Well I arrived safe and sound here in Wellington. Was the usual "fun times" traveling!! Got in after almost 30 hours of travel had a little clean up and was off to Hurricanes training. Watched the last 45 minutes of the session and met up with Strength and Conditioning Coach David Gray. He gave me the tour of the facility and of course the place I love to be...the weightroom!! After practice was over I met with the Head Coach Mark Hammet or as he's known in rugby Hammer!!! He welcomed me as he remembers me from my visit to the Crusaders in 2006 where he once coached. We went for a feed before Ben had to be in meetings and thank God because I was hungry and in need of coffee!!! After his meeting Ben hit his weights session with me which was good as we continue to make our adjustments to the training program. We finished off with some solid sandbag training. Tomorrow is a day off for them so I get to see more of Wellington. I can't wait!!
Sign on the door of the Hurricanes' weightroom
Well I always say if you want to learn something then learn it from the best and I am going to do just that!! A big THANKS to Ben Franks for setting it all up for me and to Genna for putting up with me for 2 weeks!!
On Sunday I am heading to Wellington, New Zealand to spend 10 days with the Hurricanes of of the Super 15 Rugby League. I'll be doing a lot of watching and learning and maybe even a little teaching!! I'm excited to have the opportunity of learning from Head Coach Mark "Hammer" Hammett, Scrum Coach Dan Cron and Strength and Conditioning Coach David Grey. What a blessing to be able to learn from the best as I work on my presentation roughly titled "Strength, Power and Fitness Training for Rugby Forwards" as well as increase my own coaching knowledge.
I picked up something (actually I've learned a lot) from Al Vermiel of the Chicago Bulls, he said that he would spend equal or more money on learning than on equipment.
Stayed tuned right here for updates on the trip!!
Kia Kaha-Be Strong
I look back on my life and I can't help but to think about this path I've choosen. I can't remember a time in my life that I did not want to be a strength coach even when I was told that it was a stupid "dream" (not a goal but a dream) and that I would probably amount to nothing in life if I choose to pursue this. Funny how things turn out!! I work really hard and have sacrificed much to ahieve my goal and I will admit at times I've lost a little belief in myself but never for very long before the Good Lord would gently (and sometimes not so gentlly) remind me. Now I know that there have been people in my life that have helped and guided me along the way and I have never forgotten any of them.
This is posted in my gym and a copy is also in my training log. I wish I could remember where I got it but I try to live by it daily.
Believe In Yourself
FACE IT. Nobody owes you a living.
What you achieve or fail to achieve is directly
related to what you do or fail to do.
No one chooses his parents or childhood but
everyone can choose their own direction.
Everyone has problems and obstacles to overcome
but that too is relative to each individual.
NOTHING IS CARVED IN STONE,
You can change anything in your life, if you want to
Excuses are for losers.
Those who take responsibility for ther actions
are the real winners.
Winners meet life's challenges head on,
knowing there are no guarantees, and give it
all they've got.
And never think it's too late or too early to begin,
Time plays no favorites, and will pass whether
you act or not.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOU LIFE.
Dare to dream and take risks...
If you aren't willing to work for your goals,
don't expect others to.
I've been thinking for a while now about the things I program into my athletes' training plans as well as my own that I just don't see in other programs. I"ve always preached that I'm "old school" in my approach to training. Trust me I don't use that description as many others do.....I've been training for Strength and Power the entire time that I've been training. However, not only do I want to be strong, powerful and fit I want to look like it as well.
So I'm going to attempt to cover some areas that seem to be overlooked anymore in training. I've become sick to my stomach seeing some of the "finishers" that so called experts come up with!! That would be a very long blog and will really piss off some of them when I attempt to write that!!
First up for us....neck and traps. I can remember when I joined the Army and was training at the base gym in Würzburg, Germany this guy comes over to me and says "Hey boy you better be training that stack of dimes you call a neck!" I believe training the traps falls right in there with neck training. Look at a good strength athlete, an athlete that plays a contact or collision sport they will have neck and traps IF they are training correctly. As far as I'm concerned after reading, visiting strength facilities and observing the training being done not enough coaches are programing this critical area into their training plans. You know, it really wasn't that long ago that neck training was a priority for all football players from high school, to college all the way to the pros. Most facilities had the plate loaded 4 way neck machine (even the commercial gym I trained at in San Antonio had one). Now there are ways around the expense of this machine if the facility or team is on a tight budget. Here are some other options...neck harness, old football helmets with a rod in it to load weights on, wrestler bridges(for more advanced athletes), I've discovered a way to use stretch bands for a 4 way neck workout, partner resisted work and finally one of my favorites placing the plate on your forehead and the back of your head to do the work!!
While I don't agree with some of the old HIT Training methods they always did neck and heavy machine shrugs in their training. Look up old articles from Dr. Ken Leistner and you'll discover a whole new world of information!! I love reading his articles and I will admit they influenced me quite a bit and they still do!!
Beisdes the "look" of a strength athlete there are important other factors in training the neck if you indeed play a contact or collision sport it had better be a priority in your training. In fact properly training the neck can help even so called "normal" people as well. Ever think that some of the chronic neck problems you have from sitting at the computer could possibly be from having a weak neck.
So why not finish your training off with some neck work and shrugs but watch out and be warned.....buldging traps and thick necks are the result of this!!
pictured is Bill "Kaz" Kazmaier one of the greatest strength athletes ever!!
Train Hard...Play Harder...NO EXCUSES
Headed out early in the morning to Deer Park to attend their Coaches' Clinic. Doug Bull puts on a GREAT clinic. Huge auditorium with comfortable seat and a great lunch wtih plenty of BBQ!! What a speakers list he had!!! Was sitting next to 2 coaches I really respect in Tim Swords and Garrett Taylor so I learned a little just listening to our conversations as well.
Got to hear one of the coaches that helped form my coaching philosophy early on, Vern Gamtetta was his usual passionate self up there and I was my usual self, writing down everything I could so I wouldn't forget it when I asked him questions!! He spoke on "Game Speed' Refining Movement in Skills & Agility". Another speaker I was excited to hear was Ron McKeefery and he delievered. This was the first time to hear him speak but I am familiar with some of his coaching and he did not dissapoint he delivered a great talk on "Hard Knox" Conditioning!! Can't wait to pick his brain in the future. Now comes the surprise of the clinic for me and that was Dr. Brandon Marcello, PhD. the Director of Sports Performance at Stanford University and he spoke on "Training the Female Cardinal" . He posed some great questions and delievered some better answers on differences in training male and female athletes. Really made me think and re-examine some of my training plans and I look forward to talking more to him and doing some research on my own. There were a few more speakers and as usual for me I took a little from each of them.
Clinics like this are wonderful to attend and I plan on making sure I am there next year!! You were able to interact with the speakers and other coaches.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from PowerSport!! Hope that your day is filled with family and friends. While you are enjoying your holiday feast and gifts PLEASE take a moment to remember those who cannot be with their families because they are keeping us safe!!
God Bless our first responders and Military men and women serving this Great Nation.
May God Bless you and your families and shine his grace down onto you.
Hallelujah Jesus is born today.
Butters got to visit Santa courtesy of English Bulldog Rescue Houston
So we all know that I am All Blacks Ben Franks personal strength and conditioning coach. Well he just had a short 5 week break after 10 months and 30+ games before he and the All Blacks head to the UK for the final 5 matches of the season so we attacked the break and got stronger!! This kind of strength development can only be accomplished by having a properly designed and well thought out training program. We really stress restoration and recovery as well as our continued development of strength and power thoughout the long season so we are able to do this type of training when we get an extended break from rugby. Considering most coaches feel in-season training is a time for maintance work I feel that we must continue to develop strength and power thoughout the season picking times when we can hit some heavier training sessions. I don't believe that you can ever be strong and powerful enough.
There is nothing better than knowing you are stronger and more powerful than your opponent.
"If you train at a reduced volume and intensity you will only succeed in retaining your performance levels for a finite period of time. In the case of a long season it is necessary to apply greater volume and intensity at periods of time thoughout the season"
Jason Webber former Wallabies strength and conditioning coach.
"Detraining: the diminished contractile properties of the muscle which leads to a visible decrease in the contributition of strength to athletic performance"
Bottom line is a properly designed program will have you strong, powerful and fit for your whole season NOT just for the first few games!! Ask youself these questions: What role do you think strength plays in your sport? What does your training plan look like?
Train Hard...Play Harder...NO EXCUSES
photo: James (Red) McLeod Ben Franks doing 250kgx2x2 with brother and All Blacks teamate Owen spotting
Now anyone who knows me knows that this is the most important games of my Highland Games season. It tore me up inside to think after my injury that I would not be on the field anymore until Steve Conway (the Athletic Director) contacted me to come out and judge the games!!! WOW!! This is a big deal honor to for me and I said YES right away!! I enjoyed myself although I would have much rather been throwing. For those that don't know about these games at Pleasanton CA, they are the premier game in the World. Imagine a field with the top professionals, amateur, womens, and masters class athletes in the world....they're right there on the field throwing. It's an awesome thing to be part of for sure and I'm blessed that I was invited.
Let me thank my dear friend Anthony Lordi who used his 'air miles" to fly me to San Fransico, Big John McClure who first asked me if I thought I would be healthy enough to come out and judge, and Steve Conway who not only invited me to judge but took great care of me while I was there. Sally and I are already planning next years trip!!!
This is what Kel Mulrey, the Assistant Athletic Director said on the NASGA message board about me: "Ed Cosner has had a rough go of it this last year and we like this guy so much as a competitor that we wanted him to come up and judge for us. He did an Awesome job for us as a Judge he was everything we had hoped for, he had a big class of masters (who do move slow) and he had those guys in order and rolling smoothly all weekend. Ed was a great addition to our crew and we could not ask for a better guy, thank you for your time and service to our game, and great job."
Play Hard...Train Hard...NO EXCUSES
Professional Strongman Travis Ortmayer came in and got some solid training in at the gym!!! Travis is one of the top strongman competitors in the world. You have seen him competing on TV in the World's Strongest Man competitons as well as Strongman Champions League and in IFSA World Championships. Travis is known as the Texas Stoneman due to his dominance and record breaking in the Atlas Stones. This training session was all about the truck deadlift but first he started out with some easy pulls at 290kg before going outside in the Texas heat and humidity!!! (There are pictures from the truck deadlift in the Media section)
Travis is an awesome athlete and even nicer guy. Enjoyed talking training with someone who thinks like I do!!! There will be many more training sessions with Travis in the future.
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
pictured is me, Travis, and Chad Doe
Well folks after battling the infections in my repaired Achilles tendon and ankle for the last 6 months the gym is finally open!! It has been a long hard road but I have worked too hard to just quit...it's just not in my nature. One of my favorite quotes and one that is framed in my office says:
"A Champion is someone who gets up even when he can't"
Those of you who know me know that this is exactly how I've lived my entire life!!! How do you live your life?? Do you quit at the first sign of adversity or do you keep driving towards your goals? Setbacks are not only part of life in sports but part of life in general and how you respond to these setbacks will tell people about your character. We all fail sometimes, I know I have during this time but I quickly picked myself up and got back to life. You can't do it alone, you have to surround yourself with positive people who support you and I've been blessed to have just that beginning with my sweetheart Sally. Those of you and you know who you are that checked in on me and encouraged me I thank you.
Well got to get busy living life that's one thing I damn sure learned through all of this. Stop in for a workout anytime!!!
Train Hard...Play Hard...NO EXCUSES
Defenseman Andrew Schwartz of San Antonio's St. Mary's Hall commits to play Lacrosse at Goucher College. He will join High School All American Defenseman Paul Taylor who also played at St. Mary's Hall and is a junior at Goucher College.
Andrew has been training with PowerSport Strength and Conditioning since he was in 8th grade and all the hard work has paid off for him. He was named to Texas All State honors. He is one of the strongest lacrosse players that trains with us. He learned early in his career that the combination of strength, speed, quickness and power would lead to the opportunity to continue to play in college a dream of all high school athletes.
Andrew committed to Goucher College in December. He has been playing lacrosse since he was in third grade however, it was in high school is when he more seriously pursued the sport. Andrew played for the ATX Starz, a club team in Austin, TX, all throughout high school and attended numerous camps and tournaments during his off season.
Goucher College is located just outside of Baltimore in Townson, Maryland. The NCAA Division three Lacrosse team is in the Landmark Conference, which they currently lead. As for overall NCAA Division three standings the Gophers are ranked 14th this week. Goucher has a very highly respected program among the lacrosse community.
Some other schools that Andrew considered were Skidmore, Eastern Connecticut, Gettysburg, Clarkson, Williams, Haverford, Hendrix and a few others.
(Andrew and SMH Lacrosse Coach Collin Guy)
PowerSport Strength and Conditioning Athlete and University of Texas at Dallas men's basketball senior forward Chris Barnes became the Comets' all-time leading scorer last night in a game against Mississippi College. Chris now has 1,345 career points with three games left in the regular season.
UTD secured its fourth consecutive American Southwest Conference East Division title. The Comets are guaranteed the No. 1 seed from the East Division in the ASC Tournament.
I've been training Chris for 6+ years and he is a dedicated and hard worker who deserves all of the honors he recieves. He is a direct result of the work that he puts into his training. From strength sessions to conditioning and speed sessions to jump and agility sessions to his constant work on his basketball skills.
Good Luck Chris Barnes and the Comets in the ASC Tournament Feb 24-26.
Got a phone call the other day from my friend National and World Powerlifting Champion Rick Gaugler. This is the one person I can honestly say had a big influence on me as an athlete, as a strength coach and as a man!! We had a great conversation about strength and how it affects all aspects of performance. It was his system that I was exposed to while powerlifting and it was from that system I developed my training philosophy that I use today in training my athletes.
A little personal history lesson is in order. See, when I finished my active duty commitment to the Army I packed up my stuff and headed to Corpus Christi, Texas so I could train with Rick. I mean if you’re interested in strength training why not seek out the best in the world and that is just what I did. Rick is a 3 time National and 2 time World Champion in Powerlifting before the “gear craze” took hold of the sport. He has held numerous National and World records in multiple weight classes. We trained in a little 1 1/2 car garage with no heat, no air conditioning and damn sure no fans!!! We had all we needed to become champions and a champion I became. Nothing fancy just heavy weights and hard training. We ate lunch together everyday and he taught me more about strength training than I could have ever learned anywhere!! What a wonderful time to be alive and lifting heavy weights!! I once spotted and loaded for him on a Saturday afternoon as he squatted a double with 800 pounds weighing 180 pounds!!!
So our conversation was a wonderful reminder of why I have had the success in coaching, athletics and in life that I do.
“Maximal strength is the foundation that maximal power is built on”
Nick Winkleman; Athletes Performance.
“If you want to be quick and powerful you had better be strong”
Rick Gaugler; National and World Powerlifting Champion
"A strong athlete always has the advantage over a weak athlete"
Al Vermeil; Strength and Conditioning Coach Chicago Bulls NBA
Guess these quick statements about sum it up!! You take a look at some of the best athletes and yeah they are fast, quick, powerful and they are STRONG!!
I think at times too many strength and conditioning coaches out there have forgotten how important strength is in the overall development of the athlete. They are too busy trying to entertain and WOW the athlete!!! Now I’m not gonna sit here and go in depth about it because that would make this way too long. It does seem that training is coming full circle back to more strength and power based training. I’ve never left this training because it works. My training philosophy is from a lifetime of training to be strong and powerful. There seems to be too many “trainers” out there working with athletes that change their training philosophy anytime something new comes out...WHY? How do you change what you believe in? Because they don’t have the “time in the trenches”!!! I have paid my dues so to speak and my training philosophy is a direct result of that.
As we’ve talked about before Power is defined in sports as Strength X Speed / Time. Not only is strength important in explosion off the line or in a jump but it is equally if not more important in the deceleration of your body. Strength maintains correct body position when landing or stopping. It’s strength that allows the body to decelerate the arm when hitting the volleyball or throwing the baseball.
All components have their place and time in performance training but you must continue to train to be strong and powerful if you want to have continued success in sports. It also must be trained properly and within the periodized training plan. Failure to make a well designed and carefully thought out training plan will result in not achieving your goals.
I’ve heard this quote and have taken it to heart, “Failure to plan is planning to fail” Do you have a training plan?
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Enjoyed a great day watching the Texas State Weigthlifting Championships at Alvin High School. Coach Garrett Taylor did a great job putting the meet on. I got to visit and catch up with some of my friends like Tim Swords of Team Houston who I consider the one of the best weightlifting coaches in the world, Mark Rippatoe of Witcha Falls Athletic Club and author of Starting Strengh, Thea Taylor and Jason Starks of Team Texas both great lifters and coaches, and many others. However the biggest thrill for me was meeting Tommy Suggs. I have had the experience of watching Tommy many times as he competed at the highest levels of weigthlifting. What made it even more exciting to me was that he remembered me from some of my early years when I competed. photo: Tommy Suggs and myself
There was some great lifting and I was happy to watch my friend Mike Calley and Cameron Swart lift. Cameron is an amazing young lifter who is trained by non other than Coach Tim Swords!! There were some other solid athletes out there competing hard in what I consider one of the greatest sports. Go out and watch a weightlifting meet and you'll quickly understand why the movements are used in strength and conditioning....IF you are trained by a real strength coach and not a personal trainer!!
Photo: Cameron with 210kg (462pounds)
So after we finished Sally and I headed to grab a quick bite to eat. We worked up a big appitiete cheering!!! So off for some chicken and steamed spinich. Then she took me to Snap Kitchen for a little shopping. What a place!! Fresh and tasty food already prepared all you have to do is take it home and nuke it!! There is another place like this called My Fit Foods whose quality and portions have been steadly going down hill and they don't seem to give a shit. Guess Snap Kitchen is earning my business!!
As we begin the countdown to the San Antonio Highland Games I wanted to put this up here from last year. We had the biggest turnout of athletes in our history and expect the same this year!! Come out and visit up on March 31 & April 1 2012.
It is time for coaches and trainers to be held accountable for programs and training that leads to injured athletes! PARENTS, would you not step in if the instruction of a teacher or private tudor was causing your kid to test poorly on their ACT or SAT? What about coaching that is causing your kid to deal with injuries for the rest of their life due to improper strength training technique
I am sick and tired of reading and hearing "trainers" talk about "getting after it", or "we were in beast mode" and then you see the video and the exercises are performed with technique that is sure to get the athlete hurt...it's not a matter of "if" but more like "when" the injury will occur. Is it all about intensity and/or weight on the bar and not about proper technique? How about the idiot mentality among some coaches in saying, "I don't care what it looks like I only care how much they do".
If it's always about proper technique on the sports field and in drills then why not make sure that during strength training proper technique is used at all times.
I've been down under (New Zealand) for a couple of weeks. The people and the scenery have all been amazing.
Just when I thought things couldn't get better, I was blessed to be singled out for a short television piece during my stay down here.
The news station TVNZ learned about my training a couple of New Zealand's favorite sons, elite rugby players and brothers, Ben and Own Franks. The piece aired on the evening news and covered some basics of training such high-level athletes as well as exposing the sad fact that I am not a shy eater.
The people at the station were professional and way more than gracious to put my bubble head on their airwaves.
Have a look.
.3 seconds...that's all the time you have in sports
Got your attention? Doesn't sound like much time does it? You're asking yourself what the hell is Ed talking about has he lost his mind...what about .3 seconds. Well, if you want to be an elite athlete that had better be your reaction time!! I'm talking about change of direction, exploding out of your position, creating or closing seperation, and so much more and it all happens in .3 seconds.
In sport we define power as the product of strength x speed (distance) / time
Each of these components must be part of your overall training plan. Of course there are different emphasis not only during each train cycle but also within each training session.
One of the best ways to develop Explosive Strength and Power is by the use of the Olympic Weightlifting movements in your training. First let me tell you that any coach that says that the lifts are too technical and/or difficult to teach, there are other exercises just as good, I don't have the athlete long enough, or that they are dangerous...Seriously?? Then find a new job!!
Let's explore a few reasons for why I think the way I do. The olympic lifts produce the highest output of power and rate of force development. The "dip and drive" phase of the press or jerk and the "jump and pull" phase of the clean or snatch take .2 to .3 seconds. Consider that maximal strength takes .7 to .9 seconds or more to develop and in sports that's an eternity.
The lifts also help in the systematic and coordniated movements of the body and aid in the development of force production (the initial movement from the ground into extension) and force reduction/stabilization (the catch). This will strengthen and prepare the athlete's body for change of direction, jumping and landing, the explosive release of an implement, and the impact of a collision in sports.
The peak power development of the Olympic Weightlifting movements are:
- 4-5 times more than the squat or deadlift
- 11-15 times more than the bench press
*from John Garhammer Journal of Strength Condtioning Research 7(2): 76-89 1993
Let's get some real examples:
- 800 pound squat produces 765 foot pounds per second
- 500 pound bench press produces 420 foot pounds per second
- 280 pound power clean produces 1885 foot pounds per second
*from Mike Clark, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Kansas City Chiefs NFL
Stay tuned as I will cover the role that maximum strength plays in the development of Explosive Strenght and Power.
Then later we can go through the use of plyometrics and medicine ball training to "bridge the gap" so we can take the gains made in the weightroom and have them show up in the sport you play!!
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
We ended another great week of training the other day and now that I've had an opportunity to observe and test Ben we have a better feel for how the training program will evolve.
One word can describe how our strength training is going....STRONG!!! We're moving big weights and moving them explosive. However, we need to move the improvements from the weightroom to the rugby pitch. So now time for us to add in aglility, quickness, and some plyometrics into our training plan.
Now I already knew that this is one strong dude!! I mean come on look at the sport he makes his living at and then look even closer to the position he plays. He is athletic and he is strong but there is something missing for him and he knows it or I would still be in San Antonio not here. Before I came Ben already had a list of goals for the off season training. Together we broke those goals down into goals for each training cycle and each training session.
Do you have goals that guide your training? Are you secure enough to be one of the best in the world at your sport yet sit back and evaluate yourself honestly? Without goals it's hard to have focus in your training or in your life. How do you know that your training plan is working? Write them down and put them where you can see them. I heard a quote once and it applies here, "When you write down your goals you own them"
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES
Photo: James (Red) McLeod; Whero Films