Back Hypers are an excellent exercise for improving hip extension by developing the lower back muscles, glutes and hamstrings. However, the exercise is generally performed in a slow and controlled manner. To target these muscles in a more powerful manner, A J Hawk, Green Bay Packers LB, performs a variation called Explosive Med Ball Hypers. The exercise is similar to a traditional Med Ball Hyper, but instead, the athlete extends his hips as quickly as possible while simultaneously throwing a med ball to a partner. For enhanced performance and injury prevention, it’s important to work the entire body in an explosive manner. This will help you cope with the various extreme positions experienced during games.
Ndamukong Suh’s game-changing plays have one thing in common: he never stops driving his legs. He uses his legs to drive around, past and through offensive linemen, and keeps pumping those legs to bring the quarterback down for a sack. His fierce drive, combined with a tremendous motor, allows Suh to completely dominate his opponents. Before he fires up the engine for the NFL season, Suh does plenty of fine-tuning to develop his extraordinary base of power and endurance. He accomplishes this by performing a strength and explosive power combo consisting of Heavy Barbell Shrugs, Rack Deadlifts, Hang Cleans and Non-Countermovement Box Jumps.
What separates athletes from bodybuilders? One key difference: the incorporation of multi-joint, functional exercises into athletes’ training routines. It makes no sense to perform predominantly isolation exercises when muscles are rarely isolated in sports. Shrugs illustrate the difference between training for bigger muscles and athleticism. Bodybuilders often perform the exercise while sitting down to completely isolate their trapezius muscles. In contrast, work on your traps like an athlete by also using your lower body to generate force in the Power Shrug.
Athletes have to be in great shape. But jogging is never the best way to train the body for competition, since it produces slow movement patterns, which can actually hinder power and speed production. Metabolic conditioning is a high tech name for interval training, which involves sprinting [or performing exercises] at a high intensity and recovering at a lower intensity. When training for specific sports, like football, it’s definitely a more effective way to get fit for games. Football players need to perform explosive movements in short periods of time, and metabolic training helps them achieve superior levels of conditioning. Below, we break down a structured sprint schedule geared to football players.
For any high school athlete, it’s important to stay as close to peak condition as you can, especially if you’re a backup looking to make a good impression when the head coach calls your number. One way to do this is through the Bench Press. The explosive upper body power you’ll develop through the Bench Press will show up all over the field—from a defender laying a big hit on a ball carrier to creating separation from a blocker to a running back stiff-arming a tackle to gain a few extra yards.
For athletes, this is a much-debated question: When should I start training after a long season ends? There are several different methods in attacking post-season training. Some programs are designed as year-round, where the athlete never truly takes time off. Instead, the volume and intensity of the workouts are adjusted to complement the workload used on the playing surface. When I was at LSU, Coach Tom Moffitt focused on technique and bar speed in the post-season phase. At De La Salle High School, Coach Mike Blasquez has athletes lifting heavy the day after the season ended. There is not a right or wrong answer because both work. What they have in common is that no one took off much time off following the end of the season. The more time an athlete takes off, the harder the athlete has to work to get back in shape.
Although the season may take its toll with practice, meetings, film and games, in-season lifting is just as important as working out in the off-season. Once the season gets going, the most ideal lifting schedule is three days, with training coming the day after a game (usually Saturday or Sunday), Tuesday and Thursday. Exercises conducted the day after a game should consist of Cleans, Squats and Presses. Since the workout is on a day that little to no practice usually takes place, a solid 60- to 90-minute lifting session should be satisfactory. Due to Tuesday usually being a pretty intense practice day, the workout on that day should be lighter and with an upper-body emphasis. Thursday should also be a lighter workout day, taking around 45 minutes to complete. The lifts that day should consist of Cleans and upper- and lower-body work, focusing on light, controlled weight. Each session should…
As we push ourselves physically and mentally on a daily basis—whether just in life or in the world of sports, training and conditioning—recovery and regeneration are extremely important pieces of the performance process. You might be tempted to just rest and do nothing at all after training, but better options include active recovery at a moderate intensity level or even passive recovery, which includes massages or cold and hot tubs. Other important elements for recovery include post-workout hydration and nutrition, compression wear, flexibility exercises, using tools like vibration power plates, foam roll exercises (which are like executing your own massage) and a good night’s sleep. By helping your body recover better and faster, it can adapt to stimuli more quickly and allow you to perform at a high level. Below are three post-workout elements that I believe can dramatically aid in regeneration:
This is part two of a series based on my visit to a commercial fitness facility in Southern California. In part one, we covered strength training. To review, I discussed Charles Staley’s 180 Principle—look at what everyone else is doing and do the opposite. If everyone is benching, think more rows. Just keep this in mind: do the opposite of the gym rats. Everybody does arms for an hour; you should do legs. (How many people walked by you on their hands today? My guess is that unless you went to the circus, the answer is zero. But how many walked by on their legs?) In regards to “conditioning,” the same concept holds true. On the day I was at the gym, many people were on what I like to call “the long, slow jog to nowhere.” I have trouble believing that any athlete jogging on a treadmill is doing…
I’m often asked why our athletes do Olympic lifting. The reason why Olympic lifts (Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Power Cleans and Pulls) are a mainstay in our program is because when an athlete executes an Olympic lift, it forces his muscles to all fire at once, building explosiveness—something every athlete needs. One downfall to performing Olympic lifts is that they require great technique and much coaching, so if Gayle Hatch or Tommy Moffitt (the best coaches for teaching Olympic Lifts) aren’t in your weight room, start off by practicing in the mirror, using a broomstick or PVC pipe. The progression should start with a good stance. Once you have that down, move on to the lifts in this order: High Pulls, Hang Cleans, Power Cleans, Jerks and then Snatch. Olympic lifts improve athletes’ jumping and sprinting ability, and if you pair Olympic lifts with sport-specific exercises, your athletic ability will…