Why Do Basketball Players Wear Arm Sleeves?

Shooting SleevesAllen Iverson left his imprint on the NBA and basketball as a whole in a variety of ways. From his infamous “we’re talking about practice” rant, to his fearless playing style and unique crossover move, Iverson’s career impacted multitudes of basketball players.

One of the many ways that Allen Iverson affected the game was his use of an arm sleeve. Iverson was the first basketball player to wear an arm sleeve during a game (as pictured here) in 2001. Since then, it’s safe to say there has been a proliferation of arm sleeve usage at the grassroots, high school, college and professional levels.

So why exactly do basketball players wear sleeves? Are there actually competitive benefits to wearing them? Or did players simply want to look like Allen Iverson or oneof their other favorite NBA stars by wearing a sleeve?

Undoubtedly, basketball sleeves provide a litany of benefits to ball players. Let’s take a look at a few below.


Since basketball sleeves put pressure to your arm, compression sleeves will keep your muscles warm and help increase blood circulation in your arm. As well, some research has suggested that wearing compression gear can help reduce swelling and fatigue, and while more research is needed, that is a very encouraging finding.

Muscle Warm-Up

Basketball arm sleeves will keep your arm warm, and as a general rule of thumb, the warmer your muscles are the more flexible you will be. Warm-up sleeves also help keep your arm at a consistent temperature, and due to their special material, they wick away moisture to ensure your arm can stay dry.

Extra Protection

There’s nothing humorous about falling on your “funny bone” (cheesy pun intended). A padded basketball sleeve will protect your elbow should you fall hard to the floor, and overall, the sleeve will protect your entire arm from cuts, bumps and bruises.

Look Good, Play Good

There’s a reason Allen Iverson went onto the floor with a sleeve in 2001 –it looks cool! If you look good and feel good on the floor, it increases the chances you’ll play well.

And isn’t playing well the ultimate goal?

To Take Their Game to the Next Level, Athletes Should Focus on the Core

Core WorkoutsSome people head to the gym because they want to improve the way they look. They might spend half their time working to increase arm strength, hoping super-size biceps and triceps will win them respect and admiration. While limb strength is certainly a key factor in strength and conditioning, true athletes know that core strength is even more important for improving their game.

So what is core strength anyway? Many people look toward the abs and obliques to define it, and they’re not wrong. But core strength actually involves many other parts of the body, referring to pretty much every muscle between someone’s arms and legs. These include major core muscles like the diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles as well as minor core muscles like gluteus maximus.

Arms and legs get all the credit. Think the basketball player who can outrun an entire team or the boxer with the devastating right hook. What many people don’t realize is that these types of movements start in the core, which stabilizes the body, generates power, and moves force from one area to another. A strong offensive lineman relies on his core to push forward with leverage, while a soccer player swings his leg with movements from the core.

A strong core makes an athlete quicker and more dexterous, able to stop and cut on a dime with strength and velocity. In addition to providing force, a strong core also allows an athlete to absorb impact more effectively, keeping them off the injury report for the next game.

The difficult thing about strengthening our core is that effective exercises aren’t as obvious as simply using your arms or legs to lift heavier and heavier weights. Bench presses and curls are just fine, but to really get at the core, athletes need to use creative workouts to get at those muscles hidden in the middle of the trunk.

Check out the wide selection of core training equipment at JumpUSA. Have a conversation with your trainer and begin discovering more and more ways to use exercise science to your advantage, to bring your game of choice to the next level.

How Physical Therapists Can Encourage Their Patients

Physical Therapist Thanks to advances in science and technology, physical rehabilitations have never been more successful. However, talk to any physical therapist about the challenges they face, and you’ll likely hear a prevailing theme along the lines of “the most difficult part of my job is motivating patients and getting them to buy in.”

Regardless of how perfect an exercise may be, or how grand your inventory of exercise equipment may be, your patient will not see the results you desire unless you get them to buy in. As such, what can you do to make sure they are putting their best foot forward? Here are three tips that could help in your endeavor:

1) Incentivize the exercises. It doesn’t matter if you’re middle aged or in kindergarten; the fact is people worker harder, faster and smarter when they know there is a reward at the end of the tunnel. Try to figure out what makes your patients tick, and use that to your advantage. It could be something as simple as giving them their favorite snack food after long day, or the right to perform a “fun” rehab exercise for the rest of a given session.

2) Make clear, concise and obtainable goals. Few things are more frustrating than feeling rushed, and feeling like you’re not fulfilling the goals you set out to achieve. Be sure to set goals that the patient can meet, and keep in mind the old adage that “you need to learn how to crawl before you can walk” in mind, and be sure to make small, albeit measurable goals. If someone is due for a long rehab, you don’t want to set exorbitant goals, but if you only have someone for a short period of time, then you may want to consider being a bit more aggressive with your objectives.

3) Develop a positive relationship. This is likely a foreign and somewhat scary process for the patient; be sure that you provide them with the confidence, reassurance and positivity they need to get through a difficult time. What’s more, listen intently to what they have to say so you can better determine their specific needs, and somewhat tailor your exercises to best suit those needs. If they see you’re taking an active approach with their specific requests, then it will help you develop a trusting relationship.

Of course, it always helps to continually update your collection of exercise equipment that you can turn to, depending on the needs of your patient. JumpUSA offers a wide range of rehab and exercise equipment that can help trainers provide optimal service to their patients.

If you need help selecting the right equipment, please contact JumpUSA today.

What Baseball Coaches Can Learn From The Mets and Royals

World Series This year’s World Series is an enticing matchup, though Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays fans may strongly disagree.

Baseball, like pretty much every other game, is a copycat sport. Therefore, team organizers or coaches of all competitive levels will take a look at what made the teams that met in the championship series successful, and try to figure out if they can implement some of that “magic” into their own teams.
In years past, or at least during the height of the steroid era, we saw many teams build their roster to create runs and play for the big inning or a three run homerun. Sluggers that did not have a true defensive home were hot commodities, as long as they could outhit their mistakes.

However, this year’s matchup is between teams that would fit seamlessly into any previous generation – both the Mets and Royals have had unbelievable success by building their teams on pitching and defense. Rather than concentrate solely on run creation, both teams have put an emphasis on building their ball clubs through run prevention.

This year World Series epitomizes a growing trend in recent seasons in baseball – clubs today are more cognizant about secondary skills, such as defense , base running, controlling the running game and putting the ball play. The “putting the ball play” variable has been especially important for the Royals; in a time where strikeouts are at their pinnacle, the Royals field a lineup that deftly makes consistent contact, allowing them to advance runners and hit will with runners in scoring position. They’re aggressive on the base paths, and pounce on their opponents mistakes, while playing a modern version of “small ball.”

Meanwhile, if you’re a believer in the theory that pitching is the name of the game, then you will surely love watching the Mets. The Mets have built their team through a young, formidable rotation of power arms. The Mets are an example of why power arms are often most successful, since when you throw with great velocity, you can get away with leaving a mistake in the zone. Put simply, a heavy fastball is still likely to generate swings and misses even when it’s up in the zone, as opposed to a pitcher making a mistake with a below average fastball.

To paraphrase, baseball coaches of all competitive levels can learn a great deal from the Mets and Royals. When selecting which pitchers will throw in your rotation, consider leaning towards the pitchers with superior velocity, ensuring they’ll be able to get away with mistakes that other pitchers may not. Further, when thinking of what you can do to consistently win games, think beyond offense and run creation, and turn some of your focus to defense and run prevention. And of course, be sure to convey the importance of smart base running to your players, and teach them different hitting strategies when there are runners on base.

Of course, if you ever need equipment or coaching tools to help you improve your team, be sure to turn to JumpUSA.

The Importance Of Stretching Before (And After) A Workout

Streching Nearly all sport science professionals recommend stretching before and after a workout for its numerous benefits.

Stretching is done to relax your body and relieve muscle tension. It also helps increase your range of motion, preventing muscle and joint strains.

Too many people suffer from back problems. Perhaps they avoid stretching and therefore they put their back out of whack when exercising. A body that is going to do strenuous exercise needs stretching in order to be prepared…just like you warm up a car in the cold winter months before you drive it somewhere through the ice and snow, your body needs warming up, too.

Stretching helps improve a person’s blood circulation and their own body awareness. Since exercise requires both common and unusual body movements, stretching is the ideal way to help one’s muscles and body parts deal with skilled movements.

You might as well stretch the parts of your body you plan to workout, both before and after the workout. Doing so helps prevent injury while also alleviating potential soreness.

JumpUSA sells Stretch N Strength Flex Bands. These heavy elastic resistance bands not only help a person stretch but also build strength. The bands wrap around the body or body’s extremities to produce natural and healthy ranges of motion and allow for a variety of stretches. Use them for flexibility workouts, injury rehabilitation, and weight training. Strength gains can be achieved by attaching the Stretch N Strength Flex Band to free weights or manipulating them around the body for resistance.

How to Consistently Shoot Well in Basketball

Watching Steph Curry shoot a basketball is like watching musicians perform in the New York Philharmonic—it’s an art and a thing of beauty. However, long before Steph Curry became a high NBA draft pick and the musicians joined our country’s most famous orchestra, they spent countless hours perfecting their craft.

When you watch Steph Curry or another NBA sharpshooter take jumpers, it looks so easy and effortless that you’re tricked into think it’s easy to consistently make buckets with your “J’’. Then you get into the gym, and realize it’s not so easy.

That said, if you’re willing to put in the work, learn the right mechanics, practice the same shooting drills time and time again and utilize different tools that could help improve your shot, you too could become a “sharpshooter” that shoots for a high percentage.

Go to an elementary school, high school or even a college basketball practice, and you’re likely to hear coaches shouting the word “BEEF” at their players. No, coaches aren’t talking about the beef you’d eat while enjoying a hamburger or a steak, but instead are conveying to players of a catchy acronym that reminds them of four important facets of quality shooting mechanics, as outlined below:

E-Eyes at the rim
E-Elbow straight
F-Follow through

Being balanced, having your eye set on the target (the rim), having your elbow straight and beneath the ball and following through after the release are pre-requisites to consistently hitting your shot. The next time you go to shoot around, remember to utilize “BEEF” and put yourself in position for success.

Of course, the most important part of consistently shooting well is using proper form, and saving that form to muscle memory. However, there are also several tools that could help you become a better shooter, including a Shooting Glove Aid or a Shooting Strap Basketball Aid, available at JumpUSA.

Don’t be afraid to seek to improve your shooting; to get to Steph Curry’s level, you’ll need all the help you can get!

The Advantages of Working Out At Home

Working Out At Home If you live in an area that’s cold in the winter, complete with ice, snow, wind and freezing temperatures, do you really want to drive to the gym a couple times a week in that? Harsh weather is one reason it’s better to work out at home than a local gym. There are several other reasons, too.

Gyms operate according to their rules and their hours. That means if you feel like working out at Midnight on a Thursday but your gym is closed, you’re out of luck. Your home is always available whereas a gym is not. Furthermore, at home you make all the rules. At a gym, you have to follow their rules.

At home, you can wear whatever you want or even exercise in your undergarments because you’re on your own without anyone looking at you. People often go to the gym to show off, such that they literally have to dress up and look like a model in order to impress people there. At home, you can wear smelly socks. You don’t have to comb or brush your hair. If you don’t want to wear a bra or a shirt, you don’t have to. This is ideal. Oh, and if you want to grunt or make other noises, at home you can feel free to do so without worrying about what others think.

Many people who go to gyms worry about the germs the other people leave on the equipment. Rather than get their germs, stay home and work out where the germs are your own.

If you’re the type of person who likes to drink post-workout drinks and concoctions, it’s cheaper and more convenient to work out at home where your kitchen and fridge are just a room or two away.

For those who want to work out at home, JumpUSA can provide you with helpful equipment. Look over JumpUSA’s website to see the many products that will help you accomplish your exercises at home.

When to Use a Medicine Ball with Handles

Medicine Balls With HandlesWhen most people think of medicine balls, they might remember their school gym class years ago. A medicine ball looked a lot like a basketball, but was much heavier. You certainly didn’t want to get hit in a dodge ball game with one.

Today, there are different types of medicine balls available, including ones with handles. Balls with easy grip dual handles can help strengthen your core by building your overall strength, endurance and resistance level.

In particular, a medicine ball with handles on one side or both sides can be used for wood-chop exercises, or any exercise that you’d normally use a dumbbell or kettlebell. Obviously, because they’re ball-shaped, these work better for throwing than, say, throwing a dumbbell around!

Not only do athletes and exercisers like medicine balls with handles because they allow them to mix up their workouts, giving them more options, but they also appreciate how they can lead to explosive power development. It’s not unusual for golfers, for instance, to use medicine balls with handles to practice and strengthen their golf swings. Those who want to work on their abs also find the medicine ball with handles to work well.

Medicine balls with handles are versatile, and Jump USA stocks a variety of them. Browse the website to see the different offerings, and choose a weight based on your current fitness level and motivation. If you’re a beginner, choose a lower weight like 6 pounds; advanced athletes can ask their coach to recommend the type and weight of medicine ball that’s best for their personal development.

What is the Best Weight for a Medicine Ball?

Medicine Balls The medicine ball is considered an old-school, time-tested way to get your body in game shape. It’s a simple, heavy ball that can be used in a variety of ways to build your core muscles, burn fat and improve your athletic performance.

Most people would assume the heavier the ball the better because we’re conditioned to think that we need “the ultimate challenge” to change our bodies. However, keep in mind that even an 8-pound medicine ball, which may seem “light” to some, can give the average person a great workout. Indeed, most people use 6-, 8-, or 10-pound medicine balls for strength and conditioning purposes. Women tend to use 6-pound balls while men head toward the 10-pounders. Interestingly, medicine balls aren’t meant to build muscle mass; they’re meant to build muscle power. So, ideally, an 8-pound ball works best for anyone who wants to start exercising with a medicine ball.

When using a medicine ball, a person should feel extra tension in their core muscles while doing the exercise. The ball shouldn’t be so heavy that a person’s arms get worn out before completing all of their intended repetitions.

JumpUSA sells medicine balls as low as 2 pounds and as heavy as 20 pounds. Depending on a person’s weight, level of fitness, and motivation, they should choose a weight they’d feel comfortable with–yet challenged, too–to see results with proper use. If a medicine ball isn’t easily accessible, but you intend to buy one and want to see what a certain weight feels like, you can always test out bowling balls at your local alley or barbells at your local gym to get a feel for the ideal weight for your needs.

Tips for Choosing a Medicine Ball

Medicine Ball Choosing the right medicine ball to build strength and endurance during your workouts involves a number of factors.

First, there’s the weight. Medicine balls come in a variety of weights-JumpUSA has them as light as 2 pounds and as heavy as 20 pounds, for instance. The weight you’ll want to use is the one that adds resistance to your strength training and plyometric exercises without totally wearing you out after a little while of use.

Consider what types of exercises you plan to do, as well as your current strength level and how many repetitions you’d like to complete. Then choose a weight based on your speed of movement, accuracy and control/range of motion. In other words, you should be able to throw and catch it well enough to use it for several minutes at a time without your arms wearing out or complaining, “It’s just too heavy!”

Most people tend to stick with medicine balls in the 6 to 8 pound range. If you’re going to do multi-joint exercises like throwing it over your head, then make sure you get a ball that’s large enough to fit both of your hands. For abdominal workouts, go for smaller balls when you’ll be holding them away from your body and want to maximize your speed.

Here’s the thing: don’t overdo it. Start out with a lighter medicine ball before you graduate to a heavier one down the line. Your body needs a good challenge, but it doesn’t need to overdo it during the first workout– sure, you might want to look cool by picking up the heaviest medicine ball available to “show off,” but be realistic. You don’t want to get injured, so choose a weight, shape and size that makes sense to you and your skill level. Later on, as you become stronger, you can upgrade your medicine ball to something heavier and/or more elaborate for the sake of the challenge.