1. Strength & Conditioning

WHY: You need to build a solid foundation of knowledge about exercise science, physiology, and strength & conditioning to add more advanced concepts and methods. Your goal is to create a tool box full of different opinions, science, methods, approaches, philosophies, and knowledge to be able to use your experiences to filter that information. 

Books

WHY: Master the Fundamentals. This textbook is utilized for the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam from the NSCA. It is important to have a solid base to build a house on.

WHY: In my opinion, this is one of the best training books for athletic development. Cal Dietz provides scientific research on maximizing strength, power, and speed. It also includes over 3,000 hyperlinks to exercise videos.

WHY: In my opinion, this is the best conditioning/energy system book. Joel Jamieson provides both knowledge and application about categorizing conditioning goals; concepts can be extrapolated to non-MMA athletes.

WHY: This is a detailed physiological model for training with a specific goal/adaptation in mind. Mass II includes nutritional components to assist that goal by Dr. Ben House. The books show you the thought process of a great mind in creating a training program.

WHY: “The classics are classics for a reason. This is a one stop shop for everything strength training and an essential text for any strength coach. Topics include basic concepts of training theory, adaptation, elements and determining factors of strength, the stretch shortening cycle, the force/velocity curve, central and peripheral factors affecting strength, inter and intramuscular adaptation, motor unit recruitment, training for power, strength, endurance, hypertrophy, trainable characteristics of muscle, strength training for women, seniors, and young athletes, exercise selection, periodization, and much more. Even experienced coaches will find themselves coming back to and referencing this text time and time again.”-  Justin Moore

WHY:”This is a dense and challenging book that will make you question nearly everything you thought you knew about transfer of training to sport.  While it elicits more questions than it provides answers in many places, it’s nonetheless an incredibly important text to move our industry in the right direction.

No longer is it acceptable to treat athletes like powerlifters and think that if we just improve their big lifts in the gym their performance will improve on the field.

We know better than that now. This book helps move the conversation in the right direction and makes us as physical preparation coaches ask how we can do a better job of preparing our athletes for the demand of sports performance while increasing the transfer of skills and qualities gained from weight room activities to the field.

 Additionally, this book provides a great deal of information related to the biomechanics of performance, motor learning, and dynamic systems theory.

Understanding motor learning theory and dynamic systems theory allowed me to more effectively communicate with my athletes and get my message across, and more importantly, allowed me to recognize that I needed to step back and allow the task and the environment to do the coaching for me.”-  Justin Moore

WHY: This is an encyclopedia for strength training.. It may not be a cover-to-cover read but it is an invaluable resource for referral to any topic.

Ebooks

WHY:  “An often-neglected training method, isometric training can be an exceptionally powerful stimulus for improving force production, rate of force development, hypertrophy, positional control, and muscular endurance.  This ebook takes a deep dive into the science of isometric training, explains the different types of isometrics and how they will elicit different adaptations from one another, and then gives practical examples of how to effectively implement isometric training into a long-term physical preparation program to maximize athletic performance.

It also examines the triphasic nature of all dynamic movement, and what the movement signatures are of elite athletes when compared with less highly qualified athletes.  Isometric contractions are a critical component of all dynamic movement, and represent a transition period between yielding and shortening contractions. Understanding the role of isometric contractions in dynamic movement and the stretch shortening cycle is an incredibly important to maximizing effective reuse of stored elastic energy and improving power.

An athlete that is capable of ramping up tension quickly to overcome the negative forces incurred by the body during the eccentric or loading phase of movement while have a shorter amortization (isometric) phase and therefore be more efficient at storing and utilizing elastic energy.

This should be in the library of any coach who wants to have a greater understanding of dynamic movement and how to improve the power output of their athletes.” – Justin Moore

WHY: “A well-written book from Max Schmarzo of Strong By Science and Matt Van Dyke, who is now a sports scientist at the University of Texas, “Applied Principles of Optimal Power Development” does an excellent job of bringing together theory and practice to help coaches optimize the power training of their athletes.

My favorite parts of this book were the sections about maximizing intent, optimizing readiness, post activation potentiation (PAP), and cluster training to maintain velocity across the workout.  The use of overcoming isometrics to potentiate the rest of the training session was a concept that I implemented immediately with my athletes and saw improvements in performance.

Other topics include defining power, selecting optimal loads for training power, accommodating resistance, using velocity cutoffs, and a large section about minimizing fatigue to accumulate quality volume when training for power.  The eBook comes complete with references at the end of every section to facilitate further reading.

If you want practical information that you can immediately apply to improve your athlete’s power with the theory to back it up, look no further than this eBook.” –  Justin Moore

WHY: “Buddy Morris is the head physical preparation coach for the Arizona Cardinals, and a shining example of the beginner’s mind mentality.  He has coached at the highest levels of physical preparation in American football for a long, long time, and yet he remains humble, constantly learning, growing, questioning his own methods, and adopting new ideas as the science and practice of physical preparation evolves.

At the same time, he brings classic principles of physical preparation to the table from legends like Charlie Francis, as well as bright young coaches like James Smith and Mike Guadango.

While American football is plagued by a culture of “this is how I did it, so this is how we’re going to continue to do it,” Buddy Morris has produced a quality manual for preparing football players for the actual demands of their sport that breaks free of anecdotal shackles and follows logic and science.

Concepts include the importance of acceleration training, how to truly train for speed, accumulating quality sprint volume, the alactic/aerobic nature of football, why glycolytic training makes no sense, periodization and programming for football, the application of tempo training, etc.

If you are looking to work with football players at any level, this eBook is a must-have.  If more strength and conditioning coaches read and understood the values and principles espoused by Buddy, there would be much less of the crap that has unfortunately become mainstream in the training and preparation of football players.” – Justin Moore

WHY: “Great information regarding the differences in stimulus and adaptation to eccentric, isometric, and concentric resistance training as they pertain to power, strength, and hypertrophy.  Additionally, the book covers advanced training methodology such as contrast training, plyometrics, Olympic weightlifting for athletes, accommodating resistance methods, kettlebells, weight releasers, and much more.

This eBook really shines in the practical application category.  It provides countless pages of eccentric, isometric, and concentric methods for every conceivable goal, as well as how to appropriately implements the methods into a training program.  I thoroughly enjoyed the plyometrics section, as I believe this is one of the most misunderstood training methods in our entire industry.

This is an underappreciated gem in the world of physical preparation, and provides valuable theory and practical application to improve any coach’s toolbox.”- Justin Moore

WHY:  “The late, great Charlie Francis was far ahead of his time, and widely considered to be one of the greatest track and field coaches the world has ever seen.  His training principles transcended track and field, and are incredibly valuable for any physical preparation coach to understand.

Charlie talked about the importance of accumulating quality repetitions when trying to improve speed and power performance, minimizing sprint repetitions performed in a fatigued state (under 95% of capability), vertical integration, high/low training microcycles, the importance of aerobic development for speed and power athletes, the critical role of specificity in training athletes, the importance of allowing adequate time between high intensity training sessions, the hindbrain nature of max velocity sprinting, etc.

I’ve heard Pat Davidson, whose work is also referenced throughout this resource list; say that Charlie Francis has been the biggest influence on him in regards to developing his own model for training and athlete development.  After reading The Charlie Francis Training system, I have to agree.

To me, nothing Charlie said was more important than his focus on accumulating quality for increasing speed and power.  It seems almost too obvious; if you want to run fast, you need to run fast.  Unfortunately, many physical preparation and sport coaches blatantly violate this principle.  Sprint, jump, change of direction, and explosive lift repetitions are performed with minimal rest, in a state of fatigue, paired with other exercises, or day after day with excessive volumes and inadequate recovery.  Charlie’s emphasis on quality permeates nearly every section of this eBook, and it’s a lesson that all coaches need to absorb and reflect on.

Don’t chase fatigue…chase the highest quality and highest outputs possible.  Do what needs to be done as a coach to ensure that the volume accumulated is actually driving the desired adaptation.  Charlie understood that and conveyed it better than anyone else I’ve read.”-  Justin Moore

Articles

WHY: This is everything you need to know about med ball throw progressions. The article is a complete med ball exercise library with explanations and videos. This article is very advanced by if you take the appropriate amount of time to study and understand the material, you will instantly become a better coach.

WHY: “This series of articles changed the way I look at plyometrics and training to increase rate of force development forever.  Up to that point, I had classified power exercises under the same umbrella, and I didn’t have a firm grasp of what differentiated something like a depth jump from a vertical jump.

These articles detail what the stretch shortening cycle (SSC) is, differentiate between fast and slow SSC plyometrics, give examples of each from both a training exercise and sports performance perspective, and give examples of how to assess and train to improve each.

Understanding how to assess my athlete’s fast SSC and slow SSC capabilities, determine what they need to improve based on their presentation and the demands of their sport, and then create a training program that systematically addresses both appropriately has taken my athlete’s speed, power, and resiliency to new levels.” – Justin Moore

 Podcasts

  • All Things Strength & Wellness Episode 111: Pat Davidson
  • Decoding Excellence with Dr. John Sullivan April 3, 2017
  • Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode #78 with Justin Moore
  • Physical Preparation Podcast With Mike Robertson Episode – Mike Roncarati (recommended by Justin Moore)

WHY: “I have listened to this podcast episode upward of 20 times from beginning to end.  An incredibly in-depth look into how one of the brightest minds in the industry implements PRI into his system of training and physical therapy integration.

Mike’s openness and willingness to share exactly what he does and how he integrates complex models into a practical, cohesive system is a shining example of how we can come together to raise the standard and improve practice in our industry.

 This podcast was posted at a time when I was first being introduced to PRI, and helped me to understand it’s application in a training and rehab setting, as well as inspired me to dive fully into the PRI rabbit hole, for which I am forever grateful.

Aside from the Mike Roncarati episode, the Physical Preparation Podcast brings in the best of the best in the world of physical preparation, while host Mike Robertson does an incredible job of injecting his own brilliant insights, while always making sure that he doesn’t steal the show from his guests.”  –Justin Moore

  • StrengthPowerSpeed.com Episode 10&27: Pat Davidson (suggested by Justin Moore)

WHY: “Pat Davidson is one of the most brilliant savages I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning from.  He is easily on the short list of the top three influences on me as a coach and practitioner.  Not only is he incredibly well read in nearly every aspect of physical preparation, but he has lived the life of an athlete and a lifter as hard as anyone I know.  The best of the best are those that understand the science and the theory, but also walk the walk and have put in the time in the trenches. Pat is that guy to a T.

In this particular episode, he and Derek Hansen, who is an incredible physical preparation coach and mind in his own right, dive into Central Nervous System (CNS) fatigue, the role of neurotransmitters, mitochondria and disease, sleep, and strategies for avoiding overtraining (really improper recovery) and improving performance longevity and health.

Derek is another individual in our industry that has been doing it at the highest level for decades, yet still retains a beginner’s mind approach. A pupil of the late, great Charlie Francis, Derek is among the most sought-after speed and power coaches on the planet yet does a phenomenal job of bringing in guests from all realms of physical preparation, allowing them to be the focal point of the podcast, and constantly learning and growing as a practitioner himself.” –  Justin Moore