Legends of Park City

At CrossFit Minerstown/Sisu Strong Athletic Performance we know that our regular group class could be intimidating to some people that may want to continue chasing their goals of getting faster, moving better, feeling stronger, and most importantly playing harder and longer through life.

Our Legends program is built for our older athletes in Park City (50-80) that want to work in a smaller group setting we can modify all our workouts to their needs and goals.  Using proven methodologies we can give these athletes what they need while applying to proper amount of intensity to their workouts.  Each athlete in our gym is on their own personal journey and we want to help them along that.  This means we increase intensity for some more so than others when they are ready and there is no mandate that says because one person progresses one way that it is the right way for everyone else.

Above all else, our goal is to provide a fun safe environment that is also age appropriate and encouraging without being frustrating and discouraging.

Follow us on Facebook @LegendsofParkCity

Come try out a class Jan 2,4,9 &11, 2018 @ 3:00 PM and find out more about what this amazing program is all about.

Email me at deacon@sisustrong.com with any questions.

Don’t Get Stuck With Tunnel Vision

So often we tend to focus on the obvious.  When what really may be needing the most attention seems to most to not have any direct relationship.  This is coaching at its finest and one of the things that I personally believes separates great coaches from good ones.

These last two weekends I have finally able to get on bikes with some of our athletes and this is always fun for me but it also puts me in a funny situation.  I am definitely not on the level of our athletes when it comes to their sports and they tend to babysit, which I am thankful for, but they also need to ride.

Well anyway when it comes to mtn biking I am probably the most out of my element because it is so much lighter than my dirt bike and it freaks me out.  Especially when it comes to cornering.  I have been maybe 5 times now and pretty much live in the butt puckered holy crap I may die space most of the time.  Again largely in corners.  I walk thru the check list in my head of what Im supposed to do, Ive watched out athletes ride, Ive listened to them coach people but it was never clicking.  I wasn’t able to stay forward on the bike in the “attack” position to let the bike do what it can do.  I couldn’t figure it out.

Within 1/2 of our first run last Friday with Amanda Cordell, Landen Powell and Mitch Ropo, Amanda ever so nonchalantly looks up from her phone , because she had enough time waiting for me to check emails, and says “don’t pinch your knees like that.  You are losing balance in the corners.”  Well in my mind I disagreed.  This is very different from what we do in motocross and just from what made sense in my head.  So I gave some snotty comment back, told her she was still not funny, and we started back down the trail.  Luckily she was way in front of me and couldn’t watch me take her advice.  So first corner comes up, I take her advice and HOLY CRAP, railed the corner. (for me anyway)  That was it.  Adjusting what I was doing with my legs allowed me to get into and stay in the proper position with my upper body.

One of the keys to coaching is realizing that we have an end goal to accomplish and instead of giving out cues to fix every little thing its about finding the 1 thing that fixes 5 things at one time.  Being able to figure this out for clients and athletes is huge.  We so often over coach or just don’t coach the right thing.  We get tunnel vision and assume if the arms are out of position that the arms must be the problem.

Open the eyes up and look at the whole picture.  You may see something totally different.

Kick some ass today.

The Gym Doesn’t Replace Your Sport Itself

I get asked quite a often by some of the action sports athletes we work with to make sure that their training is as relevant and functional to their sport as possible. This isn’t exactly what the purpose of a strength training program is. There is not much that goes on during a motocross race or downhill run, on a wakeboard or snowboard, or in a ring that a barbell or other gym equipment can truly replicate. To be honest, that’s not our goal. For athletes outside of barbell sports, doing that sport is vital to your success. The training program we use in the gym is to increase your “functional” strength as it is relative to the sport you are doing to reduce risk of injury during the sport itself. No amount of “functional” training will duplicate what will be gained from spending time on your dirtbike or wakeboard. Just like in wrestling. I can get you strong as hell and conditioned out of your mind, but its still not going to compare to having that opponent grinding you into the mat.

So our goal is to make sure you can get the absolute most out of your training of the sport you are doing by getting you stronger and better conditioned in the gym. No amount of strength or conditioning will make you a more technically sound rider. But it will help you to maximize your practice time.

Join our newsletter by clicking here and we’ll hook you up with our free Off-The-Bike Training Template to help you get started.  You can also check out our training options by clicking here.

How to Beat Arm Pump

Welp, I’m not gonna lie, I don’t believe there is one particular thing that actually gets ride of arm pump all together.  I can easily make the argument that the stronger we get your grip via fat grip carries and holds the less you would have to work to hold onto the bars and therefore you would not fatigue your grip so quickly.  Then I can just as easily argue that the more muscle and strength you have in your forearms the harder you will be squeezing and therefore building up more arm pump because with added muscle comes the ability to fatigue faster. So now where do we go?

I strongly believe that arm pump is a factor of being comfortable on your bike and riding with proper efficient technique. BUT, we can definitely help with that.  Our number one focus with all our athletes is proper movement mechanics and efficient movement.  We want them to understand where their stability should be coming from when they are in the proper riding position, and how to most effectively stay in that position.

We have gotten great feedback from some of our athletes that are out running clinics like Landen Powell.  He has been able to immediately reduce arm pump in the riders he is working with by helping them use more efficient techniques that use more of the entire body than just the arms and shoulders.  Being able to combine great on bike coaching with great off bike training and coaching we have found a killer combo that can’t be beat.

We do utilize a lot of upper body conditioning that hits grip greatly and I strongly believe that it definitely helps.  Everything from kb swings, slam ropes, clubs, to heavy farmers walks.  I don’t believe there is ever a need to have a weak grip.  But still nothing beats being efficient on the bike and comfortable.  Nerves creep in and we get tense and we squeeze.  It just happens.  This is another reason that we begin all our sessions in the gym focusing on breathing.  We want all our athletes to know how to properly breath and brace to relieve stress and tension in our bodies. This is exactly what we want our athletes focused on at the start of the race.

So with all that said what are our favorite exercises for arm pump?

  1. KB Swing
  2. Fat Grip Farmers Walks
  3. 1-Arm DB Rows
  4. Planks
  5. Lat Pulldowns
  6. Chest Supported Iso Holds
  7. Chaos Shrugs
  8. Battle Ropes

But what beats all of these is good riding mechanics and using your bike and body efficiently.

If you aren’t training with us already, check out our programs to get the most out of these movements, while also becoming stronger, faster, and more stable (on the bike and off).  We also offer online programs for those of you who can’t make it to the gym.

See you guys on the Dirt!

Sea Otter Recap

Last week I was lucky enough to head down to the 2016 Sea Otter Classic.  I felt like this was my initiation into the mtb community.  I honestly had no idea what to expect.  Luckily I had Amanda Cordell and Joey Foresta showing me the ropes and I don’t think I could have been in better company.  Both of these riders were doing firsts this weekend.   This was also Amanda’s first Sea Otter trip so I wasn’t alone there.  She went down to race Dual Slalom, her first time ever, and Downhill.  Joey went down to make his Pro Debut in Dual Slalom at 14 years old, race downhill, and the pump track invitational.  To say the weekend was a success would be a massive understatement.  But not just because of how well these riders did, it was who they were that was the most refreshing part of the whole experience.

One thing I always tell people about Joey Foresta is that he always takes good care of me.  The first time he took me riding he always stayed right behind me to make sure I was ALIVE and to give me pointers.  I have never once felt like I was an inconvenience to him no matter what the situation.  That’s all fine and good at home where we train, but honestly when we go to these events its all about the athletes at that point.  It is my hope to make sure that they have everything they need to feel as relaxed as possible the days leading up to and on race day.  This was a huge weekend for Joey and I would have completely understood him being laser focused on the task at hand. Nope this kid just had a blast and literally included me in everything.  Im old to him, 20 years older to be exact which is way worse when you say it out loud, but he doesnt care.  He let me feel way cooler than I should probably and experience this with him.  

He started off the weekend with blowing our minds in the pump track invitational with a 3rd place finish next to 2 of the best in the business.  The next day he heads over to his pro debut in dual slalom.  There was no pressure here, but of course like any great athlete he wanted to do well and push himself and see where he stacked up.  If he had qualified for the main event that would have been a massive victory.  Well he did that.  We were stoked, he was pumped and then the round of 16 starts, he rode steady, rode his race, the other racer made a mistake and Joey moves on.  Sweet, luck is a part of racing.  Sure we all know it, but then the next round comes and Joey is staying super cool and collected and just racing his race.  Round of 8, the other racer makes a mistake, Joey takes the win again.  At this point I have just kind of stepped back away from the fence and to me it was very easy to see that Joey had made these top ranked Pros in the world nervous.  He wasn’t letting all the hype get to him, he was just racing and kicking ass, while they had to deal with all the pressure.  He went onto the finals and battled for a 2nd place finish in his Pro Debut.  It was incredible to be in the crowd and have noone know my relationship with Joey because I just got to sit and listen to them all talk about how blown away they were this kid.  And man it was awesome. So awesome.

The ticket here was that Joey controlled his emotions and stuck to his plan.  This is an impressive feat for any high level athlete but especially for a young athlete stepping onto this level for the first time.  To often we see athletes and just people in general being lead to much by their emotions.  We see it in fighting all the time.  The head games start to try and get the other fighter to get emotionally involved bc then we don’t think clearly.  And WE MAKE MISTAKES.  Using your emotions to drive you to work harder is fine. But if your emotions pull you off your game plan then its not so helpful.  This is a very tough lesson to learn and many don’t.  You can be passionate about what you do without be emotional.  Find your focus to win and do it.

The other rider I was there with was Amanda Cordell.  I had been working with Amanda for a few months now and knew that she was a driven chick that loved riding her bike and has some serious goals.  She was always fun to work with and it was very easy to see that she had a deep rooted passion in what she was doing.  Well, after 16 hrs in a car with me and getting to know her better I quickly became more and more impressed with this girl and was even more stoked to work with her moving forward.  Not only was she just a badass amazing person to get to know, she too took me under her wing and let me experience this weekend with her and actually introduced me to people.  I think I only embarrassed her about 15 times.  Anyone that knows me, knows that I just kind of say what I think whether or not you want to hear it.  I always tell an athlete that I work with that my job is to tell them what they need to hear and not what they want to hear.  So Im sure I drove Amanda a little crazy.

One of my favorite parts of being at this festival with her was that I got to watch this girl that to me was “famous” and a “big deal” walk around and just be in awe of the people she got to meet and talk too.  You want to feel good, just go to a bike event with Amanda and you will watch her light up and love every second of it.  This is a girl that is definitely not taking anything that she has worked so hard to get for granted.  She is only working harder.  The only thing that I really told her throughout the weekend was that she belonged there.  This is one of the most independent women I have ever met and man she has no fear to go after it on a bike.  She had never raced dual slalom before and after some heckling she got after and finished 8th among many of the women that she looks up to as a racer.  I was incredibly proud to get to be there with her to support her and watch her chase her dreams.

She also really challenged me to grow in my own confidence as a coach.  She helped me to see how very often I am limiting myself by my own insecurities. Having athletes that are also family is why we have one of the coolest programs out there.  I strongly believe that.  After we celebrated Saturdays success we finally got to sleep to get up early for her to race downhill.  Amanda killed it. She finished 12th and took away some massive confidence knowing that she does belong on the world stage with these other ladies and man I can’t wait to be racing with her again soon.  We have stepped up her training and she is not even close to her peak.  Stoked to watch this journey with her.  She taught me so much and made me laugh a lot.  Will never forget this weekend.

All in all this weekend really solidified to me how lucky I am to work with the athletes that I do and how much we truly are like a family.  We celebrate together, we struggle together, and we pick each other up.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.  We have some other big trips planned this summer to travel with all our amazing athletes and I can’t wait.

See you guys at the tracks.

Does Hard Work Pay Off?

“Well before you freak out on me and think that I am going to tell you that success in any area of your life has nothing to do with hard work, I PROMISE you that’s not what I am saying.  One thing I will say is that sometimes we may miss the mark on what we decide is hard work and leave it as something that is purely a physical state of exhaustion and miss the important part of the mind.

Last week we got to sit in on a Panel with some of the most innovative minds of Human Performance that are around today.  The Thin Air Park City event was mind blowing.  To hear what some of these incredible people are doing to push human performance beyond all realms thought possible was tough to even wrap my head around.  I was just hoping that they would randomly come up and ask me to be a guinea pig and see if we can get this ole noggin back in line. Im still holding out for that.

One of the interesting things though was that none of these incredible scientists left out the idea that understanding our athletes as coaches is still and will always be one of the most incredible tools we have as a coach.  One thing that is for sure though is that if we aren’t innovating we are doing a disservice to our athletes and that is unacceptable.  So I promise you that we are and will always be improving our methods at Sisu Strong Training Facility.

Back to my initial point though.

We’ve all said it.  We have looked over at what someone else was doing to prepare and said I am going to work “harder” than that person.  If they are riding for 2 hrs a day, I am going to ride for 3.  I don’t care how much it sucks, I am going to push my body to the limit and have no regrets because I know that I gave it my all.  I gave 110%!  

Well, my argument is that going about it like this may leave you short of your goals.  Your “HARD WORK” didnt pay off like you had hoped.  What’s even worse is that what if because you never took the time to get your mind right, you were never able to get your body to where you believed it could be.  

I 100% believe that the greatest athletes in the world are the ones that are willing to do what the others aren’t.  But we have to stop believing that means we  look at what others are doing and do more.  The greatest in the world are the ones that are doing exactly what they need to do.  They are not worried about what the person next to them is doing, they are completely focused on what it is that they need to do to get the job done.  They are setting the standard. They are the one that everyone else is trying to copy,  and I say let them try and copy you.  

So for me, “Hard Work” and athletes that are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed means just that.  They will do whatever it takes. Nowhere in that statement does it say you must run yourself into the ground until you can’t anymore.  That is much easier than having the mental fortitude to be able to not go 100% all the time.  It is being mentally strong enough to do the boring tedious things that not everyone is willing to do.  Working hard physically is easy on your mind.  Train your mind and then your body.

Man I messed this up as a kid.  I just didn’t quite get it.  I never had the right coach that could really get thru to me to understand this.  But I am glad I have learned it now because I still have a lot ahead of me.  Whether it is in athletics, business, relationships, just life.  Being able to take risks and push through when its necessary and dial it back in and say not today are incredibly valuable traits.  There needs to be a healthy combination of the two though to make greatness happen.
Are you ready to put in the “Hard Work?”  For most of us the “hard” part is about truly being accountable to ourselves for what we really have to do to be great.  Because those are never the most fun things to do. But man they sure are worth it when its all said and done.

Lessons Learned

Over the last 8 months as we began building Sisu Strong Training Facility out here in Utah it became very clear that this wasn’t going to be a normal deal.  I promised myself that I would stay true to where my passions were as a coach, but that I wasn’t going to try and fit it into any real particular mold.  The goal was to let SSTF turn into whatever it turned into because I knew it would be amazing.

I definitely never imagined how unique it would be though.  Our OG’s out here were Nick Thompson, Rich Larsen, Sophia Foresta, Joey Foresta, and Cody Kelley.  It pretty much came about by meeting them and asking if I could train them.  Why they said yes, I have no idea.  I can only assume that it was my amazing good looks and boyish charm.  

From there we slowly began to build an amazing team of athletes that we have been able to work with.  The one thing I didn’t see coming was that we would quickly become involved with some amazing adaptive athletes.  I also never imagined the impact these athletes would have on my personal issues of satisfaction with where I was physically.  I began finding it very hard to find time to consistently train and that was causing me to shrink about 20 lbs, lose a ton of strength, and fall into a spot of being pretty bummed with the way I looked.  I don’t have a huge self image issue, but for some reason this was getting to me quite a bit.  I would go train when I got the chance and then get bummed that I was so far off from where I was that I wouldn’t even finish my workout.  It was becoming a vicious cycle that was affecting me on all sorts of levels.  I knew that for me to feel better on my dirtbike being 20lbs lighter was a bonus, but that was still hard to wrap my head around because I liked being the big guy.  The more athletes we began to work with, the more I began to come to terms with my silly image issues because I also knew that I was helping them reach their goals.  No matter what, we will never look the way we want.  The people we see on TV and say “man, I wish I looked like that” go home every night and see flaws just like you and I do.  Probably even more so.  Then pop in Kolleen and Tyler.  These two quickly put stuff into perspective for me personally.  Kolleen is a below the knee amputee and Tyler is a parapalegic from T-6 down.  Here I had two athletes that I knew no matter what they said would always look in the mirror and just like me be unsatisfied with their physique, but they had way more reason to be than I did.  Neither of them accept that excuse either, which I love.  But these two athletes were jacked.  It was clear they loved the gym, but I could easily see the lack of carryover to performance in how they were training and I felt like I could help them.  What an arrogant jerk.  I had no two feet to stand on (sorry guys, had to) to justify that thought but I felt like I could and I told them that.  

I began working with Kolleen Conger, and was very nervous about it because who was I? What knowledge did I have of an amputee?  I went through lots of self doubt about whether or not I was qualified to work with an athlete without a leg, but worked hard to push those doubts aside and help her exactly how I would any other athlete.  There was and still is lots of troubleshooting to figure out how we get her to move as efficiently as possible with good movement patterns, but I can’t even begin to brag about her hard work enough.  She has gone from struggling to do a box squat to just the other day knocking out 100 goblet squats for time with 20% of her bodyweight.  Not just getting work done, but doing it with good mechanics.  She is on her bike out there racing in the desert and kicking some serious ass.

Kolleen has been tearing it up in the desert these last few months and came away with a first place finish.  Out there in the desert she has literally battled everything from bumps and bruises to her leg falling off, yet she got the job done.  Pretty badass person to be around.

Then came Tyler Kilmer.  I had been following Tyler on social media and new that he had been paralyzed for 4 years and was actually on a little bit of a downhill with some of the health and physical issues that come from his injury. I finally reached out to him after I saw a post that he wasn’t able to ride his dirtbike anymore because of spasms and other health issues.  Again I was putting myself in a situation where I had a lot of doubts on whether or not I was qualified to be working with an adaptive athlete like Tyler.  I mean, I’m basically just a self-taught strength and conditioning coach with lots of really smart friends that I reach out to all the time with questions.  We talked on the phone. I was very open that I wasn’t an expert in dealing with adaptive athletes but that I did think I could help him.  The only other reservation I had about working with Tyler was that his arms were way bigger than mine and it kind of annoyed me a little. But, I just reminded myself that I can out squat him and found a little self-respect again.  I do have to flex my quads at him sometimes still since we have begun training him for more performance than bodybuilding and he doesn’t like that all the time, but hey jerk, your arms are still bigger than mine. HAHA!

With both of these athletes we had to address some imbalances and movement patterns.  They had both fallen into the rut of “I’m gonna move this weight by whatever means necessary” instead of “I’m going to get stronger in the manner that will best carry over to performance on my bike and also just in life”.  With Kolleen we had to drastically change our training focus for her to get her backside more involved.  She was jacked, people looked at Kolleen and saw this strong badass mom, with one leg riding a dirtbike better than 90% of the riders out there with two legs.  But me, being the asshole that I am, saw a chick that was jacked everywhere except where she needed to be.  We tell all of our clients all the time that we don’t move for the sake of moving in the gym and we don’t just get strong to get strong.  We want to move right and get strong in the correct movement patterns that will benefit them and improve performance in life and sport.

So when Tyler came to us it was the same situation.  Here was a dude that was huge.  I am not joking when I tell you that I still get jealous of this dudes muscle development in his upper body.  But as we began going through some movements it was glaringly obvious that he had a shit ton of muscle that wasn’t serving him much purpose at all.  My only hope was that he would stick with me long enough through our boring ass workouts to see the benefits in his overall performance.  I knew this was going to be tough.  Because I myself had been struggling with the fact that I knew I had to give up some size and ways that I liked to train to be where I wanted to be on my dirtbike.  The first few days with Tyler we had to find ways to stabilize him because he would almost fall forward out of his chair just doing scapular retraction and protraction.  Basically, he had to reach out with one arm as far as he could and then retract his shoulder blade as far as he could.  Tyler has no feeling below his ribs, so there was no core stability to hold him up.  Starting out, we had to have him either be strapped into the chair with a belt or use one arm to brace on his leg so he didn’t fall forward.  I remember having the thought of “no wonder riding his dirtbike isn’t fun for him anymore.”  

After weeks of me grinding him through boring workout after boring workout, and very rarely ever letting him get a good swole session in (which we all love), we were progressing on to med ball throws, cable rows, band rows and tons of other exercises that were much more fun.  We used a squat belt to strap him to his chair to keep him from falling forward.  A few months in we had him doing med ball throws with my business partner and other coach, Acy Watson, who hadn’t worked with Tyler much and hadn’t watched the struggles we had at the very beginning with Tyler just being able to hold himself up.  As they were progressing through the series of throws I hear Acy ask him if he needed the belt fastened or not. I quickly looked up to realize that he had been doing the med ball throw with no belt holding him into the chair and he was sitting in perfect position and 100% stable.  We looked at each other and my excitement was actually even higher than his.  I had to actually walk out of the room because that was a huge deal and it made me pretty emotional.  It was a monumental step for someone who had quickly become like a brother to me and I knew that he also realized how big that was.  He just kept on with his workout and just like Tyler does, he worked.  We now having him doing cable rows without a belt, he was ripping through the desert on his dirtbike a few weeks ago with me and his dad. I was following way behind more than anything, and now we are onto bigger and radder things.

So I guess my point with this blog post is that we will never be satisfied with the way we look.  It’s always very easy to focus on the areas we can improve, but it’s about focusing on the things we can do.  I have been told so many times in the last few months how skinny I look, and man it drove me nuts.  I’m 230lbs of straight up sexy bearded ginger love, but definitely smaller than I used to be.  I may not get to spend the time in the gym getting swoled up all the time anymore, but as long as I can perform at the level I need to be able to train with our amazing athletes in and out of the gym, I’m good.  Hell yeah, I lose sight of that sometimes. But perspective on what is important to you is the most vital part of happiness and self-satisfaction. If I was back to 250lbs jacked and strong but not getting the chance to snowboard with my wife and daughter, ride mountain bikes with our MTB crew, rip through dirt with our MX racers and chase our BMX athletes around the track, and help them improve in the gym I would be way less happy with my life.  

It’s ok to lose focus here and there, but do not let it consume you.  Remember what it is that truly makes you happy in this life and get after it.

And always remember that your will to persevere through adversity will determine the level of greatness you achieve.

Where the VALUE Is

Man, what a wild week it has been.  At the last minute instead of me flying to Colorado for a quick turn around trip, we loaded up the camper with dirtbikes, dogs, and a Dangerbaby and set out for another adventure.  We went down to Moab, UT where it monsooned for 24 hrs and forced us to go and create even cooler memories together as a family than I could have thought.  We got to enjoy some of the most amazing natural creations in the world that are just mind blowing.  We realized that we wanted to make it an annual trip with Dangerbaby as she is growing up.  It couldn’t have been any more awesome.

Over the last few months we have been really trying to figure out what it is that we want to make sure everyone knows about SISU STRONG.  What is it that people think of when they hear our name.  Ultimately for me I want people to think of us as a company that is built around Passion to help others realize what they can do with their lives.  James and I have always been about going after our dreams.  They are very different and have taken us down different paths but we are both going after what we want to accomplish.

Just Last week someone told me it was funny how reserved James Tatum was compared to me.  I laughed and told them they couldn’t be more wrong. Very often I forget that I am 8 years older than James because I am always looking to him for coaching advice.  But James massively influenced my desire to follow my passion.  A few years ago James began Olympic Lifting and decided he was getting pretty good at it and that he wanted to go to the Olympics.  So many people look at us both and just think we got here by clicking our heels.  Couldn’t be further from the truth.  James moved his family to Charlotte, NC for the chance to train with some of the best lifters and coaches in the country and pursue his dreams.  To make this happen he bagged groceries for awhile to build up his name and support his weightlifting habit.  It wasn’t an easy road, but James had a dream and wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of that.

So how does this A.D.D. post have anything to do with where the value is?  Well, it’s because the value in what we do lies in the coaches we have involved with Sisu Strong.  You can get tons of free epic programs for any sport you want on the internet.  BUT…what doesn’t come with those programs is the coaching quality that we offer at Sisu Strong.  James’ is one of the best mechanical improvement coaches you will ever come across in weightlifting.  That is what you are paying for when you are working with our programs.  All of our programs are as good as they get.  But it is our coaching that sets us apart.  These are the exact reasons we have paired up with the incredible Athletes we have as well.

We have some of the most incredible Motocross racers, mountain bikers, BMX racers, wakeboarders and snowboarders involved with us at Sisu Strong.  We work hard with them to provide the most technical coaching and analysis in and out of the gym.  We completely know and believe that we have the best coaches in their specialties and we work together to bring a product unlike any other business out there.

So where is the value?  The value is in who we are as coaches and what we do.  You aren’t buying a training program.  You are buying coaching from some of the best coaches in strength training, weightlifting, and action sports.  Get in touch with us to see how we can help you.

“Your will to persevere through adversity, will determine the level of greatness you achieve.”

Strength Training in Action Sports

The main role of strength coaches in this industry has mainly been either A) Rehab or B) Make the athletes really tired so they feel like they have accomplished something.  It’s time for a change.

These athletes spend countless hours trying to take their sport to the next level every day, which basically means putting their bodies on the line every day. You can watch snowboarders going 20 feet out of a 20 foot half pipe, motocross guys are attempting triple back flips on a 200+ lb bike. BMX guys are building 60ft drop in ramps to get as much air as they can for 1080s. We are training downhill mountain bikers who are going 30 mph over rocks and trees. Our moto endurocross athletes Nick Thompson and Rich Larsen put their bodies through absolutely brutal training. I mean it is nuts. I remember 15 years ago watching Cary Hart huck himself over and over trying to land a back flip off the step up kicker and now guys are hitting double back flips and 360s over 90ft gaps. With the endless need to be pushing for the next level, injuries are bound to happen. This is where having a good strength foundation that is relative to your sport performance needs can massively help improve injury prevention but also longevity of a career.

So what is it that strength training really brings to the table that just going out and riding doesn’t do for you?

1. High levels of Eccentric Strength are needed in these demanding sports to help control landings. Strength training is the best way to develop this type of strength. The stronger your legs are the better you can absorb a landing from 30 ft in the air and the less likely that landing will end in disaster.

2. Correcting Imbalances – which muscle groups are lagging in strength and which muscle groups are overdeveloped? Imbalances can seriously hinder overall peak performance and greatly increase injury risk in action sports. Where is the greatest risk for injury, or the weakest link?  We use a full movement and performance assessment for every athlete to figure it out.

Where is the greatest risk for injury, or the weakest link?

3. Increased flexibility and mobility – ensuring functional, pain-free movement through a functional range of motion for the athlete’s sport.  A good strength training program supports this by developing stabilizer muscles and dialing in good movement patterns (push, pull, squat, hip hinge, bracing, etc…) that carry over to the sport itself.

4. Improving Sport-Specific Strength – Strictly speaking, a snowboarder may not need a whole lot of upper body strength, but he or she absolutely must be strong enough to withstand the impacts that their upper body absorbs on hard crashes.  Increased rotator cuff strength is extremely beneficial in preventing shoulder dislocations, for example. This is different from a BMX or Motocross rider, who needs a much higher level of upper body strength, as their shoulders and wrists are actively involved in the sport and are a pivotal part of the success of the rider.

Strictly speaking, a snowboarder may not need a whole lot of upper body strength, but he or she absolutely must be strong enough to withstand the impacts that their upper body absorbs on hard crashes.

5. Improving Aerobic Capacity and Work Capacity is also essential for action sports athletes because it allows them to perform at a higher level, for longer, more frequently.  That means more practice runs before exhaustion and greater peak performance endurance on competition day.

The benefits of adding a well-planned strength program that doesn’t take away from sport-specific training simply cannot be overstated.

We want to make sure our athletes are at optimal levels of strength, conditioning, and overall health to be able to maximize their time actually practicing/competing in their sport.

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Giants Among Men and Women

As we have settled into our new home we have had the chance to get to know the area and what it all has to offer.  By far one of the most unique parts of Park City is the Olympic Training Center.  In the last 2 weeks I have met and gotten to train alongside Olympic Athletes from the United States, Australia, Austria, and other countries. I have also gotten to meet and train alongside some of the biggest names in Big Mountain Skiing.  As far as gym time goes for these athletes you very quickly find it easy to figure out which athletes in the gym are on an Olympic Team and who is training themselves for action sports from a professional or recreational enjoyment. Travis gets approached almost daily while training and is asked if she is an olympic athlete but no other moms are getting the same questions.  Here’s the reason why and the differences Ive seen among the training of these awesome athletes.

Training Norms of Olympic Athletes in Park City

1. Mobility and activation drills of some kind

2. Dynamic work in the form of plyometrics or olympic lifting

3. HEAVY Back Squats, Front Squats, Deadlifts, and Push/Pull variations

4. Heavy unilateral and supplementary work

5. REST PERIODS (by far this is the most standout difference. These lean strong badass athletes are taking 2-5minutes between their sets)

Training Norms for the Pro Training Themselves or the Recreational Mtn Athlete

1. Warmup – usually involving a fast row or talking about what they are doing that day, while still trying to figure it out

2. Stacking a stability ball on top of a box and jumping up onto it to balance

3. Some very light barbell complex that actually varies each time

4. Some sort of fast paced metcon

Now I am not saying anything to the extent that one is right and one is wrong. I have my opinions on how I prep athletes for their sports and it works for us. I am simply pointing out what I see on a daily basis in a training facility that caters to world class athletes from around the world. And the only difference is that there are some athletes training with a coach and programming and others doing it on their own.  For some reason the athletes that we see that aren’t working with a coach feel that it is totally unnecessary to lift heavy and follow a structured plan.  We are going to have the chance to sit down and talk with some of these Olympic Athletes over the next few weeks and I couldn’t be more stoked to hear about it from their point of view.  There is a large gap and misconception of the importance of strength training around the action sports community and we hope to do our part to bridge that gap.

Check out our Tech Tip of The Week to fix the bottom position of your squat.

A Better Bottom Position in the Squat

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