Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hip Extension and the Neck

For athletes, hip extension is one of the most important movements. It is the key to running fast. Most training programs are geared around increasing the strength of hip extension. Not only must athletes posses great strength, the flexibility must also be there. There are quite a few things that can limit hip extension, tight hip flexors (tfl,psoas,rectus femoris), sacrum dysfunction, weak glutes/hamstrings, to name a few. One surprising thing that not many will think of, is suboccipital muscle dysfunction. These tiny muscles are at the base of the external occipital protuberance. They are loaded with muscle spindles, (receptors that report on body function).

This past week I've been working on many of the US Skeleton athletes. The way they are positioned on their sleds, requires a lot of neck hyperextension, which over time, creates tightness in the suboccipital muscles. After clearing out all the primary hip extension antagonists, I released the suboccipital muscles and rechecked hip extension. To a tee, they gained around 3-4 inches of more hip extension range of motion. So if your hip extension on yourself or athletes isn't there, and you clear out the primary structures, look to these small muscles.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lunge Assessment

I am a big fan of watching someone move to help figure out what is going on with the body. One especially important motion is the in place lunge. Simply lunge forward, push back off to a standing position and lunge forward with the opposite leg. This can give you many clues as to what is going on with the body. Will go over several of these this next week. The first tip to look at is this, does the upper body lean forward as your in the lunge position. If it does, most likely your have a weak hamstring. The body moves forward to put your glutes in a better mechanical advantage to push off. So next time your watching patients or athletes move, look for this little tidbit and correct it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tiger Woods golf swing in slow motion

Check out the hip mobility, the core strength. Mostly, check out what unwavering perfect practice looks like. It's inspiring to try to do whatever it is you do that well.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pull Up Instructional

Check out Mike T Nelsons sight, he has a great post on perfecting the pull up with a few neurological tricks to do and not to do. Very cool stuff.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thoughts on Back Squatting

I found the following link on back squatting from Mike Boyle. I first started thinking about getting away from the back squat after tweaking my back a few times, watching athletes lose training time from injuries and hearing Mike talk about it. I'm not sure I am at the point where I would totally eliminate back squatting, but I haven't coached even 1% of what Mike has either. It definitely raises the question if you can get your legs stronger without loading the spine, is there a good reason to do it? What are your thoughts on this?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Flu shot/Swine flu: Ingredients

This was just readily available across the Internet after doing some digging. I just cut and paste. The big thing to take note is that Thimerosal is in the flu and swine flu shot. This ingredient is now illegal in childhood vaccinations. Makes you think.
1. What’s in the regular flu shot?

Egg proteins: including avian contaminant viruses
Gelatin: known to cause allergic reactions and anaphylaxis are usually associated with sensitivity to egg or gelatin
Polysorbate 80 (Tween80™): can cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis
Formaldehyde: known carcinogen
Triton X100: a strong detergent
Sucrose: table sugar
Resin: known to cause allergic reactions
Gentamycin: an antibiotic
Thimerosal: mercury is still in multidose vials (really want that in your body?

2. Swine Flu

The solution for vaccine manufacturers, allowing them to stretch the vaccine to go further, could be the addition of ingredients called adjuvants. According to breaking news about the use of adjuvants in the H1N1 vaccine, Bloomberg is reporting these compounds have never been approved for flu vaccines in the U.S. and some studies have shown they cause immune disorders in mice
MF-59 is an oil-based adjuvant primarily composed of squalene, Tween 80 and Span85.
All oil adjuvants injected into rats were found toxic. All rats developed an MS-like disease that left them crippled, dragging their paralyzed hindquarters across their cages.
Squalene caused severe arthritis (3 on scale of 4). Squalene in humans at 10-20 ppb (parts per billion) lead to severe immune responses, such as autoimmune arthritis and lupus.
If you feel you must get a swine flu vaccine, get the one that doesn't contain Thimerosal. Yes, there is one.
I know it says its only used in trace amounts, if I had a cookie and told you it was made with dog crap, would you want it? Well what if I said it only contained trace amounts?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cuban Press w/ Flex band in Grand Rapids

A nice prehab exercise with a band. You can do these with light dumbells as well. I like throwing these kinds of exercises into the rest periods of major strength lifts. Use your rest for productivity.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shoulder Labrum

The shoulder joint is an amazingly complex and fascinating structure. It needs incredible mobility and stability for it to function optimally. What I want to do is paint a clearer picture of the shoulder labrum, it's anatomy and function.

The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint, similar to the hip, except for one thing, there is no bony socket. The humeral head rests in the glenoid fossa, which is essentially flat. This is where the labrum comes in. The labrum is essentially a fibrous structure that attaches to the glenoid and forms a concave cup. This creates up to 50% more contact surface for the humeral head, thus creating more stability. This is considered a passive structure. The glenoid humeral ligaments and joint capsule make up the other passive structures.

The rotatore cuff muscles are a dynamic stability system of keeping the humeral head in the glenoid fossa. Now when there is weakness or dysfunction with this dynamic system,t he static stabilizers are called on to do much more work, their load goes way up. After time, you can develop ligament laxity or even a labral tear.

O'briens is an orthopedic test, to test for a labral tear. Shoulder raised to ninety degree in sagital plane. Adduct the arm 10-15 degrees. Thumb down, arm straight. Apply pressure. Now, turn the palm so it faces up. Apply pressure. If there was deep pain with the first and either no pain, or superficial AC joint pain with the second, you may have a labral problem.

The best way to treat a labral problem, minus surgery is to really correct the movement pattern of your rotatore cuff/scapulae and restore strength. This will shift the load from the static to dynamic stabilizers.

Congrats Marathoners

Congratulations to all the runners that participated in yesterdays Grand Rapids and Detroit Marathons. It was a great day for running, low 50's, somewhat sunny, but no rain. For many runners it was the culmination of a long summer of training. So to all the athletes that put in the time and effort and raised there hands after 26.2 miles, no matter what the time, Congratulations!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Product Review: TRX

Last month I went ahead and purchased a TRX. If you haven't seen them, they are becoming somewhat of an "in thing." I already own Elites Blast Straps that I found to be useful for doing pushups and inverted rows, but not a lot else. What I was seeking with the TRX was a more versatile and portable piece of equipment. I liked TRX's ability to put your feet into them and do things like supine leg curls and glute bridging. The other thing I really liked was that you can adjust the length on the straps really, really quickly. I'm not convinced there worth the price tag quite yet though. I honestly wish I knew how to sew nylon webbing as I think you could make your own for super cheap. But it's lightweight and you can do quite a few bodyweight exercises with it. I will be travelling with it this winter with the bobsled team and I plan on sneaking in some workouts in my hotel rooms with there door adaptation kit, so I will see if my opinion changes. Overall, I'm not disappointed with my purchase, but it hasn't blown me away either. I hear jungle gym offers a very similar product for about half the price, but I have not used it. If your really into bodyweight culture or travel quite a bit and never know what type of hotel gym your going to have, I would say it's worth it. If your looking to add something to your budding garage gym, I would say pass.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Adductor Magnus

The adductor magnus is the beefiest of the five adductor muscles. (add. brevis, add. longus, pectineus, gracillis) It has insertions on the adductor tubercle, linea aspera of the femur and origins on the ischeal tuberosity and the ischiopubic ramus. It has two innervation's, posterior obturator nerve and tibial nerve. It adducts, flex's and extends the hip. How can it both flex and extend? Well the adductor is actually two portions, hence the dual innervation's. The posterior part is actually referred to as the fourth hamstring, and it's embryological origins are with the hamstring, hence the tibial innervation.

The adductor magnus though, is often overworked. It has a misconception that it can get tight, but in reality it is often just really really tired from other imbalances going on in the body. First, the sciatic nerve can become entrapped at the external rotatores of the hip. Second, the posterior capsule of your hip can be very tight. Third, the adductor magnus and the medial hamstring can become "glued" together with adhesion's. Fourth, your iliolumbar ligament can be sending refered pain to the adductor magnus.

So instead of just stretching and stretching away, check these four possible sights for a more likely culprit.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Movement Motivation

I've always loved watching break dancers. This video makes me see the possibilities for movement, what the body is capable of. Do your mobility drills and watch your athleticism increase.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bonus Book Review of October

First up is Chuck Klostermans, "Downtown Owl." I actually read this on a plane trip a few weeks back. It was a fun read, I like Chucks writing style, he throws a lot of pop references around, that when you understand them, makes it feels like he's writing for you.

The second up is Jon Krakauer's, "Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman." I've read all of Krakauers books and found them to be enjoyable while learning a lot about his characters and issues he's trying to bring to light. If you don't know who Pat Tillman was, he's worth getting to know. A very complicated man that chose interesting life paths. Woven throughout the book is the story of the Afgan war that was essential to the Pat Tillman story. It's definetly worth reading. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Work your Posture

We know with forward head posture certain imbalances will start to show themselves. The SCM, upper trap and levator scapulae shorten. This pulls the shoulder blade up.

First lets target the muscles that will hold the shoulder blade in the proper position. Let's target the lower trap. This muscle is just at the bottom of your shoulder blade. Get in an athletic stance like your guarding someone in basketball. Lean forward a little bit more. With your arms straight, thumbs up. Raise your arms till they are parallel to the floor. This is a Y raise. If you were standing straight up, you would be making a Y with your body. Second, the serratus anterior. This little important muscle is almost under your arm pit on your rib cage. Get in a push up position. Keep your arms straight, elbows locked throughout the whole move. Let your shoulders fully retract and then push your shoulders blades as far apart as you can. This is called a push ups plus.

Now lets stretch those tight muscles. First up SCM. With your right hand behind your back, bend your head laterally away, so your left ear is trying to touch your left shoulder. Keeping your lateral bend, rotate and look up to the right. Repeat for both sides. For the levator, it's the same move, but instead of rotating and looking up, rotate and look down towards the opposite.

Then be conscious of your posture. Doing a few exercise here and there, but sitting in poor posture for 8 hours will never bring back the head into proper alignment.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cervical Posture and Consequences

I've talked before about forward head posture and some exercises to help correct it. This will get a little more anatomical. We all know that cervical posture is important, but do you know how important? We all have seen the classic forward head posture, chin sticking out at the world. On the flip side, you have military neck. Straight up and down. Let's look at some implications of poor posture.

First, forward head posture goes hand and hand with rounded shoulders. When the shoulders round, the body must shift the center of gravity of your head forward for balance. As the head comes forward what is happening anatomically?

1. There is an increase in lordosis. (curve of the spine) This will put increased stress to the cervical facet joints. This in turn will also put the articular cartilage at risk, which can lead to arthritic change.

2. The increased lordosis will also increase the shear force in the neck, this puts your discs more at risk.

3. The increase in forward head posture forces the mid cervical spine into hyperextension. This puts a lot of stress at the C4-C5 and C5-C6 joints.

4. C2-C3 are also put under much stress, because of the narrowing at the intervertebral foramina. (where the nerve exits) This can lead to stress on the nerves and recurrent chronic headaches.

5. The SCM, levator scapulae and upper trap shorten, which results in an elevated scapulae.

When the opposite occurs and the spine straightens, commonly called military neck cause other problems.
There is a balance between compressive and shear forces on the disc when your posture is good. When it's faulty, forward head posture increased shear. When the spine straightens, the load is straight up and down so your compressive force on the disc increases.

In the next post we'll go over some corrective exercise strategies to help balance out the body.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday Motivation

Even if you don't play rugby, this will get you off the couch and moving!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Colds and Flu: A Few Nutritional Strategies

My wife and I got sick last week and it got me thinking about some possible nutritional strategies that can be used in the follwoing months. I figure it's never to early as I see flu shot signs in all the local Walgreens and CVS stores.
The first symptom of many people is a sore throat. When sore throat accompanies cold symptoms (runny nose and cough without fever or red throat), there’s no need for antibiotics: Their overuse is giving rise to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But this is about prevention. These three foods are important as they are both anti viral and anti bacterial.

Coconut Oil contains Lauric Acid which can be converted in our bodies to Mono-Laurin which is used to destroy the cell wall of virus and enable them to be destroyed. Mono-Laurin has been shown to be extremely powerful anti-viral activities against colds, flu and even Herpes and HIV.

Cod Liver Oil contains the immune supporter and anti inflammatory Omega 3 fats DHA and EPA. Especially important for people living in the northern climate, it also contains Vitamin D which is a key immune factor. The increased incidence of many illnesses in winter is theorized to have a link to lower Vitamin D levels. Cod Liver oil is also high in Vitamin A which has potent anti-viral effects.

Garlic is also a potent addition to your diet. Allicin is one of the sulfur-compounds responsible for garlic's characteristic odor, this is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent. In research studies, allicin has been shown to be effective not only against common infections like colds, flu, stomach viruses, and Candida yeast, but also against powerful pathogenic microbes including tuberculosis and botulism.

So start to slowly incorporate these foods into your diet as you start to support your immune system for this upcoming winter season. Are there any foods or supplements you have found to help out? If so please share in the comments section.