Month: March 2014

Lacrosse In-Season Training

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As my home-town team’s season starts today, I find myself reading an article by an associate, Josh Williams, and excited for our clients to reap the benefits from the hard work in the off-season preparing.

Hopefully they feel faster, stronger and more confident than you did last year. All the long hours of hard work in the gym will finally be put to good use.

Now what? Should you train during the season or focus all your efforts on lacrosse?

 

I’m a strength coach. I always tell my athletes to do some kind of strength training during the season. The many benefits include maintaining your strength and power and decreasing your chance of injury.

But during the season, your performance on the field comes first. That means your lacrosse in-season training program should not interfere with your ability to play the sport at a high level.

Tips for planning your lacrosse in-season training program:
• Each session should last no longer than an hour. Forty-five minutes is ideal.
• Volume of work should be kept to a minimum (fewer sets and reps).
• Conditioning should be light and used more for building team camaraderie.
• Workouts are best done the day after a game.
• If you are feeling rundown, take a day off. Don’t forget, your main goal is to excel at lacrosse.

A few more pointers:
• The season is not the time to get fancy with your programming. Stick to your bread-and-butter multi-joint lifts to get the most impact from your time in the gym. I also like to use more tri-sets during this time. They are very time-efficient and nicely integrate the upper- and lower-body movements you need to play lacrosse. You are never just using your legs or your torso; everything works together.
• Don’t introduce a bunch of new exercises into the program, because they can cause muscle soreness.
• Avoid exercises that are eccentric, such as GHR’s, Forward Lunges, and Step-Ups. If you must program one of these exercises, introduce it during the weeks prior to the season or build up the volume gradually.
• You want a mix of power and strength movements. Perform the power movements in the beginning, so you will be fresh and can perform them at a high intensity. To increase strength, keep the intensity high, working near 85% 1RM and up. I also like to incorporate one heavy set of an exercise in each workout.

Lacrosse Training Program (Ask your trainer for modifications if you need to train at home and do not have all the equipment.)

Day 1
• Dumbbell Snatch: 4×4
• Med Ball Cross-Behind Side Toss: 3×5/side
• Dumbbell Deadlift: 3×4/1×1
• Chin-Ups: 4×3
• Ball Rollout: 4×8
• Dumbbell Bench: 3×8
• Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat: 3×6/side
• Kneeling Downward Rope Chop: 3×8/side

Day 2
• Box Jumps: 4×8
• Med Ball Chest Pass: 4×8
• Barbell Squat: 3×5/ 1×1
• Barbell Bent Over Row: 4×8
• Pallof Press: 4×10/side
• Barbell Single Leg Deadlift: 3×6/side
• Push-Up: 3×10
• Reverse Crunch: 3×15

 

I dislike the idea of working out during the season just to maintain strength and power. I can say without a doubt that with an in-season program, you will maintain; but your goal should be to get stronger and more powerful, not just maintain.
With a good program, you will get stronger and be able to play at a high level for the entire season. When playoffs come around, you will not feel rundown. You will feel stronger than you did at the beginning of the season.

Prevent Knee Pain…Now

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When spring sports starting TOMORROW, I figured I would give you a few exercises to help strengthen your knee joint.  We ask a lot from our knee joint. It’s a movement stabilizer that connects the foot and ankle to the core. Knee pain can limit movement and reduce mobility and agility and lead to injury.

Too many corrective knee exercises focus on strengthening the VMO—the teardrop muscle on the inside of the knee. But the VMO actually plays only a small role in controlling movement of the kneecap. You really need a mix of exercises that strengthen both your hips and your thighs.

Try the following exercises to develop a strong and stable knee for all activity.

Single-Leg Squats (Figures 1a and 1b) and balance exercises (Figure 2) work the gluteus medius, the muscle just above your hip bone. When this muscle is weak, the knees fall inward and put stress on the inside of the knee joint.

 

Single-Leg Squat

Single-Leg Squat – Figures 1a and 1b

 

Balance Exercise

Balance Exercise – Figure 2

Supine Bridge (Figure 3) and different Lunges strengthen the extensors such as the gluteus maximus and hamstrings—important muscles used in acceleration movements like running. Lunges also put the body in a similar position during deceleration. These will make you more athletic during cutting and changing direction activities.

 

Supine Bridge

Supine Bridge – Figure 3

Reactive Neuromuscular Training is a technique that requires a high level of body awareness. AnInline Lunge with low-resistance tubing (Figures 4a and 4b) basically tells your body to correct bad movement habits. Use resistance that gives you the feedback without fighting the exercise.

 

Inline Lunge with Resistance Tubing

Inline Lunge with Resistance Tubing – Figures 4a and 4b

References:

Kushion D, Rheaume J, Kopchitz K, Glass S, Alderink G and Jinn JH.  “EMG activation of the Vastus Medialis Oblique and Vastus Lateralis during four rehabilitative exercises.” The Open Rehabilitation Journal (2012): 5, 1-7

Cook G, Burton L, Kiesel K, Rose G, Bryan M. “Anatomical Science versus Functional Science Movement.” Functional Movement Systems (2010).

Why Eat Breakfast

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Yes, you will live without it, but why? Why would you do something, or in this case…..not do something that is healthy and improves every aspect of your life. The few times I didn’t feed my girls breakfast, not only did they pay dearly, every teacher, parent and friend also suffered the wrath!

 

You say you can’t stand breakfast.  Well, I will bet my liver that not feeling the need for breakfast is indicative of other lifestyle problems, such as eating large meals late at night or snacking throughout the evening, which would make anyone opposed to eating breakfast in the morning.

 

I have seen the benefits of instituting a regular breakfast habit after years of skipping. It takes lots of discipline to make it part of a daily schedule, but it is really not an option if you want to life the best life possible.

 

You may have heard the old saying, “Eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch, and a pauper at supper.” The idea behind it is that your body and brain need nutrients to function, and by literally ‘breaking the fast’ in the morning, you’re fueling your body to take on the day. If you care to read what you already know, I have listed a few benefits and studies to help motivate you to wake up!

 

Better academic performance: 
Thousands of studies showed that those who ate breakfast had better grades, perform better and are more likely to graduate.

 

Healthy body weight: 
Skipping breakfast makes it more likely for a person to crave snack foods later in the day and eat a disproportionately large supper. An article in the American Journal of epidemiology showed that people who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese.

 

Better food choices: 
Breakfast is a good opportunity to take in important nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and fiber. It also sets a good nutritional tone for the rest of the day. A person who skips breakfast eats 40 percent more sweets, 55 percent more soft drinks, 45 percent fewer vegetables, and 30 percent less fruit.

 

Happier disposition: 
Breakfast-skippers are grumpier.  Hungry kids are apathetic and irritable when confronted with challenges at school. Skipping breakfast often makes a person feel tired, which affects one’s mood.

 

Healthier all around: 
Eating breakfast reduces likelihood EVERY DESEASE!  Type 2 diabetes, brain disorders, cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Mark Pereira of Harvard Medical School. A study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who eat breakfast also have better cholesterol levels and aren’t as sensitive to insulin, WHICH MEANS LESS FAT-STORAGE. High-energy breakfast foods might help with short-term memory, according to the Journal of Adolescent Health.

 

The important thing is to find what kind of healthy breakfast works for you. Whether you stick with the traditional cereal or oatmeal, or go ‘Paleo’ with high-fat nuts, eggs, fruit, and meat to avoid the insulin spike that comes from eating bread, or even drink a simple protein-based shake, (I personally do all 3), it’s a good idea to get something in your belly to start your day off right. Just keep away from that sugar and white bread!