Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
6. Thoracic Rotation – Again, another simple but effective exercise. Too many triathletes suffer from low back pain. These issues are most likely caused from tight hips or an immobile thoracic spine. Our thoracic spine is the 12 vertebrae located in the middle of the spine. You need active mobility in this region. If you lack mobility in this area you are likely to move at the low spine and cause back pain. Also, because of lack of mobility in the thoracic spine you could spark serious neck and shoulder issues. When sitting, your thoracic spine is in a locked position and its true function (extension, flexion and rotation) is turned off. This can lead to poor posture mechanics which can send a chained signal to the rest of the body to compensate. Compensation is what leads to injury. When one part of the body is turned off or non-functional then another area will try and pick up the load and this will lead to an injury. This exercise is done on all fours. Your body must remain straight and in good position. Put one hand on top of your head, rotate down and touch your opposite shoulder and then rotate up as far as you can. Try and look up to the ceiling when rotating up. You will feel the stretch between your shoulder blades. Start off by performing 8 a side and build to 15 a side.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Goals do not just get accomplished. You do not just wave a magic wand and “boom” your goals are achieved. You must eat the right foods, get your workouts in consistently, be organized, stay positive, stay motivated and eat the right foods (yes I said it twice, it is that important)! When people first start a fitness program, the first few weeks are great. The motivation is high, the work ethic is great and the attitude is very positive. But fitness is a life long journey that needs to be addressed one day at a time. If you have a specific weight loss, weight gain or performance goal, then set a date for you to accomplish that goal. When you have a specific day and it is written down you are more likely to accomplish that goal. But what will you do after you get to that date? What will you do when you accomplish that goal? You must continue to be healthy and fit for the rest of your life. I train professional athletes. When they are done playing their sport, I would want them to continue working out and eating healthy beyond their sporting career. There is no finish line when it comes to your health. Do not make excuses! If you are consistently eating healthy and consistently working out throughout the week you WILL achieve the goals set. When you accomplish your goals, set the bar higher and continue to work towards those new goals. When you get frustrated, use that frustration to push yourself in your workouts. There is no magic remedy to fitness. It is hard work and dedication and sweat. Go out and make it a great day! Your attitude can take you as high as you want to go!
Are you working out on machines? If so, you need to stop. Machines do not build function. Your movement is constricted on a machine. If your program is loaded with machine exercises and non-functional training then change your program. Start implementing functional exercises like squats, chin-ups, push-ups, deadlifts, planks and free weights into your program. Check www.justintrain.com for ideas and examples of these exercises.
Stop with the crunches already! Did you know that doing repetitive crunching (flexion of the spine) puts unwanted stress on your lumbar spine (lower back)? Your low spine’s function is to remain stable. Repeated flexion, extension and rotation of the low spine will lead to pain in the low back. Look at it this way: take a metal hanger and start bending it back and forth. Eventually that hanger will snap. It might not happen the 1st, 4th or 50th repetition. But eventually that piece of metal will snap. This is how your low back functions. If you are constantly performing crunches then you could blow a low back disc. Start thinking stability and stiffness for “core” exercises. Planks, side planks, medicine ball throws, and chops and lifts are examples of great core stability movements.
Eat all day long. Do not just eat 2-3 meals throughout the day. Keep your metabolism fired up all day by eating smaller meals 4-8 times throughout the day. Breakfast is very important for getting your metabolism started. Eating a bowl of cereal is not a good breakfast. Get quality proteins and good, complex carbohydrates in the morning and throughout the rest of the day.
Do not be the person that makes excuses. You need to learn to make sacrifices in your daily life so you can be healthy, have more energy and be fit! Everyone can do this! Believe in yourself and stay positive.
Have a great day!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
4. Mini-band Walks – Most triathletes have very strong quadriceps and hamstrings but very weak hip stabilizers. The glute medius is a very important muscle for stabilizing the hip joint and controlling the femur. If you have weak hip stabilizers you will not be able to control the movement of the femur, which can cause hip, knee and low back pain. Running and biking are unilateral movements. You are always using one leg or the other during these sports. If you can not stabilize on one leg because of inadequate hip stabilizers you will get injured very fast. This exercise, done daily, will strengthen your glute medius and will assist in stabilizing your hip joint. The more stability you have in your hips the more we can swim, bike and run more efficiently. When performing this exercise, think of having a book on top of your head with great core stability. Do not wobble all over the place. Remain tight and balanced. Your toes should be pointed inward to get more recruitment of the glute medius. When going lateral start off by doing 10 small steps to your left and 10 small steps to your right. Build to 30 small steps to your right and left. When going linear start off by doing 20 small steps forward and back and build to 30 small steps front and back.
5. Lateral/Straight Leg swings – This dynamic exercise is performed to increase hip mobility. This is a mandatory movement in your daily workout routine. If you lack mobility in your hips, your low back will take the stress and will eventually start to hurt. These movements will open your hips in a frontal and saggital plane of motion. World renowned strength coach Michael Boyle says, “The problem is that the hip is built for mobility and the lumbar spine for stability. When the supposedly mobile joint becomes immobile, the stable joint is forced to move in compensation, becoming less stable and subsequently painful.” During lateral leg swings keep your back stable and let your hips do the movement. Cross the center line of your body and do not let your toes externally rotate out. Keep your toes facing the wall. With straight leg swings maintain a tall and stable trunk. Swing your leg up as high as you can go without bending your knee. Keep your toes flexed back.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
1. "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are right."
2. "Your attitude determines your altitude."
3. "Nothing is impossible......it might just take a little more work."
4. "Do not settle for average, BE YOUR BEST!"
5. "Do not make excuses....Make it Happen!"
Sometimes the right words can change the way you think. So when your motivation is running a little low come back to these quotes and read them out loud. When you wake up in the morning tell yourself it is going to be a great day. Start off with the right positive mindset and you will accomplish so much. Remember success does not just happen. You need to work at it. Make daily to do lists, stay educated and stay inspired. There is so much out there for us to achieve. Be the person that walks the walk. Life is too short to just sit around and wait for things to come to you. Go out and get it and watch your Life SOAR!
www.justintrain.com will change your life forever!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
We continue to look at corrective exercises that athletes need to perform on a regular basis to increase stability, build balance and function and can tremendously assist in reducing injury in the sport of triathlon.
2. Plank/Side Plank – This might be the most important exercise for triathletes. We need stability and stiffness in our lower lumbar region. If we are unstable our low back will get unwanted movement, thus causing low back pain. There are many repetitive movements in swimming, biking and running. You are continually doing the same thing over and over which can cause asymmetries in the body. Having a stable core means that your body will be able to release power throughout your hips and shoulders more efficiently. The plank effectively trains all of the stabilizing muscles in your body, from your shoulders, through your spine, to your hips and ankles. The plank is a very simple but efficient exercise. You do not have to hold a plank longer than 45 seconds for it to be effective. Start out by holding a plank or side plank for 15 seconds and perform two sets. Build to 4 sets of 30 seconds. Once you have mastered this progression, elevate your feet on a bench or box. You must maintain a straight body, braced abdominal region, and stiffness through the exercise. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides and directly underneath your shoulders and keep your forearms straight out in front of you.
3. Deep Squat to Hamstring stretch – This is a powerful exercise. This will help loosen up your ankles, open up your hips and stretch your hamstrings. Triathletes get very tight in their hips and hamstrings from constant biking and running. This exercise done everyday will enhance ankle mobility, hamstring flexibility and hip mobility. Make sure to keep your chest up and back flat, keep heels on the floor and keep your elbows inside of your knees during the squat. As you go into the hamstring stretch, push your hips up and keep a straight back until your feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Start off by doing five full repetitions of this movement.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
1. Y’s/T’s/W’s/L’s – Whether you are swimming, biking or running, triathletes need strong stability and posture of the upper back. If you have a weak posterior upper body your body will learn to compensate through unwanted stress of the lower back, shoulders, hips and knees. These simple exercises will enhance shoulder stability, rotator cuff strength, and scapular control. The scapula area (shoulder blades, rhomboids, rotator cuff, middle trapezius, posterior deltoid and subscapularis) are all stabilizing muscles of the upper back. If we lack strength in these small stabilizing muscles our posture will suffer thus causing stress and pain in other areas. You need to be in a good athletic position while performing these exercises. Knees should be slightly bent and you should be bent over 45 degrees towards the ground. Remain strong and tight in the trunk area. Start out by doing 6 repetitions for each exercise and do not use any weight. Build to 10 repetitions of each exercise. Once you have done this set of exercises for at least 4 weeks, then you can move to 2 pound dumbbells. This exercise is meant for light weight so we can continue to strengthen the stabilizers. The heavier you go the more your deltoid will want to take over, thus defeating the purpose of these moves.
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