Friday, August 31, 2007

Catch Up

Just realized it's Friday and I haven't posted all week. Lots going on but very little "spare" time.

Here are some highlights:
  • Knees doing OK--definitely related to stress. Have squatted bodyweight pain free for 25 reps and done 60kg on FSQ and BSQ for multiple sets of 5 pain free, but with occasional discomfort.
  • Working with an amateur strongman--BIG--320lbs and strong. But he lacks mobility. He wanted to focus on KB lifting, but he's not weak, he just has to get out of his own way. Then he'll be able to express his strength.
  • "Diet:" Been using Biotest Surge post-workout. Works great. Leaning out already this week.
  • Getting bored with my workout plan. Screwing around last night I clean and push pressed my 130lbs KB like it was the 106. Thought about the 145 but decided I'd be better off not doing it.
  • Mobility: Discovering some severe ankle mobility deficiency, especially position specific--hip and knee flexion. Squatting anyone? Hmm...
  • Working on some online business ideas. Also came up with an outstanding "hard" business idea that I've bounced off a couple of people who thought it was awesome. It would be great if I could implement that but not really "work" it.
  • Constantly amazed with the human body and how smart it is: Worked with an RKC earlier this week who had medial epicondylitis (tennis elbow). It was a 5 out of 10 on the pain scale. He had done a lot of myofascial release and thumper work on the recommedation of a mutual friend. 60 minutes later--no pain. Never touched the elbow or the forearm or the upper arm.

That's all for now.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Today, I'm Just An Average American

I'm starting Joel Marion's "Cheat To Lose Diet" with my wife today. (Actually today is like a "warm-up.") So, I get to eat anything I want. I started off this morning with a run (ok, not a literal run, cause everybody knows I don't run...) to the grocery store. I had 6 blueberry Eggo waffles with real maple syrup and about 32oz or so of Tropicana OJ. Good stuff. Surprisingly, I didn't instantaneously crash into a carb coma.

For lunch, nothing but the best: McDonald's Double Quarter Pounder w/cheese, fries, and a vanilla shake. Felt pretty gross after this and did need to take a nap.

For an afternoon snack I polished off the OJ.

Then we went to our friends' house where I had one chicken breast, mashed potatoes, meatballs, and brownies and ice cream for dessert.

This particular program calls for cardio 4 days per week. Uh-oh! I guess I'm gonna hafta get back into KB snatches. JM recommends five 2 minute intervals which of course are the worst kind. So tomorrow, I'm breaking out the 16kg and hitting 20+20, which I think is approximately 2 minutes. We'll see. This could be painful. I'll have to see how this will play in with my current program. There may be some modifications to be made but I don't think so right now.

I'll post some numbers later.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hip Bone Rhythms

Just a quick follow up tonight.

I'm pretty much out of pain. Some occasional discomfort when squatting.

I was able to throw the weightlifting shoes on tonight and overhead squat pain/discomfort free for 2x5 with the bar. Woo-hoo. I then threw 60kg on and back squatted 2x5 pain free.

Here are some things I noticed:
  • All rhythms were off but were pretty well cleaned up by the last rep
  • My weight was primarily on the heels--It shouldn't be. It should be in the whole foot. I eventually got it there and even loaded the big toe (increases ankle mobility and stretches flexor hallicus longus, which when contracted contributes to plantarflexion--kinda important for getting out of a squat...)
  • Bar needed to be held in fingertips to keep wrists in extension
  • Taping the right knee changes the entire hip set up--I need to sit back into the left hip more
  • Hip rhythms were especially off, especially the left one. Didn't really fix this until the KB snatches later in the session
  • The overhead squat, particularly the pressing snatch balance version, really allowed for the establishment of the rhythms--perhaps more so than the back squat
I was also able to perform some pain-free lunging for the first time in almost 3 weeks.

On the comeback trail...slowly.

My plans are to finish out this new training plan incorporating a lot of variety for the legs when possible and then get back to a squat cycle.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How Much Is Enough?

When I used to train athletes for a living I used to ask this question because from a volume comparison my training programs never looked like the ones recommended by the NSCA and other such organizations. I never had my athletes perform 100-150 ground contacts of "plyos," and the strength exercises were used on an "as needed" basis, meaning, I stuck with the basics unless a change was needed and then modified accordingly. It's interesting to watch the pendulum swing back this way in the fitness industry, and to a certain extent, the S&C industry of almost a decade of influence by well-meaning but misinformed and misapplying functional training gurus and rehab specialists. Back are the heavy compound lifts. Gone or dying is the prescription for unstable surfaces to "enhance proprioception."

Why is this?

Because, as my friend Zachariah Salazar says, "More is always more." There's only so much the body can adapt to and if there is too much "thrown at it," (nice scientific phrase, huh?) it won't adapt much at all and progress stalls.

The bottom line is everything we do in the gym and on the athletic field is a skill. If there are similarities between exercises, than skills are easier to obtain.

How are skills obtained?

By analyzing movement and practicing those movements...perfectly.

Intuitively we all know this, or at least we should. I vividly remember teaching the volleyball team my last year at RU how to land. That's right, land. They'd been taught how to jump, but never how to land. Most of them allowed their bodies to pitch forward at the net when blocking--especially the taller girls. So we focused on high quality landing mechanics from boxes of varying heights. Upon asking the girls if they'd ever been taught to land, everyone of them said "no." So how did learning how to land make a difference for them? They were able to land, load, and re-block/re-jump quicker. In science-speak, the amoritization phase of the stretch-shortening cycle decreased because they were no longer fighting their own bodies from pitching forward.

The same thing should be true with weight training. My good friend Brett Jones is on track to break into the Raw Elite ranks of Powerlifting. How's he train? Primarily with the squat, bench, and deadlift. The same is true for many elite weightlifters. They train the snatch, the clean, the jerk, and the front squat. My greatest success as a weightlifter was when I trained using a minimalist approach: pulls, jerks, squats, full lifts on Saturdays. I practiced the movements a lot. Then with heavier loads. A lot. Why did I change? Because I ran out of mobility.

I think that's why concepts like the Conjugate Method work well for some but not for others. If you run out of mobility in primary exercises, you have to find similar exercises that have "carryover." Why did the Bulgarians start beating the Russians in Weightlifting? Essays have been written about this and the debate will never surely die, but to a certain extent, the Bulgarians perfected the classic lifts and used others sparingly. This gets into varying aspects of sports science which are too in depth for this post, but on some fundamental level we all know that the best in every sport have the basics mastered: movement/technique/strategy. How much could Michael Jordan snatch or squat in his prime? Who cares?! All this of course is just my pontification/theory based on my experience, reflection, and study. Bottom line though is this: If we fail to use it, we lose it. Once it's gone, it's hard to get back--regardless of the "it."

So all this begs a question: How much is enough?

Just enough.

And unfortunately, that's dependent upon the individual at hand.

For the [almost] Elite Powerlifter, it may be [re]acquiring foot, ankle and hip mobility.

For the young field athlete, it may be keeping the mobility he already has and loading specific movements like lunges and jumps.

But the prescription is simple, I just wished I had learned it sooner: Learn how to move in all planes of motion.

This is more than multi-planar lunging as prescribed by some coaches. Or with adding a reach by others. It's learning how to move all your joints in full ranges of motion and then integrating those motions. Then, and only then, load them. I wish somebody'd told me this 15 years ago--not that I'd probably listen...

I'm doing this with my squat right now. My body won't let me load the squat right now, so every squat I do with just my bodyweight, I try to make it feel the same--exactly the same. Not similar, exactly. So when I can get back to loading, my body knows the pattern--exactly.

Quality is key. Not quantity. It's better, meaning reaping more results focusing on doing things well regardless of the prescribed rep ranges. Alfonso taught me to use these as a guide--"Do no more than x reps..." That sort of thing.

When quality breaks, stop. Stop when you are in pain. Stop when you start changing your breathing pattern (not frequency...). Stop when your posture starts to break down. Just stop. Move on to something else--another exercise, mobility work, recovery work, home...

Why am I posting all this?

Because I never stopped.

I'd be on my feet 16 hours a day having had 5 hours of sleep the previous night and then go snatch 80% on iron in a commercial gym, then back squat 90%. It's easy to keep going at 24, 25, 26. Not so much 10 years after that. It's easy to "put a hurt" on young athletes. Go back and visit them 10 years after you've worked with them. If you did your job, they'll be moving better and probably in better shape. If not, they'll look like me--broken and trying to regain lost ground, clinging to a glimmer of hope. If I weren't so darn stubborn, I would've given up two years ago.

Rif (Pavel?) is right--glory is temporary, pain is forever.

Once you dig yourself that hole, it's hard (but not impossible) to dig out.

Pay attention now and save your future.

Monday, August 20, 2007

As Long As It Takes

...that's the answer to how long I have to do these exercises. Until I can squat all the time (and lunge, and pistol, etc) pain free. That's the frustrating thing about this--I can only really exercise half my body.

In the mean time, I'm staying away from the platform--no negative neural chunking.

Here's what I've come up with as far as training. It's a hybrid of Pavel's 5x5x5 program.

A. 5 reps
B. 10 reps
C. 15 reps
D. 20 reps
E. 25+ reps

Total: 75 working reps per day

I'll start with the following:

A. Total Body
B. Push
C. Pull
D. Lower
E. Torso/Abs

and rotate priorities each day so the A will move the E position and each movement will move up the workout.

The goal is twofold: Train with as little tension as possible and two avoid any pain or discomfort whatsoever in my knees.

Today was very easy:
A. Rack DLs from above knee (AK) 405lbs/5
B. Parallel Dips: Bodyweight/10
C. Inverted Rows: Bodyweight/15
D. 45 degree Hypers: Bodyweight/20
E. Planks: 25 reps of 2 second holds.

Done in approximately 15 minutes.

My goal is to use as much good movement as possible to re-enforce to my brain that working out is good for me. Plus, I should put on some muscle with the increased frequency and volume--that's each major muscle group getting 75 quality reps per week. It's been awhile since that happened.

Hopefully in 30 days, I'll be completely out of pain and back on the performance track with about 5 more pounds on me than I do now. Then I'll get back to the platform.

By the way, the pic posted is a Pistol w/106lbs on the hip with two labral tears, cartilage damage, osteoarthritis, and bursitis. That's what Z can do. (Just in case anyone was wondering how I got back into pain, I violated the first rule of Z which states, "Don't move into pain." So I was stupid...)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Neural Switching

I finally broke down and called Dr. Cobb yesterday for the following reasons/experiences this past week:
  • I was very irritable
  • I was generally angry
  • I had incredibly poor concentration
  • I couldn't remember to do even the simplest of things--felt kinda confused/disoriented at times
  • I was having "out of body" experiences, for lack of a better term--I would be in the middle of conversations and then start having conversations with myself about those conversations: I'm not sure if this is a really accurate description, but this is a hard sensation to describe.
  • Lean Body Mass was dropping--especially in my legs, but body fat wasn't
  • I was sensing the need to eat more carbs for seretonin release
  • Neither I- nor R-Phase made my knee pain go away
There are probably some other things, but like I mentioned, my memory was failing me. So after explaining some of these things to Dr. Cobb he had me try some acupressure points on my body and my face. The body ones didn't work, the face ones did. By did, I mean that instantaneously the pain in my knees was gone and I could squat.

I asked why this worked / happened. He explained that in simplest terms, sometimes the CNS becomes confused about what it's supposed to be doing. This whole process, including the restoration of normal operations Dr. Cobb called "neural switching." Very interesting stuff.

After explaining all of my "experiences" this week, he suggested that there may be neurotransmitter imbalance (which intuitively I suspected based on my lack of mental acuity) and supplementing with acetylcholine and B5 with perhaps some 5-HTP.

Today as I write this, I am incredibly tired--almost physically exhausted from the switching exercises that I started yesterday. It'll be very interesting to see how this all turns out. I hope to return to a sense of normalcy ASAP. Also, I feel the need for a lot of carbs so I will most likely carb load all day today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's All Connected (Obviously!)

So, I locked my knees back down and am struggling to get out of pain. I read David Butler's, Explain Pain, which is the dumbed-down version (my take, not his) of his tome, The Sensitive Nervous System. (Every fitness professional should read it--it explains a lot.) Here's the 411: The body experiences pain because it thinks its in danger, which it may or may not be. After it's been cleared of danger, pain may linger as a memory, base on how long the brain perceived that danger and what thoughts, feelings, movements, etc. were associated with that pain. In my case, it's squatting, and really, any knee flexion.

Based on my past experiences, I'm guessing that the pain in my knees is a signal that something's wrong with my hips. I posted a couple posts back that after taping my right knee, my left hip felt like it got a lot more work. Well, since the "R" in R-Phase stands for "Restoration, Re-Education, Rehabilitation" guess who forgot to do his "Restoration" work after his squat sessions? You got it: Yours truly. Now, here's the problem: Left hip gets used in ways it's unaccustomed. There's mechanical change in the right knee. These two "forces" are supposed to work together but they're actually working against each other. As the hip musculature responds to work, it tightens down. The right knee is still forcing the left hip to work, but it can't, cause genius here hasn't done his post-training R-Phase. The force can no longer be absorbed the way it's supposed to be by the left hip which forces the weight back onto the right knee and the cycle repeats itself. The ankles may or may not be moving well--in either case, that leaves the musculature around the knees to take the brunt of the loading. I think we can all see where this is going...

Anyway, my body's been down this road before, and the result was multiple hip connective tissue injuries/damage. So I believe my brain is sending my body signals based on its past experiences. It believes the hips are going to be damaged again. It may be right. Last night I was also demonstrating KB snatches and noticed that my bone rhythms were off--I was bailing out on the ankles and didn't seem to be able to sit into the hips. Later that evening while watching some weightlifting videos, I noticed my shoulders were sore, the right one almost painfully so from the snatches and cleans earlier in the day. This in my mind could only mean one thing: force was not being adequately produced and reduced within that training session. Sure enough, my hips were very, very tight--especially in abduction and extension, especially the left one. Apparently I can compensate at the I-Phase work, but the R-Phase leaves me no room to hide. I had almost no movement in the abduction on the left hip. (I am very fortunate that my wife is also a Z Practitioner, because she spotted this...)

So, what's my immediate plan?
  1. Remember what R-Phase is for: Restoration, Re-Education, Rehabilitation. All of which I need based on what I actively engage in or forgetfully fail to do (15 years of squatting and deadlifting, etc with out proper ROM will take it's toll...)
  2. Hit some bone rhythm work with the KBs to get my patterns back (and then hit some R-Phase...)
  3. Engage in as many movements as possible requiring knee flexion (and hip flexion) that don't cause pain to calm the CNS. Engage in as few as possible movements that create pain with knee flexion and hip flexion.

That's the plan. We'll see how long I can stick with it and what the results will be. Knowing me, I'll be modifying on the fly...

On a positive note, the Icy Hot I used yesterday on the platform seemed to help. I put some on my hips and that was one of my clues that they weren't working correctly--the Icy Hot gave me some feedback that allowed me to use them more and keep the knees [mostly] pain free. My speed is way, way up. If I can just relax my CNS, I should be able to train for strength and get my weights back up.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

NC State Powerlifting Championships Today...

...and I'm not there.

I was going to go.

Then, I met with Dr. Cobb during I-Phase and he changed my mind.

Well, he helped me think clearly about this knee injury.

My focus was on staying out of the ROMs that would negatively impact the cartilage damage, so the only obvious conclusion and therefore decision at the time was no more weightlifting. His point of view was why not examine the leg and determine what's the cause of the problem and if it is repairable/re-trainable. So, the cause was the patella dislocation. The result of that was tibial external rotation. In order to return the tibia to its natural/optimal location, he taped the patellar tendon to decrease/eliminate pain in knee extension and taped the gracilis and sartorius to increase mechanoreceptive input and retrain their ability to keep the tibia aligned correctly.

So what does all this mean? It means I jumped the gun with powerlifting. In my heart of hearts I still hold out hope to compete again in weightlifting, so as long as there is even a remote possibility, I owe it to myself to follow that possibility. So, back to the platform.

What have the results been? Virtually pain-free all the time in almost all ROMs with this right knee that I can't honestly remember having before--even the dreaded right lateral lunge is pain free. My body responded very quickly to the new tape job and the VMO is growing nicely. The VL is growing again and the right quad is quickly starting to look like the left. Also, this changes the mechanics of my squat, so I'm recruiting even more of my left glute. Even the bone rhythm work feels better on the right side. I knew something was wrong because I could rarely get the right side to feel as easy or as fluid as the left while performing bilateral work, like squatting or deadlifting.

What about training? Was going well until this week when I had too much of a SNS overload and locked down my left knee (I know, weird that it was the left one.). It took some serious PNS stimulation to unlock it. This was a valuable learning process for me: I need to plan active recovery work into my training program. I can't just use passive means such as rest and sleep. When I look back on my most productive training, I used AR work daily. It allowed for much higher workloads, quicker recovery, and therefore faster adaptation. If that was the case at 24, how much more so at 34.

Therefore, my new training program will be based on a 3 day cycle:
Day 1: Speed,
Day 2: Strength
Day 3: Active Recovery

I will most likely employ some form of AR work on days 1&2, but day 3 will be solely devoted to it.

I think this should work well.

So, back to the platform today to play with some comfortable doubles.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

One More, Just In Case You Feel Stuck In Your Current Reality...

Switchfoot, "Dare You to Move"

Accepting Our Current Realities

One of the things I learned in I-Phase was the concept of "neural chunking." Simply put, everything you think and feel is associated with what you do, more specifically, what you are currently doing when you are thinking and feeling that particular thing. The more you do those things (thinking, feeling, doing) together, the more they are cemented in your brain as distinct patterns.

Here's a personal construct which I recently changed: "Every time I bend my right knee under load, it hurts." So based on one or two experiences, I came to expect the same experience associated with that movement. Reversing those thoughts, I am now able to move in ROMs without pain that I haven't been able to for 18 years. Sounds "New Age-y," I know. Dr. Cobb spoke of the specific scientific evidences based on PET scans (I think he said PET--maybe CAT--my hearing's going I swear...) So you can limit or amplify your movements, your pain, everything through your thoughts.

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine. He gave me a swift kick in the butt regarding some of my goals based on a book that we've both read. He has a great way of lovingly (humorously) pointing out where I'm failing based on what I've told him. So, I'm accepting my current reality. I forgot that I don't want to. And the great thing is I don't have to. I can change my current reality, supported by science through thought, feeling, and movement.

Here are two songs I've heard in the last two days regarding accepting your current reality:

The point? Some things in life happen to you and you have to live with, like gravity. The rest you can change. It just takes getting the reps in.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Training Update...

Realized I haven't posted on my training in awhile.

Here's tonite's training:

Snatch High Pull (above knee--AK) x3
Power Snatch, AK x3
Snatch Grip Behind Neck Press x3

(43kg)2, (47.5kg)4; 2 minutes rest.

Just wanted to move light weight with tape on the knee. Felt good.

More on all this later...
Critics and Learning

I love the following quote by President Theodore Roosevelt:
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
I'm pretty sure this is applicable to some of the "circumstances," for lack of a better word, that I have found myself in since Friday.

Let me paint you a picture:

Imagine that someone attends a kettlebell seminar for 3-4 hours. She gets some level of proficiency with the KB, but it's rudimentary at best. In her mind, it should be easy to use, to master even, because she's familiar with other exercise modalities such as dumbells, barbells, bands, etc. She then trains a client using a KB borrowed from a friend and the client has a negative experience. However, she is still interested in "understanding" the kettlebell, so she posts the comments of someone using KBs very effectively (touting the use, actually) within his own full-time business(es) and her experiences on a private forum of highly proficient dumbbell users for their review, thoughts, and subsequent critique. The only catch is these people have never used kettlebells.

What do you think the outcome would be? All you have to do is "google" kettlebells and I'm sure you'll have your [negative] answer.

What's my point?

Unless you are actually in the trenches, day in and day out and derive a healthy income from particular training modalities, you are really an amateur and haven't earned the right to criticize that which you don't understand. It's like someone advocating the use of the Olympic lifts for, well, anything, if they can't snatch their bodyweight. Or like me criticizing NASCAR drivers because I too can turn left. There's a credibility gap. Spend some time with that which you are questioning or with people who are using a particular method you are interested in.

Anyone can be an armchair expert and quote all the scientific studies in the world to justify whatever it is they want to justify (Low fat/high carb diets, anyone?) However, it's the doing where one really learns (Thank you, Dr. Robert Atkins).

If you want to learn about something, go spend time with someone who has some expertise and a large amount of success (financial, preferably--money talks, everything else walks) using that which you wish to learn. I did this with my weightlifting coach, Alfonso. Every Saturday, occasional evenings too, for almost 4 years, I went to see him, watch him work, pick his brain. The only thing it cost me was my time (and gas money...and espressos...).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mea Culpa

Last week, I made the following statement:

"I can help my clients in ways (almost instantaneously) that no chiro, PT, or Orthopod can."

Hindsight being 20/20, this was a rash, ignorant statement made after a "mountain-top" experience. I've said it before, but I will say it again: We need these medical professionals (although I think a lot of PTs think DCs are quacks...) and I'm glad they exist. I think it's important to make several distinctions about Z-Health based on my statement.
  1. Dr. Cobb has never, to my knowledge made this statement publicly or privately, and certainly not to me. This is my own statement and I take full responsibility for it.
  2. I do not have a financial stake in the company, Z-Health Performance Solutions. I only use their products. I am not compensated to write about my experiences with their products/systems. Nor do I expect to receive any compensation.
  3. Z-Health is first and foremost an exercise system based on precision movement with the focus on healthy joint movement allowing the body to express more movement options.
  4. Z-Health does produce amazing results, when applied correctly, primarily through increased movement awareness and [re-]education.
  5. Z-Health is not marketed to diagnose or treat illnesses or injuries, although it has been my experience that the system's movement education has the ability to enable the body to heal itself after injury.
  6. I cannot explain my experiences on a neurological level adequately enough for some. I am not a physiologist.
  7. I use the system based on the results I have seen personally, with my contemporaries, and with my clients. I freely admit I do not have all the science at my fingertips to support my use of the product.
Why am I writing all this? Because my blog was excerpted and posted on somebody else's forum. It happened to be a forum for PTs specializing in most things neurological. When I tried to explain Z-Health to them, I found my explanations woefully lacking anything meaningful to them.

My main point of this post is this: If you've been waiting to get involved with Z due to lack of scientific evidence supporting the system, I now understand your point of view. And I don't blame you. We're all wired differently. Keep on waiting, I'll make no judgments on your actions. If you're happy with what your doing, can prove it using current scientific knowledge, and your getting results, please drop me a line and let me know what you're doing. I'm always open for learning.

As for me, I'm still going to keep on using the system because I like the results and my clients like the results. I will start doing some more digging in the scientific literature, though.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Everything You Do Always Works... may just work against you.

One of the overarching principles of Z is "All the body, all the time." Which simply means, the body doesn't ever work in isolation on any level (neuro, musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory, endocrine, etc.). So one set to failure with 20 reps on the squat obviously affects more than just your legs. So does foam rolling. So does agility training. Etc, etc, etc.

I know an individual who's been through R- and I-Phase and says Z doesn't work. He obviously failed to grasp this concept. This is painfully obvious when you see him. He's skinny-fat, weak, has poor movement skills, poor flexibility, and a bad attitude. What he means to say is that Z hasn't worked for him the way he expected it to. Is there anything wrong with the system? No. That's obvious too when speaking with other individuals who have gotten the results they wanted not only with themselves, but with their clients too.

I learned this lesson early in my career. Alfonso, my weightlifting coach, is fond of saying, "Any system can work if applied properly." [Emphasis mine.] I think Steve Maxwell, former Sr.RKC had a similar saying, "It's how you put it together." So getting back to the aforementioned individual, it is apparent that he failed to apply the principles of Z correctly. It is my guess too that he has failed to apply many other principles correctly which would account for his appearance and attitude.

I would add to Alfonso's statement, "...for a little while." Then adaptation occurs, be it positive, or negative. That's the part we tend to forget. We focus on the short term: Which exercise will bring up hamstring strength for the deadlift? But we forget to ask if that exercise will transfer to the sporting event that we are trying to improve. In other words, yeah, your deadlift may increase due to this perceived lack of strength in the hamstrings, but will you run any faster?

This is why I'm glad I went to I-Phase. Clean, precise, fluid movement always makes you a better athlete. Always. It gives you more options. Michael Jordan was arguably the greatest basketball player who's ever lived. Who cares how fast he can run a 40 or how much he can hang clean? He could move. He could move better than his contemporaries. Whether that was under the basket, in the lane, in the air, all of the former while shooting, he had the best movement--he had the best use of his body.

Training with weights for a strength end is no different than training for any other sport. The deadlift for example, is made up of a bunch of smaller movements: Metatarsal extension, ankle plantar flexion, knee extension, hip extension, shoulder extension, etc. The more precise each one of these movements become, the stronger your deadlift will be. Makes sense. R-Phase gives you those tools.

So how do you get everything to work in your favor?
  1. Learn how to move again. I guarantee you that you are not moving as well as you could be or need to for your sport (which is life if you're not competing in a sport). R-Phase teaches you these basic isolated movements.
  2. Learn how to put the smaller movements together to form bigger movement. This is I-Phase.
  3. Study training methodology. Understand principles such as the SAID principle, the GAS theory, "supercompensation" and the "fitness-fatigue theory," progressive overload, and cycling. This is a good start.
  4. Keep things as simple as possible, but no simpler. This is where learning how to move again comes in very handy. Fancy periodized training programs aren't necessary if you don't know how to move. (I'll post more on this later when I post about Strongman training.)
Keep in mind that because of the "all the body all the time" principle, you may surprise yourself with the results you achieve from good, clean movement (more on this later too).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Blog Correction/Clarification

Yesterday, I made this statement:

"I can help my clients in ways (almost instantaneously) that no chiro, PT, or Orthopod can."

This was not meant to be a slap in the face to these professions. Each have their respective places. For example, I am not qualified to perform knee replacement surgery like an Orthopod or acute ACL rehab like a PT, which is a good thing, because I'd throw up if I had to perform a total knee on someone.

What I am saying is that many if not most ailments that people see the above professionals for, especially chronic ones like tennis elbow or even quad pulls, can be alleviated by teaching the client how to move his/her body to get out of pain and regain performance almost immediately with Z-Health drills. The body is a powerful machine and the nervous system is the thing that makes it all happen. If given the chance, the body will heal itself. Z gives the body that chance.

Hope that clarifies it.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It's Like Scales Falling From My Eyes...

I-Phase was really incredible. It totally put R-Phase into perspective. I can honestly say it was the best professional educational experience of my life so far (at least crammed into 4 days--Alfonso's weekly mentoring was pretty good too...). In fact, everything fell into perspective.

I/We learned just how much the nervous system controls everything from how fascia is wound and unwound to how you are what you think you are on a synaptical level (and you thought that old proverb wasn't really true: "As a man thinks in his heart so he is.").

With just a tape job on my patella and my adductor area I was able to squat truly pain free for the first time ever. I know I've said that before, but those were just a couple of reps. This was multiple sets of multiple reps. Here's the really cool part: my gait was changed as a result. (It's still changed two days later...)

Speaking of eyes, here are some of the things we learned about the eyes.

The muscles that control eye movements can actually become imbalanced. We learned a test to detect these. And then we learned how to correct the imbalances. This is important to know because if these imbalances/weaknesses exist, they affect how the body moves and what happens on the myofascial level. This means your eyes can set you up for structural imbalances and injuries without you even knowing it. Take home point (mine, not Dr. Cobb's): quit using the foam roller for tissue quality until you know if you have a visual problem. If you do, your body will wind your fascia in the opposite direction of your weakness.

The same holds true for the vestibular system: If you have an inner ear problem (and yes, we learned a test for this too) than the same holds true for the fascia. Take home point: Get off the foam roller.

We also learned how to determine if an imbalance is occurring on the fascial level and how to correct it. It's much easier than you think and yes I've corrected mine. Take home point: (all together now) Get off the foam roller.

[I don' know why I hate the foam roller so much. Oh yeah, now I remember--it never worked long term for me or my clients. And how many clients like pain as much as us muscle-heads? (Hint: not that many...)

OK, not only do you need to get off the foam roller, but Z-Health will make you rethink your corrective exercises. I no longer waste time with many of the traditional exercises like YTWLs for shoulders, bird dogs, dead bugs, hip bridges, planks, etc. Controversial for sure, but Z is truly like the Matrix: You can't experience it unless you take the red pill...which means you gotta suck it up, slap down the plastic, and go to R-Phase.]

We also learned that people with various forms of chronic pain usually manifest all of the above problems, one, two, or even all three of them (like yours truly used to...). This is important for anyone dealing with post-rehab patients and athletes, since we often perform in pain.

Those are just a few quick points.

I can honestly say I feel prepared to handle almost any type of client. I thought that before, but now I know it for sure. There was just so much great info in I-Phase. There was a lot of confirmation of my intuition.

The money I have spent with Z-Health, although seemingly expensive for both my wife and I, has been worth every penny. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. I can help my clients in ways (almost instantaneously) that no chiro, PT, or Orthopod can. Is that a bold statement? You betcha. How can I say that? Cause I've already helped clients by using Z that chiros, PTs, and Orthos couldn't. How would you like to say that?

Now go sign up for R-Phase and tell them I sent you.
Back From I-Phase

Still tired from I-Phase--just came back last night.

Here are some thoughts I'll be posting on some of these thoughts:
  1. I-Phase and instantaneous strength gains: rope climbing and deadlifting as examples
  2. Visual and Vestibular testing
  3. Neural Chunking
  4. Professional Strongman training

All of these ideas were a part of an amazing weekend.