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Monday, June 24, 2013

A Better Way to Test Power

Two weeks ago, I was fortunate to attend the Perform Better Summit in Providence, RI and was constantly putting pen to paper in an attempt to bring as much to my training as possible. One of the most fascinating lessons I picked up at the conference was from Greg Rose of Titleist Performance Institute. During Greg's hands-on session, he showed us four power tests he uses with his athletes, how they relate to performance, and what they reveal in the athlete. 

Important note: for male athletes, use a 4kg med ball and for female athletes, 2kg.

Test #1 - Seated Med Ball Chest Pass
This is a common exercise that I have used with hundreds of athletes, both as a test and in training. Have the athlete sit on a plyo box (about 18" seems to be right for most people), and throw the med ball as far as possible while keeping their hips on the box the entire time. Distance in feet = #1


Test #2 - Supine Chop Throw
Begin in a sit-up position while holding a med ball, arms extended overhead on the ground. Perform a crunch/sit-up/chop throw, while keeping feet and hips on the ground throughout the throw. Distance in feet = #2

Test #3 - Vertical Jump
Nothing fancy here, a standard counter-movement jump for height. Feel free to use whatever equipment you have at your disposal - Vertec, Just Jump, etc. Height in inches = #3

Test #4 - Rotational Shot Put
Similar to the MB chest pass above, this is one of my favorite upper body power exercises (though, as a former thrower, I always hesitate when labeling it as a shot put...feels wrong on some level). With the athlete in an athletic stance, body perpendicular to the direction they will be throwing, have them throw as far as they can. There is no step into the throw or jump while throwing, the feet can turn and the back leg can come forward, but remember this is a test - tests are only beneficial if executed properly. Repeat with each arm. Distance in feet = #4

Here is where things get interesting, those numbers should all be connected. #1, #2, and #3 should all be equal or close to it, and #4 should be about 1.5 of the other numbers. For example, if an athlete has a 20" vertical, they should have a chest pass and chop throw distance of 20', and their shot put distances should be right around 30'. This shows a well balanced power profile of an athlete. If one or two of these numbers are below this ratio, it shows where training should be modified to improve total body power.

This is another demonstration of the body being a single unit instead of a collection of pieces - everything is connected. If you want powerful athletes, be sure they are powerful throughout their body and not just in common movements. If an athlete can generate sufficient power with their legs (let's say a 30" vertical), but are unable to transfer that power to their upper extremities (due to weak core/rotational power), their performance will suffer. We will always be limited by our weakest link, these tests can help reveal and remedy those weak links and improve performance.

All the best,

Drew Henley, CSCS, USAW, FMS-1
480-241-4112
Drew@HenleySP.com
Twitter.com/DrewBHenley
  


Friday, June 7, 2013

Perform Better Summit - Quick Recap of Day 1

As expected, day 1 provided an excellent group of speakers on numerous topics. Unfortunately, the internet in my hotel isn't cooperating, so I'll be brief in my recap as I'm writing it on my phone.


  • It was great seeing Mike Boyle again. Last year at spring training with the Red Sox, Mike was an excellent resource and mentor to have. As expected, his lecture on functional coaching didn't disappoint.
  • Thomas Myers had several amazing insights, but his top moment was his explanation that "bones 'float' in a sea of soft tissue, not stacked upon one another as a single structure."
  • Jon Torine shed some light on the "why" of programming in the FMS "Every 'what' needs a 'why' to flourish." Hopefully I can explain that better next week with my full article on the conference.
  • Gray Cook broke down the three basic movements against resistance: locomotion - moving yourself, manipulation - moving an object, and combative - moving another person. 
  • Finally, Dick Vermeil was an incredible finish to the night with some of the best lines I've heard. Excellent motivator and easy to see why he had the success he did as a coach. "There is no such thing as a coach without problems. However, a problem in the right hands is a wonderful asset because it leads to a solution."
That's all for day 1. On the docket for tomorrow - Charlie Weingroff, Duane Carlisle, Al Vermeil, Nick Winkleman, and Martin Rooney.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Perform Better Summit Introduction

Just arrived in beautiful Providence and wandered around the convention center where the Perform Better Summit will be held the next three days. This will be my first PB Summit and I am looking forward to an amazing lineup of presenters.

Here's a short list of presenters this weekend:


  • Michael Boyle
  • Alwyn Cosgrove
  • Thomas Myers
  • Lee Burton
  • Gray Cook
  • Mark Verstegen
  • Jon Torine
  • Charlie Weingroff
  • Al Vermeil
  • Robert Dos Remedios
And that's not including the keynote speaker who was just revealed recently - former NFL Coach of the Year and Super Bowl Champion Dick Vermeil.

It's shaping up to be quite a weekend. I look forward to sharing as much information as I can pick up from all these great minds.

-DH