Building a sprinter from scratching

Building a sprinter from scratch is a very unique kind of pleasure, we’re only a couple months in but Ruth is making good progress, she has a long distance running background, but is improving her technique on these sprint biomechanics drills weekly! i can’t wait to see her smash her 100m PB in a few weeks!

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🔳Stay Perpetually Alpha🔳©️

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🔳The Sweat Of Effort Makes Victory Shine🔳

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#strengthandconditioning #trackandfield #sprinter #sprintcoach #gymlife #easygym #performancetraining #perpetualprogression #girlswholift #girlswhosprint #sprintdrills #functionaltraining

Latest Hip Dominant Workout

My latest leg workout with @collettemichelle – focusing primarily on hip dominant movement patterns & GAINZ. Apparently dancing at the end of a workout is great for recovery 😅🤓😎

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🔳Stay Perpetually Alpha 🔳

Power, Speed, Agility

Sze & Sophie’s first session training to achieve their #alphalevel The focus was improving, power, speed, agility, & visual information processing. Although i can see many ways in which their coordination & running mechanics can be improved, their effort levels were faultless 💪🏾 One thing I’ve learned over the years is the importance of not trying to correct every technical fault you see in that moment. Instead i focus on making one or two small but meaningful changes on a session by session basis. They have so much athletic talent & i can’t wait to help them achieve greatness.

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Tag your gym bae 🏃‍♂️🏃🏻‍♀️

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🔳Stay Perpetually Alpha🔳 ©️

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🔳Be better than you were yesterday 🔳

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Is it okay for your knees to go past your toes during a squat??

Quick tips on when it’s okay for your knees to go past your toes.

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Knees going past toes is a natural human movement pattern during many skills e.g. jumping – in particular jumping forwards. It usually only becomes an issue when involving weights – particularly in beginners.

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❌ If during the deepest part of the squat, the bar position is above the toes (green line). This is indicative of dangerous amounts of force being put through the knees.

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✅ If during the deepest part of the squat, the ‘bar’ position is above the midsole. This suggests the force of lifting the ‘bar’, is being more evenly distributed through the knees & hips – reducing chances of a knee injury.

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🔑 Shifting your body weight back away from toes & into midsole & heel. Practice this during your unloaded warm up drills. ▫️

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Alternatively, if focusing on promoting sport specific movement patterns – like those in sprinting – shifting weight into toes is preferable.

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🔳Bridging The Gap Between Strength & Performance🔳©️

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🏋🏻‍♀️ @ann_lovi @cctheplantbasedpt .

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*Notes to user* There are also other important variables to consider when allowing knees to go past toes. DM me for more detailed advice.

The difference between Jump Squatting & Plyometrics

Quick tips for understanding the difference between Squat Jumping exercises and Plyometric exercises. I see a lot of people getting them mixed up. They’re both good for your body, but each produces differing results – and which one you should do, depends on your goals.

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1. Normal Squat Jumps – typically mean, a DEEPER (fuller) range of movement on the ascent & decent phases. This is good, because it works more muscles, raises the heart rate higher, and burns ‘more’ calories. So it’s great for HIIT and Body sculpting workouts.

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2. Plyometric Squat Jumping – requires as short a ground contact time as possible, thus a shallower range of movement – less time between decent and ascent phase. This is how you appropriately utilities the muscle/tendon stretch shortening cycle aka a plyometric movement. This type if exercise is perfect for increasing running speed & jump height (but not exclusively so). In fact, studies have shown that true plyometric movement is one with a ground contact time of less that 0.2sec. Anything longer than that, actually shouldn’t be called plyometrics 😱

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So why do one or the other? – I recommend, if your goal is to lose weight or burn fat then normal squat jumping is probably the better choice. However, If you play any sport like tennis, football, rugby or track & field and want to improve your running speed, Jumping ability & or agility then plyometric squat jumping is better.

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**Note to user**

I’m not saying that one type of squat jumping can’t produce the physical adaptations of the other, just that one is more efficient at it than the other. Furthermore, jumping based exercises are not for beginners, if you have poor technique you can do yourself SERIOUS short term and long term damage.

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🔳Fall in love with the process and the results will come🔳

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🔳Stay Perpetually Alpha🔳 ©️

Improving High Bar Back Squat Performance

Quick tips for improving high bar back squat performance. Force production is a key underpinning factor in squat performance. In this case performance = how heavy you can lift.

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1. Stretching the soleus – This mobilises your ankle joint and the surrounding musculature. Preparing it to move more deeply and efficiently during the descent phase of the squat.

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2. Hip Flexor Dips – Relaxed and lengthened hip flexors will allow more mobility in the surrounding musculature of the hip joint. Specifically, it will allow fuller hip extension (butt squeeze) at the top of your squat. Which is useful for re-aligning your hips before restarting the next rep. And a good habit to into for future progression into jumping based exercises.

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3. Adductor stretch – This type of groin stretch will open up your hips, and allow you to sit more comfortably in the wider the shoulders feet stance of the back squat. Helping you shift your body weight backwards into your heels, which helps activate your glutes more.

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4. Squatting with a weight held in your out stretched hands. This drill and it’s gradual progressions of less weight/no weight/hands behind head, is to slowly teach you how to properly distribute your body weight back into hip muscles and heels when at the optimal & safest point of force production in your squat (90 degrees).

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5. Position feet slighter wider than your shoulders – this can be key for lifting heavier. Squat width is variable, depending on what muscles in your legs you want to focus on. But if you want to lift as much as possible, within whatever rep range you’re working at then you want to activate as many muscles as possible. And this wider squat stance will recruit your adductors more increasing the potential for force production and a heavier lift. Furthermore, a wider stance helps move the hips more freely, facilitating the parallel squat.

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Thank you @megan for being my demo girl! Who knew your dab was so POWERFUL

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🔳Fall in love with the process and the results will come🔳

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🔳Stay Perpetually Alpha🔳 ©️

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**Note to user**

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are other ways to improve high bar back squat performance & technique.

Improving posture during dead lifting

Quick tips for improving deadlifting in individuals who cannot hip flex while maintaining a ‘straight’ back. In my experience this is due to tight hamstrings inhibiting the movement. However, i found it can also be simply due to lack of familiarity with this movement pattern. In both cases, this progression scale can help.

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1. PNF (contract and relax) stretching of the hamstrings to increase their length over time. This increased length should allow for a greater degree uninhibited hip flexion. This is best done with the assistance of a partner, but using a towel for resistance works too.

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2. Dead lifting on your knees from an elevated platform (I feel like i invented this regression 🤓 but I probably didn’t). This removes the inhibiting hamstrings out of the equation, helping you effortlessly hip flex with a ‘straight’ back. Add an olympic bar to increase difficulty.

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3. Dead Lift standing upright, with the bar on an elevated platform. This progression will help use the newly learned correct hip flexing and posture technique in a practical sense. While still staying within the limits of hamstring flexibility. As the hamstring length increases over time, keep reducing the hight of the platform pushing your ability to maintain the correct posture deeper and deeper into dead lift.

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4. Perform the conventional dead lift like a BOSS.

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🔳Fall in love with the process and the results will come🔳

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🔳Stay Perpetually Alpha🔳 ©️

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**Note to user**

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are other ways to improve dead lifting technique. Furthermore their effectiveness will be determined by what the underlying causes for the biomechanical deficiencies.

Why Your Gym’s Fitness Classes Will Make You Quit Your Goals Not Reach Them

 

They attend the same weight training class

Group Classes – Are you doing them wrong?

It’s January, and as usual, your local gym will be receiving a great influx of people, like it had become the last boat leaving an island of undead Christmas turkeys. Most, with the goal of losing any excess wobble they’ve gained over the holiday season. In my seven years as an exercise professional, I’ve seen that this surge of new members never lasts very long, and in less that two months most have already stopped turning up or moon walked out after cancelling their memberships – the reasons for which I can only make educated guesses at. In my time working within the health and fitness industry, I’ve trained a multitude of clients and interacted with an even greater number of gym members, leading me to this current standpoint. Before I continue, I can’t overlook the fact that these rogue members may have just achieved their goals and decided that there is no longer a reason to keep coming. Which I can tell you from my knowledge and experience is a mistake, however I understand that train of thought.

So, my current stand point, although not peer-reviewed, is based on honest conversations, analytical observations, and scientific knowledge of strength and conditioning. It’s as follows; whether your goal is to pacify those judgmental scales via weight loss, toning up, increasing strength, or achieving all three at once and or in only specific parts of your body, the way in which most people use gym classes to achieve them is flawed, and counter productive. I am not trying to make fun of or patronize anyone, as I can respect the drive and mental strength it takes to undertake any four to six weeklong training routine. In addition, most often, this is no fault of their own and is just the result of the incomplete knowledge of training fundamentals expected of your average Joe, Jane, or Dr Strange.

Let me explain what I mean by how most people use gym classes. I have noticed that the majority tend to go to as many classes as their time and mental fortitude allows. Which in the great post-Christmas gusto era can be a lot, I find members will attend on average two 30-45 minute cardio & strength endurance (high reps, low weight) classes a day, sometimes back to back, four to five times a week. With others, even opting to do some additional free weight/body weight exercises after said classes. For extra clarity I’ll give examples of classes that fit this description; Body pump, Grit, Insanity, HIIT, FIT, and Spin. (this is not an exhaustive list) I will explain the problem with this based on the training goals I mentioned earlier, however if this type of group class participation and training structure doesn’t apply to you, then feel free to feel smug and simply read on for the banter.

You want to lose weight: Firstly, is the weight you want to lose just body fat? Secondly, if you are doing this type of high volume training, are you considering how much rest you need post workout for your muscles to rebuild stronger? Do you know what the scientific research suggests is the ideal amount of reps and sets to bring about increases in muscular endurance? What manner of strength (weight training/bodyweight) training burns more fat short and long-term? How to properly fuel your body pre and post workout? If not, I’ll keep it concise – there is a very good chance that you are overtraining. Which, although will lose you weight, that weight loss may also be from muscle being burned off and not just fat. This is a problem because muscle is one of the things that give your body and limbs shape, firmness, and tone. Furthermore, this overtraining will leave you always feeling fatigued instead of stronger and fitter session after session, week after week. In short, overtraining will make you look like Christian Bale in the Machinist and feel like you need spiritual Viagra.

You want to tone up: Now, everyone’s definition of toning up is different, for the sake of continuing the narrative smoothly I will assume that this means having less visible fat, and more visible muscle. Did you know that the best way to do this is to develop and condition fast twitch muscle fibers while reducing body fat? The excessive group training regime will cut the body fat, however as mentioned, will not necessarily develop muscle. What you should do instead, is try to combine heavy strength training sessions i.e. lower reps heavier weight, with the group classes in a way that complements each other. For example, one ‘lower body’ strength session (back squat, split squat and dead lift) and then two or three group classes all appropriately spaced out over 7 days. The heavy strength sessions will develop the fast twitch muscle fibers, which are predominantly on the outer portion of the whole muscle. Imagine slicing one of your quadricep muscles in half, the slower twitch fibers (the ones mainly used in group classes) would be closer to the center of the muscle, and the faster twitch ones closer to the surface of the muscle. Meaning, that to look more toned, it would make sense if you worked on the muscle fibers closer to skins surface, instead of predominantly focusing on those deep at the center. Again, less like the Machinist and more like Batman, or Cat women. Less straight lines and more curves. Not to mention that having more fast twitch muscle fibers will help you burn more fat in each workout and also afterwards on your rest days via increasing your metabolic rate. Imagine, spending less time exercising yet still achieving more! I get giddy just thinking about such delicious paradigms.

You want to increase strength: The reasons for this physical quality’s obtainment being negatively affected, is down to the fact that most group classes are not designed to predominantly focus on strength. Which is fine, and not a criticism of them, however if that is one of your primary goals, you should keep in mind that you might be better served doing at least one session a week that focus on gains in strength. The fast twitch fiber stimulating exercises mentioned in the previous paragraph applies here too. Although the explosive power worked on in a Grit class, and muscular endurance in a HIIT class are both types of strength – if your defining the strength you seek as being able to push, pull or lift heavier loads (weights), doing these types of classes 3-5 times a week is not the best way of achieving this. Let alone adding even more volume to your workload, through training the same muscles AGAIN in your individual light weight lifting workout straight after the class. Reason being (without getting too science-y), that your, within set repetition count will be far too high, the weight lifted far too light and the rest allowed between workouts too brief to get the adaptations required in your fast twitch muscle fibers (the best ones for strong and or high-speed muscular contractions). In short – the difference between Conan O’Brian and Conan the Barbarian, with the happy middle most of you are aiming for requiring a more precise structuring of you weekly regime than you might be currently employing.

The last piece of information I want to finesse your brains with is the potential for injury. All forms of training, no matter how well structured come with a risk of injury – such are the ups and downs of a vigorous life. However, overtraining your body in this relentless group class attending festival of pain, is a definite way to exponentially increase your chances of injury in the long-term. Complaints such as back pain, sore knees/ankles, muscle cramps/spasms/twinges, and perpetual fatigue will become synced to your vocabulary like a new catch phrase. Was actually speaking to my Osteopath about this exact topic, and she remarked on how many patients were coming in this month with overuse injuries from group classes.

To conclude – stand up tall and face the sun, let it’s rays warm you, and as you bask in it’s glow – be proud of the hard work and dedication you’ve put into becoming a better version of yourself. Just be sure to seek some professional advise about how best to channel your efforts, so as to insure the most effective and safe use of your time. It’s the difference between becoming the gym superhero of your story or the mediocre sidekick.

By Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh


© Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh – Alphaleveltraining.com 2016. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh –Alphaleveltraining.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.