Run faster, jump higher, and raise your game in any sport with the tips and strategies in this blog.
For more than a decade, EXOS has trained top NFL hopefuls prior to the scouting Combine in February. Hundreds of players have improved their speed, power, and strength to excel at the Combine and boost their draft stock, landing in the top three rounds of the NFL Draft in April.
Chances are, you’ll never be tested on how many times you can bench press 225 pounds or how fast you can run 40 yards or complete a shuttle run. But you can employ the same techniques NFL prospects learn at EXOS to improve your strength, power, and speed, which will help in any endeavor. Here’s how.
For military personnel, the physical fitness (PT) test measures strength, physical capabilities, and endurance. The most common one is a three-pronged version where personnel must complete a certain number of push-ups and sit-ups in a one-minute period, along with a two-mile run in a prescribed amount of time. The number of push-ups/sit-ups and the two-mile cutoff times are determined by gender and age. Regardless of where you fall on the age/gender spectrum, here are four ways to prepare for your body for a PT test.
Getting yourself to the gym is a great start, but what you do while you're there can help (or hurt) your progress. Avoid these unhealthy gym habits and use the tips below to make the most of your time in the gym and reach your goals faster.
In-season training and conditioning can be a challenge for football players. After all, they’ve already endured rigorous offseason programs followed by preseason training camps in the August heat. Now they face the weekly pounding of games that can continue into December, January, or even February, depending on the level of play. The key is to walk the line between preseason conditioning and shutting down completely.
It’s unrealistic for players to think they can maintain an ambitious program. At the same time, focusing solely on football and ignoring recovery strategies is a recipe for injury.
“As players go further into the season, they can start forgetting about the little things they did at the beginning of the year,” says Nick Winkelman, director of education and performance systems for Athletes’ Performance. “Remember that what got you there will keep you there.” Here are three ways to stay on top of your game, minimize your exposure to injury, and prepare for a long schedule that could end with a run deep into the postseason.
There’s perhaps nothing more grueling than marching long distances with 50 or 60 pounds of gear strapped to your body. Ruck marches are routine in the military, and increasingly common in the endurance sports world, where several one-day events give athletes a small taste of what soldiers encounter throughout their careers.
Football movements require explosive hips, cutting ability, and transitioning quickly between acceleration and deceleration. Plyometrics are designed to work all of these areas. These dynamic exercises—up and down, side to side, and twisting back and forth—link strength and speed and activate your body’s central nervous system, stimulating the fast-twitch muscle fibers so that you can generate force as quickly and efficiently as needed. Movements include jumps, hops, and bounds in various planes of movement and of various speeds and loads.
Open water swimming can be intimidating for many athletes. Unlike pool swimmers, who have the benefit of clear water and black lines at the bottom of the pool for guidance, open water swimmers must brave the elements, boats, and sea critters while navigating on their own. An open water swim is the limiting factor for many would-be triathletes. Many first-timers to that sport feel as much accomplishment for making it out of the water as they do the entire swim-bike-run experience. But open water swimming need not be so intimidating, says Lynne Cox, one of the world’s most accomplished in the field.
With cycling events, like other endurance races, it’s important to have a pre-race checklist to get the most of your training and prepare your body for peak performance. At this point, the bike will be properly fitted and is mechanically sound. You’ve selected clothing based on race-day temperatures and possible changes. You’ve arrived at the venue in plenty of time to perform your pre-race ritual. Showing up with little time to spare will add stress, possibly causing you to skip or forget important pre-race items, and derail your performance.
Here are three key components of your pre-race checklist:
Cycling, like any endurance event, presents a challenge when it comes to tapering. The idea is to train adequately while getting sufficient rest before the big event. There’s a natural tendency among endurance athletes to overtrain, racking up too much mileage and high-intensity training in the weeks and days leading up to a race or longer distance event. As a result, they underperform at a time when they’re looking to peak.
The key, says performance specialist Darcy Norman of Athletes’ Performance, is to strike a balance between necessary training and rest. “You want to keep your car revved up, spinning the tires to keep things working well,” Norman says. “But not so much that you’re going to need a new set of tires.”
Here are four things to consider when plotting your taper prior to your big next cycling event:
When it comes to how well an athlete performs on the bike, conditioning and the quality of the equipment play major roles. But a professional bike fitting—or lack thereof—also is a determining factor. “You need to position your body to transfer energy efficiently and that’s what the bike fit is all about,” says Park Alsop, a fitting specialist at Outspokin Bicycles in Clearwater, Fla. “You’re basically aligning your body with the bike.”
Many athletes assume that fitting is mostly a function of the rider’s height and the size of the frame. That’s important, but just a starting point. A professional bike fitting takes many other factors into account, including flexibility, mobility, and muscle imbalances. Recent technological developments have made the process more precise and individualized than ever before.
Here are several factors to consider when undergoing a bike fitting:
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