Posts Tagged ‘Training’

rsLogoAnthony Darmiento
Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach
United States Olympic Committee

As the National Strength and Conditioning Association states in their position statement on youth resistance training, “Strength training youth athletes needs to be safe, effective and enjoyable. In order for strength training to be safe it’s more than the method of strength training, but rather how it is being implemented.”

For example, important factors such as proper form when lifting and moving are overlooked when a coach simply follows a plan on a written document or tries to implement a training program they once performed.  For this reason, Responsible Coaches seek help and guidance from qualified strength coaches to assist in the development of athletes of any level to ensure that strength training is performed in a proper and appropriate manner.  The risks of strength training are similar between youth and adults and strength training is only effective when it is done in a safe environment with proper supervision.

In order for strength training to be effective Responsible Coaches realize that strength training must complement sport training. For example, eliminating practice time to introduce or implement an effective strength program and developing basic movement skills are safe investments. The off-season and preseason are ideal times to implement a strength program. Responsible Coaches recognize athletes need to have the appropriate motor control to perform basic exercises such as a squat, lunge and pushup before progressing to loaded exercises. Although these movements and others may seem rudimentary and common most young athletes lack the ability to execute them with proper form.  Another reason for stressing the importance of such training is that these skills and movements transfer to many different sports and across all levels of sport.

In order for strength training to be enjoyable two very important factors must be considered: Athlete’s must understand and see benefits from the strength program while also training in a fun and enjoyable environment. Any athlete is more likely to continue training when they understand the benefits and see results. This highlights the importance of a sound and effective program. This is especially important considering it may take a few weeks of progressing before performance increases are seen or athletes begin to feel the positive effects of training. Until then it is important to keep training fun and enjoyable by mixing in games or challenges that keep athletes focused. For example, performing walking lunges on a row of printer paper without stepping off could be enjoyable and challenging for younger athletes.

On the other hand older athletes might enjoy keeping a log of their vertical jump height as each athlete attempts to beat their own personal records over time. Setting goals that are both attainable and challenging for the team or each individual is very important when trying to keep athletes motivated and driven. Thus coaches should be prepared with progressions and regressions for different exercises or activities based on ranging abilities of their athletes. If all this is kept in mind it shouldn’t be hard to keep things in enjoyable and fun while still performing strength training in a safe and controlled manner.


Fagenbaum, A. D., Kraemer, W. J., Blimkie, C. J., Jeffreys, I., Micheli, L. J., Nitka, M., et al. (2009). Youth Resistance Training: Updated Position Statement Paper From the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 60-79.

User:Extremepullup performing a standard dead-...

User:Extremepullup performing a standard dead-hang pull up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David Cassilo
USA Today High School Sports
Doing a lot of heavy lifting might seem like the best way to strengthen your upper body, but sports training expert Rick Howard says that’s not necessarily the case.

We asked Howard, the founder of the Youth Special Interest Group for the National Strength and Conditioning Association, to shed some light on a few upper-body training misconceptions.

Myth 1: Focus on muscles you can see.
Athletes work muscles they can see like their chest. That’s why they tend to do the bench press, biceps and abs. To improve upper-body strength, you have to have a balance between the muscles on the front and back of your body.

Myth 2: Upper-body strength starts in the weight room.
Focus on bodyweight training before you transition to machines like the bench press. You don’t always have to use a strength-training machine. There are all types of exercises like pushups to work your chest muscles and exercises like pull-ups to work your back. It’s a long-term process to get into peak condition, and you need to progress correctly.

Myth 3: Do as many reps as often as you can.
Start with one set of an exercise for 10 to 15 reps. Progress to three sets, then gradually add weight. You don’t need to do the maximum every time. The key is to have great form, not to do as many reps as possible.

Myth 4: Every athlete should bench to build a strong upper body.
Some athletes have shoulder injuries that preclude them from doing a bench press. For others, there are different weighted bars that might be too heavy to lift. Instead, you can use a medicine ball, bodyweight exercises or dumbbells.

Myth 5: You should strengthen your upper body on your own.
A lot of times athletes go into a weight room or in their basement and work out without supervision. That, unfortunately, is where most injuries occur.

By Jay Murdock
Posted January 8, 9:36pm

First let me take this opportunity to wish you and yours a safe and prosperous New Year.  It’s hard to believe that we just finished the first decade of the new millennium.

Now is usually the time we all look to make resolutions for the coming year  and if  taming the bulge and getting more fit is one of your goals for 2011 you are not alone.  Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it should be no surprise to find out that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year resolutions – and regular exercise is the best way to do it. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man.  Some studies have shown that exercise reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis.  In short, regular exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.  However, when considering a exercise regime, setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the key to success for those  millions of Americans who made a New Year’s commitment to shed those extra pounds.

When it comes to loosing weight we want to choose the right exercise equipment and the right training regime.  First let me say this – regardless of the claims you  hear on TV, you can not target train areas for weight loss.   No machine or exercise is going to trim your tummy or slim your hips by themselves.  The body doesn’t work that way. Your body is genetically predisposed to store fat in certain areas  and usually those are are going be the hardest  areas to  oose the weight. You have to devise a training plan that combines aerobic and anaerobic exercises with a proper diet and perform the workout at a pace that maximizes your bodies fat burning capacity.

One of the reasons many of us give up and don’t stick to our resolution to loose weight and be more fit is that we look for the results to be immediate.  After a couple of weeks of  super intensive workouts when we don’t get the results we desire we become discouraged and eventually give up.  However if your goal is to loose weight the “super-intensive” heart pounding workout isn’t going to get the job done, particularly if you’ve led a fairly sedentary lifestyle.  As a matter of fact, if your goal is weight loss what you want to do is train at a less intensive more moderate pace.

The Five Target Heart Rate Zones

In order to understand how this works we have to first take a look at the human body and how to train it at a pace to better meet your fitness goals.   There are  five different heart rate training zones for five different levels of exercise intensity, each of which corresponds with various metabolic or respiratory transport mechanisms within your body.

% of Maximum Heart Rate

100% – 90% = Red Zone

80% – 90% = Anaerobic Threshold Zone

70% – 80% = Aerobic Zone

60% – 70% =  Weight Management Zone

50% – 70% = Moderate Activity Zone

Training in one or all of these zones can play a part in your overall fitness or training program depending on your individual goals.  We use the term “zone’ because target heart rate shouldn’t be thought of as a specific number of beats per minute. Rather you should think in terms of of training in a range within your target heart rate zone, say for instance 135 – 145 beats per minute (bpm).  For example, the Moderate Activity zone ranges from 50% of your maximum heart rate (MAX HR) at its low end to 60% at the high end.  It doesn’t require a great deal of effort to get one’s heart to the Moderate Activity zone range, particularly if you haven’t exercised in a while.  Generally speaking, for weight loss, exercising in the Moderate-to-Weight Management Zone for 20 minutes, three times a week will get the job done.  The reason training at the Moderate-to-Weight Management (50-70% of MAX HR) is so effective is that your body actually burns fat to fuel the exercise, whereas with a more intense workout it doesn’t.

The million dollar question is first – how do you know what your MAX HT is and how do you train at a given percentage of it?  There are a number of heart rate monitors on the market today that range anywhere from under fifty bucks to a couple of hundred depending on what you want to spend and some fitness machines come equipped with them.  Although not as convenient , you can also  take your pulse manually to determine your heart rate while training.  As for determining your specific Target Heart Rate here is a formula commonly used to determine  the Moderate Activity Zone for weight loss.

Moderate Activity Zone (MAZ) for Weight Loss

Men: 200 – Age = MAX HT x 60% = MAZ  (Subtract your age from 200 then multiply the difference by 60%)

Women: 220 – Age = MAX HT x 60% = MAZ (Subtract your age from 220 then multiply the difference by 60%)

Again, understanding how the body functions, when working with our athlete’s we build in training goals designed to meet specific Target Heart Rate Zones (THRZ).  For instance in the preseason our training is focused more on the Aerobic Zone.  As  we progress toward the early season our objective is more of an aerobic/anaerobic mix.  As we transition to the Pre-competitive/competitive season we start incorporate drills that are geared toward the Anaerobic Threshold Zone and ultimately the Red Line Zone.

But for the weekend warrior only looking to beat the “battle of the bulge” and loose a few pounds – the “no pain, no gain” school of exercise doesn’t apply.  A more moderate workout is what well help you keep that New Year’s resolution.  Remember, fat burns slowly, but burn in higher amounts if the exercise intensity is low.  Carbohydrates burn at a faster rate and are the body’s first source of fuel if the exercise is more demanding. So if the goal is to loose weight then you want to burn fat to fuel the exercise.

Exercise Equipment

There are so many different finds of exercise equipment out there to  train all parts of the body and so many of them end up being used as coat racks or on eBay.  So if you had to pick which was the best and most efficient piece of exercise equipment to help you keep your fitness goals for 2011 what would it be?

Treadmills are probably the most popular kind of exercise equipment you can buy.  They are used by all ages and even your doctor will tell you to get one and use it in good health.  It is the next best thing to walking or jogging outside but is more convenient and can be used anytime you want to exercise.  Treadmills can move slowly for walking or faster for running.  This type of exercise equipment will give you a total body workout and comes in either manual or electric models.

But for me, if I had to pick just one piece of equipment it would be a Nordic Track Ski Machine.

Nordic Track started out over 20 years ago with the ever popular Nordic Track Skier.  This was the first of it’s kind and still is a classic piece of exercise equipment.  It simulates a cross country skiing and allows you to work both your arms and your legs (or just your legs if you don’t want the upper body workout).

Just like cross country skiing, it burns lots of calories and can tone your body quickly.


Total Body Workout – The Nordic Track ski machine works both your arms and legs giving you an overall total body workout.  This can get you faster results in less time and is great for cross-training. Plus the skier also offers you a no-impact workout that is easy on the joints.

High Calorie Burning – Most of the user reviews we read of this machine said that the Nordic Track skier helped them lose weight and tone up extremely quickly.  Having personally used a Nordic Track Ski Machine some years ago, I can agree.  While working at our local Nordic Track outlet I would use one of the skiers in the showroom on a regular basis and I noticed  immediately that my pants were loose within 3-4 days of using it.  I also noticed  that even at a moderate pace I began to sweat very quickly within minutes of using this machine which means I was burning more fat. Within 4 months I had lost 47 pounds doing nothing but moderately walking on the Nordic Track on my shifts at the store in between waiting on customers.

My dramatic weight loss prompted one of my friends to suggest that I consider coming out of retirement and trying my hand at running competitively again.  Eventually I purchased on of the machines (the Achiever $799.00) and began training in earnest for the masters competition that summer.   Using the Nordic Track and resistance training as my base in the winter, that summer I trained for and ran my first 100m dash since high school and ended up winning the Lake Eire Masters Championships. I won the Bronze in my division at the Ohio Games and was Lake Eire Masters Indoor 400m Champion the following indoor season.

Holds Up Well Over the Long Run – Several user reviews commented on how their ski machine had lasted them 5 to 7 years and was still going strong, I have personally had my machine for over 10 years.  Considering the price ($599 for the Pro model), this is quite a feat for a budget piece of equipment.


The skiing motion (especially if you’re not used to it) can take some getting used to.  It definitely doesn’t have the natural feel of walking on a treadmill.  But if you’re committed to it, you’ll get used to the motion fairly quickly.

Exercise boredom is a problem for ANY machine so it’s recommended that you place the skier in front of a television or purchase a reading rack for it.


The Nordic Track skier is ideal if you want to lose weight and tone up very fast.  It’s excellent for cross-training and provides very low impact on the joints. It also burns a lot of calories in very little time which would be ideal for the time-pressed exerciser who doesn’t have a lot of time to waste.   It comes equipped with a heart rate monitor which I incorporated into my training regime in order to more efficiently reach my training goals and as I stated previously the results were far more than I expected.  I’m no longer employed by Nordic Track and have no interest in the company, but if you are looking to keep your fitness goals for 2011 – I highly recommend their ski machines.

In any event, whether you choose to use a treadmill or any other type of fitness equipment the key is to work smarter not harder.  Set reasonable goals, be consistent and be sure to check with your physician before beginning any fitness program.

If you have any questions or would like further information on anything we’ve discussed in this post feel free to contact me at

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Coach Murdock

Flexibility refers to the ability to move limbs around a joint and through the full range of motion. When stretching, the muscle fibers elongate to their maximum length. Once this occurs, the stretching force begins to work on the connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, and facial sheaths) surrounding the muscles. Flexibility is important for injury prevention and maximum athletic performance.

Even though the athlete may feel that stretching and warm up is a waste of time, lack of flexibility can cause a number of problems including but not limited to the following.

  1. When running, stride lengths are less optimal, which causes the muscles to have to work harder during each stride. This effect reduces overall speed
  2. The athlete must work harder to move through the full ranges of motion during activity, which causes fatigue faster than normal.
  3. Injuries can also occur from a sudden amount of stress placed on the fatigue or tight muscle.

Stretching routines can be categorized as dynamic, static or ballistic.

  • Dynamic Stretching – the latest research indicates that dynamic stretching is the best way to get ready for an intense activity. It involves raising your body temperature, then performing a series of exercises they get the joints moving and muscles contracting.
  • Static Stretching – the more traditional form of stretching involved locking the body into a certain position, then stretching the muscle while remaining relatively still. Unlike dynamic stretching, there is very little body movement while elongating the muscle fibers. Static stretching is best performed after cool down.  If you want to static stretch before your activity, then it should be performed after going through the dynamic of stretching phase.
  • Ballistic Stretching – this type of stretch involves the athlete performing a static stretch exercise then adding a bounce for an additional pull on the muscle. Ballistic stretching is dangerous and the latest research indicates that it should not be a part of any flexibility routine.

Important Notes on Stretching

  • If an athlete is injured, always check with the trainer, coach and or doctor before stretching the injured area. Some injuries benefit from stretching and some are made worse. Only someone responsible for the athlete’s direct medical care can tell how to treat an injury.
  • Stretching is not a competitive sport. Flexibility can be very different among individual athletes. An athlete should never try to compare their flexibility with another.
  • Do not hold your breath while stretching. Make sure it your breathing is slow, regular, and relaxing.

The Four Phases of Stretching – Maintaining and increasing flexibility requires that the athlete follows a stretching routine before and after every workout. This routine can be broken up into three phases.  The first two are performed before exercise in the last is done after the workout.

Phase One: Warm Up (Pre Exercise) – during this phase the athlete wants to perform light activity for about five to ten minutes in order to break a sweat and increased the body’s core temperature. Examples  include:

  • Light-to-moderate jog
  • Jog in place and perform some of grass drills

Phase Two: Dynamic Stretching (Pre Exercise)

  • Shoulder Circles
  • Hip Circles
  • Arm Circles
  • Leg Swings
  • Calf Raises
  • Squats Lunges
  • Neck Stretch

Phase 3: Cool Down (Post Exercise) – during this phase the athlete wants to perform a light activity for about five to ten minutes after completing an intense activity. This helps get the body’s metabolism get back to a normal state.  The best exercises during this phase are light to moderate jogging or fast pace walking.

Phase 4: Static Stretching (Post Exercise) – each of the static stretches below involves two levels:

  • Level 1 – the athlete pulls and their muscles to the point where they feel tension, but not pain, then stops. Holds this position for ten seconds while being relaxed and breathing normally. After this time the tension will let up.
  • Level 2 – the athletes slowly pulls the stretch a little tighter until they feel tension. This level has held for another fifteen to twenty seconds.

In general, a stretch and last twenty to 30 seconds and should be repeated two to three times.  Types of phase four Static stretches include:

  • Achilles’ a stretch
  • One knee down
  • Ankle Hip Stretch
  • Lying Torso Stretch
  • Quad Stretch
  • Seated Torso Stretch
  • Chest to Ground
  • Triceps Stretch
  • Knee to Chest.

By Ben Baker of the American Coaching Academy.

Everyone should have a game plan for competition.

When a player consistently gets nervous in front  of a crowd or gets psyched out after making a mistake,  a contingency plan routed in sports psychology can help  them get back on track and forget the earlier problem.  Learn how to motivate your athletes by walking them through this exercise.

Each athlete should have a contingency plan that  includes the following:

* Pregame preparation
* Plan for errors during the competition
* Avoiding competitive stress

Pregame preparation should be a routine that the  player chooses that helps them focus and calm  themselves before the game. For some players,  this includes listening to music or meditating.

For some, it involves warm-up drills or visualization.  Help your players identify what gets them prepared,  focused, and confident, and work with them to create  a routine that prepares them for the game.

Errors are going to occur during competition, but the  players that have a plan for getting back on track are  more likely to bounce back and succeed. Sit down with  players to find out what motivates them after they make  a mistake.

With that knowledge, help them devise a strategy for dealing mentally with errors that happen during the game.

Perhaps they should take a few seconds to say silent affirmations, such as “I am good, I am worthy, I can do this,” or maybe they should visualize making their next play perfect. Whatever works for players is the right contingency plan.

Finally, help players avoid competitive stress by taking steps to eliminate the unknown. Explain what players should expect during every game. Work with them to channel their nerves into power.

Nerves are a natural part of competition, but those players who learn to control those butterflies in the stomach are the ones who come out as winners.

Teach players to take deep breaths, focus on one thing  at a time, and believe in themselves. With that plan,  competitive stress becomes an asset, not a liability.

Tyson Gay

The First Law of Speed Development: Speed is a Skill

The dividing line between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ (if you believe in such concepts) coaches starts with understanding that running fast requires developing technical skill in your athletes, regardless of sport.

Ignore, neglect or dismiss this Law and your athletes have already lost.

Running fast requires significant degrees of coordination, consistency and deliberate repetition. Because most athletes have never been taught the specific qualities inherent in the fastest athletes, they need the skilled and watchful eye of a coach in order to make consistent improvements and/or experience consistent success.

Think about how many steps your athletes have taken in their lives during practice and competition. If they’ve never been taught the Skill of Running Fast, every step they’ve taken has further ingrained bad habits into their neuromuscular system. As coaches, our responsibility is to teach athletes to unlearn these bad habits and replace them with specific skill.

Acceleration is the most important component of running fast. If we can’t accelerate properly, we’ll never actually hit top speed. For sprinters, this would be the Kiss of Death. For field/court sport athletes, the problem is the same, it just manifests earlier in the competitive environment.

But for today’s purposes, let’s look at acceleration. Here are 8 specific skills athletes must be able to successfully and consistently execute before they reach top speed. For sub collegiate athletes, top speed will be reached somewhere between 20-30m. This means athletes must be able to coordinate the following within 3-4 seconds:

  1. Drive the lead arm
  2. Drive out at a 45 degree angle
  3. Take a big first step
  4. Triple extension before first contact
  5. Drive the arms/hands down and back
  6. Push the ground back and away (foot strike below or behind the hips)
  7. Low heel recovery for the first 6-8 steps
  8. Let the upper body unfold naturally

As coaches, the above list should be common knowledge to us. If we don’t already have a system for introducing, teaching, cueing, correcting and adding to this list, then we are not doing a sufficient job of coaching our athletes. It’s just that simple.

The Second Law of Speed Development: Run a ‘Short to Long’ Program

This is where the inefficacy of ‘fly 40s’ during the first week of practice comes into full light. A ‘Fly 40’ (or any ‘fly’ run) is considered a top speed exercise. If you’re unfamiliar with what a ‘fly’ run is, here is a quick description.

A cone is set up at the starting line (0m), 25m, 65m and 95m. The athlete sprints to the first cone using the skills they are learning under the umbrella of the First Law of Speed Development. Once the athlete reaches top speed (25m) they should be fully transitioned to top speed mechanics and effort (a topic for another day). They (attempt to) maintain top speed mechanics during the ‘fly’ portion of the run (25m – 65m) which is where the term ‘fly 40’ comes into play. At 65m they shut it down, coming to a full stop NOT before they reach the 95m cone.

Here’s the problem: The purpose of the ‘fly’ run is to focus on the 25m-65m portion of the repetition, i.e. teach/cue holding top speed and slowing the rate of deceleration that begins roughly one second after reaching top speed (25m).

If this type of workout is done during the first few weeks of the season, it becomes the ultimate example of putting the cart before the horse. Because the coach has ignored the First Law, athletes have not developed the appropriate Skill of Acceleration. Therefore, their ability to accelerate is wildly inconsistent and inefficient. They’ll never reach their potential top speed at 25m, so having them try to maintain and develop the Skill of Maximum Velocity before acquiring the Skill of Acceleration is simply impossible.

Such a practice is the coaching equivalent of sending a kid to college before they start high school. It’s a recipe for disaster, or, at the very least, a recipe for a mediocre program.

A ‘fly 40’ with a 25m buildup is a run of 65m total. Your athletes can’t sprint for 65m, with an appropriate degree of Skill, before they’ve learned how to run properly for 55m. They can’t sprint for 55m before they’ve learned to correctly sprint for 45m. They can’t sprint for 45m before they’ve learned to correctly sprint for 35m. They can’t sprint for 45m before they’ve learned to correctly sprint for 25m.

To the educated coach, this is common sense. A student doesn’t have the knowledge base to complete their senior year of college if they never completed their junior year. They don’t have the knowledge base to complete their junior year of college if they never completed their sophomore year. And so on back to the beginning where fundamentals are taught. Generalization before specialization.

This is why the Second Law of Speed Development is the ‘short to long’ program.

My athletes start out running 20m accelerations. Once they show proficiency at 20m, we go to 30m. Display proficiency and we go to 40m. Now that we’re running reps at distances putting us at top speed, we introduce fly runs using the same principle as with acceleration development.

First we do ‘fly 10s’. Once athletes develop top speed proficiency doing a ‘fly 10’, we go to ‘fly 20s’. Once athletes develop top speed proficiency doing a ‘fly 20’, we go to ‘fly 30s’.

This is the structure of the ‘short to long’ program and it is the most effective method for teaching and developing the Skill of Sprinting.

The Third Law of Speed Development: Speed Work IS the Workout

You can’t get fast if you practice running slow just like you can’t get better at chess by playing checkers.

So, if the goal of training is to get faster, you have to look at your quality work/high intensity work as the workout. Most training is based on an endurance model which is why most coaches default method of training is distance work and submaximal interval work.

In terms of developing speed, submaximal (less than 90% intensity) training is designed to supplement and aid in recovering from full speed training so that you can…..

.do more full speed training!

So when designing training (especially for true speed/power sports like football and track sprinters) you must focus your intentions on your speed/power workouts and use submaximal training (aka ‘conditioning’) as a training modality whose purpose is to build the qualities which allow your athletes to do a higher volume of high intensity training.

The fatal flaw in most coaching/sports programs is that coaches do the exact opposite. They focus on running and increasing the volume of repeat 100s/150s/200s, etc. which only trains athletes to be good at running slow. Great news if you’re training athletes for a 5k, but otherwise not so much.

If you really want to develop faster athletes, spend your time addressing the speed, strength and power qualities which serve as the foundation of faster times and not the general training, low intensity work that is *indirectly responsible for getting results.

These are the 3 Laws of Speed Development. Make them the foundation of your speed training and you can’t go wrong.

BOSU Balance Trainer

BOSU Balance Trainer

In recent years, core training programs have become more and more popular, based on the common belief that core strength and endurance are important for maintaining low back health, static and dynamic trunk (core) stability, preventing injury (especially the back and lower extremities), and the energy production and transfer of that energy from the trunk/pelvis to the extremities in basic tasks and sport-specific movements. Despite the prevalence of core training, there is lack of universal agreement on what constitutes the core and in the definition of core stability.  For a more definitive discussion on what makes up the group of muscles commonly referred to as the core and how they work kinetically with sport specific movements you might want to check out an article I wrote for our September InFlight newsletter back in December of 09’ Developing the Core.  For the purposes of this post I’d like to talk about the benefits of training the core on an unstable surface and one of the devices that we used with our athletes.

Benefits of Training the Core Muscles – Research has shown that performing movements on unstable surfaces can enhance stabilization, balance, coordination, increase muscular recruitment of the core, and may aid in preventing injuries.  Many muscles of the upper and lower body attach in the core region at the pelvis and spine.  Training on an unstable surface improves muscular coordination and increases power efficiency during those movements.  Balance is the ability to maintain a fixed base of support over a period of time and training on an unstable surface can enhance proprioception, which is one’s own awareness of body movement and body positioning. This plays an important role for the athlete maintaining a position on the field. Reducing the chance of injury may be the most important variable when training. When muscles from the pelvic region are not recruited properly due to tightness or lack of stability in the hips other areas will overcompensate and may lead to an injury. Having a strong and stable core can decrease the chance of injury.

One of the devices that we have been using to train our athletes for a few years now is the the BOSU Balance Trainer.  The BOSU Trainer is designed to be used on either the domed or the flat side for core training and can be incorporated into almost every aspect of fitness, sports performance, or rehabilitation. 

Program Design – When incorporating the domed device like the BOSU Trainer into a training program proper progressions should be followed so that the less challenging movements are mastered first.   All movements should be performed on a stable surface before trying them on the BOSU.

The athlete should be able to perform bodyweight movements on the BOSU before adding external resistance (medicine ball, dumbbell, resistance tubing).

Complete the movements successfully on two-feet (bilateral) before attempting them on one foot (unilateral).

Finally, once exercises have been mastered statically, more dynamic exercises can be implemented to create more of a challenge. This would include jumps and hops on the BOSU.

Exercises performed on the BOSU can be incorporated into a current training program to increase the intensity of a specific exercise or a group of BOSUs exercises can be put together to focus on training the core.  Exercises on the BOSU should resemble other forms of training when deciding volume (sets x repetitions), intensity, duration, and rest times. Once a certain fitness level is achieved, progressively increase the variable of the goals that have been set.

One of things that I hear from our athletes when we are doing workouts with the BOSU is how tired their legs are after a session even if the focus of the drill is often on the upper body.  To get more information or a printed versions of exercises routines you can do with the BOSU Balance Trainer feel free to contact me at jmurdock@flight101ssd.