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Showing posts from February, 2007

How the Communists Activate The Transverse Abdominis

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Pretty hard core, eh? Get it--hard CORE--okay, it's late. Wait, I don't see the little inflatable cuff under the lumbar spine to evaluate spinal movement.

No, really, check out Dan Hwang's Flickr photostream to peer into some of the Chinese weightlifting training halls. It is simply fascinating to see inside another culture and a sport that gets no press in this country. I think you'll be amazed at how much flexiblity the weightlifters have and work toward, almost gymanstic-like. Dan also has some great historical photos and comments about photos to highlight Chinese training philosophy. The 2008 Olympics in Beijing will be the penultimate test for Chinese athletics. They are intent on winning in every sport, and weightlifting is no exception. You'll see some of the monster heavyweight lifters they are growing in Dan's Flickr collection. Right now they dominate the lighter classes, but watch out.

Hopefully I will get to meet a couple of them this weeke…

Tight ITBs, neutral spines and band routines--Oh my!

Well, I've been AWOL from my blog, but that doesn't mean I haven't been watching the Functional Path posts and comments. As usual, I'm in Vern's court on issues regarding the neutral spine stuff and using the band.

Most PTs (and I feel I can speak to this issue here, being a card-carrying offender of the profession) lack a bit of perspective with regard to athletic movement. They tend to discourage people to move at all and don't tend to be paragons of fitness and health themselves. And if they haven't been around elite athletes from many disciplines, they don't really have a perspective on what the body can take and how it really does respond to appropriately applied stressors in a fabulous way.

The body needs a variety of movement to create and maintain strength and mobility. We cannot move perfectly all the time. That doesn't mean I don't harp on people about good mechanics with lifting! We can teach ourselves more efficient ways to move …

The 2007 Arnold Weightlifting Championships

I'll be working at The Arnold this year. I've never been and heard it is quite an event, that although it contains some of the "freak" that exists in the world of strength sports, it also hosts of the legends of strength. I mean, who wouldn't want to at least see Jack LaLanne in person? As for USA weightlifters, the Arnonld Weightlifting Championships act as a secondary qualifier for the 2007 Pan Am and World Championships (important qualifiers for the 2008 Olympics).

The two lifters in the video are Sarah Davis (58 kg) and Zach Schulender (105+ kg). Hopefully they (and many others) will build upon their fabulous performances at the American Open in December and move even higher in the top 20 next Friday in Columbus.

An Ode To Free Weights

(Wrote this for the Feb issue of the Organic Athlete Member Newsletter. Thought I'd share it here too, even though I'm preachin' to the choir...)
Free weights, in their beauty and simplicity, require an intellectual and neuromuscular investment. You must learn how to use them, and practice using them properly. The body, the free weight, and gravity all have to work together. That doesn’t make free weights inherently more dangerous; it just means you need a little more information to use them appropriately.

Learning how to move and then attending to what you've learned is the foundation of physical health, of performing well, and preventing many injuries. Over the long run, is it really safer and better for you to develop a little mindless hypertrophy using machines, or is it better to learn how to control your center of mass as you transfer power from your legs to your upper body?

From a function and performance standpoint, free weights are for those who want to invest t…

Athlete Interview: Aimee Anaya

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Name? Aimee AnayaAge? Kids? Job? I just turned the eminent age of 30. I was really excited all of my 29th year to turn 30. Like wow! 30! I’m so over my twenties, this will be great! But as the dooming deadline of January 11thapproached, I wanted to take all that excitement back. Now, I’m just going to stay at 30 for the next 30 years. I no longer believe it is necessary to observe birthdays. I do have a child. My precious kiddo. Her name is Jade and she is now the grown-up age of 5. She recently has become quiet interested in lifting. She knows the basic movements of a snatch and a jerk, and can perform them with a PVC pipe and .5 kg plates on each end! She is becoming increasingly interested in watching all the lifters in our gym. She is currently in gymnastics. She likes it because of the movie Stick It, I like it because of the fundamental strength she is going to obtain for lifting. She hears us talk of the Olympics often, and just yesterday she ask…

Study Design Issues: Hormone Status and Injuries in Women

Check out this Pubmed summary of a 2002 study from The Journal of Athletic Training that looked at ACL injuries and menstrual status. The commentary section highlights problematic issues of data collection and correlation in these types of studies. I think it would be helpful if major media outlets were a little more careful in the headlines they publish. One small study does not a fact make. However, publicity of such studies can help support unfounded stereotypes or myths that affect society in subtle ways.

Hormonal Hogwash

So I get this headline from the BBC this evening (link to the full article). It got my dander up:
Menstrual cycle injury risk link Women are more likely to injure themselves at specific times in their menstrual cycle, research suggests. London's Portland Hospital surveyed 1,000 osteopaths, and studied 17 women with a regular menstrual cycle. The study suggests the risk of injury is linked to fluctuating hormone levels which affect the muscles and ligaments. Both tissues appear to be vulnerable midway through the menstrual cycle, while the ligaments are at greater risk at the end.
This is significant for women everywhere who can plan their schedules around their cycles and avoid potentially painful injuries
Rebecca Morrison

Get My Game Face On

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Like everyone, sometimes I struggle to stay consistent with exercise. It has been especially hard lately to get myself on the bike, as it has been bitterly cold.

So this day, I had to steel myself and put my game face on, just like Old Millie here has. Millie is my 19 y.o. cat. She's a tough old cuss with a + 42 inch vertical leap and the sass to tell anyone what she really thinks. Here she's trying to pull the Jedi Mind Trick on me so I'll go upstairs and feed her. Again.

Got through a monster Vern squat series (5 sets) with JE, water polo man, along with some solid sets of push ups and incline pull ups. The the Veloforce women came over and I got in 75 minutes on the trainer with some decent efforts. They weren't long, but they had a bit of intensity. It helped to have moral support and occasionally bury my mind in the bass of the music.

Then afterward, there was a wonderful bonus. Friends Carla and Sandy, of the phyiscal therapy profession, determined my L …

Hospitals...Make Me Nervous

My dad is in the hospital. I really don't like hospitals. Used to work in one. Try not to get to close to them if I can help it.

This time it is a bizarre "abscess" or at least that is how they are initially directing treatment. In less than 24 hours, it has grown to the size of a grapefruit, with a very firm, warm center about the size of a golf ball. On his inner thigh. Painful. Utterly bizzarre. The human body never ceases to amaze me.

He just turned 61 yesterday. Nice birthday present, huh? Multiple sclerosis has, over 20 years, left his body frail and very fragile. Pretty weird when you can literally pick up your own father and transfer him from a wheelchair to the bed. Found that out when he fell and broke his collar bone a few years ago.

But he's a stubborn guy. Still walks short distances with a walker. And he's hell on wheels in the the tricked out Jazzy electric chair.

At least my stepmother works at this hospital and can keep a close eye on …