Welcome to a brand-new Monday edition of Body-Solid's Built for Life & Times blog. Today we're looking at a couple articles from across the web including an EliteFTS look at training for the NFL Combine and how you can use their tests in your workout, FlexOnline's Jim Stoppani puts barbell shrugs on trail and a popular fitness device is voluntarily recalling their product.
Training for the NFL Combine
This weekend’s NFL Combine was a showcase for the best and brightest NFL prospects to display their speed, strength and athleticism. These are the best athletes in the world so it stands to reason that you and I can learn a thing or two from them. Mark Watts of EliteFTS.com detailed the multiple Combine tests and the best workouts/tips to maximize results on said tests.
You may not have to do the Combine events for any reason, but they aren't a bad barometer for your personal fitness. With test results readily available, it almost might be fun to see where you stack up with the elite athletes of the world.
The Vertical Jump
Maximal Strength. Training for the vertical jump should require a more comprehensive methodology than just jumping.
The Best Exercises to Improve the Vertical Jump
- Squat with Bands or Chains
- Trap Bar Deadlift
- Hang Snatch
- Hang Clean
- Kettlebell Swing
Standing Broad Jump
It is arguable that the standing broad jump may be a better indicator of lower body power than the vertical jump due to its specificity of what some coaches call horizontal force.
No test has as much meaning in terms of athletic prowess quite like the 40-yard dash. A few tenths of a second difference in this test have been the difference between a few million dollars or the difference between a scholarship and a preferred walk-on.
- Increasing the length of each stride with the same number of strides will decrease the number of steps the athlete has to take to run 40 yards
- Increasing the number of strides taken in a given time frame while maintaining the same stride length will cover more ground in less time.
The 20-yard Pro Agility Shuttle, the 60-yard Shuttle, and the 3-Cone L-Drill
These tests require very specific skill sets. There needs to be a balance between enough sub-maximal reps to reinforce proper mechanics but so slow as to change the stride length of each step.
225 Bench Test
Shorten the stroke. This is a fairly common practice for powerlifters but not necessarily for athletes. Maximizing the grip width, learning how to arch, and retracting the shoulder blades can accomplish all this.
Read Mark Watt's entire article at EliteFTS.com: articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/sports-training/tips-to-crush-the-combine-tests/
And although it has nothing to do with the article above, this GIF showing 6'5 266 lb. defensive end Jadeveon Clowny running a 4.47 40-yard dash needs to be seen:
(GIF is Clowney's 2014 run matched up with current NFL quarterbacks Colin Kapernick and Cam Newton)
On Trial: Barbell Shrug vs. Behind-The-Back
FlexOnline.com’s Jim Stoppani frequently takes a look at two different exercises and determines which is more effective. It’s a great asset from someone with a Ph.D. and helps you know which exercises to focus on and which to push to the side.
On trial today is barbell shrugs and behind-the-back barbell shrugs — let’s see who wins!
Both versions of the barbell shrug are effective for building the traps, as they both hit them from a slightly different angle, which builds different muscle fibers.
Stoppani believes you should include both versions in your training program. To build bigger upper traps, the barbell shrug to the front is the clear winner and if you’re looking to hit the middle portion, behind the back is the way to go.
Fitbit Voluntarily Recalls Fitbit Force
The Fitbit is a popular fitness device among lifters and runners alike. Much like the Nike Fuel and comparable “wristwatch” fitness trackers, the Fitbit will monitor steps, active minutes and also help you with sleep.
Over the weekend, Fitbit announced a voluntary recall for the Fitbit Force tracker when finding the device caused serious skin irritation for users.
“While only a small percentage of Force users have reported any issue, we care about every one of our customers,” the company said in a statement. “We have stopped selling Force and are in the process of conducting a voluntary recall, out of an abundance of caution. We are also offering a refund directly to consumers for full retail price.”
The allergic reaction is likely due to the nickel present in the stainless steel used on the device. While Fitbit claims only a small percentage of their users have complained, they urge safety for all of their customers.
Body-Solid Product of the Day: Olympic Power Bars
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