In Season Training Tips To Prevent Injury

In season training is so important to on field performance, we all know that. One of the most overlooked aspects of training hard during the season is it recoups the muscle fibers you break down during competition. Athletes who do not take in season training seriously are subject to an increase of one thing, injury!

There is a direct correlation between athletes who don’t train hard during the season and their increase risk of injury! Football being a collision sport, injuries are very common. Below are three ideas to keep you off the training table and on the field.

Split Squats ;The most important lift in the book. At SST this is a day one deal, we’ve been doing this with our athletes for over 20 years and for good reason. One of the most common injuries in football is a knee injury, most commonly an ACL tear. Doing split squats all year will improve your range of motion and will allow you to be strong in the knee over toe position. Performing the split squat is also a very effective way to train the VMO, which is a very important muscle to have a strong health knee.

Pulling Lifts; I’ve been around football so long and later in the season  athletes start to get banged up backs and shoulders, because of all the collisions that happen on a daily basis. This happens very easily because, young athletes that don’t have proper training knowledge think that they need to be benching and pressing to stay strong in the upper body. There is some merit to this being that football is a sport where a lot of “press action” happens but, to stay strong and healthy the posterior chain in the upper body needs to be taken care of. My favorite one would be a simple as a chin up or any type of row. This will keep your back strong and your spine protected!

Conditioning;  Football is a multi direction sport! Way to often we condition just going straight! IT IS MADNESS!!!! When conditioning athletes make sure that you are doing different things, such as shuffles, cross overs and change of direction. For example, a running back (RB) in football spend most of his time going forward in a game, rarely does he go back wards. During the season condition him going backwards so when it happens during a game, his body is used to it! BIGGEST CONDITIONING TIP! Make your guys back pedal, it’s way harder to pull something going backwards in a back pedal than it is going forwards!

Hopefully these three tips help you stay strong during the season, but more importantly help you stay on the field!

Email us at SST@SSTCANADA.COM to schedule your free demo today!

Squat Depth: How low should I go?

The squat is one of the most well known, if not the most well-known exercise for developing lower body strength. One of the age-old questions in the athletic community and strength and conditioning world is how low should I go? This post aims to delve into this topic and provide insight into how low one should go when squatting.

            Early research into the squat suggested that with increased knee bend there was increased stress on the knee joint and while this is partially true (as tibiofemoral and patellofemoral compression increases with increasing knee angle), the maximal mean peak shear forces reported are much lower than the patellar and quadriceps tendons can withstand, and therefore while these forces increase with squat depth, they are within ranges that would tend not to significantly damage these tissues in an healthy individual. Furthermore, peak anterior shear forces occur from 0 – 60 degrees of knee flexion, making the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) most susceptible at this range, and these forces decrease with increased squat depth. Posterior shear force begins at 30 degrees flexion, with peak forces reported at 90 degrees of knee flexion and decreasing below 90 degrees of flexion. Therefore, while it is true higher forces exist at greater knee flexion, deep squats decrease stress on the ACL and PCL compared to partial squats of 90 degrees knee flexion or less.

            While the knee joint is the most commonly addressed joint when talking about squat depth, the loading mechanics of the spine also come into question. It has been shown that with increased forward lean, forces on the lumbar spine are increased. Furthermore, in lumbar flexion or excessive lumbar extension we also see these forces increase with the squat. In terms of the effect of squat depth on the spine, if a neutral lumbar spine and forward gaze can be maintained this is more important than squat depth itself. Furthermore, it appears front squats and low bar back squats provide less stress on the spine than high bar back squats.

            When we look at muscle activation, deep squats tend to activate hip musculature more than partial squats, so if we are trying to maximize the strength of our hip musculature (including our most powerful hip extensor gluteus maximus) deep squats with a wider stance and feet slightly turned out (anatomical position) are preferred, as partial squats up to 90 degrees maximize quadricep activation.

Overall there are many benefits to deep squats, but this is only if we can perform deep squats with proper form and technique. Likewise, there may be some scenarios where deep squats are contraindicated such as those with previous PCL injuries or patellofemoral disorders. Furthermore, squat depth should be consistent with individual goals and proper technique and execution needs to be maintained. Individuals should seek advice of an exercise professional on squat technique and should have an assessment done to find what is right for them in their exercise program. However, if you can squat to depth below 90 degrees it seems to be beneficial to athletic development and may even be less stressful on supporting structures.

Note – Information in this article is based off the brief review titled “Squat Kinematics and Kinetics and Their Application to Exercise Performance” Brad J. Schoenfeld published in 2013 the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Access this article here: https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2010/12000/Squatting_Kinematics_and_Kinetics_and_Their.40.asp

Maxfit 44 program

If you’re a man over the age of 40, your body is issuing you an ultimatum:

Get lean and fit or face accelerated aging, weight gain, diminished sex drive, declining energy, chronic diseases like osteoarthritis, chronic low back pain, diabetes, and other problems.

Ever notice that most elite athletes retire from competitive sports in their late 30s? There’s a reason for this, the male body starts to age more quickly. But you can reverse the aging process with nutrition and strength training.

Part of the reason for this accelerated process is the diminished production of our hormones Testosterone and Growth hormone. Testosterone is the hormone that makes us men. It gives us our strength, our drive, and our character.

However testosterone production declines with age in men. This results in decreased serum levels of total and bioavailable testosterone, leading to a decrease in energy, muscle mass, and bone mass. This also leads to an increase in body fat levels, depression, and a variety of disease. Growth Hormone is the hormone that stimulates growth and cell division. The average bodily decline in growth hormone production is 1.25% per year, or 14% per decade for a man of normal body weight. If we add in the elevated body fat levels the growth hormone production is further compounded because body fat itself tends to decrease HGH secretion.

However it does not have to be this way, with a properly designed strength and nutrition program we can halt or even reverse this process, to become the strong virile man we used to be.

MaxFit 44 offers you an opportunity to answer the ultimatum your body is issuing.

We provide a customized nutrition plan and strength training program that will allow you to meet your fitness goals. Based on cutting edge scientific research and accurate assessment of your body composition we will design a program for weight loss, improved vitality, and enhanced sports performance (other goals?).

This is not your normal group exercise program. There are no dance moves to learn, no irritating music and no endless boring cardio exercises.

We offer low instructor, client ratios and select only exercises that will make you stronger and more powerful.

Why would you choose a group exercise program vs. individualized training or working out in isolation? Cost and results. Working out in a group setting is less expensive than working out with a trainer in a one on one basis but with the shared benefits of group accountability. Studies indicate that people work harder when they believe that others are watching them. This increase of intensity when paired with proper exercise selection and movement form will yield results that are up to 80% better in half the time.

When you factor in the nutritional program, you have an unbeatable approach that is going to make you look and feel better than you ever have in your life. Better yet is that by learning WHAT and HOW to eat, you will be able to stay lean and keep your muscular appearance while the rest of your friends continue their age related decline. Discover the benefits of MY BLUEPRINT NUTRITION

You can’t stop your body from aging but you can control how it looks as it ages. Get back in the drivers seat and recapture the vitality of your youth.

MaxFit 44 will change the way you look, feel and think about your health for the rest of your life. You deserve to be the best you can be.

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JOIN OUR NEXT 12 WEEK PROGRAM!

Come in for a free demo class.

Using The Gym To Mentally Prepare For Competition.

One the biggest problems with young athletes today is that they don’t know how to completely focus all the time. You can also see it during their competitions. Athletes get out of place or don’t react fast enough because they didn’t see something or couldn’t see something because it was happening to fast for them. Here are three tips to use to increase an athlete’s focus!

Eliminate Technology In the Gym; Athletes and people are way too reliant on technology. When athletes lift, they should not be on their phones. It should not be used in between sets. They do not have cases to their phones during their competition, so don’t let them use a phone during training. When athletes are resting during sets, I teach them how to breath and give them a skill they can us on the field of competition. This is a learned skill set that can be practiced instead of being on a phone.

Quiz Them In States Of Exhaustion; This could be my favorite of all time. When I work with my Offensive Lineman, I often ask them question right when they finish working. They are tired and this is when their brains sometimes don’t want to work. I try and mimic this so that when they are tired they are used to thinking, and it’s not new to them. Something as simple as asking them what 8×7 is when they are huffing and puffing. It’s really simple yet so darn effective.

Simulate Game Situation In Group Training; Make your athletes work as a team when they train as a group. For example when doing the fictional training with hockey players I like to make one athlete of “off” and have one athlete run “on” to start and finish their set. This simulates a shift change. You can also do to with 5 players at a time if you are working as a big group. Something as simple as that will help them get used to stay mentally focused during their competition.

Come in to SST Burlington to put these and more training tips into your training routine!

BCAA’s – what, why and how?

One of the newer supplements on the market making claims to improve cognition, decrease muscle breakdown, promote muscle protein synthesis and improve exercise performance is branched-chain amino-acids (BCAAs).

But… what are they? BCAAs are essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine (ones we cannot synthesize ourselves and must consume) that can be oxidized within our muscles, especially during exercise. These amino acids are the most important amino acids for muscle protein synthesis, as leucine itself is a direct stimulator of muscle protein synthesis independent of exercise and it is important to make sure we are getting adequate amounts in our diet before considering supplementation.

While most of the research into BCAAs has been done in rodents, some interesting data has recently surfaced regarding their effect on exercise in humans. Mainly the ingestion of BCAAs before, during or after exercise has been shown to increase intracellular and arterial levels, and to prevent muscle protein breakdown, where some studies have even demonstrated less delayed-onset-muscle-soreness (DOMS) following exercise. BCAAs are also an important fuel for our muscle cells during exercise, and since levels decline with exercise, it makes sense to use them as a supplement during and/or after workouts.

When combined with a resistance training program and enough protein intake, BCAAs have been shown to help to increase lean muscle mass and lower body fat percentage. It should be noted that a lot of the research into BCAAs, is through one off studies and research is just starting to tease out the effectiveness of them but nevertheless there are some intriguing early results. Come into SST to find out how, when, and what BCAAs we use with our athletes and clients to help improve exercise performance and body composition!

References: All About BCAAs Precision Nutrition Andrews, Ryan (2018) Exercise Promotes BCAA Catabolism: Effects of BCAA Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle during Exercise Shimomura et al. (2004) The Journal of Nutrition

Email us at Bskinner@sstcanada.com to get email notifications on our upcoming nutrition and supplement clinics!

Make Dynamic Stretching A Part Of Your Routine.

The term dynamic stretching comes down to movement based stretching. In other words, the individual uses a swinging or bouncing movement to extend their range of motion (ROM) and flexibility. The force of the bounce or swing is gradually increased but should never become uncontrolled.

What is Dynamic Flexibility?

The term dynamic flexibility refers to an individual’s absolute range of motion that can be achieved with movement. In other words, how far you can reach, bend or turn by using velocity and momentum to achieve maximum range of motion. As all sport involves movement of some kind, a degree of dynamic flexibility is essential!

The difference between Dynamic Stretching and Static Stretching?

Although there are many different ways to stretch, they can all be grouped into one of two categories; static or dynamic.The main difference between dynamic stretching and static stretching is that static stretches are performed without movement. In other words, the individual gets into the stretch position and holds the stretch for a specific amount of time. While dynamic stretches are performed with movement. There isn’t one way, nor one type of stretching is better than another. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the key to getting the most out of stretching lies in being able to match the right type of stretching to the purpose, or goal you are trying to achieve. For example; For warming up, dynamic stretching is the most effective, while for cooling down, static and passive are best.

The best time to use Dynamic Stretching

One of the main purposes of dynamic stretching is to prepare the body for activity or sport, which is why dynamic stretching is so effective as part of a warm up routine. Please note though, that dynamic stretching is not THE warm up, is it only PART OF a warm up. A proper warm up has a number of very important key elements. These elements, or parts, should all work together to prepare the individual for physical activity and minimize the likelihood of sports injury.

Improve your Dynamic Flexibility.

It’s important not to rely on just one type of stretching all the time. You need to know which type of stretching is best for the goal you’re trying to achieve or the individual you’re working with. When you can match the right type of stretching to the individual and their goals, you’ll always get a better outcome.

Come into SST to learn a safe and beneficial dynamic warm up routine.

Woman In Rugby

On Sunday I attended a conference about coaching the female athlete. Hosted by the Burlington Centaurs Rugby Club.

Primarily the focus was on how to effectively coach female athletes and the different strategies that will keep them not only performing physically but also taking care of the athletes on a psychological level to maximize performance.

It was a very productive and positive experience from beginning to end. It was great to listen to representatives from:

… to name but a few.

Although I think the highlight for me was listening to Jane Kirby-Addeo talk about how representation matters. We need more female athletes, coaches and board members to usher us into the next era of women’s sports. Hearing her speak about her journey only makes me more hopeful that we are heading in the right direction.

Jane Addeo (nee Kirby)
President of the Fergus Highland Rugby Club

Another positive for me was seeing the male coaches both speakers and attendees that came to the event and to see how much passion and care each of them put into training their female athletes! We are all responsible for ensuring out female athletes are taken seriously and given an equitable chance in their sports as I believe this is key not only to their early lives and sporting careers but also to the confidence they develop off the field and will be taking with them into the real world. Although I fully believe we need more female representation, the men that stand with us are equally important.

Although I was approaching the conference as a strength and condition coach whereas most of the attendees are coaches of (mostly) female rugby teams, the information was very transferable to my needs as it was to everyone else. When we talk about injury prevention, psychology, coaching strategies and representation; each person was able to take away a new piece of valuable information. We are all learning and striving to be better each and every day; that is one of the core values here at SST and was so wonderful to see it in so many people over the course of the day!

The day was time well spent, THANKS CENTAURES RUGBY CLUB

Why Female Athletes Need To Strength Train – Part 2

In Part one of this blog, we spoke about early specialization, Preparation for the future and reducing risk of injury. Today we will go over the other more looked over benefits of strength training for female athletes!

3.       Increases in Strength                                                                                

Developing an athletes strength capacity can be significantly enhanced through a program that uses a variety of forms of resistance training. The ability to coordinate movement and to efficiently recruit muscles in synchronized action are two of the main reasons for the strength improvements. As children age, this is a natural pattern of development but using forms of strength and conditioning training can expedite the process. Individuals who train twice per week, on average, have 33% higher strength gains than their once session per week counterparts. Stronger athletes perform better.

4.  Enjoyment in movement and physical activity for a lifetime                 

Through research, we know that those individuals who enjoy movement and physical activity are those who are the most likely to continue a healthy exercise lifestyle through their lives. It is much easier to enjoy physical activity when you move well and with no pain during the process. Strength and conditioning is a way to learn how to positively impact movement quality through mobility and movement training. All movements in our lives have an optimal way to be performed and the better you are at performing those movements, the better chance you have of continuing those movements.

As a final note; Always keep in mind that social pressures are a large part of a female athlete’s psyche and anything you do to take care of the body you must take equal care of their mind. An example of this is something I hear far too often. Whenever there is a young girl in the gym, the parents passing through tend to make a comment along the lines of “aw, she is so cute” …. Well she is here to work hard not to look cute. By saying that, you teach her to prioritize looking cute in the gym over the hard work they are putting in and devaluing that work all at the same time. Value the work your girls are putting into the gym and not what they look like while doing so. These pressures are difficult enough to deal with outside the gym and I don’t want that pressure walking in with them to every session, practice or game they attend.

Come into SST and see the difference our athlete training programs can make to you or your daughter!

If you are interested in learning more about your preparation and reducing injury risk please email us at bskinner@sstcanada.com

Are Your Ankles Mobile… and Stiff?!?!

The ankle joint and surrounding structures is one of the most important joints in the human body for athletic performance. Many athletic activities in sport require tremendous amounts of force being applied and re-directed through this joint including sprinting, jumping, cutting and the changing of direction.

While stiffness in the ankle joint is generally regarded as a negative, there is something to be said for having the right amount of stiffness in the ankle joint. The term stiffness generalized to a lack of mobility in the ankle, however in this sense when we are talking about stiffness, we mean the ability to absorb and re-apply force. You can think of this as jumping as high as you can and then asking the body to jump again with eh same effect. This requires a tremendous amount of stiffness in the ankle joint to absorb and re-apply force to create another maximal jump. Stiffness in the ankle joint allows for less energy to be lost and the ability to still produce a large jump.

However, a general amount of ankle mobility is required to produce maximal force and to achieve athletic angles and positions in sport. Additionally, in the weight room ankle mobility can be a major impediment to individuals being able to reach a desired range of motion exercises such as the squat (along with other exercises), which can cause issues in terms of technique and form breakdown. The inability to exercise in full ranges of motion with certain exercises can impede the improvements in athleticism we see with training.

Want To Know How Your Ankle Mobility Stacks Up? Try This.

  1. Get into a half kneeling position with your shoes off.
  2. Place your toes 3-5 inches away from a wall.
  3. Drive your knee over your 2nd toe and see if you can touch your knee against the wall without lifting your heel off of the ground.

Come in to SST to check out the different strategies we use with our athletes to help improve ankle mobility and increase stiffness to help make our athletes stronger and faster!

Three Tips To In-Season Training – Football

In season training is a must for ALL sports! One of my biggest pet peeves is when athletes train SO HARD during the off-season but then they do nothing to maintain their hard work during the season! You are wasting all the hard work you’ve put in! Listen I get it…. lifting during the season is a very tough task both mentally and physically but it needs to be done so you can maintain your strength and speed that was developed during the course of the past off season. Most people do not understand how to properly train during the season, here at SST we can help guide you through the course of the off-season and your in season maintenance!

Here are my three biggest inseason traning tips that will definitley help your performance!!!

Lift The Heavy Barbell

Don’t be afraid to lift heavy during your athlete work week. This will keep you strong! Ever notice why muscle pulls and joint tweaks happen in the later parts of your season??? Its because most athletes are not keep their bodies strong! In the football season most high school and university players are playing on Friday or Saturday. There is no reason why early in the week, Monday and Tuesday you cannot be lifting in the 80% max load range.

Active Recovery Day –  Post Game

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!! If you play your game on Friday night, there is no doubt that you are going to wake up Saturday sore as heck. The worst thing you can do is just sit around on the couch feeling sorry for your body. My suggestion is you do something active to get the lactic acid out of your body. What I like to do with my football guys is the day after the game we get out on the field and run 10 fifty yard tempos at half speed, just enough to get the blood moving. After that is complete I make them walk for 15 minutes. This works perfect, and you wake up Sunday feeling 10 times better.

Streching – Hip Flexors and Glutes

Football is played in a low crouched position a lot of the time. The first thing that usually goes on Football athletes are their backs from the constant collisions and the positions they are always in. I highly suggest that you take 15 minutes out of your day, every day to give your Hip Flexors and Glutes some love. There are 1000’s of different stretches that can be performed depending on your flexibility.

Give these three tips a try when thinking about your in season training, they will definitely help you. All athletes out there that feel they need a little more direction in their training swing by SST Burlington and let us help you. We have been in this business for 20 year and have help 1000’s of athletes!

Why Female Athletes Need To Strength Train – Part 1

The girls I see coming into the facility always out train the boys; gone are the days where we will accept the phrase “—-like a girl” to mean something inherently wrong, especially when it comes to sports! Female Athletes need to be taken just as seriously as their male counterparts, that goes for every aspect of their chosen sport and will benefit from strength and conditioning programs. With the trend towards early sport specialization becoming more common in young athletes, it is important to ensure that female athletes are competent in a broad spectrum of movements from a young age so that they are well rounded and able to perform their sports activities in the safest manner possible. The following four points (Points 1 &2 in part one and Points 3&4 in part two) highlight how strength and conditioning can be useful for your female athlete.

1.       Preparation for the Future                                                                              

In the past 10 years, long term athletic development (LTAD) and youth physical development (YPD) have been the cornerstone models for development of young athletes. These two distinct approaches use a holistic view to training so that age, growth, maturity and training level are all taken into consideration when a program is designed for an individual. Strength and conditioning training has a significant role in ensuring that young athletes become more coordinated, stable and strong as they advance through their athletic careers. It is important that young athletes are proficient in movement basics so that their platform for growth and development continues along an upward trend.

2.       Reduced Injury Risk                                                                                       

Despite concerns in the past that strength training is harmful for young athletes, it has been revealed that strength and conditioning can make a developing athlete “more resistant to injury” (NSCA, 2008). A higher level of motor control and a better understanding of how their body moves in space, allows an athlete to take more control over their injury prevention. Strategies of how to correctly stabilize the core, distribute bodyweight and resist force are all areas which can lower the risk of injury.

A properly designed strength and conditioning program guards against over development of a specific set muscle group from playing a sport year round (specializing), by incorporating exercises to balance and provide joint stability for sport specific movement. The most balanced, strong and coordinate athletes are the athletes who are least likely to be injured.

If you are interested in learning more about your preparation and reducing injury risk please email us at bskinner@sstcanada.com

Look out for Part @ of this blog!

Has your bench press hit a plateau?

There is a small but mighty trick to break through, switch to a DB chest press and get the most bang for your buck. The strongest, smartest lifters don’t bench-press with their upper arms 90 degrees from their sides; they tuck their elbows in on the descent to get more power and reduce the risk of shoulder injury. To get fluid and comfortable doing this, performing the neutral to pronated grip bench press for eight to 12 weeks. Switch back to the traditional barbell while keeping in mind the cues of tucking your elbows. Watch your bench number skyrocket.

HOW TO DO IT

1. Grab dumbbells and lie back on a bench. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together and arch your lower back. Position the weights at the sides of your chest with palms facing each other.

2. Press the weights straight overhead, while rotating your grip to the pronated position and vice versa on the way down.

WHY IT WORKS

Pressing with the palms facing each other, rather than pointed toward your feet, will naturally cause you to keep your elbows close. This takes excess pressure off your shoulder joints and increases your mechanical advantage, allowing you to lift significantly more weight. Your chest is also responsible for internal rotation and therefor you will get better activation of that muscle group.

Come in for a FREE demo with our MaxFit class!

To book please email us at sst@sstcanada.com and we’ll get you scheduled for your demo.