Are You Chasing Numbers Instead of Performance?

Sep 01, 2022
strength training program throwers

Today, I'm going to share with you a short story ... Beauty & the Beast- except Beauty is a 17=ft PR ๐Ÿ†  and the Beast is a 1-inch PR โ˜ ๏ธ the next year... which was completely avoidable. 

Years ago, I had a sophomore glider come to my training center.  He was 5'10" / 185 lbs and could hit the shot at a respectable 45ft. 

As I have mentioned in past emails and in the last webinar I did a couple of weeks back, the first thing I do with any new athlete is I go through a posture & strength level assessment.

Not assessing an athlete's (or your own) structural alignment is a HUGE mistake!

The first thing I noticed was his posture was showing strength imbalances and as you know-  imbalances slow you down.  

The posture imbalances were a rounded, forward shoulder position. I immediately knew I was going to have to strengthen his external rotators & scapular tractors.

A bit more technical way of saying that I need to get his upper back muscles strong.

Note: when the shoulders are out of proper alignment to have a negative impact on core function. 

He also had an anterior pelvic tilt -which is where the hips tilt forward- this looks like a low back curve & is called a lumbar curve or lordotic curve. 

This automatically tells you that the athlete's posterior chain is out of balance.

Here's the kicker, you don't have to be weak, or not be a very good athlete to have the posterior chain be out of balance- it's really common. 

When you realign the posterior chain of the body, the magic really happens.

I began showing him simple exercises to strengthen his upper back & his hamstrings so that we were immediately addressing these weaknesses.

We did a whole bunch of single leg or unilateral strength training development. 

This approach focuses specifically on really blasting hamstring strength so that he could really get more out of every gym and ring session.

Technique development is always slow if limitations exists. 

Limitations, if not removed, are going to slow down progress and make you want to pull your hair out.

If you don't know how to identify limitations, then those limitations are going to be there every time you lift & throw; which slows down your technical development in your lifts & throwing...

.. and that equals shorter throws! ๐Ÿ˜ซ

Returning back to our story...

As I was addressing this athlete's postural issues and weaknesses, I was also transitioning him from glider to rotational shot putter. 

After a few weeks, this athlete went from 45-ft as a glider, to 62.7-ft as a rotational shot put. 

Nice bonus is that all this also affected his discus throw, and he went from 135-ft to 177-ft  ๐Ÿ† whoo-hoo!

Now that's a GREAT way to end his Jr year in track. 

Flash forward to the next year, this same athlete returns after playing his final year of football as a senior. He just spent all fall in his high school's weight training program that at this particular school was very in the box.

* Trust me, I've been to countless high schools and there are some out there with insane, D1 weight training equipment & programs and coincidently, they are also the football teams that dominate their school district & state.

This one, however, is not one of those schools. So this athlete regressed slightly backwards because this school focuses on anterior dominate lifts- lifting exercises that focus on the chest and the quads.

If you're following a standard strength program chances are it doesn't contain the right ratio of anterior to posterior lifts

Oftentimes you'll hear this referred to as "the push-pull" and that's pretty true, but there's an actual ratio between how much you should push and how much you should pull- ie bench press is a push and a barbell row is a pull.

As I reassessed him, I saw he had some slight lower back issues and hip issues and so we got to work right away and started to make progress on this again- restoring the strength & overriding the dominant  muscle sequencing.

 That means the imbalances were the chest strength and the quad strength creating the anterior pelvic tilt and rotating the shoulders forward a little bit.

 This must be addressed because it affects the core function of the athlete and overall strength output.

 From December to February, we trained hard and this athlete was ready to open up his senior season....

... 3 weeks before the senior season, the athlete was required to return to his school lifting program.

 (Last year, he had the green light to follow the Arete Strength program giving him the 17-ft PR )

So there he was, back to the school's program & he went back to a standard "In- the- Box" strength program...

And although his throws training stayed pretty consistent with me & using the TCR system...

.. the impact of the school's limited lifting program of big bench, big back squat & big deadlifts, regressed the athlete's progress & the imbalances came back.

After 3 weeks of the school's strength program, this thrower started to get fatigued and getting a little beat up from his lifting program...

 We continued to work on technique & strategies to compensate for the lifting routine he was on and he managed to hit a 1 inch PR to open the season.

→ Can you imagine what he would have done if he was on a properly planned & correct ratio strength program? 

As the season would progress, the athlete never threw further.

 He was stuck.

 For the next 10 weeks of the season, the athlete got injured in the weight room.

The volume of the program and the exercises that he needed to balance out his posture were removed and the standard big lifts took over and did the opposite to unlock his potential.

This is the cautionary tale of what can happen, and does happen, every year across the country. 

You absolutely need to understand that there has to be a plan.

If you chase the weight room numbers without understanding limitations they will work against you and drive you nuts.

You will limit results- EVERY TIME!

- Coach Johnson

If you're ready to get your strength training set right! And avoid the HUGE mistakes that took place in the story above...

Click here or the button below and check out the ATN Strength Training Course.