The greatest thing about being a strength coach is that there’s an easy answer to most questions we receive. Ultimate players tend to have the same three concerns: How can I run faster? How can I jump higher? How can I reduce the number of Ultimate-related injuries? The answer is not run more or jump more. It’s simple: Get stronger.
It’s as simple as that. If you want to run faster or jump higher you need to learn to apply more force to the ground. If you have injury concerns you need to build muscle to handle the stress of the long tournament weekend. Exposing the body to a high level of stress without a proper base level of strength is a recipe for injury. To be a better athlete you need to be a stronger athlete. Let’s talk about how you can make that happen.
A good training session starts with a great warm-up. The warm-up is developed to 1) Increase your body’s core temperature, 2) Mobilize the ankles, hips, and thoracic spine, and 3) Release soft-tissue restrictions.
The most important thing about the following warm-up protocol is that you can do it within a small footprint at your gym. No extended tracks or treadmills required.
To start the session, you will complete a number of soft-tissue manipulations using a lacrosse ball (or tennis ball) and foam roller. The soft-tissue work is to prepare your body for the training session as well as to improve your posture, mobility, and overall health. If you have never used a foam roller, prepare to be a little uncomfortable at first. As you continue to “massage” using these techniques you will feel the knots and trigger points clear up, and you may not want to do another session without your roller. Spend anywhere from 10-30 seconds in each section, and focus on relaxing into the roller to get deep into the tissue.
- Feet (lacrosse ball)
- Calves/Peroneals (lacrosse ball)
- Glutes/Piriformis (lacrosse ball)
- Anterior Shoulder/Pecs (lacrosse ball)
- Quads/Hip Flexors (foam roller)
- IT Band/Tensor Fascia Latae (foam roller)
- Hip Adductors (foam roller)
- Rhomboids/Upper Back (foam roller)
- Thoracic Extension (foam roller)
The dynamic portion of the warm-up includes exercises to mobilize your ankles, hips, thoracic spine, and shoulders. This additional mobility will allow you to move through a more comfortable range of motion with more control and, over time, more efficiency. This is all accomplished with a combination of activating and stretching specific muscle groups.
- Spiderman Lunge with Hip Lift and Posterolateral Reach
- Single Leg Deadlift with Cradle
- Lateral Lunge
- Squat to Stand
- Inchworm to Yoga Push Up
- Seated Wall Slide
Here’s the video of the complete warm-up for reference:
Part 2 of this series will discuss developing strength.
Feature photo of Seattle Riot’s Rohre Titcomb by Scobel Wiggins