It’s often said that the National Football League (NFL) really has FOUR seasons. Draft, regular season, and the playoffs, along with the dreaded “off-season”. Nobody actually counts those pre-season games, right? Fans of the sport will tell you that the off-season, those months from March until August, are the longest and hardest of the year. We follow our teams with a passion, root for, or against, these collective groups of world-class athletes, and embrace their performances in both sweet victory and agonizing defeat. Then the off-season comes, and we get nothing, nada, Butkus.
Social media changed all of that, for better and worse. In years past, players usually went off the grid for 6 months, and you didn’t hear a peep from them until training camp arrived, at this point you hoped to catch a glimpse of them on the field. Today, you can see what they ate for breakfast or what they thought of the new Star Wars movie, thanks to things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat.
This has led to some very good, and very bad, outcomes for fans and athletes alike. We may learn that our hero on the field is at a less-than-rocket-science caliber off the field, mentally. We may find we share many things in common with that player after all. We may find them to be funny, inspiring, or just plain annoying. And we may be able to take a brief peak into the off-season training of these world-class athletes, perhaps gaining some wisdom as to just how they train year-round in order to maintain such incredible strength, speed, and flexibility while on the field.
Last week, FOX Sports released a quick Social Buzz piece showing Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker James Harrison working out, taken from Harrison’s personal Instagram account. He was bench pressing in an off-season training session from a small gym. Bench pressers, football players, and athletes from all field, who had ever stepped into the gym before, were in shock watching what appeared to be the bad bending and flailing as he easily repped out with 315 pounds. It’s almost as if the bar was made of putty!
The bar is known as the “Tsunami Bar” and its use has been taking over message boards and internet forums in the past week. Taking a closer look at it, we can see exactly why it might be a solid choice for supplementing your standard bench press. According to Tony Caterisano, PhD, FACSM, CSCS*D, “An athlete that is trained in the correct use of the flexible Tsunami Barbell® is able to maximize the impulse forces for only a short period of time at critical points in a lift by properly timing their concentric contractions against the acceleration of the oscillating flexible barbell. This stimulates strength development by recruiting maximal motor units similar to lifting a 1RM and enhances speed of muscle contraction once the bar changes direction, thereby allowing the athlete to minimize their Explosive Strength Deficit (ESD) and achieve optimum Power ( Explosive Strength = The Ability to Exert Force Quickly). These results are achievable with the Tsunami Barbell® using submaximal weights, moving weights at maximal speeds, stimulating stabilizer muscles and accelerating through the end of the lift. The coach can determine which joint angle corresponds to specific athletic movements and instruct the athlete in when to apply the opposing force to the downward flex of the bar.”
What does this mean for you, the athlete? Simply put, the Tsunami bar is able to generate almost TRIPLE the amount of force per ben press repetition, thanks to the addition of SPEED as a factor in your lift, as well as continual varied resistance. We all know that the best workout is the one you’re not currently using. It’s been well-established that by keeping the muscle group guessing – always –we can keep the growth perpetual. Use of the Tsunami bar will require stabilizer muscles you’re not using to recruiting, for a lot more “starting and stopping” and control of momentum, than you are likely used to seeing. Every repetition is an explosion of force and power, with you both generating it (with the help of the Tsunami bar) and controlling it, with your own grip on the bar as the weight moves through its arc.
Be sure to keep your body guessing in other ways as well. Mix up the protein sources you give your body. Macronutrients should never become predictable to your digestive system. Use the buffet-style to keep your amino profiles high, and always fresh. Try new supplements to continually give your body new and creative advantages for performance and recovery. Finally be sure to mix up the machines you are regularly using for cardiovascular exercise.
James Harrison is one of the most durable and lasting players in NFL history. He’s taken thousands of hits that most bodybuilders and strength enthusiasts will never encounter, and he still hopes right back up, often taking a ball back 99 yards for a TD in a Super Bowl! He’s built on world-class genetics, wise nutrition, and a whole lot of intelligent and creative work in the weight room. Put his ingenuity to work for you – see if your speed, power and explosiveness can benefit from the use of the Tsunami Bar!