Friday, January 31, 2014

Anatomy, Lifting and a Podcast

Sartorious is the longest muscle in the body.  It is part of the Pes Anserine group.  It's and abductor and external rotator of the hip.  More importantly it can starts to work to hard when the glute med isn't doing its job.  It also counters the biceps femoris.  I find the biceps femoris to be pretty weak on most people, especially my endurance athletes.  So the Sartorious muscle takes a lot abuse and tends to be tight.

Cool way to use bands and a squat rack to do presses.  I found these feel really well and this doesn't bother my elbow mechanics.  I'm really pumped to start using these in my workouts.  (I use the fat grips all the time)  well worth the monetary investment.  This exercise I first saw from Nick Tumminello.  So if he came up with it.  Kudos!

Been finding a lot of asymmetries with peoples Band Chop lift left versus the right side.  One side seems to be much stronger then the other.  I'm going to find out what happens when the weak side becomes as strong as the easier side.  I use a Gray Cook band.  Tim Ferris talks about how this helped him iron out some insufficiency's in his movement.  

Currently listening to a podcast with BJ Barker.  I like what I'm hearing.   The first Strength Coach for Boston Redsox.  He is on Bulletproof exec. podcast.  Primal Movements with BJ Baker. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to Recharge

Introverts and extroverts are two classifications of people.  More simply, a person that can go to a movie by themselves and those that can't.  I kid.

Recharging after a day of work or a day of anything is a highly personal thing.  Introverts don't mean shy or quite and extroverts don't mean loud and outgoing.  Introverts do tend to draw energy from being alone with their thoughts.  Extroverts tend to draw energy from being around people or for shorter time periods of being alone with their thoughts.

One of the biggest adjustments after having a kid was learning that I needed that alone time that was now taken, without realizing I had carved it out previously.  It wasn't just the lack of sleep that I was adjusting to, it was less time being by myself.  There was less recharging going on.  

Part of the recovery process from a days work or a days training is realizing how you recharge your batteries per say.  Introvert or Extrovert, your recharge will be very different.  Discovering simple ways to recharge will keep you and those around you, happier and healthier.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Beast and Stretching Boundaries

The Beast in kettlebell circles is the 48kg or 106lb bell.  There are quite a few challenges that have popped up with its usage.

100 single arm swings in under 5 min.

One arm press

Pistol squat

One pull up

One Turkish Get Up.

Once you do one of them you get to name it.  Outside of the swings, it may be awhile before the others are approached. 

It's going to be a reminder of keep getting stronger.   Keep pushing your boundaries.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What are You Adapting To?

One of the things that has been in the back of my mind since the Functional Range Conditioning seminar is the idea of adaptation.

Adaptation:  The process of adapting or being adapted.

That is the dictionary.  How can you use the word in the definition?  I never understood that.  Synonyms may give you a better understanding.

Alteration, reworking, revamping, remodeling.

The idea of taking something and creating something a little different, is adaptation.  That is why you train or not train.

Why do you cast a broken bone?  To allow it to heal, to adapt to a bone without a break.  If you were to keep moving it, it would never heal.

So my thoughts lead further down to what am I adapting my body for.  How often do my hips drop below my knee and for how long?  If you never use the range of motion you are capable of displaying, over time, what is the difference between you not moving into that range and having a cast on your body that doesn't allow it?

What's the difference between the man that can't read and the man that doesn't read?  Nothing

Tissues adapt at different rates.  This is an important concept that many endurance athletes fail to understand.  Why do most plans call for an undulation in volume and distance?  Because while your cardiovascular system will adapt quickly, your muscles will lag behind.  Lagging even further down the chain will be your connective tissue.  So if you can run 3 miles without being winded, but your muscles can handle two and your connective tissue can only handle 1, that's a recipe for injury.  Understand that not everything adapts at the same chronological rate.

While this is a very simplistic view.  It portrays the importance of rest.  Letting your connective tissue ADAPT to the demand to run three miles.  So no, while you are resting, it's not cool to go do a 1.5 hour step class and claim it's active rest.  That is not recovery for your connective tissue.

Sitting at a desk is a form of adaptation.  I don't know to many people that can sit comfortably for 8 hours after working a job that requires no sitting and vice versa right off the bat.   It can be a very good adaptation to allow you to work though.  When is the last time you've reached as high as you can to touch the ceiling, testing the maximum shoulder movement that you can.  Use it or lose it is a powerful law of adaptation.

SAID: specific adaptation to imposed demands.

It's maybe one of the few training laws that will never change and can't be argued with.  What are you imposing on your body?  What specific adaptation are you creating knowingly or unknowingly?

Adapt to what you want to happen, not to what you are  unknowingly allowing.  Understand adaptation and make the SAID principle work for you.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Slow Cooker to the Rescue

We all know that eating healthy is a very important keystone in living a high performance life.  You don't put cheap gas in a Ferrari as the old analogy goes.  Quite literally, we are what we eat.

If you love to cook and experiment with food, then this post is definitely not for you.  But,  if you are like me, and don't enjoy cooking or don't have a ton of time to cook, then I have a secret weapon for you.  The slow cooker!

I was given one a few years ago.  Bachelor gift.  Never used.  Shame on me.  It is the easiest thing to use.  I even ordered a book called Paleo Slow Cooker.  It turned me off.  Why?  Some of the first recipes were about braising or broiling the meat till brown and then add to the slow cooker.  That's full out cooking to me.  I'm more of a put it all in a slow cooker, walk away, come back in 8 hours and eat.

That is all you need to do.

I've cooked two slabs of ribs that were delicious.

We all know chili, both ground beef and white chicken chili, is an excellent go to.

Two chicken breasts in the bottom with chicken stock and then anything else you want to throw in.

I've thrown pasta noodles in as well as potato's with great success.  All kinds of crazy combinations of spices.  I don't know if it's possible to mess up a slow cooked meal.

What's even better then easy prep and a great tasting meal?  Left overs.

Meat.  Chicken or Beef stock.  Vegetable.  Potatoes or Pasta.  An assortment of spices.  8 hours on low.  Enjoy.

There really isn't an excuse.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Recent Workout Templates

I often get asked what I do for workouts.  It varies over the course of a year, but here is what I've been doing for the last few months. 

Functional Range Conditioning.  This is essentially preparing your joints for better movement.  It can be the whole workout in itself if you choose to make it.  It's a system that will prep your joints to not only have larger ROM but also prepare for a better neural integration of your muscles and power output.  The single best thing I've learned in the past year. 

Max Effort Lower body.  ME is all about getting stronger.  I choose between a few lifts.  Conventional Deadlift, Trap Bar Deadlift (low and high handle) Zercher squat.

Skills session.  These are things I just want to get better at.  Pistol squats.  Front levers.  L-sits.  Turkish get ups.

Volume/Conditioning work.  Often I will combine upper body into circuit work.  Pull up variations. Kettlebell swings. Push up variations.  Rowing variations.  Anterior Core variations.

Movement Work.  A lot is based off combining Animal Flow and Functional Range Conditioning.  If you have never done this before, this can be very tiring.  

Most workouts are done under 60 minutes.  While this a template of a "typical" workout plan that I do. It's doesn't take into account reps/volume.  For example ME work can be a single, triple, or a set of five and the sets will vary as well.  

Battling Ropes and Watt Bike work will make appearances.  Pure rest is pretty much gone even with ME work.  Try to fill every minute with productivity.  Rolling on a ball, band pull a parts, jumps, band hip thrusts are all examples of great fillers.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fascial Thickenings and the Hydraulic Amplifier Effect

The human body is invested in fascia.  One big fascia bag with 600 some compartments for muscles is one term that is being thrown around.  It invests in the muscle, not just covers it.  Some places in the body have even thicker fascia bands.  These get names and in theory have mechanical roles in our bodies.

One of the proposed mechanisms for thick fascia in the body is something called the hydraulic amplifier effect first proposed by Gracovetsky.  (spinal engine theory)  Essentially in simplest form, the fascia forms a cylinder that allows the muscles to push against and thus allows greater muscular contraction.

Mathematical formulas have shown that the Thoracolumbar fascia (TLF) in the lower back improves the back strength by 30% and aids in bringing the back into extension after going in flexion.

The Iliotibial band is another fascia thickening that can have the hydraulic amplifier effect with the vastus lateralis muscle.  (the largest quadricep muscle).  It provides significant lateral stability.  Which is why keeping this large muscle loose if of critical importance.

This can actually be over recruited.  If a patient or athlete presents with a larger upper vastus lateralis it most likely is being over recruited instead of the hip abductors.

Another significant thickening of fascia is the plantar fascia.  Not exactly a hydraulic effect, it has it's own name, The Windlass Mechanism.  It helps create the push off in the foot.  (much more complex then that)  Just wanted to show a significant role in the body.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Simple Breathing Exercise for Manual Therapists

One of the easiest ways to teach patients to breath with the diaphragm is to get the patient to inflate the posterior ribs.  Many people simply breath up with a shrugging motion, never really getting rib expansion.

One easy drill I've been employing recently is to hook the shoulder blade so that my fingers are underneath the shoulder blade.

I tell them to inhale through the nose and push my fingers out from behind the shoulder blade by getting the ribs to expand.  Usually after a few tries, they feel the ribs start to push against my fingers  and it becomes easier to do.

Breathing 22,000x a day is an important task to get correct.  Getting the patient to feel it correctly is very important.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Out My Office Window

We are constantly pointing at the moon, but only looking at our finger, missing all that heavenly glory."  Bruce Lee

I didn't want to spend 5 seconds out side today.  9 degrees F.  Windchill probably in the negatives.  There is a man across the street from my office smoking.  What a powerful addiction to drive you outside in weather to get a hit of nicotine.  He's been there about 5 minutes.  His lunch break.

I didn't want to spend 5 seconds outside yesterday.  Same weather.  Same time.  There is a man kitty corner across the street, that was flipping a tire, doing dumbbell snatches and push ups.  What a powerful addiction to drive you outside in weather to get a hit of exercise.  He was there for about 15 minutes.  His lunch break.

They will both be there tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Elbow Pain Case History

Thought I would start sharing a few interesting case histories every now and then.

Patient presented with 6-9 months of right lateral elbow pain.  MD diagnosed with tennis elbow.  Pain came on "out of the blue."  Had two cortisone injections that gave a few weeks of complete relief each time, but the pain would come back after a month.

Patient had been managing by avoidance and ibuprofen.  Recently went to pick something up and had very little grip strength.

Manuel muscle testing showed right latisimus strong, but produced pain in the elbow.  Right deltoid inhibited.  Right wrist extensors inhibited.  All three test produced pain in the lateral elbow.

Retested all muscles that were strong and weak in different head positions to see if neck was involved in the weakness or strength.  Flexion and extension produced no change.   Looking to the right and down produced weakness in a previously strong muscle.  Looking to the left produced improvement in elbow pain on latisimus testing.

Started with first working on releasing the extensor carpi radials brevis and longs and found some radial nerve compression.  Retested and muscles were strong with much less lateral elbow pain.  Looking to the right recreated weakness on testing though.

Released the scalene muscles and supraspinatus on the right along with sub occipital work bilaterally.   Manual adjustments applied to C1.  Joint capsule work done on C5, C6 vertebrae.

Retested all muscles with right rotation in the neck and all were strong.

Thought process.  Inflammation was a problem as the cortisone shots did help.  Didn't last so there was an underlying mechanical issue.  Elbows seem to have some neck involvement in a lot of cases that don't resolve with rest.  The sharpness of the pain experienced made me think radial nerve compression versus just a tendonosis.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Random Food Cravings and Coffee Doesn't Dehydrate You

Ben Greenfield has a nice listing of what food cravings can mean.  For example, have a cheese craving like my 2 year old.  You may be missing essential fatty acids.  What Food Cravings Mean.

If you ever find yourself wanting to help other people in terms of micro finance I've been using for a few years now.  It's been a pretty cool experience.  My goal is to lend to someone in every country in the world.

I've saved the best for last.  I always just trusted the advice that coffee was a dehydrator.  This was because of a study done in 1928.  Turns out wasn't that great of study.  Well that notion was put to the test and you can read the study here.  No evidence of Dehydration.

Thats the great news for us coffee lovers.  No evidence was seen in the hydration markers and this was done with 4 cups of coffee per day vs consuming 4 cups of water.  So my advice will change from now on.  No longer will I say for every cup of coffee, must drink another cup of water.

"Faith is taking the first step when you don't see the whole staircase."  MLK

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What The Foot? A Book Review Maybe?

"Six simple exercises and you'll press the reset button on the body and be ready to go again, free, liberated and with a sense of opportunity about you.


I am choosing not to give you the movements per se in this book, primarily because it would take to long to cross all the barriers of usage....ect. "

From What the Foot. 

 After reading through the first 146 pages...not sure I will finish this book after that.

Greatly annoyed.

Friday, January 17, 2014

BMW Bobsled "Driving on Ice" Documentary

Here is a great 20 minute documentary on how Bobsled and BMW designed the new 2 man mens and women's sled for the upcoming Sochi Olympics.  Get to know what it is like to ride in a sled, the pilots that are driving them and the brilliant minds designing these state of the art machines.

"It was one of the most terrifying experiences I've had in my life.  The violence, really is an extreme sport."  Michael Scully, lead designer for BMW.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Random and Quick

One of my favorite authors was Kurt Vonnegut.  On the blog Brain Pickings, (cool website) he gives a short poem about what it means to have enough.  Secret of Happiness.

Still amazed people think Skim Milk is a healthy option.  It's not.  Because there is not fat in it, it raises your Insulin levels faster then normal milk.  I'm not saying I think regular pasteurized milk is healthy either, but it's healthier then Skim.  It's 2014, quit being afraid of fat.

With that being said, eat an avocado per day.  Your body will thank you for it.

This is a rant. I read a lot.  I always have enjoyed it.  I can remember some of my happiest memories as a kid going to the library and finding a stack of books to take home.  I read a lot of therapy books obviously and lately they all seem to be a 100 pages of why what I'm about to read is so different and how it came about.  Fluff.  Then you get 50 pages of what the book is about.  Then 50 pages of why to do it.  I read somewhere that a book should be an article, an article a blog, a blog a tweet.  Rant over.

Are you getting excited for the Olympics?  If not, this may start to get you ready.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sitcom Fitness

I'm starting to think the things we do away from the gym are more important then the things we do in the gym.  First, I'm not saying skip the gym.  If you have a 2x bodyweight deadlift,  you most likely have strength, muscle and bone density in the bank.  All tremendously important things as we age.  So don't quit going to the gym and lifting some real weights.

But I think there are things we do away from the gym that will bring just as much health and performance benefits as a few gym sessions.  Again don't skip the weights.  Everyone needs IRON.

Sitcom fitness, is a concept of what can I do while I'm watching a 30 minute television show.  Most of the time, you are just sitting on the couch.  22 min of show, 8 minutes of commercials.  Some ideas to turn this into productive time.

Train your eyes.  Slowly bring a pencil from arms length towards your nose very slowly, not losing clarity.  Do this 5 times.  When you can bring it as close to your nose as you can and not go blurry, look from the tip to the TV, focus on the TV and then quickly back to the pencil tip and refocus.  This trains quite a few muscles of your eye.  Repeat 5x.

Get rid of the chair or couch.  Sit in a ninety ninety position.  The longer you sit in this position, the more you'll start to bypass muscle and get into the hip capsule.  Most people have tight posterior hip capsules.   When you have done both sides, work on transferring from one 90/90 position to the other and back again.

Foam roll your quads and tennis ball your hips.  These are tight on nearly everyone.  You can still pay attention to the TV while rolling on the ground.

Do 5 second holds on each stop of the Turkish Get Up during one commercial.  Kalos Thenos Style, so you are holding the bridge position at the top.

Hold onto something that allows you to sit in a 3rd world squat position with an upright chest for several minutes.  If that's too easy, switch to a Cossack style squat.  A few minutes on each leg.

So there are a few suggestions to turn your favorite sitcom into an even more awesome experience.  Go get better.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Reclaim Your Pinky Toe

I've talked before about reclaiming your big toe.  Feet flat, raise your big toe off the floor while still keeping your other digits on the ground.  Also, vice versa, keep your big toe on the ground and raise the other digits off the ground.  All of these drills go back to getting back or keeping the motor control from the brain to the foot.

For me, it's meant less calf tension.  The next step is to reclaim the pinky toe.  The main muscle is the abductor digit minimi.  So the goal is to move the pinky toe sideways away from the foot.  Don't give up if at first nothing happens.  Keep trying.

I read once where Dan John, the philosophical strength coach, thought this was the magic of wearing Vibrams.  It slowly brought back the pinky toe function.  For him it relieved some hip pain.  The pinky is part of your lateral stability line.  So anything that gets more integrated in function will make the line, in this case lateral stability, stronger.

The abductor digit minimi is important to posture and even contributes to stability into the hip.  So nothing to be ignored, although your Orthopedic will tell you that it is not needed.  If we have something on our body, we should be able to consciously make it do what we want.  When it doesn't, I think we lose the kinesthetic awareness of that area.

Will it drive your deadlifit up in weight?  Probably not.  Will it create a better, more stable foot?  More then likely.  So reclaim your pinky toe.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Why We Should Keep Doing Somersaults

Ever notice when you were a kid you could ride a merry go round or have someone swing you on a tire swing and not get that deathly sick feeling and perhaps even enjoy it.  As we age, those swirly type activities get less and less enjoyable.  I have always kind of wondered if there was a reason for this.

Reading through the book, "Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All in your Head," by Carla Hannaford.  I came across the answer.

"As we go through puberty, the endolymph fluid in the semicircular canals thickens in response to reproductive hormones.  This thickening causes the hair cells to be bent for a longer time, thus causing the whole system to take a longer time to return to a comfortable equilibrium."

She goes on to stay that staying active with things like bike riding and yoga help to keep the balance and equilibrium from becoming to bad.

Having started doing some recent somersaults with moves incorporated into Animal Flow type work, I found it pretty unnerving that at first a simple tumbling activity could bring a bit of dizziness.  After a few sessions these simply vanished as my body adapted to it.

You only get rusty when you quit moving it.  Somersaults I think, should be a mainstay in life.  How many of us actually ever train equilibrium.  Simple, but effective.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Elderly Proprioception, Falls and Foot Function

Elderly falls is one of the mechanisms that can trigger the downward spiral of independent living.  Without the proper training and diet, osteoporosis may make it more likely to break a bone.  Fracturing a hip can literally be a death sentence for some individuals.  In 2010,  258,000 people age 65 or older had hip fractures.  Within one year, 1 out 5 died because of complications dealing with the hip fracture.

Reading through Human Locomotion by Thomas Michaud, he mentions some worthwhile ideas as relating to the elderly.

Proprioception, (the sense of body awareness) just like muscles, gets weaker as we age.  The foot itself has a ton of information to give the body.  A few suggestions were vibrating insoles and also an irritating insole.  Both combined to give more proprioception and lead to less falls by stimulating mechanoreception in the skin.

He goes on to state that most elderly and most recommendations suggest the opposite.  I can verify this.  Most of my elderly clients wear tanks on their feet.  Well cushioned and heavy.  This does the opposite of providing proprioception to the body.  It actually takes information away.

Some things to remember.  When your toes splay, (spread apart) there is a reflex that triggers your quadriceps to engage.  This essentially helps support you further.  If your big toe goes through adequate range of motion, your glute max engages more fully.

So, with a big, heavy shoe, chances are we are decreasing information to the body and stunting two of the largest muscles in the body.  Doesn't seem like such a great idea to me.

Some concerns to deal with before putting your grandparents into minimalist shoes.  As we age we lose our calcaneal fat pad, it atrophies, as well as the metacarpal fat pad.  So the goal is to have the least amount of cushioning and not irritate the bones.  This is individual.  No cookie cutter answers there.

What can be done is test the proprioceptors.  One should be able to stand on one foot with eyes closed for 10 seconds.  If you can't pass, start some balance training.  This is different then just strength training.  Balance training activates the subcortical pathway, which when trained activates automatically.

Strengthen the flexor digitorum longus muscle.  Weakness here has been shown to have higher prevalence of falling.  Simply pointing the toes (minus the big piggie) against some form of resistance will strengthen these.

The best medicine is prevention.  Don't wait for a fall to get someone into PT.   Fire up the proprioception system and strengthen a few key muscles and perhaps wear a truck instead of a tank.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Anatomical Variants and What It Can Mean

Everyone is different and everyone is the same.  There.  Now you know in case you didn't.  We all have femurs and hips and spines that should move.  We also all have subtle differences in the way we are built.  Some have a wider pelvis, some have very narrow hips.  This is something that anyone can plainly see.  The idea that everyone should do the exact same thing is obviously not correct.  The squat guru's can't even decide whats the best way to squat.  

The emergence of self care to help how you move, in my opinion, is one of the best things to happen in the last few years.  Does it get carried overboard?  Again, in my opinion, I think it gets carried way overboard.  Putting a kettlebell handle into my guts to get on a psoas, or lacrosse ball deep into my arm pit to hit subscapularis, or trying to push down the first rib through my anterior neck triangle, with the caveat, if you start to black out, ease off, is not the smartest.  

But, using a lacrosse ball and bands to improve my squat, and shoulder extension, all awesome things.  No one is saying squat exactly to this depth, or everyone should back bridge.   The message hopefully taken home is lets improve your squat depth by improving your hips.  Lets improve you shoulder flexion.   Let's improve how YOU move.  

A few days ago a blog post was making the rounds about how you can't fix things with lacrosse balls and bands ect, `because we are so individual anatomically.  Then proceeded to show two hips from different people.  I'm guessing the pictures were of the least like photos the collector could find to show two extremes.  We all aren't that different.  When making a point.  Show the extremes.  It was well done. 

So my message to you is, yes we are different and yes we are the same.  Let's continue to work on each individually moving better.  We may not look the same at the end, but that's OK if we have improved from where we started.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Few Fun Exercises With No Equipment to Try

I love this first one.  Deceptively Hard.

I like this version, only instead of a slow squat to finish, finish with a jump squat.

Minus the handstand, I've been working on "Animal Flow."  This is the creator Mike Fitch.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Interesting Findings of N=1

They say N=1 doesn't matter when it comes to most things.  What works for you, doesn't mean much, what works for me, just as much.  That is why in research,  the larger the sample, the more impressive the findings.

But, for you and me, N=1 can be a powerful thing.  When we find the one thing that produces the result your after,  that's big.  Doesn't mean it will work for your family member, or your friend, but who cares!  If it works for you, wonderful.

In my clinic, sometimes N=1 can becomes N=2.  You find something that works for someone and if you ever see this complaint or situation again, you try it again.  Sometimes nothing, sometimes magic.

A few cool things that I've paid attention to that worked for one or two people.

Releasing the digastric muscle improved sleep apnea.

Squatting, produced inhibition in muscles that were previously strong on muscle testing.

Ginger root took away vertigo.

Black tea took away migraine headaches.

Releasing palmer fascia improves shoulder rotation.

The idea is to always explore and try new things.  You never know what will work.  N=1 is pretty cool in my book.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tips for Colds and Meet the Best Bobsled Push Athlete

Everyone I seem to see has been sick, getting sick, or has a family member that is sick.  Here is a cool list from Ben Greenfield Fitness of 11 top experts on how to keep the cold and flu away or at least help shorten the duration of a cold/flu.
11 Tips for the Cold and Flu.

Want to see a glimpse of the best bobsled push athlete in the world?  It's USA's own Steve Langton.  Here is a short Mens Health video.

More importantly, Steve is an awesome guy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Would I Want This to Be Permanent?

If you are looking to kick off the new year with better habits or a way to create stronger resolutions,  check no further then the book "The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  I've reviewed it before but it's just being released into paperback recently. Great read with real world practical advice that you can fit into your lifestyle.

One thought that I've had recently is the question.  "Would I want this to be permanent?"  I have found this to be a very strong indicator of incorrect or correct action.

Should I do 5 min of mobility or lay on the coach?  Eat this pie?  Floss?  You get the idea.  We want the good stuff in our life, we want the bad stuff out.   Some times the refusal to do something, means nothing, nothing is a choice though.  Not doing mobility work is choosing to be stiff and all the movement dysfunction that comes with it is your choice.

Do I want this to be a permanent?

 No one is saying homemade pie is bad,  homemade pie every day, probably not the best option.  I never have looked at trying to get rid of bad habits, but trying to create better life, which really is just better habits.  What are you choosing to put in your body?  How am I going to use my body today?  Who you associate with, your attitude towards everything, what you buy, where you go.  All are choices stemming from habits.

Every time you do something it gets slightly easier.  Perform anything new, it's hard.  New skill, new anything, usually it's not easy at first.  It's called learning!  Choosing salad over fries.  It's harder at first.  Waking up earlier or going to bed earlier.  It's hard at first.  Learning to do an Olympic Snatch, it's hard at first.  Your body and brain learn through repetition.  Every time you do something again and again, you are adding myelin to your nerves.  Making that nervous system pathway stronger, so the next time it's slightly easier.

The best analogy I've read recently is think of sliding down a snowy hill.  At first it's slow.  The second time you go on the same path, it's just a little easier.  By the 10th time you are flying down the hill.  That is learning, that is habit.  It's works for good things and bad things.

Do I want this to be permanent?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Strigil and Ancient Athletics

While looking over my Moleskin to transfer any important information to my new Moleskin for 2014 I came across a small note about a Strigil.

First, what it was.  A strigil was an ancient curved shape tool, made of metal,  used to scrape the skin of excess sweat, oil and dirt.  It could be part of the bathing process, but was also used after athletic competition.  There are several pictures of ancient Greek athletes using them in pottery, suggesting that it was a common practice.

My own thoughts lead more of a curiosity to how hard the strigil was pushed against the skin.  With olive oil pre applied to the body,  the metal strigil, when used with some decent pressure would essentially become a myofascial tool.  Much like the metal tools used today in modern manual therapy.

Perhaps these Greeks and Romans were doing the first self myofascial release post workout.  Just a thought.  Perhaps what we find "cutting edge," was not so so new after all.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Triclosan Backlash: Should You Care?

Recently the FDA has come out and stated that companies that use antibacterial ingredients in their soap have a year to prove that they are better and more safe then regular soap.  Washing hands is a great way to help prevent the spread of germs but having the added antibacterial is pretty much mute.  The most widely used antibacterial is Triclosan.  Triclosan may actually be a hormone disruptor and have a negative effect on your Thyroid function.

Environmentally it also has negative influence.  Most chemical treatment plants do not get all of the Triclosan out of the water so it ends up in our water system.  It has been proven to have negative effects on our aquatic life.

When you are constantly exposed to these low levels,  the use of antibiotics has a diminishing return.  So when you actually need to take an antibiotic, you need a stronger or larger dose.  This allows the emergence of bacteria that are antibiotic resistant.  Not good!

As an antibacterial, it has no effect on a virus.  Seems pretty simple, yet I see this misunderstood quite a lot.

When the FDA starts asking is this really safe for a product that is already on the market,  I think it wise to pay attention.  The FDA is pretty slow in moving to approve new procedures medically, hence why many Pro athletes seek newer care in Europe, but they are generally even slower to make corrections.

In the end, just choose regular bar soap.  It's no more expensive, environmentally wiser and it most likely much healthier for you.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Brain Freeze and Omega 6/Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Growing up our family called brain freezes fur-ghoulies.  I had never heard the term brain freeze till college.  I seemed to get them quite frequently when I was younger and to my own perception they actually increased in severity, not frequency, after I was knocked out playing rugby for my chiropractic school.  I've asked around and no one seems to collaborate my findings.

Anyways, I found it quite interesting that while reading through Jack Kruse's new book, "Epi-Paleo Rx,"  I came across this passage.

If you get a lot of brain freezes when you drink cold things this might signal you suffer from a high tissue omega six level.

This was the first time I've ever come across a nutritional reasoning behind the so called brain freezes.  

Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio for modern man is pretty horrific in terms of what is suggested.  Most paleo or nutritional guidelines shoot for 1/1 ratio.  It is estimated that a grain heavy diet is somewhere between 20/1 and for real poor nutrition 40/1.  A ratio of even 6/1 can provide a lot of health benefits.  This is why supplementing with quality fish oil (EPA/DHA) often provides amazing results for a myriad of different health issues.  Also, why decreasing the bread based/fried foods also increases health.  Perhaps, getting rid of brain freezes is another side benefit. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Water, Fascia Health and Concussions.

Reading through Fascia by Dr. Mark Lindsay and one of the key topics is hydration.  I don't think anyone would deny we should drink water and most of us don't drink enough, myself included.  It was a goal way back in 2010 or 11 to drink more water.  I think I did fairly well, but recently, had started to slack, especially with my increased espresso intake.  1/2 your body weight in ounces per day, is again back into my conscious mind.

Back to what Dr. Lindsay has to say.  It's the bodies transportation system for the good stuff and for getting rid of the bad stuff.  Detox anyone?

Dehydration of collagen has been shown to have an acute inflammatory response after 10 days.  So all those people/patients dealing with inflammation may just in reality be dehydrated. 

It's a lubricant.  "It helps to defend the body against shock. The brain, eyes and spinal cord are among the body's sensitive structures that depend on a protective water layer."  My own thoughts are with the increased attention towards concussion, does dehydration play a roll in getting a concussion?  So I Googled it.  Here is what I found.

This Article.  It dealt with healthy males that were tested in a hydrated and dehydrated group.  The dehydrated group reported more fatigue and worse with visual memory.  No difference in neuropsychological scores or postural stability.  But, these were all health men. 

This Article.  Dealt with college wrestlers and pretty much stated that those with a 1-3% decrease in hydration reported more fatigue, headaches, trouble concentrating and other concussion type symptoms, but overall the results warranted more research.

This Article.  Talked about the problem of combat athletes that usually don't eat or drink for 24 hours to make weight.  The body can't adjust to the rehydration in time and often have diminished reflexes and strength and mental acuity.

Through this worm hole of information I found a pretty cool blog.  The  Lots of info on concussions.

So then my next question becomes does hyper hydration through like an IV decrease the risk of a concussion?  So I Googled it and this is what I found.

32 NFL teams reported that they used IV's pregame to hydrate.  5-7 players was the average.  No reported weather there were decreased injuries.  The problem is that this is an illegal practice under WADA.  So an Olympian would be banned if this was done.  Also they report that no evidence that this helps.  I could not find any studies that disprove it or how they came up with this statement or with any other information regarding this subject.

It would be interesting to find out if this is something that would help.  If the body uses water as a shock absorber I can't help but think that hydration should be part of the preventative culture we have with concussions.

Either way, water may be the easiest way to gain a foothold into an inflammatory patient, increase performance and by my own opinion,  decrease concussion risk.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2 Cool Articles, 2 Thoughts, 2 Things to Own.

In honor of the wake of the New Year,  I read a tweet from Dave Tate owner of Elite Fitness from a article.  There is some course language, but it makes a good point I think.  6 Harsh Truths that Will Make You a Better Person.  

With the hoopla of the Rose Bowl come and gone, I've found some pretty interesting articles about the Stanford football strength coach, Shannon Turley.  Sounds like he takes a pretty interesting approach to his "strength and conditioning."  He incorporates a lot of the FMS screening into his program.  The FMS is a system of movement screens that looks at movement asymmetries, nothing more, nothing less.  People get in Internet wars over the validity, but take it for what its worth,  do you move symmetrically.  Here's a small article from NY Times.  Stanford's Distinct Training.  

Had a patient tell me she saw a Sports Orthopedist in Toledo that can regrow her cartilage in her hip using stem cells.  I'm not sure what to think of this, outside of I don't believe it.  First, I'm under the impression we haven't mastered that amazing part of science.  I think I would have heard of this as it would be on every ones social media and no one would need joint replacements anymore.  I advised a closer look.  Maybe I'm wrong though.

Had quite a few patients lose loved ones over the last month.  Unexpectedly.  No one is promised tomorrow.  Love those you love while you can.

Evernote has long ago become my favorite app I have installed on all my technology.  There is a free and paid version.  Simply put,  it is your storage of anything you can think of storing.  Documents, notes, photos, videos.  Anything.  Then you can search it.  It becomes your own personal google for YOUR STUFF.

Dan Carlins Hardcore History is a podcast that if you have any interest in history at all will blow you away.  Takes some topics that you never heard about in school and transforms it into everyday relevant information.  Takes topics you think you did know about and really gets deep into the subject.  Cool fact I learned from Wrath of the Khans about Genghis Kahn.  A typical mongul warrior could pull a bow rated at 160lbs of force back 12x a minute and hit a bird while riding a horse.  I've struggled pulling a 60lb bow back on the ground.  I'm in awe.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Years 2014

This year I'm going to literally try to blog something every day.  I've gone a little lazy with the blog.  Part of it,  I read so many other great blogs, that sometimes I think that there isn't much of a point to add my two cents into the cyberworld.  I realized I had lost my true purpose of the blog, which for me was accountability and discipline.  Write about what I'm thinking, reading, learning...even if it's been said or done before.  (It probably has)  Wether it's just a quote I like, a video, a link to something else I've read or a new book I've purchased, it may not be much, but there will be something.  I want the discipline of writing something down every day.  Travel, sick, tired, busy, no excuses.  Maybe you will learn something, maybe you won't,  this isn't for you, its for me, but hopefully you will learn something and won't feel like you've wasted the 1-5 minutes of your day it will take to follow.

What are you committing to in 2014?