How Split Squats increase Kicking Power

 

Split Squat 1Split Squat 2

 

 

 

 

 

At WST we continually preach to all of our athletes the importance of completing single leg exercises.  Not only do single leg exercises increase balance, allow athletes to lift more weight on their core lifts, and improve stabilization at the ankle, knee, and hip, but they also increase kicking power.  The most common single leg exercises we use at Williams Sport are step-ups, single leg squats, and split squats.  Of these three exercises the split squat is the most applicable exercise for a soccer player or kicking athlete.

The split squat directly mimics kicking in soccer with one leg being the plant foot, while the other extends and then flexes the hip, just as soccer players do when striking a ball.  When performing a split squat an athlete should hold dumbbells of the appropriate weight (generally 10-15 pounds in each hand for first timers with a gradual increase up to 30-35 pounds depending on strength and age) at their side and stand with their feet shoulder width apart.  Determine which foot will stay planted first, and then step backwards with other leg into a reverse lunge, both knees should be bent.  Athletes want to shoot their front knee forward to load the hamstrings, all while keeping their head and chest up.  To complete the rep athletes need to push off the front foot and drive the back knee forward (repeat for 10 to 8 reps on the same leg and then complete on the second leg). The split squat targets the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors, which all of the same muscle groups used in kicking.  Different variations of split squats can be completed by having the front foot elevated to increase range of motion (ROM) or using a barbell instead of dumbbells, which will target balance for the athlete as well.

Written by: WST Trainer Vicky Ziolkowski

4 Steps Toward Proper Hydration for Athletes

Dr. Donald Kirkendall • For Active.com
 
It is rare that a team that does not encourage drinking fluids on a regular basis. Making water available is important and nearly universal in most sports.

The coach who restricts water probably is asking for a negligence lawsuit. All one needs to do is remember the recent deaths in football due to hyperthermia.

But here is an interesting observation by Dr. Ron Maughan of Aberdeen, Scotland, a prolific researcher in fluids and dehydration in sports and consults with the Manchester United team.

One of the projects he did was to look at a variable called urine osmolality–a statement of water levels in the body. If too high, then the body is dehydrated; too low, and the body is hyperhydrated.

He had the players from Manchester give a urine sample prior to play, and the values for nearly all the players were in the dehydrated range. This team is probably the best-cared-for team in the world, playing in an environment that is not nearly as stressful as the United States. Temperatures in the 80s are hot for them, but a relief for us in the United States. And they are dehydrated.

I doubt that any youth team in the U.S. gets fluids pushed on them as much as Manchester gets it pushed on them.

But there is more to the fluids concept, and I have discussed them in the past, but deserve mentioning again.

More Than Water

First, while water is good, a drink with a little sodium, potassium, chloride and other elements is absorbed faster by the intestine than pure water. This puts more water into the blood faster.

Don’t overdo the salts, though. Too much stuff in the drink will cause the intestines to have to dilute the intestinal contents before it can be absorbed. (Dr. Maughan tested canned, carbonated sodas and found that the intestinal contents have to be diluted first; not good. And this was done when the person was at rest; it would be even worse if the person were dehydrated, so stay away from soda after practices or games).

How much to drink? The old formula was one pint of fluid per pound of weight lost, but Maughan has refined that formula to 1.5 pints of fluid per pound of weight lost. Unfortunately, few teams have access to a scale both before and after practice. But remember, this is just the first step.

The Need for Protein

Second, there is cellular damage after any kind of exercise. As a result, there is an increased breakdown of protein during exercise. This damage is structural, and the body’s structural building materials are proteins.

Most disrupted cellular processes begin repair as soon as the stressor is removed. Protein consumed during exercise may help speed recovery following exercise. Plus, during extended exercise, protein can provide up to 20 percent of the muscle’s energy needs because the muscle is becoming depleted of glycogen.

Therefore, adding protein to a sports drink minimizes muscle protein breakdown that would then speed muscle recovery after exercise. Thus, a little protein during and after work is a good idea. But don’t interpret this to mean a triple cheeseburger is recommended. Just a little something to get the process started.

Take Your Vitamins

Third, some of the damaged tissues can come from something called oxygen radicals, a byproduct of metabolism, built up during exercise. Selected vitamins–C and E in particular–can help minimize free-radical buildup. So, getting some C and E during and after exercise is appropriate.

Load Up on Carbs

Fourth, the energy for games like soccer comes mostly from stored carbohydrates. When a player finishes a game, the carbohydrate fuel in the muscles (glycogen) can be very near empty, meaning the player is fatigued. However, if some carbs are taken in during exercise, the depletion of glycogen can be delayed. This effectively postpones fatigue, and a little protein helps get more sugar into the muscle.

Pushing fatigue later and later has two advantages. First, your team is running and the opponent is tiring right when most goals are scored. Second, a large portion of injuries happen late in the game so delaying fatigue can be considered a way to prevent injuries.

Ingestion of some carbs after training and games gets the refueling process started sooner and faster than if the process is delayed even by two hours.

“You mean I have to supply water, protein, vitamins, carbs during and after exercise?”

Only if you want your players to have a leg up on the opponents while also getting a head start at recovery for the next game or practice.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to shop multiple aisles of the grocery store. There are a variety of sports drinks on the market that can be found in grocery stores, nutrition stores or sports specialty shops (especially cycling stores).

Just check those labels. Look for electrolytes, carbohydrates, vitamins, and some protein. The current research suggests that a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein is the best. You can cover a lot of bases with a single product and be at a competitive advantage on your opponents who aren’t as foresighted as are you.

The Bench Press By Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell

Westside has a method to its madness, and Travis Bell utilizes this perfectly. His raw bench has gone from 365 to 565, and his shirt bench has gone from 405 to 805 in 2 ½ years. How is this possible?

Let’s start with dynamic bench day on Saturday. Nine sets of 3 reps are done within three-week waves using several different bars, band tensions, or chain combinations as a means of accommodating resistance. Now let’s look below at the speed strength waves. Remember, their purpose is to build a fast rate of force development and to teach acceleration.

WEEK

WEIGHT

ACCOMMODATING RESISTANCE TYPE

SETS

REPS

TOTAL NUMBER OF LIFTS

1

205

MINI BAND ADDS 85 LBS

9

3

27

2

225

MIN BAND ADDS 85 LBS

9

3

27

3

245

MINI BAND  ADDS 85 LBS

9

3

27

NEW 3-WEEK WAVE BEGINS, CHANGING FROM MINI-BANDS TO MONSTER BANDS

WEEK

WEIGHT

ACCOMMODATING RESISTANCE TYPE

SETS

REPS

TOTAL NUMBER OF LIFTS

4

205

MONSTER ADDS 125 LBS

9

3

27

5

225

MONSTER ADDS 125 LBS

9

3

27

6

245

MONSTER ADDS 125 LBS

9

3

27

NEW 3-WEEK WAVE BEGINS, SWITCHING TO AN ARCH BAR WITH MINI-BANDS

WEEK

WEIGHT

ACCOMMODATING RESISTANCE TYPE

SETS

REPS

TOTAL NUMBER OF LIFTS

7

205

MINI BAND ADDS 85 LBS

9

3

27

8

225

MINI BAND ADDS 85 LBS

9

3

27

9

245

MINI BAND ADDS 85 LBS

9

3

27

NEW 3-WEEK WAVE BEGINS, CHANGING FROM MINI-BANDS TO MONSTER BANDS

10

205

MONSTER ADDS 125 LBS

9

3

27

11

225

MONSTER ADDS 125 LBS

9

3

27

12

245

MONSTER ADDS 125 LBS

9

3

27

 

The three-week waves as illustrated above continue all year round. Some waves are done with a thick squat bar or a bow bar that has a 2-inch camber.

After the 9 sets of 3 reps of the dynamic bench, Travis will do 2 to 3 sets of dumbbell presses for 20 or more reps or a close grip bench. Different angles are used for each exercise: incline, decline, seated, or flat. This is for muscle building. After the high-rep pressing is completed, he will then move on to two heavy triceps exercises.  These could be dumbbell roll-backs with elbows out to the sides, J.M. presses, or heavy kettlebell extensions. Many times Travis will rotate from heavy rep extensions (6-8 reps) to light weight reps (15-20 reps) to push-downs, cable push-downs, or band push-downs.

Travis moves on to two back exercises such as heavy pull-downs, chest-supported rows, dumbbell rows, or a barbell row.  Remember, only two exercises per workout, and rotate when necessary.  High-rep deltoid exercises are next, and he concentrates on the rear and side delts because he does not want to overwork the front delts. Then it’s on to hammer curls, which is something that should always be done.

We have had five different men hold world records in the bench, and they all agree that the speed day is the most important. Anyone who disputes that speed is not important please read a basic physics book.

When necessary, Travis will use no barbell exercises on max effort day but instead will use high-rep dumbbell presses at an angle he chooses. This is a hypertrophy workout, which also includes extensions, lat work of some type, and high-rep delt work.  This style of workout is done when he feels somewhat worn out, but it allows him to resume his normal max effort workout the next week. The workout can also be done on a special day, as this workout is not by design but is based on instinct.

Our max effort day is Wednesday, which is 72 hours after speed strength day. Travis uses several special exercises to max out on, and when we say “max out”, that means a top single for the day. Heavy 2’s or 3’s will not build maximum strength but instead strength endurance.  On max effort day the volume must be as low as possible but the intensity high, that is, close to or more than your one-rep max (meaning an all-time record). It is recommended that three top weights are lifted per workout. This resembles a contest:  one attempt at around 90%; the next attempt close to an all-time record; and then a lift slightly over the all-time record. If Travis’s level of preparedness is somewhat low, the three attempts should be based on his strength level at that given time.

Below is a list of sample max effort exercise that Travis rotates on his max day.

 

  1. Mini-bands plus weight

·         His setup band tension will be 85 pounds at lockout.

  1. Monster bands plus weight

·         This will provide 125 pounds of tension at the top.

  1. Light bands plus weight

·         The tension is 200 pounds at the top.

With the three band tensions given above two grips are used, wide and close, wide meaning little finger on the power ring and close meaning index finger on the smooth part of the bar. By doing this, Travis has six exercises to choose from. He will also add a bow bar that has a 2-inch camber or a cambered bar that has a 3 ½-inch camber and a football bar to his list of exercises, so he has six more records to break. Incline and decline presses are rotated mostly without bands.

All the above mentioned max lift exercises are considered builder exercises for a bench press. Travis also has tester exercise such as a floor press with just bar weight or 120 pounds of chain. Again the two different grips are used, one wide and one narrow. Only one grip is used per workout. Other testers that he will use are 2- of 3-board presses with either a wide or close grip. These are mostly done with just bar weight. Travis will also use the lightened method at times. This exercise will reduce the load by 95 pounds at the top and by 150 pounds at the bottom. 

About once a month he will wear a bench shirt. As a meet is coming close, the last time he will use his shirt is on a 1-board press.  Because bench max effort day is on a Wednesday, the last workout with a bench shirt is 17 or 18 days out from the contest. The last max effort workout is the floor press with just bar weight.

In summary, speed bench is on Saturday, and max effort bench is on Wednesday. A shirt is used 1 out of 4 workouts far away from a meet and 1 out of 3 workouts close to contest time. Both workouts are followed by lots of triceps work, upper back, lats, and last but not least rear and side delts plus hammer curls.  Travis does some front delt work, but he says it is very easy to overtrain the front delts and that the triceps and upper back including lats are the most important for benching.

In my opinion Travis is just starting out and has limitless potential. I am very proud to be one of his training partners.

Westside Barbell: www.westside-barbell.com