athletes

Tracking, and monitoring data is at an all time high. You can see and read about how major professional teams and high major college teams are tracking speeds, distances, decelerations, heart rates and many other metrics. In the weight room, there have been tools that help measure power output and bar velocity. Many of these tools are expensive and therefore not available to those with smaller budgets.

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Fortunately, there is a piece of equipment that I’ve been trialling for the past year that can be used with nearly any mobile device and gives you the feedback that allows you to program your training sessions using velocity as a variable. Most coaches and trainers use load as a primary variable but using velocity can allow you to better train for power and find the sweet spot for the optimal amount of reps to prescribe to train for this quality.

Power output is crucial for athletes and being able to know exactly what your loads as well as velocities are in training can better prepare you for the court, field or ice.

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The Push band is a strap that you wear on your arm and syncs to your mobile device via bluetooth.  They have an ever expanding library of exercises that you can choose from. When you select your exercise, then select your load and begin your set. As soon as your set is complete, you get immediate feedback on how to proceed for the next set. Your profile also keeps track of your progress over time.  They are also working on a team/group setup that will be great for larger group settings and I can’t wait to see what else they have coming out.
exercises_miniI recently did an interview for Push that you can check out here:

Q&A with NCAA S&C Coach, Brijesh Patel

I highly recommend the product and feel that it can add value to your program.

Check out their site:

Push

Enjoy,

B

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a huge topic amongst Strength Coaches to track training status, recovery, and/or readiness of their athletes.  I’m not here to debate the validity of HRV, its potential usefulness, or any of the piles of research collected on the topic but merely offer my viewpoint.  If you have no idea what HRV is then this may not be the blog post for you because i am not going to give you a historical background citing research from the world of physiology.  Google it!  Then again if you need to google it, don’t bother reading this post because it will not mean much to you.

HRV can be an amazing tool for Strength coaches and Sports Scientists to collect data on training status from day to day.  It seems as though changing your daily plan may be a little extreme but I do know of coaches that use HRV in just that matter while other Strength Coaches use it to track changes over the course of a training block or competitive season which makes more sense to me rather than chasing a daily number.

Here is my fear and the limitation of HRV in my environment…

For HRV to be reliable it needs to be performed at the same time each day. In the NBA we rarely work at the same time of day. Take this week for example…
Monday – off day: half of the team comes in for voluntary extra workouts around 11am
Tuesday – home game day: everybody must be ready for shoot around at 9:45am so players start coming in at 7:45 depending on their treatment schedule. Afternoon off before 7pm game time, fly to Charlotte following the game.
Wednesday – noon breakfast meeting before 7pm game, fly to Houston following the game (change time zones)
Thursday – off day/voluntary workouts begin at noon
Friday – shoot around at 11am with treatments beginning around 9am. Afternoon off before at 830pm game, fly to Dallas following the game.
Saturday – practice at 2pm
Sunday – 11am shoot around, afternoon off before a 7:30pm game, fly back to Indianapolis (time zone change).

As you can see it would be very difficult to have any sort of consistency in testing HRV. Even the most dedicated professional would have difficulty waking up to keep a consistent 8am (just a time example) HRV check considering that often times we get into a new city around 2am when flying after a game. This irregularity in timing can have a significant impact on your HRV number rendering it near useless. I will say that the company Proteus is collecting some interesting information with their wearable technology that makes capturing HRV a whole lot simpler by wearing what amounts to a band aid on your body for 36-72 hours (depending on how sticky your skin remains).

Another drawback of HRV is the “bad days.” If we convince a player that HRV is important, what happens when it is a game day and the number tells us that the player is not ready to perform at a high level. The psychological ramifications are huge and for those of you that think that you can just track the information without sharing the data with your athlete, you are wrong. Any player that is willing to be monitored is going to want to know the results! If they dont feel like they are an active participant in the process chances are they will not want to participate. So on that “bad day” i tell the athlete that they must foam roll, nap, hydrate, massage, etc…how is that any different than how they should already be preparing?! The recovery message is the same everyday or at least it should be. I’m not going to even address those of you that think that the player should get less minutes because you are insane to even think it! And finally, what happens if that player goes out and has a great game? Don’t bother asking him to sit still the next morning and ask him to do an HRV analysis because you already lost him the night before.

When an athlete competes once a week with an unchanging schedule during their practice week i think HRV can be a valuable tool but if your schedule is like the NBA, MLB or NHL then i dont think it is a sound investment of your time unless you love collecting useless data. Just my two cents.

-Shawn

If you’re at all like me, your lower body workout programs cannot result in any knee pain for your athletes, period. Check out my 3 keys to writing a great lower body workout program that prevents knee pain.  Click to read the rest

Shawn