View last week’s edition of ‘Featured Fitness Content’ here.
Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning
Interview with Lee Taft on Coaching Agility, Speed and Athletic Movement By Joel Smith with Lee Taft
Why I Don’t Like Scap Push-ups By Eric Cressey
Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health
How Much Cardio Do You Need To Get Ripped For Summer? By Sean Hyson via Onnit Academy
A Really Bad Long Term Strategy for Weight Loss By Mike Roussell
Doctors should emphasize exercise, not weight loss By Buddy Touchinsky
Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding
8 Mobility Moves For Better Squatting, Pressing, and Pulling By Mark DiSalvo via Onnit Academy
7 Tips for a Bigger Bench By Bret Contreras
3 Ways to Reduce Stress and Improve Recovery During Your Next Workout By Harold Gibbons via Mark Fisher Fitness
Motivation, Business, and Success
5 Powerful Life Lessons From the Book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss By Liam Seed via Addicted 2 Success
How To *Not* Be A Spineless Leader By Tim Denning via Addicted 2 Success
How to Build a Fitness Practice that Brings You Joy By Elizabeth Stacey via Mark Fisher Fitness
Waking up to life By Kim Lloyd
Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention
6 Hip Mobility Drills Everyone Should Perform By Mike Reinold
[VIDEO] Communicating with Docs, PTs working as Strength Coaches & Essential Reading for Students With Mike Reinold
Stretching Isn’t Bullshit By Jasper De Coninck via Dean Somerset
Fact check: Is boxed macaroni and cheese actually toxic? By Kamal Patel via Examine
Ruthless Performance Coaches’ Content
Why Do We Need Fats in Our Diet? By Jesse Rodriguez
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Late last month, I was invited to provide an in-service presentation for CrossFit Fluid and Fearless Barbell in Deer Lake, PA. The presentation was based around “Movement Correction for Health & Long-Term Athletic Development”–a topic that I’m rather passionate about, which led to a much longer than anticipated presentation and group discussion.
This is a widely-encompassing topic and lecture, which went off in various directions. But below are some of the talking points that had the best feedback and sparked the most interest.
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Tonic Muscles vs. Phasic Muscles
The idea of tonic and phasic muscles is not one that many deal with on a day-to-day basis. But because I was presenting for a CrossFit staff, the was much more applicable than usual.
In this breakdown, rather than considering muscles as fast twitch, slow twitch, type I or type II, muscles are grouped as tonic or phasic. Tonic muscles are those which have an evolutionary basis in maintaining support, or muscle tone, whereas phasic muscles have a basis in locomotion or movement.
Again, this idea has some significance in CrossFit because of the nature of the exercises and activities therein. For example, throughout a set of high-rep snatches, the phasic muscles (which should be primary movers in this exercise) quickly become fatigued. The tonic muscles are then relied on for completion of the exercise bout. Over time, this creates reliance on the tonic muscles (which are prone to tightness), while the phasic muscles (which are prone to weakness) become less and less active.
To ensure patterns of misuse don’t become long-term, activation of the phasic muscles and the release of the tonic muscles are both necessary. Consider the hip extensors; a phasic hip extensor would be the gluteal muscles, while the hamstrings and spinal erectors are tonic. In this case, we would need to implement myofascial release on these tonic muscles, while activating the gluteal musculature with various exercises and drills.
Mobility is Flexibility
The fitness world has gone to an extreme with some of its terminology. One such instance is the idea of mobility. Coaches will frequently say that they enjoy implementing mobility drills, but do not concern themselves with stretches because of the noted decrements to performance. While these coaches may have the right idea, this separation of terminology is not entirely accurate.
Flexibility is an umbrella category that mobility falls under. Rather than suggesting that static stretching (which creates passive flexibility) leads to these noted decrements to performance, these coaches vilify the broader and more general terms of stretching and mobility.
Stability is Multifaceted
Beyond some intricacies with terminology, the idea of mobility is much more simplistic than the idea of stability. This is, in part, due to the various types of stability within the body, as well as role that the central nervous system plays in creating stability .
Since the joints within the body largely alternate between providing mobility and stability, the mechanisms for stability at each junction alternate as well. While stable joints will inherently provide stability, mobile joints must be stabilized by the surrounding musculature.
If this musculature is weakened, the chance of pain, injury, or asymmetry is very likely. The fix for this requires the aforementioned muscular activation.
Lifestyle Modification for Optimal Health
When trying to improve a client’s health or fitness, frequently coaches look at existing workout protocols, and how they can optimize a program to better suit the client, but this is only a small piece of the fitness puzzle.
Exercise likely doesn’t take up any more than 2 hours a day. With off days in addition to the likelihood of exercise bouts being much shorter than two hours, we are left with a great deal more time out of the gym than in it.
To best improve a client’s health and fitness, we need to consider an approach than is going to be fully-encompassing, rather than limited to 1-2 hours per day. This idea means creating better daily habits, postures, diets, and so on.
The idea of changing these patterns falls within the psychological realm and within the idea of behavior modification. To best change someone’s diet, resting postures, etc., it is best to have an extended plan, implementing 1-2 changes at a time for several weeks, before compounding these newly formed habits with additional changes.
The fields of health and fitness are truly multi-disciplined. To best understand this topic, fitness professionals must continuously develop and maintain an extensive intellectual background on topics that may seem outside of practice, utility, and convention.