Have you seen the trend in the past 30 years in athletes? We have people accusing each other of PED’S because they run faster , are stronger and just a better athlete. There is a reason athletes move better compared to 30 years ago. The education on developing better athletes is better now compared to thirty years ago.
“You can’t control what the other athlete is going to do; you can’t control anything except for your competition and how you execute the race or how you execute the task.” – Michael Johnson 200 meter world record holder
Developing a better athlete takes time and an understanding how the body moves as well as the sport being played.There are two areas in running we need to focus on when increasing a better athlete which is the stride length of the athlete and the stride frequency of the athlete. One of these two areas will have to be focused dependent on the needs of the athlete. Stride frequency is looked at with the number of strides taken within a given period or the distance covered by the athlete.Stride length at maximum speed is generally 2.3 to 2.5 times what the athletes length is.
To increase speed there is a small checklist we can start with. remember each athlete has different needs so there is no cookie cutter for every person. The first thing each athlete needs is a resistance training program and this should be the foundation of any training program. Once we have established the foundation we need to see how each athlete moves.
Knowing how each athlete moves we can then find what their deficient and strengths are. To improve the stride length and stride frequency comes from increasing the mechanics of each athlete. What needs to be looked at is their elbow , and hand position in relation of generating enough force without out reducing force. The legs need to be looked at the ankle complex the knee and the hip. These three joints need to be in an ideal position to be able to produce enough force to move faster.
With the arm we have to at the shoulder be able to have the ability to move forward and backwards with the elbow bent at 90 degrees. The hands have to be relaxed while running. When running the hands need to move forward at about the level of the athletes nose.The arm has to move forward and backwards never side to side. Moving side to side reduces the amount of force while running.
The ankle complex needs to be in an in a dorsiflexion toes up position except when the foot hits the ground. When the balls of the foot hit the ground the entire weight of the athlete needs to be on the foot. If you can stop the image of the athlete when they strike the ground it should be a straight line from the foot to the top of the athletes head. While the other leg is being raised to a 90 degree angle.These are some simple steps that need to be incorporated in being a faster runner.
When focusing on these two areas we need to understand that are stride length and stride frequency interrelate with one and another. The result of overcompensation one over another can lead to bad mechanics. trying to increase stride length can lead to overstriding which will lead to a negative effect. With overstriding decreases the stride frequency so while developing speed we aren’t counterproductive.
Once you are having good mechanics with a good resistance training program we can start to look at specific drills to increase more power in the athlete, with either better stride frequency or length.When more power is being produce by the athlete we will be faster. If you have any questions let me know by leaving comments or by following my blog. For more information on gaining more speed you can take my course on developing speed, agility and quickness.
When looking at anything we all like to know if we are either doing good or improving. Nobody likes to feel like a
failure or feel unsuccessful. When looking at the gym and improving athletic performance we should have a measuring stick. Generally this measuring stick is an overall stigma of what your 40 yd dash is. We need
to discard the generall measuring stick and understand the underline reason why we are trying to become a better athlete or physically fit.
“Every day of my life, I’m trying to find a different way to become better”- Ray Lewis
Gaining success while trying to develop our overall athletic abilities is obtainable for everyone. So why is it that so many give up or have no progress in their training? It is two things, having un realistic goals and second unrealistic idea of what level you are in your athletic abilities.
Understanding what makes a dream and goal is, are very important in gaining your athletic potential. Goals you have are going to be divided into meso goals, micro goals, and macro goals. Dreams fall under legacy or lifetime attainment.
When looking at our physical or athletic abilities we need to know where your real levels are including what our 1 rep max is in our lifts. By knowing where we are physically is when we can see our real abilities. When putting any strength program together, it is very important to understand of where your level of strength is.
What is our 1 rep max? This is our measuring stick, knowing what are real 1 rep max, will increase our effectiveness in the gym. To me, I like to put it this way: what is our rep scheme to what weight we are, our amount of lifting needs to match. Our body is limited on what we can do and we only have a limited amount glycogen storage. With a limited amount of energy we need to as efficient as possible during the session.
Once we know what our real 1 rep max is, then we can start a road of progress. Have you ever gone to the gym and said this is what I’m going to do and then come up short? You came up short because you either have a lack of energy or are doing more than what you are capable of.
Once you we have started on the road we need a good measuring stick that is only to for you to see what progress you have made. Here our a few rules you need to live by.
This is your measuring stick.
Once you can see and check what you are doing, with what you are capable of, you will grow with consistency. This is not a magic pill, but a start on the road of progress. Please, any questions go a head and leave them and remember to follow and listen to us on our podcast: The Athletic Edge at blogtalkradio.com. Have a great day!
The past two weeks I have had to take my son to the doctor for stitches for being careless. He was showing dad how fast he was and tripped and hit his head on the wall. When he did this he cracked his head open and needed six stitches. How does this relate to flexibility?
Dynamic flexibility will have a lasting effect in increasing our range of motion in sport specific movements. With a greater range of motion we will allow the body to gain effective movement to enhance the power agility and reduce injury to increase overall performance.
Have you ever played a sport and received an injury from the sport? Was it painful? Injuries occur when a muscle/soft tissue or joints are asked to move in a way that it is not capable of. We will see one of two things that will cause the injury: self-inflicted or outside source. While playing football and a player runs into another players knee and injures it, is an outside source. This outside source is out of our control, but what is in our control? It is our self-inflicted injuries. A sprained ankle, if you increased it’s strength and the ability to have a wider range of motion you could have helped prevent a self-inflicted injury.
“The great thing about a comprehensive dynamic warm-up is that it doesn’t take any more time than the more traditional stretching method, but is much more focused, effective and productive. Since your warm-up sets the tone for the entire workout, these are just the qualities you should be looking for.”- by Alen Stein CCS CSCS
Dynamic stretching works the athlete by gently propelling their muscles towards their maximum range of motion. It is very important to note that the athlete should not use jerky, forced movements to increase the range of motion beyond what is comfortable as it can easily cause injury. In general, the athlete wants to move (stretch) the muscle in a similar way that they are going to move them in a workout. As an example, a sprinter who wants to stretch a hamstring for a sprint may swing a straight leg forward to gradually increase the range of motion. Doing light kicks, with little explosive acceleration, while gradually increasing height, could also be considered a dynamic stretch.
When we look at developing the best athlete we look at many aspects in ensuring the athlete is at their greatest shape. To make any athlete better they need to be as efficient as possible with as little waisted energy. When we increase the athletes range of motion we will allow them to gain a more productive movement. A productive movement will increase the amount of power in this movement. Power can be divided into two specific areas that when joined is power. Our strength is one aspect, while speed is the other area that turned into power. With an increase of power, we will be more effective of an athlete. Since I spoke on having power to increase athletic performance we need to ensure each athlete has full range of motion in there sport specific movement. As an example, we can look at a sprinter who needs to have good flexibility in his hips and legs. The hips need to have a flexion range of motion between 0 to 130 degrees, their extension range of motion should be between 0 to 30 degrees. These two areas are important for the athlete to gain the needed amount power. Without gaining the needed range of motion we will reduce the amount of power we can put into that movement. So if you are wanting to improve athletic performance, increasing the range of motion in their sport specific field is necessary. Dynamic flexibility will allow each athlete to cut injury by helping to increase the athletes range of motion. Feel free to leave any comments and follow us on Athletic Health and nutrition.
Alan Stein CCS, CSCS, of Elite Athlete Training Systems Inc, is a leading US expert on strength training and conditioning for élite level basketball players
The goal is to improve the athletes power and their quickness in the athletes upper-body.
1. You want to start in the position of a push up.( Your body needs to be straight with one hand on the medicine ball and your shoulders parallel to the floor.
2. Then you will need to fall into a push up and explode off the ball laterally with your hands you want to your body to pass over the ball and your opposite hand will land on the ball.
3.Now remeber your feet will remain about hip width apart and your abdominal need to stay tight throughout the exercise
Lower body multijoints
Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Hip abductors, Hip adductors
intermediate , Have experience with dumbbells before doing this.
Place the keg on there back as in performing barbell squats.
Take an exaggerated stride with right leg, stepping forward so that the right foot is 14 to 16 in. wider than the right shoulder and then lower the body so that the right knee is behind the toes on the right foot and the left leg is bent with the left knee just off the floor. From that bottom position, stride forward in one continuous movement with the left leg and take an exaggerated stride with the left leg, as described above; the right leg is bent and the right knee is just off the floor. It is important to keep the back arched during the entire the entire performance of this exercise.
It’s a total body weight exercise
Gluteus maximus, Hamstrings,Quadriceps, Soleus, Gastrocnemius, Trapezius,Deltoids
Place your feet about shoulder width apart. Keeping your back arched , sit back at the hips ( don’t allow your knees to move past your toes). Place all of your weight on your heels when starting to lift the tire.Grab the tire with an underhand grip on the tire. Hands need to be at least shoulder width apart. Have your legs lift the tire so that the hands are raised to a mid shin position. The arms should be fully extended, back arched and feet are flat on the floor.
Using a jump action, explode up through the legs and flip the tire onto its side, remembering to keep the back arched through the entire movement. After you have done this continue with the several reps required.
The little engine who could, how many of us are like him? I have come out of a six-year retirement after having success as a world champion powerlifter. It was not easy. I’m older and I feel like I’m falling apart, but I have a goal at 165 lbs total 1800 lbs. My squat is right around 625, my bench is around 425, and my deadlift is 550. Are these good lifts? Yes. Should I just stay content with this total because it isn’t 1800 lbs? Or should I say, ” I will get my goal no matter what?” The focus of an athlete is key to being successful.
I have trained many athletes and have noticed two types of athletes. The one group, I would be in, “I think I can” and the other group, “if it is too hard, then I am not cut out to do it.” I listen to a lot of athletes while they talk to me, most times it is easy to tell which group each athlete is in or what type of athlete they are. All of us have choices on if we will be great at something or just being content. What do we treasure? Are we willing to push back the pain, do the hard work, and when it starts being hard, say “I can do more.”
I live in Utah and I have trained some clients for the Spartan Beast. One of these clients came in overweight and said that he wants to reach certain goals. I went ahead and developed a training program for him. We started at a pre-condition stage, hard, but I could have made it really hard. It was funny, he started off with huge goals, but very obtainable. When it started to get hard, he had a choice, keep going or quit. What goes through your head?
I’m not too surprised that he didn’t stick with it. He had many factors counting against him. Being overweight, High Body Fat, Family, and Work. Life is great and very hard. We have so many choices laying in front of us. My good friends, that are powerlifters, some are like this client. When it is hard I will do something else or be like Scott. Scott is # 1 all time in the bench press at 220 lb weight class in single ply gear. Scott and I trained at the same time and got married two months apart from each other. We have had kids around the same time. What makes him different is his focus he will never miss a workout. I asked him about a year ago, if he ever missed a workout, simple answer, no.
You can look at many factors and have an excuse for why I didn’t get this goal for this reason or what not. Where is the focus of the person? Is he strong enough to push through the obstacles or is life getting in the way and helping out his excuse? If we really want our goals, then we will find a way to overcome these obstacles.
For this client, it wasn’t his goals, he had good goals. Did he think much on how to focus on the goal at hand? Was he going to allow outside sources dictate what was going to happen to him? When looking at goals and being in the moment, how do we respond? Stay focused on the goal at hand, like the little engine that could or say OH NO this is too hard I will find something else to try? We all have our choices but having and maintaining a focus will allow one to have more success.
On linked in I read a discussion from a trainers opinion on if you should do squats all the way to the ground. I read many opinions on this topic and felt I needed to make my two cents on this subject. Now working with athletes and developing a better functioning athlete there needs to be a few things to look at.
The first one is what sport do they play and what position in that sport. Each sport requires certain skills or functioning Range of Motion. What do I mean by functioning Range of Motion? We need to know what movements that are being performed and how to be Faster, more agility, stronger, and more powerful in that range of motion. The more efficient we are in that range of motion we will be able to perform better.
When training any athlete you have to know the strengths and weakness. When starting a program for an athlete we have to do an initial screening. This allows for an assessment what each athlete is capable of first. Everyone wants to say I can create the perfect training regime. The perfect regime is the one that is adjustable depending on the athlete. Not one athlete is the same , and we can’t expect if this worked for athlete A then athlete C should do this.
I’m not going to talk on how to do a screening , but afterwards we need to understand the goals of each athlete golden rule no more than 2 goals for a session.Now back to the range of motion it takes thought and understanding of the movement of the human body. What muscles do what and how. An example is a basketball player grabbing a rebound there are two things the athlete is doing First he is accelerating in the air because of his hips and second is extending the arms to grab the ball. Now how do we work on both movements. This is where the screening comes into place. where are they efficient in, what level of an athlete are they in ,what exercises do they know how to perform.
You can’t ask the body to provide certain movements without first knowing them. Until you teach your body on how to perform that movement we are unable to function properly and efficiently as an athlete. This is where alot of crossfit places go wrong they just want you to move fast without knowing how to do the lifts. With bad form comes injury and you will develop bad motor skills for improper form. This will translate onto the field in a positive or negative manner depending on how things are being developed.
What exercises should we perform for a better athlete. This is very simple multi-joint exercises are the best exercises to perform as long as they are being done right. These exercises are needed to develop a stronger and faster moving athlete which is a more powerful athlete. We need to be efficient on the exercises that are multi joint what results are we going to get what is the intensity level? what is the tempo being done? We need to keep all exercises at their level and build upon them with the most efficient manner.
Watching my one year old ( actually 18 months old) get into everything I feel like “STOP !!!” Half of the time he is getting into everything and if not, he is crying for attention. While watching the Kansas City Chiefs vs Indianapolis Colts I had alot of feelings, trying to tell the Colts stop and watching all the concussions the Chiefs had and saying, “WOW!!!”
With the recent media exposure of what concussions are how they happen, there is more attention on ways to prevent them. When a concussion occurs, generally during football, it is when your head hits the ground after the body hits the ground. What happens when a concussion happens inside the skull is the brain will bounce around and will get bruised.
Can we stop the brain from bouncing around in the skull? No we can’t. When the brain bounces, we are too late. The biggest thing we can do to prevent concussions are, stabilizing and strengthening what is holding the skull up, from having a violent collision with the ground. The muscles to strengthen will be the neck and the traps. These muscles are the main areas that control the movement and stabilization of the head.
Now what can we do to help control the amount of concussions that will occur in high school, college, and pro’s? We have to build the areas that are deficient. The traps can be broken into three areas, Upper , Mid, and Lower Traps. The neck has many muscles but the two we will focus on are the Sternocleidomastoid muscle and the Splenius muscles. These muscles are the ones we will focus on to help prevent concussions.
The Sternocleidomastoid muscle is in front and allows the body to move in all four directions. The sternocleidomastoid originates at the manubrium of the sternum and the Anterior superior surface of the medial clavicle. The insertion of Sternocleidomastoid is the mastoid process, which is behind the jaw. While the Splenius muscles are in the back and attach or originate at the T3-T6 vertebrae and inserts at first three cervical vertebrae. The mastoid process and occipital bone is the bottom of the skull. The splenius muscles will allow the same movement. How do we strengthen these muscles? We strengthen these muscles by increasing a resistance towards their actual movement.
The traps, which is a large stabilizing muscle, helps in the stabilization of the shoulder and the neck. If you have ever shrugged your shoulders then you have used your traps. It attached or inserts on the scapula to the clavicle and it originates C- 7 vertebrae to the T1-12 vertebrae. To increase strength of your traps you again need to create resistance of their movement.
To create an exercise program, what exercises should we use? There are many, but the main ones I will show are simple ones that can be performed either during practice, the gym, or even at home.
These are a few things we can do to help prevent concussions. With an awareness of preventing concussions through strengthening these muscles the amount of concussions caused from the head hitting the ground will go down. By these simple exercises that can be performed in numerous places we shouldn’t have excuses in performing for are athletes.
Watching my kids who are 4, 3, and 1. I’m amazed what mentally stimulates them to learn. My 4 year old can read and is always looking for a challenge. My 3 year old was tired of my oldest getting praises when going potty so she decided, “I will be potty trained too.” My one year is playing keep up with the other two. The great thing they work very well together and in some ways trying to out do each other.
Our bodies work similar as my example with my kids. Our bodies are machines and want to work the most efficient as possible. The body has to be stimulated to gain results for physical fitness. The stimulates are going to be a few different factors. I’ve already mentioned the three major principles Overload, Reversibility, and Specificity (SAID).
Now each principle will have sub groups or things to think about to go along with the overall principle. What are the subgroups to think about? Intensity Duration and Frequency are the major sub groups to think about.
Intensity: The intensity we put forth in a work out can be a few things. The volume the lifter does over the full workout. How close to your 1 rm you are lifting at and the rest between sets or tempo.
Duration : This is how long each workout is
Frequency : Frequency is how often you are doing your workout.
How can I incorporate this into my exercise program? How Important are these subgroups for my overall fitness goals? You can’t reach your overall goals without applying these principles. If you have heard to change your workouts up that will fall into this principle.
Your body will adapt to the amount of stress you place on it. When this happens you will start to hit a plateau. So when you are looking to make changes to your workouts look at how close you are to your 1 rm look at how often you are at the gym and last how often you are going to the gym.
If you do make changes for the novice lifter or regular to stay fit person. You can make changes between 6 to 4 weeks. More experience lifters 3 to 2 weeks before making a change. Make sure you are are not settling with one routine for this upcoming year.
My little boy will do some of the silliest things, and while he is doing them finds out oops I’m stuck and how do I get out of this situation. How do I know he is stuck? Well a one year old will do one thing super well , he will cry.
Are bodies do the same thing but cry in different ways. There are many things are bodies will tell us we are stuck. This can be over training lack of sleep deficient in certain nutrients and the list can go on. When we are doing anything to be more healthy, stronger or a better athlete. We should have an idea on why we are doing it and what result is going to happen from this exercise.
My father in law isn’t an athlete he is a mechanic and a good one at that. He is recovering from an heart attack. The doctor and myself have both told him the best thing to keep his heart healthy is eating right and exercising. There was a period of time before the heart attack his body was making small cries about being healthy. Then he had a large cry and a scary one at that.
Going to the gym or the grocery store we should have an idea of what this action will cause.”The result from this action will be this ….. because of this reason…….. “ there are certain stimulates when the body faces them will react in a certain pattern There are three main stimulates when going to the gym. If we follow these rules we will get this result. These three principles are the overload , Reversibility, and last principle the Specificity principle (SAID principle). These principles if followed in a structured manor that will cause many different things for the body. We will see hypertrophy, greater strength, and are health will become better, to name a few things.
What do these three principles do and how should we follow them to get better results at the gym.
Overload: This is the main principle in gaining any advantage at the gym. The overload principle is saying you have to exercise a system or tissue above what it is accustomed to in order to have any type of training to occur. The body will adapt to this stimulate so you are wanting to adjust the training in one of three ways intensity duration, and frequency.
Reversibility: Indicates if you stop the overload principle the body will atrophy. Or if you follow again the Overload principle will gain hypertrophy and may even hyperplasia.
Specificity or (SAID): The specificity needs to be taken in,when evaluating our objectives. The There are two types of activities we can do: an aerobic exercise and an anerobic exercise these two types of exercises will have two different results. Depending on what we are doing will result in the type of muscle fibers recruited.
Now back to my father in law who is in his 50’s is a mechanic and just suffered a heart attack. His heart told him it needs to be fixed or it will get worse. The overload principle states we have to stimulate the tissue to gain growth. We do this by intensity,duration,and frequency. Does my father in law need to be super intense now? No it’s not practical in his situation. He just needs to stimulate his heart enough to gain a healthy heart. Does he need to do it every day? Again the answer is no. At first he just needed to raise his heart rate up a little bit, not to work his heart to much, and the frequency needed is 3 days a week for only 30 min. What does he have to do, does it have to be a lot? No it doesn’t all he needs to do is go for a walk that raises his heart up and keeping it consistent for at least 30 min.
Now there are many avenues I can talk about with each role with the body and gaining a better advantage when it comes to getting the most of are exercise programs. The main point I want to mention: I don’t need to overdo it, exert the body super intense all the time to become healthy. As my father in law walking 3 days a week keeping his heart rate raised for at least 30 min will help in achieving a healthier heart.