Showing posts from August, 2006

First Race of the Season: AJ Reports In

Hot off the email wires:

I think the good karma worked, the race went really really well. I came in second place overall! My time was 12:59, the course was pretty flat but there were a few really small hills. It felt good racing again but I forgot how much the two mile hurts. I'm pretty happy with my time, it's not far off of my track time and it was off road. My team did really well, we came in third place.


Woohooooo! Not bad for the first race--a two mile Fleet Feet/Nike special event--of her JUNIOR year. Who says endurance athletes, especially chicks, don't benefit from strength training??

This athlete has shown nothing but quiet determination since day one. When her practice was cancelled by storms on Saturday, AJ went out by herself and did two 2 mile race pace efforts, with the first one at 13:15, on a park course that featured two moderately large hills. How many high school juniors would take it upon themselves to make up that practice--on a Saturday evening????

Highlights from the 2006 USAW Nationals

And then some before Nationals....

For Bryan: Teaching the Squat w/ Tight Hammies

This comment was left on Vern Gambetta’s blog late this week:----------------------------Vern & Tracy,

great info on the two are really making me rethink many of the common methods that are taught. i have a question i was hoping you may have time to address: The athlete in Tracy's squat Mediabook appears to have great form, and doesn’t have the common "tuck" in his low back like many athletes do (as thy drop close to parallel, their lumbar spine flexes and leaves the neutral position.) I have read that lack of hamstring flexibility is the culprit, do you agree? do you have any recommendations for correcting besides just improving hamstring flexibility or squatting to work through it?


bryan-------------------------------Well Bryan, the short answer is yes, I think it is hamstrings.Might be pure flexibility; it might be some flexibility with some control issues.Correcting it may be challenging, but it is worth the effort in my mind.Initially you …

Sign of the Apocalypse

This week's sign the apocalypse is upon us, from the spam. (I am not a member, but for some reason, they send me this; I only read it to see the latest and greatest. The sarcasm should be oozing down your monitor at this time.)

Sex Between Training Sessions
By Chuck WolfQuestion:Will sex between training sessions affect performance if I am training for an event?Hopefully Mr. Wolf will provide PTontheNet subscribers with the titillating details of allowable frequency, intensity and volume for these activities. Maybe some sample workouts. Should we use a heartrate monitor so we can add the data to our workout log? Is sex considered "active rest" or not? Does it matter if the periodization model is linear or undulating? What about sex and tapering? And here's the really important question for all female athletes: Does your man understand the importance of a comprehensive dynamic warmup and cool down?

I just couldn't resist. Friday is casual day…

Knees, Ankles and Backs: Part Two

Meet Matt and Bill. Both are athletes, over 6 feet tall. Matt is young and has no ankle flexibility. He squats like many professionals tell us too: No knees over the toes. To keep his torso upright, he must go up onto his toes, a common compensation. He cannot overhead squat. Bill, on the other hand, is slightly older and has great ankle flexibility. His heels stay on the ground. Bill can overhead squat.

Here's the rub: As little people, we squat all the time. Plop right down. Just like Bill. But as we grow older, fatter, sassier and less flexible from hours on end sitting in the classroom, the car, our work desks and the recliner we lose our flexibility and strength. People in other countries have no such luck. They kneel and squat and squat and kneel; they maintain the body's normal lower extremity flexibility and strength in relation to their bodyweight. Just like the father and son in the last post. They stay on the functional path, literally. We regress …

You Don't Know Squat....

If you think the human knee never goes over the toe, or never should go over the toe.

Thanks to Vern G for bringing up the knee topic. This IS one of the major problems in athletic development in this country. This myth is propagated by most every physical therapist, personal trainer and strength coach in this country. My mother could probably spout it back to me if I asked the right questions.

The whole thing started with a research (and I'll use the term very loosely with this) article by a Dr. Karl Klein in 1961.

Everyday, people young and old are told this myth. And slowly but surely, we are becoming a nation of people who have ZERO leg strength and lower exremity mobility. And our back health SUFFERS because of it. What is even worse, is that many strength coaches and fitness professionals are teaching young athletes to squat by using this cue: Sit your butt back and stay on your heels.

First, no athlete moves, jumps--does ANYTHING from their heels. Second, this does pu…

I hate it when it hurts to walk

Detraining is a terrible, terrible thing to experience. Back in action with 10s (> bodyweight, but nowhere near previous levels) in the squat rack yesterday and my quads are screaming. Now, one might wonder why a bright person like myself would do such a thing.

It's actually very informative from a functional perspective. The R leg (subjected to a total medial menisectomy and knee athrotomy circa 1979--see above) continues to need single leg remedial work. It is smaller than the L and when push come to "push harder" it relies on the L to do the work. I can distinguish the difference in soreness, just as I perceive my L leg doing the work during the latter reps of the set. The neuromuscular journey continues. Anyone care to suggest additional single leg work to help remediate the situation?

On a more fun note--AJ is BACK! Ms. Studly is working hard at practice; she is the bane of her teammates existence as she easily knocks off the 20 total push ups (usually in 3…

More on Bone Health

The current Reader's Digest has an article on vitamin D. There's no doubt our diet, indoor lifestyle and fear of skin cancer (vigorous use of sun screen) have led to vitamin D deficiency in this country and others (even Australia and New Zealand). As per our reductionistic scientific and popular culture, the desire is to look to vitamin D supplementation as the latest answer to osteoporosis, cancer, you-name-it. I'm not an RD or a nutrition expert, so I don't know the answer.

But I do know this. Another significant contributor to the problem is a lack of structured resistance training for the average young person and adult--in lieu of the manual labor we used to have to do to survive and have decent bone health. The Reader's Digest article describes the story of a 14 y.o. young man from Massachusetts (lower levels of sunlight, especially in winter) who suffered a vertebral fracture from wearing his school backpack. Tests ruled out bone-density diseases, but di…

"She's a Beast!"

It's nice to know you've made an impact on young people, although sometimes it is not always immediately apparent.

All of the incoming freshmen at DeSmet are attending retreats this week. Kevin worked the Thursday retreat and spoke to his group on integrity. He needed a volunteer, but told the group he needed someone really strong--someone who had attended the weight training camp taught by Mrs. ???? Several boys chimed in with "Mrs. Fober!" The eventual volunteer followed that with an enthusiastic "She's a beast!" Mr. Fober responded with, "Thanks for the compliment. I'll let her know."

I will take it as probably one of the highest compliments one can receive from 9th grade boys. Kevin pointed out that it is really good these guys get to know both of us; and that both us are quite different from each other, as spouses, but also very different from their parents. These guys are a little lacking in diversity, given they attend a fai…

Back From Nationals

Finally getting back on track after 5 days in Shreveport, LA (1300 miles in the car) at the USA Weightlifting National Championships. This picture is from the 48 kg weight class. There were several American records broken and attempted. Many impressive performances. I've posted two records on YouTube if you'd like to see them:

Natalie Woolfolk's 118 kg Clean & Jerk

Doreen Fullhart's 106 kg Snatch

General highlights can be found here. By posting these, I hope to educate those of you unfamiliar with weightlifting on the athleticism (power, mobility, strength) these athletes possess. It is too bad the mainstream media only focuses on the larger weightclasses every four years. Even though the bigger people lift more absolutely, it is the smaller weightclasses that lift more relative to bodyweight. I'll talk more about that at some point.

Almost forgot: There were no major injuries at this event. Just a note for those who fear the barbell--and that arms overhe…

Real Weightlifters Do it with Power

Here are two video tributes to US weightlifting athletes I put together from some of my clips, as well as a couple of clips that have been posted on Mike Burgener's site by Jim Moser. Thank you both!

Check them out to see what real weightlifting is all about. You'll not see any "flying reverse curls." Some of these athletes competed last weekend at the AAU Junior Olympic Championships, while others will be battling for Senoir World team positions this weekend in Shreveport, LA at the Senior National Championships.

Good Luck and Congratulations to all athletes and coaches!


A little more macho for everyone...

A Sunday Afternoon Citation: Cease & Desist!

I just spent several hours doing some analyses of top female weightlifters from the US. Decided to take a break and found some cool videos on YouTube of elite international weightlifters--along with some other stuff that is funny and stuff that is not so funny.

The following link will take you to a clip that supposedly shows female athletes demonstrating power cleans. Let me just say that this is NOT how a power clean is supposed to be performed. These movements are complete bastardizations of power cleans. And any educated weightlifting coach would agree with me. If you teach athletes or perform power cleans like this yourself, you are not doing the exercise correctly. However, this video is an example of what a good tool becomes in the hands of a coach who truly does not understand the biomechanics of the movements he/she teaches.

The two sequence photos above show good power clean mechanics from the floor.

Let me use this analogy: If someone told you pole vaulting would help y…

Taking the Time to Evaluate

Do you have enough spring in the sacrum? How's YOUR sacral nutation?

Yesterday I spent some time with PT friend Sandy and our "client" PTA friend Carla. Carla asked us to help elucidate some tricky, bothersome knee pain that has been bothering her on the bike lately. You should know that both Sandy and Carla are also kick-ass cyclists! Sandy is ramping up her training right now for a September IronMan triathlon.

I brought my Dartfish setup, as well as my small Sony still camera to get some video and pictures. Part of the evaluation inluded putting Carla on her bike on a trainer and really analyzing her movement--checking R vs L and slowing things down to 1/10 of the speed of normal video.

Sandy did the majority of the standing alignment, back/SI and flexibility assessments. We probably spent about 2 hours really teasing everything out--on and off the bike, but eventually came up with this laundry list of issues that need to be addressed. Sandy is an outstanding PT:


Cool Web Stuff

1) See a day in the life of USA's elite female weightlifters training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs here! This Quicktime clip is from Coach Mike Burgener, whose son Casey is a resident weightlifter at the OTC, preparing for the 2006 World Championships and 2008! Go Casey and Go USA Women! I'll see all of these ladies next week at the Senior Nationals in Shreveport, LA.

2) There's a great Q & A about back pain and physical therapy with Anthony Delitto, PhD, PT on NPR at this link:

3) Finally, Vern Gambetta has a fabulous interview of Kelvin Giles, UK track and field coach. This guy has some great advice for professionals, young athletes and parents.

Strong Words, Strong Bones: Am I Just Dense?

I'’m ecstatic and I'm pissed at the same time.Thanks to a great friend, I had the opportunity to have AJ's and my bone density assessed by a DXA machine today.I wanted to get a baseline on myself and on AJ--—then track her progression over the next several years as she integrates consistent resistance training into her programming.Check this link for a general explanation of the process and the numbers you are about to read: T score represents the standard deviation of me compared to a normal 35 y.o. white female.The Z score is the standard deviation of me compared to women my age/sex/race.BMD is bone mineral density.I am 37 and have a mass of 62.6 kg (that'’s about 137 lbs).The "normal" healthy range T/Z score for is -.99 to +1.So theoretically, you can be -.9 and still be considered to have "“healthy"” bone density.
Total Spine BMD: 1.387 g/cm2
T score: +3.1
Z score: +3.2

Total Hip BMD: 1.291 g/…