Posted on

Flow Movement – “WILD THING”

FLOW

  • (def) : also known as the zone, flow is a mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity

‘HOW TO’ FLOW

  • Anatomically‘ match your breathing with your movements : whenever you ‘get smaller’ (flex) let yourself exhale – and whenever you ‘get bigger/wider’ (extend) let yourself inhale.
  • Do not force any ranges of motion or balance challenges that you cannot handle = 6 out of 10 in difficulty.
  • stay calm and clear minded (the breathing helps with this).

“WILD THING”

Begin Quadruped -> arm reaches, head/eyes follow: 1st) under other armpit 2nd) up to ceiling

-> From ‘ceiling reach’ transition into ‘high bridge’ (a position in the Turkish Get Up, aka a fallen over side plank)

-> Return and Repeat

-> Can be done with knees on the floor or with knees hovering off the floor (play around with it!)

 

Add this into your movement practice this week…

And stay tuned for more – Flow Movements

… Next week

Stay mobile my friends!

Posted on

Thanks Giving

14611113_10153946305983161_4431704213453551777_n
“The more a man lays stress on false possessions, and the less sensitivity he has for what is essential, the less satisfying is his life.” – Carl Jung

 

14642218_10153946305998161_6091027928616157879_n
“Think nothing profitable to you which compels you to break a promise, to lose your self-respect, to hate any person, to suspect, to curse, to act the hypocrite, to desire anything that needs walls and curtains about it…” – Marcus Aurelius

 

14666087_10153951987493161_3758812529905750365_n
“The way to be happy is to make others so” – Robert Ingersoll

 

14570497_10153947083838161_820445482099107208_n
“Live your life as though every act were to become a Universal Law” – Henry David Thoreau

 

14522922_10153946305988161_6577424493051966339_n
“While it is true that an inherently free and scrupulous individual may be destroyed, such an individual can never be enslaved or used as a blind tool” – Albert Einstein

 

14517353_10153946889523161_1848069054728333743_n
“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that we have to erect the ramparts of peace” – UNESCO Charter

 

14716320_10153951986983161_4603742162302942249_n
“We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind” – Martin Luther King

 

14691022_10153951987813161_5307313796472079072_n
“Thus to be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great…” – G.W.F. Hegel

Photography by KAZ

 

 

Posted on

Fall Prevention

THIS ONE IS FOR MY GRANDMA!

lol

🙂


 

I am doing research for an Ebook Series that will be out later next year involving the topics of Posture, Vision, Breathing and Balance, and how they all (should) work together,

In a Basic Bio-mechanics textbook by Susan Hall I found a hidden gem of information that really interested me.

I began my research with Posture, because I believe that Posture is the foundation for all other physical processes – from digestion to Balance and even Vision!

Susan gets to the heart of the matter when she comments on Postural sways in elderly; how the sway is greater in all four directions while stationary when compared to adolescents. What was more concerning to Susan however was the greater instance of a lateral (side-side or ‘mediolateral’) sway while walking.

I proceeded to look up a few of the related references and read them myself:

  1. Hernández, Antonio et al. “Effect of Age on Center of Mass Motion during Human Walking.” Gait & posture 30.2 (2009): 217–222. PMC. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.
    – Relevant Summary: there is a reduction in the ability for the ankle to push off, the muscles further away from the body becoming weaker with age.
  2. Kerrigan, D.Casey et al. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 79, Issue 3, 317-322
    – “Gait performance in the elderly may be limited by both subtle hip flexion contracture and ankle plantarflexor concentric weakness..”…Blah blah blah … i.e. Hips less flexible.

  3. Maki, B. E. (1997), Gait Changes in Older Adults: Predictors of Falls or Indicators of Fear?. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 45: 313–320. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.1997.tb00946.x
    – Relevant Summary : Side to side balance especially the transition from one leg to the other becomes a problem with age and the related alteration of gait (walking pattern)

    “Contrary to common expectation, a wider stride does not necessarily increase stability but instead seems to predict an increased likelihood of experiencing falls”

 


 

Here is what I suggest ….

Since the main causes of falls are

  1. weakness
  2. loss of flexibility and the ability to contract certain muscles
  3. loss of balance and the human bodies futile attempt to gain stability by widening the stride and slowing down.

Then the plan is simple!

a. Strengthen the related limbs, especially the ones further away from your body

b. Do DAILY hip and spine related mobility work

c. Work on balance and lateral movements, again, DAILY.


So, what does A,B,C look like as a daily routine?

(There will be Visuals up shortly!)

START WITH MOBILITY

  • Leg raises on the floor with and without the use of a band
  • Knee circles while on hands and knees
  • ‘Cat and Camel’
  • Standing ankle circles, rolls or ‘pulls’
  • Leg swings while standing: forward/back and side/side

move to MOVEMENT

  • Walking 30-60 minutes a day with help promote bone density : that might be a bit much for some so start easy!
  • Up HILL walking, zig-zag up the hill – avoid stairs unless you have been cleared by a movement specialist.
  • Down Hill walking – can be very stressful and cause soreness if too steep – if just enough slope your hips will open right up!
  • Squats x 5-10 reps – try interspersing them within your walk!?! once again, get cleared.

BALANCE anytime!

  • Practice Shifting your weight from one foot to another in a controlled environment – use different stances and change the distance your feet are apart.
  • Consciously think of both legs and both motions : the drive off the floor and the step forward – and try to keep your feet more of less under your hips.
  • Vision Tasks! – There a number of different stances to choose from but start just standing normally. Stick your thumb out in front of your nose and stare at the nail. While keeping your head still and your eyes on your nail – move your thumb in any direction. Now the opposite can be done and many other variation but the idea is that balance can be trained – or so says current neuroscience!
  • Walking drills : walk with feet as far out as possible or with them as narrow as possible / alternate between the two. Focus on keeping your center of balance in the middle of your base of support.

 


 

There is tons of valuable information out there on this subject, however it is usually boring as heck to read.

I mean, I took History and Philosophy at the University of Toronto and I thought that was dry reading! I could not imagine spending years and years looking over literature (if you can call it that) with such little humor! But the insights into the human body priceless, and more than makes up for it.

If this was too much, contact me with any questions you may have. I love talking and explaining this kind of stuff to people who are interested and will ACT on this information.

Acting is the creative force that no change can begin without.

All the best my friends, and thanks for reading.

Posted on

How to Improve Reaction Time

Ever wonder how professional athletes get so good at their sport?

There has been plenty of debate about this, for simplicity lets just say it’s about 50% genetic 50% good training/hard work.

You might think that an ability like reaction time is purely genetic, but there is mounting evidence that you can improve your ‘reaction-time-ability’.

Consider a penalty shot in hockey or soccer, the goal tender has to come up with a NEW and UNIQUE way of moving to respond to the movements of the other players and the puck/ball. Such complex tasks as this are so variable it would seem impossible to imitate and train in the gym.

The processes that occur in the nervous system when we react to an incoming object have been well studied, and when we look at the components of reaction time it allows us to understand how it is possible that you can improve reaction time…

 

What is Reaction Time anyway?

  • Reaction Time is a measure of the speed of a decision making process : that is, the time it takes for your head to get out of the way of an approaching soccer ball.

There are three major steps in any decision making process

  1. stimuli Identification (input)
  2. Response Selection (decision making in brain)
  3. Response programming (output / action of body)

This link is a visual that will go into more depth about the internal workings of the nervous system while it is performing a complex task.

What the Coach and the Athlete need to do now is analyze the type of skills and their requirements of their sport – and then decide where overall response gains can be made. You must consider the following when testing and analyzing reaction time:

  • ensure proper warm up so the sense organs and nervous system is ready to transmit information, and so the muscles are able to fully act.
  • optimum motivational levels – get psyched (but not too psyched).
  • Controlling anxiety – anxiety slows reaction times by adding conflicting information.
    • Breath control / breathing exercises will go a long way in keeping the mind and body calm in any situation : try ‘box breathing’ and for an extra challenge try it while walking – what you do is breath in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, breath out for 4, hold or 4 – repeat.
  • Detecting the (relevant) cues – must analyze which environmental cues are helpful.
    • if you are able to; detect, remember, and respond appropriately to an environmental cue, your reaction time will dramatically reduce (which is good)
    • this process is trained when you link many different exercises back to back to back – EX: kettlebell swing/clean/press/snatch complex – you are forced to respond to ever changing force vectors and load demands … it also plays a role in the next point….
  • Change in attention focus – being able to switch quickly from one main object of focus to another without losing sight of ‘everything else’.
    • Peripheral Awareness or peripheral vision, declines with age, however there is the possibility of slowing down this presbyopia. Incorporating some simple peripheral awareness tasks into your training will go along way in 1) reducing vision related falls, 2) staying relaxed (focusing on your peripherals is much like the opposite of what happens when you have tunnel vision) and 3) increased ability to identify relevant cues/stimuli = better reaction time.
  • Decision making – involved in all of the above. Good coaching and lots of quality practice is key here.
    • this processes is highly driven by genetics and there are a number of factors to consider when concerning reaction time

Major Factors that effect decision making:

  1. the number of possible alternatives – try to reduce to only relevant alternatives
  2. Practice + the type of movement the response requires – quality massed practice for about 3 months will automate most non-complex movements.
  3. Anticipation – can be trained with practice as well

 


 

This is probably too much information and might quickly feel like too much to think about.

If you can’t or just don’t want to figure this all it out yourself feel free to ask me – or at least ask another qualified physical trainer.

 

Remember, it is MUCH harder to improve than it is to maintain a fitness level.

So, you might as well build up a reservoir of abilities while your young,

so that you can coast on them when your older!

 

Here is a link to a simple and one of many online reaction tests – finding a baseline in different postures (seated/standing) and test every 4-6 months : Reaction Time Test

don’t do the test too much, you will lose the element of surprise and what should be a ‘test’ will turn into ‘practice’.

 

I hope this is useful

Cheers 🙂

Posted on

Workout Organization Principles 2 :

HELLO FRIENDS

This is a continuation of an article Series;

1) StrongFirst: Principle Based Strength.

2) Workout Organization Principles 1 : mobility, reactivity, speed, skill.

3) Strength Principles part 1 & part 2

This Post will explain the last 4 points of the StrongFirst ‘S‘ : principles of workout organization

5) Power  6) Strength  7) Conditioning  8) Relaxation/Recovery


 

267758_507095419310350_669644294_n-150x150

 

 

I want to remind you have this is not THE way, this is just one of many ‘ways’.

All I am trying to do it make your life easier.

If your reading this then you more than likely care about your body, you already workout and want to know more about the health and fitness world.

Well, if you follow these 8 principles you will not have to worry about one of the most important areas of workout organization. If you order the different exercises in your workout according to the template described, based on the information at each point ( each point corresponds to a section of your workout) you will be following the body’s natural way of using and fatiguing it’s energy systems.

You will therefore be getting the most out of each workout.

Don’t you just love efficiency?

 

without further ado here are the last 4 points on the StrongFirst ‘S‘ : Workout Organization Principles –

 

5) Power

  • 10-20 minutes
  • rep range will increase from previous section to between 2-5reps
  • weight will increase from previous section, thus shifting the focus from speed to power
  • choose compound movements with 3-5 minutes rest between sets
  • this section will recruit high threshold motor units and will encourage myofibrillar hypertrophy

 

6) Strength

  • 10-20 minutes
  • In the original article strength is mentioned at 3 points, this was to distinguish them from being confused with what you might think speed and power mean. In this context Strength represents a section of your workout where you stress your body out with a certain weight for a certain rep range. The meaning of Strength beyond this has been dealt with else where …
  • lighter weights than previous section, due to accumulated fatigue training speed at this point would be useless, thus the focus shifts to pure strength
  • choose a grinding compound movement for sets of 3-6 repetitions
  • no more than 3 minutes rest
  • this section may encourage some sarcoplasmic hypertrophy

 

7) Conditioning

  • Conditioning in this template means anything more than 6 reps
  • If your ‘explosive’ movements stay explosive, and your form remains strict this section can last for as long as you do.
  • this section is highly goal dependent:
    • if you want slow-twitch muscle hypertrophy = sets of continuous movement for 40 – 120s, equal amount of rest, specificity is key.
    • if you want to burn calories = sets of full body exertion followed by weighted carries and planks, keep your heart rate high.
    • (skeletal) muscular conditioning/endurance …. cardiovascular conditioning (the ability of the heart and the lungs to transfer oxygen) … each has its own considerations and ideal training methods …
  • some conditioning methods may not leave you panting while some necessarily have to.
  • this is why it is a good idea to find yourself a qualified strength and conditioning coach – one who doesn’t confuse strength and conditioning with conditioning and more conditioning.

 

8) Relaxation/Recovery

  • this section should be as long as needed, some need 5 minutes, others 15. however long it is make sure you 1. breathe deeply 2. decompress your spine.
    • decompression exercises include : hanging of various types, child’s pose and cobra, other various yoga moves, foam rolling etc…
  • I have written elsewhere on this subject of Recovery so I will not spend too much time on it here.
  • there is a 6-9 hours window post workout that if you time either your recovery procedures or sleeping cycle to correspond with this window you will enhance your recovery and your ability to train the following day.
  • meditation and other mental practices will help tremendously for those athletes committed to their progress. Since mental practice takes time, and time in our current society is valued as money, unless the individual highly values their physical progress, there will not be much effort invested in mental practices – However, even 15 minutes will go along way.

 

WELL Well well, this concludes the article series on StrongFirst inspired workout organization and strength principles.

I hope you found the StrongFirst ‘S’ visual useful, if you are a dedicated SFG like I am I know you will appreciate its use. Besides, graphs and tables are boring.

 

If you have any questions ask me in the comments below or contact me on social media or email.

 

All the best in your health and fitness journey,

 

MC – your friendly neighborhood trainer 🙂