Month: April 2015

STRENGTH TRAINING FOR YOUTH ATHLETES

Most parents know that strength training is an essential component of maximizing their child’s athletic potential but many don’t know when to start said training. When asked this question I like to refer to the ACSM research article that states, “Generally speaking, if children are ready for participation in organized sports or activities — such as Little League baseball, soccer, or gymnastics — then they are ready for some type of strength training.” If you feel your child has the emotional maturity to take part in an organized sport then they are perfectly capable of taking up strength training with a qualified professional.

One concern many have is that strength training will negatively affect bone growth in youth athletes. This is a myth that is taking much too long to go away. There hasn’t been documentation of this actually occurring while there is in fact ample evidence to the contrary. Strength training has been shown to actually increase bone density, peak bone mass and bone strength.

Strength is the only physical attribute that has a direct impact on all other areas of athletic performance and has the highest potential for growth when compared to other qualities such as power and speed. In an article from the Mayo Clinic the author states that when done properly, strength training can:

  • Increase your child’s muscle strength and endurance
  • Help protect your child’s muscles and joints from sports-related injuries
  • Improve your child’s performance in nearly any sport, from dancing and figure skating to football and soccer
  • Develop proper techniques that your child can continue to use as he or she grows older
  • Strengthen your child’s bones

A properly designed program for a youth athlete must be created and executed by a qualified coach and of course I am partial to myself because of my education, credentials, and experience. Currently my youngest client is a 12 year old basketball/football player whose performance has skyrocketed since he started strength training. I have also worked with the Skyline High School Girls Basketball team, the Bellevue High School Track team, and many individual youth athletes from around the area competing in lacrosse, football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and even cheerleading.

 
I have seen over and over again what strength training can do for a young athlete and have come up with some guidelines that can serve any coach or parent working with young athletes.

General Guidelines for Strength Training Youth Athletes:

1. Master the basics while focusing on proper movement patterns. With young athletes it is best to first master general movement patterns and body weight exercises before moving on to more advanced strength training modalities. Great exercises include: jumping/landing, med-ball throwing, body weight squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and sled pushing/pulling.

2. Use proper loading parameters. Strength training doesn’t always mean loading up a squat bar and going as heavy as possible. As a general rule with young athletes it’s best to stick with body weight exercises or exercises with loads that allow the athlete to complete 8 to 20 repetitions each set. As the athlete advances the intensity of exercises can advance as well.

3. Teach proper force absorption. Learning how to properly land and decelerate will be invaluable in preventing future sports injuries for any athlete. Deceleration is also a crucial factor in agility performance.

4. Don’t specialize too early. Young athletes should build as broad an athletic base as possible in order to maximize athletic potential. Performing only exercises that seem “sport specific” is not an effective way to build an athletic base. While this might make for a good basketball or soccer player now, it will actually do them a disservice for their athletic future. Specializing early is also a great way to burn a kid out on a sport.

5. Make it fun! Strength training should be something that the kids look forward to and enjoy. This is an opportunity to set them up to not only maximize their athletic potential but also create life-long healthy habits. If your kid does not enjoy training they won’t reap maximum benefits and will likely discontinue training at the first opportunity they get.

I started seriously strength training for sports at 15 years old and I only wish I would have started sooner. At that time I started working with a strength coach named Mike Seilo, and I am not exaggerating when I say he changed trajectory of my athletic and eventually my professional career. Strength training with a qualified coach dramatically increased my athletic performance and without Mike I don’t think I would have gone on to compete in track and field at the collegiate level. Outside of improving my sport performance Mike influenced me to become strength coach and work with young athletes. Mike’s influence on me went way beyond sport performance and I can only hope to have the same influence on kids during my career.

Under the right supervision strength training can be a huge benefit to any young athlete. Not only will they improve athletically, they may learn some valuable lessons that serve them inside and outside of the gym as well as develop life-long personal relationships. If you have a child involved in athletics I highly recommend you find a qualified coach and get their strength training career underway.

If you have any questions regarding youth strength training please contact PFT Tom Sheriff CSCS (tsheriff@sacdt.com)
206-443-1111 ext. 292.

Fascia: What’s it all about?

If you have taken an interest in your body, or taken steps to learn about it, you may have heard about fascia. Or, you may have heard the term myofascia, the fascia specifically interwoven, supporting, and involved with the muscle tissue. Perhaps a ʻfascial stretchʼ was mentioned before or after your yoga or Pilates class. Chatting with your trainer or physical therapist, you may have heard the word mentioned while he or she explained a specific movement or function of a muscle group.

 

According to Merrim-Webster, fascia is connective tissue sheet that covers or binds structures of the body. It is a whole network that supports the structure of your body and is throughout, not just on the bottom of your foot where you had that painful plantar fasciitis years ago. Simplified, if you peel an orange, take a look at the matrix of white membrane. In this example, the white membrane is our fascia and the orange is our whole body. All that membrane is providing support for the tiny pockets of juice, then organizes the pockets into segments, then binds the sections, and wraps it up  into a sphere.

 

Because fascia is located throughout every area of your body, it is important to pay attention to this tissue. In areas where this thickening of fascia occurs, such as the iliotibial tract, or IT band, it is essential to keep the tissue movable and adaptable. Sometimes immobile tissue can become uncomfortable or painful. Many athletes find that foam rolling the IT band on the outside of the thigh, gives them relief from knee, hip, and sometimes back discomfort. Rolling a small ball on the bottom of the foot keeps the fascia in a pliable state–reducing the chance that painful plantar fasciitis will return.

 

This is also one of the many reasons why massage is so helpful in recovery and in general well being. It stretches and mobilizes the fascial tissues of the body, creating a happier you!

 

To find out more about fascia and how our Massage Team can help you, contact our Massage Director Jessie Jo at jegersett@sacdt.com. To book your next appointment with Ivy, you can do it online as a member or by calling the Club at 206-443-1111.

Pilates Exercise of the Month: Double Leg Stretch

Purpose: As the second exercise in the Stomach Series, Double Leg Stretch continues to challenge your coordination, work the powerhouse and stretch your body.

 

1. Lie on your back and hug both knees into your chest, hands reaching toward ankles, head and shoulders lifted off mat.  

 

2. Inhale and reach the arms overhead back by your ears and your legs straight out in front of you. Raise them off the mat at about a 45 degree angle. Back must not arch off floor.

 

3. Exhale and circle the arms around as you bring your knees back into your chest. Remain still in your torso; head and shoulders lifted throughout the exercise.

 

4. Repeat 8-10 sets. To finish, hug both knees in toward chest, put head and shoulders on mat.

 

Visualization: imagine the center of your body thinning out like taffy.

 

Checklist:

  1. Support your neck by keeping your chin toward your chest as you stretch long.
  2. Squeeze your buttocks and upper inner thighs tightly as you extend your legs to support the lower back.
  3. As you inhale and stretch out, keep your arms straight.
  4. Your abs hold you down on the mat.

 

Jocelyn Paoli, Pilates InstructorModification: For a sensitive low back, begin with the legs at a 90 degree angle and gradually advance to 45 degrees. Abbreviate the arm movement if you have a delicate shoulder. 

Progression: Move directly to Single Straight Leg Stretch – which will be previewed in next month’s newsletter.

 

 

 

 

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Wall T4 mobilization

Hello, hope all of you are staying active and healthy. Today, I would like to introduce you a great stretch I showed to a lot of my patients, especially the ones who need to sit a lot all day. This “stretch” will help move your mid-back (thoracic spine), which is the place I find most folks having stiffness at. Do this exercise about 10-12 rep/set, 3-4x/day. You will find yourself standing taller by end of a work day instead of slumping. Enjoy!

 

You can find the exercise video here:

 

http://mobilityplussportsrehab.com/active-rehab/videos-upper-back/

 

 

Dr. Li has been taking care of the SAC staff and members since 2010. You can find him at the lobby performing injury screen for members every 3rd Tuesday of the month. His practice, Mobility Plus Sports Rehab, is conveniently located about 10 minute walk from the SAC. You can find out more about him and his clinic at mobilityplussportsrehab.com. He can be reached by info@mobilityplussportsrehab.com.  

 

 

Go with Your Gut

There is some important and growing research on our gut microbiome and its relation to our body weight that I’ve been paying attention to lately and so should you.

In a nutshell, it’s not just what we eat or how we eat, it’s how our food is being digested that can affect how we store and absorb calories and their nutrients. In a study published recently in JAMA, scientists took the gut bacteria from fat mice and healthy weight mice and then implanted them in the other. Shockingly the fat mice lost weight and the normal weight mice got fat – and they were given the same type and amount of food!

We have not yet distinguished which of the gut bacteria are the culprits in terms of keeping us slim or fat. But what we do know is that we need a healthy and diverse microbiome in our gut and we need to feed our gut the foods that allow the healthy weight bacteria to flourish.

Here are my recommendations to make sure your gut bacteria are at their most optimal balance:

1)     If you need to go on an antiobiotic please take a probiotic or yogurt with live active cultures daily so that your gut diversity is kept intact. Antibiotics kill the bacteria that’s making you sick along with some of our beneficial gut bacteria.

2)     Keep your gut bacteria and the mucosal lining of your intestine intact by feeding yourself enough fiber – every day. Recommendations are 25-35g daily and sources can come from fruit, vegetables, whole grains and the fiber that is added in various processed bars, etc. Studies have shown that it takes just one day of eating low fiber to reduce our mucosal lining where our healthy gut bacteria live and flourish.

3)     If you went through courses of antibiotic use throughout your life (tetracycline was often used to treat acne in teenagers) and you fear that your digestion has been compromised – and your attempts at losing weight have often failed – it may be time to visit a Naturopath. A Naturopath can help you improve your digestion and re-colonize your gut bacteria so that it’s more diverse and balanced.

Now we know that eating enough fiber every day is not only what keeps us feeling full with less calories – it helps us feed a microbiome that’s likely to keep us at our healthiest weight.

You’re welcome to contact Kathryn at kathrynr@soundhealthconnect.com to discuss your current diet and strategies to better feed your healthy gut.

 

Employee of the Month for April, Jason Anderson!

Jason does an outstanding job balancing being a husband and a father of two with working early and sometimes working late.  He always comes into the club looking for ways to help change one person’s life and make someone’s day better.

 

Jason Anderson has been a pillar of the fitness department for over 10 years.  In those short 10 years he has been able to reach out and affect hundreds of lives within the club.  His attention to detail, attentive demeanor and superior knowledge has allowed him to create amazing workouts for so many of our members.

 

Jason Anderson is a quiet leader within the club who gives so much of his energy to such a wide range of members and departments. He is never too busy to help out a member in need or to mentor a younger fitness staff member to grow into the professional they want to be. We feel very fortunate to have Jason on our team; we know that it is people like him that make our club truly exceptional.
Jason Anderson