Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Motivation: CHANGE YOUR LIFE 2013!!!

Here's to 2013. I hope Train Out Pain can help you be the 2nd Pillar if your goals are to be healthier and more fit.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why Cyclist Should Squat

If you consider yourself a cyclist and don't do some sort of squat pattern you are doing yourself a disservice and potentially setting yourself up for injury.  Like many things with performance and health, we have a negative and positive feedback loop.  The good news, there are several ways to break the negative loop and get you pedalling (pun intended) in the right direction.

First, the adductor magnus is a powerful muscle, capable of generating a lot of work.

Second, cyclists use the adductor magnus to go from flexion to neutral.  (so extension)

Third, the squat pattern when the hip external rotators are doing their job of keeping the knees out on decent, allow the adductor magnus to be trained as a hip extensor and also eccentrically lengthens the tissue.

So when everything is working well, squats will make the adductor stronger in hip extension and this will make you a stronger, healthier rider.

Break the loop by, loosening the hip rotators by rolling on a tennis ball for a few minutes a few times per day, followed by shins vertical, knees out squatting movement.

I like Goblet Squats for cyclists.  I've posted a video of Goblet squats previously.  So start a positive loop with your squatting, cycling and adductor magnus strength this winter.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ancestors Slept in Divided Sleep?

There is a cool blog/website called Barking up The Wrong Tree that recently talked about two sleep periods  Ancient books talked about the notion of two sleeping periods.  Further probing shows that in the not so distant past, two distinct periods of sleep were the norm.

Before modern electricity and artificial light, it seems are natural Circadian Rhythm is to sleep for two periods. The first is to go to sleep when it gets dark, followed by a period of restful awakeness for an hour, then fall asleep again till the sun comes up.  If modern man is removed from all artificial lights, this again is the natural rhythm he will adapt.

It seems this hour was used for meditation, prayer, sex, reading and problem solving.  Blood worked has shown that this hour is incredibly healthy and relaxing.  It wasn't looked on as a bad thing like it is today.  In fact the notion of the 8 hour block of sleep is relatively new.  The New York Times had an article entitled "Rethinking Sleep," that delves into this much deeper.

I never had heard of this natural rhythm before.  It's an interesting fact. The take away, turn the lights off earlier if you can and if you wake up in the middle of the night, don't fight it.  Relax and enjoy it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas and Unwrap the Chain Workout

Merry Christmas!

Hope the Holidays have treated you well and you find some time to spend with friends and family.  Commitments, parties, vacation, relatives and friends often get in the way of the routine scheduled workout and training session.  As I get older, the more I realize this is probably a good thing.  Priorities change.  But, that doesn't mean you don't do anything.

This is where the Chain Workout comes into play.  A chain workout is simply a short dedicated piece of time, as short as ten minutes, where you do anything.  ANYTHING.  It can be foam rolling with some push ups.  It can be a dynamic warm up.  Kettlebell swings and Turkish get ups.  Air squats at the kitchen counter superset with alternating plank push ups from the same kitchen counter.  They can be brutally hard 10 minutes, or they can be 10 minutes where you don't even sweat.

The point is that mentally you have decided to do something...and then you do it.  You keep the chain of active momentum rolling.  So one day of not doing something doesn't become two, two doesn't become a week.  You can look back on yesterday and know you did something.  You kept your chain of fitness going.  You strengthened your habit of health.

The Spanish Proverb states, "Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables."

Keep your Chain going as you finish off 2012.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Vitamix Recipe

Here's a recipe I've been enjoying the last week or so.

1 cup water
3 cups of Kale
1 big granny smith apple
1 pear
handful of ice cups
2" of ginger root
1 tsp of cinnamon

Blend it up.  Revel in the electric green look.  Enjoy the Deliciousness.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Random Stuff to Read and Do

Some things I've read that I have found interesting.

Chris Kresser talks about chronic sinus infection and how to possibly treat them.  Can it be as easy as using Johnson Baby Shampoo?  60% success ratio.
Here is the link.  Recommended Sinusitis Treatment. 

Mike Robertson wrote a piece for T-Nation about steps for a better deadlift.  I've met Mike a few times and he is a smart dude.  I trust his information and can say all his steps are joint friendly.  5 tips for a Bigger Deadlift. 

A patient that hasn't had any luck with any of the manual therapies for migraine type headaches, found that if she sips Lipton Black Tea, instantly takes the migraine away.  Normally, she would have to pop a drug that would take some time.  Caffeine doesn't have the same effect.  Could be coincidence, but if you are a migraine sufferer, or know of someone, give it a shot.

People always talk about balance in there programing for training.  How many people can even do a 1/3 of the reps in the inverted row as they can with push ups?  What would happen if you could do as many rows as push ups?  I'm guessing the shoulders would be much more stable and injury proof.  I think this is a good goal for 2013.

Adults need playgrounds too.  Who wouldn't rather work out outside then in a gym.  We have small summers here in the Midwest.  I think we should take advantage of them.  Here's a cool article about Adult Playgrounds.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What is Synergistic Dominance

A runner came into the office the other day dealing with calf pain.  Gastroc/soleus had started to tighten up on a few runs and was wondering what was going on.  On muscle testing, the tibialis anterior  was found to be weak.  It wasn't tight so adhesions and overworking were not highest on my list of possibilities.  Checking further up the Superficial Front line, the sartorious and rectus femoris were both pretty tight.  After doing some manual therapy on the Sartorious, retesting the tib muscle found it to be fully strong.

Synergistic Dominance is a trait where one muscle becomes so dominate it can inhibit a muscle that helps with the same movement.  In the above case, it doesn't just have to be a helper muscle as in biceps and brachialis, it can be in the same fascial line.

A muscle injury doesn't just have to happen in the fascial line, an antagonist (or opposite) can also be paying a price.  In the above example, the gastroc was strained, because its antagonist (tib ant) was inhibited.  Now you know what synergistic dominance is.  Work to keep those fascial lines strong.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Random Awesomness or Find Your Ikigai

A little while back I discovered canal jumping.  The next sport to come to Grand Rapids, MI soon (hopefully!) is Bo-Taoshi.  Yourself, plus 149 other of your closest friends looks like this.

Still Icing?  The data is mounting up that it's not doing much.  In fact, one would be hard pressed to find any at all.  I can remember taking full ice baths after two a days in college football and again in bobsled.  I could swear it made me feel better.  But, when inflammatory markers are measured, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness was no better as well, no evidence.  Placebo is a powerful thing though.  The only time I advise icing anymore is to numb something for pure pain relief.

Creatine isn't just for strength athletes.  A recent study on cyclists showed that it decreased lactate during intermittent exercise.  It also raised lactate threshold.  5 grams a day a couple times a day for a week.

Want to add some years to your life.  Here's and excerpt from an article about the island of Ikaria.

"the notion of ikigai — “the reason for which you wake up in the morning” — suffuses people’s entire adult lives. It gets centenarians out of bed and out of the easy chair to teach karate, or to guide the village spiritually, or to pass down traditions to children. The Nicoyans in Costa Rica use the term plan de vida to describe a lifelong sense of purpose. As Dr. Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute on Aging, once told me, being able to define your life meaning adds to your life expectancy."

New bucket list workout.  See this pic.  Deepest stairwell in the world.  Try running/walking these! Do you have a bucket list workout?

Here is a very cool video from Perry Nickeltson.  

For the full article on what to look for in terms of assessment and correction read the full article link on Dynamic Chiropractic.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Do You Really Have Osgood-Schlatters?

Over the last few years I've seen several kids that come in with knee pain that have been told they have Osgood Schlatters.  Osgood's, classically, has been an enlargement of the tibial tubercle with inflammation of the tendon below the knee.  This is attributed to because of extreme growth spurts with overuse activity.

To me this has become another catch all phrase Doctors give to parents when their kid complains of knee pain and there doesn't seem to be ligament/meniscal damage and they are 8-14 years old.

Often these kids have very tight peroneal muscles.  These are the side of the calf.  This can be accompanied by tibialis anterior tension, but not necessarily.  After releasing the peroneal muscles, better tib/fib joint movement is created.  Better alignment between femur and tibia is also achieved and well as dorsiflexion tends to improve.  Kids this young are like plastic and when the right things are in place and the right things are no longer tight, it doesn't take long before proper biomechanical function is achieved.

Kids are pain free running around again.  So the next time you hear of a kid with knee pain that has Osgood's, check the peroneal group and see if releasing the muscle and restoring tissue quality improves function and diminishes the knee pain.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Triceps: Upper Body Shock Absorber

As a biker, whether you consider yourself a roadie or mountain biker, the triceps are a very important muscle to develop strength in.   The stronger your triceps are, the more absorption capability they have. Just as the quadriceps are to runners for absorption, the triceps are the bikers shock absorbers.

If the triceps lack sufficient strength to do this, often bikers will complain of upper back spinal pain.  The impact has to go somewhere.  If not absorbed through the triceps, the spine will take more of the brunt.

There are several easy ways to go about this.  The standard push up, while simple is highly effective.  Throw in some isometrics at various angles as well as some slow eccentrics and you will have most of your bases covered.  The only addition would be to ad some type of kickback or skull crusher type exercise to hit the long head of the triceps.

As the regular mountain bike/road bike/cyclocross season winds down and you start planning your off season training, (unless your part of that crazy fat bike, winter riders) add in some triceps work to help build better upper body shock absorbers.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tibialis Anterior Fascial Release

Try this for improving dorsiflexion. Improving function of the big toe. If you get a jamming feeling on the front joint line of the ankle.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Emily Deans: What Not to Eat for Good Mental Health

Here are my notes from Emily Deans talk.  Again, the video is worth watching, but in a time crunch here are my cliff notes.  I've been following Emily's blog, Evolutionary Psychology for almost a year.  Cool stuff.

Avoid trans fats.  They are banned in the US.  Denmark banned earlier and cardiac deaths dropped very dramatically.  A food item can have .49g of trans fats and be allowed to be labeled "0 grams" trans fats.  Dirty pool I say.  Some foods like Pop Secret popcorn and Long John Silver, still have lots of trans fats in them.

Brain is 60% fat by dry weight.  Good fats and bad fats are fighting it out in your body.  Trans fats displace omega 3 fatty acids in your body.  They are already in short supply with the modern diet.

Depression, bipolar and ADHD all linked to low omega 3's.

Most interesting to me was the fructose malabsorption part.  The small intestine GLUT5 transporter doesn't take up the fructose efficiently leading to more fructose in the lower intestine.  Feeds the bad bacteria.  Gas, cramping, loose watery stools.  High correlation to inflammation, low Serotonin, and depression.  30-50% of European decent have this issue.  15% of ethnic population.  Wheat has something called "fructan" that will act just like fructose in the body.

Emily Deans, M.D. — What Not To Eat for Good Mental Health from Ancestral Health Society on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Brain Improvements from Certain Foods

Here is a pretty awesome video.  I've summarized some of the key points below if you don't want to watch.  Very interesting.

"What foods make my brain work best?" by Seth Roberts, PhD from Ancestral Health Society on Vimeo.

He started taking flax seed oil every day.  Worked up to 4 tablespoons.  Found that his balance increased.  Tried other types including Olive oil.  Didn't have the same effect.  When he quit the flax seed balance got worse.  He also found out that his gums improved dramatically.  This was also documented by other people that had similar experiences.

Found that pork belly fat improved sleep quality, duration and speed at which he fell asleep.  He had more energy the next day.

Stumbled upon butter and found that 4 tablespoons a day improved his arithmetic testing.
Addressed the belief that although possibly helping cognition, he was killing his cardiovascular health. (butter is bad for your arteries/heart)  By chance he had taken an Agatson test before all the butter.  It was 38.  One year later, after eating 4tb of butter a day, the Agatson test was now a 29.  Most people get worse by 20% per year.

Big improvement in brain function is possible, and often the the brain dysfunction is invisible. Improvements in other systems as such as inflammation, circulatory are possible as well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oral Receptors Drive Performance

One of the first times I took an Applied Kinesiology class as a chiropractic student, I was amazed/dumbfounded/cynical at what I thought was a parlor trick, oral influence.  One of the things you do is place a substance/vitamin in the mouth under the tongue and test a muscle or movement.  If it improves, in theory your body "liked" the substance and there can be justification that your body needs it.

This past year I did some more work with AK and again came across this phenomenon.  This time the whole class tested standing body rotation.  Standing with the feet planted firm, arms straight out in front as if you're pointing a gun.  You rotate as far as you can to the right and to the left without moving your feet.  You keep doing this several times until your end range of motion (ROM) is achieved.

Then we tested 4 different products.  Many people had no improvement.  Many people responded to one or two.  I was almost trying to will myself not to show improvement.  In fact I would have preferred to show no improvement.  I'm cynical.  I put the substance under my tongue (not ingested) and immediately improved about 6 inches each way.  Not only improved, the ease of motion with which I hit my end range was dramatically different.

I went searching for answers and there is some pretty remarkable research being done in the last few years.  Most notably this study done with cyclists.

Carb sensing in the human mouth: effect on exercise performance and brain activity. 

Essentially they took a carb solution and put it in cyclist mouth.  They tested performance and it improved.  They hooked them up to an MRI and saw what the brain did in response to having the carb solution in the mouth.  Again, this was not ingested.  The MRI showed certain parts of the brain light up with activity.  They concluded that there are some unknown receptors around and under the tongue that are at this time unknown.  Pretty awesome.

The product that I improved on was called Dynamic Greens.  It for some reason helped my thoracic rotation.  Will it help yours?  I have know idea, but it continues to help me move just a bit easier.  But, the old put this in your mouth and lets test your (fill in the blank) may have a little more validity then I used to give it credit for.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Do I Need to Deload?

One of the core principles I've always followed when I write a training program for someone is rest/recovery days and deload weeks.  Basically a deload week is a time to really let the body recover and get ready for the next microcycle of training.  In theory, this principle is critical...when working with very disciplined, elite athletes.  Athletes whose job is to train or type A individuals who follow such rigid guidelines in their training/life that without a programmed deload time, they make up things to do.

Lately, I've come to realize that more and more people are probably more like myself when it comes to training.  I lift weights a few times a week, try to get in one HIIT (sprints, hills, ect.) and one aerobic workout in a week.  I throw in mobility/recovery type work in those sessions.  Do I need a deload week anymore?  No, between work, family, friends, hobbies, life responsibilities, there are enough unprogrammed deloads to keep me from over training or getting burned out.

So for those not attempting to win an Olympic medal, finish an Ironman or make money from your sport, rest/recovery is important, but the deload week probably will end up doing more harm then good.  Get in solid training when you can.  The longer rest period will probably take care of itself.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When Should I Run Again?

If you ever watch a local 5k road run or a massive race like the Riverbank run, you may see thousands of runners.  What you will also see is thousands of running forms.  Like fingerprints, gait is a highly unique, individual quality.

A patient or athlete will often ask when they should run again, or how often can they run.  There is no one answer in terms of time that is correct.  A highly trained runner may be able to run everyday for weeks on end before he needs a recovery day.  A new runner may be only able to pull off once a week.  Run before your body has recovered and you are doing more harm then help.

A new rule I have been applying recently with pretty good success is this.  Run only after your inside shins aren't tender.  For example, you run on Monday, post run, you do your cool down and myofascial rolling for the specified muscles.  Tuesday you do your warm up and check the inside of your shins, still not tender, go for another run if that's in your schedule.  Again, post run, you do the post run activities.  Wednesday, warm up and check the inside shins.  This time you notice that the inside of one of your shins is pretty tender.  Guess what, today you cross train or rest.  Post workout or during the day sometime if resting, you do some myofascial rolling.  Thursday, check your shins, feel good.  Go for a run.

I think you get the picture now.  While this is by no way a fool proof plan, it's a pretty decent indicator of how well you are recovering between runs.  The inside shin muscles, tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum and medial soleus, takes a beating during distance running.  When they are healthy, there is a much better chance you will stay healthy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

JDRF Death Valley Ride Report

92 miles into the Death Valley Ride to cure Juvenile Diabetes, we came to the top of the last hill.  We had just climbed out of the lowest place on the face of the earth.  The only thing left was a short roll down to home base.  Gravity would do the last of the days work.  8 hours and some change later, we were finished.

The ride was an out and back, with several aid stations paced out every 12-18 miles.  The whole ride could be 105 at max and as short as 20 miles.  Riders had the option to turn around at any point, so essentially choosing your own ride distance.  We were warned, where ever you decide to turn around, view it as 1/3 done, not as half.  The ride back would have the full heat and way more uphill.

Leading up to the ride, we had the chance to meet some pretty awesome people.  One lady had never ridden a bike before she bought one in March to start training for this ride.  I saw her finish the whole ride. There were many diabetics riding and monitoring their insulin at each aid station.  There were old people, over weight people, young and old, super fit and the not so.

About 10 miles into the days adventure, you truly start to feel the desolation that is Death Valley. While beautiful, it is other worldly, how you may picture Mars.  Growing up a Star Wars nerd, if you remember the scenes with Luke Skywalker on planet Tatooine, Death Valley is where they filmed it.  It wasn't hard to picture a Tusken Raider hiding out in the hills.

4 hours into the ride, the heat was really starting to pick up, it would reach 103 that day.  Two years ago over 100/320 riders were sag wagoned home, unable to make it back.  Last year, they didn't allow the full ride to happen as it was a record high.  My only real goal as I started the day was to ride back in and not get sag wagoned.  Old athletic pride still runs deep.

One of the last big hills we churned up before we turned around, I started to get the inkling that my quads were on the verge of cramping.  This has essentially been a pretty big theme in my endeavors. Anything that lasts longer then 2 hours, good chance I'm cramping, first my quads then my calves or vice versa.

But, they never did.  Low and behold, I may have found a solution.  I've written on cramping before, how there are several theories, but science still doesn't really know why.  Two days before the race we had the opportunity to meet and hear a doctor that specialized in diabetes research and endurance activities in general.  He couldn't stress enough that you had to get 1000-2000mg of sodium per hour.  Research from the last 6-9 months. Dude, that is a lot of salt.

I sweat a lot.  Looking back at many of the activities I've done, I can bet I was only getting close to 400mg at the most.  A typical energy gel may have 200 if it's 4x sodium.  I pounded salt tablets, beef jerky, pretzels, Cheetos and water.  It was surprising how difficult it was to get that much sodium hour after hour.  But,  it worked for this race.

We agreed to turn around at mile 46.  There was a 5 mile climb left up Jupiter's pass to do the whole 105, but knowing the ride back was 2x as hard, I wussed out made the smarter decision and  started the ride back.   It was indeed a smart decision, as hard as the ride back was, it was still enjoyable.  I had done a century ride before where the last two hours I was in such utter misery, I was hating life.

The ride support for Death Valley was amazing, so many volunteers.  Lodging was great, food was great, people were awesome.  If you ever get the chance to be apart of their rides, I highly encourage it. All in all, over 1.2 million dollars were raised with this race alone.  It was a bucket list kind of ride and day.  Death Valley didn't disappoint.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Basics of Navigating the Arm Pit

When you first start addressing issues that can arise from dysfunction happening in the arm pit, it can be a bit daunting.  It's not taught very well in my opinion, yet it yields huge results when done correctly.  Some symptoms that may present from dysfunction in the arm pit include any type of numbness or tingling below the arm pit.  Sharp pain in the front of the shoulder on flexion and frozen shoulder.

The below picture is to try to get you to imagine the arm pit as a cave.  The top of the cave is the pec minor.  The floor entrance is the lat/teres major, further caudal is the serratus anterior.  Going deeper into the cave is the subscapularis.  The wall towards the head is the arm muscles.  The wall towards the waist are the ribs.  

There should be a pocket deep in the arm pit.  When there isn't, often times the muscles are dysfunctional that can create muscle imbalance or compression on the neuromuscular sleeve.  As you palpate the arm pit, if you move the arm overhead, if you feel the roof collapsing very tightly on your finger/thumb that is palpating, often times the pec minor is very tight.  If the floor pops up at you, the subscapularis or lat (depending how deep you are)  is to tight/short.  If the superior wall seems to cave in, the arm muscles (long head of tricep or coracobrachialis) is to tight.  

Next time you are dealing with some shoulder/arm issues, don't get scared away from exploring the arm pit.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tibialis Posterior's Role in Gait Propulsion

I listened to a great interview with Podiatrist Emily Splichal on propulsion.  She classifies propulsion with three key steps.  Step one is supination of the forefoot through concentric contraction of the tibialis posterior.  2nd, dorsiflexion of the big toe. 3rd, windlass mechanism by activation of the plantar fascia.

I will try to sum up the first step as best as I can.  Tibialis Posterior (TP) is the key supinator of the foot. Understanding the anatomy lets one understand the importance of it.  It has expansive connections not only into the navicular, but it fans into every bone of the foot except the 5th metatarsal.

Concentrically TP is supinating, eccentrically it is decelerating pronation.  It dissipates ground reaction forces and prepares the foot for push off.

3 things control the optimal function of the TP.  Ankle mobility, foot strength and hip strength.  If the ankle doesn't have enough mobility, one will tend to overpronate and it will change the lever arm of the TP.  Must train the TP eccentrically, concentrically and isometrically.  Cal Dietz, triphasic training comes to mind.  Hip strength will profoundly influence foot strength, they work together.  If we want stronger TP the hip external rotators must get stronger.

She gives an example of squeezing a small ball between the heels and doing a calf raise. This will strengthen the TP as well as influencing the hip external rotators.

If you are interested in the other parts of the interview you can go to Movement Lectures.  I have found this to be a valuable learning resource.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

JDRF Death Valley Ride

I've been training for a 105 mile bike ride in Death Valley as part of JDRF fight to bring more research into Type 1 Diabetes.  I leave in a ten days.  The ride will be October 20.  My last bike ride in here in Michigan was in the 40's.  Temps in Death Valley will be close to 100.  I have never done that long of bike ride in that type of heat!  I will be riding out there with my sister and her husband and a few others that work in her clinic.  My sister actually entered and won a contest from a sponsor after already committing to do the ride and fundraiser.  An interview with her is at the bottom of this post.

My training pretty much consisted of trying to sit on the bike for longer periods of time each weekend.  I managed a few 4 hour rides, but alas, boredom set in and I went and did other things.  I've also been doing the local cyclocross series here, as well. If your interested in donating, you can visit my JDRF Fundraising Page.  I will hopefully give you a successful report back in a few weeks!

Saddleback in the Fight Against Diabetes
2012 JDRF Death Valley Ride For the Cure
My niece Grace was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at the age of seven. To help put an end to this life-threatening disease, Saddleback is sponsoring a team for this year's Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) Ride For the Cure Century Ride in Death Valley. It's a cool way to get together and show support and fundraise for a great cause. Saddleback, TrueBlue (our manufacturing facility) and CSI (our shipper, owned by Grace's mom) have come together to pledge $80,000+ to our riding team. All the money goes straight to JDRF's artificial pancreas research. 

I'm excited to Welcome Saddleback Family Member Robin Ross from Ann Arbor, Michigan onto Team Grace. She'll be riding with me and the rest of the team this October. Robin is a Vitreoretinal surgeon and diabetic clinical researcher. Sounds like she knows a thing or two about diabetes. She took a break from training and work for a chat with us.
Robin Ross  

Great to meet you, Robin! Tell us a little more about your work.
I manage diabetic retinopathy both medically and surgically. Diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure requiring dialysis and nerve damage which leads to foot ulcers and amputation. By 2035, 439 million people worldwide will have diabetes. This potential for complications causes a huge personal cross to bear for each diabetic and a huge socioeconomic burden to our medical system and the lost work force. A cure for diabetes requires a "team" approach - researchers, physicians, and fundraising. 

Absolutely. What was your first Saddleback piece?
I bought several pieces at once preparing for a trip to Africa. I had a soft camera gear pack with three bodies and lenses no padding and I placed it inside the Saddleback Duffel and carried it on. I bought an iPad case and a MacBook Air sleeve and placed them inside a small backpack with all my camera cords. 

That's great. Any cool stories about your leather?

No Masai spear stories, but if you invent a classic leather saddle for my bike I would have one...just kidding. Coming back from Africa, I landed in Atlanta to return to my home state of Michigan. I had one hour to gather my luggage, clear customs, and get my passport stamped. I had checked only my Saddleback Duffel with my camera, tripods and accessory camera gear. It was first off the baggage carousel with a "handle with care" tag and it's own special bin. I grabbed it off the carousel thinking, "sweet"! Several people including the Delta attendant directing me said, "nice bag". I was surprised that it looked brand new still after the long journey back.

What are you most looking forward to about the ride?
The scenery. Rather than focusing on a finish, I plan to enjoy the beautiful time of year in Death Valley. It is perhaps the most beautiful time of year to see one of our most scenic national landmarks. This will be my first big century ride.

This will be Dave's first century ride too. Or any ride over 15 miles for that matter. Any cycling advice for him?
Have all your children before the race :). Change your office chair to a bike seat. Train part of the time in shorts without padding. Invent the first Saddleback classic leather bike seat - it will make a great "Dave video" and it will do a "twofer"; help with fundraising and be an additional classic Dave video that will continue fundraising after the race. Try to do at least 70 miles before d-day. Attitude and mental toughness is really half the battle.

Why do you want to ride with Team Grace?
The opportunity to ride with Team Grace, encourage awareness of diabetes and help fundraise is a real honor. I am blessed with good health. When I am on the bike and riding and my butt hurts or my legs ache, I think about our diabetic patients with neuropathy of the legs and I think, they live with this ache day in and day out. You are healthy. This is a one day ride in a beautiful spot. Saddle up and ride.

Thanks for talking with us Robin! See you in the desert!

Every time you make a donation to Team Grace, we'll send you a cool leather JDRF Gracelet. This Death Valley ride is a great way for people to come together and show my niece Grace and others like her that this is a global effort to help save and extend lives. Thanks to Robin for all her hard work in the fight against diabetes. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Random Friday Things to Think About

I worked on my first Amish farmer the other day.  Very nice gentlemen, he had one physical feature that I found remarkable.  Massive muscular hands.  He was very average in build, but his hands were just strong and thick.  It was an impressive reminder what high volume/high frequency can produce.  Hours each day every day for years and years of farm work.

I'm having a triathlete that I'm helping do some chin-ups every time he passes under a door in his house to work this principle to bring up weak lats so he can be a stronger swimmer.

Saw this the other day and it just struck me as kinda awesome.  It's been called the Netherlands oldest extreme sport.  Canal Jumping!

Quit doing reverse curls, you are just overloading your pronator teres and will lead to flexor pain.  Bill DeSimone gives a great explanation of forearm anatomy in his Congruent Exercise book.

According to Ori Hofmekler author of several books, he believes the most important muscle fiber in your body is the Type 2b.  Type one is slow and burns fat, Type 2a is fast and burns carbs, Type2b is the fast/glycolytic and burns both, this is the fiber that should be trained.  I'm reading his book, "Unlock the Muscle Gene."

From a paper entitled, "Can the Body Use Fascia as a Method of Communication."

-the fascial system is the largest system in the body and is the only system that touches every other system. The fascia may be viewed as a single organ, a unified whole, the environment in which all body systems function.

-connective tissue forms an anatomical network throughout the body and functions as a body-wide mechanosensitive signaling network. The signals work by way of electrical, cellular and tissue remodeling. Signaling also occurs through changes in movement and posture, and signaling would be altered in pathological conditions such as local decreased mobility due to injury or pain.

Whats the take away?  Fascia potentially influences every other system in your body.  We can influence fascia through our movement and posture for better or worse and also it is compromised through injury and pain.  So if the fascia is poor quality, it stands in theory, that other systems in your body will begin to suffer.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Misleading MRI Information

I just received an informative email from Cal Dietz, strength coach for University of Minnesota.  His email went over the potential fallacies of trusting an MRI for various injuries.  I thought I would just present the highlights.  I've known about the herniation in healthy people study for a while, but the other body parts was new to me.

MRIs on people who had no back pain,  33% had spinal abnormality, and 20% had disc herniation, all under the age of 60.

MRI on pain free hockey players, 70% had abnormal pelvis and hips, 54% had labral tears.

MRI on knees of people age 20-68 with no knee pain.  60% showed abnormalities in at least 3 of the 4 regions of the knee.  "Meniscal degenerations or tears are highly prevalent in asymptomatic individuals."

MRI on shoulders showed that 23% of people with pain free shoulders had a rotator cuff tear.  Pain free overhead athletes in another study, 40% had rotator cuff tears, 0% on the non dominate arm.

So now you have pain, actual physical pain and you go in for an MRI and find something.  Is surgery warranted?  Maybe, but first exhaust all other avenues in terms of non invasive care.  Because even though the pathology fits the pain, doesn't mean that is the cause.

Thanks for Coach Dietz for providing this great info.  Pass it on when your friend says he or she is about to get an MRI.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Motivation: Motivation, Health, and Excellence: Ed Deci

A little different today, won't make you run out the door and start training, but may help you understand why and why not you are motivated.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hypermobility and Anxiety

I've always found the person in pain that is generally classified as being hyper mobile as more of a challenge then someone that is "stiff" or generally hypomobile.  Stopping movement always seems harder to address.

Reading through "Fascia" by Robert Schleip I came across a very interesting section about the link between hyper mobility and anxiety.  It seems that people that are excessively mobile show a very large increase in anxiety, panic disorders and some GI disorders.  

Through personal clinical history, it does seem that many of my hyper mobile patients are women and more often then not have dealt with anxiety disorders.  

To start to address some of the hyper mobility issues, I started to implement a couple times a day of breathing exercises to try to gain better functionality out of the diaphragm.  If breathing through the diaphragm produces greater rib movement, greater thoracic spine function is achieved.  Mobility in the thoracic spine will produce stability in the shoulder/neck/lowback. 

As a side note, anxiety is lessened.   Schliep's chapter was very interesting to read after just having dealt with a few cases like this.  If you know of someone dealing with anxiety, check for hyper mobility, if present, address it.   

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: The Secret Race

I like biking.  To me there is a sense of freedom in hopping on a set of wheels and going someplace.  Anyplace.  I also like human performance.  How much excellence can you squeeze out of your muscles and frame.  How much can grit and will power take you.  How far can you go on hard work.  I also have always liked learning the ins and outs of a subculture.  There is the unique vocabulary, language and customs of certain sports.   I'm also a big time sucker for conspiracy theories.  So the last book I read wove all these together.  I've enjoyed Daniel Coyles writing in the past.  In fact my last book review was of his "The Little Book of Talent."

"The Secret Race," is about the world of cycling.  Told from Tyler Hamiliton's experiences, it gives you a big window into one persons experience in cycling in the biggest bike race in the world, The Tour de France.  Where I found the most interest was the actual physiological markers that many of the doctors are using for the race.  When you're told that you cannot win the Tour without your hematocrit level being as close to the number 50 as possible, you start to understand why the doping with EPO occurs.

Hematocrit is the ratio of red blood cells to total volume of blood.  You are allowed to have up to the number 50.  To be with the elite, one must be close to that number.  An interesting fact is that EPO doesn't always help the same.  If my natural hematocrit is 46 and yours is a 43, you would have a larger advantage when it comes to doping.

  Another physician/coach stated that you can not compete to win the tour with out a kg/watt ratio of at least 6.7kg/watt.  This is a measurement of power to your bodyweight. So the book lists how closely the bodyweight affect performance.

Where the book is less then stellar is the sometime whiny tone it takes when dealing with the human element.  I realize this is the opinion of one man as he relates to all the different riders he comes in close contact with such as Lance, Floyd and others of the Postal team.

I found this book to be an easy read.  Definitely a look behind the curtain into EPO, testosterone, blood transfusions and the beauty, cruelty that is professional cycling.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How Did I Get So Messed Up?

I often get asked the question, "How did I get this way?"  This is usually during a therapy session where the goal at the moment is to break up an adhesion in a muscle.

There is a lot of science to what exactly is happening with fascia.  Stecco, the Italian researcher, has shown that painful areas under imaging have a thickening to the fascia.  This thickening is no good.  Langevin, a researcher at the University of Vermont, has shown that fascial thickening is a key component to lumbar back pain.

Social media has provided amazing access to profound thinkers.  On a Facebook post recently the eminent Leon Chaitow stated that some fascial problems come from what I'm calling the 4 Uses.  Overuse, Misuse, Abuse and Disuse.

Overuse.  You have the strength and endurance to run a 5k, but for some reason you run a 10k.  The tissue doesn't have the capacity for the load you are imposing.  Repetitive activity would also fall under this category.

Misuse.  Lets say you insist on doing exercises or movements that you really should not be doing.  Many machine based movements block natural movement.  Some exercises are just bad.  (upright rows).  Shoveling snow with lazy form.

Abuse.  Abuse is basically trauma.  Taking a spill on the mountain bike.  Falling.  Accidents happen, fascia pays the price.  Surgeries will fall under this category.

Disuse.  This simply is not moving.  There are lots of people that sit at work all day go home and sit in front of the TV.  Hit the repeat button for 5 straight days and then wonder why certain muscle groups are so tight.  Movement is our friend.

These are the 4 use's, which one are you guilty of?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Motivation: Always a Fire

Thanks to for posting this the other day. If you ever thought about giving up after an injury, take 7 minutes and watch.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fascia Fitness Friday: Free the Quad for a Better Glute

I've been checking the deep section of the vastus lateralis just in front and lower of the greater trochanter for tension, adhesions and trigger points.  I have noticed that when this is clear there is better hip centration and glute max hip extension is greatly improved.

I went looking for answers besides just the clearing the anterior chain improves the posterior chain.  I found it in the book I'm reading entitled, "Trigger Points and Muscle Chains In Osteopathy."  A great book for your library.

"the lower layer of the gluteus maximus is connected to the vast us externus, which is activated by the same motion pattern.  A pull on the vastus externus in addition stabilizes the gluteus maximus.  

Always nice to figure out the why to the how.  Keep that area free and see how your own hip extension improves.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Eliminate PUFA Omega 6 to Restore Your Health

Ever wonder why fish oil is so healthy for you?  Google fish oil and you would be hard pressed to find some disease/syndrome that fish oil or Omega 3 (o3) didn't make better or show improvements with.  One of the reasons for this is that the body requires a certain ratio of Omega 3 to the Omega 6.  Omega 3 is things like sardines, wild caught salmon, grass fed anything.  Omega 6 are mostly in oils such as corn, canola, cotton, flax seed, peanut, safflower, sunflower and vegetable oil.  When you get a very high ration of 6 to 3, you get an increase in the inflammation in your body.

So there are two ways to correct this ratio.  Supplement with Omega 3 fish oil to up your ratio, and eliminate your oil usage to lower the bad side of the ratio.

If you want to think in terms of Paleo, or WWCD (what would caveman do?) Eat more grass fed beef and wild salmon.  He didn't have access to the oils that are found in our foods or used to cook today's food.  Not surprisingly, when you eliminate the oils, you eliminate most of the junk food, fast food and food that didn't quite exist when our Great, Great, Grand Parents were roaming this world.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday Motivation: Through The Mill

Can you imagine having this much skill in whatever profession you are in? That is my goal!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills

I saw a video of one of the 52 tips posted and decided to purchase Daniel Coyle's new book, "The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills.  Like the name says, there are 52 chapters that essential equate to practice tips to improving your skills.  Here is an example.

If you are not familiar with Daniel Coyle, he wrote The Talent Code and Talent is Overated.  Both are very interesting, enjoyable reads that I would recommend.

"The Little Book of Talent" is a great read and a nice add to any Parent/Coach/Athlete's library.  There are several very sound principles that you can start right away in developing your skill no matter what it is you are looking to improve upon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rebuttal of Legalizing Doping

Here is a well written rebuttal of my post from yesterday.  Give it a read.  If you haven't read Stu's blog before, you should.  Here is the link.

Legalize Doping?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Sport of Cheating: Legalize PED's For Our Health

As someone that has loved sports and continues to love sport, the last few weeks have been very thought provoking.  We have had the chance to see the ultimate in human competition with the now concluded London Olympics.  Last week, a prominent baseball player was busted for performance enhancing drugs.  This week the battle between USADA and Lance is over.

I found this article in Forbes Magazine very interesting.  "Why It's Time to Legalize Steroids in Pro Sports."  I would be all for it.  Let them go at it.  We would start to witness what the peak of the human condition could achieve.  Great physical performance's.  Or perhaps, it would just be legal, and not much would actually be different.  It depends on how cynical you are I guess.  I fall on the scale of either super cynical or on a true believing day just very cynical.

Justin Gatlin is an American sprinter that won the Bronze medal in London.  In 2004 he won the Gold.  He was busted for steroids after his Gold medal year.  8 years older he is clean and running as fast as he was juiced?  Hmm...  I think I'm super cynical as I'm writing this.

I guess I don't care if you take 'em.  I'm not a huge baseball fan, but if I go to the park, I'd rather watch a .350 hitter any day over a .250 hitter.  I want to see Herculean efforts on the bike.  I want to watch some guy run 9.58 seconds in the 100m.  (hint hint)  I don't care.

What I do care about is feeling good when I'm 60.  Playing sports with my daughter as she grows up.  Watching my parents age and wanting them to stick around for as long as they can.  If performance enhancing drugs were legal and we have all these people willing to take them, get smart, smart doctors involved and learn what is Minimum Effective Dose.  Are there any real health concerns?  What do you need to take at 55, 65, 75 to keep muscle tissue from wasting away.  Does being on something like HGH for 6 weeks after a surgery increase recovery and successful outcome? Learn, study, investigate on the worlds best and let the trickle down effect happen for the benefit of the rest of us.

I will now step off my soap box.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How to Quickly Evaluate a Shoulder Blade and Implications

The following is a picture that shows the four things I look for first when I'm looking at someone with mid back, shoulder or neck pain.  I've found that if any one of the four are uneven, most adjustments to the spine of the mid back and neck won't last very long.

The orange line is the medial border.  This should be vertical.  The green line is the horizontal border.  This should be even.  The blue line is the distance between the spine and the medial border.  This should be equal.  The grey arrow indicates that the shoulder blade should be sitting square on the thoracic rib cage.  Often you will find one tipped forward.

Only after all four indicators are level will an adjustment, in my opinion, hold its value so to speak.

I find the green line affected most by the latissimus dorsi.  The orange line by the rotator cuff muscles, the serratus anterior and levator scapulae.  The blue line by the rhomboid group.  The grey line by the pec minor.  Of course these are all generalizations.  But it's a great starting point to quickly gain a thought process in treatment.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Breaking News...Michigan is Fat

I didn't even bother to look up who did the study or where the rankings are taken.  I know this, no one measured my BMI. (Body Mass Index)  If they did, I would be classified obese.  But, walk down the street, head to any Mall and you probably won't argue the results.

I think I remember that Michigan has always ranked high in the obesity charts.  It was a title we fought with Mississippi (the new number 1).  Michigan is the only state that isn't down south.

One could argue that it's a reflexion of the health of the economy as well.  Poorer states are usually fat.  Pretty simple.  But it's more about education in my opinion.  There are as many affluent overweight individuals as there are poor.

The Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, after the results were released, initiated a Pure Michigan Fit program. Four tenants.  A few are excellent, breast feed your babies.  This should be pushed in hospitals.  Having been in a NICU unit for my daughter, I know this wasn't the case.  (They sure did push for my little premie to get a Hep B shot though).  Another is limit juice consumption, a step in the right direction.  Juice is like sugar water.  Push fruit and vegetables as a first type of solid food.  Another step that seems pretty solid.  The last was limit saturated fat. An example was to replace whole milk with skim.  Horrible advice.  Studies have shown that skim spikes insulin more.  Insulin spikes usually result in fat storage.

There lies part of the problem.  There still exists wrong information that is being dispensed as "health."  Diet soda isn't healthier for you.  Eating saturated fat is good not bad.  Low fat isn't healthy.  Butter isn't bad.  Low calorie snacks doesn't make them good for you.  Eating late at night for the majority of your calories isn't detrimental to your health, just as breakfast isn't the most important.  Cereal is not a great breakfast choice.  Fortified means all the good stuff was taken out and had to be put back in.  Vitamin water is sugar.  You probably never even came close to working out hard enough or long enough to justify that Gatorade.

One step in the right direction is stressing the need to increase movement.  Move more.  They talk about increasing bike and running races.  Cool.  More events.  That isn't going to help one thing.  If I'm struggling with money, I'm not going to pay 30 dollars to run a 5k.  There are some awesome programs out there like Girls on the Run.  But how about thinking large scale.

How about figuring out a way to put gym class back in school.  Michigan no longer requires it every day.  Growing up we had gym for an hour every day.  These days it may be 30 min every other day.

There is a crazy stat out there that like in 20 years one in three kids will have type 2 diabetes.  It currently costs the US 100 billion dollars.  So not having the money to do something like creating jobs for PE teachers is not logical.  Spend a little, save a lot.

Thomas Jefferson said, "Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Product Reviews: PUR Filter and Belkin FastFit iPhone Case

I haven't done a product review in a while, so I thought I would highlight a few that I have been enjoying.  First, I bought a PUR 2 stage water filter for 30 bucks that just attaches to the existing kitchen faucet.  I have been very happy with this purchase.  Cleaned up the smell/taste.  I had read some reviews that it breaks, but have had mine for over 6 months with no issues.  Definitely makes my espresso taste better using filtered water.  Big win there.

The next was finding an athletic carrying case for my iPhone.  I purchased the Lifeproof case and strap.  Ended up returning after one use.  The case, guaranteed against drops and water, just felt cheap to me.  Didn't want to keep it in the case when I wasn't using it.  You have to buy the strap for your arm separately and I found that to be very uncomfortable after a few minutes.  If you have bigger guns then 14 inches, chance are you wouldn't like it very much.  All together you are going to dish out close to 100 dollars for the two of them.

After I returned them I purchased the Belkin FastFit iPhone case/strap.  This was 30 dollars and has worked awesome.  I like the fact I can take the phone out easily and the strap is very comfortable.  Rode 3 hours with it and never had any issues.

There is a great app called DownCast.  It is free.  It allows you to download podcasts to your phone without having to sync your phone to iTunes.  Pretty awesome.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fascia Fitness Friday: Improving Contractile Force

Information is always changing.  10 years ago the general consensus was that fascia didn't contract.  Muscles contract, fascia was just the "bag" it's in.  Now we know that fascia does indeed contract.  Now there are some people that describe the anatomy of a person as a bag of fascia with 600 or so compartments for the muscles.

It has been said that the fascia contributes up to 30% of the contractile force.  If the fascia is not healthy, it is tight or weak, the true expression of strength will never be realized.  The true expression of effortless movement will never be realized.

Do your foam rolling, do your multi planar movements, drink your water, keep your fascia healthy.  You will be rewarded with improved strength and better movement.  Test it out.  Create a marker workout.  Record time or weight or both.  Next time through, do some aggressive foam rolling work with a roller, lacrosse ball ect.  before, between and after and compare the marker workout.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Small Overlooked Muscles: Quadratus Femoris

The quadratus femoris is one of the six hip muscles that provide external rotation.  It is the most inferior of all of them.  The QF is a rectangular shaped muscle that attaches to the anterior ischium (sit bone) and the posterior greater trochanter.  The sciatic nerve often lies on top of this muscle.

The function of the hip rotators is to provide stability to the hip joint.  If they present as continually tight in an athlete or patient, this is a sign that the hip joint isn't being centered and the hip rotators are always "on."
The QF is also a lateral rotator in flexion and extension.

Because of its attachment points there is a fascial connection to the biceps femoris, sacrotuberous ligament and adductor magnus.

I have found that it can significantly limit hip abduction.  After the QF is treated, hip centration improves and better function out of the glute medius and minimus is achieved.  It can also significantly improve active straight leg raise.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Usain Bolt - The Fastest Man Alive (The Movie)

Interesting insight into the personal and professional life of Usain Bolt as he prepares for London Olympics.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Breathing Ladders: The How and Why

Breathing ladders were a new concept to me.  I'm not sure where I first heard of the concept, but then I saw it everywhere.  Essentially, what you are doing is taking and exercise and pairing it with controlled breathing, working up in reps, and then down in reps.

Each rep corresponds with one breath.  Two reps, two breaths, 18 reps, 18 breaths.  Get the picture?

The concept is to try to force the diaphragm to breath efficiently and to cut out the habit of mouth breathing.  Controlled stress.  It's also a very easy way to get in volume.  A ladder from 1 rep to 20, back down to 1 rep, would yield 400 reps.

The breath should be in through the nose and work to feel the lateral ribs expanding.  Work the diaphragm.   It often helps to breath out the nose as well.  Just keep the mouth shut.

An example for a nice exercise would be a kettlebell swing.  One swing, put the weight down, one big breath.  2 swings, put the weight down, 2 breaths.

Play with this style of exercise and training and see if your breath, recovery improve as you get in quality volume.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Centration by Any Method for a Healthy Body

I started thinking the other day on why pain happens.  The cascading events that lead to pain and also the cascading events that  result from the pain and finally the cascading events that lead out of pain.

What started me thinking was Evan Osars book, "Corrective Exercise Solutions."  I had a chance to meet Evan awhile back at a Strength/Performance Enhancement seminar and have since tried to read all he puts out, great information.

He uses the term centration quite frequently.  Centration is simply the optimal access of range of motion in a joint.  When the body has centration, it has ease of movement, no compensation and no pain.  If centration is lost, compensation occurs, pain is experienced....eventually.

Unless there is trauma, car accident, a football blown knee, falling down some stairs as examples, most of what is felt has had years to develop.  That herniated disc didn't happen from picking that weight off the floor, that was just the last insult the body could handle.

It is possible that actually correct optimal movement of the joint was never learned.  Neuro development is a hot topic and it appears that the crawling pattern that occurs is more important then previously realized.

An old injury that doesn't even come to mind is a possible reason for loss of joint centration.  I can recall so many times athletes telling me that they can't recall how many severe ankle sprains they have experienced.  Ever had a bad ankle?  You limp around for days, sometimes weeks.  That is disrupting your recruitment pattern, the ankle centration has been altered.

For centration to occur, optimal muscle stability must occur.  A joint can not move correctly if there is not stability to allow mobility to occur.  An injury to a muscle will alter joint centration.

This brings us to the old saying, "Methods are many, Principles are few."  It doesn't matter the method, if the principle is achieved.  So whether the method is an adjustment, myofascial work, muscle energy, muscle activation, corrective exercise or a combination, know that ultimately the goal is proper joint centration.

Achieve joint centration, achieve ease of motion,  achieve a pain free body.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Motivation: London 2012

The Olympics start on Friday! I'm pretty excited to watch, hope you are ready!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Small Overlooked Muscles: Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor

The sub occipital muscles consist of the Superior Oblique, Inferior Oblique, Rectus Capitis Posterior Major and Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor.  All of these muscles can contribute to headaches when tight or short.  A very common headache comes from an entrapment of the greater occipital nerve in the Inferior Oblique.

Now an often overlooked contributor to headache is the Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor (RCPMinor).  It has connections to the posterior arch of C1 and travels up to the nuchal line on the occiput.  Often overlooked and I believe very important is that it also has connections into the spinal dura.

These connections seem to somehow help monitor the cerebral spinal fluid.  We do know that all the sub occipital muscle have loads of muscle spindles in them to provide proprioception to the Central Nervous System.

If the RCPMinor becomes tight the atlantooccipital joint is not as stable.  Proprioception will be hindered and perhaps most importantly, cerebral spinal fluid will be altered.

On a personal side note, every person/athlete I have ever treated post concussion have had extremely tight RCPMinor and Major.

If you receive treatment or seek treatment for cervicogenic pain or tension headaches, make sure to ask about the RCPMinor.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Foam Roller vs The Stick vs Vibration for Mechanoreception

I'm a pretty big advocate of using a foam roller to help free up tissue, even if some people claim it's for a very small amount of time.  My views on this.  If one uses the new range of motion within this time frame, one gets stronger and gradually increases the tissue quality in that new ROM.

Is there a difference in the method one chooses?  I believe there is.

There are things called mechanoreceptors in your muscles, ligaments, joint capsules and fascia.  They respond to different pressures, frequencies and oscillations.  A few of these mechanoreceptors are called ruffini, pacini and interstitial receptors.  

Ruffini (type 2) respond to deep sustained pressure.  This would be where the foam roller would be of most value. It has the ability to inhibit the sympathetic nervous system.  When a muscle is tight or short, this is a good idea.  In the therapy world, myofacial release and massage would be of high value.  Our central nervous system receives the most input from the myofascial tissues.  (more then eyes, ears, skin)

Pacini receptors respond to vibration and rapidly changing pressure, many think a high velocity low amplitude adjustment (HVLA) common in chiropractic, stimulate this form.  This would also be where the vibration would be of value.  The biggest benefit to this is an increase in proprioception and kinesthesia.  One becomes more aware of posture and where one's body is in space.

Another home therapy tool is a popular product called The Stick.  This does the least amount in terms of therapy in my opinion.  It mostly just stimulates afferent impulses from the skin.  Similar to using a vegetable brush.  This would be something you could use to rapidly run across muscles before a lift or immediate activity.  

The interstitial receptors are the newest receptors discovered.  They are further classified into Type 3 and Type 4.  These in fact make up the majority of your muscle receptors at about 80%.  In the past they were thought to perform pain reception as they terminate in free nerve endings.  They are now accepted to be primarily mechanoreception, so they respond to pressure and mechanical tension, along with pain reception.  They also seem to have a huge influence on fluid dynamics.

The Interstitial receptors respond to slow deep sustained pressure, just like the ruffini.  So again the foam roller becomes the go to method.  It has been shown that their stimulation increases parasympathetic activity.  Global muscle relaxation is the outcome.  This is the goal for most people dealing with chronic pain, loss of ROM or increased recovery.

Choose your home therapy tool wisely.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Motivation: Run Through Your Hurdles

Sometimes you just have to get to the finish.   Run through your hurdles this week if you have to!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fascia Fitness Friday: The Role of Thoracolumbar Fascia

The Thoracolumbar fascia (TLF) is an important structure for movement and stability in the human body.  It intimately blends the latissimus dorsi with the gluteal complex, thus linking the arm to the leg.

In the awesome book, Fascia by Schliep, it is suggested it also has a few more roles.  It is a sheath around muscles to reduce friction, facilitate blood return to the heart, provide an exoskeleton for other muscles to attach and finally, to protect blood vessels from mechanical damage.

It is finally being researched as a potential pain source for "non specific low back pain."  For that to fit the bill it would need to contain enough sensory fibers.  Even in 2006, this was not even thought to be looked into.  Recently, experiments have been conducted on animals and the data is showing that there are indeed enough sensory fibers to convey nociception (pain.)

What I found most revealing about these experiments was that the researchers concluded that DOMS (delayed onset muscle syndrome) showed in human trials the fascia around the over exercised muscle become more sensitive then the actual muscle.

A way to train this I believe is a take away from Mike Boyle's book "Advances In Functional Training."
Force is transmitted from the ground through the leg to the hip via the biceps femoris (hamstring) and glute max.  The force is then transferred across the SI Joint into the opposite latissiumus dorsi.  For this reason, all rowing motions except the inverted row are performed with only one foot in contact with the ground.  One foot on the ground and the load in the hand opposite that foot, the athlete must now engage the biceps femoris and glute to transfer force from the ground via the pelvic stabilizers and the hip rotators. (big thanks to Stu McMillan for sharing his notes with me)  PS.  make sure to check out his blog.

In doing the above mentioned, you will be strengthening the Thoracolumbar fascia.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kimchi: Korean Super Food Explored

I recently stepped out of my culinary comfort zone and tried Kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish.  I'm not a big cabbage guy.  I'm not a big vegetable guy to be honest.  I hate shredded lettuce.  So I went in a bit doubtful, maybe a little more then just a bit.

I was pleasantly surprised that I actually liked it.  There is a good possibility that I wanted to like it because it is so healthy for you.  But who cares.  I've added a new super food to my pallet, and super food it is.

Pretty much anything fermented is pretty great for your intestinal health.  Kimchi is no exception.  It is loaded with the good bacteria that helps digest food and keep your "internals" running smoothly.

Dr. Bob Rakowski has a saying, "Devoid of trauma, stuff that is wrong on the outside, always starts with something wrong on the inside."  Keep your digestive health at the fore front of your health and performance goals.

Other benefits are more outliers,  potential to decrease the duration of colds and UTI's.   It is a good source of fiber.  Helps to reduce the hyperacidity that may occur from meat and coffee.  (A little side project I'm doing is measuring my acid/alkaline levels each day)

If you are in Grand Rapids, Nourish Market on Wealthy, has an organic version that you see in the picture.