Do Better, Do More

22 May

self-improvement[1]Don’t just accept where you are in life. If you want to be better, DO better. If you want to be more, DO more!

One more repetition or set in the weight room.

One more sprint or sled push on the field or track.

One more time practicing the ball-handling or shooting drill.

One more time reviewing for the upcoming quiz or test.

One more time practicing the speech or presentation.

One more kind word to another person.

One more minute of your time to improve you.

You have the ability — the power — to do more.

You can create a better version of yourself.

Strive to do more today than you did yesterday.

Strive to be better today than you were yesterday — better athlete, better student, better person.

Expect more of yourself.  Don’t be satisfied with where you were yesterday.  Push yourself.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Eccentric Training Improves Strength and Force Development

20 May

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.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

There Are No Secrets to Success

18 May

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 you plan, every day.

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

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Get Outside and Get Fit

15 May

RTEmagicC_IMG_4158_small.jpg[1]Summer is just around the corner and the weather is (finally) becoming much more conducive to outdoor activity.

Here’s a quick, 6-exercise circuit workout that will help you burn fat and get fit.  You won’t need any equipment, nor will you need a lot of space.  Get outside on your patio or deck, or the local park, and enjoy exercising in the warm, summer weather and fresh air.  Perform all six exercises as a circuit, with little or no rest between exercises.  Rest for 30 seconds between circuits, but keep moving; don’t sit or stand still.  Do a total of 3 circuits, as follows:

  • Jumping Jacks: Set 1 = 30 seconds; Set 2 = 45 sec; Set 3 = 60 sec
  • Plank: 15 sec; 30 sec; 45 sec
  • Body-Weight Squats: 8 reps; 12 reps; 20 reps
  • Pushups: 6 reps; 9 reps; 12 reps
  • Lunges: 6 reps per leg; 8 reps; 12 reps
  • Mountain Climbers: 15 sec; 30 sec; 45 sec

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Lateral Agility Ladder Drills

13 May

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.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

When You’re on the Bench During a Game

11 May

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.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Sprint-Hurdle-Sprint Agility Drill

8 May

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

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

More Sleep Can Reduce Injury Risk

6 May

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.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Let Perfect Get in the Way of Progress

4 May

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.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Increase Leg Strength with Plyometric Training

1 May

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 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.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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