How Much Weight Should I Be Lifting?

One of the first questions that you will be wondering when you start on a Breakside S&C program is, “How much weight should I be lifting?”

Well, it depends.

Let’s take a moment to zoom out and understand a basic concept of human performance. When we train -- whether by lifting weights, doing pushups, running sprints, or doing any other physical activity -- we are trying to put a sufficient stress on our body that it reacts and adjusts to be ready for that stimulus again.

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The Top Three Ultimate Training Myths

As the athleticism in ultimate has continued to expand, more players than ever are adding off-field training to their repertoire. That’s a great development for the sport: a proper strength and conditioning program will develop speed, explosiveness, power, and resistance to injury. However, there are still some stubborn misconceptions about optimal training for ultimate. Let’s break them down.

1. Lifting weights will make me bulky and slow.

I’m glad to say that this myth is a lot less prevalent now than it was a few years ago, but there are still a lot of players who avoid the weight room because of this idea. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

While it is possible for a poorly designed weight training protocol (like a bodybuilding program designed to build mass) to hurt on-field performance, any program that focuses on developing strength, speed, and power is going to have huge benefits for expressing athleticism.

Most ultimate players (including many elite ones!) are leaving a lot on the table by not developing the engines (muscles) that drive performance. Improving the ability to put force into the ground — which is what sport-focused resistance and speed training is designed to do — is how you get faster, more agile, and more explosive.

Don’t fear the barbell! Starting on a program at Breakside Strength & Conditioning will give you a protocol for workouts no matter your level of experience. Continue reading “The Top Three Ultimate Training Myths”

How I Discovered The Importance of Strength Training

I’ve always been an athlete. I started playing basketball when I was five or six years old in my local YMCA league. I played through junior varsity in high school, when I got sick of the coaching staff and quit. I started running track and playing football (for two years) in middle school, and I even tried wrestling (hated it).

Eventually, I started playing ultimate with my friends during free periods and after lunch. First, we played with an aerobie before getting a Wham-O. We entered a local tournament in Albuquerque the summer before my junior year of high school — we were just a ragtag bunch, but we had a lot of fun and met Jerry, who wanted to be our coach. We started a high school team that upcoming spring.

In many ways, I feel like a pretty typical ultimate player. Played middle and high school sports, but never really stood out. Discovered ultimate and loved it. Started playing more and more ultimate, especially in college.

One thing that was never much a part of my sports participation until many years later was strength training. I did plenty of sprint work in track and field, and I was lucky to be naturally fast. I was the fastest 8th grader in Albuquerque in the 100 meter dash.

My high school had what was, looking back, a really nice weight room. Along with the usual machines and racks, it had Olympic lifting platforms, boxes for jumping, and a scary-looking monster lifter of a coach who was the sweetest guy on campus.

There were specified gym days for track, but I was never really that into it. I think I was intimidated by the lifts, and I also grew up at a time when people thought that if you lifted weights as a young teenager that you would stunt your growth (super false).

I started getting more serious about lifting as a junior in college. I was abroad in Argentina that year, and we had plenty of time to get to the gym. I just went with my buddies from the ultimate team (there were three of us in Buenos Aires) and we bopped around doing a lot of bench press and not many squats. I also went to a boxing gym where I couldn’t understand anyone’s street spanish and I learned what an actually hard workout was.

Back in New York as a captain at NYU, I was lifting more and more. I had read Tim Ferriss’ book “A Four Hour Body,” which has a chapter about getting really strong by just deadlifting and bench pressing with box jumps and plyo pushups as assistance exercises. So, that’s what I did! Pretty unsophisticated, but, honestly, you could do a lot worse, especially considering that we were playing a lot and doing a lot of sprinting and conditioning at practices and team workouts.

Still, though, I didn’t really know what I was doing.

Continue reading “How I Discovered The Importance of Strength Training”