Tag Archives: injury prevention

What about the LAST minutes of a workout?

Hey there Team!
Last week we took a look at the first couple of minutes of your run or  workout, and what that could look like. Getting your body ready to perform, should always be a part of your workout. What about the last minutes of your workout though? Are they really that important? “I’m no pro-athlete so who cares, right?”

I would say that they are just as important – if you want a well performing and injury free body for many years to come. I hear exactly the same reasons here though, as I do for why people don’t warmup properly. “I don’t have the time” and “I gotta get the workout in” and “I gotta get to work”. Let’s look at it from a completely different perspective.

Imagine that you have just invested a huge amount of money into a race horse called Black Thunder. This amazing horse is expected to have a long and successful career. How do you think you would feel if you found out that Herb the trainer had put him straight into his box after finishing his race without a cool down?

Not only that, Herb leaves him there until the next day.  Then he brings him straight to the starting line for a race, without any kind of warmup. Would you bet on your own horse winning that day? Would you be surprised to hear that Black Thunder had gotten injured if that practice continued? My guess is that you probably would fire Herb as soon as you could, if he didn’t start taking better care of your horse.

Ok, ok this story might a bit extra dramatic, but really, isn’t this what we do all the time to ourselves? The only differences is how surprised we get when we get injured, even though we still haven’t fired Herb!

So, what to do? I like to try and outsmart myself. Meaning, I leave myself with only one option, and that option is a good one. For example, I take my bike to my CrossFit Gym. That way I have an automatic extra warmup and cool down built in by default. If you are in a Gym, hop onto a bike, a rower or a foam roller for a couple of minutes. Move that lactic acid out of your body nice and easy.

Targeted warm up + Performance + Cool down
= a Workout

Is there a cool down included in your group workout? Awesome! But, you also should ask yourself “Is this enough for me today, or do I need a few more minutes?” If so, hop on that bike or rower, jog slowly, take a walk, or use a foam roller. Your coach is often very limited in the time that they have with you, and it’s your responsibility to add more minutes to the cool down when you need it.

In conclusion:
Make sure you look after the amazing Black Thunder. Have a good long talk with Herb, or just fire him! Set yourself up for a winning strategy in the long run. Make sure the last few minutes of your workout are easy, allowing you to cool down. When you can, add some mobility exercises to work on your tougher areas, later during the day or evening.

 

Keep working on those workouts, and have an amazing weekend!
😉

 



The Recovery Process – A Secret Weapon

Recently I listened to a podcast with LeBron James and his trainer Mike Mancias. LeBron James is one of THE best basketball players of all time. Mark, his trainer and recovery specialist, is sometime referred to as his secret weapon. They’ve been working together for more than 14 years. What really stood out to me in this podcast, is how much emphasis LeBron and Mike puts into the Process of recovery, every single day. In order to stay injury-free,  and be able to play consistently at an extremely high level.

“Recovery never ends, recovery never stops.”
-Mike Mancias

When we look up to athletes that we think are awesome, we pretty much only focus on how hard and intense their work-outs are. It’s easy then to do a quick copy and paste on some kind of version of that, for our lives.

Meaning we focus almost exclusively on what kind of training we should be doing. It makes sense since the main focus on athletes are when they are competing in their Arena, and we see their incredible performance.

The thing that not a lot of people see though, is the work behind the Arena. Just like LeBron, the top athletes that I have worked with over the years are all consistent performers on behind the scenes stuff, in particular recovery. It might not be the sexiest part of living an athletic lifestyle, but as Mike says “it’s a never ending process…that’s the approach we must take, in order for us to be successful and provide longevity for these guys.”

“it’s a never ending process…that’s the approach we must take, in order for us to be successful and provide longevity for these guys.”
-Mike Mancias

 

LeBron who already has had a long and amazing career, is still playing, and is not planning on quitting anytime soon. He contributes his success to being consistent with the Process. The Process of his recovery work, hydration, eating clean and training.

When it comes to Nutrition, Mike and LeBron work along the lines of “less is more, keep it simple, eat organic, no artificial ingredients”. They make a conscious decision of eating clean and staying away from artificial drinks, artificial sugars and fried foods consistently during the 9 months of basketball season.

-Ok, sure. But, that’s their job. I’m not an Athlete, why do I have to care about this? If it takes all that work to play continuously at a top level in sports, don’t you think you need to do some work in order to “play well” in your life? If you want to have a life of quality – whatever that means to you – you are going to have to put in some work. Period.

So what can you do for your recovery work? The easiest place to start is to plan in some kind of mobility work daily. Make a conscious effort of when and where you are going to do it. Here is a good place to start.

I often suggest to sit on the floor and do some mobility exercises during the first 10 minutes of watching Netflix, TV or similar. It’s easy because it’s time that you already have. It’s just a conscious decision of doing a few simple moves on the floor, instead of flopping onto the couch immediately.

Start thinking about what you can you do in your life to create a Process that helps you being fitter and more energizedHow would that Process look like in terms of Hydration, Nutrition and Recovery work?

Work on implementing that plan, and have a great weekend!
😉

"A good plan implemented 
today 
is better than 
a perfect plan implemented 
tomorrow."
-George Patton

 

 


Listen to the full podcast of #349 of the Tim Ferriss show here.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Crush the Ski Holiday – Not Your Body

What if, out of the blue, you found out that you were going to an outdoors sports-camp for 3-4 days. You would be doing movements you haven’t done for ages, maybe years even, for 6-8 hours a day.

Would you get a bit nervous about the whole thing? Maybe you would start worrying about injuring yourself? What are you going to do about that troublesome knee? What about keeping the energy up all day?

In this case scenario, starting with warming up the major joints in your body, to reduce potential injury is a very good idea. Making sure that you are properly hydrated before, during and after the work-outs is also an important piece. Do you think drinking alcohol would benefit you? Do you think the food you eat might have an impact on your performance? What about the amount of sleep?

Reading this you probably think – ja, ja, ja I’ve heard it all before. Of course it makes sense.

Why then, does all of this logical thinking seem to go straight out the window when it comes to a Ski Holiday? It’s like because we are on Holiday, we don’t really need to pay attention, or something?!

A ski holiday is very different from a beach holiday, so it would be a good idea to tackle it differently. Not many people come back from beach vacations with broken bones and torn ligaments, now do they?

 

The very, very least that you can do to minimize damage is the following. First, make sure that you are properly hydrated. Bring a small back-pack so you always have easy access. Minimize the coffee, sodas and definitely the alcohol.

Second, do a targeted warm-up to open up your joints. Remember, if something doesn’t move very well, something else has to move a lot more. And this is often the area that gets injured because it has to overcompensate.

Accidents happen all the time, and never at the “right time”.

Thinking that you’re going to warm up on the slope is a bad idea. Accidents happen all the time, and never at the “right time”. For extra recovery go into the sauna in the evening, if you have the opportunity. If you only have time for one stretch in the evening, then I suggest you do the Couch Stretch.

Check out the video below. If it seems too technical for you, just give it a go anyways. Otherwise, do something similar for the same amount of time. Get those joints moving and warmed up!

If you think a 10min investment in your body and your health is too much in exchange for 6-8 hrs of problem free skiing a day, then don’t complain when your knees are hurting. Or when you can hardly get out of the car after driving home. Or when you are in the emergency room instead of enjoying the day with your friends.

I suggest starting with these exercises even before your holidays. Get yourself ready, so you can enjoy every day in the snow. For targeted mobility work for your hips and back after long car drives, check this out. Don’t know your Hydration Formula yet?

Take care of your body, and it will take care of you!
😉

 

 

 

 



Photo by Mason Jones on Unsplash
Photo by Alex on Unsplash

The Push Up Lie Detector Test – Will You Pass?

Recently I have seen a lot of shoulder wear and tear in my practice, often directly related to the amount of push ups my clients have been doing. With today’s many Fitness Challenges going viral, one of the popular ones being +100 push ups a day for 30 days, I have also seen shoulder problems increasing.

Why is that? Shouldn’t more push ups just make you stronger? The answer is poor technique! Just because you can do a lot of repetitions does not automatically mean that you are doing it right.

Are your fingers pointed forward? Are your elbows locked out? Are your forearms staying straight at 90 degrees from the floor at all times during the movement? Is your shoulder moving forward first (not your elbow!)? Is your core braced so that your spine and upper body moves as one unit pivoting from the floor?

Did you nod your head in agreement while reading those questions? Or, are you not really sure what I mean by them?  If so, you should take good look at  your push up technique right away. Unless you did higher levels gymnastics as school, or just happened to have an amazing coach, most likely this is all new to you. That’s OK. Don’t feel bad about it – get smart instead, and learn to do it right.

Doing push ups with poor technique is like driving a car where the wheel base is off. You can still drive it, but it will always pull a bit to the side and the tires will wear out unevenly and quickly because of the uneven weight distribution. You can think of your shoulders as your upper wheelbase (your hips being the lower) and the same uneven wear and tear will happen there. However, it’s not so easy to “change out the damaged tires” in a human body.

So what’s your game plan? Are you going to blame it on the tires, or are you going to invest some time and energy making sure that your wheel base is solid? Think of it this way. A well functioning machine with good alignment might need some extra oil once in a while but it will not break down just because you increased the repetitions. If it does, something is wrong with the mechanics and you need to fix it.

Coach Carl Paoli is an excellent movement coach, whom I have tremendous respect for. I think it would be a smart move on your part to pay attention to his teachings in all things movement. Practical tip: When you are practicing this, it is a great idea to put a book, block, ball or something behind your forearm. This is to make sure that your forearm does not move backwards during the push up. If your forearm comes in contact with the object, you know it moved, and you can adjust accordingly.

 

If you are not able to do a complete push up yet, follow this push up scale video. Pay good attention and don’t worm yourself out of this one 😉

 

Ok, so you think that you already have great mechanics? Great, check yourself in the push up lie detector test by turning your hands the opposite way, having the fingers pointing toward your toes. Also, find out why doing push ups on your knees is not good for your shoulders, and why it will not lead you into a proper push up.

We all need to pay attention to good technique, especially when it comes to the basics as they lay the ground work for all other movement. When it comes to injury prevention there really is no substitute for a solid foundation with great mechanics.

Wishing you a great Push up into the weekend! 😉

 

 

 


Photo by Chris Benson and Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash