Friday, October 31, 2014

Danny Macaskill: The Ridge

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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sumo Stance Exercises

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Listen and Learn

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

Here are a few that I found pretty interesting lately.

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Product Re-Review: SlingShot

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

What Is Training Low and Racing High

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Post Pregnancy Strength

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

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

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

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

You are more unstable.  

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bones Don't Touch How Can We Stand

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Random Stuff

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Best New Supplement I've Tried Recently

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vitamin C, Turmeric and Get Strong

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

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

I enjoyed this presentation by Elite lifter Harry Selkow

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Discussing Movement, Dynamical Systems Theory, and Motor Variability

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Being Sick Sucks

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Random Stuff

I recently read some pretty cool articles on various topics.

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

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

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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lowering SHBG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sleep is the Lymphatic System of the Brain

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Restorative Training

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why Cyclocross

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

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

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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Good Stuff

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

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

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

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Magic is in the Details

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

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

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

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

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

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

How will you know?

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Interesting Clinic Finds: No Upper Trap Strength

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

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

I had never seen this before.

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lateral Slide Lunge Mobility

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

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Big Rocks of Back Pain

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

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

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

So what are the big rocks of back pain?

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

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

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Interactions of Flouride, Pineal Gland, and Melatonin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Build Muscle and Keep Muscle for Health

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bed Time Cocktail

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Breathing and Movement Integration

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

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Supplement News

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

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

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

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