One of the best ways to shock your muscles into new growth is to force them to deal with a stress that they are not at all used to. The human body is literally an “adaptive machine”; if you continually perform the same exercises over and over again, you will eventually reach a plateau in size, even if you increase your strength. Utilizing unilateral exercises is a fantastic method for providing a unique stimulus to the muscles and nervous system, with the result being a heightened hypertrophy response. Some of the advantages of unilateral movements include:no comments no comments
Last week, we discussed the importance of stretching and the difference between static and dynamic forms. Now it is time to talk about foam rollers. Foam rollers and massage sticks help to stretch muscles and tendons, and breaks down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. Simple exercises that utilize your own body weight with a cylindrical foam roller allows you to perform a self-massage or myofascial release, breaks up trigger points, and soothes tight fascia. It also helps to stimulate blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues. This technique helps to soften and lengthen the fascia, resulting in the breakdown of scar tissue and adhesions between the skin, muscles and bone. This technique has been shown to relieve pain from many different injuries and syndromes in the body as well as improve flexibility and the range of motion for joints.
Using foam rollers for massage is an inexpensive method of achieving these benefits and to target specific injuries. The foam roller can target those sore and hard to reach areas in the privacy of your own home. They are also convenient for travel. Many gyms also stock these devices as they have become so popular. They cost between $20- $100 and can easily be found online.no comments no comments
Every runner should have a good coach. Someone to motivate you, get you out bed in the morning, share their passion for the sport of running. It makes a difference.
My coach, well he kind of marches to the beat of his own drum. Don’t get me wrong, he lives to run. He’s beside himself until we’re out the door in the morning. Pacing and panting, one eye on me, one eye on the door, you know just to make sure I don’t leave without him.
The one who gets me out of bed in the morning, who makes it his life work to ensure that we go for a run, is my dog Porter. Porter is a Black Lab Blue Heeler mix and was born to run.no comments no comments
Wednesday marked a month since bombs struck the Boston Marathon and despite the terror, it seems as though slowly but surely the city and the nation have started to heal. Through prayer, support, or runs in memoriam, the path to recovery has taken shape. And here in Oregon, home of Track Town USA and a population of outdoors enthusiasts, the run feels stronger than ever.
Three weeks ago, I wrote a piece encouraging the “run for Boston” and I was sure to follow my own advice. Last Saturday, after a quick three weeks of training, I ran in my first race. I headed home for Lake Oswego’s annual Lake Run to finish a 10k.
I have to admit that prior to the race, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a runner. My occasional weekly jogs consisted of completing two miles as quickly as I could. Learning how to pace myself and run for over 50 minutes was a foreign process. There were plenty of times during my hurried training that I thought I would be going home to humiliate myself. The runs fit in between class periods and work consisted of walking, erratic paces, and plenty of frustration.no comments no comments
Pulsating music, thousands of spectators, and approximately 10,000 runners.
To some, the Portland Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon scheduled to take place on Sunday sounds like a runner’s dream. To others, it’s an overwhelming scene they would rather avoid.
For those runners sitting out the Portland Rock ‘n’ Roll this weekend and longing for a more intimate event, they are in luck. The four races below offer a less frenzied atmosphere, and often carry a smaller price tag too. But plan ahead and sign up early — while it might not seem like it this weekend, other runners realize the beauty of the small races and the limited spots will go fast.no comments no comments
I’m in love with yoga. I’ll admit it, I’m biased. I adore standing on my head. I have a complete crush on backbends. I tend to stand in tree pose and at any given moment, you can find me sitting in the lotus position or attempting bakasana. Adho mukha svanasana? Don’t mind if I do. Vrschikasana has been my own personal challenge pose since January. Confused yet? Oh, well you must be new to yoga. Welcome!
The physical and mental benefits of yoga are numerous and can be life-changing. I’m not going to try to convince you of those, however; not yet, at least. The first step to believing is trying it yourself. If you’re one of the many who claim to “not be able to do yoga” but find yourself in a yoga class, the following five tips may help your yoga experience to be a little less stress and a touch more Zen.no comments no comments
As someone that has been in the gym regularly for the past 20 years as a bodybuilder, trainer, club owner and also an “observer”, it truly surprises me how few trainees take advantage of the many varied angles, grips and planes of motion we have at our disposal to target our muscles. One of the fastest routes to stagnation, when it comes to hypertrophy (muscle growth), is to continually to do the same things over and over again. This may not occur in the very beginning, but after you have been toiling away in the gym for a few years, believe me when I tell you that your muscles and nervous system will become quite resilient at not responding to the exercises you expose them to. So, does this mean you have to constantly switch movements at every workout in order to continue to make progress? Not necessarily. By simply changing your grip, torso angle, and/or plane of motion you can use the same basic exercises while actually altering motor unit recruitment patterns entirely. So, in a sense, to both your muscles and central nervous system, it will seem like you are doing a totally different movement, and thus the stimulus they receive will then be unique (and more productive). Here are some simple examples of how you can make just one exercise seem like three to your body:no comments no comments
My column last week covered the proper use and benefits of ice and heat. Today, I am going to talk a little about stretching, what it does, why it is important, and list some basic stretches you can add into your routine. First things first. Contrary to popular belief, it is now suggested that STATIC stretching should not occur after warming up. DYNAMIC stretching is encouraged prior to exercise and can help to reduce the risk of injury. This is a significant change from the way it was when I was growing up as a young athlete. Stretching HAS BEEN proven to increase range of motion and circulation, improve flexibility, provide more energy, help to quiet the mind (think of what happens when you do Yoga for example), and possibly even assist women with making menstrual periods more tenable and regular. I find myself more energized, invigorated, centered, and grounded. After an intense workout, stretching helps me to cool down and be more in my body. I also use a re-bounder, which helps to circulate fluid around the lymphatic system. If you don’t have a re-bounder, try using a mini-trampoline.no comments no comments
Running has long been a passion of mine. My freshman year of high school, I ran cross country for the Panthers of Plymouth Comprehensive High School in Plymouth, Wisconsin. That may have been the beginning of my running career, but it wasn’t necessarily what excited me about the sport.
Cross country races were just over three miles and in practice, we typically ran three to five miles. All of which seemed to be a bit extreme to me. I remember my first race; it was at New Holstein High School. The starting gun sounded and everyone began to sprint. This was a complete surprise to me. After all, three miles seemed like an eternity and although I willingly joined the team, I could not understand why anyone would intentionally do something so painful. My perception of distance was obviously unsophisticated.
I did not go out for the cross country team my sophomore year. And I definitely did not run anything close to three miles or more until many years later. I was more likely to utter phrases like, “I don’t run unless I’m being chased.”no comments no comments
My first big race, a half-marathon, was many strides short of a perfect event.
I realized this recently while chatting with a friend, who also shared her first race experience. We laughed as we recalled our preparation mistakes, but I shuddered remembering some of my choices. I ate two energy gels before the race and another two during it, a decision that my stomach didn’t … well, stomach well. My friend shook her head about her decision to wear a cotton t-shirt on a hot day and carry an enormous water bottle on a course filled with aid stations.
The mistakes were endless, and of course glaringly obvious, now that we have a few years and races under the waistbands of our running shorts. But as many new runners head out this racing season for their first race, below are a few race day tips — some that I wish had been shared with me. Happy running.no comments no comments