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Sporting Excellence #006 => June 2005
June 02, 2005
JUNE 2005

This newsletter is brought to you by:

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com

You can view back issues online here:

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/Sporting_Excellence-backissues.html

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TABLE OF CONTENTS - JUNE 2005

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Here's the contents in brief for this issue of Sporting Excellence

1. Strength Training for Baseball - A Comprehensive, Season-Long Program

2. To Stretch or Not to Stretch During the Warm Up

3. Twelve Plyometric Drills for Explosive Power

4. Low Doses of Caffeine Improves Endurance Performance

5. The Elite Approach to Tennis Strength Training

6. The Karvonen Formula - Calculate a More Accurate Training Zone

7. Preventing Muscles Cramps - Forget Potassium and Calcium Levels

8. The Effects of Training and Performing at Altitude

9. Core Strength Training - Exercise For Developing Your Center of Power

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1. Strength Training for Baseball - A Comprehensive, Season-Long Program

The main priority for baseball players is to develop maximal strength and then convert those gains into explosive power -- in particular hitting and throwing power (as well as acceleration). It's important to remember that bigger muscles are not necessarily more powerful muscles.

This baseball weight training program uses the sport-specific approach to strength training. It covers the four phases in the year and it complete with sets, reps and exercise images...

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/baseball-weight-training.html

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2. To Stretch or Not to Stretch During the Warm Up

For some time now, there has been debate between experts as to whether stretching should be performed before or after performing... or even at all.

The traditional school of thought claims that stretching before exercise helps to prevent injury and improve performance, and there are some studies to back this up. However, more recent research questions the value of pre-exercise stretching and actually suggests that it can hinder performance (reducing strength, strength endurance, explosive power, speed, co-ordination and balance).

The detrimental effect of stretching prior to a game relates specifically to static stretching and PNF stretching rather than to dynamic stretching. See the following page for more details on these different types of stretching...

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/flexibilitytraining.html

Recommendations from more up-to-date research are to focus on dynamic, total body activities that increase muscle temperature and dynamic stretching exercises to increase range of movement.

Dynamic stretching may be more efficient at preventing injury than classical static stretches. Studies have shown that dynamic movements through the full range of motion are more effective at reducing muscles stiffness.

If any static stretching is performed it should take place after the session or game as part of the cool down or as a separate flexibility session.

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3. Twelve Plyometric Drills for Explosive Power

Here are 12 advanced plyometric drills you can use to increase your explosive upper and lower body power. Remember that plyometric is effective only is you follow some strict guidelines. Be sure to check them out at the site...

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/plyometric-training.html

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/plyometric-drills.html

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4. Low Doses of Caffeine Improves Endurance Performance

Caffeine is one of the few ergogenic aids that has a number of clinical trials to back up claims that it can improve athletic performance...

According to Dr. Lawrence Spriet, professor in the Department of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph, since the late seventies caffeine ingestion has been shown to increase endurance by as much as 20-50% compared to a placebo.

Although studies have examined different quantities (3-13mg/kg body mass) of caffeine supplementation, research suggests that lower doses (< 6mg/kg body mass) are just as effective. Caffeine is most often taken about 1 hour prior to exercise but cyclists have demonstrated improvements by taking it throughout the event and particularly towards the end.

Dr Spriet also suggests there is growing evidence that caffeine is beneficial for shorter running, rowing, swimming and cycling events lasting from 4-30 minutes. For ultra short events like 100 and 200m sprint, the effects have not yet been studied.

Caffeine can be ingested in tablets or through drinking coffee, although there is one study reporting no performance enhancement with coffee compared to tablets. There is considerable evidence to suggest that low-to-moderate doses of caffeine do not cause dehydration if consumed shortly before or during exercise. Low-to-moderate doses of caffeine (< 6 mg/kg body mass) are also associated with mild or no side effects and do not produce urinary caffeine levels that are banned (12 g/ml) by the International Olympic Committee.

Why is caffeine an effective performance enhancing aid?

It may act to spare muscle glycogen stores allowing athletes to exercise at a higher intensity for longer. It also acts as a central nervous stimulant and raises epinephrine levels, which can reduce the perception of effort thus delaying fatigue.

Potential side effects with higher doses include nausea, muscle tremors, palpitations and headaches. Caffeine is also a diuretic so it's important to consume adequate fluids especially in warm climates. Finally, caffeine should not be ingested alongside ephedrine supplementation.

Athletes considering taking caffeine should consider the tablet form in low doses (3-6mg per kg body mass). Tablets are often in 200mg doses.

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5. The Elite Approach to Tennis Strength Training

A well-designed tennis strength training program can work wonders for your game. Long gone are the days when coaches believed all forms of strength training were detrimental to sports demanding finely tuned skills. While the wrong type of weight training CAN be a hindrance to your game, follow simple guidelines and the benefits can be immense.

This sample tennis strength training program covers the essential phases of the season as well as specific sets, reps and exercises images...

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/tennis-strength-training.html

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6. The Karvonen Formula - Calculate a More Accurate Training Zone

The traditional way to calculate a heart rate training zone is to work at a percentage of your maximum heart rate. If you're unfamiliar with the heart rate reserve method, this simple formula will help you to calculate training zone more specific to your level of fitness...

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/heart-rate-reserve.html

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7.Preventing Muscles Cramps - Saline is More Effective Than Bananas

Most athletes have suffered it... the excruciating pain of a sudden muscle cramp that usually occurs towards the end of game. While teammates can often find the misfortune of a "cramper" highly amusing, for persistent sufferers it's no laughing matter.

What causes muscle cramps and how can they be avoided?

According to Dr Randy Eichner - Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, cramps are the result of three factors...

- Muscles fatige
- Dehydration
- Salt loss

Athletes most prone are those who are lean and fit and sweat early and 'cake' with salt. During a football game players can sweat as much as gallon of fluid and lose the equivalent of 2-3 teaspoons of table salt.

Popular remedies include boosting potassium and calcium levels with bananas and oranges, as well as ingesting very salty foods and even antacids! There is no scientific evidence to support any of these strategies but taking in a suitable saline solution before competition can prevent cramping...

A sports drink like Gatorade Thirst Quencher (which contains 110mg of sodium per 8oz) is ideal before competing. Particularly prone athletes who are heavy and "salty" sweaters may need more sodium than this. They should consider adding 1/4 teaspoon of slat to a 16-20oz beverage.

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8. The Effects of Training and Performing at Altitude

Why do athletes find it so difficult to perform at altitude? And what exactly happens to the body several thousand meters above sea level? Some changes occur almost immediately...

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/acclimatization-to-altitude.html

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9. Core Strength Training - Exercise For Developing Your Center of Power

"Core strength" and "functional training" maybe buzz words in the fitness industry but athletes and coaches have understood their value for years. This article and animated exercises will help you to develop sport-specific core strength and stability...

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/core-strength-training.html

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Once again, I hope you enjoyed this issue of Sporting Excellence. If so...

I always appreciate feedback -- good and bad!

And if you have any questions regarding this issue's content (or sports training in general) I can be contacted at:

http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/contactus.html

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