I noticed a long time ago the stronger and more flexible a person is the more they thrive and “rock at life.”
In fact, I changed the phrase “survival of the fittest” to “survival of the flexible.” Being flexible opens up a whole lot of possibilities, definitely keeps you in the game longer and even improves mortality rate.
Baby humans are born flexible. Remember putting your toes in your mouth or sitting in a deep squat to pet your dog or play in the dirt? But then we hit the growth spurt, grow up and start working, we become less active with less variety of movement. Gradually, we lose flexibility, hunch over and start shuffling … unless we move a lot and work out to maintain it!
Yes, it’s easy to see how world-class athletes are mobile. When you add strength to range of motion, a whole lot of possibilities open up! Strength + Flexibility = MOBILITY which means…..better movement quality, resilient joints, greater capacity to generate power from multiple joints for greater overall power. Examine the long strides of a world-class runner, a first basemen doing the splits to make a catch and get the runner out or the incredible backswing reach of PGA Tour players swing. All are mobile and able to control great range in order to do difficult things.
But how is mortality rate tied to mobility? Well, test yourself right now with this mobility challenge. Attempt to get down to a seated position on the floor and get up off the floor with no arm or hand assistance. The more assistance you need in getting down or getting up correlates to less mobility which correlates to less independence. Basically, when we get to the point we cannot get up or down even with assistance then we must rely on outside care. This is why mobility affords one more longevity and a higher quality of life.
Everyone can create more mobility. Remember the phrase “use it or lose it”. By "using it" - or going through all joint ranges - you will be able to maintain what you have and even create more.Do your daily C.A.R.S. The best way to create more mobility is to strengthen all ranges of motion. Traditional exercises are typically done in one or two directions or planes and not done in all ranges. Learn the C.A.R.S (controlled articular rotations) routine for all joints. By slowly moving and contracting all joints (from head to toe) through all end ranges, you will gain control and strength of those ranges as well as develop greater ranges, i.e. mobility.
The Lateral Med Ball T-Position Throw is the second exercise in our T-Position progression with our athletes. The concept is the same: to coordinate the body to be more explosive in rotation, load it. However, the amount of rotation is over a longer arc than the linear position, resulting in higher speeds and more force that must be absorbed.
THE SET UP
The athlete will set their feet wider than shoulder width and perpendicular to the wall with knees bent.
The elbow should be up and in line with the ball on the driving arm.
Fingers turned up toward the sky.
The ball should be at or just under chin height (shot put).
The athlete will rock back (limited rotation) to the side of the drive arm.
Spending as little time as possible at the end of the load, the athlete should rotate to throw the ball violently against a wall (think start throwing the ball before the load is able to stop).
Let your body follow through in rotation. If you catch the ball off the wall, back up and let it bounce to you.
Make sure that the athlete's head stays with the back hip. Often times, athletes want to lead with their head which results in poor rotational mechanics. That isn’t to say that there is no forward movement. As the hips move into the front leg, the head just rides the back hip. Focus on firming up the front leg for maximal power output.
Plyometrics involve repetitive power jumping with quick force production. When muscles lengthen, then immediately shorten, they provide maximal power for an athlete. Plyometrics are an ideal style of training for athletes looking to improve speed and power with varied intensities. When you immediately follow an eccentric contraction with concentric, or “muscle-shortening” contraction, your muscle produces a greater force. This is called the “stretch-shortening cycle.”So that all sounds like something a basketball player would benefit from, right? They need to be powerful and explosive when skying for a rebound, contesting a jump shot or even shooting from 3-point range. This is all true. However, basketball players get the plyometric training they need while playing their sport, so extra plyometric training in the weight room isn't necessary. More does not equal better in this instance.
Okay, so how do you fix this? Easy - practice variations. Two variations to work on are the snatch pull from the floor and the high snatch working into the catch as shown in the video. Now get to work!!
Everything athletes do - from training, to sleeping, to what they are putting in their body - are all small, important pieces to a much bigger puzzle. One vital piece is nutrition and with this month's Trigger Focus being Nutrient Density, I figured I'd address an important question: "Are all calories created equally?" The simple answer is, of course, no. To explain why, I did a comparison case study on what 3,000 calories looks like: healthy, nutrient-dense foods vs. a beloved fast food chain that starts with a 'W' and ends with 'hataburger.'
“ Don’t talk to me about recovery when you're living out of a fast food window .”
I can still hear my collegiate strength coach telling me this as though it was yesterday. He was right, my nutrition habits were trash; I was so used to eating whatever I wanted because I was young, so I thought my body could handle it. I can probably count on one hand how many of us even knew the term ‘nutrient density’ let alone what it meant. So today we are going to EQUIP you with this knowledge.
Simply stated, nutrient density means how many nutrients you get from a food, given the number of calories it contains. A.K.A getting the “biggest bang for your buck”. Why is nutrient density so helpful? Because it gives you concentrated amounts of valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential fatty acids, and phytonutrients , to name a few. Adequate consumption of foods high in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals is essential for a healthy immune system and for empowering your body’s detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms. This helps protect you from cancer and other diseases. Nutrient-dense foods also provide necessary micronutrients - which are highly overlooked - that are important co-factors in reactions that produce growth, repair tissues, and increase oxygen transport. Being deficient in this will negatively affect performance and could keep you from reaching your athletic potential.
Now let me show you the difference. 3,000 calories at Whataburger looks something like this: