2016 Annual Strength and Conditioning Report

The final results from 2016 have been compiled and the report has been written and we are looking at some pretty impressive numbers. For the uninitiated, every six weeks our athletes are subjected to a rigorous testing battery. We do this in order to predict future performance, indicate weaknesses, measure improvement, assess the success of the training program and motivate our athletes. In addition to this, we find that testing breaks up and adds a bit of variety to the training program. To read more about our testing battery click here.

Without further adieu, here are the results.


Rather than go through the whole year, we have broken our injury rate up from all the clinics we have done throughout the year. We did this because it is very hard to get the reasons for participation or failure of participation of the average Joe throughout the year as there are a variety of reasons why clients pop in and out of their training. We’ve used the stats from our clinics because during our clinics we have better participation and commitment making it easier to get some statistical significance. At the same time during these clinics, our clients are training at higher intensities, frequencies and durations thus transferring in to higher risk.

German Volume = 41 participants = 6 modifications = 3 injuries = 3 weeks lost time due to injury = 2 out of our control.

ADP = 38 participants = 9 modifications = 5 injuries causing lost time 7 weeks’ total = 1 out of our control

Run Forrest Run = 17 participants = 4 modifications = 4 injury causing lost time (4 week) = 0

Advanced lifting = 14 participants = 6 modifications = 2 injuries causing lost time 2 weeks’ total (1 week each) = 0

Overreaching = 38 participants = 11 modifications = 0 injuries causing lost time = 0

All-in-all we had 4 clinics at 6 weeks each and 1 clinic for 10 days = 178 days = 148 participants = 112 days of time out.

14/148 = 9% injury rate. We class injuries that required time off training. This is an unbelievable result when you consider that the people we train are general population who slug it out at work for 8-12 hours a day and have a variety of other focuses and yet still turn up and train. An acceptable injury rate for a facility this size is 10-15%. So, we are wrapped that our injury rate is this. We understand other coaches may have other parameters to which they determine injury rates, but as explained earlier this statistic is always a tricky one. Also, because we haven’t incorporated the everyday gym involvement in this statistic it may skew our results. But we feel this is a sound way of looking at our effectiveness as a facility because our clinics are usually the highest in risk to our clients as they ask more of them in difficulty, participation and intensity.

On the negative side of this, is the fact that collectively our clients lost 112 days due to injury. Of course, in a perfect world we would have no days off but it isn’t and this is a reality. Hopefully we can get this down this year through the lessons we have learnt last year.

Upper Body Strength

As a coach this is the most important value to see if we were successful as a facility. Strength underpins every other attribute so it is essential we see improvements in our clients over the year. To measure upper body strength we use two staples: the horizontal push (Bench press) and the vertical pull (Chin up/Pull Up).

Our bench press values for the group this year had a positive percentage change by 10.17% over 43 subjects.

Strength increases usually take time as it is CNS dominated and like anything to do with the CNS it takes a bit longer due to nerve tissue adaptation which is always slower so a sustained approach is essential. The graph above represents this perfectly. The trend shows a steady and measured increase throughout the year, which is a great result both for our clients and as coaches. Seeing this graph highlights the importance of effective programming. Why? Well because there aren’t too many peaks and troughs with this attribute, for strength you don’t want to see to many troughs. If our clients dip in strength consistently over the year, the risk of injury escalates and then it increases time away from training which isn’t great for anyone. But as our injury stats will reflect, we have had consistent improvement with minimal troughs and dips in strength allowing a consistent training from all our participants over the year. Which then plays in to why our skinfolds have come down and power has gone up. Strength is the foundation of consistency.

Our vertical pull test (chin up or pull up) was also an impressive increase. Graphed above is the weighted overhand pull up only, as it was the best way to show improvements statistically. That being said, the improvements would have been a lot higher as so many of our clients went from regressions of the pull up (underhand chin up with body weight and static holds) to full reps of a pull up.

For the weighted pull up group we had a 22.67% positive percentage change. Our best increase out of any other parameter.

Lower Body Strength

The 1RM Squat is the way we determine our lower body strength. Just like our upper body strength values our lower body followed the same trend. A steady gradual increase throughout the year with minimal troughs. We had a 13% percentage change increase from our February testing to our December testing. Needless to say, we are absolutely tickled about this result.

Strength – Speed

In 2016 we added strength – speed to our testing battery. This involved a 1RM Olympic lift called the clean. We added this because as a facility, our group of clients were getting more and more competent in these difficult lifts. So, because we were confident with their ability, we added this test in as it gives another parameter to see improvement and also it means we are covering every aspect of the force – velocity relationship.

We had 29 participants for this particular test to which we had an improvement of 5%. This is a great result, especially when you include the complexity of the lifts. Most of the limitations of this comes down to technique and not strength. Watch this space next year as the participants hone in their technique I expect even bigger increases in the performance here. Test 7 is our peak, which directly reflects the results from our advanced lifting program, which was a Olympic lifting specific program. Awesome result.

Body Fat

Above is the mean values of our sum of 7 skinfold test (pinch test) from February 2016 to December 2016. As a group we saw an average drop from 109mm (mean value) to 97.65mm (mean value). This is a percentage change of around 11%. These values come from a group of 53 clients (n=53) with each one having at least 4 out of 6 skinfolds tests throughout the testing period.

With everything that goes on through the year this is a phenomenal result considering there were no diet and weight loss challenges but rather clinics to improve our performances over many attributes instead of focusing one genre of health and fitness.

If you put this in perspective; with all the trials and tribulations that we go through in a year, be it loss of motivation or periods of inspiration, such a consistent drop further illustrates our mantra here at Hammer. That consistency is key! These guys trained hard and smart all year around, which allowed the odd slip up here and there and still achieved a better version of themselves at the end of the year.

Upper Body Power

For two years at Hammer we have measured upper body power by performing a kneeling med ball chest throw with a 4kg med ball. This year we saw an increase in distance thrown from 6.66m (mean value) to 7.05m (mean value). That is a positive percentage change of 5.85%.

This is not only a good reflection of how well clients have performed, but some great feedback to us as coaches to show the effectiveness of our programs. As the graph illustrates, we saw two peaks throughout the year. These two peaks reflect our two clinics where power and rate of force development were the focus of the program (test 4 being ADP and test 7 being our Advanced lifting/Power programs. It’s good to see our periodisation is transcending in to our clients effectively .

Lower Body Power

For our lower body power test, we performed a vertical jump on a vertec. For the year, we had a positive percentage change of 7.74% across our mean values. Our starting jumps average was 44.20 cm and in December they averaged 46.29. They peaked at an average of 48 cm at test 4 (ADP). So just like our upper body test we had a steady increase in power throughout the year with two peaks, one was test 4 which is our best result for the year. This makes sense as our Athlete development program is our most explosive clinic of the year and requires a focus on power output. Hence the peak for test 4. Test 7 is where our clients took on either our Olympic lifting program or our Power based program. So, our periodisation followed our expectations whilst maintaining a steady increase throughout the year.

Clinic Results

German Volume Clinic (53 participants)

Skinfolds (fat loss) = 109.6mm to 101.93mm: %change drop in mm of fat by 7%

Med Ball Toss (upper body power) = 6.6m to 6.76m %change = 2% increase in performance

Vertical Jump (lower body power) = 44.29cm to 45.97cm %change = 4% increase in performance

Bench Press 1 repetition maximum = 76.7kg to 77.4kg %change = 1% increase in performance

Squat 1 repetition maximum = 103.3kg to 103.29kg %change = 0% – no change

Athletic Development Program (ADP)

Skinfolds = 105.19mm to 101.16mm %change = 4% drop in mm of body fat

Med Ball (upper body power) = 6.60m to 7.27m %change = 9% increase in performance

Vertical Jump (lower body power) = 44.74 cm to 48.04cm %change = 8% increase in  performance

Bench Press = 74.4kg to 79.4kg %change = 3% increase in performance

Squat = 101.31kg to 105.21kg %change of 2%

Run Forrest Run

Skinfolds = 94.70mm to 97.65mm = an increase in skinfolds percentage change by 3%. Not a good result here but this is right in the middle of silly season and a slight increase is always seen here. So a maintenance of all parameters is the desired result in this last phase of the year.

Med Ball (upper body power) = 7.69m to 7.05m a decrease in performance by a percentage of 7.6%

Vertical Jump = 46.22cm to 46.20cm  = no change in performance

Bench Press = 78.7kg to 84.5kg  = increase in performance by a percentage change of 7.4%

Squat = 105.36kg to 116.27kg  = increase in performance by a percentage change of 10.5%

5km Time Trial = Average time of our participants was 31.57mins for their first time-trial. In the second time-trail the average time of our participants was 30.48mins an increase in performance of 3%.

For their Max Aerobic Test (1200m run test) the participants average 344.6 sec for their first one and the second test they average 326.11 sec. An increase in performance by 5%.

Advanced Lifting

In this clinic, we had 13 trained and competent participants who had performed and/or been taught Olympic lifts before the clinic, the Clean and Jerk and Snatch.

The goal of this phase was to further enhance the technique and strength of the participants in these specific lifts. So, when looking at results I didn’t have too much of a focus on the usual testing parameters like Bench, Chins etc., what I really wanted to see was there Clean 1 RMs to go up. We didn’t test 1RM snatch as we aren’t that skilled and confident in this lift yet to have accurate reflections to the client’s strength, but if tested it would show more of an indication of inadequacies in technique.

However, during the program our guys did get quite competent in this lift and did throw a bit over their head. But we must wait until this clinic happens again in August to see if we do some Snatch testing. We used the 1RM clean as it is an easier lift to get out of and less daunting to perform.

Our guys improved significantly in their clean 1RM strength after this clinic. Like I said the participants in this clinic were already doing substantial O-lifting in their programing but for this phase it was the primary focus. They weren’t untrained individuals which makes these results quite impressive to read.

They increased their Clean strength from 62.69kg to 68.62kg.

That’s a 9.45% increase in performance in a 6-week turnaround. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.