Posts Tagged ‘strength’

GOING VERTICAL

Posted: May 20, 2020 in Uncategorized
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If you know me you kind of know that I am a big fan of basketball. I watch it, I play it, I coach it. I have been intrigued for years to learn how to jump higher. If you think of many of the major sports, leaping can be a big aid in performance.
Let me take you through an empirical process by which my own vertical leap actually improved before my knowledge of plyometrics and modern training methods. As a sixth grader(1977!!), I rationalized that strong legs are legs that will let you jump higher. So with my cement filled plastic Ted Williams weights from Sears, I started squatting. I wedged my body under my bench press uprights for lifting off(I don’t recommend this!) and the strength building began.
I also rationalized that you needed to overcome your bodyweight to get airborne and thought that jumping out of trees, landing and jumping up again would help this. Pretty safe for a strong adult but a really bad idea for a sixth grader. Anyways we went up to frighteningly high heights and for safety’s sake I figured I better just land and stick when we got in the really high branches.
By seventh grade I was hitting the big loops of the basketball net, still squatting and still jumping out of tress like an idiot.
By 9th grade I had worked up to some pretty respectable poundages in the squat but was becoming pretty darn tight. I took up martial arts and with all of the flexibility work(dynamic and static) I was able to express more power(using strength in a hurry, more on this later). Kicking, flying and jumping is somewhat plyometric in nature and this helped as well. I was also developing some elasticity. Soon I was grabbing the rim.
Fast forward to college, with more squatting strength and some early knowledge of plyometrics that did not involve falling out of tees. One night at Grandview courts in Mount Washington, I went up and lo and behold, the ball went down for my first dunk.
If only I knew then what I know now! At the age of 36(we are up to 2002 now!), using an early version of our SFAS protocol my vertical leap peaked out at 36 inches. Let’s look at some key factors in developing some hops.
Power is the ability to exert strength in a given time frame. A good example is a vertical jump. It takes about .2 seconds for most athletes to go from flexion to extension at the knee before leaping. Why do some athletes that weigh the same amount and extend their knees in the same time frame jump higher than others? They can express more force via strength and motor recruitment in this time frame. Since strength is at the the root of power(CAN YOU SAY 2 AND 1 LEG SQUAT?), it is very important unless you are a very fast twitch dominant athlete with naturally dominant ability to recruit.
A program utilizing methods to minimize power loss through the torso should be used in conjunction with plyometrics. The key is stabilizing the pelvis, hip abductors, adductors, and external rotators. We also need to analyze your jump for proper knee tracking and to prevent what former Chicago Bulls strength coach Al Vermeil calls back jumping. The low back is comprised predominantly of slow twitch fibers and will not get you vertical fast enough. Glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps should be used to provide power for jumping.
Take advantage of what we have learned ! There is no time like now to become a better athlete! Get it done!

6 things my staff and I notice with soccer athletes over the last 21 years:

1) Everyone could use some more strength. All else aside, more strength makes you flat out more athletic. Power is your ability to recruit strength in a hurry and is a requirement during sprinting. Power also helps during cutting, jumping and kicking. Strength and stability keeps you from getting knocked off of the ball.

2) The athletes could use some more oblique and abdominal strength, stability and power. Your lower abdomen provides the anchor from which all movement can occur. This helps when you are kicking, jumping or sprinting. Have you ever watched a player run fast without the ball and look like he or she is speed skating? This tends to happen a lot with soccer. Sometimes it is motor and is a result of elbows that are flailing to the outside but more often it is the hips that are rotating. Force generated by the hip flexors and powerful arm action can’t be controlled by the body’s secondary rotational stabilizer, the obliques.  This produces a roll in the hips, a zigzag foot strike pattern and arm action that belongs on the ice, not on the soccer field.

3) Many of the players use a crossover step to move laterally without the ball instead of an open step. Takes longer and is inefficient in moving short distances.

4) Many athletes do not dorsiflex(pull the toes up) at the ankle during planting and during the recovery phase of sprinting. This is sometimes not a natural occurrence, particularly with soccer players who must point their toes to kick! As the shin swings forward right before ground contact, a nice dorsiflexed ankle provides a shorter lever at the knee(easier to turn over) as well a more efficient ground contact in line with the hips, not in front of the hips. Dorsiflexed ankles also send a warning to the knee joint and hip joint that they need to be ready to fire in advance.

5)Many players have a false step that wastes time and is inefficient.

6)Many players overstride as witnessed by a late recovery  evidenced by the foot finishing “high” when observed from the rear. This is “braking” actually.

Contact us to fix these issues.

Ed,

“I wanted to thank you for the work you and the other trainers have done with my children.  They both play soccer and this training was perfect for them.  When my son first came to you he was fast, but he ran out of control.  You not only improved his speed, but greatly increased the control he runs under.  His lateral movement and change of direction have improved tremendously.  This has enabled him to play his position with the speed and agility needed.  My daughter has also increased her speed and has become a stronger player.  She played her first game since last fall last weekend and other parents were commenting on how much faster she is now.  It is that noticeable.  They will be continuing with the program.  I am so pleased with their progress that I am having my youngest daughter begin the training.”

Again, thanks for your efforts.

Sincerely,

Patrick Maloney

 

www.strengthfitnessandspeed.com

Prologue: In eighth grade, my basketball crew and I were weekly regulars at Strength, Fitness, and Speed under Mr. Wieth. We would go to work on our vertical leaps, speed, agility, quickness, and strength. During one of our training sessions, I noticed one of my teammates slacking. He was just there going through the motions, and even laid down on a bench in the middle of a workout to rest! Being the (physically larger) leader that I was, I walked up to him, sat on him, and told him he better get his butt in gear. Immediately after, Mr. Wieth (jokingly) said, “Chris, if you ever need a job, you know where to find me!” Just five years later, finishing my freshman year of college, I showed back up at Strength, Fitness, and Speed and took him up on that offer.

 

As a sophomore in high school, I experienced physical therapy firsthand. I spent several months in and out of physical therapy for different ailments – shoulder pain, multiple bouts of low back pain, and chronic neck and upper extremity pain. This experience left me with a desire to pursue a career in the PT field.

Because of these ailments, I eventually stopped participating in high school sports. Instead I focused on the physiology and coaching aspect of sports and performance, which soon became my passion. To this day, many of my high school friends still comment on “that huge book” I would carry around from class to class. That book was my first personal trainer’s certification book. I often studied this material when I likely should have been studying for my actual classes!

Since high school, I’ve worked constantly to increase my knowledge of the human body and sport performance. I have since graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, received a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist title, and am currently enrolled in Pitt’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

Having this advanced knowledge has increased my abilities to improve our athletes’ success in many aspects at Strength, Fitness, and Speed.

A good example of how my education has helped a developing athlete comes from one of the hardest workers at the gym. He is currently a senior football player, though has now become enthralled with the sport of powerlifting. While I would mainly train him and his team for football, we always found ourselves talking about how to better set-up for the bench press, his current personal record lifts, or tips and cues for the deadlift. I was able to help coach him through his first powerlifting meet in Summer of 2018 where he broke the PA state teen record for the bench press. He is currently in-season for football, though will continue to compete in the off-season and push his limits of powerlifting, hopefully breaking more records along the way.

Another example involves a current Division II football lineman that I have worked with for many years. His first few sessions in high school, we realized we had a lot of work to do on footwork, quickness, and coordination. After many seasons of him working with the team at SFAS, he was able to land a starting lineman job at his high school, and soon begin to get offers from different colleges to play there.

While intensely training for his time in college, this athlete began to suffer from low back pain. He began to see a physical therapist, while continuing his training with us. The physical therapist had him performing rehabilitation exercises to strengthen and coordinate his core and proximal musculature.

Meanwhile, we continued his return-to-sport training and strengthening. With my education on his limitations and impairments, we spent time all the way up until he had to leave for camp working on getting back into playing shape. He is currently a freshman at a Division II school and is redshirting this year to continue his rehab, get a good jump on his education, and prepare for the rest of his football career.

While I could never take credit for any of the hard work that these athletes put in, I like to think some of my knowledge, coaching, and motivation has guided them toward the amazing success that they have had.

About the Author:

Chris Serrao
Sports Performance Coach
SPT, CSCS, Sport Performance
Coach Chris is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist that is currently enrolled in The University of Pittsburgh’s Number 1 ranked Doctor of Physical Therapy program. He received his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Pitt in 2018. Throughout his life, Chris played basketball, volleyball, and football, though eventually found his niche in the weightroom, now competing in powerlifting competitions across the country. He boasts lifts of a 555 pound back squat, 355 pound bench press, and 615 pound deadlift and uses his strength and athletic background to better train athletes of all ages and skill levels.

SFAS BOOT CAMP

Posted: October 9, 2017 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

This will be a great experience for all involved. We hope to help our camp realize higher levels of fitness and improved body composition!

bootcamp october

6 things my staff and I notice with soccer athletes over the last 15 years:

1) Everyone could use some more strength. All else aside, more strength makes you flat out more athletic. Power is your ability to recruit strength in a hurry and is a requirement during sprinting. Power also helps during cutting, jumping and kicking. Strength and stability keeps you from getting knocked off of the ball.

2) The athletes could use some more oblique and abdominal strength, stability and power. Your lower abdomen provides the anchor from which all movement can occur. This helps when you are kicking, jumping or sprinting. Have you ever watched a player run fast without the ball and look like he or she is speed skating? This tends to happen a lot with soccer. Sometimes it is motor and is a result of elbows that are flailing to the outside but more often it is the hips that are rotating. Force generated by the hip flexors and powerful arm action can’t be controlled by the body’s secondary rotational stabilizer, the obliques.  This produces a roll in the hips, a zigzag foot strike pattern and arm action that belongs on the ice, not on the soccer field. 

3) Many of the players use a crossover step to move laterally without the ball instead of an open step. Takes longer and is inefficient in moving short distances.

4) Many athletes do not dorsiflex(pull the toes up) at the ankle during planting and during the recovery phase of sprinting. This is sometimes not a natural occurrence, particularly with soccer players who must point their toes to kick! As the shin swings forward right before ground contact, a nice dorsiflexed ankle provides a shorter lever at the knee(easier to turn over) as well a more efficient ground contact in line with the hips, not in front of the hips. Dorsiflexed ankles also send a warning to the knee joint and hip joint that they need to be ready to fire in advance.

5)Many players have a false step that wastes time and is inefficient.

6)Many players overstride as witnessed by a late recovery  evidenced by the foot finishing “high” when observed from the rear. This is “braking” actually.

Contact us to fix these issues.

www.strengthfitnessandspeed.com