The World’s Best Vertical Jump Exercise

The World’s Best Vertical Jump Exercise

So, you have probably heard, the best way to improve your vertical jump is by doing plyometric training. This type of training includes ballistic hops, skips, and jumps that enhance the stretch shortening cycle (SSC) in your tendons, and in particular, your golgi tendon organ (GTO). The GTO is a proprioceptive sensory receptor organ that senses changes in muscle tension. It lies at the origin and insertion of skeletal muscle fibers into the tendonsof skeletal muscle. When there is tension placed on your muscles or tendons from lifting weights or landing from a jump, for example, the GTO sends signals to inhibit the muscle from exerting too much force as a safety mechanism. This is important as it ensures you don’t strain or tear a muscle. However, structured plyometric training can inhibit or desensitize the GTO to allow your muscles and tendons to harness more kinetic energy thus giving you the ability to produce more force and power in your jumps.

Depth Drop to Box Jump Trumps Them All

The depth drop to box jump is the most effective jump training that you can do because it inhibits the GTO with the deficit drop landing. The other mechanism that makes this drill effective is that it not only has a shock method but also effectively trains all three kinds of muscle contractions. These include eccentric, isometric, and concentric muscle contractions. Training all three phases will enhance intramuscular coordination which will allow you to jump higher and get off the ground faster.

How to Do This Drill

Landing– Reach out with one foot with your toes pointing up. This is calleddorsi flexion.Step off the box and land on both feet simultaneously applying pressure through the middle of your foot. You don’t want to land on your toes or your heels. Next, focus on sinking your hips back and positioning your chest over your thighs or knees while swinging both arms back. If you look at the video, notice that when I land, both arms are being pulled down and back so there is no wasted movement. This will make the transition faster so you can get off the ground quicker! For beginners, pause on the landing to ensure good mechanics and posture. As you progress, decrease ground contact time.

Transition– This phase of the jump is all about joint stiffness. As soon as your feet hit the ground, don’t allow your hips to continue dropping toward the ground. To avoid this, think about landing like a brick hitting the floor versus a slinky. This shock mechanism will help you improve the rate of force absorption allowing you to transition into your take off quicker.

Take Off– This is the part of the drill that everyone emphasizes. However, if the landing and transition are not efficient or done properly, the opportunity for an explosive take off will be minimized. To decrease your take off time and increase your jump height, push through the ground swinging your arms forward and upward. Think about driving through your big toe and rapidly extending your hips to get triple extension.

If you emphasize each aspect of the depth drop (landing, transition, and take off), you will notice more pop off the ground and increase your vertical jump height.

Program Implementation

After doing a proper warm up, you can include the depth drop to box jump drill before your strength training routine or superset with a compound lower body exercise like squats. When doing plyometrics drills, you want to focus on quality not quantity so keep the reps low and gradually increase the volume by adding more sets as your training progresses.

Week 1-2: 2×5

Week 3-4: 3×4

Week 5-6: 4×4


Aerobic Training For Athletes

Aerobic Training For Athletes

What is aerobic training

Aerobic training, also known as cardio, improves an athlete’s ability to use oxygen to sustain activity for periods of time. The aerobic energy system utilizes fats, carbohydrates and sometimes proteins for re-synthesizing of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) for energy use. ATP is the primary energy carrier in all living organisms. The aerobic system produces far more ATP than either of the other energy systems but it produces the ATP much more slowly, therefore it cannot fuel intense exercise that demands the fast production of ATP. However, aerobic training for athletes is key to optimizing performance.

Why aerobic training is good for athletes

The aerobic system is the dominant source of energy in sport and activities lasting longer than 3 minutes of continuous activity. Here are a few examples: endurance runners, cyclists, and distance swimmers, etc. All athletes can benefit from aerobic training even if they rely on quick short bursts of energy. Building a larger aerobic base will help increase anaerobic thresholds and improve energy efficiency.

Effects of aerobic training for athletes

Our bodies adapt to low to moderate-intensity activities that last for more than just a few minutes. Sustained workouts improve your body’s ability to breathe in and use oxygen. Here are the types of adjustments our bodies make internally to make these improvements:

  1. Increases in the number of mitochondria (small structures known as the powerhouses) inside muscle cells that produce energy from oxygen,
  2. Increases in the muscle’s ability to use fat as fuel,
  3. Greater lung capacity,
  4. Improved heart stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with each beat),
  5. Changes in hormones (epinephrine) that break down and move fat through the body for use as a fuel,
  6. Increased lean body mass.

 

What are the best Aerobic Training Workouts

Intensity (how hard), duration (how long), and frequency (how often) are key ways to improve your ability to maintain aerobic activity. Fitness improves when intensity is between 70-80% of maximum heart rate, but this may not be adequate for endurance athletes in some sports and events.

Elite endurance athletes often utilize high-intensity interval (HIIT) exercise in their training regimens. Recent studies indicate that HIIT is a time-efficient strategy to stimulate a number of muscle adaptations that are comparable to traditional endurance training. Athletes may include other sport-specific activities in interval training workouts.

The aerobic energy system can be developed with various types of training.

  • Interval training– Interval training for the long term aerobic energy system would have a work-rest ratio of 1:1 or 1:2. The work periods would usually exceed several minutes and the rest periods would be active but at a lower intensity that could be sustained.
  • Continuous training– Training that maintains a constant intensity and lasts for a prolonged period of time (usually longer than 15 minutes)
  • ‘Fartlek’ training– A type of interval training whereby the exerciser varies the speed and effort throughout the training session according to how they feel ensuring that they can continue to exercise at all times (i.e. no rest intervals).

Workout Examples

  • Run for two minutes at mod/high intensity, followed by two minutes at low intensity (active recovery) repeated for 30 minutes.
  • 30 minutes low/moderate intensity cycling, swimming or jogging without change in intensity.
  • 30 minute jog over hills requiring bursts of extra effort every now and then but never stopping throughout the jog.

 Process and rate of recovery

 Recovery for the aerobic system is about restoring fuel stores to their pre-exercise levels. This requires the ingestion, digestion and transportation of the fuel and can take between 12 and 48 hours depending on the intensity and duration of the aerobic training for the athlete’s performance.

 


The Number One Exercise to Increase Your Upper Body Strength

The Number One Exercise to Increase Your Upper Body Strength

Are you looking to increase your upper body strength? There are tons of exercises out there that can help improve your strength. But there is one that is above the rest. That is, the bench press. This is the number one exercise to increase your upper body strength. You can spend hours in the gym doing countless reps of push-ups, pull-ups, shoulder presses, and bicep curls, but none of these single exercises will have as much of a positive effect on your upper body strength than the bench press. Let’s dive in to see why the bench press is the best exercise for building strength!

Bench Press for Gains

The bench press is the number one exercise to increase your upper body strength because it gives you the most bang for your buck. It allows you to recruit more muscle fibers than any other upper body exercise out there. When it comes to building strength, you want to stick to exercises that use major muscle groups when exerting sub-maximal and maximal effort to get the gains you are looking for.

The bench press is a compound exercise, meaning it utilizes multiple joints and muscle groups to help you develop functional strength by following your body’s natural movement patterns. Compound movements are among the best exercises to gain total upper body strength because they help you develop the greatest amount of muscle tissue possible. Compound lifts create the greatest change in body composition in the shortest time and also have the added benefit of helping develop the body proportionately.

Heavy Weight Champ

Gaining upper body strength requires exercises that stimulate muscular growth by imposing enough stress on your muscles. The bench press is the number one exercise to increase your upper body strength because it allows you to contract your muscles against heavier loads, which exhaust your muscles with fewer repetitions. The bench press maximizes damage to contractile proteins in your muscles. Your muscles adapt by repairing the damage and synthesizing more proteins, which effectively increases the contractile strength of your muscles.

Is the Bench Press Right for You?

If you’re looking to increase your upper body strength while improving muscle definition and posture, the bench press is the way to go. However, if you have shoulder issues or any other pain in your back, elbows, or wrist, you may want to stick to exercises that work on stability and control to help strengthen that area or prevent further injury. A great alternative to the bench press is the dumbbell bench press or push-up. These upper body exercises have great benefits but do not put as much stress on your joints. Remember to train mobility and stability, then endurance, then build strength. Failure to follow this progression will result in injury. Also, be sure to incorporate these warm-up exercises before doing any upper body strength routine.

1×10 Each


What’s Better, High Intensity or Low Intensity Training?

What’s Better, High Intensity or Low Intensity Training?

What type of exercise is better for your body—high intensity or low intensity training? The answer is not that simple. It comes down to individual goals and how your body responds to exercise on a given day. Is your goal to decrease your body fat percentage, increase your VO2 max, recover faster, or have more power for anaerobic work? Different energy systems are used when performing high and low intensity workouts as well as a different ratio of carbs vs. fats burned within the body.

Low intensity exercise is aerobic work where your heart rate stays within 60-80% of your max heart rate. Working on your endurance boosts your heart’s left ventricle that pushes blood out to the rest of the body to increase in capacity. That means that more oxygen gets delivered to nourish crucial tissues and organs which support better overall health. Not only does more oxygen reach crucial parts of the body, but your circulatory system gets better at transferring it from blood to tissue. That’s because low intensity exercise increases capillary density, so more channels are on hand to deliver oxygen to the tissue’s cells. This in turn increases base oxygen intake leading to enhanced endurance.

High intensity exercise, often referred to as HIIT (high intensity interval training) or SIT (sprint interval training), burns more calories in a shorter period of time compared to the time put in for low intensity training. However, high intensity exercise escalates your resting metabolism so you burn more calories post exercise. The high intensity nature provides improved athletic capacity and condition as well as improved glucose metabolism. High intensity may not be as effective for treating hyperlipidemia and obesity, but has been shown to build more lean body mass and increase recovery time which is more applicable to sports performance athletes.

You get more bang for the buck when muscles burn fat because fat has more than twice the number of calories (nine calories vs. four calories per gram from carbs). Fat is the high-test fuel. Less oxygen reaches the muscle when you exercise hard, or fast, and get out of breath. The term “sucking wind” means that you are working hard to get more oxygen in. When less oxygen reaches the muscles, known as oxygen debt, carbohydrates become the preferred fuel because they burn completely with less oxygen.

With the information above, can we now narrow down what type of exercise is right for you? The simple answer is to combine both high and low intensity exercise into your routine. Where it gets confusing is when we ask ourselves, “what ratio of each should I do? 50/50?”. This is where it becomes individualized. The most popular ratio, and what I use for metabolic workouts, is based on Olympic programming. This breaks down low, moderate, and high intensity workouts into a ratio of 80% low, 12% moderate, and 8% high intensity throughout the week. After looking at these numbers, doesn’t the ratio of high intensity workouts seem very low?

The reason is that low intensity exercise promotes longevity and muscle recovery when done correctly. An overdose of high intensity exercise has its downsides. Although it is a great way to increase resting metabolism, crush carb stores in the body, and increase VO2 max, it is a sympathetic stressor and can lead to adrenal fatigue. In large doses, high intensity puts an incredible strain on your nervous system, joints and muscles; especially if you are overweight and unfit. It also puts you at a high risk of overtraining, which is a real danger as it can ruin your immune system, cause insomnia, affect your appetite, and release cortisol, which in turn can make you more likely to put on fat.

I would love to see more individuals build an excellent oxidative system base through low intensity exercise while slowly adding in high intensity training one day per week so their bodies can adapt appropriately. Work your way up to the 80%, 12%, and 8% and then get creative with your workouts. So long as you’re in the correct energy system, you may do CrossFit, Tabata, 5K’s, marathons, sprints, lifting—take your pick!


3 Tips for Maximum Recovery

3 Tips for Maximum Recovery

As an athlete or gym warrior, it’s easy to get caught up in the barbells, sleds, and plyo boxes. While what you do in the gym is unbelievably important, taking care of your body when you’re not at the gym is equally as important. I have put together a list of 4 tips for maximum recovery to keep you at the top of your game.

Get Moving

One of the worst things that you can do on your recovery days is to be a couch potato. When we workout, our body produces byproducts like lactic acid, pyruvate, and NADH+. These byproducts pool up and cause our muscles to be sluggish, slow and sore. In order for our body to get rid of these byproducts, it requires blood flow to carry them out of our muscles. A blood flow elevated above resting will help to drain these byproducts from our muscles and speed up recovery.

Tips for moving during a recovery day:

  • Go for a light jog/walk
    • Just get your heart rate up, don’t push it
  • Foam roll
    • Spend 20-30 seconds on each of the major muscles
    • Glutes/Hamstrings/Calves/Quads
    • Lats/Upper back/Pecs
  • Lacrosse ball
    • Spend some time isolating specific knots or trigger points
    • Place the lacrosse ball on the knot and slowly grind into it
  • Stretch
    • Stretch the major muscles. If you neglect mobility, over time you will develop pain and injuries because the muscles aren’t functioning the way they should.
    • Spend 20-30 seconds on each muscle
    • Dynamic stretching combined with a light jog/walk is a great combo

Eat Right

Proper fuel is absolutely essential for competitive athletes. In order for our bodies to function properly at competition, they need fuel. Not only do they need fuel, they need the right fuel. Think of your body like a car. You could fill your car up with bleach and it would run … but not for long. If you’re filling your body up with junk food and missing out on the right nutrients, your body won’t perform the way you want it to for very long.

Tips for improving your nutrition:

Sleep

One of the biggest factors that significantly influences your body’s performance is sleep. Proper sleep has been shown to increase performance, motivation, concentration, and improve cognitive performance. While we are sleeping, our bodies go to work. During sleep, your body increases the hormone productions that lead to rebuilding muscles, increasing the tensile strength of your actin and myosin within the muscle fibers. It is recommended for athletes to get anywhere from 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you are in the middle of pre-season or heavy training times, an extra hour is typically recommended. If you can’t manage to get that much sleep at night, naps can be a way to add up to that sleep total.

Tips for getting good sleep:

  • Get in a rhythm and stick to it! Plan ahead, finish homework/work in time that you can get to bed at a consistent time
  • Avoid being on your phone in bed, the stimulus will fight your body wanting to sleep
  • Avoid caffeine in the second half of the day

Simple Nutrition Guide to Launch into a Healthy Lifestyle

A sound nutrition plan is all about energy balance. This is the relationship between calories in and calories out. Other key factors that contribute to launching a healthy lifestyle include macro and micro nutrients. These play a key role in your metabolism and hormones which contributes to how your body processes food for energy. This nutrition guide will help you launch into a healthy lifestyle whether your looking to lose weight, increase lean body mass, or just looking to improve your eating habits.

Purpose of Each Nutrient

  • Carbohydrates for energy, cognitive function at work, primary fuel source, transports protein
  • Fat for anti-inflammation, cell structure, brain development and nerve function
  • Protein for recovery and repair of muscle tissue and cells, meal satiety
    • Distribution/Timing of protein throughout the day is essential.
  • Fiber for healthy digestive system, positive mood, efficient metabolism
  • Establish balance with proper caloric deficit to have fueling that supports energy needed for workouts while making progress towards body composition

Hydration

  • Proper hydration is critical for energy, nutrient absorption/digestion and mental clarity
  • ~1 cup of fluids 15-20 minutes before exercise
  • ~1 cup every 15-20 minutes during exercise

Identify Your Energy Needs

Breakfast Example

  • 2 different servings of fruit.
    • For example – 1 whole orange and 1 cup raspberries. It must be fresh or frozen.
  • With 1/4 cup raw walnuts or 20 raw almonds.
  • Plus 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt or 1/3 cup chickpeas or ½ cup quinoa.
  • Drink 16 oz. of water or hot or iced tea or coffee.

Lunch Example

  • Prepare a large salad with variety of veggies (aim for minimum of 3 different colors)
    • (Combining bag salads works well. Be sure to include a dark green)
  • Top with ¼ cup chopped walnuts, or 20 almonds or ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • Rebuild lean muscle w/ 1/3 cup beans (pinto, kidney, chickpea, black (rinse if canned)).
  • Add 1 apple, diced with skin (or 1 serving any other fruit.)
  • Have with 1 tablespoon of any salad dressing that you like – vinegar and olive oil or salsa are two options. Drink water or alternative beverage such as tea.

MOVE today!

  • Get as much exercise as you can, preferably 1 hour of movement–walking, swimming, stationary bike, etc.

*If you get snackie during the afternoon, have 1 serving fresh fruit or more veggies.

Dinner Example

  • Prepare stir fried vegetables (minimum of 3 colors and use a little olive oil)
  • Top with ¼ cup sliced almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds
  • Power up with protein from 1/3 cup beans, rinsed (red, pinto, kidney, black.)
  • Flavor the stir fry with fresh herbs and spices or spice mixes.

PM Snack

  • Thaw ¾ cup berries and drizzle 1 small square melted dark chocolate on top.
  • Key is having casein protein: cottage cheese, frozen Greek yogurt, protein shake, milk

Meal Guide

  • Breakfast – Pick from each category:
    • Energizing carb: black beans – whole wheat toast – sweet potato hash – oatmeal
    • Lean protein: Greek yogurt – eggs – hemp seeds – turkey – protein powder
    • Antioxidant fruits: blackberries – strawberries – blueberries – pineapple
  • Lunch – Pick from each category:
    • Lean meat: chicken – ground turkey – white fish
    • Complex carb: quinoa – brown rice – sweet potato – whole wheat pasta – WG bread
    • Vegetable: asparagus – broccoli – peppers – zucchini/squash – kale – and many more!
  • Dinner – Pick from each category:
    • Lean meat (5-6 days/wk): chicken – ground turkey – white fish
    • High fat (omega) meat (1-2 days/wk): salmon – quality steak – tuna

Foods Supporting Digestive Health

  • Ground flaxseed
  • Kiwi
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Kombucha or other fermented food (sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir)

Anti-Inflamtory Foods

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Walnuts
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Tumeric
  • Tart Cherry concentrate

Foods that Boost Fat Metabolism

  • Red grapefruit
  • Coffee (black)
  • Lentils
  • Water
  • Whole grains high in B vitamins

Foods that Increase Endurance

  • Spinach
  • Beets
  • Arugula
  • Celery
  • Potato starch

Foods that Support Immune Function

  • Tomatoes
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Citrus (oranges, lemons)
  • Yogurt
  • Green tea
  • Ginger

Prime Your Body For Results with This Short Stationary Dynamic Warm Up

Prime Your Body For Results with This Short Stationary Dynamic Warm Up

Are you doing a dynamic warm up before your workout routine? If you’re not, you could be leaving performance benefits on the table and potentially putting yourself at risk for injury. I know it may not always be practical to spend 15 minutes going through a dynamic warm up, but it is important that you elevate your heart rate, take your body through full range of motion, and activation your muscles before doing any workout routine.

5 benefits of a dynamic warm up

  1. Increase core body temperature
  2. Increase blood flow
  3. Lubricate joints
  4. Enhance joint mobility/flexibility
  5. Muscle activation

If you’re short on time and have limited space, this is the perfect warm up routine for you. Perform this  short stationary dynamic warm up prior to your workout to prime your body for max results!

Exercises

Jumping Jacks (30 reps)

 

Split Jacks (30 reps)

 

Cross Jacks (30 reps)

 

Knee Hug w/ Ankle Circle (6 reps each)

 

Quad Stretch w/ Forward Lean (6 reps each)

 

Inverted Toe Reach (6 reps each)

 

T-Spine Lunge w/ Rotation (6 reps each)

 

Infant Squats (8 reps)


Which is Better, Dynamic or Static Stretching?

Which is Better, Dynamic or Static Stretching?

Dynamic and static stretching has been a discussion topic in the fitness industry for quite some time. The main thing to keep in mind is that everyone’s body is different as well as their perception of“fitness” and “mobility.” We all have some form of  compensation or tightness within our muscular system. Again, this is where an individual may apply static and dynamic stretching differently. It is very important to be open minded and pay attention to your body specifically. Even the best fitness
professional in the world doesn’t know your body as well as you do.

What is dynamic stretching?

This form of stretching is defined on www.dictionary.com as: “A type of sports fitness routine in which momentum and active muscular effort are used to stretch and the end position is not held.” The high knee movement is an example of dynamic stretching because it is constantly changing while stretching and activating your muscles. The key word here is “activating.”

 What is static stretching?

Defined by http://www.humankinetics.com, “static stretching means a stretch is held in a challenging but comfortable position for a period of time, usually somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds. Static stretching is the most common form of stretching found   in general fitness and is considered safe and effective for improving overall flexibility.” Holding the stretching position in this fashion inhibits muscle activation and puts your body in a relaxed, parasympathetic, recovery state. Foam rolling is another way to get the same response as static stretching.

Which is better, static or dynamic stretching?

Now that we have defined the two different types of stretching, when is the optimal time to incorporate each type around your workout? We know that dynamic stretching is a form of muscle activation, while static stretching inhibits muscle activation, therefore making your workout more productive from the start when we dynamically stretch the body. On the other hand, if you are a person with muscle tightness and lack functionality because of this, you may benefit more from static stretching before exercise. If your mobility is sub-par and you can’t get into a good position during an exercise, itdoesn’t matter how much activation you have done beforehand because your body is compensating with some other muscle that shouldn’t be the prime mover for the exercise.

So how do I know if my body needs static or dynamic stretching before exercise? This is where I have found a way to get the most out of your workout. For the clear majority of people, we incorporate foam rolling and static stretching, as well as dynamic stretching, before the workout—in that order.

Foam rolling should be the first thing you do when you are preparing to exercise. It aids in priming the muscles for stretching by increasing blood flow and releasing the muscle fibers and tightness. Now you can incorporate light static stretching that is specific to your workout. If you are doing overhead pressing movements, target your shoulder, chest, and latissimus dorsi muscles to reach the range of motion needed for the correct position in that exercise. Following light static stretching is then metabolic warm  up and dynamic stretching. The metabolic warm up helps prime the body with oxygen and creates blood flow to the muscles to make them more elastic and less prone to injury. Incorporating the dynamic warm up will activate your muscles for optimal strength and power so you can accomplish more during your workout! It’s that easy folks.

Keep in mind that people who may be hypermobile in certain areas should not partake in static stretching before or after exercise, as it may be harmful to your body. I didn’t spend much time going over the type of stretching that should be done post-workout because it is apparent. We want to recover after a workout to make our transition from a sympathetic state to a parasympathetic state so we can promote recovery faster and feel better overall. This means static stretching and foam rolling. For a recap, I made a list below of the optimal stretching order to incorporate around your workout.

-Foam Roll
-Light Static Stretching
-Metabolic Warm Up
-Dynamic Stretching

-Workout
-Foam Roll
-Static Stretching


5 Best Exercises to Increase Your Speed

5 Best Exercises to Increase Your Speed

I often get the question, “which is more important for speed, mechanics or strength?” I think it’s important to understand that speed is not a one or the other concept. In order to move fast, you need to have proper mechanics, AND you need to be able to put a lot of force into the ground.

Think of it like a car—if you put a set of racing tires on a Prius, it’s going to control the power extremely well, but that’s not going to make it fast. Alternatively, if you put a Lamborghini’s engine on a lawn mower, there’s not a chance you will be able to control that power. Speed is the same thing. We must have the knowledge and practice of how to move our bodies properly and efficiently, but we need to be building a bigger engine to produce more power through our efficient mechanics. I have compiled what I think to be the 5 best exercises to help you harness that power and increase your speed.

Squat                                                                                                       

The squat is absolutely essential for any speed training program. Squats target many of the important muscles related to sprinting including the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.

Squats have a unique versatility to them. With numerous variations, they have the ability to strengthen the muscles necessary for sprinting in different ways.

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

The RDL is another very important exercise if your intentions are to increase your speed. The RDL is designed to target your Posterior Chain, specifically your glutes and hamstrings.

These muscles are the ones responsible for your top speed. The ability to produce a lot of force horizontally is what keeps you ahead of your opponent.

Sled Push

Sled pushes are an awesome blend of strength training and biomechanics training. They can be done with varying amount of weight to increase or decrease difficulty. Sled pushes give you the ability to focus on sprinting mechanics while building the strength necessary to maximize your speed.

Depth-Drop Jumps

Depth-drop jumps utilize our Stretch-Shortening Cycle (SSC) through means of Plyometric forces. This means that dropping from a height requires your muscles/ligaments to stretch and absorb energy, then rapidly contract and release that energy by jumping immediately after contacting the ground. This exercise gets your lower body producing a lot of powerful force, and when used right, gets you sprinting very fast (and jumping higher too).

Three-Way Plank

A list of exercises to improve speed would be amiss if it did not include something for the core. Having a strong core is essential for speed. Force cannot adequately transfer from your foot to your head if there is a weak spot in-between.

The three-way plank is great because it forces you to strengthen the muscles in your core that you utilize while sprinting.

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of exercises that improve speed. And by no means should your training program only comprise of these exercises, but this is a great place to start. What is your favorite exercise for improving speed?


How to Do a Turkish Get-Up

How to Do a Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-Up is an exercise that dates back to ancient wrestlers in what is now Turkey to prepare themselves for competitions. This is a great ancient exercise with present day benefits. The Turkish Get-Up is a total body exercise that increases strength, stability, mobility, balance and coordination. It can be used in a warm-up, as an assessment of overall strength and mobility, and within a strength-training program. The Get-Up is generally performed with a kettlebell, but can also be used with a dumbbell. The Get-Up is a complex movement that requires coordination in order to execute properly, but the benefits of this exercise are well worth it.

Here are a few benefits of the Turkish Get-Up

  • Single leg hip stability during the initial roll to press and during the bridge
  • Shoulder stability
  • Incorporates all three planes of movement
  • Thoracic extension and rotation
  • Hip and leg mobility and active flexibility
  • Stability in two different leg patterns – lunge stance as well as squat stance
  • Both rotary and linear stability
  • Ankle mobility
  • The ability to link movement created in our extremities to the rest of our body

Step-by-step guide on how to properly execute the Turkish Get-Up

  1. Starting position – Lie on your back with kettlebell or dumbbell in your right hand – straight up in the air. Right knee will be bent with foot planted firmly on the ground and the left leg is straight on the ground. Left arm is straight on the ground, at a 45 degree angle.
  2. Elbow – With your right foot being firmly on the ground, roll onto your left elbow, with weight still above head.
  3. Hand – Once you have shifted weight to the elbow, continue rolling up until your weight is supported in your left hand. You should have 3 support points – left hand, left glute, and right foot.
  4. Bridge – Lift your hips off the ground keeping your right arm extended straight overhead, and your weight in your left hand. Keep looking up at the weight and keep it overhead.  You should have 2 support points – left hand and right foot.
  5. Leg Swing – With hips still lifted in the bridge, swing your left leg under your body, and place your knee on the ground underneath you.
  6. Kneel – Take your left hand off of the floor and straighten up so your body is upright. Turn your legs so that they are parallel to each other.
  7. Stand up – Drive your back foot through your hips and into your front foot, stand up from the lunge – keeping the weight straight overhead and look at the weight.
  8. Reverse Lunge – Keep the weight overhead, and step your left foot back in a reverse lunge, lowering your knee to the ground – with legs parallel.
  9. Lowering Hand – Swinging hips, lower left hand down to the ground.
  10. Swing leg – Now that your hand is on the ground, swing your left leg back to the front of you – with your weight in your left heel, left hand, and right foot.
  11. Elbow – Lower your weight back to your elbow – with contact points being your left elbow, left butt cheek and right foot.
  12. Finish – Lower your torso down to the ground and end in the beginning position.

The Turkish Get-Up can be modified for beginners and people dealing with injuries. Possible modifications would be to lighten the weight, no weight, Stage 1 Get-Up, or Stage 2 Get-Up.

Stage 1 Get-Up

 

Stage 2 Get-Up

 

 


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