Best ways to build strength on your own time

St.Vincent Sports Performance Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Aaron Ruth CSCS explains how athletes can challenge themselves with strength and flexibility exercises, all from the comfort of their living room.


Building strength and flexibility doesn’t have to be done with heavy weights or expensive equipment. Traditional exercises, such as push-ups, squats, planks and lunges are perfect exercises to be done at home.


These exercises work to make an athlete stronger, but not necessarily to build muscle. For younger athletes who aren’t in high school yet, it is more important and safer to work on continuous strength rather than building bulk muscle without supervision.


Try these exercises at home to build strength and increase flexibly. A great time to do these exercises is during a 30-minute television show during commercials. Begin with three sets of 10 repetitions:Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 2.32.13 PM


  • Jump in a single hop to a stable elevated surface, and then step back down. Use a chair or box that won’t slide out from under feet.


  • Step one foot onto a chair or bench, then push through the heel of the elevated leg to step the other leg up. Do a set stepping forward, then turn 90 degrees and do a set stepping laterally.

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  • Sit back against a wall in a squat position with knees over ankles and a 90-degree bend from knees to hips. Then stand up from this position.


Planks are a great way to build strength in the lower body. To start, do sets of front planks, side planks and glute bridges. For more variations on glute bridges, watch the Sports Performance Tip of the Month video.


Follow SVSP on Twitter and Facebook for more exercise and training tips.

Hurdles and Box Jumps

Want explosive hip power? Plyometrics are a great way to make your hip strength more bombastic. All you need are a couple of hurdles and a box.


Jeff Richter is a performance specialist at St.Vincent Sports Performance.


Last Minute Valentine’s Treats

Valentine’s Day is slowly creeping up on us. Instead of welcoming the unhealthy treats during this day full of love, let’s embrace the dark chocolate and red wine! Check out the health benefits for two of our favorite Valentine’s Day treats:


Chocolate is a favorite for ma71hBbFm77qL._SX425__clipped_rev_1ny on Valentine’s Day, but if you are going to indulge, make sure to choose the right kind. Our resident sports performance dietician Lindsay Langford RD, CSSD,  says flavanols found in dark chocolate, or cocoa powder, make it a heart-healthy dessert that can help lower blood pressure, improve vascular function and raise HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). A general rule of thumb is the higher the cocoa percentage the higher flavanols.


So what are the best chocolate options for your valentine? Try the Endangered Species: 88 percent dark chocolate bar or the Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight: 72 percent dark chocolate.


For the more seasoned Valentine’s Day couples (+21), red wine is a staple in many restaurants and homes on Valentine’s Day. Did you ever believe that a glass of red wine could be helping your body? According to the MayoClinic , the alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants when consumed in moderation, may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and by protecting against artery damage.


In recent research, some studies show that resveratrol could be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease. A study published in 1995 in the “American Journal of Enology and Viticulture” compared various wines from around the world and found that pinot noir wines had the highest content of resveratrol regardless of country of origin, according to


Still looking for that last-minute gift for the health nut in your life? These three gift options are a great surprise:


* Look into local, healthy food delivery options and cook up a romantic dinner:

* Give Love not Lunch! These Bento-Wear portion control lunch boxes are a great gift for the individual always on the go:

* And of course the always popular Edible Arrangements fruit bouquet:

No better way to tell the one you love that you care about them than giving them the gift of optimal human performance!

2015 SVSP: NFL Combine Training

Four weeks ago in Indianapolis, 14 athletes began their hopeful journey to the NFL at St.Vincent Sports Performance. Over the last month, this group of elite college football players participated in a number of drills surrounding speed development, strength-training and their individual positions. All of this will eventually lead them to the most important tryout yet, the 2015 NFL Combine.

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The group continues to prepare daily through intense training sessions, centered   around movement patterns, running form and agility, all led by the two Certified Strength and Conditioning Coaches Greg Moore, CSCS and Brandon Johnson, CSCS, USAW, PES, CES,. All of this is done in order to prepare the athletes for the seven tests that they will perform at the NFL Combine or Pro Day.


Registered Sports Dietitian Lindsay Langford, MS, RD, CSSD, created a nutrition plan for each of the athlete, working to fuel their bodies with foods to enhance overall performance. Whether it is to put on more muscle or drop a few pounds, each of our SVSP athletes has a different goal. During the last month, the group learned that nutrition plays a vital role in working to achieve their goals.


Licensed Athletic Trainer Andy Schafer LAT, ATC, CSCS serves as the Medical Director of the Combine Training Program, overseeing the medical care and management of each SVSP athlete.

Coach Jimmy Graves of Football Performance and his team of veteran NFL players and coaches train with the athletes each day to perfect on-field skills and help prepare them for a career in professional football.

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Deandre Carter Sacramento State WR San Jose, Cali.
Matt Dooley Indiana LS Phoenix, Arizona
Obum Gwacham Oregon State DE Chino Hills, Cali.
Warren Herring University of Wisconsin NG Fairview Heights, Ill.
Alex Kenney UMASS WR State College, Penn.
Tevin Lake Marian University RB South Bend, Ill.
Michael Liedtke Illinois State OL Woodstock, Ill.
Raheem Mostert Purdue RB/KR New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Deon Simon Northwestern State (LA) DT Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Kristjan Sokoli SUNY Buffalo DL Bloomfield, New Jersey
Brian Sutton Bowling Green DB Fishers, Ind.
Nick Temple Cincinnati LB Indianapolis, Ind.
Leterrius Walton Central Michigan DT Clinton Township, Mich.
Tyler Williamson Southern Illinois OLB Knoxville, Tenn.

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Follow our athletes on their journey to the 2015 NFL Combine by following #NFLCombine, along with @DefiningSports on Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Facebook.


Improvements in the offseason are key to beating your competition

Gains are made when the season ends and the real work begins . These football offseason drills will help you make an impact on the field next season.


Sticking to your goals in 2015

Whether it is a New Year’s resolution or a general fitness goal, it can be hard to stay on track. SVSP Sports Psychologist, Dr. Chris Carr, explains why we often fall short and what we can do to set more realistic goals and keep ourselves motivated to succeed:


Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Energy!

SVSP’s resident celebrity chef Lindsay Langford shows you how to make some little balls of energy. All you need are eight ingredients, a mixing bowl and and a spoon. No oven required! Enjoy these snacks before a practice or a game.


Three simple off-season exercises to improve soccer skills

Jeff Richter, CSCS, USAW, shows you three simple exercises you can do this winter to improve your soccer skills by the first practice next year.



Finals freak-out? Treat it like a big game and optimize your performance.


Finals week can be a very stressful time and as a student-athlete you likely have a lot to balance that week. It is important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally during this time to ensure you are studying efficiently and are able to perform well on your final exams. The following are some tips that can help you manage the stress of the end of the semester:


1. Be organized and create a schedule- this will help you stay on track throughout the week.


2. Create study groups and utilize resources that will help you maximize the time you spend studying.


3. Know yourself and study in ways/environments that allow you to study at your best.


4. Take care of yourself- you need sleep, hydration, and balanced nutrition to fuel your mind.


5. Utilize mental skills (i.e. relaxation techniques, positive self-talk, focus techniques) to help you perform your best and picture success at the end of finals week.

SVSP Nutrition Tip of the Month- Fast Food

Fast food can be nutritious, you just have to find the right items on the menu. In this month’s nutrition tip, SVSP’s Sports Dietitian Lindsay Langford tells you what to eat at a few popular fast food joints.