Monthly Archives: May 2017

Static Stretching, Good or Bad?

Is static stretching bad for you?

Static stretching has been the topic of conversation for a long time. Is it good? Is it bad? Everyone has been on the field or court and the coach immediately say so stretch to warm up. But do the athletes really know what to do to warm up? Coaches and athletes need to know what to do to warm up and cool down. The warm up and cool down may be just as important as the lift or game itself. It is preparing the body for whats to come. So wouldn’t it be right to get the muscles activated before and shut down after? Sounds simple but its not being done within all sports or the weight room. Turning off a muscle activates the parasympathetic nervous system instead of the sympathic nervous system. This are commonly known as rest and digest and the fight or flight nervous systems. Parasympathic is the start of the recovery process and sympathic get the muscle activate and read for use. So prior to an activity you want that sympathic nervous system primed and ready to go.

Before any competition or weight room session it is important to get the mind and body connected to make sure the muscles are being activated. If the mind isn’t connected then the chance for injury goes up. Static stretching is the opposite. Static stretching turns “off” mind and muscle connection and the muscle now becomes less optimal for use. Baseball players for example are notorious for stretching the arm across the body thinking that this is good for the shoulder before throwing. But what is really happening? Stretching the arm across the body is actually shutting down the posterior side of the shoulder causing the shoulder to become inactive and more unstable. Baseball players and any over head athlete already tend to have a lose and unstable shoulder anyways so your just adding to it. Now you want to use the arm to throw a ball or wight object. This is a recipe for injury. So what should you do instead? Active the muscles of the shoulder more importantly the posterior cuff and rotator cuff muscles. J bands or cross over bands are great for this.

This goes for any muscle group in the body, lower and upper. If you statically stretch the lower body and now try to run, your trying to use muscles that aren’t activate for that exercise. The simple solution, activate at the beginning. Have a routine in place that you do everytime to insure all muscles are primed and ready to go. Get is all planes. Start simple and progressively get more specific to the activity about to ensue. Get the mind and body connected before you do any time of physical activity. If you want to to activate the quad for instance do a walking quad “stretch” and walk as you go and don’t hold the quad in a stretch position for a extended period of time.
So when is it ok to static stretch? I am a firm believer in statically stretching post exercise or activity. Like I stated before this will now activate the parasympathetic nervous system and allow the recovery process to begin. Though I am still not a big fan of stretching joints that are already lose and unstable like the shoulder. Pre and post band work for posterior cuff strength and endurance would be my go to. Simply activate the body before and shut down after to help reduce the chance for injury and if you like to statically stretch do it post exercise or event and never before.

Chris Adams

Push Performance

Importance of Assessments and Individual Programming – DJ Edwards

Importance of Assessments and Individual Programming – DJ Edwards

One thing I believe that truly allows us to have success, along with our culture in the facility, is how thorough we are in our assessments and our programming. Most training programs we see from the outside are a cookie cutter one size fits all program. Usually the program looks like this: Athlete walks in the door, signs a waiver, and with no assessment the coach tells them to warm up with the group. Away they go with a preprogrammed workout. More than likely it will be a mixture of athletes that all have different needs. A great mentor in business said “customize to dominate”. This is our goal. You can go anywhere within a 5 mile radius and find 15 plus gyms or sports performance facilities. If we want to be the best, we need to deliver the best.

In some cases, GPP and basic sprint mechanic work a one size fits all program would work fine, but a strength program needs will be different. This is why we start with a thorough assessment. We need to see the deficiencies and strengths of each athlete before we build them their 100% customized program. Our programs are not shiny or anything special. We stick to our core lifts, which are determined by the assessment on what the athlete is able to do. Where we get really personalized is in our mobility exercises.

In any program if you’re not assessing, you are doing the athlete a disservice. Any assessment is better than no assessment. Working with Dr. Nick Thurlow (Next ERA PT), Chris Dunn (HiPro Hitting) and Coach Chris Adams, we have gathered a ton of different assessments and have built our own from what best fits our population. The majority of our athletes being baseball players, we have noticed trends over the years in what this population is deficient in. Needs and strengths are what make them the athlete they are. Sometimes their asymmetries are what allows them to throw 95 mph or hit for plus power. This is why it is vital to assess, not guess. Knowing that joint placement dictates muscle function, and may limit an athlete’s performance from poor posture. It is vital we assess to have a road map on where to start. Here are a few things we look for in our assessments:

-Static Assessment, assess the way they walk in the door, depressed scap? Hip tilt? Head posture? Ankles? Knees? Military posture? Athlete in extension or flexion in the lumbar spine? We usually can tell if the athlete is a right handed or left handed thrower when they walk in by looking at the clavicles, hips or head. If one side is depressed it usually is the throwing side.

-Dynamic Assessment, assess through movement. Thoracic rotation, extension and flexion. Scapular movement, control endurance. Hip external and internal rotation. Shoulder stability, internal and external rotation of shoulder. Ankle mobility, knee stability, anterior core strength and serratus anterior recruitment.

-Laxity test, if the athlete is lax we will include more stability. If the athlete is too stiff we will include more mobility.

-Table assessment, shoulder ER vs IR. Do they lack internal rotation as a thrower? Can we regain IR by a basic horizontal adduction stretch? Does the athlete lack external rotation? Can we regain it through adding thoracic extension exercises?

Once we have assessed the athlete we begin to build the program. Like I mentioned above, we stick the basics. As Bruce Lee said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who practiced one kick 10,000 times”. We do the same with our core lifts. We drill proper form in basic movements. Can the athlete hinge? Can the athlete squat? Can the athlete properly press and pull? Foundational strength is key and allows us to build off the foundation that has been built.

Imagine this, Athlete A walks into the facility with his teammate Athlete B. Athlete A is in extension with retracted scaps, has limited elbow extension and has limited hip IR. While Athlete B is very lax, lacks stability in his shoulder, elbow and knees, has a very flat back, scaps are winged and has decreased lumbar curvature. What do you do? Do you write a program on a white board that has a ton of mobility, that has the athlete working on anti-extension exercises? These two athletes cannot be any different. Truth is a one size fits all program for these two may injure or decrease strength due to the program that was written. Do you want to put an already extended athlete into more extension? Do you want to add even more mobility to an already lax athlete? If you can train to increase an athlete’s strength, stability or power, I believe it is very possible to decrease an athlete’s strength stability and power through improper programming.

Take time to assess and personalize a program if possible. Give the athlete what they need while delivering them the program they deserve.

DJ Edwards

Push Performance

Water Above All- Max Pavel

Water Above All

You work your ass off daily at the ballpark and the gym, but are you leaving out the most important parts? Nutrition, can make or break you as an athlete or as a human being in general. Today I am only going to talk about good old H20, down the line we will get into some other topics. Let’s get some perspective on water really quick.. Nearly 71% of the earths surface is covered in water and around 96% of the water on earth makes up our oceans. Water is the essence of life on earth. As a human, if you do not drink water for 3-5 days you could die. There have been cases where people have survived longer than 5 days without water, but these are extreme rare cases. Water is essential to life. In the USA clean water is readily available at the turn of a handle or knob, but not everyone takes advantage of it. Let’s look at some of the things that water can do for you. Your brain is made up of millions of neurons. These neurons use electrical synapses in order to pass signals and messages throughout the body. Well hydrated cells allows for a better connection and can also prevent headaches. Your mood and energy can improve when hydrated. Drinking water consistently can give you better healthier skin and complexion, allows toxins to be flushed out of your body, and helps to maintain regularity among your organ systems. Water can also prevent cramping and even sprains. Drinking water consistently throughout the day and with all your meals promotes weight loss and healthy digestion. While this is just a glance at some of the things water can do for or does for you.. the list goes on and on.. As an athlete water can dictate your performance without you even knowing. You want everything running at its best so drink more water! Even though water is a key component it is just one element of maintaining a healthy life style.

But How Much Should I Drink?
A good place to start is drinking about 1/2ounce of water per pound that you weigh per day. The more physical activity you participate in (moderate to rigorous activity) the more you will have to drink. In extreme heat during the summer you have to continually drink to stay hydrated but you also need to get other nutrients that you lose when you sweat profusely. Dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion are no joke. While suffering from any of these things an icy glass of water sounds like the best thing for you, but room temp water will be best for you to recover. Caffeine can easily dehydrate you so enjoy your morning caffeine but drink more water! Stay hydrated!

-Coach Pav

Athlete Specialization – Grant Suggs

The evolution of sports development and the competition itself has grown immensely in the last ten years. In general, sports are constantly growing, and the skill level is higher than ever. That being said, youth athletes spend more time on their sport specializing on one sport or one position. I think it is fantastic when young athletes have a passion for a position or sport. Where I do have a problem is when young players are turned into a one-position player or a one-sport athlete at a young age. By young athlete, I’m talking high school and younger. I understand that by senior year some kids have committed to play sports in college and/or are only playing one sport for various reasons. However, if you are a multiple sports athlete I encourage you to play out through high school to develop your fundamental athleticism.

I’ve seen more and more youth athletes that tell me, “I’m a PO (pitcher only)” or “I only play [X] sport because I don’t have time for anything else.” A significant portion of this problem stems from their superiors, including parent and coaches. A common miss-conception of getting better at a sport is constantly submersing in it. At least at a youth level, where you have options and you should be able to play multiple sports and positions. The problem with specializing in one sport or position is that rather than becoming a better well-rounded athlete, the focus is on mechanics, and over-use of muscles comes into play. Over-use at a young age is dangerous because many athletes don’t have the strength to combat their usage. (Different post)

The best thing a youth athlete can do is to try out as many sports and positions as they want. Becoming a better athlete should be their number one focus. They can later specialize in a particular sport or position as they mature into adults. When an athlete focuses on a single position or sport they are more focused on specific mechanics of a particular movement rather than compound full body movements. This causing atrophy and injury in the long run.

A very exaggerated example of specification in training or playing a sport is a golfer declaring, “I only putt the ball”, or, “I only hit the ball off the tee”. If this was the case it would make it pretty hard to play golf. My point is that you have to be well rounded and have the ability to use all facets of the game and develop the fundamentals of being an athlete before we specialize in sports.

-Grant Suggs
Push Performance

Strength and Speed- Chris Adams

Strength and Speed

When people think of speed and speed training they think that either you have speed or not. Yes, some people are naturally faster at a younger age than others but that doesn’t mean that they will always be fast. Usually the younger athletes who are quicker are the ones who are smaller in size and are able to move their bodies quickly and more efficiently. What most people don’t realize is that you can train an athlete in the weight room to help get them stronger which in return will help make them get faster.
Strength and speed go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other. Strength is the foundation of all movement so, the more strength you have, the more force you can apply in the ground, the faster you can become. When an athlete first comes in and says I want to get faster the first thing we do is put them through a foundation of strength lifting phase. They have to have that foundation of strength first in order to become a faster athlete. Strength will help them be able to get into positions of acceleration, deceleration, and change of direction quickly and efficiently and able to maintain these positions for a period of time.

Once the athlete has a foundation of strength they will continue to progress in the lifting phases as well as begin to understand the mechanics of speed training. Acceleration, top end speed and declaration all have different mechanics and they need to know how each is different from the other. We will get into the different mechanics of each in a later post. Once the athlete builds their strength they are now able to learn how to apply this in speed training. The force application is just as important as the basis of strength to begin with. If you are not able to apply the force in the correct direction then you won’t be going in the right direction, literally.

After learning the correct mechanics of speed will now help allow the athlete to apply the force in the correct direction to maximize the speed potential. Not having enough relative strength, strength in relation to the athletes weight, will decrease acceleration by not able to maintain the correct acceleration position of the body and will therefore decrease the athletes speed. So before you get into the specifics of speed training it is important for the athlete to build that foundation of strength first then teach them how to apply the strength they gained to help improve their speed.

Chris Adams

Importance of Foundational Strength- DJ Edwards

Strength is the foundation of all movement. We have seen too many programs, schools or facilities just load up the bar and have the athlete figure it out on their own. Gray Cook said “Don’t add strength to dysfunction”. I love this quote and take it very serious when we begin to work with an athlete. Examining this quote makes me realize how important a foundation really is to an athlete. We really focus on the fact that strength creates stability, lack of strength creates instability and instability leads to injury.

When an athlete first walks into our facility he or she will undergo a thorough evaluation. We not only assess the way they move from head to toe, what their strong points are or where they have deficiencies, we also ask questions like; “What is your injury history?” “Where have you trained before and what have you done as far as weight lifting?” The latter question is important to discover what is called a “training age”. A training age is described as, how long the athlete has been training. We make sure to explain to them this is not sport specific but in a structured weight lifting program. This will assist us in building a program that fits the athlete’s needs.

No matter the training age we always begin with building foundational strength. If the athlete has never trained in our facility, is coming off a season or an injury we always work on building or rebuilding foundational strength. In early training age individuals, it is very easy to build strength just in a three day a week program due to the adaptions the body will make. The biggest point that coaches stress to our athletes in the foundational phase is to not allow the athlete to get greedy with the weights. Focus on progressive over load and continue to let the movement be efficient. Stress that joint placement dictates muscle function in a movement or sprinting mechanic.

Building foundational strength can be achieved through body weight movements, this will create body awareness. Introduce your primary lifts and teach the hell out of them. Any athlete should know how to squat, hinge, push, pull, accelerate and decelerate. Examples of these can consist of bridges, planks, TRX Row Holds at the Top, Isometric Squats, Isometric Push Ups, PVC Pipe hinging, and core movements. The majority of the core movements we implement consist of anti-flexion, anti-extension and anti-rotation. These movements are determined by the athletes training age,needs and posture. We will progress towards loaded bilateral and unilateral movements. More complex movements may consist of front squats, RDL, Trap Bar Deadlift, Chin Ups, Goblet Lunges, etc.

Once the foundation is built you will see the strength and athleticism of the athlete increases. Strength will decrease chance of injury as well as keep the athlete on the field. Remember to always assess and reassess and address what the athlete is lacking and keep training age in mind. There is no perfect program but the athlete will respond quickly if a program is set into place properly.

DJ Edwards

Are You Coachable?

What does it mean to be coachable? Below will be a list of some key points on how to be a more coachable player. A wise coach once told me, “you have two jobs as a coach, to make your guys better players and better men.”-Sean Hoorelbeke

First steps to being more coachable, look and listen. As a coach, endless time and energy is put into making young players better. Some players get to a point in their career where they think they know more than their teachers. I know I was guilty of thinking the very same thing about some coaches, but hindsight is 20/20. As a young player, you may have talent, ability, a climbing IQ, but you lack WISDOM. Wisdom by definition means the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement. Experience can only happen through trial and error, and knowledge can only be passed on from someone or something that has already happened. As a player, you do yourself a disservice when you don’t take in all the information that is given to you. In no way am I saying take everything you hear word for word and expect it to work for you like it has worked for someone else, even though it potentially could.. A smart player takes ALL information that is given to them and is able to take bits and pieces and apply it in their own life a positive way. With that being said some coaches may not be current with the latest and greatest things, but that does not mean they don’t have some wisdom or knowledge to pass on to you. As a player or a coach, you should always be looking for a way to improve at your craft. If you are constantly waving people off that are only trying to help you because you think you know more, how are you getting better? You certainly are not the first to play the game and you certainly are going to be the last.

– Eye Contact
– Listen
– Handle Criticism
– Be Appreciative
– Be Attentive
– Positive Body Language
– Asking Questions
– Feedback
– Positive Leader
– Collaborate

-Coach Pav