Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Outside Athlete Magazine Article: Bouldering

Here is a link to the latest Outdoor Athlete Magazine article I wrote for November. It's about the sport of Bouldering and how it can help your athletic development. Enjoy!

Getting Ready to Boulder

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Motivation: I still have a soul (HBO Boxing)

You have won, when you don't give up, regardless of results. Don't give into circumstance. Create the circumstance you wish to achieve. Probably the best video I've ever seen in showing an example of this. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ice and Injury 101: Knowing When and Why

One of the most common questions I get is whether to use of ice or heat for an injury.  Hopefully this will fill you in on when, but more importantly this will help you with the why.

Acute injuries are those that just happened and you are within 48 hours of that initial injury.  This is an icing situation.

1.  Never apply ice directly to skin.  Apply a moist towel between your skin and the ice.  This will transmit it better.  You can actually get frost bite if applied directly.

2.  Don't ice more then 15 min.  The literature is a little vague, so I cut it short for safety.  After a certain point, the longer you ice, a reflex reaction takes place (Hunting effect) where the opposite of your goal happens.  The blood vessels dilate and more blood is pumped into the injured tissue.  This will create more swelling and or bleeding.  The exact opposite of what you want.  So don't lay on an ice pack for an hour.

3.  After 48 hours, I like to switch to ice massage.  Make an ice cup and apply massaging strokes to the injury.  This will keep the inflammation down, but help to flush out any remaining swelling.  This will actually get a little deeper into soft tissue, so the time needed is shorter.  Shoot for 5-7 minutes.

4.  Shoot to ice once every hour and half.  You need to let the tissue warm back up, before icing again.

5. Ice will have a numbing effect on tissue, decreasing the pain threshold.  Don't move excessively after icing as you can have a false sense of well being.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Motivation: Words for Today

I found this on a file in my computer.  I can't remember where I picked it up. But I've always liked it.

every day

every day lose something.  Lose a fear, a prejudice, an assumption.  Lose yourself in a task.  Lose yourself in a moment.  Lose yourself to something that is bigger then yourself.  Lose the gut.  Lose the lazy mind.  Lose the apathetic spirit.  

every day find something.  Find the courage, the desire, the compassion.  Find something worthy to spend your life on.  Find a moment that you love.  Find laughter.  Find the faith.

every day break something.  Break a habit. Break a barrier.  Break the silence.  Break whatever keeps you from leaping, from flying, from soaring.  Break through.  

every day create something.  Create art.  Create a new way.  Create the person you would like to be.  Create a wish.  Create a smile.  Create something that has never existed and will never exsist if you don't act.  Create.

every day be something.  Be a person that can be relied on.  Be someone's anchor.  Be someone's sail.  Be a friend.  Be a student and a teacher.  Be something you never thought you could be. Be less.  Be more.  Be yourself. 

every day.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Product Review: Fat Gripz

I bought a pair of Fat Gripz a few weeks ago and have really enjoyed using them.  I always think of a great product as one that is simple, effective and makes me wish I had invented it.  These fit the bill perfectly.

There are a lot of great reasons to develop grip strength.  As your grip strength improves, your upper body strength will follow.  Using a larger diameter bar or dumbell for exercises will help keep your elbows and shoulders healthy.  It forces irradiation, by making you squeeze everything to lift the weight.  

Perhaps an even more important reason, it has been shown that guys with stronger grip have less chance of disability as they grow older.  Here is the link to the study from Pubmed.

I've put them on barbells, my old school globe dumbells, chin up bar in the squat rack, I've even put them around jump stretch bands to do some cool stuff with them.  These things work great.  I highly recommend them.  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Zinc and Magnesium in the Athlete's Body

Zinc and Magnesium are two of the most frequently diminished vitamins in the athletes body. In the 90's, ZMA was one of the most successful supplements on the market, because wonder of wonders, it actually worked!

Without getting into the soil of today vs the soil of our grand parents, thus making today's produce less vitamin loaded. Lets just look at the facts, today's athletes have been shown to be zinc and magnesium deficient.

This is why it's important.

Zinc is needed for about 70 different enzymatic reactions in the body that we know of. Two of the ones that really pop out are the productions of Growth Hormone and insulin like growth factor (IGF-1). These are big time important for physical growth.

Magnesium has over 300 different functions in the body. Deficiency can result in decreased physical output. It has been shown to increase oxygen consumption 15% in intense training athletes with the athlete increasing his/her heart rate 9 bpm. Think about that for a second.

Athletes that supplement with magnesium have been shown to increase training times, decrease white blood cell count, lower cortisol levels and report overall physiological stress go down.

One of the cool side effects of athletes that supplemented with zinc/magnesium, was their sleep was much deeper. This makes sense as magnesium deficiency leads to insomnia.

Magnesium is being researched right now for how it can help migraines. Both magnesium and zinc have been shown to be low in people that are under a lot of stress. Physical or emotional.

There is the rundown on how zinc/mag can be harmful to your health and training. Now you know and like every GI JOE cartoon ended when I was a kid, knowing is half the battle.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Motivation: "Your Moment of Decision" from Paul Cummings' Winning Words Workshop

I never heard of this guy, but his message seems correct. He's talking to some car salesman, but the overall picture can be applied to whatever you do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recovery 101: What You Need to Know

Whatever you train for, whatever goal you have, whatever your interest is, there is one key to success.  Recovery.  You can bust your butt in the gym, lifting heavy weight, rep after rep, or get on the track and run sprint after sprint, but the key to progress is recovery.

When I write workout programs, I start with the finish product, the goal, then fill in the days of recovery working backwards.  You don't get stronger lifting weights, you get stronger recovering from the lifting weights.

Stimulate, don't annihilate, recover.  Repeat.

Here are the keys to Recovery.
1.  Sleep.  Get 7-9 hours of it every night.
2.  Nap, when you can.
3.  Post workout meal  (get some carbs/protein 4-1 ratio)  If you're trying to lose weight, cut some carbs)
4.  Pre workout meal.  A little bit of protein.
5.  Stay hydrated.  Drink more water, then drink some more.
6.  Lot of fruits and vegetables.  What's a lot.  More then you're eating now.
7.  Foam roll.  Everything but the low back and neck.  Spend at least 8 minutes a day.
8.  Quality soft tissue work.  Pay for it, or eventually hurt.
9.  Supplement  (extra whey protein, creatine, rhodiola rosea, multi vitamin, zma)
10.  Compression.  I am testing some compression socks this week.  But we had a lot of bobsledders use recovery tights and like them.  I have had a few runners in the past month say they work.

This doesn't really talk about meditation or breathing.  While both these things can be of great benefit, I don't really have a great grasp or practice with them, so don't feel very qualified to talk about them.  But a few yoga practitioners I know, swear that breathing helps recovery.

Implement these ten things and it will help maximize your recovery, which in turn, maximizes your training.  Reach your goal.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Core Exercise in Super Stiffness called Stir the Pot

This is an excellent core exercise. It teaches you to really keep your whole body tight while controlling movement. The whole time, glutes are tight, lats tight, I like to have the palms squeezing together and put pressure into the ball. Don't let the back sag and learn to breathe while you're doing all the rest. Try to make smooth circles, the less jerky the better. One clockwise, then counterclockwise. Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Motivation: Quote for the week

You will be what you will to be;

Let failure find its false content

In that poor word, "environment,"

But spirit scorns it, and is free.

It masters time, it conquers space;

It cows that boastful trickster, Chance,

And bids the tyrant Circumstance

Uncrown, and fill a servant's place.

The human Will, that force unseen,

The offspring of a deathless Soul,

Can hew a way to any goal,

Though walls of granite intervene.

Be not impatient in delay,

But wait as one who understands;

When spirit rises and commands,

The gods are ready to obey.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hamstring Training for Runners

Runners as a group have weak hamstrings. Most don't run fast enough to really strengthen them. How many times have you went into a weight room and seen a long distance athlete train hamstrings or posterior chain work? I can tell you, hardly ever. I have seen some elite distance runners living in Chula Vista, CA Olympic Training Center train them. But, that type of attention to detail is one of the reasons they are there.

Sprinters can sometimes run to fast and strain them. They have the opposite problem. They may train them, but train them improperly, or think they have trained them enough to run mid 10's in the 100m.

The hamstrings are made up of three muscles, semitendinosis, semimembranosis and the biceps femoris. The biceps femoris is actually two muscles, long and short and actually have two different nerve innervation's. The adductor magnus, a huge muscle, is often times referred to as the fourth hamstring and should be trained as such.

Charles Poliquin believes that the hamstrings are mostly fast twitch and should be trained with 3-6 type reps. His take on coming back from a hamstring injury are first rate in my opinion. Usually you do a lot of reps so that fatigue doesn't come into play. He reasons that it is the fast twitch fibers that get strained. As such it is these fibers that need to be strengthened using heavier weights and lower reps.

Franz Bosch, a biomechanist, wrote the book Running: Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology in Practice. This is a great book! I highly recommend you own it if you work with runners and sprinters.
He believes before weights or reps are thought about, coordination is obtained. This simply means the exercise is done technically perfect, correct tension is maintained on the hamstrings at all times, control over the speed when reactive work is done, and any synergistic muscles that work with the hamstrings are working correctly. The big take away is the hips and knees must be working together correctly. He believes that that the majority of exercises should be done standing knees extended with the weight shifting though the hips as this stresses the hamstrings the best.

As a general rule, if your standing on two legs doing an exercise it is the dorsal muscles (erectors) that are the limiting factor, when you switch to one leg, it becomes the hamstrings. So one legged variations are a big theme if you want to attack the hamstrings. Just try a single leg back extension. You will feel the difference.

Here is Oregon Strength Coach Jim Radcliffe demonstrating one of these qualified exercises. I read Jim say he once got on a plane and took the red eye back just to hear Franz Bosch present for an hour. Anyone that has seen Oregon play football this year, knows that his athletes are fast and explosive.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pulse Training for Core Strength

Training the ability to contract everything and then let everything relax is an important element for athletes to train. Here is an example of what Stuart McGill calls pulse training. It is a tremendous core exercise, alls you need is a med ball with rope. Try it out.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Motivation: Will's Wisdom

This is about ten minutes, but well worth the time. It is no surprise that Will Smith has been such a successful person. Enjoy.