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movement

How P-DTR Can Help You

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How P-DTR Can Help You

What is P-DTR?

P-DTR stands for Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflex. The technique of P-DTR optimizes the functioning of the human nervous system, resulting in increased performance and decreased pain and dysfunction. P-DTR is different from many other techniques because it deals directly with the nervous system and allows us to make right a multitude of possible dysfunctions in the nervous system.  Most techniques work indirectly on the nervous system, whereas P-DTR is much more targeted.

What is a Proprioceptor?

A proprioceptor is a sensory receptor (part of the nervous system) that receives stimuli from within the body. We have many different types of proprioceptors – some that sense pressure and touch, others that sense temperature changes, some monitor the body’s position in space, and others communicate potentially hazardous or painful stimulus. The brain then interprets this information and organizes the nervous system response accordingly. This is great when there is no negative proprioceptive information present, but when the proprioceptors communicate that there is an injury or excess stimulus, it will start organizing movement sub-optimally. Doing so can negatively affect movement quality - at best making it inefficient, and at worst causing someone to experience substantial discomfort and weakness.

Nearly every time the body is injured, there is a proprioceptive component to the injury.  For instance, if you cut your hand, tissue damage obviously occurred - we’ll refer to this tissue as the “hardware” of the human body. However, there will also be trauma to the proprioceptors - we’ll call these the “software” of the human body. In this case, the proprioceptors that transmit noxious stimuli will be aggravated when the cut occurs. Fast forward three weeks: the cut is healed, but the strength in the hand is not quite where it used to be.  In this case, the hardware issue has healed, but there is still the software component of the dysfunctional proprioceptors.  Despite the fact that the laceration has healed, the proprioceptors are still communicating to the brain that there is an injury. The result of this proprioceptive feedback is impaired function of the hand. Prior to my training in P-DTR, I would view this issue as a strength problem - “the hand is still weak, so let’s strengthen it back up!” But strength isn’t the problem in this instance, the information the proprioceptors send to the brain is. By using P-DTR, we can directly address the issues in the software - that is, the proprioceptors - and in doing so, normalize the function of the hand, or any given dysfunctional muscle.

The technique is fast, efficient and very effective.  Whether it’s a client looking to recover from an injury or a client looking to optimize their performance, P-DTR has been a game changer in my practice. Here at Perform for Life, we have 3 clinical bodyworkers that are trained in P-DTR techniques - Austin Villamil, Bob Gazso, and myself. If you would like to experience the benefits, we'd love to schedule an appointment with you.


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How "Why Not Now" Started

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How "Why Not Now" Started

When it comes to making fitness a priority, we've told ourselves, "We'll start on Monday," or "It'll be my New Year's resolution."  Well, why not now?  Empower yourself in the present and make it your lifestyle!

Movement

How many of us are in love with fitness, training, rehabilitation, or anything related to the word I try to avoid using: exercise? Okay, I like to call any of the previous terms “movement” because it’s more intentional and it’s something we all need to do not only to survive, but thrive. You don’t need to love to move, but you do need to commit to movement in one form or another. For some of us, it’s because we’re training to perform our best at something. For others, movement may be used to recover from injuries. For most of us, exercise is not natural or enjoyable but we know we need to do it in order to look, feel, and be the best versions of ourselves. Believe it or not, I don’t personally enjoy fitness unless I’m training for a sport or an event. There are a few unique specimens who are passionate and sometimes obsessed with resistance training, running, plyometrics, etc. because it’s fun for them and allows them to reach a state of flow. Flow, aka “the zone”, is the mental state of operation 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. We can discuss that next time as it’s a subject that I’m particularly interested in. For now, let’s stay on task - I’m here to talk about: commitment.

Commitment

“A commitment is falling in love with something and then building a structure of behavior around it for those moments when love falters” - David Brooks’ lecture “The Next Big Challenge In Your Life”

I’m currently falling in love with the idea that I will be a parent soon, but I refuse to have a “dad bod”. My love and commitment has evolved, changed, and failed me several times - and that’s fine. I don’t have sporting events to train for, and I have no interest in training for a recreational event at the moment. In 2016, my commitment was to avoid having surgery to repair my ACL (yes, not having the surgery is an option). My focus was training hard to build the strength and body awareness necessary to have a fully functioning knee without a fully functioning ACL. Life is full of twists and turns and you don’t always have time to prepare for them, and that’s where motivation comes in. Your motivation is dictated by the current challenges you face. Motivation will keep you committed, and most importantly, keep you disciplined enough to keep you moving forward.

A Winning Mindset

Prior to the 2013 season, Russell Wilson inspired the the Seattle Seahawks with the phase “why not us”. In February of 2014, they won their first Super Bowl. Inspired by Russell Wilson, Justine and I came up with P4L’s slogan of “Why Not Now?” Why wait until tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year to focus on your fitness? Or better yet, why wait to commit to something you love? We all have a love for something, and that love will motivate us to stay committed to reaching our goals.


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Want Better Mobility? Try Strength Training

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Want Better Mobility? Try Strength Training

While the advice seems counterintuitive, if your body lacks the strength to keep itself stable during challenging tasks such as reaching high overhead or squatting down low, it will not be so willing to move all the way into the positions you ask it to. It is important to recognize that your body likes to be comfortable and will always seek to avoid discomfort. Ever wonder why, no matter how hard your try, you can’t seem to get your squat to go low enough, or no matter how often you stretch, your shoulders and neck stay tight? While a lack of mobility seems to be the apparent issue, the cause of your poor mobility may actually be an issue of poor stability.

When you ask your body to move in a way that requires lots of mobility, but you lack proper motor control and key muscles lack the strength to stabilize your joints at the full range of those movements, any number of those key muscles or supporting muscles may tighten up to prevent the possibility of injury. Until key stabilizing muscles have the adequate strength to lengthen and contract fully, and your nervous system exhibits the motor control to keep your joints stable, your muscles and joints will not move beyond what is perceived as safe.

Mobility exercises such as various forms of stretching or myofascial release (foam rolling) and massage therapy are effective interventions, and should not be removed from your regular routine of self-maintenance. However, the effect of these therapies will be temporary if solid motor control is not programmed into the nervous system, and if key muscles are not strengthened to meet the challenges you present them with.

For example, let’s say you have chronic hamstring tightness. You stretch daily, have gone to yoga, and get a massage on occasion. All seem to help for a while, but every morning you wake up they are right back to their same tight selves. What’s going on here?

Well, the first thing to consider is this: when you are not stretching, getting a massage, or doing yoga, what do you spend your time doing? Let’s say you’re someone who works 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, and about 80% of the time you are sitting in a desk chair. That’s 40 hours of sitting per week, about 8 hours a day, and that’s just at work. Because the chair is supporting your weight, and your body loves to be comfortable, all the muscles that normally stabilize your body’s posture, become lazy over time and either shorten or lengthen to accommodate your new posture as your body sinks into the chair. Eventually these key stabilizers become weak and won’t like to move in ways they are not used to. If they are short as a result of prolonged sitting, they will want to stay short. If they are lengthened, they will want to stay lengthened. In the case of your hamstrings, prolonged sitting can chronically shorten the distal end (by the knee), and because you aren’t challenging the muscle in any way for many continuous hours, it becomes weak and stuck in that position. Even worse, your glutes and other muscles that help your hamstrings do their job become weak and stuck so your poor hamstrings don’t get any help when they need to do their job.

Each morning you wake up and do some stretches to alleviate your tightness, but because they are weak in that lengthened position, and other key muscles aren’t doing their job either, so they eventually tighten up again to stabilize the hip and knee or prevent a muscle tear. Because your patterns of behavior (sitting for 40 hours a weeks) do not require much mobility or strength, you have patterned your nervous system and muscular system to be comfortable with poor level of mobility and strength. So what’s the solution?

To fix a poor pattern, you need to combat it with a new and better pattern.

First, get moving.

If you’re sitting for 40 hours a week, and much of that sitting is continuous, even working out for an hour a couple times a week won’t do anything to save your posture and tight muscles. There is no way that 3 hours a week of exercise can compete with 40 hours of sitting. However, this doesn’t mean you need to exercise 40 hours a week either. Just take breaks, and take them often, to perform some slow and easy dynamic movements such as walking or slow squats with an emphasis on breathing. For every 30 minutes of sitting, spend 5 minutes doing some exercises.

Start a regular mobility routine or see a massage therapist if this is not already established.

Movement and strength training is essential for maintaining healthy mobility, however if you’re already tight, you will need the help of mobility interventions to get you back on track. Foam rolling, yoga, dynamic stretching, and massage are great options.

Hydrate

Dehydrated tissues are stiff tissues. If you’re dehydrated, your muscles are also more prone to injury and motor control will be altered to compensate.

Sleep more Seriously, get some rest.

For many people, more sleep may be the key to addressing their issue. Sleep is when you integrate what you’ve learned from your day into long term memory so that your patterns of behavior can become more permanent. Even if you do everything on this list, without enough sleep, the rate of learning your new habits will be decreased and progress will slow. Additionally, it is during times of rest that you build muscle and repair your body, not when you are working out. Therefore, without enough sleep, all your hard work in the gym and throughout the day will be for nothing.  

Have a movement specialist or high-level personal trainer create a strength training program and provide coaching on your movement mechanics.

At the very least, start some sort of regular strength training routine that challenges your body in all its primary movement patterns (squat, bend, push, pull, twist, and lunge/gait). It is important you build strength in this way so that your body has the stability it needs to take one various types of movements in a variety of situations. Additionally pay attention to your breathing as an indicator of how intense you should be going. If you are unintentionally holding your breath while you exercise, the intensity is too high, and really you’re training yourself to hold your breath and stiffen up every time you do an exercise, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to do! However, I recommend working with a movement specialist that has some formal education in exercise science to ensure you are moving optimally. A movement specialist can assess your movement and tailor a strength training program to address weak links in your body’s stability. They can also provide coaching to improve movement coordination and sequencing to ensure you are not performing exercises in a way that is detrimental. This is very important because if you habitually exercise with poor mechanics, you may actually create more instability, even if you feel stronger.

Combining strength training with a regular mobility routine and healthy lifestyle habits is the best way to make sure your body stays mobile and supple, not to mention it’s a really good practice for your health.

If you have any questions on how to get started or any of the advice written above, feel free to contact myself or any of the Perform For Life Movement Specialists. Our contact information can be found here: http://www.performforlifesf.com/our-team/

 

 

 

Learn more about Coach Randall here

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Want to run faster? Use your Arms!

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Many think that when running, your legs perform the majority of the work and the arms make little to no contribution. However, not utilizing the arms can cause a substantial increase in energy expenditure. Runners, sprinters, and even jumpers (those with major hops) can all improve performance by using a proper arm swing. The forward and backward sway of the arms is natural, so why not let them sway! 

The stride dynamics of walking are a prime example of the way our arms are utilized. The swing of the arms during walking and running helps to create balance between the upper and lower extremities and can be vital when sprinting or jumping. The human body must be stable when running, sprinting, jumping etc.…and proper arm swing dynamics limits the degree of torso rotation, thus making locomotion more energy efficient. When running, excessive torso rotation means more energy and more effort used to run. 

During the arm swing, your arms and shoulders should be relaxed, with little to no tension placed throughout the arms – doing so allows for a consistent and continuous rhythm. Running is an art form in which small details and adjustments in body movements are in sync and flow together, like Usain Bolt during his iconic 100m race.  

Arm swing dynamics can have a considerable effect on gait smoothness, which will reduce the workload on the legs by creating a state of dynamic balance. Though some of these mechanical changes may seem small, they will allow you to be a more successful runner overall, be it for distance or speed. 

Guidelines:

  1. Swing the opposing arm and leg in sync while running.
  2. Pump the arms forward and backward in line with the direction of movement. The arms should not swing across the body and the elbows should point backwards, not outwards.
  3. Swing the arms from the shoulders, not the elbows. Keep the elbows bent and focus on driving them backward.
  4. Hold the elbows at about a 90-degree angle. Allow the elbow angle to fluctuate slightly during the arm swing, but don't stray too far from 90 degrees (70 to 120 degrees is a good range.)
  5. Have the hands pass the body at about hip height. Avoid holding the arms so high that they pass above the waist or so low that they pass below the hips.
  6. Swing the arms powerfully through a full range of motion. Distance runners' hands should move from their hip or a bit further back to their chest. When sprinting or running uphill, the hands should move from the back pocket, or a bit further back to the chin.
  7. Keep the shoulders and hands relaxed. The shoulders should be down, not tight, and the hands should be relaxed but stable, not clenched in a fist, hyper-extended, or flopping around.

Guidlines from New York Road Runners

 

Learn more about Coach Brandon here

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