Friday, December 31, 2010

More Glute Activation Tricks!

Here is another useful glute activation trick.  If this doesn't prove to you that everything is interconnected, then shame on you.  Loosening up your calf muscle immediately provides more strength in the glutes and hip extensors.  I tried it on myself, and the results were quite dramatic.  Try calf rolling before a run, or before sets of squats, deadlifts, swings, or snatches.  My bet is, you'll notice the exercise seems much easier immediately!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You Can Change the Nation

 Everyone with a dvd player should watch this movie: Food, Inc.  I bet most of you, like me, have never bothered to ask where your supermarket gets the food you eat.  I knew about slaughterhouses being gruesome, e.coli outbreaks occurring more frequently, and farms being responsible for pollution.  What I did not know was how severe and prevalent these issues have become.  Even worse, the FDA and USDA are no longer protecting the consumer from harmful poisons and poor nutrition.  In fact, they are working behind the scenes with multi-national corporations and Congress to not only promote cheap, harmful food, but are actively creating a veil to hide the reality from consumers.  Companies and individuals that attempt to fight them are shut down and silenced through lawsuits and impossible court fees, often times ending in their family and property being taken from them. 

But, as consumers, we are not powerless.  We can dictate the market by only buying foods that are organic from companies that support healthy and ethical farming practices.  We can support local meat, produce, and dairy farms, and spend money in local farmers markets.  We can rally together to support bills that will change how the food industry processes and packages the food we eat.  We can act to shut down facilities that regularly fail to pass pathogen tests.

All of these issues are DIRECTLY related to childhood obesity and the boom of childhood diseases.  Until we start changing our buying habits so that a bag of carrots costs less than a bag of potato chips, schools and daycares will continue to shovel shit into our children's mouths.  Low income families will not be able to buy that bag of carrots until middle class Americans flood the market with a demand for high quality, nutritious food.

Please do YOUR PART.  Watch the movie, and pass it along to others.  Change your buying habits.  Get involved locally. Go to this website to take part in changing our future, and our kid's future.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Functional Movement Screen Opportunity

Attention: If you have any money left in your flex spending account, you can use it for chiropractic services, corrective exercise, and/or the functional movement screen (FMS).
        Our FMS Screening and Corrective Exercise Instruction was a success on Dec 24th.  Because of the great turnout and volume of patient interest, we are opening up the same options on Dec 31st, from 10am – 12:30pm.  However, we will ONLY be offering the screening process on that day.  The corrective exercises will be given on a follow up appointment.
***There are only 10 slots available on that day for the FMS assessment***
       For those interested in taking advantage of our discounted FMS testing, please call the office at 301-622-9000 to schedule an appointment.  The fee for the FMS assessment ONLY will be $25, which is the same 50% discount provided to patients on the Dec 24th screening day. Each appointment will be 15 minutes in length, and consist of the injury assessment, results, and interpretation.  Please wear clothes that provide freedom of movement, and wear the shoes that you would normally train in.  
 Attention: If you have any money left in your flex spending account, you can use it for chiropractic services, corrective exercise, and/or the functional movement screen (FMS)
       After you appointment is finished, you will need to schedule a follow up appointment to learn the corrective exercises prescribed to you based on your assessment results.  Please schedule that follow-up appointment with Milvia at the front desk after your initial FMS assessment. 
 For more information on the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), go to:
See you soon,

Jason Schreiber, Director of Sports Performance

Strength is Built on a Foundation of Mobility

    As I sat here trying to decide on what I wanted to write about today, it dawned on me that I have not talked a lot about mobility and flexibility training.  Sure, strength is incredibly important, but not at the expense of joint mobility.  One of the quickest ways to get injured is to force a joint through a range of motion greater than what it is used to. Knowing what muscles you need to stretch is a very individual issue.  The best way to find out is to come see us at the office to participate in a functional movement screen (FMS). 

   However, many kettlebell exercises stress the hip musculature, core, and shoulder complex.  This means that if you are not regularly performing stretches for those overworked muscles, they might tighten up and cause injury. The muscles you should stretch after kettlebell training are your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, abdominals, lower back, and shoulders.  Performing the following exercises will help you keep those muscles flexible.

1) Shoulders
2) Chest
3) Glutes
4) Abdominals
5) Hip Flexors
6) Quads
7) Hamstrings

Friday, December 24, 2010

World's Strongest Woman

Aneta Florcyk is considered the "World's Strongest Woman."  She weighs about 150-160 lbs, and proves that strong women do not have to be "masculine."  I believe every woman should aspire to be as strong as they can be, and the benefits of that strength carry over to all aspects of your life.  I have never seen a woman more confident in themselves than a strong woman. Enjoy the inspiration!

1) Here she is setting a world record of rolling up frying pans in China, 2008.
2) Here she is deadlifting 550lbs.
3) Here she is deadlifting 484 lbs for 6 reps.
4) Here she is clean and jerking 264 lbs
5) Here she is breaking another record in the farmer's walk with 154lbs in each hand!

Monday, December 20, 2010

This Week's Routine- Hip Mobility

In an effort to remind everyone that mobility and flexibility are just as important as strength, here is a wonderful routine for improving your hip and shoulder mobility.  All of them should be slowed and controlled movement, with just 5 repetitions at a time, in a circuit without stopping.

1) Goblet Squats
2) Halos
3) Cossacks
4) Windmills
5) Overhead Lunge
6) Getup

Repeat twice, without stopping, and ideally, without changing weights.

Making these movements are regular part of your monthly training will help to improve your hip and shoulder mobility.  This in turn, will maximize your strength training efforts and significantly lower your risk of injury, both in training, and in your daily life.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

8 Reasons to Train with Kettlebells Regularly

Critics of kettlebell training simply dismiss it as a passing fad without a true understanding of the historical record and the shared history’s of kettlebell training and athletic development and fitness training.

I’m well aware of the volumes of hype that have been written about kettlebell training and it’s benefits, sometimes this hype is for marketing purposes, more often however, it’s for a good reason. Kettlebell training holds some distinct advantages over other training tools within the fitness professional and conditioning coaches’ toolbox.

Below are my Top 8 Reasons Why You Should Train with Kettlebells.

1. Kettlebell training amplifies your power output. This may be my favorite reason to train with kettlebells! Since classic kettlebell lifts such as the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk cannot be performed slowly, they develop a special quality known as power-endurance, or your ability to produce movements over an extended period of time. This differs from strength-endurance. Strength- endurance is your ability to produce force over an extended period of time. Power-endurance adds another time component; power-endurance is your ability to sustain fast muscular contractions over an extended period of time. While both strength-endurance and power-endurance are essential qualities to possess, power-endurance is usually what determines who the winner is in sport. Power-endurance training is also an excellent way to training for fat loss and conditioning.

2. Kettlebell training teaches your body how to contend with a constantly changing center of gravity. By design, the kettlebell’s center of gravity lays 6- 8 inches outside of your grip; this replicates the forces that you’ll encounter in sport and activities in daily living. This feature of the kettlebell will help improve this aspect of sports performance.

3. Kettlebell training builds powerful forearms and a strong grip. Kettlebells possess a thicker handle than their barbell and dumbbell counterparts taxing your grip and developing greater forearm strength. As our society continues to move away from manual labor our grip strength continues to decrease as well. Kettlebell training will help reverse this trend. The design of the kettlebell also adds another unique component to your grip training. Since the kettlebell’s center of gravity is usually in motion your grip training becomes a combination of dynamic and static muscular contractions in an attempt to control that fluctuating center of mass.

4. Kettlebell training improves your cardio –respiratory fitness. Since many kettlebell exercises take place with your arms in an overhead position the muscles responsible for assisting the breathing process are engaged in muscular activity, not allowing them to assist in the respiratory process. This forces the muscles most responsible for breathing to play an even larger role in cardio-vascular fitness.

5. Kettlebell training eliminates the need for a large training facility. The fitness industry is undergoing a change in thought and design…”Small is the new big…” Smaller, more focused fitness and sport training facilities increase in number daily and are much more profitable than larger, less personal studios. This makes kettlebell training ideal for small facilities. Kettlebells possess a very small footprint, meaning that they take up very little floor space. Kettlebells don’t require expensive racks; they can be stored in the corner or underneath other equipment.

6. Kettlebell training allows you to reduce overall training time, so you can devote your attention to other issues such as strategy, skill, rest and recovery. We all know how time-crunched everyone is today. A quick yet effective workout is the order of the day and kettlebell training delivers.

7. Kettlebell training bridges the gap between strength training and cardio; sport and real life do not respect the difference.

8. Kettlebell training allows you to never miss your workout. Again, we all know how busy people are today. Kettlebells allow you to train anywhere, the local park, beach, outside or inside.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This Weeks Routine - Muscle Cardio

We like to say that kettlebell training is like, "muscle cardio." This weeks routine will focus predominantly on bridging the gap between strength and cardiovascular training.  The routine will last 15 minutes, but it will be intense. You only need to use 3 exercises, the snatch, clean and press, and swing.  Here is your task:

1.) Choose a kettlebell that you can use for all 3 lifts, the snatch, clean and press, and swing. 
2.) Find a timer that will allow you to keep track of a minute.
3) Set the timer for 1 minute, then hit the start button.
4.)  Start performing your 1 arm snatches, 8 reps on each side.  Once done, rest until your minute ends.
5.) Repeat for 4 more minutes.
6.) Change to clean and presses, 5 reps on each side.  Once done, rest until your minute ends.
7.) Repeat for 4 more minutes.
8.)  Change to 1 arm swings, 10 reps on each side.  Once done, rest until your minute ends.
9.) Thank God you are finished, puke, and then stretch.....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter 2011 MCRD Kettlebell Seminars

I will be holding another 8 session kettlebell course for the winter 2011 season in association with the Montgomery County Department of Recreation. For those interested, you must register online. Their are two different classes. One is designed for adults of all ages, and the other targets adults over 50. Please forward this information to interested friends and family in the area. The links to more information and to register are below. 

Kettlebells for Everyone

Location: East County Community Center
Day: 8 Saturdays in a row

Dates: 1/15/11 - 3/5/11
Time: 11am - 12noon

Cost: $120, register online below
Kettlebells for 50+

Location: East County Community Center
Day: 8 Saturdays in a row

Dates: 1/15/11 - 3/5/11
Time: 12noon-1pm

Cost: $120, register online below

Location: Marilyn J. Praisner Community Center
Day: 8 Tuesdays in a row

Dates: 1/11/11 - 3/1/11
Time: 11am-12noon

Cost: $120, register online below 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Power Endurance for Sport

Kettlebell Training for Power Endurance

Most sporting events revolve around your ability to create explosive movements over an extended period of time. This athletic quality is known as power-endurance. Training for power-endurance can be absolutely grueling; however, the athlete that possesses the greatest amount of power-endurance usually goes home the winner.  Kettlebell training is relatively new in the world of sports performance enhancement. However, if there is one training tool for improving power-endurance, kettlebells are it. Kettlebell training traditionally revolves around modified Olympic lifting variations performed for high repetitions. It's this combination of high repetitions and modified Olympic lifts that make kettlebell training ideal for creating incredible amounts of power-endurance. What is it about this combination that makes kettlebell training so effective‌
Olympic lifts and their variations, by their very design cannot be performed slowly. Snatches, Cleans and Jerks must be executed quickly or not at all. By combining this quick lifting protocol you essentially train your body to produce high rates of power for an extensive time period

Kettlebell Clusters:
Kettlebell Clusters involve performing 1 repetition every 20 seconds for a set period of time. To spice things up even further I often rotate the drills that are performed every rep. For example, on the first rep you Snatch, rest 20 seconds and then Clean, rest another 20 seconds and High-Pull.  A great way to work Kettlebell Clusters is by training with a partner. You each call out the drill that your partner is to perform for their next rep. This just adds some chaos and a lot of fun to the workout. It also becomes very competitive with each partner trying to outdo the other. Just make sure to pick drills that are explosive and performed quickly as well as within the skill set of your partner.

So One Minute Of Kettlebell Clusters Would Look Like This:
    • 1 Kettlebell Snatch - 20 seconds rest
    • 1 Kettlebell Clean and Jerk - 20 seconds rest
    • 1 Kettlebell Push Press
      Repeat for the desired amount of time.

Kettlebell Couplets:
Kettlebell Couplets involve alternating a full-body ballistic movement with a fundamental bodyweight drill that stresses different musculature or opposite movement patterns. This allows one set of muscles to recover while the others are working overtime. Working in a descending rep scheme is a great way to train Kettlebell Couplets, simply because you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and as you near the end of your set you'll be fired up and hasten your performance. It's a great idea to time yourself during some of your favorite Kettlebell Couplets and try to beat that time when you visit that workout again. Here are a few Kettlebell Couplets that are guaranteed to improve your power output. Alternate each exercise until all sets of each drill are complete. Keep rest periods short and work to improve your time when you perform this workout again.
    • A1) Kettlebell Swing - 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
    • A2) Pushups - 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
    • B1) Kettlebell Snatch - 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
    • B2) Dips - 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
    • C1) Kettlebell Jerk - 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
    • C2) Pull-ups - 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Kettlebell Complexes:
One of the greatest features of kettlebell training is the ability to link and combine distinct movements into one continuous set. The unique shape of the kettlebell allows you to transfer from one ballistic drill into another without a hesitation. Complete the prescribed repetitions of each drill before moving unto the next. Don't stop working until each drill is complete. As you fatigue, drop your repetitions to ensure fast, high quality movement.

Complex #1
    • A1) Kettlebell Snatch - 5, 3, 1
    • A2) Kettlebell Clean -5, 3, 1
    • A3) Kettlebell Swing - 5, 3, 1

Complex # 2
    • B1) Kettlebell Push-Press- 5, 3, 1
    • B2) Kettlebell Jerk - 5, 3, 1
    • B3) Thrusters - 5, 3, 1

Sunday, December 5, 2010

This Week's Routine - Circuit

Here’s a simple circuit you can perform anywhere with a single kettlebell:
  • (20) 1 Arm Swings (10 each side)
  • (10) Windmills (5 each side)
  • (20) 1 Arm Cleans (10 each side)
  • (20) Military Presses (10 each side)
  • (20) Hand to Hand Swings
  • (20) 1 Arm Rows (10 each side)

Put a 30-60 second active rest between each of these and try to repeat the whole circuit 2-3 times. It should take under 30 minutes. If you are new, concentrate more on good form than completing reps.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kettlebells and Lower Cross Syndrome

  Time for a History Lesson      

                 Vladimir Janda was one of the most influential physical medicine physicians in the world in the late 20th century. A pioneer in the field of "low tech" rehabilitation, he honed his skills in communist Czechoslovakia. While western physicians were producing "human wreckage," with surgical techniques for the lumbar spine,  Janda consistently produced outstanding results in rehabilitating the same types of cases using wobble boards, sticks, exercise balls, kettlebells, and, most importantly, his hands. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the formation of the Czech Republic, Janda and his colleagues became more accessible. In the early nineties, a group of progressive thinking chiropractors and physical therapists began teaching Janda’s techniques in the West, and changed the way most of us looked at physical medicine.

                   One of the more basic (but essential) Janda concepts is the Lower Cross Syndrome. Lower Cross Syndrome is epidemic in western society because most people spend a large percentage of their time sitting. This can cause tightness and hyperactivity in the hip flexor group (iliopsoas etc.). Through a process known as reciprocal inhibition (defined as the contraction or activity of one muscle group inhibiting the contraction or activity of the antagonist muscle group), the hyperactive or tight hip flexor group can actually inhibit the hip extensor group, most importantly, the gluteus maximus. This imbalance then produces a secondary effect during walking. Since these people are unable to produce hip flexion with the gluteus maximus, they begin to substitute the low back extensors. They in turn become tight and hypertonic and through reciprocal inhibition inhibit the abdominal muscles. Thereby producing a "big gut, no butt" scenario (usually aided by poor diet and no exercise). Lifting and walking using primarily the low back extensors cause an increase in biomechanical stress in the lumbar spine producing chronic pain, osteoarthritic degeneration, and disc herniation.

            A key challenge to anyone treating low back pain is how to permanently correct this dysfunctional pattern. In my previous life (before kettlebells), I would use wobble boards, exercise balls and other "low tech" solutions. While effective, the exercises tended to be complicated (as well as boring) for the patient and more than one tool would often be necessary. When I started learning about kettlebells, I was excited at how such simple movements (the swing, clean, press and snatch), in addition to being amazing cardiovascular and strength conditioning exercises, actually corrected many of the movement pattern disorders I had been trained to identify. The most common of these was the Lower Cross Syndrome. What is amazing is that it seems as if the kettlebell swing was specifically designed to correct this pattern. Proper swing technique involves lowering the kettlebell via lumbar spine neutral hip flexion and then producing power via lumbar spine neutral hip extension (aka the hip snap). This simultaneously stretches and relaxes the hip flexors, activates and strengthens the hip extensors (particularly the gluteus maximus), and teaches lumbar spine control. Additionally, the secondary part of the swing, abdominal contraction at the apex of the swing, facilitates and strengthens the abdominals and relaxes and stretches the lumbar paraspinal musculature; a fantastic win/win scenario!!

          In summary, performing or teaching the swing exercise not only gets you or a client/patient in shape, it also has a corrective effect on one of the most common dysfunctional lifestyle patterns of the western world!!