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Team Conditioning Systems:
Earning Your Muscle

Thursday, September 16, 2004

By Gregory "Graig" White
SJSports Physical Fitness Advisor

I would like to first start off by saying thanks to all of the people who have taken the time to e-mail me questions pertaining to performance enhancement. Some of them are well thought out and are thought provoking. With that being said there is an issue I need help understanding, and I am bringing that issue to you, the reader, with the hope that you can help me make sense of it. More often than not, the questions I am getting are asking “how can I get stronger faster?” “What’s the quickest way to lose 50 lbs?” “I need to get my 40 time faster how can I do this in as little time as possible?” My question is this, why does everything have to happen so quickly? What ever happened to the days when athletes were prepared to come into the weightroom and do what was needed to get the results they wanted? In this day and age of instant gratification the life and job of the strength coach has taken on new challenges, or has it?

My athletes and assistant coaches know that our philosophy is not about getting things done quickly, but getting them done right. The motto in our facility is “we are in it until we are done” and truer words have never been spoken, our athletes know better than to ask “how long will the training session be today?” They now that once they enter the room they are in it until it’s over. Now don’t get me wrong, we do make arrangements for class schedules and other important things like games but it is our goal to make sure that every athlete is fit and ready to compete at the level we need them to. We want our athletes to know that every time they come into the room they are in essence earning their muscle, and some days may be longer than others but know this, every athlete that comes out of our program is ready.

What do we mean by ready? Ready means that the athletes that come through our system are better than they were the past season, every year it is our job to see that all three of the major components of performance are taken care of, and those components are strength, conditioning, and nutrition. These are the things that create athletes who then create athletic programs of exceptionally motivated athletes who are bent on winning.

Getting athletes and sometimes coaches to buy into our system was difficult in the beginning, I started in this business in 1990 and believe me, there was many a day when I thought to myself “what have I gotten myself into”? With the support of the people who are were then, and still are I hung in there long enough to become the coach that I am, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest coaches in the world, some that may not have been as well known. The one thing that most of them had was the ability not to micro-manage, they asked me to do a job and then let me do it. Dave Lindenmuth of Salem (NJ) High School and Luther Howard of Camden (NJ) are two coaches that quickly come to mind. The reason I mentioned these two guys is they represent opposite ends of the spectrum. Coach Howard and I have worked together at four schools previously before coming back to Camden High; he was around when I first started as a volunteer at Camden under Coach Nelson Hayspell, so when he got the head coaching position it was just a natural thing that he would reach out. Coach Lindenmuth is a different story; he had no idea as to who I was or what I was about. I came to him with the hopes of volunteering because my daughter was going to be cheering at Salem and I thought since I was going to be there anyway I may as well get involved. Once we got things in place coach never once questioned anything we did. There are times when I just know that he had to be thinking “what the heck is he doing?” Coach trusted the fact that with the programs I had worked with in the past I must have known what I was doing. These guys are just two out of many who trusted their ability to get the right people into the right jobs and then just let them do their thing.

So now, let’s get back to earning that muscle, the “quickest” and “easiest” way to get faster, stronger and better to give yourself enough time. The mistake a lot of athletes make is waiting to late to start getting ready to compete. I was getting questions from football players in august about getting ready for camp that started in two weeks, if they had started preparing in June or July then trying to get ready in two weeks would not have been an issue because they would have been closer to being ready then they were. Same thing with basketball players in high school we know that in New Jersey we start the day after thanksgiving, any baller in their right mind will start to get ready in late September or early October. The programs that I am working with know that if you wait until late October or even early November to start preparing it is too late already and you will be at least a month behind. So I am asking athletes please don’t write to ask how to get right fast, ask me how to get right period. And as a public service I am including a protocol I like to call the “Dirty Thirty” 30 exercises that when performed correctly will help turn average athletes into athletes who can be counted on in crunch time, there moves should be performed three times a week with a day of rest in between, you decide on the weight start out with two sets and after three weeks go to three sets. Use it in good health:

Monday --- Wednesday --- Friday
Bench Press Incline Bench Press Medicine Ball Push ups
Pull up Bent-Over Row
Lat Pull downs
Clean into the Push Press Front Shoulder Raise
Rear shoulder raise
Shrugs Lat Shoulder Raise
Military Press
Tricep Press down
Tricep Extension Dips
Hammer Curl Barbell Curl
Cable curls
Squat Lunge
One leg squats
Hamstring Curl Deadlift
Romanian Dead lift
Calf Raises Medicine ball crunch
Seated Calf raise
Oblique Twist Scorpions

Photos by Art Redd

Do you have a fitness or conditioning question for Graig? Send it to If your question is used in an article, you will receive a free Team Conditioning Systems t-shirt.
For previous Winning Ways, visit Graig's Archives

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