Dr. Sharif Tabbah, aka “Dr. Reef,” is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and co-founder of Athletix Rehab & Recovery in South Florida. Dr. Reef began his career in the fitness industry back in 2003 when he became a personal trainer at New York Sports Club. His time there sparked a passion for fitness and led him to a career in physical therapy.
His unique approach to fitness has led to him working with hundreds of professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB, and many more. Dr. Reef places emphasis on balance and dynamic core stability, which helps with rehab and injury prevention. Below you can find five of his favorite drills that work on strengthening your core and improving your balance.
DUAL CRUNCH KICKS: Make sure each kick is deliberate so that you don’t shift the ball. Hands should be shoulder-width apart and back should be straight.
OVERHEAD SLAM: Bring the medicine above your head each time. Do not slam the medicine ball into the ground. Keep your back as straight as possible throughout the entire exercise.
BALANCED CRUNCH KICKS: This should be a controlled movement. Make sure not to wildly kick your leg out. Hold your leg in the starting position briefly following each extension.
BALANCED PLANKING: Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Focus on not letting your hips drop or shift.
WEIGHT SHIFT WHILE PLANKING: Keep your feet shoulder-width apart while balancing on the ball. Your back and core should be as flat as possible. Make sure you use a weight you are comfortable with.
For more workouts check out @Doctor_Reef and @Athletixrehab on Instagram or athletixrehab.com where he is always posting new and challenging unique workouts. You can also find some of Dr. Reef’s favorite gear that will keep you comfortable and get the most out of your workout when you shop his Eastbay gift guide.
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.
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.
Nothing is more valuable in basketball than a little space. Whether it’s to get your shot off or dishing it to a teammate, a little room can make all the difference. One of the best ways to create some space between you and the defender is with the punch drag, a favorite move of Damian Lillard. Master the basketball skill by checking out the video below from the experts at the elite basketball skills academy 90/10. Video courtesy of @90.10training.
Hard stop with the outside leg forward
High, hard dribble to easily transition into shot
Combine with other moves to become unguardable
Grab all the best basketball gear from your favorite brands at eastbay.com and follow @90.10training for more tips, basketball skills, and training videos.