Zach Dechant on Movement over Maxes and the Mistake of Chasing Strength

Zach Dechant grew up in a farming community in Kansas, where the population is 300 people (or less, depending on the day). Their high school didn’t have a weight room, nor a coach who knew anything about strength and conditioning.

But Zach knew that if he was going to become a college athlete, he’d need to learn how to become bigger, stronger, and faster.

So, with the money he earned from the farm, Zach bought his own weights and started teaching and training himself.

Heeding his father’s advice to share his love and passion for athleticism with others, Zach took the path of becoming a strength and conditioning coach. Today, Zach is on his 14th season at Texas Christian University as Senior Assistant Director of Strength & Conditioning.

In addition to this role where he oversees the development of the baseball program, Zach also authored Movement Over Maxes, where he details the process of developing foundational movement qualities in athletes.

Zach joins me today to discuss how he develops the baseball players at TCU and shares his “Movement Over Maxes” approach.

He explains why he focuses on building athletes over their entire career. He reveals his method for measuring and assessing an athlete’s strength and describes the role of velocity-based training in his program.

Zach discusses how coaches can help maintain the shoulder and elbow health of athletes and why he uses crawling patterns in his training.

He also underscores the importance of cultivating life-long relationships with athletes and shares his advice for younger coaches who want to progress into internships.


If your athletes don’t know how to move, you can’t progress or intensify your training in the weight room. – Zach Dechant


This week on the Physical Preparation Podcast:

  • Zach’s background, his work at TCU, and what led him to the world of physical preparation
  • His career path and why he had 13 different address in the first three years of his career
  • Why Zach emphasizes movement over strength and the importance of teaching athletes how to move, jump, and land correctly
  • How Zach determines whether athletes are strong enough
  • Ensuring that athletes are prepared for the demands of their sport
  • The benefits of velocity-based training and why he incorporates it in his programs
  • Autoregulation and maintaining strength during the in-season
  • The powerful effect of objective feedback
  • Freshness, feeding the cats, and why coaches need to communicate with their athletes
  • The best tool in the coach’s toolbox
  • Why Zach uses crawling patterns in his training sessions and their benefits on the scapular and serratus regions
  • How to keep the shoulders and elbows of baseball players healthy
  • The 300-yard shuttle and other mistakes people make when they train baseball players
  • Valuing the mentorship role and why Zach decided to leave professional baseball to work in collegiate sports


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Connect with Zach:


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