Archive for January, 2011
Fix your Press with Scap Pull Ups
One of the most common flaws in overhead lifting is having an “unpacked” shoulder. Many athletes will shrug up when performing an overhead press. This movement is called scapular elevation. Elevation of the scapular when pressing and pulling essentially “disconnects” the shoulder from the body and makes the shoulder very vulnerable to injury. When the shoulder is packed down and back it is much more stable and strong since it is more “connected “to the body. The scap pull up is great exercise to teach athletes to pack the shoulder when performing overhead lifting exercise whether it be pressing or pull ups.
Set up on a pull up bar and just hand for a few seconds. Without bending the elbows pull the shoulder blades down and back and think about lifting the chest up and out. Hold for a given amount of time and relax. This will help strength the muscles in the upper back in order to maintain proper position when lifting overhead. This exercise effectively depresses the scapula, which is the opposite of elevation. This the proper position when lifting overhead for both pressing and pulling movement. The scap pull is a great way for an athlete to learn how to properly pack their shoulder for overhead exercises.
1 lb Top Round or Flank steak (cut in strips or
4 c. broccoli, cut (about 2 medium heads)
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped rough
2 tsp. minced garlic (~6 cloves)
1/4 c reduced-sodium beef broth
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
You can kick up the heat in this dish by adding a fresh jalapeno, seeded and diced, or a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
If you don’t have beef broth, you can use low-sodium soy sauce.
Preheat wok or skillet and sauté garlic in 1/2 tbsp. of the broth for 1 minute.
Add beef and cook until meat has almost reached your desired level of doneness. Add onions, broccoli, and beef broth and cook until vegetables have softened.
Note that covering the pan with a lid for a few minutes will allow the broccoli to steam better and accelerate the cooking time of this last step.
Serve over brown rice.
If you have a Big Enough “Why” You will Figure out the “How”
If you have a goal the goal should be VERY VERY IMPORTANT to you. The more important the goal the EASIER it should be to explain WHY the goal is IMPORTANT.
In other words the STRONGER the WHY is the easier it will be to figure out exactly how to get there.
There is a story of two parents who had a child with a HORRIBLE DISEASE for which doctors said there WAS NO CURE. The parents had a HUGE WHY. The NEEDED to get their child BETTER.
They set out on a MISSION to find a CURE to save their child. The parent clashed with doctors, scientists, even support groups. They persisted going into medical libraries, reviewing animal experiments, questioning researchers and doctors all over the world to find a way to achieve their goal of curing their son’s condition.
The two parents researched until they finally DEVELOPED the TREATMENT that everyone else thought was IMPOSSIBLE. They had an incredibly important reason to find the cure, they found out the HOW. Today, the cure is known as Lorenzo’s Oil, which is named after their son.
This story shows that if yo have a BIG ENOUGH WHY you WILL FIGURE OUT the HOW.
Ask yourself WHY is your goal important? If you can answer this you will be able to figure out you what you need to do to achieve your goal.
AFTLI athlete Louis Cotrone commits to Marist to play football. Louis is a tremendous worker here at AFTLI.
We are always very proud when we hear our athletes are going to move on to the “next level” for any sport. Louis has been a standout back for Holy Trinity for many years and we know the best is yet to come from him!
We are excited for Louis to start his off season training with us at AFTLI.
Keep training hard!
Fix your Press with the Tall Kneeling Overhead Press
Overhead pressing is one of the best ways to strength the shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. Before the bench press was the standard indicator of strength (even though it really shouldn’t be…) the overhead press was the gold standard for pressing power. When performing a standing overhead press it takes a lot of control from the muscles of the core, hips, and shoulders in order to perform a clean repetition.
Many times (especially when the weight gets very heavy) you will see lifters lean back in order to try to press the weight up overhead. The puts a lot of stress on the lumbar spine and isn’t the optimal way to press for long term health. The other common problem you see when pressing is the lifter will try to press the bar away from them like a bench press instead of actually pressing the weight overhead. The weight should rest directly over the center of the body when locked out.
The tall kneeling kettlebell overhead press will solve both of these problems. Since the kettlebell sits behind the hand it helps pull the athletes shoulder down and back and in general athletes tend to lockout weight with better technique then when using dumbbells or barbells(at least in the beginning). The tall kneeling position helps teach the athletes to get tall and tight in order to maintain a neutral spine throughout the entire press. If the athletes tries to lean back in the tall kneeling position they will fall over. This is a great self correcting drill for teaching proper hip and spine position for overhead pressing. Here is a video below.
Give the tall kneeling KB overhead press a try and you will be much more stable when you go back to standing overhead pressing.
Congrats to David Ng on his commitment to Harvard University for wrestling! It is a huge accomplishment to be accepted to any Ivy League school and we are very proud of David. David is a true gentlemen on and off the mat. His work ethic from training certainly carries over to the rest of his life.
David is a two time All County Football Player as well as a County Champion and All state for wrestling. He also recently got his 100th win in wrestling, which is a huge milestone, especially as a heavyweight. He is a tireless worker in the weight room and we know all his hard work will pay off this season! Good luck David and keep up the great work!
Sports Nutrition for Kids
Teaching our children proper nutrition is key in keeping them healthy. This is especially true for kids who participate in sports. It is important for all kids to be physically active; the national guidelines recommend an hour of activity every day.
For kids and teens involved in athletic activities beyond that daily hour of activity, good nutrition is crucial for appropriate growth, development, and
A basic understanding of good nutrition will build a foundation for healthy kids and athletes. Balance is the main idea. It is important for all kids to eat foods from all of the food groups.
The grain group – bread, cereal, rice, pasta, etc. – provides carbohydrates needed for energy. Whole grains like wheat and bran also provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals to ensure proper growth, development, and overall body functioning. Fruits also
provide carbohydrates for energy.
Dairy foods – milk, cheese, and yogurt – provide carbohydrates, protein, and important vitamins and minerals. Calcium and vitamin D are very important for athletes because they build strong bones and are involved in muscle contraction.
Protein foods – the meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dry beans, and legumes group – provide protein needed for energy and healthy muscles. Individual recommendations for intake vary, but good nutrition can generally be achieved by consuming a variety of foods from different food groups throughout the day.
Added fats, oils, and sweets contribute calories but very little vitamins and
minerals. It is okay to add a little flavor to your foods. Be careful, though, about consuming foods and drinks that contribute only fats, oils, and sweets. These foods and drinks, such as cakes, candies, and soft drinks, will not help you prepare for your sport.
For kids involved in sports, there are additional nutrition issues to consider. Timing of intake, appropriate hydration, and refueling are three significant issues in sports nutrition. Timing intake appropriately ensures that an athlete has the right amount of energy and nutrients to participate in his or her activity.
It is often recommended that athletes, particularly kids, have five to six small meals per day – or three meals plus two to three snacks – instead of three bigger meals. This helps the body keep energy levels adequate for activity. Each meal and snack should contain foods and drinks that contain both carbohydrates and protein.
Timing also plays a role in preparing for competition. The “pre-game meal” should meet the following guidelines: Provide sufficient fluid to maintain
hydration: High in carbohydrates for energy and blood glucose maintenance Moderate in protein, Low in fat/fiber to promote digestive processing and decrease digestive stress, Composed of foods/drinks familiar to the athlete and well-tolerated Hydration is ensuring that your body has enough fluids. Because fluids are lost when we sweat, this is particularly important for athletes. It is
also especially important in hot and humid climates. Proper hydration does not only involve drinking the right fluids during physical activity; it means drinking fluids properly throughout the day to ensure adequate hydration when activity begins.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you are thirsty. During sport practices or competitions, drink a little bit of water whenever you have a break. If it is a long competition or a lot of fluid is being lost in sweat, sport drinks are good sources of fluids and electrolytes. However, kids generally do not need to drink sports drinks every time they practice or compete. These drinks can become a source of “empty calories,” giving a sense of fullness with little nutrients. When kids drink sports drinks, 8 to 12 ounces is plenty. A 16- or 20-ounce bottle is unnecessary and can interfere with proper refueling.
Refueling is giving back to your body what it has used during activity. To refuel properly, a meal or snack should be consumed within thirty minutes of ending athletic activity. The best refueling meals and snacks contain both carbohydrates and protein. If it is time for a meal after a sports practice
or competition, refueling is usually simple. However, if it is not a normal meal time, it is important to add at least a “light” snack.
Some good examples are peanut butter and crackers, string cheese and a piece of fruit, or a cup of yogurt. Each time you refuel properly, you are preparing your body better for future activities.
There are also a few nutrients that are particularly important for athletes to monitor.
Iron is important for carrying oxygen in the blood. Low iron will cause fatigue and decreased performance. Iron can be increased with high-iron foods, such as red meats and fortified grains.
Calcium is important for bones and muscle contraction. Low calcium can increase risk of stress fractures because the body will use calcium from the bones for muscle
contraction. Three to four servings of dairy foods per day will help ensure adequate calcium.
It can be helpful to take a multivitamin daily.Be sure to choose a vitamin appropriate for age. Children should never take an adult vitamin.
For all kids, listening to the body’s hunger and fullness cues will help ensure adequate nutrition.
Choose healthy foods, eat when you’re hungry, and stop
when you’re full!
Vincent Lombardi once said,
“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion their commitment to excellence, regardless or their chosen field of endeavor.”
Don’t just make a goal, Make a COMMITMENT to the goal!
Before I reveal the steps you need to take here is a quick riddle…
“There are two frogs on a log, and one of them decides to jump off. How many frogs are now on the log?”
Most people say there is now only one frog left on the log , but they are WRONG. Just because the frog “decided” to do something, doesn’t mean he did ANYTHING at all.
The key to commitment is the combination of both decision and action.
Without both, you are no further along than when you started, and you are just indecision.
You either DO IT or YOU DON’T DO IT.
Are you going to be the frog that JUMPS or just DECIDES to JUMP?!?!
And now here is How to Achieve your Goals in 4 Steps
1. Make a commitment to a GOAL
You NEED to be the frog that jumps. If you don’t COMMIT to your goal and get started you will never get achieve what you want. Don’t be the frog that just “decides”. Go out there and DO IT!
2. Make your commitment PUBLIC
Let others know you are “going to jump”. This will help hold you accountable. Now since you told someone it is REAL.
3. Make NO EXCEPTIONS
There are always going to be risks and hardships on our way to any goal. If there is an obstacle you need find a way to go around it and FIND A WAY to MAKE IT HAPPEN! If going around it doesn’t work then GO THROUGH IT! In order to be successful you need to take RISKS and MAKE SACRIFICES. If you get off track evaluate your progress, make adjustments and keep moving forward. You can make detours on your path to success, but just KEEP GOING and you will eventually reach your goal.
4. Make it HAPPEN
When you are FULLY committed to something there won’t be any fear because you KNOW you will achieve you goal.
Once you COMMIT to something and GET THROUGH it, no matter what happens you WILL feel a SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT and SATISFACTION. Committing to something CONQUERING your FEARS and going THROUGH OBSTACLES will make you FEEL PROUD of YOURSELF!
Nick Camera Wins the Roger Williams Invitational Tournament
Nick Camera lead the Springfield College wrestling team, ranked #1 in New England Division III, to win the Roger Williams Invitational Saturday, defeating eight other teams along the way.
Nicholas Camera (184), captured his first individual tournament title. Nick is a tremendous worker and his hard work is paying off! He has made huge gains since training here at AFT of LI and we know the best is yet to come!
Keep working hard Nick and good luck the rest of the season!
Top Ten Videos of 2010
Here are some of the best videos from 2010. There are lots of great exercises and teaching progressions. Enjoy!
This is my new go to exercise for teaching squats. It is a great place to start. A dumbell can be used if you don’t have kettlebells.
Most people don’t understand how to “sit back”. This is a great way to teach an athlete to “hinge at the hips”. This also can help explain the difference between a squat and a deadlift, which is hard even for more advanced athletes to understand.
A great drill for teaching and warming up for Olympic lifts. This drill helps teach good technique for cleans as well as reinforcing the proper catch position for the drill. The front squat will also help open up the hips and ankles as well.
A great drill for teaching and warming up for Olympic lifts. This drill helps teach good form for snatch as well as reinforcing the proper catch position for the exercise. Just like the front squat the overhead squat will help open up the hips and ankles as well as the thoracic spine.
This is a drill I start implmeent to help teach “tucking the elbows” for the bench press. It also helps “turn on” the external rotators of the shoulder. This is a great drill for “grooving” a proper pressing pattern.
This is a great drill to help athletes learn to squat properly. The wall prevent the athlete from rounding the back and having the knees come forward. This helps correct two of the most common problems in the squat. If you have athletes who tend to have too much of an anterior weight shift this is a drill to fix that.
This video is awesome. I got this idea from Nick Tumminello a strength coach in Maryland. This really shows that there really is no excuse no to train. There is ALWAYS a way to get in the work and get better.
Chaos training is one of the best way to do “sport specific” training with your athletes. This drill is random in nature and forces the athletes to react to his or her partner. You can check out my youtube channel for more examples of this.
Using a stick is one of the best way to teach spinal position in all lifts. In this example the stick good morning is used to teach a neutral spine position for deadlifts. This is a great feedback for athletes since they can “feel” if the stick leaves their back and they understand when they are doing it right or wrong.
I really feel neck training is WAY underutilized in training programing. For combat sports such as wrestling is is very important to have a strong and stable neck. This is a good example of an exercise progression that can be used after “chin tuck” progression have been mastered. Look for more information on this in 2011!
Here is a bonus of my training footage from 2009 and then 2010. As you can see I am progressing and even trying new forms of training. As a coach I try and get a little better every year and try new things. I am excited for next year and I am ready for new challenges!