Monday, January 25, 2016

3 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Workout

Hello Everyone!

Let's get right to it...

3 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Workout

  1. Perform Higher Quality Movements 
  2. Increase Your Glute Work 
  3. Time Your Rest 
Good strength coaches know that athletes will get more benefit from their workouts when they perform higher quality movements like squats, lunges, Olympic Lifts, etc. These exercises are higher quality because they: 
  • Increase full body strength 
  • Improve body control 
  • Mimic movements that are similar to movements performed on the court or field 
Drop the bicep curls and add higher quality exercises to see your athletic performance improve!
NFL's Sammy Watkins performs a lunge variation. photo credit: STACK
No matter how much glute (butt) training you're doing you can always do more! The glutes are one of the body's most important "Go Muscles" as they generate the powerful hip extension that is needed for jumping and sprinting. They're also under-active as we sit on them the majority of the day! Add any of theses great glute exercises to your training to see an increase in power!

  • RDL 
  • Clamshells
  • Supine Glute Bucks

NBA's Damian Lillard performs a Single Leg RDL. photo credit: STACK
NFL's Colin Kaepernick performs a variation of clamshells. photo credit: STACK

NBA's Dwayne Wade performs a single leg glute buck. photo credit: STACK

Most athletes waste too much time resting between sets. To really maximize your workout, take a timer (stopwatch, smartphone app, etc) to your workout and keep your rests periods in check. Here’s a quick cheat sheet I made to help you determine the maximum rest you should be having in-between sets.

Keep Training!
Coach Amanda Kephart 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Why Doing This Actually Hurts Your Sports Performance

Hello Everyone!

I'm tired of watching good athletes unknowingly hurt their performance with this good intention. It's 2016, and we know too much about exercise physiology to still be allowing these athletes to hurt their sports performance and waste their time.


Athletes commonly think that to get in shape for sports like basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, football, and tennis that they have to "go for a run" around the neighborhood or at the rec center. They think doing these long runs will improve their conditioning and help them last longer in their games.

What athletes don't understand is that "going for a run" (AKA: jogging) is NOT the same thing as the sprints, explosive starts, and powerful stops of their games. Going for a run trains the wrong energy system!

What's an energy system? Our body has 3 energy systems, each of which are used at different times and at different intensities. In this picture you will see that the Phosphate and Glycogen Systems are the systems needed for high intensity activities that last less than 2 minutes (which basketball plays, volleys, rallies, football plays, and running the bases fit into).

Sports like basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, football and tennis are sports defined by fast, short bursts followed by slower movements (like jogging or standing). These intervals of intensity therefore need an athlete to have well-trained Phosphate and Glycogen Systems to be able to repeat these quick bursts over and over again. The ability to repeat explosive speed over and over again throughout a long period of time is the actual conditioning these athletes need, NOT the aerobic conditioning that happens from "going for a run". 

I know personally that going for a run around the neighborhood will not translate to lasting longer on the court. As a uninformed high school basketball player I used to run around my housing development for an hour thinking that that sweat and effort from the run would translate to better performance on the court. Well it never did. Then as I went through my Exercise Physiology degree I learned this valuable insight into energy systems, but my basketball career was already over. 

Don't make the same mistake as me by going for long runs in hopes of improving your sports performance. As stated above, our energy systems can be trained and improved, hence why some high-level athletes play the whole 40 minutes of a basketball game, stay explosive the whole match, can powerfully pitch a complete game, never miss a snap during the game, or outlast their competitor on the clay court. They didn't get this ability by going for aerobically based runs. 

Aerobic Respiration training is needed for cross country, soccer, and any endurance sport that has athletes regularly covering ground continuously without any stoppage of play.

If you want to improve your conditioning and get in better shape, make sure your training the right energy system. Sports like basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, football, and tennis should train with high intensity intervals (which is what their sport actually is, a series of high intensity intervals). For example, do a 20 yard sprint, walk back to the start (rest), and then sprint again. Repeat for as many reps as you can or want. (I'd suggest starting with 5 reps, then next time do 6, then get the idea). 

Remember this...

is not the same as this!

Keep Training (the right energy system)!
Coach Amanda Kephart

Monday, January 18, 2016

The 3 Factors of Speed

Hello Everyone!

Speed is science. Speed is also a skill.
And like any skill, speed can be learned and improved, especially when you understand the science.

There are 3 main factors to speed:

  1. Force Production
  2. Ground Contact Time
  3. Direction of Force

Photo Credit:
Force Production
Force Production is why strength training is so important for athletes wanting to get faster. The stronger you are the more force you can create! This is also why male athletes will, on average, be faster than female athletes, because males can develop more strength thanks to having more testosterone. 

Ground Contact Time
Ground Contact Time is the duration of time that your foot is on the ground from the moment it hits the ground to the moment it leaves the ground. The shorter you ground contact time the more spring and energy you get out of the ground and into your movement. The longer your foot is on the ground the more energy you lose into the ground and less energy gets reciprocated back into your body. Think of wanting your feet to be like bouncy balls hitting the ground, not beach balls.

Direction of Force
Direction of Force is the direction you apply your force. It is crucial to understand Newton's Third Law, for every action there is an equal and OPPOSITE reaction. So if you want to run forward you have to attack your force behind you! Improving the efficiency of your force's angles and direction will improve your speed.

Photo Credit:
Great athletes train to improve all 3 factors as they know that it is this science of speed that allows them to improve their skill of speed. Make sure your training is addressing all 3 Factor of Speed!

Keep Training!
Coach Amanda Kephart 

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Interview on The Whistle and A Clipboard Podcast

Hello Everyone!

It is always an honor to be interviewed about Speed, Strength, and Conditioning, but I was especially honored to be interviewed by The Whistle and A Clipboard Podcast because of the amazing, and often famous, guests that have previously been on the show.

To be in the company of people like those listed below is truly a honor!

In my interview host I discuss the 3 Components to Speed, how to design a speed and strength workout, a personal story from my basketball playing days, and much more!

Keep Training!
Coach Amanda Kephart 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Recap of Diamond Speed, Strength and Power Clinic

Hello Everyone!

Last month's Diamond Speed, Strength, and Power Clinic at Strike Force Academy was jam-packed and attended by some eager area athletes!

The clinic started with some videos like this one showing the kind of speed needed to be successful on the diamond.

It then went into a brief presentation that empowered the athletes with how to be better leaders and to understand what kind of training they should be doing to actually get results on the diamond. Here's 2 of the slides.

The athletes then hit the turf to start training.

First) They learned a quick and powerful warm-up that will get them more athletic and ready to perform their best.

Second) They started learning the keys to speed, the best ways to get quicker, and drills to practice to get faster! Brandon got so fast he blew his shoes out!
Third) The athletes were given diamond-specific strength and power workouts that will make them more powerful this year. They even learned how often to do the workouts and how to scale the workouts.

It was great at the end having the athletes answer with a resounding "YES!" when I asked them, "Was this clinic helpful?"

If you want to achieve you New Years goals you have to gain new knowledge and new ways to improve your efforts. Stay tuned for information on my next clinic which will be with Ken Wilson on President's Day!

Keep Training!
Coach Amanda Kephart