Is Your Training Functional??

Is My Training Functional? 

What is functional training?

· Simple. Training that makes sense.
 

How to Make Your Training Functional (Applicable to Sport)

· The demands of sport require your athlete to move fast and make quick decisions.

o Your lifts/training should compliment those demands in their respective sport.

 

Example:

 

Soccer players are continuously accelerating/decelerating with quick bursts of speed in various planes of motion. Although, they may attain a total volume of 5-6 miles or running, it is broken down into a series of sprints.

 

When designing your training with an athlete that has these demands; make this a top priority in your programming. Create circuits that will train the athlete anaerobically with high intensities for short time durations and short rests that will in turn train them aerobically as well. In essence, you have specified the immediate demands of the sport (quick bursts and responding rapidly) and trained them to handle the aerobic demands (running for miles).

 

If you are new to fitness and sport performance, HIIT style training is a great place to start in learning ways to develop programs to fit the sport demands of your athlete. However, to my experienced sport performance professionals this is simply sprint/interval training, a long trusted art form that appears to be making a major comeback in the development of our athletes.

 

Remember this, if you train slow, you play slow. It is as simple as that.

 

Kyle Stevenson, USAW is a national championship high jump coach and  the head speed and movement specialist at SWXLLER. If you would like more detailed information on this topic, feel free to email  Koach Kyle at ksteve15@gmail.com.

Timelines

We have to keep it 100 with you at all times about this thing called fitness. Regardless of your fitness and/or training goal, you have to be realistic about what you want to accomplish. Although it may sound like a broken record, one cannot be sucked into the hype of fitness teas, 30 day challenges, and promises of quick results. Let’s use cutting as an example. You should ONLY be looking to lose 1.5 to 2 lbs MAX per week. Anything more is lean body mass and water, which will contain vital nutrients to help you perform at your best. So if you have 30 lbs of fat on you, you have to set a REALISTIC date for when you want to be “shredded”.

Obtaining your ideal body composition is a lifestyle change. Its time to have a paradigm shift: rather than always trying to get ready for an event or season, why not create lifestyle change in which you stay in shape all year??? This doesn’t meant that you can’t have your cheat meals here and there, but those meals should be a rare treat and not an everyday occurrence.

Give yourself at minimum 16 weeks to get yourself into great shape. Once you hit that ideal body, keep the same techniques that helped you attain that body and keep going! That way if you need to get back into shape you can give yourself a shorted time to get lean. Remember, small changes over time produce massive results!!!

3 Reasons Why You Are Missing This Exercise

When training it is the simplest of exercises that produce the best results. Sadly, so many people are caught in the web of misinformation, doing all types of variations of made up exercises that produces no adaptation on the body. If you are new to lifting it is imperative that you build a proper foundation regardless of your training goal. So yes I know you are waiting to know what this magical simple exercise is right? Read on to find out!

Im Only Making One Trip to Carry These Groceries 

Groceries.png

You ever wonder why when you pull this extreme feat of laziness, that you feel extremely winded? Well what you are doing is actually an exercise called the farmers walk. Farmers walks were originally thought of as a strict strongman event lift  and became a staple in the worlds strongman completion in 1983. Although farmers walks are one of the most functional exercise around, so many people neglect this simple exercise.So why is an exercise so basic and so effective at burning fat and gaining muscle rarely seen in gyms today?

1.Farmers walks strengthens your “pillar

When performing the farmer’s walk, you are activating a major number of muscles in your pillar. The pillar, which was first described as the core, compromises of the entire trunk region of your body from the hips to the shoulders. When you strengthen this area you greatly improve your body’s postural stability. The more stable your body is the better you can move in multiple directions, which can be advantageous if you are an athlete. Strengthening of the pillar also activates your transverse muscles. Forget about your six pack (although we will talk about that later), the muscle that you cannot see are the muscles underneath your “show muscles” that drive strength development. So if you wish to get crazy strong, you can’t miss out on this key movement

2. Reduced chance for injury

Squatting and always get “a thing”? You know, that thing, that little twinge that causes you to move to the leg press for a few weeks? Well that “thing” is a breakdown of the small muscles that help you stand up right. Farmer’s walks can help to clean that up tremendously and performing farmers walks for a length of time can actually increase numbers on your squat. The more preventive measures you can do in the gym to stay healthy, the better!

3. Farmer’s walks burn CRAZY amounts of BODYFAT

You don’t always have to run to do cardio. Performing farmers walks can strengthen your cardiovascular system, not to mention make you feel like you are literally about to die. My father actually has just been introduced to farmers walks, and just like a father, he underestimated its effectiveness. Pop went for the gusto from the start using 100lb dumbbells (PLEASE start off what with you can do, don’t do this ) and he told me that before he walked 30 feet he was huffing and puffing and has to drop them. Farmers walks do this by causing your heart to pump more blood to your muscles to perform the activity. Acting in the same way as running, you body recognizes this activity as cardio and overtime will create the same adaptation that sprinting will do in regards to body composition. Now this is provided that you are eating at a slight calorie deficit to lose weight.

Let me not forget… farmers walks build a crazy six pack.. thank me later!

Although farmers walks are a simple movement, I never want to leave you without giving you information on how to perform. Check this video out below to see how to perform the famers walk. Once you watch the video, try this workout for a finisher after one of your training days:

Using two dumbbells, grab each dumbbell and walk a path down and back 50yds. Rest for 45 seconds in between, and perform for 4 sets

Farmers Walk

4×50 yd

:45 rest between sets

 

References

Carter, C. (2014). Why a Strong Pillar is Critical for Soccer. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://blog.sklz.com/expert-knowledge/strong-pillar-critical-soccer/
Spriggs, D. (2015). The Farmers Walk: Why You Should Do Them – Starting Strongman. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://startingstrongman.com/2015/01/27/the-farmers-walk-why-you-should-do-them/
Minor Bowens, CSCS is a sport performance coach at The University of Louisville and founder of The Swxller Company. A former division 1 two sport athlete and certified strength and conditioning specialists, Minor strives to provide readers with the most relevant information to help people reach their individual training goals. Following the philosophy of “growth mindset”, Minor works to improve the performance of his athletes and well as himself daily and believes that you have to “walk the talk.

Four Ways to Stay Lean Year Round

IMG_8319

For anyone that has worked to achieve a low body fat percentage, one knows that the process is tedious yet a wonderful feeling. However so many people use outdated techniques that call for extreme low calorie diets that are restricted of many foods that cause enormous cravings that spur almost uncontrollable cheat meals that sometimes turn into cheat days or even weeks. What few know that there’s are a couple of small “hacks” that serve to keep people lean all year. The days of staying lean by eating like a bird are over. We have found 4 simple steps to keep your palate satisfied, allow you to go out with your friends and not be weird around lunch time, and see those abs that you have worked so hard for.

1.The 90/10 Rule

images

  • Let’s get real here: You nor anyone else had the will power to avoid junk food YEAR ROUND and that is perfectly fine. Just as one meal won’t make you lean, one meal won’t make you fat either. The key however is to reserve these fatty junk type of foods to ten percent of your food intake. In other words save the doughnuts and cheese sticks for RARE OCCASIONS. Now this doesn’t meal you can’t enjoy some of your old favorite pastimes, but 90% of your food sources must continue to be from rich nutrient dense foods. Keep the majority of your carbs complex, eat loads of veggies and keep your proteins lean. Earn that double double with animal sauce, you will thank us later.

2.  Choose Your Condiments Wisely

wf

Many of us LOVE FLAVOR which is freaking awesome. However many of our favorite spices, sauces and condiments are loaded with empty calories which can add up quickly. Although slightly more expensive brands such as Walden Farms carry a vast variety of dressings, syrups, condiments and even jelly that are calorie, carb, and fat free! These brands will usually be in the diabetic section of your large grocery chains and make all the difference. Give them a try and you will be surprised that such witchcraft actually exists.

3. HIIT

sprinting

No matter what you have heard in the past, all cardio is not created equal. In regards to any training program consistency is the goal. Now during someone’s leaning out phase of training one might be more inclined to spend 30 minutes to an hour each day. But what about all year? The reason why high intensity interval training (HIIT) is so effective is that it is QUICK. About 15 to 20 minutes of a 1:2 to 1:3 ratio of short bursts of maximal cardio activity followed by a less intensity rest period not only burns more fat due to EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption), but mentally you are more inclined to spend 15 minutes doing cardio than 45. An example of this would be a 30 second incline sprint at a 10.0 incline and 11mph speed for 20 seconds followed by a 1 minute light jog at 4.5mph on the treadmill. The beauty of HIIT is that it can be used with about any form of cardio which means you have unlimited variety! Use HIIT training 3-4x per week right after your weight training session to rev up your metabolism, preserve muscle and drop some serious body fat.

4.  Integrate Carb Cycling with IIFIYM

arnold-low-carb-day

At Swxller we don’t believe in DIETS, because simply they don’t work. What you need is a system to stay on track with the 90/10 rule AND fit in some of your favorite foods to not feel “deprived”. Carb cycling is a technique that helps to continually increase your metabolism by manipulating your carb intake to continuously drop your body fat percentage. You will rotate from 3 low carb days to deplete your muscles of muscle glycogen , followed by 1 high carb day to aid in recovery and cause your body to only use carbs for energy rather than storing it. The storage of unwanted carbs is a main contributor of fat retention. There are many calculators from a variety of websites, but an easy way to employ  the carb cycle is to multiply your bodyweight by 1.5 to find out your  high carb day, then divide that number by .75 to find your low carb day.  Always keep your protein to 1g per pound of bodyweight and keep your fats to 0.5 to 0.75 per pound of bodyweight . The process is tough but very rewarding if you stay consistent with it.

Now when it comes to IIFIYM there is a lot of literature out there that says if a food fits in your macros then it is fine NO MATTER WAHT TYPE OF FOOD IT IS. This implies  that you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits. But we are smarter than that right?? Remember you still need NUTRIENTS. However by using the 90/10 rule there will be times in which you can have went treats and still stay on track.

During a carb cycle, in order to not feel the effects of near ketosis, which is lethargy, irritability, fatigue, and a reduced motivation to train, you should eat your carbs in the morning and around your training. Right after training you have a window in which your body will absorb SIMPLE CARBS as muscle glycogen and will not store it as fat. This is your A HA moment and window of opportunity! By using the methods of IIIYM, you have the opportunity to ad in a SMALL sweet treat in the place of dextrose right after training to satisfy some cravings and keep you on track of eating rich nutrient dense foods 90% PERCENT OF THE TIME.  To make is process easier use applications like myfitnesspal to track your meals and your macronutrient intake.

REFERNCES

Trapp, E. G., Chisholm, D. J., Freund, J., & Boutcher, S. H. (2008). The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. International Journal of Obesity, 32(4), 684-691.
King, J. W. (2001). A comparison of the effects of interval training vs. continuous training on weight loss and body composition in obese pre-menopausal women (Doctoral dissertation, East Tennessee State University).

Paplinskie, S. A. (2013). An Autoethnographical Tapestry of Feminist Reflection on My Journey of a Fitness Model Physique.

Ahima RS, et al. Leptin regulation of neuroendocrine systems. Front Neuroendocrinolgy 2000;21:263-307.

Kozusko FP. Body weight setpoint, metabolic adaption and human starvation. Bull Math Biol 2001;63:393-403.

What an Athlete Needs to Know About Hydration

Front image_drinking-waterAs an athlete it is imperative that hydration be the forefront of your training. Research has shown that “exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of body weight. Losses in excess of 5% of body weight can decrease the capacity for work by about 30% (Armstrong et al. 1985; Craig and Cummings 1966; Maughan 1991; Sawka and Pandolf 1990). Your body is a bioengineered machine and the amount, type, and frequency in which you hydrate yourself can not only make the difference in a stellar or detrimental performance, but in some cases life and death! So listen up as we share some keys to success.

Amount

Although a common rule is to drink 1oz per pound of bodyweight per day, a more individualized approach can be used to ensure that you are properly hydrated. If you want to get technical you can use the equation
(Finish weight – start weight) – (weight of amount drink)

So if you weight 160 and after a workout you weigh 156, then (4×16) 64 oz is the amount of water you should drink before your day is out. For bigger athletes this number will increase but if you are drinking a MINIMUM if a gallon a day you should be in good shape.

Frequency

During training you should consume 8-12 fluid ounces per 15 minutes of activity. However, by using the COMMON SENSE principle you should drink all day EVEN WHEN YOU ARE NOT THIRSTY. By using this rule of thumb you will ensure that you are properly hydrated. A nice benchmark to gauge whether you are drinking enough is your urine. Some say that apple juice colored urine indicates that you are hydrated but here at swxller we are interested in excellence. CLEAR urine, yes clear as water urine is the prime indicator that you are hydrated. Once you consistently have clear urine one will know that they have not missed the boat on hydration.

Type

You are an athlete so you need to fuel yourself with nothing but the BEST quality fuel. For hydration purposes that fuel is WATER. Electrolyte filled substances such as gatorade which have potassium and sodium are great as well but ONLY for strenuous activity and should not be used as a hydration source all day. For general hydration water should be your go to beverage. Now one doesn’t have to be super fancy and get the latest brits water filter (although those are pretty sweet) but if you are balling on a budget, natural spring water by the gallon only costs anywhere from 75 cents to one dollar at most grocery stores. In other words, but down the juices and tea and pour you a nice cold glass of the good stuff.

Water is key, water is your friend! Are you hydrating enough?? Let us see by using the hashtag #swxller #hydration in your social media posts!!!

SWXLLER

5 Essential Exercises for Speed

sprinting

Speed is the name of the game in today’s sports world and every “guru” out there has their won specific set of skills that they promise will get an athlete faster. While some of these practices may or may not produce results, one can’t deny that a solid weight room foundation aids in speed development. We at Swxller have put together our top 5  room exercise for speed. Give them a try and put some heat in those wheels!

1. Power Clean

cleandiagram

Olympic lifting employs some of the fastest barbell speeds in the sports world today. The reason that these exercises have been used by sport specific athletes is that the clean produces a very high power output. this output has been linked to increased force production of the abdominals, hips, and trunk which has translated into increased speed for athletes. While complete mastery of this olympic lift is not essential, a weight that can provide enough stimulus to create a high power output is desired

2. Back Squat

camille-back-squat

Lower body strength and power is essential to become a faster athlete. Strength in the muscles of the entire lower extremity help to produce the optimal stride frequency and stride length to increase speed. This old school lift has stood the test of time to produce not only lower body, but total body strength by engaging the core to stabilize the body during this exercise. Increases in strength from the squat has also been linked to gains in the ability to decelerate, which has an overall positive effect on faster sprint times

3. DB Step Up

DB-Step-Up-M-2

Unilateral strength is key when one talks about speed. When you run you are in what we call a “flight phase”. In this flight phase you are on one leg. It would only be logical that you would train to be stronger and stable on one leg right? Well the dumbbell step up is a great exercise to improve stabilization and strength on one leg and help to mimic the motion of the hip flexor while running.

4. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

dumbbell-romanian-deadlift

Although this exercise may seem to some to not make the cut, increased strength of the posterior chain, namely the gluten, are very important to increased speed of an athlete. RDL’s are a knee dominant lower pull exercise that will help an athlete straighten and control the swing phase of the sprint motion. It is important to strengthen the hamstrings and hip extensors as the hamstring is one of the most injured muscles in sports

5. Prowler Push

prowl2-642x240

Now we get into some actual running!! The prowler push exercise is great in that it forces the athlete to stay in a 45 degree angle that is crucial to efficient sprinting. The prowler push also helps to increase core activation, core stability, and strengthens ankle stability. The prowler is one of the best exercises for overall sprint mechanics are  should be put into your arsenal.

Add these exercises and you will see your speed increase in no time.

Swxller

5 Tips To Have a Great Training Session

Mindset

The gym is filled with many toys, gadgets,and people who will serve as an inspiration or a distraction depending on your mindset once you step foot in the gym. As we have stated, we do not just workout- we TRAIN. Adopting this mindset will help you to concentrate and get the most out of each training session to improve in the weight room, elevate plateaus, and get closer to your individual goal outside of the gym.

We have accumulated 5 great tips to ATTACK the gym each time you train. Follow these tried and true steps and be the BEAST you are meant to be!

  1. Consume a clean pre workout meal

Fueling before you go to train is essential in your success in the weight room. Without the proper fuel you will be sluggish, depleted of energy, and it will be easier for you to gain focus while lifting. Although pre workout supplements are all the rage right now, we recommend that you consume real food to help you fuel. We recommend a quick whey protein drink (20g whey) and a piece of fruit. Fruits such as bananas contain digestive carbohydrates and potassium which aid in nerve and muscle function. And yes bananas are high glycemic, but these simple carbohydrates will be utilized for energy and will also help to fuel the loss of muscle glycogen lost in training.

  1. Put the phone on airplane mode

Question, are you in the weight room to train or become a model? Instagram is a great app, but the use has its place and if you are working to get better the selfies should be regulated to the locker room. When training your focus should be on the session. Directing your focus will also help decrease your rest time between sets, reduce your chance for injury, and have a more quality session overall. So bang that favorite playlist to get you hype, but people will KNOW if you have been gym- you don’t have to tweet it.

  1. The Power of the Superset

If you have started to see a decline in quality of your workouts, it may be due to a reduction in the stress you put on your body. Slightly alter your program by supersetting your exercises. This new added stress will get you in better condition due to an increased time under tension which can be the added spark you need. Also you will use  your time more efficiently in the weight room.

  1. Don’t be a Gym Lawyer

Although bro science is alive and well in most weight rooms across the country, you have to remember you are an athlete. Rather than stand around and critique what everyone else is doing, focus on YOU. Everyone has different goals and you will do more harm than good giving advice to someone who hasn’t asked for your help. You have your program, learn and master that. Your results will have people asking you more questions than you can handle

  1. 23 is Better than 1

You can have the greatest training session EVER, but if the rest of your day is crap it doesn’t matter. How you eat, sleep, and prepare for each training session will determine how you will progress in the gym. No, we are not saying to think about the gym 24 hours a day, but you do need to be mindful about your lifestyle out of the gym. If you party every night, eat nothing but fast food, and barely get any sleep (talking to you college students), how do you think you are going to progress in your training? The great make the sacrifices to be great. No one is an exception.

Swxller