Be better: Training tips from C.J. Ham and Sanford POWER
Pro fullback C.J. Ham and Sanford POWER are teaming up to offer ongoing insight and education into athletic performance over a variety of topics:
What are some movements you like to do that don’t involve great equipment or facilities?
“I was really big into doing push-ups, sit-ups and dips at home. My dad always told me that Walter Payton used to run uphill. So I would go and find the biggest hill and just do sprints. I think that was good for me.”
Performing body-weight exercises is a great introduction to strength training for athletes of any age. This takes very little equipment, if any, and can be performed at home. It’s a great way to teach the foundational movement patterns that will be used as athletes transition into a weight-room setting and begin to add external loads. Body-weight exercises can include squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, bear crawls and jumps.
Do you put much emphasis on proper hydration?
“Hydration is extremely important to success. Even if you aren’t into sports you need to be hydrated.”
Proper hydration is important – much like proper nutrition. Athletes should be hydrated before, during and after training sessions. An easy way to track this is to look at the color of your urine. It should be transparent and pale yellow in color. Anything darker means you are not properly hydrated, and should increase your fluid intake during the course of the day.
Were you a multi-sport athlete growing up? If so, how did that shape you?
“I played football, basketball and track – I was even a thrower at Augustana and have a couple school records. With track, I was slower so it was all about form and stamina. Honestly, I don’t think I’d be as explosive without shot put and discuss.
Basketball helped me with athleticism – side movement and jumping. Basketball is great.
Playing multiple sports as a young athlete has many advantages. It provides opportunities to improve different skill sets and movement patterns that won’t happen as naturally when focused on a single sport. Also, athletes are less likely to get burned out mentally and may have a lower risk of injury. Keeping young athletes engaged in multiple sports helps provide the foundation for success and sets the tone for a lifetime of fitness.
What’s your stretching regimen?
“Stretching is very, very important. It’s good to warm up those muscles – and right after a workout. I even stretch before I go to bed, almost every night. I try to make sure I’m taking care of my muscles as often as I can.”
A proper dynamic warmup before a practice or training session is essential in preparing your body for success. Movements that help to raise your core body temperature and that mimic the exercises you are about to perform are the most effective. After you complete your training, it’s beneficial to do some active recovery techniques such as foam rolling and static stretching to help increase overall mobility and flexibility.
What are your least favorite lifts?
“I love most lifts. Like anything, there are things I don’t like doing, but they need to get done. There are workouts that you think, ‘I’m going to be sore, but I have to do them,’ and there are lifts that don’t bother me at all.
Back – lower back – is probably my least favorite lift. (Romanian Dead lifts) and working your hamstrings – and I’ve had hamstring problems in the past. But it’s important for me to do it.
It’s beneficial for athletes to identify their weaknesses in mobility, strength and power, and to design exercises into their training program to address these. In order to improve overall performance, it’s important to attack these areas of need and turn them into strengths – even if they aren’t your favorite exercises to do. Making this a priority will reduce strength imbalances in your body to improve performance and help reduce the risk of injury.