Friday, September 28, 2012

5 In-Season Keys to Enhance Athletic Performance (Part 2)

Part 2


Hey there and welcome back to part 2 of this installment.  You can read part 1 here.  Continuing on where we left off on part 1, we are gonna keep giving you some tips for you to be in the best possible shape so you can perform at your best during the season.  We don't want to let all the hard work during the off-season go to waste, so we much do some extra work to maintain, and even gain during the season. 

If you follow these keys I can guarantee you will feel and perform better this sports season.  So let's get started at number 3 on the list

3.    Movement Quality

When I speak of movement quality in this sense I am talking about maintaining ROM, mobility, and tissue health.  During the season a couple of things happen, athletes become tight and inhibited from equipment (shoes, pads, tape, etc) and from repetitive movement patterns (performing the same type of movements day in and day out).  This can create some imbalances, tightness/restrictions in certain areas. So what you want to insure is that you are keep yourself from being tight and inhibited.

So what things do you have to do to prevent this?  Easy here a few

·         Mobility- Make sure you are getting extra Mobility work in areas of need.  These areas are usually your ankles, hips, and thoracic spine.  Depending on your sport your groin and hamstrings are often problem areas as well.  But just read your body and you will know where you are tight and need to target.  If you need some ideas, I have some mobility videos on the videos link on my hope page.

·         Soft Tissue Work- We would all love to get weekly massages, but for most of us this is not financially realistic.  What is realistic is self-massage through foam rolling variations if very effective as well.  You can use a foam roller, PVC pipe, tennis ball, lacrosse ball, your hands, or even a friend could mash you (basically stand on you and move around).  These variations are all excellent options, but I warn you not to hop into the PVC pipe, lacrosse ball, or mashing right away as your body will not be ready for the intensity of these and they will leave you sore. Like anything else progress into it gradually

Hurts Soooo Good

·         Activation Exercises-  Activation exercises means waking up and getting muscles prepared for activity.  Through our sports, development through the years, and body alignments/posture some of our muscles are not involved as much as we want them to be.  They need to be programmed to be involved more, and this is wear activation comes in.  Muscles such as your glutes, core (transverse abdominals, oblique’s), posterior shoulder girdle, and psoas often need a little extra help waking up and being ready for activity.  So including activation exercises can not only help these muscles be more apt to be involved in your preceding activity, but can also help with postural problems, any pain, and can increase fluidity and efficiency of movements.

·         Warm-Up- Most team warm-ups for practice are not adequate, so it is important that you know your body and how you operate, and get extra work if needed.  I would recommend to all athletes to do their own series of self-massage, activation, and mobility for about 10 minutes before every practice.  This will help immensely with your performance during practice, and you’ll notice a big difference in how you perform early in practice, and later in practice as your body is better prepared.

4.    Stress Reduction

A recent study by Stanford University concluded that more than 95% of all disease is created by stress.

Let me say that again


Holy crap, is that important.  Even If that number is incorrect by double, and that’s wayyy off, that would mean stress is the root for 47.5% of all disease.  That would still be a very significant number, and enough to take very seriously about how to keep stress under control.

When you continually have stress, everyday, your body begins to break down, and you are no longer able to repair yourself.  You can see how this could can cause a lot of problems in every aspect of your life. 

Don't Need to Go to the Mountains,
But Hey Whatever Work

To help keep this under control you must understand what type of person you are.  The old type A or type B personality trait is an easy way to figure out what category you might fall in.  Type A is classified as high-strung while type B as easy going. 

Type A people are very detail oriented, organized, great time managers, and want to have control of every situation.  This will lead them more likely to develop stress because if things do not go according to plan they tend to get irritated, “blow” a fuse, and let things linger. 

Type A people are generally very competitive, and many athletes are this type of person.  You can see both the positives and negatives to having this personality.  It is important for a type A person to know what causes them to “break” and develop techniques that calm them down and relieve their stress.  For some this might be meditation, yoga, watching a movie, going on a walk, talking to someone, taking a nap or getting extra sleep, going to the weight room to blow off steam, etc.  Whatever it is, you need to figure out what helps you best so you don’t let stress linger.

Type B on the other hand are laid back, easy going, and don’t let things linger with them.  They generally have lower stress levels, but that does not mean they do not have any stress. They too can develop stress, but usually are better equipped for handling them due to their natural personalities.  Type B people still need to figure out outlets for their stress, as they might not be used to dealing with stressful situations and not know what to do when stress arises.

Overall it is important to do things that give you a break from everything.  I always find going to a Sunday matinee movie and staying for 2 or 3 movies does the trick for me.  Spending time with loved ones while enjoying good food also always does the trick.  You gotta find what works for you, because it is important to get away from time to time.  Enjoy your life, you have it better than 90% people out there, so put that into perspective and have fun.

These are My Doggies.  As You Can Tell
From All My Posts, I'm A Dog Person

5.    Weight Room

The time you spend in the weight room during the season is very valuable.  I think a common misconception is that you cannot get stronger during the season; it’s just a time to maintain as best as you can.  I think that is bull shit.  You can get stronger and improve during the season, as long as you take the right approach.  Now I will say it takes some good planning, great recovery, and is more difficult than the off-season, but it can be done.

During the season training has to be altered to fit in with the demanding needs of the sports' practices and games.  This means training volume needs to be decreased, but that does not mean the intensity has to be greatly decreased.  Also we want our athletes to be fresh and ready for their sports, so some adjustments to eccentric and exercises that put us in a stretched position also need to be adjusted, as these lead to soreness. 

So some good ideas are sled or prowler pulls/pushes (no eccentric portion), step-up (no ecc. portion), KB swings, Olympics lifts, reverse hypers, hip thrusts, and extra core work should be maximized.  This does not mean our base-compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, bench, etc should be eliminated, but they should be altered for low set and low reps and moderate-to-high intensity.  The deadlift could be altered to lower intensity with a snatch grip to help groove the movement and get extra work on the hamstrings and upper back.  This will allow us to keep our strength levels, and even work to increase it during the season. 

Great Exercise to Eliminate Ecc. Portion.  And to Work
Lower Body Power, Acceleration Mechanics,
Conditioning, Shoulder Stabilization.

Exercises to avoid if there are games or intense practice ensuing would be RDL variations, lunges, RFESS, or anything with a strenuous eccentric portion.  All of these will lead you to be very sore, and could put you in harms ways.  Also be sure to cut back on overall duration of your workouts, your sets, and reps.  Your workout should only be taking about 40-50 min, and much of that should be spent on extra mobility, activation, and core, while the rest should be just a few good sets at your big compound lift. 

Get in, get after it, and get out should be your motto during the season.

So there you have it, 5 great tips to make this next sport season your best.  Stay healthy and stay at your best, and you will see the great benefit in your success.  Put these into action and get on that field and Go Get 'Em!

Would love hear any comments, questions, or input.  Positive or negative, any and all is appreciated.

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