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Fall Prevention





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!)


  • 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.

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Do GENES actually control our lives

The author is no scientist,

just an admirer of the scientific method 🙂

It is still taught in school that genes control almost all of physical and mental actions.

but genes can be turned on or off – that is genes can either be expressed, or not.

Therefore they don’t in fact control themselves but rely on external stimuli in order to activate their different expressions.

Is it possible for something that does not control itself to truly  control something else? Would not the ‘thing doing the signalling’ be considered what is controlling the situation? But what if the thing doing the signaling is the environment? – something that is only ever given half the credit.

Maybe then, ‘the act of being able to be expressed’ is what is important. That would redeem the value of genes at least.

Or maybe we should be considering the role of PERCEPTION

all biological surfaces have receptors, that is, something that signals the ‘inside’ of the goings on of the ‘outside’.

Do we have receptors?

Of course we do – our senses! Eyes, Ears, Nose, Hands … SKIN.

The way we perceive things has an effect on what we believe, and maybe this means the way perceive things also has an effect on the genes that get expressed!

Ok but don’t believe me, and don’t even believe the video below – think about it for yourself



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Training – Methods vs. Applications

This was previously a Facebook Post on my business Page,

attached to this post was the article by Eric Cressey that turned me onto this subject. Something worthy of note near the end of his post, Cressey urges the reader to improve their ability to think critically; to think of the purpose or reason for doing certain moves / training in a certain way. As a trainer you want to be a carpenter, not a lumberjack….

In quotations below is the original FB post:

“Here is what is on my mind:
>Training Methods vs. Applications<

Kettlbells/hardstyle, Polwerlifting/westside barbell, Crossift, HIIT – These are all Methods of training.

Mobility, Strength, endurance – walking with groceries, lifting a couch, keeping up with your kids…
These are the reasons you train.

It only makes sense that the Application of whatever method you chose SHOULD line up with your reasons for training.

We have said this before but it is worth repeating : It is not the weight that matters, but how you do the movement!

When we deadlift, we deadlift to get strong – not just to deadlift – we are practicing the motion of picking something off the ground safely. – Some methodologies ignore this completely.

The LatsOn methodology Involves Education, Concentration and Commitment. (I would like to add a 4th point: Community)
– we teach the methodologies with the best track record (kettlebells, Powerlifting)
– we keep up to date on neuroscience, biomechanics and exercise science and thoughtfully incorporate the updates in these fields into our programming

Education- refers to learning how to move properly.
Concentration- refers to the ability to create and apply tension.
Commitment- refers to dedicating yourself to 2-5 training sessions a week for … well … forever!”

LatsOn Training is a Strength and Conditioning gym that I own with Tyler Lees-schmut.

While sticking to an overarching theme of FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT, LatsOn provides quality instruction in KETTLEBELL SKILLS and POWERLIFTING. The combination of these two methodologies is the most efficient way to get strong and stay mobile.

The fundamentals one learns from each of these methodologies can be applied to most human movement and sport.

It is no wonder we have a Kettlebells Skills Class / a Powerlifting Class (known as powerfuliftington around here) AND a Strength and Conditioning Class that expertly combines the two methodologies, corrective movements and body weight exercises.

Strength is Mandatory

believe it or not, you build cardiovascular endurance and muscular endurance when you train for strength. Not only that, the stronger you are the easier you will be able to improve your conditioning later. The key is proper programming.

Here are some examples of the range of class members:

  • 70 year old female who can double clean and press 12kgs x5+reps. Oh, and she runs marathons.
  • female office worker who Deadlifted 300lbs at the Tactical Strength Challenge in April of 2016 and can manage 60-70 snatches with the 12kg in 5 mins, no problem. She also enjoys racing, swimming, fencing and (I am sure) long walks on the beach.
  • Handyman/construction worker and Uber driver who fills the bar with all our plates whenever he Squat or Deadlifts.
  • Husband + Wife and 2 of their 4 kids, all with unique movement abilities, all of which are manageable in our Class setting.

The key to being able to managing such a spectrum of movement profiles – As I said, is proper programming.

But all the programming in the world is meaningless –

– with out proper APPLICATION

that is, proper application of;

  • the program
  • exercise technique
  • cueing and instructing
  • progressions and regressions **
  • etc….

This is what we do BEST

The idea is to use your workout as an opportunity to practice good movement habits, so that when you need to move out side the gym, you can!

Therefore it is the application or purpose for training that really matters.

The Methodology you use is important in so far as it has to work with your current life/physical situation.

Traing that fits your current life/physical situation can be considered Functional.

Therefore in a nutshell, the multiform methodology We use can be called Functional Training for Life!



The point of this article is to make you think about your current exercise regime,

or maybe to think of starting one.

And if you need help,

give someone who thinks about these kind of things a call 😉


Here is the Eric Cressey Article :

Strength and Conditioning Programs: Methods vs. Applications



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Attention and Human Performance

ATTENTION! ATTENTION; read all about it…

… literally!


Definition of ATTENTION:

– the ability to process environmental information


Areas where ATTENTION can be placed:

1) directed to external event

2) directed to internal sensory information

3) directed at internal mental operations


How to train Attention

  • clearly identify a main focus
  • slowly add in secondary focus
  • keep adding more foci



Complex movements or chains of movements (that is linking exercises one right after another) help sharpens your technique by forcing fast recall and execution of a movement pattern, followed by another different movement pattern, followed by another and another…

This constant alteration of movement patterns demands that you pay attention to what you are doing at all times. For this reason Complexes/Chains are one of the best ways to learn and retain new movement patterns (as well as previously mentioned, a great way to sharpen technique).

To directly train your ability to Focus consider numbers 1-3 above. You must choose one of them at first, and then slowly build complexity on top of it.

Here is a quick blurb on each of these topics:

1) External events:

  • life requires your attention whether you like it or not. Except for your thoughts EVERYTHING else is external. The simple amoeba would never have evolved into homo-sapiens if they were not aware of – and able to react to – their environment. Therefore on a deep evolutionary level, attention or awareness of the environment is critical to life itself.
  • in sport, reacting to environmental cues is a skill, and so is knowing which cues to be aware of (and which not) and how to react to them appropriately. Paying attention for certain environmental cues / signals / stimuli is also a skill, one that has been cultivated by professional athletes –  some intentionally through training and some naturally via genetics.
  • with every movement you perform you require environmental information to help orient yourself in space. In the gym you are given the chance to challenge these systems in a controlled environment.

2) Internal sensory information:

  • Say your knee hurts when you squat, take a really light weight and close your eyes. SLOWLY descend into your squat while keeping your torso slightly pressurized.  – your focus is to perceive where, when and why your pain is occurring – If you are moving slow enough you might be able to skip right past the point where pain usually occurs. If you encounter the pain again, figure out at what height you can comfortably get to and then get use to doing pause reps to that height. A few weeks later try this drill again.
  • in this way you will become better at recognizing your own movement ‘errors’. This ability to self correct ones movement is of major importance for injury prevention. knowledge is power! get a trainer to check for any potential danger signs in your movement patterns – hopefully they will also teach you good movement habits that encourage safety.

3) Internal mental operations:

  • when training with complex movements it is useful to automate chunks of it so as to open up more mental room for paying attention to the environment. To help the process of automation do some mental repetitions and/or ‘ghost’ reps (a body weight imitation of the movement).  Just like studying for a test, mental practice will make you more confident in performing the actual repetitions.
  • this subject however, is much more than just being aware of how you are moving – it is concerned with the psychological and motivational operations of the mind as well.  Therefore you can go as far as purposefully and scientifically incorporating different emotional states into your training. Hate? Anger? Determination? Gratitude? which emotion is ‘strongest’?
  • mental operations are also involved in movements that require a high level of timing. What is suggested when learning such movements is to “feel” your way through it. At high speeds the logical mind cannot keep up so one must rely on their intuitions and automated reactions.

* stay tuned for an article on Movement Automation *

Wikipedia defines attention as follows:

“Attention is the behavioral and cognitive process of selectively concentrating on a discrete aspect of information, whether deemed subjective or objective, while ignoring other perceivable information. Attention has also been referred to as the allocation of limited processing resources”



‘ignoring other … information’

‘limited … resources’

Does this sound very reliable?

That is because it is not …

Attention, or awareness, is a skill – Like concentration, attention is a muscle that needs to be flexed and its strength cultivated – In the name of heath and efficiency it just make sense to ‘pay attention’ while you work out.

Stop watching TV and learn something about your body. Or maybe be a movement scientist and explore different Attention modalities. Your body will thank you when you are older!

Put some ‘physical capital’ into the ‘bank’ now,

so that you can cash out later and live comfortably


I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it

Be Strong, Live long.

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Inverted U-Principle: Arousal and Performance

Motor Learning and Neuroscience tells us a thing or two about performance and how it is effected by our level of arousal



The Inverted – U : Arousal and Performance – or; Why we don’t train like maniacs (all the time…)


Performance vs. Arousal Graph


On the left : inactivity, sleep – low arousal – poor performance



In the middle of the bell curve : Peak Performance



On the right : hyper vigilance – high arousal – poor performance




  • performance increases as arousal increases, to a point – I.E. too much caffeine will inhibit your ability to lift the maximum amount of weight.
  • each exercise has its own unique Arousal – Performance Curve.
  • at a certain level of arousal, performance starts to quickly decline – therefore there is no real reason to push yourself past that curve : not only will the time required to recover increase, you will get no positive technique benefit from training past this point.


Why we DO train like maniacs sometimes :

Knowing where your limits are, or in this case knowing the required level of arousal for any given exercise, is very valuable in predicting the success of more complex movements and will help motivate your progress.

NOT knowing your limits will – over time – cause a shrinking effect! of your mind and your body! A literal narrowing of your perceived abilities both physical and mental. You more or less talk yourself into thinking you can’t do things (often simply b/c you haven’t done them in a while).

Safely Testing your strength and conditioning abilities is not something recommended unless you have a trainer/coach with lots of experience.


How to SAFELY prepare your arousal level :

Breathing and Mental techniques are extremely effective in both elevating and relaxing the nervous system

Imagine a wave-frequency – and the frequency of this wave determines your body’s arousal level. This wave-frequency can be effected by either physiological means or psychological means.


  • Increase arousal:
    • 1) increase breathing rate / controlled hyperventilation
    • 2) scream “I AM FUCKING UNSTOPPABLE” in your head as fast as possible for 3-5 minutes
  • Decrease Arousal:
    • 1) decrease breathing rate / linger in the exhale
    • 2) match slow exhales with “my limbs are heavy and warm” / “relax” etc… nice and drawn out ….


Why we do NOT train like maniacs (all the time) :

A good principle to live by = MINIMAL EFFECTIVE DOSE

“the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome” – Tim Ferris, 4 Hour Body.

Any more than the MED will increase:

  • recovery time between sets, resulting in poorer performance in subsequent sets
  • recover time between peak physical condition
  • soreness and fatigue post workout and the next day
  • basically makes life more stressful than it needs to be!!!


THE LAST important thing to expand on is this = every movement has it own, unique, arousal level for peak performance!***

The more ‘smarter’ or more complex, the less stable and the longer in duration a movement is – the lower the ideal level of arousal will be.

The easier, sometimes called “stupider” movements (big heavy compound exercises like Deadlift and Squat) – the higher the arousal level can be, due to the lower level of complexity of movement (as compared to a Pistol Squat or a Single Arm Press).



I hope this makes you think,

Maybe it makes you push yourself –

Maybe it makes you realize you need to tone it down a bit…


have a great day my friends, I will leave you with this :


– Og Mandino