This article is sponsored by our good friends at Daman’s Strength Training. If you are interested in learning more about strength training or attending one of their Boot Camps, we highly recommend you contact them for more information.
Rick Daman, owner of Daman Strength Training in Monaca, has become one of the most prominent voices on the health, wellness, and personal fitness scene right here in Beaver County. His weekly column in the Beaver County Times’ Sunday edition has been extremely popular, and has made Daman a household name.
Rick is extremely positive, encouraging, and knowledgeable, and impacts the lives of those he coaches. I sat down with Rick to discuss a number of topics in in the first installment of a monthly series brought to you by Daman’s Strength Training. We hope this partnership helps our readers learn to lead a healthier lifestyle now and in the future.
In this edition, I wanted to dispel a couple myths for our readers regarding strength training. Here are the answers Rick provided for some of my questions about strength trainnig:
What is the difference between strength training and lifting?
The difference between strength training and just lifting weights is the purpose of what you are doing.
If you are just lifting because you enjoy it then that’s a good thing. But just “lifting weights” really doesn’t have a goal in sight. You have to consider the volume of your training, rest days and training days, it’s important to have rest days for your muscles to avoid an injury. If you do get injured at the gym, we suggest getting legal counsel on whether or not you have a lawsuit your hands.
Strength training on the other hand should be viewed as building a solid foundation. Your approach is to take the areas of your body that need the most improvement and make them stronger.
Before you get into adding heavy external loads you first must master the proper movement patterns. It’s not always about rep after rep and pushing as hard as you can. Your goal is to perfect the movement first and then continue to change the tension and volume as you progress.
If you are constantly worrying about your bench press you then fall into the category of “lifting weights.” If you head to the gym without a plan or structure then you are just lifting weights.
You need structure in a strength training program. Worrying about “how much you bench” is NEVER going to make you a better football player. When I coached high school football I saw many athletes who could bench and squat a ton but were slow as a snail.
You have to be able to translate your training onto the field of play no matter what sport you are playing – that’s the goal!
Here is a breakdown of what we do at Daman’s Strength Training:
We use block training and each block changes with tension and volume. Each block of our strength training program last approximately four weeks.
Coach Shawn Moody does our program structure. Here is what our four week block of strength training will look like:
Block One/ 4 Weeks in Length: Eccentric Loading: 4-6 second lowering of the weights
Power Variation: Clean, Snatch
Strength Variation: Squat, Dead Lift
Ancillary Work: Vertical / Horizontal Push or Pull
Static and Dynamic Tensions
What are three or four basic strength training techniques I can do in my own home?
At home training for some is exactly what they love to do. They have the equipment and knowledge to be able to go through great training sessions. But some struggle with what to do and lose interest or get burned out easily.
Strength training can also be done to improve daily life activities. A lot of our clients talk about wanting the ability to be able to play with their kids, get back into adult sports, or just want to feel and look better.
Every day we perform the most basic strength training movements and don’t realize that we are doing it.
Here are the four most basic movements and examples of our everyday encounters:
- Dead Lift
We grab or lift objects over our head on a daily basis. Building strength and stability will help us reduce shoulder injuries.
When we pick up our children off the floor or out of the crib we are technically squatting down and dead lifting them up. I hear stories all of the time of parents who get injured while picking up their children. Especially during the night time when babies are up and crying.
Understanding how to brace yourself to pick up objects is important. This will also help prevent lower back injuries.
We lunge on a daily basis as well. From tying our shoes, to picking up our gym bag from the floor. We are constantly going through each and every one of these movements every day.
These are the most basic movements as well as the most important for anyone at any age.
How does DST go about helping people who want to get stronger?
When a new member inquires about our program we invite them in for a free assessment. Athletes are always under a free assessment with a one-on-one coach.
Adults in the semi-private and women’s boot camp programs can sign up for our Jump Start Program. Our Jump Start Program is three weeks long and we offer them three workouts each week.
One-on-one personal training clients are scheduled accordingly.
So once we determine what program they are interested in doing we set them up with a start day and time.
The first training session will always have modifications to suit that individuals needs for that training day.
Our philosophy is that we want all of our members to understand we are their coaches. We are here to guide them, coach them, encourage them and push them to reach new goals.
Our approach to training is to utilize many different training tools. We put that certain client in the best possible position that is going to help them succeed. Our program has taken members who had never trained a day in their lives and turned them into fitness nuts going on five years of training with us!
Our coaching staff helps clients first understand and learn the importance of proper technique. We will not put our clients in the position to get injured based off of the amount of weight being used.
We run kettle bell, sand bag, and barbell seminars for new members that help them better understand form and technique. We try to put the client in the best position to succeed.
We always tell them, “Progress, NOT perfection!”
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Why should someone care about getting stronger?
Getting stronger has endless benefits for everyone. There is no age where strength training can’t be used. The forms of strength training may need to be changed for a certain age but the benefits are great.
Strength training has huge upside no matter what your age is.
Reduces risk of diabetes, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, helps reduce risk of cancers, helps greatly reduce the risk of osteoporosis by building bone mass, reduction of stress and anxiety, and keeps your immune system healthy.
Everyday tasks such as lifting objects, carrying things, placing heavier objects over your head, and even walking up stairs becomes easier.
Strong muscles, tendons, and ligaments are less likely to give way under stress and are less likely to be injured. Increased bone density and strength reduces back and knee pain by building muscle around these areas.
Boosted metabolism (which means burning more calories when at rest) with reduced body fat. Your overall weight may not change, but you will gain muscle and lose fat. Over time you should notice decreases in waist measurements and body fat measurement. This leaves you leaner and more toned for summer!
The best part about getting stronger is your mental mind set changes. You instantly have more confidence, you respect your health and begin to take it very seriously.
Without your health, you have nothing.
What is one technique or exercise you are using now that you didn’t use 5 years ago?
We actually do a few different things now than we did in 2009. When we first opened, our athletes weren’t prepared to do Olympic style training. They needed to first build a solid foundation and a complete understanding of strength and power.
Our coaching staff continues to do an amazing job in our approach and helping these athletes advance.
As time went on, our athletes became more advanced and we were able to introduce Olympic lifts through a hang position.
We strictly do hang high pulls, hang cleans, hang snatch grip high pull and hang snatch. These lifts are all done in a power position. A power position is a position athletes are consistently in during an athletic event.
For example: Linebackers in a ready position, a 2nd baseman before the pitch, hockey players before the drop of the puck, or a basketball player guarding an opponent.
Before any athletes moves to any type of barbell Olympic movement they first have to master a few others. Going back to understanding proper movement patterns is important. We need the athletes to understand what they are doing and NOT just thinking they are “lifting weights”.
A generic example for an athlete to continue to advance they must first master a dumb bell snatch, kettle bell snatch, double kettle bell snatch and eventually can be moved to a barbell hand snatch grip high pull.
In some cases this will take a few years or a few months. It depends on the athlete or athletes in the program and goals behind the program design. We will keep athletes in the best position for them to succeed.
If someone is going to start doing these Olympic movements you should really have someone coach you that has a complete understanding of the proper technique.
Why is DST the best place for strength training?
I believe we have a great approach to how to coach all of our members. Our coaching staff, which consists of five coaches, has a complete mutual understanding that the ultimate goal is to help improve the overall lifestyle of the individuals training.
We’re not into “crushing” our clients, “killing” the workout, leaving our athletes or clients exhausted and unable to walk. We’re not into the latest gimmicks or gadgets. That’s NOT what strength training is about.
We try to bring the most absolute truth behind strength training and most importantly nutrition.
Our athletes go through a series of Phase Workouts. There are two separate training workouts per Phase. These Phase Workouts help build a foundation, help the athletes close the gap within their weaker areas, develop proper movement patterns and teach the athletes the true meaning of strength training.
Once the athletes have mastered all three Phase Workout workouts, the coaching staff then decides the best training block and where that athlete will excel the most.
What is one misconception about strength training?
This is a great question and a question parents who have competitive female athletes need to read.
The biggest misconception in strength training is that women should not lift weights. This could not be further from the truth. I have dozens of before and after pictures to prove it!
Growing up I would always hear that lifting weights will make women “bulky.” What makes people look bulky strictly comes from a poor diet.
We have seen women completely transform their bodies by training. And by training I mean using heavy kettle bells, sand bags, dumb bells. And the best results have come from barbell training – controlled, well thought out, and technical barbell training that is!
Today, high school sports are as competitive as ever. Female athletes are becoming more and more competitive each year. They are also becoming more and more injured each year.
Female athletes are five to eight times more likely to have an ACL injury and 70% of ACL injuries in female athletes are from non-contact.
This means that the ACL injures are happening while running, jumping, landing, deceleration, cutting and changing direction. Basically just being athletic in nature, female athletes are getting injured at a high rate.
At one point we didn’t have a single female athlete in our program. Out of the 80 athletes that train in our program we have close to 40 female athletes and that is growing each and every month.
More and more parents are becoming aware of the possibilities and leaving behind the myth that strength training will make their daughters look “bulky.”
Strength training greatly reduces the risk of all injures. No injury is completely preventable but the measures you take can keep your athletes healthy.
If you have a competitive athlete and she is playing a single sport or various sports year round with little to no rest you may want to look into a proper strength training program.
Preventing ACL injuries goes far beyond just the playing field. We don’t want athletes to have to go through the surgeries, the recovery process and then have that mental block where they believe it will happen again.
We hear stories of female athletes who have injured both ACL’s before they have even hit the age of 16 years old.
These athletes will turn into adults and want to lead an adult life and we do not want to see them deal with issues later in their lives. Staying injury free and healthy is of utmost importance.
In November we had an ACL Injury Prevention Seminar with Dr. Vonda Wright and her staff of UMPC physical therapists. We had over 100 people attend and close to 60 athletes go through an ACL assessment where they were scored on a series of tests.
Dr. Wright spoke to the parents and discussed the reasons behind the high rate of ACL injuries, the risk and the preventative approaches to decrease the risk of these injuries.
Parents bring their female athletes into our program for a few reasons. They want to help them with their overall athletic development, help to prevent injuries, keep them healthy and build their confidence.
The biggest take away athletes gain from our programs is a gain in mental confidence. We see it immediately! We get text messages, phone calls, emails and letters from parents talking about the complete change in confidence their athletes have through our program. The change in confidence has carried over in school, daily life tasks, and in their chosen sport!
As coaches we understand what we want these athletes to take away from our program. When it’s time for our athletes to leave the program we want them to continue to lead a life of health and understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle!
What is the difference between DST and CrossFit?
CrossFit does Olympic lifts, and so do we at DST. CrossFit has a minimalist approach to their gym equipment and facilities. And we take the same approach.
But that is where the similarities end.
At DST, we utilize a specific, structured and guided yearly plan. We avoid randomness, because it only breeds randomness. Our programming is established on the needs of a young athlete and is filtered into the adults and boot camp members.
This scientific structure allows for us to progressively push athletes and members while avoiding injury. The mindset that your workout should leave you feeling punished, demolished, destroyed, or grinding it out is pure marketing. It is human nature to assume more is better.
Your workout should possess a goal that reaches for a point within an annual plan. We coach with an eye on proper bio-mechanics, an understanding of the body and fun. We are with you every step of the way.
Remember, randomness breeds randomness and can lead to injury.