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Tips from the Country’s Top Strength Coaches


At this year's Hammer Strength Clinics, Life Fitness and Hammer Strength went to 11 different cities around the United States and brought in more than 70 different speakers to share the best in athletic strength training. The 900 attendees included high school and college coaches, pro teams, performance trainers, personal trainers, nutritionists, rehab trainers, and aspiring coaches who are students at colleges and high schools.

Some of this year’s top speakers:

 Joe Kenn, Carolina Panthers, Jeff Connors, East Carolina Pirates, Ron McKeefery, University of Tennessee, John Sisk, Furman University, Pat Ivy, University of Missouri, and Neil Puduzi, Georgia Tech. 

We’ve compiled some of the key learnings from the 2012 Hammer Strength Clinic season. 

Top 5 Strength and Conditioning Tips

 1. Pat Ivey, Director of Strength and Conditioning at the University of Missouri spoke on Mental Conditioning and how our negative thought affects everything around us. Your self talk is the most influential conversation that you will ever have. Tell yourself: I am great. I am strong. I am prepared. I am tough. I am focused. 

 2. John McKenna at Notre Dame High School in Lawrence, NJ makes it his job to keep his athletes engaged and challenged. Use outside implements to mix up your training while focusing on the same techniques you would with a bar. Try kettlebells, tires, sleds, ropes, and anything else that can help you reach your desired program goals.

3. USC’s Director of Strength Conditioning, Aaron Ausmus, and his staff have developed an entire program around “The Trojan Way.” This program is based on Pillars of Success. The players are judged and scored on promptness, work ethic, and life style choices, among other things. This is a program that holds players accountable for each other and keeps them focused on doing what is right for their self and the team.

4. Push Jump Punch – Sounds like cues from a martial arts studio right?  Those are the coaching cues that Joe Kenn from the Carolina Panthers uses to teach his power clean progression. “Once “locked in” the athlete will literally push his feet through the ground to raise the load off the deck. When the athlete “feels” the bar clear the knee, he performs a vigorous jump, working to extend his entire body. As the athlete strives to reach full extension, he will punch the elbows through and receive the bar across the upper chest and shoulders,” explained Joe.

5. Throw away all your boxed cereals, cereal bars, and anything that claims it has fruit in it. Most of the cereals our kids eat are like giving them 14-17 spoons of sugar before sending them to school or practice.  John Dettmann from Wisconsin woke up the crowd in Houston with a nutrition presentation that was based on the realities of what we eat. In one example, blueberry bagels that were tested had no trace of blueberries, just different dyes and flavorings. Make sure you’re reading the ingredients.

athletic training
Strength and Conditioning
Hammer Strength
Hammer Strength Clinics


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