Archive for injury prevention

LTAD and Going Through Puberty

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , on March 17, 2014 by razorsedgeperformance

I see a lot of parents and coaches, who concerned about the safety of ‘strength training’ for their children, choose to wait until after puberty before starting athletic development. Coaches may call this the end of Training to Train and the start of Training to Compete.

While I understand where everyone is coming from, there is a major piece to the puzzle missing. Once a child goes through puberty, coordination usually falls behind, because their limb lengths are now much bigger, and they didn’t know how to control the smaller ones!

Gaining coordination as a young child, whether resisted with external loading or not, is extremely important to avoid this awkward stage that sometimes comes about with puberty. Resistance training is not unsafe for children (assuming you are supervised by a qualified individual…) and athletic development coaches will want to see effective use of body weight first none the less.

If you want to be a well coordinated athlete who can stay injury proof through your teens, learning how to move and control your body before puberty is much more efficient than waiting!

If you want to talk performance, you are able to get strong and powerful SOONER!

Kids are allowed to run and jump all they want in sport without restrictions, so why are we afraid to allow them to learn how to control their bodies under supervision? Something is missing here…

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Becoming a Robot Part II….Improving Mobility

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , on February 21, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

Yesterday we talked about how mobility restrictions can really be hurting the way you move, which in turn can hold back your performances. Today i’ll share a few videos of things you can add into your dynamic warmup or interset rest periods to start enjoying the benefits of quality movement.

 

 

 

Try these out and see what happens!

 

It’s About Getting Better!

Stop! You’re becoming a robot

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by razorsedgeperformance

Somewhere along the line things got twisted. All of a sudden, the only thing that matters is strength. I’m seeing it all the time, guys are saying:”see how much I benched?? Squatted?”. Sure, strength development is important, but how did it become the be all and end all? I’ve written before about how important it is to learn – and become efficient at – proper movement patterns. This is something that the new strength-centric athletes are missing. When’s the last time you assessed your strengths and weaknesses? Guess what, it’s not a muscle group that’s lagging, it’s your mobility! If you’re anything like most of the young athletes I see these days, your flexibility and mobility suck and they’re holding you back. You have nobody to blame but yourself, I mean, everyone started out with great mobility and flexibility… (picked this up from a seminar)

can you still do this?

So why is it so important??

Look at it this way, mobility dictates positioning. This is what will allow you to go to end range and successfully complete movement patterns efficiently. A good example is a slingshot, since our muscles are like elastics. If you have a slingshot and you can barely pull back the band, does it make sense to make the band even stronger? The problem is, it actually gives it a slight improvement which is all the more misleading. A stronger band would probably improve performance slightly, but think about how much better it would be if you decided to focus on how you could pull the band back further? Attaining full range of motion will allow the elastic to build up more energy and allow the shot to be more accurate. This is how you need to treat your body. Stop focusing on getting stronger when you’ve got poor range of motion and terrible movement patterns.Enough is enough. Learn how to use your body more efficiently first, THEN you can increase your strength again.

If you’ve been sacrificing mobility and range of motion in the weight room (controlled environment), then how will you be able to magically pull it off in a high speed uncontrolled environment (sport)? Wake up and smell the roses. Take the next little while to focus on mobility and you’ll see yourself become more efficient, more effective and more injury resistant.

Come back tomorrow to see some different strategies and exercises to get you started on your path for better movement. Sometimes it just takes a more comprehensive dynamic warmup to help your body move properly for the following workout.

Added mobility has so many positive effects. Hypertrophy is increased when training through a full-range of motuon. Faulty movement patterns can lead to compensations, overuse of certain muscles and structures, then either knotted up muscles or possible tendinopathies. Increased mobility in key areas also allows you to be way more dynamic in all your movement. Do yourself a favour and do your next training session by a mirror and find out how you look going to full-depth in a squats, the start position of a deadlift, or the top of a pullup!

Remember,

It’s about getting better!

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!

Miracles are meant for the movies…

Posted in Health with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

I can never truly decide what people believe. I always assume that they don’t believe the commercials, the tabloids, and some of the daytime talk shows. Unfortunately, I think many still do. There is no acai berry secret weight loss diet. There is no grapefruit makes-my-belly-go-away diet. Body transformation is about making the difficult decisions on a daily basis, not miracles. Here are the major keys to changing the way you look, feel, and perform. You can’t follow one and not the others, they all interact together.

Don't even think about it

Nutrition – You can’t get lean without it, but you can stay lean with low levels of exercise if nutrition is spot on. Ask a professional for some input about the ways that you can manipulate your diet to enhance fat-burning, muscle building, and recovery. Once you get the ‘rules’, it’s about keeping disciplined. There will be at least one tough decision per day about a snack, or meal that you want to buy instead of eating at home, or eating something you packed. Those tough decisions are the ones that lead to great results. If you are willing to invest in your health and body, go here and buy their system. It is probably the best combination of educational materials about nutrition, rules to follow, cooking instructions, and of course delicious recipes. Don’t worry about calories, worry about eating quality foods with as few ingredients as possible! The portions will take care of themselves. One thing you want to avoid, is cutting out all fats. I know a lot of people do fat free in everything and get blinded by calories and grams of fat. There are essential fatty acids that your body needs on a regular basis. Also, making sure you have plenty of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids can actually promote fat loss, so keep them in your plan! [If you don’t ingest healthy fats in your diet, your body will assume you’re not getting any and hold on to the fat you have!]

Exercise – Everyone always wants that perfect fat-burning workout. There are many ways to skin a cat. I’m not saying that you can’t program for fat loss, but for most people, they don’t need to get too specific. It’s always about moving more and sitting less. Also, you could probably use a boost in intensity. Intervals over steady-state cardio might give you a big performance boost if you aren’t used to that type intensity from your conditioning work. Adding in a brisk walk every other day, especially in a fasted state (like before breakfast!) can do wonders for increasing fat loss during a transformation. For your weight training, there are a few different strategies that work. You can do circuits and complexes that essentially combine intervals with resistance training, or you can focus on hypertrophy and strength and just make sure you are doing some conditioning work later. Sometimes it takes introducing loads your body has never felt before to see change, whether its getting big or leaning out.

Recovery  – The biggest key to making exercise and physical activity a regular part of your life, is being able to recover optimally from each training session. Being sore and tired just discourages you from being active again. Invest in the little things like foam rollers, massage sticks, lacrosse balls, and stretching bands. Do this work regularly. It helps keep you injury free and reduces stress on the body’s tissues. You want to feel as good after you train as you did before, so that tomorrow you are excited and motivated to be active again. Contrast baths/showers are also effective, as are saunas and focused work from a soft-tissue specialist/manual therapist. Since most people should have a good list of dynamic warmup exercises to get them ready to train each day and maximize range of motion in their joints, having a workout where you cycle through all of these a couple times for 30 minutes is a great way to enhance recovery, practice certain athletic positions and improve blood flow throughout your body. If you want a good self-help guide to soft-tissue work, check out this amazing project.

Supplements – This is the one we’ve been waiting for. What is Kim Kardashian taking these days? Brad Pitt? Chaz Bono? Well, I’m not entirely sure, and at least one of them probably requires a prescription. This section is the most optional of them all. You can use certain supplements to help boost progress, but its the first category you can do without if you are on a budget or merely simplifying your approach. As always multivitamins should be a staple for anyone active. Cover your bases. Next is a decent protein powder. You should carry around 3-4 scoops in a ziploc bag or a piece of tupperware, so that you are ready in case you get hungry at a time when a snack isn’t packed. It’s also good when you are travelling, as you really only need water and a bottle to make it work. Fish oil pills or liquids provide those essential fatty acids I talked about earlier, which are very important for staying healthy and burning body fat. I highly recommend these ones. Green tea and green tea extract are helpful supplements, just remember the active ingredient, ECGC works synergistically with caffeine, so a good cup of brewed green tea is the best choice. Other than that, go check out this article to find out more about peri-workout nutrition.

The Good Stuff

Stress/Sleep – Finally, the more stress you carry, the harder it is to transform your body, therefore, meditate, drink tea, read, get a massage, and most importantly sleep. Sleep is where most of the body’s adaptation to exercise occurs, so it’s imperative that you get plenty of it. Don’t forget to smile. You get to choose whether a particular event will bum you out or if you’ll shrug it off and get back to work. Don’t take everything too seriously, it may be wearing your body down!

I know this one was a little long, i just wanted to remind all of you that when you are looking to accomplish something with your health and performance, it is important to remember that it is a JOURNEY, not a quick program or supplement. Live hypertrophy, live fat-loss, live high performance. You can’t have it both ways. Plan for it all!

It’s About Getting Better!

The King of Exercises

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

I’d love to start this off by saying how important deadlifts are for increasing strength and power, which translates directly to speed on the field, ice, and track. Here at REP that’s not our style though. What is more important about deadlifting is how crucial it is for EVERYBODY to move better and restore balance to your body. It is crucial to get out of constant hip flexion by introducing the best hip extension exercise. It combines a hip hinge and a squat pattern, two basic moves that everybody should master for physical literacy, yet with most clients, these are missing. If you aren’t comfortable doing a deadlift, or aren’t 100% sure you are GREAT at them, go see a pro and get some work in. If the deadlift is the ‘King of Exercises’ then a poorly executed deadlift just might be the ‘Kingpin of Exercises’, the mob boss responsible for crime and destruction on the streets…or your tissues…

The Basics

You want to set up behind the bar with feet about shoulder width apart. This stance should be more narrow than a squat. The bar should be right up to your shins. Play around with your grip (you can use double overhand or alternating grip… I’d suggest staying with double overhand until it starts to get too heavy) width to find what feels most comfortable.

The Setup

I just gave you the basics of positioning, so now let’s talk approach. From a standing position, make sure your chin is tucked down and core is engaged. Next, sit down a little bit, like a quarter squat, by pushing the hips back. Then you will hinge at the hip and place your hands on the bar. You should be looking at a spot on the ground about 3-4 feet in front of you, not at your feet.

The Lift

When you are executing the lift, there are 3 things that we absolutely don’t want. First, is your hips and shoulders rising separately. This will put a ton of strain on your back if your hips pop up, then your shoulders start to come up. Second is any major lumbar flexion throughout the lift. A lot of times, if your hips pop up first, then you are likely going to go into lumbar flexion, since your spinal erectors are rarely strong enough to lift the weight on their own. Third is an exaggeration at the lockout position of lumbar extension or cervical extension. You do not need to lean back to make sure it’s complete. Your shoulders should not end up behind your bum (looking from the side). We are looking for hip extension, not lumbar extension. Full hip extension should leave you locked out in a straight line, head to toe. With the neck, some people look way up to the sky for this same purpose. Don’t do it. Leave the chin tucked and the neck in neutral.

One of my favourite cues for having a well-coordinated lift off, is to try ‘pre-lifting’ the upper back/shoulders. This tends to give the stiffness in the arms and upper body that you need to ensure your legs do most of the lifting.

Here are a couple of videos that you can look at to help give you an idea of what to do…

(Unfortunately the above video was filmed before I understood the importance of neck packing; the chin should be tucked more than it is in this video for a straighter spine)

RECAP

Some key points about deadlifting…

  • A 2x body weight deadlift is the bare minimum for any elite athlete.
  • Anybody who lifts regularly, no matter the age or athletic status, should be able to deadlift body weight
  • You do not need to go into hard lumbar extension to exaggerate the finish.
  • You can put serious mass on through your legs and upper back with deadlifts
  • If you don’t use straps, your grip strength will fly through the roof!
  • They do contribute greatly to the ability to jump and sprint
  • They are probably the best full-body posture exercise out there

If you don’t deadlift, start now. Get someone to look at your technique. Learn how a good deadlift FEELS then you can start progressing up in weight. Make them a cornerstone of your programming.

It’s About Getting Better!

A basket full of goodies…

Posted in Health, Performance with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2011 by razorsedgeperformance

Howdy here…I decided I had a whole bunch of things in my mind that I wanted to touch on, so i’ll make a bit of a summary post with some good tidbits I hope…I’ve been working with some tweens the past few weeks running a Sport Performance camp; It has been a ton of fun, but also a little exhausting. I thought it would negatively impact my training and lean body mass, but oddly enough I’ve been adding some lean muscle lately. While I do definitely feel like my lifts are less explosive, I’ve been hovering above 183lbs lately, at a body fat around 9%. Considering I had been stuck around 179-181lbs in the last 4-6 weeks, I am definitely happy with the progress. On to the other thoughts…

– If you are a recreational weightlifter who can squat 3 plates with some good depth, HUGE thumbs up… It’s not easy to do…having said that though, if you seem to come out of the hole with decent strength BUT fold in half like a chair, giving you a ton of spinal flexion, then all is for naught. Take a plate off and make sure you are doing a proper squat. Totally unacceptable to have that kind of leg strength and atrocious technique or corresponding lack of core strength. Do your best to workout with a reliable partner, who is not afraid to tell you when your lifts look like garbage or hire a professional to put you through a workout every couple months. If they are worth the cost (which they should be!) then they can help clean up techniques or give you ways to do it yourself. I guarantee you’ll learn something, so it’s worth the price.

– I just got directed to a website made by Canadian trainer and strength coach Brad Pilon (HERE ) and it really made me think. I am not here to say one way or another whether or not this book may have some merit, especially since I haven’t read it. However, It does raise some questions with me though. I happen know a lot of graduate students, university professors and researchers who do studies on different supplement ingredients and protocols that have had positive findings and AREN’T on the bankroll of supplement companies. I wholeheartedly agree that there is no black and white as it comes to protein ingestion and how your body will respond. There are so many factors when it comes to physical adaptation that its hard to guarantee anything! From looking at the site, I just think he may be trying a little too hard to produce shock value, but I also understand he’s probably put a ton of good work into a product that he wants to sell…just something to think about.

– From the last few weeks working with kids in the 13 to 16 year old range, I can say for certain how important proper movement patterns need to be reinforced at this age. Every kid wants a chance to do bench press, squats, and deadlifts, but most of them have very little ability to control much of their body during movement.  If you are coaching kids at this age, do the world a favour and stand your ground! When they ask to try something that’s only going to build on their dysfunctions, just say NO! If they don’t care the reasons, then just don’t give them the options.

– I am really loving Cytosport right now. I am extremely glad that they have taken the initiative to be a company that provides products that athletes can count on as being 100% clean(NSF tested). There are so many supplement companies that it’s hard to say whose products are better than others in terms of quality. You’d probably have to take them all into a lab and break them down and I don’t have the resources for that…so let’s assume they are all in a similar range. Cytosport’s new line is also trying to eliminate all of their previous usage of ‘proprietary blends’ and focus on quality ingredients. This makes it much easier to qualify the expected physiological effect of its use. Between a renewed focus on quality and the peace of mind of being clean and safe, we at REP are currently on the Cytosport bandwagon, and happy to sell their line of products!! Email us if you have any more questions!

That’s it for now…It’s About Getting Better!

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