Torque is one of the most misunderstood concepts in sports training. Many athletes are not aware of how it affects their performance. For some reason they think that if they don’t use weights or machines, then they won’t need to do any kind of strength training at all! Well that’s just plain wrong! Torque is very important in your sport specific conditioning program. You must understand its importance because without understanding why you’re getting injured, you’ll never get better!
The word “torque” comes from the Latin root torquere meaning to turn quickly. That’s exactly what happens when you perform a torque exercise. When you apply force with your muscles, they produce a certain amount of rotational motion in response. If you want to increase your power, strength and speed, then you have to train these movements regularly!
You can’t just throw them into the mix every once in awhile like a piece of equipment!
There are two types of torque: concentric and eccentric. Concentric means that the muscle produces force during contraction, while eccentric means that it doesn’t. The difference between the two is that the concentric type increases as you move through a range of motion (ROM). Eccentric contractions decrease as you go through a ROM.
When performing an exercise such as squats, deadlifts or bench presses, you can either perform them concentrically or eccentrically. Let’s take the bench press, for example. If you lower the barbell slowly to your chest, then that’s called an eccentric movement and it provides a greater degree of resistance to the muscles. The eccentric contraction occurs when the muscle is lengthening under tension.
On the other hand, if you push the barbell up from your chest quickly, that’s a concentric movement and it provides less resistance to the muscles. The concentric phase occurs when the muscle is shortening while producing force.
In sports, an eccentric muscle contraction is normally not desired. However, there are times when you do need to produce force in that manner. For example, when returning to the ground from a jump in volleyball or basketball, you need to be prepared for a large eccentric force as you fall back to the ground. This will enable you to protect your knees from injury and get ready for your next jump.
To do this properly, you’ll want to use a special exercise called a plyometric. A plyometric is any form of exercise that enhances your ability to produce large amounts of force in an eccentric contraction. One of the best plyometrics for basketball or volleyball players are depth jumps. To do this, you first find a box approximately knee height. Stand in front of the box and then drop down and quickly jump up onto the box. Next, drop down and immediately repeat the process. Each time you land, the force of your landing should be absorbed by your knees and hips to protect them from injury. Because of this, it’s important that you don’t wear any heavy weightlifting belts or other restrictive clothing when doing depth jumps. It is also helpful to have a spotter nearby in case you need help getting back up.
One last thing that you need to be aware of is how plyometric training affects your muscles. First of all, plyometrics are extremely taxing on your muscles, so don’t overdo it! Second of all, plyometric training causes a lot of microscopic damage to your muscles. This is called “microtrauma.” The body responds to this by sending in specialized cells called macrophages to remove the waste products that accumulate during exercise.
It also sends in fibroblasts to repair the microtrauma that occurred. In layman’s terms, this means that your body is repairing the damage that was done to your muscles. If you are doing a lot of plyometric exercises, your muscles will constantly be growing and getting stronger. This is one reason why plyometrics are very effective.
Plyometrics can be used to help improve sports performance, as well as strengthen muscles. Because they’re so effective, most professional athletes use some sort of plyometric training in their training program. However, it’s important to consult your coach before starting any new exercise program.
So what are you waiting for?
Start doing some plyometric exercises and get that vertical jump up!
Rise above the rim and shatter backboards with this step-by-step guide to vertical jump training.
How to Increase Your Vertical Jump
Part 1: Muscle Memory
Muscle memory might sound like a new age concept, but it’s really just a way of referring to the process of learning a skill and then being able to repeat it over and over again. In other words, through muscle memory you can eliminate the conscious thought that goes into performing a task and make the task second nature. This frees up your mind to think about other things and generally improves your efficiency.
It’s important to note that muscle memory is most effective when you start young and keep at it consistently. A child who starts playing a musical instrument or learning another skill at a young age will find it easier to pick up later in life compared to someone who starts later. This is because the child has developed good habits and never really had a chance to form bad ones.
An extreme example of this is the famous Russian pianist, Yelena Ornstein. From an early age Ornstein practiced up to 10 hours a day. By the time she was 6 years old she had performed her first concert. This might seem extreme, but it really paid off.
At 15 she became the youngest winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition and at 23 she became the first musician to receive the Nobel Prize for music.
So how does this apply to you?
Well, it’s all about practice. If you practice your jump everyday, you’ll find that it will come more naturally and you’ll be able to concentrate more on the important stuff like style. However, you need to make sure you’re practicing correctly. Most people don’t know how to practice and actually wind up hurting their efforts.
So in this article we’ll briefly go through some tips on how to practice effectively so that you can ensure that you’re always making progress. We’ll begin with the most important aspect of practice and then go through some tips on how to practice your jump.
The Mind Is The Key
Most people don’t pay much attention to their mind, but it is vital to your performance in any activity. If your mind isn’t in the right state you’re not going to play to the best of your abilities. In fact, you might not play at all. So it’s important that you train your mind as much as you train your body and practice the correct techniques to put you in the right frame of mind.
The starting point is being in the right state of mind before you begin to practice. This means that you shouldn’t practice on a full stomach, when you’re tired or when you’re distracted by other thoughts like problems at school or home. Instead you should make sure that you’re in a place where you can practice in peace and quiet and then just focus on the task at hand.
Once your body is ready, then it’s time to focus your mind. The starting point here is having the right attitude toward practice. Many people think that practice is something you have to endure in order to get to the fun part of playing the game. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Practice is the fun part.
Sure, performing in front of crowds of adoring fans is the culmination of all your practice, but if you don’t practice, you’ll never get to that point. The reason people think practice is dull is because they’re not focusing on the right things or they’re focusing on all the wrong things.
So what are the right things to focus on?
Focus on how each part of your body is moving. Feel the part that is moving and be aware of every aspect of it.
Be aware of how the air moves when you move and how that affects the board or wheels.
Find a repeating pattern in what you’re doing and try to optimize it so that you’re not slowing down or speeding up. Find a nice consistent rhythm.
Listen to the noises of the environment and try to block them out and just hear the sound that you’re creating.
Be in a state of total focus where nothing else enters your mind. Clear your head of random thoughts. This is where the Buddhist Monks that practice meditation really have the edge. They can sit in a peaceful state for hours without distractions.
If you can do this while you practice, your skills will increase at a much faster rate.
If you can’t focus completely, then listen to music. The melodies and rhythms can put you in a trance like state where you don’t have distracting thoughts. However, the music has to be at the right tempo and volume. Fast music will speed up your playing and make you rush.
This is bad for practicing complex skills. Slow music will make you play slow, which is also bad for practicing complex skills. Instead, find music that is at a steady moderate pace. That way your mind will naturally follow the beat and put you in a trance.
Those are the basics for practicing the right way. Now here are some tips for practicing specific skills.
The Starting Block
When starting out make sure you have all the right gear, or else you’re going to struggle. This includes a good comfortable board or skates and sturdy wheels.
Start on the carpet and get a feel for your wheels. Make sure you carve back and forth, turn in both directions and generally get a feel for your movement. The carpet will allow you to move much easier than the pavement outside so practice some more there before you move on. Try some scissors here or even just practicing making circles with your toes only.
Once you have the basics down on the carpet, you can move to the kitchen floor which is hard wood. Just remember that the wheels can be a little sketchy at first and you can expect to fall. If you really want, you can put cardboard underneath your socks or stockings to protect your ankles from any serious falls. However, this is ONLY if you think you’re going to keep falling over and hurting yourself because it will take away from the feel of the board and make things harder to learn.
Just try not to fall and you should be OK.
Now that you’re outside, try the same things you did on the carpet and floor but here. Start off slow and keep at it. Make sure you’re paying attention to all of the movements because it’s easier to do them out here than it was in the house.
If you don’t feel like going outside, that’s OK too.
Sources & references used in this article:
Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle by C Senter, SL Hame – Sports Medicine, 2006 – Springer
Understanding “sports hernia”(athletic pubalgia): the anatomic and pathophysiologic basis for abdominal and groin pain in athletes by WC Meyers, E Yoo, ON Devon, N Jain, M Horner… – Operative techniques in …, 2012 – Elsevier
Science and practice of strength training by VM Zatsiorsky, WJ Kraemer, AC Fry – 2020 – books.google.com