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Hip Hinge Teaching Progressions

Hip Hinge Teaching Progressions

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Over the last few months I’ve been working with two new groups of athletes within the Elite Performance Pathway at St. Peter’s R.C. High School.

The athletes are all 11-12 years old and there are 15 athletes in one group and 19 in the other which presents logistical challenges when trying to coach and teach them all new movements.

Over the first two half terms we focused on developing Squat, Lunge, Push, Pull and Brace movements and recently we began learning the Hinge.

The first couple of lessons were pretty unproductive with the athletes really struggling to grasp the movement and with such high numbers in the group and only me in there to make adjustments I decided to start playing with some different progressions using an external constraint in the form of a resistance band to help the get a feel for the correct movement.

Having now completed a few sessions using the bands the athletes have progressed much further in terms of nailing this movement down. We’ve also added in a wooden broomstick held across the shoulders (back squat position) to reinforce a retracted shoulder position throughout the hinge.

If you are interested in joining in with more discussions around LTAD check out the upcoming Child To Champion conference.

 

 

Building Future Champions – Pre-Event Details

Ian Jeffreys

Ian Jeffreys – Building Future Champions

We are hope you are looking forward to this event as much as we are!

It promises to be a phenomenal experience working up close and personal with Ian as he brings a vast amount of experience from years of training junior athletes.

Please arrive for 9.15am with the start scheduled for 9.30am

Schedule for the day:

9.15am – Welcome & Introduction
9.30-10.15am – The Need for LTAD
10.15-10.30am – Break
10.30-12noon – The Future Champions system – a flexible objectives based approach to developing the modern athlete
12.00-12.45pm – Lunch
12.45-1.15pm – Developing Effective Future Champions sessions
1.15-2.15pm – Developing Effective GameForce
2.15-3.30pm – Developing Effective Gamespeed
3.30-3.45pm – Break
3.45-4.30pm – Developing Effective Game-metabolism
4.30-5.00pm – Putting it all together

How to find us

By Car

St. Peter’s High School is on Stroud Road, Gloucester, GL4 0DD

Address: Sports Pavilion, St. Peter’s High School, Stroud Road, Gloucester GL4 0DD.

 

On Arrival at St. Peter’s:

Upon driving into the main car park, drive towards the main steps and follow the road around to the right. Follow the side road down to the bottom car park and park near the tennis courts. The Sports Pavilion is visible behind the tennis courts, use the glass fronted entrance and we will be registering upstairs in the Pavilion suite.

By Train

The nearest train station is Gloucester – please see www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.

Should you have any issues on the day then please contact James Baker on 07730608188

Food & Drink

We will provide light refreshments in the form of water & fruit with Tea & Coffee available over lunchtime as well.

Lunch is not provided, so please be prepared and bring your own lunch.

There is an Esso garage & Co-op nearby should you need to go and pick up lunch during the breaks.

Mobile Phones

Please note attendees are not permitted to either film video footage or record audio from any of the sessions with the workshops. Anyone who is found doing so will be asked to leave the event.

If you have any questions between now and the event or any issues on the day please either contact James Baker on 07730608188.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend.

 

2 Lower Body Strength Exercises for Young Athletes

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2 Lower Body Strength Exercises for Young Athletes

We’ve been working hard with lots of junior athletes on the Elite Performance Pathway this year and I’ve been reflecting on things I’ve done this year that have been particularly effective with the age group when it comes to improving strength.

Enhancing the force producing capabilities of our young athletes is a big priority in the Athletic Foundation (Year 7 & 8) phase of our LTAD system. Below are two exercises that are becoming common place in this phase as the athletes learn to train to get stronger:

The Bottom Up Split Squat

Bottom Up Split Squat

In my experience lots of young athletes struggle to get in to and maintain the correct start position when learning the Split Squat, even under just their own body weight due to various issues including poor stability. I’ve found that starting them in the bottom position of the split squat and making them work up from there a more effective way of teaching them this particular exercise.

Starting in the bottom position allows you to establish a solid, stable base before they lift themselves up to initiate the movement. It’s much easier for them to adjust their foot position whilst in the kneeling lunge position, as they won’t lose their balance.

I’ve also been getting them to execute it with their arms overhead, which fixes the common problem of the torso falling forward. As they get stronger you can provide some additional resistance from a medicine ball in the overhead position or at chest height.

The Kettlebell Deadlift

kettlebell-deadlift-from-the-floor-dieselsc-com

At the minute this is probably my favourite exercise to introduce to young athletes to lower body strength training after they’ve done some body weight squatting. It strengthens the posterior chain and is great to teach them how to get into and hold an extended spine position, which is particularly useful for those athletes that ‘fold’ over when performing any kind of body weight squat.

They can also start to get stronger in this lift even with a limited ROM in their squat, and means we can start to safely enhance their lower body force producing capabilities at the same time as addressing problem areas in their flexibility and mobility.

For those struggling to learn the movement, or struggling to get into the correct start position. I’ve been raising the Kettlebell on a 15 or 20kg bumper plate to make sure they are starting with the spine in a neutral position. Alternatively, starting from standing at the top of the lift (opposite to the Bottom up Split Squat) and working down to where they are able to maintain the neutral trunk position, gradually increasing depth over reps/sets/sessions as improve ROM becomes available.

Progressions

Both exercises set us up nicely to introduce more advanced variations of the exercises in subsequent blocks/phases of training as the movement pattern is already in place with the athlete. Example exercise progressions for each exercise are:

Bottom Up Split Squat -> MB Split Squat -> DB Split Squat -> Barbell Split Squat

Kettlbell Deadlift -> Kettlebell Swing -> Trap Bar Deadlift -> Traditional Deadlift

If you are interested in learning more about best practises to develop strength, power, speed and agility for athletes across the developmental continuum, join us for #ChildToChampion in Gloucester in April.

 

Elite Performance Pathway – 12 months on…

1 year ago almost to the day I embarked on an exciting project called the Elite Performance Pathway with 5 young athletes. The project is quite unique in that it is a project based within a comprehensive school (St. Peter’s R.C. High School, Gloucester) and is delivered in curriculum time in order to support our gifted & talented athletes and help them achieve their sporting dreams.

12 months on I am incredibly proud of what they have achieved with hard work and dedication to their training. The primary focus of the programme has been to develop movement competency and high levels of strength and power required at the highest levels of sport.

In terms of strength we’ve seen progress to levels as high as 1.5 x bodyweight (95kg x 5 reps @ 61.5kg) from an athlete that could not perform a bodyweight squat back in Sept ’13. As a result the same athlete increased his vertical jump height by 17.5cm from September to April and his Standing Broad Jump from 212cm to 250cm from September to July.

Likewise the girls have seen similar levels of progress now lifting in excess of their own bodyweight (80kg Squat @ 69kg & 65kg Squat @ 57kg) resulting in 37cm & 18cm increase in the standing broad jump respectively. These are just the headline figures and the other athletes on the programme have also seen significant development in their athletic ability.

Next week I am extremely excited to welcome the 2014-2015 cohort into the Elite Performance Pathway. In 12 months our programme has grown from 5 athletes, to what I am anticipating to be in the region of 65-75 athletes aged from 11-18 across 4 groups. I can not wait to see what the next 12 months holds.

SBJ U15 Rugby

 

 

 


EPP SBJ progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Strength Training Fundamentals

STRENGTH TRAINING FUNDAMENTALS

Anyone looking to start strength training whether for your sport or an active lifestyle you should commit some time to learning the correct technique.

For me there are two major things (the programme itself excluded) that are going to go some way to dictating your progress from a strength training programme:

1)      The individual knowing the correct technique for the major exercises – squats, pushes, pulls, deadlifts

2)      The individual having the flexibility/range of movement to perform the major exercises – squats, pushes, pulls, deadlifts

Something I pride myself on as a coach is being a stickler for good form and quality movement through all exercises. The main reasons being:

1)      If you put the body in the right position for the exercise you will see much better progress out of it

2)      You are much less likely to get injured if you perform the exercise well

STRENGTH TRAINING LIMITING FACTORS

The biggest limiting factor to training for strength development I see amongst young athletes and a lot of older ones too is a lack of flexibility. Without flexibility it prevents them putting their body in the correct position to perform the strength exercises safely and effectively.

Aside from that some people just don’t know how to do the exercises properly, or having too much pride whilst training with someone of a much higher level than them and getting sucked in to lifting heavy loads before they are ready for it.

There are other factors such as injury history that may rule out certain exercises as well but that can’t be helped and you’ve just got to learn and adapt your exercise selection accordingly.

EARN THE RIGHT

I always tell the people who train with me that you earn the right to progress to more advanced training by demonstrating competence in the fundamentals.

Especially when working with young athletes the emphasis should be on establishing technique, but this is something I apply with older populations too.

Bottom line is if the technique isn’t good enough through an exercise, I’m not going to be loading it. I’ll have an athlete work at it unloaded or use an alternative that can be loaded until the technique is at the required standard.

Once the technique is sound the load can be progressed gradually.

STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISES – THE SQUAT

When it comes to improving performance and people’s functional fitness the fundamental movement I like people able to perform well is the squat.

Strength Training Exercises Squat

Sometimes there are the quick fixes to a poor squat just by adjusting the stance width to wide (heels at shoulder width) and toes turned out at 5 to 1 on the clock face opening the hips.

Strength Training Exercises

Or using 5-10 sec holds in the bottom of the prisoner squat or overhead squat (low load) if you’re looking to improve squat range of movement to be able to get your hips below the level of the knee so you can get the real performance benefits.

Sometimes though you’ve got to put the hard yards in and tackle those problem areas head on with some flexibility work. If that’s what it takes that’s what it takes. Earn the right.

If you can’t squat for any of the reasons mentioned above, get yourself in touch with a decent coach – I’d suggest checking out the UKSCA Accredited members list for your area on www.uksca.org.uk – who can help improve your technique and possibly help resolve any flexibility issues limiting your progress.

I use a squat facilitation system put together by Bob Wood of Physical Solutions, it is a great programme for improving most people’s squat, there are some that seem immune to it and destined to cause me sleepless nights as I try to unlock the movement puzzle, but generally it works well in getting athletes where they need to be in order to start strength training.

Learn more about fundamental training principles with Nick Grantham at his Physical Preparation for Performance Workshops & Speed Clinic 21st & 22nd February 2015. Nick will be covering 5 major areas: Programme Design, Core Training Concepts, Metabolic Mayham: A Modern Approach to Energy System Development, the Art & Science of Coaching and Speed, Agility and Change of Direction. For more information & to take advantage of the incredible Early Bird Discount Bundle >>CLICK HERE<< 

Strength Training: A Periodization Model

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Strength Training: A Periodization Model

As a coach one of the common things I hear when I’m talking to people about their strength training is that they’re banging away just trying to go heavier and heavier week on week.

Training in this way may get you results up to a point, but you’re going to hit a plateau at some point. In addition, if you’re always lifting at a 100% repetition max (RM) load (i.e. that maximum load you can lift for a given number of reps) you are constantly subjecting your body to a high level of stress that will result in a lot of fatigue & may in the long term result in over training.

The fact is you don’t have to max out every session to get stronger.

A system I have used with a lot of clients/athletes over the years is a step loading system varying loads across a training cycle between 80-105% of a rep max load. The loading pattern that has worked consistently for me is 80% – 90% – 95% – 105% then the pattern repeats itself.

Strength Training Periodization

With this system you lift “very heavy” (105% RM) once every 4 weeks and that week is followed by a recovery week of 80% RM to allow for supercompensation (see previous article on recovery for an explanation of this process) because the unloading gives your body an opportunity to recover. The process then repeats itself building the loads back up over the next few weeks from 80-90-95% to another 105% load.

In case that doesn’t make sense here’s an example programme to make it clearer:

Ex programme strength

Taking the example of the Back Squat – at the start of the cycle Client A is able to squat 100kg for 5 reps. Employing the above loading system for the next 4 weeks he squats as follows:

Week 1: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 80kg

Week 2: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 90kg

Week 3: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 95kg

Week 4: 4 sets x 5 reps @ 105kg

 

Having completed week 4 with a new 5RM of 105kg the next 4 weeks % RM loads are calculated from this new PB.

So based on 105kg 5RM the loads for the Back Squat for the second 4 week cycle would be:

Week 5: 4 x 5 reps @ 84kg (80%)

Week 6: 4 x 5 reps @ 94.5kg (90%)

Week 7: 4 x 5 reps @ 99.75kg (95%)

Week 8: 4 x 5 @ 110kg (105%)

 

Now this certainly isn’t the only way to get strong and there are lots of variations to the sets, reps and variations to %RM that you can utilise, but this system has produced consistent strength gains for me as a coach and reported improvements in the athlete’s physical and mental freshness/preparedness for their training after the carefully planned recovery weeks.

Learn more about Periodization and Programme Design with Nick Grantham at his Physical Preparation for Performance & Speed Workshops 21st & 22nd February 2015. Nick will be covering 5 major areas: Programme Design, Core Training Concepts, Metabolic Mayham: A Modern Approach to Energy System Development, the Art & Science of Coaching and Speed, Agility and Change of Direction. For more information & to take advantage of the incredible Early Bird Discount Bundle >>CLICK HERE<< 

The Importance of Recovery

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Having been working with junior athletes between the ages of 11-18 for the last few years one of the major areas that is a concern for me is what opportunity, if any, do they have to recover within their weekly schedule? Do parents, school teachers and club coaches have any idea of the total work the young athletes are completing in any given week? What are the implications of their training schedules to the athlete’s long term development and their health?

What is recovery?

Recovery is a process resulting in a return to baseline energy levels and then an optimal performance state.

Understanding the process of recovery

Crucial to understanding the importance of recovery is understanding the process that the body goes through as a result of exercise/training/competing. The body is always striving to maintain homeostatis (balance) of the bodily systems so it will constantly adapt to stresses that we place on it. In the context of sport, stress comes in the form of training for and competing in that sport. Training is a manipulation of stress to bring about desired changes in the body as it strives to cope with the stress and achieve balance again. In training terms this is known as Supercompensation (Gambetta, 2007)

The diagram below (Figure 1.4 source: Zatsiorsky, 1995) is the theory of Supercompensation which is a four step process. The horizontal line is the athlete’s baseline level of fitness/preparedness. The vertical axis and curved line represents the changes in the athlete’s fitness/preparedness as a result of any workout.

Supercompensation

Stage 1 – Application of training (stress)

When any form of training or sport is completed by an athlete this stress is followed by a depletion of the body’s energy stores creating a state of fatigue demonstrated in the first section of figure 1.4. At the lowest point if the athlete were to attempt to perform in their sport there would be a predictable drop off in the level of their performance.

Stage 2 – The Recovery Phase

When the athlete is given a suitable period of recovery which could be in the form of active rest, a recovery session or a light training session. The athlete’s energy levels and preparedness to perform will return to baseline levels.

Stage 3 – Supercompensation Phase

This is the body’s adaptive response to the fatigue brought about by the training and it is a rebound above and beyond the baseline levels creating a heightened state of energy levels and preparedness to perform. At this point if they athlete were to perform in their sport/training we would expect performance to be of a higher level than normal.

Stage 4 – Loss of the Supercompensation effect & return to baseline levels

From the peak of supercompensation there is a natural decline back to baseline levels if there is no new training stress applied, known as the detraining phenomenon.

Slaves to the Schedule

Athletes invariably train and compete according to a set schedule, and when careful consideration is not taken this schedule can be intense/excessive/challenging. Typically the athlete will follow this schedule regardless of the readiness of the athlete to train or perform. In such cases, athletes will not be at their optimum to train or compete due to insufficient recovery or poor adaptation to their training again as a result of little or no recovery time, or poor recovery strategies.

Certainly the young athletes I have been in contact with appear to have little or no recovery planned in to their weekly/monthly schedules. The more gifted and talented the athlete it appears the more demands are placed on them as the school teachers and club coaches insist on their involvement in any and every game/sport going with little thought given to the benefit of the session to the individual and there appears to be little communication between any of the parties to ensure that the young athlete is not overtraining. From teachers that I have discussed this issue with they are aware of young players playing 3 games in a week including 2 in a weekend.

I’m not pointing the finger of blame at any of the parties in the mix as they are all facing different challenges that make it unrealistic to plan to this extent for each individual athlete in the school or club. However, for that small percentage of young sports people who have shown signs of the capability or desire to compete at the highest level surely we must take the time to plan their training and competition schedule appropriately to avoid physical/mental burnout?

What is overtraining?

Overtraining is the result of a long term imbalance between the amount of stress applied to the body through training and the individual’s ability to tolerate and recover from the training. Symptoms of overtraining aren’t always clear but residual fatigue, persistent minor injuries, loss of motivation and a lack of progress are some examples of the negative effect that it can have.

Physical symptoms include reduced appetite, a tendency to tire easily during exercise, weight loss, a slight increase in blood pressure, an elevated resting heart rate.

The effects can also be psychological in nature and athletes may show nervousness, inner unease, poor motivation and eventually depression. (Siff, 2003)

The importance of sufficient recovery and optimally planned training

In an optimally planned training schedule another training session would take place at the peak of the supercompensation curve and the process would start again from step 1 and at the end the body would rebound to a level of preparedness above and beyond the level following the first training session as demonstrated in figure 1.5 below.

Optimal Recovery

Figure 1.5 – Optimal recovery time between training sessions (source: Zatsiorsky, 1995)

If sufficient recovery can be achieved consistently over a long period of time the result is going to be a continually rising curve taking the athlete towards a superior level of performance as well as hopefully maintaining a healthier, fresher athlete.

In contrast, if the recovery period between training sessions is insufficient the results are much more detrimental to the athlete. If the next training session is applied before the athlete’s energy stores have returned to baseline then supercompensation is never achieved resulting in greater levels of fatigue and further reductions in the athlete’s readiness to train and perform.

Insufficient Recovery

Figure 1.6 – Insufficient recovery between training sessions (source: Zatsiorsky, 1995)

If this trend continues in the long term the athlete’s physical development will be hampered and their level of performance will be decreased as there are increasing levels of fatigue and less energy available to the athlete. In the long term this is the scenario that will lead to overtraining putting the athlete at risk of developing the symptoms described above.

Finally if training sessions are not completed frequently enough (i.e. too long between sessions) we will lose the supercompensation effect and there will be no noticeable gains from the training being completed as demonstrated in figure 1.7 below. The result again being limited or no development in the athlete’s physical capabilities or performance.

Toolongbetweensessions

Figure 1.7 Recovery between sessions is too long (source: Zatsiorsky, 1995)

Recommendations / practical application:

  • Recovery should be planned in to the overall training programme and should involve not only recovery days but planned training weeks of a lower intensity and/or volume of work to maximise recovery and adaptation to the training. The table below identifies a very basic 4 week training cycle involving 1 planned recovery week every 4 weeks.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Moderate Workload

Heavy workload

Very Heavy workload

Light workload

(Recovery week)

  • Ensure that athletes have 1-2 days per week of ‘recovery’ which may consist of active rest, a recovery session or a very low volume training session.
  • A good use of recovery days is to focus on maintaining or developing flexibility with stretches focused upon areas of the body that have been used heavily within the weekly training or areas that are known to have a limited range of movement (e.g. tight hamstrings, hip flexors). Light prehabilitation exercises addressing any weaker areas & specifically looking to prevent common injuries in the given sport would also represent a good use of this time.
  • Essential parts of the recovery process that are often overlooked or poorly applied are good nutrition and adequate sleep (approx. 10 hours per night for young athletes)
  • Continual monitoring of the athletes physical state and the training that they are doing will help avoid overtraining and further their development as an athlete. How we can monitor the athletes will be a topic for discussion in a future article.

Please feel free to comment and question my views on this subject.

Author: James Baker

References:

Zatsiorsky, V. (1995) Science and Practise of Strength Conditioning

Siff, M. (2003) Supertraining

Gambetta, V. (2007) Athletic Development