Weight Training for Speed and Power

One of the most common questions I get and see on a regular basis is “What exercises do I need to be doing in the weight room in order to get faster and more explosive?” Maybe not exactly those words, but you get the idea…

This is not very complicated, as most of the time (I say most of the time meaning 9 out of 10) the average athlete will simply get faster and jump higher/further just by getting stronger.

I still don’t understand why more athletes and coaches won’t invest in the general physical preparedness of their athletes, but would rather shell out their hard-earned cash on “sport-specific” gadgets and gizmos that won’t do anything to get them stronger and moving better. I’ll take it a step further and say that the younger the athlete, the further away they should stay away from specialized “sport-specific” training centers and spend more of their time training with a competent strength coach or trainer to help get them stronger, resistant to injury, increase body awareness, etc.

Instead of focusing solely on 1 sport, year-round, I would like to see more young athletes participating in 2-3 sports while being involved in a properly designed strength and conditioning program. It used to be normal and encouraged that athletes participate in different sports each season, especially at a younger age. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see athletes specializing in 1 sport in high school, or even worse, in middle school. Playing multiple sports is a form of “cross-training” and helps to create athleticism, spatial/body awareness, and more importantly, prevent boredom and burnout.

OK, back to the topic at hand. Weight training for speed and power is pretty simple and needs to be focused on large, multi-joint movements first. Think about training movements and movements in multiple angles and planes, not just training muscles. To keep things very simple, you should devote each weight training session to training the entire body. Once you get stronger and more mature, you can start to break up the training into upper and lower body workouts, but for now, most athletes would do just fine performing full-body sessions. You’ll break the sessions down by movements (I got some of these basic principles and guidelines from Jason Ferruggia, owner of Renegade Strength and Conditioning in NJ):

  1. Power/Speed Development movement (i.e. medicine ball throw or some sort of jumping exercise; if you’re technique is solid, you can also perform a clean, snatch, or jerk variation. 3-10 sets of 1-5, focusing on speed of the movement, not the load lifted.
  2. Primary Barbell Lift (squat, deadlift, bench press, or military press) These have many variations, so get creative. 3-5 sets of 1-10 repetitions depending on time of year, athlete, age, etc. This is the time to push yourself and get stronger!
  3. Upper Body Assistance Work: You can get pretty creative with this, but normally I will pair 1-3 exercises and rotate through each one of them until the desired number of sets and repetitions are achieved. Use your own bodyweight, dumbbells, or bands for this type of work; I like stuff like chin ups, dips, push ups, handstand push ups, dumbbell presses/rows, band pull aparts, etc.. 2-5 sets of 8-15 repetitions is a good range to stay within.
  4. Lower Body/Trunk Assistance Work: Roughly the same guidelines as above, but this time you’ll want to pick a single leg exercise (optional), an abdominal movement, and a posterior chain movement (one that hits the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings). Again you can pair them to save time and make it more efficient; I like split squats, step ups, lunges, 45-degree hypers, back extension, reverse hyperextensions, planks, sit-ups, hanging leg raise, etc. 1-3 sets of 6-20 repetitions here is a good range (keep the single leg volume low starting out).
  5. Finish with some sort of conditioning or finisher whether that be sled drags, medicine ball slams, sandbag loading, farmer walk, etc. Don’t go crazy on this though; if you’re after speed and strength, do just enough to maintain and challenge yourself, don’t do so much where it takes away from your goals.


1.) Clean 5 x 3

2.) Squat 5 x 5

3a.) DB Bench Press 3-5 x 10

3b.) DB Rows 3-5 x 10-12

3c.) Band Pull Aparts 3-5 x 15-20

4a.) 45-Degree Back/GHD Sit Up 2-3 x 15-20 each

5.) Battle Rope 3-5 x 30 seconds

Combine this with simple sprint work and you should be on your way to improved athletic performance. Get strong and you will more than likely get faster and jump higher/further.

PS- Don’t forget about your warm-up and mobility! Gotta be able to move, too!

Train hard,
John Cortese

How Mind Power Techniques Can Overcome Your Failures

Mind power is a very complex topic for the average person because they have limited education on human mind. Unfortunately the education system, even in most developed countries, does not teach you much about this subject and its influence on a person. This becomes a significant problem as 90% of our thoughts are controlled by the subconscious mind, an area of our brain where we have very limited control. You can’t influence your subconscious mind because you don’t know techniques that can manipulate the way your subconscious mind functions!

Learning Mind Power Techniques From A Professional – Advantages And Disadvantages

Professional education is the best method to learn how to influence your subconscious mind. However, the problem with this method is the hefty price most therapists charge. This education is considered as one of the most expensive training programs in the world because the regular clientele mind power secrets include powerful personalities in politics, business and celebrities for whom shelling out money is not a problem.

However, most of these professionals do not have a great idea on how to teach you the most powerful techniques but can transform you into a new person. This is where a published training program comes in – a mind power training program is generally an e-book or audio CD program that contains some of the most influential secrets about human mind. It goes without saying that getting a powerful training program is the best deal as they are quite inexpensive compared to personal training programs that will charge you several thousands of dollars.

How Mind Power Training Works
The basic principle of this training is teaching your brain that success is not your desire, but it’s something that you deserve. There are many techniques that can manipulate your brain such as:

  • Affirmations – Affirmation training works really well with most individuals. By mastering this program, you will convince your subconscious mind that you are capable of achieving your goals, it doesn’t matter how big or time-consuming they are. For instance, if you set an earning goal of 100,000 dollars a year, you will be able to convince your brain that you are capable of making this kind of money and once confidence is gained, the way will open automatically. Affirmation is a technique developed based on self- hypnosis and mind conditioning principles researched and developed by many noted scientists.
  • Thought Control – By thought control, a training program generally talks about controlling negative thoughts. Just visualize the thoughts going through your mind in the last few weeks before making each important decision: you will realize that most of them were warning you against ‘the risk’ you are taking or developed a strong sense of fear about a possible failure. Most of us have an array of negative thoughts that control our deeds, decision-making and confidence. The number of positive thoughts is generally a minority. With strong mind power tactics, you will learn how to nurture positive thoughts and have to reap the benefits of positive thinking. This is a very powerful method and every successful individual in the world is a result of positive thinking. But there is no way for you to develop positive thinking without learning how to manipulate your subconscious mind.

Now you already know how powerful the subconscious mind is and how much it contributions to personal success or failure. You already understood the importance of the education and how it can change your life forever and for good! Systematic study on mind power techniques not only helps you to achieve success in professional life but it will also improve your health.

Building Shell: How It Effects Energy Conservation

Building Shell: Snuggie For Your Home

Building shell & Conservation

Indoor air quality was not a problem at the turn of the last century, building shells were simply so drafty that the indoor air was always being replaced by fresh outdoor air. Firewood was cheap and grew everywhere so just throw another log on the fire, pull on a wool sweeter, and keep warm.

Today, the building shell is a little more important as we work much harder at saving energy and maintaining energy efficiency. The troubles the world has seen attempting to produce more and more energy has been well documented. Nuclear power plants near melt down, coal polluting the air, and Dams harming salmon runs.

Building Shell Function:

Today, the ideal building shell maximizes heat retention during winter and minimizes heat gains during summer to reduce the energy needed to maintain comfort. The best way to achieve energy efficiency in a new building is by energy-efficient design, energy planning, and quality construction methods. In existing buildings, technicians and contractors perform weatherization up-dates to reduce heat loss and gain through the building shell.

With the large metro areas we have today and the fact that every household has two or three cars, the building shell is not only being asked to separate hot and cold, but also indoor air quality and outdoor air pollution. There is not much use in installing an expensive electronic air cleaner if the outside air is permitted to blow through the building shell at will.

Making Weatherization Decisions Sometimes this is best left to a home energy auditor. With the need to reduce energy consumption, home auditors have been trained and are available both in the private sector and through businesses like your power provider. The auditor will take measurements and collect data that will assist you in making decisions concerning weatherization measures. Part of the audit will often include costs estimates and information showing return-on-investment. The important thing is to decide which retrofits provide the most energy savings that are in your budget.

Auditor Training:

Home energy auditors receive training from recognized training institutions in building construction, building shell heat flow, and building system diagnosis to ensure that the best conservation measures are chosen. Basic training takes several weeks and includes both classroom and hands on, in-the-field training. The auditor is trained to operate the various pieces of specialty instruments that are used during an audit. These instruments measure everything from building shell air leakage to the production of carbon monoxide associated with your combustion appliances.

Largest Home Energy Demand to Overcome Heat loss and gain through the building shell are the largest energy demands that residential homes need to overcome. To maintain comfort, the heating and cooling systems supply or remove heat at a rate roughly equal to the flow rate of heat through the building shell.

The amount of heating and cooling that a home requires throughout the year is directly related to the loss of heat through the floor, walls, and roof. To increase energy efficiency, the building shell must be weatherized and able to restrict the passage of air and heat.

Solar radiation, heat transmission, air leakage, and internal heat all challenge the quality of the building shell and in return determine just how may kilowatts and therms your going to be charged for on your utility bill.

Comfort and Cost The bottom line then comes down to two basic factors, comfort and cost. At what level of financial commitment are you willing to reach to be comfortable. Today, we expect our homes to provide a high level of comfort. For most of us, it is not OK to go around the house wearing a sweater and bunny slippers. Back in the days when a large home might have four or more fireplaces, it was reasonable to be uncomfortable in the back hallway, but not anymore.

The first thing we complain about is being uncomfortable and the second thing is how high the power bill has become. Both of these complaints are directly related to the quality of the building shell and the size of the power bill.

Building Shell Components:

Components of a quality building shell. I demolished a home that was constructed in 1909. The walls were two layers of rough cut 1 x 12’s with newspaper between. In this wall, both the boards and newspaper were air barriers – there was no insulation.


  • Paint is the first line of defense against the elements. Protects the exterior siding against moisture and solar destruction.

Exterior siding

  • Gives the wall shear strength and helps keep out raccoons and flies. Has some insulation value. Keeps the insulation that is in the wall cavity from falling out. Serves as an effective air barrier if supported by air sealing techniques at all corners, ends, edges and connections.

Rain Drain

  • Something fairly new as far as the building codes are concerned. This is a house wrap type application that maintains a space between exterior siding and wall sheathing. Suppose to allow moisture that gets behind the exterior siding drain out and dry without causing moisture damage inside the wall cavity. Little insulation value here.

House Wrap

  • As an extra barrier against the free passage of air through the wall assembly, house wrap has become a common building material. Please note that house wrap should be an air barrier and not a moisture barrier. Trapping moisture inside a wall cavity with a moisture barrier causes mold and dry rot.

Wall Studs and Framing

  • Supports the weight of the roof and provides something to attach both the exterior siding and interior wall covering to. Provides a thermal bridge that works against insulation values.


  • When installed properly, is the main product that restricts the transfer of heat through the wall. Most often installed in the cavities between the framing studs, between the floor joist, and over the ceiling, the insulation may well be the most cost effect building product in your home.

Interior Wall Sheathing

  • In most homes, drywall forms the interior wall surfaces. Cheap and able to take a variety of textures and paint, wall board becomes your homes best and most complete air barrier.

Interior Paint

  • Used mostly to protect the drywall and to provide a pleasant color to the wall. Homes that have been constructed since about 1985 have used a paint that is also rated as a moisture barrier. The idea is to keep humid moist air that is inside the home from getting into the wall cavities.

If any of the wall assembly pieces are faulty or installed incorrectly, the building shell is compromised and energy conservation is lost. When energy conservation is lost, the result is a noticeable and dramatic change in your power bill.

Your home has construction flaws that waste energy, reduce comfort, and encourage deterioration, and work against your energy conservation efforts. Knowledge about building shell characteristics will help you locate and correct those flaws.

Thank you for stopping by, please come back soon, but I won’t leave the light on for you…