Lower Body Stretching Routine

Today I am going to show you some of my go-to stretches for my lower body. I used to do these during football and track season. These will increase flexability in the hip flexors, glutes,hamstrings, lower back and more! Hope everyone is having a great Monday. I will see you guys tomorrow with another video!

    -Alex Costa-

 

4 Beginner Speed Ladder Drills

Today I am bringing you something to help with agility. It is a 1 of 3 video series. So today will be beginner, tomorrow will be novice then the next day will be advanced speed ladder drills you can do. Throw all of them together and make a whole workout! I woud do these 2-4 sets each.

So the workout would look like the following:

  • Single leg- 4 sets
  • Double leg- 4 sets
  • Lateral shuffle- 2 sets each way (4 sets total)
  • Hop scotch- 4 sets

 

 

See you guys tomorrow for another video! Have a great start to your week!
    -Alex Costa-

 

3 Shoulder Drills to Help Sprinting Technique

Today, I have a video that will help correct your sprinting form. I show you 3 drills you can do at home or incorperate into your training plan to fix shoulder patteren when sprinting. You can do these drills everyday if you want. These will really help with mind-muscle connection to make you a faster athlete! See you all tomorrow for another video.

Have a great Friday!!
   -Alex Costa-

 

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3 Protein Shake Recipes For ATHLETES!

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I like to share recipes on the website and think it benefits a lot of the viewers. Today I want to focus on giving my athletes out there a few choices of protein shakes that will give them the right nutrients for muscle repair, increased energy and they are cost friendly!

Lets say you don’t have any protein available at home or just don’t have a whole lot of money for that at the moment. I get that, some protein can be very pricey for the container so these recipes will NOT require a protein powder.

A common thing that a lot of young student athletes miss out on is the vitamins and minerals their body need for growth. They need to eat veggies, need to get fruits, a source of proteins, good carbohydrates and healthy fats to ensure they get the full potential of all of the nutrients. Don’t get me wrong, a little bit of pizza, ice cream and candy won’t hurt from time to time, they’re kids! Well a good amount of them. However I am here to help with health and wellness as well as everything else because when it comes down to it, everything starts with what we fuel our bodies with.

 

Now let us get to the recipes! It is very simple and we do not need a whole lot for them. I will place the ingredient and recipe list below .

Recipe #1

This one in my mind is a classic favorite! It is full of protein to help your muscles repair themselves after workouts. The peanut butter and ice will help give it a “milk shake” texture which is delicious.

  • 1 cup of chocolate milk or normal milk, your choice. Chocolate will give it a little more flavor. Almond, soy & cashew milk is also another good choice of milk
  • 1-2 TBSP of peanut butter. Organic peanut butter is a solid choice!
  • 2-4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup of whole oats
  • 1 Banana

 

Recipe #2

This recipe will leave your taste buds clueless on what just hit them! If you like fruits and juices then you will love this. The greek yogurt will provide some protein and thicken up the shake a little. There are tons of antioxidants in this one to help the immune system as well which is critical for athletes.

  • 4 oz. cup of orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of strawberries
  • 2-4 ice cubes
  • 2-4 TBSP – Plain yogurt – greek yogurt will have more protein

 

RECIPE #3

This recipe is a vitamin packed shake! It also uses water instead of milk for those who are lactose intolerant! The cashews will provide a little extra protein and healthy fats.

  • 8 oz of water
  • 1-2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup of mango
  • 2-4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup of cashews or another nut (MAKE SURE YOU DON’T HAVE ALLERGIES)

 

The directions are simple just throw everything in a blender and hit blend. One thing I do want to mention is make sure you pay attention to ingredients and if there is something you are allergic to then substitute  it with something else. If you need help trying to find a substitute then just hit me up and I can help you! Obviously if you have protein powder then feel free to mix it in with these! The reason I made these without protein powders is because it is more cost friendly and some athletes may not like the powders.

I hope everyone is having a great week, thank you for coming and checking out this article. If you have any questions, concerns or comments just hit me up in the comment section below.

Alex Costa-

3 Stretches For Tight Calves

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Being a trainer, coach and former athlete of all different sports, one of the more occurring things I hear about is clients and players calves getting tight. Now it really isn’t a surprise for most athletes to go through some calf tightness from time to time. I mean when you think about it, we use our calf muscles a lot through the day. Walking, getting out of bed, driving and even when laying down most of us are moving our feet around which tends to activate the muscles in the calf. So really it’s not a big surprise when athletes especially go through this because they put strenuous pressure on those muscles as they use them to make cuts, run and jump. Today I am going to show you 3 stretches you can do to help get rid of soreness in those calves!

 

I would like to start off with a brief story though. When I was entering my sophomore year of high school, I went to Marshall University for a football camp. The picture below was the head coach of the football team and I before the camp had started. When we were competing against each other at the end, I had a weird feeling in my calf. At that time I didn’t know what a tight muscle felt like. I kept playing through it cause it would go away after about 3-5 seconds of locking up. Eventually it caught up to me.. I had thrown a pass and dropped to the ground after, holding my calf. It was completely locked in one position and it wasn’t moving. One of the kids that was on my team had ran over, grabbed my leg and pushed my foot back to stretch it. It finally released and I went to the team trainers. The next week or two was a little rough, it was sore and I was icing it each day so I was ready for practice when I got back.

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I have went through a few situations with my calves but I am telling you a story like this to let you know that I have been in that spot and experienced it. If I would have known what I do now, it would be a different ball game.

Now that story time is over, lets get into how you can fix up those tight calves with a few stretches!

Stretch #1)

This first one I am about to show you is pretty simple but I am going to explain a couple KEY things about this one. First of all, find a spot you can drive your heel into with keeping your toes up. This will put your foot into a dorsiflexion position. These stretches will be unilateral stretches so as we are stretching 1 calf at a time, make sure the leg is straight for this exercise. What that will do is stretch the big meaty part of the calf called the gastrocnemius muscle. My players love this one haha.

 

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Stretch #1

 

Stretch #2)

Next up will be a stretch to hit the soleus muscle which lies underneath the gastrocnemius. It is a little deeper so sometimes stretching different muscles in the calf can help depending on where the discomfort is. The thing you will want to notice about this stretch is the leg is NOT straight like the first one. The leg of the calve being stretched is slightly bent to help “turn off” the gastrocnemius and target the soleus.

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Stretch #2

 

Stretch #3)

A lot of times people may have some tightness in the front part of your calf around the shin area. This can be confused for shin splints at times. This usually tends to be a little tightness in the anterior tibialis. This stretch below will help stretch that muscle out.

The stretch will start off with you curling your toes and digging them into the ground slightly behind you. Next you will proceed with a forward shift of the knee which will begin the stretch.

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Stretch #3

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

With all of this being said, I’d like to clear up a few commonly asked questions about this topic.

How long do I hold the stretches?

For these stretches, I would do them 1-2 times each side depending on how tight you are in the calves. I would hold stretches from 20-30 seconds each time.

When should I perform these stretches?

I would perform these type of stretches after a game or competition. After practice and runs. If it is really bugging you before practice then I would try these stretches for about 20 seconds each leg. Sometimes getting a little movement can help though.

What if my calves are still tight and are bothering me after trying the stretches?

If your calves are still irritating you, I would first check form on the stretches to make sure you’re doing them correctly. If that is not the problem, I would just recommend you visit your athletic trainer and get his opinion. Sometimes you may think something is tight but it could be a start to a stress fracture so just to play it safe, get a healthcare professional or athletic trainer to double check.

Sometimes foam rollers, heat and rest can help with tight muscles as well. I will go into detail with that in a different article. Also dehydration can be a problem too, so make sure you are drinking plenty of water.

 

Thank you for reading todays article! I have been very busy lately so I haven’t been able to keep up with the content production of the website or the vlog. I will try to work a little extra to get you all some content this week, thank you for your patience! Hope everyone has a great Monday and starts the week off strong!

-Alex Costa-

1 Stretch That ALL Athletes Need To Do

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When it comes to training my athletes, flexibility and mobility are a couple of the main components I want to increase for them. As any athlete probably knows by now, the more flexible and mobile you are, the less chance of suffering certain injuries. In todays article, I would like to show all of the athletes 1 great stretch that they should be performing.

As I have been dealing with more athletes over the last few months, I have heard a good majority talk to me and ask about tight hips. When tight hips occur, there can be 1 of many different problems but easily one of the most common problems is that the athlete may not always be warmed up the best or perform the right stretches to prepare his or her body. This stretch I am going to show you is more of a dynamic routine than a static hold. This simply means that instead of holding this stretching pose for 30 seconds, we will hold at each spot for about 1-2 seconds to get an increase in blood flow and get the target muscles ready.

Now that does not mean you can’t make it a static stretch and hold it for 20-30 seconds. If you do so, try to do that at night time before bed or after activities such as practice or training.

This stretch is not only getting the legs ready to go but it increases mobility in the spine, core, glutes and upper body as well. It really gets all of the main muscles you use when running ready to fire.

With all of this being said, let me explain how you will perform this stretch. I will break it down into 3 steps. Each position will be held for 1-2 seconds. You can do 2-3 sets of 8 repetitions each leg. There is different names for this stretch but I will call these lunge openers for now.

Step #1) Push up position

Everything here is pretty simple. Start off in a normal push up position with hands shoulder-width apart. (image below)

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Step #2) Spiderman lunge

We are now bringing our right foot up to the outside of the right hand. Dig the heel into the ground so that it stays planted. Try to keep somewhat of a neutral spine like I do below. My back isn’t arched or hyperextended, it stays in that neutral position. Also try NOT to dip the hips, keep them a little high which will lead to a little more of a stretch in the hamstring. (image below)

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Step #3) Open upper body

From here, we our going to take our right hand and point it to the sky. This will rotate the torso toward the right side opening the shoulders, chest, core and mobilizing the spine for a more fluent movement when running. After doing this side you can either alternate and go the other way or hit all of your reps on that side first then come to the left. (image below)

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I believe this can really be a great tool to throw in with your training as a warm up or a stretch after. I hope you all found this article helpful, if you did then share it with your teammates, fellow coaches, training buddies and anyone else that can use this!

Sorry for not posting as much these last 2 weeks. Football has been picking up and our season has officially begun. We won our first game 30-0 so we are off to a good start. I will keep everyone updated on my teams performance as the season goes on. Thank you for the support all around the world! Have a great Wednesday!

                       -Alex Costa-

 

Basketball Workout- Jump Trainer

If you are looking to add some height to that vertical of yours then listen up and try this workout! I thought I would give the basketball players some love today! haha

On a real note, I am posting a quick video to help increase your vertical! This workout will be revolved around jump training to help produce more bounce. I like the way this workout is designed because I made it to max out power with the box jumps, then work a little more fast twitch fibers with the alternating lunge jumps. Note that you will see I incorporate a basketball so that basketball players can add an “in game” scenario. If you are not a basketball player, you can still benefit from these movements but keep an eye out for a big article coming up on increasing your vertical soon! Like, maybe next week;)

Okay, lets get to the workout! As I always stress with my athletes and clients, start of with a warm up, preferably a dynamic warm up. Then we start with our first exercise, front squats with dumbbells. If you do not know how to do these exercises, don’t worry! I have a video at the bottom to help you. We will perform this exercise for 4×10 reps. I want this to be an explosive movement on the way up! Check out the form and how I hold the dumbbells for this exercise in the video.

Next will be alternating lunge jumps with dumbbells. This will be done for 4 sets of 6 each leg (12 total). Don’t let the form break down, keep the chest up and explode through this movement.

3rd exercise is where we will need a ploy box. We have box jumps with a pivot step. WATCH THE VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM and you will understand. Make sure you make the pivot strong and jump up to the box after. We will do this 4 x 4, this will ensure you can get a little power out of the jumps.

The last exercise we will complete is box jumps with a reverse pivot step. These box jump variations are perfect for post players in basketball but as I said earlier, it will still benefit you as well!

 

I hope this helps you basketball players and coaches out there for a quick, efficient workout. You can do this 2-3 times a week for faster results. I hope you all have a great Friday and enjoy the weekend!

If you are interested in my 1 on 1 personal training & online training then please contact me and we can discuss details and how we can get you to where you want to be! I am taking athletes of all sports and gym goers as well.

Contact me through email:
Costafitness1@gmail.com

-Alex Costa-

Why You Should Use A Foam Roller

It’s just a styrofoam pad, it is useless…

This is my thoughts on the foam roller a few years ago. UNTIL I had learned and weeped the benefits of them! I want to make this article and video over why you should be using a foam roller.

 

What is a foam roller & what do they do?

A foam roller is a popular mobility tool that can in my opinion, be a complete game changer. It will look like a padded cylinder pillow. Many have made them out of larger PVC pipes and some simply go out to buy one. They come in different sizes, most common ones being about 12 inches long and others around 36 inches for larger areas and different task on the body. It is used as a self-myofacial release method in recovery. In other words, it acts as a deep tissue massage for one using it. It will typically be uncomfortable at first but you will start to be able to withstand the pressure the more you incorporate it into training. It really digs deep to work kinks out of the muscles and allow for a better blood flow circulation which can lead to faster recovery time.  As the blood flow increases, it can act as a solid way to warm up different areas on your body before working out. This makes it perfect for use at anytime! Before, during or after exercise, take your pick! Or do them all.

 

So why should I use a foam roller?

The answer should be simple. If you want to take your performance, mobility and recovery to the next level then you should invest in a foam roller. As I stated above, this tool can help 3 major elements in your fitness goals especially if you are an athlete. If you are an athlete and you have never used one then I recommend that you use one from the gym and perform some of the exercises in the video posted at the bottom. It is actually common for most athletes that play sports all the way till college or if they go pro to not use foam rollers with their team. This is probably due to the price of a fine, quality foam roller. They are not very expensive, but for everyone to have one, it can add up for team expenses. I was able to get mine that is shown in the video below on Amazon. I got mine for an amazing deal, $12!

 

Foam roller exercise video:

 

In conclusion:

I believe that this can help anyone and everyone with different goals. This can help to better posture, performance and recovery due to the blood flow it can allow and help with mobility by it lengthening the muscles and giving a better range of motion. They don’t have to be the best one on the market, try a normal styrofoam one first to see if you like it, they tend to be the cheapest but still work very efficiently.

 

I hope you enjoyed todays article! I appreciate all of the support with the website and training! I will be selling Costafitness tri-blend T-shirts on the website soon! They are so comfortable and everyone that has bought one so far loves them! I will be back tomorrow with more content to help answer questions. Remember to strive to be the hardest worker in the room and help other when you can! Have an awesome hump day!

P.S check out my Instagram on Wednesdays for workout Wednesday post! It’s a free workout to try. Also shoot me an email if you are interested in working with me. I have online 1 on 1 coaching for gym goers and athletes!

 

-Alex Costa-

 

Run Faster With This Exercise

Running speed is always a hot topic and there’s no question why it is. Speed kills on the field, court, track, etc. When you can outrun your opponent then we are talking the difference between a game winning catch or shot. With this being said, I want to give you an exercise that will help you increase your linear speed.

This drill will teach you how to increase the force production through the ground. When you can generate more force then we have more power to propel ourselves forward in stride.

This exercise can be done for ANY sport and it can be done almost anywhere! All you need is about a 4-10 inch step.

 

Another side note that I bring up in the video is to also work on efficient arm movement during this exercise. Arms should be at about 90 degrees. Hands should not be in a clinched fist, spread fingers out.

I would do this about 3-5 days a week, 2 sets of 15 steps each side. You should be able to notice a difference pretty quickly if you are doing this exercise properly.

Thank you for reading this article, please let me know if you have any questions!

I am offering online fitness coaching to anyone trying to lose weight, gain muscle or increase athletic ability. There are still spaces for throughout July open, shoot me an email if you are interested.–Costafitness1@gmail.com

 

 

Safety Squat (Yoke) Bar

Safety Squat (Yoke) Bar         hbs

 

The safety squat bar can be a good tool to use. Unfortunately I have seen many people in the gym use the bar incorrectly or just not know what it is for. I am hoping that this post will help you gain a better understanding on how you can start using this bar today.

First off, if you are new to lifting and squatting then I would not recommend the safety squat bar to start off with. The main reason for this is because that when you get underneath this bar compared to a normal olympic bar you will notice a couple differences.

  1. A safety squat bar tends to be about 60-70 lbs as where a standard olympic bar is 45lb.
  2. The safety squat bar will load up your anterior chain where a normal back squat will load more of your posterior chain.

Lets talk about some of the benefits that the Yoke bar can give you, shall we?

 

Increases deadlift

On the other hand, if you have some experience then I would throw this into the mix. This can be a good tool if your deadlift is lagging and you need to bring it up. The reasoning for this is because of how this bar front loads your body. The posterior chain will have to really work to help stabilize everything. This will help build the leg strength transferring into the ground as well as increase the strength of the back because your back is trying to hold up the load as you descend into the squat. As most of us may know, a strong posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, back) will really skyrocket your deadlift.

 

Great for athletes & powerlifters

If you are a powerlifter or athlete then this is right up your alley, with it being a good tool to add strength. Of course if you are not one of these and just are a gym goer that is looking to switch it up then have at it! Athletes need to have a strong core, hamstrings, glutes and back to be a more powerful athlete. When you are a more powerful athlete then you have a better chance of having the upper hand on your opponent.

 

Fights around injuries

One point that I have not yet mentioned but is a very solid point about this bar is that it can work around injuries! What I mean by this is that you can still squat if you have an upper body injury depending on what the injury may be. As an athlete plays through the season, injuries are always possible during season and even off season. With this bar, you can fit underneath the pad and still perform a squat. This can be extremely beneficial because you can still strength train to a certain degree (always check with your athletic trainer). If you have tight deltoids and pectoralis muscles then getting underneath a straight bar to take some squats can be stressful on those muscles and joints. This bar has the handles that you can hold on to during your squat which in turn will take the excess stress off of the shoulders.

 

Quad dominate

As I have mentioned in some of the article above, this will front load your body. This means that this will increase activation of the anterior chain like the quadriceps. The quads will really be working hard in this movement due to the stress placed upon them. Branch Warren, a pro bodybuilder says that this bar is one of the greatest tools he’s ever used to develop his thighs.

 

Numerous exercises you can do with this bar

A unique thing about this bar is that it has a spot to place your head and neck into the pad. On the sides of the pad, there are handles so you can hold onto the bar and keep it stable. With the handles being there, this opens up this bar to more exercises than just a safety bar squat. There are more things you can use the bar for like the list of the following:

  • Lunges
  • Back extensions
  • Split Squat
  • Box squats
  • Good mornings
  • Use suspended chains on this bar a lot easier

ssb lunge

This is why a powerlifter would love this bar. These are some of the more common uses of this bar as a powerlifter.

 

In conclusion

This bar is a useful tool for any gym. Although it stands out for athletes and powerlifters, anyone can try it out and I definitely recommend it! It is always fun to try something new in the gym, this bar may help you in more ways than I posted in this article. With  that being said, I hope you enjoyed this article and find this helpful. If you use the safety squat bar for anything else or know other benefits of this bar then comment below and let me know!   

 

 

Resources:

http://primalstrengthcamp.com/why-you-should-be-squatting-with-a-safety-squat-bar/

http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/leg-exercises/safety-bar-squats-jacked-quads

http://www.stack.com/a/why-every-gym-should-have-a-safety-squat-bar

Pictures: lunges