Training at The Weight Room is the best decision I’ve made as an athlete. Dave’s program has made me bigger, stronger, and more powerful. I feel the best I’ve ever felt entering a football season and I know my body is prepared for training camp. I love the atmosphere of the gym because when you walk in you know you’re going to work hard. Not to mention it’s the most reasonably priced performance gym in the area. I won’t train anywhere but The Weight Room from now on. Thanks for everything Dave!
Just wanted to say thanks for the last 4 months of training and conditioning.
There is no doubt that your program led to the recent successful
Ironman finish. The time spent in your gym, along with your suggested tweaks to the
diet, helped to drop 15 lbs and led to a much leaner body content. “More horse, less cart!”
It was great to be able to achieve this fitness level without the
hundreds of miles running, thousands biking and endless laps in a pool.
Like the man says… “I’ll be back…” and looking forward to it!
Sincerely appreciate all your time and personal dedication
The statement “no pain, no gain” has been hanging around the strength and conditioning world for longer than I have been alive. While I certainly understand and appreciate the importance of hard efforts and great work ethic, I would like to resurrect another classic term that is not as common among the training community…”know when to say when.”
I have stated before that a training program must include joint mobility training, strength training, conditioning, and flexibility training. The amount of time devoted to each component depends on the trainee and the situation. I tend to be of the mindset when it comes to strength training that, in most situations, a little less is usually a lot more. Deliver just enough stimulus to produce the desired response.
Here are a few rules of thumb:
1. If you have pain with a particular movement, have a qualified coach troubleshoot your technique. The problem could may be in the execution of the exercise and not the exercise itself.
2. Devote adequate amounts of your total training time to joint mobility work, flexibility training and tissue work (or foam rolling and lacrosse ball self massage if you have financial restrictions like me). Please remember that a foam cylinder or ball will never be as good as human hands.
3. Sleep more than eight hours per night. I know this one is not training related per se, but adequate sleep is important for recovery from training.
4. Take fish oil daily. It decreases total body inflammation and supports joint health, cardiovascular health and has also been shown to lower triglycerides and raise HDL’s (the good cholesterol).
5. DO NOT WORK THROUGH PAIN. It is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. No pain, no gain does not make you tough… it makes you foolish. Know when to say when.
Work hard and work smart.
Progressive overload must be applied to each and every trainees program in order for adaptations to occur. This principle states that there must be a gradual increase in the demand of a particular bout of exercise in order for continued increases in strength or fitness. This is one of the most fundamental principles in strength training and conditioning. For novice trainees, applying a brand new stimulus (aka strength training) may induce some muscle soreness. This soreness is normal and is caused by tiny micro-tears to the muscle fibers. As a result of this, the muscle adapts by rebuilding itself a little bit bigger and little bit stronger.
The application of this principle could be as simple as this; if last week, you did a set of push ups and got 10 repetitions, this week try and go for 11 repetitions. This applies not only to strength training but also to any type of cardiovascular exercise as well. If last week you ran 1 mile in ten minutes, this week run 1mile in nine minutes and thirty seconds or cover more distance in that 10 minutes. Always strive to do just a little bit better than you have done previously. Small progressions are the key to continued success in any type of training endeavor.
This will probably disappoint those trainees who have not made a shred of progress in the gym in the last 20 or 30 years. You know who I am talking about; the guy who has come to the gym every Monday for the past 5 years and done 3 sets of 10 reps on the bench press with 135 lbs when he could probably do 3 sets of 30 reps. I mean think about it…does it really make sense to do the same thing day after day, week after week and year after year? This is also why the lady on the treadmill, who has been walking 3mph for 30 minutes 3 x/week just like her doctor said, has not lost a pound in the last decade. Initially, the 30 minute walk at 3mph may have been enough to elicit an adaptation. However, years later, that particular stimulus is no longer enough of an overload on her body. (Just as a side note, walking is a primitive form of locomotion. It is how man was intended to get around. For anyone to say that there main exercise is walking is just plain sad. Ok, enough ranting.)
Every subject in school is progressive. Each grade builds upon the previous to ensure continued success. In mathematics, you start with addition and subtraction and progress to multiplication and division. In English, you learn vocabulary before you begin to form sentences. Strength training and conditioning is the same way.
Remember this…if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got. Small progressions are the key. Now get out there and work a little bit harder.
12 Random Thoughts by Dave Coffin
- Every training program should consist of joint mobility training, strength training, conditioning, and flexibility. The amount of time devoted to each will depend on the trainee and the situation.
- There is absolutely no reason why everybody should not be taking fish oil. It reduces total body inflammation, improves body composition, and promotes joint and cardiovascular health along with a host of other health benefits. If you burp up fish, store it in the freezer. If you forget to take it, put a note on the door to your freezer. No excuses. And no, eating fish twice per week will not cut it, especially when it is most likely farm raised.
- Eat fruit, don’t drink it. Juice has no fiber and more calories, which is not a good thing.
- Women who are afraid of strength training because they do not want to get bulky, should be more concerned with a degenerative bone disease called osteoporosis. If you ask me, that is a bit more alarming than being strong, having some muscle and looking good. But of course that is only if you ask me.
- While it is true that direct arm work probably will not do much to enhance performance, high school kids love training the guns. The key is to prioritize what is conducive to improving performance and do these things first. Movements that exploit several joints should take precedence and if there is time at the end, throw some direct arm work in to appease the appetites of the high school athletes. It is similar to a child getting ice cream after eating their meat and vegetables. If there is not enough time to fit it in, no big deal.
- I was once told that yoga strengthens your body and your soul. You know what strengthens your soul? Sled dragging, wrestling practice and hill sprints. Yoga is not strength training (for the body or the soul). I don’t care what anyone tells you. How would progressive overload apply to yoga? The trainee would need to get fatter? Riiiiiight.
- Warm ups should raise core and tissue temperature. Static stretching is not sufficient. Dynamic stretching alone is also not sufficient. General movement drills such as skips, shuffles, jumping rope, jumping jacks and other calisthenics followed by some dynamic flexibility works. Remember warm tissues are much more pliable than cold ones.
- There are no secrets with regards to training. Consistency, slow progression and balanced program design are the keys. With regards to nutrition, there are also no secrets. If you had a bowl of fruity pebbles for breakfast, you don’t need to go to GNC to buy protein powder, you need to go to the grocery store to buy eggs, oatmeal and fruit. After you eat 3 or 4 eggs and a bowl of oatmeal and fruit for breakfast everyday for 2 weeks, we can move on to lunch. Get the point?
- In related news, America runs on Dunkin. Is there really any question why this is the fattest nation in the world?
- The work done in the weightroom should improve performance and reduce the likelihood of injuries during athletic endeavors. The work done on the field should improve upon sport specific skills. In other words, a strength and conditioning coach should make the athlete stronger, faster and more resilient. A sport coach should make adjustments to stance, swing mechanics, takedown technique, etc. Don’t get the two confused.
- Fruit Two O, Propel Fitness Water, Vitamin Water and any other variation of the original are just an example of how humans can bastardize anything to make a dollar. Drink plain, old water for the love of god.
- You have to realize that you cannot help all of the people all of the time. You can lead the horse to water but you cannot make it drink. Massage therapy, fish oil, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep are all great for recovery. Unfortunately, you can only control what goes on inside the gym. The remaining hours of the week are up to the trainee to be disciplined.
Dave Coffin is a strength and conditioning coach at Excel Sport and Fitness in Waltham, MA. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.