Weightlifting Talk with Martin Rooney and Ox Mason
Tuesday was one of the most educational and motivational Weightlifting Talks of all-time! My co-host and friend The Jon North was out of town in Venezuela representing the USA in the Pan American Championships. However just recently my friend and colleague Martin Rooney made the move from New Jersey to Cornelius, NC, so I asked him to come on the show and drop a little knowledge. Well Drop Knowledge he did! First let me give you a little background about Martin. Martin threw Javelin at Furman University. Martin has a Master of Health Science and a Bachelor of Physical Therapy, so this guy is no regular meathead. Martin went on to be a member of the US Bobsled Team, and from there met up with Bill Parisi. Martin and Bill built what is now Parisi Speed School with locations all over the world. Martin is also the founder of Training for Warriors which is a quickly growing movement. Training For Warriors or TFW is a training style developed by Martin to get people in the best shape of their lives. It’s not like a lot of mindless programs that just try to beat a person into the ground, but it is a program that is designed to make trainees get in shape and feel better. Martin is the go to guy in America for speed development, and he has trained more first round draft picks for the NFL, NBA, and the Major Leagues than any other strength and speed coach in America. He also trains several of the top MMA Fighters in the world, so my point is that this guy’s resume can’t be rivaled.
I was excited to have him on the show for several reasons. First Martin is the most inspirational guy on the planet. He will simply make you want to get in shape and take hold of your life. He not only knows what he is talking about, he lives it, believes in it, and more than anything he wants to help others achieve their goals. We covered several topics mainly that I selfishly wanted to know his take on. My favorite was: How do you actually get someone fast? Here was his four point answer:
1. Believe in your athlete, and they will believe in themselves.
2. Relative body weight strength is crucial. Bottom line get your athlete strong, and keep their body fat down, and they will get fast.
3. Practice the speed event often.
4. Technique tuning up
Guys there is no magic formula! Get them strong! A common theme that I have heard from all of my peers in the industry is get your athlete strong, keep their body fat down, believe in them, and practice the events. I here over and over from parents that they want me to work on speed with their child, but they don’t want a lot of strength training. The statement itself doesn’t make a lot of sense. If you want your car to go faster, you have to put a bigger engine in it. I also hear a lot about stunting of growth, or the old school growth plate theory. Well Martin absolutely kills all of those theories! He made the best points by stating, “How can we ask our kids to mow the yard, take out the trash, or help in the hay, but we are afraid of strength training?” Landing from a jump causes a force greater than 6-7 times our body weight, but yet we are afraid of a 30% of bodyweight kettlebell If we are going to allow our children to play sports, then we need to prepare them for impact of the game. Look at soccer it is the worst! You have these tiny girls and boys running around, jumping, cutting, and hitting a ball with their little heads year round, but we aren’t having them do any strength training to prepare them for such abuse. Why do you think that ACL injuries and Concussions are through the roof in that sport? In my opinion that is near negligence. I don’t believe that it is intentional negligence, but a lack of education. That is the job of Strength and Speed Coaches like Martin and me. I also hear all the time not to do squats because parents are afraid that squats will make an athlete slow. Well someone should have told Barry Sanders that because he squatted 600lbs for set after set, and Michael Johnson the amazing sprinter who worked out with 500lbs in the Squat. I believe that it is time for a paradigm shift in American Strength and Speed Programs. If you ask any credible Strength and Speed Coach about what are the components of a great program, they will all tell you to get the athlete strong, keep him optimally mobile, keep their relative strength high, body fat down, and sprint a lot. If you are going to a coach with lots of ladders, parachutes, and other forms of bells and whistles, leave now and get a coach. Coach Kenn from the Carolina Panthers said it best, “If you want your athlete fast, get them stronger. If you want your athlete to jump higher, get them stronger. If you want to prevent injuries, get them stronger.”
If you want to educate yourself about the truths of strength and speed training, here is a link to the podcast with Martin, Ox, Ryan, and me!
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