Archive for Exercises

How do I Stop a Plateau?

It is one of the most frustrating things in the world to feel as if you are stuck at a certain point in athletics; when you can’t improve upon a race time, your vertical jump height doesn’t increase, or you’re not able to add more weight to your back squat.  This phenomenon is commonly referred to as a plateau, and a suggestion that has frequently surfaced to remedy the situation is a “never-do-the-same-workout-twice” strategy.  This strategy, often called “muscle confusion,” involves doing many different types of training to keep your body guessing and “confuse” your muscles into continued growth.  What people who follow this type of training often fail to realize is that our muscles receive orders from the brain and are not independent structures that become bored and stop producing results after a few weeks.  We have to be smart with our training, the stressors on our body, and the stimuli that we send to our muscles.  If we are constantly switching things up in a weight training program, our bodies will not have time to adapt and improve.  So, how do we prevent a decline in performance?  How long should we actually be performing exercises before we switch things up?  If you have ever wondered about plateaus, here are a few ways to make sure that you are maximizing your training and seeing results consistently over time.

Work with a Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach

One of the biggest benefits of a proper strength & conditioning facility is that you have a coach who programs based on your individual needs.  This should involve periodized strength & conditioning programming that involves a build without plateau, peaks for when you need them, and monitoring/adjustment of programming as needed.  Knowing which exercises to perform, how many sets and reps you should do, and how often these variables should change is extremely important in training.  Because of the importance and complexity involved in strength & conditioning programming, having a qualified professional to guide you is imperative to long-term athletic success.

Become great at the basics

You do not need as much variety in training as you think.  If you consider how you train in sport, it involves repeating the important skills over and over again in practice to perfect your technique.   To a certain extent, this same concept needs to be applied in strength training.  Your body must learn to efficiently and safely move through basic movement patterns: squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull, and rotate.  There are many different variations of exercises that fall into these basic categories, but it is important to master the basics and allow adaptations to occur before progressing to a more complex version of an exercise.  You need a solid foundation for sport, and your exercises in the weight room should be selected based on function and usefulness to you as an individual, and not on the complexity or attractiveness of the movement.

Protect your body from injury

Training should be pain-free and should include movements that help protect against future injury.   This includes: performing a warm-up that will prepare you for movement and is specific to your movement deficiencies, including soft-tissue work into your daily routine, ensuring that areas of the body that are supposed to be mobile are, ensuring that areas of the body that are supposed to be stabile are, etc.  Your Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach will help you identify where the “leaks” in your system are and prescribe movement patterns that will increase your efficiency as an athlete and prepare you for the demands of life and sport.  Preparedness is the key to injury prevention!

Train as an individual

Not everyone should be doing the same warm-up or strength training exercises, just like not every athlete will need to work on the same sport skill for the same amount of time as everyone else on the team.  Your body is unique, your training needs are different, and what works for someone else will not necessarily work for you.  For these reasons, it is important to listen to your body, perform the exercises that work for your anatomy and training needs, and learn what works to make YOU better.  The movements you perform do not need to rigidly follow a universal model of training or even be “sport-specific.”  They must be specific to you and need to be intentionally placed within your programming.  Within the confines of energy, time, etc., it is important to be intentional with training to optimize opportunity for improvement.

Rest, eat properly, and hydrate

Maximizing your athletic potential involves making smart decisions both on and off the field/court/etc.  You need to make sure that you’re drinking enough water, fueling your body with the proper nutrition, and sleeping/resting enough.  While some may struggle with consistency and drive, others find themselves losing momentum because they are doing too much.  Non-stop training, or training that isn’t done well, will eventually wear on you regardless of how accomplished you feel.  Not only will you feel the physical effects of overtraining, but the mental effects as well.  It is important to establish healthy habits early to set yourself up for success.  The sooner you start, the sooner you will be able to reap the benefits.

In conclusion, “muscle confusion,” is not the answer to avoiding plateau.  It is possible for your improvement to waver, but it is NOT possible to confuse your muscles into avoiding the drop.  Your body will need to slow down or stop during your athletic career, but there are steps you can take to manage your health and prevent a decline in performance.  Focus on the things that you can control and reach out to qualified professionals for the answers that you don’t have.  Have you experienced a plateau before?  Are you wondering what you can do to try to prevent one?  Contact us and let us know how we can help!

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How Much Protein Do You Need?

Walk down almost any isle in the grocery store and you’ll see bold or italic letters on products with a common word: protein. Products want you to know that their stuff has more of it now, whether it’s 10 grams, 12 grams, or 20 grams per serving. So, how much do you actually need? Before that question is answered, let’s talk about the benefits of protein.

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Why You Need It

Protein not only produces energy, but it builds and maintains muscle mass as well. Getting adequate protein on a daily basis is a must if you’re trying to build muscle or actively trying to burn fat. Protein also reduces the excess carbohydrates that we take in with processed foods. Protein packs a punch, so make sure you’re getting enough.

How Much You Need

As great as protein is, your body can only absorb a certain amount for proper use. The maximum amount of protein you can consume daily is around one gram per pound of body weight. If you weigh 160 pounds, that’s 160 grams per day.

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The best way to consume protein is in smaller, more frequent ways throughout your day. Getting 20-40 grams five or six times during your day is better than gorging yourself for dinner. In fact, breakfast and bedtime are crucial times to get protein in your system. Whether it’s a shake or snack, lean protein in the morning and before bed go a long way in building and maintaining muscle mass.

 

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Brace Yourselves: Winter is Coming

It’s inevitable in this part of the country, but that doesn’t make it any easier. The weather becomes cold, the days become short and those holidays allow for easy overeating. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to counteract the fitness doom and gloom of winter.

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Plan Ahead

If you’re not prepared, winter workouts (or lack thereof) can eat you alive. Formulate a plan of attack to stay in shape, and stick to it. Write your plan or schedule down, and check things off when you accomplish them. They can be as easy or hard as you like, just get in the habit of sticking to your schedule.

Utilize Your Surroundings

There are plenty of workouts you can do with no equipment needed. Our Jeff Richter knows plenty of awesome cardio workouts you can do in the warmth of your living room. You don’t have to go to the gym everyday if you use your surroundings well.

Be Accountable

It’s easier to be motivated in the summer sun when beach days are prevalent and outdoor activities are endless. Having someone hold you accountable to your goals can go a long way in the winter time. Accountability is a must when it comes to your winter diet as well. After all,  slacking off is tougher when someone has the opportunity to call you out on it.

 

Your fitness doesn’t have to fall behind when the temperature drops. Create a plan, utilize what’s around you, and don’t fly solo. Stick to it, and come January, you’ll already be way ahead of the curve.

 

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Make Your Push-Ups Count

Turns out, push-ups are great for more than just building a strong chest. But to completely utilize push-ups in your workout routine, there are five areas to focus on:

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Elbows

Instead of flaring your elbows out to make a ‘T’ shape, keep your elbows in line with your wrists. This will form an arrow shape with the rest of your body.

Backside and Back

Flexing both your core and your backside goes a long way in stabilizing your back. You want your back to be straight as you lower and raise your body from the push-up position.

Hips

Don’t let your hips lead the way to the floor. Your upper body should initiate the movement and be the first thing to reach your downward destination. Having a straight back automatically makes this easier!

Hands

If your fingers aren’t pointing straight ahead, stop! Your hands need to be facing forward at all times to avoid stress on your shoulders.

Shoulder Blades

Your shoulder blades shouldn’t stay in one place. They need to protract and retract (fancy words for scrunch together and move apart) as you go down and come back up.

 

If you’re more of a visual learner, this video outlines everything in this blog. Push-ups are easy and effective, so don’t waste time by doing them wrong!

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Walk-in Clinics

Injured from physical activity or organized sports? Injuries happen and most don’t need ER care. St. Vincent Sports Performance clinics are available for anyone. See us today and get back out there!

Here’s what you need to know:

Saturday Clinics
WHERE: SVSP Clay Terrace and Fishers
WHEN: 8:00am-10:00am

*Weekday Walk-In Clinics
WHERE: All Three SVSP Physician locations (Fishers, Clay Terrace and Northwest)
WHEN: 8:00am-10:00am

*Walk-in clinics are for acute injuries ONLY. Chronic issues should schedule an appointment: call us at 317-415-5795.

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SVSP Strength and Conditioning Coaches

Have you met our strength and conditioning staff? Our coaches have the experience and expertise to take your performance to the next level. Wherever you are in your journey, they will help you maximize your potential on the field of play. Our coaches give you the same tools and attention that professional athletes receive. What are you waiting for?

Brandon Johnson

 

Greg Moore

 

Jaime Waymouth

 

Emily Burgess

 

David Williams

 

Stephanie Young

 

Jeff Richter

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[Free] Running Education Series

Prepping for the Mini Marathon or another race this spring? Looking to learn more about running? SVSP is offering a FREE Running Education Series. Beginning January 13, the eight week series will cover all aspects of running from the physical to mental.

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Our Licensed Athletic Trainers and doctors will discuss how to avoid knee and hip pain and reduce your risk for stress fractures. Sports dietitians will share tips for proper meal planning and the importance of good nutrition. A sport & performance psychologist, and avid runner, offers advice on mental toughness and training your brain for a good race. Plus, you’ll get to try an AlterG Treadmill and zip into Normatec Recovery boots.

It’s all free and located locally at St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel. Register now!

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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.

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Cool Down for What?

Warming up is a key component to any physical activity. Most athletes know that and we’ve covered it here on multiple occasions. But don’t forget about cooling down after a practice, workout or game. SVSP Performance Specialist Jeff Richter, CSCS, USAW offers some static stretches, band stretches and foam rolls as part of a proper cool down program. Watch him demonstrate them here!

 

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Four Steps from Planks to Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are a classic strengthening exercise you can do at your gym, the hotel fitness room or even at home. This USA Gymnastics Sports Performance Tip of the Month teaches you how to progress from a plank to a perfect pull-up (or chin-up) in four steps. Take a look at the progression model from Jeff Richter, Performance Specialist at St.Vincent Sports Performance.

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