The plyometrics routine is one of the biggest challenges in the entire P90X home fitness program. However, this workout involves a lot of jumping, which can be very noisy and tough on your joints. In fact, the P90X guide recommends you always use a mat and wear shock-absorbing shoes when doing plyometrics — moves that your knees and downstairs neighbors will certainly appreciate. Although you shouldn’t skip any P90X workouts, you can modify, delay or replace the plyometrics routine.
The plyometrics routine serves two major purposes in P90X. First, it provides an lower-body workout through its combination of vertical jumps, lateral leaps and other high-impact leg exercises. However, its primary purpose is as a cardiovascular workout. Researchers with the American Council on Exercise claimed plyometrics ranked higher than any other workout in P90X when it came to cardiovascular exertion. Those two elements make it a tough routine to skip without seriously limiting your progress.
The videos and P90X Fitness Guide recommend you replace plyometrics with the Cardio X routine if you have chronic knee problems. In fact, the entire P90X Lean program replaces all plyometrics workouts with Cardio X. You can also use the Cardio X routine as a temporary replacement to help boost your fitness level to complete the plyometrics routine later in the program. However, as the Cardio X routine has elements of yoga and kenpo karate, you might still need to modify moves by stepping or standing on your tip-toes instead of jumping.
You can modify almost every exercise in the plyometrics routine to suit your needs. In some exercises, this involves stepping instead of jumping as you transition from side to side. Examples include exercises involving run stance squats, airborne Heismans, leapfrog squats, the twist combo and Mary Katherine lunges. You can modify other moves by replacing a vertical jump with thrusting up to your tip-toes, such as in jump squats, squat reach jumps and jump shots.
If you feel overwhelmed doing a vigorous, 60 to 90-minute workout every day and just need a break, you can just delay the plyometrics routine. In fact, the P90X Fitness Guide states you can take as much as twice the amount of time to complete a phase. You can also take additional or extended breaks within each workout. Go at a slower pace, or do fewer repetitions of each exercise. As jump knee tucks, gap jumps and rock star hops are difficult to modify, these high-impact moves are great times to rest or slow down.
Lifting weights and football go hand in hand. During off-season, most teams lift hard to prepare for the coming season. The players and teams that get bigger and stronger have an advantage over their opponents when the new season starts. But it’s not those who work the hardest that get the biggest payoff — more often, it’s the team that plans and works the smartest. When planning a strength training for your football team, keep some essentials in mind.
If you’ve had a one-size-fits-all approach to your team’s strength training, it’s time to change that. What works for one football player will not necessarily work for all. Evaluate your athletes to see what each of their strengths and weaknesses are, and form a training regimen around that. Don’t be afraid to abandon or change up a weightlifting program if it’s not working for some of your players.
If you use only squats, bench press, incline and power-clean, break out some new lifts. While these four lifts should be a part of your weight workouts, they should not be the only ones. Add lifts that apply specifically to football. Because football requires tremendous mobility, have your team members do forward and side lunges, farmer carries, firemen carries and sled pushes to your strength training as a starting point for implementing movement-based lifts.
Pullups, pushups and dips are body-weight exercises that can help football players on the field. When playing football, players constantly moving through crowds of other players, pushing, pulling and using their body as leverage. The better players are at managing and controlling their own body weight, the more control they have over their opponents. Players that are strong for their weight can use body-weight exercises to develop leverage, sustain balance and decrease the risk for injury.
An athlete’s core is the connecting point between his upper and lower extremities. If the middle of a player’s body is weak, both his upper and his lower body will be compromised. The core also helps with balance and with bracing the body when being hit or tackled. Rows, chin pulls, abdominal work and chinups or pullups in a football training program help strengthen each team member’s core.
Strength training should not be rushed; it takes time to see the effort pay off. Pace your athletes’ program to enhance their growth and prevent overtraining. If your players are constantly sore, they are probably not getting an adequate amount of recovery time. If muscles are not allowed to recover, a plateau in fitness may result. Most exercise professionals recommend 48 hours between strength-training sessions.
In flag football, players wear four or more flags attached to a belt. Ball carriers are not tackled; they are “down” when one of these flags is pulled off. Flag football fields measure 70 yards by 30 yards for youth and 80 yards by 40 yards for older players. Starting from a team’s five-yard line, players have three downs to cross midfield or score. Three extra downs are awarded once midfield is crossed. The ball changes hands when teams fail to cross midfield or score.
When English student William Ebb Ellis picked up a soccer ball in 1823 and ran with it, he broke all the rules of an Ancient Greek game, “harpaston.” He also planted the seeds for modern British football. Later in the same century, British football splintered into rugby and soccer. In the U.S., a rougher game was played on college campuses after the Civil War. This rugby-like game became the forerunner of American football. The first organized flag football is thought to have been played in the 1930s. The sport became popular on military bases in the 1940s, and recreational leagues followed shortly thereafter.
NFL Flag Football is a youth football league for boys and girls that are 5 to 17 years of age. The NFL launched a flag football program in 1996 to educate kids about football while emphasizing sportsmanship and teamwork. Teams must field a minimum of four players during regular play and five players during tournaments. Touchdowns are worth six points and extra point conversions score one or two points. Teams may be co-ed, all boys or all girls. The point values for scores do not vary by gender.
The National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association is the governing body for recreational sports at U.S. colleges. NIRSA rules for flag football indicate that teams can be co-ed or single-gendered. They require anywhere from four to eight players. Flag football rules from Indiana University South Bend state that teams must have at least five players and are allowed seven, one of whom must be female. If a team can’t field a woman, only six players are allowed to take the field. The number of points earned depends on gender. A touchdown by a female scores nine points, while males’ touchdowns earn six points. Female conversions are worth twice as many points as males’ conversions.
The U.S. Flag Touch Football League was formed in 1988 and hosts the largest non-college tournament in the nation. It drew 175 teams and crowned 11 national champions its first year. A semi-pro league was formed in the early 1990s and joined up with other organizations to form the Professional Flag Football League, Inc. in 1997. The PFFL played the first pro travel schedule in 1999, with teams in Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Indianapolis. The league folded shortly after its inception. In 2011, FlagFootball.org reports that more than 20 million players participate in flag football leagues.
Flag football is played worldwide, and the International Flag Football Federation is the national governing body for flag football. The 2009 IFFF World Cup included 15 countries. The NFL FLAG National Tournament of Champions for youths is also held annually. The 2011 championship drew more than 300 athletes playing for 24 U.S. and 8 Mexican teams.
Performing a summer strength and conditioning program is beneficial for football players striving to increase in strength, speed, conditioning and muscle mass. The free programs also benefit football players who can’t afford to hire a personal trainer or coach. Free workouts performed should be created by a strength and conditioning coach or coordinator.
The University of Miami football team’s summer strength and conditioning program can be found free of charge on Stack Magazine’s website. The philosophy of this program is to get players in top physical shape for the upcoming season. According to 2010 Miami strength and conditioning coordinator Andreu Swasey, “we make sure the guys are in great shape, strong and ready to make multidirectional cuts.” Swasey incorporates Olympic weight lifting exercises, including the power clean, hang snatch, power shrug and split jerk. These exercises are designed to increase overall body strength, power and speed. Other strength training exercises include lateral squats, lunges, supermans, planks, rows and back bridges. Rep and set ranges vary throughout the summer. At the start of summer players perform higher reps with fewer sets. By the end of the summer they perform five sets of two reps. The conditioning workouts combine various running and agility drills to improve players’ foot speed and keep them in top physical shape. Exercises include the zig zag cut drill, back pedal and cut, various sprints and pro agility.
The University of Alabama football strength program was created by strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Cochran. It too can be found for free on Stack Magazine’s website. The program lasts 15 weeks during the summer and is geared toward improving player strength, speed, conditioning level and power. The goal is to get players stronger, faster and more powerful. According to Cochran: “Coach Saban wants us to be a fast, physical, dominant team. He wants us to be in better shape than the opposition in the fourth quarter.” Strength training workouts work every muscle in the body and are performed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Exercises include forms of squatting, upper-body pulling movements, upper-body push movements and Olympic weight lifting. Exercises vary with each workout, as do rep and set ranges. The team conditions four days per week. Summer conditioning exercises include 110-yard sprints, ladder drills, stadium stair runs and rope jumps.
The philosophy of Southwest Baptist University’s summer strength and conditioning program is to create stronger, flexible and faster football players. The program can be found on the site fastandfuriousfootball.com. Workouts are performed five days a week, mixing strength, agility, speed and flexibility training and conditioning. Weight training workouts are performed four days per week. Monday and Thursday workouts consist of squatting movements, bench press variations and abdominal exercises. Reps and sets vary between two and four sets of two to 20 reps. Tuesday and Friday weight training workouts consist of pulling exercises along with hang cleans and shoulder exercises. The weight training workouts are designed to prevent injuries and increase overall body strength to improve football skills. Conditioning workouts are performed three days a week and consist of sprinting and shuttle runs. These conditioning drills are designed to prepare football players to have the muscle endurance to play four quarters. The drills are also used to prevent injuries and improve foot speed.
Eureka College’s football strength and conditioning program focuses on developing the best players possible. The philosophy is to increase player strength, power, speed, overall conditioning and quickness. Weight lifting workouts are performed four days per week. The routine focuses on developing strength and power in the entire body. Days one and three are upper-body workouts in exercises that include bench press variations, shrugs, pull downs, push jerks and neck exercises. Lower-body exercises are performed on days two and four, including squats, power cleans, dead lifts and leg curls. Reps and sets vary between two and four sets of between one to 15 reps. The conditioning program consists of various forms of sprinting and agility drills to increase muscle endurance and overall speed.
Big numbers have lit up football scoreboards throughout the sport¡¯s history. From lopsided blowouts to high-scoring shootouts, it¡¯s clear not every game can be a defensive, field position battle. Here is a look at some of the highest-scoring games in the history of the gridiron, from the pros to high school.
On Nov. 27, 1966, the Washington Redskins and New York Giants put up 113 points in a shootout that ended in a 72-41 Washington victory. The teams combined to score 16 touchdowns, nine of which came from beyond 30 yards. The game¡¯s only field goal came in the closing seconds of the game, when Charlie Gogolak, who had missed two kicks the previous week and had an extra point blocked earlier in the game, put the finishing touches on Washington’s 31-point victory with a 23-yard chip shot. After the game, Washington¡¯s head coach Otto Graham joked, ¡°It was a great defensive battle.¡±
On Nov. 10, 2007, the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of North Texas posted 136 points in Navy¡¯s 74-62 win. A month earlier, Boise State University and the University of Nevada, Reno also scored 136 points, but it took four overtimes for the Broncos to seal their 69-67 win. Two weeks prior to that game, Weber State University and Portland State University set the all-time record for total points scored, with Weber State winning 73-68. On the same day as the Navy and North Texas matchup, Hartwick College beat Utica College 72-70 in four overtimes to set the NCAA’s all-division record for most points scored in a game. The Division II record is held by North Park University and North Central College. North Park steamrolled North Central by a score of 104-32 in their 1968 match-up.
The NCAA did not start keeping official records until 1937. Otherwise, Georgia Tech¡¯s dismantling of Cumberland College would be hailed as the biggest blowout in college football history. Georgia Tech scored 63 points in each of the game’s first two quarters on its way to a staggering 222-0 shutout. Astonishingly, neither team recorded a first down in the game, as Georgia Tech scored on one of the first three plays of every drive and Cumberland lost 28 yards in total.
The 222-point tally scored by Georgia Tech falls short of what Haven High School managed to do in 1927. The Kansas powerhouse hung 256 on in-state rival Sylvia High School. Elvin McCoy scored 13 of the team¡¯s 38 touchdowns and kicked 12 extra points, accounting for 90 points. In fairness to Sylvia, Haven outscored its other seven opponents 323-0 that year and its narrowest margin of victory was 27 points.
Whether you¡¯re a runner, cyclist or avid hiker, the risk of heat exhaustion increases dramatically during hot summer months. If you¡¯re out for a run or climbing a mountain in the middle of the day and you feel dizzy, fatigued, have a headache or suddenly feel an increase in your heart rate, you may be suffering from heat exhaustion. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the best way to prevent heat exhaustion is to stay hydrated and avoid exercising in extreme heat. It is also helpful to examine your clothing.
Cotton is the worst material to wear in the summer heat. It soaks up sweat like a towel, holding the moisture against your skin and causing your body temperature to increase. Evaporation consumes energy, which cools the skin; the fabric of your clothing should allow sweat to evaporate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend you wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. Avoid dark colors — dark clothes absorb the sun’s heat, while light colors or white reflects light and heat.
Select moisture-wicking, quick-drying gear. These fabrics are thin, lightweight and don’t absorb sweat. If you are in an area of low humidity, wear loose, light-colored, long-sleeved clothing to shield your skin from the sun. Covering up has been used in Middle Eastern countries for centuries and is a proven way to keep your body cool in dry heat conditions. For women, sports bras are usually essential for outdoor activities. Look for bras that provide ventilation.
A baseball cap or a bandanna made of cotton increases your risk of heat exhaustion. Look for head bands and hats made of polyester or microfiber that wicks away moisture. Hats should have added ventilation to allow heat to escape and sweat to evaporate. A wide-brimmed hat shields your head and neck from direct sunlight. A beneficial secondary item to have in the heat is sunscreen. Besides preventing sunburn and skin cancer, sunscreen helps reflect UV rays and can prevent your body from heating up. If you will be exposed to the sun for long periods of a time, carry the sunscreen with you and reapply it periodically.
Regular athletic department stores carry just about every major brand of moisture-wicking gear. If you are looking for specific gear related to your training or activity, look for more specialized stores. Hikers and climbers are better off going to a store dedicated to outdoor sports, while cyclists and triathletes are better served in stores devoted to their sports. A knowledgeable staff that can help get you into the right clothing is worth more than a few cents saved elsewhere.
Good pain enhances. Bad pain inhibits. Telling the difference between these pains comes with experience, and being able to consistently minimize inhibiting pain is a worthwhile goal. Athletes who train specifically for lower-body strength grow intimate with painful quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteal muscles. However, such muscle pain is not always caused by exercise, and athletes and non-athletes alike should be aware of other possible factors.
Muscle strength improves only after a period of muscle fiber stress, rest and super-compensation. That is, muscles must incur injury, as minute muscle tears, to catalyze chemical reactions that drive new muscle-fiber formation, according to Space Research. When you exercise hard, your muscles ache and burn, and may do so not only during your activity but possibly for days afterward, due to a phenomenon called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. As long as this pain abates after two to three days, it is “good.” Otherwise, you probably have an injury.
Leg and butt injuries occur when you apply too much force with too little recovery. Overloading the lower body with distance, weight or speed without sufficient rest periods ultimately backfires. In runners, the powerful quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes can overwhelm the smaller muscles and tendons, creating soft-tissue imbalances and strains. Torn calf muscles, shin splints or knee tendinitis can result, according to Sports Injury Bulletin. Weightlifters can injure glutes and thighs by attempting too much weight. Soccer, football and ice hockey players can suffer impact injuries including muscle bruises, contusions and tears.
Sickness can flood muscle tissue with inflammatory compounds that produce pain, and as anyone who has had influenza knows, these muscle aches can be debilitating. According to the National Institutes for Health, high fever, muscle abscesses, potassium or sodium imbalance, malaria, Lyme disease and fibromyalgia can all induce sore muscles. Fibromyalgia’s symptomatic pain and fatigue used to be inadequately understood and was often dismissed, but fibromyalgia is gaining acceptance as a legitimate muscle disorder, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association.
Circulatory problems can inhibit blood from reaching your leg and butt muscles and cause pain. Mild symptoms of inadequate circulation include pins-and-needles, or the sensation of your muscles going to sleep. Without restored circulation, these sensations may develop into muscular numbness and loss of control. The American Diabetes Association recommends regular exercise to keep blood circulation strong throughout your legs; without it, diabetics run the risks of not only pain but possible leg and foot amputation.
Massage improves circulation. It also relaxes and relieves achy muscles. However, inappropriately rough massage can be injurious. Trained massage therapists know different techniques, how and where to apply pressure and for what purpose. They assess your muscle health and readily adjust force. In contrast, overly aggressive massages can create more muscle pain than before.
Soccer develops agility, speed and stamina, and also teaches children the importance of teamwork, so it can play an important part in your child¡¯s physical and social development. Many communities offer soccer leagues for a variety of ages and skill levels. Choose a soccer league that matches your child¡¯s needs. If you are unsure which league is best, talk to some team coaches to see if they are a good match for your child.
Soccer players need to be fit and agile. Most games require children to sprint after the ball and jog up and down the field, which are activities that build endurance and speed. Dribbling and shooting the ball develops agility and coordination. The health benefits of active sports such as soccer include stronger bones and muscles, decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and decreased chance of becoming overweight, according to Kids Health from Nemours. The organization also points out that aerobic exercise causes the heart to beat faster. When aerobic exercise occurs regularly, it ¡°strengthens the heart and improves the body¡¯s ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells.¡±
Playing with a soccer team develops a child¡¯s ability to cooperate and interact with other children. To win a soccer game, the whole team must communicate and work together. Defensive positions must support the midfield and offensive positions during attacks on the opponents¡¯ goal. Offensive positions must return to their own goal to help the defensive positions when they are under pressure from the other team. To move the ball up the field, players pass the ball, which requires communicating. These types of cooperative activities develop a child’s social abilities. Children who play soccer develop self-confidence and improved social skills.
Since soccer has an emphasis on the success of the team as a whole, rather than the success of individual players, it is a sport that less athletically inclined children will enjoy. Compared to such team sports as baseball, which requires players to bat or field a ball alone, soccer puts less pressure on children. Soccer encourages teamwork and communication, which allows a child to identify personally with team successes, rather than feel a need to outperform teammates to gain recognition.
Many people spend long hours seated at a desk at work or at a home office. One effect of prolonged sitting is tight hamstrings, which may increase your potential for injury when you¡¯re away from your desk playing sports or even in your everyday routine. If you find that you don¡¯t have much time to get away from your desk on a regular basis, try a few different hamstring stretches at your desk to keep your legs loose.
If you are short on time, you can stretch both hamstrings at once. Turn your chair to either side so you¡¯re clear of your desk, and move your butt to the edge of the chair. Stretch your legs out straight and place your heels on the floor. Place your hands on top of your thighs or behind your knees, depending on your comfort level, and lean your torso forward to stretch your hamstrings. Hold the stretch for several seconds, then relax and repeat. Be careful that you don¡¯t fall of the chair, especially if it¡¯s on wheels.
If you have a little more time, or just prefer to focus on one leg at a time, stretch your hamstrings one at a time. Sit close to the edge of your chair and leave one foot flat on the floor, while stretching the other leg out in front of you. Place the heel of the outstretched leg on the floor and lean forward to stretch your hamstring. Hold the stretch, relax and then switch legs to get the other one.
Call on the services of your desk for this more intense hamstring stretch. Sit on your chair and lift your left heel onto your desk. Flex your foot upward. Lean forward from your waist and touch the toe of your shoe with your fingers. Stay in this position for up to 10 seconds and then switch sides.
A little yoga at work may be just the ticket for your tight hamstrings. Stand away from your chair with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward from your waist on an exhalation. Slide your hands down the fronts of your legs until you feel a pleasant pull in the backs of your legs. Let every exhalation stretch a little further. Stay in this posture for up to one minute and then rise back up to standing with a flat back.
Botox is the brand name of the formula containing clostridium botulinum, a toxin used to treat weakened muscles, facial twitches and uncontrolled blinking, report doctors at Cleveland Clinic. Cosmetic surgeons inject Botox into areas of the skin to reduce wrinkles and facial creases. The effects of Botox injections last about four to six months, and exercise after a procedure usually is tempered for a short period of time.
The side effects of the toxic injection usually don’t last more than 24 or 48 hours for most patients. During that time, patients may require more rest and avoid exertion due to headaches. Aerobic exercise may exacerbate the headaches and should be avoided for a couple days.
The potential for adverse affects from the drug can be worsened by exercises that cause patients to sweat. Drooping eyelid is caused by the migration of the Botox to other areas of the face where it can pool and create more extensive paralysis. Patients are warned not to rub their faces for at least 12 hours and to avoid activities that cause the face to sweat profusely. To avoid Botox migration, patients also are urged to avoid exercises for which they must lie down for at least three or four hours.
To manipulate the Botox to enter the muscles more deeply, patients often are encouraged to perform facial exercises without touching their faces, report doctors at the Cary Skin Center. Patients should contract the muscles around the area where the Botox was injected and hold for five seconds, then release. Contract muscles by squeezing them tightly and holding. Other movements may include squinting, frowning or pursing the lips, depending on where the shots were placed. Repeat the contraction exercises often for about four hours following the procedure.
Other exercise considerations must be made for patients who received Botox injections for muscular complications in other areas of the body. Stretching the injected muscles immediately following injections is important for patients who received treatments for spastic muscles, such as those with muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. Stretching should be slow and consistent, avoiding pulling or sudden tugging. Other patients receiving Botox treatments for leg muscles may require additional physical therapy for walking properly after the spasms have reversed. Walkers, grab bars and other balancing devices should be incorporated to assist with walking at first.
In addition to possibly pushing the toxin to unintended areas of the face, there are other consequences of performing vigorous exercise the day before the injections and for one or two days following a Botox treatment. Boston cosmetic surgeon Dr. Brooke Seckel reports that by elevating the heart rate and blood pressure, patients increase the incidence of bruising at the site of the injection.