A Shoe by the Athletes for the Athletes

A Shoe by the Athletes for the Athletes

When it comes to choosing the ideal shoe for your training it can be very difficult to find the perfect match with the abundance of great trainers on the market.

Many athletes, especially ones big into weightlifting, go for a heavier shoe with a stable heel to keep them locked down to the ground. But others looking for more of a natural and flat feel for weightlifting and running opt for a minimalist training shoe.

Eric Cressey, President and Co-Founder of Cressey Sports Performance, said he is a fan of the latter because of the benefits it gives the athletes.

New Balance 20V6

Beau Allen: A Multi-Sport Mindset

Beau Allen: A Multi-Sport Mindset

Every year around the country the number of youth travel teams for sports like basketball, volleyball, baseball/softball, and soccer is sky-rocketing, according to USAFootball.com.

Parents are spending top dollar for their kids to play in tournaments year-round in a single sport, rather than having them in multiple sports during their respective seasons.

In response to these dedicated travel teams popping up around the country, youth participation in recreational sports continues to drop every year because the kids are traveling around the country playing one sport in elite tournaments to get exposure.

Although many parents and coaches try to get their kids to focus on just one sport, many still push their kids to be multi-sport athletes because of these positives:

  • All athletic movements transfer from sport to sport.
  • Athletes learn how to compete in different sports.
  • Playing different sports builds your overall sports intelligence.
  • Different sports work different muscles, preventing young athletes from burnout or injury.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman, and this month’s Eastbay cover athlete, Beau Allen grew up playing a number of different sports and continues to share the importance of being a multi-sport athlete today.

Beau Allen

Growing up, Allen competed in football, hockey, lacrosse and track, and also said he played in rec basketball leagues and would water ski and wakeboard often. Although football was his calling when it came time to choose a college, Allen said each sport played a role in making him the complete athlete he is today.

Beau Allen: Becoming Explosive

Beau Allen: Becoming Explosive

As a seventh round pick, making it in the NFL is no easy task.

However, when defensive tackle Beau Allen got the call on draft day in 2014 informing him that he had been drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 224th pick, he was confident that he would succeed because of his work ethic and competitive drive.

At 6-foot-3 and 330 pounds, Allen knew he had the size to be a force on the defensive line in the NFL, but would need to become stronger and more explosive to make an impact. From day one in Philadelphia he hit the weights to show he had what it takes, quickly learning it wasn’t just about how much weight he could bench or squat.

“You just need to change your goals sometimes, so right now I’m working more on explosive strength and flexibility,” Allen said. “You see a lot of guys change up their routines once they get to the NFL because they know what they need and they know what other guys are doing. You’ve always got to stay on top of your body.”

This was a big change for a guy who considered himself “a big meathead” and loved to bench and squat as much as possible.

“I’ve never really had a problem putting weight on, I’ve been lucky, but as you get older and as you have been in it more you start to know your body and you know what you need,” he said. “I know I’m a big meathead and I love max squatting and max benching and hitting those heavy singles, but it’s just not great to do that all the time.”

Now as Allen has finished up his third full season in the NFL, receiving more and more playing time on the defensive line and even receiving some snaps at fullback, he has incorporated new workouts to make himself much more explosive.

These workouts include agility ladders, box jumps, medicine ball throws, Olympic lifts, and his personal favorite — lifting with chains.

“So what happens is let’s say we’re chain squatting and you’ve got the chains on the side, as you go down the chains spool on the ground so it takes a little of the load off, and as you’re reaching the top of your lift they unspool so you get a little of a heavier weight, It’s real good for working that explosive strength,” Allen said.

These workouts are key for Allen as they help him get a quicker jump when the ball is snapped, along with a more powerful first hit on opposing lineman.

To supplement his explosive workouts, Allen also points to a number of workouts he likes to do outside of the gym to help him retain strength, flexibility, and his agility skills.

Spending a lot of his time-off outdoors at his cabin in northwestern Wisconsin, Allen needed to find new ways to workout. Even though he has a weight room in the basement of the cabin, he said space is limited. So instead he heads to the woods for one of his favorite workouts — which involves an axe.

“You don’t have room to do everything so you find other ways to work out, like you chop wood,” Allen said. “You’ve got to chop wood because we have a wood stove up there and that is a great workout — core, arms, shoulders, hips, and it’s a lot more tiring than you think.”

Along with chopping wood, Allen said he also gets workouts from swimming in the lake next to his cabin, and running up the big hills that surround the area. But more than anything, he credits playing other sports in his free time for a lot of his strength and agility today.

“I love playing other sports, and I played a ton of sports growing up,” Allen said. “Just being active in any way so you can get a workout in is big for me.”

After waiting over two days to hear his name called in the draft Allen knew that nothing would come easy, and he has shown that through his drive to get better on the field with his intense training regimen.

“You’ve just got to compete in everything you do,” Allen said. “Maybe that is a clichéd statement, but I really just think that’s how it’s got to be.”

Beau Allen’s work ethic stands out during every snap on the field. How do you compete in everything you do? Let us know on TW or IG by tagging us and using #Prepare4Greatness. Learn more about him in our latest Eastbay catalog.

The Importance of a Weightlifting Shoe

The Importance of a Weightlifting Shoe

Dedicated weightlifters know the importance of a stable weightlifting shoe. It keeps you locked down through all of your lifts, helps you maintain good form, and keeps you injury free during your training.

In order to keep you locked down and in the proper form to excel during your lifts, training in a standard but stable trainer like the Adidas Powerlift 3 or the new and improved Nike Romaleos 3 is very beneficial.

Dr. Brad DeWeese, head performance coach at the East Tennessee State University Olympic Training Site, is a proponent of his athletes using proper weightlifting shoes during their training sessions. So far Dr. DeWeese has only heard positive things from his athletes about the new Romaleos.

“Honestly I really like the Romaleos, the plastic in the heel is super stiff,” He said. “I have heard from my athletes that toward the front of shoe there is a lot more flex, which they feel allows them to hit better positions while lifting.”

We broke down the weightlifting shoe to give you a better idea of its upgrades from its predecessor:

The Strap

One of the most important pieces of the Romaleos 3 is the locked-down fit, which you get through multiple features. None are more important though than the strap on the shoe’s upper. The Romaleos 2 offered two skinny straps, with one placed up high and one down low. This model instead offers one wider strap that wraps around your midfoot, for that comfortable, secure feel.

Flywire Technology

Throughout the Romaleos 3, Nike’s Flywire technology is used to give the weightlifter a comfortable fit that keeps your foot from moving inside of the shoe. This feature isn’t very noticeable, but it can be seen surrounding the eyelets on the shoe, giving your foot that tight, glove-like fit.

Heel

The Romaleos 3 boasts the large, stable, plastic heel found on previous models. This heel is lighter and a tad bigger than the last models’ to offer more cushion, which is important for extra strength during deadlifts and squats. The heel also features a honeycomb pattern, which removes weight with its cut-out but stable style.

Ventilation

This Romaleos 3 was made to keep your feet from sweating as much as they did in prior models. The shoe offers built-in mesh slits near the toes that offer breathability, and ventilated mesh near the ankle and tongue of the shoe. These added holes and slits help to circulate more air around your foot, keeping sweat away.

“The Romaleos have done a great job,” DeWeese said. “They are stiff, they are secure, they’ve got the needed heel lift, and they’ve been able to withstand a year or two of training for people on the road which is awesome.”

Having a stable training shoe for weightlifting is important, and something DeWeese advocates for instead of a running or flat platform shoe.

“When you try to go into the weight room with a typical running shoe or even Chuck Taylors, a really flat shoe,” he said. “The shoes are stable, but what you don’t notice is that you have a lot of compression that comes through the shoe’s foam.”

“Running shoes are meant to displace some of the force that occurs during the impact of running, DeWeese said. But you actually want to use those forces in the weight room.” The lack of compression during your lifts, he also said, results in a more proper form which will work your muscles harder and help make you a better athlete down the road.

At eastbay.com we are advocates of making the right footwear choices when it comes to your training. No matter how you train, step up your workouts this season and tag us in a photo of your training shoe using #Prepare4Greatness.

Take Over In 2017: How To Crush Your Training Goals

Take Over In 2017: How To Crush Your Training Goals

As you watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, whether you are with friends or family celebrating the holiday, it’s almost impossible not to reflect upon 2016 and look ahead to 2017. Maybe you think you could push yourself harder in the New Year, or you think you could become much stronger in the weight room, maybe even make the step from junior varsity to varsity? The possibilities are endless for an athlete that creates the right mindset heading into another season.

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Although some athletes may excel at setting and achieving their own individual goals, many struggle to set realistic goals for themselves year in and year out. With some help from our friends at Stack.com, we put together a blog to better help you manage and achieve your goals in 2017.

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Four Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

When you are trying to set goals for the year ahead a lot of things can get in your way. They can be minor setbacks or major issues, but if you set your goals properly you can avoid these obstacles. Here is a list of Stacks four obstacles to better goal setting:

  1. Focusing on one overly specific goal
  2. Goal isn’t specific enough
  3. Unrealistic time expectations
  4. Goals are simply too challenging

To read more about each individual obstacle and to see solutions for each, read stacks full article here.

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How to set better goals

Clearly, setting realistic goals as a young athlete can have its challenges. You want to set the bar high for yourself and take bigger strides each and every year, but sometimes these high standards can be too much. Along with this, many times as an athlete you are on your own to set goals, as your coaches don’t have the time in practice to help everyone individually plan ahead.

To set strong goals you need to focus on your future and not look back at the past. Make sure your goals are both short term and long term so you are always chasing something, rather than taking your foot off of the gas at times. If you set reachable goals for yourself before every season and achieve them, you will only continue to build your confidence level.

Below is a list of steps that you as the athlete can use to help you better set your own personal goals, or that your coach can use to individually set goals with everyone on your team:

  1. List what you want to accomplish.
  2. Define why you want to do this.
  3. Define how you will accomplish this.
  4. Clarify what doesn’t help you.
  5. Sign your summary statement.
  6. Tape to your wall and read every day.

To read more about each individual step in this goal setting exercise, read the full article on stack.com.

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Motivation is key when it comes to getting yourself to set goals each and every season. Many athletes struggle to find the motivation needed to create goals for themselves and achieve them. Goal setting is all about will power and overcoming obstacles to achieve what you want. Take a look into athletic trainer Travelle Gaines’ blog on motivation factors within to learn how to better stay consistently motivated.

What will you do to become a better athlete in 2017? How will you step up your game and challenge yourself each and every day? Tweet us @Eastbay and tell us some of the goals you are making for your athletic endeavors in the New Year.