By Jeff Dillman, Head of Physical Conditioning, Athletic & Personal Development program
No matter how much sports have changed, one element remains the same - the most powerful and agile players dominate on the field. Here are three exercises to improve your overall strength (speed exercises debut tomorrow).
1. Power Snatch
Purpose: Stimulate the total kinetic chain (full-body workout) by initiating a power response that will transfer the force from the ankle joint to the upper extremities. Start by using a barbell with no weight to get the correct form and add weight accordingly.
Stance: Grip bar with a snatch grip and lift the bar from the floor with a snatch pull. Do not bend over and lift the bar with the back, always use your legs. Feet are hip-width and flat on floor. The knees are slightly bent.
Ready position: The chest and shoulders are over the bar. The back is straight, abs tight and chest is inflated with air. Shoulder blades are pinched together with the eyes focused ahead. The bar is âhangingâ approximately at the top 1/3 of the thigh.
Initiation: Jump straight up, fully extending hips, knees, and ankles, simultaneously violently shrugging the bar upward as the shoulders move up and back. The bar will travel along the body and over the head.
Execution: Quickly slide feet sideways to shoulder width. Drop into a 1/4 squat position with back arched
and feet flat. As the wrists roll under, push up and out on bar, stretching it like a giant rubber band. The bar will be positioned over the head, just behind the ears. Stand upright with bar. Continue pushing up and out on the bar.
Completion: Exhale and safely return bar to top 1/3 of thigh and reset for the next rep.
2. Back squat
Purpose: Builds power in all major muscles of the lower body, including quadriceps, adductors, glutes, hamstrings and calf muscles, as well as developing flexibility around your hips and calves.
Stance: Feet are placed shoulder width apart; toes should be turned out slightly. Get your back straight, feet flat, abs tight, and take a deep breath of air. Just prior to squatting down, make sure that you are not bending at the waist and leaning forward.
Ready position: Place barbell behind the neck, across the traps in a high bar position. Grip the bar shoulder width with the elbows pointing down. It is important to pinch the shoulder blades together and stick your chest out prior to lifting the bar out of the squat rack. This elevates the upper back so that the bar is resting on the muscle of the upper back and shoulders and not bone.
Initiation: While holding your breath, squat straight down into the bottom position, keeping your chest up and your back flat. Make sure that you keep your feet flat on the floor and avoid leaning forward. Squat into a full squat position, so that your knees move out over your toes. It is extremely important that you control the tempo of the decent into the bottom position - it should not be fast or extremely slow. Always control the weight in the squat, never let it control you.
Execution: Upon reaching the bottom position, change directions and drive out of the bottom position keeping the chest up and back straight until standing erect. After standing erect and gaining control of the weight, exhale, inhale, and prepare for the next repetition.
Completion: Once the set of squats is completed, replace the bar to the squat rack. Many times after a hard set, you may actually feel faint, hence the reason for taking two steps away from the rack. Be extremely cautious when handling heavy weights in the back squat.
3. Chin-ups with abdominal crunch
Purpose: Build power in the lats, delts, traps, biceps and triceps, as well as overall back and arm strength.
Ready position: Grip chin-up bar with palms facing inward toward your face. Lower body until arms are straight.
Initiation: Pull hard until your chin is over the bar maintaining a stiff lower body. Do not jerk yourself up and do not use your legs to propel yourself
Execution: While maintaining your chin over the bar, bring the knees up towards the chest until the thighs are parallel to the ground, and the knees are bent at 90 degrees. With a neutral spine, hold this position for one second to engage the lower abdominals and hip flexors.
Completion: Slowly lower body position all the way until your arms are straight and prepare for next rep. When finished, rest 1-2 minutes and begin next set of chins.