Archive for the ‘performance training’ Category

 

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Over the years I have been extremely blessed to mentor new trainers and coaches and to help them get started on their path to what I hope will be a successful career for them. Many of them will ask me questions such as: what are the best exercises/ tools to use? What is the best program to help my clients get the results that they want and so-on. To me these are good questions, but the lack the most important aspect any good and effective program, the why behind it .

You see, any so called training program that lacks purpose and individualization in personal training, will most likely end up leaving the client disappointed. Especially, if they aren’t new to this whole fitness world.

 

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Just random workouts can work in getting a person leaner and somewhat stronger. Yet in my opinion that will only go so far and probably will leave glaring issues that the person has unaddressed. So instead, let’s have a reason for doing what we are doing with our clients.

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This does take more energy and forethought to make this happen, but your success will be obvious to others and lead to great results and joy from your clients!

It seems like our culture is getting worse and worse when it comes to mobility and movement quality. We usually have locked up t-spines, ankles and hips and as a result cannot move the way that we need to stay safe and get the results that we want from our training. One of those issues that we find a lot in our clients and athletes is an obvious lack of the ability to touch ones toes.

This movement pattern is vital for your safety and performance in lifts and movements that require that your hips move in a hinge pattern and at times in hip extension. (Hint, just about everything that utilizes lower body requires these movements.)

But before we go any further, let’s look at these moves so that you can have better understanding of them.

Hip hinging is when you are required to moves your hips back. This is seen in the exercise world in the form of deadlifts, kettlebell swings, broad jumps and other like movements.

Hip extension is the finish of these moves and is also seen in proper running and walking mechanics.
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(Dave knows how to extend his hips!)
Now that you understand in a very simple way what these moves are, let’s discuss how a lack of toe touch can mess up these patterns and lead to less than stellar performance.  You see a lack of toe touch is often a problem of not being able to shift your weight back and as a result your brain fires you hamstrings to keep you from breaking your nose. There are also times that your brain senses that a muscle is inhibited in the movement chain and as a result tightens up muscles to keep us from hurting our precious joints.

So then if stretching isn’t the answer, then what is?

The answer isn’t as simple as a 1, 2, 3 solution and can vary from person to person, but we can give you a few drills to help you:

1. Breathing;
Proper breathing patterns that utilize the diaphragm as the main respiratory muscle has a huge in stabilizing ones midsection and can enable you to move better by causing your brain to release any unnecessary tension in the body and to better stabilize your mid-section.

2. Toe touch pattern drill:

As a stated before an inability to toe your toes is usually a lack of being able to shift your weight back. This drill can helps you re-learn how to do this important movement and give you the ability back to deadlift with proper positioning.

To do this drill find a two inch elevation, such as a book, board or even dumbbells. Put your toes on the lift. Then stick something between your legs right above your knees, reach up to the ceiling, crush the object between your legs; and touch your toes 10 times. It is ok to bend your knees if you have to, in order to get to your toes.

After you have done that direction, stick your heels on the lift and follow the same sequence. You will either be able to touch your toes or you will be closer. Keep on practicing this drill until you can touch your toes, when you aren’t warmed up.

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3. Glute strengthening:

Lastly is if your glutes are weak or inhibited, you will probably not be able to get in the proper position to lift and train safely with good form. Now when people sit often as well as those who are just begin to workout usually have overactive or tight low back muscles and hamstrings and under active glutes as well as being stuck in a flexed or forward shoulder position.


To combat this and to help better position yourself you will want to, release (stretch, foam roll.) The tight areas and strengthen the weak ones. For the sake of this post we will only discuss the glutes. (We will be doing a posture post soon.) Glute development isn’t too difficult, you will just want to do it in a way that doesn’t keep the imbalance though.

1. Lower rolling for glute strengthing:

2. Supermans, birddogs and reverse hip lifts:

3. Bridges, Single leg and 2 legged

4. Glute ham raises:

 https://youtu.be/w0X0Vw6Vu1Y

5: Hip thrusters :

These aren’t the only exercises that train the glutes they are just simple and effective ways to do so.

Having a comfortable toe touch that is controlled is very important for your health and fitness. So it is worth finding out what is limiting you from being able to do so and to take the time to correct this issue if it is present in your life.

Whoa! Before you go any further, take a minute or two to read the first post in this 2 post series. (Click here for it.)

 

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If you have read it, continue on and read this post for some ideas on how to incorporate this fitness quality of control into a practical one; that will help you perform better and hopefully better prevent non-contact injury in sport.

Now before we start to get into how to achieve this benefit, I need to give a quick “science” rant to better help you understand what it is that you will be actually doing. That is using the neural-developmental model to better develop control of your body.

This is simply when a baby is born, they can breathe, grip, poop and eat. Then they begin to control their neck, afterwards they begin to roll from supine to prone (face up and face down.) and prone to supine. Following that is the process of crawling/ rocking. Then kneeling, squatting, assisted walking, then comes walking.  As they human continues to grow they begin to be able to run. Lastly we learn to skip and play sports etc.

 

 

As we develop we learn to control our segments in order to move on to the next step in the model and so-on. So in the same way that we learn to develop the first time, we can and should use to learn to learn control when we need to again and as we need to.

Breathing:
Not breathing well can lead to all kinds of restrictions in movement. Especially w moves such as: t-spine rotation, lateral flexion and so-on.
This drill below will help you re-learn how to properly breathe again.

 

 

Supine posture:
After you have spent a little time on breathing and have developed some reflexive stability an s a result, you will want to re-learn how to develop stability in this posture. These drills are great to see if you are truly operating on all cylinders or are you using your global (large) muscles for stability. Make sure to maintain breathing as you do all of these drills!

 

 

 

 

Rolling after supine comes rolling which in my mind is one of the most important drills that tone can do in helping better develop eccentric control and has great transfer over to rotational sports!

 

 

 

 

Cross pattern drills:
These moves involve crossing the midline of your body in order to develop better stability and control of the hips and shoulders.

Bird dogs:

We are familiar with this exercise form Pilates, yoga and Dr. Stuart McGill’s work. In addition to these awesome benefits of core stability and low back rehab/prehab. These drills also help you reach across mid-line of the body which works both sides of your brain simultaneously.

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Crawling:
This movement is a progression into walking for babies, it helps them develop better core stability, strength and control for walking later on. For us it has a huge benefit to help develop better contra-lateral movement (opposite side) , can help with wrist mobility, develop better control of our trunk and so-on.

Watch the video v=below to see my little boy crawling around and don’t feel bad if you can’t do it as well as him yet. He has had a few months of practice!

 

 

Kneeling:
This posture is the next step in development and multiple drills can be done form this position to better help develop core stability , hip shoulder separation in some moves done in this position ,glute activation and single leg stance improvement.

 

 

 

 

Squatting
squats are also part of this process and are best learned as the first time form the bottom up. This drill teach you how to do that once again.

 

 

TGU
This exercise actually hits just about all of the NDM transitions and can be used to better help develop control if you treat it like it should be a tai-chi like exercise that you’ll need to own all the parts of!

 

Click here for more information on this exercise.

After all of these steps comes walking and running as well as more advanced things such as the list given below.

Loaded carries:

I wrote a bit about these awhile back click here to get them and to learn more…

 

 

Locomotion and control

Skips

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Hops

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Shuffle

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Single leg arm exercise can have huge transfer over to function and also can help maintain all of the work that you have done in the earlier stages of this renewal of control. Use these as much as you can to help you build strength and further develop control.

 

 

Pistol squats

 

 

 

 

In closing we need to be able to control ourselves in order to have the quality of life that we want as well as to continue to make fitness gains uninhibited by poor movement quality and potential stops due to non-contact injury! So friends regain control once again and even get better!

 

After reading our last post on this subject, you have gained some insight into the why of our rotational program.  If you haven’t read it yet, click here to do so now, because I will be referencing some of those points throughout this post. This week’s post will also be the beginning of a programming to train this movement, especially for mobility and stability work to help improve the technique of human rotation.

As you are aware, the body operates in movement systems and have been imformed of the ones involved specificaly in rotation, commonly refered to as  slings. The one thing that we didn’t cover las time, was that these patterns are connected by a substance called fascia.

This is a web like substance that sits over our muscles and pulls them together throughout the body. So in addition to specific muscles firing to accomplish a task, this fascial pulling also goes on as well. Now this is a great thing and helps our bodies transmit force as well as helping us to stabilize , as we do so and  move in our sports or life.  Yet, it can also limit our performance in the same way that it can help it; in the case of an  individual muscle or muscle in a pattern being underactive.

As a result of the weakness of one muscle, another along the movement chain can become tight and overactive as well as it leading to restrictions in a movement such as rotation in this case.

In light of this fact, it would make sense that individuals with this issue would need to mobilize orrelease their tight muscles in this (or any) pattern and then follow it by strengthening the weak muscles that are causing the problem in the first place.

So the first question that we need to deal with is what needs to be mobilized and what needs to be stabilized and or strengthened?

First of all we cannot say with absolute certainty for every person without anevaluation/assessment like the one that we do here at Escape Medford that could identify the issues that the person may have and then a strategy on how to deal with them.

But this post will endeavor to give you some general ideas to help you improve your rotation and then to pattern it with better technique.

Our first step is to mobilize an area that many people are “locked up” in due to our seated culture. That is our Thoracic spine or mid-back. A lot of the times, we cannot rotate properly and transfer energy the way we should, due to not being able to move through our mid-backs well. As result we usually end up using not so good body parts for this movement pattern. (Elbows as in throwing, lumbar spine, etc.)

Use this drill below to help you begin to utilize your upper back to rotate better and to minimize your low back for this human movement pattern.

Once we have mobilized this area, the next step is to stabilize it; so that the new range of motion is maintained. We like to use the following move to develop this quality, especially for overhead throwers

After developing the mobility and stability needed for the move of rotation, we can begin to pattern it while standing, helping the athlete get better at their sport, whether it be golf, baseball, or any other sport that involves a lot of rotation and or overhead work.

Next week, we will continue this theme and teach you how to begin to use your new found mobility and stability to enhance your performance in your chosen sport and for your health.

It’s funny to me how after a little while of not using a particular tool, that it can be fun again. It is awesome how recovery works and when it is time to kill it again. I felt this way about sled work for a while; since training for an event that had a sled push in it, I only used it a few times. However, the day before my holiday vacation, I went pretty heavy and did a bunch of it. This workout was so good that I decided to share it with you my friends, as our first workout of the year!

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This workout was fun to do and very challenging to finish. It was one of those dig deep type workouts that will test your mental toughness while making it better, blasting fat, building strength and working/strengthening your heart!

This workout is done by grabbing a light kettlebell for snatches or one arm swings. Then of course you will need the sled and lots of plates to load it. (If you don’t have a sled sprints are ok.)

Load your sled with the most challenging weight that you can do for 10 pushes a round with minimal rest. (I used 310 pounds)

Start off with your kettlebell ballistic (swing or snatch. I recommend snatches, if you know how to safely do it.) Do 10 a side then push your sled f9r 30 yards or sprint. Then rest as much as needed do 8 a side. Then the sled and so on all the way down to 2 swings or snatches. Then rest 5 minutes afterwards, do It again and so on just remember the volume will be less due to the heavy sled work or intense sprinting.

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(This workout is very effective, considering that I spent half of the 30 minutes on my warm-up!)

Sled coaching tips:
Push hard into the floor and drive knee forward as if you were putting it through a door.

How to do the kettlebell snatch:
https://youtu.be/z7zDQ12eBJc

How to do the 1 arm swing:
https://youtu.be/Tpby4oOF27o

Once again we have your guidelines for success

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  • Do all of your sets and reps with quality form. Crap only produces crap!
  • Breathe by matching your breathing with each pattern
  • Rest as much as you need to and no more.
  • Tough it out while working out ( keep in mind the results)
  • Enjoy the fat blasting effect  and raised metabolism.

Click here to get my Ultimate Kettlebell swing Tutorial and workout series. This series will not teach you the swing,  but show you  how to train with it to get to your goals!

Research has exploded in the last few years and with the advent of the World Wide Web access to it has gotten much easier.  Along with this enablement is the why behind what you are doing in addition to the how and when. One of these components to training for sport is the need for rotation to develop better, throwing, running and other needs to improve an athlete’s performance.

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You may be aware of this fact or if you have been training with us you probably have experienced our emphasis and instruction on the need for this quality. Or you may have never even heard of us and have never been into our center. Whether you are familiar with us or not, we want you to know the why behind what we teach. That is the goal of today’s post to help you become aware of the reason behind the method. Just as the book title says we want you to start with why!

 

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First we want to begin with the type of rotation that we are talking about and what it looks like.

The type of rotation that we are talking about is driven from the floor and ends up translated through the arm or the implement that is utilized in an athlete’s chosen sport.   We are however not referring to an isolated move wherein the trunk is the only thing that is moving.  An example of this technique is shown in a proper golf swing, pitching, and a slap shot in hockey and so-on.

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After that last statement, you may be thinking, “so this is an important component to sports” and you would be very right if you are. So it would then in that case make sense to learn how to do it well for increased power and efficiency for sports performance.

 

 

So now that you have the why we should rotate well, how then can one do it? Also is there any risk in rotating? (As you may have heard that there is.)

The next few paragraphs and correspodning posts will give you some answers and a few ways to develop this quality to make you a better athlete.

Before we begin the next part let’s cover how to rotate and how not to accomplish this task.When we look at the body for performance and health, we need to realize that the body operates in movements and these movements are powered by systems or slings of muscles that function together to perform that move. In rotation we have both the anterior and posterior slings as seen below.

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In order to better utilize this sequence to throw, run and other sports activity requires that you utilize a particular technique. Not only will this create better power but will also better help prevent non-contact /overuse injuries as you play.

The next two posts will continue to answer these questions and give you some ways to learn how to use this principle for sports performance and injury prevention. So keep tuned to this blog for that!

 

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When I was still fighting as a boxer, the group and coach that I worked with realized the need for strength training to make you a better athlete. However, I am not sure how effective the program that we were doing was at doing that; it was a lot of slow stuff in the weight room , followed by slow running. I am not saying that slow is bad if the right reason is given to do it  and for a set time. I think however that one of our biggest training mistakes is that we didn’t do exercises to build power and explosiveness on a consistent basis and as a result , we probably missed out on being better athletes.

Even though I am no longer boxing , I recently realized that I need to develop explosive power and as a result have created this program geared around that goal and that program is the one that I am sharing with you today. So if you want to be more explosive and or if you want a different program to do for a while keep on reading and then get working.

Strength: Every program that enhances athleticism should have a time period carved out to develop strength. To me how you go about doing this is not as important as doing it. I prefer powerlifting and the three big lifts, along with accessory exercises that help you in a weak area. Olympic lifting also works to develop strength as well. So don’t get caught up in the how so much, just get stronger!

Once you have done this for your set amount of weeks, you will now want to work on building power  in two different ways: one, you will want use Olympic lifting, heavy Kettlebells and so on to build power. Two: you will want to develop explosive power or convert you strength into power. This is done by doing plyometrics, med ball work, light to medium sized kettlebells, sand bags, dumbbells and possibly barbells.

Power and the ability to explode and or move quickly is associated with the ability to become a better athlete in many regards. Explosive power is linked to speed and even more efficient endurance performance in my opinion. It is the a need for anyone that wants to perform at their top-level if they play a sport as well as those who want to change the focus of their workout for a while in order to better avoid over-training.

Just before we get into the program itself, let’s review how to become more explosive. Strength training and getting stronger in and of itself will most likely not be enough to produce this quality. It does however have a need in the process and also may I mention there is some research that says if the intent to move heavy weight quickly is present the explosive muscles fibers are activated and one becomes more explosive as a result. In spite of this fact, this blogger feels that both are needed to enhance performance.

Without further ado my friends we have the program:

As any long-term program goes this is one is a progressive and builds up as it goes along.

This is a 6 week program

Day 1:
Velocity based training day

Barbell cleans ; 50% of your one rep max
Week 1: 6 x 3 sets 2 minutes rest move the weight as fast as possible (thus the light weight)
Supersetted with half kneeling chop and lifts 15 to 25 lbs 8 reps x 2 sets

Week 2 to 4:

Add in a rep on each set
Week 3: move it faster
Week 4: add in another set
Week 5: adjust , work on technique move the weight faster and so-on
Week 6: add 5 lbs to the bar

The chop and lifts should progress from load to lunge position for 2 weeks to single leg supported
Push press 50% 1 rep max 8 x 2 sets as fast as possible 3 minutes rest (please follow this rest exercise is cumulative and not just about 1 session)

This should be treated the same as the clean in its progression throughout the weeks

Y,T, M,s 2x 4 each

Shuttle run:

week one 4 sets 40 yards 30 seconds rest

week 2 add in a round

Week 3 : get all of your rest down to 30 seconds

Week 4: add in a round

Week 5: Go faster

Week 6: add in a round

Day 2: Strength day:
This is the one day of grinds you can possibly put in any move that you want to work on, just don’t go crazy!

I chose snatch grip deadlifts, in order to see if they help make my chin-up stronger.

Week 1: Snatch grip dead lift 60% one rep max 3×5 sets 2 to 3 minute rest
Half kneeling landmine press: 2×5 60% one rep max (superset)

Weighted chin-up: 80% 5 rep max 2×3

Janda sit ups 2×5 ( I went from band assisted to “full on”)

Rower for distance 2500 meters

Week 2: Add 10 pounds each set on the deadlift 2 to 3 minutes rest
Half kneeling landmine press 3×3 80% one rep max
Chin up: same load add in a rep each set
Janda the same
Rower: get it done faster

Week 3:

Add ten pounds once again on the dl
Half kneeling landmine press 3×6 70%
Chin up: same load add a rep on one set
Janda: take band away 2×3
Rower: faster same distance

Week 4:

Add 20 pounds to each set on deadlift
Half kneeling landmine:  3×4 80%
Chin up: 1st set: the same for 5 2nd: 5 pounds heavier 1 3:1
Janda: 2×4
Rower: same as last week

Week 5:
Deadlift: warm up with your 70 %  5 reps 1st set, 2nd set: 80%  3 reps rest 3 minutes in both 3rd set: 90% 1 x 5 minutes rest beforehand
Chin up: 1 set: 1st set, 4 reps of previous load. 2nd set add on 10 lbs 1 rep
Janda: 2×5
Rower: slow 2500

Week 6: Deadlift: two warm up sets at 70% and 80%  3- 5 minutes rest. 3rd set: one rep max!

Day 3: Active rest: I did boxing work, you can do whatever you like without high intensity.

Day 4:
Week 1:
Dumbbell snatch 2×5 50 lbs 2 minute rest
Superset: suitcase carry 50 steps medium load work on position and
Med. Ball scoop toss: 20 lb. ball 2×8 1 minute rest
rotational med ball slam: a weight that you can move very fast. 1 minute rest 2 sets

Week 2:
Dumbbell snatch 2×5 set 3:3
Carry again but 5 steps further
Scoop toss: same but throw it further
Rotational slam: Faster

Week 3:
Dumbbell snatch 3×5
Carry go 5 pounds heavier
Scoop toss: 20lbs. 3×8 2 minutes rest
Rotational slam: Faster

Week 4:
Dumbbell snatch 5 lbs heavier 3×5
Carry: add in 5 steps a side
Scoop toss: same but 1 1/2 minutes rest
Rotational slam: Add a set in

Week 5:
Dumbbell snatch 5 lbs heavier 3×5 faster
Carry: same
Scoop toss: same but 1 minutes rest
Rotational slam: 2 pounds heavier sam reps and sets

Week 6:
Dumbbell snatch add 5 more pounds 2×5
Carry: same
Scoop toss: same but 1  minutes rest
Rotational slam: 2 pounds heavier same reps and sets

Day 4:
Week One:
Squat Jumps; 2×6 as fast as possible up and off the floor 2 minute rest
Lateral jumps over cone: 2×6
Med ball slams 10 pounds: 2x 8 as fast as possible
Kb deadswings: 3×8  2minutes medium load

Janda sit-up: 3×5

4 minute run 2 off for recovery

Week 2:

Squat Jumps; 2×7 as fast as possible up and off the floor 2 minute rest
Lateral jumps over cone: 2×7 2 minute rest
Med ball slams 10 pounds: 2x 8 as fast as possible 1 minute rest
Kb deadswings: 3×8 1 minute rest

Janda sit-up: 3×5

4 minute run 2 off for recovery work on running technique.

Week 3:

Squat Jumps; 2×8  as fast as possible up and off the floor 2 minute rest
Lateral jumps over cone: 2×8 2 minute rest
Med ball slams 10 pounds: 2×8 and 1×6, as fast as possible 1 minute rest
Kb deadswings: 3×8 30 sec. minute rest

Janda sit-up: 3×5

4 minute run 2 off for recovery add in a round

Week 4:
Squat Jumps; 2×8, 1×6 , as fast as possible up and off the floor 2 minute rest
Lateral jumps over cone: 2×7  1x 5 2 minute rest
Med ball slams 10 pounds: 3 x 8 as fast as possible 1 minute rest
Kb regular swing : 3×8 30 minute rest

Janda sit-up: 3×5

4 minute run 2 off for recovery add another easy round in

Week 5:

Squat Jumps; 3×7 as fast as possible up and off the floor 2 minute rest
Lateral jumps over cone: 3×7 2 minute rest
Med ball slams 10 pounds: 3 x 8  1 minute rest go faster with good form
Kb Regular swings : 3×8 30 minute rest

Janda sit-up: 3×5

4 minute run 2 off for recovery 4 rounds

Week 6:

Squat Jumps;3×8 as fast as possible up and off the floor 2 minute rest
Lateral jumps over cone: 3×8 2 minute rest
Med ball slams 12 pounds: 3 x 8 as fast as possible 1 minute rest
Kb deadswings: 3×10 1 minute rest

Janda sit-up: 3×5

4 minute run 2 off for recovery 5 easy runs in

There it is guys this program made a huge difference in my sprinting speed and punching power. if you feel the need adjust it to you, but don’t go crazy too early especially if this is your first time doing a cycle like this. There is much more going on than just your ability to recover in between sets and reps,but a need for your musculoskeletal system to adapt as well. So trust the process and know the why behind your need to train like this, even if it is just to change your approach for a brief while!

If you liked this post, I offer online coaching and program designing services to fit your life and to get you to your goals! Click here to learn more.