After my blog post from last week on the Bench Press Alternatives for Bum Shoulders, I thought it might be a good idea to do the same kind of post on the knees. Let’s face it, the knee is probably one of the most troublesome joints in the body, especially amongst athletes. Before we delve into the squat and lunge alternatives for your bum knees, I’ll mention the same thing I mentioned in my bench press post; before getting started with any of these exercises, if you have pain, you need to consult a qualified professional and get assessed. You need to clear out any underlying issues that might aggravate your problem before getting started. And also makes sure when you try one of these exercises that you can perform them totally pain-free, because as you probably know by now, pain equals irritation, and irritation equals your knee not getting better. Now that we got the boring stuff out of the way, let’s move on to the good stuff!
- Sled Drags and Prowler Push. The sled drag might be one of the most knee-friendly alternatives to heavy squat and lunges. Most knee pains occur at a significant amount of knee flexion (read: when the knee is bent close to 90°). Sled drags and Prowler pushes (with a high grip) involve a lot less knee flexion than any squat variation. The other advantage the Sled drag and Prowler push have is that they don’t have an eccentric action; it’s mostly concentric actions as you keep moving forward and driving your feet into the ground. You really have no forces to decelerate. For some people with knee pain, eccentric contractions may be more painful. And even if it’s not the case, it still put less stress on your joints.
- Deadlift variations. Posterior chain exercises can usually be done pain-free because they involve less knee flexion and they put most of the stress on the posterior chain (hamstring, glutes, lumbar erectors). If you’re going to use deadlift variations, depending on how bad your knees hurt, you might want to start with more straight-legs variations. The first one to try is definitely the SLDL (Stiff-Leg Deadlift) because it involves almost no knee flexion at all:
Then you can move to Rack Pulls, which involve a little more knee flexion (depending on where you set up the pins):
And if your knees allow more flexion without pain, you can try and pull from the floor, either with a straight bar or with a trap bar:
- Box Squat. This is an option for when your knees start to feel better. The box squat is a great option because, even if it’s technically a quad dominant exercise (also means more stressful on the knees), the goal is to sit as far back as possible on the box. The result is that it shifts your weight posteriorly to make it less knee dominant. Charlie Weingroff went into great detail in his DVDs Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training about how the box squat keeps you more in a vertical shin position, and therefore it puts less stress on your knees. Everybody that has been dealing with some sort of knee pain and want to reintroduce the squat in their training should re-learn to squat with (at least somewhat of) a vertical shin:
- Split Squat Isometric Holds. These are not much of a typical strength training option, but it can be a great addition to your training for different reasons; single-leg endurance, conditioning purposes, etc. So if you can tolerate some knee flexion, holding an isometric position for time usually doesn’t irritate the knees.
Split Squat Holds can be very versatile, and if you get creative like Kevin Neeld (seriously, he’s sooo smart) you can use them this way:
Having pain and injuries is probably the most frustrating thing in the world for athletes and weekend warriors alike. The last thing you want is be reminded constantly of the things you can’t do; that’s why it’s important to find alternatives and focus on what the athlete actually CAN do! As my colleague Eric Cressey puts it: ” you want to feel like an athlete, not like a patient”.
I will be the first one to admit that this is something I’ve been fighting against for years. We all know that it was common practice among lifters and athletes through the 70s and the 80s to static stretch before a training session or playing a sport.
This was almost a whole warm up right there!
And that was accepted as a typical injury prevention strategy before an activity. That concept has been challenged a lot in the last decade and a half or so. Many researches came out suggesting that static stretching may negatively impact force production output (read: strength and power). The idea that static stretching by itself as a warm up procedure was a good injury prevention strategy has also been challenged a lot. The result of this being that strength coaches and fitness professionals alike who stay current with the literature have abandoned the static stretching concept as a warm up procedure almost completely. I, myself, have been supporting this theory that static stretching as a warm up is not appropriate.
But in the last couple of years, different strength coaches, like Mike Boyle have been trying to re-introduce the concept of static stretching as being part of a warm up (as opposed to being a whole warm up in itself). Knowing what we know now about static stretching it seemed kind of counter-intuitive to me to do that.
After resisting to the concept, I finally gave it a shot. Now I embrace it.
There’s a couple of things to take into account though, when using static stretching before training or sport:
Even if there might be some benefits to doing static stretching before training, it cannot be used by itself as a complete warm up. Soft-tissue work, mobility, dynamic stretching and movement preparations are all important parts of a warm up, as well.
You don’t want to stretch for too long. It’s called a warm up, not a cool down, so try to avoid spending over 10-15 minutes static stretching where your body might fall in sleep mode.
Try to avoid static stretching the areas/muscles you’re going to involve in your training activity, because of the possible force production loss linked to static stretching. Mobility and dynamic stretching drills might be better suited for these areas.
The whole reason to re-incorporate static stretching in the warm up, in my opinion, is because we spend so much time sitting in a day that there are many muscles and joint that suffer from that. Therefore it’s important to give them length back before a training session; the last thing we want is to feel stiff and restricted from sitting all day before an activity.
Personally, I have been feeling so much better since re-incorporating some static stretches in my warm-up, and I definitely don’t feel as stiff when I train. Here’s how you might want to incorporate static stretching in your pre-workout routine:
Soft-tissue work (foam rolling, stick, lacrosse ball, etc)
Static stretching circuit (4-5 stretches that don’t target muscles involved in your training for that day)
Dynamic stretching/mobility (6-8 movements that will target joints involved in your training for that day)
Movement preparation (If you do any kind of sprint/plyo/power exercises you’ll want to do movement prep)
After fighting against the concept of static stretching as part of a warm up for so long, I now embrace it. You should definitely give it a shot if you’ve been in the same boat as I was for the last couple of years.
Bench pressing is gotta be the most popular exercise among male lifters in any gym and weight room in North America. It’s probably one of man’s best friend. Personally, I think it’s overrated, both from a athletic development stand point and a muscle building standpoint. But I will admit that I, like most lifting male out there, enjoy it and I would have a hard time taking it out of my program altogether. Let’s face it, chicks dig guys with a big bench. Right? Huuuhh well, maybe not, but we all like to think they do! Plus that’s not going to make us stop benching anyway.
But sometimes, when you have a bum shoulder the bench press might not be the wisest option. Most guys will suck it up (which is probably the stupidest thing to do) and keep benching until they can no longer move their arm, because they don’t want to lose their strength on the king of all exercises, right? When somebody ask you: “how much ya’ bench?” you obviously want to tell them: “I bench freakin’ 315, dude” and not: “Well, my shoulder kinda hurt so I can’t really push it; I have to stay light”. But what are the alternatives when your shoulders hurt too much to bench press painless? Well, there are many things you need to do in order to fix the problem, and the first one would be to get your shoulder assessed by a qualified professional. According to the assessment, there will be many strategies you will need to use to get your shoulder back on track including soft-tissue work, mobility and flexibility work, and targeted corrective work. The first goal is obviously to stay completely pain-free with any movement/exercise you’re doing.
But what are the options to maintain a training effect on your bench, while getting your shoulder back on track? Here are a couple options you can try depending on your pain/injury status and what you can do without irritating it.
- Push up variations. Push up is probably the safest pushing exercise you can use that’s going to spare your shoulder the most. Most guys with shoulder pain can get away with doing push ups without any pain. But aren’t push ups too easy and not challenging enough to get a training effect? I beg to differ. There are many push up variations you can use that’s going to make them A LOT more challenging, and there are many ways to load them as well. So before you say push ups are too easy, give one of these a try:
1-Leg Feet Elevated Push Ups (Band Resisted)
Suspended Push Ups
Bodysaw Push Ups (these are actually REALLY hard)
- DB Floor Press. It is a great alternative to barbell bench press and one that you can load significantly too. Using the dumbbells (assuming you’re using a neutral grip) will put a lot less stress on your shoulders because you’re not stuck in internal rotation. The limited range of motion that the floor provides you with also helps spare your shoulders.
- Board Press. Once your shoulders feel better and your ready to go back to straight bar benching, you should start with some board press, as it will keep your shoulders away from that end-range of motion that puts more stress on the shoulder. Start with 3 or 4 boards and slowly work down to 2 and 1, before going back to full range of motion benching.
As you can see, even if you can’t bench for a little while, there are ways to maintain a training effect and preventing any strength loss from not benching for a while. Remember that you first you need to get assessed to know what’s really going on with your shoulder and to clear out more serious issues before going any further. Also make sure that your shoulder is totally pain-free when performing any pressing work. Pain means irritation and that means something is still wrong with your shoulder, so don’t push it too fast.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a huge fan of random thoughts posts, both when I write for my own website and also when I read other people’s blogs. I think it’s a great way to transmit many different ideas/topics while keeping the read short. So without further, here’s my newest edition of random thoughts!
1. I just had my first article published on SportsRehabExpert.com last week. For those of you who don’t already know the website, it’s an amazing resource for fitness professionals from physical therapists, to chiropractors, to strength coaches. The website brings you THE MOST up-to-date information on sports and orthopedic rehab and injury prevention available on the internet. It is a membership site, but you can join today for only 1$! With names like Gray Cook, Mike Boyle, Eric Cressey, Mike Reinolds and Charlie Weingroff contributing to the website, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of this offer! Needless to say that I’m really excited about writing for SportsRehabExpert.com ; it is quite an honor for me to be lined up next to those big names! You can join today by clicking on the banner below.
2. A while ago, my colleague Eric Cressey posted a picture of his med ball graveyard.
Upon seeing that picture, I was like:”How is that possible to have this many cracked medicine balls?”. At the time, we had yet to have one pop at Endeavor! But that was almost a year ago. A hockey off-season and a baseball off-season later, we’re catching up!
We’re nowhere close to where Cressey Performance is yet, but it feels good to know that our athletes too can pop medicine balls!
3. I have only a couple spots left for my online program design services. If you’re looking for a quality program that will bring you the results and make you feel better than ever (read: pain and injury free), shoot me an e-mail and I’ll take care of you. Don’t settle for the cookie-cutter program you’ll find in a fitness magazine that won’t do anything for you anyway. Save yourself the hassle of writing your own program, and have someone write a smart, no B.S. program geared toward your specific needs and your specific goals. You’ll achieve your fitness goals way faster than you ever thought possible! Visit my Services page for more details.
4. I’ve been food shopping at Whole Foods for a little while now, and I must say it is the smartest nutrition related decision I could have made. For those who live outside the US, Whole Foods is a mostly organic grocery store that carry the freshest produce and the highest quality food. It’s simply amazing! You won’t see this kind of sign in any other grocery store:
Not only do they carry the best quality foods around, by they also encourage people to eat healthy and they make proper recommendations (like this one on the sign) about the basics of healthy dietary habits.
5. A big shout out to the Comcast U-18 AAA hockey team who qualified for the Nationals this past weekend by winning the USA Hockey Atlantic District. Jared, our boss at Endeavor is the head coach of the team and we train most of the players on the team in the off-season and some of them throughout the season as well. They won a best of 3 series with their biggest rivals, the Junior Flyers. They won the first game 5-1, lost the second 5-4 and won the decisive game 9-2 in an amazing game! Congratulations guys!
6. I set a new deadlift PR yesterday! I haven’t been deadlifting very heavily lately. To make a long story short, I messed up my back a couple weeks ago and it’s been bothering me ever since and one of my knee is pretty banged up. Despite the fact that my whole body is a mess right now, I managed to pull 445, and did it totally pain free! Needless to say that I’m pretty excited about that new PR…and even more about the fact that my body’s feeling great with heavy loads again. 445 might not be that much, but in my situation right now, I’m pretty pleased with that. And the next couple of weeks are looking pretty good!
Lunges are a staple exercise in every single-leg training program. Most of the time it is the first exercise we teach our athletes and clients. It’s a basic exercise, it’s efficient and it’s functional. But one question stands: reverse lunge or forward lunge? Here’s a in-depth comparison of both that should give some answers.
The reverse lunge is usually a better option for beginners. You don’t have to decelerate your body weight as much with your front leg as you do with a forward lunge. Instead you’re stepping back and keeping your weight on your front leg the whole time.
Your body is not traveling forward, so no deceleration, which is part of the eccentric portion of the movement (and the hardest part of the movement to control). Because of that, the eccentric portion (when you go down) is easier with a reverse lunge. On the way up, you’ll need to get a big push with your front leg to push yourself straight up (think of it as being axial loading, referring to the load vectors principle).
You’ll also get a significant push off from your back foot to help propel you forward and come back up in the starting position. Because of the axial loading (straight down) on the front leg and the big push off from the back foot, you can load a reverse lunge a lot more than you can load any other type of lunges, whether it is with dumbbells, with a front squat grip with a barbell or with a back squat grip. It is not uncommon to see beginners go up in weights very quickly with reverse lunges once they’ve mastered the movement. I’ve seen many kids (younger than 16) get up to 70 pounds dumbbells and with 155 pounds on the bar for reverse lunges within 3 months of training.
The reverse lunge is easier to learn;
It has more of an axial loading vector;
You can load them up more than other types of lunges.
The forward lunge is definitely more difficult to perform, and to master as well, than a reverse lunge. By taking a step forward, you are propelling your body forward, and therefore need to decelerate this forward momentum of your body weight with your front leg from the instant the foot touches the ground and all the way down to the bottom of the movement.
That portion of the movement alone makes a forward lunge a lot more challenging than a reverse lunge. The concentric part (the push off to return to the starting position) is also more challenging. The loading is more postero-anterior (again, referring to the load vectors theory), which means you need to push yourself up and back to return to the starting position.
Your body actually has to travel back to its original position, and therefore you need a big push off with your front leg. Your push off also needs to be quick and powerful if you want to generate enough force to propel your whole body back. Because of that increased need for a quick and powerful action you won’t be able to load a forward lunge as much as a reverse lunge (think of it this way: the heavier the load gets, the harder it is to move it fast. The opposite also being true; the lighter the load, the easier it is to generate force quickly). Another factor that’s going to limit the amount of weight you can use with a forward lunge is the fact that you don’t get much help from your back leg, because you’re actually pushing back. A very important thing to note is that because you can’t load a forward lunge as much as a reverse lunge, doesn’t mean it’s an inferior exercise. The deceleration (or increased eccentric) part of the movement makes it a great exercise to improve decelerative abilities for athletes. Deceleration is a HUGE part of any sport, and crucial in quick transitions and efficient change of directions (athletes need to decelerate fast, and accelerate fast in order to have optimal quickness and agility).
The forward lunge is a more challenging exercise than the reverse lunge to perform;
You can’t load it as much;
It has more of a postero-anterior loading vector;
It has a big deceleration component to it;
It’s really effective for athletes to train deceleration.
In conclusion, there is not one exercise better than the other one; just a more appropriate choice depending on who it is for and what you’re trying to accomplish with it. I hope this clarified any confusion that you might have had with this exercise.
Don’t forget that I opened up only a couple of spots for my online program design services! If you’re interested, visit my Services page to read all the details, make sure you e-mail me as fast as possible; spots are limited!
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Having a good training program might just be one of the most important thing in your training. Think about it for a second. Yes, you need to bring in the effort and your program is only as good as the hard work you put in it. But if you get to the gym with nothing but good intents and you’re ready to bust your ass, and all you do is stupid stuff, not only you’ll probably end up injured, but your progress won’t even be half of what it could be with a good structured approach.
This is beyond stupid…
With a good approach and a structured program your gains will skyrocket like you could’ve never imagined. More often than not, you think that just busting your ass and doing more will get you where you want to be. While in certain cases, that might help for a while, but the truth is you’ll stagnate very quickly with this less than optimal approach. And then you’ll start to do even more to bust through plateaus, you’ll spend hundreds of dollars on useless supplements, and you’ll develop pain and aches from doing too much while in reality, a no-nonsense approach that’s efficient, time-effective and adapted to your needs will get you where you want without all the hassle.
Writing programs to get faster, to get stronger and to get bigger are not easy to write, especially for intermediate to advanced lifters. Even worst is writing such programs for yourself! For many reasons it’s really hard to write a program for ourselves;
we do the stuff we like
we avoid what’s hard and we don’t like to work on our weaknesses
we’re limited by our knowledge (exercises, training methods, etc)
it’s easy to stay in our comfort zone and we pretty much always do the same things
Writing programs for yourself can literally give you headaches
Why don’t you hire somebody to do that for you? Just like you hire an accountant to do your taxes, and you hire a mechanic to fix your car, why wouldn’t you hire a professional to write your training programs? The truth is, fitness professionals (competent ones that is, which are not that easy to find) are way more qualified than you will ever be and they WILL get you where you want faster than you think.
I have been writing programs for over 7 years now. I have worked with week-end warriors who want to put on muscle, with D-1 College athletes and pro athletes who need to get stronger and faster to make their team; I’ve pretty much worked every clientele possible. Right now, I write programs for athletes at Endeavor and for a couple of online clients. I’ve had some time free up on my schedule recently and I am opening up 10 spots for online clients as of now. If you want to take the guess work out of writing your own training programs, I can help. I will write you complete, structured and effective programs that will make you reach your goals while staying pain and injury free.
If you’re interested, visit my Services page to read all the details and see if you qualify for my exclusive services. Like I said, I’m opening up only 10 spots, so hurry up!
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I don’t know if you’re as excited as I am about the new baseball season, but I can’t wait for it to kick off officially! I have many reasons to be excited;
- As a HUGE Red Sox fan, the acquisition of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez this off-season were great moves by the organization, and the season looks nothing but extremely promising for the Sox. And knowing that Kevin Youkilis busted his ass and did quality training at Cressey Performance during the off-season just adds to the excitement!
- All our high school pitchers are going to start their season in the next couple of weeks, and I’m really excited to get out there and watch them play. They all worked really hard during the off-season and got a lot stronger, more explosive, and pretty much all got their fastball up big time, so it’ll be interesting to see how they look on the mound once the season kicks off.
- Since moving to the Philadelphia, I’ve learned to like the Phillies (as my second favorite team I’d say), since it’s pretty accessible for me to go watch live games, which I enjoy more than anything. Being from Montreal, enjoying live MLB games is something I haven’t had a chance to do much in the last couple of years. That being said, with a pitcher rotation that includes arguably the 4 best pitchers in the league right now in Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt and now Cliff Lee, how can I not be excited to go watch the Phillies?
Welcome back to Philly, Cliff!
That being said, the next few months of baseball are going to be pretty exciting!
On a different note, things are pretty quiet at Endeavor for now; our baseball and lacrosse players pretty much all left last week as tryouts are kicking off for all of them. And we’re still a couple weeks away from hockey seasons progressively ending from the end of March for youth hockey organization ’til the end of May for some pro guys. That means we’re going to start getting really busy, really soon. This upcoming hockey off-season at Endeavor looks more promising than ever with a bunch of new players that are going to join the already amazing group of players we had last year.
Busier also means more work for the coaching staff. That also means we’re going to need help to bridge the gap; we’re actually looking for interns (probably 3-4) for the summer period (May through August). An internship opportunity at Endeavor means learning and sharing with passionate coaches who thrive to get better every day, learning how to perfect your coaching abilities, gaining experience with a wide range of hockey players from Tier II pee-wees to professional players trying to secure a job in the NHL, and much more. Interning says a lot about the dedication you have at getting better and making it in the strength and conditioning business. It will definitely build up your network and might even lead to a job offer. If you’re interested in interning at Endeavor click on the link below for more details and to download the application form:
Whether it is in our training, our nutritional habits or just life in general, there are these things we always need more of. Of course there could be individual differences, and not everybody needs the exact same things, but I’m pretty confident that this list could apply to pretty much anybody. So here it, in no particular order. Start including more of those things in your life right now, if you aren’t already!
1. Eat more whole foods on a daily basis. We just eat WAYYY too much processed foods on a daily basis. Like I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, we need to stop over-complicating nutrition and how many grams of carbs we’re eating, how much fat we’re taking in, counting calories, etc. We just need to eat whole, un-processed foods like meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and miraculously our dietary goals are going to fall into place. Why don’t you set up your alarm clock tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier and take the time to scramble some eggs and eat a piece of fruit or two or simply throw some yogurt, protein powder, nuts and frozen fruits in a blender and drink that instead of stopping at Dunkin Donuts to get a bagel and a coffee because you’re in a rush to get to work because you snoozed too many times again.
2. Do more static stretching. How much time do you sit in a day? The answer is most likely between 8 and 12 hours. This is a LOT of time certain muscles spend in a shorten position.
Tell me this is not absolutely awful for your posture
We need to get that length back somehow or we will end up all locked up and barely be able to move at 50 years old. Stretch in the morning, stretch at night, stretch before your workout, stretch after your workout or stretch during your lunch break; whatever you prefer. Even better, why don’t you stretch at all of these times? Whatever you like. Just do it!
3. Listen more. It amazes me how many people are just talking all the time, want more attention and want people to care about them and what they have to say. Well, big news: people don’t care about what you have to say until you start paying attention to them. A wise man once said: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care”. It couldn’t be any more true. If you want people to start paying attention, show them you’re interested in them in the first place. Stop talking for a second and listen to what people have to say. We have two eyes, two ears and one mouth. In this order.
4. Pull more. How many upper body pushing exercises do you have in your program? Now, how many pulling exercises do you have in your program? If you have a ratio of 1:1, it’s not bad, but I’d be willing to guess that you have more pushing than pulling exercises. Change that right now. Your posture will thank you later. You need 2:1 and maybe a 3:1 pulling to pushing ratio. Give it a try, and give me some feedback in 3 months when your posture has improved and when your shoulders don’t hurt anymore.
5. Walk more. We are getting SOOOO lazy in 2011, it is ridiculous. we don’t even walk anymore. When you see people fighting for parking spots close to the doors of the shopping center to save an extra 50 steps (especially when they’re going to walk anyway once they get inside), it simply amazes me. Are we really getting that lazy? And we’re wondering why the population is getting morbidly more obese every year! The secret to solve the obesity epidemic is not in the new diet out there, it’s not in the HIIT (high intensity interval training), it’s not in the shake weight and it’s not in crossfit.
Sorry dude, that’s not gonna do it!
Just freakin’ start moving for God’s sake! Starting tomorrow, you should start your day with a quick walk before eating breakfast, park at the furthest parking spot possible when you get to work (and when you go the grocery store and the shopping center as well for that matter), go for a walk during your lunch break, and don’t even get me started on the stairs vs elevator thing.
6. Read more. Buy a book every once in a while and read a little before going to bed instead of watching nothing interesting on TV anyway. As a society we read and less, and watch more TV, movies, videos, etc. Sometimes a little bit of time away from all that stimulation is good. Reading is very relaxing, too. It could be a good way to de-stress anytime of the day you need it. Whether you like fiction, humor or self-development books, there are thousands of options for you whatever you like. Here are a couple of my favorite non-fitness related books:
- How to win friends and influence people, by Dale Carnegie
- The 8th habit, by Stephen Covey
- Never eat alone, by Keith Ferrazzi
- The energy bus, by Jon Gordon
7. Variety. We need more variety in the foods we eat, the exercises we do and the sports and activities we participate in. Do you find yourself eating the same 3 fruits every week? Why don’t you buy a mango, a pomegranate or a couple of kiwi fruits next time you’re at the grocery store, you’ll be surprised how good they taste. Plus it’ll be a nice change of pace from the usual apple, banana and orange, huh?
Why don’t you try new exercises next time you’re at the gym to get you out of your comfort zone? I’m all for sticking with the same, basic exercises as main lifts to get better at it and gain strength, but you’re not doing only one exercise every day you’re in the gym, right? Try a Turkish Get Up tomorrow. I guarantee you it’ll be a lot more challenging than you might think and it’ll get your heart pumping for sure!
If you’re a hockey player, get out there and play soccer once in a while. If you’re a basketball player, try baseball if you have a chance. As I’ve said many, many times our body adapts to whatever we do and our muscles and joints get stressed the exact same way all the time. When you’re in your off-season, just do something else. Get out there and try a new sport or activity you’ve never tried before. It’ll change the stress on your body, helps you stay away from injuries and prevents you from eventually getting bored of playing the same sport year-round.
Variety is the spice of life!
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We hear it all the time that athletes should train in a “sport-specific” way. They should perform exercises that are similar to the movements they perform in the practice of their sport, and training programs for different sports should be totally different. I flat out disagree.
We always see athletes performing these fancy exercises in the gym that reproduce the same movement patterns that they perform in playing situations.
Do you SERIOUSLY think this is gonna improve your slap shot just because it looks like it?
This kind of practice is FAR from optimal for a couple of different reasons: first, when you load a movement pattern, you affect the efficiency of it (for example, if you perform an exercise similar to a slap shot with a load, you’ll actually affect your original slap shot pattern, and you’ll be less efficient at performing it on the ice). Second, the more you stress the same structures the exact same way over and over, it will lead to overuse injuries a lot faster. But I digress.
Let’s take a step back for a minute, and consider what every athlete needs. I think it’s fair to say that what any athlete is looking for is speed, power, strength, endurance (relative to their sport, obviously) and a better level of conditioning (again, relative to their sport).
The hang clean will develop power for ANY sport!
Basically, all athletes are looking for the same thing. So why would their training be that different? You’re going to tell me that conditioning demands are different for a football player than they are for a hockey player. And you’re right. Conditioning demands are different, and the energy systems used are different. And the same thing goes for injury prevention; the overuse and non-contact injuries that happen in different sports are different, so therefore require special injury prevention strategies adapted to the demands of their specific sport. There are also variations that are gonna take place if you play a rotational sport (think hockey, baseball, tennis) in the way you train power. But the biggest differences pretty much stop there.
Rotational sports require more rotation-based power exercises like med ball throws
Strength training will never be “specific” to a sport. Like I mentioned above, performing exercises similar to sport movements in the weight room is far from optimal, and even detrimental to athlete’s performance. Speed, power, strength, endurance and conditioning are all developed through the same modalities (or pretty much) no matter what sport you play, because what you are developing when you’re training is not your sport-related skills, but rather your athletic qualities (muscular and cardiovascular), and those are not specific to one single sport, but common to most sports.
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, there are going to be some minor tweaks in the way you write performance programs for different sports, especially when it comes to conditioning and injury prevention, but the big lines and the structure of the programs might be a lot more similar than you think.
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The reverse lunge is one of our staple lifts at Endeavor with all of our athletes and clients as we are big advocates of single leg training. This is one of the lower body lifts we require everyone to master as quickly as possible. But sometimes we encounter a couple different flaws early on that we need to fix: leaning too much forward, taking too small of a step back, losing balance while stepping back, not getting a full range of motion, putting too much weight on the back leg, etc. But these are all pretty quick fixes with a couple good coaching cues and a little practice. One thing that I found to be harder to fix though is when people shift their weight too far forward. That usually translates into the front knee moving too far forward and the front heel leaving the ground.
Weight shifted too far forward = Bad Form
Sometimes telling the athlete/client to keep their weight on their heel will solve the problem, sometimes not; even if you keep repeating it over and over.
One quick fix that I’ve found extremely useful lately to solve that problem is to have the athlete/client line up a couple inches behind a bench. That way the knee can’t travel too far forward, otherwise it’ll hit the bench, so it forces them to shift their weight back a little bit and keep their heel down.
Give it a shot with athletes or clients who have a hard time keeping their heel down or if their knee has a tendency to travel too far forward. It works really well!
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