Five Steps To Increase Your Athletic Performance

Today we feature a guest blog by intern, Noah Tranten. Noah is going to be a senior at University of New England. He has been an intern at STS since January, and has nothing but a huge benefit to the staff, as well as the members of STS. Check out his blog post on five way to increase your athletic performance. 


  1. Olympic lifts: 
  • What’s cooler than having an upper back so yoked that the kid sitting behind you in class politely asks you to retract your batwings so he can see the steps of glycolysis on the board? Well, in my opinion; not much. But thats beside the point. Your three olympic lifts: Clean, Snatch and Jerk are pivotal for anyone looking to increase not only lean body mass (LBM) but also neuromuscular facilitation, explosiveness, and power. The term that’s used when discussing the Olympic lifts would be triple extension. This triple extension has a very high carry over in sports and life in general. Incorporating big multi-joint Olympic lifts in your program could produce the following:


1- Ground based (triple extension) creating force while driving against the ground.

2- Time efficient (mult. muscle groups in one session)

3- Overall body development in regards to: kinesthetic awareness, Muscle fiber diameter, neural adaptations, increased intramuscular coordination, (recruitment, frequency coding, and synchronization.)

From personal experience I can tell you that if your in a rut with training, plateauing, or just want to become bigger and more explosive than olympic lifts should be a staple in your program. Its hard to preach this to the younger generations because if its not an isolated movement, or giving them a “pump” than how could it possibly be making them bigger?! Your body adapts to external and internal stressors accordingly, I’m sure we’ve all heard the story of the farm boy that picked up his calf everyday, and one day he could lift a cow. His body adapted to the stimulus and said “geesh, I better get stronger so I can deal with picking up my soon to be filet mignon and ribeye”.

Your basic set up is the following:

•Lift Related –Snatch or Clean

•Overhead –Snatch or Jerk

•Squat Related

•Pull Related

2. EAT more food then you’re eating now. 

  • OK, I know what you’re going to say. What if the athlete is a wrestler trying to cut weight, or a gymnast or swimmer blah blah blah. Their athletes!! Most athletes I know have their days filled with class, practice and S&C sessions. It would be my educated guess to make the assumption that for an average athlete at STS or any athlete be it high school, college, or elite is going to need to have a higher caloric intake than their counterparts. Now, I don’t mean call your buddies up and have an all you can eat smorgishboard of ihop pancakes, greasy steak bombs from down the street, and whatever else you may crave thats processed or filled with shit. Eat good, unprocessed foods. These will not only provide you with energy for your training sessions and the day in general, it was also make your body remain in an ANABOLIC state, not catabolic: Thus eliciting a greater training carryover than waiting hours after your done with a session to finally mash some food. A few tricks I use that seem to work well are the following:


– I always have a big thing of nuts in my truck (almonds, pecans, cashews) or other food that will keep. I find if I’m on the run all day or constantly being pulled to places a few handful of nuts is a good pick me up, and a healthy fat!

  • Drink a shake immediately following your workout. I try to get a 2-1 ratio of protein to carbs in my shake immediately following my floor humping session, oops I mean foam rolling. Based on my bodyweight thats roughly 90 grams of carbs and 45 grams of protein.
  • Pick a day and prep for the week. I was reading a Dan John article the other day that showed this importance. I chose sunday, go to the grocery store buy a copious amount of meat, fish, rice, sweet potatoes, veggies, and eggs and just cook my meals for the week.

3. do more soft tissue and injury prevention work

  • This is something I am a firm believer in. At the tender age of 21 years old and already having had an inferior capsular shift (my shoulder blew completely out) my outlook on injury prevention and proper warm up has changed drastically. There is nothing, and I MEAN NOTHING I hate more than the kids who walk into the gym, grab a 5 or 10 pound plate, swing it around in a few arm circles, and go right into max effort bench work. Now I understand some people just don’t have the knowledge base to understand what a proper warm up may be (lots). But as a fellow meathead and if you’re reading this I would also assume you have some drive to increase your knowledge base on lifting, read an article or two. Before every lift myself and our athletes perform a dynamic warmup. my average warm up looks like this before an upper body day:
  • Foam Roll (mid back, lats, pecs, TLF)
  • T-Spine mobilization (on roller and kneeling)
  • Tennis ball soft tissue (ant / med / post. deltoid, infraspinatus, teres minor, pec minor and major, lat insertion, triceps (around my elbow)
  • Scap retractions
  • 1/2 band work (a few of my clients make fun of me for loving the 1/2 bands), pull aparts, goodmornings, rows, push ups.
  • on average this takes me roughly 15 minutes to do. 


Just warm up. I know you just drank the new potent pre-workout elixir with a bountiful amount of caffeine and other stimulants that once consumed makes you feel like an uncaged lion, and all the weight around you looks like delicious pieces of tenderloin just awaiting your onslaught of sheer destruction and terror. BUT, even lions warm up. So just do it, and thank me later.

4. Opinions are like assholes, everyones got one. 

– One of the most important and overlooked aspects of reaching your true potential in my opinion is mastering your mind. Throughout life you are always going to have doubters, naysayers, and people looking to bring you down and tell you you cannot do something, hell that person might even be yourself. Mastering your mind is a trending topic as of late and for good reason. one of my favorite quotes is “whatever the mind can believe, it can achieve”. That couldn’t be more true; whether your a freshman looking to put in a lot of work preseason to make varsity squad, or seasoned member looking to make the big step into college or professional level, regardless of your goal, the way you get there is the same. You do it. You don’t think about it, or worry about what will happen if you fail. I’ll tell you what happens, you get right back up and say, “thank you may I have another”. Next time you’re grinding out a set of squats and your mind is telling you to quit, I want you to really think, “can I do more” then…. Remove the sand from your downstairs and do five more deep squats till your eyes turn red. Ok, maybe not every set but you get the point. I’m a big fan of mental mastery. Be content with yourself, your goals, and your life direction. Your lifts will get better, you’ll gain confidence and start to blaze your own trail to becoming a massive gym weapon yourself. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Henry Rollins, the epitomization of badassness. “Don’t do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts.”

5. Put yourself in challenging situations

– train with people bigger and better than you. Why do this? I recently started training at DynaMaxx a powerlifting facility in Westbrook under the guise of my Kinesiology professor who just squatted 935 his last meet, along with several other fellow meats and what I learned was the most valuable lesson of all time. How to sit down on a toilet the day after heavy triples… Just kidding, what I really did learn is that if you surround yourself with people that are better than you, you get a heightened sense of worth, you push yourself, you do things you wouldn’t normally do had you been in there alone or with your buddy who just wants to chat and crush biceps the whole time. In life, we are all going to be put into situations that make us uncomfortable or is challenging to us, but JUST DO IT. What’s the worst that could happen?


-Noah Tranten


Spurling Training Systems

Kennebunk, Maine

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About Spurling Training Systems

At Spurling Training Systems, our focus is on providing a superior athletic conditioning experience. The combination of expert training, time spent understanding your specific goals and customized program development is what makes Spurling Training Systems a unique and effective training experience for athletes of all ages, levels and abilities. Doug is the founder and owner of Spurling Training Systems. He graduated from University of New England with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Exercise Science. He has several years of experience as both a personal trainer for general fitness and a strength and conditioning coach for athletes. His certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) include Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer (CPT).
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