Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolution Time

New Years Eve always brings about resolutions for the new year. Most fall flat and fail to hold your imagination and perseverance. That's why gym memberships go up in January and by March are lower then ever. Take a look at most new years resolutions it's cut this or cut that, lose this and lose that, quit this and quit that. Psychology has shown that the human psyche doesn't respond well to that kind of negative goal setting. It also shows that your more likely to quit a bad habit if you replace it with something. Also break down big goals to smaller more tangible goals. Lose weight is not a good goal. Lose 10 lbs by April 1st is. Whats better then that though is to break down that goal into smaller goals that are both positive and can replace a bad habit.

Drink 5 glasses of water every day. What you'll find is that your more likely to drink less pop. You will also probably find yourself eating less food as thirst is often times misinterpreted as hunger.. So instead of reaching for a pop, reach for a glass of water and if you still want the pop, go ahead. Eventually a good habit will replace the habit of reaching for a pop.

Take the stairs whenever possible. Something small and positive that will start to get your mindset into looking for opportunities to exercise.

So there are two easy examples of how to think of your steps in a positive way that are small and manageable that will go towards a bigger goal. So good luck with this years resolutions.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What I'm Reading

I just finished Michael Pollans latest book In Defense of Food. It's sort of his follow up to The Omnivores Dillema. Like his first book, this book is very interesting. It deals more with the government involvement and the large scale ramifications of what we eat and why we eat it. A few things stand out, how the price of food has been driven down, but at the same time so has the quality. There has been a reversal in spending trends where 15% of ones income was once spent on groceries and 5% on healthcare. Now its reversed, 5% on groceries and 15% on health care. Now there are a number of things that goes into a statistic like that, but one can't help but see a bit of a correlation, eat crap and your body and health pays the price. His advice if one were to summarize the book, eat real foot mostly plants and a little meat. Followed by, don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. Pretty sound advice.

The second book I just finished over Christmas break was Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell. Gladwell previous books, The Tipping Point and Blink are great reads as well. Outliers might be the most intersting and thought provoking book I've read in recent years. It should be required reading for teachers, coaches and parents. The whole book talks about success and why some people achieve it and others don't. It delves into the classic American myth of the self made millionare and rags to riches success story. One of the more mind opening chapters deals with the concept of the 10,000 hour rule. How when people hit it, they usually obtain significant success in their chosen field. Imagine 10,000 hours playing the violin or hitting a golf ball. Now the book doesn't deny that smarts and talent and ability are not neccessary, they are. But along with that, 10,000 hours are needed for that talent and ability to rise above the rest and truly shine.

So the quesiton is how are you spending your time. What are you putting your 10,000 hours towards? It's a genuinly fun book to read that gets you thinking about possibilities instead of limitations.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Posterior Chain Strength

In last weeks video you saw the power of Asafa Powell leaping out of the blocks and the strength of his lower back, glutes and hamstrings. These are the engine for athletes. If these get stronger on an athlete the athlete will get faster. So here is a list of of great posterior chain exercises to throw into the mix and get stronger and in the process get faster.
1. Snatch grip deadlift off a 2-4" block. Perhaps the best at improving 10 meter sprint times
2. Box Squatting
3. Deadlifts
4. Good morning variations
5. Pull throughs
6. Long Reaching lunges
7. RDL's
8. Glute ham
9. Reverse Hyper (control the eccentric)
10. Olympic Lifts (of course)
So here are 10 exercises to add into your routine to improve the Posterior Chain.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hip Extension

Pictures are worth a thousand words. Perfect hip extension and an example of why posterior chain strength is crucial for athletes.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Random Thoughts

Since I've been traveling with the US Bobsled teams the last few weeks I apologize for the lack of posts. The internet has been a little sketchy to come by and the work has kept me busy, but here are a few things i've been reading, thinking and doing.

1. Irradiation is pretty cool. Basically it's getting your whole body tense to do a lift, even if its not "normaly" called for. For example squeeze a captains of crush gripper with your left hand while you do a single arm dumbell snatch with your right. You will be able to do more weight because of the tension you have generated.

2. B vitamins are helpful after a night of drinking and German beer is pretty good.

3. Partner assisted single leg glute bridge. I came up with this with a few of the bobsled athletes. Works amazing. Hook your hands together and bend down in a squat position. Have the athlete lie on the floor with their heel in your hooked hands. Have them press up as in a normal glute bridge. Not only is there a greater range of motion for the hip extension, you will be able to feel how much force they push with. Compare the left vs the right side and you will be able to tell which glute needs more activation work.

4. Some type of barbell rollout or ab rollout should be in everyones strength training program.

5. Always check the external obliques with any foot/calf injury. The new gait after time will build up adhesions there especially if a protective boot is used.

6. Not sure how to address it, but the short head of the biceps femoris is crucial in maintaining hamstring health. There are different nerve innervations then to the long head. Something I'm thinking over.

7. I'm a lucky guy to get to travel Europe with a sports team. Sometimes you just have to be aware of your blessings.

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Quote

I’ve thrown for forty-five years on an average of 10,000 throws a year. That’s 450,000 throws and not one of those throws has ever been perfect. There was always something else I could have done to make the prior throw just a little bit better. I think if we attack life in that same manner we can do some wonderful things on this earth.
-Al Oerter Four time Olympic Gold Medalist

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!  Getting ready to put the finishing touches on the first week in Germany with the US bobsled teams.  We have a rest day tomorrow and the men and women will race on Saturday and Sunday for the first FIBT race of the season.  

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Joy of Travel

I left friday afternoon to begin my 3 months with the U.S. bobsled team this past weekend.  Our plane was delayed in Washington D.C.'s Dulles airport for an extra 4 and 1/2 hours while we were on the plane.  Needless to say there was a bit of frustration at being on the plane an extra 4.5 hours in addition to the 9 we were about to endure.  On landing my portable chiropractic table managed to get lost as well.  We hit a bit of a snowstorm on the way to Winterberg Germany, site of the first FIBT world cup race and it took an extra hour to get in.  But we arrived safe and sound and ready to start the 2008-2009 race season.  You have to love international travel!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tissue Quality

Regeneration work has been the word on the street for awhile now.  What is it?  It's basically putting into regular practice time invested in your health and recovery.  It's working on tissue quality.  Static stretching has been getting a bad rap in the past few years.  Studies showing that it doesn't help or even benefit when it comes to injury prevention, some actually show a decrease in power.  But lets get real, 10 minutes of static stretching at the end of the workout isn't going to fact it will probably play a bit role in keeping you moving well.  But stretching works on the length of the muscle tissue, lets talk about the quality of the muscle tissue.  
Whats the difference?  Muscles can be tight for a variety of reasons.  That will be a different post unto itself.  But often times the quality is junk.  Knotted, tight, tender are words that may describe it.  When the muscle is like this it won't have the same contractile properties as healthy tissue.  It won't act optimally when you need it to.  It may actually be the source of your pain.  Stretching won't work.  Here's an analogy.  Imagine a knot in a rubbber band.  It's not at its optimal length.  If you stretch it the knot won't come out.  In fact it will get tighter!  So you have to get the knot out if you want full function of the rubber band (the muscle).
How do you get it out?  Foam rolling is a great inexpensive option. Rolling on a tennis or lacrosse ball is another great tool to get the smaller more precise muscles.  Active Release Technique from a trained practitioner is a great option as well.  So spend at least 10 minutes after each workout training regeneration.  If you don't have time to warm up before the workout and time to recover from it afterwards, you don't have time to workout.  I often have athletes just do the regeneration work if time is an issue or it is an off day.   I know if the tissue quality is there, the next workouts will be tremendous.  So get to work.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Media Hype

I can remember being in my introductory neuro diagnostic class in chiropractic school and hearing my professor say a line I've always remembered.  "Follow the money!"  What does that mean?  It means if your looking at a product, information, research, review or action.....follow the money!  Who benefits from the result, the consequence, the information your reading?  Why is it being presented this way?  The information your being told, why is it being told that way and who benefits from it?  Recently I read another great post by Dr. Michael Eades, . In it he goes over how the media distorts studies and their findings in the Jupiter study involving statin drugs. It often seems like the media plays off fear (to get your attention, buy my paper, watch my network) and spins any and all information. This is another great reason to question drug studies, especially when it comes ones health. In this day an age it's up to the consumer to cut through the B.S. and hype and take their health into their own hands, because you won't be getting much help from the evening news.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Front Foot Elevated Cable Split Squat

A great exercise to add in your tool bag. Really targets the VMO, a muscle notoriously weak on many individuals. For knee health it's imperative to keep this muscle strong and firing. This muscle along with keeping the glute med. strong will keep cyclist and runners from developing IT band problems.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I'm going to get a little philosophical on you, so bare with me.  I was recently doing some reading this last week and came across a simple concept on time management.  How many times have you heard you need to manage your time better.  To many to count.  This time for some reason it stuck by simply replacing the word manage with invest.  Time management to Time investment.  Does that make you change the way you look at the activity your about to undertake or for that fact change what you do?  
Time investment.  Going to the gym and working is investment in your health, maybe even your sanity.  Reading is an investment in your knowledge.  Watching t.v.,  that's an investment to.  Time investment can relate to other things as well.  Hiring a trainer to teach you the right things to do at the right time with the right progressions, may in the long run save you time from the therapists office.  So this next week, change your mindset, think of how each and every hour your going to invest that precious 60 minutes and see how your life and choices change.     

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Plantar Fascia Pain in Grand Rapids

Plantar Fasciitis is a painful, sometimes debilitating condition involving the arches of your feet.  Each step can feel like a someone is jabbing a knife into your heel and arch.  It usually results as an inflammation in the fascia and sometimes in the smaller muscles such as quadratus plantae.  It generally has the signs of painful first steps in the morning and gets a bit better as the day goes on and the muscles and ligament loosen up. It often occurs when there is overpronation and/or collapsed arches.  Another reason is that the flexor digiti brevis is weak.  I have had a personal interest in this subject.  The summer before I went off to play football at Hillsdale College, I got bilateral plantar fascia pain.  My summer training was gone.

Looking back with the knowledge base I've built up.  I know bilateral pain often comes from SI Joint/lumbar spine being misaligned.  If it's just one foot, often times the medial plantar nerve is adhesed.  You will need a trained manual therapist to find this.  I use Active Release Technique.  But first start with the simple steps.
 So here are a few treatment strategies.  Roll your arch on a golf ball.  This will help break up any adhesion's that may have developed in the muscle and ligament.  Your body is all connected.  Rolling the arch will actually even increase your hamstring flexibility!  Do towel crunches with your toes.  Pull the towel towards you using only your toes.  This will strengthen your toe flexors.  Stretch the calves religiously and roll your calves on a lacrosse or tennis ball.  Remember your body is all connected.  Try these strategies for 2 weeks.  If your pain hasn't decreased substantially, find a soft tissue specialist.  I see plantar foot pain all the time at our practice in downtown Grand Rapids.  There is a lot of relief out there, go find it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Great Quote

Now I push myself to the threshold
Because I am stronger
Because I believe
Now I spit in the face of defeat
Now I'm stronger then all uncertainty
-Jamey Jasta

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Red Wine & Health

Red wine has been associated with heart health for a number of years now.  The reason is an antioxidant in the wine called Resveratrol.  Resveratrol may be one of natures most powerful anti-aging supplement out there.  It has been shown to reduce platelet aggregation in the blood, basically making the blood "less sticky."  It also has anti-inflammatory properties.  It inhibits LDL cholesterol, (the bad kind).  In a few test tube studies it also inhibits tumor growth.  
Wines made with grapes in cold weather climates seem to have the most Resveratrol.  It is also low in carbs for anyone following a low carb or atkins type diet.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some Good Reading

I just finished reading two books.  The first was called the "Year of Living Biblically," by A.J. Jacobs.  It follows his year as an agnostic Jew of living his life by every law in the bible, a little over 600 to be exact.  From the so called "big ones," such as the Ten Commandments, to the little obscure ones such as not cutting your hair on the sides of your head and not wearing mixed fiber clothing. 
 Jacobs gives a fun account of his year and the struggles and triumphs that ensue.  What I found interesting is the the old idea of fake it to you make it concept.  If you lived your life like how you wanted instead of how you felt, does your life take on those characteristics?  If you act humble even when you feel proud day in and day out, will you in fact become more humble?  They say it takes 21 days to cement a habit.  Try picking one thing and doing it for 21 days and see if it becomes a bit easier to do.  
The other book I finished was a very quick read.  The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  It was a simply written but beautiful book.  It tells the story of a father and son traveling in a post apocalyptic time.  Its the tale of two people trying to keep their morality in a world that offers nothing in return if they do.  Can you keep hope alive in the midst of despair.   Both books were good reads and worth the time to dig into them.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

Can Eye Movements Enhance Strength

The last few weeks I have been playing with a concept I first heard from Mike T. Nelson, a trainer out in Minnesota.  He is a Z-health practitioner.  They have some very interesting concepts and protocols for health and performance.  The originator Dr. Eric Cobb presents some intriguing joint mobility exercises and drills to enhance performance.  One such drill is for enhancing the extensors.  With the head in neutral, look up with your eyes.  This should bring about an increase in your extensor power.  While the opposite is also true, looking down with will enhance the flexors.  Keep in mind this is eye movement.  So the head stays completely neutral.  No cervical hyper extension!  So give it a try.  Next time it's heavy deadlift day, grip it and look up with the eyes and see if it comes off the floor with a little more pop.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Band pull-aparts in Grand Rapids

Here is a pretty good exercise and a video off of youtube. This band pull-apart works the posterior deltoid and is a good warm up exercise for any type of upper body exercise. I always throw this into the warm ups for the Grand Rapids Rugby team when they come into our gym to train. Think about pulling the shoulder blades down and back and keep the thumbs towards the ceiling.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

An Article Worth Reading

This is from Dr. Michael Eades. MD. Well worth the time to read. It raises great thought on what to eat, especially when you are sick. Low carb diets have more and more research behind them. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Scoop on Fat

Ever wonder what a pound of fat looks like in comparison to a pound of lean muscle?  Yea...big difference!

Fat requires a large amount of blood supply in the form of tiny capillaries compared to an equal amount of lean muscle mass which is supplied by larger vessels.  This puts a strain on the cardiovascular system.  
Losing weight is now believed to only shrink the size of the fat cells and for them to become metabolically less active.  Yes, fat is metabolically active.  Fat can make inflammatory agents, not only that, it attracts immune system cells called macrophages which promote inflammation.
Inflammation is now viewed as the key mechanism in heart disease. Most heart attacks aren't caused by blockages but inflamed plaque that breaks off and causes a blood clot.  Which then leads to heart attack or stroke.  
Fat cells also secrete estrogen which is linked to cancer, primarily breast cancer.  So fat is not just a lump that lies on the surface and makes your pant size go up.  
A recent discovery now shows that wear you accumulate your fat has huge implications to health and how it is viewed in the body.  Put simply, fat cells behave differently depending on where they are in the body.  
Fat that's around the butt and thighs isn't as metabolically active.  So it doesn't produce the negative health effects as much.  This also means it's harder to get rid of because it's not as metabolically active.  Fat that accumulates around the organs in the abdomen, called visceral fat, is the opposite.   They are metabolically active and have a high association with diabetes  and produce more inflammation and clot promoting compounds.  The good news is this is the first place you experience fat loss with exercise.  Take home message...get exercising!  Oh and visceral fat isn't going to get removed with liposuction for all those looking for the easy way out! 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Understanding Digestion

1. Chewing produces more saliva which helps to break down food.
2. Food travels down the esophagus and into the....
3. Stomach (here acid and enzymes converts food into a type of paste)
4. Pyloric Valve....this keeps the acid from coming back up.
Digestion takes place in 1 to 4 hours. Carbs leave the stomach first, then protein, then fat.
5. Nutrients enter the Duodenum, which is the first part of the
6. Small Intestine
7. Pancreas ...enzymes from here and the duodenum complete the rest of digestion.
8. Liver....produces Bile and is secreted by the
9. Gall bladder. This assists with fat digestion and absorption.
10. Jejunum
11. Ilium These two have twenty feet of absorptive tissue. These two sections have many folds called villi and finger like projections on the villi called microvilli. They provide over 820 sq. ft. of absorptive capabilities.....the size of a tennis court.
From there, nutrients are shipped off to your liver for further processing, then to cells, which create and store glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Random Thoughts

1. Vitamin D will be the next big supplement. Did you know that Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin but a hormone? There is a ton of research coming out on how it can help in about every way possible from athletic improvement to fighting cancer to bone health. The standard 400 IU recomendation has been grossly understated. Expect it to move up to 1000 IU in a few years. Its also pretty hard to get in the standard diet unless you've been guzzling your cod liver oil? Anyone? Also with the slathering on of 45 spf your not getting it from the sun.

2. Brain actually uses lactate for fuel during exercise not glucose. How cool is that? Carbs are looking less and less important. Score one for the protein fat camp.

3. Intervals have once again beaten the socks off of LSD ( long slow death...sorry....long slow distance) when comparing fat loss. Instead of running a mile, try running 8x200 with appropriate rest intervals, if fat loss is your goal.

4. If you keep your glutes strong and your hip flexors loose, 90% of low back problems will be resolved or never come to fruition.

5. Having rotator cuff problems? Internal and External rotations with a light band for 3x12 will not resolve the issue. Strengthen the scapular stabilizers. The scapulae is the answer for most shoulder problems!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

X-Band Walk for I.T. Band Problems in Grand Rapids

An example of an exercise that will recruit and strengthen the glute med. A primary hip abductor. Keep this strong and I.T. band problems will start to dissapear.

I.T. band pain usually manifests as intense lateral knee pain. I have seen many runners and cyclist in Grand Rapids have IT band pain. As the hip abductors lose their ability to control pelvic stability. The body recruits the I.T. band to help. As the I.T. band gets tighter and tighter it gets to the point where it rubs the lateral condyle every repetition on a run or bike. So keep the Glute Med. strong and the body won't recruit the I.T. band as a hip stabilizer.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Congrats to Grand Rapids Native Ron Ringewold

Ron Ringewold - 481.7 DL @ 73
Ron is from our very own Grand Rapids, MI. He sets a new record and proves once again that age is just a number. He owns Beckwiths Gym. Located on the corner of Division and 28th street behind the old bowling alley, come check it out. The gym has a great lifting atmosphere.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dante Love

I went down to Bloomington, IN this past weekend and got a chance to see the beautiful Indiana University campus. Saturday night I got a chance to see the Indiana vs Ball State football game. It was a great game. With Ball State pulling out the one of the biggest wins in school history. In the second quarter Dante Love, colleges leading reciever, was in a head to head collision. He lay motionless on the field for 15 minutes while he was being attended to. It's always a scary situation when you see the medical staff bring out the backboard. Today it was released that after five hours of surgery, he has movement in his arms and legs. Here is his STORY. Keep him in your prayers as he recovers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Smart Training

So last night I had a max effort front squat schedualed. My body was feeling really good. Each warm up set felt better then the one before. I felt in groove. The weights were coming up with good speed. On my last set before trying to go for a new PR, I felt a bit of tightness in my upper left quad. Dillema. Every one has been there. Do I push through or do I taper it back. What are the costs/benefits? I decided to taper it back. I will have another shot at a PR in a few weeks when I retest. I'm still dealing with a torn calf from July. Achievements come from the long consistent journey. Not from one great day. The best training advice I've ever recieved was "one workout will not make you, but one workout can definetly break you." So there are going to be times when your going to have to push yourself to grow, pick them wisely, listen to your body, training is all about consistency.

Front Squat Tips

From a few posts back, you know that I'm a big believer in keeping the bar off the spine and limiting the amount of spinal compression. Front Squating is a great alternative. Unfortunately front squatting is hard! Thats why most people will never do it. You can't use as much weight so the ego takes a hit. It can feel like your slowly choking yourself and most peoples wrists aren't that flexible to even get in the position. I learned this tip from my buddy Cameran Gardner a few years back while we were both training at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY. Cameran is a strength coach and firefighter in New Jersey. If you tie wrist straps around the bar you can then use them for leverage and not worry about wrist or elbow flexability becoming a limiting factor. Talk about a world of differnece.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Ad 1

I can't believe that this is a real commercial. All natural? The last time I checked HFCS was chemically made and couldn't be found in nature. With the surplus of "grade 2 corn," HFCS was one byproduct they came up with to help reduce the bulging grain surplus. It's cheaper then sugar. It's also one of the leading caused of childhood obesity. This is some of the most blatant propaganda I've ever heard.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thoracic Mobilization in Grand Rapids

I first came across the concept of mobilty vs stability from strength coach Mike Boyle, not at chiropractic school. First kudos to coach Boyle, and second shame on my school. The body is basically broken down into segments that alternate between mobility and stability. If you lose one, you jeopardize the other. For example if you lose ankle mobility you put the stability of the knee in jeopardy. Lose hip mobility, lose lumbar stability. Lose thoracic mobility, jeopardize scapulo-humeral stability.
One of the first things I try to bring back to great function at Train Out Pain Chiropractic in Grand Rapids, is thoracic mobilization. Both threw chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue work and in smart exercises. Here is a great drill that coach Boyle demonstrates to increase thoracic mobility. A common flaw in today's flexed forward, seated, crunch heavy society. Coach Boyle has taped two tennis balls together in the video. Enjoy

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Inverted rows (feet elevated) Exercise in Grand Rapids

Video courtesy of Joe Defranco. Inverted Rows are a great exercise for developing the scapula retractors, balancing the shoulder girdle from all the pressing and increasing core stability. A progression would be to wear a weighted vest or go to an unstable surface such as a swiss ball instead of the bench, or pulling from blast straps. This is an exercise I use a lot with the Grand Rapids Rugby team. This will go a long way in helping prevent shoulder dislocaitons. Give these a try.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Forward Head Posture Correction in Grand Rapids

Have someone check your lateral profile. If your ear is in front of your humeral head. You have forward head posture. Chances are you have tight cervical extensors. Levator scapulae, splenius muscles group and as a result also tight subocipital groups. This can lead to headaches, trigger points and adhesion's throughout the muscle groups. I always check this when evaluating a neck/shoulder case in my practice in Grand Rapids. I also have them look to the ceiling. If they again can't get the ear behind the shoulder. The patient is in a for a lot of health problems stemming from the neck.

You can stretch the posterior neck like crazy and still not get the total desired results you want. Persistent back of the neck pain may still result. The problem is that even if you stretch like crazy, the neck still has to stabilize itself. So muscles are recruited that should not be. When the head is forward, those muscles that are tight are acting as guide wires and trying to pull the head back.

Enter the cervical flexors. The longus colli and longus capitus are two key muscles that lie on the front of the cervical vertebrae. These two muscles are notoriously turned off and weak. They help stabilize the neck. Without there activation the extensors are left to do to much work. If you have ever suffered a whiplash accident. These two muscles tend to be inhibited and weak.

One easy way to get these muscles back firing is the simple double chin exercise. Stand tall, and slowly retract the head so that it appears you have a double chin. Hold for two seconds and repeat for 20x, 2x a day. This will slowly start to turn these muscles back on and get them working for you.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tri + Rugby + Bikes = Busy Day in Grand Rapids Sporting Community

It was a busy Saturday.

Congratulations to my girlfriend and all the other participants of the Reeds Lake Triathalon. It's really cool to see people out there on an early Saturday morning pushing themselves to their limits. It's called the three disciplines for a reason. Discipline and Mental toughness are vital for finishing. Most people have one discipline that is just more of a challenge for them, but when they do complete it, it's empowereing.

Congratulations to the Grand Rapids Rugby Club. They opened their season opener with a win over Detroit RFC. It's been fun getting back involved with rugby after not having played for so long. It's a brutal sport, so I hope I can help keep these guys healthy. Come check them out at Douglas Walker Park. There next home game is September 20.

Finally, congrats to all the participants in the Priority Health Classic. The Mens Pro race was quite amazing, coming down to an all out sprint at the end. It's spectacular to see a pelaton of bikes riding at 30 plus miles per hour take 90 degree turns. If you've never taken the time to watch a "crit" in person, your missing out.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Neck Bridge for Pulling Power

I'm always on the lookout to find cool little tricks that will help turn on the nervous system and allow for a greater workout. One such method is doing an isometric off of a swiss ball to strengthen the neck musculature.
Sit on a Swiss ball. Walk forward until only the back of your head is supported on the ball. Keep the hips up by contracting the glutes. So now the only points of contract are the feet and the head. Try to hold the neck in a neutral position for 60 seconds. If you feel yourself losing the neutral position, stop the set.
Activating the long cervical extensors can help reposition C5 and C6 (two vertebrae in your neck) which inervate the biceps and a few other muscles. This will increase curling and pulling strength (it may increase biceps strength by as much as 10% according to Charles Poliquin). So next time your head off for a set of pullups, try this neck exercise and see if it doesn't have you "pulling" a few more reps.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

omnivore's dilemma

I just finished "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollen. I can't begin to express how cool a book this was. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about how food, buisness, government and economy all affect your food, the food chain, and your health. It poses interesting questions that demand you to think and look at the big picture in a interesting way. If you have ever wondered what exactly the terms local, orgainic, processed, cage free or free range mean, this will answer. Meat vs vegatarian, grain fed vs grass fed, organic vs, local. All pose interesting and compelling arguments.
I love books that make you think and that you learn a great deal, but are interesting and capture your attention. This is that kind of book. After reading this book, it will demand that at least you think of your food choices. I personally have started to attend more farmers markets and try to eat more locally.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cool Stuff

Thought this was pretty cool. Check out this story.

Pallof Press in Grand Rapids

Exercise of the week. Palloff Press. In case you didn't know, throw out the situps and crunches that are most likely leading to back pain, short rectus abdominus leading to increase in thoracic kyphosis, and virtually doing no good for the athletic population. The "core" should be trained to resist rotation. This is what it does in real life situations. You should be training your core to resist rotation around 6-8 weeks before considering moving to rotational exercises. A great exercise to help you achieve this type of strength is the Palloff Press. Try 3 sets of 12.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Just wanted to say congrats to my girlfriend completing her first sprint triathlon over the weekend. Way to go! You don't read my blogs, but in case you ever stumble across it, I'm proud of you!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Does Age Matter

Alwyn Cosgrove wrote an article asking the same question a while back when Randy Coutoure age 44 became the UFC champion. After the closing of the olympics last night, I had to think of some of the other great stories that were seen.
Dara Torres age 41, silver medal olympian in the 50 meter. Posting a .2 sec personal best so win the silver. Oksana Chusovitina age 33, German gymnast wins silver on the vault. She routinely competes against kids half her age. Romanian marathoner Constantina Tomescu age 38, wins gold in the marathon. French Cyclist Jeannie Longo missed the podium by 2 seconds. This was her seventh olympics. Yes, 7, she was just shy of turning 50. Finally there was USA Pole Vaulter Jeff Hartwig age 40 became the oldest member of USA track and field to compete in the olympic games.
All have great stories. All have taken care of themselves. Hopefully they have shown the world that performance doesn't have to decrease with age. Smart training and recovery can keep you at the top.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Structural Balance Assessment in Grand Rapids

A big idea with injury prevention is to look for imbalances in strength. Asymmetries with in the body are often one of the leading causes of injury. Tight hamstrings may or may not be detrimental to performance, but one tight hamstring compared to the other may. All pressing and no pulling will eventually catch up with any athlete for example. So smart programing is a must.  One thing I always try to evaluate when training someone in our Grand Rapids gym, is strength deficits.
Charles Poliquin one of the leading strength coaches in the country has a concept called structural balance. For example, if you press 100 lb's a certain percentage of this you should be able to pull. One of these tests is for the rotatore cuff, in particular the external rotators, infraspinatous and teres minor. Poliquin states that you should be able to do 8 strict reps on the side lying external rotations with a dumbell with 9% of your maximum bench press. So if you bench 350 lbs, you should be able to do 8 reps with around 32 lbs. If you can't your rotator cuff strength is deficient and you are setting yourself up for injury. So try it and see how you do. You may find that bringing up the smaller muscles will lead to bigger gains in the long term and along the way keep you injury free.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Congrats to Danielle Musto.  Pro mountain bike racer.  She just won the 6 hours of Pando race.  The Pando race course was not an easy walk in the park as I can attest to.  We preroad it the night before and I ended up crashing 3x.  It was one of those courses that seem to only go uphill.  To make this even more impressive, this was a recovery week from placing 2nd at the 24 hour National Championships in Wisconsin last week.  
Yes, 24 hours on a moutain bike is crazy.  It can reek havoc on your body.  You have to do things to insure your body against constant breakdown.  Hip abductors must stay loose and strong or IT band issues will creep in.  Core endurance and psoas flexability must stay high or low back pain will be a constant companion.  Thoracic mobility must be constantly worked on or levator scapula/upper trap tightness will follow each ride.  It's the little things done constantly that allow athletes to compete healthy and stay in contention for any type of championship. 


You are born with the thoracic and sacral curves from birth.  As you mature you begin to move and explore.  Crawling has been shown to be an important step in the development of the lumbar and cervical curve.  Moving is important!  
As a chiropractor I deal with the pain and discomfort of my patients every day.  Two of the most frequent sites of discomfort are the low back and neck.  The lumbar and cervical curves!  Most problems can be traced back to lack of motion and bad posture.  So with the Olympics on t.v. the last week, I hope it inspires you to get off the couch and move.  Keep the curves and stay healthy.  

Monday, August 11, 2008

Trap bar deadlift @ Train Out Pain in Grand Rapids

If you have ever hurt your back back squatting you know that best case scenario it impedes your athletic goals for a few weeks, at worse it can create some debilitating pain that can last quite awhile.  If you have a history of low back pain, herniated disc or spondylolisthesis then back squatting may not be the best choice when you start to compare the cost benefit ration.
A great alternative to the back squat is the trap bar deadlift.  The trap bar deadlift is a hexagonal shaped bar that you step in and lift.  Even though it's called a deadlift, the motion actually mimics the squat.  This is a great way to lift the legs heavy but not load the spine.  So go ahead give it a try, you may never go back to back squatting. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Perfect Mile

Just finished a great book called, "The Perfect Mile," by Neal Bascomb.  It is the story of the first sub 4 minute mile and the 3 men in the early fifties chasing it.  It is now common knowledge that Roger Banister was indeed the first man to bring down the physical and mental barrier of the sub 4 minute mile.  
Consider this, before Roger, most people believed that if you ran that fast your body would shut down and there would be a good chance of death.  Roger took a different look and believed that a human being could indeed run that fast and set off to prove it.  What made the difference though was getting a coach that inspired him to believe that He could break the four minute mile.  This was a giant shift in thinking.  It went from being a concept, a thing to chase, to a goal, a thing to be achieved. 
This is profound if you think about it.  No more, sure it can be done, to sure it can be done and I'm the one to do it.  So I ask you this question, "What do you believe?"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Face Pulls in Grand Rapids

Every now and then I will bring you great exercises that you should be doing in any training programs.  The Face Pull is one exercise that should be in everyones training arsenal.  Wether your a powerlifter or work at a desk all day, this exercise will help balance out some postural issues that may cause pain in the neck or shoulder.  Two common problems I see every day in our practice in Grand Rapids.
Most people are to internally rotated at the shoulder.  Over the long run, this can lead to compromise at the rotator cuff and problems with balancing the movement of the scapulae.  The face pull is an exercise that targets the external rotators (teres minor, infraspinatus), as well as the lower trapezius. This will help promote an upward rotation of the scapulae.  A very good thing.  I think the biggest benefit is that it helps bring about structural balance.  A topic I will talk about more later.  Basically your internal rotators tend to be 25-35% stronger then your external rotators.  So a little extra work on those ER goes a long way.  
Stand in front of a cable machine with the cable coming at face level.  Attach a tricep rope handle.  Step away so that your arms are fully extended towards the cable machine.  Keeping a neutral grip (thumbs up), pull the cable towards your face.  You should end with the the shoulder blades fully retracted and the forearms faceing the ceiling.   
Always look to maximize your time in the gym.  So a good pairing would be to do this exercise and immediately stretch the pecs and lats.  Both big internal rotatores.  Try doing 4 sets of 12 a few times a week and you will be well on your way to being more balanced throughout the shoulder girdle.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Maybe - New Michael Jordan Commercial

Welcome to TrainoutPain blog. Hope you enjoy the fitness, health, training and motivation tips. Watch this and honestly ask yourself what excuses your making. Start on the path you want to take today!