I can’t tell you how many times I have seen athletes in a random gym, no older than 14, trying to perfect a hang clean, or jerk, or snatch. Of course, their forms are egregious, but that doesn’t matter to them. All that matters is getting the weight up, by any means necessary. There is no such thing as grated pride, the only reward is if they can overcome the external load; the only failure is if they cannot overcome the external load. And the most alarming thing about these situations is that athletes are only performing these complicated movements because their strength coaches have implemented them into their programming.
What’s the Big Deal?
Olympic lifts are very complex movements, and personally, I am not a proponent of implementing them into my programming UNLESS athletes can properly grasp the movement, which in my five years of being in this profession is a rarity.
Please, do not take what I said the wrong way. I am not condemning Olympic movements; however, what I am saying is that if athletes cannot perform them, because of their complexity, why should they do them. If an athlete does not have the shoulder stability to perform a snatch or a jerk, or have the flexibility in the wrist to perform a hang clean, why should he/she do it? It would be foolish to subject an athlete to harm, no?
You ever stop to wonder why Olympic lifts are so functional to athletic training…one word: triple extension. It is the synchronization of the ankle, knee, and hip that makes a vertical jump in basketball, a block or tackle in football, or an explosive first step at the sound of the gun in track possible.
(In this position, the athlete is pressing through the floor with the balls of their feet and forcefully pushing their ankles into plantar flexion.)
(Because the ankle is in plantar flexion the quads with extend the knee into knee extension.)
(Because the knees are in extension, the hips will follow suit and roll forward to extension, and if you look closely, you can see that the glute max has been activated.)
Olympics lifts will force athletes to explosively move heavy loads in a pushing or a pressing motion, but never should these loads put athletes in untenable positions. Safety is the number 1 priority. I beg strength coaches across the country to modify Olympic movements when working with athletes because they are not Olympic lifters, nor do they aspire to be (normally). Strength coaches should keep the goal in mind: triple extension, when implementing Olympic lifts. If athletes cannot perfect the loaded movements above their heads, they should not feel discouraged because true athleticism starts from the waist down. And if you want to talk functionality, I can’t name a major American sport where athletes are asked to stabilize over 100lbs over their head…
So, remember, athletes and strength coaches, do not get too stressed over the things that happen above the waist, as athleticism starts from the waist down. Check out our video on triple extension.
And remember, to Engage, Transform and Inspire someone.
Who am I?
My name is… and I am the most essential natural element, there is no debate. Without me there can be no growth; without me there can be no life, without me there can be no world. Without me…you get the gist. I am the “it,” the chassis of the planet orbiting the red fire ball. I am consumed in abundace by plants. I am their nutrients. You even feed them me when their leaves go awry. They crave for me to lubricate their veins and resuscitate life. If I am good enough for plants, why am I not good enough for you?
Who am I?
My name is… and I am the most essential natural element, there is no debate. I prevent animals from overheating. I assist in their energy production. A bulk of all animal cells are comprised of me. Without me, there would be no digestion. Without me there could be no digestion. I make their saliva and mucus. I make sure their foods are the perfect texture before passing it down their esophagus and into their stomach. I flow deep through their sinews. I lubricate their joints. I hydrate the fastest animals on the planet before and after meals. How else are they able to catch impalas? If I am good enough for animals, why am I not good enough for you?
Who am I?
My name is… and I am the most essential natural element, there is no debate. I make up 60% of you. I deliver oxygen throughout the body; the blood flowing through your body is 90% me. I regulate your body temperature. I remove the waste from your body; pick an outlet; whatever, it’s me. When I am consumed, I can quench thirst and sate hunger. I help in weight loss, and I am hangover’s antidote. I am good enough for plants. I am good enough for animals. My name is WATER. Why am I not good enough for you?
You know by now the many benefits to exercising. Exercising helps with weight loss. Exercise can staunch the hidden fat on the sides of your waist—the love handles that would be so apparent had you not got off your couch three times this week. Exercising makes you feel good and youthful. Exercising can help get the guy or girl you always wanted. True, True, and True. But what does exercising really do? I mean, how does running, or jumping or lifting drastically affect the body? What happens autonomically within the body that we can’t see?
Without getting too sciencee, whenever you eat a meal, the body absorbs all of the nutrients (energy) from particular foods that it needs to replenish what was lost and uses that energy to carry out daily activities throughout the day, whether it be exercise intensive or involuntary like food digestion, which according to certain studies requires approximately 10% of your daily energy expenditure. Crazy, right! I know, your body is insane. But what is even more insane is how your body stores excess calories as fat. This storage is equivalent to the savings account you have at your primary bank. As you store money in your savings account for a rainy day, the body stores fat inside of fat cells for a day of need. These fats are called triglycerides. If you retain more calories than you burn, your triglyceride levels will be high, and if you burn more calories than you retain, your triglyceride levels will be low.
High triglycerides can lead to heart diseases, metabolic deficiencies and stroke.
Similarly, high levels of bad cholesterol, lipoproteins (LDL), can affect the body in the same way. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is essential to maintaining key parts of cells (found in every cell membrane in the body) and making hormones like testosterone and estrogen. And lipoproteins are the transporter of cholesterol. When LDL levels are too high, they tend to clump the linings of blood vessels, which can induce heart failure.
So, what did we learn: Triglycerides are the fat stored inside of cells composed of cholesterol. LDLs transport cholesterol throughout the body, functioning as transporters. And when LDL levels are too high, they can clog blood vessels and induce heart failure, similarly, high levels of triglycerides can do the same.
Solution: Exercise, the eight letter word that staunches the hidden fat on the sides of your waist, makes you feel good and youthful, and can get you the guy or girl you wanted, can SAVE YOUR LIFE!
Seems too good to be true, right? But it’s not. The best way to improve performance in the gym, on the field, or in life is free: 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Simple, yet only 60% of Americans are getting the minimum 7 hours. From hectic work schedules, to late night homework after practice or workouts, sleep seems to be the last priority of our nightly routine.
The negative effects on the body from sleep deprivation range from the central nervous system to the endocrine system. The immune, respiratory, digestive, and cardiovascular systems decrease in performance with lack of sleep as well. However, your brain may be the biggest “loser” from staying up too late. For example, during deep sleep (stage 3) your brain “reviews” the memories and things you learned during the past day, organizing and cementing them to become long-term memories. Simply put, more sleep = better memories and increased learning!
These negative affects carry over to the field/court/track as well. One study done on 24-year-old healthy males showed a 10-15% decrease in testosterone production after just 8 nights of getting less than 5 hours of sleep. Another study done on 10 males showed that aerobic performance decreased 11.8% after just ONE night of no sleep, and a 4.1% decrease after one night of 4 hours of sleep. Add that to the list of other negative effects, and performance suffers tremendously.
Sleep experts suggest a cold, pitch-dark room to get your best sleep in. Putting electronics away an hour before bedtime is another way to guarantee you falling asleep faster than ever. Electronics emit blue light, which in turn sends signals to our brain to stay awake and alert. As it gets darker earlier, try to start making sleep a priority. Whatever you have to do, get your sleep!
Three platters are not enough; three platters are never enough for a day of feasting. Three slices of cake are not enough; three slices of cake are never enough for Christmas. Three bottles of wine are not enough; three bottles of wine are never enough for New Years.
Despite what you may have heard, the average person does not gain 10 pounds over the holidays, in reality, the number is more like 1-2 pounds. But don’t celebrate with confetti and jump for joy just yet. These subtle increases in weight can be dangerous. Do the math: 2 x 5 =10. That is 10 pounds added in 5 years, and that’s not including the other ten months of the year. So, maybe it wouldn’t be wise to eat whatever you laid your eyes on, and maybe it would be wise to act as if the myths—the average person gains 10 pounds—were true.
So, this leads me to my question, how can the compound poundage be avoided?
- Stick to your New Year’s resolution. Every gym is packed the second day of the first month of the year, and it seems like every gym is vacant before the second day of the third month of the year. If compound poundage is a concern, please stay consistent. Even if the “meat head” dropping the weight and snorting pre-workout appears a little intimidating; even if maneuvering through the gym can feel like an avalanche, do something. Run on the treadmill; walk on the treadmill, remember, doing something is better than nothing. Stick to it!
- Eat slower, this is probably my favorite one. The best thing about eating slower is that it gives your body time to recognize that it is full. It takes approximately twenty minutes from the beginning of a meal for the brain to send out signals of satiety. Leptin, the satiety hormone, inhibits hunger and is the reason why the cake at the dinner table looks so unappealing after 40 minutes of munching.
- Always keep a cup of water in close proximity. If it’s a safe ploy for restaurants to use to keep customers full, why not use it? Water is the most healthy appetite suppressant. So consume in abundance, no need to worry about getting fat—yes, ladies, no need to worry about getting fat. If struggling to compress that appetite, grab a bottle of water.
Keep these valuable tips in mind throughout the holidays, and most importantly, enjoy your family and friends.
Engage, Transform, Inspire!
Unless you been living under a literal rock for the past 20 years, you are probably aware there is an obesity epidemic in the United States of America. Health costs are soaring, obesity-related diseases are on the rise, and even our children are affected.
According to the most recent studies, the U.S. spends a ridiculous $190.2 BILLION per year on obesity related illnesses – a full 21% of all medical spending in the US. Child obesity accounts for 14 billion per year. The trend, alarmingly, is not slowing down. if things continue as they are, the expected outlay for medical expenses with be $549.5 billion. Being obese or morbidly obese is just the tip of the iceberg though! We have sacrificed our health for convenience. At this point, more than 50% of adults are overweight. More than half.
So what is the answer?
The same answer we always give: Eat right and exercise. That’s literally it! It may takes some time, but it works.
If you are lost and need help, come join us at Fitness 4 All – every new member gets a free assessment with a personal trainer that will guide you through nutrition, your strengths and weaknesses, and the things you can do to transform your life for the better.
As part of its 160-year mission to improve the health and overall well-being of the communities it serves, Mercy is pleased to announce a unique new partnership between its Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Program and Fitness 4 All, a local organization focused on taking athletes and teams to the next level by providing sport-specific strength training and conditioning services for every type of athlete.