Archive for June, 2011

Improve Your Performance From The Start

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Let’s start from the beginning – quite literally. It is beneficial to warm-up before a rigorous training session. Everyone knows that, and I’m guessing most people are able to list some of the reasons why it’s beneficial to warm-up before training. Let’s explore the notion a bit further than what you learned at school because if you train hard then you NEED to know how to get going properly to maximize performance. A method that most of the top strength and conditioning coaches use to prepare athletes is the ‘RAMP’ protocol. This acronym stands for; raise, activate, mobilise and potentiate (Jeffreys, 2007).

Through low intensity movements you should aim to raise core temperature and increase blood flow.
In day-to-day life our body prefers to overuse certain muscles and so this part of the warm up aims to ‘wake up’ the less dominant muscles.
Not dissimilar to the activate phase, the intensions here are to increase range of motion around key joints such as the hip joint.
This is where the intensity of the warm-up is shifted up a gear. This phase will consist of a movement that is specific to your workout and will be done at maximal speed with the aim that it will increase muscle fiber recruitment and training performance.

Including this method  in your regime will allow you to recruit a maximum amount of muscle fibers therefore eliciting improvements in strength and size!

Take a look at the video below – it shows a client going through the first three stages of a warm-up.

 The potentiate part of the warm-up should be specific to the main aim of your session and can literally be a couple of light/speed sets of your first exercise. The table below should give you a guide of the sort of movements work well together.

First Exercise of Workout
Pre-work (Potentiate)
Back Squats Speed Squats, box jumps, tuck jumps.
Power Cleans Box Jumps, broad jumps
Bench Press Med Ball Chest pass, Clap Press ups

Get on board with what all the top athletes are doing for their warm up and you will start to notice the benifits. ‘RAMP’ it up!

Jeffreys, I. (2007). Warm-up revisited: The ramp method of optimizing warm-ups. Professional Strength and Conditioning. (6) 12-18

Four Steps to Increase Athleticism

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Last year I wrote a series of articles titled ‘Athletic Development’. The series provides a guide to training with an emphasis on performance. If you are not an Olympian then the chances are you are not anywhere near your genetic athletic potential,  and while the series isn’t about taking an average Joe and turning him into Chris Hoy, it is about taking an individual and aiding their knowledge – allowing them to maximize their potential!

 Have a read through the articles and apply the basic template into your regime.

Athletic Development: The Posterior Chain
This article is all about the hamstrings, glutes and lower back.
Athletic Development: The Kinetic Chain
In the second post of the series the whole body, working as one (efficiently), is discussed.
Athletic Development: Muscle Armour
This article is all about muscle building.
Athletic Development: Conditioning
The final article of the series deals with the broad topic of conditioning.

The ‘Athletic Development’ series will give you a good base to work from so don’t be affraid to try something new.