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Blogs

Play Better

Run faster, jump higher, and raise your game in any sport with the tips and strategies in this blog.

Play Better

Plyometric Drills to Help You Make the Big Play

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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.

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Tags: Plyometrics, Power, Speed, Football, Sports Performance

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3 Tips for Conquering Open Water Swimming

iStockphoto

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.

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Tags: Swimming, Triathlon, Training, Sports Performance

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Your Pre-Race Checklist

Fuse / Thinkstock

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:

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Tags: Outdoor Recreation, Health, Cycling, Race

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4 Tips for Tapering Before a Race

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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:

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Tags: Energy System Development, Training, Sports Performance, Outdoor Recreation, Cycling, Running, Race

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The Benefits of Professional Bike Fitting

iStockphoto / Thinkstock

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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Tags: Cycling, Race, Outdoor Recreation

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7 Tips to Train for an Obstacle Race

Jake Miola

Obstacle races continue to be the fastest-growing segment of endurance sports. This year more than 2 million people will climb walls and monkey bars, plunge into icy water, and crawl through mud at races such as Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and Spartan Race.

Spartan Race founder Joe DeSena, a former Wall Street institutional broker who once completed 12 Ironman triathlons in one year, believes obstacle racing isn't a version of running but a new endurance sports category.

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Tags: Running, Conditioning, Race, Energy System Development, Outdoor Recreation

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The Best Stretches for Rock Climbers

Thinkstock

Mobility through the hips, back, and shoulders is crucial for rock climbing. It’s what allows your body to get in the proper position to push and pull your way up. Include these three moves in your pre-climb routine:

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Tags: Outdoor Recreation, Mobility, Stability

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Mark Verstegen Talks Ankle Sprains with Golf Digest

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In the most recent issue of Golf Digest, Core Performance founder Mark Verstegen shares two movements to help avoid ankle sprains (the leading cause of sports-related injuries). Already sprained your ankle? Use his treatment advice and rehab tips to help it heal faster.

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Tags: Health, Injury, Golf, Injury Prevention

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How to Train for an Obstacle Mud Run

RockOnAdventures.com

Obstacle mud runs exploded in popularity in 2011. Races like the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash require athletes to display both strength and endurance as they navigate obstacles spread out over courses ranging from 3 to 12 miles. That combination can be a challenge for many athletes. Most runners have no problem completing the distance, but often lack the strength to handle the challenges. Many anaerobic athletes breeze through the challenges, but struggle with distance running. Here are some strategies for not just surviving but thriving in an obstacle mud run:

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Tags: Race, Energy System Development, Training, Outdoor Recreation

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How to Train for Your First Snowshoeing Trip

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Snowshoeing is more challenging than a standard hike. Your feet are weighed down by snowshoes and you have to pick them up out of heavy snow, which requires a great deal of leg strength.

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Tags: Hip Flexors, Outdoor Recreation, Leisure Time

Blogs

Movement

5 Stretches to Refresh Your Warmup

Try these dynamic stretches to prepare for a better workout.

Live Better

Feeling Uninspired? Take a Walk

When you feel your creativity lacking, taking a walk can help you find inspiration, according to a small study from Stanford University researchers.

Nutrition

Q&A: Supplements for Vegetarian Bodybuilders

Three things to know if you train hard and don't eat meat.

Well at Work

Survey: American Employees Skipping Vacation Days for Work

A new survey found that only 25 percent of employees with paid time off took advantage of it in 2013.

The Performance Life

5 Tips to Build Teamwork and Fun Through Obstacle Racing

Here's what you need to know about using obstacle races to build teamwork at work.