Get Me Here

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Motivation


1. Deadlifting with a flexed spine- I am convinced a proper deadlift can cure cancer among many other things.  I am also convinced that an improper deadlift is the worst thing someone can do in a weight room.  The difference between a good and bad deadlift is gigantic and puts it at number one on this list for a reason.  If a kids back is anything but flat, it needs to be corrected immediately.  This is literally the difference between a kid knowing and not knowing how to use his hips to generate power and will carry over to everything if it is not fixed.

Corrective Cues: Big chest, push your hips back, keep your weight on your heels, take some weight off the bar.

2. Squatting with a valgus collapse of the knee- Everyone has seen a kids knee buckle when they squat.  This is actually not a knee issue and usually either a foot or hip issue.  Put an abduction band around the athlete’s knees and usually the problem will take care of its self. If this doesn’t work, it is likely a foot issue more likely found in someone with flat feet or weak arches.  If at the bottom of their squat their feet externally rotate then you will know that this is the case.  Tell them to “grip the floor with their feet.”

Corrective Cues: Spread the floor, push knees out, grip the floor, *use band,* grip floor with feet.

3. Bench Pressing with flared elbows- This applies to push-ups as well. This will lead to shoulder issues if not fixed.  Also, make sure they pull their shoulders back and use a lift so they don’t lose this retraction.  Quick and easy way to increase safety and how much weight is on the bar.

Corrective Cues: Tell them their arms are at 9 and 3, you need them at 8 and 4. (like a clock)

4. Shrugging rows- This will lead to caveman shoulders.  I have found the best medicine is to feel their scaps and make sure they can feel them squeezing together correctly.  Other common compensations include using the body to lean back and get the weight up as well as seeing their head poke forward like a turtle poking its head out of a shell.  Also make sure that they aren’t finishing the row by internally rotating their shoulder.

Corrective Cues: Bring shoulders back and down, feel it in the middle of the back, pull elbow to back pocket.

5. Short striding a lunge- Most kids are quad dominant and will want to take baby steps.  These are the kids you need to get on in warm-ups to loosen their hips up a little.  Get them to take longer strides and you will likely see the next compensation, forward lean to get up.  This is also due to tight hips and quad dominance.  The stretch they feel isn’t a bad thing.  Stay on them to maintain their posture to get the most out a lunge or strength will be added to dysfunction.  Watch out for a knee collapse with these as well.

Corrective Cues: Fix your posture, don’t lean forward, take a bigger step, grip the floor.

6. Lumbar extention on a plank- Or a push-up.  These are kids who will shrug up a push-up because they aren’t pushing their whole body up. This will be even more apparent with kids using resistance bands too heavy for them to do push-ups.

Corrective Cues: Tell them to brace like you’re about to punch them in the stomach, *lightly kick their stomach with your foot.*

7. Butchering a plyo- We start with box jumps to teach them how to land correctly.  They shouldn’t progress to anything harder if they can’t figure this out.

Corrective Cues: Land with hips back and shoulders over knees, land as quietly as possible, land how they jumped (quarter squat position)

8. Too much weight-  It’s hard to fault a kid on this but sometimes they need to check their ego at the door.  This leads to bad deadlifts, quarter squats, partial rows, even a kid who brings his shoulders to the dumbbell instead of the other way around on something as easy as a curl.

Corrective Cues: Pretty self-explanatory.

9. Reverse curling a clean- A clean is easily the most complex lift that we do and can be very daunting to teach.  The kids reverse curling will be the ones who need the most help.  A good rule to live by is if at any point on hang clean day you find yourself not coaching then you aren’t trying hard enough.

Corrective Cues: I linked to a good progression here.

10. Everything-   There are a million other things I could put here.  If there is a way to compensate, a high school kid will find it.  Take advantage of this time to improve a coach.  There is always something to nitpick and the more you coach, the better they will get and the more it will carry over come football season.

Corrective Cues: This blog, my phone.

A special thank you to anyone who has liked my facebook page and helped my viewership quickly double in a short time.

When you are dealing with an athlete that has anterior pelvic tilt, what certain steps would you take to train them? -Will Franco


This is something I’ve learned a lot about from training myself and will be a common finding in most athletic populations.  It is not neccessarily a bad thing, as it puts the hamstrings at a greater mechanical advantage, but when it is excessive it can lead to a host of problems.  Anterior pelvic tilt is caused by some combination of tight lumbar erectors (lower back) and hip flexors.  Due to reciprocal inhibition, relatively weak glutes and abs are usually found.  Tight hamstrings are typical and other issues may contribute such as lats (tight), obliques (inhibited), and just about any other muscle that inserts or originates at the pelvis.  For the sake of this post, we will stick to the basics, but watch your athlete/client and take note of how they compensate to see what is really going on.

It is important to start by teaching them what a neutral spine is and how to correct their posture throughout the day.  Foam rollers are a useful tool to help loosen people up.  For mobility and activation work, I like hip flexor mobilizations because they are easy to coach and don’t take a lot of time and bridges with a narrow base and the knees spread to get the glutes firing.  Both of these are easy to add to a warm-up.  Resistance is what will make a lasting change and this will need to be coached closely.  Sumo deadlifts, wide stance box squats and hip thrusters will be money exercises to restore activation in the glutes if done correctly while a physio ball/bar rollout will hit the anterior core hard if the right progression is chosen and a neutral spine can be maintained.


How do I make a career out of strength and conditioning? -A. Wong

I don’t know that I am qualified to answer this yet but I will give it my best shot.  I will list a few principles that I think hold water in a lot of fields and not just strength and conditioning.

  1. Don’t Hit Snooze- An unorthodox first bullet, but hear me out.  No matter how bad you want it, I challenge you to not hit the snooze button.  I guarantee you will feel more alert if you just wake up when you wake up.  Those extra 15 minutes won’t be quality sleep and will only make you groggy.  Besides, there isn’t enough time in the day for everything you need to do.
  2. Read- Never stop learning.  You will never know everything.  I try to put down a book every week or two and regularly read the blogs listed in my resources tab among others.
  3. Network- Like I said, you will never know everything and you need to find people who do.  You need places to go with questions and you need to have a network of specialists to refer to when something comes up that you are not qualified to handle (physical therapists, athletic trainers, nutritionists, etc.)  In addition, network yourself to expand your brand.
  4. Find Mentors- Intern, Intern, Intern.  Find people who do what you want to do and learn how they mastered their craft.  You can even learn from people not in your field.  I learned a lot from my experiences shadowing  athletic trainers and physical therapists.  Do this while you are young.  The sooner you find your path, the better off you will be.  The built up resume will just be an added bonus.
  5. Learn anatomy- Don’t just memorize it and forget it, actually learn it.  This is one of the most important tools you can have.
  6. Train yourself- How can you expect an athlete to do something if you can’t show them how?  How can you expect anyone to listen to you if you’re weak?
  7. Make Lists- Having a list of things that need to be done on paper or in your phone will beat having that list in your memory every time.  Even if you think that you can remember everything, the reduced stress from putting things on paper and keeping it out of your head is the real value in this.  Try it out.  David Allen’s resource “Getting Thing’s Done” is a great resource for those who struggle with this.  I got the audio CD’s and just listened to it in my car.
  8. Look deeper into things- Question everything and you’ll be surprised how many things most people do wrong.  Why do coaches of anaerobic sports train the aerobic system so heavily?  Why do some athlete’s lift like bodybuilders?  Why do people static stretch before exercise still?  Why don’t people accept sabermetrics yet when there is so much evidence supporting them?  Why couldn’t the Yankees draft Mike Trout?  Ok, I’ll stop with the tangent, but you get the point.  There is always a better way to do things if you look hard enough.
  9. Take advantage of opportunities or make them happen yourself- What do UMass, Bishop Stang, and Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning all have common?  None of them reached out to me, I reached out tot them.  It will never happen the other way around.  Make opportunities happen for yourself.  They’re lives will carry on without you, but if you can impress someone enough to give you a chance and make a big enough impact on them, they won’t be able to ignore you.
  10. Find Balance-  I’ve struggled with this one recently but I’m getting better.  Don’t let the gym define you.  Have a social life outside of the it.  Develop other hobbies.  Watch Breaking Bad, follow the news and when your friend asks you what teams are left in the NBA play-offs, it wouldn’t hurt to actually know the answer.

The Weeknd Links: Birthday Edition

Posted: May 16, 2014 in Links

I turn 23 today, which means I’m still not younger than Mike Trout.  This still bothers  me.

Why do you have to keep your elbows up during a front squat? -Jake



Not sure if you guys are always conscious of some of the funky things you do in the weight room but this is one of them.  I’ll let the picture do the talking.  The bar should be resting on your deltoids in a position that you can take your hands off of the bar and it won’t go anywhere.  The reason we’ve used the clean grip is to simultaneously teach you the correct way to catch a clean, which a lot of you were also doing wrong.  Most people think they don’t have the wrist flexibility for it, but with a little help positioning the elbows, they are usually proven incorrect.