Tag Archives: static stretching

Get With the Program: Stop Static Stretching

9 Jun

As I travel off-site to work with athletes, teams, schools, and organizations, I continue to be amazed by how much static stretching is still being done prior to workouts, training, practices, and games.

People… the evidence-based research is overwhelmingStatic stretching decreases explosive force and power production.  Stretching prior to activity because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is not good enough anymore.  You’re doing more harm than good.

In their study, Static Stretching Can Impair Explosive Performance for At Least 24 Hours, Published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Haddad, et.al. report that, “static stretching of the lower limbs and hip muscles had a negative effect on explosive performance up to 24 hours poststretching…” and “the positive effects of dynamic (movement based) stretching on explosive performance seem to persist for 24 hours.”

Paradisis, et.al. concluded that “static stretching significantly negates sprinting performance and explosive power in adolescent boys and girls.”  (Effects of Static and Dynamic Stretching on Sprint and Jump Performance in Boys and Girls)

Lowery and colleagues warn that “Coaches and athletes may be at risk for decreased performance after a static stretching bout,” in a study that examines the effects of static stretching on run performance.  The authors previously demonstrated that static stretching was associated with a decrease in running economy and distance run.

Your pre-activity warmup should be dynamic (movement based) and mimic the movement patterns of your activity, starting at a low-intensity level and gradually increasing.  Stretched, elongated muscles — resulting from static stretching — will not prepare them to generate the force and power required for training or sport-specific activity.

Coaches and trainers… get with the program.  Most athletes aren’t going to be aware of this information unless you educate them.  It’s not their fault if they don’t know the potential risks of pre-activity static stretching, but it is yours.  You are their source of information and guidance.  Do your homework.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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?

Getting Athletes to be Their Best

25 Mar

-678325aa59aad8ba[1]Eight years ago — after a 20-year career in the pharmaceutical industry — I began pursuit of a dream.  My dream was fueled by my four children, all capable student-athletes.  I wanted to help them train for their sports and improve their performance; teach them the value of working toward a goal; and help them develop a competitive edge.  I expanded my reach to their friends and teammates; interacted and learned from other trainers, coaches, and administrators; and got to work providing evidence-based Strength and Conditioning for anyone interested, willing, and committed to improving their athletic performance.  That was the beginning of what has now become my passion; working with hundreds of athletes in pursuit of stronger, faster, and better.  That was the birth of Athletic Performance Training Center (APTC).

Having recently expanded to our second facility, the APTC dream continues to grow.  We work (and have worked) with several hundred athletes as young as age 5, professional athletes, and everyone in between.  We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with so many dedicated clients.

Over the past 8 years, APTC has helped prepare athletes for the “next level” whether that is high school, college, or the pros.  We have been called upon to prepare athletes for college and professional pro days and combines.  If you are an aspiring athlete, and looking to go to the next level, here is some advice  — stuff that I’ve learned over the past 8 years in the industry.  There’s more to athletic performance than you think.

It’s More Than Just Hard Work

It’s important to work hard, but you’ve also got to work smart.  Most athletes believe if they work hard — in the weight room and on the court or field — they can be successful.  Unfortunately, this antiquated way of thinking is probably not going to get athletes to the top of their game.  Working hard in the weight room won’t get you far if your plan — including exercise selection, intensity, sets, reps, rest intervals, etc. — is not aligned with your goal.  Likewise, you can practice your ball-handling and shooting in the gym all day; but if you’re practicing with flawed form, mechanics, and technique, your improvement will be limited, at best.  And, of course, in addition to physical training, factors like nutrition, rest, and mental preparation will have a considerable effect on your performance.  This is where a knowledgeable strength and/or skills coach can be an asset by providing quality guidance and direction.

It’s More Than Just Off-Season Training

Training is not a “sometimes” thing; it is an “all the time” thing — it’s year-round.  You need to train during the off-season, pre-season, and in-season (with appropriate intensity, frequency, volume, and rest along the way); and it’s important to have a periodized, progressive plan to address each stage of training.  This can become somewhat complicated when athletes play multiple sports throughout the year (and claim not to have the time), but a knowledgeable trainer can develop an effective plan to address each cycle to ensure optimal performance.  If athletes are not training, they are not improving.  And if they are not improving, they are compromising their potential.  During the season, it’s important to incorporate one or two lifting sessions per week to maintain the gains they made in the off-season.  In-season training helps athletes enhance recovery from their sport practices and games; protects against getting “worn down” over the course of the season; and helps keep muscles and joints strong to prevent against injury.

It’s More Than Just the Bench Press and Bicep Curl

Don’t get me wrong, the bench press is a great upper body exercise, but your training shouldn’t revolve around your chest and arms.  Strength and power — for any sport — emanate from the core, specifically the lower core.  The hips, quadriceps, and posterior chain — lower-back, glutes, and hamstrings —  are crucial to your performance.  If you are strong throughout your core, you have the potential to be a strong, fast, and powerful athlete.  If you are not strong throughout this area, there’s nothing you can do to compensate for it.  Weakness in the muscles of your core and posterior chain also puts you at a greater risk for injury.  Squats, deadlifts, glute-ham raises, and Romanian deadlifts are excellent exercises for the core and posterior chain musculature.

Warmup is More Than Just Stretching

Prior to every strength and/or speed training session, make sure you warmup properly.  That means more than just a quick lap around the track or a few quick stretches.  The best, knowledgeable athletes, trainers, and coaches know that performing a dynamic (movement-based) warmup — before training, practices, or games — is the way to go.  Dynamic warmup involves movements that mimic and reflect the demands of your workout or sport-specific activity.  It increases temperature of and blood flow to working muscles; improves mobility and range-of-motion; and decreases the chance of injury.  Static stretching is an outdated mode of warmup that has been found to reduce strength and power production in the short-term; relax and elongate working muscles (thus not preparing them for force production); and it does not reduce the incidence of injury, nor does it help minimize post-workout soreness.  If you absolutely insist on static stretching, do it after practice and training.

Speed is More Than Just Running

Speed is a skill, and speed development starts in the weight room.  Speed requires strength and power training.  The stronger and more powerful you are throughout your core and lower extremities, the more force you can generate against the ground, which translates to speed, agility, and vertical jump ability.  Additionally, technique is a vital component of speed.  When speed training, athletes need to perform exercises and drills with perfect form and mechanics.  Head position, arm action, leg drive, stride frequency, and stride length are all factors that influence running speed.  Without an understanding of the right way to approach speed and agility training, it will be difficult to achieve your potential as an athlete.

It’s More Than Just You

Finally, if you are committed to being the best you can be, you won’t be able to do it without some help.  In addition to the support of your family and friends, you should look to find competent, qualified individuals with experience and expertise in the areas of strength and conditioning, and sport-specific skill development.  It’s important to have a plan, and equally important for your plan to be aligned with your goals.  There’s a big difference between activity and productivity; all movement is not progress.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Get With the Program: Stop Static Stretching

31 Jan

nostaticstretch1[1]As I travel off-site to work with athletes, teams, schools, and organizations, I continue to be amazed by how much static stretching is still being done prior to workouts, training, practices, and games.

People… the evidence-based research is overwhelmingStatic stretching decreases explosive force and power production.  Stretching prior to activity because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is not good enough anymore.  You’re doing more harm than good.

In their study, Static Stretching Can Impair Explosive Performance for At Least 24 Hours, Published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Haddad, et.al. report that, “static stretching of the lower limbs and hip muscles had a negative effect on explosive performance up to 24 hours poststretching…” and “the positive effects of dynamic (movement based) stretching on explosive performance seem to persist for 24 hours.”

Paradisis, et.al. concluded that “static stretching significantly negates sprinting performance and explosive power in adolescent boys and girls.”  (Effects of Static and Dynamic Stretching on Sprint and Jump Performance in Boys and Girls)

Lowery and colleagues warn that “Coaches and athletes may be at risk for decreased performance after a static stretching bout,” in a study that examines the effects of static stretching on run performance.  The authors previously demonstrated that static stretching was associated with a decrease in running economy and distance run.

Your pre-activity warmup should be dynamic (movement based) and mimic the movement patterns of your activity, starting at a low intensity level and gradually increasing.  Stretched, elongated muscles — resulting from static stretching — will not prepare them to generate the force and power required for training or sport-specific activity.

Coaches and trainers… get with the program.  Most athletes aren’t going to be aware of this information unless you educate them.  It’s not their fault if they don’t know the potential risks of pre-activity static stretching, but it is yours.  You are their source of information and guidance.  Do your homework.

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?

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