Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Homunculus of the Spine

A homunculus is the visible representation of what the brain pays most attention to in regards to different aspects of the human organism.  For example, there will be plenty of attention to the feet, hands and genitalia.  To the brain, the spine is one entity and a small one.  As someone that went to school to study the spine for a living, this was a surprise to me.

I first heard this in one of the Functional Range Release seminars.  (I highly recommend)  In fact Dr. Andreo Spina just wrote an excellent article actually covering this topic and his thoughts on the deep structure of the body.  Function of Anatomy:  The Spine.

The reason I'm writing these thoughts down now is that reading that article reminded me of some of the things I'm doing with patients or I should say at least checking lately.  If the brain truly thinks of the spine as "one thing" then if there is lack of support on the left lower back, perhaps the left neck muscles will also get involved to try to help.  Because, to the brain, anything left of the spine may help.

Going through some of Charlie Weingroffs information from "Lateralizations and Regressions" DVD (I highly recommend)  he talks about the quadratus lumborum and the scalenes being the same.  The SCM and Obliques are the same.  I've heard that the deep neck flexors, longus coli/capitus are the psoas of the neck.  When we start to view the spine as one thing, these muscular patterns start to make sense.

So next time you are treating someones Scalenes or SCM, think perhaps there are other muscles that the brain is having work to stabilize the spine.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Little More Random Learning

Mike T Nelson is a smart dude.  PhD smart.  He gives a quick overview on the divisions of the nervous system.  I always like learning breakdowns this way.

Understanding the calcanei-cuboid locking mechanism is key for understanding propulsion mechanics and also the importance of the peroneus longus muscle.  I've found this to always be dysfunctional in any type of achillies tendon pain.  The Calcaneo Cuboid Lock.

Like I said I love inforgraphics.  Nothing better then coffee.  Hence a Coffee Infographic.  31 Coffees around the World.   Looking forward to trying the Weiner Melange out of Austria.  Espresso, egg yolk, brown sugar and whipping cream.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Few Good Reads

Does an hour of sitting erase 8% of your 60 min run?  This article addresses this question.  I'm not sure the algorithm they used to get to these results, but makes you think.
Running and Sitting.

The brain is a powerful thing.  A lot of research is being done that shows that your body starts to fatigue when the brain feels like your reaching a limit and it doesn't want to risk health.  The problem is that it does this way to early.  If you can convince your brain you are fine, you can keep going at a higher level.  Convince the brain.

Can particular foods or diet help with food?  I personally have a very small bowl of ice cream an hour before I go to bed.  Food and Sleep.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Some Good Stuff...

American Medical Association is now recommending Chiropractic as the first stop when dealing with lower back pain.

A cool study basically shows that lifting weight (getting stronger) is much better then stretching at preventing injuries.  Exercise Interventions to Prevent Sport Injuries.

I went out to help at this training facility in Scottsdale, AZ a few springs ago and got my first glimpse at "Danny Ball."  Two people teams play volleyball with a 10lb medicine ball.  A few of my friends play now here at Manhattan Park in Grand Rapids, MI.  Fun and great workout.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Crossfit 2014

In case you didn't realize Crossfit games 2014 are going on right now.  I was pretty impressed last night with the speed clean ladder. There were a couple guys that did 365lb without blinking.  Very impressive.  Especially when you take into account that they were doing several other sets previous to that attempt.  I believe it was 4-5 reps in like under 30 seconds.

A patient of mine won the overall Masters division this year.  Outstanding individual.  High quality person.  He is in crazy shape.  He has been doing Crossfit for awhile.

If you have great technique you can do awesome things.  Volume will build or break you.  If you cheat the body and add volume eventually it will break you.  If you keep movement great and technique solid, volume will build you.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Muscle Cramps...We Still Don't Know

As a cramper myself, when I do anything that last longer then 1.5 hours, it's always in the back of my mind.  I've cramped since I was a young kid.  Calfs mostly.  Biking has brought on quad cramps and calf cramps.

I always tell people that science doesn't know why we cramp.  It's pretty amazing.  Seems like a simple problem.  I'm always amazed when there is something in the body that we don't understand.  It seems the more we study the body, the more we realize we don't know.  Even a simple question like how does a muscle contract is under debate!

When it comes to cramps, we have theories and ideas.  Some studies show a no, while others show a maybe.  Here are a few.

1. Central Nervous System.  Spinal Motor Neuron Hyper excitability.  This is the Neuromuscular Imbalance theory.

2.  Peripheral Nerve.  Spasmodic discharge.  Dehydration/Electrolyte theory.

Repetitive Muscle Exercise.  Leads to muscle fatigue.  Increase in excitatory afferent.  Decrease in inhibitory afferent.  Hyper excitation and discharge of alpha motor neurons.

Both Theories stimulation of spinal nerve afferent produce muscle cramps by spontaneous peripheral nerve activity.  They have used a peripheral nerve block and essentially blocked cramps.  So essentially the spinal loop must be intact for the cramps to occur.

It's been shown that dehydration/electrolyte doesn't avoid the cramps, but it does delay them.

A new player in the cramp genesis is called the Central Fatigue Mechanism.  Studies are suggesting that brain stem or higher centers influences muscle activities.  The evidence to support this theory is all indirect.

1.  Ingest a CHO/electrolyte drink to help delay the.
2.  Work on the tissue quality of the muscle that cramps.  If you cramp in calf's, routinely get tissue work done on this muscle.  Pain can induce cramps.
3.  Learn pacing.  If you are in a race.  Athletes that did the first 1/2 significantly faster were more prone to cramping at the end of the race.
4.  Get better technique.  Avoids unnecessary muscular strain.
5.  Try to keep the core temperature from rising.  This goes into the central governing theory.  You don't want your brain to shut you down.
6.  Keep muscular glycogen high.  This allows the brain to think you are doing fine.

Here is the video from these notes.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flow Chart on Hormones

This is a flow chart that I copied from a lecture of MWOD.  Dr.  Lee works from Genesolve.  The ones I circled are the tests that are recomended. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

ZFO Sports Vest Review

I have started added weighted walks as part of my lifestyle.  My goals are to incorporate that into my recovery program, increase connective tissue resiliency in my feet and calfs and increase overall leanness.

I asked around and had several suggestions that hyper wear and smartest were the top choices.  I already had a 20lb smartest.  This is an excellent vest.   I was looking for 50-80lb vest.

Hyperwear at that weight would run into 300 dollar range.  This was not what I wanted to spend.

I ended up buying a ZFO 60lb vest off eBay for 80 dollars including the weight with free shipping.  It's big and bulky.  You feel like your wearing bomb diffusing gear.  It gets uncomfortable at times, but for walking it works.  Squats, lunges, chin ups, push ups, it works.  Running, change of direction, no.

It's a little annoying at first trying to figure out the straps that come with it.  But once you get that figured out it is relatively easy to get on and off.

Overall, for the price and for doing static work it's a nice device.  I'm happy with this purchase.  If you plan on moving even a little bit fast, save and invest in the smartest or hyper wear.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Notes on Movement Variability by Guido Van Ryssegem

Notes on the lecture:  MV will be movement variability.  If you find some of my notes interesting, I highly recommend this lecture from Movement Lectures.

"Movement is so important, it's the reason we have a brain."
Daniel Wolpert

Movement will change as you age.  3 years old will be different then when you are 9.

Lots of studies have shown that their isn't the exact same patterns in movement.  A person may look the same on a treadmill, but the foot strike is constantly different.  Their is variability and this is very important.

Variability is normal.  "Movement variability is the oil to the central nervous system."
Without variability our central nervous system starts to shut down.

We automatically decrease our freedom of movement to control our MV to optimize our control of the task we decide to do.

Our children are becoming motor morons.  Not playing anymore and sitting at desk, computers, video games.

Sometimes having stiffness is a good thing for an activity.  The example was a discus thrower that needs a stiff hip to throw well.  Sometimes limitation can cause problems.  An obese person or severe scoliotic patient has less MV and will have a higher injury rate if not addressed.

One of the concepts behind MV is that the CNS takes in a lot of chaos and starts to make order out of it.

Applying to coaching.  One was is to coach step by step what should happen.  Example is the squat.  The other way is to allow self organization or Dynamic Systems theory.  Tell a person to squat and let the body figure it out.  If you are in a tug of war contest.  It won't take you long to realize pulling with only your arms will not work.  You start to lean back and use your legs.

Show the pattern and then shut up.

Self organization is found in nature.  Examples of bats, ants, African beetles.  Very interesting.

Two interesting  studies were addressed.  Gait transition, everyone starts to jog from a walk at the same speed without coaching.  Swimming study the arm motion sped up at the same time as well.

"A stable but adaptable body maintains a rich repertoire of movement strategies containing optimum variability. The optimal amount of variability is optimal performance."

Perhaps to much time is spent with attempting to manipulate a form.  Practice on movement over and over again.  Like a squat.  Invariable training is this, perhaps this is actually making the elite athlete worse.

(My take.  Not sure if I totally agree with this.  Sure you can get better at squats, doing assistance work and he gives an example of doing KB swings and breaking through his deadlift plateau, but if you want to get better at squatting (if you are a power lifter, you must squat)  My two cents.)

"Promoting complex variation in human movement allows either motor development or the recovery of function after injury."  Stergiou 2006

Focusing on optimizing degrees of freedom allows the athletes optimal self organization.

Lack of MV leads to changes in the sensory cortex. There are physical changes happening in the brain.

He gives some studies that show lack of MV and injury.

3 Groups of people.
1.  Performers.  Athletes.
2.  Task Driven.  Produce a specific task.
3. Motor challenged.  Injured, Post surgery.

The performers need a complex environment.  Lots of variability
Interesting example of motor challenged was a softball player with lower back pain.  After finding stability, had her squat heavy to reduce her variability.  If the weight had been to light her variability of motion would have been to high.

3 types of restraints.
1. Task
2. Body
3. Environment.

Task.  Example is a squat.  All kinds of modifications can be made to allow the re learning of the squat.

Body.  How to manipulate.  Speed/power/strength/mobility.  Change it up.

Environment.  Perhaps get out into nature.

As a therapist I think one of the things we are doing is increasing degrees of freedom in muscles and joints to allow more movement variability.  My two cents. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Health and Alcohol

It is the best of things, it is the worst of things.  There is a lot written on the benefits of alcohol and on the negative health consequences.  There was recently a great article written in T-nation about the facts of beer, wine and liquor.

A Lifters Guide to Alcohol.

Some of the highlights.

 Beer doesn't necessarily increase male estrogen.  Man boobs is more myth.  Alcohol isn't a fat creator, think beer belly,  but it is a fat burning suppressor.  Your body works on getting rid of the alcohol, not on burning fat.

1g/kg of alcohol had some horrible affects on metabolism and working out.  .5g/kg didn't have much affect at all.  That's the difference between 6 drinks and 3 drinks for an average size man.

It's better to have a drink post lifting then post cardio session.

Alcohol is calories.  They just happen to be empty. This means you get no nutritional value.  They rob your body of B vitamins, zinc and magnesium.  All these are things that are already very low in the American diet.

I didn't have my first drop of alcohol until I was 29 years old.  Always thought it would affect my body and training in a very negative way.  I wasn't willing to compromise or risk the goals I had during that time frame.  I'm glad I can look back and say I did everything possible to allow me to try to accomplish what was important to me.

I know really enjoy craft beer.  Porters and Stouts.  I don't care for to much beyond that.  Wheat beer tends to give me a headache.  Liquors smell like ammonia caps to me.  Wine makes my tongue feel like I have to scratch it.  Yes, I know, I haven't tried ______ wine.  Everyone has a favorite wine that I have to try.  A certain amount of alcohol, from personal experience (n=1), hasn't affected my strength or recovery.  At 3 drinks I'm fine, but more then that I will feel tired the next day.

Another curious thing is timing.  If I'm done and in bed by midnight I have almost no problems with having drinks the night before.  If I'm out past midnight, even if I get 8 hours, chance are I will have a bit of brain fog.  Circadian Rhythm is a powerful thing!

Most studies show that people that ingest very moderate amounts of alcohol are usually healthier and that teetotalers are usually less so.  I'm not totally convinced that it's just the alcohol.  There is probably a huge social experience that drives a lot of the so called health benefits from drinking alcohol.

Know your limits.  Know what influences you for good or for bad.  Coffee stouts and Vanilla Porters are divine!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Random and Interesting

I've always enjoyed learning about subcultures.  I have a particular fondness for sport.  I've also always enjoyed learning about how someone that doesn't fit the "normal" bill succeeds.  This article does both.  NPR talks about the sport of Sumo and and undersized competitor.  Normal is 400lb, this guys is around 200.  Cool.  It's not the size that is stunning. 

Get healthier by sleeping in a cooler room.  This article was pretty cool.   Adults have very small amounts of brown fat in the neck/upper back.  This is metabolically active and much different then the fat we think of.  It can burn sugar.  Sleeping in a room that was 66 degrees doubled the amount of brown fat in 4 weeks.  Sleeping in a room 81 degrees ended up with less fat then when the subjects started.  Sleep cooler for a healthier life.  Let's cool it in the bedroom.

Pretty informative.  Just let almond milk go.  Eat some nuts and drink water.  This article goes into great detail on why drinking almond milk isn't all that it's been made out to be.  Lay off the Almond Milk. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Learn to Move with Ido Portal

Pretty fun couple hours listening to Ido Portal talk about movement and philosophy.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Learn to do a Pull Up

GMB continues to put out great content.  This one is all about the Pull Ups.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Concentrated Effort

One of the things I try to do every now and then is to make a concentrated effort to target certain muscles or a joint or training concept and read everything I can about it for the week or a month.  Just immerse myself in that topic for a bit.

If you do this enough, over the course of a year, you have accumulated some significant concentrated effort on certain topics.

Two beautiful things start to happen when you do this long enough.  You invariably pick the same topic again, but find new information.  You start to find patterns in many different disciplines.  A physical therapist may have written about a joint this way.  A chiro may have written about if like this.  A strength coach believes this.

Finding patterns and thought process's.  Why this is trained or treated like this versus that.  I want to stretch the hip flexors, you want to do prone press ups, this guy wants to do Glute Bridges, the new kid wants to do breathing exercises.

Read everything you can on a small topic.  Own that topic.  Pic a new one.  Start to see the beauty in how these things integrate after a while.

What do they have in common?  What do they disagree on?

You sometimes find that "What's in a name; A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Breathing and Singing

I had a very interesting conversation with a student that will hopefully become a professional opera singer.  He told me that they are strongly discouraged against doing sit ups and crunches as they are told this makes the diaphragm tight.  He asked me what he could do and if this was true or not.

The diaphragm does have a very strong anatomical attachment into the psoas major muscle.  Exercises like sit ups and crunches will indeed make this muscle tight.  It does most of the work in exercises such as these.  This is why I generally discourage there use in patients/athletes with any lower back pain.  The psoas main role is in lumbar stabilization.  When it is tight it doesn't fulfill its job to the best of its ability.

Back to singing.  He showed me how when he is braced he is able to use his diaphragm better and hit the bigger notes.  It was rather impressive.  We went over some drills where he is bracing his core hard, but learning to take deep inhales/exhales.

The easiest position was him in an incline push up position.  Abs braced.  Diaphragmatic breathing.

Very interesting when a unique subculture can be interwoven into anatomy and training.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fall In Love with the Big Ass Salad

I've recently started to try to eat one big ass salad (BAS) a day.  It's a convienent way to get a lot of goodness/healthy in your diet.  My problem in the past is that I don't like making a lot of stuff a lot of the time.  I can do one or two prep times a week though.

This is knowing your weakness and finding ways around them.  If you know salads are good for you, but you also know you don't want to make them everyday, find a way to have left overs.  Find an easy way to prep.  Find an easy way to clean up.  Take away excuses.

Enter the OXO Good Salad Bowel.  This thing was surprisingly large.  It comes with this cutter that never loses contact with the bowel.  Picture a double bladed pizza slicer.  This allows you to cut up the content and make the salad get more dense.

Throw everything you can think of in the bowl and top with favorite salad dressing.  Cut it up.  Eat what you want and save the next couple servings in an air tight container.

The bowl is very easy to clean.  Very easy to use.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


This one gave me chills.  Always thought Jeter epitomized class.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Clare Frank On The Janda Approach

This is a small review of the first video offered by Movement Link.  This video has Dr. Clare Frank talking about her work with Professor Janda.  The Janda approach is pretty famous in the manual therapy world as he was one of the first clinicians to look at a movement pattern, not just a muscle.

This 1 hour and 20 min lecture talks about the basis for some of the thinking behind an approach the Janda influenced.  I first heard Clare speak at my first BSMG a few years ago.  She has a large knowledge base in Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization.  You can't beat 15 bucks to hear a leader in the field talk.  Internet learning continues to impress me.

One of the first concepts that Janda started was realizing muscles may test strong on their own, but have inefficient or weakness in a pattern.  He showed this with EMG.  So he started to test patterns of movement.

There are two schools of manual medicine.  You are a Structure dictates function, or a function dictates structure.   He viewed it as complex intermingling of the two.

Muscular system is an indicator of the Central Nervous System.  CNS.

Role of The CNS.
1.  Posture
2.  Joint Stability
3.  Balance
4.  Movement

Muscles can both cause and reflect altered function.
3 key areas.  Cervical spine, SIJ, Sole of the foot.  All have more proprioceptors.

Groups of muscles are governed differently.  He came up with the Tonic/Phasic groupings and the upper and lower crossed syndrome.  Tonic are prone to tightness, phasic are prone to weakness.

There are several examples given throughout the lecture and there was a lab of hands on work that was mentioned but isn't shown.  Perhaps in the future videos.  All in all, if you are not familiar with Janda's work it is definitely worth watching.  If you are, this won't be ground breaking info, but will be a nice little summary of his work.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A few Insights into DNS

Movement Links has just released a couple nice articles.  The first Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization and Rehabilitation, talks about the background of DNS and how it can be applied. 

The second is Screening and Treating the Young Dancer.  This one deals with some applications of DNS and some other rehab ideas on treating a young ballerina. 

Both give some nice insight into DNS for those unfamiliar with it.  It is more then just crawling!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Random and Awesome: Rawesome

I wonder if I just created a new word.  Here are some things that are related by only their degree of awesome.

I'm quite into building my own strength equipment and love the idea of fitness for cheap.  Have a few things around the house.  No excuses.  This article from Outside magazine gives you some great ideas.  Hardware Store Workout.

Forward and Backward rolls are movements that I've been bringing back into my weekly routines.  It's important I think to keep trained or keep moving.  It challenges inner ear and helps keep the fluid from crystalizing.

I had these the other day and they are delicious.  You need time.  Definitely better then gels, but man gels are so freaking easy.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kettlebell Halo's: Great for Bikers and Desk Jockeys

The kettlebell Halo is a great exercise to throw in your everyday routine.  If you are a competitive cyclist where you are hunched over your bike for hours per week or you sit at a desk for hours per day then this is a must do mobility drill.

While the Halo won't build crazy strength, it will help to unwind some of the postural influence that you are doing in your everyday life.  For this reason, it's a great to do it a few times per day for reps or do throw in before your workout or as a post ride cool down.

The Halo helps create shoulder mobility and thoracic spine extension.  It takes the Glenohumeral socket into all planes of motion.  Something that should be done daily.  Upper back mobility is an issue with almost everyone these days.

It doesn't take a ton of weight.  So don't think about lifting the heaviest KB you own.  In fact, even though this is known as a KB exercise, you don't need a KB to get the benefits.  If you are a home a heavy jar will work.  I've demonstrated with a book.  Think of compression the object.  Tension is the key, not the weight.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Never Say You're Tired

I was watching a podcast the other day and the placebo of sleep was mentioned.  I looked up the Study and also found this article from The Atlantic.

It appears knowing or acknowledging you are tired creates lethargy.  Someone telling you that you had more sleep improved brain functioning tests.  We believe the lies.  The implications are that when you keep telling people how little sleep you got or how tired you are, you are essentially creating even more environment for lethargy.

Just like when you are tired and your coach told you to never show it, get your hands off your knees, stand up.  Act like you have energy, seems to have merit.

Don't say you are tired,  don't act tired.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Some Butt Wink Resources

Squatting ass to grass as they say isn't for everyone.  Some people lack the bony advantages that are needed. to allow the body to do this.  Dean Somerset shows a few videos in this ARTICLE that allows you play around with some ideas and see if your squat cleans up and you produce less butt wink.

First you may wonder why is butt wink bad?  Well when the sacrum tucks under, it produces lumbar Flexion.  This in itself in my personal opinion isn't bad when you are just doing a bodyweight squat also known as the third world squat.  But, flexion under load has been shown to produce ligament strain in the lumbar and SIJoint.  Probably not good long term with load after load, rep after rep.

This video Chris Duffin offers some great advice.  I myself see more patients/athletes unable to maintain bracing in the bottom in women or men that haven't lifted before and hip mobility in men that have lifted in the past. (bad mobility from junk training)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Product Review: iThlete HRV Finger Sensor

A few months ago I purchased the iThlete HRV finger sensor.  I had big hopes to take some HRV measurements for not only myself but a few patients and some athletes that I train.  It was 75 dollars and I believe the app for your phone was 10 bucks.  I liked the idea of not having to strap a heart rate monitor every morning and also having to hook up the chest strap to other people.  

I have a Samsung Note 3.  My first reading was -7.  Negative.  I asked someone that knows a lot about HRV and he had never even heard of that.  The next few readings were in mid fifties, then all of a sudden I'm at 99 for a readings.  Let me backtrack...I get these readings when I get a reading.  Most of the time I've never been able to get one and I'm continually told there was an error.  

As you can imagine this is pretty frustrating.  So much so that after 3-5 tries, I just quit as I can feel my frustration rising.  So honestly, I wouldn't recommend it.  But, my one caveat is that perhaps it's my phone and people with iPhones would be fine. 

Either way, I can't recommend it from my own experience.  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dr. Burzynski: Part I - Cancer Is Serious Business: Documentary (2010)

I remember watching this documentary a few years ago and being awe struck by the attack of him by the FDA.  Recently, the FDA has cleared him to start phase 3 clinical trials on people with new brain stem tumors.  FDA gives controversial new doc the green light.  We will see in the next few years wether the antineoplaston will work.  One thing is for sure, he holds the patent for the antineoplaston, and the drug companies were trying to develop their own antineoplaston technique without success.   That tells me something.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Travel Food

Things to take with you on trips.  My first requirement is that it can't really spoil.  So it can stay in your bag until it is needed.  This rules out fresh fruit.  I do like apples, but still it will spoil. 2nd requirement is that it has to taste awesome.

1.  Justins Almond Butter in single serve packs.  180 calories.  14g of fat.  12g of carbs.  5g of protein.

2.  Krave Pork Jerky Black Cherry BBQ  270 calories.  7.5g of fat.  21g of carbs.  33g of protein.

3.  Small Bag of Mixed Nuts.  300 calories.  26g of fat.  9g of carbs.  12g of Protein.

4.  Organo Gold Single serving Black Coffee.  Mixes instantly in hot water.  Great coffee isn't always available in the morning.  This is the best instant type of travel coffee I've tried.

When you have great tasting and healthy things to snack on, it helps keep you away from garbage.

Friday, July 4, 2014

On Vacation Workout

A lot of people are traveling or hanging out on the 4th.  I myself am on vacation.  Travel often means sitting, in a car or on a plane.  I sat recently for 14 hours!  Not comfortable for the joints or connective tissue.  Vacation plans will often mean no gym availability.  This is easily circumvented with some creativity and your bodyweight.

I think the goals of your vacation should be to enjoy your vacation.  If you can move for at least 20 minutes science says you will be more alert and have more of the "feel good" hormones.

If you have sat for extended periods of time, the goal should be to unwind a little of that connective tissue creep.  My back was really sore the morning I woke up after sitting in a car for 14 hours.

If you are like most people vacation means more food, more alcohol, more desserts.  This is incredibly important to move then.  Lymphatic system (your bodies way of getting the junking out) needs motion.  Sweating is another good one.

So here are some things to do without any equipment.

1.  Pole squats.  Find a pole and lean away while holding on to it.  Keep your shins perpendicular and sit back.  Sit back and get those hips lower then your knees.  Weight is on your heels.   Take a deep breath at the bottom, inhale and exhale.  Push through your heels and stand up.  Repeat 20x

2.  Chest Stretch.  Hand on the same pole.  Turn your body away from it.  Each time you come to a stop.  Breath in and out.  See how far you can go.  Explore different shoulder heights.  2 min.  Each arm.

You should definitely feel more open now.

3.  Walking lunges set of 20
4.  Push ups set of 20

Repeat 3x

5.  Heidens (lateral jumps) set of 10
6.  Bear Crawls set of 10 yards.

Repeat 3x

If you can find some something to do chin ups on

7.  Chin ups set of 5  (if you can't find this, do isometric contractions pulling against an immovable object.  Hold for 8 seconds.
8.  Goblet squats  (I found a 10lb rock in the woods)  set of 10.

Repeat 1 and 2 for one set.

This should get the blood flowing and work on some mobility as well.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Notes of Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athlete

Listen more, ask a lot of questions of your patients.

Surgery in minor leagues, cuts your chance to make big leagues by 50%.
2 out of 100 make it to majors.

Multiple sports helps develop a rich proprioceptive background.

Northeast players are getting drafted more because of less wear and tear then someone from the south.

3 Window of Adaptation

1.  Determine the athletes position on the absolute strength to absolute speed.
(this may change during season and time of year and age of athlete)

2.  Getting outside the sagital plane

3.  Understanding and individualizing deceleration.

How to build an athlete sprinter analogy.
absolute speed is sprinting.  absolute strength would be squats and deadlifts.
Applied to pitching.  Find where your athlete is on the continuum.
absolute speed,  he had done this all the time in throwing a fastball,  absolute strength (AS) is strength training.
AS is the basis for joint stability.

NOTE:  Long distance running has no place in the continuum.

2.  Rotational sports play in all three planes, but programs live in the sagital plane.  This allows rotational training to allow for good improvements.
no correlation to pitching velocity and vertical jump.
there is some correlation to lateral hop and rotational power to pitching.
Good exercises are med ball throws.
rotational med ball stomp  (VIDEO)
split stance overhead throw.  (VIDEO)
single leg stance allows tri planar stability
Sledgehammer work.  Overhead pounding
Typical off season med ball program can have 240-360 throws per week.
generally one overhead and one rotational exercise per session.
Heidens are excellent.  Create positive shin angle. get a stretch of the glutes into 3 planes of motion.

3.  Supinators,  flexors, GH joint.  internal rotation has to be controlled as well as traction of the arm. Thoracic spine and core stabilizer will be important.  Lower 1/2.  Big butts (strong) can reduce load on the arm.
Manual resistance and rhythmic stabilization is a good for the shoulder.
quadruped tspine rotation.  follow your elbow with your eyes. Is a good T-spine mobility drill.
Core should focus on preventing antiextenion.

Important notes is players history.  What did he do a lot of?  Will potentially show you where you need to go.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Good Stuff to Read and Watch

Eric Cressey is giving a free presentation called the Individual Management of the Overhead Athlete.  I'll put notes up after I go through it, but if you want to go watch yourself, you just have to sign up for his newsletter, which I do recommend anyways.

This article in The Atlantic called "How Finland Keeps Kids Focused."  If you are an educator I'd recommend reading it.  The gist...every 45min, kids get 15 min of unstructured "free" time.  I think this can be applicable to other professions as well.  Think adult desk workers.

Brain Pickings is another website I frequent and they posted this gem awhile back.  Rethinking the Placebo Effect.  Essentially, even when we know it's a placebo, it still works.  Pretty cool.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wild Things

"I never saw a Wild Thing sorry for itself.  A small bird will drop dead frozen from its bough without ever having felt sorry for itself."
DH Lawrence

The above quote has been possibly my favorite quote ever since I was a little kid and first heard it.  The same reason I've always enjoyed seeing sparrows.  They remind me of this quote in some small way.

Feeling sorry for oneself, feels like you give up the majesty of you.  I'm not claiming I've never felt that way, or have had a tremendous challenge set before me to see if I could really live up to the quote, but either way, a wild thing is something to be striven for.  Some inner commitment perhaps.

The last few days I've travelled through some amazing land and seen wild majestic creatures.  Bison, Moose, Antelope to name a few.  The quote rings true,  "I never saw a Wild Thing sorry for itself."

Perhaps part of health and performance is to recognize when self pity starts to rise and squash it with a wild spirit before it truly festers in your blood.  Self pity can take many forms.  Excuses, quitting, procrastination all seem like giving up majesty to me.  Next time, it starts to rise, perhaps whisper or shout "WILD THING," don't give up the majesty that is in you.