Balancing Your Body with Texas Track

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While action on most college fields is winding down around the middle of May, collegiate tracks are sizzling with speed, as some of the world's fastest athletes prepare for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. One team that really heats up is the University of Texas men's squad. This past June, the Longhorns took fourth overall, their third top-10 finish in the last four years.

Strength and conditioning coach Trey Zepeda has made training to correct and prevent muscular imbalances a staple of his program, and he counts it as a major factor in the team's success. "Being strong in the weight room is good," he says, "but if you can't take that strength and utilize it at whatever you do on the track, you've got an imbalance somewhere."

Muscular imbalances will make you slower both around the oval and in the field, which is why Zepeda uses med ball exercises. "Our med ball work helps build strength in the hips, abdominal wall, shoulders, upper back and the legs; everything important for increasing speed," he says.

Here are two med ball exercises you can use before or after practice to help with imbalance issues that commonly plague T&F athletes. The Longhorns perform them three times a week, year-round.

Kneeling Overhead Forward
• You and partner assume upright kneeling position facing each other, five to eight yards apart
• Hold med ball overhead with arms extended
• Throw med ball to partner's hands, which are extended overhead
• Keeping arms extended, receive throw from partner overhead
• Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps/Rest: 1-2/10-12/ Superset with next exercise
Coaching Points: Don't sit back on heels // Keep ball overhead while releasing and receiving // Don't sway body while throwing

Kneeling Overhead Back
• Assume upright kneeling position, holding med ball at waist level
• Have partner stand one to two yards behind you with arms in basket fashion
• Extend arms overhead, reach backward as far as possible
• Gently release ball to partner's basket
• Turn and receive ball from partner
• Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps/Rest: 1-2/10-12/Superset with next exercise
Coaching Points: Don't sit back on heels // Create as much back flexion as possible // Try to elongate your abdominal wall as much as possible

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