Tag: sports

Teen Training

Sport specific workouts for your teen.

  • Are you looking to give your teen that high school or college advantage to make them the best player possible?
  • Do you ever worry about your teen’s workout habits?
  • Is weight training too much for their joints?
  • Should they be doing that much cardio?

Let our certified personal trainers work with your teen for 60 minutes twice a week giving them proper coaching for lifts, agility training, and sports specific movements. Your teen will be given a written manual which emphasizes the importance of flexibility, strength training, and speed/agility training.

  • $360 per teen for 4 weeks of instruction and training.
  • $220 per teen if you bring a friend with you (the rate if there are 2-3 teens in each workout)


For more information and to reserve a spot for your youth, please contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway at jgalloway@sacdt.com.

Resistance Training for Children

For years there has been a belief that resistance training was inappropriate or even dangerous for children. This belief stems from a study performed in the 1970’s by a group of Japanese researchers that observed juvenile workers that were subjected to many hours of lifting and moving heavy objects. On average these children were shorter than their non-working counterparts. Through this observation they concluded that it was the heavy lifting at such a young age that had a negative effect on their epiphyseal plate, and in turn, resulted in a stunted growth. However, recently there has been a growing amount of evidence that suggests that resistance training for children is not only safe, but can be highly beneficial.

Researchers from the Institute of Training Science and Sports Informatics published a study that analyzed 60 years worth of studies involving children and weightlifting. The researchers found that virtually all of the children and adolescents benefited from weight training. Interestingly enough, although the older kids did have greater strength gains, compared to the younger kids the difference wasn’t significant. This study also found that, contrary to popular belief, there was no sizable difference in strength increases once the children hit puberty. There was however a difference in hypertrophy (increase in muscle mass) that was likely due to the amount of testosterone in the adolescent population. Because of the lack of noticeable size gains in children, many researchers in the past had concluded that weightlifting wasn’t an effective training method for the youth.

So how young is too young to start resistance training? The jury is still out on this question, though most scientific literature seems to point to ages 6-8. Resistance training at this age should involve body weight exercises or very light loads with emphasis on control and form. Squats using a wooden dowel or push-ups are a common method of training children at this age. Heavy loads (without proper progression) or exercises that involve ballistic movements should be avoided when training children.

For more information on youth resistance training please contact Will Paton.

Want cat like speed and reflexes?

Are you someone who enjoys a good challenge? Are you looking to improve every day fitness as well as fitness on the court/field/trail? If you want a leg up in all aspects of fitness it’s time you incorporated more “uneven training” in your routine. What does that mean? What does it look like? How does it help? Hold on, I’m getting there!

Uneven Training simply means uneven load, uneven surface, uneven base of support, and or single sided movements. This can be done with any weight equipment or even no equipment at all. A few of my personal favorite exercises are:

  1. Single leg Power Jump. In this exercise you need no weight (although if you want to grab a 15lb dumbbell be my guest)! Pick a leg, “load up” meaning, drop down into a squat and then power up as high as you can in a jump. You can be way more powerful in this exercise if you use your non weighted leg by swinging it back behind you in your load up and then driving it up (think knee to chest) in your jump phase. The goal is to get maximum height and maximum load up as well as keeping speed and balance. The non loaded leg should never touch the floor.
  2. Slide Board Scissor Lunges. Sounds fancy right? Grab those amazing looking booties, roll out the slide board, and get to lunging! Start in the middle of the board facing one end; begin the movement by SIMULTANEOUSLY pushing one foot forward while the other foot goes backwards. As you do this drop down in your lunge (don’t forget to bend that back knee!), then SIMULTANEOUSLY pull both feet back underneath you. See if you can do this without stopping in the middle. Enjoy!
  3. Uneven kettlebell Squat and Press. Grab two kettlebells of different weight (I would use a 26 and a 36lb). Hold the bells in rack position as you descend down into your squat, as you come up power press (meaning use the quick up out of your squat) to shoulder press both weights. The uneven load will clearly make one side work harder as well as challenge your core to keep the bells tight and even. Don’t forget to switch sides!
  4. Anything Sandbag or Sandbell. Both of these tools are amazing for Uneven Training. Both of these pieces of equipment are filled with sand so the weight is ever changing and the load is always different with each rep. One of my personal favorite Sandbell exercises is Power Jumps Forward and Backwards. In this exercise you hold the Sandbell by the sides (a 20lb-30lb bell is great), drop your hips down into a squat (butt down, chest up, spine extended, shoulders engaged), then stand up opening your hips and swing the bell up over your head as you jump. The weight and the swing should propel you backwards (a backwards jump), then swing the bell down the way you came back into your load up squat, the swing forward now creates a forward jump. Try to keep up your speed and push yourself to jump as far forwards and backwards as you can.

Why are we doing this again? Uneven training, especially combined with lateral training will greatly improve your small supporting muscles (muscles in your core, in your glutes, in your calves, and in your feet) with increased strength and coordination. This will help you move more quickly and efficiently during any sport. In addition, uneven training helps to create better body symmetry (I know how much that left side lags behind… not for long) and better non dominant body awareness. You will quickly find your weak points and by doing things single sided as well as with uneven weight you will quickly make strength, coordination, and flexibility gains. Your body must adjust to perform these exercises; otherwise they simply cannot be done. There is no “muscling” through a Slide Board Scissor Lunge, either you can do it or you can’t, end of story.

So if you are tired of feeling like you aren’t making the strength gains you want to, you just aren’t working hard enough but you don’t know how to push yourself, or if you are tired of your workouts and you are looking for something fun and challenging then Uneven Training is for you! If you have more questions or are interested in learning how to incorporate Uneven Training into your routine please contact Personal Trainer Adriana Brown.

Pilates + Skiing and Snowboarding

It’s ski season—ah…the pure joy of skiing down a mountainside of sparkling powder, surrounded by tall evergreens and brilliant blue sky…

Then, after that first day of tackling moguls, dodging trees and other skiers; the fatigue and soreness of the legs and hips kick in. This is partly because of muscle overuse and lack of core strength. If the core is not working enough, your legs and hips have to work harder to stabilize you.

Pilates will stretch tight, overused leg muscles, such as the quads and hip flexors and strengthen underused muscles such as the hamstrings and inner thighs.

Skiers rely on side to side hip movement to recruit the inside and outside edge of the ski. Boarders tilt their hips forward and back to access the front and back edge of the board and use a more rotational movement to change directions. A strong core gives you better edge control. Edge control improves balance as you navigate the twists and turns of the slope –at high speeds-, the ever-changing snow conditions and the ability to get up unscathed when you take a tumble.

By practicing Pilates, core strength and alignment improves and you become more in tune with your body. Movements are fluid, there is less wear and tear on joints and your sport becomes more enjoyable. You’ll find yourself adapting better to changing snow conditions, challenging terrain, and falling less.

Here are some mat exercises you could start today:

  1. The Hundred – core, arms, hip stabilizer
  2. The Abdominal Series
    Single leg stretch
    Double leg stretch
    Single straight leg stretch
    Double straight leg stretch
    Criss-cross
  3. The Side Lying Leg Kick Series
    • Front/Back
    • Up/Down
    • Small Circles
    • Inner Thigh lifts
    • Bicycle

Nothing will improve your skiing faster than a strong core. Cross-train by adding a Pilates mat class to your fitness regime or perhaps a private session with your Pilates Instructor.

Stay strong, ski safe!

Winter wondering – preparing for outdoor activities

As we head into the fall and winter seasons, outdoor workouts necessitate preparation. With proper attire, understanding of the elements and skincare, a magical world of white awaits!

Some common recreational sports during colder seasons include: trail running, hiking, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, cross-country, snowboarding, and ice skating. Most of these require a lot of balance and elements of power related to speed, agility, and quickness. Exercises that recruit hip stabilizers will translate to easier movement in the new terrain. Here are some simple examples:

  • Single leg stand- This is a great way to prepare the body for snow. Try to keep the ribs pulled in and the hips even as you lift one leg. Once you can stand on one leg for a minute, try closing your eyes.
  • Band side steps- Using one of the bands that are connected in a circle, train your gluteus muscles as well as inner thighs. You can place the band around the ankles or through the arch of the foot (more comfortable if you have hairy legs). Keeping the toes pointed forward, stabilize the core, and take 20 steps to one side then 20 to the other. You will definitely feel the burn!
  • Lateral Bounds or Side to Side Jumps- Now that you can comfortably stand on one leg, maybe even with your eyes closed, it is time to kick it up a notch and start working on some power. Again, keeping the toes forward, launch off of one leg to the side, landing on the opposite leg. Absorb the jump by bending at the hip and knee, keeping the chest up, and launch to the other side. Start easy with small jumps side to side, steadily increasing speed and distance. You should always been in control of the movement and should be able to stop on either side with ease.

There is a lot that can be done in preparation indoors, but then how do we approach the change in elements?

Attire-
It’s important to find the right boots with a medium to high height, making sure they are waterproof. Also essential is a snow jacket and pants with elastic or Velcro at the ankles and wrists to prevent snow from getting in. The right jacket should be multilayered with a shell underneath and hood with a wind guard face protector. More necessities include: long Johns or a base-layer shirt and pants, goggles or sunglasses with anti-glare, a beanie or ear muffs, two pairs of wool socks, and snow gloves (sometimes double layer) for the best protection from the elements.

Skincare-
There are a few things to keep in mind for skincare. Make sure your toe nails are cut far back. Too often pedicure specialists see bruised toenails because of the nails hitting the front of the shoe. Some extras to have on hand are: chapstick to protect against the wind and sun, sunblock for the nose, cheeks and forehead, heat packets for gloves and boots, hand lotion/ face lotion in travel size that can be applied when exposed to the elements for a long time, and Kleenex.

Nutrition-
Another important thing to remember is to eat warm, calorie-dense foods. The recommendation for pre and post-workout, cardio-intensive meals is a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. Oatmeal with almonds and honey is a great pre-workout. If you choose a more protein-dense pre meal such as eggs, make sure to allow a couple hours at minimum for digestion (not just to become usable as energy, but so that you don’t get nauseated). Snacks are good as dried fruit and nuts, sandwiches, string cheese, and if there is access to a warm tea, or coffee, that would help with thermo regulation. A post-workout meal recommendation is calorie-dense, warm foods with high-glycemic carbohydrates like potatoes to help regulate blood sugar levels. Most importantly, remember to drink plenty of water. The cold can be deceiving in relation to sweat-rate, so stay hydrated!

If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact Personal Fitness Trainer Amber Walz or Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Thomas Eagan for more details.

Simplify your workout with complex movements

The Summer gave us the opportunity to see world-class athletes in the best shape of their lives performing at the peak of their abilities. While these athletes possess skills at a level that the average person cannot attain, we can use their training principles to get the figure and strength we want.

We can all agree that these swimmers, gymnasts, rowers, boxers, volleyball, track and field athletes etc. all have very different physiques, yet each one of them looks GOOD. These athletes utilize diverse training programs but have a key similarity; they use big, compound, multi-joint lifts in their resistance training program. When using resistance training for aesthetic purposes people tend to think of body builders who utilize isolation exercises to individually develop each muscle. They should however look to athletes who use complex movements to functionally develop major muscles and supporting muscles alike. Utilizing big, multi-joint movements gives the body the long, lean and symmetrical look athletes have and so many of us strive for.

When I think of a muscular athlete I think of a gymnast. A male gymnast will have some of the most muscular arms around but if you saw them in the gym they would never be performing isolated bicep curls or triceps extensions. They develop those muscles through complex pushing and pulling movements that you don’t have to be a gymnast to use in the gym such as pull-ups, push-ups, dips, overhead shoulder press and seated rows.

Benefits of multi-joint movements can be shown with the bench press as an example. You will get much more out of performing free-weight bench press than you will using a seated chest fly machine. This is because the chest fly machine isolates your chest muscles while the bench press works your chest muscles, synergistic muscles like the triceps and anterior deltoids, as well as stabilizing muscles including the rotator cuff complex, lats and traps.

Other than resistance training to look good, many of us use lifting to increase strength. Big, compound, multi-joint lifts will yield the greatest strength and mass gains while also doing the best job at building the inter-muscular and intra-muscular coordination. Elite power lifter and strong-man competitor Chad Wesley Smith states that top weight lifters follow many different programs but they have a few key things in common. They bench, squat, deadlift and continue to get stronger. Smith also has a great point that no one cares how much you can leg extension and if they do, you shouldn’t care what that person thinks anyway.

Using complex assistance lifts such as dips, chin-ups, pull-ups, shoulder press and lunges will also enable you to get the results you want more efficiently than you would performing many isolation exercises on machines.

Unless you want to spend three hours a day in the gym with the goal of looking like an immobile muscle-bound body builder, multi-joint complex movements should be the staple of your resistance training routine.

Metabolic Conditioning Workout

Summer is approaching fast! Get your mind and your body right for the warmer months! Whether you’re getting ready for a marathon, squash tournament or bikini competition conditioning is one of the most important elements to building cardiovascular fitness as well as added calorie burning. Try this metabolism boosting interval workout to help give you a little extra push!

  1. Begin with 5 sets of abs at 12-20 reps.
  2. Stepmill : 5 min at 75spm
  3. Rowing machine: 4x200m sprint at resistance 6 with 1 min rest in between
  4. Stepmill: 5 min at 85spm
  5. Rowing machine: 4x100m sprint at resistance 8 with 30 sec rest in between
  6. Box push: 4x30yds
  7. Bike: 10 min at Level 4 sprinting every other minute at double the resistance.
  8. Cool down for 5 min at light resistance!

Going into the gym with a plan will help guarantee you make the most out of your workout! Don’t cheat yourself, beat yourself!

If I only had 5 minutes…

There are many great exercises in this world and many amazing ways to build them into a workout. But I often get asked by members and clients what are the very best exercises to do. Here is a list of 5 of the most beneficial exercises for anyone looking to better overall fitness. You can use these exercises to design a program that focuses more on specific aspects of fitness but as an overall list these exercises will improve everything from endurance, to power, to flexibility. If you aren’t doing at least some of these exercises you are missing out!

  1. Front squat – especially the kettlebell front squat (also known as a goblet squat) is a great exercise for developing leg strength as well as focusing more on “core” stability than the back squat and it also carries with it a far less risk of injury. There is a lot of truth in the statement “everybody needs to squat more.” This squat will allow you to find lower depths in your squat as well as teach you to use your trunk to stabilize during the movement. Of course since you are using your legs and using a bigger range of motion you are also increasing your heart rate and burning more calories. Score!
  2. Turkish Get-Up – especially those done with a kettlebell is a real “full body” exercise! This movement demands you to stabilizing weight overhead while shifting your body beneath the weight, because of this skill you will be developing key stabilizing muscles and doing it in a highly functional way. Getting up from the ground is a fundamentally human pattern, and is scalable for lifelong strength and functional mobility. It’s cardio, it’s strength, it’s ab work, it’s flexibility, it’s skill and technique, and it’s fun!
  3. Jumping – especially box jumping, jumping is a wonderful way to get back to the basics of human movement. Any form of jumping (jump rope, stair jumping, long jumps, etc.) is an amazing way to increase your cardiac output as well as move your body through space with power. Box jumping in particular is great as it forces you to commit to the movement and use all your power and muscle contraction from your calves all the way up into your glutes, into your core, and even into your arms and shoulders. It’s a full body exercise that will test you physically and mentally and can be done anywhere!
  4. Push-ups especially gymnastic push-ups. Push-ups are a great way to train your body to move as one. In a proper push-up you move everything together towards the floor (and touch the floor of course!) putting high demands on your core. In a gymnastic push-up you get to take the basic skill and range of motion one step further and increase joint strength and mobility as well as focus more on tricep strength and shoulder mobility. This exercise will train your body from your shoulders to your glutes and really make you aware of where your body is in space.
  5. Weighted swing especially with the kettlebell. This is hands down one of the best exercises for literally nearly anyone and everyone. The kettlebell swing trains everything from your feet on up to your shoulders. You learn to use your body with power, speed, and aggression. Even more so you learn to use your biggest muscles in combination with supporting muscles to achieve a full body movement. Due to the demand through your core you also get a ton of back strength and bettered stabilizing from smaller muscles. It really gets the heart rate up as well as increasing strength.

If you want to know more about these exercises and other movements that will help you achieve better fitness contact Adriana Brown.

Oh Those Nasty Shin Splints

Whether you are going after general fitness or you are training hard to prepare for a certain sport, if you train with any purpose, then you are probably training hard. And when you go hard, you are bound to run into a few “wear and tear” problems along the way. These issues do not need to take you off course and should not keep you from reaching your goals!

One common issue I’ve heard of lately is shin splints. If you’re jogging around outside, training for a race, or participating in a boot camp class, you’re at risk of a common, running-related injury called shin splints. Referring to pain along the shin (tibia) or the large bone in the front of your lower leg, the pain is caused by an overload on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone. This overload is often caused by specific athletic activities, such as:

  • Running downhill
  • Running on a slanted or tilted surface
  • Running in worn-out footwear
  • Engaging in sports with frequent starts and stops (ie. basketball and tennis, or agility training and plyometrics)

If you have shin splints, you may notice tenderness, soreness or pain along the inner or sometimes outer part of your lower leg and mild swelling. At first, the pain may stop when you stop running or exercising. Eventually, however, the pain may be ongoing.

Most common among runners, many times they can also be caused by training too hard, too fast or for too long.

TREATING SHIN SPLINTS:

  • Rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort, but don’t give up all physical activity. While you’re healing, switch to non weight bearing cardio such as biking, the elliptical, or swimming.
  • Ice the affected area. Apply ice to the affected shin for 15 to 20 minutes after you train.
  • Wear proper shoes. Be sure you are wearing shoes designed for the sport in which you participate. Invest in a pair of shoes that will enhance your performance and protect you from injury. Also consider the age of your shoes. Athletic shoes will last you the equivalent of 350-550 miles of running, depending on your body weight, running style and surfaces on which you train.

*It’s also important to resume your usual activities gradually. If your shin isn’t completely healed, returning to your usual activities may only cause continued pain.

PREVENTING SHIN SPLINTS:

  • Choose the right shoes. As previously mentioned, wear footwear that suits your sport and replace them as necessary.
  • Lessen the impact. Cross-train with a sport that places less of an impact on your shins, such as swimming or biking. Start new activities slowly and increase time and intensity gradually.
  • Add strength training to your workout. Try foot strengthening along with calf raises. You can perform this exercise with added resistance by sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Loop a wide resistance band around your toes. Flex your toes toward you and extend outwards for 2-3 sets of 10 reps. Leg presses and other exercises for your lower legs can be helpful as well.

Seattle Athletic Club Downtown fitness programs incorporate athletic training to build strength, endurance, and agility. Training this way strengthens joints, tendons and connective tissues along with the major muscle groups. Strong muscle attachments and joints that can bear the stress of heavy training are essential in the prevention of injuries. However, even the fittest athlete can encounter wear and tear problems! By taking the right steps, you can minimize the pain and long term effects and get back to your normal routine in no time!

Athletic Shoulders: Training the Shoulder Girdle for Sports Performance

Over the years I have worked with a wide variety of athletes. Soccer players, runners, squash players and martial artists. In all of my athletes I have found limited range of motion and overall weakness. Though the athletes on the tight side do have strength in certain ranges, these ranges are usually limited (straight forward, straight up). In the rare cases of hypermobility the athletes lack strength and the ability to protect the joints involved.

Regardless of their sport the regimen for training the shoulders is usually comprised of linear, robotic movements. Push ups, pull ups, shoulder press, lateral raises and maybe the occasional rotator cuff exercise are usually the movements of choice. Though these may make sense in a fitness routine, they hardly cover the vast ranges of movement and velocity the shoulder has to utilize in performance. In addition they create a hyperactive upper body that activates too early in the kinetic chain and often too aggressively.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. It flexes, it extends, it rotates, and moves across and away from the body. The scapula (shoulder blades) protract, retract, rotate (up and down), abduct (separate), adduct (squeeze together), elevate and depress. Ideally this happens in a smooth and graceful manner. This is rarely the case. Typical methods of training the shoulder (see above) compress the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa of the scapula (aka the socket). In addition the scapula is often in a fixed position. This is ideal under external load but hardly ever in athletic movements. This limits its ability to move freely and severely hinders throwing ability, racquet and running speed. This starts off as tightness, then chronic soreness and in some cases this can progress to injury.

To truly train the shoulder as it was meant to move you have to change your way of looking at exercise. Forget what muscle or muscle groups you are trying to train. Try and focus on two things: 1) What ranges are you tight and/or weak in? 2) What motions do your shoulders have to perform in your sport?

Once you have identified these two things it’s time to get things moving. When training for athletic performance we need light weight and flowing (and ideally fast) full body motions. Small handled medicine balls, cables, bands and wrist weights are ideal. When selecting a weight pick one that doesn’t hinder your speed, power or quality of movement. Don’t think about fatiguing any one muscle. Focus more on enhancing your movements.

When selecting movements try throwing and swinging versus pushing and pulling. The power should generate from the feet and surge through the body in a seamless manner. If this is done in a competent manner, by the time the force reaches the shoulder it can loosen up those tight areas (#1). This teaches the overused and tight muscle to wait its turn to activate in correct order and in a more appropriate manner. Ideally it should activate and let the power flow through it instead of tensing up and taking the brunt of the movement. When addressing tightness make sure not to move through pain or extreme tightness. Stop just short of these sensations. Trying to power through will shut down your speed mechanisms and can cause injury.

Over time and with precision and care you can make vast improvements in tight overused areas. Once this is accomplished you can now move onto sports specific movement. Once again use light weights and fast and flowing full body movements. Strive for graceful power in your movement with seamless transitions from one muscle to the next. Once that grace or power dissipates end the movement. Pushing or muscling through these movements for the sake of volume ultimately sets back your progress for athletic speed and power. Make sure and rest long enough not only to catch your breath but allow enough time for you to regain the ability to move with force and grace.

This isn’t by any means an easy process. Avoiding and improving on tight and injured areas while improving sports performance is a whole different creature than fitness. It takes time, dedication, precision and most of all patience. Keep your eye on the long term goals of longevity and quality of movement and feel your body heal and watch your athleticism reach heights.