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I train youths regularly, so I though I would give you some good information on what is needed and how to approach strength training at a young age. Most kids are involved in sports. This means that they are required to have a good conditioning base in order to be successful at their sport(s). The right amount of cardiovascular training and a strength training program is the key to proper conditioning. The training program should emphasize on a strong strength base. I find out that some kids are just not strong enough for their own body weight. An agility test will easily determine the overall strength of the young athlete and it will help determine what is needed in order for this young athlete to improve his/her strength level.

What does that mean? As an example, let’s take a young hockey player. The bulk of his/her workout session should be spent on exercises emphasizing on strength and speed. Improved strength and speed will greatly improve agility. We are not looking at a “muscular physique”, we are training for a “Strong Physique”. They need to be trained for acceleration and deceleration and over all strength. If they are not trained to improve those sports skills, they could get injured.

Here are some of the exercises that should be prioritizes. Deep squats for leg strength. Deep squats will strengthen all the leg muscles and also the back and abdominal muscles to name a few. Cleans, power cleans, snatches and power snatches (Olympic weightlifting). Those will condition the young athlete for acceleration, deceleration and speed. Did you know that Olympic weightlifting will improve your cardiovascular fitness! The standing shoulder press will emphasize on the upper body strength like stronger back, stronger abdominal, stronger shoulders and stronger arms. In order to build great overall strength, one should focus on the deep squats. Why? The deeper one squats, the stronger the knees, back and the abdominal muscles will become. The young athlete should focus on deep squatting with his/her bodyweight. Doing squats this way not only improve knee and abdominal strength, it will prepare it is concerned it should be applied in a way that it remains beneficial and efficient. Trade the stationery bike for the more productive and beneficial skipping rope. Here were are looking at improving cardio for a sport that requires frequent stops and change of direction… you must train yourself for that and the bike does not do that. This approach to sports performance can also be applied to teens and adults with great success.

You have been working out for a while and you need a change of pace! You have heard about strength training and you are wondering what it will do for you! My objective is to help you make gains relatively quickly.

Most trainees are involved in a regular exercise program and or in a bodybuilding-type training program. Not too many are involved in strength training. Let’s go through some basics first. There are 2 different kinds of muscular hypertrophy. One is for muscular size and the second one is for muscular strength and size. We are going to focus on gains in muscular strength and size or strength training.

High repetition sets relate to muscular size and low repetition sets relate to muscular strength and size. You have been training for years or you are just starting out and you are regularly doing sets of 10 to 15 reps per set.

One question that arises is, how can I get results with less repetitions? Let me explain. Let’s take the bench-press for example. You are used to do 10 repetitions per set. You are training towards becoming bigger and not necessarily stronger. Why is that? You chose a weight that will permit you to complete 10 reps with proper form and technique and you are going to repeat that for approximately 3 sets. That is very good, except that you are training to increase size and strength suffers. Now let’s take the same exercise and let’s focus on a maximum of 5 reps max per set with proper form and technique. The muscles remain strong and this brings good strength gains and this is followed by good quality muscular size. This is a win-win situation.

If you have been training for a while with sets of 10 you will need a little bit of time to adjust to this. You are a beginner! Right from the start you will build a strong foundation accompanied by good strength and size. Remember that in order to get long lasting results in your quest to sports performance, enjoy daily activities, weight loss or whatever your objective may be, you need to train at the level at which you remain strong.

It all begins with the right approach to training. Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced trainee you only need what is required FOR YOU to get results! That is why analyzing a training program is So important.

As an example, if you are used to do something that looks like this; bench-press, incline bench-press, and decline bench-press for 4 sets of 10 reps, that is well in excess of 100 repetitions for a chest work out. YOU ARE DOING TOO MUCH!

Let me remind you of a simple fact, which will help you make the right decision when it comes to designing your own training program “TRAIN TO REMAIN STRONG”. In order to make high repetition sets efficient one would have to workout at approximately 50% of what one’s strength level is (this is an average and some individuals will be able to use a little more).

This means that when you are doing bench-press for example, you should remain strong from the beginning to the end of that set. The barbell should be pushed up evenly and straight up, your shoulder blades should be close to each others and remain that way, your abs kept very tight, your feet should not move, your buttocks should remain on the bench, and your head should not move. You must be very tight and sturdy and remain that way for all those repetitions. Does this seem like a lot?

By doing sets of 10 repetitions at more than 75% of your strength level you are not working towards improving and maximizing joint function at all. Remember that if the muscles are not strong enough to do the work, the joint is certainly not doing well! The more weight you persist on using under those conditions the weaker your muscles will become. As for the joints, let’s not forget that if you are hurting you are certainly not getting results!

You like to do negatives, forced reps, burn sets… and you do them regularly! They are good except that they must be added to your workout in a way, that they will produce results. UTILIZE THEM ACCORDINGLY. Consider utilizing sets of 5 reps and keep in mind proper form and technique. Whether you are looking at weight loss, toning, becoming stronger, excel in sports activities and so forth, you need to approach training with that in mind. By working out and emphasizing on remaining strong from start to finish, you will get the results you want. Analyze what you are doing or have been doing and experience great results, quicker, and most importantly, injury free. IT IS WELL WORTH IT.

Today I would like to address a very important issue: the health and overall physical condition of your youth. Current statistics are indicating that our young people are becoming more and more susceptible to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes (type 2), osteoporosis and obesity at a very young age. What has happened to our children and what must be done?

Lifestyle is one of the prime suspects in the every increasing problem affecting young people. Physical fitness and nutritious eating have been replaced by technology and fast food. Children are spending the majority of their waking hours in a sedentary position at school, doing homework, at the computer and in front of the T.V. Young people please take stock of your own situation. How much time are you spending in front of the T.V and computer on any given day? Always remember that the amount of food and the amount of physical activity on a particular must balance in order to maintain a healthy body weight and a conditioned body. Variety and color is very important when selecting food choices and I remind you that fresh organic fruits and veggies would be helpful in building a healthy body.

For those of you who enjoy being involved in sport activities, I recommend you and encourage you to get involved in a strength training program as well. This will help decrease the risk of injury and will benefit your overall strength and give you strong bones as well. Weightlifting exercises such as the squat with highlight and strengthen the movement in the hip area. This will facilitate sitting, standing, running, jumping and good posture. You will see tremendous progress in your contributions to your teams in the sport activities that you are pursuing.

My objective today is to provide you with a gently reminder to eat nutritious foods, beginning with a healthy breakfast, to engage in physical fitness including a strength training program, and to get sufficient sleep each day. Specifically I would like to challenge each of you to consider 20-30 minutes of moderate activity per day. This will provide you with health benefits and will help to de-stress you.

Will the next 10 years see a decline in childhood disease or will the crisis escalate?

Daniel Paré, N.C.C.P., C.S.O., C.S.P.S., C.S.T.S. Strength and conditioning coach.

Why would a runner strength train? This article is going to explain what is happening when you are running and why you should consider strength training to help you become a better runner with less injuries.

I have several members who are long distance runners (5Km +) and since they have started strength training they find long distance running a lot easier. Why is that? When you run, every step you take increases the compression on the knee joint and this makes things worse when one is not running properly. You should be running from heels to toes and not with their toes, and a lot of people do not have enough overall body strength to run adequately. The more bouncing you are generating when landing, the more conditioned you must become. The knee joint needs to become stronger. How are we going to do this? “STRENGTH TRAINING”.

You want to train to become strong and if you body build you are going to be training to become big and the last thing that you want is extra muscle mass. Let me be more specific. Since your knee joint is going to be taking quite the beating, squats (full depth) should be emphasized. Now, why full depth squats? After all we are not squatting that low when running? That is correct. What we need to realize is that the deeper one squats the stronger the abdominal muscles, the hamstrings and other key muscles need to be. I suggest you begin by doing 10 reps of squats. When you are fully capable of doing those 10 reps, you put a barbell on your back and you begin to squat.

The objective is to squat up to your own body weight on the barbell for sets of 5 reps. Remember, we are strengthening the knee joint and more than 5 reps will not strengthen the knee joint but actually weaken it! If you become much stronger than you are right now (not bigger!) it will be much easier for you to run the distance.

Here are a few key exercises you should consider; the squat (full depth), power clean, power snatch and deadlift. Can you work on your upper body? Sure why not, but remember that the more muscle mass you are intending on building, the more at a disadvantage you will be. The reps should be left at 5 per set at best. Make sure that you become stronger and not bigger. Remember that the stronger you become the easier it will be to run.

Enjoy your running and run the distance.

Daniel Pare certified strength and conditioning coach, St. Thomas, 519-633-0771, fax 519-637-1210, email