Olympic-Conjugate Strength Training Hybrid Jason Riddell MS, SCCC,CSCS, USAW Head Strength & Conditioning Coach American University
Who knows what their training philosophy is? • What are the top 5 compound lifts that you feel carry over best to the sport you are training for? • Make a simple tree diagram listing the “Big 5” exercises and then list 3 exercises that will strengthen each of the “Big 5”. • Repeat as necessary.
Olympic/Westside Hybrid • “Westside” is not bands and chains, or box squats, board presses or whatever lift you might attribute to being a traditional “Westside” exercise. And when you hear someone say, oh I am a “Westside” guy or I am a bands and chains guy, you can go ahead and conclude that they don’t get it.
Westside Barbell • “Westside” is more of a state of mind and an attitude of “I will persevere no matter what.” Louie Simmons and the lifters of Westside Barbell employ the use of the conjugate method and the bands/chains or what ever else you want to throw in there are merely tools that they utilize to elicit increases in maximal strength.
Thomas Edison Story • Edison was a guest of the governor of North Carolina when the politician complimented him on his creative genius. • “I am not a great inventor,” countered Edison. • “I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean,” the governor remarked.
Thomas Edison Story • “Well,” explained Edison, “I guess I’m an awfully good sponge. I absorb ideas from every course I can, and put them to practical use. Then I improve them until they become of some value. The ideas which I use are mostly the ideas of other people who don’t develop them themselves.”
My Personal Opinion • In addition to that, anyone who classifies themselves as a singular method coach isn’t worth a damn in my opinion! Narrow-mindedness and ignorance lead to ineffectiveness when it comes to coaching. You must assimilate as many tools as you can into your coaching tool box so you are prepared to deal with as many athletes as possible.
*Remember* • No one athlete is the same. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and you as their coach must be able to address those issues effectively to make them a better athlete and the only way to do that is to be diversified in your skill set.
2 main systems of organizing long term training • (Concurrent system): “involves the parallel training of several motor abilities, such as strength, speed and endurance, over the same period, with the intention of producing multi-faceted development of physical fitness. (Siff, 290)” • (Conjugate sequence system or Simultaneous training): “involves successively introducing into the training program separate, specific means, each of which has a progressively stronger training effect, and coupling them sequentially to create favorable conditions for eliciting the cumulative effect of all training loads. (Zatsiorsky, 127 & Siff, 290)”
Concurrent system • Traditional western periodization works well with beginner and medium level athletes but only produces average results with elite athletes. 3 main methods of changing load • Linear • Step/Stair • Wave • Periodization- “a division of the training season into smaller and more manageable intervals (periods of training, mesocycles, and microcycles) with the ultimate goal of reaching the best performance results during the primary competition(s) of the season. (Zatsiorsky, 228)”
Conjugate sequence system or Simultaneous training • “Conjugate sequence use of unidirectional means, integrated by separately developing individual, specific motor abilities (e.g. strength, speed and strength-endurance), can be an invaluable method of organizing special strength training for more advanced athletes. (Siff, 290)” • e.g. 4 days= 1) Maximal Lower Body Strength, 2) Maximal Upper Body strength, 3) Dynamic/Explosive Lower Body Strength, 4) Dynamic/Explosive Upper Body Strength. • The conjugate sequence does not reject the complex (concurrent) method as the most general principle of training, but only extends it so that it meets the requirements of conditioning highly qualified athletes. (Siff, 371)”
Weak Points Dynamic Effort (CNS output) Max Effort (myofibrillar hypertrophy) Repetition Method (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy) Technique Physical Fitness Organization of Training Pyramid
1st Physical Fitness • Are your athletes in shape enough to train? Or are you getting them in shape to train? Cardiovascular -Beep Test/ Progressive Shuttle Run Test (http://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests/20mshuttle.htm) -MINIMUMS Level 10 for women equates to a VO2max of approximately 47 ml/kg/min. -Level 11, Shuttle 6 for men equates to a VO2max approximately 52 ml/kg/min. (VO2max- Maximal oxygen uptake; measured during exercise, the maximal amount of oxygen consumed reflects the body’s ability to utilize oxygen as an energy source) *** The future is utilizing Heart Rate Monitoring Technology that is presented by Rob Taylor, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Loyola College in Baltimore, MD. Strength • Push-ups Test • MINIMUMS 34 for men and 26 for women age 20-29. These numbers put them in the 80th percentile according to the ACSM guidelines. (ACSM 6th ed, 85)
2nd Technique • Are you proud of your technique? When your athletes train in other facilities they reflect you, so if they look bad then you look bad!! - Bodyweight Squat • Must be able to sit to parallel, heels down, back flat (no kyphosis!) • Must initiate the descent with hip/butt not the knee. • Must initiate the ascent with the chest/head and not the hip/butt. • Olympic movement (Clean/Snatch and Jerk) • Empty bar- Start/Power position = Feet hip width, knees slightly bent, low back arched, hang above knee, elbows out/arms straight, shoulder blades retracted, head up. Must initiate the movement with hip extension not arms! • No reverse curls! • No catching with a jumping jack stance or on the toes! • Elbows and hands must be in proper rack position when catching.
*Remember* • It should be clearly evident that good technique leads to strength gains and injury reductions. • If you want to use Olympic lifts and don’t know how to teach them then I implore you to go learn from someone who knows how to teach them. Hint, take a USAW course or find someone who has and is certified to teach the lifts.
3rd Repetition Method • Multi-joint, ground based exercises using sub-maximal weights are used to increase lean muscle mass (e.g. squat and deadlift). This is where bodybuilding and HIT (High Intensity Training) techniques are utilized. • Yes, I said HIT and even though I am not a proponent it can be used to elicit significant hypertrophy. • Utilizing hypertrophy based training to increase muscular cross sectional area, increase lean mass and elevate bodyweight allows for more advanced training methods in the future. • The other benefit is that your players will be better suited physically to tolerate the impact forces encountered during the game no matter what position or sport they play. • There is no point in performing high impact plyometrics, maximal effort or dynamic effort techniques without an adequate strength base or you are setting up an athlete for failure or even worse, injury.
4th Maximal Effort Method • By the time your athletes are ready for using maximal weights their technique should be excellent and their bodies should be thick and strong from all of the previous work. • Dave Tate Test:determine if your athlete is ready for lifting maximal weight. • As an athlete sets up for a squat with max weight, you push them and see if they move. • I am not talking about trying to knock them down but when you push them they shouldn’t move. • They should be solid and rigid with abs flexed and their lats engaged by pulling the bar tight to their traps. • If they move, stumble or they are wobbling you should probably back off the weight.
4th Maximal Effort Method (cont.) • I have found that use of maximal weights (above 90%) is best kept in the off-season training periods for my athletes. * Highly advanced athletes are better suited to above 90% in season but those individuals are rare.*** You cannot use above 90% for more than 3 weeks at a time in the same exercise due to CNS fatigue. • In season lifting utilizes heavy weight to maintain strength levels but instead of singles, doubles and triples used for max effort training, 4’s, 5’s and 6’s are used. • Max effort exercises that work well with athletes and have a safety factor built in are pin pulls and pin presses. • 3 Benefits of using the pins. • Starting strength due to lack of momentum. • You can’t cheat them. • If you miss you just dump the weight into the rack.
4th Maximal Effort Method (cont.) • Others I like to utilize that require greater attention to detail. Elite Fitness Systems-Exercise Index DVD’s Squat and Deadlift & Bench Press • Free Squat/Pin Squat • Deadlift- Clean grip & Snatch grip • Elevated Deadlift • Board Presses • Floor Presses • Reverse Band Work. • Back & Front Box Squat
*Remember* A hurt athlete can’t play and definitely can’t train so choose your exercises wisely. A good coach can always find an alternative that will still produce results.
5th Dynamic Effort Method • This is probably the most applicable method when it comes to enhancing athletic performance. The goal is to improve the rate of force development and explosive strength. Unfortunately, it can take years before athletes are ready physically, mentally and neuromuscularly to perform exercises in this fashion. • Olympic Lifts • Power output is maximized with approximately 40-70% of 1RM. • The goal with the O-lifts is technique but when that is achieved it is bar speed!!! • Dynamic Squat • Typically 8-12 sets of 2 repetitions at 50-65% of 1RM. • Beginner = 12 sets with higher %. Advanced = 8 sets with lower %. • Dynamic Bench • Typically 9sets of 3 repetitions at 40-60% depending on your training history. • Rotating grips every set from narrow, regular and wide to fully stimulate triceps, chest, forearms and shoulders. Each grip gets hit 3 times.
6th Weak Points • This is the pinnacle of the triangle and although it comprises the smallest portion, I feel that its location shows how important it really is. It is viewed in different ways depending on the sport. • In the sport of powerlifting weak points are having trouble with lock out strength, coming out of the hole, getting your gear dialed in or what ever the individual needs to fix in order to increase their total. • I think of it a little differently when to comes to field, court, track and pool sport athletes. With these athletes weak points must be addressed throughout the entire training pyramid to allow for optimal performance on the daily not just every few months at a meet.
6th Weak Points (cont.) • For example, most basketball players that I have encountered initially have horrible flexibility especially in the hip area. • That is a weak point and here is why. • The obvious answer is it will limit their ability to squat properly but that translates to on court performance. • If they do not have the ability to sit in a low defensive position it adversely affects their play. The athlete will be unable to lower their center of gravity properly therefore inhibiting their ability to post up, box out and change direction efficiently. • These skills must be performed efficiently by an athlete due to them being critical for success in the game of basketball. • The key to identifying these problems is to recognize them early so the athlete doesn’t exacerbate the problem where it can turn into muscle imbalances, incorrect motor patterns and eventually injury.
Putting It All Together **See Excel spreadsheet** References • 1) American College of Sports Medicine, ACSM’s Guidelines For Exercise Testing And Prescription 6th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA. 2000. • 2) Elite Fitness Systems. www.elitefts.com • 3) Maxwell, J.C., Talent Is Never Enough. Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN. 2007. • 4) Siff, M.C., Supertraining 6th Edition. Supertraining Institute, Denver, CO. 2003. • 5) Top End Sports. www.topendsports.com • 6) Zatsiorsky, V.M., Science and Practice of Strength Training. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL. 1995.