Tag Archives: joint stability

Up-Tempo Training is Best

1 Apr

45_2[1]

Seated Cable Row

One of our preferred strategies when training athletes (and virtually every other client) involves minimizing rest intervals among and between sets.  Maintaining an “up-tempo” pace  — keeping the heart rate up during a workout — results in continuous improvement, regardless of fitness level.

There’s no need to be in the weight room all day.  Most of our clients’ sessions are about 45-50 minutes in duration, and there’s very little “down” time.  They get in, get their work done, and get out (and recover).

We’ve found that agonist-antagonist paired sets (working opposing muscle groups — pushing and pulling — e.g., the bench press and row) are a great way to maintain an aggressive workout tempo, improve workout efficiency, and reduce training time, while not compromising workout quality.  In addition to strengthening muscles, this strategy strengthens and stabilizes joints and helps prevent injury.  Our athletes and clients perform the paired exercises, back-to-back, completing all sets with as little rest as they can manage, then rest for one minute before proceeding to the next pair of exercises.

We also vary our training programs, changing exercises weekly, while ensuring that each session is a total-body workout.  Performing different exercises for similar muscle movements is important to keep workouts challenging.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is another terrific way to maintain an efficient, up-tempo workout.  HIIT involves alternating high- and low-intensity exercise over a pre-determined period of time.  We like a ratio of 1:3, high-intensity to low-intensity, as a benchmark, depending on the athlete’s/client’s fitness level.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Add Isometric Exercises to Your Training Regimen

27 Feb

squat-a-ex_0[1]Want to accelerate your strength and power gains — and add some variation — in the weight room?   Incorporate isometric exercises into your training regimen.

The term “isometric” actually comes from two Greek words meaning “equal measure.”  There are a number of ways to define the word isometric but, basically, an isometric exercise is one in which there is muscle contraction without movement (muscle length does not change during contraction).

Here are some examples of isometric exercises:

  • Holding a pushup in the “down” position for some pre-determined period of time (or, as long as possible)
  • Holding a squat in the “down” position
  • Holding a chinup/pullup in the “up” position

Isometric exercises may also involve a pause (shorter hold) between the eccentric and concentric (up and down, or push and pull) phases of the exercise.  You can increase the intensity level of isometric exercises by adding time to the “hold,” or adding weight to the exercise.

How can athletes benefit from isometric exercises?

Every athlete wants to be able to generate a lot of explosive force.  Isometric exercises, when added to a training regimen, have been shown to help athletes produce more power.

Isometric exercises can help athletes improve their ability to absorb impact and resist force.

Isometric exercises are useful in helping athletes build muscle and joint stability.

Because of the “mental toughness” required to hold an isometric exercise for as long as possible, athletes can learn to improve mental focus and overcome fatigue.

Beginners may benefit from isometric exercises when they are unable to perform an exercise (like a pushup or chinup) with technical correctness through a full range-of-motion.  The strength built, over time, by doing the isometric version of the exercise can improve their ability to perform the traditional exercise.

When performing isometric exercises, athletes should strive for perfect form and posture.

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?

Plyometric Training Improves Joint Stability

16 Sep

Plyos[1]Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are common in basketball athletes, with a reported incidence as high as 1.6 per 1,000 player hours.

An efficient plyometric training program within basketball practice can improve lower-extremity postural control and stability, according to a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study.

In the study, plyometric (jump) training was associated with a decrease in ACL injuries by enhancing “joint awareness” — postural control and/or balance.

Improvements in balance, stability, and postural control with training has positive effects on lower-extremity injury reduction.

Obviously, ACL injuries are not limited to basketball players, as athletes who participate in sports that involve contact, and require jumping, quick starts and stops, and change of direction, are also at risk.

A well-designed and -supervised plyometric training program — one that incorporates appropriate intensity and volume; and teaches and emphasizes the importance of proper jump and landing mechanics — can help athletes improve performance while reducing the risk of injury.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strength Training Safety and Specificity

6 Feb

adv_benchpress_03[1]One of the goals of strength training is to reduce the likelihood of injury during training.  Compared with other sports and fitness activities, strength training is actually quite safe — if and when athletes adhere to basic safety principles.

Specificity should also be an important consideration when designing an exercise program to improve performance in a particular sport activity.  Exercise selection should be determined in accordance with the demands and movement patterns of the sport.  A strength training program designed around sport-specific exercise movements can improve performance and reduce the likelihood of injury.

SAFETY

  • Always perform a dynamic (movement-based) warm-up activity — or warm-up sets — with relatively light weight in order to stimulate blood flow to the muscles and improve connective tissue (ligaments, tendons) function.  Avoid static stretching as a warm-up.
  • Perform exercises through a full range-of-motion.
  • When performing a new exercise, or when training after an extended layoff (multiple weeks), use relatively light weight and gradually increase as proficiency allows.
  • Don’t “work through” pain, especially joint pain.  Working through some muscle fatigue or post-exercise muscle soreness is usually okay, but severe and persistent pain may be a warning sign to have the injury examined and treated medically.
  • Never attempt maximal lifts without appropriate preparation, (technique) instruction, and supervision.
  • Avoid “bouncing” at the bottom of the squat exercise, as this type of movement can cause muscle injury.  Observe proper squat mechanics — keep the knee in a vertical plane through the foot and hip.
  • Athletes should build adequate lower-body strength before beginning a lower-body plyometric program.
  • Perform several varieties of an exercise to improve muscle development and joint stability.

SPECIFICITY

  • Exercise selection should reflect the qualitative and quantitative demands and movement patterns of the sport.
  • Joint ranges-of-motion should be at least as great as those in the target activity.
  • Utilize visual observation and video as tools to facilitate exercise selection and determine movements important to that sport.
  • Exercise selection should include the three major planes — frontal, sagittal, and transverse, in order to strengthen movements between the planes.
  • Training should be movement-based, and not muscle-based.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Add Isometric Exercises to Your Training Regimen

6 Nov

squat-a-ex_0[1]Want to accelerate your strength and power gains — and add some variation — in the weight room?   Incorporate isometric exercises into your training regimen.

The term “isometric” actually comes from two Greek words meaning “equal measure.”  There are a number of ways to define the word isometric but, basically, an isometric exercise is one in which there is muscle contraction without movement (muscle length does not change during contraction).

Here are some examples of isometric exercises:

  • Holding a pushup in the “down” position for some pre-determined period of time (or, as long as possible)
  • Holding a squat in the “down” position
  • Holding a chinup/pullup in the “up” position

Isometric exercises may also involve a pause (shorter hold) between the eccentric and concentric (up and down, or push and pull) phases of the exercise.  You can increase the intensity level of isometric exercises by adding time to the “hold,” or adding weight to the exercise.

How can athletes benefit from isometric exercises?

Every athlete wants to be able to generate a lot of explosive force.  Isometric exercises, when added to a training regimen, have been shown to help athletes produce more power.

Isometric exercises can help athletes improve their ability to absorb impact and resist force.

Isometric exercises are useful in helping athletes build muscle and joint stability.

Because of the “mental toughness” required to hold an isometric exercise for as long as possible, athletes can learn to improve mental focus and overcome fatigue.

Beginners may benefit from isometric exercises when they are unable to perform an exercise (like a pushup or chinup) with technical correctness through a full range-of-motion.  The strength built, over time, by doing the isometric version of the exercise can improve their ability to perform the traditional exercise.

When performing isometric exercises, athletes should strive for perfect form and posture.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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