For the layman I appreciate how you correlated what I do in the gym with what the players are training for in terms of reps and sets. I never thought of it that way.
I also agree with SEE that I would be interested in what aspects of Longo's program you don't think are beneficial.
What test best measures 'core strength?'
I used to coach with a guy who said, in effect, 'Guys who are strong from sternum to collarbone get the girls. Guys who are strong through the 'strike zone' get the job done on the field.'
NFL scouts/teams hold a premium on 40 times for 2 positions.
WR's and CB's. You can't hide slow there.
Te'o might get dinged some for his 40. But not as bad as some of the idiots in the media make it appear. But Motta's was so poor that he will freefall.
as a 2 down NFL linebacker (meaning, he would come off of the field in nickel and dime packages). If he had run a great time (sub 4.7) that could have changed that perception and he might have been viewed as a 3 down linebacker that could stay on in nickel and even perhaps dime packages.
There is a greater value (obviously) in 3 down LB vs 2 down LB. In other words, I don't think he will be "dinged" for his time but I don't think he improved his position (which he might have been able to).
Your points are spot on, but it begs the obvious question of why the NFL is conducting this test? Why wouldn't they conduct position specific tests? Why not tests that demonstrate more closely what's needed on the field?
My theory is because what they are really looking for is the freak that slipped through the cracks that they can perhaps select in the 3rd round on the cheap and has the potential to be as good as the more ready made NFL prospects. Much of what they get comes from the interviews and observing how players respond to the stress -- my uneducated guess.
They give college admissions personnel an objective, measurable piece of data to compare students from diverse backgrounds. Like the combine, innate ability is a big factor. But students can improve performance immensely with good test prep.
Each test would have, in my opinion, much more validity if the participant could not 'prep.
In answer to your subject line: Reps of 225 measures both force and endurance (Guess on my part).
in the following manner: have the participants timed to see how long it takes to do 8-10 reps (or 6, whatever)? That would keep the time frame under 10 seconds and obviously the players with the best times are those with the most explosiveness. Another way to exhibit pure explosiveness would be to toss the shot from the power position, thus eliminating any technical issues relating to an actual shot put.
As for the 40, I agree that for most positions it's meaningless. The agility drills you mentioned would be much better. One aspect of explosiveness while running, which many people don't realize, is how important deceleration is. The quicker one can stop,cut,change directions and accelerate again with minimal amortization is a wonderful trait to have. Watch Barry Sanders or Gale Syaers videos and you'll see what I mean.
So why do these people, whose livelihoods depend on accurate player evaluation, use such clearly inferior methods?
Tim Brown was able to make his moves at close to top speed and then apparently just keep on going. In reality, he had exactly what you said in your post. He would slow down just a tad right at the perfect time, juke just a tiny bit, and then boom within 1 step he was at top speed again and the guy was grasping at air where he thought he was originally headed.
Rocket was similar, but as a high school RB, in many cases he simply ran though the tackle at top speed and just kept going.
GAIII -- right now -- has to slow down way too much to make his move, so he can't get back to top speed fast enough to essentially do what Brown and Rocket did on a more consistent basis even though he is about as fast as they were. I still hold hope he will learn it to a greater extent and then he is going to start to really play at a totally different level.
That's the really good stuff.
The research on this is quite solid. Incline running only improves speed if kept to a grade of 3% or lower, performed on a natural running surface. Anything else alters mechanics to such an extent that there is no longer transfer to natural sprinting. Specifically, it is too quad dominant and the ground contact times are way, way too long. It does nothing for a player's speed when his sprint training involves .5 second foot contacts, but during level sprinting his foot is only on the ground for .1 seconds. The player simply isnt in contact with the ground long enough to produce the higher forces he developed during training. And he is also trying to produce those forces with a different motor recruitment pattern.
I also think Oly lifts for football suck.
I thing strongman has some applicability, provided it isnt perfomed in the lactic zone. But Id be surprised if it isnt.
And there is what I haven't seen done, namely the development of reactive strength or alactic conditioning.
You would do something like 10 sets of 10 second sprints w/ 45-60 seconds rest between each, then take a 5 minute rest and do another series of 10 sets.
But based on quotes, it sounds like Longo is using it for pure speed development.
We run a spread offense and an aggressive defense, so nothing is more important in our strength and conditioning program than speed. I'm not just talking about 40 times -- being football fast is about explosiveness, force production from the ground, foot agility and quickness, and the ability to change direction on a dime.
I don't believe there are any magic techniques for speed development. My favorite speed exercise is hill running, because it uses gravitational resistance, requires the athletes to generate force as they plant each foot in the ground, and trains total-body coordination during the running movement. And best of all, when performed as a group, it taps into players' natural competitiveness.
The hill we use is about 30 yards from the base to the top, and itÃs fairly steep (I estimate the average grade to be around 45 degrees). The work volume varies depending on the type and intensity of the players' other activities in practice and the weightroom that day, and during most sessions I prescribe intervals of varying effort. A typical session might consist of five runs at 70 percent of max effort, five runs at 80 percent, and five runs all-out.
Maximizing team speed also means evaluating players' body composition. I did just that shortly after arriving and found we needed to improve in this area. Our heaviest linemen had an average body fat percentage between 23 and 25 percent, which is too high for a team that prioritizes speed up front.
I set 18 percent as the maximum body fat percentage for our players, and they're all at or below that level today. For our purposes, body fat percentage is a better metric than body mass index (BMI), which does not distinguish between muscle mass and fat mass. ItÃs also better than body weight, because in most cases I didn't want the players to actually lose weight -- I wanted them to replace fat with lean muscle, which makes them faster and more powerful on the field, and also helps ensure they're in shape to remain fast for all four quarters.
To assess whether our speed program is succeeding, we put players through an NFL-style combine test twice a year. Their 40 times and shuttle run performances give us some indication of where the athletes are at, but that's just a starting point. I know the top players in a straight-ahead dash or a cone drill aren't always the ones who play fastest on game days. There's no substitute for watching players play football, so I often look at practice drills and game performance when evaluating players' progress in developing football speed.
From the Ground Up
There are many ways to build strength in football players, and every strength coach has his preferences. Some like a high-intensity machine-based program. Some focus on the big squats and big benches. At Cincinnati, I've gravitated toward ground-based training, especially Olympic lifts and explosive movements. Today, 75 to 80 percent of our weightroom work is done on a platform.
The main reason I like platform work and Olympic lifts is that they force the athletes to activate multiple key muscle groups at the same time. These lifts typically incorporate 80 percent or more of the athletes' total muscle fiber, and to do each lift successfully, the athlete must apply force in a specific sequence of short, burst-style movements. So while they're getting stronger, they're also developing muscle coordination that maximizes transfer to the demands of football.
Most of the players at Cincinnati hadn't done much platform work before I got here, so it felt like I was working with 90 freshmen. As I taught and demonstrated the Olympic lifts, I always kept in mind that there's a big difference between impeccable technique and acceptable technique. If you're lucky, maybe 20 percent of your football players will perform the lifts impeccably -- but that doesn't mean the rest should move on to another type of strength training.
I evaluated each player's lifting mechanics individually, and as long as they were activating the right muscle groups, not risking injury due to a mechanical flaw or compensation, and making adequate progress on a weekly and monthly basis, I didn't micromanage their lifting. Never forget that weightlifting is a means for football players to increase their strength and explosiveness, not an end in itself.
Off the platform, my favorite strength training activity is strongman work. I like to get creative for our strongman sessions, so we have done just about everything, including traditional farmer's walks, tire flipping, log presses, and carrying heavy rocks, sand bags, and other oddly shaped implements.
In addition to being a great way to increase work volume, strongman exercises offer several key benefits. They promote total-body muscle coordination by forcing the athletes to use their core, extremities, and stabilizer muscles to maintain balance while carrying a heavy, awkward object. Most weightroom work involves predictable straight-line up/down or push/pull movements, but strongman activities provide a more dynamic stimulus: The athletes have to think and react with their muscles during the walks, lifts, and movements, much like they have to during football games.
Another benefit is that strongman activities lend themselves to competition between the players, so they push each other to work harder. Any time I can make a strength activity competitive, I know the athletes will give it everything they have.
and power lifting?
I assume you don't think squat, deadlift, clean, press, and bench are bad lifts for football.
Strongman programs I am familiar with contain lactic and alactic components, does Longo's not?
C&J, snatch, and their derivatives: power clean, hang clean, push jerk, hang snatch, overhead squats, etc. As jt points out, there is simply way too much room for error. Some risk is fine when you don't have other options. But all the desirable traits coaches are attempting to develop with Oly-based movements can be developed just was well, yet more safely, through other means.
guys do Olympic lifts because Nebraska was huge on those in the 90s and that's when a lot of these guys were getting started. Not a lot of thought goes into it.
And the "strong man" nonsense comes about because some guy thinks "hey, squats are boring. I want the same thing for my guys that squats would get without them getting bored." And then they all don their cut off jean shorts, sandals, and tank top (a "World Gym" one is preferred) and go flip tires in the parking lot for a few house like a bunch of idiots.
(refuse to write "snatch" as it would bring about lots of jokes) for football.
I am obviously not PN, but in general I don't like those lifts for the vast majority of people. Too many ways to screw up form and get hurt and I don't see the benefit for football.
Love squats for football. I like bench and I like incline (though of course nothing is as important as the preacher curl machine).
your girlfriend sitting on top of it cheering you on. Of course, it is far more effective just to do single rep curls in the squat rack.
Really though, I agree that squat, deadlift and press (overhead and flat back) are cornerstones. I agree that both snatch and the jerk portion of C&J (vs. a stationary overhead press) don't carry the right risk/reward for most people. I do think clean is a good lift, though the program I most recently worked with (high school) did not do single rep maxes on clean for the reasons you mention.
I love clean jerk exercises and although I don't do them anymore I found them beneficial when I did do them. That said, I don't like them for football as I think you can get better benefits for less risk and it always struck me that the types of guys that are going to excel in football might not always be the best candidates to perfect form in a clean/jerk. Of course, I think doing it for that cross fit nonsense is a complete waste of time and a great way to get injured.
The best part about cleans is the asshole at the gym that does them one at a time, making sure to scream after each rep and then drop the weight. Fucking jackass.