Unlock ELITE Athletic Potential with Effect Performance Training

Your athleticism is the foundation of your sport specific skill. Without some level of athleticism, athletes are not able to effectively execute the skills that their sport demands. As competition increases, this becomes even more apparent. Look at the difference between a D1 basketball player and a D2 or D3 basketball player. Although there may be slight differences in skills, the biggest difference between the level of play is the athleticism and genetics of a D1 player compared to a D2 or D3 player. D1 players are typically taller, longer, and more athletic.

So, if we know athletes with superior genetics have the competitive advantage, how do we level the playing field? In full transparency there are multiple factors that contribute to athleticism. Genes are a huge factor in the way that your body stores and produces elastic energy which is responsible for your explosive power and strength. Other factors that contribute to your athleticism include movement efficiency, mobility, strength, and your central nervous system. Without getting too technical, there are factors that you can control that contribute to your overall athleticism, and there are factors that you cannot control, like genetics. The good news is, with proper training, you can maximize your personal capabilities with a sound comprehensive program.

Comprehensive and Progressive Programing

I see a lot of performance programs that are based on random high volume routines that make athletes tired and leave them feeling depleted each workout. Although this type of training may get an athlete in shape short term, eventually this approach will cause training plateaus, burnout, or even injury.

An effective sports performance program that is designed to maximize athleticism should be comprehensive and progressive with effective periodization. A comprehensive program is one that is detailed and touches on all aspects of athletic ability (mobility, stability, coordination, agility, speed, strength, power, cognitive ability, and restoration to prevent injury). Touching on all of these athletic qualities daily and or weekly will allow athletes to fill each bucket, which will then enhance overall athleticism that will transfer to sport activity.

The other important aspect of an effective performance training program is progression. It is easy to get caught up in short term gains but unless an athlete plans to retire or quit in the next 3 months, it is extremely important to think about the big picture. You have to know and understand what is the long term goal and work backwards from there. If a 15 year old athlete aspires to play college sports but just started taking training seriously and doesn’t have much training experience, he or she has to focus on building a foundation of core strength, coordination, and mobility. The adage  “you can’t build a house on toothpicks,” couldn’t be more true in this situation. Learning proper technique and improving movement efficiency early on, will go a long way and will increase the ceiling of an athletes athletic potential if they lay the foundation properly and early on in the training stage.

Once a foundation has been set, progressive overload is the key to long term sustained results. That means every 2-4 weeks there has to be an adjustment to the plan because our bodies are designed to adapt to stimulus. Once an adaptation occurs from completing a program consistently for 2- 4 weeks, the next phase of the program should increase volume (sets and reps), load (weight), or intensity (exercise selection or rest period). This same method should be followed with each new training phase in order to continue to progress toward maximizing athletic potential.

Best approach to training

  • Improve coordination and movement efficiency (“can’t build a house on toothpicks”)
  • Develop work capacity and endurance
  • General strength
  • Max strength
  • Sport specific speed and power development
  • Progressive overload

Have You Hit a Plateau in Your Fitness?

One thing we probably all have experienced before, no matter what our fitness goals are, is a plateau.  Plateau’s can happen for several different reasons, which is what we will go over. In addition, we will give you 5 ways you can get over plateaus!  

Why Do Plateaus Happen?

  1. Caloric Deficit – Now, you might say “I thought the rule was calories in vs. calories out” in a weight loss scenario.  And yes, this is true to a degree. However, if you are at too much of a calorie deficit your body is also not getting all the nutrients it needs.  And if this happens for too long, this is where a plateau will occur.
  2. Starvation Mode – When you are hungry, your body releases a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin is also the hormone in your body that promotes fat storage.  Whenever you have feelings of hunger during the day, your body is producing too much ghrelin. This in turn causes your metabolism to slow down and fat storage to go up.
  3. Tracking – If you are not tracking your food, you can expect to hit a plateau.  And if you do track your food, a lot of us don’t track properly or report all calories eaten.  

Here’s 5 ways to get past that stubborn plateau:

  1. Stop Starving Yourself – Work with a professional to figure out what a good calorie intake would be to reach your goals.  In addition, if you are starving yourself, you are less likely to stick with this type of diet and you will feel deprived constantly.  And this may cause you to get into the restrict – binge cycle a lot of us know so well.
  2. Track – When you have specific fitness goals, tracking is a huge way to reach these goals.  And ensure you are tracking properly by measuring your intake as well. There can be a huge difference between guessing and actually measuring:
  • For example: A medium apple (100g) = 52 calories and 14 carbohydrates.  A large apple (223g) = 116 calories and 31 carbohydrates. So, if you are not measuring that apple and tracking the calories for the exact size, you could potentially overeat quite easily.  
  • Some of our favorite Tracking Apps:
  1. My Fitness Pal –  
  2. My Plate Calorie Counter
  3. Lose It! Calorie Counter
  4. LifeSum: Diet and Macro Tracker

**Our suggestion is to work with a professional to figure out calories and macros (protein, carbs, fat daily count) that is for you and your goals.  A lot of times apps will restrict your calories too much and this will cause a plateau as mentioned above.

  1. Make it a Lifestyle – Finding a diet and exercise routine that fits best into your life is ultimately the one you will stick with. Stop restricting and binging.  Stop getting some results, stopping and then starting over. Making your health a priority and part of your everyday life is ultimately the best way to get results and maintain those results long term.
  2. Rest – If your goals are losing weight, it’s common that losing weight up front is easier than losing those last few pounds.  As we get leaner, our body holds onto certain weight a lot more because of survival purposes (and for women, perhaps child bearing purposes).  In this scenario, a lot of people think they need to restrict calories even more, which will in turn create a more negative outcome. Giving your body rest is important in this case.  Taking stress off the body will be huge in this scenario. Additionally, try increasing your calorie restriction 10% each week until you are only in a 500 calorie deficit. This will help jump start your weight loss once again!

Change it Up – Have you been doing the same classes each week?  Or the same program? Our bodies are made to adapt.  As workouts become less challenging, they also become less effective.  That does not mean you have to progressively make your workouts harder and harder.  But, you could simply change the types of exercises you’re doing. You could go heavy with strength training with fewer reps and then switch to lighter with more reps the next week.  For example, if you normally do push-ups maybe switch it up to a bench press this week. And if you are not sure where to start on switching things up, we have you covered! Our programming is specifically created with this in mind!  


Why You Should Be Doing More Core Stability Exercises

Stabilization exercises were formerly the realm of the physical therapist. Strength and conditioning coaches and fitness professionals are now starting to value the importance of the torso muscles as stabilizers. Lumbar stabilization has been utilized in the physical therapy community for years to treat low back dysfunction but recently fitness professionals view stabilization as a preventative measure for any athlete and a way to enhance all areas of fitness.

What is The Primary Function of The Torso?

Our torso is made up of a group of muscles that primarily function to prevent unwanted movement during day-to-day activities, working out, or sport participation. To prevent unwanted movement, our torso has to stabilize joints. The lumbar spine and pelvis in particular, are the most important.  Functional training is the most effective way to call on your torso to enhance core stability.

Benefits of Core Stability Exercises?

A strong core enhances balance, stability, and energy transfer. Thus, it can help prevent injuries during day-to-day activities and sports injuries. Core strength directly correlates to exercise and sport activities like walking, jogging, sprinting, throwing, squatting, jumping, and swinging motions. The stronger your core is, the more efficient you will be at these activities. Through strengthening your core, you will see an increase in your performance as well as minimize your risk for injuries.

Implementation

In any sound program their should be at least one core stability exercise in each workout. There are thousands of effective core  stability exercise, some are more effective than others. The primary thing that you want to consider is your pelvic positioning. This is crucial for proper alignment to maximize muscle recruitment and activation. Your pelvis has the capacity to tip forward or back, depending both on your inherent structure and day-to-day activities. Extreme tipping one way or the other can create problems over time, so can lack of mobility of the pelvis. Your core muscles are the ones that regulate both how much movement is possible between the pelvis and the lumbar spine and where the position of your pelvis will end up on that spectrum. So we use our core musculature to consciously control the position of the pelvis during movement to train the body not to go into extremes.


Get Stronger with Progressive Overload

Get Stronger with Progressive Overload

Have you experienced training plateaus that caused your strength gains to become stagnant? I often hear people tell me they lift 5 days a week but are not seeing results or strength gains. There are several reasons why you may hit training plateaus, but ultimately it boils down to the progressive overload principle.

What is Progressive Overload and Why is It Important?

Simply put, progressive overload is the concept of doing more over time. This principle involves increasing the demands on the musculoskeletal system to continually make gains in muscle size, strength, and muscular endurance. When we strength train our bodies elicit a stress response that causes an adaptation to take place. This results in our muscles become stronger and more resilient. In order keep making muscle gains and increase strength, you must continually increase the demands on your muscles.

The progressive overload principle doesn’t apply only to lifting weights to increase muscle growth and strength; it can also be applied to cardiovascular fitness programs. Increasing the intensity and duration will cause physiological changes affecting aerobic metabolism and the cardiorespiratory system.

Progressive Overload Methods

There are five key ways to implement progressive overload. Each are uniquely different. Based on your training experience and your goals, you want to be strategic with how you increase or decrease one of these methods. Below are ways you can implement progressive overload.

Increase Load – The amount of weight used or demand on you body

Increase Intensity – The amount of perceived exertion, speed, or force used during a specific exercise or workout.

Increase volume – Your total workload per training session. The amount of exercises, sets, and reps you do in a workout.  

Increase frequency – how many times a day or week you train

Decrease rest time between sets – This involves increasing work density meaning doing the same amount of work in less time, or doing more work in the same time.

How to Implement Progressive Overload Into Your Programing?

Let’s say you perform a set of back squats at 80% of your max for 8 reps which happens to be 225lbs. Over time, you’ll get stronger, and 8 reps won’t be as challenging as it once was.  At this point your body is no longer making any physiological adaptations. This is where we can apply our progressive overload methods.

If you continue performing that single set of back squats at 225lbs for 8 repetitions, without increasing frequency, intensity, or load, you will hit a plateau eventually. When that occurs depends on your training age (amount of time or years you have been training) and experience. However, if you place greater demands on your back squat by either increasing weight, volume, frequency, or intensity, you will continue to progress with your strength gains.

Strength gains are not linear. For example, adding 5-10lbs to an exercise each week is not sustainable over a year. That would be an increase of 260-520 pounds in one year which is extremely unrealistic. Adaptation and gains occur in waves. Some weeks you’ll see big jumps in and others you may even decrease but with proper implementation of the overload principle there should be an upward trend with consistent training, proper form, and quality recovery.

Beginners should progress in strength exercises by mastering technique and full range of motion first. After this they should increase volume, frequency, and load. Advanced lifters should focus on increasing load first, intensity seconds, and then volume. Again, the techniques you use should be in line with your fitness goals. Prioritize what’s important to you.


Why You Should Adopt A Growth Mindset

Have you ever wondered why elite athletes achieve greater success in their respective sport compared to everyone else? What separates Lebron James from Gerald Green? Tom Brady from Tony Romo, Serena Williams from Lauren Davis? You  might  think their physical ability is what separates them, and you might be right if we were comparing these great athletes to you or I. But physical ability is not the differentiating factor for professional athletes.. According to Dr. David Hesse Sports Scientist in Psychology, the biggest disparity between good and great athlete success, is their mindset. 

What Does It Mean to Be an Athlete?

You may or may not consider yourself an “athlete” but adopting the mindset of an elite athlete can help you in all aspects of your life. Webster defines an athlete as “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina”. I think of an athlete as someone working towards a specific fitness or performance based goal. Being an athlete is more than just the physical component that defines you; it includes your mental game as well. 

Growth Mindset

The concept of a growth mindset was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck. A mindset, according to Dweck, is a self-perception or “self-theory” that you have about yourself. Believing that you are either “talented” or “not talented” is an example of a mindset. You may be aware or unaware of your mindsets, according to Dweck, but they can have profound effect on learning achievement, skill acquisition, personal relationships, professional success, and many other dimensions of life. 

There are two distinct mindsets, “fixed” and “growth”. According to Dweck, “In a fixed mindset, you believe your abilities are simply fixed traits. People with this mindset don’t spend time developing their abilities. They also believe that talent alone creates success without effort.

If you have a growth mindset,  you believe your abilities can be developed through dedication, hard work, intelligence and talent.  . This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. If you embrace the growth mindset you will accomplish more, accomplish your goals quicker and view challenges and failures as opportunities to improve your abilities and skills.

Separating Good from Great 

The greatest athletes in the world have a growth mindset. One thing they all have in common is they “buy in” to the process of what it takes to truly maximize talent and their abilities. Every detail of their day is planned and strategic to make them better in some way shape or form from the day before.  They are trying to maintain the highest level of performance for as long as possible. You may not be Lebron James, Tom Brady, or Serena Williams, but we can all look at what they do that makes them great, and apply it to our own lives and personal situations. Whether you’re looking to make a team, reach a fitness goal, or just striving to be your best self, adopting a growth mindset will allow you to maximize your abilities and potential so you can accomplish your goals, dreams, and aspirations. 


Decrease in Performance: Undertraining or Lack of Recovery

“Coach, my vertical decreased.” “Why did my 10 yard dash get slower?” “I played well the first half of the game, but in the second I tanked.”

Coaches have you ever had a new athlete come to you with these questions or concerns? Sometimes even after “grinding” in the gym for months, following a “science based” program, or even training with another coach, an athletes performance doesn’t improve or even gets worse. So, what happened?  As performance coaches, we often celebrate the increases in performance by our athletes, but rarely examine the “why” the performance decreases. Below are two major reason why some athletes see their performance decrease when training.

What is Undertraining?

Undertraining is when an athletes training program or routine does not cause enough stress for the body to adapt to. The purpose of training is to elicit specific stressors that the body adapts to. If the stressors are not at an optimal level for that individual, there will be minimal to no performance increases. This can happen when athletes are continuously prescribed a generic training program that may not be suitable for their physiological ability. An example is performing ten pushups three times a week. To start this might be strenuous, but after three weeks if there is no increase in reps or intensity the body will no longer adapt and there will be no increase in performance. To avoid undertraining, athletes and coaches should use simple methods such as, *RPE scales after training sessions, and the *Daily Readiness test before. These tools can give athletes and coaches an idea of what level of stress was placed on the body during training.

Lack of Recovery

There are three recovery pillars: nutrition, sleep, and hydration. From my experience, most if not all athletes don’t spend nearly as much time recovering as they do training. Ideally, the training to recovery ratio is 1:2. This gives the body enough time to adapt to the new stressors of the previous training session and to prepare for the next session.

Simple recovery methods such as eating at least three meals a day, sleeping eight hours each night, and drinking a gallon of water each day is the best prescription for any athlete. Recovery is vital to performance and should be the first topic discussed with athletes as they start a new training program.

Key Takeaways

  • Training is testing. Athletes should be evaluated daily to ensure an optimal training program
  • Athletes should focus on recovery just as much or even more than the training

*RPE Scale

*Daily Readiness Scale


Self Talk: The Real Motivator

A huge part of motivation is what we tell ourselves, or self talk. Having positive self talk is key to success when it comes to fitness goals. According to expert neurologist we average 70,000 thoughts a day. These thoughts include both conscious and unconscious.  Conscious thoughts are dictated by our surroundings and environment, along with past experiences. Our views, outlook on life and perception of ourselves is determined by our different upbringings and life experiences. these experiences will dictate whether you have positive or negative self talk.

What is self talk?

Self-talk is the act of talking to yourself either outloud or mentally. The messages you tell yourself will encourage and motivate you, or they will limit you if they are negative. It’s important to recognize your inner voice so you can identify when you’re having positive or negative self talk.

Here is negative self talk that you want to avoid

  • Mind reading: assuming we understand what other people are thinking without any real evidence.
  • Overgeneralization: the habit of telling ourselves that a negative event is bound to continue happening in the future.
  •  Magnification: when we take our own errors or flaws and exaggerate them.
  • Minimization: the mirror image of magnification, being dismissive of our strengths and positive qualities.
  • Emotional reasoning:  the habit of making decisions based on how we feel rather than what we value.
  • Personalization: assuming excessive amounts of responsibility, especially for things that are mostly or entirely outside our control.
  • Fortune Telling: the mental habit of predicting what will happen based on little or no real evidence.
  • Should Statements: are a kind of self-talk we use to try and motivate ourselves by always telling ourselves what we should and should not do.


In order to combat negative self talk use these positive self talk strategies

  1.      Have a purpose higher than yourself
  2.      Cut negative people out of your life
  3.      Be grateful
  4.      Don’t compare yourself to others
  5.      Use positivity with others
  6.      Believe in your success
  7.      Don’t fear failure
  8.      Replace negative thoughts with positive one
  9.      Positive affirmation
  10.   Don’t dwell in the past
  11.   Visualize your success
  12.   Limit your intake of news and media
  13.   Help others
  14.   Be physically active
  15.   Dream and set goals

When and how to be effective at self talk?

In order to be effective at self talk you must make it a habit. To start, Every morning think of something that you are a grateful for and give thanks. Then give yourself positive affirmation such as:

  •      I am determined and successful
  •      I am confident
  •      I am strong
  •      My life has meaning and purpose
  •      I am in control of my choices
  •      I am not afraid to fail because it will help me grow

How is self talk is critical to building confidence?

Do you feel shy in front of a big audience? Do you have little belief in your talents and skills? Positive self-talk can Positive self-talk can make you feel more confident in these situations Negative self-talk will hinder you from performing at your fullest by allowing doubt to come into your thoughts. With positive self-talk, you can put your doubts aside and focus on accomplishing your feat successfully. Confidence and success go hand in hand. Those who are successful at what they do, truly believe in themselves and their abilities.  Confidence is so important to success that many psychologists believe that it is one of the primary prerequisites to personal and professional success. Be confident in everything you do by lifting yourself up with positive self talk.


The Truth About Core Training

The Truth About Core Training

What if we told you everything you know about core exercises is wrong?  Straining your neck and back doing hundreds of sit-ups, trying to get a “shredded six-pack,” is a complete waste of your time. Sure, you may feel “the burn” in your abs for two to three days after your workout, but that won’t compare to the burn you will feel in your back five years later from bad posture, due to those high repetition ab routines you used to do.

It is time we challenge the status quo when it comes to fitness and performance. I challenge you to be inquisitive and question the fitness content you consume in magazines, articles, blogs, social media, personal trainers, and performance coaches.

There are a lot of great well-educated fitness professionals out there, but the reality is, the fitness, strength, and conditioning industries are becoming over-saturated. A simple test must be taken in order to receive a personal training certification, but should that be enough to be considered a professional?

Technology and the advancement of social media have made it easier for people to share their thoughts, experiences, and opinions with a wider audience. This can be great in some cases, however, when individuals are given misinformation on effective exercise prescription, it can have a snowball effect on your health and wellness. This could potentially lead to muscle imbalance, joint pain, dysfunctions, and ultimately chronic injury or illness.

After reading this, you will have a clear understanding of what your “core” actually is and its purpose. You will also have information on effects your core strength has on your everyday life and insight on why you should change the way you train your core. You will also be given our top five functional core exercises.

What Exactly is Your “Core”?

Your core is a complex series of muscles, extending far beyond your abs, including everything besides your arms and legs. It is incorporated in almost every movement of the human body. Your core is comprised of the following muscle groups:

Pelvic floor muscles, Tansversus abdominis, Multifidus, Internal and external obliques, Rectus abdominis, Erector spinae (sacrospinalis), Erector spinae (sacrospinalis), Longissimus thoracis, Diaphragm, Latissimus dorsi, Gluteus maximus, Trapezius, Gluteus medius, Psoas major, and Serratus anterior.

Train your core the right way to prevent bad posture and other dysfunctions. The true purpose of your core is to stabilize your joints, which prevents unwanted movement and transfer of energy forces from your extremities.

Your core most often acts as a stabilizer and force transfer center rather than a primary mover. We often isolate our core with exercises like crunches or back extensions versus functional movements like deadlifts, overhead squats, and pushups, among many other functional exercises.

By training your core the right way, you can optimize the major function of your core. You will also enhance movement efficiency, strength in your muscles, and joints. Strengthening your core will help your tendons to prevent injury and future pain, which will aid long-term health.

How Strengthening Your Core Will Impact Your…

Everyday Life

A strong core enhances balance, stability, and energy transfer. Thus, it can help prevent injuries during day-to-day activities and sports injuries. Core strength directly correlates to exercise and sport activities like walking, jogging, sprinting, throwing, squatting, jumping, and swinging motions. The stronger your core is, the more efficient you will be at these activities. Through strengthening your core, you will see an increase in your performance as well as minimize your risk for injuries.  

Everyday Activities

Bending to put on shoes or scoop up a package, turning to look behind you, sitting in a chair, or simply standing still. These are just a few of the many mundane actions that rely on your core and that you might not notice until they become difficult or painful. Even basic activities of daily living bathing or dressing, for example call on your core.

Work Place

Jobs that involve lifting, twisting, and standing all rely on core muscles. But less obvious tasks like sitting at your desk for hours engage your core as well. Phone calls, typing, computer use, and similar work can make back muscles stiff and sore, particularly if you’re not strong enough to practice good posture and aren’t taking sufficient breaks to stand and go for a walk.

Sports and Other Activities

Sports comprise of a series of explosive complex movements that require a lot of core strength and satiability. Think of sports like golfing, tennis, baseball, and softball. The rotational nature of these sports causes the spine to twist and coil up just to be rapidly released in the opposite direction. Without good foundational core strength, these movements can cause serious harm to your body.

Other sports like basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, and soccer require speed, agility, coordination, strength, and balance. All this qualities are built on and enhanced by having a solid core. Even recreational sports like running, swimming, kayaking, rowing, skiing, and snowboarding heavily rely on your core.  So, it is important to consider training your core when participating in these hobbies we love.

Good Posture

Good posture decreases wear and tear on your spine and allows you to breathe deeply. Good posture also allows you to perform everyday task easily and more efficiently saving you time and energy.

Weak, tight, or unbalanced core muscles can undermine you in any of these realms. And while it’s important to build a strong core, it’s unwise to aim all your efforts at developing rippling abs.

Overtraining abdominal muscles while snubbing muscles of the back and hip can set you up for injuries and cut athletic prowess. If washboard abs are your holy grail, it’s essential to trim body fat through diet and aerobic exercise and build strong abdominal muscles through frequent core exercise sessions.

Why You Should Change the Way You Train Your Core

When you think of a core exercise, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Sit ups or crunches, right?  These exercises are very popular because they give you that burning tightening feeling in your abdominal which is the problem area for a lot of us.

Lets dig deeper. The abdominal muscles play a key role in protecting the inner organs. They also assist in respiration breathing and work together with back muscles to stabilize the spine for good posture.

When performing a sit up or crunch you’re engaging your rectus abdominus (abs). But, you are also using other muscles groups that assist in hip flexion sush as the iliopsoas, tensor fasciae latae, rectus femoris, and Sartorius.

The Problem

Over exerting your hip flexors during a sit up or crunch is a common error due to lack of engagement of your abs. Overtime you will develop a shortened tight, hip flexors which pulls your torso forward when standing. This puts excessive strain on your lower back. Individuals, who sit for long periods of time daily, are also at risk of developing tight hip flexors.

According to the American Medical Association we sit on average 7.7 hours a day! The long-term effect this has is, bad posture, movement dysfunction, pain, chronic injuries, and high medical bills from physical therapist and doctor visits.

When performing a sit up or crunch you’re engaging your rectus abdominus (abs). But, you are also using other muscles groups that assist in hip flexion sush as the iliopsoas, tensor fasciae latae, rectus femoris, and Sartorius.

Top Five Core Exercises

Choosing the right core exercise can be overwhelming. To simplify, we have provided you with 5 functional exercises to strengthen your core to improve your performance and long-term health.

3-Way Plank: Pron Plank

    1. Get into a prone position on the floor, supporting your weight on your toes and your forearms. Your arms are bent and directly below the shoulder.
    1. Keep shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle in alignment.
    1. Squeeze your abdominals and glutes to engage your core
  1. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and increase by 5 to 10 seconds each workout

3-Way Plank: Side plank

  1. Start by lying on your side with your elbow under your shoulder.
  2. Keep shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle in alignment.
  3. Squeeze abdominals and glutes to engage your core
  4. Repeat on other side and hold for 15 to 20 seconds and increase by 5 to 10 seconds each workout.

Medicine Ball Dead Bug

    1. Begin lying on your back with one hand extended above you toward the ceiling and the other pinning the medicine ball against your opposite knee.
    1. Bring your feet, knees, and hips up to 90 degrees.
    1. Exhale hard to bring your ribcage down and flatten your back onto the floor, rotating your pelvis up and squeezing your glutes. Hold this position throughout the movement. This will be your starting position.
    1. Initiate the exercise by extending your free leg and arm, straightening the knee and hip to bring the leg and arm just above the ground.
    1. Maintain the position of your lumbar and pelvis as you perform the movement, as your back is going to want to arch.
    1. Fully Stay tight and return the working leg and arm to the starting position.
  1. Repeat on the opposite side.

Alternating Glute March

    1. Start by lying on your back with your hands at your side.
    1. Bend knees to approximately 90 degrees with feet flat on the floor.
    1. Initiate the movement by driving your heels in to the ground and fully extending your hips in the air by squeezing your glutes.
  1. Pause briefly at the top then lower hips back down to the ground and repeat.

Superman

    1. To begin, lie straight and face down on the floor or exercise mat. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you. This is the starting position.
    1. Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off of the floor and hold this contraction for 2 seconds. Tip: Squeeze your lower back to get the best results from this exercise. Remember to exhale during this movement. Note: When holding the contracted position, you should look like superman when he is flying.
    1. Slowly begin to lower your arms, legs and chest back down to the starting position while inhaling.
  1. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions prescribed in your program.

Half Kneeling Wood Chop

  1. 1. Attach a rope or pulley handles to the high cable pulley
  2. Begin in a half kneeling position with your side to the machine, your inside knee down, and outside foot on the floor with your leg at 90 degrees
  3. Holding the rope handle with your inside hand palm up and your outside hand palm down. In one fluid motion turn hips and shoulders away from the machine, pull the handle down towards apposite hip while keeping arms relatively straight.
  4. Rotate shoulders away from the machine and then towards it with each repetition. Prevent unwanted movement other than the rotation of the shoulders and bring arms down towards hip.
  5. At the end of each repetition, your chest should be up, your shoulder blades should be back, and your stomach should be tight.

Congratulations on taking the first step to learn how to train your core properly to enhance your performance and long term quality of life.  I challenge you to put this information into action and implement these exercises into your daily workout routine to strengthen your core the right way! We assure you with time and constant effort you will see and feel a difference in your core strength.

I would love to help you further develop your core strength with online personal training. Get handcraft personalized exercise programs tailored to your needs so you can accomplish your goals faster! If this sounds like a good fit for you lets connect so I can learn more about your personal goals to set you up for success! There is no better time than now, get started today!


Mobility vs. Flexibility: Which is Better?

Mobility vs. Flexibility: Which is Better?

Mobility is not synonymous with flexibility. People use the terms flexibility and mobility interchangeable, but recently fitness professionals have made a push to separate the two concepts.

Most people know that stretching is good for you for multiple reasons, this is usually based on how they feel after stretching. The reason why you may stretch is to relieve stiffness or tightness. What most people don’t understand is there are multiple factors that may contribute to tightness. There are also many ways to address tightness. Generally enhancing your mobility and or flexibility will help you move properly without restriction or pain. Your probably wondering, whats the difference between mobility and flexibility? These two terms seem to be used interchangeably, yet actually have different meanings. Let’s distinguish the difference between the two.

What is Mobility?

Mobility is our ability to take our body through a range of motion, before being restricted, with control. Mobility is having strength within your flexibility.

Mobility is needed to perform everyday activities and it’s especially important when working out or participating in sports. Our ability to move without restriction or pain means that we can comfortably perform daily activities and strength train. If your body isn’t moving through its natural movement patterns, you’re at risk of injury. If you think about your shoulder joint, which is shaped like a ball-and-socket, it’s designed to move in all directions. If your shoulder can move like it should, the joint is healthy and mobile. If you have restricted movement in one direction or another, like you can’t raise your arm next to your ear, then you a lack shoulder mobility. This increase your risk of pain and injury, especially when loaded.

What is Flexibility?

Flexibility refers to soft tissues (muscles and tendons) ability to temporality elongate. Our connective tissues are like finger traps; the amount of material doesn’t actually change, you can’t lengthen it, but you can contract it. Flexibility is passive. It’s your ability to move connective tissue with the help of a another person or tool, while their muscles passively allow the movement to happen. Flexibility means the soft tissues are stretchy and elastic.

Think of a rubber band. If you pull both ends, and it stretches like any good rubber band should, it’s flexible. If it doesn’t stretch, it’s inflexible. It’s the same thing with muscles, which actually have elastic components designed to help the muscle stretch.

Flexibility is important because when your body is restricted by inflexibility and you can’t move through your natural range of motion, pain can occur. Lack of flexibility can make all activities more difficult.

What’s the Difference?

The biggest difference between mobility and flexibility is that in order to move a joint through its range of motion with control (mobility), you need strength.Which is why mobility is a better indication of how well and efficiently we move. Flexibility is one part of mobility. But strength, coordination, and body awareness are also elements of mobility. Flexibility is a component of mobility, extreme flexibility usually isn’t necessary to perform most exercises or activities. That means that mobility can be limited by flexibility, but super-flexibility is not necessary for most people or strength athletes.

Someone with great mobility may be able to squat below parallel while maintaining joint integrity and posture with no restrictions of range of motion. A flexible person may be able to break parallel, but they lack the ability to maintain joint integrity and posture because they may not have the strength, core strength, balance, or coordination to perform the same motion.  Someone with poor mobility may be able to complete a partial rep with decent posture but does not have the range of motion necessary to break parallel. There are a number of possible muscle imbalances that can cause lack of mobility and flexibility,  but these problems can be fixed with a combination of soft-tissue work (foam rolling/massage), stretch, and strengthen.

Both mobility and flexibility are important. You need your muscles to have the strength to support your movements, and elasticity which allows you to move without restriction. Luckily, you can work on improving flexibility and mobility.

Here’s why you should be doing flexibility and mobility exercises.

  1. Eliminate joint pain or injury
  2. Perform movements with great range of motion
  3. Increase muscle recruitment
  4. Burn more calories
  5. Move with freedom
  6. Perform wider range of movements
  7. Prolong quality of life
  8. Increase strength
  9. Increase stability
  10. Increase speed/power
  11. Enhanced joint health

How to Increase Your Mobility and Flexibility?

To enhance your flexibility and mobility, start with areas that you are really tight or areas affected by bad posture. This may include the neck, mid/low back, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles.

3 methods to increase mobility: 

  1. Foam Rolling: foam rolling is essentially a self-massage technique to help you release trigger points or “knots” in your muscles.
  2. Mobility Drills: These are exercises that are specifically geared towards training your range of motion around joints.
  3. Stretch: This isn’t always necessary, especially if you’re a naturally bendy person stretching can make your joints more vulnerable to injury than if you just left it out. But if you’ve always been fairly stiff, and it’s stopping you from performing exercises correctly, you may benefit from a few short stretches as part of your warm up, and longer stretches for after your workout.

Now that you know everything you need to know about mobility vs flexibility, here is a short routine that you can do daily to enhance your flexibility and mobility for better workouts, enhanced performance, and overall health/quality of life.

 


Periodization: The Key to an Effective Workout Program

Periodization: The Key to an Effective Workout Program

Have you ever experienced stagnation or boredom with your workout routine? Have you hit a plateau where no matter what you do, you just feel like you’re not making progress? Have you experienced long term exhaustion physically, mentally, or even sickness? These are all symptoms of a manotineous workout program  that is not well planned or a program that you have stuck to for too long. With strategic periodization, you can avoid training plateaus and overtraining. Here’s how to break free and take your training and your results to the next level.

What is periodization?

Strength and conditioning programs cause an alarm phase that provokes our bodies to respond to external stimulus (strength training or cardiovascular training). Our bodies responds by adapting the stimulus so the next time it encounters the same stressor, we will be able to better deal with the stress. This is referred to as general adaptation syndrome (GAS). Homeostasis is our bodies baseline or equilibrium, so anytime we encounter a stress whether physical or psychological we experience a physiological adaptation. This is why it is important to constantly adjust variables of stress (workout routine) through periodization.

To promote long term training and performance improvements, a good training program should include preplanned, systematic variations in training specificity, intensity, volume, and load organized in periods or cycles within the overall program. This allows you to optimize adaptations made from training either from strength training or cardiovascular training.

Periodization for Strength

So, you have to disrupt homeostasis with a progressive overload to cause the body to adapt.  Here are three key training parameters that will drive gains in strength and muscle. 

  1. Mechanical tension: external forces put on the muscles by the weights, resulting in muscle contraction. Lifting a heavy load in big compound exercises (squats, chins, rows, bench presses etc.).
  2. Metabolic stress: the accumulation of metabolic byproducts, referred to as metabolites (e.g., lactate, hydrogen ions, and inorganic phosphate) during and following resistance exercise, which indirectly mediate cell and muscle swelling. Using higher rep sets with shorter rest periods and intensification techniques such as, drop sets, supersets, rest pause and occlusion training.
  3. Muscle damage: referring to micro tears accrued from deliberately lifting weights, usually accompanied by DOMS. Exercises which place a big stretch on the muscle like Romanian Deadlifts, are great at achieving this. Eccentric overload training is also excellent. So, using a weight heavier than you can lift and just doing the lowering phase (you will need a spotter for this). 

Periodization for Cardio

You should also periodize your cardiovascular training for the same reasons—to further challenge your body while still allowing for adequate recovery time.

If, for example, you’re a recreational runner, running for fitness, fun and the occasional short race, you’ll want to allow for flat, easy runs, as well as some that incorporate hills and others that focus on speed and strength.

What you don’t want to do is complete the same run every time. If you run too easily, and don’t push yourself, you won’t progress. And chances are you’ll get bored. Conversely, too much speed or high-intensity training will lead to injury or burnout, and most likely, disappointing race results.

Training Variables to Consider

Here are 5 key variables to consider that will impact your workouts. Now that you know the importance of altering your training program, here is how periodization manipulates these variables. A change in your program doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change all of the exercises, sets, reps, and weight periodically. In some instances, that may be the case, but a change in your program can be as subtle as increasing or decreasing the volume. Or maybe you increase the weight in your strength training routine. Maybe, you increase the weight and decrease the volume respectively. There are many ways that you can alter a program, the most important thing is that your program is adjusted periodically with the end goal in mind so that you get results.

Here are 5 key training variables:

Volume: The number of repetitions per set, or the number of sets of each exercise 

Load: The amount of resistance used and cumulative effective of stress from your workout physically and psychologically.

Frequency:  How many days a week you train a muscle group, movement pattern, or energy system.

Intensity: Rest period between sets or bouts,  exercise type, order of the exercises, types of exercises, weight used for the exercise, and speed at which you complete each exercise.

Specificity: exercise selection that is specific or non specific to your goals

How Frequently should you switch up workouts?

Macrocycle: Traditional periodization models divide the overall program into specific time periods. The largest division is a macrocycle, typically (6-12 months)

Mesocycle: Within macrocycle are two or more mesocycles, each lasting several weeks to several months. The number depends on goal and peak time periods. (2 weeks – 6 months)

Microcycle: Each mesocycle is divided into two or more microcycles that are typically one week long but could last for up to four weeks, depending on the program. This short cycle focuses on daily and weekly training variations. (1-4 weeks)

With this in mind. It is recommended that you adjust your training program at least every 4 weeks to avoid plateaus and negative effects of overtraining.

Types of Periodization

Here are 3 types of periodization methods.

Linear: Most frequently used. Best for beginners. training plan that gradually increases volume, intensity, and work by mesocycles in an annual plan. Progressive overload is a major key to success here.

Non-Liner/Undulated: Relies on constant change in stimuli throughout training cycles. As opposed to a linear periodization that focuses on gradual increase of one variable, this style manipulates multiple variables like exercises, volume, intensity, and training adaptation on a frequent basis. The time frame for these manipulations can be daily, weekly, or even bi-weekly. Non-linear periodization is more advanced than linear and incorporates multiple types of stimuli into a training program.

Block Periodization: Block periodization is arguably the “newest” periodization style. The concept of block periodization focuses on breaking down specific training periods into 2-4 week periods. Each block encompasses three different stages: accumulation (50-75% intensity), transmutation (75-90% intensity), and realization (90%> intensity). The goal behind these smaller, specific blocks is to allow an athlete to stay at their peak level longer.

Periodized training will ensure that you continue to make measurable progress, which will keep you energized and interested in reaching your goals

As you incorporate periodization into your fitness program, keep in mind your body will need adequate rest as well. It’s important to track your workouts and record sets, reps along with the amount of resistance you used. This long-term plan will allow you to stay focused on different goals throughout the year and will support continued and measurable progress.

 


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