Are your Fitness Gains being Stolen?

Stop Having Your Fitness Gains Stolen

From pro athletes to weekend warriors, training hard is a strong part of the culture of competition.   If you want to improve, you train hard, so your bod and mind can adapt.

But what if your gains are being stolen and part of that hard work is being wasted?

In a lot of cases, it is.

Stress Can Hold You Back

Among coaches in the world of elite sports, many know that a player that is too stressed wont recover.  Physically or mentally.  This means so much of the time and energy put into practice and training end up wasted.

Just as an athlete has a training program, they also have a recovery program.  It’s based on individual profiles and coordinated with training and competition.  Its not static either and often changes through the season, month or even week to week.

Sport science backs this as well.   A 2012 study in the respected journal, Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, demonstrated that psychological stress from life reduced recovery of muscle function.

In 2014 the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research published a paper showing that the more a subject experienced stress, the worse their recovery.  In this study participants with more stress had worse recovery of muscle function, as well as how their body felt.

This is not exactly what you are going for in your training.

Measure and Manage

Today in elite sports, teams have a sport science and/or recovery staff dedicated to this. In some, systems are used to measure the player’s status on a daily or weekly basis.  One of the most advanced is called Omegawave and has a history of several decodes in settings like Olympic teams and military special forces.

Systems like this provide information tells you about your recovery through both the autonomic and central nervous systems.  It provides feedback on your level of recovery and how much “adaptation potential” your body has.

In other cases, good old fashioned self-reports provide a lot of insight.  Usually, in apps or online, players can rate how they feel and are performing in various measures. Although relatively simple, if the questions are right, they can be incredibly helpful and scientifically valid feedback.

Take Action

What can you do to get the most benefit from your training?  The first step is to recognize that recovery is an important part of the training process.  The training is the stimulus, but adaptation happens during recovery.

The next is to learn how you are adapting.  Whether it’s getting Omegawave readings or just a self report, you need to start evaluating how you recover.  Guidance from a knowledgeable performance coach or recovery specialist can guide you to the recovery methods that are best for you.

Measure your recovery, manage the process, and stop having your fitness gains stolen.

 

 

References:

J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jul;28(7):2007-17.

Chronic psychological stress impairs recovery of muscular function and somatic sensations over a 96-hour period.

 

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Nov;44(11):2220-7.

Psychological stress impairs short-term muscular recovery from resistance exercise.

 

8 Kettlebell exercises that will make you fit for life

If you’ve spent any time around a gym, reading fitness blogs, or even scrolling through your friends’ Instagram posts, you’ve probably seen a kettlebell (or KB). You’ve also probably heard people say it is a great tool to make you strong, lean, and fit.

This is true, but how does this cannonball-looking thing work? What do you do with it? Do you just buy one watch the fat magically melt away? Most definitely not.

There is no magic shortcut to the results you want. A kettlebell is a great tool to help you reach your fitness goals, but like any good tool, it must be used correctly to be effective.

Kettlebell Warm-Up

Our kettlebell warm-up moves from simple to more complex exercises will help you master some of the fundamental KB movements. While you might not be able to get into some of the advanced exercises, like the KB snatch right away, with dedication and practice you will quickly feel comfortable performing them.

This is what the Velocity kettlebell warm-up looks like:

  • 20 KB Swings (American)
  • 5 Single Leg RDL (each leg)
  • 10 Goblet Squats
  • 5 Presses (each arm)
  • 8 Thrusters (each arm)
  • 8 Clean & Jerks (each arm)
  • 5 Snatches (each arm)
  • 1 Turkish Get Up (each arm)
  • 20 Swings (American)

So why should you bother to learn how to do all of these exercises? The rumors about the KB are true: with a very short workout you can get incredible results. It can help you lose weight, gain weight, add strength, or just be more active, depending on how you use it.

Buy A Kettlebell

For you to reap these benefits, you must commit. Get your own KB or go to a gym that has some. Even though we coach at a gym with a complete kettlebell setup, many of our coaches like to keep some at home so there’s no excuse not to use one every day.

None of us will get any better if we are not committed to our goals. Part of that commitment is planning around what works for you, and even the coaching staff and Velocity doesn’t always have time to make it to the gym. If you can keep even one kettlebell at home and learn to use it, you have a cheap an effective home gym in your garage or back yard.

Master the Kettlebell Movements

Owning a KB is the first step. The next is learning how to use it properly so you don’t hurt yourself and have a longer list of exercises from which to choose; our kettlebell warm-up is a simple and effective place to start.

The focus is not just learning the movements, but mastering them. As you get good at these basic exercises and understand how best to use the kettlebell, you can begin to create your own workouts. You can combine exercises in any way you like; you can add other exercise elements in like running, jumping rope, push-ups, or anything that excites you.

The possibilities are endless, but you have to earn this this freedom of movement by first learning the basic exercises. Do this, and you will always have a way to strong and fit – with just one piece of equipment.

3 ways to get an edge this summer: hockey specific training

winners never quit

Summer is the off-season for hockey, but it’s a great opportunity to get an edge over other players. If you want to get ahead and not fall behind the competition, here are three keys to your summer training.

Get Stronger

Summer is a great time to get strong. In-season you can do it, but it’s a lot tougher. The off-season offers a chance to get in the gym 3-4 days a week and see some gains without tiring you out before games.

Strength has a correlation with reduced injury risk, lower-body power, and on-ice speed. To get these benefits, a hockey player needs to increase his or her athletic strength. This means your strength training must be ground based, use multi-muscle/joint exercises, and include elements of both force production and rapid muscle contraction.

Build Athleticism

While it may seem to be counterintuitive, training to improve your hockey game doesn’t always mean more hockey drills. When you increase your overall athleticism through dynamic movement training or even playing another sport, you challenge your coordination, functional strength, and have fun at the same time.

Building a broad base of athletic skills can help reduce the risk of overuse injuries and increase your long-term potential. When an NHL team has a choice between two equal players, they typically pick the one who is more athletic across a broad spectrum.

Get Fit

The season might be a few months away, but don’t lose your fitness. No one wants to go into the new season and be dragging in the first few weeks. A fit player has more confidence in training camps.

Keeping up your base of aerobic and anaerobic fitness is key even if you’re not on the ice. For the summer off-season, two days of longer aerobic work build a good base and help you recover from the strength and power work. Another 2 days can be used for higher intensity intervals and circuit style workouts.

Use the summer to get an edge. If you’re fast now, you can get faster. The strong can be stronger, and the fit can be fitter. Imagine where you want to be at the start of next season and get to work!

4 Important Things You Need to Know Before You Do High-Intensity Workouts

hIIT training

High intensity interval training, CrossFit, and bootcamps are all popular and effective ways to exercise. While they are great methods to improve your fitness and performance, there is also a risk of injury if you don’t approach it intelligently.

Results and Risk

These programs often include skilled movements and explosive exercises like plyometrics and other high-intensity movements. Olympic lifts, sprints, power lifts, and variations on gymnastics are also common.

The benefits of these types of exercises are that they stimulate maximal muscle engagement and quickly take joints through their full range of motion. However, the same qualities that make these movements so effective also makes them very challenging if you haven’t been doing much fitness training.

“They are great exercises to get results because they are ground-based, engage multiple joints and muscles groups, and have high intensity” says Coach Ken Vick, high performance director for Velocity Sports Performance. “They are more athletic, but with that comes some risk of injury just as in sport. The key is to know your limits and follow good coaching.”

Keys to Success

Vick says for those who are interested in training this way, there are Four Steps for Success:

Assess your own readiness.

Have you done these types of workouts in the past? Do you have past injuries? Are there limitations in your joint range of motion? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to get some guidance before you start. A qualified coach can help assess if you’re ready, and a sports medicine professional can help identify any injury risks and how to alleviate them.

You don’t have to be in great shape before you can start taking these kinds of classes, but you do need to realistically assess your readiness with the help of professionals. They can give you a roadmap to a safe starting point.

Check your ego at the door

One of the benefits of these programs is the energy and intensity that comes from training with a group of people all pushing through a challenging workout together. Be wary that you don’t let pride and ego tell you to push yourself farther than you should, lest you pay some painful consequences.“I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard someone say: I knew I was pushing myself too far,” says Coach Vick. “There will always be others better than you at any given exercise or workout. They may be younger or older, male or female.”

The key is to change your focus from competing with others to competing with yourself. Focus on improving your skills, technique, results, and your own PRs and you will not only get better, but you will stay safe.

Find an on-boarding class 

Find a class that on boards you with a coach who can get you involved safely rather than joining an advanced, competitive class. A good coach teaches you the correct mechanics and form for exercises and has variations to adapt them to your needs and skill level.

Know when to stop

Severe pain is always a red flag. While soreness is normal, the amount of soreness you experience with workouts should decrease as your body adapts over the first few weeks.If you experience joint pain, swelling or instability, stop. See a sports medicine specialist for evaluation. They can figure out how to eliminate the pain and how you can correct the underlying causes. They should work with you and your coach to adapt your training so you can keep building fitness while fixing your injury.

Research has shown that when an experienced coach or trainer is involved, the rate of any kind of injury decreases dramatically.

To prevent injury from happening in the first place, it’s very important to perform an active or dynamic warm-up to prepare the muscles to work at high speeds or under heavy loads. Some programs incorporate a warm-up into the workout, while others will show you what to do and give you time to do it beforehand.

Train Harder, and Smarter

Adding the intensity, motivation, and fun of these kinds of programs can inject new energy into your fitness regimen. All of these elements can help you work harder and push your fitness to a higher level than ever before. If you’re smart and follow these four keys, you can reap all the benefits and avoid injury.

3 Effective exercises to make you explosive without a barbell

exercises for explosiveness

 

3 Effective exercises to make you explosive without a barbell

Athletes need power, which means a combination of strength & speed.  The reason Olympic lifts are so popular among elite athletes around the world is that they are really effective.  However, what if you don’t have a barbell and bumper plates, or no coach to teach you the technique?

While Olympic lifts are great, they aren’t the only way to train your explosiveness.  Here are 3 exercises that are really effective and don’t require the barbell.  You still need to use good form; it just may be a bit easier to get it even without a coach.

Standing Broad Jump

There is nothing new about this one, but it’s been around a long time for a reason.  Like any jumping exercise it combines the speed of rapid muscle contraction, with the application of large forces into the ground.  It also takes coordination through multiple joints in the body.  That’s a great recipe for athletes wanting to improve explosiveness.

Using a rapid counter-movement, you put the muscles around the hips, knees and ankles on stretch, then explosively contract them to get full extension in all 3 joints.  This “triple extension” action is key in many sports and why this exercise pays dividends.

An important added benefit is in the landing.  By focusing on landing soft and balanced, you are training explosive deceleration.  That’s the ability to absorb forces rapidly and it’s critical in most sports.  Its also a huge help in preventing injury.

Jumping on turf or grass surface.

3-5 sets

3-5 jumps

Skater Jumps

Another tried and true favorite, skater jumps have all the advantages of the standing broad jump, while adding a lateral movement component as well.    These might have you looking like a hockey player jump sideways from one foot to the other, but they benefit athletes in so many sports.

In addition to generating explosiveness in the take-off leg and eccentric power in the landing leg, they are really functional.  Functional, because you’ve added the challenge of moving on a single leg.  This is needed in so many sports.

Add in the the lateral movement and you are really working on all the stabilizers of the hip and some aspects pf balance.  All combined, these are things almost every athlete needs.

Jumping on turf or grass surface.

3-5 sets

3-5 jumps on each leg

Depth Jumps

Not for the beginner, depth jumps are an intense plyometric exercise guaranteed to stress your body.  That stress, when done in small doses, can have a big impact on increasing strength and power.  This is the plyo exercise where you step off a box, land and then go right into another explosive jump.

The benefits in this jumping drill are magnified because of the step off the box.  Dropping from a height lets gravity accelerate you towards the ground.  When your feet make contact all the involved joints and muscles must absorb and then generate even higher forces.  To protect yourself, the body is going to do this reflexively and you’ll put more force into the jump that immediate follows.  The key is to not overdo it.

Jump from a box 12-36” high

2-5 sets

2-4 jumps.

No Barbell, No Problem

While Olympic lifts and their variations are great for athletes wanting to build power, they may not be possible for everyone.  These 3 classic exercises have been proven for decades to help athletes improve their power.  They are also a great addition when you can do Olympic lifts.  Give them a try and see some gains.

Discover 4 Types of Sports Recovery You Need To Know

sports recovery

Athletes from pros through weekend warriors have recognized the importance of using regeneration techniques to recover faster, feel better, and train harder. However, with all the different options to choose from, it’s hard to know which one works best.

The first thing to remember is that everything isn’t for everyone all of the time. So, when someone asks “what kind of recovery tool is best?” the answer is, it depends.

Here’s what you need to understand to get more benefit from your recovery strategies.

Recovery works by helping your body through it’s natural processes of returning to a state of internal balance. Training, competition, injury, and even life, are all stresses that add up and push your systems out of balance. Recovery means something to help bring you back into balance.

Returning the body to a state of equilibrium after stress requires you to address the specific type of stress you just endured. This is where a lot of recovery plans and techniques fall apart. If you don’t target the right type of stress or systems in the body, the recovery you try won’t make a difference. It’s like putting more insulation on a house when the real problem is a hole in the roof.

The Velocity recovery methodology was developed for the world’s elite athletes – to keep them at their best under enormous pressure. One of the foundations of is that there are 4 big categories of stress. We classify them as:

• Tissue
• Physiological
• Mindset
• Neuromuscular

Tissue

This is physical damage to your tendons, muscles, bones, and joints caused from contact, pressure, and tension in sports. It might be microscopic, but it takes a toll. Repeated foot strikes while running, repetitive tendon stress on a pitcher’s elbow, or contusions and damage from collisions in rugby, football, or MMA are exactly the kinds of things that add up to potential or actual injury. Tissues need to heal properly on the microscopic level after each practice or competition.

Physiological

When you are putting in long hours of training, doing high intensity MetCons, or logging long distances, there’s a large metabolic and biochemical demand on your system. The numerous physiological elements all need to be returned to normal and metabolic wastes need to be removed.

Mindset

Whether it comes from sport or life, mental and emotional stresses have an impact on both mind and body. It can come from from emotional challenges, learning new tasks, or just intense focus for practice and competition. Our bodies’ physical recovery mechanisms are tied to our mental state.

States of mental stress and anxiety trigger particular functions of our nervous system and release stress hormones. While these can be useful during competition or training, they inhibit or even completely block natural recovery mechanisms. Therefore, in order to achieve physical recovery, the mind must be in a state of relaxation.

Neuromuscular

Often overlooked, neuromuscular fatigue doesn’t necessarily make you feel tired in the way you might think. Instead of feeling stiff, sore, or a generally fatigued, you just might lose that “snap” in your movement. When you perform high power exercises like sprinting, jumping, and weightlifting, you stress the nervous system as well as your muscles. Until you recover, you won’t be able to fire them at full speed or intensity.

Make your recovery specific

Knowing that all regeneration methods aren’t the same or equal is the first step towards getting it right. Make sure you know the specific type of recovery you need at different stages of training and even different days of the week to make to make your recovery process better.

At Velocity, our coaching and sports medicine staff can help you decide which combination of regen and recovery tools you need to help you stay at your best.

30 BIG REASONS NOT TO SPECIALIZE EARLY. FROM THE NFL.

youth training and specialization

 

30 BIG REASONS NOT TO SPECIALIZE EARLY. FROM THE NFL.

30 Big Reasons Not to Specialize Early. From the NFL

The debate over specializing in a single sport at an early age, isn’t a debate. The ones who think you should specialize in one sport are parents who mean well but, who are uninformed.

The 2017 NFL draft just helped reinforce that fact.

In the 2017 NFL draft, teams put their money behind multi-sport athletes, showing that the idea of young athletes giving up other sports to just play football was a bad idea. Take a look at the numbers;
• 30 of the 32 players were multi-sport athletes in high school.
• All of the top 20 played at least 2 sports.
• 14 of the players played 3 sports in high school.
• 92% of the 107 players taken in rounds 1 through 3 were multi-sport athletes.

Yes, there are some sports where you will have to specialize early to be elite. Think about gymnastics or figure skating for example. However, in team sports, such as football, this is not the case. Yes, you probably need to be exposed to the sport or develop some of the skills early, but you don’t need to give up every other sport and just play one.

It’s understandable how people could think early specialization would be good.

How is a parent, or a maybe a local travel coach supposed to know better? There is the popular myth about having to specialize for 10,000 hours to be elite. On the surface, it also seems to make sense that if you start specializing in one skill early, you’ll be better at it. Then there’s the fears of falling behind or getting shut out if you take time to do another sport.

What a lot of individuals do not know is that team sports and athletic development are far more complex and dynamic. We have motor learning, motivation, repetitive injuries, movement dysfunction, cognitive development and just plain fun that all need to be part of this equation.

Some will of course continue to make the case for picking one sport early. The science of development and motivation, the experience of successful coaches, and the choices of NFL teams, all say “don’t specialize!” Instead go play multiple sports if you want to increase your chances of having an athletic career.

Athletes have the hardest time with this one exercise.

velocity performance center

 

HOW TO DO A PULL-UP

PULL-UPS ARE LIFE SAVERS

Pull-ups are a survival skill. Pulling strength is extremely important for all athletes. We need to be able to hang and support our own body weight, and if we need to pull or climb ourselves to safety. For survival and of course for performance. Having strong pulling muscles helps stabilize the shoulder and can help generate much more power for our athletes.
So how do I go about getting my first pull-up?

Let’s be honest. As an athlete we want efficiency. We want more bang for our buck. Being an efficient athlete, means being a lean athlete. In general the more mass an athlete has the more work it is to move it. The same is true for pull-ups the more mass we have, the more mass we have to pull-up. Our long armed athletes can understand this problem because they have much farther to go. Everyone has their own problems, but the fact remains they must find a way to get their chin over that bar. No excuses!
Best way to start is by ditching the bands. In our many years of experience coaching athletes and adults the band never really helps anyone. It just gives them the illusion that they are doing work. When in fact they are pulling only part of the time and bouncing around the rest of the time.
Isometric holds, and eccentrics are the best way for everyone to start. Climbing a rope is also a great way, but not everyone has that and we want to do a pull-up. So your best bet is to start with Isometric holds. This could be even just hanging on the bar. If you have never done this before this a great place to start. We need to see if we are able to hold just our own bodyweight.

To start try and hold for :20. Try and achieve this 8x. :20 hang, :20 rest.
If you can’t hang from the bar you need to get horizontal. When we lack the strength to do a pull-up we only try practicing vertical pulling, and don’t just pull vertically. We can strengthen our pulling muscles by lowering down, and pulling horizontally like a ring row or horizontal row.

Isometrics are a great way to help develop the strength to start doing pull-ups. At some point doing your hangs you are going to realize that you need more core strength. When you are hanging there you notice that when you keep your core tight it is much less taxing on the grip as you hang. When you get tired or forget to keep your core tight it becomes much more taxing on the grip, and you slide your hands on the bar making callouses or blisters. Don’t wreck your hands! If you’re slipping don’t fight, fall get back up in a better position.

Best drill to understand this tight core position would be hollow bodies and superman rocks. Transitioning from one to the other is also really good helping to understand keeping your core tight. If your core is tight it’s going to be easier to pull-up.
Eccentric work is where the strength is going to come from. This time instead of holding isometrically now we want to lower eccentrically. Fight gravity as long as we can. Best to start with horizontal row first. Start with chest to bar and lower down as slow and controlled as possible.

If that was easy jump up onto the pullup bar. Try to get chest to bar and then lower as slow as possible.
When working on doing pull-ups it is best to focus on it for 10 min at a time. We do not want to over train. 3x a week is best and give a rest day between to give your body a chance to get stronger. Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure to even yourself out. With all of this pulling work we want to make sure we balance it out with some pressing movements. Overdeveloping in certain areas can lead to overuse or cause imbalances and effect efficiency.
These exercises are basic, but stick with them. We need to develop a strong base to pull from first, and this is a way to do it.

Want to be fast? Learn this simple drill.

 

Jumping Rope

Short Time

Time is short we don’t have a lot of it, and most parents want to know something their athlete can be doing every day to help them get faster. To be a faster athlete, you have to focus on one of Velocity’s speed formula principles: short time. The longer an athlete is on the ground the slower they will be.
What is the best way an athlete can practice this at home to help them get faster and improve their coordination?

JUMP ROPE!

We have our athletes jump rope in our warm-ups all of the time. We love this exercise because it teaches our athletes about ground contact time and coordination. When it comes to running faster you need to have both coordination and quick feet. The jump rope helps us to practice how our feet strike the ground, how we absorb and push off the ground. What forces are involved and what muscles are used. It also forces us to pay attention and focus.

The most important thing when starting to jump rope is to make sure that you have the right size jump rope. If it is too short then you will have to jump really high or have a large arm swing making it inefficient. If it is too long it drags on the ground longer and usually whips you in the legs, which is also inefficient and painful. We never want that. We want a rope that when we stand in the middle of it we are able to pull it up between our armpits and our sternum.
Once you have the right size jump rope we can start. I tell my athletes to pretend they are a popsicle, they can only move their wrists to spin the rope and feet to jump up in the air. Everything else needs to stay tight. Doing this creates tension throughout the body making it spring like. This spring like effect is what we want. We want to keep the body as straight as possible to be efficient.

Start with the rope behind you. Don’t jump rope. Rope jump. Spin the rope with the wrists over your head and jump over it as it passes. Try to keep the feet together when you start to teach your body how to be one strong piece.
If you mess up trying its ok. You won’t be perfect the first time this is part of the learning process. Spend at least 10 minutes a day practicing jumping rope. Here are some goals for you to work towards start with the first one and see how many you can do. Remember start at the top and work your way down. Master the basics first. Just like with running you have to walk before you can sprint.
100 jumps in a row
25 single foot jumps each
20 yards Jump rope 2 feet together (no misses)
20 yards Jump rope single leg (no misses) each leg
Double-Unders
Single Leg Double Unders

What do you know about Weightlifting?

weightlifting

 

Weightlifting

Weightlifting (one word) is an internationally recognized sport. The sport of weightlifting literally transforms its athletes in a way in which no other sport does or can. Weightlifters are the strongest and most powerful athletes in the world, but they didn’t start that way! They started like everyone else from humble beginnings, and found their success through careful training with free weights that deliver results no other sports can do.

Weightlifting helps athletes develop: strength and explosive power, body control that produces lean functional bodies, increased speed, flexibility, balance and coordination.
The results from an athlete who trains seriously and regularly can be truly spectacular. Weightlifting has the power to build up a body that is weak and undersized, to helping someone lose weight and get in shape, to rehabilitate injured and ill bodies, nothing else we have seen comes even close.

If you want to get stronger, become more explosive, get faster, grow bigger, lose weight, become more flexible, improve your balance and coordination or just live a healthy lifestyle then weightlifting is for you!

It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, boy or girl. Weightlifting is a community that welcomes all individuals as long as you are willing to work hard and try to improve yourself. Everyone can enjoy the benefits of weightlifting. Results can appear quickly, and although major changes require work and persistence, improvements are guaranteed.

For all of the great reasons listed above, this is why we teach our athletes at Velocity Sports Performance Weightlifting. Now we do not teach them the sport of Weightlifting. We teach them the same lifts that weightlifters do: the snatch, the clean and jerk. We teach them these lifts not because we want them to be weightlifters and compete in the sport, but we want all our athletes to be more explosive, faster, more flexible, stronger, and much more. We use weightlifting as a tool to give athletes numerous amounts of benefits that they can use in their given sport!

Don’t be afraid of Weightlifting. We teach all athletes proper form first, and will not let them add weight until they are comfortable with the movement. Safety is always on our minds in the weight room, but we are also striving to help your athlete improve!