Friday, May 23, 2014

Why Do I Keep Getting Hurt?

Being able to understand how the Human Movement System works and how it can affect an individual’s performance is critical. Taking a look into the set up of the system, it has been shown that the joint support system, which is responsible for supporting the joints of the body, can be split into two different units, the local muscular system ( Stabilizers)  and global muscular systems ( Movement).

The local muscular system is comprised of stabilizers, or muscles that help keep a joint in place or limit movement.

 The global muscular system encompasses most of the major movement muscles and the muscles are more superficial.

With these two systems in mind one must have ideal functional posture, through and with the help of the systems mentioned, in order to have the least amount of stress on the kinetic chain. Dysfunction can come about through less than ideal posture, which has a systemic way of being identified.

To have ideal posture the individual would like to have a strong kinetic chain, the 3 links in that chain are

1.      Myofascial (muscular/ tissue/ length tension relationships/ reciprocal inhibition)

2.      Neural ( electrical impulses/ force couple relationships)

3.      Articular ( joint/ arthrokinematics)

A snag in a part of the chain can ultimately cause the start of the cumulative injury cycle. The worst case scenario if injury, poor posture, and/ or muscular imbalance are introduced into the human movement system is, reoccurring injury.

1. Myofascial

Let’s say that we have a volleyball player that has just suffered their first ankle sprain. It has been suggested that a lateral ankle sprain can be caused by limited range of motion in the sagittal plane (dorsiflexion)(2). Another study also found that strength in the plantar flexors also played a role in ankle sprains in volleyball players and in army recruits.(1, 3) It can be inferred that lack of strength in the dorsiflexors  or over active plantar flexors can be the issue. In this case a over active plantar flexor (i.e. gastrocnemius  and/or soleus) would be a dysfunction in the myofascial potion of the kinetic chain(1). This can also be referred to as a length tension relationship dysfunction. A muscle has a set length where it will be at its optimal functionality, and when that length is shortened, as it is in this case by an over active muscle, it can cause dysfunction. This can also lead to reciprocal inhibition, which is where the antagonist of the over active agonist will decrees the neural drive of the antagonist. This is a snag in the first of the 3 links.

2. Neural

Continuing with what could happen with this dysfunction, once the antagonist has decreased neural drive another phenomenon begins to surface, synergistic dominance. Synergistic dominance is the improper recruitment of synergistic muscles, or muscle that have the same function of that muscle, (neural chain) in this case it would be the dorsiflexors of the ankle.

3. Articular

The reason this is not ideal, is that the synergistic muscular that is know taking main stage is being over worked and can become over used and weak. This weakness of the dorsiflexors has been shown to limit range of motion in the ankle ( articular chain), which in some studies has been shown to cause ankle sprains (2).

The next post will review what one as an athlete, fitness client, or the sports trainer can do to help limit this from happening. Oh yeah I'm a Mavericks fan, hence the first image!!

1. Hadzic, V., Sattler, T., Topole, E., Jarnovic, Z., Burger, H., & Dervisevic, E. (2009). Risk factors for ankle sprain in volleyball players: A preliminary analysis. Isokinetics & Exercise Science, 17(3), 155-160.
2.  M. de Noronha, K.M. Refshauge, R.D. Herbert, S.L. Kilbreath
and J. Hertel, Do voluntary strength, proprioception, range of
motion, or postural sway predict occurrence of lateral ankle
sprain? British Journal of Sports Medicine 40 (2006), 824–828.

3. R. Pope, R. Herbert and J. Kirwan, Effects of ankle dorsiflexion
range and pre-exercise calf muscle stretching on injury
risk in Army recruits, Australian Journal of Physiotherapy 44
(1998), 165–172.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

# 5 Instant oatmeal ( Unsweetened, Unflavored)

Superpowers:  boosts energy, reduces cholesterol, and maintains blood sugar levels.
Secret weapons:  complex carbohydrates and fiber
Fights against:  heart disease, diabetes colon cancer, obesity
Sidekicks: high-fiber cereals
Imposters:  cereals with added sugar and high –fructose corn syrup

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mobility or Strength?

I had to ask this question to myself today as I was training with a new athlete. We where showing the front squat and had him do a few reps, and saw instantly that his ankles and knees caved. For most in the strength and conditioning sector you would start thinking of what is really going on. Mobility or strength? So does the ankle need strength or more range of motion, do the hips need more range of motion or do they need to be stronger? That is the main question. Let me break it down as easy as I can.
You need to know that the body is made up of many joints stacked on top of each other, starting at the bottom with the ankle joint going all the way to the shoulder and cervical spine. Starting at the bottom we will look at the Ankle, Knee, and Hip.

Ankle- inherently the ankle needs to have more range of motion than most people think. The ankle is a very complex joint that needs to be able to move around to give the force production, the force absorption, and the mobility for daily activity. Many think that strength is needed because someone rolled an ankle, more time than not mobility is needed in the joint because it is not moving correctly. The use of incorrect shoes, having flat feet, or having a structural issue can be reasons for not moving correctly.

Knee- The knee joint is the total opposite, the knee is meant to be stable, and most know this if they have torn any ligament or cartilage in their knees. The ACL, LCL, PCL, are all ligaments that help to stabilize the knee joint, yet they are only strong enough to hold so much. Know this is where it gets tricky, the ligaments are strong enough to hold great amounts of force, but when other joints are not in alignment ( ankle, hip ) they cause unwanted and forces that the ligaments in the knee where not made to handle. There are great strength programs for the knee, strengthening the VMO, and other things, yet this is not the key to stability. You always need to look at the joints above (hips) and below (ankle) for the answer. If your knees cave in like my new athlete, check the hip and the ankle and you will find your answer.

Hip- The hips are meant to be mobile, most of the time the hips are not mobile enough for everyday movement or correct movement. However not having correct muscle activation can cause incorrect movement. In the case of the hip in my new athlete he has sub par glute medius strength, how do I know this? I tested it :). We will show a video next post on this. This muscle has been over looked in many things, it is responsible for helping keep the hip in correct alignment for better positioning. When this muscle is not working correctly, the knees could turn in like my new athlete.

All this too say that if you test your athletes right when you start training you can see these things and train to correct them before they get out of hand. Next post we will talk about testing the athlete and what to do, and I will record him so you can see what I am talking about.

Friday, May 9, 2014

#4 Dairy ( Fat- Free or Low-Fat Milk, Yogurt, Cheese and Cottage Cheese)

Superpowers: builds strong bones, fires up weight loss.
Secret weapons: calcium, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium.
Fights against: osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure cancer
Sidekicks: none
Imposters: whole milk, frozen yogurt.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Best way to Burn Calories! HIIT and Don't Miss!!

HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT is a form of interval training.

What is interval training?
         Alternating periods of work with periods of rest.  

What is Aerobic and Anaerobic mean?
        Simply the terms "aerobic" ,running slower longer periods of time, and "anaerobic", Short intense bouts of exercises, refer to the presence and absence of oxygen, respectively.

Why intervals? 

        In the Gibala  study, two groups were tested. It compared 20minutes of interval training 30sec on 4min off, compared to 90 -120 minutes of steady endurance heart rate zone, same improvements in oxygen utilization.(1)

A great app I have used in the past is this Tabata Timer, very easy to use. 

        This means that both groups had the same effect on there VO2 Max and one did more then half the work. So...
  • Intervals develop aerobic capacity better then aerobic training.(1)

  • The fastest way to raise VO2@ max, the standard measure of aerobic fitness, is through interval training.(1, 2)

Interval Methods
  • Work to rest- uses a set time for work and a set time for rest 
Work to Rest ratio
:15-:45 (3-1)
:30-1:30 or :30-1:00 ( 3-1 or 2-1)
1:00-2:00 or 1:00-1:00 ( 2-1 or 1-1)
As the interval gets longer the recovery time does not need to be as long as it relates to the interval.

Why do people still do aerobic training?
  • Easier then interval work, and interval training is hard.
  • Slow steady jogging or walking for long periods of time ( aerobic) is all they know. 
 Why should people do aerobic training?
  • Aerobic training helps beginners.
  • If you are going to or want to do aerobic sports; 5k's, 10k's, half and full marathons.  
  • The reality is that conventional aerobic training is only good to get a person fit enough to tolerate interval training (2)
        If you want to lose weight, and be in great shape, interval training is the way to go. Interval training is great if you are pressed for time and can be done effectively and safely in about 30 minutes. It is also a great way to compete with your training partner.


1.Gibala Study
Journal of Physiology, “ Short Term Sprint Interval Versus Traditional Endurance Training: Similar Initial Adaptations in Human Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Performance Sept 2006, Vol 575 Issue 3
2.  Interval Training for Athletes and Clients: DVD, Micheal Boyle 2007

Friday, December 20, 2013

How To Be A Nutri-Ninja This Holiday Season

How To Be A Nutri-Ninja This Holiday Season

What is a Nutri-Ninja? Well, he/she is one who uses the way of the ninja and applies it to nutrition. A very simple concept, but when you master this you will make it through all the difficult holiday parties looking good, and feeling great about the choices you made.
How to be a Nutri-Ninja during the holiday season? First, 3 characteristics of a Nutri-Ninja:
1. A Nutri-Ninja sets goals.
Granted the holidays are upon us already, and most individuals have the all-or-none mentality when it comes to nutrition. We either are on a very strict diet and only eat cabbage or we swing the pendulum the complete other way and eat anything and everything saying, “I will start January 1st.”
A Nutri-Ninja takes goals seriously and knows what they want when it comes to nutrition. They write them down. For example: no sugary drinks, less fried food, more lean meat, more greens… you get the picture. Oddly enough, no one has seen a Nutri-Ninja diet, but when is the last time you’ve seen a ninja?
2. A Nutri-Ninja always has a plan.
Like any great warrior a Nutri-Ninja knows that goals are only as good as the execution of them. Every Nutri-Ninja has a plan of attack to achieve their goals and this plan must be on point when the holidays come around. Ninjas know how to party and have fun don’t get me wrong, so don’t think that because you are making smart choices you have to sacrifice taste. On the contrary, the execution of your plan will allow you to stay within those parameters that you have set before you get to the event. For example, I will allow myself to eat a slice of cake, or I will allow myself to have a drink. Yet you know before going in what you are planning on doing, and this will save you from overindulging.
3. A Nutri-Ninja is stealthy
The great thing about being a Nutri-Ninja is that people will never know that you actually have your nutrition under tight control. They’ll see you at events and office parties eating and drinking as things are normal. However, you know that because of goal setting and having a plan of execution your nutrition is in check. So it’s ok to eat that cookie, because the rest of your week has been incognito to everyone else as to how well you are doing with your nutrition.
Now, Nutri-Ninja’s actually are allowed to recruit other willing individuals to the cause of being healthy and fit.
PS. Ninjas wear black for a reason!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

#3 Spinach and Other Green Vegetables

# 3 Spinach and Other Green Vegetables

Superpower: Neutralizes free radicals, which are molecules that accelerate the aging process.  
Secret Weapon: vitamins including A,C and K; folate; minerals including calcium and magnesium; fiber; beta-carotene.
Fights against: obesity, cancer, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis  
Sidekicks: cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts; green, yellow, red, and orange vegetables like asparagus, peppers, yellow beans and asparagus.

Impostors: None, as long as you don’t fry them o smother them in fatty cheeses.  

Just in case the 12 power foods slipped your mind, here they are again.
Almonds and other nuts
Beans and legumes
·         Spinach and other green vegetables
Dairy (fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese)
Instant oatmeal (unsweetened, unflavored)
Turkey and other lean meats
Peanut butter
Olive oil
Whole-grain breads and cereals
Extra-protein (whey) powder
Raspberries and other berries