Archive for sports performance

New Things continued…

Posted in Performance with tags , on October 25, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

I just wanted to build on yesterday’s post about the new things going on, since there is a whole lot in the air this fall!

One of the things that makes me so excited about my work with FITS is that we combine our anecdotal experiences with people and athletes with the most up-to-date research in strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, nutrition, and motor learning. This pursuit of the most advanced and effective methods of performance enhancement led us to a relationship with OptoSource. They currently provide some really exciting equipment/technology for anyone that does work in sport performance, rehab, or injury prevention. We had the honour of trialling the OptoJump this weekend at FITS and I must say it was a great success. We first went through all of the testing ourselves, in order to get a feel for the software and the ability to build in any test you wanted into the equipment. Then on Sunday we were able to take a lot of the athletes from Alpine Ontario through a gauntlet of tests/assessments to gather a lot of valuable information. Here are a couple takeaways from this experience…

Synchronization

One of the most powerful functions of the OptoJump is it’s ability to give you so many tools at one time. While conducting any given assessment, you get real-time video from two cameras (frontal and sagittal) that are synched with the data. This allow you to go back through the results and at any given point to see the metrics of their movement and have two different visual angles to compare with the numbers. You can also calculate joint angles as well.

Flexibility

The hardware and software are only as useful as the test itself, since you want to make sure you are learning more about something that’s actually important. With this in mind, it is really awesome that you can design any assessment you want to use within the OptoJump and allow the equipment to quantify results on the fly. Pick your sport, if you are testing athletes, and you you feel there are certain characteristics or movements that indicative of performance level or injury risk, then the chances are you can quantify it on the OptoJump.

Here are a couple videos I took of the OptoJump in action at FITS…

 

Lastly, we here at REP are starting to expand our reach with the content that we provide. We will now post articles on EVERYDAY JORDAN, a phenomenal blog written by a good friend about the opposite sex (no matter which sex you are!) and relationships…and pretty much how we live these days…I suggest you check it out…

Grip it and Rip it!

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , , on September 1, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

As you’ve probably noticed, many of the articles I write come from real world examples. Something in the gym or on the street which tells me that the public is dying for certain information. In this case, this article was sparked by some guys I saw training in the gym the other night. No, not the guy who was doing Barbell Military Press in the squat rack on a Bosu ball, that’s not worth an article; it was the 2 guys working hard but wearing lifting straps for their ENTIRE workout. Are lifting straps bad? Not necessarily, but they can have their place and are definitely not needed. They aren’t making you better as an athlete.

When it comes to separating yourself from other athletes, you need to start focusing on the little things that can make a big difference. In this case, what is being lost by these two young lifters is their grip. Grip strength is essential in any sport or activity in which you need to pull on anything or at the very least maintain a hold on something. So basically, grip is important for nearly every sport out there. Another way I like to look at it is, your hands are your point of contact for many actions and thus are a necessity for transferring power. Look at any climbing or pulling activity, what will monster lats or scapular retractors do when you can no longer hold on or maintain a tight grip? Nothing. The importance of a strong grip can be seen throughout most major sports. As a safety in football, tackling was a big part of my game. There are many times when saving a touchdown means pulling a guy down by his jersey. A strong grip could be the difference between winning and losing; a weak grip and the guy scores, a strong grip and they’re forced to punt. So ask yourself, when’s the last time you focused on your grip training?

How does your grip compare?

Before I get into specific exercises you can introduce  for your grip, let’s first look at what you can do to your existing program to help your grip get stronger. First off, ditch the straps. The more work you do with straps, the more your grip will lag in the future. If you’re training pulling exercises, all the muscles along the chain needed to be working, especially your hands and forearms. Sure, your grip is going to suffer a little early on, but how much you can hold with your hands will demonstrate your applicable/functional strength. Sure you can row 200lbs with straps on, but can you grab a 200lb running back and pull him down? Probably not, which makes your training somewhat useless.  Do yourself a favour and ditch the straps and anything else that will give you an “aid”. Choose bars/grips/tools that will make your grip work harder. Whenever possible, use barbells or dumbbells over machines, especially for any pulling. Next, try to use a handle that will require more grip: fat bars, added grips, towels.

If you’ve already started making the most of your programming but still want more grip work, you can add more exercises. One of the most underrated exercises out there is amazing for grip – Farmers Walks. Just adding farmers walks once or twice per week at the end of your workout will work wonders for your grip. Grab two fairly heavy dumbbells and do 3 sets of approx. 20 metres.

Farmers Walk for Grip Strength

Other exercises include pull ups, Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlift, DB 1-arm row, heavy shrugs, and plate pinches. All of these excercises will place a tremendous amount of stress on your grip.

The last option to improve your grip is to incorporate new tools into your grip training.

Gripper – The first tool would be to use heavy grippers. I’m not talking about going to walmart and buying a gripper, I’m talking about Elitefts for some heavy duty grippers. Look for something between 100lb-300lb.

Rice Bucket – Find a big pail and add at least 10lbs of cheap white rice. Once or twice a weak go through a circuit of various grip exercises using the rice bucket. This is popular with strongman competitors and baseball players.

Thick Grip – These tools can be added to barbells and dumbbells to create a thick bar response without having to own multiple thick bars. Options include: Tyler Grips, Grip4orce, Fat Gripz.

Now all you have to do is take some of this information and build yourself a crushing grip!

It’s About Getting Better!

Moving In

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , on August 23, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know that I just moved to Ottawa (Kyle). Since I’ve been here, I’ve had a number of projects on the go but haven’t had a dedicated gym for personal training. Well, now I have one. I will now be training out of Gym-Max. You’ll still get the same training through Razor’s Edge Performance, only now I’ll be doing it out of an awesome gym in ottawa! Shoot me an email, info@razorsedgeperformance.ca and let’s start tackling some of those training goals!! Check it out:

GYM-MAX  is what many gyms aspire to be but few achieve.  The industry likes to call it “synergy”—one of those notions so intangible as to be pure fantasy—but at GYM-MAX  it’s real:  a fusion of all things positively related to health and fitness.  It’s also remarkably spacious (22,500 sq ft), beautifully lit and ventilated, hyper-clean, ultra-modern and at the same time surprisingly intimate.

Among the many concepts that makes GYM-MAX  unique is the fact that it features over 100 pieces of Magnum Equipment, 70 Cardio machines (with NO time limit) and a full Cardio-theatre TV system.  There’s a free KID-MAX training and play area (ages 3-14), a women-only section with circuit and free weights, group exercise room (with free Spinning, Yoga, Step and other classes), an Ideal Protein weight loss clinic, juice bar and more!

For your convenience, GYM-MAX also boasts spacious change rooms equipped with shower, sauna and locker facilities. And should you choose assistance and instruction by a top Certified Personal Trainers you will find those too!

After more than 15 years in the Ottawa area, GYM-MAX has developed a solid reputation and very satisfied membership.  Find out why, by contacting or visiting. We are located at 530 West Hunt Club Road off of Merivale Road.  Our phone number is 613-727-0496, or check us out on-line at www.GYM-MAX.com.

And now at Gym-Max,

It’s About Getting Better

Training Specificity – The Key to Year-to-Year Improvement

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Here we GO!

With the University Football training camps opening soon, I’ve been asking some of my former teammates about their off season goals. Not only was I curious about their preparations going into camp, but I wanted to get some real world proof for something I’ve been thinking about, Training Specificity. More specifically, I wanted to point out the need for the testing of progress while focusing on specificity.  See, a lot of athletes have an idea of where they want to improve in their off season training but don’t go much further than pointing it out. There are so many areas that can be changed (speed, strength, power, quickness, mobility, skill development, etc.) that most people end up spreading themselves too thin making only small strides. The closer an athlete gets to elite level, the greater the need for training specificity.

Pick a measurable goal.

This is where I think some athletes get distracted. Keep in mind that I’m speaking from a physical training standpoint. For this purpose, your goal has to be something physical that you can measure. If you say something like “I want to try harder”, or “be more aggressive” then that’s fine, but you need to also pick some physical goals to steer your training. Those subjective goals are very difficult to actually recognize or quantify.  The reason it’s very important to pick something measurable is so that you can adjust/alter your training based on your results. This can be done by either: you (If you know how to adjust it properly), or your strength coach . A quotation from Kelly Starrett comes to mind, “if there’s no change, there’s no change”. This is true for strength training as well. If your goal is to get faster, “feeling” faster doesn’t actually demonstrate improvement, especially if your testing didn’t demonstrate results. Be sure to test your 40 (or whichever distance you choose) multiple times throughout the off season to see if your training is actually yielding results.

Test/Retest

I just mentioned this concept, but I want to elaborate a little bit more. Any time you isolate a variable, you need to be able to test it and retest it to truly know if a change is being made. Sometimes we take certain measures or results from different activities and try to relate them where they don’t belong. Let’s take an example of upper body explosiveness. Maybe a defensive back really wants to work on his jam, so this is his big off-season goal. Way too often, I see people say something like…’yeah, my bench went way up, so I definitely reached my goal!’. Unfortunately this isn’t true. You do need strength in order to build power, but strength doesn’t guarantee power. Unless you are actually testing power, either with a Myotest or medicine ball chest pass, etc. then you don’t actually know if you’ve improved your explosiveness, which carries the biggest impact in a game. So once you pick a specific goal to work on, make sure you also have a specific test to insure that you are tracking progress appropriately.

whatever this is, it looks like he's improving!

Ask Other People

Some people have a knack for looking in the mirror and figuring out what they need. Most people don’t. Training to improve a weakness quickly becomes ‘practice your strongest lift’ without appropriate guidance. When entering the off-season, try to really go out of your way to determine what your biggest need is. Ask coaches and fellow players. Check your stats to see if there are certain numbers that jump out more than others. Compare testing scores to other people around the league at your position, or better yet, to the numbers at the CFL and NFL combines. Get a feel for what you truly need to improve on, then target it specifically.

Getting to the next level

Although this advice is good for anyone doing any type of training, it’s more tailored for athletes looking to get swole to the next level. You need to understand that all of the physiological adaptations which can take place through training (i.e, strength, power, speed, endurance, conditioning…) can all have a negative on one another. I’m sure you’ve realized how working on strength has hurt your endurance or vice versa, working on your size can have a negative impact on your speed and so on. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, you need to decide what element of your training is needed the most to get to the next level. Once you’ve established that, your training has to be programmed to improve that one aspect. If done properly, you may even see improvements across the board.

Find out that ONE thing that’s holding you back and take yourself to the next level!

It’s About Getting Better!

A basket full of goodies…

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Howdy here…I decided I had a whole bunch of things in my mind that I wanted to touch on, so i’ll make a bit of a summary post with some good tidbits I hope…I’ve been working with some tweens the past few weeks running a Sport Performance camp; It has been a ton of fun, but also a little exhausting. I thought it would negatively impact my training and lean body mass, but oddly enough I’ve been adding some lean muscle lately. While I do definitely feel like my lifts are less explosive, I’ve been hovering above 183lbs lately, at a body fat around 9%. Considering I had been stuck around 179-181lbs in the last 4-6 weeks, I am definitely happy with the progress. On to the other thoughts…

– If you are a recreational weightlifter who can squat 3 plates with some good depth, HUGE thumbs up… It’s not easy to do…having said that though, if you seem to come out of the hole with decent strength BUT fold in half like a chair, giving you a ton of spinal flexion, then all is for naught. Take a plate off and make sure you are doing a proper squat. Totally unacceptable to have that kind of leg strength and atrocious technique or corresponding lack of core strength. Do your best to workout with a reliable partner, who is not afraid to tell you when your lifts look like garbage or hire a professional to put you through a workout every couple months. If they are worth the cost (which they should be!) then they can help clean up techniques or give you ways to do it yourself. I guarantee you’ll learn something, so it’s worth the price.

– I just got directed to a website made by Canadian trainer and strength coach Brad Pilon (HERE ) and it really made me think. I am not here to say one way or another whether or not this book may have some merit, especially since I haven’t read it. However, It does raise some questions with me though. I happen know a lot of graduate students, university professors and researchers who do studies on different supplement ingredients and protocols that have had positive findings and AREN’T on the bankroll of supplement companies. I wholeheartedly agree that there is no black and white as it comes to protein ingestion and how your body will respond. There are so many factors when it comes to physical adaptation that its hard to guarantee anything! From looking at the site, I just think he may be trying a little too hard to produce shock value, but I also understand he’s probably put a ton of good work into a product that he wants to sell…just something to think about.

– From the last few weeks working with kids in the 13 to 16 year old range, I can say for certain how important proper movement patterns need to be reinforced at this age. Every kid wants a chance to do bench press, squats, and deadlifts, but most of them have very little ability to control much of their body during movement.  If you are coaching kids at this age, do the world a favour and stand your ground! When they ask to try something that’s only going to build on their dysfunctions, just say NO! If they don’t care the reasons, then just don’t give them the options.

– I am really loving Cytosport right now. I am extremely glad that they have taken the initiative to be a company that provides products that athletes can count on as being 100% clean(NSF tested). There are so many supplement companies that it’s hard to say whose products are better than others in terms of quality. You’d probably have to take them all into a lab and break them down and I don’t have the resources for that…so let’s assume they are all in a similar range. Cytosport’s new line is also trying to eliminate all of their previous usage of ‘proprietary blends’ and focus on quality ingredients. This makes it much easier to qualify the expected physiological effect of its use. Between a renewed focus on quality and the peace of mind of being clean and safe, we at REP are currently on the Cytosport bandwagon, and happy to sell their line of products!! Email us if you have any more questions!

That’s it for now…It’s About Getting Better!

The Egg has been SPLIT!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 13, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Hello REP-ies,

Big news, Razor’s Edge Performance is now in two cities instead of one! I (Kyle) have moved back to Ottawa to pursue a few opportunities. This new move will make Razor’s Edge available to a whole new demographic of clients.

 

 

So for everyone I met or worked with in Toronto, thank you and keep working hard.  If you know anyone in Ottawa who’s looking for training, supplements, advice or some networking, send them here! I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with some old friends and people I worked with before, as well as blazing a new trail the same way we have in Toronto.

If you want to get in contact with me or share this with your friends/family, shoot me an email: info@razorsedgeperformance.ca

I’m really looking forward to working with some new clients and showing them the Razor’s Edge Performance difference!

Come on Ottawa…

It’s About Getting Better!

 

 

 

Abs vs The Core

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , on June 29, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

It’s really starting to heat up in Toronto, which means everyone forgets about function and starts focusing on their beach body. This is a good segway to broach the topic of core training and the mythical 6-pack.

First the 6 pack. Everybody has abs…so the determinant of how well they show is the amount of body fat on top. If you want your abs to show, get your body fat down. Abs don’t hypertrophy like biceps, so doing extra crunches won’t make them ‘pop out’ (not to mention crunches suck). I’m not saying core work isn’t important, I’m just saying there is no need for overkill. Do some sprints or jump some rope. If you are looking to see your abs, that is the way to get there.

Now the core.
This is an awesome piece of machinery when functioning correctly. It keeps our body in proper alignment, and is the bridge that transfers power through our limbs.
The core is made up of a slew of muscles that encircle your torso…I’m not gonna name them all, just think stomach, low back, abs, hip flexors, and you can also include lats and muscles that surround the pelvic girdle. You don’t need to know all of them, just know that when you do core work properly, you’ll hit the right spots!
When considering injury prevention think of the core as a bullet proof vest or a section of old medieval armor, it serves to keep your torso stiff, which protects the spine. This stiffness is also a great foundation for your body to produce movement. You would be surprised how many movement dysfunctions can be cleared up if the core is properly activated in the right sequence. Things we usually attribute to a lack of flexibility or strength of certain muscle groups is often caused by a lack of core activation.

One of the biggest mistakes I see, especially in athletes, is a lack of strength focused core work. You can do crunches til you are blue in the face, but they will not help you stay rigid against the application of high external forces. This is the true function of the core…maintaining rigidity despite external forces.

This is especially evident when you think of something like a heavy deadlift. Force application for the deadlift is through the feet, while the attachment to the bar is through the hands. If there is any level of disconnect in the middle of the system (your CORE), then you won’t be able to lift the bar off the ground with any semblance of good technique. Your goal as a lifter is to drive the weight straight up, but the bar is trying to pull you forward. A strong core allows you to resist a forward weight shift, and allow a smooth vertical lift of the bar.

While this is easy to see in weightlifting, it is twice as important to stay in a strong connected position during sprinting or sport performance, especially sports that involve physical contact.

How do we train it then? There are many different ways, and many more to be invented. The key thing to think about when you think core training, is whether you are trying to create movement or prevent it? Remember, the core is designed to prevent movement despite the application of external forces.

Serious Core Strength

My favourite simple core training exercise is the one-arm Farmer’s Walk. You take a dumbell in one hand, as heavy as you can hold, and try to walk a given distance with it. Key teaching points are ‘perfect posture’, ‘don’t let the weight rub against your leg’, and ‘don’t let your body tilt one way or another’. If you take a weight that is at least reasonable, you should feel one side of your core JACKED UP, while the other side is at least activated ‘sufficiently’.

Don’t be a fool. Train your core for strength. It matters more than any other body segment!
It’s About Getting Better!!!

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