Archive for the Uncategorized Category

3 Keys We Can Take Away From Jeremy Lin

Posted in Uncategorized, Z.S. Basketball Training, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , on February 15, 2012 by zenithstrength

Linsanity is here and it’s not going away anytime soon. Like most basketball fans, I have had my doubts about how long this feel good story is going to last last but after seeing Jeremy light up my Lakers, and then come back a few games later and hit the game winning shot against the Raptors…well…I’m a believer. This is the feel good story of the NBA and there is a lot we can learn about Lin’s success and use to help us with our own endeavors.

In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons someone experiences success is how much they believe it will happen.

You have to put the work and time in but all this is fueled by self belief that you belong and everything will work out. In Jeremy’s case he was undrafted out of college, played for a few teams, before arriving in the perfect situation for him to showcase his ability; a team that desperately needed a point guard to lead the way.

5 games later he is now a sensation in one of the worlds largest markets. I’m no sports psychologist, but I would say, that right there is mental toughness. Instead of cowering under the pressure and bright lights of New York city, he embraced the pressure and continued to perform at an extraordinary level. Or as athletes call it he’s in the “zone”.

So how does this relate to training  and what can we take away from Jeremy Lin’s recent tear.

1. Hard work and self belief are necessary if you want to accomplish something great and when things don’t go exactly as planned and its gut check time your self belief is what  help carries you through. The same goes for training. You have to set your goals and work towards hitting them. Whether its hitting a 400lbs on the trap bar deadlift or getting a thirty inch vertical you have to believe you can do it first and then put the work in.

2. Enjoy the journey to success. We are all guilty of forgetting that many times it’s the journey of trying to get to where you want to be which makes the difference between appreciating success  and being unsatisfied. I know that I am sometimes guilty of not fully enjoying the ups and downs of building a successful training business so Jeremy Lin’s success definitely has me reevaluating a few things.

3. Mental toughness is what separates the wannabes from those who experience success. There is no perfect situation. What I mean is that many times things don’t fall into place the way you want them to. Jeremy was crashing at a team mates couch trying to get quality sleep in. Not ideal  if you’re trying to dominate on the basketball court. How many people do you know would rather sleep on a comfy bed in a hotel room to rest up before the big game? Well, he didn’t have a choice in the matter. That’s what mental toughness is..dealing with the situation and still playing well.

In regards to training, there are many clients who want the fancy exercise that looks outrageous or they see some pro athlete performing a crazy ladder drill and think they need to be doing the same exercise to build freakish footwork. But in reality, it’s focusing on the basics squats, pullups lunges etc.  and building a solid foundation, progressing over time and putting a lot of work in  that builds a solid, strong and explosive athlete who moves well. Most people don’t want to hear that but that’s what separates the athlete who improves vs the athlete who quits and stops training after a few months. There are no quick fixes. Sorry.

Here’s a highlight video of Jeremy training. Inspirational stuff!

Put in the work, keep believing and here’s to you enjoying success with your endeavors.

In strength,

Shyam

“Extreme” Review

Posted in Uncategorized, Z.S. Basketball Training, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by zenithstrength

Jim Smith and Joe Defranco are two of the best and most innovative coaches in our industry, so when I heard that they were coming out with a new dvd called “Extreme”, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

Extreme is the third product that coach Smitty and Joe D. have put out within the last year or so. Power and Amped warmup are the other two products that I also purchased and highly recommend them if you’re a coach or athlete.

Extreme is a fantastic resource utilizing over 130   exercises that bridge the gap between traditional lifts such as squats, deadlifts and benching to improve performance on the playing field.

Ultimately, the  goal of a  coach is to produce gains that transfer on the playing field on game day and this dvd allows the viewer to gain insight to a smorgasbord of supplemental exercises to achieve those goals.

The exercises are broken into Upper Body, Lower body, Rehab and Core to name a few. The value is seeing the creativity behind many of the movements, and if you understand how the body moves and the rationale behind the movements you start to look at many basic movements from a different perspective and it allows the coach to really get creative with exercises.

Below is a video from going through a variation of the rollout they use in the dvd.

If you want to learn from the best and add more tools to your toolbox get your copy of Extreme here.

Train Hard!

Shyam

The Importance of Recovery

Posted in Uncategorized, Z.S. Basketball Training, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by zenithstrength

Recovery is a arguably the most underutilized process in training. Everyone wants to train hard and often to get results and if you’re an athlete that includes practicing your sport. However, without adding recovery techniques to help the body adapt and improve from your training sessions, the work you put in the weight room is futile and will only lead to frustration.

The bottom line is basic recovery principles such as getting in 8-9hrs of sleep per night, going to bed at a reasonable hour(before midnight), addressing nutrition and soft tissue work are integral to get the most out of your training program.

Below are a couple of articles you should check out regarding recovery.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System:Looking for a Way In. by Patrick Ward a respected and knowledgeable  strength and conditioning coach and licensed massage therapist whose opinion I highly respect especially regarding recovery principles and the nervous system.

Patrick talks about the parasympathetic nervous system and the role breathing has with stress, pain and recovery.

Sleep by Joey Giandonato talking about the role of sleep and why it is important.

Enjoy

Assessing the Basketball Player

Posted in Uncategorized, Z.S. Basketball Training, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2011 by zenithstrength

Assessments and corrective exercise are extremely important factor in designing a strength and conditioning program. It doesn’t matter the sport you play or the goals you have. The coach needs to have an idea on how you well you move and the easiest way to do that is with a few exercises. Before we get started, I highly recommend Assess and Correct from Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, and Bill Hartman. A&C is great as it will improve your ability to assess clients and athletes. There are also corrective exercises with progressions to improve movement issues and you can add them into your dynamic warmup.

Regarding basketball athletes there are a few things we look at that  basketball players usually have some restrictions with

1.Ankle Mobility

2.Hip Mobility and stability

3.Previous injury history

Keep in mind that I am generalizing and that not everyone who plays basketball will have  these issues which is why it is preferable to thoroughly assess the athlete prior to training them.

Ankle restrictions and lack of dorsiflexion is very common amongst basketball players and this can occur for many reasons such as type of footwear  worn, using ankle braces while practicing, and/or  due to sprained ankles.

Eric Cressey also has a great article on the importance of ankle mobility you should also check out.

We also take a look to see if there are soft tissue restrictions in the calf and soleus that may be inhibiting ankle movement and if there are we address that by using some SMR techniques with a lacrosse ball or stick. If that doesn’t work we will refer out for soft tissue work.

Here are a couple of ankle mobility drills we use for the ankle. Keep in mind that there are endless variations of mobility drills out there.

I learned this from KStarr  and have been using this for a while now and have been seeing a lot improvement with our athletes. Check out Mobility wod for some innovative mobility drills.

I like this set up with the band just above the malleolus as it allows the ankle to glide from the band distraction.

Calf stretch using the pro stretch.

I highly recommend this if you don’t have one as it the best way to stretch out your gastroc. The prostretch also works well for plantar fascitis and other foot issues too.  

Hip Mobility can be an issue for basketball players. Generally speaking from the players we have assessed hip flexors both the Psoas and Rectus Femoris will be short and stiff. The Thomas test is a good way to test hip flexor shortness.

Below is a detailed explanation of the Thomas test and what to  look for.

We also check hip strength/stability using the overhead squat and single leg squat test.

You can also use the step down test to see if the knee caves in. Hip stability is extremely important regarding knee health and is a key component in our program design to prevent ACL injuries.

And lastly we take down the athletes injury history because the strongest indicator of an injury is a previous injury to the same spot. By assessing the athlete and addressing the needs of the athlete and improving movement patterns our goal is to reduce the likelihood of a serious injury so the athlete can reach their performance goals on the court.

Tran Hard.

Shyam

Top 3 Shoulder Exercises to improve External Range of Motion

Posted in Uncategorized, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2010 by zenithstrength

Working with a lot tennis players and overhead throwing athletes  means that we are usually dealing with shoulder issues and reducing the risk of rotator cuff injuries.

There is a lot of  “stuff” to look for when dealing with overhead athletes and shoulder issues. Generally, you want to take a look at T spine rotation range of movement, internal and external rom and scapula stability issues like winging.

For more information on  training athletes and clients with shoulder issues check out Optimal Shoulder Performance, by Eric Cressey and Mike Reinold. There is  a ton of info regarding training the injured shoulder and specific shoulder pathologies such as internal vs external impingement and manual techniques to improve dynamic stability of the  rotator cuff.

Alright now to get into the importance of  external range of motion.  Basically the service motion, specifically the cocking phase requires the athlete to externally rotate the shoulder through an extreme range of motion. This is also similar to throwing a baseball.

Take a look at the images  of the service and throwing motion.

Without the flexibility to externally rotate the shoulder the athlete is predisposed to myriad of potential injuries.

Below is a list of our 3 favorite exercises to improve external range of motion.

1. Wall Slides. These are great for lower trap activation and since you are improving external range of motion you will also lengthen the pecs if they are tight.

2. Side Lying extension with rotation

This exercises helps to stretch out the pec minor while also improving thoracic extension with rotation.

The pec minor internally rotates the shoulder so stretching it out helps improve your external range of motion.

Check out the video on how to perform the exercise.

3. No Money Drill with bands.

In addition to performing these drills, make sure to stretch out your pecs and lats as they work to internally rotate the shoulder. When these muscles are tight they reduce the external range of motion of the shoulder and also affect the ability of rotator cuff to stabilize the humerus. When you stretch out the internal rotators you end up gaining motion into external rotation and this works similarly with  the hips and  how tight hip flexors limit hip extension from the glutes. By strengthening the hip extensors you end up improving flexibility in the hip flexors.

Here’s a great lat stretch that we use with a jump stretch band.

Stay healthy and train hard.

Shyam