Straight bar squats can produce strength and power in the legs that enhances performance in nearly any sport, but the athlete must exercise patience during an extended, gradual process to perfect the squat safely and effectively. Taking shortcuts or rushing to strenuous weights without adequate coordinate, flexibility, range of motion, and technique risks serious, sidelining injury. I herniated a disc in my spine during college while improperly performing a squat with too much weight. Our modern lifestyle, particularly sitting on furniture, hinders our ability to squat naturally, which involves straight back, knees behind toes, and hips even or below knees. Learning the correct technique takes practice. Continue reading “Practice Makes the Perfect Squat”
What’s the best exercise to boost a particular skill?
Surprises: It’s the one you’ve never done before.
Just as intellectual learning means mastering new material – not repeating well-known answers – athletic training should constantly give the body new challenges so it becomes agile and able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances on the playing field. Continue reading “Keep the Muscles Learning New Things”
Your body is three-dimensional, and your exercise routine should be, too. Most of the traditional exercises in the training room – squats, bench press, curls, pulldowns, pullups – are in the sagittal plane, the one that splits your body up the middle into left and right sides. But your body moves in an infinite number of planes, with the sagittal and two other planes — front/ back called the frontal plane and top/bottom, called the transverse plane – marking the three major dimensions. Your many muscles that move primarily in those other planes need exercise to stay balanced and stable, avoid injury, and boost performance. Continue reading “Three-Dimensional Exercises”
Targeted Exercises Avoid Excessive Knee Injuries in Girl Athletes
The growing rate of ACL knee surgery reached 75 operations per 100,000 people in 2014, but teenage girls suffer more than three times as many injuries – 269 per 100,000 people, a 59 percent increase since 2002 (for boys, it’s 212, a 44 percent increase). Researchers have identified reasons for this imbalance, and qualified performance coaches leverage that knowledge to cut the risk in half and boost performance without bulking up. Continue reading “Joint Effort”
Don’t let the complex power/hang clean consume time and attention in the weight room
One of the biggest mistakes in youth sports training rooms is the excessive use of power/hang cleans. The Olympic lifts deliver explosive energy when practiced correctly. However, beginners need conditioning and experience to work up to the power/hang clean, the necessary coaching for such a technical exercise is often unavailable in the training room, and the risk of serious injury is high. Fortunately, there are other, less technical, exercises to provide the athlete with the power they need while they mature. Continue reading “Simply Power Up”