written by Strength and Conditioning Coach Jordan Murphy
Let’s face it; the good old fashioned standard of hard work and discipline in fitness is slipping away. People look for shortcuts to stay in shape; even high school Physical Education Departments are slipping into this trap. Students - especially student athletes - need more than low impact games that don’t break a sweat. They need a strength and conditioning program that will make them better on the court or field, help them avoid injury, and stand out from the pack.
At Lutheran HS, we say no to drugs and we say no to “soft” fitness. Team Strength is founded on the principles of keeping kids in shape, promoting them to set fitness goals, preventing injury, and making them the best athlete at their sports that they can be.
- Our mission statement for Team Strength is as follows: “The purpose of the Iron Lion Strength and Conditioning organization is to optimize sport specific performance and prevent sports related injury.
- Our core values are not to solely make the athlete bigger, faster, and stronger, but to improve explosive power and overall athleticism in accordance to their respective sport. We strive to create long lasting relationships with our athletes and we will by no means compromise athlete safety to achieve weight room prestige.
- Our program intends to facilitate mobility and strengthening of muscles that keep the athlete on the field, court, ice, or water.
We practice what we preach by:
- requiring the athletes to complete dynamic warm ups that emphasize mobility, stability, and strengthening of stabilizer muscles, critical to the athlete's individual sports.
- requiring our athletes to perform multi joint functional movements that load the spine, in order to develop the large muscle groups required for success in their respective sports.
- emphasizing development of the core muscles and force stability in unstable positions to keep the athletes healthy and allow them muscle integrity to create powerful and forceful movements.
Our coaches develop personal relationships with the athletes and ensure an open platform to discuss injuries and difficulties in their athletic development. We immediately make modifications to the athlete’s programs and make sure that their safety and physiological health is the number one priority.”
At Lutheran High School, we don’t just seek to be good, we seek to be great. We seek to be the leader in strength and conditioning in the entire state and we have invested in the technology and equipment to do it.
One big step forward we made over the summer is introduce Bridge Athletic Software to our program. Bridge Athletic is a database platform that allows our athletes to train smarter and train more efficiently. It’s used by Division I colleges, professional teams like the Oakland Raiders, Olympic athletes, and other top notch high school programs.
Bridge Athletic allows every athlete to receive personalized programs based on the demands of their sport and personalized weights for every movement. The athletes get the workouts delivered to their own smart device. Every movement is accompanied with a perfect demonstration video and a step by step picture analysis of the proper form.
First, student athletes enter in the weights they use and percentages are calculated off of that for the next workout. every workout begins with a questionnaire of their physiological stress levels, so that we as coaches can make adjustments to their workouts to avoid over training and injury.
Gone are the days of guesswork and, “Hey Jimmy, you want to shoot for a tough 5 reps of whatever you think feels right on your squats here.” Because what all coaches know is when Jimmy sees a girl he wants to impress in class, he will stack that bar up with way too much weight and end up doing a John-Mayer-Free-Fallin’ onto the floor and get hurt.
Not only does Bridge Athletic allow athletes to interact with technology while training smarter, it provides accountability. Each coach can see how their athletes are doing and if they skip reps, sets, or even workouts. The athletes can see their progress on a day to day basis and compete with athletes in the same sport.
However - like Uncle Ben says in Spiderman - “With great power comes great responsibility.” (Was he talking about Bridge Athletic in this statement? Some scholars will argue yes.) Bridge Athletic has great power, but it is only as good as the coaches designing the workouts.
I design workouts based on a principle known as the Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands (SAID), which was founded in 1981 by strength and conditioning pioneers Sale and MacDougall.
The SAID principle states that “when the body is placed under some form of stress, it starts to make adaptations that will allow the body to get better at withstanding that specific form of stress in the future.
In other words, the body will adapt to the specific movements and stresses placed on it and then overcompensate to make the movements more effortless and more efficient.
Think of the last time you were at the gym. Remember the annoying guy in those toe shoes doing kettlebell swings and squats on 2 medicine balls while probably wearing his graphic T-shirt that says “fitspiration”? You might ask what the point of it is and he might respond with something about functional training (and then ask you to follow him on Instagram and Like his Facebook fitness page).
But, let’s circle back - why is an everyday, average Joe, training for movements that he will never use in everyday life? Does he have to do a kettlebell swing with his gallon milk jug to pour it into his cereal?
Instead, I design programs that are based on the needs of each athlete’s individual sports. For example, let’s say a baseball player does all the old school core lifts like deadlift, back squat, bench press, and incline bench press every day. They will certainly get bigger, stronger, and faster. However, how will those movements translate to the specific demands of baseball?
No, baseball players need powerful rotation of the thoracic spine and rotation of the muscles of the trunk to swing a bat. If for all they train are movements that don’t incorporate rotation under a stressful stimulus, then they will not swing the bat with more power or velocity. If they get bigger, faster, and stronger from the old school core lifts, and incorporate rotational power movements, they will become better baseball players and the ball will go over the fence instead of a grounder to second base.
Another component I focus on is ensuring the smaller, stabilizer muscles of those movements are trained and appropriately conditioned as well, so that injury is prevented when they make those violent and powerful movements like swinging a bat.
At the end of the day, my point is simple. Lutheran High School’s Team Strength uses fundamental principles of kinesiology and innovative technology.
We are dedicated to:
- training our athletes to stay healthy and be the best athlete on the field, court, mound, or ice.
- helping our kids achieve their fitness and athletic goals
- and making sure they have fun doing it.
Most importantly, our students get to glorify God while training. So, come sit in on a class or ask a LuHi student why they like Team Strength. I believe they will echo these sentiments. After all, there is a reason there are over 200 LuHi student athletes are currently taking Team Strength and that number is rising every year.