The Nike Gridiron workout program, designed for football players, is referred to as the SPARQ training program. Developed by Chris Carlisle, strength and conditioning coach for the Seattle Seahawks, the program consists of detailed workouts broken down into different phases. The year-round program is designed to increase your overall performance as a football player, regardless of your ability or level. With the potential for serious injury, always consult your physician before starting a training program.
The three basic phases of the Nike Gridiron and SPARQ training program are the pre-season, in-season and off-season workouts. Each phase has a specific function to maximize performance while improving strength and football ability. Pre-season programs are designed to prepare you for the upcoming season while the in-season program continues the progress from the pre-season workouts while allowing your body to recover from the games. Off-season workouts are designed to repair your body while working on specific skills.
Each training workout consists of certain exercises, drills and movements based on the goal of the workout. Every workout starts with a warm-up that typically features dynamic exercises to prepare your body and muscles for action. On-field drills utilize explosive movements to improve athleticism and weight-lifting exercises build strength, speed and power. According to the Nike Football website, during pre-season training, workouts consist of three sets of clean pulls, squats and bench press along with auxiliary lifts and range of motion exercises. In-season workouts, however, utilize circuits to increase the intensity of the workout through performing a specific number of repetitions and sets based on time.
Pre-season and off-season workouts will occur more frequently than in-season workouts. You will perform six workouts total during the pre-season schedule but will train only two times per week during the in-season program. Most of the pre-season workouts are two-a-days, meaning you will have two workouts in one day. In-season training schedules will typically include the first workout on Sunday or Monday with the second workout on Tuesday or Wednesday allowing your body to recover before game day, according to Nike Football.
The Nike Gridiron and SPARQ training program features a workout log to record sets, repetitions, weight and other workout information. Use this log to track your overall performance and improvements. Nike recommends combining the workout program with proper nutrition to achieve the best training results. With proper nutrition, you will have the energy to perform at a high level during the workout and the essential nutrients required to recover between workouts.
Consider your fitness level, athletic ability and football position before starting the Nike Gridiron and SPARQ workout program. The programs are designed to accommodate every football position and ability. For example, combine the offensive and defensive lineman, linebackers and tights, and skill players such as quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs. You can also divide the workout by ability level, such as varsity, junior varsity and freshman.
With strong, healthy muscles, you can be proud of your appearance and feel confident when accomplishing everyday tasks. In addition, when you perform resistance exercises to build strength and endurance, you’ll likely improve your overall health and even help fend off some dangerous illnesses. Increasing muscle mass will also help you maintain a normal weight and can help you avoid accidents that are more likely with weak muscles.
The most obvious benefit of strong, healthy muscles is the ability to perform everyday tasks on your own. With strength comes self-sufficiency, which contributes to a healthy lifestyle. With capable muscles, you can open your own pickle jars, rearrange your furniture when the desire strikes and carry heavy grocery bags from the car to your kitchen. Older adults can maintain their independence by building muscle strength, allowing them live alone as long as possible without the aid of a nurse or caretaker.
When you increase muscle mass, you change your body composition, creating a lower percentage of body fat. A lower body-fat percentage can translate to a reduced risk of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and cholesterol and increased blood-sugar levels, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. The American Council on Exercise reports that people who engage in strength training are also better able to cope with the effects of osteoarthritis, which sometimes causes debilitating pain. Strength-training activities include lifting weights, using exercise bands, performing yoga or doing crunches, pushups and lunges.
Body composition also helps determine your metabolism, which is the rate at which you burn calories. Muscle matter requires more energy than less-active fat tissue, burning more calories around the clock. When you burn more calories, you can eat more without gaining weight, or lose weight faster on a reduced-calorie diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you may increase your metabolism by up to 15 percent just by building muscle.
Strong, capable muscles provide better stability, reducing your risk of accidents. For example, you’ll be less likely to fall while walking or performing other physical activities. This can significantly benefit older adults, who may risk dangerous fractures from falling. The CDC reports that performing strength-training exercises improves flexibility and balance in addition to strength, providing a safeguard against accidents. Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Whether a basketball player remains calm or experiences performance jitters depends on how effectively he responds emotionally to daily situations when something is at stake. If he hasn¡¯t developed the skills to deal with pressure outside the court, he¡¯s likely to feel anxious at the thought that if he misses a shot, he will hurt his team. Some relaxation techniques have been found to be effective at helping athletes, including basketball players, to stay calm. Practicing them before the game makes it easier to put them to use when you need them.
Lie down on your back and inhale into your belly. Exhale. Repeat several times until your breathing becomes more relaxed and its pace slows.
Visualize your muscles letting go of tension one at a time on each out breath. Start by relaxing your facial muscles and work your way down to your torso, abdomen and lower-body muscles. Alternatively, tighten each muscle group for five seconds and then release them, allowing the muscles to fully relax. Repeat five times. Practice your breathing and muscle relaxation exercises daily.
Gain control of your performance anxiety by doing the breathing technique while playing basketball. Breathe in to your belly and then exhale. Obviously, you don’t need to lie down to do this. Start the deep breathing as soon as you begin to fear you can¡¯t dribble the ball or beat the defender, for example.
Close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply. Slowly fill your belly with air and gradually exhale. Breathe in and out like this a few times until you start feeling more relaxed.
Imagine yourself playing a successful game of basketball as you continue to breathe in and out. See yourself dunking, skillfully stealing the ball from the opponent or blocking shots.
Recall the positive images you visualized whenever you begin to feel stressed on the basketball court to regain calm and confidence in your playing skills.
Go to every basketball practice and do drills — dribble, shoot, block and assist — to hone your skills. If you feel prepared for the game, you are more likely to feel confident when playing.
Get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet. Both habits generate abundant energy for your game. This can help you stay alert for well-timed assists, for example, and your successful performance on the basketball court can help keep stress at bay.
Let poor performances of the past stay in the past. Use positive statements, such as ¡°I can do this,¡± whenever memories of a badly played game creep in. Remind yourself of all your successful shots, dribbles and guarding and play on.
Pregame football meals should be eaten at least three hours prior to the start of a game and should consist largely of foods rich in carbohydrates. Protein and fat should be kept to a minimum because these nutrients take longer to convert into energy, which is of the utmost importance for a football player to perform optimally on the gridiron.
Carbohydrates are converted to energy quickly and come in two forms: simple and complex. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as whole-grain pasta, potatoes and whole-grain breads and cereals, while simple carbohydrates come in foods such as fruits, sugar and honey. The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose and then stores it as glycogen in muscle tissue. As you begin exerting yourself during the game, your body converts the glycogen back into glucose and uses it as energy. You can further enhance the amount of energy available to you during a football game with a diet in which carbohydrates account for about 70 percent of your caloric intake for two to three days before game day.
While protein plays a vital role in providing your muscles with energy, it is broken down too slowly to be effective in a pregame meal. Fats fall into the same category and, like protein, should be consumed in small quantities as part of a pregame meal. Incorporate protein into your pregame meal in the form of lean meats, such as turkey and chicken, or nuts, such as cashews or almonds. The meal¡¯s limited amount of fat should come from mainly from the ¡°good¡± fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsatured. You should keep the ¡°bad¡± fats, which include saturated and trans fat, to a minimum.
A 6-inch turkey breast and Swiss sub sandwich on whole-wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes and bell peppers is a good carbohydrate-rich pregame meal that is easy to make and will satisfy. Throw in some raw baby carrots and a small apple, and you¡¯ll be properly nourished for game time. If you¡¯re more in the mood for pasta, eat a healthy portion of spaghetti in marinara sauce with ground turkey meatballs with a side of steamed broccoli and rice. Your beverage choice should include either water or low- or nonfat milk.
Because football is a game that can last up to three hours, you might need to replenish your energy levels by eating or drinking something at halftime or during the game. Simple carbohydrates, such as sports drinks or fruit, are ideal for these situations because of how quickly the body converts them into energy. Pregame meals are not a time to sample new foods. Stick with foods your body is familiar with and avoid foods that may not agree with your digestive system. Also avoid foods that cause gas, such as cooked beans and cabbage.
The teenage years are a time of rapid physical and emotional development. Puberty, hormonal fluctuations and rapid growth of bone and muscle can take a toll on energy levels, causing many teens to feel fatigued from time to time. When sleep requirements are not met, lack of energy can progress to full-blown exhaustion. Understanding the nature of fatigue allows teens and their parents to find healthy solutions.
Fatigue in teens is a complex but relatively common phenomenon. Non-organic conditions such as poor sleep, allergies, stress and depression are among the most common causes for lack of energy in teens. Lifestyle factors also play a role. TeenGrowth.com states that only 20 percent of adolescents meet the 9-hour recommendation for sleep during the week, with 45 percent sleeping less than 8 hours each night. Poor diet can also be detrimental; teens who consume too much sugar or caffeine or don’t get enough nutrients can have low energy.
Lack of energy in teens may not always be obvious to onlookers. Some teens complain of fatigue while others are less likely to voice their concerns. Outward signs include frequent yawning, falling asleep during class and other daytime activities, and slow or sluggish movements. Mood-related signs like irritability and low tolerance for stress may also signal chronic tiredness in some instances. Teens who are fatigued often have difficulty concentrating and staying alert during school and other activities. Other symptoms include a heavy sensation in the body, impaired cognition and low mood.
Over time, lack of energy can take a toll on performance and quality of life. According to TeenGrowth.com, over a quarter of high school students fall asleep during school; 22 percent sleep while doing homework and 14 percent miss class or arrive late due to oversleeping at least once weekly. In addition, 73 percent of teens with mood-related problems like anxiety or unhappiness also suffer from insomnia or daytime sleepiness. While lack of energy can be detrimental to academic performance, it can also threaten the safety of teens in some instances. Sleep-deprived teens who drive are at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel, which greatly increases the likelihood of getting into a motor vehicle accident. Sleeping on the job can also be dangerous when duties involve potentially hazardous tasks like operating heavy equipment.
The only way to treat lack of energy in teens is by uncovering the underlying cause of the condition. A medical evaluation can help pinpoint the factors contributing to fatigue. In most cases, getting 8 or 9 hours of sleep per night is sufficient to prevent excessive tiredness in kids and teens. A healthy diet and regular exercise are vital for preventing obesity, which can also aggravate fatigue. If your teen eats poorly, keep junk food out of the house and encourage snacking on nutrient-rich foods, such as fresh vegetables and whole grains.
Teens who experience severe fatigue that is not relieved by adequate sleep should seek a medical evaluation promptly. A thorough medical history in combination with physical exams like urinalysis or blood tests can help rule out substance abuse and physical disorders like anemia that are known to cause tiredness. In some cases, lack of energy in teens can stem from mental or physical conditions like depression or kidney dysfunction.