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Where to? Ways to Read, Train, Dominate in 2011

December 31, 2010

Depending on what timezone you’re in and when you’re reading this, Happy Gregorian New Year 2011! Time to make some resolutions, head back to school, start thinking about your taxes or finally figure out your off-season / pre-season training routine.

I wrote an off-season training program recently, aimed at a younger / less experienced crowd, and so while it had more bodyweight work (inverted bodyweight rows and FTW squats) than your usual S&C program, it still had “push, pull, do something with your legs” as well as a mild aerobic component. Elite athletes could probably continue sprinting right now, but for these athletes I programmed more lactate threshold work in the form of 3 minute hard, 5 minute recover intervals.

Whether you’re gearing up for the college season or hitting the club off-season right now, getting stronger is a pretty dang good goal right now. Can you bodyweight barbell front squat (or overhead squat if you must, but still slightly below parallel) or deadlift 2x bodyweight yet? I’m still working on it, time to dust out Pavel’s Power to the People, Rippetoe’s Starting Strength, or Dan John’s From the Ground Up. Ask me again in 2012 =)

But some larger programming points to think about, at this point (or I suppose any point, but now’s a fitting time =):

1) Find a good strength coach or fitness professional. Tell them your goals, your timeframe, and let them help you write a program slash course of attack.

You could coach yourself all the time, but it’s not recommended, even if you are a fitness megastar who can press half your bodyweight with one hand or what not. Think about all the Ultimate game coaches that have helped you get this far (or if you haven’t had that many stellar coaches or captains yet, uh, move to the Bay Area / Pacific Northwest?), a good strength or fitness coach could do the same for your physical / outer game of Ultimate.

College or sports gyms tend to have a list of trainers that you can see, and you sometimes can get a free assessment or discounts if you ask for semi-private group training (i.e. train me and my two Ultimate friends for an hour).

It’s really tempting to just go buy a book (if you do, I recommend starting with one by an author who has trained thousands of team-sports / field sport athletes regularly over the last ten years, such as Coach Dos Remedios, Dan John, or Mike Boyle, as they’ve been there done that and are still coaching, training, and learning along the way), but why not spend a few bucks and have a fitness expert check you out and help you figure out your strengths, weaknesses, goals and programming?

For example, I recently got my first official Functional Movement Screen (FMS) done by a local RKC who used to teach martial arts and now focuses on training clients and athletes. Details of the FMS aside, it helps a lot to have someone point out (or in many cases, just remind you) your weaknesses, whether structurally (your glute max is inactive or your left glute medius is too weak), movement-wise (you aren’t hip-hinging correctly for the deadlift, or you aren’t maintaining enough IAP–intra-abdominal pressure–whether you are pulling or coming out of the hole of a deep barbell squat), or programming (you don’t foam roll? no breakfast? water isn’t your primary anabolic? okay that last line was stolen from Señor Dan John).

2) Have a plan. Write it down. Tell a friend.

This was law four of 5 laws to train by, but in the pre-season / off-season now’s a good time to figure out where you are weak and where you are strong. Whether you buy into the CrossFit “ten fitness domains” credited to Jim Crawley and Bruce Evans of Dynamax, the Z-Health 9S model of athleticism, it’s worth figuring out & writing down what you’d like to work on. Tweet it with hashtag #UltiTraining / write it in your personal training (b)log, email yourself, just get it down on digital ink and/or paper.

3) Build on your strengths, but manage your weaknesses.

The off-season / pre-season is a good time to do all of the above, so as you find some help, write down your plan, and build on your strengths / manage your weaknesses here are some things to think about.

It takes months, years, to get strong. This isn’t to say you can’t or won’t make rapid gains, but remember that in the first 4-6 weeks, your strength gains are largely neural (you know how to use the muscles you have).

In contrast, if you were in shape a few weeks or months ago, it tends to not take that long to get back to whatever cardiovascular shape you were in not too long ago. This doesn’t mean that you should stop doing light aerobic recovery work, “roadwork” as they say in boxing, or jogging during the pre-season or off-season [sprint work if you already have a strong aerobic / lactate threshold recovery base, to get in the hip extension force development in there], but that it’s important to think about how different parts of the body respond to stress and training, over time. They say you essentially have a new heart every three days, but it takes months for muscle to develop, and longer for tendons/ligaments to heal.

Ah so we have our work cut out for us. Just don’t try tackling too much at once, perhaps put on some mass these next 6-8 weeks, then focus on RFD (rate of force development, perhaps with 1-handed DB snatches) & power the next two months, then med ball & sprinting after that, who knows, depends on where you are as an athlete and where you want to be.

Which brings us to the last point before we break towards 2011.

4) Be realistic in your training. Be quick but don’t hurry.

Professor BJ Fogg recently posted a slideshare, 3 Steps to New Habits, and you can always look back at the previous post on some top 5 training tool habits. Also see BJ in the LA Times on successful resolutions or his top mistakes for behavior change.

resolve: this guy's got it?!

If that’s too academic for you, just imagine that the Inception Cat will be coming for you if you don’t work hard, giving your personal best in 2011!

Any questions? Ask me on Twitter, @UltiTraining, post a comment on the blog, or try this to ask for feedback at

Also try asking UltimateRob, Mackey’s thoughts on Strength Training for Ultimate, or Melissa Witmer at her new site, before and/or after we wish you an Ultimate & Fruitful Domination in 2011.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Leslie Wu permalink
    December 31, 2010 1:58 pm

    Also see Tim’s blog post here:

    Good luck!

  2. James permalink
    January 7, 2011 1:18 am

    Leslie, I’ve been working my way through Boyle’s book, and was wondering if you’ve run into some of the issues of scaling I have (as a preface, I think the book’s brilliant). A rough look at it suggests a team would need a foam roller, 2-tennis-ball roller, a lacrosse ball, and a 8-10 pound medicine ball (for on-field chop and lift work, especially important i think for non-ambidextrous handlers) just to get through the warm-up and plyo parts of a practice. Additionally, his proposal for a SMR-stretch-dynamic warm up system is great in a toasty warm practice facility, but somewhat unwieldy for teams which spend much of their season suffering through cold rain and permafrost turf.

    Obviously it’d be preferable to get some corporate sponsorships, get a team kit for the equipment and rent a practice field, but do you have any suggestions for the less affluent squads looking to emulate his low injury records?

  3. January 13, 2011 2:33 am

    I never try frisbee before. 🙂

  4. October 19, 2011 12:49 pm

    Thanks Leslie, it’s good to read something about Off Season training for more of the Cross Training (aka Circuit Training, like P 90 X) kind of folks. I do find that most of the off season info on the internet and magazines seems to focus more on bodybuilding. – Toby


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