Train like a pro

Train like a Pro. Train how the Pros train. I am sure we have all heard that or have been sold that by somebody! What does it actually mean? Is it being tied up in bands on some unstable surface doing circus tricks with bars and DB’s? NO, absolutely not! Unless you are actually training to be in the circus, and I have no experience training professional circus athletes at this point (and I do not plan on it unless the pay is really really good :).

Professional athletes are just like anybody else. The difference when training pro athletes in sports is about the time of year and what is the effect/quality you are looking to enhance. There is a time and place for everything for everyone. The bottom line is we need a few things in the foundation before we start to specialize and get sport specific. I no longer actually use the term ‘sport specific’ because it really just confuses people. Dribbling a soccer ball in a weight vest might sound and look sport specific but it is probably not getting the job done.

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Diagram – Al Vermeil NFL/NBA/MLB Strength Coach. Only strength coach with a championship in 2 professional sports

When we are building athletes from the ground up we are looking for certain qualities that we can build upon. Here is a quick list of things I like to see in athletes:

  • 1. Proper mobility supported by proper stability (this is different for everyone)
  • 2. Adequate Strength
    •     a. Push Ups or Bench Press Testing
    •     b. Squat or Lunge Testing
    •     c. Pull Up Testing
    •     d. Performance Testing
      •        i. Anaerobic and Aerobic Testing
      • Train like a pro 2
      •        ii. Change of Direction Testing

If we have established our foundation and have a good baseline to build upon we simply just have to map out the plan that takes the athlete to their season. This is where we use periodization. Macrocycles and microcycles are decided on how much time we have and what qualities we need to build. Most often or not with athletes we are working on EXPLOSIVENESS. Power is the combination of speed and strength together. How do we go about training these qualities? Realize we can train these qualities from a maximal output ability as well as a capacity ability. Simply ask yourself: how much power can I produce and how long can I make that power last?

What do we use? Depending on the athletes training age, ability and what you have in your trainer toolbox will be a factor here. Here are some simple progressions and/or methods I use with athletes of all levels. PS – What makes a pro athlete great is they do the basics better than everyone else. No exercise is too good or too easy for anyone.

  • Bodyweight
    1. Hills
    2. Explosive Push Ups
    3. Squat Jumps
    4. Easy, effective, and all it will cost you is the energy you put into it.

  • Equipment
    1. Medicine Ball ( 5-10% of Bodyweight )
    2. Resistance Bands
    3. Ropes
    4. Bags – (blackPack can be thrown, tossed, and used as a prowler/sled)
    5. Inexpensive, functional, very effective, and for many it is more than enough (And you can find many of these options at aerobis [Thanks for the nod, Jim! Editor])

  • Train like a pro 3
  • Weight Training
    1. Olympic Lifting
    2. Sometimes you just need more weight and this is very effective. There is a line of progressions from Hang Cleans to Power Snatch. Finding what works and what is effective for someone here can be a whole separate discussion some other time.

    3. Prowlers/Sleds

No matter what you are using from the above 3 categories it is about the power and speed of the drill. Slow does not and will not produce what we are looking for. Those heavy and slow squats can have a purpose somewhere along the line but we need to get the body to react and move. We want the nervous system to respond. We want to recruit those fast twitch fibers and maximize their ability to respond.

Below are some great drills for power and speed development. Remember these are just general drills. Drills that work for some will not work for others. Understand how your body works, what your body needs, and how your body responds. Remember, to be FAST you have to train FAST!

Yours in Strength,
Jim Ferris

Vier Übungen für ein Profi-Training

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band-resisted push-ups
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Handclap push-ups
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Squat Jumps
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Squat jumps with dumbbells

Our #FitforFIBO training plan

Along with out other FIBO preparations we have designed a 14-week training plan. In it, we have also done a testing, included an 8-week general preparation phase, and 6 weeks of specific preparation to get us in the best shape for the FIBO in April. If you are looking for a new training plan or trying to get some new impulses to expand yours then you should definitely check out our #FitforFIBO training plan!

Author: Jim Ferris

Jim Ferris is a Philadelphia based trainer whose clientele includes professional athletes, local teams, everyday fitness enthusiasts, and maybe a celebrity or two depending on who is in town. Jim is known for his work in the basketball community from training with the Philadelphia 76ers for many years and training several NBA players that live their offseason in the Philadelphia area. Jim’s expertise in the training field, along with his dynamic and creative training style keeps players, coaches and clients coming back year after year. Click here to visit James homepage and here to follow him on Facebook.

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