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