This week marks the start of a new four-week cycle of workout programming in our Strength and Conditioning Workouts. Our new Featured Coach is Liam “Taku” Bauer. “Truth, Not Trend” is the slogan for Hybrid Fitness and Taku takes a thoughtful and scientific approach to the way he trains his clientele.
Like many good coaches, Taku was first an athlete himself. He was active from an early age in both skateboarding and soccer. He continued playing soccer after college until an injury sidelined his budding professional career.
“Unfortunately, trouble with knee injuries prematurely ended my run at the pros,” said Taku. “With my professional soccer career basically over, I needed to think about a job. I was already doing the ‘gym thing’ and figured I would stick with it until something better came along. 20 plus years later, I am still here.”
Over the years Taku’s desire for knowledge led him to accrue quite a number of certifications from the leading organizations in the fitness industry. He developed his current coaching philosophy, however, based on experimentation with both himself and his clients. As he explained:
Over the years I used myself and to a lesser extent my clients as a laboratory and tried all the varied methods I encountered both diligently and systematically. In this way I was able to make choices based on what I felt worked or didn’t, allowing me to absorb that which was useful and discard that which was not.
The system I utilize is focused on the needs, goals, abilities, limitations and preferences of the individual. The objective is that exercise not be prescribed randomly or arbitrarily, but objectively and specifically (with the client in mind), and within a carefully regulated environment. All this is monitored carefully by way of regular assessments (comparison of progress relative to goals and client constraints) conducted within a case study that involves a systematic approach to data collection and reporting.
In addition Taku has a strong opinion about the amount of time spent in a gym, feeling there is no need to spend long hours in the gym performing ineffective workouts and exercises. Said Taku, “I believe one should perform the least amount of work to produce an optimum response relative to the individual’s needs, goals, abilities, limitations and preferences, and while safe training practices are applied accordingly.”
In order to create his custom workouts for his athletes, Taku has a list of eight components he works his way through, deciding which to apply and to what degree. He follows the same model for all his clients, but fine-tunes it to the specific sport and individual based on the SAID principal (Specific Adaption to Imposed Demand). The SAID principal states the body will adapt directly to the activities it is performing. Meaning if you train to run fast or lift heavy, you will get better at running fast or lifting heavy. SAID is the opposite of training with the assumption of your work transferring to different exercises or skills.
Taku’s Eight Components:
1. Mental Images / Goals and Objectives (Psychological Strategies)
2. Tests and Evaluation
3. Nutrition and Recovery (Body composition)
4. Energy System Development (Anaerobic/Aerobic Conditioning)
5. Functional Strength / Power Development (Muscular Fitness)
6. Flexibility (Static / Dynamic)
7. Exercise Variety
8. Sports Specific Training Modalities (Skill Development)
In addition, Taku tries to keep it all uncomplicated and straight forward:
Like most good coaches, I carry a theoretical toolbox with me at all times. For my athletes, I use what I feel is the best tool for the job at hand. For myself, I follow Albert Einstein’s advice and strive to “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
Writing the programming is only one component to training athletes. Once the workouts are written, it is time to take them on the gym floor and put the clients through the work. What is Taku’s advice for coaches, once they are out there training?
There is both an art, and a science to effective coaching. Coaching is about connecting with the athletes you are working with. A good coach can recognize not only the subtle technical issues the athlete is dealing with, but will have the ability to adapt and adjust his/her style to meet the needs of the individual in the moment. A good coach should allow the athlete to manifest and express their own unique abilities rather then force them into some predetermined technical box. Finally a good coach needs to remember it is not about showing the athlete what you can do but helping them realize the upper limits of what they can do.
Taku’s Favorite Exercise:
If I had to pick just one I would choose the “Clean Deadlift and Shrug.” This is an awesome exercise and provides maximum bang for your buck.
The human drama of athletic competition always inspires me, as they test their limits, and push back the boundaries of what is possible. I am also inspired by strength of character, by those few people who are unafraid to challenge the status quo and will stand up for what they believe in against any and all odds.
Taku’s Advice to Athletes:
- First, do what you love and love what you do. Strive to find coaches who are not just technically knowledgeable or proficient, but who are able to inspire and motivate you, as well.
- Be open to what the universe has in store for you. By this I mean your body is unique and will come prepackaged with its own strengths and abilities. If you embrace these and work to enhance them as much as possible you will discover what athletic endeavors you are best suited for.
- Seek out competition with others if you truly enjoy it, but remember the ultimate competition is with yourself. Never judge or compare yourself to the performance of others, but rather to your own journey.
To try Taku's workouts, visit our Strength & Conditioning Workout of the Day. This particular cycle of programming was designed by Taku for athletes involved in "open field" sports, such as soccer, rugby, and lacrosse. That being said, if this plan is followed diligently it is sure to offer excellent results for any takers.