The popularity of this post last year was also a surprise to me, having been originally posted in November 2014. Zack McCarley and Patrick Castelli do a great job of teaching the Apollon axle clean and press. If you are training for a strongman competition or you are just curious about the technique for this lift, I encourage you to check out this video (along with the other strongman training videos on 8weeksout.com).

Greg Maness' Functional Sports Performance Blog

“Axle Clean and Press”

In this third installment of 8weeksout.com videos focusing on strongman techniques, Zack McCarley and Patrick Castelli present one of the techniques used for the Apollon axle clean and press. This particular technique presented is primarily used by strongman competitors. It is decidedly different from the clean/power clean technique used in weightlifting competitions and fitness/sport performance training.

One difference is the use of a mixed grip at the start of the lift, which then necessitates that one hand be released so that the strongman competitor can get both hands in an overhand or pronated grip which sets up the competitor for the press. I recommend a mixed grip for heavy deadlifts, as it helps the athlete/client hold onto the barbell. Weightlifters and fitness/sports performance trainees use an overhand or pronated grip, even with heavy cleans/power cleans. The rationale for using the mixed grip on the Apollon axle…

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I originally posted the link to this video in January 2014. I was surprised to see it appear as one of my most viewed posts in 2017. Mr. Haddin’s TED Talk is well worth viewing. So if you haven’t watched it before or you haven’t seen it in some time, be sure to check it out.

Greg Maness' Functional Sports Performance Blog

“The 5 ‘Musts’ to Sustainable Exercise: Michael Haddin at TEDxPSUAD”

Fitness entrepreneur Michael Haddin shares his must-haves to ensure sustainable exercise as part of your lifestyle.

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“21 Nonsensical Fitness Contradictions”

“Many coaches and trainers like to say that the word functional is a meaningless fitness buzzword because it means different things to different people. Yet, the word strength also means different things to different people, but no one says it’s a meaningless term.” — Nick Tumminello

Above is a link to an article by Nick Tumminello outlining some of the illogical statements that sometimes get bandied about in health, fitness, and sport performance circles. Coach Tumminello excels at logically examining a position or statement and pointing out the contradictions contained therein. But he is not simply a contrarian; content to merely skewer someone’s sacred cow. He also educates and produces materials in an effort to improve the field. Take a few minutes to read this article and eliminate some of these contradictions from your message in the new year.

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Congratulations to the Champs

Congratulations to the Houston Astros for winning the 2017 World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers by winning the decisive game 7. Also, congratulations to Gun Runner and Florent Geroux for winning the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic in Del Mar, California. You can see video of Gun Runner’s performance here (http://content.jwplatform.com/videos/4k55KIeQ-tuGURZyo.mp4).

Arrogate, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, was unable to match the performance that enabled him to defeat California Chrome last year at Santa Anita Park, but he finishes his career with over 17 million dollars in earnings. You can see video of Arrogate’s performance last year here (http://content.jwplatform.com/videos/6dLinu0T-L36BsZ6K.mp4).

If you want to watch American Pharoah, the most recent Triple Crown winner, win the 2015 Breeder’s Cup Classic at Keeneland Race Course you can see the video here (http://content.jwplatform.com/videos/JMMQRLwJ-q77L8Cy2.mp4). 😉

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“Using Data to Inform Decisions and Drive Athlete Intent”

Above is a link to the seventh video in the Smart Speed and Power Training with Mike Young video series from Fusion Sport. In this seventh video Mike describes how a coach can use data from a timing system like those from Fusion Sport to motivate the athlete to put forth the necessary effort and to confirm to the coach that he or she is getting the desired performance from the athlete during the training to ensure that there will be the desired training effect.

Click the link above to watch the video and while you are at the Fusion Sport Web site be sure to check out any of the six preceding videos in the series that you may have missed.

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“Varying Starting Positions for Speed Sessions”

Above is a link to the sixth video in the Smart Speed and Power Training with Mike Young video series from Fusion Sport. In this sixth video Mike provides some examples of various starting positions that can be used to teach / train the mechanics of acceleration. While I am not a proponent of variety just for the sake of variety, that doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize the value of variety so far as keeping athletes mentally engaged in their training. By having an athlete work on acceleration from a variety of starting positions, the athlete is less likely to be bored with starting from the same position day in and day out while also providing the athlete with valuable non-verbal, intrinsic feedback. I have used these various starting positions with athletes that I have coached and I can vouch for their effectiveness.

Click the link above to watch the video and while you are at the Fusion Sport Web site be sure to check out any of the five preceding videos in the series that you may have missed.

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“Monitoring Readiness for Fatigue Within Speed Sessions”

Above is a link to the fifth video in the Smart Speed and Power Training with Mike Young video series from Fusion Sport. In this fifth video Mike discusses the importance of monitoring performance during a speed session and he provides some rest interval guidelines for speed training sessions. Mike also provides some volume and distance considerations for those sessions with an acceleration emphasis and for those sessions with a top-end speed emphasis.

Click the link above to watch the video and while you are at the Fusion Sport Web site be sure to check out any of the preceding videos in the series that you may have missed.

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“Considerations for Speed-Power Session Development”

Above is a link to the fourth video in the Smart Speed and Power Training with Mike Young video series from Fusion Sport. In this fourth video Mike provides the viewer with some things that should be considered when implementing a speed-power session with an athlete. Of prime importance is determining the readiness of the athlete to train as it regards a speed-power session. A fatigued, beat up athlete is not going to benefit from a speed-power session. In such a case, it may be necessary for the coach to “go off script” and either substitute a training session not focused on speed-power or give the athlete the day off. At the very least, a reduction in the training volume for the planned speed-power session may be necessary.

Mike introduces reactive strength index or RSI as a tool for evaluating readiness. This is certainly a more objective tool than pre-session surveys / questionnaires or simply asking the athlete how they feel on a given day. An objective measurement of readiness should be incorporated when possible. The answers that an athlete might provide during questioning could lead the coach to believe that the athlete is ill-prepared for a speed-power training session when that is not the case. It is not out of the question for an athlete to show up for a training session, report that they are feeling “a bit off,” and have a personal best / personal record kind of session. Alternately, it is also possible for an athlete to provide answers that might lead the coach to assume that the athlete is ready for a challenging speed-power session, only for the coach to later observe that the athlete is not performing up to par. Objective measurements in concert with subjective feedback from the athlete allow a coach to get a better idea as to the athlete’s true readiness to train speed and power.

To view Dr. Young’s video, click on the link above. Below are links to a three-part article series by Eamonn Flanagan, PhD. explaining and elaborating on the reactive strength index:

https://www.trainwithpush.com/blog/reactive-strength-index-revisited

https://www.trainwithpush.com/blog/reactive-strength-index-revisited-2?utm_medium=website&utm_source=blog&utm_campaign=bottom+click

https://www.trainwithpush.com/blog/the-reactive-strength-index-revisited-part-3-by-eamonn-flanagan?utm_medium=website&utm_source=blog&utm_campaign=bottom+click

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Continuing Education Scholarship Opportunity (2017 Physical Preparation Summit)

This post is directed to my fellow fitness / sport performance specialists. In particular, it is directed to those that meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

This morning I received an e-mail message from Mike Robertson of Robertson Training Systems that indicated that he would be giving away two scholarships to attend the 2017 Physical Preparation Summit (http://www.physicalpreparationsummit.com/) in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 4th and 5th. This promises to be a great event with some fantastic presenters including Mike Robertson, Bill Hartman, Lee Taft, and my friend and mentor, Mike Young. Sadly, having recently moved to the Midwest and searching for a new job, I will not be attending. If I were under 25 years of age though you can bet that I would be applying for one of these two scholarships. So good luck to you if you decide to apply! 🙂 The e-mail message with all the details is cut and pasted below:

Hey Gregory,

As you probably know, I’m a big believer in continuing education.

Unfortunately, especially when we’re younger, we may not have the disposable income to attend seminars and events.

So I want to try something new this year, and we’ll see how it works…

I’ve got TWO scholarships I want to offer for this year’s Physical Prep Summit. However, there are some criteria you have to meet to apply:

1. You must be under the age of 25,

2. You must have at least 1 year of experience in the strength and conditioning world (i.e. you have to have some skin in the game), and

3. You must be able to get to the seminar here in Indianapolis on both August 4th and 5th (in other words, don’t register, get the spot, and then not show up!)

If you or someone you know wants to apply, here’s what you have to do:

1. Shoot a short video (3 minutes or less) explaining why you should get one of the two scholarships.

2. Send the video to info@robertsontrainingsystems.com no later than Friday at midnight.

3. Make sure to follow the directions in Steps 1 and 2 🙂

I will review all of the applicants ASAP, and winners will be notified on Monday.

I think this is a really cool opportunity, so if you’re under the age of 25, please take advantage and submit an application.

And even if you’re not qualified, please pass this along to another coach who might be interested. I’m serious about making a difference in the development of our young coaches, and I know this can help!

Thanks for your support and have a great day!

All the best,
MR

P.S. – Many thanks to Hunter Charneski for offering up one of the scholarships. I’ll explain his role in this later…

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“Hurdle Mobility Drills for Speed Sessions”

Above is a link to the third video in the Smart Speed and Power Training with Mike Young video series from Fusion Sport. In this third video Mike directs his athlete to perform some hurdle mobility drills that he might program prior to sprinting and discusses how he programs them. Again notice the emphasis on good posture and proper technique. Mindlessly moving through the drills with poor posture and poor technique will not provide the athlete with the desired benefits.

When I worked at Athletic Lab, I used hurdle mobility drills with some of my athletes. As Mike indicated, you can gather a great deal of information about your athlete’s abilities and limitations if you are watchful. My athletes enjoyed these drills and how they felt afterwards, particularly once they had some experience with the drills and were able to get into a rhythm when performing them. Check out these drills by clicking on the link above.

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