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This time of the year with returning after a few months break, high running loads & firm grounds; sore muscles & joints are a fairly common occurrence. Properly preparing your body to handle the load of training and impact can help keep you on the park for longer, training harder which will lead to better fitness & performance in the long run.  Read More

We have all heard the saying “Abs are made in the kitchen” therefore you don’t need to waste your time doing ‘core’ work in the gym.

Well, that is bullshit.

Fat is lost in the kitchen (through diet) which leads to your abdominals being more visible. But if you want a core that is strong, functions effectively and supports good movement. Then throwing in some abdominal strengthing exercises can help to support your major lifts, as well as prevent injury.

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In this series of training tips, we will run through the how & why of some of our favorite methods to improve the strength and durability of your hamstrings. To ensure they can stand up to the rigors of another long pre-season. So if you or one of your teammates has some troublesome hamstrings. Share this with them to help them prepare to make next year the strongest yet.  Read More
When you have been training in the gym for a number of years, the same old routines and barbell bench press' can start to get a little stale; both for your strength progress as well as the monotony of training. Providing a different variety of stimulus to the body and mind can help you to keep motivated in the gym Read More

Athletes may not always have access to a gym, or weights in order to perform these kinds of sessions. Especially in a team environment or when working with young athletes.

So we have put together a selection of exercises that can be used to support speed and power development using only a slam ball and your body weight.

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There is more to squatting with chain than just looking like a bad ass.

The dynamic load they provide is a great way to build strength, power and acceleration through altering the force-velocity curve.

When the chain is extended at the top of a movement the load is increased. As you move toward the bottom of the movement and the chain coils on the ground the load is decreased.

This will have numerous benefits to training.

1) Adding more load throughout the movement requires you to apply increased force as you progress through which means an increased output.

2) Having less load in the weakest point (bottom) means you can get moving out of ‘the hole’ quicker

3) Having more load at the top of the movement allows you to perform closer to your peak loads more safely.

Aim for 10% total load through chain for heavy strength work and 15-25% for speed work.

Endurance athletes and strength athletes are about as far apart on the fitness spectrum as you can get in many aspects. Generally they will never cross paths, as endurance athletes (runners, cyclists,triathletes) tend to spend the majority of their time in the great outdoors, soaking in the weather and moving constantly to get their heart pounding. Strength athletes more often than not spend hours in the gym lifting heavy things to get build aesthetics, size, strength & power. The closest they come to doing cardio in walking the barbell back from the squat rack. While the first 2 objectives of strength athletes will serve little purpose to the endurance athlete, the second 2 - STRENGTH & POWER should be of particular interest as when implemented correctly can be an absolute game changer for your endurance performance.

There have been numerous studies that have found that a structured strength program will have multi faceted benefit for endurance athletes. With some of the key areas of improvement being.

  • Improved exercise economy
  • Improved maximal speed
  • Improved lactate threshold
  • Decreased injury risk
  • Increased neuromuscular efficiency

THIS ALL SOUNDS FANTASTIC BUT HOW DOES THIS TRANSLATE TO INCREASED PERFORMANCE?

Concurrent endurance and heavy strength training can increase you running speed and power output at VO2max or the time to exhaustion at maximal running speed or cycling power output (Ronnestad & Mujika, 2014). So not only will strength training help you to increase the maximal pace you can run or cycle at. It will also aid in increasing the amount of time you can spend at those higher intensities = move faster for longer.

There are various reason why this will occur:

Strength training has a strong association to increasing neuromuscular co-ordination (Salehzadeh, 2015). With every step you take your brain has to send the signal to your muscles to contract & move your limbs. Strength training can be responsible for improving the “reaction time” and specificity of these signals resulting in more efficient movement.

Studies have also suggested a faster rate of force development (speed) as result of undertaking a strength training protocol (Vikmoen, 2017). This will enable the endurance athletes to be able to move at faster at given intensities and is perfect for kicking things up a gear in the race to the finish line.

These improvements also result in a improved energy efficiency during exercise. So your body will expend less energy in order move at the same pace. This becomes especially important the longer the distance of your event or training.

Research indicates that 2 x strength session per week facing on maximal force production performed concurrently with your endurance training program is sufficient to provide the benefits associated with strength training. (Berryman, et al 2018). Weight gain can also be an area of concern for many endurance athletes when performing strength training. However given the low recommended volume of strength work in combination with a high volume of endurance training you will still be undertaking. This will not create the right conditions to generate significant mass gain through strength training protocols. Also with the correct programming sets & repetitions you can make the strength program specific to increasing strength without building muscle mass.

To help you get started we have put together a basic 2 day a week strength training program for endurance athletes, if you have any questions on how to get started be sure to get in touch.

Day 1 - Strength

Day 2 - Strength / Power

General Warm Up

5 Minute Sled Walk @ 30% Bodyweight (BW)

Mobility (Dynamic)

General Warm Up

5 Minute Sled Walk @ 30% Bodyweight

Mobility (Dynamic)

Specific Warm Up

Goblet Squat 2 x 10 @ 8-12kg

Glute Bridge 2 x 15 (BW)

Single Leg Deadlift 3 x 5 (BW)

Band Pull Apart 3 x 12

Specific Warm Up

Kettlebell RDL 3 x 10

Bulgarian Split Squat 3 x 5

Band / Cable Hip Extension 3 x 12

Band Row 3 x 20

Pull Up 2 x 3/5

Main Workout

Box Squat 5 x 3 @80% (RPE 8/10)

Inverted Row 5 x 10 @ BW

Main Workout

Rack Pull 5 x 6 @70% (Focus on Speed)

Box Jump 5 x 3

Supplemental 1

Kettlebell Swing  3 x 20

Sled Push 3 x 15m @ 1-1.5 x BW

Push Up 3 x 10

Supplemental 1

Med Ball Throw 4 x 5 @ 5-8kg (for max dist)

DB S/A Push Press 4 x 8 @ 8-15kg

Supplemental 2

Turkish Get Up x 20 @ 8-12kg

Supplemental 2

S/A Plank Row  3 x 8

Hanging Leg Raise 3 x 5

Hollow Rock 3 x 30 sec

Cool Down

Foam Roll & Stretch

Cool Down

Foam Roll & Stretch

 

** This program is intended as a guide only. You may need an individualised program for a more specific program to cater for your needs. For help with these exercises head to our YouTube channel for some demonstration videos**

 

 

References
Berryman N, Mujika I, Arvisais D, Roubeix M, Binet C and Bosquet L. Strength Training for Middle- and Long-Distance Performance: A Meta-Analysis, International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 13, 1, (57) 2018

Salehzadeh K & Ghorbanzadeh B. Effects of Strength Training on Neuromuscular Coordination in Male Pool Players. Journal of Applied Environmental and Biological Sciences. 5. 1-1. 2015

Vikmoen O, Rønnestad BR, Ellefsen S, Raastad T. Heavy strength training improves running and cycling performance following prolonged submaximal work in well‐trained female athletes. Physiological Reports. 5(5) 2017

Functional training has become one of the most utilised forms of training, but there is a hell of a lot of confusion about just what functional training actually is. 

While yes, doing a squat while standing on a fit ball holding a barbell is a pretty impressive feat of balance, unless you need to do this on a regular basis day to day. It almost definitely isn't functional for you.

Functional training can best be described as preparing the body for the activities which may be encountered in your daily life. Whether that be at home, work or while playing sport. Therefore due to the wide variety of activities and lifestyles we all lead, functional training sessions are going to be different for everybody, and will change as our lifestyles evolve. 

Functional Training

That isn't to say you need try to mimic your day to day movements in the gym. There are a few movements that will have a high degree of transfer to most aspects of daily life and unfortunately squatting on a ball probably isn’t going to give you the return on investment for risking your ass and looking like a tool.

However, some of the fundamental strength training exercises are going to be some of the best to incorporate into a program to improve function. Squats, deadlifts & pull ups are a few of these fundamental strength exercises. Whether you are lifting 20kg or 200kg the benefits of these exercises will have a high functional strength cross over for most activities of daily life, think of things like picking up children, boxes, shopping bags, getting in & out of chairs, climbing stairs, walking, running & jumping all of these movements have similar patterns and muscle recruitment to the squat & deadlift.

Mastering these basic movement patterns will serve you far better in the long run than trying to attempt 100’s of different exercise variations. While balance type “functional” exercises may have their place in some circumstances, for most people a good foundation of strength will provide more benefit, better results and ultimately be more functional as well as a hell of a lot safer train for. 

Remember if you want to train for function look to train movements that resemble those you may struggle with or need to be good at in day to day activities. Incorporating balance, plyometrics or handstands into a program does not make it functional. If you can build a program around the fundamentals of squats, deadlifts, pull ups and some pressing you will have a solid foundation to build functionality for long term performance. 

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
    - Bruce Lee