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Do you stretch enough?--->, FF Insider#93
September 24, 2010
Welcome Back,

Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.

Inside this Issue:

To bring you the very best information, this newsletter focuses on awareness of the training principles for young athletes, and how to use them to make sure your coach is on the right track. Enjoy!

1. 5 Things You Need to Know about Flexibility

2. Speed Training Specifics

3. Women's Fitness Training Class

4. FFSP Now Offers Chocolate Milk for sale at the gym!

5. Good Luck!

6. New Hours of Operation

7. Online Scheduling and NEW Training Facility!

8. Coaching Contract

9. RMU Ice Hockey Tickets

10. Help Spread the Word and Get Rewards!!! 11. Motivational Quotes

12. Thank You

5 Things You Need to Know about Flexibility

by Brandon Monin, MS, CSCS, Athletic Performance Coach, Finish First Sports Performance

Stretching is an important aspect to training and one of the most overlooked. Adding stretching to your daily training regimen will improve performance and longevity of an athlete. This article is going to discuss what flexibility and range of motion mean, the different types of stretching, the purpose of flexibility training, the benefits of flexibility training, as well as when and how often stretching is appropriate.

Flexibility and Range of Motion (ROM)

Flexibility refers to the range of motion of a particular joint while range of motion is the degree to which a joint can be stretched. For example the shoulder joint naturally has a limited ROM, but if the surrounding muscles were not flexible it would cause the shoulder joint to not fully utilize its complete ROM. Poor flexibility leads to the development of relative flexibility, which is when the body takes the path of least resistance during functional movement patterns. This means that while performing a functional movement any imbalances will be compensated for in order to perform the movement. For example during an overhead bodyweight squat, tight hip flexors will force the upper body forward in order to allow the legs to reach parallel or the proper depth.

Different Types of Stretching

There are two types of stretching:

1. Static Stretching, which refers to flexibility exercises that use the weight of the body or its limbs to stretch the muscle. There are two ways to stretch statically: free static stretching and passive static stretching.

• Free Static Stretching increases ROM by stretching the muscle while it is relaxed. An example would be to stand with your feet together and bend over allowing your body weight to stretch the muscles for an extended period of time.

• Passive Static Stretching uses a force or an external load to increase the ROM. For example stand with your feet together bend over while pulling yourself to touch your toes and holding for an extended period of time.

2. Dynamic Stretching uses speed of movement, momentum, and active muscular effort to bring about stretch.

• Ballistic Stretching uses momentum to exceed the ROM of a relaxed or contracted muscle. This form of stretching can be done slowly or rapidly. For example stand with your feet together and either slowly or rapidly use your momentum to touch your toes, doing so numerous times.

• Active Stretching involves continuous muscle activity that exceeds static ROM. For example while doing a back squat you perform the exercise going through the complete range of motion.

• Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching involves intermittent or continuous phases of static or dynamic stretching, as well as patterns of activation and relaxation. This form of stretching is to be done with a partner. An example would be the butterfly groin stretch. Have one partner in the butterfly position holding their ankles, while the other partner pushes down on the knees. Hold that stretch for several seconds, followed by a period of several seconds where the partner getting stretched tries to close their legs while being resisted by the other partner. Following the period of resistance the partner being stretched then relaxes and their partner continues the stretch being able to push further down than before. This is to be repeated several times.

Purpose of Flexibility Training

For an athlete or the every-day fitness enthusiast flexibility training serves several different purposes. It corrects muscle imbalances and increases joint range of motion. Muscle imbalances and a decrease in the range of motion of a joint causes muscle inhibition. Inhibition is caused by a tight agonist muscle, which decreases the neural drive of its functional antagonist. For example if the hip flexor muscles are tight that will cause inhibition or a decrease in the ability of the gluteus maximus muscles to function properly. Flexibility training has been shown to decrease muscle soreness and muscle hypertonicity. Hypertonicity is an increased tension in the muscle, causing the muscle to be abnormally rigid hampering proper movement of the muscle. Increasing flexibility will relieve the stress on the joints, improve extensibility of the musculotendinous junction or where the muscle and the tendon connect and it will maintain the normal functional length of all the muscles. Maintaining the normal functional length of the muscles will result in more efficient and complete movement patters, which have a positive result on athletic performance (speed, power).

Benefits of Flexibility Training

Overall flexibility training will have a positive impact with anyone from the advanced athlete to the sedentary individual.

These benefits include:

• A decreased risk of injury,

• Prevention of muscle imbalances,

• Correction of existing muscle imbalances (remember, muscle imbalances increase your risk of injury and limit performance output),

• Improvement of posture and correction of postural distortion (shoulders rounded, head/chin too far forward, too much curvature in the lower back/lumbar spine region, etc.) and,

• Enhancement of strength, flexibility, and power.

The main point to take from this article is that consistent flexibility training will be beneficial for anyone. You simply need to come up with a routine that you like and set five to ten minutes aside after your workout/practice/competition. Studies have proven an increase in flexibility can improve and athletes strength and power. This fact alone is enough reason to incorporate flexibility training into your daily routine.

Speed Training Specifics

By Vern Gambetta

Preparing for competition means understanding sport demands and learning to train in ways that mimic game conditions. Develop your speed training philosophy based on those specific needs.


It is easy to get strong if that is your goal. By strong, I mean measurably strong in the traditional sense of weight room strong. A dedicated block of eight to twelve weeks can result in appreciable measurable strength gains in any of the traditional lifts. I am not denigrating this in any way. The key here, and an element that I think is often overlooked, is how do you then transfer and apply this strength to your event or sport? That is the conundrum. That is what is difficult. Based on what I have seen in 47 years of lifting weights and 41 years of coaching athletes, it is easy to get caught in the trap of believing more strength equals better performance. I reconciled this, both as an athlete and a coach, by systematically changing the emphasis from general to special to specific strength depending on the training and competition objectives. In all of this it is essential to never stray very far from your event or sport. That is the ultimate measure of performance, not numbers in the weight room.

As far as getting slow, that is very easy to do. Getting faster requires a high degree of coordination. Getting faster requires ballistic dynamic work in a very narrow range. Using heavy sleds, weight vests, and running in sand make you good at running with those impediments, but the transfer to speed development is minimal.

Look closely at the dynamics of sprinting and what is required. Elite sprinters are already at 7.8 meters per second in two steps from the blocks. Training with heavy resistance increases ground contact time. That is not what you want. Instead, you want to put as much force into the ground in the least amount of time.

Once again it comes down to understanding what you are training for, what are the demands of your event or sport. Harder is not better. Be smart in your training. If this does not look like what you are trying to do in competition then take another look. Remember you are what you train to be. Train fast to be fast!

Vern Gambetta, MA, is President of Gambetta Sports Training Systems in Sarasota, Fla. The former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox, he has also worked extensively with basketball, soccer, and track and field athletes. He is a frequent contributor to Training & Conditioning. Vern also maintains his own blog.

Women's Only Fitness Training Class w/Special Guest

The Women's Only Fitness Training Class has begun and is a huge success. Please contact us to find out what you're missing, and stop by for special guest appearances (train with) by the current Miss Pennsylvania!

Still Offering Fresh Chocolate Milk from Local Dairy

We are pleased to announce that we have a relationship with Turner Farms which enables us to bring you high quality chocolate milk for your post-workout recovery needs. Grab a quick pint for only $1 and see what you've been missing.

(Not sure about how chocolate milk can help you with your goals, check out our last newsletter, Issue #91, for a great article about Chocolate Milk!)

Hockey Season: Best Wishes to Finish First Athletes

The performance staff at Finish First Sports Performance would like to take a moment to wish best of luck this season to all of those athletes who trained hard this summer in preparation for their best season ever. Athlete representation this summer came from schools such as Boston College, Notre Dame, U of Vermont, Ohio State University, Colorado College, St. Lawrence, RPI, Minnesota-Duluth, Yale, UConn, and Robert Morris University, as well as the USHL, NAHL, EJHL, OHL, AHL, ECHL, and NHL. Additionally, many local AAA and other travel hockey players committed themselves to working hard to improve over the summer. Again, we wish all of you the very best this season.

(For all of you local athletes, don't forget to discuss your schedule with Coach Hoy to make sure you are optimizing your in-season workouts).

Hours of Operation

Due to our team training schedule during the hockey season, beginning immediately, our hours of operation will be the following:

Monday - Thursday: 2pm - 8pm

Friday: 2pm - 7pm

Saturday: 9am - noon

These hours are subject to change due to team scheduling. For most current hours of operation, please call or visit the training center.

Named the Official Strength Coaches for Youngstown Phantoms USHL

Finish First Sports Performance has once again been named the official strength and conditioning coaches for the Youngstown Phantoms USHL team. We look forward to helping them on their path to success.

You can find the info HERE

Online Scheduling + New Finish First Training Facility

Please remember to continue to schedule online for all of your sessions. If have not been doing so, please begin immediately!

Additionally, we are still looking at new facilities (larger) for our next step in growth and development. In our new facility, it will also be required to schedule ALL workouts prior to arriving and training. More details about this will be revealed once we have chosen our new World Training Headquarters.

Get Your Tickets Now: RMU NCAA Ice Hockey

Get your tickets now to the only NCAA Division 1 Ice Hockey team in the area, the Robert Morris Colonials. Show your support for the guys that were kind enough to share the weight room with you all summer long!

Tell Others About Finish First and Get Rewarded!

Tell Your Friends, Get Rewards!

Get rewarded for referring your teammates!

Refer an athlete to Finish First Sports Performance and get a one-time $50 credit towards your membership when s/he purchases a membership (minimum of 8 sessions or a 1 month unlimited membership).

Additionally, your friend gets his/her performance evaluation at a cost of $50--nearly 50% off the normal rate of $99!

It’s simple, and the rewards are sweet! Just place your name on the back of any of the Finish First Sports Performance business cards and tell your teammate how you obtained all of that new strength, speed, and power that you are using in your sport. Give them one of the cards and tell them to call to speak to a Finish First Sports Performance Coach and to schedule an initial performance evaluation (at nearly half price!).

When we sign-up and athlete for a membership (minimum of 8 sessions or a 1 month unlimited membership), and the athlete was referred by you—it will be recorded in our membership system. You will be notified and then you get to choose your reward. You can choose from:

• $50 Gift Card from Dick’s Sporting Goods

• $50 Cash

• $50 Credit towards more training sessions or your next membership

We are looking for hard-working, focused, driven, and disciplined athletes to enjoy the benefits of our services. If you know anyone who fits this description, or if you’d like to see your team do better in its next competitive season, help spread the word and collect your reward!

Your membership must be paid in full with no outstanding balances to be eligible for the reward (must be a current member). Your membership credit must be applied to your next month’s dues.

Motivational Quotes

"It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect It's successful outcome."
-- William James

"If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad."
-- Denis Waitley

"It's not the situation. . . . It's your reaction to the situation."
-- Robert Conklin

"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character."
-- Albert Einstein

Thank You for Your Support

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at Please visit for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance

For Finish First Insider backissues #1 - 29, click here

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