4 ADVANCED Speed Ladder Drills

I am releasing the 3rd and final video to this mini series for speed ladder drills! I hope you are getting the beginning and intermediate ones down so you can move to these. Try them out and let me know what you think! See you tomorrow for another video!

Throw all of these drills into a full workout with the beginning speed ladder drills and intermediate as well. You will have a speed ladder workout you can do through the week! Run through each drill down and back twice then move to the next one.

 

Have a great day!
    -Alex Costa-

4 Intermediate Speed Ladder Drills

Today is the 2nd video to the 3 day series of speed ladder drills. Yesterday we covered beginner drills to perform and today we are covering a medium difficulty with our drills. I hope everyone is having a great day! Come back tomorrow for the advanced speed ladder drills!

Have a great Tuesday!
   -Alex Costa-

1 Stretch That ALL Athletes Need To Do

1 Stretch That ALL Athletes Need To Do.png

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)

Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 8.05.57 AM

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)

Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 8.19.15 AM.png

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)

Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 8.07.08 AM.png

 

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-

 

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:

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 8.54.40 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 9.06.45 AM

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:

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 10.38.34 AM Step 1

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 10.38.43 AM Step 2

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 10.38.34 AM Step 3

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 10.39.24 AM.png Step 4

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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