Sportband Training

Sportbands have stormed onto the fitness scene recently. A sportband is essentially a big piece of latex or rubber which you can pull, push, curl, stretch or otherwise contort to develop strength in a variety of ways.

Why are they so appealing? A number of reasons.

1.) Inexpensive.
Comparatively, they cost a fraction of other pieces of fitness or resistance training equipment.

2.) Compact and portable.

You can literally roll them up and take them anywhere. They’ll fit in a bag or pack and can be attached to any stable, secure structure.

3.) Simple to use.
Even if you’ve never been to a gym, you can easily figure out a few basic movements like pressing, pulling and squatting.

For the more experienced athlete or fitness enthusiast, sportbands offer a handful of features that more conventional equipment doesn’t. You can work dynamic, power movements such as snapdowns and diagonal high-pull, as well as metabolic pushing and pulling drills, just to name a few. Cable systems, machines and freeweights make many of these drills and movements impossible.

The options for different exercises are literally only limited by your imagination. As for where to acquire these bands, we recommend you talk to Iron Woody at www.ironwoodyfitness.com. Woody’s been in the business a long time and has some of the best products and prices you’ll find anywhere.

Here’s a handful of exercises to get you started:

1 Arm Sportband Row:
Start by dropping down to a 1/2 squat and stablize your body.  With one arm extended and under tension from the band, pull the hand toward the body, keeping the elbow close to your ribs.

1-arm-row-start.jpg1-arm-row-finish.jpg

Diagonal Pulldown:
Start as shown with both feet together and grasping the band above your head.  Step out to one side and simultaneously pull down on the band with both arms.  This exercise can be done slowly or explosively, depending on your goals.

diagonal-pulldown-start.jpgdiagonal-pulldown-finish.jpg

Lateral Resisted Lunge:
Start with the band secured around your waist and anchored as shown.  With the band under tension, laterally lunge TOWARD the anchor point, allowing the “stepping” leg to bend and the stationary leg to stay straight.  Use the bent leg to then press against the resistance of the band and bring the body back to an upright position.

lateral-lunge-start.jpglateral-lunge-finish.jpg

Good luck, keep training hard and keep checking back for more articles, exercises and information.

The Hybrid Fitness Team
www.hybridfitness.tv

Time Progression Interval Training

I am adding this plan as a continuation of my GPP series for soccer players. (See the Blog post immediately following this one) Ultimately this workout could be used by any open field sport player such as Lacrosse, Rugby, Field Hockey, etc. who wishes to improve his/her GPP for their sport. (GPP: General Physical Preparedness) Finally this plan may also be used by anyone interested in getting in great running shape using a short sprint format.

This program lasts one month and is broken in to four, week-long phases. During each week you will sprint on three, non-consecutive days such as Monday-Wednesday-Friday. The only equipment required is a 100 yard athletic field, a stop watch and some good shoes to run in. I usually use an all weather artificial turf field to assure a smooth, even running surface. If you do not have access to such a field, make sure the field you choose is free of gopher holes, rocks and ruts as well as any other garbage or debris. We do not want any twisted or broken ankles or worse.

Begin with a pre-test to ascertain your current best time on a 100-yard sprint with a running start. From this number we will then create our time progression interval goal times. We will do this by adding 4-6 seconds to the best 100-yard time. As an example, if the best 100-yard time is 12 seconds, the time for repetitions of the 100-yard sprint during week one of the time progression interval sessions would be 12 + 4-6 = 16-18 seconds.

Below you will find an example of this training plan based on the pre-test running times listed above. The idea is to start each phase by running sub-maximal efforts and build over the four weeks to doing repeats of your best time. Take 7-10 days off after each four week block before starting a new cycle.

During the first week and there after, It will be easiest to complete this plan if you have a friend or training partner help keep you on pace by shouting out times as you run. Another way to do this is by having the partner blow a whistle at ¼ intervals of the goal time as you run.

EXAMPLE:

PHASE 1: For the first week strive to run 5-15 sprints at the 18 second pace, deciding when you can handle more. Athletes should rest 60-90 seconds between sprints (more if you have to). Be sure to warm-up and cool-down for 3-5 minutes before and after each session. Repeat this workout two more times that week.

5X 100 in 18 seconds with 60-90 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 18 seconds with 60-90 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 18 seconds with 60-90 seconds recovery.

PHASE 2:During week two strive for more consistency in your application of both work and rest. Repeat the workout below on three non-consecutive days such as Monday – Wednesday – Friday. Be sure to warm-up and cool-down for 3-5 minutes before and after each session.

5X 100 in 17 seconds with 60 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 16 seconds with 60 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 15 seconds with 60 seconds recovery.

PHASE 3: During week three repeat the workout below on three non-consecutive days such as Monday – Wednesday – Friday. Be sure to warm-up and cool-down for 3-5 minutes before and after each session.

5X 100 in 15 seconds with 55 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 14 seconds with 55 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 13 seconds with 50 seconds recovery

PHASE 4: During week four repeat the workout below on three non-consecutive days such as Monday – Wednesday – Friday. Be sure to warm-up and cool-down for 3-5 minutes before and after each session.

5X 100 in 13 seconds with 50 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 12 seconds with 45 seconds rest. Walk 2-4 minutes.
5X 100 in 12 seconds with 40 seconds recovery

Well there you have it a simple yet challenging way of gaining fitness using nothing but a 100-yard sports field. Keep in mind that similar programs could be easily developed for longer distances such as 200 – 400 – 800 meter sprints. For the longer distance programs a running track would be more suitable.

PAU for NOW

TAKU
www.hybridfitness.tv

Bodyweight Conditioning for Sport

The following is an excellent GPP, body-weight circuit for soccer players. Although soccer was the catalyst for creating the circuit, it’s an excellent program for all-around athletic conditioning in general. Just because you may not play soccer doesn’t mean this protocol won’t apply. Give it a shot.

The circuit is comprised of six different exercises done in order with the goal being to finish three total circuits as fast as possible. The six exercises are as follows:

1. ) Half Squat jumps: Athlete crouches until the knees are at 90 degrees and then drives up off the ground as high as possible, landing in an athletic jump stance. Repeat.

2.) Push-ups: I will not bother explaining this one as it is such a classic.

3.) Prone trunk extension: Lying prone With hands out in front (like Superman or clasped behind the head, lift shoulders and chest off of the ground as far as possible, Lower slowly, repeat.

4.) Squat Thrusts: From a standing position the athlete squats down and places their hands flat on the ground. They then thrust their feet back into a push-up position, jump back to a crouch, and then stand erect. Repeat.

5.) Sit-ups: Any sit-up variation will do here. I like elbows to knees. Lay on the ground with the knees up at 90 degrees. Place the palms of the hands on the forehead. Bring the elbows towards the knees without bringing the knees to the elbows. Repeat.

6.) Ten-Yard Shuttle Run: The athlete sprints between two markers set ten yards apart, bending to touch the marker at each end as they turn.

To help make the training a little more specific to each individual’s
fitness level, I recommend the following steps:

1.) Begin with a pre-test to ascertain the correct amount of work to be done during each circuit.

2.) Once the pre-test has been completed the athletes should attempt to complete three circuits three times a week for three weeks

3.) After three weeks the athletes should take 3-5 days off and then re-test to establish new work loads.

The test itself is quite simple. See how many repetitions of each exercise can be completed in sixty *seconds. Then each athlete should do 50% of that number in each exercise of each of the three circuits. For example, Athlete A completed 30 pushups in 60 seconds. For the next workout athlete A would then do 15 push-ups in each of the three circuits for a total of 45 push-ups in that workout. This is a great workout for younger players as well as anyone looking to build a solid fitness base for the game of soccer. As athletes progress in their fitness ability other tools may be added to make this workout more challenging such as Med-Balls, Resistance bands, weighted vests, sandbags etc.

Well I hope you enjoy this little circuit workout. Have fun and train hard.

PAU for NOW

TAKU
www.hybridfitness.tv

*Although this circuit is designed do be done as quickly as possible, each athlete should be coached to perform the movements with perfect form. If the form breaks down too much injury could occur. We want movement that we can control at all times, even when fatigued.

Variety

One of the things I do with my personal training as well as that of the athletes and clients I train is do my best to never repeat a workout exactly. Now, for total beginners I will usually have them work on a program that remains relatively constant with regards to exercise selection and order, TUT* etc. I do this because I want them to focus on learning proper breathing and specific exercise technique, as well as gaining the ability to work hard and challenge them selves. During the initial stages of training I also want to build a solid foundation of strength and flexibility throughout the entire body while targeting any imbalances that may exist. Once I am confident that they have learned good solid technique on the basic exercises as well as how to work hard and stay focused (This usually takes between 3 – 6 months) I will then begin to incorporate more and more variety into their training program. Eventually they will reach a point where they will go months and months without ever doing the exact same workout.

As I have written about in many of my articles and talked about in different pod-casts we need to take into account individual genetic limitations and abilities, needs, goals, and preferences as well as environmental influences when we design specific training programs. The truth is that our bodies are in a constant state of flux. Outside of the afore mentioned specific genetic limitations and abilities the other factors above may change on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Also, as we progress and mature in our training our bodies grow more and more accustomed to the different stimulus they encounter. What once was novel and new now becomes second nature. If we do not change things around in our training, we can not expect to create a need for the body to react, adapt and change in the results it produces. Stated another way we can’t continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect to get a new and different result.

So remember if you are a beginner to exercise it is a good idea to take the time to build a strong foundation of proper breathing and specific technique as well as correct any major strength or flexibility issues that may exist. Once you are confident that you have done this (usually 3 – 6 months for most) then you should begin to incorporate more and more variety into your training. For the absolute best results from both your fitness and nutrition programs, take a little time to track your progress from week to week and month to month. Just a few minutes of writing things down each day will go a long way to helping you get the most out of what your doing. For more ideas about ways to incorporate variety into your training check out my article Variety: The Spice of Life at www.hybridfitness.tv
PAU for NOW

Also, check out a great article by Brian Johnston, one of the Hybrid Fitness advisory members. The article is called Muscle Hypertrophy: The Role of Adaptation & Variation. Read it here.

TAKU

* TUT = Time Under Tension

www.hybridfitness.tv

Exercise of the Week: Ring Training

Yes, I know that “Ring Training” isn’t exactly an exercise by itself. Instead, treat this as a “Modality of the Week”. If you get a chance to train on rings or something similar, don’t pass it up. Here’s why:

The other day we were doing some video capture for the web-site and blog. Jason tracked me down and said he wanted to do a series on Ring Training. (It’s basically bodyweight training on Olympic rings.) I said okay, let’s do it. Now as many of you probably know by now I am a strong proponent of changing up ones training on a regular basis. The truth is I incorporate body-weight work quite a bit into my training plan. I also regularly use a tool called the TRX designed by a company called Fitness anywhere. The TRX is a system of straps and handles which allows you to do a wide variety of exercises using your body weight in a less stable environment.

I figured that the Rings would be pretty similar to using the TRX, but I was dead wrong. Jason had a list of exercises for me to do so we set up the rings and just started banging them out. To my surprise the ring movements were quite a bit more challenging then I expected. We finished all of the movements on the list and I thought to myself this is going to take the place of my scheduled workout today. Although I only performed a few repetitions of each movement I felt like my entire body had worked multiple sets to failure. Well the next day we were off to Stockton to record some podcasts with Mike Suyematsu our director of Self-Defense and Personal Safety Training. As I sat in the car I became acutely aware of a deep soreness throughout my entire upper body especially in my chest, shoulders and abs. I stopped short of cursing Jason out, but realized how different and effective training with rings can be. We’ll post footage of the exercises on our website at www.hybridfitness.tv.

In the meantime, here are a few great ones to get started with. The cool thing is you can adjust any of these exercises to your strength level, simply by modifying your position relative to the ground. The more horizontal your body, the more challenging they’ll be. The more vertical, the easier they become.

Ring Pushups:
Here, Liam performs the ring pushup with his feet elevated, increasing the intensity of the exercise. These work the chest, shoulders and arms very effectively.

Ring Pushup (UP position)Ring Pushup (DOWN position)

Ring Rows:
Ring rows are deceivingly challenging back exercise. Be sure to bring your body all the way up to the rings. Pause briefly, then control your decent back to the start position.

Ring Row (DOWN position)Ring Row (UP position)

Ring “Tent” Pushup:
Tent pushups work the shoulders very effectively, especially since you’re forced to stabilize your body through the entore range of motion. You’ll need to set the rings low and possibly stand on a small surface (as shown). Think of these as an inverted shoulder press.

Ring “Tent” Pushup (DOWN position)Ring “Tent” Pushup (UP position)

Ring Hanging Knee Raise:
This is an outstanding abdominal exercise. Keep the knees bent and hamstrings contracted. This forces the quads to fully relax, making the abs the only major mover in this exercise. As you pull the knees up, try to roll the hips up, resulting in a maximal contraction. Come down slow and begin again.

Hanging Ab (DOWN position)Hanging Ab (UP position)

Pau for now.

Taku
www.hybridfitness.tv

Nuts and Bolts

I have been in the fitness business for a long time now (20 years this year). In that time I have seen and tried just about everything you can think of both good and bad.

When I first started training I used to sit around and try to design the perfect workout. I would arrange all the exercises in just the right order. I would make sure every single muscle was hit with the right amount of sets and reps. like many I was obsessed with being HUGE. I was determined to pack on slabs of muscle and was convinced the secret to doing so was in the creation of that elusive perfect routine.

Well…I was sort of right. There is, of course, a need to have the right routine for each individual. This is easier said then done however. Creating the perfect routine is not just a matter of which exercises in what order or how many sets and reps one should do. Nor is it determining how best to split up the body or perhaps to not split it up at all. Finally the perfect routine is not determined by how many days a week one trains or for how many hours one spends training during those days.

Creating the perfect routine requires one to take into account individual genetic limitations and abilities, needs, goals and preferences, as well as environmental influences. These elements must be looked at first and will then shape the nature of the Nuts and Bolts as I often refer to the actual exercise selection and application. Sure exercise selection is important as are the volume, frequency and intensity of your training. But without addressing the above factors you will never get the absolute most out of your training plan.

Please note that there is not really any magic in exercise selection. The important part is how you execute each individual exercise and how you manipulate your volume, frequency and intensity in relation to the above mentioned factors. This is the true meaning of applying the SAID principal to ones training. Once you are ready to apply a well thought out plan, then monitoring your results closely and making the proper changes is what will determine the ultimate outcome of your program.

So remember, the truth is that there is no perfect routine that will last forever. When you really address the elements listed above you realize that due to numerous factors our individual abilities, needs, goals and preferences, as well as environmental influences can and will change over time. If you spend all your time worrying about the Nuts and Bolts you may never get down to the nitty-gritty and start getting the most out of your training.

Pau for now.

TAKU

Making Things Happen

I saw a great quote on a friend’s website the other day and it got me thinking. I have no idea who first said it, but the quote was:

“Some people make things happen.
Other people watch things happen.
Other people ask “Hey, what happened?”

This holds true when it comes to fitness and your personal goals. You’ve got a few choices when it comes to making changes in your diet, workouts, mindset, etc. You can choose to watch things happen, you can put the blinders on and later ask “What just happened?”, or you can be proactive and actualy MAKE things happen.

No one is going to do the work for you. No one can log the minutes, miles or hours of cardio, no one can eat the right food for you and no one can lift the weights for you. All of this falls on you. But don’t be discouraged because it’s not that hard. Regardless of your goals, you have the power to make the changes happen. Do you want to be a better athlete? Do you want to loose some bodyfat and get that summer body going? Do you just want to move better and feel better about yourself?

It doesn’t matter which of these apply to you, even if it’s all of them. You start by formulating a game plan. Figure out how much time you have and where you can fit in some training. Look at your diet. Where can you make changes and improvements? One thing to keep in mind is that small changes can make big improvements. A great place to start is with a diet log. Be honest with yourself and track what you eat, how much and when. Keep records over a few days and then look back to see where you can improve. Trust me, it helps. We’ve got podcasts with additional information and downloadable training and diet logs for you on hybridfitness.tv. Once you’ve got access to the site, it’s all free.

Once you’ve got your time figured out and diet (roughly) in check, make a plan to get some exercise in. You don’t necessarily need a trainer or a gym for that matter. Just get out and get moving. Keep in mind, though that the more vigorous the exercise, the more calories you’ll burn. If you need a treadmill, elliptical trainer or some other piece of equipment to get you moving faster and harder, maybe a gym is the right choice.

Don’t forget to educate yourself! This is very important. The fitness industry is loaded with myths. One big myth I deal with all the time is that “women will get big and bulky if they lift heavy weights”. I can’t tell you how untrue that statement is. You’ll get strong and you’ll build lean muscle, but “bulk” is very hard to come by, even for men. Keep that in mind. You can get big if you want to, but it takes a specific training approach and diet. We discuss this on the website in podcasts and articles, by the way.

So to summarize, educate yourself, get your diet in check, find time to exercise, then MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Good luck and train hard.