Brian Pizzini of Premier Personal Training and Nick Primavera with Jon Berdanier, former Cincinnati Reds Strength and Conditioning Coach. This dude schooled us
on some advanced training techniques for athletes. Check him out at

Baseball, football and basketball seem like they would have completely
different training protocols. I mean, baseball's slow paced with infrequent
bursts of action, football is violent and barbaric (and awesome) and basketball
is a bunch of string beans jumping around a gym. What could they possibly have
in common? Regardless of your stance on this topic, the fact is that these
sports share more in common than you think. The core of their training in the
weight room is very similar because of proven ways to effectively increase
power, mobility, stability and flexibility. Many younger athletes partake in
more than one of these sports throughout the year. Below I will explain to you
how to cover all of your bases when it comes to these 4 major athletic
attributes. This will help an athlete build a foundation of exercises from which
to expand. There are specific disciplines to be learned for each sport, but
these core principals will allow for increase in overall athleticism.

In order to significantly increase power you must focus primarily on the type
IIb fast twitch muscle fibers. These fibers display the highest capability for
power production and adapt very well to proper training protocols.

- Heavy weights create the most muscle tension. This tension ensures that all
available muscle fibers will be engaged. This leads to adaptations in muscle
size (myofibrillar hypertrophy) and density.

- Rep ranges should be kept below 5. Sets of 1-4 create neurological
adaptations that directly correlate to an increase in power. Reps should consist
of a controlled eccentric and an explosive concentric.

- More sets are performed because of the lower number of reps. Not only will
this help improve power and muscle mass, but it will also reinforce motor
pattern development by conditioning the neuromuscular system to move

- Longer rest periods should be taken between sets to allow full recovery of
the metabolic and nervous systems

Sample Workout: Lower Body Power Workout
Front Squats 1 set 4 reps, 4 sets 2 reps, 1 set 4 reps (6 total sets 3-5
minutes between sets)

Hex Bar Deadlift 5 sets 3 reps (3 minutes between sets)

Snatch Grip Jump Pulls 6 sets 3 reps (2 minutes rest)

Stability Ball Leg Curls 4 sets 8 reps (1.5 minutes rest)

When training for power with Olympic lifts and power lifts it is important to
be conscious of any limitations an athlete's specific position might provide.
For example; heavy snatches and jerks are not ideal for a pitcher. In fact,
pitchers should focus on shoulder mobility, leg and core strength, thoracic
mobility and upper back strength. Better choices would be deadlifts and Snatch
Grip Jump Pulls. A running back will want to perfect the front squat because it
requires and reinforces flexibility at the hips, ankles, shoulders and wrists
and is easier on the knees than the back squat. This is huge for joint health
and hip mobility/stability during lateral movements dodging huge defensive ends,
throwing stiff arms and carrying bodies. A basketball player will want to create
a periodized program involving both back and front squats. This will provide a
varied stimulus to the entire kinetic chain, namely the quadriceps and the
posterior chain which will increase vertical leaping ability.

Proper mobility of every joint in an athlete's body is of utmost importance.
One cannot perform at a high level without a full range of mobility. Exercises
such as front squats and deadlifts require mobility of the thoracic region and
help reinforce this mobility, but there are specific assistance exercises that
improve mobility of many other important body parts.

- Perform mobility work EVERYDAY on some level. You cannot be too mobile and
staying on top of your mobility work will allow you to continuously get stronger
while preventing injury.

- Mobility exercises should be done for multiple sets of high reps with very
deliberate and controlled motions.

- These are not strength exercises. Over exerting and extending joints can be
very dangerous. Stay within your personal abilities and listen to your body.

- Perform general mobility work before and after weight training

- Total body mobility should be done each and every time. If you're strapped
for time, at least perform 1 mobility exercise for your hips, T spine and

Sample Mobility Workout with Lower Body Power Workout
In this example you would take about 10 minutes to complete these mobility
exercises before beginning weight lifting.
Thoracic Region Foam Rolling

Hip Flexor Pulse Lunge http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_aYIow-JNE

Leg Swings http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKX_MLUXi_0

Wall Slides http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReigOk7Krzc

Controlled Front and Back Shoulder Circles (I hope you don't need a video for

Lateral Squats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jrl85K0KoJo

Front Squats 1 set 4 reps, 4 sets 2 reps, 1 set 4 reps (6 total sets 3-5
minutes between sets)

Hex Bar Deadlift 5 sets 3 reps (3 minutes between sets)

Snatch Grip Jump Pulls 6 sets 3 reps (2 minutes rest)

Stability Ball Leg Curls 4 sets 8 reps (1.5 minutes rest)

Power, explosiveness and structural balance are required in all of the major
sports. Not training one of these necessary disciplines will hold you back from
reaching your peak potential. With this foundation an athlete can expand with an
extremely adaptable athletic base. Remember to consider an athlete's position,
injury history, structural imbalances or asymmetries and training experience.
These all play a major role in how you structure and progress a program. Part 2
will give an in depth look at the importance of stability and flexibility for
athletes. Thanks for reading. Go get strong!!



10/12/2013 6:49pm

Positive thinking won't let you do anything but it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.


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    August 2013