Tag Archives: endurance

Is Flexibility Overrated?

12 Aug

USA Basketball Senior National Team Training Day 1Is there a relationship between flexibility and athletic performance?  And, if there is a relationship, is more necessarily better?

Flexibility and Performance

There’s a difference between movement quantity and movement quality.  Speed, strength, power, balance, and stability are qualitative aspects of movement.  For functional movements, i.e., sports performance, quality of movement is more important than quantity.

Most elite athletes have extraordinary levels of strength, power, endurance, or balance.  And, while there are elite athletes with exceptional flexibility, there are others with only average flexibility.  Ultimately, it’s less about the extent of your range of motion (ROM) and more about how you use (what you do with) what you have.

The average person probably has the necessary range of motion to execute most sports movements.  Their deficiencies usually have little to do with range of motion.  The issue is typically attributable to strength, power, mobility, or coordination, not flexibility.

Iashvili (1983) found that active (dynamic, movement-based) ROM and not passive (static) ROM was more highly correlated with sports performance.  Arguably, any further passive static ROM developed through passive static stretching will not provide any extra benefit.

There is a considerable body of research that discourages pre-activity static stretching — due to its potential to reduce strength and power output — in favor of dynamic warmup.  Studies show that flexibility in the muscles of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings) is related to slower running and diminished running economy.  Interestingly, it has been shown that stiffer leg muscles in endurance athletes may make them more economical in terms of oxygen consumption at sub-max speeds.

Flexibility and Injury Prevention

The relationship between flexibility and injury prevention is mixed, at best.  Two studies involving soccer and hockey players revealed that players with more flexible groins do not suffer fewer groin injuries, while players with stronger adductors had less strains.  There is actually more evidence to support that lateral imbalances in strength and stability are a better predictor of injury than lack of flexibility.

There are some studies suggesting that musculoskeletal tightness may be associated with an increased likelihood of muscle strain injury.  Other studies, including Knapik, J.J. et al. 1992, found that subjects in the least flexible and most flexible quintiles were equally likely to get injured — 2.2-2.5 times more than subjects in the middle quintile (average flexibility).

The reality is that sports injuries are produced by a lot of different factors, and flexibility (or lack thereof) is only one of them.  It would be inappropriate to assign a level to the importance of flexibility as it relates to injury prevention.

For most athletes in most sports, there is probably little to be gained by increasing flexibility or range of motion.  Athletes are better off developing additional strength and stability within a particular range of motion.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Eat Greens for More Energy

15 Mar

Eating more green vegetables can help athletes improve endurance, energy level, and delay fatigue during exercise and athletic activity.

Low energy, muscle weakness, and fatigue have long been associated with iron deficiency anemia. However, a study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that these symptoms may start well before low iron leads to anemia.

Low iron can result in a lack of energy, so athletes should eat plenty of foods that provide a healthy dose of this essential nutrient to ensure that energy levels remain high. Broccoli, spinachkale, and other dark, leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of iron. Additionally, because these foods all contain vitamin C, they provide a healthy dose of antioxidants that will help you to stay strong and healthy which can also have a positive effect on your energy levels. It’s easy to fit these foods into your meals by adding them to pastas, salads, soups, and casseroles.

Try adding a handful of spinach into a blender with your usual protein shake ingredients.  You won’t even taste it.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Train for Performance

6 Jan

performance-training-squat1For most young guys, “fitness” is about being as big as possible.  As we mature, we realize that fitness has little to do with the size of our biceps and more to do with how we function and perform.

Performance training involves determining what your body needs on a given day (based on your activities), setting performance goals, and creating – and executing – a plan of action that’s aligned with your goals.

Performance training is movement-based training, not muscle-based.

Performance training is about getting stronger, not bigger.  It’s about becoming more powerful, faster, and improving your endurance, mobility, and joint stability.

Trust me, you’ll get the aesthetics you’re looking for from training for performance.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Focus Your Training on a Specific Goal

11 Nov

308_1[1]Here’s a cool idea from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (JSCR), via Men’s Health:  Focus your training on a specific — and different — strength and conditioning or fitness goal each month.

According to the JSCR, concentrating on a specific strength and/or fitness goal each month can lead to greater overall gains.

You can also vary the equipment you use — barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, suspension trainers (TRX), and resistance bands.

In addition to being productive in the gym, you’ll also add variety to your training, keeping it fresh and avoiding boredom.

Give it a try by choosing a monthly goal — for example, strength, power, cardio-metabolic fitness, or endurance — and dedicate two workouts a week to achieving it.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Is Flexibility Overrated?

24 Nov

USA Basketball Senior National Team Training Day 1Is there a relationship between flexibility and athletic performance?  And, if there is a relationship, is more necessarily better?

Flexibility and Performance

There’s a difference between movement quantity and movement quality.  Speed, strength, power, balance, and stability are qualitative aspects of movement.  For functional movements, i.e., sports performance, quality of movement is more important than quantity.

Most elite athletes have extraordinary levels of strength, power, endurance, or balance.  And, while there are elite athletes with exceptional flexibility, there are others with only average flexibility.  Ultimately, it’s less about the extent of your range of motion (ROM) and more about how you use (what you do with) what you have.

The average person probably has the necessary range of motion to execute most sports movements.  Their deficiencies usually have little to do with range of motion.  The issue is typically attributable to strength, power, mobility, or coordination, not flexibility.

Iashvili (1983) found that active (dynamic, movement-based) ROM and not passive (static) ROM was more highly correlated with sports performance.  Arguably, any further passive static ROM developed through passive static stretching will not provide any extra benefit.

There is a considerable body of research that discourages pre-activity static stretching — due to its potential to reduce strength and power output — in favor of dynamic warmup.  Studies show that flexibility in the muscles of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings) is related to slower running and diminished running economy.  Interestingly, it has been shown that stiffer leg muscles in endurance athletes may make them more economical in terms of oxygen consumption at sub-max speeds.

Flexibility and Injury Prevention

The relationship between flexibility and injury prevention is mixed, at best.  Two studies involving soccer and hockey players revealed that players with more flexible groins do not suffer fewer groin injuries, while players with stronger adductors had less strains.  There is actually more evidence to support that lateral imbalances in strength and stability are a better predictor of injury than lack of flexibility.

There are some studies suggesting that musculoskeletal tightness may be associated with an increased likelihood of muscle strain injury.  Other studies, including Knapik, J.J. et al. 1992, found that subjects in the least flexible and most flexible quintiles were equally likely to get injured — 2.2-2.5 times more than subjects in the middle quintile (average flexibility).

The reality is that sports injuries are produced by a lot of different factors, and flexibility (or lack thereof) is only one of them.  It would be inappropriate to assign a level to the importance of flexibility as it relates to injury prevention.

For most athletes in most sports, there is probably little to be gained by increasing flexibility or range of motion.  Athletes are better off developing additional strength and stability within a particular range of motion.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Eat Greens for More Energy

18 Nov

Dark_Green-Vegetables[1]Eating more green vegetables can help athletes improve endurance, energy level, and delay fatigue during exercise and athletic activity.

Low energy, muscle weakness, and fatigue have long been associated with iron deficiency anemia. However, a study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that these symptoms may start well before low iron leads to anemia.

Low iron can result in a lack of energy, so athletes should eat plenty of foods that provide a healthy dose of this essential nutrient to ensure that energy levels remain high. Broccoli, spinachkale, and other dark, leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of iron. Additionally, because these foods all contain vitamin C, they provide a healthy dose of antioxidants that will help you to stay strong and healthy which can also have a positive effect on your energy levels. It’s easy to fit these foods into your meals by adding them to pastas, salads, soups, and casseroles.

Try adding a handful of spinach into a blender with your usual protein shake ingredients.  You won’t even taste it.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

3 Pillars of Athletic Performance

3 Aug

At APTC, we believe there are three (3) essential pillars to athletic performance:

  • Sport-Specific Skill Development
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Diet and Nutrition

This list is not meant to be all-inclusive – and I’m sure others could make a case for adding to it – but it provides a reasonable foundation.

When I talk about sport-specific skill development, I’m referring specifically to the skills necessary to play a particular sport.  For example, a basketball player’s sport-specific skill development would focus on ball-handling, shooting, passing, defensive stance and footwork, etc.

I would describe Strength and Conditioning to include the following:

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

I have also witnessed that confidence is a by-product of both sport-specific skill development and Strength and Conditioning.

Nutrition Education is also important to athletic performance.  Pre- and post-activity (workout, practice, game) nutrition are important for fuel, as well as recovery, repair, and regeneration.  A healthy, nutritious diet can help support energy level, metabolism, and weight management.

But back to Strength and Conditioning.  When two athletes/teams compete – all things being relatively equal from a “skill” perspective – the stronger, faster athlete/team usually has an advantage.  Strength training can give you a competitive edge… it can be a “difference maker.”

Staying competitive means more than just adding another layer to your offensive and/or defensive schemes.  Skills practice, in and of itself, is not enough.

Continuous improvement in athletic performance, through the development of strength, speed, agility, and athleticism, will make the difference in playing time for individual athletes, as well as wins (and championships) for the team as a whole.  Programs that win year in and year out know that superior athleticism is the key to becoming dominant… and maintaining it.
Your thoughts?
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