High Octane Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement | www.RobertsonTrainingSystems.com

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The NEW Website is ready to rock!

All right everyone, I've been hyping it up for a while now, and the time has finally come!

I'll no longer be posting blogs on this site, so please make sure to change your RSS feeds accordingly!

Check it out HERE

Stay strong
MR

Friday, December 19, 2008

Coming Events and Randomness


This is going to be a collective effort today - some updates and some randomness to boot. I hope you enjoy it!

- Did you know if you Google the word "Random" the pic to the right comes up on the front page? I thought it was fitting, given the holiday season....
- Still need NSCA CEU's? All Robertson Training Systems products are approved for CEU's, and if you use the discount code "NSCA" you get an additional 10% off your order!
- Speaking of the NSCA, I actually took care of my recertification last night, and it was surprisingly easy. Kudos to the NSCA for getting something right!
- We still have openings for our January 24th KB seminar with Brett Jones at I-FAST. We'll be covering the basic lifts such as swings, snatches, windmills, Turkish get-ups, etc. Cost is $175 and the seminar will run from 10 am - 5 pm. If you're interested in attending shoot me an e-mail at indyfast@gmail.com.
- I hate my laptop. It randomly turns caps lock on and won't turn it off. The only way to correct this is to open a new file and just randomly hit buttons until it stops. Other times, I'll actually hit the ultra-sensitive directional pad while typing and sponataneously erase all of what I just wrote. It's a month or two away from enduring the 5 foot drop test.
- Did I mention I can't wait until the new site is up?!?!?!?! We're in the process of migrating it now, and my web guru extraordinaire Jason Lengstorf is doing all kinds of fancy computer things to make it work. I'm glad I hired this one out!
- Last but not least, I'm doing an interview with Leigh Peele for her site next Monday. Stay tuned for details and I'll shoot you a link when it's done. And BTW, Leigh Rocks.
Have a great weekend!

MR

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Products I Like: Combat Core


I was going to write a whiny, half-assed post today because, well, that's the kind of mood I'm in.
Two words for that: Weak sauce.
Instead, I'd like to chat a little bit about the low back and core training. In lieu of my upcoming projects and seminars, I've really been digging deep on low back information. I mean, who else in their right mind curls up for bed at night reading text books? Okay, other than Eric Cressey?
The answer - me. Yes, I'm a geek. Sue me.
I could go on and on about the biomechanics of the lumbar spine - I'm not as geeky about backs as I am about knees, but it's getting close. The scary thing is that the more I read, and the more I think I understand, the stronger my resolve is to get people healhy. I don't care what anyone says, I still think repetitive flexion and rotation of the lumbar spine is not only bad, but a pretty sure-fire way to get injured. But that's a post for another day.
Regardless, while going over all these materials, I remembered what a great resource Smitty's Combat Core training really is. Smitty takes all the basic principles that should be adhered to with core training, and finds about a million and one cool ways to do it. In all reality, Smitty has more creativity in the nail bed of his pinky finger than I do in my entire body.
If you want to kick your core training up a notch, definitely pick up a copy of Combat Core. I promise you won't be disappointed!
Stay strong
MR

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I-FAST featured on Fox 59 Morning News

Well it was a day later than expected, but here's a link to our fitness segment on Fox 59.

http://www.fox59.com/pages/fitness_works

In this segment we wanted to show the viewers that there are tons of ways to have "metabolic" workouts without stepping on a treadmill or recumbent bike. I was a little disappointed in my pulling technique on the keg cleans, but then again I wasn't really expecting to do it in a full winter coat either! Let me be the first to tell you, it was NOT warm yesterday when we were filming.... ;)

Stay strong
MR

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sport-specific training for kids?


(Originally published at www.IFASTOnline.com)
I love the term "sport-specific." Not because it's a hot buzz word, but because it's so overused nowadays. It seems as though if you aren't talking about sport-specific programming, sport-specific exercises, etc., you obviously don't know what you're talking about.

The key with sport-specificity, however, is the context within which you're applying it. Especially with younger athletes, the goal should be to have some sport-specificity to the programming (deceleration work for team sports, scap/rotator cuff stabilization for overhead athletes, etc.), but not a ridiculous amount. After all, a 14 year-old athlete may be awesome at baseball, but his long-term potential is seriously compromised by letting him play the same sport year round. Wouldn't he learn more sports and motor skills by also playing basketball in the winter? Or soccer in the fall? The goal should be to develop a broad athletic base that can be built upon in the future.

Beyond the physical advantages to playing multiple sports, there are mental advantages as well. Firstly, you learn to adapt to situations in which you are uncomfortable. If you aren't as great physically at soccer, you learn other ways to be competitive. Maybe you get better technically or tactically in your sport. The bottom line is you learn how to adapt.

Secondly, you don't run the same risk of burnout. How many great young athletes have you heard of that quit early because they were burned out? I'm all for teaching our kids lessons like competition, teamwork, camraderie, etc., but we have to draw the line at some point and allow them to have fun.

Quite simply, sport-specificity is great, but it's not the be-all, end-all of training. At I-FAST, especially with our younger athletes, our goal is to build ATHLETES first and foremost. The more athletic they are, the more potential they have to succeed in any sport in the future.

Stay strong
MR

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flu-ridden Friday

Sorry for the slow blog menu this week, but there have been better weeks for Team Robertson. I've had the flu off and on for the entire week, with Thursday being an amazing day where I spent an astounding 19/24 hours in my own bed! Even by my own standards, that's impressive.

With that being said, let's have a few quick hit thoughts for the blog and call it a weekend, okay?

- Tuesday night my wife had to work late, so I got to refamiliarize myself with one of the greatest movies of all-time: Conan the Barbarian. I mean does it get any better than bloodshed, mayhem, and Arnold all in one movie? I don't even consider myself an "arms" guy, but Arnold was one proportional, well-built mofo.

- On Monday our gym will be featured on the fitness segment of Fox 59's newscast. Obviously, this is pretty cool! We'll mostly be discussing the gym and the non-traditional cardio workouts we use (Prowler, dragging sleds, kettlebells, med balls, etc.)

- I plan on doing absolutely nothing this weekend, just in case you cared ;)

I told you it was quick hit today - we'll be back in action next week with some serious content. Have a great weekend!

MR

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Random thoughts - 12/9


I can't muster up a solid performance today, so here are my random thoughts for the week.

- Everyone knows I'm a huge football fan. One of my favorite players (even though he's not a Colt) is Marion Barber of the Dallas Cowboys. If you like hard-hitting, smash-mouth football, you have to like MB3. As many have noted, the guy "runs angry."

However, has Jerry Jones lost his mind? He recently called out Barber for - wait for it - for being soft because he couldn't play with a dislocated toe and calf injury!

Now maybe it's just me, but it seems as though the ability to plant, cut and run effectively might be important for a running back in the NFL. And it also seems to me that your foot and calf are kind of important for all of these. Call me crazy, but this is one guy on the team I wouldn't want to call out in that regard.

- NSCA CEU time is rolling around again, and we offer CEU's for all of our products. Be sure to check out our products page if you need last minute CEU's for this 2008 reporting period!

- The web update is getting closer every day, and I really think you're going to enjoy the look and feel of the new site. You'll obviously have all the same great content, but we've incorporated some much needed functional changes so that you'll never have to go randomly clicking for articles/posts again!

- I'm officially out of my fantasy football league as of this past weekend. Without Barber, and Clinton Portis playing poorly, I really didn't have a shot. All well, maybe next year!

Stay strong

MR

Monday, December 8, 2008

Great blogs from others...

I'm kind of a 'net-head, so I love reading people's blogs. I generally take 10-15 minutes every day to follow my favorites, and I've compiled a few that are quite good.

Here are some great blog posts that I've read in the past week or two. I hope you enjoy them!

Take Action - Alwyn Cosgrove

This is one of my personal favorites. AC always has insightful commentary, but I really liked this one because it inspires people to take action. It also reminds me of the saying, "Ready, Fire, Aim" - basically, get started immediately and work out the details later. Good stuff.

Empty Your Cup - Nate Green and Craig Weller

Nate is a great writer, and in this edition Craig Weller talks about the process of learning. Basically, get around really smart people and open up your mind. The story that he tells is great as well.

Sex, Lies and Photoshop - Jonathan Fass

Sure, those LA types look great - but what's their secret? We all hear about people being Photoshopped, but this really sheds some light on how easily it's done. A must-see, especially if you work with female clients.

Stay strong
MR

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bench Press Updates....



As always, I like to start these posts off with a little inspiration. Pictured to the left is my good friend and former Ball State University powerlifter Matt Wenning. I'm assuming this pic is from ~2002 or 2003. At the time, Matt was benching in high 400's, maybe low 500's. I got word (via the latest PLUSA) that he recently benched 815! Matt is an inspiration to a lot of people and I wish him the best going forward.

After last week's post I figured I better keep everyone in the loop with my bench press training. Don't expect anything too huge, yet; my goal is simply to get healthy and back in the groove, then start pushing my numbers from here. Last night I trained later in the evening, which generally leads to sub-par training sessions. I'd love to train in the morning all the time, but lack of training partners and other commitments sometimes get in the way.

Regardless, I kicked off the session with some serious soft-tissue work using the Starr tool. If you have soft-tissue adhesions/scar tissue, you need to get your hands on one of these things. They rock! After about 5 minutes my pec was feeling better than it had in quite some time. I warmed up using the I/O drills, and then began the benching.

Again, keep in mind that the weights are not huge. Like I said, the goals are:

- No pain

- Clean, crisp reps

- Develop connective tissue strength

Luckily my boy Justin was in last night, and I've also made another promise to myself that I am going to get a hand-off for everything 135 and over. Can I lift it off myself? Sure. But when I do, I compromise my stability and I can't get my right scapula back into place. Lack of scapular stability = shoulder/pec problems.

I started with 185 for 8, and that felt pretty good. I honestly would've been happy to stay there, but with some goading I moved up to 195. Again, nice and smooth. I went up to 205 for my last set and the final rep was a struggle, but still clean.

Honestly, the biggest difference between tonight and other training sessions was the soft-tissue work before hand and the lift-offs.

All in all, this was a good session. Now the key is to string together a couple of weeks like this, and then eventually a couple of months. Only time will tell, but this was exactly what my body and mind needed.

Have a great weekend!

Stay strong

MR

BTW, if you like my bench chronicles, let me know as I've considered doing this with my squat as well. It's more jacked up d/t surgery and the ensuing compensations, but I really have no idea if people want to hear me ramble on about my own lifting week in and week out.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Old School Article of the Week


In this week's edition, we return to some simple yet effective ways to get more out of your workouts. Whether you're a strongman, powerlifter, Olympic lifter, or just someone who likes to lift heavy things for fun, you should be able to pull a nugget or two out of here.


Enjoy!
Stay strong

MR


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Q&A: Lunging properly

Mike -

I have a problem when I lunge. Too often, my toes want to turn out - why does this happen?

Thanks!

First off, thanks for the question. I actually got a very similar question from one of my online clients, so I figured I'd address it here in the blog.

We know the gluteals (and in particular posterior glute medius) is often weak; this is really important when we are discussing frontal/transverse plane movements. Essentially, if your posterior glute medius isn't up to the task, you'll see an increase in adduction/internal rotation of the femur in single-leg exercises. In non-geek speak, your knee caves in.
To help improve your balance/stability, your body looks further down the kinetic chain. One of the primary lines of defense is to turn your toes/foot out, giving you a wider base of support. So while you'd think the issue was the foot, it's typically more of a hip problem.
If this is the issue you're suffering from, I'd incorporate either some x-band walks or band resisted clams into your program. These can be performed pre-workout, or even better still, immediately prior to the affected exercise. This will engage/facilitate the appropriate musculature in a lower level setting, and help it re-groove it's appropriate role in a motor integrated setting as well.
(Video clips can be found on my website if you are unfamiliar with the above exercises.)
Good luck and good training!
Stay strong
MR

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cyber Monday Sale

I didn't know this, but evidently, the Monday following Black Friday is called Cyber Monday. So for all the people who can't get their shopping fix over the weekend, they can always go online and pick up some product the next week!
With that being said, Eric, Bill and I decided it would be a good idea to offer up a quick sale on all of our products. Not only can you get 15% off everything in our store, but you ensure yourself that it will be on your doorstep before Christmas rolls around!

Here's all you have to do to get the discount:

1 - Pick out the product(s) that you want from our online store and add them to your shopping cart.

2 - Proceed to checkout.

3 - BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR PAYMENT, input the coupon code "CYBER" in the box on the right-hand side of the screen and click on "Apply."

4 - Complete your order and get 15% off!
This offer will ONLY be available on Monday, December 1st.

Have a great day and enjoy Cyber Monday!

Stay strong

MR

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Old-School Article of the Week


Tired of having a weak deadlift? The following article should help - originally featured at Elite Fitness Systems.




Stay strong

MR

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bench press introspection, Part II


Sorry for the delay in getting this up, but well, I've been freakin' swamped lately!

So without any further ado, here's what I'm going to do to bring my bench press up to par. Motivational picture of bench press beast Scott Lade included, too.

- I've had an on again/off again pec issue that is currently "on" again. The only thing that has provoked the issue in the past is unstable, open chain pressing exercises like blast strap push-ups. It's not the exercise, as much as my stabilization patterns on my right side. For now, they're out.

(And FWIW, check out a copy of Eric Cressey's Unstable Surface Training manual if you want to learn the proper application of these techniques.)

- Along these same lines, I'm going to bust out my trusty Starr Tool out and get to digging around on my pecs, specifically the clavicular portion. I know they're ratty, I just need to man up and get this done.

- As far as training goes, I'm going to do several things to not only get healthy but develop a base:

* First, I'm going to incorporate more movements for my diagonal pattern connecting my left hip and right shoulder. After some testing and evaluation, I have some weakness in my left glute and right lower trapezius. Essentially, years and years of throwing baseballs and spiking volleyballs off people's faces has shortened that fascial line. To open it up, I'm going to be incorporating some total body PNF drills, chop/lift variations and other exercises to open up this line.

* I plan on re-incorporating my DB fly EQI's post-workout. This really helped the first time around and I assume it will do the same again.

* With regards to actual bench training, I'm going to have two horizontal pressing days per week. One is going to be a bench day (duh), and another will incorporate a push-up variation as the primary movement. Both will be done for high reps initially to help re-develop the connective tissues. Once I get this base built back up, I'll incoporate either a speed day or lockout day, based upon my needs at that point in time. Push-ups will still be incorporated as a secondary exercise.

- Finally, I need to be consistent with some old-school static stretching for the pecs, lats, and posterior capsule. It's not hard and it doesn't take much time, I just need to remember to do it.

So there you have it, my initial game plan for training. I'm leery of setting a goal at this point in time with regards to weight, as it's dependent upon how I feel. Instead, my goal is to feel 100% by the time the new year rolls around and I'll set mini-goals from there.

One final thing, I'm going to purchase the new Elite Fitness bench manual as well. I figure if nothing else it will provide motivation and give me some new tips

Stay strong

MR

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Old-School Article of the Week


Okay, okay, I lied - didn't get the bench press introspection done today, so it will have to wait. Hopefully tomorrow, as I'm getting programs done, creating powerpoint slides, and getting ready for the wedding of the century this weekend.

In the interim, here's this week's old-school article - enjoy!


Stay strong

Mike

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bench press introspection, Part I


Yesterday was a weird one. Typically I train first thing in the morning, but I had an early client and thus found myself at the gym early. I proceeded to work until 6 pm, and then realized I needed to get my bench press session in for this week. Allow me to step back for a moment.

Let's be 100%, brutally honest here - I suck at bench pressing. Yes, I realize this is negative self-talk, a self-fulfilling prophecy, whatever. All I'm trying to do is call a spade a spade.

When I first started powerlifting I hit ~250 pounds for my first 3 or 4 meets at 181. I felt like I got stronger during my training cycles, but when it came time to hit a PR something was amiss. This changed prior to collegiate nationals, as I realized my set-up was absolutely atrocious. Once I learned to get tight, I immediately allowed my body to realize those strength gains in the form of a 36 pound PR.

Over the next couple of years, I really focused in on my bench press training. Obviously, moving up from the 181 to 198 pound weight class helped as my leverages improved. My bench slowly grew, and over the next 3 years I made some decent gains, taking my bench from 286 to 335 in competition.

It was during this time that I was playing around with a new bench shirt in training, and I really focused my efforts in on improving my lockout strength. In fact, with a shirt that I never actually used in a meet, I locked out 365 in the gym. A gym lift is a gym lift, though, and I really wasn't comfortable using a shirt that required a PR weight just to touch my chest! Regardless, I felt like I was on the right track.

Back to yesterday. I got a nice warm-up in, crank up some 2Pac and get to work. Unfortunately, things just aren't where they need to be and my session totall sucked. Granted, this could've been due to the fact that I worked 10 hours prior to training, but it shouldn't be this bad. I feel like my upper back strength is better than ever, but my bench just isn't going back up.

Tomorrow, I'm going to outline my plan to get my bench back up to a (somewhat) respectable level.

Stay strong

MR

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday's Random Thoughts

Sorry everyone, but this is the best I can do today! When it's only halfway through Tuesday and it already feels like it should be Thursday, you know you're in for a long week!

- Bill and I had a kick-ass distance client in the past two days, and I'm hoping to do more of this in the future. It was essentially an "intensive" two-day session as she had an assessment and two training sessions all within about a 15 hour time frame. Needless to say, I think she's going to be very happy with the progress she gets going forward!

You can find out more by checking out the new I-FAST home at www.IndianapolisFitnessAndSportsTraining.com

- The big project I've been working on is kicking my ass. It's a legit 150 pages as of now, and I still have several chapters left. My goal is still to get it completed by the first of the year, but we'll have to wait and see on that.

- I'm also in the process of pulling together my Aussie seminar presentations. Needless to say, this is no small feat! 5-6 hours of lecture content in the form of Powerpoint slides take a little time ;)

- I'm prepping for the world's most grandiose wedding ever (I think) this weekend. I'm actually in the wedding, and we've got several couples staying at our house this weekend. In all honesty, I'm not sure who's more stressed - me and my wife, or the couple getting married! Regardless, it should be a great time and I'm really looking forward to catching up with some old friends.

I think that's it for today - hopefully I'll be refreshed and ready to go for tomorrow's blog. Have a great day everyone!

Stay strong
MR

Monday, November 17, 2008

Interview Part I

Here's Part I of an interview I did with strength coach Kevin Neeld for his site.

MR Interview Part I

In this portion of the interview we discuss my background, how I've developed my training philosophy over the years, as well as continuing education.

Part II will be posted on Wedneday, so stay tuned and I'll try to post a link for that as well.

Stay strong
MR


Friday, November 14, 2008

Q&A: Low back position and squatting



Hey Mike, after reading your article yesterday on T-Nation I had a question. My low back always rounds when I squat deep. How can I fix this?





Thanks!





You know this is a simple question, yet the answer is quite complex. Very simply, it's always going to depend upon the specific limitatations of that person. Here are just a few of the issues that could be hindering their performance:



- Short/stiff hamstrings
- Short/stiff gluteals
- Weak back extensors
- Stiffness imbalance between hips and back extensors
- Poor muscle coordination of the "core"
- Poor technique

Those are just a few of the reasons I can come up with off the top of my head. Generally, the people Bill or I evaluate who can't squat deep have one or more of these issues going on.

So since I can't evaluate you, what can I help you with? Quite often, we see a stiffness imbalance between the hips (glutes, hams, etc.) and the spinal erectors. When we examine the properties that constitute stiffness, one of the key attributes, quite simply, is cross sectional area! A bigger muscle will be stiffer than a smaller oner. So how do we fix this? Get the appropriate area stronger!

While I'm not a big fan of back hyperextensions, I think basic back extensions should be a part of your program if you have this issue. After all, Olympic lifters have included back extensions in their programs for years and they have arguable the best squat technique. Obviously this isn't the only contributing factor to their squatting prowress, but I think it plays a role. Low back strengthening/hypertrophy work, coupled with mobility work for the hips should take you a long way.

Bill and I actually have an entire piece in the works on this topic. Our goal would be to make it a manual/DVD combo. Hopefully once I-FAST settles down a bit we can pull it together. This would include assessment techniques, training strategies, the progressions we use with clients, etc.

In the interim, get that low back stronger and get your hips as mobile as possible. Good luck!

Stay strong
MR

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New AND Old-School Article of the Week


In this week's installment of the Old-School Article of the week, we're featuring an oldie but a goodie.


If you can't break through your plateaus after reading this, you're screwed!

Nah, just kidding - but it should help quite a bit.

As well, I had a new article run at T-nation today. Here's the link:


In this article, I discuss ways to improve your low back health and strategies to keep you lifting heavy for a lifetime.

Stay strong

MR

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Angry Biomechanist, Part II


In our second installemnt of the Angry Biomechanist, we're going to discusss the rotator cuff and why it's so important.
We hear all the time about how so-and-so has torn their rotator cuff, or that we need more rotator cuff strengthening in our programs. My goal for you here today is to see what exactly the rotator cuff does in real-life.
When we lift our arms overhead, we get movement from both the scapulae (shoulder blade) and the gleno-humeral (shoulder) joint. As the humerus rotates upwards, the scapulae also upwardly rotates to help you achieve full flexion or abduction of the shoulder.
The problem herein is when one of three things happens:
- You lack extensbility in the thoracic spine
- You fail to have good upward rotation of the scapulae
- Your rotator cuff is weak and fails to depress the humerus
In any case (and most definitely if ALL THREE are occuring), you get impingement of the rotator cuff tendons. Now keep in mind you ALWAYS have some impingement; you always have some friction. The issue is when you go from a normal amount of friction/compression to something greater due to mechanical dysfunction.
If you lack scapular upward rotation, I'd highly recommend checking out Bill Hartman and I's "Push-ups, Face Pulls and Shrugs" article featured previously at T-Nation. This, combined with the Inside-Out warm-up, should get your scapulae moving much more efficiently. And while I didn't discuss it in-depth in this blog post, addressing your T-spine is critical as well. If you lack T-spine extension, your scapulae will never get into the appropriate positions.
If you lack 'cuff strength, you could do a lot worse than checking out Eric Cressey's first feature article at T-Nation, "Cracking the Rotator Cuff Condundrum." I'm sure there are a few things he'd remove now (like the muscle snatch, as I recall) but it will get you started with some basic 'cuff exercises. I also wrote a piece that focuses on external rotation movements titled "Shoulder the Load."
Finally, I think we all agree that those who have stiff posterior shoulders and lack internal rotation ROM would benefit from some dedicated internal rotation work that focuses on the subscap, but that's a little off topic in regards to this post.
Remember, when looking to optimize upper extremity function you have to know how all the separate components work. Once you've isolated things out, though, the goal is to bring up the deficits and re-integrate them into functional, real-world movements. Good luck!
Stay strong
MR

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Random blog updates

There have been some really great blog posts lately, so I wanted to link to them here in case you missed them.

- Nate Green discusses our training in his blog post below; check it out:

http://thenategreenexperience.com/blog/A+Peek+Into+My+Training+Schedule

- In Eric's blog yesterday, he discusses how far the mainstream media is behind the current literature. It's almost like we know what we're talking about. Or something like that.

http://ericcressey.blogspot.com/2008/11/mainstream-media-lag.html

- Strength coach Mike Boyle discusses his views on pundits and criticism here:

http://mboyle1959.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/the-man-in-the-arena/

These are just three of the blogs I follow, but I think you'll find them all interesting for different reasons. Enjoy!

Stay strong
MR

BTW, we're updating the I-FAST site as we speak! Be sure to check it out at www.IndianapolisFitnessAndSportsTraining.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

Q&A from Friday's Post


This was originally posted as a comment but I figured I'd throw it in here...

Hi Mike. I currently have neck soreness and tightness all the time. It definitely affects my ROM, but some days are worse than others. What would you recommend?

Do you cover how to deal with this in "Inside Out"?

Thanks, Paul

Thanks for the question Paul! While we don't cover neck pain directly in Inside-Out, we cover a lot of fundamental relationships that could be producing your neck pain.

Now keep in mind there's a lot of speculation going on here, especially since I've never seen you or evaluated you in person. But here are some issues I typically see in people who have neck pain. Some, if not all, may apply to you.

- Terrible thoracic spine posture. Generally, these people have a wicked thoracic kyphosis, which forces the head/neck forward to balance the body's alignment. Obviously, anything that deviates from the norm is probably going to put undue stress on the body. Basically, your neck is forced to keep your head level and eyes up, which is very taxing on the posterior neck musculature.

- Poor alignment throughout the day. Quite simply, your body gets very "efficient" at sitting in a slouched or hunched over position. If you sit at a desk, clean up your posture throughout the day! We actually cover this in-depth in the "Behavior Modification" section of Inside-Out. For sleeping, an orthopedic pillow could make a big difference, too.

Again, this comes back to improving your t-spine alignment and getting your neck back in a neutral alignment.

- Downwardly rotated scapulae. Assuming your neck/thoracic spine are in good alignment, I often see excessive downard rotation of the scapulae in people with neck pain. The rhomboids and the levator scapulae work synergistically to promote downward rotation, and there seems to be a definite cause/effect between a tight levator scapulae, neck pain and even headaches.

In this case, definitely check out Bill and I's article featured previously at T-nation titled "Push-ups, Face Pulls and Shrugs." This will cover the training aspect w/regards to getting those scapular upward rotators stronger and lengthening the short/stiff levator scapulae. A good soft-tissue specialist could play an integral role as well.

Again, a lot of speculation without examining you in person but I'd take a closer look and see how much of this applies to you. Good luck Paul!

Stay strong

MR

Friday, November 7, 2008

No more neck pain?


I was working with one of our new clients today, and he mentioned something that I felt the need to blog about. Let me back up for a moment, first.


The whole "joint-by-joint" approach seems to take a beating from time to time. I discussed this to some extent in my "Mobility-Stability" continuum article on T-Nation; it's not perfect, but you can take those basic concepts and build upon them to have a pretty darn good idea of how the body functions, and how to improve your training.


Back to my client. We were taking him through his warm-up, and he remarked how little his neck had bothered him since we started his training 3 weeks ago. This is no small feat, considering he sits at a desk anywhere from 8-16 hours per day, 5 or more days per week! You read that right - he works 16 hour shifts all next week!


The recipe for him was simple, though. He didn't have a neck problem as much as he had issues surrounding his shoulders and thoracic spine. He was assessed by Bill and his routine has included foam rolling, static stretching, mobility drills as we discussed in Inside-Out, and a comprehensive training program geared towards improving his upper extremity alignment.


The result? Virtually no neck pain, and his shoulder (which was also an issue) is coming around too. Not bad for three weeks work.


The bottom line in this industry is results. But, that's a blog for another day! ;)


Stay strong

MR

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Old-School Article of the Week

Today's edition is an article I wrote for T-Nation several years ago titled Single-Leg Supplements. In it, I discuss all kinds of single-leg exericses and their variations. Enjoy!

Stay strong
MR

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Kick Ass Monday

How often can you say that? ;)

In all seriousness, yesterday was a great day. We had our typical morning guys and gals in, who are all getting bigger, stronger, and leaning out.

In the late morning, Dan "The Doctor" New came in and had a great workout. I'm sure he's disappointed with his last fight, but I would NOT want to be the next guy that gets in the ring/cage with him. He's had 4 or 5 weeks of really solid training and looks stronger and faster than I can ever remember.

With Dan, Jim and Deb came in and absolutely killed their latest fat loss workout. I don't know where Bill came up with their workout, but it looked straight evil!

In the afternoon I got a bunch of writing done - the obvious blog updates, along with a solid hour of work on my next project. I'm doing my best to just keep chipping away at it, but I really think it has the potential to be something special.

In the evening we had our night crew in. My buddy Justin (who I blogged about yesterday), not only looks leaner and more athletic, but I can't describe how much better he's moving. It really doesn't even look like the same person.

Heather (the bride to be) is still killing her workouts and is now only 2.5 weeks out from d-day. Should anyone remind her that the guy she's going to marry is a total clown? Just kidding buddy!

And finally, Walter is making huge strides. Decreases in pain, more efficient movement, and a much better overall posture and alignment. Most importantly, he's starting to look and move like an athlete. Very cool indeed.

So yesterday kicked ass, but here's a few more updates in the interim:

- New article up at Figure Athlete today. I don't typically do the "body part" type article, but when you're writing on assignment you'll take whatever your editor gives you!

- I never thought I would enjoy the whole social networking style site, but I really enjoy Facebook. I love how easy it is to keep in touch with friends, family, and professional colleagues alike. If you haven't already, send me a friend request!

- Last but not least, go out and VOTE TODAY!

Stay strong
MR

Monday, November 3, 2008

Random updates

It's been a while since I gave a random posting, so here goes!

- My good friend and I-FAST trainee Justin Ware is doing big things. He's really buckled down since August and is moving and feeling better than I can ever remember. He can deadlift from the floor pain-free and while maintaining a neutral spine. This boy has some of the stiffest hips I've ever seen, so that's no small feat. And his chronic shoulder pain is clearing up as his upper back and serratus are really coming around.

This past week, we got him started on the Warp Speed Diet, and I paired it with programming to help him lose body fat while continuing to improve his movement and alignment. I got a text from Justin this morning that he's already down 9 pounds. Stay tuned for the end result.

- Since I haven't been keeping up the training log, I figured I would post some updates here. My training is going quite well, and the body is feeling good. I'm pretty sore today from Saturday's workout; I pulled a PR reverse band deadlift of 675 pounds, so I'm feeling pretty good about that. It wasn't pretty, but then again, most PR's aren't. I have no clue what that translates to in the real world, so I'm thinking about throwing on a cheater suit sometime soon to see where I'm at. I need to get to work on my hamstrings via some glute-ham raises first, though.

- While I just updated the website a little over a year ago, we're going to do it again as I'm still not really happy with the layout. I've hired on a kick-ass designer, and I think the new look and feel is going to be really sexy. I'm hoping to have this up by the first of the year.

- Dave Tate mentioned on his Facebook page that he's going to be offering a one-day business seminar in Ohio on December 13th. If you are in business, you should attend. I think this is going to be a great event.

- I have some really good interviews coming in, so be on the lookout for some kick-ass newsletters in the near future. If you need to sign-up, just go to my home page at www.RobertsonTrainingSystems.com.

I think that's it for today. Have a great Monday and train hard!

Stay strong
MR

Friday, October 31, 2008

N=1

I know I used a blog post with this same title in the past, but I think some of the concepts need to be reiterated.

N=1 proves very little. When I say N=1, I'm talking about a sample size of one - this could be you, your cousin Vinny, your sister's boyfriend's aunt, or just about anyone else.

In research, N=1 is a case study. Unfortunately (as we were discussing the other day at I-FAST), a case study can prove damn near anything. And since it's not applied to a larger sample size, the researched modality or method could even be determined to work or not work off the results of the case study alone!

In the real world, the same thing happens. Someone who only coaches one athlete, one client, etc. gets results doing things a certain way and assumes that everyone out there should be doing the same thing. In contrast, when you work with a large number of clients/athletes, all with different backgrounds, goals, injuries, etc., you have a much better perspective on what things work, as well as what doesn't. The goal of programming is always to provide optimal stimulation while attempting to shed away the "fluff."

When applying information to your own training or coaching, do your best to reference the people that are working with (or who have worked with) a wide variety of clients. No two clients are ever the same; two baseball players may have their sport in common, but everything else could be totally different. You should strive to apply the basic biomechanical principles, while simultaneously accounting for their individual tendencies. Doing so will give you the best chance for success, regardless of who it is you're working with.

Stay strong
MR

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Angry Biomechanist, Part I


Since I've been slacking on the blog this week, I figured I better write something halfway decent today ;)


One thing that's starting to become annoying are the pundits who feel the need to go against the grain, just for the sake of doing so. To be totally frank, if you want to call out a respected expert in the field of biomechanics, you better bring your A+ game to the table. (Please note I am not espousing myself as one, but others who are performing research and writing textbooks themselves.)


Now don't get me wrong here, I'm all for critical thinking - I firmly believe you should not only read textbooks by the experts, but the original studies they cite as well. This is going to take your knowledge and understanding to the next level. Finally, think about how it all comes together - who are they testing? What are the methods? What are the biases of the researchers? Take everything into account.


One topic that is always hotly debated is the idea of spinal rotation, specifically at the lumbar spine. Stuart McGill, Shirley Sahrmann and others have discussed this at length. To summarize, they state how little rotary capacity the lumbar spine has, especially when compared to the thoracic spine.


In an effort to strawman the argument, many will state that if there wasn't supposed to be movement at the lumbar spine it wouldn't be a joint at all! While I see where they're going with the argument, no one said that there shouldn't be ANY rotation at the lumbar spine. However, when you contrast the rotary capacity at the lumbar spine (which typically allows for ~2 degrees of rotation per segment), it pales in comparison to that of the thoracic spine (which allows for 7-9 degrees of rotation at the uppermost segments). In essence, all they're saying is that most people already have maxed out their rotary capacity at the lumbar spine and instead should focus their rotary training on the thoracic spine instead.


To take it a step further, I recently finished reading Bogduk's Clinical Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine. I don't have the exact page in front of me, but Bogduk states that with as little as 3 degrees of rotation at the lumbar spine, you start to see microfailure of the lumbar disc!


Look, everyone is free to believe what they want and to train their clients/athletes in any manner they deem suitable. The bottom line is results - if you get them, then stick with what you're doing. I've seen nothing but positive results since I've focused more of my training (and that of my clients) on getting rotary capacity at the thoracic spine and hips, while stabilizing the lumbar spine.


So until someone proves to me that this thinking is inherently flawed, this is one of those "big rocks" I'll be keeping in my jar.


Stay strong

MR

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Testimonial: Bulletproof Knees

Back in town and back in action next week. For now, here's a testimonial I received the other day.

Mike,

Thanks to your BPK program along with some serious ART, I'm happy to inform you that I've avoided meniscus surgery and my knee is at least 70-80% better! My ART practitioner freed up some of the scar tissue that I had on the front of my knee and behind it, bringing me close to pre-pain levels. While there is still some pain, I'm going to resume my ART treatments in a few months to really hammer away at the remainder of the problem, but in the mean time I will continue foam rolling and mobility work outlined in your BPK manual and M2 DVD.

Seriously Mike - thank you. I thought my dreams of being a competitive athlete were over before they even got started, but now that I'm relatively pain free I'm going to continue pushing towards my goals.

All the best,
Roger Lawson

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Old School Article of the Week

In this edition of the Old-School Article of the Week, I've rehashed an article for T-Nation titled "Designer Athletes".

This was written several years ago as an off-season program to help guys transition back into strength work in the off-season. My goal wasn't to include plyos, running, etc.; rather, I just wanted to lay a foundation with strength work before getting into multi-faceted training down the line.

Enjoy!

Designer Athletes

Stay strong
MR

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who is this guy?

When looking to get with a potential trainer or coach, this is a great question to ask. Now that we're firmly planted in the Internet age, virtually anyone can proclaim themselves an expert or world-class coach. I'm the first to admit that my status in the industry has been highly elevated due to the fact that I've written for sites like T-nation for quite some time. If I'm actually worthy of that status or not is up to you as a consumer to determine!

So how do you cut through the BS and really determine if someone is good? Here are a few options you can employ:

- If they have a website, thoroughly review it. Do they have articles, blogs, and/or other informational materials that help demonstrate their competence? Keep in mind there's more to sounding smart than bashing others! What techniques do they use to achieve success? What are their philosophies on training/coaching? This will give you a better idea of how they train and if their thoughts/philosophies mesh with your own.

- What is their current status as a trainer/coach? Are they actually training people themselves? Don't be surprised to find out that many internet personalities actually train very few people!

At I-FAST we offer a 14-day trial membership - anyone can come in off the street and get assessed, get an individualized program produced, and train for free to determine if they like the program and us as coaches.

- Finally, and possibly most importantly, ask the other clients/athletes that train with this coach/trainer. Are they delivering results? Do they educate them? Are they achieving their goals? You can talk a big game, but the bottom line is if you deliver to your clients. I'm confident that anyone who works with Bill, myself or any of our future employees will be able to vouch for our competence.

If you're interested in hiring a trainer or coach, doing a little research can go a long way to helping you achieve your goals. Good luck!

Stay strong
MR

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Stuff from MR

I've got a ton of programs to write today, so I'm going to keep this brief. Here's some new material from moi that you might not have seen yet.

Bulletproof Your Knees - An Interview with Inga Yandell (located on pages 66 and 67)

This interview is geared toward a more lay population, with an emphasis on women's knee health.

Foundational Fat Loss - Published at FigureAthlete.com

A bare-bones, stripped down fat loss article. Don't expect anything revolutionary, just some of the basic rules and principles that need to be applied to get the ball rolling.

I hope everyone is having a great week. Enjoy!

Stay strong
MR

Monday, October 20, 2008

Q&A: Knee issues

Mike-

I've written you before, but this time I'm nervous and need some advice. I have an MRI scheduled for Monday, and have been told I most likely have a torn meniscus (left knee, medial meniscus) and possibly a partial tear of the ACL.

I know the exact moment I noticed a problem, but there was no trauma or pain to speak of. I was playing a volleyball tournament on 9/28, had played 3 matches and was finishing my dynamic warmup for the 4th match. The only thing I did different was a hamstring stretch with my foot elevated on a wall (slightly above hip height) - kind of dumb and pointless, but in any case...I went to walk onto the court and my left foot was almost being pulled out to the side as I brought it forward in my gait. I was reticent to do hitting lines because I felt like I would collapse after a jump. The feeling subsided and I played the rest of the match, having absolutely no problems. Later that night into the next day, my knee was swollen and stiff.

I finally was able to be seen by the orthopedist last Thursday. He did the test (I forget the name) for the ACL, and found a great deal of laxity in both knees, but the left did not "lock" at the end range of motion. He was surprised that I had never injured or had surgery on my knee - I think he didn't believe me. Of course, I broke my elbow and had a doctor twist it all over the place and tell me it was fine, so I'm not sure what my pain tolerance is.

My questions are two-fold (and I'm going to buy Bulletproof Knees right away, to be sure!!) - any advice on questions to ask the orthopedist about my ACL/meniscus to ensure I'm getting the whole story, and is it possible to forgo ACL surgery (if it's indeed torn) and just work on strengthening the leg? The degree of laxity in both knees (which I think I've had all my life) has opened up the possiblity that my ACL wasn't doing a whole heck of a lot - and the right one still isn't. My main sport is volleyball, playing competitively once a week and a couple tournaments a month, attending nationals and playing beach doubles in the summer.

Any other advice or suggestions you could give me would be much appreciated. If Bulletproof Knees would have most of what I'm looking for, I'll start there.

Thanks for your time - and counsel!


First off, thanks for your question!

When going to your ortho, here are the following questions I would want to know:

- What's the degree of the ACL tear? A full-thickeness tear (Grade 3) would need surgery; anything below (1 or 2) can be treated conservatively in most cases.

- What is the location and size of the meniscus tear? I would then ask you, is there any feeling of locking and/or giving way? Does it cause pain or a decrease in function?

Here are some thoughts, FWIW.

If you don't have a Grade 3 tear, then you'll most likely be able to avoid an ACL reconstruction. That, in and of itself, is good news. I would definitely be taking some time off from volleyball, though, and when you return you may want to wear a brace for a period of time until you're comfortable again with explosive tri-planar movements. As you may remember, this is what Dallas Clark did for the Colts a few years ago - they thought he had torn his ACL, when it fact it wasn't a full-thickness tear. A few weeks of conservative therapy and he was back on the field.

Now I'm all for conservative therapy, but if you DO have a Grade 3 tear surgery is probably your best option. Those that go without a reconstruction are more likely to have rapid onset of osteoarthritis, so even though surgery/rehab would suck, it should give you a better long-term outcome.

What you do with the meniscus tear will then be contigent upon the severity of the ACL tear. If the meniscus tear is asymptomatic and you don't need ACL surgery, you can probably leave it alone - more and more docs are trying to leave these kinds of tears as is. If it is causing you issues though (whether it's pain or mechanical) you may need to get it scoped. I've discussed the difference between partial meniscectomies and meniscus repairs before on the blog, so be sure to check it out here.

I hope that gives you a little ammo when meeting with your ortho this week. Keep in mind that my bias is always to stray away from surgery if at all possible, but in some cases it is warranted and will provide the best outcome.

Good luck and keep me posted!

Stay strong
MR

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tone Down the Protein Please

I was going to write something profound today, but then I read the following article and blog post and had to re-post it here today.

This was written by ExSci student and I-FAST gym member Lance Goyke. Guys like Lance are the future of the industry, and it's pretty bad when you write something so poor that a 19 year old can poke holes all throughout your article!

Have a great weekend!
__________________________________________________________________

MSN is the leader of health, right?

Ehh, I'm not so sure.

I'll a attempt to dissect this article in order.

Martica Heaner, M.A., M.Ed., has just told us that we eat too much protein. Not we as my friends in the bodybuilding community, but we as in the population. If we want specifics, the third paragraph is what set me off. She says that working out puts us in an anabolic state overnight. Night time is synonymous with catabolism! Some hardcores who don't care about sleep will wake up in the middle of the night to drink a shake or take some BCAAs to stop the muscle eating! Hell, even working out alone puts you in a catabolic state if you don't have proper post-workout nutrition (which, thankfully, she discusses later).

She mentions a study by Peter Lemon that suggests this is true. After a quick search of PubMed.com, a site that consists of fitness and nutrition studies, I've found that this professor does a lot of research work with world-renown Dr. John Berardi. Not a surprise seeing as they're both Canucks. For the record, I never actually determined what study she was referring to. I really wish she had cited the information!

"More protein can lead to more body fat"

No shit. Excess calories need to go somewhere, and if you eat too much of something, it will be stored as fat. However, protein, out of all the macronutrients, is the least likely to be stored as fat because of it's inability to make for a good energy source. She fails to mention that protein is harder to digest, and in turn burns more calories. She used a great tactic that is used when talking about statistics a lot. A journalistic lie if you will (much like what every processed food manufacturer does). It's kind of like if I were to say that only a small percentage of my body gets erect when I see things like Isla Fisher.

Sure it's true, but it's very misleading.



Ohhh, Isla...

She wants us to consume less than a a gram per kilogram of bodyweight. I am "overweight and I'm less than 80 kg. She says 65 grams a day for me.

You have got to be fucking kidding?

For the record, a cup of chopped broccoli is usually a lot more than somebody will eat in a day. Much greater than a serving that the beloved Department of Agriculture makes so popular. And she thinks the average American consumes 100 grams of protein! 100 grams!? If you look on a nutrition label you can easily find out that they base those off of 50 grams of protein a day. I would venture to guess that most people don't get that unless they have a figure in their life that enjoys cooking.

"Timing your muscle fueling efforts"

This paragraph actually baffled me. How can she read great work like that of Nutrient Timing by Dr. John Ivy and still think all of this other stuff? I do think that 4:1 on carbs:protein is a little excessive on the carbohydrate side, but I would say that you want at least 2:1.

Last line:Peanut butter on bread.

Nothing about the peanut butter being natural. Nothing about the bread being 100% whole grain. Don't even worry about the fact that there's roughly no healthy loaf of bread that you can find in a grocery store. Just throw those fats onto those carbohydrates and get a lovely, gigantic insulin spike! Speed up the fat gain, Mommy! I'm taking up sumo wrestling!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mike's Day

We'll divert from our usual blog format to give you guys a little insight as to what an average day looks like for me. Ok, maybe it's not average but it's what I've done today.

Today is a pretty light day w/regards to clients; I've founded our busiest days are M-W-F-Sa. Typically I get a session in on Thursday mornings, but I was up late last night and wanted some people to train with, so I'll get today's session in tomorrow morning.

Instead, I headed in to the gym early to get to work. I'm currently working on refining our systems, and making sure everything is in order as I-FAST is continuing to steadily grow. It's not nearly as sexy as helping someone get healthy or squat 5 bills, but it's something that needs to be done to ensure the business runs as smoothly as possible, both now and in the future. Bill and I are also working on finishing up our 2nd big marketing campaign, so that will be sent to the printer later this afternoon.

Today has also been a huge day for writing. I'm getting to the point now where if I outline something beforehand, my brain basically writes before I ever sit at a computer! This is making me much more efficient, and today I typed up an 5 page article (~2000 words) in 50 minutes.

After a quick lunch and coffeebreak I returned to work on my big project. Yes, it's big. No, I won't tell you much about it. Needless to say I would consider it 25-30% done and it's already 90 pages worth of content. And just to piss off the pundits everything is single-spaced, 12 point font, etc. I want this to be the resource of its kind. I can guarantee it won't be perfect, but I'm going to do my damndest(?) to put something special together. I hope you'll enjoy it when the time comes.

My bridal boot camp couple is coming in later this evening, and I'll be up in the early AM to get a pulling session in tomorrow. I haven't updated the training blog much lately, but things are actually going pretty well. If I weren't sitting so much lately I would like to think that I'm about the most healthy, and strongest, I've been in quite some time. I need to continue on this path and see where it takes me.

Stay strong
MR

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Old School Article of the Week



When Bill and I came together to write this article, I had no idea how well it would be received. Instead of following the old-school dogma of mindlessly pairing a horizontal press with a horizontal pull, we've tried to explain why scapular movement is more important than the plane of movement when trying to create muscular and joint balance.

If you haven't read this article before, be sure to check it out now - at the very least, you'll get some cool new exercise ideas!!!

All the best

MR

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bill Hartman Guest Blog: Stiffness vs. Shortness

Today we have a guest blog from my business partner and physical therapist extraordinaire Bill Hartman. This is a key concept when it comes to designing more effective training programs and getting the intended response.

Enjoy!
____________________________________________________________________

I think it’s important to distinguish between whether a muscle is short or if it is stiff when determining a corrective plan. Treat each case the same and only half of your clients will improve.

A short muscle lacks length. It may be that the muscle is positioned in a shortened position frequently and the muscle fibers have dropped sarcomeres in series or the connective tissues have adaptively shortened.

If you actively and/or passively stabilize the proximal attachment of the muscle and move the joint into a position to stretch the muscle, the proximal attachment will move well before reaching the end range of motion of the joint.

A stiff muscle has greater resistance to stretch. This may be due to hypertrophy or a greater quantity of connective tissues. Think of two rubber bands made of the same material, but one rubber band is wider than the other. The materials would have equal extensibility but because one has greater width, it take more force to stretch it the same length as a thinner band.

In the case of a stiff muscle, if you actively and/or passively stabilize the proximal attachment and move the joint into a position to stretch the muscle, The joint will move through it’s full range of motion without movement at the proximal attachment assuming enough force is applied to stretch the muscle.

Short muscles require repetitive, prolonged stretching to encourage creep of connective tissues and the addition of sarcomeres in series to add length.

Stiff muscles can be corrected by balancing the stiffness across a joint by strengthening their antagonists and by holding the antagonists in a shortened position as they may have been adaptively lengthened over time.

Bill

____________________________________________________________________
If you'd like to learn more about the differences between stiffness and shortness, as well as ways to address each, be sure to check out the Indy Seminar DVD's. And if you need NSCA CEU's, be sure to use the "NSCA" coupon code to get 10% off your order!

Stay strong
MR

Sunday, October 12, 2008

FitCast Insider on Sale!




All -


Just a quick note - FitCast creator Kevin Larrabee just let me know that the FitCast Insider is one sale now. There's over 1 GB worth of information, including three interviews with moi.


Here's the line-up:


Dr. John Berardi- G-Flux Simplified


Bill Hartman- Building a Better Body

Tony Gentilcore- 5 Exercises That You Should be Doing But Aren't

Cassandra Forsythe- How to Get the Bikini Ready Body

Mike Robertson- The #1 Injury in the Top Six Sports and How to Prevent Them

Robert (Dos) Remedios- Increasing Vert and Speed (With downloadable spreadsheet)

Alwyn Cosgrove- Fat Loss Program Design and What Works

Mike Robertson- A Joint by Joint Approach (2-Parts)

Tony Gentilcore- Bulking and Program Design (2-Parts, and it includes a downloadable example

spreadsheet from Tony)

Dan John- The Extremely Popular Dan John Squat Video (600MB High quality 640x480 resolution download)

Jim Labadie- Fitness Sales, Publicity, and Mindset

Cassandra Forsythe- Ketogenic Diets and Beta-Alanine (How easy it is to implement a ketogenic diet and who should be taking beta-alanine)

Tony Gentilcore- Top 5 Program Mistakes and How to Fix Them (2-Parts)

Jimmy Smith- The Importance of Ankles

Jimmy Smith- Extreme Fat-Loss

Jim (Smitty) Smith- Grip, Program Design, Gait Analysis (Including how to analyze gait with $5 worth of materials)

Carl Valle- Regeneration

Carl Valle- Med Ball Circuits, Plyos, and Much More (seriously, it's two hours long)

Mike Boyle- CNS Intensive Training


If you're interested in picking up all these great interviews, just follow the link below.




Stay strong

MR

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Random Weekend Post

Well it's not really a "weekend" post since I'm typing in on Thursday, but you get the drift. Not as many people read blogs on weekends (yes, I've tracked this and it's a fact) so I figure if you're bored I will do my best to entertain you for a few minutes.

Here are some random things I've thought about this week:

- If I only got to listen to ONE Bob Seger song the rest of my life (which would totally suck!) it would have to be this one:



"Sometimes at night, I see their faces
I feel the traces they've left on my soul.

And those are the memories, that make me a wealthy soul."

AMAZING lyrics and it's an awesome transition between Travelin' Man and Beautiful Loser.

- A few things that have pissed me off at the gym this week:
* The Prowler thief is still on my mind - I want it back!
* Solicitors! Don't you have anything better to do during the day? No, I don't want to buy your chocolates, upgrade my phone plan, or contribute to any damn funds
* Junk plates. I won't mention where we purchased these from because I really like the people who work there, but our plates suck. They're too wide, and there are some serious discrepancies between the weights listed and what they actually weigh. That's a problem.

- Colts vs. Baltimore this weekend at home. We plan on doing some grillin' since the weather is supposed to be perfect, but I'd be lying if I said I was thrilled about this match-up. Can we get a cupcake? Please? Or at the very least a team that DOESN'T play smash-mouth football? The O-line is still beat up without Lilja and Ugoh, Sanders won't be back for a few more weeks, and now Hayden is out at least a week with a knee injury as well. Isn't it time for the forgotten Tyjuan Hagler to get off the PUP list yet?

I think that's it - if you're reading this on Saturday or Sunday, put the computer down and enjoy yourself a bit. I'll still be here on Monday ;)

Stay strong and have a great weekend!

MR

Friday, October 10, 2008

Old School Article of the Week

I had started this a while back, but after vacation and the gym opening I lost my rhythm a little bit. Now that I'm back in the blogging saddle, expect an old-school article of the week.

And the selection this week is (cue drum roll please....)

10 Tips for Flawless Squattin'

I wrote this article several years ago when I was going full-steam ahead with powerlifting. Whether your goal is to get big, get strong, or just get a huge squat, be sure to check this article out!

Stay strong
MR

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Do work son!


Ok, the title has absolutely nothing to do with the post, but that's what happens when you spend too much time in your gym!

Here are 5 knee health tips I gave to Eric Cressey for his recent newsletter. If you aren't signed up, why not? My man is wicked smart and he's always got great content in his newsletter. Enjoy!


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


5 Keys to Bulletproofing Your Knees

1. VMO specific work is currently poo-poo in the strength and conditioning industry. While I agree that we need to focus on strengthening the hip abductors/external rotators (especially glute max and posterior glute med), current literature leads us to believe that there’s more to the VMO than we might have expected.
Several studies in the past two years have indicated that there is a definite change in fiber pennation between the vastus medialis longus (VML) and the vastus medialis obliquus (VMO). Beyond that, while your other quad muscles like rectus femoris and vastus lateralis only have one motor point, the entire vastus medialis actually has THREE motor points!
We may not totally understand the VMO yet, but I’m not willing to write off its importance with regards to knee health.

2. When looking at the body as a functional unit, we can’t overlook the core with regards to knee health. More specifically, we know the rectus abdominus and external obliques work to keep us in pelvic neutral and out of anterior pelvic tilt. Lack of strength in these core muscles increases anterior pelvic tilt, which drives internal rotation of the hip and valgus of the knee. Getting and keeping these muscles strong could go a long way to preventing knee injuries, especially in female athletes.

3. Are accelerated ACL rehab programs what we need? I’m not so sure, and I think making young athletes follow the accelerated programs the pros use may do more harm than good.
Unlike the pros that are getting paid to play, we need to focus on the long-term outcomes of our young athletes, not simply getting them back on the field ASAP. Many have done an excellent job of rehabbing patients and getting them back on the field quickly, and quantifying strength and power production/absorption is critical.
Many of the leading PT’s and orthos, however, are moving back to a slightly more conservative approach to allow the graft itself more time to heal. The properties of a tendon graft slowly take on the properties of a ligament over time; this is called ligamentization. However, ligamentous changes can still be seen as late as 12-18 months post-surgery.

[Note from EC: so, if you have a patellar tendon graft for a new ACL, you might not really have what you want until 1-1.5 years post-surgery. Tendons and ligaments have different qualities.]

4. To piggy-back on the previous point, another factor that isn’t examined as often as it should is long-term outcomes of ACL rehabbed clients. Sure it’s great to get them back on the field in 6, 9 or 12 months, but what are the long-term ramifications?
We know that females who have suffered ACL tears are much more likely to develop early osteoarthritis. If we can improve long-term outcomes by keeping them out a little longer, isn’t that worth it? As a PT or strength coach, it’s our job to help clients/athletes make the best decision for their long-term health, especially if they are too young to understand the long-term repercussions of their decision.

5. When an athlete tears their ACL, proprioceptive deficits are seen as quickly as 24 hours post-injury. What’s really intriguing, however, is that we often see this same deficit carried over to the healthy knee as well! Even after reconstruction this deficit can be seen for up to six years.
To counteract this, don’t forget to include basic proprioceptive training (barefoot warm-ups, single-leg stance work, etc.), and train that “off” leg in the interim.

If you like this tips and want more, be sure to check out my Bulletproof Knees manual.

Stay strong

MR

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The "strained" right knee?


Lots of knee related content this week. My good buddy Eric Cressey sent me the following link today regarding a knee injury to Washington Wizards forward Antawn Jamison. Please observe:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=281007006&campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines

While I don't expect pro-level teams to divulge what's going on with all their athletes, let's be clear that there's a significant difference between a strain and a sprain.

From the Mayo Clinic website:


Sprain - A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments. Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to another. Common locations for sprains are your ankles and knees.


Strain - A strain is a stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon. People commonly call strains "pulled" muscles. Hamstring and back injuries are among the most common strains.


Now I don't know about you, but when I see someone's knee buckle like that, it's pretty rare that it's a simple "strain." The exception would be if someone blew their quad tendon, which he doesn't appear to have done.


Instead, when buckling occurs it typically occurs due to ligament damage - possibly a torn ACL, MCL, etc. I'm no sports medicine doc, but I'd be surprised if this was a simple muscle pull and that he's out a week or so. (For his sake, however, I hope I'm wrong - he's a helluva player.)


So as I stated up front I don't expect teams to divulge all their insider secrets, but at the very least the reporting of injuries leaves a lot to be desired for an anatomy geek such as myself.


Stay strong

MR


If you want to learn more about knee injures and how to prevent them, check out my knee manual.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Motivated Clients

While I normally train first thing on Tuesday mornings, I had a consult with a potential new client this morning at I-FAST. Over the course of the conversation, we got to talking about my various experiences in the field (rehab, personal training, strength coaching, etc.) and he asked me which I liked best.

It took me a moment to process, but then it dawned on me: I like all of them! They all present different challenges. Most importantly, the real key here is the people you are working with. In the past I've almost always had a fair amount of people who were unmotivated; in all honesty, achieving their goals just wasn't their top priority. Now keep in mind not everyone was like that, but I always had a few.

Today, every member of I-FAST is 100% dedicated to achieving their goals. I can say with complete confidence that there's not one single client that I don't enjoy training. Why? They are dedicated and serious about achieving their goals. When you have dialed in clients, it makes everything you do as a trainer, coach, or therapist that much easier.

If you live in or around the Indianapolis area and you aren't gettin the results you want, please e-mail us so we can get you on the right track.

If you're a trainer, coach or therapist, do your best to align yourself with positive, dedicated and hard-working clients and athletes. You'll have better outcomes and you'll enjoy your work that much more in the long run.

Stay strong
MR

Monday, October 6, 2008

A great weekend with EC

As many of you know, I spent the past weekend in Boston with my boy Eric Cressey. Even though I was smoked by the time I got in Friday night, hanging out with EC is a sure-fire way to get the juices flowing. As soon as we got to his apartment we got down to business planning some future projects and discussing business in general.

Saturday morning we were up by 6 am to attend a seminar in Andover, MA. The primary presenters on this day were Kevin Wilk and Bob Mangine, and the entire day was spent talking about knee injuries, rehab and training. Needless to say, I was in heaven! If you haven't heard these guys speak before and you're serious about your continuing ed, you owe it to yourself to hear them speak. This day alone was well worth the cash I shelled out to attend.

While I have no plans on doing PT any time soon, it really helps to understand what PT's go through on a daily basis. If nothing else, you'll refine your knowledge of functional anatomy and how it applies to the training you're doing. Taking it a step further, if you are good at what you do and have a great network, you can brand yourself as the post-rehab guy in your area - the one that takes them AFTER rehab and gets them back to 110%. Not a bad niche if you ask me.

After the seminar EC and I decided we had sat all day, we needed to train. We got a quick and dirty session in, and I got beasted by a bar only known as El Gordo. This bar is friggin' thick, and it was definitely a shock to the system. I hit 3x5 there, 3 sets of chest-supported rows superset with alternating DB bench, some face pulls, some ab work, and called it a night. I'm still sore two days later.

Later that evening we caught up with the one and only Tony Gentilcore, and Cressey Performance's newest coach Brian. It was a great meal (turkey tips rule!), but the combination of tryptophan and two Miller Lites and I was ready for bed.

The next morning started with Kevin Wilk dropping repeated knowledge bombs on us regarding shoulder health and function. Did I mention this guy is ridiculously smart? And oh yeah, his patient lists reads like a Who's Who of the NBA, NFL and MLB. I was pleasantly suprised on this day, though, that nothing he said went too far over my head. While my primary focus is on knees, I want to learn as much as possible about every joint, and I've been working hard to get my shoulder info up to snuff. It doesn't hurt when you have EC and Bill in your corner, so I don't have any excuses to lack knowledge in that regard.

The day finished up with my Colts stealing a victory from the Texans, and my alma mater Ball State has broken into the college football Top 25 for the first time ever! As I stated, it was a great weekend.

Unfortunately all good times must come to an end, and a bumpy flight home paired with a pre-6 am morning and I'm back to reality. As the saying goes, though, "You can sleep when you're dead."

In the interim, it's time to kick ass and take names. Have a great week!

MR

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Download the FREE SMR E-MANUAL


In case you missed it a while back, I released a 100% free e-manual on self-myofascial release. It covers why you should do it, how to do it, and throws in some functional anatomy and other miscellaneous knowledge bombs along the way.


Did I mention it's totally free?


Here's the link; just right-click, "Save As," and enjoy!




Stay strong

MR

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

R.I.P. - Remembering our Prowler

It's a sad day today at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training.

Many of our clients have one goal: To lose body fat and kick some ass. Yes, I realize that's two goals. Whatever. We take great pride in pushing our clients to the limits, and in the end helping them break through perceived limitations when it comes to their body/physique.

While every component of our fat loss programming is somewhat metabolic in nature, we love finishing people off with energy system work at the end. As many of you know we aren't huge fans of overpriced treadmills and recumbent bikes; they take up too much space and cost too damn much. We much prefer alternative methods like med ball or body weight circuits, kettlebells, Airdyne sprints and everyone's favorite, the Prowler. They're more fun, and our clients really enjoy the workouts.

As we were training clients today, Bill turned to me and asked "Where's the Prowler?" We have a great strip out back where our clients pay their body comp dues, so we immediately walked back there to find it. Unfortunately, the shady dumpster people got the best of us today and stole our Prowler. We had been training out there numerous times when the following discussion had gone down:

Shady Dumpster guy, leering at our Prowler - "Is that scrap?"

Us - "No!"

So to whomever decided that our $500 Prowler would make a nice piece of $25 scrap metal, thank you. We appreciate your willingness to steal our stuff to make a quick buck.

RIP Prowler #1 - you will be sorely missed.

MR

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Random Thoughts - 9/30

In case you missed my newsletter yesterday, it was a doozy! All kinds of good info but here's a short recap (and more!)...

- I was on the FitCast this past weekend; we discussed mobility, knees, and the fallacies surrounding corrective training. You can check it out at www.thefitcast.com

- I had a new article go up today at FigureAthlete.com titled "Breaking into the Industry." If your goal is to become a personal trainer or strength coach in the future, you owe it to yourself to read the article.

- I'm headed to Boston this weekend for a weekend with those freakin' studs from Cressey Performance - you know, Cressey, Gentilcore and Larrabee. And oh yeah, I guess I'm going to a seminar too :(

In all seriousness, the seminar sounds sweet - you know you're a dork when the thought of two-days worth of talk on spines, shoulders and knees gets you excited.

- I also expect some serious brainstorming between Eric and myself this weekend. It's hard to get us together, but whenever it happens we get serious work done.

- Training is going really well right now, and I feel like I'm in a good place overall. I haven't updated it in a while, but I'm going to update the training log ASAP.

That's it for today; have a great day!

Best
MR

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's on YOU

Ok, I have to blame this little rant on Leigh Peele - it's all her fault!

You see, I read her blog post here a few days ago and it was so damn good I had to e-mail her about it. And it also got me all worked up thinking about goal setting and achieving things in your life.

A few days ago, I was in a little mini-slump; jet-lag, sleep deprivation and a little bit too much fun in Vegas will do that to a guy. Now I could've easily hung out in this state for days, weeks, months, or even years, but luckily for me whenever something like this happens I "wake up."

No, there's nothing spiritual or wacky about this; quite simply I realize that I control what goes on in my life. If things are good, I made them that way. If they aren't? Well, I did that too. Basically, it's on me to make my life what it can and should be.

I think far too often we forget about how much control we have over our own lives. We're far too quick to blame bosses, spouses, kids, and other external influences on our current state of being.

Take a second to really think about this stuff, ok? I promise, it will be worth it...

- What is going right in your life right now? What have you done to create this environment? Don't play around! Write this shit down - it could be with regards to your training, financial status, relationships, whatever. It all comes together, so whatever is really important to you write it down.
- What is going wrong in your life right now? What have you done to create this environment? Write this down as well for future reference.

All that I ask is that your honest with yourself. And let's be realistic here, sometimes we're the best at kidding ourselves versus others. When you tuck yourself into bed tonight, think about where you're at and if it's really where you want to be. If not, how can you go about getting yourself back on track? Or if you're on the right track, getting yourself to the next level?

Self-evolution and improvement definitely isn't an easy thing. If everyone could key in on this stuff with a laser-like focus we'd all be 6% body fat, freaky strong, ridiculously wealthy and living the life of our dreams. I'm not there yet, but that definitely won't stop me from trying.

If you're not doing the things you want, the bottom line is this: Ask yourself if what you're doing now is in-line with your long-term goals and dreams. If it's not, figure out a way to get yourself going ASAP.

The arm chair psychologist is now out of the office - that will be $200 ;)

Stay strong
MR

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Perspective

Everyone who reads this blog knows what a fan I am of sports, and football in particular. This story hit really close to home:

Injured Ball State receiver likely out of football

In case you know nothing about him, this Dante Love was an absolute stud and one of the best NFL prospects our school has likely ever had. Watching him play earlier this year, you could tell how special he was. While I never met Dante (I'm getting old and somewhat out of the BSU loop) I'd heard nothing but great things about him.

In the end, though, we have to remember that football is a game. At least Dante will have the opportunity to live a normal, healthy life, even if football isn't a part of it. Please keep Dante and your family in your thoughts and prayers.

MR