This week I want to shine the spotlight on a wonderful product I recently discovered. ONE WORLD FUTBOL. No matter if you call it Soccer, Futbol or Football, it is truly the worlds game.One World Futbol is on a a mission to bring the sport of Futbol to the world in a brand new way.

The One World Futbol is a nearly indestructible ball that never needs a pump and never goes flat—even when punctured multiple times. Whether for use on the street, at the beach, at home or on the roughest landscapes in the world, the One World Futbol will last for years.

Soccer has been my favorite sport to play for years, and the thought of having a ball that never wears out and never needs a pump seemed like a great idea to me….I purchased one of these unique balls as soon as I heard about them. True to it’s description it feels and plays much like a regular ball yet is virtually indestructible. When I take it to the park with me, people marvel as I show them its ability to be completely crushed, and then instantly re-inflate itself. (see it in action around the :25 sec mark of this video)

If you love soccer or if you simply want to support a wonderful cause, buy or help to donate one of these balls today!!




By Mark Asanovich

Like the game of football, strength training, in and of itself is simple to understand, maximal efforts will yield maximal results. Like football, strength training IS NOT SIMPLE TO DO! Like football, strength training is a coaching reality. Like football, players that are coached in the weight room will develop better results from what is inspected rather than what is expected. Therefore, whether on the football field or in the weight room, success begins with coaches who are committed to roll up their sleeves and individually supervise, teach, and expect proper execution of the fundamentals.

The cornerstone of our program has, and will always be to coach reps, rather than merely count reps. It is this commitment to coaching every player, every rep of every set that ensures sound, sensible, safe and systematic progress. Together, with the support of the head coach and his coaching staff, this commitment to individualized supervision in the weight room is the single most determining dynamic that facilitates maximal results both during the off-season and in-season.

In regards to the strength training protocols and/or equipment utilized, research clearly verifies that there is no one method/modality that is significantly more effective than another. That is not to say, however, that all methods are safe and/or efficient. Executing strength-training exercises ballistically under load is not only unproductive but also predispose lifters to orthopedic dangers. In addition, given the new CBA four hour/day off-season rules, brief, intense strength training protocols are a more efficient use of time in light of the increased demands of off-season film study/field sessions with coaches.

The primary consideration for the strength coach, therefore, is not WHAT equipment or protocol is used, but rather HOW it is used and HOW HARD it is used. Subsequently, it is important to offer both multi-set and single-set alternatives within the strength training routines. This provides the player the opportunity to take ownership in his choice of training equipment and appeases any psychological attachment that he may have to a specific workout preference. Regardless of the set –rep protocol, the criteria that must guide program administration should always be:

Is it prudent?

Is it productive?

Is it practical?

Is it purposeful?

The perception is that all NFL players‘ strength train. The reality is that most players‘ strength train incorrectly and/or at sub maximal levels of intensity. Consequently, the edge has not necessarily been WHAT to do – but HOW do it!

TAKU’s NOTE: This week features another excellent article from Mark Asanovich.

Rotator Cuff Rehabilitation

By The Viking


Rotator cuff injuries are very common among athletes and non-athletes.  The rotator cuff is a series of four muscles designed to hold the head of the humerus securely in the socket joint of the shoulder blade.  Those four muscles are commonly referred to by the acronym SITS (Supraspinatus, Infraspfinatus, Teres Minor, Subscapularis).  Most people only consider the rotator cuff after they’ve injured it.  The truth is, the rotator cuff should be trained regularly as you would any other muscle group, with strength exercises and recovery.  What better way to illustrate the importance of proper rotator cuff strengthening and rehabilitation than with a personal example.

Every year on Christmas Eve, I play a game of football with friends, some of whom I’ve known since grade school.  This annual game has been going on for 20 years and has taken place on the same day, at the same time, on the same field in the city ofMissoula,Montanawhere I grew up.  We play tackle football, usually in the snow.  Sometimes, though, the snow doesn’t fall.  Snow or no snow, we play anyway and, as you can imagine, the less snow on the ground, the more likely injuries are to occur.  Every year, it seems, one person in particular gets hurt.  The injuries are relatively minor, but occasionally we need to take a trip to the emergency room.  Personally, I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid injury all the years I’ve played, until Christmas of 2006, a year of no snow.  Indulge me for a moment as I go back in time a few months.

We had been playing for close to two hours and had just come back to the field from a short half-time break.  My team had possession and our quarterback had called a pass play.  My job was to make a quick 10 yard run, stop and, if I was open, look for the pass.  I was able to gain a few yards on my defender and sure enough, the ball hit me right in the numbers, so to speak.  Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have quite enough distance from my defender and as soon as I caught the pass and turned to run up field, I was hit from behind.  Not wanting to fumble the ball, I kept it locked tightly to my side with my left arm.  On my way towards the frozen ground, I had no option but to guard with the same arm that was holding the ball.  I hit the ground hard with my left arm in a slightly extended position, still grasping the ball.  I saved the fumble, but felt a numbness in my arm immediately on impact.  Not wanting to show any sign of weakness, I jumped up with a smile and went on playing the game.  In any other situation, I would have stopped playing immediately and tended to my shoulder.  In this case, I played for another half hour or so and tried my best to forget about what happened.  By the end of the game, I had almost no use of my left arm.  I couldn’t even close the door on my truck for the ride home and after the game I had to wash my hair with one arm.  We met up with most of they guys for a burger a couple of hours later and it was so painful, I couldn’t even hold a drink up to my mouth.  Obviously something was wrong, but without tests, I couldn’t be sure what.  I spent the next few weeks just resting.

Flash forward a month.  For the past 30 days, I’ve had to completely alter my training schedule.  Any movement that involved a pressing motion was completely off limits.  My shoulder was getting better on its own, but much slower than I expected.  I had a good friend and PT run some quick strength and ROM tests on it.  I passed, for the most part, but there was still considerable pain on the top of my shoulder and deep in the joint.  Clearly there was damage, but I couldn’t be sure to what extent without a more thorough checkup.

Welcome to the burdened world of the HMO.  You see, I needed an MRI. But I couldn’t get an MRI without a referral from an orthopedist and I couldn’t get an appointment with an orthopedist without first seeing my primary care physician.  So the calls began.  I scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician, then a follow-up appointment with an orthopedist.  I had X-rays taken and scheduled an MRI for the following Monday.

Fast forward another week.  I’ve had my MRI and I’m scheduled to meet with my orthopedist to interpret the results.  He calls me over to the light box where the images are posted and points out two “areas of interest.”  One was my AC joint.  The pain I was experiencing on the top of my shoulder was not from an AC separation, but instead from a deep bone contusion.  Instead of pulling the joint apart, I slammed the two bones together when I hit the ground, effectively bruising them both.  The other issue was the internal joint pain.  Turns out the pain was caused by tendinosis in my subscapularis muscle.

To clarify, I had no joint separation of any kind and no tears in any of my rotator cuff muscles.  In my mind, it was the best possible outcome, given the circumstances.  I attribute this outcome to the fact that I included rotator exercises as part of my fitness regimen.  Without the strengthening exercises I did on a regular basis, I’m quite sure the injury would have been much more severe, probably requiring surgery.  But I digress…

Now that I know what’s wrong with my shoulder, I need to go about fixing the problem.  Let the rehab begin.

Let’s start with the bone contusion, since that’s the easiest to deal with.  Rest, rest and more rest was the ticket.  Bone contusions simply take time to heal.  Yes, I worked on ROM exercises and took an occasional anti-inflammatory, but as far as speeding up the recovery, its virtually impossible to do.  Patience, in this case, is most certainly a virtue.

As for my subscapularis, since there was no tear anywhere in the rotator cuff, the necessary care consisted of rest (which I had been giving it plenty of), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil® (which I had also been doing plenty of) and progressive physical therapy, which I had been avoiding in lieu of the MRI results.  PT consisted of internal and external rotation exercises, shoulder rotations, horizontal flexion and extension and presses and pulls in a pain free range.  I’ll detail these exercises and their progression in detail in the second part of this article.

Almost immediately after I began the rehab exercises, I noticed an improvement in my shoulder.  My pain-free range of motion increased and within a week, I was able to press substantially more weight in every range, especially overhead.  Shoulder rehab, like any other type of “training” also needs to include rest.  My rehab included rest days where I would do absolutely no work at all, simply letting the joint heal.

Now, about 5 weeks after my official rehab began, I’m completely pain free in my ADL (activities of daily life) and my strength is about 90% of where it was pre-injury.

If there is one thing you should take from this, it’s that diagnosis of any injury is extremely important.  I’ve spoken with a number of other people who have injured their shoulder in a variety of ways.  Only about half of them have actually had their injury diagnosed, assuming that whatever is wrong will just heal on its own.  Instead of healing, though, they’ve been left with a joint that’s only partially effective and fractionally as strong as it was, leaving it much more prone to future injury.  Some of the individuals I’m referring to are now 10 years or more post-injury.  The chances of them ever getting back to a pre-injury level are extremely low, but there is always room for improvement.  The only way to find out how much you can recover from an injury to learn what you have to do, what equipment you’ll need, then DO IT!


Every Gym Needs One!

I have written several articles about the importance of training the neck. After attending the Legends of Strength clinic last month in Ohio, I feel even more strongly that everyone should be training the neck. It is clear that it is equally beneficial for athletes and regular folks.

Rather than re-write a bunch of stuff, I am only going to compile some links to other great neck training info, as well as links to some neck training machines. If you are lucky enough to have access to one, USE IT! If not, then I suggest you read the articles here, and then bug your gym until they get one. Click on the link below, and then click on the article of the same name.

Article: Neck Priority

Neck Machines: My top 4 favorite Picks

1. Pendulum 5-Way Neck

2. Med-X 4-way Neck

3. Nautilus 2ST 4-Way Neck

4. Nautilus X-Pload 4-Way Neck



“The Meeting of the Tribes”

Former NFL Strength Coach, Kim Wood, will be directing “the best football strength training clinic….EVER. The one they’ll talk about for years”.

Kim Wood was one of the first strength coaches in the National Football League. Hired by the legendary Paul Brown, Coach Wood conducted the strength training program for the Cincinnati Bengals for 28 years. Two of the teams played in the Super Bowl…competing for the NFL’s biggest prize. Kim had the opportunity to work with some of the game’s finest players. Now, he’s planning on paying forward… a strength clinic that will provide training information…real information….that coaches can truly use to improve their programs.

This first of several clinics/ seminars planned is titled:

Football Strength Clinic #1 “The Legends”

Kim Wood, who created the world reknowned Hammer Strength machines, has assembled a speakers list:

1. Dan Riley: 30 year NFL Strength Coach. Multiple Super Bowls. Washington Redskins.
2. Mike Gittleson: 30 years University of Michigan. Bo Schembechler’s first and only strength coach.
3. John Wood: combat grip strength guru.
4. Mark Asanovich 14 year NFL Strength Coach.

Along with the gentleman mentioned above, there will be many other first tier speakers!

Kim Wood says….years ago, the NSCA invited Dan Riley to speak at their national clinic in Kansas City. It was a big move for the NSCA because they were concerned about having a “high intensity” strength coach at their big clinic. Anyway, Dan gave an awesome, high energy slide show and presentation of the Penn State Strength Program. People were stunned. At the conclusion of his talk, Danny made an interesting statement. He said, “I’m here to talk about strength training. Let’s all get together tonight, roll up our sleeves and get to know each other…and talk about what we’re here for….Strength Training”. There was an ice storm roaring outside and everyone was stranded at the hotel. Space wasn’t provided there for all of the coaches….but 70-80 guys got together in an empty hallway and ‘talked training’ till after midnight. That’s where I became friends with Mike Gittleson. It was the best clinic that I’ve ever been to. The upcoming clinic in June 2011 at Cincinnati follows the spirit of what Dan Riley triggered in K.C.” ….Kim Wood


I will be attending this event and am really looking forward to having an opportunity to both learn from and to work closely with, these living legends in the S & C community. I will be reporting back soon to share all I have learned. For information on how you can attend this clinic…please contact: Kim Wood Mail: C/O Football Strength Clinic P.O. Box 20178 Cincinnati,Ohio 45220 Email:

Training the Neck (with video)

The question of training the neck came up on one of the forums recently so I decided to put up a little something here to address it. First let me say that I am a fan of neck training. I recommend it to all of my athletes. As a matter of fact I encourage all of my clients to do some form of neck training, unless of course they have some sort of pre-existing condition that would preclude them from doing so.

I highly recommend neck training to all combat athletes. Along with the obvious combat sports such as Boxing, Wrestling, and MMA, I also include other high contact sports such as Rugby, American or Australian rules football, Lacrosse, and Ice Hockey on my combat sports list.

If you are already doing some form of neck training and are happy with the results, keep up the good work. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to strengthen your neck, give the following routine a try.



Neck Routine: Begin with one set of Shrugs with enough weight to fatigue within 60 seconds. Do one set of 60 seconds pushing head into a small stability ball in all four directions. Finish with a final 60 second set of shrugs. Alternate methods not shown include but are not limited to, using a neck harness attached to cables or resistance bands, as well as manual resistance either solo or using a partner.

(An alternate method for neck extension is also shown in the video below). Using this method you would bridge, forcing the neck back into the stability ball with muscular force aided by gravity.

1. Shrugs: Barbell / Dumbbell / Cable

2. Neck Flexion

3. Neck Extension

4. Lateral Neck Flexion (right and left)

5. Shrugs: Barbell / Dumbbell / Cable