Ask the Strength & Conditioning Coach

Ask Graig White - Page 4

Ask Graig White's

Do you have a fitness or conditioning question for Graig White? Please click here to submit your question.


I just had a question, I've been training on a 2 day complete body workout. One day I work my whole upper body (arms, back, chest, shoulders) and the next day I work my abs and legs. I train like this because I get to train more through a week instead of the usual 3 day rotation. I figured I allow the muscle to rest the proper 48 hours between work outs. Do you think this is improper or is there a problem with it? What other way could or should I train, and how many exercises for each body part? Thanks.   (John from Cherry Hill, NJ)


The way you are training is ok. I don't know how many exercises you are currently doing for each body part, but the way you split the body is ok. Remember on the days you aren't lifting you would be best suited to be involved in some type of running. I would prefer to see you do sprints. Jogging on the court will only get you taken out of the game. Sprinting creates the type of athlete that can and more often than not dominate games.


I play a lot of basketball (4 times a week) but still can't seem to drop any weight. I am 6'1" and weigh 220 lbs. I would like to drop 10-20 lbs. I want to lift some weights which I've heard will help burn the fat but I am worried about messing up my shot. Can you suggest a workout that I can do to tone without destroying my shot? Thanks.   (Jay from Mapleton, UT)


Don't worry about lifting messing up your shot. If you are weight training, what I suggest is that you just practice your shot. It doesn't have to be on the same day, but you want to monitor your shot in reference to your new found strength. Generally what happens is that once you start lifting you get greater range. So what happens is that you go to the spots where you were making shots from before and you find that everything is long. If you practice your shot while you are lifting everything should be fine.

Question: I was once a high school athlete and have recently been offered a supply of anabolic steroids from a friend. I really want to improve my strength but I don't lift weights, should I take the steroids anyway?   (John from Moorestown)
Answer: Thanks for taking the time to write. To answer your question, unless you are under a doctor's care it is never a good idea to take steroids. If you don't have proper supervision you are asking for a world of trouble. To be honest the person who offered them to you is no friend.

Click here for a report on anabolic steroids from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Question: I have recently joined my indoor track team. When I run I get pains in my lower legs and when I stop running and walk it hurts the most. This also happened while I was playing soccer. I was told that I have shin splints. Is it shin splints? Is there something I can do to get rid of them? I was told to tape my muscle when I am running and put ice on it when I am not. I was also told to get new track shoes. Is there some you recommend? Will this all work? What else can I do ? They really hurt.   (Crystal from Fitchburg)
Answer: Thanks for writing. Without knowing all the particulars it sounds like you are getting some good advice. How long have you been running in the shoes you are running in? If they look worn out then maybe you should look into getting another pair. As far as your shin splints go I would check with a doctor or your school's trainer and then take it from there. Once again thanks for writing and keep in touch.
Question: I will be playing the outfield for our church team. I would like to precondition my arm to increase my throwing distance. I am in great shape otherwise but have trouble getting the ball as far as I would like it. A program to solve this problem would be appreciated. Thanks. PS. my throwing mechanics seem fine. I believe I lack power.   (DeWayne from Palm Bay, FL)
Answer: The answer to your question probably lies in your rotator cuff. There is a great book out, it's called Fit to Pitch, check it out. It's informative and it has all the information I think you will need to help you through. Once again thanks for writing and keep in touch.
Question: We are working on a science paper work about soccer. Our question is how does the muscles work, specially in the legs?   (Michael from Herzelia, Israel)
Answer: Thanks for writing. The answer to your question will be found in your school's library. Go and talk with someone that works there and they should be able to help you a lot better than I can.
Question: Hello, I play division 2 football and I was looking for a good workout for the offseason to switch up from what I have been doing now.   (Rodney from Seekonk, MA)
Answer: Thanks for taking the time to write. Before I can give you a protocol you are going to have to give me an idea as to what you guys are doing now? Write me and tell me what school you attend, what position and some other general information and we will work together to create a protocol that will help take your performance to the next level.
Question: I am a coach for 12 year old team in our recreation division. I would like to know what I can do in warm-ups to help strengthen our girls arms, legs and abs. The girls seem to be reaching the age now where strength is important with the stunts and tumbling that they need to do. I would appreciate any feedback you can give.   (Lisa from Medford)
Answer: Thanks for taking the time to write. There are quite a few things that can be done in your situation. It would be a lot easier for me to show you than tell you. Can we set up a time were you, me and your squad get together and we can do these things together? I have fun working with cheerleaders and would love the chance to work with your squad. Contact me and let me when we can get this done!
Question: I play high school football. My problem is I can't gain any weight. I have tried using the weightgainer shakes and I'm not really a fan of creatine, I eat like a pig, but maybe I'm eating the wrong types of food before and after a workout, can you help me out? Thanks.   (Ryan from Chicago, IL)
Answer: Thanks for taking the time to write. Before I can answer your question I don't know how you are eating. Can you give me a better idea of how you are eating? Once we have this information we can put together a protocol that will better suited for you. Thanks again for writing and keep in touch.
Question: I am a strength coach primarily for the football program at my High School. I have just recently began working with female athletes who are playing softball. I need some information on appropriate workouts for these young ladies. Primarily for pitchers and infielders. Many of these ladies have and will be competing for the state championship year to year. They are currently two year state champs for 2A softball but, have never worked out before. Any information would help me greatly.   (Michael from Georgetown, SC)
Answer: It's always great to talk with other coaches in the business. At the stage your athletes are, the best thing I can suggest is that you gear your protocol to an overall strength building program. The thing we focus on in high school is to make sure that any muscle imbalance is lessened. On our Website we have a protocol for softball athletes ["Softball In-Season Training Protocol"]. It's a bit advanced, but it can be modified to fit any athlete. Check it out and let me know what you think. Good luck and keep it in touch.
Question: I play softball for my school and for a summer league. I recently sustained a shoulder injury. I also run and play b-ball and volleyball for my school. I have had my arm in a sling for about a month now after ignoring it since this summer softball season and into about half of my volleyball season this year ( against my ma's wishes ). I have a MRI being done on 11/10/99. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on what I could do to restrengthen my throwing arm. I am right handed and it is my right shoulder that I injured. Thank you so much for your help   (Katie from Birdsboro, PA)
Answer: Before I offer any type of opinion let me know what your doctor said. I think you should find out exactly what's going on with your shoulder before you do anything else. Keep me posted.
Question: I am the head softball coach for Crosby-Ironton. My pitchers are not involved in a winter sport and they would like to start some sort of weight training program to build their strength and endurance. Is there anything that you could send me that might help?   (Larry from Crosby, MN)
Answer: Thanks for writing. I'm in the process of putting together a training protocol for softball athletes. It will be for college aged athletes. You didn't mention how old the players on your team are, contact me and we will work this thing out.
Question: I want to increase my vertical for basketball. I am 5'10" and I can almost dunk, I just need about 2-3 inches added to my vertical to be dunking easily. So what exercises and what is the best equipment to use in doing this?   (Will from Richmond, VA)
Answer: Thanks for writing. Need a little more information. Are you still in school? If so does your school have a conditioning coach? Get back to me and we will take it from there.
Question: I'm currently majoring in Exercise Science. My dream job is to be a Strength and Conditioning coach for a major university or a pro sports team (just like you). If you could give me any advise on a minor I would be very thankful. My goal is to get my BS in Exercise Science, then go to graduate school to coach football. Is it possible to be a graduate assistant AND an assistant strength and conditioning coach?   (Matt from Akron, OH)
Answer: The minor I would suggest is psychology. That is what my degree is in. I find that it helps in situations where I know what I want my athletes to do, but with my psych degree I can get them to do it. There are tons of opportunities out there you just have to know where to look. How far are you from Cincinnati? Talk with the people at Hammer Strength. Get out there and beat the bushes. Let other coaches know that you exist and good things will happen. Matt, the greatest piece of advice I can give you is to keep everything in perspective. There are only so many of the types of jobs you want out there, sometimes you will have to make your own opportunity. Who knows maybe we can hook up and do somethings. Keep me posted and I'll keep my ears open and if I find anything you may be interested in I'll let you know.
Question: How much body fat should a 21-year-old athlete have that participates in sports?   (Maria from East Longmeadow, MA)
Answer: Thanks for taking the time to write. If you will check out this site you'll find an article I wrote pertaining to your question. If you don't find what you are looking for there please feel free to contact me again and we will put something together just for you. Stay in touch and let me know how things are going.
Question: Could you please give me a pre-season strength and conditioning program for a girls softball team ages 13-15? Thank you very much for your time.   (Paul from Riverside, CA)
Answer: Thanks for writing. If you would go to you'll find a protocol for softball athletes ["Softball In-Season Training Protocol"]. Let me know if this helps, if it doesn't contact me and we will work to put something together for you.
Question: A lot of the kids on my football team are starting to use Creatine and I wanted to know if it is harmful or not and what are the side effects of it?   (Jason from Marlton)
Answer: Thanks for writing. To answer your question I don't know of any long term studies done on the effect that creatine has on the human body. The only thing I can suggest is the you log on to the National Strength and Conditioning Association's webpage, go to the FAQ section, you will find more information there.

Jason I have two questions for you, first how old are you and secondly what makes you think that you want to find out about creatine?

Question: I am 14 years old and I go to Cherokee High School. I play football and I wrestle. I really want to increase my strength. I was wondering what the best exercises for my arms, chest, legs and neck are, and how often should I work out?   (Dave from Marlton)
Answer: Thanks for taking the time to write. To answer your question would take a lot of time and space. I would suggest that you check out my website There you'll find lots of information on the questions that you have. If you don't find the answer you are looking for please contact me and we will work to get you the information that you need.
Question: Your opinion on Atkins diet? zone diet? low carb diet? no carb diet? no fat diet? I do aerobic training 6 days a week. I do light weights 7 days a week. I do sit-ups, crunches, six days a week. Yet, I am getting heavier. I am also getting stronger, but my excess weight is all in the stomach. I really think I need more diet tips than work out tips. Hope you can help. I try to stay away from carbs, but I go right back to them.   (Jeff from Mount Laurel)
Answer: Thanks for taking the time to write. The thing I think you are going to need more than diet information is rest. From the look of things you are overtraining and that's never a good thing. Take some time to relax and recharge your battery and you will see that your body will respond positively to the rest. Stay in touch!
Question: I am a first year college student, and I have just started a workout program. My main focus is on my upper body, specifically my UPPER CHEST. Can you give me some tips on an absolutely awesome exercise that would work this area?   (Mark from Ft. Collins)
Answer: Thanks for taking the time to write. When it comes to working your chest the rule of thumb is to work it from all angles. That would consist of the flat bench press, the incline bench press and the pec deck. I don't know how long you have been lifting but starting out with these moves, you won't go wrong. Stay in touch and let me know if this helps.

 Next Page