Ok, today (and this whole week for that matter) has been absolutely crazy! Therefore I don’t have much time to write a blog post today. I very rarely do this, but I’ll just give you some links to stuff you should definitely read that I came across lately. Check this out, and I’ll be back next week with fresh content I promise!
We all know we should do more static stretching. Some of us actually do it, some don’t. But what do we generally do when comes the time to stretch? Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, right? I’m assuming that this is what most people do, and what most coaches/trainers recommend.
But when we really do need to lengthen a specific muscle group that has been shortened over time (e.g. hip flexors from too much sitting) stretching 30 seconds every day is not gonna cut it; you need much more than that to overcome the effect of spending hours a day with some muscles in a shortened position. Stretching multiple times a day is one option. But the other option I really like is the long duration stretches. You can use any stretching you like for a muscle that’s especially short and put it on a 5 minute stretch at least once a day. The prolonged position of the stretch will cause the muscle to add more sarcomeres in series, therefore giving a more “permanent” effect to the stretch you just did.
Lon duration stretches is something I really like with hockey players of spend lots of of time in the skating position throughout their season and for people who work at a desk all day and sit too much. Here’s my favorite stretch to use for long duration stretch for both of these folks:
Hip flexor stretches are just great to hold for 5 minutes for anyone who has short hip flexors. This is something we use a lot at Endeavor with our athletes and general members as well. Sign Up for my FREE newsletter for more sports training insiders!
Sled drags are probably the best option for conditioning in the early off-season for hockey players. After spending 7-9 months on the ice pretty much everyday, in a hip flexed position and stressing the hip joint with the skating stride over and over, hockey players’ hips need a break.
The early off-seas0n is definitely not the time to hammer the volume on the players, not with the lifting, not with the conditioning. They need a good amount of corrective exercises and things that will help them reverse the damages a long season will put on their body. You want to follow the same mentality with the conditioning protocols. It’s definitely not the time to use shuttle runs and slideboards. And as far as the stationary bike goes, even if it’s easier on the joints, you’d still be stuck in hip flexion sitting on the bike.
Sled drags are a great option as in puts the athlete in a pretty upright position, it requires a good amount of active hip extension (reverse the tight hip flexors effect), and there is no eccentric stress, so it’s a lot easier on the joints including the hips, but also the knees and ankles.
Take it easy on your hockey players in the early stage of the off-season conditioning wise; they need some recovery from the season. So the overall conditioning volume should be pretty low, and joint-friendly and full range-of-motion modalities like the sled drag are optimal.
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For those who missed part 1, make sure to read it HERE first. I highlighted how easy social network tools like Facebook and Twitter have made our pursuit of continuing education in the fitness and strength and conditioning industry. You just have to “friend” or “like” the smart people in the industry that put quality information out here to easily access their material through your News Feed page.
In last week’s post I mentioned that this post would be to give an list of good people to follow and “friend” on Facebook and Twitter to get access to good material. So without further ado, here it is:
“Friend” on Facebook:
Alan Aragon, nutrition
Anthony Renna, from StrengthCoach.com and StrengthandConditioningWebinars.com
Ben Bruno (also on Twitter @benbruno1), from Mike Boyle S&C
Bret Contreras (also on Twitter @ bretcontreras), writer for T-Nation
Brian Grasso, from S&C coach and IYCA founder
Brian St. Pierre (also on Twitter @BSPNutrition), nutrition
Brijesh Patel, S&C coach at Qunnipiac
Chad Waterbury, writer for T-Nation
Charlie Weingroff, S&C coach and PT
Craig Liebenson, chiropractor and ART specialist
Dana Cavalea (also on Twitter @danacavalea), New York Yankees S&C coach
Dan John, renowned coach
Dave Ruel, nutrition
David Tate, from EliteFTS.com
Indy Fast, Bill Hartman & Mike Robertson’s facility
James Smith, from Diesel Crew
Jim Wendler, from EliteFTS.com
Joe Dowdell (also on Twitter @joedowdellnyc), Peak Performance owner and celebrity trainer
Joseph Heiler, PT and founder of SportRehabExpert.com
Juan Carlos Santana, renowned S&C coach
Kelly Baggett, speed and power training expert
Kevin Larrabee, from Mike Boyle S&C and the Fitcast
Kevin Neeld (also on Twitter @KevinNeeld)
Lee Taft, speed training expert
Leigh Peele (also on Twitter @LeighPeele), nutrition
Mark Young (also on Twitter @MarkYoungTrain), research expert
Matt Siniscalchi, S&C coach and speed training expert
Mike Reinolds (also on Twitter @mikereinoldblog), PT for the Boston Red Sox
Mike Robertson (@RobTrainSystems)
Nate Green (also on Twitter @nategreen03), from Precision Nutrition
Patrick Ward (also on Twitter @OSPpatrick), manual therapist and PT
Perry Nickelston (also on Twitter @laserdr), manual therapist and FMS, SFMA specialist
Sam Leahy, former intern from Cressey Performance and Mike Boyle S&C
Sean Hyson, Men’s Fitness editor
Sean Skahan (also on Twitter @SeanSkahan), Anaheim Ducks S&C coach
Sue Falsone (also on Twitter @suefalsone), PT at Athlete’s Performance
Tony Gentilcore (also on Twitter @tonygentilcore1), from Cressey Performance
Follow on Twitter:
Jaime Rodriguez (@Jrodstrength), S&C coach
Gray Coook (@graycookPT), PT and book author
John Romaniello, fat loss expert
Todd Durkin, pro athlete trainer and business owner
Diesel Crew (@dieselstrength)
Mike Roussell, nutrition
Jeff Cubos, chiropractic sports specialist and hockey expert
Anatomy Trains, Thomas Myers’ great work on fascia and the human body
Charles Poliquin, world famous S&C coach
Eric Cressey, world famous S&C coach
Mike Boyle (@mikeboyle1959), world famous S&C coach
Obviously there are probably 100s of professionals out there that haven’t listed or that I don’t know about, but this what I have on my Facebook and Twitter pages for now! And with the decent list I just gave you, you have a good place to start!
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It comes to no surprise to anyone who’s been successful enough in this business to understand the value of continuing education. Everything in fitness and strength and conditioning is evolving and we discover new things on a daily basis. What might be an optimal prescription for your clients and athletes today might be totally outdated in 5 years from now. Human anatomy and physiology is not an exact science; there are a lot of gray areas and researchers find new things about how the body works all the time. Bottom line is we don’t know as much as we might think.
These are the very reasons why continuing education is so important. For most people 5 years ago, doing continuing education meant buying books, going to seminars and networking with smarter people than you. Attending seminars and networking still have their place at the top of continuing education priorities; let’s face it, nothing is ever gonna compare to meeting new people and learning from them on how they view training and how they implement their knowledge.
Eric Cressey once told me “everyone has something to teach. They might not know as much as you do or have more experience, but there is at least one thing you can learn from somebody who’s been in the business for a while”. Whether it is something about anatomy, physiology, practical application, business, marketing, human relations, or anything else, you can learn something from everyone.
But the other continuing education mean, buying books might have lost some value in the last couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, I still buy books myself and the basic anatomy and physiology books are still essential to read.
Still a MUST read
But with the rise of the internet, books have taken a downfall. By the time an author has his book published, there is gonna be at least one thing that will have changed in his perspective. That’s mainly because by the time an author finishes writing a book, there might be some time passing by before the book finds its way on the shelves, sometimes up to 2 or 3 years! This is why the internet has came in so handy; information easily and quickly accessible. Of course with this great solution arises a major problem; the information you find on the internet can be, well, full of crap. Anyone can put information on the web, nobody controls it and we end up with so many self-proclaimed internet experts who actually don’t train anyone and are just good at selling themselves. But I digress. If you know where to look for for quality information, that pretty much eliminates the problem.
So the internet has brought us some easily and quickly accessible information that is more updated than books in general. But as I just mentioned, you need to know where to look for. Granted that it’s not always easy to find good websites and good blogs out there (I’ll come back to this later).
What has made our job even easier are the social networks. Good articles, blog posts, websites, videos, etc. just became so easy to find with Facebook and Twitter!
What first was a network to connect with old friends and stalk people, can actually be an amazing learning and networking tool. When Facebook first became popular, I was pretty much against it and saw it as a waste of time. But then I gave in to the social media wave that struck our entire society (seriously, who isn’t on Facebook in 2011?). But I still thought it was a little retarded and didn’t really see any use to it, other than posting thoughts that nobody cares about or stalking people.
And then, when I started my blog last year, I started posting links to all of my blog posts on Facebook (hey, that might just be how you heard about my blog in the first place!), and slowly realize that a lot of strength an conditioning and fitness professionals did the same thing. So I created myself a Twitter account and did the same thing and link to all my blog posts on there too. And at this point, Facebook and Twitter have pretty much became professional tools for me, and I know they are for so many other people too (I would say that 60-70% of the time I use Facebook is for professional use, and for Twitter it’s literally 100% of the time). I’m friends on Facebook and follow on Twitter over 100 strength and conditioning professionals who want to network or who post links to good continuing education material, whether it’s their own blogs and articles they wrote or just some other peoples’ material.
Honestly, it is so easy to access quality information and network with reputable professionals with Facebook and Twitter. You don’t even have to browse every individual website or google everything, once you’ve built your network on Facebook and Twitter. Follow the people you like, friend them on Facebook, “Like” their company or their product; it is THAT easy (and by the way, they will all accept your friend’s request even if they don’t know you; they understand how it works). Once you’ve established that, it doesn’t get any simpler than that. Just log in to Facebook and/or Twitter and check your “News Feed”; you’ll have plenty of quality information to read from!
The other cool thing is that you can tag these same people in your posts and send them direct messages. It’s an easy way to get in touch with them. Even if most of them are super busy people, most of them are very accessible will almost always answer your messages (if you’re polite relevant, of course).
Stay tuned for my next blog post, I’ll tell you who to follow on Twitter and who to “friend” and “like” on Facebook for quality information!
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Debatable, I know…Putting up a title like “the greatest exercise ever” or “the best exercise” label on something is hard and can brings you a lot critique because there is just so many factors to account for depending on who you train, the set up of your facility, clients’ injuries, etc. And let’s face it we all have different opinions. But before I start to elaborate on the hows and whys we may have different opinion, I’ll get back to the essential of today’s post! (and I assume you get the point!)
The Belly Press (also called the Pallof Press) is, in opinion, the most versatile core exercise out there because it has so many uses and so many variations. The standard Standing Belly Press is typically an anti-rotation exercise for the core muscles. The exercise is so simple and at the same time so effective, that it really is one of the best exercise out there. Usually, the exercise needs very little coaching cues, and people feel very easily in the right place. Mike Boyle has mentioned before that an exercise that requires little coaching and gives you the outcome you’re looking for is basically something that should be in your program. And depending on what variation you use, you can use more component than just anti-rotation for the core.
If you’ve been using the Belly Press for a little while, use the following variations to add some variety in your programs. And if you don’t use it, start using it today!
- Standing Belly Press (the basic exercise):
- 1/2 Kneeling Belly Press:
- Tall Kneeling Belly Press:
- Split Stance Belly Press:
- Belly-to-Overhead Press:
- Belly Press Iso-Hold Walk Out:
And if you want to add more challenge to any of these variations, try the perturbations, which creates an unpredictable environment and require more stabilization:
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The most important thing that’s going to help you achieve your fitness/performance goals, besides your training itself, is your diet. Let’s face it, the way you eat on daily basis and all the foods you put in your body are going to affect your results. If you don’t eat the right things, it’s going to affect the way you feel, the way you perform and the way you look. When you think about it, there is not that many things that affect our whole life as much as the food we eat. I’ve discussed before how our nutritional habits today are shittier than ever (for lack of a stronger term). And I’m not exaggerating one bit; we get up in a hurry every morning and opt for the easiest, quickest breakfast option (muffin and a coffee, or something like that), and that’s if you’re one of the few who actually eat breakfast. Lunch time isn’t any better since we didn’t take the time to bring a lunch to school or the office, so we go out and get fast-food, eat quickly and get back to work. If you’re lucky, you’ll MAYBE eat a decent meal in at dinner with your family. We always go for the quick fix and we don’t treat nutrition the way it should; we eat just because we’re hungry (instead of doing it to fuel your body) and give little to no importance to the quality of foods we ingest everyday. But I digress.
The important thing to remember is that the way you fuel your body is THAT important in order to achieve your performance/fitness goals. The key to fueling your body the right way is: PREPARATION. You need to plan ahead. The first step in planning is cooking! The best way to plan is to cook in big batches so you have many meals prepared ahead for your week. That way you avoid going for the quick fix because you already have food prepared for almost all your meals. And if you don’t know how to cook…well, learn how to!
Eating healthy and foods that taste good at the same time is possible. Most people associate eating healthy with boring, tasteless foods. That couldn’t be further away from the truth. In the last couple of years there has been many healthy cookbooks that were published. One of my all-time favorite cookbook is Gourmet Nutrition, by John Berardi. It’s a great book that gives you over a hundred great tasting recipes that are, for most pretty easy to make.
More recently (this week actually), my colleague Dave Ruel launched his Metabolic Cookbook. I just took advantage of his launch price (which is 50% off, by the way!) to buy it, and honestly I haven’t tried any recipe yet, but I was completely blown away by the quality of this resource. The recipes in the e-book are classified by categories (types of meat, breakfast, sides, snacks, etc). It also includes over 10 bonuses going from strategies to use when eating out at the restaurant to a fat loss guide. But more important than anything else, you have over 100 different recipes that are all so easy to make that even a dog can cook them!
Guess who’s cooking for me this week?
Seriously, it’s healthy eating made simple….real simple. You just need to follow the instructions. As my colleague Brian St. Pierre put it, the only downfall to his product is that most recipes might be a little too low-fat because he uses egg whites and low-fat dairies, but this is a very simple problem to solve by simply substituting with whole eggs and whole-milk dairies. What’s really cool about this resource is that Dave is still offering Metabolic Cooking at the introductory price of 47$ (retail price is 97$!) If you’ve been struggling to plan ahead your meals and just eat healthy foods that actually taste good, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy of Metabolic Cooking. If you hurry up and order it before Friday, you’ll still get the introductory price where you save 50$!
P.S. Friday I will have a special bonus included on my weekly newsletter! To make sure you get it, be sure to be subscribed to my newsletter (if you already signed up, no need to sign up again, you’ll receive my FREE bonus!)
I recently interviewed Mike Robertson on the release of his new product: Bulletproof Knees and Back Seminar. For those who might not know Mike, he’s a brilliant strength coach who has been in the trenches for many years. He has helped clients and athletes from all walks of life achieve their physique and sports performance goals.
His new product is an depth resource about injury prevention for the knees and lower back. It’s no secret that knee and lower back pain and injuries are becoming a plague among athletes and in society in general. Mike goes into great detail on how to address these issues; understanding of the functional anatomy, complete assessment protocols, corrective exercise protocols and how to efficiently coach clients and athletes, and much more. Mike was kind enough to give us a couple minutes out of his busy schedule to answer my questions on his new product.
DL: Mike, thanks for the taking the time to be with us today. You recently launched your new product called The Bulletproof Knees and Back Seminar. It’s a 6-disc DVD set that covers everything you need to know about the knees and back. It’s definitely a great resource, but let’s face it: it’s not the first knees and back injury prevention resource out there. What do you feel differentiate this one from the other knee and back resources out there?
MR: There are a couple of reasons I feel this piece is different:
1 – I blend research and in-the-trenches information. Some resources are great with regards to their literature review, but the people haven’t spent a ton of time actually training clients and athletes. In contrast, other people may have spent the time in the trenches, but their methods are misguided because they haven’t done their homework when it comes to the research.
I do my best to blend the two to get maximal results.
2 – This is VERY complete. In this product I cover everything from functional anatomy, to the assessments we use, to program design, to proper and effective coaching. I literally take you step-by-step through the entire process, so that you’re a much better coach when you come out on the back end.
DL: This is definitely true! When buying the product you get a 6-disc DVD set and 10 different bonuses, so it is indeed very complete! Mike, who is this resource for?
MR: My target audience is obviously coaches and trainers, but the industry has changed so much that I absolutely have to include the broad term of “fitness enthusiasts” as well. After all, there are people who read my site daily that are wicked smart, yet their day job is managing hedge funds or selling Blackberries!
Bottom line – if you are serious about learning more about knee and back training, you’ll really enjoy the DVD series. DL: It’s been somewhere over 3 years since you launched the Bulletproof Knees manual. Has your view and the way you deal with knee pain has changed ever since? If yes, how?
MR: You know, it hasn’t changed as much as might think!
I’m always striving to improve, but at the end of the day, the hips and the ankles are still critical in knee health. If I’ve changed anything, or improved upon anything, I think now I’m much more cognizant of the roles of hip and core stability in knee health. If your core and/or hips are unstable, again, the knees will take a beating.
But overall, I haven’t really changed that much – just refined more than anything else.
DL: Mike, as you already know, trainers and coaches alike have to deal with a lot of knee and back pain (amongst other injuries) with their clients. Some do too little to help them get better, but some others try and do too much, and sometimes cross some boundaries (i.e. doing a physical therapist’s job, per se). When do we need to refer out? and how important do you think it is to have a good network of professionals around you?
MR: As I’ve mentioned before, there are three times when I ALWAYS refer out:
Low back injury with radicular signs
Let’s be honest – I’m not a physical therapist, chiro, or sports med professional. It’s not my job to diagnose new injuries and give them a treatment plan. This is why you need a great PT, massage therapist, chiro, etc. on your team or in your network. You refer them out, get them right, and then they come back to you ready to train.
What I can do is get them moving and feeling better on the back-end. A lot of people don’t have “knee pain,” so much as they have movement patterns and muscle imbalances that hurt their knees! If you squat knees way forward, your knees are going to hurt. If you only train quads and no hamstrings, your knees are going to hurt.
So much of what we do is really simple, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get people feeling better!
DL: Mike, thank you so much for your time! All the best with your future projects!
To purchase Mike’s Bulletproof Knees and Back, click HERE.