Thursday, February 6, 2014

Preparing for a "power" workout

No matter which sport you play, producing power; the ability to store and release energy quickly and efficiently, will be required.

Think of a tennis player's forehand swing.  In order to generate power from the racquet to the ball when hitting it, the player will bring the racquet backwards (storing energy) and then swing forward (releasing the energy) to hit the ball.  The faster that player can do this with accuracy, the harder he/she will hit the ball.

Same thing goes for a baseball pitcher.  His arm will cock back (store energy) and use as much acceleration/velocity moving towards home plate (releasing energy) to throw the ball hard.

I am currently training my women's cycling team in the Power Phase of strength training periodization .  The goal for them is to perform movements with quick, explosive movements followed by rest.

The purpose of this post is to talk about how to "prepare" the body for such movements during a workout.  I like to follow the principles of Athletes' Performance whereas we begin each workout with 2 simple dynamic warm ups.

After the riders have spun for a few minutes on the bike we'll perform some movement prep exercises. These exercises are designed to increase core temperature, elongate muscles actively and symmetrically, improve balance and proprioception, and prepare them for the demands of certain explosive movements.  The primary focus is on balance, stability and mobility.

Here are some examples of these types of movements with links to videos from the Athletes' Performance website:
     Inverted Hamstring Stretch
     Forward Lunge, Elbow to Instep
     Backward Lunge with Lateral Flexion
     Knee Hug
     Forward Marching and Skipping
Next I like to do what Athletes' Performance calls prehab exercises, strengthening and stabilizing the hips, torso, and shoulders.

Some examples of these types of exercises include:
     Glute Bridge w/ Marching
     Shoulder Y, I, and T's
     Mini-Band Walks

After completing these exercises; which takes between 10-15 min. we move into our workout routine.  Since our primary goal is to build power, we focus on the first part of the workout doing explosive movements.

Some of the movements we do that will help them apply more power to the pedals and eventually go faster on the bike include the following:
     TRX Sprinter Starts (with hop)
     TRX Suspended Lunge (with hop)
     Box Jumps (2 and 1 leg)
     Explosive Step Ups (1-leg)
     KB Swings

Because we are trying to exert as much quickness/explosiveness as possible during these movements, I give them a 1-2 min. recovery between each set.  I don't want them to feel fatigued during these first few exercises.  I choose 2-3 of these to include during each of our 2x week training.

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