We sat down with Lance Rhodes, the Director of STAQ Training at Godspeed Elite Sports Academy in Hoover, Alabama, and asked him about how he uses PUSH. Godspeed is a state-of-the-art 30,000 square foot facility that trains dozens of NFL and MLB athletes, thousands of high school and collegiate athletes, and has an entire adult population that is focused on developing their health and wellness.
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Tell Us a bit about your background
Yea, so it was pretty simple, probably like most strength coaches. I played athletics growing up, and being in Alabama where football is king, I stuck to football. I played at a prominent high school down here called Hoover High School; they used to have a show on MTV. We won the state championship there and I went on to play at Arizona State. I signed with them out of high school to play QB and Receiver.
I was a little bit of a mama’s boy so I transferred back home to UAB to play here locally. During that time I met a professor, Dr. Gary Hunter, who is an exercise science professor. Through that I got my exercise science degree while finishing out my eligibility playing at UAB. I had the chance to play at the Hawaii Bowl – the only bowl game that UAB has played in.
After my senior year I was finishing up my undergraduate degree and I started some strength training. It started with some local high schools, one of my buddy’s brothers, and some of the younger guys on the football team. I always gravitated towards extra training; I always wanted to know how I could change my body to make it a little bit faster. How can my body change to do something better? I’ve always been obsessed with that. In the beginning it was to increase my own performance, but then I started caring a little bit more about how I could help others.
I started a little business in my parent’s basement, and over the 10 years I’ve been doing this we’ve grown to have this beautiful facility.
how long have you been using PUSH?
About 2 years now. I love technology, I’m not a brilliant exercise science, super-detailed and cellular level analysis type of guy. I focus more on the big picture. I prefer looking at movement rather than the super-refined details, and I love the instant feedback that PUSH provides to both the athletes and coaches. We started out measuring jump heights with PUSH and it grew from there.
We were doing the standard vertical jump tests - I’ve always hated the set up required there. So PUSH instantly paid off and made the testing really easy for us. We then tested our athletes with PUSH on their days of evaluation - the jump testing, squat, bench and deadlift tests on those designated days. The data we collected from those went right into the PUSH Portal and I didn’t have to go enter it into some system that I had made.
As a facility owner, what’s the biggest Benefit you get from PUSH?
Yea, so it’s a couple of things. It’s easy to set up and use. I can let the athletes go and use it themselves if they want to, we love that. It’s not big and bulky, it’s easy to store. All of those are advantages for us.
But the biggest thing it provides is a rep by rep signature or metric that the athlete can see and notice. Not just with the tests, but with their exercises as well. They can instantly see their velocity and power output per rep to make sure that they are exerting the proper amount of energy. So I think that just provides an awesome instant feedback for the athlete and makes sure they are maximizing that training session.
By giving us some new metrics it allows the parents and athletes to really buy into what we do here. With the PUSH system you get to see a velocity or power increase, which gives you a more realistic number for rate of force development and things like that. It might not show that when they are getting their fingers on a piece of old school equipment. It gives us another selling point on our programs that helps athletes buy-in more and parents trust what we’re doing.
Have you noticed your athletes training any differently WITH PUSH?
Yes, definitely! A good example would be last summer. We had 100+ new athletes come in and do the jump test, depending on which day they were training. For them it gave them an instant motivation to start that session off with a bang. It brought them something to excite them about what they were doing each and every day.
So it kind of helps with the grind, the athletes know they are going to get this cool number instantly after they complete a test. So it creates this challenge and motivation to see who can get the highest or who could go the fastest. It helps with the buy-in to the program, and the buy-in as they saw those numbers climb as a result of the training program we have them on.
How do you use PUSH with your professional athletes compared to your younger clients?
So with the kids we use it to set generic baselines. We know that a younger girl coming in isn’t going to be blowing up the charts, and it allows us to show them why they need the fundamentals. When they see the improvements they buy-into the monotonous stuff that they need.
Whereas the pro athletes, we use it to identify specific weaknesses or strengths that we either want to correct, or adapt and increase. So for a pitcher, we want to see their drive and how forceful they can be off the ground. We’ll use the depth jump and look to see if that index number is going up to reflect how they would be coming off their front leg in a pitch. Same thing with a football receiver, it allows us to highlight those specific strengths or weaknesses and lets us work from there.
The athletes love to use this cool new piece of tech, some are used to using it with their teams even. It allows us to provide them with access to innovative products which is awesome, they love that they’re getting involved in the latest tech.
What separates PUSH from other weight room technologies?
We’ve played around with all the other stuff and we like that PUSH has its own app that’s on our phones and is easy to use and easy to follow. I think the biggest thing is that your account managers have been great at working with us. PUSH has been good at adapting the product and making it better. We’re always working to make our facility better, so it’s nice to walk alongside, and partner with, a company who is doing the same things. It’s nice to feel that you guys at PUSH are listening to us as a customer; we feel like we’re being heard and our needs are being accommodated.
We want to thank Lance for taking the time to sit down with us! If you have any other questions for Lance you can reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the PUSH Band visit our product page by clicking here.