Archive for the Z.S. conditioning Category

Core Stability in Your Program Part 2

Posted in Athlete's Accomplishments, Z.S. Basketball Training, Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Tennis with tags , , , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by zenithstrength

In part 1  we talked about the different types of core training exercises and implementing them in your training program.

In part 2 we are going to talk about developing stability while standing and integrating it with movement.

Anti Lateral flexion and rotation is an area that many athletes lack strength and stability in.  It would be nice to see some studies correlating back pain or knee pain with anti lateral core stability/strength. If someone has a link to some studies please comment below.

The benefits of owning lateral stability are especially important for rotational athletes such as baseball players, tennis players and golfers to name a few. I’m a huge fan of integrating stability with movement patterns once the athlete masters the basics such as planks and tall/half kneeling variations as I feel this most closely mimics how the body functions while moving.

Below is a video of Tony Gentilcore of Cressey Performance performing a pallof press while squatting.

You can also add lateral movement and hip strength to the pallof press.

Below is variation of the press using the TRX rip trainer with a band around the knees to facilitate  glute activation.

This is a great exercise for athletes that need stability in the frontal plane as it incorporates both the upper and lower body working together to stabilize.

Give these a try and let me know what you think.

Shyam Soin


Highlights from Thursday’s Training Session

Posted in Athlete's Accomplishments, Z.S. Basketball Training, Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Tennis with tags , , , , , , on November 21, 2010 by zenithstrength

Today’s post is video highlight of one of our collegiate tennis players from the Eagle Fustar full-time program who shows that female athletes are just as explosive as their male counterparts and can jump out the roof provided they get the right training to maximize their genetic gifts.

She is only 5ft 2 inches and easily cleared the 30 inch box.

She then followed that up with a 36 inch box jump which is over half her height. Keep in mind that she is only 62 inches tall!

Enjoy the video.

More good stuff to come.

Train Hard!


3 Observations from the Gilroy NTRP Tournament.

Posted in Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Tennis with tags , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by zenithstrength

This past weekend I volunteered my time and set up a booth with     Dr. Armen from Active Spinal at the Gilroy Garlic Festival NTRP tournament.

Here’s 3 observations I noticed with many of the players who came in to get some soft tissue work done.

1. A lack of awareness regarding warming up and movement preparation. Playing tennis is extremely hard on the body and creates a lot of wear and tear in the shoulders, knees and low back. One way to decrease the chance of injury is to make sure you warm up and prepare your body for the demands of the game. By using a soft ball and/or a foam roller and rolling out the lower body and mid back, and combining this with some dynamic movements to loosen up the hip flexors, hamstrings and hip adductors you will ensure longevity in your tennis career.

2.Get Assessed by a qualified professional. A simple overhead squat test will show movement restrictions/tightness in the ankles, hips and mid back and can give clues as to why, a specific muscle is injured. Not surprisingly when I had the players perform this test, the majority of issues were with ankle mobility issues and hip tightness. Not addressing these issues and only training on the tennis court will ultimately lead to an  injury and time off the court.

3.Training and staying in shape for tennis. This goes hand in hand with the first two observations. Not training or preparing for tournaments will lead to an injury. If you are going to compete and play at a high level you might want to seriously consider investing in a qualified strength coach who can help address movement issues and design a program to get you performing at higher level.

By training for tennis, I also don’t mean doing endless sets of benching which is going to lead to a shoulder issue. Focus on getting the lower body stronger, on push up variations instead of benching and strengthening the  mid back and scapular stabilizers with rowing variations.

Train hard!


Deepak Sabada Wins Again

Posted in Athlete's Accomplishments, Xtreme Tennis Conditioning, Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , on May 2, 2010 by zenithstrength

Congratulations to Deepak Sabada for winning the Diamond Hills 18’s Jr. Championship!

Deepak took out the #12 ranked player in the boys 18’S division in the semi-finals en route to the title. This is his second tournament win this year and he has been on a 15-1 tear his last 16 matches. Keep up the good work!

Sandbags for Shoulder Mobility

Posted in Xtreme Tennis Conditioning, Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Tennis, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , on April 17, 2010 by zenithstrength

Since we work with a lot of tennis players at Zenith Strength, shoulder health and mobility is one of our primary concerns. Sandbags are a great tool to use in any strength and conditioning program. Josh Henkin, is a strength coach widely regarded as the sand bag guy. Here’s a great shoulder mobility exercise that Josh demonstrates in the video using a sandbag integrating the hips and mid back which simulate movements in certain sports. Using tennis as an example, the athlete needs proper mobility in the mid back and hips to coil during the forehand and backhand stroke and needs to be able to efficiently transfer force through the hips up the chain to the mid back to maximize power output.

Stay tuned as I will discuss a few sandbag lifts that can be incorporated in your lifting program to improve strength and explosiveness in the upcoming post.

In strength,


Random Thoughts on Kettlebell Training for Tennis

Posted in Xtreme Tennis Conditioning, Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by zenithstrength

I had the privilege of observing part of the Russian Kettlebell certification and participating in a free workout at the Koret Center in San Jose over the past weekend.

As strength coach and athlete, there are several reasons why the kettlebell is a great tool to use in the quest of improving ones athleticism, such as becoming more explosive and increasing power output. I’ll touch on a few reasons why the kb swing improves those specific qualities, but there are books and published studies about the efficacy of kettlebell training that I recommend you check out.

The first reason is that the kettlebell swing is relatively easy to teach. This allows the strength coach working with the athlete to produce results faster, which leads to quicker gains in the weight room as there is less time spent teaching technique and more time spent training.

Secondly, it incorporates movement patterns that athletes need to groove, such as sitting the hips back, which is very similar to “athletic ready position”. I can’t tell you how many athletes come in and can’t get into the correct ready position usually due to a flexibility and awareness issue.  Kettlebell swinging can be used to improve mobility in the hips due to range of motion needed in the hip flexors and extensors to sit back deeply and “pop” the hip to activate the gluteals and hamstrings. Once this movement is grooved it is much easier to progress the athlete to other lifts such as the trap bar dead-lift.

The swing also strengthens the hip complex which is used in all forms of movement. Regardless of the sport that you participate in, hip strength factors into force production, movement efficiency, and lack of hip strength will result in a higher risk of injury to the low back or knees.

I briefly explained some of the benefits of the kb swing but there is also a conditioning component from swinging that will improve athletes and weekend warriors alike.

In my opinion, kettlebell training should be a staple in the strength and conditioning program. Although the kb is simple and beneficial tool, it isn’t the end all, be all exercise that some push it as. It is a great tool that should be used along with other great tools such as body weight training, sleds, and traditional lifts like dead-lifting and squatting. Remember that each modality has strengths and weaknesses, but the ultimate goal when training athletes is to get them more explosive on the field of play and there are many ways of getting the job done.

Here’s a video of Jason swinging the Beast demonstrating the proper technique to sit the hips back and “pop” the hips to swing the bell.

In Strength,


Random Thoughts from the SAP Open

Posted in Xtreme Tennis Conditioning, Z.S. conditioning, Z.S. Training with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2010 by zenithstrength

The past week I had an opportunity to check out Pete Sampras and Fernando Verdasco play an exhibition to open up the tournament. I was also fortunate to receive box seats to attend the final with Andy Roddick and Verdasco.

Here’s a few things I noticed during my time there:

Firstly, Pete’s  exhibition against Verdasco confirmed that training the right way and putting the time in can be an equalizer. Pete put up a good fight against Verdasco in the second set. He lost 6-3  7-6 , but can still crack his serve and the base of his game is still there. However, it was clear that the biggest difference between the two players was Verdasco’s superior conditioning.  Pete was slower, his footwork wasn’t sharp and his conditioning was suspect. It would have been interesting to see what could have happened had Pete trained harder. I think the match would have gone 3 sets and he might have pulled it out.

The final with Roddick and Verdasco showed how important fitness and training is in today’s game. Tennis pros are so skilled that the playing field has leveled. However, the difference between most pros and the guy’s in the top 10 is their training regimen. Both Roddick and Verdasco are well-built athletes.  They crush the ball off their ground strokes and their movement is explosive. They both have huge serves, although a lot of their power is generated due to impeccable timing; having strength in the lower body to transfer force through the shoulder is necessary to serve big.

Since Verdasco has started working with Gil Reyes he has climbed into the top ten and is a legitimate threat to win a grand slam. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Verdasco’s talent combined with his training protocols have catapulted him as a contender. What is more interesting is that Gil uses training tools that are considered different and extreme in tennis circles and you can’t argue with the results.

At Zenith Strength we work with many top tennis juniors and use protocols that aren’t new but are on the cutting edge for the sport. Implements such as sled drags, prowler sprints, kettlebells, band work, and traditional lifts such as squatting and dead-lifting to improve speed, explosiveness and strength. Hopefully there will be a new trend in tennis training. One that involves movements that have been neglected and avoided for too long.

It’s a matter of time before Verdasco wins a Grand Slam barring any serious injuries and people will start to take notice and change their training regimens.

You either join the pack or get left behind and dusted by faster, stronger, and mentally tougher athletes.

In Strength,