Posts Tagged ‘strength training’

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Edel’s Journey to GREATNESS at Peak fitness and Performance Centre Longford.

With Edel’s transformation at PFP going viral she has been inundated with messages of support from members and also messages from people outside of PFP looking for advice on what she eats to get lean along with what training she was doing to get the body she wanted.


Edel has kindly wrote for a mini blog for everyone at PFP

Any fitness or nutrition Questions for Edel or coaches then please leave them below in comments section.

Take it away Edel…….

I was stuck in a rut and had been needing to start something to get into shape for weeks. I needed to get back into a good space both mentally and physically. I’d tried many shortcuts to get results before and to be honest wanted a quick fix but they always put me back to square one, if not worse than when I started. I tried the usual classes around the area but started seeing PFP on Facebook and it kept getting my attention by the loud, no nonsense approach to getting in shape.

Like starting anything new in a strange environment its very hard for us ladies especially to join something new but I knew I had to take the plunge. Several negative thoughts went through my head like..

  1. I wouldn’t know anyone there
  2. Would I be fit enough to do these training sessions at PFP?
  3. I didn’t want to go alone

So my brain was giving me all these negative feelings and telling me not go and make a change for the good but I fought the brain and got in contact with James on the PFP Facebook page who urged me to come and try it out.

I never made it in that day and he contacted me a day later again to make sure I came in or he would drag me in kicking and screaming (win Free membership here)

When I walked into PFP I was greeted by the coach and several other members who where all really nice and supportive before the session even started which put me at ease right away. I was looking at them thinking ‘God I’m so unfit I’m going to die here’ but they all started the same as me and went through what I did which was encouraging to hear.

I was dreading it and very conscious that I would be way behind everyone in the class, but the coaches simplified the exercises for me which was very personal and supportive!!!

No one judged me, everyone was so supportive and really encouraged me. Class was tough but I got through it.

I remember leaving the first class and getting into the car thinking ‘God I should have came here sooner’ and it wasn’t anything like I expected it to be and I’m definitely coming back.

One major thing that stood out for me was the buzz and friendliness about the gym and the way other members interacted with each other and motivated each other.

I started off first going to 2 classes a week and that started to build up gradually to 3/4 classes per week and now I’m going to 6 classes a week (provided my body is able and I get adequate recovery between sessions)

As for my asthma I haven’t touched an inhaler in weeks!! ‪#‎winning

So I’m going to PFP for a about 5/6 weeks and had the gym buzz going and then coach James took me in for a chat about my eating habits/nutrition and to have a look at my diet to see where improvements could be made.

His main message to me was to make small changes each week for a number of weeks and after 12 weeks I will have made a radical change to my whole lifestyle in-terms of training, eating habits and lifestyle choices.

He showed me how to live the 80/20% rule which suited me perfectly as I like to go out at the weekends with friends and family for nice food and have a few beers so that was my 20% there. (win Free membership here)

My diet has been completely transformed from what it was over a year ago and a big lesson I can give is to not worry about the small things and think about the bigger picture and how you want to get there.

–1 bad meal doesn’t make you fat as 1 good meal doesn’t make you lean—

I know for a fact if I had of woke up and decided that I’m going to completely change my diet, lifestyle and start a fitness journey all the same day I would fail and probably still be trying to find quick fixes.

Hard work and consistency is key to all this and knowing and trusting the process you are on to get you there.


So my typical training day nutrition would look like this, it changes daily with different meals and intakes of carbs, protein and fats.

-5:50am Pre Workout Banana & Kinetica Pre fuel


-8:00am Post workout – Kinetica Strawberry sundae protein shake

-8:45am 3 eggs scrambled, 2 turkey rashers, Spinach & tomatoes all cooked on coconut oil.

Drink 2/3 cups of hot water with lemon (breakfast is always prepared night before as don’t have time for cooking in mornings)

-Morning Break: 3 heaped table spoons of fage Greek Yoghurt, mix into this is 3 crushed oat cakes and chopped fruit and nuts

-Lunch: 3 egg muffins (mixed veg and bacon)) 2 crackers with cottage cheese all on a bed of spinach, onions and tomatoes

-Snack: 2x slices Homemade chocolate protein oat bread & grapes/blueberries

-Dinner: Peri Peri Baked salmon with roast veg and rice

-Snack: peanut butter & oat cakes

Supplementation list

^fish oils

^protein powder

^Vitamin D3

^pre workout

All food is cooked with coconut oil! Limiting myself to 1 cup of coffee per day and instead I’m drinking hot water with lemon/herbal teas.

Tried the koyu Matcha green tea and love it and I’m always drinking water throughout the day.

(This is just a typical day and like I said it changes to day to day but I will always have it planned ahead and know where my next meal comes from)

I’ve attached some pictures of the foods I eat for people looking for new ideas.

So many people have been emailing, texting and calling me about the results I have achieved which is great and inspiring and I hope you can take something from this mini blog I decide to write.

edel blog

Id like to thank everyone at PFP and the support of all the coaches too. Keep up the good work everyone.

Enjoy the journey and love every minute of it.

Edel x

Ps you can follow Edel on Instagram where she is forever posting pics of food and the odd selfie

Contact us on 0861677045 for more details about joining. 



One day workshop for club football players looking to train like inter county football players and get the extra EDGE!

We are putting on a 1 day only Strength and Conditioning PRACTICAL workshop for GAA CLUB PLAYERS looking to get the competitive edge while hitting the pitch in top physical condition come championship.

You will walk away from this workshop with your very own TRAINING PROGRAM to follow for 4 weeks while confident to know what your doing in the gym/pitch is right to make progression in the gym and transferring it onto the playing field. Phiily, myself and Peter will cover as much as possible to help you become better athlete. There will be a full on session for attendees do so get a fair idea of what the guys at the top are doing.

This is for players who are serious about getting FASTER, STRONGER, FITTER & POWERFUL.

We have 2 inter county players who are also top Strength and Conditioning Coaches to present at the 1 day intensive workshop.




Phily Mc Mahon (Dublin & Ballymun Kickhams) 2 All Ireland football titles with Dublin & reached the All Ireland Club football championship final in 2013 with the Mun.


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Peter Foy (Longford & Longford Slashers) Peter is one of the best athletes I have ever trained and you will be blown away by his condition he maintains during In-Season. (Often seen in our training videos)



These 2 coaches/players are both in top physical condition while having over 20 years training experience combined.

Both are also Strength and Conditioning coaches who do this for a living with various teams.
The workshop will be held in Longford in our training facility. Each player will receive a 4 week training plan to take home and will be put through a training session on the day.

Content to be covered on the day but isn’t limited.

1. Warmups/Cool Downs. What you should and should be doing for warmups to prep you for the training session ahead (foam rolling/Active release, Mobility, Dynamic Movement, Static Stretching)

2. Power Training (Plyos-bounds, hops, landing, jumping, loaded jumps, med balls, ladder drills, hurdles etc)

3. Strength Training (Barbell and Dumb-bell training you should be doing and exercise selection)

4. Speed Training

5. Conditioning to improve fitness and body composition

6. Recovery sessions (post game)

7. Nutrition/supplementation/pre game performance supplements, body fat assessments for all players.

8. Mental Preparation for games/training

9. Training Session for attendees to show how the guys at the top train

The workshop is limited with high practical content and training session for attendees and places are secured through the following link below.

We have 8 places remaining and is suitable for both female and male GAA players.

Cost: 167 Euro

Time: 10am-4/5pm

Location: Longford

Date: 7th June


In Part 1, we discussed the obstacles to optimal athletic development for youths, and how to overcome them. Also, the ideal types of activities at various age ranges were considered. In Part 2 we will look at building an efficient, injury-proof young athlete from the ground up. After all, the under 10s, 12s and U14s of today are the seniors of tomorrow.

Building the efficient Athlete

Building a healthy, resilient, powerful, skilful player, who is less prone to injuries, can be likened to building a wall. Look at the diagram below.

image 1-large

You can see that each layer of the wall represents an athletic trait. Players love to master the skills of their game, but when you really examine a wall, which row of bricks is the most important? The top one or the bottom one? It should be clear that we have to build layers from the bottom-up to finish with a solid wall, or a complete athlete. Therefore, with this in mind, my work with athletes, of all ages, involves ensuring that adequate foundations are in place before moving anything other than body weight is considered. The coach’s job is partly to make the athlete Stronger, Faster, more Powerful – in other words, a better mover, regardless of the sport.  All trainers will vary to some extent in methodology and style. However, when starting out with a new athlete or team, it is crucial, in my opinion, to ascertain their training age and current condition. This is done by movement screening: the process of assessing the ability to perform primitive bodyweight movements like squatting, lunging, etc… By analysing these movements, we can identify asymmetries between left and right side, muscular imbalances, and mobility and stability issues. If these remain hidden, then the athletes are only trying to build strength on dysfunction and are doomed to either plateau, get injured or both. By screening the athlete, the coach knows which layers of the “wall” are solid and which are weak. Something as simple as bad posture is dysfunction. It messes up the alignment of the body. Imagine the body is a car: how good would it be for the car to drive at 100kph with the handbrake on and all the wheels out of alignment? The first night I work with a team or athlete, we perform simple movement drills designed to show up compensation patterns. By identifying mobility issues in the ankles, hips, shoulders, etc… it provides us with a roadmap of where each person’s training must begin and the direction we need to take.

Mobility and Stability

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I will deal with mobility and stability together, because they are

intrinsically linked. The joint-by-joint approach used by Gray Cook and Michael Boyle best illustrates this: In my book “Training and Optimal Health for Sports”, I explain the kinetic chain and how everything is connected to everything else. Cook and Boyle teach how to visualise the body as a series of joints stacked on top of each other with alternating needs. See Table 1.

Table 1.


Primary need

Shoulder (gleno-humeral joint) Mobility
Scapulae (shoulder blades) Stability
Thoracis Spine Mobility
Lumbar Spine Stability
Hips Mobility
Knees Stability
Ankles Mobility

If a joint that is meant to be mobile is overly stiff, then it shifts this responsibility to the joint higher up the chain. For example, if a person tries to squat but has poor hip mobility, then the necessity of mobility is usually shifted to the lumbar spine, which needs stability. The result is likely low back pain, which is cause by poor hip mobility, not necessarily a weak back (as is sometimes thought). By understanding this joint-by-joint approach we can ensure our clients meet the needs of the joints by tailoring the exercises accordingly.

Examples of recommended exercises for mobility are:

1. 90-90 Kneeling with rotation image 3-large

Purpose:      improves thoracic extension-rotation, stretches hip flexors, activates glutes.

Method:      Adopt a half-kneeling position, pushing hips forward, with hands at side of head and elbows back. Rotate in the direction of the front leg. Perform 8-10 repetitions and change legs. Ensure to “fire” glutes each repetition.

2. Side lunges image 4-large

Purpose:           To warm-up the muscles of the thigh/hips and stretch the adductors.

Method:            Stand with feet approximately twice your shoulder width, keeping feet parallel. Bend one knee keeping the other straight, thereby squatting to one side. Keep both horizontal. Shift weight to the other side without moving the positions of the feet. Perform 10-12 repetitions.

Examples of recommended exercises for stability are:

1. Side Plank image 5-large

Purpose:           To develop the stability and endurance of the lateral (side) trunk muscles, e.g. internal and external obliques.

Set-up:                Take the side plank start position. N.B: attention must be paid to maintaining neutral spine. Knees, hips and lumbar spine should all be extended. NO ROTATION. Maintain until position can no longer be comfortably held.

2. Bird-dogs 

image 6-largeimage 7-largeimage 8-large

Purpose:      To develop the stability and endurance of the posterior core, e.g. low back muscles, gluteals, also abdominals. It is particularly for rotational stability.

Set-up:         Kneel on the floor with hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Ensure spine is kept neutral. A PVC pipe or sponge noodle can be used to assist in this. See Fig 6. Brace the trunk muscles and raise one arm to the front without moving the low back out of position.

If the pipe rolls off, this indicates inability to maintain position. Hold for two deep belly breaths and slowly lower the raised arm to the start position. The next progression is to raise contralateral arm and leg while maintaining position.

General Movement Skills

This layer of training involves making sure that the young athletes can correctly perform the primal movement patterns, e.g. squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, bending, twisting and gait.

Example 1: Prisoner Squat. image 9-large

One of the key exercises I like to makes sure is correctly done, is the prisoner squat.

Purpose:        This is a bread-and-butter exercise for developing strength and power for any athlete. However, very few pubescent (and older) people do it correctly. When done properly, it works most lower body muscles in a movement capacity with a great deal of core stabilising and other proprioceptive benefits.

Set-up:           Have the athlete stand with feet approx shoulder-width apart, with feet turned 10-15 degree outward. Hands are held beside the head. When lowering, teach sitting back, NOT down, with weight on the balls of the feet and heels. Upper and lower back should be arched with the chest up. The knees should be tracked with (but not past) the knees.

Example 2. Lunges image 10-large

Purpose:        Great exercise for working most muscles from the trunk down. It is a also a great tool for assessing a student’s hip mobility (hip extension) and proprioception (balance)

Set-up:           With feet hip-width apart, have the students step BACKWARD into a reverse lunge.       Emphasise maintaining correct upright posture. Focus on creating right angles at both knees and hips. Trunk, rear leg and front calf should be perpendicular to floor. Front thigh and rear            calf should be parallel to floor. Return to start position by PULLING from front leg NOT pushing from back leg while remaining upright.

Mistakes:      Inability to step into the correct lunge position could indicate some or all of the following – weak hip extension as a result of tight/overactive hip flexors and inhibited/weak hip extensors. Inability to return to start position as described could indicate weak hip extension as a result of tight/overactive hip flexors and inhibited/weak hip extensors. See Fig 11 to observe the typical, incorrect lunge position.

Strength and Power

As a martial arts coach in Ireland, I have observed over the last ten-fifteen years that children coming into my classes are, on average, displaying less flexibility, less cardiovascular fitness, less strength and less favourable body composition than previously. This, I believe, is partly due to the advent of the games console, the now restricted level of physical activity in first-level schools and nutrition changes in society. Coaches and parents have a responsibility to try to turn this around, and I believe structured resistance training for children can play a key part in this. There is some concern about the safety of children undertaking strength training, but studies have shown that there are far more injuries from playing actual sports than from following an appropriate and properly supervised training programme. Fear of injury need not be a preventative factor in juniors doing resistance training once internationally recognised recommendations are adhered to. Some of the confirmed benefits of strength training for children are:

  • Sizeable strength gains, beyond those of normal growth
  • Reduced risk of injury in sporting activities
  • Increased performance
  • Improved recovery from normal sports injuries
  • Improved bone mineral density
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and/or obesity
  • Improved psychological health e.g. self-esteem

With all these benefits, it seems surprising that there aren’t more structured resistance training programs available. Perhaps it is because of circulating myths about strength training:

  • It has been said that strength training can stunt the growth of children – in actual fact, it has been shown that as long as professional recommendations of exercise and nutrition are followed, resistance training may have beneficial growth results and will NOT negatively affect the height a child would naturally develop. (Zatisiorsky and W. Kraemer, 2006)1
  • There are fears that there is potential risk of damage to growth plates – According to Paul Gamble2 there is no documented evidence of this. As previously mentioned, growth can be enhanced as long as the resistance is kept appropriate (See below).
  • That there are injury risks involved – it seems universally accepted amongst experts that the most frequent causes of injuries in resistance training for children are the same as those of adults, namely: incorrect technique, using inappropriate weight, and lack of qualified supervision.

Guidelines for resistance training for children

  • A child should have reached psychological and physical maturity to embark in structured resistance training. Consultation with the family doctor is recommended.
  • The programme should be individual to a particular child and not a one-size-fits-all team programme.
  • The child should be taught correct lifting and spotting (if relevant) techniques and supervised at all times.
  • Correct gym etiquette should be taught to avoid accidents, e.g. not leaving weights on the ground, etc…
  • Introduce resistance training to a child at a level that may be too easy rather than too difficult. It is better to gradually increase resistance as needed than to allow the child have a negative experience and/or risk injury.
  • New free weight exercises should be taught with a broom handle or an empty bar until competent.
  • It is vital to develop core strength to a high level with children as with adults. This can be done as part of resistance training using multi-joint exercises as well as traditional core exercises.
  • When a young athlete stops resistance there is deterioration in gained strength levels. To avoid loss of enthusiasm, a programme must include variation of exercises and types of training.
  • Prepubescent athletes should strive for neither hypertrophy nor explosive power; however, these may be introduced cautiously in adolescence3.
  • Young athletes should be allowed enough recovery time between sessions, as even growing takes its toll on the body.

Recommended Loads and Exercises for Young Athletes

Kurz (2006)4 quotes a study (Krumm 1988) which illustrates safe loading of weight for young athletes:

  • Eleven-twelve-year-olds should lift weight no more than 30% of body weight
  • Thirteen-fourteen-year-olds should lift no more than 50% of body weight
  • Fifteen-and sixteen-year-olds should lift weight no more than 100% of body weight

These weights should allow ten-fifteen repetitions for good strength gains.

According to the USA National Strength and Conditioning Association, young athletes should do only 1-3 exercises per body part in a workout and train 2-3 non-consecutive days per week. Drabik (1996)5 recommends alternating the body part exercised to allow sufficient recovery within a workout. Drabik also recommends the use of dumbbells instead of a barbell to minimise chances of spinal compression in younger children.

Speed and Agility

As in the prior section, there is so much to cover, that it is more a case of what to omit, than what to include. It seems prudent to define the topic first, in any case.

Speed can be simply defined as the ability to achieve a high velocity of a planned movement. Top linear speed while considered the main goal of track sports, is less applicable (although, useful) to field sports e.g. soccer.

Agility is generally considered the ability to decelerate, change direction and rapidly accelerate in the new direction. Agility is a keystone athletic trait in ball sports such as GAA, rugby, soccer, basketball, etc…

Both of these abilities are made up of two aspects – physical ability, and biomechanical training. Both aspects demand attention and are trainable with the appropriate drills. Remembering that this blog is in relation to youth conditioning, it is essential that we consider the sensitive training ages for speed & agility. According to Drabik6, the sensitive ages for developing speed are from age seven to nine for both boys and girls, with a further period of age ten to eleven for girls. He also states that boys’ speed may keep improving until the age of eighteen, whereas girls may peak by age 15.

Physical Ability:

Some qualities that need to be developed, particularly for multi-directional speed, are:

  • Balance
  • Co-ordination
  • Mobility
  • Strength

The latter two have been covered already in this article, but not balance and co-ordination. While there are simple exercises that can be done with young children to develop balance, I find I get the best results by doing it through gameplay. For example, single-leg exercises (which are great for children to develop independent leg strength and stability) can be easily incorporated in to races, etc… I sometimes like to give children an object, e.g. a book, to balance on their heads while performing a task. It promotes good posture – essential for balance and speed & agility. Partnering up the children to compete in push-pull games while standing on one leg, with a view to knocking the partner off balance is brilliant for improving spatial awareness, ankle mobility and balance.

A child’s level of co-ordination s directly linked to the ability to develop new motor patterns quickly. If coaches consider it important for a child to pick up new skills quickly, then I strongly recommend incorporating co-ordination exercises into the warm-up routines. The challenge of figuring out where the arms and legs need to go in space will, over time, yield motor learning improvements.

Technical Ability

There are a number of technical aspects to linear speed, multi-directional speed and agility that can have great bearing on how effectively an athlete moves on the field. Like any other form of programming, a coach must decide at what ages, and in what order, to implement these skills. In line with Newton’s First Law of Motion, more force is required to stop an object in motion than to overcome inertia and initiate motion. Therefore, I tend to focus much early speed work on deceleration. This, also, conveniently compliments the eccentric phase I emphasise in strength work. Plus deceleration is an unavoidable component of changing direction. Some skills to consider are:

  1. Forward deceleration
  2. Lateral deceleration
  3. Forward Acceleration
  4. Lateral shuffle
  5. Breaking right/left

Forward deceleration: Used when running forward and player has to decelerate in order to back-pedal or move laterally. Planting one foot forward while shifting the body weight back is typical. Ankles should be dorsiflexed, knees and hips flexed, with chest up. For back-pedalling the front foot is immaterial. However, if decelerating for lateral shuffling, plant the right foot forward to shuffle left, and lead with the left foot.

Lateral deceleration: Typically used when moving laterally image 12-large but may be used when running forward and the athlete plans to use a crossover step to change direction at angles of approx 135 degrees. Cues are to: plant the braking foot perpendicular to travelling direction with foot flat. Knees and hips flexed, chest up.

Forward Acceleration: The primary things to coach here are body positioning. To achieve maximum speed, lean forward (approximately 45 degrees). Feet should claw the ground – a common mistake is to plant the lead foot, heel first, ahead of the centre of mass. This only serves to decelerate, when the athlete needs to be accelerating. Arm mechanics are essential – elbows should be bent approximately 90 degrees and should swing freely from the shoulder. Avoid raising the shoulders. Avoid the arms crossing the midline of the body (coronal plane) – they should only move in the sagittal plane. Movement of the body should be horizontal, not vertical. Avoid the hips moving up and down.

Lateral shuffle: This is a relatively easy movement to master. The athlete should be careful to maintain an athletic stance, low with knees and hips flexed. Feet approximately shoulder width apart. Movement side-to-side is performed by leading with the leg nearest the intended direction.

Breaking right/left: This involves an opponent turning to run 90 degrees from the current facing, when a lateral shuffle wouldn’t be appropriate. The athlete should lead with the leg nearest the intended direction while truing the hips in this direction. The second step should now be from the back leg and the athlete is in a normal running gait.


  1. Science and Practice of Strength Training. 2nd Edition, (Human Kinetics 2006), by V. Zatisiorsky and W. Kraemer, pages 166
  2. Peak Performance Resistance Special report, Chapter “Women and Young Athletes,”, by Paul Gamble, page 65
  3. Science and Practice of Strength Training. 2nd Edition, (Human Kinetics 2006), by V. Zatisiorsky and W. Kraemer, pages 201, 208
  4. Kids’ Load Limits, by J.E. Krumm (1988) study quoted in Science of Sports Training, by Tom Kurz, page 165
  5. Children and Sports Training, by Józef Drabik (1996), page 136
  6. Children and Sports Training, by Józef Drabik (1996),

Check out Shane’s book, “Training and Optimal Health for Sports” which is available at


Shane Fitzgibbon is a 6th degree black belt in Taekwon-do and is a full-time martial arts instructor and S&C coach. Holder of a B.Sc and H.Dip in General Science, he dedicates his career to enhancing his sport in the modern era, constantly evolving and improving his training methods in line with the latest research. Fitzgibbon has won numerous gold medals representing Ireland in European, World and Intercontinental Taekwon-do Championships. He has served as a health and fitness columnist with Galway First newspaper, and specialises in functional training with personal training clients and sports clubs. He is a certified High School Strength and Conditioning coach (IYCA), Youth Nutrition Specialist, Youth Conditioning Specialist (Level 2), and Functional Movement Screening specialist (Level1). His book, “Training and Optimal Health for Sports” is available at


The life of an intern in the world’s strongest gym

Written by P.J. Dundass

 “Speed kills… Knowledge is power”

Weeks 4-6

So… right now one of my blogs is being reviewed and scrutinized by Louie Simmons.

A big smile comes across Louie’s face, “That looks like something I would write” highlighting a section over his reading glasses. I reply “That is because you wrote that bit Lou, I partly referenced you”. “It’s a good piece dude”.

It is hard to comprehend how much Louie has given back to the strength training community. He has written so much about his methods and training that he is often dubbed the strength training “rain-man”. As a person, Louie is also one of the most giving and humble individuals I have ever met. Louie’s own modesty exists in relation to even his own practices “This is nothing I’m doing. It’s the system. It’s sport science”.

Tonight Louie is training one of his track athletes. I speak to the girl’s father gaining insight into her training. He has told me that he originally was going to get charged a substantial amount of money per session just down the road from Westside Barbell, from a personal trainer. Louie though, has opted to train his daughter completely free. This is an astounding side to Louie given the calibre of coach he is. Louie has been a strength consultant for the Packers and the Patriots but stopped training football players saying “it is so easy it’s retarded, it makes me feel bored” in reference to his ability to scrape up to 2 to 3 tenths of a second off a football players time in 2 months. This man truly is a lover of strength training.

Today is speed day for the track athlete and for the Westside athletes. This is one of the three jigsaw pieces of the conjugate method… THE NEED FOR SPEED.



The Dynamic Effort method is defined as “Lifting (Throwing) a non-maximal load with the highest attainable speed” (Zatsiorsky, 1995)

The dynamic effort method demands a lifter to lift a sub-maximal weight as fast as possible, directing as much as force as possible to the barbell, moving it as quickly and brutally as possible. Two of Westside Barbells training sessions per week concentrate on this method. The squat/deadlift performed on Friday and the bench press on Saturday. These days are often referred as Westsides “Speed days”

Why it is used


The dynamic method of training develops the rate of force development (RFD) and speed strength. It is a fantastic tool to help develop speed in slow athletes. The dynamic method does NOT develop maximal strength– REASON? It is not possible to demonstrate maximal force production when executing fast movements.

Developing RFD and explosive power/strength


In a nutshell, RFD and explosive power/strength relates is how much force a person can generate in the shortest period of time.

As any SUCCESSFUL coach knows (any dunce can call themselves a coach, some IMO need to replace the letter C with the letter D and change their baseball cap to a paper hat) the inclusion of specialized movements to enhance these qualities is fundamental and is related to significant parts in producing a quality training programme.

In spite of whichever sport you are involved in, IN ALL SPORTS having enhanced explosive power/strength and RFD will carry-over to a more efficient and effective athletic performance. Period.

Creating a significant sum of force in the shortest period of time is central to athletic success. Be it rapidly changing direction, sprinting, running, throwing, diving or lifting, being faster and more explosive in plays which are restricted with a time element will make you an explosive powerhouse.

How it is used- The Westside way

*The dynamic effort day is planned periodically in three week waves*


On top of this an additional 25-35% is supplied by bands or chains. There-by accommodating resistance.

The number of lifts used here are optimal (See A.S. Prilepins chart for optimal loading). If lifts are outside of optimal, reduction in the training effect takes place. (“Managing the Training of Weightlifters” by Laputin and Oleshko).

Let me emphasize that it is far more important to monitor speed than it is to rigidly follow these percentages. The bar should be moving 0.8 m/s if not drop the weight.


Quick notes on the lifts being performed


The Squat:

Always box squat when squatting. There a ton of benefits and it produces significantly higher levels of RFD than any other type of squatting.


The Bench Press:

When benching utilize three different grips- Wide, narrow and centre of the bar- You need to build all aspects, joints and muscles in a lift. Also DO NOT pause on the chest in the bench, this will diminish the stretch reflex.


The Deadlift:

For deadlifting alter from conventional to sumo style- Training wide will do everything for conventional lifting- You are only as strong as your weakest link.

Dynamic effort methods application to athletes



Two rugby players are trying out to make the front row for their club.

As a test of their strength, a 1RM competition is put between them to see which athlete has the superior posterior chain (lower body muscles) by testing the deadlift exercise.

Rugby Player A quickly accelerates and forcefully locks out a 200Kg deadlift, whereas Rugby player B takes much longer to move out of the bottom position of the deadlift reaching ¾ of the way before failing the lift.

So if both athletes could produce the 200Kg of force necessary to move the weight how come lifter A locked out the weight and lifter B could not?

Despite both being capable of producing the same levels of force, lifter A produced significantly more force in a shorter interval of time. Producing a maximal amount of force in minimal periods of time accumulated the necessary speed of the bar to lock out the weight.

What does this tell us?! Lifting is measured in time NOT WEIGHT. If you gave yourself 60 seconds to do as much dead-lifting as possible, time is the limiting factor. A person, genetically, can only produce force for an allocated amount of time. If you do not lockout the weight in this time, it’s just like when you run out of time in those Super Mario games



Running towards a ball, changing direction in a game are all limited by time, if the necessary explosiveness of the action is not maintained or fast enough in a play, you are beaten to the ball or lose possession.

In athletic performances, the dynamic effort method is vital for individuals aspiring to reach elite status. It can be used for plyometric based activities or sled dragging with a form of resistance and in fact ANY action which mimics a sporting action in a certain play. If you do, let us say, the 400m and it lasts 50 seconds. If you train your athletes for 1 minute and 30 seconds you are wasting your time. SPORT SPECIFICTY is key… So train 50 god-damn seconds “Coach”.

In utilizing the dynamic method correctly, the law of accommodation and the speed barrier can be eliminated.


What is the speed barrier?


By performing the exact same speed while running, benching, throwing or any form of action, you will acquire what is known as the speed barrier. You will not get any faster or better from performing the same activities at the same speed. You will accommodate to the speed of that action, therefore leading to the inability of executing the action at a faster rate.

As stated by Doctor Ben Tabachnik, athletes accommodate and adapt fast to quickness exercises. To avoid a speed barrier occurring the dynamic effort method intensities are varied as is the training apparatus utilized.


The science behind the dynamic effort method


The most common flaw in the dynamic method is the ego. That’s right, loading too much weight on the bar and not moving it fast enough.

The force velocity curve demonstrates basic physics, as the speed of an exercise intensifies the amount of force production available decreases.

Why then even use a specified percentage of a sub-maximal weight?!

 Here is a simple example

I want to smash a window-(Produce as OPTIMAL force as possible)

Let us use two objects to demonstrate this-

  1. 1.     If I throw a wiffle ball?-

The load is too light. It may travel the distance but will not produce enough force to damage the window. Objects of small velocity produce small force.

  1. 2.     Now if I use a baseball…

The load is now OPTIMAL. The ball is an adequate sub-maximal load. If thrown, the force will produce adequate force AND VELOCITY to break the window.

Force= Mass times acceleration= No window

So there you go, vandalism at its best demonstrating physics.

“Speed work still doesn’t sound like it works… Show me another ball example pretty please…”

If I drop a basketball from chest height it will only propel to about my waist height… Yes? If I slam the ball off the ground, the ball now is air-bourne, and a much higher height due to increased force impact. Basic physics, SPEED KILLS…


  1. 1.     Specificity: Imitate the sporting action as directly and as much as possible.
  2. 2.     Speed: Maximal speed and force, using explosive power to its greatest capacity. YOU TRAIN SLOW YOU WILL BE SLOW.
  3. 3.     Variation: The dynamic method moves in 3 weeks waves, alter the variation every 1-3 weeks.
  4. 4.     Frequency: 2 time per week- Friday for the squat/deadlift (Lower body) and Saturday for the bench press (Upper body).
  5. 5.     Percentages: Percentages are low, use guidelines stated above, plus accommodating resistance percentages (bands/chains). Base them of your best max effort lift with the particular bar you are using.
  6. Volume: High. DE day is high volume and low intensity. Repetitions per set are relatively low, this is for the following reasons
  • Resemble time taken to complete the play/action e.g. for power-lifting 3 speed benches should equate to the time 1 maximal effort attempt would be executed.
  • Ø  More sets allows many “First reps” i.e. 12 sets of 2 allows 12 “First” reps. In power-lifting you only do one attempt. Also additional reps will make you slower, drop a basketball and what happens? Each additional bounce gets smaller, producing less force and slowing down.
  1. 7.     Rest: Minimal to maximally recruit fast twitch muscle fibers- Use 30-60 seconds as a guideline.

Knowledge is power

Although there is an abundance of science to support methodologies in strength training, many critics still exist, and this is the same with the conjugate system and the dynamic effort method.

If you are not criticized or being hated upon by at least a small minority, you are not trying hard enough in life. You are playing it safe, a lot of people are going to hate on you, regardless, on your path to greatness. Louie has told me himself to “Be the one hated on, not the one doing the hating”. People are simply going to tear down your walls in search of the addictive high of an artificial and fake dominance and supremacy.

It stems from our ego. Our ego can significantly develop our personal growth to our desired life or imprison and incarcerate ourselves to limits we have brought upon ourselves. It can give you a compass to guide you in one hand, and a blade to rip you to shreds in the other. Learn to gain ownership on it. Control it. Do not let it control you.

It causes far more damage to the person being negative. It is a mental prison of toxicity which holds you back from your own potential. To those pushing their limits continue building your own kingdom with the bricks thrown at you by your critics.

This method and systems results speak for itself.

“If I want to learn something, I don’t call the guy with 25-inch arms; I call the guy with the 190 I.Q.”- L.S.

Master the ego, become the hated, be the best YOU can be and get on the road to kicking ass in life…

Knowledge is power.


P.J. Dundass is an aspiring Irish strength and conditioning coach originating from Connemara, Co. Galway. He is a recent graduate from The Waterford Institute of Technology having completed a Bachelor of Business (Hons) degree in Recreation and Sport Management. He is currently completing an 8 week internship in Westside Barbell in Columbus, Ohio.