Posts Tagged ‘strength and conditioning’

If you want a piece of equipment that can provide, strength, power, fitness and fat loss all in one check out the video below and stay tuned for some cool PT/fitness applications!  My patients love it.  Our athletes, pro and amateur, love it!

 

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April 12th, 2010

A recent study came out of Truman State University and looked at the metabolic effect of kettlebell training (thanks to Adam Bornstein for forwarding)

The subjects were asked to swing a kettlebell as many times as they could in a 12 minute period (sets, reps and rest period it seems were freestyled – the subjects rested whenever they wanted)

The researchers found that the subjects completed between 198 and 333 swings in the time frame (265 swings average ) and worked at an average heart rate of 86% of max and at 65% of their previously measured oxygen consumption [VO2max]. They concluded that

“Continuous kettlebell swings can impart a metabolic challenge of sufficient intensity to increase Vo2max. Heart rate was substantially higher than Vo2 during kettlebell swings. Kettlebells provide a useful tool with which coaches may improve the cardiorespiratory fitness of their athletes.”

This validates what several of you training yourself, training clients or who just hate doing traditional cardio have probably known for a while… We don’t have to do traditional cardiovascular training (running, cycling etc) to get a cardiovascular training effect. 12 mins of kettlebell swings can be used as a great cardio tool, as can bodyweight circuits, sleds, sandbags etc.

Taking that a step further, we can see that it may actually be a better choice of cardio training for some clients.

12 mins of running  as a comparison obviously involves a lot more repetitions through the joints than an average of 265 reps of kettlebell swings.  So for some clients/trainees, we can get a similar metabolic effect, heart rate, oxygen consumption (and therefore calories burned) while reducing the total reps and joint stress in deconditioned clients.

The bottom line is that we can use non-traditional metabolic training such as this, to provide cardiovascular training benefits.

Try the following at the end of your next workout:

Start the stopwatch.

Do 10-12 swings at the top of each minute, and rest for the remainder of the minute.

Repeat for 10-12 mins.

A great article from Alwyn Cosgrove

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

By Charles Staley

There’s a very eloquent formula for determining success in any sporting endeavor:

Productivity = Potential — Losses Due to Faulty Process

As an athlete, there’s nothing you can do about your genetic inheritance, but there’s always room for improvement when it comes to your training methods. Particularly, it’s important to identify and correct the most significant error you’re making, because resolving this error has the most potential to improve your athletic performance.

Golfers are a strength coach’s dream, because few of them utilize resistance training. In such cases, a carefully supervised 8-10 week strength training program frequently results in well over a 100 percent strength increase. This increase creates a strength “reserve,” which quickly improves both power, accuracy, and endurance.

During a golf swing, it takes a certain amount of muscular strength to overcome the external resistance of the golf club (this strength is provided primarily by the legs, hips, and rotator muscles of the torso). The stronger you are, the more strength that is left in reserve, and the more you’ll be able to accelerate the club, swing after swing, without exhausting yourself over 18 holes.

For novice golfers, skill practice sessions are sufficient for developing sportspecific strength. But as technical ability improves, the need for supplementary strength training increases accordingly. One interesting phenomenon in golf is that younger players ignore the conditioning element of their preparation, but it often takes years, even decades to develop technical proficiency. So, a golfer may be well over 40 years old by the time he or she has developed a high level of technical expertise, but by this time, physical conditioning has become an issue.


Resistance Training Technology on a Scale of “Good, Better, Best”

While health clubs and equipment manufacturers will tell you otherwise, resistance training machines are not the “best” form of strength training technology, especially for golfers. While they definitely have their place, machines tend to restrict movement to a single plane, which means that the strength developed will not transfer well to an activity like golf, which is multiplanar. Machines also use “variable resistance” technology, so that the machine supposedly matches the muscle’s force curve. But most credible research casts doubts on the effectiveness of this concept. Finally, machines normally restrict the movement to a single joint for the purpose of “isolating” the muscle being worked, but golf is not an activity which requires isolated movements! The object of strength training for golf is to train movement, not muscles.

While “constant resistance” devices such as barbells and dumbbells are superior to machines, they nonetheless have their disadvantages as well. Let’s use the bench press as an example: you lower the bar to your chest, and then ram it to arms length. You assume you’re moving explosively, but as your arms reach extension, the antagonists (latissimus, biceps, rhomboids, and medial trapezious) begin to contract in an effort to decelerate the bar before it leaves your hands. It’s simply a protective mechanism.

Contrast this with your objective, which is to accelerate the bar, and you begin to see the problem. There are ways to address this inherent disadvantage of constant and variable resistance training, however.


Strengthening the Stabilizers

Stabilizers are muscles which anchor or immobilize one part of the body, allowing another part (usually the limbs) to exert force. The most significant stabilizers are those of the trunk— the abdominals and trunk extensors. If the motor cortex detects that it can’t stabilize the force provided by the prime movers, it simply won’t allow the prime movers to contract with full force. Stabilizers are best strengthened through exercises conducted in an unstable environment, such as on a “physio-ball” (those heavy-duty “beach balls” you might have noticed in your local health club), or movements performed with medicine balls.

If you’ve never seriously considered adopting a serious strength training program to improve your golf game, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. Don’t let stereotypical notions of strength training prevent you from taking advantage of this important conditioning element!


SIDEBAR: Strength Training Suggestions for Golfers

1) Seek professional guidance from a sports conditioning professional. Certified personal trainers who have significant experience working with athletes may also be a good option.

2) Initially, expect a slight decline in your game as your body begins to adapt to the additional training loads. After a handful of weeks, your game should climb back up to, and surpass previous levels. For this reason, don’t start a strength training program for the first time if you have important tournaments pending.

3) Expect to spend between 1 and 3 hours a week on your strength training program. The emphasis should be on leg and abdominal musculature.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

DSCN4436

My good friend Adam wrote this on his site:  fivetoolbaseball.blogspot.com.
Even though the article is written for baseball the principles are applicable to any activity and to life in general!
As many baseball purists are aware, baseball players are evaluated utilizing the measuring stick known as the five tools: hitting for average, hitting for power, running speed, arm strength, defensive skills. Complimentary to these five tools, are a series of 5 training protocols collectively known as ‘Training to the 5th Power’ (T5). Based upon the explosive and power nature of baseball, I believe that by following the five training protocols will transfer off-field training to on-field performance.

THE PROTOCOLS ARE:
(1) Train standing;Training from standing positions trains the movements unique to baseball along with the respective muscle groups. Baseball players rarely rely on strength from sitting or lying down positions;yet exercises performed from such positions continue to dominate training programs. Utilizing modalities such as bands/cables from standing positions can target the same muscle groups typically trained from sitting or lying positions all the while training movements beneficial to baseball.

(2) Train with free weights; Free weights allow for multiple ranges of motion and multiple planes of motion(movement). Training with free weights, such as dumbells, allows for a bit more freedom of movment, unilateral training which can identify muscular imbalances between limbs,and builds neuromuscular efficiency (coordination of muscle groups). In addition, training with other free weight objects, such as medicine balls, provides power development. The ability to toss a free weight, such as a medicine ball, in a manner similar to hitting increases power potential of the muscles involved; making free weight objects superior to machines in replicating and increasing power.

(3) Train multi-joints – a.k.a compound movements; Movements involving more than one joint are referred to as compound movements. Multiple joint training allows for greater loads to be trained, therefore greater muscle recruitment, leading to greater strength development. I cant think of any movement in baseball that doenst involve the total body. Thus compound movements can deliver fluidity for on field performance…more so than single joint movements. In addition if your athlete needs to drop a few pounds then multi-joint, baseball specific movements can assist with increasing caloric expenditure.

(4)Train explosively; Slow and controlled movements are great for developing a certain level of strength. However, most baseball movements, even though strength based, are just as dependent on speed and power.Power can be defined as: POWER = WORK / TIME or POWER = FORCE x SPEED

Notice how power is dependent on speed. And the speed component explains the importance of explosive training for developing on-field, optimal baseball power.

(5) Functional Training (FT);Functional training is based upon training movements and not body parts. FT trains multiple planes of motions, in unstable environments, at baseball specific speeds. Basically, FT is “train like you play”. Functional Training supports the other T5 principles: Training in a standing position is functional for on-field activities; Training with free weights allows functional training along any plane and at any speed; Multiple joint, compound movement training is the way baseball is played, therefore functional. Much of how baseball is performed is power dominated, so training explosively becomes functional.

All in all implementing the T5 training guidelines are ideal for building overall baseball performance. However, like other training concepts,thereare exceptions in exchange for other effective results. For example, slow, isolated work in stable positions (i.e. lying down,) just might be necessary for the athlete needing a bit more muscle (hypertrophy). Take special note that although bodybuilders look great, I dont recommend an all exclusive use of bodybuilding methodologies for improving on field, baseball performance. The question which would you rather train for “all go” or “all show”?

Regardless of the type of training incorporated into your program, the majority should fall within T5.

As Adam always says:  Go hard in the yard!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

Alternative Methods of Progression

Are you on exercise autopilot? After every set do you add a 10-pounder to each side of the bar before you can say, “Please spot me, Jamie Eason?” Then it’s time to consider some new ways to step up your workout. Alwyn Cosgrove has got some great ideas about the subject.

The Path To Progress

Most people use a single variable to progress in their weight training — load lifted. There’s nothing wrong with that, but eventually you reach a ceiling when you simply can’t add more weight to an exercise.

In a typical training program, we have exercise order, exercise selection, sets, reps, tempo, rest period and load. Here’s a small sample workout below. Let’s go over three progression methods and see how each changes the workout.

Sample Workout

Assuming each set takes a minute, the workout is done in 15 minutes.

Most people would just increase the load each week. But instead, we could add an additional rep next workout. Or add an additional set. Or maybe we cut the rest period down, and with the extra time we can add more exercises or even back-off sets.

Method #1: Add Reps

Add one rep to each set of each exercise.

You can always get one more rep.

Method #2: Add Sets

Add one set to each exercise.

Do a little more work than the next guy.

Method #3: Reduce Rest Periods

Decrease the rest between each set.

Assuming each set takes a minute, the workout is now done in 13.5 minutes.

Workout’s done already? Whatcha gonna do with that free time?

Let’s Put It All Together

This will take us from week one’s total volume of 5400 pounds in 15 minutes to a total volume of 8400 pounds in 18 minutes, with an increase in workout density from doing those two extra sets. That’s 55% more work in only three more minutes, or over 100 pounds of additional work per minute training.

Obviously this is a huge increase in the total work done without having to add any weight to the bar. So even if you’re in a situation where your home gym doesn’t have any extra weight, you can still make great progress. I haven’t even changed exercise order, exercise selection, rep tempo or load, yet I still managed to create a more challenging workout.

This would not be a more challenging workout.

In Conclusion

Hopefully you see the benefits of implementing different methods of progression rather than just increasing load all the time. The key to progress is overload and there are various ways of getting there. Just make sure you’re moving forward every step of the way.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris