Friday, October 29, 2010

Pain Relief and Active Recovery for Your Legs

Maintain your training volume and intensity

SMR or self myo-facial release... we've all heard it thrown around in the gym, box or otherwise, but how can it really help us AND is 3-5 minutes of rolling around on the ball really going to make us bigger, faster, and stronger?  There is a lot of things we can do in 5 minutes, including a shit-ton of entire WOD's, so why spend the time?  After all, we've got photos to post...

Here's why:
Have you ever felt your IT Band? Do you really know what it does and why we should keep it healthy?
While seated, probe and feel the outside of your legs.  Now, stand up and tap it with a couple fingers. Kinda feels like a long skinny trampoline, doesn't it? Well, that trampoline can get wound a little too tight sometimes from repeated use; inhibiting it's ability to act as a shock absorber for your knees and hips. This can cause limited range of motion and quickness, as well as leaving you increasingly susceptible to more acute injuries... and some nice "recovery" time.

But there is a help!  Using self myo-fascial release (aka "rolling out") along with appropriate stretching and timely devised corrective exercise can really make a difference.

Here is the Rx to running faster and jumping higher:

If you can take the pain... do one set on each side and either roll on it for 30seconds or find the most tender point and flex and extend your knee for 20-25reps.  Do this daily before training, strength, MetCon or otherwise...
If you need an easier route... use a softer medball or foam roller and perform for at least 90seconds on each side.  Combine rolling and pausing for that entire duration because you should feel less pain and sensitivity with repeated application.

...To your happy release!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Squatting Alternative

Increase starting strength on one leg

Back squatting, front squatting, and other ground based movements are a must for any athlete serious about getting stronger.  If your an athlete that needs to run/sprint/jump/changing direction than you must also make time and energy for some uni-lateral exercises and lifts too.  The neuro-muscluar benefits are all there, plus it can add years to your low back and hips.
I really committed to more one legged and split squatting after I popped a high hammy back way back when.  The Bulgarian Suspended Split Squat is more on the advanced side of uni-lateral squatting movements - but if you maintain slow tempo and stay conservative on your range of motion, even a beginner can enjoy this exercise.  This version is nice as a specific warm-up exercise, use in a circuit or for strength and power development for the more experienced lifters.

For Warm-up do 1-2sets of 8-12reps on each leg using only body weight.  Rest as needed.  Tempo: first set slow up/down, second set slow going down and a little more explosive coming up)
For Beginners during a workout do 3 sets of 15 reps on each leg again with only body weight.  Rest 1min rest between sets. Tempo: keep it slow there rookie - if you want it tougher, then go down reeeeeeeeeeeeealy slow)
For the Advanced athlete during a workout - let's plan for 5 total sets in a modified pyramid. 
              Set #1 - 8reps each leg @ body weight.  Rest 1min.  Tempo: 2210
              Set #2 - 6reps each leg @ 15% of back squat max. Rest 90s. Tempo: 2211
              Set #3 - 6reps each leg @ 25% of back squat max. Rest 90s. Tempo: 2011
              Set #4 - 4reps each leg @ 35% of back squat max. Rest 2m. Tempo: 20X1
              Set #5 - 3reps each leg @ 40% of back squat max. Rest= Stretch glutes/hammies. Tempo: 20X1
BTW: if you don't understand the Tempo #s than you're not advanced yet, get after that beginner workout!      

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Speed Ladder... Animal Style

Get your quickness training to transfer

Fast, low, nasty and just slightly outta control - that's how I coach the speed ladder.  None of this packaged, technique, fluffy stuff that in no way resembles how an athlete really moves.  I'm all in favor of learning how to do things correctly and gaining confidence and establishing rhythm - but when that's on the level, hammer down baby!

FAST - Get through the drill with break-neck speed.  This ensures that your arms are moving quick.  And when arms move quick, your feet (via the legs) move quick!
LOW - Barely get your feet over the ladder/web.  This ensures they get down quick and you can push to redirect.  If you're teaching high knees in the ladder - then you've got the wrong piece of equipment, get the hurdles out instead.  For the ladder, focus is on frequency as it relates to your ability to interact with the ground.  The feet hug the ground and push in with appropriate and necessary force to get the job done.  The best athletes do this when reacting and changing direction.
NASTY - Get aggressive and chew the earth and equipment up.  When did touching a ladder with your foot signify performance failure?  I'll tell ya when, when a lazy coach didn't feel like resetting the equipment - that's when!  Think about it - do you stop competing when you trip, stumble, or even get knocked on your ass?  That's a rhetorical question - "train the way your going to fight" and Charlie Mike ("complete the mission") as we say at the Academy.
SLIGHTLY OUTTA CONTROL - Just short of creating a complete yard sale - progress thru these drills with borderline reckless abandon.  You should be falling forward with your feet forced to catch up to your body.  This is where and when the actual transferable training effect occurs.

Here's a 1min demo - Never Stop...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gym Etiquette

What to do in the gym, weight room, box, dojo, etc. to keep yourself welcome

Some folks just don't get it.  There's just something about them that makes their presence just a little off-putting.  At their best, they mark their territory (don't worry it's only sweat) and at their worst they outright give people the creeps.  A small percentage of this group are inconsiderate DBs.  However, most offenders are just making honest mistakes.  For whatever reason, they never learned from any parental modeling or had no high school sports experience whatsoever.  No judgement here - but let's help them out without singling them out.  Hate the sin, not the sinner.
For added measure let's ensure these guidelines get deep into the brains.  So instead of telling people NOT to do something, I will (hopefully clearly) tell them what TO DO instead.  Because as we all know, the subconscious mind only remembers in the affirmative.  And - I also like putting my own "shoe up the ass" sort of spin on things too.  Here goes...

1. Return all equipment back to where you found it
Race all equipment back to the place you found it immediately after you're done with an exercise.  All plate trees, dumbbell racks, medball shelves, band hooks, even the corner that acts as a hangar for the kettle bells are finish lines for an secret society of an underground racing league.  You've seen "Fight Club," "Eyes Wide Shut," and "The Skulls" - amateurs compared to these badasses.  Don't believe me - that's fine, you wouldn't have been able to hang anyway.
2. Clean up your sweat
Human sweat futures have risen consistently over the last few years despite all other economic hardships - collect it in bunches while the gettin's good.  Exercise and training just seem to pull it right out of ya - sure you'll go nuts trying to grab every drop, but keep your attention on large pools that seem to accumulate underneath you and especially on equipment you have just used.  Vacating without sopping up and you run the risk of the next person stealing your precious crystal-clear gold.  Stay vigilant instead and protect your investment.
3. Respect others' training space and focus
Stay out of reach of anyone who is lifting, jumping, running, or doing any type of exercise for that matter.  The same goes for direct line of site and being within hearing range of anything over 70 perceivable decibels.  Research shows that performance gains increase by over 33%, body fat decreases by around 28%, and mating opportunities nearly tripled for both the exerciser and (strangely enough) for all persons abiding by this "halo" rule.  I'll avoid scratching your back if you avoid scratching mine.
4. Training comes 1st; being a nuisance comes... never
Staring at others working out can make you go blind.  Little known fact, but it does appear to be true.  Everyone checks a glimpse of his or her mates from time to time - nothing wrong with that, in fact that is encouraged.  What's dangerous is the long, nearly unwavering glare - this is the cause of the problem for certain.  It must be the same phenomenon that is responsible for causing four uninterrupted hours of hiccups after being over-complimentary to someone's physique whom you barely know or when your stool turns green after asking another relative stranger to write a workout for you.  Crazy shit, right!
5. Kindly leave the high traffic areas when you're finished
Your mate, kids, friends, pets, TV all miss you very much - stop standing around idling after your workout and get your butt home to enjoy the other good things in life.  Avoid rushing or hurrying, but strive for quickness.  There's no need to hold up a wall, occupy dead space, or fog up the glass anymore today; fear not -  the next group's got it covered.

Coach Giz