SCW Spotlite: Issue 21
Benefits of Resistance Band Training: A Trainer’s Perspective
by Brock Moore MS, Stroops Fitness Educational Director
In my years of training, I have come to the conclusion that resistance band training should be a tool in everyone’s workout toolbox. Resistance bands are not something that everyone needs every day, but there are many great uses for this type of equipment. I would like to share with you a few of the benefits I have found in using resistance bands.
One of the most common ways to use resistance bands is for your warmup. Now this is not an article about how to warm up, but how you can improve your warmup. Most people are already using rubberized tubing for shoulder work.
The shoulder is one of those joints that need to be woken up before you work it out. It is pretty simple, just grab a resistance band tie it to something sturdy and stable, pick up the handle and start mimicking exercises you are going to perform during your workout. How about the lower body? One of the concepts I like to use, is getting assistance with the use of a resistance band. This is an excellent way to warm up the lower body. My favorite way is attaching the belt to the band. From here face the anchor and walk back.
Keep in mind, the further away you are from the anchor, the more assistance you will receive. Once you find the distance you want; begin doing squats – this is especially helpful for those who have very tight hips. The resistance band will allow you to go deeper than normal and help to warm up the hips.
The versatility of resistance bands is amazing. My clients the years range in age and ability. I have trained people that are in their 80’s and have used the same equipment to train high school and college athletes. I love that I can move between clients of all ages and abilities and still give them what they need to get a great workout and reach their goals.
An example of this would be the VITL kit by Stroops, it is amazing, I have trained husband and wife side by side with the same equipment. When I need a little more resistance, I just double up the bands and we keep going. I have trained a mother and child side by side and easily been able to adjust so that everyone gets the proper workout.
One pet peeve is spending more time looking for the correct weights than actually training. The efficiency of a resistance bands is fantastic. Ease of transition, like moving from handle to belt and back to handle, adds to saving time. Plus, you never have to leave the area that you are working in.
When training in a gym that doesn’t have a dedicated space for personal trainers, you could get caught wondering what equipment is available to work with. Solution: resistance bands. All you need is a little bit of space, a couple of bands and some attachments. Problem solved.
I saved my favorite for last. The number of modalities and different training techniques that can be accomplished is amazing. From barre and Pilates, to performance training, weight loss and rehab, all are able to use resistance bands in an amazing fashion. Wait, I almost forgot, bodybuilders use resistance bands as well!
Here are a couple of examples.
What athlete doesn’t want to be more explosive? I don’t think I have found too many tools that can help power and speed as much as resistance bands. It doesn’t matter if you are using a really long band and doing overspeed training, or you are using something like the Stroops Striker for mixed martial arts training, resistance bands can help your clients perform like dynamite.
Another favorite use of rubberized tubing is to use it for metabolic training. To understand what I mean is using compound exercises, with little rest, in an attempt to maximize calorie burn. Now, in no way am I saying rest is not important so make sure that rest is in play whenever you are designing your programs. The point is resistance bands give you the opportunity to bounce from exercise to exercise with only the amount of rest you are prescribing. Metabolic training is one of the best ways to use resistance bands, it is a great way to get a workout in. If you haven’t tried metabolic training with resistance bands now is the time!
Let’s make sure you understand I am not only talking about the normal resistance bands that you see in every gym, whether it’s the tubes with handles or the loops that you use for lateral walks. Those are useful and have their purpose, but I prefer to use the innovative resistance band kits we have developed at Stroops.
Resistance bands become a TOOL when you can become creative with them and Stroops resistance bands allow for unlimited creativity in exercise and workout design. My go-to pieces are the Son of the Beast Pro and the VITL kit. I love because they bring uniqueness to training. It is no longer the same old movements. These two kits provide creative programming, opportunity to work with all different kinds of clients and train a variety of modalities with effeciency.
About the Author, Brock Moore, MS
Brock Moore is a fitness professional with 10+ years of experience ranging from personal training to his current position, education director at Stroops. He has a master’s degree in sports performance and conditioning. Brock uses his passion for human performance to help others lose weight, increase athletic ability, and become better coaches. He is one of the great minds behind Stroops innovative resistance band training, family man, and lover of human movement (especially in the form of basketball and golf).
Tips & Tricks for Training Athletes
By Giovanni Roselli
“Being relentless means never being satisfied. It means creating new goals every time you reach your personal best. If you’re good, it means you don’t stop until you’re great. If you’re great, it means you fight until you’re unstoppable.”
—Tim S. Grover, World-renowned sports trainer
Elite athletes are visionaries. They are known for their innate ability to react, their confidence, their leadership, and their fighting spirit. They climb to the top of their sport battling through many obstacles and eventually end up reaping the rewards with success in their given profession. They must also accept that this success is often met with age, injury, and other circumstances.
Once retired from their sport, many athletes stay within the fitness industry and become coaches, trainers, etc. Going from top athletic performer to fitness professional may come with its own set of growing pains. What are some mistakes athletes can make during this transition? Below is a list to keep an eye on if you find yourself training with a former athlete. As a past WWE professional wrestler, I personally have gone through my own learning curve, which includes much of what is listed below.
- Be aware that training clients the same way as a professional athlete may not yield the same positive outcome. Just because the trainer has an enjoyable routine with successful exercises, doesn’t mean those same exercises will work for others and/or should be used on their clients. In addition, the way an athlete trains may not be optimal for accomplishing true goals and needs. “I work out this way so you should too” should not be the case (in actuality you may need training that is quite different). There are a lot of variables that would go into creating a specific program for an individual.
- An athlete’s priority is taking care of themselves and their body to succeed in their given sport. A trainer needs to understand that to many people, fitness is simply a part of the pie comprised of family, work, etc. Finding time to exercise may be a luxury, or may be difficult for some clients. What may seem inconsequential to an athlete can be very real to a regular (or non-regular) gym goer. This athlete turned trainer needs to be able to understand this, have empathy, and create the best situations possible given the circumstances.
- Successful athletes have great habits, unrivaled discipline, and relentless mental focus. With these qualities common to athletes, it could be easy for frustration to set in when there isn’t as strong a discipline or focus found in their clients. Some may even end up blaming the client for a lack of success versus taking responsibility as a coach. This is where a thorough assessment when beginning with a client is vital and should be extremely helpful for both parties. They should be asking questions that allow them to learn what the client needs and what has been difficult in the past. Do you need help with nutrition? Has commitment been an issue in the past? Overtraining? Scheduling? The client’s obstacles should lead the coaching style. What may seem like a no-brainer habit for an athlete may very well be quite the challenge.
Now, this is also not to say that being a former athlete does not have its advantages when it comes to training clients. Attention to detail, motivation, timeliness, and respect are just some of the traits an athlete will subconsciously excel at based on their past experiences. In the same token, if you get the opportunity to train with one, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.
High-level athletes are a special breed. All roads in their life drive them to get to the top of their sport and stay there. They need to bring these same traits to their job by having a right attitude, being open to learning, and having the passion and drive to work their way up this job ladder just as they’ve risen to the top of their sport.
About the Author, Giovanni Roselli
Giovanni, the PFP August 2018 Trainer Of the Month and an Equinox employee of over 10 years, has worked as a content creator for both Nike and Equinox. Winning the Educational Excellence By A Trainer award, Giovanni was also a nominee for Group Fitness Program Of The Year Creator. A former WWE Superstar, he has also professionally acted alongside some of the world’s top actors and presented group fitness programs across the country.
Training Shoe or Running Shoe? Which one is Right for You?
By Sam Haley
Performance shoes serve a variety of purposes and cater to a wide spectrum of athletic audiences. There are many types of shoes available on the market today, and it can be difficult picking the right athletic shoe for you. There are some factors to consider before you fork out the moola. This guide, will explain the differences between training shoes vs running shoes and also detail the various types of shoes that exist in the market and how their features are optimized for a variety of physical activities. The right shoe can make or break your physical routine and it is, therefore, a fundamental purchasing decision. All major sportswear brands have invested heavily in their athletic shoes and you will find footwear with all kinds of quirky cosmetics and functions.
Shoe technology has advanced to a point where we are able to perform longer and harder than ever before. We now have footwear that is created from recycled ocean waste that not only serves a good cause but also look great on your feet. Moreover, advances in sports science have allowed for the creation of long-lasting shoes that adequately handle the strain of multiple physical activities. By following this guide, you will learn the difference between different types of athletic shoes. This knowledge which includes shoe maintenance will help your footwear last a long time and provide you with the same level of comfort and performance as the day you first bought it.
One of the most common types of athletic shoes is the running shoe. Running shoes have become far more prominent lately with the advent of lifestyle/running shoes. However, the function, as well as the form of these shoes, have also improved. They are specifically designed for enduring the ridiculous amounts of force acting on your foot while running. Couple that with the fact that they have become a mainstream item and fashion accessory that can be worn for everyday use. This is due to the best-in-class comfort they offer, and a high-quality build which ensures they last a long time.
Compared to other shoes, running shoes come packed with extra cushioning to make for smoother landings. They absorb much of the impact between the ground and the ball of your feet. Running shoes are designed to endure repeated abuse regardless of if you’re a casual stroller or a marathon runner, and they’re built to maximize your running performance. They are also crafted to be very breathable and their lightweight design means you can use them for long periods of time without being affected by foot fatigue.
Running shoes may sometimes have night-time reflective strips that increase your visibility during late night jogs. Running shoes are made to be used on a multitude of terrains which makes them suitable for both roads/pavements and cross country. This roughly translates to you needing only one pair of shoes to suit all your running needs. Running shoes are purpose-built to absorb high levels of shock while also providing superior levels of comfort. This is particularly crucial for runners as the risk of knee/joint injuries are quite high.
Another type of athletic shoe is the cross-trainer. This type of shoe is designed for specific physical activities and is ideal for those who engage in a wide variety of exercises. They are designed to provide stability and support for strenuous workouts. Cross trainers provide flexibility and act as a combination of different types of athletic shoes.
They have multi-purpose outsoles that are thick, offer a significant amount of traction, and are ideal for sports or at the gym. Their overall stability is excellent, which helps in switching between different physical activities. They provide a moderate level of cushioning and superior support for lateral movements. Cross-training shoes combine the features of sports-specific shoes and walking shoes to provide a stable platform for all your workout needs.
They are not ideal for regular runners but can get the job done for those who like to run sporadically. It can be quite cost-effective to purchase cross trainers even if they may be a tad more expensive than specialized shoes. The main benefit from a cross training shoe comes from its versatility. A trusty pair of cross trainer shoes can declutter your shoe rack and leave you with one piece of footwear to perform a multitude of activities.
Not everyone will need shoes for high-endurance activities. You may require a reliable shoe for everyday use and some casual walking. Walking shoes are similar to running shoes in a few aspects, but they do have some noticeable differences. Walking shoes have good amounts of cushioning, although this may be slightly less than running shoes. These shoes are fairly flexible and can be used for a range of low-impact activities.
They are lightweight and agile, which makes walking a breeze. Walking is one of the easiest and best forms of exercise, and these shoes make for the perfect companion. Walking shoes also possess a “style” factor and there’s nothing quite like showing off your new kicks. Their everyday use means that you can get value for money, all while looking cool. Walking shoes have superior breathability will means you can go on long walks without worrying about sweaty feet.
They are, however, primarily built for even surfaces, which means they won’t be suitable for hiking. The soles are thinner than running shoes since the landing force of a walk has far less impact than that of a run.
Sports Shoes: (Golf/Tennis/Basketball)
You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for shoes that are specifically designed to be worn for a certain type of sport. These shoes are built with the sport in mind and therefore their primary purpose is to help you reach peak performance in that particular sport. This makes them a fantastic addition for professionals and amateurs who regularly play just one sport.
Basketball shoes, for example, feature high tops which provide additional ankle support while golf shoes are designed to be sturdy and have cleats to prevent from slipping on the grass. Tennis shoes have a focus on lateral support due to the various quick movements needed on a tennis court. They have less cushioning than running shoes because the surface of a tennis court is flat.
Sports shoes are usually constructed from a breathable material that helps to prevent sweat and moisture and it is evident that these shoes all have specializations that make them ideal for the sport they were built for. If you play one specific sport regularly, then buying a shoe made for it is a no-brainer. The main disadvantage of sports shoes is their distinct lack of versatility (try wearing your tennis shoes to the gym).
Things to look for in an athletic shoe and why they matter
There are certain things to look for when picking your next pair of performance shoes. Some prominent features are present in most athletic shoes. One of the main reasons that athletic shoes are superior to regular shoes is because of the premium cushioning they include. It is also important to consider a shoe that is breathable since this will prevent sweating and provide a far more comfortable experience.
The sole is one of the most important parts of any shoe. It actually consists of three separate layers. The outside part of the sole is built to withstand the stresses of intense physical activity. The material used is usually carbon rubber since this material is extremely durable to heavy strain. The midsole is responsible for cushioning and is manufactured from a variety of different materials like foam or gel.
The thickness of the midsole determines the amount of cushioning provided. Cushioning is a particularly important factor when engaging in activities that require heavy landings and helps to reduce foot strain. The insole is important for providing arch support. Arch support is essential during physical activities as it reduces the risk of injuries or if you suffer from a foot condition like flat feet. One advantage of running and walking shoes is that they provide a removable insole that can be washed.
The body of the shoe is also critically important. The toe box is one of the most important features to look out for when gauging fit. There should be adequate room left in the toe box to allow for a comfortable fit. It is recommended to leave about half an inch of wiggle room between the tip of your big toe and the inner fabric of the shoe.
The body of the shoe also features a heel counter which stops your heel from slipping. This is important in sports where the heel is in frequent use, such as basketball. The material used for the upper is primarily synthetic (sometimes fabric) which allows for superior breathability.
Athletic shoes will sometimes use a different form of lacing when compared to regular shoes. There are different types of lacing materials that can help to make the process fast and to make the loops tighter. This is important in athletic activities since untied laces can become inconvenient and even a safety hazard.
The style is also an important consideration to have when selecting shoes. Running shoes have become an everyday fashion symbol, which means they also function as everyday shoes. Style can be just as important as function and this is why modern sneakers are crafted to provide efficiency whilst also giving a sleek aesthetic.
Finding the Right Shoe for You
One of the most important things you should do before purchasing running shoes is to analyze your gait. This can be done in some stores and can be done yourself. Your gait will be an important indicator as to the specific type of running shoe you should purchase. You may notice that your feet excessively roll (inward or outward). There are motion control shoes available that can help to counteract this. The landing of your feet is also important and if you tend to over-supinate, then buying a running shoe with extra cushioning may be ideal to absorb the shock. If you already have running shoes that you frequently use, you can take them to the store and a sales assistant will be able to gauge the wear pattern to help you with your purchase.
The fit is always king when it comes to shoes, however, it is even more important when purchasing athletic shoes. A bad fit can ruin your exercise routine and it even has the potential to cause injury. An ill-fitting shoe can even cancel out the advantages such as cushioning and motion control. It is therefore critical to find the ideal fit before making a purchase. It is better to shop later during the day since your feet tend to swell and this will give you a better fit. Sports shoes do not usually need to be ‘broken into’ and they should feel comfortable as soon as you put them on. If there is any discomfort, this should be a warning sign that they are not suitable for you.
Running shoes and cross trainers are both viable athletic shoes and they both serve a range of purposes. There are also specialist shoes that can help you get the edge in your sport. You will now have a far more precise idea of the different types of athletic shoes and how their differences make them suitable for various activities. Hopefully, this guide has motivated you to make the purchase that will allow you to achieve your intended fitness goals.
Read Original Article from Nation of Shoes Here.
The Most Important Things You Didn’t Know About Stretching
By Andrea Metcalf, FLX
Functional fitness, introduced into the industry over a decade ago, is a training method that targets strength training applied to daily life activities. While workouts such as Cross-fit, Bootcamp, and high-intensity interval training classes burn higher calorie burn in the shorter periods of time, they also affect joint impact. As a result, the importance of flexibility training has really jumped to the forefront. It may be the reason the numbers in yoga classes across the country have skyrocketed.
ClassPass named stretching classes as the fastest-growing trend last year, reporting a 16% rise in restorative and recovery classes that were booked. According to Fast Company Magazine, recovery and stretch studios are the next big boutique fitness studio trend. Some new studios to enter the scene include StretchLab, Jo Stretch, and Stretch*d; all dedicated to helping people feel better.
But what is flexibility? Isn’t it just stretching? In short – no.
Flexibility training helps increase range of motion. For athletes including golfers, martial artists, and football players as well as dancers, the need for good range of motion and even hyper-mobility can help improve their performance and decrease the risk of injuries. But for the average person, range of motion for daily function is important as well. General movement patterns, including touching one’s toes (when tying your shoes) or stretching high (to reach something on a shelf), would be difficult without some basic flexibility. Daily life becomes challenging or painful. Simple stretches feel good and help us move better for the moment. But is stretching enough?
The Basics of Stretching
There are many ways to stretch. You can hold a stretch, move through a stretch, or even stretch against a wall or strap. But basically, stretching can be broken down into three types: active, passive and assisted.
Active Stretching refers to any time an opposing muscle group contracts to increase the stretch. If you want to stretch the hamstring, you may straighten the leg with the quadriceps to release the tension in the hamstring and allow for stretch.
Passive stretching refers to anytime an outside force is applied to muscles to change range of motion. One example of this would be dropping your heel down off the curb to stretch your calf muscles. You allow the weight of your body and gravity to increase the stretch of the muscles.
Static stretching refers to holding a stretch for a desired time period. Most static stretches are held for a minimum of 8-10 seconds and for no more than 2 minutes. This is the most common form of stretching that is considered safe and effective.
An assisted and active stretch pattern is called PNF stretching (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). This is considered the stretch, contract, stretch system. Using the joint, the neuromuscular system (Golgi tendon) activates by contracting the muscle, it then allows the muscle to fully relax and thus be fully stretched. In this instance, one would passively stretch the hamstring by lifting the leg. Next, one would contract the hamstring against resistance held for a few seconds and immediately stretch the hamstring to allow a deeper stretch. It feels like the muscle “lets go” and allows full stretch. PNF stretching has been proven to improve active and passive range of motion.
Research shows that stretching done before exercise should be more dynamic. Stretching exercises like leg swings from front to back and from side to side would be a good example of dynamic stretches for walking or jogging. However, post-exercise stretching should be held more static. Think of holding the movement like a runner’s stretch after jogging or walking.
However, to increase flexibility, stretching is not the complete answer since we know that stretching muscles is only temporary. In order to maintain or increase range of motion, stretching and strengthening those tight or weak muscles is a key. Many times, the limited range of motion is due to tight muscles. Tight muscles are weaker compared to the opposing muscles and thereby “fight” against each other to allow joint movement.
Understanding that muscle strength is a part of this equation and increasing flexibility is the key component of the Flexistretcher, a fitness strap that came from the ballet world a few years ago. This ballerina’s tool is made of nylon-supporting straps with an elastic center that allows for stability, resistance training and support. A basic yoga strap will help guide you into stretch, but injury can happen, if you pull your body too far. The gentle elastic center allows for that “give” that keeps stretching in the safe zone. Resistance bands are also an option, but may have too much give that could result in over-stretching as well.
Other stretch tools include ways to release the connective tissues. Tendons, fascia and muscle fibers make up the connective tissue that can limit movement. For those doing high-intensity interval exercise, some experts say that 20-30 minutes of flexibility training can undo the overuse and chronic pain injuries that may come along with this type of training. Recovery products are multiplying on the store shelves. From heat and vibration to massage rollers, all of them are helping release tight muscles and increase circulation.
Myofascial release helps bring pressure and circulation to muscles to ease tension. It is commonly used in physical therapy treatment sessions. The outer covering of the muscles, “the fascia”, gets stuck with overuse causing scar-tissue and soft-tissue adhesions. Application of pressure helps to eliminate these. Foam rolling is one way to release the fascia. By freeing up your fascia, the body moves more freely. It’s like putting on a pair of jeans out of the dryer that restrict movement, and after a few deep squats and kicks, you’re able to move more freely. That’s somewhat of what foam rolling does for the muscles. Most people are familiar with foam rolling to ease this type of tightness, but massage products that bring vibration and circulation to the muscles are important, too.
At home massage devices can help relieve tight muscles and wonderful to own. Most of these electric thumpers and spinning massagers aren’t cheap. The average price point is more than $200, but with the right help, it can be worth every penny. They all can be used to deep massage your muscles, increase performance, recovery, and pain relief. The Thumper Mini Pro, Hypervolt Vibration Massage by Hyperice, Theragun Percussive Therapy, and Tim Tam Power Massage all offer a pulsating vibration. Other massage devices like the Myobuddy Pro offer a spinning surface to massage the muscles. Just keep in mind, with all these devices, you may need a “helping hand” to get to those areas where they will do the most good.
Overall, if you want to move, you are essentially always stretching. As you reach up to raise your hand, you are stretching the lats and if you’re tying your shoes, you are stretching your hamstrings. But if you continue to neglect flexibility training, you could find yourself with more than sore muscles…. maybe joint replacement – is that really a stretch?
About the Author, Andrea Metcalf
Andrea Metcalf is a celebrity fitness expert and an FLX brand director. FLX is a brand of innovative performance equipment and training for stretch, strength and recovery used by leading dancers, athletes and experts in Pilates, yoga and physical therapy, worldwide. FLX helps you reach peak performance on your personal fitness journey. For more information and details visit flxtsrong.com.
Grab-and-Go Egg Breakfast Muffins
This combination of slightly bitter kale, deep-dark caramelized onions, and nutty cheese adds a big dose of flavor to the eggy frittata base. Yes, caramelizing onions takes time — don’t believe any recipe that claims they’ll be done in 20 minutes — but it’s a mostly unattended process that can be accomplished while puttering around the kitchen doing other things, and their umami-bomb qualities are well worth it. Aside from the onions, it’s a relatively speedy recipe, and, since the muffins reheat so well and can even be frozen, they’re a great candidate for weekend meal prep.
When your fridge (or freezer) is stocked with a batch of these, breakfast is as simple as tucking two into a resealable plastic bag, tossing that in your work bag, and reheating them in the office. Compared to a bowl of cereal, it’s a no-brainer choice.
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing the muffin tin
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced into half-moons
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 large bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch-wide ribbons
1 cup grated aged gouda, divided
8 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup standard muffin tin with olive oil.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high until just shimmering. Add the onions and 1/2 a teaspoon salt, stirring to evenly coat the onions with oil. Keep cooking, stirring the onions occasionally and adjusting the heat (if necessary) to accommodate slow, even browning. As the onions cook, scrape up any brown bits that begin to form on the bottom of the skillet. (Add a splash of water to deglaze, from time to time.) Keep cooking until the onions are slumped, have dramatically shrunk in volume, and are deep-caramel brown. Season with about 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
- Wipe out the skillet, and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering, but not smoking. Add the kale, a generous pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until bright green and somewhat wilted, 2-3 minutes. Add the kale to the caramelized onions. Cool for 10 minutes, then add 3/4 cup gouda, tossing everything together with tongs to evenly distribute the filling ingredients.
- Divide the caramelized onions, kale, and cheese between the muffin tin wells.
- Whisk together the eggs and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup, until no streaks of yolk remain. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the muffin tin wells, filling each well about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup gouda on top of the muffins.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until puffy, cooked through, and golden on top.
- Cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove from the muffin tin (run a butter knife around the muffin if it’s stubborn). Serve hot or at room temperature.
See the original recipe here.
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