Category Archives: Athletic Performance

Quick Warmup Video

Here’s a quick video from Brendan on a great warmup routine that doesn’t require any equipment!

-Hunter

 

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Looking for a New Warmup Routine???

Give this one a try! Continue reading

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A Must Read

I don’t even have anything awesome to say in comparison to this article by Martin Rooney…  just click the link. Continue reading

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Banned for Baseball

With the festivities of last weekend involving a near “performance training” throw-down at little league opening day I thought I would take a minute to talk about sport specific training for baseball players.

And I don’t mean stupidity like this…

Or this…

These guys are unreal.  Yet it seems to make sense right?  Mimic the moves in baseball with weight to get better at baseball.    This couldn’t be further from the truth.  While most amateur trainers and coaches see it like that, sport specific training is actually un-doing whatever damages are being done by that specific sport.  Or avoiding any other potential injury caused by that sport.  So throwing footballs at a kid on a treadmill isn’t sport specific, it’s dangerous and stupid much like swinging around chains or barbells to mimic baseball.  The top priority of any training program should be injury reduction.  NOT performance.  Injury reduction comes first.

So what does this mean for baseball?  For baseball this means if I’m training a baseball player, I’m looking at a guy who really destroys his shoulder with his sport, yet needs a lot of rotational power to be great at it.  So first priority is taking care of his shoulder.  That means we’re going to be doing tons of T-Spine (upper back) mobility work, combined with scapular stabilizing movements.  Each player has his own issues to work on, but for the most part those are the issues we’re looking at.  Next we look at what this player shouldn’t be doing.

Yes, sport specific for baseball = what exercises to avoid.  First off we’re not going to shoulder press or military press.  I’ll keep it simple and stay away from the anatomy: not everyone’s shoulder blades are made for overhead pressing, and I can’t tell you should or shouldn’t, therefore, we’re just not going to do it.  There is nothing to be gained from it that’s worth the risk of screwing up a shoulder.  Another one on the banned list is front squats.  I like the movement, I don’t like where the bar is located.  Right on your A-C joint.  The risk of increasing any impingement isn’t worth the reward; there are much safer knee dominant movements we can be doing.

Next we move on to rotational power development.  If you’re thinking smashing medicine balls up against the wall you are absolutely correct.  “Because it mimics my Ken Griffey Jr. Instructo-Swing 1500?!?!?!”

To be in 3rd grade again...

No.

We’re not mimicking any throws or swings.  We are simply working on developing rotational power which is required for both throwing and swinging in baseball.  We’re doing a lot more than just throwing medicine balls, but while non-throwing athletes need to be learning the olympic lifts for power development, baseball players need the medicine balls.  One more thought to end on is going to be the components of power.  Speed and strength.  My point, you have to be strong to be powerful.  Don’t skip real strength training in favor of ridiculous exercises that look like the sport you play.

-Hunter

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Why do we Stretch?

One from the CP site I had written some time ago…

Why do we stretch?

One of the major changes in modern strength and conditioning has been the re-emergence of pre-workout stretching.  If Coastal Performance had been in existence in 2009 we probably wouldn’t have been doing any static stretching.  There were some common beliefs that mobility was more important than flexibility and static stretching was statistically shown to decrease power output.

What we ran into and why we decided stretching was something we probably should be doing is that static stretching is really the only way to lengthen the muscle, and 99% of the population needs work on lengthening certain muscles.  This led us to the next belief that stretching stretches muscles and should only be done when the muscle is warmed up.  At Coastal Performance we believe we are not actually stretching the muscle, but the fascia that surround the muscle and attach it to its surrounding structures.  The only way to stretch the fascia and get the desired result, a lengthened muscle, is when the muscle is “cold.”

The only thing we do before we stretch is foam roll.  Foam rolling makes sure we smooth out any adhesions or knots in the muscle, otherwise stretching would simply be tugging on these knots and potentially making them worse.

As for the loss in power noted by static stretching, more research has concluded that it only accounts for a maximum of 5% decrease in power output, (What you had for lunch has a greater influence on force production!) as well as the fact that the loss in power is transient, meaning that it fades back to normal power production after a short period of time.  So by the time we are done our warm-up exercises, after our stretching routine, power should be back to normal, and we have also helped to improve our movements and decrease the likelihood of future injury.

-Hunter

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Program Balance

I live near one of the best high school football programs in the country.  They always have top rated recruits and usually go very far in the Florida high school football state tournament.  With all this success you would think they had at least a mediocre training program.  Right?

Wrong.  Saturday I got to have a look at their off season program, which is quite possibly the most ignorant grouping of exercises I have ever laid eyes on.  While I wouldn’t agree with anything they are doing, I’ll focus in on one aspect because it applied to nearly everyone.  That would be the balance of pushing vs. pulling exercises.

We also grouped shrugging and raising exercises in with the pushes because they all promote a poor postural position which dramatically increases the chances of shoulder injury.  We then counted the reps and found a ratio of about 9:1 push to pull.  Specifically, 789 reps of pushing/shrugging to 90 reps of pulling.  This is beyond horrible.  I would classify anything worse than 1:1 as poor programming, let alone for a population known for having poor posture and rounded shoulders. (a bad thing)

What most teenage boy look like anyway...

What needs to be done to correct this is to offset that imbalance.  That means more pulling than pushing.  A 3:1 or 2:1 pull to push ratio would be perfect depending on how bad the rounding of the shoulders is.  Males are more prone to this from what I have seen and should be doing more pulling to pushing anyway, regardless of current postural status.  So regardless of what your favorite high school football team might be doing (destroying) in the weight room, remember that a major component of any program is health and injury prevention.  Do things that help that cause, not make it worse.

-Hunter

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How to get fast

As we get more athletes working here at CP I’m noticing a big trend towards wanting to improve speed.  When Dad tells me in great detail his son is perfect athletically in every way, except he could use some more speed, I usually respond with (courtesy of one of the World’s leading strength coaches, Mike Boyle) “name me an athlete that couldn’t use more speed.” I’ve been saying this for a long time, but I can’t get over the truth in it.  Even a “fast” kid could stand to be a little faster.

Imagine this guy even faster...

But I’ll get to my real point here.  Like the myth of cardio for fat loss, there is another myth out there in the athletic world that speed and strength are two completely different things.  Strength is for the meatheads that lift weights and look like professional linebackers, while speed is doing endless footwork drills and hour long speed camps.

That is a myth.  Ask any elite level strength coach and they will tell you that the number one factor in speed development is strength.  And strength doesn’t come from dodging around agility cones and doing bad box jumps for an hour.  And it REALLY doesn’t come from jogging.  That’s actually a great way to decrease your speed. (A great way to slow down those “too fast” athletes out there.) And I’m not against speed camps.  But they are usually just a series of exhausting drills when a real speed camp would look at the skill of speed and work on developing that through proper progressions.  (Not what you normally see at these speed camps.)

So I get a lot of shocked looks on parents faces when I say we take speed development very seriously around here, and that we spend a whole 5 minutes on the skill of speed after our warm up and before our power development work.  It’s just wasteful to spend any more time than that on the skill of speed.  It’s more important to spend extra time working on mobility and then power and strength development than it is to include a hundred mostly useless drills in a “speed specific” workout.  It doesn’t exist.

Same goes for playing other sports or track for speed.  It’s not the lacrosse or the track that makes you fast.  The guys that are good them are just fast guys.  I’m all for playing as many sports as possible, especially during high school and middle school, but not for speed.  Play them because they are fun and competitive and you will develop more completely as an athlete by playing multiple sports.  Not because they, or some ridiculous speed camp, will make you fast.  I wish it was that easy.

To truly get faster you need to be more mobile/stable (in certain areas) and stronger, that’s it.

 

-Hunter

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