MY JOURNEY BACK TO SQUATS

MY JOURNEY BACK TO SQUATS

“We have met the enemy, and he is us!”                   [Walt Kelly – cartoonist]*

In my athletic/sporting history I’ve not been very fond of Squats as an exercise…with or without a bar on my shoulders. I did find a certain fondness for overloaded partial Squats that enabled me to avoid Full or Power Squats. My tactics for avoidance came about because I couldn’t do them. Others around me were racking up weights and getting into positions that made me quiver. For me, as soon as I approached 90deg I hit a balance point, my legs locked and any further attempt resulted in painful knee and ankle contortions. With Partial Squats (and what we termed ‘High Jump Squats’) I felt I could shoulder as much weight as was available in our gym.

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My Coaching Eye

My Coaching Eye

At a workshop one of the pre-scripted aims was to enhance the ‘coaching eye’ of the participants…a statement made without clarifying what the coaching eye was or did. There was a brief time where I had a chance to speak to a good sized group and I presented them with a challenge: using your coaching eye how might you help this athlete (demonstrator they had all watched) achieve the raw speed required for higher performance levels…what things might you focus on?

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Takeoff's 'Hopping Mad!' EXCLUSIVELY in Athletics Weekly

Takeoff's 'Hopping Mad!' EXCLUSIVELY in Athletics Weekly

Check out Takeoff's latest article published in last week Athletics Weekly - 'Hopping Mad!'

The hop is a critically important movement skill for any sport that requires ground speed. The word ‘hop’ is a tad mixed up because kangaroos, bunnies and even grasshoppers purportedly hop when in fact they actually leap.

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The Probability Of Success

The Probability Of Success

The workshop was over, the goodbyes and handshakes finished, and participants were beginning to scatter to the winds. There had been many other groups sharing the facility and I always find it interesting that I don’t really see them when I’m concentrating on a presentation. As I shouldered my equipment and walked away from the jumps area I noticed a small group of teenage athletes, sprinters perhaps, lining up to do what appeared to be hurdle drills...

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Bench Steps or Step Ups

Bench Steps or Step Ups

f you give the illustration a quick glance you will see a common training exercise used for fitness and sport. Bench Steps, with or without a load or offset is not a core TAKEOFF exercise but does have high value for mobility and motor patterning. The illustration is taken from an actual situation where the athlete (a runner) was instructed to do 3 sets of 8 reps with each leg....

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When You Run Up a Hill

When You Run Up a Hill

Within the group of young middle distance/XC runners I trained with long ago there was a maxim we applied to hill training: ‘When you run up the hill the wind is in your face. And when you run down the hill the wind is in your face.’ It was a bit of group humour injected to assuage the shared discomfort, some say pain, even torture, of doing hill intervals....

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A Running Attitude

A Running Attitude

A long time ago I had the great fortune to listen to Gerard Mach during his years in Canada. He was a sprint guru and sprint coach who had systematised leg dynamic drills into A’s, B’s and C’s that were done regularly as preparation drills. His main purpose in using such drills was to develop what he termed ‘sprint posture’. I must confess right now that I completely missed that point......

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Finding the Medicine in Med-Balls

Finding the Medicine in Med-Balls

My first sighting of a medicine ball was in a school gym littered with different equipment: it was a 4kg leather stitched ball filled with t-shirt rag. Bigger than a basketball it sat in the corner inviting curious young boys (girls weren’t allowed into the gym in those days) to investigate. It was a ball, and so the first thing young boys typically do with a ball is throw it. Typically at one another....

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What You See Is - Frog Leaps

What You See Is - Frog Leaps

I call them frog leaps because its seems better than referring to them as consecutive bilateral jumps… besides, athletes and coaches alike will remember catchy names more easily. In the illustration, adapted from a video, you can readily identify the movement: one used around the world in games, sports and conditioning. From a standing start the young athlete has to generate horizontal momentum and keep leaping for a pre-scripted distance. It is an extremely valuable movement skill that is adaptable and has dozens of variations.

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Bounding is not Running

Bounding is not Running

If you take an online peek at what some people identify as ‘Bounding’ within sport and exercise training you will see many many variations of movements. Most are not bounds. They may fall into a ‘stride’ category in that there is an alternating right-left landing pattern, although curiously some pictured examples are not even in the stride category.

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What You See Is: Endurance Running Takeoffs-Before, During and After

What You See Is: Endurance Running Takeoffs-Before, During and After

The runner used for the illustrations has about four years of track and cross country experience and trains about 3 times per week with a group. On other days she may go out for longer runs with a friend. She has dreams of becoming a good middle distance runner and works hard for improvements. She has had no injuries to speak of, although shin splints and hip flexor pains are common. Her feet ache all night after track workouts.

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FROM DUCKLINGS TO THE BEAUTY OF SWANS

FROM DUCKLINGS TO THE BEAUTY OF SWANS

The classic tale of growth from an awkward duckling that doesn’t fit and is thus ridiculed and ostracised only to mature into a graceful swan is a well-known theme that is shared within many cultures. Within Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale of verbal and physical abuse is a storyline that is slightly different from other classic tales that involve tasks or proof of fidelity....

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THAT KNEE VALGUS PROBLEM…

THAT KNEE VALGUS PROBLEM…

If you look at the drawing of the runner you can likely see that something is not quite right with the landing. The knee of the grounded leg appears to be heading inwards relative to the long bones of the upper and lower legs = knee valgus. That’s the easy part to see. If you know the pattern you may also see that the foot position is over-pronated, hip and body alignment is tilted and twisted, and the free leg will likely swing out and around for the next landing. Multiply that by 3500 landings per 5KM and over time you have a formula for injury to the foot, knee, hip and back.

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