Tag Archives: leg power

Soccer Players, Get in the Weight Room

3 May

Volumes of research have established that a well-designed, appropriately supervised strength training program can help any athlete improve his or her performance, regardless of the sport.  A recent study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, examined the effects of a resistance exercise program on soccer kick biomechanics.

The study followed a 10-week resistance exercise program, mainly for the lower-limb muscles.  The training program included progressive high-weight, low-repetition exercises that focused on hip abduction and adduction; knee flexion and extension; and ankle plantar flexion and dorsiflexion.

Results included measurement of leg strength and power through the entire kicking phase — backswing and forward swing — before and after training.

As expected, “maximum and explosive force significantly increased after training…” (Manolopoulos, et. al.)

“These results suggest that increases in soccer kicking performance after a 10-week resistance training program were accompanied by increases in maximum strength and an altered soccer kick movement pattern, characterized by a more explosive backward-forward swinging movement and higher muscle activation during the final kicking phase.”

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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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?

Jump to Build Your Explosiveness

23 Sep

Hockey-Squat-Jump[1]Most sports require lower-body strength and power, and the ability to generate explosive force — and release it powerfully — with your hips and legs.  The more power you’re able to generate, the easier and faster you’ll run and/or jump past your competition.

Body-weight squat jumps and broad jumps are a great addition to any training regimen.  Both employ forceful “triple extension” of the hips, knees, and ankles.

To perform the squat jump, stand with feet shoulder width apart.  Pull your elbows back, dip and push back your hips, and leap vertically.  When you land, drop into a squat with hips down and back, and knees bent and facing forward.  Complete 3-5 sets of up to 6 reps, with 30 seconds of rest between sets.

To perform the broad jump (standing long jump), use the same takeoff and landing form as the squat jump, but jump forward as far as you can.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strength Training Can Help You Run Faster

25 Jul

STFThere are several factors implicated in running speed.  Form and technique are certainly part of the equation (although I train some very fast athletes who don’t have textbook running form).  Stride length and stride frequency are critical success factors for any runner/sprinter.  And research continues to show that lower-extremity strength and power — and the development thereof — can help any athlete improve his or her speed and running efficiency.

Strength training (weight lifting) enhances muscle strength, so your muscle fibers don’t fatigue as quickly.  This leads to better running speed, efficiency, and overall performance.  Exercises that target hip drive (flexion and extension), leg strength, and explosive power can all be incorporated into your workout to increase the amount of force you are able to generate against the ground, resulting in improved speed and running efficiency.

Perform strength exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, deadliftsRomanian deadlifts, and lunges.  Add explosive exercises like squat jumps and box jumps.  Choose two of the strength exercises and one of the explosive exercises, and perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions each, two or three days per week, with a day of rest between training days.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Every Day is Leg Day

3 Nov

Prowler[1]Leg strength and power are important components of athletic performance for virtually every sport.

And, while strong, powerful legs can help any athlete to be faster and more explosive, you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from incorporating leg exercises into your training regimen.

Performing leg exercises like squats and lunges, and building stronger legs, can help you reduce your risk of injury; burn more calories and increase your metabolism; improve balance and stability; improve muscular endurance; relieve lower back pain; and improve your mobility. (please see 9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day)

Leg exercises that focus on hip/quad and posterior chain (glute/ham) should be a part of every training day.

And, forget about body-part training.  Even if you workout for aesthetic reasons, each and every workout should be a total-body workout.  It’s more functional and better reflects the demands and movement patterns of sports and everyday tasks — Train Like You Live, Work, Play.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Soccer Players, Get in the Weight Room

30 Dec

Soccer Player KickingVolumes of research have established that a well-designed, appropriately supervised strength training program can help any athlete improve his or her performance, regardless of the sport.  A recent study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, examined the effects of a resistance exercise program on soccer kick biomechanics.

The study followed a 10-week resistance exercise program, mainly for the lower limb muscles.  The training program included progressive high-weight, low-repetition exercises that focused on hip abduction and adduction; knee flexion and extension; and ankle plantar flexion and dorsiflexion.

Results included measurement of leg strength and power through the entire kicking phase — backswing and forward swing — before and after training.

As expected, “maximum and explosive force significantly increased after training…” (Manolopoulos, et. al.)

“These results suggest that increases in soccer kicking performance after a 10-week resistance training program were accompanied by increases in maximum strength and an altered soccer kick movement pattern, characterized by a more explosive backward-forward swinging movement and higher muscle activation during the final kicking phase.”

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?

Jump to Build Your Explosiveness

12 Jul

Hockey-Squat-Jump[1]Most sports require lower-body strength and power, and the ability to generate explosive force — and release it powerfully — with your hips and legs.  The more power you’re able to generate, the easier and faster you’ll run and/or jump past your competition.

Body-weight squat jumps and broad jumps are a great addition to any training regimen.  Both employ forceful “triple extension” of the hips, knees, and ankles.

To perform the squat jump, stand with feet shoulder width apart.  Pull your elbows back, dip and push back your hips, and leap vertically.  When you land, drop into a squat with hips down and back, and knees bent and facing forward.  Complete 3-5 sets of up to 6 reps, with 30 seconds of rest between sets.

To perform the broad jump (standing long jump), use the same takeoff and landing form as the squat jump, but jump forward as far as you can.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strength Training Can Help You Run Faster

5 Jun

STFThere are several factors implicated in running speed.  Form and technique are certainly part of the equation (although I train some very fast athletes who don’t have textbook running form).  Stride length and stride frequency are critical success factors for any runner/sprinter.  And research continues to show that lower-extremity strength and power — and the development thereof — can help any athlete improve his or her speed and running efficiency.

Strength training (weight lifting) enhances muscle strength, so your muscle fibers don’t fatigue as quickly.  This leads to better running speed, efficiency, and overall performance.  Exercises that target hip drive (flexion and extension), leg strength, and explosive power can all be incorporated into your workout to increase the amount of force you are able to generate against the ground, resulting in improved speed and running efficiency.

Perform strength exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and lunges.  Add explosive exercises like squat jumps and box jumps.  Choose two of the strength exercises and one of the explosive exercises, and perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions each, two or three days per week, with a day of rest between training days.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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