G’day! It is the 1st day of 2016 and the first day of your improved life.
To improve in 2016 you will need that standard list of goals. However, this year I want to ask you why you want to reach these goals? Why do you want to improve at ______? Most of us know what we want to improve ( lose fat, gain muscle, become smarter, make money) but few search beyond that asking why we want to reach theses goals. If you really want to improve you have to know what you want and more importantly why you want it.
Thru reverse engineering if you make this ‘WHY’ really big (help your loved ones, be a role model, attract the love of your life) then you will have the drive to reach your goals in 2016. Go beyond yourself making your “why” about other people and you will create real meaning with your goals. If you have meaning in your life you will be driven to reach your goals.
Be proactive finding your “Why” today, if not you will find yourself in 2017 saying ”why me”. Today really can be first day or your new and improved life.
Everybody says prevention is the best medicine but few medical practitioners actually focus their practice on preventing injury. 15 years ago, I had a paradigm shift in treatment philosophy and stopped treating back pain and began optimizing my clients core training to prevent injury.
Today If you see ten different experts for core training you will recieve 10 different opinions. Practice vairations are very common, for example the same low back patient was given to 25 different expert surgeons and 25 different opinions were given.The better the expert, the more opinionated they will be that their latest and greatest core exercises are your answer. An expert becomes like one of the five blind men examining an elephant (below). The expert is often right, yet fails to see the big picture.
Your solution is to see the big picture. I call this the ” see the elephant” approach thereby allowing to use a mixed methods approach. The Mixed Method Approach sees validity of each expert and integrates the best of their knowledge into a hybrid plan for you. The Mixed Method Approach puts the spear, rope, snake, wall and tree together so you ‘see the elephant’ . Twenty five years of practice, travelling to 0ver 20 countries have helped me ‘See the Elephant’ and develop hybrid Mixed Method Treatments for my clients.
“See the Elephant” & the Mixed Method Approach for Core Training
You must Believe in “See the Elephant Approach” (Secret Method of great practitioners all over world is to make you believe in their method)
2. You must relearn good Posture (Fundamental Method of Physical Therapy Assessment. Pilates, Method, Yoga Method……)
3. You must restore full painfree range of motion to spine. Nearly all of us suffer from sitting disease and our back is becoming modeled by the chair we sit. Shockingly you lose over 50% of our spinal extension as you age.. We need to restore extension especially of Thoracic Spine and Hip (Fundamental Biomechanical Method of orthopedic medicine like McKenzie Method)
4. You must learn learn to brace, unload and protect your spine thru neutral spine methods (Method of Progressive Spine Surgeons @ San Franscico Spine Institute who treated patients with herniated discs conservatively)
5. You must strengthen your spine thru a full range of motion (High Performance Methods used by Australian Institute of Sport & way back Communist Block Methods).
The Mixed Method Approach is the best philosophy for your core training.
There is an old gym saying ” go heavy or go home”, yet few trainers have their clients perform heavy exercises ( an exercise you could perform 6 or less reps). This is especially true if the clients are women. When reviewing professional tennis players training history I find they have failed to ‘go heavy’ in previous workouts. This is remarkable to me as these workouts have been proven to significantly increase performance in tennis players.
Dr Bill Kraemer showed a 30% improvement in serve speed and 50 % increase in vertical jump with a program that emphasized the inclusion of heavy resistance exercises. In the “Essentials of Strength and Conditioning” text trainers learn that performing less then 6 reps of a structural exercise ( squat, deadlift, bench, row ect) is part of periodized plan for all athletic development. Yet very few trainers actually apply the knowledge to their clients training programs, even if they are professional women athletes.
To be honest it is not easy to convince women to “go heavy” in the gym as they associate going heavy with bulking up like testosterone filled man or being dangerous. I have found if you go heavy with a female athlete you will have likely seen her three times, first time, last time and never again.
First and foremost you must educate clients on the benefits of going heavy and inspire them to train more like the best Olympic athletes in the world. No matter how much science there is in training the best exercise for you is always the one you will do. Here’s a few pearls I hope will help you go heavy (during certain periods of training).
You will not bulk up . The reps schemes from 9-12 theorectically bulk you up. They are known as the hypertrophy periods of training- and designed to make muscles bigger. Do not worry about low reps they will just make you strong and more powerful as Dr Kraemer has shown.
You will not bulk up. Female athletes do not bulk up from hypertrophy workouts because hormonally they are not the same as men ( >1/10 testosterone levels), do not worry about lifting a weight less then 6 times ( push ups, pulls ups, single leg squats & Nordic curls for starters) unless you are taking bucket loads of testosterone.
You will not bulk up. Heavy weights have an often overlooked benefit of protecting you from breaking down by increasing positive hormones in your own body. Keeping your endocrinological system primed is critical for optimal performance and to prevent overtraining. Heavy weights are hormonal prehab for your body.
You need to build strength. Women need to build strength especially in their upper body where they are 50% as strong as men compared to the legs where they are 75% as strong as men. Very few of the pro athletes I have seen can perform a single chin up. Go test yourself? Shaping your upper body into a V will make your look more attractive by improving your shoulder to hips ratio. Your hips will look thinner.
Novak Djokovic has made every world class tennis player aware of the importance of mobility(flexibility) by the way he moves. His movement is a balance of strength and mobility. I have had the good fortune to see Djokovic train at the Australian Open Gym, and found it remarkable how the physiotherapist stretched Novak between each strengthening exercise he performed. The world’s number one tennis player takes mobility very very seriously.
The greatest stretch you can learn from Novak is the “Anti Sitting Stretch” which his phyiso is performing in the video above. This Thai Stretch is fantastic at opening your spine into extension and we all need more spine extension. The simple reason we need extension is we sit too much and our spines are suffering from “Sitting Disease”. Whether your know it or not your spine is becoming modeled to the shape of a chair.
The importance of maintaining your spine range of motion cannot be underestimated. Over 20 years ago at University of Florida, spine surgeon Dr. Mike MacMillan shared this clinical pearl: “Loss of spine extension is the first sign of aging.” As the study from The Journal of Physical Therapy shows, we go from 41 degrees of spinal extension to 17 degrees as we age ( see graph below).
Dr Mac hit the nail on the head. You actually lose more then 50% of your spine motion and your spine becomes very very stiff.The simple solution, start stretching the spine in the opposite direction you are sitting in right now. Start with a physio ball and eventually find a physio or even better yourself in beautiful Thailand opening up your spine. Thanks Dr Mac for your great pearls of wisdom and thank you Djokovic for demonstrating this Thai stretch. The Worlds Greatest Stretch.
Low back pain is the most common orthopedic symptom we will suffer from, yet ironically the low back muscles are the least favorite muscle to be worked out by many pro athletes (and maybe even you). Too often even the world’s best athletes become focused on the “bathroom mirror” and bomb and blitz their as abs while neglecting their back. So, to optimize my athletes’ performance we first restore full range motion to their spine and then balance the core by strengthening the back muscles with Manniche Protocol. Eventually, like Dimitry Koklov, we bomb and blitz the erector spinae muscles with back extensions and reverse hypers.
Ok I know that you are probably not ready to go beast mode on the back like Koklov, but intuitively he knows the importance of strengthening the low back (as well as his abs). Dr Manniche, one of the worlds leading expert in low back pain also had the sneaking suspicion that strengthening the back thru a full range of motion was very good for the back. Dr Manniche went one step further and proved it as a cure for low back pain over 2 decades ago.
The Manniche Protocol ( picture from his scientific article below) was used with great success in 44 nurses with low back pain but for some reason this solution never reached you.
If you are worried about the large range of motion of these exercise, remember the spine was designed to move and it is very important to restore extension as we all sit too much (sitting disease). Since the Manniche protocol is totally new to each patient I have treated over the last 20 years I am sure it will probably seem draconian to you. You should always start a new exercise at 50% of what you feel you could do and proceed slowly. You can always do more next time and maybe one day hit beast mode like Koklov.
So in Dr. Manniche we trust and Dimitry Klokov you are a beast.
Welcome to the operating room of the Houston Rocket’s team surgeon, Dr Bruce Moseley. Dr Moseley is a maverick orthopedic surgeon who wanted to investigate whether belief could heal a condition as serious as arthritic knee pain. In a radical experiment Dr Moseley performed ‘placebo’ surgery on five patients. As part of this experiment, he entered the operating theater where a patient was unconscious and ready for knee surgery. He then opened an envelope to find out whether or not he would perform surgery on this particular patient.
On five patients, Dr Moseley did not perform arthroscopic knee surgery, instead he created the illusion of surgery by purposely making small wounds to represent typical surgical incisions. With a clearly visible scar and painful knee, the patients were convinced they had had surgery, when in fact they hadn’t.
All five patients who had the placebo surgery reported their surgery was a success. All reported less pain and all reported they would recommend the surgery to a friend or family member.Here’s how Sylvester, one patient who had the placebo surgery, described his results:
“The surgery was two years ago and the knee has never bothered me since…it’s just like the
other knee now. I give a whole lot of credit to Dr Moseley. Whenever I see him on TV during a
basketball game I call the wife in and say, ‘Hey, there’s the doctor that fixed my knee’.”
In high performance we say, “You are either improving or you are getting worse.” As I traveled the world watching training, I noticed that core training is not improving ( yes it is actually getting worse). Today the buzz in core training are anti-flexion, anti-extension, anti-rotation exercises and you may have even found yourself performing planks in the gym. Every trainer tells their client the platitude of keeping your spine in neutral and not letting it moving to the extremes to protect your back.If your spine does not move of course it will not hurt.
The spine is made up of 76 joints. They are designed to move and in the sporting arena the spine is often in the extremes of motion in performance. I have watched Rodger Federer train on many occasion and as he serves, his back is in extension a long way from neutral spine (0 degrees). Exercise physiology 101: There is only a carry over of 15 degrees from the angle you strengthen. Meaning if Federer performs planks in neutral (0 degrees) there will be no carry over to typical 15-40 degrees of spinal extension he uses on the court. All the planks are going to do nothing for Rodger when he serves or reaches for a very wide ball. His back is likely to get injured.
3 minute planks are great for your posture but do little for end range where all spinal injuries occur. As Gary Gray the famous physical therapist said: “you always regret not strengthening the position you were injured”. During my days at the University of Florida I had the good fortune to work under Dr Mike Mac Millan the professor of orthopedics. He was a big believer in full pain-free range of motion exercise for all joints, including the spine which was a far cry from all transversus abdominal stuff I learned at University of Queensland in Australia (ground zero for Transversus Abdominus).
Dr Mac ( a spine surgeon) presented the evidence, rehab was progressed to the next level and our patients improved. At Univeristy of Florida we developed a comprehensive protocol for rehab that included neutral spine and progressed to full pain-free range of motion. Unfortunately popular core strengthening today is more like our initial rehab stage not our final stage for optimal performance. The answer is to progress rehab thru all stages and eventually to learn full pain free range of motion exercises like the GHD sit up demonstrated in the video.
Even though I do not know you I am passionate about improving your performance . Although I have not seen your shoulder training I believe your gym work can be improved with a little bit of knowledge from the father of sportsmedicine Dr Frank Jobe.
As a strength coach and physical therapist for pro athletes I have had the good fortune to travel to hundreds of gyms thru out the world and am dumbfounded and intrigued by shoulder training. Shoulder training is in dark ages much like sportsmedicine before Dr Frank Jobe.
The late Dr. Jobe edited 7 books on the shoulder and published over 100 articles ( including the best exercise for you to perform) . Not only was Dr Jobe a brilliant academic he was also the LA Dodgers Team physician, consulted for the PGA, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings. Dr Jobe new a thing or two about how your shoulder functioned and when he spoke the pro athletes listened.
Gym goers do not perform the Jobes exercises for rotator cuff strengthening and trainers seem to have no clue about his legacy. As you see in this video the Jobes exercises are painfully simple to learn, important for your shoulder and hopefully intuitively make sense. ( I actually learned them from reading an article in 2000 to cure my shoulder pain).).
Dr Jobe is viewed as “one of the premier fathers of modern sports medicine and without him sports medicine care would still be in the dark ages” ( Dr James Andrews). While sportsmedicine has moved out of the dark ages, shoulder training is still in the dark ages at your local gym.
The elephant in the room is now about your gym training ( do you train smart).
Although I do not know your trainer I know a dirty secret they don’t know the functional anatomy of your shoulder. Anatomy 101: of all the muscles that control the shoulder there are only two that external rotate your shoulder (teres minor and infraspinatus). These muscles are very important in balancing your shoulder and often become weakened. Just look at the average internally rotated position of most peoples shoulders and you might think that correcting or preventing this posture is important.
The answer you hit the gym. Gym 101; Bench press hits the pecs which internal rotate and so to balance you need to look at doing pulling exercise to pull your shoulder back. Well the problem is the primary pulling muscle, lattissimus dorsi is a powerful internal rotator. So balancing push and pull is not enough. Working the external rotators seems like intelligent training and that became Dr Jobes theory three decades ago.
Intelligently you hire a trainer presuming they will show you the right exercises to perform ?Did your trainer learn from the decades of work of Dr Jobe and show you these rotator cuff exercises. If my intuition is right the answer is no and welcome to my world being pissed off about stupid trainers ( physios and doctors) . Trust me Jobes exercise are critical if you injure your shoulder and even more important if you believe prevention is the best medicine
Electromyographic analysis performed at Jobe- Kerlan clinic shows these exercise to hit the external rotators the muscle that protect your glenohumeral joint more then any other exercises. Dr Frank Jobe who pioneered shoulder reconstructive surgery knew that rehabbing these muscles was critical for his athletes at the Dodgers, Lakers and Kinds. Now all this knowledge is out there on the internet and it seems wise that your trainer starts pumping his biceps reading some book or working his fingers out more on the google search ( or just send him this link),
At the end of the day is it is all good and you can just add these four exercises to your program.
Then you can enjoy watching the other troglodytes at the gym with their guru trainers. Applied knowledge is power. Thank your Dr Frank Jobe.
Truth 5. It’s not your genetics. Too many of us have a fixed mindset that limits our potential in life. Nobody is designed to be fat or evolutionally we would have been eaten by the lions. You actually can perform a lot better in life. There is a better you.
A global ‘sissyfication’ process is taking place and you are either part of the problem of part of solution. Be part of the solution stop making excuses. Start training harder and smarter just like athletes do. Find your greatness.
Vision 5. There is an Aussie Battler inside us all. Many great things have come from the Land Down Under, but none will help you more over your lifespan than the mindset of The Aussie Battler. The Aussie Battler mindset is simple—never give up fighting for what you believe in. An Aussie Battler is one who has the discipline, the persistence, and the determination to keep going when others would have stopped. The Aussie battler gets knocked down 6 and gets up 7 times. In Oz we reward these guy with accolades regardless of their result.
Standford reasearcher Dr Carol Dweck has shown this never give up Mindset to be incredibly important for optimizing our performance . Thru her work teaching kids we know to reward people for effort, learning from mistake and perseverance. The vision of RX is teaching you the mindset of any Aussie battler (growth mindset)
Truth 4. The human mind is wired to be negative and conditioned by large corporations psychologists for instant gratification. We are what we repeatedly think and just look around at the state of the health in any Mc Donalds and you will see..
Dr Seligman who leads the positive psychology movement points this negativity as evolutionary function for survival. Evolutionary we had to beware of lions eating us, and starvation from lack of food. There was the need for conserving energy. Man walked 25000 steps a day and gathered or ran after his food. Assessing the worst case scenario constantly allowed humans to survive. Evolutionarily times were tough and for survival we look for the easiest solutions for food to and ways to conserve energy. It was the only way to survive and it became our wiring.
Times have changed and we have an abundance of energy dense food and energy saving devices at our disposable. Corporation want to sell these products to us. The slick marketeers know how to use knowledge about our minds to sell us their products. They market our desired to be instantly gratified and make us lose focus on long term truths. Marketeers use our wiring to sell more of their products, energy dense foods full of sugar, fat, salt and other chemicals. They use our wiring to offer us stupid exercise programs that don’t work. The worse thing is we are under their psychological influence even though we don’t know it..
Vision 4. “He who conquers their own mind is the mightiest of warriors.” We must train the mind to be positive and focus on the basics. We must seamlessly integrate positive psychology Rx into exercise Rx and nutrition Rx. We must dispute our negative beliefs and learn to constantly focus on WHAT Went well today.We must reward ourselves for eating well and exercising. We must quiet the mind from the nosie of the large corporation advertiisements and selectively focus on the basics of Exercise Rx and Nutrition RX. We must become more resilient to the challenges of life. Our mind is a muscle and we can make it stronger with the right Mind RX.