A few weeks ago I started working with a Division 1 bound high school baseball player.
During his first session, he was able to do a set of Dumbbell Reverse Lunges with 40s for 6 reps/side.
2 weeks later he did a set of 4 reps/side with 75s, and he did 70s for 6/side the following week.
There are multiple possibilities to explain this drastic strength increase:
1) Becoming more comfortable with the movement pattern
2) Increased neural drive to the involve musculature
3) Better night of sleep before the training sessions later in the program
While I won’t rule any of these things out, I’ll say that these strength increases aren’t abnormal here.
With all of our athletes, there seems to be one common theme:
When our athletes learn to brace/stabilize their core during the lifts, their weights go through the roof!
Simply coaching athletes to “get up tall” and/or (depending on the lift) “keep their core tight” while they lift has an incredible impact on their ability to transfer force through their core, and therefore the weight they can lift.
Many athletes pick this up from simple coaching cues. For the athletes that need a little more help, I teach them how to brace their core with these instructions:
1) Put their hands on their stomach
2) Tighten up their core, which contracts the stomach musculature
3) Take a deep breath “in through their belly”, without releasing the core tightness
4) Practice taking mini-breaths in and out without losing their core tightness
After teaching them this skill in a static environment, most are able to transfer that to their lifts.
Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.