Tag: training

Plyometric Training in Your Everyday Life

Plyometrics 1

By Tyler Russell

Have you ever thought to yourself, “What kind of training can increase my muscular strength, my performance, and help with injury prevention”? Well the answer is plyometric training. NSCA defines plyometric training, also known as jump training, as a form of conditioning aimed at creating controlled impact, maximum power, and is used primarily by athletes. Plyometric training can also be used by an average person who wants to increase performance in the areas mentioned earlier. Plyometric training not only can help with sport performance for athletes but can also increase in an individual’s performance at their work place as well. Plyometric training conditions the body with dynamic resistance exercises that rapidly stretch a muscle which is the eccentric phase and then rapidly shorten the muscle which is the concentric phase. Hopping and jumping exercises, for example, subject the quadriceps to a stretch-shortening cycle that can strengthen these muscles, increase vertical jump, and reduce the force of impact on the joints. Plyometric training was first developed in the 1970’s by state sports trainers in the former East Germany, it’s based on scientific evidence showing that the stretch-shortening cycle prompts the stretch of muscle and improves the power of muscular contraction. If performed correctly and proper progression is made plyometric training can also increase an individual’s balance due to the increase in muscular strength and muscular balance and this can lead to a decrease in injuries that may occur in sports and in everyday life activities.  But plyometric training also comes with some risks, including a risk of injury, especially in participants who do not have adequate strength to begin with. So if you are considering plyometric training, it is  important to consult with a qualified exercise scientist who can assess the appropriateness of a plyometric training program, and then select a qualified trainer, preferably one with a degree, who can gradually introduce you to more difficult exercises.

Example plyometric exercises

Overhead Throws                                                                                                                                    

1. Stand with one foot in front (staggered stance) with knees slightly bent.

2. Pull medicine ball back behind head and forcefully throw ball forward as far as possible into the wall.

3. Catch ball on the bounce from the wall and repeat according to prescribed repetitions. Keep the time between pulling the ball back and starting the throw (transition phase) to a minimum. Can also be completed with a partner instead of a wall.

Plyometrics 2

Squat Throws

1. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Knees should be slightly bent.

2. Hold medicine ball at chest level and squat down to a parallel position.

3. Quickly explode up and jump as high as you can. As you start your jump you should start to shoulder press the ball up and reach full extensions with the arms when you are at the peak of your jump. Push ball as high as possible into the air. Try to minimize the time spent in the squatted position. It should be a quick squat and jump.

4. Catch ball on the bounce and repeat according to prescribed repetitions.

Plyometrics 3


Jump to Box 

1.Stand facing box with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.

2. Lower body into a semi-squat position and immediately jump up onto box. Do not hold a squat position before jumping up keep the time between dipping down and jumping up to a minimum.

3. Feet should land softly on box. Step back down (not jump back down) and repeat.

Plyometrics 4

What is functional (training)?

TodayCrossFit’s topic is functional training; and yes I know when someone whispers the words functional training people immediately think CrossFit.  But, that is a stereotype or way of thinking which we should get away from.  Functional training is any kind of exercise training that has direct transferability to an everyday task or performance based movement.  So what does this mean to avid exercisers, athletes, and the special populations? The answer is that functional training is for everyone that which wants or needs to become proficient in a task that which could be as complex as a CrossFit Competition or as simple as activities that help the elderly at daily chores.Fireman

We touched on what functional training is, now let’s look at how to design a functional training plan. Everything with in functional training programs like other programs are designed around goals, or a daily task.  So for example, firefighters will need to be able to carry and or drag a person out of a bad situation. Now that we got the task, how can an exercise mimic that task or situation?   The best exercises that would have the best transfer to this task would be either a sandbag carry for distance or a sled pull.

On the other hand, functional training could be used to help an elderly woman become more independent and increase her quality of life by making daily activities Chairstandeasier.  For example, performing normal chair squats while holding a medic ball could directly transfer to picking up a bag of groceries off the floor and setting them of the kitchen counter.

All Functional training is an exercise or training plan that has direct transferability to an everyday task or performance based task. It is not only for extremely athletes that compete in CrossFit but all so for the rest of the population as a whole. So, if you want to become more proficient in
a movement or task, functional training is what you are looking for.

Functional Training

Marathon Training

By Cameron Pound

The Memorial Marathon this past weekend brought thousands of people from many backgrounds to run for a cause, but how many of them actually prepared for the event properly? Many people hate running, while others run for fun, but whether you enjoy the idea of long distance running or not, a benefit marathon or running for a cause can make you change your mind. There are many people who like the idea of running a marathon but once they do it they realize that they aren’t prepared for it. I am going to provide you with some helpful hints to preparing to run a marathon and not hurt yourself or not be able to finish.

1. The proper diet is important, and hydration is considered to be equally as important, but these two things don’t put one foot in front of the other.
2. The mileage you put in during the preparation is of vital importance. Gradually increasing mileage each week is an important step in training. With this gradual increase, it is not necessary to run more than 20 miles in one day. This can cause overtraining and injuries that can sneak up on you and only hurt you in the long run.
3. Though you increase the mileage each week, make sure to taper off in the last week or two leading up to the big day in order for your muscles to recovery enough to perform at your greatest capability during the run.
4. Recovery is a must; ice and stretch out any soreness that may occur, with the knees and shins being the main focus.

A full schedule of marathon training, week by week, can be found here. This website will give you information on any and everything you may need in order to prepare and perform a marathon. Even if you aren’t fast enough to win, this is one grueling but incredibly helpful way of improving your fitness in the most extreme way!

Weight Training during Pregnancy

Research regarding weight training during exercise can cause quite a controversy. Despite the controversey, there are a few tips that can help pregnancy women workout more safely and comfortably. I urge you to keep an open mind. After all, getting back into an exercise routine after you have a little one can be pretty tough.

1.  Keep up your routine. Just be advised to lower the intensity, not working as vigorously . If you did not exercise before becoming pregnant, you need to make sure you get the green light by your doctor first.

2. Even though every pregnancy is different, and you may feel normal, only workout when you are feeling well. If for some reason you feel light headed, stop what you are doing and call the doctor. Even though you are already in shape, some things may be saying something different on the inside.

3.  If you are trying to find exercises to strengthen your body, avoid doing exercises on your back. There are numerous Pilates and yoga DVD’s made for woman during your pregnancy to help with strengthening of your body. These can relax you and strengthen your abdominals which can lead to an easier delivery. Strengthening your abdomen is also great for helping with lower back pain! I mean, what woman doesn’t want a strong core to help support the little one.

4.  If you want to work on cardiovascular fitness, opt for using the treadmill or elliptical. The elliptical is great if you have joint problems, because it is a low impact exercise. The treadmill is great too, because you can choose how fast, slow and the incline you want to accomplish that day.

5.  Stay hydrated!!!!! Staying hydrated helps reduce swelling, constipation, braxton hicks contractions, nausea, bladder infections and even headaches!

6.  The most important one: Listen to your body. Everyone has a different experience being pregnant. Even each pregnancy a woman has can be completely different. If you ever feel light headed or think you can not go anymore, do not chance it. Call your doctor and tell him or her how you are feeling.

Krystal Nelson

Strength Training and Weight Loss

Most people think that when trying to lose weight, cardio is the way to go. What most people don’t understand is that cardio is exactly what the word means—it’s for your heart. Although improving your heart health is great, cardio itself does not burn many calories. The best way to lose weight, burn fat, and build muscle is to incorporate strength training into your regular exercise regimen.

The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 2-3 days of strength training per week with about 48 hours of rest in between sessions. You should perform 2-4 sets of 8-10 reps each session. Sessions should include exercises that work major muscle groups. Compound exercises are a great way to add in strength training without having to put in extra time. An example of a compound movement would be a squat with an overhead press. Regardless of how you strength train, remember that it is an important component to your overall health, fitness, and body composition.

So, if you’re really looking to lose weight, incorporate strength training into your existing exercise regimen if you’re not already doing so. Be sure to give your muscles time to recover, and properly fuel your body to help muscles recover even faster. If you are just starting out, you can slowly progress as you become stronger and your muscles become better trained.

Hannah Miller-Blogistics!

Machine vs. Free Weight Resistance Training

So you are looking to find the right workout plan to get your body summer ready. Whether we are interested in bulking up or getting toned, many of us face the question of whether free-weights or machine weights are a better choice. There are pros and cons to both, but neither hinders fitness, unless used wrong or beyond one’s ability.

Free weights are any object or device that can be moved freely in a 3-dimentional space. These “free-weights” include dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls, and body weight exercises. Machine weights are stationary equipment that uses “simple machines” such as pulleys and levers to generate a resistance for strength training. A leg press among the numerous machines is a perfect example of a machine weight.

So which is best?

Machine weights:

  • Have a fixed range of motion
  • Minimal need for a spotter
  • Easier to learn
  • Easy to change resistance
  • Expensive
  • Require upkeep & maintenance
  • Only targets specific muscles

Free weights:

  • Free range of motion
  • Bone loading
  • Versatile
  • Lower cost
  • Convenient/ portable
  • Fit everyone
  • Greater neural contribution
  • Some exercise may require education or knowledge

So how do you choose? For example, let’s say a football player wants to improve the strength of his chest to improve his performance on the field. When using the bench press, the football player is not only using the chest muscles to push the bar up, but also using muscles in the shoulder to stabilize the bar throughout repetitions. This is referred to functional strength because this effort of the muscles mimics those that will be used, in football player example, on the field.

However, if the same football player wants to add muscle mass to his chest, he could add in a machine chest press to increase the structural strength of the pectoral muscles. However, the chest press will not improve his functional strength because it does not require 3-dimensional stability.

An ideal way to add function and structural strength to your program would be to add in a few machine exercises at the end of a free weight workout to isolate the specific muscle you are looking to improve. Whether you choose free weights or machines, any physical activity is better then no physical activity.

Kyle Knouse

-Blog Bros