Tag Archives: jump performance

Dynamic Warmup is the Most Effective Pre-Activity Strategy

5 Apr

You can add another study to the overwhelming and growing mountain of research supporting dynamic (movement-based) warm-up — and not static stretching — before engaging in competitive power sports.

This study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, sought to compare and quantify the effects of static stretching and dynamic warm-up on jump performance in NCAA DI female college volleyball players.

As expected, dynamic warm-up was found to result in a significantly higher level of jump performance than static stretching, especially when performed closer to the time of competition.  Athletes’ subsequent jump performance was better when the dynamic warm-up was done within 5-10 minutes preceding competition compared to 25-30 minutes prior to competition.

Hundreds of studies corroborate dynamic warm-up’s similar impact on strength, power, speed, and agility performance.  Athletes, coaches, trainers… get with the program.  Improve performance by eliminating pre-activity static stretching and implementing a dynamic warm-up that reflects the demands and movement patterns of the activity – before workouts, practices, and games.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Add Squats to Run Faster

11 Nov

squats-strength-training[1]At my facility, we encourage squats— and squat-type exercises — to improve sprint performance.  Research has also shown that squats can improve vertical jump and agility performance in athletes who perform the exercise regularly (athletes who swim, throw, and swing can also benefit from squats, which covers just about everyone).  Squats are a great choice to build the strength and power necessary to generate force against the ground, which is integral to speed, agility, and jump performance.

Recently, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research further corroborated the relationship between squats and sprint speed.  In their study, researchers found that athletes who did squats increased their sprint speed by 10% compared with those who did not do the exercise.

In addition to the Barbell Back Squat (pictured), try these squat variations:

  • Dumbbell Goblet Squat
  • Split Squat
  • Sumo Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Single-Leg Squat

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Squat vs. Leg Press: Impact on Strength and Speed

25 May

squats-strength-training[1]mKv16aCWBRPf7Ne2uLJQUaA[1]Many sports require athletes to execute powerful movements – those that require strength and speed.

Speed-strength performance can be defined as the execution of a movement that requires the development of large forces and high movement speeds.

Obviously, strength training has a positive impact on strength and speed.  Recently, a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research took a look at two exercises – the back squat and leg press – and compared their relative effects on sprint and jump performance.

“Both exercises train nearly the same muscles of the lower extremities, but in some aspects, they are different.  The leg press has less requirements concerning balancing the weight, and therefore, less muscle activity contributes toward stabilization compared with the squat.” (Wirth, K, et.al.)

“Despite the maximal force production through many of the same muscles, squat and leg-press exercises are distinctly different and produce different specific neuromuscular adaptations because of diverse movement patterns.”

“Compared with the squat,… the hip extensors are not trained within the extension range” of the leg press exercise.

In this study, the authors found that the back squat exercise improved sprint and jump performance more effectively than the leg press, because of the better transfer effects.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

The Effect of Heat Stress on Sprint and Jump Performance

18 Apr

jimmer-fredette[1]Sports like basketball and soccer require frequent intervals of running and jumping, over an entire game.  Additionally, these (and other) sports are often played in warm environmental conditions — both indoor and outdoor.

Research has consistently shown that fatigue leads to a decline in performance, and that higher temperatures lead to even greater declines.  This performance decline is partly to mostly associated with severe dehydration.

So how can you prepare yourself in a way that minimizes the impact of fatigue and dehydration on your game performance?

Conditioning

When it comes to conditioning, your training should mimic/reflect the demands of your sport.  This applies to intensity, duration, and movement patterns.  For most athletes, high-intensity interval training  (HIIT) should be a component of any off-season strength and conditioning program.  This type of training involves alternating high- and low-intensity exercise over a pre-determined period of time.  For more detailed information, please refer to my previous blog post, Add Interval Training to Your Routine.

Hydration

Adequate fluid intake — before, during, and after activity — is a must for any athlete.  The impact of hydration on performance cannot be overstated.  Inadequate hydration may be the single-biggest reason for performance fatigue and decline.  My STACK Media article, How to Hydrate Your Body, provides basic hydration guidelines for athletes.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

The Case for Single-Leg Squats

14 Mar

DSCN1897 DSCN1898At Athletic Performance Training Center, we like to incorporate single-leg exercises to complement bilateral exercises like the squat.

Exercises like the step-up, Bulgarian (rear leg elevated) split squat, and single-leg squat are routinely integrated into our athletes’ training.

Research tells us that the (back) squat is well-established to improve strength and power; as well as sprinting, jumping, and change-of-direction performance.

But movements like sprinting, jumping, and changing direction are performed either unilaterally, or with weight transferred to one leg at a time.

Therefore, it would be logical to expect that some aspects of athletic performance could be improved with unilateral exercises, which offer more specificity and may be more similar to athletic movements.

Unilateral exercises can also improve balance and stability, decrease lateral strength disparities, and maximize transfer between training and competitive performance.

In a recent Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study, Speirs and colleagues found that “bilateral and unilateral training interventions may be equally efficacious in improving measures of lower-body strength, speed, and change of direction…”

In the study, the unilateral group squatted exclusively with the Bulgarian split squat, whereas the bilateral group trained only with the back squat.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Improve Jump Performance with Lunges

14 Oct

32_2[1]Pre-activity conditioning and warm-up are important across a range of sports, especially for those requiring fast and/or powerful movements.

Performance characteristics of muscle are affected by a complex interaction of muscle and nerve fibers.

Voluntary muscle contractions performed before physical performance have been shown to increase performance in a phenomenon known as post-activation potentiation (PAP).  In other words, you increase the potential of the muscular performance once the muscle has been appropriately activated.

Historically, high-load squats (>80% 1RM) are one of the most common exercises for PAP elicitation, as it relates to subsequent jump performance.

Recently, a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study showed that “a regimen of lunging exercise resulted in a transient improvement in maximal vertical jump performance.”

This article has implications, most obviously, for basketball and volleyball athletes, since a pre-game regimen of repeated bouts of alternating lunges can improve in-game neuromuscular performance as it relates to vertical jump performance (without equipment, weights, etc.).

It is reasonable to also expect that lunges may potentiate neuromuscular performance in athletes participating in other sports that require explosive, powerful lower-extremity movements.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Dehydration is a Performance Killer

12 Oct

4521366051[1]Plenty has been written about the importance of hydration and its effect on athletic performance.

Water affects athletic performance more than any other nutrient, and dehydration is the number one cause of performance-related fatigue and decline.

Adequate fluid balance is also important for optimal cognitive function and overall function as it relates to activities of daily living.

Multiple studies corroborate that dehydration impairs sprint performance, jump performance, resistance training, power production, recovery, and heart rate response.

Athletes:  It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day — before, during, and after training, practices, and games — whether you feel thirsty or not.

Coaches/Trainers:  We’ve got to encourage hydration (via education) and incorporate hydration “stations” into athletes’ training, practices, and games, even (and especially) when they tell us they are “not thirsty.”

For more information, please refer to the following articles:

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Should You Do Plyometric Training on Consecutive Days?

12 Jun

plyometric_boxes[1]In most sports, the ability to produce explosive effort is an important component of performance.  Plyometric training (PT) is commonly used to increase/improve an athlete’s ability to sprint, jump, and change direction.  Additionally, PT may increase endurance performance in sports like basketball and soccer.

Given the high-intensity nature of plyometric training, most research recommends 24-48 hours of rest between PT training sessions.  At our facility, we favor twice-weekly PT training sessions, regardless of the number of weekly training days (e.g., if an athlete trains 3-4 days per week, two of those days include PT).

Occasionally, due to conflicts and other obligations and responsibilities, some of our athletes can only train twice per week and on consecutive days.

A recent Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study compared twice-weekly plyometric training — 140-260 jumps per session — with groups of athletes given 24-48 hours (1-2 days) of rest between sessions, and those training on consecutive days.

“Although it has been recommended that plyometric drills should not be conducted on consecutive days, the study shows that plyometric training applied twice weekly on consecutive or nonconsecutive days results in similar explosive and endurance adaptations…” (Ramirez-Campillo, et. al.)

If necessary, it appears that consecutive plyometric training days are safe and effective.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Dynamic Warmup is the Most Effective Pre-Activity Strategy

4 Dec

revwads18cut-1[1]You can add another study to the overwhelming and growing mountain of research supporting dynamic warm-up — and not static stretching — before engaging in competitive power sports.

This study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, sought to compare and quantify the effects of static stretching and dynamic warm-up on jump performance in NCAA DI female college volleyball players.

As expected, dynamic warm-up was found to result in a significantly higher level of jump performance than static stretching, especially when performed closer to the time of competition.  Athletes’ subsequent jump performance was better when the dynamic warm-up was done within 5-10 minutes preceding competition compared to 25-30 minutes prior to competition.

Hundreds of studies corroborate dynamic warm-up’s similar impact on strength, power, speed, and agility performance.  Athletes, coaches, trainers… get with the program.  Improve performance by eliminating pre-activity static stretching and implementing a dynamic warm-up that reflects the movement patterns of the activity.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Add Squats to Run Faster

14 Aug

squats-strength-training[1]At my facility, we encourage squats — and squat-type exercises — to improve sprint performance.  Research has also shown that squats can improve vertical jump and agility performance in athletes who perform the exercise regularly (athletes who swim, throw, and swing can also benefit from squats, which covers just about everyone).  Squats are a great choice to build the strength and power necessary to generate force against the ground, which is integral to speed, agility, and jump performance.

Recently, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research further corroborated the relationship between squats and sprint speed.  In their study, researchers found that athletes who did squats increased their sprint speed by 10% compared with those who did not do the exercise.

In addition to the Barbell Back Squat (pictured), try these squat variations:

  • Dumbbell Goblet Squat
  • Split Squat
  • Sumo Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Single-Leg Squat

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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