Volt: Primers and Finishers

Every once in a while, I like to dedicate a blog post to some of the cool new Volt features. I'm happy to announce that we have added two new pieces to our programming that are accessible by all Volt athletes and coaches. If you have a Volt profile, you may notice that there are some changes to the "MORE…" section of your main page. There are now two new drop-down menu items: Primers and Finishers. These new pieces provide another level of specificity to your training, and can help keep the training environment fun and challenging. You now have more tools at your disposal when it comes to warm-ups, injury prevention methods, and energy system training that can either be used individually or in group settings. Here is a quick rundown on what they are, how they work, and what kind of athlete should be using them.

Primers (Pre-Workout Routines)

Athletes should choose one Primer to perform before their Volt workout as a warm up.

Depending on body type, injury history, or position-specific needs, athletes have different needs in their warm-up and sport training. For example, athletes with poor squatting mechanics need to spend a bit more time mobilizing their hips, working on glute activation, and making sure they can hit appropriate depth before they get under a bar. Similar needs are present for athletes who may be recovering/have a history of ACL injuries or rotator cuff injuries and need a hyper-specific warm-up to accommodate their issues. That's where the Volt Primers come in. @@Primers do just as advertised—they PRIME the body for your sport-specific strength workout.@@ 

The Dynamic Warm-up Primer is the same dynamic warm-up that Volt Athletes and coaches should be well acquainted with by now. This can be used by anyone before any workout and we still recommend this warm-up in most situations.

The ACL Injury Prevention Primer and Rotator Cuff Injury Prevention Primer are a bit more advanced than the Dynamic Warm Up and focus on reducing asymmetrical muscle imbalances and help to train proper motor pathways to facilitate safer movement patterns. They include focus on knee and hip tracking, and mobilizing shoulder external rotation and scapular stability.

The Squat Mobility Primer focuses purely on getting athletes into better hip and spine position on squatting movements. The better they can squat, the better they can train, and the safer they can move!

The Plyometrics Primer gives athletes a select few plyo routines to help maximize muscle contraction speeds,  stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers, and improve overall jumping and explosive movement. 

Finishers (Post-Workout Routines)

If desired, Athletes can choose one Finisher to perform after their Volt workout.

Since the dawn of time, coaches have loved to put grinding finisher type workouts together for their athletes to suffer through. The concept is to develop mental toughness, build a culture of iron-clad will and sacrifice, and develop that "4th Quarter, never say die" attitude. While they are always guaranteed to be hard and challenging, often times they aren't designed in a way that develops energy systems effectively and can actually be a detriment to training. It's a tough problem to solve, but with the Volt Finishers, you can build mental toughness AND increase the overall performance of the athlete. These finishers are just the recipe a coach needs when looking to add some spark to the end of a training day. Train hard, but with purpose.

Core Finishers are multi-tiered which allows for more accommodation to athletes of varying skill and fitness levels while keeping everyone training as a unit (or individual if using Volt on your own). Core Finishers focus on the much needed development of mid-line stabilization and provides an excellent stimulus to strengthen the full musculature of the trunk. Don't get cocky with it, it's not for the faint of heart. By the time your athletes can handle Tier III they'll be putting Matthew McConaughey (circa 2002) to shame. The Core training is perfect for athletes in just about every sport.

Met Con Finishers are also multi-tiered and allow athletes to develop their high intensity output within a set time cap. This not only keeps it safe, but can make it very competitive for all athletes involved. You can choose finisher durations anywhere from 5 to 16 minutes of high paced, high rep, high intensity training to drive the fitness and will power of your athletes. Sports with high metabolic demands like soccer, wrestling, tennis, and hockey can utilize these finishers to drive fatigue resistance and promote increased power endurance.

The Grip Strength Finisher adds an extra piece for athletes looking to maximize the strength, endurance, bone crushing ability of their handshake. Fair warning: trying to open a jar of pickles the next day can be somewhat emasculating with the inevitable soreness. 

Go try a few Primers and Finishers and post your experiences in the comments.

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Jace Derwin, CSCS, RSCC, is one of the regular contributors to the Volt blog, and is the lead sport performance specialist at Volt Athletics. Jace manages Volt program design, content development, and educational resources for schools, clubs, and organizations. Jace is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®), and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University in Exercise Science. Follow Jace on Twitter @VoltCoachJace.