Regardless of your sport, speed and power can be the difference between making the podium and being the runner-up. Logging infinite miles on the road, repeated drills on the speed ladder, or endless reps in the gym is no longer enough. While there are plenty of fads that have dominated fitness trends, the truth is that to take your game to the next level, your training must incorporate a wide range of movement velocities with a variety of loads.
Scientist AV Hill first explained how muscles produce force at different speeds (velocities) while shortening or lengthening over 80 years ago, and later won a Noble prize for his work. The force-velocity relationship shows that when a muscle is lengthening or stretching (eccentric contraction, like when lowering a weight), it generates a relatively high amount of force. In contrast, when a muscle is shortening (concentric contraction) the amount of force it generates is smaller. Muscles are much more efficient at producing force when they actively stretch. At either end of the of the Force-Velocity Curve are boundaries (asymptotes) where muscles are unable to produce more force, regardless of the velocity.
While the graph may look complicated, the message is not. Research has shown that the body will respond best to training that is done safely between the boundaries of appropriate loads and velocities, or "between the asymptotes." Muscles have "sensors" which monitor the workload during training and determine a threshold of acceptable loads and velocities for keeping the body free from injury. By safely exposing the muscles to appropriate training at a variety of weights and speeds, athletes can raise that threshold, which allows the muscle to reach its full potential.
So what does that mean for your training? No matter the sport, ALL athletes should incorporate strength training at a variety of velocities and loads, plyometrics, and some eccentric overload training - which takes full advantage of the space between the asymptotes. Football players need more then reps in the squat rack to be quick and explosive on the field. Training between the asymptotes would include bouts on the SuperTreadmill using sprint cords (high velocity/low load movements) to compliment strength training (high load/low velocity) in the gym. An endurance athlete who runs or cycles endlessly should include activities to develop power and strength, like low impact plyometrics and eccentric overload training on the PlyoPress machine.
Every athlete should work closely with a trainer to determine the right volume of these activities based on sport, position, and competitive season.
Performance Sports Training
Don't let the heat slow you down this summer!
TRUE athletes train 365 days a year.
Experience our specialty training programs with these summer specials. Save up to $400 when you sign up for our ATHLETE Program where SPEED and STRENGTH combine to take your game to it's highest level!
Summer Fitness Training
Adult Fitness Classes Increase your CORE strength, condition your body to perform everyday activities PAIN FREE and bring out the Athlete in YOU!
Sign up now for an introductory offer of $300 for 3 full months of adult fitness classes.
Juniors Athletic Development
Prepare for upcoming sports, increase coordination and athletic movement in a fun and encouraging environment.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:30am starting June 3rd!
For the very first time, Athletic Republic is hosting an array of volleyball camps and clinics focused on developmental skills and elite training for all ages!
Here is a brief description of some of the camps we will be offering.
All camps will taught by experienced coaches!
Youth Camps - Half Day and Full Day camps that introduce volleyball and teach the fundamental skills of the game. (8-12yrs)
Elite Camps - I ntermediate and advanced players who have played club before and are looking to gain an edge on their competition by further developing their all around VB game. (12-18yrs.)
Position Specific Academies - These 4 day technique specific academies will be smaller group focused to improve different aspects of the game for different positions. With coaching, quality repetitions and consistency players will improve on the specific skill of the academy: Setting, Serving, Hitting/Blocking, or Defense/Passing.
Nightly/Drop-In Clinics - Two hours of instruction and evaluation on specific skills each night M-Th from 5:00-7:00pm for ONLY 20!
Volleyball Strength and Conditioning
As the industry leader in Speed and Agility training, Athletic Republic is proud to offer volleyball specific training that emphasizes vertical jump and multi-directional explosiveness, the key components of an elite volleyball player.
Training blocks that incorporate court time plus training time also available in weekly or monthly blocks.
Speed is a defining attribute of athleticism. No longer considered a genetic gift, speed is a skill that ultimately depends on how effectively an athlete puts force into the ground. And like any skill, speed can be improved by training five fundamental components: stride length, stride frequency, power output, symmetry, and stamina.
Developing speed is a function of how much force an athlete develops, how quickly he does it, and how skillfully that force is applied. The laws of physics dictate that an athlete is only as fast as his last perfect foot contact with the ground. Simply put, improving speed in sport is about making as many powerful, perfect foot contacts as possible over the distance needed to win.
Perfect foot contacts maximize stride length, which is defined as is the distance traveled with each step. Increasing stride length allows an athlete to cover more ground in the direction they need to move with each step-whether moving forward, sideways, or backwards. Maximizing effective stride length is done by increasing power output (how much and how fast force is applied to the ground) and optimizing the direction force is applied. If an athlete moves better and produces more power, they will improve stride length.
Stride frequency is improved when the quantity of perfect foot contacts an athlete makes in a given amount of time increases.Stride Frequency is a function of how quickly an athlete applies force during contact with the ground AND how quickly and skillfully he moves his leg through the air to prepare to make the next perfect foot contact. Improving power output and mechanics during contact with the ground and during the recovery phase (repositioning the limbs in the air) will increase stride frequency. Recovery phase mechanics are vital in order to get in a good position to make a perfect foot contact--as the faster you run, the less time you spend on the ground. Athletes who excel at recovery mechanics have strong muscles of the hip and trunk to stabilize the body and generate power in the air. Increasing stride frequency allows for faster acceleration and the ability to cover more distance in a shorter period of time. In short, improving stride length and stride frequency is all about improving an athlete's mechanics (or movement skills) and their power output.
Training to improve movement skills and power output is multi-faceted. Research has shown that running up a hill requires an athlete to generate more power during both ground contact and recovery and mimics the mechanics of the acceleration phase of an all-out sprint. Incline running on a treadmill is a great method to improve power output since the treadmill doesn't slow down when the athlete gets tired or makes a mistake in their mechanics. Using a combination of a strategically-placed mirror, instant replay video to monitor technique and a skilled coach standing right next to the athlete provides a great environment for improving running mechanics and power. Strength and power training targeting key muscle groups for speed development like the hips, trunk, legs and upper body are essential for improving raw power and dynamic stability. Controlled, weighted jumps combined with eccentric overload training provide a proven way to maximize raw power output. Ground-based agility, ladder, cone and plyometric drills focused on improving the fundamentals of accelerating, decelerating, cutting, jumping and landing are vital for transferring improvements in power and conditioning to the playing field.
Every team knows that they are only as strong as their weakest link and the same holds true with speed. An athlete is only as fast or powerful as their weakest leg. Symmetry is the balance in the power developed during contact and recovery between the right and left leg. Training for speed must include making sure the athlete can develop power equally as well with both legs.
Finally, stamina is an athlete's ability to sustain power throughout competition. Sprinters only need to produce power for a few seconds, but most team sport athletes must maximize speed and power, recover, and then do it over and over again. Playing as well in the fourth quarter as the first or running the final mile as efficiently as the first, demands a level of conditioning that will allow an athlete to maintain form and technique while fatigued. A year-round training plan that incorporates an athlete's in-season, post-season and pre-season development is required to build speed and stamina while reducing the risk of injury.
Every athlete has the capacity to improve their first step, create separation from a defender, close a gap on an opponent, make a quicker cut, increase their endurance and improve their top end speed. It requires a commitment to performance training and improving upon each of the five fundamentals to prefect the skill of speed. Come see us to make this your Summer of Speed!
For today's article I will focus on the foundation of all athletic achievement.
Can you guess what it is?
I can hear some of you saying "Yeah, it's:
And to a certain degree, you are correct. These attributes will always help an athlete perform at a high level. But the foundation of all athletic performance and achievement is the mind. And more specifically, it's your intention aka your goal.
You can work until your body gives out but unless your work has an intention, it's just activity. Every athlete wants to run faster, jump higher, and/or become more agile.But the question is why? Your why is your intention. You want to run faster so you can win the race. You want to jump higher so you can dunk a basketball or get more rebounds. You want to become more agile so you can get open more and have more opportunities to score.
Your intention is just as important as all the work and effort you are putting in. It's the intention that ties everything together and makes sense of what you are doing. It is the farmer's intention of producing a bountiful crop that leads him to till the land, sow his seeds, to water and nurture his plants to fruition.
Similarly, each athlete will have his or her own reason/intention:
-Make the team
-Become a starter
-Become All-City / All-State / All-American
-Win a championship
And some intentions may seem less "glamorous" but are still very much important:
-Contribute to the team
So what's your intention? What is all your work for?
Why are you busting your hump at practice everyday?
Why are you hitting the gym after practice?
Why are you putting in overtime at Athletic Republic after your practice and the gym?
Why are you giving up your weekends and your vacations?
Why are you doing all of this, if it's not to succeed when you get your opportunity!
All the hard work, pain, and sacrifice has to be for a reason!
Make sure you know what that reason is!
So I ask you again, what is your intention?
Director of Training
("I'm not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat" - Michael Jordan)
Congratulations to the AR Stars on a job well done this past weekend.
In the first meet of the year, and for virtually everyone, the first meet of their lives the AR Stars showed up and showed out at the USATF-AZ Regulation meet hosted at Central High School this past Saturday. The team was well represented on both the boys and the girls side of the competition. Now with the first one in the books, we will continue working hard as we prepare for our next upcoming meet on March. 16 in Tucson, Arizona. I would also like to send a special shout-out to all the parents who came out to support the team! It was because of you that we all had such an awesome experience. Thanks for everything - Coach Brunson
Listed below are the final results for each our athletes:
*Boys 8 and under age group :
Miles Lockhart - (100m): 16.69 (PB) - Placed 6th out of 48 athletes
*Girls 11-12 year old age group:
Talia Schrader - (100m): 15.40 (PB) - Placed 19th out of 54 athlete (200m): 33.40 (PB) - Placed 30th out of 55 athletes (400m): 1:16.62 (PB) - Placed 18th out of 49 athletes
*Boys 11-12 year old age group:
Damon Cheatham - (100m): 14.08 (PB) - Placed 11th out of 61 athletes (200m): 28.71 (PB) - Placed 9th out of 56 athletes (400m): 1:09.26 (PB) - Placed 12th out of 45 athletes
Nick Kelly - (100m): 15.89 (PB) - Placed 46th out of 61 athletes (200m): 33.34 (PB) - Placed 45th out of 56 athletes (400m): 1:17.67 (PB) - Placed 36th out of 45 athletes
*Boys 13-14 year old age group:
Jason Delgado - (100m): 15.20 - Placed 44th out of 56 athletes (200m): 31.97 - Placed 44th out of 57 athletes (LJ): 12'01.25"- Placed 12th out of 14 athletes
Dylan Fernandez - (100m): 13.05 (PB) - Placed 17th out of 56 athletes (200m): 26.85 (PB) - Placed 14th out of 57 athletes (400m): 1:01.18 (PB) - Placed 10th out of 48 athletes
Tre Hart - (100m): 15.13 (PB) - Placed 43rd out of 56 athletes (200m): 31.81 (PB) - Placed 43rd out of 57 athletes (400m): 1:10.82 (PB) - Placed 33rd out of 48 athletes
Josh Kelly - (100m): 15.52 (PB) - Placed 49th out of 56 athletes (200m): 33.09 (PB) - Placed 52th out of 57 athletes (400m): 1:16.55 (PB) - Placed 45th out of 49 athletes
Elijah Reed - (100m): 15.30 (PB) - Placed 46th out of 56 athletes (200m): 32.07 (PB) - Placed 46th out of 57 athletes
And even though they didn't compete for the Stars, there were several other athletes that train at our facility that did very well this past weekend:
Matthew Motes: 1st Place Discus (11-12 y.o. Boys) (Arizona Cheetahs)
Cail Knapp: 33rd place 100m and 26th place 200m (11-12 y.o. Boys) (Alliance)
Nicholas Walrod: 5th place 800m (13-14 y.o. Boys) (AZ Elite)
**I sincerely apologize if I missed anyone. Keep working hard and keep kicking butt!
Overtraining can be described as a syndrome that occurs when the volume and/or intensity of an individual's training exceeds their ability to recover. Simply put, it means training too often and/or too hard without proper recovery. When that happens bad things begin to occur. In fact, the demoralizing effects of overtraining have even led to some athletes calling it quits altogether!
There are many pathsto overtraining
For the purpose of this article I will focus on the most common path: Faulty Reasoning. We start running faster, moving quicker or jumping higher with 2-3 days/week of training and we think to ourselves, "Hmmm, if I can can shave .20 off of my 40 yard dash or jump 3 inches higher with only 2-3 days/week of training, imagine what I can do with 4-5 days!" Now there's the rub because that one little thought has planted the seed of overtraining and if you continue to harbor that thought you will reap you a crop of the following unwanted signs.
Common Signs of Overtraining
*The following list contains just a few of the more common signs of overtraining. There are many more that can be further addressed.
1) Hitting a plateau - aka getting "stuck in a rut"; reaching a point where you can no longer see any visible signs of progress
2) Loss of focus/motivation: You no longer feel as passionate about your goal/sport
3) Loss of speed and/or strength: Performance is starting to go back the other way
4) Getting sick more often than normal: Without proper rest your immune system has been compromised.
There are ways to bounce back from overtraining
Don't feel bad if you've reached a point where you no longer seem to be "improving"
As a seasoned athlete I too know how dishearting it can be to plateau after seeing such awesome gains. Luckily the effects of overtraining are not permanent, there are ways to reverse this condition.
1) The simplest and easiest way is: Rest! Take a day off - Take a week off - I've even had athletes take 2 weeks off in certain situations
2) Modify your training if needed
3) Modify your diet if needed
4) Take up yoga, get a massage, try meditation
5) Speak to a knowledgeable trainer/coach about overtraining, such as your trainers at Athletic Republic -remember, we are here to assist you in any way we can on your quest to realizing your goals/dreams.
At Athletic Republic we encourage our athletes to give 100% to get the most out of each session. But the unfortunate truth is even if you train like a beast, if you're not properly resting in between sessions, it's all for naught. As backwards as it seems, the majority of your athletic gains are made as you rest. So now you can see why we always say it's not necessarily about working harder but about working SMARTER!