In This Issue:
FEATURED INSTALLATION: Lansing Catholic High School, Michigan
DYNAMIC HITTING THE ROAD: Recent and Upcoming Shows
FEATURED ARTICLE: Understanding Power to Individualize Programming
LANSING CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL, MICHIGAN
“I weighed a buck-ten, maybe.”
That’s how Lansing Catholic High School Strength and Conditioning Coach Ron Krauss described himself when he was a junior in high school and started lifting weights. It was at that time he met an amazing trainer who took him under his wing, leading to a weightlifting class and getting more in-tune with fitness.
By his freshman year of college, he had packed on 20 pounds of muscle.
He was also fortunate to have access to what he said were some of the best trainers in the world during his time at Michigan State as a cheerleader, which solidified his love of fitness. He became a trainer himself, instructing gymnastics and cheerleading all across the U.S. and Europe. Of course, what first drew him to Lansing Catholic High School had nothing to do with his 20 years as a trainer, but rather art—his other passion (which you can view here).
Five years into his role as art teacher, however, he also became Lansing’s strength and conditioning coach. “I’m blessed to be at Lansing Catholic,” Ron said, “to pay forward my love for art, teaching creatively and also physically in the weight room.”
A few years back, Ron was asked to make a list of new equipment he thought their weight room could use. Seven years prior, Lansing Catholic had relocated their weight room from the basement to a nicer area in a newly-built extension made possible by donors. The equipment, though, was the same old equipment from the basement.
Over time, he was able to cross off a few things from his small wish list such as suspension training gear, resistance bands and medicine balls. Another wish list also existed that Ron had created—one that had seemed less likely to come true.
Ron said that one day, a parent reached out to him and said, “We would like to give back to the weight room because of all the amazing things you’ve done for our family.”
Ron let them know he had a small wish list of items that came to $2,500, but he also emailed his other wish list, one that involved a total redesign of the weight room. Ron said, “And they responded, ‘We would like to do it all.’ I wrote back—‘What do you mean, all? Do you mean just the $2,500?’”
“No, no, no,” Ron said they replied back, and they followed in all caps with: “THE WHOLE THING.”
When Ron speaks of Lansing Catholic and its parents, students, alumni and teachers that stretch beyond the high school to all of their sister schools, he describes its community as close and strong, with a phenomenal level of support. This was just one example of that.
Ron investigated four different companies before settling on Dynamic Fitness & Strength. He knew of Dynamic from the Lansing YMCA he had joined and had been a personal trainer at when he first arrived. He had helped the YMCA raise dollars to purchase Dynamic’s leg press—what Ron called, “The Cadillac of leg presses.”
He made contact with Tor Lee, Dynamic’s direct sales manager, and shared his vision of how he felt Lansing could maximize functionality in their weight room. Tor worked with Dynamic’s team and presented a 3D rendering to Ron. It was exactly what he had envisioned.
“I have a lot of friends who are with other companies,” Ron said, “and they had some really good products, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t capture the whole, entire view I had. They were missing elements, where Dynamic—I will firmly say—met everything. You guys met every aspect of every part that we saw would fit Lansing Catholic.”
In the end, three concepts were developed, which Ron brought to the donors. “And they went with the concept that would get us everything that we could ever dream of.”
Lansing Catholic didn’t use an installation crew to build their weight room. “We did it all ourselves,” Ron said. “Myself, five other students, two alumni and three others.” Ron explained that they worked a total of 17 hours. “We had one custodial guy who came in—an amazing man. He had the day off and he still came in with a forklift to help us get it all off the truck.”
“I was one of the kids that came in,” said Lansing Catholic Senior Jonah Richards. “We had a snow day, actually, on the day everything was delivered.” For Jonah, it was a very neat experience to see the project come together from beginning to end.
That night, as they were still installing the equipment, there was a basketball game during which the Lansing Catholic football team were going to be recognized for winning the state championships. Team members passed the weight room as they made their way to the gym.
“While they were walking in,” Ron said, “they were like, ‘What. Is. This?’ And I’m on top of the bridge putting the cougar head up as everyone’s walking in. It was a fun sight. Everyone was taking pictures, everybody was coming by and complimenting us. All the alumni that were in the championship teams were like, ‘Oh I wish we had this when we were here.’ It was a great moment.”
When Lansing Catholic had their hard open for the public, there were grandparents, parents, students, alumni and other public who attended. Ron said, “(They) were starstruck.”
Lancing Catholic student Bronson Abbott said, “I was speechless when I first saw the equipment. The attention to detail on the new weight room equipment was BEYOND anything I’ve seen before.”
Jonah reinforced this reaction, saying, “I think that first day, emotionally, it was just a shock for most people. It was a surprise. Seeing everyone’s reactions was really neat.”
When asked what the donors thought of the bridge with the Lansing Cougar, Ron didn’t miss a beat. “Love. Love. Love.” He went on to say, “Everybody that walks in is just in awe, in awe of it. Even people who are going to colleges—D3 and D2 colleges—are like, ‘You know this rivals ours.’ That’s what they say, they just walk in and they say, ‘This space is crazy.’”
Ron emphasized that the dream and vision of Lansing Catholic’s weight room represents the culmination of many people and efforts—the donors who supported it, the Lansing staff that helped plan it, the students, alumni and custodian who helped install it, and the amazing team at Dynamic that helped plan and manufacture it. “There was no solo person. It was a huge team effort.”
Bronson’s favorite aspect of the new weight room is the freedom everyone has now as they work out in the room. “There is not one piece of equipment in the weight room that only has one use to it.”
David Pruder, another student at Lansing Catholic, was extremely excited the first time he saw the weight room. “I went in between classes just to see it because I couldn't wait until after school! I saw that massive Cougar Head (and bridge) and I felt an overwhelming sense of pride to be an LCHS Cougar.” David is planning to write a testimonial about how he feels the new weight room will impact his life.
Tor felt the Lansing Catholic project was one of the finest he’s worked on in his time at Dynamic. “I want to give a big shout out to Ron Krauss!” Tor said. “Not only was he great to work with, but he is truly passionate about fitness and inspiring to his students and athletes. We look forward to how that weight room will build upon Lansing Catholic’s positive culture, as well as any way we can continue to support to them in the future.”
Lansing Catholic High School has a mission to form students spiritually, intellectually and socially. Even when advancing their physical education and strength training, this mission was evident—and prominent—as Ron reflected on their new weight room:
“The best part (about the new weight room) is it teaches us holistically. The times have changed. It used to be, just grip and rip and let’s throw up some weight. Now, our weight room is a place where people have more school spirit because they see our school pride reflected in each piece of equipment. You see everybody coming in as a community. They’re all trying to help each other out to get better holistically. Not just physically—there are great conversations in there, great teachable moments in there. It’s just overall a great space.”
DYNAMIC HITTING THE ROAD
RECENT AND UPCOMING SHOWS
Our team has been going strong since January attending conferences and clinics all over the United States. We've already attended the AFCA National Convention and NSCA Coaches Conference in San Antonio, Texas at the start of the year. Since then, our team has attended the University of Texas Athletic Program (UTAP) Clinic, the Lone Star Clinic, the University of North Carolina Charlotte FitExpo, the NSCA North Carolina Clinic, NHSSCA clinics in Louisiana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, the Big New England Football Clinic in Rhode Island, and Glazier Clinics in New Orleans, Nashville, Atlanta and Pittsburgh. All this and it's only the middle of March!
Here are just some of the places and events we'll be at in coming months. We hope to see you at one or more of these, or any of the upcoming local and regional clinics across the U.S. our team members will be at!
Minnesota Athletic Administrators Conference March 28 - 29, St. Cloud, Minnesota
Massachusetts Secondary School Athletic Directors Association (MSSADA) Conference March 30 - 31, Hyannis, Massachusetts
Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) Spring Clinic March 31 - April 2, Middleton, Wisconsin
March 31 - April 2, St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Collegiate Strength & Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA) National Convention May 5-7, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
National High School Strength Coaches Association (NHSSCA) National Conference June 24-25, Nashville, Tennessee
July 17-19, San Antonio, Texas
August 23-26, San Antonio, Texas
UNDERSTANDING POWER TO INDIVIDUALIZE PROGRAMMING
By Guest Contributor: Travis Mash
USAW Senior International Coach, Head Coach at Mash Elite Performance and Host of The Barbell Life
The word power is thrown around a lot in the strength and conditioning world, but unfortunately most coaches and athletes aren’t fully aware of what power truly is.
I am talking about the real definition of power as defined by biomechanics. Today I am going to explain this definition in as simple terms as possible, and then I will give you some ideas regarding application. The best part of today’s discussion is once you understand this biomechanical equation, application is only limited by your imagination.
In sports, coaches and athletes are always talking about working hard. You will constantly hear phrases like:
Those are all nice phrases, but what do they mean? I am glad you asked because I am going to tell you.
You might be wondering why I am talking about work when I said that we are going to talk about power. If you stick with me, I will explain. You can’t have power without work because at the end of the day power is performing a large amount of work in a short amount of time. So let’s break it down!
Work is defined as force x distance. Most of us already know that force is mass x acceleration. Now my goal is not to show you my skills in biomechanics. My goal is to help all of you understand the complexities of power in the simplest of terms. Therefore force in its simplest of terms is moving a mass. How do I know force is referring to displacement or moving positions? I know this because acceleration is a change in velocity, and the time it took to make that change. With work we’re referring to the distance that this force occurred.
When a strength and conditioning coach or biomechanist refers to power, they’re talking about doing work as quickly as possible. Power explained even more simply can be stated Power = Force x Velocity. We will come back to this shortly.
Power pretty much explains all things in sport that bring the crowd to their feet: hitting a homerun, sprinting at high speeds (foot striking the ground as the end point of the moment of inertia from the body’s center of gravity), a tackle in football, or a massive leap in the sky for a rim-shattering dunk.
Almost every athletic feat is going to revolve around one of Newton’s three laws of motion. Let’s take a look:
Newton’s First Law (Law of Inertia) – Newton’s First Law of inertia states that objects tend to resist changes in their state of motion. An object in motion will tend to stay in motion and an object at rest will tend to stay at rest unless acted upon by a force.
Newton’s Second Law of Motion (Law of Acceleration) – “The velocity of an object changes when it is subjected to an external force. The law defines a force to be equal to change in momentum (mass times velocity) per change in time.” Newton’s second law of motion explains how accelerations occur (McGinnis, Peter M.. Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise. Human Kinetics, Inc.., 2013, Kindle Edition). The acceleration (tendency of an object to change speed or direction) an object experiences is proportional to the size of the force and inversely proportional to the object’s mass (F = ma). Therefore, a greater force will cause a faster acceleration, and a heavier mass will create a slower acceleration.
Newton’s Third Law of Motion (Law of Reaction) – This one states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore when an athlete’s foot strikes the ground during a sprint causing ground reaction forces between the foot and the friction encountered on the ground, the athlete is propelled in the opposite direction of the foot. The foot strike is creating force downward and backwards, and the ground with the help of friction creates a force upwards and forwards allowing the athlete to sprint down the field or track at an acceleration proportional to the force applied to the ground.
The one common trait amongst the three laws is force. Therefore force needs to be a consideration in all solid strength and conditioning programs. However, force can’t be the only consideration as velocity plays a massive role in power. If you want to improve an athlete’s sprinting speed, there are multiple concerns with none as important as the velocity the foot is traveling at the instant it strikes the ground. Does that mean coaches should only train velocity aka speed work? It depends, but probably not.
If you desire to increase the sprint speed of an athlete, there are multiple factors that need to be considered:
Relative Strength – this has to be a major concern since that’s the main mass that an athlete works with during most athletic events that involve sprinting, jumping, and change of direction.
Absolute Strength – this is especially true up until a solid base of strength is developed with most sources stating 1.7 to 2 times bodyweight in the king of all strength lifts, the back squat. However this isn’t equivocal as there are many conflicting pieces of research out there with varying standards all over the place. I will talk more about this one a bit later.
Sprint Mechanics- I want to say right away that I love sprint specialist coaches. One of my favorite coaches in the world is Coach William Bradley. If you don’t know him, that’s your loss. He’s a magician with the 40-yard dash.
Mobility/ROM – this is where I believe a lot of arguments center without people knowing. The body has to be able to move throughout complete ranges of motion without restriction. One easy example is the effortless elevation of the femur placing the foot at a peak height before being driven into the ground will provide for maximal potential energy which is equal to mass x gravity x height (hint I am talking about the height).
Optimal Neural Adaptations – I am really talking about the neuromuscular system, and the relationship between the agonist and antagonist (when one is contracting, the other is relaxing). This comes with practice and the proper stimulus in training.
Power Production – we’ve already talked about this one a bit, and I will touch on this one a bit more later in this article.
Tendon Stiffness – Strain Energy is Another type of potential energy is also used in sport. Strain energy is energy due to the deformation of an object. This comes with proper strength training, plyometrics, bounding, and other drills on the track.
There are a few coaches out there taking relative strength to all new levels. Unilateral squats, pullups, pushups, and unilateral hinges are all a part of the equation. It isn’t just pullups. How stable is your leg when the foot strikes the ground? These are all considerations.
Absolute strength is where there are a lot of variables that come into play. When I talk about absolute strength in regards to squat strength, I am talking about a full range of motion. Yes, I agree that partial ranges of motion are great for power development. However only when joints are taken through a full range of motion is synovial fluid released in the joint providing nourishment and lubrication. Not to mention, if I train an athlete like a powerlifter, that means I am teaching them to bottom out at right below parallel. That would be me purposely shortening the ROM of a sports athlete just to get them stronger. This doesn’t make sense in the world of athletics.
Sprint Mechanics should probably have been discussed first on this list. If you want to get good at a certain activity, you need to do that activity. The same goes for sprinting. This leads me to my belief on “how strong is too strong.” When you get so strong that the volume required to get any stronger takes longer than you have set aside for strength training, then you can start to slow that process. If not, strength training will start to take away from other categories that need to maintain their state of equilibrium. It’s the athlete’s version of homeostasis. All categories related to faster sprinting times need to improve in relation to one another with the priority remaining sprint mechanics. I hope this makes sense.
I already discussed range of motion, but the deal is that strength can’t come at the cost of range of motion. When that starts, you are now a powerlifter. An athlete has to be able to travel through space within all the planes of motion. For that to happen the body needs to maintain a complete range of motion. Kinesthetic awareness and proprioception rely on the athlete’s ability to flow through space unrestricted. To be clear I am not referring to hypermobility, but rather I am referring to optimal mobility.
Optimal neural adaptations will take place within the neuromuscular system with proper sprinting mechanics as well as using movements in training that encourage this agonist/antagonist relationship. Weightlifting is the perfect example if you think about it. The body produces a massive force, experiences complete relaxation from antagonist allowing for maximal acceleration during the change of direction aspects of the pull under aka third pull phases and drive under phases of the jerk. Just like in sprinting the best weightlifters are not just the athletes that can produce the most force, but rather they are the athletes that have systems effectively inhibiting those antagonists during those crucial phases. Specificity relates to the style of training as much or more as the specificity of the movement.
Power Production is something that we discussed earlier on, and was the lead in to the entire argument. Once an athlete realizes those amounts of absolute strength where volume requirements exceed that of more important aspects, velocity based training should become the primary component in the weight room. I recommend developing a complete force-velocity curve with the movements that you intend on using in the weight room. I recommend movements such as bilateral back squats, unilateral squats, deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, push press, and rows. Once you define the quality of speed/velocity that you are deficient, that becomes the focus of one’s strength training. However at this point you can call it speed-strength training. This will be a lot less taxing on the body, and will yield big dividends with speed.
Tendon stiffness is where plenty of athletes still have room for improvement that could lead to sprint personal records. This form of potential energy is related to tendon stiffness and the amount of deformation of the tendon. Tendon stiffness can be improved with plyometric training and complete range of motion training at the ankle and knee especially. There’s a lot of great work out there right now. You can check out plenty of new work out there on tendon stiffness. Some of the guys creating all-time vertical leaps have tapped into this quality.
So there it is guys. This is my way of coaching athletic performance. I don’t believe that you can be dogmatic toward any one component. I believe the ones that are trying that are the ones that are inefficient in one or more categories. Check out @spikesonly on Twitter for some real information in the sprinting world. I promise you will thank me. Now can we all go back to creating holistic workouts that develop well-rounded awesome athletes?
Reposted with permission. Find the original article and many more on Travis Mash's website: https://www.mashelite.com