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The Pendulum Reverse Glute/Ham

Having a wide variety of training tools allows a coach and athlete to regionally target specific areas of the anatomy.  Choosing the appropriate exercise that specifically develops the upper and the lower sections of biarticular muscles leads to overall greater muscular adaptation. 

The Pendulum Reverse Glute/Ham was engineered to strengthen the hips, glutes and hamstrings. The machine also allows athletes with ankle sprains, casts, back loading issues and knees to continue to stay strong and get strong.

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When each repetition is performed from a bent knee position to a straight leg (the movement is as if the athlete was about to stand) the hips become targeted on the Pendulum Reverse Glute/Ham. 

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Keeping the knees bent from the beginning of the movement to the finish of the exercise emphasizes the gluteal muscles.

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Keeping the legs straight and locked from start to finish, stretches and strengthens the hamstrings.
Three great exercises on one great machine.

Seton Hall Pirates

The Seton Hall Pirates Weight Room

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Knee Extensions

The kneecap anatomically called the patella is the small bone embedded in a tendon in the front of the knee. The patellofemoral joint is where the kneecap and thigh bone meet. Below the kneecap there is a large tendon (patellar tendon), which attaches to the front of the tibia or shine bone. This mechanism allows the quadriceps, the large muscles of the front of the knee to extend the knee joint with a very slight rotation. 

From a flexed position of around 135 degrees the knee extends or straightens to 0 degrees. Fluid-filled sacs called bursae serve as gliding surfaces for the tendons to reduce the force of friction as tendons move. Each meniscus, that is, the cartilage serves to evenly load the surface during weight-bearing, which also adds to the reduction of friction by disbursing joint fluid for joint lubrication. Having strong thigh muscles is important in reducing patellofemoral stresses during activity.

Until recently there has been disagreement in the literature as to which exercises and ranges of motion best accomplish the goal of low patellofemoral stress.  It has been found that performing knee extension from 90° to 45° has significantly lower stress then isokinetic knee extensions and squatting movements.  This is confirmed in the May 2014, Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.  Therefore when prescribing exercise, non-weight-bearing quadriceps exercises are extremely important in managing joint stress especially in persons with knee pain.

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Pendulum Leg Extension Starting from 90 degrees

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Pendulum Leg Extension to 45 degrees

Training between 90° and 45° causes the least amount of patellofemoral stress and often allows pain free training enabling an athlete to re-strengthen the quadricep. Once knee pain dissipates and knee strength is normalized or increased the athlete can resume full range exercise. 

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 Full range Pendulum Leg Extensions 

Kinesthetics And Shuttle Running

Kinesthetics is our ability to feel the sensations of our movements and the awareness of where our body is in space.  Having a kinesthetic sense of one's body parts relative to a previous position enables athletes to develop and nurture their athletic proficiency. 

This awareness that we have and call 'skill' allows us to perform each movement with earned excellence. Kinesthetics is manifested in the examples of when the 'center' on a football team shotgun snaps a ball accurately to the quarterback, while keeping his eyes rivited on his opponent or the kicker kicks an extra point and knows exactly where to place his plant foot while moving, even though he is concentrating on the football as he is about to punch it through the uprights. Executing a skill correctly over and over allows an athlete to use precise sensory feedback to adjust as they move, integrating information from the ears, eyes, muscles, ligaments, skin and more - kinesthetic awareness.

Agility shuttles are used by coaches and scouts to evaluate players. Strength and Conditioning coaches hence instruct athletes with the appropriate form and have them practice it diligently to minimize their time. The following is an example of some instructions on the 'Pro Agility Shuttle' and viewed as good advice:

"Put your right hand down to the ground and get ready to take off."  "Take three steps within five yards and pivot your right foot around so that it is in front of your left foot. Make sure your right hand is on the ground near your right foot."  "Burst out 10 yards and mimic the same pivot and position with your left foot."

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Yet, often instructors training athletes for a drill such as the 'Pro Agility Shuttle' may forget the most important coaching fundamental of running a great time, 'where the head goes the body will follow.'  Touching a line on the ground as you change direction is not a complicated task as the line is not going to move. The athlete need not stare at the line to make sure he touches it, he need only to know where it is and be in tune with his running form. IMG 0545edited

       The athlete need not watch the line

Getting as low as possible and using peripheral vision and body awareness for hand placement is what is necessary as the athlete must pivot the head and foot to burst in the opposite direction. Looking at the line and making sure it is touched prevents the athlete from quickly getting his head turned downfield. The craniums appropriate position brings the entire system into the actions needed to propel the body in the opposite direction.

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By being aware of the line not watching it allows the athlete to turn quicker

If an athlete steps correctly, gets low as he approaches the line, trust he knows where he is in space and concentrates on bringing 'the head around so the body will follow', he will run up to his capabilities. 

Teach athletes to rely on their kinesthetic awareness so they perform movements at the highest level. 

The Chest Press

Doing a chest press or a barbell bench press requires the lifter to externally rotate the humerus bone as or before the weight is lowered. An internally rotated humerus on the decent of the bar historically has led to shoulder injuries. The Pendulum Vertical Chest Press handles were designed so that each time a lifters grasps the bar the upper arm is in the appropriate position, even if you raise your elbows vertically.

The Pendulum Chest Press is an exceptional chest and anterior shoulder developer. Several of it's features make it a better tool for rehabilitation than dumbbells or barbells. The Pendulum S.E.T. system allows for shortening or lengthening the range of motion based on postoperative restraints. In the beginning stages of rehab by raising the seat height the lifter can perform a decline chest press that has the necessary shoulder forgiveness. Once the shoulder joint is ready for high stress the trainer or lifter simply lowers the seat and the anterior portion of the deltoid is directly targeted. 

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Decline Chest Press

The Neck Machine Set-Up And Use

Gabe Harrington has a Masters degree from Michigan State University. He has coached at MSU, the United States Military Academy and was the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Colgate University Patriot League Football Champions. Gabe shares his coaching points in setting and using the Pendulum 4 Way Neck Machine.

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NECK MACHINE SET-UP AND USE

INITIAL SEAT SET-UP (Neck Flexion/Front Neck)

 Set the adjustment for the head piece at hole #4

 Sit in the machine such that you are facing the face pad, lining your shoulders up with the axis of movement on the control arm.

 Seat height is determined by your eyebrows lining up with the lower part of the face pad. This must be done while you are sitting

tall, with your chest up and chin slightly elevated

TO PERFORM NECK FLEXION/FRONT NECK

After performing the initial set-up described above:

 Select a weight that is relatively light for first time use (10-25lbs).

 Firmly grasp the handles at the front of the machine

 With your back straight and chest up, smoothly press forward into the face pad. Your aiming point is to bring your chin to your

chest (as opposed to pressing your head forward).

 Pause in this position for 1 second.

 Slowly return to the starting position. Your aiming point is to look up.

 Repeat until desired number of repetitions is achieved.

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INITIAL SEAT SET-UP (Extension/Back Neck)

 Set the adjustment for the head piece at either hole #1 or hole #2

 Sit in the machine such that you are facing away from the face pad, lining your shoulders up with the axis of movement on the

 Seat height will be one notch lower than what was determined for neck flexion.

TO PERFORM NECK EXTENSION/BACK NECK

After performing the initial set-up as described above:

 Select a weight that is relatively light for first time use (10-25lbs).

 Firmly grasp the seat pad directly behind you.

 With your back straight and chest up, smoothly press backward into the face pad. Your aiming point is to look straight up (as

opposed to pressing your head backward).

 Pause in this position for 1 second.

 Slowly return to the starting position. Your aiming point is to bring your chin to your chest without letting your head get pressed

 Repeat until desired number of repetitions is achieved.

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INITIAL SEAT SET-UP (Lateral Flexion/Side Neck)

 Set the adjustment for the head piece at hole #6

 Sit in the machine such that you are facing the control arm, with the face pad on your right and your sternum/center chest in line

with the axis of movement on the control arm. Seat your face in the pad such that you are looking straight ahead with the face

pad shading the corner of your right eye.

 When performing lateral flexion on the other side, the face pad will shade the corner of your left eye.

 Seat height will be one notch lower than what was determined for neck flexion.

TO PERFORM NECK EXTENSION/BACK NECK

After performing the initial set-up as described above:

 Select a weight that is relatively light for first time use (10-25lbs).

 Firmly grasp one of the handles at the front of the machine in one hand, and the handle on the seat pad with the other.

 With your back straight and chest up, smoothly press sideways into the face pad. Your aiming point is to push your ear towards

the top of your shoulder while keeping your chin from moving. This is a very short, 1 inch movement.

 Pause in this position for 1 second.

 Slowly return to the starting position.

 Repeat until desired number of repetitions is achieved.

The Leg Curl Machine

The hamstrings are involved in knee flexion and hip extension. They can be regionally targeted through exercise selection. Having a leg curl machine in your facility is important even if it is used exclusively for rehabilitation or exercising one leg at a time.

Without question the greatest leg curl machine made is the Pendulum Leg Curl. You recognize this as soon as you begin a repitition, immediately the lifter feels there is something unique about this training device.

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Middle Tennessee State

Pendulum Hip Presses at Middle Tennessee State University

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Manual Training

Manual Resistance is an important consideration in designing a structured exercise program. Manual training affords for hands on evaluation by a coach of an athletes effort in performing each movement.  Include manual resistance in your program so athletes are able to strength train under varied circumstances; i.e., when there is no facility available or the facility they may be using has limited tools. 

 The Rules of Manual Resistance

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1). Each athlete must know and understand the rules.

2). The Lifter begins each exercise with the goal of 6-8 reps. This requires pacing, in other words, the first repetition is not an all out effort. The effort must be increasing for every subsequent repetition.

2a). The Spotter should allow the lifter to perform each repetition at the same pace or speed of movement. This will require different amounts of pressure by the spotter during the rep (because of leverage). The lifter will feel as though the resistance is similar at all joint angles (the resistance will feel smooth).

3). The lowering phase of every repetition should be slower than the raising phase. A guide in learning manual resistance is raise the involved limbs up in 1-2 seconds or at a 1-2 count and lower them in 4-5 seconds or at a 4 or 5 count.

3a). The Spotter must make sure that they feel more force by the lifter during the lowering phase of each repetition.

4). The Lifter should continually contract their target musculature during the raising phase and the lowering phase of every repetition.

4a). The Spotter must give feedback to the lifter to ensure there is always a constant contraction on every repetition performed. The spotter should identify any relaxation or loss of force by the lifter during the movement.

5). The Lifter should pause with pressure against the spotter's resistance at the top of every movement. Pausing with pressure and no relaxation is extremely difficult.

5a). The Spotter should insure the lifter is applying force at the top of the movement. The spotter must feel if the lifter is relaxing. The spotter must ease slowly into the lowering phase of the exercise. Slowly easing into the lowering phase or decent is extremely important.

6). The exercise is completed when the athlete reaches momentary muscular failure.

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Transition - There Is No Off-season

Gabe Harrington has a Masters degree from Michigan State University. He has coached at MSU, the United States Military Academy and most recently was the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Colgate University Patriot League Football Champions. Gabe explains, there really is no off-season it is about manageing transition. 

Whether you coach high school or college football this is the time of year for transition. If you are at the high school level, your athletes are going from lifting and conditioning to playing another sport such as baseball or track. Perhaps they have been playing a winter sport such as wrestling or basketball and are getting into their off season training program. If you are at the college level, you are coming off of winter conditioning and getting into spring football. As a strength coach, or the football coach in charge of strength and conditioning, you are responsible to not only prepare the athlete for the coming task; but also to meet the current demands the athlete faces. In other words, you have to manage transition. Assuming that you have done a good job in preparation, the team is healthy, as big and strong as ever and ready for spring ball… what now? The key of course, is to ride the fine line of introducing enough stress to illicit improvement without over doing it. Know which variables you can control and which ones you can’t. And when transitioning from winter to spring training remember that the transition in and of itself, is a stressor. Here are a few guidelines worth considering when transitioning from winter to spring training: 1) understand stress, 2) lower the volume of lifting, 3) lower the intensity of exercise and/or change the exercises used, 4) try to get more bang for your buck with conditioning, 5) have great communication between staff and between staff and players, and 6) continue to emphasize nutrition.

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Pendulum 3 Way Row

Before we get too deep into what to do, let’s examine how the human body responds to stress. Stress is a necessary component to living well and improving. After all, without added stress (adding weight to the bar) you can’t get stronger. And if you don’t study hard, you won’t get any smarter. However, even though stress can be good, too much is extremely detrimental and can lead to a multitude of issues ranging from poor performance to disease and death. A good way to look at this is to imagine that you (or rather, each and every one of your players) are a bathtub. Filling the bathtub are many faucets – we’re not just talking hot and cold here. We’re talking about life: lifting weights, conditioning, school, homework, football practice, meetings/film, girlfriend(s), parents, social life, transition… the list goes on and on. Like all bathtubs, we can only hold so much water before it begins to spill over the top (poor performance). When the water fills up the room the tub is in and begins flooding the floors below we are in trouble (disease and death). We tell our players all the time to eliminate distractions, because distractions are added stress – one more thing to deal with. We know this from experience. But too often we don’t take our own advice, and we as coaches create an overly stressful environment.

When it comes to lowering the volume of lifting, I think of it in terms of both time spent in the weight room as well as the number of work sets performed. Time spent in the weight room is important because most strength coaches don’t have control over what time of day the team comes in. You may have to get them after practice, you may have to get them early in the morning. Either way, you have to work around the academic schedule (which is normal), and you now have a couple more faucets filling the bathtub (practice and meetings). Shoot for 30-40 minutes from the time they walk in to the time you break them down and two days per week, for a total of 60-80 minutes in the weight room weekly. As far as the number of work sets performed, this will be dependent somewhat on your training philosophy but here’s my general thought:

Front/Back Neck: 1x8 each

Choose a Shrug variation: 2x8 (light to heavy)

Choose a Press: 2x8 or 3x5 (at a percentage or light to heavy)

Choose a Pull: 2x8 or 3x5 (light to heavy)

Choose a Hip: 2x8 or 3x5 (at a percentage or light to heavy)

Core: 1-2 sets

In this example, you’re looking at 11-21 sets. Which is correct? They are actually about the same in terms of volume3x5 equals 15 reps, 2x8 equals 16 reps. In the above example, you’re looking at 93-96 total reps. Going light to heavy, you’re looking at only 40-50 reps at the work load. If you use percentages on the press and hip (bench/squat) then you’re at 60-70 reps. The main differences are how long the lift takes (three sets takes longer than two sets due to the rest interval between sets), and the next variable - intensity.

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 Pendulum 5 Way Neck Shrugs

If you tap a stick of dynamite lightly 50 times, chances are it won’t blow up. Whack it once real hard and BOOM! This is intensity. The more intense the activity, the less of it you can do. So, using our workout template above, performing all the reps at 85% could be insane to do during spring practice. But performing the same volume of work at 60% is simply not enough to get you strong (more on this later). Using our above example, 3x5 @ 75% for full range of motion bench press and 65% for full range of motion squat are great starting points. From here you can progress slowly throughout spring practices. This allows for acclimatization to the new stress of playing football. Another option is to change the exercise selection and perhaps keep the weight a bit higher because the movement is easier, or more ergonomic:

Front/Back Neck: 1x8 each

Pendulum Seated Shrug: 2x8 (light to heavy)

Pendulum Vertical Chest Press: 2x8 (light to heavy) or Close grip 3-board Press: 3x5 @ 80-85%

Pendulum 3-way Row: 2x8 or 3x5 (light to heavy)

Pendulum Hip Press: 2x8 (light to heavy) or High box squat: 3x5 @ 70-75%

Core: 1-2 sets

In this example, your players get to handle a bit heavier weight with the barbell movements. With a machine alternative you also get to alter range of motion within a set track and ergonomic design.

As far as conditioning goes, get more bang for your buck. In other words, try to incorporate conditioning into practice. Some football coaches prefer to practice at a high tempo to accomplish this, some like to run gassers or other variations at the end of practice, still others prefer to have the strength coach come out and spend 10 minutes at the end (or even prior to team periods) to run the team. It can all work, but what doesn’t work is to try to add conditioning as another session throughout the week. Too many faucets going into the tub!

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Pendulum 5 Way Neck

This next piece is crucial. Communication. If you know what the week looks like as far as intensity on the field, you can manage intensity in the weight room. An easy week on the field can provide opportunity for a harder lift on one day. A very challenging week should be paired with a get the blood pumping and work the kinks out kind of lift (remember that 60% discussed earlier). Obviously the football staff will meet and go over a multitude of factors relating to practice, etc. If you as the strength coach have the opportunity to go to these meetings it can be very beneficial. If you don’t, then you absolutely have to make a point to get with your head coach and get a feel for what practice will look like in the coming days so that you can plan accordingly. The last thing you want is to give the players a hard lift thinking that practice is going to be a walk thru and then it’s filled with hard hitting and three periods of goal line. That is a recipe for injury. Along those lines, communicate with your athletic training staff as well. Get a feel for injury trends, and use that to re-tool your current plan or to plan ahead for the next phase of training. Most importantly, talk to your players. Specifically, talk to your guys that will give you honest feedback. Not the meat head who wants to max bench every day. Not the guy who is always trying to get out of things. Talk to the guys who consistently work hard and who have a good feel for the big picture. These guys know they should be sore and what kind of sore is a good sore; they know if they (and the team) can handle more or need rest. This relationship is absolutely vital.

Harrington Article Hip Press

Pendulum Hip Press

The final piece and the one that goes hand in hand with stress is nutrition. Good nutrition (and rest) equals recovery. And recovery is the all important factor. Optimal performance is less a function of how much you can endure, but rather what you can recover from. At the same token, you are not what you eat. You are what you digest. Not everyone can digest pizza, pasta, potatoes, milk, etc. - keep food allergies in mind. Most of us have no idea what we are allergic to unless it just about kills us. The real issue is with things that don’t elicit a huge response right away. Dairy and gluten can fall into this category. Keep an eye on players bodyweights to make sure there are no abnormal fluctuations. Constantly address hydration. By the way, hydration does not mean downing sports drinks 24/7. Keep sports drinks where they belong – during and immediately following practice. Rather, players should drink at least 50% of their bodyweight in ounces of water every day (a 200lb player would need 100oz of water daily). This is on top of any other beverages, like sports drinks. Avoid sugar, processed foods, and bad fats. Does a player have a hard time gaining or losing weight? If so, think hydration first. If he’s hydrated and getting enough calories, think food allergies and seek help of a nutritional professional.

At the end of the day, the main theme is to maintain a balanced stress level, communicate, and eat well. Don’t be afraid to adjust your lift calendar or exercise selection to accommodate the needs of your players. Then once spring gives way to summer, you get to transition them again and ramp it back up in preparation for two-a-day camp. Always working hard, because THERE IS NO OFF SEASON.  

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