Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SAPT Buttkamp (bōōt-kămp)™

For women ONLY: we've been in the planning stages of this for about 6-months and it's finally time to begin with a comprehensive trial.

SAPT Buttkamp (bōōt-kămp)™ is designed to appeal to the ladies - sorry guys, you're out of luck for the time being...

For the month of NOVEMBER ONLY, I'm offering a FREE month of Buttkamp (bōōt-kămp)™ classes.

Check out the details here: SAPT Buttkamp (bōōt-kămp)™

All you gotta do is show up! Times listed at the link above!!!

Classes held at Student-Athlete and Adult Performance Training in Fairfax, VA. Feel free to message me for further details!

"All parts of the body which have a function, if used in moderation and exercised in labors in which each is accustomed, become thereby healthy, well developed and age more slowly; but if unused and left idle they become liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly." ~Hippocrates, Circa 450 B.C.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Workout While Traveling

This past weekend I took a trip to Blacksburg to visit some friends/family, and I had some time to spare on Saturday afternoon (almost everyone was at the VT football game). It was a beautiful day, so I took my sister's homemade suspension trainer out to a field for a quick workout. I performed the following in circuit fashion:

A1) 10 Chinups
A2) 20 Suspended Pushups
A3) 10 Jump Squats
A4) 10 Squats
A5) 10 Inverted Rows
A6) 10 Rear-foot elevated/suspended Split Squats per leg
A7) 10 Rollouts

I went through it 3 times, with no rest between exercises. The entire workout took less than 15 minutes, hit a ton of muscle, got my heart rate up, and I got to enjoy the Fall weather while doing so.

This isn't to say I always train when I travel, but at the same time one doesn't need to spend $10 on a guest fee for a gym in order to exercise a bit while on the road. It took little to no time out of my afternoon, and if anything it helped "ramp up" my energy levels before going out for the evening.

The point is, it was fun and I didn't have to lock myself inside a gym to do it. Feel free to give it a shot, whether or not you're traveling!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Do you REALLY know how to develop foot speed and agility?

Guest Blog on Foot Speed and Agility by Michael Boyle

Developing Foot Speed and Agility
Michael Boyle

A couple of threads on the forum got me thinking about the question of foot speed and athletes. I can’t tell you how often I hear a parent or a coach ask, “How can I improve my son’s/daughter’s/ athlete’s foot speed or agility?” It seems everyone always wants the shortcut and the quick fix. The better question might be “Do you think you can improve foot speed?” or maybe even the larger question, “Does foot speed even matter?”

That begs the larger question, “Does foot speed have anything to do with agility?” I know coaches or parents reading this are asking, “Is this guy crazy?” How many times have we heard that speed kills? I think the problem is that coaches and parents equate fast feet with fast and quick feet with agile. However, fast feet don’t equal fast any more than quick feet equal agile. In some cases, fast feet might actually make an athlete slow–often I see fast feet as a detriment to speed. In fact, some of our quick turnover guys, those who would be described as having fast feet, are very slow off the start.

The problem is fast feet don’t use the ground well to produce force. Fast feet might be good on hot coals, but not on hard ground. Think of the ground as the well from which we draw speed. It is not how fast the feet move, but rather how much force goes into the ground. This is basic action-reaction physics. Force into the ground equals forward motion. This is why the athletes with the best vertical jumps are most often the fastest. It comes down to force production. Often coaches will argue the vertical vs. horizontal argument and say the vertical jump doesn’t correspond to horizontal speed, but years of data from the NFL Combine begs to differ. Force into the ground is force into the ground. In spite of what Brett Contreras may say, vectors don’t seem to matter here. The truth is parents should be asking about vertical jump improvement, not about fast feet. My standard line is “Michael Flatley has fast feet, but he doesn’t really go anywhere. If you move your feet fast and don’t go anywhere, does it matter? It’s the old “tree falling in the woods” thing.

The best solution to slow feet is to get stronger legs. Feet don’t matter. Legs matter. Think about it this way: If you stand at the starting line and take a quick first step but fail to push with the back leg, you don’t go anywhere. The reality is that a quick first step is actually the result of a powerful first push. We should change the buzzwords and start to say “that kid has a great first push.” Lower body strength is the real cure for slow feet and the real key to speed and to agility. The essence of developing quick feet lies in single-leg strength and single-leg stability work… landing skills. If you cannot decelerate, you cannot accelerate, at least not more than once.

One of the things I love is the magic drill idea. This is the theory that developing foot speed and agility is not a process of gaining strength and power, but rather the lack of a specific drill. I tell everyone I know that if I believed there was a magic drill we would do it every day. The reality is it comes down to horsepower and the nervous system, two areas that change slowly over time.

How do we develop speed, quickness and agility? Unfortunately, we need to do it the slow, old-fashioned way. You can play with ladders and bungee cords all you want, but that is like putting mag wheels on an Escort. The key is to increase the horsepower, the brakes and the accelerator. I think the answer for me is always the same. I wrote an article last year called “Is ACL Prevention Just Good Training?” In much the same way, development of speed, agility and quickness simply comes down to good training. We need to work on lower body strength and lower body power and we need to do it on one leg.
I love ladder drills. They provide excellent multi-planar dynamic warm-up. They develop brain-to-muscle connection and are excellent for eccentric strength and stability. We do less than five minutes of ladder drills, one or two times a week. I don’t believe for a minute that the ladder is a magic tool that will make anyone faster or more agile, however I do believe it is a piece of the puzzle from the neural perspective. People waste more than five minutes on biceps curls, but we have long debates about ladder drills.

These are also a great tool to show to coaches who want “foot speed.” Sometime it’s easier to “yes” them than to argue with them. Give a guy with “bad feet” a jump rope and you get a guy with bad feet and patella tendonitis.

PSS- I have never used the term “speed ladder.” We always call it an agility ladder if we call it more than the ladder.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Warrior Dash

Last week I ran the Warrior Dash race that took place up in Pennsylvania. It was a 5k obstacle course, with the added bonus of there being not only a prize for the fastest racer, but also for the best costume. I ran it with Kelsey (pictured below jumping over the fire), and (especially considering she has a torn labrum in both of her hips) she raced very well!
(note: there was a mud crawl right before the fire, which explains the brown color covering virtually our entire bodies)

There were thirteen obstacles spanning the 3 miles, along with a lot of trail running in between each obstacle. The race wasn't terribly exhausting/challenging, but I still wouldn't recommend running it unless you're a relatively active person (a few serious injuries occurred throughout the weekend).

Some of my favorite obstacles included:

Tanker Trouble: there were 4 large, steel "tanks" that had to be climbed be using a rope to scale one side, and then you had to jump down (about a 6-7' drop) on the other side after crawling over the top.

Hay Fever: An awesome huge haystack constructed out of giant straw bales.

Cargo Climb: A big cargo net (about 20 feet high) that had to be climbed up-and-over. As much as I hate heights, this one was still pretty fun. Kelsey smoked me on it, too.

Mossy Maze: As we entered the forest, there were a ton of ropes spanning the trees, creating an annoying "web." For Lord of the Rings fans out there, it looked exactly like all the spider webs in Shelob's Lair. Minus the giant spider lurking to destroy innocent travelers. I don't know why this one was called "Mossy Maze," though, as I didn't see a whole lot of moss on the trees.

Breathless Bog: A 40-yard pond with large logs floating on top of the water (you had to crawl up and over the logs). This obstacle was actually named quite appropriately, as the water was so cold that it literally took your breath away.

Muddy Mayhem: A huge, very muddy, mud pit. There was barbed wire a few feet above the ground which needed to be crawled under, which made us feel even more hardcore. I dove in head-first (hence the mud on my face, too) and I was literally cleaning mud out of my ears for days after this.

Warrior Roast: Fire. These were actually pretty sweet. We had to jump over a few fire-traps right before crossing the finish line. They were higher than I thought they'd be.

One of the best parts of running the race was looking at the variety of costumes abounding the race site. There was even a guy in a full-fledged banana suit (unpeeled). I have no idea how he completed some of the obstacles without his costume trapping him.

It was a great time and I highly encourage any of you to take part in the madness next year!

P.S. Another reason to do it is you receive a viking helmet for participating. Actually, that's the only reason I ran the Warrior Dash.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Farmers Walk Complex

Want to work on your conditioning, build a little strength, drop some fat, increase your grip potency, and add some variety to your routine? Try the following farmers walk complex at the end of a workout, or on a day where you don't have much time to complete a typical 30-75 minute training session. It's also great for those who have limited equipment (ex. a few pairs of dumbbells).

I got this idea from Nick Tumminello of PerformanceU up in Maryland. You can perform a variety of exercises between each carry; I simply demonstrated a few of the options available. Walk 20-40yds (depending on your available space) between each exercise, varying the carry pattern between each movement (arms at sides, shoulder carry, even an arms-overhead carry).

I'd recommend moderately heavy weights to do this. Perform 3-4 rounds, resting 1-2 minutes between each round. It's harder than it looks!