Month: July 2017

4 Movements to Add to Your Warmup

There’s a drill that takes just six seconds to perform, but yields significant speed, power and agility benefits. This high-speed exercise is called “rapid response” because you’ll move faster than ever before in your training. 

Want to improve quickness on the field? Rapid response. Want to make sharper cuts on the court? Rapid response. Here’s why: Quickness isn’t just about how big and strong your muscles are, but how efficiently your brain can communicate with your body. Rapid response drills challenge both your muscular system and nervous system to function in tandem and with precision, allowing you to move faster and under control.

An example of “rapid response” is quickly moving your feet back and forth over a line. It lasts all of about six seconds, but improves footwork, coordination, and quickness. You’ll also become more skilled at disassociating one foot from the other while maintaining proper posture. On the field, disassociation will help you make sharper cuts and juke past your opponents. Off the field, you’ll move better, and with more coordination, in any activity.

Since “rapid response” drills prepare your brain and body for activity, they’re best performed towards the end of your dynamic warm-up (a.k.a. Movement Prep), either before a training session, practice, or game. And because they’re so fast, you don’t need to worry about them wearing you out.

Try the sample routine below as part of your Movement Prep. Perform each drill for 6 seconds, putting forth maximal effort. Rest for about 30 seconds, and then repeat before moving onto the next exercise.

Rapid Response Workout

Movements                   Sets       Reps            

Rapid Fire                         2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/1_ggtF6ZFDk  

Linear Rapid Fire               2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/cfO2nttnljU

Pogos                                 2            6 sec           https://youtu.be/2Yknh0peyGI

Lateral Pogos                     2            6 sec            https://youtu.be/Ty2B3hBrEOE

5 Ways to Instantly Become a Worse Athlete

Follow these 5 easy steps, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a slower, weaker, burned-out athlete.

1. Don’t Sleep

Arguably the easiest step to becoming a worse athlete, don’t get enough sleep! Most already do this without even trying. But while sleep is important for human beings in general, it is essential for athletes. While you sleep, your body metabolizes glucose, which helps your muscles recover from a hard training session. So if you’re getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night, your muscles won’t recover as quickly. Awesome, right? But that’s not all—lack of sleep can also lead to moodiness and anxiety, which can affect your performance on game day. Bottom line: don’t sleep enough, and you will DEFINITELY be able to tell a difference in your athletic performance – the wrong kind of difference.

2. Don’t Rest

Rest refers not to sleep, but to taking a purposeful break from training. And it’s one of the quickest ways to deteriorate your athletic ability. Taking rest days—complete days when you’re not even doing active recovery or cross-training—gives your body a chance to repair small tears in muscle caused by resistance training, and build new muscle tissue from protein ingested after training. Your muscles need a pause from the constant breakdown that occurs when you strength-train in order to rebuild themselves stronger. By skipping your rest days and going all-out in the gym 24/7, you’ll be on your way to developing symptoms of overtraining: extreme muscle soreness, extreme fatigue, depression, and susceptibility to illness and injury. Awesome, right? So build in rest days or you’ll be the coolest athlete wearing a knee brace or missing practice from a sinus infection.

3. Don’t Eat

Yeah, just stop eating. Your body needs the nutrients and energy in food to do basically everything: repair organs, fight off diseases, and build muscle. If you really want to see a decline in your athletic performance, simply stop eating enough calories to maintain your high activity level! Not eating enough is a simple, easy way to sabotage your athletic career—closely followed by eating the wrong stuff. Meeting your calorie requirements solely with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos will definitely leave you not feeling like sprinting for your full 90-min soccer game. 2,500 calories worth of Vanilla milkshake never makes my long runs any easier. Oh, don’t eat after training either. Physical activity depletes muscles of glycogen, made from carbohydrates, so if you want to make your muscles sore and mad, don’t eat anything within 30 minutes to 2 hours after training. 

4. Don’t Warm-Up

Make sure you go into practice, the gym, or the competition completely cold, and you’ll be well on your way to injury and decreased performance. 

5. Don’t Train on a Periodized Program

Periodization programming peaks athletes for their sport at just the right time. DO NOT do this if you hate being amazing. Don’t train on a periodized, customized, sport-specific training program. A periodized program means that your workouts change depending on the day, week, and season of your athletic year—off-season training looks a lot different from pre-season training, because your body needs different types of conditioning for these phases. To train to perform during a given season, you must be using a periodized training program. If you go into the gym and do the same workout, same rep count, same weight, over and over again, your body will stop responding to the stimuli of training and you will plateau!

And there you have it! 5 easy ways to instantly become a worse athlete. Practice each one faithfully, and I promise you will never be the best athlete on your team—and that’s a guarantee!

Basic Nutrition for Sports Performance

Young athletes have very unique demands – school, sports, and training.

There is a way to improve each of those 3 things – FUEL the body with proper nutrition!

===> DOWNLOAD [Daily Meal Guideline] Cheat Sheet

Here’s some more specific nutrition tips for Young Athletes…

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates should be the staple of a athletes diet. The key is to focus on quality. There is a huge difference between white bread and whole grain, high fiber bread; a sugar coated cereal and oatmeal; French fries vs. sweet potatoes. Focus on the quality of the carbohydrates. 

For example, definitely eat breakfast, but try a whole grain based cereal with some fresh fruit for the nutrients and fiber. Something like oatmeal instead of Fruit Loops or Cocoa Pebbles.

Sandwiches should be made with whole grain bread, rather than white. Snacks can be whole grain crackers with peanut butter, fruit or veggie sticks with peanut butter, etc. The list can go on.

The focus of carbohydrates should always be on foods that provide a few grams of fiber per serving (exception is milk and yogurt, which are very healthy and carbohydrate based, but provide little, if any fiber). 

Fruit and vegetables are also critical for a high performance athlete. Kids often shy away from them and parents don’t always push them. However, research has suggested it can take as many as one dozen times to determine if a child likes a particular food. The key for a parent is to introduce kids to as many of these nutrient dense, colorful foods as possible! 

Protein 

Of course protein plays a very important role! One important message is to make sure you always focus on food first – not protein supplements. High quality protein sources include:

  • Fish and other seafood
  • Low or non fat milk or yogurt
  • Chicken and turkey breast
  • Lean red meat
  • Mixed nuts
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Natural peanut butter

Should young athletes take a protein supplement?

The better question is:

  • Do they need a protein supplement? No.
  • Will it make them into the next college or pro athlete? Of course not!
  • Can it be beneficial and a healthier option than many of the alternative high sugar, high fat foods marketed directly towards children? Absolutely!

But food first as whole foods provide more nutrients than any supplement does or ever will be able to provide.

Fat

Fat is another crucial nutrient for athletes. The key, once again, is to focus on quality. Fat also provides a lot of calories, which can be important for very active, young athletes who need more calories than most to develop healthy, strong bodies.

Here are a few fats to choose:

  • Fish
  • Whole eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Raw mixed nuts
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Avocados and more

There you have it. Nutrition basics.

Feed your body. It’s a machine. To be the best player, you need to train and eat like the best athlete in the world.

===> DOWNLOAD [Daily Meal Guideline] Cheat Sheet

10 Most Common Problems with Sprint Form and How to Correct It

Common Problems and Corrections of Sprint Form:

Problem: Upward Emphasis or Not Swinging Arms Back Far Enough.

  • Correction: Have the athlete pretend he/she is holding a hammer in each hand and pounding nails into a wall directly behind him/her.
  • Main Point: The faster the arm is swung backward, the faster the leg will pull forward.

Problem: Shoulders Shrugged/Upper Back Tension.

  • Correction: Have the athlete consciously relax the traps and shoulders to allow more natural movement. Practice in place looking into a mirror.
  • Main Point: Upper body needs to stay relaxed. Tension can inhibit the free motion required for optimal speed.

Problem: Side-to-Side Arm Movement.

  • Correction: Have the athlete practice in front of a mirror to help him/her understand that this movement is causing excessive trunk rotation. The path in which the arms travel begins with the fingertips even with the chin. The hand should reach the midline of the body, but does not cross. The hand will then travel backwards until it is completely behind the hip.
  • Main Point: There should be limited lateral movement, as the focus should be on forward and backward movement emphasizing the backward motion.

Problem: Cross-Over Knee Drive (crossing the knees inward over the midline of the body)

  • Correction: Explain to the athlete that the legs travel in one plane of movement, it’s like riding a bike. Working in front of a mirror may be helpful.
  • Main Point: Knees need to travel in a straight path.

Problem: Lack of Knee Drive (During Acceleration 10-20 yards)

  • Correction: Likely needs to strengthen hip flexors and core. Hip flexors raise the thigh and core stabilizes the pelvis.
  • Main Point: Need to forceful knee drive getting hip 70-80 degrees in relation to the body.

Problem: Toes Point Inward or Outward

  • Correction: Likely needs to improve ankle flexibility, hip flexor strength. Muscles imbalances in hip internal and external rotation may all need attention.
  • Main Point: Toes need to point forward and should be in line with the knee and hip.

Problem: Over-striding (plant foot too far in from of the body)

  • Correction: Explain that the athlete needs to keep a tighter knee bend as the knee drives during each swing phase.
  • Main Point: During acceleration (first 10-20) yards the foot should strike the ground slightly behind the body. After the first 10-20 yards, the foot will strike slightly in front of the body.

Problem: Under-striding (short, choppy steps)

  • Correction: Cue the athlete to increase the distance between their thighs on each stride. Likely needs to improve hip flexor flexibility.
  • Main Point: Stride length comes from by pushing off the ground harder and fully extending hip, knee, and ankle and driving the forward knee to high knee position.

Problem: Landing on Heels (many larger athletes have a hard time with this)

  • Correction: Make the athletes aware of the issue. Coach athlete on proper foot strike through high knees drills, wall drills, etc.
  • Main Point: The heel will almost make contact with the ground, but athletes should be coached to stay on the ball of the foot because no weight should be taken by the heel.

Problem: Ankle Plantar Flexed (pointed down, leads to over-striding)

  • Correction: Coach the athlete to pull the toes to the knees. Coach the athlete to barely keep the heel from hitting the ground. Practice with high knees, butt kicks, wall drills.
  • Main Point: When foot strikes the ground, the ankle needs to be dorsiflexed (pointed up) in order to deliver a high force into the ground.

 

 

3 Moves to Maximize Your “Off Day” [Cheat Sheet]

Here’s 3 mobility moves to make the most of your training so that you’re faster, stronger, and fitter when you go to your next training session.

Think rest days are for resting? Then you’re doing them wrong.

Now, I’m not saying you need to do an hour-long workout on your days off. I’m just saying you need to move.

If you’re serious about changing your body, feeling better, and making serious gains in the weight room and on the field/court, then “mobility” moves are a must.

After all, you’re only as strong as how well you allow yourself to recover.

Here’s how to do it: 

===> DOWNLOAD [Mobility] Cheat Sheet

Perform the following 3 moves in a row. Do a movement for 2-4 minutes (or 1-2 minute per side for single-sided movements) before moving on to the next one.

  1. Overhead Squat
  2. Worlds Greatest
  3. Pretzel

If a move feels extra challenging, spend more time on it. It can take 2 to 5 minutes to fully release a restricted muscle.

Here’s what these mobility moves will do:

  • Address common problematic areas such as poor thoracic (upper-back) mobility, bad ankle mobility, tight hip flexors, and a weak core and glutes 
  • Promote additional blood flow to sore or stiff areas 
  • Prepare your body for its next training day without causing fatigue 
  • Make you feel like a million bucks

Do this circuit two times a week for one month and I guarantee you’ll see a difference in your training. 

===> DOWNLOAD [Mobility] Cheat Sheet

Foam Roller Flow Routine (FREE Cheat Sheet)

Grab your foam roller and flow between 10 self-massage moves that hit your whole body. 

This routine will improve tissue quality and break up scar tissue, adhesions, and knots.

It’s ideal for tight muscles and achy joints and best performed pre/post-workout and anytime of day.

===> DOWNLOAD [Foam Roller] Cheat Sheet

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Perform each move for a minute with no rest between moves for 10 total minutes. Switch sides at the halfway 30-second mark for all single-sided exercises:
  1. Quadriceps L/R
  2. Hamstrings L/R
  3. Adductors L/R
  4. TFL/IT Band L/R
  5. Glutes L/R
  6. Calves L/R
  7. Shins L/R
  8. Shins (Lateral) L/R
  9. Lats L/R
  10. Thoracic (Upper/Mid-Back)
  • Pay attention to which areas of your body are most sore and tight and be sure to spend extra time on these areas at all other times pre/post-workout. Prioritizing your self-massage in this manner will provide you the biggest bang for you buck.
  • For knee pain, focus on #1, 4, 5 
  • For shoulder pain, focus on #9, 10
  • For back pain, focus on #2, 3, 5, and 10. #10 is also great for improving posture.
  • If you run/jump a lot and/or suffer from shin splits, focus on #6, 7 and 8.

I simply cannot stress enough the importance of daily self-massage. It will make you feel better, move better, and perform better.

If you’re serious about changing your body, feeling better, and making serious gains in the weight room and on the field/court, then “self-massage” days are a must.

After all, you’re only as strong as how well you allow yourself to recover.

===> DOWNLOAD [Foam Roller] Cheat Sheet