Tag Archives: multi-joint exercises

Get Stronger with Body-Weight Training

5 Nov

When it comes to Strength training, you don’t need machines and equipment to be productive.  At ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE TRAINING CENTER, we incorporate body-weight exercises into virtually every workout.  Most body-weight exercises are inherently multi-joint, and activate multiple muscle groups in the process.  This is preferable to using machines that “lock” you into single-joint exercises that limit your range of motion and isolate specific muscles (although this approach has its place, situationally).  You can further increase the degree of difficulty by adding an element of instability to your body weight exercises.  Once you master technique, try adding an unstable surface like an Airex Balance Pad or BOSU Ball.  Below are some examples of body-weight exercises you can add to your workout:

Lower-Body

  • Squat:  Observe proper form (chin up; back straight; lower and push through heels) and squat as deeply as you can.  Pause for a second (and gradually increase time) in “down” position.
  • Single-Leg Squat:  Facing away from a chair or bench, elevate one leg and lower into sitting position and pause.  Push back to standing position with “ground” foot.
  • Split Squat:  Assume split stance – one leg forward, one leg back.  Lower back knee toward (but not touching) ground.  When in down position, both knees should be at right angles.
  • Bulgarian Split Squat:  This is a split squat performed with your rear leg elevated, back foot resting on a chair or bench.  Front foot should be 3-4 foot-lengths from back foot.

Upper-Body

  • Pushup:  There are more variations of this exercise than I can list in one blog post.  The biggest mistake I see involves range-of-motion – lower your chest all the way to the ground.  Instability (one or both arms, and or legs – see photo) is the key to making this exercise more challenging.
  • Chinup/Pullup:  A must-do!  If you can’t yet do them on your own, get a spot (assisted) or do “negatives” (start in up position and slowly lower yourself to a 4-second count).  Add variety by changing grips.
  • Dip:  Beginners can do this exercise on a bench.  More advanced individuals should use dip bars with feet suspended.

Core

Power

  • Squat Jump:  This exercise can also be done single-leg or with a split stance.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Develop Your Core to Improve Athletic Performance

29 Oct

It’s important to incorporate core (multi-joint) exercises into your Strength and Conditioning plan.  When some people hear core, they think abs.  Your core actually includes shoulders, chest, back, hips, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.  These are your body’s largest and strongest muscles; the muscles that initiate and generate strength and power for virtually every sport.  It won’t matter how strong muscles like your biceps, triceps, and calves are if you don’t have a strong core.

Train Movements, Not Muscles

All athletic movements incorporate the core in some way.   Very few muscle groups are isolated; the whole body works as a unit.  Core strength training should reflect the movement patterns of the athlete’s sport(s).  Benefits of core strength training include:

  • Greater efficiency of (functional) movement
  • Improved balance and stability
  • Increased strength and power output from both the core musculature and peripheral muscles such as the shoulders, arms, and legs
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Improved athletic performance

Resistance Training Exercises

There are lots of exercises athletes can do to strengthen the muscles of the core.  Some of the most effective are exercises like the Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift (RDL), Squat, Bench Press, and Row.  Unilateral variations of these exercises (single-arm, single-leg) are also beneficial because of the way they incorporate balance and stability, making them very functional.

Do It Right

Proper technique can make every exercise more effective and reduce the risk of injury.  If you’re just starting, it’s wise to enlist the help of an experienced, qualified Strength and Conditioning professional.  Even if you’re not a strength training novice, working with a professional can focus your efforts and help you be more efficient and productive en route to reaching and exceeding your athletic performance goals.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Resistance Training, Part 2: Exercise Selection

1 Oct

Exercise selection involves choosing exercises for a resistance training program.  The Strength and Conditioning professional must understand and apply several factors to the design of a resistance training program, including types of exercises, demands of the sport, the athlete’s exercise technique proficiency, and available training resources (equipment, time, etc.).

There are literally hundreds of resistance exercises to choose from, using a variety of equipment, when designing a resistance training program:

  • Core exercises recruit large muscles (chest, shoulders, back, hip, or thigh) and involve two or more primary joints (multi-joint exercises).  Core exercises often have direct application to athletic performance.
  • Single-joint exercises usually recruit smaller muscles (arms, lower legs, etc.) and are considered less important to improving athletic performance.
  • Injury prevention exercises (for example, shoulder exercises for pitchers) are important because they develop muscles that are predisposed to injury from the unique demands of the sport.  These exercises often isolate a specific muscle or muscle group.
  • Structural exercises, which emphasize loading the spine directly (barbell back squat) involve muscular stabilization and strength.
  • Power exercises are structural exercises that are performed explosively, like Olympic lifts (power clean).
  • Sport-specific exercises correlate the training activity with the actual sport movement, increasing the likelihood that there will be a positive transfer to that sport.  For basketball and volleyball players, the power clean is a good choice because it’s specific to jumping.

Exercises chosen for the specific demands of the sport should maintain a balance of muscular strength across joints and between opposing muscle groups.  At Athletic Performance Training Center, we employ agonist-antagonist paired sets (for example, pairing a quadriceps exercise with a hamstring exercise) in our Strength training.  In addition to Strength development, this approach has been documented to help reduce the incidence of injuries.

The exercises selected for a resistance training program should reflect the demands and characteristics of the sport.  Exercises should be similar to the movement patterns and ranges of motion, and involve similar muscles (and muscle groups) as the sport.  The program design should also emphasize balance to reduce risk of injury.

Proper exercise technique should be observed and evaluated for all athletes.  If the athlete is incapable of performing an exercise with correct technique, the Strength and Conditioning professional should provide thorough instruction and demonstration.

Obviously, exercise selection will be dependent upon the availability of resistance training equipment.  Additionally, the Strength and Conditioning professional must weigh the value of certain exercises against the time it takes to perform them, given the available time for a training session.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Next: Training Frequency

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