Integrated Exercise in the 1800s

Side Lunge Reach
Google books is one of my favorite application on this thing we call the INTURRNEHT.  I've found so many free books published prior to 1923. Among them were a large amount of text on physical education manuals, gymnastics, even jiu-jitsu!

Postural Alignment

The physical education manuals emphasized full spectrum improvement including posture, voice control, dance and exercise. It was interesting to see the equipment used before is taking prevalence in the industry today.  It seemed that all equipment used in gymnastics like parallel bars and rings established the framework for resistance training. Dumbbells were even used and movements occurred in multiple directions and resemble the exercises of the big "functional" push toward exercise.  Other obscure pieces include indian clubs; which I have yet to explore in detail.  

Flexion Extensions/Swings

I have always been interested in the evolution of the fitness industry. It shows how much concern the public has about their health.  There have always been and will always be gimmicks and quick fixes out there. The main thing is we must all consider it as a part of our lives.  Most of us only have one body...yes. Regardless what path we take in fitness, make it consistent, safe, and fun.

I've been trying to find any information on obesity rates in the 1800's.  Unless you have been living under a rock or perpetually under a food coma, it's no news that the obesity rates are pretty high.  Seriously, Maury Povich tried to open our eyes to it.  Sadly, I used to find this entertaining.  Especially when they would all run wild on set while trying to eat microphones and chairs. But now, it's thoroughly frightening to me what this future may hold if we don't take time for our health.

Keep MUV'N ... or Shawn, age 3, will eat you because you may or may not look like a pizza to him.



Crawl Before You Walk. Walk Before You Do Speed Skaters On Balance Beams into Handstands with Kettlebells on Your Feet

What do pills and crawling have in common? YES! Whatever is in your head right now, you're right.  It depends on what kind and how many. No? There have been studies arising to the surface of the health and fitness industry showing the relationship between athletic coordination, ADHD and child development. I want to clarify that anything I say or write is NOT the absolute...I just want to get the cogs turning.   Also I am not accusing anyone of having ADHD nor being a clutz.

This would be my expression right now too.
Take a look at your daily patterns and how your body moves.  Do you find it uncomfortable to sit down and have the urge to straighten your legs?  Can you march with opposite arm and leg movement with your eyes closed? There are too many examples that actually force me to question myself.

In collaboration with Dr. Mirriam Bender, Dr. Nancy O'Dell and Patricia Cook have related 75% of ADHD/ADD cases to the lack of STNR (Symmetrical Tonic Neck Relfex) development in children. This is partially due to the urgency of parents to force their children to start walking through the use of crazy contraptions that make cheerful babies run over unsuspecting feet at ridiculously high speeds.  The other factor contributing to this phenomenon is the fear of SIDS in the 90's. So parents were making their children sleep on their backs which dramatically prevented SIDS yet, on the other hand reduced normal crawling development.  So the child did not develop the ability to flex and extend their limbs independently. As result, child or adult, if one set of limbs, let's say the arms are bent, the legs have the urge to be straight or vice versa. One example is, some people try to sit down at their desks yet find themselves kneeling on their chair while standing on one leg.  Another example is a young baseball player who had to squat down in order to extend his arms overhead to catch a ball. So as a solution, while sleeping keep them on their backs but while awake, place them on their stomachs.  Dr. Bender developed certain exercises to help develop STNR in conjunction with crawling patterns and have seen significant improvement in both children and adults with ADHD/ADD. I have yet to read their book to know the exact exercises. But for some reason, my ego says  I can figure it out.  Great job ego!! Great job!

Fitness resource, Paul Chek, chooses a different view in his video blog basing his research on athletic prowess and muscular control.  He correlates brain development with the physical aspects of child development ranging from one month to two years of age. There are three stages of development; Reptilian, Paleo-Mammalian, and Neo-Mammalian.  Those who rush through these essential stages tend to not develop certain areas of the brain therefore affecting certain movement patterns.  Completely independent of Dr. Bender's studies, he too uses crawling pattern tests and even the marching test stated earlier.

Deriving off of his studies, I have made some observations from a progression standpoint which stands very similar to that of exercise progressions. The reptilian phase consists of homologous and homolateral movement.  Homologous movement is when a child between one and seven months rocks in a linear pattern while on its back. It begins to strengthen flexion and extensors of the trunk and limbs. Movement of the limbs in that plane begin to create torque on the spine which forces supporting trunk muscles to control those forces. In essence rotational control activates which then promotes lateral rolling movements and touching opposite arms and legs; homolateral phase.

Once strengthened, the child will have the ability to roll on their stomachs and delve into the paleo-mammalian phase. The trunk is now at the point where it can control forces from multiple directions.  The constant movement in the limbs increased efficiency of the flexing and extending muscles of the hips and shoulders.  So once they roll over, they will have the ability to get into the position that develops STNR.  You will then see the child bounce back and forth increasing efficiency of elbow and knee movement. They eventually will build up enough momentum from bouncing to take some steps forcing opposite arm and leg function in order  to maintain locomotion.

The strength and control developed in the limbs and trunk while crawling urges the child to graduate into the neo-mammalian phase. They would have developed sufficient pulling strength to grab on to things and pull them selves up. If you notice them grabbing onto something, they generally get into a split squat position, then a deep squat prior to standing. The feet then come into play to provide information to the brain as to what muscles should be orchestrated in order to maintain their stance.  The constant falling and getting back up is like doing tons of lunges, squats and Jungle Gym pullups! The strengthening of all those muscles allow them to finally get control to take their first step. Then trouble ensues to the terrible twos.

Forcing a child to rush through these developmental phases prove to be detrimental to brain development and muscular control. Just because little Tyler is walking at 7 months doesn't mean that you have to compete, because later, your offspring will be doing sprints and sitting in their chair when their teacher tells them too. Our brains are smarter than people think.  To those of you who have trained with me, I'm sure you recall all the times we revert back to isolated movements like hollowouts, draw ins, bridges, arm and leg raises.  I told you they serve a purpose!  Sprint away then do a horizontal jump into kong walks and tiger pushups!

Keep MUV'N


Covic, E. with Lee, C. (Interviewer) & Cook,P. with O'Dell, N.  (Interviewee). (2010). ADHD Therapy [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from Grok Science Podcast Web site:http://grokscience.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/adhd-therapy/  

Chek,P. (2009). Hollowing VS Bracing? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.chekinstitute.com/Hollowing_Bracing. (2010, January 27).


Improve Your Health

As we near the holiday seasons and things begin to become hectic, stop and think about yourself.  If you weren't healthy, you wont be able to make it through with a positive outlook.  It's really easy. I heard all we have to do is exercise and eat nutritious food. Crazy! Ha! I'm sure we all agree that's what it takes. Regardless of what program or gimmick we succumb to. How do we get to the point where it seems to be a daily part of our lives?

Set attainable goals.  Senior Editor of Lifeline products, Tammy Schultz, said it best, "...this process is like climbing a gradual mountain. Though you can see the summit, the only way to get there is to take one step at a time. Keeping your focus on the next step and not the summit is the key to staying motivated and enjoying each small success along the way."

Step 1: FOOD...mmm

  • Clean out the pantry and fridge. Many studies have shown people consuming food based on what is available to them.
  • Recording food in a diary, or calorie tracking site helps just to even see what you're putting in your body.  So you won't wonder why those pounds aren't coming off. Seeing it listed out really throws you into reality.
  • Make changes in small steps ultimately for a lifestyle change.  Not a quick fix. Don't get health conscious in one big step, otherwise you will relapse. Food fuels your body, so make sure it's quality food otherwise your body will not have efficient use of it. 
  • Digestion does not start in your mouth, it starts at what you decide to put in it.

Step 2: MUV!
Oh yea, THAT! I saw a comic strip at a gym a few weeks ago and it showed a doctor talking to his patient.  The doctor asked, "Would you rather exercise one hour a day or be dead 24 hours a day?" Loved it.  

  • Exercise reduces stress and maintains every system in your body to perform optimally. That means performing athletically or just enjoying everyday without pain and discomfort.  Except for the times when you're working out with me of course.
  • Add general activity to your day.  I'm sure you have heard this before. Take the stairs. Park further away. Ride a bike to commute in this awesome cold weather we will be having. Seriously, how hard is it to take the stairs? Late for something?  Run up the stairs! Besides, who really wants to be in that awkward silence? Social dynamics in elevators are so weird. The times I do take the elevator, I love talking to people just to see how surprised and uncomfortable they act. "Gosh someone is talking to me! Can't wait to tweet about this!" (saving that for another blog)

Step 3: The Third Step
Once you consistently find yourself sweating and doing pushups on the Jungle Gym and finding that your diet is beginning to consist of tons of vegetables and NuGo bars, take it to the next step.  Join a sports league. Take a dance or martial arts class. Do some yoga.  Make activity a solid part of your daily schedule. Ultimately you want to live the rest of your life being active and challenging yourself to attain new skills.  In order to do that, you must fuel your body with the proper food.  Otherwise you will find yourself in a constant drunken food coma. Can you do a pullup yet? Can you crawl for 100yds with your feet strapped into a power wheel?  Can you even do a proper squat based on your current range of motion? 

Another concept I like to incorporate with attaining fitness goals is Jim Collins' flywheel.  Jim is the author of Good to Great which is pretty good and great. Its primary focus is on improving a business utilizing the flywheel concept.

"Now picture a huge, heavy flywheel. It’s a massive, metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle. It's about 100 feet in diameter, 10 feet thick, and it weighs about 25 tons. That flywheel is your company. Your job is to get that flywheel to move as fast as possible, because momentum—mass times velocity—is what will generate superior economic results over time."

-Jim Collins

So in essence, a consistent push toward a goal will reap exponential results as you gain momentum.  If you workout for two weeks and eat right then stop for a month, nothing is going to happen. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people experience results then think that they made it, but haven't fully reached the ultimate goal.  The article Jim wrote on his website serves as a great analogy to getting fit. Check it out here.

Keep MUV'N

Smoking is IN..Just Like Shoulder Pads in Womens' Suits

Shoulder pads aren't in fashion are they? Anyway, the FDA is proposing to place graphic pictures on cigarette packs to lower smoking rates. Pictures mostly
showing the effects of smoking because just words were not enough. They say that America has the most lenient regulations on smoking. We all know it's bad, but some of us still do it. Do you think this would help?
The FDA's 'shocking' new cigarette packs - The Week


Quick Tip: "Heartaches" from Dehydration

Don't be sad, just drink water. Reduced fluid intake, a.k.a. dehydration makes your heart work harder.  What did your heart ever do to you? Stop being mean to it and take in at least half your bodyweight in ounces.  Do you weigh 180lbs?  Hello 90 ounces!!  11 glasses! 6 regular water bottles.  The Great Bambino! Call it what you like.

Notice the picture on the side.  Your blood is composed plasma and cellular components.  Within the plasm, 91% of it is water.  If there is no water in the system, your heart has to work at least double time to pump sludgy cellular components to the rest of your body.

The symptoms of being parched include fatigue...partly because your heart is working so hard.  If you feel thirsty, it's too late.  May as well chug a 6 pack and eat salt.  If your pee is yellow, time to paint some road signs. Think about it.  Our bodies can go for months without food, but only 4-6 days without water.  Hmm.

Keep Drink'n....Water

Breath In, Breath Out: Improper Breathing=Pain

Major Pain!  Thanks Damon Wayans! The upper-crossed syndrome is a term for slouched posture that can lead to numerous  musculoskeletal injuries and imbalances.  If you look in the mirror and are two hairs short of looking like Quasimoto, you are PLAGUED WITH UPPER CROSSED SYNDROME! Dun Dun DUNNNN!  A majority of the population suffers from this due occupation or inactivity.  Shoulder pain, headaches, neck pain and even lower back pain stem from this dreaded posture. If you want a basic fix, check out one of my posts here. I spend weeks and even months correcting the posture of individuals in order to achieve optimal spinal alignment and muscle function.

Now, here's a little curve ball. Would you ever think that your breathing style would have the same detrimental effects?  When someone takes shorter breaths throughout the day, secondary respiratory muscles are used.  These secondary muscles are basically all the muscles around the neck (scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, upper traps, levator scapula).  This results in overuse that makes deep neck muscles weak which then lead to a chain of events in the shoulders.

What muscles SHOULD be used?  Funny you should ask.  Here are a few.
 Transverse Abdominus

Notice that the muscles are around the rib cage and abdominal region.  Abdominal breathing is our body's preferred style of respiration as it allows us to obtain as much oxygen as possible.  Medical studies have shown, our bodies kind of need oxygen.  I'm not sure if it's true, I may have to check my sources.  Among the many benefits of breathing, performance-wise it aids in ATP(energy) production and clears out pyruvic acid (which turns into lactic acid).  In Bikram yoga there is a breathing exercise or pranayama that forces the proper respiratory muscles to be used. 
I figure you would rather see her in those shorts instead of me! Try this everyday.

  • During the first part of the exercise, you must press your chin down into your hands which activates deep cervical flexors (deep neck muscles) which inhibits the secondary respiratory muscles stated earlier from activating.  The elbows lifting up expands the rib cage (intercostals, diaphragm) inducing greater inspiration.
  • The second part you force an exhale creating an efficient pathway and draw in the navel (transverse abdominus) to get all the CO2 waste out of your system.
BOTTOM LINE:  Take your time to breath, you will be happier and perform so much better in life and physical activities.  



Preventing Shoulder Injuries by the NASM/HFPN Staff

Staying in the Game: Avoiding Shoulder Pains


Key Points

  • A common complaint heard from young athletes is shoulder pain, especially from overhead athletes (swimmers, pitchers, etc.). 
  • A multi-planar postural assessment of the athlete may show discrepancies in scapular resting positions, and muscular over-activity / under-activity. 
  • Rotator cuff strengthening programs including theraband, free weights, plyometrics, and PNF have all been shown to increase glenohumeral stability and improve shoulder mechanics. 

Youth sports continue to thrive in this country. Children are becoming more and more involved in a large variety of athletics, dance, and martial arts. Participation in these activities has also lead to a higher incidence of injury from overuse and repetitive trauma.

Common Complaints

A common complaint heard from young athletes is shoulder pain, especially from overhead athletes (swimmers, pitchers, etc.) Most cases are treated with rest, NSAIDS, and ice, yet glenohumeral instability is often the primary cause of the pain. If symptom management is the only treatment offered, the athlete will continue to have recurrences whenever training is increased. Most cases of underlying instability have no history of subluxation or dislocation, however excessive motion in the glenohumeral joint is evident during evaluation. Instability without impingement is usually pain free, so the athlete does not realize a deficit is present, until inflammation within the soft tissue increases. This delay in symptoms leads to increasing muscle imbalances, a breakdown in scapulo-humeral rhythm and an overall decline in shoulder function.

Pain Presents a Problem

When the athlete presents to the team physician or athletic trainer, symptoms are usually very pronounced with losses of shoulder ROM and strength. Palpation can reveal irritation in the rotator cuff and bicipital tendon insertion from chronic impingement. The development of this type of injury can occur over weeks, or even seasons, with no particular trauma. The mechanism of injury is slow to develop, therefore returning the athlete to the field quickly is very difficult, unless the muscular dysfunctions can be found prior to the development of pain.
A thorough kinetic chain evaluation can reveal some of the early signs of shoulder dysfunction. A multi-planar postural assessment of the athlete may show discrepancies in scapular resting positions, and muscular over-activity / under-activity. The athlete often presents with an upper extremity postural distortion pattern. Tightness in the anterior chest musculature, specifically the pectoralis complex and latisimus leads to reciprocal inhibition of the scapular stabilizers ( serratus anterior , rhomboids , middleand lower trapezius ) as well as the external rotators of the rotator cuff ( supra spinatus , infra spinatus and teres minor ).

Finding the Culprit

The Overhead Squat Test can reveal tightness through the pectoralis complex and latissimus dorsi musculature. Compensations often observed include the arms falling forward, an inability to fully straighten the arms overhead, and scapular protraction.
After an athlete has been identified with a dysfunction, a specific stretching and strengthening program can be developed to correct these findings.
Example Corrective programming should include:
INHIBIT Self Myofascial ReleaseLENGTHEN Static/Active FlexibilityACTIVATE & INTEGRATE Core Training
  • Pectoralis major
  • Pectoralis minor
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Wall chest stretch
  • Ball lat stretch
  • Floor cobra
  • Floor cobra
  • Ball cobra
  • Scaption
  • DB shoulder PNF
Core training needs to include postural strengthening, specifically addressing the middle and lower trapezius, rhomboids, and the rotator cuff musculature. Education in temporary avoidance of the compromising positions is also very important to a full and speedy recovery.
Many exercise programs have been studied as a non-surgical approach to decreasing instability and improving shoulder complex mechanics. Rotator Cuff strengthening programs including theraband, free weights, plyometrics, and PNF have all been shown to increase glenohumeral stability and improve shoulder mechanics. Proprioception and muscle endurance deficits have been shown to increase glenohumeral instability and predispose the shoulder to impingement; therefore exercise selection must address these issues. The OPT training method is a systematic, progressive, and solutions based method for addressing these muscular imbalances and dysfunctions.
Prevention is the Key
Non-traumatic shoulder dysfunction can often be avoided by a sound assessment of the entire kinetic chain. The earlier these deficits can be corrected, the better the chances of avoiding shoulder pain. The prevention of dysfunction and maintenance of proper shoulder mechanics will allow athletes to remain competitive throughout their careers.