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The (sometimes) Top 5 (sometimes more) Of The Week 8/17 - August 20th 2020

What I did differently with my athletes in the summer of 2020

                        1) Less strength work. We still put a big emphasis on getting stronger but we limited the session to 4-5 exercises instead of trying to squeeze in 6-7 per workout. The workouts were more efficient, the athletes enjoyed the reduction in volume and the results have been great.

                        2) Considering joint angles in exercise selection. Watch an athlete on the field and you will see sprints, jumps, cuts, change of direction and sports skills executed from a variety of hip angles. With so much variation in angles it only makes sense to strengthen the hips and legs from a variety of angles.

 Executing a deadlift from the floor requires a low hip angle. Place the bar on a stack of 3” mats and the starting hip angle has changed. Place the bar on a stack of 6” mats and the starting hip angle has changed again. We spent 2-3 weeks pulling off the floor, 2-3 weeks off the 3” and 2-3 weeks pulling off the 6” to introduce some variation and build some strength from different angles.

 Also, you gotta keep it fresh for the kids.

                       3) Variation in resistance. We used elastic bands as resistance for a couple of our exercises with the intention of keeping the athletes healthy and adding a new stimulus to traditional exercise.

Most people develop low back issues when deadlifting off the floor. When we wrap an elastic band around a bar and anchor it to the ground with the athletes feet we create a resistance that is minimal at the bottom of the lift, where the athlete is vulnerable and a ton of resistance at the top, where the athlete is in a safer position.

We have very little leverage when we begin a rep and we gain more leverage toward the end of a rep. This is why it’s harder to begin a rep than it is to finish. When we add an elastic band, suddenly the exercise gets harder as we get closer to the top due to the increasing stretch of the band. Now we have to push even harder to finish a rep because the band negates the leverage we have.

 It also looks cool on Instagram.

                      4) Power days. Athletes need to strength train. They need to get strong to increase power and speed potential, to withstand collisions on the field and to minimize injury potential. But, I wanted to make sure we spent as little time as possible on slow speed movements because, and this might blow your mind, athletes need to be fast!

We dedicated the 2nd day of the training week to movements at higher speeds. We tossed very light implements like 5-15lbs medballs, chains and weight plates as high as possible into the air. We performed jump variations like trap bar jumps, weighted box jumps and kettlebell jumps where the goal was to jump as high as possible with moderately loaded exercises. We performed traditional Olympic lifts like DB snatches. We performed plyometric jumps and bounds where the goal was to jump as high as possible with little ground contact time between jumps. We sprinted with sleds loaded up specifically to match each athletes needs.

This made a huge difference in our results and it was a big departure in programming for me.

                     5) No stretching. I swapped out stretching for more of a dynamic, quick warmup that focused on stability and movement. We had zero flexibility issues and I believe the added stability we gained actually increased flexibility.

 

*Tension = Effective Exercise. If you want to pull a heavy deadlift, you have to create tension in your abs, lats, arms, and glutes. If you want to push a heavy bench press you have to create tension in your upper back, abs, and legs. If you want to make your curls more effective you need to create tension in your core, legs and…..wait, what??

It is well known that you need to get tight on the big exercises but you should be looking to create the same total body tension on every exercise in the gym. Tricep pushdowns? Get bullet proof! DB chest flys? Tense up buttercup!

You are less likely to injure yourself if your body is providing stability around the working muscles and the focus you need to get tight and stay tight will help eliminate sloppy reps.

 



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