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The (sometimes) Top 5 (sometimes more) Of The Week 7/20 - July 24th 2020

*Question via DM- (edited to get to the point) “Loved the article in your story on prowler variations, what are some of your favorite sled push/pull variations”

 First, thank you so much for the DM, I love it when I can answer a direct question instead of guessing what everyone wants to read about.

 “The F-U” is a partner sled push variation that we use as a finisher to a leg day or even an upper body day if my grownups are annoying me! Partner A starts with the sled, partner B is standing about 10 yards away. Partner A pushes the sled to partner B, partner B pushes the sled back 5 yards, Partner A will then push the sled forward another 10 yards, where partner B is waiting to push the sled back 5 more yards, partner A pushes the sled another 10 yards to complete 1 rep. Rest 1-2 and switch roles. The sled doesn’t have to be heavy to have an impact. 3-4 sets each.

 Whaddya Got” Use a stopwatch and a light to moderately heavy sled and push as far as possible in 12-15 seconds. Rest 45 seconds and repeat. I like to break these up into 2 sets. Set 1 might be 4-6 reps, you would rest 2:00 and perform a second set of 4-6 reps.

 “Sprint through the friggin wall”- Push the sled as fast as possible for 10-15 yards, rest 1:15 to 1:30 and repeat for a total of 4-6 sprints. Keep the weight light. This is about building speed, not about conditioning. As soon as you start to slow down, end the set.

 “Heavy Ass Sled Push”- We use these for pure strength. Load up a sled for maximum resistance and push 10-15 yards. Start with your elbows bent and your chest over the back bar of the sled, grip the handles tight, create tension through your upper body. 4-6 sets, 2 to 3 minutes rest.

 “Push that B*tch- Set up like you are going to perform a heavy push, elbows bent with plenty of upper body tension, take 2-3 steps and push the sled away from you. Keep the weight on the lighter side and see how much ground you can cover in 5 total pushes. 3-5 sets, 1 minute rest.

 *Do you lack the skills needed for your sport or do you struggle to pick up the information needed to showcase your abilities?

 How aware are you of what is happening around you on the field? How fast is the defender closing in? Where are your teammates at this moment and where are they going to be in a few seconds? How fast is the defender who is closing in? How much time is left in the game? This is information, and the more sensitive you are to it, the easier it will be to display your skills.

 I played sweeper during my freshman soccer season. I lied to my coach and told him I had played the position before, even though I had absolutely zero idea what the position actually was, because I didn’t want to sit on the bench. I didn’t want to mess up and instead of trying to pick up what was happening around me, where my teammates were or how quickly the offense was attacking, I would just boot the ball as hard as possible every time the play moved in my direction. My teammates really, really loved that! I am not saying I could have been the next great US soccer prodigy, but if I would have taken the time to pick up some of the information happening around me, I probably would have been much better at the time.

 Developing sensitivity to information takes time and focus. Instead of spending a few extra bucks on a skills camp, try paying close attention to everything happening around you in practice. Learn to be more aware of your surroundings and all the important information present.

 *Low back issues? Consider altering your breathing skills. Diaphragmatic breathing has been proven to help increase core strength, low back stability and it can kick start recovery when used for a few minutes after a workout.

 Lay on your back with your knees bent. Place your right hand just below the ribcage on your stomach and place the left hand on your chest. Breathe in through your nose, pushing your belly into your right hand. Breathe out slowly, squeezing your abs as your belly lowers to its resting position. The left hand should remain still throughout the process. Repeat the process for 2-5 minutes. Here are a few links you might find useful.  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5276765/

https://charlieweingroff.com/2010/07/draw-in-vs-brace/

https://www.lower-back-pain-answers.com/diaphragmatic-breathing.html

*Try to avoid the all or none mentality. I don’t have to tell you how strange 2020 has been; pandemics, masks, school vs no school, no sports, some sports, COVID Parties, shut downs, protests, massive unemployment, new sanitation regulations, limited capacity restaurants, outdoor seating only in a heatwave, people at each others throats about everything and a COVID conspiracy theory that has 5G towers giving everyone cancer or something?? Needless to say, it’s been a bumpy 7.6 months.

 You might not be able to hit the gym with the same focus and intensity you did a year ago. You might find yourself slipping up a bit more with your diet. This might cause some internal stress and anxiety. You start to get hard on yourself because these times have you a little less focused on dominating the gym and the kitchen. Maybe you need to approach the next few months with a motivational shift towards maintaining what you already have.

 Now might be a good time to dial-back your training and nutrition a bit. You should maintain your normal weekly schedule, but maybe you should leave a little more in the tank than you normally might. Push your strength work to a 7 or an 8 instead of a 9 or a 10. Leave 2-3 reps in the tank on your hypertrophy sets instead of pushing to the brink of failure. Get in and out of the gym in 45 minutes instead of an hour.

 If you keep your diet pretty strict, 80% healthy to 20% tasty, maybe you should allow a little bit more flexibility in there when things get a little chaotic. I am not telling you to go all Jabba the Hutt (Starwars kids, he is in the Starwars saga) on pizzas, burgers and donuts, but maybe you can afford to ease up a bit.

 Please don’t mistake what I am saying; you still need to get in the gym and work hard but maybe you don’t need to drive yourself into the ground when the rest of your day is filled with stress and anxiety. Start to use the gym as an outlet for your stress and anxiety. After the kidsschool situation is resolved and settled, after the fall hits and where we all stand becomes a little bit more clear, maybe we set some new performance and health goals to attack. For the time being, take a breath, go workout and get on with your day.

 *Consider the importance of increased average speed. I love it when one of my athletes sets a new 10-yard sprint PR; the athletes dig it and it shows we are on the right track.

 

If you run 6 x 10 yard sprints, a few of them will be faster than average, a few will be slower than average and most will be, well, average. The “average speed” is likely tobeyou“game speed”, the speed you display in most game situations. You might be able to display your absolute max speed during an important play or three, but by the time the game reaches the quarter mark, fatigue will take your best off the table.

One of my athletes took .6 off her previous best 10-yard sprint on Friday, she had been at 1.75 and she hit 1.69 on her first attempt of the day. She followed that up with a 1.73 before hitting 1.75 on her third attempt and 1.76 on her fourth attempt. Previously, she had been between 1.76 and 1.84. Not only did she increase her top speed, she also repeatedly clocked in at or above her previous best. Those are the results I am looking for!

 

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