Month: October 2010

Why Am I So Prone to Ankle Injury?

A common injury to both athletes and non-athletes is an ankle sprain. This is usually caused by landed on an uneven surface which causes the ankle to twist, stretching or tearing the ligaments that hold the foot in place. The most common form of an ankle sprain is when the foot turns in, damaging the lateral (or side) ligaments. Medial ligament sprains are rare and usually occur with a fracture to the tibia caused by the foot turning out.

There are 3 grades of severity for ankle sprains:
Grade 1

  • Some stretching or minor tearing of the ankle ligaments most likely lateral
  • Mild pain
  • Mild swelling around the bone on the outside of the ankle
  • Some joint stiffness or difficulty walking or running

Grade 2

  • Moderate tearing of the ligament fibers
  • Moderate to severe pain and difficulty walking
  • Swelling and stiffness in ankle joint
  • Minor bruising

Grade 3

  • Total rupture of ligament
  • Complete instability of joint
  • Severe pain
  • Severe swelling
  • Extensive bruising

The recovery from a sprained ankle can be quick or can last months depending on the grade of sprain and your active involvement in rehabbing the injured area. Your best bet for assisting with a quick recovery time is to initially use R.I.C.E.

Rest the injury to reduce the risk of further injuring the ankle. Some therapists advocate partial weight-bearing as soon as tolerated to help rehabilitation time.

Ice will reduce the swelling and increase circulation to the injured area. Place ice on the ankle first thing following the injury for 15 min. Repeat this every 2 hours.

Compression will also assist with reducing swelling and bleeding.

Elevation uses gravity to help reduce bleeding and inflammation by allowing the blood to flaw away from the injured site.

The next step in recovery is to do rehab on your ankle working on stretching and strengthening those injured muscles, tendons and ligaments. The most important part of rehabilitation of an ankle injury is range of motion. Great exercises include making circles with your feet or spelling your ABC’s in capital letters with your feet. Make sure you have something close to you for balance and keep your core engaged. The calf muscle usually tightens following an ankle injury for protection so gentle stretching will aid in a faster recovery time. Make sure you stretch both the Gastrocnemius (large calf muscle) and the Soleus (smaller calf muscle that attaches below the knee).

Stretch should be felt throughout the whole calf muscle.

Stretch should be felt in the lower part of the leg closer to your heel.

Stability and core exercises are also an important aspect to the rehabilitation and strengthening of an ankle injury. Such devices as the Bosu and wobble boards place the ankle in a “controlled chaos” which trains the body how to react to situations that may damage the ankle. These tools will strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the ankle and should be incorporated into any exercise routine for someone who has suffered this kind of injury.

What ever grade ankle sprain you have; Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation are the first tools to a rapid recovery. After that a good rehab program involving range of motion and strengthening, perhaps utilizing a Bosu/wabble board, should be your second step. Ankle sprains can be a continuous problem and should be addressed sooner rather than later. If you would like more information on ankle rehab or strengthening please contact Thomas Eagen.

Seattle Athletic Club Downtown Diversifies with TRX

Recently Fitness Anywhere highlighted the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown’s commitment to diversifying workout options for our members.

Located one block north of the historic fish markets in Seattle, Washington, the Seattle Athletic Club (SAC) opened in 1982 and quickly became downtown Seattle’s premier health and fitness destination. Under the direction of internationally renowned squash pro Yusuf Khan, the club drew squash enthusiasts from across the region and is still recognized today for its superior squash program. In addition to squash, the club offers athletic training in a variety of other areas including court sports, MMA, triathlon, golf and youth training, and on the group exercise side, their robust curriculum boosts programs like BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, BOSU Blast, Endurance Cycle, Power Sculpt, Sports Conditioning and Zumba.

SAC prides itself on staying ahead of the curve when it comes to industry trends. They pay close attention to clients’ demands and interests for new classes and equipment, which keeps the club evolving with the industry. One such client request was TRX Suspension Training, which SAC introduced in March 2009. Members lapped up this latest offering.

“After my first TRX training, I was hooked!” says member Cathy Garrison. “In a 45 minute workout, TRX strengthened my core muscles to the point of fatigue and at the same time provided an amazing cardio workout. TRX has stepped up my fitness level.”

Currently, three instructors at SAC have taken a TRX Suspension Training Course, which has proved invaluable to them as they continue to incorporate the TRX into their clients’ workouts on a daily basis. “The TRX adds more diversified training for our members. More tools in the tool box helps the members reach their goals,” says personal trainer Katrina Yniguez (performing the TRX Pike above).

The SAC trainers perform circuits with the TRX and other equipment such as kettlebells, jump ropes, BOSU, medicine balls, agility ladders, cones, hurdles, etc. Because the trainers have different areas of expertise, they each work with a unique demographic on the TRX, from young athletes to clients in their mid 30s to 50s to seniors. Regardless their skill level or goal, all clientele have achieved noticeable results from TRX Suspension Training.

Member Margie Duckstead frequently recommends TRX to her fitness-minded friends, citing it as one of her favorite ways to strength train. “I feel less likely to get injured than I do with certain free weights and equipment,” says Duckstead. “It provides great results and is enjoyable in the process.”

From its initial launch, the TRX class offering at SAC has evolved in multiple ways: increased frequency from three days a week to five days and now including one-on-one training sessions; increased visibility to a higher traffic area at the club; and improved anchoring with the TRX MultiMount, which allows up to 10 people to train at once.

Seattle Athletic Club stays committed to continuing to offer members ever-evolving and improved fitness programs and equipment, and the versatility, effectiveness and fun afforded by the TRX Suspension Trainer goes hand-in-hand with this mission.

Visit our TRX Playlist on our YouTube Channel for more great exercise demonstrations.

If you are interested in trying out the TRX Suspension Training, contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway at 206-443-1111.

Top Reasons to Do Cardio Exercise

The best reason to do cardio is to make exercise throughout your daily life easier and to maintain a strong, healthy heart for your entire life.

Cardiovascular exercise is called cardio for a reason: because cardiovascular exercise primarily benefits the cardiovascular system. The primary function of the cardiovascular system is to deliver oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to the muscles. Large components of our cardiovascular system include the heart, blood, blood vessels (e.g. veins, arteries, capillaries), and the lungs. The more regular cardio we do, the better our cardiovascular system performs.

As we become more cardiovascularly fit, our heart becomes more muscular and stronger, our blood pressure improves, the amount of oxygen we can effectively utilize increases, and our resting heart rate decreases. In other words, cardiovascular work becomes easier, and we feel better.

Additionally cardio speeds our recovery from delayed-onset muscle soreness. By speeding the delivery of vital nutrients and hormones to the affected tissue as well as speeding the removal of lactic acid and muscle damage by-produces from the affected tissue, cardiovascular activity hastens the recovery process.

All that said, above all else we need to sustain a regular cardiovascular routine to maintain a healthy and fit cardiovascular system. If you have any questions on cardiovascular fitness or training please feel free to contact any one of our qualified personal fitness trainers or our fitness director Jacob Galloway.

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #6 Listening to Your Body

Listening to Your Body
This is for in training and in racing. Recognizing signals that something is “off” and dealing with it.

Your training program is a guideline, but if something feels “tweaky” knowing that your body needs a break at that time rather than trying to push through the workout to “do more” can lead to injury later. As for racing, listen to your body cues and respond to them appropriately instead of waiting until it is too late (ie: fueling properly, pacing well, and staying on your game plan for the day).

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Group Exercise Class Etiquette

The Seattle Athletic Clubs boasts over 50 group exercise classes a week! Have you tried one yet? As an instructor, I have a short list of suggestions that will make your and the instructor’s experience richer and safer.

  1. Introduce yourself to the instructor before class begins. Instructors will notice your presence in class, even if you sneak in and go straight to the back row! So, introduce yourself and inform him/her of any injuries your dealing with so he/she can be aware of your condition.
  2. Show up on time (means 5 minutes early to set up your equipment). Instructors build their class around a warm-up and a cool-down, and if you miss the warm up you may hurt yourself.
  3. Ask questions! After class, approach the instructor to ask any questions about an exercise or concept you didn’t understand. Instructors love to talk shop.
  4. And finally, give feedback! Whether a compliment or a suggestion, an instructor will want to know what you thought. Let his/her manager know what you thought as well because feedback (positive or negative) can only sharpen our awareness and hone our skills to make us better instructors.

Try using our “Find a Class” feature on our site to select classes that you are interested in. We hope to see you in class!

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #5 Considering Factors and Elements

Considering Factors and Elements
From experience, I can tell you that no race is the same, even if it is the same race from the previous year. In the sport of Triathlon, there are so many variables on the course that play a roll on race day. Bouys drift, swim distances are mis-marked, winds blow in all directions at different times and shifting intensities, road surfaces change with weather, etc. The good athlete considers these elements before beating themselves up over not getting a PR or not showing time improvements. In fact, the good athlete keeps their head in the game at these times, while the less experienced athlete throws in the towel before the race is even complete. Mentally prepare yourself for all conditions so there are no surprises on race day!

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Relief from Chronic Pain with Deep Pressure Massage

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States. It can be made worse by environmental and psychological factors, and is described as pain that persists for weeks, months or years. Without the hope of relief, chronic pain often becomes a defining factor in the lives of those experiencing this condition. Many lose the ability to eat, sleep, work and function normally. It can cause sufferers to alienate those around them, and it sometimes leads to drug addiction, irritability and depression.

Pain lets us know that something is wrong and the body responds by doing everything it can to protect itself from further harm. After an injury the healing process begins, and once complete the pain response should end. However with chronic pain the message of the pain itself never ends. Some common causes of Chronic Pain are abnormal levels of muscle tension caused by shortened and tight muscle tissue. Chronic tightening of muscle fibers results in restricted blood flow and lymph flow resulting in acidosis. Without the proper circulation of blood and lymph flow, waste products build up and a nutritional deficit occurs in the tissue.

Deep pressure massage helps relieve chronic pain by releasing the blood and lymph flow. This increased flow allows the waste product to be carried away and allows the influx of fresh oxygen and nutrients. The deep pressure massage feels good to chronic-pain clients because it releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers for the body. With the release of these endorphins, the client experiences a euphoric break from the pain for a period of time. Notable relief is experienced after a session, and so a maintenance program of at least once a week is recommended.

Pilates Exercise of the Month: Pilates Push-Up

Purpose: Pliates Push-up concentrates on the shoulders, chest, arms and upper back. The exercise also stretches hamstrings and challenges abdominals.

  1. Stand tall with your heels against the back edge of the matt; toes turn out in the Pilates V.
  2. Keep hips over heels as you; inhale; pull your navel into your spine and roll your torso down toward mat. Place hands on mat slightly more than shoulder width apart. (Knees can be slightly bent.)
  3. Exhale; walk your hands out onto the mat until your palms are beneath your shoulders and heels over your toes. Your body will be in a Push-up position (or Plank) — a straight line from head to ankles.
  4. Perform 3 Push-Ups (bend and straighten arms) with elbows close to the sides of the body. To come out of the Push-Up, fold up in half, bring your chest toward your legs; press your palms and heels into the mat. Pull your navel in and give yourself a gentle stretch.
  5. Inhale, walk your hands back toward your feet; try to keep your legs straight.
  6. Exhale; roll your body back up to a standing position.
  7. Work up to 3 sets of 3 Push-Ups.

For an advanced challenge, perform the entire Push-Up sequence while balancing on one leg. The same steps apply for the Single Leg Push-Up, but remember to keep your leg lifted throughout the entire exercise. Don’t forget to repeat the exercise on the other leg!

Checklist: In the Plank-body should be in one line, eyes to floor; long neck, hands under shoulders, firm buttocks, heels over toes.
Maintain a firm center, with navel into spine. Don’t allow your middle to drop; that places too much weight on your shoulders.
In the Push Up- elbows into ribs, hips in line with body and legs pressed together.

Note: Omit this exercise if you have a bad wrist or shoulder.

Modification: Bend both knees and kneel on the mat.

Visualization: Imagine the body as a strong, sold bridge or ramp that will not budge under weight.

Rock Solid on the Hill this Winter

Every ski season brings the opportunity to be better than the last. If you continually tell your self you will get into ski condition but wait till the season actually starts you will end up in the same rut as last year, and not finishing out the whole ski season. If you give your self enough time, and with a proper foundation in fitness, you can make this ski season one of your best and longest.

The first step to ramping up your fitness starts with a solid strength training program. The first six weeks of a strength training program should be spent building a foundation. Start light and focus on proper form. Lift twice per week, with 48 hours of rest in between each session. To see significant results, put in and hour per session, in which you do two sets of 12-15 repetitions each, resting only 30-45 seconds between each set.

Because skiing is a whole-body sport, you’ll want to do whole-body strength workouts. Thinking of your body as a series of components simplifies planning a workout. Target the following muscle groups: Legs (ankles, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes), torso ( chest, back, and abdominals), and arms ( biceps, triceps, and shoulders).

Also keep in mind that muscles don’t work independently. Each muscle group has an opposing group and can only lengthen when the other one contracts, so it’s important to develop both equally. For example, the quadriceps extends the leg (straighten the knee), while the hamstrings flex it (bend the knee). If only one group is strengthened, the imbalance can lead to injury.

After six weeks, crank the workouts up a notch. Try to do three sets instead of two, start lifting to failure (the point where you can’t lift any more) and incorporate eccentric lifting. Each weight lifting move has two parts: the concentric (lifting and shortening) part of the motion and the eccentric (releasing and lengthening) component. In an eccentric move, you add 10 pounds to the maximum weight you can do 15 reps. A training partner helps you lift the weight, and then you slowly lower – or resist – it on your own. This method helps simulate the forces your body has to deal with while skiing. As you ski your body is resisting forces during turns and bumps more than it is trying to produce force. So when you put on a huge amount of weight that you can’t push, that you just have to resist, it trains the muscles and allows you to be so much more efficient that you don’t get tired.

After 10 weeks of lifting , add ski specific exercises that demand not only strength, but balance and quick reflexes, too. Plyometric jumping exercises and training on unstable surfaces are often added in to workout routines twice a week with two days of rest between sessions to ramp up your intensity. Plyometrics will make you quicker, more balanced and lighter on your feet. Plyometricss include any exercise, from jumping rope to tossing a medicine ball, in which a muscle is contracted eccentrically and then immediately contracted concentrically. To picture it, think of the muscle as a rubber band that is stretched and then released. The faster you can switch from a stretch to a release, the greater your explosive power and the better your reaction time on the hill. This would also be the time to add in unstable surfaces such as bosu balls or gym balls to increase activation of stabilizing muscles. Most strength workouts are done on a firm surface, giving the stabilizing muscles a break but if you move your workout to exercise balls or unstable balancing surfaces this will force the smaller muscle to work during your workouts similar to the demands of skiing. Plyometrics will make sure you are not fazed by powder, crud or anything else mother nature throws at you.

With the ski season right around the corner it is time to get started with your conditioning program. The Seattle Athletic Club offers a ski conditioning class right now on Mondays at 6 pm with Joel Mitchell or for more information on sports training please feel free to contact any of the training staff at the Seattle Athletic Club to help get the best out of your next season of skiing.

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #4 Racing in Prep for “A” Races

Racing in Prep for “A” Races
Too many times athletes are caught up in PR’ing at every race and not considering the factors, the elements, and most importantly not recognizing that this is not their “A” race. Yes, you can PR in a non-“A” race, but the main goal is to get out there, learn more about yourself and your race tactics to prepare for the big season “A” race.

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.