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Monday, November 28, 2011

Yup.  There are actually stretches that don't work!
part 2 of 2

For a long time my staff and I have been teaching and lecturing the masses on more efficient methods of stretching. The problem is once you've done something a certain way you may find it hard to try a new something! In leadership we say 'you don't know you don't know it'. Remember when a stretch was suppose hurt? We were told and some are still being told that if you 'feel'  it then its working. Well the paradoxical question is what if you DON'T feel it? Then it must not be working.  Wrong!

The nerves that supply the muscle and tendon are designed to transmit volley of impulses that occur  within milliseconds. This is happening even as you read this. Those impulse increase in amplitude and speed when you engage in athletic endeavors. When a muscle is tight and the wrong stretch is applied those impulses will increase and can make the muscle even tighter! This is seen quite often in the classic 'butterfly', straight leg for the hamstring, and 'hanging' the heel off a step thinking this is a good way to stretch the calf(a great way to predispose you to Achilles tendinitis!)

So now I am really going to confuse you. There is much debate on static(holding) and dynamic(motion without holding) and which reduces injury better. Well neither reduces injuries better than the other, BUT dynamic is less offensive to the muscle and connective tissue. Also one other key advantage to dynamic stretching is it stimulates the nerve impulses in a functional way i.e. with normal joint ranges and planes of motion which the body is designed for. Basically, there is no need to get the muscle to exceed its normal length. It needs to simply work more efficiently. The best example of this is how hamstring injuries are mistreated. There are many 'limber'  runners with hamstring injuries because it gets treated as a 'tightness' so the thought is 'well it tears because its tight so I will stretch it more so it won't happen again'. But it does happen again. It happens because it is not a tightness issue but a timing nerve impulse issue. So if you can get the muscles to 'fire' at the right time in relationship to when the other muscles around it are firing, you can significantly reduce your chance of injury.

Next month we will release RETURN TO EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMANCE which is a compilation of stretching techniques that are designed to improve mobility, muscle timing, stability and  replace and update your current stretching regiment. Stay tuned when I will provide video demonstrations of these very effective techniques!

'You can't hit a target you can't see, and you cannot see a target you do not have'
Zig Ziglar


Watch for upcoming trailer video!!
3 phases remain!
As promised a 'teaser' of training techniques at BSI! We pride ourselves on designing innovative, challenging and progressive training techniques. All our techniques are layered so as you get stronger we introduce another phase of the technique. So you never get bored or plateau!.... 

MFC2,My Favorite Combo Circuits..YOU DO NOT want to miss this!! Our innovation in motion!

are so pervasive in fitness/combat training/
sports performance/muscle toning/sports injury managementthat we will
show you how original our techniques are.
'NO WAY' you say? Just wait.............

BARBELL COMBOS...We have some challenging barbell combinations that are great for augmenting a 'stale' program. Wait till you see what we do with a barbell and a box!...

.......That was just a sample of how we do it! Stay tuned for in future blogs we share the latest in training & conditioning, sports performance, sports injury management and updated stretching techniques!!

'Better than an orgasm'
Arnold  Schwarznegger  in the classic body building documentary Pumping Iron when comparing 'it' to a really good muscle pump.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

why injuries still happen even though
you stretch
PART 1 of 2

STRETCHING does NOT prevent injuries. The RIGHT stretch reduces the risk of injuries and lessens the severity. Now, stretching has long been debated as a key element to preventing injuries. Well this just is not true. There is really no empirical evidence that stretching before or after an event or exercise prevents injury. Some athletes that compete can have long careers without any injury. These athletes either know how to periodize their training or they are 'playing' safe when it comes to competition. Whatever the case, what happens when all the stretching you do does not seem to work?

In my years in treating orthopedic injuries there is  a common pattern and theme that goes with most injuries: improper and dated stretching techniques. What a majority of athletes and weekend warriors don't know is what is 'happening' when you stretch. The goal of stretching is to improve joint range of motion. We can all agree on this basic premise. Now, when you stretch, the idea is to get all the muscles, ligaments and tendons ready to distribute the energy caused by high amplitude activities ie. running, jumping, direction change, etc. But the key is to get the tissue to 'creep' if the stretch is going to be affective.

When a tissue is stretched and sustained the goal is to create creep: the tissue actually proceeds to elongate to is 'normal' length or beyond its normal length (I will tell you why that's a bad idea) and it will hold that length to allow for a nice supple joint that can accommodate the stresses imposed upon it. Unfortunately, this does not last long, especially if you do not stretch consistently enough;this is the common error when I evaluate injuries. The next stage in stretching is deformation. This is the stage where the tissue is actually stretched beyond its normal tolerances. This is called tensile capacity. The reason this is not a good place to be because the joint can have TOO much mobility at the wrong time! And believe it or not more injuries happen in this range than not being flexible enough! A joint that is hypermobile (too flexible) adds increased loads on the restraint structures that go beyond tensile capacities.If you are still not convinced then observe muscle injuries in professional sports, and little league where coaches are teaching kids dated stretches. Its these restraint structures that protect us from injury.

There is much debate on stretching dynamic or sustained(holding for a given amount of time). The research is overwhelming and has been for quite awhile that dynamic stretching is superior. I have long felt not just from my studies but understanding how to manage sport related injuries, dynamic is far superior. Dynamic stretching before training is the preferred and highly recommended way to prepare the body for sport or any activity. I am in favor of sustained stretch AFTER training and even then I have my own that I recommend which will be featured in part two of this blog.....


Saturday, November 19, 2011

RUNNERS...I told you so!!!!
Performance declines without strength training

This blog will be brief: for years I have told runners that just running will NOT improve leg strength. A majority of lower extremity injuries sustained by runners of all levels are caused by a lack of power in the lower extremity. My years of clinical experience backed up by a dearth of research on the topic discovered years ago that runners need to add resistance training and other forms of specialized performance conditioning to prevent such injuries.

Well, again in  the JOURNAL OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING this month researchers at the University of Buffalo and the Universtiy of New Hamshire reiterated that strength training is crucial to prevent decrements in performance especially as we age. However, BSI has long promoted functional training and conditioning as far back as 1986!

Also mentioned in the article is the importance of stretching. We know this and you the runner know this but not all runners stretch let alone stretch properly! The key however, that I mentioned in my book RETURN TO EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMANCE, is frequency!. Runners who suffer plantar fascitis, shin splints, piriformis 'like' syndrome  etc. are performing outdated stretching techniques. Even when shown our methods of proper stretching it is still not done as frequently as we prescribe!

Forming sustainable mobility requires that the tissue 'creeps' to tissue tolerances that can distribute energy when the foot hits the ground. This means that the goal of  stretching is to get the tissue to 'conform' by stretching within functional and biomechanical ranges. Often though, this is not done and injuries happen. Stretching REDUCES the risk and severity of an injury. Deciding to do these stretches AFTER you are hurt will have very little effect. Prevention is key. It's that simple...

Finally, I suggests that if you are a runner of any age:
  • Learn how to do exercises that will improve power
  • Learn how to properly do plyometerics
  • Do stretches frequently NOT when you start feeling pain. Stretching reduces the risk and severity of injury
If you are not a BSI client but want to learn how to stretch and train properly, contact us via and mention this article and receive $35 off a training package of 6 or more 1/2 hour sessions!!

'Take what you can use and let the rest go by'
-Ken kesey

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Train! Train! Train! Speed. Power. Quickness....Ouch!!

We are trained professionals in the science of sports performance and injury prevention. Sometimes things go wrong and injuries happen. It is no doubt that all sports has its own inherent quality to provoke an injury. From the muscle tear to the dreaded ACL tear, the body does have its limitations. My mentor put it bluntly when I did my first clinical internship many years ago while performing my first shoulder exam of a professional baseball player. He said: "Skip. The body is NOT made for sport!"I thought, 'how true.'

Injuries happen at all levels of competition no mater how 'talented' you are. The stress and frequency of training should increase as you become stronger. The amplitude, loads, intensity etc should all become more demanding BUT, this must be calibrated properly to reduce the risk of injury.    The bodies tissue i.e. ligaments, tendons, cartilage and muscle have certain tensile capacities that breach or tear when training loads are chronically excessive.

Disease of excellence then are injuries that occur from intense demands on a complex movement system: the human body. When you watch sports that require quick decision making, speed, acceleration, deceleration, jumping, colliding, agility there are complex neurological relay systems that happen so fast its incomprehensible.  Muscles are firing at incredible speeds. Volitional responses occur within milliseconds.  But when it goes wrong you may "wonder how does a high level professional athlete let alone a little league, high school or college athlete get hurt?"  There are several factors that result in injury: 1. Poor or outdated training methodology, 2. Ignoring signs and symptoms, 3. Date injury management techniques, and 4. Lack of or no training periodization.

Poor or outdated training methodology.  Whether you know it or not, training and conditioning is a science. Often times it appears that all you are doing is just working hard with no real purpose besides sweating! However, our training program is designed to provide optimal intensity that will provoke a training stimulus to make you stronger and enhance calorie combustion. Unfortunately, their are armatures who think that training has not evolved at all and are still doing the same training methods done when they were in high school!  Little do they know that those dated techniques predispose them to injuries,  decrease in power output and the dreaded training plateau!

Ignoring signs and symptoms. I'm guilty of it too. You feel a little 'something' in the shoulder, ankle or knee but you brush it off as a training 'pain'. Then it gets worse. So what do you do? Stop the offending exercise until the pain goes away then with a logic that is truly dizzying you go BACK to the thing that hurt you in the first place!! This is the same guy/gal who is compelled by the body building or boot camp mentality that the pain is normal...Huh?! Look. Its not normal. Muscle soreness is normal. NOT pain that last more than two weeks! Such training programs need a serious overhaul, which is what we specialize in. When I evaluate an injury caused by training I always have the subject demonstrate 'their' technique. 99% of the time the technique is either flawed or out dated. Our training programs are challenging, innovative and progressive but never flawed or out dated. Like we  say with a grain of truth 'don't try this at home'!!

Dated injury management techniques. Epsom salts. Magnets. Oxygenated waters. The list is endless.   So are placebos! IF YOU BELIEVE IT WORKS, IT WILL WORK!! Nevertheless, it does not address the CAUSE!  We encourage our clients to inform us when they suffer what I like to call 'snags'(minor soft tissue injury) caused by a workout that was too aggressive. We simply 're-calibrate' the training session to promote recovery via specific rehab techniques that we design.  We have vast experience in the treatment, management and treatment of orthopedic sport related injuries. The key is managing the intensity and duration of the workload. But more importantly getting an accurate assessment of the problem before proceed to the point of no return!

No training periodization. Periodization simply means altering training frequency, duration and intensity throughout the year. Most don't do this and by combining all of the above scenarios this is a   'perfect storm' for an injury to occur. It is easy to periodize your training simply by adjusting variables that are in your control such as training days, active recovery and regulating training durations. We recommend that if you are involved in personal training and taking classes, it is a good idea to mix up the frequency of your training week. So if you train 4 days a week and take classes 2 days a week thats' 6 training days. We suggest you do what is called a two day split: Train 2 days in a row-REST third day-train another 2 days-REST for two days. If this sounds sacrilegious to YOU then this blog is for you!

Hopefully, this gives you insight on how to prevent injuries and still maintain a intense training environment.  Hey. Injuries will happen when you push your body to the limit. The key is knowing how to manage those injuries, prevent them in the first place and more importantly knowing when you need to upgrade your current training regiment.

"Muscles soreness is a side effect. Not an objective"
-Skip Bunton

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why combining Krill and Omega 3 is good for your joints...especially if you plan on training for a long time!!

We all have heard of the benefits of Omega 3 for its ability to provide a protective effect for maintaining healthy arteries but the new 'hotness' is Krill. Yes. The food of whales is now available for reducing the symptoms of OA osteoaarthritis.

Krill are among the most populous animal species on the planet. Tiny shrimp like crustaceans, found in the frigid waters of the Antarctic ocean . What makes Krill unique is its ability to help in reducing joint inflammation in combination with fish oil. Fish oil is great for maintaining healthy arteries by reducing inflammation caused by c-reactive proteins, and LDL ( bad cholesterol). However, unlike long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids from other animal sources, a high proportion of Krill oil fats are found in a form known as phospholipids which may help explain their unique function in joints.

OA is characterized by a degradation of the articular surfaces between the bone joints. OA can be painful and debilitating even when conventional drugs are used. Moreover, the key goal with these medicines is simply to reduce pain. Krill on the other hand in conjunction with fish oil is shown to have a significant improvement in reducing inflammation and pain by reducing the activity of C-reactive protein, a contributor to arthritic inflammation, by as much as 50%!

Another key factor in maintaining healthy cartilage is Hyaluaric Acid. This naturally occurring compound provides cushioning and joint lubrication found in all joints and is responsible in wound repair and regeneration. HA suppresses the damaging effects caused by enzymes that degrade the cartilage which leads to arthritis. HA can be taken orally but because of the size of the molecules this affects its bioavailability. This means that it is not readily absorbed from the intestine, thus dampening its healing effect on the damaged tissue. However, when combined with HA absorption is markedly improved.

Krill avidly consume algae. These algae contain axtaxanthin which is a powerful antioxidant and natural anti-inflammatory agent and has long been studied for its inhibitory effects on reducing cartilage damage caused by destructive enzymes.

In summary

  • Krill oil reduces inflammation and infiltration into the joint thus reducing pain and cartilage damage.
  • Krill when combined with HA and astazathin combined with fish oil has shown significant reduction in pain in less than 3 months.

I would suggest trying Krill if you are already taking a fish oil supplement. If you are taking neither then it makes sense to give it a try. As always let your doctor know when you begin taking this combination. I recommend that if you have not begun to add fish oil to your healthy constitution you should!

*Sold at BSI

'Whatever you are. Be a good one'
-Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

part 2 of 2: Your feet look funny

I had the pleasure of training a couple of Kenyan runners for the last summer Olympics. Anyhow, they were asked to speak at a local running shoe store about their training in Kenya. Then it all came to a skreeching halt when this question was asked:' How do you run so long?' The Kenyans looked at here as if to think "that is a stupid question"! He went on to answer by saying it is 'our' mode of transportation. We ran everywhere and sometimes in bare feet....

Changing how the foot reacts to ground forces with shoes and then without shoes is a complex matter. Complex in the impact it can have throughout the foot and ankle;these are tremendous and should not be taken lightly. The muscles and ligaments in the foot are designed to tolerate, regulate and adapt to loads below and above the knee. In running, shoes alter or attenuate those loads via the interface(what is between foot and ground). When you remove the interface, interesting things happen. One of those is the recruitment patterns of the muscles in the foot change. This is called G.A.S. General adaptation Syndrome

GAS was a theory proposed by noted physiologists, Hans Selye, on the development of stressors on the human body. He divided this into 3 stages:

  1. ALARM STAGE-body recognizes and reacts to stressor
  2. RESISTANCE STAGE-body is able to adapt and handle stress w/out pathology developing
  3. EXHAUSTION STAGE-bodies defense system gets overwhelmed and adaptation no longer is possible.
The most common stage in sport is 3! Vibram shoe wearers start in stage 1 but eventually end up at 3. Now before I go on, there are some people who swear by them. Good for you. This is a small camp. However, the layman does not know any better and because they are not performing well, then it must be....THE SHOES! As I mentioned in part 1 not all foot types are appropriate for a Vibram type shoe. Simply put: buyer beware! If you are not having trouble with your running then DON'T CHANGE A THING! 

This is what you need to know:
  1. Vibram shoes are designed to improve forefoot strike
  2. There are some feet that have a navicular drop or flat foot that should not wear them
  3. Most runners eventually end up with stage 3 injuries.
  4. Buyer beware. 
  5. If you are running fine with the shoe you have, don't change it!

'Why you chasing me?!' 
'Why you running?!'
-detective chasing bad guy in To live and Die in LA..coolest movie