Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Improving effort and tempo in the weight room

Improving our participation was the biggest priority of this past off season.  I wrote a prior article about Creating Off Season Competition.  The numbers went up, and this trickled through to our spring ball and now into our summer practices.
We essentially were able to weed out the non committed kids and our attendance is better than it has ever been in my 4 years here.  We finally had kids showing up every single day but then came the next hurdle.

I looked at what our kids were doing in the weight room and I wasn't happy with all of them.  They were there in the weight room but some left not sweating and I saw them milling around far too much.  I knew I needed to make a change to make sure each kid was WORKING during hour lifting sessions.

I then recalled a phone conversation/interview I had with CAL S&C coach Mike Blasquez.  Since CAL has no made the change to no huddle spread, I asked how it has impact his weight room philosophy, especially in regard to their tempo and rest in the weight room.  He said they had to change how they rested and now all of their rest times are sped up.  They try to mirror the frantic pace of a Tony Franklin style practice within their weight room.

I decided with our equipment limitations I wouldn't be able to go quite as fast as what a D-1 college might do in their weight room, but I knew that the days of just writing the workout on a whiteboard and letting the kids free lift were OVER for our program.

I decided that from now on, EVERYTHING is going to be timed.  We use a segment timer in practice every day, why not in the weight room as well.

First I analyzed our weight room, the equipment we had, and the number of players we had at each level.
we typically have in the low 40s per level.  For some reason everything in our weight room comes in 3s... 3 squat racks, 3 bench presses, 3 adjustable benches.

Using that information I came up with the following guidelines for our weight room.


  • We will always workout in groups of 3, no groups of 4 are allowed because it will destroy our tempo
  • We will have 5 lifts/exercises per day
  • Each of the selected lifts has 3 locations (rack, bench, pull up bar, location outside)
  • Each "station" will have 9 minutes, then we rotate
  • This totals out to 45 minutes to complete our workout
We typically do between 3-4 sets of each lift... 9 minutes doesn't give the kids much time to screw around.  To complete their lifts they basically have to do their set, rack it up, change weights, and the next person is lifting right away.  Kids can't hide out like they used to, I know where I started each of them so I know what lift they are supposed to be doing at a given time.

To keep the kids on schedule I use a timer app on my phone.  Since the rotations happen every 9 minutes, I just keep restarting the 9 minute timer after we rotate from each station.

I see our working harder and getting more done than ever before.

Our school is months away from an entire reconstruction, which includes a new weight room.  This process will be even easier when we have a more state of the art weight room that has nothing but racks in it.  

If you have a set up with many racks and free weight your players never have to move... each rotation simply means changing to a new lift.  This way is even better because you can better control the lift order of each student for maximal gains.

The next step I am going to make is to create a CD with music that has the 9 minute intervals built in to it.
I got this software for doing so and it is my new weekend project.


2 comments:

  1. Great post- you could also look at the Crossfit model.

    Time the workouts for one group at a time and record them on the board.

    So- Group A does the workout for time and finishes. Group B and C spot/count reps.

    Then rotate.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Agree Great Post!!

    We run the up tempo no huddle as well and our practice tempo is very quick. Coach them up on video and get the reps on the field.

    On a side note... Would love to get a copy of your music cd. We play music in the weight room as well as the field.

    Thanks Coach!!

    ReplyDelete