Showing posts from July, 2006

Test Day #1: Sah-weet, Coach!

I decided to do some testing before AJ enters the cross country season. We'll do some additional testing on Wednesday before she leaves for vacation. Here's the data so far:

TestCurrentST GoalLT Goal 10 RM Squat
54% BW*
50% BW
75% BW
5 RM Front Squat
TBA 50% BW
75% BW
5 RM Press
28% BW
33% BW
33% BW
Single Leg Squat
20 R/L
20 x 3 R/L
20 x 5 R/L
Push Ups
7 15 25 Incline Pull Ups
TBA 12 18 Pull Ups
TBA 2 6 Prone Plank
90 seconds
120 seconds

Riding in a Furnace

Convinced myself to get out on the bike. It was noon. It was 98 degrees and felt like 98 percent humdity. You could cut the air with a knife. This ride was going to be much like rides I took on the road in the picture. Nothing like rides through the Florida swamps to acclimate one to a sizzling July in St. Louis. Only this ride included a few hills and more traffic.

The ride was good. It was challenging physically and mentally. Took an unconventional route that brought me to a good oasis at 1 hour. I was ready--really ready--to refill my water at the convenience store. Had a slight headache and figured I was probably a bit dehydrated at the start of the ride. Bought a--get this--64 oz cup of ice water from the soda fountain for 25 cents. Yes, they sell 64 oz styrofoam beverage buckets now.

I sat in the shade of the store canopy and doused myself with the leftover water from my second bottle. Then, feeling like Baby Huey, I took the 64 oz cup in both hands and relished…

Building Foundations: Part Three

Today was another good workout! I experimented with increasing the weight for the hexbar DL and discovered we need to keep the weight a bit lower that I initially figured for today. Just a 10 lb decrease in weight (along with a 2" or so boost in height for the bar, due to her long legs) enabled AJ to keep perfect form for sets of 10 reps. I am incredibly picky about lumbar spine mechanics and control with young athletes. It only takes a few degrees of lumbar spine flexion to become a disaster, so we made two adjustments and her form became perfect.

I cued her constantly during every rep to not relax at the bottom and keep her chest tall and butt down--along with keep the arms straight. Many like to bend the arms with this exercise and it takes a bit to get some to use the arms as a passive "holder" of the weight. This exercise is about PUSHING the weight up with the legs, not picking the weight up with the upper extremities.

I am a big fan of 45 degree hip extension…

Building Foundations: More Improvement!

Well, today's session was great--for many reasons.

1) AJ graduated to the blue band. There are many people in the St. Louis area who rue the day they met me (&Vern's) blue band! With sidestepping, her R hip IR/valgus movement is very much improved. I have seen grown men cower at the blue band.

2) AJ completed 5 x 5 in the front squat. This was her first time to front squat and she did fabulously! It was interesting to note that her form is actually better with the front squat; the R hip extensor/ER weakness is almost absent. She front squats easily what she back squats right now. And she can FEEL the difference! This is key. We have a new exercise and have really discovered just how quad dominant AJ is.

3. Pressing and push ups continue to improve. AJ proudly told me that someone COMPLIMENTED her on her form at the Y on Monday. Yes!

4. Squat jumps (Burn with Vern Jr. set of 20 bw squats/6 squat jumps) are looking much more fluid. She has almost perfect control o…

Building Foundations: You Go Girl!

I'm working with a young, female cross country runner--call her AJ--who is preparing for her junior year in high school. My job is work on basic running mechanics (relaxing the upper body, more efficient arm swing) and building a foundation of strength.

AJ is about 5' 7" and 115 lbs. She's a 12:30ish two-miler. Born and built to go long; needs to get stronger and learn how to find and express power when necessary. She's never lifted or done any supervised jumping. We're working with some R sided (hip/core/shoulder girdle) weakness. She's got a mellow, quiet--but determined--personality. My job is also to light a bit of a fire and bring out confidence in her ability to be faster and stronger.

So far, our 3x/wk workouts have been great. We are learning to train; gaining confidence; building neuromuscular coordination and expressing torso stability while learning good lower extremity mechanics with squats. She's learning to control R hip IR/knee…

The IronMaven's Training Hall

At the behest of Bull Ternus, I've posted a few more pics of the IronMaven Training Hall. Basement location; must be 5'9" or less to press or jerk with the bumpers. Training equipment includes:

1. Pulling stands
2. Power rack (pullups, straigh arm pulldowns, incline pullups)
3. York Women's Certified Comp bar
4. Full set of York black rubber bumpers in kg (25, 20, 15, 10) plus a set of 10 lb plates
5. Hex bar (a favorite!)
6. Powerblock DBs (5-45 lbs)
7. Rebounder tramp with about twelve med balls ranging from 1kg to 8kg in size
8. Various weightlifting and cycling motivational posters, pics and sayings
9. Agility ladders, hurdles, foam rollers, bands for glute med work
10. 45 deg extension apparatus in my exam office
11. Stool for killer stool hand walks
12. Treadmill (for the hubby)
13. Adjustable bench for incline presses
14. Physioball

How many female physical therapists have their own full bumper set and bar at home--and actually know how to use it???? It's my dream …

Lower Abs, Lower Schmabs...

My recent post on how my fellow physical therapists focus on "magic muscles" and fear full ROM work at the knee and shoulder, reminded me of a humorous encounter I had a few months ago with some first year Wash U DPT students. My friend Cindi works at Wash U, coordinating research in diet & exercise and has students who help with their studies. When the students found out I was an alum, the first words out of their mouths were:

"What are your low abs?"

I said, "Why they are 5/5 of course!" 5/5 in physical therapy-ese means normal strength.

I stifled a laugh. They had obviously just been introduced to Shirley Sahrmann's low ab testing and progression and they were giddy with the challenge it presented. Now, I have learned much from Shirley and I respect her immensely; but to be perfectly honest, I have not done a low abdominal test on ANYONE in probably 4-5 years. Why? In my mind, back patients--and really anyone--need HIP/LUMBAR SPINE & T…

Sport TV Nirvana?

Anybody besides me and my husband having a blast watching the Only Lance Network tonight? First it is Tour de France highlights/preview of tomorrow's epic stage, and now they are showing the Paris stop of the IAAF Golden League series?

I mean, how often do we get to see world class javelin throwers in our US homes? They must be getting the Eurosport or BBC feed, but I cannot tell. Nice to have somebody besides Dwight Stones doing commentary too.

Thoughts from the NSCA

Back from the NSCA meeting in DC.For me personally, this was a great experience.I met and spoke with, for the first time, many wonderful people.I found a great friend and mentor in Meg Stone.I reconnected with many others and facilitated a great meeting of the minds with Scott Moody of the CAP program ( in Overland Park, KS and Dr. Jerry Mayhew of TrumanState.These people will generate some great new data on real world athletic development.They will contribute to the betterment of all coaches and athletes with their work.

But, my bullshitake meter has also been more finely tuned—just sit in the main hotel bar for a few evenings and you’ll get an eye and earful of schmooze—and then head to the exhibit hall for some additional tuning.These types of meetings are good to learn to wade through the BS and see what is genuine. I found no earth-shattering new thoughts or products.But, I also did not get to as many talks as I wanted.I spent more time in the exhibit hall …

Thoughts after Park City and Before the NSCA

Had a great time in the wonderfully dry state of Utah; for some reason, the lack of humidity makes me (at least) much more likely to get myself outside and ride--and even run. Did some fabulous hill sprints up the massive stairways connecting streets in Old Town.

Park City is heaven for athletes, summer and winter. And we could get around without a car for 6 days. We biked and hiked all over.

Seeing the professional mountain bikers was great. Wish I would've gone over to the Olympic Ski Jump Park and watched the US Ski Jump Team's developmental camp for girls 6-17. Yep, chicks teaching little chicks how to ski jump. 4 day camp for $25 total; sponsored by the National Sports Foundation.

Later today I leave for Washington DC and (Darth Vader theme) the NSCA National Convention--collecting my CEUs (yes I've been assimilated by the s&c Borg and have not had the balls to drop it; dropped the CPT several years ago) and joining the Dartfishes for a bit of exhibition mania.…

New Challenges: Wasatch Grind

New physical and mental challenges are good for the soul. These are pictures from our epic 5+ hour mountain bike ride on the Mid-Mountain Trail in Park City. Rain the night before made early switchbacks almost impossible as we made the climb from 7000 to 8500 ft. Our lungs heaved. Once at 8500, this blue (intermediate) level trail seemed to be more technical than we roadies desired. Pretty interesting to feel the physical and mental strain of navigating rocky single track on the side of a mountain--forearms burning on descents as you tell yourself to pick a line and stay confident. Very scary and overwhelming at times. Exhilarating at others.

We finally reached the Red Pine Lodge gondola and decided our minds and bodies had no more to give to the mountain. Imagine our relief when Tom, the gondola guy, said we could take the gondola back into The Canyons at no charge. Brian, Cindi, Kevin and I hopped in and enjoyed the view and the ride back down.

My obliques are sore. I have …

Mentors in Athletic Development/S&C Field

Okay, sports fans, I read a great piece by Pamela Stewart Slim of "Escape from the Cubicle Nation" blog. This particular post discusses finding mentors. Just wondering, very early on a Saturday morning, if any of you feel there are some particularly special mentors out there in the athletic development / strength & conditioning world?

I know Vern Gambetta has posted on some of his favorite sport coaching mentors. I know Vern has offered to mentor others in the field and understands there is a need to provide mentorship. Do we have any other mentors in this "professional field"? Or are there now just "gurus" out to make a buck?