Changes in Coaching

Over the years, as I’ve gained more experience, learned from different mentors, and worked with different levels of athletes & teams, my coaching tools have changed. The goals have stayed constant – train to reduce injury risk, increase maximum strength, power, and speed, and train for the sport, not the weight room – but the tools and methods have changed.

More Mobility/Flexibility Exercises During Primary Work

I’ve been incorporating mobility work into lifts for a long time, but it was primarily done during the prep work or at the end of a lift. Now, almost every primary block has at least one stretch or mobility drill. This is for two reasons – to incorporate rest time between high-demand exercises and addressing range of motion deficiencies.

Less Powerlifting

Training heavy is still a staple of my programs, but there is less insistence on back squat, deadlift, and bench press. I don’t have any powerlifters, so focusing on developing 1RM strength in the big 3 doesn’t benefit them as much as factoring in the demands of their sport. That said, I still believe in training heavy and working those exercises (or close variations) into programs on a consistent basis. Every program has squatting, hinging, and pressing, but it is more often tailored to the specific demands of the sport, instead of preparing for competition lifts.

Velocity Based Training

In my last post, I described my first takeaways from VBT, and I love having a new tool to both prescribe and assess training loads/readiness. Lifting the bar “fast” was an abstract concept that varied from athlete to athlete. Now I have tools that can definitively quantify bar speed and better train specific attributes, such as power and rate of force development.

More Eccentrics/Isometrics

My thought was most athletes, in most sports, would have the greatest improvements in strength and sport by focusing their training on concentric muscular contractions. Eccentrics were great for increasing hypertrophy and concentrics had the most value when learning a new movement or during rehabilitation. I still believe concentrics should be the bulk of training, but I see there are far more benefits to eccentrics and isometric exercises, and include both in almost all training phases. Nordic leg curls have become a go-to exercise to try to reduce hamstring strains, and eccentric and isometric exercises are now key for athletes learning movements or correcting imbalances.

 

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, FMS
Drew@henleysp.com
Twitter: @DrewBHenley

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