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Kettlebell Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: Part 1

Heavier Isn’t Always Better with Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes

By Pamela MacElree, MS

With certain exercises for athletes, heavier isn’t always better.

EEK! Did I really just write that for everyone to see? Coming from someone who constantly talks about picking up more weight, this might seem like a partial shock to you. The truth of it is that some kettlebell exercises are better served with lighter to moderate weight, especially while learning them.

There are 4 really awesome kettlebell exercises for athletes that will help increase shoulder stabilization. The unique thing about these kettlebell exercises is that we’re working on shoulder stabilization while the body is moving through multiple planes of motion. I’ll go over two now and two in another blog post.

Typically, we could put more weight overhead and stabilize it than we could actually press overhead. In the four kettlebell shoulder stabilization exercises I’m going to go over with you, you will likely find that you need to back off the weight and use something a little lighter than you might initially expect as I mentioned earlier. This is why we choose to do several shoulder stabilization exercises that are more complex than just overhead holds or walks.

Kettlebell Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes #1: The Arm Bar

Let’s first take a look at the arm bar.

Always start the arm bar by rolling onto your side. Once on your side, grip the handle of the kettlebell with both hands and hold it close to your chest. Next, roll onto your back and press it overhead.

Beginning of arm bar: Shoulder stabilization exercises for athletes

Once you are lying on your back with the kettlebell pressed overhead, raise the opposite side arm overhead on the floor and flex the hip and knee that are on the same side of the body as the kettlebell.

Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: Arm Bar 2

Keep the knee above the hip and begin to rotate to the side that is opposite of the kettlebell. Keep your focus on the kettlebell.

Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: Arm Bar 3

Once you have rotated enough to touch your knee to the ground, begin to straighten that leg and aim to get the front of the hips close to the floor. When you are stable, you can direct your nose toward the floor.

Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: Arm Bar 4

You’ll notice in the arm bar that the shoulder must be very stable as the body moves around the tall pillar that is created by the arm. The kettlebell sits nicely in the hand as the weight sits closer to the shoulder than it would with a dumbbell.

Kettlebell Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes #2: The High Windmill

The next excellent shoulder stabilization exercise for athletes is the high windmill. Again, the shoulder is forced to stabilize as the body moves. This particular exercise is also great for strengthening the entire core.

Starting with the kettlebell in the overhead position from standing, shift about 70-80% of your bodyweight onto the same side leg that has the kettlebell overhead. Maintain a vertical line with the arm that holds the kettlebell and the same side leg.

Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: High Windmill 1

While maintaining the weight shift, fold at the hips (similar to the feel of a good morning) and guide your free hand along the inseam of your leg. You can keep a soft bend in the other leg or keep it straight depending on your flexibility.

Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: High Windmill 2

In these 4 shoulder stabilization kettlebell exercises for athletes (remember, I’ll be sharing 2 more in a second post), the arm always maintains a vertical position to the floor above the shoulder, regardless of where the body is. It is important to keep the shoulder retracted and not elevated, or in layman’s terms, always keep the shoulder down and back. If at any point the arm starts to sway and you are unable to hold the weight of the kettlebell directly over the shoulder, you should decrease the weight you are working with.

Think about the shoulder being the base or foundation and the arm being the structure. The arm must stay vertical and perpendicular to the floor. There should be no bend in the elbow or the wrist as you progress through these kettlebell exercises. Think of it like a leaning building: at some point, the foundation will start to give and the structure will begin to fall.

Check back for the other two kettlebell exercises for athletes on increasing shoulder stabilization.

Can’t wait and want to learn more about kettlebell training?

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Drinking Water From a Fire Hose

By Alex Slezak M.Ed, YFS, YSAS, HSSCS

Remember the hot summer days, before we knew what BPAs were, when you would turn the garden hose water on in the backyard and let it slowly trickle out to get a drink? Every once in a while, my friends would crank the water on full blast while I was drinking it and get a good laugh! I hope the title Drinking Water From a Fire Hose gives you an even better visual and maybe makes you crack a smile just thinking of it. But what I have to say next is actually pretty serious. A good tennis coaching friend and I were talking about the world of today, and he used the analogy that there is so much information coming at us that it really is “like drinking water from a fire hose.”

Think about how many emails, newsletters, YouTube channels, Facebook Pages, and websites there are that are constantly bombarding us with information. There is so much information that it makes your head spin. What makes it even worse is that not all of the information is good. In fact, there is a lot of it that is just downright terrible. The people with true wisdom are the ones who can discern diamonds from the rhinestones in terms of the value of information. If you want to get ahead of the curve, stop trolling the Internet trying to learn everything there is and focus on learning from the best in small chucks you can process. In other words you have to turn down the source of the water so you can consume what comes out the end of the fire hose. The IYCA is a great place to start because they have done all the work for you. They went and asked the best in the business to share their diamonds of knowledge with you.

water hose

Finally, use this analogy of drinking water from a fire hose with your athletes. It will make perfect sense to them and maybe even make them think twice about picking up their phone every once in a while. Think about how much they get bombarded with in a day. You do not need to bombard them with more rhinestones. Instead start focused on providing them with diamonds. Kids know the difference, and they will dial right into you and achieve results much faster. Once they are able to discern between diamonds and rhinestones, they will never accept anything less of others or themselves.

Alex operates a tennis & fitness training business in Pittsburgh, PA. You can learn more by visiting his website at www.AlexSlezak.com.

Three Keys for Programming and Coaching Olympic Lifts

By Wil Fleming

A lot of coaches include the Olympic lifts in their program, but few go outside the traditional power clean. Those that due may include a snatch or jerk, but what is next after that?

How can you improve your programming and improve your athletes’ execution of these lifts?

I have outlined three key ways to improve both your programs and your athletes’ performance.

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Speed and Agility Training Program for Youth Football

Making a Speed and Agility Training Program Work for Everyone

There is often a disconnect between what we know is the ideal training for young athletes and what parents/coaches want for them—especially when it comes to a speed and agility training program.

We know through our education and in-the-trenches experience how to devise an athletic development program and implement it with athletes of various abilities and sports interests.

On the other hand, parents and coaches all too often adopt a “results now” mentality, and they’ve been fed loads of misinformation to boot. What are we to do when the opportunity presents itself to work with an entire youth league of athletes with a board president and coaches who have a philosophy that doesn’t match our ideals?

Make sure you keep your focus on their needs by asking questions—and a lot of them. You will gain the trust of the coaching staff when they know you are there to help them versus taking control over any aspect of their practice sessions.

If you do this with care and patience, the outcome can be very beneficial to your business and most importantly to the young athletes involved.

Youth Football Training Program Case Study

Speed and agility training programAfter several conversations with the president of the youth football league and some of his coaches, I was able to ascertain the areas they were most concerned with. They were, in their words:

1. “Revamping the warm up” to get the kids ready to play

2. Agility in small spaces

3. Injury prevention

Once we narrowed it down to these specifics, I could devise a game plan. They did not want the new programming to be intrusive to their practice time or ability to coach football.

Keep in mind the relationship with the president of this youth football league began nearly 2 years ago. Be patient when engaging coaches.

The outcome was to implement a pre-written youth football training program for every age group in the youth football league that the coaches would learn and implement for every practice.

What we gained from this exchange was exposure to every football player from 1st grade through 8th grade and the buy in of every coach. You just can’t buy that type of exposure for your business.

Upon completion of the last practice session, we set a time for the coaches and I to meet in order to troubleshoot any issues they were having.

The Nuts and Bolts of the Speed and Agility Training Program

Our situation was far from ideal. The coaches had limited time to learn their new programs. I only had one practice session with each team, and there was not enough time to include everything I wanted. Therefore, I knew the programs had to be prioritized.

The speed and agility training program had to deliver what the president and coaches asked for, and it had to be simple enough for both coaches and players to learn.

Templates Put into Action for Each Program

Not included are the descriptions and key points for each age group that were provided for each coach.

Pembroke Titans Football Mighty Mites (1st & 2nd Grade)

–Warm Up–
1. Reactive Game or Fun Activity
    a. Simon Says
    b. Tag Variations
    c. Movement Mirroring (coach or each other)
    d. Rhythm Machine (clapping)
    e. Coach’s Choice
2. Monster Walks
3. Bear Crawls
4. Dragon Walks
5. Log Rolls

–Speed/Agility/Strength = Coordination Training–
1. Scramble to Balance 2x Each leg
2. Rats/Rabbits
3. Red Light – Green Light (add football themed lights)
4. Push Up Hold/High Fives (partners)

–Speed and Agility–
1. Dynamic Repeats (run to stop)
2. Dynamic Repeats with Return (run, stop and return)
3. 4 x 4 x 4 Drill (survive for 7 seconds)
4. Bear Crawl to Hand Taps 6:4
5. Forward Crab Walk to Table Top 6:1

–Cool Down–
It is so important to give parents and coaches what they want while staying true to your beliefs as a coach. Below is a perfect example.

A formal cool down is not necessary from a developmental standpoint and static stretching is not advised for this age group. To acclimate the kids to a structure and expectation for future youth football practices, you can put them through the following passive active stretching activities.

1. Cobra 2 Second Hold x 5
2. Alternating Knee Hugs x 5 Each
3. Around the Worlds 2x Each Leg


Pembroke Titans Football Mites (3rd & 4th Grade)

–Warm up–
1. Activity – Game, Laps, etc…Coaches Choice
2. Spiderman 2 x 10
3. Alternating Supine Extension 20 Second Hold
4. Squat to Stand 2 x 5 (squat, knees out, arms up and stand)
5. Prone Extensions 2 x 8
6. Lunge with Toe Touch 1 x 10 Each
Speed and agility training program 67. Dynamic Warm Up
    a. Skipping Patterns
         i. Straight
         ii. High
         iii. Back
         iv. Side
    b. Knee Hugs 1 x 10
    c. Butt Kicks
    d. Straight Leg March 1 x 10
    e. Heel Walks/Toe Walks 1 x 10 Each
    f. Side Shuffle/Carioca (tight) 10 yds Each x 2

–Speed and Agility–
1. Dynamic Repeats (run to stop)
2. Dynamic Repeats with Return (run, stop and return)
3. 4 x 4 x 4 Drill (survive for 7 seconds)
4. Bear Crawl to Hand Taps 6:4
5. Forward Crab Walk to Table Top 6:1

Speed and agility training program 7–Cool Down–
1. Static Stretching
    a. Hamstrings
    b. Inner Thigh
    c. ITB/Hips
    d. Cobra Stretch
    e. Calf Stretch

Choice as needed


Pembroke Titans Football Pee Wees (5th & 6th Grade)

–Warm up–
1. Activity – Game, Laps, etc…Coaches Choice
2. Spiderman/Inside Elbow to Ground 2 x 10
3. Alternating Supine Extension 2 x 8 Each Side
4. Squat to Stand 2 x 5 (squat, knees out, arms up and stand)
5. Prone Extensions 2 x 10
6. Lateral Lunge with Toe Touch 1 x 10 Each
7. Dynamic Warm Up
    a. Skipping Patterns
         i. Straight
         ii. High
         iii. Back
         iv. Side
    b. Knee Hugs 1 x 10
    c. Butt Kicks
    d. Straight Leg March 1 x 10
    e. Heel Walks/Toe Walks 1 x 10 Each
    f. Side Shuffle/Carioca (tight) 10 yds Each x 2

–Speed and Agility–
1. Pro Agility
    a. 5-Hold-10
    b. 5-10-Hold
    c. 5-10-5
2. 4 x 4 x 4 Drill (survive for 7 seconds)
3. Bear Crawl to Push Up 6:1
4. Forward Crab Walk to Table Top 6:1

–Cool Down–
1. Static Stretching
    a. Hamstrings
    b. Inner Thigh
    c. ITB/Hips
    d. Cobra Stretch
    e. Calf Stretch

Choice as needed


Pembroke Titans Football Midgets (7th & 8th Grade)

–Warm up–
1. Activity – Game, Laps, etc…Coaches Choice
2. Spiderman with Hip Lift 2 x 10
3. Supine Extension with Rotation 2 x 8 Each Side
4. Squat to Stand 2 x 5 (squat, knees out, arms up and stand)
5. Atlas Stretch 2 x 6 Each
6. Prone Extensions 2 x 10
7. Alternating Lateral Lunge Walk 1 x 10
8. Dynamic Warm Up
    a. Skipping Patterns
         i. Straight
         ii. High
         iii. Back
         iv. Side
    b. Knee Lift/Heel Lift 1 x 10
    c. Straight Leg March 1 x 10
    d. Cradles
    e. Heel Walks/Toe Walks 1 x 10 Each

–Speed and Agility–
1. Pro Agility
    a. 5-Hold-10
    b. 5-10-Hold
    c. 5-10-5
2. 4 x 4 x 4 Drill (survive for 7 seconds)
3. Turn and Burn (Hip turn and go)
4. Bear Crawl to Push Up 6:1
5. Forward Crab Walk to Table Top 6:1

–Cool Down–
1. Static Stretching
    a. Hamstrings
    b. Inner Thigh
    c. ITB/Hips
    d. Cobra Stretch
    e. Calf Stretch

Choice as needed

Summary

So there you have some great examples of a youth football speed and agility training program that can be applied to nearly any sport. You also have some tips on how to deal with coaches to best suit their needs and ideals.

Dave Gleason


About the Author: Dave Gleason

Speed and agility training programDave Gleason is the owner and head coach of Athletic Revolution in Pembroke, MA. Dave’s career passions are training young athletes 6-18 years old as well as playing an integral role in the development of Athletic Revolution International. Dave was the 2010 IYCA Member of the Year, columnist and presenter. A proud member of the IYCA, Dave is honored to be named to the IYCA Board of Experts.


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Designing the Right Speed and Agility Training Program

Developing The Right Speed and Agility Training Programs For Young Athletes

 

wil fleming 2

 

Designing a speed and agility training program can be difficult with young athletesWithout a plan in mind of how to train a speed session, what can start as a speed session can crumble into a conditioning workout, with no lasting effects on an athlete’s ability to move quickly.

 

Speed and Agility Training Program

 

When I am coaching athletes in a youth speed and agility training program I find it necessary to first, break it down into the component parts that I would like to train, and second assess the size of the group that I will be working with.

 

Lets start with what we need to train.

 

Linear and Lateral Technique
The first thing we should address with any group of any size is the technical components that will make the athletes better and safer. For linear technique we must analyze the most common ways that linear speed are expressed:

 

Is it from a 3 point stance, 2 point stance, split stance, from a slower pace?

 

This will guide our use of acceleration training and allow us to coach the athletes on the proper start positions.

 

Lateral technique will focus on the lateral gait cycle and change of direction body positions. This type of training should be done with any group regardless of age and size of the group.

 

Speed and Agility Training Program 1

 

Linear and Lateral Power
The next phase of training will involve using different implements or tools to create more power for your athletes. Typically we will use sleds, weighted vests, medicine balls, or resistance bands to improve power in both the linear sprinting/acceleration and in lateral deceleration or acceleration

 

Speed and Agility Training Program 2

 

Linear and Lateral Reaction
When training reaction we are trying to improve the athletes ability to perceive the action and make the appropriate reaction. Drills in this category include change of direction with visual or verbal cues and acceleration drills on visual cues

 

Next lets move onto the size of the group, as this will determine the types of drills and equipment that we can use.

 

Less than 3 athletes
With less than 3 athletes training the coaching can be very intensive and the athletes can receive direction on technique with any and all drills. Very rarely in this situation will you be limited with the amount of equipment needed to complete a drill. Rest times will have to be accounted for through the training plan to make sure that the athletes get quality repetitions.

 

Speed and Agility Training Program 4

 

Small group- Less than 10-15 athletes
Training in groups smaller than 10 may limit your ability to train the group with equipment that you have on hand. If equipment is to be used it will be necessary to partner up the athletes or go in a rotation. Your ability to instruct will not be limited, but should be planned out in the training program for the day.

 

Large group- More than 15 athletes
With a group of more than 15 athletes restrictions on equipment become a primary concern, typically with groups this size or larger choices of equipment should be easily transportable (cones, small bands) and be plentiful. Instruction time should be mapped out before hand and should be deliberate. Large groups should be divided into smaller groups, this will allow for instruction between repetitions. Rest intervals in large groups are less necessary to plan because a normal rotation of drills and groups will allow for even, or positive rest periods.

 

Speed and Agility Training Program 3

With groups of any size it is important to approach a youth speed and agility training program with the same type of deliberate plan that is often reserved for strength training. Doing so will insure that your session will not turn into glorified conditioning work, but will instead develop real, true speed, wow coaches and grow your fitness business.

 

If you want to learn create your own training programs be sure to check out the Youth Speed Certification from the IYCA here;

Youth speed and agility training certification

 

Top 5 Offseason Training Tips for Speed and Power Athletes


 

Offseason Training

If you’re a sprinter or sprints coach who starts getting ready for the indoor season during the fall (or for spring during the winter, etc.), here are my Top 5 Offseason Training Tips. Keep these in the front of your mind and you’ll set yourself up for another season of bringing shame upon the masses.

 

1. Define Your Expectations

 

Notice I didn’t say ‘Goals’. I don’t believe in goals. Goals are things that never actually happen. Like the dream you had last night. And tomorrow.

 

Expectations eliminate wiggle room, excuses and sad stories. Young athletes have lots of these. So I simply don’t allow them in my program. Think about it. Which athlete do you think will win the big race today?

 

The athlete with a goal: ‘My goal is to win today’.

 

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