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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Off Topic: Vibram Five Fingers

Two of my favorite internet personalities, Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose, teamed up to discuss the benefits of training with Vibram FiveFingers shoes. Props are also made to Injinji socks.

I often recommended that my clients periodically train without shoes. The research I've read suggests training barefoot can improve balance and increases strength in the foot and ankle.

Many clients are reluctant to train without their shoes, either because of personal habits or facility regulations. Vibrams may be the perfect compromise between training in a fully supported athletic shoe and training in no shoe at all. I have not tried this product personally yet, so I encourage you to share your thoughts and insights in the comments section below.

Quick Tip
If nothing else, take off your shoes and massage the soles of your feet with a foam roller. Even better, use a tennis ball (or other round, semi-hard object) on the bottoms of your feet and really work into the plantar fascia and other musculature down there. Massaging your feet in this manner adds maybe 4 minutes to your SMR routine and will be well worth the performance and health benefits.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Continuing Adventures of My Busted Knee

After two weeks of an unscheduled hiatus from my training program (due to starting my new job at Lakeview Athletic Club and re-injuring my knee at rehearsal for Man of La Mancha), I returned this week to my hypertrophy program.

On Monday, I started the following mini-program to improve mobility and increase muscle strength in my injured knee:

Foam Rolling (head-to-toe) + Thoracic Extensions
Lunges w/ Lateral Resistance on Knee = (12.5# x 15) x 3
Terminal Knee Extensions = (12.5# x 15) x 3

I plan to continue this mini-program for the remainder of the week. Starting next week, I will begin incorporating my original programming into the above routine.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Train Your Neck For Increased Conditioning

Martin Rooney over at Training For Warriors showed us a great neck bridge progression not too long ago:

The above progression is very advanced and not everyone is ready for this kind of cervical stress. So to make the progression more accessible, start on the wall using a stability ball and progress to resistance bands:

Thank you Martin and Will Heffernan for posting your videos to YouTube.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back On The Rock Wall

Last Thursday I began rock climbing again to test my injured knee. I didn't go very high, but the climb went well. I've lost all the finger strength I built up prior to the injury and there is still pain and swelling if I re-injure myself, but in time all will be well.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Psychological Impact of Physical Training

Via Back To Form Fitness:
The message is clear…I need to start counseling all of my clients now. I need to prepare every one of them for what is to come next. I need to prepare them for the financial burden of buying new, smaller clothing, while preparing them mentally for the new confidence and attitude they will have. They need to be ready for the looks they will get, and for the energy, they will have. These people need to be emotionally set before all of this takes place. I hope I learned my lesson from client “A” and client “B” well. I hope I will be a better trainer and make sure that all of my clients are ready for the world once I am done with them. I hope that it’s not too late to save those two and get them the support they need.

Three years ago I lost a little over 90 pounds in weight and went through a drastic body transformation. Even after changing the way I looked, I remained unsure of myself both socially and emotionally. Only recently has my mind caught up, allowing me to enjoy all the hard work I've done over the last 1,000 days.

As trainers we are so focused on the physical changes in our clients we sometimes forget to assist with the emotional and psychological changes that also must take place. Perhaps Keith Scott wrote his post with a slight sarcastic edge, but I believe his point is valid and should not be neglected.

And, considering how powerful the mind can be in maintaining lifestyle changes, perhaps the Psychology of Fitness should be the first steps we take with new clients: How will the physical changes they undergo effect their long-term well being? Are they prepared for those changes? And how will they react to the possibility of failure?

Monday, March 2, 2009

No Ab Wheel? No Problem!

Via Fight Geek:

The Elephant Walk is a very advanced exercise and will quickly show you weak points in your core, back and legs. If the version demonstrated in the video is too difficult for you, begin in the quadruped position and walk your hands out as far as they will go. Hold this position for time. As your strength increases, increase the distance you walk your hands out. In time, come to standing and begin the process again: walk the hands out a short distance and holding for time. The secret is keeping the core tight, with neutral spine and the arms straight.