Posts Tagged ‘training’

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.

This will be a chance for those not yet part of the SFAS family to check out the facility, observe some training, speak to our staff and to get an opportunity to sign up for 50% discounted functional assessments. All current and past SFAS family members are welcome to attend!

    • Meet Coach Ed and get a perspective on 40 plus years of trends and what is effective in training. What looks “cool” may not do much for the athlete at all.
    • Meet Dr. Jake Wietholder and get his take on corrective exercise
    • Meet the excellent staff and observe some training
    • There will be an opportunity to schedule a 50% discounted functional assessment for attending
    • Of course some snacks(healthy!) and….some not so much2016-07-27 18.34.40_IMG8474-45

 

This will be a chance for those not yet part of the SFAS family to check out the facility, observe some training, speak to our staff and to get an opportunity to sign up for 50% discounted functional assessments. All current and past SFAS family members are welcome to attend!

  • Meet Coach Ed and get a perspective on 40 plus years of trends and what is effective in training. What looks “cool” may not do much for the athlete at all.
  • Meet his excellent staff and observe some training
  • There will be an opportunity to schedule a 50% discounted assessment for attending
  • Of course some snacks(healthy!) and….some not so much2016-07-27 18.34.40

I’m revisiting this article again because there are some things i have learned. Despite getting body fat nice and low in 2016 and 2017 I had a defined midsection but a lean “bulge” in the  belly button region. Here are 3 new take homes if your midsection is not as defined as you like.

1)You are fat. Ab work does not spot reduce. Build some head to toe muscle, do sprint interval work. Control your caloric intake.

2)If you are not fat and still are cloudy and bulged in the midsection start treating the core area like any other muscle group and throw out the low intensity burny BS high rep training.

3)If you have some definition but have the bulge, the bulge could be present due to a few different reasons.

First some tight hip flexors can produce anterior pelvic tilt which can certainly create that illusion. Excess sitting and hip flexor work(leg raises, six inches, sit ups, feet hooked crunches, sprinting, kicking). Counter this with some basic hip flexor stretching. Get into the bottom position of a lunge with the back knee resting on the floor. Push your hips forward while maintaining an upright posture. Adjust the distance between your legs so that the shin on your front leg is in a vertical position. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. If you do not feel the stretch, tip your body sideways towards the hip of the leg that is in front of you. Also look at changing your core routine to let the hip flexors reduce their tone.

Second and in my own experience I had built a wall of lower abdominal muscle that was done in the absence of maintaining TVA coordination and strength. By allowing my stomach to bulge outward slightly during my crazy core moves I developed a tendency to relax the TVA group at rest and during activity. To wake up the TVA get down on all fours and allow your stomach to bulge downward. Next focus on drawing your belly button up and in towards your spine. Hold for 2 seconds. Repeat 10 times. In looking at your core work focus on maintaining this slightly drawn in belly button position during all of your moves.

Now here is the reprint from the article:

I wrote the following article many years ago. It appeared in a fitness magazine around 2000-2001 or so. Jessie asked me about it tonight so here it is.

Keep in mind the abdominal wall is a fast twitch beast and needs to be trained that way. I would not hesitate to deviate from the 10 rep sets listed to sets of 6-8 at some point, with 6 or 8 being the last possible rep you can perform in good form.

Treat your abs like other muscle groups. Burn does not mean definition it means lactic acid.

The eight “blocks” that one should be able to see on the anterior side of a very lean individual’s physique are known collectively as the rectus abdominus. If one looks to the left and to the right of the abdominal wall, one can see the external obliques. In the next layer, the internal obliques insert on the last 3 to 4 ribs and run posteriorly downward and diagonally towards the rear pockets of your pants.

The function of the rectus abdominus is to flex the trunk when in a supine position. The obliques perform a variety of actions. Unilateral contraction (one sided) of the obliques(external and internal), yields a lateral(sideways) contraction to that side. Rotation is produced by contraction of an external oblique and an internal oblique on opposite sides. Bilateral contraction of the obliques helps to stabilize the torso.

Aside from aesthetics, the midsection has other important functions as well. Muscles need to be strengthened in weight bearing positions, not just supported ones, especially the internal and external obliques, abdominals, hip flexors, hamstrings, and lower back.

Coordination in the lower abdomen needs to be developed before getting into rigorous ab training. There are 2 exercises that need to be mastered before proceeding. The first is the pelvic tilt. On a firm surface, lying flat on your back, roll your pelvis back, flattening your spine against the floor while your legs are bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold for a two count. Repeat for 2 sets of 12 repetitions. The second exercise is the 1 leg pelvic tilt. Lie down with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Roll your pelvis back until your spine is pressing against the floor. Raise and lower 1 leg while keeping your pelvis rolled back. Repeat with alternate legs for 2 sets of 12-15 reps. 3-4 times per week is good at this stage since we are mainly coordinating, rather than strengthening.

After these exercises have been mastered, proceed to the pelvic tilt. This is the same as the second exercise but with 2 legs rather than 1. The knees are totally bent. This tests coordination between the psoas and abdominal musculature. When this exercise can be performed for 2 sets of 12 repetitions at 3 times per week, it is time to embark on complete abdomen training.

A good beginner routine has you training the lower abdomen first. If necessary, neurally prime the area with some pelvic tilts. Choose unsupported pelvic tilts as your first exercise which is the same as the coordinating exercise but with more extension at the knee. Go for 2 sets of 10 reps. Over the weeks, gradually increase the degree of extension at the knee to provide greater resistance. The goal is to do the exercise with full extension at the knee.

Next, we will move to the oblique region. Oblique crunches fit the bill here. If you have any existing back condition this rotational exercise should be avoided, however. Lie on the floor, bend knees, and point them to the ceiling using hip flexion. Your feet are up in the air. This reduces psoas contribution and stabilizes the low back. Place hands on your chest and place your tongue behind your teeth to stabilize neck flexors. Imagine a rope fixed to a pulley on the ceiling pulling your sternum upward. Twist at the waist on the way up as if you were going to touch your knee with the opposite elbow. Do not lead with the head, lead with the sternum. Repeat on the other side. 2 sets of 10 repetitions fit the bill.

Lastly, straight crunches minus the rotation as described are performed for 2 sets of 10 repetitions. To increase the difficulty on the crunch variations, proceed from hands on the chest to hands at the head to hands overhead, forming  a straight line at the torso.

This program is directed at beginners and should provide all the work necessary done 2-3 times weekly. When intensity is developed, frequency can be decreased. In addition, the use of a Swiss Ball can increase exercise intensity when progressing to the next level. After all, isn’t that what it is all about?

To perform the crunch variations on the Swiss Ball, carefully lie back on the ball with the small of your lower back draped across the ball. Spread your feet about shoulder width on the floor. Perform the crunch variations as described earlier. It will feel quite awkward at first, but the ab workout will feel tremendous.

When the crunch exercises performed with straight arms behind the head fail to provide enough difficulty to further stimulate progress, hold a medicine ball to provide some more torque for the abdominals to deal with. Be careful not to strain the shoulder joint. If you have any shoulder injury or discomfort with this at all, hold the ball under the chin instead. Maintain perfect form and remember to avoid using hip flexors. You will feel the urge to do so when working with increased resistance on the ab motions. When the unsupported pelvic tilt becomes easy, try the lower ab king which is the hanging reverse crunch. To perform this excellent exercise, hang from a chinning bar and slightly flex the legs(draw your thigh up towards your upper body)at the hip. Lock the legs with this degree of flexion at the hip! This is key! We want to work the lower abdomen, not hip flexors. Using your abs, curl the pelvis backwards until full contraction is experienced. Maintain the same degree of flexion at the hip throughout. Do not think of pulling the knees up to the chest. Curl the pelvis.

In closing, the importance of learning how to utilize the lower abdomen in abdominal training cannot be overstressed. This early foundational work will better enable you to recruit this group when performing all of your abdominal movements.

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

Going back about ten years I caught hell from a head football coach whose team we had been contracted to train for strength and speed 3 days per week. His assistant coaches had spread the word that these infidels(my coaches and I) didn’t have the team hitting each muscle group. Coach called me to his office and was insane and yelled, “They are only doing 4 exercises each workout! No curls, no skull crushers, no leg press, no side laterals, no strip set forced rep banded madness!! “How can one gain from just 4 exercises Ed?!! This is ridiculous I can’t believe we hired you guys!” I calmly said, “Coach back in 2003 I worked up to deadlifting 415×20, Squatting 495×5, Chinning 5 reps with 115 pounds on my waist and Benching 315×5 with 5 exercises on Monday, 3 on Wednesday and 3 on Friday. No chemical assistance Coach. I was 37 years old Coach and weighed about 190 pounds. ” “Oh”, he calmly said. Well maybe we will try this out………… Keep it Simple Stupid.