Monday, March 26, 2007

Suspension Training

My friend Alex sent me the recent NYT article on "suspension" training. I looked at the website for the TRX straps and couldn't find any images of someone using the Inkaflexx straps to get a better idea of how people are using these things. Basically they are rings, but with flexible slots that allow you to easily support the legs as well. And you can take them anywhere. That's a good thing, in my book.

Again, we have a "new" product that the personal fitness industry is all abuzz over. And of course, it is "sexy" because it was "invented" by a former Navy Seal. Hey, we'd all like to say we aspire to the physical capabilities of a Navy Seal, right?

It sells, baby.

Like some of the people quoted in the NYT article, I don't feel most "fitness oriented" people are prepared to use this equipment. They have trouble controlling and perceiving their own bodyweight in modified positions on SOLID surfaces. But hey, regular push ups and lunges aren't sexy. And they can a little boring after a few weeks, months and years. But the point of basic or high level fitness and athletic development isn't about doing the most exotic moves. It's about first mastering the most basic movements and then pushing the envelope training for a higher level of capacity. Even the most elite athletes practice and refine the most basic movements over and over.

Then there are those people who are ready and they enjoy some variety. Certainly the CrossFit community and the popularity of parkour have brought back the appreciation for basic gymnastic skills and bodyweight strength/endurance skills. There's some good stuff in this type of training, although it doesn't always emphasize quality of movement, just the quantity of movement. Lots of inane activities can raise your heartrate for 50 minutes. Again, I like to get the quality of the base movement established and an understanding of its purpose, prior to going balls-to-the-wall with developing work capacity or making surfaces unstable.

Bodyweight training should be the foundation of all rehab, general fitness and athletic development. But it isn't sexy and it doesn't necessarily require special toys. (Warning: MY SOAPBOX) And that makes it hard to sell, unless you package yourself well and have the backing of say, the NSCA speaking circuit, the ACE PR machine, the Perform Better speaking circuit, and/or you are lucky enough to have one of the transient acquisition editors from Human Kinetics ink you for a book deal. Or you can be appointed a guru by Ryan Lee. Then people might listen to and buy your materials or services. Exit Soapbox.

So, to answer your question Alex, I think suspension training can be fine for some and a little overwhelming and inappropriate for many. But it is hip and it is cool for now. Clubs and personal trainers will market it and people will become certified instructors and many will make money; clients will be entertained for a while. Time will tell if it is just another functional training fad that gets taken to the inevitable absurd end.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thought For the Day

Seen at the LUGZ Coffee on at Main and Broadway.

Traditional Congee Breakfast

We walked down to the Congee Noodle House at Broadway and Main to try a traditional congee breakfast. Congee is a thick rice soup/porridge that is a basic to many Asian cultures, with a specific role in maintaining health. The portions were huge. Mine was Chinese mushroom and lettuce. It was like a giant bowl of oatmeal, flavored with ginger, peanut and some onion. Very interesting and filling, but not overwhelmingly so.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Thoughts on the DPT and PT relationships with ATCs

I will put together some more thoughts on these issues when I return from vacation. I enjoyed Vern's post today. I know the APTA certainly likes to protect its "turf" when it comes to ATCs and reimbursement for "physical therapy" services.

PTs get beat up on by the MDs and DCs, so they feel it is only proper to beat up on the ATCs. And then there are the PTAs, who don't get any attention while the PTs are battling to get themselves referred to as "doctor", the PTAs remain at the associate degree level. What the hell?

Why can't we just all get along and send people to those that will help them best?

No referrals required here in Vancouver, BC.

Good Eats: Dairy and Egg Free

I don't normally get to indulge in such stuff, but what the heck, it's vacation. Found a great vegetarian buffet that had lots of vegan desserts, great cold salads and outstanding hot selections. The buffet was 1.89 CAD per 100 g. Maybe more Americans would benefit if we paid by the unit of weight for the mounds of food we consume at the buffet bar.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Exploding Anterior Tibs

Well, obviously I didn't train for my walking vacation. Wow. Just pretty dang interesting to see what happens in the lower extremity when you start hoofing it after not hoofing it very often at home. No blisters, so that's very good. Thank you Thorlo and some good water resistant shoes.

This city is full of hearty commuters. We took the Sky Train yesterday (sat in the front window seat so Kevin could pretend he was driving) and people were outside like it was May, even though it was probably no more than 50 degrees F.

Vancouver's Chinatown is second only to San Francisco. Over 30% of the people in Vancouver speak Mandarin.

There are many nice bike shops here and many cyclists. Lots of fixie commuters and people on road or MTB bikes. A few without helmets. The drivers appear to be much more patient here with pedestrians and cyclists. That's cool.

More Images From Vancouver

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Foggy Foggy Spring Break Morning

Unlike the majority of folks in the airport early Saturday morning, we weren't headed to Cabo or Cozumel, with flip flops and beach wear on. We were making our way to Vancouver, clad in fleece. We were ready to explore a neat West Coast urban city. On foot, no rental car. Bed and breakfast lodging, just west of the Kitsilano neighborhood.

The building above is Vancouver City Hall, which we can see outside our room window.

Vancouver is a vegetarian and vegan paradise. Last night we dined at the Buddist Bo Kong Restaurant. This morning, we walked the 6 km to The Naam, a funky veggie place that's open 24-7 and been serving food for 30 years, for our vegan-yummy breakfast: tofu scramble (mushroom, tomato, onions, cilantro), home fries w/ miso gravy (GREAT!) and a side of fresh guacamole, vegan pancakes (w/ banana and real Canadian maple syrup. This place rocks! We will be back for several more meals. There is a giant apple & blueberry pie in the dessert case calling Kevin's name and a vegan chocolate-raspberry cake calling my name--not to mention a nice selection of organic beers and wines. Cashew and avocado enchilada? Nice.

There are some great bike shops here and lots people riding, even when it is raining. Roads are marked as bike routes. Our cab was a Toyota Prius. We've seen a PINK Smart Car. All of the joggers with their dogs are also carrying the required poop bags, as picking up after Fido is the law. Green is the word here.

And despite the occasional fog and rain, we are having a great time on our "spring break." We won't come back to St. Louis tan, but we will come back refreshed and invigorated after taking in the best of Vancouver, BC. And eating some of the best vegan food in North America.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Whirlwind Month & Random Thoughts on The Physical Therapist

I've been traveling much of the past two weeks and am now getting ready to leave on vacation for a bit. Managed to get a quick workout this morning, with Millie Fober (19 in human years; 97 in cat years) reminding me to keep the rest intervals short. She's a hard ass.

Caught a post on the Concepts in Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Rehab blog that updates us on the APTA's exploration to change the regulatory designation of physical therapist from PT to DPT or PTD--something that denotes a "doctoring" profession and the new entry-level clinical doctoral education.

I used to be a member of the APTA; but I decided $450 a year is just too much to pay, especially when the organization is concerned with stuff like this. Physical therapists won't improve their lot in society by getting people to refer to us as "doctors" of physical therapy. I'm sure some will call me a disgruntled masters-level therapist--I am one of the last to graduate from Washington University with the masters degree. In my opinion, this whole issue is simply one of a profession with low self-esteem. Pharmacists have the PharmD as the entry level degree now, but they didn't feel the need to change their regulatory designation from RPh to DPh.

Why the need to have your patients refer to you as doctor? Respect me for what I know and how I treat you.

What would really be nice is to have the APTA work hard with the medical schools in this country to educate medical students on what PT is, how beneficial it is and how MDs and PTs can best work together to provide patient care. Our best marketing tool is to help the majority gatekeepers to our services recognize and promote our value and our profession--from day one in their education.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Secondary World Team Qualifier Highlights

It's all weightlifting the first two weeks in March, with the World Team Qualifier and now the National Junior Championships this weekend in Indiana. There are three American records in this montage: Natalie Woolfolk hits 117 C&J for a 215 total (top 7 at World's this year), Chad Vaughn hits 190 kg C&J @ 77 kg bodyweight and Kendrick Farris hits 199 kg (and almost 203 kg) @ 85 kg bodyweight. 203 kg was the top clean & jerk in the 85 kg class at the World Championships this year. The US has not had a male World Champion in weightlifting since Joe Dube in 1969. Kendrick is not yet 21 and has the potential to place very high in international competition throughout his career if he continues to progress. Kendrick, Natalie and Chad (a 2004 Olympian) are good bets for the 2008 Olympic team.

Friday, March 02, 2007

In the Warm Up Room

Watch Manuel Minginfel (Micronesia 62 kg), Yukio Peter (Naru, 77 kg) and Ramunas Vysniauskas (Lithuania, 2 x Olympian, 105 kg) get in a little training prior to competing on Saturday. Manuel and Yukio are about 5 feet tall and Ramunas is close to 6 feet tall.

Ramunas was so nice to let me take a picture with him. He apologized for his calloused, chalked "workman's hands." I told him they were beautiful hands. Manuel and Yukio are tiny, explosive gentlemen, with massive thighs.

Nice Quads!