The Power of Single Leg Exercises

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For the past several weeks I had the privilege of covering several sporting events as an Athletic Trainer. From the above pictures you can see the wide variety of sports that were involved. From some of the best figure skaters in the country, lacrosse, elite soft ball, and elite youth soccer I’ve been quite busy. Luckily there were few injuries and only one call for an ambulance during this whole time.

The one similarity I did notice while observing all these sports was the ability of these athletes to transfer their body weight and produce power from one leg to the other. This weight transfer, ability to produce power, an the ability to change direction quickly and under control are essential skills and training adaptations needed to excel in sport.

Single leg exercises such as RDLs, single leg squats, and lunges can be used to assist in training for these sport skills. Single leg balance exercises can also be added to help increase overall strength and stability. Try to incorporate a couple of these exercises into your workouts and as you gain confidence we can kick it up a notch with speed and power exercises. But we will talk about that later……

Some of My Current Thoughts on Nutrition

What my kitchen looks like…..never.

What my kitchen looks like…..never.

The world of nutrition is a confusing one. As a nutrition coach, it’s hard to stay up to date on current trends. In today’s blog post I’m going to try to put out some simple statements to help clear up some topics.

Should you eat organic? We should try. Is it worth all the extra cost? Well, that’s up for debate and up to you. At the end of the day, 100% organic foods contain all organic ingredients and no synthetic pesticides. But, it would a mistake to assume that organic foods is not produced without pesticides. This is a good reason to support small farmers who apply less pesticides less often in the battle against farmland pests.

A couple tips:

  • Visit local farmer’s markets for fresh and seasonal produce.

  • Shop at local grocery stores and understand food labels

  • Wash both organic and conventional foods to help avoid food poisoning

  • Grow a garden of your own or join a community garden.

While I was covering a local high school, I came across some simple flyers made by Gatorade regarding athlete diets. They actually had some good advice other that drink more of our stuff.

For the athlete who wants to follow a low carb diet, remember that carbs at the primary fuel for exercise. You get to eat more whole foods and less processed foods. This may not be the best choice for an in season diet but may help lose weight in the off season.

Vegetarian diets are typically fiber rich and you don’t eat as much saturated fat. It could be difficult to get certain vitamins and minerals only found in meat proteins. Work hard on getting high-quality protein in every meal and complete protein is important for muscle recovery.

For those athlete who actually do have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity you do run the risk of inadequate carb intake. Replace common foods with quality gluten-free sources like quinoa, potatoes, and corn tortillas to maintain carb intake.

Well, I don’t know if that helped anybody or made it more confusing. Let me know and we can talk about it. Start a food diary to track your eating habits and we can talk about how we can all make healthier choices. Contact me and I will send you some of simple meals under $5 to make.

A Little Dryland Workout History Lesson - No Secrets

Typical Modern Gym

Typical Modern Gym

Yesterday morning I tried to sit down and catch up on my continually growing amount of mail and emails. As I looked through my latest copy of USA Hockey Magazine, there was an article on Anatoli Tarasov. He is considered to be the father of dryland training for hockey dating back to the 1950’s following World War II. He created a program for the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation that dominated the world for decades. He didn’t use fancy gyms, he got his inspiration from watching Russian folk dancing. Tarasov watched the dancers doing deep knee bends, lunges, duck walks, and etc to strengthen their lower bodies and improve agility. Dryland training was born.

“There is no secret in hockey. There is imagination, hard work, discipline and dedication to achieving whatever the goal is. But there are no secrets, none at all.” Anatoli Tarasov

The above statement rings true to this day. I have gotten to work along great strength coaches everyday for years and we are always sharing ideas. We all want to make better athletes and people. Not just in hockey but life in general.

So do as they did to build a sports dynasty. Start with some body weight exercise like lunges, squats, and dead bugs. Do a few repetitions to start and then increase the amount over time. We can also add resistance bands as you get stronger. There’s no secrets. Just contact me and I will tell you!!

Creativity Leads to Fun Workouts

Lunchtime dry-land training between ice sessions at hockey camp.

Lunchtime dry-land training between ice sessions at hockey camp.

Over the past couple of years I have been fortunate enough to work with and get to know Larry Barron. He runs a skating school and hockey program just a few blocks from our performance center in Lake Forest, CA. When Larry asked us at Compete Performance if we could do something with the small space in the building behind the rink to train his athletes, we jumped on it. Now we have another fully operational space to train athletes and all it took was a little creativity.

During this past week I worked with Larry’s camp that had just over 100 athletes participating in it. Using the pictured space above and a creative schedule we were able to train all the campers twice a day. Being creative with space and time lead to fun and productive workouts. Every morning began with an active warm-up and some dynamic movement to prepare all the campers for the upcoming ice times. The afternoons involved strengthening exercises for overall athleticism.

The takeaway from this is it does not take much to get a good workout. Be creative to keep it fun but follow the proper sequence:

  1. Foam Roll / Stretch

  2. Get Moving with a dynamic warm-up

  3. Have fun performing your task be it a game, practice, or workout

  4. Foam Roll / Stretch

  5. Cool Down

Questions? Contact me for details. Now go hydrate and enjoy the weekend!

Summertime means tournament time!!

Tournament Time!!!!

Tournament Time!!!!

The picture above may not seem like a hockey picture to most but it is. The North American Roller Championship Hockey (NARCH) Westcoast Finals just finished in Irvine, CA. I was able to coach the 12U Huntington Beach Militia Gold team to a silver medal. I also won another silver medal myself while playing in the 40+ division for Team Kunnuk. As usual the California weather held true for a very hot and sunny week. My biggest concern for all the athletes was their hydration levels in this environment.

Water is very important for good health. We all know that. Most healthy adults need 3 liters of water per day. Some of that comes from the food we eat. The NATA recommends women drink 2 liters of water while men drink 2.5 liters. If you like math, try this: for every kilogram of bodyweight, you should drink 30 to 40 milliliters of water per day. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink as well. We don’t notice thirst until we lose 1-2% our bodyweight of water. The studies have shown there is significant decrease in athletic performance at 2% loss of water.

The best fluid to consume is water; however sports drinks have their benefits too because they combine fluid, electrolytes, and carbohydrate. Here are some suggestions to help increase fluid intake at training or competition. Drink cool (~59F) fluids in hot weather and warm fluids in cold weather. Fluid temperature can affect your body’s ability to regulate heat and cold. Sodium is critical for optimal cellular rehydration and should be included in drinks when athletes do not have the opportunity to consume electrolytes naturally found in food. Flavored sport drinks taste better which stimulates drinking, and thus, may improve hydration.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:  Lack of concentration  Early fatigue  High perceived exertion in training  Trouble tolerating heat  Delayed recovery  Muscle cramps

Optimal hydration supports daily training and recovery. Dehydration’s effects can take hours to days to recover. Athletes need to develop strategies to monitor and adapt their hydration plan to intensity, duration, and frequency of training, fitness level, and environmental conditions

Loving Highlights or the Game?

I was to the Elite Baseball Development Podcast by Eric Cressey. On episode 15 his guest on the show was hitting coach Bobby Tewksbary. One thing that I heard that stuck with me as a coach is that how the younger athletes of today are bombarded with some much media and technology. Most youth leagues emphasize games over practice. Did you lose the game? No big deal because we will just play again and there will be a ribbon for you at the end.

Kids don’t sit down to watch full games of a sport since they can get on their phones and watch You Tube highlights all day. Then they go out and try to replicate the “me” moments like a big bat flip after a home run or a goal dance celebration when they score. What they don’t do is practice and work to get better at the skills needed to play their sport. They don’t watch the game for all the small things the pro athletes do to be there and or they imagine how hard they work to stay there.

Get to the gym with a coach like me to start building basic strength and movement patterns. Sessions should start at twice a week if possible. Sport skills can be included to make the sessions more fun, which it should always be fun. Active warm ups learned in the gym should be carried over to practice. This can lower your chance of injury. Preparing yourself at practice will then give you your best chance to be successful in games.

Love the game not the highlights.

Happy 4th of July!!

Workout Anywhere and Anytime! No Excuses!

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah

To those of you who have read all my blogs and are mad at me for the one month delay since my last post all I can say is: “Sorry Mom…”

The above picture is one of the window arches in Arches National Park in Utah. I took this photo on the return trip home from a family vacation. Hopefully, everyone is enjoying their summer with a chance recover from all the club and school sports that have been dominating the schedule. The problem is that when hiking around the park I kept thinking about what a beautiful place to workout in!

No longer do we have any excuses to not keep up our workouts and healthy lifestyles. The below image shows the items I carry on every trip.

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Inside my travel roller, I can pack a mini Tiger Tail, mini band, and super bands. The sequence of rolling out, stretching, and then progressive resistance exercises can be followed. The beauty of this set up allows me to have a varied workout only limited by my imagination and location. I can squat, plank, and monster walk under a beautiful rock arch or in a hotel room. Heck, even if you don’t carry anything I have body weight circuits that involve 30 different exercises. Just let me know and we can go through it together.

At the end of the day there is no excuse not to do a little something everyday. Create a good habit of exercise and that will lead to big health benefits! (And explore your National Parks!! They’re amazing!!)

Movement Preparation and Sequencing

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Long gone are the days of when I could just jump right into my sport of choice and just start playing without warming up. Professional athletes can’t use training camp to get into playing shape anymore. Sports have become a full year round activity with the off season getting shorter and shorter. How do you keep yourself as healthy as possible to prevent injury? Movement preparation and the proper sequencing of warm-up and cool down activities.

I have learned from working with professional athletes for many years just how hard it is for them to maintain their excellent health, strength, and energy. Movement preparation allows the body to wake up for the increased activity you are about to put it through. The sequence of these movements is also very important. You body will feel better and performance will increase over time while reducing your chance of injury. Myofascial release, dynamic stretching, and core activation are just a couple of components that are used. Just as important as the warm up is the cool down. Foam rolling and stretching are essential for recovery following any workout, practice, or game.

Contact me to discuss a program personalized for you related to your particular sports or activities.

You need some motivation?

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I find myself sitting in my office sometimes wondering if I have the motivation to get out and get a workout done. You know those days where maybe I have a light schedule and can go home early or stick around and get something done. Maybe I should consider how lucky I am to this problem. There are those out there much worse off than me and doing so much more. Click on the link below to see what I mean:

https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/waddling-duck

I just signed up for a charity hike. It’s outside my comfort zone and I have never done anything like it. But I know this is a goal I can achieve and help others while doing it. If you need motivation or just something to change up your routine, find a good cause like the Heroes Project. Feel great about doing something great for other people. Who knows? Feeling good and doing good for others might just become a good habit.

It's Finally the Hockey Off Season!

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It’s finally time to sit back and relax for all you hockey players. Maybe spend some time on the couch watching the NHL playoffs on TV? I know I will be!! Although I recommend taking your skates off for a while it doesn’t mean we can’t keep getting better for next season. For those of you in the Orange County area and looking to start getting ready for next season, here is a class we are offering starting next week. I will be running the Tuesday night sessions.

It’s not always going to be just about hockey. It’s about staying healthy and forming good habits. We can have fun in the gym as we prepare for the upcoming season.

 

Get Outside and Get Healthy!

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Get Back to Nature

Who needs a gym and weights?

 

Living in California can have some benefits. Although we have had a unusual amount of rain recently, the weather tends to let us be active outside more if we choose. You can get a good workout and enjoy to beautiful resources all at the same time. Give your brain and body a boost by using the great outdoors!!

The above photo was taken during a family hike along the coast last week. The sun, the ocean, and the green fields made for an outstanding backdrop. Sure beats another day on the treadmill. All we did was maintain a good walking pace along the undulating hills to get our heart rates up. My son who didn’t want to go in the first place ended up having a blast as we found animal tracks and fossils along the way.

To kick it up a notch, body weight exercises like squats, planks, lunges, and push-ups can be added into the hike at certain distance points reached on the hike. Also, trail running and mountain biking are options as well. Just remember to practice safety first. Know your terrain and take a work out partner. And most importantly - take enough water or sports drink to stay hydrated.

If this sounds like something you would enjoy contact me this summer and we can design an outdoor training session or program just for you

Whether it’s on the sand or trail, get outside and get healthy!!

No to Early Specialization

Have you heard of “early specialization?” It’s where young kids are put into a sport year round at a very early age. There is no evidence to support the theory that early specialization leads to long term success. One of the problems is that most team sports are what are called “late specialization sports.” This means that early concentration/specialization has actually been shown to slow development rather than speed it up.

“There is considerable research that shows that exposing young kids to a wide range of motions at an early age will make them better athletes in the future, no matter what sport they decide to play,” said Ken Martel, the technical director for USA Hockey’s American Development Model.

If you want your child to be a great athlete, don’t focus on one sport, play a different sport each season.

Same kid learning new skills from different sports

Same kid learning new skills from different sports

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The World of Youth Sports

The world of youth sports has gotten crazy. Check out the below link to “The Price of Youth Sports” from Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO.

My kid kissing his first inline hockey trophy. Might have missed the point of this posting….

My kid kissing his first inline hockey trophy. Might have missed the point of this posting….

https://youtu.be/AGxxBER5xJU

This topic reminds me of another article by Mike Boyle called “Prepare the Child for the Path.” This article was derived from a quote he uses: “Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child.”

We as parents won’t always be there to pave the way for our children. Constantly insulating kids from difficult situations and consistently cleaning up the mess they create defeats the purpose of sport. We need youth sports to help teach kids about success and about failure. The failure lessons may be more important than the successes. We can’t let youth sports be all about success and scholarships instead of learning and sportsmanship. Children will learn what they live. Teach hard work, commitment, loyalty, and dedication. The key is to value education.

A Disturbing Trend in Children Becoming Overweight.

While going through the USA Hockey Coaching Module for age appropriate strength and conditioning, I came across a few statistics that stuck with me. The Head Strength Coach for USA Hockey, Darryl Nelson cited a study called Operation Readiness: Military Leaders for Kids.

  • 80% of children who were overweight at ages 10 - 15 were obese at age 25.

  • From 1998 to 2008, the number of states with 40% or more of their young adults who were overweight or obese went from 1 to 39.

  • On average, 18 - 24 year-olds in America are 34 lbs overweight

  • Our healthcare system spends over $75 billion annually for medical obesity expenditures.

As I looked into this topic a little more, another study showed that in the U.S, youth aged 2 - 19 years old from 1999-2000 to 2015-2016 had obesity rates that rose from 13.9% to 18.5%.

Whether it’s getting in the gym or playing some sports, let’s get the kids moving again and away from the hours of video games!!!

What is Long Term Athletic Development?

Here’s an explanation of Long Term Athletic Development. As children grow, there are stages at which certain types of training that best suit their age. Overtime, this training and participating in sports develops a more complete athlete. Mind you, every kid will benefit from almost any kind of training as long as it is done safely. As you see below, following a long term plan will enhance health and reduce injury.

Oh, and by the way grown ups - It’s not too late for you too!!

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What is Physical Literacy for Kids?

In the description of myself and some of my training methods I use the terms “Physical Literacy” and “Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD).” I’ve got a couple images to help explain these terms as taken from the National Strength Coach’s Association LTAD Special Interest Group of which I am a member.

So basically this boils down to get some good exercise and try new things. This will help you learn how your body moves. Even though the focus is on them, it’s not just for kids either.

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