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)

.

DAWG’S – 3 tips for BELLY FAT LOSS- Part 1

This is the time of year everyone is on the New Year’s Kick and their resolution. As many of you know I am not big believer of this and offer specials etc.

Why? It takes 30 days to form a habit and 80% will fail.

One of main reasons is that people like to be accountable to someone (I will have more on this later)

Tip 1

Can’t eat after 7pm and not again till noon the next day

Why is this important- 2 reasons:

  1. Intermittent fasting (IF) works- I believe we as a society indulge too much – right or wrong. I am not saying that you can’t indulge but I inform my clients that they can indulge 20% of the time.

Some of the benefits of IF include:

  • Improves insulin sensitivity.
    • The body becomes more sensitive to the effects of insulin… less insulin secretion per meal… lower blood glucose and insulin levels!
  • Promotes autophagy.
    • Regular bodily process where damaged, old, and dysfunctional proteins are consumed by the body. Think of renovating your kitchen, you need to tear away all the old culverts before installing new ones!

  • Elevates Growth Hormone production.
    • GH is very important hormone for body composition, because it releases stored fat and preserves muscle during fasting.

 

  • Reduced systemic inflammation
  • Inflammation occurs in the body after exposure to a variety of stimuli, including viruses, injury, certain foods, and even exercise. Chronic inflammation is a precursor to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and other harmful diseases

A great method when using IF is too fast for 24 hours once per week- doing this will melt that body fat!

Tip 2- Increase GH levels

Another reason I firmly believe that you need to stop eating at 7pm for reason #3- Increased Growth hormone (GH) production.  Elevated GH production burns body fat!  The best methods to increase GH are thru intermittent fasting, sleep and strength training!  If you are having a hard time sleeping maybe review your eating habits at night- any sugar consumption late at night STOPS GH production!

Tip 3- SLEEP!

A long term study (16 Years!) of more than 68,000 women found those who slept less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept 7 hours or more per night. In fact, the women who slept less than 5 hours per night gained 30 or more pounds over the course of the 16-year study period

Sleep is so important for increased GH production and decreased cortisol levels.   We have already discussed the importance of increased GH levels.   Lack of sleep increases cortisol production as it is a major stressor on your body.   An increased level of Cortisol has a direct correlation with storage of abdominal fat.  I have some bad news for Women who already have bigger midsection – they tend to produce more cortisol. SORRY!!

As we mentioned in the intro – Goals are better achieved with accountability.  Especially, with Nutrition and fitness. One way to help you this is my NEW VIP Fat Loss program.  You will work personally with me and only me to achieve your results in 12 weeks.  What else is great about this: I want you to join with a friend – 2 for 1!   Thus you have TWO people to be accountable too…trust me it works.  The only limitation is this- I can only take on 8 clients- 8 ONLY- If you are interested please private message me at ljusdanis@sstcanada.com.

To find our more details please click here (write up will come).

Next week I will bring you part 2 of the Dawg’s tip of Belly Fat loss!

QB Canada – What the Dawg looks for in a qb?

In a series of blogs I will review what I and many other coaches in the pros and college are looking for in a QB.  Let’s be honest we all perceive the QB position to be glamorous and at times it is.  In all truthfulness QB’s have a lot of expectations and demands on them.  To the point where people may think they are over maligned.

Unfortunately this is not going to go away and this leads me to what I look for in a qb.  I have had the privilege to coach some great ones including Nathan Rourke, Dan Brannagan and Michael Faulds.  Other than their exceptional physical traits one thing stands out about these qbs and top level qbs:

TOUGHNESS and I do not only mean physical toughness but more mental toughness.   Qb is not an easy position to play. The demands more so mentally are draining but the good ones are able to handle this.   How can we develop toughness?

  1. For every action there is a consequence- as a QB more so then any other position. What I like to do in practice sessions is demand more from my qbs then a game.  How do I do this…one way is to expect perfection on all on air throws and sessions.   Why?  If a qb can’t handle the pressure of just throwing on air without a defense, how can I trust them in a game against 11 players trying to take their heads off?
  2. Off season training- IT’S a must – I expect my qbs to be first and last out of each session. I want them to be the leader of their team.  This starts in their off season workouts.

Next week’s blog I will discuss some of the physical traits that’s a must for a qb to be successful.

To find out more about my upcoming qb camp and private sessions please private message me.

Larry “Big Dawg” Jusdanis

ljusdanis@sstcanada.com

Can Coffee Enhance Recovery Post-Workout?

Coffee is one of the most widely used pre-workouts, due to caffeine’s stimulating effects on the central nervous system. I recently covered exactly why coffee can be a useful pre-workout supplement (click here to read).

What about drinking a coffee after your workout??

Not only is coffee a popular pre-workout beverage, but I know many early birds that like to have a cup of coffee after their morning gym session on the way to work. I’m willing to assume that post-workout recovery is not the reason behind the coffee, but what If I told you there is some evidence that suggests caffeine can enhance recovery after intense training?

At first thought, it may seem counter-intuitive to receive your “boost” once your workout is already over. However, there may be at least 2 distinct functions of caffeine that can serve as a post workout recovery enhancer.

  1. Caffeine increases muscle glycogen resynthesis.

Muscle glycogen is the main fuel source during training, and the degree of depletion depends on the intensity of the workout. The more intense the workout, the more glycogen is burned, the more carbohydrate we need to eat to replenish. A study from 2008 found that individuals that co-ingested caffeine with carbohydrates following intense training had 66% more glycogen resynthesis 4 hours after exercise then the group that ate carbs alone.

 

  1. Caffeine helps reduce delayed onset muscle soreness

DOMS generally lasts 24-72 hours after a hard workout, and can negatively impact exercise performance and range of motion in the following days, as well as providing overall discomfort. Caffeine is known to reduce feelings of pain and exhaustion during training, but it wasn’t until this year that its effects on pain after training have been studied. A paper published a few months ago (March 2017) in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, reports that caffeine reduces feelings of perceived soreness in the days following an intense endurance cycling event.

These findings indicate that drinking coffee after your workout may be more beneficial then we initially expected!

Just a cautionary note… if you are already consuming coffee/caffeine before your workout and want to do so after as well, be mindful of how much you are having.

Stop by SST and try our highly rated Butts & Guts boot camp, and stay for a coffee and chat with one of our excellent coaches! For any sport specific training or nutritional inquires, contact me directly and we can get started with a complimentary nutritional assessment. Also, give us a follow on social media for more training & nutritional advice! @sstburlington

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

Chico7@sstcanada.com    

Is a High Protein Diet Bad For You? Part 3

Current nutritional guidelines recommend we eat 0.8g of protein per kilogram bodyweight. I weigh 64.5kg (142lbs), meaning that I should be eating about 52g of protein per day. To put into perspective how easy this is, the Walmart chicken breast I ate for lunch contains close to 50g of protein!

See where I’m going with this?

The truth is that even without supplementation, the majority of us will have no trouble meeting our daily “recommended” protein requirements with our normal 3+ meals. This begs the question, what happens if I exceed my recommended daily intake? Is too much protein bad for you?

I recently debunked 2 of the biggest myths associated with high protein diets; increased risk of developing kidney disease (click here) and deterioration of our bones (click here). A third major concern is the development of cardiovascular disease.

Where does this concern originate?

  1. Diets rich in protein are usually accompanied by high saturated fat and cholesterol intakes.
  2. Also, countries with low rates of ischemic heart disease tend to have low protein intakes.

Is there any merit to this claim?

High Protein Diet Myths Part 3: High Protein Diets Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Once again, there does not seem to be any actual strong human evidence that links increased protein intake with CVD (trials in rabbits and rats have found negative impact of high animal versus plant protein consumption). In fact, replacing carbohydrates with protein in human diets has been found to lower LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride concentrations and actually increase HDL (good) cholesterol.

In a prospective study of over 80,000 women, a higher protein intake was actually associated with a slight decreased risk of ischemic heart disease after a 14 year follow-up period. This data is in accordance with other research showing improved blood lipid profiles after replacing high carbohydrate diets with high protein, assuming calories are kept the same of course. In addition, studies have reported either neutral or positive effects of high protein diets on cholesterol in humans.

In summary, it does not appear that eating large amounts of protein every day in an attempt to build muscle or lose weight negatively impacts any of the following:

  1. Kidney Health
  2. Bone Health
  3. Risk of CVD

Continue on including lots of protein from a variety of sources, both animal and plant, in your diet worry-free!

If you have any inquires stop into SST today and talk with a very knowledgeable coach about healthy ways to start eating more protein without gaining weight. Also, try our amazing RESULTS ORIENTED Butts & Guts boot camp and email me directly for a complimentary nutrition assessment.

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

Chico7@sstcanada.com

Is a High Protein Diet Bad For You? Part 2

Last week, I started discussing the versatile role protein plays in the human body and how high protein diets are being prescribed in both sports nutrition and weight management settings (click here to view). As a result, a growing concern exists about the negative health consequences that may arise from eating too much protein. One of those concerns is the over-stressing of the kidneys leading to renal disease and eventually renal failure. This does not seem to be the case in healthy adult populations; however, high protein diets can accelerate the progression in those who already have existing kidney disease.

High Protein Diet Myths Part 2: High Protein Diets are Bad for Bone Health

The metabolism of sulfer containing amino acids (methionine & cysteine) creates a highly acidic environment within the body, resulting in a lower blood pH. If the acidic load is too high for the kidneys to handle, the belief is that the skeleton (a major calcium storage organ) releases calcium to act as a buffer and neutralize the acidic environment. This results in decreased bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mass. This notion is supported by findings of increased 24h-urinary calcium excretion and lower urinary pH after high protein intakes.

Not so fast!

Two of the most recent comprehensive reviews and meta-analysis (published in 2009 & 2011) examining protein intake and BMD found that dietary protein is not harmful to bone health and may actually INCREASE BMD!

The acidic load created by high protein diets are buffered by our lungs (increased ventilation) and kidneys (increased filtration) to keep our blood pH within very narrow normal limits, and the increased urinary calcium does not alter calcium balance (high protein diets usually accompanied by high phosphorus intakes, which retains calcium).

Ok, so we’ve established that high protein diets being bad for bone health is a myth, but what about the part where it might actually increase bone mass?

That’s correct; a small, positive effect of protein supplementation on increased lumbar spine BMD in randomized placebo-controlled trials supports this claim. It is important to note that more recent findings suggest that if calcium intake is inadequate, this positive effect may not be seen (dietary calcium serves as the acidic buffer from high protein diets).

How does protein improve bone health?

Several mechanisms help explain this:

  1. Increased production of insulin-like growth factor: IGF-1 increases osteoblast activity (bone formation) and may also promote bone matrix mineralization.
  2. Increases the amount of calcium absorbed by the intestines.
  3. Suppresses parathyroid hormone production – PTH causes bones to release calcium into blood and kidneys to retain calcium.
  4. Increasing muscle mass – stronger muscles allow for more effective and heavier weight-bearing, strengthening your bones.

If you would like strategies on how to effectively increase your protein intake without gaining weight, stop into SST and try out our excellent Butts & Guts bootcamp with a complimentary nutritional assessment.

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

Chico7@sstcanada.com

Is a High Protein Diet Bad For You?

High protein diets are necessary for athletes needing to build or maintain muscle mass during intensive training schedules. High protein diets are also used as dietary interventions for overweight individuals that need to lose weight and body fat without losing muscle. There are millions of proteins in our bodies serving a wide variety functions, including; serving as the building blocks for muscle tissue, making enzymes necessary for metabolism, acting as anti-bodies helping to protect the body, etc.

If high protein diets are so good, then why aren’t more people doing it?

When I first started training several years ago, there was a major concern about the side-effects that high protein diets have on the body. Research has since debunked a lot of these myths, some of which I will be covering in the next upcoming blogs.

High Protein Diet Myths Part 1High Protein Diets Lead to Kidney Disease

Nitrogen is one of the bi-products of protein metabolism. In an attempt to filter out the excess nitrogen from high protein diets, the liver creates urea to serve as a carrier for nitrogen. Urea and nitrogen are filtered out and excreted by the kidneys. Logically, it makes sense that consuming large amounts of protein may lead to over-stressing the kidneys and therefore malfunction.

Higher rates of glomerular filtration rate and blood urea nitrogen are common with high protein diets. However, these quantities remain within normal physiological limits. In a study where bodybuilders consumed 2.8g/kg of protein per day, no negative changes were seen in any kidney function tests. In fact, a cross-sectional study from 2016 concluded that higher protein diets were associated with lower adiposity and HDL cholesterol and no impairment in kidney function in healthy adults! There does not seem to be any actual existing evidence that high protein consumption leads to kidney malfunction in HEALTHY adults.

However, higher protein diets may accelerate the progression of kidney failure in individuals with EXISTING kidney disease. For this reason, those with kidney disease are recommended to eat about half of the RDA of 0.8g/kg/day.

Stay tuned, next week I will debunk another myth associated with high protein diets.

If you would like strategies on how to effectively increase your protein intake without gaining weight, stop into SST and try out our excellent Butts & Guts bootcamp with a complimentary nutritional assessment.

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

chico7@sstcanada.com

Improving Speed and Vertical Jump: Nutritional Considerations

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 (click here). 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 25% caloric restriction (750 cal/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….SST will be holding a two week Training camp for speed/power and strength

Please contact me asap as I can only take 10 players for this exclusive camp

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

Chico7@sstcanada.com

A Glass of Wine a Day… Enhances Fat Loss?!?!

We’ve all heard the saying that a glass of wine a day is good for our health. After all, low-moderate alcohol intake (~1 glass) has been found to reduce the risk of obesity, type II diabetes, and fatty liver disease. What about fat loss? Can a daily glass help you lose weight?

This cannot be true. Wine is a source of calories and don’t you have to reduce your calories in order to lose weight? Yes, while this is part of the equation it’s not the only way. Increasing energy expenditure will allow you to burn more calories throughout the day. If you recall, we recently covered a 2 part series on brown fat vs white fat (click here to view). Whereas white fat promotes fat storage, brown fat is highly thermogenic, meaning that it burns many calories in order to produce heat.

Why am I referencing brown fat?

A recent study uncovered that daily low-moderate alcohol consumption increases the “browning” of white adipose cells in mice. In two separate studies, mice were fed a moderate amount of alcohol (8% alc) every day for 1 month and 4 months. Despite a higher total caloric intake, mice gained significantly less weight then their non-alcohol control, which was attributed to higher energy expenditure. In fact, after 4 months of daily alcohol consumption the following was observed;

  1. Reduced white adipose mass and cell size.
  2. Increased activity of brown adipose genes.
  3. Reduced blood glucose, triglyceride, fatty acids.

The take home message is that a single glass of wine a day may yield some very beneficial health outcomes. These benefits quickly disappear with excessive alcohol consumption, and become harmful to your health.

For the latest up to date research on sport specific training and nutrition, please follow SST on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SSTCanada-Sports-Specific-Training-124642447546329/) and Instagram (@sstburlington).

Also, stop by and try our RESULTS Only Butts & Guts boot camp. We will show you how to combine your training with proper nutrition to get you the results you want.

 

Please email me directly to receive your complimentary nutritional session

Chris Anderi

Head Strength Performance Coach SST Burlington

MSc candidate, Physiology & Nutrition

CSEP-CEP

Chico7@sstcanada.com