Fitness and Performance

RECOVERY RULES

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Recovery can change your life… and should be incorporated into every workout program

1. Cycle Your Workouts

You can’t always go hard. It’s a recipe for injury, regression, and pain, which are just a handful of the many agonizing symptoms associated with overtraining. Split up your routine to avoid working the same body parts on consecutive days and be sure you’re mixing in a variety of exercises, modalities and training tools.

2. Commit to Active Recovery

I suggest two active recovery days a week. Now active recovery doesn’t mean complete rest. Instead focus on low-intensity activities like walking, yoga, meditation and stretching. These will encourage repair, regeneration and recovery, without further muscle breakdown and energy expenditure.

3. Take Time Off Each Week

Take one day off from all exercise per week. While active recovery is a great way to initiate recovery, your body does need time off (even if it doesn’t feel like it!) During those rest days, be sure you’re eating right and fueling up on fluids for maximal recovery.

4. Foam Roll Pre-Workout

All it takes is five minutes before your workout to lengthen your fascia and soften hardened tissue. And let’s be honest: No recovery routine is complete without a foam roll. Hit your hips, glutes, IT bands, adductors, chest, lats and back. I assure you, this minor commitment will pay major dividends.

5. Stretch Before Bed

Increase your flexibility and mobility with a short stretch sequence before hitting the hay. There’s no better time to lengthen and strengthen than right before bed. Poses like Down Dog, Up Dog, Pigeon Pose and Savasana (this one may actually put you to bed!) will relax your mind and prep your body for major recovery as you start snoozing.

6. Practice Breathwork and Meditation Daily

There’s nothing better than quieting your mind, listening to your spirit and tapping deep inside your soul. That is why I practice breathwork for three minutes every morning and three minutes every evening—and frankly, that’s all you need for success. *Don’t get hung up on the word “meditation.” Any quiet time with intention qualifies. So whether it’s through prayer, meditation or breathwork, take three minutes minimum (more is better here!) twice a day for deep focus on YOU.

7. Soft Tissue Work Is a Must

I suggest receiving a massage or bodywork at least once a month. When it comes to soft tissue work, the more, the merrier! Heck, my goal is always one massage/bodywork session per week.

8. Use Recovery Hacks & Tools

Other elite recovery tools include infrared saunas, cryotherapy tanks, hyperbaric chambers, NormaTec boots massagers.

9. Sleep Is Crucial

Did you know your phone has an OFF button? Ditch your devices one hour before bed, invest in blackout curtains, find the right room temperature, read and practice gratitude journaling for superior slumber. It’s not about the hours. It’s about the quality.

10. Practice Great Nutrition & Supplementation

Glutamine, protein, fish oil and CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine are all excellent supplements to expedite recovery and amplify performance. These are the techniques I practice, preach and have endorsed for years. Invest time in recovery and you’ll feel and perform better than ever! #RecoveryRules

You can train hard and eat right, but if you do not recover, you’ll never be your best.

Spring Athletic Development Training

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Attention High School and Middle School Athletes

Register for the Spring Session Now (Runs March 11th – May 31st)

SPORT4

K2’s 2-Day / 13-week program is designed to help your athlete…

– Become Quicker, Faster, Stronger
– Develop first step quickness
– Develop breakaway speed
– Change directions quicker
– Jump Higher and Further
– Strengthen Muscles to help prevent injury

Reserve your spot in one of our 60-minute high school programs here >> 2x Week

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Reserve your spot in one of our middle school Programs here >> 2x Week

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Interested in getting a head start for your young athlete. Call about grammar school program > 908-803-8019

Stay strong during the season with our flexible STAY STRONG program.  Train 1x week to make sure you dont lose your strength and speed.  Includes mobility and postural training to help you stay healthy and prevent injusry > STAY STRONG

Looking to get your AAU/Travel or HS Team together? Consider one of our TEAM Training programs!

Breathing For Fitness

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Do you breathe with your belly or your chest?  If you are not sure you should make this priority number one.

Diaphragmatic (Also known as belly) breathing is essential for optimal results in the gym, on the field or anywhere else you exert yourself

Watch this video now if you are unsure.

The bottom line is that you need to breathe with for diaphragm and not your chest.

Our breathing muscle (the diaphragm) coordinates our deep core muscles which include the pelvic floor, transverse abdominis (deep abdominal muscle), and multifidi (spinal stabilizers). These muscles form a “canister” around our abdominal organs. The top is formed by the diaphragm, the front, and sides by the transverse abdominis, and the bottom by the pelvic floor.

Good posture is the precursor to all essential movements in the body, which includes breathing. Breathing may seem like the action that must take place first, but without good posture we are physically incapable of breathing effectively….and vice versa.

Try sitting in a slouched position and take a big breath in, it should feel more taxing to breath in and then exhale as compared to sitting in a nice tall position. This is because our posture sets the stage for coordinating the foundation for all stability in our body….the CORE!!

This canister system is activated as soon as we start to allow air to fill our lungs. On an inhale our diaphragm goes down as our lungs fill with air, the pelvic floor relaxes and creates natural pressure into the core. When we exhale air begins to leave our lungs, the diaphragm goes back up and the pelvic floor contracts with the release of the pressure. When we use this system of deep breathing we will naturally strengthen the core and pelvic floor.

When we exhale to exert ourselves we can harness strength and power from our deep core muscles to help us perform better. Now go get yourself into a good position. keep yourself there, and breath deeply!

More breathing info will follow, but feel free to contact me directly with questions.

Kevin

Periodization as a Strategy, Not a Tactic –

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By Karsten Jensen

Periodization is a controversial topic within our field and has been since I started training back in 1992.  Whether you believe in periodization or not for your athletes, this article will shed some light on the topic.  Enjoy!

 

Below are some of the critique points that I have come across in recent years:

  • Periodization is not scientifically proven.
  • Periodization is overrated and over studied.
  • Periodization is too rigid and does not work for our athletes.
  • Periodization is too time-consuming.
  • Periodization is too complex and only for people in lab coats

These critique points may be true if your understanding of Periodization is limited to Periodization as a tactic. However, Periodization is fundamentally a strategy.

From my personal experience as a strength coach, author, and lecturer over the last 25 years, I have found it incredibly useful – even absolutely necessary – to distinguish between principles, strategies, and tactics in order to really understand a particular topic.

Thus, the purpose of this article is to

  • Highlight the difference between principles, strategies, and tactics as it applies to Periodization.
  • Show that you can reject any one example of Periodization as a tactic, but you cannot reject Periodization as a strategy (and this insight will be extremely helpful)

What is a principle?

A “principle” is a basic truth, law or assumption (thefreedictionary.com).  A first principle is a basic, foundational, self-evident proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption.

What could be deemed the first principle of athletic development? I recommend that you answer that in detail for yourself in a way that resonates with your work.

My background is strength and conditioning, not coaching a specific sport. Thus, here is a suggestion for the 1st Principle of  Athletic Development as centered on the physical side:

Optimal development of bio-motor abilities (physical qualities) to support the ability to practice and compete (the specific sport/s) – with maximal quality – at the desired level, at a given age.

You could say that a principle is vague. However, the above phrase invites critical questions and consequences:

  • What does optimal mean? It is the balance of all involved abilities that support the young athlete’s ability to practice and compete.
  • Supporting the ability to practice and compete with maximal quality implies prevention of injury and the nourishment of motivation, joy and confidence.

Thus, the 1st Principle defines the overall objective of our work as coaches.

How are we going to achieve this objective?

principle strategy tactic

Figure 1: The overarching task is defining the 1st Principle. The strategy is chosen to achieve the 1st Principle. Tactics are used to execute the strategy.

 

A Strategy is Chosen to Achieve the Objective That is Defined by the 1st Principle

A strategy is the larger, overall plan designed to achieve a major or overall aim. The strategy will be comprised of several tactics.  A strategy is broad, big-picture and future-oriented (1)

The training literature contains multiple but related definitions of Periodization. (2)  Fundamentally, the word periodization means “a division in to periods.”

If you do a web search with the word periodization, you will find books on sports training, history and geology.

Thus, “periodization” is a word similar to “categorization” (dividing items – for example, apples divided into categories) or classification (for example dividing athletes into age groups, levels or weight classes).

From the definition of periodization as a ‘division into periods” it becomes clear that, fundamentally, periodization is a strategy for organizing long-term training by dividing the training into shorter periods.

We can take this definition a step further and suggest a more training-specific definition of periodization:

“Periodization is a division of a longer training cycle into periods with different goals, structures, and content of the training program.  When these periods are sequenced in such a way that the training adaptations in one period prepare the athlete for the training in the next period, then the selected physical abilities are optimized at the goal-attainment date.”

The above definition highlights why periodization as a strategy is virtually unavoidable unless your training programs always:

  • Are geared toward the same training adaptation
  • Have the same structure
  • Have the same content

Tactics

Clearly, there are more decisions to be made before we have a finished program. These more detailed decisions are the “tactics.” The strategy can be executed with different tactics.  Tactics are plans, tasks, or procedures that can be carried out. Tactics may be part of a larger strategy.

So far, Linear Periodization, Reverse Linear Periodization, Undulating Periodization, and Block Periodization are the only systems that have been researched in controlled studies. These systems are all periodization tactics.

I have never seen a critique of periodization as a strategy. When I have seen a critique of periodization, the critique has been of a particular periodization tactic.

As a trainer, you can look at any one of those systems and decide whether or not they are not ideal tactics for the athletes that you work.

However, once you make that choice, you still have to decide how are you going to organize your long-term training?

Conclusion

This article described a hierarchy of 1st principles, strategy, and tactics. It made the argument that periodization is fundamentally a strategy. Yet, the critique of periodization is typically centered on tactics rather than principles or strategies.

A “next step” in exploring periodization is the question about how to divide the long-term period into shorter periods as well as a deeper look into the characteristics of the mentioned periodization systems.  More to come….

  1. https://www.diffen.com/difference/Strategy_vs_Tactic
  2. Jensen, K. Appendix 1. Periodization Simplified: How To Use The Flexible Periodization Method on the Fly. www.yestostrength.com

 

Karsten Jensen has helped world class and Olympic athletes from 26 sports disciplines since 1993. Many of his athletes have won Olympic medals, European Championships, World Championships and ATP Tournaments.

Karsten is the first strength coach to create a complete system of periodization, The Flexible Periodization Method – the first complete method of periodization dedicated to holistic, individualized and periodized (H.I.P) training programs.

Karsten shares all aspects of The Flexible Periodization Method (FPM) with his fellow strength coaches and personal trainers through The Flexible Periodization Method workshop series (Levels I-VIII).  Find more information at www.yestostrength.com

3 Reasons Distance Runners Shouldn’t Skip Strength Training

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Distance runners often intuitively feel that the only way to improve running performance is to increase mileage and run more.

Although this approach will work for a while, you will eventfully reach a point of diminishing returns. Once you’ve hit that juncture, any additional running will not bring many benefits in terms of improving performance, but the injury risk will continue to increase.

With each step, you make contact with the ground. Those contacts create impact forces that travel through your body and need to be absorbed somewhere. If your muscles are not strong enough to absorb this load, connective tissues like tendons and bones will suffer most. This may eventually lead to many of the most feared injuries amongst runners like stress fractures, IT band, and tendon problems.

The logical way to improve muscle strength and avoid many of the previously mentioned issues is to incorporate strength training into your routine. But distance runners often fear weight training will make them slow and bulky, as carrying the extra weight of added muscle mass means more work on every stride. However, research has found that if the strength training is performed complementary to your running, this won’t be the case. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that “40 weeks of strength training can significantly improve maximal- and reactive-strength qualities, (running economy) and (velocity at maximal oxygen uptake), without concomitant hypertrophy, in competitive distance runners.” That means the runners became stronger, more efficient runners without experiencing significant changes in body composition.

But stepping into the weight room and performing hours of Biceps Curls isn’t going to get distance runners the results they want. Exercise programs we create for runners need to take into account their running training, address specific weaknesses, and focus on specific physical qualities that will have a high transfer to running.

With that in mind, here are three benefits well-implemented strength training offers distance runners.

1. Better Running Efficiency

Like the fuel economy of a car, the less energy and oxygen used at a certain pace, the longer you can run at that specific speed. For distance runners, this means you can maintain higher speeds during your runs, which translates to better times. In addition to the study discussed above, a 2013 study found that runners who incorporated strength training as a part of their training improved running economy by more than 6 percent! And again, this improvement in running economy came about in the absence of any increases in body weight or muscle size.

2. Increase in Running Speed

Aside from incorporating hill running, tempo running, sprint and interval running, if you want to fully develop your speed potential, strength training is a must. Developing adequate muscle strength will provide a base for power training, which will rely on that strength to convert it to speed. Greater muscle strength relative to your body weight, as was achieved in the aforementioned study, means greater potential to further develop running speed.

3. Injury Prevention

A stronger body and stronger muscles are better able to absorb impact forces and resist injuries. By incorporating progressive overload with strength training, we are not just improving muscle strength, but also getting our tendons, ligaments and bones thicker and stronger.

Having adequate muscle strength means muscles are able to properly stabilize joints and allow expression of proper running form. This usually means reduction or prevention of pelvic drop, crossover, or even the heel strike pattern.

As a result of the repetitive nature of the sport, runners tend to develop asymmetries and weaknesses at specific points along the kinetic chain. This leads to an over-reliance on one side, which can cause overuse injuries on that side. Properly designed strength training will reduce or eliminate these asymmetries and weak points and thereby reduce the risk of injuries.

Aside from all the previously mentioned benefits to running, strength training has many other benefits that make it worth investing extra effort and/or energy in making it part of your exercise routine. The good news is that you don’t have to do much right away to experience these benefits. Start slow, make it a habit, and over time, as you get more advanced, start increasing the volume and intensity of your strength training.

Thanks to Stack.com and Nemanja Sambaher – Nemanja Sambaher is a Certified Personal Trainer and Registered Kinesiologist in Toronto, Ontario with a Master of Science degree in Kinesiology.

Improve Speed Now!

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Part 1: Actual Drills to improve speed ASAP.
by Kevin Haag, CSCS. Speed and Agility Coach

We are starting with the actually drill so that our young athletes can practice them and improve on-field speed immediately.  Be sure to check with your coach to make sure they are being done perfectly!!

I Believe, (Speed = Biomechanics + Force + Power)

Therefore

  • Step 1) Learn Proper Sprinting Mechanics and Fundamentals
  • Step 2) Increase Power – You need muscles to move fast
  • Step 3) Generate force into the ground

Speed is a skill….Skills are learned……so, therefore speed can be learned:

Below are 3 drills to improve each of these areas.  For you to elicit change in your body, you must perform these drills at 100% and with consistency.  Not in any area of life, will 1 hour a week change or improve anything. Perform these drills 3 times a week for immediate results.

Fundamental Mechanics of Sprinting

Although not an individual segment of mechanics in sprinting, posture is the foundation that allows the other techniques to be performed properly. Listed below are components of posture:

  1. Erect body with hips under the center of mass
  2. The head is looking straight with the chin slightly in.
  3. The pelvis should be neutral or slightly posterior to allow for complete cycling of the legs.
  4. The chest should be up and the shoulders back (neutral) to allow for proper swing action of the arms from the shoulder joint.

Once proper posture is established, the actions of the legs and the phases in which they should go through will be more efficient.

 

Step 1: Mechanics Drills

  1. Seated Arm Action.Arm Speed Controls Leg Speed) 1) Rotation at shoulder 2) Elbow at 90 degrees 3) Thumb moves from cheek-to-cheek
  2. Wall Drill – 1 – 3 – 5 Counts. Set-up: Straight Line from head-shoulders-hips-knees-ankle. Wall: wrists at shoulder height
  3. Acceleration A-Run. Faster Movement with High Knees

Step 3 Power Drills: Get Stronger and more powerful

Step 2 Force Drills:  Put Force into the ground

 

 

Preseason Basketball Training

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By Tim DiFrancesco, former head strength coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

A preseason basketball workout program should prepare your body for the movement skills of the game—jumping, landing, acceleration and deceleration.

“You need to prepare your body to be fluid and able to execute those skills with repetition,” he says. “This will prepare your bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles for those types of actions, which you’ll be doing more and more of as you get into the season.”

Many basketball players fail to take this into account with their training. They fall prey to old-school preseason workouts that emphasize long-distance running to improve conditioning, but fail to address the many other aspects of the game. Worse, they often set themselves up for injury by causing their bodies to break down before the season even begins.

“A lot of players come in and are more prepared to run a marathon than to play an acceleration-, deceleration-, jump- and landing-based sport with physical contact and short-burst energy system requirements,” he adds.

Exactly as we do at K2, DiFrancesco’s solution is a workout program that pairs plyometric and strength exercises together. He explains this formula is the ideal way to improve both performance and durability, which are equally crucial to a healthy and productive season.

preseason basketball workout

Preseason Basketball Workout

DiFrancesco’s plan features three workouts per week. These workouts should be done in the four weeks leading up to your season, and can be completed if you’re currently playing fall basketball or another sport.

Each workout is broken up into two tri-sets—a tri-set is essentially a superset with three exercises. The first exercise is a lower-body strength move, which is followed by a lower-body plyometric (except for Farmer’s Walks on Day 3). The tri-sets finish with an upper-body strength or core exercise. Many of the exercises are single-arm/leg or lateral moves to prepare your body for moving in multiple directions in a game.

Here’s how to use the plan:

– You’ll notice that each exercise has four rep prescriptions separated by a forward slash (3×6/8/10/12), which indicates the number of reps you’ll perform on Week 1, 2, 3 and 4. In this instance, you’d do 3 sets of 6 reps on Week 1, 3 sets of 8 reps on Week 2 and so on.

– Perform the exercises back to back to complete a set of the tri-set. Then work your way back through the exercises for another set, and once again for a third set.

– Moving through this with minimal rest between exercises will provide an excellent conditioning effect, but make sure to rest when needed to maintain proper exercise form.

– These workouts are fairly short but that’s all you need. If you stick to the plan as written, this is more than enough to challenge your body and make you a better athlete.

– Choose a weight that allows you to complete every rep for each set with perfect form. The goal here is quality reps to build a stronger and more durable body, not to get hurt attempting to lift a weight that’s far too heavy.

– Do the workouts on non-consecutive days to allow your muscles to recover between workouts.

– Finally, stay consistent!

Day 1

1A) Barbell Rack Pulls – 3×6/8/10/12

1B) Broad Jump – 3×4/6/8/10

1C) Push-Up – 3×8/10/12/15

2A) Goblet Squat – 3×6/8/10/12

2B) Squat Jump – 3×4/6/8/10

2C) Chin-Up – 3×4/6/8/10

Day 2

1A) Goblet Lateral Squat – 3×4/5/6/8 each side

1B) Skater Jump – 3×10/12/16/20

1C) Dumbbell Single-Arm Row – 3×8/10/12/15 each side

2A) Kettlebell Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat – 3×5/6/8/10 each side

2B) Split Squat Jumps – 3×4/6/8/10

2C) Dumbbell Incline Bench Press – 3×8/10/12/15

Day 3

1A) Dumbbell Single-Leg RDL – 3×4/5/6/8 each side

1B) Bounding – 3×10/12/16/20

1C) Band/Cable Half-Kneeling Single-Arm V Row – 3×6/8/10/12 each side

2A) Dumbbell Hip Thrust – 3×8/10/12/15

2B) Farmer’s Walk – 3x10yd/15yd/20yd/30yd

2C) Squat Stance Pallof Press – 3×8/10/12/15 each side