I’m reaching out to coaches to get some guest posts! Interested? Email me at coach @ coachfore.org.
Here is a guest post from a dynamite Strength and Conditioning Coach named Noel Piepgrass (MA, CSCS, CiSSN), the Health and Human Performance Coach at Central Valley Christian High School in Central California.
In-Place, Timed, Pre-workout Routines have the potential to make your warm up more efficient and more effective.
In the setting that I normally operate in (high school class periods), I am extremely limited on time. My student-athletes train 5 days per week, but we only have 32 minutes each day. As I always say, logistics dictate program design, so I’ve had to work hard to figure out how to best use this 32 minute window. The trouble is that there are not a lot of Strength Coaches who have to work in a timeframe like this, so I’ve had to take what I can from some of the experts that I’ve learned from and apply it to the specific logistic parameters of my own setting. I don’t know anybody who’s talking or writing about designing training regimens that include 32 minute workouts done 5 days per week so I have not been able to “copy and paste” workout regimens.
One of the areas of our training regimen that has been most impacted by our time constraints is the warm up, or as I call it, the pre-workout routine. The thing about the pre-workout routine is that you need to do some sort of it every day. Other areas of our training can be dispersed over the course of our 5 day training split, but you can’t treat the warm up the same way. So, we do a 5 minute pre-workout routine every single day. In order to address all the things that I like to address in a pre-workout routine (mobility, dynamic stretching, flexibility, neuro-muscular activation, foam rolling, etc.) we use one pre-workout routine Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and a different routine on Tuesday and Thursday.
Without getting into exactly what which drills we employ in our pre-workout routine (that could be a separate post), I wanted to write a post on two suggestions for making the routine work logistically within the limited space we have and our extremely limited time frame.
1- Warm Up In-Place
We have about 1000 square feet of artificial turf in our weight room. This leaves us room to line up 21 athletes or so in a grid (I realize many of you may deal with larger groups; hopefully your facilities are also larger). I use this grid as my seating chart so that I can take attendance while the students are doing the routine which also helps me maximize my time frame. The drills for the day’s routine are posted on our projection screen at the front of the room and the students follow that routine with everybody doing the same drill all the way through. One of the additional benefits of this “in-place” set up is that every student is working all the time … there is no down time while students wait for one another to go through their stretching lines. Not only is efficiency improved, but classroom management is also enhanced because each student is busy and as you know, idle hands are the devil’s workshop. I can easily monitor who is working and who is not while I’m going through my role sheet.
2- Use Timed Segments NOT Pre-Determined Reps or Distances
We have a Segment Timer in our weight room and it might be the single most important piece of equipment we use. I’m exaggerating slightly with that last comment, but I think its been incredibly important for us to manage the program and keep everyone on the same page. The way we use it in our pre-workout routine is absolutely indispensable. With students in-place, we simply set each segment on the clock for 15 seconds and require each drill to be performed for that time frame. That means we do not have to count reps and it ensures that all the students move through the routine together. With 15 second intervals, monitored by a buzzer which tells students to switch to the next drill, we are able to perform 16 different drills in a 4 minute period! The efficiency is incredible but again, it’s not the only benefit. With the clock managing the time frame and telling everyone when to switch, I am able to focus my energy on coaching kids through the drills. In my opinion, the difference between a good strength program and a bad one is in the coaching of the exercises. With timed segments automatically plugged into our weight room timer, I can focus more of my attention to coaching exercise technique than I spend herding the students through the routine. Finally, the timed segments are great because we know exactly what we can do with the time we have each day. We use every single minute that we have and it’s all automated through the use of the clock.
I’ve attached a video of a pre-workout routine that we did in class today. This is an unusually small class, but you get the idea of how our pre-workout routine works. It’s incredibly efficient which helps us manage short class periods, our largest logistical obstacle.
Thanks so much for this article Coach Piepgrass! Check out his website here.