Archive for May, 2013

Here’s another of my articles that was published to Stack today:

http://www.stack.com/2013/05/29/baseball-lifts/

baseball fielder

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Here’s my latest article for Stack.com, 3 Barbell/Dumbbell Complexes for Strength and Maximal Fat Burn.

 

trap bar deadlift

One problem that we ran into a lot last offseason at Next Level Sports Performance was that we had a lot of athletes in the gym, and not enough equipment for everybody to use. This year, thankfully, we’ll be expanding and buying more equipment/plates/dumbbells, so this hopefully won’t be an issue anymore. However, last year we had to do a lot of improvising due to limited equipment. For starters, our dumbbells only went up to 50 pounds, and we only had 2 of each. We had four 45-lb plates, and 2 each of 35s, 25s, 10s, 5s, and 2.5s. With up to 6 athletes in the gym at a time, this quickly became a problem.

The majority of the time I spent writing programs was dedicated to figuring out how to best utilize our resources, while making sure everyone got the work that they needed. I’d say out of every hour I spent programming, 40 minutes of it was dedicated to figuring out creative ways to make use of what we had, without shortchanging anybody.

If you’re ever in a situation where you don’t have access to the gym equipment you normally use, you can use these methods to still get a good workout in. Or, if you’re looking to add some variety to your workouts, you can substitute these exercises into your current program.

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One of the 13-year-olds I train came in early to throw with his dad before training last week, and I came over to watch a few throws. Whenever I watch one of my students hit or throw I always try to come up with one thing they’re doing well, and one thing they’re doing poorly that they need to work on. In this case, the thing I noticed about Tommy’s throwing motion was a lack of hip/shoulder separation. I’ve talked about the importance of hip/shoulder separation and the stretch shortening cycle before in this article on my site, and this article on Stack.com. If you haven’t read those articles, give them a look to understand why hip/shoulder separation is so imperative to pitching velocity. Basically, we want the shoulders to stay closed while the hips open up, which pre-stretches the muscles across the front of the body, causing a more powerful contraction in those muscles, which makes you throw harder.

That said, one of the most common problems I see in young throwers is that their glove side will open too early (known as “flying out” or “flying open”), which eliminates any chance for hip/shoulder separation. (more…)

I don’t technically train the lifter in these videos, but he helps me out a lot by taking videos and pictures for my articles, so I return the favor by putting together programs for him and coaching him on the lifts. He’s 5 months removed from major knee surgery, trying to join the Marines, and looking to get bigger and stronger. For these reasons, one of the lifts he’s been doing a lot of is the deadlift. I can’t think of many other exercises that will build overall strength quite like deadlifts will, and building glute and hip strength is a necessity for people coming back from knee surgery. Deadlifts will also help pack on muscle like nobody’s business. In the past month while following the program I made for him, his body weight has gone from 165 to 180 lbs; not a small increase by any means.

I posted a video of him deadlifting a few weeks ago, and while watching it I noticed that his lower back tension was lacking. Somehow I missed this while actually videoing the exercise, probably because I was looking at a tiny camera screen while doing so. At any rate, we made a small adjustment to his deadlifts today and his form is now much better as a result.

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Having a good vertical jump can be a huge asset for any athlete, regardless of sport. Even if your sport doesn’t involve much jumping, improving your vertical jump has a carryover effect to running speed and overall explosiveness. For football, basketball, and volleyball players, the vertical jump is also one of the first “measurables” that scouts and college coaches look at when evaluating talent, so not only will the ability to jump high help you succeed in your sport, it will make you more valuable to the people that decide who gets to play on their teams.

You have to impress the guys carrying stopwatches if you want to play at the next level

You have to impress the guys carrying stopwatches if you want to play at the next level

Given the importance of having a good vertical jump, you’d think that more trainers would know how to put together a program to improve one’s vert. However, this is not really the case. (more…)

First, a little background information:

Balance is one of the most important things when it comes to designing a sound strength and conditioning program. For example, if a program includes 3 pressing exercises, it should also include 3 pulling exercises to maintain strength balance across the body. If somebody performs a ton of bench pressing without any rowing-type exercises, the mucles in the chest will become bigger and stronger, but the muscles in the back will not. Over time, this discrepancy in strength between the chest and back will lead to, at best, poor posture and, at worst, an injury. Since nobody wants to be injured, it’s typically a good idea to make sure that you try to balance movements in your strength and conditioning program.

This concept isn’t confined to pushing and pulling, however. Every movement at every joint should -in theory- be balanced. This, of course, is assuming that no imbalances exist to begin with. If somebody does have an existing strength imbalance, or they play a sport that requires repetitive movement (e.g. throwing), they should adjust their program to account for these issues.

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