I’m going to show you our plyometric jump program that we’re going to use to supplement the strength training program that you’re doing here at the gym. This jump program really has two main purposes, first off to teach you how to use that strength that you gained here in an explosive manner. This helps you move faster, this helps you jump higher, this helps you be more explosive and more powerful when it comes to training. This is the cherry on the top. You’ll see great results from this and it’s really important to do if you want to see your performance numbers, your jump numbers, your agility numbers improve.
The second thing and probably the more important thing is it’s going to help prevent injuries that often occur at the
beginning of a season. So often when athletes come off a summer of training they have their coach getting them back into two-a-day practices right away and all of a sudden you’ve got a huge amount of jumps, a huge amount of pounding on their joints that they’re just not used to having. You can be as strong as you want but strength training is different than actually playing. This jump program will help you perform better, but it’s also going to help prep your body for some of that abuse that it’s going to take in season.
This jump program like I said is for people who have been training. Strength is the foundation of all athleticism and if we’re not strong enough we’re not going to see great results. From this jump program, you might see some results especially early on but you’ll see the best results if you spent the time becoming strong in the gym first. Then
this program will teach you to use that strength in a really explosive powerful manner. That said, this isn’t something you should be taking on in season. If you’re playing a lot, you’ve got a lot of practice, you’ve got a lot of games going on, you’re doing a bunch of jumping, a bunch of running already throughout just your practices; we don’t want to use this plyometric jump program to pile on more jumps and more pounding and more impacts on our joints because that will end up just beating you up. It’s main purpose here is teaching you to use the strength that you already have in as fast of a manner as possible.
Some of the main keys here are: train fast be fast. This isn’t the type of work out where you should be tired. You should feel fresh and should feel powerful even at the end of your set. We’re training the nervous system here; we’re
not training the muscles. We’re training the nervous system to be powerful, to react quick, to be explosive. So that said, give yourself ample rest time in between sets. You can give yourself up to three to five minutes rest in between each set. You’ll probably want to go a little faster then that just timewise but don’t feel the need to rush through if
you’re out of breath you need to slow down. You need to relax so that we can be powerful, so that we can move fast during our training sets. Your first exercise is pretty simply, repeat jumps. We don’t want to be on the ground for a long time we want to be landing and immediately converting that downward force that stretch into an explosive jump again. We’ll go through exactly how many reps and sets of each of these exercises we want you doing in a download which will be right below this video.
So pretty simply we’re sitting back into our good athletic position, palms up at the ceiling, explode all the way up
jumping as high as you possibly can.
Up next we have repeat long jumps which are basically the horizontal equivalent of those last vertical jumps. With these guys you can take a little bit longer to actually stick your landing but then still going max jump; jumping as
far as you can each time.
Up next a box step up jump. For this one we will want a box at a height where our thigh is parallel to the ground. Too high and it becomes a little too much crunch. Too down low and we don’t get that full range of motion. Again jumping as high as we can we’re driving with that top foot off the top of the box. Jumping as high as we can we’ll switch our legs and then land with the opposite foot. Again with these, max jump. Get off the box as high as you possibly can. up next we have box jump ups box
Up next we have box jump ups. Box jump ups are pretty much as described. With these, one note of caution is please don’t try to be a hero and jump up onto the box that’s at our neck height. It makes for sweet youtube videos but it also makes for a lot of bloody shins and banged knees; so don’t feel the need to go ridiculously high. With this box, as you’re jumping I would rather see you a little bit more moderate box jumping way up and coming down nice and soft on top of the box rather than barely struggling to get up there. What often happens when people get too high of a box, they end up more doing like a tuck jump and just folding themselves up to get up onto the box rather than powering off the ground to get high up. Step down off your box. We don’t want to jump down off the box. That
actually causes a little too much impact that’s not necessary.
This last exercise that we’re going to show you is repeat scissor jumps. Starting in a lunge position, we’re going to jump as high as you can. We switch our legs, land with our legs in the opposite position. Again this is our most intense exercise so we only have this exercise in the later weeks of our jump program.
To get the exact breakdown of when and how many to do; make sure that you download the PDF that goes along with this. You’ll find it here. Download the PDF So with those jumps, what do you know where jumping as high as we can. It’s your goal not to be able to flip your legs fast, it’s be able to drive off those legs to get you up in the air.
If you’re not jumping as high as you can with these exercises, we are wasting our time.
There you guys have it. Train fast, be fast. You’ve put in good time in the weight room getting strong; now let’s spend the time turning that strength into absolute power.
You are trying to gain muscle, but it’s just not happening.
You train hard. So that’s not the problem. It must be your diet.
Sadly, most discussions about the proper diet for gaining muscle start with “if you weigh XXX pounds and want to gain 1 lb per week, you will need YYYY calories and ZZZ grams of protein every day”.
This completely overlooks the fact that you don’t live your life in a laboratory.
You have no clue what 25 grams of protein or 300 calories actually looks like.
To top it off, even though you put every morsel of food consumed into that app on your smartphone, there is up to a 20% margin of error with calorie counting.
So how does a natural ectomorph (science for ‘skinny dude’) like myself gain muscle?
Pretty simple: EAT!
Ok. Not as simple as it sounds. I don’t thoroughly enjoy eating. Not once have I felt the urge to post a picture of my food on social media. I’m just not a foodie, so when I am trying to gain muscle, I have to make a conscious decision to eat more.
Provided that you are training hard using compound strength exercises 2-4x/week, then your biggest priority for gaining muscle is to load up on good quality food!
Here are 5 of the ‘EAT MORE’ strategies we came up with together:
These recommendations are for people who don’t have an easy time adding muscle to their frame, and really just need to eat more. 1. Eat More Spaghetti (or whatever your favorite healthy meal is): He loves spaghetti, so we talked about adding it into his diet more frequently. It’s easier to eat foods you like. There isn’t anything magical about spaghetti, but having food you like is a HUGE part of adhering to any nutrition plan. If you enjoy it, you’ll stick with it. 2. Always use the largest plates and bowls in the house: You tend to eat more if you eat from a larger plate. As an aside, the inverse is also true (small plate=less food) and is one of the recommendations we make for people looking to throttle their food intake. 3. Add a pre-bed meal: The standard breakfast, lunch, dinner routine just doesn’t cut it sometimes. Rather than gorge yourself at each of the three meals, add a 4th (or 5th) to space out your food, and increase your intake. 4. Eat fast: Get as much food in you as you can, before your body tells you it’s full. It takes a lot of willpower to keep eating when you are full. It’s your goal to get as much food in as possible before your body tells you to stop! 5. Drink a gallon of milk a day (or try): It’s an old school bodybuilder trick, but the only time I have had success adding mass to my frame was when I was going through about 16L of milk each week, in addition to my normal meals. No that’s not a typo. Every week I would go through 4 jugs of milk by myself. If you tolerate dairy well, milk is a great source of both calories and protein. Given that it is a liquid, this makes it easy for people like me who don’t thoroughly enjoy eating.
More Strategies for Gaining Muscle:
It’s all about finding ways to eat more (quality) food. This post is long enough as it is, but our list contained 6 more items. If you want the full list, you can download it by clicking the button below and letting me know which email address to send it to. Download: 11 Strategies to Eat More for Muscle Growth I’d love to hear below in the comments what works for you guys when it comes to putting more food in your belly!
Here’s the story my coach shared with the team at the very beginning of what would turn out to be our national championship season.
It propelled us to a gold medal, and it will drive you to be your best…but only if you take it to heart!
It very well could have been that epic speech from your favorite fictional sports movie, but after a little research, it turns out that it was completely true!
So here’s the story:
In 1911, the world was running out of new lands to discover, so the South Pole became a desirable goal for many explorers. The race to the South Pole between John Falcon Scott and Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was on.
The environment was uncertain and unforgiving; where temperatures could easily reach -30 °C even during the summer. They had no means of modern communications – no cell phones, no satellite links, no radio – a rescue would have been improbable were they to err. One leader led his team to victory and safety. The other led his team to defeat and death.
A striking a difference between the preparations between the two men was the discipline of Amundsen to press forward in bad weather and hold back his team in good weather:
Throughout the journey, Amundsen adhered to a regimen of consistent progress, never going too far in good weather, careful to stay away from the red line of exhaustion that could leave his team exposed, yet pressing ahead in nasty weather to stay on pace.
Amundsen throttled back his well-tuned team to travel between 15 and 20 miles per day, in a relentless march to 90 degrees south.
When a member of Amundsen’s team suggested they could go faster, up to 25 miles a day, Amundsen said no. They needed to rest and sleep so as to continually replenish their energy.
In contrast, Scott would sometimes drive his team to exhaustion on good days and then sit in his tent and complain about the weather on bad days. At one point, Scott faced 6 days of gale force winds and traveled on none, whereas Amundsen faced 15 and traveled on 8.
Amundsen clocked in at the South Pole right on his pre-decided pace, having averaged 15.5 miles per day. Scott in contrast fell behind early, with no plan of a daily pace, and as the conditions worsened, enhanced by his lack of preparation for unforeseen events, he and his team never recovered.
On December 15, 1911, Amundsen, and his team reached the South Pole. He and his teammates planted the Norwegian flag and then went right back to work on their journey home.
Amundsen and his team reached home base on January 25th, the precise day he had planned. Running out of supplies, Scott, and his team stalled in mid-March, exhausted and depressed.
Eight months later, a British reconnaissance party found the frozen bodies of Scott and two teammates in a forlorn, snow-drifted little tent, just ten miles short of his supply depot. His whole team had perished.
Now back to my story.
That steady desire to improve every day set the stage for success.
Every practice that year, every workout, every match, every healthy meal was that same mindset. We need to put in our 20-mile march to get to our target.
We didn’t work any harder during the sunny days, but we also didn’t sit in our tent and complain about the weather or how busy our schedules were, or how tired we were on the rough days.
As a team, and as individuals, we decided that if we wanted to win, there would be no great days, no bad days, just a whole string of good days. We put in that 20-mile march every day so we had the chance to reach our goal.
Sure enough…at the end of the season, we had the chance to experience that we had the chance to experience that court storming moment every athlete dreams of!
What’s your 20-mile march?
When it comes to your strength training, are you like Scott or Amundsen? When is the last time you went to the gym and put in a ’20 mile march’?
Consistency trumps intensity EVERY SINGLE TIME! The person who commits to strength training year round will ALWAYS get better results than the person who does the extended, grueling workouts… but only a few months of the year.
If you are going to get started with strength training…commit to the 20-mile march. Be consistent, rather than going all out… ‘but only when you have the time’
To start your 20-mile march… just enter your email address below, and download “The FIRST 5 Exercises an Athlete Should Learn”.
I know it’s exciting for you to load up the bench press, do your ‘jump training’, or follow that plyometrics program you bought online. However, if you put the cart before the horse, at best you’ll end up hitting a plateau, and at worst you’ll end up on the sidelines with a preventable injury.
You can’t build performance on top of dysfunction- Gray Cook
You have to learn how to move well before you can get into high intensity training.
I know that you are a go-getter, and always want to push the line!
The ‘work you til you puke’ mindset sure makes great TV and great advertisements. An ad like this one would be a lot less motivating if they just showed people foam rolling and doing mobility drills rather than box jumps and sled pushes.
If you can’t do a full squat without your knees diving in together and your heels coming off the ground, the best thing you can do for your performance and health is learn to move well.
Likewise, here is an upper body screening test we do with all of our volleyball and baseball players to ensure they have healthy shoulders.
Here are 3 reasons why you need to move well BEFORE you ‘get after it’ with your training:
You will get better results, with less effort. You’re already tired from practice. Establishing good movement patterns can have a huge impact on your performance without draining you even further.
Prevent injuries before they happen.
Build a higher top end. Those that move well have a greater capacity to handle the ‘intense’ training needed to play sports at a high level without getting injured.
If your coach is all ‘rah rah let’s work you into the ground cause being tired is a good thing’ then it’s time for a new strength coach.
I’m all for pushing the intensity level when the time is right, but you have to balance the ‘how much’ you are moving with ‘how well’ you are moving.
Take Jen for example, she added about 2.5″ to her spike touch in the first couple of weeks of working with me, and we barely touched a weight, and did minimal ‘plyometrics’ during that time.
Athletes (I’m looking at you high school boys), it’s a tough sell, but learning proper technique for squats, bench press, and deadlifts, will pay huge dividends. Just loading up the bar and going nuts regardless of form and flexibility levels is a recipe for early plateaus and injury.
An increased emphasis on technique early on in your lifting career will pay dividends on your performance now, and on your ability to train pain-free in the future.
A lack of emphasis on establishing quality movement isn’t the only thing that holds athletes back, so I’ve put together 5 of the top mistakes that high school athletes make when it comes to their training.
Here is one of my favorite quotes related to motivation, sports, and strength and conditioning. Hope it motivates you, or just causes you to stop and think for a couple minutes.
The desire to succeed must be matched by the desire to prepare to succeed.
Everyone notices the guy who is super intense when it comes to game time…but much less celebrated is the guy who brings that focus to every day of training and practice. Often what’s behind the scenes is really the difference maker in who wins, and who loses.
As an teammate, I wasn’t known for my raw athleticism, nor my skills. I was the kind of player that was willing to put his head down and do the work necessary for success behind the scenes.
That’s what made me successful
It’s easy to be passionate when you are under the bright lights.
Do you bring the same level of focus and intensity to your practices as you do to games?
Do you practice harder during the two weeks leading up to nationals? or do you bring that focus to practice all year round?
Do you spend your off-season strength-training? or de-conditioning?
If you want to be the star in the biggest games, on the biggest stage…you gotta put the work in long before game-day starts.
Download: 20+ Motivational Quotes for Athletes
If your ready to commit to being better now, so you can perform your best later then click the big orange button below to request a free consultation. You tell me what you want to achieve, and I’ll help you with the how.
Some coaches call it the two minute test. As a coach you know which athletes will be successful, and which won’t have success within the first two minutes of their first consultation.
It’s completely true, there are some pretty strong indicators of who will be successful with a program, and who is going to walk away and say “that training program doesn’t work”.
While some coaches just refuse to work with those clients, I’m of the opinion that it’s my responsibility to train that behavior, and get good results for each of my clients.
To get great results for each of my clients, we first need to make sure that their mindset is in the right place.
Here’s what it breaks down to:
If you take responsibility for yourself – success. If you blame everything else – no success. Period.
People much smarter than myself have categorized these two mindsets into the following:
Someone with a fixed mindset blames others and their situation for what’s happening to them.
Someone with a fixed mindset thinks the following things:
Talent is something you are born with
Athleticism is genetically determined
I don’t get much playing time because the coach doesn’t like me
My school grades are determined by my innate intelligence
Someone with a growth mindset believes that they have control over their situation.
Someone with a growth mindset thinks the following things:
If I practice, I can improve my skills
Working out makes me faster and stronger
I earn more playing time by working hard in practice
My school grades are determined by my effort
More on growth vs. fixed mindset:
Growth vs. fixed mindset isn’t my idea…and it isn’t exclusive to the world of athletics.
Success in school, career, and relationships all are impacted by your mindset.
Here are some good resources from around the web that expand on this topic!
“the key to success is not simply effort, or focus, or resiliency, but it is the growth mindset that creates them. Research shows that when we directly try to build grit or persistence, it is not nearly as effective as addressing the mindset that underlies them”
Even if you’re stuck in a ‘Fixed’ mindset right now, the cool thing is that you can change. (see what I did there?)
If your family’s busy schedule makes eating whole, natural foods difficult, or if your teenager is asking you to buy protein powder and you’re clueless as to where to start, then this post is for you.
You’re here to discover if protein shakes are safe (healthy even) for teenagers.
Unfortunately, much of the information you find online about nutritional supplements come from the people who are also trying to sell you those supplements. If that doesn’t put your consumer spidey senses on high alert, I’m not sure what will.
As I write this, I haven’t sold any food/supplement beyond selling chocolate covered almonds to raise money for my school when I was a kid. For full disclosure, I do coach nutrition to high school athletes.
What’s the point?
Protein is used all throughout the body, most notably in the muscles to help create movement.
A lack of protein results in decreased athletic performance and decreased health.
After sitting down with a number of teenage athletes to talk food, it’s clear that protein intake is inadequate, and robbing them of performance on the field.
…enter the supplement industry to save the day! But the first question we need to ask is:
Are Protein Shakes Safe For Teenagers?
Yes. Protein shakes are safe for teenagers…if you choose wisely. The flashier the package, and the bigger the promise it makes, the bigger the chance that there is something unwanted inside.
As an aside, the ‘mega-ultra-super-pump’ with a bunch of stimulants for your pre-workout is a separate discussion from a powdered protein.
Whey (and casein) protein comes from milk. If you are ok giving your teenager milk, then protein shakes are completely safe!
Obviously there are millions of products, and I can’t say that all of them are safe. The hesitation I have with many supplements is not with the protein…but with all the additional additives.
My little man enjoying a protein smoothie on a hot day!
I personally buy a basic whey protein from the Langley Costco and have no problem mixing it into a smoothie for my two year old. It’s been super hot here in the Fraser Valley, so a frozen fruit smoothie treat was just perfect after play time outside 🙂
With the addition of vanilla protein powder, it served as a whole meal!
Are protein shakes healthy?
I’m a huge fan of eating whole foods. Anyone who has looked through my Athletic Meal Guide will attest to this.
One thing you will notice is that I do include whey protein under the 21 Superfoods list included with that report….here’s why:
The families of the athletes I coach are incredibly busy, and eating enough protein necessary for health and performance won’t happen by accident.
Without a concerted effort, most young athletes aren’t going to meet their protein intake for optimal performance. Yes, it would be great if all your protein came from steak, chicken, and other quality meats. Judging from history, that doesn’t often happen.
Protein powder is a very convenient way to obtain your daily protein requirement.
A good protein powder can improve health and boost performance (and you can carry it in your gym bag without worrying about it going bad before the end of the day!)
Choosing a whey protein shake:
Barring a milk allergy, choose whey protein over soy or other options.
Most of the added bonus stuff in proteinpowders is marketing hype. I always have liked the 100% whey protein from Costco or Superstore. (The chocolate tastes better on its own, but the vanilla is easier to mix into smoothies, etc.)
Some protein powders have a bunch of sugars added to them, which can be helpful or harmful depending on the intended purpose for using them (see the different types below).
In general, there are really two different types of proteinshakes that are useful.
Protein Shake Type 1: When your meal lacks a quality protein
If your meal lacks a quality protein, a powdered version can be just the answer. Look for something that is almost completely protein.
The ones that are pure whey/casein without any added sugar are what you are looking for. These are great for adding protein to a meal that is lacking, or ensuring that you get enough protein into your diet throughout the day.
Protein Shake Type 2: As a post workout recovery shake
The second type of protein shake that is beneficial is the mid-workout/post-workout protein shake. It contains a lot of sugar which makes it ideal for restoring energy stores, but makes it a poor choice for outside that window.
Since the sugars are put to use in the body immediately, much of the drawbacks associated with sugary drinks are negated.
Look for something with about 3 grams of carbohydrates for every 1 gram of protein. It should have whey or BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids) as the basis for the protein.
Obviously, the ones with the extra sugar are going to be tastier, so if you really dislike the unsweetened ones, then I would stick with drinking nature’s protein shake…milk.
A parting thought:
Don’t let protein powder and other supplements be your excuse for eating poorly. They are super useful, and protein shakes are very safe…but they must compliment a well balanced diet and training program if they are to be of any use.
A great place to start with healthy nutrition is by eating proteins from a variety of sources like those listed in my 21 Superfoods guide below.
It’s my job to coach and mentor athletes. My day to day work consists of hanging out with competitive athletes, and sharing my experience to help theirs go more smoothly. Here is why I am passionate about what I do (in a random, unorganized fashion):
PS. This started as interview questions for a school project from one of the high school athletes I coach. The questions were:
1. Why do you think mentorship is important?
2. Why do you love to mentor?
3. How have you been impacted by a mentor in your life?
5 thoughts on being a mentor
#1 Pay it forward
I had tons of quality coaches and mentors in my formative years. Doing a good job mentoring someone has a trickle down effect and impacts more than just the person you were mentoring. I’d like to think that my mentors and coaches would appreciate what I am doing to pay it forward. Hopefully some of the people I have worked with will have a chance to pay it forward too!
I like helping people. It’s in my nature to want to see others have success. Being an athlete mentor was the natural career choice for me (although my formal job title is ‘Strength Coach’).
#4 Transfer of experience
As a mentor I fill the gap between book smarts and street smarts. A lot of things you aren’t able to learn unless you actually do them. A mentor usually has been there/done that which bridges the gap for the individuals who are trying things for the first time.
#5 Objective Feedback
A good mentor can provide objective feedback for things that an individual can’t see in themselves. It’s hard to take an unbiased look at yourself and your situation, which is where a mentor can help out.
All in all, I feel super blessed that I have the opportunity to do my job each day. I get to work with sweet high-school athletes every day, and have a positive impact on their life!