Is your training program helping or hurting your athletic career?

As a former athlete who participated on the high school and collegiate levels, who has trained for a living for 10 years I’ve learned to evaluate a training regimen differently. When I was a freshman football player weighing 135 lbs. at 5’11” and a bench press that maxed out at a whopping 95 lbs. my focus was to be bigger and stronger as fast as possible. Like most high school programs my strength and conditioning coach was a teacher who ran the weight room for additional pay. Not saying I walked away learning nothing, but not a lot of scientific knowledge was gained from someone whose background in the weight room stemmed from 1970’s philosophies and college major was in education.

An example of what I’m talking about is how I was taught to squat. Having long thin legs and not being that strong as a freshman football player, I looked for any edge I could get. So I asked my coach to compensate for my shortcomings if it was okay if I widened my stance and pointed my toes out. His answer was ‘sure as long as long as you keep your back straight’. What seemed like a good short term solution had huge rammifications later in my ahtletic career. That stance lead to a steady battle with hip flexor issues and weakness in my hip complex. The trickle down effect of those problems were issues with my knees later in my athletic career.

Another drawback in a lot of the athletic training programs is the focus on strictly power training. Most sports measure of strength is a one rep max for bench, squat, deadlift, and/or hang clean. These lifts are okay but there are multiple forms of strength not just one. Below is a summary of different forms of strength and how they are used in sports and activities.

First there is speed strength, as the term implies, is strength displayed with speed. Most examples of speed strength are found in sports, such as the ability to jump quick, swinging a bat or club, throwing objects, and punching. Absolute strength is defined as the maximal amount of weight an individual can lift at one time. In sports power lifting comes closest to displaying absolute strength. Limit strength which few of us will ever experience, is the amount of weight that an individual can overcome when inhibitions are removed. The classic example of this is a parent moving a car off their trapped child through adrenaline. Relative strength applies to lifting your maximum weight in relation to your body weight. It is a useful method for comparing strength among individuals. The best example is how many pull ups an individual can do relative to their body weight. Strength endurance refers to the number of reps that can be executed with a sub-maximal weight. In other words, exhibiting the same amount of strength for a certain number of reps, usually measured after reaching 20 or more reps. Starting strength is the amount of force that can be generated when first starting an explosive movement, like a sprinter getting out of the starting block. Explosive strength is the ability to maintain an initial, quick explosive contraction of muscle. It can be generated using little or no resistance, moderate, or maximum resistance. Dynamic isometric strength is simply the strength required to perform the transition from negative (eccentric) to a positive (concentric) contraction. General strength applies to an overall fitness conditioning to develop all major muscles and joints. Special strength is specific to executing specific sports skills. The special strength exercise must duplicate the same technique, the exact range of motion, and the same type of muscular contractions as seen in the sports skill. Functional strength is most often used to enhance a person’s sports performance. Now follow me on this one, special strength exercises  are considered functional, but functional exercises do not necessarily meet the criteria to be special. For example if you are a runner who performs squats and runs, when you try to switch to something like cycling you may experience soreness because even though both involve the legs you are using different muscles. All of these forms of strength tie in together in one form or another. That is why to maximize your abilities you should train in various manners to be proficient in all forms of strength.

I learned this the hard way when I got to college and put on twenty pounds of muscle and lost athleticism due to a lack of knowledge in how to build balanced strength. At Emerge our ATP (Athletic Training and Performance) program focuses on a balanced regimen that stresses injury prevention and long term performance improvements, not quick fix solutions. I will end by aking is your training program helping or hurting your athletic career? 

Jason Tokun, Certified Fitness Professional

Emerge's 1st Annual Turkey Trot



Invite your friends and family to join us Saturday, November 20th for Emerge’s 1st Annual Turkey Trot!  The 3k (1.8 mi run) will be at 10am at Frontier Park in St. Charles. 

There is no fee, however, we ask each participant (one per family)  to bring a frozen turkey that we will be donating to O.A.S.I.S., a food pantry in St. Charles. 

This is a great opportunity if you are working towards your first 5k race.  It’s also gives you a head start on your calorie burning before you eat your weight in yummy Thanksgiving food! 

Sign up sheets are at the front desk at Emerge or you can call the gym at 636-922-7559 to register.

What a great way to give to a great cause AND get in a quick workout!

Sara Heideman training for GO! St. Louis half marathon. Blog and Video diary!

sara h

                                             Click on picture to view video.

Sara Heideman starts training early for the “Go St. Louis” half marathon on April 4, 2011. Sara understands that in addition to her running workouts and long runs she needs to strength/core train in order to run her most efficient/fastest half marathon. This week Sara does an easy 4 miler on Monday, a 25 minute tempo on Wednesday, a 2 mile pace run on Thursday and 6 miles at race pace on Saturday. Tuesdays and Fridays are her days at Emerge to focus on strength & core. Check out Sara’s workout today. Exercises focus on balance, joint stability, and strength.

Beth Pirtle

Emerge Fitness Training

Boot Camp 101


  In recent years, the term “Boot Camp” has been thrown around as much at the word “Facebook.”Everywhere you look, fitness facilities are promoting “boot camps”. That’s great, but what exactly is it? 
     I have two “boot camps” a week, Monday & Wednesday nights at 6:30.  My classes have a 10-12 station, circuit training style setting. 
    No, I do not wear camouflage.  No, I do not have a whistle. And a bigger no, I do not rant and throw a temper tantrum like Jillian on Biggest Loser.  (I don’t need to yell to get my point across).
     My objective for my boot camps is to give you a cardiovascular workout that involves light weight endurance training.  They are not to be your only workout for the week. They are to be used to supplement your other strength training workouts and get you away from the boring treadmill.
     I love having “newbies” at boot camp.  It’s always fun adding more people to the mix.  Some of the exercises are simple, some are more complex.  If you have never worked out with a trainer, and you want to try a boot camp, I strongly suggest that you get a few sessions of one on one training, so that you learn proper form and technique.  It’s very

hard to give sole attention in a class of 10-12 people. You will also get more out of the class if you can perform the exercises with proper form.
     I do have males and females of all ages and fitness levels in my classes.  A camaraderie is formed between clients and in turn, those other clients help keep oneself accountable.
     If you’re considering taking a class, I urge you to give it a try! Check out the class schedule in our News and Events Blog section or at the front desk at Emerge.

Kimberly Renoud, Emerge Fitness

Athlete Spotlight: Michael Schneider

Michael Schneider

Height: 6’3

Weight: 174

High School: St. Dominic (Sophomore)

Sport: Basketball

Training schedule pre season: -1 power and movement specific day at Emerge, 2 days lifting for hypertrophy (muscle size) at the gym.

Michael Schneider has been an Emerge client for 2 years now, and in that time has put on almost 30 pounds of muscle.  He is a natural athlete who has become quicker and more powerful through a program design emphasizing core stability, vertical power, and quick change of direction movements on several planes of motion (simultaneously).

Emerge trains athletes at all levels (even pros). Come see us to discuss your athletic performance goals.

Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Emerge Fitness Training

Sign up for FREE CLASSES on October 30th!

The grand opening of Emerge’s new facility is fast approaching.

On October 30th, along with fitness related vendors, Z-107.7, RAMS athletes and more, Emerge will be leading a series of FREE CLASSES.

The classes offered are 30 minutes, and span a diverse array of fitness interest.

Nick Dudas will be leading a Boxing class from 11-11:30

Beginners Boot Camp will be lead by Jody from 11:40- 12:10

Russian KettleBell class will be lead by Jen Estes from 12:20- 12:50

Core Conditioning class will be lead by Matt Pirtle from 1- 1:30

In addition to these class offerings, the first annual Emerge Functional Fitness Competition will be held from 1-2.  The competition consists of 5 functional movement exercises performed for time.

Sign up now by calling 636-922-7559,emailing,  posting a comment on this blog, or signing up in person at the facility.  Spaces are limited so register soon.

See you at Emerge,

Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Emerge Fitness Training