5 Important Exercises

Athletes are always trying to get the most out of each and every workout they complete.  They perform intense workouts not only for personal gains, but to also have an advantage over the competition.  In order to accomplish this they perform exercises which give them the most gain for their efforts.  Listed below are five exercises focusing on increasing the efficiency of your workout routine.  These exercises focus on major muscles such as the hamstrings, quads, and chest which are utilized in every sport.

Front Squat: The main function of the front squat is to strengthen your quad muscles helping establish a foundation for athletic motions such as running and jumping.

With the barbell sitting forward on the shoulders, and the hips sunk back far enough so that the knees are in line with the toe, pressure from the weight is nearly all focused on the glutes and hip flexors thus getting a stronger workout and those with knee problems a better lift.

The front squat demands an upright torso position throughout the full range of motion which places much less stress on the spine. Another feature of the front squat is that it takes pressure off of the knees.

Benefits: Front squats are a great transitional squat workout going into clean-and-jerks and other overhead workouts. Being able to have strength in the frontal plane and anterior portion (back) of the body is a necessity when doing more advanced overhead lifts. The front squat helps build power and endurance in these muscle groups to move onto these types of workouts.

Straight back, Stiff Legged Deadlift: It takes a certain level of flexibility and experience in order to master this exercise, but once the exercise is perfected it becomes one of the best hamstring and glute exercises known today.

Benefits: The hamstrings are not only lifting the weight off the ground, but also are being stretched in the movement therefore the muscle fibers in the hamstrings are increasing range of motion, strength and muscular endurance versus just power.

Commonly, weightlifters and athletes will use wrist straps with this exercise to help increase the load of weight and still be able to put the high stress on the lower extremity.

Crossfit Activities/Exercises:  Crossfit is one of the most highly utilized workouts in the world of exercise.

Benefits: Crossfit is a fantastic full body workout that creates the “overall athlete”. It combines elements of cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics, core training and more to prepare the body for the unexpected.

Crossfit has taken some exercises (such as the Kipping Pull-up) and made rules that cross the orthodox way these exercises are performed thus decreasing the chance of injury.

Sprints and Hurdles:  – When in high school athletics, it seems that sprinting and running around is part of everyday life. During practices, during physical education, or even on a weekend at the park with your friends playing in the grass.

Doing wind sprints is said to be one of the best exercises for fat burning, cardiovascular endurance, and core strength. A big benefit for athletes is that sprinting increases hormone levels and decreases cortisol which helps in muscle building workout regiments and increases protein synthesis.

Benefits: Studies show that sprint training is more effective than steady-state endurance training for improving endurance capacity, maximal oxygen uptake, and time to fatigue. This is because repeated intervals at a high intensity lead to the body using energy more efficiently by increasing the amount of glycogen that can be stored in the muscle by as much as 20 percent.

Since sprints build muscle and target the fast-twitch fibers, they increase your speed and power, leading to a faster running or cycling speed.

Barbell/Dumbbell Bench Press:  The chest press is one of the most universal exercises known to upper body lifting.

It can be done with a barbell, dumbbell, or kettle bells and also can be performed on many different surfaces such as a bench, balance ball or bosu ball.

Benefits: Chest press lends thickness, muscle definition and strength to the chest area. As a compound exercise, bench presses also engage the deltoids and triceps as synergists, or muscles that help other muscles complete a movement.

Additionally, this exercise also works the biceps, which serve as dynamic stabilizers by countering the force of the press. Practicing proper form is a must in order to receive all of the correct benefits.

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