Our primary goal is to build a healthier, better overall ATHLETE!!! We are not interested in building bodybuilders that will not be able to perform in the athletic setting. The ultimate goal of our off-season program is to build a powerful athlete that the coaches can turn into a good player. We use complex training and Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP) in our power training. A heavy resistance exercise is quickly followed by a plyometric to create a more explosive and powerful action. All workouts are total body workouts that involve muscle movement patterns utilized in sports and involve multi-joint exercises. Most exercises are closed chain exercises because this best mimics the movements of our sport. All exercises are free weight based to improve stability, proprioception, and involve multiple muscle groups. Athletes are not allowed to increase weight until they can consistently demonstrate proper form. Safety of each athlete will always take precedence over reps, volume, and intensity. A lifter with proper form will be able to lift more weight in the long run. Furthermore, we take the time to perform 1-2 injury prevention exercise per day in addition to our 2 stretches, neck routine, and XFT that all have components of injury prevention within them. Each training session includes a dynamic warm-up, resistance training, sprint mechanics, speed & agility, core strengthening, and a static stretch. Movements in our resistance training compliment the movements performed in the speed & agility (XFT) portion of the workout. We believe that the main focus of speed & agility training should be teaching proper sprint mechanics and running form. You cannot create a quick, powerful athlete if they do not first know how to efficiently move their body.
Stages of Pirate Strength Offseason:
Foundational Strength and Form Correction- The first month before Winter break will focus on regaining strength, and correcting form. We will address any individual weaknesses or physical imbalances with specific exercises for each athlete. Finally, we will introduce new exercises/lifts and a few changes in our routine so things will go smoothly once things officially start in January.
Hypertrophy/Volume- This phase is about building muscle mass. High reps with moderate weight to challenge muscles to fatigue. Intensity of Core lifts will be between 60-75% of the athlete’s 1 rep max. Core lifts will be followed immediately by a set of plyometrics or an exercise/lift that targets the same muscle group as the core lift. There will be short rest periods between sets.
Max Strength- This phase is builds on the hypertrophy phase by lowering the reps and increasing the weight to build overall functional strength. Intensity of Core lifts will be between 80-95% of the athlete’s 1 rep max. Max strength training requires longer rest periods between sets, so core lifts will be followed by an exercise/lift that targets a different muscle group than the core lift. During the Max Out week we will test our 1 Rep max in Regular Squat, Regular Bench, Power Clean, and Hex Bar Deadlift.
Power Transfer- The final phase takes the strength gains made in the Max Strength phase and converts it into explosive power that can be used on the field. The focus will be on lifting the weight as quickly, and explosively as possible. Reps will be between 4-6 reps, with moderate to heavy weight (75-90% of 1 rep max) while still lifting explosively. The strength lift (core lift) will mostly be followed immediately by a power exercise (a plyometric). This phase will begin with one week of light lifting with focus in flexibility and injury prevention and yoga following the max out week.
Overview of Pirate Strength Workouts
We use the dynamic warm-up routine at the beginning of each workout & practice, and slight modifications are made on game days. The warm up begins with walking stretches that are held for 1-2 seconds for 10-15 yards. These stretches target the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors, groin, and lower back. It ends with 10-15 yards of skips, running mechanics, and sprints. The dynamic warm-up’s goal is to raise heart rate, respiration, & blood flow while moving through a full range of motion. It ends with sport-specific activities that are performed at the intensity required in training. Neck Routine:
The weight room is divided into 4 rows with 4 stations in each row. Athletes partner up and begin at one of the 4 stations within their row. Lead by the Senior Quarterback’s cadence, each athlete performs their set in unison with the rest of the athletes in the weight room. After 4 total sets are performed at each station everyone rotates to the next station in their respective row. The Neck routine is performed after the dynamic warm up every day we lift. This routine is designed to help limit concussions by building shoulder, neck, and upper back strength. Strengthening these areas helps cushion against and lessen the linear and rotational forces that can lead to concussions. Core Lifts:
The core lifts include cleans, squats, bench press, and deadlifts. These lifts are multi-joint exercises that target multiple, major muscle groups. Each week will consist of 2 cleans, 2 bench and squat variations, and 2 deadlifts, in addition to other auxiliary lifts to build size, strength, and power. Sets, intensity, and reps are determined based on the phase of periodization we are in (Hypertrophy, Max Strength, Power Transfer, or In-Season). These four lifts are the basis for everything we do, and all auxiliary lifts and movements in XFT compliment these lifts. Each of the four core lifts has multiple variations to more specifically target an area within each major muscle group, and to reduce the potential plateaus from overly simple training. Cleans: -Power -Hang -Complex Series
The cleans are explosive Olympic lifts that focus on the extension of the hip, knee, and ankle joints. In order to produce maximum power and explosiveness, an athlete must be able to achieve this triple extension of the three main joints. Cleans are full body exercises that engage nearly everything from the ankles and calves to the shoulders and traps in addition to incorporating the component of balance to the lift. Squats: -Regular -Pause -Front
The squats are a multi-joint exercise that focuses on the extension of the hip and knee joints. Similar to the cleans, the squats require extension of the hip and knee joints to help maximize explosiveness. Athletes must squat to a parallel position of 90 degrees with the thighs while keeping their heels on the ground and weight back. Knees must be over the toes, not out in front, in order to help prevent knee injuries. The squats help increase flexibility in athletes, as well as incorporate balance to the lift. Pause squat involves a slow eccentric portion of the lift (down on a 4 count), with a 2 second pause at the bottom of the lift before transitioning to the concentric portion. Pausing at the bottom removes the stretch reflex, and focuses more on the pure concentric portion of the squat. Increased time at the bottom of the squat improves mobility of the hips and ankle while placing a demand on the core to keep the spine in a stable position. Front squat targets the quads slightly more than a traditional squat. It also requires an upright torso, so the core becomes more engaged. The front squat helps develop dynamic mobility, as well as improves the catch portion of the hang clean.
The bench press is our primary exercise for building upper body strength in the chest, triceps, and anterior deltoids. This exercise is especially important for positions that require creating separation and locking out their opponent. Pause bench involves a slow eccentric portion of the lift (down on a 4 count), with a 2 second pause at the bottom of the lift before transitioning to the concentric portion. Pausing at the bottom removes the stretch reflex, and focuses more on the pure concentric portion of the bench. Dumbbell variations are safer for the shoulders and improve mobility while incorporating balance into the lift.
Deadlifts: -Hex Bar -Straight Leg -RDL
The deadlifts focus primarily on the posterior chain to create power and to allow the hamstring to be extenders of the hips. In addition to strengthening the hamstrings which helps prevent knee injuries, deadlifts strengthen the erector spinae in the lower back.
The auxiliary lifts are meant to compliment our core lifts and assure that we are strengthening our body in a balanced manner. These lifts generally focus on a single muscle group as opposed to the core lifts that are engaging multiple muscle groups. Back -Bent over row -Unilateral Dumbbell Shrugs
Balance & Functional exercises improve the spatial awareness and allow the athlete to react quicker in 3 dimensional space by activating the proprioceptors within muscles. Plyometrics increase fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are necessary to create explosive and powerful movements. Injury Prevention exercises increase strength to all joints. Our quarterbacks will perform additional exercises to help prevent arm injuries stemming from throwing the football. Flexibility exercises improve joint mobility and increase the elastic properties of the muscle. **These are in addition to the flexibility exercises included in the Dynamic Warm-Up, XFT, and Post Workout Static Stretch**
The core circuit is performed at the end of the workout for 8-10 minutes. We rotate between the below exercises throughout the year. For every 2-3 exercises that emphasize the front side of the body we do one that focuses on the back side. The core provides the transfer of power from the lower body to the upper body, and is the first group of muscles to contract during any explosive motion to provide stability to the body.
Post Workout Static Stretch:
At the end of each workout, immediately following the abdominal/core circuit, we perform a static, cool down stretch. Each stretch is held for a 20 second count on one of the Senior’s cadence. This static stretch improves our range of motion, and decrease stiffness.
Overview of Xplosive, Functional Training (XFT)
XFT is a speed training system from Stanford University that focuses on the biomechanics of proper running form. Acceleration, speed, and agility require total body coordination, and XFT focuses on everything from rotating arm action from the shoulders to keeping the toe to the shin during the leg cycle. Acceleration, speed, and agility are coordinated skills that can be developed just like any other skill, but this must be done with proper mechanics and progression. We do not believe that simply running or performing agility drills will automatically make you faster or more agile unless the mechanics are repeated thousands of times. XFT provides the base movement patterns that are needed to succeed in the weight room and playing field.
1. Movement Preparation/Sprint Mechanics
Sprint Mechanics Dynamic Speed Development Dynamic Agility Development 2. Explosive Movements