Meet Lasse Rantala: Founder of The Athlete Training Protocol

Find out what makes a good coach, what is important to achieve your goals and why holistic programming is essential.

Hey Lasse, can you tell me more about your holistic approach to programming?

Sure! I want to leave room for my athletes to moderate their workouts, reflected on daily conditioning. Not all the time, but when needed.

If you are goal oriented athlete you do your daily actions to support your training; your goal. Single training sessions don´t matter in the big picture and athletes should not stress too much if they don´t pr every time they pick up the barbell.

Of course you have to concentrate and put your heart and soul to your training and try to get the best of you every time, but you have to understand the daily factors. If you haven´t  slept well, eaten well, recovered well or you have a lot of stress going on, then you don´t get the full potential out of your training session.

Maverick athlete understands these factors and can moderate the workout to get the best out of that training session. It may mean to scale a little or the whole workout. Just to do some light aerobic training and dynamic movements, instead of doing programmed 1RM Snatch + Amanda and Triple unders.

What role does movement play for you in your coaching and programming?

Movement is in huge role in my programming. I think the better you move, the better you succeed.

Good mobility, flexibility and body awareness carries easily to complex movements like snatch or muscle up. Movement is life.

I think every time you get injured it is a movement fault: either you have done something too much, too little or executed the movement wrongly.

Once a week I program a Skill Day, where we concentrate moving better and strengthening the areas around shoulders, hips and core. We practice with decreased intensity and volume on Skill Days because you want to be fresh when learning new skills and drills to give the best conditions for optimal neurological adaptation.

How do you feel movement interacts with other elements of training such as conditioning and strength?

It interacts greatly. If you move well, everything else will be easier. Let´s think about common movement like shoulder to overhead. If you have restricted range of overhead mobility you will have to fight, not only for the load, but your restrictions as well. If you move well you can fight for the load only. Poor movement will increase the risk to get injured as well.

Why is it important for you to know what athletes do outside the box?

Heh, I don´t need to gather any information, unless it has effect on training or progress. But sometimes the answer lies before our very own eyes.

If we go deeper, I have athletes that I coach 1-on-1 and it is important to know what´s going on in their life. I see pretty well if my athletes are having stress, problems with money, school, relationships etc.

I want to mentor my athletes to sort out those problems. Nobody needs to be unhappy.

How do you help athletes make the necessary changes to optimise their time outside the box, in order to support their training?

I don´t want to command people to do this and this, but try make them see how much benefit you get when you start doing right things to support your training. Every change should start with a commitment. To be committed to your decision. And start with baby steps.

Check out more on optimising the time from Lasse Rantala:

The Other 23 Hours: How to Optimise Your Training

How should a successful day of any athlete start? And how should it end?

Plain and simple: Wake up after a good night sleep and go to bed early enough to get a good night sleep while spending the day being a good human to others. If you happen to do sports in between, that´s great. Life is more than just sports.

What is your perspective on training trends? Are these something to be embraced or avoided in your opinion?

I have nothing against training trends. A lot of good has happened, thanks to trends. In generally people don´t move enough anymore. Obesity is a really big problem. There are some poor and some good trends. The world is full with different ways to exercise. Try and find what suits you the best. Just move.

My advice would be: don´t spent your energy and money on something that doesn´t work for you.

How do you motivate your athletes when times get tough?

I use a catchphrase “remember why you train”. Time to time it gets difficult, especially if you are injured. Then we just have to find the ways to move and train and sometimes we have to do only things that are nice and give you pleasure.

In a competition I tell my athletes not to worry about anything they cannot control. It is useless to spent time thinking what other people are doing or what are the conditions or equipment like. Just concentrate for your own performance, event by event, round by round, rep by rep. Ben Bergeron writes about this mindset in his great book “Chasing for Exellence.”

What do you think motivates athletes to join The Athlete Training Protocol?

ATP is a great programming to find your full potential and the methods that suit you the best. In ATP we don´t have any specific competition to train for. Athlete is able to choose a template that fits best to their current goals and training regimen. And I´m available for my athletes, I answer every email I get and try my best to help them.

Who is the Athlete Training Protocol for? How do you help athletes to achieve their training goals?

For the beginner level:

I shoot myself in the foot now by saying this, but ATP is not for you if you are just starting to train CrossFit. You need to learn the basics first by going to a regular class or be coached otherwise. After you know the basic movements you can start doing ATP. Otherwise you don´t get the full potential of my programming.

For the more advanced athlete:

How you compete will tell how you train. I want my athletes to train pain free and get results.

Training is just not the hours you spent in the gym, you have got to have the right mindset and act like an athlete 24/7.

Movement plays a big role in ATP and we produce videos on weekly basis to help you to reach your goal.

What makes a good coach? What piece of advice would you give to aspiring coaches?

You have got to be enthusiastic and eager to learn more, everyday. Don´t copycat other coaches, be more you. That was one of the great advices I got from my mentor Jami Tikkanen. Trust is important, coaches must respect their athletes and vice versus.

What do you think about athletes who train without a coach? Is a coach a necessity for ambitious athletes?

There are great athletes who train without a coach. Minority in this sport though. A coach is the rock where you lean when things don´t go as planned. It can be lonely by yourself.

Do you try to develop more personal relationship with athletes? Do you think it is important to stay professional as a coach or rather friendly?

If you want to be successful coach you have to be professional whatever you do. But you can also be friendly. It doesn´t have to be one or the other. It´s a thin red line sometimes. A good relationship with athlete and coach is something they both learn and help each other to achieve their goals.

Is mindset a factor that influences an athlete´s performance or rather the other way round, sport builds the confidence that then improves their mindset?

Mindset is the key. With a right mindset everything else will follow. If you really believe in something and want something to happen, you will find the way. I´m not saying it´s that easy and simple to accomplish, but for me that is the way I think about life.

If you want to get to the island, burn your boat. Either you swim there or drown.

ABOUT LASSE

What role has sport, fitness and training played throughout your life?

I´ve done sports all my life and I love them all. Anything with sports, just ask me to join and I´ll be there. If I would be the last man on earth, I would still train. It gives me pleasure. I´ve met my wife during sports and I make a living out of sports so I couldn´t be happier.

What is the most rewarding element of coaching for you?

I want my athletes to succeed in life: work, school, relationships, whatever. That´s the ultimate reward. In sports I want my athletes to be able to train progressively and get better, find their maximum potential.

When an athlete gets help from my programming or coaching. It doesn´t have to be a victory in a competition. It can be the first muscle-up or GHD sit-up. Or getting more fitness and improve their quality of life. It´s nice to see my athletes do well in competitions, but that´s not why I do this.

Where has your interest in movement, conditioning and programming evolved from?

I would say little by little. Human body and movement have always been fascinating me. Even I´ve done sports my whole life, I was never flexible or had a good mobility. I´ve used my own body to try and test all kinds of things and methods. Over the years I´ve seen the results I´got by the progress and hard work.

I graduated as a physiotherapist over 10 years ago and I´m still on that road. Learning and testing and educating myself.  And loving it every day.

Learn more about Lasse and The Athlete Training Protocol

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About The Author

Editor-In-Chief at BOXROX. I come from a background of rugby and weightlifting. Growing up in the English Lake District, I spent a great deal of time swimming in its stunning lakes and rivers. In 2015 my brothers and I became the first people to swim the 145km length of the River Eden, from source to mouth, in 9 days. We also swam the Corryvreckan whirlpool, the third largest in the world, and Crossfit is a huge part of my training for these events.

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