Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dashrath Manjhi - The Man Who Broke A Mountain Alone

I've been in the midst of moving my office this last few weeks.  So many things to do.  So much stuff to move.  Has to be done.  How do you eat an elephant?  Bite by bite.  This video makes me think it is not all that bad.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mental Shift: There is No Z in Craftsmanship

We as human beings by default are end goal beasts.  We look into the future and extrapolate where we want to be.  We think once I get there, I'll be done.  I started at A, I just hit Z, I'm done. 

I finally made it.

As a young professional it may have been graduation was your Z.  Then you realized it was having your own practice became the Z.  Then perhaps your Z was a certain income.  I know people whose Z is several practices.

Z can be many things to different people.  

Z is marriage, it is kids, it's is kids in college, it's a certain age when you get to retire, it is a 5k time, it  is qualification.  

I was always interested in being better at my craft of Chiropractic/Therapy/Strength Coach.  I think deep down I thought at a certain point, I'd be really good and then I'd be done.  I'd take this seminar, keep reading and I'd be great and be done learning.  I'd learn from this guy, practice, practice practice and I'd be where I want to be.  

Craftsmanship doesn't have a Z. 

 This is my realization.  I will always read, I will always take seminars.  This is not done anymore to get to a point I think of down the road.  It's done to keep learning.  It's enjoyable to know that there is no end.  You can always learn and get better.  When I finally had the mental shift that I'm not after Z but I'm after getting better at my craft,  a light bulb went off.  There is a certain freedom in the kaizen principle of a little bit better every day, versus, I need to learn this to get to Z. 

I'm not at all implying that goals are not important.  But, usually goals are in a  subset of your craft.  Running a fast 5k may be a goal, but the craftsmanship is running.  Realize this or you may not run long, or a bad 5k time may be depressing or you may sacrifice the craft for the sake of a goal.  

Don't Sacrifice Craftsmanship for Goals

It can be easy to run through an injury.  You hit your 5k, but can't run for 3 months now.  I can get to X number of patients quickly if I sell fear, but you didn't build a practice, you got quick numbers for dollars.  

I'm retaking a seminar in a month called Functional Range Release.  I've taken all of them.  A few years ago, I wouldn't have.  It would have become a check mark of things I have accomplished.  I think I will gain great value in this.  They don't require a "get certified every year" thing either.  (HOW DO I LOATH THIS PRACTICE)  It will simply be me pursuing craftsmanship to get a little better.  

Be thankful that there is no Z.  What a boring place in life and job that would be if it existed.  

Friday, March 20, 2015


I'm enjoying this series.  I think Mark Bell offers some great advice for business owners and people with ideas.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mongolian Judo Secrets: What We Can Learn.

I found this video reading an article from RossTraining.  Always highly interesting to see how foreign athletes train.  Sometimes it isn't sexy or high tech.  Sometimes it is straight brutal hard work, lifestyle and mental hunger to be the best.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Genetic and Epigenetic Information

Every other Sunday I tend to go through my Evernote app and see what I have saved because I read or listened to something and think it is worthy to keep track of or I save something to go back and read it when I have more time.  ( I love the Evernote app)

Here are a few I think worthwhile, for some reason, this week was all about Epigentics/Genetics. 

Epigenetic topic has always fascinated me since I first heard about the topic a few years ago.  This was an enjoyable podcast on the Breaking Muscle Site.  Understanding the Impact of Epigenetics.

This article in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine is called, "The Dawning Age of Genetic Testing for Sports Injuries."  This article goes into detail about how potentially a few genes may predispose you to perhaps a soft tissue injury.  

Do you see what I did there?  I got you learning about epigenetics, followed up on a paper about genetics.  Epi- mean over or above.  So the individual is in control even when they are predisposed to a certain profile.  

The topic about how our grandparents have influence us is fascinating to me.  How you live influenced your grandkids that are not born yet...potentially.  This article in Scientific American, "Descendents of Holocaust Survivors Have Altered Stress Hormones, presents some really interesting information in the practical sense of how potentially big epigenetics and genetics play a roll in our health.  

Enjoy a solid end to your weekend.  Plan the week.  Enjoy your family.   Move well and Move often.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Manual Therapy to Strength and Conditioning

As a manual therapist/chiropractor people come to see me for such a variance of issues that it hard to pinpoint any issue that you see more then another.  The bottom line is they are usually in pain or aren't able to perform an activity to the level they desire.

I believe being a strength and conditioning coach is a great lens to view these patients/athletes in.  Strong covers up a multitude of sins.  Not all of them, but a lot of them.  Strength will improve mobility issues.  It will improve overuse injuries.

So every patient and athlete I treat is being viewed from these two lenses.  Therapy and Strength and Conditioning.

The problem then lies in the tricky navigation of being only their therapist and not their strength coach.

How much information should be given?  How much advice should be offered?  How blunt?

This can be a tough pill to swallow at times and you as the therapist will risk losing the patient I believe, but at the end of the day, if what you believe isn't being stated, you risk more.

If you have a patient with flexion intolerant lower back pain and they love their bootcamp with crunches, sit ups, a squat that looks like they are just doing round backed good mornings, then your chance of success with this patient is minuscule if the negative input isn't changed.  You have to advise them to substitute appropriate exercise or find a new type of class.

If you can't raise your hands above your head, you don't have the prerequisites to overhead press, let alone catch an Olympic Snatch.  That's why your shoulder hurts.  Advise as such.

The even trickier minefield is when they come in and they have their own strength coach that they are paying.  I ask them what they are doing for "training," and sometimes I'm inwardly just shaking my head.  These I don't usually say anything unless I'm specifically asked.  Then I'm brutally honest.

I've had endurance athletes be prescribed a prescription of 100 meter sled sprints because they needed a power workout because they got "out kicked" at the last race.  Now there feeling some knee pain.

An important thing to note is to not just take exercises away but to substitute better ones.  We often hear the story, "Doc it hurts when I run."  Doc, "Then don't run anymore." I often take away situps/crunches, but integrate Palloff presses and side planks.  I may take a bilateral squat away as we work on hip mechanics and substitute RFESS.  I may advise heavier snatch pulls and not a full snatch until the Tspine and GH mobility is present.  Instead of full ROM deadlifts, pulling for a 6"blocks.

At the end of the day, I think the right thing to do is the right thing to do.  People are their for your expertise as much as your skills.  Treat them like you would want to be treated, advise them like you would want to be advised.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Review of Hacking the Hinge with Charlie Weingroff and Mark Cheng

Anytime I spend money on a product, I'm satisfied if I've learned one or two things that I think I will be able to use with my patients that I treat or coach.  From this criteria, the video Hacking the Hinge with Charlie Weingroff and Mark Cheng was a worthwhile investment.  It is available as a digital download or DVD from Movement lectures.

Investment.  Spending time and money to get better.  This was worth my money and my time.  30 dollars and 2.5 hours later.  I've a page of notes and few more ways to gain entry points when coaching the hinge.

Why is the hinge so important?

It is the basis for athletic movement.  The basis for lifting.  The basis for getting strong!  Deadlifts, kettlebell swings, squatting are all based off a great hip hinge.  Hip hinge saves the lumbar spine, which means a great hinge can mean getting people out of back pain.

I thought I was pretty good at coaching the hinge, the deadlift and the swing.  I feel I'm a lot better now.

3 Perspectives of Movement.
1. Biomechanical
2. Neuromuscular
3.  Neurodevelopmental

These are covered as are some strategies to look at it for each.   How does a toe touch and straight leg raise relate to what is happening in the hinge?  You need 54 degrees of forward flexion from the spine.  High threshold activities will work but they come at a cost and are not ideal.  Do you have the joint ROM to achieve proper positions.

Feet turned out is a neurodevelopment position.  Fastest dudes in the world run this way.  Laying on the ground with the feet turned out is relaxing for the brain and breathing.  Good stuff.

 Some one liners that will get you thinking.
It is all about putting the body in the right position to absorb and adapt to stress.
Respect the neck.  If it is not in the ideal position your mobility work won't take.
A kettlebell swing is a ballistic deadlift.

As a trainer or a coach you won't be disappointed.  As an athlete you will have two of the best teaching you the basis for a better hip hinge, which is the basis for getting brutally strong.  I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thoughts on Muscle Testing

When I first was in chiropractic school I was exposed to Applied Kinesiology and thought it was pretty cool.  The basic muscle testing seemed really interesting and valuable to me.  Kendal and Kendal in the orthopedic world was the gold standard in text books for muscle testing.  There seemed to be certain positions that would "isolate" the muscles and provide feedback if they were "strong."

I put quotes on the words isolate and strong for a reason.  We know now that isolation of muscles is pretty much impossible.  You can't test your quad without the hamstring firing to support them as an example.  You don't contract your biceps without the bracialis being used as well as the triceps and even further away like the lat.  Dynamic systems theory states that with each time you test a muscle you are most likely not even testing the same fibers.

You then bring in bias by the tester.  Some are great testers and don't help, but as a therapist we all want to get people better, subconsciously we must assume we retest differently.

I took a course called NKT awhile back and found some value in the methods.  I still use a few of the tests.  Knowing what we know about isolation I get confused every now and then about what I'm actually testing.  5 years ago, I would have said I'm testing your glute medius for example.  Can your strength resist adduction.  1 year ago, nI would have said I'm testing your position not a muscle.  Can those muscles in that area produce stability.

Lately, I'm thinking I am simply asking the body what tension is the brain paying attention to in the position the joint is placed in.  If I put the hip into abduction but there is so much tension in the quadriceps, then not enough neural drive is happening into the muscles that can resist adduction.  The brain can only find the quadriceps which can't generate the requisite force to resist adduction.

Take some tension away from the quads and you have a window of opportunity to retrain the hip as an example.  (This is not always the case, just an example.)

I go back and for the with the value I find in muscle testing.  I firmly believe that a person should be able to lock in any joint under testing.  It just seems correct.  But, I also think you are not really testing muscles.  Therapists can have doubts.

The key to all of this to me is gaining that window of opportunity.  Using it to train a load bearing exercise after a therapy session or a rolling session.  Hundreds of repetitions.   Taking tension away from one area to gain better access to another.

This was more of a personal post then anything else.  I wonder if any other therapists have these thoughts?

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Day With Chris Duffin

Here are a couple resources for learning about and from Chris Duffin.  Great stuff.  It's hard not to learn a little something (or a lot) from listening to Chris talk.

Episode 34: Whiskey and Deadlifts.  Podcast from Strength Matters.

This Youtube video he talks to legendary powerlifter Ed Coan.