Tag Archives: rest intervals

Get Stronger (here’s how)

2 Dec

LoadedBarbell[1]Everybody wants to look good, but the real benefit of strength training is… well… getting stronger.  Increasing your physical strength will serve you much better in the long term, whether you’re an athlete or not.

And, while the aesthetic result of working out is great, research shows that stronger people generally live longer (so there’s that).  Strength and functional fitness is the way to go.

Move better, function better, perform better.

Here are a few basic tips for improving your strength (with some information borrowed from our friends at ASD Performance):

Lift Heavy

Lifting heavy (90% 1RM) will improve strength by recruiting high-threshold motor units. The muscle fibers associated with these motor units have the most potential for increasing strength. However, they fatigue quickly.

Exercise Selection Matters

Maximal lifting is best applied to multi-joint exercises (e.g., squats, deadlifts, presses, and pulls). Even though the weight is heavy, your intent should be to move the weight as fast as possible. This will ensure you’re recruiting as many fast-twitch muscle fibers as possible.

Incorporate Plyometrics

Otherwise known as jump training, plyometric training involves hop- and jump-type exercises that train and develop what’s called the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). The stretch-shortening cycle teaches the body to better utilize stored elastic energy to produce stronger and more forceful contractions. This improvement in reactive ability can also be explained by improvements in muscle-tendon stiffness. Body-weight or weighted plyometric can be utilized such as consecutive body-weight jumps over hurdles or continuous dumbbell jump squats.

Rest Longer

When bodybuilding or training for muscle growth, short rest periods are recommended between sets, such as 30-60 seconds. When training for strength, increase your rest to 2-5 minutes depending on the exercise. The loads lifted will require longer rest periods to ensure you complete the same number of reps in the subsequent sets. Your mental strength and ability to focus on the heavy set will also appreciate the longer break.

Get Your Protein

Most experts agree that active men and women should ingest 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of their target body weight, daily.  Athletes and more experienced weightlifters may require more protein, as much as a gram (or more) per pound of their target body weight, daily.  Lifting heavy weight creates a lot of muscle demand.  Feed your muscles often, with lean protein from whole foods and a quality whey protein supplement.


Your thoughts?

Speed Training and Development (get faster!)

18 Aug

Let’s face it… speed can be a “difference maker.”  Speed can mean the difference between playing and sitting; winning and losing.  Not everyone has the potential to be fast, but everyone has the potential to be faster.  I don’t think anyone would argue that speed is an important component of athletic success.  There are a few principles to follow to make your speed training more effective.

Running Form/Mechanics

  • Swing your arms with your elbows, not with your shoulders or hands; Keep your elbows bent at right angles, and keep your arm swing linear (don’t swing your arms across your body).
  • Keep your eyes in front of you; don’t look down at your feet.
  • Land on the balls of your feet and keep your heels off the ground; this should help you to maintain a slightly forward lean (shoulders in front of hips).
  • Pick your foot off the ground, and swing your leg forward so that your upper leg is parallel to the ground.
  • Drive against the ground with every stride, but try to minimize ground time; the longer your foot stays in contact with the ground, the slower you will run.

Running Speed = Stride Length X Stride Frequency.  The longer your stride, combined with the frequency at which you replace each stride, will determine your speed.

Run Fast

You have to train yourself to run fast.  That means developing speed “muscle memory.”  You should perform every sprint at (or close to) maximum speed.  You can’t train by performing sprints at only a percentage of your maximum speed, and expect to “teach” your body to run at full speed.

Allow for Adequate Rest Intervals

Sprinting at maximum speed requires proper technique, so you must avoid excessive fatigue.  Sprinting when you’re tired results in poor running mechanics and slower speeds.

  • Recover fully between sprints; rest 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the distance.
  • Don’t overdo it; 3-10 sprints, with full recovery, are more than adequate; sprints should be done towards the beginning of your workout (after warm-up) when your energy level is highest.

Strength Training

You have to be strong.  Running speed doesn’t really exist outside the context of lower-extremity strength and power (sprinting is exerting force against the ground).    Strength training is – and should be – an important component of speed training and development.  Squats (and squat-type exercises), Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, and Plyometrics should be performed as part of your Strength and Conditioning regimen.


Your thoughts?

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