Back to Back Issues Page
Finish First Insider, Issue #69
August 10, 2009
Welcome Back

Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

Train Movements, Not Isolated Muscles

By Coach J. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Take a minute to leaf through any of the popular fitness magazines on the news-stand at your local grocery store and you’ll find pictures of guys ‘jacked’ beyond belief and the so-called programs they follow to get that way. You’ll find isolation training articles for bigger biceps, a chiseled mid-section and even the chest of Hercules. The truth is that most of the programs in those articles are not designed for performance enhancement, but rather for the sport of bodybuilding. Furthermore, less than 1% of the population are specifically conditioned and genetically enhanced to benefit from such a workout.

For the purpose of sports performance enhancement, whether general or specific, the primary exercise(s) should involve several muscles or muscle groups and NOT be isolating any particular muscle.

How many sports can you name where only one muscle is worked in isolation?

I can’t think of any. All sports movements require muscle groups working synchronously to execute a specific sports skill or task. Such an exercise would be a back squat. Although a back squat may not be specific to a movement in your sport, it is one of the best exercises for improving core strength, hip strength, leg strength and total caloric expenditure. Muscle groups are working together (synergy) to execute the task of lowering the weight and standing back up. It is an exercise that specifically targets muscle groups that are used in running, jumping, skating, landing, and pushing-off. There are many variations of this movement and many different ways to incorporate it into a program, each of which would produce a different desired result such as strength, power, strength endurance, power endurance, and so on.

Multiple VS. Isolation for Performance Contrast the back squat with a leg extension or leg curl machine as a primary exercise and you will find that the back squat requires activity from the muscles involved in both of the latter two exercises while not using them in isolation. A leg extension and leg curl are focused on one group of muscles each and are less sports specific but rather more bodybuilding specific. As a result, these two exercises could be utilized later in a workout to assist with correcting imbalances and/or specifically addressing weaknesses. If the goal of the athlete is to gain size in a specific area of the body, then isolation exercises may be used. However, it is still recommended that an athlete performs a primary exercise that uses more muscle groups, then follows with other exercises to address specific needs. Exercises that use multiple muscle groups are more specific to sports and more beneficial for sports performance enhancement.

Burning Calories For athletes wishing to lose unwanted weight while gaining strength, it has been shown that training muscle groups together in a movement requires more calories (greater metabolic demand) than isolation exercises. Performing several exercises, that use multiple muscle groups each, in one workout will produce the greatest results specific to caloric expenditure (burning calories). (More about weight loss in future newsletters). It is helpful to think about it this way: the more muscles(groups) involved the greater the demand for energy (calories are a measure of energy) and the more calories burned.

Sample Workout Sequence A sample workout for sports performance, that utilizes the concept of training muscle groups together would look like this:

1. General/Specific Warm-up (Including Flexibility and Mobility Training)
2. Core Preparation
3. Specific Movement Preparation
4. Primary Exercise(s) using multiple muscle groups
5. Secondary Exercise(s) using multiple muscle groups
6. Corrective Exercise(s) or Pre-Habilitative Exercise(s) in isolation or multiple
7. Core Strength
8. Specific Metabolic Conditioning
9. Flexibility Training

The bottom line here is that, contrary to what many strength coaches may say, although exercises that train multiple muscle groups will give you more ‘bang for your buck,’ there still may be a need/benefit to adding isolation exercises to your routine. The isolation exercise(s) should be specific to correcting an imbalance, weaknesses or addressing a specific goal such as weight gain, etc.

To see if you are on the right track with your workout, please email at or call me at 412-787-5070.

Posture and Performance

By: Emily Novitsky, BS, CSCS, Master's Candidate, Finish First Sports Performance Assistant Strength Coach

The one subject that is rarely addressed with injuries or performance enhancement is proper posture. Literally your posture is the underlying backbone to your performance. It doesn’t matter if you are a distance runner, football player or even tennis player your posture affects how you perform. Before we discuss posture and performance we must define posture and what is proper posture. According to the Cleveland Clinic posture is defined as the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. Their definition for proper posture is it involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing.

Proper posture:
• Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
• Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
• Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
• Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
• Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
• Prevents strain or overuse problems.
• Prevents backache and muscular pain.
• Contributes to a good appearance.

Athletes are focused on performance technique; strength and conditioning, but often neglect the biomechanics of exercise that involves our body’s posture. Posture itself can play a critical role in improving athletic performance. Proper posture will prepare the athletes from unnecessary minor aches, pains and injuries. Correcting posture is a simple easy answer for avoiding injuries that could have been avoided in the future. When the body is in proper alignment or posture it is able to activate the correct muscles for the appropriate movement.

Once the body is in improper posture or alignment a strength imbalance will occur the body will have to do more work than necessary to perform.

Therefore the body will not be working in the optimal movement or pattern. For this reason that is why it is so important to be in proper posture will performing on and off the field. As athletes we strive to better ourselves with proper nutrition, flexibility, conditioning, and strength training. Why not add posture into the mix also. It could just be the difference between you winning the game or being defeated.

If anyone has additional questions or would like to be evaluated on their posture please contact Emily or Jeremy at or call 412-787-5070.

New Fall Hours of Operation

The hours of operation at the World Training Headquarters will be changing, effective August 17, 2009.

During the week of August 17th, the facility will open at Noon and close at 7pm, Monday - Friday, and from 9am - Noon on Saturday.

During the week of August 24th, the facility will open at 1pm and close at 7pm, Monday - Friday, and from 9am - Noon on Saturday.

The hours for the following week (beginning August 31st through the Fall/Winter) are to be determined and will be posted in next week's newsletter.

If you have any questions, please call 412-787-5070. We look forward to a great fall and winter sports season for the Finish First Sports Performance athletes who have been working hard all summer!


Due to the volume of athletes currently using the Finish First Sports Performance world training headquarters, all athletes are required to schedule all sessions prior to arrival. In the future, if an athlete shows up without first scheduling for a session, there is no guarantee that s/he will be able to use the facility at that time. If the facility is at capacity, the athlete will need to come back for his/her session at a later time. At Finish First Sports Performance, we are taking all measures necessary to prevent overcrowding and help ensure the safety of the athletes and the quality of the programs. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to continuing to serve you.

How to Schedule Workouts Using the Online System

Due to the volume of athletes currently using the training facility, and the expected returning college athletes over the summer, you will need to begin scheduling your workout sessions in advance. It is recommended that you do so online. The Finish First Sports Performance coaches will have access to the sessions calendar to see when you are scheduled. When you arrive to the facility, it is also important to use your fingerprint to check in to the system. Below, you will find the correct way to schedule online. It is also now possible to make payments online, and check your training history. Please call if you have any questions.

1. Go to

2. Scroll down the left and under “Additional Services” you will see MEMBER LOGIN—click on that

3. A new window should pop up and on that window click on ATHLETE

4. Unless you have logged into the system before, your login ID is: last name-first name, and your password is: last name. So for John Smith, his login ID would be smith-john, and his password would be smith. You will be prompted to change your password so that only you may know it—write it down and don’t forget it—if you do forget it, please let Jeremy know so he can reset it.

5. Once logged in, on main screen you will see a box/button on the right titled “REGISTER FOR CLASSES”—click on this.

6. You can register or change your scheduled time up to 24 hours before the session. Any changes that need to be made within 24 hours of the session need to be made by calling Jeremy at 412-787-5070.

The online system works best with Internet Explorer (most recent version).

Motivational Quotes

"The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials."
-- Chinese Proverb

"The best job goes to the person who can get it done without passing the buck or coming back with excuses"
-- Napoleon Hill

"All of us perform better and more willingly when we know why we're doing what we have been told or asked to do."
-- Zig Ziglar

"You don't drown by falling in water; you only drown if you stay there"
-- Zig Ziglar

Thank You for Your Support

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

For Finish First Insider backissues #1 - 29, click here

Back to Back Issues Page