This week in the Fitness Insider, I am answering some of the great questions I have received the last couple weeks from everyone. First and foremost, thank you to all who have been reading these articles. Secondly, I encourage you to continue to leave comments, questions, and even things you would like to see talked about in future articles. These posts are for you, so let me know what you would like to see more of or learn more about with the Galaxy players.
Q. From Rafael G: Before a game I stretch but for some reason it takes me forever to loosen up and my legs and back feel tight. What kind of stretching exercises should I do before the game?
[inline_node:34131]A. Rafael, warming up should take some time so don’t worry if it seems like it takes forever to get loose. Make sure you are setting aside at least 15 minutes to warm up so that you have ample time to increase your core temperature, actively elongate your muscles, turn on your nervous system, and practice/refine movement patterns you will need for a game. When I am warming up the first team prior to a match, I try to make sure to perform at least one to two stretches for the calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, and hip flexors and then incorporate a couple minutes of dynamic movements such as marches, skips, side shuffles, and Carioca to actively stretch the guys as well as increase circulation and core temperature.
Q. From Rene: What kind of regimen do you have the players incorporate when returning from a knee injury, like an LCL Strain?
A. Rene, when dealing with any injury to the players I make sure that I am working very closely with our head athletic trainer, Armando Rivas, as well as the doctors to make sure we are all on the same page and are progressing the players appropriately. When dealing with any knee injuries the first thing we look at is what caused the injury and secondly what can we do to strengthen not only the injured area but some of the surrounding muscles to avoid having a similar issue later down the road. We use a lot of mini-band exercises, single-leg stability exercises, and soft tissue work with the foam roll and massage stick to address LCL and knee injuries as we get to the point of trying to get the players back on the pitch.
Q. From Stefan: I play in an over 30 league. As a young player I never had injuries and now it seems to be something I can’t avoid (hips, knees, hamstrings). What’s a good weight training regimen and cardio regimen to keep my muscles and joints less prone to injury?
A. Stefan, as we get older it becomes even more important that we take all the necessary steps to keep our bodies healthy and strong. Strength training programs should focus on core strength, stability and mobility, and proper form and mechanics as all play a role in injury prevention. Focus your strength session on keeping your pillar strong and it should give you a good foundation to build off of. Your pillar consists of everything from your shoulder blades down to your butt cheeks (glutes) and everything in between. With your cardio, make sure you have a solid aerobic or endurance base first but also incorporate interval and sprint work into those sessions so that you are prepared for a match.
Q. From Mainor Luis Corado: I pulled my right groin twice in less than a year and recently my kicks and shots have less power and velocity in them. Is there any workout or stretches I can do to fix this problem?
A. Mainor, I think you would really benefit from the routine that Todd uses every morning as this will not only serve as an injury prevention program to keep your groin healthy but will also help you strengthen your glutes and lower body, which should help you get some of that power and velocity back into your kicks. See the Fitness Insider article titled “Preventing Muscle Pulls Before They Occur” for a workout routine and demonstration videos by Todd Dunivant. (click here to read)
Q. From Jon Rizo: I’m 37 and my body fat is 31%. I’ve adopted a workout of 20-25 min running on the treadmill, sprinting every 3 min for 30-45 secs. I also do push ups and crunches. I’ve seen good results but need to see more. Any suggestions?
A. Jon, first off congrats on your commitment and the fact that you are already seeing results. Be patient as more will come. I really like your mindset and the approach you are taking to this and love the fact that you are incorporating intervals into your running. Things to focus on are to use these same ideas with the strength portion of your workout. Pick an exercise and instead of doing that exercise for reps do it for total time. As you get better at that exercise, increase the total time. This will add a cardio feel to your strength sessions. Also remember that for weight loss, exercise is only half of the formula. You need to be just as dedicated to the nutrition side of this. Be smart with not only what you are eating but also how quickly you are losing the weight so that you are losing the weight in a healthy and safe manner which will also make it easier to keep the weight off in the long run.
Q. From @nothintosee (Dan): What combination of cardio and anaerobic work do players do to optimize their efficiency for matches?
A. Dan, leading into the season we start the guys with a solid aerobic base that we can build from. Once we have a good cardio base, we will start to incorporate interval and anaerobic components into their fitness program to try and get them match fit but also to make sure they are physically prepared to handle the stresses that higher intensity runs will have on their body. As we get into the season its all about assessing where they are at and how fitness work complements what they are getting from a practice and game standpoint. If you plan your practice sessions accordingly then fitness can be worked into some of your possession and big goal games, and any additional running will be based off of what the needs of individual players are or what the practice results are telling us the team needs.
If anyone has additional or follow-up questions, leave them in the comments at the bottom of www.lagalaxy.com/fitnessinsider, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet them @byauss1 and I’ll try to include them in an upcoming “Mailbag” post.
Follow all of Ben's Galaxy Fitness Insider updates at www.lagalaxy.com/fitnessinsider. Fans are encouraged to participate by leaving questions for Ben at the bottom of each article, which he will aim to incorporate into these weekly posts.