Thursday, January 31, 2008

Training Philosophy (Part 2: Necessities)

Hello Everyone!

I'll get straight to the point... train like you play!

Athletes are some of the busiest people I know (strength coaches are the first!) and any time an athlete can dedicate to resistance training is time that needs to be well spent. Below are some of my "program necessities" that I feel should be included as much as possible in most athletes' training sessions.

Program Necessities for Athletes
1.) Sport Functional

* When appropriate try to mimic movements
that are done on the competitive stage. Why lie down on a bench and pump out presses when athletes rarely (if ever) lie down during a game/match and push? Same thing goes for the leg press, if you're injury-free, get out of that machine! If the athlete's sport is played standing make most of your exercises standing. Studies have shown that the body is very sensitive and adapts specifically to how it is trained. Train on the leg press, and you'll get better at the leg press, train using lunges & squats, and you'll strengthen your body in movements that are similar to those done on the court!2.) Multi-planar/Multi-direction
* Many programs forget to add transverse and frontal plane exercises in their routines, instead including only the sagittal plane. Very few sports are done by just running straight forward & backwards, most are done with lateral shuffles, diagonal cuts, and many other side-to-side mo
vements. The body needs to be strengthened in this matter as well (again the body is very particular about how it adapts). Be sure to include all-planes in your training (a great example exercise is the lateral lunge).
3.) Corrective Work
* Look at the general injury trends for your sport; what are the most common injuries? For example, golfers & volleyball players spend the majority of their competition with their shoulders rounded forward as they prepare to hit the ball. Many times this causes an over-stretching of the upper back and tightness along the upper chest & shoulders. I mentioned last time the importance of healthy posture and injury-free training. Why not prevent injuries by adding some corrective work to your programs (even if there isn't signs of injury/imbalance)? In the case of our golfers & volleyball players, try adding some corrective scap work and extra pulling movements while limiting the pressing.

4.) Power & Reactive Work
* There are big differences between being the strongest athlete and the most powerful athlete. The most powerful athlete is most likely getting more playing time and is seen as more athletic. The simplest way I can explain this is: Training for strength usually involves heavy (near max) loads that the athlete moves at a slow speed (because it's so heavy) while power exercises require you to move the weight as fast as possible. Are sports slow or fast? Of course they are fast! If you only train your body using slow movements your body will adapt by becoming stronger, but it will not fire as explosively as you would like. Add power movements that train your body to be fast & explosive (just like your sport)! NOTE: Strength goals & exercises should also be a part of your program, because it is important to be strong, just don't forget to add power.
* Along those same lines, add some quick, reactive work to your programs. Quick jumps & agility drills demand the body to fire faster and reinforce that not only do you want to be strong, but you want to be able to explosively use that strength!

5.) Core Strength & Stabilization
* It's becoming more and more common knowledge that a strong, balanced core is key for optimal performance. If you still are not adding core work to your programs than watch the next time you attempt a heavy (near max or max) squat. When your form starts to break down what happens? Do the hips rise faster than the chest? Back starts to round? Many times it's the core giving out first. The number one core strengthening exercise IMO? Front, Side, & Back Pillars. If possible, add standing core exercises as well (reference #1).

6.) Full Range of Motion & Flexibility
* Some times athletes will ask me, "Why do I have to squat so low? I never squat that low in a game." A valid question indeed. For my basketball players I usually reply with a question of my own, "What do you hear coach always saying about playing defense?" The reply commonly involves "getting/staying low". If you train in a full range of motion than you are strengthening that muscle through its entire length, and muscles, like most things, are only as strong as their weakest link. We all have the ability to squat low...or at least we used time you're around a toddler watch how they bend over to pick up things. By training the entire length of the muscle we know we are training our body as it meant to work, the way it was when we first got it.
7.) Train the Energy System
* This refers more to speed & agility work, but can be applied in the weight room. Depending on your athletes' sport you should be training either Anaerobically or Aerobically. Many team sports are anaerobic in nature, requiring energy from the ATP/CrP system and Glycolysis system. Limit rest periods between sets to those similar to the rest periods seen in competition (obviously within reason, if you're maxing out, don't give yourself only 30 seconds between each set). And when conditioning, don't run/jog mile after mile if your sport involves many bouts of sprinting. Running a mile will only make you better at running the mile (see my "Interval Training for Athletes" article).

8.) Quick Tips
A.) 2:1 ratio for PULL:PUSH movements. Most athletes over-train their pushing muscles and under-train their pulling.
B.) Train that Posterior Chain! Athletes should look better going than coming! The front is for show, the back is for go! You get the idea.
C.) Activation Techniques. Foam rollers & bands should be used at least once a week to keep the body balanced.

Whew! I hope you found some things useful in this post. If you have any questions/comments feel free to post on this blog or contact me via email.

Keep Liftin',
Coach Amanda Haren

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Training Philosophy (Part 1: Injuries)

Hey Everyone!

I believe it is so important to have philosophies; to live by, work by, and train by. As a strength & conditioning coach I sincerely believe that it does not matter how strong, powerful, or fast an athlete is if that athlete is injured.

So many times I've heard of athletes coming back from injuries too early (whether because of their own desire, or that of a coach) only to be re-injured and miss more playing time. Not only that, but many times athletic performance & training departments ignore an athlete's warning signs...many of which can be precursors to injuries. It must also be said that the field as a whole has made huge progress in this area and because of this I am always conscious of and trying to combat these 5 issues/warning signs for my athletes.

1.) Postural Issues
Examples include: Rounded Shoulders & Pelvic Tilt (anterior & posterior)

2.) Muscle Imbalances
Examples include: Quad VS Hamstring, Chest VS Back, Anterior Shoulder VS Posterior Scap, Abdominal VS Low Back

3.) Mobility Deficiencies
Examples include: Ankle, Hip, Shoulder, Thoracic Spine

4.) Muscle Inactivation
Examples include: Gluteus Medius, Hamstring, VMO (especially in females)

5.) Flexibility Limitations
Examples include: Hamstring, Shoulder, Hip Flexors

If, as a professional that is entrusted with making athletes better, you do not consider these issues and how they can personally affect individuals, you are in essence keeping your athletes at a higher than necessary risk level for injury, and in many cases preventing them from reaching their true potential...a potential that is best expressed in athletes that are balanced, mobile, flexible, fully-activated, and have healthy posture.

Next time I will discuss key components for any athletes' training program & specifics about the exercises you should be including.

Keep liftin',
Coach Amanda Haren

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Athlete Training: Dispelling Myths

Hello Everyone!

I've published another article on Scribd, this one is about Athletes & Myths. As a strength & conditioning coach I am always surprised by how many athletes waste their time believing wrong information! Don't fall into these 5 myths.....
Check it out here:

Keep Liftin',
Coach Amanda Haren

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Oh, she's certified!

I almost forgot to mention that I am not only a professional in health & fitness, but a certified professional!

National Strength & Conditioning Association
Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)

USA Weightlifting
Club Coach (USAW)

American Red Cross
CPR&First Aid

Keep Liftin',
Coach Amanda

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Interval Training for Athletes

Are you an athlete that needs to get in shape...FAST? Or someone that wants to lose fat? Either way you would probably like to check out my short article on Interval Training. It tells you the why and how of intervals.

Check it out here:

Keep Liftin',
Coach Amanda Haren

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Eat to Compete Article

Hello Everyone!

For all my athletes out there (or those weekend warriors), I've published a short article on Scribd. Check it out here:

Eat to Compete
: don't let the food you eat prevent you from being your best!

Keep Liftin',
Coach Amanda Haren

Who I Am: In My Own Words

In this last part of my "get to know me" mini-series, I'll briefly tell you who I am and aspire to be.

Part 3:

"Determination is the wake-up call to the human will." -A. Robbins
I am a highly motivated person that does not easily give up. I am most happy when I reach a goal, whether it is my own, or helping someone else reach his/hers.

Practice what you preach.
As you can see, I am a huge practicer of what I preach, I will never recommend anything unless it works and I have done it myself.

Don't reinvent the wheel.
There are many intelligent people that I have had the privilege of learning from. I will save you the time and energy I spent searching for what truly works by sharing what I have learned.

With great power comes great responsibility.
I truly value your time and will never waste it with useless information. There are many times in my life that I wish people would have just got to the point and told me what is really important.

Keep Liftin',
Coach Amanda Haren

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Who I Am: Experience

Education and book-smarts are only a piece of the puzzle when it comes to being a good professional. You will see in this second part of my mini-series that my experience has both variety and depth:

Part 2:

Strength & Conditioning

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
, Greensboro, NC
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach August 2007-Present (May 2008)
* Coached & assisted all of UNCG's 13 sports
* Designed & implemented strength & conditioning programs for 5 sports
* Periodized training & conditioning programs for teams & individuals
* Designed & implemented movement enhancement programs for the Women's Tennis team

The University of Akron, Akron, OH
Student Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach September 2006-July2007
* Coached the Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball, & Softball Teams
* Coached Division 1 athletes in the weight room & speed training
* Developed & designed in-season, off-season, * pre-season programs
* Coached athletes on proper lifting technique
* Led Women's Basketball team through pre-game active warm-up * stretching routine


Guilford College, Greensboro, NC
College Instructor August 2007-Present (May 2008)
* Taught Weightlifting to undergraduate students of all backgrounds and educational interest
* Topics covered including basic anatomy, goal setting, lifting techniques, proper form, & learning how to design & implement one's own program

The University of Akron, Akron, OH
Graduate Assistant August 2006-July 2007
* Taught Physiology of Exercise Laboratory, in conjunction with lecture material
* Topics covered included VO2 (submax & max), body composition, anaerobic power, flexibility, pulmonary function testing, & blood pressure assessments

Sports-Specific Training

Velocity Sports Performance
Mayfield Village, OH
Sports Performance Coach April 2006-March 2007
* Coached athletes, from youth to professional, through company-specific workouts
* Coached athletes through three phases during each workout; an active-dynamic warm-up, a movement specific section, & strength & conditioning

Personal Training

Personal Training Northeast Ohio
Independent Personal Trainer 2005-Present
* Designed & implemented programs for a variety of individuals
* Led people to achieving their goals

American Health & Fitness

NASA Glenn Fitness Center Cleveland, OH
Fitness Center Assistant February 2004-May 2006
* Assisted fitness center members with fitness equipment, programs, & related questions
* Worked on a variety of fitness center programs & advertising; targeted on motivating current members & gaining new membership

Baldwin-Wallace College Berea, OH
Fitness Center Assistant January 2005-May 2005
* Monitored fitness center attendance
* Cleaned & maintained a safe & healthy fitness center

As you can see I have a variety of experiences that have helped me become a skilled and qualified health and fitness professional. I am confident in my abilities as I have already helped many individuals achieve their goals; whether it be sport-specific related or body transformation. It has been a very satisfying journey helping others in health and fitness and I look forward to helping many others in the near future.

Keep Liftin',
Coach Amanda Haren

Friday, January 4, 2008

Who I Am: Education

In today's world, its important to know who you are getting your information from. That is why I am providing you important information about myself in a quick and easy to reference mini-series.

Part 1:

The University of Akron, Akron, OH
Masters Degree, August 2007
Major: Exercise Physiology/Adult Fitness
Overall GPA: 4.0/4.0

Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, OH
Bachelors of Arts, May 2006
Majors: Exercise Physiology & Fitness Management
Minor: Chemistry
Overall GPA: 3.5/4.0

That's the black and white, if your still reading then here's the fun gray...

* Studied abroad at The University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia for 4.5 months.
* Was part of an "over 100 year old" ceremony during Baldwin-Wallace's Graduation called the White Rose, I was personally selected by faculty and staff for my unique and contributing characteristics and talents.

And a little "Personal Note"...
I believe successful professionals are those that are always students. In practicing this belief I am currently reading highly recommended books on strength and conditioning and just recently attended my first professional convention, East Tennessee State University's SPEC Coaches and Sport Sciences College. At the convention I had the honor to meet and personally talk with Meg Stone, the first Female Division 1 Head Strength and Conditioning Coach in the world.

At this point you are either calling me a smarty-pants or slightly relieved you aren't wasting your time reading my blog (at least I'm educated). Most likely its the first :-)

Keep Liftin',
Coach Amanda Haren