In order to be athletic you have to train athletic. Training at or near your 1RM all the time doesn’t develop explosiveness or athleticism. While maximal strength is important and is a prerequisite for power as an athlete I would not stay in that phase for too long. Instead spend a good amount of time around 60-80 % of your 1RM and think about exploding out of the amortization phase of a lift into the concentric phase. I would also choose exercises that allow you to display athleticism in a coordinated manner. Things like cleans, snatches, kettlebell swings, box jumps, plyometrics, agility work, and clapping pushups allow you to be fast while using your body in an efficient and coordinated way. These exercise because they are fast and explosive also require a great deal of core stability, which translates into on-field movements.
As an athlete I would look for the following things when choosing a gym.
- Open Space: The more cluttered the gym is with fixed range of motion machines the less likely it is to produce any sort of athleticism. You are not in physical therapy. You are training for sport performance. Agility work is a skill that can be taught and developed and you need space to work on it.
- Qualified coaches: CSCS is the top of the line when it comes to programming and exercise selection. Pick up any magazine or read any article on sports performance and the writer is most likely to have the CSCS credentials after his name.
- Bumper plates: In order to attempt cleans and snatches you have to be willing to fail at an attempt. If you are always worried about dropping the weights you will never get out of your comfort zone and never grow.
- Kettlebells: The Kettlebell is one of my favorite pieces of equipment. Give me a kettlebell and I can give you a total body workout that will have you out of breath and lying in a pool of your own sweat.
- Energy: If the gym feels like a place where people are miserable you don’t want to be there. The gym should be fun. People should be pushing themselves and each other. There should be music and there should be a palpable energy inside the walls.
Many of you know that I started doing Crossfit almost two years ago now and I love it. It’s totally addicting and fun and it pushed me to where I would never quite be able to push myself on my own. Some of you might also now that I have run three marathons. Baltimore 2012, New York 2013 and 2014. Well if you’ve never heard of a Spartan race it kind of marries those two passions of mine. It is a race but it is much more than a race. It involves treacherous obstacles that challenges you physically, mentally, and spiritually. If Crossfit is the sport of fitness than a Spartan Race is it’s proving grounds. Yes Crossfit has the Crossfit games but that is the elite of the elite. Anyone can sign up for a Spartan Race and really see what you are made of. From the average Joe to Navy Seals there is a Spartan Race for you. In Fact, I will be doing my first Spartan Race Super in two weeks at Mountain Creek, NJ Look for more to come when I recap that event in two weeks. Back to the Spartan Racing series.
The Spartan race was voted the # 1 obstacle race by Outside magazine. In a Spartan Race you can expect running, rope climbs, crawling, tire flips, mud, ponds, mud, hills, scaling walls ala Ninja Warrior, mud, carrying sandbags, mud, inverted wall climbs, barbed wire, fire,mud, and just general cool shit. It’s an adult playground to say the least. For some people this sounds like hell on earth but for people like me this sounds like a day full of fun. Where else can you challenge yourself to these extremes and put yourself in real world situations at the same time creating a bond with a group of friends that will last a lifetime. There is a saying that those who suffer together bond together. CrossFit does that for a lot of people and so does the Spartan Race. Get out of the gym and complete a Spartan Race with your buddies. Right now on the Sparta Race website they are offering a 15% discount with the code LABORDAY. If this video doesn’t get you inspired I don’t know what will.
Spartan race is also trying to promote a few upcoming events. First is the Spartan Race world championships which take place in Killington Vermont on September 20th. This will air on NBC Sports. Look on your channel guide to find an airtime near you. This is the extreme version of what you and your buddies will be doing but many of the same obstacles but done at a ridiculous pace and with more severe consequences. If you want to see some of the world’s most well rounded athletes doing crazy stunts while tackling a 14 mile course with elevations of 12,000 feet then tune in.
The other cool thing that Spartan Race is trying to do is a Spartan cruise. If you’re like me and fitness is your passion and your lifestyle than maybe you would want to go on a fitness based vacation. This cruise leaves out of Miami and you will most certainly have the experience of a lifetime. Anyone who is interested in the cruise can fill out the form below and you will be entered into a raffle for a free cruise with airfare included courtesy of Jerseystrong and Spartan Race. http://bit.ly/spartancruisegiveaway
In the summer months hydration becomes a critical factor for sports performance. The hotter and more humid the weather is the more fluid you will lose and subsequently need to replace. Dehydration cannot only affect your performance on the field but can also potentially lead to things like heart attacks, stroke, and even death if not managed properly. One of things that I was always taught was that thirst is the least effective indicator of dehydration. When you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated to some degree.
Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium play a crucial role in your body’s ability to function. They help muscles contract and nerves conduct in a coordinated manner. Therefore any disturbance in that electrolyte balance can hinder performance on the field.
The question of which is better water or Gatorade is a tough one. For most people in most situations water is just fine to replace fluids lost during a workout or a game. Sports drinks like Gatorade have excess sugar that is just not necessary for performance. However, sports drinks do help replace electrolytes lost and give added calories for energy. If you were in a situation where food is not readily available like in the middle of a game then Gatorade would be the better option. Also, if you were in extreme circumstances such as 90 plus degree weather or high humidity then Gatorade would be a better option. If you don’t like the taste of water and need something that will cause you to drink more fluids than Gatorade would be a better option for you as well.
To monitor your hydration status there are a couple of things you can do. First is to weigh yourself before a practice or game and then again after. Each pound lost during that event is equal to 1 pint or half a liter of fluid. This needs to be replaces before the next practice or event. Often an athlete can lose weight during a season and they can attribute this to being in shape. However, be aware of chronic dehydration. Fat loss does not happen that quickly where you will lose 5-10 pounds in a matter of weeks. If this seems like a lot of work for you there is another way in which you can monitor your hydration status. You can monitor your urine. If your urine is dark in color then you are dehydrated. Replace fluids until your urine is a lighter color similar to lemon juice.
Pre-Game: Before a sporting event where you know it will be hot and humid you should drink at least 16 ounces of fluids an hour or two before the event. The colder the fluid the better it is for keeping your body temperature down.
In-Game: During a training session or game you should drink as often as possible. Your goal should be 6-8 ounces every 15 minutes.
Post-Game: After the event remember to monitor your hydration status and replace fluids lost. Every pound you lose needs to be replaced before competing again.
Keep these tips in mind and you can dominate your workouts this summer.
Joe Lopez C.S.C.S.
This year’s National Convention in Las vegas was called Strength innovated and it lived up to the name. I had never been to the National Convention before even though I go to the NJ State one every year. So I decided now was the time to finally get out there. The fact that it was in Las vegas didn’t hurt either. The convention was at the Paris Hotel right on the strip. I mean who wouldn’t want to stay here?
The convention itself was really something else. It was the perfect blend of good solid informational sessions and practical information with a touch of hands on workshops that were top notch. The whole thing is a bit of a sensory overload and I tried to soak it all in as best I could. Some of it was mind-blowing and caused me to rethink a few things while other stuff re-affirmed that I was on the right path with some of my athletes training programs.
I wish I could tell you which was my favorite session but I really can’t so I will try to give a brief description of my favorites and what I learned.
Training the Post Rehabbed shoulder by Robert Panariello PT, ATC, CSCS, MS
This was a fascinating topic for me because I hardly know anyone who works out who doesn’t have shoulder pain from time to time. Also, with my baseball background he got into some discussion on training pitchers specifically which I enjoyed. Some of his tips were of hand position for bench press and any overhead lifts based on the posterior or anterior should injuries. With an anterior shoulder injury a close grip would be smarter and a wide grip for a posterior injury. He also suggested starting with floor starts or even racked start lying supine. Another tip that he gave was that volume not intensity caused shoulder injuries. This supports my theory that I would not have pitchers do excessive rotator cuff work in-season because their rotator cuffs are already strained due to pitching itself.
Understanding The Squat in Performance Training. Richard ULM, DC, MS, CSCS
Dr, Richard Ulm was interesting as well because I am not sure if he was a huge fan of the back squat for performance training. Not necessarily because of its benefits but because many people have the limited mobility to get into proper position with spinal compressions. He talked about foot position and being extremely important. He referenced the tripod position that your feet should be in during the squat where weight is distributed evenly on the foot. He said the very common valgus knee collapse which we see a lot of particularly in female athletes is a symptom of faulty foot positioning.
The Art and Science of Small Group Training. Martin Rooney. CSCS, MHS, PT
This just got me fired up. Martin Rooney a local Jersey guy basically talked about passion. Do your athletes have fun when they are training because at the end of the day if they have fun and enjoy working out that’s what will keep them coming back. The fact of the matter is I have never worked with a professional athlete and there is a chance I never will but if I can instill a passion for working out that will allow someone to continue to love fitness like I do long after they are done with me then my job is done. He also brought up the theory of Tired vs Better. A lot of trainers can make someone tired. A CSCS’s job is to make them better at their sport.
What We Say Matters: Uncovering The Truth About Cueing. Nick Winkelman, MSc, CSCS, *D, NSCA-CPT, *D, USAW, USATF
Nick is another legend in the business. He talked about some research on cueing that was very interesting. The research shows that athletes perform better when giving external cue’s as opposed to internal cue’s. For example, when starting a sprint if you were to say to an athlete that he or she should “extend their hips.” That is an internal cue. It won’t go over as well as if you were to say “Push off of the blocks.” That is an example of an external cue which iS saying the same thing but will lead to better performance.
Training the Overhead Athlete: Training Beyond the upper Extremities. Mark Kovacs. PhD, CSCS, *D, FACSM
Mark discussed training baseball pitchers, volleyball players, and swimmers in particular and the unique challenges that those sports present. His main point was that the overhead athlete will never be symmetrical and you have to account for that. For example a right handed pitcher throws with his right arm and lands on his left leg. Therefore that hip on the left side is taking the brunt of that pitching motion over and over again. The coach then would need to train eccentric strength and work on Range of Motion within that joint. Also typically for say a volleyball player they will lack external rotation in their dominant arm while having tight internal rotators. Mark did a great job at demonstrating why training the overhead athlete is very tricky and needs to be handled carefully.
Evident-Based Nutrient Timing: A New Paradigm. Brad Schoenfeld. MS, CSCS, CSPS, NSCA-CPT and Alan Argon, MS.
This one was about the research of the very common belief that a post workout window in which you have a limited amount of time to take in protein to reap the benefits. They showed a funny youtube clip about someone “missing their window” and being all depressed. Basically the research showed that post workout protein has very little effect on muscle hypertrophy. They equated it to maybe one pound of a muscle over a year’s time. Funny enough at the end Brad admitted that he still drink a protein shake post workout because in true meathead fashion one pound a year is not going to waste.
Writing an Off_Season Strength and Conditioning Program: The Entire Process. Bob Alejo, CSCS, RSCC, *E.
Bob Alejo is the former strength and conditions coach for teams like UCLA basketball and the Oakland A’s in baseball. Bob has done it all. He laid out his exact program that he nows uses at NC State and you can really see his attention to detail in planning for every day in a calendar year. That being said Bob said two things that stuck in my mind. Number on is you have to lift heavy. Bob is a fan of sets of 2 or 3 for maximal strength. He talked about having Tim Hudson of the Oakland A’s Benching and Squatting as heavy as possible. The other thing that Bob mentioned that held some weight in my eyes is that he felt like almost all High School athletes regardless of sport should basically follow the same training protocols. His reasoning for this was that strength is first and for most. Before you can work on power or speed an athlete needs to be strong. High School athletes typically have not been training long enough to have that effect yet. Bob said the concept of sport specific training was over-rated and I kind of agree.
Challenging Thought and Practices of Periodization: A Scientific Critique. Michael Zourdos. PhD, CSCS.
This was another one that re-affirmed something that I had been thinking for a while. Michael presented some research for a non-linear approach to strength and conditioning. The CSCS Text book teaches a linear periodized program where you stay in a phase for an extended period of time. For example you would do a endurance phase for four weeks followed by Strength, Hypertrophy, and Power. In a non-linear program you could do all of them in a given week. For example you might have one hypertrophy day, one strength day, and one power day. His research showed that this method actually increased strength. On top of that he theorized that you could probably custom the non-linear approach to the athlete. If you have a football player who needs to get bigger for his position you could perhaps do two hypertrophy days for every one strength and power day. You could also use a taper period before a big event or a season.
Squat Progressions. Joe Kenn. MA, CSCS, *D, RSCC, *E.
Joe Kenn is the NSCA Strength Coach of the year. He currently works for the Carolina Panthers. This one was not what I expected at all. This was a hands on session andJoe spent most of the worksop demonstrated how he got his large frame into drills for Hip Mobility. He also mentioned how he has his NFL lineman incorporate yoga and Pilates movements into their warmups. One of things that stood out to me was how Joe talked about how much he has changed over the years from how he thinks about things. His perception of concepts like hip mobility and foam rolling have changed quite a bit over the years.
Agility Progressions. Tim Morrill. MS, CSCS
This was another hands on session and perhaps this more than any other session the entire weekend kind of blew my mind. Tim and his staff use a logical and progressive way of teaching how to teach agility. In fact the first thing I did when I got home was look up his Twitter and youtube pages. I have started practicing his drills because I want to be able to do them competently before I begin to teach them to my athletes. This sessions probably left me more excited than any other.
I really can’t say enough good things about the NSCA’s national convention. It was a perfect blend of research, practical knowledge, and hands on learning sessions. I attended more sessions than I listed here but these were my highlights. There were also many other great presentations which I did not get the opportunity to see.
Just in case you thought it was all work and no play I did have tons of fun at night. I was able to meet and interact with people from places like Iowa, Cleveland, Maryland, and even plenty of faces from NJ. I found a ton of new people to follow on Twitter from the #National14 hashtag. I hope we can share our work from afar and support each other. Yes I also did some gambling every night and I even broke even which is a win considering how long I was there. I even had legends like Leo Totten and Bob Takano work with me on my snatch technique. These guys are both Olympic Lifting coaches and if that wasn’t fun I don’t know what is. If you need proof that I actually had fun here is a picture of me at the club Chateau which is the rooftop Club in the Paris hotel.
Lacrosse is a game of athleticism. The athletes who play lacrosse have to be quick, agile, and powerful. It is a largely anaerobic sport where there are bursts of speed followed by downtime. In order to play this way the athlete has to train this way as well. In the game you need to be able to change directions quickly. Good footwork and flexible hips are important. Speed ladder drills and change of directions skills are excellent for improving these qualities.
Strength is needed in the hamstrings, glutes, core, and forearms in particular. Posterior chain strength is important for sprinting speed. Deadlifts are a great exercise for strengthening these areas. The core and forearms are important to release powerful shots on goal. One of the best exercises to strengthen these muscles is called a farmer’s walks. For an added core challenge perform single arm farmer’s walks.
Power is a combination of strength and speed. In order to change directions on a dime and fire balls into the back of the net you need an explosive and powerful core. Medicine Ball slams and rotational throws are great for building a powerful core.
Training should also depend on what position you play because each position on the field has unique demands.
If you play attack then you need to be quick, powerful, and have the ability to twist and turn in various directions to get off your shots. You also need to have strong legs to sprint at top speeds. The Prowler push is a great exercise to develop this top speed.
Middies need more endurance than anyone else on the field. In order to cover both ends of the field you need the most aerobic capacity of any position on the field. 400-meter repeats are a great drill for midfielders. Run 400 meters or one lap around the track as fast as you can. However long it takes you, rest that same amount and then repeat until your time decreases by more than 10 seconds.
Defenders need to be the strongest on the field. They need a strong upper body to slash opponents to try and loosen the ball. Defenders also have to backpedal quite a bit and open up their hips in order to recover quickly to protect the goal. Sledgehammer swings on a large tire are a great exercise for defenders.
Goalies need excellent hand eye coordination and quick reactions. While they also need strong hands and wrists, the eyes are perhaps the most important muscle a goalie can strengthen.
At our facility in Madison we have a vision coach board. It works on exactly this. It quickens reaction time via neural pathways. We also have Certified Strength and Conditions Specialists who can help you train the way you should for your sport and your position. We can help you reach that next level of performance. Visit www.MyOffSeason.Org for more information.
Let me start by saying that this is not an article bashing crossfit. If you want one of those there are plenty online for you to find. I love crossfit. I do crossfit. I think crossfit has upped the game for the average Joe who wants to bring his or her fitness to the next level. No other fitness movement has gotten so many people to train with high intensity like crossfit.
This article is about training for a sport and why you need a qualified strength and conditioning specialist. Crossfit sells Constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements. Those are great attributes for your average person who wants to get into the best shape of their life. I can honestly say that since I started crossfit I am stronger than I have ever been.
My point is that crossfit is not for athletes. People who do crossfit do crossfit to get better at crossfit. Crossfit will even tell you that it is not a workout but a sport itself.
When you are training for a sport you have to consider things like metabolic conditioning. Would a golfer really benefit from crossfit? The workouts would be too high intense while risking injury so the risk vs reward just would not be there. Another thing that you need to consider when training for a sport is when your season is. A qualified CSCS will emphasis the proper phases of training so that you peak going into your season. Typically there will be a strength – endurance phase, a strength phase, a power phase, and a tapering period. Crossfit kind of throws all of those phases into all of their workouts. If you do 4 crossfit style workouts then you probably will develop all of those aspects in a short amount of time. The last thing that you need to consider is which exercises are contraindicated. Every athlete is different and every sport is different and every position within that sport is different. Without considering the individual you can’t program properly for him or her. Crossfit creates programs for the masses. Don’t get me wrong, thee are quality coaches within crossfit that can help you scale down but at the end of the day you are doing the same workout as everyone else that day. Rule number one of being a strength coach is keep your players on the field. Because of that the industry has shifted towards injury prevention with screening like FMS and corrective exercises to alleviate imbalances and asymmetries. The last thing a strength coach will consider is the player’s sport. A baseball players because of the overhead throwing will have a vastly different workout program than a lets say a football linemen.
In the end training is supposed to help you perform on the field. The field is not in the gym. As it said it last month’s Men’s Health, “big biceps don’t mean better trainer.” Go to NSCA.com to find a trainer near you. Then when your playing days are over join crossfit and maybe I’ll see you at next year’s open!
Originally posted on Michael Boyle's Strengthcoach.com Blog:
Got this question from a reader and thought I’d make the answer a post.
Q- “When you are in the strength phase for a specific sport that doesn’t require you to be brutally strong(basketball, baseball,tennis) would you train to be as strong as possible(how they do in football) or would you still stay fundamentally sound?”
A- The reason I wanted to answer this as a separate post is that I think we can address a couple of strength and conditioning misconceptions in one post.
If we read above, the first assumption/ question is should you train to be strong in sports that might not appear to require maximum strength. The answer to that would be a resounding yes. The bigger question relates to the question we pose frequently in seminars, “How strong is strong?”, or “what defines strong”?
All athletes should train to be as strong as possible, period. There…
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Here are my top 100 Diet and Nutrition Tips. Some are thing you should never eat like fried foods and bagels. Some are my top supplements for a healthy lifestyle like fish oil. Some are things you should add to your diet like spicy foods and sweet potatoes. Some are just general tips for weight maintenance and metabolism like get 8 hours of sleep a night. How many of my top 100 do you currently follow? Let me know in the comments.
Originally posted on Genetik Fitness Blog:
Many women yearn for a fitter, slimmer or more toned body — and some seem to achieve it effortlessly. Below you’ll find some easy ways to reach your goals.
Get the Body You Want
In the words of Mireille Guiliano, author ofFrench Women Don’t Get Fat, “Everything is a matter of balance.” In other words, getting in great shape doesn’t mean you can never eat your favorite dessert again. It just means you can’t have it every day. What’s more, getting fit doesn’t have to be difficult, painful, or expensive. In fact, the most effective diet and exercise strategies will fit seamlessly into…
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The one thing that people ask me the most is what I eat. The last time I wrote a post about what I eat was over a year ago. I often will look for ways to improve my diet or make small changes to hopefully create some big results. In the past year I quit drinking Diet Coke completely and I have adopted a “eat real food” mentality with my diet. In my last post. Things I Eat, I spoke about how I really monitor my diet during the week and then on the weekends I let go a little bit. I still do that. Before you all think that I am crazy I am a man of habits and almost every Saturday morning you can find me at the Swiss Chalet in Morristown having coffee and donuts before I go for my run. I also have dessert with Saturday dinner most weeks. However, monday-friday I adhere to a strict calorie allotment and then Saturday is a cheat day and often Sunday Dinner is a cheat meal as well. I try to eat for fuel 80% of the time and eat for enjoyment 20% of the time. That being said I never eat anything that I don’t like. I look forward to eating and I really enjoy everything I eat but I save the things like sweets for my cheat days. One of the differences between what I eat now and what I ate then is my focus on eating real foods. Nothing from a box or a bag. Basically my motto is if it has a label it is a product and not a food. In that previous blog I listed things like frozen meals, fast food items such as Dunkin Donuts egg white sandwiches, chips and salsa, greek yogurt, and many other things that I no longer eat. My old mind set was that as long as I stay under my calories the food doesn’t matter. Now, I don’t think of food as a diet but as fuel for my lifestyle. I work out quite a bit and without proper nutrition that would not be possible. The other switch that I have made is my protein requirements. My goal is one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. When I wrote that last article protein wasn’t really a concern. Since I ran the NYC Marathon in November I have cut down on the running quite a bit and been focused more on CrossFit. I still run on the weekends but primarily focus on speed and hill work rather than distance. Nutrition is about abundance and not deprivation. In order to fuel my current workout style the protein is a major concern as well as good carbohydrate options around my workouts. Things that I have cut out of my diet completely (Monday through Friday) are cheese, milk, soda, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and anything processed. Because of my extremely busy schedule and time constraints I do buy frozen vegetables and pre-cooked proteins but I make sure to read the labels. Frozen spinach needs to have one ingredient only. Spinach! Not all of them do. There are a few items I will also buy in jars and boxes but I have a 5 ingredient rule. If it has more than 5 ingredients I don’t buy it. Another rule that I have is that I use spices to flavor food and not sauces. Sauces have excess calories and are often heavy cream or flour based. StoneWall Kitchen has a great Salsa Verde that I use a lot on all types of meats. It has only 4 ingredients which is a much better option than Tostitos salsa. Basically it is tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro pureed. Just how you would make fresh salsa at home. I buy Organic produce whenever I can and I am not afraid of fat. For those of you who follow me on Twitter (JoeLopez55) you know that I often write about how sugar is the enemy when it comes to diet and health and not fat. The worst thing for dietary fat is that it is called fat and people associate it with body fat. I eat butter and eggs every day and steak and avocados once a week. When I make vegetables I often cook them in bacon fat or use butter to flavor them. My macronutrient goals are 40% fats, 35% carbohydrates, and 25% protein. I am up 10 pounds since I ran the marathon on November 3rd but my body fat percentage has stayed the same. I want to lost about 3 percent body fat so I am in the process of making another adjustment and experimenting with some other diet changes but more on that another day.
Here is a sample day of eating for me:
5 eggs, 3 cups Kale, 3 slices Bacon, One Sweet Potato, 2 pats Butter, Double Espresso, Stevia
Protein Coffee courtesy of Sparta Nutrition Store.
Grilled Salmon no skin 8 oz, Salsa Verde, 1 cup of Spinach, 1 cup of pureed Winter Squash, 2 pats Butter, Double Espresso, Stevia
Homemade Chia Bar, Protein Shake 2 scoops Optimum Nutrition, 1 Orange.
Carbohydrates 175 grams
Fat 98 grams
Protein 189 Grams
Fiber 42 grams
Sugar 59 grams