Sunday, July 31, 2011

Basic Training

A wise man once told me, "There are 20,000 different ways to workout, and 18,000 of them are correct." I believe this to be true. Though I think that the way I am designing workouts for my athletes at this moment is the absolute best way to train, taking into all of the considerations which determine the logistics and realities of my situation, if I learn something new that can help us I will use it.

That being said, there are so many different ways to go about designing a training program, and so many of them are "correct". There has to be a common thread. To me, its really quite simple.

Get Strong. Get Powerful. Get in Condition.

Further simplifying this, to get strong; move heavy things. To get powerful; move slightly lighter things fast. To get in condition; define what "in shape" is for your setting, and work mostly within those energy systems.

Ok, ok, these are just the basics. There are many other area's of training that make up performance. Nutrition, Recovery, Movement, Core Training, etc. etc.

I think most of these can really be pretty simple as well.

Nutrition: Eat real food. Smaller amounts. More often.
Recovery: Be consistent. I don't care what your "tool of choice" is, just do it consistently.
Movement: Joint by Joint. Ground Reaction Force.
Core Training: Stablize the spine.

If your program takes care of these things, you have taken care of basic training.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nutrition Time

Healthy Nutrition is all about consistently making smart choices. No one is perfect, but the more often than not that you can pick real food over processed, organic over not, mostly plants vs. out of a box, etc. the better off you will be.


there is of course a time and a place to splurge. After all, a big part of eating is enjoying food! If you deprive yourself of your favorites which may not be the best choices, you ultimately set yourself up for disaster.

A perfect example is Dick's Drive In in Seattle. If you are ever in the Seattle area, this is a must have!

Deluxe, Fries, and a Chocolate shake, here I come!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kettlebell Carry Progression

Kettlebell carries, whether suitcase style (by your side) or overhead are great exercises to develop spinal stability, as well as scapular-thoracic stability. It's about as simple an exercise as there is...hold a heavy kettlebell by your side (or overhead...I'll get to the technique in a moment) and go for a walk. Focus on staying still and you are trying to glide across the floor. Carries are more or less dynamic side bridges, forcing you to resist motion around your spine (the primary function of the "core" muscles) and at the same time gives you great bang for your buck hip control. The overhead version, which I implement as a progression, adds some difficulty to the core stability, while at the same time really challenges scap. stability....which is key to shoulder health.

The keys are as follows:

In the suitcase version, shoulder blades should be pulled down and back. Think BIG posture. Maintain that position while you walk as straight a line as posible. Once you get the basics down, focus on diaphragmatic breathing. We usually walk about 20 yards, switch hands, and walk back.

In the overhead version, the up shoulder should be "packed" while the down scap should be pulled down and back, just like in the suitcase style. "Packed" will mean slightly different things to people in different circles, however the basics are to have your arm extended straight up, palm facing forward. In that position, pull the arm down into the shoulder girdle. If your arm is straight and you have a few inches between your bicep and your ear, you are in pretty good shape. Keep it there the entire time. Last but not least, keep your knuckles pointing up at the ceiling. There should be no break in your wrist, meaning you have to actively hold the Kettlebell in place, not just let it dangle on the back of your forearm.

In the video I walk through a few progressions, starting with simple suitcase carries, followed by the overhead version, then I combine the two for an overhead/suitcase walk (heavier KB on the down side). Following that, I begin to implement lateral steps and a carrioca walk to continue to challenge the scap stablizers in a different plane, and finally I put all the directions together into a "square" pattern, where I walk forward, put the breaks on, carrioca walk, walk back, and carrioca walk to the start. Don't forget to do both sides!

These are just a few versions and progressions my athletes go through to address core and scapular-thoracic stability.

(BTW the video is about 3 min long, and I walk out of the frame a few times...whoops!)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Physio Ball Stretch Circuit

Here is a circuit of stretches using the Physio Ball that I am trying out with my athletes. We would complete this pre-workout, just after foam rolling, and/or post workout as part of our regeneration work. I really like using the ball for the stretches because it makes it easy to get the right amount of intensity and also helps position the athlete correctly. Often, players will "fake" stretch, and get into positions that kind of look right, but aren't.

By supporting themselves with the ball, we can easily keep natural spinal allignment, and use body weight to get the desired intensity, instead of trying to force a position which is uncomfortable. Most of these stretches were held for about 5 seconds in the video, or for 5 reps, but generally we would hold positions for about :20-:30 or move in and out of the stretch about 10 times.

The order goes like this:
1/2 Kneeling Quad/Hip Flexor
Figure 4
Short Adductors
Long Adductors
Hip Internal Rotation (mobility, not flexibility, but who's keeping track)
Pec Minor

Great Women's Volleyball session today!

Had a great Monday morning workout with Stanford Women's Volleyball. The team was in the weight room 10 minutes early, full of energy and ready to go! They got some really great work done, all while adding some new exercises.

Today we implemented Punch and Float Step Up Box Jumps, Prone Valslide Hip Flexion, Anti Rotation Press Lateral Steps, Overhead KB Square Walks, and Glute Ham Raises....all were new progressions and I was very pleased how quickly all the players picked up the technical aspect of each exercise!

In addition to these exercises, we got in some great KB Swings, RFE Squats, TRX inverted rows, and I even jumped in with them in the conditioning portion on the slideboards...all by 8:30am!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Nutrition Time

Sunday's around here are grocery shopping day, and we are fortunate enough to be able to walk to a wonderful farmers market.

A basic premise to healthy eating is to eat real foods whenever possible. If you can get and afford organic, thats even better. Stay away from processed food as it will be chock full of things your body just doesn't need. If it comes in a box, leave it alone!

On the list today was:

Garlic Jack Cheese
a big ol' onion


Today's workout

So it seems to be a common thread that other performance coaches tend to post the workouts they are doing on their various blogs. I guess I will do the same...maybe it will give me something to write more often!

Today Erica and I worked out together. It looked like this:

Foam Roll
Box Stretch

Mobility- Ankle Swings x10, 3 Way Squat x5 each
Activation- Cook Hip Lift 3x:10 each
Linear Dynamic

Single Leg Linear Box hops 3x3 w/
Overhead Med Ball Throws 2x8

KB Swings 3x10
Ball Rollouts 3x8
Pec Minor Stretch

Slideboard KB Reverse Lunge 3x10
TRX Row 3x10
Physio Ball Figure 4 Glute Stretch

1/2 Kneeling KB Overhead Press 3x8
Tall Kneeling Anti Rotation Press 3x10

Versa Climber 3min @:15 sprint/:45 walk, 1min Rest, Repeat

Not a bad start to our Sunday!

Stanford Volleyball Camp Talk

I spoke today for the first of three short seminars at the Stanford Girls Volleyball Camp on performance training for volleyball. It was a bit off the cuff as I was a little surprised to not be fed questions like last year. Instead I had to fly improv style and speak to about 100 young ladies. This was further complicated by the differences in age, as one group was 4th-6th grade, and the other group was in highschool. No matter, I spoke about our program here at Stanford, and explained how important training was to the performance and development of the young players (I told the younger kids that the best thing they could do for themselves was to have fun and play multiple sports).

I touched on the importance of lifting weights in a proper setting and program and how getting strong would benefit them and their goals as volleyball players. Also, I commented on the importance of breakfast and post workout nutrition. I wanted to keep the message simple, that when it came to training and nutrition, the basics and consistency go a long way!

I'm Bloggin!!

Well, here goes nothin. I'm officially blogging.

First up, linear speed development. There seems to be some confusion lately on how to achieve this goal. To me it's pretty simple. Get strong. Push hard with a big range of motion. That's pretty much it. Sure you can get cute with parachutes and towing straps and a buch of other junk, but really the most effective tools include: a short lesson or two on the basics of mechanics followed up by some short sprints with lots of rest in between, after that you jump behind a heavy sled and push it around a few times, essentially teaching your body how to exert force, then move something kinda heavy as fast as possible (cleans or snatches) teaching your body to produce force rapidly, and finally get strong. I don't really care how you do it. Squat, deadlift, single leg work, whatever. Just pick up and move something heavy.

Is there more to it? Sure, everything else in good training goes into linear speed development, but these are the bare bones basics. Practice moving as fast as possible, then do a few things to get strong so the next time you practice you can produce a little more force and go a little faster. Voila.