Monday, November 3, 2008

5 Things My Program Can Teach the New York Times

It's been a week since my last post, almost too long if you ask me. The topics running through my head of which to post are so many, at times it can be overwhelming. However, I decided to a summarize how different this program is, and to touch on an article I read in the New York Times.

Program First...
Last Thursday and Friday, I spent time designing 5 different programs for experienced trainees with 5 different goals (triathlete, olympic lifter, muscle hypertrophy, fat loss, injury prevention). Each program had minor similarities in the outline and thus their end goal, mentioned above; but what struck me as amazing was the flow of the workouts and their simplicity...each plan took roughly 45 -60 minutes to design. Talk about efficient!

In addition, the design was individualized (not like some 'experts'), the template was modified for the emphasis that individual needed, and tailored to their current fitness level(s). In addition, they will have the luxury of checking in with their Coach every 5-8 days (some athletes were placed on an 8-day plan - take that Crossfit!) to make sure they are progressing as planned. Then in 4-5 weeks, they look at their progress as it compares to their goals, and the pieces of the puzzle can shift to reflect those goals. Sound too good to be true?

It sort of is...

On to the New York Times article...

The article, titled Clues to Help Explain The Frequency of Injuries, delved deeper in to the world of sports injuries, and in the case of three different athletes, why they occur. They interviewed biomechanics experts, human performance lab directors and Physical Therapists.

They interviewees pointed out some interesting tests of common athletic injuries, such as runners knee and tibial stress fractures, and how they can be spotted before the symptoms worsen. For example, they pointed out the biomechanical causes of these injuries, including hip drop in runners who have knee pain, and the implications the hip has upon the knee.

What I found startling though, is the absence of thought towards prevention and thinking outside the box. Let me explain:

In the above article, they pointed out 3 different athletes who all suffered injuries. Now, they do not go out and summarize their training regimen fully, but they definitely overlooked 7 different things that can be addressed with a proper training program. Hint hint...

1) Strength training was absent for all three individuals' programs. This is a must, especially for female runners in the development of bone density to learn how to absorb force (at minimum 2-3 times the force of their bodyweight, PER STRIDE). Too many female runners are held back because of a lack of strength, not endurance...

My program tackles this, head on.

2) Runners run. It's what they do. However, having runners' bodies lift, move, and function OUTSIDE of the sagital plane is taking advantage of what we truly are capable of doing within our own skin. Otherwise, running is almost a repetitive stress injury waiting to happen...

My program plans for this, including strength training workouts specifically for those in endurance athletics.

3) A Physical Therapist in the article points out how sometimes we may be genetically predisposed to injury, due to a weak link in our frames. Must have graduated at the top of her class. Seriously, we ALL have weak links, whether it is mild scoliosis, fallen arches, bulging discs, chronic pain, etc. FIXING those weak links by correcting the weak link with mobility, stability, strength or endurance is what makes the difference between repeating that injury over time.

My program? Includes mobility, stability, strength and endurance exercise. Theirs? Nope.

4) Another expert points out how different the stress placed upon the body is when increasing the mile pace from 9 minutes to 8 minutes. This can affect the shock absorption of muscles that might not be prepared for such forces. AGREED! However, the Dr. failed to mention what is responsibile for the production and development of speed. For instance, to increase your stride length by an inch (by increasing your mobility at your achilles complex and hips) over 26.2 miles, results in a faster marathon. Too many athletes just focus on the activity itself, instead of some of the skills needed to perform well.

My program? Exercises designed specifically for the individual and any issues and imbalances they might have.

5) Last but CERTAINLY not least, the New York Times looked for answers for those who exercise and suffer injuries. However, they failed to look at the most common fix for those who are suffering from sport or exercise injury: work SMARTER, not HARDER. There are way too many individuals thinking they need to increase their mileage to run faster, increase their cardio to lose more fat, or do more crunches in order to see their abs. But they miss the big picture and end up injured in the long run.

My program details how as little as 3 hours a week (less than 2% of your week) can make the most efficient and scientifically proven use of your time.

Until next time, stay tuned for more from the All-American Athlete Training Program.

-Coach Kev

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