This week I want mix it up a little and instead of focusing on one topic I want to write a post about ten (10) quick fitness tips. I hope that one of these tips will help you reach your fitness and health goals in 2014.
1. When it comes to warming up most athletes would rather skip the warm up and get right into their training. I understand that things like foam rolling and dynamic movements are not the most exciting drills; however, I believe a proper warm up sets the tone for training. I truly believe spending 15-20 minutes at the start of every session on soft tissue and range of motion drills/movement patterns is important to your long term health.
2. Running wind sprints/gassers at the end of training is NOT speed training. Doing these types of runs has its place when it comes to training. However, if your goal is speed training you need to do your speed work at the beginning of your training session when your central nervous system is alert and fresh. Also, the time spent doing speed training should be short with a long recovery between each run.
3. High school female athletes would all benefit from incorporating strength training into their routine. Simple total body movements like kettlebell deadlifts, band assisted pull-ups and one-arm rows would go a long ways towards improving their strength and performance. In my experience, female athletes who can demonstrate adequate levels of strength both perform better on the field/court and have a lesser chance of injury.
4. If you have chronically tight hamstrings find someone who can teach you how to reposition your pelvis and breathe more efficiently instead of just lying on your back and cranking in your hamstrings. You will be amazed how simple solutions can affect how your hamstrings feel. I would recommend that you seek out the expertise of someone who has taken a course by the Postural Restoration Institute.
5. Instead of following the latest diet fad in an effort to lose fat listen to your body and find out what works for you. Eat real food, make small changes that can eventually become habits and finally look at your health as a long term plan—not a quick fix.
6. Going for a walk outside is a great way to reduce your stress and improve your health.
7. If you want abs I would recommend that you look for them in the kitchen, not at the seated crunch machine. Clean up your nutrition and implement strength training into your routine and you may find your abs by summer.
8. The majority of runners would benefit greatly by implementing both power and strength training into their program. I believe by cutting back on mileage and implementing a good strength training program runners can reduce their chance of injuries.
9. Learn to decelerate properly if you want to excel on a field or court. Athletes that can decelerate and then accelerate can change the game.
10. Stand in front of a mirror and the muscles that you can't see (i.e. glutes, hamstrings, upper back) are the ones that you most likely need to spend more time training. The muscles in the front are your 'show muscles' and the muscles in the back are your 'go' muscles. Make sure that you have a good balance between the two groups if you want to have a well-rounded program.
Hopefully you can benefit from a few of these tips. Good luck with your training!
Kevin Miller is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Philadelphia Union. He is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and has been working with the Union since their inaugural 2010 season. Check out Kevin's Instagram: @KevinMillerTraining