Top 8 Strength Training Moves for Coaches
President/CEO, Home Bodies
Coaches have HUGE muscle imbalance because 90% of the time spent in the gym is spent PUSHING so there is a lot of triceps work compared to relatively small biceps work. Over time, this can lead to injuries and pain, both chronic and acute. In the weight training gym with your own workout, you want to accomplish three things:
- Strengthen your large muscle groups so you can keep your metabolism up, and also so that you have the overall strength to coach and spot.
- Improve your core strength so that all of your muscles work together and your back stays protected
- Work to balance out muscle imbalances that come from spotting.
The following routine will accomplish all three points. The routine actually doesn’t require a gym at all, but rather can be performed at home with simply a spot on the floor, a chair and a set of dumbbells. Of course, if you have kids, pets or a spouse who won’t leave you alone, you might be better off heading to the gym to get it done anyway.
It’s best to perform them in the order listed because the initial exercises serve as a good warmup for the following exercises. It’s best to elevate your heart rate and body temperature with 5-10 minutes of brisk walking or jogging before beginning this routine. Stretching if performed should happen at the end of the workout.
How to Start: Stand with feet turned out and slightly wider than shoulder width. Hold a dumbbell to your chest. The weight might be anything from 5 lb. to 50 lb. or more depending on your strength. You want to choose the heaviest weight you can handle keeping good form.
Action: Keeping your chest up, bend your legs until your hips get to approximately knee level. Think of sitting back in a chair. Knees should not drift beyond toes. To accomplish this–really stick your butt back. Sometimes I actually put a chair behind the squatter so there is a visual to aim for.
Do this many: 12-15 reps for 2 sets. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
2: BENT-OVER ROW
How to start: Place your hand on a chair and move your feet back until your back is approximately parallel to the ground or slightly angled upward. Keep a slight arch in your back. In your other hand, hold a weight. You might start with anything from a 10 lb. to a 30 lb. or more depending on your strength.
Action: Keeping your core tight so that your torso stays still, pull the weight to your side until it touches your body. Your hand should end up around your lower ribcage. Make sure your elbow stays close in to your body. Think of pinching your shoulder blades together and make sure your wrist stays straight.
Do this many: 15 reps on each side for 3 sets. Do not rest between arms, but rest between sets about 30 seconds. Always start with your weaker side.
3. OVERHEAD SHOULDER PRESS
How to start: Standing up with one hand on your waist, hold a dumbbell just above your other shoulder to the side of your head. Engage your core so that you are standing up straight to start. A 5 lb. to 25 lb. weight might be appropriate to start.
Action: Think of stretching to the ceiling as you push the weight overhead. You will feel your core engaging to keep your balance. This is good! Make sure the weight stays directly to the side of your head and not in front. If you experience shoulder pain you don’t have to bend the elbow down as low.
Do this many: 10-15 reps on each side for 1 set. Always start with your weaker side. (Insert pictures)
4. SINGLE LEG CALF RAISE
How to start: Standing on one leg with the other foot wrapped around the first leg, allow your heel to hang off the side of an object such as a stair.
Action: Allow your heel to sink as long as it will go keeping your standing leg straight. Pause for 1 full second, then press your body up, concentrating on pressing through your big toe the most. Pause for 1 full second at the top. That is one rep.
Do this many: 20 repetitions for one set on each side.
5. HAMMER CURLS
How to start: Stand straight up with both shoulders even. Hold a dumbbell like you would a ‘hammer’ with palm facing in to your body. Start with between a 10 lb. and 25 lb. weight.
Action: Engage core so that your torso stays still and your shoulders stay even. Curl the arm with the weight so that the end of the weight touches your shoulder.
Do this many: 15 reps on each side for 2 sets. You do not need to rest between any of the sets (you might WANT to rest, but you do not NEED to rest—there is a difference!!!
6. ONE-LEG STIFF LEG DEADLIFT
How to start: Balancing on one leg, hold a weight in your hand on the same side as the leg you’re balancing on. Squeeze your butt and pick a spot on the floor 4 feet in front of you. Stare at that spot. It will help you balance. Your standing leg should remain slightly bent throughout this exercise. A 10 to 25 lb. weight is a good place to start.
Action: Lift your free leg behind you to counterbalance as you bend over. Keep the dumbbell close to your shin. Stop when the dumbbell is just above the floor. Dig your heel into the floor to help yourself stand back up again. Avoid touching your free leg to the floor. ***IF this is hard for you, have some sympathy when you train your gymnasts on the beam or pommel horse!!!***
Do this many: 12 on each leg for 2 sets. Do not rest between legs, but rest 1 full minute between sets. Always start on your weaker side.
How to start: Place your hands on the edge of a chair with fingers off the edge. Scoot your butt forward so you are clearing the chair. This exercise can be performed with legs straight (more advanced) or legs bent (easier).
Action: Bend your arms to lower your butt toward the floor. Bend as far as your flexibility allows. Make sure your elbows are pointing straight back.
Do this many: 15 to 20 for 1 set.
8. ACROSS BICEP CURL
How to start: Stand holding a dumbbell in one hand. Be sure your core is engaged and shoulders are even. A 10 to 15 lb. weight is a good place to start for this exercise.
Action: Curl the weight toward the OPPOSITE shoulder. Then lower your arm back down to its place.
Do this many: 15 reps on each arm for 2 sets. Don’t rest between arms or between sets. Always start with your weaker side.
This routine takes about 20 minutes to perform. It exercises all of the muscles in the entire body, with an emphasis on evening out muscle imbalances common to those who coach gymnastics. Because it is a full body weight training routine, it also blasts calories and fat, helping you control your body weight and build or maintain muscle mass. Your metabolism will be elevated for about 48 hours after completing this routine, and your odds of incurring a back or shoulder injury while spotting is dramatically reduced.
*Be sure to check with your doctor that you are physically cleared to begin an exercise program.