I have used the dead bug exercises for over 10 years and think it is one of the best exercises to train your external obliques. The external obliques work with your glutes and hamstrings to keep your pelvis neutral. Keeping your pelvis neutral is vital to reduce the chance of low back pain and hip injuries.
If you can keep your pelvis neutral then all the muscles (hip flexors, adductors, abductors, etc.) will be at a normal length-tension relationship. This is important so that all of those different muscles can generate force and reduce force more efficiently. That’s why training your external obliques are very important. Here is a new progression for dead bugs that we are going to use, see what you think:
Note – The reps are done for breathes; we will perform 3-6 breathes per side. The exhale is done while the movement occurs.
I remember doing a guest lecture for a class at Springfield College in 2005 and remember a student asking an endless amount of questions. I could sense his passion and enthusiasm that day when he asked those questions and knew that this young man was going to be successful in our industry.
I remember meeting Adam Feit that day and never forgetting his name. I was fortunate enough to follow his career from a far and keep in touch with him over the years. I remember him going to Arizona State, and then Louisville, then to Eastern Michigan and eventually to the NFL with the Carolina Panthers. I remember him marrying Mary Kate – who I was fortunate enough to work with as a high school athlete and as a college athlete at Holy Cross. And then I remember him going into the private sector with Reach Your Potential Training in New Jersey. He has been able to connect with every athlete that he is encountered and goes about doing everything he can to make them better. He is relentless in his pursuit of excellence and you can see that in just about everything he puts together.
That’s why I was so excited to hear about his and Bobby Smith’s DVD, The Coaches Guide to Jump Training. I knew it was going to be a hit and that he would leave no stone un-turned. This video series breaks down jump training further than any other system I have seen and shows you A TON of exercises. The way that Adman and Bobby break down their jump training is outstanding. They go over teaching progressions, common mistakes, programming and anything else that you can think of when it comes to jump training.
Everybody would like to jump higher and farther but the primary purpose of jump training for athletic development should be to reduce the chance of injury. Adam and Bobby do a great job breaking down landing mechanics (both double leg and single leg) and show a variety of different movements that you can use to help your on field performance.
Like anything Adam does, this is a high quality product from a high quality individual. I will definitely be stealing some things from here. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this video series as you will not be disappointed from the content.
At George Washington University we value the coach-athlete relationship. In order to reach peak performance both parties are responsible. As strength coaches, our job is to motivate, educate, plan and provide structure to our athletes performance enhancement.
Below is a list of standards (in order of importance) that our athletes must understand, agree and adhere to during training.
1. Coachable: Athletes must accept coaching at all times. As strength coaches, it is our job to identify technique flaws, low effort or bad attitudes. Athletes should never wear earmuffs. They must listen and absorb what we are communicating.
2. Effort: Plain and simple, maximum effort maximizes results. When training a group their effort level shouldn’t waver. It’s not an easy thing to do but it is tremendously important for the long-term development of your athletes.
3. Championship Culture: The weight room is were high amplitude energy and positive attitudes reside. Athletes that radiate negativity or low energy put a damper on things. Fill the weight room with an elite culture: smiles, cheers, clapping, and words of encouragement all build this. “Champions behave like Champions before they’re Champions. They have a winning standard of performance before they are winners.” – Bill Walsh
4. Nutrition: Athletes must understand that they can’t out train bad nutrition. If your athletes want to go 0 to 60 in record time they better feed the machine with high quality fuel. They must train themselves at the table before training in the weigh room. If not, they are spinning their wheels. They are applying effort to the gas pedal but their poor nutrition is the e-brake holding them back.
5. Sleep: In order to train hard you must recover harder. Sleep is one of the oldest and most effective recovery modes there is. Best part is it’s FREE! Make sure you are getting your zzzz’s so you can gain those lift lbs.
6. Technique: “Quality not Quantity” should ring through the ears of every athlete. No matter the lift, it needs to be executed with precision. Poor technique can delay strength development. More importantly, athletes can get injured! Take pride in your reps, they are your billboard as a coach.
7. Supplemental Training: We should never turn away an athlete wanting to complete extra work. Why? Who do you know that failed a test or class doing extra credit? Working hard and smart is a proven recipe for success. But performing extra work may be counterproductive to your training focus. For example: A max strength phase has been installed. On active recovery days your athlete runs 5 miles. The physiological impact of aerobic training erases the max strength work. Athletes wanting to complete extra work should seek the advice of their strength coach. We are the experts; they must use us.
8. Training Frequency: “We are what we repeatably do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Improvement is a byproduct of many sets, reps and sessions. Athletes must train consistently and follow the plan we have outlined. Make sure your athletes complete “make ups” if a conflict arises that prevents them from attending scheduled sessions. Lapses in training only slow momentum.
9. Trust: Athletes must trust the training program. Any skepticism will skew the outcome. Coaches must educate their athletes so they believe in the process. As coaches, we can get them where they need to be. The athlete must trust our direction. Explaining WHY is the best way to establish trust.
10. Have Fun: In my experience, athletes that have a blast in the weight room always improve. Athletes should be excited and find enjoyment in their development. If they aren’t, look in the mirror. Attitude and energy reflect leadership. The weight room should be an energy bunker. They should enjoy entering it with the mindset of preparing to win a championship. Encourage them to put on a smile and go to work!
Train Hard. Fuel Smart. Work Your Plan!
Matt Johnson is the Director of Strength and Conditioning at George Washington University
One of the three foundations of Coach Matt Johnson’s strength and conditioning philosophy is sport specificity – maximizing athletes’ movement and capabilities within their individual sport. Coach Johnson’s three-pronged philosophy – a “melting pot” formed from wide-ranging, high-level experiences in the strength and conditioning, sports performance and fitness realms – boils down into one simple goal – to make “technically proficient athletes.”
“If an athlete can move efficiently in the weight room under load, then they’re going to move efficiently on the basketball court, soccer field or lacrosse field,” said Coach Johnson.
He’ll oversee a GW Strength and Conditioning Department that will not only work to maximize the performance of student-athletes from all 27 varsity athletics programs, but also serve as a trendsetter in the industry. “We want to place GW on the forefront, be highly regarded and thought of as forward-thinking in utilizing new-age methodology and technology,” said Coach Johnson, who recently served as a keynote presenter at the Stronger Team Huddle basketball strength and conditioning educational summit at the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
While possessing a varied background, Coach Johnson has carved his niche in basketball, a sport he played as an undergraduate at NCAA Division III Marywood University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 2007. He went on to complete his master’s degree in kinesiology at Bridgewater (Mass.) State College in 2009 before working with the basketball, hockey and lacrosse programs at Division I Boston College and Bryant University. Johnson holds numerous gold standard strength and conditioning certifications such as the NSCA CSCS, NSCA CPT, USA Weightlifting Club Coach, USA Track and Field Level 1 and NASM PES.
Most recently the Strength and Conditioning Coach for Montrose Christian School’s nationally prominent basketball program, Coach Johnson trained former Mustang and current GW men’s basketball student-athlete Kevin Larsen, and is also familiar with Patricio Garino and Miguel Cartagena from Montverde (Fla.) Academy, regular opponents of Montrose.
While his and his staff’s primary goal is to maximize performance enhancement in GW’s student-athletes, Coach Johnson maintains perspective when it comes to his goal as an educator. “I’m building bodies, but also building minds. I want to be a positive mentor, to teach and lead our student-athletes to be successful inside and outside the lines. I am invested in every athlete I train – seeing them accomplish their goals means the world to me because I know how much it meant to me when I was in their position.”