Friday, December 30, 2011

Feed Your Brain and Your Mitochondria

Big thanks to Brian owner at CrossFit 616 here in Grand Rapids for sharing this with me on facebook.  Take the time to listen to this video.  Pretty awesome!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Magnesium Deficiency with Prilosec and Other Medications

Magnesium is an essential vitamin for over 300 functions in the human body.  300!  It has been estimated that up to 70% of people are magnesium deficient.

GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease)  heart burn, ulcers or anything involving excessive acid in the stomach is also a frequent problem in today's society.  The treatment for choice of many doctors is to prescribe something like Prilosec.  These heart burn medications cause a magnesium deficiency.  If you were already low, this can really cause some issues.  Everything from severe leg cramps, to not being able to convert the food you eat into energy, can be a symptom of this deficiency.

Make sure the magnesium supplement you chose is high quality.  There is always a second word behind the magnesium, such as Magnesium Glycinate or Citrate.  They should always end in -ate.  I recommend THIS to my patients.

Some common foods that can be added to the diets are dark leafy green vegetables and nuts.  But, I recommend up to 400mg a day.  That would be hard to get through diet alone.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Motivation: PAIN IS TEMPORARY

I could listen to the "Hip Hop Preacher," speak often. Get ready for the last week of 2011.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Understanding the High Ankle Sprain

If you watched Monday Night Football, you saw the repercussions of a high ankle sprain on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Almost everyone at one point or another has suffered from a "normal" ankle sprain.  This injury is typically an inversion sprain where the outside of the ankle bends towards the ground.  The anterior talofibular ligament is the ligament often injured.  The pain will be right around the actual ankle joint.

A high ankle sprain is often called a syndesmotic ankle sprain as the injury is to structures that are much higher up, the syndesmotic ligament.  This is the ligament between the tibia and fibula and is often painful higher up then just the actual ankle mortise joint.

A good test with this type of injury is to squeeze the calf muscles.  If this ligament is injured there will often be pain with this.  Passive dorsiflexion and passive external rotation of the foot will also often be painful.  While an athlete with an inversion ankle sprain may return in a week or two, because the high ankle sprain is much deeper, it may require twice as long for this to heal enough to play on.

This year in the NFL, there have been a few high profile cases.  Adrian Peterson, a very talented running back, missed 2-3 weeks.  This past Monday night Ben Roethlisberger, QB for Pittsburgh, was hobbling pretty badly with a high ankle sprain.

Conservative treatment is usually the wrought taken.  Immobilization in a boot, ice, and rest are the required ingredients.  While soft tissue work may be helpful to the peroneal muscles, because the syndesomotic ligament is inside, manual therapy is marginally effective.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Adrenal Fatigue and Knee Pain

One of the things I have always checked, but have been finding more and more recently, is bilateral tender points on the inside knee.  Find your Pes Anserine insertion.  This is on the inside tibia.  This is the common insertion for your Sartorious, Gracillis and Semitendinosis.  Follow the muscles up about two inches and press in.  If both sides are painful, it may be a clue that you have stressed adrenal glands.

How have you been sleeping?  Has your sugar or caffeine intake been higher then normal?  Have you had a craving for more high starch type carbohydrates.  These questions will all be clues for potential adrenal fatigue or stress.

A few things to eliminate to help with an Adrenal Stressed Diagnosis.  Make sure both arches are not collapsing, so both tibia's are not internally rotating.  I usually check to make sure both Tibialis Posterior muscles aren't tight and painful as well.  This will help eliminate a biomechanical cause.

What I have found as effective treatment is supplementing with Vitamin C, 3000mg for 10-14 days.  If they are open to taking it, Rhodeola Rhosea as well.  Eliminating the sugar for the same two week time period and trying for naps and earlier bed time if possible.  Usually in two weeks time, the knee pain is gone.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Inverted Row with Miniband

A nice addition to the inverted row is to use a small mini band around your wrists. As you pull up, pull out. You will get more external rotator activity and post. deltoid.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Drink Water or Don't Lift Those Weights

I am always harping about hydration.  In fact, 2011, if it had a theme, was hydrate.  One of my goals for people in pain, is to bring hydration levels up.  Dehydrated tissue carries inflammation more and in my experience more prone to adhesion's from repetitive activity.

I recently came across a STUDY, that showed that when you lift weights in a dehydrated state, the catabolic hormones cortisol and noradrenaline go up and ability to do work goes down.  Testosterone levels are also lower.  Catabolic hormones break down tissue, usually anabolic (build up) hormones are the result of weight lifting.

So you break down tissue and can't do as much work in a dehydrated state.   DRINK UP!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Health Benefits of Donating Blood

I had been contemplating becoming a blood donor for some time.  Some positives about giving include the altruistic component.  It feels good to do something so simple that may indeed save a life.  You also get your blood pressure checked, another health preventative strategy.  It got me wondering if there are any other health benefits.

Going back in history, blood letting was a common "remedy" for all kinds of maladies.  It was used for over 3000 years.  This is just me guessing, it probably helped someone and that is why it persisted.

Excess Iron can actually be a health problem for men, why you see multivitamins for men without Iron. Women menstruate so they usually don't have the problem of excess iron. (they may in fact have the opposite)

Excess Iron can be a contributor to premature aging, cancer, heart disease and perhaps most problematic, inflammation.  When there is preexisting inflammation in the body, free iron in the blood accumulate there and accelerates the inflammation.   Excess Iron has been shown to be a problem with heart disease and for increasing LDL cholesterol (the bad).  The aging process of skin has a correlation related to the amount of iron in the body.

Vitamin C increases the absorption of Iron.  Orange Juice has been shown to really skyrocket your iron levels.  Tim Ferris in his book, The Four Hour Body, talks about this.  This is one reason they give you OJ after donating blood.  It is also easier to absorb the iron in meat then in plants.  Some things that block absorption are coffee, milk and eggs.

This brings us back to donating blood.  I went down to the Red Cross Donor Center here in Grand Rapids, MI and went through the screening process.  I was denied.  A trip to Brazil earlier this year to work with a sprinter, disqualified me, as it was a hot zone for Malaria.  I later found out that only 37% of Americans are currently estimated to be eligible to donate.

Donating blood is a good way to get rid of excess Iron and there is enough evidence that excess Iron is not a good thing.  I haven't been able to give any first hand (n=1) knowledge of the donation process, but don't let that stop you.  As their ad says, Be a Hero, Donate Blood.....and reap some health benefits as well.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seven Principles for a Healthy Life

I just signed up for a seminar in January to learn from Dr. Bob Rakowski.  I'm pretty excited to hear this guy talk as I've heard some pretty awesome things about him from a mentor of mine.  Dr. Rakowski works a lot with nutrition and athletes and muscle recovery.  I've included an audio interview that he gave that gives some pretty eye opening information.  He also goes over his Magnificent 7 tips for a healthy life.

1.  Eat Right
2.  Drink Right
3.  Think Right
4.  Move Right
5.  Sleep Right
6.  Poop Right
7.  Talk Right

If you don't have the seven down, find help, get help.  Here is the audio interview.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Best Lower Ab Exercise You Are Not Doing: Pulsed Goblet Squat

The best way to train the abs in my opinion is by forcing them to work.  Reflexive training is nothing new, but in my opinion, not used enough.  I have many patients that are constantly asking me on how to get their lower abs stronger.

One of the many dysfunctions I see is the psoas muscle substituting for the lower abs.  This is really common in people that pursue Pilate's and gym goers that do lots of hanging leg raises.

Enter the Pulsed Goblet Squat.  The Goblet Squat itself is a great gem.  Gets back to a clean basic squat pattern.  Dan John I give credit for bringing this to the masses.

Goblet Squat.  Hold a dumbell or kettlebell close to your chest.  This forces you to keep your chest up.  Now as you squat down, drive the knees open.  Weight is on your heels.  At the bottom position, press the weight out, so your arms finish fully extended in front of you.  You will feel the lower abs kick in big time.  Bring the weight back in and drive through the heels, stand up and squeeze the glutes together.  You just have done a tremendous exercise.  You are learning to engage the glutes with the lower abs and providing mobility to the hips.  In addition grooving a clean squat pattern that will have carryover to real life situations.  How's that bang for your buck?

Friday, December 2, 2011

What is rBST and Should You Care if You Drink It?

I was drinking chocolate milk the other day after a workout and turned to look at the label.  As you can see from the picture, it states rBST free.   Not shown, the other side states, "No difference has been found between milk that is rBST free.

So obviously they think it's a big deal to not have it in there and equally obvious, there is a law that states you have to put the disclaimer on the bottle as well.

So that got me thinking, what is rBST?   

From an organic website,  "Recombinant bovine growth hormone (also known as rBGH or rBST) is a genetically engineered drug produced by the Monsanto Corporation. It is injected into dairy cows to induce them to increase milk production, typically by 5-15%. It's estimated that 15-20% of the cows in the United States are injected with this hormone. It was approved by the FDA in 1993."

The reading from this website suggest that the use of rBST increases the IGF-1 hormone in the milk.  We then ingest it.  This brings about increases in cancer risk.  

rBST also requires the use of more antibiotics.  The antibiotics make their way into our soil and water and increases human resistance to antibiotics.  Not cool by any means.

It's actually hard on the cow.  This is the more humane aspect.  The cow has more health problems.  They range from birth problems, hoove disorders and gastrointestinal disorders to name a few, but they list up to 15.  

The original reason for using rBST was to increase milk production.  This right there raises a red flag to me.  Messing with Mother Nature never seems like a healthy idea.  Are cows really designed to produce that much?  They actually list a study that was done to show that it isn't more profitable for the farm to us rBST.  

This is a website where you will find the benefits of the use of rBST.  They state the use of the drug enables one cow can give milk to 145 kids, as opposed to the cow producing enough milk for only 125 kids without it.  

They list when things were approved, but not much else.  Monsanto Corporation is either viewed as evil incarnate or a great savior.  If you want to hear more on that, I suggest the documentary Food INC.  I think like all things, moderation is needed.  The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.  

I don't think you're going to increase your risk of cancer from drinking milk.  But I would rather have less "stuff" added to anything I drink or eat.  Less is always more.  I think the antibiotic resistance is a real thing.  The ethical treatment of the cow will be a major issue for some people. The humane society of the US and Animal protection are against the the use of rBST.  

I'm lucky in the fact that I get raw milk from a local farm.  The stuff is amazing.  Doesn't even taste like the stuff you buy in grocery stores.  Hopefully this gives you an idea of what it is and what people are saying about it.  

The two websites are completely different.  Read between the lines on both.  Make up your mind and vote with your dollar.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Benefits of the Bear Crawl

I can still recall the hatred I had for the Bear Crawl exercise in full football pads during August high school practice.  We used to start each practice with agility/warm up sessions with two cones ten yards apart.  The only drill I still remember with great disdain is the bear crawl.  Why?  It was hard, uncomfortable and when you do it all out, super taxing.  I was a fast sprinter.  Slow bear crawler.

Lately, I've been reading a lot about the Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization technique.  Really cool stuff.  Pavel Kolars work.  To dumb it down, they look at the bodies innate reflexes that we all are born with. Baby has no problem crawling and squatting and reaching and rolling.   Pain, posture and bad exercise selection can start to mess with these reflexes and we lose the ability to squat, lunge, reach ect.

By relearning some basic moves we are carving out better movement and pain free movement.

Back to crawling.  When was the last time you did a crawl?  It may have been high school for me.  I know I'm going to start playing around with them again.  It will reinforce cross crawl patterns and provide some core work and shoulder stability.  Regardless, there are performance carry overs.

I asked Stuart McMillan about it.  Stu is a tremendously smart strength coach that works in the UK with their track and field federation.  He works with the worlds best, 10 seconds 100 meter guys.  He uses it to increase work capacity.  The video below is them towing a sled.  How's that for a kicker, hard made harder.  It builds the work capacity without sacrificing quality of your next day efforts.  Sleds are great in that they are concentric exercises so you don't get sore.  He also stated you can't neglect the mental aspects of it.  It's hard and builds that tenacity, won't quit spirit.

Insert the bear crawl back into your exercise rotation.  Even if it's just part of your warm up, I think you will find some athletic and movement benefits from it.    PS:  Keep a look out for Stu's Blog to be hitting the internet soon!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Latest Service at Train Out Pain Chiropractic: The Watt Bike

After months and months of debate, I decided to go ahead and purchase The Watt Bike.  In a few weeks it will be another service offered.  You will be able to test your peak power.  How many watts can you generate?

Why is this important?  If you are trying to improve as a power athlete you should be able to improve your power score.  If your training program is going well, your scores should increase.  If your training program doesn't improve, you need to switch up your training!

Insanity, by definition, is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

You will also be able to see which leg is doing more work.  Do you pedal more with your right leg vs your  left leg?  This is vital information.  The overworked leg is the leg that will over time develop more tightness and potentially more injury.

You will see this with a graph that is running right as you pedal.

You can try different positions and see what decrease or increases your power.  Real time results.

The picture I took was after my first 1000 meter time trial.  1 min 15.24 seconds.  Power avg was 423 watts.  Left leg was 51%, not to bad.  Cadence was 87 revolutions/per minute.  Not shown, was my peak power test that I did before this.  I maxed out at 1370 watts.

The Watt Bike, I believe, will become a vital training partner for cyclists.  I think it will also be able to measure important variables for non cyclists as well.  It's endorsed by UK Cycling and has just started to hit the United States.  Crossfit is actually starting to use them for some testing and competitions.

Aerobic capacity, max power, average power and pedaling technique, test yourself.  Simply put, are you getting better?  Measure it.  I always hear the old line by Peter Drucker, "What gets measured gets done."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's Not About the Saturated Fat

For the longest time you and I have been lied too.  Saturated fat is bad for you and will lead to heart disease.  How many times have you heard this?  How many times have you said this?  It has been a few years since I first came to the realization that fat is actually good.  It does good things for the body. (Vit A,D,E,K can only be absorbed with fat) Cholesterol isn't the enemy it's made out to be. (a different post)

These "facts" on the dangers of saturated fat were first came to fruition from some badly reported, some say made up, reports by a guy named Ancel Keys in the mid 50's.  Poor research at best.  He confused saturated fat with trans fat.  Trans Fat is evil.  So saw some health issues.

Saturated fat has no link to cardiovascular disease.  A new report from the Netherlands, "Saturated fat, Carbohydrates and Cardiovascular Disease," explores the dynamics of this.  Essentially, saturated fat didn't have the impact on CVD.  It raised serum cholesterol slightly.  The carbohydrates (high glycemic) are the real CVD culprits.

So those low fat chips/crackers/cookies that are sold as a health food, not so much.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Is Stretching Just Wasting Your Time?

You will not find a more heated debate then stretching.  Friends, family, athletes, patients other therapist, they may swear by stretching.  Some will swear against it.  I personally find myself assigning less and less stretching for flexibility.  I'm starting to believe most stretching is just increasing sensory input to the muscle.

List your reasons for stretching.  If warming up, injury prevention, be less sore (delayed onset muscle soreness  DOMS), or increase in flexibility were on your list, you may be wasting your time.  All of these reasons have been firmly debunked with science and experiments.

That doesn't mean stretching doesn't have a place or have value.  It looks like stretching can make you feel better.  That is a great reason.  Stretching may decrease pain by increasing sensory input to the muscle.  The article that prompted this blog post is linked at the end. It is a great read that walks you through your thoughts, opinions and your personal dogma on stretching.  The article is called,  "Quite a Stretch."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lisfranc Injury Explained

If you follow sports, you may have heard the term Lisfranc Injury thrown around recently with the injury to Houstan Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.

Lisfranc is an often misdiagnosed injury because of its rarity.  It essentially is an injury to the 2nd metatarsal head.  Often times the metatarsal head is displaced dorsally.  There will be swelling, pinpoint tenderness along the tarsometatarsal joint and the inability to bear weight.  When these three symptoms are present, be suspicious.  Another good guideline is that these three are still present 5 days after initial injury.

The Lisfranc joint complex is very important as this transfers energy from the midfoot to forefoot.  Without a stable midfoot you will not be getting up on your toes and plantar flexion will not be effecient.

On evaluation, besides palpating for tenderness along the tarsometarsal complex, check the dorsal pedis artery as it passes over this area.  The forefoot can also be pronated while the hindfoot is stabilized. This will cause pain. The athletes/patient ability to get up on their toes should also be checked.  When xrays are warranted, a weight bearing radiograph should be used as a non weight bearing xray will often not show any displacement.

The mechanism of injury is often a fall.  There can also be a strike or impact to the foot.  Indirectly, the foot can be stationary but the force of the body produces enough torque through rotation into the Lisfranc complex.

There can be various grades of injury from mild sprain to and avulsion fracture.   The treatment is anything from non weight bearing boot for 6-8 weeks to surgery where a screw is put in.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What Do You Need Coaching In?

This article called "Personal Best," in the New Yorker was sent to me by a friend and strength coach.  It's a bit long, 15 min read, but well worth it.  It talks about how top level performers from athletes to musicians have coaches and ask the question why not you and why not me.

Often times, when school or professional training is done, you're done with having someone tell you what worked or needs working on.  Whether you are a teacher, doctor or a councilor, this article paints a poignant picture  how we keep getting better with the use of a coach.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Is the Back Squat Breaking your Kids Back and Athletic Career?

Mike Boyle has advocated the use of single leg squats over traditional back squats for years.  An interesting article entitled  "Squat Lifts likely the cause of of stress fractures in Young Athletes."  just came out.  I couldn't find the actual research the article was based on.

My personal opinion.  I don't think 13 year olds should be back squatting.  I started at 14 and by my senior year of high school at 163lb could squat 465 for a single.  I think it had direct correlation to improvement in sprint times and in football performance.  I think it has a lot to do with later episodes of back pain in my 30's.

At the time I had no strength coach and no Internet back then.  I had Muscle and Fitness.  I had never seen a split squat or a trap bar.  No one did heavy sled toes.  No one did deadlifts where I grew up.

Looking back I can see all the benefits and all the consequences of squatting.  What I would do different if I could send my younger self a message.  Learn to deadlift with perfect form, don't max out.  Quit benching (another article).  Trap bar deadlift.  Do lots of single leg work.  Spend lots of time pulling a sled.  Only start back squatting in college, if you hit a plateau with your other lifts.  I managed to squat 515 for 3 as a senior in college.  Not much improvement in four years.  Go to the well to early and you eventually will run out of adaptations to make for continual improvement.  (Jim Wendler recently talked about the use of bands and chains in lifting only if you stalled)  Same reasoning.

Squatting isn't evil.  There are just potential consequences to it.  I don't think it's healthy to heavy back squat.  But, playing football isn't healthy, rugby or bobsleigh.  But they are awesome, and to me were worth it..  Back squatting has a heavy cost/benefit potentially on both ends.  Read the article and interpret the info as you see fit.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why You Get Muscle Cramps

This past weekend, I did a race known in Michigan as "The Iceman." It is a 28 mile mountain bike race through Traverse City, MI.  It was a lot of fun and we were all lucky with an amazing 50 degree sunny day.

My race ended up bringing back back memories from high school.  Memories of painful cramps.  Growing up, playing sports, I would always got painful muscular cramps in my calves during the first few football games every year.  It also applied to playing rugby during the summer during grad school.  I had forgotten how bad I cramp up.  First my calves, then my quads, then my adductor magnus.

Everyone always had their own special cure for cramps.  Drink more water, stretch more, drink Gatorade.  I saw the Philadelphia Eagles give their players pickle juice one year in hopes of preventing them.  I took some pickle juice to a rugby game with me after that.  I didn't think that it would get warm.  After drinking it, running around for a bit, I threw it up.  End of my personal pickle juice experiment.

Reading through the literature and doing a google search, muscle cramps still remain an unsolved problem.

There are a few theories.  First, dehydration.  Drink more water.  Stay hydrated.  While this prevails, they have studied athletes that cramp and found that many were still very hydrated.

Second, electrolyte theory.  You have to have the correct sodium/potassium balance.  Hence,  the Gatorade revolution.  On a side note, if you go lift weights for 45 min, you don't need to slug down a 32 oz bottle of Gatorade.  This hypothesis suggests that there is an imbalance between sodium/potassium around the nerve fibers that excite a muscle.  This makes them hypersensitive.  Cramps first start as a twinge.  They have measured electrolyte levels in Ironmen in those that had suffered cramps and those that did not.  No difference in their electrolyte levels.

Another theory states that cramps come from an imbalance between the signals that excite a muscle and the signals that relax a muscle.  This imbalance comes from fatigue.  No studies have been done on this last theory.

So no true scientific evidence has emerged yet in the cause of muscle cramps.  While I can't offer any suggestions besides to try to do the activity your going to do with same intensity and duration as your activity.  I can suggest you leave the warm pickle juice alone.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Waterloo's Dr. Spine, Stuart McGill

Listen and Learn! There is such good info in this little snippet. This is stuff I try to teach (preach) daily. Someday this will be pretty common information.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Parkinsons Disease, Biking and Awesome Improvements

In 2003, somewhat by accident, a Dr Jay Alberts was riding a tandem bicycle across Iowa.  On the back was a friend with Parkinson's Disease.  Quite by accident, Dr. Alberts ended up having his friend pedal about 30 pedal strokes faster per minute then normal.

The Parkinson's disease symptoms improved dramatically.  With in a few hours of pedalling, all the hand tremors that had been present before the ride, had left.

This got Dr. Alberts attention.  He repeated the "experiment" with forced pedaling again with a different patient that had a surgical implant to help with Parkinson's symptoms. They turned the implant off and pedaled for 50 miles.  All the symptoms went away.

He set out to conduct a real study that was complete in 2009.  You can read the full post here.  It's Not About the Bike, It's about the Pedaling.  In the study, he took two groups of Parkinson's Patients and assigned them to Voluntary Exercise or Forced Exercise.  Voluntary pedaled for an hour, 3x a week for 8 weeks, at a pace they picked.  Forced did the same time and frequency but at about 80rpm on a tandem bike.

The Forced group saw 30% improvements in symptoms compared to the Voluntary group.  What was more encouraging, the improvements were still there (about 20%) 2 weeks after finishing.  Dr. Alberts explained that with medications, you may get 30% reduction, but the symptoms start to reappear within hours of stopping them.  (they also carry some side effects)

They are currently in the midst of expanding on some of these findings at the Cleveland Clinic.  How cool is this potentially?  If you know of someone with Parkinson's, please share this info!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Probiotics in Health and Athletic Performance

I've been doing some more reading on the use of probiotics lately.  Interestingly enough, a few cool new reads have popped up that I have linked at the end.

The use of probiotics is now standard issue when you are taking an antibiotic drug.  (Hint:  You MUST take probiotic when taking an antibiotic)  It is also being used and it seems successfully to help out with IBS and gastro intestinal problems.

The use of probiotics as a pure athletic enhancement supplement doesn't look to hold much water.  This doesn't appear to be any type of ergogenic aid, like a creatine.  It does seem to offer some immune boosting support though.  Think of it as a secondary aid.  If you can recover faster and stay healthy, you can train more consistently.  That in itself is awesome.  I have used it as a supplement to my hard/long sessions.  Two hours or longer on a bike or any workout that leads me wiped out as examples.

This study showed that a certain type of probiotic boosts the immunity response to the flu.  It can be read here at Post Graduate Medicine.

Charles Poliquin just put out an article about the use of probiotics and belly fat.  I had never read this take on the use of probiotics, but found it interesting.  Anything that helps control cortisol, will essentially help control belly fat.  Tip 199:  Probiotic and Belly Fat.

Found this article from Conditioning Research blog.  They studied how the probiotics in yogurt altered gene expression and metabolism.  Pretty Interesting.  Read here in The Scientist.

To sum up,  the use of probiotics is worth exploring.  If your taking an antibiotic, probiotics are a must.  If you got some gastric issues, it's definitely worth trying.   If your a big endurance athlete that does lots of hard training, it is worth  experimenting with.  In the end I think it will turn out to be a great immunity booster.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Motivation: Mount St Mary's

This is a special video. It is from a good buddy of mine, TJ Burns. He is the head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the athletes in these videos at Mount St Mary's College in Maryland. Have an awesome week!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Soleus: Calf, Sacro-Illiac and Migraine Pain

I've always checked for bilateral soleus tightness when I see some low back pain in runners/desk workers.  Active,  then lots of sitting lifestyle.  When the soleus muscles get tight, they tend to put your center of gravity more on your toes which fires the back extensors more.

I was reading through some Travell and Simmons Trigger point book the other day and came across the trigger point referral pattern for the soleus. To my surprise, I saw that it actually referred pain to the TMJ.

I did some more reading on the soleus and found a few massage therapy articles where the soleus is known as the "second heart."  It's considered the bottom of the cardiovascular system, pumping blood from the lower extremities to the heart.

The soleus now becomes part of the vascular system.  When they are tight, along with the adductors, can put compression on the adductor hiatus and effect the neurovascular structures that run through that.

They relate tight soleus muscles to migraines.  Many people suffer from migraine pain.  In my experience, it's hit or miss with what I call typical chiropractic adjustments.  I find since I've been doing nerve entrapment release that my success has gone up, but not a ton.  I still feel like it's 50/50.  If working the soleus muscle provides one or two more success cases, that is some very, very valuable information.

So, if you or someone you are treating presents with TMJ or Migraine headaches, it is worth just a quick palpation of the soleus muscle.  It's a requirement for low back and SI joint pain.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Working Out Helps Fight Cancer

This a guest post by Liz Davies

Working Out Helps Fight Cancer

Cancer patients must undergo various treatments and surgeries that will most likely leave them with side effects like fatigue, insomnia and an altered mindset. Though this may seem terrible, there are ways that cancer patients can help themselves. One of those ways is to be physically active.

How working out helps fight cancer

Working out and physical activity is by no means a cure for cancer. However, it can greatly improve a cancer patient's health, both physically and mentally. Fitness has already been proven to help prevent cancer. Just as well, it can be a very helpful aid for conventional treatment.

Physical benefits

Treatments, surgeries and chemotherapy are great for killing cancer cells, but it can also leave a negative after-effect on the body. Along with side effects, cancer treatments can also kill healthy cells and tissues, leaving the body to work extra hard to recover. As a result, cancer patients often feel very tired, irritable and stressed. Insomnia is also a very common side effect, adding to cancer patients' overall irritability.

Working out keeps the body stimulated, helping to improve the internal functions, such as the respiratory system, circulatory system and immune system. When all of the cancer patient's internal functions are working properly, he or she should have an easier time coping with the treatments and therapy.

Mental benefits

Many cancer patients admit that they feel like they lost total control of their life when they were diagnosed with their condition. That is why many of them develop a negative outlook on their life. When people lose hope for themselves, they lose the ability to remain optimistic.

However, even having a negative outlook on life can inhibit the body's ability to stay healthy. Studies show that optimistic people are generally healthier and heal faster than negative people. While there are many theories as to why this is, most experts speculate that optimistic people have a chemical balance that produces a special hormone that helps the body stay healthy.

Working out also produces a special hormone, called endorphins, that helps to regulate all the other hormones necessary for being optimistic. This is especially important for female patients, since females are twice as likely to develop symptoms of depression.

Cancer patients need to work out

Every cancer expert recommends their patient to remain physically active. This is important for people with breast cancer, liver cancer and even rare forms of cancer like, pleural mesothelioma. It is a vital aspect of the recovery process. It can be hard to stay motivated to exercise. Patients must remind themselves of what is important in life, and use those thoughts as motivation. Once the patient sees and feels a difference in his health, he will be even more motivated to work out more often.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Awesome Avocado: Quite Possibly the World's Perfect Food

Move over Chiquita Banana, we have a new taker to your catchy title.  The mighty avocado!  This sucker is packed with goodness.  Let's explore. 

The avocado is a fruit.  I used to think of it as a vegetable, I guess because it's green.  85% of its calories come from fat.  On average the avocado contains about 30 grams.  Don't freak out.  Fat is good for you.  Especially these kinds.  They are loaded with what are called phytosterols.  These are basically the best anti-inflammation nutrients you can ingest.  They are especially good for fighting the inflammation that comes from arthritis (osteo and rheumatoid)  You also have oleic acid.  Think olive oil.  These fats help absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.  Finally you got the polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFAs). These guys also fight inflammation.

Vitamin wise,  avocado's have all the B vitamins.  They have all the carotenoids.  More amazing, they have the oleic acid to fully absorb all the carotenoids.  Carotenoids are super important for eye health and inflammation. 

They have alpha linoleic acid, 160mg per on average.  (fish oil)  Avocados are a good source of Vitamin K (blood clotting), more potassium then a medium banana, folate, vitamin C and about 8 grams of fiber.  

I like to just cut in half, scoop out the seed, and spoon out the fleshy goodness directly. Nothing else needed.  This makes the avocado extremely portable.  What's better you can call it by it's cooler name.  Alligator Pear.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Motivation: Live in the Moment

My Monday Motivation segment was a little late, but the video has good advice. Live in the Moment. Never has this been more clear then this afternoon. While on a plane, bound for home, the man behind me had a heart attack and died. Life isn't a guarantee.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Travel Necessities

Traveling doesn't mean letting your health and fitness take a break. There are a few simple solutions that can help keep your health and goals on track.

Take a lacrosse ball and a jump stretch band. These are low cost, small and light.

The lacrosse ball can be used for all kinds of soft tissue work. The band can be used for stretching as well as used as resistance for a number of bodyweight type exercises.

Traveling usually involves more sitting and walking then you are used to, so spend a few extra minutes with the ball.

If you are traveling by plane, drink extra water. Airplanes will dehydrate you faster then running on muggy day. Don't believe me? Next time you step off a plane, see how easy it is to slug down a 16oz bottle of water.

Try this the next time you travel. Stay healthy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Some Great Reads and Cool Studies

Joel Jamieson put up an awesome article on Repeated Sprint Ability. Goes through and explains the different energy systems. I can't get enough of this kind of information. If you work with any type of athlete that has to repeat an effort. This is a must read.

Think yourself stronger. Oh yea.... Cool article called Body Sense in Psychology Today.

Think Melatonin is just for sleep? Thing again. It's being researched to help with tissue regeneration and muscle recovery. Here is the Pubmed Abstract.

What I like about these three selected articles is that we are learning more about how the bodies systems work together each day. I believe were just starting to scratch the surface of this iceberg we call the brain/mind when it comes to training. Lastly, I have been hearing a lot of talk about Melatonin lately, kinda like I heard Vitamin D a few years ago, before it just blew up. Keep on the look out for more Melatonin in the news.

Self Screen for Low Back Pain

Non diffuse low back pain is the bane of many people/athletes.  Wouldn't it be great if there were some markers to predict if you may be at risk?  You, my friend, are in luck.  We do know a few things now about the importance of movement and endurance.  Here are a few ways to keep yourself out of the old bent over shuffle walk that low back pain produces.

Sorenson Test.  This is essentially an isometric back extension.  These are the number, under 176 sec. low back pain in a year.  Over 196 seconds you're good to go.  Test for 240sec

Stu McGill, the biggest name it seems in low back research, suggests a side plank for 75 sec.  If you hit it, nice.  Also, front plank 90 sec.

Stu has also found that those that lack hip extension, will have severe low back pain at some point.  So don't lose that motion.

This brings us to tissue quality and length.  Keep those hip flexors loose!  Psoas and Rectus Femoris are crucial.  Google Thompson Test if you want a visual on the test.

I have found that bilateral soleus muscle tightness goes hand and hand with low back pain.  When the calves are tight it pushes you on the toes when standing.  This switches all the errector spinae muscles on and they tighten up.  Over time they just create pressure and tension on the low back.

Try standing.  Now become aware of the back.  Now shift your weight to your heels.  Feel the back muscles just switch off.  Cool stuff.

Check hip internal rotation.  Don't lose it.  Goes with extension.  Loss predicts pain.  Keep your hips moving.  I've discussed this before.

Bottom line, work on the endurance and keep the hips moving.

Here is the paper discussing the Sorenson Test.

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Tests in the Works for Growth Hormone

I was reading an article the other day called Chemical Catcher.  Essentially a scientist by the name of Alessandra Luchini has developed a way to detect "biomarkers."  My understanding is the these biomarkers are a faint hint of a presence of a disease in our bodily fluid.   They are normally chewed up by our enzymes within minutes before any type of test can detect them.

If there were a way to detect these biomarkers, doctors could detect diseases much earlier.  This would offer much better outcomes for recovery.  Luchini, according to this article in Popular Science, developed a nanoparticle trap that works like a net.  So far she has been able to use this nanoparticle trap for early diagnosis of Lyme and Tuberculosis.

Amazing break throughs on the horizon.  What really caught my eye though, was a small sentence in the middle of the article.  "This test can also detect the presence of Human Growth Hormone in Urine."  Previously only GH could be detected in blood samples.  Many sports only do urine testing.    Look out sports world.  We may be on the cusp of a lot more athletes being busted.  Say, someone that goes from 19.78 to 19.26 in the 200m.  Just my own speculation though.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BPA, Plastics and Your Health

You probably know by now that BPA free is a hot term and that it's better if your water bottle is BPA free.  Here is the rundown and some quick ways to check different things out.  Consider this your Plastic 101 crash course.

BPA stands for Bisphenol A.  This plastic has been shown to mimic female estrogen and can essentially disrupt your endocrine system.  BPA is used in plastic that is clear and shatterproof.  Think the old Nalgeen bottles that every college kid in America owned.

BPA is a xenoestrogen.  Foreign estrogen.  It disrupts your endocrine system.  This has been linked to certain cancers in women, lower testosterone levels in men, obesity, memory and mood problems and also fetal and infant brain development problems.  Not good stuff.

Most companies have switched over to exclusively BPA free, but there are still old products on the market. An easy way to tell if it contains BPA is look on the bottom of the plastic.  There will be a triangle.  If the number 3 or 7 is in the triangle and the bottle doesn't say BPA free, chances are it has BPA.

I recently checked my Culligan water system at the office and it contained the number 7.  I called Culligan and they promised that all future bottles would be BPA free.  This got me thinking on all the numbers that you see with plastic.  Here is the rundown on the recycling number symbols.

1.  PETE.  This is single use plastic.  Think water bottles.  Pretty safe, just don't reuse them.  Little chance of plastic leaching into the water.

2.  HDPE.  Milk jugs, laundry detergent.  Again little chance for leaching.

3.  PVC.  Don't every burn this plastic as it will release toxic fumes.

4.  LDPE.  Squeezable plastic and it's flexible.  Grocery bags.  Doesn't appear much food stuff is made from it.

5.  PP.  Straws and medicine bottles.  High melt point.

6.  PS.  Egg cartons, CD cases, disposable cups and plates.  This can leach into the food stuff.  Think Styrofoam.  So don't reuse that stuff.

7.  OTHER.  This is a bunch of plastics thrown together.  Hard plastic.  Shown that this will leach and disrupt some hormones potentially.  STAY AWAY.

So when looking for drinking water or storage, the numbers 2, 4, 5 are safe.  1 is for one time use only.  Don't reuse.  Never use number 7.

Plastic 101 now dismissed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Congrats to a New National Champion

Huge congratulations to Train Out Pain athlete Danielle Musto.  Over the weekend she won the 24 hour Mountain Bike National Championships out in Colorado.  She is now the proud owner of "The Stars and Bars" jersey that only USA National Champions can own.  Pretty Awesome!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Product Review: Functional Performance DVD

Craig Liebenson is one of the smartest guys in the manual therapy industry.  His book Rehabilitation of The Spine is a must own.  His revised edition is even better.  I highly recommend owning this book.  (for therapists, not really laymen).

When I heard he was putting out a Functional Performance Training DVD, I ordered it.  I had high expectations.  I was greatly disappointed.  This is information for someone that is coming off exclusive lifting with weight machines.  I honestly felt I was watching information I had watched in the late 90's with Paul Chek stuff.

This is not a product for therapists or strength coaches.  This is great stuff for your mom or grandparents that your trying to get back into the fitness game.  Final verdict, own the book, skip this DVD.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vitamin D and the NFL

Here is a pic of all the supplements I take daily.  I read the other day that the only hormone you control is Insulin.  I disagree.  Vitamin D is actually a hormone in the body.  I don't think people fully realize just how important vitamin D is.  I've written previously on all the benefits.  I came across a new study that caught my eye though.  It was in this Science Daily article.

They showed that Vitamin D was more deficient in the NFL players that had some muscular injuries.  Very interesting.  If you make it to the NFL, you are physically gifted in athletic ability and also gifted in recovery.  So, if a Vitamin D deficiency can have that kind of impact on those physically blessed, chances are it can play an even more important role for you and I, for recovery, health and performance.  Think about it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Motivation: Dare to be GREAT

I've used this quote before, but I like how this video rolls with it. I don't think you can ever hear this enough!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Case Study at Train Out Pain Chiropractic: Burning with Sitting

The last few months I have been seeing a 50 year old female for burning pain along the sit bones while sitting.  Upon standing the burning pain immediately leaves.  She had a lumbar fusion L4/5 fifteen years ago.  She had been experiencing the discomfort for about 3 years.  She is an avid golfer.

Five visits later.  No improvement.  I had worked through the hip rotators checking for adhesions along the sciatic nerve.  I had followed tension lines from the upper back all the way down to the calves.  I had dug on the psoas muscles bilaterally.  I had followed tension lines in the front side, shins to pecs.  I had checked and rechecked, sacral/pelvic alignment and multifidi/rotator muscle quality.

Finally, I asked her to stand up brace the abs, sit back down with the brace still intact.  Wonders, no burning, no pain.  Turns out there wasn't any pathology, just lack of strength in the core.  She is also a golfer.  So the prescription became, building up strength endurance in the core muscles.  Burn free sitting.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Heart Adaptations from Cyclocross Race

One of the things I enjoy is biking.  This fall I'm racing in the Kisscross series in Grand Rapids.  I've introduced the sport of cyclocross in a previous post.  These races, though fun, fight my physiology.  I'm a fast twitch guy.  Football player.  Sprinter.  Lift heavy stuff.  During bobsled, 60 meters got to seem pretty far!

I struggle on anything that lasts longer then a minute.  That's why my goal for cyclocross is improvement and enjoyment.  Last year, the first race I think I was last by about 3 minutes!  This year, I think I'm beating a few people.  I started to structure my workouts this summer to prepare for a better chance at doing well in these races.  The competitor started to come out.

The first race lasted 38 minutes for me and my heart rate average was 184 bpm.  The second race lasted 29 minutes with a 179 hr average.  So what happens when you train or race at this pace physiologically.

Teaching the heart to pump more blood.  It does this by teaching the heart to pump for forcefully.  There is an increase in mitochondria in the heart muscles.  This will also increase the endurance capabilities of the heart.

A stronger heart, will fatigue slower at higher heart rates.  This will keep the oxygen flowing to your muscles.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Beauty of Cyclocross

Cyclocross, to put it simply, is painful. How much pain can you endure without giving in or giving up. Sure there are other racers you compete against, but the biggest opponent you compete against is yourself.

There is a scared, lying whisper in your head that likes to spew false information to your body with every painful pedal stroke that this is going to kill you, you are weak.

There are many activities this whisper shows up as well, not just cycling. Anything that brings you into that painful zone. Real pain. Heart screaming pain. Not injury pain, pain that is telling you to ease up just a bit. The kind that tries to convince you that uncomfortable is just fine.

Most people understand and can deal with uncomfortable. Yea, I'm working hard, I hurt…a little. Comfortably uncomfortable.

Cyclocross is painful. That's part of it's beauty. In a fun way you challenge yourself for 30 to 60 minutes to silence that whisper. When you do, you're left in a heap of lactic acid mush. A better person I'm convinced. A cleaner soul, by virtue of a lactic acid body wash.

Other positive components, but no less important, is you meet some great people in a fun environment. I couldn't recommend enough trying to get in and challenge yourself to a race. Grand Rapids has a great venue in the form of KissCross.
Find a local race and get to it. Train out Pain.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Motivation: Rugby World Cup 2011 [Promo]

The World Cup is upon us. Yesterday, USA fought the 6th ranked Ireland in a hard loss. USA is gradually building more world wide respect. I love rugby for the intense physical preparation that it takes. Hope you find some time to watch this game in the next few weeks.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Foam Rolling to Flow Rolling

Using a medicine ball allows greater degrees of movement and freedom. Try to establish a flowing type exploration of the tight areas of your fascia. Great mobility warm up.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My New Discoveries at Train Out Pain Chiropractic

These are a few of the things, I've been trying/seeing in my practice that I find pretty interesting.

I've found that when I treat the external rotatores in the shoulder cuff, the contralateral scalenes seem to relax quite a bit more.

Bringing the strength back to the supraspinatous muscle has the majority of the time let the upper trap relax and get soft.  Obviously this is the brain keeping the upper trap tight to either protect the shoulder, or give the deltoid help with movement.  Again, why I think most upper trap stretching is worthless.

Working through the tissue around peronius tertius and extensor digitorum with soft tissue work (active release technique) seems to help free up superficial peroneal nerve.  This has really helped restore general tightness in the lower leg and increase dorsiflexion.

I have been treating the gastroc in the same treatment session as the psoas.  The tight gastroc seems to make the psoas work harder.  If the calf is tight, the initial pop off the ground isn't as strong, body feels like it has to use more hip flexion to achieve ambulation.

See if you find any of these patterns in your practice or on yourself.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Thoughts on Muscle Activation Seminar

A few weeks ago I finally had the opportunity to go to a Muscle Activation seminar in Chicago.  I'm not really sure how much I'm allowed to say as I was made to sign a waiver limiting information release .  I did ask what it was for and the instructor said it was simply a way for them not to be liable if I was injured as it was partially a hands on instruction.  I believe they just don't want the specific tests published as this would pretty much hinder their ability to get more attendees.

I was pretty excited to go and learn about muscle activation.  I had started to do some bastardized work a little while ago after working with a tremendous massage therapist from Toronto named Jeremy Grahm.  He had highly recommended it.  I had seen some strength coaches doing it with their athletes as well (not M.A.T.) and it makes sense to me philosophically.

The general basis is you take a person through joint ranges of motion looking for asymmetries.  When you find one you muscle test certain muscles.  The test is more sensitive then general muscle break tests. This method of gentleness you are really testing the ability to quickly contract and stabilize, not hold against a large force.  After finding weakness or instability, you use isometrics to "activate" the muscle.  Move on and repeat.  The basis is that "tight" muscles come from something else being inhibited.

You can't make an inhibited muscle strong.  Get an inhibited muscle activated, then make it strong.  I've always believed in those two sentences.

I'm just going to list the stuff I liked and the stuff I didn't like, so please excuse my randomness.

 I thought it was priced pretty fairly for a two day seminar.  I've seen so many seminars these days getting into the 2-3000 dollar range.  At this point, I think it limits students and professionals from exploring different modalities and tools.

My instructor really knew the technique and was engaging.  I've been to some, where they just were not good teachers.   He was able to fully communicate the information.

For better or worse, you don't need any type of license to take the seminar.  The seminar I was at, I was the only one with a license of any sort.  Everyone else were personal trainers and Pilate's instructors.  (on a side note, I wonder what would happen to the fitness industry if every personal trainer needed a college degree)  While this is neither good nor bad, for me it was a bit tedious.  The first half of day one was going over some basic science.  4 hours not wasted, but not learning anything.

I felt it was a bit slow paced.  I like feeling overwhelmed with information.  I want to feel like I'm barely staying afloat, not thinking, let's move on.  I honestly think with some motivation we could have done the course in 5 hours.  This was probably my biggest negative to the seminar.  I value my free time more then anything these days.  So to give up a weekend away from family, friends and nice Michigan weather (it was 80 degrees and sunny and I was in a windowless classroom for two 9 hour days) is pretty hard.

There are three modules with M.A.T.  I have taken the lower.  I have not decided if I will take the upper.  I went out of my way to take lower, I will probably only take upper if it fits into my schedule.

They also offer a 3 day, 8 weekend course where you will become M.A.T. certified.  I have no use for this.  This would end up costing close to 10,000 dollars.  I don't need more letters after my name.   When asked the difference between the courses we take and the internship program, was told that the internship go over every specific muscle that can be tested.

Like many, many systems out there.  This is a combination of many older modalities that have come before it.  Read Thomas Hanna's works with Somatics and you will understand the science M.A.T. uses.  Alpha and Gamma coactivation and testing the muscle in a shortened state.  Isometrics have been used for who knows how long to bring about strength gains.

This though isn't a knock on on M.A.T.  They have put it together in a nice flowing way.  I practice Active Release Technique a ton in my practice.  I went through all their modules and have spent well over 12,000 dollars to get accredited and keep the accreditation.  Even A.R.T. though was based on things that came before it.  Trust me, people were doing specific soft tissue work before A.R.T. was invented.  But, what I like about A.R.T was that there is a very nice flow and thought process to it.  They have also marketed it extremely well.  So I don't have to market as much.  It sells itself.

Just as A.R.T isn't pin and stretch as some people think.  Their is an art to the ART.  M.A.T. isn't just find a weak muscle and do an isometric.  Their is an art to all manual therapy.  The key is in the practitioners delivery.  In then end, I see M.A.T as a nice tool to add to my tool box.  I'm glad I went.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Exerces and Brain Health: Authors@Google: Dr. John Ratey

This is a great lecture. Really worth your time to listen. Dr. Ratey is the author of the book Spark.  A great read.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Power Wheel Review

Here is a sample workout I like to do with the Power Wheel. It's a fun accessory to add to your home gym. This sample routine I find very effective to get some upper body repetitions in while forcing a little core work.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's Your Injury List?

At a recent seminar, one of the ideas that struck me was to think of any injuries you have ever had.  Make a list from the time you could remember, till present.  List chronologically.  Here is mine.

6) Split RT eye open.  6 stitches
6) Split LT knee open.  8 stitches
15) Split chin open.  8 stitches
17) Bilateral plantar fasciitis.  Missed all summer of training.  Resolved with orthotics.
18)  LT quad contusion.  Missed last 2 football games my freshman year of college football.  Was misdiagnosed.  Once I put heat on it, could start running again.
18) LT ankle sprain grade 3. Was told it had been better if I had broke it.  4 months of rehab.
19) LT hamstring strain (grade2) Missed 5 weeks of indoor track season.
19)  LT calf strain (grade 1) missed 1 meet
19)  LT groin extreme nerve pain.  Could not run over 80%.  Xray, MRI, Bone Scan, all negative.  3 months of rehab. Nothing resolved.  First experience with a chiropractor.  Money.  2 treatments and was running again.
20)  LT AC joint separation. Grade 1.  Football.  No time missed.  Just painful.
21)  LT hip pointer.  Could barely walk for two weeks.  Missed one football game senior year.  New respect for the IT band.
Palmer Chiropractic
24)  Concussion.  Knocked out.  Playing Rugby. Missed 2 weeks.  First head trauma.  Ever since have had worse brain freeze headaches.  Sounds funny, but man, those suckers hurt.
25)  LT shoulder dislocation.  Missed two weeks.  Rehab it for 3 months.  Still does not feel the same as my RT shoulder.  I believe there is some ligament laxity.
26) LT AC separation Grade 1 again.   Missed one rugby game.
26)  RT AC separation Grade 3.  Had 14-16mm displacement of the joint.  Was told needed surgery.  Gave up rugby and just rehabbed it.  Not an issue anymore.  Just one giant step defect.
28) LT calf Grade 1 strain.  Final sprint before pushing in a competition.  Missed 2 bobsled competitions.
28)  L5 disc herniation.  Popped while in the bobsled.  Going down the track, felt an internal pop.  Felt like I started to pee my pants.  (I didn't, just the sensation!)  With in 12 hours had extreme sciatica type pain running down my left leg.  Was able to compete for one more competition which was World Championships.  One week later, I had lost LT plantar flexion in my calf.  Lost about an inch in calf size.  Rehabbed it myself over a course of 4 months.
29) LT groin strain.  Missed 3 weeks of training.   Jumping weighted Lunges.
Civilian Life
31)  RT calf tear.  Soleus tear. Pushing a bobsled. (hadn't pushed in two years and was egged on,  EGO got me big time!)  6 months to be able to jog mildly on it.  Still an ongoing issue.
33)  Iliolumbar ligament strain.  Deadlifting while back was already feeling horrible. Severe back spasms.  Could barely move for 5 days.
33)  Repair of RT elbow. Took out bone chips/spurs/excess growth to try to gain ROM.  Was told it was from years of abuse or possible fracture.  Probably worse off then before the surgery.  More pain, same ROM, less stability.

Now what to do with your list.  Examine what happened and possible reasons why.  Do you go LT, RT, LT as an example?  Do you always hurt the same area?  Is there a time period to your injuries?  Look for clues and patterns that may help you prevent stuff from happening in the future.

My own personal take away, I wished I had been under chiropractic care earlier.  I believe years of squatting in high school and college put pressure on my L5 disc that at times would limit nerve supply to my left side.  I had no muscular pulls or strains while at Palmer under chiropractic care for 3 years.  We played 2 seasons of rugby per year.  6 total seasons, tons of running in and out of season. All injuries were trauma collision type.  After Palmer, I was competing in bobsled, and was again away from chiropractic care.  (my own fault, especially as I was a chiro!)  more and more muscular pulls.  Learn your weakness and shore them up.  Look for clues that can help prevent further set backs.  Good luck.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What is Pandiculation

This past weekend I was at a Muscle Activation seminar. I will address that at a later date. Before though, in preparation, I was reviewing some material by Thomas Hanna, author of Somatics. He talks of the pandicular response.

Pandiculation is basically combining a contraction type stretch with a yawn. Animals do this instinctively. Below is a video of my dog Rocco giving a great example before he heads outside.

There are a few interesting ideas on why this is an important reflex. Resets the length of muscles, restores some fascial function, redistribute free water in the extracellular matrix, which helps stabilize joints.

So when you get out of bed, reach up, contract, open your mouth and yawn. Think of all the great things you are doing for your body.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday Motivation: Mike Tyson's Words Of Wisdom

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thoughts on Usain Bolt and Sprinting

This is not my writing.  This was in an email I get from Cal Dietz, Strength Coach, University of Minnesota.  I have copied and pasted it.  Great read.

One year from now, the 2012 Olympic Games will begin in London, where all eyes will be on the incomparable Usain Bolt -- the Jamaican sprinter who is more than living up to his name.

Since 2008, Bolt has taken a jackhammer to the 100-meter world record, lopping off a whopping .14 seconds. That might not sound like a huge chunk of time until you consider it's twice as much as any other sprinter has shaved off the world record since the advent of electronic scoring.

Logically, one would think that Bolt did so by moving his legs faster than anyone else. Only he didn't.
Speed, as it turns out, may be completely misunderstood.

When Bolt established the current 100-meter world record in the 2009 world championships, running it in 9.58 seconds, he did so by moving his legs at virtually the same pace as his competitors. In fact, if you or I were to compete against Bolt, our legs would turn over at essentially the same rate as his.

This is a theory put forth by academics and track coaches alike who contend that running fast has more to do with the force one applies to the ground than how quickly one can move one's legs.

More than a decade ago, Peter Weyand, a science professor at Southern Methodist University, conducted a study on speed. Comparing athletes to non-athletes, Weyand clocked both test groups as they ran at their top speed. What he found shocked him.

"The amount of time to pick up a leg and put it down is very similar," he says. "It surprised us when we first figured it out."

So if leg turnover is the same, how does one person run faster than another?

Weyand discovered that speed is dependent upon two variables: The force with which one presses against the ground and how long one applies that force.

Think of the legs as springs. The more force they can push against the ground, the further they can propel the body forward, thus maximizing the output of each individual step. In a full sprint, the average person applies about 500 to 600 pounds of force. An Olympic sprinter can apply more than 1,000 pounds.

But force isn't the only factor. How quickly that force is applied factors in as well.

For this, think of bouncing a beach ball versus a super ball. The beach ball is soft and mushy and when bounced on the ground sits for a while before slowly rebounding back into the air. Conversely, a super ball is hard and stiff and when bounced rebounds almost instantaneously -- and at a much faster speed than the beach ball.
The average person's foot is on the ground for about .12 seconds, while an Olympic sprinter's foot is on the ground for just .08 seconds -- a 33-percent difference.

"The amount of time [one's legs are] in the air is .12, regardless if you're fast or slow," Weyand explains. "An elite sprinter gets the aerial time they need with less time on the ground to generate that lift -- or to get back up in the air -- because they can hit harder."

So what makes Bolt faster than even the elite sprinters? And can he run the 100 meters even faster than 9.58 seconds?

Bolt's superiority is often explained by his unique combination of height, strength and acceleration.
At 6-foot-5, Bolt is two inches taller than fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell (pictured together below) and has six inches on American Tyson Gay -- two of his closest challengers. While it takes most elite sprinters 44 strides to complete 100 meters, Bolt does it in 41.

"Would you rather take 44 steps to your car or 41?" asks Dan Pfaff, who coached Canada's Donovan Bailey to the 100-meter gold during the Atlanta Games in 1996.

Pfaff, now working in London to help boost Great Britain's track-and-field hopes for 2012, says Bolt's height gives him a distinct leverage advantage.

"If you're digging a hole in the ground, you have to get a longer lever to pry [out a rock]," he explains. "If you can control those levers and make them work efficiently, it's a huge advantage."

It's Bolt's ability to control the levers that is so unusual for a sprinter his height.
While taller sprinters may be able to reach a higher top-end speed, getting up to that speed isn't as easy. This can be explained physiologically -- smaller people can exert more force in relation to how much they weigh -- but Weyand prefers a more simple visual to show this to be true.

"You can easily imagine a 4-foot-10 gymnast doing a triple back flip, but imagine Shaquille O'Neal or Yao Ming doing it," he says. "You know they can't do it."

Bolt, it seems, is the exception to this rule. Though he's not doing triple back flips, he does get up to speed nearly as quickly as his more diminutive competitors.

"He has a very unusual combination of being extremely tall and relatively massive and being able to accelerate well. Those things are at odds with each other," explains Dr. Mike Young, a strength and speed coach who trains professionals in track and field and other sports. "He accelerates better than all but one guy in the world -- behind Asafa Powell -- but because he's so massive, he takes fewer strides. If you're that large, once you're moving, you stay moving."

This would help explain why Bolt still managed to break the world record during the Beijing Games in 2008 despite throwing up his arms in celebration some 20 meters before the finish. As Young explains, if the "average athlete is a motorcycle, Usain Bolt is a dump truck," and it takes a lot more resistance to slow down a dump truck than a motorcycle. Thus, when he fatigues, he slows down more slowly.

"He has the holy triumvirate," Young contends. "He's one of the top accelerators, has the highest top-end speed and the highest endurance. It's something that's never been seen before. Carl Lewis had the highest top speed, the highest endurance, but he was not the best accelerator."

Bolt, just 24, has set his goal of running the 100 meters in the 9.4 range, explaining to Britain's BBC Radio: "Because that's where I think the record will probably never be beaten."

While Young doesn't think Bolt will break 9.5 in London, Weyand, through his research, says it's possible. Though if Bolt pulls it off, it won't be because he moves his legs any faster.