Special Youth Conditioning Interview with former US NAVY SEAL Stew Smith
Stew Smith, a former Navy SEAL, Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach and fantastic strength and fitness writer joins CPT SMASH to share his insights on youth strength training and conditioning.
Stew started out as an enthusiastic football player and powerlifter, who joined the US Navy SEALs, serving eight years as part of a SEAL team and now focuses his efforts on providing superior strength and conditioning programs to help develop and prepare the tactical athlete to sustain the rigors of this intense and demanding careers.
Strength Training History
When Stew started out in his training he was taken in by the 1980’s way of training through Joe Weider and Arnold Schwartzeneggars popular training programs for bodybuilders. As many of us were drawn in at such a young age by the old adage that bigger muscles equate to better performance on the field.
We didn’t know any better.
As Stew entered the weight room religiously, he had some special mentors that took him under their wing (Powerlifting coaches) and started helping him learn the proper ways to train in order to get stronger for football.
Gone were the endless sets of bicep curls and bench press, replaced with the much more necessary sets of power cleans, deadlifts and squats. They managed to let him keep bench pressing, which satisfied Stew’s enthusiasm for lifting heavy weights.
Check out the full interview here on how he manages his youth training population called “The Heroes of Tomorrow”.
In the video Stew mentions several key ingredients to every youth athletic program. Having a good network of coaches is the foundational point in this case. As when you’re younger you’re never fully aware of the exact protocol to implement and there’s simply a lot of bogus information out there.
Build a Foundation
In order to get stronger for sports and athletics, Stew mentions having a foundation in the bigger compound lifts such as the squat, deadlift and Olympic lifts. Along with a fundamental basis of movement progression in the squat, hip-hinge, lunge, pushup, pullup, running, sprinting and jumping. All of which are elements of our programming here at Hostyle.
You have to achieve mastery of these movements in order to have a successful athletic program and keep on furthering your development. Just as you have to master the plays upon the field that are unique to your own organization.
Establishing these baselines at a young age helps increase our overall body awareness and aids in increasing strength that decreases the risk of injuries on the ice, playing field or track.
Mobility and Flexibility
Along those same lines of thinking there must be a big emphasize on the mobility and flexibility of the younger athletes body, which is often a neglected aspect of everyone’s training. This prove vitally important in keeping the athlete healthy and preventing unnceccessary soreness and injury that accumulates from hard game play.
The Rest of the Story
Finally, in order to improve health and longevity there must be additional counseling on the proper maintenance of the body in terms of nutrition, hydration, sleep patterns and recovery. These elements are also an essential part of the fitness puzzle that many people leave out.
There’s very little need for athletes to be pounding Gatorades and sugary snacks before and after a game, unless some serious caloric imbalances exist. Athletes have to be educated on this information in order to maximize their performance.
All of this must be incorporated into the younger athletic populations training program in order to truly achieve success and mastery in the sporting environment.
All This Helps to Developing Power
Once these elements have been implemented successfully an athlete is able to focus on increasing his or her ability to generate power from the ground up.
Stew remarks that working on a Florida watermelon farm in the summers vastly increased his own ability to develop power and that his son has taken martial arts in order to improve his development of power to the point where Stew does not want to take a punch from his son.
There’s something to be said about increasing your ability to perform hard physical labor that helps sustain the body and increase our overall power production for sports. Get your kids involved in some nice physical labor during the summer and enroll them in a good conditioning program to help set the stage for some awesome athletic development.
For all the pads and equipment in the world won’t help your athlete if they are incapable of performing the basics and establishing that foundation.
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