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.