Monday, December 12, 2011

6 Weeks into the Strength Training Phase

I'm 6 weeks into my strength training phase of my program for outrigger racing and I've learned a great deal about my body so far and how to be more efficient with my training.

First, I'm working on addressing any left/right imbalances that I find in my body. I seem to have pretty good mobility except when it comes to hip extension and I discovered this doing the cook lift and single leg bridges, I noticed my right hip did not extend fully. Before, I used to notice that my hips would shift ever so slightly when I squatted but I wasn't sure why...this might be the reason. I also realized that my right hip is also my stronger side when doing single leg exercises. One reason I think this might be the case is because I have for years skateboarded using my right leg for support on the board, over time this repetitive movement pattern might have caused this imbalance in my hip. So I've started focusing more time on my pre-workout mobility drills with specific focus on foam rolling my hip flexors. I use a lacrosse ball to roll since I can tolerate the pain of the foam roller pretty well and I feel it doesn't get as deep. I highly recommend getting one. There only about 2 dollars at a sports store and are the 2nd best thing to getting a real massage. I also spend a lot time immediately after doing hip flexor stretches to reinforce the correct movement patterns of the muscle.

Core Training
When I started the program I based my training on foundation movements like squats, lunges, pushups and pullups and I was focusing my core training towards the end of my workouts. However, Since I started reading Mike Boyle's Functional Training book, I started training my core at the beginning of my workout or in the middle of my workout instead of doing them at the end when I feel most fatigue. Mike suggests in doing it this way because you can do them when your energy is still up and you don't run the risk of skipping over them after a hard workout and this has proved to be the best plan for me and keeping me focused on the exercises which primarily are based on transverse plane standing movements and core stabilization. The stronger my core is the better I'll be able to transfer the power from my legs to my shoulders and back which translates to having a stronger and more efficient stroke.

Stability and Strength
As I started to look closer at my workouts I also discovered that my left hip and left leg strength is a little weaker than my right and so I've integrated specific training exercises that focus on regaining stability and strength on that side of my body. I first start by getting my glutes and hamstrings firing with some ViPR hip activation movements or use mini bands to do some lateral, front and reverse walks to get the blood circulating to those muscles. Then when I move into the strengthening phase some of the exercises I use and recommend to improve single leg strength are; single leg deadlifts, bulgarian squats, one leg stance overhead press, and step ups. Regaining the balance between the left and right side of my hip is essential to my success in my training come race time because even though you might think that outrigger is primarily an upper body sport you actually really get your power from the push off you can generate from the front leg as that energy carries through efficiently to your core and to the upper body as you finish the stroke.

This is just a summary of my experiences and evolution of my training as I learn more about my body and what it needs and I hope that along the way some people might find this helpful. Thanks for reading. Please repost and offer your comments. For information on personal training please contact me at