Showing posts from February, 2006

Too Dangerous for Women...from a Medical Point of View

I digress from more professional topics to express some personal frustration. I just watched a video clip of an ABC Nightly News segment that profiled the US women's ski jump team. Yes, female ski jumpers do exist. The US has two of the top three ranked women in the world. But the FIS (The International Ski Federation) feels the sport is "too dangerous" for women "from a medical point of view." Hello, McFly?

But women still don't even swim the 1500m (but they swim the 1650 yards in NCAA competition and 1500m in USS competition), don't speedskate the 10,000 m--and remember, the women's marathon was only added in 1984. We are so fragile....

I wonder what we'd find if we measured the forces the female freestyle aerial skiers deal with and compared them to those of the ski jumpers? Or the mogul skiers. The freestyle people drop virtually straight down 4-5 stories. Did anyone else see and hear the the Aussie freestyler blow her 7 month-old ACL replacem…

Pediatricians and Resistance Training

After the recent discussions regarding the BFS program (Bigger, Faster, Stronger) and some of the less desirable practices in youth resistance training, I thought it was time to discuss the other end of the spectrum: MD's and their opinions on resistance training. These people are the bane of my existence and they set back good, appropriate use of resistance training techniques with young people 100 years or more. They also hurt the Olympic sport of weightlifting in this country, but that discussion is for another post.

I would encourage anyone who deals with strength and conditioning to check out the American Academy of Pediatrics Position Statement on "Strength Training by Children and Adolescents" which appeared in the Pediatrics in June of 2001. It is a real eye-opener as to how much these people DON'T know. The review of literature is pathetic, with the most recent reference being 1996. I found it interesting that they do not even acknowledge the NSCA's (Nati…

Nutrition Literacy

As with exercise, there are lots myths and just plain bad information about dietary habits. And there are gurus who make lots of money selling to the bad habits and desperation of millions of people. The information they sell and promote often has no real effect on health or could even be detrimental to health.

Nutrition science is no better. Every week a new study comes out that contradicts the magic bullet that was found last week.

I'm sure many of you have seen the headlines or heard of the recently released study that supposedly found that low fat diets have no effect on cardiovascular health or decreasing risk of cancer. Wow, what a waste of $415 million dollars to study basically the same diet in two groups of people who had already been eating the SAD (standard American diet) for over 50 years. No wonder it didn't show much of anything.

It is not about getting 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. It is not about getting enough protein. It is not about counting calori…

Hex Bar Deadlifts: Another Perspective

I was just about to write about my use of hex bar deadlifts when my friend Vern Gambetta brings them up in his most recent post.

I would like to share an alternative view on the hex bar deadlift. I think it is a fabulous exercise and I use it as a staple in my own training, and with many of my patients. I first learned to use the hex bar from Derrick Crass, physical therapist and '84 and '88 Olympian in weightlifting. With 5 kg and 10 lb bumper plates, we used this exercise to rehab patients of all shapes and sizes. And we used it for the kids in the performance program. We did not promote it as a maximal lift, ever!

In fact, I use it in my beginner 9th grade weight training camps to help teach squatting technique. Many young boys have ankle and hip flexibility issues. They cannot squat well and so we must have an alternative (along with bodyweight squats and medball squats) to help them achieve functional flexibility, as well as learn how to maintain a neutral spine position wi…

Movement Literacy: Flexibility Part I

So the philosophy professor asks: Do I still have to stretch?

It is really a shame that the concept of “stretching” has become so seared into the fitness lexicon. By stretching I mean static stretching. There is no automatic cause and effect relationship between static stretching and healthy flexibility; or being healthy or preventing injury.

Healthy flexibility is about moving well; it is not about maximum individual muscle length.

Flexibility—by that I mean range of motion about a joint—is context dependent; and it demands some understanding of functional anatomy. It ain’t just about feeling the stretch in the muscle belly or tendon! It’s about what’s happening at the joint with respect to the other joints! The available range of motion can be dependent whether or not you are in a weight-bearing situation, what is happening at related joints, or how fast or slow you are moving. Many important muscles, like the hamstrings, work at two joints. Thus their resting length and dynamic lengt…

Movement Literacy

Last Friday I met "The Exercise Doctor"--Dr. Gerald Larson. He used a term that I really liked: movement literacy. We both agreed that many people, old and young, don't know how to move well. Vern Gambetta knows it. We don't learn how to move in PE--we learn how to play games; we don't learn how to move in organized sports--we learn how to do specific sport-related skills. Boys have Tommy John elbow surgery and girls tear their ACLs because they are doing skills their movement systems cannot yet handle.

By the time our physicians refer us to a physical therapist, our poor movement strategies have usually caused us pain or injury, and our insurance company won't pay for the time it would take for the therapist to re-educate our bodies and minds. They just pay to address the symptoms, if that.

My idea, with Iron Maven, is to teach people how to move well, framing the idea as physical health. My first goal is to get to the adult athlete to buy into this, but then…

Random Sunday musings on gray hair, KC, Steve Martin...

Well, it's Sunday morning and I'm feeling like Dan Schmatz of Yourbikesucks blog fame, sitting here at the laptop with a great cup of coffee, contemplating the frigid temps outside and the prospect of riding outside. Unlike Dan, I'm glad I don't have to go outside. I'll just hit the trainer.

Other random thoughts from the week:

1) Why are people fascinated with my hair? Yes, I have some gray hair. It's been growing out of my head since I was 20. You wouldn't believe the people who comment on it--unsolicited. I guess my youthful, fit appearance and the long gray locks create some type of cognitive dissonance that compels one to blurt out things like, "You look so young to have gray hair!" or "Is that your real hair?" or "How old are you?" I've even had complete strangers reach out and touch my hair.

2) I'm really beginning to detest professional American sports on tv. If I watch any part of the Super Bowl--it will be on bec…

My Husband, The High School Teacher and Coach

Many of you know my husband. He is currently the varsity swim coach and athletic director at a large all-boys private school. Life is crazy most of the time. The school does not have a pool, and he works many long hours to do his best for the swimmers and all of the other coaches and athletes at the school.

Kevin was an outstanding swimmer in high school and for the Badgers at Wisconsin. Big Ten Champion in the 200 Butterfly. As an athlete, he was driven and very competitive.

In his 22 years as a coach (11 at the University of Chicago and 10 at DeSmet), he has mellowed a bit. His 2002 DeSmet team won the Missouri state championship, but he has not had a "dynasty" by any means. His primary focus as coach has been to maximize the potential of each of his kids--as people and as swimmers. He defines success not just by victories in the pool, but by the acquisition of self-discipline, self-improvement (in the pool and in the classroom, no matter where you start), and teamwork. In …