Saturday, January 17, 2015

OPT Model Break Down

                 “OPT” stands for Optimal Performance Training. Like I stated in the post before there are 3 stages with phases within them, which build on each other.  A typical work out that I would construct will look similar in style, yet the underlining exercises are very well thought out. There are many important aspects that make a great program, what I look for most is:
ü  Assessments
ü  Correct flow of exercises
ü  Exercise selection  
                  ü  Rational behind the latter
There are many assessments that can be performed that will give you an idea of what an client might need. There are two types of assessments that can be administered to guide you in making a great program.
1.       Structural assessments (i.e. over head squat, single leg squat, FMS)
2.       Performance assessments ( i.e. vertical jump, Shark test, bleep test)

Over Head Squat

Vertical Jump
Structural assessments are great for understanding what structural issues a client might have. In my case I have used the over head squat for about 5 years. Recently I was assessed by a friend and we came to the conclusion that I needed more hip mobility, and knee stability. Performance assessments are great tools in helping understand; speed, power, agility, and quickness. I chose to use the broad jump to test for power. With these assessments in place you can make scientific exercise selections, and be able to rationalize why you have chosen what you have.  
A correct flow in any workout is ideal for a few reasons; injury prevention and performance enhancement being my top reasons. The OPT model gives great rational on why they progress clients in the manner they do. For time sake I will only go over a single workout.  It would flow like this:
A.      Movement Prep
a.       Tissue work ( foam rolling and stretching)
b.      Mobility work
B.      Core Work
C.      Balance/ Reactive( plyos)
D.      SAQ ( speed, agility, and quickness)
E.       Resistance
a.       Total body ( cleans, snatches)
b.      Horizontal push ( bench press, push up)
c.       Vertical pull ( lat pull, pull ups)
d.      Knee Dominant ( lunges, squats)
e.      Horizontal pull ( rows, TRX pulls)
f.        Hip Dominant ( Dead lifts, single leg dead lifting)
g.       Vertical push ( Over head pressing)

With assessments and an understanding of workout flow, you can plug in exercises. Yet you can’t just go and randomly plug them in, you need to understand what each of the headings in the OPT model mean, and what stage and phase you are in. For Stability most of the exercises are meant to help stabilize and get the nervous system ready for the stresses that are to come later on.  This means controlled movements, correct postural alignment, and minimal spinal movement. This  section and the flow of the workout will come to life a bit more once I actually post a workout.
Finally giving a rational for all that you have done is very important. Being able to give a sound reason for your choices will give you and your clients peace of mind. The more you know about setting up programs and basing them off of scientific research will allow you to have credibility in the industry, keep your clients injury free, and help them meet their goals.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Prevent Injury and Perform Better

  Here are some definitions that will help navigating this post. There are three planes of motion that our body moves in: sagittal, frontal and transverse.  Frontal is side to side movement, transverse is any type of rotating movement and sagittal is forward and back movements. Here is a picture which should help a little more.
                Now that you have a little schema on the subject I will let you know why you would want to train in these planes and not just in the traditional saggital plane.

Most every activity occurs in all three planes of motion: sagittal, frontal and transverse. Even though some movements are dominating in one of the planes of motion the others are still needed. Say you dropped something on the floor and you pick it up; let us say that you choose to pick it up in this manner.  
We all have done it, and let’s face it most of the time we do not have a golf club or something to help us balance. Yet we still do it, and if you look at the different planes you would say that this movement is in the sagittal plane. You would be right with, yet the other two planes of motion are also in play. The musculature of the legs, core and even upper body are battling to keep you moving in a straight line. The muscles that help you rotate in the transverse plane( core, and hip muscles) are actually stabilizing your knee and upper body so that it does not rotate, the same goes for the muscles that move you in the frontal plane( hip muscles, abductors), that are stabilizing you so that you do not tip over and fall.  So why do we still only train in the sagittal plane?
                The only reason that I can think of is lack of exposure and/or relevant information.  Which is the reason for this post, and even if people know about the different planes, they might not understand the importance of training in them. Two main reasons that I can think of are; to prevent injury, and to improve performance/ active life style.
                Weather you are trying to stay healthy for sports or to do some gardening, you need to prevent injury to continue to do what you enjoy. Training in different planes will allow your muscles to gain; strength, endurance, and be recruited when they are needed.  When doing a movement we would hope that all muscles that can help will, which is not always the case. When that happens injury is sure to follow.  View the clip bellow to see a great multi-planar exercise.
                Once your body is able to move in the different plans of motion it can actually produce force and give you  higher performance. Now who does not want more muscles doing their job. So look up more ways to train in different planes of motion and you will prevent injury and perform better.

Monday, September 1, 2014

#8 Peanut butter ( all- natural, sugar-free)

Superpowers: boosts testosterone, builds muscle, burns fat
Secret weapons:  protein, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, niacin, magnesium
Fights against: obesity, muscle loss, wrinkles, cardiovascular disease
Sidekicks: cashew and almond butter
Imposters: mass-produced sugary and trans-fatty peanut butters.

Just incase the 12 power foods sliped 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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#7 Turkey and other Lean Meats ( lean steak, Chicken, fish)

Superpowers:  builds muscle, improves the immune system
Secret weapons:  protein, iron, zinc, creatine (beef, Omega-3 fatty acids (fish), vitamins b6 and b 12, phosphorus, potassium
Fights against: obesity, various disease
Sidekicks: shellfish, Canadian bacon
Imposters: sausage, bacon, cured meats, ham, fatty cuts of steaks like t-bone and rib-eye

Just incase the 12 power foods sliped 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

Saturday, August 16, 2014

# 6 Eggs

Superpowers: builds muscle, burns fat.
Secret weapons:  protein, vitamin b 12, vitamin A
Fights against:  Obesity
Sidekicks: None
Imposters: None

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Creatine ?

Creatine has been used as a legal supplement with the purpose of increasing; muscular power, strength, helping with cardiac therapy, and muscular size. There has been a grey area in the understanding of whether claims made by supplement companies are true or if they are scientifically based. One of the main concerns with any supplement is whether it is safe. Many scientific experiments have been performed and have stated the side effects of creatine, however, we must also understand that side effects can be viewed as positive or negative. Some side effects we will look into are increases in total body mass, fat-free mass, and skeletal-muscle mass, as well as muscle cramps, gastrointestinal complains, and liver dysfunction.
            Let’s take a look at some of the positive side effects that creatine has been shown to have.  According to (Francaux, M., & Poortmans, J. R. (2006), the response of creatine on total body mass as been shown to be the same whether the subject was active, an athlete, or one living a non active lifestyle. They also suggest that the response to supplementation was not reliant on a work-out routine, however, the effects would be more substantial with one set in place. Another positive effect would be that of fat-free mass and skeletal-muscle mass which has been seen to have a 12% increase in muscle volume with creatine supplementation. (2). We have also viewed 17% increase in muscle-fiber area(2).
            Now looking at some of the negative side effects that creatine has been shown to produce, such as muscle cramps, gastrointestinal complains, and liver dysfunction.  (Francaux, M., & Poortmans, J. R. (2006) In regards to muscle cramps, cramping can be effected by lack of adequate hydration and the intensity of activities being performed, and not creatine its self.  As for gastrointestinal complains, research has stated that some discomfort can come from supplementation, yet most coming from not mixing the supplement correctly.(2). However some studies have shown that abuse of the supplement can cause gastrointestinal issues, (Ostojic, S. M., & Ahmetovic, Z. (2008). If creatine is taken in the correct amounts and directions are followed, issues can be diminished, yet if taken excessively, diarrhea can become an issue. Finally, concerning liver dysfunction, there is no data that supports any claims that have been made in regards to oral supplementation of creatine and liver dysfunction in healthy individuals. (2). It has also been suggested that creatine supplementation does not affect liver function in highly trained football players.(3)

             The research indicates that creatine paired with a resistance training regiment can improve; agility, body weight and muscular power output (1). Which indicates that sports such football, soccer and baseball would benifit. However it has been shown that short-term use does not have the same effects as if supplementation was on a regiment of seven days and grater(5). Other activates that might benefit would be sprinting and other anaerobic activities. Also creatine has been shown to alleviate cardiac diseases, which in turn can benefit individuals that are interested in the physical activities stated. .(7)
            We must also take into consideration that there might be some physical activities that can be hindered with creatine supplementation. The increase of muscular mass and size across different joint can cause loss of range in that joint (6).  Activates that demand a greater range of motion such as, gymnastics, ballet, and cheerleading can be adversely effected by creatine. Whether an athlete or an individual that wants to be active, having an adequate joint range of motion is critical. The choice will ultimately come down to the athlete, which would have to weigh the positive and negative effects of supplementing with creatine .

         Take aways
        Creatine is a safe supplement for healthy individuals which have been seen by a medical professional and deemed healthy. The main things to understand is that research still has to be done and that if creatine is taken you must follow directions correctly and consistently.


1)    Arazi, H., Rahmaninia, F., Hoseini, K., & Asadi, A. (2011). EFFECTS OF THREE, FIVE AND SEVEN DAYS OF CREATINE LOADING ON MUSCLE VOLUME AND FUNCTIONAL PERFORMANCE. Serbian Journal Of Sports Sciences, 5(3), 99-105

2)    Francaux, M., & Poortmans, J. R. (2006). Side Effects of Creatine Supplementation in Athletes. International Journal Of Sports Physiology & Performance, 1(4), 311-323

3)      Mayhew, D. L., Mayhew, J. L., & Ware, J. S. (2002). Effects of long-term creatine supplementation on liver and kidney functions in American college football players. / Effets a lon terme de la prise de creatine sur le foie et les fonctions renales de footballeurs americains. International Journal Of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, 12(4), 453-460.
4)    Ostojic, S. M., & Ahmetovic, Z. (2008). Gastrointestinal Distress After Creatine Supplementation in Athletes: Are Side Effects Dose Dependent?. Research In Sports Medicine, 16(1), 15-22.

5)    Rosene, J., Matthews, T., Ryan, C., Belmore, K., Bergsten, A., Blaisdell, J., & ... Wilson, E. (2009). Short and longer-term effects of creatine supplementation on exercise induced muscle damage. Journal Of Sports Science & Medicine, 8(1), 89-96.

6)      Sculthorpe, N., Grace, F., Jones, P., & Fletcher, I. (2010). The effect of short-term creatine loading on active range of movement. Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism, 35(4), 507-511.
7)    Webster, I., Huisamen, B., & Du Toit, E. F. (2011). Creatine and Exercise -- Strong Evidence for Stronger Heart Muscle?. Journal Of Exercise Physiology Online, 14(5), 85-108

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Light Weight High Reps To Not Gain Size?

This has been one of the most misunderstood concepts in training. Many ( more gals than guys) think that lifting light weights for higher reps is the key to not gain size. This is completely opposite from what the science has found, if you open most strength and conditioning or exercise science text you will see that they touch on the subject of muscle growth also called hypertrophy. They all say that to add size, the muscle needed to be torn, those slight tears in the muscle will cause growth. The way that you get that growth is "time under tension" which means how long the muscle is being worked. There are 2 ways to get this tension:

1. Tempo- this has to do with the rhythm that you lift or lower a set weight. There are 3 muscle actions, concentric (shortening of muscle) , isometric (stabilization of muscle)  and eccentric (lengthening of muscle). Remember that grown comes from tearing the muscle, the eccentric or lengthening of the muscle is were the highest levels of muscle tearing happens. Which means if you extend the time that you lengthen a muscle the more growth you can see in time. For example, when performing a curl, try lifting the weight for a 2 count and than lowering it for a 8-10 count, for about 10 reps and you will see what I mean.

2. Volume- adding volume or changing the sets and reps in your workout is another way to get time under tension. This is were the statement that many believe about doing light weight for low reps gets debunked. The more volume your muscles are under the more tears will develop, which inherently will cause your body to adapt by adding muscle, which is size!!