Category: Ask Rob Rose

The Key Word in Athlete Performance Training

When you think of speed training what word comes to mind?  Speed? Agility? Quickness? Sure, all of those would be perfect, but the key word in athlete performance training is… Efficiency!  I have been training athletes since 1997 and from professional to youth, they all come to True Athlete Performance and me for the same thing – for us to make them a better athlete.  The best way to do that is to make them more Efficient

To improve efficiency in speed we focus on:

  • Form and Technique: Proper form helps to ensure no wasted movement.
  • Stride Frequency: Improved frequency increases the number of strides in a given distance.
  • Stride Length: Improved length increases the distance covered each stride.
  • Strength: Increasing strength will help to ensure maximum power output from the key muscle groups in sprinting form.
  • Core Stabilization: A strong and stable core will help to provide the proper foundation for increasing speed.

To improve efficiency in agility we focus on:

  • Form and Technique: Proper form helps to ensure no wasted movement.
  • Programmed Agility: Drills help to ensure and emphasize proper form.
  • Random Agility: Drills that help to develop the proper sport-specific agility needed for sport.
  • Flexibility: Improved flexibility will help to ensure proper range of motion in cutting properly.
  • Core Stabilization: A strong and stable core will help to provide the proper foundation for increasing speed.

To improve efficiency in quickness we focus on:

  • Form and Technique: Proper form helps to ensure no wasted movement.
  • Arms:  The faster the arms move, the faster the feet move.
  • Reaction Time: The better you react the quicker you respond to any athletic movement.
  • Ground time: The quicker you get to the ground and the quicker you get off the ground the quicker you are.
  • Core Stabilization: A strong and stable core will help to provide the proper foundation for increasing speed.

In all, improving efficiency in athletic movements will help to guarantee improved play on field or court.  Remember, we don’t just train players – we train athletes! 

For more information on this or any of Rob’s TrueAP Blogs, contact Rob at rrose@trueap.com.

Trueap.com – “Where True Athletes Train.”

Muscle Soreness in Athletes

Question:  Why am I so sore?

Sore muscles –  this is a painful thing at times for our clients, but a great sign for our trainers. 

In order to build and strengthen muscle, we must tear the muscle fiber.  Not a huge tear, such a muscle strain: (A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon in which the muscle fibers tear as a result of overstretching. Strains are also colloquially known as pulled muscles. The equivalent injury to a ligament is a sprain). But what we call a micro-tear. 

When muscles are asked to do more work than they are accustomed to, they suffer minor ruptures or micro-tears. You’ll feel these micro-tears as muscle soreness. 

So, if you are properly training, you should be sore.  It is this soreness that helps us to build the muscles and improve strength and power.

Why am I more sore the two days after my workout?

This is very common with most exercise programs and it relates to what we just discussed.  Those micro-tears do happen right after a workout, but you might not feel them repairing until up to 24 days after the workout. 

This is better known as D.O.M.S.  Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness.

Delayed onset muscle soreness was first described in 1902 by Theodore Hough, who concluded that this kind of soreness is “fundamentally the result of ruptures within the muscle.” (1) 

That tissue damage may relate most directly to soreness, as it may increase the sensitivity of the pain receptors, and cause pain with stretching, activity and touch.  The delayed onset of the soreness may also occur because the inflammatory response: (Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process.)(2)

Another common explanation is the presence of Lactic Acid built up in the muscle.  This is considered unlikely to be correct since lactic acid is removed from the muscle within an hour of intense exercise, and cannot therefore cause the soreness which normally begins about a day later. (1)

So, what do we do to help relieve this soreness?

  1. Cool down properly after exercise – Static stretch – hold for AT LEAST 30 seconds!!
  2. Ice down after an intense workout.
    1. When I was a Student Athletic Trainer at GMU, I recommended that athletes sit in an “Ice Bath” for about 10 minutes after a hard workout or practice. 
    2. Since most of us do not have access to an Ice Bath, just stick with ice packs.
  3. Drink a lot of water. 
    1. Muscle is comprised of mostly water (70%)
    2. It is recommended that you drink a min. of eight (8) – 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
  4. Sleep
  5. Exercise the next day
    1. Exercise alleviates the symptoms of soreness.
    2. Light warm-up or jog should suffice
    3. More intense workouts are beneficial too.

If you want some other ideas on how to alleviate soreness, email me at rrose@trueap.com.

Also, check out our NEW store!!  We have a few manuals covering the topic of proper warm-up and flexibility, which will help reduce soreness and improve performance.  Visit www.trueap.com/store – ALL products are 25% off for a limited time only!

HAVE A QUESTION FOR ROB ROSE, PRESIDENT OF TRUEAP?

  1. Write it down below this
  2. Email it to rrose@trueap.com.

Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.

Thanks,

Rob Rose

Improving Vertical Jump!

How Can You Improve Vertical Jump?

Vertical jump is a measure of total body power.  For those in the performance industry it is the physical test that correlates most significantly with an athlete’s actual on court/field performance.

Give me an athlete that has a good vertical jump, and most likely that athlete will have a quick first step, a strong core, and good linear speed.  In our True Athlete Rating (see definition of TrueAP Rating Below), vertical jump is the most prominent of the four tests we conduct.

Of course we know vertical jump is an essential component of such sports as football, basketball and volleyball where jumping plays an integral part in every play or point.  I think few would argue this, but at True Athlete Performance, we feel it is a key component of EVERY court and field sport we train.

Although athletes in baseball, softball, lacrosse, field hockey, and hockey seldom need to jump vertically during competition, training these athletes to improve their vertical jump will improve their overall body power and explosiveness.

To improve your vertical you will need to focus on these 3 key components:

1.       Land Correctly: By concentrating on the landing we emphasize the muscles that help to decelerate in any jump (Glutes and Hamstrings).  This will not only help to ensure injury prevention, but will also help to emphasize deceleration before an explosive movement upon landing.

2.       Use your Arms: The arms can I be as much as 25% of the vertical jump.  With the emphasis on a quick back movement of the arms (as the hip drops before exploding up) and then an explosive up movement (to help propel the body up), we will improve each vertical jump.  NOTE: Watch a collegiate or pro volleyball match.  Watch their hitting approach jump.  These athletes utilize their arms the best of any other athlete.

3.       Strong Core: If an athlete maintains a strong core, they will be able to focus on the muscles to explode the body up.  As an athlete prepares to jump, they need to keep their head up, chest up and keep a strong core.  This will ensure an efficient, explosive jump each time.

If an athlete can focus on these three key components, they will learn to have a very powerful vertical jump.

If you want some other ideas or techniques to increase vertical jump, email me at rrose@trueap.com.

HAVE A QUESTION FOR ROB ROSE, PRESIDENT OF TRUEAP?

  1. Write it down below this
  2. Email it to rrose@trueap.com.

Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.

Thanks,

Rob Rose

How to Improve Strength Quick!

What is the Most Efficient way to improve strength for sport?

Strength is defined as, “The maximal force that a muscle or muscle group can generate at a specified velocity.”  Or in more layman terms for all of us; “how much weight you can lift, at any speed.”

I have been training athletes of all levels since my years at George Mason University (1990 – 1995).  Yes, I was on the 5 year plan!

What I learned was this:

In order to increase the strength in any muscle we must tear muscle fibers (micro-tears).  Every time we tear the muscle fiber, the muscle heals.  When it heals, it increases both size and strength.  This is mainly where our muscle soreness comes from.  So being sore, is not such a bad thing.

So, in all my years since graduating GMU, I have been teaching, no… rather preaching the same thing:

SLOW IT DOWN!

The slower you perform each repetition:

  1. The more tension you put on each muscle
  2. The more muscle fibers you recruit.
  3. The more muscle fibers you tear(micro-tear)

Hence, the more size and strength you gain.

There are two main movements when lifting.

  1. Positive (concentric)
  2. Negative (eccentric)

Using the bench press as an example:

Pushing the bar up and away from the chest is the positive movement, while lowering the bar towards the chest is the negative movement.

**The negative movement is 40% stronger than the positive of any lift.**

What does this mean?

 If your max bench press in the positive movement is 100lbs, then you could support up to 140lbs during the negative movement. 

If you have ever failed while attempting a 1-rep maximum bench press, you have experienced this effect.  You were able to control the weight on the way down, but then failed to lift the bar back up.

Why is this important?

If we were to challenge (or you could say “max out”) the negative movement of a lift, up to 40% more tension could be applied to the muscles.  This increased tension causes more muscle fibers to be recruited, giving us an increased potential to increase strength and even size.

The negative movement is mostly forgotten in lifting.  Most athletes will explode up on the positive and let it fall down even quicker on the negative.  To optimize increases in strength, we need to do the opposite!

Suggestion:

  1. For every lift you perform, lighten the weight by about 25% of what you are currently doing.
  2. For every lift, increase the amount of time per repetition, but do the same number of repetitions per set that you would normally perform.  When focusing on strength, I suggest giving yourself a rep range of 2-6 repetitions.  If you cannot complete 2 reps with correct form and speed, then decrease the weight.  If you can complete more than 6 reps with correct form and speed, then increase the weight.
  3. Each repetition will be a total of 7 – 10 seconds, no matter how many reps.
  4. The positive or first movement is 3 – 4 seconds.
  5. The negative or second movement is 4 – 5 seconds. THIS IS THE BIG ONE.

Do this for 3 straight weeks with every lift, every set.  I promise at the end of this you will be stronger and on your way to being bigger. 

If you want some other ideas or techniques to increase strength, email me at rrose@trueap.com.

HAVE A QUESTION FOR ROB ROSE, PRESIDENT OF TRUEAP?

  1. Write it down below this
  2. Email it to rrose@trueap.com.

Don’t forget to look for my video blog on this topic.  I will go through some great exercise techniques and exercises for you to try.

Thanks,

Rob Rose