How To Get Better In Your Sport

TAKU’s NOTE: This week features an excellent article from my good friend Steve Mckinney. Steve is an awesome Personal Trainer, and runs studios which offer personal fitness training in the following areas:  St. Louis, Clayton, Ladue and St. Charles, Missouri. Along with Edwardsville, Maryville, and Glen Carbon, Illinois. I highly recommend that if you have the chance, you book a session with him, and don’t forget to tell him TAKU sent you.

By Steve McKinney

Every athlete wants to improve performance in their particular sport, that’s why we play. The question is, “How do we do it?”

The answer is quite simple, probably so simple you can’t believe it. Here it is¡­..are you ready?…. PRACTICE! (I know Allen Iverson may not agree with me)

Think about it. If you want to be a great 3 point shooter in basketball what should you do?

A) Practice Free throws

B) Run sprints or

C) Practice 3 Pointers.

If you said A or B please don’t read any further there’s no help for you! Just kidding. It just should be obvious the correct answer is C.

To me it just seems obvious, to get better in my sport I must practice that sport particularly/specifically over and over and over again.

In my 20’s slow pitch softball was big in the Midwest. I played on some local teams but there was a team based in St. Louis that paid their players. I wanted in on that! So here’s what I did. Every chance I could I recruited guys to practice with me. I got about 50 balls and I would make sure I had 3 guys, a pitcher, a hitter and an outfielder. We all changed positions. 1-2 hours per day, 4-5 days per week of hitting and catching and then playing games every night. Guess what? Within 2 years I was like, “show me the money!” For the next 5 years I traveled all over the country playing the best players’ week in and week out.

I know the evidence I just gave you is anecdotal but that’s how I learned. I became my own trainer by experimenting. I still do. I then advise others and track the results making adjustments when necessary.

The question then is, “Are there other things I can do to help?” I’m glad you asked! There are. You should know I’m an advocate of High Intensity Training or H.I.T. for short.

High Intensity Training (HIT) is a form of strength training popularized in the 1970s by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus. The training focuses on performing quality weightlifting repetitions to the point of momentary muscular failure. The training takes into account the number of repetitions, the amount of weight, and the amount of time the muscle is exposed to tension in order to maximize the amount of muscle fiber recruitment.[1]

My suggestion to improve for your sport is to get stronger by using H.I.T. that is if your sport involves strength. (ping pong isn’t going work)

Strength training using H.I.T. methods while practicing your sport will really make a difference in your training. It allows for more time to specifically practice your sport. This specific training is called motor learning.

Motor learning ideally transfers positively to your game. This concept of transfer can have different affects on your training. However it can have a negative affect also.

Allow me to explain. I’ve seen people jumping rope to improve coordination or throwing a lead ball to help strengthen your arm, etc. In my experience the only thing jumping rope improves is ones ability to jump rope! Same with the lead ball throw, it makes me better at throwing a lead ball. But not a better pitcher, it would actually make me worse. That’s negative transfer. My softball example above is what I consider positive transfer.

Arthur Jones wrote something that really provoked thought: Skill in basketball (for

example) is produced only by playing basketball¡­ and the level of cardiovascular ability required for basketball is produced by the same training.(2)

Ellington Darden writes about 3 types of transfer: Positive, negative and indifferent.

    • Positive: When the activities of practice and competition are identical
    • Negative: When the activities of practice are almost the same as those in competition. Almost the same activities cause the neuromuscular pathways frequently to cross
    • Indifferent: When the activities of practice are totally unrelated to what happens in competition. (3)

Positive transfer helps your sport whereas negative transfer hinders it. Indifferent transfer is just that, indifferent, and has no affect on your game.

That brings me to strength training. Strength training is indifferent in that it has no affect on the skill levels of your game. It will only enhance your game, if, while your strength train you practice the skill part of your game. If you just strength train without skill training you’ll get stronger but your skill levels will diminish.

In conclusion let me give you some simple tips on improving your game.

    1. Practice your game specifically. If its basketball shoot then shoot, shoot and shoot some more. If baseball, then hit, hit and hit some more.
    2. Enhance your game by getting stronger using H.I.T. methods of strength training.
    3. Critically think about any advice given to you by experts. Don’t accept everything told to you. Most people try to add everything to their training except training itself.

References:

    1. Philbin, John (2004). High-Intensity Training: more strength and power in less time. Human Kinetics. ISBN 9780736048200.
    2. Arthur Jones, Total Fitness, the Nautilus Way, Chapter Titled, “Improving Functional Ability… In Any Sport”
    3. Ellington Darden, (2006) The New Bodybuilding for Old School Results, page 108
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The Cool Down — Recover Fast and Avoid Injury

By Brad Walker

Many people dismiss the cool down as a waste of time, or simply unimportant. In reality the cool down is just as important as the warm up, and if you want to stay injury free, its vital.

Although the warm up and cool down are just as important as each other, they are important for different reasons. While the main purpose of warming up is to prepare the body and mind for strenuous activity, cooling down plays a different role.

Why Cool Down?

The main aim of the cool down is to promote recovery and return the body to a pre exercise, or pre-workout level. During a strenuous workout your body goes through a number of stressful processes, muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments get damaged, and waste products build up within your body. The cool down, performed properly, will assist your body in its repair process.

One area the cool down will help with is post exercise muscle soreness. This is the soreness that is usually experienced the day after a tough workout. Most people experience this after having a lay-off from exercise, or at the beginning of their sports season. I remember running a half marathon with limited preparation, and finding it difficult to walk down steps the next day because my quadriceps were so sore.

Post exercise muscle soreness is caused by a number of things. Firstly, during exercise, tiny tears called micro tears develop within the muscle fibers. These micro tears cause swelling of the muscle tissues which in turn puts pressure on the nerve endings and results in pain.

Secondly, when exercising, your heart is pumping large amount of blood to the working muscles. This blood is carrying both oxygen and nutrients that the working muscles need. When the blood reaches the muscles the oxygen and nutrients are used up. Then the force of the contracting (exercising) muscles pushes the blood back to the heart where it is re-oxygenated.

However, when the exercise stops, so does the force that pushes the blood back to the heart. This blood, as well as waste products like lactic acid, stays in the muscles, which in turn causes swelling and pain. This process is often referred to as blood pooling.

So, the cool down helps all this by keeping the blood circulating, which in turn helps to prevent blood pooling and also removes waste products from the muscles. This circulating blood also brings with it the oxygen and nutrients needed by the muscles, tendons and ligaments for repair.

The Key Parts of an Effective Cool Down

Now that we know what the cool down does and why it is so important, let”s have a look at the structure of an effective cool down. There are three key elements, or parts, which should be included to ensure an effective and complete cool down. They are;

1. Gentle exercise;

2. Stretching; and

3. Re-fuel.

All three parts are equally important and any one part should not be neglected or thought of as not necessary. All three elements work together to repair and replenish the body after exercise.

To follow are two examples of effective cool downs. The first is an example of a cool down used by a professional athlete. The second is typical of someone who simply exercises for general health, fitness and fun.

Example Cool Down Routines

Example 1: – For the Professional

— 10 to 15 minutes of easy exercise. Be sure that the easy exercise resembles the type of exercise that was done during your workout. For example, if your workout involved a lot of running, cool down with easy jogging or walking.

— Include some deep breathing as part of your easy exercise to help oxygenate your system.

— Follow with about 20 to 30 minutes of stretching. Static stretching and PNF stretching is best at this time.

— Re-fuel. Both fluid and food are important. Drink plenty of water, plus a good quality sports drink. The best type of food to eat straight after a workout is that which is easily digestible. Fruit is a good example.

Example 2: – For the Amateur

— 3 to 5 minutes of easy exercise. Be sure that the easy exercise resembles the type of exercise that was done during your workout. For example, if your workout involved a lot of running, cool down with easy jogging or walking.

— Include some deep breathing as part of your easy exercise to help oxygenate your system.

— Follow with about 5 to 10 minutes of stretching. Static stretching and PNF stretching is best at this time.

— Re-fuel. Both fluid and food are important. Drink plenty of water, plus a good quality sports drink. The best type of food to eat straight after a workout is that which is easily digestible. Fruit is a good example.

Getting serious about your cool down and following the above examples will make sure you recover quicker from your workouts and stay injury free.

**********************

TAKU’s NOTE: This week feature an excellent Article by Brad Walker. Brad is a prominent Australian sports trainer with more than 15 years experience in the health and fitness industry. Brad is a Health Science graduate of the University of New England and has postgraduate accreditations in athletics, swimming and triathlon coaching. He also works with elite level and world champion athletes and lectures for Sports Medicine Australia on injury prevention.

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to forward it to others, make it available from your site or post it on forums for others to read. Just make sure that this paragraph and URL are included. For more information and articles on stretching, flexibility and sports injury, visit The Stretching & Sports Injury Newsletter at; http://www.TheStretchingHandbook.com/

W.O.W #6 “Santa Cruz”

By Wayne “Scrapper” Fischer

Don’t be misled by the subtle appearance of this workout. It’s very tough, and has the ability to challenge you on multiple levels.

Progress through each exercise with no rest.

Take a :60 rest after each round.

Record your total number of rounds completed and the overall completion time.

Push yourself on the next run-through and see if you can improve your time. Be aware of individual areas where you can shave seconds off your workout. Transitions between exercises and times on the Concept 2 & Versa Climber machines are 2 of the most obvious.

Good luck and train hard!

Santa Cruz
EXERCISE REP COUNT
VersaClimber OR Concept 2 Rower : VC: 250ft. C2: 500m
Overhead Lunges (KB or DB) : x30
Wall Ball Toss : x20
Hanging Knee Raises : x15


Perform 3 to 5 rounds for time

Note: “KB” and “DB” refer to Kettlebells and Dumbbells, respectively

TAKU’s NOTE: This is one of many Workouts of the Week that we create at Hybrid Fitness. If you are feeling hammered when your done, be sure to let Scrapper know.

© 2006-2009 HybridFitness.tv. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without permission prohibited.

Over Training

Over training is a problem for many athletes and non-athletes alike. It is not uncommon for people to under estimate the impact that intense and or frequent training sessions may have on their limited recovery resources. Keeping accurate records of all aspects of your training will help you to spot and possibly prevent (or at least minimize) the impact of over training to your current schedule. By closely monitoring the impact that adjustments in volume, frequency and intensity have on your bodies ability to progress and improve, you will learn to create programs which provide optimal results for your efforts.

Below are some things to think about which may help to insure you get the most from your current and future training sessions:

1. Developing Training Tolerances

Physiologically, athletes must begin their training programs slowly and with moderate intensity. Athletes will adapt to the level of overload as training sessions progress. Each athlete is an individual and may respond to the same stimulus differently. The key point is that each individual athlete must be physiologically and psychologically ready to advance to a greater level of intensity otherwise the body will respond with overuse or over training symptoms.

2. Detecting Over training

Over training can be difficult to detect with some athletes. Researchers have found that the over trained athlete exhibits certain physiological and psychological characteristics.

A. Physiological characteristics

1. Decrease in performance.

2. Decrease in bodyweight.

3. Gradual increase in muscular soreness from training session to training session.

4. Extreme muscular soreness and stiffness the day after a hard training session.

5. Increased minor injuries.

6. Decrease in speed and reaction time.

7. Decrease in coordination and technique of specific training drills.

8. A sudden increase or gradual increase in resting heart rate and blood pressure (when the heart rate is taken each day at the same time).

9. Lowered general physical resistance as shown by continuous colds, headaches, or similar allergic reactions.

10. Decreased appetite.

11. Swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin or armpits.

12. Constipation or diarrhea.

B. Psychological Characteristics

1. Depression or irritability.

2. Simple chores are a burden.

3. High anxiety level and inability to relax.

4. Unusual sleeping pattern or can’t sleep at night.

5. Decreased eagerness to train.

In addition there are stressors that might affect the athletes training attitude such as family, relationships, academics, jobs, and finance.

3. Responding to Over training

When signs of over training are present it is advisable to suspend training for one or several days or to decrease the intensity and or duration of training for one or several days. If strong signs of over training are present, it is possible that the athlete may have to spend days or possibly weeks at a decreased level of training intensity until physical conditions recover sufficiently to allow extremely hard training to be resumed.

4. Preventing Over training

1. Don’t increase intensity, frequency, or duration of training too suddenly, “build up tolerance?

2. Allow adequate recovery between training sessions and cycle the hard, medium, and easy days.

3. Get plenty of sleep (7-9 hours a night).

4. Eat a well-balanced diet that includes all the basic food groups.

5. Short naps may be advised before heavy training sessions.

6. If an athletes heart rate measures above average on a regular basis and it is not recovering to the desired level between workouts, the workload should be reduced to a lower level, or end the training session for the day.

7. Monitor body signs such as resting heart rate, muscular soreness, and muscular stiffness and adjust intensity levels accordingly.

8. REST! Don’t hesitate to give a day or even a few days of rest to the athlete who has been adapting to a higher training level for a period of weeks. You are better off being under trained then over trained.

Remember, consistent hard work is the cornerstone of successful strength and conditioning programs. It pays to know when to work hard and when to take a break. Listen to your body and learn when to step up and when to back off.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

Conditioning – Just shut up and do it!

By Jason Klofstad 

Total Body Circuit #1

Warm Up:

Jump Rope — 2 minutes

Circuit:

Dumbbell Thruster————–60 seconds

Renegade Row (dumbbell)—–60 seconds

T-Stance Pushup—————-60 seconds

Mountain Climbers————–60 seconds

Sit-Throughs———————60 seconds

Dumbbell Swings—————-60 seconds (30 sec. L / 30 sec. R)

Burpies (Squat-thrust w/pushup and jump)-60 seconds

Rest:

1 minute of rest between circuits. Work to complete 3 total circuits for a total of 21 minutes of work, excluding the warm-up.

Notes:

• You should be completely taxed after each 60 second round. Select weights accordingly. By example, you should be struggling for the last few repetitions on the thrusters, etc. as you approach the 60 second mark.

• Transition immediately from one exercise to the next. For example, after the dumbbell thrusters, place them on the floor and immediately begin the renegade rows. After the rows, release the dumbbells, stay in position and go right into the T-stance pushup. Have whatever you need for each exercise already set up to use.

• This circuit is 7 exercises at 1 minute each for a total of 7 continuous minutes of physical exertion per circuit. The idea is to develop your strength and conditioning simultaneously. Therefore, do everything you can to continue working for the entire time on each exercise. Pace yourself. Slow down if you must, but DO NOT STOP working!

• If 20lb. dumbbells are suitable for thrusters but too light for rows, have multiple dumbbells available.

• Adjust your progression accordingly. If you’re not able to do 3 full circuits, work up to it. If you’re able to complete 3 circuits, increase the intensity of each exercise and circuit by:

a) increasing speed (performing more reps per 60 sec. interval)

b) increasing weight

c) decreasing the rest time

• Add dumbbells to the burpies to increase the intensity.

• Feel free to add a weighted vest to give more resistance throughout the circuit.

Now get to it!

The Viking has spoken.

WEB-SITE SPOT-LIGHT

This week I want to shine the Spot-Light on an excellent Strength and conditioning resource,  Dave Durell’s High Intensity Nation.*

Dave is a fantastic coach, and author, with a great deal of experience working with both elite athletes, and every day fitness enthusiasts.

Dave has written some excellent books on strength training.

The first book is titled: High Intensity Muscle Building, and actually features two books in one (along with some great extras). The first of the two books outlines his safe, and simple yet highly productive, approach to training. My favorite part of this book is the fantastic section on goal setting, and creating commitment. The second book offers a straight forward approach to creating balanced nutritional plans for almost any goal.

Dave has recently released a new book titled Hyper Intensity Training” . Much like his first book, this one offers a lot of bang for your buck. Some of the awesome features include,  in depth explanations of these extremely effective, Ultra intensity techniques, along with audio programs, videos and a few other bonus items.

Dave’s approach to Strength Training offers a clear and proven path,  is time efficient,  extremely safe, and finally will help to stimulate maximum results in less time. I highly recommend that you explore Dave Durell’s High Intensity Nation and all that it has to offer.

P.S. if you decide to buy one (or both of his books) tell him TAKU sent you.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

*TAKU’s NOTE: Check out Dave’s other great web-site High Intensity Muscle Building

The Four P’s

By Mark Asanovich

 THE 4-P’s

EVIDENCE-BASED 

STRENGTH TRAINING & CONDITIONING  

PRUDENT

PRODUCTIVE

PRACTICAL

PURPOSEFUL

WHAT IS A PRUDENT STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRAM?


 The answer lies in two questions:


1. “Are the training protocols orthopedically-safe?”

2. “Are the training protocols physiologically-sound?”


  Obviously, it is the intent of any strength-training program

to ENHANCE the physical potentials of the lifter rather than ENDANGER the lifter.

In other words,use common sense. If an exercise or training technique looks dangerous — it probably is!    

  An orthopedically safe program has at its foundation the execution of properly performed repetitions. The emphasis should always be on HOW the repetition is lifted rather than HOW MUCH is lifted. Every effort should be made to minimize the biomechanical loading (bouncing, recoiling etc.) on muscles, joints and connective tissue, and to maximize muscular tension. Each repetition should be lifted under control in a deliberate fashion. Flex the muscle momentarily in the midrange of the exercise when the muscle is in its “fully contracted position”. Then lower the resistance slowly to the starting position. Obviously, this is the most difficult way to train; however it is also the most productive and prudent way to train.

A physiologically sound strength-training program is one that includes in its design the fundamental principles of training right, eating right, resting right and living right. As simple as it is to understand — it is anything but simple to do. To compromise anyone of these realities would likewise compromise results. There are no “secret”, “short-cut” and/or “simple” means to achieve maximum strength gains. Rather, there is no substitute for progressively highly intense exercise, a nutritious meal plan, ample rest/recovery, and a common sense approach to a consistent training routine.

WHAT IS A PRODUCTIVE STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRAM?

 The physiological basis of strength training is the overload principle. This principle requires that a muscle be progressively overloaded beyond its current capabilities to stimulate a strength/growth response. Therefore, any progressive strength training protocol that has a systematic plan of overload (i.e. increasing resistance/repetitions) will produce results! Otherwise stated, despite what strength-training program is used, it is the INTENSE and INTELLIGENT application of the lifter’s EFFORT that is most responsible for their results — not the program. The bottom line is, and always will be, an issue of COMMITMENT and HARD WORK — not how many sets/reps were performed.

Maximal effort is required to develop maximal results. HARD WORK should not be confused with MORE WORK. Truth be told, it does not take a maximal amount of work and/or time to develop maximal results. It does require maximal effort and maximal perseverance. In other words, strength development is USE IT OR LOOSE IT — AND DON’T ABUSE IT! Train hard, chart your progression, allow ample time to rest/recovery between workouts and incorporate variety into your program to prevent overtraining and monotony.

WHAT IS A PRACTICAL STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRAM?

As stated, all progressive strength training protocols are PRODUCTIVE – none more significant than the other; however, not all are equally PRACTICAL. Strength can be developed either by exposing the muscle to a lengthy “high volume” of exercise or by brief “high intensity” exercise. Both training protocols have their advantages and disadvantages. However, given the time constraints for most individuals, it is much more practical to decrease the volume of training in favor of increasing the intensity of training to get the same results in less time. In other words, the training goal should be to spend the minimal amount of time to derive themaximal amount of benefits.

WHAT IS A PURPOSEFUL STRENGTH TRAINING PROGRAM?

Strength training is a means to an end — not an end in itself. It is not the goal to develop Olympic Weightlifters, Powerlifters or Bodybuilders. Rather, the goal of strength training is to develop maximal levels of muscular strength to maximize functional capacity.

The development of muscular strength is the general progression of increasing the muscle’s ability to produce force. In other words, strength is a non-specific adaptation developed in the weight room whereas skills are a specific adaptation developed through guided practice. As a result, strength is developed physically in the weight room, which by a separate process is developed mechanically outside the weight room. Simply stated, you build muscle in the weight room and movement outside the weight room.

TAKU’s NOTE:

As I recently stated, for me, the highlight of the Legends of Strength clinic was the presentation by Mark Asanovich. As I listened intently to his every word, I was struck with the thought that every strength coach and personal trainer, needs to hear these words. Not only do they need to hear them, but they need to understand and then apply them in the field. We would have far greater levels of success and far fewer silly injuries (not to mention far less time wasted) if more coaches and trainers adopted and implemented these excellent principals.