KISS is it. No not the band. I know CeJ looks like he could be a member of the band circa 1977, yet let’s be honest here, they only have one good song. Now that I have alienated most of the Yinzers who love KISS, let’s talk about training. KISS is an acronym for Keep It Simple Stupid. This is one of the best things I did as a strength coach to improve my coaching and my athletes.
How many periodization models can you name? Conjugate, concurrent, western, tri-phasic, block or even 531. The confusion in training can be too much for many people. I know I often made this mistake. I was speaking to our own Cody Miller the other day about how often I have over-complicated my programming (for myself and my athletes). While I have never been a huge fan of HIT training as a year-round training style, I do believe we can learn a lot from these people. Look at Marty Gallagher, Dr. Ken Leistner, Mike Mentzer or even Arthur Jones.
For those of you unfamiliar with this style of training, it is simple, short, and hard. Even the great Dorian Yates used many of HIT’s methods to build his impressive physique. Dorian was known for having one of the best backs in the history of bodybuilding. Yet his secret to training was simplicity. HIT stands for High Intensity Training (in their case intensity is used as a mindset not % of 1 rep max). HIT training sessions are generally short with low total sets and most sets being taken to concentric failure or beyond. Training can be done as often as 5 times a week but generally, it is done 2-4 times per week.
I am not advocating to change your regimen to entirely HIT training, but I am claiming that too many overthink their training and do more thinking than working. I even look at Dr. Micheal Yessis’s 1×20 program as a continuation of HIT training. The difference is Yessis doesn’t train the athlete to fail. Yet it’s still one hard set of work and then moves on to the next exercise. This style of training does have its place in the gym and should not be ignored.
Moral of the story
When in doubt, train harder. Over my two decades in the iron game, I have seen too many people searching for the answer when the answer is more hard work. Build some sweat equity and push yourself to somewhere you have never been. I know I don’t have the answer yet I know hard work is never wrong.
– Todd Hamer
Hello Union Fitness Family,
My name is Dave and I’d like to introduce myself as the newest member of the Union Fitness Family! I just finished my first month and will be coaching group and personal training sessions as well as holding down the front desk at times. My first month has been great so far and I look forward to many more. What I love about being at Union Fitness is the people. I personally believe you’re not going to find a more well rounded group of coaches and trainers in the area who truly care about wanting to make other people better. The whole reason I got into strength and conditioning and more specifically coaching is to help others and it is great to be around others who share that same mission.
My strength and conditioning journey started 6 years ago as an assistant high school football and strength coach in Lexington, KY. Since then I primarily spent time in Division I college football, twice at the University of Akron, once as an intern and as an assistant, and at the University of Maryland between being an intern and an assistant. Last year I spent time working with Grossetti Performance out of New Castle, PA assisting with NFL Draft Prep. I also spent time at another sports performance facility here in Pittsburgh before coming to Union Fitness where I worked with not only local athletes, youth and professional, but also coached group and personal training sessions. I am currently finishing my Masters in Strength and Conditioning from LaGrange College and will be finished January of 2021.
I could definitely share more but maybe I will hold off for another post if Hamer let’s me write another one. If you see me at the gym don’t hesitate to come up and say hello and I look forward to doing what I can to help make Union Fitness the best place to train in Pittsburgh.
All the best,
What does it mean to be a coach? On the surface a coach can be defined as someone who is helping an individual work towards achieving a goal. This is what most of us think of when we hear the term. However, as we go deeper, we will realize that coaching consists of much more. The ability to coach is within each of us, and it’s something that we need now more than ever.
I’ve spent the last 11 years of my life as a coach to athletes, kids, the elderly, and general population individuals. During that time, my focus has always been to first build a connection with each person, and then help them to unlock their full potential with the goal of being able to become their own coach in the future. With coaching, the goal should never be to want people to rely on you in order to achieve those things, but rather possess the ability to learn on their own, and then to pass on those lessons which they have learned throughout the process. In my opinion, this is the true definition of a coach.
The more experienced I become within my career, the more I realize that these actions go far beyond working in a performance setting, but rather a universal setting. In my opinion, coaching is not confined to a certain group of trained professionals, but anyone who has learned from their life’s lessons, and is willing to pass them onto others for the greater good of humanity. Each of us has a skill that distinguishes one person from another. We can use those abilities and skills to help coach others to work towards a better, more knowledgable version of theirselves. I strongly believe that this is the ultimate goal of life. It’s what we are here to do. Today, we need quality coaches more than ever. So, ask yourself “How can I help, and what things have I learned that I can pass onto others to help them become a better version of who they are?”. If we can all do this, we will be great.
I get many questions related to being a female in the strength and conditioning world. Often times it is related to how I work with other male coaches (sport coaches or strength coaches) and/or male athletes. Further, I am often asked how I train females differently than males. From a general sense I truly believe it does not matter if you are male or female in this profession, as long as you are confident in who you are as a coach and are able to connect with the people you are working with. Working with any athlete comes down to can you teach the movements you have programmed, and can you motivate the athletes to achieve their highest potential related to what you are working on each day. I find it is almost easier to coach males from a technical stand point if you know what you are talking about. If you give them a coaching cue, they try it and it works, they usually realize you know what you are talking about and are ready to respect and work with you – regardless of being male or female. Females tend to be a bit more skeptical at first and inquisitive as to why they are doing the movement in the first place. Male coaches and strength coaches more often then not value having a female to work with to create a more well-rounded staff. Again, if you know how to do your job there should really be no problem.
I like to think we’ve gotten past this issue in 2020, yet there are still some people out there that would probably disagree. There are no exercises that a female cannot do that a male can and vice versa. A barbell will not make a female big and bulky. I lift weights at least 5x a week and still look do not look like a bulky man. A female can bench press a bar, just like a male. From a very general perspective exercises can be done by both females and males. It is important to note that there are some difference in programming that could be applicable to create the “best” program for a male vs a female. For example, the Q angle of female hips can make them more susceptible to certain injuries, and thus we can program accordingly to attempt to reduce that risk. I may do more hamstring and posterior chain work with a female than a male, yet the exercises I choose are still possible to be effectively done by both sexes. It is also very possible for a male to be deficient in posterior strength, putting him in the same injury risk category. At the end of the day programming should be designed based on the human needs not a broad category such as male or female.
From a career perspective it is important to note that within strength and conditioning it is easier to get a job as a female than as a male when you are first starting out. However, that changes when it comes to progressing in the field. A male is much more likely to progress to a higher title such as associate director or even director faster than a female. That is a very real frustration in this male-dominated field. I am incredibly grateful for the women who have been in this field way longer than me and have fought for their career progress. There are several female directors of strength and conditioning that are doing great work. This is just something to be aware of and to fight for your worth in the field.
Overall being a female in strength and conditioning has its challenges just like any other career. If you know how to do your job, are confident in who you are as a coach, and understand how to motivate people, you will be fine. At the end of the day I focus on why I got into this career – to help people (any gender) get better.