The Benefits of Foam Rolling

The Benefits of Foam Rolling

By: Travelle Gaines

One thing I like to tell my younger athletes is to make sure they warm up properly and ready to go from a blood-flow standpoint every time they are getting ready to train. So what we like to do with these athletes, before and after their workout, is get them on the foam roller.

When foam rolling, start with your Achilles and then work up to your calves, the lower hamstrings, the upper hamstrings, glutes, lower back, upper back, and — don’t forget — the lats.

To foam roll correctly, simply place the roller on the ground underneath the muscles you are looking to work, and slowly move the foam roller back and forth before moving to the next muscle group.

There are huge benefits to foam rolling for every athlete who comes in to train. It gets the blood flowing, and it just puts you in a position where your muscles are ready to get firing. When you are done working out, it greatly reduces the chance of soreness, which allows you to come back the next day and train even harder.

Foam rolling is one of those tasks that many athletes forget to partake in before and after training, however it is extremely important for dedicated athletes who want to keep their body is good condition.

I highly recommend every athlete that I train to go out and get a foam roller. Whether it is pre-workout or post-workout it’s just a great exercise to keep your muscles in good shape and body feeling good.

5 Ways to Make Your Workout More Effective

5 Ways to Make Your Workout More Effective

By Travelle Gaines

We all know that doing the same workout routine over and over can get boring — but most of all, the urge to workout diminishes and the results don’t show. It’s time to get back in the game — here are a few things you can add to your workouts to maximize their effectiveness.

  1. Actively Stretch

Active stretching has many benefits and can add a boost to your workout regimen. The whole purpose is to activate the nervous system, increase the core body temperature, and accelerate the heart rate. Most of the exercise is fairly simple and can be done at home, try them moving or traveling at a distance (maybe 5-10 feet). A good example of an active or dynamic stretch is a lunge with a core twist, this opens up your muscles and adds stability and mobility to your joints, and ultimately will add more effectiveness to your workout.

  1. Train Dynamic

All movements are comprised of multiple planar movements (linear, lateral, and rotational). Walking forward, bending down, and turning and rotating — these are just a few movements you can add to boost your workout, and to train in a multi- dynamic format. There are more ways to do this other than training single muscle groups or doing your typical back squats. Changing up your movements will create a challenge that your body will have to adapt to, primarily because you’re beginning to target muscle groups that play a pivotal role in your movement system but are often overlooked.

Here are five simple exercises that can be done at home:

  • Lateral Skiers (Hops)
  • Side-lying Lateral Leg Raises
  • Wall Run
  • Plank Hold With Shoulder Raises
  • Crossover Lunge
  1. Train Anaerobic (Interval Training)

Interval training works your energy system to maximum capacity over a set period of time, followed by a full recovery period that is at least three times the length of the workout. Here are some benefits of interval training:

  • Builds and maintains lean muscle
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Improves energy
  1. Fuel Up Before Working Out

Knowing when and how to fuel your body to improve your performance is one of the most important things needed to maximize your workout. Your body needs energy to get you through an intense training session. Pre-fuel with a balanced meal before your workout to allow for an adequate recovery time.

Here is a sample pre-workout meal:

  • Two egg whites or one cup of oatmeal
  • One banana
  • One slice of toast
  1. Curate A Workout Playlist.

Everyone has a dull moment or hits a wall of fatigue during their workouts, so create a playlist that’ll give you something to groove to during training. Music is one of the biggest motivating factors there is. When you need that extra rep or don’t feel like finishing that set, look to your music to bring you life.

The Best Workouts For A Strong Core

The Best Workouts For A Strong Core

By: Travelle Gaines

Core Training is often thought of as just your abdominals and obliques, but when training the core, it should be a system approach. Your hips, torso, and shoulders are considered your “PILLAR” of strength and stability and should be included in core training.

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If you think about the way the body moves and interchanges when performing different movements — core training should really be done in a system. When properly trained, you’ll see an increase in your strength, speed, power, and stamina.

Here are a few of my favorite core-training exercises to implement into your workout program:

  1. The pillar bridge (plank): A great exercise to improve shoulder and core stability.

One variation I love to use is the four-point hold on the stability ball, as the ball adds another degree of difficulty to the already challenging movement. The uncertainty of the ball forces extreme focus and challenges your shoulders and core to resist movement.  Complete three Sets of 30 seconds.

  1. Supine leg raises: This is a great core exercise that focuses on your hip flexors, the lower abdomen region, and the lower back and hamstrings. The alternating variation is one of my favorites because it keeps your core engaged, but also strengthens the same movements used when walking and running.

Begin lying on your back, elevate your heels about 6 inches above the ground, pull your toes towards your shin and raise your legs to about waist height alternating. Complete three sets of 10 reps each leg, without bringing your feet to the floor.

  1. Medicine ball Russian twist: The Russian twist is a great exercise to improve rotational strength and endurance in your core and shoulders since sports are played in multiple planes of motions for an extended period of time.

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Begin sitting on the ground with your knees up, position your back at a 45-degree angle with a nice tall chest posture.  For 30 seconds or your preferred time, rotate your torso bringing the ball from one hip to the other. You should feel this working your obliques, hip flexors, and shoulders. Complete three sets of 30 seconds.

Another great variation of this exercise is medicine ball power throws. Begin in the same position as the Russian twist but instead of rotating hip to hip, start on one side of your hip, rotate and throw the med ball as fast as you can. Complete three sets of 10 per side.

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Core workouts are an essential part of your daily training regimen because of their ability to work multiple muscles throughout your body. These three exercises as a system are simple to implement into your daily workout routine, and can help take your core strength to the next level.