Long Term Athlete Development Simplified by Kyle O’Toole

[This is a guest post by Kyle O'Toole is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer with National Academy of Sports Medicine. Kyle recently completed the Athletic Development Mentorship  at Athletic Lab and you can reach him on Instagram @beyourownbest4life.] This infographic by Kyle O'Toole is a great compliment to his recent post on youth exercise and training.

By |2018-12-02T10:50:23+00:00December 3rd, 2018|Training Info|0 Comments

The Importance of Youth Exercise by Kyle O’Toole

[This is a guest post by Kyle O'Toole is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer with National Academy of Sports Medicine. Kyle recently completed the Athletic Development Mentorship  at Athletic Lab and you can reach him on Instagram @beyourownbest4life.] There has been a growing interest in youth fitness programs and the training of younger athletes has become more common in the past few years. Along with this growing interest has come an abundance of new perspectives on how to best work with children. Although researchers have looked at the safety and effectiveness of youth exercise programs there is still plenty of misinformation, and many parents are left wondering what is safe for their child.To complicate things, obesity in children is the worst it has ever been in our country. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, between the years 1999 and 2000, child and adolescent (ages 2-19) obesity was at 13.9%. In 2015 and 2016 that number rose to 18.5% and now obesity affects more than 13.7 million children and adolescents in the US. What’s worse is that the prevalence of obesity in children increases as they get older. Childhood obesity is 13.9% from ages 2 thru 5, 18.4% from ages 6 thru 11, and 20.6% from ages 12 thru 19 (Hales, Carroll, Fryar, & Ogden, 2017). There has never been a greater need for access to the correct information that will safely shift health markers, for your child, in the right direction. Here are the things you need to know about exercise and youth. Early Sport Specialization Although it currently has no standardized definition in literature, early sport specialization (ESS) [...]

By |2018-11-27T23:49:22+00:00November 30th, 2018|Training Info|0 Comments

Complex Training Simplified by Kyle O’Toole

[This is a guest post by Kyle O'Toole is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer with National Academy of Sports Medicine. Kyle recently completed the Athletic Development Mentorship  at Athletic Lab and you can reach him on Instagram @beyourownbest4life.] This infographic by Kyle O'Toole is a great compliment to his recent post on Complex Training. 

By |2018-11-28T11:32:06+00:00November 29th, 2018|Training Info|0 Comments

Complex Training by Kyle O’Toole

[This is a guest post by Kyle O'Toole is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer with National Academy of Sports Medicine. Kyle recently completed the Athletic Development Mentorship  at Athletic Lab and you can reach him on Instagram @beyourownbest4life.] Complex training is a term that many strength and conditioning coaches are using and who also understand the vital role it plays in the development of athletes where a combination of strength and speed is necessary. Every athlete needs to get bigger, faster, stronger, and coaches who can meet those needs are the ones who are utilizing complex training to its fullest potential. Complex training provides athletes with greater development of motor capabilities and strength qualities through the use of varied external loads and speeds of movement (Athletes Authority, 2017). It is widely considered the most effective training method in development of the force velocity curve. The key principles to complex training lie in the understanding of the force velocity curve and the importance it has on overall athlete development. Just understanding what the curve represents won’t be enough to push athletes to their peak. As a coach you need to realize how to best train all aspects of the curve. Force Velocity Curve The force velocity curve is a simple graphic that shows the relationship between force and velocity. Force and velocity have an inverse relationship with each other. As force production increases, velocity decreases and vice versa. Think of the speed of the bar while performing a barbell bench press. You can move the bar much quicker while warming up (lower force, higher velocity) compared to performing a 1RM (higher force, lower [...]

By |2018-11-28T11:28:15+00:00November 28th, 2018|Training Info|1 Comment

Blood Flow Restriction Training by Kyle O’Toole

[This is a guest post by Kyle O'Toole is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer with National Academy of Sports Medicine. He is currently an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab and you can reach him on Instagram @beyourownbest4life.] Blood flow restriction training has received a lot of attention lately but many still have questions on the potential benefits. This infographic from Kyle O'Toole provides great insight on when it might be useful.

By |2018-10-29T12:09:14+00:00October 29th, 2018|Training Info|0 Comments

The Effects of Breathing on Sport Performance By Harrison Yi

[Harrison Yi received his bachelor's degree in Business Management with a focus on entrepreneurship from Texas Tech University. Harrison is currently a part of Athletic Lab's coaching mentorship program.] The importance of inspiratory and expiratory muscle training has long been an area of focus in healthcare and general wellness in the public. Most commonly seen in different types of meditation, yoga, and movement and mobility training, focused and purposeful breathing has been shown to have therapeutic, stress reducing effects. These days, it is common for competitive athletes to implement some sort of dedicated breath training on low intensity or rest days. More sport specific training sessions by nature will also work breath training that is related to the sport. Powerlifting, for example, has a breathing/bracing component to the sport that is a skill that the athletes work on most training sessions. Breathing patterns will be different when comparing ballistic movements (e.g. sprinting) to slower rates of force development (e.g. long distance running). Breaking this down even further: athletes playing different positions in the same sport will have different respiratory patterns. In American football, a quarterback, kicker, and running back will cover wide-ranging respiratory inputs and outputs. Main points of discussion will be sport-specific considerations and respiratory patterns along with   inspiratory warm-ups, training, and diaphragmatic breathing. Sport-Specific Influences on Breathing One study looking at the respiratory differences in the sports of basketball, handball, soccer, and water polo set out to find if any anthropometric/demographic qualities correspond with lung capacity and function.1 The cross-sectional study tested 150 male athletes that played at an elite (national/international) level of their sport for at least 15 hours a week. Anthropometric evaluations measured height, weight, body fat percentage, and ultimately, BMI. [...]

By |2018-09-07T09:49:37+00:00August 14th, 2018|Training Info|0 Comments

Early Sampling vs. Early Specialization By Sharan Gopalan

[Sharan Gopalan achieved his bachelors and masters in the field of Computer Science. He has been coaching soccer at YMCA and NCFC Youth over the past 2 years as a volunteer and is an aspiring youth soccer coach. He will returning to university to pursue his masters in sports science. Sharan is currently a part of Athletic Lab's coaching mentorship program.] How do you develop talented athletes? Practice makes perfect, as the age-old saying goes. So why not have them train repeatedly and deliberately from a young age? Surely that ought to do it? Probably not the best idea. For years, practitioners and researchers have been debating the merits of early specialization versus early sampling and the argument rages on. Let’s get a hold on what these terms mean before moving ahead with the discussion. Specialization in sport, as the name suggests, simply means picking a sport and sticking with it through dedicated practice sessions. Athletes accumulate hour upon hour of practice and training time in that one sport and its movements, which is collectively termed as deliberate practice. This is a performance-driven approach where the sole aim is to improve the athlete and prepare them for competition. Sampling on the other hand involves athletes playing different sports and getting a feel for different kinds of movements. Athletes spend more time playing games and performing different activities, collectively termed as deliberate play. The goal here is to create a fun and engaging environment that affords well-rounded development of the athlete (1). On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be anything innately wrong with either approach. However, the key aspect is timing. Guided by Ericsson’s theory, proponents of early specialization suggest that deliberate practice [...]

By |2018-09-07T09:50:00+00:00August 7th, 2018|Training Info|0 Comments

Optimizing Hypertrophy Training by Robert Duncan

[Robert Duncan achieved his bachelor of science in exercise science from Appalachian State University  and masters in Kinesiology and Sports Studies from East Tennessee State University. He has participated in multiple internships with high schools, at the collegiate level, as well as in the private sector.  Robert is currently a part of Athletic Lab’s coaching mentorship program] Why exactly do people go to the gym and resistance train?  Whether it is to improve performance in sport, change body composition, or to get “tone” you may not be training with the right intensity to optimally stimulate a hypertrophic response.  Muscle hypertrophy is the technical term for muscle growth, and it refers to the increase in the size of your muscle cells. The most efficient way to produce a hypertrophic response is high-intensity resistance training, equal to or greater than 80% 1RM and eccentric contractions at 100 - 120% 1RM. It is at these intensities that integrated electromyographic activity has been shown to increase. This elevated neural activation contributes to an increased muscle tonus, an electrophysiological phenomenon, and to strength gains early on in the training period, with muscle hypertrophy contributing to further strength increases later in training. With the increase in the cross-sectional area of a muscle being directly correlated to the increase in maximum force production potential of the muscle. Muscle tonus refers to an increased ionic flow across the cell membrane and gives the muscle a firm appearance. Thus, if toned muscle are the goal, strength is the best method for achieving this appearance. To begin, previous research has shown training with loads at or above 80% 1RM and eccentric contractions at or above 100 - 120% 1RM allow for 10 reps at the [...]

By |2018-08-03T13:39:51+00:00August 1st, 2018|Training Info|0 Comments

Sprint Training for Long Distance Runners by Hayden Giuliani

[Hayden Giuliani recently finished her Master’s degree at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she now works as a research coordinator. She is currently in the Coaching Mentorship Program at Athletic Lab.] It seems like the best way to improve running long distances would be to run long distances. Endurance breeds endurance. Just like the best way to get better at a particular sport would be to play that sport. Over the years, coaches and researchers alike have begun to take a different perspective on that thought. Can doing a seemingly contradictory form of training actually improve endurance performance? If we sort through the research, it seems the answer is yes. In the article, I will break down the characteristics of endurance athletes, the types and descriptions of sprint training, and the implementation of sprint work into endurance training. Endurance athletes are well-conditioned individuals that perform long events, such as running, cycling, or triathlons. Endurance-trained persons typically exhibit certain characteristics, including, but not limited to, high maximal oxygen intake (VO2 max), efficient running economy, a high proportion of type I fibers, and leaner body composition. This simply means they can perform at a high capacity for a long period of time, yet they also tend to be less proficient at strength and power tasks. The typical training program for endurance athletes, which includes runners, cyclists, or triathletes to name a few, would include multiple longer bouts throughout a week’s time. When individuals think of aerobic training, it tends to be very compartmentalized. For instance, there is the immediate energy resource of creatine phosphate, in contrast to lipids which are used over prolonged periods of time. This compartmentalization isn’t necessary; the systems are always working and [...]

By |2018-04-02T12:51:16+00:00April 2nd, 2018|Training Info|0 Comments

Enhanced Recovery Benefits of Deloading for Athletes by Alex Cassella

[Alex Cassella earned her undergraduate degree in Exercise Science at SUNY Fredonia. She now works as a personal trainer and powerlifting coach in the Chapel Hill and Apex area. She is currently in the Coaching Mentorship Program at Athletic Lab] Deload Deload is a term that suggests a decrease in training volume over a period of time in a training program. This is not the same as just taking a week of training off completely, rather is a tactic that coaches and athletes use to promote a stronger recovery. The ideal outcome of a deload is to produce a stronger athlete in the meso- or macro-cycle. Strength and endurance athletes can benefit from this training protocol physically and mentally. Training is a stress that the athletes place upon themselves, breaking their bodies down training session after training session. Dialing in recovery should be one of the primary focuses in their training cycle. They are going to eventually need a “break”, in a way that does not take them completely away from training, but allows them to come back stronger. Fatigue One of the models we can first reference to is the fitness-fatigue model (Below Figure). This gives us the basic understanding of how our bodies work in terms of training to come back stronger, faster, more powerful, etc. at the next training session. The model assures us that as long as we supercompensate, there will be an improvement in performance. The fine line though comes in that ability to recover over a period of time. If things like nutrition, sleep, and proper hydration are not up to standard, we will have a hard time getting over that base level of fitness. What we do not [...]

By |2018-02-02T13:29:57+00:00February 2nd, 2018|Training Info|0 Comments