Here's Part 2 of our 2 Part series of What I learned at Sorinex Summer Strong.
Continuing with the exercises that are overrated pertaining to the development of athletes. Here are 2 exercises that I have found ways to work around to "make it happen."
[youtube width="640" height="360"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRlCx8JvjJg[/youtube]
1) The Bench Press is definitely overrated in terms of training athletes. The reason why is because too many coaches have skipped the development of the upper body through various bodyweight pushing and pulling exercises as well as understanding how to create torsion first & foremost through push ups and pull ups.
2) Back Squats - What I once thought was a curse became a blessing in disguise. With a Football crew of guys ranging in height from 5'4" all the way to 6' and taller along with only ONE squat rack (half rack), I could not organize workouts in a crowded 2 car garage for this at the time.
In hindsight, I could have had the shorter guys working on single leg training while the tall guys started with squats and then switched. But, my mind certainly wasn't as agile as it is today.
Regardless, we made due and these boys still dominated. We used heavy lunge variations, heavy deadlifts and zercher squats. We also performed the various Kettlebell squats.
Sled work was always a staple in our training and if we didn't attack the legs from so many angles then perhaps missing out on back squats would have been an issue.
Because I work with primarily high school athletes, I see the same issue with squats as I do with the bench press, the power clean and the deadlift.
I've witnessed kids getting tested on 1RM squats and to make a long story short, they damn near almost lost their teeth as the bar crashed their body down faster than gravity.
Before you throw a bar on your back you must again learn torsion through the feet and hips, how to engage the posterior by sitting back with knees out, torso stability and balance.
This begins with bodyweight, sled work, sandbag squats, various kettlebell squats and various unilateral leg exercises. In addition, back squats require a strong back, strong abs and body awareness.
Can I develop bad asses without benching and without back squatting? It sounds crazy but my answer is YES. If I had to remove ONE of these exercises it would absolutely be the bench press. Squats are a TOP exercise in my gym and we build our athletes up to them safely and effectively. With various squat racks I can arrange groups according to height.
Back Squats are an exercise to be respected and built up to. I've seen how weak these young kids are in high school, it is almost a crime. The BIGGEST crime is the Coach who has athletes performing these exercises when they are not physically or psychologically ready for them.
I will bring this back to what helped me succeed when Bert Sorin ask us all:
To Succeed, You Must Genuinely CARE
If a Coach TRULY cares, he will find a way to educate himself to better prepare his team. The Coach who doesn't care walks around too good and too cool to learn from others and in turn his team walks around with sub-par potential and a losing record.
Gotta Live The Code.