Interview with Ben Yauss

Ben Yauss is the LA Galaxy’s Strength & Conditioning Coach.

He has worked with world class players in the MLS such as Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Juan Pablo Angel and of course, David Beckham.

Ben took time out from celebrating the LA Galaxy’s recent MLS Cup victory over the Houston Dynamo to give us some insight into his life at the Galaxy and how we can look after ourselves over the winter break.

LA Galaxy’s victory was the clubs 4th MLS Cup victory overall and 2nd in the past 2 years. He must be doing something right! 

Across the pond here, we play on through the worst of the winter weather, how can our players look to stay injury free, even in the worst of conditions?

Weather can definitely present it’s fair share of challenges for players and coaching staff. From a players perspective I think you just have to have a good solid metal approach, stick to your routine, make sure that you get a good solid warm up and trust that your preparations will serve you well. We can’t change what mother nature is going to give us on game days and unfortunately we can’t prevent all injuries but if we stick to making sure that we are getting our bodies ready to play we have to trust that our bodies will be ready to handle all the demands and situations it encounters on the pitch.
What are the best exercises to ensure of sport specific fitness rather than just ‘being fit’?

I think the key to that is in the question itself. Sport specific and to go a step further even position specific or individualized fitness that fits that player in that team and organization for how that club likes there style of play to be. I personally feel that our players should have a good solid aerobic base to work from but from there I like to get creative with work and rest intervals, repeated sprints, short sided games, and fitness with the ball to get the guys the fitness they need to do their job on the pitch.
What is the most effective way to recover from a hard 90 minutes on the field?
I think guys need 48-72 hours to recover. First 48 hours ideally I like to see the guys have a complete rest day and then a session designed around low impact, low intensity work to slowly get them ready to train again. Those sessions can be 30-60 minutes of low intensity Heart Rate work (Jog, bike,easy ball work. etc) as well as some foam roll, trigger point tissue work and stretching.
Obviously there is no quick fix or replacement for dedication and hard work, but how can our players improve their diet and fitness, considering we only get to train once a week and the majority of us have office jobs through the week?

For nutrition an easy way to look at it is to follow what we call an 80/20 rule. 80% of the time eat what your suppose to eat (well balanced diet of protein, carbs, and fats) and then 20% of the time eat what you actually want to eat and don’t worry about it. From a fitness standpoint if you’re only training once a week I would consider that a high intensity fitness day for you. The rest of the week I would look to have one more high intensity fitness day, two medium intensity days and a recovery fitness day to get you to 5 days of fitness work. This can be running, training on your own, doing something active with family or friends but look to give yourself a balance of fitness and recovery for your bodies.
What is your favourite exercise/stretch?
My favorite exercise for soccer players in the gym is Single leg squats. Great for lower body strength and stability. Favorite stretch is called the Worlds Greatest Stretch. Several different variations and basically loosens up your upper back, glutes, hips, quads, and hamstrings all in one stretch.
What is the most rewarding thing about your job at the LA Galaxy?

Getting to interact with the players and coaches on a daily basis. There is an unbelievably great culture and family feel to this organization and club and it is an incredible experience to get to know these guys personally and to see how much they truly care about each other, fight for each other, respect each other and still find time to have a little fun and enjoy playing the game.
David Beckham has announced he is moving on from LA. What is your favourite memory of his time with the Galaxy? Will he be missed?

David will definitely be missed. True professional in every sense of the word. Great player, better teammate, and Unbelievable Father. My favorite memory is probably something most people dont get to see. Everyone knows how good he is on the pitch and what he can do with a soccer ball. For me though my lasting memory will be seeing how he carries himself off the pitch and how he goes out of his way to take pictures with people, or shake hands, or sign a jersey or simply say Hi and ask you how your day is and then seeing what a great Dad he is to those kids.
You can follow Ben on Twitter here : @byauss1 where he tweets about his life, the LA Galaxy and he provides an ‘Exercise of the Day’ that we can all make good use of!