Tag Archives: core training

Does Kinesio Taping Really Work?

12 Apr

If you’ve watched sports recently, you have probably noticed athletes wearing kinesio tape (at the 2016 Olympics, women’s beach volleyball comes to mind).  This trend has trickled down to the college and high school levels, as well (I think it has become sort of a fashion accessory).  I’ve even seen a few of our local high school athletes wearing kinesio tape.

Functional taping is nothing new, mostly to stabilize injured joints.  The specific goal of kinesio taping (KT) is to improve sport-related muscle contraction.  It is assumed that KT can facilitate and stimulate muscle function, if applied properly, due to the elastic properties of the KT.

A recent Journal of Strength and Conditioning study evaluated the effect of KT on college athletes, as it relates to vertical jump strength, power, and balance.  According to the study authors, “The KT technique was not found to be useful in improving performance in some sports-related movements in healthy college athletes; therefore, KT… should not be considered by athletes when the sole reason of the application is to increase performance during jumping and balance.” (Nunes, et. al.)

Here’s what does work for improving vertical jump strength, power, and balance:  Strength training.  Forget about the gimmicks and shortcuts.  Consult with a qualified strength and conditioning professional about a program that incorporates core and lower-extremity strength, power, and balance training.  The impact that a well-designed strength training program has on your performance will be considerably greater than wearing kinesio tape.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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The Importance of Core Stability in Athletes

24 Mar

If you read my blog regularly (and thank you if you do!), you know I’m a proponent of the development of – and importance of – core strength and stability.  Whether you’re an athlete or not, a strong, stable core facilitates everything you do, and every movement you make.

Over the years, I’ve published articles promoting the benefits or core training, including the rationale for core training; core strengthening exercises and workouts; and the implications of core strength, as it relates to virtually every sport movement – running, jumping, throwing, kicking, etc.  (to access more of my Core Strength & Stability articles, simply type the word “core” in the search box at the top of this blog page)

Here’s a nice resource from our friends at Bridge Athletic – authored by Megan Fischer-Colbrie – titled, The Importance of Core Stability in Athletes.  In her article, Megan discusses advantages of core stability for athletes; the role of core training in injury prevention and rehabilitation; and the advantage of building a strong foundation that starts with the core.  She also provides some useful core strengthening and stabilizing exercises.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Improve Your Life with Core Training

20 Feb

side-plank-mel-1-crop1First of all, understand that when I refer to your core, I’m not only talking about your abs (although your abs are certainly part of your core).

Everybody thinks they want six-pack abs… I get it.  You may be one of those people who suffers through endless sets of planks and situps to achieve your dream of washboard abs.  Good luck with that.

Actually, your core musculature extends from your shoulders through your hips, and contributes to sports performance, balance, posture, strength and power, mobility, and longevity.

Here are some of the benefits of core training – and a strong core:

Be a Better Athlete

Core training can improve your performance in virtually any strength or speed sport.  A strong core allows you to transfer more power to your limbs, which translates to more powerful throwing, kicking, running, jumping, etc.

Better Balance

A strong core is important – whether you’re an athlete or not – because strong core muscles keep your torso in a more stable position whenever you move, whether you’re playing sports or just doing everyday activities.  Core strength helps you avoid injury by making your movements more efficient.

Alleviate Back Pain

Core training can both prevent and control lower-back pain, according to Canadian research.  For individuals with back pain, core exercises that emphasize isometric contraction (exercises that keep you still, like planks, side planks, etc.) are good choices.  At our facility – in addition to those types of exercises – we also favor rotational and anti-rotational exercises.

Better Posture

Stop slouching! Simply stated, core training can help you stand up straight by improving your postural stability.

Improve Your Agility

Research shows that core training – and improvements in core strength – translates to better performance on agility tests (acceleration, deceleration, change of direction) than traditional body-building moves.  At our facility, we focus on training movements – not muscles – for all of our customers, athletes and non-athletes.

Reduce Inflammation

Scientists have found that core training can reduce inflammation markers by as much as 25 percent – not far from the result you’d get from anti-inflammatory medications – including enhanced recovery, well-being, and general health.

Live Longer

Mayo Clinic researchers concluded that increased waist circumference is associated with an increased risk of premature death.  In a review of several studies, they found that men with waists of 43 inches or larger had a 52 percent greater risk of premature death than guys whose waists were 35 inches or smaller; and each 2-inch increase in waist size was associated with a 7 percent jump in death risk.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strengthen Your Core With This Workout

2 Jan

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Swiss Ball Plank

A good core workout should work your entire core (and not just your abs) — front, sides, and back; shoulders through hips — and improve core strength and stability.

Here’s a core workout that’s a favorite of many of the athletes that train at our facility:

You can incorporate this circuit into your workout, or make it a “stand alone” workout by performing each exercise multiple times.  Increase the difficulty/intensity of the workout by adding resistance (bands, weight plates, etc.) to body-weight exercises; progressively increasing weight and/or repetitions; or adding time to the plank.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Does Kinesio Taping Really Work?

11 Dec

US' Chantae Mcmillan wears a K tape on hIf you’ve watched sports recently, you have probably noticed athletes wearing kinesio tape (at the 2012 Olympics, women’s beach volleyball comes to mind).  This trend has trickled down to the college and high school levels, as well (I think it has become sort of a fashion accessory).  I’ve even seen a few of our local high school athletes wearing kinesio tape.

Functional taping is nothing new, mostly to stabilize injured joints.  The specific goal of kinesio taping (KT) is to improve sport-related muscle contraction.  It is assumed that KT can facilitate and stimulate muscle function, if applied properly, due to the elastic properties of the KT.

A recent Journal of Strength and Conditioning study evaluated the effect of KT on college athletes, as it relates to vertical jump strength, power, and balance.  According to the study authors, “The KT technique was not found to be useful in improving performance in some sports-related movements in healthy college athletes; therefore, KT… should not be considered by athletes when the sole reason of the application is to increase performance during jumping and balance.” (Nunes, et. al.)

Here’s what does work for improving vertical jump strength, power, and balance:  Strength training.  Forget about the gimmicks and shortcuts.  Consult with a qualified strength and conditioning professional about a program that incorporates core and lower-extremity strength, power, and balance training.  The impact that a well-designed strength training program has on your performance will be considerably greater than wearing kinesio tape.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Purposeful, Goal-Oriented Training

20 Aug

One of our first action items, at ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE TRAINING CENTER, is to request that our new clients complete a questionnaire.  In addition to the usual, basic demographic information, I like to understand his/her past and present sport(s) participation, and level of athletic and training experience.  Most importantly, I ask them to list their training goals and objectives:  What do they want to accomplish as a result of their Strength and Conditioning training?  You should be asking yourself the same question.  Developing strength, speed, agility, and athleticism is great, as long as it helps you improve your performance in your sport(s) of choice (or, facilitates your “functionability” in your activities of daily living).  Additionally, understanding my clients’ goals is an important consideration in the development of their Strength and Conditioning plan.  Your training plan – including intensity, frequency, volume, exercise selection, nutrition, and rest & recovery – should be aligned with your goals.

It All Starts With Your Core.  It doesn’t matter what sport you play or, for that matter, if you even participate in sports at all.  A strong core is essential for virtually all functional movement.  And when I use the term “core,” I’m not just talking about abs.  I’m referring to the area between your shoulders and hips.  Rotational and Core Strengthening exercises should be an integral part of your Strength and Conditioning program.

Develop Strong and Powerful Legs.  Want to run faster?  Jump higher?  Throw the ball harder and farther?  Improve your bat speed?  Core and lower extremity strength and power is the key.  Whether you’re running, jumping, throwing, or hitting, your hips and legs initiate and generate the power.  And a stronger core and legs can also decrease the amount of torque on your shoulder when executing the throwing motion.

Be Smart With Your Cardio.  I work with a lot of athletes, teams, and programs whose idea of cardio training involves jogging a mile or two, a few days per week.  How do they think this approach is going to help them reach their goals?  I have no idea.  I won’t argue that every sport has an endurance component, but how many sports are played at a slow steady pace, without any intermittent bursts of strength and power?  Even distance runners benefit from incorporating High-Intensity Interval Training into their conditioning regimen, according to volumes of data.  Your training plan should include alternating intervals of high- and low-intensity cardio.  Generally, we use a 3:1 ratio (low:high) in most of our cardio training.

Be Wary of the “Boot Camp” Approach.  Training to the point of exhaustion/fatigue has become fashionable in some workout programs, even though there is no data that supports training to the point of exhaustion.  In fact, Sports and Conditioning research indicates that full muscular activation can be achieved before you reach the point of exhaustion.  Additionally, as fatigue sets in, technique tends to suffer.  Poor technique has been shown to compromise training results and increase the potential for injury.

Have a plan.  Follow your plan.  Your training should reflect the demands of your sport.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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