Anyone who has ever trained before knows the importance of warming up before they begin their activity. A proper warm up helps to increase performance, decrease injuries, and perfect movement patterns. Training to improve your vertical jump is no different. By incorporating a jumping specific warm up, into a traditional warm up routine, an athlete can expect improve their jump height, while also limiting the likelihood of an injury.
If you follow any fitness accounts on social media, you have likely come across multiple posts on the dangers of “tight” hip flexors.
According to these posts, hip flexor tightness is the cause of virtually all postural and movement related issues. Their prescription is generally three sets of 60 seconds of static stretching, which they believe will loosen the hip flexor muscles and correct the issue at hand.
The problem with this thinking is that it does not take the true function of the hip flexors into consideration. Secondly, if the hip flexors are truly tight, this static stretching will not address the underlying cause of the tightness.
When most people think of functional training, images of people over head squatting on top of stability balls come to mind. The idea is that training on an unstable surface while holding miscellaneous objects for resistance, prepare the body for anything life can throw at it. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In the simplest sense, functional training is anything that improves the performance of the individual, in whatever task they are training for. This could be an increased vertical jump for a volleyball player or a pain-free lower back for a carpenter. Often times, the training itself only loosely resembles the speed or joint actions required to be successful for the particular task. The only prerequisite for anything to be considered functional is whether or not it actually improves the parameters that are valued for that given person. If they do – functional. If they do not – not functional.
When it comes time to make a major change in your life, the very idea can seem overwhelming. All the things you need to start doing, all the things you need to stop doing. These lists leave most people paralyzed, and content with their current life.
What if there was an easier way? What if you could change one small thing and everything else would change with it?
Contrary to what some believe, female athletes do not need to train all that much different than male athletes. Just like males, females need to be strong, jump high, and run fast. With this said, there are some unique differences of female athletes – some of these are blatantly obvious, others are not. Even with these differences, only subtle modifications are necessary, while leaving the bulk of the training program intact.
Baseball strength training is a double-edged sword. It is important for increasing throwing velocity, but when done incorrectly, it can cause serious shoulder damage. Because of this, many coaches debate what exercises baseball players should be doing and how heavy they should lift on those exercises. One of these often debated baseball strength training exercises is the bench press. Few exercises can match its' development of the upper body, but it can also do a number on the shoulders. For baseball players that want the strength benefits of the bench press, without the achy shoulder, here are three shoulder-friendly alternatives to the bench press.
Summer off-season training is a great opportunity for athletes to pack on a large amount of muscle in a very short period of time. These three months are ideal for training because most athletes have fewer commitments during the summer, allowing them to really focus on improving their strength and size.
However, this will not happen by chance. For athletes to make serious gains in only 12 weeks, they must be spot on with their nutrition and training. This means, eating enough calories and protein to support muscles growth, while also following a proper strength and conditioning program in the weight room.
Core training is one of the most popular terms you will hear thrown around by coaches and athletes, yet many do not fully understand the actual function of the core. Often only thought of as the abdominal muscles, the core actually includes all the muscles from the shoulder to the hip. The function of these muscles are to transfer energy between the legs and the arms. The stronger the core, the more power an athlete can display – whether it be jumping up for a rebound in basketball or swinging a bat in softball.
There are two very important reasons for baseball players to include back training into their strength and conditioning program – injury prevention and improved performance. By strengthening the muscles on the backside of their shoulders, baseball players are able to better decelerate their arm when throwing, reducing the stress placed on the shoulder. The back also plays a large role in creating power in both batting and throwing. With the help of a well-designed training program, that incorporates a healthy amount of back training, a baseball player can expect to hit the ball further, throw the ball harder, and stay healthier in the process.
In the world of sports, they say speed kills. The truth is, acceleration is what really separates elite athletes from the rest of us. In most sports, top speed is rarely reached during competition. So, while speed is definitely important, what matters most for athletes is their ability to explosively accelerate for short distances. Here are three exercises to help you gain a step on your competition.
If you have ever spent a winter driving in Minnesota, you can appreciate the need for traction. When you’re on ice, you can have all the horsepower in the world, but if your tires don’t have traction with the road, you’re going nowhere. The human body is no different. You can have a ton of strength in your hips, but without a strong and stable ankle, much of that power will never reach the ground. And, like a Honda Civic in 12 inches of snow, you’ll be going nowhere quick.
Everyone knows the importance of strength and speed training in the off-season, but when the season finally rolls around, many athletes stop training completely. This is a mistake. Not only do these athletes stop progressing, they actually regress and go backwards with their strength and speed. Within only a few short weeks, noticeable strength and speed drops will occur (1). As the season goes on, performance markers continue on their downward spiral, resulting in an athlete that is weakest and slowest at the most crucial time of the season – playoffs.
All is not lost, though. By simply implementing a well thought-out in-season training program, athletes can maintain and potentially even improve their strength and speed, without sacrificing any practice time.
With the start of fall, we can officially slide back on our Uggs and resume putting pumpkin spice in every food and drink item imaginable. But, what’s pumpkin spice without a little whipped cream – Right?
These drinks might make the inevitability of fall/winter a little more bearable, but how many calories are in them, and how much would you need to exercise to burn them off? Below are four popular pumpkin spice drinks, with their calories listed, and the number of minutes of burpees you would need to perform, to burn them off.
If you are like many of my professional clients, the amount of time you have available to work out is limited. Between meetings, traveling, and family there is little time left over for you to improve your health and fitness. Being this crunched for time, it is important to get all you can out of every minute you have in the gym.
In a perfect world we would all have two hours set aside each day to work out, but that’s not realistic for most of us. When we are limited on the time we have to work out, we need to take advantage of the time we do have by performing as many multi-joint exercises as we can. These exercises are great because they allow us to work multiple muscles groups at once, saving valuable time – not to mention they also tend to be more beneficial for gaining muscle and strength.
When you hear the words “return on investment,” or ROI for short, images of the stock market and retirement funds come to mind. People put money in to these investments expecting something in return – more money! The more money that comes out, compared to money put in, the greater the ROI.
With sports performance training, you want to increase your ROI just as you would with your investment funds. Instead of looking solely at money, an athlete also has to consider time – the most valuable resource of them all. For every hour an athlete trains, they should expect to receive things in return – greater strength, power, speed, etc. With the limited time most youth athletes have, it is important that they maximize their ROI for every hour they put in at the gym.
A recent look at the 2016 NFL Draft showed that 28 out of 31 first round draft picks were multi-sport athletes – 12 of which played more than two. This year’s draft, along with many before it, debunks the “more is better” myth many parents and coaches follow in regards to athletic development. Many parents fear if they do not pick a single sport and focus all their child’s time on it, they will fall behind the competition, ruining their chances of success. When looking at professional athletes from all different sports, this simply is not true. In fact, early specialization may actually ruin your son/daughter’s chances of playing at the next level.