Monthly Archives: January 2017
The golf season is just around the corner. Weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. It’s important that you start preparing your body for the long season ahead. How should you do that? There are 3 things you can do to make sure you are going to be prepared for those long and hot summer rounds.
- Start strength training
- Frequency: 2-3 times per week.
- Work on strengthening all of the muscles used in the golf swing. Training only 2-3 days per week I would do a full body workout each day.
- Focus on form and muscle contractions, not weight.
- Stay on top of your cardio
- Frequency: 2-3 times per week.
- Types of Cardio: Walking, running, sprints, sled drags, prowler pushes
- Work on your mobility
- Frequency: Everyday
- It’s important you work on your mobility everyday. When warming up at the gym, sitting around at the house, before a round, after a round. Whenever, it doesn’t matter where you do it just make sure you do it!
Best part about working on your strength training, cardio, and mobility is that they can all be done in one place. So you really have no excuse! Get in the gym and start your season off right before you step on the tee box this year.
The exercise of the month for February is the deadlift. Deadlifting is an important element to any strength-training program whether you’re just starting out or following an advanced program. It’s a great full body exercise because it engages both the upper and lower body. In fact, it also shocks your nervous system and improves total body coordination. Furthermore, the deadlift is especially important for golfers of any level. Why you may ask? When performing a deadlift, you are using multiple joints and strengthening many of the muscles used in the golf swing. One of the major components involved in the deadlift is the ability to hinge your hips, which also plays a crucial role in golf. By strengthening the muscles involved in deadlifting you will be able to create more power in the golf swing. Here is a video of one of my athletes performing a deadlift from blocks:
Best part about deadlifting is that everyone can do them. So you have no excuse not try it this month!
There is no better time to live in than right now in 2017, right now in America. I’m not saying this because of some political, personal, or random bias. I’m simply saying this because never before have we been able to do the vast amount of incredible things we are able to do today in our lives either: A) cheaply B) without much effort C) that we couldn’t do even 5-10 years ago D) All of the above. 10 years ago we had dial up internet with maybe 1mbps of download speed. Now, just in case my ego isn’t good enough with the affordable, standard 100mbps, I can choose to pay for 1gbps, just because. In the early 2000s when you wanted to read a book, you probably went to your library and spent 20 minutes looking through a catalog to find where a book was located so you could check it out for two weeks. Now you can go onto Amazon and download a book in seconds to your phone. Speaking of, remember ten years ago all you could do was call and text on your phone and texting? The point is, never in history have we as a society had a better opportunity to improve not only our quality of life, but the quality of life of the people around us. The unfortunate reality, however, is that often these incredible outlets for technology lead us to live a more introverted and negative life. The best example of this, is in social media.
A lot of the activity today on social media is based upon habit, reaction, and cognitive conditioning. After numerous years of accessibility to Facebook on your phone and computer, you have no doubt built up habits in your brain that urge you to check your newsfeed, or open your instagram. I know each and every one of you has taken “two seconds” to check your email, and then all of a sudden come to the realization that you have somehow ended up on Facebook. Don’t act like you haven’t. The same kind of urge unfortunately has developed with negativity on social media. With all the things that we have to be happy about and enjoy and improve our lives technologically, never have there been so much bickering, name calling, and labeling of other people . Please find me one single post on Facebook aside from someone having a baby or getting married in the last 5 years that has a significant amount of comments and not one completely fruitless argument in it. These trends from the millions of users on these platforms dictate what kind of content is fed through the system by advertisers and companies. Why do ads and titles to articles or posts always over exaggerated with phrases like “the results will shock you,” “what happens next will stun you,” etc? Because society only wants to hear about conflict and looks to be angered, negative, and appalled instead of positive and inspired.
So instead of feeding into the negativity on social media, instead try to condition yourself to do something positive or good when you see something negative. It is insane to me how people will spend HOURS arguing over opinions with a person they don’t even know over the most random crap. The end result? Two people that feel enraged and will never see each other eye to eye both literally and figuratively. It’s a complete waste of all that spare time your technology gave you in the first place. So here’s a tip. Next time you feel the hook of social media to try and engage negatively in a post or comment in argument, don’t. Instead of wasting your time typing on a phone to be just another internet asshole, spend it where it can be used positively. Switch to a post or feed you just saw of a company or small business you value, rate them, and write a review. I guarantee you, this action will have a much higher impact on your life than setting some guy from God knows where straight. That 5 minutes will have a positive impact on a business that you care about by sharing your positive experience with others, you’ll also be reminded of the positive experiences associated with that business. Positivity and negativity have a way of snowballing on themselves. If you spend less time trying to find all the negative things about people and situations on social media, and instead focus on positives, chances are that’s going to carry over throughout your day. People who do nothing but look for negative things in others to bitch about rarely see anything through a positive sense in their own life.
So next time you feel the grasp of social media sucking you into the oblivion of negativity, fight your way out. Help a business out that you value by writing a review or at the very least take TWO SECONDS to rate them 5 stars. In fact, since there’s a good chance you are reading this on social media RIGHT NOW, you can start by rating or reviewing Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance and NBSFitness’s social media outlets. Stop writing 500 word essays that at best fall on deaf ears. Stop being part of the problem and actually use social media for good.
Don’t get me wrong: I have the most fun life there is. Everyday I get to wake up, train, and hang out with people who are extraordinarily committed to their goals. Along the way, I have the opportunity to make their efforts a bit easier. That can mean a lot of things: some days I get to organize events, some days I just make sure the fine patrons of NBS Fitness have toilet paper. While carrying out the day to day operations of the facility, there are some occurrences that I cannot figure out how to stop. While they aren’t quite day-ruining events, they are certainly small annoyances that I wish I could find a way to stop. I will be taking suggestions for punishments for the following offenses:
- Loaded Bars/Weights Left out: This happens to every gym so often that its nearly a cliché. While I certainly always knew that the fitness industry was an active gig, I’m always a little pissed when I am left cleaning up after grown adults. Perhaps the worst occurrence was in our previous facility. Someone had left a barbell loaded with 2 100lb plates in the squat rack. However, complicating the matter was that whoever left this barbell must have been 7 foot tall, as it was loaded WAY over my head. Suddenly, I found myself teetering on a padded bench, delicately balancing while pulling off plates that weighed more than 2/3 what I weigh. This was a struggle bus for me and could have easily been avoided by the giant human who committed this crime simply taking 10 seconds to strip down the barbell.
- Hulk Smashing the bathroom amenities: I came in this week and found, yet again, that someone had ripped the shower soap dispenser off the wall. The soap dispenser is a fairly easy push button, so I am not really sure how this keeps happening. I also find evidence nearly everyday that the ole double-roll toilet paper dispenser is a real stressful situation for people. Some days there are bits of paper everywhere where people have tried to prematurely activate the second roll of toilet paper, some days the active toilet paper roll has been spun a trillion times to an unusable wad.
- Obnoxious use of chalk: Look, I like chalk. I think its a great training aid. We have two chalk bowls and had several bricks of chalk ready so no one has to succumb to a training day without chalk. But let me make a few things clear: you are not Gene Simmons. If you are excessively using chalk for the sole purpose of creating a chalk cloud when you clap, you are a jerk. The chalk all has to land, and after this little theatrical display, it has to get cleaned up. Further, I see no reason in this world to take the chalk and color the entire bench pad white. I’m not sure why that has happened, but I have seen it on multiple occasions. Pro tip: if you use so much chalk that your entire head is white when you leave, you got out of hand.
Okay, more like embrace your inner metal head, more specifically embrace you inner Machine Head! Here’s my past weeks training log and what we’ve been doing on our heavy and medium days of training with the sweet sweet sound of Machine Head’s Beneath the Silt to serenade you while watching. Don’t be scared, embrace your inner demons and put up those devil horns. Everyone needs some face-melting metal from time to time. Check it out!
In my last article, I discussed the two different types of posture, S-Posture and C-Posture, and how important posture is to the game of golf. Recapping, posture is crucial in every shot you are attempting to hit. However, what part of the body plays the leading role in keeping our posture on point during the actual golf swing? If you guessed your elbows, you’re completely wrong. The answer you were looking for is the pelvis.
Why is the pelvis so important for golf performance? The pelvis plays an important role in keeping a neutral spine at address and throughout the swing. Pelvis movement is required in order to create an efficient swing for each golfer. The pelvis connects the upper body to the lower back providing stability and balance, which allows us to create more power with each swing. What does creating more power allow us to do? It allows us to hit the ball farther, which is something almost every golfer desires to do.
There are several muscle imbalances that can affect improper pelvic movement and positioning. The major causes are tight hamstrings, tight or overactive lower back muscles, tight hip flexors, weak or inactive core muscles and glutes. If you read my previous article on posture, you would recognize that all of these muscle imbalances are also problems when it comes to proper posture. However, the hips and glutes play a primary role in keeping proper and healthy pelvis movement. Tight hips cause a world of problems and injuries for golfers. Tight hips in many cases can result in knee pain, low back pain, foot problems and sciatic nerve pain. Many of these injuries can result in a golfer needing to take time off, if he or she is not careful or refuses to do anything to correct the issue. Weak glutes can also contribute to many of the same problems, as tight hips. However, weak glutes are also the cause of two major swing characteristics that golfers don’t want, early extension and loss of posture.
What is the best way to check the condition of your pelvis? If you’re looking for a test you can do at home, perform the pelvic tilt test. It’s very simple. Get in golf position and tilt your pelvis out and try to tilt your pelvis back underneath you. Here is an example:
If you have smooth movement in both directions with no pain or shake-n-bake, you’re in good shape. If you experience pain, especially in your lower back, or have little to no control, you have some work to do. I suggest you find a local TPI certified professional to help you figure out what is exactly going on. As you can see from everything I’ve talked about in this article, your pelvis plays a very crucial part in golf performance. So, make sure that your body is ready for everything golf throws at it, for every golfer knows you really have no idea what’s going to happen on the course.
Typically on my commute in the mornings to work, I listen to some sort of publication, podcast, or lecture on either business, sports, or politics. Specifically a few podcasts and publications are particularly applicable to either training, business, or both. I also like branching out a bit from the medical/chiropractic side of healthcare a bit as well, as I think it keeps me sane and constantly humbled by the wealth of information in different specialties of the health care sector that have a direct affect on conditions or people I deal with on a daily basis. One of my favorite podcasts is the Mind Side podcast with Dr. Bhrett McCabe, which deals with more psychology.
Dr. McCabe is a sports psychologist and former athlete who works more specifically with the mental struggles that athletes have to handle on a daily basis. Although I have dabbled into sports psych a small bit in my schooling, it is always interesting to me how big of an impact the brain has on any given situation. This particular podcast has to deal specifically your mind’s ability to affect your performance if you allow it to condition your thoughts. The podcast discusses that you, yourself can be your own worst enemy if you allow yourself to be consumed by negativity and mental barriers. This is definitely applicable in business as well as training, as the mind is crucial in how you approach a meeting, new patient, a max effort lift, etc. If you’ve got 20 minutes laying around, I definitely recommend checking it out: http://themindside.libsyn.com/rss
After a three week wave of Dynamic Effort (DE) lifting this week was called “DE” but it was to set a 5RM. I was prescribed to use wraps and I do fairly well when I am allowed to incorporate them into my training. I have never taken this weight for 5 before (the most was 2 res without wraps). The greatest part training was the reps were not all high, the weight moved fast, and I had more in me. This set was roughly equivalent to 700lbs for one rep in the amount of exertion I put forth with is a good sign since I had more in the tank for sure. We are roughly 2.3 months out from the meet!
Its been a while since I have updated my blog. In October, I got a little sick. This led me to take a little break from strongman/power-lifting out of necessity. It also led to a drastic change in training schedule for the pure sake of having reasonable energy levels when I needed them most in my professional life.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little lost at first. I just couldn’t recover appropriately from the heavy compound lifts and event work that I had grown accustomed to. Until this point, I had been training for various strongman events and nixing those from the training agenda left me with little familiar frame work. I tried everything I could think of to keep training how I was accustomed to training with very little success and massive frustration. When I had burned through all my options, the only course of action I could take was to temporarily focus on isolation/hypertrophy work.
The first couple of weeks were absolutely an adjustment. Even in the past, when I had used hypertrophy focused programs, there was still a huge focus on going balls to the wall and keeping squats/bench/deadlift/OHP in the program in some capacity. I also had the underlying fear that years worth of strength training would be flushed down the crapper….and then it hit me…
There’s more to work on then strength.
So I dug into everything I had left. I started focusing on the hypertrophy work I could do. I started addressing some imbalances I have ignored my entire athletic existence. As mentioned in a previous blog, I hired Justin Harris to oversee my diet and thus far, I have slowly dropped 16lbs. I invested in the assistance of Amp nutrition to cook/weigh/package/label the meals I eat when I am away from home throughout the week. I started making a point to do the little things: drink enough water, cut back on caffeine, eat myvegetables, and consume all my meals as prescribed. I set a bedtime and stuck to it for the most part.
As it would turn out, the structured training/nutritional efforts bled into my actual life. I started being a bit more focused at work when possible. My time management went from reactive to proactive. I started setting time capsto focused work, and would get up and move around at different time periods as opposed to “when the urge strikes.” I worked to get all my computer/administrative work done for the day by the time it was time to go home, so I could spend my at-home time building and furthering my personal relationships that I value. I stopped working on relationships that were pointless to free up energy for things that mattered.
In addition to these lifestyle steps, I was able to do a few things in the past few months that are obviously not going to be regular occurrences: I paid off a student loan, I moved into a pretty sweet house, and was able to help people who helped me when I was a young’n.
I cannot say that all of this happened because I was under the weather. But it did happen because I was suddenly forced to examine the fine aspects of my life and take personal responsibility. In the past two weeks, I have put compound movements back into my training..and they feel pretty good. I’m sure there is some re-familiarizing that will have to take place, but I am in the best gym I know of to do exactly that.
Perhaps what felt like a setback was a blessing in disguise. We shall see.
Just because something is hard doesn’t mean that it is good
There is something instinctual in humans that makes them transfixed by something new and different. If ever there was a place where this was true it would be in the world of fitness. People are constantly looking for the next “secret”. Secret supplement, secret diet, secret exercise, the list goes on and on. The biggest lie in all of that is the idea that there is “one” thing that can have that big of an impact. The truth is that all things have all the impacts, meaning that whatever results you get will be the accumulation of lots of different decision you make along the way. I am surprised by how many people I see creating new exercises. It’s usually someone with less than a decade of training trying to turn every machine in the gym into a bicep exercise. It’s because of a false belief that there is some “new” exercise that hasn’t been created yet that will really have an impact on their performance or physique. Most people would be better served by getting as much as they can out of a handful of exercises before moving on to the next handful. If you’ve been training for 20+ years, sure you may need to pull some new tricks out of the bag but if you’re relatively young in the game and have a list of bicep exercises a mile long, what cards are you gonna play 10 years from now?
The other big mistake I see people make when creating exercises is making things hard just for the sake of making them hard. Typically we would call these “stupid human tricks”. These are things like back squatting on a physio ball or doing handstand pushups on 10 dumbbells stacked on top of each other. Now, I get it they’re fun to watch and they will definitely get you lots of likes on social media, but are they really something you should be doing? I like to look at exercises as a risk to benefit ratio. The benefit being different for each individual’s goals (I’m not going to list gaining social media likes as a benefit). Let’s take the back squatting on a physio ball for an example.
- Is there a strength benefit? No, the lack of stability will significantly limit the total force output.
- Is there a hypertrophy benefit? No, the major muscle groups will not be stimulated in a sufficient fashion due to the lack of load being used due to the lack of stability.
- Is there an endurance benefit? No because stability is the limiting factor not the energy system’s ability to continue to produce ATP in sufficient amounts.
- Is there a power/speed benefit? No, again force production is limited by the unstable surface.
- Is there a coordination benefit? Yes, but unfortunately coordination is movement specific and that exercise doesn’t mimic anything else so the only benefit would be making you better at squatting on unstable surfaces.
- What is the risk comment? Very high! The exercise has a high potential for injury.
Looking at all that we see that there is no real benefit to the exercise and a high risk of injury. Therefore it gets tossed in the trash can as a waste of time. Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean that it’s good. You have limited time and limited resources when it comes to your training. Use them intelligently.
I’ve been slacking on some of my website stuff lately, and now I’m back with a vengeance! I’m going to try to keep up with my training log and keep all of you posted with weekly updated videos. I’m going to try my hand with some videoing skills to keep things interesting, while slapping on some face melting metal music to go along with it because let’s admit it, who doesn’t love metal music? Okay, I confess I do know plenty of strong people that aren’t that into crushing guitar riffs, and double bass drums and that’s okay. As I once heard our owner David Allen say, “you can’t get distracted by happiness.” So let’s let the anger pulse through our veins while we SFW to some heavy tunes! Here are some training highlights from my recent training in preparation for our upcoming king and queen of spring powerlifting meet. I hope you like Lamb of God because they’re will be much to come!
One of the questions I’m asked on a regular basis from someone new to CrossFit, or someone considering CrossFit is, “how many times per week should I come?”.
If you are new to CrossFit and your body is trying to adapt to the new movements you are learning, then 2-3 times per week is good for the first 3-4 weeks. After that, you need to be in the gym 4+ times per week, and here’s why.
From a beginners standpoint, you are often very sore when starting CF and it takes a few weeks for your muscles to adapt to the new stresses. Coming consistently will aid greatly in your body adapting to the work. If you skip a week, your body has to basically start over. Also, there is a huge learning curve to CrossFit. There are (at minimum) 50 movements you will be learning and performing on a regular basis. While many of them will have the same foundational set up, the execution may be different, for example, if today’s workout calls for shoulder to overhead, that means you can use any overhead pressing movement you’ve learned to move the barbell in the overhead position. It is important for you to be familiar with all OH movements so you will be able to use the best method to complete the workout. If you’re not coming regularly, you will feel lost during a similar workout.
Another reason to get to the gym more often is for adaptation. Adaptation refers to the process of the body getting accustomed to a particular exercise or training program through repeated exposure. As the body adapts to the stress of the new exercise or training program, you become better at executing the movements. Now is when you will be able to increase your weights and intensity and you will really begin to see and feel the results of your work!
Think of it this way. Compare working out to eating well. If you eat one or two healthy meals per week, you’ll feel pretty good for a few hours after each meal and you’ll feel good about your accomplishment, but it really isn’t going to make a difference to your body overall. The same is true with your workouts, one or two workouts per week might make you feel good for the day but it really isn’t going to make a big difference to your overall fitness.
Now, having said that, if 2 workouts per week is all you can possibly fit in then that’s fine and certainly better than nothing! However, keep in mind that your progress will be slow and achieving the higher technical movements could be virtually impossible.
This is what my typical workout week looks like:
Monday, powerlifting workout.
Tuesday, CrossFit workout with skill work.
Wednesday, powerlifting workout.
Thursday, active recovery -1 hour of mobility (minimum) + cardio (typically 3 mile run)
Friday, powerlifting workout + CrossFit metcon
Saturdays typically alternate between powerlifting workout and CrossFit workout depending on what I have planned with my husband/family for the day.
Sunday – rest.
This may seem like a lot but over the last few months, my body has adapted to this type of training schedule. I get 7+ hours of sleep/night, my nutrition is spot on and I rarely drink alcohol. All of these things play an important role in my body’s recovery process.
For me, fitness is a lifestyle I have chosen and I will make all other things in my life fit around my lifestyle.
In my experience, people who struggle with making it to the gym more than once a week have not yet chosen fitness as their lifestyle. They try to fit it in when it’s convenient and that never leads to longterm progress.
My husband and I decided a long time ago that we would not be the parents or grandparents that sit on the sideline and watch the kids play. Case in point, this weekend we took our 9 year old grandson to Jumping World. If you’re not familiar with it, its a huge building with giant trampolines, located off of Sycamore View Rd. A ton of fun! We paid for an hour of jumping for the 4 of us, Steve, me, my gs, and his friend. Of the 150+ kids that were spread out throughout the trampoline park, there were probably only 2-4 other adults jumping with their kids. All others were sitting on the benches or couches on their phones. When I took a short break, I sat down on a bench beside a very obese man and overheard this conversation. The mans daughter (about 5 years old) approached and said, “daddy, I don’t have anyone to play with” to which he responded, “go make a friend”. My heart sank as she walked away. Missed opportunity. He honestly would have had a heart attack if he had started jumping. He, as many others, chose the easy way out. Get fat and do nothing about it.
Make your fitness your lifestyle! Prioritize it and it will pay off for you now and in the long run!! Get better at CrossFit and watch your whole life get better!!
The first ever CrossFit Games was held in 2007 in Southern California at what is knows as, “The Ranch”. Anyone could sign up to compete. This was the workout for the 2-day competition.
1000 meter Row
then, 5 rounds:
7 Push jerks (135 / 95 lbs)
Trail Run (Approx. 5k)
Event 3 – CrossFit Total
Back squat – 1RM
Press – 1RM
Deadlift – 1RM
In the 2008 CrossFit Games, the participants were capped at 300 and were “first come, first serve”.
2009, was the first year one had to qualify to participate, however teams were still first come first serve.
In 2010, an additional round of qualifying was added, sectionals. Once you made sectionals you could advance to regionals and then on to the Games. This was also the first year for a Masters Division.
Due to popularity and growth, in 2011, the CrossFit Games season included three stages for competitors. The “Open” (first stage of the qualification process) was created as an online format to facilitate participation by athletes worldwide. During the Open, a new workout is released each week on Thursday night (for a total of 5) and athletes have until Monday evening to complete the workout each week and submit their scores online, with either a video or validation by a CrossFit affiliate.
Anyone aged 14 or older can compete in the Open. All you have to do is sign up at Games.CrossFit.com and log your score each week.
Since 2015, the Open has offered a scaled option in addition to the prescribed workout. This option makes the all-inclusive event even more accessible to the masses.
At the end of five weeks, the fittest move on to the next stages of competition: The Regionals and The Online Qualifier.
In 2011, 26,000 athletes signed up to compete in the “Open”. In 2012-2016, participation was 69,000, 138,000, 209,000, 273,000, and 324,307 respectively. In 2016, 175 countries were represented by registered participants. Needless to say, the sport has continued to grow in popularity!
The CrossFit Open workouts are hard, very hard and are typically a combination of strength and skill. The number of reps often occur in an ascending fashion with a short amount of time on the clock to get as far as you can go. This is (by design of course) to increase the intensity of the workout.
If you’re an average CrossFitter (like me) why register and participate in the CrossFit Open if you know there’s no chance in hell you’ll make it any further?! Because it is in the Open where people find their threshold and ability to push through the pain. It is in the Open where you get your first Muscle up or your first pull up, or your first Clean at a weight you never thought possible. The Open is where you exceed your own expectations and find out what you’re truly made of. The Open is where the community you’ve worked out with all year long, the community that has shared in your joy and in your defeat comes together to grind and push the boundaries of your personal fitness.
For 5 weeks, beginning on February 23rd, CrossFitters worldwide will be glued to the CrossFit Games website to hear the first Open workout of the 2017 CrossFit Games season be announce. We will watch as 2 athletes go into head to head competition to see who can go the farthest/fastest to be the best. CrossFit NBS will then program the exact workout for our group to perform every Friday night for 5 weeks (with the exception of the 1st one as I have to be out of town..we’ll do it on Monday). Often, a workout is repeated from the previous year so you can test your fitness and see how far you’ve come in a year.
The workouts are scary and they make us nervous, but completing them (no matter what level) make us proud!
If you happen to be in the gym on the nights our CrossFitters tackle the workouts in the Open, cheer us on, give us high fives and push us to finish at our best! This is our opportunity to prove our fitness!
Did I catch your attention with my gripping title? I hope they’re a few of you that get a moment to read this tid bit of valuable information that can help you to create more stability by understanding the 3 muscular contractions, and what each of them do. One of our biggest goals we want to achieve when moving big weight around in the gym is to create tension within muscles. Why, you might ask. We want to create tension within ourselves because tension creates stability. Why do we want stability? Duh!! We want to be as stable as possible when we are trying to Squat, bench, and deadlift, as well as other complex, multijoint movements. Nobody ever squatted a significant amount of weight while standing on a bosu ball. Please don’t take that as a challenge and let me see you doing it in the gym next week. Oh wait, we don’t even own a bosu ball here at NBS!
The first muscular contraction I want to mention is the concentric. You can think about the concentric portion of a contraction as almost always moving in the upward direction, or against the resistance of gravity. For example, curling a weight up with your bicep, standing up from the bottom of a squat, or pressing and locking out a bench press. You get the idea. The concentric phase of a muscular contraction is responsible for producing force. To move big weights you want to be able to produce a great amount of force, and having big muscle can definitely aid in this, although it is not the end all be all.
The second muscular contraction to talk about is the eccentric. You can think about the eccentric phase of a muscular contraction as almost always moving down, or with the same direction that gravity pulls. For example, the down phase of a bicep curl, moving downward in a squat movement, and bringing the weight down to your chest on a bench press. Again, you get the idea. The eccentric phase of a muscular contraction is responsible for absorbing force. When you are bringing the weight down to your chest on a bench press, you are essentially trying to absorb the weight on the bar into you body, and into the bench. This is also when the actual tearing of your muscle fibers occur, and what causes you to have a difficult time getting out of bed the next morning after a hard training session.
There is only one contraction left to discuss, and that is an isometrics sometimes referred to as static. During this phase there is no lengthening, or shortening of the muscle. Think like when you just “flex” your bicep, or your quadriceps muscle, and create tension within that muscle. Now, technically you can’t flex your bicep, you can flex your elbow joint, same with your quad, you are just extending your knee, and holding the muscle tight in that position. You can also think about walking up to a wall and pushing on it with your hands, but obviously the wall isn’t going to move. The isometric phase of a muscular contraction is responsible for transferring force through your body. All that is happening when you squat, bench, or deadlift is you are putting force into the ground, and the ground is putting force back into you through ground reaction forces, and that force travels through your body, and into the barbell full of weight that you are trying to move.
Now, what you need to understand is that being able to contract certain muscle groups isometrically, while performing concentrics and eccentrics with others simultaneously is going to play a crucial role in being able to create stability when trying to efficiently perform a complex movement. An example here would be trying to isometrically contract your scapular muscles in your mid/upper back, while eccentrically lowering the weight on a bench press with certain muscles, then performing concentric movements in other muscles to push it up, all while still holding you back tight isometrically. Sounds tough right? Mastering this is not something that will happen over nigh, as a matter of fact I don’t know if there is anyone who has ever “mastered” this technique. Everyone breaks down with heavy enough weights. It’s just a matter of doing it correctly for long enough to build up new habits, and breaking your old ones.
Now, if you are having issues contracting certain muscle groups, especially keeping them contracted while performing movements, it does help to have a trainer that can give you some proprioceptive feedback of your muscles while you perform a movement. This could be as simple as poking you in the butt while you squat. I might also suggest seeing our in house chiropractor Dr. Tyrel Detwilder about getting the Reflexive Performance Reset done on yourself. Most people here have had great results with it. Either way, take action! Don’t do nothing and be stuck in the same slump. I hope this has helped some of you out, if only in a minor way. Remeber, tension creates stability, and stability gives us the ability to produce more force.
Are you willing to listen to the stuff you don’t want to hear but need to?
My nutrition coach, Shelby Starnes, made a post a while back that I really liked. In it he said that when choosing someone to work with you need to decide whether you want a friend or whether you want results. Neither is right or wrong but going into the process you need to be clear on what it is you want. After having spent many years being coached in different endeavors and now having spent the last 10 years coaching others in different fitness and health pursuits, I am more and more aware of how true this statement is. As a college football player, I hated my coach. He was an asshole. But he knew his stuff when it came to football. We were the number one defense in the country and I’ve got a really big giant conference championship ring because of it.
That’s not to say that you can’t get results and enjoy the relationship with your coach but if you really want results, you’ll need to put your ego and your emotions to the side. If you can’t, helpful information and honest feedback is going to hurt your feelings and you’re not going to be able to see or hear the truth you need to in order to get better. For example, in powerlifting there are classifications for different totals at different weight classes with the highest classification being called Elite. I have said many times to powerlifters that if you do not have an elite total, you are not strong. Oh the wonderful reactions I get. But that’s the truth. Not based on my own opinions but based on the the sport itself! An elite total isn’t enough to qualify you for the Arnold or the WPC or the IPF Nationals and it’s definitely not enough to get you in the top 10 of your weight class. It’s the border from being weak to being strong. You can compare yourself to people who don’t lift or maybe you’re the strongest of your friends or the strongest in the gym but the simple truth of the matter is that if you’re a powerlifter and you don’t have an elite total YOU ARE NOT STRONG. I remember telling a group of powerlifting females that they all needed to get their squats up to two times bodyweight MINIMUM and one of them acted like I asked her to squat 1000 lbs. But, if you look at the requirements for an elite total, you’re going to need pretty close to a double bodyweight squat and deadlift and above a bodyweight bench to hit an elite total as a female (and much more as a male). If you want to be good at powerlifting then you need to know what good and great really looks like. You need to know where you stack up. That’s not to put down anybody’s personal accomplishments but instead to suggest that you don’t get complacent and keep on striving. Likewise, there may be some stuff you need to hear (or have been told) that may be just what you need to actually get better but you’ll need to check your ego and emotions at the door first.
We are deadlifting! here is a day in review of all the deadlifting that was going on!
My portion can be sen here on my EliteFTS blog
My client Mike using chain’s (his video portion was taken over a 2 week phase as he pulled sumo and conventional). The NBS powerlifting team is getting after it with sumo pulls for ten rep’s! watch for the break down’s and commentary to potentially fix deadlift issue’s!
This vlog is due to my increase in reading. As I was making my way through this business book my mind went to training and correlated the two. This is what my random thought’s and rambling lead to!
Mental Toughness: Make the right choice
I’ve been recently watching a TV show called “The Selection” in which 30 civilians try to make it through a grueling mock special forces selection process put on by ex special forces operators. One of the instructors said something that really stuck with me:
There is no such thing as a physical challenge
What he meant is that the body is made to withstand and adapt to tremendous amounts of physical abuse, it is an adaptation machine hell bent on survival. Physical boundaries are constantly broken down through records and feats of human performance we never thought possible. He said this during a PT session where the participants did 1000 situps. His point being that the body is not what will limit anyone from reaching that number, only the mind can do that. Because there is no such thing as a physical challenge, if a goal is to be achieved, all it takes is the decision to act.
Former Navy Seal and co-author of the book Extreme Ownership talked about how to develop mental toughness on his podcast the other day. He suggested that it was all about creating habits. By breaking each task or goal down into their most simple components, you can now just focus on making the right decision, one decision at a time. After repeating this process enough times, mental toughness will become second nature as you learn to push yourself past your currents limits time and time again. Personally, I am not sure how much of mental toughness is genetic, how much is environmental, and how much is self taught. I do recognize that there is a big difference between going through and graduating from BUD/S and the person who struggles to go to the gym and eat right. However, I do believe the process to success looks the same, even at different magnitudes. You must first decide if you truly want it or not, then you must break the task down into it’s most simple of components, and third you must tackle each of those components head on and make the right decision.
I have been training for 17 years, I have been in the fitness industry for 10 years, and I have owned a gym for 5 years. Along that time frame I have helped over a thousand people in training, nutrition, and life. I have watched people succeed, fail, struggle, bounce back, do awesome, do terrible, far exceed my expectations, and fail to reach their own potential. This journey is one of constant learning and reflection and is never as straight line as I seem to want to think it is. So to those just beginning, this article is my experience given to you. It will chronicle the five stages you will go through and need in your fitness journey. I hope they help you reach your goals in 2017.
Whether it’s a significant life event, looking at yourself in the mirror, or listening to a motivational speaker, at some point that flip is switched and the catalyst for change has begun. There is the realization that something needs to happen, something needs to change. During this phase of change, I recommend continuing to dump fuel onto the motivational fire. A rocket needs a lot of boost from take off to reach it’s final destination. Likewise people need as much momentum as they can get on the front end of change. The friction of changing life habits can be a very hard to overcome force, so a strong motivation is vital. If you find yourself in this phase, surround yourself with whatever motivation tickles your itch the most.
At some point motivation isn’t going to be enough. Using the previous rocket ship analogy, just because you have a giant booster rocket doesn’t mean you’re going to reach the moon. You need a plan of action, a map, a course to follow in order to ensure that your energy is harnessed and aimed in the right direction. Here is where a fitness professional becomes vital in your search for success. While I recognize the appeal of free stuff off the internet or your friend who is in such good shape, people who have been making a living year after year helping people just like you reach their goals know exactly what it takes and how to help you get there. Joining a gym with the goal of getting in shape is like buying tools with the goal of working on your car: knowledge is still a mandatory ingredient. Once your motivation is at it’s requisite amount, hire a fitness professional to be your copilot.
The sea of fitness is not one full of smooth sailing. You’re going to have problems. Your progress is going to stall, life is going to get in the way, you’re going to fail, you’re going to get hurt, you’re going to want to quit. I’ve seen too many people with unrealistic expectations begin their fitness journey. Not unrealistic expectations for what they can achieve but for what the journey to get there will be like. This where a support system becomes vital. A support system will not only help provide you with a realistic view on the journey to come but will also be there to help you up when you falter. Human beings can achieve great things by themselves but they can achieve even greater things in a group. Find a great support group to bring along for your journey.
At some point, your need for motivation is going to go away. You don’t necessarily need tofeel motivated to brush your teeth. You’ve been doing it since you were young and now it’s just a habit that you do. Exercise, eating right, living a healthy lifestyle all reach this same point as well. After training for 17 years, I can promise that I am far from motivated to workout every time I’m supposed to but it’s ingrained so much into my life at this point that it’s just the natural thing to do. Likewise, after a significant time pursuing your health and fitness goals, you will learn a good bit a long the way. You’ll know the tools of the trade and you’ll have experience to help give you direction. This isn’t to say you can’t still benefit from working with a coach but instead to say that you will not rely on them for the same help you did originally. Once your habits are established use them to excel you to higher levels.
If you’re just beginning your fitness journey, I’m going to give you a little spoil alert: there is no end. There is no final weight, body fat level, strength level, endurance level, etc that you will finally be happy at. As you progress you will realize your opportunity for even more success and you will want it. If you run a 5K you’ll start thinking about running it faster or running farther. If you bench press 225 you’ll start wanting to bench press 315. If you can see your abs you’ll eventually want to see striations in something else. The pursuit never ends and that’s a good thing. You will learn that happiness doesn’t truly come from reaching any one goal but instead comes from the pursuit of self progression. It comes in the realization that you have the power to make change in yourself.
Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one — himself
If you are starting a New Years resolution, I want to encourage you to follow these 5 steps in your journey. I have watched many people transform their lives through this process and I am excited for you to do so as well.
This video came by request from my blog on EliteFTS. This is in addition to my elite article which can be found here: External Rotation
– Knees out is misinterpreted by many lifters
– Glute activation must be initiated and sustained to keep external rotation throughout the lift, going down AND coming back up.
– Feel the bar in your feet, twist into the floor, do not let feet “roll” outward.
– without external rotation our femur jam’s into our hip joint decreasing the ability to open hips thus decreases our ability to stabilize our trunk and back affecting the way we transfer force.
With health care being one of the most important topics of the 2016, people are clearly concerned with where health care is going and how it affects them. Ironically, however, one of the most common trends I have notices in 2016 is that few individuals actually know what their health care coverage is. The most common phrase that I have learned to shrug off and give little attention to this last year has been “My insurance is really good.” Although it feels good to say you have good insurance, a look at the actual plan usually reveals that in reality, you have very typical insurance, which in today’s health care, is not very good at all. This person is soon surprised to hear that not only is their insurance not as good as they thought, but they will be paying for more out of pocket than they expected as well. Having said that, there are good insurance plans out there, and that my position is only in respect to chiropractic care and not all health care. However, as I have noted in previous articles, your health care is your responsibility, which means in order to maximize your dollars, you should know the details of your insurance. This will allow you to understand what is and isn’t covered, how much is covered, and how much you should budget to cover your known health care expenditures. So to start out, here are a few details about your health insurance you should know.
A premium is like a payment on a car. It is the fixed cost (typically monthly) that is paid to actually own insurance. This is probably the most familiar term to consumers because its the term they directly pay to the insurance company. Premiums are the primary means by which your insurance company makes money. This also means the more you pay to the insurance company, the more they are willing to give back in terms of coverage. This may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your state of health, but thats for another discussion. There big takeaway with premiums as they relate to your health care costs, is that it is a fixed cost. This means it will be paid regardless of how little or how much you actually use your insurance. So if your premium is one thousand dollars a month, your fixed cost for the year regardless of how much you use the insurance is already up to $12,000.
The deductible is one of the most variable characteristics of a health care plan. This is the amount of money that must be spent by the consumer before an insurance plan begins to cover for services. So taking the $1000 monthly premium from before, if that plan also has a $3000 dollar deductible, then your known cost for health care will reach $15000 for the year to receive any benefits from your plan. Minimizing health care costs used to be as simple as finding the smallest deductible plan you could in order to limit out of pocket costs. However, with the onset of larger co-pays and co-insurance and substantial increases in premiums, some may actually benefit from having a larger deductible if properly matched with some of these other variables.
The biggest note to be made about the deductible is that although it is a set amount that you must pay before your insurance plan begins to cover services, it is still a theoretical amount. That means that if you are completely healthy throughout the year and only go to the doctor once, you will probably not pay the full deductible that year. So if an individual is actually quite healthy, and does not have a large amount of visits, medications, or procedures that he or she anticipates for the year, choosing a plan with a higher deductible plan may actually be cheaper. Higher deductible plans typically have a lower premium, which will decrease an individual’s fixed insurance costs. Therefor, reducing the definitive costs of a premium by enlarging a deductible you are not going to meet anyways is a cheaper option for a healthy individual.
3) Visit Limits
This is a big subject for those who see chiropractors, physical therapists, or any other rehabilitative, manual, or alternative medicine health care professionals. MANY insurances lump these providers into one group (specifically physical therapists and chiropractors) and apply an “allowed visit” amount to them. Typically this is around 30 visits and sets a guideline to how many visits for this type of care that insurance will pay for.
In an individual who happens to be in great health this may not be an issue, but there are few that meet this criteria, and often, many need more visits. Many times we will get a patient that has received previous care before presenting to our office, and often are only left with a few covered visits for the year. Another situation that comes into play with visit limits is that sometimes, insurance never ends up actually paying the bill. How is this possible? I thought the allowed visits was to outline the number of visits insurance would pay for? Well, remember our Debbie Downer deductible? If you are an individual who has a large deductible or are very healthy, your deductible may render your visit limit pointless. This is because this visit limit counts on each visit even if you are footing the bill. For a lot of people, this means they blow straight through their 30 visits without even coming close to meeting their deductible. Now it is possible to lobby for more visits, but in this scenario, you are often at the mercy of an insurance company being the one who approves whether or not they pay for more visits.
The age excuse is a topic that I encounter on a regular basis in my personal and professional life. “I am to old for ‘X’ activity.” “Getting old sucks.” “Back when I was younger…” People talk about age like its an unescapable, constricting prison. It’s as if age simply deteriorates you and keeps you from being active, regardless of what you do to try and stop it. Sometimes I will hear those who are as young as mid 30’s or early 40’s someone use the age excuse as the causative factor for their bad health.
Aging is a part of life. This is true. It does happen whether you like it or not, but it occurs with a fairly predictable physiological response. Yes you will deteriorate to some extent, your ability to recover will slightly diminish, and there will be changes in almost every system of the body. But to speak of it as some sort of unstoppable force that we shouldn’t try to work through is ridiculous. Speaking of age, do you know what else is getting old? Your excuses. So here are three reasons why your age excuse is irrelevant.
1) Mid-life Gains
How many people between 30 and 40 do you hear reminisce of their teens and early twenties like it was 4 decades ago? Back to the days in high school training for football or their college years when they were always at the gym and “benched a freaking house?” Or when they were younger and played multiple sports, ate whatever they wanted without gaining a pound, and made fun of all the boys because they had bigger arms than they did? Some people will talk about this period of time (literally 5-8 years) like it was the golden age of their physical form and now that they’re in their late 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, the good years are behind them. Do me a favor and slap them.
There is some kind of status quo in our society that seems to dictate that all your fun is in your high school and early college years. That it doesn’t get any better, and that once you are done with college you get married, have kids and grow fat and old with your spouse. If you are buying into the idea that getting old sucks or are saying at any point that “you’re too old for this shit” and are also under your 4th decade of life, you are selling yourself short. Way short. There are tons of studies that show that males and even females can experience a multitude of strength and performance improvements during their 30’s and 40’s. This will not only keep active and energetic, but also extremely healthy and strong.
Even for many athletes the 30’s are the realization period and peak of their careers. Very few high level athletes peak when they are 21 and a junior in college. This is the time when an individual who has been consistently training or competing can finally merge hormonal and physical attributes with the experience of over a decade worth of competition to perform at their highest. So if a professional athlete needs three or four years in the pros to flourish into a superstar and then go on to become a 15 plus year veteran, why would your body be any different for general health and wellness?
2) Training to Be a Senior
Don’t feel like training because you have no ambition to work for something specific? How about your future? Do you have kids? Grandkids? Do you have ambitions that you would like to pursue down the road when you retire? Most people would say yes to a few of those. The number one predictor of quality of life during the latter stages of life is activity level. At this point in my career, I have seen some insanely healthy and energetic people who are 60, 70, or even 80+ years old. I’ve also seen some ridiculously sick, immobile, and frustrated people who are barely into their 50’s. The difference? Activity level and diet. Not only does exercising and eating correctly help you body, it improves your mood. The body is directly reliant on proper nutrition and movement to prosper. Take either of those away for a long period of time, and it begins to shut down. Ever wonder why breaking a hip is such a serious problem in the elderly? It’s not the hip injury itself that typically kills you. It’s the inability to heal from a broken hip and the subsequent sedentary lifestyle that makes it such a threat to the longevity of an elderly individual’s life.
So how do you train to be a Senior? Never stop moving. Find a hobby that keeps you active and do it. Exercise and lift weights all the way through your 40’s and 50’s. This will build your bone density, immune system, and cardiovascular health, which will make you a real tough S.O.B. for Darwin to take down in your latter years. At NBS Fitness and Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance we have MANY members over 50 who are active gym goers and put some of our younger member to shame. Scared of a few aches and pains? These individuals have learned to train AROUND their injuries and are in much better shape than the average 50+ year old in our nation. Some sore muscles and a bit of wobbliness after leg day is a heck of a lot more manageable than the dozens of prescription pain medications, obesity, and overall weakness that most in that age population have to deal with. Health is no different than anything else in life. You reap what you sow.
3) Age Isn’t the problem
Regardless of your age level, for most people, at the end of the day the age excuse is simply that. An excuse. It’s a self-imposed reason to help justify why you won’t or can’t do something. There will be some factual reasoning behind it, but the lack of will to adapt to those reasons are what make it an excuse. You will not heal or recover as quickly, your hormonal levels will start to taper off and diminish, and you may not be able to eat everything in sight without any consequences, but that doesn’t mean that the problem is age. The problem is you need to be more adaptable. Maybe you don’t know how, and that’s okay. There are qualified professionals that are able to help. Maybe you need a nutrition coach to help you establish better dietary guidelines specific to your goals. Maybe you need a health care professional that set up a wellness or preventative plan of action to help you recover better between training sessions. Maybe it’s time to put to rest the trusty 3 day bodybuilding split you’ve been doing since college and seek a trainer. A good trainer can not only custom tailor a program that fits your needs, but also make sure your technique and programming aren’t beating you into the ground and damaging your body. Either way, there are plenty of options you can utilize to make sure you don’t become another victim to the age excuse. Why spend the last half of your life talking about all the things you CAN’T do, when with a little more effort and a proper team, you put people half your age to shame with the things you CAN do. Ditch the age excuse, and be awesome.
How to Use Bands and Chains for Accommodative Resistance
The concept of accommodative resistance can be explained as “the increase of resistance while lifting through a range of motion” (Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing. (2012)). This can be accomplished by using bands or chains to increase tension/weight at the lockout of a lift or a decrease in tension/weight at the bottom end of a lift. In meathead terms, the closer the bar is to the ground (or other connection point), the lighter it is; the further from the floor, the heavier it is. So with these very basic principles in mind, we are going to discuss how to set-up bands and chains for the “big three.”
Depending on your height and limb length, these can get tricky. The goal with chains is we want AT LEAST one or two links dragging on the ground when we are locked out (top of lift) and all of the links on the floor in the bottom position of the lift. There are different rings on the EZ Bar Loaders which allows height adjustment. The ends of the chains are held together by carabiners which can be used to fine-tune the length by “choking up” chain links (for shorter lifters like myself). This will take some, “test and tuning” while dialing in the proper height.
At NBS, each chain weighs about 20lbs. This means that there is a tangible amount of weight being taken off the bar and added to the bar with each rep, so be sure to check with your coach and see if they are worried about the actual chain weight or number of chains before just slapping them on. Always work up to your working weight while using chains. A bad training day is waiting to happen if you work up to your top set THEN add your prescribed chain weight to the bar.
Let’s get this out of the way on the front end: bands suck. They suck really bad. The amount of strain on your CNS is greater with bands than with chains and you can potentially ruin your world if you create an over-excess of band tension. There are probably a dozen different ways to implement bands but we will stick to a novice/intermediate introduction and setup.
One major difference between these two forms of accommodative resistance is that bands add a percentage of weight (resistance) through tension. We never want the tension to fully leave the bar at the lowest point. This means we always have an added form of resistance working against us in addition to the bar weight. So to set these up, we will need two pins placed at least 2 holes apart. We will start the band on the pin (which will be directly under our bar path) we will call this “pin 1”. Run the band from pin 1 back toward’s “pin 2” which will be the pin furthest away from us and our bar path. After wrapping around pin 2 come back to pin 1 wrap under then directly up to the bar. Be sure to check with your coach as some have different ways to set these up.
As always, ask an orange shirt if you are not sure how to implement the equipment. Better safe than sorry. Do not try and figure out the “weight” bands add to your lift, you will hurt to many brain cells, and the calculation will still be a loose estimate at best for your social media video. Implement these tools for awesomeness and watch your strength increase. Last but not least, PLEASE don’t leave these forms of accommodative resistance laying around the floor of the gym after you finish training. If you’re are strong enough to use them on a lift you are strong enough to put that shit away!