Brittany Matthews is a former college and international pro soccer player. Playing sports her entire life taught her the importance of strength training, wellness, and maintaining peak strength to perform at an elite level. As a certified Personal Trainer with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology, Brittany has experience with all levels of fitness. She has created online training programs for people at all stages of their fitness journey. She also knows the value of having high-performing gear that’ll stand out at the gym. Here are some of her favorite products to break a sweat in.
Ashley Guarrasi is a personal trainer specializing in boxing fitness and functional movement. Over the past ten years she has become a well-known name in the boxing fitness community, establishing residency at the Equinox West Hollywood gym training celebrity clients, and leading health and wellness retreats around the country.
As a personal trainer with a boxing background, Ashley knows how important agility is to any and every athlete. Below are three of her favorite drills to enhance your agility and quickness.
Drill #1 – Fast Feet
All you need for this drill is four cones and a strong work ethic. Ashley utilizes this drill to get her heart rate up while helping improve her speed with quick and repetitive movements. This drill will also strengthen your joints, ligaments, and tendons.
Drill #2 – Toe Taps
Any drill where you combine footwork, speed, and movement in different directions is great for improving agility, but this one is especially easy to set up and perform. All you need is a line or slightly elevated surface to use as your baseline point. This exercise really helps your quick twitch muscles fire rapidly so you can create that burst of speed you need for any sport.
Drill #3 – High Knees with Ladder
This high knee drill exaggerates your running stride to fire up your calves, glutes, and hamstrings while promoting knee lift and encouraging rapid turnover. It’s a great way to practice running fast while improving your speed using efficient form.
Ashley relies on the top training gear to work as hard as she does in the gym. To see her top training product picks click here or visit eastbay.com.
“Champions are made in the offseason.” A quote that’s as timeless as it is true. The best athletes, teams, and coaches know that to stay at the top of their game, they need to continuously put in the work. One of the coaches who’s always preached this mantra is Coach Steven Lo. Coach Lo is the Offensive Coordinator, Quarterback Coach, and Director of Strength and Conditioning for the 2019 National Championship football team at St. John Bosco High School. To help you prepare for your next season, Coach Lo has shared a weekly plan for your entire offseason that can help you enhance your skills and excel at your specific position.
Outlined below are two workouts that can help you increase your speed or up your power and strength. It’s recommended that if you’re a wide receiver, running back, defensive back, linebacker, or tight end, you focus on the speed workout, and, if you’re a lineman on either side of the ball, the power workout is geared towards you. Depending on your position, you may need to adjust the amount of weight or reps, but Coach Lo’s guidelines well help you establish a good starting point.
Speed Workout (WR|RB|DB|LB|TE)
Outlined below is Coach Lo’s seven-week speed program – designed to boost your straight-line and lateral speed, and improve your quickness on cuts and change of direction. As mentioned before, these workouts provide the basic guidelines, and depending on your offseason goals of adding mass and strength along with speed, you can adjust the amount of weight or reps. For example, linebackers, tight ends, and power backs should focus on gradually adding more weight during lifts than other positions in order to maintain a strong base. During the first week, it’s also recommended that you run through the workout with little or no weight in order to gauge how your body responds.
Sprint into the middle of the box and transition to finish at each cone
Sprint – Finish straight ahead
Sprint – 45 degree break to left front corner cone
Sprint – 90 degree break to left middle cone
Sprint – 45 degree break to the left back cone
Sprint – 180 degree to the start cone
Repeat all reps to the right side
Sets and Reps
1st round start first 5 yards into the box with a sprint
2nd round start first 5 yards into the box with a back pedal
Wednesday (Lower Body Lift + Skill Day)
Band Walks (3 x 10 forward, backward, left, right)
Work to build strength
Power Clean (4 x 5) Weights at a level to focus on fast bar speed
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (4 x 5 each)
Box Step-Ups (4 x 5 each)
Work to build power and explosive speed
Lateral Bounds (4 x 5 each leg)
Lunge Jumps (4 x 5 each leg)
Power Clean (4 x 3)
Kettlebell Swings (4 x 10)
Lying Leg Lifts (3 x 15 each)
Skill Day – Route Running or DB Work
Thursday (Skill Day)
QB|WR Timing, drills, 1 on 1, 7 on 7
Friday (Upper Body Lift)
Incline Bench (4 x 5)
Bent Over Row (4 x 5)
Curls (3 x 10)
Tricep Extension (3 x 10)
Shoulder Raises (3 x 10)
Saturday – 7 on 7 Tourney or practice
Sunday – Active Recovery | Rest Day
Dynamic Warm Up (5-10 min)
Yoga (15 min)
Lying Hamstring Stretch
Power Workout (OL|DT|DE)
If you’re looking to build up your power and strength in the trenches, Coach Lo has also outlined a workout focused on increasing your muscle mass and explosiveness off the line. Below you’ll find another seven-week program designed for linemen on both sides of the ball.
If you know softball, you know who A.J. Andrews is. The sport’s inaugural Gold Glove winner, and first woman to ever win the award, has dazzled spectators with acrobatic catches and her smooth, effortless style of play for years. But behind her spectacular playmaking is a fierce combination of preparation and determination that took Andrews to the level she’s at today. For Andrews, staying in shape in the offseason is one of the most important parts of her training. We got to talk to the star outfielder about how she approaches her offseason training and get a couple tips and drills she does to improve her agility. Check it all out below!
Q: Training and fitness are a huge part of being a professional athlete in any sport, but what’s something that’s unique about softball training compared to training for other sports?
A: Softball is a very explosive sport that requires a lot of mobility to be successful. You have to have explosive first steps when running the bases, or fielding a ball, and explosive hips when swinging. Every movement in softball requires being very explosive and intentional. It’s important to train your full body with powerful and quick movements every time. Mobility also comes into play because if you are not mobile as an athlete, your body physically cannot be as explosive as possible to match how precise each movement has to be in softball. Most people realize softball players need to do a lot of arm and shoulder strengthening work, but few realize the importance of being explosive in the hips and full body to help take pressure off of the arm when throwing. Softball is a sport where the entire body has to sync at the right times in order to function properly on the field. Full body, explosive movements help the body learn how to do that, while mobility exercises ensure that it is done properly.
Q: When it comes to training for softball in the offseason, what do you think is one of the most underrated or overlooked aspects that you would advise young athletes not to ignore.
A: Cross training or playing other sports. It is so important to not limit yourself especially when you are younger. Playing other sports will help prevent injuries as you are constantly working different muscle groups and not overworking the same ones each time from being sport specific. Also playing other sports will make athletes more athletic, agile, and better mental players. Don’t ignore just going outside and playing tag or invitations to go play a pick up game, it will only help you get better in your specific sport.
Q: Speaking to younger athletes, can you explain why it is so important to train throughout the offseason and not just start a couple weeks or months before the season begins?
A: Training throughout the offseason is important in order to reinvent yourself for the next season. Each season requires a new, more focused, and more developed athlete. The offseason is the time to upgrade and elevate your skills to reintroduce yourself to those players/teams that thought they knew what you were capable of! Next season begins the moment the current season ends. If you are not getting better you are getting worse, and if you wait a couple weeks before the season you will be left in the dust of those who put in miles of work ahead of you during the offseason.
Read more about A.J. and her drive to empower and inspire young women through athletics here.
Whether you’re a kid who’s just decided to try out for your school’s sports team or you’re a parent of a new athlete – welcome to the world of competitive sports! Eastbay is the go-to site for high school athletes looking for elite sports gear. But when you start looking to buy your gear, it can be a bit overwhelming seeing all the options. So, we’ll walk you through seven base essentials below, then provide links to all our sports gear guides with specific product recommendations.
This may be obvious, but it’s worth stating: For a comfortable and productive workout you should wear activewear. We’ve all seen the odd guy in the gym who wears jeans on the treadmill, but that’s definitely not the norm and for good reason! Your clothes can have a major effect on your training. So no matter which brand you shop, keep in mind these two key terms: compression and moisture wicking.
The term “moisture wicking” just means that the material the clothes are made from keeps your body dry and cool during your workout by pulling sweat away from your skin. And the term “compression” refers to the fit. Compression gear fits like a second skin to provide muscle support and promote healthy circulation.
Eastbay makes it easy for you – much of our training apparel online has both compression and moisture wicking properties. So the only struggle you’ll face is deciding which colors and styles you want to buy!
If you’ve got longer hair, headbands are a must! No matter how you choose to style your hair for practice or game day, we recommend wearing a headband to keep loose hair out of your eyes. There’s nothing worse than trying make an amazing play and failing because your hair was in your face!
3. WATER BOTTLE
Don’t forget a water bottle! It’s one of the most important things to add to your bag. Even if you’re not planning to sweat up a storm or work out in the direct sun, hydration is super important for injury prevention and recovery.
Tip: If you prefer to drink sports drinks during or after your workout, consider buying two water bottles so you can fill one with sports drink and the other with water.
4. RUNNING SHOES
Every athlete, regardless of their sport, should have a reliable pair of running shoes. They’re versatile enough for cardio workouts with the team or solo runs around your neighborhood.
Check out this blog post to view our top picks for the best running shoes of the year!
After a long, strenuous day of training or competing, there’s no greater feeling than taking off your shoes and slipping into a comfortable pair of slides. For that reason, we believe slides are a must-have for all athletes!
6. RECOVERY EQUIPMENT
Recovery equipment may not be in everyone’s bag, but we think it’s important to keep close by. Being overprepared is never a bad thing, right? So, consider tossing an ice pack or an ankle brace in your bag. (Fingers crossed you never have to use it!)
Now that we’ve listed all the important items you should keep with you for practice and game days, you’re probably wondering how to tote it all around. Sure, you could use a big bag you have at home or try to stuff everything in your backpack, but it’s best to get a duffel bag that you can just dedicate to your sport. With one bag, you can keep all the basics together so you don’t forget anything next time you rush out the door.
The list above contains high-level gear for athletes in any sport, but depending on what you play, there are some specific items we didn’t list. For example, if you’re going to be playing soccer, you’ll need to buy shin guards, and if you’re looking to run track, you’ll want a pair of spikes. Below you’ll find all our links for sport-specific gear guides. We keep them up-to-date with our top product recommendations based on the year’s best items.
Find your sport and bookmark the link, so next time you’re shopping for sports gear, you’ll know right where to look.
No matter what sport you play or how hard you train, you can never be too fast. And, when it comes to adding speed, there’s no better time to separate yourself from the pack, literally, than the summer. Putting in the extra work on agility drills and speed workouts now will give you that added burst you need to dominate your upcoming fall sport season. So, let’s get right to it — here are some handy speed training tips that are sure to help you leave your peers in the dust:
1. Perfect Your Technique
Let’s make something clear … before you start doing cool workouts you need to master your technique. Having the proper running form is the essential first step in any speed training regimen. When starting a new drill, take it at a slower pace, focusing closely on proper technique, before taking it up a notch.
2. Add In Some Resistance Training
Incorporating additional resistance, like parachutes, into your speed workouts is the perfect way to gain some speed. Your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves will all put in some extra work and your top speed will start to rise.
3. Run For The Hills
Uphill repeats are a great way to improve in a variety of areas. As you push upward, you’ll work all sorts of muscles — from your lower legs to your hip flexors to your back, and the added incline also forces you to use the correct running form.
4. Make Some Time For Plyometrics
Plyometric exercises are all about exerting a maximum amount of force in a short burst of time. Standing long jumps, box jumps, and forward bounds are some of the best ways to upgrade your explosiveness and burst.
5. Fuel Up The Right Way
Proper nutrition and hydration are just as important as any of the steps listed above. Before a speed workout, make sure you have a carbohydrate-rich snack. During the workout, don’t forgot to stay hydrated. And afterwards, rehydrate your body while also consuming a healthy snack within the first 30 minutes. These steps are essential if you want to get the most out of every workout.
6. Don’t Forget To Recover
When you really push yourself, be sure to give yourself an easier workout the next day. When you feel exhausted post-workout, consider getting a good night of sleep. When your body is feeling strained or sore, think about getting a massage or trying yoga. You need to give your body time to build back up and get stronger.