Ball State perspective on new S&C Coach

Submitted by michgoblue on January 21st, 2011 at 2:48 PM

The following article appeared on  Most of it is just fluff about a current Ball State player who is positive and Hoke and Kecklinski (WR Coach).

The part that I found interesting was the last 2 paragraphs:

Orsbon also shared a little scoop on strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman while noting that BSU's current strength coach, Mark Naylor, is leaving his current position to join Wellman at Michigan.

"He's not a huge Olympic lifts coach," Orsbon said. "They stress squats and bench press but it's a lot of controlled lifts and heavy sets. They want to get you bigger, stronger, tougher and more explosive to help with your speed."

What I find interesting about this (but only because I am a weight lifter) was that Wellman is not all that into the Oylmpic lifts.  This seems to be diametrically opposed to the Barwis philosophy, in which Olympic lifts were the focus.  Both Wellman and Barwis are highly respected, but they appear to employ very different styles.  My own personal opinion is that both styles have their merits. 

My personal opinion (and while I am pretty into this stuff, nobody is lining up to pay me $250,000 a year to do run their S&C program) is that the Olympic lifts work best for O and D linemen.  Why?  These position players primarily rely on an initial burst of speed/power.  This is most directly mirrored by the Olympic style of lifting. 

Wide receivers, RBs and defensive backs, on the other hand, require a more sustained burst which certainly benefits from Olympic lifting, but also benefits from controlled, heavy sets.  I could go into a discussion of type A / type b muscle fibers, but it would inspire a round of "tl/dr" replies.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?



January 21st, 2011 at 3:42 PM ^

I always heard them referred to as kettle "balls" but that's neither here nor there.  I know this - flipping the tractor tire is by far the most difficult exercise I've ever done.  Hands down.

I've never been in a football weight room but I've heard that they have specific machines for lineman to hone their burst off the ball with their hand thrusts (kind of like a cross between incline bench and military presses but standing and from the chest position).  I didn't see those in the videos.

Also, I'd like to see some of those guys doing dumbell bench with more than 85lb. dumbbells (unless those are drop-sets).  I used to use 85s for reps and I weighed a whopping 175.


January 21st, 2011 at 3:53 PM ^

DBs are used as a supplemental or accessory movement for these guys. Used for hypertrophy or increased workload. Plus, it depends on what phase of training they're in. I can almost guarantee that DB bench is not used as main movement. Don't get too worried, I'm sure they're much stronger than you  :P


January 21st, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

I was thinking the same thing re: the DB weight.  But, I would assume that the DB work is not done for "heavy" lifts.  It is usually done for assistance.  The heavy lifts are likely done with Barbells. 

Also, could have been a hi-rep training day.  I can do 120s for reps, but I also like to work in high rep (15-20 days) and after a few sets, I am down to the 85s. 

Take a look at SDSU in the Bowl Game - those guys looked pretty well conditioned.


January 21st, 2011 at 3:48 PM ^

What these work outs are employing is muscle used in motion. Laying on your back and benching does not work as many of the stabilizing muscles. Flipping tires and kettle bells help with explosion and muscle coordination. Olympic style lifts are still great for adding mass but are very isolated movements.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:27 PM ^

Your statement that he is just "wrong" is presumptuous.  This is an issue that even the most experienced and respected experts in the fitness field disagree on, so how can you be so definite in your statement?

The tire flip, much like some of the Olympic moves, activates just about every single muscle in your body.  Both offer immense benefits in this regard.  The main benefit of the Oly lifts over the flip is that because there is, in fact, more balance, easier grip, etc., you can train to failure (although power lifters usually do not do so).  The main advantage of the tire is the complete lack of balance and the awkwardness of grip, which activates the core and foreawm muscles in different ways.  Not better, not worse - but there are differences.

Personally, I think that the ideal training regimin would include both Oly movements and "body in motion" movements like the tire.  But, like I said in my original post, unlike Barwis, nobody is offering to pay me $250,000 a year to train their team, so my opinion is just that - my opinion.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

If you are replying to me I only said he is wrong because he said I was. Not very mature I know. So basically in your opinion it is a draw? I think you hit the nail on the head anyway. A blend of both would achieve the best results.

Hardware Sushi

January 21st, 2011 at 5:04 PM ^

These debates between Michgoblue, RomeyJDogg, and DennisBlundon are EPIC.

I don't know whether I'm learning new information or just absorbing bullshit, but I sure as hell am enjoying this. I especially like when someone responds with (paraphrasing here) "you're a fucking idiot."

I'm not being /s. This is a very enjoyable end to my workweek.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:33 PM ^

I assume you were joking about point #1, michgoblue.  Bench, curls, etc. have nothing to do with olympic lifting.  Olympic lifting consists of clean & jerk and snatch.  Nothing more.  As others have pointed out, derivatives of those lifts, such as power cleans, power snatches, snatch balances, high pulls, front squats and high bar back squats are often used in training.

There are a truckload of benefits that come with olympic lifting, but often it's neglected in S&C for sports for one main reason -- oly is technical as hell and hard to teach, especially if the one doing the teaching does not have a long history in oly with damn near perfect technique to fall back on.  The cost/benefit is hard to justify for some.  A coach may feel that the time spent learning oly would be better spent on movements that don't have the same crazy learning curve, but may offer 80-90% of the benefits.

Moe Greene

January 21st, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

That article about Wellman from SignOnSanDiego that AT linked to should be required reading for all mammals.

The upshot - if you feared a drop in performance based on Barwis' relocating the wolf's lair, think again. This guy sounds for real.

My favorite passage:

Asked about the eagerness with which his new charges subscribed to his philosophy, Wellman, initially taken aback by the Aztecs' high percentage of body fat, said: “To some degree, you don't have a choice, because it's not a democracy."

Couple this intensity with the investments in equipment necessary to get us out of the Bronze Age, and we ought to be in good shape....


January 21st, 2011 at 4:00 PM ^

here to not be a dick, so don't take this as a slight to you. Do you realize how hard it is for these guys to get the required caloric intake to add weight? Think about it, they are probably in class, at practice, in weight room or watching film most of their time. Plus, how many dudes will actually cook ahead and stuff tupperwares into their backpacks for the entire day of eating (like I did)?

It makes complete sense, actually. Pizza is a caloric dense food that will be a big help in getting to the athletes caloric goals. Are there better ways? SURE! But, you see where I'm going with this, right?


January 21st, 2011 at 4:07 PM ^

why not use them?  Can't the players usually eat food provided by the university?

In the bigger picture, it didn't take much to see that Michigan in Carr's later years was taking highly-ranked recruits but putting relatively slow and unathletic teams on the field.   Gittleson was behind.  My point is that we, as Michigan fans, have come by our curiosity about the S&C coach honestly.  Similarly, we'll all be spooked about M's place-kicker next year. 


January 21st, 2011 at 4:24 PM ^

Did you read what I wrote? Yeah, they can eat at the training table, but that's, what, 3 meals a day? There's only so many cals you can shove in at three sittings. And like I said before, these guys probably aren't packing their food and eating in between dorm feedings. Therefore, they need moar calorieZ. In comes pizza. Make sense?

In a perfect world, every player packs 6 meals a day with a ton of clean food. That isn't realistic. Pizza is easy.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:35 PM ^

You raise a good point, and one that most on this board probably do not know.  To gain real muscle mass, it is not enough to eat 3 square meals per day.  It is critical to eat a meal containing protein (as well as carbs and some fat) every 3 hours.

I personally use protein shakes for 2 meals per day and bring 2 to work with me.  But it is a hard thing to keep up with.  Enter, Pizza, which does have some protein and a ton of other calories.

This, however, is the best way to go.  Sure, all athletes, even in the pros, have pizza from time to time.  But the fact that Git found it acceptable that our players were using pizza as a staple food was a concern.  Over the past 10-15 years, there has been a huge realization amongst the broader fitness community that nutrition is perhaps as important as training.  Sure, pizza adds weight, but much of that weight is fat.  At the end of the Carr era, our players looked soft.  Pizza surely played a part in this, so I think that it is a fair criticism of Git that he didn't focus in on proper nutrition.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

You have heard of GNC right? In this day and age of supplements you don't have to cook the perfect meal, you can drink it. You will get your calories and protein all in one big gulp and typically around a dollar per serving. BCAA's as well as vitamins are also added in to make this fool proof for any student athlete. You see where I am going wih this, right?


January 21st, 2011 at 4:26 PM ^

I certainly do. Is that an option for these guys though? Do they have the money for that, etc etc. I don't know the logistics, so idk.

And, the nutritional value of most weight gainer mixes is crap anyways (lots of high GI carbs), so there's not much of a difference between that and pizza, IMHO.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:42 PM ^

Weight gainer mixes are shit, so we agree on that. Muscle Milk is a protein drink giving you 25 grams of protein and around 350 calories. It also incorporates good fat into the shake all for around 85 cents a serving. You can't buy a meal anywhere with that kind of nutrition that cheap.


January 21st, 2011 at 3:46 PM ^

I'm not sure what everybody's love affair is with oly movements. They are highly technical lifts (and FWIW, the vids I've seen of BG doing cleans under MB is not safe/good form) that have a higher probability of injury and are simply one way to recruit fast twitch fibers. That being said, there are many ways to skin a cat.

Another (perhaps safer) way to activate fast twitch fibers is a higher load, more controlled movement, like a back squat, say for instance an intensity > 85% 1RM. Even oly guys do heavy back and front squats because it carries over to the oly movements. The main thing to recognize is: will whatever lifts they perform translate to the field? I believe this is namely a product of coaching/football technique on the field and no S&C program will teach that. Again, there's only so much S&C can do. It's simply preparing the athlete to perform.

So, don't get too caught up in what "super secret methods" an S&C guy is using because there are many different paths to the same end point. Some of the best programs I've personally run are very basic. It's kind of like the whole fitness community. Everyone is always talking about the "most groundbreaking" techniques, when really it all comes do to the basics. Are the guys working hard, getting stronger, increasing flexibility, increasing cardio capacity and increasing their lean mass : total mass ratio.


January 21st, 2011 at 3:56 PM ^

So, don't get too caught up in what "super secret methods" an S&C guy is using because there are many different paths to the same end point. Some of the best programs I've personally run are very basic. It's kind of like the whole fitness community. Everyone is always talking about the "most groundbreaking" techniques, when really it all comes do to the basics. Are the guys working hard, getting stronger, increasing flexibility, increasing cardio capacity and increasing thehaveir lean mass : total mass ratio.


Half the programs in the country truly believe they have the best S&C coach in the business.  Most of them are probably right. 


January 21st, 2011 at 4:17 PM ^

When you think about how many personal trainers are out there, and then realize that there are only 120 I-A strength coaches, it's pretty clear that you've got to have a very distinguished résumé to get any of these jobs.  The idea that there's some great gulf in performance from one school's workouts to the next is pretty hard to imagine.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:23 PM ^

And we were so far behind that we only won 75% of our games under Carr and produced a boatload of NFL Draft picks.  This is all relative.  Mike Gittleson is almost certainly better than 99% of the personal trainers you could find.  His methods may be 1.268% less efficient than Mike Barwis's, but the difference is virtually unnoticeable.  For fans to create thread after thread after thread on this topic is silly.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

Michigan won 75% of its games when it had better recruits the vast majority (95%) of the time.  I agree that Gittleson is likely better than 99% of personal trainers out in the world.  I disagree that the difference between Gittleson and other S&C coaches was unnoticeable.  I always thought Michigan looked surprisingly slow given the recruits it brought in.  Others agreed.  I remember Herbstreit saying something along those lines.

Further:  A. I did not create a thread; B. I am not responsible for other people's posts; C. you are not the boss of me; D. I am taking my ball and going home; E. harumph. 


January 21st, 2011 at 4:07 PM ^

This guy is an amazing S&C coach. One of the best in the country. I have a friend who went to SDSU and worked for the athletic department and he said the workouts Wellman would run them through were unbelievable.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:11 PM ^

I have never done Olympic style lifting, but I've always thought it looked more injury prone.  Could be wrong, but I've never done the clean & jerk type lifting because it just seems like it would create long term joint problems and potentially short term muscle damage.