Article by: Reese Hoffa
Reese Hoffa is the owner of the Hoffa Throws Academy, an elite training facility located in Watkinsville GA. He is a 3-time Olympian, 2-time World Champion, and spent an unprecedented 10 straight years ranked in the top 3 in the world.
I built the Hoffa Throws Academy from the ground up to be able to train throwers the way that I feel like they should train. We have an indoor shot ring, two outdoor shot rings, a discus ring, and three extra rings to throw into nets. This is all housed within Core Blend Training, a gym I helped start up in 2012, filled with everything I think throwers need. I knew that to be the best thrower I could be, every part of my training needed to be built towards producing long throws and that’s exactly what I did.
The number one mistake I hear from other throwers and strength coaches when talking about their weight training program is that they put too much emphasis on their strength numbers. It’s an easy trap to fall into, it’s fun to get strong (and don’t worry, I’ll talk about the techniques I’ve used to develop my own strength and the athletes I work with in future articles) and there are a ton of resources to tap into if your goal is to add pounds to your total. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as “add five pounds, add five centimeters”. Everything in the weight room is GPP for the real goal, throwing far.
The program has to be built from the ground up, the same way my Hoffa Throws Academy was, around training throwers. You can’t take a powerlifting program or football training plan and add twice weekly throws sessions to it and expect it to produce big throws. It is outside the scope of this article to discuss every single consideration I have when working with throwers (and besides, what would I write about next time if I wrote about everything now) but I can talk about one consideration (of many) and one way we address it (of many): fatigue management.
With the knowledge that all of our workouts are GPP, it’s important to make sure that we select exercises that will not be too much for our athletes to recover from. For me and my athletes, one huge change was the introduction of the Duffalo Bar. The Duffalo Bar is an absolute game changer in the squat and is an absolute necessity in any weight room that works with athletes. The intelligently engineered camber of the Duffalo Bar relieves tension on the shoulders and allows my athletes to fatigue themselves less during a squat workout and maintain better health. This in turn leads to better throws practices and that leads to better throws. That’s the goal. Better throws.
You may purchase the Duffalo Bar via our store.
The writing of this article was prompted by all the social media posts I’ve seen talking about men’s mental health. Apparently November is men’s mental health month. That is unless you’re struggling with your own mental health issues. Then, every month, week, and day may very well be an ongoing struggle. Although throughout this article I’ll be referencing comparative data between men and women and differing demographics, the point is not to prop up men's suffering above women or anyone else for that matter. It’s simply there to elucidate the current state of men’s mental health, which is the central focus of this article. “Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution” (1). This mentality exists in contrast to the current lack of awareness pertaining to the drivers of psychological ill-health. Social media and articles routinely discuss what to do if you’re depressed, anxious, suicidal, etc. But seldom does anyone discuss the complexity of the subject. Unfortunately, without truly understanding the issues that lead to ill-health it’s unlikely to come up with an effective solution and subsequent prevention strategies. Therefore the aim of this article is as follows:
Optimizing exercise range of motion to maximize muscle growth is a popular topic to discuss. As new research emerges, it often leaves you with more questions about the fundamental mechanisms and application of hypertrophy training. Mechanical tension is known as a primary driver of hypertrophy. Therefore it stands to reason that training a muscle through larger ranges of motion will create more tension, resulting in a greater hypertrophic stimulus. Although this makes sense at face value, it’s ultimately an unsatisfactory answer. At deeper levels of analysis, mechanical tension alone (or at least our current model) can not explain some of the observed outcomes we see both in the literature and anecdotally. The aim of this article is to provide a brief review of the topic, provide context to the ROM discussion, and offer practical recommendations to implement into your own training.