Q: Hi Joe. I'm a female volleyball player going into my sophomore year in college. My knee has been hurting me for the past year. It kept me out of 2 games last year and it has affected my off-season conditioning. My coach says it's "jumpers knee". What should I do for "jumper's knee" anyway? Right now I'm just stretching and doing leg extensions and other basic rehab stuff. I grew up in Bergen County and saw you speak once. I know you're very knowledgeable and I can use your advice. Thanks so much! Kim
A: Kim, first things first: Have you seen a doctor yet? Nothing against your coach, but get it checked out by a doctor. It very well may be jumpers knee, though. “Jumpers Knee” is very common in volleyball players and basketball players. This is because these sports stress the legs only through the end range of motion. When you’re constantly doing partial range movements, such as jumping, you develop muscular imbalances. In the case of jumpers knee, your vastus lateralis (the quad muscle on the outside of your thigh) becomes more developed than the vastus medialis (the “tear-drop” shaped quad muscle on the inside of your knee) and your hamstrings. When one muscle overpowers the rest, it affects the tracking of the kneecap & puts excessive wear and tear on the knee joint.
“Full-range” exercises can help correct this problem by developing the vastus medialis and hamstrings – both of these muscles are activated with full-range movements. They also help with knee stability. So stop the leg extensions immediately! They’re probably contributing to the problem!
Some of my favorite movements in helping to correct jumpers knee are as follows: full-range barbell squats, single leg squats with the back leg elevated, step-ups onto a high box and leg curls. (Get coached properly on these exercises before you attempt them!)
Below you will see a picture of one of my long-time clients, Rachel Bello, doing a full-range barbell squat. Rachel is the “poster child” of a properly trained athlete. She’s 5’11” tall and possesses great strength, speed and flexibility. Even at her height, notice the depth she can achieve with her squats. This is due to the “balanced” strength & flexibility she has developed. She will be attending the University of Rhode Island this September on a volleyball scholarship.
So just because you never have to do a “full squat” on the court; this doesn’t mean you should never do it in your training. Give some of my exercises a try and let me know how you feel.
Q: You seem to know just about every strength-training method ever invented. Is there one single method that you think stands out among the rest? After the summer ends my only goal is to get as strong as humanly possible.
Thanks for the praise as well as asking a very interesting question. You definitely got me thinking. My initial response would be, “No, I don’t believe there is a single method that is more effective than all others for building strength.” This would be my initial response because, if you were a beginner, ALL methods would work. Heck, 2 sets of 15 reps can get you strong if you never lifted a weight before. I would also hate to link myself to one method. There are definitely many methods out there that can get you strong. Also, there is no guarantee that what worked for me will work for you. Everyone is an individual.
I don’t want to dance around your question, though. So I will give you an answer. If you are an intermediate to advanced lifter, the CONJUGATE METHOD, a.k.a. WESTSIDE METHOD, does pop into my head when I think about maximal strength. (To learn more about this method I strongly encourage you attend a Dave Tate seminar. To find out more about his seminar schedule go to his website at www.EliteFTS.com)
I mention this method for 4 reasons:
#1 – It is an organized “system”. I feel any time someone follows a structured system they will get more out of their training. In other words, there’s a “rhyme & reason” for everything you do. This makes you believe in everything you’re doing. There is a great psychological edge when you actually believe and understand your training routine.
#2 – They only way to get brutally strong is to lift heavy weights. This method respects that fact.
#3 – There is a lot of variety built into this system. You are constantly challenged to “break records” on many different exercises. This makes lifting heavy weights fun.
#4 – Every time my training partners and I use this method, within weeks everyone in the gym thinks we’re on steroids. (All of us are lifetime drug-free.) This is because we usually end up throwing around massive amounts of weight. We happen to respond very well to this training method.
Educate yourself on this method and give
it a try!
Q: I’m a 16-year-old student and want to gain weight. I’m 5’10” and only weigh 146 lbs. My friend said he put on 15 lbs. after taking Cell-Tech. Should I take Cell-Tech? I also want to take extra protein powder. I also heard glutamine helps you get big. Is there anything else? I’m desperate and want to get started!
A: : First of all, CALM DOWN! By the way that you write, I sense you’re a very impatient kid. Your impatience has carried over into how you approach your diet and supplementation program. You must first realize that there is no magic supplement and no quick fix!
So let’s take a deep breath and figure this out. I want to first tell you about something that will help you gain weight, increase your energy levels and have “drug-like” effects on your strength. It’s called FOOD! The first thing I noticed with regards to your question was that you asked about 3 different supplements without ever telling me what you eat. The point that I’m trying to make is that before you worry about supplements, you should first build a solid “foundation” of proper food choices. You should be eating a balanced diet of lean proteins, low-glycemic carbohydrates and healthy fats. You should be feeding your body with 5-7 small-moderate sized meals a day.
Once you get this “food-foundation” right as an athlete, you can then worry about adding the extra supplements. That is why they are called supplements in the first place. They are to be used as a supplement to a balanced diet.
I do consider meal replacement shakes and nutritional bars as “foundational supplements”. I say this because they can count as 1 or 2 of the 5-7 meals you should be eating each day. As I’ve said before, I consider these two supplements the “fast food” for athletes. This is because it is nearly impossible to prepare 5-7 “whole food” meals each day. These two supplements should be added before you start incorporating the “specialized” supplements like creatine and glutamine.
You should also go to the archives
of this page and re-read the first question I answered on
information in that post should help you greatly. Write
back after you organize your eating & training habits
and we’ll talk about your future supplementation plan.
Since I’m an older athlete still competing, I probably won’t get much faster but I’ve been told I will definitely continue to get much stronger. This is why I continue to improve my 200 and 400-meter times. What are the physiological factors that support what I have been told?
Congrats on kicking butt at the World Games! You train hard and you deserve it.
Now let’s discuss your question. You say you “won’t get much faster”, yet you continue to improve upon your 200 and 400-meter times. This is contradictory. Basically, I think what you are trying to say is that you’re getting faster through strength-training methods. That’s great! The bottom line is that you ARE still getting faster. Here’s my take on how you can continue to get faster.
Whoever told you that you couldn’t become faster after a certain age was probably referring to your ability to improve your stride frequency. Your stride frequency is mainly genetic and only improvable about 10-20% after you pass puberty. If your training revolved too much on trying to improve upon this aspect, I feel you would be wasting your time.
The good news is that at the high school, college, Olympic and senior level, the athlete that takes the fewest steps usually wins the race. So your training should focus on trying to improve upon your stride length. As I stated last week, your stride length is dependant on your strength and flexibility. Once again, this is good news for you. At your age, strength & flexibility are still highly trainable. So you’re definitely on the right track!
Having provided you with the broader picture, I stress that of all components of the sprint, the part most highly correlated with strength is the start. From a stationary start, the stretch-shortening cycle is a non-factor. This is why I believe you must incorporate “static overcome by dynamic” exercises as part of your strength-training routine. Deadlifts, box squats and iso-dynamic single leg squats are my favorites. These exercises implemented properly into your program will produce an eye-popping start!
With regards to your flexibility training, I would incorporate many methods. P.N.F., dynamic and ballistic stretching can be incorporated pre-workout as well as during your running workouts. I would also incorporate static stretching 3-4 hours after your workouts, when your central nervous system has calmed down.
The final piece to your puzzle is nutrition/supplementation.
The less “baggage” you’re carrying around
that track, the faster you will run. This is another aspect
of training that is highly trainable at your age. (My dad
is 57-years-old and more shredded than ever!) Keep eating
what Dr. Bilella tells you to eat and you’ll be fine.
You’re on the right track! Don’t over-analyze your training. Keep up the great work!
Site by Yellow House Design