Posts Tagged ‘strength’

How To Take A Basketball Player From Intramural To All Star Performance: Part 1

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

This post will be a longer post……if you don’t want to get better and don’t give a s@*t if THIS happens to you…

My name is Freddy and I DIDN'T work on my performance

My name is Freddy and I DIDN'T work on my performance

Then DON’T read this!

How many basketball players out there are frustrated with their level of performance?

How many are sitting on the bench a lot more than they would like to?

Maybe it’s the fact that you’re getting blown by, dunked on and dominated on defense?

I’ve felt every one of the above!

I even gave myself the whole “must be the genetics” talk. But it was just a cop out!

A large part of my life was (and still is) dedicated to basketball. I played from as young as I can remember and started going to basketball schools as well as joining a junior team by  the time I was 11. From there I played through high school at the highest levels, got a college scholarship and started 4 years, the later on played professional ball in Europe, not to mention countless street ball tournaments and just cutting short of winning the Nike Battlegrounds Slovenia. I also played in the NBA Summer Pro League 5 years ago before completely dedicating myself to strength and conditioning. (more…)

More Strength, Power And Endurance In Less Time – Contrast!

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

We all like strength, power and endurance. If you don’t, you should mofo!

Most of you also like to get as much done in a short amount of time. At least I would hope so!

So if I said you can tweak your training just a little bit and get more strength, power and/or endurance in shorter training session, you’d listen.

Let me introduce contrast training.

The short and simple explanation of contrast training is…. Choose an exercise  (usually a compound exercise) that you will load heavy in the 3-8 rep range (for strength and power endurance we may go even higher) and follow it up with a an exercise that has the same movement pattern and similar rep ranges.

A very simple example would be a box squat followed by a box jump or a squat jump.


I swear this is the only picture of a box squat I could find…

Not a regular box jump per se, but you get the point (more…)

4th Of July Training

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July and got to spend time with their family while being grateful for our freedom.

Just like everyone else I had a bunch of places to be on the 4th from spending time with my wife to hitting up a family BBQ and then meeting up with friends to watch the fireworks at Coulon Park. Because of that I made sure that I got everyone in the gym early that morning to get our scheduled training session in. One of the things that takes the Hocevar Performance athletes to the next level is the mindset of no excuses. Everything in life worth getting takes sacrifice and if you’re not willing to do that then maybe you don’t want to achieve that goal as much as you though you did. There were people that sacrificed their lives and future so that we could have what we have, yet there is so many people that just whine and don’t do anything about the situation they are in only to make excuses about how unfortunate things only happen to them! (more…)

MMA Training Final Preparation

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

As you may know I am a fan of mixed martial arts and have lately started back up with training. I have done this for a couple of reasons:

1). To better understand the demands of the fighters that I train (I have been very active in the training of some high level MMA fighters and wrestlers)

2). The competitive drive never lets me be average at anything and as I started training I realized at that point I was “average” at MMA.

I can’t tell you how much I have learned by training the sport as well as studying it and applying my knowledge at the same time. I’m not saying you should train every sport from which you have athlete clients but it can definitely give you an edge. The least you should do is start watching more of the sport and/or your athletes games to look for things that you could help them improve and realize what the demands of the sport are. (more…)

Olympic Lifts, How Useful Are They?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

What is olympic weigtlifting? It is an expression of strength-speed at it’s finest. Moving heavy weights with high rates of force. Because there is a high load and high speed of movement the power output in weightlifting exercises far exceeds the conventional strength lifts as the bench, deadlift and squat. Using these lifts will cause specific adaptations when training our athletes. Here are some numbers to showcase power outputs with different exercises:


Exercise                                      Absolute Power (W) (maximum effort during comp. for 220 lbs man)

Bench Press                               300

Squat                                       1100

Deadlift                                   1100

Snatch Second Pull                    5600

Clean Second Pull                      5500

Jerk                                          5400 

As you can see there is quite a significant difference in power……

As a sidenote: Olympic Weightlifters have some of the highest (if not the highest) average vertical jumps of any athletes recorded and they do not specifically train to improve their jumps. Take it however you want to take it.

Olympic Lifts

We could say he has decent jumping ability, right?

As I mentioned in a previous post that I have started using more olympic lifts in my training (that does not mean the training of all the athletes I train), let me first explain what are the main exercises that fall under this category: the snatch, the clean and jerk. But there are also derivatives of these exercises that I would put under the same category as they also require a great power production and have the extra benefit of being easier to learn for most people (a little about that later on). These exercises consist of the clean pull, snatch pull, jerk (split, regular), push press and others.

One thing I failed to mention is that the main olympic lifts are quite hard to learn as they are quite technical and there is a big learning curve. I think that it would be great if every athlete had the time to learn these lifts but in reality I ussualy only have months in the off season to get the athletes in top physical shape and there is not enough time to teach the lifts. The good thing is that we can use the derivatives of the olympic lifts such as the snatch pull and the clean pull or the jerk, as they are much easier to learn.

So it is obvious that the olympic lifts have benefit…….but with a cost. First of there is a high technical mastery involved with the lifts as we mentioned earlier. There is no need to introduce such lifts in the weight room when the athletes already have sport specific skill work to improve on.The O-lifts also place great stress on the glenohumeral joint (shoulders), which makes them very risky for overhead athletes (baseball, volleyball,…) and also football players as their shoulders take a beating (no need to compound that in the weight room).

Am I confusing you with the for and agaist thoughts? I do have mixed emotions to tell you the truth, but olympic lifts will only stay in my programs and a limited few athletes that had a high level of proficiency before they started training with me (and even that for limited blocks of time). I will be using some of the olympic lift derivatives bit otherwise I can teach athletes simple alternatives such as jumps, medicine ball throws, box squats that produce all of the same measurable results. The goal is to produce the best prepared athletes while utilizing training means that produce the best results at the lowest cost.

Box Squats

Box Squats – they work too!! 

I also have to take into consideration that I train multiple athletes at the same time which makes use of the main olympic lifts even less efficient. I will continue to admire the sport of olympic weightlifting and learn as much as I can from the athletes and coaches but I at this moment in time I will use the main lifts scarcely as I have found a more efficient way to help athletes fulfill their potential.

If I confused you with this post then oh well……take what you can from it. I believe that we should all mold our training style from learning as much as we can from the best in the world. Bruce Lee once said: “Absorb what is usefull, reject what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”

I might come across something that changes my mind though……



Training Update

Monday, September 1st, 2008


General Specific Warm Ups – this will get you ready for the rest of the training session

As many may know that I use the conjugate periodization model a lot, mostly because it has produced superior results to other programs most of the time. The reality is that there is many methods that work if you apply them right. I tend to use different methods and training models when I feel they are going to be the most productive at that point in time. I also believe that the most effective program is the one that you are not on. That is why I love the conuugate model, because you can change the variables and continually progress. 

Well, I decided that I needed a change and put together a 8 week program based on the two steps forward, one step back model. There are two 4 week blocks where the intensities go from moderate in week 1, a 10% increase in week 2, a 5% deload in week 3 and finally another 10% increase in week 4. The second cycle will be started at a 10% higher intensity than the previos one. Eachof the series of four week blocks prepares the trainee for the next. The programs main focus in these 8 weeks is improving strength and power.

Before we start we have a thororugh warm up that includes foam roll (or lacrosse ball), dynamic mobility, activation, general specific exercises (the sandbag tosses in the video…..the sandbag is around 40 lbs and we catch and throw in different positions. The two athletes I’m training are in wrestling and football). We have just finished the second week of the first block and here is the last training session (for power we are using Olympic Liftsa an their variations and I will be discussing them in a later post):

Power Snatch      warm up to   5 sets  x   2 reps          (155 lbs)

Snatch Pull         5 sets   x   5   reps         (235 lbs)

Standing Military Press           5 sets   x  5 reps   (150 lbs)

Barbell Back Box Squat           5  sets  x  5 reps    (295 lbs)

Neutral DB Bench Press (slow eccentric)       3 sets  x  10 reps   (105 lbs)

Pull Ups w/ Weight Vest  (25 lbs)    3  sets x  failure

This training sesssion we finished with 3 rouns of thick rope climbing (10 feet with no legs x 2 without stopping) and single leg RDL holding a kettlebell in one hand (72 lbs x 10 reps/each leg).

So far the training has been going well and it has been a welocme switch from the conjugate training. The Olympic Lifts have the most potential to improve as they are very technical but they have already showed improvements in power production which is what was lacking with some of the guys.

I will keep you posted on the progress………….

X-Band Walks

X-Band Walks (overhead variation) -part of the warm up

Something that is completely off topic……one of my athletes puts bread into his protein smoothies?! I was wondering if anyone else has tried it? Also, let me know if you need the recipe…..

Warrior Training

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

As I am watching MMA on TV I realize that these athletes are the modern gladiators. I have a high level of respect for these warriors especially because I have had the opportunity to train some high level mixed martial artisits and I can tell you that they are some of the most dedicated athletes.

When I talk about warriors, most people will understand this as the definition of someone who engages in battle or desires combat. This is one of the descriptions, but I believe that the greatest warriors have shown us that being a warrior is also about gaining control over oneself in all aspects of life.

“Go to the battlefield firmly confident of victory and you will come home with no wounds whatsoever.”  – Samurai General Kenshin Uesugi

Since the rise of the MMA and movies such as “300″ the warrior is once again in the forefront. Many forget that there have been many famous cultures that have glorified the warrior, the Spartans, the Romans, the Persians, the Vikings and the Samurai were societies that were famous for the development of their warriors. The reason that many of those legends have been passed down to this very day is the impact that they had on history. The question is whether you want to leave a leagcy for future generations? Do you think you have what it takes to be a warrior?

“Given enough time, any man can master the physical. With enough knowledge, any man may become wise. It is the true warrior that can master bothe……and surpass the result.” – Tien T’ai

Believe it or not, anyone can develop the physical fitness, mentality and strength of charachter of a warrior, whether you are an MMA fighter, athlete or regular Joe. I think that it all starts with training. I am talking about both the body and mind. For me the physical training is where it starts (for some people it may be getting the right mindset before beginning anything) as it is where I have my peace of mind. One of the things that I believe in is giving it your all every time, knowing you did not leave any effort in the tank, whether it be training or anything else you encounter. Hold yourself to the highest standard and you will achieve the highest goals. The warriors that have become legend had quite a few things in common, one of them was training to be the best at what they do. They commited themselves with everything they have. Now ask yourself if you are giving your everything in the goal that you want to achieve? Think about if you applied the warrior mindset and effort into waht you are doing?

“Hard training, easy combat; easy training, hard combat.” – Marshal Suvorov

Modern Day Warrior

Andrei Arlovski

I apply warrior training in my athletes (and everyone else) training sessions and it takes them to another level of performance physically and mentally. Remember that you cannot train muscles every single day bit you can and should train the mind every single day! To contol the mind is to to control your own thoughts and that means controlling  your own actions……………

There is a warrior in all of us. Are you going to resurrect him/her?

My favorite quote on being a warrior:

Out of every hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there,

Eighty are just targets,

Nine are real fighters, and we are lucky to have them,

for they make the battle,

Ah, but the one,

One is a warrior,

And he will bring the others back. - Heraclitus

If you want to unleash the warrior in you then let me know.

I will be giving you a peak into some of our warrior training……..coming soon!



Energy System Training

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Today we did an Energy System Workout to deload from the previous heavier weeks and also to get back from some minor health problems that plagued a couple of the crew from the weekend.

I will outline today’s session in more detail:

Warm Up, Mobility, Activation and Plyo’s

- Y Squats, Overhead Lunges, Side Lunges, Leg Swings, Toy Soldiers, Static Hip Stretches, Inchworms

- Couple of sets of wheelbarrow walks, crab walks and sumo squat position bunny hops

- Got some RFD with countermovement box jumps on a 42” box, 5 sets x 5 reps

Box Jumps

Believe me I know it’s time to get some higher boxes, because this stacking thing ain’t cutting it anymore

Then we proceeded to put 25 minutes on the clock and complete as many rounds of the circuit of exercises, trying to keep rest periods to to a minimum (we ended up completing 5 rounds):

1a). Trap Bar Deadlift  x  6 reps     (315 lbs)

1b). MB Pushups  x  14 reps (alternating hands)

1c). KB Thruster Clean & Press  x   6 reps    (2 x 55 lbs KB)

1d). KB Two Handed Squats   x  10 reps    (72 lbs KB)

1e). Pull Ups  x  10 reps

We pushed the tempo but made sure that form was good even under fatigue. This training will definitely test your conditioning and strength and power endurance!

As if it was not enough we had a 5 minute rest break and followed up with 5 rounds (fast as possible paying attention to crisp form) of:

2a). DB Snatch  x   5/each side       (75 lbs)

2b). Blast Strap Pushup + Rollout    x    10/each

2c). Pistols (alternating)    x   5/each leg

This part took around 14 minutes and we were spent. None the less it felt great and I am feeling like next week we can start another 8 week cycle and keep getting stronger, faster and more unstoppable!

Chaos Training

Thursday, August 7th, 2008
And you thought the tire by itself was chaotic!
What is chaos training? Let me first present what was defined as the “Chaos Theory” by Edward Lorenz in 1960. He suggested that when a small random change is introduced into the system, it causes a riple effect that can overwhelm and change long term behavior of the system. Henri Poincare later determined that unless these initial changes could be defined and measured, the outcome or deviation caused by these ripples could never be predicted.
So where soes this fit into sport? Well, sport by nature is dictated moment to moment by randomness and the athletes reaction to it. A small change in play, one step too late, a push from the side can radically change the ongoing sequence of events. The athlete must react with intuition and make decisions in a split second.
 So when it comes down to it the performance of the athlete is determined by how they react to these choatic situations, which is dependent on the adaptations and preparation from strength, skill and cognitive training.
Some of these training protocols may be to advanced for some athletes and there alwayshas to be an assesment that determines what the athletes needs to reach their desired goal. After certain things have been adressed and corrected then we add a chaos component to training. The majority of training means that we use up to this point include movement patterns that are predictable so we add exercises that will stengthen the athlete with random stimuli and bridge the gap between regular strength training adaptations and sports performance.
I have to admit that it was reading Jim Smith’s (one of the most knowledgable and creative coaches in the industry) work on Chaos Training that had me start using even more of the these methods and I have had great results with my athletes. They are improving on field performance and most of all staying injury free.
Above I am training with one of our upcoming football and track stars Armin Basic of Renton High School. We are flipping the 500 lb tire explosively with random resisitance from stretch bands. This is definitely chaotic and it is also great for bracing the core.

As Promised….."Washed Up Meathead"

Friday, August 1st, 2008

I said that I would post a picture of my friend Rich who is somewhere around 40 and still pushing strong, training hard and trying to improve everyday. His past life experiences and injuries restrict some things he can do but we work around that and try to keep him in top shape for his goals…….which in his words are: "Scoring chicks!"

Are you going to be in shape at 40? Train like an athlete, look like an athlete! Get to work…..


40 year old training

40 year old virgin? I think not!