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Ep 367 – How to Predict Injury & Illness? HRV

Ep 352 – Why Do You Go to the Gym?

Ep 347 – This Exercise is Killing Your Shoulder

Why Your Shoulder Still Hurts?

Not all exercises are created equal.  As a Sports Chiropractor and shoulder specialist, we often see a lot of shoulder injuries & rotator cuff injuries but all of these injuries have one thing in common… poor movement of the scapula.  This is called scapular dyskinesis and truly contributes to poor shoulder movements, increases the chances of neck pain and mid back pain as well.

Lets Talk Rotator Cuff

Many are familiar with the rotator cuff band exercises.  You know the ones where we use a band and rotate inward and outward?  Well, a lot (actually a ton) of people do this with weights in their hand but it is completely incorrect!!!

External rotation with the bands are fine but when it comes to using weights its pretty much useless.  The reason is that there is no force to oppose that movement, meaning you need to have resistance.  When you are holding weights in your hand the force of the weight (and gravity) is downward.  When you are doing this exercise, you are holding the weight in your hand then rotating in external rotation.  As a result, you are not activating the muscle within the rotator cuff and posterior shoulder girdle as effectively.

So what happens is people have to hold this weight in place (isometric hold) and they are mostly strengthening the forearm (grips) and bicep.  Yes, you may be getting a small amount of shoulder firing but its not a true shoulder or rotator cuff movement.  The rotator cuff is does rotation of the shoulder but the primary job is actually to hold the joint into a good position.  That is why you want a strong and stable muscles that are not undergoing imbalances.

The force you need to generate to get rotation (and the fact that there are no opposing forces) allows you to overly rotate and shear the rotator cuff, ligaments, and tendons within the shoulder which can then cause injury, damage to it.

If for some reason you are no doing damage to the joint then great… but the truth is you are NOT strengthening it so don’t expect to improve your rotator cuff strength or have muscle gains with this either! No wonder you are likely not getting the results you want or are continuing to have shoulder pain.

Strengthening a muscle requires resistance against a movement.  Weight (gravity) goes down, so you go up!  Want external rotation, well the weight then needs to be pulling inward.   Think about where your forces are before doing the movement and what you need to do to oppose or work against that movement.  Knowing this concept can help you avoid other improper movements and help you isolate other muscles.  You will be surprised the results you can get when you engage in proper joint mechanics and give the muscle complex the proper resistance.

Ep 324 – How To Recover From Intense Training

Ep 288 – How Training Injured Helped My BJJ Game (Jiu-Jitsu)


How Rolling/Training Jiu-Jitsu Injured Helped My Game

In Jiu-Jitsu and many athletic sports its not if you get injured but when.  Many of the athletes that I see range from active hobbiest to elite olympic level athletes and they both have the same thing in common… that is that they do not want to stop playing or competing in their activity.

Recently I suffered an injury to my hand and finger so when it comes to grabbing anything in the Gi, well, no deal.  So just like many other people, you have to improvise and accommodate to your situation rather than completely stop.

If you are reading this, then I am sure that you likely refuse to quit your sport or activity as well and I am here as athlete and professional to tell you that you DO NOT HAVE TO and you likely should not.

What you should do is modify you activity and activity intensity.  In jiu-jitsu, you may have to do that as well as the techniques.  In my case, I was able to develop better back takes (and I got my guard passed/turtle a lot), and predict movements over and over because I was getting in the same position over and over due to the injury and inability to attack/defend certain position.

Anyway, if you are suffering pain and an injury you should do a few things.  One, take care of it and go so a professional.  The faster you do, the more at ease you will be with it and you will likely have a plan to get better faster!  Second, modify your technique and activity rather if you need to so you can stay healthy and active while still building skills and treating the injury properly.

Foam Rolling – Fad or Fact?

In the last decade there has been a boom in the fitness industry in the form of “mobility training.” Within the mobility movement, there is an ever-increasing amount of people who understand that muscles, fascia, ligaments, and tendons make up a joint complex and therefore any restriction within these structures can result in a decrease in movement resulting in performance deficits and even pain.

This understanding has lead to techniques, and products that include movement drills, self myofascial release, various types of roller balls, straps bands, PVC pipes, mats, etc, that are geared toward increasing improving mobility and performance within the individual. I have even come across extremely heavy solid metal structures that look like scuba tanks. They are supposed to be laid on top of you and are to compress these soft tissue structures. Yes, I did try it and some of the metal pipe looking stuff was approximately 90 pounds. I swear I could’ve went to a construction site and found similar piping and just painted it. Anyway, within this market specifically, foam rollers have generated big business. They are virtually in every sporting goods business, gyms, and are even found an electronic stores like Best Buy.

What is Foam Rolling?

From rolling is a technique designed to compress or even mash structures. This technique is done to help increase flexibility, and decrease scar tissue by using your own weight and a circular foam roller. It’s basically a way of doing self-massage or self trigger point work using a compressive technique.

How does it work?

Just like deep massage therapy; deep compression to muscles can help restore normal blood flow, which is vital for healthy tissue. By breaking down scar tissue, and loosening tight muscles, you can restore the blood flow and increase flexibility within the joint.

What should I do?

When doing foam rolling, you should compress an area from mild to moderate pressure depending on your own skill for pain tolerance. If you find an area that is tender, obviously you may want to use a little less pressure. Also, avoid rolling over a bone! You will definitely know if you did it the wrong way.

Typical compression time should occur from 5 to 30 seconds. If necessary you may need to work the course of that muscle or even repeat that area. Many people mistake pain for good, therefore, the harder you go, the better. This is not true, and the ultimate goal of foam rolling or any myofascial release or mobility work is to increase movement and flexibility to the area so that the muscles are now supple and soft, rather than tight and tender.

Knowing which muscle or muscle group is not always obvious. If this is a case or your discomfort is not improving, then a proper evaluation is likely necessary.

Why does it hurt?

It is likely for an area of the body to have sore, sensitive, or even painful spots. These spots can indicate areas of dysfunction. In most cases, if you had a sore or painful area, it is likely that something within that muscle needs to be worked out. Just as a warning, you may have some soreness the following day.

What does the research say?

All this stuff may seem practical but what does the research actually say. In one study, they tested the difference between foam rollers and planking before athletic tests in order to determine performance. The results indicated that foam rolling and planking showed that there were no differences in performance. The study also indicated that post exercise fatigue was less in the group who did foam rolling which indicates that individuals can likely increase their workout time and volume and may lead to enhancements in performance in the future.

In this study, the use foam rolling was to help with delayed onset muscle soreness. (DOMS). You guessed it, the results indicated that the group who use the rollers have less soreness.

Another study indicated that foam rolling can help increase range of motion for a period of time without negatively affecting performance.

Final Thoughts

Foam rolling should be part of your routine. The research shows that it can help with range of motion, recovery, and will not negatively affect performance. . It can be used prior to exercise or as a form of recovery from an activity. This is a great inexpensive tool/therapy that can go a long way. If you are new to it, give it a try and if you have some experience with it, go ahead and create a solid routine. Remember, if you don’t get the results you are looking for then you may need to take a step back and re-evaluate.

Muscle Recovery, Performance and Ice. What You Should Do to Recover Faster

We all hear that you should ice after sustaining an injury, but does it really work?  What about icing after a workout?  For those of you who are interested in performance, can using ice help performance and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)?

The purpose of ice is to decrease or slow down the rate of inflammation, limit tissue hypoxia, decrease the temperature to the affected area, all while reducing the pain.

The real question is can it help for performance? YES, it can!

How Icing Post-exercise Can Improve Performance?

By icing the affected area post-workout, there is a better chance of recovery. A better recovery means that there is likely less soreness, fatigue, and damage to the muscle.

Think about the cumulative affect of it. If you are working out five days a week, and after each day you are sore, but keep using your muscles, a cumulative damage can occur. Things like strains, sprains, and tendonitis can start to set in and by then it may be too late before your performance is affected. Keep in mind that the smallest amount of deficits, can dramatically affect your performance. By adding ice (cryotherapy) post-workout, you can slow the damage, recovery better, and therefore you can likely train harder and/or with less damage. So you see, the better you recover, the better chances you have to train again and at a higher level.

What Kind of Icing Should I Do?

There are several types of “icing” and now that there is a new fancy way (whole-body cryotherapy), what is the best way to in order to maximally increase your performance?

A study done using ice massage, cold-water immersion therapy, and passive recovery was tested. The results showed that those who used the cryotherapy had lower values of lactate than passive recovery. It appeared that cold-water immersion was slightly more efficient than the ice massage with regard to decreasing the lactate. The study also showed a decrease in pain levels for those individuals 72 hours post-exercise.

Another study was to show the effects of cold-water immersion therapy on exercise performance. This was done using high intensity interval training sessions and providing the subjects with passive recovery, immediate cold-water immersion, and 3-hour post exercise cold water immersion.  The results were that cold-water immersion showed a benefit over passive recovery. More interestingly, the results of immediate post-exercise cold-water immersion therapy had been superior with regard to blood samples of the passive recovery but the 3-hour post exercise immersion group still showed a benefit.

Final Thoughts

If you are considering performance, sports, recovery, or just a desire for better health, you should consider using ice to help your recovery! We all don’t have the immediate access to cold-water immersion but using it when you have the time or opportunity can really help with recovery. If you are suffering from a localized injury, it may be better use ice massage but if you have generalized soreness or whole body soreness, cold-water immersion therapy may be your best option.  For more information on when to use ice or heat, click the link!