Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Thanks to Stephen Goodwin, Rick LaFavers and Lamar Consolidated HS for hosting the first Texas 5 Strong Offensive Line Clinic.  Looking forward to next year.
It was a great day of offensive line clinic and some of the nuggets are listed below.

Speakers and topics included:
Tony Johnson @kickslide - Bonham HS: fundamentals of offensive line play
Nick Codutti @coachcodutti - Beaumont Westbrook HS: inside zone & pass protection
James Piker @coach_piker - Catholic of Pointe Coupee HS: O line play in the flexbone triple option
myself - year round physical preparation for the offensive lineman
Joey Jackson @runthepower - A&M Consolidated HS: OL play with RPO's
Seth Harris @coachsethharris- Friendswood HS: Blocking for traps and QB runs
Zach Bass - Pete Medlock @petemedlock - Port Neches Grove HS: power concept out of the spread

  • Set blocking goals for WR's: would include pancackes, successful cuts, run offs vs man - from Coach Jackson
  • Wide Zone concept by Coach Codutti - we are looking at installing this spring, also had RPO's off of

  • Great verse that applies to coaching from Coach Johnson:
II Timothy 4:2 "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction."

the video include information that I covered in "Preparing OL year round"

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Swiss bar - Nice tool for variety and lineman training

Tool for the weight room - Swiss Bar

   Variety is the spice of life, and the Swiss bar is a great way to introduce something new into your training.  Originally I bought one for my own garage gym to play around with.  After using for myself I decided we needed some for our athletes as well.
   Two benefits I found with the Swiss bar was that there was less wear and tear on my shoulders and it could be more useful in developing a lineman's punch.  The neutral grip has carryover to how we teach the punch by having thumbs up and trying to connect the elbows to the hips as best we can.
   We tend to use it more in-season due to the wear and tear on our shoulders from live football.  In addition to the variety the bar itself gives you, there are also different widths of grip you can take.

Movements we use with Swiss Bar:

  1. Bench Press (video)
  2. Dynamic Effort Bench Press
  3. Floor Press (video)
  4. Inverted Rows (video)
  5. Bent Rows (video)
  6. Curls
  7. Shoulder Press
  8. Curl to Press Combo
  9. Lineman Punch (standing or bar suspended in rack)

You can do many more movements than these listed, these are just the ones we choose to incorporate into our training. Just a heads up for the players the first time they do bench press with the Swiss bar, it can be a bit more wobbly than a regular bar.  This not at all being a bad thing.  It forces you to be tight and stabilize while at the same time being more similar to a body than a bar. As far as % to use in comparison to a regular bench press takes some trial and error.  We based it off of 80% of our BP max. Spotting on the bench press with a Swiss bar takes some getting use too also.

Something I wish I would have known before purchasing these, is that normal collars do not work on these bars.  In one of the videos you can see how we got creative using red band to keep plates on.

Best deal I have found on Swiss bar.  Great price and as good as any:
Black Widow

Extra resources and reading for Swiss bar use:
Mens Health

Thursday, May 1, 2014


This article is what hopes to be part one of a two part series on the topic of acceleration.  Part one will discuss testing methods for evaluating an athletes acceleration and if your training methods are getting the desired results.  After reading the material I hope that its presents some material that will help your athletes and stir up interest and thoughts on how you approach training speed for your teams and athletes.  Any feedback, thoughts and or suggestions are welcome.

  • is the rate at which the velocity of an object changes over time

Acceleration is a key component when developing speed required to be successful in sports.  This is not about how to improve linear speed such as a 100 meter sprinter or the technique that is used when starting a 40 yard sprint for time.  Both of these are specific to the event being run and may have little carryover on the court or field.  Many studies and discussions have taken place that reveal that establish 30-60 meters and or 4-5 seconds as the time and distance needed to reach top speeds when sprinting.  So when training for acceleration, distances and times spent need to spend a large amount of time working in the 5-15 yard distance and 1-2 second parameters. 

As with any physical trait you are training for and developing, you want to have a tool to evaluate the players technique, performance and as a tool to see if your methods are working.  We purchased a $2,000 electronic device so that we could be accurate, reliable and objective in timing.  Another reason for using this device was to time 10 yard splits when running the 40 yard dash.  We had mixed results as far as how well and easy the machine was to work.  In hindsight I would recommend purchasing the $4.99 coacheseye app.  It is much more user friendly and allows you to coach technique.  Some of the still shots below help show how you can look at an athletes angles, distance of steps and technique.  You can also purchase a timing device that can enable you to time splits at 5,10... yards.  In theory you could time 10 yard sprints with the ipad and coacheseye app and not even need a stopwatch or method of writing down results during testing. 






Michael Boyle does an excellent job in one of his chapters describing the act of pushing to accelerate, great read overall - but really loved the part on acceleration

All of Defrancos material is great, this one is full of easy to understand and implement concepts in regards to acceleration




Sunday, December 8, 2013

Power Development with the Hang Clean

Ask 10 different strength and conditioning "experts" their opinion on the use of Olympic Movements for power development in athletes, and most likely you would get 10 different answers.  In addition, if you were to ask those that believed Olympic Lifts were beneficial, they might disagree on what types of lifts should be used.  When dealing with a.) young athletes b.) multiple sport athletes c.) those with little or no training background, I have found that the Hang Clean is an invaluable tool to help develop power.
Below is an article that goes more in depth on the Hang Clean and its benefits.

Developing Power Using the Hang Clean
Olympic lifts are often a lightning rod for discussion when it comes to how to best develop power.  There are those that feel that the return is not worth the investment required in regards to teaching time and risk of injury.  There are those that feel anything other than Olympic lifts is a waste of time and nothing compares to the power development developed from these movements.  From my experience in training athletes I have found that Olympic lifts are a big piece of the puzzle.  They are not the puzzle, and gains in power can be made without them.  However, there is too much data too completely disregard the benefit of Olympic lifts.  In addition there is plenty of empirical evidence that favors the side that believes Olympic lifts can aid in athletic development. 
            When testing Olympic athletes, Olympic lifters will always have some of the highest vertical jumps of all the athletes.  In addition Olympic throwers always perform Olympic movements in their weight training.  Athletes will benefit from lifts such as the hang clean due to the triple extensions that occurs when applying force into the ground.  The speed of the bar is hard to mimic with other movements.   The benefit of rate of force development will aid in acceleration, linear speed (increase in stride length), vertical jumping abilities and change of direction.   There is also the balance and body control component being developed when catching the weight during Olympic lifts.  This portion of the lift helps athletes in decelerating and coordinating upper and lower body movements.
Like any lift, when taught properly and performed with good technique, there is no dangerous lifts – just dangerous technique.  When first teaching athletes how to perform Olympic movements we begin with a PVC pipe.
Reps are performed in the 6 and under range so that the lifter can maintain both bar speed and great technique. **rep ranges for power development**  If one were able to use a device such as a Tendo unit to measure the speed of the bar on a lift, I can’t imagine that the 5oth rep would produce anywhere near the power that the 3rd-6th rep did during that set.
When performing Olympic lifts in your workout it is best to perform them first in your workouts, due to the amount of power and technical demands.  Exceptions can be made when doing partial movements such as a hang clean pull or a DB Clean (as seen in the Tier System Example).
Teaching Progression:
1.       Hang Clean Pull
2.       Hang Clean High Pull
3.       Hang Clean
The Hang Clean Pull
This is just the “Jump & Shrug portion of the lift”.  It gets many of the benefits of the full Olympic lift and also eliminates some of the concerns.  The main emphasis of the hang clean pull is the triple extension (extension of the ankle knee and hip) and a shrug.  An Added benefit is once the pull is complete, the weight can be dropped.  Therefore the negative or eccentric portion of the lift is removed.  We often use more pulls than full cleans during in season training season when the athlete’s priority is to be ready for game time.
When teaching the hang clean pull and triple extension we have the athlete visualize trying to get into a ride at an amusement park.  This gives the visual cue of getting as tall as they can by getting on their toes (fully extending at the ankle, knee and hip) while having good posture and getting chest and chin up as well.
Teaching the Set up:
1.       Feet Shoulder width
2.       Should be able to wiggle your toes
3.       Neutral spine position (eyes ahead)
4.       Elbows to the side
5.       Thumbs in sides of thigh for grip width
6.       Wrist slightly curled
7.       Arms loose – hanging like ropes
8.       Slide the bar to right above the knee cap)
9.       Shoulders over the bar
10.   Jump & shrug
Teaching The Pull
1.       Jump – extended forcefully at the ankle knee and hip (triple extension)
2.       Shrug – forcefully shrug at the completion of jump
The Hang Clean High Pull
Once you have mastered the Hang Clean Pull it is time to advance to the Hang Clean High Pull.  The movement begins the same as the Hang Clean Pull, now we add the movement of the arms.  Once you have completed triple extension and a shrug your elbows will travel up and to the side.  Imagine there is a sheet of glass directly behind you.  Do not break the glass with your elbow going back.  This helps you visualize the vertical plane that the bar and your body should travel.   A good coaching cue is that the “elbows don’t bend until the hips extend”.  The bar should travel to chest height.
The Hang Clean:
The hang clean is the quickest and easiest to learn due to the starting position.  As opposed to pulling the weight from the floor, the lifter now can initiate a counter movement, by sliding the bar down. 
The Rack
At some point gravity is going to begin to take over (usually about when the bar gets to about chest level).  You will get your body under the bar and
Teaching the Rack:
1.       “Pop and Drop” pop the elbow forward and drop the butt
2.       During the pull and rack – the bar should stay close to the body, do not swing it way from you
3.       Knees and hips will bend when receiving the bar
4.       Arm should be parallel or very close to it
5.       You need to slightly relax your grip in order to get your elbows up
6.       The bar is not being supported by the wrist or fingers, it is instead resting across the collarbone
7.       Another coaching cue we give is “get tall (the pull) and then get short (get under the bar)”
8.       The feet should not split or widen to get under the bar.  The shortest distance is always a straight line, by landing with your feet in the same shoulder width position or within the width of your shoe you will get under the bar quicker and avoid placing your knee in a compromising position.
Variations of the Hang Clean
1.       DB Clean
2.       Rack Clean – performed in a rack with pins or safety bars at height where bar is right above knee cap.  The athlete is now forced to get his shoulders over the bar and makes it harder for those the bend at the elbow to soon.  In addition it is more difficult to the lack of a counter movement.  After each rep the bar is set stationary again on the pins.
3.       3 Stage Clean This is good to emphasize the pull portion of the clean and create good technique leading up to a full hang clean.  First perform a Hang Clean Pull, then a Hang Clean High Pull and finish with a real Hang Clean.  That series would represent 1 rep.
How do you go about implementing Olympic lifts into your workouts?
The Hang Clean and its variations are best performed at the beginning of a workout.  An athlete wants to perform these when they are fresh, due to the power and technical aspects of the lift.  We follow the workout order of Speed-Power-Strength-Conditioning.  So if an athlete were also doing speed work during that workout; that would take place first.  Next the athlete would perform power developing movements in the weight room with the use of Hang Cleans.  As far as how to implement into your weekly program or split, they can fit in many different ways.  If you have questions on how to do this feel free to contact me.
An example of a 6 week program (this is after the technical aspects of the lift have been mastered)
·         Olympic Barbell Warm up (using Barbell only) prior to beginning work sets
6 reps of each: RDL, Hang Clean Pull, Hang Clean to Front Squat

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6

Warm Up
BB WU only
BB WU only
6 at 60%
5 at 65%
4 at 70%
4 at 73%
Set 1
Set 2
Set 3
Set 4

*The last set is lighter, for 2 reasons
1.)    To correct any technique flaws that may have occurred in the heavier sets
To ensure bar speed, since fatigue and or technique may slow down bar speed
If you are looking for a new challenge and to increase your power, begin integrating Hang Cleans into your workouts.  The purpose of this article was the discussion of the technique and benefits of the hang clean, in no way does this diminish or ignore the benefits of the Power Clean, Snatch, Jerk and all of the variations of these lifts.

In the video below there are some examples of both pulls from the floor and hang cleans.  Yes, as is the case in any real world scenario - there is some bad,good and great technique seen.

There is much more involved in teaching and performing hang cleans than is listed below.  Hopefully this will help get you started

Monday, September 23, 2013


If your in Dallas, Ft. Worth area I am going to begin training athletes and those with a desire to reach their maximum potential.  The plan is to start using my garage and near by field for now, with the desire to grow into a storage unit in the future.  If you are interested or have questions please email me at coachjburk@sbcglobal.net or you can go to thumbtack (a great new website that helps locate this who offer services)

Friday, June 28, 2013


Saw that Missouri (Pat Ivey - Head Strength and Conditioning Coach and Dr. Rick McGuire) hosted a clinic on developing the mental aspects of athlete development.  Although I did not attend (hope they have it in the future so will be able to make it),  we have used many of the ideas/concepts/resources put out by these two and others.  Everyone loves to talk about the mental aspects of training, however I wonder how often we are just giving it lip service.  Or do we strategize, research, exchange ideas and work on this component like we would when installing a new play/scheme or new training protocol?  I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to this, it often seems very subjective and hard to see the results during off season or summer training.

Below is information we covered on visulization last off season.  We used 5 minutes before workout each day to cover several topics.  If you would like information on the other topics let me know.  Email me a message at coachjburk@sbcglobal.net or send me a message on twitter @coachjburk

Some great resources
maybe they video taped the clinic and will have available - worth a try

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chad Wesley Smith clinic/visit

I have been a fan of Chad Wesley Smith and his work with Juggernaut training for a some time.  This summer we wanted to bring in a speaker to help us prepare for our best Summer training ever.  Chad did not dissapoint.  He came for a one day seminar this past Saturday and presented on year round training for the football player.
Some key notes and ideas I factored in when writing summer programs include:

  • look at the player not the game (OL different than DB)
  • maximum sprints is a great stimulus on the body / give sprints the respect there due
  • weights follow speed, if you have a great speed session - dont need as much in the weight room
  • a movement is sports specific if it mimics 2 of the 3 qualities (direction,duration, velocity)
  • set up your training to be able to take stuff away as season nears
  • do least amount possible to get greatest results
  • incorporating medicine ball throws as part of in season training

Below is a link to Juggernaut and more specifics on alactic capacity training

Juggernaut training is exploding with growth and I highly recommend his manuals and the products/clinics he will soon be coming out with this Fall.

The next day we went to Metroflex gym in Arlington Texas where many elite bodybuilders, strongmen and powerlifters train.  3 of the best in the business - Chad, Josh Bryant and Blaine Sumner were there to train.  Some of the strongest guys Ive ever seen (evidence in the video below).  Also never seen a human eat as much as Chad - gotta feed the furnace.  Josh Bryant did not lift but is highly respected in the strength and conditioning industry and writes programs for elite lifters around the world (http://www.joshstrength.com/).

Videos of Beast squatting