Auto-Regulatory Training and Jump Heights

Auto-regulatory training is a pretty straightforward concept. It hinges on the idea of not just showing up and doing something on a lift-card just because it was written on the lift-card. Instead, you might have a workout on the lift card, but you use some sort of test to determine whether or not you think what is written on the card is actually what you should be doing that day. Now, instead of using auto-regulation to completely change your entire training day, you can use it in many other different facets. Fore example, you can use auto-regulation to assign what load you should be lifting today, how many reps you should lift a load for, or how long you should rest between loads.

Personally, I see value in all types of auto-regulatory training. However, not all types of auto-regulatory training are useful in all situations. For example, the more complex the auto-regulation gets, the more supervision and trust is required. This is the exact reason why it may not always be best to do the most invasive form of auto-regulation… you just don’t have the time to do it for 30 athletes. So, what can we do?

First off, we need to define what we are training for and how we are going to train for it. Use training for power as an example…Typically, we train for power with maximal intent and high quality repetitions. If we want to build power, we need quality and well, for the most part, quality suffers at hands of fatigue. Either athletes do too much or rest too little to keep velocity and therefore, power high enough. We can’t always control effort, but we can somewhat control recovery via rest times. This is where auto-regulating rest intervals comes in to play. If we make sure athletes are rested for the next set, we know we have the full capacity to develop power (effort is another story)

A simple pen and paper can do the trick. Continue reading “Auto-Regulatory Training and Jump Heights”

The Power Of Jump Metrics

The rehabilitation process is a very complex, multidimensional endeavor. It is extremely hard to determined when an athlete is truly ready to return to perform at their highest level. Despite the fact that psychologically they may be more than ready to return, their body may not permit it, or visa versa. There is no “best answer” to this problem. It is much more of a sliding scale (kind of and maybe) than it is binary (ready or not).

One aspect of return to play that is often overlooked in the sports performance world is the standardization of measurement. For example, strength coaches may use a series of physical performance tests to determine an athlete’s physical profile, while on the other hand an athletic trainer or a physical therapist may use a separate set of metrics. Now, this isn’t to say one metric is superior to the other, it is simply to point out that lack of standardization can make comparing before and after profiles quite difficult.

To solve this problem, open communication is the quickest answer. How many physical therapists (PTs) and athletic training (ATs) know an athlete’s max squat, 40 yard dash time, single leg vertical jump or yo-yo score prior to the injury? My guess not many… If the performance coach, who is responsible for the development of well, performance puts value into these metrics as an indicator success, then it might be wise for the athletic trainers and physical therapist to value these metrics as well. Now, the same can be said for the strength coach as well. If the ATs and PTs value certain metrics, maybe the performance coach should understand the significance of these metrics. We can sit here and debate all day as to which metrics we should value over others, however at the end of the day, it comes down to utility. Are these metrics easy to obtain and do we have the equipment for it? If so, how easy is it to use this equipment and how applicable is it in our given setting?

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Training Day 1 (Explosive Strength)

Warm Up

5 minutes of active mobility (Your choice)

Target Areas

  • Ankles
  • Hips
  • Spinal Articulations
  • Single and Double Leg

5 minutes of dynamic prep

  • Walking lunge and twist
  • Low level 2 foot hops
  • Lateral lunge and step
  • Low level skips
  • Straight leg skips
  • 3 40 yard build ups 60,70, and 85%

Plyo Prep

  • 3 in place max vertical jumps (repeated jumps) x 2 (40 second rest between)
  • 3 horizontal broad jumps (repeated jumps) x 2 (40 seconds)

Continue reading “Training Day 1 (Explosive Strength)”

The Modified 1 by 20

The 1 x 20 method has been around for awhile and for most strength and conditioning professionals, it is nothing new. The concept was developed/popularized by Dr. Yessis and through its success, spread quite quickly to nearly all ages.

In short, the program is predicated on performing a minimal effective dose and building from there. If you only need to do one set, then why spend your time doing anything more?

Another enticing aspect of the 1×20 system is that the total number of reps in a set allows for not only a training stimulus, but a teaching stimulus. An athlete gets the chance to practice the form of a specific movement under submaximal conditions.

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Use Feedback To Increase Gains

Coaches are always looking for ways to improve their training programs. Whether it is new equipment or better practices, if you are not an early adapter you might be leaving some performance gains on the table. However, what if there was a way to increase the effectiveness of your program without having to change a single aspect of it?  You don’t need any new periodization scheme and you don’t need any new special exercise. You can simply make your program more effective by providing athletes with both verbal and visual feedback. What do I mean?

Verbal can come from the coach while visual can be done with a velocity measuring device/jump mat/anything that gives a quantitative value. There have been studies looking at the effects of long-term (6 weeks) and immediate feedback (verbal and visual) on performance.In all three studies, feedback was shown to be an effective way to increase the training effect (1,2,3).

Visual Feedback

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Getting Stronger Doesn’t Guarantee You Are Getting Better

Getting stronger in the weight room does not mean you are getting better on the field. However, it can increase your potential for on field success. If lifting weights made you better at a sport (aside from weightlifting) every strength coach would be a professional athlete. But, as we all sadly know, this isn’t the case.

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Say we had two athletes, A and B. Both athletes are basketball players. Lets say athlete A only trained in the weight room and athlete B only trained by practicing basketball. Who do you think would be a better basketball player? Athlete B, without a doubt.

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Why Weight Train?

If weight training doesn’t make you better at your sport, then why do it? Weight training is designed to increase your potential (physiologically), not your performance. This means if used properly, strength training can aid your sports training.

In all honesty, the two (sport training and weight room) should not be differentiated. The two should be used in conjunction with on another. However, if you had to only pick one, you should probably pick sports training.

Increasing Potential

The idea of “increasing potential” is predicated on systemic changes in the body (tissue, muscular, neural, bone etc…). For example, from a reductionist point of view, sport is comprised of synchronized muscular contractions to produce an outcome. Theoretically, if we can increase these most basic qualities that make up a sport, we can improve the sport as a whole. This answer to this question is yes and no. Yes, there is little doubt that we can improve the potential of the athlete. No, there is not a guarantee that improving the individual parts of the movement will increase the system as a whole.

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The easiest way to think of this is in terms of cars. The car is representation of the physical potential. A Ferrari has the potential to go faster than a Prius. However, the driver (skill) is what uses the car. It doesn’t matter how fast a Ferrari can go, if the driver doesn’t know how to drive the car, the Prius will win every time


As coaches we need to understand what our role is. Getting too caught up in one aspect can hinder the athlete’s development. We need to not only build the potential of the athlete, but help the athlete learn how to use their potential. Training needs to be a complex approach designed around making the athlete better as a whole.


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