Strength training is a critical part of running healthy and strong. Runners of all levels can benefit from a strength routine, however it becomes particularly important as mileage, speed, or the culmination of both are added. This generally happens as the athlete is preparing for an event, which is the worst time to get injured. Although strength training takes time, it is equally important to running and a runner is often better off substituting a strength routine for a few extra miles. The purpose of these exercises is to strengthen the muscles used in running, recruit a variety of muscle groups, and to train the athlete in the proper position so good form can be mentally cued up during a run. The goal is to prevent injury, improve form, decrease recovery time, and provide overall speed and fitness improvement. The single leg squat can be used as a simple test at the beginning of a training program to assess the strength level of an individual. A single leg squat should be relatively easy. If it is hard and form is out of whack, then a training routine is a definite must. Also, the inability to perform this action with relative ease may also indicate an underlying neurological problem. Check with a sports performance doctor in your area or give us a call – we can help!
SPEED, AGILITY AND QUICKNESS TRAINING
FOOT SPEED DRILLS:
- SPRINTS: After a good warm up, complete a series of sprints or dashes. Concentrate on your explosion-pulling your feet in under you as quickly as possible as you accelerate.
- CROSSOVERS: Instead of facing the point you are sprinting to, turn sideways to the left, crossing your left leg in front of your right
- UPHILL SPRINTS: Concentrate on short powerful strides, generating as much speed as possible.
- SKIPPING ROPE: Long, looping swings of the rope for longer duration will help with conditioning but not speed. Use a combination of regular rhythm with short bursts of frantic pace-just as action comes and goes when you are in the net.
- STAIRS: Running up stairs will work on speed and quadriceps muscles. Exercises such as this will prove their true worth in the final minutes of a game when you are dead tired and your team is counting on you to hold the lead or keep them in the game.
DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY DRILLS
- HEEL TO BUTT SKIP: Bring the heel of one leg to your rear end(knee pointing down) as you bounce twice off the other leg. Alternate legs and try to kick yourself in the butt as you do this drill.
- DEAD LEG SKIP: Skip forward on one leg and do high knee lifts with the other, hopping twice for each knee lift. Pump your arms forward and try to lift the knee as high as possible. Go in one direction for 5-10 seconds, then turn around and switch legs.
- RUSSIAN MARCH WALK/SKIP: You can walk or skip for this exercise, depending on your skill level and how you feel. Hold your hands out in front of you at about shoulder height. Try to kick yourself in the hands as you walk or skip to your destination point.
LEARNING TO JUGGLE
- Standing erect, hold a tennis ball in your throwing hand(usually right hand). Place your elbows to your sides, with your forearms out in front of your body and parallel to the ground. Using your wrist, toss the tennis ball underhand to your left hand, creating a high arc. This arc should pass just over your forehead. Catch the ball with your left hand and place it once again in your right hand. Do not toss the ball with left hand- at this point we are perfecting only the right toss. After you feel comfortable with throwing the ball with your right hand, repeat the process with your left. Spend a minimum of 10 minutes perfecting your style.
- Place a second ball in your left hand. Toss the ball that’s in your right hand toward your left. As it reaches the top of the arc, toss the second ball inside the path of the first. Catch the balls and stop. Repeat this exercise again, throwing the right ball first, until you are comfortable. The most common mistake at this point is to rush the second ball. It may help to count “one and two and ” – to help with your rhythm.
- Once you have perfected step 2, place a third ball in your right hand along with the first ball. Rest once ball on two fingers, with the other in you palm. Do the same exercise as in the last drill, but with on extra throw. Toss one of the balls from the right had toward your left. As the ball hits the peak, toss the ball from your left to right. As that ball hits its peak, you should have caught the first ball (with your left hand) and be throwing the third (from your right hand). You’ll end with one ball in your right hand and two in your left. Make no more than these three tosses until you can consistently control all three balls. Now, place one of the balls you have in your left hand into your right and repeat the sequence.
- If you can complete the last step, you are ready to juggle. Simply follow the last instructions, but continue by throwing for a second time with your left hand. Count how many throws you can make before you lose control. *Once comfortable with it you can use different weight or throw the balls outside your hands instead of inside or even behind your back.
TWO BALL JUGGLE
*IMPROVE CATCHING ABILITY
Begin with one ball resting between your fingertips and the other in your palm. Throw the lead ball in a circle toward your body. When the first ball reaches the peak of the arc, toss the second ball in the air, catch the first, and so on. Once you master the technique, try moving the balls in a circle away from you, or tossing them straight up in parallel paths.
Using the two ball technique, stand three feet from a wall and toss your lead ball underhand about head-high against it. As it strikes the wall, toss the second ball, then catch the first. Continue juggling the balls like this while standing still, or while moving along the wall. After mastering this exercise, apply the same principles and juggle three balls using both hands. The system is the same as earlier, only the path of the ball has changed.
Face a teammate approx. 8ft away. At the beginning you hold two tennis balls, one in each hand, while your partner holds one ball in either hand. Toss one ball to your partner, who then tosses one ball back to you. Continue throwing and catching balls-this gets harder the faster you toss.
*To make this drill more interesting, play a game up to 10- receiving a point when you opponent drops a ball. If two balls collide in the middle and you catch one on the rebound, you receive a point. After each point, the player who began with only one ball the previous time should begin with two balls. Move closer together, then farther apart, consistently challenging your opponent to time his catches and throws.
Face a teammate approximately three feet away as he juggles three tennis balls. After ten seconds of juggling, snag one of his tennis balls as it hits its peak in the arc. Your partner should throw his next ball as if nothing had changed and you should also grab this one at its peak with your free hand. Now you have two balls, while he tosses his third and final ball. As this ball hits its peak, toss the ball in your right hand and snag the final ball, initiating the three ball juggle technique for yourself.
The switching from your partner’s juggling should be smooth and without pause. After you juggle for ten seconds, your partner should snag your tennis balls as you did his. This exchange should carry on until someone drops a ball or messes up an exchange.
Holding two balls, stand five feet behind a teammate who is facing a wall. He should be crouched in his playing stance approximately one body length away from the wall. Throw a ball (overhand) over one of his shoulders. As the ball returns off the wall, his job is to catch it with either hand, as if he were catching a puck from a shooter. Continue throwing balls over both his shoulders, increasing velocity as his ability to catch improves.
*BEFORE STRETCHING WORK UP A SWEAT BY GOING FOR A SHORT RUN OR RIDING A STATIONARY BIKE, ANYWHERE FROM 8 TO 15 MINUTES. ONCE ON THE ICE PERFORM A FEW STRETCHES AFTER SEVERAL LAPS AROUND THE RINK IN ORDER TO STAY LOOSE.
AFTER A GAME FIND A SPOT TO STRETCH FOR ANOTHER 10 MINUTES OR SO: THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO RECOVER MORE QUICKLY AND MAINTAIN YOUR IMPROVED FLEXIBILITY.
PARTNER-RESISTED SEATED STRAIGHT LEG:
Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you. With a teammate gently applying pressure from behind, lean forward as far a possible while keeping your back straight. When you have reached maximum extension, slowly return to the upright position as your partner resists. Perform this sequence several times; you should be able to extend farther with each stretch. A slight variation to this exercise is to spread your legs out forming a “V”.
PARTNER-RESISTED LEG RAISES:
Lie flat on your back with your legs straight. Your teammate should brace one leg with his hand above your knee. Raise the other leg as far as possible off the floor without bending your knee. When you cannot raise it any further, contract your hamstring and push downward against your teammate’s resistance. Perform this stretch several times using both legs and your will find that you have greater range of motion each time.
PARTNER-RESISTED LEG FLEXION
Lie flat on your stomach with arms and legs completely extended. Your partner should hold your hips down with one hand, while placing his other hand under one knee. With your partner’s help, slowly raise your leg as far as you are comfortable, then contract your muscles and force the leg back to the ground against your partner’s resistance in a slow and controlled manner. Repeat 4 to 5x’s with each leg, attempting to raise your leg further each time.
PARTNER-RESISTED BUTTERFLY GROIN STRETCH
In a seated position, join the soles of your feet forming a diamond with your legs. Have a partner place the palm of his hands on your knees as he faces you. Release your legs toward the ground by relaxing the muscles and yielding to gentle downward pressure applied by your teammate. Stop at maximum extension and squeeze your legs together against the resistance of your partner. Perform this exercise several times, always attempting to get closer to the ground.
PARTNER-RESISTED LOW BACK PRESS
Standing erect on both feet, bend at the waist until your trunk is parallel to the ground. Do not lock your knees. Have a teammate place his hands on your shoulders while facing you. With your partner’s help, bend over as far as possible, raise your trunk in a slow and controlled manner while your partner resists. With each repetition (4 to 5), try to extend past your original maximum stretch.
CALF STRETCH: Leaning against a wall, extend your legs while balancing your weight on the balls of your feet. Slowly press each heel toward the ground alternately, stretching the calf muscle of both legs.
PRONE QUADRICEPS STRETCH: While lying flat on your stomach, bend your right leg and grab your ankle. Pull your leg up and back, getting a full stretch of the thigh muscle. Reverse legs.
SEATED STRAIGHT LEG: Sitting on the floor with your legs extended forward, lower your chest toward your knees while bending lowly at the waist. Full extension of the stretch can be achieved by holding your calves and pulling your torso forward. Remember that smooth and steady movement is essential.
INVERTED HURDLER PROGRESSION: PRETZEL
Sitting up, as in the previous exercise, bend your right knee forming a 90-degree angle and cross it over the left leg, which remains flat on the ground. With your left elbow, press against the outside of your right knee, rotating your torso to the right. You should feel the stretch in your hips and lower back. Alternate legs.
BUTTERFLY GROIN STRETCH: From a sitting position on the floor, bend both legs so that the soles of your feet are touching, forming a diamond with your legs. Place your forearms over your knees. Relax the groin area and stretch by slowly pushing down with your forearms. Ideally, your knees will touch the floor. When you’ve stretched as far as you can, contract these muscles by pulling your knees up toward you against the resistance of your arms, just as you did in the hamstring stretch. Relax for a few minutes, then try the stretch again. You should be able to stretch further this time.
PRONE ABDOMINAL STRETCH: Lying flat on your stomach, place your hands in position to do a push-up. Using only your arms, lift your upper body off the ground while keeping your hips in contact with the floor, arching your back. After your arms are extended as far as possible, hold the stretch for a few seconds; then slowly lower yourself. This exercise stretches the lower back areas.
MAD CAT ARCH: Get on your hands and knees. Push the middle of your back toward the ceiling, hold for 10 seconds, then bring it back down.
SHOULDER STRETCH: Stand upright. With your right hand, pull your left elbow inward toward your chest, thus stretching your shoulder muscles. Alternate arms.
SIDE STRETCH: To stretch your lats, raise your right hand and arm to the ceiling. Without rotating your hips, bend at the waist and let the upper body fall to the left hand side. Repeat with left arm.
NECK ROTATION: Standing erect, place hands on hips. Slowly rotate your head in large circular movements in the right direction and then the left. Do not rotate your head backward.
AREAS TO CONCENTRATE ON, EVEN WITHOUT USE OF A GYM:
- CALF RAISES: Stand on a step or block with your arms balancing your weight and feet close together. Place the balls of your feet at the edge of the step and drop your left heel toward the ground while raising your right foot off the step. At its maximum stretch, concentrate on the calf muscle to pull your body weight as high as possible. Repeat this until you feel the burn in your muscle; then switch sides. Repeat each set 3x’s.
- LUNGES: Standing straight, take an exaggerated step forward with one foot, so the angle at your knee is approximately 90 degrees. Control your balance in this lunged state then perform the same movement with the other foot. Move slowly and deliberately to avoid injury and , to get the most out of this movement. Continue making steps until you tire and find it hard to maintain your balance. Take a 45-second break and repeat the exercise. *For a variation: Use a chair positioned behind you to support your back leg. Start in the lunge position with your front leg bent, and your back foot resting on the chair. As your straighten out your front leg, lift your heel off the floor so you’re standing on the ball of your foot-this works your calf muscle as well. Keep the calf flexed for 3 seconds, then lower your heel back to the floor.
- SQUATS: Stand with your back against a wall and with your feet about the same distance from the wall as your knee is from your hip. Slide your back downward until your thighs and torso form a 90-degree angle. Hold this position as long as possible without using your hands to support any weight. Take a 45-second break, shake your legs out, and try again, always challenging yourself to hold on longer than the last time.
- SIDE LEG RAISES: Lie on your left side. Support your head with your left arm and lift your right leg as high as possible without any rotation or bend, then bring it back down again. Continue this up-and-down motion until you can do no more. At the point of exhaustion, bend your right knee to 90 degrees, and let it rest behind your right foot touching the floor. Lift the left leg as high as possible by contracting the inner thigh of your left leg. Repeat to exhaustion. Complete 3 sets of this exercise, then switch sides. *You should do no more than 100 reps of either of these movements. If you can do more than 100, use a weight at the end of your foot or have a teammate provide resistance in order to bring your exhaustion point below 100.
- PRONE LEG RAISES: Lying flat on your stomach, extend your body fully. Keeping your right leg straight, extend it as high as possible. Slowly raise and lower the right leg, while your left leg stays in contact with the floor. Repeat this movement until exhaustion, then change legs. Repeat this exercise 3x’s. *Do no more than 100 reps of this exercise. If you can do more, use a weight at the end of your foot or have a teammate provide resistance.
- PUSH-UPS: Lying on your stomach, place your hands slightly farther than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your body rigid, push your entire body up, contracting your chest, triceps and shoulder muscles. Do as many push-ups as possible, then rest for 45 seconds. Complete 4 sets of push-ups.
- TRICEPS DIPS: Having power in your triceps will increase your recovery time immensely. When returning to your feet from your backside, you typically will call upon the triceps to spring you up. Set 2 chairs, facing each other, about 4ft apart. With your back to one chair, place your hands on its seat while placing the heels of your feet on the other chair seat. Hold the weight of your body by fully extending your arms. From this position, dip your rear toward the floor while maintaining control of the triceps. Finally, power your weight back to the initial starting position. Repeat to the point of exhaustion. After resting a short time, complete another two sets-each consisting of repetition to exhaustion and separated by a period of rest of approximately 2 minutes.
- CRUNCHES: Lie on your back with your calves on the seat of a chair. Your legs should form a 90 degree angle. Keeping your lower back pressed against the floor, raise your chest toward your knees. Once your abdominal muscles have contracted and brought your chest as far forward as possible, hold the position for 3 seconds, then relax. After you have performed as many reps as possible, pause for 45 seconds and repeat 3 more sets.
STRETCHING FOR ICE HOCKEY – IS IT REALLY NECESSARY?
We hear so much about stretching, we watch our favorite NHL players go through the vigorous routine of stretching before each game, but why are they doing it and is it really necessary?
Let’s start with the human body. There are over 600 muscles and 206 bones. Your tendons are what each muscle is attached to, and each muscle crosses over a specific joint in a way that causes the bones of that joint to move when the muscle contracts or shortens. So in easy terms, your muscles tell your bones where to move and what to do.
By stretching your muscles before a game or practice, you will help to improve your flexibility and prepare the muscles for the range of movement your game demands. In order to obtain smooth, coordinated movement when you’re on the ice, your muscles must contract and relax at just the right time. The key to stretching is to make sure that the blood is flowing throughout your body and the muscles are warmed up so that the muscle is elastic and extensible which will allow it to contract and relax quickly. Let me repeat that, you need to be warmed up before you engage in any stretching. By having cold muscles, it restricts the movement and can easily injure the muscles being stretched.
When is the best time to stretch? You may think it’s before the game, which is the practice of most athletes, but that would be incorrect. The best time to stretch is immediately following the game. If you think about it, it’s very simple, when are your muscles the warmest and temperature the highest?… following a game. This allows for easier stretching, and, it will give you long-term gains in flexibility.
Does strength and lean muscle mass gains decrease flexibility? No, because flexibility at a joint is affected by the degree to which a muscle can be stretched, not by the strength and size of the muscle.
In hockey there are certain areas that you will want to draw more attention to, that being the lower back region and hamstrings. If you notice when skating, during each stride, the hamstrings are rarely stretched to their full length. Muscles will shorten when not used to their maximum length, the lack of full extension during skating results in tightened hamstrings, over time leading to back injuries or groin pulls. More flexibility at the hips, groin, hamstrings and thighs will not only prevent injuries from occurring but will also help improve your skating speed and foot work. When hockey players skate, they tend to do so with a slight back flexion, which in return places demands on the lower back strength and flexibility. You need to focus on specific stretching for the lower back because it will not be able to withstand the continual isometric contraction of the back extensors in the skating position or the stressful twisting actions that take place during a game, for instance, the forceful trunk rotation when shooting a puck.
There are four types of stretching: static, dynamic, PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), and ballistic. Static stretching, dynamic stretching and PNF stretching are the three you will want to work with. Ballistic involves light bouncing across a joint which causes the muscles under stretch to contract and may result in a tear.Static is when you select a muscle and gently move across a joint until you feel a comfortable stretch on the muscle, then you stop and hold that position for a short time. Dynamic stretching combines warm-up and stretching routines, using warm-up type movements through slow, smooth, graceful, full ranges of motion. PNF is done with a partner. The partner moves the limb or area to stretch it, then the athlete contracts the muscle while the partner resists the movement. As the athlete relaxes the muscle, the partner moves the area deeper into the stretch. When doing PNF stretching it should only be attempted under the guidance of someone well- experienced in it.
Now let’s do a run-down, Warming-up will make the muscles more extensible, enabling them to contract and relax quicker, which will aid in skill execution, it helps prevent injury and prepares muscles for stretching. Stretching prepares muscles for on-ice movements, increases flexibility and range of motion, which will aid in agility, speed, quickness and complex skating and puck-handling skills. It is important to do before a game but should be a must following the game, which will aid in muscle recovery and prevents delayed muscle soreness and done regularly produces good flexibility improvements.
So if you’re going to stretch, make sure you warm-up adequately first or your not just wasting your time, your aiding in the possibility of an injury.
TO MAKE ADVANCES CONQUER THE HILLS:
Climbing a hill is a useful metaphor for activities involved in accomplishing a major goal, overcoming longstanding obstacles, or achieving a noteworthy milestone. But you must be prepared to engage in such a climb. Striking out without a metaphorical map, compass, bottle of water, or raingear will consistently result in limited success or actual failure. From a health and fitness perspective, climbing a hill may represent a real, concrete process. When you’re out on your daily walk or run, unless you live and train entirely at sea level you’re going to encounter changes in elevation. If you live in mountainous regions such as Southern California or along the Appalachian Trail, such variations in terrain require greater levels of aerobic capacity. Unless you want to spend your exercise time huffing and puffing, climbing a hill in the literal sense necessitates a high level of cardiovascular fitness.
Cardiovascular fitness may also be termed cardiorespiratory fitness.1 Such fitness refers to heart and lung capacity. With increased cardiorespiratory fitness, your heart’s stroke volume increases. In other words, your heart pumps more blood with each beat than it did prior to attaining such fitness. More blood pumped per beat means your heart works less to achieve the same result. Your heart becomes more efficient, your blood pressure goes down, and your cells and tissues receive more nutrition more quickly.2,3Similarly, with increased cardiorespiratory fitness your lungs take in more air with each breath. Such increased lung capacity means more oxygen is available to cells and tissues more quickly. Your entire cardiorespiratory system becomes more efficient. You’re expending less metabolic energy and obtaining greater metabolic returns. Cardiorespiratory fitness substantially improves your overall health.
Attaining the goal of cardiovascular (cardiorespiratory) fitness involves the same type of thoroughness as that involved in achieving family and business-related goals. You plan your work and then work your plan. Interval training is a proven method of enhancing cardiovascular fitness, a method that is both mentally and physically challenging. Accomplishing your interval training goals also provides a great deal of fun and personal satisfaction.
Interval training involves alternating intense and slow periods of activity. Let’s say you run three days a week, you average approximately 12 minutes per mile, and you run 3 miles per day. Now you’ll substitute one interval training day per week for one of your regular running days. On your interval training day, you’ll begin by lightly jogging 1 mile. Then you’ll run 1/4 mile at 2:45, that is, slightly faster than your regular 3-minute per 1/4 mile pace. You’ll continue with 1/4 mile at a very light recovery pace. Next, you’ll repeat the sequence of fast (2:45) 1/4 mile followed by the slow recovery 1/4 mile. Repeat the sequence once more, add 1/2 mile of lightly jogging cool-down, and you’ve run your daily 3-mile quotient. Going forward, you may infinitely vary your interval training sequences, running 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile, and 1 mile interval distances at slightly faster than your race pace. You’ll get faster gradually as your cardiovascular fitness and aerobic capacity increase. Within 6 months of engaging in consistent interval training, climbing hills may seem no more difficult than running on flat ground. Not only will you have become much more fit, you will have made tremendous gains in overall health and well being.
1Lavie CJ, et al: Exercise and the Cardiovascular System: Clinical Science and Cardiovascular Outcomes. Circ Res 117(2):207-219, 2015
2Myers J, et al: Physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness as major markers of cardiovascular risk: their independent and interwoven importance to health status. Prog Cardiovasc Dis 57(4):306-314, 2015
3Nayor M, Vasan RS: Preventing heart failure: the role of physical activity. Curr Opin Cardiol 2015 Jul 3. [Epub ahead of print]
Let’s face it. Every competitive athlete wants an edge in order to become stronger, faster and better in order to win. That’s why athletes train seemingly endless hours and eat, sleep and breathe their passion.
That’s where vitamin D can come in. What? Yes. Vitamin D.
Of course, vitamin D is already known to play a significant role in overall health—and we all need vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin.” We’ve already highlighted its significance before, but it’s important information that is good to review, so we’re saying this again: Vitamin D plays a role in up to 2,000 genes and in every tissue and cell of everyone. Additionally, vitamin D supports immune system; pancreas; heart; blood; cellular, muscle; bone and bone marrow; breast; colon; intestine; kidney; lung; prostate; retina; skin; stomach; uterine and brain health, positively impacting at least 36 bodily organs.†
Now, we can add another perk to getting enough vitamin D—improved athletic performance. In 2009, the first scientific paper in approximately 50 years about the effects of vitamin D on athletic performance came out. It was a piece that alerted team physicians and athletic trainers about the importance of vitamin D in athletic performance. Since then, many other studies and at least one book have been published about it.
Here are some of the findings:
Inflammation of Muscles: Vitamin D may help with inflammatory biomarkers after a strong workout.† A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study indicated that 4,000IU of vitamin D per day for 35 days lessened inflammatory biomarkers after 10 sets of 10 reps of peak isometric jumps.
Power and Force Production: Peak power diminishes naturally after workouts, but for those who took the vitamin D, peak power decreased only six percent, while the placebo group’s peak power decreased by 32 percent—for a full 48 hours following the workout. Likewise, in an eight-week randomized controlled trial of 30 athletes using 5,000IU daily of vitamin D or a placebo, the vitamin D group experienced a significant increase in 10-m sprint times and vertical jumping compared to the placebo group.† When given only a weekly dose of vitamin D, there was no effect on performance, indicating that a daily dose may be necessary for those benefits.
Oxygenation: Cross-section studies on oxygen consumption are mixed, but a single-blinded trial of supplementation with 6,000IU/day of vitamin D3 versus a placebo during an eight-week training cycle gleaned this concerning VO2 max. (Note: VO2 max is a measurement used to determine the maximum amount of oxygen an athlete can utilize.) There was a12.1 percent increase in VO2 max in the vitamin D group vs. a 10.3 percent increase in the placebo group. That is nearly a two percent increase—one that can make a difference performance-wise.†
Additionally, vitamin K was examined to see if it could be a player in athletic performance. The conclusion? The scientists say that “50 mcg/day to 1,000 mcg/day of vitamin K1 and K2 seems to be a safe dose and has the potential to aid athletic performance.”†
Here’s the problem, though. Unfortunately, 75 percent of American teens and adults come up short on vitamin D, according to Scientific American: Archives of Internal Medicine. And athletes are among them—with 24 studies’ results saying that 56 percent of the 2,313 athletes studied were vitamin D deficient.
Coming up short on vitamin D can have unhealthy consequences for everyone, but for athletes, it may also adversely impact their performance—something no athlete wants.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PROTEIN FOR OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE
As a nutritionally oriented DC and an avid runner, my goal is to help restore and maintain optimum health for everyone I see. An athlete in peak health can enjoy running and can keep their youthful performance levels far beyond what they believe is possible. At 64, I’m not as fast as I was, but I’m just as intent on improving my performance and continue to look for things that make me feel better, have more energy, recover faster and build strength.
Years ago, I found myself with an amino acid deficiency that was manifesting as various types of nagging injuries, all seemingly unrelated. I came upon a specific formulation of amino acids that I had never seen before and started taking it. Within a short period of time I was able to do long, hard workouts.
Other world-class runners & triathletes started taking it and began experiencing incredible results, winning races and being able to sustain their workout gains longer.
You have heard about protein and amino acids, but do you know what they are and how they work?
Simplified, protein is what the body’s structure is made of. Bones, muscles, hair, organs, immune cells and many hormones are all proteins.
For a muscle to get stronger, it must add protein to its existing mass. When muscles work hard, they build up lactic acid. Muscle cells have enzymes to breakdown lactic acid and these enzymes are also proteins.
Proteins are chains made up of amino acids. These are linked together (like beads on a string) to form proteins, which differ based on which aminos are used and in what order. For instance, a hair protein has a different string of aminos than a muscle protein.
There are 22 known amino acids, but our bodies only need 8 of them to construct all of its proteins. These are called “essential amino acids” because we cannot live without them; they must be part of our dietary intake.
After a hard workout, muscle cells need to rebuild their proteins. If the aminos they need are unavailable to the cell at that time, those proteins will not be built. And the whole sequence of repair will be incomplete or delayed. As a result, new muscle growth won’t happen or happens belatedly, so the training effect one expects does not happen, and even worse, you breakdown and get injured.
The same thing happens with many proteins that our immune system is made of. After a hard workout or competition, if there isn’t enough protein intake to complete the repair process and keep your immune system proteins at the optimum level, you can get sick. Bottom line: we need the proteins that will give us the correct proportions of the eight essential amino acids, in a form that the body can use easily, without excess nitrogen waste.
Athletes become deficient in amino acids for many reasons, including thinking they’re getting enough from their meals or supplements, when in-fact they may not be.
We evaluate sources of protein from our diets based on how well they supply us with the eight essential aminos, and how well the body can use them to build up the body structure. The term “Amino Acid Utilization” (AAU) measures what percentage of a protein is being utilized by the body. If the protein is in the wrong proportion of aminos, or in the wrong form, it gets turned into waste, or burned as calories. And since proteins have nitrogen at their core, you can measure how much nitrogen was actually used, as opposed to how much became waste. Proteins that are used well will have a high AAU rate.
Eggs are the best food, having 48% utilization. Meat/Poultry is 32% and of note is whey protein, which has only 18%, so 82% becomes excess calories or waste that the body must use its resources in order to eliminate.
PerefectAmnino has the exact amino acid formula, with an AAU of 99%, supplying the cells with all of the essential amino acids, in the precise proportions so they can make the protein immediately. It reaches your blood stream in 23 minutes, making it immediately available to every cell. This translates into faster and more complete recovery, improved lactic acid clearance, bigger and better strength gains, improved immune system, stronger tendons, bones and ligaments.
In medical studies, athletes who were taking this formulation, after one month of use, had impressive muscle strength changes and their lactic acid clearance improved by 16%.
PerfectAmino is not gene therapy and is not an illegal anabolic steroid or growth hormone. But given the genes that you have, you can maximize your health and performance, provided you give your body the exact nutrition it needs, when it needs it.
Because the body is 60% water and 19% protein, if you drink a lot of water and supplement your protein intake with PerfectAmino (especially before and after workouts) you can reach some of your maximal fitness goals faster. Labeled as “protein therapy”, PerfectAmino is best described as an anabolic un-steroid, allowing your body, through nutrition, to build itself up without any harmful drug effects. This type of delivery for protein is one that we recommend and supply for all the athletes, regardless the sport, that come to us for performance improvement or injury recovery.
Incorporating this into your training becomes paramount especially if you’re wanting “the best performance of your life!”
STEPS TO GET “FOOTBALL FIT”
Build stamina by running. It takes stamina to go the distance in a game, but running is a great way to develop and build stamina as well as to boost leg strength. To build stamina, start with a 20-minute jog/run three or four times a week, adding five or ten minutes each week until you can run for 60 minutes.
Power up with plyometric exercises. With plyometrics, also known as “jump training,” you implement exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short-time intervals, resulting in increased power or speed-strength. Some examples of plyometrics include box jumps, jump lunges, star jumps, depth jumps, depth drops and more.
Plyometric sprints can help get a player game-ready, too, such as sprinting in ways that resemble how you’ll sprint during a game. Start by lying on your stomach, then jump up and sprint for 20 yards, returning to your starting point. Then sprint for 40 yards, returning to the starting point. Repeat for six reps and increase rep amounts each week.
Strengthen your ankles. You may be “twinkle toes” on the field, but your ankles take a beating, so you need to protect them. Try heel raises: rise up on your toes and hold for 10 seconds, then gently lower your heels as far as possible. (If you have stairs at home try doing them on the edge of the step and lower your heel as far as possible) Repeat 10 times, three times a week or more. As you are able, try adding weights to this exercise.
Incorporate balance-building moves. Not only can balance help you become more stable, but it can also improve kicking, passing and tackling. Here’s a way to boost balance that you can practice practically anywhere: stand on a level surface and raise one leg off the ground, holding that position for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. Try 10 reps or so to begin with and build from there. These can also be added between rest periods when performing running drills.