The Robert Morris University strength and conditioning program is under the direction of Todd Hamer, and he is assisted by Rick Canter. The RMU program has three primary goals for student-athletes: increase athleticism, reduce injury and increase mental and physical toughness. This is accomplished by utilizing free weight, ground based, multi-joint, explosive exercises. Athletes perform exercises of all types but focus on three main genres: Olympic lifting, powerlifting and plyometric. The goal is to try and replicate the velocities and forces that are experienced during competition.
The strength and conditioning department at Robert Morris University will meet the total training needs of the entire athletic department and contribute to the entire university as availability allows. This will be done with the utmost integrity and professionalism.
I. Decrease Rate of Injuries Every training session must begin with warm up consisting of mobility work, as well as prehab and rehab work. Additionally, all training must be utilized with a thought on injury reduction. Use of spotters, collars, safety pins are always in place.
II. Ground Based Movement Everyday there should be at least some ground based movement in each program. Whether these are bodyweight exercises such as jump pulls or weight lifting exercises such as the back squat will vary day to day and week to week. Sports are played standing not laying down therefore training must be done standing. It is also important to train in all three planes. We do this with many different exercises ranging from strongman training to med ball work.
III. Multiple Joint Movements Exercises that involve more than one joint are superior to single joint movements for athletes due to their efficiency and similarity to actual competition. Specifically exercises that focus on the hip joint, where the strongest muscles of the human body are located. Snatch, Clean, Jerk, Squad, Dead lift and all variants are the basis for increasing hip extension forces. * Competitive Olympic lifters on average have vertical jumps exceeding 36 inches are also among the fastest athletes in 25-meter sprints.
These exercises are performed with free weights where the athlete must be able to function in multiple planes and dimensions. In contrast, the use of machines locks athletes into one plane of motion and doesn't allow stabilization recruitment.
IV. Posterior Chain Strength The posterior chain is all of the muscles on the back side of the body. Most athletes who first walk into RMU's weight room are anterior dominant and we must correct this imbalance. We do this by training the back side of the body with a multitude of exercises ranging from box squats to pull ups. Remember all muscles on the back side of the body must be trained and trained hard.
V. Movements not Muscles = Athleticism Athletes must train movements not muscles. Bodybuilders train muscles for hypertrophy alone and that is fine for them but as an athlete increase in cross sectional area of a muscle is not all that we are after. We must train the entire kinetic chain to move together. Therefore when we train the squat we must be intent on increasing our force output on the squat not making the quads and hamstrings larger.
VI. Attitude & Mental Toughness Upper classmen are always the responsible party in the RMU athletic weight room. They must take a leadership role and develop a cohesive team while training. There are many things we can learn from watching marines train and first and foremost must be the teamwork, No man left behind. As Dave Tate once said if your training partner is weak, it is your fault. You are here to make your training partner stronger.
The harder and more difficult the workouts are, the easier the game becomes. If an athlete can persevere through difficult, highly challenging situations in the weight room and in practice they are better prepared for stressful environments in actual competition. A mindset of "I have been through worse than this! I can do this no problem!" is what is trying to be established. Basic psychology and motor learning state that during stressful situations the human body reverts back to its most basic training. Mental toughness is the ability of the athlete to perform the correct action or decision when they are pushed to his or her physical limits.
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