Q: Joe, I'm going into my senior year in college, play outside linebacker and drew some interest from some NFL teams when I ran a 4.65 forty-yard-dash at a pro day at school last year. This summer I wanted to drop my 40 into the high 4.5's, so my performance coach, who I have worked with for three summers, convinced me that I needed to run more. He just got a new treadmill, don't know if you've seen one, it goes almost 30 mph. He made me do every workout with him on it stressing that this thing will force me to go faster. I ran 3 times a week on it and lifted twice. I tested at camp last week and ran a 4.74 for my college coaches. I want to strangle this guy. What do I do? Where did I go wrong?
Thanks for your help
I truly feel bad for you. I hate to see a kid bust his butt in the off-season and then have nothing to show for it.
You’ve probably figured it out, but your trainer went wrong by making you do too much work on the treadmill. Here’s why.
You can make the BIGGEST & most DRASTIC changes to your 40-yard dash by correcting your stance and the first 10-yards of the race (acceleration phase). I’ve taken up to 2-tenths of a second off of an athlete’s 40-yard dash in minutes, just by correcting these two aspects of the race. I don’t mean to kick you when you’re down, but the treadmill doesn’t train either one of these aspects of the race. When you jump on one of these treadmills and go from 0-20mph in a split second, you’re basically only working on top speed. A fast 40-yard dash requires the ability to overcome inertia (your bodyweight when you’re in your stance) and accelerate. In fact, you may never even hit top speed in the 40-yard dash because it’s such a short race. So your trainer totally “missed the boat” with regards to training you for this event. He basically did the exact opposite of what he should have done. (If it makes you feel any better, you’re not the first athlete to have a bad experience training on these “super-treadmills”. I’ve unfortunately seen many.)
Don’t beat yourself up worrying about it now – it’s over. The treadmill you are referring to is a good tool to help you get into condition. It may not have improved your forty time, but hopefully it got you in good shape and ready for camp. Use your frustration to dominate on the field this season and then worry about training for that 40 when the season is over.
And don’t strangle your trainer, either. (Maybe just poke his eyes out . . . just kidding!) Stay calm and have a big year! Contact me after the season and I can help you out or point you in the right direction with regards to training for the Combine tests.
Q: Dear Joe,
Assuming technique is solid, what strength/flexibility exercises would you recommend to a fighter who wants to throw straight punches faster, throw hook punches faster, throw round kicks faster and have quicker shots for takedowns. (You can substitute faster with harder if you want.) You can do just one if you don't have time. Maybe top 10 exercises for these with rep/rest schemes or whatever.
Also, I think the most valuable meals of the day are pre, during and post workout. What do you use on your athletes for these meals?
You always seem to come up with some very specific/in-depth questions. I’ll try my best to answer some of your questions without writing a novel. Let’s examine how to throw a more powerful punch for starters. Below is a sample training split. I made it so you only have to strength-train 2 days per week. I think this is the best bet for fighters due to the fact that they’re usually kicking the crap out of each other 5-6 days a week. Remember that if you can’t recover, you can’t get better. This 2-day split is also pretty simple. Too many so-called “experts” in this field design ridiculous workouts that look cool on paper, but aren’t practical, or sometimes even possible, in the real world. Check out the below workout and let me know what you think. (I would throw in abs 2-3X a week after “fighting” workouts. Always perform standing, weighted ab work at least once a week.)
Maximal Strength Complex Training
A1. 14” barbell bench press w/ chains – 6 sets of 3 reps
A2. Heavy bag straight punches
– 6 sets of 15 seconds. Throw straight punches (alternating
b/t right & left hand) for 15 seconds. Do 3 sets from
a right-handed stance and 3 sets from a southpaw stance.
*Rest 10 seconds between A1 & A2. Rest 3 minutes after each superset.
Supplemental Upper Back/External Rotator Work
B1. Chest supported rows or Bent-over dumbbell rows – 3 sets of 12 reps
B2. Seated external rotation,
elbow on knee – 3 sets of 15 reps
*Rest 10 seconds between B1 & B2. Rest 90 seconds between supersets.
Supplemental Posterior Chain Work
C. Reverse Hyperextensions
– 4 sets of 10 reps.
*Rest 60 seconds between sets.
Notes on this sample workout
Day 2 (2-3 days after Day 1)
A. Power Snatch –
6 sets of 2 reps, rest 2-3 min. b/t sets
A. Box Squats with bands (parallel) – 6-8 sets of 2 reps, rest 30-45sec. b/t sets
B. Barbell Reverse Lunges – 3 sets of 10 reps each leg, rest 10 sec. b/t legs & 2 min. b/t sets
C. Incline, weighted glute-ham raises – 3 sets of 8 reps
D. Standing cable external rotation, elbow at side – 3 sets of 12 reps each arm, rest 10 sec. b/t arms & 30 sec. b/t sets
Notes on this sample workout
O.K., let’s move on to your nutrition question. I will give you some PRACTICAL guidelines.
Pre-workout meal: This depends on when the athlete works out during the course of the day. Most meals I prescribe are “Zone Diet”-based, as well as I’m currently investigating the validity behind the “Eat Right for Your Blood Type” diet. On a personal note, the following is my pre-workout “cocktail” and it works like a charm. . . for me. I usually have a whole-food breakfast in the morning and this “cocktail” 2-3 hours later. (It may be a little “advanced” for high school kids, but for the more advaced trainee (such as yourself or the fighters you deal with) I think it’s great.
20-30 minutes prior to workout
1 Fudge-graham Zone bar
3-4 grams L-Tyrosine
*1 Vivarin (200mg.)
*If you’re sensitive to caffeine, omit the Vivarin.
During Workout: I have my guys drinking anywhere from 10-30grams of glutamine in diluted Gatorade during their workout. The amount depends on the athlete’s bodyweight, training level, goal and sport. This drink worked incredibly well for my football players who were training 2X a day over the summer and didn’t want to lose weight. If you’re concerned with gaining weight, mix the glutamine in water. This gets rid of the extra calories and sugar in the Gatorade.
Post-workout: I still favor “liquid nutrition” immediately after your workout. I used to load up on carbs with a moderate amount of fast-acting protein (whey). I feel that there are 3 main factors that determine how much carbs you should consume post-workout. A lot of people overlook these factors. They are:
So, if you decide to give my pre-workout & during-the-workout “cocktails” a try, I would recommend the new formula of Myoplex Deluxe for your post-workout shake. I’ve had great success with this shake and so have many of my athletes. It contains 340 calories, 53grams of protein, 28grams of carbs, 4.5grams of fat, over 12grams of a blend of glutamine, glutamine peptides, glutamic acid and a boatload of quality amino acids. Ever since I’ve gone away from the high-carb post-workout shake, I don’t feel like passing out and taking a nap after I drink it. This is a nice treat considering I have to go to work after I workout. I think many people with jobs will appreciate the fact that there is now a way to have a quality post-workout shake without it “knocking you out” after consuming it. Again, I am a big fan of things that actually work “in the real world”, not just bodybuilding fantasy land!
I’m officially sick of writing. I think you gave me carpal tunnel syndrome with that long question. It’s time to go find an easy question to answer.
Q: Is there a difference in muscular
recruitment patterns if I point my toes outward, inward
or straight when performing a leg press? I’ve seen
different studies with varying opinions and I’m interested
in seeing what you think. You da man!
A: Who cares?! I don’t own a leg press and therefore I have no interest. Try putting the leg press machine on your back and see how many times you can squat it. Now that’s interesting!
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