Archive for foam rolling

5 Tools for 2012

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , on December 31, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

The holidays are over, it’s time to wake up. The food coma you’ve been in for the last 2 weeks is starting to wear off. The guilt is piling up almost as high as the holiday calories. It’s bad; you know it, I know it. The easy part? That was 2011. See what I did there? A fresh start for everyone.

A new year brings new goals and new ideas. There’s no better time to take your training game to a new level. This is where the title comes into play; below you will find a list of 5 training tools that can help you achieve your new goals in 2012.

1. 
Gymboss Interval Timer

The gym boss is an interval timer. Timing is crucial to training. Too little rest, your strength won’t return, too much rest, your heart rate returns to normal. No matter what your training goal is, a timer will be bring a consistency you’ve never been able to achieve before. Oh and if you’re looking to start interval training (hiit), this is probably the best interval timer on the market.

2. Multipurpose band

Iron Woody Stretch Bands

Besides a good timer, this might be the most versatile piece of equipment in your training bag. A good multi purpose Band can be used for strength, flexibility/mobility, warmup and explosive work.

3. Foam Roller

Maybe you have tried it, maybe you haven’t. We’ve talked about foam rollers before and other self-massage tools in the past, check them out here (Part 1 and Part 2). Not only is it a great tool for recovery from a good workout, it is also important for establishing good tissue quality as well as restoring proper length-tension relationships throughout your body. Issues relating to poor posture always require two things. The mobilization and release of the tight muscles that are causing restrictions, as well as the activation of the weak muscles that aren’t pulling their weight. Foam rolling is crucial for the release/mobilization aspect.

4. Grip4orce or fat gripz

Fat Gripz

While most people will credit the big movers for the majority of strength in things like pullups, bench press, and deadlifts, it is the grip that will hold you back from hitting that PR. The harder you can squeeze a bar, the more force you can put into it. If you have ever felt your grip fail during a set of deadlifts, you can recall how much your grip affects the whole lift. It is not just a matter of the bar slipping out of your fingers, but you lose your upper back, then your lower back, and finally your legs. When your grip is failing there is a reflex for the rest of your muscles to start turning off as well like a chain reaction. By using tools such as the Grip4orce or Fat Gripz, you can turn any bar or dumbell into a thick bar, constantly building your grip strength with every exercise.

5. Skipping rope

This is the best piece of equipment for cardio after your own legs. If sprinting is the king of conditioning exercises, then skipping is a prince. It is much more effective than jogging or biking (don’t even bring up the elliptical), and can be done virtually anywhere you have 8 or 9 feet of ceiling clearance. You can carry around a skipping rope all the time, and just break out the Gymboss to get a good interval workout in. If you haven’t skipped since grade 4, don’t worry, it comes back quick. Getting up to 45-60 secs straight with the rope is mostly about coordination and timing. After 60 seconds, it is all fitness!

If you still plan on doing some holiday shopping for yourself, then get these tools that will make your body and health a priority!

Most of these items can be found at Rogue Canada.

It’s About Getting Better!

Breaking Down Barriers

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

We talk ad nauseum about different strategies to get the results you need for improved performance. Sometimes you need to spend more time working out, and sometimes you need to cut back on your time but increase your intensity. For a lot of people, both of these strategies become too much. We break down and become exhausted and possibly injured. You know the more often you work hard, the better you become, but your performance reduces drastically as the week goes on. So what to do?

                                                                                                                       

Here are 5 strategies to increase the frequency of high intensity work.

1)  Build Your Stabilizers.

     By this I am simply talking about 3 major areas that control much of your movement. Upper back (scapulae) region, hips, and core are very important areas to build up some strength to keep you healthy. If you cant use these areas properly, you will never have enough stability to maintain proper posture during major lifts. Also, these tend to be the muscles that get overloaded first with a hard workout. If they aren’t strong, they will be sore all week and keep you from repeating some lifts later in the week.

2) Dynamic Warmup.

   A great dynamic warmup helps open up all of the joints that you jam up while sitting at your desk all day. It stretches certain muscles, activates others and teaches you appropriate movement patterns. Add in the benefit of increasing body temperature, and you have a great foundation for a great lift.

3) Post-Workout Shake.

Very few people take advantage of the post-workout nutrition window. If you don’t know what to mix, find a premixed solution like EAS Myoplex, Cytosport Musclemilk, or Dymatize Xpand Post. If you take in the right nutrients post-workout, you improve your rate of rehydration, glycogen replenishment, and muscle synthesis. Add these 3 things together and you’ll improve the way you feel and perform the day after a good workout.

4) Self-Massage.

Whether it is a foam roller, The Stick, a tennis ball, or TriggerPoint Therapy products, self-massage does amazing things for recovery. First, the pressure on your muscles from the different implements provides a relaxation effect to lower the resting tension in the desired area. Second, the act of massage improves blood flow to the area, clearing out the byproducts of exercise and bringing in fresh nutrients and oxygen. Not only is this good to keep the muscles you just used from getting overly tight or sore, it is also a great way to work on some of your postural issues. Think of it as me time, to keep your body primed for action.

5)  Nutrition.

If you want to do quality work, feed your body with quality food. Don’t look at the people who are already 6% bodyfat and eat at mcdonald’s for your nutrition recommendations. They do well DESPITE their diet, not because of it. If their body is burning up fuel like its nobody’s business, then they can even use junk as an energy source with little negative effect. You’d be kidding yourself though if you thought that they wouldnt benefit from nutrient rich, quality foods instead. Don’t waste your time. Eat well.

Do the behind-the-scenes work if you want to train hard ALL WEEK. 4-6 weeks of quality work can bring some absolutely amazing results to anybody!! It’s About Getting Better.

Razor’s Edge is Representing

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

It’s official: Razor’s Edge Performance is going to bring some awesome to the National Invitational Combine in Toronto this coming friday. I’d like to wish Willie and Mario luck in showing off their athleticism and skills for the attending CFL scouts. Both of these guys have been working their tails off and we’re proud to say they train with Razor’s Edge Performance.

Not only do we have athletes showing themselves off and measuring up to competition this week, in a way we’re also doing the same. This is our first year doing combine prep with CIS players. This is exciting because it’s a whole different type of training. Training an athlete over a long offseason for their sport is much different than a 2 month intensive program for a specific battery of tests. Not only is strength and power essential but the technical aspect of all of the tests cannot be overlooked. These athletes are training for agility, power, top end speed, lateral speed, explosiveness, as well as a significant mental component. That’s a lot of different things to try and focus on in such a short period of time! Due to the strenuous nature of this type of training, recovery is crucial. That’s why it’s important to have our guys eating and drinking well as well as taking care of their soft tissue, mobility and flexibility.

For those of you who don’t follow football or the scouting aspect, you now have an idea of the immense effort needed for such a short time. This is essentially the biggest job interview of their life thus far and depending on their success, may be the only one. The days are winding down and we’re excited to see Willie and Mario show off all their hard work. Look forward to a post next week with their results and other observations from the NIC and CFL E-Camp this coming weekend.

NOTE: Here’s a video of Willie’s results at the NIC.

Remember,
It’s About Getting Better!

In-Season Maintenance

Posted in Performance with tags , , , , , on October 11, 2010 by razorsedgeperformance

The fall marks an important point for most sports. This is the overlap between many summer and fall sports that are finishing up with the winter sports that are just beginning. We can already see a big difference between the two: the winter athletes are in peak physical condition and the fall athletes are trying to survive the full season. There’s such a focus on off season strength and speed development that athletes and trainers forget about the important aspects of in season maintenance. No matter how big or strong an athlete gets, it makes absolutely no impact if they’re injured. Thus, the focus of any in season maintenance program should be directed at injury prevention and maintenance. Here are 5 tips to help you or your athletes get the most out of their hard work in the off season.

Diet and Nutrition
One of the biggest differences between off season and in season for most athletes is an increased volume of competition. For professionals this means more games or practices but for student-athletes work and school can also be factored in. This increased calorie expenditure can have a very bad effect on weight management, especically loss of muscle mass. For this reason, full recovery between games or practices is essential for a competing athlete. As is always the case, protein is extremely important for recovery, however, complex carbohydrates become much more important in season for fuel as well as glycogen restoration. An athlete’s in season diet should have a much higher intake of carbohydrates than their off season diet. As far as liquids go, water becomes increasingly important since dehydration is one of the biggest performance killers. Although no one wants to hear it, alcohol should be eliminated for its numerous performance degrading symptoms.

Get Cold
I’m here to tell you that you can make the club from the tub. That’s right, get into a cold tub after practice or competition to help preserve your body through the long season. Using ice or an ice tub after intense bouts of athletics can help reduce inflammation and thus improve recovery for the next practice or game. This is especially important if you begin to notice small injuries: tightness, bruising, charlie horses. It’s important to keep in mind that inflammation and other byproducts of exercise will stay in your muscles until you clear them out. Getting on these early will help minimize the effect they may have on your season.

Get Loose
One reason the competition season is hard on the body is that it usually consists of very high volumes of repeated movement patterns. This can lead to all kinds of injuries and problems. Be proactive and spend significant amounts of time stretching and taking care of soft tissue. Getting massages or foam rolling can help limit knots and trigger points. Muscle pulls occur above or below a knot, so remove the knot to eliminate the risk of muscle pulls and tears. Don’t forget about joint mobility, maintaining range of motion throughout both your joints and muscles will keep an athlete healthy and performing at their best.

*Learn more about this in our “Art of Self-Massage” series

You Snooze, You Win?
How many times have you heard about getting adequate sleep? Hopefully enough that I shouldn’t have to get too specific about why it’s important. The competition season adds an incredible amount of stress to an athlete, napping and getting adequate sleep will help reduce stress and keep energy levels high throughout the season. Also, don’t forget how important sleep is for important things like growth hormone and testosterone; Keeping these hormones high will be very beneficial to your performance. Another aspect I have yet to mention is the mental game, that aspect many people discuss that’s so difficult to quantify. Make sure you or your athlete has blocks of time set aside to clear your head from sports or school. This can be through reading, meditation or listening to music. Don’t forget the important connection between the mind and body.

Keep Training
For some, the competition season is only 2 months, but for others it can be as long as 6-8 months. You’ve been training aggressively for the entire off season specifically to improve body for competition. If you stop training, you’ll minimize the positive effects you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Firstly, you want to make sure you continue your strength training to avoid any losses in strength, power, and muscle mass which may occur during the season. On top of that however, there’s nothing stopping you from continuing to improve throughout the season. Make sure to speak to a qualified trainer or strength coach in order to direct your in season training. There’s a very fine line between improving and over training, especially during the competition phase. Don’t flush away the pipes or six pack you worked so hard to achieve in your offseason.

These 5 tips are meant to focus on one specific thing: this is meant to be your peak, you should be doing anything and everything possible to make sure you’re at your absolute best. Taking care of these 5 things I’ve set out will go a very long way in making sure that you can do just that, maintain your peak. Don’t forget, it’s About Getting Better!

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