Month: September 2012

New Articles up on STACK

Sorry for the lack of posts this week everyone, I just accepted a new position and need to move across the country in three days, so things have been chaotic and likely will be for the next month or so.

Fortunately, I have two new articles up on STACK that I think you will enjoy, both on program design and getting freakin’ huge and terrifyingly strong (both scientific terms, by the way). In addition, I mentioned it last week, but I have put together an ebook of motivational quotes across a handful of categories, available at Smashwords. It is completely free, downloadable in a wide variety of formats (depending on your ereader, or can be read as a PDF), there are no advertisements and I don’t make anything money from it. Most of the words in it aren’t mine, so why charge? I use quotes daily (which you know if you follow me on Twitter), and have had a lot of requests for my quotes list, so there it is. You can download it here, and again, it is completely free with no ads or need to sign up for a Henley Sports Performance email list or anything.
Now, back to sports performance – here are the two newest articles I put up on STACK (with a third awaiting approval).

Bulk Up and Get Strong During the Off-Season

This article provides a 4 day/week training program that will build you up pretty quickly and help you break through any strength plateaus. Due to the word count limit, I couldn’t expand too much on it, so if you have questions feel free to email me and I’ll help you out.

Build Muscle with this Off-Season Baseball Program

This is another off-season program, only geared specifically to baseball players enjoying their time off (unless they’re playing fall ball or in the bigs). Slightly different, less intensity and a little more volume and a total body training format. Again, if you need more clarification, feel free to contact me via email, call, Twitter, or text.
Check out the articles and programs, if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

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Weekly Workout Checklist – Are Your Workouts Complete?

Are you sure you have a well-rounded program? Most people don’t, whether by avoiding legs, back, or bench (just kidding), and they never really think too much about it. Here is a simple checklist to make sure you’re training is varied enough to allow progress.

As you can guess, many exercises can count towards multiple categories. For example, Chin Ups would get marks in vertical pull, double arm pull, core anti-movement, and bodyweight movement (depending on your definition or execution, you could make a case for them to be a loaded hold as well). The point of the checklist isn’t to do an exercise dedicated to each category, but to make sure you’re hitting the body in a variety of ways.

Unless you are on a bodybuilding type split, dedicating workouts to a single muscle or movement, it’s unlikely you would need a full training week to fill each category, in fact, it’s pretty easy to meet all of the requirements in a single workout in only a few lifts. However, if you like upper-lower or chest/tris/shoulders-back/bis-legs/core splits, this can help give you some new goals to shoot for. Make sure you’re working in some single limb exercises for added stabilization. Yes, you will make it easier on the prime movers of an exercise (I’ve never met anyone who could dumbbell bench the same as their barbell bench, but some have been close), but that’s not the goal. By incorporating the stabilizer muscles more, you can improve your strength numbers and reduce the likelihood of an injury.

I include ankle and hip mobility/AIS stretching because I think they are the two joints most in need of increased mobility. These are great to do as intraset rest work/active recovery.

The only downside to a checklist like this is everything is weighted equally. That will be addressed with another post, because it is important to include rep variations, heavy and light days, more pulling than pressing, etc. This chart is just a starting point to make sure you are hitting the core areas properly.

Also, if you missed the last post, I have put together a free ebook of inspirational quotes, available here. Please give it a look and if you like it, share it with anyone else who may enjoy it. Let me know any comments or questions you have. As always, if I can ever help you or your program in any way, please feel free to contact me.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

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Inspirational Quotes – FREE EBook

As many of you are aware, I am a big fan of quotes and love having a quote board in my gym. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I try to put up a couple of my favorites each day. Well, today I did something better. I put together an entire ebook of over 200 quotes on success, motivation, effort, adversity, and mindset. The best part is the entire collection is completely free – no signing up for a newsletter, no advertisements in the pages, just download the document in whatever format works for your ereader (actually, you may need to create an account on smashwords, but that’s free as well). It is compatible with iPad, Kindle, Nook, and can even be viewed as a PDF or webpage.

This was all possible thanks to the free services at and I owe them a lot of thanks for simplifying the process. This is a trial run before putting together an ebook of training ideas and programs, which I hope to finish by the end of the year. Again, if you enjoy motivational quotes, please visit Smashwords or click here to download your free copy. If you enjoy it, I ask that you please rate it on the site and share it with friends, family, or anyone you feel will appreciate it.

Thank you,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW

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Random Articles You Should Read

Unlike my typical Articles & Videos posts, which I try to focus on recent writings, today I want to share some of my favorite blog posts/articles/etc. I’ve come across. Most will be from T-Nation, so if you aren’t following that site, you are missing on some great resources. Here they are in no particular order.

  1. How to Build Pure Strength – Bryan Krahn interview with Jim Wendler (I’ve recently become a big fan of his 5/3/1 method).
  2. 101 Tips for Being a Great General Manager – From Jeffrey Keller via Michael Boyle.
  3. 12 Thoughts for the Preseason – Great post by Alan Stein, though it may be a little early for preseason talk for basketball, still good for mindset.
  4. 40 Years of Insight, Part 1 – I have a coaching crush on Dan John. I think everything he writes is awesome and have yet to read an article of his without thinking of something new.
  5. 40 Years of Insight, Part 2 – With that said, I’ll try to limit the number of his articles on this list. But honestly, go buy “Never Let Go” asap, it’s the best training book I own. Everyone I’ve recommended it to has loved it as well. He should be paying me for this plug…
  6. Don’t Say Can’t – Another post by Alan, only this is more of a selfish plug. I had the pleasure of meeting Alan at a conference about 4-5 years ago when I was still pretty new to the field, and we spent several hours discussing training techniques. I walked away with a mentor and he walked away with a new training idea – my 60,000 pounds in 60 minutes challenge – which became my first recognizable contribution to the field, and this is one of several articles he mentions it (thanks again Alan). If you’re a basketball player or coach, make sure to check out for some of the best basketball related material available.
  7. 21 Best Fitness Business Tips – From Pat Rigsby via Mike Boyle.
  8. In-Season Baseball Strength & Conditioning Part 1 and Part 2 – Cressey is an encyclopedia of strength and conditioning information, especially with baseball players.
  9. Step-by-Step Approach to Coming Back From an Injury – Tim Henriques provides a good resource for coaches trying to help athletes with recovery, especially handling the mental side.
  10. How Will You Use Neurodynamics – One of many great posts by affiliate and friend of the site, Dr. E. Honestly, I was going to list about six consecutive posts from Dr. E, but thought that could be overwhelming. So here are four.
  11. 9 Random Training Tips – Ben Bruno puts in more hours creating new exercises, writing up articles, and just being a weight room maniac than should be humanly possible.
  12. 4 Problems. 4 Solutions – Good article by Chad Howse that expands beyond the gym.
  13. Who is Your Daddy and What Does he do? – It’s an article all about Arnold, how can it NOT be on this list?
  14. Work the Entire Back Side of the Body at Once – Here’s that maniac part of Ben Bruno shines through.
  15. The Secrets – Another great list article by Boyle.

As you can tell, I have a relatively small group of authors as my “go-to” people for articles, and I am sure I have missed, skipped, or forgot several others. This is simply meant to be a good list of articles I’ve read over the past year or so that stood out in my mind. Any others that you have and would care to share, please feel free to email or send them to me on Twitter.

All the Best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

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Use Competitions to Drive Your Athletes

I was asked an excellent question last week – “How do you get lazy athletes to work hard during training?” What I usually rely on is his or her teammates to provide the motivation, and the best way I’ve found to do that is with competitions, especially during conditioning.  Here are a couple team-based competitions to put your athletes through if you’re noticing a drop in effort.

Timed Sprints

You aren’t timing their speed, but you give them a time limit. One good example is 30 yard (or 25, depending on the speed of your athletes) sprint they have 5 seconds to complete. After a short rest, 10-20 seconds, they sprint back, needing to beat the clock again. It’s really easy and efficient to have the rest be either 10 or 15 seconds, so you can have a stopwatch handy and have them start on the :15 or :20 mark. Keep doing this until only one or a few are remaining, declare them the winners, and have the losers do the real conditioning. Oh yeah, that part isn’t their actual conditioning, it’s the work they need to do to get them out of it. Make sure to schedule this with something all the athletes know and hate so they’ll put forth a good effort in the beginning. Whether you follow through with the planned conditioning after is up to you (and whether you’re pleased with the effort you see in your athletes).

A few variations:

  • Have a designated number of reps (let’s say 8) they need to complete in the given time to be done, otherwise they have to do the full amount (let’s say 12-15). Those who don’t finish the first 8 in time don’t sit out and run later, they keep running with their teammates, only with shorter rest periods. So in the above example, if an athlete is taking 7 seconds to complete the sprint, and need to go again on the :20 mark, they get 13 seconds of rest. Anyone who has done this before will know those extra two seconds mean a lifetime.
  • Split the team up into two groups, and for each round completed, the player gets a point for his/her team. So if there are two groups of five, they all make the first five rounds, the score is 25-25. It gets interesting when players start dropping off, whatever team has the highest score after the last man standing wins and is excused from conditioning. It can be really amazing to see one athlete left running by himself, trying to pull his teammates out of a deficit to help them avoid conditioning (essentially running it for them). It’s rare to see (because usually the team with the most left at the end finish off the other, and most athletes get tired and pissed at their teammates for quitting early), but it can be a great team experience.


These can be as simple as Prowler sled relays or more complex involving a handful of exercises with each athlete having his or her own responsibility to the team. If you’re looking to mix it up with a few exercises, and have them at your disposal, I’ve found these usually work pretty well.

  • Sled Drives
  • Hex Bar Deadlift
  • Goblet Squats
  • Push Ups
  • TRX Rows
  • Chin Ups
  • Box Jumps
  • Bear Crawl
  • Tire Flips
  • Farmers Walks

If your athletes are lacking motivation or effort, appeal to their inner competitor to get things back up to par. It may not work all the time, but having half your teammates yelling and screaming for you to go harder usually works better than any coaching tool.

Let me know if you have any other combinations or useful tips you use with your athletes. If there’s ever anything I can do to help out you or your program, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, CES

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