Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Some Cool Videos to Entertain and Learn

You want to control your posture.  It does more then you think.

Do you think athletes are getting Faster, Higher and Stronger?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Checking Information is Your Responsibility

This morning I was going through Facebook messages and came across a blanket statement with the caption of "Congress makes Pizza a vegetable."  It was hyping a new food documentary.  First reaction, sweet, I eat more vegetables then I give myself credit for.  2nd reaction, figures, government doesn't care about your health only money. 3rd reaction, there is no way.

I did some looking around, googling, and sure enough, it was overblown.  This is from 2011 as well!  Talk about taking something and spinning it for the sake of a health movie.  The argument was how much pizza sauce counts for a serving of vegetables in school lunches.  It had been a 1/4 cup of sauce is the equivalent to a 1/2 cup of vegetables.  They were debating whether it should be 1/2 cup of sauce to equal a 1/2 cup of vegetables.

This is sad on so many accounts.  First that this is a debate.  2nd that people are spinning tomato sauce into pizza, classic scare/sensationalism.  3rd, no one is going to care about your health and the information about health, but you.

Work for you own health.  Take that responsibility, don't pass it off onto someone else.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Some Early Thoughts from Southwest Michigan Strength Seminar with Patrick Ward

The Southwest Michigan Strength Seminar is quickly gaining traction as a very solid educational resource.  Dan John, Charlie Weingroff and this year Patrick Ward.

Patrick is a Sports Scientist for Nike,  based out of Portland, OR.  His presentation was titled. "A Holistic Approach to Athletic Development." Dude is crazy smart.  I was fortunate enough to get to work with him at a Functional Range Release seminar this past spring, so I knew what an awesome learning opportunity this weekend was going to be.  He didn't disappoint.  

One of the first slides he talked about was how he developed as a strength coach, his past thoughts and the corresponding thought process he has now.  I found this to be paradigm shifting for me.  It's almost like my mind was leaning away from an old way of thinking, but it wasn't fully pushed that way until I read it and saw it and heard it.  

It reminded me of growing up and a buddy always thought the latest supplement was going to unlock all the athletic potential he had.  I was similar in the fact that I believed if I did the right exercises I would do the same thing.  I would have said, you have to squat and run hills if you want to be good at football.  My focus was on the exercise, not on what I needed to get better at my sport.

That is essentially the way of thinking I've had for quite a long time.  Do enough of the "right exercise" and the results will be there.  That was Strength and Conditioning to me.  This is what I think Strength and Conditioning is to most SC coaches out there.  

Now it's about physical preparation.  Find the needs of the person for the needs of their sport.  You may need aerobic capacity or maybe alactic capacity.  Two very different things.  But, this could be the difference between success and failure, injury or health. What becomes important is the physiological needs, then the methods and last the exercise.  This is a big shift in thinking from choosing the exercise first. 

 Ever hear the phrase Monday is Bench day?

In the above example, athlete A need aerobic capacity and athlete B needs alactic capacity.  Again, these are highly different things.  We can choose stato-dynamic training for athlete A and repeated power for Athlete B.  We can even choose the same exercise but modified.  Athlete A does squats with a 2 tempo down and 2 tempo up for 10 reps.  Rest of 60 seconds.  This will work on the aerobic capacity at the physiological level.  Athlete B does dumbell jump squats for fast 3-5 seconds with 20 seconds rest this will work on the alactic capacity.

This is just a very small example of the thought process that was explained.  Other highlights included addressing the concept of the physiological buffer zone.  The bigger the zone, the better the performance and least likely to be hurt.  How to monitor the athlete.  How to screen the athlete.  How to put all this together.  Patrick spewed forth information for a solid 8 hours.  Each hour was packed with awesome insight into training and developing the athlete and keeping them healthy.  

If you ever get a chance to learn from Patrick, I can't encourage it enough.  His website is Optimum Sports Performance.  He keeps a great blog and has some DVD's he has presented at that you can buy if you want to learn more from him.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Northern Quoll Analogy

There is a small animal called the Northern Quoll in Australia.  There is also a frog called the Cane Frog.  The Cane Frog isn't native to the area.  The Northern Quoll has started to eat the frog,  the frog is type of poison,  and it is killing off the species.

The Australian conservation has started to try to save the species by putting the Northern Quoll into captivity and feeding them a type of sausage that has the cane frog smell but makes them sick a few hours later.  After about 4-5 servings, they have learned to associate the cane frog with being sick.  It is slowly starting to save the Quoll.

The interesting thing is that the mother Quoll is passing this information down to their young.  It is a behavior that is being passed either genetically or through teaching.

Pretty cool.  Makes we wonder what us as humans are passing down to our kids.  Powerful, for good or for bad.

As a side note the male Quoll dies after mating.  No analogy there.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Go Get Smarter

A few resources to get smarter.

1.  Patrick Ward is coming to Niles, MI tomorrow.  April 26th.  This is the Southwest Michigan Strength Seminar.  You will learn a lot.  I promise.  SWM Seminar.

2.  I am half way through Joel Jamieson's Conditioning Blueprint.  Pretty great resource.  I'll do a full blog post on some of the content in the future.  Worth having though.

3.  Podcast called Coach Glass.  This episode has Charlie Weingroff on.  You can't help but learn something valuable when you listen to Charlie talk.  LINK on iTunes.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Random and Interesting

This post from Mark Sisson covers the multitude of positive outcomes that our gut bacteria do for us. It's a very complete spectrum of the importance of gut health.  7 Things You Had No Idea Gut Bacteria Do.

A variation of a lunge I've been doing is lunging forward, keeping the heel down and driving the knee forward.  Keep the heel down and as the knee goes as far forward as you can get it.  Maximum dorsiflexion and then drive through the heel to go to your next lunge.  It recruits more hip activity it seems, but also works on creating better dorsiflexion.

Want an easy but effective way to keep the weight off.  It seems exposure to morning sun is a driving force in having a lower BMI (Body Mass Index).  Pretty interesting.  Morning Rays Keep off Pounds.  It may have something to do with setting the natural circadian rhythm we have built in.

Can your foot position, arch height, intrinsic foot muscles help predict and stop baseball pitching injuries.  Pretty interesting ideas and theories about how the foot has the potential to influence pitchers staying healthy.  Pitching is a controlled fall.  One of the more striking comments was that pitchers that had a previous ulnar collateral ligament damage scored worse on a Y-balance test.  Cleat Smarts: Foot posture.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Knowing Histology

Knowing histology is a big part of a successful treatment plan.  Pain with motion and no pain with rest probably means that it will respond to tissue work.  Less pain with motion, but an increase pain at night, most likely means inflammation.  Movement is the most powerful anti-inflammatory there is.  Would you want to do lots of soft tissue work on an inflamed muscle?  Probably not.   Isometric treatments may be great, as they impose no inflammatory response on the joint.  Pain that returns after a long lay off, lets say from running, most likely is mechanical in nature.  These tend to be the home run treatments.  Change one thing, how the joint moves, and people think you are magic.  There was no pathology.  Rest had no influence.  Pin point pain means something separate then if someone does a general rubbing of the area.  Tendonosis vs referral pain.

All of these described scenarios above have different histology's with different treatments and different outcome time tables.  Hopefully you know the difference.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Palpation is the ability to feel whats under your fingertips.  What connective tissue are you feeling?  The ability to discern a structure from another is one of the greatest skills a manual therapist can possess.  I can remember holding a neck for the first time and trying to feel the C2 landmass and wondering is that it?  We were told that it would get easier.  It did and does.  Something to practice and get better at.  One of the biggest problems with palpation and that is stressed in Functional Range Release is that what you expect to find, is the biggest hindrance in getting better at palpation.  Your preconceived notion of where anatomy should be, what anatomy should feel like,  is creating a mental block of what is actually being felt under your fingertips.

"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."
Albert Einstein

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kettlebell Certifications

First, I like kettlebells.  I think they are fun.  I own 15lb or 7kg to 106lb or 48kg.  I view them as a tool.  I'm not a kettlebell guy, just like I'm not a TRX guy or insert "another" tool guy.  I do like them though.

My question becomes why are the Kettlebell certifications so expensive?  A few years ago the RKC seminar was close to 3000 dollars with the caveat that you would have to do a recertification every year.

Pavel has left Dragondoor and now there is a Strongfirst certification.  The price is 1700 from what I could tell.  I couldn't find if there is a recertification for this.  RKC appears to have lowered their price to almost 1/2 at 1500.

I'm a big seminar guy, so I understand paying to learn.  I just never understood the cost of paying to play with the kettlebell.  (Then having to repay to keep the certification if that is important for your work)

The greats put out YouTube videos of step by step instructions for almost any move you can think of.  With the boom of smart phones you can literally dissect your technique if you wanted to.

Having never taken one, I don't want this to come off as bashing these seminars.  It's more of my asking the question is it really worth it?  If someone has taken one of these, please comment.  Open minded, but skeptical.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

On The Road to Master, Leave Room for Curiosity

If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?  I've heard this repeated several times in its relationship with goals and goal setting.  Define the objective, work towards meeting it.  

I attend many seminars each year with the objective of getting better at the goals I've identified that will help with my manual therapy and strength and conditioning.  Hopefully, to allow me to get clients better, healthier, stronger, faster

Recently,  I was laying around thinking about what I was learning and realized if I can clearly define what a dysfunctional joint is, if I can clearly define what abnormal tension is, if I can clearly define the why of the tension, if I can clearly define how to improve both, what else is there?  

Mastery.  This part is obvious.  This part is just as much art as science.  Stay on the path.  Work towards mastery.

But...there is also this nagging little thing in the back of my mind that whispers this quote. "I don't know,  what I don't know."

Stay curious, keep searching, explore paths you don't think will lead anywhere.  Perhaps the stuff you read or seminars you attend will just confirm that the path you are on in the process of mastery is the right one, perhaps it will enhance the mastery, perhaps it will lead nowhere.  It may open up to another path you didn't know existed.  "No Education is ever wasted."

"On your path to Mastery, leave room for Curiosity."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What Do We Really Know about Gut Flora

The Surprising Gut Microbes...from Wired Magazine was a short interesting read about the gut microbes of the Hadza tribe and some Modern comparisons.  What the researchers found was highly interesting.  Bacteria that we thought was good were absent in the traditional Hadza tribe and gut bacteria we thought were harmful and in large quantities in Crohns disease were present.  Even among the Hadza tribe, men and women had very different gut flora.  Women gathered more tubers and had more gut bacteria for the digestion of fibrous veggies.  This shows that not only can the gut bacteria be influence by diet, but that different quantities of the same food can as well.

This certainly raises some interesting questions about what we have thought was healthy vs unhealthy.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Story Behind the Names of Fitness Equipment.

Lately I've been curious about some of the names of old school fitness equipment.

Treadmill:  Originated in England Prisons as almost a type of water wheel.  It had vertical bars to separate prisoners and give them isolation.  The apparatus would turn and the prisoner was forced to take one step up and keep at this for shifts of up to 8 hours.  The power that was generated would be used in plants and mills.  Hence the name tread-mill.  (no wonder these feel like torture to me)

Medicine Ball:  The ancient Greeks wrote about the use of weighted balls for exercise and health.  Health and Medicine were one in the same in context back then.  Gladiators were known to use them in their training.  Claudius Galen a physician in ancient times would choose "therapeutic exercise" to bring his patients health back.  He would often have them whip the ball back and forth.  Since this was how they used "medicine," the medicine ball was born.

Kettlebell and Dumbell:  Back in ancient times church bells, often weighing up to several tons, were rung by several men.  To practice different tones and get proper sequencing,  the person would practice on non clanging bells.  Hence the name "dumb-bells" because they were quite.   According to a Scottish legend, Kettlebells came about from old kettles that were leaky.  They were then filled up with sand or shot and used as strength training.  Russians used them as counterbalances and then would often show their strength by pressing them up in the air or by juggling.

Olympic barbell:  A German invented the adjustable bar to allow different weights to go on.  It debuted in the 1928 Olympics.  Hence the Olympic barbell.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Expert Killed My Plant

I used to have a bonsai tree in my office that was outstanding.  I'd water it once every couple weeks and for over 3 years it thrived.  I get lots of sunlight in my office.  (FOR MICHIGAN)  One day a patient started talking about how I wasn't watering it enough and that it should be more like a good flooding once a week.

I don't know anything about plants or taking care of them.  No green thumb, just therapists thumb.  So I did what "expert" thought was right.  In a month it was dead.  The roots got some type of rot.

I also have a small Jade plant that I bought because the person at Lowes told me it very resilient.  I water this guy once a week.  He's doing great.  Healthy as any plant can be.  Once again a patient (plant person) tells me I'm watering this one to much.  They only need to be watered once a month.  Hmm...

I've had this plant for about two years.  I've watered this plant once a week.  It is almost impossible for this plant to look more healthy.  I'm going to stay with what is working.

The books may say this, my experience says this.  Perhaps the books are right.  What doesn't get taken into the equation is the heat of my room, the humidity, sun exposure.  Perhaps the heat of my laptop does something. Who knows!

I'm not negating what the experts say, but I'm going to put more stock into my experience and what is working for my plants.

Now reread this and substitute the plants as patients/athletes and water as treatment/training.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Exploring the Sport of Girevoy

Girevoy is another name for Kettlebell sport.  It is a sport that developed out of Russia in the late 1940's.  There are now several organizations that have governing bodies attached to them.  It is a sport that is growing and wants to become a standard sport across countries throughout the world.

The premise is simple, whoever lifts the kettlebell the most in 10 minutes without putting the kettlebell down wins.

There are three standard movements.  They are the Jerk, Snatch and the Long Cycle.

The jerk requires a man to swing up 2 bells and a woman to swing one.  The only rest is in the rack position.  2 knee dips are allowed.  Only one clean is performed to start, then it is pressed up continuously.  Women can change hands one time.

The snatch is one bell for men and women.  Swing the bell up in one movement.  Arm is locked straight.  The only rest is at the top.  One arm switch is allowed.

Long Cycle is the jerk but instead of lowering the weight, it is swung between the legs and then cleaned to the chest before each rep.  Clean, jerk, lower to a swing, repeat.

Athletes are classified by bodyweight.

Kettlebells are classified by color.  Yellow is 16kg, Green is 24kg, Red is 32kg.  Women and juniors use 16, Men and professional women use 24 and Professional men use 32.

I personally have decided to train to do the snatch.  My elbow's lack of flexion won't allow me to do a clean.   I've started working with the 16kg and it is definitely challenging.  Hands, grip and forearm take a beating!  Chalk up and go.  It's a great aerobic workout.  In one STUDY  it improved VO2max in college soccer athletes.  Here is a sample of a competition.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eccentric Work to Improve Flexibility

One of the many reasons for training is to improve how you move.  A long standing method that has been employed in the past is standard static stretching.  Many studies have shown that static stretching does nothing to actually improve actual movement or injury prevention.  Often times flexibility can be improved without the strength to back up this new ROM, this ultimately makes the ROM useless.

This STUDY I found, but couldn't find the whole thing, showed that eccentric strengthening improved not only flexibility but strength and performance.  I couldn't find what they were comparing, but this quote from the result.

   "There was consistent strong evidence in all six trials in three different muscle groups that eccentric training improve lower limb flexibility, as assessed as using either ROM or muscle fascial length. "

Personal experience has shown that that static stretching doesn't change much as well.  Getting stronger not just eccentrically, but isometrically tends to improve ROM.  My two cents.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

More Notes/Highlights Functional Range Release

I've now taken the last module of Functional Range Release.  I can't say enough good things about this technique.  Except for one thing,  it's not really a technique.  The more I go over stuff in my head I believe it is more like a system of principles.

"In matters of style, swim like a fish, in matters of principles stand like a rock."
Thomas Jefferson.

Principles stay the same no matter what the person;  professional athlete, couch potato, old or young. There aren't protocols to memorize.  There are principles to address.

In no particular order.

Know palpatory anatomy.  Know exactly what is under your fingers.  Be able to reproduce this on anyone.  Without this,  no diagnosis can be formed.  With this,  a true diagnosis can be formed.  What is under your fingers will dictate treatment.  Under your fingers is the histology.  "KNOW ANATOMY, TREAT HISTOLOGY."

Know what abnormal tension is.  Know what normal tension is.

How your hand contact is with the patient is instrumental to success.  Skin slack, depth, tension.

End Range of Motion is not improved on with manual therapy.  Treatment is for the given range of motion.  Training is for increasing range of motion.

Know what a healthy joint feels like.  Know what an abnormal joint feels like.  Train a healthy joint.  Treat an unhealthy joint, until healthy enough to train.

No one input whether therapy or training produces change long term.  The body doesn't work on one input.

Back up your treatment with training.

Some of the lectures have been the same as the principles must be taught each module, but I found myself continuing to learn.  (this may go back to humans needing more then one input!)

Now it's just time to go master the principles of connective tissue.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cool Post on the Potential Athletic Health Benefits of Saunas

I first heard Dr. Rhonda Patrick on a Joe Rogan Podcast.  One of the things she talked about was the use of Saunas to increase human growth hormone, recovery and improving performance.  Her article just came out on the Tim Ferris blog.  Worth a read.  Makes we want a sauna for sure!

Are Saunas the Next Big Performance Enhancing "Drug?"

Thursday, April 10, 2014

10 Essential Travel Items

I was packing for another seminar last night and I started putting together my things that I tend to take or things that I prepare to make a smoother/enjoyable trip.

1.  I bring Organo Gold Instant coffee.  Best instant coffee I've tried.  Usually early morning hotels, coffee not good, but they have hot water.  I can get my early morning elixir without leaving the room.

2.  A hard ball of some sort.  Roll out my calf, hips, feet after I've been in a car or a plane for hours.

3.  Food.  I bring King Oscar jalapeno sardines.  Justin's single serve almond butter.  Gum.

4.  Fish oil capsules/multivitamin.

5.  Headphones.  Even if your traveling by car.  These are useful in a hotel.

6.  Downloaded podcasts.  These have been my lifesaver lately.  I used to hate being in a car.  These have made them tolerable.  My must listens.  Dan Carlin Hardcore History. (stuff I learn is amazing) Joe Rogan (1 out of 5 I find really interesting)  Bulletproof Exec (Has some pretty interesting guests.

7.  One hard book.  I read almost exclusively on my kindle app on my Samsung Note 3.  It's always nice to have a back up though.

8.  Moleskin.  I still prefer to write my notes and ideas on paper.  (extra pens)

9.  Eye drops.  (nothing can ruin things faster then an annoying contact)

10.  Duct tape.  Always carry it with me.  Only needed it once, but it saved the day.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Patrick Ward Notes: Why Train the Aerobic System

These were just a few more notes I took from the Strength Conference that Patrick Ward spoke at .

Why Train The Aerobic System?

1.  Increased aerobic capacity improves phosphocreatine resynthesis between sprints.

2.  Improved Vagal tone and return to parasympathetic state.  This means better recovery.

3.  Increased ability to perform high work load.  (You can train harder)

4.  Decreased reliance on glycolysis.

5.  Increased mitochondrial density and capillary numbers.

6.  Increase in PGC 1a.  (Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor -gamma coactivator.  (Why it's shorted to PGC a1)
This transcription activator plays a role in regulating inflammation.  Exercise can help decrease inflammation.  There is a suppressive role over ROS (reactive oxidative species)  A decrease in PGC 1a due to sedentary lifestyle may have a systemic effect and produce low level inflammation.  This study PGC 1a stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis and promotes the remodeling of muscle tissue to a fiber type that is metabolically more oxidative and less glycolitic.

Hopefully the above points are enough to get you doing some aerobic work with your patients/athletes.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Concepts of Functional Range Release

"Force is the language of cells.  Whether those forces are applied by external means by way of soft tissue therapy application, or internal means by way of active muscle contraction and movement, the cells ultimately don't know the difference.  They simply receive "communications (forces) from the environment, and then adapt to those message accordingly."
Dr. Andreo Spina

Here is a very cool article called From Athletes to Couch Potatoes.  It talks about how losing loading episodes (hunting etc..)  leads to less mobile and weaker bones in the legs.  Again, the force (language of cells) has been removed.  Less bone mass and strength and mobility.  You can read the article in about 5 minutes.  I highly recommend.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Preview of Alan Argon or Go Ahead and Eat the Apple

Alan Argon is a nutrition researcher and is presenting in Toronto in June.  I hope to attend.  I like his no nonsense style.  It's researched.  Here is the link to the Seminar.  Get Ready Toronto. 

Here is a sample article.  Nutrition expert Alan Argon Uncovers 5 Nutrition Myths.  If you have have believed any of these in the past...get ready to have your thinking shifted.

I think I can sum up a few things.  Salt, Sugar and Fat are not evil.  Total caloric intake and energy output are key.  In the 70's we consumed 2100kcal, today it's up to 2700kcal per day.  We are not as active either.

People these days are afraid of fruit.  Don't be afraid to eat that apple.  When did it get this confusing?  Why are people worried about the fructose in an apple?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Installing a Bike Computer on an Airdyne

I've been wanting to keep track of my Airdyne workouts for quite awhile.  I bought a cheap one off Craigslist for 50 bucks and the old computer never worked.  I installed a Sigma 509.  Thanks to Joe owner of Crossfit 8th day here in Grand Rapids, MI for helping me out.  Don't poo poo the power of the Airdyne.  You can get a tremendous and safe workout on one.

Here is how the actual set up of the bike computer can be done

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sleep and Black Out Curtains

I thought I was just getting older and starting to wake up early.  That and having a toddler.  I figured it was normal.  I was wrong.  Everyone should have black out curtains for the bedroom.  I actually thought our bedroom previous had been dark enough.  I was wrong.

If you are paying for all kinds of performance enhancing stuff, black out curtains should be a the top of the list. I can't believe how deep I'm back to sleeping with this addition a little over a week ago.

Sleep is the number one recovery tool you have.  If it goes bad you go bad.  Anything you do to enhance it will create a better way for your body to recover from work/stress/training.

I can't implore you enough.



 I can't see my hand in front of my face, black.

Watch your sleep magically improve.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Reverse Engineer Your Goal and Attack

I once read Dan John talk about to improve in something you don't use moderation.  You attack it.  Want fat loss, the 28 day Velocity diet.  It was extreme, but it worked.  You didn't just alter, you changed it dramatically.  Moderation is great for maintaining.  Attacking is great for changing.  (my words, not his)

So what are you trying to change?

 What goals do you have?

 Can you have multiple goals?

Why is reverse engineering key?

I do believe having multiple goals is OK.  In fact, I think having more then one, can in fact be a good thing.  I'll explain.  Having set things to do that you accomplish every day usually creates momentum.  The problem, is that you're not going to just do that one goal 24/7.  So if you have several goals that can be worked on though out the day or week, you are creating massive momentum.  Keep the attack mindset.

The caveat is that the goals should not contradict each other.  Having a goal to gain 5 pounds of muscle and become competitive in a 100 mile mountain bike race will not be productive.  One will defeat the other, or they will cancel each other out and you will get no where.

Now lets say my goal is to increase mobility of the right hip.  I also want to increase my squat 30 pounds.  These goals will actually be synergistic goals.  If my hip mobility improves, my squat technique will improve.

Create you goal list and work backwards.  Reverse engineer from the end point.  Great programs always start with the end, not the beginning.  If a race is in 3 months, you work backwards from the race date to create your day to day, week to week, month to month programming.

Here is an example.  One of my goals is to improve my 3rd world squat.  I want to be able to squat down and chill.  Not work.  Reverse engineering what was giving me the largest stumbling block for me was my left ankle dorsiflexion.  It sucks.  Probably because of repeated ankle sprains and also not using it for years.   Using Functional Range Conditioning  I've created a game plan to slowly start to improve this.  I have to make an anatomical adaptation for my talus mortise joint.  It will take time.

Improve Pull Ups.  For me, the weakness was my left scapular shoulder girdle from an old rugby dislocation injury.  The arching shown in this video from Dewey Neilson has been very helpful.

Improve my elbow range of motion.  Once I thought this was a lost cause.  Thanks to Dr. Michael Chivers using some Mulligan work/Pails/Rails it is gradually improving.

Get better at Bouldering.  An old hobby that I've resurrected.  My weakness is grip strength.   My forearm extensors need work.

Build up a a large aerobic base.  Patrick Wards writing/seminars have really opened my eyes to the importance of doing aerobic work.  The problem is I HATE aerobic work.  Realizing the health benefits has been an important lesson.  Another was the bias I had that aerobic work would eat my muscles/strength.  I now realize this is just as dumb as the "If I lift heavy weights I will get bulky."
My weakness was my bias.

Improve my palpation skills and diagnosis.  Professionally I wanted to get better at soft tissue therapy.  I'm currently in the process of taking the Functional Range Release courses and I have been getting better.

Eat better.  Use a crock pot.  Weakness was my laziness.  It's hard to mess up a crockpot.

Read more.  I switched to a bigger phone and have multiple books at my disposal on the Kindle app.  I loved Apple, but found myself not really reading on it,  with it's small screen.  I got a bigger phone and now find myself reading much more.  5 min here and there really add up when you look at a weeks time.

These are just a handful of the goals I have.  But, you can see that none really contradict each other and most in fact will by synergistic.  If my grip improves, my bouldering will improve.  If my pull ups improve, my bouldering will also.  If my aerobic base is bigger, I probably won't dislike it as much and I will be healthier in all the above.

Find several goals.  Break them down.  Find the biggest weakness and repeatedly attack it.  Build off the momentum of working on your goals.  Momentum is a powerful force.  Go attack stuff.

Wrote this while listening to "Promise," by Ben Howard on repeat.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cool Reads This Week

I really thought Mike Robertson did a great job describing energy system work for athletes.  10 Nuggets, Tips and Tricks for Energy System.

This article from Runners World has some good information.  I tend to agree with the point that the foot strike is more about the hips.  It gives some nice exercise demonstrations for the hip muscles.  The best quote, "Research has shown that strengthening alone-without retraining movement patterns, does not alter mechanics. The individual must own the new pattern or it will not be durable."

Practice!  You have to practice.  It's All in the Hip.

For any Therapists that are interested in learning more about PRI and the Lat Muscle.  Lat: Secret Player.  (only for therapists)

Always cool to read about how our understanding of the human body is growing.   This article talks about the new Goo found on bone surface that allows shock absorption.  Shock Absorbing Goo. 

Dr. John Berardi give an important perspective on learning to shut off and recoup and let your body and mind recover.  Something we all probably need to pay more attention to.  Sleep, Stress and Salmon.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Got Flow? Interview with Steven Kotler

Flow is one of those mythical states of the mind/body where effort is effortless and time slows down as you live in the moment and because of this time passes quickly.

I can remember experiencing Flow a few times in my life athletically.  Sprinting one year in college, I was PR'ing in each heat, but felt like I wasn't even trying to run fast.  I just felt relaxed.  These days I will experience a part of flow at least once during the week.  Show up to work and before you know it the day is done.  That is flow as well.

The original book Flow by Ckiszentmihali, was a groundbreaking book.   Start there if your interested in learning the science behind flow.  I just recently finished The Rise of Superman, by Steven Kotler.  Kotler is one of my favorite authors and I have read everything he has written.  The Rise of Superman was filled with awesome stories and examples and techniques to potentially incorporate flow into your life.  Great read, really enjoyable.  There is a link at the bottom of the page.

He was recently on the Bulletproof podcast,  #109 Steven Kotler and the Rise of Superman.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Something to Think About When Thinking about Muscles

This is a quote of a quote that I read in a really great synopsis about PNF.  PNF: A Technique or System. 

"Newer vies of synergies are saying that a muscle can belong to multiple synergies; in addition, an individual muscle has a unique contribution to each synergy.  Finally, the total activation of a muscle is dependent on both the simultaneous activation of multiple synergies contaning that muscle and the relative contribution of that muscle within each of these synergies." 
Shumway-Cook and Woollacott 2012.

In other words, think in movements not muscles.  Your brain is going to get movement somehow.  Isolationism can have it's place in a return to "finding" the muscle, but I think must quickly progress into using the "Muscle" in multiple planes of motions, under multiple types of loading patterns.