Bryan Mann | From Athletics to Human Performance: Shaping the Future

by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D, RSCC*D and Bryan Mann, PhD, CSCS,*D, TSAC-F,*D, RSCC*D, FNSCA
Coaching Podcast April 2024


Since 1998, Bryan Mann has dominated strength and conditioning, securing positions at elite collegiate programs and defining research in strength, power, and velocity-based training (VBT). As the Academic Director of Strength and Conditioning at Texas A&M University, Bryan still gets the rewarding chance to shape students like his former athletes, but now, he’s focused on the future. He’s expanding his scope to human performance as a whole — applying his coaching expertise to advance performance across general, special, and tactical populations. Join NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager Eric McMahon as we follow Bryan’s professional path, including his recent transition to the Aggie’s powerhouse performance staff alongside Bo Sandoval and Tommy Moffit. Plus, explore pioneering research on Parkinson’s, the rise of individualization in VBT, and how to create a “forward” (not backup) plan for career longevity.

Connect with Bryan on Instagram @jbryanmann or Twitter/X @jbryanmann | Find Eric on Instagram @ericmcmahoncscs or LinkedIn @ericmcmahoncscs

In this episode, you’ll learn about the NSCA Presenter Application process. Apply by May 15 to be considered for 2025 local events and conferences while earning CEUs for your expertise.

Show Notes

“What kept me coaching on the floor for so long, even with having the PhD, was watching the athlete develop from a child to a mature adult. [...] That’s what I really enjoyed. And I just use the weight room and jumps and sprints and everything as a vehicle for that.” 2:43

“You can take plyometrics and scale that to the aging population. That's going to help to the tightened isomers. That's going to help with the stored elastic energy that they're not getting depth through the resistance training. You could do all the heavy stuff you want. You can do all the fast stuff you want. But if you are not using the stretch-shortening cycle appropriately, you're not going to be influencing gait. You're not going to be influencing mobility appropriately.” 14:10

“Find what excites you. What do you think about at night? What do you think about in the morning? What is it that’s always on your mind? That’s the area you should explore [...] because that is what’s going to make you great.” 17:20

“If you have the ability to apply your skillset in another area, you just increased your ability within the job market to go ahead and apply that towards aging, towards general population.” 23:06

“The best ability is availability. And if I have my athletes out on the field feeling good, they’re going to be playing better than if they maintain 95% of their squat max.” 34:46


[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING]
[00:00:02.58] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast, season 8, episode 1.
[00:00:07.35] You know, you can take plyometrics and scale that to the aging population. That's going to help the tightened isomers. That's going to help with the stored elastic energy that they're not getting through the resistance training. You could do all the heavy stuff you want. You can do all the fast stuff you want. But if you are not using the stretch-shortening cycle appropriately, you're not going to be influencing gait. You're not going to be influencing mobility appropriately.
[00:00:38.91] This is the NSCA's Coaching Podcast, where we talk to strength and conditioning coaches about what you really need to know but probably didn't learn in school. There's strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.
[00:00:49.41] This is the NSCA Coaching Podcast. Welcome to season 8. I'm Eric McMahon, NSCA's Coaching and Sports Science Program Manager. In today's episode, we connect with Dr. Bryan Mann. He's been involved with strength and conditioning and sports science since 1998 at the Division I level, serving at Missouri State, Arizona State, Tulsa, Mizzou, Miami, and is currently the Academic Director of Strength and Conditioning at Texas A&M University. Bryan, welcome.
[00:01:19.19] Thanks, Eric. Good to see you again. Thanks for having me back on the podcast.
[00:01:23.18] Yeah, you are a return guest. You were on with Scott Caulfield.
[00:01:27.29] I was, yeah, yeah. Yeah, back in-- god, that's probably 2013, 2014? I don't remember. It's been a while, though.
[00:01:34.85] Back when this thing was just getting kicked off, I think you were one of the early guests. And those were the days before COVID, when we'd record all these live at NSCA conferences in the Expo Hall.
[00:01:47.67] Yeah, yeah, and shoot, we did one at the Missouri state conference, even. He took the show on the road man.
[00:01:54.54] Yeah.
[00:01:54.81] It was fun.
[00:01:55.98] I did that for a couple events early when I started at the NSCA. And then things obviously-- the world stopped turning a little bit. And we had to transition over to Zoom. But we've had some really great guests from all over the world. And that's been one of the benefits of going virtual on podcasts and something the NSCA has done really well with our virtual events and being able to expand into that realm a little bit more.
[00:02:20.97] Absolutely, yeah.
[00:02:22.35] So you're an active member of the NSCA for a long time. You wear multiple different hats. You're a coach. You're a professor. You're a researcher. What do you enjoy the most about strength and conditioning?
[00:02:33.62] Man, you know what? It depends on what area you're talking about. Whenever I was coaching and what kept me coaching and on the floor for so long, even with having the PhD, was watching the athletes develop from a child to a mature adult and having a part of that. And using the physical development tools to basically-- to steal from Rick McGuire, to win kids with sport rather than to win sport with kids. So that's what I really enjoyed. And I just used the weight room and jumps and sprints and everything as a vehicle for that.
[00:03:17.07] And that really led to the understanding of all of that and thinking about the training and then how could we apply that to the greater good. I've gotten into research on aging and Parkinson's with Joe Signorelli, who had very similar ideas to me that we developed from different areas.
[00:03:37.84] And when we combine the two, holy cow, man. You should see some of the stuff we got going coming out here, a couple through the JSCR. And hopefully, there's going to be a third one through there that just got submitted, actually, with Parkinson's, so using the velocity of the spectrum to stimulate adaptations as opposed to just the forcing of the spectrum.
[00:04:00.37] So really, what it's allowed me to do is step back and look at it as human performance. Everybody else always looks at, hey, let's try this with the general population and work its way up into maybe we can find something that works well enough with the athletes. Well, I worked with the athletes first. So I'm doing it the other way. Like, OK, here's what worked well with the athletes. Now let's apply what I found worked well with the athletes to these different general and special populations.
[00:04:28.53] And it's a lot of fun, man-- being able to help see things from a different point of view. And those different points of view have helped to change the way that I view training as well. Being a powerlifter, I used to think that the only thing that was important was strength, you know? But power is an equation, right? It's a product of force and velocity.
[00:04:54.34] So then we really got to see how do we enhance that velocity, because power, we know, is one of the most important things for athletic performance. And not just athletic performance, but power is the critical thing that keeps people out of nursing homes. So we've got to make sure that we're enhancing it for there and enhancing power for the tactical operator to try and keep them alive as well but from a different means.
[00:05:18.15] Just those unanswered questions, trying to find how to flip over the stone to find the next answer, what rock is this under-- that's what keeps me going, man. That's what keeps me excited, and absolutely frustrated and wanting to put my head through a wall sometimes. But--
[00:05:36.42] [LAUGHS]
[00:05:37.62] --we've got great people here at Texas A&M, and it's a joy. It's a joy to be frustrated, because if I can't figure it out, I go down to somebody else's office, like Dr. Riechman or Dr. Yentes or one of them to be able to help point me in the right direction, you know-- Dr. Woodman, Dr. Kreider. We've got a lot of big names here who've done a lot of great things for decades. And being able to tap into that is also something that excites me.
[00:06:08.23] So for me, it was the-- and from the professor's standpoint, helping the students to grow into people. I try and give just as many life lessons that can help to explain different phenomena and exercise physiology as we do for the just traditional ex phys stuff. I want them to be able to come out being a better person, being able to understand how to deal with stress, being able to understand-- to grow and turn into an adult and be there to help do that.
[00:06:39.57] Everybody always says, I am-- my student evaluations are not normal. They are dichotomous. I am either adored, or I am abhorred.
[00:06:51.42] [LAUGHS]
[00:06:52.42] There's no in-between for me. They'll either love me or hate me. And I'm good with that because at least that means I'm trying something.
[00:07:00.15] Yeah, sounds like you're pushing those students. And that, I think, we can all look back on professors, teachers we've had, coaches, that the struggle, the challenge-- you can rise to the top through that.
[00:07:17.76] Yeah.
[00:07:18.63] And I look back on some coaches that were really hard on me that I'm like, wow, that really made a difference. And I'm thankful for that experience. But maybe at the time, it wasn't so pleasant. Hey, I love the quote, it's a joy to be frustrated.
[00:07:33.33] Yeah, yeah.
[00:07:34.38] Yeah, I know. I mean, we're so fortunate in this field to be able to help other people. And one thing, just in hearing your response there of-- from powerlifting, and you got into the need for power. And that sort of marks your professional journey as an athlete to a coach, and probably a very strength-minded coach at the beginning. And then it goes more towards velocity-based training and more power-related topics that we'll get to.
[00:08:02.40] But another thing that jumps out is you're calling to have an impact in this profession really beyond the athletes, to the general population, to inspiring health and wellness over the lifespan. One thing that made me think of when you were talking was the space race. You go back. All the science and research that went into landing on the Moon that we're probably still using today in hospitals, in getting people active and moving and exercise science and sports science.
[00:08:36.61] We're living that now within strength and conditioning, within sports science. We're very innovative. There's a lot of access to technology now. And it is really a great time to be in the field.
[00:08:49.69] You touched on Texas A&M. There's a powerhouse performance staff there being built-- Bo Sandoval, Tommy Moffitt, yourself, a number of others. I was just down there a couple months ago. And it was just really impressive to see the collaboration that was just starting to happen, it seemed like. That was the feeling there.
[00:09:12.32] And so I'd like to ask you, what drew you from Miami to College Station? Was it that collaboration piece or something else?
[00:09:23.97] You know, really, it was something else. Now I've got kids. So whenever you have kids-- obviously, you do as well-- that changes some of your priorities. And where I had some tremendous opportunities at the University of Miami with the staff and the faculty there, which is also another-- it's an R1 research institution.
[00:09:44.43] And like I mentioned, Joe Signorelli-- I mean, he's going to be giving a big talk again this year at the NSCA National. The guy is a pioneer in his field. It was amazing to learn from. But for me, having kids, not having family down there, and then having the opportunity to come here, where my sister is an hour and a half away-- I've got cousins in Houston, which is, again, an hour and a half away; a family in Dallas, which is like two and a half, three hours; college roommate in Houston-- I mean, really, it was a family move.
[00:10:20.62] And then coming in here, it was a family environment, too. I mean, you'd already mentioned Bo Sandoval. And Bo and I had worked together. We were two of the original guys on the Lifts course, right? So Bo was definitely-- I mean, it wasn't that I moved here because of him. But knowing that I was moving here and having somebody like Bo and his wife Amanda as some people here for support was-- it definitely factored into it.
[00:10:49.43] And then it turned out that-- I didn't know it at the time, but we're neighbors. So--
[00:10:54.33] Nice.
[00:10:54.70] --whenever we moved in, we're 10 houses apart. Kind of funny story-- I was over at his house with the kids playing last night because it was a nice afternoon. And Tim Suchomel calls me on the phone. So it's just like, Bo and I are here. And Tim was like, man-- as I was talking with him, I'm like, I never would have thought that, here I am.
[00:11:15.88] My kids are playing with the other kids of one of the biggest names in the industry, and then getting a phone call from another guy who's this major up-and-comer and powerful person in the industry as well. It's just like, is this how Bill Kramer felt back in the day with Jerry Martin in this? I don't know.
[00:11:33.40] But it was a great feeling. And yeah, we've got a heck of a staff-- obviously, Tom Moffitt coming in, his experiences from his system at LSU. I'm working on getting over there and doing more with him. I am just chasing my tail since he has gotten here with being in a new position and starting a program, doing the accreditation process, teaching new classes and things.
[00:12:00.77] And then beyond them, the thing that's a sleeping giant that nobody knows about yet-- that is that we are going to just-- we're going to be-- it's going to be special-- is this tactical side. We have got a guy that's a former Green Beret that is leading a veterans coaching program to where-- not only just for strength and conditioning, but it's almost like a-- it's a veterans program that veterans come in. And we help them to reassimilate and get their degree. And that's one of the big things that-- I still call him Sarge. I refer to all the veterans by their rank.
[00:12:40.12] But Nathan, Nate Young-- that he has headed up and done an amazing thing at, where he has also taken-- I don't know if you're familiar with the Ranger Challenge. That's a competition that they have between the military schools and the ROTCs at Sandhurst up at West Point. I'm going to be going there this year.
[00:13:00.07] Nice.
[00:13:03.23] And we're hoping-- we're gunning for a Natty. And hopefully, we'll win that sometime, hopefully this year, maybe next year. I don't know when it's coming. But I feel like Wyatt Earp. Tell them I'm coming, and [MUTED] coming with me. And--
[00:13:19.44] [LAUGHS]
[00:13:20.50] --funny enough, Tommy Moffitt used that quote too. I didn't know he was such a Tombstone fan. I love that movie. But no, man, we got all areas here at A&M. I mean, the support here is incredible-- like I mentioned, some of the different professors that are here who're a great resource.
[00:13:39.70] You know, make no mistake about it-- this place was a monster whenever I came in. And I'm just hoping to see if we can't make this into the biggest, craziest thing that has ever crossed the face of the Earth in terms of human performance. I'm not even looking strength and conditioning, man, because I think that that's too narrow.
[00:14:00.02] I think that the things that we have done and spring training with athletes-- that this applies to everybody. And we just have to scale it. You can take plyometrics and scale that to the aging population. That's going to help to the tightened isomers. That's going to help with the stored elastic energy that they're not getting depth through the resistance training.
[00:14:23.47] You could do all the heavy stuff you want. You can do all the fast stuff you want. But if you are not using the stretch-shortening cycle appropriately, you're not going to be influencing gait. You're not going to be influencing mobility appropriately. And that's just one of the-- that's my opinion. So that and $10 will get you a cup of coffee anywhere you want to go. But that's going to be one of the other areas that we're going to be approaching in the future.
[00:14:51.53] Man, but the sky is the limit here. We've got-- I mentioned Steve Riechman before. He's got a DARPA grant and another DOD grant. We're building a tactical research laboratory. The Corps of Cadets, they're building a facility just to train those guys for strength and conditioning. They're building a facility just for the Ranger squadron. It's amazing.
[00:15:15.85] The support of the president, the support of the commandant, the support of the dean-- Eric, if this ain't heaven, I don't know, man. You know, John Denver had it wrong, you know? West Virginia ain't heaven. It's College Station.
[00:15:29.15] That's awesome. No, that's great. When I visited, I got to sit down with the sports science staff. And I really got that feeling that there are some really special things going on there. There was eight or nine staff members on the sports science side in the room. And Howard Gray, who leads that side-- we were just having a conversation, like, what's going on with the NSCA sports science program, and then what's going on here at A&M on the sports science side, and how is this program evolving.
[00:15:59.75] And one thing that was really interesting was the PhD fellowship program in sports science. I mean, obviously, there's a need there. Probably a lot of us early in our careers would have aspired to a program like that if it existed at the time. And now that it does, we're actually seeing some students, some really impressive students, that they are very knowledgeable in this sports science space. So they might be coming out of biomechanics or different areas of the field, but not necessarily strength and conditioning.
[00:16:32.27] And that woke me up to the fact that sometimes coaching and sports science is this field that is one, and we work together very closely. But other times, it's separate. And there are different skill sets that come into the mix. So what advice do you have for coaches, sports scientists, entering the field, really in this dichotomous environment where you can essentially choose coaching, you can choose sports science, or maybe a little bit of both?
[00:17:07.82] Man, I would choose to do a little bit of both. But that's coming from a guy who can't ever stop, you know? But really, actually, you know what? Here's my advice. Find what excites you. What do you think about at night? What do you think about in the morning? What is it that's always on your mind?
[00:17:28.91] That's the area that you should explore. That's the area that you should go down. That's the area that you should drink deeply from. That is the well from which you should refresh yourself because that is what's going to make you great. So if you've got one specific area that you can do better than anybody else, you're always going to have a job, right? I mean, shoot, I wouldn't have-- whenever the thing at Missouri happened, I wouldn't have had a job at the University of Miami in a week or two weeks if it weren't for doing those sorts of things and approaching it that way.
[00:18:05.57] Now, I'm not so naive to think that it's going to work out for everyone. I'm not. But if you do that, and you get good at it, at whatever it is that you do, you're going to have a job somewhere. You might not be the guy for the San Francisco 49ers. But you know what? There's only one Ben Peterson. So you might as well go ahead and do the best that you can. And you might end up in an area where you didn't know that you might have even liked a lot.
[00:18:33.94] There's a lot of stuff for the biomechanist people with some different stuff with the prosthetics and things like that that I never would have thought of. And they're making some amazing money. And they're doing some things that really improve their quality of life and they can do great things with.
[00:18:52.64] So you want to also want to be able to-- whenever you go in, you're also going to want to have an exit strategy, a backup plan. Strength and conditioning coachs often, at least in the side of football, will age out. And what I mean by that is you start to get up around 45, 50. And sport coaches oftentimes don't want to hire you anymore.
[00:19:11.25] So what is that backup plan? Because just because they aren't going to hire you anymore, that doesn't mean your mortgage stopped. That doesn't mean your grocery bills stopped. So you got to have that backup plan. And whatever that might happen to be-- maybe it's that you get a PhD, and then you want to teach the next generation.
[00:19:32.78] That ended up being my forward plan because I thought that, hey, there's not that many people out there that have coached at a high level and have a PhD. They don't have my viewpoints on things. So I'm going to see if I can't help move that to the next generation. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, I don't know. But that's the way that I decided to approach that. It's like, hey, how can I--
[00:19:58.46] And that's just me. I always am looking for, where can I make the biggest impact? Where can I create value? And that's where I feel like I could create the most value for that next generation is through education rather than staying on the floor and doing things.
[00:20:15.54] Following your passion-- that's something that came through there, but also strengthening your passion so that it can lead you forward, having a forward plan. You used the word "backup plan," but then it went towards "forward plan," and I really liked how that sounds, I think, for coaches, because really, in any profession, you don't know what the future holds.
[00:20:39.92] I mean, it's tough out there. It's tough in any industry. And sometimes we're in those dungeon weight rooms underground, and we don't really see what other professionals are going through in their journey. But it is refreshing, I think, to get a broader-- maybe with life experience, you get a little broader view of what else is out there, where you can have an impact, and where that passion that you've honed in on takes you. And then it's that same passion again. Where does it take you? And then you have that youthful energy of a topic that you're pursuing.
[00:21:22.47] One thing that you've mentioned a lot, sort of the bridge between sports performance and maybe general population health or aging, aging health-- it is definitely a debate in the field-- exercise science versus sports science, health based versus performance. Do you think sports scientists, someone like yourself, working around athletes and training future generations of coaches, should have this mindset of going beyond the athlete population and serving, really, the greater general population?
[00:22:05.27] I mean, in an ideal world, yes, but I don't know. There's that old quote that societies grow great when old men plant trees of which they'll never feel the shade. And that's something that's always stuck home with me. It's like, I've got to leave something for the next generation. I've got to leave my legacy.
[00:22:24.35] And just the way that I see things is like I see some issues with the way that they're training older people in Parkinson's and how it could be better. And I feel like I've got a responsibility to try and help out. And I'll be [MUTED] if I haven't been right every time that I've done that thus far. And the next one will be training plyometrics on the aging.
[00:22:46.46] I don't know if that everybody needs to have that as their main thing. But if you're going to have a PhD anyway, and if you're somebody who's looking to do that sort of-- how do I say this-- they go on that academic route. So if you have the ability to apply your skill set in another area, you just increased your ability within the job market to go ahead and apply that towards aging, towards general population.
[00:23:18.27] Because you know what doesn't get funded? Sport. You know what does get funded? Aging. Do you know what does get funded? Parkinson's. Do you know what does get funded? Special populations. So you might have this ability to do things in there from your experience within sport that you never really thought of.
[00:23:43.27] So I don't say that everybody has to do it, but I'm an opportunist. Like Yogi Berra once said, if you see a fork in the road, pick it up. Well, people thought that was stupid. And you're like, oh, he's just saying pick up trash. Naw, man. This is opportunity. You see an opportunity, take it. And that's who I am, and that's what I'm going to do.
[00:24:02.05] Now, I know that I'm wired different, because everybody always tells me that. But that's my choice, you know? That that's how I'm going to go about it. If I see that opportunity, I think I can make a difference, I'm going to go ahead and step up and figure out-- I'll say, yes, I got this. And I'll figure out how to do it later.
[00:24:22.52] Yeah. Well, in many ways, we're still defining this sports science topic.
[00:24:27.35] Absolutely.
[00:24:28.16] We just had a special topics issue come out by the Sports Science and Performance Technology SIG at the NSCA. And one of the topics was defining the sports scientist. So it's still relevant today. I think there are pieces that go back even 20 years in the NSCA journals on the same theme.
[00:24:46.25] So the debate of, is it exercise science versus sports science, or is sports science more of just a focus specialty within exercise science? Maybe this is just too theoretical, and it doesn't matter. It's following your passion and doing good for the industry in the field. But one thing that does hold true is what you study in school isn't always exactly what you do.
[00:25:09.47] Oh, good lord. I'm an example of that, man. You know, my degrees in education, school, and counseling psychology-- I'm self-taught in all this stuff.
[00:25:17.93] Yeah. And a lot of it likely comes from that applied coaching background, which is so important. A big topic today is STEM education. STEM education-- getting people to realize that there are some really good professions out there related to STEM degree paths. And there's no reason to say that strength and conditioning or sports science isn't a STEM career path for a lot of students.
[00:25:44.47] So this is something that we're ramping up within our high school groups, early exposure to strength and conditioning to inspire STEM thinking. That's a different conversation than we've had at the NSCA in the past. And it extends to college, the curriculum that you do with students, inspiring the next generation of sport and exercise science professionals.
[00:26:06.91] So it does go bigger. I think we all know that. We don't always know how to put terms to it. And now, this is the first time I've heard you talk about Parkinson's and some of these other areas outside maybe traditional strength and conditioning and powerlifting and this stuff that we're always cutting it up about at conferences. So this is cool. I enjoy this.
[00:26:30.84] Yeah, you know, it's not until you-- there's that old saying, you can't see the forest for the trees. So whenever you're right in the middle of it, you can only see what is applicable to you at that exact moment. And now, being able to step back and take that academic role and look from 35,000 feet and being like, oh, hey, yeah, you got that problem over there? Well, I did this. So why don't we go try this over here, man? It's freaking awesome.
[00:26:56.13] Yeah. VBT, Velocity-Based Training, autoregulation-- these are topics you're well known for. You've put a lot of research information out into the field on that. What's the current state of VBT and maybe some of the similar tools you're seeing coaches use with athletes in the weight room?
[00:27:13.74] Yeah, well, the state of VBT is that it's going a lot more towards an individualized approach, which is great. Whenever I started doing this-- and people have always knocked on me for the zones and everything like this. It's got to be more individual. Well, dude, whenever it was a Fitro Dyne, and you got one coach and a hundred athletes, you got to go to lowest common denominator.
[00:27:34.81] But what I really see right now is that if we just do the load-velocity profiles for each individual and find where peak power occurs, and we take into account what their relative strength is, that gives us a lot for understanding how to appropriately train, right? And what I mean by that is if-- let's say we got this dude who's a offensive lineman, squats 700 pounds. And he hits his peak power at, like, oh, 500, 550 pounds, right? So that's still submaximal, but then that's-- oh, gosh. Oh, it was 75%. 560 would be 80%, so getting right around there.
[00:28:19.13] Well, if we know that we want peak power somewhere around 40%, that indicates that he's on the force end of the spectrum. So he would respond better for ballistics or doing overspeed-type things. Forgetting about the so-called optimal load, I want to look at the load that is going to facilitate the adaptation of power on the force plates. So typically, we just got to push the velocity into the spectrum a little bit that way, where if we're looking at my zones, I would start strength, speed, and then go to speed, strength.
[00:28:51.95] It's like, well, what do you do whenever you're looking at the individualized? Well, I just find out whatever velocity they hit peak power at, and I move them a little bit faster than that, about probably a 0.1 meters per second faster than where they hit it.
[00:29:04.55] What if their load was too light? Well, then I'm going to-- their peak power, maybe it happened at 10% or 20%. Well, then I know that person is weak. And I need to push them more towards the force end of the spectrum. And I might be doing things like the APIRI, "app-ir-ee," whatever you want to call it, to drive that strength adaptation. Or if power is still the main goal, I'll go just a little heavier than-- about 0.1 heavier than their velocity at peak power and start training there.
[00:29:39.09] And so just allowing you to do a more individualized approach, because if all this stuff is storing it and put it into the cloud, you ain't got to write it down. And that was a knock people had on me. But guys, I can't even read my own handwriting most of the time. So if you wanted that, you're just going to get bad data. But that's one of the areas that I see it going.
[00:30:03.27] And also, I see it going that way because of the different devices, right? It's not just all linear position transducer. Everything is going to measure the way that it measures. Doesn't mean it's wrong, meaning an accelerometer or a light-based system or the linear position transducer. They all measure a certain way, but they don't measure the same, right?
[00:30:25.47] Just like, Eric, if you went and got two tape measures out of your garage, and you measure that desk right in front of you, they're probably going to be a little bit different. And it doesn't mean either one of them is wrong. It just means that this is the way that device measures.
[00:30:38.50] So I go into that so extensively because I think it's important for people to collect their own load-velocity profiles and to create their own zones. They're probably going to have to stratify them between athletes that are good and athletes that are bad because I had a homogeneous population, right? It was all speed/power-sports Division I athletes. So I wouldn't necessarily say, creme de la creme, because this wasn't all the five-star kids going to Bama or anything like that. It was more blue-collar-type athletes at Missouri and Missouri State, but it went that route with it.
[00:31:15.56] But that's where I see it going is that we're using it just as much of a diagnostic as we are as a training tool. So once you understand and you break down peak power and you just go ahead and plot it with the load and the velocity-- and if anybody doesn't know how to do that, they can go to my YouTube page.
[00:31:35.13] I'm probably going to take down a lot of this stuff since it's promoting the stuff that I was doing at Miami academically. It's like, well, now that's kind of useless now. There's people that are emailing me like, hey, how come I can't find this thing over there? It's like, well, yeah, because I'm not there anymore. But I'll definitely leave that one up.
[00:31:55.88] But, yeah, no just to look at it in that manner because it all comes down to power. And I know a lot of people say power is a fluff metric because it's the product of force and velocity. But at the same time, if the only predictive thing that can tell the difference between a top-25 and a non-top-25 team is power, a-la-cremer and fry, then maybe that fluff metric is something that's pretty important, you know?
[00:32:21.41] And I like momentum as well-- same sort of thing. It's the mass times velocity of sprinting. The ANOVAs come out for sprinting. But whenever you run something called a receiver operating characteristic curve, there's so many false negatives or false positives, whichever one it is, right? And I haven't had enough caffeine to remember.
[00:32:40.97] It basically makes it useless because I might have a receiver-- a walk-on, who's like 5' 5", runs a 4.2 40, He's never going to see the field, right? But if I have a receiver who's 6' 5" and runs a 4.2 40, this guy is going to be an All-American, right, as long as he can catch the ball. So you know that the sizing and speed both matter from that aspect. How I got here from talking about VBT, I don't really know. I'm pulling a Buddy Morris right now.
[00:33:11.88] No, I like this topic. And one thing that connected with me is, create your own zones. You know your athletes. You know their needs. That connected with me in the big leagues. I read a lot of your stuff. And I knew that the athletes I had were different than the athletes you based those initial zones on. There's a lot of technology out there that use the Bryan Mann velocity zones embedded within their systems. And they are still valuable from a-- when you look at muscular performance and what actual qualities you are training.
[00:33:48.66] But one concept that comes through and always I resonated with was that strength carryover. You're always going to be training as long as you have some weight on the bar. You're always going to be training some strength, and it's going to carry over into that. You're always going to be training some element of power as long as you're moving the bar with some element of velocity. It's how you're optimizing those.
[00:34:10.60] And one thing you told me back then and you stayed true to it now is load at peak power, knowing that for your athletes, knowing what weight to put on the bar for them so they can be at their best, I like to say-- sometimes you just want to train these athletes at very rewarding loads for them so they can be at their best and get out on the field and feel like a million bucks. And that was--
[00:34:34.14] Though you just said the most important thing, right? Everybody is always talking about, well, we need to maintain strength to be-- for in season, we need to do this. We need to do that. Nah, dude, the best ability is availability. And if I have my athletes out on the field feeling good, they're going to be playing better than if they maintain 95% of their squat max because I'm going too heavy and killing their legs, you know? And yeah, dude, that's it, man.
[00:34:58.79] Yeah, and they'll be hungry for that next training session. And it keeps fueling--
[00:35:01.91] Absolutely.
[00:35:02.42] --that consistency. And that's our best KPI, really, to this day is consistency and training. The more you can train, the more you can improve yourself, obviously some recovery elements in there as well. But that's the name of the game for us.
[00:35:19.53] So you're a part of the NSCA Conference Committee, a very active part of that committee. You were the chair. You're still very involved with that. We're currently seeking topics for NSCA events in 2025. What emerging topics do you see as relevant in the field right now? What are some of the topics the group is conversing about? And maybe we can inspire some folks to put in a speaker application here.
[00:35:45.94] Yeah, well, I mean, I'd really just-- what's new and what's emerging-- man, it depends on what we get. And really, I kind of want to take a little different call to arms here, man. You know, if anybody is like, hey, there's not good speakers here. There's not this. There's not that-- man, the NSCA is a volunteer-run organization-- a volunteer-led organization by a few paid people.
[00:36:05.95] There's, what, 60 paid people at the NSCA and, like, 35,000 certificants? That's a lot. And if you want to have a good conference, yeah, I'm going to go out and recruit people. I'm absolutely going to go out and recruit some of the best people that I can. But guess what? If they are really good at what they do, they're going to have a busy schedule. So we can't always get it.
[00:36:27.76] If you think you're doing something that's innovative, and you've got the data to support it, man, apply. It's on the website. Apply. If you want to have a better organization, you have to do something about it. And you have to volunteer. I'm known by a lot of people in the NSCA not because I'm smarter than anybody, not because I've got better ideas than anybody. It's because whenever somebody says, hey, we need this done, I got it, right?
[00:36:58.89] I started getting active on the SIGs and get elected into committees. And I just go out and do hard work because I feel like I've got something to contribute. If you feel like you've got something to contribute, sign up. You might not make it the first time. That's OK. Your first time speaking should not be on a national or international stage. Any time that I've seen that happen, the person usually pees down their leg.
[00:37:25.89] Get some experience at the local and regional level. Get some honing-in. Cut your teeth on something local. Get involved in your local organization. And then you'll get that reputation as you move on up. And you'll get the better experience speaking. You'll become more polished. And then whenever it's time to hit the center stage, then you'll shine rather than fold. So guys, is it possible to, in the show notes, have a link to the application page, Eric?
[00:37:58.24] We'll do it, yeah, for sure.
[00:37:59.77] Yeah.
[00:37:59.94] 100%. Let's get it, man. And if it's people aren't-- we haven't had that many applications the past couple of years, to be honest. I remember a few years ago-- and this was pre-COVID-- dude, it was taking me days. It was beyond mind-numbing how much stuff I had to wade through. In these past couple of years, there hasn't been much coming in to wade through. So I don't know if it's just that people don't know and don't realize that we do have a speaker application process.
[00:38:34.58] Are there recruited speakers as well? Yeah, I'd anybody who's on the Conference Committee-- they should be chomping at the teeth to get the best people in there that they can. And then we're not going to know everybody. So if we don't know you, we can't have you speak. So let's get out of the regional levels and things like that, make yourself more polished, and then let's go to the big show.
[00:38:58.25] I love it. No, it's a very-- I'm a baseball guy, and there's a baseball connection there with the minor league system getting called up to the big leagues. And that's kind of the mentality you take when you're applying to present at the NSCA. I love that you said, be willing to share, seek feedback.
[00:39:16.91] If you have one thing you're doing that you think is innovative, you can even present it as that, as this is a program that we developed with our athletes in our scenario. And it can be very narrow on some level. That can expand to getting more research behind it, and maybe even some dedicated studies. And depending on what your role is in the field, there's a lot of ways topics can develop over time.
[00:39:44.41] But there are topics we see all the time that are like, hey, I tried this. It worked. It was very beneficial for our athletes. And that's going to help somebody. That's going to inspire somebody. And there's even value in opening up the essentials textbook and taking something that we all know and we all do and putting your spin on it but in a way that is beneficial from your experience.
[00:40:10.58] And maybe there's a better way to do it than has been done in the past. And someone out there is probably like, oh, that's the way I've always felt about this one aspect of my program. Hopefully, that inspires you to put an application in. It might be something as simple as a lunge or a bodyweight progression.
[00:40:26.93] Find what you're good at. Find what you're passionate about. If you don't know what that is, ask somebody. They're probably going to tell you, hey, I love when you do this. And you may not even know that that's one of your top skills or something you're great at.
[00:40:40.55] Yeah, absolutely.
[00:40:41.69] And then follow that pipeline. It might be a podcast too, Bryan. You know, get on a podcast. Get used to sharing information. Get into your local network, like you said. State, provincial events through the NSCA. And that's your pipeline to get on the national stage at the NSCA, international depending on how far you want to take it. But we need great presenters.
[00:41:03.92] Someone sitting at home right now is a future board member at the NSCA, is a future board president at the NSCA. You might be in college listening to this and wondering, what kind of impact can I have on this profession? And you have no idea that that might be along your path. So hopefully, this inspires you to get dialed in.
[00:41:28.76] And if you need us to help you with that, I know Bryan's always open to emails, calls. I am as well. We'll put our info in the show notes. What's the best way to contact you, Bryan?
[00:41:40.22] Well, it's actually not by the call. I don't know how to check my voicemails here. But if they want to be able to catch me, it's-- I got to look at it. Let me try and bring the mic closer. 979-862-5391 is my office number. My email and my socials are all the same, J-B-R-Y-A-N-M-A-N-N.
[00:42:04.28] I just found out the other day that-- I don't know how, but I've got my Instagram messages partitioned somehow. So I don't always get those. So I'm working on figuring that out. Hopefully, one of-- we got a social media person here that I think is going to help me figure that one out. But yeah, Twitter, Instagram. I'm on Facebook. But yeah, I'm easy to catch there.
[00:42:29.48] My email is That's usually where I'm about the hardest to get a hold of just because of the volume of emails that I'll get. Some of the volume is just university emails. I might get 15, 20 of those, bunch of student emails, a bunch of random crap. And sometimes I'll get 300 emails, so then stuff will get lost. So if I don't get back to you in a day, email me again or hit me up on social media.
[00:43:00.10] Perfect, we'll do that. Bryan, thanks for being with us. Thanks for kicking off season 8. This is eight seasons of this. Scott Caulfield got this thing off the ground, so I always try to bring back a previous guest, someone he interviewed, when we kick off a new season. So you're our guy, man. Thanks for doing that.
[00:43:20.53] Hey, it's my pleasure. I'm glad it was me.
[00:43:23.25] Appreciate everyone tuning in today. And thanks to Sorinex Exercise Equipment. We appreciate their support.
[00:43:29.50] Hey, this is Kenna Smoak Minnici, the 2024 Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year award recipient. You just listened to an episode on the NSCA Coaching Podcast. Go Army. Beat Navy.
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[00:43:43.56] This was the NSCA's Coaching Podcast. The National Strength and Conditioning Association was founded in 1978 by strength and conditioning coaches to share information, resources, and help advance the profession. Serving coaches for over 40 years, the NSCA is the trusted source for strength and conditioning professionals. Be sure to join us next time.

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Eric McMahon is the Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager at the NSCA Headquarters in Colorado Springs. He joined the NSCA Staff in 2020 with ove ...

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