4 Key Thoughts on Speed, Agility, and Quickness Training

The majority of sporting outcomes are largely dependent on speed, agility, and quickness. 9 times out of 10, the faster athletes win. On the field. On the court. Those athletes come out on top.

The fact remains, these athletic traits are absolute “game changers”!

Today’s post will highlight 4 key thoughts specific speed, agility, and quickness.

1. Footwear absolutely matters.

First and foremost, we need to begin with footwear. What’s on your feet affects your performance, as it directly impacts how well you will be able to transfer the force you put into the ground into forward momentum or change of direction.

If you’re in heavier shoes, good luck trying to “feel” fast.

If you’re in shoes with large heel-to-toe drops, they tend encourage severe heel striking and might contribute to knee injuries.

Most importantly, if you’re in shoes without the right amount of width and lateral support, have fun trying to change directions. This has been the biggest issue with some of the “minimalist” shoes on the market; athletes will actually roll out of the shoes during changes of direction besides the fact that they are performing the exercise perfectly. 

Before you concern yourself about cutting-edge training programs and coaching cues, make sure begin with wearing proper footwear.

2. It’s easier to make a fast guy strong than it is to make a strong guy fast.

I heard the quote above during a recent presentation on speed and strength training.

Plenty of athletes are blessed with natural athletic ability – even in the absence of what one might say “good strength.” These types of athletes thrive even more when you get them stronger.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find athletes who are very strong but do not exhibit that force quickly. They need to spend much more time training speed than they do continuing to build strength.

The “fast guy getting stronger” happens much quicker than the “strong guy getting faster”. There are a lot of different reasons this is the case, but at the end of the day, I think the biggest one is that it’s difficult to teach an athlete to relax.

Guys who are naturally fast seem to “accidentally” know how to relax and turn off unwanted muscular tension. Guys who are naturally strong usually resort to sheer force to try to solve every problem. 

3. Quality of movement falls off with a growth spurt – but proper training can help minimize that drop-off.

It’s not uncommon to see some horribly uncoordinated athletes on the field or court, especially during puberty and their growth spurt. 

The dramatic shift in bone growth versus that of muscles and tendons in athletes ages 12-15 explains why kids who dominated the youth league often don’t make it as high-level high school or collegiate athletes. Being a Youth League all-star doesn’t predict being a National Football League all-pro very well.

Here’s the good news…we can help minimize that drop-off in athleticism by incorporating proper training principals. As always, playing multiple sports that provide a wide range of movements is crucial. Integrating mobility drills and coaching athletes on proper movement quality is essential as well. Finally, strength training must not be overlooked. Strength training will go a long way in improving movement skills. Some of the best times to get into a entry-level strength training program is at ages 11-12, even if its just 1-2 times per week.

4. Good movement training programs need a mix of coaching and competitiveness.

To get faster, I think it’s important to have both coaching and competition components in your training. Obviously, you have to coach athletes into higher quality movements or you’re just reinforcing bad movement patterns. 

But, I also think there is something to be said about shutting up and just letting athletes run fast, be athletic, and compete with each other. Most elite athletes train as part of groups, not individually. Athletes push each other to get better. Timing, mirror drills, chase drills are great ways to incorporate competitiveness into the training program.

Ideally, you need to get a little bit of both coaching and competition in every movement training session. As I look at most of our typical sessions, we are very coaching intensive when introducing a new skill or drill. As athletes improve, we make our final progression of each skill or drill competitive.


Speed, agility, and quickness training are very broad topics, so I’m really just scratching the surface with these 4 key thoughts. If you’re looking for more resources or ready to get started with a training program today, I recommend that you reach out or visit www.trueap.com. True Athlete Performance is one of the area’s leading programs in the field of speed, strength and conditioning.

Losing Blows

Losing Blows.

Strike a nerve? I’m happy to have your attention.

But honestly, losing truly blows.

 I hated losing when I was a kid and it hasn’t changed now that I am an adult. But losing is a part of life and it is certainly a part of athletics. No matter what, every time two teams take the field or the court, one of them will lose.

How you handle defeat and how you carry yourself after a loss speaks about who you are as a person. It reveals your true character… even more than winning does. Your true character comes to light during adversity.

Don’t get me wrong, losing should hurt and you should feel disappointed. If it doesn’t hurt then it doesn’t matter, and if it doesn’t matter… why even play?

Feeling hurt and disappointed is OK. Don’t hide from your emotions. Embrace them for a short period of time. Then, find a way to allow it to motivate you. You need to get back to work. Losing, isn’t permanent.

Losing is never an excuse to be a bad teammate, to give up coaching your team, to make excuses or to show poor sportsmanship.

Don’t let losing define you – as a player, as a coach, or as a person.

We live in a competitive world. Competitiveness itself is not a negative trait, but learning to lose graciously is a very, very difficult skill (one, I’m still working on it)… but it is necessary as a player, a coach, and a person.

Challenge! Will you commit to being resilient…to teaching your athletes to be resilient? Resiliency sets athletes up for success because they learn that failure isn’t the end of the world. It’s just a chance to get back to work and to try again.

6 Keys to Developing Mental Toughness

Here is a list of my six keys to mental toughness:

  1. Creating Interest and Keeping It – I use a simple metaphor to build interest. I tell athletes to see sports participation like putting pennies in a piggy bank. Every time they show up to practice, that investment pays off with wins in the future. After students see their time as valuable, it is harder for them for them to quit or to give less than 100%. Your team will feel like they have invested so much, they will go the extra mile when the time comes to dig deep.
  1. Model/Encourage Consistency – Show your team what it means to have a confident attitude by continuing to do what you say you are going to do. Your athletes will see you as a consistent force in their life. They will want to honor that commitment by upholding their end of the bargain. Your team will have the tools to avoid the pitfalls of modern life, as they model your ‘show up’ consistency. Your team will see you as a beacon to follow, a consistent hero.   
  1. Proper Goal Setting – Develop the Why – Setting goals with your team allows you to define where you want them to go as a unit and as individuals. Without a clear destination, nobody gets where they want to go. Setting goals allows teams to judge progress and arrive at a specific destination.  Learning goal setting is one of the strongest benefits of any sports program. Athletes get tools that carry them far beyond sports. What it would be like to congratulate your team for reaching their goal of a championship season?     
  1. Expect and Prepare for and Dealing with Adversity – Learning to handle adversity is one of the key skills a human needs to learn. To become a high-achiever, athletes must learn to use tools for handling adversity. To be honest, achievement equates to adversity. True mental toughness comes from the ability to stay positive and on task at the worst of times. Teaching this to your teams will be a part of your legacy as a coach.
  1. Process oriented not ends oriented – Accomplishing goals is about achieving tiny things over time. Athletes learn that it’s not all about winning. It’s more important to show up and over time you will win through the application of the process. Focusing on the process rather than focusing on results fosters maturity. Establish a system to deliver small victories on a regular basis. These steps lead to guaranteed achievement.
  1. Hold Yourself Accountable and Steer From Excuses – Excuses allow athletes to veer from the process of achievement. Teaching accountability empowers students to lean into accomplishing their goals. This installs a tiny version of their coach in the student’s head. The ‘Tiny Coach’ challenges them to fight through adversity and steer clear of excuses. If you can teach a student to choose a positive road when an authority figure gives them a reason to quit, you will have turned a child into an adult.   
  1. Having and keeping the right attitude – The athlete with the best approach to his attitude will win every game, even if he gets outscored. Attitude is the foundation of every aspect of sports from training to game-day. Teaching attitude comes before you teach a kid how to score. If your kid has a bad attitude, you don’t have a player, you have a problem. We do not win by accident. Attitude gives birth to victory. It is in those moments where we have to dig into some untapped well of strength that we cross the line between student and champion.

Give the gift of grit, of learning to never give up. These things can be learned, just like we can learn to catch a ball or run a pass route.

Realize that mental toughness can be coached, learned, and applied!

Basics of Speed Development

The basketball player that gets to the loose ball, the tennis player that gets to a drop shot, and the football player that bursts through the line on his way to a touchdown. In the world of sport, the athlete that has speed usually has a major advantage over others. Today athletes seem to be utilizing speed more then ever before. Are some athletes just born with speed? Is speed only something that those few athletes can truly use? NO! Speed can be improved in any athlete, if they train correctly and with intensity.

Sure genetics play a large part in how fast someone can be, but we are not always looking to make our athletes the fastest, just faster then they are now. As Frank Costello, former strength coach of the Washington Capitals, says “a slow athlete may not become fast, but he or she may become faster.” This article will cover some of the basic concepts to help improve any athletes’ speed.

To improve speed we must break down the components of speed development. They are flexibility, running form and technique, stride length and stride frequency. Other components that will help are reaction time, acceleration, strength and power. We will focus just on the first four main components of speed.


Increasing ones flexibility is key to improving ones speed. They are several ways to improve flexibility and the best way is dynamic flexibility. Sprinting is dynamic so that is why we at Explosive Performance always stretch our athletes dynamically. Dynamic flexibility is repeated swinging movements that warm the muscles and stretches them at the same time.

Examples of dynamic flexibility exercises:
1. High knees
2. Butt kicks
3. Knees to chest
4. Carioca
5. Carioca with high knees

Other stretching techniques:
1. Static Stretching: This technique is the most common of all flexibility exercises. With proper form the athlete will hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds and preferable 60 seconds. Techniques of static flexibility can be obtained through Explosive Performance.
2. Proprioceptive Neuro Muscular Facilitation (PNF): This is used a great deal by professional trainers and coaches to increase flexibility. It is excellent for rehabilitation or to work on extremely tight muscles. It is mainly done with a partner and is most beneficial with someone who has done it before. To learn more on how to perform PNF contact the trainers at Explosive Performance.

Running Form and Technique

This is of course a key component to improving speed. “An athlete can only run as fast as his or her technique will allow,” says Tom Shaw, former sprint coach at FSU. Without proper form an athlete can not properly execute the drills and exercises that help improve speed. But you must Remember, we are not trying for perfect form, just proper form.

Six Basic Rules of running form:
1. Run pretty and be efficient (no wasted energy)
2. Elbows 90 – 110 degrees (relaxed, not locked; hands drive behind hips and go to shoulders)
3. Neck, shoulders, arms, hands relaxed
4. Stay on balls of feet (drive feet under center of gravity, pushing not pulling with legs)
5. Keep acceleration lean (Straight line from ear to ankle)
6. Keep head up (look where you are going)

These are only the basics to look for in proper sprint form. To truly improve sprint form, an athlete should be evaluated by a certified speed and conditioning trainer.

Stride Frequency

Improving stride frequency is said to be the most important component to improving speed. Stride frequency is the number of strides taken in a given amount of time. If we can increase the number of strides we take, we will most likely increase our speed. Keep in mind that we do not want to sacrifice proper form just to increase stride frequency. The most common way to improve stride frequency is Sprint-assisted running.

Sprint-assisted running drills.
1. Downhill running (slope must be no greater than 3 – 7 degrees)
2. Assisted running with bungi-cords (pulling athlete faster then the normally run) This needs to be done with a certified speed and conditioning trainer with the proper training.
3. Must keep Proper form, or drills will be useless

Stride Length

Stride length is the distance covered in one stride during running. We must try to increase stride length without pulling with the leg. Meaning we must not reach out and try to pull ourselves forward using our hamstring muscles. Sprinting is always a pushing movement not a pulling movement, so we must use the quadricep and gluteal muscles to perform this action. If we can properly increase stride length we will definitely increase speed. The most common way to improve stride length is to do sprint-resisted running.

Sprint-resisted running drills:
1. Running steps
2. Running uphill (no more than a 35 degree slope)
3. Weighted sleds
4. Parachutes
5. Manual resistance (partner resists athlete as he/she sprints)
6. Bungi-cord resistance (usually done with a partner)
7. Must keep Proper form or drills will be useless

If an athlete works on these areas and learns the drills and techniques from a qualified sprint trainer, he or she will improve their speed. An athlete must be dedicated to their workout and have a well-rounded program that includes strength training and proper nutrition.

For more information on this or how TrueAP can design a program for your team or program call Rob Rose at 703-568-5657 or rrose@trueap.com.

True Athlete Performance is one of the leading sport-specific training providers in the nation. Established by Rob Rose, TrueAP has grown from training a few hundred athletes a year to training over 2,000 athletes each year. Specializing in first step and reaction training, Rob Rose has developed a professional performance staff with degrees in the field of exercise science and certifications from nationally recognized organizations that certify trainers to train athletes. With their proven training techniques and methods, the TrueAP staff has improved athletes of all levels, youth to professional. With a Focus on form and technique first, each athletes realizes his or her potential immediately and then focuses on improving their overall athletic ability. Given hard work and dedication, each athlete can improve to his or her maximum potential. TrueAP will continue to make progress in improving the training and being a front runner in the field of athletic training.

Don’t Just Train…TEACH!

Don’t Just Train…TEACH!

                It was summer; 1995.  I had just started out working as a trainer at a local gym and was observing a speed and agility session conducted by another trainer.  He was training an athlete named Carl Banks, a former NY Giants player that had just signed with the Washington Redskins and wanted to get some extra training.  These sessions, and then the ten subsequent, I observed, and actually sometimes participated in, were inspiring.  I learned so much watching and participating in these sessions that it made me realize what I wanted to do with rest of my life.  I wanted to train athletes.

                Fifteen years ago, I founded, and have since been running, an amazing training company, which has trained over 3,000 athletes. Along with a successful training company, I have also developed a training program design that has ensured each and every client’s improvement in the most efficient way.  This training program we offer might seem similar to other programs performed by other trainers and companies that one might encounter, however, we emphasize one crucial component over anything else, which other companies don’t:  WE TEACH!

                Training an athlete is important, but my trainers at TrueAP and I feel that teaching an athlete proper form and technique of our drills and exercises are the key aspect to improving performance.  We focus on six main dynamics and strive to teach an aspect of these areas in each session.

TrueAP Sports Performance Dynamics:

  1. Flexibility: Warming up properly and cooling down are key essentials in improving flexibility
    1. Dynamic Flexibility. TrueAP developed an efficient program to properly warm-up a client prior to working out, practice or competition.  See Our Dynamic Flexibility Manual at www.TrueAP.com/store. Click on manuals.
    2. Static/Partner Flexibility: TrueAP developed a perfect way to cool down our clients after a TrueAP session, practice or game. See our Static-Passive Flexibility Manual at www.TrueAP.com/store. Click on manuals
  2. Linear Speed: We have several exercises and drills to improve our clients overall straight ahead speed.
    1. See our Linear Speed Manual at www.TrueAP.com/store. Click on manuals.
  3. Agility: Improving the ability to change direction quickly and effectively is an essential component of the TrueAP training program.
    1. See our Agility Manual at www.TrueAP.com/store.  Click on manuals.
  4. First Step and Quickness: These are really two different dynamics that we have combined, due to the fact a good number of drills for First Step can be considered good drills for quickness too. 
    1. See our First Step-Quickness Manual at www.TrueAP.com/store . Click on manuals.
  5. Power: This dynamic is essential in the development of any athlete.  It focuses mainly on jumping, but what TrueAP main focus is the landing.
    1. See our Power Manual at www.TrueAP.com/store . Click on manuals.
  6. Core-Balance Training: Improving a clients core and balance is another essential element to improving the first 5 dynamics. 
    1. See our Core Manuals at www.TrueAP.com/store . Click on manuals.


TrueAP Components of TEACHING a drill:

The training staff of TrueAP focuses on the following components when teaching any of our drills.

  1. Describe drill with main focus/dynamic
  2. Demonstrate Proper execution of the drill
  3. Run client through drill
  4. Have athletes focus on specific area of drill (examples)
    1. Stay Low
    2. Push don’t pull
    3. React
  5. Run drill with explanation of how to make it Sport-Specific for each athlete (examples)
    1. Add a lacrosse stick
    2. Jump up like you would in a header for soccer
    3. Add a side shuffle for basketball instead of a sprint.
  6. Reinforce each set with key components. (examples)
    1. “Stay low!”
    2. “React Quick!”
    3. “Push off the outside leg!”
    4. “Arms, Arms, Arms!”

It might seem like a lot of time, but when added in properly throughout the drill it flows perfectly.  The athlete responds to this type of instruction better than any other. 

Remember, anyone can train, but not everyone can properly teach.

If you want some other ideas on how TrueAP teaches and trains our clients, email me at rrose@trueap.com.


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Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.


Rob Rose

Sprained Ankle…Pulled Muscle…R.I.C.E.

Sprained Ankle…Pulled Muscle…R.I.C.E.

                I hate to admit it, but I turned my ankle the other day.  I was playing flag football with the TrueAP staff; I was running and cut really quickly. As I cut, my foot stayed planted in the turf, and my shin (tibia and fibula) kept moving.  This put a great amount of stress on my ankle ligaments.  Well my ligaments lost! I quickly realized I had the most common ankle sprain, an eversion sprain.  This type of sprain is when  you sprain the ligaments on the outside ankle bone (lateral malleolus). 

                So, now what?  Well, as a trainer with over 15 years of rehab experience, and as my friends at The Jackson Clinics would have inevitably advised me to do, I decided on the following:

*Disclaimer: These are recommendations for a minor ankle sprain or pulled muscle.  If at any time, you or someone with you, feels the injury could be more severe, get to an emergency room right away!

  1. Stop Playing: Though you might feel that you are OK to continue, you probably are not.  Your body will react to an injury and send a lot of adrenaline and endorphins to the area.  Thus making your ankle feel a little better.  It is NOT! It is weak and you could injure it more if you continue.
  2. Take off your shoe: A lot of athletes try and keep their shoe on to help prevent swelling.  No need.  Your ankle is probably going to swell weather you like it or not.
  3. NOW R.I.C.E.!
    1. Rest: Get off the field and sit down somewhere away from the action of the game.  Make sure you are comfortable.  You may lie down if you are feeling lightheaded too.
    2. Ice: Get some ice on it IMMEDIATELY! The quicker we can get ice on it, the sooner we can decrease the swelling and even soreness that will come in the next few hours and days.

                                                                           i.      It is important to keep icing for the next 48 – 72 hours or more.  Use ice according to the 20/20 rule.  20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for at least 24 hours.

  1. Compression: As soon as you can, wrap the ankle.  An ace bandage is perfect for this.  The bandage should have an elastic feel to it, so it does not cut off circulation. 

                                                                           i.      When wrapping the ankle. Start at the bottom of the foot and wrap up.  This will help to make sure the swelling moves away from the injured area.

  1. Elevation: Get the injured limb up above the heart.  It is best to lie down while you elevate the limb.
  2. Get back to Playing: If you stick to items 1 – 3, you will decrease the amount of time off the field and get back to playing the game you love.

Items 1 – 3 will be utilized for other injures such as:

  1. Muscle strains: Also know as a muscle pull.
  2. Sore muscles from lifting or new workouts.
  3. Knee Sprains: These injuries usually requires you see a DR. right away.  Though you should do items 1 – 3 as you are on your way to DR.

If you want some other ideas on how to deal with acute injuries, email me at rrose@trueap.com.


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Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.


Rob Rose

The Key Word in Athlete Performance Training

When you think of speed training what word comes to mind?  Speed? Agility? Quickness? Sure, all of those would be perfect, but the key word in athlete performance training is… Efficiency!  I have been training athletes since 1997 and from professional to youth, they all come to True Athlete Performance and me for the same thing – for us to make them a better athlete.  The best way to do that is to make them more Efficient

To improve efficiency in speed we focus on:

  • Form and Technique: Proper form helps to ensure no wasted movement.
  • Stride Frequency: Improved frequency increases the number of strides in a given distance.
  • Stride Length: Improved length increases the distance covered each stride.
  • Strength: Increasing strength will help to ensure maximum power output from the key muscle groups in sprinting form.
  • Core Stabilization: A strong and stable core will help to provide the proper foundation for increasing speed.

To improve efficiency in agility we focus on:

  • Form and Technique: Proper form helps to ensure no wasted movement.
  • Programmed Agility: Drills help to ensure and emphasize proper form.
  • Random Agility: Drills that help to develop the proper sport-specific agility needed for sport.
  • Flexibility: Improved flexibility will help to ensure proper range of motion in cutting properly.
  • Core Stabilization: A strong and stable core will help to provide the proper foundation for increasing speed.

To improve efficiency in quickness we focus on:

  • Form and Technique: Proper form helps to ensure no wasted movement.
  • Arms:  The faster the arms move, the faster the feet move.
  • Reaction Time: The better you react the quicker you respond to any athletic movement.
  • Ground time: The quicker you get to the ground and the quicker you get off the ground the quicker you are.
  • Core Stabilization: A strong and stable core will help to provide the proper foundation for increasing speed.

In all, improving efficiency in athletic movements will help to guarantee improved play on field or court.  Remember, we don’t just train players – we train athletes! 

For more information on this or any of Rob’s TrueAP Blogs, contact Rob at rrose@trueap.com.

Trueap.com – “Where True Athletes Train.”

Muscle Soreness in Athletes

Question:  Why am I so sore?

Sore muscles –  this is a painful thing at times for our clients, but a great sign for our trainers. 

In order to build and strengthen muscle, we must tear the muscle fiber.  Not a huge tear, such a muscle strain: (A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon in which the muscle fibers tear as a result of overstretching. Strains are also colloquially known as pulled muscles. The equivalent injury to a ligament is a sprain). But what we call a micro-tear. 

When muscles are asked to do more work than they are accustomed to, they suffer minor ruptures or micro-tears. You’ll feel these micro-tears as muscle soreness. 

So, if you are properly training, you should be sore.  It is this soreness that helps us to build the muscles and improve strength and power.

Why am I more sore the two days after my workout?

This is very common with most exercise programs and it relates to what we just discussed.  Those micro-tears do happen right after a workout, but you might not feel them repairing until up to 24 days after the workout. 

This is better known as D.O.M.S.  Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness.

Delayed onset muscle soreness was first described in 1902 by Theodore Hough, who concluded that this kind of soreness is “fundamentally the result of ruptures within the muscle.” (1) 

That tissue damage may relate most directly to soreness, as it may increase the sensitivity of the pain receptors, and cause pain with stretching, activity and touch.  The delayed onset of the soreness may also occur because the inflammatory response: (Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process.)(2)

Another common explanation is the presence of Lactic Acid built up in the muscle.  This is considered unlikely to be correct since lactic acid is removed from the muscle within an hour of intense exercise, and cannot therefore cause the soreness which normally begins about a day later. (1)

So, what do we do to help relieve this soreness?

  1. Cool down properly after exercise – Static stretch – hold for AT LEAST 30 seconds!!
  2. Ice down after an intense workout.
    1. When I was a Student Athletic Trainer at GMU, I recommended that athletes sit in an “Ice Bath” for about 10 minutes after a hard workout or practice. 
    2. Since most of us do not have access to an Ice Bath, just stick with ice packs.
  3. Drink a lot of water. 
    1. Muscle is comprised of mostly water (70%)
    2. It is recommended that you drink a min. of eight (8) – 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
  4. Sleep
  5. Exercise the next day
    1. Exercise alleviates the symptoms of soreness.
    2. Light warm-up or jog should suffice
    3. More intense workouts are beneficial too.

If you want some other ideas on how to alleviate soreness, email me at rrose@trueap.com.

Also, check out our NEW store!!  We have a few manuals covering the topic of proper warm-up and flexibility, which will help reduce soreness and improve performance.  Visit www.trueap.com/store – ALL products are 25% off for a limited time only!


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Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.


Rob Rose

Improving Vertical Jump!

How Can You Improve Vertical Jump?

Vertical jump is a measure of total body power.  For those in the performance industry it is the physical test that correlates most significantly with an athlete’s actual on court/field performance.

Give me an athlete that has a good vertical jump, and most likely that athlete will have a quick first step, a strong core, and good linear speed.  In our True Athlete Rating (see definition of TrueAP Rating Below), vertical jump is the most prominent of the four tests we conduct.

Of course we know vertical jump is an essential component of such sports as football, basketball and volleyball where jumping plays an integral part in every play or point.  I think few would argue this, but at True Athlete Performance, we feel it is a key component of EVERY court and field sport we train.

Although athletes in baseball, softball, lacrosse, field hockey, and hockey seldom need to jump vertically during competition, training these athletes to improve their vertical jump will improve their overall body power and explosiveness.

To improve your vertical you will need to focus on these 3 key components:

1.       Land Correctly: By concentrating on the landing we emphasize the muscles that help to decelerate in any jump (Glutes and Hamstrings).  This will not only help to ensure injury prevention, but will also help to emphasize deceleration before an explosive movement upon landing.

2.       Use your Arms: The arms can I be as much as 25% of the vertical jump.  With the emphasis on a quick back movement of the arms (as the hip drops before exploding up) and then an explosive up movement (to help propel the body up), we will improve each vertical jump.  NOTE: Watch a collegiate or pro volleyball match.  Watch their hitting approach jump.  These athletes utilize their arms the best of any other athlete.

3.       Strong Core: If an athlete maintains a strong core, they will be able to focus on the muscles to explode the body up.  As an athlete prepares to jump, they need to keep their head up, chest up and keep a strong core.  This will ensure an efficient, explosive jump each time.

If an athlete can focus on these three key components, they will learn to have a very powerful vertical jump.

If you want some other ideas or techniques to increase vertical jump, email me at rrose@trueap.com.


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Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.


Rob Rose

How to Improve Strength Quick!

What is the Most Efficient way to improve strength for sport?

Strength is defined as, “The maximal force that a muscle or muscle group can generate at a specified velocity.”  Or in more layman terms for all of us; “how much weight you can lift, at any speed.”

I have been training athletes of all levels since my years at George Mason University (1990 – 1995).  Yes, I was on the 5 year plan!

What I learned was this:

In order to increase the strength in any muscle we must tear muscle fibers (micro-tears).  Every time we tear the muscle fiber, the muscle heals.  When it heals, it increases both size and strength.  This is mainly where our muscle soreness comes from.  So being sore, is not such a bad thing.

So, in all my years since graduating GMU, I have been teaching, no… rather preaching the same thing:


The slower you perform each repetition:

  1. The more tension you put on each muscle
  2. The more muscle fibers you recruit.
  3. The more muscle fibers you tear(micro-tear)

Hence, the more size and strength you gain.

There are two main movements when lifting.

  1. Positive (concentric)
  2. Negative (eccentric)

Using the bench press as an example:

Pushing the bar up and away from the chest is the positive movement, while lowering the bar towards the chest is the negative movement.

**The negative movement is 40% stronger than the positive of any lift.**

What does this mean?

 If your max bench press in the positive movement is 100lbs, then you could support up to 140lbs during the negative movement. 

If you have ever failed while attempting a 1-rep maximum bench press, you have experienced this effect.  You were able to control the weight on the way down, but then failed to lift the bar back up.

Why is this important?

If we were to challenge (or you could say “max out”) the negative movement of a lift, up to 40% more tension could be applied to the muscles.  This increased tension causes more muscle fibers to be recruited, giving us an increased potential to increase strength and even size.

The negative movement is mostly forgotten in lifting.  Most athletes will explode up on the positive and let it fall down even quicker on the negative.  To optimize increases in strength, we need to do the opposite!


  1. For every lift you perform, lighten the weight by about 25% of what you are currently doing.
  2. For every lift, increase the amount of time per repetition, but do the same number of repetitions per set that you would normally perform.  When focusing on strength, I suggest giving yourself a rep range of 2-6 repetitions.  If you cannot complete 2 reps with correct form and speed, then decrease the weight.  If you can complete more than 6 reps with correct form and speed, then increase the weight.
  3. Each repetition will be a total of 7 – 10 seconds, no matter how many reps.
  4. The positive or first movement is 3 – 4 seconds.
  5. The negative or second movement is 4 – 5 seconds. THIS IS THE BIG ONE.

Do this for 3 straight weeks with every lift, every set.  I promise at the end of this you will be stronger and on your way to being bigger. 

If you want some other ideas or techniques to increase strength, email me at rrose@trueap.com.


  1. Write it down below this
  2. Email it to rrose@trueap.com.

Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.


Rob Rose