Tag: Sports Conditioning

Spring Break Martial Arts and Sports Conditioning Camp

 April 11, 13 & 15th | Monday / Wednesday / Friday.

  • 9:00am class is designed for youth ages 5 yrs to 8 yrs
  • 10:00am class is designed for youth ages 9 yrs to 12 yrs

Each hour-long class will consist of karate basics, sports prep & conditioning, athletic drills, and team building.

Please have your kid wear appropriate clothes and shoes for exercising. The Friday class will end with a group game day and celebration.

  • Cost: $60/kid

For more information, please contact our Martial Arts Director, Jody Garcia at jgarcia@sacdt.com.

Thank you for being a friend!

We are friends. We’ve been together for almost 10 years or maybe just a month. I know your wife/husband’s name, I know your pet’s names, I know where your grandchildren live, I’ve been to holiday parties at your house, we get coffee together, we talk about your annoying co-worker, we talk about your horrible mother-in-law, we talk about your basketball tournament last weekend. We laugh, we complain, we work hard, we joke, but above all, I teach and you learn.

You are my friend but I am also your coach and your teacher. My job in our relationship is to teach you skills that make you a more fit person. I teach you things from the most basic (proper air squats, proper push-ups, etc) to the more advanced (proper kettlebell snatches, sandbag cleans, etc). When you walk away from an hour with me you better have learned a new skill or learned how to better an old one, if you haven’t learned one of those two things I’ve failed in this relationship. If you walk away from an hour with me and you are thinking about all the things you still need/want to work on, you feel like you need to spend another hour in the gym because you didn’t get the workout you felt you needed, you feel like you didn’t workout hard enough/were not challenged enough and thus need to do more on your own, I’ve failed.

It’s not about the crazy equipment, it’s not about learning the newest fad, it’s not about laying in a pool of your own sweat trying not to vomit, its not about using chalk and grunting, it’s not about keeping up with your brother-in-law that lives in California. It’s about you being a better, healthier, happier, more fit you. To do that you need to be great at the basics, you need to understand how to move your body properly, you need to understand what it is you are doing and WHY YOU ARE DOING IT. It’s about knowing where you are now and where you want to be. It’s about pushing yourself within your limits and understanding that it takes hard work, effort, and patience to improve. It’s about learning!

I’m here as a friend, a coach, a teacher to motivate you. I’ll yell, I’ll tell you what great effort you are putting in, I’ll let you know when I think you could be working harder and when I think you should be resting more. I’ll keep you accountable, I’ll keep you on schedule, and I will keep you from harming yourself! We’re friends so I’ll do those things for you.

While we laugh, we sweat, we yell, we have angry face (push-ups are going to happen, sorry), we encourage one another, we will be making you a better more knowledgeable you. I will in return, enjoy all the accomplishments big and small like they are my own, because you are my friend and I am proud of you. If you are my friend and you know me… “I’ll take whatever you have left” and I’ll like it.

Secrets of Shoulder Success

Some people train their shoulders to attain the ideal of two cantaloupe shaped protrusions on their upper arm. Other people appear to delight in abusing their shoulders, repeating throwing or swinging motions until their arm nearly falls off. Others fear injury and refuse to do any shoulder exercise other than rotator cuff rotations with the band. To determine a sensible approach to training the shoulder we will focus on the structure and optimal function of the shoulder and related body parts (Part 1) and then delve into the training implications of these findings (Part 2). As an example, we will discuss the situation in which the shoulder acts to move the hand with speed, as in swinging a racquet or club, striking and throwing.

The gleno-humeral joint is the true “shoulder joint”, where the arm articulates with the trunk, and the point of action of the famous rotator cuff muscles. But movement at the shoulder is directly influenced by movement of the scapula, or shoulder blade, and the thoracic spine, the large middle region of the spine. For example, at the end of a throw like Mr. Johnson’s, above, the gleno-humeral joint is flexed forward, adducted across the body and somewhat rotated internally. This is accompanied by forward movement and external rotation of the scapula and rotation in the thoracic spine. If only the gleno-humeral joint were involved, the range of motion would be limited but the interaction of each of these regions accounts for the unparalleled mobility of the shoulder complex. Importantly, even these three regions are not isolated. The muscles and related connective tissue in the front and back of the shoulder complex are interwoven with neighboring tissues to link the whole body together. The rear shoulder tissues connect diagonally across the back to the opposite buttock (Take a gander at Figure 1 below). The front shoulder tissues are closely related to the abdominals and the front part of the hip on the opposite leg (Figure 2 below). The physical connection between the shoulder complex and the hips indicates that the shoulder serves as a point in the transmission of force generated from the powerful legs and hips. Indeed, the position of Randy Johnson’s legs in the photo hint at the interplay of the shoulder and legs. A well functioning shoulder then cannot only generate force on its own but it can also impart the force of the whole body into the hand or implement while also controlling the hand.

If the shoulder is to allow maximum force to flow into the hand, it must maintain adequate mobility and stability. Limited mobility in the entire shoulder complex, or at any of its constituent regions, will reduce the shoulder’s effectiveness by reducing the range in which to generate force. In the same way, cracking a short whip will generate less energy (i.e. sound) than cracking a long whip.

Furthermore, limited mobility in the shoulder complex can contribute to injury if the legs and hips can generate enough force to compel the shoulder to move beyond its restricted range. Likewise, instability at the shoulder will reduce force transmission as energy gets consumed at the joint. Consider the can and string telephones that kids can make. These only work when the string is tight because energy is wasted on excessively vibrating the loose string. An unstable shoulder joint acts the same way; the joint itself consumes energy instead of transmitting it to the arm. Instability can contribute to injuries that involve physical movement of the structures, such as a shoulder dislocation, and also injuries that result from decreased ability to control the hand. Mobility and stability interact to generate, transmit and control force going into the hand and are the foundation for increased performance in any activity requiring throwing, striking or swinging.

Next blog we will explore how to train the shoulder to succeed in generating, transmitting and stabilizing force. For more questions on shoulder movement and actions please contact persona fitness trainer Hunter Spencer.

Run Right!

Sometimes you just need to get a good quick workout in! Practice your form and get your cardio done in 40 minutes!

Power Treadmill workout when you’re in a rush but still want to get better!

3 phases each last 10 minutes. You should push yourself just beyond your limit each time. Repeat this workout multiple times increasing your speed and effort so that you constantly improve! You would be amazed at what even 40 minutes can do to benefit you!

Phase 1:

  • Warm up to a run… The speed of the treadmill is as follows:
    From 4:00 minutes on, increase your speed gradually so that you finish 1 mile in under 10 min total.

Phase 2:

  • Step off the belt and increase your incline to 7%.
  • Increase your speed to 5.5-9.0 mph (gage your fitness level).
  • Sprint on incline for 30 seconds then rest for 30sec-1min continuously for the next 10 minutes. (If over the course of the 10 minutes you start to fade adjust your speed accordingly but don’t give up!)
  • Push yourself and make sure your strides are long and drive off the balls of your feet!

Phase 3:

  • Step off the belt and increase your treadmill to 10% incline.
  • Decrease your speed to 3.6-4.5 (gage your fitness level) and walk on incline for 2 minutes, taking nice long strides.
  • Turn around and back pedal on the treadmill for 1 minute staying on the balls of your feet at a fast walk or light jog.
  • Repeat the walk and back pedal for the next 10 minutes.

Walk for 5 min at 0% incline and 3.0-3.5 mph!

Introducing Muscle Activation Technique (MAT)

I am glad to be joining Seattle Athletic Club Downtown and looking forward to working with clients in the pool teaching swimming or water fitness, and on the floor working on issues of balance, coordination, strength, stability, and overall functional fitness. I am also looking forward to working with clients and members on the table using Muscle Activation Technique to help assure that the distribution of work between muscles is in proper alignment to the bodies needs.

So what is MAT? Gregg Roskopf, the founder of MAT describes it in part like this:
“MAT looks at muscle tightness as a form of protection in the body. Weak or inhibited muscles can create the need for other muscles to tighten up in order to help stabilize the joints. MAT gets to the root of pain or injury by addressing muscle weakness rather than muscle tightness. This helps to restore normal body alignment, thereby, decreasing pain and reducing the risk of injury.”

A good analogy is one of a tent. The tent is made stable by a series of tent stakes that strap it down. If one of those stakes gets pulled up then the even tension between the ropes becomes distorted. Some ropes will tighten to compensate the missing rope. But that will cause other ropes to loosen because they do not have to work as hard. The end result is that the tent is no longer reliable in its strength and stability. That’s what happens when a muscle looses its ability to do its job, when it is inactive. Other muscles will compensate and become tight while other muscles weaken. Then the risk of injury increases dramatically. Muscle Activation Technique is a non-invasive and testable protocol that tests muscles throughout the body for specific weaknesses. And it as a process to go about re-activating those muscles so they can begin pulling their own weight, as it were.

If this sounds like it is something that you need to experience or if you are having issues with muscle imbalances or just don’t feel like you are moving at quite the same capacity as you used to please feel free to contact Personal Fitness Trainer Nathan Palmer.

Partial Range of Motion is Way Easier and Gets You Stronger Faster Right? Wrong!

At most health facilities in the world if you were to look out on the weight room floor I’m sure of two things… people will be doing curls, and people will be doing partial range of motion. Usually these go hand in hand, but people can do partial range of motion (ROM) in many different exercises; the most common being pushups, squat, & pullups/chinups.

I’m sure many of you have great reasons for only doing half of the motion; starting back in the 80’s some research even came out to say that you can have the same benefits from doing half reps as the full rep. Many people say that their bodies react to it better, it’s safer on their joints, they are stronger and can workout harder etc. etc. Well let me tell you what the science says about partial range of motion exercises:

  1. Partial range of motion can be used to gain strength & size, especially if you have plateaued. They go on to state that it is not a workout regiment you do every day, more of a once every two weeks and it must be accompanied by a full range of motion exercise using the same muscle groups within the same workout. Partial ROM is also supposed to be utilized AFTER a base strength has been achieved!
  2. The strongest muscle fiber is a fully elongated (stretched) and fully hydrated. If we take that first concept, a fully elongated muscle fiber means working a muscle through the full ROM. If you do partial reps, you are strengthening only one half of the muscle fibers. Let’s take pushups, if you just push yourself up halfway off the floor, or only lower your body halfway down…what happens when you fall and need to catch your body with that muscle fiber that is never worked. My guess would be injury. This may not happen right away, but I guarantee if all you ever work is partial ROM severe injury will plague you at some point.
  3. What happens with muscle fibers that are continually contracted but never stretched or relaxed? They become very tight and shorten up. A prime example of this would be with the bicep curl. For those of you who curl the weight up to your shoulders and then as you lower it shoot your elbows backward keeping a large bend in the arm, you will end up with locked elbows. Ever see those people who cannot straighten their arms out all the way? Well your bicep can actually fuse to your arm if you do too many partial ROM exercises and never incorporate straightening your arms all the way. The only way to have this fixed once it happens is surgery where they have to tear the muscle off the humerus… doesn’t sound like too much fun to me! (Women are allowed to have a soft elbow, meaning an ever so slight bend in their arm, when doing curls because of a hyperextension issue only with females).
  4. Now the big question, squats…should someone go below parallel? Isn’t it bad on the knees? Here is my opinion on this topic; since the science goes back and forth with some research stating it is bad on the knees & others stating it is just fine. One…when we were born could we squat our hips below our knees? If you are ever in the SAC go check out the day care; I bet you a dollar you will see kids squat down their diapers below their knees to pick up toys! Two…look at other countries like China and Japan, everyone there sits with their knees below their hips to do everything. You will see people of all ages reading newspapers, eating, holding a conversation sitting in a deep squat. So if we were born able to do it and other counties do it (and they have a lot less knee/hip issues than the USA) I would assume it would be ok to perform a deep squat, but even smarter to utilize a trainer to help you get going first.
  5. Are there exercises it is ok to do partial ROM? Yes there are, but for the general population who workout in the gym, there is no need for them to do them; and if you really want to know what they are, come find me ill let you know which ones. A hint is they are usually associated with the shoulder complex!

All in all, if I was to recommend someone do partial ROM it would be to get over that plateau in strength, but I would still make them do that same movement full ROM within the same workout. Women may have a soft bend during curls to prevent hyperextension of their elbows; other than that there is no solid evidence of any full ROM exercise (to my knowledge) being a safety concern. If you have questions about your form on an exercise, grab a PFT in a red shirt and ask them to check out your form; we would gladly assist you in correcting any unsafe movements!

Women’s Nutrition: Fuel for Recovery

Women have always had slightly different nutritional needs than men. Research is beginning to shed some light on how women fuel their recoveries differently.

High-protein diets have been popular in weight-loss circles for several years now, but very little research had been conducted on the effects of protein on performance, especially in women. Recently researchers at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand studied the effect of high-protein feeding on the performance of female cyclists to see if there was a difference between high- and low-protein recovery diets on the performance of well-trained female cyclists.

They studied 12 female cyclists. Each cyclist completed three high-intensity rides: two-and-a-half hours of interval work on the first day followed by sprint testing on days two and four. Day three was a rest day. In the first four hours of recovery on the first and second days, the cyclists ate either high protein or high carbohydrate meals. Researchers found that the protein had no effect on mean power in the repeated sprint testing on day two or day four. The women reported feeling both more fatigue and soreness in their legs in days two, three, and four, and leg strength was lower in those who ate the high-protein diet than in those who ate the high carbohydrate meals. In contrast to previous findings with male athletes, their conclusion was that there was “no clear influence of dietary protein quantity on subsequent performance in women”. The study suggests that female endurance athletes may not need protein as part of their recovery meal; a high carbohydrate meal may be the better recovery food for women. This was a very small study and obviously more studies need to be done on female athletes.

Pilates + Skiing and Snowboarding

It’s ski season—ah…the pure joy of skiing down a mountainside of sparkling powder, surrounded by tall evergreens and brilliant blue sky……

Then, after that first day of tackling moguls, dodging trees and other skiers; the fatigue and soreness of the legs and hips kick in. This is partly because of muscle overuse and lack of core strength. If the core is not working enough, your legs and hips have to work harder to stabilize you.

Pilates will stretch tight, overused leg muscles, such as the quads and hip flexors and strengthen underused muscles such as the hamstrings and inner thighs.

Skiers rely on side to side hip movement to recruit the inside and outside edge of the ski. Boarders tilt their hips forward and back to access the front and back edge of the board and use a more rotational movement to change directions. A strong core gives you better edge control. Edge control improves balance as you navigate the twists and turns of the slope –at high speeds-, the ever-changing snow conditions and the ability to get up unscathed when you take a tumble.

By practicing Pilates, core strength and alignment improves and you become more in tune with your body. Movements are fluid, there is less wear and tear on joints and your sport becomes more enjoyable. You’ll find yourself adapting better to changing snow conditions, challenging terrain, and falling less.

Here are some mat exercises you could start today:

1) The Hundred- core, arms, hip stabilizer
2) The Abdominal Series

  • Single leg stretch
  • Double leg stretch
  • Single straight leg stretch
  • Double straight leg stretch
  • Criss-cross

3) The Side Lying Leg Kick Series

  • Front/Back
  • Up/Down
  • Small Circles
  • Inner Thigh lifts
  • Bicycle

Nothing will improve your skiing faster than a strong core. Cross-train by adding a Pilates mat class to your fitness regime or perhaps a private session with your Pilates Instructor.

Stay strong, ski safe!

Aqualogix – the Evolution of Physical Fitness

A few months ago I had the pleasure of working with an amazing trainer names Gavin Macmillan. One of the many things he taught me was the Aqualogix aquatic workout. At first glanced I was unimpressed as I watched a handful of athletes grunt and splash around in the shallow end of the pool. Out of respect I stifled my disinterest and dropped into the water. After strapping on a set of resistance fins and taking hold of a plastic pair of hand bells I started the workout. My eyes went wide as I pushed as hard as I could through the water in the first set of movements. I couldn’t believe the sensation of having flowing and constant resistance everywhere I moved my body. I was working hard but the flowing nature of the movements seemed to stretch me out at the same time as I tried to blast through the water. The most amazing part of the experience is that even though it was one of the hardest workouts I have ever done I came out invigorated and energetic. In a mere thirty minutes I was a believer.

Aqualogix is the next step in the evolution of physical fitness. Using patented fins and bells this aquatic workout strengthens, stretches and heals the body with natural flowing motions. Forget everything you know about strength training because the usual rules don’t apply.

Omniresistant means resistance in all directions. In an Aqualogix workout everywhere you move there is a constant flow of resistance. This allows for flowing natural motions that mimic actions of everyday life. The body was meant to move in all planes of motion. Conventional strength training is linear in nature and forces the body to compress under load and move in a robotic fashion. With Aqualogix push, pull, rotate and jump in any direction against the resistance of the water. Work every muscle in the body in this amazing aquatic routine.

Water is what to refered as an Isokenetic Isokenetic is a resistance that only resists against you as hard as you push against it. No matter if you are a child, senior citizen, or professional athlete the water will apply the appropriate amount of force to give a safe and challenging workout. Post rehab patients can ease into their motions while seasoned athletes can power through one of the hardest workouts of their life. With the ever-increasing resistance of the water you will never outgrow an Aqualogix workout.

Lengthen and Strengthen
In addition the buoyancy of the water carries past your usual range of motion in a safe and flowing manner. Tight hamstrings? Try a few leg swings in the water and feel your leg float beyond a height and range you thought possible. Do you have tight shoulders and chronic aching neck? Try one of the many flowing shoulder movements of an aqualogix workout. You will feel your muscles stretch out and relax as they sail through the water. This not only heals the damaged tissue but strengthens the muscles at the same time. Gain flexibility and get stronger at the same time.

Sports Specific
Do you want to improve your squash serve? Just swing your arm as you would on the court and develop true Functional Strength. The nervous system will adjust to the added resistance of the water and slice through the air next time you are on the court.

Are you a long distance runner trying to cut down your mile time? Power through the water in your natural running stride. The buoyancy of the water gives you time to perfect your stride and the resistance ramps up your ability to accelerate with poise and power.
Non Impact Cardio

Many activities such as running can be detrimental to your joints. With aqualogix you can run and jump with more height and intensity then on the ground with a mere fraction of the impact. This not only allows you to work harder and burn more calories without beating up your joints. No pain no gain does not apply here. After a typical Aqualogix conditioning workout prepare to work harder than you ever have before but come out full of energy and vigor.

After months of planning and wating Aqualogix is now here at the club. Classes and one on one sessions are ready to jump into. If you have any questions or would like to give Aqualogix a try feel free to contact me.

Curt Ligot
206-443-1111 ext. 284