know how stupid the videos are and how dumb the coaches are.  They also know that they’ll double my blood pressure in the next 5 minutes and they think it’s funny.  I don’t think it’s my Pittsburgh athletes as much as it is ice hockey players.


I’d like to explain where I am coming from before I share my thoughts on the videos.  I have spent three years as a strength and conditioning coach at two Division I schools.  The number one goal of a strength and conditioning is to prevent injury.  In the weight room that translates to proper technique and strength development.  No hap hazard and dangerous “stuff”.

Having spent over 17,000 hours coaching athletes, I understand that youths need to be constantly monitored.  Though we don’t box squat cycle after cycle, I will do it year round.  Regardless of how long the athlete has been with me, 90% of them don’t sit back properly when they start warming up and during their initial sets when we box squat after a month off from it.  That’s the way that it is.

Basic errors should and can be corrected.  An athlete squatting or cleaning with perfect form doesn’t occur every rep. That’s why coaches exist.

I trained at Westside Barbell for 3 months around the strongest power lifters in the world.  There wasn’t a squat done over 50% of a max without someone coaching the lifter.  Training partners were always giving coaching cues.  This is something that I personally expect it from my training partners because I do it for them.

I perform Olympic lifts with my athletes about 2 times a week.  After the summer I would say that their overall form as a group is a B-.  Only a few can catch correctly because of tight wrists and lack of confidence.  My main priority is that they are bringing their hips through and exploding vertically. We aren’t weightlifters so I’m not concerned with an impeccable catch.  It will come.

There hasn’t been a squatting session with my sports performance athletes where I haven’t had to constantly coach proper depth, especially the first week of a new meso cycle when I change from one squat variation to the next.  I just don’t believe in posting video on the main page of my website with a ¼ squat with not very impressive weight.  Really?  A 405 knee bend?

I have clips this summer of a 185 pound 17 year old buffalo bar squatting 445 with 120 pounds of chains for 3 reps.  That’s pretty sick.  However, he was doing it on a box that was a few inches high(not a quarter squat) and why I didn’t post the video.

So here are some of the videos that are just plain bad and as an athlete or a parent you should be concerned.

Video #1

It’s a montage.  Yippie!  This beauty of a video was of various high school athletes training.  The music wasn’t to “radio” so I was not upset because I didn’t have to listen to Nickelback.   One thing that was annoying was the “before” picture of athletes rounding their shoulders over like they are gimps to the “after” pictures of them adding 50 pounds of rock hard muscle in 2 weeks(now they are standing upright with their chests puffed up).  Ok not 2 weeks but 6.  That’s marketing and people fall for it. If my athletes don’t add at least 15 pounds in 6 weeks during the off season they are failing themselves because 85% of the other athletes(who are coming 4-6 days a week) are making those gains.

What drives me up the wall was the athlete that jumped on Swiss ball then he jumped onto the next Swiss Ball.  Pretty impressive, right?  Yeah for an athletes that’s going to do that in their next game.  Wait what sport does that?  Ahh it doesn’t exist!  Why risk falling and breaking a hand, wrist, ankle, shoulder, hip, and/or blowing out a knee?  The jumping and squatting on Swiss Balls used to be pretty popular in the “fitness training circuit” until some uneducated trainer was demonstrating his superior “functional core balance” and blew his knee out.  Yes he jumped on a ball fell off and blew out his knee AND he did it in front of a crowd of his peers.   Eric Cressey did his master thesis at UConn(the best Kinesiology Program in the country) on the benefits of stability training and it’s benefits for sports performance.   Findings? There were zero benefits to “balance or stability training”.  Sport performance training shouldn’t be done on a Bosu ball!  Dry Land Ice Hockey training shouldn’t be done on a balance disk.  Hockey Skates don’t allow much movement at the ankle and is one reason why Sindey Croby suffered a high ankle sprain instead of a broken ankle a few season back. Sport Specific should be done on the ice with a coach or qualified instructor!  I’ll let it rest there.

The #1 job of a strength and conditioning coach is to prevent injury not cause it! I spend half of my time correcting kids to stop screwing around doing dangerous stuff before the workout starts.  It’s all innocent stuff, but someone can get hurt.  Parents love when their kids hurt themselves before a workout or game!

Video #2

Aside from completely disagreeing with the training philosophy of the maker of this next video, the form and technique of the athletes wasn’t very good.  I’m not talking about the 90% of the video that centered around jumping.  What’s annoying with this gem was the body weight lunging of the young athletes who performed half of the reps with their hands on their legs “cheating”.  So your posting a video of garbage technique trying to sell how good of a coach that you are and how hard you work clients?  I understand that filming with a flip camera makes it hard to coach at time.  How about watching the video before you post little Johnny lunging with bad form while he cheats his way up the hill..

Something else that caught my eye was having basketball players jumping?  Don’t they jump enough?  What high school coach doesn’t have their kids playing year round?  I think they jump enough.  The need to develop absolute strength and strength speed which 99% of basketball players don’t have because all they do is practice and play.  Zero legitimate weight room time.  Eric Cressey did an awesome video on this.  This video should follow suite for all of my comments to all of videos posted that I have seen and commented on here… Eric lays out what is missing in our athletic development because uneducated coaches preach sport specific to parents instead of proper development.

Video #3

Another classic.  I believe in 90% of exercises used by this next company but I’m 100% against how they are applied when attempting to train athletes.    This video gem is of a video testimonial where the athlete contradicts himself within the same interview.  He talks about never thinking it was possible to get stronger and gain muscular endurance.  Then when asked to comment about the gains that he experienced, he stumbles saying that he lost a bunch of weight and he maintained his strength.

Doing 15+ reps every workout doesn’t get you stronger.  It’s hard work but not sports performance training.  FYI, he was a 15-20 pounds overweight before he started.  Hell, 30 minute personal training session at LA Fitness will help you loose 15 pounds if you are overweight from lack of activity.  Again, why was this posted? I’m not blaming the kid.     Redo the video.  My Flip camera editing software is moron proof and comes with the camera, hence why I have it.

Video #4

I love this one… My favorite montage.  Gym-Tan-Laundry all day long! <<Fist Pump>>!   It’s a video montage of the trainers working with their athletes.  It’s all “speed” work which is total crap if that athlete can’t do 10 pull ups and can’t squat their bodyweight which is still very weak(FYI-2x body weight is a solid benchmark for males).  One of the “trainers” is shown squatting 315 with big rubber plates(they look bigger than metal plates). Actually it looked like a trainer but I could be wrong.  I sincerely hope it’s not a sports performance coach because it’s brutal.   The best part is that the guy is doing a knee bend.  Really? If it’s a coach,  you’re suppose to be an expert and you show a company video of you not even going to hamstrings parallel depth?  We can disagree on training philosophy all day long but squatting is squatting.  That’s why there are rules in power lifting and weight lifting competitions.  Knee bends don’t count.

As a parent or athlete try to look out for this kind of Tom Foolery.  The more flexible, mobile and stronger that you are the safer and more resistant to injury that you will become.  The stronger that you become, the more explosive and dominate you will be.