Tag: athletic training

Get Golf Ready

  • Saturday Session beginning April 2nd | 10:00am
  • Wednesday Session beginning April 6th | 6:00pm

This class is designed to introduce new and returning golfers to the game. The program consists of 5 sessions, each 1.5 hours. Each session builds on the previous one to prepare you to be comfortable on the course. In addition to the fundamental instruction, we will include additional information about our facility, preparing to play, etiquette, jargon, equipment, and introduce you to the alternative forms of playing golf.

  • Session 1:  “The Hole is the Goal” – Putting
  • Session 2:  “Getting it Close” – Chipping & Pitching
  • Session 3:  “Swing, Swing, Swing” – Full Swing
  • Session 4:  “Driving School” – Driver, Woods, Hybrids
  • Session 5:  “Ready, Set…Go Golf” – Playing on the Course

Cost: $179.99 per person

Please contact the Jackson Park Instruction Department with any questions at (206) 363-4747 or email their PGA Director of Instruction, Jon Larson, at jlarson@premiergc.com. Or contact our Fitness Director, Jacob Galloway, at jgalloway@sacdt.com.

Employee of the Month for April, Jason Anderson!

Jason does an outstanding job balancing being a husband and a father of two with working early and sometimes working late.  He always comes into the club looking for ways to help change one person’s life and make someone’s day better.


Jason Anderson has been a pillar of the fitness department for over 10 years.  In those short 10 years he has been able to reach out and affect hundreds of lives within the club.  His attention to detail, attentive demeanor and superior knowledge has allowed him to create amazing workouts for so many of our members.


Jason Anderson is a quiet leader within the club who gives so much of his energy to such a wide range of members and departments. He is never too busy to help out a member in need or to mentor a younger fitness staff member to grow into the professional they want to be. We feel very fortunate to have Jason on our team; we know that it is people like him that make our club truly exceptional.
Jason Anderson

Tips to Increase Your Strength Safely

Back in January I wrote a goal card to deadlift twice my bodyweight by June 1. I’m very excited to report that I reached my goal by lifting 348 lbs for 1 rep. Over the last several months, I have put in a lot of time working on deadlifts so I thought I would pass along some tips on how to increase your maximum strength in deadlift or any other exercise.

Get in the Groove
Make sure your deadlift pattern is PERFECT under no load and under sub maximal load. Poor deadlift patterns put your vertebral health in jeopardy and hamper performance through inefficiency. The specifics of the deadlift pattern are beyond the scope of this post but check out this video (by one of my former professors) for some general tips. Take the time to develop the movement competency required to deadlift well and then invest in learning the pattern. Make sure to maintain the pattern by including sub-maximal lifts in your training.

Plan for Success

Set a reasonable goal based on your current level and experience. Then expect to spend at least 10-12 weeks working on it. Invest the first couple of weeks in learning the movement and sub maximal workouts. Spend around four weeks in a hypertrophy phase in which you try to grow muscle with sets of around 6-8 reps. Take a week to re-focus on technique and movement ability before starting the next four week sequence, this one focused on maximum strength by employing very heavy sets of around 3 reps and using long (120+ sec) rest intervals.

Try Complexes

A complex is a heavy lift immediately followed by an explosive, exhausting exercise. The explosive exercise is followed by 90-120 seconds of. I reaped great benefit from complexing medium-heavy deadlifts with kettlebell swings. The combination of heavy weight, lactic acid inducing explosive exercises and rest effectively stimulates testosterone and human growth hormone to help increase muscle mass.

Go Heavy-Medium-Light
Try to lift heavy one day per week. This is the day to try a strength workout like 6 sets of 3 or a hypertrophy workout with 4 sets of 6 at 95-100% of your effort. Lift at a medium intensity one day per week. This should still be a challenging workout but the top priority is to maintain perfect technique throughout. Lift light one day per week. Use just enough load that you are aware of it but it doesn’t come close to distorting your technique. Use this day to rest and prepare for your next heavy day and also experiment with any changes to your technique on these days.

Heavy lifting can be very rewarding and a lot of fun. Enjoy these tips and I hope they help you reach new heights! Please contact me if you need help with your deadlift technique: I can’t overstress the value of investing in your movement ability and technique before even thinking about lifting at a maximum intensity. Reach me at Hspencer@sacdt.com.

Summer Outdoor Workout Routine

Summer sun; summer fun. Whether you are going on vacation or enjoying the multitude of options available in our backyard, here are a few exercises that can go outdoors with you.

*Superman pushup (full or modified) – This pushup incorporates an opposite arm and leg raise at the top position to train in a transverse plane (posterior oblique fascial line) for increased core strength and stabilization. The modification for this is a kneeling pushup or finding an inclined surface, like a bench or a wall.

*Wall jump dips- With your hands on an inclined surface jump as high as you can getting your legs in a tuck position like you are trying to jump up on the wall.

*Surfers- Start by lying on the ground and jump into a surfing diagonal squat position, jump back into a plank, lower yourself to the ground, and repeat on the other side.

*Multi-directional lunges- Lunges forward, reverse, lateral, or in a curtsy target stabilizers and train proprioception in different planes of motion.

*Single-leg squat touch down- Perform a single-leg squat with a hinge motion forward and touch down diagonally with the opposite hand. For an added level of difficulty, add a pepper jump (a single-leg jump) in the top position of the squat for dynamic stabilization.

It’s important you know how to do these movements correctly for full benefit and prevention of injury. There are additional outdoor workouts in our archive that can give you more exercises to try. Contact any our fitness staff for details and instruction. Be safe this summer and have fun out there!

Women’s Nutrition: Fuel for Recovery

Women have always had slightly different nutritional needs than men. Research is beginning to shed some light on how women fuel their recoveries differently.

High-protein diets have been popular in weight-loss circles for several years now, but very little research had been conducted on the effects of protein on performance, especially in women. Recently researchers at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand studied the effect of high-protein feeding on the performance of female cyclists to see if there was a difference between high- and low-protein recovery diets on the performance of well-trained female cyclists.

They studied 12 female cyclists. Each cyclist completed three high-intensity rides: two-and-a-half hours of interval work on the first day followed by sprint testing on days two and four. Day three was a rest day. In the first four hours of recovery on the first and second days, the cyclists ate either high protein or high carbohydrate meals. Researchers found that the protein had no effect on mean power in the repeated sprint testing on day two or day four. The women reported feeling both more fatigue and soreness in their legs in days two, three, and four, and leg strength was lower in those who ate the high-protein diet than in those who ate the high carbohydrate meals. In contrast to previous findings with male athletes, their conclusion was that there was “no clear influence of dietary protein quantity on subsequent performance in women”. The study suggests that female endurance athletes may not need protein as part of their recovery meal; a high carbohydrate meal may be the better recovery food for women. This was a very small study and obviously more studies need to be done on female athletes.

No2 Supplements: Fact or Fiction?

We have all seen the advertisements, whether it be in Muscle and Fitness or at GNC, claiming they will increase performance, decrease recovery time, and promote muscle growth. But how much of this is true? Many of the supplements out there today rely highly on celebrity endorsements and mass marketing rather than solid scientific evidence. I recently read an article (Nitric Oxide Supplements for Sports) in the Strength and Conditioning Journal that proposed the question, how much science is behind these products? It was shocking to find out that with the exception of only one study, there is no published scientific studies to show that the dietary supplements currently marketed as “nitric oxide stimulators” have proven efficacy. So why are they so popular? It is in our nature to always be looking for that faster, better or easier way to achieve our goals. Next time you look through a fitness magazine keep a tally of how many advertisements are crammed in between those pages. This isn’t to say that all supplements out there are sugar pills, but be sure to ask yourself a couple questions before forking out your hard earned cash.

  1. Have any studies been conducted to test the products efficacy? And were they preformed by an unbiased group?
  2. Have the results been published? If so, where?
  3. If the studies were conducted, were they preformed on a population that represents the potential user?
  4. How much does the effective dosage cost? Is the cost justified for the potential gain?

Now there are supplements out there that ARE backed by the scientific community as well as the drug companies. One such product is Creatine Monohydrate. More scientific reports are available pertaining to the benefits of creatine than ANY other single supplement! Another added bonus of this product is that it rings up far cheaper than almost any other weight lifting supplement at $15-$20 (online price). Remember to research your supplements and how they are to be used. Creatine for example should be taken with some kind of carbohydrate (ie juice or Gatorade) as creatine needs carbs to deliver it to the working muscle in order to be utilized in energy production. What you many not know is that by taking it with an acidic juice like orange or grapefruit actually destroys the creatine and it can not be utilized by the body.

We all have our own thoughts and opinions about supplements, but for my money I will stick to products that have the proof to back up the claims! For more information on supplementation please contact the Seattle Athletic Club’s nutritionist Suzzanne Myer.

Improve Your Balance, Stability and Strength with a Bosu Ball

The Bosu ball is an excellent piece of equipment that can be incorporated into any exercise routine. Whether you are an elite level athlete or simply want to increase your balance and stability, the Bosu will help in a wide variety of ways.

As with any balance exercise, make sure that while using the Bosu ball you have something that is anchored to the ground close by. You will be purposely placing your body in unstable situations and you may lose your balance throughout the exercises. Having something close by will make you feel more comfortable and progress more smoothly through the exercises until you develop the needed strength. Remember, safety first.

Bosu stands for Both Sides Up, meaning you can stand or place your hands on either the black side or the blue side. Both sides change the degree of instability in different ways.

When standing on the blue side of the Bosu you recruit more ankle and foot stabilizing muscles since the foot does not have a solid place to make a balance point. This is great for runners who are training on variable of surfaces or people who may be worried about falling or twisting an ankle. By subjecting the foot to the instability of the Bosu you will train it to be prepared to react quickly when placed in a similar situation. This can be anything from hitting a rough spot in the ground, a tree root, or, of course the worst of all, holes. The Bosu will help you train for injury prevention as well as treatment of ankle or knee injuries.

The black side of the Bosu focuses more on the knee to hip complex and less on the ankle (the ankle will still be very much active). Since the black surface is perfectly flat, the ankle no longer has to struggle for stability. However, since the blue side is now touching the ground, the rest of the body must work together to maintain balance.

Exercises to Try:
Single Leg Step-up (blue side first then progress to the black side)
Place the foot directly in the center of the Bosu on the blue side. Let the circles on top of the ball guide you to proper foot placement. Contract the muscles through the leg that is on top of the Bosu and step up bringing the opposite knee up to assist with balance. When you first start, the goal is to get up and touch back down in the same spot. As you get into a rhythm, start holding longer at the top of the movement, testing your balance.

Basic Squat (blue side first then black)
Blue Side Facing Up: Stand on top of the blue side of the Bosu with both feet. You want your feet a little less than shoulder width apart. Find your balance by relaxing your legs and extending your spine up from the crown of your head. Maintain this spine length as you bend at your hips and knees to lower down into a squat.

Black Side Facing Up: While holding on to a secured object place one foot on the black side of the Bosu, fully tilting it to one side. Contract the muscles of that leg as you press yourself up and place the opposite foot on the other side of the Bosu. Your toes should be pointed forward and your feet should be a little wider than hip width apart. Relax the legs and extend the spine up. Maintain this spine length as you bend at your hips and knees to lower down into a squat. Your legs will most likely shake as they struggle to find stability (this is why we stay close to an anchored object) but as you progress in the exercise your muscles will calm down and the shaking will subside.

To HIIT or not to HIIT? (High Intensity Interval Training)

High intensity interval training, or HIIT; a term you may have heard buzzing around lately. Perhaps you’ve wondered what it is or if it’s something that could benefit you…or maybe not…but now you have! High intensity interval training is not a new concept, like many fitness trends, but this type of training has recently started to gain in popularity for many different types of training from weight loss and cardio training to sports training. While it is very demanding and not recommended for beginners, it can bring about a lot of benefits and make a good boost to your traditional cardio training.

HIIT is a specialized type of cardiovascular training that has many different variations. It consists of a circuit of high intensity exercise for a short time, followed by rest or low intensity exercise. The programs can vary in time, number of sessions and different levels of intensity during the low intensity interval. The key to HIIT is to reach max effort during the high intensity interval which is about 90% of your maximum heart rate (max HR). The time of the high intensity interval can also vary, anywhere from 6 seconds to 4 minutes, or sometimes longer. A few examples are 10 seconds max effort and 10 seconds rest or 1 minute max effort and 2 minutes rest, there is really no end to the time variations you can make. The session lengths typically last from only a couple of minutes and up to around 20 minutes, depending on your time ratios. The ratios generally used for the high intensity interval and low intensity interval are 1:3, 1:2, 1:1 or 2:1. You can also vary the type of exercise; sprints, rowing, cycling and swimming are just a few of your options.

This type of training is thought to have many benefits which include metabolic adaptations, an increase in caloric burn during and after your workout, improvements to endurance and a limit to muscle loss in comparison to traditional cardiovascular training of longer time periods. It also has the added benefit of shorter workout durations. However, there are several drawbacks as well; HIIT is not for beginners, there is a higher risk for injury, more recovery time between sessions is needed plus it is very demanding and is much easier to over-train. A warm-up and cool-down is especially important. When starting this type of program you will need to build up gradually so you do not injure yourself or overdo it. You also need to be able to exercise for at least 20-30 minutes at 70-85% of your max HR without exhausting yourself. If your heart rate does not drop back down to about 70% during the recovery phase, it is suggested that you may need to shorten the high intensity interval portion or lengthen your recovery interval.

Many studies done on HIIT have found that it awards you similar changes to your body that traditional endurance training offers. Studies have shown it to improve both the anaerobic and aerobic systems while traditional cardio training only improves the aerobic energy system. Ok, you may be wondering, why would I want to improve my anaerobic system…wait, what the heck is this anaerobic system? …Well, an explanation of this can get a bit complicated but basically you have two energy systems in your body, aerobic and anaerobic. Very simply put, aerobic exercise means your muscles use oxygen for fuel while, for anaerobic exercise, they do not. Your anaerobic energy system has a duration of about 2 minutes while the aerobic system is primarily used during activities that are greater than approximately 2 minutes. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise is needed for balanced and healthy lifestyle. Aerobic exercise is great because it strengthens your cardiovascular system and brings with it many benefits, such as lower blood pressure and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Anaerobic exercise also has benefits of its own. It helps you become stronger, leaner and more powerful; weight lifting is a form of anaerobic exercise. HIIT is typically linked to sports that depend on the anaerobic energy systems and is thought to be less effective on the aerobic system, but recent studies have shown that high intensity interval training can help increase your VO2max more than traditional cardio training (VO2max is how we gauge a person’s cardiorespiratory endurance).

In inactive and recreationally active people, HIIT has been known to improve endurance performance more than traditional low to moderate cardio training alone and has shown to be beneficial improving endurance performance in athletes as well. Two or three sessions a week is enough to improve performance without causing too much stress on your body. Combining traditional low to moderate intensity training with careful use of this training seems to be best for developing endurance performance.

I see many claims that it can burn more calories than regular training but studies have shown differing results on EPOC (“excess post exercise oxygen consumption” or simply how many calories you burn after an exercise session). The research has shown that your caloric burn from HIIT training seems to equal that of traditional cardio training meaning that either type will benefit weight loss.

High intensity interval training can be a great change to your exercise routine and a good complement to your regular cardio training. Remember though, that when starting a HIIT program, just as any other, it’s important to start slow and build gradually. Try it for your next cardio session; just be warned, to say it’s just demanding is an understatement. If you have any questions about HIIT training please feel free to contact Seattle Athletic Club Downtown Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

Endurance training works one of two physiological energy production systems in our body; the aerobic cardio respiratory system, while resistance or strength training works our anaerobic energy system. Energy is used primarily in the muscle fibers, often referred to as the slow twitch and fast twitch fibers. The aerobic system trains our type I muscle fibers, which are more densely packed with mitochondria which utilize oxygen to make ATP. Meanwhile, the type II resistance fibers create ATP in the absence of oxygen by splitting molecules. Since many sports and other events rely more heavily on one type of fiber more than the other, athletes and the general public often train for that specificity. Most the population is composed of each fiber type by a 50:50 split, but specificity in training can shift the ratio of fibers either way slightly.

What happens when an endurance runner trains not just for their endurance abilities but also for strength simultaneously?

There have been multiple studies on this topic, with some studies suggesting that training simultaneously with both strength and endurance takes away from the optimal performance of one to improve the other, meaning you can be highly trained for endurance or just moderately trained for both strength and endurance, or vice versa. However, in opposition to many of those studies, others have tweaked the study method in finding how both can be trained for the benefit of improving upon an already trained ability. That is to say, if a runner was to train aerobically and then perform strength exercises used in running, would they improve? In the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, one of many studies was conducted on well trained endurance runners on how the addition of strength training to endurance training would affect stride ability. Groups were assigned to a periodized sport specific strength conditioning program with endurance (strength exercises changed each week), a consistent sport specific strength conditioning program with endurance (same workout), and an endurance only group. They found that the combination of periodized strength conditioning program with endurance training greatly resisted fatigue in overall strides than both the other groups. The exercises were sport specific to running, including squats, calf raises, hamstrings, and others. Many studies done on cyclists, soccer players, and rowers suggest the same findings.

There are several things to note on how this training would optimize performance. Strength was done at sub maximal weights and moderate repetitions – never to fatigue. This type of training will train the muscles for more endurance prolonged use, while enhancing strength. In the case of the runners the addition of strength increases the threshold of fatigue that the muscles endure by improving power. More muscular strength in the leg muscles contribute to greater power in each stride the runner takes. With that said, the studies in which competitors improved both modes of exercise were all trained with sport specific muscle groups. For instance a competing runner would not want to bulk their upper body like a rower might; it would only take away from their running ability. Studies among the general population show that those who want to improve health should train both modes for better overall conditioning. Strength and endurance training does not seem to negate one or the other for improving health and rehabilitation, but for those with an athletic specific goal, remaining sport specific is key.

Overtraining: Know When to Say “When”

Most SAC members new to exercise may think that their biggest issue to becoming more fit will be getting the motivation to work out more and become more active in general; but in reality a more common problem is the exact opposite… overtraining. Overtraining is when the volume, load, or repetition causes the negative effects (chronic soreness, joint ailments, etc) of exercise to outweigh the positives. This occurs whenever quality of motion is not the priority.

For some reason most gym goers have a set weight, mileage, rep number, or time that they MUST get to achieve their fitness goals. Focusing on such things and disregarding your quality of motion will eventually catch up to you. No matter if it is weight lifting, running, or yoga, too many movements without competent form will have a negative effect on your musculoskeletal system. Executing any movement without biomechanical efficiency will cause one muscle group, or more, to do way more work that it was designed to. If your back is rounded under a barbell back squat your low back will take the brunt of the movement. If you are not landing softly when you run, the bones and muscles in the feet and ankle will pay the price. This will initially cause some soreness from the overworked muscle. Sore muscles are muscles that are dehydrated and unable to lengthen and contract in a flowing manner. Continuing to stress these sore muscles not only promotes improper mechanics but also invites injury. Whatever calorie burn or muscle pump you achieve in that particular workout will be overshadowed by the damage you do to your body.

The brutal irony is that an over trained individual is bound and determined to improve their overall health and they are in fact speeding up the aging process. One of the first images that come to mind when the word “old” is mentioned is a hunched over, stiff and shuffling figure. Unfortunately age isn’t the only contributing factor to this type of appearance. Faulty movements such as poor running and lifting mechanics can “age” the human body past its years. So all the hours spent in the gym in hopes to slow down the hands of time can actually be speeding them up.

The most disconcerting thing about overtraining is an over trained individual is hardly aware of their condition. Here are some clear cut signs that someone is over trained…

1) Chronic Soreness
This is a huge red flag that your posture and movements leave a lot to be desired. “No pain, no gain” holds absolutely no water. Soreness means you lacked the skill and strength to perform your movements competently. Soreness is expected when you switch activities, increase load, or mileage. This shouldn’t be a constant condition.

2) Decrease in Performance
Are your mile times getting slower? Is your bench press going down in weight? The point of training is to increase performance. If you are not progressing in your activity you are just abusing your body. If your performance is lacking continuing to train in the same manner will only worsen the matter.

3) Lack of Energy
Are you plodding through your runs? Do your arms feel like lead when you try and lift your weights? Do you feel wiped out after each workout? If you answered “yes” to any of the above consider yourself over trained.

So before you throw in the towel and quit the gym, take a deep breath and relax. There is hope. Avoiding overtraining is a rather straight forward process. Just follow these three simple rules to recover from and avoid overtraining.

Every mode of exercise deserves respect. There is a reason there are Yoga and Pilates instructors and weight lifting and running coaches. These professionals don’t get credentials for merely participating in their craft for “x” amount of time. They know each movement they teach inside and out. In addition they are capable of transferring that knowledge to a wide variety of clientele. If you aren’t getting the desired effect from your current activities get professional help. A trainer or instructor can make adjustments to technique and programming that can often dig you out of your current training rut.

Do not just add more weight to your squat just to lift more weight. Add weight only when the current weight you are lifting can be performed with meticulous form. Don’t just add miles to your running route. Only add mileage when you can finish your current distance with some speed and grace. Exercise isn’t about loading up the weight or running farther; it is about mastering your movements and becoming a more efficient moving human being. If the load your lifting compromises your form or if your feel like you are plodding through you current mileage STOP!!! Only advance when you have earned it with skill, poise and power.

The body needs time to recuperate. Though this amount of time will differ from athlete to athlete it is always a must. If you are feeling tired and lethargic take a day or two off. Take that time to foam roll, stretch, get some down time and relax. A fully recovered body can perform at peak levels. Coming back strong in the gym far outweighs plodding through seven days a week of mediocre workouts.

When it comes to our health, most of us would do anything to keep it. Sometimes this creates a drive to do as much as possible all the time, creating an over-trained body feeling chronic soreness, with decreased performance and energy levels. Take a step back and look at your current exercise regime, if you see any or all of these happening try getting a coached, master your form before increasing the load and make sure you give your body ample time to rest and repair itself. If you have any questions please feel free to contact any of the Seattle Athletic Club’s Fitness staff or contact the Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.