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Top 5 Performance Training Tips!
Tip #1 - MASTER THE SQUAT!
"The king of lower body exercises," is a movement that all serious athletes must master. The Squat and its many variations, is perhaps the greatest exercise out there for performance enhancement! To perform any style of squat correctly, there are a many muscle, joint, and mobility requirements that must be met first: hip, knee and ankle flexibility; core and lower-back strength and stability; and the considerable strength and power demands a squat puts on the lower body.
Perfect your form with bodyweight, stick, and dumbbell squats first before hitting the squat rack.
Video on Squat Progressions
Tip #2 - EMPHASIZE EXPLOSIVE LIFTS AND EXERCISES
I can't emphasize how important it is to include explosive lifts and exercises in a program enough! Unfortunately, this is also where many people fall short in their training. Many are either too intimidated by olympic lifts or uncomfortable with plyometrics to utilize these great explosive exercises. Olympic lifts include the clean & jerk and snatch lifts; plyometrics include an array of jumping, bounding, and rapid acceleration and deceleration movements.
These lifts are so valuable to athletes for a number of reasons: they work the entire body as one unit, develop complex coordination, and increase total body force and power output. Improvements in these areas result in greater speed, acceleration, vertical leap, and balance.
Although the advanced versions of these lifts and exercises are highly technical and require a good deal of coaching, there are easier and effective modifications that anyone can do to start.
SOUND GOOD TO YOU!?...
Video on Olympic Assistance Lifts
Tip # 3 - TRAIN THE MUSCLES YOU CAN'T SEE IN THE MIRROR!
If your "upper body day" includes only the bench press, incline bench, decline bench, cable flys, & preacher curls, then you probably love looking in mirror and have an underdeveloped back. If your "lower body day" is limited to squats, deadlifts, lunges,and leg extensions then you probably have tight, neglected hamstrings and glutes.
Your solution? Emphasize upper and lower body (hamstring) "pulling" exercises as much as pushing exercises. Poor development of the posterior chain (the muscles in the backside of your body) leads to inferior athletic performance as well as muscle imbalances that increase the likelihood of injury and/or joint pain.
Sample Posterior Chain Exercises & Videos:
2. Single Arm/Single Leg Deadlift
3. Medball Hip Lift
4. Stability Ball Leg Curls
5. Partner Glute Ham
1. Horizontal Rows (TRX rows)
2. Pull-ups (any variation)
3. SA Row
4. Prone Rows/Incline
5. Rope Pulls
Tip #4 - SPEED, AGILITY, & QUICKNESS WITH A PURPOSE
When talking about sport, reactive movement takes the cake! By nature, sport is unpredictable and chaotic; in game situations athletes accelerate, cut, and change direction based on what they see or hear, not in pre-determined patterns. Agilities that don't require any reaction are good for conditioning and footwork patterns but don't mimic the demands of sport well.
Instead, incorporate more drills that require you to react to the motion, command, or voice of a partner, teammate, or coach. Try not to think or anticipate, but let your instincts take over instead. This type of training will increase your reactive time, footwork, and strengthen your nervous system.
Click below for a sample video of one of our favorite reactive drills.
Tip #5 - KEEP IT FRESH, ADD VARIETY!
We've all done it? Started a strength program, vowing to stick with it until our goals are met but after a couple weeks later we get bored, start missing workouts, and quit. So how do you avoid these common lapses? Get VARIETY into your program now!
If you've trained at CATZ you know all about variety: no workout is exactly the same, there are new exercises every week, the pace of the workout changes each day, and as athletes get better, the exercises get more complex. This method keeps the body adapting, getting stronger, challenges athletes and most importantly prevents boredom.
Keep your core (main) lifts - squats, RDLs, cleans, snatches, deadlifts, etc. - consistently in your program, but change your weight, reps, set schemes and vary your secondary lifts and the pace of your workouts during the week.