Archive for October, 2010
Improve you Starting Position for the Deadlift with the Exercise of the Week
The active straight leg raise is a great exercise for improving the mobility necessary to perform a proper deadlift. When combined with the gray cook band it also teaches the athlete to keep the upper back tight during their movement.
The active straight leg raise is performed while lying on the ground (supine). This ensures the athlete’s low back will remain neutral the whole time. It is much harder to compensate by using the lower back when on the floor and will help the athlete learn to get their range of motions from their hip mobility rather than lumbar mobility.
The athlete will then proceed to grab the handles of the cook band (or other band with handles if a cook band is not available) and perform a straight arm pull over to the floor. The athlete should be squeezing their upper back tightly as well as bracing the abdominals. This creates tension in the lats and in the core and will help stabilize the lumbar spine when performing the movement.
The athlete will hold the bottom position of the pull over while performing the movement. This will ensure there is tension throughout the entire range of motion. The athlete will then flex one hip(bring their leg off the ground) as high as he or she can without changing position in their low back. The athlete will then extend their hip(put their leg back down on the floor) and release the pullover with the band. It is important to note the exercise is called the active straight leg raise so makes sure the athlete’s legs remain straight for the entire duration of the set. Repeat for a desired number of repetitions. You will notice sometimes the athlete will get better during their set and increase their range of motion.
This is a great exercise for teaching to keep tension in the lats and abdominals for deadlifting as well as to help gain the necessary hip mobility required to deadlift properly. It can be used as a warm up or as an exercise in between sets of other strength work. If you do not have a band you can still perform the exercise, but it just won’t be as effective. If you don’t have a band, think about performing the pull over through the floor in order to active and create tension through the lats.
The active straight leg raise with the cook band is a fantastic exercise for improving performance and health! Give it a try and let me know what you think!
You’ve heard of a green thumb. But how about green knees?
Could be a good way to describe the youthful knees of a green-tea devotee. Potent compounds in green tea — EGCG and ECG – may help battle cartilage and collagen destruction in arthritic joints
The EGCG and ECG found in green tea are powerful flavonoids known as catechins. Seems these particular catechins may help fight inflammation, as well as some of the underlying mechanisms at work in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
A Better Plan?
Of course, drinking a few cupfuls of green tea each day is no guarantee against knee pain, so here are a few of the more
tried-and-true methods for keeping knees healthy:
•Lose weight if you are overweight. Excess pounds raise your risk of knee arthritis.
•Play it safe. A knee injury will triple your risk of knee osteoarthritis.
When you exercise, take proper precautions to avoid getting hurt.
•Strengthen your glutes and quads. Weak quadriceps muscles are associated with knee arthritis, so work them out regularly, along with other leg muscles. Often times if the glutes and the muscles in the hips are weak other joints such as the low back and knee will have to compensate and thus can cause knee pain.
Five Ways to Break the Exercise Plateau
By Barbara Brenseke
“What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us. Jean-Paul Sartre” 1905-1980, Writer and Philosopher
Does this sound familiar? You’ve been exercising for two or three months and things are going great. You’re consistent, working up a sweat and using muscles you forgot you had. Your body fat is dropping and your energy is increasing. People are starting to comment on your changes, and you’re not even worried about those occasional decadent moments when you go off your diet. You’re so active, it just doesn’t matter.
Life is good. Then, boom! You miss a day of exercise because something “comes up.” You miss another day because something else “comes up.” You experience a string of these days and then finally return to your exercise program. However, your resolve only lasts a day or two, and soon you’re not looking forward to your workouts with the same enthusiasm. In fact, your workouts seem like a monumental struggle. Workouts become a thing of the past, you’re eating more junk food and clothes start to fit tighter — ughhh! I have news for you: everyone experiences a plateau.
For some it may be two months, some six months or longer. It doesn’t matter — everyone experiences it. Before you throw in the towel, know there is a solution to this dreaded dilemma. In fact, there are numerous solutions. The key is your plan of attack to counter it. Here are some sure-fire methods to help you break an exercise plateau.
1. Get a workout partner. Find someone who has similar goals and try to work out with this person at least twice per week. If you know you have to meet someone at a specific time, you’re bound to be accountable.
2. Hire a personal trainer. You’ll get the benefit of a structured workout program, as well as someone to monitor your progress and motivate you to achieve a fit body.
3. Plan a vacation to a warm climate. Like a destination where you can have fun and snorkel, swim, bike ride or go hiking.. Also, write down a few goals related to what you want your body fat, scale weight and measurements to be when you go on the trip. Planning for your vacation will be a constant source of motivation.
4. Join a club. There are many runners and walkers clubs, charity walk events, etc. Find one that appeals to you. The camaraderie and scheduled activities will be something you look forward to
5. Plan your meals for the week. Try to cook healthy foods in advance. This sets the stage for nutritional success and is a deterrent to the “I’ll just pick up a burger and fries” mentality. Allowing yourself some liberties on the weekends — but planning your meals for the week — will further guarantee success without suffering.
6. Work out in the morning. I know it may be inconvenient and you have to get up earlier, but if you can manage three morning workouts per week you’ll accomplish several things. You’ll stimulate your metabolism for the rest of the day, decrease your appetite and, most importantly, start your day with success!
Rohan Murphy Finds a Way to Win… at life!
Rohan Murphy lost his legs as a very young child. He lost his legs do to a many birth defects.
Murphy who grew up raised in East Islip. Rohan never let his disability affect him mentally or physically. He was a very good wrestler in high school and even eventually went on to compete at Penn State. Now that he is done he still does powerlifting competitions (bench press) to keep his competitive spirit alive. Murphy personal competition bench record is lifted 350 pounds and his goal is 400.
Murphy tries to spread the message that hard work really does pay off and don’t let any physical or mental limitations hold you back. He really likes going to schools, where he will tell the story of his life.
Just to recap Murphy does all of this WITHOUT legs. He has NO hip joint on one side and HALF a hip joint on the other.
One of his old friends, Dan Rocklein, recalled a time when Murphy beat his teammates in a sprint during conditioning at wrestling practice. Keep in mind he was RUNNING ON HIS HANDS!
“I’ll never forget coach screaming, He’s got NO legs and he BEAT you? Do it again.”
Murphy does not use prosthetics. Instead, he uses his powerful arms to get around.
Murphy is a newly certified as a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym in Islip as well. He is using modified equipment to encourage other amputees or disabled people to work out.
Rohan Murphy can find a way to train and be successful even with no legs. Most of us are very fortunate to have BOTH legs, but often times people find excuses on why we can’t accomplish our goals. Stay positive and committed and YOU WILL find a way to succeed.
Don’t make excuses and find a way to train and be the best you can be.
Train Hard and Smart
Improving Starting position for the Deadlift with the Exercise of the Week
By John Gaglione
The RDL Stretch is a great way to stretch out after a deadlift workout. It will stretch out the hamstrings as well as the muscles in the upper back. The position used in the RDL Stretch can also be utilized for teaching lat tightness for the deadlift.
The athlete will sit back and assume a position as if he or she we start to deadlift. The athlete should feel a gentle stretch in the hamstrings. This usually means the athlete’s hips are maximally flexed. The athlete will then put their hands on top of a rigid object or table with the palms facing down. The elbows should be locked out the entire time. An exercise machine works well in most cases for this, but use whatever is available to you. The coach can have the athlete put their hands on top of his or her hands as well if no object is available.
The athlete will “pull down” aggressively on the object and they should feel their lats get tight. Some coaches’ cue their athletes to feel like there are trying to squeeze a towel between their armpit and their side. This isometric (static) contraction of the athlete will allow the lifter to get the tightness necessary to get in a perfect starting position for the deadlift. This is also a perfect time to explain to the athlete the arms are simply “hooks” for the deadlift. The athlete should not “yank” the bar to start the deadlift. The arms are a means of transferring power through the legs. Having a tight upper back will help do this.
The RDL Stretch is a great way to stretch the hamstring and teach skills for the deadlift. When used as a stretch the athlete can passively pull their shoulder blades down and back and get a stretch in the hamstrings and lats. When used as a teaching drill the athlete should actively pull their shoulder blades down and back and think about performing a straight arm pull down. This can be usefully when teaching tightness in the lats as well as teaching the elbows should be locked out for the entire set.
Here is a picutre of the RDL stretch below.
Give the RDL stretch a try and see what you think.
10 Energy-Boosting Foods
Fatigue is not fun. Worry, frustration, resentment, lack of sleep, anxiety, illness and poor diet are the top causes. Even mild forms of exhaustion can weigh heavy on our emotional and physical well-being. Luckily, our bodies are extremely resilient and many times we can conquer weariness by making a few dietary changes. While most of us suffer from fatigue some of the time, there are millions who suffer from it all of the time.
Exhaustion is one of the most common complaints brought to doctors. According to a recent National Sleep Foundation
poll, one in five Americans say they’re so sleepy during the day it interferes with their activities. Fortunately, one of the best ways to fight fatigue is with energy-boosting foods,
Quick Energy Boosters:
The quickest energy is from carbohydrates. That’s the body’s first preferences for energy. Did you ever hear about carbohydrate loading? That’s what marathon runners do when they run a long race, they carb load. The reason they do that is because your body’s first preference for fuel is from stored carbohydrate, and you store carbohydrate as glycogen in your muscles and your liver. For quick energy, you want to have glycogen stored and that comes from things like:
Vegetables, Whole-grain Cereals, 100-percent fruit juice,. Dried fruit, Fresh fruit
“If you’re really hungry and you want some quick energy, there’s no better choice than eating some fruit. Rather than drinking a sugary drink, eat a piece of fruit. You’re going to get your carbohydrates and you’re also going to get your fiber and vitamins and minerals.”
Sustained Energy Boosters:
“A balance of nutrients is really what’s going to give you sustained energy because your body digests protein, fats and carbohydrates differently. In other words, you can eat them all at the same time but they are all going to be processed differently. Carbohydrates start being digested in your mouth, protein starts in your stomach and fat doesn’t start until it reaches your intestines.
That’s why foods that are combinations of nutrients give you sustained energy.” Some good combinations choices include: Nuts, Whole-grain pasta, Turkey or peanut butter on whole-grain bread.
Who said you can only have a sandwich at lunch? If you eat a sandwich in the morning for breakfast made up of protein, carbohydrate and a little fat, you might make it to lunch without being hungry. But if you eat only carbohydrates in the morning without anything else (like if you eat just a sweet roll, which is mostly just sugar and white flour), chance are you’ll be hungry in a few hours.”
Drink Up and Perk Up Water:
“The No. 1 thing I always think about is water. When people don’t drink enough
water and they aren’t hydrated all, their functions are out of choke. They might
misinterpret hunger for being really thirsty. Energy is dependent on all the
metabolic functions running properly and the No. 1 ingredient for that is water.”
“Caffeine is natural. Skip the mocha chino with lots of cream and sugar. There is
nothing bad about it, it perks you up, gets you going and keeps you more
mentally alert. The secret is not drinking too much.”
Biggest Mistake In Your Fitness Plan – Not Keeping A Fitness Journal
By far the biggest mistake you can make in your fitness plan is not keeping a detailed fitness journal. Fitness journals are an effective way to monitor and manage your entire fitness program. The wealth of information you will gather by keeping a daily diet and exercise journal is extraordinary. You will be able to see specific areas which are beneficial as well as other areas which wreak havoc to your fitness plan. Your fitness journal will consist of three main components. You will keep a food journal, exercise journal and a personal journal. Keeping a food journal allows you to keep track of everything you eat.
That means EVERY food or liquid that enters your mouth. The key is being honest with yourself and really trying to be as detailed as possible recording your dietary intake. Food journals will display daily snapshots of your eating patterns, any cheating tendencies and all the empty calories which are hampering your progress. A food journal is an incredible tool to use to monitor and make adjustments to your dietary plan.
Your exercise journal allows you to keep track of your strength training and cardiovascular program. By keeping detailed records of your total number of sets, repetitions and weight used for each exercise, you can monitor specific changes in your strength levels. You can more accurately and effectively manage your strength training workouts to keep progressing week after week. Exercise journals are also important for keeping detailed records of your cardio workouts. Did you run 10 miles this week or did you ride the stationary bike for 30 minutes? How about the intensity level of your workouts? When you document your cardio exercises, you will be able to look back and see the correlation between your changes in your body weight and specific cardio exercises. This provides incredible feedback to gauge your plan and make adjustments. Your personal journals keep track of your thoughts, feelings and emotions. You will be able to record your energy levels, any motivational issues and your overall emotional state. Are you burned out on your current fitness plan and need a change?
Write down your feelings and think of different ways to improve your fitness plan. By making little changes in your cardio routine or diet plan, it will become more exciting and give you the extra push to keep going. Always remember, what gets measured gets managed.. If you write it down, you will have a much better chance to stick with your fitness plan, make adjustments and keep improving every week. Fitness journals are a significant part of your daily routine, providing the feedback you need to stay on track and reach your fitness goals.
WHAT TEACHERS MAKE
As a Trainer I feel I am certainly an EDUCATOR as well and this story really hits home with me. Enjoy!
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued,
“What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in
life was to become a teacher?”
He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers:
“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”
To stress his point he said to another guest; “You’re a teacher, Bonnie. Be
honest. What do you make?”
Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to
know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began…)
“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time
when their parents can’t make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.
“You want to know what I make?” (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.)
‘‘I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them apologize.
I make them show respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn’t everything.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know in English
while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God, because we live in the United States of America.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given,
work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.”
(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.) “Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant… You want to know what I make?
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make Mr. CEO?”
His jaw dropped, he went silent.
A couple of things really hit home with me. Whatever you do in life make sure you are PASSIONATE about it. There is no sense in living unless you LOVE what you do. Live your life to the FULLEST.
Having an IMPACT on someone else’s LIFE is one of the most rewarding things in the world. Teachers, Coaches, and trainers, all have a POSITIVE INFLUENCE on people’s lives.
As an educator and a fitness professional it is important to realize it ISN’T just about getting more fit or performing better. It is about learning life lessons along the way. It is as much about PHYSICAL development as it is CHARACTER development.
Training with a strength coach or fitness professional helps you…
- Learn to DEAL WITH ADVERSITY.
- Learn sometimes you need to SACRIFICE things in order to get BETTER.
- Learn NOT TO QUIT when things get TOUGH.
- Learn to have the CONFIDENCE to PERFORM even when others think you CAN”T
- Learn to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!
As a trainer, coach, and educator I KNOW I MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Pay it forward. Make a DIFFERENCE in your life and everyone else’s around you!
Increase Deadlift Lockout Strength with the Exercise of the Week
Fixing your Deadlift Part 3
By John Gaglione
The last few weeks we have been discussing ways to improve deadlift technique. We learned how to keep a neutral spine with the stick good morning and how to sit back with the wall RDL. This week we will discuss deadlift lockout.
Many times when people lockout deadlifts they will tend to extend the lumbar spine(low back) instead of using their glutes and extending their hips.
For athletes we want to get as much glute activation as possible since glutes are very important for running faster and jumping higher. By using the glutes to lockout rather than the low back it is also a much safer lift on the spine. By using the glute bridge exercise we can improve glute strength and learn to use the hips in order to lockout the deadlift.
Supine glute bridges are a great way for athletes to FEEL their glutes working and FEEL what true hip extension feels like. The athlete should be instructed to keep abdominals tight and drive through the heels. They should really try to squeeze their glutes together at the end range of motion. Pavel has a great cue to “try and pinch a coin”. This will teach the athlete to properly extend the hip.
Here is a video of a basic glute bridge below.
This is what the athlete should feel when they properly lockout a deadlift . They should push their hips into the bar as it comes up over their knees and lockout their hips aggressively.
We can use the glute bridge as a basic exercise for beginners or as a warm up. There are many variations of the glute bridge that can be loaded and used as an assistance exercises as well, but we will save that for another article. The glute bridge will teach proper hip extension and help the deadlift lockout as a result.
Educate, Motivate, Dominate
Tuning Out Is Healthy
Can’t miss your favorite TV shows, even for a day? Hide the remote.
Less time clutching your clicker could mean less risk of type 2 diabetes. Here’s how too much TV trashes your blood sugar levels.
Blood Sugar Booster
Seems that watching television affects the glucose in your blood — and not in a good way. More tube time may mean higher blood glucose levels, particularly for women.
Over time, that could set the stage for type 2 diabetes, where chronically high blood sugar levels can damage your eyes, heart, kidneys, and other organs.
Want An effective way to control blood sugar?
Get yourself off the couch and into the gym.
Keep training hard!