If you’re a parent, coach or trainer of young athletes, please keep reading... I’m concerned. Seriously...
There are so many misconceptions about how to improve the speed and quickness of young athletes.
In fact, most parents, coaches and trainers who are working with young athletes are making some big mistakes. Hopefully this article will clear some things up for you.
Let’s start with the most-pressing issue...
1. Young Athletes Should NEVER Be Trained Like Adults Ok, first things first...
Young athletes are not miniature adults and should never be trained like adults. Yet so many parents, coaches and trainers make the mistake of training young athletes like older, more mature athletes. Worse yet, they try to copy the training program of a professional athlete for young athletes.
Consider that young athletes are going through a transitional period regarding growth and maturity.
If you want your young athletes to get faster for sports you need to focus on training that is age and growth/development appropriate.
Your speed training programs should focus on developing speed and coordination at the same time.
2. Speed Training for Young Athletes Should Be Set Up As a Long-Term Approach
Don’t get caught up in quick solutions for speed training and young athletes. Instead, think about a long-term approach that allows them to be active, healthy, fit, strong and injury-free for life.
One of the worst things coaches and trainers do with young athletes is try to train them on some professional athlete’s 6 week offseason program etc.
Quick solutions aren’t the answer for young athletes. A progressive training approach that will help them get better and better, year after year is best.
They will still make progress in short periods of time, but as the parent, coach or trainer, we need to envision a long-term approach for our young athletes, instead of quick-fixes.
3. Strengthen the Posterior Chain Strength To Increase Speed In Young Athletes It’s really that simple...
If you want to get any athlete faster, you need to concentrate on the muscles of the posterior chain - glutes, hamstrings, calves and low back. This is really important when training young athletes.
I like to describe training the posterior chain in a young athlete as a rear-wheel drive muscle car. The power from that muscle car comes from the rear wheels. That’s what provides the speed off the light. The power coming from the rear wheels is what makes it so powerful when accelerating.
The same thing goes for athletes. Make the rear, or in this case the posterior chain muscles, and you have more speed.
4. Increase “Relative” Strength To Increase Speed
One of the best ways to dramatically increase the speed of young athletes is to increase relative strength. Relative strength refers to your strength compared to body mass.
The more strength you have compared to body mass, the faster you become.
Simply stated, you want to get your young athletes stronger without adding much body weight to improve speed and quickness.
This is where functional strength training becomes valuable for training young athletes. They get stronger in the right places and won’t add any unnecessary body weight. Not
to be confused with barbells and bodybuilding-type training, functional training is geared towards developing athletes.
Young athletes can get stronger. Much of this is due to learning how to use their body. By having your young athletes perform functional strength training exercises along with
appropriate speed training drills, you will increase their relative strength... and be a faster athlete.
5. One Leg Exercises are Essential for Speed Development
Young athletes need to master the basic strength exercises. This will come in time, when it’s appropriate for their growth and development as well as experience.
One of the most important things a young athlete should master are the one-leg exercises.
One leg exercises will help build strength in the lower half while building up the small stabilizing muscles in the hips.
One leg exercises often don’t require anything more than bodyweight for resistance. This keeps the load off of the spine and allows young athletes to increase strength in the lower body with minimal risk of stress on the joints.
6. Train For Speed AND Train For Injury-Prevention
You can be as fast as lightning but if you’re injured you won’t be much good for your team.
A big mistake many parents, coaches and trainers make with young athletes is trying to get get them stronger for speed... yet forgetting about including training techniques for injury prevention.
One simple technique to help reduce non-impact injuries in young athletes is to include lateral movements in their training.
Exercises that require an athlete to move side to side require the use of the Gluteus Medius muscles. This helps build explosive speed and power while reducing groin injuries.
Lateral exercises should be included in all phases of training in young athletes.
7. Functional Strength Training
One of the worst things you can do for long-term success in youth athletes is get them lifting heavy weights in the weight room before they are ready for it. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- Youth athletes are in a unique period in their lives in regards to growth and development. Their body’s aren’t meant to endure lots of spinal compression due to heavy barbell lifting.
- Heavy barbell training can be beneficial to a point, when and only when a youth athlete is ready for it in terms of their maturity and relative strength.
This is where functional training comes into play. It’s basically using training methods that make sense. The exercises focus on more than one body part at a time. This helps in developing the essential muscles such as the core and posterior chain area as well as the stabilizers in the hips and scapula areas. The result is faster, stronger athletes who stay on the field more because they don’t get hurt as often.
8. Give Them What They Need If You Want More Speed
Increasing speed and quickness in young athletes requires a systematic, logical approach You have to have a program that covers the essentials:
- Dynamic warmup
- mobility and soft tissue work
- speed training drills
- functional strength training
- drills (to reinforce your objective and lets them have fun) - games
This is the approach we use when training youth athletes to increase speed, quickness and overall athleticism. This approach helps them progress in their speed and strength with a long term approach that will minimize injuries.
9. Make It Fun
You will never succeed in getting youth athletes to increase their speed and athleticism with a boring training program.
Kids want to have fun. This is where you need to be careful about training them like youth athletes or trying to train them like an adult or older athlete.
The best way to have youth athletes learn a skill is to involve that skill in some sort of game. Games are the connection between the coach or teacher and the youth athlete.
Games are also a great way to finish a speed training session. The youth athletes always look forward to the “reward” of a game. Its work and play mixed together and the result is faster, more athletic youth athletes. This is because games (when chosen correctly) will have athletes moving in different planes of motion... just as they will in competition.
10. Fuel Your Athletes Before and After Training Sessions
Here is some good advice. If you’re trying to build faster, quicker youth athletes you should pretend they are a high- perfmanance sports car.
If you had a Ferrari you know that you have a machine with potential to go very very fast. However, if you put really bad gasoline and oil into it, your performance will suffer. Imagine if you put sand into the gas tank instead of gas. How much performance would you get then?
It’s the same thing with young athletes. You need to have proper nutrition to fuel the workouts and recover from them. By doing this, your youth athletes will get faster, quicker and stronger.
The key to building faster, quicker youth athletes is to have a training system and nutrition system that work synergistically so that your youth athletes continue to make progress in performance over time.
I hope these 10 tips have helped you discover how to help your youth athletes become faster and quicker.
Drinking beer like a viking, sleeping on random couches, staying up until 4 in the morning—there are a lot of habits you’re probably happy to leave to your 20-year-old self.
But the magic of being able to eat pizza, burgers and chips and still lose weight and have abs? Those are sweet memories indeed. Once you’re over 40, trying to lose that unsightly fat and get rid of your gut seems like a daunting task.
I know because I’ve been there.
It seems like only yesterday that I was in high School and college, working out regularly in the weight room. I had 6-pack abs too and didn’t need to do crunches or sit-ups either. I was ripped year round.
Oh, and I could eat anything I wanted. I’d make weight-gainer shakes, eat burgers, pizza, fast food and junk… and I was still lean and muscular.
Fast forward to age 40.
Oh boy did things change. It seemed like my metabolism slowed to a halt.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey follow-up study found that among adults 25 to 44 years old, men gained about 3.4 percent of their body weight each 10-year interval; women gained 5.2 percent per 10 years.
You see, when your body is losing muscle due to age your metabolism slows down because muscle cells are where fat is burned. It’s as if you’re taking the fat-burning fire and dousing it with water.
Use these five tip to lose fat and get your metabolism in check after age.40.
1. Cut Way Back On Alcohol
Alcohol is the simplest sugar of all. A gram of sugar from alcohol contains about 7 calories. That’s almost twice as much per gram of sugar found in foods. When you were younger your body could metabolize these alcohol sugars along with the rest of the junk you ate.
But now, it will struggle to do anything more than let it increase the size of your gut. Alcohol does a number on your internal organs as well. Chronic alcohol consumption can destroy your liver. It can also screw with your hormone levels. Let’s face it: when you get older the last thing you want is to decrease your hormone levels more than they do naturally.
2. Cut Back On Meat
Did you know that one in three men over 40 will die from heart disease? It’s true. When you were younger your biggest risk for early death was an unfortunate accident. As you get into your 40’s and up the risk is now cardiovascular disease. As a guy who loves a good steak or burger, I know how hard it is to cut back on meat. But replacing meat with healthier plant-based fats can help lower your cholesterol and put less strain on your cardiovascular system. Some good healthy fats are olive oil, avocados, nuts, eggs and fatty fish such as salmon.
3. Up Your Protein
Sadly, we all lose a pound of muscle each year after age 30. That adds up as the years roll on. What to do about it?
Start by making sure you’re eating quality, lean proteins (again, not too heavy on the meats.( You don’t have to consume the large amounts you did when you were doing heavy lifting back in the day, but don’t skimp on it either. You also need to consider that protein isn’t stored in the body like fats and carbohydrates.
That means you should strive to have smaller, more frequent protein servings each day. Also, by consuming more protein you’re apt to consume less carbohydrates. Carbs in abundance give you a belly bloat. Not exactly what you’re looking for here. Think about trying to get 25-30 grams of protein in a meal.
4. Up the Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are essential part of your diet thanks he fiber, vitamins, minerals as well as their antioxidant properties. .
It seems odd that for so long people have heard about the USRDA and never know what it is or to follow it. The USRDA refers to the United States Recommended Daily Allowances of foods and micronutrients. The government has invested millions into these findings and recommendations.
Many people don’t realize that their perfect meal plan lies in the USRDA. For example, the USRDA for fruits and vegetables are 5-9 servings per day. Personally, I like 3 fruits and 4 veggies each day. Since time is always an issue, I’ll often add fruit and veggies (think spinach and broccoli) to shakes.
SIDE NOTE: If you’re gagging reading about spinach and broccoli in a shake, you really can’t tasted them:).
5. Resist Processed Carbs
All of those tasty bagels, pastries and donuts at office work meetings are not your friends. These carbohydrates are processed and any nutritional value has been stripped from them.
Your body will hold on to the excess sugar and throw your blood-sugar levels out of whack, causing you to overeat foods that don’t have any solid nutrition. Even worse, your metabolism slows and the carbs are even harder to work off.
Opt for carbs from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains including whole-wheat bread and quinoa and whole oats, which will ensure your blood sugar remains stable and you can keep cravings in check.
You can still get your flat stomach and 6-pack abs in your 40’s and older. You simply have to change your approach. Trying to eat and train like you did when you were younger isn’t the answer. Now you’re older and wiser. Use your maturity, common sense and wisdom to help you rediscover your inner athlete.
If you’re over 40 and struggling to get back the body you once had, keep reading. You’ll discover what’s holding you back, how to overcome the problems, and feel 10 years younger
The 40 and over crowd has a few things in common. One of these is time. As we have gotten older and family and work responsibilities have increased. Time for ourselves is in short supply.
We’ve also experienced muscle loss and fat gain as we’ve aged. It sucks. I hear you.
In fact, every year over the age of 30 you lose 1 pound of muscle. By the time you’ve hit 40, you’ve lost at least 10 lbs of muscle and have likely replaced that with unsightly fat.
So what do you do about it?
First, get your priorities straight. Your goal at this point is not to lose fat but to layer more muscle on your body.
By layering more muscle, you’ll have more muscle cells. Fat burns in your muscle cells. So layering muscle is like building a fat-burning furnace inside of your muscles.
Not that I’m not talking about building an excessive amount of muscle or turning you into a bodybuilder. You just want to look good. It can be done. It has been done. And you can do it, too..
Building athletic muscle is like your fountain of youth. It will allow you to move better, play sports again, throw the ball with your kids, or even run that Tough Mudder or whatever else comes your way.
It all gets back to muscle. One of the big mistakes guys over 40 make when they decide they want to get into shape again is doing long cardio workouts. Worse yet, they do these cardio workouts before they strength train.
Let me explain.
Long 45 minute or one hour treadmill workouts suck for helping you lose fat. In fact, they slow your metabolism down and eventually the weight comes back. This 1980’s approach is not what you want to do when you’re over 40 and trying to turn back the clock.
Instead, focus on short, intense cardio to aid in fat loss. Recent studies have shown that high intensity interval cardio is more effective for helping you lose fat. They also help with your cardiovascular health.
Be sure to do your strength training first followed by your HIIT cardio if you want to keep or add muscle, keep your metabolism high and get maximum results from your program.
Did you ever go to the gym during the first week of January? Every piece of cardio equipment is taken. People flock to the gym at that time and go directly to the cardio machines in hopes of getting rid of the fat. Then they might do a few sets of strength training or none at all… then leave. YIKES!
When you do cardio first and follow it with strength training your body wants to fuel the cardio workout by using the stored glycogen (muscle energy) from your muscle cells.
When that is complete and you then do your strength training, your body has no glycogen to fuel your strength training and will pull from your own muscle for energy. The result is a slowed metabolism and poor results.
Now, take the exact same strength workout and cardio workout and do the strength training part first. Now your body wants to use the glycogen in your muscles to properly fuel your strength training workout. When you follow that with cardio, your body will now use it’s preferred energy source (fat) to fuel the cardio workout. The result is more fat loss without losing muscle.
So many people miss that part. By simply keeping the strength training then cardio sequence you will jump-start your progress from your workouts.
Here are 2 sample weekly workouts:
1A) Dumbbell Squats - 3 x 8
1B) Incline Pushups - 3 x max reps
2A) Dumbbell Row - 3 x 8
2B) Stability Ball Leg Curl - 3 x 15
3A) Split Squat with Front Foot Elevated - 3 x 8
3B) Inverted Rows - 3 x max reps
Conditioning: Stationary Bike - warm up 5 minutes, 30 seconds fast followed by 30 seconds slow 10 times, 5 minute cool down
1A) Dumbbell Split Squats - 3 x 10
1B) Wide Grip Pull-ups - 3 x max reps
2A) Dumbbell Chest Press - 3 x 8 reps
2B) Rotational High Row - 3 x 12
3A) Dumbbell 1-Arm Shoulder Press - 3 x 10 each side
3B) Dumbbell 1-Leg Deadlift - 3 x 10-12 each side
Conditioning: Rower - warm up 5 minutes, 30 seconds fast followed by 30 seconds slow 10 times, 5 minute cool down
* Exercises that have the same number before them (ie. 1A and 1B) are meant to be performed back-to-back with no rest in between. Rest 1 minute after both exercises before repeating for suggested number of sets.
At Preston Strength we specialize in helping adults over 40 lose weight, build muscle and feel 10 years younger. We're conveniently located in the Great Bridge area of Chesapeake, across from Big Ugly Brewery :). You'll get a completely customized program to help you reach your goals in a private, supportive environment. Click the Contact button at the top of this page and fill out the form. I'll be in touch within 24 hours.
Are you in a training rut?
Have you been working out regularly but not seeing any changes?
Do you get frustrated because you’re putting in the time but not experiencing the benefits?
I’ve got good news for you. There’s a solution to your lack of workout progress.
It all starts with coming to terms with your age and training your body accordingly.
When I was in my 20’s and early 30’s I could eat anything I wanted and lift a few weights and I was muscular and lean all the time.
As I approached 40 things changed.
All of a sudden, I wasn’t quite as strong as I had been. I was also gaining more body fat and didn’t look quite as muscular as I had back in the day. Yet I kept plugging away with the same training system that I had used when I was younger. Guess what? No results:(
It wasn’t until I came to terms with getting older and rethinking my fitness approach did things start to turn around. In fact, I’m in better shape now in my early 50’s than I was when I hit 40.
If you’re struggling with staying lean and muscular as you age, you’re not alone. I was there too. You just have to change a few things with your training to get on the right track again.
Here are a few tips to get that lean, muscular body as you age:
Keep Your Workouts Brief
As you get older you can still workout hard but you don’t want to get stuck doing long workouts. We require a little more recovery time as we age. It’s a natural thing. If your workouts are too long you will cut into your body’s ability to recuperate and recover.
Just as important as a good workout is proper recovery. Your body doesn’t change during the workout. It changes while you are resting. I like to set up workouts to last no longer than 35-40 minutes. Short workouts are ideal for getting in just the right amount of work, but not too much.
Stop Counting Reps
One of the biggest reasons many guys don’t get anything from their workouts is that they get locked into counting sets and reps. For example, let’s say your plan is to do 3 sets of 12 reps on an exercise. Do you reach that 12th rep and simply put the weight down? Or do you keep going until you can’t complete another rep in good form?
Listen, your muscles don’t count reps. All your muscles know is stimulus. It’s good to have a repetition “range” for each exercise you do as it will help you choose the appropriate weight. But beyond that you should aim for completing as many reps as you can with your selected weight, not a predetermined number of reps.
Choose Age- Friendly Exercises
As we age, we have to be careful not to get hurt. The last thing you want from your fitness program is for it to hurt you. I found as I hit my 40’s that I needed to replace some exercises. For instance, I rarely do barbell exercises any more. In fact, I never do squats, deadlifts and bench presses with barbells at all.
These fantastic exercises as been replaced with dumbbell, kettlebell and bodyweight exercise variations of each. This allows for working the muscle without beating up the joints.
Keep Up Your Intensity
One of the mistakes a lot of guys make as they get older is not working hard enough. Listen, you don’t need to go nuts with your workouts but you still need to push yourself. .
What does that mean? Strive to do one more repetition or use 5 more pounds on an exercise.
You can also reduce the time in between sets to increase your intensity. It’s all about the challenge. Challenge yourself to be just a bit better than the previous workout. This will help you reach your goals of weight loss and muscle gain faster too.
Hit It and Quit It
I’ve always told my clients to get addicted to the results, not the process. Of course you should be engaged with your workouts and look forward to them. But some guys think if something is working, then they need to increase it for faster results. Big mistake.
As we get older we need rest and recovery in between workouts. Give yourself 2 or 3 complete days of rest per week from working out.
That doesn’t mean you have to turn into a couch potato on the “off” days. Some stretching, walking the dog, yoga, a bike ride are all great activities to enjoy while you’re recovering from your workouts. Personally, I go with 3 non-consecutive strength training workouts each week plus 2 conditioning workouts. I like to get 2 days of rest that are usually dedicated to yard work, a little stretching and grilling:)
Train Like An Athlete
No, I don’t mean trying to keep up with some program designed for a professional athlete. That wouldn’t be a good fit.
I’m referring to a program that helps you build strength with safe, useful exercises that enable you to move better and feel more athletic. Exercises such as one-leg training, bodyweight training and core training will go a long way in making you feel, look and perform better. Conditioning should have variety these days. Try to do some H.I.I.T cardio in your training too.
Getting older is what it is. Embrace it and live in the present. But make sure you train your body with an age-appropriate system that will have you feeling better and able to do more things you used to do.
You don’t need to live in the gym either. Short, intense workouts will give you better results and give you more time to enjoy your life.
Getting older is not a pass to be out of shape. You just need to match your training to your age and needs. Once you do this your results will be amazing.
Of course, you probably don’t have time to scour the internet and try to piece together some program that may or may not work for you.
That’s where I come in:)
If you’re sick of struggling with middle age and all of the weight gain, muscle loss and aches and pains that go with it, I’m here to help you.
Let me cut years of frustration and help you get back to feeling and looking your best. The best part? It doesn’t matter what your age is or if you’re busy and don’t have much time in your schedule. We can design a complete training system to help you crush your goals.
As a ballplayer, the demands of your sport are complex. You will need explosive power across three planes of motion; you’ll need symmetrical strength and muscle balance in a sport that often requires unilateral power and skill. Multidirectional plyometrics in training will prepare you for the diverse movement demands - regardless of their position on the field.
If you're like most of my clients over 40, many of the reasons you should strength train might leave you unconvinced. The rippling abs at the poolside and flirtatious glances across the gym are more of an irritating distraction than a persuasive reason to try a new style of training.
But "middle age" probably isn't something you're ready for either. If walking downstairs makes your knees sound like the cellar door in a horror movie. You're often resisting the lure of the afternoon nap ("I was just resting my eyes, honest!"). If you're now having to decide to either buy new pants or lose those few extra pounds you've been carrying around… Read on.