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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Core: Essential For Speed!

A main muscle grou that gets a lot of attention is the core! Everybody wants to have the "6-Pack," but does having such a phenominal physique gaurentee that your core is strong? I will take a look today at what eactly core strength does for the typical athlete and how it can improve your speed and quickness!

The core includes the abdominus rectus muscle, or the abs, plus the obliques that curve around the sides at the base of the rib cage. The core also includes the complex muscles of the lower back, the pelvic sling and diaphragm, and the hip flexors that draw the upper leg forward and bring the knee toward the chest.



When an athletes has a strong core, it can improve several areas of their  overall fitness! In addition to getting lots of attention with your shirt off,  a strong core will provide the athlete with better balance and coordination! So maybe you have notice that some of the exercises you have done while training with me have been difficult for you because it's hard to balance.....well you have your answer! Strengthen your core! A tight strong core aligns the spine and holds it in place, which essentially forms an anchor and enables strong use and control of your body in activities such as running, walking, weightlifting, biking, etc. 

Many people believe that the muscles required to build speed and strength comes through the legs, BUT INFACT, it mainly comes from the core! Crazy! All the leg work and strengthening only builds speed to a certain limit. The most important muscle that is mainly activated during spring, agility, and quickness drills relies a lot on the core and hip flexor region.  The muscles of the core tend to have a powerful impact on motion, agility and control in every area of the body, even the hands, feet and head. And when it comes to full body control, explosivity, and agility, athletes should never underestimate the power of a serious and effective core training program.  



That's Great, but how does it get me faster? 

The core is composed of four crucial muscle groups that anchor the limbs, align the spine, and gather the energy of the body around the center of gravity located just above the hips. These muscle groups include the abs and obliques, the multifidis muscles of the lower back, the diaphragm, the pevic sling, and the hip flexors. Together, these muscle groups form a cylinder around the internal organs of the lower torso, and in the case of the hip flexors, they draw the legs up and out and bring the knees toward the chest.

So, if those muscles are strong and conditioned, it will dramatically improve you speed, agility, and reaction time! You will develop "explosive" speed and really see what your body's capabilities are! Also, once these muscles are strong, your body will involuntarily contract these muscles each time the body engages any other muscle.  EXACTLY why the core is the foundation of strength & speed! 

So What exactly should I do To Strengthen My Core & Get Faster?

That's where you find me! Call me and get into a new whelm of fitness! With a combination of plyometrics, strength, speed, and agility training, you WILL have core activation 100% of the time and not only will you start progressing towards that sweet six pack, but you will also gain speed, and improve agility and quickness.  Although diet is crucial for the abdominals to appear, performing my workouts along with other forms of exercise will get your core STRONG! You will soon be astonished at the speed you have gained when running your next race! 

So, on a final note, do NOT forget, stop the long slow cardio! It will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for your body physically! Unless your training for a marathon, stick to short, intense drills and full body movements! Call me today for more questions and get started with a program that delivers! 


“You have to fail a lot to learn. And the only way to do that is to start testing things.” – Will Bonner

Fail forward fast to get to success,

Mike Over
CPT, Strength & Conditioning Specialist
 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Change Your Routine! + Great Interview With Jeff Gaudette

So many times in life you are stuck with a choice.....You can stick to your same old routine day in and day out or you can step out of your comfort zone every once in a while.  Everyone has their routines, but for most, trying something different may be a struggle.

Well, today, I challenge you. I challenge each and everyone of you to step out of the comfort zone and reach out to someone or something different! For a few years, I went through a period of my life where I had a hard time trusting people. I thought everyone was out there to make me fail.  I always wanted to do my own thing and train my own way.  This came through constant rejection and having many "walk all over me" in a sense.

After my bike accident, I realized what I was missing. You can't live life on autopilot! You have to be creative.  You have to break away from your comfort zone every now and then. You can't let others try to bring you down nor can you shun yourself from those who care about you the most! I was given the best gift anyone could ask for.  I have my health! I was lucky to be able to walk again and I'm never looking back. I opened up to everyone and now am doing EXACTLY what I love! I only hope to continue to share my knowledge and gain strength through my personal experiences and relationships with all my clients!

So, I urge EVERYONE, even if that means trying a new workout(Double Dare or Rush for example), or helping co-workers instead of worrying about yourself and your life, to PLEASE get out of your routine and make a change today! The world doesn't stop for anyone, and if you want something, you have to go get it! 

Don’t be satisfied with the norm if you want more. It’s okay to want to achieve special results. The world needs folks who dream and achieve big things.

Also, for all the runners out there, check out this neat interview with  Jeff Gaudette, the Owner and Head Coach of RunnersConnect.

Jeff is a former Division-I All-American in Cross Country and competed professionally for 4 years after college. Jeff now coaches runners of all levels and helps runners run faster.

Runner Thoughts!

Pay some detail to his resistance training tips! I cover them almost daily!

Stay Strong!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tips to Get the Most out of your Glute Training



A big topic in this week’s workouts tended to be geared towards the butt! A lot of runners want that perfect butt and think running will get it for them.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that it WON’T! But, that’s why I am here to give you a few tips on glute training!

As for athletic performance, when it comes to glutes, what you see is not necessarily what you get. The glutes are a bit like the calves in that the size of the muscle group does not necessarily reflect its strength.

So lets take a look at a few things to help your training:

1.)    Lose Body Fat :
Your glutes are just like your abdominals.  They are there; however, if they are covered up by layers of fatty tissue, you will not see them.  The glutes are the same way.  If you drop your body fat you would be surprised at how much better they will look!
2.)    Avoid Aerobics:
The shape of the glutes is directly influenced by muscular development. Long, slow, aerobic sessions hinder muscle development.  So, plugging away on a cross trainer for hours each day will in a sense do nothing for the development of those muscles.
3.)    Train throughout a full range:
 Partial-range training does have benefits, especially in the area of strength development, but for maximal glute development you should perform exercises throughout a full range of motion. This is especially true with exercises such as back squats, front squats, split squats and step-ups – exercises that are often performed with a limited range of motion in order to use more weight.
4.)    Use Resistance:
Sure, glute-ham raises and back extensions may be great for those rehabbing injuries to that area, or even good for beginners.  However, if you want to shape the glutes and blast the fat surrounding them, you must add weight and resistance train! Even 65-75% 1RM (8-10 Reps) will work for that area.
5.)    Use a variety of Training Protocols:
You can’t just stick to the same amount of sets, reps, and exercises for any single muscle to develop.  You must go outside the box and mix it up in all aspects of training schemes.
6.)    Use a variety of exercises:
It is a myth that there is one specific, ultimate exercise for the glutes; you have to allow for various factors such as resistance curves and angles of pull. Yes, back extensions with bent legs are great for the glutes, but so are lunges, back extensions and Romanian deadlifts. Also, consider that if you perform hip extensions for your glutes, you will also be using your hamstrings – there is no such thing as a true isolation exercise for the glutes.
7.)    Sprint or Sled Pushing
Sprinting and resistance sprinting is a great way to torch your tushy. Also, pushing a weighted sled is another great option for those who attend gyms with them! You have got the ramp up intensity to uncover those muscles, just like the abdominals I mentioned earlier. 
8.)    Structural Imbalances:
Having poor posture or imbalances with the spine and hips can even limit the development of the glutes! For example, excessive tightness in the psoas, a muscle involved in flexing the hip, will restrict the range of motion in exercises that strongly affect the glutes.
9.)    SMR and Soft Tisse Work:
Yes, getting that massage or even foam rolling can help with the glutes! Why? If you work them properly, the muscle fibers will shorten and become very tight.  Performing active release and lengthening the muscle will help with its muscular development and definition.
10.) Other Activities outside Training:
Think about it. My client yesterday told me he went ice skating after his session with me and his glutes hurt to even sit down today. Well, remember, you don’t have to be working out to get a great session in for your butt! Just get off the computer chair and couch and get out there and move! Ice skating, roller blades, and even fast  paced walking are great examples!

There it is! 10 Tips To Improve Your Glute Training! That’s all I have time for today! Until next time, Stay strong and don’t let anyone bring you down! Everyone has a point in their life when people tell them they can’t or have some surrounding them in negative ways. You have to work through it and find those who support your goals and dreams! I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of my family and friends!

It is true that you find out who your true friends are when you go through a hard time or traumatic event! I had mine right by my side and I am now almost 7 months post-accident and still VERY positive! No matter what happens, someone out there is feeling worse or having a day with more difficulties than you. Remember, its those who fight through it that will come out on top!

Have a great relaxing Sunday!

Don’t forget, visit www.mjofitness.com or message me to talk about my training and how you can get involved! It’s time to get everyone out of their boring gym routines and get on a fast track to results and a better and happier training session!




Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hip Pain? What exactly is Causing It & How Runner’s Can Prevent The Most Prevalent Injury.



Hope everyone is enjoying the cold weather up here in the northeast! It surely makes you think twice about going to make that second trip into the grocery store!

Yesterday I was out walking Bailey in Caledonia and had a man pass me walking his dog who looked like had one leg about a foot longer than the other,(meaning, of course, his hips were so unbalanced and weak that they could barely support his lubar spine!) Yikes!

Immediately, I thought about the runners I have who are currently dealing with issue, which is one of the most common injuries among those who enjoy endurance activities.

Why? REPETITION. Constant wear and tear on the deep hip flexor muscle(the muscle that causes flexion at the hip joint) tends to break down muscle tissue and can potentially cause some major discomfort when trying to sprint or run.

First lets get into the boring anatomy of the Hip! The Deep Hip Flexor is actually made up of two muscles: 1) The Psoas Major and 2) the Illiacus but is commonly referred to as the Iliopsoas because these muscles share a common tendon.

Psoas Major:

Origin: Anterior surfaces and lower borders of transverse processes of L1-L5

Insertion: Lesser trochanter of femur inserts as iliopsoas tendon

Action: flexion at the hip joint, external rotation, bends lumbar vertebral column

Illiacus:

Origin: Iliac fossa and crest; ala of sacrum

Insertion: Lesser trochanter of femur inserts as iliopsoas tendon

Action: Flexion and external rotation at hip joint; ipsilateral (same side) bending of trunk, raises trunk from supine position

Now, runners tend to easily develop weakness in this muscle simply because it is not worked very much at all during slow paced running. Sprinting, on the other hand, is a different story.  The other hip flexors (rectus femoris (part of the quadriceps), sartorius and tensor fasciae latae, which are superficial) tend to take over - because the hip angle does not reach greater than 90 degrees, which is where the iliopsoas activates more in relation to the more superficial hip flexors.  Since slow running does not result in hip angles below 90 degrees, the result hip muscles tend to weaken over time, while other neighboring muscles are strengthening.
This then leads to imbalances and can even cause serious pain and discomfort for some runners.


 



Check if you're weak:
Stand super tall and bring one knee to your chest.  Bring it super high, well above 90 degrees.  Keep it there for 30 seconds.  Did your low back round?  Did you round forward to "meet" your thigh?
Were you not able to hold your thigh above 90 degrees?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have weak deep hip flexors.
If you struggle with hip weakness, try this exercise to activate the area and begin correcting and strengthening the hip.

Also, as I see with many of my clients, this pain can be caused directly by the amount of sitting you do all day! This causes you iliopsoas to get very tight and can even cause anterior pelvic tilts, which are shown below.





This can cause serious pain while running and unconsciously change your stride length and negatively affect running performance. This anterior pelvic tilt and hyper lumbar lordosis as resulting from tight hip flexors, weak abdominals, weak gluteals and weak and/or tight lumbar extensors.

To fix this Glute and Core training must be applied to your everyday routine! If you do not correct this, it could even develop one of these nasty cases:
  • disc degeneration,
  • spondylosis (degeneration of lumbar spine),
  • spondylolysis (vertebral defect),
  • spondylolisthesis (vertebral anterior or posterior displacement).
If your iliopsoas is tight, add in this hip flexor stretch with core activation into your routine.


 



To sum up, THREE things you must do to help correct this:
·         Massage(Active Release)
·         Joint Mobility
·         Muscle Activation to Waken Up Sleeping Muscles.

Stay tuned for my favorite Hip & Core exercises For Runners To help fix those issues!!

DON'T FORGET: Contact me for information and get started by joining the  many others who found what being fit is all about!

www.mjofitness.com
(717)658-4299