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