Monday, August 29, 2011

In Season Lift #1

Week 1 of the High School Football Season is over and now it is time to put some thought into your in - season lifting schedule. Most high school football teams play on Fridays, so lifting on Sunday and Tuesday is a pretty good set up. Ideally, I would like to see kids lift twice per week during the season, but one day is better than none. This is also a sufficient workout for other athletes such as volleyball players and soccer players.

For those of you that are banged up or injured, you know what you can and cannot do. Basically, if it hurts, don't do it. Ex - If you hurt your shoulder, stay off the bench press but you should be able to do some pulling and legs.

Here is In - Season Lift #1

Full Warm - up - Soar clients use Warm up A or B

DB squat jump 3x4
Prone bridge or Rollout variation

DB chest press 3x6
1 leg squat to box - 3x 6 each leg

Seated row 3x8
1 leg RDL (straight leg dead lift) 3x6 each

If you feel good, you could throw in a couple sets of biceps, triceps or shoulder work. Also, do whatever prehab /rehab exercises your trainer has you doing.

Stay Strong, Stay Healthy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Looking Back at What Worked This Summer

Summer training for my college football clients began in early June. For those who were already training with me in the spring, their regimen consisted of my basic 4 day per week set up that focused on getting really strong and fast. Once June came around, we went to a 5 day per week set up focused on getting "field ready".

Mon: High Intensity Leg - plyos, short sprints, heavy leg

Tues: Heavy Upper body

Wed: Lateral plyometrics, various forms of conditioning based on the rest clock of a football game.

Thurs: rest

Friday: Specific Strength and Conditioning - various forms of jumps and sled work

Saturday: higher rep upper body

Sunday: rest

In the winter and spring months, I avoided going back to back days of max effort upper body and lower body lifts to maximize results (squats, dead lifts, heavy bench ect). In the summer, the best set up involved going back to back on Mon/Tues. with our heavy leg/upper days. This meant that some days we just didn't go to complete max effort to avoid burning out the CNS. This set up allowed for a full day of rest between all leg/running days.

Looking back, I think it was a highly successful summer of training. One of my clients reported as the fastest player on the team in all a freshman. He even ran the fastest mile time- which we spent no time training for. My other clients passed their conditioning tests easily and are competing for starting jobs. Most importantly, all are injury free thus far.

Here are a few things that I thought really worked well this summer:

1. Keeping Mondays low volume/high intensity. This allowed us to run fast, and lift heavy. Pairing up plyos like box blasts with sprints and heavy squats with jumps allowed a number of my guys to set personal bests in 10yd sprints and vertical jumps. This also gave us the rest of the week to focus on conditioning.

2. Using sled sprints, pushes, shuffles and crossovers on Specific Strength and Conditioning Day. Some days, we would pair a weighted jump with a sled push or sprint. An example would be doing a set of 3 DB squat jumps, resting 30 seconds and then performing a 10 yd heavy sled push. We would do 6 - 8 sets and this would serve as our "1st quarter" of training for the day. Each exercise took about 5 seconds per set - about the average time of a football play.

Sleds are great because you can move them in all directions - you can't resist a shuffle with a barbell. Heavy sled work is also hard work! The key was timing the duration of the drill and setting up the rest in a manner that was similar to how a football game flowed.

Here is an example of a sled circuit I used one Friday.

3. Using 10 - 15 yard hill sprints instead of running 40s or gassers. I was lucky to find a hill very close to the gym that was at a perfect angle. On Wednesdays, we would hit the hill for sprints, shuffles and crossovers with varying bouts of rest. Yes, running gassers can be hard, but there is just something about sprinting up a hill that forces you to pick the knees up and push hard. I see too many guys run gassers with terrible technique that will get you killed on the field.

4. Using shuttle variations for conditioning. I have said it a million is a multi - directional sport. You can run 110s all you want, but nobody runs 110s in a football game. One of the hardest things to do when you are fatigued it to stop momentum going one way and get the body going another. I used 40 yard shuttles (10 and back, 10 and back), 45 yard shuttles (5 and back, 10 and back, 15 yd sprint) and true 5 -10 -5 shuttles. Sometimes the guys touched the lines with the hand, sometimes they just planted the feet without the hand touch. The 40 yd shuttle could be done in around 9 seconds for my skill guys and 10 seconds for my lineman. I usually gave them between 35 and 45 seconds rest between sets and we would do 8 -1 0 of them on either Wed or Fri. All guys unanimously said that the shuttles at the end of workouts were by far the hardest part of the weekly training.

5. Varying up exercise selection. I love squats, deadlifts, bench, ect. Some weeks we squatted with chains, some weeks we deadlifted and some weeks we didn't do any of them. This kept the workouts fresh and my athletes interested in each week of training. Remember, you are training football players, not power lifters.

6. Never neglecting the little things. Hip and Thoracic mobility, lateral plyos, bridging, MB throws and rotational chops were performed on a weekly basis. These are the extra things that help make a well rounded, healthy athlete.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Examining the Caloric Needs of the Youth Athlete Part 2

Last week we took a look at a mock diet of a 5 foot, 8 inch, 120lb 15 year old basketball player. It was easy to see that the boy was not consuming enough calories during the day. I didn't even talk about the fact that a good portion of the calories were not quality calories. Pizza, ice cream and soda are examples of what are called empty calories. Yes, skinny kids can eat those foods and not get fat. But, a diet that consists of mostly empty calories will leave you sluggish, malnourished and unfocused. Continue to make those food choices as you get older and you will be the dreaded SKINNY FAT GUY. Nobody wants to be the skinny fat guy!

With school going back in session next week, I figured this would be a good time to give you some ways to increase QUALITY caloric intake.

1. Eat a bigger breakfast. If you have a mom that makes you an omlet every morning, then you are very lucky. We need to find some quick options because most kids eat breakfast on the go. Look back to the mock diet and we saw that the kid ate a bowl of cereal. Not bad, especially if it is oatmeal or some kind of organic cereal. Let's try to add some more too this. Adding a protein shake or bar will add about 150 - 200 calories and about 25 grams of protein. Ideally, I would like to see a glass of OJ or some fruit added to the cereal.

2. Bigger snacks. This is where high calorie shakes are great. We have sold Universal Nutrition Real Gains for 8 years with great success. It tastes great and you can make serving sizes ranging from 200 - 600 calories - all of them from good carbs, protein and fat. Just scoop the powder out of the tub, throw it in a shaker cup with milk or water and pound it! Consume this as a snack instead of a granola bar or hoho and you just tripled your quality calories in one snack.

3. A fruit or vegetable should be part of every snack and meal. Find the ones you like and eat the heck out of them. I recommend eating at least 3 servings of fruits and 5 servings of vegetables a day. Again, skinny guys can get away with eating french fries every now and then, but let's make sure that is not your only vegetable for the day.

4. Avoid the school lunch blow up! If you go to a public school these days, there is a good chance that you have a lot of options such as subs, salads and wraps. However, there is no shame in packing your lunch, or at least part of it. If you are going to go the pizza or hot dog route, let's try to offset the bad calories by packing a bag full of healthy sides. All kinds of fruit, whole grain crackers, almonds, and greek yogurt are easily packable side items. The key is not to make your lunch a fat and bad carb bomb - i. e. pizza and fries.

5. Dinner should be lean meat, veggies and some sort of grain. Stir fry or kabob skewers with meat and veggies are a simple way to kill two birds with one stone. If you are on the run all day and eating out is the only option, separate true fast food from healthier alternatives like Panera Bread. Jason's Deli just opened in the Lewis Center area and I highly recommend it for healthy family eating.

6. Before bed calories. This is where the shake comes in handy. Avoid the ice cream and cookies and turn to something that finishes off your day the right way. It is also the last chance to meet your fruit and vegetable goals.

Next blog we will look at a revised mock diet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Examining the Caloric Needs of the Youth Athlete

Since I work primarily in the youth athlete population, the majority of my nutrition related conversation revolves around getting kids to eat enough calories. In my experience, I have found that the average 14- 18 year old boy simply does not consume enough calories to break even, let alone gain weight. We have to take into account that the average teen athlete is active at least 5 days per week, usually in high intensity sport such as basketball or lacrosse. Add in pick up games, training and just daily activity and you have yourself a pretty deep caloric hole to dig out of.

Now lets look at a mock diet for the average 15 year old basketball player during the school year. Although I know that all 15 year olds do not eat like this, I have found that this is a pretty average day for a kid who needs to put on some weight. I have listed the calories and grams of protein per meal. Calories can vary slightly depending on the brand, exact serving size and method of cooking.

Breakfast: bowl of cereal with milk - 220 calories, 12g protein (if they eat breakfast at all)

Lunch: piece of pizza, fruit cup, chocolate milk - 375 cals, 15 g protein

Snack: granola bar - 130 calories, 3 g protein

Dinner: piece of chicken, rice, green beans - 360 cals 35 g protein

Snack: Ice cream -125 cals, 3 g protein

Add a few gatorades or drinks throughout the day and that will add about 300 calories.

Total for day: 1510 calories, 68 grams of protein

I found the website below to be a great resource for calculating caloric needs. I entered in a 15 year old that is 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighs 120lbs. I entered his activity level as 5 day per week of intense activity - which is accurate for a basketball player in season.

This is what I found.

Calories per day to maintain body weight - 2410

Protein: 150 - 180 grams per day!

I highly recommend checking out the link I provided and entering your kids' information into it. In order to gain 1 lb of muscle per week, a kid needs to consume 500 calories per day more than they are expending. So the 120 lb kid I am talking about actually needs to be eating approximately 2900 calories per day to gain 1 lb per week. I want to reiterate that the kid we are talking about his highly active on a daily basis in a sport like basketball, lacrosse or soccer.

In the next few weeks, we will look at some strategies to easily increase caloric intake.

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