Archive for May, 2009

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By David Westerman LMT, FAFS  

Are  we  utilizing  “authentic”  principles  of  Function  when  designing  our  strength  and  

power programs?  

Is  there  a  special  population  that  might  be  missing  two  of  the  most  important  bio‐ 

motor abilities in their training and rehabilitation programs?  

As  a  former  collegiate  and  professional  strength  and  conditioning  coach,  strength  

and power were (and are) the two most emphasized bio‐motor abilities.   

Take,  for  example,  the  “power  clean”  in  an  athletic  weight  room.  This  is  one  of  the  

most  utilized  exercises  in  “power”  training.  The  typical  strategy  is  to  put  as  much  

weight  on  the  bar  and  successfully  lift  it  one  to  four  times.  Let’s  see  if  we  can  use  

part  of  our  litmus  test  of  “authentic”  strength  and  power  principles  to  better  

understand its carryover to three‐dimensional Function.  

  Is  it  three­dimensional? 

  The  power  clean  is  a  sagittal  plane‐dominate  

movement.  Most  activities  require  three‐dimensional  movement  in  all  

muscles and joints. 

  Is  it  specific  to  activity?  

Considering  most  sports  and  activities  have  a  

horizontal component to load, the power clean is mostly a vertical load.  

  What  is  the  neural  input  and  range  involved?  

If  the  weight  is  too  heavy  

and  we  go  through  long  ranges,  we  may  actually  slow  down  the  neural  input  

which will inhibit our power and strength transfer to activity.  

  Are  we  taking  advantage  of  the  Transformation  Zone?  

The  fact  that  

most  of  our  power  is  utilized  at  the  zone  in  which  a  direction  is  reversed  in  a  

motion needs to be considered (i.e. – plyometrics).  

Above  are  a  few  key  questions  that  we  can  use  for  any  population  or  exercise  we  

choose to work with.     

Typically  we  associate  strength  and  power  with  athletes.    However,  the  population  

that  may  need  it  the  most  is  our  senior  population.  With  the  baby‐boom  explosion,  

more  and  more  of  this  growing  population  are  getting  injured  and  becoming  more  

sedentary.  Consider  the  following  scenario  and  proposed  training  /  treatment  

approach:  

Scenario:  

A  75‐year‐old  woman  has  balance  problems  when  walking.  

Through  functional  assessments,  the  practitioner  finds  abdominal  muscles  

are  weak  and  significantly  lack  the  ability  to  move  in  all  three  planes  of  

motion.  

Potential  strategy 

:  Position  client  in  a  small  stride  position  with  the  left  leg  

forward  in  front  of  a  wall  for  support  and  as  a  target.  To  create  a  load  in  the 

abdominals  we  want  to  reach  with  the  left  shoulder  posterior  (backward)  at  

shoulder  (height)  towards  the  wall  in  a  short  range  of  motion  at  a  moderate  

to fast speed.  

Rationale: 

  This  facilitates  tri‐plane  loading  of  the  abdominals  in  the  

Transformational  Zone  of  walking  with  an  exercise  that  replicates  the  

activity,  while  creating  more  power  that  will  transform  into  better  strength       

of the entire kinetic chain by using a short (safe) range and increased speed.     

Whether  you  seek  strength  or  power,  our  strategies  and  exercises  need  to  be  based  

on “authentic” principles of Function. 

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and be functional)

Chris

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By Sylvia Anderson, AHJ Editor — Published: May 28, 2009

Picture this: You have finally committed to an exercise program, you are running down the sidewalk or around the track, you are “feeling the burn,” and you are feeling great. Suddenly, you aren’t feeling that great anymore, your leg muscles start to burn a little too much, you try to keep going, but can’t. It hurts. If you have ever exercised vigorously, you know about the burning sensation that occurs in your muscles. But do you know why this happens? Keep reading to find out why your muscles begin to burn and what you can do about it!

Your muscles begin to “burn” when lactic acid is released from your muscle cells. This lactic acid is released as fuel in order to replenish the supply of energy that has been used up by your muscles during the workout. There are differing points of view on whether or not this lactic acid actually causes the burn or, coincidentally, just happens to accumulate at the same time the burning sensations start.

No matter the cause, this burning sensation is very uncomfortable and will hamper your athletic performance. Whether you are a professional athlete or play sports for fun, lactic acid buildup can literally cramp your style. The sensations caused by lactic acid buildup are extremely uncomfortable and can result in the feeling that you simply can’t take even one more step or swim even one more stroke. However, there is a solution to this.

Betaine anhydrous is a supplement often taken by athletes who are hoping to avoid the pain of lactic acid buildup. If used correctly, betaine anhydrous has proven to be quite effective. It is known to reduce lactic acid levels and may allow you to work out longer and harder, while simultaneously reducing the associated discomfort.

Many athletes take supplemental betaine anhydrous in order to reduce the lactic acid buildup that is present after vigorous exercise. There is disagreement between many experts on whether or not this lactic acid buildup affects the muscles over a span of time, but betaine anhydrous continues to be a popular preventative measure.

Another great benefit of supplementing with betaine anhydrous is that it can lead to larger muscle mass. This may benefit the professional bodybuilder down to the average person looking to get toned. Studies have also suggested that betaine anhydrous may help fat tissue become less dense, making it easier to shed.

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Betaine anhydrous is considered to be an extremely safe supplement that can be taken indefinitely with no known side effects. Betaine anhydrous may have other benefits that include improved heart and general vascular health.

While there are no miracle cures guaranteeing complete freedom from muscle soreness, there is evidence that betaine anhydrous can at least mitigate these problems. Betaine anhydrous is considered to be a safe supplement with a good track record – use it to improve your track record!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

Heavy squats are numero uno for helping your entire body gain muscle at warp speed as well as a great way to skyrocket your fat loss around the clock and speed up your metabolism.

Heavy leg work causes a surge in the release of your growth hormones like no other exercise can. The heavy weights sitting on your back tax the entire body intensely. Your legs and entire back side support the load unlike any other exercise.

You can squat with high reps or low reps, heavy weight or light weight. You can squat with various tools in various positions. A barbell or a heavy sandbag on your back is awesome for building muscle. 
 

Muscle being added to your quads, hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats and lower back cover a large area of your body. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism revs, even when you are NOT training, helping you burn more calories around the clock compared to a weak, skinny individual (or fat and weak individual).

I have performed heavy barbell squats for heavy singles or up to 5 reps, I have also performed high rep back squats up to 50 reps! Talk about brutal!

Try throwing a sandbag on your back, walk 10 yards and squat 2 reps, repeat until you can no longer walk or until you squatted 20 reps.

This workout is not for sissies, only the strong and mentally tough will survive.

Try squats for heavy sets of 3, or several sets of 10, or 1 gut busting set of 20 – 30 reps. The high rep squats will leave you exhausted and wiped out on the floor for a good 10 minutes afterwards. 

The question is, how badly do you want to pack on rugged muscle and transform yourself into a ripped and rugged beast?

Great Info from Zach Even – esh

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

Catherine Lewis, AHJ Editor — Published: May 11, 2009

Probiotics seem to be all the rage these days, and for good reason! They have a number of potential health benefits, including improving digestive health and possibly preventing colon cancer. And now there’s one more reason to introduce probiotics to your diet: a recent study showed that a diet combining soy and probiotics significantly reduced harmful lipids. Keep reading for more information on the increasing powers of probiotics.

Probiotics have once again proven their benefits as a health supplement. In a study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a diet that combined soy and a probiotic supplement significantly reduced harmful lipids in the system.  

Why Probiotics?
When it comes to maintaining good health, probiotics are the ideal choice. These healthy bacteria have a number of potential benefits, including managing inflammatory bowel disease, lowering cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. They are also effective in the prevention of colon cancer, although studies are still being performed regarding this potential.

Your immune system controls good health. And, taking a dietary supplement of probiotics is one of the ways that you can support your immune system. According to the European study, when combined with soy products, probiotics have a positive effect on body cells and they help to promote a positive response from your body. They increase the proportion of lymphocytes in your body as well as the natural fighting cells that ward off disease.  

Though probiotics are often recommended and used successfully for those who are fighting diseases of the digestive tract, the health benefits of these supplements are proving to be beneficial in many other areas of health. Studies performed in the United States, Asia and Europe all confirm that there are significant health benefits to taking probiotics when it comes to the digestive tract. But these new studies have many doctors recommending the use of this supplement when fighting high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol.

Probiotics and Lipids
When it comes to harmful lipids, probiotics have already been linked with lowering cholesterol when taken alone. The new study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that the effect is even greater when combined with soy products. This can show promise for those who struggle with high cholesterol and want to take a natural product to lower their lipids, rather than a medication that may have adverse side effects on the digestive tract and the liver.  

Because probiotics and soy are natural products, they are considered by many to be safer than medications for high cholesterol. For many years, Lipitor was the gold standard of treating this condition. However, as the dangers of Lipitor and other cholesterol drugs are becoming more apparent, science is looking for alternates. Medical science may very well have a breakthrough in treating high cholesterol in a natural way with probiotics combined with soy.  

If you’re suffering from high cholesterol, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider to see if probiotics are an option for you.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

           bizarro

By Sean Barker,  Author of The Dad Fitness System

The idea of these workout tips came to me while watching one of the classic episodes of Seinfeld, “The Bizarro Jerry” episode. The concept behind this episode was of having a world made up of everyone’s total opposite, which is based on the Bizarro World stories featured in the Superman comic books. The Bizarro versions of Jerry, George, Kramer and Newman were called Kevin, Gene, Feldman and Vargas. So if you are not getting results from your workouts, maybe it’s time you do the opposite of what you see most people doing in the gym.

A lot of regular gym goers continue to look the same year after year despite how often they make an appearance and I am sure you don’t want to look like “most” people, as over 60% of people today are obese. For the first time, the number of overweight individuals around the world rivals the number who are underweight. In fact a new word – “globesity” has now been coined to reflect the escalation of global obesity and the overweight!

Remember, Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Think about this quote for a second and ask yourself, does this quote apply to the way I workout? If so, it’s time to stop being a workout slave to your old school workout routines and time to break away from the crowd by doing the opposite of what they are doing. The results just might surprise you.

1. Quality, not Quantity  Don’t fall for the cardio confusion where you think the more time you punch on a cardio machine the more fat you burn. You don’t need to spend hours working out everyday to get those rock hard abs or bulging biceps. The key to effective workouts is intensity. With shorter weight training and interval cardio workouts you spend less time working and more time burning fat. High intensity workouts elevate your metabolism up to 36 hours after your workout.

2.  Mirror Muscles  Most guys love training the muscles they can see in the mirror like their chest and biceps. But 50% of your muscles are on the back of your body. Muscles of your upper and lower back, hamstrings and even your triceps on the back of your arm are often neglected in favor of pumping up those mirror muscles. This contributes to overuse and imbalances in the shoulders and spine making you more susceptible to shoulder and back injuries. Do more pulling than pushing when you are in the gym and you will really be glad with what you see in the mirror.

3. Bet on Low   Betting on high might be the smart choice in a game of poker, but for better workouts, go low. Instead of following the classic “3 sets of 10 reps” routine, go bizarro and do the opposite with “10 sets of 3”. This will allow you to focus on the performance and quality of your repetitions instead of fatiguing your muscles with higher reps. Most people train to improve appearance; you should train to improve performance and your appearance will improve as a result.

4. Step Away From the Machine   You don’t need to workout on expensive equipment that isolates small muscles and put your body in unnatural positions all while you sit down. When you perform an exercise using machines you force your body to follow the range of motion dictated by the machine, when it should be the other way around allowing your body to control your range of motion. Besides some cable movements. which are actually closer to free weight movements than machines, stick with barbells, dumbbells and bodyweight exercises so you build functional muscles that you can use in the real world.

5. Be Flexible   I am still amazed at how many people still don’t pay proper attention to warming up before their workout and stretching at the end of their workout. If you want to have healthy joints and pain free flexibility, follow a proper warmup and cooldown. Get your body primed for training with dynamic movements like bodyweight squats and pushups, then help to lower your heart rate and relax your muscles with some stretches after your workout is over. This is not something that you can afford to ignore if you want a healthy body for many years to come. Follow these 5 tips in your next workout and if anyone asks you “what your doing?” tell them the opposite!

Some great yet simple advice!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris