T Nation

Big Mike's Strength Emporium

T-Nation,

Ok, since CT and CW did such a great job with their respective semi guest-forums, it’s my turn to step up to the plate. So for the next 3 or so days (at least up to Friday) I will do my best to answer any and all questions posted within this thread. Feel free to discuss strength training, athletic development, or even fantasy baseball. If I don’t get to things immediately, please understand I’m very busy and will try to get to as many of your questions as I can. Hopefully we’ll get some good discussions going!

Stay strong
Mike

Hi Mike,

Great to have access to your knowledge!

Got any snappy Coaching Cues that you are fond of using in the training of your athletes?

ie. Beach position = lordic lifting posture, etc

Thanks for your time!

Sincerely,

Kyle

Kyle,

Here are just a few that I like to use when training:

Squat
Big chest/Chest up/Eyes up
Knees out
TIGHT

Deadlift
Head up/Chest up/eyes up
On the heels
EXPLODE

Olympic lifts
Feet through the floor
Jump and shrug
FAST

Bench
Shoulders back and down (on set-up)
Feet screwed into the ground (same)

These are just a few I can think of off the top of my head. Hope these help!

Stay strong
Mike

Do you incorporate plyos into your workouts for say basketball players? And if so, how? I am always stumped as to the balance I am suppose to have between them and weights. If you need an example, I’m 195 6’1 w/ a 22 inch VJ.

Owen,

First off, it depends totally on the athlete. In that same breath, though, most basketball and volleyball players already have more than enough reactive strength to jump higher…but they aren’t strong enough! Here’s an example.

When I was at Ball State, the girls volleyball team did plyos almost daily in practice. However, their strength program sucked (due to a GA who didn’t have the guts to get them to work hard). When I came in, I had them squatting 2 times per week in season, and within 3 weeks we put an AVERAGE of 1 INCH on their verticals! These results were skewed because several girls gained up to 2 inches, while one girl (a back-row specialist who never jumped) lost 3 inches. I had no qualms with that one girl losing some inches; she never had to jump anyway! But it definitely salted my averages…but I digress.

A good strength coach will be able to tell you what you need. Some kids do need plyos, but most in your sport could get way more benefit out of just getting stronger. With that being said, I do incorporate some plyos, although the total ground contacts would be relatively low. I also start any athlete beginning plyos with a phase of shock absorption/eccentric movements to teach the athlete proper loading mechanics before moving onto more reactive methods.

Stay strong
Mike

Thanks for the great articles.

I asked Ct this, but would like your opinion as well. What protocol do you recommend for the use of the shoulder horn? What other rehab/prehab shoulder movements should one do?

Rick

Mike,

I?ve been reading the Neanderthal articles with interest. I?ve had a ?bum? shoulder for several years, and nothing I?ve tried has helped in the least. I?ve spent a lot of time trying to correct muscle imbalances and strengthen the rotator cuff as has been written about extensively on this site.

In addition, I?ve gone to an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist (for 3 months), and 2 separate ART/Chiropractor guys for a total of probably 30 sessions. All of these doctors have focused on the shoulder and have not been able to bring about any improvements.

So when the Neanderthal articles were posted I read them eagerly as I do all material I can find on posture and/or shoulder health. To cut to the chase, I did my homework assignment from the first article and took some posture photos. These pictures were pretty shocking, showing that my bad shoulder is significantly lower, with what appears to be a bit of scoliosis (functional?), and my pelvis appears to be twisted and totally off balance.

Basically things are all screwed up. My current theory is that it all stems from a leg length imbalance (not sure if functional or structural) from a pretty bad motorcycle accident two years ago that resulted in a broken femur (and that leg is still a bit atrophied).

Anyway, I was wondering if you (or maybe Eric) had any suggestions for me. I?m a little reluctant to go to another doctor since the last 4 have really done me no good. If there is someone excellent in my area (nyc) that you know of, or anything I can do on my own that you can think of, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Joe

OK Mike how are you …

this is Kevin the cop from NY …the person u told me to find I couldn’t get to help but hey that’s ok…so I got some Questions for you …any books coming out for you …and U did program design 101 …will there be a 202 and a 303…maybe something on undulating Periodization or maybe the conjugate system…and last but not least what order of excersies do u like to train the core if you were to do a circuit way

thanks mike

[quote]Rick Jakubowski wrote:
Thanks for the great articles.

I asked Ct this, but would like your opinion as well. What protocol do you recommend for the use of the shoulder horn? What other rehab/prehab shoulder movements should one do?

Rick[/quote]

Rick,

Thanks for the question. With the shoulder horn, I typically start off with a 3 sets of a higher rep scheme (12-15) focusing on a controlled eccentric/concentric, and making sure the external rotators are doing the work. From there, I use reps as low as 6-8 on external rotation exercises when I’m getting close to a meet. I don’t buy the argument that just because the external rotators are smaller, weaker muscles that you can’t use low reps with them.

As far as other prehab exercises, a lot of them will be in the Part 4 and 5 of the NNM series. Here is a short list of prehab shoulder/upper back exercises:

  • Prone cobras
  • Scapular wall slides
  • Shoulder circuit
  • Poor man’s shoulder horn
  • Muscle snatch
  • All types of external rotations

Don’t forget that when working to strengthen/stabilize the shoulder, focus on the external rotators and the scapular retractors/depressors.

Stay strong
Mike

JRO,

If you are willing to post your pics, the results of the tests from the NNM series, and your current training program, I will take a look and review them. I can’t promise anything, though, because it’s much harder to diagnose/treat people over the internet. Let’s see what we can do though.

The offer is out there…feel free to blur out your face and we’ll try to solve this mystery.

Stay strong
Mike

[quote]kpd315 wrote:
OK Mike how are you …

this is Kevin the cop from NY …the person u told me to find I couldn’t get to help but hey that’s ok…so I got some Questions for you …any books coming out for you …and U did program design 101 …will there be a 202 and a 303…maybe something on undulating Periodization or maybe the conjugate system…and last but not least what order of excersies do u like to train the core if you were to do a circuit way

thanks mike[/quote]

Always happy to help out a member of the NYPD…Here are the answers to your questions:

  1. No book right now. I would like to do a very comprehensive book on powerlifting, but I just don’t have time right now. I have an outline, but unless I run into a whole lot of free time it won’t be any time soon!

  2. I have considered writing another program design article, but it’s not a priority right now…lots of other articles in the works.

  3. For circuit training the core, you should reference my “21st Century Core Training” article. It will give you several options for training your core. I’m also working on a new series that will have several ab workouts you can try out…hopefully TC will like it enough to run it!

Stay strong
Mike

Fantasy Baseball!!!

Who would be a better all around player… Mike Tyson (before the biting thing) Or George Washington??

I don’t really know what fantasy baseball is and this is the first thing that came to mind.

-Dave

Ok I tried to post this before but something happened, so here’s a condensed version!

As I do this guest forum the next couple of days, I will also try to write a daily blog. Since I’m kind of the new kid on the block, I want to help you all learn a little bit more about me and what I’m all about.

When I got up today, my stomach was a little uneasy because I knew I had a big squat workout. I’d changed a few things in my training, so my squat hadn’t felt as smooth as it had for the last year. When I was eating breakfast, I came across Chris Shugart’s blog for the day. In that blog was this awesome quote:

Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s doing the right thing even when you?re scared.

As I started into my workout, things weren’t going super smooth. The weight felt a little heavier than usual, my timing was a little off, but before my 4th set I got that quote stuck in my brain. That quote plus a little Rob Zombie “Electric Head Part I” made my 4th and 5th sets better than the first 3!

Beyond the workout, it also got me thinking that too many people nowadays are afraid of old-fashioned hard work. In the internet age people are better informed and more knowledgeable than ever before, yet more and more kids and adults are overweight, out of shape, and just plain lazy. Hey, if it was easy, everyone would be super strong, have a great body, and feel great about themselves. But the fact of the matter is two things that can separate you from the rest of the pack are courage and hard work.

On that note, I’m going to leave you with one other quote:

The luckiest people are often those that work the hardest.

I hope this blog will motivate some of you to train harder and set some new PR’s in the gym!

Stay strong
Mike

[quote]ShortDave wrote:
Fantasy Baseball!!!

Who would be a better all around player… Mike Tyson (before the biting thing) Or George Washington??

I don’t really know what fantasy baseball is and this is the first thing that came to mind.

-Dave[/quote]

Fantasy baseball is where you draft major league players onto your team. You get points for what they do in a game (runs, RBI’s, striketouts, etc.) and the team with the most overall points wins. I’m not having such a good season so far…

To answer your question, Mike Tyson would be a studly baseball player…good power, but no plate discipline!

Stay strong
Mike

OK mike…

Can you give some insight in what you are writing for future articles for the t-nation…what’s your take on amino loading what DR Sorrano writes about

hey Mike…

everyone is reading this but no one is taking the chance to ask someone who lives to coach …you are great …so …on that note I will ask another Question…I know I am asking a lot…but I am too not doing well this season in Fantasy baseball but last year I came in second …I love it …OK here is the question I work in the worst area of NYC I work nights but hey eating is hard I am racing to 911 calls all night long eating is hard to do…and working out before work is taxing …so here is the Question should I train more like a bodybuilder with a little strength or like a powerlifter or more like an athlete to be better at my job? and love to get your Idea of the top 5 books u like for training…thanks mike

[quote]kpd315 wrote:
OK mike…

Can you give some insight in what you are writing for future articles for the t-nation…what’s your take on amino loading what DR Sorrano writes about [/quote]

Beyond the NNM series, I also have submitted an article on developing and successfully hitting mini-goals for smaller body parts, an article on single-leg exercises, and an article on how the little details in training can lead to huge results.

EC and I have also penned an article on using and abusing a foam roller…it may be ran as an addendum to the NNM series.

As for stuff in the works, I’m working on a set of articles entitled “Quick Ass Workout,” as well as some body-part specific stuff. There aren’t enough hours in the day, but perhaps when I travel to Baton Rouge in a few weeks I’ll have some time to get these articles finished up!

Stay strong
Mike

[quote]kpd315 wrote:
hey Mike…

everyone is reading this but no one is taking the chance to ask someone who lives to coach …you are great …so …on that note I will ask another Question…I know I am asking a lot…but I am too not doing well this season in Fantasy baseball but last year I came in second …I love it …OK here is the question I work in the worst area of NYC I work nights but hey eating is hard I am racing to 911 calls all night long eating is hard to do…and working out before work is taxing …so here is the Question should I train more like a bodybuilder with a little strength or like a powerlifter or more like an athlete to be better at my job? and love to get your Idea of the top 5 books u like for training…thanks mike

[/quote]

No problem with the questions…that’s what I’m here for, right? :wink:

For your training I would try and get as strong and athletic as possible. It sounds as though your job is not only highly intense but dangerous as well. Perhaps a verson of pendulum training would be adequate, especially because it would train many motor qualities within a mesocycle. Along with that, don’t forget to do energy system work so you can run and put the beat down on bad guys!

The eating thing may be more difficult, but I would do my best to pack easy snacks that are also healthy. Any of the GROW! powders come to mind here, along with your choice of fruit or veggie.

As for my 5 favorite strength-related books, I would have to put these in no-certain-order:

  1. Supertraining - Siff and Verkhoshansky
  2. Science and Practice of Strength Training - Zatsiorsky
  3. Thomas Kurz’s book on scientic planning of peaking (can’t remember the name)
  4. System of Multi-Year Training in Weightlifting - Medvedyev
  5. Explosive Lifting for Sports - Newton (although this isn’t on the same level as the other 4)

I haven’t read Joe Kenn’s book yet, but heard it was excellent as well.

Stay strong
Mike

Greetings Mike:

I was curious to know if the next two articles would delve into the integration of posture with proper movement patterns. What are your opinions (if any) on the myriad of protocols available (e.g. Feldenkrais, Body-Flow, Laban, Alexander, BrainGym, PNF, etc.)?

On another note, I have suddenly come to realize that I have terrible ankle stability. Despite being rather well coordinated (a martial artist/boxer for most of my life), I’ve noticed that I’m horrible at transferring power from the ground through my body, often covering it up with movement (e.g. falling step, waist rotation, lunge, etc.). In fact, the joint integrity is so poor that both feet actually roll very slightly when walking, let alone balancing on one leg. Ironically, this laxity was somewhat helpful during my basketball days, as I never once suffered a sprained ankle, even when landing on someone’s foot and having nearly 90 degree supination(?)! Now, however, I desperately need improved stability. Any ideas? Wobble discs, balance boards, orthotics, anything?