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

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.

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

Speed Training- Parents are you doing it right? MY RANT – Part 3

Part 3- can you start and stop quickly?

Ok if you are back reading then you really want your son/ daughter to get faster.

Before I get into what I believe very important for stop/ starting I ask these questions:

Does your son / daughter:

  1. Stand tall when changing directions
  2. Slow changing directions
  3. Takes extra steps when changing directions

If you are witnessing this then you are probably deficient in ECCENTRIC strength.  What the heck does this mean?  Eccentric contractions of a muscle is described as when the muscle lengths under tension.  A simple example is when you lower the weight on a bench press.  

So what does this mean in running or changing of direction? It means we can work on all the form drills you want (yes you get better to some degree) but BNAG for Buck you must strengthen your legs eccentrically.  One of my favorite two methods is:

  1. Eccentric squats- lower the weight for at least 6 seconds down and then explode up ad fast as you can (please do not under estimate how difficult this is) Please start with a lower weight than your regular squat.
  2. Trap bar on elevated box- 6 seconds down as well – the difficulty of this exercise is much greater than a regular trap bar we we increased the Range of motion.

Try one of these exercises for 3 weeks and you will certainly see some major improvement when combined with a great speed program If you like to discuss please contact me as I am offering a 20-minute complimentary speed consultation on the phone.

If you like to discuss please contact me as I am offering a 20-minute complimentary speed consultation on the phone – 905.632.3558

Do you have the correct stance?

Offensive line play is one of the hardest positions in sports to truly master because of the amount of technique that is involved with every movement during a play. When coaching OL one of the most important parts of coaching OL is having a great stance! It goes back to the old saying, “if you start wrong odds are you are going to finish wrong.” What I will go thru in this blog is my key points on having a great stance.

Foot Angle

Gone are the days from Pop Warner where you were taught to have your toes pointing straight up the field! Let’s talks about a Right Handed stance; the left foot should be slightly opened, point towards 11’oclock. The right foot is a part of the prop leg, the foot should be more angled at approximately 2:00. This will allow you go get your whole back foot in the ground!

 Neutral Height in Stance

People think lower is better which is not true all. I will say this, the lower you can play the better your going to be. Some people’s anatomy won’t let them get to a certain depth. One way to figure out how low you should be in you stance is to simply come off the football. If the hips moves jagged then you’re too low. If the hips move nice and smooth, then you are perfect. I always teach this to my guys so they understand what goes into building a base.

Stagger of Stance

Pop warner coaches teach toe lined up in the instep. Anatomy wise it really doesn’t make sense; it doesn’t allow you to open up your hips and play with power. The easiest way to figure out how much stagger to play with is this simple test. Stand with your feet just outside shoulder width. Have someone gently give you a nudge, when falling backwards catch yourself with the foot that goes back in your respective stance. Wherever that foot falls is where it should be, in relation to your post foot This is just the basics of how your stance should operate, I could go on about this for hours, but I wont! Like I said before, “if you start wrong, you will finish wrong.” Please put time and effort into your stance and base, it’s the most important aspect.

If you would like to learn more about OL play come to our big man camp starting February 4th!

Top 3 ways to condition Linemen- not what you think!!

***Top Three Alert***

Offensive Line Conditioning

Conditioning Offensive Line and Defensive athletes is harder than you may think. Naïve people think that you can condition and OL athlete just like a skill position, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Skill positions run a very long distance on most plays without must strain. OL and DL athletes run short distances with a lot of strain. We as strength coaches must know this information and use it to execute the training program! Here are our 3 favourite ways to Condition OL and DL athletes.

Tire Flipping

This is a great way to get Big Football Athletes CNS going. Twenty seconds of tire flipping is a perfect amount of time to get them firing on all cylinders! This is a great way to develop strength and conditioning in the lower back which is very important for hand down athletes. One note for this is when they flip the tire they need to sprint around it so they are working at 100% the whole rep.

Banded Runs

This is easily one of my favourite ways to condition big boys. I like to keep the distance short, 10 to 15 yards maximum. Put a resistance band around their waste and make them work. 60-70 percent resistance is the perfect amount. Tell the athletes to start out of their stance and the fly. With OL what I like to do is start on a “Zone Track” then make them run after the fact.

Jumping

I can’t even begin to tell you how important this is. The name of the game in the trenches is all about who can apply more force through the ground to move laterally and vertically, with strength. Jumping teaches us this perfectly. You can train it numerous amounts of ways, box jumps, bounding really anything where you are getting lift! This really teaches them the importance of bend in their legs and where power comes from along with the conditioning.



Sriracha Shredded Chicken Tacos

Sriracha Shredded Chicken Tacos – Gluten Free

Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Gluten Free
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 Tacos
Calories 128 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped peppers
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and top with Sriracha. Bake for 30 minutes (or until they’re fully cooked).
  3. While the chicken is baking, heat the tortillas up (optional).
  4. Top each tortilla with chopped red cabbage and chopped peppers.
  5. When the chicken has finished baking, shred it and place in the tortillas.
  6. Top each taco with feta cheese and a drizzle of lime. Enjoy!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

***Sweet Tooth Alert*** When your dying for a cookie, here is your best option!
Prep Time 9 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Servings 20 Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 plus 1/2 cup oat flour 140g
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp regular sugar unrefined if desired
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips or more if desired
  • 1/3 cup chopped macadamia or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or melted coconut oil
  • 3-5 tbsp milk of choice as needed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 380 degrees.

  2. Combine dry ingredients and mix very well. Add wet, and form into a big ball.

  3. Now make little balls from the big one. For soft cookies, refrigerate until cold (otherwise, just bake right away). Bake for 7 minutes.

  4. Remove from oven when they’re still a little undercooked, then it’s important to let cool 10 minutes before removing from the tray, as they’ll continue to cook while cooling. They should have spread out, but every now and then they might not (climate plays a huge role in baking), so just smush down with a spoon if needed.

  5. You can also choose to make extra cookie dough balls and freeze them to bake at a later date.

  6. For softer cookies, store in a lidded plastic container. For crispier cookies, store in a lidded glass container.

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Coconut Flour Pancakes


Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword Breakfast, Pancakes
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 Lg Eggs organic, free range
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp Honey Raw
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • Coconut Oil/Grass Fed Butter For Frying

Instructions

  1. Preheat griddle over medium-low heat. In a small bowl beat eggs until frothy, about two minutes. Mix in milk, vanilla, and honey.


  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine coconut flour, baking soda, and sea salt and whisk together. Stir wet mixture into dry until coconut flour is incorporated.


  3. Grease pan with butter or coconut oil. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of batter into pan for each pancake. The pancakes should be 2-3 inches in diameter and fairly thick. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until the batter starts to bubble. Flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.


  4. Serve hot with butter, coconut oil, honey, syrup, or fruit.