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Ben Davis High School Strength and Conditioning Program, with Kevin Vanderbush


Let me tell you this, no one has all the answers. There’s no one way to get it done. When I listen to the two guys previous, there’s a lot of things
that they do that I don’t do. There’s a lot of things that they are very big on that I
could not do. There’s things that they believe that I don’t believe in. And, that’s
ok. If there’s anybody that gets up here at one of these conferences and says to
you this is the best way or the only way to get things done, just walk out go to
different talk, because within this field of strength and conditioning there’s all
kinds of different ways. Within the high school age group, you know there’s all
kinds of different ways. I mean that there’s a lot of different separate rep
schemes and a lot of different exercise, a lot of different things you can do to make kids
strong, to make kids move and be more efficient. I heard Mickey Marotti use this expression and actually I’m ahead of myself Frosty Westering, ok, former Division III
football coach wrote a great book, Make the Big Time Where You Are. I would highly recommend it but I think it may even be out of print. You may have to get a used copy, but within the field of strength and conditioning I’ve seen so many people
that look to other jobs as the idea I wish I could get there, I wanna be there,
I can’t do this at my school. I see a lot of strength coaches at the college level
that the mantras is, if I had not been fired, I will be fired. To me, with whatever situation you have,
whatever size school you have, whatever amount of equipment you have, make that the big time. Ok, and I have been in a lot of different
school systems where I’ve gone in and sometimes we’ve made a weight room out of a former broom
closet. You know sometimes they got an elaborate room setting, but to me what you gotta do is say within the situation I’ve got,
within the limitations that I have, how can I make this a big time? How can I
work with a kid to give him everything that he is owed to him by me being his strength coach. This is where I’m headed myself Mickey Marotti, Culture vs.
Scheme. I’m a big believer in this. I’ve said it for a number of years that
I think it’s much more important that you teach other things than just
strictly work on what is my set rep scheme, what are the best exercise to use. You
know some of these type of things. I think you have to create a culture
within your weight room. You have to develop something to where kids want to
be in there, kids want to work hard, kids want to compete, kids look at that
room as a positive means of allowing them to perform better, you know on the
field on the court. Coaches buy into it, wanting to send the kids in there. All of
those things are much more important to me than we sit down, we break down, what
is the best number of reps to do with a set, the number of sets to do within
a workout and so forth. I think it’s much more important that
you study a lot of things that have to do with culture in the weight room versus
specifically your scheme. I think the ability to teach and motivate are more
important than program design. If you’re going to study and if you will break it down by
percentage, how much time you spend on learning motivational tools, teaching
tools, how to relate to kids, self help type things. I would say that should be a
much higher percentage than, you know things that just have to do with program
design. We’re talking about a high school age athlete. High school age athlete
is coming to you most likely where he has not done much movement. He has probably played one sport. He doesn’t ride a bike. He doesn’t go out and just play with a
ball out in the field. He doesn’t just two games of tag when the younger because
now that sometimes it’s even outlawed in places. He’s coming to you with all kinds
of deficiencies. What you have to do with him, him or her, some general strength, general athleticism, general movement type skills. So to gets so caught up in is this the best and I got this at the conference. I
use that and I did all that. Versus the idea of how do I teach that kid? How do I motivate that kid? How to get them to buy into making this an important part? I think you’re
missing, missing the ball there. Strength and conditioning program, I think it’s the most important component of an athletic program. I’m going to use my
school as an example because after I show you how simple I do things, you’re
going to say, does this guy, how can he be successful at all. When I came into my
program back in 1984, our school was always the largest in the state of
Indiana. We’re called Ben Davis, but back at that time, the nickname and some of
you heard me speak before, we were called Band Davis, because our band was very good, seven or eight state championships but we weren’t very good
athletically. We did not have a basketball team that had gotten past sectionals, neither girls or boys. Our football team and 47 years of football had only had 11
500 or better seasons. Ok, so we’re talking like five and five types or better. Eleven within forty-seven years. So, we’ve always been big, always
been the same place same, we’ve always pretty much had the same type of community at that time. Once we instituted a strength and conditioning program. We started the class. We did all that. Since that time you know we have been named one of Sports Illustrated top 25 athletic programs in the country. We’ve had our football team, which I gave
you that example, our football team has averaged 10 wins a year for the last
thirty years. You know, we’ve been a state eight times, we’ve been national
champions in football, national champions in girls basketball. We feel
like the strength and conditioning program, the athletic enhancement program,
has allowed us to take what we have and makes them much better athletes. It allows the coaches to produce out there on the field. It’s not the only thing.
There’s all kinds of things are going into being successfu, l but when I go into
console with different schools, what I tell them is this is the thing that’s going
to allow you to make the greatest change in your athletic program, and I’ve had the
opportunity go to about forty different schools where they paid me to come in and get my concept out to them. You know I’ve got one school that’s actually sent me a
couple state championship rings because, for the first time ever, they won a
couple state championships, you know, two or three years after we had
been there and after they started instituting the program. So I really
feel this strongly about this and I think you have to convince the people in
your school of this. You know, that it’s worth
spending a bit of money to get equipment, it’s worth developing a class you know
within the curriculum. You have to be the person that says this is the most
important thing we do. It’s not the uniforms, is not some of the facilities,
it’s developing athletes. When I go and talk to people, I always talk about raising
expectations. I get where I go to certain schools and they’ll say well you know this summer we can’t lift on a Friday ’cause kids are busy and they wanted Friday, Saturday, Sunday off.
You know or we can get kids after school on Friday because you know they won’t
come in. Or, you know, I went to school recently, where they said, you know,
in that class, we can’t lift more than three days because we have to have one day where they play like dodgeball and basketball and do something like that. You know and
then after I get done with the console and I talked to them guy says you know that really hit home.
We have to raise our expectations. We can’t say that because the kids won’t do
this, we won’t set the bar high. You know I find that when I, when I put up, you know,
boards up in the room, you know I’m bigger numbers then these guys are before. But, you know we start off with girls, hundred-pound bench club, just to get girls excited, set goals
for themselves, so forth. But once I change it from 100 to 110 because there
are too many getting 100, the number at 110, the same number I had at 100. Once I
raised the bar within my weight room, whether its clubs or anything I’m doing, the
kids raised to that level. You know I have to keep setting the bar higher. So, I
think it’s important that you not say when you’re setting up some kind things that
you say, that’s far as we can go. You gotta continue say we can go further. And, if I put
this bar up there higher, the kids going to aim higher, keep doing that. I think it’s
important to understand you get what you emphasize and you get what you tolerate. You know, I have coaches who will say, well this is, you know they look at this and they say well
this is what’s going on. And I say, well going on because you allow it to go on.
You know I am at a district where, like I said, 80% of my kids are on
free and reduced lunch. They come from a lot of broken homes, you know there’s a lot of poverty, there’s a lot of situations there. But I can have 120 football
players, okay, in front of me where I’m the only guy there and I say, I need your
attention, and they all say yes sir at once and look me in the eye. ‘K these are
kids who would not look at necessarily any teacher, any parent, any police officer anybody else like that, but because I have raised an expectation. I said this is what’s required
of you, and this is why we’re going to require it of you, so do it. You get what you
emphasize. You know in my weight room everybody knows you gotta pick up,
everybody knows that if things drop, you gotta do push-ups to remind you to not
let things drop in the room. But it just takes care of itself but if you
emphasize things like that you set up rules, you set up structure and so forth,
kids will follow through with it. I think high school kids want discipline and structure. I found that out early. You know when I first started working with the kids, I
realized that when I put things in place to where everybody was on the same, you
know, they had the same rules, that other kids feel comfortable. It was like they
didn’t have to test me. It’s kind of like you know in a classroom when you
have a substitute teacher, they feel like I need to test to see how far, ’til they tell me to stop, ok that’s what my level is. It’s the same thing in coaching. You know, I think that
you know they like an environment where they know everybody’s gotta follow the
same rules. The same thing applies to everyone, and they like structure. They like
knowing where they should go and where they can’t go, and they fall within that scheme, and I think it’s much better. I’m big on the Lombardi quote, I don’t
over coach. You know, when, I when I even just hear the last two guys, I’m thinking,
boy I’m not very good coach. There’s a lot of things I don’t do. You know, when Gary started talking about amount of sleep per night. I could not monitor my kids sleep per night. I could look on Twitter and see when they got
off. You know, but, that’s about it. You know, my kids are
not, and if I told my kids to write down how many hours you sleep, you know, ain’t going to happen. You know, if I ask them to fill out a food, you know, type thing, what did you
eat? It ain’t going to happen. You know, my kids are getting free lunch. Most of them. So they’re getting what the school offers. I’m not going to be able to do some of these things these other people do. You know some of the progressions he does. You know, I got 35 mins with kids. You
know I can’t do some of these other things that I see all these guys do, but,
I feel like, what I do is I work some of the things I learned about here into my
system. You know, for instance, the Functional Movement Screen. I don’t have
time for the Functional Movement Screen. I don’t have time for a lot of the other screening, but I do screening when my kids doing athletic enhancement. I do screening on my kids when they are doing dynamic warmups. I do screening when I’m watching my kids lift. You know, and
I’m working on those different things. You know part of our athletic
enhancement is we get down you know, below parallel squat position where they’re holding a medicine ball, then they hold it above their head. It’s within the
Functional Movement Screen, but I use it within my athletic enhancement. So I say to the
kids, “Hey, you’re lean too much forward, you know, with your back. You got to be able to do this. These are some things you can work on.” So for me, you know a lot of these extra things that, I’m guessing some
of you felt the same way, is wow, how can I do that? There’s no way I can fit
all that in. I don’t fit all in. Okay, but I feel like still, I’m seeing my kids
move more efficiently. You know, I can’t break down an agility
drills the way he did, but I do talk to my kids about pushing off this leg then that
leg, lowing your center of gravity, not bending over the waist and some of those
things get incorporate into our agility drills. I feel like, I accomplished what I needed to accomplished. You know, he feels like he needs more and again that’s back to, there’s a lot of different ways of
doing this. My kids move well. You know what, I’ll throw something for you guys that like numbers. I use numbers as motivation and my football coach loves it we’ve got
different things where he can tell each year. For the first 20 years that I
coached there I could give him pretty direct correlation between what
our record is gonna be based on the number of total club members we had our
team. But, you know we’re up to the point now where our football season, we’ve had as many as 40 guys who can squat 400 pounds. You know, over sixty guys that run 40 under 5 flat. You know, I like knowing those numbers, I like challenging my team, I like you know
trying to do that, but you know those things happen, even though I don’t do
some of these other special things that people are talking about. Strength
training class, I think is the most important thing you can get within your
program. I know some people’s hands are tied, but think you’ve got to keep pounding
away. You’ve got to go to an athletic director, you’ve got to go to the principal,
you’ve got to go to school board members, you gotta go to whoever it takes to say
that, you know what, within every other area of academics we
have something for that student who shows an above-average interest or ability in math or
in science or in music or performing arts or whatever it is. Why not within
physical education? Then within that I think you need to develop it in a way
where you get it to either as an athletic class or you at least make
it in a way that the non-athlete doesn’t want to be in there. Ok. We do it by
having a class specifically for athletes and we set up another class we call fitness and conditioning. Where the non-athlete who just wants to get in shape, wants to change their body composition, that type of thing. So we can adjust for their needs. So that my
class, you know, and and the way it runs at my school, is I get the list of the 20
sports, what the rosters, who finished the previous year, put on a spreadsheet, give it
to the counseling office and say this these are the kids that are allowed to be in
my class and this is the period I want them in. So, you know we’ve developed that over the year, but
it works out really well. I have, at the start of the year, a little over 400 kids
within six periods. So I have classes sometimes as much as 80-90, you know. So you know part of the
topic was big school. There are some things that I have to do because I’m a big school
but, to be honest with you, I would do them anyway, even if I were smaller school.
With a strength training class having kids in their both semesters, you know
for us where we have 10 through 12 school, all three years that my kids are in school, is huge. You know, because I know regardless
of what their after school, you know, practice schedule, training schedule, jobs schedule, whatever it is. they’ve gotten the basics of lifting in during that
time. You don’t have the ability to do strength training class, you know start
something before school that’s similar to a class, start something right after school.
Run in the same vein that the class is. I think it’s important that you have
athletic enhancement as a part of your strength and conditioning program. You know,
people talk about and a lot of time, I think just leave the weight room part and they
think this other thing is, you know something separate. I think it’s a part
of it. You know within that class we have a two day upper, two day lower lifting program.
We have a Wednesday when we do athletic enhancement. And, we do it all
year round. And, the athletic enhancement that I do is, is very basic, but I feel
like it needs, the basic needs of what my kids need in order to be able
to move more functionally, and so forth. So this is a a typical Wednesday workout:
they jump up and down simulating jumping rope, you know, two feet, right foot, left foot
out to the side and so forth. Then we do plyometric jumps. Now when we do jumps, my plyometric
jumps don’t use boxes, don’t use cones, I got 80 kids in a class. You know I can’t bring
all that stuff out. I don’t want kids landing on boxes wrong. I don’t want the height of the
box to be wrong. I mean I’ve got some kids that have a vertical jump as high as
36 inches. I have some that their vertical jump is 12 inches. You know, certain boxes ain’t going to work for them. What I do is, they jump as high as they can, when they hit the ground, they react as
quickly as they can to come off. The way I teach it is this, I say, “the person who
jumps the highest, runs a fastest, spends the least amount of time on the ground, we
can develop that elastic reflects within your muscle if we do
maximum type jumps, where you try to hit softly, land softly, react quickly.” And, once you tell
them that, these kids jump high as they can, you know, they work at it. But I’ve
also found is that if you do that three or four times in a row they still need to be reminded why they’re doing that. But my kids will jump high. Their vertical jump’s improved. You know, and we keep it really basic. So we’ll do some in place jumps. I do a lot of lunge walks. I do that as part of my dynamic warm-up, but again, I’m teaching kids how to take their
hips to the ground, teaching them how to bend. We do a regular lunge, we do a 45
degree lunge, we do a side lunge. All those things I think help in terms of, you know
ankle mobility, in terms of hip flexibility, in terms of increasing
range of motion. I mean you’re teaching them to be a better athlete. You know
keeping the chest up, going out, heel to the butt as they comes through, keeping the
back leg as straight as they can, involve the glutes. You know all these things are
things I’ll tell them when they’re doing those, but I find that they move a
lot better as a result of incorporating this in both my athletic
enhancement and my dynamic warm-up. We do footwork ladders. You know we do the same
ones, the same 12, 14 or whatever it is. They just do 1 rep of each every Wednesday. And,
you know, I don’t want them to necessarily be footwork all-americans. Ok.
Where they can do 50-60 different, you know, movements. I want them to be able to move
in a zigzag pattern. I want to move sideways. I want them to be able to move
backwards. So I’ve come up with some basic movements that I feel like cover the
different ones and we do them, and the key to me is that they do it faster. They do it lighter on their feet. They do it, you know, that’s what I’m working on, as
opposed to changing it up all the time. We do repeat jumps, you know working on the same concept as he jumps in place only their moving forward. You know, knees up you know doing all that type of thing. We do medicine ball passing, and I do a lot of these things that I’m talking about where I
tried to close the gap on these movements that I can incorporate
other places. Where, you know, we’ll pass the ball on one leg, you know then the other
leg. We’ll pass the ball from a lunge position, you know real low lunge position by twisting side to side. We’ll work on some of these things within that, you know one
time per week athletic enhancement routine, which I see a change
in their ability to do these things. Where their getting some balance and so
forth. Without having to break it down quite so, you know one step, this step, 2nd
step. I mean, we put him up there and put one leg up and you know, you keep working
on the kid getting better at that particular activity. We get kids in a below parallel
squat, use a medicine ball as a counterbalance and then they put it above
their head and we work on that. You know we get kids to, you know, in the beginning as
partners, kind of pullback, show them where above the head is and we work on that skill.
Hopefully they continually get better at it. We show them, you know keep the toes points
straight ahead, keeps the heel down, keep the chest out, and so forth. And again, this doesn’t take much time. This is
incorporated into the program you’re already doing. So, you know, like I said, when I sit
back and think about all the different things that I see other people do, I couldn’t fit it in, but I can fit in this and I feel like it
accomplishes what I need it to accomplish in terms of making them less likely to get injured, helping their movement skills and
allowing them to perform better athletically. Some large school, large
numbers things. Ok, I’m big on the unified approach. Every single one of my
athletes, male or female, ok, in any sport does the same routine. Ok, so they have the
same lifting routine, they have the same athletic enhance routine that we having
class. I get sport specific when it comes to my pre-season conditioning, off-season
conditioning, extra list that the football team might be doing as a second
lift in the day after school, their work out on the field, on practice
and so forth. That’s where they get sports specific. A high-school aged athlete, especially, you know you’re working with multi-sport athletes should have basic
strength movements. Should have basic, you know athletic movements that they all
need. And, like I told you before they’re coming to you probably specializing. To
where you go and you make a program specific to that sport, they’re still
going to have these leaks that they have not filled in from the lack of movement
that they had that are kind of universal. So I think it’s important they stay the
same. I use workout cards. Ok, we don’t have iPads, we don’t have, you know all
the technology that everybody else has, but I, just a basic workout card, to me helps me with structure. I have them
color-coded. So in my class there are five different lifts on the upper body
in this side the room, there’s five different lifts on lower body. I switch them every
other day. The five, the eight guys that are assigned to bench press have a
yellow card. The eight guys that are assigned to another
station have a different color card. So, I can look out and tell if people are where
they’re supposed to be. So it helps me with, with that. It helps me with attendance. You know, you got to take attendance in the class. Any card that’s sitting there, the guy’s absent. So, then there’s two or
three guys absent, I mark and I don’t have to look around or anything like that. It helps in terms of rotating where their
starting station is. ‘Cause, you know, you got cards 1-5, but we got everybody with different color
card, the 1 starts in a different place, so the second week they start at station 2. So it
helps in terms of allowing me to make some variety in terms of the order of
exercises that they do. It helps them in terms of motivation. You know, I tell the
kids, you know, we’ve got a very simple set rep scheme but once they can get three sets, if we’re on three sets of ten, then they go up in weight. So the last time they’ll see that they
did 10 and maybe only 9, and only 8. Well next time try to get 10, 10 then 9. It’s a
motivational tool if they do it right and then also tells them when they’re able to go
up. I gotta keep it simple. You know, my kids, my average GPA on my
football team is hovering right around 2.0. Ok and that’s a 4.0 point scale. So,
you know, we’re talking, they’re not going to be a rocket scientists. You know fortunately
we finally had a quarterback that went, that is going to Columbia, you know we’ve got a
few here and there, but the bottom end is the bottom end. So I gotta keep it simple.
Structure and organization, I think, is crucial. You know, I think you got to have
a time clock. I think there’s a certain amount of time that their on a specific exercise. The
amount of rest is already got to have been worked into how many sets you want done within
that time block and where they moved to next. You know which machine is going to be
available. When I see people just open rooms and they put a list of these are
the exercise you need to do. Go to it. I don’t know how they can possibly get
that done. ‘Cause, you know in the summer I have these open times every once in a while if these kids don’t go to the time block times. They’ll do what they like doing. You know even if
they’ve got that card in front of them. They’ll go bench, they’ll go curl. You know they’ll
do those things but they won’t necessarily get to all the activities
you want to. So I think structure is huge. Workout cards, like I said, color-coded, numbered, they’re filling them out. This thing lasts nine weeks. For the entire nine weeks, those are the cards. So I’m not doing a lot of mess, I mean, there are some people that talk about changing the
percentages each week and plugging into a computer and doing all that. I don’t have
time for that and really I’d rather be spending that time developing relationships with my kids, pushing them, figuring out what buttons to push, finding out what their home life is like,
finding out why there with the sport that their with. All those things, that to me, are
going to help me motivate them as opposed to me crunching numbers and
pushing numbers in like that. And, as far as high school kids go, when you talk about
down days, up days and, you know, you talk about percentage, you know, my kids there’s one day
where maybe, you know, their mom is getting beaten up by stepdad. You know,
there’s another day where it’s like, you know, boyfriend broke up with them. Another day where they failed a test. Another day where mom and dad kicked them out the house so they live on somebody else’s couch. If I programmed into it, life would be the great
cycle and so forth, I’m not gonna be able to know that. But
what happens naturally with my kids are the days that they feel good they can
really push themselves. The days that they have things going on they can make that
adjustment without, you know, feeling like I missed out on that specific thing
that he has set up for me, and I’m not sure that they would follow it anyway. So I’ve
seen a lot of improvement with this. I mean, I did my masters thesis on my class and I see
that there is a constant improving every nine weeks that the first year their in there you’re going to get 6-8 percent improvement each nine weeks, on all three lifts. After that
first year improvement, that’s without testing, you know, pre-test. That’s after they’ve already been
my program at least three or four months before the first test and then the 2nd and
3rd year it’s going to be 4-6% every time. That’s gonna be the average and the range in going to be
much higher. So I know that happens even though I have not done the undulating.
I’ve not done the tier. I’ve not done triphasic. I’ve not done all those. We’re
basic linear periodization. But my kids understand when they’re suppose to go up and weigh, when the set reps change and they feel like they have a bit ownership in that.
So, this is basically what I’ve got, I’ve got it up on the wall. A chart. So, listed are the sets of 12, sets of 10, sets of 8. So, my program is this: one week of sets of 12. Where we’re bench squat and clean. Two weeks of 10s. Two weeks of 8s. Two weeks of 6s. A week of 6-4-2. And then we test. It’s that simple. Ok, the other lifts, you know lat pulldown some of these other ones. It’s one week of 12s. Four weeks of 10s. It’s four weeks of 8s. That’s it, in a nutshell. Every nine
weeks, for nine weeks throughout the year. And, with that, my kids know when we’re on 10s, this is the weight I was using, so when I go to 8s, this is what I
should move over to. They know that when their previous max was here, that
I want to stair step down throughout the nine weeks so that my projected max is
much higher. I can teach that to my lowest level kid in a very short period
time. He understands that and like I said we make great improvement on that. Now it
doesn’t, you know, follow through with some of these textbooks things that
tell, you know, you gotta have more variety, or you got to have more change, and so
forth, but I’ve got 32 years of data that says it works. I feel like a high school
age athlete needs to be within 8 to 12 rep range for two-thirds of the time
that they’re in your weight room. I don’t think they need to be lifting heavy 6 and below
for an extent period of time. I don’t feel like this necessary, I think it also
leads to some potential for injury. I think that in terms of the guys that want to
get bigger, I think they’re better off 8-12. But, I have found that I still make great
strength gains, even though I’m keeping the reps higher and only three sets. Never go more than three sets in a day. That’s it. They only bench twice a week. They only squat twice a week. I mean, that’s the program. Time clock. If you told me that I either had to get rid of my time clock or six machines. There wouldn’t be any question. I want my time clock. Program for seven minute countdown timer, my kids are
allowed seven minutes, to get three sets in. That gives me a 1-1/2 to 2
minutes rest between sets. It’s on the wall. The horn blows loud enough so they can hear it
over the top of the radio that’s going on and so they know that when they first
start within the first couple minutes they should have set in. Right when it gets to about this time, they should be working on the second set. When it gets down to about a minute and a half, they should be working on their third set. You know, I’m not having to monitored each set. I know some people blow a whistle every time the sets start, so forth, but it gives a little more ownership on them and a little bit more, I set up partners based on how strong, but every once in a while they got to change their plates a little bit. My set reps, I mean, it’s always the same weight for all
three sets too, which kind of simplifies things. But that clock, I think, is crucial. Before I had the clock, it was a stopwatch. I used to yell rotate. I told this story before, but you
know I got to work broke my ankle on the way to school. I wasn’t in there for about a week and the girls came over my house and this was back when they had cassette tape players and they want to take a cassette of me yelling rotate, ’cause it just wasn’t the same without me. So
you know you get to where, and I’ve told this story too before. I like this one. I had a
math teacher come in and he goes ‘This is all you do?’ He goes, ‘You just yell rotate every seven minutes?’ And, I said, “You try it.” So, he was in there and yelled rotate and not a single kid moved. Didn’t even flinch. Ok, and then I said rotate and the kids just scampered. So I felt pretty
good, you know. So our high school strength and conditioning program. We’ve got a pretty good size weight room. Ok, we’ve got 6,200 square feet, but you need that
we’ve got 82, even as many as 100 kids in there a time. I started back in 1984 in the
Indianapolis area. At that time there were no other high school strength
coaches. Now within a 30 mile radius there’s at least 30. My weight room with built in,
this particular one, was built in 2000. So it’s fifteen years old. There are seven
to eight rooms bigger than mine within a 30 mile radius. There’s one that’s 11,000
square feet just north of us, you know in the more ‘fluent area and once they built that the
other affluent school look at it and built one just as big. So, once, you know,
geographically I found this to be true as I work with schools throughout the
country, once a particular school developed a strength program and they’re
successful, everybody else comes over and says, what are you doing? I mean, I’ve had 350
schools come to my school and visit our program, the ones that do well
with it bring an administrator, bring a counselor, bring the head basketball,
head football coach, you know, the people that are pushing the buttons and
they say, why can’t we do that? You know, so they go back and you know they
implement that. But if you’re not there yet, and your areas not there yet. Be the first. Jump in and get that. This is my advanced weight training workout. Ok, this is what we do in the class. It’s real simple, but it’s the same year. Ok, it doesn’t change, two days upper, two days lower, the starting station changes, the set rep change, but what I feel like is, I want
to have, you know, and we talk about movements rather muscles, but to me, they’re the same thing. Your talking about pushing movements, you’re also talking about chest muscles and so forth. So I’m not going to get hung up on the terminology. Bench press, ok, I want a chest exercise, I want a shoulder exercise, I want a lat exercise, I want a front of the arm, I want a back of the arm, I want abs and I want low back. So, to me, a single arm dumbbell
military press, I really like a lot. Ok, a kid got a tight core, got to go all the way up and down, I like an overhead lifting in there. I mean, there’s a lot of activities where they need to put their hands above their head. I don’t feel like kids have been hurt doing that. Bicep curl. Ok, your saying, that it’s not a multi-joint movement and it’s not, you know, important for particular sports. A bicep
curl is a dessert that you give your kid in order to get them to eat their vegetables.
Alright. If they’re standing in front of that, and I’ve told this before if you’ve heard
me speak before, as soon as in the NFL they start, after a big tackle, they tighten their hamstring and show everybody, I’ll quit doing bicep curls. But right now, they’re still doing this. Ok. So, my kids are gonna feel stronger, if
their arms are bigger, and it’s not going to affect them negatively and other
sports. But if that’s a part of the program, they get excited about coming
here, that’s fine. Ok, you know I’m 57 years old and I still do bicep curls. Ok, I mean it doesn’t
change, you know, it’s a part of, you know the ego of the weight room. Lat pulldown, tricep, super sets, we get a couple in. We do three different ab exercises, but
that’s the basic things. So I got a pushing movement. I’ve got pulling. I’ve got an
overhead. You know I’ve got the basic movements that any sport, or any athlete
in any sport, I think needs. When it comes to lower body, I got a squatting movement. Ok. I got, you know, we throw in the neck machine with heel raised. I know it’s not the lower body, but it’s one of
those things it’s just easier to put in there, with heel raised. We also have a
machine, hip machine for kids that have issues with that. We start with hang clean, two-thirds of the way and then we’ll go to the floor at the end. A single leg squat and a single leg deadlift. I’ll show you how I do those in the picture, but I think you have to have single leg movements, you have to have triple extension, you have to have squatting movements. I’ve got a list of things that I think are
important, but I feel like that covers all the basics of what my athletes need
in order to move better. Ok. Would it be nice to be able to do some different things? I
think that in some regard, yes, but in the other regard is that, if every time my kid is coming in, we’re doing a different lift, he doesn’t know where he’s been and
how to motivate himself to do more. You know, if it’s always that I’m
throwing a new lift out to him, he doesn’t know where the best, you know
amount of weight or how the movement works, in order to get the muscle group
or hit the movement and so there’s constantly reteaching and there’s wasted
of time that I could be getting him better. My kids do this and don’t, I mean they don’t, like I said, they don’t plateau, they don’t get tired of coming in there and there’s even just a comfort to knowing, this is what I got to get done today and to be excited about getting better
that particular thing. So again, it doesn’t go with the textbook. You know variety and
some of those things, but like I said, I know after thirty years that it works
and it will happen. This is how we do a single leg squat. I wanted, you know, I’m already doing squat and
doing clean. You got a couple of major things. We’re only doing three sets but I wanted a couple lifts that we’re not quite as demanding, ok, in terms of, you know, throw out the
central nervous system, fatigue, etc., etc. My kids need to be able to go out and
practice on the day that they lift. My kids need to be able to compete. We lift
in-season. On a day that they lift. So, I don’t want something so demanding in the
weight room with those 35 minutes that they can’t walk out of there, but I want
something to show constant improvement. With this, they have to work on the balance. They have to work on, you know, depth here, you know. This is a kid that’s not too bad at it. But, the kids have to get down to parallel and go up. They do one side then they do the other. I think it’s
a great thing to add into there and it doesn’t require any equipment. You know,
we used to have, the same philosophy I used to throw it at leg extension, leg curl, because they were ones, to me, that didn’t require a whole lot, but, it was, I still
want to do the squat and the clean and, you know, keep moving, and so forth. But then it got to be where they sit there or nap there, you know. So I want to find something that, you
know, was not a waste of time and would be beneficial. So I went to this. When I teach squat, I don’t have 6 progressions. You know, I can’t do that. You know, I think it’s great that he’s able to do all those things, but for me if a kid can front squat with weight like this, then I
know he can keep his chest up, back in, sit down over the heels. And, if I feel like
that kid can do that then I move him on to a back start. When we move him to a back start, we start with just the bar and then we move up. You know we’ve constantly got people monitoring. I teach kids how to peer coach. Where there’re looking at the guy, making sure he’s not moving forward. I put in the
squat rack close to the front. So they don’t bend too far forward. I do some things,
you know, that I think are important to make sure that we, you know, are safe, but don’t
have as many progressions as some, you know, that have talked before me. So I think within
your strength and athletic program you got to have squat movement, they got to be able to squat up and down. You know, we do that with squat in the weight room. We do that with air squats when we’re warming up. We do that with some of the movements we do for athletic enhancement. Triple extension. You know we do that with our plyometric jumps. We do that with our clean. If you don’t like clean, I would at least to it with some dumbbells. Where they’re jumping up, extending ankle, knee, hip. I think it’s important some type of lunge. movement. You know we do it with our after school football workout. Where we add dumbbells to it, but we also do it as part of our dynamic warm-up. We do it as a part of our athletic enhancement routine that they do weekly. Single leg deadlifts. If you have not done that. If you’ve never had any back issues yourself, do a single leg deadlift. To me, it was the
greatest thing I’ve ever picked. I got it from Gray Cook when he was talking about. And, I said, what exercises you say is one that most people don’t do, that would be great to do? This was a number of years back. We started encorporating that. You know, I was the kind of guy that stood at the football game, after a long days in the weight room and I’m standing out there for two hours watching our team play. My back tended to tighten up a little bit. Once I started doing these, I’ve
had no issues at all. You know it’s great for hamstring flexibility. It’s
great for, you know, hip. It’s great for balance but I would definitely do that.
And, something to work on, ankle mobility. You know, we do that within our athletic enhancement. We do that, you know, within our lifting. But what I tell the kids is, I said, if your ankles aren’t mobile, and lot of them wear braces all the time, so they don’t really move them that well, but if
your ankles aren’t mobile and you go to make movements, quick, demanding movements, if the ankles don’t move, the next joint up is the one to take the brunt of it. And, it’s going to be your knee. So you going to have knee issues if you don’t do that. So I think you need to make sure that you include those
somehow within your program, as a single leg deadlift. It’s done different ways but you can grab it with right arm, left arm, on right leg, either way. Or, you can grab it with both. I mean, it looks like it’s touching the floor, but it’s not suppose to be. It stopped right before the floor, but
your body’s at a T type thing and back up, so you just kind of, you’re bending over, then coming back up and not putting the foot down. If you’ve never done that before, try that. Ok. It maybe that your hamstring is a little bit sore the next day, but you’ll know that you have a weakness there that you need to
improve on. You can do that with a medicine ball. You know, you can do that even just kind of a stretching exercises. We do single leg Superman. Where they just get down, put their hands up and do that same motion. But I would definitely incorporate that into your program if you don’t have that. We lift in-season. Now last year we won the state championship in
football. 6a. It’s the largest class. We had our game on a day that was not a
school day. You know, but our coach brought our team in to lift. They did an upper body lift. They always do it every Friday but they lift lifted on the day of the game. Ok, so they went through the same routine that they were use to. You know, the other team scored 17 points on us quickly. Ok, but we scored the next 42 unanswered.
I don’t think fatigue was a problem. Ok, we have found that within our sports. Our kids go
through this same, exact routine all year round. Regardless of what kind of games they have. You know, our girls that were national champions in basketball, he didn’t change it at all. In fact, one time he said, let’s see if we could do this and I try it for just once and he goes, you know I’m never gonna do that again. They came out sluggish. They didn’t have that same look
in their eyes. They didn’t seem as confident. He said, I don’t know why I even asked you to do that. We, you know, it’s about a mindset. If you and your coaches, you know, if you’re the coach, tell the kids that this is the routine we’re used to, if we cut back throughout the
season, we’re gonna lose a lot of what we’ve gain. If, we let you know, your high school
age athlete, you know you could play two or three games in AEU. You can
do all these other things. Why not take a 35 minute routine, where your have five stations, you know, basically about seven and half minutes worth of work. Early in the day. That
you’re used to going out and practicing hard and not think anything of it. Why can’t you play
and compete on that? In fact, our kids have gotten to where they like a little bit of a pump, you know, before the game where they feel like they’ve gotten something done,
but they’re also getting them on the same routine that they’re use to. You know, if they’re not use to taking a complete day off, then, you know, it affects them when they go to the bathroom, it affects all kinds of other things that occurred. They not, you know, they’re sluggish, they’re tired. So we’ve been able to sell it. So within our school, nothing changes throughout the year. Kids lift the same thing. I don’t have an
in-season program. I don’t have an off-season program. During class, you’re there to get stronger, you’re there to get better, you know, move better. And my kids continue to prove and it hasn’t effect us on the field, court, etc. I’m very traditional, in case you haven’t picked up on that. I mean people
leave here and they tell me, you know, they either tell me it’s refreshing or
it’s kind of nice to know that I don’t have to do as much as I thought I had to
do. I scaled back. Things have gone better as a result of it. But, tradition still
works. I mean, the high school age hasn’t changed tremendously, other than their
less active. You know, so, as long as your corporate some of these other things
into it, I think, you know, you’re gonna get what you need. Things like CrossFit, you know, I’m asked, should my kids do CrossFit? Well, if your kids are not an athlete in
anything else, but they’re wanting to do something, you know, and use CrossFit as a sport, then do that. If they’re an athlete and doing other things, then I would not do that. There’s a lot of
different things out there, you know, insanity, people throwing there, and stuff
like that. I’m saying, does that really fit within what you’re trying to accomplish,
in terms of strength, conditioning, athletic enhancement. Where does is it fit within
your program? The same with kids that go to the private sector. I know this has been mentioned before, but I want the private sector people to say, okay that kids on a four day a week lifting program, he does two days upper, two days lower, that I’m not going to have
that kid do upper on his lower day so he’s doing it three days in a row. I want to
be able to, you know, to feel like, if that kids going to want to do things above
and beyond what we’re doing, that it’s adjusted according to what the kid is
already doing. I want my kids lifting with me, because I feel like, and I told you I’ve got a whole speech on this, but what I accomplished in the weight room in terms of team
bonding, in terms of sport psychology, in terms of leadership, and all those
things, to me, is one of the greatest things we get out of that. We
accomplished so much and prepared them for what they’re gonna face on the field,
in terms of how to handle adversity, how to set goals for yourself, you know, how to be a good teammate, and all those things within the strength and conditioning concept, that the kid, on his own, at some private place, he’s not getting what we need done. I can’t use a college
program. Colleges, you got the elite athletes,
who’ve already got a base of strength, who are working with GA and whatever, to where they’re one per six and they got constant
monitoring. I would never look at a college program and say I need to use that at the high school level. I think it’s a totally different animal. I’m moving quickly, ’cause I know I’m running out of time. I do have a watch. Ok, motivation, I think it’s it’s crucial. I
think your room has to be a motivator. You know, I’ve been fortunate that we’ve had some athletes go on to do some great things and people probably get tired of me throwing out names and stuff, but if you’ve watched the World Cup, you know, Women’s World Cup, Lauren Holiday, midfielder, she’s one of the girls. Ok, but she gave me one
of a jersey. So that’s hanging up there. You know, so I’ve got two-time gold medal
winner, gold cup, there. I’ve got a football player, that was Super Bowl Champion two years ago. His jerseys there, that he wore in the Super Bowl. There’s things like that, that I got within my room, that kids see that, it’s like wow, they went here, they did that?
Anytime a kid gets on a college program, I have them sent me a copy, laminate it, put it on a cabinet so people see that. Kid does something well, All-Big Ten or some other things, got a picture up there. Kids have come up to me, you know, how do I, you know, get up on that wall? But, when a kid walks into my room he’s seeing metals, and so
forth, of previous state championships. He’s seeing my 24 ring sitting out. He’s
seeing, you know, these people that have gone on and done great things. They’re
seeing top five boards, where people in the top five in weight classes. So even just walking
in the room, I feel like they’re motivated to set goals for themselves to
try and improve. But I think you’re missing out if you don’t do some of
those extra things. Kids like to compete. Find ways to compete. Even just, you know
coming up with things after school where there’s a single person tug-of-war and a dog rope. You know, it works. Using reaction balls, or a reaction ball fetch. You throw four out and the last kid back has to do few push ups. They challenge each other to race after each
other. You do one-on-one type thing but the kid that misses it has to go stand in an air squat while everybody else competes until everybody is done. The last guys that are up, you pick which one you think is going to win, losing teams got to do push up. Things like that, where kids love it, and forget that they’re doing any conditioning. Time sprints. You know, any time I do sprints with teams, I’ve got time standards and I use them in a team format. So like I’ll have the fastest
in group 1, medium in group 2, slowest in group 3. When I blow the whistle, they take off. Last guy to cross the line, I blow the whistle for the second guy. So once the third group
finishes, I stop the watch. So it requires the entire team to do well in order to meet the time standards. And, you can talk about overcoming adversity if they don’t make it time. You talk about encouraging each other. You can talk about all kinds of other things
that I think are really important, but you set up the time standard based on
using the energy system that they use within that sport. Keep data. You know, like I said, I could show coaches how well we’re doing. I can give them an idea of what our strength is like, what our speed is like. You know, sometimes it’s affected, you know, what they’ve been
doing in terms of their schemes, because we’re not as fast as we used to be, or we’re not as strong as we were this year. We gotta do this. So I think that’s important. Plus it
that shows what you can accomplish. Get assistant coaches
involved. You know, have sport coaches put attendance boards up there. You know, give
results to the coaches. Help with supervision. I mean, I am fortunate. I’ve got a football coach that’s bought into so much that in the off-season, when we do a second workout after school, I usually have 6-7 assistant coaches, along with the head football coach in with the 120 guys I’ve got in there. Helping to motivate, helping to get to
know the kids more. But, I think it’s important and I think, you know, these sports where the coach buys in, we get the most out of them. I think you
develop through peer. I mean, everybody wants to teach every single kid that comes into the room. I can’t do that. I’ve got too many. So what I’ve done is I have kids be peer
coaches. I mean, I still go to go through and do a quick orientation, but then I have kids match up with other kids. I make my older kids, teach the younger kids.
It shows ownership. It forces them to then know the kids name, you know, get excited about that kid when he does that 95 pound bench press. You know, it creates that atmosphere, but it also, when they have to teach something, they know it better. And, then the another kid isn’t afraid to ask them. There’s all kinds of good things that go on when you have kids peer coach.It’s important that you tell kids why you’re doing things. A lot of times I
think we just kind of throw things out but if kids understand why they work
much harder. I think you need to remember you doing strength training. You’re not doing Olympic lifting. You’re not doing powerlifting. You’re trying to make better athletes. And, this is the last thing. I did pretty good there. If you’ve never seen on YouTube, a guy named Randy Pausch. His last lecture. He’s a guy that died, I think, of pancreatic cancer. Was a professor. But if just go Pausch – last lecture on there and you want to think
about life in a positive way. The guy is unbelievable. You know, this was when he knew he was dying but wanted to give his last lecture and he gave a lot of things
that will just make you think about the things that are important to you. But one
of his statements was this “Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want
something. Because the brick walls there to stop people who don’t want it badly
enough. I use this with my kids. You know I talk to them about the fact that, you tell me I can’t do this because of this. Ok. I look at it as we just set a hurdle for you. Figure out a way to get over it. But, I think, we as coaches, need to also look at
it that way. You know don’t tell me that your principal won’t allow you to do this. Don’t tell me that you’re AD, you know doesn’t buy into this. Don’t tell me your football coach doesn’t like this, or basketball coach, or whatever it is. Find a way, you know of clicking. You know, I give articles to coaches as to why we do things. You know when
new coaches come in, I go through an orientation explaining what we do. Find different ways to educate people to get them on board. It may take a while. It may take a few of their athletes exceling and then showing how they’ve excelled and why they’ve excelled. But don’t let those walls kind of get your way of doing what you can accomplish. I appreciate your attention.

Reynold King

6 Replies to “Ben Davis High School Strength and Conditioning Program, with Kevin Vanderbush”

  1. A must watch video for PE teachers offering a strength & conditioning class during PE time. Something for everyone in this talk. We feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with Coach Vanderbush. A true professional and an excellent example for how to run a successful program.

  2. K.I.S.S. Basic approach that WORKS. Too much bullshit in the S&C world. A basic linear approach that builds a strong foundation of strength. Wendler has the same philosophy. Simple but effective,and his football program in Ohio has reaped the benefits.

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