Tag Archives: athletic performance training

Why You Shouldn’t Treat the Off-Season Like a Vacation

21 Jul

Athletes usually consider the off-season as a period of rest, but this is the time to get strength and conditioning work done! During “downtime,” sport-specific activity like practices and games are at their lowest level, so your training activity should increase.

Once an athlete has completed his or her sport season, a rest/recovery period of about one week is suggested. Since the demands of the sport season have decreased, strength and conditioning should be a priority. An athlete can now train with maximum frequency (number of days per week), intensity (amount of weight, loads) and volume (number of sets and repetitions).

Think of your off-season in phases. This promotes long-term training and performance improvements. Keep in mind, the key word here is performance; it doesn’t benefit an athlete to improve in the weight room unless those improvements can be applied to his or her sport(s) of choice.

Hypertrophy/Endurance Phase

Very low to moderate intensity and very high to moderate volume; the goals for this phase are to increase lean body mass and develop muscular endurance in preparation for more intense training in later phases.

Exercises ideal for this phase are:

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Bench Press

Basic Strength Phase

High intensity and moderate volume; this phase progresses to more complex, specialized, and sport-specific training.

In addition to previous exercises, add:

  • Lunge
  • Step-Up
  • Push Press
  • Lat Pulldown

Strength/Power Phase

High intensity and low volume; this phase involves increased strength training intensity and power/explosive exercises.

In this phase add exercises like:

  • Hang Clean
  • Push Press
  • Medicine Ball Throws
  • Plyometrics

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Boost Your Performance with Contrast Training

19 Apr

There are various differences in the physical demands of sports, based on factors such as the sport, itself, and positional differences among and between athletes.  Different sports require athletes to move through unique movement patterns which, for training purposes, can be categorized into vertical, linear, and lateral.  Exercises that focus on strength and power development, in these three areas, should be at the forefront of every athlete’s training program.

One of the goals of athletic performance training should be to increase the athletes’ work capacity while improving (reducing) their recovery time.  Contrast training is a highly effective method for improving many physical attributes involved in athletic performance, including strength, power, speed and agility — if implemented properly.  Contrast training involves performing a set of a heavy resistance exercise, immediately followed by a set of a biomechanically similar power exercise (for example, a barbell back squat, immediately followed by a squat jump).  Complex training is a similar approach, which involves performing 3-4 sets of heavy resistance training followed by 3-4 sets of the biomechanically similar power exercise.

The benefits of contrast training include:

  • Effective in producing results
  • Highly efficient
  • Allows for high work density
  • Time effective
  • Allows athletes to complete fewer training sessions in order to yield the same or greater results
  • May have implications for injury prevention

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Improve Performance With Contrast Sets

21 Jan

hex-bar-girl[1]One of the goals of athletic performance training should be to increase athletes’ work capacity while improving (reducing) their recovery time. Contrast training is a highly effective method for improving many physical attributes involved in athletic performance, including strength, power, speed (acceleration) and agility — if implemented properly.  Contrast training involves performing a set of a heavy resistance exercise, immediately followed by a set of a biomechanically similar power exercise (for example, a barbell back squat, immediately followed by a squat jump).  Complex training is a similar approach, which involves performing 3-4 sets of heavy resistance training followed by 3-4 sets of the biomechanically similar power exercise.

The benefits of contrast training include:

  • Effective in producing results
  • Highly efficient
  • Allows for high work density
  • Time effective
  • Allows athletes to complete fewer training sessions in order to yield the same or greater results
  • May have implications for injury prevention

Here’s an example of a simple contrast model for athletes to build explosive power:

  • Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep
  • Rest 2-3 minutes, then repeat for a total of 2-4 sets

Incorporate this superset into your workout for speed development:

  • Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
  • Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
  • Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
  • Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep
  • Rest 2-3 minutes, then repeat for a total of 2-4 sets

And finally, a superset using two explosive/plyometric exercises:

  • Squat Jump — 25-30% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Squat Jump — 25-30% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Squat Jump — 25-30% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Squat Jump — 25-30% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep
  • Rest 2-3 minutes, then repeat for a total of 1-3 sets

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Join the Train with APTC Premium Workout Group

1 Sep

10623313_10152429017838929_2839855258561052387_o[1]NOW YOU CAN TRAIN WITH ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE TRAINING CENTER NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE!

We Want To Be Your Coach!

We’ve recently partnered with WeightTraining.com to offer the Train with APTC Premium Workout Group, where we become your virtual strength coach and trainer for less than a dollar a day.

We take over your training, take all the thinking out of your hands, and show you how to follow a well-designed, well-structured, easy-to-follow, LONG-TERM training program.  You will get stronger, feel betterlook better, and perform better.

We understand that distance or online training means different things to different people.  We’ll be the first to advocate that IN-PERSON training with a qualified, experienced, professional trainer is ideal (for more about our credentials, experience, and publications, please visit our website).  That being said, we realize that it’s just not logistically reasonable for everyone to train at Athletic Performance Training Center.  Our goal is to make the Train with APTC Premium Workout Group the next best thing to training at our facility.

Here’s What It Is

Our goal for this group is to create a community where we train hard and smart, encourage one another, and have fun doing it.  We want to provide goal-oriented, structured, quality training for those who don’t have access to “good” training or for those who can’t afford to have a trainer work with them individually, and all for less than a dollar a day.

There’s no long-term commitment and you can stay in the group for as long as you’d like.

This is more than just casually following the latest exercise fad or fitness trend.

This is about improving your life and achieving your goals.

Whatever that means, of course, is up to you.  For some, it may be about getting stronger; for others, getting fitter, or improving the way they feel, look, and perform.

But for everyone it’s also about the journey, the performance improvement process, and getting outside your comfort zone.

Here’s What You Need To Do

  1. Go HERE and sign-up for the Train with APTC Premium Workout Group on WeightTraining.com, and click on the “Join This Group” button (Note:  If you’re not already a member of the site, you’ll first sign-up for a FREE account.  Don’t worry, it’s easy)
  2. From there you’ll create your account by entering the appropriate information (e.g., email address, personal info, password, etc.), and then click “Register”
  3. Enter your payment information and click “Complete Purchase”

Additional Information

  • Once you sign-up, not only are you an official member of the APTC Premium Workout Group, where you’ll have the opportunity to follow our monthly programming, but you’ll also be given automatic access as a PRO-MEMBER to the entire WeightTraining.com site, which offers a plethora of other programs and tools to use.
  • One cool feature is that you’ll be able to organize your workouts as you see fit, according to your own weekly schedule, and WeightTraining.com will send you reminder emails of the days you’re supposed to workout.  (you know, to keep you accountable)  If you want to train on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you can set the workout scheduler to that setting.  If that doesn’t work, and you’d prefer other days, you’ll be able to modify the settings.
  • For those with an iPhone, iPad, iPod, iTouch, or Android device, you can use the WeightTraining.com App to follow and log your workouts.  (but even if you don’t have an Apple or Android device, you can still print out the worksheets and keep track of your workouts the old-fashioned way)
  • Remember, it’s a COMMUNITY. The objective of the group is to train together, encourage one-another, leave comments, be competitive (if that’s your thing), and  have fun!

Are you ready? Click the link below to get started!

Train with APTC Premium Workout Group

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Why Extreme Conditioning Programs Are Wrong for Athletes

13 Jun

CrossFit-204-Girl-Interrupted-start[1]Extreme Conditioning Programs (ECPs) like P90X, Insanity, and CrossFit have become very popular with fitness enthusiasts.  And while these programs may be appropriate for some — within reason, just about any exercise is better than none — they are clearly not the right choice for everyone.

Athletic performance training should not necessarily be a time-constrained, physical challenge.  There is no scientific rationale for the “as many as you can, as fast as you can” approach.  And since injury prevention should be an important consideration in the development of any performance training plan, programs that encourage quantity over quality should be carefully scrutinized.

Research shows that full muscular activation can be achieved well before the point of total exhaustion or fatigue.  Simply stated, when an athlete’s form begins to “break down,” during the course of any given exercise, it’s time to put the weight down.  When athletes become fatigued and technique gets sloppy, exercise range-of-motion becomes compromised and the chance of injury increases.

Scientifically speaking, the development of sport-specific strength and power — and the activation of fast-twitch muscle fibers — involves performing exercises using heavy loads, through a narrow range of repetitions, with technical correctness (full range-of-motion), and adequate time for recovery between sets.

Here’s an article from Tony Duckwall, athletic performance director for KIVA volleyball and IFHCK field hockey and co-owner and sports performance director for Louisville-based EDGE Sports Performance.  Tony discusses 5 Reasons Young Athletes Shouldn’t Use Standardized Programs Like P90X, Insanity and CrossFit.

Another article, this one from STACK Media Associate Editor, Sam DeHority, provides insight into Why Athletes Shouldn’t Just Jump into CrossFit.

Here’s the deal: If you want to try CrossFit, or some other ECP, give it a try.  But first do a little research, understand what you’re getting yourself into, and make sure that whatever you do is aligned with your strength and/or fitness goals.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Getting Stronger is the Foundation

21 May

SDX25[1]Are you an athlete who desires to improve your performance?  Are any of the items, below, part of your improvement plan?

  • Run faster
  • Jump higher
  • Better agility
  • Throw harder/farther
  • Hit harder
  • Kick harder/farther
  • More powerful
  • Generate more explosive force
  • Improve your sport-specific skill technique
  • Move more efficiently
  • Reduce the potential for injury

If you answered, “yes,” to any of the above, you’ll need to get stronger, because research says, overwhelmingly, that strength development is the common denominator — the foundation — for improvement in any and all of those areas.

Consult with a strength and conditioning professional and develop a well-designed, total body strength training program that the reflects the demands and movement patterns of your sport or activity.  Perform complex exercises that engage multiple muscles and joints — and all major muscle groups — each and every time you workout.  Challenge yourself by increasing the intensity, gradually, at regular intervals.

You’ll still need to invest the time and effort necessary to develop your sport-specific skills.  For example, if you’re a baseball player or golfer, a knowledgeable coach can help you with your swing mechanics and timing.  Strength training will help you to drive the ball.

And you don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of strength training.  Getting stronger improves the body’s efficiency for performing everyday tasks like walking up stairs or carrying groceries, while reducing the incidence of aches, pains, and injuries.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Why You Shouldn’t Treat the Off-Season Like a Vacation

7 Mar

dtp_5079-1-e1349190374687[1]Athletes usually consider the off-season as a period of rest, but this is the time to get strength and conditioning work done! During “downtime,” sport-specific activity like practices and games are at their lowest level, so your training activity should increase.

Once an athlete has completed his or her sport season, a rest/recovery period of about one week is suggested. Since the demands of the sport season have decreased, strength and conditioning should be a priority. An athlete can now train with maximum frequency (number of days per week), intensity (amount of weight, loads) and volume (number of sets and repetitions).

Think of your off-season in phases. This promotes long-term training and performance improvements. Keep in mind, the key word here is performance; it doesn’t benefit an athlete to improve in the weight room unless those improvements can be applied to his or her sport(s) of choice.

Hypertrophy/Endurance Phase

Very low to moderate intensity and very high to moderate volume; the goals for this phase are to increase lean body mass and develop muscular endurance in preparation for more intense training in later phases.

Exercises ideal for this phase are:

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Bench Press

Basic Strength Phase

High intensity and moderate volume; this phase progresses to more complex, specialized, and sport-specific training.

In addition to previous exercises, add:

  • Lunge
  • Step-Up
  • Push Press
  • Lat Pulldown

Strength/Power Phase

High intensity and low volume; this phase involves increased strength training intensity and power/explosive exercises.

In this phase add exercises like:

  • Hang Clean
  • Push Press
  • Medicine Ball Throws
  • Plyometrics

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Boost Your Performance with Contrast Training

13 Dec

Lead%20Photo-1[1]There are various differences in the physical demands of sports, based on factors such as the sport, itself, and positional differences among and between athletes.  Different sports require athletes to move through unique movement patterns which, for training purposes, can be categorized into vertical, linear, and lateral.  Exercises that focus on strength and power development, in these three areas, should be at the forefront of every athlete’s training program.

One of the goals of athletic performance training should be to increase the athletes’ work capacity while improving (reducing) their recovery time.  Contrast training is a highly effective method for improving many physical attributes involved in athletic performance, including strength, power, speed and agility — if implemented properly.  Contrast training involves performing a set of a heavy resistance exercise, immediately followed by a set of a biomechanically similar power exercise (for example, a barbell back squat, immediately followed by a squat jump).  Complex training is a similar approach, which involves performing 3-4 sets of heavy resistance training followed by 3-4 sets of the biomechanically similar power exercise.

The benefits of contrast training include:

  • Effective in producing results
  • Highly efficient
  • Allows for high work density
  • Time effective
  • Allows athletes to complete fewer training sessions in order to yield the same or greater results
  • May have implications for injury prevention

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

4 Keys to Success in the Weight Room

2 Nov

Want to improve your athletic performance?  Practice your sport-specific skills, eat right, and get in the weight room (see 3 Pillars of Athletic Performance).  Developing your strength, speed, agility, and athleticism can help you create a competitive advantage.  Get STRONGER, Get FASTER isn’t just a tag line; it’s a requisite component of your preparation for your sport(s) of choice.

Don’t waste time in the weight room.  As the saying goes, “plan your work and work your plan.”  Be productive, challenge yourself, and strive for quality and efficiency.  Follow these 4 keys to achieve success in the weight room:

Accountability

It’s on you.  You are responsible for your development.  No one can do it for you.  What you achieve (or fail to achieve) is largely a matter of choice.  Showing up is half the battle.  Get in, do work, get out, repeat.

Discipline

Your actions should be consistent with your goals.  Consistency is the key.  Do what needs to be done, as well as it can be done, and do it that way consistently.

Competitiveness

It’s you vs. you.  There’s no need to compare yourself with anyone else.  Be internally competitive.  Strive to be 1% better today than you were yesterday.  Same goes for tomorrow.  The results, over time, will be impressive.

Motivation

Refer to your goals frequently.  Reflect upon your inspiration.  Think about why you’re doing what you’re doing every time you train.  Dedication.  Determination.  Desire.  You gotta want it.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Who’s Training Your Student-Athlete?

24 Sep

Last week, I received a call from the mother of a high school freshman basketball player, asking about post-workout nutrition for her son.  Apparently, he had been advised – by one of the young men in the high school weight room – that he should drink a protein shake following his workout.  After discussing the benefits of post-workout protein (and carbohydrate) supplementation with her, I inquired about his training regimen.  She proceeded to tell me that the creation, design, and supervision of his workout was provided by one of his friends – a junior basketball and baseball player.

REALLY?!?  Your son is a 14-year-old, Strength training novice, and you entrust his safety and development to a 16-year-old?  Unfortunately, this situation is much too common.  There’s no way kids should be supervising kids, when it comes to Strength and Conditioning.  Nor should they necessarily be training independently.  No teenager is qualified or knowledgable enough to train anyone (including himself or herself)!  Truth be told, most coaches aren’t adequately equipped to train student-athletes, either.

So, why aren’t more parents and coaches seeking the guidance of qualified, Strength and Conditioning professionals to work with their children and players?

Cost:  Sure, there’s some cost involved in athletic performance training.  But money and time “spent” on Strength and/or Speed & Agility training at Athletic Performance Training Center is NOT an expense, it’s an investment; and when you invest, you get a return.  Conversely, what is the cost of not working with a qualified, Strength and Conditioning professional?  If you have cost concerns, discuss them with your trainer – almost everything is negotiable.  I’d rather negotiate cost than turn an athlete away.

Control:  Many parents and coaches want to keep everything “in-house.”  They are simply unwilling to allow “outside” individuals to interact with and influence their athletes and teams.  They seem to have a “try to do it all myself” mentality – believing they can figure it out for themselves – and may perceive it as a weakness to ask someone else for help, or to say, “I don’t know.”  The addition of a Strength and Conditioning professional to a coaching staff – even as an advisor or consultant – can add value to any team or program.  I take great pride in working with several area high school and college athletic programs, on a consulting basis.

Internet.  The information age is a double-edged sword.  The emergence of the internet has made it easy to access Strength and Conditioning information and videos.  However, there’s more to athletic performance training than mimicking and implementing You Tube videos.  In order to ensure that training is purposeful and goal-oriented – maximizing effectiveness and safety – it’s helpful to have a working knowledge of foundational, Exercise Science and its practical application.  This requires an understanding of, and an ability to communicate, not only what to do, but also how and why to do it.

Lack of Awareness:  Simply stated, many parents and coaches don’t know what they don’t know.  They may not be aware of the information and resources available, and the competitive advantage their athletes can gain through athletic performance training.  A qualified, Strength and Conditioning professional can help athletes, teams, coaches, and parents build strategies to improve athletic performance through the development of:

  • Strength and Sport-Specific Power
  • Speed, Agility, and Endurance
  • Balance, Coordination, and Flexibility
  • Injury Prevention Strategies
  • Nutrition Education
  • Confidence

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Related links: What to look for in a Trainer, What is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)

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