conditioning

Why Go Wide? A look into “Installing the Wide Zone”

This article is a preview of my exclusive ebook: “Installing the Wide Zone“. It is the only resource available that comprehensively covers full installation of the system as an offensive scheme.  You will have access to drills, diagrams, change ups, and how to block the play against different fronts.

Installing the Wide Zone” is a complete guide to installing, applying and running the wide zone play, the most consistent play in football today! The book will cover philosophical applications, coaching points, drill work and change ups. This comprehensive guide is complete with diagrams for blocking different fronts, how to establish and carry out the drills necessary for the success of the play, and how to get the most out of your offense by using the wide zone system. Take your offense to the next level and incorporate the most consistently productive offensive system ever developed in the game of football!

Blocking the wide zone is very easy in concept, but requires a lot of patience, discipline, and repetitions.  So why commit to something that takes so much effort in order to run correctly?  Let’s see why:

  • It’s safe
    • You are blocking a zone instead of a man, or a gap. Each zone is accounted for by the adjacent lineman.  The lateral movement of the offensive line eliminates penetration by the defensive line.
    • It is effective against stunts and pressures. Because the zones move laterally you will find that stunts and blitzes are picked up naturally by your blockers.  This makes blitzing extremely dangerous for the defense.  Once the stunt is picked up, the runner is up and in the secondary!  There is no DB in the nation that likes to see a free running ball carrier bearing down on them.
    • No 1st level penetration. The lateral movement by the offense means that the defense line also has to move lateral or risk being overtaken.  An up field step by the down lineman results in being cut off from their assigned gap.  The use of double teams up front also forces the DL to choose; flow, or be cut off.
  • It forces the defensive front to be disciplined
    • The flow of the offense forces lineman and linebackers to maintain gap integrity and flow with the play. If just one man is not fast enough or is too fast you will have running lanes open for the ball carrier.
  • It places defenders into conflicts
    • The linebackers are taught to flow and pursue… yet doing so will cause them to get washed by the play as it cuts up behind them. The backside LBs are taught watch the cut back… but this is a cut UP play.  They will hang back and be cut off by the climbing OL.
    • The defensive line is taught not to get reached. They fight outside and the play will cut up behind them.  If they try and jump inside to stop the cut up by the back, the back takes an outside path and the offense captures the edge.
    • The secondary will be forced to make plays in the run game. This naturally puts them in a huge conflict with their assignment.  Do they play safe and let the ball carrier chew up yards? Do they come up to support the run game and give up the pass?
  • It takes what the defense gives
    • The movement of the offense takes the defenders on the path they are choosing to go. The defender will feel like they are fighting leverage.
    • This allows less athletic lineman to block much better athletes on the defense. Let’s face it, as far as linemen go, the best athletes almost always play defensive line, and now we are asking the guys not good enough to play defensive line to go block them.  Why not use a system in which the OL can use the DL’s natural athleticism and ability against him? Your OL only has to be willing to do one thing, RUN! (which we will dive into later)
    • Do not have to drive defenders off the ball. This is a big misconception with wide zone.  We are not trying to set the edge, we are trying to stretch the defense out!  If the defense gives us the edge we will take it and a big play will ensue, this happens when the defense becomes frustrated at being chewed up in between the tackles on a play that looks like an outside run.
  • Limitless complementary actions
    • You can use the same blocking scheme up front for change ups, motions, back field actions, play fakes and options. All this, without changing rules for the offensive line.
  • Universal progression
    • A TE can play center. A guard can play tackle. A center can play TE.  Every rule is the same for all offensive linemen.  They all practice the same techniques and drills.  This makes the play by its very nature, extremely injury resistant.  If somebody gets injured, you can move a starter to the edge or to center and put an inexperienced guy at guard where he is protected.

By incorporating the wide zone into your offense you will accomplish a few things.  You will have a base offense to use each week.  You may have a change up or two, but your “offense” will be the same week in and week out.  You will have a scheme that your team has master’s degrees in.  They will be confident in the play because they have run it a thousand times that week.  They know they can block anything the defense throws at them because they have had the answers drilled into them.  They don’t need to think, or analyze, they can just go play ball.

You will have an offense that can control tempo.  Whether you are a face melting spread team or a team that likes to get into 21 and 22 personnel.  You will have a system that can control the tempo with a consistent and effective ground game that stays in front of the chains. Staying in front of the chains avoids the dreaded 3rd and long.  3rd in long gets you stopped.  To many gets you beat.

You can now focus on manipulating the defense with formations.  Because you can run this play from any formation and any personnel set, you can develop as many formations as your heart desires.  This prevents the defense from practicing against your scheme, and forces them to practice lining up correctly all week long.

You will avoid becoming too scheme heavy.  Having to jump from scheme to scheme makes you fundamentally unsound.  This also leads to illogical progressions.  Switching from scheme to scheme cuts down on practice time.  You can only practice each scheme so much, then factor in each scheme vs multiple fronts. You will simply run out of time.  Having too many concepts also causes lineman to become tentative because they are unsure of the answer.  They develop paralysis by analysis.  By limiting your schemes you give your lineman the necessary repetitions in practice to be confident and play with reflex speed instead thinking speed.

CLOSING

Installing the Wide Zone” might be the key ingredient your offensive is looking for this season!  Eliminate negative plays and be sound against anything the defense tries to throw at you.  Don’t waste any more time and grab your self a copy now!   subscribe to my email list to be updated anytime I post an article and follow me here on twitter @thecoachvogt.

 

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5×5 For Adults With Jobs

5×5 might be the most effective lifting program for all around strength and hypertrophy.  Multiple sets give you volume needed for hypertrophy and 5 reps per set allow for heavy weight to be used.  It’s the best of both worlds.  You get adequate load used, as well as adequate time under tension (how long the weight is being lifted for.)  What are the draw backs? For a busy person with a job, especially if it’s a job that requires travel, or long hours like coaching, 5×5 can simply take too much time.  Throw having kids into the mix and it can be downright impossible to spend that much time in the gym.  So, how do we mitigate the time constraints of being an adult, and still be responsible for our own health and well being?  That is the question that I am going to answer for you in this article.

This program will divide your work outs into 2, 3 day rotations with 1 day off between rotations.  Example schedule will look like this: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, off. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, off. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, off, and so forth.

Each workday should take no more than 30 minutes.  If it takes any longer than that, as I have said before in previous articles, your doing it wrong.  Time between sets should be no more than 2 minutes; but try for 90 seconds or less if you can.   Each day is going to focus on just 1 main lift, and 1 supplemental lift that will be incorporated into your conditioning circuit after the main lift is done.

THE BIG LIFTS AND STARTING WEIGHTS

Barbell

You will have 6 BIG LIFTS to focus on for this work out program.

Rotation 1 Lifts are: Push Press, Front Squat and Dead Lift.  The coinciding supplemental lifts are Pull ups, Sit Ups and Barbell Curls.

Rotation 2 lifts are: Bench Press or Weighted Dip, Back Squat and Power Cleans.  The supplemental lifts for rotation 2 are: Barbell Rows, Ab Wheel or Variant and Chin Ups.

For each of the Big Lifts you will choose one of the following starting weights: 115, 135, 185, 225, 275, 315, 365, 385, 405.  Always choose lighter than you think you will need to begin this program.  So, if you are pretty certain you could get 5 sets of 5 at 225 pounds, you should start at 185 to give you room for steady progression.

SETS AND REPS

setsnreps

As the title fore tells you will be doing 5 sets of 5 reps.  You will keep the same weight across all sets. On your last set you will try for as many reps as possible while maintaining good form.  Some days you will feel great and get 6-10 reps, other days you will struggle to get 5 and that’s OK.  If you get ALL 5 reps on ALL 5 sets then you will increase the weight by 10 pounds.  If you miss just 1 single rep, you will keep the same weight and try again next rotation.

SUPPLEMENTAL LIFTS AND CONDITIONING

cardio

To save time you will combine your supplemental lifts with conditioning into a circuit consisting of 3 to 10 rounds or in an “as many rounds as possible” in 10 to 15 minute time windows.  These circuits are NOT cardio, they are metabolic conditioning. Your supplemental lifts should aim for 30-50 total reps by the end of the circuit. There are several ways to go about doing this.  An easy way is to look at something like CrossFit’s website for the WOD and just add your supplemental lift to the WOD or replace an exercise with yours.  I like to get creative.  Here is an example for Push Press day:

10 rounds of: 5 pull ups, 10 kettlebell swings, 10 kettlebell thrusters.  Personally I like to make my conditioning circuit a full body circuit. So, even though my main lift will be either upper, leg, or hip focused, the MetCon can hit the entire body.  This is good for strength, fat burn and overall muscular development.

CLOSING

This workout takes one of the most effective workout programs ever developed and makes it applicable to the everyday working man.  Everybody can take 30 minutes or less for a workout.  If you have to miss a day because of responsibilities, its no big deal.  The scheduling of the program allows you to simply pick up where ever you left off.  Give this program a try for 3 months, if you can do that consistently paired with good diet and good sleeping habits you will get stronger and in better condition.  Subscribe to my email list so you can be updated whenever a new article posts, and follow me on twitter here @thecoachvogt.

”FUN”ctional Training

How do we incentivize the “grind”? Most of your players will end up enjoying the strength training process, and seeing themselves get stronger, faster, and bigger.  But, let’s face it, the “grind” can be a dang grind sometimes.  We need to remember that these are 14 to 18 year old kids, they still like to do frivolous things and have fun.  Hell, I’m 33 and I still like to do dumb things too! So, how do we incorporate FUN into strength and conditioning and still promote, competition, toughness and functional strength? This article will touch on rewards, competition, and challenges all designed to put some fun into your training programs.  If you haven’t read my article on effective strength training then you need to go check it out here (Simple But Strong). These exercises are not meant to merely push them to compete, but to breed winners through competition.  I am not seeking competition, but DOMINATION in the weight room, on the field, and in life from my players.

REWARDS

Rewards are an obvious way to incentivize your players to train hard. But there is a catch, they cant be too frequent or they become expectations instead of extra incentive.  As far as rewards go, follow these 2 rules and the kids will want them.

1-Can they eat/Drink it; Protein bars, Candy, Protein Shakes, Fast Food

2-Can they wear it?  Will others see it? Social recognition can be important to them.

Its that simple, if it falls into one of those two categories they will compete for the chance to win.  How do you determine the winner(s)? Again, keep things simple.  Here are some examples

  • Most reps on the last set attained (pick 1 of your core movements)
  • The player who completes the conditioning portion the quickest
  • The player(s) that did not miss a day that week
  • The player who is working out with the weight closest to their old max (pick 1 core movement)
  • The player you ID as taking leadership roles (explain why as a group, and use specific examples, again social recognition)

These are all easy ways to provide some incentive and extra motivation, don’t make it a daily occurrence, or even a weekly occurrence.  About every other week or so seems to be right.  Whole team rewards are great too!  Here are some great examples of whole team rewards:

  • After lifting, instead of conditioning have some of the coaches set up a giant slip and slide outside while the players continue to lift. When they come out for conditioning and see that instead you just had an easy and huge moral boost.  They will go nuts.
  • Have an ice cream/snow cone truck show up to lifting so when they finish, it arrives and they can all go get something cold to eat. (obviously something like this would be dependent on funding, you want it to be free for them…)
  • Have T-shirts made for the players that never missed a day of training all off season

COMPETITIONS

Competitions are a great way to condition and compete at the same time.  Most of the time the players will not realize how tired they are until after the event is completed.  They can be as simple as relay races (get creative). Or as complex as games.  Divide the field into 4 separate zones that way you can have 8 teams all playing at the same time.  Gatorball is a great fast paced game that will get them all breathing hard.  Flag football is an obvious choice.  There are countless games that could be played, set it up in a tournament fashion so you have a team that is declared champions, but have the losing teams still play each other so they are still moving and competing.  Tug-A-War might be the simplest one, yet gets the most heated and competitive.  The most fun to watch…. Is towel fights.  Take a towel, roll it up and tape it.  Then have to players grab it with one hand overhand grip and the other underhanded.  Have each players hands staggered with the others.  Then say go and watch you wins, gives you an instant view into who your fighters are and who will need extra motivation to keep from quitting!

CHALLENGES

I love challenges. You can literally make anything a challenge that you are already doing in the weight room.  Here is what I choose to do.  Every Friday is called “Big Friday”.  Each Friday one of the Big 3 lifts (Push Press, Front Squat, Dead Lift) is going to done for the heaviest set of five possible instead of 5 sets of 5 across.  Rotate the lifts so they are done every 3rd week.  For example, if it is the week for Front Squat, instead of doing 5 sets of 5 at 205 pounds, the lifter will start light and work up heavier each set until he cannot get 5 reps any more. The players who get the highest total get to write their names up on the boards as king of that lift until the next time that lift is done and somebody beats them.  On the boards you will have 3 groups for the lift. OL/DL, RB/LB and WR/DB. So you will have 3 kings for each lift.  The players love to write their names and totals on the boards, and they get a big kick out of erasing the name of somebody they beat.  Here are some other simple examples:

  • Who can hold 205 the longest in a locked out Dead Lift position
  • Who can Plank the longest
  • Who can do the most push ups/sit-ups/ pull ups in a given time period.

All quick and easy to judge.  Give a reward for the winners if desired.

CLOSING

These are all simple ways to take some of the grind, out of the “grind”. As coaches, its our job to make sure we are promoting healthy competition and keeping moral high.  We want our players to want to be there.  Kids want to be successful, and they want to have fun too. There is no reason we can’t give them both. What better way to keep kids in the weight room working hard, than creating an environment in which they have fun doing it in? In doing so, you will create not competitors; but instead, you will develop Dominators! Please subscribe to my email list so you can be notified whenever I post a new article, and give me a follow on twitter at @thecoachvogt.

Staying In Shape As A Coach With A Family

They say if you have your health, you can handle anything.  For the most part that is a true statement.  This article is going to be about staying fit and being healthy for your family.  I’m not here to tell you how to be on the cover of a muscle and fitness magazine, or win the next gold medal in the clean and jerk, but to provide a guide on how to establish and then maintain healthy level of strength and body weight.  It can be a trying ordeal in this profession.  Long hours, sporadic meals, of which many are of questionable decision making for the sake of convenience.  On top of that, you have a family as well. How can you justify taking even more time from them?  It is my belief that you owe it to your family to take care of yourself. Self care is self preservation, you can only take care of someone else when you are able to take care of yourself as well. You should be able to play in the back yard with the kids and not get winded.  Or to have the general strength to take on work around the yard and house.  This article will walk you through an easy to understand plan for diet, programming, and time management; to hopefully avoid the dreaded “coach bod”

Coach Bod- the gradual accumulation of weight around the mid section as a result of high stress, low amounts of sleep and poor diet choices to make up for lack of time.
Think about how you looked when you first finished playing football. Think about the things you could do.  While returning to the level you were at when playing is not likely, we can get in pretty good shape!

DIET

food3

I am definitely no expert in nutrition, but I can tell you this.  We are adults, and we know how to eat healthy and make adult decisions.  I get it, and I’m guilty too from time to time.  Those convince stops for food save time.  We all know that stopping for fast food after practice, and/or games is not the best choice, and it usually becomes a habit.  A habit that can lead to pounds stacking up each season.  Add a few seasons together and you start to go buy bigger pants.  Its not just after practice either.  Starting your day with cereal that comes out of a box with a cartoon character on it should not be on your things to do.  Skipping breakfast can be even worse, then you get hungry and snack in the teachers lounge, buy something from the vending machine or go out and buy a big lunch.  Nothing wrong with that…. but when you’re hungry you tend to choose calorie dense, nutrient weak foods.

Here is a list of foods to avoid:

SODA (by all means, even diet…stay away!)

Wheat (any carbohydrate that comes from a box or bag. Ex: sugar, cereal, bread, bagels…you get it)

Corn (its bad, no it’s not a vegetable)

              The problem with corn and wheat is that its literally in everything!  So as a general rule, buy food from the outside perimeter of the grocery store.

Dairy (ok in small amounts)

Pork (yes its awesomely delicious, save it for special occasions)

Beans and rice (highly estrogenic, estrogen = boobs)

Here is a list of foods to eat:

WATER (the best anabolic hands down)

Vegetables (all kinds, all colors.  Eat lots. Mom was right all along)

Fruit (the more fibrous the better)

Things that used to have a face (chicken, beef, fish and so on)

Eggs

Potatoes (white, sweet, red… all OK.  Just keep them on workout days)

Nuts

Meal Planning

Planning your meals makes eating healthier very easy.  Its not hard.  Tupperware on amazon is like 5 bucks for 5 containers.  Cook 3-5 lunches for work and stick them in the fridge.  Eat eggs and other meat along with fruit and or vegetables in the morning.  For dinner have one of the pre-made meals or cook something that is on the good list I provided.   Here are some photos of some meals that could be used:

Most of you will lose weight just by cleaning up the diet, but if you want aggressive weight loss, it can be attained.  Here is my disclaimer. From my time cutting weight as a wrestler I can tell you this, the faster the weight is lost…the higher the amount of suck it will be.  It also has a greater chance of rebounding back after.  Well, here it is, get some protein powder and you only get one solid meal a day.  One shake in the morning upon waking up, one mid-morning, one for late lunch and one after work.  Protein shake is mixed with water. Your single solid meal will be meat and vegetables, no carbs.  Again, this will suck.  It will however get the weight off you.  I would not stay on this for more than 20-25 days at a time.  Take a few months of normal healthy eating before repeating.  For most of us, just following basic healthy adult eating will be fine.  As a general rule, follow the 80/20 rule.  that it, 80 percent of your diet should come from the good list.

THE PROGRAM

We are coaches, we teach all day then go coach for 2 to 3 more hours before coming home.  During the season we go back on the weekends for staff meetings and when we are home, we usually are still doing some work at some point.  This is not going to make you set any records or grace the cover of muscle and fitness…well if it does make sure you credit me!  All joking aside, this is designed to get you stronger and make you look like you could still play a snap or two if you had too. The whole thing will take between 15 and 30 minutes, and it is 5 to 6 days a week depending on rotation and how you are feeling recovery wise.

Working out more days for shorter amounts of time is the best way to go.  It develops habits, and you are in and out of the weight room, vs the other method of 3 to 4 days a week and in the weight room for an hour, sometimes more.  You will have a warm up, a strength lift, a supplemental lift, a MetCon and then you are done. MetCon stands for metabolic conditioning.  It was established by the Russian weightlifting team in the 1940s. Today, hipsters like to call it crossfit (Don’t worry, we won’t be doing any flying monkey snatches).  It is short, it is intense, it gets the heart rate up, which is what we want.

Warming up is easy, you can do old school calisthenics, a quick jog or my favorite, jump rope.  I highly recommend jumping rope, it is a great whole body warm up, primes the central nervous system and only needs to be done for 1 to 3 minutes.  It is also a good test to determine how the day is going to go.  If you blast through the jump rope you can probably really get after the weights.  Stumble and smack your shins and your back a lot…you probably should take it easier as your nervous system may need a break.

The program goes 3 days on, and 1 day rest/off

Day 1

Squat movement (back squat, front squat, over head squat, split squat) you pick.  I would pick 2 lifts to focus on and then rotate them every round. So Day One do back squats, the next Day One do front. THIS GOES FOR ALL EXERCISE SELECTIONS, pick 2 to focus on.  Switch after 3-5 months if you really want to.

Posterior chain movement (RDL, Lunges, leg curls, anything that targets back of the legs or gluteals)

MetCon

Day 2

Hinge Move (dead lift, Cleans, Kettle bell swings)

Pull Move (pull ups, chin ups, rows, barbell curls)

MetCon

Day 3

Push Move (Push press, bench, dips, strict overhead press)

Push Move (close grip bench, push ups, tricep extensions)

MetCon

Rest day, then repeat Day 1 with the other lift options you chose

You will only track the last set of each main lift.  First 1 to 4 sets will be ramping sets of 5 reps that progressively get heavier till you get to your work set.  Then for that weight you will try to get as many as possible.  Once you can get between 8 and 10, you know next time you do that lift you can move up 5 to 10 pounds.  After the work set no matter how many you get, take 10 to 20 deep breaths and do it again, you may only get 1 or 2 reps but that is OK.  The idea is that you did it again while the body was still taxed.  An example ramp might look like this,

Back squat-45×5, 135×5, 225×5 and 275×7, 20 breaths then 3 more reps.

For the second lift just do 2 to 3 sets till you are just shy of failure at a manageable weight.  Don’t worry about tracking, just put on what feels right for that day.

MetCons are simple, get moving fast with inefficient movements.  Combining 2-3 movements seams to work best.  One of my favorites is combining jump rope with push ups.  Jump rope for 30 seconds as fast as possible then do 20 push ups and go back and forth for 10-15 minutes.  No MetCon should take longer than 20 minutes.  Always cut it off at 20 minutes, 15 minutes is usually what I go for.  Another combo is burpees and sit ups. or jogging and jumping jacks. The good thing about a MetCon is, it can be different every day, a simple search of the word, or the various crossfit type websites will give you all you ever need.

TIME MANAGEMENT 

This whole work out should take no more than 30 minutes, 20 should be an attainable average.  But you are working out 5-6 days per week to make up for the short time.  You can fit 20 minutes a day anywhere.  Wake up early to get to a gym.  If your like me and have stuff in your garage, do it there in early morning.  We coach at schools, use the school weight room, get in early.  Do it on your plan period, its only 30 minutes of working out.  Do it on your lunch break.  Or right after practice before you go home.  Once your home let that be family time.  Either start your day with the workout while the family is asleep, or do it before you get home at some point.  You should let home time, be home time.  You can also use family time as a way to get extra movement in.  Play with the kids outside, or go for a family walk, walk the dog.  We live right by a wild life preserve called Turkey Creek, I love to take my son there and walk the trails.  Its bonding time and some extra movement to help maintain a healthy life style.

(My son and I checking the map in Turkey Creek):

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CLOSING

This should be more than enough to get you started and maintained for a long time.  Finding time to keep ourselves healthy is a priority if we want to be there for our family and set a good example for our children to be healthy as well.  As always please feel free to comment with any questions.  Subscribe to the email list to be updated whenever I post a new article and give me a follow on twitter @thecoachvogt