Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Old Sony Camera

I bought this little Sony sometime back in 2003 to take still pictures and video for lifting analysis. My journey into the whole video thing started with this little camera. It is great because it takes MPEG video that is limited only by the memory stick and it also takes sequence shots. Pop the memory stick into the laptop, edit, upload and go.

At nine years old, the camera is showing it's age. The push up video I posted Friday is grainy and not in HD because it was taken with this camera. I am reluctant to get a new one because this camera has been such a big part of my professional and personal journey. But alas, it is time to retire it and get something newer to take better video and still images.

Right now I am a jumble of video and pictures between iPod Touches, phones and iPads--not very organized. Using the mini-dv cameras is a pain; to download the video via firewire or USB to the laptop takes time. I may set up the tripods and cameras at some point, but only for special filming.

I am still a Movie Maker junkie without a Mac laptop and have not mastered iMovie on the iPad so I going all-out iPod Touch/iPad is out of the question for me right now. I like being able to carry the camera in my pocket as I work with people, but I don't like clogging up my phone with video that is in a format my current version of Movie Maker doesn't like. Sigh.

I'm open to suggestions if anyone has a decent multi-function camera they use for both video and still images. In the meantime, I'm going to be posting some favorites that this little camera has captured over the last nine years.

At the Salvador Dali Museum in Spain.

One of my first sequence photos. A very young Jason Brown learns to power snatch.

Downtown Seattle during a visit to work with Melanie Roach and Coach John Thrush.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Humble Push Up

I love push ups. I can remember doing push ups in front of the little black and white TV in my very cool basement bedroom during the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Before basketball practice in high school, we all had to do 20 push ups, 20 sit ups and then run 10 high laps--about a mile in the "new gym". Ugh. Hated the running, but the push ups didn't phase me.

At this point in my career I'm stunned at the number of high school kids, particularly boys, who cannot do a solid push up. I'm pretty sure it borders on a national disgrace in the US. The saggy backs, droopy heads and severely-winging scapulae are almost unbearable to watch. The lack of depth in the movement is just plain sad.

Then I hear about how push ups are used by sport team coaches as punishment and I have to sigh. Nothing is accomplished when kids are forced to do movements that they are under-prepared to do. We are simply reinforcing dysfunctional movement patterns.

With tall, skinny guys and most girls, push ups are especially a challenge. When you have a body that is almost 7 ft. long and wingspan to match, a good push up can be a daunting task. When you have gone through grade and middle school without ever being given the opportunity to develop any upper body strength, much less strength to support your bodyweight, what do we expect?

I use the following progression. Note: my facility is a "knees-free push up zone" for everyone. We don't even go there.

1. Let downs
2. Progressive Incline Push Ups

Let Downs are where we start in the "up" position with good head and scapular position and then lower your body, head, chest and hips together, to the ground with control. "Plopping" loudly onto the ground is not allowed. With Let Downs, the athlete starts in a position of strength, as we are all stronger eccentricially. The athlete is able to lower her or his body and develop control/coordination of core strength before he or she can ever push themselves up (concentric movement)with good form. For my incline push ups, I use a barbell in a rack and progressively lower the bar as the athlete demonstrates good control of the head, torso, scapulae and elbow angle.

Combine these exercises with some turtles, hot-footed lizards, crawling, dumbbell pressing, straight arm pulldowns and tricep pressdowns and in a few weeks, the athlete should be able to knock out his or her first real push up. And it will be a push up everyone can be proud of.

Once an athlete has the basic movement down, you can start to have some fun and vary hand placement and surface stability. And of course, nothing is better than being able to join in on the fun. The most powerful inspiration is often through demonstration.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Office

My "clinic" needs some more artwork and I need to get a couple of white boards. The stall bars (Gladiator Wall) are very new and I look forward to developing some neat new mobility and strength work for everyone here.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Adventures with Indian Clubs

It got a little punchy yesterday, but in all seriousness, the Indian Club should be an integral part of any overhead athlete's foundational work. And why aren't all physical therapy and athletic training programs teaching their students how to implement these fantastic movement patterns? Brothers and sisters let us break free from the purgatory of Theraband and the Thrower's 10! We must prepare the athletic shoulder to move and groove as it does in sport!

In the "See Just How Far We've Fallen" department, check out this footage from a 1904 PE class in Kansas City, MO. Now we have cup stacking competitions. We have such a rich history of physical culture. Let's hope we can regain the lost appreciation of movement skills as the foundation of school-based physical education.