Stop Cheating your Cool Down by DJ Hicks

We all know why we train for our sport. It’s no secret that in order to get better at any skill, some sort of practicing must take place in order to gain an adaptation that will translate to the field of play. Adaptations that come in the form of increased cardiovascular capacity or absolute strength are easily identifiable by athletes, and for this reason, are received with minimal groaning and complaints.

Consisting of a warm-up, workout, and cool down, most training sessions don’t have a problem incorporating the first two correctly. Why would there be a problem? Obviously, if you don’t train, you won’t reap an adaption, a very simple truth. Warming up, admittedly not as clear-cut an activity, is still something that is observed by even the most uninformed of coaches for its ability to prime to body for whatever training stimulus it’s about to receive. Cooling down, however, is not so easily received.

Dependent upon the training session and the amount of physical exertion that an athlete is put through, a lot can occur inside of the body. For the sake of relatability across the various sports, let’s look at high intensity interval training (HIIT) for example. During one of these extremely metabolically taxing workout sessions, in which bodily temperature and heartrate significantly increase, a considerable amount of waste product is built up inside of the muscles, and  adrenaline and endorphins are released into the circulatory system (1). As a result of all of these occurrences, the circulatory system is forced to work double time in order to efficiently transport blood to and from the heart in order to […]

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Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.

By |July 28th, 2015|Training Info|0 Comments

Grace Nelson commits to Ohio State

Athletic Lab scholastic athlete Grace Nelson recently committed to play lacrosse for Ohio State University as part of the class of 2022. Ohio State is located in Columbus, OH and is one of the top athletic schools in the country. In 2015, the lacrosse team ranked 14th in the NCAA finishing with a record of 13 wins and 8 losses. Grace is a long time Athletic Lab scholastic athlete and has participated in both our group and private sessions. She is a rising sophomore at Cardinal Gibbons High School where she plays midfield for the top ranked girls lacrosse high school team. Grace is also a critical member of the Carolina Fever lacrosse club.

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Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.

By |July 27th, 2015|News|0 Comments

Plyometric Training, Sport Specific Training, and Functional Training: How they are Misused by John Vilardi

What is Plyometric Training?

Plyometric training was first introduced in the United States by a Track and Field coach, Fred Wilt in 1975. The core idea behind plyometrics is the idea of reactive power; essentially, an aggressive lengthening of muscle fibers (eccentric phase), followed by a powerful shortening of muscle fibers (concentric phase). Reactive power is another way of saying stretch shortening cycle. The stretch shortening cycle utilizes sensory receptors in the belly of muscles called muscle spindles. Muscles spindles are sensitive to change in length and the speed of the change in length. The faster the muscle spindles are stretched, the faster and more powerfully the muscles contract in response to the stretch. The stretch shortening cycle has three primary phases: (Baechle, 2008)

Eccentric loading phase: Muscle stretching.
The amortization phase: The transition after the eccentric portion, and before the concentric portion.
Concentric phase: Muscles contracting in response to the change in length.

There a couple ways of making the concentric phase more powerful, they are a fast eccentric loading phase, and a quick amortization phase (so, no pause).

How we commonly mess up plyometric training

There are plenty of ways that we commonly mess up plyometrics in our training, some of the common ways are:

Calling anything that involves jumping, such as box jumps, plyometric training

The problem with calling jump training plyometrics is the lack of the eccentric loading on the muscles, tendons and ligaments. There is little, or no loading phase. Plyometric jumps are defined by the incredibly small ground reaction time, or the turnover from being in the air, hitting the ground, and being in the air again.

Utilizing plyometrics as conditioning, or even the entire workout

Trying to […]

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Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.

By |July 23rd, 2015|Training Info|0 Comments

Squatting Our Way to Health, Moving Our Way Back to Life by Houston Deck

What’s the largest organ in the body? Unless you’re playing Jeopardy, skin isn’t the answer. Doctor of bioenergetics Andy Galpin says, ”To be an endocrine organ, signals must be sent. And as of recent studies, muscle is actually our biggest organ. Muscle is sending signals to the brain, liver, immune system, nervous system, and skeletal system (Galpin, 2015).” Because of this, overall muscle function and development is a direct link to our overall quality of life. Typically the more severe the chronic disease, the more sarcopenia and muscle atrophy we see; ultimately affecting our quality of life.

With that being said, pound for pound (literally and figuratively), the back squat is one of, if not the best, resistance training exercises we could do for ourselves. But is it for everyone? What about your grandmother? What if I’ve had a back injury? Now, degrees of intensity and volume are an entirely different subject but the fact of the matter is everyone should squat to some degree. Dr. Andy Galpin made a fantastic point, if we stopped relying on prescriptions to aid in the heart’s performance in elder adults and focus more on resistance training, reliance on the prescriptions and dosages would be affected drastically (Galpin, 2015). Why?

Simply put, for many elderly individuals even simple tasks are a max effort attempt! Standing from a chair may take an elderly individual all they have because the muscles are so undertrained and resistance training isn’t event being considered as a modality. That’s why the heart rate spikes to drastically just to stand up, it’s a max effort attempt! Let’s look on the opposite end of the spectrum. Take […]

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Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.

By |July 22nd, 2015|Training Info|0 Comments

Athletic Lab Player Monitoring System by John Evans

If you have ever spent a considerable amount of time studying training theory, you have likely seen a variety of fancy graphs with loading schemes. Early on in my athletic career, I would look at these graphs and find myself inquiring about how they were created. How were they measuring training load? Were they using an equation I had never seen? Was it a point system? Were they drawn to scale?

In other words, how were they quantifying training load? What can be more confusing is considering how one training stimulus equates to another. How do three sets of four reps of power cleans at 85% compare to five sets of 40 meters of sprint volume? How does one stimulus affect the other? What happens if an athlete misses a day? What if they have an upcoming game and want to be sure they are fresh? How do those variables affect the graphs I am staring at in a textbook?

This is where the player monitoring system comes in. It doesn’t necessarily answer all of the questions stated above, but it does tell you about the athlete’s fatigue and fitness state. Athletic Lab’s Dr. Mike Young has developed similar monitoring systems for other teams such as the Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS. 

Instead of creating a hypothetical graph with a great deal of guess work, the player monitoring system assigns values to each athlete’s state of fatigue and creates a pictorial view of how that athlete is responding to training. This takes the focus off of an ideal training […]

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Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.

By |July 21st, 2015|Training Info|0 Comments

Send Athletic Lab staff “Over the Edge” – Special Olympics Fund Raiser

Athletic Lab is a long time sponsor of the Special Olympics. We have trained the powerlifting and cheerleading teams and have been a host to the NC State Special Olympics Bench Press Championships. Now we’re taking things one step further, participating in their “Over the Edge” Special Olympics fund raiser. As part of the fund raiser, Athletic Lab staff will rappel down the 30 story Wells Fargo building in Downtown Raleigh. Each participant requires a total of $1,000 in donations. We’re attempting to raise $2,000 for the organization. Athletic Lab’s Mike Young and John Grace have volunteered to put their time and life on the line! The “Over the Edge” fund raiser is the perfect way to follow Special Olympics North Carolina athletes’ example and show the world what bravery looks like!

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Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.

By |July 20th, 2015|News|0 Comments

How to Increase Your Vertical Jump by Morgan Pillsbury

In order to improve a skill you must practice it over and over again, right? Just repeat the movement back to back to back? Not quite. Maybe for something like coloring or playing an instrument, but when it comes to improving vertical jumping, that is not exactly a suggested plan of action.

You may then ask: then what should I be doing in order to increase my vertical jump height? Since the movement requires a great amount of force production, as well as a high rate of force production, power is essential. Power is defined as the amount of work done in a certain amount of time, otherwise known in your body as how quickly and forcefully your muscles can contract. The best solution to increasing this power is a mix of strength training and plyometric training (PT) exercise regimens.

Strength training should focus on power cleans, specifically midthigh power cleans and midthigh clean pulls. These two variations have been proven to be most advantageous in improving rate of force development and peak vertical ground reaction forces, which I just mentioned are the two essential pieces of a high vertical jump (Comfort et al., 2011). The other exercise is a deep squat (either front or back), which has been observed to significantly increase the squat jump (SJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ) heights (Hartmann et al., 2012). Whereas, quarter back squats actually produced significant transfer losses in explosive strength behavior, which the researchers attributed to less usage of hip and knee extensors compared to deep squats (Hartmann et al., 2012).

However, as stated earlier, PT must not be left out because strength and power training […]

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Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.

By |July 19th, 2015|Training Info|0 Comments

Athletic Lab’s Dr. Young assists CalTech Athletic Department

Athletic Lab’s Dr. Mike Young was recently brought in to assist the CalTech Beavers athletic department. Athletic Lab helped the forward thinking Beavers in enhancing performance while reducing injuries and made suggestions with their Strength & Conditioning facilities.

CalTech is located in Pasadena, CA. They are a Division 3 athletic program that is one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country. The school has produced over 30 Nobel Laureates. They compete in the SCIAC conference.

Despite being a small school of just under 1,000 students, CalTech has been trying to maximize their athletic program and facilities over the past several years. They are upgrading their athletic mall, coaching staff and seeking the assistance of professionals like Dr. Young.

Athletic Lab regularly assists collegiate, professional and national teams in a wide range of sports performance related projects. If your team is interested in finding out about the “Athletic Lab Way” contact us today!

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Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.

By |July 18th, 2015|News|0 Comments

What is the Core by DJ Hicks

Consisting of the abdominal, lower back, and pelvic muscles, the core represents the central most point of stability from which bodily motion occurs. Acting as a fulcrum that allows the limbs to execute their desired path of movement, the core, in most basic terms, allows athletes to move their bodies athletically. Such athletic movements include proximal to distal actions in which movement is initiated from the trunk of the body and carried out through the limbs, i.e., kicking a soccer ball, sprinting down a runway, executing the perfect snatch. With all this in mind, however, the issue for discussion is not the significance of core work, but what actually constitutes core work.

Scattered throughout the Internet are a countless “6min abs” or “insane abs” types that do their job, in that they give workouts which sculpt aesthetically-pleasing abdominal muscles to show off at the beach, but that’s about it. Sure, all these articles mean well as they are trying to help people improve their physical appearance, but at the same time they are doing a great injustice to the unsuspecting athlete who believes these routines will improve their performance.

The figure above does not include all of the core muscles, but it does include those that are often neglected when programming a core strengthening workout. No one needs to be told to work on their abdominals or obliques because those two are both very visible and obvious places to target, but what about the muscles of the pelvic floor and the diaphragm?

As visible in the image, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor make up the top and bottom of the human […]

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Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.

By |July 17th, 2015|Training Info|0 Comments

Factors affecting change of direction, kinetics and kinematics, along with practical implications by John Vilardi

Quick change of direction is a necessary skill in all competitive sports that requires the athlete to be mobile; from a football running back escaping a tackle, to a base-runner in a pickle. The two common questions in agility work are: What has the greatest affect on change of direction, and how does one improve their ability to change direction?

What has the greatest affect on change of direction?

Research has shown that change of directions has a lot more variables than simply being quick and light on your feet. Change of direction is primarily a combination of agility, and strength (Baechle, 2008).

Agility is more than simply being fast, it is the athlete’s coordinative abilities which consists of being able to quickly modify movement upon observation or anticipation of a stimulus (visual, auditory, or physical), efficient balance, spatial awareness, and proper timing (Baechle, 2008).

Some of you reading this may be wondering where strength comes into play with quick change of direction. Change of direction may appear to be a skill where that athlete must be “light on their feet” to perform; almost as if the athlete hardly touches the ground to move. In fact, the opposite is actually occurring. Athletes with stronger legs are able to better propel themselves off of the ground (plant foot kinetics) while maintaining a proper lower body position which is pivotal in fast changing of direction due to a lower center of gravity which translates to better balance (Spiteri et al., 2013). So, instead of barely touching the ground, the athlete is actually aggressively planting, and then quickly accelerating off the ground utilizing a quick eccentric to […]

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Athletic Lab is the premier Sport Performance and Fitness Training center in North Carolina. Located in Cary, in the heart of the Triangle, we offer a variety of services including Sport Performance training for developmental to elite athletes, and Performance Fitness training including Cary CrossFit.

By |July 16th, 2015|Training Info|0 Comments