Home Posts tagged "Rehab=Training"

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 7/11/12

Here's this week's list of recommended strength and conditioning reading:

Elite Training Mentorship - The most recent update includes quite a bit of content from me, including two exercise demonstrations, an article, as well as two staff in-services: "Scapular Positioning During Table Arm Care Exercises" and "Understanding and Coaching the Anterior Core." If you haven't checked out Elite Training Mentorship yet, I'd strongly encourage you to give it a shot.

Rehab = Training, Training = Rehab: Top 10 Takeaways: Part 1 and Part 2- This was a two-part post I wrote about 20 months ago as a review of Charlie Weingroff's outstanding DVD set. I'd highly recommend the resource, but even if you don't pick it up, you'll walk away with some valuable tips from these two articles.

By the Coach for the Coach: 10 Things I Learned During the 2011-2012 School Year - I loved this post from my buddy Todd Hamer. Todd, the head strength and conditioning coach at Robert Morris University, is one of the best college strength and conditioning coaches I know. He's a tremendous motivator and has loads of experience in the trenches, even if he doesn't have a big internet name. Up-and-coming coaches need to read stuff like this as often as possible!

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Bracing in a Strength Training Program: When to Turn Up the Volume

Today, we've got a guest blog from Jim "Smitty" Smith. I was speaking with Mike Robertson the other day about life and we started talking about our next career moves.  He was contemplating a run with Chippendales after his idol, Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees, made a comeback. And I was telling him about my idea to get on the Deadliest Catch show and live my dream of being a fisherman.  Both ideas were great and we are continuing to take steps forward to achieve our dreams — a little bit every day. After that 3 hour discussion, we started talking about bracing. Just Like the Volume Dial I was telling Mike how I was going through Charlie Weingroff’s Training=Rehab | Rehab=Training and I had some questions about how he defines or explains bracing.  I, of course, understand bracing as a whole and teach it for our max efforts and loaded means, but Charlie introduced me to the idea of the importance of the "inner core".  That is what I wanted to discuss with Mike.  Charlie stated that the inner core must fire first, neurologically, to setup up the foundation for the more intense loading or more sophisticated movements — this is when the "outer core" should kick in.

Mike told me to imagine the volume dial on your stereo. He asked me on the volume scale, where would planks come in?  I stated "1", and smiled like I just stole something.  He then asked, "Where would the dial be for max efforts squats?"  I was catching on and said "10"!  Duh WINNING!

But Charlie and Mike threw up a caution flag. If we brace at "10" all the time (force and brace our abdomen outward, anterior and laterally to create tension or irradiation to buttress shear and stabilize the torso) , it could "shut down" the inner core and leave us susceptible to injury.  This is especially true if the establishment of bracing is not preceded by diaphragmatic breathing.  The long term inhibition of diaphragmatic breathing can affect a whole host of things like pelvic alignment => which can inhibit and shorten certain muscles groups (lower cross and upper cross syndromes) => create kyphosis and lordosis and much more.  The ramifications will be seen up and down the kinetic chain. Turning Up the Intensity There is a time for "breathing over the brace" at the lower intensities and there is a time for serious tension — take max effort strength exercises.  If you look in most commercial gyms today, you might think talking on the cell phone or getting a drink at the water fountain is a max effort lift, especially with all of the cinched up velcro belts popping off.  In reality, we’re talking about heavy compound movements performed with loads upwards of 80% + 1RM.  These components of your strength training program require serious intramuscular and intermuscular coordination and full body engagement to remain injury free, stable and strong throughout the full execution of the lift.  Also many times you’ll see novice, and sometimes experienced, lifters start the movement with a good brace, but lose it during the decent or accent.  It is definitely a skill to keep "the brace" the whole time you are under load.  Verbal and physical cues can be used to drill this technique.  Training with an injury or other compensations will also directly impact your ability to keep the brace throughout.

Bracing for Max Attempts

If you talk to any elite powerlifter, bracing for max efforts involves not only keeping the tension (sequenced isometric contractions on the primary / synergistic / antagonistic muscle groups) but also holding your air.  The air is taken (breathing through the belly) and held, and the abdominals are pressed outward forcibly.  If you are pressing out against a stationary object (i.e. the belt) it will further secure the brace and improve torso rigidity.  This is volume level "10".  As you can see this is much different than the bracing required for a plank.  Also remember, heavy bracing is not limited to just max effort attempts.  Any high intensity movements could require sequenced bracing, if only for an instant. The Ah-Ha Stuff During simple, basic movements we should drill and become proficient at simply creating tension (bracing level "1") across the entire kinetic chain and "breathing over the brace" (Weingroff) through active diaphragmatic breathing.  This will help to engage intra-abdominal pressure and lay the foundation for all of our movements.  And as we progress, more intense bracing can allow for heavier loads and more powerful movements to be introduced safely. It was very enlightening for me to understand how breathing incorrectly could have just as much of an impact on posture, strength and performance as injuries, immobility, instability, high volume | short ROM movements or even too much load with poorly performed exercises. All this talk of volume has got me reaching for my glow sticks.  Off to battle with Tony Gentilcore! Jim Smith "Smitty" is the head strength and conditioning coach at Diesel Strength and Conditioning in Elmira, NY.  Smitty has been called "one of the most innovative coaches in the industry" and has written for most major national fitness publications. He is also a featured writer for LIVESTRONG.com and on the EliteFTS Q/A staff.  Check out some killer FREE gifts and his site at dieselsc.com. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a deadlift technique tutorial!
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Weight Training Programs: Product Reviews

As you probably know, when I come across high-quality products that I really enjoy that I think will be a good fit for my audience, I am thrilled to be able to write up thorough reviews for you.  This way, it not only gives some love to these products’ deserving creators (and learn myself!), but also gives you more background to make sure that it’s a good fit for you if you opt to purchase it. To that end, I wanted to use today's post to highlight the top seven products I reviewed in 2010.  Considering that I receive literally dozens of products in the mail each year to review (I still have a stack left to cover), these represent not just the cream of the crop, but the ones where I actually had the time and inclination to write something up.  Check them out by category: For the Fitness Professionals: Muscle Imbalances Revealed - This set of six webinars can be viewed conveniently from the comforts of your own home.  No travel or shipping charges to ruin your day!  Check out my review Product Review: Muscle Imbalances Revealed.

The Single-Leg Solution - Mike Robertson is a great friend of mine - but that's not the only reason I liked this product.  It was very thorough, well-researched and written, and offered some excellent coaching cues that any fitness professional would be wise to study up on.  My review is The Single-leg Solution: Detailed Product Review.

Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab - This long-awaited debut product from Charlie Weingroff was just released in the last few weeks, and it certainly didn't disappoint.  Even if you don't pick up a copy, you'll learn quite a bit from my two-part review: Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab: Top 10 Takeaways - Part 1 and Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab, Top 10 Takeaways - Part 2.

Movement - I just realized that I never got around to writing up a review of this great book from Gray Cook, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't an excellent read.  I HIGHLY recommend it.

For the Fat Loss Enthusiasts (then again, can you really be enthusiastic about having to lose fat?): Body of Fire - This fat loss resource from Chad Waterbury was great for the masses - especially if you only have minimal equipment at your fingertips.  I loved the focus on movement rather than just crazy high volume training.  Check out my interview with him: Waterbury on Why Most Fat Loss Plans Fail Miserably - and a Better Approach.

Final Phase Fat Loss - John Romaniello's first product is a great fit for those trying to lose those stubborn last few pounds of body fat, especially if they are masochists who enjoy a very challenging program!  For more information, check out Final Phase Fat Loss: An Interview with John Romaniello.

For the Athletes: The Truth About Quickness - I'm a big fan of Kelly Baggett, and he collaborated with Alex Maroko to create an excellent resource for up-and-coming athletes.  I gave Kelly the spotlight with three pieces: How to Get Quick...Quickly: An Interview with Kelly Baggett, and The 5 Most Common Speed, Quickness, and Explosiveness Problems in Athletes Part 1 and Part 2.

That wraps it up for the best of 2010 product reviews; hopefully you can reward yourself with some late holiday shopping by picking up one or more of these items; you won't regret it.  I'll be back tomorrow with the best videos of 2010.

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Review of Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab: Top 10 Takeaways – Part 2

Today, we've got a follow-up of my blog from late last week, Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab: Top 10 Takeaways - Part 1.  This mini-series highlights some of the key takeaways from Charlie Weingroff's great new DVD set, which is on sale at an introductory price through midnight tonight only.  We pick up today with #6. 6. I’ve written a lot in the past about why a hip internal rotation deficit (HIRD) is a huge problem in both athletes and the general population.  Weingroff raises an interesting point in discussing the “Hip Internal Rotation Paradox” that I’d never really considered – probably because nowadays, I really don’t train as many female athletes where we see valgus-initiated knee and lower leg injuries.  In this population, we see lower extremity pathologies largely because a lot of females can’t control femoral/tibial internal rotation and pronation at the subtalar joint (left side in the photo below).

The casual observer to kinesiology might say that a good way to prevent these injuries would be to make sure that athletes have insufficient internal rotation and pronation; if you can’t hit a dangerous end-range, then you can’t tear anything nearly as easily.  Hooray for HIRD then, right?  Wrong. The problem with this thought process, though, is that it doesn’t appreciate that the hip DOES need full internal rotation for proprioception.  As Charlie puts it, the hip “needs to know it to prevent it.”  If we don’t have adequate proprioception, we can’t get the hip external rotators to turn on to prevent it from becoming excessive.  This is really true of all joints; we must have full mobility so that the mechanoreceptors can tell the brain that a joint can go from point A to point B.  Otherwise, we can’t stabilize naturally and reflexively. 7. Weingroff reaffirmed a great assertion that I remember Bill Hartman making a year or two ago: you only need stability in the presence of mobility.  In other words, “functional” mobility is not just about being capable of adequate stability in wild excursions of joint range of motion – unless that’s what your functional demands are.  In other words, a powerlifter, gymnast, and baseball pitcher would all have different “optimal mobility” schemes, and even within these populations, you’d see different needs for different folks based on body type and the specific activity in question. This also can influence our training programs.  While exactly simulating the sporting movement will only lead to overuse without enhancing functional mobility, working to improve stability in similar joint alignments and ranges of motion can still have a favorable carryover.  This came to mind the other day when Kansas City Royals prospect Tim Collins was doing some core work at the facility; you just have to consider the movement alongside his functional demands.

8. Charlie also cited some more up-to-date research that shows that problem with lateral knee pain is usually too much femoral internal rotation during closed chain movements (e.g., squatting, lunging), not too much lateral patellar tracking.  So, you think the hundreds of thousands of lateral release surgeries that have been performed in the last decade were a good idea?  A lot of people could have gotten their issues under control the right way by getting the hip under control – because the patella was already where it was supposed to be. 9. I liked the way that Weingroff broke corrective exercise down into three categories: isolated, integrated, and functional movement.

Isolated work might include manual therapy (massage or joint mobilizations) or stretching.  Essentially, this category consists of interventions where the client/patient has little to no active participation (foam rolling would technically be a mild exception, as the client has to actively reposition his/her body for this soft tissue work).  Effectively, these modalities get the ball rolling on undoing a dysfunction that won’t clear up with gross movement because the individual with the problem will simply go to the path of least resistance and feed into that dysfunction. Integrated work is aimed at tying this new mobility with the core – whether it’s with a more comprehensive mobility drill or stabilization exercise.  Many people can benefit from going directly to integrated work; examples include someone who has always trained on machines, or someone who sits at a desk all day; they simply need to move). Functional movement is the third piece of the puzzle and involves tying the upper and/or lower extremity to the core.  This is the fun stuff. 10. There is a difference between functional movement and functional exercise.  This might seem like wordplay, but in reality, it’s an important differentiation to make. Charlie cited the example of a baby going into lumbar flexion when squatting down.  It’s a range-of-motion that a child should have and utilize in normal development and day-to-day living.  That doesn’t, however, mean that it’s a good idea to put 405 on your back and squat through lumbar flexion. That wraps up my not-so-quick recap of Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab.  To be honest, I could have written another dozen blog posts just like this on all the other stuff – both “big picture” points and finer subtleties – that I picked up from Charlie’s presentation.  That, however, is best left to Charlie – which is why I’d strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of the DVD set yourself, especially since it is on sale at the introductory price ($50 off) through Monday 12/20 at midnight.  You won’t regret it: Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab

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Review of Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab: Top 10 Takeaways – Part 1

I wrote yesterday about how fantastic I think Charlie Weingroff's new DVD set, Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab is.  Now that it's on sale, I thought I'd use my next few posts to highlight the top ten key points he made that really stood out in my mind. Here are the first five. 1. I hear people saying all the time that they need to find a niche – and I’ve written in the past about how I found my own niche.  As Weingroff points out, we’re all working with the same platform and set of rules: how the body works.  A “niche” just comes about because we get good with working with those rules in specific populations to create a subspecialty.  I train baseball players using my unique methodology, but there are others out there getting results in this population with different modalities, too, because they're performed correctly and these folks keep the original set of rules in mind.  Likewise, there are folks with similar thought processes as mine - and they're getting results in populations outside of the baseball world. The take-home message on this point is that if you want to be a specialist in your niche, you need to understand general principles first.

2. We’re always trying to find the “link” between terrible movement and pathology/diagnosis – and Charlie offered a good perspective in light of the joint-by-joint theory of movement (a central piece of his two-day presentation).  When mobile joints become stable, we get degenerative changes (arthritis) and poor recovery.  When stable joints become mobile, we end up with dislocations, positional faults, muscle strains, and disc herniations.  Want to prevent or address these issues?  Work backward along this line of logic with your corrective exercise strategy. 3. Speaking of the joint-by-joint approach, Charlie offered the most comprehensive approach I’ve seen.  Traditionally, this approach has been discussed largely in the context of the sagittal plane only, but it definitely has frontal and transverse plane implications as well.  Weingroff also went into more detail on the neck and foot than I’ve seen – as you have alternating mobile/stable joints within these entities, too.

4. Typically, a joint in this school of thought will only really have two direct impacts: the joint above it and the one below it.  The hip might impact the knee or lumbar spine, for instance. The thoracic spine, however, has more far-reaching effects, though, and that’s likely why it’s such a crucial area of focus.  It affects four systems: the neck, ribs (respiration), scapula/clavicle, and the lumbar spine.  So, if you’re seeing a lot of “gross” dysfunction above the hips, it’s often the best place to start with your corrective exercise.

5. Charlie goes to some great lengths in defense of the vertical shin (tibia) as compared to the angled shin during various tasks, most notably squatting.  He raises an interesting question in asking whether it’s really a good thing for both the femur and tibia to move simultaneously during the angled shin squat – as it essentially works in contrast to the joint by joint theory of movement he proposes. Meanwhile, almost every day, we see folks whose knee pain disappears when we teach them to squat with a vertical shin – effectively letting the femur move as the tibia stays still.  The same goes for teaching folks to deadlift, do pull-throughs, or anything else that emphasizes “hips back” as opposed to “knees forward.”

Admittedly, Charlie says it much better than I do, though!  And, I should note that he emphasizes mastering the movement far more than simply loading it up - especially if we are talking about loading up a dysfunctional pattern (not a good idea). I'll be back with five more takeaways tomorrow, but in the meantime, check out Charlie Weingroff's Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab at the introductory price HERE. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter:
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Charlie Weingroff’s Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab: Far from Just “Another DVD”

As EricCressey.com has grown in popularity and my professional network has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, the amount of free stuff that’s mailed my way has become borderline absurd.  From $1,000+ fitness equipment, to books and DVDs, to gift cards, I’ve seen it all.  And, in a big chunk of those cases, I’ve seen items go right in the garbage – either because they were so wretched in theory and appearance that they didn’t deserve my time, or because I got nauseous only a few minutes into using/watching them. Usually, the problem is that some schmuck just wanted to make a quick buck and really didn’t care about the quality, accuracy, or utility of the product he/she created.  Or, that person was simply too flat-out unqualified to create anything of value.  Sad, but true. Every once in a while, though, a diamond in the rough arrives and I’m glued to it excitedly like a little kid on Christmas.  And, instead of a used car salesman pushing snake oil on me, it’s someone with some credibility, innovation, passion, and perspective – all of which can make me better at helping my athletes, clients, and readers. Last week, one such product arrived.  It was called “Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab” – and my “Santa Claus” was Charlie Weingroff.

This is no jolly old fat man, though.  In reality, he’s a super intelligent physical therapist and strength coach who has a knack for taking complex terms and relating them in understandable terms for up-and-coming fitness professionals.  Oh, and he’s strong as an ox – to the tune of an 800-pound squat, 510-pound bench press, and 605-pound deadlift. Beyond just the passion and knack for lifting heavy stuff, Charlie and I have conversed in the past about how similar our overall perspectives are with respect to the “blending” that takes place in the gray area between healthy training and physical therapy.  So, I can say without wavering that if you enjoy reading my stuff (and have liked products from Robertson, Hartman, and I), then Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab will be right up your alley, as I watched it straight through (first time I have done that with a DVD set in years). And, if you want a chance to get a feel for Charlie’s perspective, he’s offering a free webinar called “The Core Pendulum Theory” on Wednesday night at 6pm; click here for details.  The product will then “go live” at 7pm – right after the webinar is complete – at an introductory rate of $147 (through Monday night only). Introductions and product information aside, I asked Charlie what he thought the top eight general things were that one could take away from the DVD set, which lasts right about 12 hours – and these were his responses: 1.  The only difference between "Training" and "Rehab" is the clinician's skill set.  The goals are really all the same. 2.  If you don't know how to treat someone in pain, team up with someone who can. 3.  The Joint by Joint Theory tells you if the exercise has integrity. 4.  The Core Pendulum Theory tells you why some positions are okay to establish movement, but not okay for exercise. 5.  Creating Intra-Abdominal Pressure is the objective criterion for a "strong core." 6.  The Functional Movement Screen is a screen, not an assessment.  The Selective Functional Movement Assessment is not useful for someone without pain. 7.  The body does not react reliably in the presence of pain. 8.  Restoring mobility in the painful patient/client is the key to total body integrity. Again, these are all very general principles – but over the next few days, I’m going to bring to light some of the outstanding “impact” points that Charlie made in Rehab=Training, Training=Rehab.  For now, though, I’d encourage you to sign up for the free webinar HERE; you won’t be disappointed.
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