My First Big Publication

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 MY ARTICLE

HUGE NEWS!! After working on getting a chance to write for a bigger audience, I have finally got my first article published on STACK.com👌🏼
This was something I set out to do about a year or 2 ago. I always wanted to write for a big website or a magazine. I am very happy to say that I can finally cross that goal off my list!! Thank you for stopping by to check it out if you can! Much love, and more to come! I’m posting the link in my bio, go check it out and let me know what you think🙏🏼 also I want to thank @taylorgallant_ for helping me with the content! She helped record the videos and take pictures!

This is first of many, I am looking forward to getting more content out to them and others. My next big thing is to get a magazine publication!

I love you guys, thank you for the support!

-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-

3 Exercises That Will Increase Your Vertical Jump

Today I would like to dive into a big topic.. Your vertical jump.

The number of athletes that have started to follow me has increased so with that, I would like to give you in my opinion one of the best pieces of content yet for athletes. With no further ado, lets jump into this article!

What is a vertical jump and how can it make me a better athlete?

Okay so there is a few different jumps I like to cover when training certain athletes. We have your vertical jump which is the main jump that is used in most sports. Vertical jumping is straight up and down. There is horizontal jump training, I like to use this to build more lateral explosion. Then we also have broad jumps, which is used as a testing point in football combines. This will usually give you an idea of how strong and explosive your legs are. In a broad jump, you stand in a spot then proceed with a jump out in front of you linearly for distance. We will utilize some of these to help increase your athletic ability and vertical today.

Now if you want to know how training these can make you a better athlete then listen up on this part. When you train to increase speed and increase vertical jumping skills, you work a lot of the same muscle fibers. This means not only can you get faster from a speed workout but sometimes you can actually increase your vertical as well. Vise versa, so if you are using this article to increase your vertical then you will most likely increase the speed as well. Now if you don’t know how that can help you as an athlete then think about this. An athlete that is fast and can jump high will have a better chance to make more plays happen. So I 100% believe no matter what sport you play, this article can help you out!

Exercises we will be performing:

Pop up to a jump- This is an exercise I did when training for football. I remember watching this and thinking this would be a hard exercise but it was actually quick easier than I thought. I made a video that is added in towards the bottom to help you see how to do these 3 exercises. When training, I would try these 4×4.

 

Pop up to a broad jump- This is another variation of the first exercise but with a broad jump instead. I like this because you are training to make a move in a direction after the jump. It really works on activating the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. It should be quick and explosive. This drill will help football players training for broad jumps in combines as well. When training, I would try these 4×4.

 

Linear toe jumps over cones- This is a unique exercise that a lot of people don’t think about doing. The reasoning behind this exercise is that the calfs play an incredibly large part of jumping and even sprinting. If you read one of my previous articles called 3 Stretches That Will Increase Speed then you will know that ankle dorsiflexion is an important part to work on. The calves can act as a loaded spring and thats exactly what this exercise is going to look like. When performing this exercise, you will be loading the calves. The dorsiflexion stretch from the article linked right above would be good to perform before this exercise to get the calves ready. When jumping over the cones like I explain in the video below, you will have minimal knee bend. I had quiet a bit of knee bend but I believe that is because I was not warmed up and the calves were tight when I shot the video. DO NOT keep the knees locked out the whole time. Try to get only a slight bend as you are trying to absorb the ground reaction force into the calf muscles and have those calves trained to use the absorbed energy to process a good output that will increase the height of what you jump. When training, I would use 3-4 cones and do 8 times through total.

 

3 exercises that you will be performing – video 

 

 

Jump Kit-Training Package

These 3 exercises made a crazy impact on not only my vertical but other clients vertical jumping ability as well. I expect all of you that try it to see improvements within as little as 2 weeks! If you are interested in taking your vertical jump to a whole different level then send me an email at costafitness1@gmail.com and ask me how you can get a jump kit training manual! In this training program, you will get the stretches necessary to get all of the right muscles ready to fire. You will get strength training exercises that will increase strength and power. You will also get all of the jump training drills I coach to all different athletes including a couple of D1 college basketball players. Hit the following link to email me about increasing your vertical TODAY! —- EMAIL ALEX

 

Thank you for checking out todays new article. I really hope you all liked it and found some new drills to try. If you like this content then please share it with some friends and family that you think would also find it helpful! Hope everyone is having a good week!

-Alex Costa-

Get Abs With These 3 Training Tips!

Costafitness

Wondering if there is anything you can do to get those abs to pop for the rest of summer?

Don’t worry, I am going to give you 3 tips to help show those abs off before summer is over!

TIP #1) Are abs really made in the kitchen?

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “abs are made in the kitchen”? This is true but only to a certain point. First of all, they are not “made” I the kitchen, nutrition and cleaner eating will only help reveal the abs. Let me explain, you may see people that are able to scarf down 3 cheeseburgers and still have abs. Let me say that this could just be genetics or that they have such an incredibly fast metabolism that the moment they start eating, it seems to start burning. With that being said, you can see that some abs can be “made without a kitchen”. Now don’t get this thought in your head that you can eat whatever you want and have abs, a clean diet with less sugar and less bad fat can help reveal those abs quicker than you think.

I have always noticed a better set of abs when my diet and nutrition is in check. I notice when my fat intake is a little lower than normal, I notice better results. Do not cut ALL fats, just get rid of bad fats you have in the diet and drop the number very slightly. Healthy fats play a big role in your health like keeping your heart healthy.  Healthy fat is also a crucial part of every cell in the body. There are more benefits but we can cover that in a different article.

So in conclusion I want to state that tip #1 is if you want to reveal those puppies then the eating has to be clean.

TIP #2) Getting enough abdominal activation

Eating clean will NOT grow abs, it will help reveal them like I explained in tip #1 above. Training in the gym will be how you develop the abs. Training abs can be something that is boring and most of us just want to get done and over with. Like any other exercise and workout, it will take time to develop an area of muscles. With that being said, it is important that we pick out good ab exercises that will make up a good workout. Some of the best ab exercises with the most proven abdominal activation are

  • Crunches (full range of motion. See in tip #3)
  • Weighted crunches
  • Ab wheel
  • Hanging leg raise
  • Cable woodchoppers

Now these are just some of the best exercises based of of some studies I have seen and based off of experience and advice from fitness professionals. The studies were listed on ncbi.nlm.nih.gov links in Jeff Nippard’s abdominal science video on youtube. I have these exercises in the Vault of Gainz section on the website if you don’t know how to perform them. These would be a good spot to start if you are looking for efficient ab exercises!

Pick some out and get to work!

 

TIP #3) Get a full range of motion and contract the muscle

Tip #2 brings me to this tip right here. This can sometimes be the make or break point on having abs! A muscle will not grow as efficiently if you do not get a stretch in the muscle. I see this mistake so often in the gym but it is confused because it still burns when hitting half reps. I am not saying you can’t do short range of motion exercises but remember, you are reading an article on getting abs so a full stretch and squeeze will benefit you 100% here. Let me explain a little more with an example in this video below.

 

 

 

Thank you for checking out todays article. Please let me know if you have any questions.

1 on 1 online fitness coaching available  – email me at costafitness1@gmail.com

-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-

My Favorite Quad Exercise

Everyone enjoys having a nice set of quads wether you are a guy looking to have a complete physique or a girl trying to have a nice set of legs. I want to show you all one of my absolute favorite quad exercises. I will also dig into some history of this exercise as well as some anatomy. With no further ado, lets jump into todays article!

I’m sure you have all heard of the exercise called a sissy squat. When you hear this name and don’t know what the exercise is then you may overlook this due to its name. However I want to show you why you should be incorporating this exercise into your training!

Lets start with a basic anatomy session of the quadriceps.
The quads are made up of 4 main muscles (quad = 4). These muscles are the rectus femoris, which is the top, front muscle. It is hard to isolate, this muscle is more visible through less body fat. Then we have the vastus intermedius which is deeper underneath the quad muscles, directly below the rectus femoris. The vastus lateralis is the quad muscle that is located on the outside of the quad. Building this can add that wide look to the front leg. Lastly, we have the vastus medialis which is the inside tear drop looking muscle. The function of these muscles is to extend the knee.

 

quads

We, as humans, are more quad dominate based off of how live life. We spend a lot of time walking and not always working hamstrings and other posterior chain muscle group. With that being said, it does not mean you have to work hamstrings all day. Though I try to split up leg training evenly such as hitting quads and hamstrings about the same when it comes to sets, reps and days worked. If you have a muscle imbalance, then the easiest solution usually tends to be targeting the antagonist muscle group. I’ll save that for a different day.

For anyone not familiar with Tom Platz, his leg development was just spectacular. He was a old school bodybuilder around the 80’s.

tom platz This is Tom Platz and his ginormous quads.

This man was brutal with his leg training and tried many different things. One exercise he came across was the sissy squat. He would make different variations of the sissy squat like doing the bottom of that movement during a hack squat like the image below.

hack squat

One of the main people I follow that made me want to do this exercise was Julian Smith. He is a modern day bodybuilder that has some amazing total leg development as well.

julian smith

This exercise gets soooooooo much hate. I can see why some think this UNTIL I tried it! Now listen, if you have knee issues or are prone to knee injuries then play it smart and skip this for now. On the other hand, if you have healthy knees and think you can handle it then I most definitely recommend trying this exercise for a few weeks. The reason I say a few weeks is because it take a few weeks to get the movement down and perform it right. It may be a little tough for your knees to get used to at first. THIS IS NORMAL, you are asking your body to do a non-functional movement that most of us have never done before. This is why I say try it for a little while because at first, I thought it would be an exercise I would throw to the side but I use this quiet often to help me grow the quads and get the separation to make the quads look nasty!

With all of this history talk and anatomy, lets get into how to perform the sissy squat! I have a short video of me going over the exercise right here below. Just hit play, learn and try it out next leg day!!

 

Thank you for viewing todays article! If you have any questions then leave comments below. If you have tried this exercise, tell me about your experience. Hope everyone is having a great Thursday and enjoys their day!

-Alex Costa-

Upcoming News!

cropped-img_1104.jpgJuly has been a very successful month for me and for my business. I am very happy to bring some new clients aboard with my 1 on 1 online training. I have officially made the announcement of me getting asked to help coach the Granville Blue Aces 8th grade football team. I am very happy to be apart of such an amazing program and an even better staff to help our kids. Costafitness has broken its past record for views in a month which I worked very hard to do through constant content that I post. I am very pleased with my work and how far I have come but never will I settle. I want to finish off July strong and make August an even better month!

I want to personally thank each and everyone of you that keep coming back to my website, the ones that always follow my content and give me support through social media and for all the ones that support me in general! I love how positive the energy has been lately, and want to keep adding onto this amazing journey.

With that being said, I do have a few announcements on what will be coming up!

#1) A give-a-way will be coming up soon!

What better way to show my appreciation for you than with a give-a-way! If we have a good amount of people, I will hold another one around halloween and a big on around Christmas!

#2) MORE CONTENT

Yes I will have a busier schedule. I will be working on my website, with clients, coaching my team, getting ready for a show and all other personal things but I will still make time for content to help each and everyone of you!

#3) Competing in a show very soon?

The only reason I put the question mark is because I have been battling through some mentally hard things going on lately. (Nothing like deaths or anything just like anxiety issues) BUT there is a big show coming up and I planned to join. It is a body building show and a powerlifting meet in one! I hope to still join and compete in the show but I am still finding out what my health will be like so I will be keeping you all updated. The show is about 6 weeks away and will take an extreme amount of prep to get ready. I love the challenge though.

#4) Taking more 1 on 1 online clients

I will be putting more on this through the weeks, but if you are interested in losing weight, gaining muscle/strength, getting faster, jumping higher, being the best athlete you can be, eating better and so much more then send me an email TODAY! (costafitness1@gmail.com) or go to the CONTACT page. My clients are getting some great results and I will continue to keep helping clients as much as I can. This may mean I will be holding a slightly lower limit but I will inform you when it is full. As of now, come aboard with all of us!

 

With all of this coming up, I hope to spark some excitement not only in me but you as well! I will be bringing you all along with me as I do each of these. I am very excited to continue doing what I love. The impact is such a beautiful thing and I hope to meet more of you through the website and in person! If there is any questions on anything, send me an email and I can try helping you. Other than that, I believe that is almost all of the major announcements at the moment. Thank you all again for the positive comments on the new coaching job, have a great Friday!

.                                                                 -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-

 

Whey Protein 101

Whey protein is one of, if not the most commonly sold protein blends out on the fitness market. There are some that are of better quality than others and some that have amazing mix ability and taste delicious! I want to give you the run down of whey protein so next time you go to make a purchase, you know what to look for and what it can do for you!

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What is whey protein?

Whey is a type of protein that is found in milk. Whey is usually found in the water like substance of the milk. There is 2 different types of proteins found in milk, one being whey which takes up only about 20% and the casein which takes over a whopping 80%. When the milk is sent to factories for the cheese production, they typically will use the casein blend into the cheese products and other dairy items. The whey is divided and separated to make into a whey protein powder. Now it can sound simple here but when whey is sent, they will typically break it down so it can be processed into powder or to use it for cooking purposes.

 

Why take whey protein?

Whey protein can boost your BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids) and protein intake! The protein has BCAA which is critical for building muscle. One of the branch chains that is included is leucine. This helps to increase muscle protein synthesis when combined with weight training. This can help you take in more protein and BCAAs into the muscles when they are broken down from working out.

Whey protein can help with weight loss! An article from AuthorityNutrition.com stated that “Protein can boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, and make people automatically eat up to 441 fewer calories per day”. This is usually caused by whey protein being so thermogenic. That is about the right amount of calories that you want to decrease when being in a calorie deficit during weight loss. There is always the common question when losing weight and that is “am I going to lose muscle?” Take a whey protein supplement and you can benefit by keeping muscle packed on while you see a decrease on the scale!

Whey protein can help keep your immune system strong! There is two things that whey holds called immunoglobins and lactoferrin which helps to keep the immune system strong! This has also been said to have anti-cancer and anti-aging effects. This makes it a pretty solid supplement choice for most ages.

Whey protein can help you feel full to decrease hunger. This is good news if you are wanting to lose weight. Protein is the most filling macronutrient and the whey blend actually is more effective than other protein blends. So in other words, whey protein can act as an appetite suppressant.

 

How to take whey protein?

A typical serving size of whey protein will consist anywhere around 25 grams of protein. Every bottle will have a nutrition label stating ingredients and macronutrients. Some that add a bunch of flavors will usually have added sugar for the taste, so watch for that. Another common question asked is “do I need to take a whey protein supplement to add muscle?” The answer will vary on the person asking. What I mean is some people get plenty of protein from real foods and do not need to spend money on a supplement. On the other hand, some people do not get their daily need of protein to add optimal muscle growth and repair to their training. This is where an extra protein shake can come into play! You can add 1-2 shakes a day with 1-2 scoops each shake. This can quickly add up to get you to the grams of protein you need. I believe that supplements are a good thing and can be of great assistance when we are on the go or don’t have enough to supplement our body at certain times. I would personally not completely rely on any supplement when you can get more nutrients from full foods. If you have a healthy diet, supplements can be a great addition!

 

Whey protein side effects and warnings?

As a lot of nutrition supplements, always read labels before use as well as discuss with your physician before taking anything. If you are allergic to certain ingredients like soy, eggs, milk then keep an eye on all proteins because this can be a popular ingredient for many powders. Whey protein powder might not be the best option if you have a lactose allergy. Lactose is a sugar that is found in milk and can be avoided by picking a different protein powder. Maybe try looking into a whey protein isolate powder if you suffer from lactose intolerance.

An excess amount of protein can sometimes lead to diarrhea and an upset stomach so make sure you keep an eye on how much you consume.

 

Thank you for stopping by to read my article! I hope that you learned something new today and come back. Tomorrows article will cover a recipe using a whey protein to add some extra protein into a delicious snack! If you are interested in online fitness coaching then send an email to costafitness1@gmail.com

 

Resources:

https://authoritynutrition.com/whey-protein-101/

Picturefit youtube channel – what is whey protein

3 Stretches That Will Increase Speed

Stretches are a very important part and essential to any athletes programming. Although static stretches should be avoided before workouts, I believe that these 3 stretches I am about to give to you will make an impact on your sprinting speed. I would recommend doing these after workouts and during the evenings when you are relaxing at home. The reasoning on avoiding a static stretch movement before workouts is because when a muscle is stretched out and then relaxed afterwards, the muscle is in a relaxed, stretched state. When you are competing in a sporting event or weight training, you are wanting your muscles ready to fire instead. The static movements will usually hold you back from full potential on this. This is why I always have my clients perform a dynamic warm up so that they can get the muscles ready to go.

 

These stretches will focus on 3 main components during sprinting.

  1. Hip flexors
  2. Dorsiflexion in the ankle 
  3. Shoulder mobility 

Hip Flexors

Let us start with the good ole hip flexors, shall we?
The hip flexors are made up of different muscles that help put your knee into flexion or in other words, help bring the knee to your chest. The main one we will focus on today is called the iliopsoas made up of the psoas major and the iliacus. The iliopsoas runs from the front, inside of the groin area to the lumbar region of the spine. There are more muscles but for now, lets just focus on this one.

hip flexor

As I mentioned in the paragraph above, the hip flexors are important when running because they bring the knees into the running position. If we can get those stretched out and feel more flexible in the hips then this is when speed and mobility can be added. I have found when I have trained mine and other athletes hip flexors isometrically, I have found the greatest benefit. However, since we are talking about stretches, I’ll come back to isometric training at another time.

In order to stretch the hip flexor, we will have to perform a stretch that will put our hips in a slight posterior tilt while keeping the leg and upper back in an extended state. I good stretch will look like the following:

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In this stretch, you can see that I am starting in a lunge.

  1.  Put the front leg just a little further out than a normal lunge.
  2. Shift weight toward the knee. Do so almost as if you were trying to get your belly button toward your knee.
  3. Keep the hips in a slight posterior tilt meaning keep them back, also squeeze the glutes at you proceed in this stretch.
  4. Raise the arms and let your chest open up with the arms.
  5. Sit and hold stretch for about 20-30 seconds each side.

This is a stretch that will open the hip flexors up and can make a difference in performance.

 

Dorsiflexion in the Ankle 

Now let’s move to the ankle mobility, dorsiflexion in particular. Dorsiflexion in the ankle is when the ankle is pointed up like this image below:

ankle dorsiflexion

As you could guess, this is a critical part to running, especially when sprinting due to the angle differences in different phases of the gait cycle. A lot of us suffer from poor ankle mobility and flexibility and don’t even know it. Now most athletes have a slightly better range of motion in the ankle joint due to the warm ups and stretches the coaches and trainers have them do. They also depend on this joint for most of their movement. A typical gym goer that lives a sedentary life style may have a harder time with this movement because we don’t train like we did in sports and you are moving around a lot less than an athlete would. This is not a bad thing, it just means it’s time to work a little mobility into your programming.

So with that being said, it I want to show you a stretch you can do to increase the dorsiflexion in the ankles so that you can be an efficient sprinter, runner, weight lifter and live a pain free life. Let me introduce you to a stretch that only involves a bench or chair.

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Start with placing the foot onto the bench as close to you your side as you can without your foot falling off. From there we are going to take our knee that is up there and drive it forward like I do in the image above. Keep the heel glued to the bench. Don’t apply so much force that you are in discomfort. I want you to place just enough to feel a stretch around the ankle area and calf. This can be a great stretch for athletes that get a chance to start in any kind of forward lean before a race and even help with ankle flexibility during your squat. These would be positions like sprinters, wide receivers and also very important for football players starting a 40 yard dash.

Shoulder Mobility

Shoulder mobility tends to be neglected when focusing on sprinting and running. The arms are another thing that is always moving when you’re sprinting. The more mobile they are, the more rep frequency there is possible. With faster arm movement means faster leg movement. This is because when we run, our legs and arms are so in sync that when one moves faster, the other has no other option but to catch up!

One major shoulder mobility exercise that I do and make any of my athletes, especially any that are sprinting do is dynamic arm swings. This will get a range of motion pattern going and open up the chest and shoulders. The dynamics shoulder warm up will look like this:

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I will usually do about 1-2 sets of 20 all together (10 each way).

These are only 3 of the hundreds & thousands stretches you can do to help increase linear running speed. I also want to say again to use these more around the evenings and after a workout. Try to warm the muscles up with a dynamic movement before these stretches so the muscles are ready to be stretched and lengthened. The shoulder mobility is more of a dynamic warm up so use that before running.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my article! I hope you gained something from this piece of content. I would like you to send me any ideas on what you would like to hear and I can present you with articles and videos over it! Hope you all have a great Monday and get after it this week. By the end of the day we are all trying to get better so lets help others and get better together!

                               -Alex Costa-

 

 

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