Category Archives: Plyometrics

Staying in Shape

I have loads of free time now that I’ve stopped with competitive athletics. Since I’ve lived a spartan routine for the past decade or so, living a regular joe’s life can be refreshing. But then again, there’s this urge to stay physically fit. The end of my track & field days does not necessarily mean the end of all sporting activities. I am a competitive person by nature and I need my regular dose of organized sports. I’ve been getting invites from friends to try out triathlon, road running, Ultimate, and floorball. Frankly speaking, I don’t have much interest in new sports.

I am content with the three basketball tournaments (two corporate leagues and one Ateneo league) available in a given year. It feels like I’m back in the year 2000 again, chasing after far-flung hoop dreams. The time I’ve spent away from the hard court, however, has stunted whatever basketball fundamentals learned during my time as a [frustrated] cager. To cope with the fast paced basketball game, I rely mostly on my athleticism.

Despite hanging up my spikes, there is still a need to stay in shape – for competitive and aesthetic purposes!

Weight Training

I haven’t stopped lifting weights since I was 15 years old. This have been the bread and butter of training regimens the past few years. I can go on and on about the benefits of weight training, but in a nutshell, it helps me (1) toughen up against taller hopes and (2) avoid injury from all the running and jumping of basketball.

Plyometrics

Plyos are an excellent way to train for fast-paced, explosive sports. Since I usually play defense (in light of my lack of offensive skills), doing plyos gives me an edge over those more-gifted basketball players.

Think Hanamichi Sakuragi.

Mile Runs

Back in my high school track & field days, we ran one mile to warm-up for training. Every single day. I lost the zeal for this when I got into college team, as I lowered my warm-up mileage to 1.2km instead of 1.6km. Because I have loads of time and I don’t have to train for the hurdles anymore, what better way to keep in shape by running a friggin’ mile? Moreover, it is refreshing to run against the clock for a change.

I don’t see myself joining the cacophony of road runs anytime soon. I prefer the solace of a solo run to the jam-packed environs of a race.

Sprints

I get a certain sense of fulfillment doing sprints. It soothes one’s longing for speed, without the need to burn expensive fuel. Going full throttle (or half-throttle when doing speed endurance workouts) makes me feel alive. It’s a good way to keep those endorphins flowing, without the pain of a long run. Even if I’m a retired track athlete, I still get the urge to don my spikes and go out for a spin, so to speak.

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Training from Home (18 January 2011)

I was having second thoughts whether to train or not last night. It was 8:30 PM and I had just come from the hospital to visit my dad. My right foot was a tad bit swollen, thanks to a minor skin-deep wound. Although I slept for a good 7 hours the previous night, I was still feeling drained from work and the commute home. Besides, hospitals really do sap whatever motivation I have.

The main challenge of being one’s own coach (one’s own master!) is the tendency to slack off. Thankfully, the TV was tuned to the ongoing Australian Open, with David Nalbandian facing off against Lleyton Hewitt.  Watching those racket-wielding, modern-day gladiators infused much needed enthusiasm.

Since I got home relatively late, I decided to just settle for a home workout – opting for a 15 minute run and plyometrics session. If I had gone to the gym, a good amount of my sleeping time would have been eaten up. Time, indeed, is a valuable commodity for this part-time athlete. Back in the 2007-2008 track season, I used to train for as long as humanly possibly, in light of my 6-unit masteral course load. For the entire duration of that season, not once have I lost sleep. Those days are long gone!

Like I always say, I have to make the most out of the circumstance. In fact, I’ve never been happier at being given a second shot to do what I love best.

Road work: 15 minute run

Plyo’s:

Scissor jumps (static)

Tuck jumps (static)

Rolling With The Punches (14 – 16 January 2011)

My weight training session last Friday was geared towards preparing my body for last Saturday’s ABL game. Since I have yet to craft out the bad-ass track training program I’ve been harping about, I settled for a light gym/plyo workout. I didn’t want to over-exert myself, opting instead for a straightforward 20-minute slow jog, 15-minutes at the stationary bike and a 30-minute core session. Afterward, I did a short and straightforward weights routine, just to tone the muscles for the hoops battle ahead.

And it worked. I felt rejuvenated after sleeping for around 8 hours the night before the game. My performance at the game itself was a lot better than my ABL season debut, in terms of physical fitness that is. But when it came to tangible basketball performance, I couldn’t seem to translate my conditioning into actual statistics. But then again, basketball is a team sport. The game goes beyond personal statistics (more on this in later posts).

I was used sparingly throughout the game, in light of my mediocre performance. Nevertheless, I did a much better job in keeping up with the fast pace of an ABL game. Instead of feeling drained as I did the first game, I had so much more juice left in me as the final whistle blew.

After Saturday night’s hoops debacle, where our basketball squad lost by around 15 points, I’ve had enough of basketball. The expectations I put on myself was just way too much for my mediocre skills. I needed a dose of reality, to go back the sport I’m good at – athletics.

I had a good long run last Sunday afternoon. Nothing beats running at the good old Ateneo campus. I know every nook and cranny of the place, having spent a good chunk of my teenage years and young adulthood at the Hill. Moreover, the chilly afternoon air was refreshing. I didn’t tire out much, thanks to the relatively-less humid air. I ran for a good 18 minutes and did light running drills and plyometrics afterward.

Despite the 15-point ABL shutout (and other much bigger personal hurdles), this weekend’s training sessions turned out well. Although the fate of my 2011 athletics season – and my much-delayed comeback – lies uncertain due to the aforesaid barriers, I’ll be keeping my options open and just roll with the punches.

Core Strength (5 January 2011)

I’m gradually shifting from vacation mode to training mode. I went back to the gym last Wednesday, opting for a straightforward, core-intensive workout. Since I absolutely hate running on treadmills (especially when there’s no mirror in front and no gorgeous ladies beside me!), I settled for the good ole stationary bike. It takes twice as long to warm-up on these contraptions, but the change in setting is refreshing.

I must admit that I had neglected my core last season. I breezed through my core routines (bridges, Swiss ball exercises, lumberjacks, etc.), opting to cut corners in my workout. After all, one of the best facets of my body is my above average core strength – back in college, 3 years ago! Since I almost always train alone, it took quite some time before some well-meaning fellow track athletes pointed out an unwanted deficiency in my sprinting form. Instead of keeping a stable center of gravity, shoulders and hips throughout the sprint, I tended to wobble from side-to-side.

A few years back, such a glaring error in form was unthinkable, in light of the time I spent doing running drills and core strength exercises.

Hence, I fought off the urge for a quick fix. Instead of doing merely 2 sets, I did three sets of bridges (with 20kg and 10kg plates) for 45 seconds to a minute. Afterward, I did simulated lumberjack exercises using a 25-lb dumbbell. It was tiring but definitely worth it. At the end of my core routine, I felt like walking around topless amidst the crowded Boracay beach (or maybe not)!

Core workout:

Bridges

Lumberjacks

Plyo’s:

Lateral hops

Modified box jumps

Gym workout:

Push-ups with clap + DB Chest Fly

Deep squats

Reverse barbell row + Single-leg shoulder press

Arabesque

Equipment Wish List

I’ve long since stopped believing in Santa Claus. Nevertheless, I have a special Christmas athletics equipment wish-list for St. Nicholas – just because it’s the yuletide season.

1.) Olympic-standard starting blocks (preferably Nordic or Nishi):

In the past months, the only chances I had of using the blocks was when my former college track team was at my training venue. I need this vital sprinting equipment to hone my deficient crouch start technique.

Photos from nordicsport.com and nishi.com

And perhaps, having an own personal set of starting blocks can do wonders for my technique.

2.) Resistance training sled:

Looking back at last season’s so-called dry run, I never worked out with the venerable sled. It has long since been a part of my college training repertoire. You can’t get any more sports-specific than sprinting with twenty-five pounds of iron in tow!

Photo from askthetrainer.com

In order of preference, a weight vest and a running parachute are also viable alternatives.

3.) Plyometric boxes:

For the longest time, I made do with the uber-low plyometric boxes in the Celebrity Club Gym. In order to achieve taller heights, I stacked aerobic boxes underneath the solitary wooden box. These innovations were grossly inadequate. To achieve a holistic plyometric training routine, wooden boxes of varying heights are a necessity!

Photo from performbetter.com

Coping (12 December 2010)

I didn’t get to train much the past few days. I went out on a blind date on Wednesday, I took the day off on Thursday and I went to my friends’ wedding on Friday. I was supposed to resume my regular routine last weekend, but since my mom went to the province, I had to stay at home with my dad.

I must admit that all these distractions and interruptions had sapped a major chunk of my juice. Ever since late October, I have been hard pressed to take in some measure of consistency. In any other circumstances, I would have been utterly pissed off. Needless to say, this isn’t just any other real-life hurdle.

Family comes first.

Hence, I have to make do with what I have. In an effort to salvage what was left of my competition sharpness, I worked out twice yesterday. I ran around the subdivision shortly after lunch. I was unable to go to my usual haunts since I had to be near my dad. It was a lackluster workout since I couldn’t really get into the zone whilst training at the subdivision. I missed the regularity of the oval and the familiarity of the Ateneo campus. Ironically, in training terms, I fell more at home in Ultra and Ateneo than in my very own subdivision!

My mom got home earlier than usual that night. After a light dinner, I headed out to the gym for a much needed weights/plyos session.

If I’m not mistaken, this week’s PATAFA Weekly Relays includes the 100m dash. It’s about time for me to compete!

Home workout:

Light run

5x50m uphills

Abs

Gym workout:

Core

Jerk

Single-leg Shoulder press

Standing long jump (dynamic)

Deep squats

Leg curls

Various ab exercises

Rising up (28 and 29 November 2010)

I had loads of fun the past two training days. Despite feeling a bit sore from the unforgiving 360 Fitness Club Boot Camp, I forced myself to go to Moro last Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t keen on doing anything too strenuous.

I ran around the Ateneo campus just to loosen up my legs. I look forward to these rare campus runs. Since I’m almost always nocturnal when it comes to training, basking under the sun’s warmth is a rare opportunity.

Read “Long Runs at the Hill”

Unfortunately, the overcast skies weren’t apt for me to wear my prescription shades! I did some light starts work afterward, just to polish some technical matters ahead of my first and last 100m dash race on the 11th of December.

I woke up this morning after a good 7 hours worth of sleep. The soreness of the weekend debacle was all gone. I was pumped-up to head out to the gym. I didn’t have to wake up early since it was a holiday. I really do miss early morning training sessions! It reminded me of the days when I listened to Oasis’ “Morning Glory” (got this from Goal, the movie) before heading out to Rizal or Ultra back in my college days.

As always, the gym was devoid of attractive single ladies. It was more crowded than the night shift. It got even more packed when the young guns from the Ateneo High School Track Team arrived! I didn’t complain, though. I just love lifting with fellow track & field athletes (even if I hardly know the new faces of the AHS track squad!). It’s a refreshing change from the usual gym habitues I’m accustomed too.

All-in-all, the past two days were quite productive. It’s good to know that I’m still pretty much in shape, despite some real life hurdles. I’m all set for my 2010 season debut – and finale!

Video credit:

oasisinetofficial

Track workout (28 Nov 2010)

1km run

Running drills

3x50m starts

Gym/plyo workout (29 Nov 2010)

Core on swiss ball

Jerk

Shoulder press

Bicep curls/tricep kickback

Pikes

Deep squats

Plyometric step-ups

Back (24 November 2010)

I went back to training last night, after a 6 days of forced rest. I felt in shape and, of course, well-rested. When I got to the gym, I realized that I left my iPod Shuffle at home. Without my musical companion, I was hard-pressed to get into the zone, in light of my family’s off-track woes. The complete absence of music at the newly-renovated gym exacerbated the struggle.

The silence was, as the cliche goes, deafening.

Nevertheless, the workout was of the highest quality. I had just about the right level of aggression in me, as shown by how fiercely I went through the cleans. As I went about doing the Olympic lift, I was deeply grunting throughout – aiming to execute the explosive movement as efficiently as possible. And it felt great doing those familiar exercises again.

I also did a few sets of plyometrics, just to wake my dormant legs. Since I had more than my fair of rest the past few week, my legs felt truly fresh.

Moreover, I’m back up to 150 lbs – Antonio Margarito’s fighting weight – from around 146 lbs a week earlier.

It was a short yet intense workout. It’s good to know that I’m still in shape.

A Spanking New Gym (12 November 2010)

Since I do not have coaches and trainers, I have to design my own training routines by combining my old workouts with whatever innovations I had picked up from reputable sources.

Monotony is a potent enemy for the self-trained, solitary athlete that I am.

In the past months, I’ve battled constantly with boredom in my weight training routines. Mind you, the staleness do not emanate from the exercises that I do. Rather, the environment is the main culprit.  Despite avowals of minding one’s own business, one’s gym mates are bound to make an impact one way or another.

Looking back, my exuberant teammates (as well as the multitude of athletically pleasing athletes from the opposite sex!) did much in creating an gym atmosphere conducive to performance enhancement. Nowadays I work out in a regular fitness gym; hence, rarely do I encounter elite athletes.

The renovation of the Celebrity Club gym somehow assuaged the monotony. I worked out at the spruced up fitness center last Friday. I felt like a kid on Christmas Day trying out the new equipment. Joaquin Ferrer, a rising young turk from the vaunted Ateneo High School track team was also there, helping much in setting an athletics mood.

Despite the cramped confines (which made it harder to do indoor plyo’s), the Life Fitness and Ziva equipment were state-of-the-art – a far cry from the old gym. In my biased  opinion, no gym in the Philippines can ever measure up to the Marco Lorenzo Weights Room (in Moro), but I’m very much happy at this major development!

My favorite addition is, without a doubt, the pull up bar. For far too long, I’ve made do with an improvised bar. Thanks to the spanking new pull-up bar, I was able to do full Bubkas (my favorite core workout!) again for the first time in years!

Gym workout:

Core

Full Bubkas

Cleans

Split squats + pull-ups

Alt. DB press + standing LJ

Bicep/Tricep curl + modified box jumps

Refreshed! (25 October 2010)

I had a great weights session yesterday. I just love it when Mondays are declared holidays. It rids the first day of the week of that negative mystique it so strongly exudes. After having my car checked (my Lancer needs new shocks!), I went to the gym to lift weights and do some plyo’s.

Since it was a holiday, the gym was more crowded than usual. I was still somewhat dazed at the lack of mirrors in Celeb. I’ve gotten used to looking at my form (or simply looking at myself) during workouts. It helped that there was this shy-looking Filipino-Chinese girl working out. I just love it when an attractive female is nearby – I get a solid performance boost!

I started off with the customary plyo’s. Since I had all day train, the workout wasn’t a frenzy of quick, straight-to-the-point exercises. This was refreshing. The quality of the plyo’s were encouraging. It’s a pity that the gym doesn’t have room for hurdles or space for bounding.

Afterward, I did cleans. In light of my weeks-long break from doing Olympic lifts (due to a sprained pinkie!), I lifted lighter than my usual load.

All-in-all, it was a fine training session. Thanks to three days of full sleep, I’ve recovered from the sluggish feeling brought about by sleep-deprivation.

Plyometrics:

Standing long jump

Pikes

Modified box jumps

Gym workout:

Bridges

Cleans

Squats + alternative DB chest press

Leg curls + calf raises

Various ab exercises

Severely Sprained Pinkie (11 October 2010)

I lifted weights last Monday. Since the guys over at Celeb are in the process of transferring the old gym to a new spot, the premises were devoid of vanity mirrors. I must admit that it was a little bit disorienting. Mirrors seem to create the illusion of space, making the workout quite easier.

I had my left pinkie checked that afternoon. Thank heavens nothing was broken or dislocated! It was just a really bad sprain. I tried doing my favorite Olympic lift, thinking that since I had my right pinkie buddy strapped to the next finger I’d have a much easier time doing the lift. It turned out that the limited flexibility of the left pinkie makes it harder to endure the pressure brought about by the recovery phase of the cleans.

For the 2nd straight week, I settled pushing exercises, single-jointed lower body exercises and plyometrics. My body is yearning for the good ole Olympic lifts!

Gym/Plyometric workout:

Bench press + standing long jump

Squats + lateral raise

Leg curls

Various ab exercises

Lackluster (6 October 2010)

I sprained my left pinkie in a basketball game a week ago. Although the swelling and pain had dropped significantly, I still couldn’t perform vital Olympic lifts. In last night’s workout, I again resorted to a combination of plyometrics, lower body weights and the few upper body exercises I could perform without pain.

The gym was almost deserted, aside from a handful of habitues. I must admit that I found the environment quite boring. But then again, I wasn’t there to socialize. My motivation is intrinsic! I chose to ride the stationary back for my warm-up, instead of the bloody treadmill. I found a copy of the triathlon magazine, Multi-Sport (I admire triathletes, especially the elite triathletes and those with day jobs), to read whilst warming up – a new, yet apparently ineffective combination!

Jessa Zaragoza – a popular singer a few years back – was at the gym too. She was without make-up, revealing her true face behind that mask (why the hell, am I writing about this?).

As a result of my lackluster warm-up, it took quite some time before I got into the plyometric groove. With the gym devoid of people, I was able to do single leg bounds indoors. By the time I did pikes, my core temperature had gone up quite a bit. I topped off the night by doing a series of simple, single-jointed lifts – interspersed with ab exercises.

I missed doing the more challenging Olympic lifts in light of my minor yet limiting injury. The important thing is not to aggravate the injury by over-exerting oneself by disregarding the body’s signals.

Plyometrics:

Bounds

Pikes

Modified box jumps

Gym workout:

Bench press + squats

Shoulder press + leg curls

Various ab exercises

 

 

Fresh Air (22-23 September 2010)

Headed out to the Celeb Gym last Wednesday to do some explosive lifts and plyometric exercises. As usual, I kept it short and straightforward, not wanting to spend too much time at the gym in light of my limited hours.

When I got to the gym, I saw “Out of Order” signs on two of the 6 remaining treadmills. The gym used to have a full complement of around 12 treadmills for the past 4 to 5 years. Wear and tear had caused the number of available machines to steadily decline – quite inconvenient for warm-up purposes. With the amount of money one churns in for club membership, I often wonder why the gym equipment remain relatively substandard.

In the past months, I’ve rekindled a love for plyometrics. The exercises that require momentary flight is uniquely challenging. It relieves the boredom of my training venue and, at times, my training routine.  I was supposed to do a depth jump + box jump combo, but the lack of plyometric boxes made it impossible to do so. In fact, I had to improvise (putting a low wooden box over plastic aerobic steps) just to have a platform high enough for my workout goals.

I’m seriously considering donating equipment to gym.

I kept the weight training part short, since I was running out of time (I long to return to those hours-long sessions of the past!). I had difficulty doing cleans, a consequence of past interruptions of my training. There were some details in my form that I wanted to iron out, like the way I step back each time I catch the barbell on the way down. I guess I just have to lighten up the load just to fix these deficiencies.

As you’ve read from my past training logs, I’ve been getting quite stale lately. I decided to play some basketball last night with the other traders and brokers, just to breath some fresh air into my increasingly monotonous regimen. Although I still sucked at the hoops game, I was quite pleased at my explosiveness. I’m starting to reap the benefits of plyos and Olympic lifts.

Plyometrics:

Box jumps

Scissor jumps

Gym workout

Cleans

Single-leg shoulder press

Hamstring curl

Various ab exercises

Back on Track (13 – 14 September 2010)

I went back to track training this week, after a week-long absence due to illness.

On Monday, I headed out to Moro’s indoor track to do some sprints. I warmed-up outdoors, taking advantage of the crisp nighttime air. Although I was afraid that the weather might rain on my parade, I still pushed through, chiding myself for thinking like a pussy!

On the way back, I saw my former college coach and a few members of the current track team. It was refreshing to see some familiar faces, in light of my Han Solo routine.

I did some drills and bounding exercises before the actual sprinting workout. Surprisingly, I felt strong despite the weeks-long lay-off. I felt a lack of explosiveness in my movements though. I topped off my workout with technical starting session. I was in the zone. For the first time in months, I actually felt my body bursting out from the crouching position in a satisfactory manner. I still have to work on my technique to polish some fundamental flaws.

The next day was a weights and plyos day. Since I got stuck in traffic, I opted to cut short my workout, focusing more on plyometrics than weight training exercises. I tried out a modified box jump exercise I got from Simon Hunt’s site. Even if my legs still felt quite fatigued from the previous night’s sprinting session (and from the 4.5 hours of sleep I had!), I was quite pleased with how the plyo session turned out.

Tonight, I’ll be taking a break to allow my tired muscles to rest.

Track workout (13 Sept 2010)

Running drills

Bounding

70m strides

70m sprints

50m starts

Gym/Plyo workout (14 Sept 2010)

Ankle flips

Depth jump + standing long jump

Modified box jumps

Cleans

Bench press + deep squats

Barbell row + leg curls

Ab exercises in between sets

Upping the ante (5 and 6 August 2010)

My Thursday night track workout was a tiring one. My hamstrings felt weird during the starts workout so I took a lengthier rest period, to avoid any unfortunate injuries. My left leg still felt tight during the first rep of my 50-100-150 sprinting workout. I wanted to pack my bags and go home. But then again, I have nothing to lose and no meets to train for. Instead of scurrying away with my tail between legs, I went on with the workout.

It felt great doing pyramid intervals, for a change. The changes in pace is both refreshing and challenging. By the end of my second set, I was out of breath.

On Friday night, I went to the gym. The workout itself started slow. I chose not to do plyometrics to conserve much needed juice for today’s track workout. Instead, I added more weight into the jerk. I did two sets of seven reps of 50kg jerks. This is the heaviest I’ve jerked since 2008!

I ended the night with the customary upper body/lower body/abs superset combo.

Track workout (5 Aug 2010)

Combine drills

4x50m accel’s

2x40m prone starts

2x40m three-point stance starts

2x50m-100m-150m sprints (75-80%, 2 mins rest between reps)

Gym workout (6 Aug 2010)

Core exercises on swiss ball

Jerk (2×7)

Dips/Barbell row (2×10)

Deep squats/single-leg shoulder press (2×10)

Leg curls/bicep curls/triceps extension (2×10)

Plyometric step-ups (2×10 per leg)

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