Finally the graduation ceremony 👨🏾‍🎓

It was a long and hard journey, but i learned so much and increased my skillset ten fold. Perhaps in the future, i’ll even go for the Doctorate 🤓

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.

Coming back home with a medal! 

So proud of my prodigy and client, after all her hard work and preperation she was able to help her team place third in the tournament! Not to mention grab her self 13 goals in the process!! Not even at her peak yet!

THE SWEAT OF EFFORT MAKES VICTORY SHINE

Passing The Torch In Style

My Prodigy doing some kick ups with the current freestyle world champion, after finishing her leg through London with the Jubilee Games Torch. She needs to stop trying to become a celebrity and focus on her training!

Should female professional footballers play on a smaller pitch than men?

This question originally came to me during the Women’s World Cup. I pondered it for weeks, letting its peculiar variables bounce around in my skull until this S&C blog post finally gave me a reason to organise them into a stream of expressible thoughts.

Why do I think that elite-level women’s football and possibly all its lower level derivatives should be played on a pitch with reduced dimensions? Well, it boils down to the fact that I believe the technical quality of the game would improve. In order to explain my rational for this statement let’s begin at the ideas inception.

During all the England matches I observed at the World Cup, I couldn’t help but notice just how many long distance passes (crosses included) and shots (which for the sake of clarity let’s define as beyond 30yrds) were off target – especially in comparison to men’s professional football. Now my first thought in trying to explain this was that it was nothing more than just the unavoidable fact that the women’s game is much younger than the men’s and, therefore, is still significantly behind their male counterparts technically. However, the seed of curiosity would not be satisfied with such minimal nourishment, and its roots delved deeper into my subconscious. At some point later on during the tournament, I recalled my belief that the technical standard of the elite women’s game was, give or take the odd under/overachieving individual, similar to that of men’s semi professional football. This in turn made me think that at that level (a level I’m very familiar with, both as spectator and player), their male players still don’t display that level of ‘poor’ long pass and shooting accuracy. Of course this is very subjective and I have not done any quantifiable tests to prove any of the above, but as stated in the title of this website section, these are just thoughts I want to share with you – and hope you find insightful and thought-provoking. And so, once I had that recollection I began looking for a different answer for this technical discrepancy I believed to exist between the sexes when playing on an 11-a-side pitch.

This is the answer I came up with. Within football (and many other sports), it is a well understood concept that when you go for power you sacrifice accuracy. Therefore, actions that require more power, like long distance passes or shots, will be less accurate than their shorter counterparts. And so one of the things that sets the very best players at all levels apart from the rest, is how accurate they can be at or near to maximal effort during (but not exclusively so) passing and shooting skills. Now consider the well-known scientific fact that female athletes are physiologically weaker then men (at the same weight or performance category) in terms of strength & power, and then ask this female athlete to pass/shoot the ball over the same distance as a male athlete (over 30yrds). One can reasonably assume that they will strike the ball at a force closer to their maximum capacity than the male, therefore, more frequently sacrificing accuracy for the required power, and thus reducing their technical efficiency of those actions. So I ask again… Should female professional footballers play on a smaller pitch than men? Personally I am convinced the answer is yes, so much so that I may very well try to answer this question scientifically in my dissertation next academic year.

However, to increase the validity of my mindset, I asked several female football players of amateur and semi-professional level their opinion on the matter. Interestingly, they all disagreed, stating similar answers of it possibly being helpful at lower levels of the game but not making a difference at the elite level. I wonder if after reading my rational they would change their mind, not to mention what the opinion of a professional player would be? I had also asked a fellow S&C coach who works with professional female footballers for his view, and he claimed fascinatingly to have never considered it – but, that after doing so, could see its potential merits, while also adding the anecdotal statement that, some of the female players would ask him how come he seemed to be able to pass the ball over the same distance with less effort? Could it be that like my colleague and female players have just never looked at the technical aspects of their game in this way? Does this lack of foresight when standardising the women’s game reach the highest authorities in football? After all, there is precedent for such action. In golf, they scale down the women’s game, and in baseball the women use bats designed to generate more power. And thinking about it now, it seems very intuitive and surprising that I did not come to this conclusion sooner.

As an aside, this thought process did lead me to another idea… Should women’s football use goals that are the same size as the men’s? Watching matches, I noticed that perhaps the goalkeepers were unable to get across the goal as well as was needed? However this could be an irrelevant thought, as you could say that the reduced shot power that female players produce automatically scales down the goal keeper’s job, thus making the goal size a non issue. Plus, you also see many pre-teen male players at prestigious academies playing matches in full-sized goal, something I find very peculiar and counter-intuitive. This is highlighted when a player scores a free kick in the ‘top corner’ and the poor 5ft goal keeper is left helpless to stop it. What could that pre-teen goalkeeper be gaining from such an experience? Not much would be my answer, but that’s a discussion for another day.

In conclusion, this idea, though something I am passionate about because of my love for the female athlete (in particular the female the footballer), and my dream to see the women’s game become as prominent as the men’s, is still in its infancy. And as such is still some way off answering the multitude of questions that will spawn from it. For example; how much smaller should it be? How will that affect participation, spectatorship and sponsorship? All of the above will require much more thought, peer discussion and empirical research before any kind of true answer is found. I just hope that this piece has gotten your cerebral cogs turning and that my uniquely inquisitive brain was the catalyst for the finding of said answer. I eagerly await that warm fuzzy feeling called satisfaction.

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.