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Do you have a fitness or conditioning question for Graig White? Please click here to submit your question.

I am about 6 feet tall and I can dunk a basketball, but not as easily as I would like. Basically I can only dunk when I have a long fast break. I guess what I am asking is how can I improve my vertical in a short amount of time now that the basketball season is getting started. I appreciate your help. (Jason from Egg Harbor Twp, NJ)
Answer: The answer to your question doesn't really lie in your vertical, it's about how fast you are. Since you need a lot of room to create the speed needed to get you in the air, it would be in your best interest to work on your hip strength. Check out our website click on "Tips" and you will see techniques we use to create strength in the hip area.
I am currently working as an exercise consultant/night manager at a 24 hr fitness center. I fully enjoy my job, but I have goals of one day becoming a strength and conditioning coach at a major university, professional organization, etc... I have a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Tennessee. I plan on becoming certified by both the ACSM and the NSCA by May of 2001. I also plan on moving to the Nashville,TN area by the end of May. I'm looking for some help on getting some information on doing an internship/volunteer work with one of the area teams (Tennessee Titans, Nashville Kats, Nashville Predators, Nashville Sounds, etc). Also, any information which would help in fulfilling my career dreams would be appreciated. (William from Knoxville, TN)
Answer: William, thanks for writing. You are well on your way. The one thing I want you to know is don't let set backs get you down. This business is very competitive. Think about it, there are only 31 jobs in the NFL and the people there already have no intentions of leaving. I would like to see you go back and work to get on the staff of the college you attended or even the high school you went to if that's possible. Getting certified is always a great move. I feel your enthusiasm through my screen and truly believe that you will make it. Stay on top of information and don't be afraid to put in long hours. Contact other coaches in the business, most would be glad to share their knowledge with you don't be afraid to ask!
Do you have any techniques for using the physioball for pregnant women? I would love some guidance on this one! Thanks! (Penny from Durango, CO)
Answer: Penny thanks for writing. Check out our website click on "Tips" scroll down to an article called "Having a Ball". You will see some uses for the physioball. I must warn you first to contact your health care professional to make sure that exercise will not harm you or the baby. Good Luck with the pregnancy and stay in touch.
I am an assistant football coach at a high school and I am looking for a good strength and conditioning program for the players. The head coach is sold on BFS, but I think that it has the kids doing too many excercises which takes to much time and I feel is killing the turn out. Can you help me out? (Coach Hager from Des Moines, IA)
Answer: Thanks for writing. I don't know how long you have worked as an assistant with your head coach, but be very careful about talking to him about changing the strength program. Is the conditioning segment your responsibility? If not you would want to either find out how you could coordinate it or work closer to it. The program we use for or high school athletes varies from athlete to athlete. We work on turning weaknesses into strengths, by that I mean a one size fits all program will probably not be in the best interest of your program. How many players do you have on the squad? How often do you guys lift? How long are the sessions? Depending on how many days and how many athletes, we could tailor something that will work for you and your team. In the mean time check out our website click on "Tips" and you see articles about different aspects of training. Look around and get back to me with the information I requested and we will work together to create a protocol for you.
Where can I find a good powerlifting belt (sz. xxl) for $40 or under??? (Bob from C.M.C.H)
Answer: Valeo makes a great belt. You can go online and find them or you can go into any sporting goods store and find a good one. To be honest, I'm not too into the "heavy" leather belts, I find them to be to restrictive. Good Luck and stay in touch.
I am looking for a strength program for me to work in conjunction with my two weight sessions/week. I am looking specifically for exercises that strengthen my core and my tendon attachments on my arm, ankle and knee. (Martyn from Norwich, England)
Answer: Martyn, thanks for writing. To answer your question check out our website click on "tips" then click on "Hard Core Stability" it's an article dealing with training the core. As for strengthening the tendons in your arms, ankles and knees, there is a training modality called "Super-Slo" training. There are some people who swear by this method of training, I'm not one of them. I would suggest you do an internet search to get information on that topic. Good Luck and stay in touch.
Question: I am a senior Q-B for my high school football team. I lift every other day, regularly but I don't seem to be getting any bigger. I know that it takes time to build muscle, but I have been lifting for 3 months. What can I do. I have another question. Does taking any type of protein substance help gain muscle. (Josh from Lusk, WY)
Answer: Josh, thanks for writing. Protein is the building block of muscle. You want to make sure that you get it from a good source. Tuna is a great source of protein as is steak and eggs, not together though. You would be better off talking to your health care practitioner to find out what would be good for you and take it from there. Supplements can be a good source but I suggest saving your money. You didn't give me an idea as to how intense your lifting protocol. Lifting every other day is fine but if you are not lifting with any type of intensity, then to be honest it won't matter how often you lift. The results will always be slow in coming.
Question: I'm a 6'6" shooting guard/small forward. I'm trying to increase my vertical leap. I would like for you to let me know some techniques that will help me in this area. I've noticed that those guys in New York and New Jers' can jump like kangaroos. What groins' on here? Help me out! (Lisa from San Diego, CA)
Answer: Check out click on "Tips" and you will find workouts that will help you get to where you want to be. If you don't find what you are looking for contact me again and we will work on creating a situation that is right for you.
Question: I have being weight training for the pass 12 months and I have made good gains in all areas but the bench press. When I started I could bench a mere 130lbs but now I can get 200lbs...The problem is if I miss a week (I travel with my job from time to time), I find I am very weak again on the bench. I would like some training tips. I usually do chest once a week as follows... flat bench 10x8x6x4x2x4x6x8...Incline 4x6...Flies 3x10 and pullovers 3x20. (Ian from Ireland)
Answer: Ian thanks for writing. Let me pose a question to you, when you are doing your bench press you are doing a total of 48 reps, when you do the other chest moves you aren't doing as many, why is that? To tell you the truth you are doing way too many reps on the bench. Cut back to 3 to 4 sets and see what happens. Once you start doing smaller sets you will be able to move more weight. Classic case of less is more. Relax and know that it's ok not to do 48 reps on the bench and still get to where you want to be.
Question: I am 17 years old and I wrestle. My question is what are some exercises that can build my speed, and help me with my wind? (Jamaul from Como, N.C.)
Answer: Do you have any hills around where you live? The reason I ask is that sprinting up those hills are a great way to build hip strength and work on your wind. As a wrestler you know that the more explosive you are in the hip area the better you will be. It sounds really simple but sometimes we tend to overlook the obivious. Try it out and let me know how you are doing with it.
Question: What is the best traning and conditioning workouts for a hockey player?? What weight traning workouts should a hockey player do on his on and off season?? (Nick from Cherry Hill, NJ)
Answer: There is no "best" way to train for hockey. Every hockey player has a different objective when it comes to their training. Slower players want to become faster, faster players want to become faster still. Weak players want to be stronger, and so on. When it comes to conditioning concentrate on areas that will help you compete. The areas I suggest are your abs, lower back and hips or your core. This group of muscles pretty much power the whole athlete. Once you get this area straight you will find that your performance will pick up as well. You want to concentrate on moves that will promote greater power. Hockey is a ballistic sport, lots of explosive movements. So doing lots of cardio will not be in your best interest. You want to train the way you play, short bursts of work followed by a rest period that would mimic the amount of rest you would get in a game. I don't know what level you are playing on but these tips are universal, work on them and see what happens.
Question: Approx. 6 weeks ago, I had my right knee scooped to repair a torn medial meniscus. I have always used weights and ran to stay in shape. I am 27 years old, 6'4" and go between 225-230. I have and do take a fair amount of different supplements. However, I have never been able to obtain the over all strength and muscle mass I would like. I know there are a lot of things to take into consideration reading steroids. But, under a doctor's care, would the right drugs give me a quick, major improvement? Or would I need to take the drugs for some time to show results? Also what if any drug(s) would you recommend to improve over all strength and muscle mass. I am just starting my rehab and I'm thinking about using steroids when I return to the gym to help make up for lost time and to give me that extra push. (Ron from Glendale, California)
Answer: To answer your question under the right doctor's care, steroids will give you the quick improvement that you desire. Now let me ask you some questions, first of all are you an athlete? If so what sport(s) do you play? Would you feel like you a winner if you took steroids and won? If you are not an athlete what in the world would you want to take steroids for? Ron I can't say this loud enough or often enough... I DO NOT BELIEVE IN TAKING SHORTCUTS OF ANY TYPE TO WIN. Ron when you start rehab go natural, stay away from drugs and see how hard you can push yourself with out the help of drugs. Trust me on this one you will be a better person for it.
Question: Hi, I am 17 years old and I play fastpitch softball both for my high school team and 18&U ASA team. I am a senior and looking to play Division I softball in college next year. I would like to start with a running/weight lifting program that would help me with my strength and endurance, and increase my running speed. I also have a current sub-scapular injury to my pitching shoulder and would like to know if there are any specific things, including treatments and exercises, that I can do to fix that. Thank you for any information you can give me. (Lisa from San Diego, California)
Answer: I'm going to tell you a secret, that will serve two purposes. The thing I want you to know is that if you send this same request to the softball coaches of the schools you are interested in not only will you get the way they train, you will also get them to want to find out who you are. If you aren't on their minds, after the request there is a chance you would be. By writing to get the way they train, when you go to camp you will be on the same level regarding fitness as the rest of the team. As far as your shoulder ask your doctor as to what they would recommend, I don't have enough information about your case to feel comfortable about telling you things to do.
Question: What is the best way to cut your abs, or how can you cut your abs in a short period of time I need to have a better looking abs. Also what is the best way to build your legs and be stronger. I need to get more strength in them for track so I can be faster in the 100 m dash. I thought of taking creatine but I did not know if I should. (Kyle from Olathe, Kansas)
Answer: Kyle, you ask a perplexing question. To be honest I am more concerned with ab strength more so than "cut". Strong abs are at the core of a lot of great athletic performances. Check out click on "Tips" look for an article called "Having a Ball". It gives an insight as to how we train our abs. Also look for an article called "Building legs right for you", it will give you more insight to our leg program. As far as taking creatine, I would ask you to speak with your health care practitioner first before you do that. You would want to make sure that you have no hidden health problems before you ingest a product like that. Good luck and stay in touch.
Question: What is a good weightlifting program for a baseball player? Being a pitcher, my main objectives are to gain velocity and being able to keep loose, especially in the shoulder and elbow areas. (Daniel from Asheville, North Carolina)
Answer: Does your school have a strength coach? If so check with them for details. I don't know what you are doing now so to recommend stuff might be foolish. Dan, concentrate on those areas and you will be ok. Oh and for your shoulder you want to do internal/external rotation.
Question: I have two boys, ages 14 and 17, who play Club and High School Soccer. It seems as if not many american soccer coaches, at least their coaches, know much about conditioning. They seem to think that you simply run x amount of laps around a field and perhaps some suicide runs and you should be in condition. My experience in watching my son's teams, is that they are not obviously in good condition, either at the start and end of their seasons. Would you have a Planned Off-Season Strength, Endurance and Speed Training Program(s) for Soccer Players? How about programs during the soccer season? (Jose from Orlando, Florida)
Answer: Jose, thanks for writing. We are currently putting together information on soccer conditioning. There is an article on my website click on "Tips" and you will find some information on soccer conditioning. Check the site periodically so that when the info is made available you will get to see it. Thanks for writing and stay in touch.
Question: My daughter is a pitcher in college and this weekend she pitched in a tournament. Her arm started hurting in the 3rd inning. The pain is in the front around the pectoral muscle. The trainer felt like she strained the muscle. It was swollen, but that has went away. What type of exercises should she do to stretch this muscle, and should she not pitch for a while? (Sheila from Knoxville, Tennessee)
Answer: Sheila, thanks for writing. The only thing I can suggest is that when stretching, your daughter should place her hands behind her head locking her fingers. Then have someone pull her elbows back nice and easy. This will give the pec area a great stretch. I'm concerned about the swelling in the area. She should see a doctor to make sure that there is no major damage. As far as her pitching again any time soon, that should be left up to her health care practitioner. Good luck and stay in touch.
Question: I have just taken on a position with a local high school as fitness coordinator. I do have extensive fitness background, but I am struggling with the logistics of placing 30 athletes on training programs. I noticed you have worked with numerous teams at various levels, what systems did you utilize to get the most out of all the athletes? The two prominent programs are soccer and hockey. Both programs have 30 athletes each. I am trying to figure out how effectively put them all on a conditioning program to supplement their practices. (Garnet from Edmonton Alberta, Canada)
Answer: The best way to tackle a group this size is to make it smaller. By that I mean, have everybody pair up. Then schedule the groups at 5 min intervals. So what happens is that pair 1 comes in at 3:00 then pair 2 starts at 3:05 and so on until everyone is in and lifting. This system requires that a circuit type workout be employed.
Question: I'm a freshman running back, I need help in developing my explosive power, blocking, body lean, keeping my legs moving, and running through defenders. Can you please tell me any drills, weight lifting exercises, anything that will help me in these area's. I also have a hurt shoulder right now, my left shoulder has tendonitis and a partially torn rotator cuff. My bench was 200, my squat is about 300, my clean is 140, my 40 yard dash is 4.89, weight 145 lbs, my vertical jump is 31 inches, and my deadlift is 215 lbs. (Jordan from Columbus, GA)
Answer: I would tell you that you must create a great strength base in the "Core" muscle group. By that I mean in your abs, lower back and hips. Check out our website at and click on "Tips" and you will find articles on all types of topics that will help you. If you don't find what you need, get back to me and we will work together to create a situation that will work for you.
Question: I'm currently playing basketball and football in high school. I'm looking to enhance my speed and endurance so I can finish strong in the fourth quarter. I'm also looking for a way to had some muscle to my body. I'm 15, I was just wondering if there are some good specific exercises for me to do. (Bob from Blackwood, NJ)
Answer: What I would suggest is that you work on creating a good strength base in your hip area. What we do is a lot of squats and walking lunges. We keep our sets and reps in the moderate range. When we do our lunges we do them from all different angles. By that, I mean we lunge forward, backward and laterally. I've found that doing lunges this way works well in creating the type of hip strength that will create an athlete who is faster than the athlete who doesn't do them.

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