Tag Archives: get stronger

What’s Your Workout Motivation?

1 May

Why do you workout?  (and, conversely, why don’t you workout?)

Are you working toward a goal or do you just enjoy the process?

Is it for health and wellness?  Do you want to improve your quality (and quantity) of life?

Do you want to look better, perhaps get more lean and muscular?  (I saw a quote, recently, that said, “Diet if you want to look better in clothes; workout if you want to look better naked.”)

Do you want to feel better?  Are you working out to improve your energy level or functional movement?

Are you trying to lose a few pounds and, perhaps, get closer to your ideal body weight and reduce stress on your joints?

Do you work out with a friend or group of friends and enjoy the social interaction?

Do you want to get stronger, faster, and more athletic?  Is one of your goals to improve your performance?

Are you doing it for you, or for someone else?

The bottom line is, there is no wrong reason — and no one right reason — for working out (they’re all right).  As that shoe company says, “just do it.”

Please tag me back with a comment and share your motivation for working out (or your reason for not working out).  I will compile a list and share the best responses in a future blog post.  Thanks, in advance, for your feedback.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Master the Hang Clean to Develop Explosive Power

23 Mar

Hang-Clean[1]Want to jump higher?  Run faster?  Hit and throw harder and farther?  The Hang Clean is one of the best exercises you can do to build explosive strength.  This exercise emphasizes triple (hip, knee, ankle) extension, which is common to movements like running, jumping, hitting, and throwing.  I like the clean from the hang position (as opposed to the power clean from the floor position) because it’s relatively easy to learn and safe to perform, and there are few exercises that produce more power.  Like all Olympic lifts, technique is extremely important — the hang clean must be taught and performed correctly.  Here’s a video of U.S. Women’s Soccer player, Abby Wambach, performing the hang clean.

At Athletic Performance Training Center, we teach the hang clean in 3 phases:

  • Hang Shrug
  • Hang (high) Pull
  • Hang Clean

Here are some tips to ensure that you perform the hang clean with proper technique:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart
  • Hold bar with hands just wider than shoulder width
  • Assume “hang” position, with bar positioned just above knees
  • Use lower-body and hips to jump and drive bar upward
  • Use upper-body to pull bar upward with shrug and high elbows
  • Keep weight close to your body (linear); don’t swing the bar out in front of you
  • “Catch” bar with knees bent, on front shoulders, upper-arms parallel to ground

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Lift Heavier Weights to Get Stronger

12 Jan

bench-press[1]If you want to build strength, you’ve got to tax your muscles, connective tissue, and bones.  Incrementally challenging yourself in the weight room is the most important stimulus for building muscle and strength.

Lifting the same amount of weight, every workout, won’t make you stronger.  It’s necessary to gradually increase your loads, as you progress, in order to strengthen your muscles and prepare them to handle heavier weights, over time.

You shouldn’t be able to complete the last few repetitions of your final set as easily as the first few reps.  It should be difficult to finish those last few reps, while maintaining good form and technique.

As you adapt to the training load and repetitions, it’s important to have a progression strategy.  Advancing exercise loads ensures that improvements will continue over time.  It’s also important for you to keep track of your progress and chart each workout.

A conservative method that can be used to increase your training load is called the 2-for-2 rule.  If you can perform two or more repetitions over your assigned repetition goal in the last set in two consecutive workouts for a certain exercise, weight should be added to that exercise for the next training session.  (Baechle, T. and Earle, R.; Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning)

The quantity of load increases, when progression is warranted, should generally be about 2.5-10%.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

6 Ways to Get Stronger

12 Feb

195193724_640[1]Every athlete can improve his or her performance by getting stronger.  Whether your sport involves running, jumping, hitting, throwing, or kicking, strength training can help you do it better.  Your sport-specific skills aren’t going to be enough if you’re the weakest, slowest player on the court or field.

Here are 6 ways to get stronger:

  1.  Get in the weight room.  I know this one sounds like a “no-brainer,” but I also know a lot of athletes who aren’t getting their work done in the weight room (you know who you are).  Strength training is not about having time to workout, it’s about making time.  Conditioning, and playing and practicing your sport, are not enough.  In order to get stronger, you’ve got to lift, push, and pull heavy “stuff.”  As I mentioned in last week’s article, you won’t get stronger by grinding out 3 set of 10 reps.  Building strength and power – for most exercises – requires that you work with a weight that challenges you for 4-6 repetitions per set.
  2. Set a goal.  What do you want to accomplish?  Maybe you want to run faster or jump higher.  Perhaps you want to throw, hit, and/or kick with more force or velocity.  Setting a goal for yourself is the first step.  You have to know where you want to go before embarking upon your journey.
  3. Have a plan.  Once you determine your goal, it’s time to develop a plan.  Your plan should include action steps that lead you from point A (the present) to point B (your goal), including exercises, repetitions, sets, intensity, volume, and frequency.  Make sure your plan is SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound).  And remember, your action steps must be consistent with your goal.
  4. Work your entire body.  Forget about “body part” training, working only certain parts of your body on specific days.  You should train like to work, play… and live.  That means it’s important to work all your major muscle groups, every time you workout.  Your body is meant to work as a functional, interconnected unit.  Make sure your training is functional, and reflects the demands of your sport, by training movements and not just muscles.
  5. Rest and refuel.  Every time you workout, you break down muscle.  Allowing yourself some time (48 hours is a good gauge) to recover, following your workout, helps your muscles to rebuild and recover in preparation for your next bout of strength training.  Nutrition – including post-workout nutrition — is important.  Active individuals should aim for 0.6-0.8 grams of protein, per pound of body weight, per day, including 20-30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of strength training.  Athletes may need as much as one gram of protein, per pound of body weight, per day.
  6. Get some help.  Consider enlisting the help of a reputable, qualified, and experienced certified strength training professional, at least to get you started.  He or she can guide and instruct you through exercise selection, proper form and technique, appropriate sets and repetitions, injury prevention strategies, nutrition guidelines, provide motivation, and more.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

What’s Your Workout Motivation?

27 Dec

Men-and-women-working-out1-400x250[1]Why do you workout?  (and, conversely, why don’t you workout?)

Are you working toward a goal or do you just enjoy the process?

Is it for health and wellness?  Do you want to improve your quality (and quantity) of life?

Do you want to look better, perhaps get more lean and muscular?  (I saw a quote, recently, that said, “Diet if you want to look better in clothes; workout if you want to look better naked.”)

Do you want to feel better?  Are you working out to improve your energy level or functional movement?

Are you trying to lose a few pounds and, perhaps, get closer to your ideal body weight and reduce stress on your joints?

Do you work out with a friend or group of friends and enjoy the social interaction?

Do you want to get stronger, faster, and more athletic?  Is one of your goals to improve your performance?

Are you doing it for you, or for someone else?

The bottom line is, there is no wrong reason — and no one right reason — for working out (they’re all right).  As that shoe company says, “just do it.”

Please tag me back with a comment and share your motivation for working out (or your reason for not working out).  I will compile a list and share the best responses in a future blog post, shortly after the first of the year.  Thanks, in advance, for your feedback.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Master the Hang Clean to Develop Explosive Power

8 Mar

Hang-Clean[1]Want to jump higher?  Run faster?  Hit and throw harder and farther?  The Hang Clean is one of the best exercises you can do to build explosive strength.  This exercise emphasizes hip extension, which is common to movements like running, jumping, hitting, and throwing.  I like the clean from the hang position (as opposed to the power clean from the floor position) because it’s relatively easy to learn and safe to perform, and there are few exercises that produce more power.  Like all Olympic lifts, technique is extremely important — the hang clean must be taught and performed correctly.  Here’s a video of U.S. Women’s Soccer player, Abby Wambach, performing the hang clean.

At Athletic Performance Training Center, we teach the hang clean in 3 phases:

  • Hang Shrug
  • Hang Pull
  • Hang Clean

Here are some tips to ensure that you perform the hang clean with proper technique:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart
  • Hold bar with hands just wider than shoulder width
  • Assume “hang” position, with bar positioned just above knees
  • Use lower-body and hips to jump and drive bar upward
  • Use upper-body to pull bar upward with shrug and high elbows
  • Keep weight close to your body (linear); don’t swing the bar out in front of you
  • “Catch” bar with knees bent, on front shoulders, upper-arms parallel to ground

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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