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.