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Ask Rahul! - October 2021

 Question: Is tapping a ball to floor and back to the hands a good exercise in the gym ? I saw a couple of really jacked up dudes do it on IG. It does look cool.

And the answer is:

The first thing we need to know is what goal are you after. If producing ballistic force for a sport such as contact sports like boxing, MMA etc or for a track and field event such as hammer throws etc, it can have a place in your training regimen.

However,  if your goal is more cosmetic in nature such a losing fat or gaining muscle, as is the case with majority of our readers, I think we need to thoroughly evaluate if there are already better methods to do that existing which we are not using now.

Now, outside of athletic conditioning, most trainees use medicine ball or heavy ball slamming exercises as a part of high intensity internal training, cardio or other form of metabolic training. It's a cool looking move and can add a lot of variety since traditional HIIT drills can get boring and monotonous very soon and adding something like this can help you get over that and extend your training longer and better.

When it comes to what one can expect from such a training, I think the answer is: not much different from what you can from something more conventional such as sprinting, high repetition kettle bell swinging etc. Slamming balls or hitting heavy tyres with a heavy hammers can develop our force generation and speed development ability tremendously. If used with the right set, rep and rest interval parameters, these movements can translate very efficiently into a metabolically challenging speed session as an add on during our non weight training or variety days.

Remember though, just because you saw someone jacked up doing those exercises on Instagram, they will not necessarily turn you into one too. The results still come from the boring old fashioned consistent basic moves and clean eating.

Question: In which percentage we can increase the speed for my sport by doing exercises in the gym or by similar training methods?

So, we replied:

If you are a born Usain Bolt, you may not need a lot of percentage of your speed to be increased by non running, exercise based training methods. Being born with the running genes dictates you only dedicate a majority of your time to the sport specific skill development which is running itself.

This guy may not need a lot of strength training but you do

 However, if you belong to the majority of us who haven't been blessed with the lucky genes of the speedy Jamaican,  chances are your current speed/strength continuum may benefit a bit from specific and targeted strength training.

Focus on 'specific and targeted'

 Endless sets of deadlifts, pull ups, bench presses and things like that may only end up burning you out before you even hit the track and not leave enough energy to practice your real sport. While these are all extremely beneficial for strength and can also have a good carryover to speed development, we need to pick up the right moves and balance our times spent on them so that they do not rob us of the recovery needs we are already dealing with from our running/sport practice.

A great choice in such a situation is to learn and master some proven explosive lifts such as (but not limited to):

Power clean
Kettlebell Swings
Power Snatch
Jump Squats

The clean, a might exercise that can make you faster

 These are highly technical lifts and can take weeks or months to learn under expert supervision and years to master. However, you do not need to learn all of the above lifts, you can pick a couple or even one of them and try to really master the way our total body works in tandem to produce acceleration/force while you are moving your implement of choice. Through years of practice, they will transform you into a high performance machine.

Another thing to keep in mind is selection of your set and rep scheme which will be a little different in this case than conventional strength training. Since the emphasis is on speed-strength more than strength-endurance, shorter sets with 3 to 5 reps will serve you better than high rep sets ever can. Produce as much speed and force during these brief sets. You do not need to hit failure. In fact, leaving a rep or two in the tank is highly suggested when working on speed. Anywhere from three to six sets can give you enough neural drive to develop the require force production boost your sport needs.

And remember, dedicate a majority of your practice time to training the actual sport rather than strength training, since it forms the crux of your performance and results.

Question: I'm doing 18 height increasing exercises every day is this effect my body or not?

And our answer is:

18 is certainly a raw age when it comes to the development of our musculoskeletal system as a result of our endocrinology (cool name for the hormones our mind and body naturally secrete to trigger the growth process)

The first we may need to take when it comes to measuring our height is to have a good look at the last three or so generations of our forefathers or ancestors and determine the tallest any of them have been. That number there should give us a realistic figure to cling to when it comes to increasing our height. Because, increasing our height is a metric where we may, as much as we hate it, have an upper limit. Unlike increasing muscle size or strength, we are only gifted with a limited reserve when it comes to the centimeters/inches we are measuring on the wall. 

 With that aside, let's also focus on the exercises or movements we are using to increase our height. Hanging freely from a bar for time is one of the simplest things we can do where mother gravity can do the job of elongating ourselves for us as long as our grip does not last. In fact, that's an exercise which shouldn't be limited to our puberty or teen years. Hanging from a bar after a heavy set of spinal loading exercise such as back squats is one of the most rewarding ways of de-stressing our compressed spinal columns throughout our lifting career.

Sky is the limit when you are trying to improvise hanging variations to make them fun and exciting

You can add leg raises, or if you are strong enough for them, chin ups (palms facing you) or pull ups ( palms facing away) to the free hanging. Work up to a single set of as much as 20 reps.

Another method to try is Yoga Asanas such as Chakrasana (the back bridge pose), Halasana (The plough pose), Sarvangasana (the shoulder stand) and pashchimottanasa (seated forward bend) that can regulate the pitutary and human growth hormone secretion, an often overlooked pathway to increased height among teenagers and growing children.

The Chakrasana like several other Asanas can set the wheel rolling for you to become taller

Doing them everyday isn't just safe, when it comes to adding inches to your stature during your teen years, it is in fact recommended.

I'd love to help you design a tailor made exercise program for you to reach your physical transformation goals in the most fun filled and interesting way. 

Click here to Write to us and we will get back to you on how we can take this ahead: