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Scholastic Price Reductions!

Athletic Lab is proud to release a pricing restructure for our Scholastic Sports Performance Program. We will continue to offer 13 membership types that range in commitment (3 to 12 months), frequency of training (1x / week to unlimited) and type (private, group or a combination).  Of these 13 membership offerings 9 of the options will be reduced in cost by as much as 25% from their previous costs. The remaining 4 offerings (all private training packages) will see a $5 increase in cost / session to better align our prices with the quality of services that we are providing. We are excited to increase the value of what we provide while still providing unmatched Sports Performance Training. Find out more about our Scholastic program and see our new pricing structure by clicking here.

Pricing changes are in effect immediately for any new renewals or new memberships but do not apply to existing memberships that have not completed the full duration of their term.

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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.

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Video from Athletic Lab Summer Weightlifting Open

Last weekend Athletic Lab held another successful weightlifting competition. As part of our push to grow Olympic weightlifting in the state, country here is the video feed from that competition.
Please share with friends. Note that the actual feed starts several seconds in to the video. Special thanks to Chris Graner who spearheaded the video streaming and production. If you are interested in using Chris he can be reached at chrisgraner@gmail.com.

Android / Kindle Video Not Playing? Click Here


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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.

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Soccer Stars Remi Schwartz & Abby Staker shine

ECNL_Logo_final_colorCongratulations to Athletic Lab athletes Remi Schwartz and Abby Staker for their recent achievements on the pitch. Remi’s started all 3 games for her CASL team that recently competed at the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) National Championship Qualifying tournament in Seattle. Only the top clubs in the entire nation qualify to compete. The team failed to advance but Remi played well and just a week later joined her regional Olympic Development Program team and was selected to represent the Southeast in national competition. Abby also started for her CASL team at the ECNL National Championship Qualifying tournament and her team advanced to the North American League Cup play-offs.

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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.

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Creatine: More than just strength and power by Craig Kleinberg

[Craig Kleinberg is an Exercise Physiology master's student at the University of North Carolina and is an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.]

Along with whey protein, creatine is one of the most researched performance supplements on the market. The science is pretty clear, yet there is still much confusion over the safety of this supplement. The official position of the International Society of Sports Nutrition states that there are little to no detrimental effects from supplementation and that it is one of the most beneficial aids for high intensity exercise capacity (1).  Not only does strength improve, but there are also reports of up to a 30% increase in training volume (2,3). Additionally, supplementation has been shown to increase bone mineral concentration and density, thereby decreasing the risk of fractures that may eventually lead to bed rest and potentially mortality (4).

Not only does creatine benefit the musculoskeletal system, there is a host of benefits for the brain.  Studies show that upon activation of the brain, ATP remains constant but there is an immediate drop in phosphocreatine indicating an increased demand for energy (5). Similar to skeletal muscle, the energy byproduct lactate accumulates leading to decreased performance on cognitive tasks, also known as mental fatigue (6).  Supplementation with creatine has been shown not only to decrease mental fatigue, but also increase performance on cognitive tasks (8,9).

Where creatine really shines is the research starting to show improved recovery from traumatic brain injuries. Due to some obvious ethical issues, a majority of studies have been done in rat models, but the results look promising. To simplify the science, upon impact, there is a brief decrease in blood flow to injured area of the brain. This decrease in blood flow does not allow for the cells to meet the energy demand, and eventually this leads to cell death. Creatine helps stabilize the cell membrane and provides an energy buffer thereby preventing the signaling for apoptosis or cell death (O’Gorman et al. ; Sullivan et al. 2000).

The only question left is how to supplement creatine. There are two common supplementation protocols. The first will provide more immediate results, but you may experience water retention and corresponding weight gain. Typically this is not permanent and you should return to normal shortly after completing the loading. The second protocol takes about a month for complete saturation, but weight gain/water retention will be minimal. Protocols are as follows:

Loading/Maintenance Protocol

  • Loading Phase (5-7 days): 15-20g creatine split into even doses throughout the day
  • Maintenance Phase (Continued): 5g creatine with a meal
  • Low Dose Protocol
    • 5g/day with a meal
    • Continue supplementation as long as desired

Here are some take-home points:

  • Creatine is safe and effective
  • Increased strength and training volume (up to 30%)
  • Potential increased in bone mineral concentration/density
  • Energy buffer in the brain leading to
    • Decreased lactate accumulation leading to mental fatigue
    • Improved performance on cognitive tasks
  • Decreases damage and improve recovery from traumatic brain injury

 

References:

1.) Buford, Thomas W., Richard B. Kreider, Jeffrey R. Stout, Mike Greenwood, Bill Campbell, Marie Spano, Tim Ziegenfuss, Hector Lopez, Jamie Landis, and Jose Antonio. “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Creatine Supplementation and Exercise.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 4.1 (2007)

2.) Chrusch, Murray J., Philip D. Chilibeck, Karen E. Chad, K. Shawn Davison, and Darren G. Burke. “Creatine Supplementation Combined with Resistance Training in Older Men.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 33.12 (2001): 2111-117.

3.) Gotshalk, Lincoln A., Jeff S. Volek, Robert S. Staron, Craig R. Denegar, Fredrick C. Hagerman, and William J. Kraemer. “Creatine Supplementation Improves Muscular Performance in Older Men.”Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 34.3 (2002): 537-43.

4.) Chrusch, M. J., P. D. Chilibeck, K. E. Chad, K. S. Davison, and D. G. Burke. “Effect Of Creatine Supplementation Combined With Resistance Training On Whole Body Bone Mineral In Older Men.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 33.5 (2001): S17

5.) Rango M, Castelli A, Scarlato G. Energetics of 3.5 s neural activation in humans: a 31P MR spectroscopy study. Magn Reson Med 1997;38:878–83.

6.) Frahm, Jens, Gunnar Krüger, Klaus-Dietmar Merboldt, and Andreas Kleinschmidt. “Dynamic Uncoupling and Recoupling of Perfusion and Oxidative Metabolism during Focal Brain Activation in Man.” Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 35.2 (1996): 143-48.

7.) Ferrier CH, Alarcon G, Glover A, Koutroumanidis M, Morris RG, Simmons A et al (2000) N-acetylaspartate and creatine levels measured by (1)H MRS relate to recognition memory. Neurol- ogy 55(12):1874–1883.

8.) Watanabe, Airi, Nobumasa Kato, and Tadafumi Kato. “Effects of Creatine on Mental Fatigue and Cerebral Hemoglobin Oxygenation.” Neuroscience Research 42.4 (2002): 279-85.

9.) O’gorman, Eddie, Giesela Beutner, Max Dolder, Alan P. Koretsky, Dieter Brdiczka, and Theo Wallimann. “The Role of Creatine Kinase in Inhibition of Mitochondrial Permeability Transition.” FEBS Letters414.2 (1997): 253-57.

10.) Sullivan, Patrick G., Jonathan D. Geiger, Mark P. Mattson, and Stephen W. Scheff. “Dietary Supplement Creatine Protects against Traumatic Brain Injury.” Annals of Neurology 48.5 (2000): 723-29.​

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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.

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NC Elite makes big jumps with Athletic Lab

NC Elite Volleyball club is one of the top girls volleyball clubs in the country. NC Elite was founded in 2007 by experienced volleyball coaches with the objective of creating a competitive, fun and positive learning environment for participants. They strive to provide young athletes with affordable opportunities to enjoy and grow in the sport of volleyball.

Athletic Lab is proud to have provided sports performance training to their elite teams for the 2013-2014 season in which NC Elite sent 14 teams to the AAU National Championships. Just prior to the National Championship, end-of-season physical testing was conducted and the results were staggering. Here’s a sample of the results from this final testing:

Vertical Jump:

  • 91% of our student athlete’s increased their vertical jump.
  • Highest increases: Raven Jordan (18B)- increased 7.5inches, Gabby Romero (15C)- increased 5.5inches, Catherine Grifith (17B)- increased 5inches

Half Court, There and Back

  • As a club we went from 5.45 seconds and decreased to 4.98 Seconds. Total time lost .47 Seconds
  • Fastest times: Raven Jordan (18B)- 3.33 Seconds, Sydney Holland (18B)- 3.33 Seconds, and Anna Moss (17 B)-4.34 Seconds

Over Head Throw

  • 94% of our Student Athletes saw an increase their Over Head Throw
  • Top athletes in their over head throw: Sydney Holland (18B) 28.6, Raven Jordan (18B) 25.8, and Shelby Raymond (18B) 23.6

To read the full writeup, click here.

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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.

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Athletic Lab Summer Weightlifting Open Results

The Athletic Lab Summer Weightlifting Open was a big success. Here are the results from this weekend’s meet.

Women’s Session

Men’s Sessions

Athletic Lab is North Carolina’s Regional Training Center for USA weightlifting. We have opportunities for competitive weightlifters as well as Olympic lifting enthusiasts.

Check out the meet photos on our Facebook page.

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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.

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Mackenzi Thornburg at US Olympic Training Center

Athletic Lab athlete, Mackenzi Thornburg, will be training at the United States Olympic Training Center (USOC) in Colorado Springs this week. Mackenzi was selected to train in the USA Junior National A2 Invitational. This invitation to the USOC is reserved for the premier youth volleyball athletes in the nation.

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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.

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Interview with Lester Ho, The Training Geek

Lester Ho, commonly known as “The Training Geek” in the bloggosphere, is a weightlifting coach out of Australia.  In addition to coaching weightlifting, he is currently finishing up his PhD in Biomechanics of the snatch. Lester graciously took the time to answer a few weightlifting questions for me.

Interview:

Question 1:  Tell us a little more about The Training Geek and your new gym South East Strength.

Lester Ho:  The Training Geek is my blog which I started as I began my studies in Exercise Science. My interest in understanding the science behind exercise led me to starting this blog. Slowly, it was influenced by the areas of interest that I developed through my studies. When I decided to focus my studies on research and particularly the weightlifting movements, my focus for the Training Geek was to make it a source of information and knowledge based on experience and science for anyone who is keen on weightlifting. Hence the mantra “Bringing Weightlifting to All”.

South East Strength is my new gym set up together with my business partner, Mr Adam Lam who is a National-level equipped powerlifter. We met each other in one of my first weightlifting classes I ran at Cohesion Strength and Conditioning (a mixed implement gym which one of my good mates brought me into). We kept in touch regarding training and we decided to start a lifting club out of my own garage. Initially weightlifters, the club grew bigger and we decided to find a proper location to properly house the club and our lifters. There, we got more specialty equipment for strength sports (i.e. monolift, weightlifting bars and bumpers with change plates, competition bars etc.) to provide an environment for lifters to properly prepare for their lifts. Now we have a good bunch of lifters where we compete under the SES family in weightlifting, powerlifting and strongman.

Question 2: Generally speaking, do you have weekly setup you like to use with your weightlifting athletes? What might one of those weeks look like?

Lester Ho: When an athlete first comes to me, I would spend about 2-4 weeks working on technical issues. So each session would involve a snatch movement or variation, a clean movement or variation, some pressing and finishing off with pulls (or deadlifts) or squats. Once their movement patterns are reestablished, then I will get them on a proper training cycle with the goal of hitting max or a comp at a certain date.

For those on the proper training cycle, I usually have a snatch day, a clean and jerk day, and a squat day for someone who typically trains three times a week. Either a variation or the classic lift is programmed followed by a pull and a squat. I find it important to have a good balance of pulls and squats within the week. Another critical aspect in my programming is that I encourage my lifters to spend the last bits of their sessions finishing off with trunk work or bodybuilding activities.

Question 3: The legs are the driving force behind weightlifting and allow the athlete to accelerate the bar until the extension. A common error I see is the focus being taken off of the leg drive and the athlete using more hips and lower back to drive the bar up. What are your thoughts on leg drive and the use of the hips in the lift?

Lester Ho: Very good question indeed. Yes. There has been a lot of emphasis on the use of hip extension especially in the second pull that have come up from watching the top lifters at their element. However, from my perspective, whether you should use more leg drive or use more hip extension is also dependent on your body segments and how you set yourself up for the second pull.

Weightlifting is a game of physics and levers. Understanding the levers in your body will help you determine if you should focus on using your legs more or you should focus on hip extension. Another misconception is that hip extension is critical by itself but most of the time, it needs to be accompanied with a shrug to ensure that the bar is directed as vertical as possible once it leaves the hips.

Question 4: Technique is very important in weightlifting. But, spending too much training time on technique at lighter weights may hinder an athlete’s ability to progress. What are some of the ways you incorporate technical changes while maintaining a base of heavy classic lifts?

Lester Ho: Technical changes can be implemented if one has a good understanding of motor control and learning. Since the movement of the lift is a complex skill on its own, re-learning the lifts requires an approach based on motor control and development.

I always want to ensure quality of movement on heavier weights so if needed, I would actually enforce single repetitions so that the individual has a chance to gain feedback for each lift and ensure that the quality of movement is not compromised. Sometimes doing doubles or triples will not allow this to happen because the lifter would focus on getting the set completed instead of each repetition being the same.

Question 5: Some athletes feel that getting under the bar is one of the toughest parts of the lift. Do you have any specific drills or exercises that would help address this issue?

Lester Ho: To me, getting under the bar is not an issue of being fast enough. Getting under the bar should be a reaction of the lifter realized that he has completed his second pull. Most of the time, the mistake made is that the lifter focuses so much on pulling the bar up to the extent of pulling with his arms, resulting in making it difficult to get under the bar due to the tension in the arms from the excessive pulling.

I would typically get the individual to focus on achieving the feeling of weightless-ness as that would ensure that the bar’s momentum is not disrupted through excessive pulling from the arms. I would correct this movement with the individual by doing straight-pulls with an emphasis on the shrug and not focusing on the height of the bar. Once the lifter can feel the adequate use of the shrug, then I will allow a bend in the elbows to keep the movement of the bar moving from the pull. If the individual does that by pulling with the arms, I would go back to the shrug again. I have found this to be effective in re-teaching the pull and ensuring that the bar moves due to momentum generated in the second pull and not because of further pulling from the arms. That way, getting under the bar will be a lot easier.

Question 6: If you had any advice for the novice weightlifter wanting to get better at the lifts, what would it be?

Lester Ho: My very first piece of advice is to get a coach right from the start. Every rep done not to the right movement pattern is one rep that you have to undo. The earlier you can prevent a bad movement pattern from being developed, the easier it is to ensure good movement and begin training properly.

Second piece of advice would be to be patient with learning the lifts. It can be a frustrating process but if you have one lift that “clicks”, that’s all you need and you will be able to understand how to lift. Many novices rush in wanting to put more weight on the bar without even being confident of moving the empty bar appropriately and consistently. I always tell my guys that if you cant do what you want to do in the lifts with an empty bar, what makes you think you can do the same with a loaded bar?

 

Big thank you for John and the crew from Athletic Lab for this interview. I look forward to bringing everyone more information and knowledge regarding this wonderful sport of weightlifting. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me via my Facebook Page! 

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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.

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Importance of Proper Rehab after Injury by Cassandra Callahan

[Cassandra is a Physical Fitness Programing student at Coker College in South Carolina and is an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab]

“When can I play again?”

This is the most asked question after an injury from coaches, parents, media, teammates, and even the player themselves. The question they should’ve been asking all along is “Am I ready to play again?” I am living proof of why proper rehabilitation is key when wanting to return to sports. I’ve had a partial tear of the ACL sophomore year of high school. A complete tear and surgery senior year of high school, sophomore year of college, and in May of this year.

I did everything wrong. I had no idea what proper rehab was. I didn’t really know anything in high school except for soccer. Until my last injury I didn’t realize that I was only doing half of what I needed to be doing. Jumping, agility, cutting, and balance are just a few qualities needed to play sports. In rehab I worked on half of these things. Vogel states that rehab corrects the muscle imbalances that may have contributed to the injury. After an injury a doctor may send you to a physical therapist. The physical therapist only does the basic things for you to return to your sport. I performed very little balance, mobility, and strength work in physical therapy. I jogged when I was cleared to run. A couple of months ago when I thought that I could play with a torn ACL I was going through different types of training. Training involved a lot of jumping (how I re-injured my knee), weight training, and agility. What surprised me the most was that I was jumping incorrectly. No one had ever told me I was jumping wrong. It is something athletes do on a consistent basis in games and practice… it’s not something you think of, it is just something that comes naturally.

Hewett, et al. states that “you can return to pivoting, twisting, and rotational sports as early as 3-4 months, but may be unsafe for those athletes who do not have sufficient functional stability to protect weakened or healing graft.”

Who tells you that you have sufficient functional stability?

Granted, surgeries have changed over years, but what has not changed is the continuous number of re-injuries due to the fact that they were simply not ready to return to sports. In my personal experience, I go through rehab, do what they tell me, go to the doctor, he feels my quad muscle and if he feels it is strong enough, I am cleared to return to sports. Personally, I do not think it should be this simple; I feel as though there should be pre- and post-surgery testing for strength, conditioning, and stability to ensure a more seamless return to your sport.

References:

Vogel, Deborah. “Understanding Knee Trauma.” Dance Spirit 1 Jan. 2007: n. pag. Web.

Hewett, Timothy E., Carmen E. Quatman, Kevin R. Ford, Mark V. Paterno, and Gregory D. Meyer. “Rehabilitation After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: Criteria-Based Progression Through the Return-to-Sport Phase.” Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 36: 385-402. Print

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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.

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Athletic Lab Jumps Development Program

Athletic Lab is proud to announce a Summer Jumps Development Program. The 4 week program will focus on all areas of jump development including technique, explosive power, reactive power, maximum strength and speed.

The program guarantees improvement in vertical and horizontal jumping performance. All programming will be directed by published jump training author Nick Newman, MS. Nick is the Director of Scholastic Training at Athletic Lab.

Sign up for the program HERE.

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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.

Athletic Development Redefined