4 Keys to Implement Long Term Athletic Development

This week’s guest post comes from my friends Julie Hatfield and Dave Gleason from the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA).  Dave has recently teamed up with Toby Brooks and Wil Fleming to create a program helping you implement long term athletic development with your youth athletes.  It’s a great program with concepts that we have integrated into our programming at Champion PT and Performance.  The IYCA is good to my readers and has offered us an exclusive 50% off the program this week only.  More info after the article!

 

4 Keys to Implement Long Term Athletic Development

Implementing Long Term Athletic Development TrainingYou have likely heard the term, Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD).  Contradictory to common belief that sport specialization will achieve great success, LTAD is a progressive and injury preventative approach to youth fitness and sport performance that we cannot afford to lose site of.  Simply put, sport specialization should come later in life, and our youngest of athletes (6-16 year olds) are in dire need of coaches to give them a strong and sturdy foundation.

The figure, and concept of Long Term Athlete Development,  indicates that movement skills are at the foundation of the ideal athlete.  Once movement skills are mastered, then it is appropriate to move on to power, speed & agility skills.  Lastly, we implement sport skills and specialization, but not till the athlete has achieved success in the foundational movement skills.

Many performance coaches struggle implementing LTAD. It is a delicate balance between giving kids (and parents) what they want, and what they actually need.

Youth fitness expert, Dave Gleason has put together 4 Keys to Implementing LTAD quickly, so you can have the confidence to add the concepts of LTAD into your sessions, TODAY! 

1. Find Your Why

It comes down to what you really want to do. If you are working with kids, it really needs to be your purpose in life.  They deserve that.  It is a crucial step in all of this.  If you aren’t passionate about working with kids, and doing what is right for them- then this is not the job for you.  If you are…thank YOU.  Next step…

2. Educate yourself

It’s about getting the right tools to work with kids 6-18 years old. The International Youth Conditioning Association is an organization that specializes in providing education for youth fitness professionals.  They specialize in pediatric/youth fitness and provide coaches & trainers with a valuable balance of practical application and science.  For more education on Long Term Athlete Development, Youth Fitness Training and much more, check them out.

Bottom line, get educated to specifically work with kids!

3. Schedule

Scheduling your LTAD program can be tough.  Look at your school systems in your area and obtain their schedule.  Know when they are getting out of school and schedule your sessions accordingly.  

Create a schedule that is right for most people and keep it constant.  Consistency in your schedule will allow parents to plan for your LTAD program!

4. Get Started

Once you have the education and are equipped to train young athletes and incorporate Long Term Athlete Development …it is time to get started.  So many do all the steps, then worry that they aren’t qualified.  When you wait, the kids in your community are losing out.  If you have the passion, education and you have a schedule that will work for you, then it’s time to GET STARTED!

The Kids NEED you.

 

Save 50% on the IYCA’s New Long Term Athletic Development Roadmap

Long term athletic developmentAs I mentioned above, the IYCA has been very generous to my readers and have offered us all 50% off their new program from Toby Brooks, Dave Gleason, and Wil Fleming on implementing Long Term Athletic Development in your programming and system.

The offer ends this week on 1/31/16, so don’t delay.  This is a great product that has helped shape what we do at Champion!

 

 

 

Do Tight Hip Flexors Correlate to Glute Weakness?

Lower crossed syndrome, as originally described by Vladimir Janda several decades ago, is commonly sited to describe the muscle imbalances observed with anterior pelvic tilt posture.

Janda Assessment and Treatment of Muscle ImbalanceJanda described lower crossed syndrome to explain how certain muscle groups in the lumbopelvic area get tight, while the antagonists get weak or inhibited.  Or, as Phil Page describes in his book overviewing the Janda Approach, “Weakness from from muscle imbalances results from reciprocal inhibition of the tight antagonist.”  Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalances: The Janda Approach is an excellent book that I recommend if you’re new to the concepts.

When you look at a drawing of this concept, you can see how it starts to make sense.  Tightness in the hip flexors and low back are associated with weakness of abdominals and glutes.

Lower Cross Syndrome

 

I realize this is a very two dimensional approach and probably not completely accurate in it’s presentation, however it not only seems to make biomechanical sense, it also correlates to what I see at Champion nearly daily.

Yet despite the common acceptance of these imbalance patterns, there really isn’t much research out there looking at these correlations.

 

Do Tight Hip Flexors Correlate to Glute Weakness?

Do Tight Hip Flexors Correlate to Glute WeaknessA recent study was publish in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy looking at the EMG activity between the two-hand and one-hand kettlebell swing.  While I enjoyed the article and comparision of the two KB swing variations, the authors had one other finding that peaked my interest even more.  And if you just read the title of the paper, you would have never seen it!

In the paper, the authors not only measured glute EMG activity during the kettlebell swing, but they also measure hip flexor mobility using a modified Thomas Test.  The authors found moderate correlations between hip flexor tightness and glute EMG activity.

The tighter your hip flexors, the less EMG was observed in the glutes during the kettlebell swing. [Click to Tweet]

While this has been theorized since Janda first described in the 1980’s, to my knowledge this is the first study that has shown this correlation during an exercise.

 

Implications

It’s often the little findings of study that help add to our body of knowledge.  This simple study showed us that there does appear to be a correlated between your hip flexor mobility and EMG activity of the glutes.  There are a few implications that you can take from this study:

  • Both two-hand and one-hand kettlebell swings are great exercises to strengthen the glutes
  • However, perhaps we need to assure people have adequate hip flexor mobility prior to starting.  I know at Champion we feel this way and spend time assuring people have the right mobility and ability to hip hinge before starting to train the kettlebell swing
  • If trying to strengthen the glutes, it appears that you may also want focus on hip flexor mobility, as is often recommended.  While a common recommendation, I bet many people skip this step.
  • This all makes your strategy to work with people with anterior pelvic tilt even more important.  Here is how I work with anterior pelvic tilt.

So yes, it does appear that hip flexor mobility correlates to glute activity and should be considering when designing programs.

 

How to Assess the Scapula

The latest Inner Circle webinar recording on How to Assess the Scapula is now available.

How to Assess the Scapula

How to assess scapular dyskinesisThis month’s Inner Circle webinar is a live demonstration of How to Assess the Scapula.  In this recording of a live student inservice from Champion, I overview everything you should (and shouldn’t) be looking for when assessing the scapula.  When someone has a big nerve injury with significant winging or scapular dyskinesis, the assessment of the scapula is pretty easy.  But how do you detect the subtle alterations in posture, position, and dynamic movement?  By being able to identify a few subtle findings, you can really enhance how you write a rehab or training program.

In this webinar, I’ll cover:

  • What to look for in regard to static posture and scapular position
  • How to check to see if static postural asymmetries really have an impact on dynamic scapular movement
  • What really is normal scapulothoracic rhythm (if there really is a such thing as normal!)?
  • How to reliably assess for scapular dyskinesis
  • How winging during the concentric and eccentric phases of movement changes my thought process
  • How to see if scapular position or movement is increasing shoulder pain
  • How to see if scapular position or movement is decreasing shoulder strength

To access this webinar:

 

 

 

Are Pre-Workout Supplements Good for You? Taking a Look Behind the Smoke Screen

Today’s guest post comes from Champion PT and Performance Strength Coach Rob Sutton (@rjsutton16).  Rob discusses the health concerns of many pre-workout supplements, and for good reason!  Rob shares a very personal experience of how he really hurt his own health from this class of supplements.  Great info for everyone.  I know I’m sticking to by cup of black coffee as my “pre-workout” supplement!

 

Are Pre-Workout Supplements Good for You?  Taking a Look Behind the Smoke Screen

When it comes to making gains in the gym, whether that be weight loss or muscle gain, many people often turn to supplements to help them reach their goals. A high number of gym goers use pre -orkout supplements to enhance their training experience in hopes of getting a better training session. This “pre-workout” class of supplements are promoted to give you more energy and stamina to get through a tough workout.

While there is most certainly a time and place for the right dietary supplements, I have a problem with the majority of these pre-workout supplements, which essentially are stimulants.

 

The Problem with the Supplement Industry

The supplement industry is a juggernaut. According to Forbes, what’s known as the Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements group, reported nutritional supplements alone produced about $32 billion in revenue in 2012. By the year 2021, nutritional supplements plan to double in revenue to about $60 billion. Gone are the times where it was only meatheads looking to have muscles popping out of their eyelids, buying supplements. The general public and athletes everywhere are now using supplements to aid in their diet and increase performance.

My problem with the supplement industry is the misleading, sneaky, and deceptiveness that is present.

Companies use big words and outrageous claims to market their product to consumers. “Explosive Energy”, “Super Crazy Pumps”, “Increase Strength 317%”, “Growth Hormone Matrix”. All include buzzwords to help aid in claims and gimmicks that the companies want you to believe. And every company claims to provide the highest workout energy on the market. All use colorful labels and big fonts to blind your senses.

Have you ever read through the directions for pre workout supplements? Here some examples from popular pre-workout supplements:

  • “Warning: Use only in accordance with directions for use and warnings.”
  • “DO NOT exceed recommended dosage due to the extremely potent nature of ingredients contained in….”
  • “Assess your tolerance”.

What are we putting into our bodies? There are more warning labels on these than there are on heavy duty cleaning products.

 

How Pre-Workout Supplements Hurt My Health

Now, I was young once and fell into these traps before like so many others. Although, that has come with a price.

About 7 years ago I began experiencing an abnormal feeling in my chest. It was quite obviously in my heart. It felt as if my heart was skipping a beat. It was happening fairly often and I would notice it mostly at rest. I admit it was something I had ignored for many years. As it began to get worse, it was time to seek out medical advice. Long story short, I was diagnosed in 2012 with (Pre-Mature ventricular contractions, PVC’s). Through several holter monitors and experiments with supplements I was taking, I only remained using whey protein. After cutting out pre workout supplements, my PVC’s were diminished by 97.7%! It was determined the PVC’s were caused by a supplement I had been taking in years past. All bought through local nutrition stores.

There is 1 ingredient in particular that may have caused the heart arrhythmia that I continue to feel every single day. It’s called 1, 3 dimethylamylamine, or DMAA for short.

 

History of 1, 3 Dimethylamylamine (DMAA)

DimethylamylamineA brief history on DMAA, it was created in 1948 to be used as a nasal decongestant. It had a trademarked named called Forthane. The way the drug worked was via vasoconstriction. The blood vessels in the nose would constrict blood flow, leading to less mucus discharge. This is how many popular over the counter nasal decongestant meds work today but with the absence of DMAA.

Forthane was pulled from shelves in the early 80’s due to dramatic side effects including headaches, tremors, and high blood pressure. DMAA is what’s called a sympathomimetic drug. Which means its mimics the actions of the sympathetic nervous system. On an hourly basis at Champion, we are performing drills and exercises to relax the sympathetic nervous system not stimulate it. We are already stimulated enough!

Supplement companies use this drug because of its high stimulant properties. If DMAA was known to cause ill side effects 30 years ago, how is it still out there for the public to buy? It is in fact banned by the World Doping Agency and reads false positives for amphetamines on urine tests. There is a plethora of scientific journals and facts regarding this subject as well. But what I have learned from a very reputable Physical Therapist and Strength Coach Jeff Cavaliere in March 2011, is that through what we could call a loophole in the “system”, companies can include this ingredient by stating the source of the molecule. The source in this case is geranium oil. Which is an FDA approved food product. DMAA can be extracted from the geranium plant. Some research suggests that extremely small amounts are found in the plant itself. DMAA can also be seen on supplement labels under a giant list of other names including geranium extract, geranium oil extract, and methylhexaneamine, to name a few.

A list of all names and products known to contain the drug can be found here:

 

DMAACavaliere was ahead of the curve when he presented the problem with this drug in 2011 and the potential health problems related with a drug that causes the blood vessels to constrict. Constricting blood vessels and arteries, leading to high blood pressure, combined with exercise can be a harmful mix. Lets mix in a high amount of caffeine and even more ingredients with stimulant properties as well. This is when this subject was put on my radar and I began to research possible supplements that contained DMAA. And indeed I found some, and some I had taken in the past. The ingredient pictures shown are from 2 pre-workout supplement labels that I had used about 8 to 10 years ago. They have since been changed…. but why?

After Jeff Cavaliere turned me onto this issue, I discarded the supplements I had…sorry my heart just skipped a beat…. that included this potentially harmful chemical. And I then kept my eye on this topic in the future.

In 2012/2013 the FDA put its foot down on supplement companies, ordering them to pull this already illegal drug. As of April 11, 2013, the FDA received 86 reports of illnesses and deaths associated with supplements containing DMAA. These are just a few case reports associated with deaths and severe health problems linked to DMAA.

Hold on it gets better…

Companies began to comply with the FDA’s orders. One popular supplement company, also in April 2013 sent out an email to subscribers about a new formula for their pre workout supplement. Here’s what it stated:

“______has been our #1 selling pre-workout supplement for years and now it is no longer being produced. We are down to two flavors, ______and_______, and what we have in stock is it!! If you want to get your hands on some of the last remaining bottles, you should act fast…quantities on these are extremely limited and quickly selling off. Get it before this original formula is gone forever! Only $21.95!!”

This is complete BS!

Why are they creating a new formula? Because the old one is killing people!! So lets start giving this poison to as many people as we can for a discounted price. Like I said, misleading, sneaky, and deceptive.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) had identified another product by the same company with DMAA in it. They identified 100 people who developed hepatitis from using this product. 47 of those needed hospitalization, 3 needed liver transplants, and 1 died.

 

What’s the Next Pre-Workout Ingredient to be Banned?

What will be the next ingredient that is in current supplements, to cause as big an uproar as 1, 3 dimeth? I bet you it’s out there.

Here are an unfortunate two possibilities. Beta-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA) and Synephrine. Both have already had bad press and have been linked to health issues. An article published on WebMD talks about how in April of 2015, the FDA sent warning letters to five supplement companies whose products contain BMPEA, asking them to stop distributing products containing the drug.

This sounds strikingly similar to the beginning of the end of DMAA back in 2012.

In 2012, my cardiologist made me aware of the drug Synephrine. Synephrine, like BMPEA, and DMAA is a powerful stimulant. This was in one of, if not multiple pre workout supplements that I had taken in the past. (Refer back to photos). Synephrine is also disguised in many supplements just as DMAA was. It may also be labeled as Bitter Orange or Citrus Aurantium. Just as DMAA, the source of the drug is being labeled, which helps in the legality. Synephrine is not currently a banned substance.

Synephrine

Is it Worth the Risk?

Think about it, do we really need an exotic plant extract from China to help us lift more weight? Do we need to search for an ingredient buried at opposite ends of the earth to lose 10 pounds?

OVERWHELMING NO!!!

Work hard for your goals and they will come. What happened to eating properly, getting enough sleep, and staying properly hydrated. That is my pre workout.

 

 

 

How to Coach and Perform Shoulder Program Exercises

The latest Inner Circle webinar recording on How to Coach and Perform Shoulder Program Exercises is now available.

How to Coach and Perform Shoulder Program Exercises

How to Coach and Perform Shoulder Program ExercisesThis month’s Inner Circle webinar is on How to Coach and Perform Shoulder Program Exercises.  While this seems like a simple topic, the concepts discussed here are key to enhancing shoulder and scapula function.  There are many little tweaks you can perform for shoulder exercises to make them more effective.  If you perform rotator cuff or scapula exercises poorly, you can be facilitating compensatory patterns.  In this webinar, we discuss:

  • How to correctly perform rotator cuff and scapula exercises
  • Coaching cues that you can use to assure proper technique
  • How to enhance exercises by paying attention to technique
  • How to avoid compensation patterns and assure shoulder program exercises are as effective as possible

To access this webinar:

 

 

 

A Simple Tweak to Enhance Glute and Reduce TFL Activity

Hip weakness is a common area of focus in both the rehabilitation and fitness fields.  Combine our excessive sitting postures and the majority of activities during the day that occur in the sagittal plane of motion, and hip weakness in the frontal and transverse planes is common.

There are many exercises designed to address glute medius and glute maximus strength in the transverse plane.  But a simple tweak to your posture during one of the most common exercises can have a big impact on glute activity and the balance between your glutes and TFL.

 

The Effect of Body Position on Lateral Band Walking

A recent study in JOSPT analyzed EMG activity of the glute max, glute medius, and TFL muscles during two variations of the lateral band walking exercises.

The subjects performed the lateral band walk in a standing straight up posture and a more flexed squat position.

A Simple Tweak to Enhance Glute and Reduce TFL Activity

I’ve personally used both variations in the past but tend to perform the exercise more often in the slightly flexed position, which we consider a more “athletic posture,” as we don’t really walk laterally with our hips and knees straight very often.

Results showed that EMG of both the glute max and glute medius was enhanced by performing lateral band walks in the partial squat position, and that TFL activity was actually reduced.  Glute activity almost doubled.

 

A Simple Tweak to Enhance Glute and Reduce TFL Activity

The finding of reduced TFL activity is just as important as enhanced glute EMG activity, as the ratio of glute medius to TFL is greatly enhanced by performing the lateral band walk in this athletic position.

Sometimes it’s the simplest studies that make the most impact.

The TFL also acts as a secondary hip flexor and internal rotator of the hip.  In those with glute medius weakness, which is fairly common, the TFL tends to be overactive to produce abduction of the hip.

Considering how our chronic seated posture can cause shortening of the hip flexors and we know many knee issues can arise from too much dynamic hip internal rotation and glute medius weakness, we often try to focus on developing the glute medius ability to become more of the primary muscle involved with abduction, instead of the TFL.

Another interesting finding of the study was that the stance limb, not the moving limb, had higher EMG activity for every muscle in both positions.  This shows the importance of the stance abductors in providing both a closed kinetic chain driving force as well as a lumbopelvic stabilizing force when the moving limb transitions to nonweightbearing.

We focus a lot on abduction based exercises to strengthen the glute medius, but closed kinetic chain exercises in single leg stance may be just as important to train the hip to stabilize the lower extremity.

One thing I would add is that I rarely perform this exercise with the band at the ankles as the authors did.  I much prefer to put the band around the knee and feel it helps develop better hip control.

Based on this study, I’m not sure I see why I would perform a lateral band walk in a tall upright posture.  I’m going to maximize glute activity and reduce TFL activity by doing the exercise in a more flexed athletic position.

 

A Better Way to Perform Shoulder Exercises?

It’s pretty obvious that the shoulder is linked to the scapula, which is linked to the trunk.  So why do we so often perform isolated arm movement exercises without incorporating the trunk?  It’s a good question.  The body works as a kinetic chain that requires a precise interaction of joints and muscles throughout the body.

 

The Effect of Trunk Rotation During Shoulder Exercises

A recent study was published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery that examined the impact of adding trunk rotational movements to common shoulder exercises.

The authors chose overhead elevation, external rotation by the side, external rotation in the 90/90 position similar to throwing, and 3 positions of scapular retraction while lying prone (45 degrees, 90 degrees, and 145 degrees) that were similar to prone T’s and Y’s.  The essentially had subjects perform the exercise with and without rotating their trunk towards the moving arm.

A Better Way to Perform Shoulder Exercises?

EMG of the the upper trapezius, middle trapezius, lower trapezius, and serratus anterior were recorded, as well as 3D scapular biomechanics.

There were a few really interesting results.

  • Adding trunk rotation to arm elevation, external rotation at 0 degrees, and external rotation at 90 degrees significantly increased scapular external rotation and posterior tilt, and all 3 exercises increased LT activation
  • During overhead elevation, posterior tilt was 23% increased and lower trap EMG improve 67%, which in turn reduced the upper trap/lower trap ratio.
  • Adding rotation to the prone exercises reduced upper trapezius activity, and therefore enhanced the upper trap/lower trap ratio as well.

 

What Does This All Mean?

I would say these results are interesting.  While the EMG activity was fairly low throughout the study, the biggest implication is that involving the trunk during arm movements does have a significant impact on both muscle activity and scapular mechanics.  Past studies have shown that including hip movement with shoulder exercises also change muscle activity.

This makes sense.  If you think about it, traditional exercises like elevation and external rotation involve moving the shoulder on the trunk.  By adding trunk movement during the exercises you are also involving moving the trunk on the shoulder.

This is how the body works, anyway.  Most people don’t robotically just move their arm during activities, the move their entire body to position the arm in space to accomplish their goal.

It’s also been long speculated that injuries during sports like throwing and baseball pitching may be at least partially responsible for not positioning or stabilizing the scapula optimally.  I think this study supports this theory, showing that trunk movement alters shoulder function.

Isolated exercises like elevation and external rotation are always going to be important, especially when trying to enhance the strength of a weak or injured muscle.  However, adding tweaks like trunk rotation to these exercises as people advance may be advantageous when trying to work on using the body with specific scapular positions or ratio of trapezius muscle activity.

 

5 Tweaks to Make Shoulder Exercises Even More Effective

I’m a big fan of understanding how little tweaks can make a big difference on your exercise selection.  If you are interested in learning more, this month’s Inner Circle webinar will discuss 5 Tweaks to Make Shoulder Exercises Even More Effective.  The webinar will be Tuesday August 25th at 8:00 PM EST, but a recording will be up soon after.

 

 

 

Learn the Champion Performance Therapy and Training System! [Save 20%]

champion pt and performance educationI am super excited to announce that we have just released an online version of our Champion Performance Therapy and Training Seminar that we filmed earlier this summer!

The seminar was AWESOME, with a great turnout of people from all around the country coming to Boston to learn how we integrate performance training and therapy at Champion.  But, we know that there were 100’s of people that wanted to attend that couldn’t make it that weekend, so we wanted to provide an online version of the program!

 

Champion Performance Therapy and Training Program

Champion Performance Therapy and Training SeminarThe Champion Performance Therapy and Training Seminar is an online educational product designed to overview the Champion system of integrated rehabilitation, fitness, and sports performance training for physical therapists, personal trainers, strength coaches and other rehabilitation and fitness specialists.  The program includes 9 modules and over 6 hours of live lectures and hands-on sessions from the entire team at Champion:

  • Introduction to the Champion System of Integrated Rehab and Performance – Mike Reinold
  • Optimizing Movement – Mike Reinold
  • Developing Strength and Power – Rob Sutton
  • Enhancing Speed and Agility – Malcolm Goodridge
  • Performance Therapy: Movement-Based Functional Rehabilitation – Lenny Macrina
  • Assessing and Optimizing Movement (Hands-On Session) – Mike Reinold and Lenny Macrina
  • Progressing and Regressing Movement-Based Strength Exercises (Hands-On Session) – Rob Sutton
  • Speed and Agility Drills (Hand-On Session) – Malcolm Goodridge
  • Plus tons of demonstrations and live Q&A Sessions

This is a HUGE resource for physical therapists, personal trainers, and strength coaches looking to enhance their skills and develop a well rounded program of performance therapy and training.

Personal trainers, strength coaches, and other fitness specialists will learn the concepts behind the Champion program design system, including how we select, regress, progress, and periodize exercises based on movement patterns to enhance performance.  You’ll learn how we emphasize developing complete athleticism by enhancing mobility, strength, power, speed, and agility.

Physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists will learn our concepts of movement-based rehabilitation, included strategies to assess movement dysfunctions and prescribe appropriate manual therapy and corrective exercises.  We emphasize a hands-on approach that includes a thorough biomechanical assessment of how the body moves and functions to determine what specific muscle imbalances and movement impairments may be leading to dysfunction or limiting performance.  We then offer an individualized approach that produces amazing results.

But what I like most about our model at Champion is that we integrate our rehab and fitness systems.

Fitness specialists will benefit from learning how we integrate rehabilitation concepts into our programs to develop appropriate self-myofascial release, mobility, and corrective exercise programs.  Likewise, rehabilitation specialists will benefit from learning how we integrate performance training concepts to understand how to integrate appropriate strength and conditioning concepts into advanced rehabilitation programs.

 

Save 20% Until November 1st

The program is normally $99.99 but is on sale for 20% until November 1st at midnight EST.  Get 9 modules and over 6 hours of content for only $79.99 this week.

Click below to learn more about the program and save 20%:

Order Champion Seminar

 

 

 

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