Random Thoughts

Here is a very random post that has 10 different thoughts that have been going through my head recently.

1) Everything goes back to the autonomic nervous system, its the ultimate governor of the body. More focus should be put on maximizing the autonomic nervous system as opposed to maximizing weight room numbers.

2) Charlie Weingroff recently said that “If strength and conditioning is done properly, we don’t need physical therapy.” Interesting thought. Charlie also said that physical therapist and strength coaches should be doing the same thing, as the laws of the body are always the same. As usual his thought process is hard to disagree with.

3) Do more push ups. It’s amazing how many people can’t perform a proper push up. They are also an awesome exercise that may be superior to bench pressing in a many ways.

4) I had the chance to attend the taping of Mike Boyle’s upcoming Functional Strength Coach 6.0 DVD in December. In the talk, Coach Boyle shared his strength standards which I found interesting. 1RM Bench press = 1RM chin up = 1RM hang clean = 1RM rear foot elevated split squat.

5) In many cases, most strength coaches are just looking for ways to justify what it is that they do, instead of figuring out what is the best thing to do. These are two totally different things.

6) Passion + determination = grit. Grit determines how successful you are going to be.

7) As strength and conditioning professionals, our #1 job is to keep athletes healthy. It doesn’t matter how big, fast, and powerful you make them if they aren’t healthy enough to compete.

8) Not enough people make enough use of the most powerful but inexpensive two-word reward – “thank you”.

9) Recently there have been a lot of videos of 1-leg Olympic lifts. At first this seemed a little stupid to me, but when you think about it, if we feel that 1-leg plyo’s are important, and we feel 1-leg strength exercises are important, why would we think 1-leg Olympic lifts aren’t important?

10) As a team sport strength coach, you need to individualize as much as possible if you want to have the biggest impact you possibly can. Everyone shouldn’t be on the same exact program. Break the team down into smaller groups if need be.

As I said, these are some random thoughts that have been going through my head the last couple weeks/months. Hopefully it makes you think and you can take something away from a couple of the thoughts.

A Case for the Dumbbell Overhead Press

A movement pattern that seems to have been overlooked in the world of strength and conditioning in the last handful of years is the overhead press. For better or worse, coaches seem to overlook the movement in favor of the barbell bench press, barbell incline press and their dumbbell equivalents.

In a lot of ways the lack of overhead pressing is a good thing. With the mobility issues that most people tend to have these days, overhead pressing with a barbell could almost cause more harm then it could do good. On the other hand, overhead pressing is movement pattern that can be very important.

So what gives?

First and foremost, if you as a coach don’t feel comfortable with your athletes or clients overhead pressing, don’t do it. If you question whether it is safe for your clients or athletes to overhead press, don’t do it. Various versions of the incline press and various versions of the landmine press will be suitable and get the job done.

If you do feel comfortable overhead pressing with your athletes and clients, in my opinion, a simple switch from the barbell to dumbbells could potentially make a world of difference. Additionally, with all the mobility issues that people have these days, I don’t know if there is a need to ever overhead press someone with a barbell these days. Everyone has either dumbbells and kettlebells that will work just fine.

Why the Dumbbell Overhead Press:
• dumbbells allow the athlete to move through their range of motion
• dumbbells allow the athlete to move through various planes of motion
• dumbbells address instabilities and/or weaknesses through alternating and uni-lateral patterns

A simple dumbbell overhead press progression:

Phase 1: 1/2 Kneeling 2DB Alternating OH Press

Phase 2: 1/2 Kneeling 1DB OH Press

Phase 3: Standing 2DB Alternating OH Press

Phase 4: Standing 1DB OH Press

All this being said, most coaches and trainers would benefit to err on the side of caution when working with overhead athletes (baseball, softball, volleyball, swimmers, ect.) or athletes that have ever had any type of shoulder issues in the past. In these cases, switching out overhead pressing movements for landmine presses would be a logical and safe approach.