Who are you calling an athlete?

A tale of the food writer who became a power lifter A year ago I sat and ate. When I thought of exercise, which I did only when the scale crept past a certain number, it was as an equation. How long of a walk – because that was about the extent of my physical … Read more

Periodization, Burnout, and Balance

CrossFitters are often rushing around between work, home and play and then training at maximum effort during high intensity WODS with a goal to do more work in less time. Phew! Our community is full of motivated go-getters that are passionate and driven to be better and accomplish more. I am one of those people. CrossFitters train hard, work … Read more

What a Stressed Out Bride Can Teach You about Strength Training Success

For those of you who don’t know me, my wife Anna and I were married in Maine last October – this meant that much of Labor Day weekend last year was spent meeting the DJ, visiting the wedding location, and, in my case, smiling and nodding in agreement.  Suffice it to say that Anna did most of the planning!

Daydreamer that I am, during what seemed like a 15-hour meeting with our DJ, I started thinking about how nobody EVER fails in planning a wedding. Seriously, have you ever been to a wedding where the bride tapped out two weeks before the wedding and declared that she just couldn’t fill out another place card for table #13? Ask any married woman (and her husband, too), and you’ll find that wedding planning was one of the most stressful times of her life – but they pretty much have a 100% success rate.

Conversely, most people bite the big one when they start a new fitness program. Last I heard, 50% of people stop exercising within six months of starting. The success of commercial gyms, in fact, hinges on the fact that a huge percentage of the members that enroll don’t actually come after the first few months (if they even make it that far). Heck, 80% of people who enter the fitness profession leave within one year. The place cards are kicking people’s asses.

What’s the difference between brides dominating wedding planning, and aspiring exercisers getting whooped in their exercise programs?

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Should Sprinting and Jumping Athletes Do Plyometrics?

What Are Plyometrics?

Probably one of the most commonly used (and abused) methods of performance-enhancement for sprinters and indeed all running and jumping athletes is “plyometrics.” Plyometrics can be defined as movements that involve fast eccentric muscle actions followed by dynamic and explosive concentric actions (aka, the stretch-shortening cycle). The best example of a plyometric drill that comes to mind is the classic “depth jump” exercise where an athlete drops off a box or step of some pre-determined height. Upon hitting the floor the athlete concentrates on explosively jumping into the air as high as possible. The purpose of this method is to “shock” the body and nervous system to produce higher levels of muscle tension and force than would normally be possible without the preceding drop. In fact, the “father” and creator of modern day plyometrics, Yuri  Verkoshansky of Russia, originally named the plyometric method the “shock” method. To understand how such a system of exercises could be beneficial or detrimental to sprinting, jumping, and indeed all athletes, let’s take a closer look at basic muscle function during movement.

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Athletic Strength and Conditioning Across the Lifespan

Athletes have different strength and conditioning needs across the course of their athletic careers. This is important for the strength and conditioning coach to realize because one program will not fit all. It’s also important to realize when reading research that is geared towards a very specific population and attempting to extrapolate the results to … Read more