Muscle Diagram

Labeled-Muscle-DiagramI will be in an airport or in the sky most of the day today, flying back home from California.  I am sharing two diagrams we use in class with our student-athletes.  One is a Labeled-Muscle-Diagram, and the other is an UnLabeled-Muscle-Diagram.  I like these because they are fairly basic and show the main muscle groups.  These are the primary muscle groups that we talk to our athletes about, discussing how our workout (A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout) effects them.  We use the unlabeled diagram as part of the end of class exam with our students.

Here are the two pdf files:

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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The Little Things are Big

Do you make it to every practice?  Are you always on time?  Do you always give your best effort… Do you always do your best work?

moneyWhat if I told you that I would give you a million dollars if you made it on time and to every practice this year? Would you find a way to get there every day?

What if I told you, guaranteed you, that if you never missed a practice,and never missed a workout, that you would be rewarded at the end of your career with a full ride athletic scholarship?  Would you find a way to do it?

trophyWhat if I said that if all of your teammates did the same thing, I would guarantee a state championship?  Would you find a way to make sure that you and all of your teammates held up your end of the bargain?

What if I said that if you went any harder, ran any faster, blocked any longer, finished the drill any quicker… You would be rewarded with a championship or scholarship… Would you do it?

I am sure that the answer to all of these questions would be YES!  And if it was yes, then my next question is why aren’t you doing those things then?  Because, even though there are no guarantees that you will be rewarded with scholarships and championships if you do these things, it is almost certainly guaranteed that you won’t if you don’t !  Doing these little things, developing these good habits, these championship habits, will make greater success possible.

When you understand how important these “little” things are, most athletes, most competitors can find a way to do it.  You have to develop the mindset, the attitude that it IS important… that a million dollars, or a scholarship, or a championship IS riding on it.

Here is the deal… your brain will lie to you.   It will tell you that you are tired, that you can’t possibly go any faster or farther… You can’t get that last rep on your heavy hang clean day… You cant possibly make it down the court to block that shot… your brain will try to convince you that it is only ONE practice -being late or missing isn’t THAT big a deal… ALL LIES!

You can do all of these things and more.  I have witnessed it countless times when great competitors, young athletes just like you,  have done more than they ever thought possible…. Because they beat back that lying lizard brain… That voice that says “I cant”  and replaced it with the champions mantra of “I WILL” – And they do it daily until it becomes a habit.

It is not easy… I know… But I also know you can do more … Trust me… Be the best.

Here is some bonus content for those of you that did more and read to the end of this post.  This is Seth Godin talking about quieting the Lizard Brain.

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Improved Bench Press Video

Core Lift - Bench

Bench Press analysis

Below is the improved telestrated video of the Core Lift, Bench Press.  The initial post detailing the Bench Press can be found in the previous post – The Core Lifts- Bench Press.  Thanks again to colleague Amy Temples for the suggestion to use color coding in the video.  The Green comments point out what the lifter is doing correctly and the Red comments show what the athlete could do better.

We will break down the fourth and final of our Core Lifts, The Hang Clean, next week.

Jeff Floyd- youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Does a Purple Cow Have to Be Big?

The next Purple Cow quality to discuss, the next quality that will help you stand out from the other 250,000 high school seniors playing football is Size.

yardstick-foldingWithout a doubt, most college recruiters use a “yardstick” (mostly unspoken) when they are measuring the size of high school athletes.  I do acknowledge that in some sports, and some positions within a sport, size is important.  If all other factors are even, then typically college coaches will opt for the athlete with the better “frame”.  No matter how good a football player you are, no matter how quick and fast, or how good you are academically, if you are a 5’ 10” offensive lineman, you are probably not going to get recruited as a NCAA FBS offensive lineman.  You cannot change how tall you are, BUT you can optimize your overall size to get the attention, to stand out, to be remarkable, even if you are a 5’ 10” offensive lineman.  This way, even if you don’t measure up to the FBSyardstick” there are other levels and programs that may have an interest in you.

They key, really, is lean muscle mass.  You want functional weight; weight that will make you run faster, jump higher, be more explosive.  Gaining weight for weights sake, non-functional weight, body fat, will not make you remarkable.  It will slow you down.  The most common mistake I saw when freshmen athletes reported for two-a-day practices was that they spent all summer “getting big” and did not concentrate on running, speed, quickness and agility.  In regards to college athletes, and especially defensive college football players, I would rather exchange speed for size rather the other way around.

Exercise_zonesOptimizing your lean muscle mass will require some work and effort. If you need to lose body fat, and gain lean muscle mass, it actually is two separate tasks.  Contrary to popular belief body fat does not magically turn into muscle mass if you lift weights.  Probably the best, most efficient way to lose body fat is through aerobic exercise.  In order for an activity to be classified as aerobic, you need to elevate your heart rate into your training heart rate zone, and keep it elevated for a minimum of about 12 minutes.  Walking, jogging, treadmill work, all could accomplish this. Completing the weight workout (A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout) will not accomplish this, but will increase your muscle mass and functional strength.  If you are trying to lose body fat and increase lean muscle mass, a combination of aerobic exercise and a dynamic strength-training program (along with sensible eating habits) will give you the best results.

There is also a group of people who are naturally lean that have just as hard a time putting weight on as some do taking it off.  My suggestion for this group (along with a dynamic strength and conditioning program) is eating more meals a day, rather than eating more each meal.  Just gulping protein shakes and eating chips will not get the needed results.  In addition to your three regular meals a day, squeeze in a mid-morning and bedtime meal.  Along with (not in place of) a couple of your meals add a low fat, high protein drink.  Try to make each meal balanced with high calorie, low fat, and high protein content.  Remember, it is functional weight you want to put on, not body fat.  A good daily workout and balanced diet will help with this.

There is no magic bullet for either of these groups; drinking protein drinks and taking creatine will not by themselves “get you big”.  And remember size is only ONE of the Qualities we have talked about so far that will make you stand out from the crowd… that will make you remarkable

In order to get remarkable size, Purple Cow size, it will take hard work.  But you can do it… You Can Do More!

Any Questions – Just Comment or Email!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Core Lifts – Push Press

This is the third in the series detailing our four “Core” lifts.  Today we break down the Push Press, also known as the Push Jerk.

push pressThe Push Press is an explosive lift as opposed to a power lift like the previous two core lifts (Bench and Squat) we have discussed.  Typically in explosive lifts the bar (and body) is moving at a faster speed than in power lifts where the movement is a little more controlled.  The Push Press will work primarily the Quads, and the Gastrocnemius with the Delts involved to a degree.  The Push Press differs from the Shoulder Press (or Military Press) in that the athlete will primarily use the legs in driving the bar up and overhead as opposed to using the Deltoids in the Shoulder Press.

The lifter will begin with the bar racked across the shoulders either in front or behind the head; we leave this (the bar position) up to the preference of the athlete, but stress the finish point will be the same.  The elbows will be slightly forward, gripping the bar just outside the shoulders.  The set up will be similar to the squat  – an athletic stance, feet about shoulder width apart, maybe slightly wider, toes straight ahead, maybe out slightly.  Good erect posture with head up and shoulders back.

The lift will begin with the athlete “dipping” by bending at the ankles, knees, and hips while keeping the torso upright and shoulders back.  The dip will be about ¼ depth of the squat.  We tell the athletes to dip down like they were going to execute a vertical jump.  With no pause at the bottom of the dip, the athlete will drive the bar explosively up by forcefully extending the hips and legs.  We tell them to try to get their feet off the floor.

After fully extending their legs, the lifter will then “dip” again and catch the bar with bent legs, while fully extending their arms overhead.  At the top of the lift the bar will travel slightly back, with the lifters head moving forward through the “window” that is formed with their arms being the side of the window and bar the top.  To finish, the athlete will stand or squat back to a fully erect position.

I tell the beginners that I can just listen and tell if they are doing the lift correctly.  The two things that I want to hear are:

  1. The lifters feet “stomping” the ground.  This tells me they are exploding with their lower  body and executing the second “dip
  2. The bar “rattling” at the top of the lift.  This tells me that the bar is moving quickly, explosively to the upright position.

We try to have two spotters, one on each end of the bar during the Push Press.  Their first job is to make sure the lifter is safe.  This takes on increased importance since we do push press outside of the racks because of limited height.  Their second job is to “catch” the weight (bar) at the top of the lift and let it back down to the starting position.  We do this because the athlete can drive up a lot more weight (they are using their legs) than their deltoids can support letting the weight down.

Below is a telestrated video examining a few of our athletes executing the Push Press.  The green checks and comments are what they are doing right (or mostly right) and the red are what they could improve on.

As always, if you have any questions, just email or comment.  I will respond!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Mettle, Metal, and Adversity

Mettle and Metal

I have the opportunity to observe people with mettle daily.  Mettle is a person’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way.  I firmly believe that participating in athletics, or even just being involved in a training regimen, helps develop mettle. When you are an athlete, you WILL have a bad day, a bad game, or a bad practice.  And really, these adversities are minor compared to how life can slap you in the face at times.  Learning how to deal with those down times, how to persevere and actually improve, makes for a better person, and better athlete.  Every day you step into the weight room, your mettle is being tested; you have an ever-increasing load to bear. Whether it is the challenge of increasing your PR (breaking) on a particular lift, or hitting a target time when running, there is ample opportunity to fail.  Heck, on our heavy day lift, we go “to failure” – failure not only IS an option, it is built into our workout routine!

smelting steel2Metal – steel specifically.  Steel is one of the strongest metals and is used as the foundation, the backbone or skeleton of most major construction projects. Iron, such as cast iron or wrought iron, is not so tough.  Iron is a fairly brittle metal that can’t stand up under the pressures and demands of modern day construction. Steel has been the preferred choice for over a century.

Steel is made from iron in a process known as smelting.  The iron is subjected to intense heat in a blast furnace, which forces out the impurities, mainly excess carbon, leaving the purer, and stronger, molten steel.

You begin your training, your life, as iron… not nearly as strong as you could be… not steel.   Every day you work out, every adversity you face down in your lifetime, you are being smelted.   You are turning into steel, forcing out the impurities through the intense heat of training. Without that process, you would still be iron, not having nearly the strength, resiliency, or durability of steel.  Adversity is not the enemy, the grind” is not the enemy, training obstacles are not the enemy… these are the things that make you better… that steel you, that smelt you.

Over time you become metal, with mettle;  a strong, resilient, durable person (athlete)  with the ability to face demanding situations in a spirited way.

You Can Do More!   –  We All Can Do More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

New and Improved Video

squatThanks to my colleague, Amy Temples, for a suggestion to improve the telestrated video.  She thought it would be helpful to see the “good” points in green text, and the “not so good” points in red text.   I also added a grey masked window behind the text to make it a little easier to read.  Keep in my you can also pause the video if you need more time looking at any particular frame.  I will update the Bench Press video that I have already posted, and use this same technique when I post the Push Press and Hang Clean videos the next few days.

I hope this helps – Let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments.  Leave them here or send me an email

Jeff Foyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Straps, Pads, Belts, and Gloves

strapAlthough this is an editorial post of my thoughts and opinions on whether to use weightlifting straps, belts, pads and gloves, it is based on research and my years of experience.

Starting with the easy one – using a bar pad while executing a back squat.  We do not have any bar pads in the weight room, and I do not like the athletes using them when they squat.  If you put a pad on the bar, it immediately rolls the bar up higher on the neck, forcing the head down, and in turn your butt out.  Remember the checklist – posture, stand tall.   Typically all our athletes get used to having the bar resting across their traps/ delts and have no need for a pad.

Most of our athletes do not use gloves when they lift.  When they first begin, they do go through the transition from getting blisters to developing calluses, but that period does not last long.  Most of our athletes, men and women, consider their calluses a “badge of honor”.

Typically, athletes that use a belt while squatting are having strength or stability issues in their lower back.  If they always use a belt, then they are not allowing those muscles to develop enough to support the weight they are attempting to lift.  We encourage our athletes NOT to use belts daily when they are completing their squat portion of the workout.  The only exception to that is when they completing their “heavy” day squat workout, we allow them to use belts.  That way for the majority of their days and workouts they are strengthening and developing the stabilizing muscles they use when they squat.  On their “heavy” day squat (which in our weekly workout is Tuesday), if they choose, they can use the belt (some just use it on their last set or two), which, if nothing else, gives them the mental confidence to complete the workout.

When we do hang clean, or power clean, we are working to develop lower body explosion.   A side benefit of doing the clean is grip strength.  In a sport like football or wrestling, the ability to grab and hold an opponent is without a doubt important.  But, as I mentioned, the MAIN thing that we are trying to develop with the clean is lower body explosion.  On our “heavy” day on clean (which in our weekly workout is Friday) , we go to failure.  I don’t want the failure that stops our athletes from completing the workout to be their grip failing.  If straps can help our athletes complete their “heavy” day workout, then I am good with that.  Just like with a belt, we encourage our athletes to only use straps on their “heavy” clean day.  That way, they can work on developing their grip along with their lower body explosion two out of the three days they are doing their clean.

Thanks for reading – if you have any questions, just comment or email.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Weight Room 101

weight plateWhen we begin teaching the program to our student-athletes, the first thing we do is explain the equipment (racks, benches, etc.), their function, safety, how they are used and adjusted.  An important part of this is a basic understanding of how to properly load the plates on the bar, and how to figure how much weight you need to add to on bar to get the total amount of weight you need for each set of their workout.

 

I always tell the student-athletes that you can walk into any 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym or YMCA and tell immediately who the rookies are, just by looking at how they load the plates on the bar.   Here are the basics that we start with.

An Olympic bar weighs 45 lbs.  This is an important fact to remember for a couple of reasons.   First, I often hear students comment, “Oh, I can’t lift anything… I am only lifting the bar”.  I remind them that, yes, they are lifting a significant amount… the same amount as a large 45 lb plate!  Second, when calculating the total amount of weight they need to be lifting based on their workout card, they need to remember to add in the weight of the bar.  The amount of weight printed on their workout card is the total, including the bar that they need to be lifting on that set.  A simple starting point, from which they can work from and get to any weight needed:

  • Bar only = 45 lbs
  • Bar + 2.5’s = 50 lbs.
  • Bar + 5’s = 55 lbs
  • Bar + 10’s = 65 lbs
  • Bar + 25’s = 95 lbs
  • Bar + 35’s = 115 lbs
  • Bar + 45’s = 135 lbs
  • Bar + 2 45’s = 225
  • Bar + 3 45’s = 315

We teach our athletes the following regarding loading plates on the bar.  Every Olympic plate is made pretty much the same way.  One side, which has the printing on it, is indented.  The other side is flat.  If you load the plates with the indented, writing side, facing inside, then the plates will lay flat against one another.  If you do it the other way, with the printed, indented side out, then they will wobble when loaded.

We also teach them to load the biggest plates first, which keeps more weight toward the center of the bar, making it a little easier to balance.  For example if they were putting 17.5 pounds on each end of the bar, they would put the 10 pound plate on first, followed by the 5, then finally the 2.5.

Another point is that we want our athletes to use as big as plate as possible.  For example, if you need to put 25 lbs on each side of the bar, instead of using two 10 pound plates and one 5 pound, just use one 25 lb plate.  This, too, will keep more weight toward the center of the bar.  Finally, we always have our student-athletes clip the weights.  We use lightweight spring type clips – Olympic collars could be used as well.

As always, if you have any questions just comment or email

Jeff Floyd- youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Grit and “The Grind”

I was having a conversation last night with a good friend and colleague, Scott Baumgardner.  Coach Baumgardner is currently the wide receiver coach at the University of New Mexico.  We were talking and laughing about the “grind” that is college coaching.  The endless hours you put into the job, while loving every (well nearly every) minute of it.

In his book, The Icarus Deception, bestselling author Seth Godin  discusses the concepts of grit and and grinding

“….  is precisely the same grit we seek out in a leader or hero.  We measure sandstones and grindstones in terms of grit – the ability to stand up to resistance.  Someone with grit will grind down the opposition, stand up to criticism, and consistently  do what’s  right by their art [work].”

“If the grind is wearing you down, then you may be viewing the grind as the enemy, something apart from the work itself. The person with grit on the other hand, understands that the grind is part of the work, that the grind is part of what makes the work interesting, a challenge, worth doing. If there were no grind, you would need no grit.”

The grind (substitute your own term here…. practice, long hours, weight training, running… you name it) is not the enemy…. It is what makes the work interesting, challenging and worth doing.

The challenge to you … Have gritgrind down the opposition… Be a leader and a hero! Your art (work) needs you.

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It! 

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com