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Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode 60: Matt Van Dyke and Max Schmarzo

Today’s guests are Matt Van Dyke and Max Schmarzo, and we’ll be chatting in depth on the concepts of building athletic power, specifically on controversial topics, such as:

  • The utilization of isometrics in power development
  • Ranges of motion in basic lifts
  • Period of the training year devoted to power and complex training
  • Maximal intent and velocity based training
  • And more

Matt Van Dyke has appeared before on the podcast with an amazing segment on his glute layering protocols and multi-planar training ideals.   He also has written a great article on autoregulated in-season training and is one of the brightest young coaches in the field.  Max Schmarzo is the owner of Strong By Science, where he is an active contributor to the field through systems like the force-velocity profile builder, as well as his regular science backed contributions to the often-muddy world of social media.

Matt and Max have a new book on training athletic power called “Applied Principles of Optimal Power Development” which is a practical, research backed manual on developing power in athletes.  The book was a great read, and the ideas and research within spurred several thought processes on my own end, and methods to utilize this upcoming year with my own teams.

I wanted to get these two on the show to take a deep dive into some of the common ideas and concepts with power that are often debated or misunderstood in our field, as well as create a gateway for the explanation of some practical methods and ideals for the use of power building methods, particularly in a large group setting.

Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.

Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode 60: Matt Van Dyke and Max Schmarzo


Key Points:

  • A general philosophy of strength, power and potentiation
  • Ideas on which proportion of the season to train power and potentiation
  • Advantages of using fuller range of motion vs. more short and specific ranges of motion in light of power
  • Isometrics in terms of potentiation, structural and neural functions
  • Ideals of maximal intent through each lifting repetition


“Strength is going to lay the foundation for power work”

“Through a full repetition, you’re only at your maximal intensity at that one point within that lift”

“The ability to develop a strength base might best be served using non-specific motor patterns”

“If you are pushing your athletes to the point where it’s like you are doing those extended repetitions, there is no way you are producing maximal intent for those first four (out of 8 reps), or those last four”

“You are always trying to move whatever load is it as fast as possible”

“I like the pulls (for maximal isometrics), they aren’t axially loaded.  If you are going to do a squat into a pin, from a coaching standpoint, it makes you nervous”

“If my athlete can’t produce that neural output… below 90% of what they are capable of, I might change the workout for the day”

“Velocity based training doesn’t mean moving something fast, it is velocity based analysis”

“Structural training is very low on neural demand where functional training is high on neural demand.  During that functional training that’s where maximal intent plays a large role, because you are not just developing muscle but how you use that muscle in a specific movement”

Show Notes

Supertraining page 394 has a great listing of the structural and functional aspects of training, as Max mentioned to me after the episode it was a better representation than page 9.

About Matt Van Dyke

Coach Matt Van DykeMatt Van Dyke is the Associate Director of Sports Performance at the University of Denver. At Denver, Matt is responsible for designing and implementing speed, strength, conditioning, and mobility workouts for men’s lacrosse, alpine ski, volleyball, tennis and swimming.

Prior to his position with the University of Denver Matt was the Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports at the University of Minnesota. During his tenure at Minnesota, Matt was responsible for performance programming for men’s and women’s hockey, baseball, track and field, and the women’s golf team.

Matt is certified by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (SCCC). He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in exercise science from Iowa State University in December of 2012.

About Max Schmarzo

Max SchmarzoMax Schmarzo is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCS) and NATA Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC). He received his MS in Kinesiology from Iowa State University, where he led investigative research on relationship between the force-velocity profile of the squat and vertical jump height.

Prior to entering graduate school, Max played four years of NCAA Division III basketball. As an undergrad, he doubled majored in athletic training and strength and conditioning.

Throughout his undergraduate and graduate schooling, he was able to complete several internships, including working under Chris Doyle at the University of Iowa, Josh Beauregard at Iowa State University and Donald Chu at Athercare in Dublin, California.

Max also writes professionally for his website and social media (Instagram), Strong By Science and @Strong_by_Science, respectively.

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