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.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Motivation: Hip Hop Cello Player

This is a little different video then normal. After watching it, though, I can't help but feel like I want to work harder at my craft. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Post Injury Muscle Injury: 201

Sorry, for being a week late.  I didn't realize I forgot to post this last week.  Please refer to Post Injury Muscle Injury: 101 before you read this or it may not make sense.

We are going to get into some movement/exercises that I have found that work well with turning on certain muscles that have been inhibited from injury.

Neck:  Lie on a flat surface.  Create a double chin.  This is a whole head translation backwards.  This is not a chin tuck.  You may need to first practice in a mirror, just to learn to create the double chin.  Then after the double chin your going to hold that position while pushing your head into the flat surface.  You should feel this in the deep front part of your neck.  Hold for 8 seconds.  Rest for 10 seconds.  Repeat 10x.

Shoulder:  Grab something heavy in both hands.  I suggest some dumbells.  Retract your shoulders so that they are down and back.  Just think proud chest with good posture.  You're going to squeeze the dumbells as hard as you can.  Walk for 8 seconds.  No arm swing.  Shoulder blades are always down and back.  This is irradiation at work that will help with turning on the rotator cuff muscles.

Low back:  I'm going to save the low back for a separate post.  You will be doing the Good Morning Exercise as an Isometric.

Knee:  This is one of the few that isn't an isometric.  Loop a band or theratubing around your knee with the tension in front.  Stand facing the band.  Knee bent on the balls of your foot.  Push the heel into the ground and squeeze the quad as hard as you can for 8 seconds.  Repeat 10x.

Ankle:  Stand on a one inch block where the lateral foot is supported, but the big toe is not.  Bend the knee just slightly.  Hold for as long as you can.

As you can see from these exercises I really like isometrics as the main movement after tissue work has been done.  Remove the adhesion/blockage.  Use isometric to regain some of the strength.  Next week I'll go over the concentric/eccentric exercises I like for these muscles.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Motivation: Get Better Every Day

Simple Concept.  Hard to do.  But, what if you did do it?  What would your life look like?

Motivation from Matthew Hanlon on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Big Bike News in Grand Rapids

I love all things bike.  While Grand Rapids, isn't Portland,  it's not all that bad either when it comes to biking.  Some great riders, great rides, great causes and great events have happened, are happening or are on the horizon.

First congrats to Train Out Pain athlete Danielle Musto for winning another pro mountain bike race.  This time she won the 12 hour race in Wausau, Wisconsin.  The kicker, she did it on a single speed.

My friend Joel Van Veen is taking part/organizing the Lake Michigan 1000.  Him and his friends are taking 8 days to ride around Lake Michigan starting August 5th.  They are doing it as a fund raiser for World Bicycle Relief.  If your interested in donating to them.  Here is their link.  DONATE.

Coming August 20th, Grand Rapids, MI will be hosting the USA Cycling Pro Criterium National Championships.  Pretty cool.

Finally, here is a little routine I like to have mountain bikers do.  Triceps endurance is so important for trail riding.  Strong triceps that can endure a beating will help keep your core muscles strong and allow you to combat fatigue so you don't make dumb mistakes that can put your shoulder into a tree.