Joint Positions are Important for Both Long- and Short-Duration Activities

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Bill Hartman.

I wouldn’t take a linebacker and expect him to be a good distance runner.

People generally gravitate towards activities they are better at doing. People who like to run long distances might already possess more movement variability, allowing them to excel at running. The converse is true for people who gravitate towards powerlifting: they might have LESS movement variability and therefore do “better” under heavy loads.

Notice the Details

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Bill Hartman.

Though systems like the human body are complex, they are still mutable. These systems can indeed experience large effects from small changes. “A butterfly flaps its wings…”

Why is movement any different than any other quality we train in the gym?

Uncertainty can drive a pattern. If your client doesn’t feel confident in what they’re doing, sometimes you can just give them a compliment to change it.

We could sit and discuss all of the complex neuroscience going into why that works, but we don’t really know. What we CAN do is take that information and consider it the next time that client walks in the door. Getting to know your people can go a long way.

Flexibility for Young Athletes

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Mike Robertson.

Today many kids seem to be lacking in flexibility and mobility, should an extensive period of time be spent on trying to develop these skills?

Absolutely, we’ll always take the first 10 to 15 minutes to not only develop mobility and flexibility but also rhythm and coordination. And that should be the starting point, if a kid is lacking in these skills they have to be built first. Exercises you can use: various resets, some stretching, skipping, lunging, etc.

Weight Training for Sport

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Mike Robertson.

I get a lot of pushback on using weights in my program, what can I say to parents to assure them that their kid won’t get slow by using weights and it will be beneficial to them?

The key is to sell them on the idea that you’re focused on quality over quantity, because we’re not trying to be powerlifters we’re simply using weights as a tool to make a faster and more explosive athlete. And a lot of just disarming their concern is answering the question before they’ve even had the chance to ask it.

The weight room isn’t a contest, it’s a performance tool. If I can use some cool training tech or give a scientific explanation, it reframes what the gym is for. Then it’s much easier to sell.

Filtering Athletes By Conditioning Level

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Mike Robertson.

Are you still using the heart rate below 60 to figure out where to start?

I still use it sometimes, but most of my clients are already generally fit. It’s more so something to focus on with younger kids and less developed athletes.

I had a guy who was a “kind of out of shape” basketball player whose resting heart rate was about 88 bpm at the end of the season. He needed extensive training, so we did six sessions a week and two of them were purely cardiac output work.

Using a Medicine Ball Slam to Teach the Deadlift

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Bill Hartman.

Context: client lives with his mom, may have experience trauma in the past; when he does medicine ball slams, his hinge looks great, but doesn’t look so good when deadlifting.

Pretty interesting, huh? You’d think the faster movement wouldn’t look as good, right?

First, let him know when he does it will!

Second, you could even try to pattern his deadlift with a medicine ball. Do a slam in slow motion.

After that, you start to show him the kettlebell. “I want you to hold this — don’t THROW it — but I want you to do the same thing with this kettlebell.”

Or you could try fake throws a la Lee Taft. Then slow it down.

Don’t try to stress too much about what’s going on with the guy. Be a good person. Treat him well.

Preparing Your Athlete for Their Sport

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Mike Robertson.

So increased performance endurance is basically just work capacity?

So repeat sprint ability is more than just repeat sprints, it’s more so the repeated ability to accelerate and decelerate. And that can include sprinting but it can also include other things like jumping. In that regard it’s best to have the context of their sport in mind, so rather than just having someone full blast sprint repeatedly working on the acceleration, deceleration, change of direction, jumping, will be much more beneficial.

Training Volume in High Speed Sessions

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Mike Robertson.

In programming intensity sprints, what’s the volume that I should be chasing?

I’ll normally try to hit 100 to 150 total meters in a linear day, but it’s always best to focus on quality over quantity. Having 5-6 really good 10’s or 2-3 really good 20’s and then shutting it down is much more beneficial than just chasing volume.

It depends on the sport as well. Most basketball and soccer players get a lot of speed out of weight training. But for football players, strength work is built into the culture, so you may need to focus more on deliberate speed work.

You can think of repeated sprint ability as repeated performance endurance. That is, how long will it take before their performance in their sport decreases. It can be sport specific.

Usually we’ll emphasis accelerative positions rather than strict body weight positions.

Conditioning Your In-Season Athletes

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Mike Robertson.

How do you layer in more conditioning for an athlete who is already conditioning for their sport or actively participating in their sport?

You can always chase the power end of the spectrum using short five second burst exercises to force their alactic system, and then work on full recovery. It’s better to focus on the output side of the equation rather than the conditioning side. The other option is, depending on how often they’re training, is more general aerobic conditioning on off days like low intensity tempo sprints.

Training the Physically Illiterate Child

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Mike Robertson.

How do you introduce a training program to a younger/middle school aged child who has no prior experience with one?

Use the first 2 to 3 months to try to build a base physical preparedness for them, making sure to cover everything like speed and power work, strength work, and conditioning work. If they already get a lot of conditioning just from playing their sport you don’t need to focus too much on external conditioning.

Getting Athletes Back Into Shape

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Mike Robertson.

You’re always moving from general to specific. So to start off you’re just trying to build general qualities, so maybe some tempo squats and some alactic power work. And then transitioning into what I call explosive repeats, so beginning to cut into their rest periods, and then throw in a more extensive day. So as the weeks progress on this day you keep the same work to rest ratio but increase the number of rounds to build capacity and endurance. And then finally transitioning into more tissue specific/sports specific routines in the last block.

Fixing a Right Hip Shift

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Bill Hartman.

Context: Chris has a client whose right butt touches a box first when she squats. It doesn’t happen when she does hip hinging activities.

Should you address it? That’s your call. Is it causing issues?

A good cue is to turn the right foot in and teach her to push off of the right side while squatting. This will help her externally rotate and abduct out of the right hip.

Look at the left hip. This usually can’t access eccentric left posterior hip activity. They can’t internally rotate into the left hip. They might have a stiff left posterior hip capsule.

Or look at the right hip. Maybe a right knee down half kneeling activity that helps her access her left hip internal rotation.

Tripod foot is when you evenly disperse your body weight through three points of contact under the foot: the inner ball by the big toe, the outer ball by the pinky toe, and the heel. If you load the inner foot a little more, this can help the client shift out off of their right side.

To exaggerate a left arm reach, you need left hip internal rotation. Maybe you can use that in your half kneeling activities. Think about chops and lifts.

Using Fatigue to Teach the Squat

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Bill Hartman.

Context: Cory has a friend who shifts to the right and gets knee pain when he squats. When tired, removing some load keeps the squatter feeling tired, but the load is manageable enough to prevent shifting.

You could use this as a teaching method as long as the lifter is successful. It the issue is technical, this would probably work. But if the issue is related to force development, then you may need to use another strategy.

The simplest way to treat this problem: bring the weight down to a place where it looks acceptable, then gradually work it back up. There’s nothing wrong with trial and error.

If the lifter doesn’t know how to manage their body positions under gravity, then this method might not work. You’d have to look at other spots of the body for limitations, remove them, and see if things get better.

What is the easiest thing you could possibly do? Try that first.

From Jim Laird: sometimes just turning the right foot in and cuing to push away from the right side when squatting is enough to do it.

High Hip Internal Rotation and Limited External Rotation – What’s going on?

This post is an excerpt from the October 2018 Q&A with Bill Hartman.

If someone has a wide, flat back, tests with a lot of hip internal rotation and limited external rotation, I would look ABOVE the pelvis. The entire pelvis is likely oriented forward, making it normal to have increased flexion, adduction, and internal rotation in the hips. Here’s another video where we talk about the different types of anterior pelvic tilt. [link]

If the axial skeleton is in an exhaled position, then the rib cage might adopt a wide shape to relieve some of the pressure. Think flat back position: lumbar flexion, thoracic extension, cervical flexion. Consider all of the concentric muscle activity in front of and above the pelvis. Also, look hard at the posterior upper thorax.

This happens a lot and it doesn’t fit a normal presentation, so it can be confusing.