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Maintaining The Fundamental Football Position

Limestone College located in Gaffney, South Carolina added football as the department's 25th sport. The Saints started competition this past Fall. Curt Lamb, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Performance, hired Eric Schwager to develop a comprehensive program that would prepare a young group of athletes to compete at the highest level upon entering the Southern Atlantic Conference. 

One drill that Eric developed is used to emphasize, strengthen and stress the importance of the "fundamental football position". Depending on the position the athlete plays, when they are fatigued, after a workout, or a particular lift they are instructed to quickly get into their basic football position. Below is an example of an offensive lineman.

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In the photo the green resistance band is around the athletes shoulders and back. The red resistance band around the arms which must be thrust firmly backward with the goal of contracting the scapula muscles at all times and remain posture perfect - knees bent, back straight, head up, arms and body pushed against the bands. The goal is 30-90 seconds holding perfect form in opposition to the applied resistance.  A minimum of 30 seconds is the least acceptable amount of time to Get Strong. 

The 6th Annual Mississippi State Strength And Conditioning Clinic

The Mississippi State University Strength and Conditioning Staff would like to invite you and your colleagues to our 6th Annual Strength and Conditioning Clinic to be held February 28, 2015. 

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This clinic is designed to increase your knowledge in the field of strength and conditioning and to benefit you for future experiences with your athletes. We hope you can make it and look forward to seeing you this year!

Guest speakers for the clinic will include the following:

Rick Court, Director of Strength & Conditioning, Mississippi State University

Anthony Piroli, Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach, Mississippi State University

Kelly White, Sports Nutritionist & Dietician, Mississippi State University

John Sisk, Director of Strength & Conditioning, Georgia Tech University

Scott Holsopple, Director of Strength & Conditioning, Georgia State University

Mike Gittleson, Former Director of Strength & Conditioning, University of Michigan

 

and more TBA........

Finishing The Pendulum Row

A 'finishing' movement following the Pendulum 3-Way Row makes the difficult...difficult.

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Finishing a workout with the Patented Pendulum Rope Pull is a great way to Get Strong.

Michigan State Spartans Cotton Bowl Champions

The Michigan State Spartans Present

The 8th Annual Strength & Conditioning Clinic

February 6th-7th, 2015

(CEUs offered for CSCCa, NSCA and NATA) 

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“Tips from the Trenches with the Spartan Strength Staff” will be a FREE event on Friday evening followed by a great Saturday line-up.

Ted Lambrinides, Director of Sports Science for Athletic Strength And Power will be the emcee.

The Clinic will feature:

Ted Rath- Detroit Lions’ Strength Assistant – “Weight Room Demo”

Rob Stock- Navy Seal and founder of Human Performance Initiative‐“Alchemy:
The Process From Ordinary to Extraordinary”

Eric Klein - Minnesota Golden Gophers’ Head Strength Coach – “Summer
Preparation for the Front-7"

Ron McKeefery ­- Eastern Michigan’s Director of Sports Performance –
“Outside the Box Speed Development"

Dr. Joey Eisenmann – Director of Spartan Nutrition and Performance Program -“Energy System Development for Athletic Performance”describe the image

Ken Mannie, Mike Vorkapich, Tommy Hoke and the Spartan Strength staff will be on-hand for demonstrations as well as a roundtable discussion. Each clinic attendee will receive videos of all speakers via email.

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The Rogers Drive Sled

WHERE:

Clara Bell Smith Academic Center (adjacent to the Duffy Daugherty Building)

COST:

$90 Pre-registered via online registration or mail by Feb 6th (includes video links to all presentations)

$30 Pre-registered Students (with valid Student ID presented at check-in)

Please contact Clinic Director, Mike Vorkapich with any questions:
vork@ath.msu.edu or 517-432-1822

Rotary Chins On The Pendulum Power Rack

The 'Rotary Chin' not only gives you shoulder, elbow and wrist relief but allows for a wide variety of chinning movements.

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 Moving the handles into a close grip chin-up position.

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Setting up for wide grip chins.

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Getting Strong on the Pendulum Rack System

Head and Neck Training

describe the imageMike Gittleson was the Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Michigan for 30 years and was a part of 15 Football Championships in that time. He explains, there are methods for lowering the risk and reducing the number of sport-related concussions across America.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) – which is used interchangeably with the term concussion – as a complex pathophysiologic process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces secondary to direct or indirect forces to the head. A concussion or MTBI can be caused by a blow or a jolt to the head or body that disrupts the function of the brain.

There are methods for lowering the risk and reducing the number of sport-related concussions across America. Some of the factors are return to play, rules changes, the number of exposures, skill development, protective equipment and strength training to lower subconcussive forces. All of these considerations play a part in abatement of concussion. Exclusion of any one item affects the safety of the student-athlete. Each factor must be reviewed by the professional who, by using assiduity and diligence, can and will have a positive impact on risk.

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Preventative sports medicine is the hallmark of any strength and conditioning program. The first goal of a professional is to develop effective and practical ways to reduce the number of sports-related injuries.

In the 1970s, collegiate programs began introducing strength training into their athletic programs to enhance performance as well as reduce injuries. There was very little research on the subject of weight training and athletics and many misnomers about strength training in general. At the time, the majority felt strongly that the use of barbells and strength training devices would inhibit athleticism by bulking and stiffening the athlete. Women, in general, had a strong fear of becoming too muscular. Educators worked to dispel those fears and strength and conditioning programs are now commonplace throughout athletics. Though some wrongly conceived beliefs still linger today when it comes to training the musculature associated with the cervical spine.

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The benefits of muscular development are far greater than initially purported since the inception of strength training into intercollegiate athletics. One of the important functions of strength training has become the development of the muscle and tendon as a unit. The muscle-tendon unit attenuates and dissipates force. Developing a strong musculoskeletal system is what is needed to protect joints and reduce injuries. This attenuation and dissipation of force is not exclusive to particular joints in the anatomical system.

Dawn Comstock, associate professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, collected data on 6,704 student-athletes in six sports: boys' and girls' soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Her results indicated that for every pound of improved neck strength, an individual reduces his or her concussion risk.

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Dr. Comstock from her years of injury surveillance points out the primary mechanism for concussion injury is athlete-to-athlete contact. The researcher then asked, "Did the athlete see the blow coming?" And she found that for the athletes who saw the blow coming – those who had a chance to activate their neck muscles – experienced less severe concussion.

The attenuation and dissipation of force and bracing before impact by activating neck muscles can lower subconcussive trauma. This is a great reason for training the musculature that moves the neck and supports the head.

There are many more reasons for an athlete to train this region of the anatomy. ‘Where the head goes the body will follow’ is an athletic axiom that coaches teach. Stand straight, place your fingers lightly on the nape of your neck. Without moving your head quickly move your eyes left and right. You will feel the musculature in your neck begin to contract. The eyes are not connected to the neck muscles but the brain is preparing the body for movement. Like our limbs it is important to move the head quickly. Training the head and neck will enhance performance.

The respiratory system’s process of inspiration and expiration involves much more than the diaphragm and the internal and external intercostal muscles. The scalene muscles in the neck are involved in almost every breath we take. The platysma and sternocleidomastoid are involved in heavy breathing. Injure or develop neck muscles and your body’s athleticism will be affected. 

Conventional wisdom suggests that strength training increases body mass index (BMI) in a positive way, but does it? BMI is a simplistic measure of body fat. It is calculated by dividing one’s weight in kilograms by the square of one’s height in meters. The derived results can then be compared to a chart of normative data provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). BMI is useful for the overweight and obese, yet it does have limitations. BMI may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have muscular builds. The problem is this simple tool does not differentiate between fat mass and lean body mass. It has long been argued that heavily muscled, weight-trained athletes are healthy despite their BMI classification.

At issue is the athlete that increases muscle mass and vascularity significantly in all areas of the body but the neck region alters peripheral vascular resistance in an acute way. Peripheral resistance is a function of the internal vessel diameter, vessel length and blood viscosity. Having a large body and an undeveloped neck changes the force of the delivery system’s blood flow to the head.

The cervical spine’s associated musculature is regarded as an important proprioceptive organ for postural processes. The muscles are small with a high spindle density. You can think of this region as the hotbed of proprioception. Disturbances of gait can occur by interfering with, damaging, weakening or fatiguing the muscles of the head and neck. Training this region augments static as well as dynamic posture – our ability to balance.

The head and neck muscular system is a complex anatomical structure and has apparent muscle redundancy; that is, more head and neck muscle than degrees of freedom. It is been postulated that individuals exhibit a large variation of neck muscle activation strategies for accomplishing the same task intra individually, as well as between subjects. The health practitioner’s return-to-play protocol after a concussion, whiplash, nerve or muscle trauma must contain a measurable strength component to restore each muscle to normalcy, redressing this tendency to substitute by the injured athlete.

Head and neck muscles can be thought of as two distinct muscular units, the musculature that moves the head and the muscles that move the cervical spine. Each unit must be trained to maximize development and ongoing strength values collected. This aids in overall muscular fitness and post injury assessment in returning a student-athlete to their appropriate functional movement.

Injuries to the mouth, face and jaw are part of sport. Having a strong jaw helps in bracing, clenching against a mouth guard, and resisting the pull of the chin strap in helmets. Injured masseter muscles, strained temporalis, pterygoids, digastrics all must be rehabilitated and strengthened when damaged.

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To help lower subconcussive forces, protect the student-athlete returning to play, maximize performance and fitness, strength training of the head, neck and jaw must be inclusive when designing exercise programs.

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Neck Strength A Protective Factor

It has been surmised by trainers and strength coaches that strengthening the neck and activating the neck muscles to brace for impact reduce an athlete's risk of concussion during a collision by attenuating the head's kinematic response after impact.  As recent as 2014 research studies substantiated this.

In the 2014 Journal of Primary Prevention , Neck strength: a protective factor reducing risk for concussion in high school sports, researchers found that after adjusting for gender and sport overall neck strength remained a significant predictor of concussions concluding"for every one pound increase in neck strength odds of concussion decreased by 5%."

In the March 2014 American Journal of Sports Medicine the study, Effect of neck muscle strength and anticipatory cervical muscle activation on the kinematic response of the head to impulsive loads, concluded "Neck strength and impact anticipation are 2 potentially modifiable risk factors for concussion. Interventions aimed at increasing athletes neck strength and reducing unanticipated impacts may decrease the risk of concussion associated with sport participation."

Developing head and neck strength attends to a 'modifiable risk factor' to help protect an athlete in sport. Mike Joseph and his staff at the University of West Virginia run a comprehensive head and neck strengthening program. Not only does the program protect the student athlete, but increases their overall strength and athletic performance.describe the image

Assistant Director of Strength and Coditioning Darl Bauer coaching neck training

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Training neck extension on the Pendulum 4-Way Neck Machines

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The results are impressive, ten days after this athletes neck measured 20.5" it measured 20.75".

Protect your athletes by Getting  them Strong.

Grip Strength

Grip strength can be used as a tool to have a rapid indication of someone's general muscle strength. Grip strength is reflective of muscle mass and gives you an overall sense of someone’s vitality. In a clinical setting it can predict things in the future like post-operative complications and even death.

Looking at grip strength it is pretty obvious, using all five fingers that you are the strongest. Utilizing all five digits and making a fist is called the 'power grip'. The next most powerful combination is using all the fingers without the thumb this is called the 'hook grip'. Grip strength without the middle finger and without the ring and little fingers is the least forceful way to grasp objects.  

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Training the 'power grip' on the Pendulum Gripper

Looking at contributions of individual digits to the total percentage of strength of the hand, the thumb, index, and middle fingers are 17%, 22%, 31% of the sum total and the ring and little fingers are 29%, respectively.  As you can see the middle finger at 31% is the most important contributor to total hand power. The next most important is the combination of the ring and little fingers.  

Train your hands using different combinations of finger grips to Get Strong.

The Adjustable Chin-Up Bar

The Rogers Pendulum Adjustable Chin-Up Bar is not just for the ease of training athletes of varying heights.  Moving the chin bar up and down the racks was designed for building great strength.

Eccentric or negative-only training is one of the many ways you can use the adjustable bar to your advantage.

Set the chin bar so that when standing on your toes your chin is over the bar.  Begin the exercise by lowering yourself slowly, you should be exactly halfway down with your upper arms parallel to the floor in four seconds and all the way down with your arms straight in 8 seconds.  Allowing your arms to be straight and stretched at the bottom of the movement is as difficult as maintaining a chin over the bar at the beginning of the exercise.

Once a repetition is completed quickly stand on your toes and get back into the starting position.  There is no positive or concentric work involved.

Every inch of the exercise is important being halfway down in four seconds means that you're 1/4 of the way down in 2 seconds and 1/8 of the way down in 1 second.  Perfect repetitions is what you are after.  The exercise is completed when you can no longer keep an 8 second pace for 8 perfect repetitions.  Only count perfect reps before you add weight utilizing a weight belt.

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Get Strong using the Pendulum Rack System

Improving Shoulder Strength With Hand Grip

Hand grip exercises can increase shoulder muscle integrity.

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The supraspinatus muscle is a rotator cuff muscle that helps initiate abduction of the shoulder. The supraspinatus also helps to stabilize the shoulder joint by keeping the head of the humerus firmly in place. It is common for strength coaches to have athletes incorporate a series of rotator cuff exercises to target the intrinsic muscles of the shoulder utilizing bands and light weights as part of their workout regime to insure it's stability.   

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Athletic trainers traditionally have used an exercise called the 'empty can' to isolate the supraspinatus in checking or improving this muscles strength. The empty can is performed by standing with the arms hanging at the side as if to do a normal side lateral raise. The arm is then rotated internally, trying to put the back of the hand against the thigh. Maintaining this position the arms are lifted out to the side away from the body with the thumbs pointing towards the floor to a position almost parallel to the ground for each repetition.  This movement brings the shoulder into internal rotation making it difficult to use the powerful deltoid to raise the arm requiring the supraspinatus to do much of the work. 

The supraspinatus can be also be effected strongly by gripping exercises with the arms held above 60 degrees and below 90 degrees, especially by pre-exhausting the deltoids before the hand work begins.

Studies clearly show there are high demands on handgrip force when the arms are elevated. As the hands are exercised the shoulders become under a high load as well. Pre-fatiguing the deltoids and immediately training the grip is a great way to Get the supraspinatus, hands and shoulders Strong.

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Pre-fatiguing the shoulders on the Pendulum Shoulder/Incline 

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 Immediately using a Rogers Power Grip Wrist Roller to Get Strong

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