Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Post of 2014

I think I did it.  Did one post a day for a full year.  Some sucked.  Some were pretty good.  Some were just videos.  Some took me hours to write.  Hopefully if you checked in once a week you learned something and better yet, you were moved to go look up something from a video or concept.  I love that.  Finding a name of someone or a concept and running down the rabbit hole with it.  Finding the tangents that intertwine and weave together with it.

One of the things I'm going to do this year is each month pick one concept mentally, physically and emotionally and devote the month to that.  I'm starting to think no progress is made with moderation. You can't do something occasionally and get better at it.  Moderation is an excuse at times.

Maybe one month my mental goal is to delve as deep into the lumbar spine as I can.  Maybe, physically it's an L-sit to press.  Over and Over.  I haven't ironed out all the rules or concepts, except I want to take a month and just attack and get deep into one thing at a time.  Maybe I will only deadlift or something.  I'm not sure.  Can I take a cold shower only for a month?

I'm still playing around with the concept in my head.  But, I want to narrow my focus in on a few subjects and movements and physical goals and attack them instead of diversifying my interests.  If you want a learn a language move to the country.  That kind of concept!

I won't be posting everyday, but I plan on posting on more days then not!  I'll give updates on my "Non Moderation" and hopefully you can join if you would like with your own.

I had a great year in 2014.  Looking forward to 2015.  Everyday, feel gratitude.  It's a universal concept and principal that will change your life.

Be Grateful.

Monday, December 29, 2014

How the Tongue Influences Growth

Over this past weekend I listened to a great podcast about how the tongue influences the upper pallet.   The consequences of what happens when this doesn't happen and a few things to do and thing about.  Really pretty informative, especially if you have a baby or young kid.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Great Article: Natural Born Heroes

My post didn't post that is why 2 blogs showed up today.

This was a really fun read from Outside Magazine.  Can't wait for the new book from Christopher McDougall.   Natural Born Heroes.

What Nature Says About Sleep Positions

This is a pretty interesting article about how native people adapt sleep positions.  These sleep positions allow the natural correction of musculoskeletal issues.  At one point in my life I slept on the floor with one pillow for 6 years.  During this time period I had much less joint pain and problems.  I was also much younger and many less sports injuries.  

With all the hype on minimalist shoes and paleo/caveman eating, 3rd world pooping squat, I'm surprised sleeping on the floor hasn't had more of a following. 

I think there is some validity to the very interesting article posted at the bottom.  Should you ditch the bed?

Try it and see if you wake with less body pain!  The truth lies in your experience and the consistency of your finding.

Just remember that guys that grow up running barefoot, choose shoes when they are offered.  Just because someone goes without, doesn't mean that they choose that way, they are making the best of their situation.!po=75.0000

Friday, December 26, 2014

DRIFTA LIFTA: Extended training with Diane FU

Always fun to watch a great coach and a great athlete working on technique and skills.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas Pre Feast Workout

Merry Christmas!  Hope you all are enjoying the holidays!  A pre feast workout to get the metabolism primed for calories.

100 kettlebell swings
50 yards of bear crawl.
10 goblet squats
80 kb swings
40 yards of bear crawls
10 goblet squats
60 kb swings
30 yards of bear crawls
10 goblet squats
40 kb swings
20 yards of bear crawls
10 goblet squat
30 kb swings
10 yards of bear crawls
10 goblet squats

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Can You Control Your Joints

Around 6 weeks ago I crashed my cyclocross bike dismounting and hitting a barrier in a glorious nonathletic move.  I went one direction while my bike flew in the opposite direction.  Somewhere in the chaos I had a shearing shot of pain in my lower back.  Luckily I could pedal mostly pain free, running was not great, but doable.  I knew I could finish the race, but that the next week was going to suck.

The following week did suck.

The 2nd week sucked a little less.

A month later, you could pretty much say I was pain free, moving, lifting traveling without any difficulty.  I was 100% correct?

This is where we stop in our rehabilitation process for most of us.  Including myself.  Once we are pain free and back to our daily activities we are good to go.  In the immortal words of Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friend."

I decided to film myself and see how my intersegmental cat/camel was doing.  It's something I learned in Functional Range Conditioning.  It's a way to evaluate if you have motor control of your spine.  Your spine should move!  I was shocked at how bad I was.  Granted I hadn't been training it well for awhile, but this was pretty bad.  (You can see the video over on my Instagram page.  DRjasonross.)

I had no motor control.  Almost a guarantee that I am just waiting on my next lower back moment even though I feel great.

It is an interesting thought process to wonder how my intersegmental motor control was pre accident.  Would I have been able to crash without creating a lower back trauma if my motor control had been better?

There really is no way to prevent injury.  But, perhaps we can definitely create a more resilient body that is more resistant to injury.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Embrace Failure in 2015

I watched my 3 month old struggle to turn over from her stomach to her back for a good 15 minutes last night.  The whole time she is doing this she is smiling.  She was enjoying the process.

How often do we go into something and expect to be "pretty good" at a new movement and skill and when it doesn't come as easy as we think, we get frustrated and quit.  Embrace failure.  You will never improve at anything if all you do is things you are good at.

Why do we lose the enjoyment?

Why do we expect to be good at something we have never tried or is outside the comfort zone of our daily life.

New goal for 2015, starting now, enjoy the process of learning new movement skills and new skills in general.


Monday, December 22, 2014

How to Build PVC Parallettes - PVC Parallel Bars

I made a set a few years ago and they have held up well to abuse/use.  I am going to make a new set and probably use 10" instead of 8" for height.  Improving L-sit to a Frog position is one of the aspects I'm going to be working on this winter.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Some Articles to Finish the Weekend and Start the Week

Have a good understanding of what manual therapy can do and the why of the mechanism?  This paper tries to identify the potential mechanisms.  Mechanisms of Manual therapy. 

What happens to the fat that you burn when you exercise?  Where Does the Fat Go? 

We are in control of more then what we have been given credit for.  How Exercise Changes Our DNA.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Quality Information on Muscle Cramping

Came across this nice paper on cramping.  As a life long cramper, I have a deep interest in learning more about why we cramp.  Science is conflicted.  The author does a nice 4 minute video summary as well.  Cramping in Sport. 


Friday, December 19, 2014

Random Thoughts from the Clinic/Life

Detox juices and highly restricted calories should not be combined with exercise.

Working all the patellar ligaments around the knee produces a unique feeling of lightness in the leg and is often overlooked in knee problems.

The VMO has a direct fascial connection to the psoas muscle.  (learned this...not in clinic)  Treating the VMO with the Psoas has produced (acutely) better results.

All my Crossfit athletes I take care of have one sided bracialis issues.  I believe it's from all the gymnastic ring work.  When this muscle gets tight, the anterior delt isn't to far behind in becoming sore/painful.  I used to think this was biceps irritation.  (Thanks functional range seminars for showing me this is anterior delt)

I'm done buying those online ebook/videos that are 37 dollars in the first week and after this week it jumps to 47 dollars.  You click on the link and it sends you to a page where it's a million people giving great reviews and they want you to buy the gold package.  I'm done I tell you.  I won't tell you which one I bought yesterday, not a fan of bad mouthing someones work, but I feel like I threw money away and I even found the book to be solid.

Speaking of good, Tom Furman has a great Ebook.  Bamboo Gods, Iron Men and Rubber Bands.  Great info and highly practical.  Learned a few things and had some creative insights in the mobility game.  All for 9.99.  Not that rip off 47 dollars.

Fruits and Vegetables just need to be available.  People (myself and family) eat them way more when they are just laying around.  Someone brought in a fruit basket the other day and my weekly consumption has jumped.  To bad junk food never goes bad and the healthy stuff does.

My patients that have undergone some sort of cancer treatment in their life have a different quality to their tissue.  It always feels like there is more of plastic quality if that makes sense.  It's much harder for me to grab a spot to hold onto.  I've been thinking way more on the nutritional aspects of healthy connective tissue lately.

People feel tremendously better when you get them breathing better.  For older populations, opening up the pectoral girdle seems to really give them a turbo boost of energy.

The quicker you can start some rehab/movement post injury the quicker results you can achieve.  The old adage of rest is pretty much dead.  This was a big reminder this week after a grade 2 hamstring came in 6 weeks after it happened.  Find what you can do pain free and start from there.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Johnny's Recovery - NO KNIFE

 There is a tremendous amount of work that can be done to regain movement and strength if you have an injury.  Deciding surgery is always a personal matter, and one must realize that if you choose surgery, the road ahead is just as hard to rehab.  But, you should know, surgery is not the only option.  More and more coming out these days about the potential with diligent practice, movement and precise loading of the tissue that healing can occur.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Pressure is Building

Traveling on the plane a few weeks ago I had the miserable experience of my ears not popping.  It was painful.   Gum chewing, forced yawning, blowing my nose, nothing really worked.   It took at least three or four days for the pressure to finally relax and it to feel normal.

Just a few days ago, in the shower, my ear popped loudly, (in my head at least)  my hearing felt better and instantly my head felt lighter.  My body had grown accustomed to the less then optimal experience.  Was I in pain?  No.  If someone had asked how my ear pressure was I would have said that everything was fine.  

Subtle pressure is impossible to feel.  It comes on slowly.  

How do you boil a frog?  SLOWLY

How often in life do we grow accustomed to abnormal pressure.  Whether it's mental or physical.  Have something that may be weighing on your mind.  Don't think it's that big of deal.  When you finally deal with it you find yourself sleeping better.  Mental pressure is for real.

A lot of the treatment and therapy will result in the joint feeling lighter.  I tell every patient that is what the joint is supposed to feel like.  Over time you have become accustomed to the pressure.  Your abnormal is normal.  You aren't moving or feeling optimal, because you lost optimal long ago.   You are comfortably uncomfortable.  

Something to be said for wellness visits.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dianne Andreotti: Motor Control of the Hamstrings

Another nice video.  I am interested in learning more about the primitive reflexes that don't always go away as we age.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Shirley A Sahrmann

Excellent video from one of the leaders in changing movement deficiencies.  Great videos on lumbopelvic and hip problems at the end.  One of the principles of correction would be to follow Functional Range Conditioning mantra, Create the joint, move the joint, strengthen the joint.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fixing Low Back Pain With Bands

I had the pleasure of training with Dick Hartzell in 1999 when he just had a small "band gym" in Youngstown, OH.  He was an amazing guy and I don't think he has ever received the recognition he deserves for being such an innovator.  I still use bands quite a bit today in practice/training.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

World Athletic Center Performance Therapy Course Summary

This past week I had the opportunity to take part in the first Performance Therapy Course offered from the World Athletic Center (WAC) in Phoenix AZ.  The WAC is an integrated performance center that offers top flight coaching and therapy to Professional Track And Field athletes and up and coming track athletes.

Dan Pfaff, Stu McMillan, Andreas Behm, Nick Scheuerman and John Godina are just some of the names involved in the coaching aspect.  There is an unbelievable amount of wisdom, knowledge and experience in this crew.

To lead the first Performance Therapy section was Dr. Gerry Ramogida DC.  He is the Seattle Seahawks Chiropractor since 2002 and lead therapist for Fortius a large Performance center in Vancouver.  He was the lead therapist for the UK up till the 2012 London Olympics.  Gerry was a wealth of information.  He has accumulated a very large knowledge base from which to add nuggets of insight into many different situations.

The idea behind the course is to integrate coach, therapist and athlete into a triangle of communication.  Coach should be able to look at an athlete warming up and provide a manual correction to improve the warm up or workout.  A therapist should know what a coach is looking for in an athlete warming up and working out.

Seems pretty common sense, until you realize, most people don't know this!

The course is split up into a nice trident of education.  Lecture, Practical and Discussion over a four day stretch.  Each was solid in application. For many people it was there first time hearing about mechanotransduction, fascial health, sprint mechanics, ElDOA, and more.  The practical section involved learning about warm ups and the why of progression.  Evaluating athletes on the move, essentially a movement based movement screen!  Can you watch an athlete warm up, make an intervention when needed, and create better movement?  Gait analysis on the fly!  Discussion was gold.  It's not often you get some heavy hitters asking questions and having open discourse on therapy and training.  Very cool.

If you are a coach or therapist this is great course to help you take your professional development to the next level.  It really brought out some areas of learning I need to improve on (foot mechanics) and  pointed me in direction of potential other learning opportunities.  I learned just as much from the quality of attendees and have noticed that is a trend.  Great courses bring out great attendees.  I noticed this with attending the Functional Range Release seminars last year.  Quality teaching, brings quality people.  Wins all around.

The coaches, therapists and athletes that are associated with the WAC are all tremendous.  It was an awesome 5 days I was down there.  There is an incredible vibe that is in the atmosphere around the WAC.  I learned a lot, improved my skills and enjoyed some nice Phoenix weather.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Guy Voyer explains the meaning and history of ELDOA

One of the cutting edge ways athletes are warming up down at the World Athletic Center is with specific ELDOA stretches.  Here is the founder, Guy Voyer, expelling the concepts.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Few Good Reads

I have been enjoying Matt Vincents stuff lately.  His latest article is entitled "The Art of Strength Training."

This article is about the importance of the warm up.  Something I highly believe in.  Something I strive to work at getting better at.  Ten Commandments of Warm Up.

I was out in Phoenix taking a seminar and working with some sprinters out of World Athletic Center this past week.  Some warm ups they do are over an hour long, to get them ready for intense sprint sessions.  I'll write more of this experience hopefully this week and summarize my experience.  But, I'm off to play with my kid now.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Good Reads

Steve Magness writes a great blog called Science of Running.  This post talks about how he tracks data with his runners.  You get to see how important sleep really is to performance.  Tracking Collegiate Runners.

If you have ever wondered about how much steroids may help, this article give a small insight into the world of powerlifting and steroids.  What Powerlifting Tells Us.  We are now starting to see that even taking steroids for a little while can translate to gains years down the road.

I just like reading studies like this.  Keeping Older Muscles "Young" through Protein and Exercise.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Drifta Lifta -Part one- Kelly Starrett, San Francisco Crossfit, Pleasant...

Thought this was a well done video.  I got to meet Kelly Starrett the other day at the World Athletic Center Performance Therapy seminar I'm taking.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lactate as Brain Fuel

Lactate As Brain Fuel with Dr. George Brooks:

Monday, December 1, 2014

Random and Interesting

The Gait Guys are always putting out solid material for manual therapists.  I'm always interested in reflex's and this article is pretty interesting.  We know eyes drive extension when you look up and drive flexion when you look down.  I'd never been aware of how neck motions can also drive this.
More on Stretching.

Joel Jamieson owner of gives a great introduction video for Breaking Muscle.  Solid information.  Always good to review the basics.
Energy Systems 101. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Jim Wendler Feature Interview

I was laying out my deadlift workouts for 2015 using 5/3/1 as my base.  Nice interview.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Can Training with Mental Fatigue Make You Physically Better?

One of the books I'm reading right now is called, "Faster, Higher, Stronger:  How Sports Science is Creating a New Generation of Super Athletes." By Mark McClusky.  It has been a fun, interesting read about some potential break throughs on training and athletics.  One of the concepts that has really intrigued me is the concept of The Psychobiological Model of Exercise.

The perception of effort is the key limiter of our endurance.

Here is a summary from one section.

In the 12 week study, two groups of 14 soldiers each trained on a stationary bike.  First group trained 3x a week for an hour at a moderate aerobic pace.  The second group did the same thing, but while pedaling did a mentally fatiguing task.

Both groups saw an increase in VO2 max.  But, when time to exhaustion test was done, much different results were seen.  The control group improved 42%.  The group that did a mentally fatiguing task improved 115%.

This is definitely worth exploring when your stuck inside riding your trainer this winter.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Fitness Plan

The time periods between Thanksgiving and New Years can often mean a dip in exercise activity for many people.  There seems to be less routine and more gatherings, whether for family or work.

There is more travel from relatives and friends.  More sugar.  Way more sugar.

Without a plan, a day can become a week, a week a month,  and your left with the start of the new years with a less fit you and feeling like your behind in your fitness and health goals.

Here is a plan to help you migrate through the holiday season.

1.  One weight workout a week.  This can simply be your bodyweight if need be.

2.  Two 20 min sessions of continuous movement per week. Walking, biking, anything that creates
 blood flow and is uninterrupted.

3.  Two 10 min sessions of some type of interval workouts per week. At its simplest, raise your heartbeat for 15 seconds.  Let it return to under 120bpm.  Do this for 10 min.  You may end up only doing a few sets.  Your fitness levels dictate this.

4.  Commit to only eating anything that is predominately sugar with a meal that contains protein.  So no pie on its own at night.  If your eating after dinner, go for it.

5.  Drink more water then you normally do.  Hydration plays a role in helping keep you healthy.  Drink a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage.

6.  Wash your hands a lot.  Do everything you can to avoid germs.

7.  Don't go two days in a row with late nights.  Pick your parties.

Sugar, less sleep, more alcohol, less exercise all can play a role in starting the New Years on a sour note.  Start the year as healthy as you can.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

"Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours."

Marcus Aurelius

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Mace Pendulum Swing for Core Conditioning

The Mace Pendulum Swing is a great exercise to develop a few important qualities for athletes; core strength and relaxation.  It is based on the principles of leading low back researcher and strength performance specialist, Dr. Stu McGill.  

Dr. McGill has shown that the ability to contract and relax the core is vital for the ability of athletes to learn to generate power.  The ability to relax and then brace is what separates great athletes from average athletes.  Essentially you are relaxed to move fast and then stiffen to apply a punch or a kick with power.  

This type of exercise is based on Reactive Neuromuscular Training.  RNT simply means exercises are used that require little visual or verbal instruction and instead cause a reaction to an outside force. In this case, the force is the swinging mace.   Your body will naturally fight to stay upright, thus engaging the abdominal corset, your hips and grip.  It fights the momentum of the mace and then relaxes when the mace is no longer a threat as it crosses in front of your body. 

It is also a self limiting exercise.  Self limiting means that you will be done with the exercise before the form degrades and you potentially use incorrect form.  Jump roping is a self limiting exercise, as you fatigue your form fails and you stop.  Jogging and squatting are not self limiting.   You can jog your way to an injury.   You can squat your way with bad form for a few extra reps.  The Mace Pendulum swing is self limiting due to your grip.  Your grip will get tired before the swing tires out the body. 

Stand tall,  feet under the shoulders, slight knee bend and looking straight ahead.  The mace is held with the ball towards the floor and elbow is at 90 degrees.  As the mace swings towards your midline, the body will instinctively relax.  As it moves away from the body, outside the center of gravity, your body will instinctively stiffen to keep it from being pulled towards the side of the swinging mace.  As the mace slows down as it reaches its apex across your body, create an impulse into the mace to swing the mace faster across the body. 

The heavier the mace, the larger momentum arm will be.  Think smaller time frame for sets.  The smaller the mace, the longer the grip will last and the more time under tension can be developed, think longer sets.  

For a 20lb mace start with sets of 30 seconds.  Work up to one minute for each arm.  Depending on your goals, you can go back and forth between arms and build some great core endurance or put this into a full body circuit incorporating a few other Mace exercises.  Either way, get ready to have your core and grip endurance challenged. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CoreFIST with BOSU's David Weck

I was playing around with this the last few days with different patients.  Been pleasantly surprised with this.  Pretty cool.

CoreFIST with BOSU's David Weck

I was playing around with this the last few days with different patients.  Been pleasantly surprised with this.  Pretty cool.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What is the Cost of Doing Business

One of the concepts that you come across (one of many) when you listen to Charlie Weingroff talk about training and rehab is the phrase, "What is the Cost of Doing Business."

It's an important concept to recognize and evaluate on each and every lift, workout and training protocol.


You want to deadlift, but can't touch your toes to get into good position, what is the cost going to be?  You can go ahead and do it, but know that everything has a cost.  It may be your disc health.

You want to run a marathon, but your hips are weak and you feel pain in the foot after 20 miles.  Whats the cost of doing business?

You want to max out on bench press, but you didn't get much sleep, every time you bench your elbow flairs up and you have been getting weaker every time you test.  What is the cost?

There may not be any contraindicated exercise if the need is great enough.  Just understand that there is an inherent cost to everything you do.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Good Reads Edition

Just a few article I've enjoyed reading over the last few days.  Sometimes they are just a good reminder.

Dan John writes beautifully in my opinion.  Brachiate and get on the floor.  It's Time for Humans to Take Back the Monkey Bars.

This article in Wall Street Journal talks about the changing attitude in the NFL towards planning the workout and planning the rest/recovery.  Green Bay Packers New Workout.

Charlie Francis was a legend in the Sprinting and Speed world.  Here are some reminders of what he thought was very important.   Eight Athlete Development Lessons I learned from Charlie Francis.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gym Jones Advanced Seminar 2014

I first heard about this gym about 6 years ago.  I had a friend that was a US Skeleton athlete that trained there.  There is a lot of myth about this gym as they don't give out information much.  So this is a unique look inside a bit of the training methods.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Psychology of Behavior Change

I watched a highly interesting webinar from Equinox titled Psychology of Behavior Change by Kelly McGonigal, professor at Stanford University.

Here are some highlights that I can't stop thinking about.

When people came in for progress measurements, those that were congratulated on doing well, were 85% more likely to cheat or backslide slightly.  So instead of having positive reinforcement, it is the exact opposite.  (Should we tell patients that they are improving?)

We have false hope.  We think the person we will be in two months will be different then the person we are today.  So we put no stock into today.  I can have a hamburger today, because my future self will be eating salads.  (We must accept that what we do today, is who we are.)

We put a moral dilemma into our goals.  We think in terms of good and bad.  I'm doing good when I make a check for accomplishing this today.  I did bad when I didn't.  This actually strengthens our want to do the bad thing.  Eat candy over fruit as an example.  Don't think in terms of I did good by eating fruit today, or I did bad by eating candy today.  Think of the payout.  How do you feel after eating the apple.  I had more energy.  I didn't have an afternoon crash.  Pay more attention to what your goal is doing, rather then the goal.  (Pretty powerful way of reframing.)

Ask yourself the question why at least 3x.  For example,  I want to deadlift 500lbs.  Why?  I want my back to be much stronger.  Why?  So I can grow older without back pain?  Why?  I want to be able to play with my kids when I'm 75.  Sometimes it is realizing what the goal actually is.  This makes it easier.  (Remember the Why!)

What the Hell Effect.   This is actually a real thing.  It's describing when you fail on your goal, you just basically give up for the day.  Eat a doughnut, rest of the day you gorge out of guilt or shame.  The truth is when you allow yourself to fail, it's not the end.  Don't feel shame.  Just move on.

Reverse Engineer where you think you may fail.  Lets say your goal is to workout in the morning.  The first step may be to realize I will be tired and I'll convince myself I will do it after work.  After work comes and I'll probably say I'm tired,  I'll start tomorrow instead.  So realize that it has to get done in the morning.  The voice in your head that says I'm tired, becomes your warning bell that lets you know is a goal derailleur.

Make your environment as helpful as possible.  This is a pretty common one, but can be very powerful.  If you want to watch less TV, get rid of the remote.  If you want to eat healthier, don't have junk food around.  If you want to exercise more, get a workout partner.

To sum up there are 5 things to remember.

1. Make small changes.  Small become big when done enough.
2.  Own the fact that today is going to be tomorrow.
3.  Let go of Shame.
4.  Remember the Why.
5.  Outsource Your Willpower.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Need for Improvement

I have a job that enables me to keep learning.  The new information can give me instant,  if not pretty quick feedback,  if what I just learned has merit, is worthwhile or isn't.  As a therapist, even when you learn something new and it doesn't work, there is a feeling that it may work for someone.

Every time I read something or attend a seminar,  I feel like I'm getting better.  That is a good feeling.  I'm very luck in this regard that I have this type of outlet.

I think we are born with the need to feel like we are improving.  When we don't have the outlet for improvement, we aren't quite feeling like we are who we are supposed to be.

I think this is why when someone runs a 5k, their immediate thought is, let's do a 10k.  I benched 225, I want to bench 275.  To get better, to be better.

If we don't have the luxury of a job that allows improvement or the need to get better, we are often bored.  We aren't' challenged and we are stagnate.  The human body and mind does not want stagnation.

When a patient comes in for a follow up visit, their first question is, does it seem better to you?  Athletes want to know if they are making progress.

The "best" or most popular workouts are built on being able to compare and contrast workouts.  Crossfit has named workouts.  Everyone has a Fran time.  Strava has become an insanely competitive app even when it's just yourself.  I want to climb this hill faster next time.  I did better in my age group this run.

I believe we are born with some desire to always have something to improve on.  Make progress in some area.  We are happiest when we are in the pursuit of improvement and we acknowledge this.

Of course, this is just my random thoughts.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Great Info for Pull Up Pains.

Really great info from Dr Andreo Spina.  How incorrect Pull Up technique can lead to medial elbow pain.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Good Reading Friday

I really enjoyed this article from Anthony Mychal.   Hardware or Software.  

ESPN did a very cool article on tourniquet training, other wise known as blood flow restriction.
A New Way to Train.  The video is pretty cool.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Great Online Learning Opportunity: Equinox High Performance

This past week I started working my way through the Equinox High Performance Summit online seminar.  They filmed them into webinars from the live summit Nov 7-9.  Essentially, you will have access for 3 months to the 21 presentations from some of the very top authorities dealing in health, sports, nutrition, fitness, sleep and recovery.

21 one hour seminars is a lot of information that is available at your own viewing.  Pretty awesome.  I've watched and taken notes on 5 so far and haven't been disappointed by any of them.  I'll post some of my notes on the speakers as the weeks go by, but this is a great opportunity to learn.

2014 Equinox High Performance Summit Virtual Event.

I don't think they are offering this after the 16th of this month, so if you are interested, better order it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Motivation for Wednesday

Eric Thomas - The Hip Hop Preacher - REDUX | Lond…:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What I Learned From Riding My Bike....Way to Long

This past weekend was the famous mountain bike race Iceman.  30 miles in unknown weather.  Some years it's sunny and mild, others years, well other years can be epic weather.  2014 will go down as one word,  BRUTAL.

Cold, mid to late 30's, rainy and dark.

It was cold enough to be very cold, but not cold enough to freeze the ground.  It was rainy enough to cause soup, muck and peanut butter single track.  Through in some wind, you have the recipe for hard riding.

I'd trained all summer to be able to ride the race in about 3 hours.  Goal was to ride a bit under 3 hours without cramping.  Cramping has been my Achilles heel for every event that lasts over 2 hours.

There are several theories about cramping; electrolyte, new muscular activity, and central governor theory.  All have some merit, but non proven.  I'd done multiple rides of 2 or more hours, some I cramped, some I didn't.  But, always on the verge.  I'd pushed past the 2 hours on several rides and was always riding pretty hard.  So Iceman wouldn't be new territory or new fatigue.  I was taking 1700mg of sodium with 24oz of water each hour.  I also had enough calories and real food every 20 min.  Nothing like a Belgium stroop waffle 3 hours into a ride that is now warm and moist from your back sweat!

My game plan was to ride pretty slow for about an hour, get some miles, resist the temptation to go out fast.  I wouldn't let my heart rate go over 150 and would only spin up hills.  At no time would I let myself work for speed.

"Everyone has a plan, till they get punched in the face."  Mike Tyson.

My punch in the face came at 1.5 hours in and I had gone a whopping 10 miles.  It didn't take a genius to realize at this rate, I'm going to be riding my bike a freaking 4.5 hours.

Going off wave 28, several thousand riders had chewed up already chewed up single track and it was slow going.  1.5 hours into the ride, it was time to accept the new reality.

1.  Reframe:  You have to be able to reframe your goals.  It would have been easy to quit, if my goal of riding under 3 hours was kept.  It wasn't going to happen.  Accept it.  Reframe a new goal.  New goal was to keep pedaling and finish this race.

2.  Don't Project:  2 hours into the race, cramping starts to show it's familiar face.  I wasn't quite halfway done and I'm thinking, "I'm starting to cramp now, in an hour this is going to be quite miserable.  No way can I finish this race."  This is a pretty common thing that people do.  If this, then that.  The body and life aren't usually like that.  Sure, if you have a 1000 dollars and spend 100 dollars a day, you can project that you will be out of money in 10 days and won't make two weeks, but competitions don't work that way.

Stay in the moment.  This moment, I'm not cramping at this moment, I'm feeling good, my bike is working, enjoy this.  Every couple minutes.  Stay in the moment.  Don't project what this will be like in 2 hours.

"The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up."  Chuck Palahniuk

3.  Gratitude:  Gratitude can produce perseverance.  It can take the little bit of physical suffering you are experiencing and instead of being overcome can say, "cool, I'm alive and ridging my bike!"  I am still riding while others bikes have broken,  I'm still riding while others are cramped on the hills, I'm still riding.

4.5 hours later, I crossed the finish line.  The longest I've ever sat on a mountain bike.  To say I was happy it was over, was an understatement.  Not sure If I've ever wanted to just be done with something as much as this race.   I heard from several people that have done the Iceman race since its inception that this was the hardest race.  Over 2000 people dropped out.  It was brutal.  It was miserable at times.  In a few days, I will probably be ready to be talked into doing it again next year.

Monday, November 10, 2014

More Great Reading

Patrick Ward always produces content to sit and think about and make sure you are incorporating or at least acknowledging different concepts into your training.
Minimum Effective Dose Training. 

This is a great read from Eric Helms on Alan Aragon website.  They just released it a week ago, previously only subscribers could read it.  Natural Bodybuilding Potential.

Marks Daily Apple gives advice on how to get the best night sleep.  Pretty comprehensive.  How to Manufacture the Best Night Sleep.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fitness and Health Lies I've Believed

I was listening to a patient the other day tell me something about how running is the "only" way he can lose weight.  It made me stop and think what "fitness lies" I've believed in the past.

Some are genuine lies.  Lactic Acid is building in my body and slowing me down.  This at one point was a genuine "fact," since disproved, but in the 80's this was commonly taught in school.

Some are straight lies.  I think the earliest of my fitness lies was me believing my older brother that if I drank the 1/2 and 1/2 mini containers you can find at McDonald's that you would be fast.  I was probably 5 at the time.  I think I drank those things like candy for several years.

Here is a list in random order.

You have to squat if you want to be fast.  Squatting was the king of all exercises.

Benching was a true test of strength and nothing else compared.

Fat was bad for you.

The best way to put on weight was as much calories as possible, quality of the food didn't matter.

Working out till you puked was a sign of an amazing workout.

Working out till you were exhausted and can't do a single more rep is what it takes to make progress.

2 hour workouts are hard core and effective.

Aerobic work was bad for me and would make me slow.

Rest is for the weak.

Gulping down a protein/carb shake with in a magical window of time after my workout was vital.

Olympic lifts are the only way to train for power.

HMB was worth my money.

Creatine was the only supplement I would ever need to take.

That there exists a magic workout program that will deliver everything I could dream about.

That there are special exercises that will deliver all I dream about.

Grip strength really isn't that important.

Coffee is bad for you.  Stunts your growth.  (Crazy!!)

Lifting to momentary failure all the time is a great way to lift.

I don't need 8 hours of sleep.

I'm sure there are things now I believe that in 4-5 years will be quite different.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Good Stuff To Read

Here is the latest collection of cool and interesting articles to peruse.  Good Stuff.

Recovery and regeneration is the name of the game.  Athletes Should Respect Recovery.

Nice article on supplementation to either enhance the mTOR or AMPK pathway.  XLAthlete Article: Supplementation.

Cool Article on how Running is helping beat depression.  Outrunning Depression. 

Very basic article on how you can sometimes interpret things your body is doing to signal vitamin deficiency.  How Your Body Signals Vitamin Deficiency.

Dr Charlie Weingroff - "Applying an Elite High Performance Program to G...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Acute Lower Back Pain

Dealing with acute back pain that wants to bring you to your knees is one of the more challenging scenarios a person can face.  For the person dealing with back pain it can feel like your body has betrayed you.  You feel weak and vulnerable. 

Rolling from one side to the other can be painfully slow.  A sneeze or cough can give you mild anxiety as this can being you that sharp electrical stab of jolting pain.  The idea of doing anything athletic again seems so far away from possibility when putting your socks on feels like a chore. 

Your abs start to hurt from having a constant brace.  Imagination can run wild.  What if I've herniated a disc or tore something.  Isn't this worse then last time?

What can you do?

Quit feeling like a victim.   That doesn't help.  You're in charge of your health and your body.  The results are the choices you have made.  So don't blame the back Gods or luck.  

Avoid the ice.  It's a pain blocker.  You need to feel what's happening.   What makes you feel worse and what makes you feel slightly better?

Can you walk?  Then walk.  If walking hurts can you lay on your back slowly rock your hips to the air back and forth?  If you stretch a hamsting does it feel better one leg vs the other?   How about a quadricep?  Glute max stretch? 

Rolling on a ball on your side produce any benefits?  

Are you drinking as much as you can.  Hydration helps fight inflammation.  1/2 kneeling and breathing feel better after a few minutes? 

Find one or two things that produces even a small amount of relief and hammer it home.  Be an active participant in regaining that health.

I wrote this for me, but if it helps you, bonus. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

More Biking in Awesome Places

Total product porn, but man they filmed it awesome.  Very cool places to ride your bike!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nitrates vs Nitrites

This is from some notes I took from Dr. Rhonda Patricks podcast with Joe Rogan.  Many people, including myself didn't or don't know the difference.

Nitrites can be carcinogenic.  This is the type that is in some forms of bacon and processed foods.  Nitrates are found in many vegetables.  Nitrates can be turned to nitrites in our bodies.  So this isn't a great thing.  The blessing of fruits and vegetables is that there are antioxidants, mainly ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in the foods that takes the nitrites and makes nitric oxide with them.  Nitric Oxide is a very healthy thing to our bodies.

Nitrites can turn to nitrosamines.  These are not a good thing and are labeled carcinogenic.  This goes to show you the importance of ascorbic acid and antioxidants in our diet.  When you can choose nitrite free sources of food.  Things like bacon are now offered without nitrites added.

Here is a potential list of benefits from nitric oxide.
1. boosts memory
2. helps immune system fight bacteria
3.  enhance strength endurance
4. regulate blood pressure
5. reduce inflammation
6. assist gastric motility

Here is an article from the Linus Pauling Institute.  Nitrosamines and Cancer. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Danny Macaskill: The Ridge

Beautiful.  Human Potential.  Devoting your life to a skill is always inspiring to watch.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sumo Stance Exercises

While the video below shows nice technique for sumo stance RDL, it leaves me wondering if there would be some better alternatives.  I think there could be.  High rep band pull throughs and either high or low rep wide stance kettle bell swings.  You can also use Good Mornings from the same stance.  Many ways to skin a cat.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Listen and Learn

Podcasts continue to be one of my ways to get information.  What I've found is that podcasts are more like icebergs, you only get a very tiny bit of interesting information.  But, it is enough to send you looking for the meat of the idea.  It is a way to find out new areas of interest or new areas of exploration that may pertain to your health and fitness.

Here are a few that I found pretty interesting lately.

Joe Rogan Podcast with Dr. Rhonda Patrick.  This one has some cool stuff on nutrition including curcumain.

Bulletproof guy has Kelly Starrett on this podcast.  I like the idea of thinking in systems.  How to help our kids.

I'm a big fan of Jim Wendlers 5/3/1 program.  This is a video cast of the guys from Supertraining interviewing Jim on a number of ideas.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Product Re-Review: SlingShot

Perhaps a year ago I did a review of Mark Bells (elite power lifter) Slingshot device.  I didn't really think much of it at the time and said so.  I had been doing it with push ups and found that it did make them easier, which at the time, I disliked.

Fast forward a year and for some odd reason started playing around with it again.  I'd seen Matt Vincent, professional Highland Games athlete, playing around with it, so maybe that was an influence.  Low and behold, it still does make them easier.  Here's the kicker though, I realized I can increase my speed with them while increasing my reps.  I've done them for two weeks and have increased my push ups without assistance in one set quite easily.  Going from about 35-40 to the low 50's.

I still get some Ulnar nerve pain in my right elbow at times.  I put the Slingshot on and it takes the pain way.  The combination of compression and the deload of the Slingshot make for a great pain free warm up.  A few sets with it and I can crank out pain free push ups no problem.

After revising what I'm trying to accomplish I've now reconsidered my earlier review and would recommend it.  Deload to Reload.  Frequency and volume are quite easy with this for push ups and will really lead to increase in training volume.  This will lead to increase in strength.  Pretty cool.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What Is Training Low and Racing High

Train Low and Race High is a recent concept that is gaining popularity with the endurance crowd in the last few years.  There is growing research that it is indeed a valid training concept for training.  Essentially, train low race high refers to training with lower glycogen stores and racing with high glycogen stores.

This can be accomplished a few ways; daily training with incomplete post exercise nutrition,  twice a day training, and training in a fasted state.  Significant time to exhaustion and total work performed were noted in the 2x training a day groups.  The ability of the muscles that were trained in low conditions showed significant ability for the muscles to burn fat for energy and and to uptake carbs for glycogen storage.

This is turning the concept of never going into muscle glycogen debt into consideration.  It is perhaps giving up the workout that is done in glycogen depletion in order to make physiological adaptations for a future race.

Training with low glycogen levels don't seem to impart any significant value to strength training.

Although there has been shown some cool aerobic metabolism changes that occur, no real performance gains have been noted on race day for high intensity activities.  Only longer distance may show some gains.  So that is a huge point to take into consideration.

It is more stressful to train this way.  Stress hormones will increase.  The lowering of post exercise immunity can lead to more colds and sickness.  There will be less training volume as you can't last as long in each session.

There are some points for training this way for some physiological adaptations, but how much this translates into performance is still up for debate.  There will be some definite drawbacks for training this way full time, but perhaps early in a training cycle makes sense.

This is a great paper from pponline.  Sports Nutrition: The latest in low glycogen training.     This was a great video on High Performance Training and Nutrition.

Jamie Scott—High Performance Evolutionary Fitness - Using EvoBio to Optimize Training for Endurance (AHS12) from Ancestral Health Society on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Post Pregnancy Strength

One of the things I've noticed in the last few years with the birth of my own kids and watching many patients go through the pregnancy process is the time lines for returning to athletic activity post pregnancy.  

Time lines seem to be about 6 weeks of little to no intense activity.  Walking is great.  The body and organs are returning to it's original state after having the Uterus pushed to extremes.

After that mark, it's really becomes very individual to how well people handle different stresses.  It's recommended that you can start strength training again, but very bouncy activities may be to much at this point.  

Remember that the hormones that are in pregnancy will last up to 4 months after you stop breastfeeding.  So Relaxin is still being in the system after birth.  This is the hormone that allows ligaments to get loose so that a birth can take place.  

You are more unstable.  

It may take up to 2 years for your abdominal muscles to return to the strength and length you possessed pre birth.

One of the key points I've noticed is the lack of synergy between the hip muscles and your core muscles (ab muscles).  Things like the obliques and hip abductors seem to be not "working" together as well as they could be.  

Things like side planks off your knees and diagonal sits exercises are great primers to begin getting these guys working well together.  

Exercises that make the lat and Glute work together are also highly recommended to get the bodies cross X pattern stronger.  

In the end it is very individualist after about 8 weeks.  But, doing certain exercises that help to increase stability will give you a jump start on getting back to being the active, dynamic athlete you were.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bones Don't Touch How Can We Stand

This is a great video that explains the importance of strength and tension.  It also inadvertently showing how "to much" tension can start to create wear and tear on the joints.  If all you do is bike and sit at a desk, do you think doing a quad heavy exercise will help?  Start to think about how lack of strength and to much tension can be keeping you from health and performance.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Random Stuff

Another great article showing the positive benefits of lifting weights, getting stronger and developing some more muscle mass as we age.  How Older Athletes Can Fight Aging.

I've been enjoying reading some of Pat Davidson's latest articles.  Having taken a few of PRI's courses I knew first had how some "weirder" things can effect your muscles and nervous system.  This was a great read on how little things can turn into big performance gains.  Neglected Muscles to Improve Strength. 

I took this recipe for kids breakfast balls and did something similar.  It came out pretty decent.  Definitely worth trying if your looking for some new ideas for snacks or for breakfast.  Breakfast Balls. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Best New Supplement I've Tried Recently

Great Lake Collagen Hydrolysate is a tremendous product in my opinion.   I love the fact it easily dissolves in hot liquids and cold smoothies.  It doesn't change the flavor much at all. 

It is created from Grass Fed cows.   (Not sure if this is that important as you are not digesting fat).  It will help create a more balanced amino acid profile as most of the meat we ingest doesn't have this available.  The product doesn't contain Tryptophan.

It's highly beneficial for skin health. Joint health is another primary benefit as it helps create healthy cartilage.  There are some claims for better sleep.  It is beneficial for digestion.

I've been adding it to my espresso in the morning and my pre bed shakes at night.  Give it a try for a few weeks and see if you have less joint stiffness in the morning.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vitamin C, Turmeric and Get Strong

Adding some citrus juice or vitamin C can enhance and prolong the effects of green tea.  Citrus Juice. 

Keeping with the idea that Flouride can calcify the Pineal gland.  It appears adding curcumin or Turmeric to your diet can help fight this.  Pubmed.   Here is a general article describing the research.  Spice That Protects Your Brain.

I enjoyed this presentation by Elite lifter Harry Selkow

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Discussing Movement, Dynamical Systems Theory, and Motor Variability

The first few minutes are hard to hear, but if you listen closely, you will come away with more understanding and knowledge then when you started.  Great stuff.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Being Sick Sucks

The last 36 hours I've been fighting a fever.  Everyone at some point gets sick.  I think people with kids tend to get it a little more.

In the throws of high temp and lagging energy, we make ourselves promises, I'll eat less sugar, get more sleep, listen to my body to relax instead of doing another workout.

Friday,  I knew I was a little off. Instead of resting, I pushed it to the max on a mountain bike ride and ended up with extreme chills and a fever in less then an hour.  My wife made sure to point it out that she told me to rest.  lol.

No one is Superman.  We must respect what are bodies are fighting.

Next up is fasting.  Letting my body takes all its energy towards fighting the infection.  Through it all, I'm thankful that I'm healthy.  Even when your sick you have an amazing healthy organism.  Raising the temperature to just the right amount to kill the infection.  Pretty amazing when you stop to think about it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Random Stuff

I recently read some pretty cool articles on various topics.

Scientist are Surprised by The Pelvic Floor and Brain Connections.  The pelvic floor is the bottom of the core canister.  Gets you thinking again how all this stuff is connected.

Here is a link to a nice little audio interview about Systemic Enzymes.  I recently started a 2 month program of supplementing to see what effects this will have.  Systemic Enzymes.  Supposedly they scavage junk in the body.  Less stiffness in the morning perhaps?

I recently purchased Dean Sommersets Ruthless Mobility.  This would be a great resource for someone new to the training field or someone with no training background that wants to start training for the first time.  There are some genuine smart and well taught principles.  Anyone that knows the name, Weingroff, Spina or Cressey, will probably not learn much new.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lowering SHBG

SHBG is the acronym of sex hormone binding globulin.  This hormone binds your sex hormones; progesterone, testosterone and estrogen.

You don't want a high SHBG as it will decrease your circulatory sex hormones.

After you have a blood test and find out what your SHBG hormones levels are, what can be done if your levels are high?

Number one is try to decrease stress in your life.  Pretty easy huh?  Decreasing stress can mean a lot of things to different people as one persons stress will be another persons eustress.   High on the list would be sleep quantity and quality.  Get your sleep.

Vitamin D levels in optimal range.  Over 50 is recommended.

Stinging Nettle is a supplement that can lower SHBG.  I'm not sure on the best supplement for this.

3 concrete tasks to work on after you get your SHBG hormone level checked.  Could be the difference in recovery and progress in your training.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sleep is the Lymphatic System of the Brain

This was a very interesting TEDx talk about the importance of sleep.  Sleep seems to be the way the brain gets rid of nutrients.  The brain uses 25% of the energy needed to live.  Circulatory system brings the nutrients to the brain.  This creates waste.  Lymphatic system is how we get rid the waste.  But, the brain lacks lymphatic vessels.  This seems where sleep comes into play.  Get your Sleep!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Restorative Training

Not enough people think about restorative training after their season.  Doesn't have to be what he lists, but his ideas about setting a plan to help restore your body after your competition season is dead on.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why Cyclocross

The last few years, the most fun I've had doing anything active, has been the sport of cyclocross.  I must not be the only one, as cyclocross is one of the fastest growing sports in the US.  Not only has the national sport of Belgium been welcomed here (we have had the last two World Championships in Louisville, KY) but we have been producing some great bikers.

Think redline the whole way.  The 400 meter sprint of biking.  Fast as you can for about an hour, or 30 minutes for newbies.  There are skills involved, on and off the bike over barriers, is surprisingly technical.

It's spectator friendly.  Most of the time you can watch most of the race from one spot.  Spectators are encouraged to be loud and a part of the scene.  It's laid back.  It's the coolest of all the racers.  People are there to have fun, not make fun of your lack of fitness, under priced crank or baggie shorts.

Cyclocross Is The Most Beautiful Thing In The World from ted burns on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hanging Lunge Fascial Lat Stretch with Spinal Wave and Spiral Movement E...

I've been playing around with stretching the Spiral Line before doing motions that are more sagital in nature.  I think we get tight in the Spiral Line and it weakens are ability to generate power sagitally.  Just some thoughts I'm currently playing around with.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Good Stuff

Dean Sommerset put out a post on the changing thinking in anatomy.  Old thinking was the analogy of discs as shock absorbers.  Now, it is the cortical bone that we know acts as a shock absorbing system.  Completely different.

Change your patterns up.  Get bouncy.  Train fascia.  Fascia is what keeps you young.

In case you were on the fence about training for cycling.  Get strong.  A Case for Weights.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Magic is in the Details

Every day I'm asked if this is a good exercise or if this is good for "me."

We often look for magical exercises that can change us from one quality to another.  It doesn't matter if the quality is weakness to strength, pain to pain free, small to muscular or slow to fast.  What must be understood is that there are no magical exercises.  There are only magical details.

I'm not saying one exercise isn't better then the other.  You will get more improvement in sprinting if you did a proper squat vs a dumbbell curl.  But, you can't take that and say "If I do squats, I'll get better at sprinting."

If your squat looks like this, no improvement will happen.

If your squat looks like this, chances are you will get better.

Learning to do an exercise correctly can take time.  Do not load an exercise with weight until the bodyweight version looks and feels correct.

How will you know?

Find a way to film yourself doing the exercise, it's pretty easy these days with smart phones and compare it to someones tutorial video you respect.  Better yet, have your coach/therapist film you doing it correctly so you have a reference for yourself.

You should always feel better after doing the exercise.  Why is this?  Because, exercises that are good and healthy and beneficial to us, obey the natural laws of movement.  They reinforce how we are supposed to move.  We are all made to squat, walk, push, pull, deadlift, reach and crawl.  When we do these things well, it feels good and reunites our bodies built in patterns.

So let go of magical exercises and start the process of exploring magical details.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Interesting Clinic Finds: No Upper Trap Strength

Every now and then you run across something in clinic that surprises you.  I was working on a young lady that has a history of headaches and had some levator scapula muscles that had a lot of tension in them.  Most lay people would say her traps are tight.

I asked her to put her arms above her head. then touch the ceiling.  Nothing happened.  There was a complete inability to shrug upwards.  The levator has a hard time in this position.  Take away a muscle that does most of the work and we were left with an inability to upwardly shrug.

I had never seen this before.

I placed her on her back on the floor and we did the same thing.  This time without fighting gravity, she was able to do the upward shrug.

When the upper trap isn't very strong, the levator scapula will do more work.  It's a corkscrew muscle. This means that the fibers at the bottom twist and become the fibers at the top when they insert on the neck vertebrae.  When they tighten they can really create some havoc in the neck.

It makes sense then, when the upper trap is so weak, the levator scapula does all the work.  It will be an interesting case study to see as she regains strength in her traps if the neck becomes more stable with less pain and less headaches.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lateral Slide Lunge Mobility

Is your mobility equal on both sides, left vs right.  Do you have the end range strength that matches the flexibility you possess?  Hint, if you can slide out and can't pull yourself up fluidly, you don't.  Both inequalities need to be addressed.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Big Rocks of Back Pain

They say 80% of the population will have back pain in their life.  Whether it's an acute episode or a chronic episode, low back pain is something almost all will experience.  We also know that the number one predictor of injury is prior history.  This means that if you have back pain once, chances are you will get it again.

I'm someone that actually has had severe back pain.  I herniated my L5 disc while sliding in a bobsled.  At one point I had greatly diminished plantar flexion from this.  A few years later I tore some of my fascia and erector spinae muscles in my left lower back that put me on the floor, literally, 3 days unable to move.  So I know about lower back pain.  At times I still get pretty uncomfortable if I'm not smart with my training and lifestyle.  

There is a story of a professor that asks students to put rock into a jar.  Without going deep into the story, the point is to fill the jar with the big rocks first.  Take care of the big steps, then worry about the smaller minutia.  

So what are the big rocks of back pain?

1.  Breathing.  Learn to use the diaphragm
2.  Hip Mobility.  The correct amount of hip mobility is essential if you want to avoid repeated lumbar flexion.
3.  Hip Hinge Pattern.  You must have a hip hinge pattern that happens without thinking about it.  Hinge at the hip, not the lower back.  This is the basis for all lower body weight lifting.  Sitting in a chair.  Etc. 
4.  Get Rid of Bad Exercises.  Quit the small things that create irritants in the body.  If you move poorly in the hips, rapid Burpee's are an irritant.  If you have a flexion intolerant spine, crunches are not advised. 
5.  Bracing.  Learn to brace when you lift something.  Big belly.  Not draw the belly in.

These 5 big rocks can literally change your life when you practice them and own them and let them become how you move and live.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Interactions of Flouride, Pineal Gland, and Melatonin

Living in Grand Rapids, MI, one of the call to fame of this city is that it proudly touts itself as the "First City in the World to Flouridate its Drinking Water."  The idea was that it would help with kids teeth and prevent cavities.

There exists a second camp that thinks Flouridated water is bad for you.  That fluoride will accumulate in the Pineal gland.  It will calcify and prevent the pineal gland from producing melatonin.  Melatonin is important for sleep and potentially other health benefits.

Both of these statements seem to be true.  The website, contains pros and cons and in fact I found the most information about the pros and cons from them.  Pineal Gland.  It also shows research that perhaps fluoridated water speeds up puberty for girls.

This article from them states that fluoride is great and it's like getting vitamin fortified food.  Flouridation: Science over Propoganda.

This video I found of bodybuilding legend Dorian Yates talking about his refusal to drink the tap water.  The importance of the Pineal Gland and it's other implications as a spiritual "third eye."

Where do you stand on fluoridated water?  I think I fall on more of the I'll skip the water and drink filtered water.  I'm not comfortable for people making health choices for me.  The difference being I have a choice if I want fortified food.  The risk of a cavity to me seems small compared to risking the health of your pineal gland.

Perhaps I'm just falling for the propaganda.  I do love conspiracy theories.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Build Muscle and Keep Muscle for Health

I truly believe one of the biggest goals for any individual is to keep muscle mass or better yet build muscle mass as one ages.  Think of muscle as a retirement account.  Do you have enough muscle to age well?

Numerous studies have shown that muscle mass is critical for health.  It used to be thought that after 40 a certain amount was guaranteed to be lost.  We know this isn't the case anymore.  80 year olds can have the same muscle in the thigh as a much younger person when they work for it.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle.   It is often thought that when the body hits a certain amount of loss of muscle that is when you die, whether from cancer, pneumonia or other diseases.  The body isn't strong enough any longer to maintain function.

This article does a very nice job of talking about the importance of muscle as we age.  How do They Do it.   I don't love the Super Slow McGruff style lifting that is promoted, but I love that they are promoting lifting.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bed Time Cocktail

The last few months I've started to take this cocktail an hour before bedtime.
700mg of Magnesium powdered form and 2mg of Melatonin.  I think it has really helped with the quality of my sleep.

The dosage I wouldn't recommend starting with as everyone will be slightly different.  Perhaps start with 200mg of magnesium and .5mg of Melatonin.  I went up by 100mg of magnesium and .5mg of Melatonin every few days.  I quit the magnesium increase if I get runny stools in the morning or wake up having to go to the bathroom.

There is a lot of research going on with Melatonin.  No longer is it just thought of as a supplement to help you sleep.  Traditional medicine says 80% of Americans are deficient.  So both are solid choices to add into your life. 

I am confident that if you add these two supplements an hour before you sleep, it will increase the quality and duration of your sleep.  Sleep is recovery.  Recovery is everything!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Breathing and Movement Integration

Sometimes I think Paul Chek is full of it and sometimes I think he's brilliant and ahead of the game.  I actually think practicing breathing while moving is pretty great concept.  If this is to new age for you, pick up a kettle bell and do a breathing ladder.  But, for those less in shape, or a way to integrate breathing with motion, this is a solid application in my opinion.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Supplement News

Reading through some supplement articles this week, I've come across a few I think worth mentioning.

Vitamin C seems to be back in the news.  Vitamin C maintains testosterone levels.  When Vit C was taken 30 min prior to an endurance activity, testosterone which would normally decline, was able to be maintained.

Vitamin C may actually help you work out more.  Having more Vitamin C ingestion was associated with the people in the study to have more physical activity in their week.  Kinda cool.  Easier to Do Exercise.

Creatine has long since passed the safe and actually work test.  It is safe and does work.  This article states that combining it with astragalus and ginseng provide a synergistic effect and actually improve on the creatine effects.  Combo is Better.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Revisiting Bone Broth

Bone broth has been something I've been reading about since the book "Deep Nutrition."  It has some remarkable health benefits and the book even boldly states some of the increase in connective tissue injuries is a direct relationship to our decrease in the ingestion of this food.

I recently found a place that will sell all natural bone broth and am going to start experimenting with the adding this into my weekly consumption.  If you live in Grand Rapids, MI, the store is called Nourish.

Ben Greenfield just did an excellent podcast on some of the health benefits of Bone Broth as well as does a very nice job of providing what seems to be some pretty easy recipes for cooking your own broth, stock (there is a difference) and how to incorporate that into your culinary lifestyle.

1. Joint Health.  We have all heard of glucosamine (supplement).  Well thats a supplement because joint surfaces need something we shorten to as GAG.  It's always better to get in whole food form as we digest and assimilate this more.

2.  Skin Health.  Anything that has collagen.  Skin, nails ect..

3.  Digestion.  It improves the small intestine health.

4.  Liver Detox:   I've never heard of this, but supposedly the broth can help create a healthier liver.

Here is the podcast from Ben Greenfield.  A quick easy 40 min listen, worth it to just know how the best guy in the "broth" world  makes his broth.  "What is Bone Broth"

Monday, September 29, 2014

Importance of Air

I did the longest running mountain bike race yesterday in the State of Michigan at Pando Winter Ski park.  Check that, I did 20 min of a race, before a flat tire ended my day early.  Lack of air really sucks.  It took me about 45 min to walk my bike back out of the course.

That is a long time to think.  Air is crazy important.  I had been training correctly, my hydration and nutrition were in check,  my bike was ready.  No air.

This could be the same thing with our bodies.  Your sleep is solid.  Nutrition is top notch.  You do the right exercises.  Your programming is smart.  You suck at breathing though.  Pretty common.

The more I see people with anything that gives them pain or decreased performance the more I find that they don't really know how to use the diaphragm.  They don't know how to get air.  They can brace, but not breath.  They can breath, but not brace.

They can breath and brace until they are tired.  Then it all goes back to chest breathing and shoulders coming up like they are shrugging trying to breath.

Air is important.  You won't go far without it.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Finding Joe Movie Trailer

I grew up loving all the stories that I later realized were straight archetypes of Joseph Campbells Hero Journey.  I really enjoyed this documentary on the man and what the Hero's Journey means.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Engineer Your Ideal Day

What makes a good day?  I keep track of what I really enjoy, sometimes they change, sometimes they stay the same.  Try to hit most of them per day.  No particular order.  Usually when you recognize what really makes you happy, it's easy to put them in your day, even if its just for a little bit.

Drink Coffee.
Work Out.
Help Someone.
Play with my Kid.
Play with my dog.
Write something.
Learn Something.
Hang with Cool People.

The more things you enjoy in your day, the more likely it's a good day!  The more good days you can string together, the more likely a good life.   Engineer your Life.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Foot Function and Fascial Lines Webinar

Emily Splichal put out a very nice webinar about the foot function and fascia as it deals with the first ray.
Here is the link off Facebook.  I think it will take a few days to put into the EBFT archive folder.
Foot Funciton and Fascial Lines. Part 1  Foot Function and Fascial Lines.  Part 2.

Most fascial lines cross the bottom of the foot.
Deep Front Line:  (main ones)  Tib posterior, adductors, pelvic floor and psoas.  This is how the foot interacts with the core.
Post Tib.  Attaches to a lot of stuff!  Navicular, 9 other osseous structures.  All the metatarsals but the first ray. All the tarsal bones but the talus.  Peroneus longus tendon and flexor hallucis brevis muscle.

Spiral Line: Rhomboid and Serratus, oblique muscles, tibialis anterior and peroneus longus.
Ant. Tib:  90% of on medial cuneiform, 10% on base of first metatarsal.
Peroneus Longus:  10% on medial cuneiform, 90% on base of the first metatarsal.
This is significant for 1st ray biomechanics.

Intrinsic muscles adductor hallucis and abductor hallucis control transverse plane stability.

1st MPJ Dorsiflexion:
Flexor Hallucis Longus (Deep Front Line) :  Holds the distal hallux to the ground.
Flexor Hallucis Brevis (Indirect Deep):  Pulls sesamoids proximally.
Abductor Hallucis:  Maintains 1st MPJ in transverse plane.
Plantar fascia (Superficial Back Line)  Stabilizes 1st MPJ.
Peroneus Longus (Spiral Line) Maintains 1st ray MPJ in sagital plane.

Is the spiral line balance:  Tib Anterior vs Peroneus Longus tension and strength.

How to enhance?
Stability > Mobility
Intrinsics > Extrinsics
Deep Line>Spiral Line

Practice the short foot.  (tons of info out there if you don't know what short foot is )

If you have great ROM laying down in the big toe, but when you put weight on the foot and it all goes away, check the peroneus longus.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Training and Practice

One of things I think a lot about lately is movement.  It struck me the other day that I'm not really training when I'm practicing movement.  Training has a harsher concept in my head.  I'm practicing movement.  I have a movement practice.  It's not something I can't do because I suck at a movement and it's not something that once I accomplish it, I can move on or switch my practice.  You still practice whether you are awesome or whether you move like a robot without oil.

I train a deadlift to allow me to express stronger movement.  I practice movements to allow my joints and muscles to explore motions that aren't used in routine life.

I train on a bike, going faster or further to get better at riding for a race.  I don't practice my bike.  I train it.  Practice movement, train your goals.  If your goals happen to be better movement, then you're doing both!

Start thinking of having a movement practice.   I think GMB (Gold Medal Bodies) does a great job of helping you create a movement practice.  I also think Animal Flow by Mike Fitch does an amazing job.  Functional Range Conditioning does an amazing job of bridging those two worlds.  What you are training for may only be attainable by having better movement.

Either way, start a movement practice and enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"Fed Up" Documentary Review

I recently finally got around to watching the documentary "Fed Up."  I've seen it's advertising on Facebook for quite awhile and saw the buzz from a few friends for months now.

First, I did find it entertaining.  At an hour and half it kept my attention.  I think it did a good job of portraying the growing obesity crisis and how are kids are at risk.  Our greatest resource, our youth, are definitely in danger.

I was surprised at how new and correct information is still not making it into the general public.  They do a series of interview (perhaps picked to show a point) with people and cereal and orange juice are still considered a healthy meal.  Running and other endurance activities are considered great "calorie burners."  Information like this seems so ancient and plain wrong that you wonder if you should even mention stuff like this to people anymore and this show basically shows that, yes, that info needs to be heard still.

They pretty much demonize sugar.  At this point in my life, I don't think anything should really be demonized.  Yea, sugar isn't that healthy for you.  But, please don't compare it to cocaine.  They do an info graphic where sugar and cocaine get lit up in the same part of the brain.  If you don't know, anything pleasurable will light up that part of the brain!

They make a big spoof of how tomato paste is a vegetable.  Tomato paste is actually pretty healthy.  Heating a tomato actually allows the lycopene to be absorbed better.  But, pizza shouldn't be considered a vegetable.

They do a great job of portraying how powerful sugar and soda beverage companies are.  This part is always a little shocking to me.  They do an excellent job of showing how much added sugar is in foods that really don't really need to be there.  Why do we need high fructose corn syrup in our ketchup?

They show how low fat became thing a few years ago and because of this sugar was added to take up the flavor.  It's just gone downhill from there.  But through this all, they don't mention that we as a country are consuming 150-300 calories more per day and burning 150-300 calories per day fewer.  So thats a big chunk of valuable information missing.

All in all it was an enjoyable documentary.  Sum it up,  anything that is made, has sugar and other weird ingredients in it, shouldn't be a major part of your diet or a consistent part of your diet.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Joel Salatin — Folks This Ain't Normal!

A little on the long side at 1.5 hours.  But, if you have never heard Joel Salatin talk about food, farming practice and current state of farming, it's well worth the time.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Reading

Here are some interesting articles to look at this Sunday afternoon.

Thought this was a cool summary of Osteopathy.  It really gets you thinking about the importance of increasing blood flow for healing.

Here is some great summary of the latest tendon research.  Tendinopathy Research.

Nerve Signals are actually sound!  Study Confirms That Nerves Signals are Sound Impulses.

What is Reactive Neuromuscular Training.  This chapter gives a great summation of what is called RNT training.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dorsiflexion and Hamstring Strength

Often times a lack of dorsifleixon will prevent a full stretch of the biceps femoris muscle.  Without the full stretch the biceps femoris can't be recruited as heavily in hip extension.  This can lead to a decreased glute max as well.  When both are decreased an increase in hip rotator activity may be present.  Since the sciatic nerve is present between the superior gemelli and piriformis, compression of this nerve can be present.

Thinking more regionally, this can also lead to an increased activity of the medial hamstrings.

Biceps femoris tends to be a weaker muscle in relation to the other hamstring muscles, but perhaps instead of targeting lateral hamstring exercises, check the dorsiflexion of the ankle.

I often see lack of motion between the tibialis anterior and the peroneal group.  This will require some sort of soft tissue intervention.  A talus that has shifted anterior.  A mobilization from a health practitioner or doing some talar glides against a wall to get some more motion.

Next time you see limited dorsiflexion realize that their can be ramifications into the lateral hamstrings.  Next time you see sciatica check the biceps femoris and dorsiflexion.