Tag 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.

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

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

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

A Bum Ankle, Indecision and Sweet Disposition (7 and 9 August 2010)

My Saturday workout was cut short by the horrid weather. I originally wanted to do some sprints after a light campus run and some plyometric exercises. Due to a storm, I did not get to finish what I wanted to accomplish. It was a blessing of sorts since my ankle felt funny during the plyo’s. I had difficulty pushing off with my left foot during the bounds. The blunt pain was hardly evident during the standing long jump though.

With the rainy weather and my bum ankle, I took off early, ruing the lost opportunity of sprinting outdoors for a change.

When I got home around 630PM today, I was at my wits’ end deciding between a track workout and a gym workout. On one hand, I wanted to rest my ankle and focus on lifting weights to gain mass. On the other hand, I felt a strong urge to don my favorite Adidas compression shorts and sprinting spikes, to streak like a speeding bullet!

The signs pointing to the latter were everywhere. When I got to my room, the radio was blaring out one of favorite running/sprinting songs, The Temper Trap’s “Sweet Disposition.” I even asked two random friends on Facebook the utterly random question “gym or track? choose one quick!” Yes, they chose the latter.

So off I went to Moro.

With the Seniors’ Basketball team (GREAT GAME BLUE EAGLES!) absent from the practice court, Moro was dimly lit. There was hardly any joggers too, a good opportunity to test the limits of my speed.

I loved how I explosive my legs were during the running drills. I felt so fresh and so fast. I sensed a great workout in the offing. And what a splendid training session it was. I did 4 200m sprints at 95%, resting 6 minutes in between reps. After the 3rd rep, I was exhausted. I wanted to give up there and then, to head home and eat my late dinner. All sorts of excuses filled my head.

One disadvantage about being self-coached is that I can end the workout anytime I like. But this time around, I suppressed those lazy urges, muffled those cacophony of excuse-making.

Even though I ran the last rep at around 80% and practically lost a good measure of proper sprinting form, it felt good to reach the fringes of my physical endurance. By the end of the workout, I felt like puking!

As I always say, that was one helluva GREAT WORKOUT!

Plyometric workout (7 August 2010):

Bounds (4x40m)

Bounds – inner (2x40m)

Standing long jump (5×4)

Track workout (9 August 2010):

Running drills

4x200m (95%, 6 minutes rest in between)

Unloading (31 July 2010)

I lifted weights yesterday afternoon. The gym was almost deserted and, as usual, devoid of females. I took it easy, opting to focus more on explosive lifts and plyometrics – while watching the UAAP games on the boob tube (great job Blue Eagles! What a stellar finish!) I was still a little exhausted from the previous night’s basketball pick-up game.

I tried out my modified Umbro kicks. The extra lace holes gave the much snugger fit I prefer in my shoes. I am now a fan of Umbro, or cheap yet quality running shoes in general!

The plyometric session was highly satisfactory. I started off with my favorite exercise, the depth jump with bunny hops. After a few reps, all the jumping did a good job of pumping up my heart rate.

The lack of plymetric boxes at the gym irritates me. I had to improvise, putting a low box over some aerobic steps just to have a suitably high jump off point for the aforesaid exercise.

I added another 5 kilos to my jerk (45kg, 3×9 reps) just to challenge myself. I’m still quite far off from my clean & jerk personal best of  60kg (3×5 reps) in 2007/2008. Nevertheless, I’m getting there. I can lift 50kg (3×10 reps) in the power cleans. Once I lessen the number of reps, I’m sure I can manage to exceed my previous bests.

Plyometric workout:

Depth jump + bunny hop (static, 1×5)

Depth jump + bunny hop (2×8)

Single leg box jumps (3×8)

Pikes (3×8)

Gym workout:

Jerk (3×9)

Bench press (2×8)

Barbell row (2×10)

Leg press + back delt fly (2×10)

Bicep curls + tricep kickback (2×10)

Lower ab circuit (2×15)

Ab circuit (2×15)

Badass Plyometrics!

I’ve always loved doing plyometric exercises. The sheer exhilaration of split second flight never fail to get my endorphins pumping.  In the two years that I’ve been away from the sport, I rarely did plyo’s aside from my pre-ABL conditioning programs.

Incorporating what I’ve learned from the knowledgeable coaches that I had the past years (special mention to Eski Ripoll. His plyo workouts are intense), my current repertoire prominently features plyometric exercises. Last Saturday, for instance, I did a full set of light, plyo exercises (regular bounds, single leg bounds, Russian stops and pikes)  a good 15 minute  after my 2.5km long run.

Once I progress out my short, conditioning phase (I injured my hams 2 months ago) and shift into event-specific training, I’ll be upping the ante of my plyo workouts. These fabulous, physically-taxing exercises will be combined with an equally strenuous regimen of Olympic lifts, core strengthening exercises and event-specific drills and workouts.

If you’re looking for a good source of badass plyo’s, check out Simon Hunt’s Youtube channel. It has all sorts of fun workouts. The athletes are of top caliber too and a joy to watch – unlike some of the crap posted on Youtube.

Here’s my favorite exercise from the informative channel:

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