January 14, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in Interview with 2 comments
This week, Melissa Witmer, the founder of Ultimate Results and the Ultimate Athlete Project, will be opening her training program to new members. Witmer quit her day job to focus her energy on helping ultimate players take a more sensible — and effective — approach to training in the gym and on the field.
We spoke to Witmer shortly after she returned from Colombia, where she had spent nearly three months traveling, holding clinics, and teaching Colombian ultimate players the basics of getting stronger and faster.
“The clinics were comprehensive…,” she said. “We went over all of the aspects of training, with an emphasis on: if you’re a coach, how do you teach this stuff to other players? How do you put this stuff into an organized program?”
Each of her seven clinics — in seven different Colombian cities — was over 12 hours of instruction time over the course of a few days. “It’s really interesting to go to a different country and work with ultimate players there,” she said.
“They have different plusses and minuses about how they’ve been brought up to play.”
She noted that in Colombia, the players were quick and had great footwork, but lacked much knowledge of the benefits of strength training. That was a major focus of her clinics.
“There is a huge window of opportunity that so many players are not taking advantage of just because of the way they are organizing their training,” she said. “That’s kind of sad, but it’s also kind of a great thing. No matter what age you are you still probably have a ton of room for improvement and have more athletic ability than you realize.”
To that end, she has worked to become one of the most recognizable names in fitness in the ultimate community, alongside coaches like Tim Morrill (check out his Ultiworld interview).
Her core product is the Ultimate Athlete Project, a comprehensive training guide for ultimate. For $15 a month, you get access to the website, which holds training programs (changed every four weeks), instructional videos, and Q&A forums. The programming covers strength training, conditioning, and speed and agility work.
Witmer, an NCSA certified strength and conditioning coach, focuses on program design as the core part of her work. “It’s not just about the exercises, it’s more about having one athletic building block stacked upon another,” she explained.
She focuses, like Morrill, on single leg strength exercises and developing strength unilaterally.“The way we do things for general fitness is different than what people do for athletic development and athletic training,” she said.
But she emphasized the importance of having solid programming. “The big difference here is program design,” she said. “It’s not about the workout, but it’s about what you do with that workout.”
She is opening the Ultimate Athlete Project to new members this week, but just this week. The program will close again. She does this, she said, to keep everyone who joins together on the same page and working together.
“It’s been a year now that we’ve had the UAP – the first year was really great,” she said. “It definitely exceeded my expectations as far as just the impact that it had on players who really followed the programs. It was just really great to see that.”
There are some adjustments begin made, including ensuring that the equipment required is minimal so that most anyone with access to a basic gym will be able to do the prescribed exercises.
Witmer has also begun working on a new product for coaches of youth teams looking for advice about training younger players. It will be out this spring.
If you are interested in Witmer’s material, check out her website, her blog, the Ultimate Athlete Project, and sign up for her newsletter with 25 free tips about training for ultimate.