Become a Better Athlete With Yoga

Become a Better Athlete With Yoga

By: Travelle Gaines

Yoga, a prominent exercise in the United States since the early 20th century, has continued to pick up popularity as a training workout for athletes. One reason it’s enjoyed by so many is its simplicity. All you need is a mat and an open area, so whether you’re out and about or cooped up in doors, you can reap the benefits.

Many athletes and athletic programs have ditched static stretching in favor of yoga or dynamic stretching exercises. I encourage all athletes I work with to do yoga. When done correctly, it promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and helps the everyday athlete recover from tough workouts.

 

 

 

 

It’s also a great way to break up your workouts. Many athletes tend to do the same (or very similar) workouts every day, and it can get boring, but yoga can help switch it up. So, try breaking up the week with yoga, and you’ll soon notice these differences.

  1. Flexibility: Yoga not only stretches your muscles and loosens them up, but it also works the joints to loosen them up as well. Keeping your joints and muscles warm and loose allows for maximum flexibility. In sports, this maximum flexibility allows for better movement, range of motion, strength, and even power.
  1. Blood Flow: In order for your body to function as best as possible, good blood flow and circulation is needed. The dynamic stretching and breathing techniques used in your yoga sessions facilitate good blood flow to the body parts you are working.
  1. Agility/Balance: Many dynamic stretches in yoga help work on your balance, which in turn can increase your speed and agility. These poses and stretches during your routines will work on balance directly, and in the long run make you much more limber.

Girl wearing a pink sports bra and black leggings does stretches on a yoga mat.

I highly recommend every athlete do yoga at least once a week — and if they can, do hot yoga which is yoga done in humid conditions to increase flexibility. The humidity makes you sweat more, but also loosens up your muscles to increase your flexibility in all of the poses, or stretches during the workout.  This relaxing exercise can do wonders for your health and wellness and take you to a whole new level as an athlete.


Looking for a more dynamic way to excercise from home? Check out this blog post to find some simple and effective workout ideas.

Maximize Speed To Perform

Maximize Speed To Perform

By Travelle Gaines

Most people believe speed is something you’re born with. But in reality, that’s not true – speed is a science and can be developed.

Speed To Perform 1

Speed is defined as a limb’s quickness of movement generated by the athlete’s ability to apply force and utilize it with great frequency (or in simpler terms: Force X Frequency = Speed.)

You can actually train your body to deliver more force to the ground and, once that happens, become faster and more explosive. Speed is an integral part of almost every sport and can be utilized in a variety of different ways.

To maximize your stride length and frequency, you need to work on your stability, mobility, strength and technique. Working on your hamstring flexibility and hip mobility is crucial for stride frequency improvement, while workouts such as Olympic Lifts and Plyometrics elevate your stride lengths by developing your muscular strength and power.

Speed To Perform 2

However, developing speed is a rather complex process, and mastering the technique behind your movements may be the most important part. The brain and the nervous system need to learn the motor skills to control these fast motions efficiently. Practicing the basic fundamentals of running form will not only improve your skills, but it will also improve your brain’s ability to adapt to these quick movements. You have to be able to perform these complex motions at slow speeds with 100% accuracy before you can transition to high speeds. Working on your technique on a consistent basis will ensure that your movement patterns and nervous system stay in sync.

So, to recap — here are your general principles for speed development:

  • Work on your mobility to upgrade your range of motion in your hips. This will drastically effect your speed and assist in preventing injuries.
  • Improve your flexibility through stretching to improve your turnover ability.
  • Perform plyometrics movements such as jumping, hopping and bounding to develop explosive power.
  • Make sure the skills you develop relate to movements you will make in your sport!

For more performance and workout tips from world-class trainer, Travelle Gaines, check out athleticgaines.com.

Replenish, Rebuild, Rehydrate

Replenish, Rebuild, Rehydrate

Replenish, Rebuild, Rehydrate

By Travelle Gaines

When it comes to getting your body in the best shape possible for your sport, nutrition and hydration is a key component.

Eating protein-packed foods, drinking water throughout the day, and cutting out food and drink high in sugar can help you take the next step.

After training, practice, or a game, your body is left dehydrated, drained of fuel, and broken down. The body is in a stressed state, and the proper blend of nutrients can jumpstart the recovery process to help you come back stronger and healthier. That’s why proper recovery is a key element to efficient athletic performance.

Nuts

An easy way to keep recovery nutrition as simple as possible is by remembering the three R’s:
replenish (with carbohydrates), rebuild (with protein), and rehydrate (with water).

Each of these critical recovery concepts calls for a different combination of fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates, and protein — each playing a specific role in the recovery process.

Protein

In order to keep your body in top shape it is recommended you try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water, eat between 40-50 grams of protein as woman or 50-60 grams as a man, and have anywhere from 45-65 percent of your total calories be from carbohydrates every day.

Keep in mind what recovery means however, as in addition to performance benefits it gives you a reduction in soreness, promoting quick adaptations to training, and enhancing muscle repair.

Oranges

Most of us spend our time training, not competing. The goal of recovery is to replace your fuel while rebuilding your muscle. So, in regard to recovery nutrition, a small amount of protein in addition to carbs may enhance the body’s adaptation to long-term training.

How to improve running form

How to improve running form

By Travelle Gaines

In order to get the speed you want on the field, track, or court, running with the correct form is vital.

I’m constantly asked by my clients how the fastest athletes in the world today train. So in response to these questions, here are some drills to help you improve your running form.

Wall Drills

Wall Push

The best drills for speed are wall drills. They are great for technique, get you in the proper angles for running, and put you in a situation where your toes, ankles, knees, and hips are in the correct position.

Directions

1. Face a wall with your feet placed directly under your hips.
2. Stretch your arms out directly in front of your chest so they are pressing against the wall.
3. With your body now angled, drive you knee up and then down — alternating between legs at a quick pace.

Benefits Of The Classic Pull-Up

Benefits Of The Classic Pull-Up

When it comes to building your muscles and becoming a better overall athlete, working on your upper body strength is an important piece of the puzzle.

This is where the pull-up comes into play.

The pull-up is something that can be done in a gym or at home with the right equipment, and has a number of variations for you to choose from. Below I will break down a few of these variations that will take your upper body strength up a notch.

Neutral grip pull-up

1. Take a neutral grip on parallel pull-up bars, hanging freely with your arms extended. This is your starting position.

2. Pull yourself up by flexing the elbows and extending the shoulder joint. Do not swing or use momentum to complete the movement. Attempt to get your chin above your hands.

3. Pause at the top of the motion before lowering yourself to the starting position.

Normal grip pull-up

1. Grab the pull-up bar with your palms facing forward and about shoulder length apart.

2. With both arms extended in front of you holding the bar, bring your torso back around 30 degrees while sticking your chest out and curving your lower back.

3. Pull yourself up until your chest touches the bar by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Exhale as you perform this portion of the movement.

4. Hold this position for a second before starting to inhale and slowly lowering your torso back to the starting position.

Wide grip pull-up

1. Start with a wide grip on the pull-up bar, hanging with your arms fully extended.

2. Pull yourself up by flexing the elbows and moving the shoulder joint inward without swinging.

3. Pause once your chin is above the bar before lowering yourself to the starting position.

I like having the athletes I work with do pull-ups, because for one, it’s a great exercise to do toward the end of a workout. Two, it’s an exercise that can always be measured. A lot of guys that come in at the beginning of the off season and they might be able to do 10 reps, and when they leave they are doing 20. So that right there is a measuring stick to show how you can improve. And lastly, the pull-up is also a great upper body exercise that you can do with no one else around.