Archive for “wil fleming” Tag

IYCA Member Spotlight: Wil Fleming

Wil fleming

Wil Fleming is the Owner of Force Fitness and Performance and Athletic Revolution Bloomington, in Bloomington, IN.  Force Fitness opened just over 3 years ago and is already one of the most successful training facilities in the Midwest with nearly 400  clients, 25 athletes earning Division I scholarships and nearly 45 athletes moving on to compete at the NCAA level in Division I, II, III.

In addition to being a business owner, Wil was one of the authors of the IYCA’s Essentials of High School  Strength and Conditioning, along with other noted performance experts Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, and Dr. Toby Brooks.  Wil is also the author of the Olympic Lifting instructor Course from the IYCA, in which he details his progressions for teaching the Olympic lifts to athletes of all levels.

Wil earned a bachelors of science from Indiana University in Nutrition Science. He is a  Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the NSCA, a Youth Performance  Specialist from the IYCA, and a level 1 performance coach from USA weightlifting.

Prior to being a business owner, he was an Olympic Trials participant, a division 1 track and field coach at Indiana University, an all-American athlete, and the school record  holder at Indiana University as a hammer thrower. Wil was a resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for Olympic weightlifting after winning the Jr. National Championship in the same sport.

1. What’s your background?

My background was that of competitive athletics. I started as a young, not so fast and strong athlete that discovered training was the great equalizer. Starting a strength and conditioning program allowed me to end up with a college scholarship and opportunities I could never dream of as a kid. 

This experience made me know that I wanted to help young athletes in the same way, to give them the opportunities to have doors open for them. Whether that meant a college scholarship, or lifelong friendships with teammates they might otherwise have not had. 

This led me to open Force Fitness and Performance/Athletic Revolution Bloomington just over 5 years ago with my business partner Ryan Ketchum. 

2. What do you do in your career today?

My career is a little different than it was 5 years ago. When we started I was on the floor training 14-16 hours 5-6 days per week. Now I can be a little more choosy about my schedule and train 20 hours per week or so. I spend the remainder of my time writing about training athletes at my website (www.wilfleming.com). In addition I contribute to the IYCA regularly in the form of blog posts and helping to develop some of the continuing education products that the IYCA is known for as part of their board of experts. 

3. What does the IYCA mean to you or how has the IYCA impacted you?

Without my affiliation with the IYCA, I definitely would not be in the place I am today. Every influential person I have met in fitness can be in some way traced to the interactions I have had with the IYCA. The guys in charge are always there to answer my questions or connect me to someone that can. 

4. Why you created / contributed to your IYCA products and who they are for.

I was honored to be a part of so many cool products through the IYCA. From the High School Strength and Conditioning Certification to the Olympic lift certification and Complete Athletic development there is one common vision: To help create better fitness professionals that are capable of impacting young athletes. While I have been able to open doors for a lot of young athletes, it is mind blowing to think of the number of athletes impacted by the coaches who have used and applied the principles in the IYCA products to which I have contributed. 


Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes: Hang Cleans for Dramatic Athletic Improvement


Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes

Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes

I was speaking yesterday to a fellow strength and conditioning professional and the question came up “Do you like to do cleans from the floor or from the hang?”


Considering that my first experiences with training came at the age of 15 in an Olympic lifting club where we competed regularly in the sport of Olympic lifting, you might just assume that my answer is from the floor. It was what I was first introduced to and where I cut my teeth in training. It turns out though that the answer is not in line with traditional thinking. I choose the hang clean for all of my athletes (For the most part).

Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes

I choose the hang clean because for nearly all Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes it is the position from which they will complete most of their athletic skills. The start position from the floor is essentially a rolling start and the last time I checked linemen in football don’t get to take a running start to the line.. The response to this line of thought mostly comes in the form of, “Well I don’t ever get in a full squat position while pole vaulting/playing tennis, etc etc, So are you suggesting that I don’t ever squat?” The answer is emphatically, undeniably that……


Well they are missing the point. What we train by doing Olympic lifts from a hang starting position is the quality that often makes athletes successful not the specific movement pattern.


Olympic Lifting from the floor is a sport, and good Olympic lifters are built for and made up to be good at that sport. You probably wouldn’t make a 5’10” Olympic Lifter a basketball player to improve their Olympic lifting, so why make a 6’6″ basketball player an Olympic lifter to improve their sport?

Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes

All this said, I do have my athletes train movements from the floor for increased hip mobility and for some variation in their training program over the course of a typical program, but for the most part the focus is on developing the hang clean and hang snatch to the fullest.


The hang clean is a perfect way to overcome the difficulties in teaching and the physical limitations of many athletes. By starting from the above knee position the athlete can take advantage of the strong stretch shortening cycle and maximize their potential pulling power. I believe that the ability to move a load quickly and explosively is absolutely essential to being a good athlete. The hang clean is by far the best way to learn and develop this skill.


Where do you have your athletes start their cleans? I want to know…


You absolutely need to have progressive training systems in place for all areas of your programs. Speed, strength, power and especially if you are using Olympic Lifting with young athletes!


If you want to know how to start using Olympic lifting with young athletes in your program check out the Olympic lifting instructors course.

Olympic Lifting With Young Athletes