Happy Thanksgiving (Hit the Gym Friday)

23 Nov

Best wishes to you and yours for a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday from Athletic Performance Training Center!

No matter who you are or what your situation, we all have much for which to be thankful.  Sometimes, life (and the speed at which it moves) has the tendency to obscure that.

Regardless of how or what you celebrate, I hope you are able to reflect on your blessings this holiday season.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Eccentric Training Improves Strength and Force Development

16 Nov

Bench%20Press%20with%20Spotter[1]Eccentric (ECC) actions, when emphasized during resistance training, may elicit greater strength adaptation, muscular hypertrophy, acute increases in subsequent concentric (CON) force capabilities, and favorable acute inflammatory response compared with traditional ECC/CON actions and CON muscle actions alone,” according to research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. (Kelly, et.al.)

Multiple studies show that athletes can augment traditional, concentric training with eccentric training to increase force capabilities.

The eccentric phase of an exercise (also known as the negative phase) is usually when the weight is lowered in preparation for the next concentric (push) action.  For example, an eccentric bench press would consist of lowering a barbell from a fully extended elbow position to the chest in a continuous, controlled manner for 3-4 seconds.

Try adding an eccentric set to your usual training.  If you usually perform three sets of a particular exercise, make the last set an eccentric set.

Or, make one training day per week an eccentric training day.  If you train three days per week, perform all exercises and sets eccentrically on your middle day.

For more advanced, proficient athletes (in the weight room), if you have access to a spotter or two, try overload eccentric training, using 100% or more of your 1RM.  (Note — a spotter is usually a good idea for many exercises, including weighted exercises done eccentrically, even with lighter loads)

This strategy is not only for weighted exercises.  Eccentric training also works well with body-weight exercises, such as the squat, pushup, chinup, dip, etc.

When is comes to strength training — think negative, gain positive.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

There Are No Secrets to Success

9 Nov

top-success-quotes_12020-5[1]Don’t look for secrets when studying the best. Look at the basics. Look at what they do every day. Success often lies there.” – Buzz Williams

What we often see, when observing excellence in athletic performance (or any other endeavor), is just the result — the “tip of the iceberg.”  What we don’t see are the days, months, and years of hard work, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice that contributed to the success.

Success is the result of consistency.  It lies in the mundane, not the magical.

Success requires getting the basics right.  It’s foundation is sound and solid.

Success is built on not only action, but attitude.  It is fed by passion, enthusiasm, and desire.

The path to success is not devoid of obstacles; but the realization that each setback is a learning opportunity that brings us one step closer to success.

Success is planning your work, and working your plan, every day.

There are no secrets.  Be your best, do your best, give your best, and strive to improve you, TODAY.  Then do it again tomorrow.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Lateral Agility Ladder Drills

2 Nov

hqdefault[1]A component of our Speed and Agility training involves working on footwork and foot speed.  When using the agility ladder, we like our athletes to perform drills that involve both linearforward and backward — and lateral movements.

Here’s a short video clip in which one of our athletes demonstrates a few lateral agility ladder drills.  This particular progression involves the following drills, performed in both directions:

  1. Lateral shuffle
  2. Lateral crossover (foot over foot)
  3. Lateral crossover (foot under foot)
  4. Carioca

The “foot under foot” drill becomes more challenging when performed at high speed, as your muscle memory will try to turn it into carioca.

These drills should be performed as quickly as they can be done, cleanly (without mangling the ladder).  For the purpose of this video, I asked our athlete — a local high school football player — to demonstrate the drills at a slower speed to better show the correct footwork.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

When You’re on the Bench During a Game

26 Oct

Youth_Basketball_Sitting_out[1]Every athlete wants to be a starter and play big minutes.  And, if you’re a competitor, that’s what you should want.

But, the reality is, at some point every athlete finds him- or herself on the bench.  It may be for rest, foul trouble, injury, poor play, or other reason.  How you handle your time on the bench ultimately says a lot about you as an athlete, teammate, and competitor.

Every great team is made up of players who accept their roles and perform in those roles to the best of their abilities.  From the star to the person at the end of the bench, it takes a collaborative effort from everyone to be a championship team.  Great teams embrace a “WE BEFORE ME” mentality.

Here’s a great article I borrowed from a friend of mine, an area high school athletic director and boys basketball coach.  It’s titled, How to be a Great Player… While Sitting on the Bench.  The article was written by Coach Mac and published on the site, Basketball for Coaches.

When you find yourself on the bench during a game, rest your body, NOT your mind!

Gain an edge by staying engaged when you’re on the bench.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Sprint-Hurdle-Sprint Agility Drill

19 Oct

hqdefault[1]Here’s another Speed and Agility drill we like for our athletes.  The Sprint-Hurdle-Sprint Drill emphasizes acceleration, deceleration, change of direction (lateral phase), and foot speed.

In the video, one of our athletes — a high school junior football player — demonstrates each phase of the drill.  Here’s the progression:

  • Left foot over hurdles, right foot outside hurdles
  • Right foot over hurdles, left foot outside hurdles
  • Both feet over hurdles, left foot first
  • Both feet over hurdles, right foot first
  • One foot over hurdles, left foot first (left-right-left)
  • One foot over hurdles, right foot first (right-left-right)
  • Lateral shuffle over hurdles, left foot first
  • Lateral shuffle over hurdles, right foot first

Distance between first cone and first hurdle = 5 yards

Distance between hurdles = 1 yard

Distance between last hurdle and last cone = 5 yards

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

More Sleep Can Reduce Injury Risk

14 Oct

terrell-owens-2[1]The number of hours athletes sleep may be the best predictor of injury, according to researchers in Los Angeles, who tracked the sleep and training habits of high school athletes.

These findings are consistent with the results of similar studies, showing that lack of sleep can adversely affect cognitive and fine motor skills.

Growth hormone, which occurs during deep sleep, is an essential ingredient for athletic recovery.

In the LA survey, average sleep per night and risk of injury were correlated, as follows:

  • 5 hours of sleep was associated with a 60% risk of injury
  • 6 hours of sleep was associated with a 75% risk of injury
  • 7 hours of sleep was associated with a 62% risk of injury
  • 8 hours of sleep was associated with a 35% risk of injury
  • 9 hours of sleep was associated with a 17% risk of injury

Get in the weight room, practice your sport-specific skills, fuel your body with good food, and add a good night’s sleep to your training plan.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Don’t Let Perfect Get in the Way of Progress

5 Oct

perfect-progress[1]Don’t worry about being perfect today.  Instead, focus on being better than yesterday — strive to be your best, in terms of attitude and effort.

Don’t compare yourself with others, don’t aspire to be better than anyone else, and don’t stress over challenges, mistakes, and setbacks.

Learn from mistakes, be persistent, and simply do what you can do to make today better than yesterday.

While it’s admirable to aim for perfection, you’ve got to be realistic and reasonable.

As Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

Strive for perfection, settle for excellence, and — above all — keep moving forward and getting better.

BE YOUR BEST

DO YOUR BEST

GIVE YOUR BEST

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Improve Leg Strength with Plyometric Training

28 Sep

box-jump[1]

Box Jump

Want to improve your leg strength?  Add some hopping, skipping, jumping, and bounding to your workouts.

Just six weeks of plyometric (jump) training resulted in a 10% increase in leg strength, according to research from the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

Squat jumps, broad jumps, box jumps, depth jumps, and hurdle hops can be easily incorporated into a workout.

Plyometric training is typically high-intensity, especially as compared to traditional, ground-based strength training.  Factors that influence the intensity of lower-body plyometric drills include points of contact (and commensurate stress on muscles, connective tissues, and joints); speed; height of the drill; and the participant’s weight.

Plyometric training sessions should generally be limited to two (2) per week, even if you are strength training with greater frequency.  A day (or more) of rest between jump training sessions is recommended.

Here are the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) guidelines for appropriate plyometric training volume based on experience:

  • Beginner (no experience) = 80-100 “touches” (every time your feet land on the ground or other surface, it’s counted as one touch)
  • Intermediate (some experience) = 100-120 touches
  • Advanced (considerable experience) = 120-140 touches

Always make sure you warm up properly, wear appropriate footwear, and choose a safe, shock-absorbing landing surface (grass field, suspended floor, rubber mat, etc.) to prevent injuries.

Then get up off your feet and get some air.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

Flexibility Training May Reduce Strength Development

21 Sep

429_2[1]Be careful about how much flexibility training you do, especially if you play a power sport.

Research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research corroborates volumes of previous data, showing that flexibility training may reduce strength development.

In the study, Thalita, et.al., concluded that “combining strength and flexibility training is not detrimental to flexibility development; however, combined training may reduce strength development.”

Scores of previous studies have demonstrated that flexibility training elongates and relaxes muscles, diminishing their ability to generate strength and power, especially in the short-term.

Avoid pre- and post-workout stretching; opt instead for dynamic warmup, foam rolling, and movement-based cool down to enhance blood flow to tissues, and increase mobility and range-of-motion.

Your thoughts?

WE WILL HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE!

We provide motivated athletes with a simple, customized training plan to help them improve performance and reduce injury risk.

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