Home Posts tagged "Sprinting Speed" (Page 2)

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 12

Here are some random tips from CP coach Greg Robins to help you improve health, get strong, lose fat, gain muscle, and move better.

1. Consider mixing protein powder with something other than water or milk.

I hardly ever recommend protein powder as the best choice for a quality protein source. However, a quality product (with minimal garbage thrown in the mix) is an easy way to get more protein into someone's diet. For some, a scoop with water or milk is fine; they even enjoy the taste. For others, myself included, the novelty of protein shakes has diminished greatly. Enter other viable options to mix in a scoop or two of your favorite protein supplement.

Option 1: Ice Coffee

This is a game changer. Adding a scoop of vanilla or chocolate protein powder to black coffee is a delicious alternative to milk, cream, and sugar. It not only tastes great, but also fuels your body and gives you a little boost. Furthermore, I find it to be a fantastic option for people looking to shed some weight. The protein powder will satiate you, while the caffeine can work to curb your appetite and stimulate your metabolism.

WARNING: don't try this with hot coffee. The protein powder will not mix well and tends to curdle at the top.

Option 2: Oatmeal

After you cook up a cup or two of raw oats, throw in a scoop or two of your favorite flavor. Make sure the protein goes in after the oatmeal is cooked, and before it cools down and solidifies.

Option 3: Plain Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is delicious on its own, but sometimes it needs some variety. I would much rather get some flavor from a scoop of protein than the sugar filled "fruit" you find at the bottom of most other varieties. One of my favorite concoctions looks like this: 1 cup of plain greek yogurt, 1 scoop of chocolate whey, 4tbsp of oat bran, 4tbsp of shredded coconut flakes. Mix it all together, place it in the fridge over night, and you’ve got a delicious breakfast or snack for the next day.

2. Keep things fresh to keep people motivated.

Last week, I touched upon the importance of sticking to exercise selections long enough for them to have value/transfer in a strength training program. That said, I have spent some quality time inside the walls of commercial gyms, and run a number of different boot camps. You have to keep it fresh, I GET IT! So, how does a coach or trainer get the best of both worlds? First and foremost, educate your clients. You don't need a fancy explanation; just give them a little insight. Show them the "why" that backs up the "how" that gets them the "what."

Look to your assistance exercises as the first place to add variety. Monitoring the progress in (most) assistance work is not as important as just doing it. With that in mind, this is the first place where exercises can be altered more often. There is no point in choosing variations without a purpose. Luckily there are a lot of different exercises that accomplish similar, or the same thing. Resources, such as this blog, are full of different ideas.

Likewise, coaches such as Ben Bruno and Nick Tumminello have made it a point to offer up tons of innovative exercise variations, so check them out!

Lastly, "finishers" (circuit/medley training) at the end of a strength session is a logical place to add in something creative and fun. Keep the intensity high, the duration short, and mix it up. I know many people utilize these, so if you have a “go-to” option, please drop a comment below.

3. If you can’t do full push-ups, stop doing them on your knees.

The push up is a fantastic exercise. It will forever remain a staple for building the pecs, shoulders and triceps. However, let's not forget to appreciate its most redeeming quality: The push up is an ultimate test in torso stability, and the ability to coordinate movement around a stable midsection. While this function of the push up makes it such a great choice for gym goers, it also provides us the reason that push-ups from a kneeling stance will have little transfer to performing them on your feet. Instead, elevate the hands as necessary, and train the push up in the position you ultimately desire to do them from in the future. Doing so will not only help you to train the muscles responsible for pushing, but also those responsible for keeping the spine in a neutral position.

4. Get outside!

5. Remind parents and team coaches that gaining good weight is still a good thing!

Without fail, I will hear at least one young athlete each week ask one of our CP coaches if putting on weight will make them slower. We all know "speed" is what separates the good from the great, as the faster we can move, react, throw, etc., the better we’ll perform. We need to appreciate that speed is dependent on force, and stronger people have more force potential.

In a recent study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, investigators looked at the off-ice fitness profiles of elite female ice hockey players relative to team success. The study found that, "Athletes from countries with the best international records weighed more, yet had less body fat, had greater lower body muscular power and upper body strength, and higher aerobic capacity compared to their less successful counterparts."

To those of us in the field, this is obvious. As with many topics, we as strength coaches or trainers tend to forget the popular opinions of those less involved with what we do. Many parents and coaches still argue that "lighter" means faster, and muscle is "bulky”. Gaining 25lbs of muscle over the course of year will make a 16 year-old athlete who weighs 165lb. into a 190-lb., faster, bigger, stronger athlete. Moreover, 25lbs dispersed evenly over the frame of a 6' athlete will not transform him into the next Lou Ferrigno. Be mindful of this, and again, educate your clients, athletes, and parents!

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“Make My Kid Run Faster”

Since we work with quite a few young athletes, it’s the question I get a few times every week:

“Will you be doing speed training with my son/daughter?  He/she needs to get faster.”

In my head, I am always thinking, “No, all our programs are geared toward making athletes slower.  It’s really what we do best.”

Kidding aside, what comes out of my mouth is markedly different, as I have to explain how our training approach is going to be dictated by where that young athlete is developmentally – and each kid really is unique.

On one hand, you’ll have young athletes who have very poor mobility and stability – which equates to terrible body control.  Sadly, this has become the majority of 13-16 year-old athletes in the U.S. today thanks to a tendency toward early sports specialization and excessive computer time.

Given the crazy ground reaction forces (roughly 4-6 times body weight on one leg in each stride; or 600-900lbs for a 150lb kid) an athlete experiences during sprinting, you could make the argument that taking these untrained, physically incapable kids and throwing them into aggressive sprinting and change-of-direction drills could actually be considered very dangerous.  They simply don’t have the eccentric strength to decelerate this pounding, let alone create optimal subsequent concentric actions.  These athletes need time to develop a good foundation of strength and mobility – upon which good landing mechanics can be taught later in shorter, simpler drills.  Eventually, once they’ve developed some body control, they can make better use of true sprint training and agility work.

Or can they?

While these young athletes probably aren’t ready for being thrown into the fire in their training (closed-loop, or predictable, drills), what do they do outside of the gym?  They participate year-round in sports (open-loop, unpredictable/chaotic).

This is like recognizing that the engine on your 1979 Pinto is a ticking time-bomb and bringing it in to a mechanic for an hour a week for an oil change – only to take it out and drive it in the Daytona 500…every other day.  You’re swimming upstream.

So, the question becomes: do today’s “always in-season” high school athletes EVER get to the point that they really need much dedicated agility and sprint work?  Based on the preceding few paragraphs, for some athletes, I’d say no; they don’t need much.  Some foam rolling, a good dynamic warm-up, followed by some quick and to-the-point movement drills, and then solid resistance training should get the job done as long as they’re out there competing in their sports. 

On the other hand, while it is not a common circumstance nowadays, you do actually have advanced athletes (those with a decent foundation of strength) who may have periods of the year when they aren’t actively involved in organized sports.  These athletes absolutely do need to train with specific sprinting and change of direction work during these “off” periods of the year.  We generally program this work for days completely separate from lifting, although it can also be worked in between the warm-ups and resistance training components.  It’s of vital importance to recognize that these athletes can only make the most of these inclusions because they’ve put in the leg work (no pun intended) to make these high-stress reactive drills really beneficial and safe.

You know what’s funny, though?

The athletes who get to this more advanced stage have already gotten faster – because along the way, they’ve learned to put more force into the ground, and have improved their ankle and hip mobility.  They’ve become faster without ever spending much, if any, time at all on sprinting and agility drills.  And, once they have that foundation of strength, these supplemental movement drills actually work a lot better.

It’s like a big circle.  They build a foundation of strength, which helps them develop reactive ability.  They train that reactive ability further, and it brings them further to the “absolute speed” end of the continuum.  So, they lift heavier weights – which brings them back toward the center of that continuum, and, in turn, allows them to train reactive ability even harder because they’re running faster, jumping higher, and turning on a dime better than ever.

If you don’t understand what I mean, check this old video I did out:

The entry level kids I mentioned earlier aren’t even on a continuum.  They are on the “exerciser/non-exerciser” seesaw.  Make them regular exercisers and build up some strength, and they wind up starting on the absolute speed end of the continuum because all they’ve ever known is running around.  They won’t run faster until you get ‘em strong and shift them over to the absolute strength end of the continuum – and that simply won’t happen if you’re just spending 90 minutes of each session with them running agility ladders and doing skipping drills.

Why then, if the amount of movement training needed is grossly overestimated, do we have so many coaches and facilities in this industry who spend hours per week on movement training?  Very simply, money makes the world go round.  In other words, you can “safely” train a lot more kids in large groups and make it less coaching-intensive on yourself if you just set up cones, hurdles, and agility ladders and tell them to go to town. Actually getting a kid strong takes more individualized cues and variety in exercise programming.  And, because strength exercises are more high-risk/high-reward, they take more one-on-one coaching – which is tough to do when you have twenty 13-year-olds and only one coach.  This is one reason why I have always said that I will never let our business model dictate our training model at Cressey Sports Performance.

So, to wrap it all up: some kids need movement training, and some kids aren’t quite ready for it.  And, 99% of the time – while it might fly in the face of logic – if the parent comments on how slow a kid is, just having that young athlete go out and run more is the least effective, most dangerous way to address the issue.

For more information on the current state of youth athlete development and how to best set young athletes up for success, I highly recommend you check out Mike Boyle's new resource, Complete Youth Training. It's on sale for $50 off through this Sunday at midnight. You can learn more HERE.

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Kelly Baggett: The 5 MOST Common Speed, Quickness and Explosiveness Problems in Athletes: Part 2

Today, we've got part 2 of a great guest blog series from Kelly Baggett.  You can find Part 1 HERE. In the first installment, I talked about several of the common problems athletes have that make them perform more like an oversized truck and less like greased lightning.  In this installment, I’ll give you some solutions to those problems.  Let’s get to it! Problem #1: Bad Feet Solution: Spend Some Time Training Barefoot. One simple thing you can do for bad feet is spend a little bit of time each week training barefoot. Your body won't let you move in a rearfoot dominant posture when you're barefoot because it'll hurt too much. As an experiment, try taking your shoes off and lightly jog a few steps down the street. You’ll probably find the ONLY way you can do it is to get up on your forefoot. Also, pay attention to which muscles you "feel" the movement driven by when you run barefoot.  I don’t recommend training on concrete regularly. but if you have access to a fairly soft surface (grass is ideal and most carpet works fine), don't hesitate to scrap the shoes for a while. Here is a video that clearly shows the difference between running with shoes on and off.

The idea is to do enough barefoot training that your feet strengthen and begin to favor the barefoot posture even when wearing shoes. Even 20 minutes once a week on grass is helpful. If barefoot training isn't an option you can always train in lighter footwear that helps mimick barefoot running. Shoes like Nike Free 5.0 or 7.0 and Vibram 5 fingers can be an option here.

Problem #2: Lack of Glute Dominance. Solution: Really Focusing on Strengthening the Glutes!

In short, if you want glute dominance, you need to spend significant time strengthening the glutes. Try this experiment. Go in the gym, warm-up and knock out a couple of sets of 10 paused manual reverse hyperextensions. If you don't have a dedicated machine, find a bench, hang a dumbell between your shins, and do a couple of sets of 10 reps with a slight pause at the top.

Now that you have a good glute pump, take a casual stroll and see if you notice any differences in how you're walking. You'll likely notice that your strides are longer and you’re better positioned to drive off the balls of your feet when you walk because your hips inherently want to extend more. That's a good thing from a speed perspective!   Strong glutes favor a longer, more efficient, and more powerful stride. They also keep you injury free. Problem #3: Lack of End-Range Strength in the Psoas. Solution: Get Strong at 90 Degrees Hip Flexion or Higher. The key for a strong psoas (and proper knee lift in sports) is strengthening the muscles that lift your knee up to 90 degrees or higher.  Here is an example of that and an exercise for that.

Being strong in 90 degrees-plus of hip flexion also helps ensure optimal femur control, or put simply: it ensures the muscles high on your hip are controlling your thigh bone.

Problem #4: Lack of Mobility in Key Muscle Groups. Solution: Regularly Stretch/Mobilize the Quads, Hip Flexors, and Ankles.

Stretching the quads and rectus femoris turns off what are often tight and overactive muscles controlling the knee - and that promotes better hip dominant movement. The psoas must be strong, as I talked about earlier, but it also must be mobile enough to not negatively impact posture.  An excessively tight psoas will negatively impact gluteal recruitment. If you’ve ever looked closely at a picture of the psoas, you can see the majority of the muscle lies up above your hip joints in more of the deep abdominal region. I’ve noticed many people are both weak and tight in the psoas.  People that are really tight often have adhesions in the upper psoas. The upper psoas is hard to get to and in my experience requires a solid twist of the upper body to reach effectively. When it’s dealt with effectively, it’s not uncommon to hear an audible “pop” in your lower ab region as the adhesions release, followed by an immediate ease in breathing and increased feeling of looseness in the hips. Here is a good all-in-one stretch I recommend for the quads, rectus femoris, and the psoas:

And here is one for the ankles:

Most people should stretch daily and the more extensive your impairments the more frequently you should do so. I've had some people stretch for 20 seconds every hour of the day while others can get away with one short session per day. Many people can improve significantly simply by implementing proper mobility work for these muscles.

Problem #5: Lack of Strength and Power in Relevant Muscles Solution: Give Resistance Training an Honest Effort.

To move like lightning, you have to be able to get lots of force into the ground - and that means you have to have strength in the right places.  That means the hip extensors, knee extensors, and plantarflexors must be strong and powerful.  How do you get them strong and powerful? You must do some form of progressive resistance training.  That means some type of squatting or lunging for the knee and hip extensors, and some type of toe press or plyometrics for the plantarflexors.  You then must take that base of power and apply it into progressive sport-specific movements. Fortunately, all the specific stuff is taken care of in The Truth About Quickness Insiders System. The important thing from a longer term perspective is that you or your athletes spend time developing a base of strength through common strength exercises like squats, Bulgarian split squats, lunges, and deadlifts. That about covers it!  Hopefully you’ve found this short list of problems and solutions beneficial in your training or coaching. Stay strong and good luck with it! As you may already know, Kelly and Alex Maroko just released The Truth About Quickness Insiders System, a resource I highly recommend.  This outstanding product will be on sale at a great introductory price ($40 off) only through this Thursday at midnight.

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Kelly Baggett: The 5 MOST Common Speed, Quickness and Explosiveness Problems in Athletes: Part 1

As promised, today, we've got a guest blog from Kelly Baggett, one of the brightest minds in the field of high performance training for athletes. Today I’d like to talk a little about some of the common problems I see in athletes that prevent them from being as fast, quick, and explosive as they could be. You need a good combination of optimal movement patterns and force. Movement patterns are affected by things like your posture, muscle balance, mobility, and coordination.  Force is affected by your strength and power. You can be strong with the ability to exert lots of force, but if your movement patterns are off you won't transfer that force efficiently, and thus won't move very fast and explosively. You can have great movement patterns, but if you don't have force behind those movement patterns, you wont move very fast and explosively either - so the key is creating the balance. Now that I've talked about the type of problems, let's get to the problems themselves. Problem #1: Bad Feet For years, coaches in a multitude of sports have belabored the key, "Stay on your toes!" Although literally being on your toes is a bit of an exaggeration and is likely to lead to a trucked toe, staying on your toes really means you drive off the balls of your feet and less on your heels. Watch many great athletes when they accelerate or sprint and their heels barely seem to hit the ground. This is without any conscious input on their part. Most people are rearfoot dominant, which means they carry too much weight on their heels when they walk, run, or move in general. Moving more towards the mid and forefoot favors quicker, more efficient, less stressful movement, and also makes it easier to activate the powerful hip extensors, which have the capacity to really make you fly. If you want to be a good athlete, you need to get off your rearfoot and onto your mid and forefoot.

How do you do that? Well, unfortunately you’re unlikely to find much in the way of relevant scientific or laymen’s information specifically delving a great deal into this topic. That doesn’t change the fact that there are no shortage of gimmicks out there that promise this. There are even products like jumpsoles out there designed to make you move on the balls of your feet. The problem is the verbal cues and training aids are relatively worthless because most people don't have the inherent muscular recruitment patterns and strength to move in this posture naturally. If you have to think about it or force yourself to move a certain way it's generally not gonna be very effective. The key is optimizing your muscle development and movement patterns so your body inherently takes an "on the balls of the feet" posture without you having to voluntarily force yourself to get in that position. When that happens it'll feel natural and efficient. I’ll talk about how to do that in the next installment. Now let’s get on to some of the other problems. Problem #2: Lack of Glute Dominance When the hip extensors are strong, they tend to "want" to drive your movements a bit more than someone who's glute deficient. Generally speaking, walking, running, jumping, and most other athletic movements can be driven primarily either from the muscles acting on the hip or the muscles acting on the knee.

When referring to muscles that act primarily at the hip, I'm referring mainly to the glutes and psoas. Muscles that act more at the knee include the quads, rectus femoris, and tensor fascia lata. When movement is primarily generated from muscles acting higher on the hip, it promotes a more efficient and less stressful movement pattern. When movement is primarily generated by the muscles acting on the knee, it tends to promote more rearfoot dominant movement as well as knee pain, hip pain, and a ton of other common problems. Guess which pattern fast and slow athletes favor, respectfully? Have you ever noticed that really fast athletes often hardly even look like they’re trying? They’re quiet and effortless when they move. Slower athletes often sound like a bull when they move. Their feet SLAP the ground like a pancake and you can hear their tension a mile away. A large reason for that discrepancy is one group is using their hips to drive their movements while the other group is using their knees. Knee dominant movement is typically inefficient, loud, and it often hurts. Hip dominant (glute driven) is quiet, fast, and smooth. Problem #3: Lack of End-Range Strength in the Psoas The psoas works in concert with the glutes to control the femur from the hip. A strong psoas promotes optimum hip and foot mechanics. Everyone has heard coaches yell, "High knees, high knees!!" Some athletes inherently run with high knees while others barely lift their feet an inch off the ground. Those who don't do it naturally aren't really helped much by the cue. The psoas is the muscle responsible for raising your knee up to 90 degrees and above from a standing position.

When the psoas is weaker than the rectus femoris and tensor fascia latae you will have a more difficult time getting proper knee lift when you run, and also, due to the influence on the posture of your hips, also be succeptible to overuse injuries like IT band issues, knee pain, and plantar fasciitis. Problem #4: Lack of Mobility in Key Muscle Groups The quads, rectus femoris, ankles, and hip flexors often tend to be tight. This favors improper/faulty movement and prevents the optimum transfer of power through the lower kinetic chain. It also favors common injuries like patellar tendonitis or plantar fasciitis. If you’ve had knee or foot pain, chances are you have at least one of these mobility impairments. Anyone that has considerably increased the muscular development of their thighs will have a tendency to lean towards having tight quads. That's not to say that muscular development of the thighs is a bad thing by any means, but one must pay attention to mobility. Problem #5: Lack of Strength/Power in Relevant Contributing Muscles This is the simplest problem of all - and also the one that will arguably have the biggest impact of all. It encompasses the "force" part of the speed and quickness equation. The more force you exert against an object, the faster you can move that object. In the case of speed and quickness, the moveable object is your body and the object you're applying force to is the ground. The problem is most people are too weak to be explosive and quick. I’ll give you all the information on how to address and fix that and the other problems in Part II of this article series - which will run tomorrow. Tomorrow (Monday) at midnight, Kelly and Alex Maroko will be releasing The Truth About Quickness at a huge introductory discount.  I've reviewed the product and can say without wavering that the information it contains is outstanding; this resource will make for an excellent addition to any coach or athlete's library.  For more information, head over to their early-bird discount page HERE.

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How to Get Quick…Quickly – Talking with Kelly Baggett

Today, I'm psyched to have my old friend Kelly Baggett on-board for an EricCressey.com exclusive interview.  Kelly and I go back about ten years, and to this day, he stands out in my mind as one of the brightest guys in the business of making people more athletic - and he's also a heck of an athlete himself. EC: Thanks for taking the time to jump in with us on this interview today.  Let’s talk first about where the “need” for this product came about; what made you and Alex decide to create it? KB: Several years ago I had started using a particular style of movement work with my athletes designed to boost what I like to call “movement efficiency.” The premise was to rapidly and economically get people moving faster, quicker, and more efficiently on their feet without spending a lot of time doing so.  Each workout would start off with this movement work, which was a short ~10 minute section of the workout. Alex was actually a client of mine back when he was just out of high school. He went through some these workouts and really seemed to benefit from them.   Well, a few years later he’s coaching people himself and is nearly out of college.  He had taken the workouts I’d given him several years before and continued doing parts of them and expounded upon them with an emphasis on really boosting his first step in basketball. I had always believed that quickness and explosiveness weren’t necessarily the same thing. A person can be “quick” without being explosive and vice versa.  Alex was a perfect example of that.  He has some videos somewhere out there of him with a basketball: I don’t know if he’ll ever be all that fast and explosive, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone quicker with the ball in his hand on the basketball court. Several years after he was a client of mine, Alex is now a coach himself and has a pretty good training business going.  A little while back, he calls me and tells me how he’d been using these movement progressions with athletes and how well they’ve been working – and, in the process - comes up with the idea of putting the concept into a product based on “The Truth About Quickness.”

The first thing was to address some of the common myths surrounding quickness training and talk about the difference between quickness and explosiveness. The next was to introduce simple progressive quickness promoting exercises that don’t take a lot of time that can be incorporated into any existing program.  The foundation for that were the progressions I had started using several years prior. EC: Let’s talk about your “evolution” as a coach.  What were you doing a decade ago that you thought was high performance training that you realize now just wasn’t cutting the mustard when it came to making people more athletic? KB: When it comes to actual sprint, agility, and plyometric work, nowadays, I’m sort of known as a low volume guy. It’s all about quality over quantity.  However, believe it or not, I used to be one of those coaches who would run guys to death. I spent too much time focusing on sport-specific movements and not enough on foundational training and recovery.  I was one of those coaches who believed that if you wanted to get faster, you needed to do a ton of running.  If you wanted to be more agile, you needed to do a ton of agility and SAQ (speed-agility-quickness) work.  If you wanted to jump higher, you needed to do a lot of plyometrics.  The result was that my programming wasn’t near as efficient as it could be. I guess sometime around the late 1990s, I started discovering by accident that most people could substantially improve sports specific movements without much focus on them.  I’d get these athletes that would come to me and say something like, “Hey I’m not going to play football or basketball anymore, but I still want to look good. I want you to train me to get me big, lean, and strong”.  So, I would.  Then, two months later, the guy goes out and hits a personal best vertical jump and 40 time.

I had experienced that myself in my own progress as an athlete but I always thought I was sort of an anomaly because I wasn’t doing what was considered “traditional” explosive power and speed training. But then I experienced it many, many times with other athletes.   From there things sort of evolved into a challenge of finding the right volumes of movement and strength work, discovering why certain approaches work for some athletes and not for others, and tailoring the approach to the athlete. EC: It doesn’t sound altogether unfamiliar with the approach I took in The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual, a program that a lot of people worried was too low in “SAQ” volume.  Without getting off topic too much, it’s my humble opinion that the “need” for more and more SAQ work was a provider-induced demand initiated by training facilities that realizes that they could get more young athletes through and make more money by running them ragged and messing around with agility ladders than they could with actually individually assessing kids, addressing imbalances, and getting them stronger.  They traded development for babysitting. But anyway, along those same lines, what are you thinking is a better bet instead for nowadays? KB: Establish proper movement patterns (which include optimizing recruitment/compensation patterns and optimizing coordination), then simply increase the horsepower behind the movement pattern.  You’re obviously one of the masters at establishing proper recruitment patterns and I have a ton of respect for your contributions to the field in those areas.  The recruitment aspects would include anything done with the focus of getting the body to operate more efficiently - stuff like corrective exercise, activation drills and stretches. You then have to engage in enough sport-specific movement training (sprints, agility, jumps etc.) to optimize intra- and inter-muscular coordination in those tasks – and honestly, since those are gross movement patterns, it really doesn’t take a ton of volume.  Then, it’s just a matter of maintaining those things while progressively increasing the power of the relevant contributing muscles – which is easily done through strength training.  Put all that together into a plan that properly addresses recovery between all the elements and you can’t help but get better as an athlete. EC: Just because this is fun, let’s talk about a few things you see in everyday programming from some strength and conditioning coaches that isn’t blatantly terrible (e.g., squatting on stability balls), but rather only marginally effective – and far from optimal? KB:  I guess one of the biggest things is all the complex training I see.  Don’t get me wrong; I like complexes for some purposes (like fat burning and time-efficient training), but I don’t think they should make up the entire workout for athletes looking to build a foundation.  For example, yesterday I saw some people doing step-ups with a curl and press.  The step-up is good, the curl is good, and press is good but when you combine them altogether the effect is rather limited.  My motto is if you’re going  to load an exercise with the purpose of building strength in that exercise (and in the relevant muscles), then put your body in a mechanically advantageous position to do so.

EC: How do your recommendations change from a relatively inexperienced 15-18 year-old athlete versus an athlete who is older and has more experience? KB: The goals don’t change but the focus on the elements does.  For the older athlete, I REALLY focus more on corrective exercise, stretches, and recovery.  Older guys tend to have so many recruitment impairments, flexibility issues, and pre-existing injuries that they can be a disaster waiting to happen unless those issues are addressed.  They not only tend to have more recruitment and compensation impairments than younger athletes, but their tissues also don’t tolerate these issues as well.  While a young athlete can often overcompensate for years and get away with it, older athletes will toast themselves the first trip around the bases at their first weekend softball game. With movement work, I work them into it gradually and also limit the effort.  A young kid can go out and run max sprints or max jumps no problem. But with older weekend warriors,  I like to work them in gradually as far as their rate of perceived exertion goes. EC: This question is more for me than my readers, but I’ll ask it anyway.  Say you’ve got a 14-year-old kid who has never lifted a weight in his life – and he comes to you on his first day of training.  Do you do any sort of sprinting, agility/change of direction, or jump training with him?  Or do you stick purely with resistance training? KB:  The movement work would be VERY limited and would be incorporated into part of his warm-up. It’s the basic concept behind The Truth About Quickness.  The movement part of the workout likely wouldn’t be more than 10 minutes – tops.  It’s enough to warm him up and give him a bit of movement stimulation, but not enough to fatigue him for the rest of the workout.  Short, sweet, and effective. We’ll be back in a few days with a guest post from Kelly in conjunction with the launch of The Truth About Quickness. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter:

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Random Friday Thoughts: 8/27/10

I didn't do a "random thoughts" feature last week, so I'll have to be extra random this week to make up for it. 1.  Bam!

guyswalksintoabar

You weren't expecting me to come out with such amazing humor, were you?  Let that be a lesson to you; nobody is more random than EC (and nobody pulls off referring to himself in the third person better, either). 2. We all know that warm-ups are importance for enhancing power output, grooving appropriate neural patterns, and avoiding injury.  Here is some cool research that demonstrates how much more effective an active warm-up is than a passive warm-up when it comes to metabolic responses to exercise.  Namely, those who undergo an active warm-up demonstrate increased oxygen uptake and lower heart rate at a given workload than those participating in a passive warm-up (or no warm-up at all). Anecdotally, I can tell you that there have been some days where I have felt like there was lead in my shoes and that there was no way I could get any interval training in on a day I'd planned to do so.  However, after a good dynamic flexibility warm-up, things "miraculously" got a lot easier. 3. A big congratulations go out to CP baseball athletes Jordan Cote, who committed to Coastal Carolina, and Joe Napolitano, who committed to Wake Forest. Both made their decisions last week and were featured at ESPN Boston.  We're proud of our boys! 4. Likewise, I've got to give a congratulations to CP athlete and Lincoln-Sudbury All-American soccer player Cole DeNormandie, who became the second CP athlete featured on the cover of ESPN Rise Magazine in just the past few months (he joins Vanderbilt-bound pitcher Tyler Beede):

cole-espn-rise

5. Mike Robertson published a three part series on Knee Pain Basics this past week; it is absolutely fantastic and I'd strongly encourage you to check it out.  Here are the links: Part 1 - Philosophy Part 2 - Programming Part 3 - Coaching Along these same lines, if you haven't checked out Mike's Bulletproof Knees Manual yet, I'd strongly encourage you to do so; it's an excellent resource.

bpk

6. Greg Robins recently came down to spend some time observing the madness at Cressey Performance, and wrote up a detailed review of his experience; check it out: Science and Attitude: My Trip to Cressey Performance. 7. Here is a link to a great blog from Bret Contreras; it's definitely worth a read: Sprint Research, Biomechanics, and Practical Implications - An Interview with Matt Brughelli. 8. I need some advice from the dog lovers out there.  Both my fiancee and I grew up with dogs and are thinking about getting a puppy after our wedding (less than six weeks away right now).  We both agree that we want something small - but at the same time, I'd like something that doesn't make me want to instantly turn in my man card, like the silky poo for which she is currently pushing:

silkypoo-450x300

I actually really like bulldogs, but that's going to be a tough sell for her unless it's a "hybrid" where you can't see a whole lot of bulldog.  Plus, I know a lot of people have said that they have a higher propensity for health issues.  I like puggles, mini pincers, and a few others, but what do those of you in-the-know suggest?  Thanks for any help you can offer!

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