$1.50 Weightlifting Straps!

I was first introduced to weightlifting straps in high school. They were the common sewn straps where you feed the strap through a small loop and slide it tight on your wrists.  But while attending college I was introduced to a more classic style of strap that was a simple open loop and instantly favored this version over the more common straps. And best of all, these “loop” style of straps are extremely durably and very cheap to make.  Here’s what you’ll need:

4′ of Tubular Webbing (Found at most outdoor shops)
Athletic Tape

Yep, thats it! All you need is some webbing and good ‘ol athletic tape. Now, lets get to making some straps!

Step 1: Cut your webbing into two equal lengths. I have found that 1' 8" works well for my hand size.

Step 2: Once you cut your straps to the desired length, simply fold them over to make a loop and line the ends up.

Step 3: After you form your loops and line the ends up, grab "ye old faithful athletic tape" and get to taping. I found layering a horizontal, vertical, and horizontal locking strip to be quite effective.

Step 4: You just made yourself a pair of $1.50 straps my friend, now get to celebrating by lifting some tonnage!

Today’s post was short and sweet but I hope it helped some of you save a buck or two! Let us know what you think about these DIY straps and how they’ve held up in your training!


The Laws of Motion…

Thats right folks, it turns out your high school Physics teachers were right when they said “you’ll use this one day”. If you are involved with athletics, like it or not, you are involved with Physics! And as you will see during our explorations through the realm of Biomechanics, understanding and reviewing a few basic concepts will aid in proper application. Lets begin with a quick review of Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion.
*Note: Although Newton’s laws of motion were origionally developed for particles, they have relevance for rigid bodies, like those of human body segments.

Newtons First Law: The Law of Inertia
An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion in a straight line at a constant speed.

Simply put, an external force is required to start, stop, or alter the motion of an object. So what does this have to do with inertia? First, it must be understood that inertia is the property that causes matter to resist a change in motion. And mass, being expressed in grams, is the measure for the amount of matter and object has. Therefore, mass can be considered a measurement for the amount of inertia an object possess. It would prove to be more difficult to change the motion of an object with a greater mass; because it has a greater inertia.

Newtons Second Law: The Law of Acceleration 
An object acted upon by an external force moves because the force is equal to time rate of change of the linear momentum.

In English, this simply means that if you had two objects, one with a small inertia (or mass) and one with a large inertia (or mass), it would take more force on the “large inertia object” to give it the same acceleration as that of the “small inertia object”… or F=ma. Where (F) is the applied force, (m) is the mass of an object, and (a) is the acceleration of an object.  This equation is the most direct way to measure the force applied on an object.
*Note: Acceleration can be further broken down into ∆v/∆t. Where (v) is velocity and (t) is time.

Newtons Third Law: The Law of Action-Reaction
When two objects exert a force upon one another, the forces act along a line joining the objects, and are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

This law states that every force one object places on another is counteracted by an equal force the second object exerts on the first.  A good example of this is that of someone jumping.  When jumping, a person will exert a force upon the ground and the ground simultaneously responds with a reaction force on the jumper (this is known as the ground reaction force). According to Newton’s third law, these forces will be equal in magnitude, but opposite in direction.  The result of this interaction, as stated by Newton’s second law (F=ma) is that each object will experience an acceleration that depends upon its mass (or inertia).

Hopefully you have a good grasp on Newton’s Laws of Motion. Let us know how you use Newton’s laws as we continue our exploration through Biomechanics! 

Stick Drill Options

One of the most effective methods to improve acceleration (by increasing stride frequency and velocity through a re-programming of the nerve pathways) is the Stick Drill. This article addresses three different materials that one can use for the drill and how to set the drill up properly. The materials are listed in order from simplest and most economic, to increased durability and greater cost.

Athletic Tape
Athletic tape is always a good “go-to” source for a majority of little problems that life throws my way. It might even be better than Duct tape?! (insert gasp) But on a more serious note, if you or your athletes will be utilizing the Stick Drill on a surface that is not likely to be tampered with, meaning you will not have to re-apply the tape on a daily basis, then get to taping my friend! But if you’re in a situation where you will have to spend excess time and material by constantly laying down tape strips, I recommend using something a little more portable.

"Athletic Tape" are there any of life's little problems it can't fix?

If you are training on a Track that is not exclusive to you or your team, then rope might be a better material for the Stick Drill. You will need around 16′ of some type of braided cord, rope, or webbing. But keep in mind that there is no need for anything fancy here. Once you get your 16′ of “rope” (which will cost you roughly $5.00) cut it into eight pieces, each consisting of 2 feet in length.

A good, cheap, and dependable material used to set-up the Stick Drill is rope.

 Sticks… Well kinda
What better material to use for the Stick Drill, than sticks?!  Really, there is no right or wrong size to use here. Any scraps that you have around can work quite well. If you are looking to purchasing some wood, a common pre-cut piece of Poplar 1/4″x3″x2′ works quite well (this will usually cost around $1.50 a piece). No matter what route you choose for your “sticks” be sure to paint them either white or a bright color that contrasts the tracks surface. This will ensure easy identification of the “sticks” during the drill. I personally sprayed mine with some primer that I had lying around.

Painting your "sticks" white or a bright color will aid in quick recognition during the drill.

Now that you have your “sticks” (be it tape, rope, or wood) lets set up the drill. The sticks should be set-up in specific intervals. It is generally recommended that one uses a 40:10 pattern when beginning the drill. This means that the second stick in 40cm away from the first stick and 10cm is added to this distance with each additional stick.  So, you would have sticks placed with a distance between them measuring 40cm, 50cm, 60cm, 70cm, 80cm, etc.

The second stick is placed 40cm away from the first stick.

The third stick is placed 50cm away from the second stick.

Once the Athlete has mastered the Stick Drill set-up with the 40:10 pattern, they can move on to a 50:15 pattern. Here the second stick is set-up 50cm away from the first and the third stick is placed 65cm away from the second. This pattern will continue down the track for the duration of the drill.

May you find success in your training! Let us know which material you prefer to use with your stick drill.