Monday, June 28, 2010

Do you olympic lift with your athletes?

The olympic lifts are the snatch and the clean and jerk.  They have many variations that include but aren't limited to the hang snatch, hang clean, power snatch, power clean, dumbbell cleans, dumbbell snatches, and many more.  They are all very explosive yet technically challenging total body lifts that are designed - in the sports performance world - to increase the athletes power production.  More specifically, to increase power production in triple extension (ankle, knee, and hip extension). 

Triple Extension

Obviously, this movement is the same movement an athlete goes through when they jump and sprint (a sprint is basically jumping from one leg to another).  These movements (especially the snatch) have been shown time and again to produce more power than any other movement you can perform in the weight room. 

*Newton, H.; Explosive Lifting for Sports; Human Kinetics; Champagne, IL; 2001; 17.

Given this, the olympic lifts are also very hard to teach and many coaches will say the potential for injury is high.  I'm not one of those coaches.  For me, it's more like, do I have time to teach them?  Some of the kids that come in to see me are maybe just a couple weeks out from their season.  For these kids, I'll usually implement a combination of plyometrics, med ball work, and weighted jumps simply because of the fact that I don't have the time to teach them the lifts.  On the other hand, if I get an athlete who is in their off season, and we have several months to work on them, of course we will have them olympic lift. 

So, do your athletes olympic lift?

It depends...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Core Training Progressions

So, I was reading through some of my older posts and realized that I speak quite often about my core training but actually do very little to let the readers know what this actually involves.  Like any other lift we do, there is a progression.  Most of my newbie clients cannot do an ab wheel rollout on day one - at least not correctly.  We must progress them into it.  The purpose of this post is to give a little insight how this progression works.

First, I'll give you a little background information.  The core is composed of the lumbar spine, the quadratus lumborum, the muscles of the abdominal wall (rectus abdominus and obliques), the back extensors, and multi joint muscles like the latissimus dorsi and the psoas.  You could also include the glutes in this group as well, since they are the main power producers and a synergist to the core muscles. 

The main function of these muscles is to cocontract.  Basically, they contract against one another to stiffen and support the lumbar spine.  I call this bracing.  This contrary to the popular belief that people must suck in the stomach to better support the spine (Not long ago, I believed this as well).  Sucking in actually decreases the stability of the lumbar spine! (Potvin, et al.) 

Now that we know the important functions of these muscles, we have to put together a program that trains them correctly.  The first thing I'm going to say is throw out crunches and sit ups.  Bringing the rib cage closer to the pelvis will only make back problems get worse.

Here at Nunn's Performace Training, we break our core training into three sections.  They are anti - flexion, anti - rotation, and anti - lateral flexion.  The progressions look like this:

Easy ---> Hard

Anti - Flexion
Quadruped Single Arm/Single Leg Raise ---> Quadruped Opposite Arm/Leg Raise ---> Prone Plank ---> Prone Plank + weight ---> Stability Ball Rollout ---> Ab Wheel Rollout ---> TRX Fallout

Anti - Rotation
Quadruped Single Arm/Single Leg Raise ---> Quadruped Opposite Arm/Leg Raise ---> Pallof Series (Half Kneeling/High Cable, Standing/Medium Cable, Standing/Low Cable)

Anti - Lateral Flexion
Quadruped Single Arm/Single Leg Raise ---> Quadruped Opposite Arm/Leg Raise ---> Side Plank ---> Side Plank + Weight ---> Pallof With Overhead Press

*We will probably be implementing suitcase deadlifts in the Anti - Lateral Flexion are in the near future.

Here's the video demonstration:


Potvin JR and Brown SHM.  An equation to calculate individual muscle contributions to joint stability.  J Biomech 38: 973 - 980, 2005

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Day In The Life...

I love my job - if you want to call it that.  So, don't take this post the wrong way.  I'm not trying to complain or get pity.  I chose this job, it certainly did not choose me.  I'm writing this post for two reasons.  First, I thought it would be interesting for people to see what a day is like for a person who trains people, writes a weekly blog, writes monthly training articles, and runs the business.  Secondly, I thought it would give anyone who was considering getting into the business a real understanding of what it takes to make it in the fitness game.  YOU HAVE TO WANT IT!!  So, here goes:

4:30am - My alarm goes off on my Blackjack and I stumble out of bed, quick shower and breakfast, and begin getting ready for the day.

It usually looks something like this.

5:00am - Arrive at my facility and begin getting my programs ready for the day.  I typically train between six and ten groups everyday.  I try to get most of the programs written for the day at this time.

5:30am - 10:00am - Groups begin to arrive.  The first group of the morning is a semi private group of three women with fat loss goals.  From 6:30am to 10am, I see a variety of people from soccer moms wanting to lose weight to fire fighters wanting to get better at their jobs.

10am - 2pm - This is usually my down time.  I use this time to grab lunch, workout, do boring business stuff (profit/loss sheets, marketing, attend business coaching classes), follow up with sales leads, and do continuing education.

I gotta keep this thing current.

2pm - 6pm - This is when most of my adult fitness clients begin to make their way over.  Again, most of these are in groups of 2 - 5, but I do have a few one - on - one clients at this time.

6pm - 8pm - This is the prime time for training athletes.  I have two AAU basketball teams and a few groups of mixed athletes (mainly football and soccer). 

8:30 - 9:30 -  I arrive home and eat a late dinner with the wife.  We usually end up discussing what went on in her day (she enjoys that).  Then, we'll usually head to bed about 9:30 or 10 and get ready to do it again tomorrow!

So, that's it!  Like I said this job has a lot of long days, but when I see the look on a client's face when they've lost 50lbs or shaved .5 off their 40 - time, it makes it well worth it!  They important thing is, you have to want it.