Monday, March 29, 2010

Attacking Flexibility and Mobility at SOAR

Without question, the number one weakness of my clients across the board is flexibility and mobility (or lack of). According to Mike Boyle, flexibility is the range of motion around a joint and mobility is how well the joint moves. For example, holding a hamstring stretch would be flexibility and performing forward leg swings is mobility. Even if you don't completely understand the difference, please understand that both are extremely important for all athletes.

In the past, we really only focused on flexibility post workout. After much research, I have made some changes to our program both in warm - up and post workout. Here is an example of what I have done at SOAR to improve flexibility and mobility in our athletes.

1. We foam roll prior to every session to decrease muscle density. To be brief, foam rolling is basically self -massage.

2. All clients 14 and up perform some static stretching (flexibility) prior to their dynamic warm - up. Then those clients perform glute activation exercises with bands and on the floor. The glutes are probably the most important muscle in terms of speed and power and a lack of glute activation can lead to lower back pain.

3. After glute activation, clients perform mobility drills and dynamic stretching. So in the first 10 minutes of the session now, flexibility and mobility is our main focus. After dynamic stretching, clients then move into our speed drills such as skips, high knees, butt kickers, ect.

4. Beginner clients still perform our hip mobility program prior to each lifting session. Our more advanced clients still perform it at least once per week.

5. All clients have been giving a stretching sheet to do at home. Most of the reading I have done lately has told me that it is hard to improve flexibility immediately after a hard workout. So it is now on my clients to get it done at home.

6. We offer yoga class on Sundays at 4pm. Although I wish more of my athletes we in it, the class has gotten great reviews. We plan to offer another session at the end of April.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Looking for Topics

I am looking to answer any questions in regards to strength, speed and youth training. You can either post a comment to this blog or email me through our website. If I don't have the answer, I will find someone that does.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jump Training

It's the time of year that I get the same phone calls every day.......Mike....We need to get our son/daughter in a jump training program for basketball. Mike....can you put 6 inches on my vertical by next season? Mike....you focused primarily on strength last year, can we just do jump training this year?

I have said it before and I will say it again.....If you are improving your lower body strength, then you are also improving your ability to jump higher....safely. If you want to improve your jump, then you must train for strength and explosiveness. All of our programs at SOAR include a balanced combination of each. We do single leg lifts, 2 leg lifts, hamstring and glute exercises, Olympic Lifts, 1 leg jumps, 2 leg jumps, quick feet hops, skips and bounds. ALL of these help develop a well rounded explosive athlete.

Plyometrics (jump training exercises) are the most misunderstood and abused method of training for athletes. Unfortunately, if you look on the Internet, you will find all sorts of jump programs that make utterly ridiculous claims of improving your vertical by 8 inches in 8 weeks. Although I have seen that happen a few times in the last 10 years, there is no substitute for a comprehensive strength and conditioning program that uses a jump training progression in conjunction with a strength program. A proper progression of jump training involves a few weeks of box jumping to improve landing technique (see my older blog post on beginner power training). If you try to begin high intensity jump training without perfecting your landing technique, the results can be disastrous.

Jumping higher is a great goal for any athlete to have. In fact, I don't think I have trained any great athletes who don't jump high. But, please have a realistic and intelligent approach to your jump training regimen. Seek out a KNOWLEDGEABLE strength training professional in your area and you will not regret it.....and your knees will thank you later.

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