Saturday, April 19, 2014

What Do We Really Know about Gut Flora

The Surprising Gut Microbes...from Wired Magazine was a short interesting read about the gut microbes of the Hadza tribe and some Modern comparisons.  What the researchers found was highly interesting.  Bacteria that we thought was good were absent in the traditional Hadza tribe and gut bacteria we thought were harmful and in large quantities in Crohns disease were present.  Even among the Hadza tribe, men and women had very different gut flora.  Women gathered more tubers and had more gut bacteria for the digestion of fibrous veggies.  This shows that not only can the gut bacteria be influence by diet, but that different quantities of the same food can as well.

This certainly raises some interesting questions about what we have thought was healthy vs unhealthy.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Story Behind the Names of Fitness Equipment.

Lately I've been curious about some of the names of old school fitness equipment.

Treadmill:  Originated in England Prisons as almost a type of water wheel.  It had vertical bars to separate prisoners and give them isolation.  The apparatus would turn and the prisoner was forced to take one step up and keep at this for shifts of up to 8 hours.  The power that was generated would be used in plants and mills.  Hence the name tread-mill.  (no wonder these feel like torture to me)

Medicine Ball:  The ancient Greeks wrote about the use of weighted balls for exercise and health.  Health and Medicine were one in the same in context back then.  Gladiators were known to use them in their training.  Claudius Galen a physician in ancient times would choose "therapeutic exercise" to bring his patients health back.  He would often have them whip the ball back and forth.  Since this was how they used "medicine," the medicine ball was born.

Kettlebell and Dumbell:  Back in ancient times church bells, often weighing up to several tons, were rung by several men.  To practice different tones and get proper sequencing,  the person would practice on non clanging bells.  Hence the name "dumb-bells" because they were quite.   According to a Scottish legend, Kettlebells came about from old kettles that were leaky.  They were then filled up with sand or shot and used as strength training.  Russians used them as counterbalances and then would often show their strength by pressing them up in the air or by juggling.

Olympic barbell:  A German invented the adjustable bar to allow different weights to go on.  It debuted in the 1928 Olympics.  Hence the Olympic barbell.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Expert Killed My Plant

I used to have a bonsai tree in my office that was outstanding.  I'd water it once every couple weeks and for over 3 years it thrived.  I get lots of sunlight in my office.  (FOR MICHIGAN)  One day a patient started talking about how I wasn't watering it enough and that it should be more like a good flooding once a week.

I don't know anything about plants or taking care of them.  No green thumb, just therapists thumb.  So I did what "expert" thought was right.  In a month it was dead.  The roots got some type of rot.

I also have a small Jade plant that I bought because the person at Lowes told me it very resilient.  I water this guy once a week.  He's doing great.  Healthy as any plant can be.  Once again a patient (plant person) tells me I'm watering this one to much.  They only need to be watered once a month.  Hmm...

I've had this plant for about two years.  I've watered this plant once a week.  It is almost impossible for this plant to look more healthy.  I'm going to stay with what is working.

The books may say this, my experience says this.  Perhaps the books are right.  What doesn't get taken into the equation is the heat of my room, the humidity, sun exposure.  Perhaps the heat of my laptop does something. Who knows!

I'm not negating what the experts say, but I'm going to put more stock into my experience and what is working for my plants.

Now reread this and substitute the plants as patients/athletes and water as treatment/training.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Exploring the Sport of Girevoy

Girevoy is another name for Kettlebell sport.  It is a sport that developed out of Russia in the late 1940's.  There are now several organizations that have governing bodies attached to them.  It is a sport that is growing and wants to become a standard sport across countries throughout the world.

The premise is simple, whoever lifts the kettlebell the most in 10 minutes without putting the kettlebell down wins.

There are three standard movements.  They are the Jerk, Snatch and the Long Cycle.

The jerk requires a man to swing up 2 bells and a woman to swing one.  The only rest is in the rack position.  2 knee dips are allowed.  Only one clean is performed to start, then it is pressed up continuously.  Women can change hands one time.

The snatch is one bell for men and women.  Swing the bell up in one movement.  Arm is locked straight.  The only rest is at the top.  One arm switch is allowed.

Long Cycle is the jerk but instead of lowering the weight, it is swung between the legs and then cleaned to the chest before each rep.  Clean, jerk, lower to a swing, repeat.

Athletes are classified by bodyweight.

Kettlebells are classified by color.  Yellow is 16kg, Green is 24kg, Red is 32kg.  Women and juniors use 16, Men and professional women use 24 and Professional men use 32.

I personally have decided to train to do the snatch.  My elbow's lack of flexion won't allow me to do a clean.   I've started working with the 16kg and it is definitely challenging.  Hands, grip and forearm take a beating!  Chalk up and go.  It's a great aerobic workout.  In one STUDY  it improved VO2max in college soccer athletes.  Here is a sample of a competition.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eccentric Work to Improve Flexibility

One of the many reasons for training is to improve how you move.  A long standing method that has been employed in the past is standard static stretching.  Many studies have shown that static stretching does nothing to actually improve actual movement or injury prevention.  Often times flexibility can be improved without the strength to back up this new ROM, this ultimately makes the ROM useless.

This STUDY I found, but couldn't find the whole thing, showed that eccentric strengthening improved not only flexibility but strength and performance.  I couldn't find what they were comparing, but this quote from the result.

   "There was consistent strong evidence in all six trials in three different muscle groups that eccentric training improve lower limb flexibility, as assessed as using either ROM or muscle fascial length. "

Personal experience has shown that that static stretching doesn't change much as well.  Getting stronger not just eccentrically, but isometrically tends to improve ROM.  My two cents.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

More Notes/Highlights Functional Range Release

I've now taken the last module of Functional Range Release.  I can't say enough good things about this technique.  Except for one thing,  it's not really a technique.  The more I go over stuff in my head I believe it is more like a system of principles.

"In matters of style, swim like a fish, in matters of principles stand like a rock."
Thomas Jefferson.

Principles stay the same no matter what the person;  professional athlete, couch potato, old or young. There aren't protocols to memorize.  There are principles to address.

In no particular order.

Know palpatory anatomy.  Know exactly what is under your fingers.  Be able to reproduce this on anyone.  Without this,  no diagnosis can be formed.  With this,  a true diagnosis can be formed.  What is under your fingers will dictate treatment.  Under your fingers is the histology.  "KNOW ANATOMY, TREAT HISTOLOGY."

Know what abnormal tension is.  Know what normal tension is.

How your hand contact is with the patient is instrumental to success.  Skin slack, depth, tension.

End Range of Motion is not improved on with manual therapy.  Treatment is for the given range of motion.  Training is for increasing range of motion.

Know what a healthy joint feels like.  Know what an abnormal joint feels like.  Train a healthy joint.  Treat an unhealthy joint, until healthy enough to train.

No one input whether therapy or training produces change long term.  The body doesn't work on one input.

Back up your treatment with training.

Some of the lectures have been the same as the principles must be taught each module, but I found myself continuing to learn.  (this may go back to humans needing more then one input!)

Now it's just time to go master the principles of connective tissue.