The best way to improve long term performance is to stay healthy, injury free & in the game. Sounds obvious enough, but there is some simple things that most of us aren't doing that can help ensure this can happen. It is one of the simplest and most beneficial forms of training, yet it is something that is neglected and often avoided by just about all of us. It seems as though just because you are not working up a sweat it cannot be all that beneficial. But how wrong you are.
Mobility and flexibility are the forgotten training methods, often the first thing to get cut from your session the minute you start running short of time, when in reality it should be the last thing you cut from your training day. No matter how you fit it in, as a warm up, cool down or a session on its own. You should aim to include some form of mobility or flexibility into your training as often as possible.
Lets be honest if we had the money and the time we would all love to treat ourselves to a hour of massage everyday. Try and think of your mobility session as your self massage or self myofascial release if you want to get fancy, it is a little reward to yourself for all of your hard work in training. Easing tight and sore muscles, alleviating pressure on joints and leaving you feeling fresh and ready to take on another session!
Lets face it, in the context of things spending the time to work on preventing injury is a much better strategy than missing whole sessions or weeks of training due to injury. Being able to train consistently and stick to your program long term is the best way to continue achieving great results. If you continually having to take a week of here & two weeks off there to recover from little niggles your progress is continually getting stunted. Spend just 5-10 minutes a day can go a long way to keeping you training & performing injury free.
But how can it prevent injury? Your muscles have an optimum length and tension they like to maintain. Through frequent training, your muscle tension increases and you can develop adhesions (you may feel these as ‘knots’ in your muscles). As a result of these processes your muscles in effect shorten in length. When you try to go through your normal range of motion, in training or competition you don’t have the same elasticity in your muscles which can result in strains and tears.
This is particularly evident in sports, as a lot of the time due to competitive demands you may not be able to control the range of motion you will have to take your muscles through. So keeping them healthy and ready to go through the largest range of motion possible by adding mobility sessions to your training, you will ensure you can improve your sports performance and stay at the top of your game.
Ideally, you would incorporate a few full sessions of mobility work into your weekly routine. But even 5 - 10 minutes as a warm up or cool down is going to be advantageous. Some of the best methods you can try include foam rolling, massage / trigger point balls, band assisted stretching, yoga or even body weight exercises utilising a full range of motion.
It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s windy, the days are short & the nights are long. Who in their right mind can get motivated to exercise in conditions like these? You know that you should be doing some sort of training but you’re just unable to find the motivation you need to push you to get started. Sound familiar?
Im going to share with you a few tips that will help keep you on track this winter so you can make this year your fittest yet!
1) Sign up for an event
Pick an event, it can be anything; a 5km run, obstacle race, triathlon, a marathon, even line dancing will do. Pick anything that might interest you and sign up for it. The key is to pick an event that will be a challenge for you, if you can run 10km relatively comfortably then sign up for a half marathon. It must be something that will require you to put the preparation in for.
Next step, tell every one you can what you are doing, put it up on Facebook, Twitter, send out some snail mail, whatever your using, just let people know and the more people, the better. Once all of your family and friends know about it, the thought of failure will make sure you are committed to training and putting in the required effort to get you to complete your event. It also gives your training a direction. Training without a goal is like driving a car with no destination, where are you heading? Having clear, realistic goals is the best way to keep your training on track. And it doesn’t get much clearer than having an organised date, time, location and distance.
2) Join a group training program with a friend
Having a friend or partner to train with can be a great motivator. You will be extra committed to make sure you don’t miss a session as you don’t want to let them down or miss an opportunity to catch up.
Much of the time half of the battle is just showing up and getting started, once you are warmed up and getting stuck into your training session, it’s easy to keep going. Having a training partner to drag your butt off the couch and get you started on those tough days can be just the little push you need to keep your fitness kicking along through the tough months. You may even find you develop new friendships along the way, plus a little extra support & healthy competition never hurts to push you along even further.
3) Schedule your training session in your diary
Treat it as you would any other appointment with doctors, physio's or dentists after all it is in the interest of your own health. Schedule 30 - 60 minutes at least 3 days a week that you commit to working out and don’t let anything get in the way of making those appointments. Be sure to make them at convenient times that are realistic for you to fit into your day. The easier it is to fit in, the less likely you are to miss them.
Try these few tips to not only keep your health and fitness goals on track but to keep warm this winter and you will set yourself up to launch into your summer training at your fittest. By the time the sun and warm weather rolls around, who knows what you will be able to achieve!
When doing box jumps to improve vertical jump power, the height of the box isn't as important as you may think. The most important aspect is your intention to jump as high as possible, often when the box is too high your intent will shift from jumping high to just doing whatever you need to land on top of the box safely.
We generally recommend aiming for a moderate size box you can jump onto comfortably and focusing on jumping as high as possible, landing safely in a more athletic position with knee and hips soft to cushion the impact.
TRAP BAR DEADLIFT. The trap bar is one of our favourite tools to use with all of our clients as it is perfect for beginners learning how to deadlift and experienced lifters trying to improve top end strength.
One of the BIGGEST factors in determining whether or not your training will be successful or not is nutrition. There are so many different diet options and recommendations out there that all claim to be the best for you, but they all contradict each other in one way or another. So here is a list of a few easy to implement strategies to help get you on your way to improving your nutrition.
Want to get the most out of your lower body strength session? Emma has some awesome activation exercises for you to do prior to lifting to make sure your glutes are ready to set some PR's.
How many times have you heard..... “but you're a girl..... wont lifting weights make you bulky?”
As a dancer who also strength trains I hear this a lot and if this annoying sentence irritates you just as much as it does me, then read on and learn about why we actually train this way and what awesome benefits it brings along with it. I know from my experience, it has definitely improved my performance in the dance studio. I can jump higher, hit my movements stronger and faster and it has improved my stamina tremendously.
Because of the“myth” that women will get “bulky” and develop unfeminine and unsightly bulging muscles, a lot of women dismiss weight/strength training and therefore miss out on all of the benefits that it brings. This is a massive misconception as high levels of oestrogen make it very difficult for women to become overly muscular. When women lift weights, the changes to the their muscles are generally related to the muscles gaining strength rather then gaining size. This results in looking leaner and firmer not bulky or masculine.
Strength training is a very important component to overall health and fitness and provides an important balance to your aerobic workouts. The following are just a few of the many benefits of strength training.
When it comes to weight loss, most people automatically start a program of cardio and unsatisfying dieting. Leaving you bored and hungry and more likely to “fall off the wagon” Strength training is usually an afterthought and thought of as something that “only the boys do”. However, strength training can burn just as much, if not more calories and fat then cardio.
Cardio is great for burning calories and fat whilst you are moving during your session, but thats where it stops. A well designed strength program will not only burn calories and fat during your sessions but will keep your metabolism firing for several hours afterwards and therefore use and burn more calories while your body is recovering from the session. With consistent strength training you can turn your body into a calorie burning machine where even while you are at rest, your body is burning more calories.
So.....the good news is that a regular strength training program will help you to reduce body fat and burn calories more efficiently which can result in healthy weight loss.
Aside from the aesthetic benefits of looking leaner and firmer, strength training can aid in the rate that muscle mass diminishes as you age. As women get older, they will experience many hormonal changes and will naturally lose bone density. Unfortunately this increases the risk for developing osteoporosis however incorporating regular strength and weight training sessions in to your programming, slows bone density deterioration. This can help your bones to grow stronger, help to maintain strength and reduce your chances of developing or help slow down the effects of osteoporosis.
Another fantastic benefit of strength training is that when you build muscle, you are actively helping to protect your joints from injury allowing you to do bigger and better things on the gym floor. You will also find that your balance and co-ordination will improve, this will become increasingly important to help you maintain your independence as you age.
So as women, there is no reason to feel that we are the weaker sex, we can lift just as much as the boys do, its just a matter of how high you are going to set your goals and standards and how hard you are willing to work. The mind is primary, your body will do what your brain tells it to, and you need to train your mind just as much as you need to train your body.
Next time you are in the gym, don't be afraid to pick up some weights or if you already do, pick up one's that is a little heavier, and start pushing your self outside of your comfort zone. After all, nothing great happens there and you will probably surprise your self with how much you can actually do and lift.
Happy lifting Ladies!!!