Implementing Technology in the Weight Room

At Bullett Performance Training, our goal as performance coaches is to properly utilize the tools in the weight room to achieve development in qualities such as strength, speed, and power. Technology has been increasingly popular in the strength and conditioning field and can serve as a great addition if applied properly. The use of technology on our training floor allows us as coaches to measure, modify, and adjust training programs according to instant feedback. Our program has rapidly gained a reputation for transforming athletes across the valley because we hone in on our precision of strength and speed training, thus resulting in drastically improving their game.

The first thing we need to do is understand the “Strength/Speed Continuum”. This continuum is a direct relationship between load and velocity, helping aid coaches in determining a needs analysis for each athlete. When loads increase, the velocity of the movement will decrease, and inversely, when the load is lighter, the velocity or speed will increase.

Measuring bar speed

One piece of technology that we use at Bullett Performance is the GymAware, which is a unit to measure bar speed. Coaches can have the capability to train the specific quality that we are looking to achieve by receiving direct feedback on how fast or slow the exercise is performed. When doing so, we can ensure there is no question on how fast the lift was executed. One may ask, why is it important to train these specific qualities? In sports, some instances require high amounts of force production, such as a lineman in football blocking another lineman. While on the other hand, we have baseball hitters, who apply great amounts of power when swinging a baseball bat. We can ensure that we are training our athletes with the proper velocity to achieve the adaptation we desire. Another benefit of using the GymAware is the capability to auto-regulate our athletes that are training in-season. One of the biggest factors that may hinder an athlete’s production on the field is not controlling what he/she does off the field. Our coaches can pre-set the training metric that we want our athletes to achieve, and if that athlete is not able to hit the metric, they were previously able to hit, we know that athlete may be dealing with the fatigue and can adjust their training program on the spot to mitigate the risk of over-training.

Rotational power

Research has shown that when using traditional sagittal plane exercises such as cleans, squats, deadlifts, or bench press, they don’t have much transfer to rotational power as one may think. We utilize our Keiser Functional Trainer, which allows us to measure the rotational power (watts) that an athlete can produce. The movable arm of the functional trainer allows us to simulate the path of the athlete’s sport, such as a golfer/hockey player that has a downward swing, or a baseball/softball player with a horizontal swing path, or a boxer/mixed martial artist with a rotational punching motion. Measuring the amount of power produced and being able to execute reps with immediate feedback can play a huge role in not training outside of the power quality. One example of our training protocol would be the “cut-off” set, which allows an athlete to perform as many reps as possible while maintaining no less than a 10% decrease in power output, and once the output is outside that range, the set is over.

Speed and Agility

Our newest addition of technology has been the acquisition of the SmartSpeed Timing Gates. These gates allow our coaches to not only track the most sought-after qualities in the world today (speed/agility) but increase the intent and competitiveness of the drills that we seek to bring out of our training programs. Athletes get hyped up when they know there are bragging rights at stake, or if they can set a new gym PR, so why not give them the chance? The capability to track and measure sprint and agility times also gives an enormous benefit to our coaches to recognize whether or not a training stimulus is effective or not. In addition to the benefit of real-time data - the SmartSpeed software allows each athlete to develop their Force Velocity Profile which is a detailed analysis helping to guide our coaches in prescribing the appropriate training program. Similar to our GymAware concerning real-time feedback, if our coaches recognize a significant drop in sprint time, we know the athlete is under a state of fatigue that day, which allows the coach to make adjustments or modifications based on the athlete’s readiness. Sport is also played in a chaotic and frequent change of direction that occurs throughout the competition, and the timing gates allow our coaches to track the change of direction. If an athlete doesn’t possess the ability to change direction quickly and with good technique, coaches can implement specific drills and exercises to improve force absorption and force production. The capability to transport the timing gates out to the field, ice, and schools that our staff works with, allows us to track and record times produced on such circumstances in which games are played.