Sheet Pan Salmon Dinner

If you are like most people you have very little time to cook you and your family healthy dinners. Well the times of turning to the fast food drive thru are over! Welcome SHEET PAN DINNERS! One pan with everything on it, one cook time, set it and forget it cooking, and clean-up like a breeze! These dinners are a miracle!

One of my favourite one pan dinners is lemon, garlic salmon and veggies!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Total Time: 30-40 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1lb of wild-caught salmon, cut into fillets
  • 1 bushel of asparagus
  • ½ tsp. dried dill, 1tbsp of fresh dill
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder, 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 2-3tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ lemon, thinly sliced

Instructions

1.Preheat your oven t 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper

2. Wash and cut your veggies of choice, asparagus.

  • Ensure if you are using a root vegetable, such as sweet potatoes, that you slice them very thin so they cook the same time as everything else on the pan.

3. On one side of the sheet pan, spread all your veggies, drizzle with olive oil and seasonings

  • I used garlic, salt and pepper

4. On the second side of the sheet pan, place your salmon fillets, drizzle with olive oil and spices

  • I used garlic, salt, pepper and dill

5. Take lemon slices and place 1-2 on each salmon fillet

  • If you do not have fresh lemon slices, sprinkle salmon fillets with some lemon juice instead.

6. Place entire pan in the oven and forget it for 20 minutes!

7. After 20 minutes, check the salmon for doneness. If it flakes easily with a fork and is no longer opaque, it is finished. At this point the veggies should be done as well. If you are using root veggies and they are not yet tender, you can return them to the oven for an extra 5-10 minutes until fork tender.

If you like this recipe it can be used with SO many different varieties of proteins, veggies and spices! Try it with chicken, steak or trout. Bell peppers, asparagus, carrots, broccoli. Maple Garlic, teriyaki, lime chili. The possibilities are endless, delicious and easy!

Snap a picture of your version and tell us how it went!

Athlete Highlight – Matthew Radivojsa

 

 

Matthew Radivosja

We would like to congratulate SST Oakville’s Mathew Radivojsa, who has signed with the Division 1- English Premier team, West Bromwich Albion.  Matthew has been training with SST since he was 9 years old and all his hard work and dedication has paid off!

We are so proud and excited for Matthews accomplishment and his next step in his athletic career.

Congratulations Matthew!

BIG News at SST Oakville!

Some BIG News out of SST Oakville! We would like to welcome coach TJ to our SST Family.

 Coach TJ will be partnering with veteran coach Delory Rhooms at SST Oakville. TJ comes to SST with a wealth of strength & conditioning knowledge. TJ started training with SST at the age of 14 years, which helped him gain a baseball scholarship to Central Missouri University. From there he was asked to Spring Training in the MLB with the Arizona Diamondbacks, which eventually landed him in the Frontier Pro Baseball League.

TJ and Delory are committed and will be working hard to provide the level of training which has set SST apart for many years. Welcome to the family TJ!

Did You Waste Your Time With Your New Years Resolution – Part 2

If you missed our first 5 tips to keeping your New Years Resolution, click here to check them out

6. Keep Track of Your Progress

One of the easiest way to keep you motivated on your way to your goals is to track your progress. Track your workouts and weights you used, track your weight and body composition, track your nutrition. When you’re in the thick of it you do not always see the progress you’re making, however, if you keep track of what you are doing day to day and look back in a couple months you will be surprised at how much has changed!

Tracking your progress will also allow you to see things such as a tendency to eat too much at dinner, missing more workouts as the week goes on, you haven’t increased the weights you are using at the gym. Seeing what you are doing on paper (or an app) will allow you to make adjustments to your plan and give you a better chance of sticking to your resolution

7. Celebrate your Progress

A great way to keep yourself motivated towards your goals is to celebrate the smaller victories along the way. Lost 5lbs?! Treat yourself to a new workout outfit! Added 10lbs to your squat, go for a massage (your sore muscles will thank you!). When you celebrate the steeping stones you will be more likely to want to keep pushing for the next one, making your ultimate resolution easy to maintain.

8. Reward Yourself with Non-Food Items

When you celebrate your progress, make sure to avoid doing so with food! Using food to reward your fitness or dietary progress is undermining your ultimate goals and may reinforce an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead celebrate with self-care (massage, pedicure, a bath), treating yourself to something you normally would not (a new outfit, a new book), or a trip or activity you have wanted to do.

9. Make Adjustments

As you progress, you should check back on the goals you wrote down from time to time. This will allow you to tweak your goals if needed. For example, if your goal was to lose 10lbs by the end of March and on February 5th you have already lost 8lbs, you should try making your goal more difficult! You can also look to add more detail to your goal, instead of just squatting 135lbs, how many reps do you want to do? In order to make your resolutions sustained behavioral changes you must be able to self-reflect and be flexible.

10. Know that Set Backs are Normal

You are human, you are going to make mistakes and the world will not end! Going to a birthday party and eating some cake or missing a few days in a row at the gym should not be enough to derail all your hard work. DO NOT GIVE UP THAT EASILY!

Allow yourself some freedoms and guilty pleasures now and then, not only will this allow yourself some sanity but it will also make big setback less likely to occur. For example, if you LOVE chocolate do not deny yourself chocolate altogether, switch to dark chocolate and allow yourself a couple pieces on Sunday evenings as you prepare for your week. Allowing yourself this small treat once a week will make you less likely to gorge yourself on the plethora of chocolates around on Valentine’s Day.

With the help of these tips you will be well on your way to your goals for 2018! Let make this year your best year yet.

If you need some extra help sticking to your resolution, enlist the help of our SST coaches and our incredible Adult fitness programs. We have a program for every fitness level and every goal!

Check out our incredible 2 for 1 deal we have going on in February!

Did You Waste Your Time With Your New Years Resolution?! Part 1

So the first month of 2018 has come and gone; how are those New Year Resolutions treating you?

If you’re like the majority of people, when the New Year comes along you start making resolutions. Promises to save more money, keep in touch with friends and one of the most popular, get in better shape! Well, the resolution part is easy but sticking to your goal, that is the hard part!

According to some research, upwards of 92% of New Year resolutions do not succeed!! With the odds stacked against us, the easy thing would be to join the masses and just give up, but my resolution was to make sure YOU stick to your resulution. So, I put together my top 10 tips to help you stick to those resolutions and be a part of that illustrious 8%! IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

1.Make sure your Resolutions are Realistic

Haven’t been to the gym in a couple years? That’s okay, but your resolution probably shouldn’t be to start going to the gym 7 days a week. Not only is that a really daunting task (even for someone who goes to the gym regularly!) but it sets you up for failure. What happens when you miss one day? It makes it easier to talk yourself out of the next, and the next, and next thing you know your resolution is down the drain!

Rather, aim for something that is more realistic and maintainable. Start with aiming to go 2 or 3 days a week (if it’s been a while you will be sore and you will be happy to give your body some extra rest!). Once you get into the swing of things add an extra day, a couple weeks later add another. Before you know it, it will become second nature to get to the gym on a regular basis and you will avoid feeling overwhelmed and defeated by the gym

2. Be Specific

Vagueness is the enemy when it comes to goal setting. If you don’t know exactly what you’re working towards how will you know when you’ve attained it?

Instead of saying you want to lose weight or get stronger make specific, measureable, time-bound goals for yourself. For example:

– I want to lose 10lbs and 7% body fat by March 31st, 2018

– I want to back squat 135lbs by May 1st, 2018 (I’m well on my way!!)

Are making statements like this scary? Yes.

Is there a chance you may not meet this goal? Yes.

However, giving yourself something specific to work towards will make it more likely for you to stick to your goals.

3. Go Public

Making a silent promise to yourself will not cut it, tell the world! Tell your partner, your friends, make a statement on social media; making your goal public gives you accountability. Yes, telling people about your goals may make you feel vulnerable but it will also push you to stick to your goals.

 

4. Enlist a Friend

Having a gym buddy will make you, and your friend, more likely to stick to your plan. If you know you are meeting someone at the gym you are less likely to skip going and if you want to cancel you have someone asking you why. Accountability is key!

Can’t find someone who wants to go to the gym with you or your friend lives far away? Have a friend check in with you and ask how things are going periodically. Having someone to answer to increases the likelihood that you will stick with it.

5. Plan Ahead

In order to stick to your resolution you need a plan. If you have no idea what you are going to do to achieve your goal then how are you going to get there?! Take some time each week to plan out your upcoming week. Pick the days and times you are going to go to the gym, plan your meals for the week, make a shopping list, prep your meals, put together healthy on-the-go snacks.

It may sound like a lot, but taking an hour or two once a week will make it SO much easier to stick to your goals as your busy week gets rolling. You are less likely to make a quick stop at the drive-thru when you know you have dinner prepped in the fridge or you have healthy snacks stored in your car. Having a shopping list at the grocery store will make you less likely to throw the unhealthy foods in the cart. If your gym time is in your schedule, you are more likely to go! Planning gives you direction!

 

If you liked our first 5 tips, check back soon for Part 2!

If your resolution need an extra helping hand, check out SST’s incredible Adult Fitness Programs!

With supportive coaches, encouraging training partners and an energetic environment; the results you want are not out of reach!

Check out our incredible 2 for 1 deal we have going on in February!

 

Are you Slow? It Could be Your Nutrition! Read Larry’s Tip!!

Running (Speed) and jumping (Power) are skills necessary for successful performance in sports, and must therefore be prioritized during training. We have previously covered how to increase your speed and vertical jump through training. However, much like the way you look, nutrition will also impact your ability to run faster and jump higher.

 

 

An article published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research studied the effects of a 4 week energy restricted diet on sprint & jump performance, body composition, and hormone profiles in elite male track athletes… the results were amazing!

A caloric restriction of 750 calories per day (carbs & fats reduced, protein held at 2g/kg/day) combined with regular training resulted in:

  1. Significant reduction in body mass and fat mass. Athletes lost about 1lb a week.
  2. Maintenance of lean muscle mass.
  3. Improved 20m sprint and countermovement jump.
  4. Unaltered testosterone levels.

How can this be explained?

Increased power-to-weight ratio. Reducing body weight while preserving muscle allows you to still produce the same amount of force but now you have less weight to move around, resulting in faster, more explosive movements!

Taken together, this research further supports what we focus on at SST: getting athletes leaner and stronger to improve their speed and power.

Are you in need of some speed training, or getting ready for your season and feel like you need that extra help….For a limited time SST is offering a first time offer:

 

8 PRIVATE ONE ON ONE SESSIONS – NORMAL VALUE $899.99

For the month of February only- ONLY 399.99! 60% off!

Quite a few of you have taken advantage of this savings!

Thus we only have 7 packages left due to our limited capacity

If you truly want to get better this is the time

Please contact Larry ASAP and state “I am in Big Dawg!”

 

FPC 2018 – FCS Showcase 40’s

ID# First Name Last Name DOB Pos Region Height Weight 40 time 40 time
0054 Erik Johnson 2001 ATH Central 5’9″ 165 4.46 4.44
*0260 Kyle Poschner 2000 DB West 6’0 175 4.7 4.99
0310 Harrison Shoniker 2001 DB West 4.9 4.87
*0164 Emunuel Ugarte 2002 DB West 5’5 138 5.31 5.02
0233 Austin West 2002 DB West 5’10” 160 4.69 4.75
*0264 Tyler Putzu 2003 DB West 6’1 170 4.97 4.85
*0253 Nicholas Da Silva 2003 DB West 5’8″ 145 4.81 4.53
*0235 Jake Cowx 1999 DB Golden Horseshoe 6’2″ 185 5.03 5
Kyle Patrick Cruz 2000 DB Golden Horseshoe 5’8″ 160 4.87 4.91
*0205 Evan Marshall 2000 DB Golden Horseshoe 6′ 185 4.69
*0215 Owen Jones 2001 DB Golden Horseshoe 5’9″ 180 4.96 4.81
*0283 Cole Weddell 2002 DB Golden Horseshoe 5’11” 165 5.52 5.7
*0193 Matthew Wedler 2002 DB Golden Horseshoe 5’11 150 4.99 5.16
*0261 Maximus DiDiomede 2002 DB Golden Horseshoe 5’4″ 145 5.69 5.79
*0190 Gabriel Hetherington 2002 DB Golden Horseshoe 5’10” 185 5.59 5.79
0272 TJ Cronkwright 2002 DB Golden Horseshoe 6′ 155 5.02 4.99
0048 Jaylen Smith 2002 DB Golden Horseshoe 5″10 177 5.07 4.87
*0181 Darius Raad 2003 DB Golden Horseshoe 5’4″ 135 5.88 5.93
Brayden Campbell 2001 DB Central 5’8″ 150 4.94 5.07
0204 King Ambers 1999 DB Central 6’3 185 4.76 4.53
0200 Mo Bittar 2001 DB Showcase 6’0 195 4.89 4.95
*0425 Brandon Hoang 1999 LB West 6’0 240 5.22 5.13
*0360 Juvantha Crawford 2002 LB West 5’9″ 200 5.23 5.47
*0298 Tanner Hoorelbeck 2002 LB West 5’11” 180 5.79 5.33
*0349 Jesse Garvin 2003 LB West 6 150 6.2 6.87
*0451 Owen Barlow 2001 LB Golden Horseshoe 6’3 230 5.34 5.32
*0284 Raad Raad 2001 LB Golden Horseshoe 5’9″ 210 5.57 5.57
*0307 Joshua Aldridge 2002 LB Golden Horseshoe 5’10” 180 5.22 5.19
*0450 Caleb Hetherington 2002 LB Golden Horseshoe 5’9″ 220 5.68 5.6
*0220 Luke Boutet 2002 LB Golden Horseshoe 5’11” 173 5.5 5.32
*0199 Aidan Crowder 2003 LB Golden Horseshoe 5’3″ 120 5.53 5.5
0294 Spencer Burron 2001 LB Central 5’9″ 190 5.04 5.24
0281 Sotiris Tserotas 2002 LB Central 5’11” 200 5.19 5.16
0088 Austin Kraemer 2002 LB Central 5 10 175 5.63 5.67
0068 John Abraham 2002 LB Central 6’0 203 4.84 4.81
*0214 Matthew Dahmer 2000 QB West 6’1″ 175 5.41 5.48
0229 Carter Stephens QB West 5.33 5.23
0271 Avery Lalla QB West 5.21 5.47
*0241 Peyton Garvin 2002 QB West 5’10” 150 5.44 5.38
*0249 Callum Wither 2003 QB West 5’10” 140 6.07 5.45
*0258 Matt Linn 2003 QB West 6’0″ 152 4.77 4.74
*0285 Austin Reid 2000 QB Golden Horseshoe 6’4″ 190 4.93 5.04
*0216 Xavier Hamidu 2000 QB Golden Horseshoe 5’10” 170 5.03 5.12
*0165 Mitchell Winsor 2001 QB Golden Horseshoe 5’8.5” 143 5.19 5
*0299 Brody Kirkham 2002 QB Golden Horseshoe 6′ 150 5.58 5.37
*0231 Blake Lawrence 2002 QB Golden Horseshoe 6’1” 175 5.31 5.19
*0282 Joshua Waldron 2003 QB Golden Horseshoe 5’11” 145 5.22 5.3
0051 Graeme Heighway 2000 QB Central 6’3 185 4.63 4.63
0033 Elijah Blake 1999 QB Central 5’11 185 4.88 5.05
0053 Zach Forshaw 2002 QB Central 5’10” 145 5.1 5.06
0279 Eric Laffin 2003 RB West 5’10” 130 5.24 5.11
*0255 Gabe Valedis 2002 RB West 5’10” 190 5.24 5.14
*0262 Dayton Tyler 2003 RB West 5’8″ 165 4.5 4.99
*0287 Adam Misiewicz 2000 RB Golden Horseshoe 5’10” 190 5.07
*0196 Isaac McAlonan 2000 RB Golden Horseshoe 6”0 170 4.68 4.84
*0163 Simon Maturana 2001 RB Golden Horseshoe 5’8 159 4.89 4.91
0246 David Makwaira 2001 RB Central 5’7 150 4.97 4.84
0397 Aidan Oliver 2001 RB Central 6’3 185 5.06 4.91
*0290 Quinn McGregor 2002 RB Golden Horseshoe 6’2″ 195 5.01 5.24
*0049 Jawaun Smith 2002 RB Golden Horseshoe 5″9 175 4.89 4.92
*0171 John Serrano 2002 RB Golden Horseshoe 5’9 170 5.11 5.11
*0234 Jahmoni Dennie 2003 RB Golden Horseshoe 5’6 170 5.41 4.9
0044 Kyle Milburn 2001 RB Central 5’8″ 175 5.44 5.4
0203 Keanu Brown 2001 RB Showcase 5’11 180 4.37 4.38
*0366 Blake Denis-Carver 2002 REC West 5’11” 160 5.44 5.67
*0239 Gavin Gall 2003 REC West 5’8” 124 5.2 5.51
*0368 Karson Jimbere 2003 REC West 5’11” 198 5.34 5.62
*0289 Joseph Jones 1999 REC Golden Horseshoe 5’11” 177 5.12 4.97
*0288 Jaden Gooden 1999 REC Golden Horseshoe 6’1” 180 5.03 5.12
*0186 Ryan Malvaso 2000 REC Golden Horseshoe 6’0 160 4.92 4.87
0202 Ethan Moretta 2001 REC Golden Horseshoe 6’1 175 5.03 4.96
*0208 Joshua Jack 2000 REC Golden Horseshoe 6’1 187 4.91 4.91
*0194 Elijah Taylor 2002 REC Golden Horseshoe 5’10” 160 5.53 5.58
*0448 Dave Thomson 2003 REC Golden Horseshoe 6’0″ 180 5.66 6.63
*0191 Andrew Keddy 2003 REC Golden Horseshoe 5’8″ 125 5 5.13
*0217 Tyler Lutz 2003 REC Golden Horseshoe 5’11.5″ 150 5.1 5.13
*0223 Harrison Daley 2003 REC Golden Horseshoe 6’1″ 162 5.21 5.24
0050 Deon Reid 1999 REC Central 6’1″ 173 4.67 4.52
0094 Liam Cousineau 2001 REC Central 5’9 185 4.65 4.79
0095 Roberto Zulich 2002 REC Central 5’10 165 5.19 5.21
0056 Brayden Harkness 2002 REC Central 6′ 150 5.2 5.03
0275 Justin Succar 2000 SB West 4.93 4.78
*0259 Carlos Amural 1999 WR West 6’2 170 4.85 5.02
Ray Russel 2003 WR West 5’11 150 5.18 4.9
0206 Kevin Victome WR East 6’3 215 4.9 4.99
0411 Antonio Corsi WR East 6’3 215 5.16 5.25
0219 Ben Wilson 2001 WR West 5.05 4.87
*0286 James Duke 2001 QB Golden Horseshoe 6’1 170 5.13 5.13
*0230 Joshua McLoud 2001 WR Golden Horseshoe 6’2″ 185 4.87 5
*0228 Chris Swerhun 2001 DB Golden Horseshoe 5’9″ 148 5.12 5.2
*0442 Christian Kurita 2000 LB Golden Horseshoe 5’11” 230 5.12 5.54
*0296 David Hart 2000 WR Golden Horseshoe 5’11” 165 4.66 4.85
*0221 Andrew Vanin 2000 DB Golden Horseshoe 6’1″ 181 4.91 5.06
*0270 Jake Porter 2000 LB Golden Horseshoe 6′ 195 5 4.97
*0400 Nathan Greg Golden Horseshoe 5.62 5.53
*0189 Devon Schiller Golden Horseshoe 4.99 4.91
*0212 Endy Youyoute 2002 WR Golden Horseshoe 5’8 145 4.93 5.16
*0201 Cooper Barnes DB Golden Horseshoe 5’8″ 158 5.16 4.95
*0222 Cameron Papineau 2004 LB Golden Horseshoe 5’1 95 5.69 5.66
*0173 Chris Johnstone 2004 QB Golden Horseshoe 5’11 140 5.63 5.5
0506 Nour El Faramawy 2001 4.91 4.85
Andrew Shwec 2002 WR Central 5’11 180 4.88
0209 Antonio Luongo 2003 4.97 4.89
0311 Jonathan Dimario 2003 5.4 5.59
Mike Kelly 5.3 5.1
Jacob Leader 5.23 5.2
Regan Rodgers 5.24 4.98

How to improve your 40 yard dash- Part 2

In Part I of this article readers were introduced to the concept that strength = speed.  Specifically, football players wishing to decrease their 40 yard dash time were told to focus on strengthening their lower back, hamstring and VMO muscles (teardrop muscle found on the inside of the quadriceps).  Part I reviewed the best exercises for strengthening lower back and hamstring muscles, so let’s move on to the top three exercises for developing VMO strength:  squats with chains, wobble board split squats and sled dragging.

Exercise #1 – Squats with chains

If you improve your speed during the first 10 yards of your 40 yard dash then half your battle is over.  In the first 10 yards, it’s all about quads and glutes so choose exercises that specifically work these muscle groups.  SST suggests squats with chains.

When SST says “squats”, we don’t mean those quarter or 90 degree squats that most trainers advocate, we mean good old-fashioned rock bottom squats.  Why?  It’s simple; rock bottom squats do a better job of developing glutes and quads (especially the VMO).

To further increase the effectiveness of the squat, SST has their athletes perform squats with chains.  During a squat an athlete is strongest in the top position and weakest at the bottom.  By using chains, SST compensates for the strength curve by matching weight to strength levels.  For example, say you’re squatting 300lbs plus 50lbs of chains.  At the top, when you are your strongest, the chains are hanging so you are lifting 350lbs. As you squat down and your strength level decreases, you are only lifting 300lbs because the chains are resting on the ground.

Results:        Increase VMO strength, decrease ground contact time, improve strength & speed during first 10 yards of the 40 yard dash

Description:             Start with chest out and lower back arched.  Begin to drop hips to ground by first bending knees as far forward as possible and then lowering hips until hamstrings cover calves.  Pause for 1 second at bottom.  Lift up through legs while maintaining arched back.  Feet must remain flat on the ground at all times.

Variations:    1 ¼ squats, front squats with and without chains, back squats with bands and jump squats

Exercise #2- Wobbleboard Split Squats

You’re probably thinking “What the heck is a split squat”.  Split squats are a lunge without the explosiveness. What’s a wobbleboard?  Imagine a small board with a hard ball stuck under it (it’s not exactly that, but you get the idea).  By performing split squats on a wobbleboard you are training your leg muscles from the hip joint down in an unstable environment.  Destabilizing your leg muscles ensures that your VMO gets blasted…in a good way of course.  It also allows you to recruit more leg muscles than you would have had you been training in stable environment.

Results:        Increase VMO strength, stabilize muscle strength in legs, decrease ground contact time

Description:             Starting position: place foot of non-dominant leg on wobbleboard.  With chest out and shoulders back, move hips forward and downward while remaining upright.  Allow the front knee to travel over toe of front foot until hamstring is covering the calf.  Pause for a second then push off heel of front foot back to starting position.  Repeat.  The challenge is to keep the sides of the wobbleboard from touching the ground.

Variations:    sitfit split squats, wobbleboard/sitfit split squats with dumbbells (only when you are good enough at balancing) and split squats with low pulley cable for added resistance

Exercise #3- Sled Dragging

Sled dragging is a great way to increase functional strength if you don’t have a weightroom facility at your disposal.  Mind you, SST does not advocate running with a sled behind you because it will alter your running form.  The various sled exercises used by SST for speed training are too numerous to list in the article, thus we will focus on two of our most popular: walking backwards on the balls of your feet and walking lunges.

Results:        Increase maximum speed and decrease ground contact time

Description: Walking Backwards – fasten harness around waist.  Keep chest over feet.  Maintain arched back.  Bend hips and knees.  Begin by taking slow, deliberate steps backwards.  Move arms in a running motion. Word to the wise, this exercise will feel really easy for the first ten yards but by the time you reach forty yards, your quads (especially your VMO) will be screaming. Once you are able to cover 100 yds with ease slowly add weight to the sled.

Walking Lunges – fasten belt around waste and attach rope from harness to belt.   With sled dragging behind, perform a lunge with front leg.  Upon landing explode upwards and out.  Do not just pop up, the key is to push up and forward.  Coaching Tips:  keep your front heel down, maintain an upright posture and EXPLODE!

Squat to Stand – OL

One of the most underrated attributes of an offensive lineman is flexibility. This can often get lost when evaluating an athlete because they can be so big and so strong. When you get to the higher levels, the first test they want to see offensive athletes perform is an overhead squat. A lot can be said about an athlete when looking at how good of a squatter they are; it can give insight on athletic ability and their range of motion to determine if they can take the pounding that football places on your body. I have discussed with many college coaches it is very easy to get players stronger and faster, it is much more difficult to get them more flexible. That’s why with all of my offensive line athletes I constantly make them do a movement called Squat-to-Stand.

This movement works by doing the following

  1. Reaching down and touch your toes (or as far as you can)
  2. Then letting your but slowly come down to the squat position. Keeping you chest up nice and big.
  3. Followed by putting one arm up at a time above your head
  4. Then standing up
  5. Repeat 2 sets of 12

I preach to the kids that they should be doing this before every single one of their workouts and a couple sets before they go to bed at night. If done over a period of time you will definitely see an improvement in lower body flexibility.

Jamie Lalonde

thebigchill@sstcanada.com

How to improve your 40 yard dash- Part 1

If you want to go places in football, then you had better work on your 40 yard dash. While the forty yard dash is probably the most overrated test, it’s also the test that most coaches rely on when scouting a player. Given the emphasis that is placed on this one test, I am surprised at how many athletes come to combines and camps unprepared. I see athletes wearing the wrong shoes or the wrong clothes and I can tell that many of them don’t know the proper starting technique or running mechanics. Furthermore, it’s obvious that most players haven’t done any effective speed or strength training leading up to the big day. I tell my athletes that they have to consider the forty yard dash as a job interview that could land them a scholarship or millions of dollars when their stock goes up in the draft. Remember that first impressions mean everything, so plan ahead and be prepared to run like a professional. Don’t get me wrong, running a great 40 yard dash doesn’t mean that you’re automatically a great football player, but it will turn heads and give you the chance needed to show universities or professional teams what you can do on the field.

When training for the 40 yard dash, players tend to forget how important it is to be STRONG! I have yet to see a weak player run a great forty yard dash. As a Sports Performance Coach I know through personal experience that players who speed and strength train on a continuous basis will experience dramatic gains over those who only focus on speed training. One athlete who followed SST’s 12-week speed and strength training program went from a 5.05 to a 4.62 at the National football combines this year.

There are three main factors that SST considers when designing a strength training program for football players who want to decrease their forty yard dash time. First, we assess the player’s experience and abilities. Factors such as age, previous training experience, fitness level and amount of time available for training are considered. Next, we evaluate the player’s 40 yard dash to determine weaknesses. Do we need to improve his start, decrease his ground contact time or work on reaching maximum speed? Lastly, we focus on strengthening the player’s weakest muscles. As a general rule SST has found that football players tend to have weak lower back, hamstring and VMO muscle (VMO, or vastus medialis, is the teardrop muscle found on the inside of the quadriceps), therefore for the purpose of this article we will highlight , what we believe to be, the top six exercises designed to strengthen these muscles.

In Part I of this two part article, I will explain the first three exercises: snatch grip dead-lifts, tire flipping and Olympic lifts and their derivatives. These exercises strengthen lower back and hamstring muscles which are key components for achieving maximum speed.

Exercise #1 – Snatch Grip Dead-lifts

If I had to choose only one strength training exercise to improve a player’s 40 yard dash time, I would pick snatch grip deadlifts because they work the entire posterior chain (lower back and hamstrings). Snatch grip dead-lifts are a bit different than your traditional deadlift in that they recruit more of the hamstrings due to the angle of the trunk and a wider grip.

Results: improve start, increase maximum speed

Description: Starting position- feet are shoulder width apart. Grip is wider than your traditional grip. Elbows are turned out. Shoulder blades are retracted. Knees over the bar. Chest and shoulders over the bar. Lower back is arched. Initiate lift with hamstrings and lower back. Maintain lower back arch throughout. Keep bar path straight.

Variations: snatch grip dead-lifts off a podium, snatch grip dead-lifts with chains and traditional dead-lifts.

Exercise #2 – Tire Flipping

Tire flipping is not your traditional weight room exercise but it’s a functional way to develop the posterior chain (lower back and hamstrings). This is a grueling exercise that has lot of return for its effort.

Results: improve grip strength, decrease 40 time (after 12 weeks SST athletes decreased their 40 time by up to 3 tenths)

Description: Start in a deadlift position and grab the tire from underneath (fingers under the tire). Lift the tire using your legs and pop your hips forward. Flip your hands around (palms on the tire) and push the tire away from you in an explosive manner. You must keep your back arched throughout the entire movement to prevent lower back injuries.

Exercise #3 – Olympic Lifts and Derivatives

Olympic Lifts consist of power cleans, hang cleans and snatches. These exercises must be done explosively which means as fast as possible. The amount of weight doesn’t matter as much as the speed of the bar. Of all the Olympic lifts the snatch uses the most muscles in the body. People tend to shy away from this exercise but I have found it to be the most effective and easier to teach than cleans. In order to achieve maximum results and avoid injury it’s important to employ proper technique and use the right weight when performing Olympic lifts. If you are not familiar with Olympic lifting and their derivatives call your local weightlifting club or email me at sst@sstcanada.com

Results: faster starts and less ground contact time

Description: An explanation of hang snatch from thigh will be provided because it is the most applicable. Starting position – feet are shoulder width apart. Grasp bar with hook grip. To determine the distance between hand placements measure your elbow to elbow distance with arms straight out to sides. From this point move the bar explosively from thighs by extending the hip, knee and ankle joints in a jumping action. This is also known as “triple extension” of the joints. Keep the bar close to the body. This is a very important element and should be perfected. At maximum plantar flexion (up on the balls of the feet), shrug the shoulders, flex and pull with the arms. Pull the bar as high as possible. As the bar reaches maximum height, flex and then rotate elbows around and under the bar. Then fully extend the elbows and lock the bar overhead. Catch the bar with knees and hips flexed and squat down slowly and under control. The hang snatch is a complicated exercise that should only be performed in the presence of a qualified coach.

In Part II, I will explain the remaining three exercises that focus on increasing VMO strength: squats with chains, wobble board split squats and sled dragging. Strengthening the VMO muscle will help decrease ground contact time which is vital in order to increase speed. The less time a player spends on the ground, the faster he’ll be!

Larry Jusdanis is the owner of Sports Specific Training Inc. SST has trained thousands of athletes from a variety of sports. SST’s no nonsense approach to training has been used by thousands of athletes’ from a variety of sports all over the nation!

Larry Jusdanis

Owner, Sports Specific Training

Sstcanada.com

Director of the National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE)

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