Viewing entries tagged
athlete

Strength Training For Athletes

Comment

Strength Training For Athletes

Strength training for athletes is not primarily used for improved strength and power, however for injury prevention. What they don’t realise is that you can not build strength and power without a body that is balanced left to right and trying to add heavy loads to an already faulty structure can lead to injuries. If an athlete is injured they can not train in the gym and even more importantly they can not train at their particular sport. If an athlete is not assessed after each season, their chances of injury get higher each season.

Cam Bolton’s - Germany World Cup Win - February 2019.

Cam Bolton’s - Germany World Cup Win - February 2019.

One thing that needs to be understood from the start, is that all sports have certain patterns that cause imbalances. Take basketball for instance, most basketballers will tend to jump from one leg and land on the other leg. This means that their jumping leg is always working very powerfully and their opposing leg is absorbing the landing, causing it to take a huge load and stress. Over the corse of even one season, this is always going to result in an imbalance between the jumping leg and landing leg. If we multiply that by many seasons, the imbalance becomes even more pronounced.

Firstly, the role of a strength coach is to ensure the athlete can perform training and games in an injury free state. If they get injured at any point of the pre season or season this is time away from their sport training, which will decrease their ability. It is very hard to be a value if you have to miss training each week, just in order to play each week. If an athlete is in a balanced state their likelihood for injury is much less. You only have to use professional sports as an easy example, the teams with the least amount of injuries are usually the ones in the finals and take out the ultimate prize. Any athlete that has played injured will understand that they can not perform to their full ability when they are injured.

Matt Targett & Hayden Stoeckel - 2012 Olympic Medalists

Matt Targett & Hayden Stoeckel - 2012 Olympic Medalists

At Energie4 we train athletes from junior levels all the way to the Olympic podium. All of these athletes do at least one if not two phases of structural balance work in a competition year. This is why we have had so much success at all levels of competitive sport. Energie4 athletes are educated and understand the importance of having are balanced body and notice it’s value to their strength, power and performance throughout the season of their sport.

To move into more detail about strength training for athletes, we first have to look at having a solid base/foundation from where we can build on. Athletes at Energie4 always start with unilateral work, meaning using single leg/arm exercises, like a split squat and dumbbells like a dumbbell bench press before they are progressed to barbell work like a barbell squat or barbell bench press. Any time you create balance between the legs or the arms and go back to a squat or bench press, the athlete has not got weaker, in fact they get stronger, even without doing the exercise the coach was concerned that they would lose strength.

The second major point when you consider the balance between left and right, is that power can’t be developed without first having strength. For example, any athlete who has had an ankle injury that has not been rehabilitated properly, they will have trouble pushing off the ground, effecting running, changing direction and jumping. As the body is extremely clever, it will look to other muscles to try and generate the strength and power it needs in order to perform at the level the athlete is use to. The result however, is that this compensation, causes the exact imbalances that we have been discussing, which can directly relate to an injury in another part of the body. This only frustrates the athlete, as they only want to train and play their sport. Athletes are generally very impatient, as is their competitive nature, so they need to be educated on the value of what you are trying to achieve, in addition to encouraging their patience, so they can be a bigger, stronger, faster athlete.

Thus, strength training for athletes is ALL about injury prevention. If the body is balanced, there is less chance of an injury to the athlete. If they strength train and build a solid, balanced base, they are able to train in the gym and also fully train for their sport. This already gives them a huge advantage over their team mates and competition. Finally, the more base and foundation they have the less time they have to work on structural balance and the more time they can use strength training to increase strength and power.


Comment

Preparation Is Key, Execution Is Vital

Comment

Preparation Is Key, Execution Is Vital

Execution - the carrying out of a plan, order, or course of action.

Michael Phelps with all 23 of his Olympic Gold Medals - A true champion who knew exactly what he had to do to execute when it came time to race.

Michael Phelps with all 23 of his Olympic Gold Medals - A true champion who knew exactly what he had to do to execute when it came time to race.

When it comes to performing any task, it is the execution that is vital. You can be full prepared but if you don’t execute to your full ability then there is something you have failed to plan for. This can be in all aspects of your life, whether it is for a sport, your health and fitness or your work. Firstly, you will know when you have an event, a fitness goal or a work deadline. So how do you ensure that your preparation is adequate for you to execute your task to what you expect the end result to be?

Let’s look at what it takes to prepare first. Have you given yourself enough time? In order to be prepared you have to put in the time it takes to get ready. This can’t be done overnight or in a week, it takes time to be properly prepared. Now you might only need a couple of weeks to be ready for a work deadline. If you are already lean and going on holidays in 4 weeks, this may be all the time that you require in order to look the way that makes you happy. On the other hand if you aren’t in shape and you are getting married, you may need at least 3 months so that you are happy with the way you look on your big day. If you have never run a half marathon before and just started running you are going to need a good 6 months of training.

Have you done the work? It is all good to have the time to prepare, but have you done all that you set out in this time frame. Did you miss sessions of training, preferring to procrastinate or you were just lazy? If you did the sessions, where they done to your full capacity or were they at sub optimal levels? With any task it is the quality that will inevitably allow you to execute at your full potential.

Have you been consistent in doing the tasks? Consistency is paramount, have you done something that works towards your goal or task on a consistent basis, it may or may not be daily thing but it has to be done regularly. Remember at the end of the day, it may just be you that is disappointed if you don’t reach your target, but it could be others that have also invested time to assist you in reaching your end goal.

Screen Shot 2019-01-21 at 10.00.58 am.png

When it comes to execution there are a few factors that we need to understand. The best way I have found is to work backwards from the task you need to execute. You know the day, so what is it that is required to get done in that timeframe?

When it comes down to a sporting event or a presentation, there are optimal amount of nerves, too little as you can see you will not have you ready to perform, too much and you will totally underperform also. Often people get worried and in their own head when they have butterflies, this is normal and if you don’t I would be worried. It is harnessing the nerves and using them to your advantage. As if you have prepared properly there is nothing to be concerned with it. You should have a plan on what you want to achieve and execute accordingly. Only have a few key areas you want to get across if it is a presentation, if it is a sporting event you will have certain times or performance numbers or if it is a body composition goal, for a wedding or a holiday, you will know what size you have to be to fit into your wedding dress or a body fat percentage you want to be before you leave for holiday. Leaving everyone around the pool in awe of your physique and hard work.

If there are too many nerves, people will often doubt themselves or get intimidated by others. This is where a clear focus of the task at hand is so important. When you are prepared, there is no need to have those nerves or doubt. When it comes to intimidation, what is there to be intimidated by if you have done the preparation and know what you need to do to execute.

When you execute and achieve what you have set out to, there is no better feeling. To know all the hard work and preparation was worth it, to know you have set yourself a task or met your deadline and there was success at the end of it. Remember to prepare but when it comes time to perform, ensure that you execute so that you are proud of the end result. Do it for yourself and the reward will be there.

Comment

Jump Jump Jump!

Comment

Jump Jump Jump!

Michael Jordan when asked admitted that he could fly even if it was briefly!

Michael Jordan when asked admitted that he could fly even if it was briefly!

Most athletes will benefit from having a better vertical jump for their particular sport.  To see some jump, is often awe inspiring and magnificent, no matter the sport.  Some sports it is more important then others, like basketball, volleyball and snowboarding.  However, AFL, soccer and even swimmers can have a benefit from jumping higher.  So is your vertical leap something you are born with or can you work on it.  Of course genetics helps massively, but with the right training anyone can increase their vertical jump.  Every athlete wants to jump higher.  

There are many ways to improve your vertical jump, but nothing works better then jumping.

Jump, jump, jump!

Jump all the time, whenever you can. Train your body to jump consistently, the more you jump, the more your body will learn this is normal and your vertical jump will improve more then anything else you can do.  

There are different types of jumping and each sport has it’s own jumping characteristics.  Any strength coach or athletic trainer should know what it is for the sport they are coaching.  For years I was training swimmers to improve their vertical jump by strength training their legs.  No one else was doing it, but I understood the necessity especially for sprinters that the start was a vital part of the race, especially in the 50m freestyle.  If you were half a body length off in the first 15 meters it was very hard to win already.

There are also different types of jumpers, some have the ability to jump off two feet, where most will prefer a running start and jump off one foot.  Other athletes can jump well once, however, the more elastic jumpers can jump once, but then land and jump straight up again and repetitively, with very similar vertical leaps, a lot of volleyballer's and basketballer's posses this ability.

There are several different ways to test for vertical leap.  For instance in 2011, at an Australian Swimming Relay Camp, I tested for a standing static vertical and counter movement vertical jump.  This tested the relay athletes ability to start the relay off or were they better suited with their jumping ability to go in the second, third or last leg.  The results were quite outstanding and surprising to say the least.

Jumping Exercise

If I had to choose one strength training exercise that you can do in the gym, it would have to be a Squat push press.  It is the single best strength exercise, one because unlike Olympic lifting almost anyone can do it and it is a much easier progression then attempting a power snatch.

You always as an athlete, need to look at the return of an exercise to the risk of injury.  It is my belief to always be on the side of caution, hence training an inexperience athlete in the gym to do Olympic lifting can often be detrimental to their sporting performance, as well as the risk of injury.

Volleyball Vertical Leap.jpg

The easiest way to test your vertical jump, is to put a tape measure on a wall.  From here reach up and take down your reach, as this will be your start point.  With a little bit of chalk on your fingers, you are now ready to test your vertical jump.  There are two common ways of testing.  One is a static vertical jump, where you go into a squat position and then jump, recording the highest mark your chalked fingers make.  An alternative way is a counter movement vertical jump, where you can step into your vertical jump, again recording the highest mark from your chalked fingers.  Obviously your counter movement jump should be your best one, but I have seen it the other way around, which I can't explain to you, apart from their were swimmers.  That said push them in the water and they turn into fish, it's just that some are literally fish out of water, when it comes to athleticism on the ground.

So what are you waiting for start jumping today and you will notice your vertical leap not only increases, but the ease you can jump higher will both surprise you and others!  Enjoy your new vertical leap, for more information on athletic conditioning please don't hesitate to contact us.  From the wanna be athletes playing a Dad's football game to aspiring Olympians, an increase vertical jump will benefit all athletes.

Comment

Nutrition

Comment

Nutrition

In todays busy hectic world we need to be able to function at our highest.  One of the easiest ways to ensure this is to have the correct nutrition.  Now everyone knows what to do but very few people actually eat well.  Apart from exercising, which is usually the first thing people will skip, food and eating well is right up there too.  There are so many excuses that people have, time being the first one, not having access to good food and just right out being lazy.  Don't worry we all have these times in our lives, so you are not on your own.

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 11.37.08 am.png

Nutrition isn't as hard as everyone makes out.  It often comes down to planning and discipline.  You need to understand that what you put in your mouth fuels your body.  If you fuel your body correctly you will think better, have more energy and will ALWAYS want to eat better for the other meals of the day.  As you feel the results in your personal and professional lives, it becomes easier and easier to eat the right way for your body.

Breakfast is the meal that many people will skip.  Skipping breakfast is not ideal for a number of reasons: 

  • you have already fasted all night, so your blood sugar is low and your brain needs sugar to function optimally.
  • keeping a steady blood sugar level is the key to maitaining weight or losing body fat.
  • if you don't eat you are more likely to eat something bad, as you need that instant blood sugar hit.

Therefore, eating breakfast is vital to how your day will go, as it helps you set up your food choices for the rest of day.  One strategy that works really well but many people hesitate at when I mention is the meat and nut breakfast.  The meat and nut breakfast, has worked with great success for our clients all over the world.  Now before I hear you all say you couldn't possibly eat meat for breakfast, I would like to ask you to think what you eat when you stay in a hotel, while you are holidaying or working?

The majority of you will go for a high protein breakfast, like an omelette, cold meats and hot meats.  

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 2.59.05 pm.png
Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 2.59.29 pm.png

Why do you do this?  It is because of your subconscious knowing you probably won't be eating for a while and a high protein breakfast will keep your satiety for a longer duration, then cereal or pancakes! 

So remember to eat right for your body, your food fuels your body and breakfast sets up the way you will eat for the rest of the day.

Comment

Adversity

2 Comments

Adversity

Cameron Bolton

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 1.40.10 pm.png

Cam Bolton Olympic Snowboarder in Boarder Cross dispcipline.

In the 2014 Sochi games, Cam was boarding extremely well, but it wasn't with adversity.  Just before the Olympics he slightly strained his adductor.  This caused him to have to rest totally for the 2 weeks before the Olympics.  This is not only a huge inconvenience to an athlete's preparation but extremely frustrating.  Athletes do not like to rest, especially Cam!

2014 Sochi Olympics

After having to rest for the 2 weeks leading up to the Olympics, the Boarder Cross was put off for a day, because of the snow and visibility was terrible.  This also, didn't play into Cam's benefit, as he wasn't a high ranked athlete.  As a result of this qualifying was cancelled and they went straight into heats the following day instead, but meant that Cam would always be disadvantaged by the bad gates.

However, once Cam came out of the gate in the first heat, he was on fire.  He went through all the qualifying rounds easily, winning them all.  So now comes the semi final, with 6 riders in each semi final, the top 3 of each advance to the final with a 50/50 chance of a medal.  With Cam yet again leading the semi final, he only needed to  stay on his board and finish the race.  Unfortanately, sometimes in sport and life, things are out of your control.  An Italian rider went into a corner far too fast and as Cam who was leading and about to take a jump, was collected from behind, as the Italian athlete tried to use him to break his speed and careering of the course.  The collision took Cam out and in the process giving him a concussion, cut on his face and a right arm with several fractures. 

To Cam's credit he managed to compose himself and race the small final, only minutes later.  Sign of a true competitor, even with the injuries he sustained in the semi final crash.

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 1.42.40 pm.png
The pins, screws & plates in Cam's right arm, as a result of the very unnecessary Olympic Semi Final crash.

The pins, screws & plates in Cam's right arm, as a result of the very unnecessary Olympic Semi Final crash.

2014/2015 World Cup Season

Once Cam was back in Melbourne, he had his surgery but continued to train his legs even though he was unable to use his right arm.  After several months of training the rehabilitation at Energie4 began to increase the strength in Cam's wrist.  The 2015 World Cup season, Cam returned bigger, stronger and learning from his great results in the Olympics.  Unfortunately, at the start of another race he was taken out again in the start section and fractured his upper arm bone, in the shoulder region.  Again, ending a season ending injury, Cam came back to Melbourne for more rehabilitation which can be a very slow and frustrating time for an athlete.

2015/2016 World Championships Season

After yet another pre season of rehabilitation before Cam could start training for performance.  He had set himself a goal of increasing his muscle mass, so going into the 2016 season he was the heaviest and strongest he had ever been.  Several races at the start of the season were cancelled due to lack of snow.  However, Cam was focused to train hard and continue his quest to get back to his Olympic form.  

The first race of the season and Cam was ready to go after a couple of seasons of disappointment.  Cam was back! He raced well in every preliminary heats and finals making his first World Cup Final.  After leading the entire race a small mistake cost him his first World Cup win and instead he ended up finishing 4th, still his best World Cup result.

Since, he was looking so good at the previous race in Germany they asked him to test the course.  When disaster happened again as a result of the course.  Cam went too far off a jump and landed on his feet but the shock of over shooting the jump caused him to hit his coccyx on the snow and sent extreme force up his spine.  Ultimately fracturing a vertebra, yes a bone in his spine.  Even this did't damper Cam's snowboarding ambitions.  6 weeks after fracturing a vertebra he entered an ocean swim and came top 10.  This is after 6 weeks of lying on his back as he couldn't have too much force on his spine, so he was basically bed ridden.

2016/2017 World Cup Season

Finally, injury free for a season this season didn't produce the results Cam would of liked.  Thus, even though results didn't come there was still a great chance to learn about racing, competitors and courses.  Again, fuelling motivation for the next season and his preparation for the Olympic season.

2017/2018 Olympic Games

Coming into an Olympic season, the pressure and expectations are very high, both to make the team but also improve on the previous Olympics result.  Cam's World Cup results haven't been his best but it is enough to get his second spot on the Olympic team.  Now, all those past performances mean nothing.  Cam is at the Olympics and has the same shot at winning like all the athletes competing.  The most challenging part of the Olympics is performing when it counts, handling the pressure.  There is so much prestige being an Olympian but even more when you stand on the dais and become an Olympic Medalist. 

Cam was the best performing male & female Boarder Cross athlete in 2014, I know that he can do even better this year in a couple of days.  Look out for those dread locks flying down the course in Pyeongchang, this time he will be out in front and stay there to the final.

 

Screenshot_20180212-074016.png

It is always a pleasure and honour training athletes, assisting them to achieve their goals.  There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a Energie4, perform on the biggest athletic stage, the Olympics. 

From everyone at Energie4, we wish Cam an even better Olympics 4 years on and to see him go one better and contest for the medals in the Boarder Cross final.  If there is one athlete that can overcome all this adversity and win a medal for Australia, it's Energie4’s Cameron Bolton.

2 Comments