VooDoo Floss Compression Bands : Say bye-bye to aches & pains AND say hello to super-fast workout recovery

Every year, we spend approximately a bazillion dollars on all manner of treatments for pain in our necks, backs, feet, shoulders, etc.

Sadly, most of that pain is due to inactivity, poor posture, sitting too long in front of tvs & computer screens, poor training form, etc.

If only there was a way to quickly and inexpensively eliminate those aches and pains?

VooDoo Floss Bands

Way back in 2011, I saw the following Youtube video (with Dr. Kelly Starrett and uber-strong man Donny Thompson) highlighting the use of DISTRACTION and COMPRESSION to help repair shoulder dysfunction…which I happened to be suffering from at the time.

The very next day, I…

  1. Ordered a pair of compression bands, and
  2. Started rehabbing my bad shoulder with the distraction technique.

After 6 days…

  1. My shoulder felt a LOT more stable and was noticeably less painful. I had also resumed resistance training with my focus on rehab.
  2. The compression bands arrived in the mail.

After 2 days of compression & distraction rehab…I was able to press an 80 lb dumbbell overhead with ZERO pain in my formerly-bad shoulder.

In another week, my shoulder felt better than it had in a long, long, long time.

In the 5 years since then…Crossfit exploded in popularity…helping Dr. Starrett become THE mobility  & athletic performance guru…and compression bands became very popular amongst weightlifters, crossfitters, powerlifters AND physiotherapists.

Fast forward to today…and it’s just about time for compression bands (and associated rehabilitation techniques like Donnie Thompson’s distraction technique) to enter the mainstream.

Instead of spending big bucks on massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture, etc, it’s time for “normal” people to take advantage of this amazing rehab technique and…

For $65, you will be getting the knowledge and the gear required to keep your joints healthy, strong and pain-free.

And if you don’t want to drop the extra $$$ on Kelly’s book, I have sourced the best “how-to-use-compression bands-to-fix-my-busted-up-body” videos from the Youtubes. They are organized by joint/bodypart.

Note: If you follow the above links (and make a purchase), Rogue fitness will give me 5% of the purchase price as a finder’s fee. It won’t cost you any extra and the dough will go straight into my daughter’s education fund.

If you have any questions about the rehab techniques, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or Facebook

Wrist / Forearms

Elbow

 

Shoulder

 

 

Hip / Thigh

Knee

 

Calves

Ankle

Feet

 

 

oscillation training fitness exercise healthhabits

Oscillation Training – Get Stronger, Get Fitter, Get Healthier

A couple of years ago I wrote an article entitled Increase Your Bench Press…thanks to Koji Murofushi.

In that article, I introduced you to oscillation training and how you can use this training method to:

  • rehab injuries,
  • prevent injuries,
  • improve muscle imbalances,
  • thereby increasing strength,
  • and agility,
  • and speed,
  • and power

Since then, I have read numerous studies looking at the effectiveness of weightlifting with:

  1. Stable loads on unstable surfaces – ie Barbell squats on Bosu, foam mats, Swiss ball, etc
  2. Unstable loads on stable surfaces – ie Dumbbells, kettlebells on floor, benches

My unofficial meta-analysis of these studies shows that:

  • Stable loads on stable surfaces allows for maximum force production of the prime mover muscles.
  • Unstable loads (DBs, KBs) on stable surfaces reduces force production in the prime movers (agonists) by a negligible amount while producing a similarly tiny increase in synergists & core muscles.
  • Unstable loads on unstable surfaces (Bosu, Swiss ball, foam mat) further reduces force production in the prime movers while ever so slightly increasing force production of synergists & core muscles.

There have also been numerous studies which postulate that training with unstable loads on stable & unstable surfaces will eventually lead to increases in muscular strength & power as muscle imbalances are corrected, core strength improves and all muscles involved in athletic movements – agonists, antagonists & synergists – are trained to work together more effectively.

And now for the new research:

In this latest study, researchers tested the effectiveness of oscillation training via a series of parallel back squats with an unstable load (weights suspended from the bar by an elastic band)

oscillation_training_overhead_squat
Couldn’t find a good back squat with hanging bells video to create a gif 😦

The Study:

  • Fifteen resistance-trained males completed ten repetitions of the back squat with 60% of their one repetition maximum in both stable and unstable conditions.
  • Peak vertical ground reaction force and the integrated muscle activity of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medius, biceps femoris, soleus, rectus abdominis, external oblique, and erector spinae muscles on the right side of the body were determined.

Results

  • The unstable load resulted in a small (3.9%), but significant decrease in peak vertical ground reaction force. This makes sense considering the previous research on unstable loads.
  • The unstable load also produced noticeably greater muscle activation in the rectus abdominus, external oblique, and soleus.

This may turn out to be highly significant – where previous studies on trained individuals found that DBs or KBs or vibration platforms or Bosus or Swiss balls produced small increases in muscle activation in these “helper” muscles, the use of oscillation training was much more powerful.

Oscillation training may actually turn out to be a really useful tool for athletes and wanna-be athletes.

What does this mean to you?

If you are one of the following trainees, systemic use of oscillation training may be just what you need:

  • Someone stuck at a strength/size/power/speed plateau
  • Someone with sore shoulders or knees or back or…
  • Someone who plays a sport
  • Someone who finds their body is feeling “older”
  • Someone who has poor posture
  • Someone who wants the health benefits of yoga and/or pilates bust hates yoga and/or pilates
  • Someone who want to be as fit as they can possibly be
  • Someone who just started doing Crossfit and doesn’t want to destroy their shoulders
  • Someone with a big gut
  • Someone who wants to maximize the health benefits of weightlifting without getting “too big” or spending too much time.

How to incorporate Oscillation Training into your program?

  1. Start small. This is supplemental work, meant to make the rest of your program work better.
  2. Don’t do oscillate before doing big compound lifts using the same muscle groups/movements. You don’t want to wear out your assistance muscles prior to needing their help on a big compound lift.
  3. You can do oscillation work after doing big compound work, or
  4. Do oscillation work on off-days – rest days or days where other movements / muscle groups are being worked.
  5. You don’t “need” a fancy bamboo bar. It’s nice to have, but you can just hang plates off the ends of normal barbells with a good set of Jump-Stretch style bands.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on social media 🙂

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3 Pieces of Fitness Gear that You Need to Buy Right Now!!!!

Back in the olden days, human beings performed manual labor every day. They walked, ran, lifted, carried, dragged, pulled and pushed. Today, most of us spend our days sitting, typing, reading, talking and googling.

As a result, modern humans are fatter, weaker and sicklier than our ancestors. And while some of us are okay with this side-effect of our modern society, a growing percentage of the population isn’t. After leaving their physically inactive jobs for the day, they head over to the gym and spend a big chunk of their free time trying to get stronger, leaner and healthier.

Unfortunately, most of those people start their fitness journey with no idea how they should go about getting stronger, leaner and healthier…and thus fall prey to the marketing promises of the fitness / weight loss industry….a multi-billion dollar business sector that relies on hype and promises…pumping hundreds of new books, dvds, pills, potions and pieces of fitness gear onto the market every year…promising amazing physical transformations…

fat-to-fitt

…and unfortunately, most of this fitness gear is crap.

Luckily for us, amongst all that health & fitness detrius, there are always a few products that…

  • Do what they promise
  • Are worth much more than their purchase price
  • Deserve all the social media love that we can shower upon them.

Here are three of those products

1.  GLOBE GRIPZ

globe grips grip strength

For my personal training clients, Globe Gripz do two important things.

  1. They makes their hands stronger..which allows them to make the rest of their body stronger.
  2. They magically eliminate shoulder joint impingements…eliminating pain, preventing injury and allowing us to reverse decades-old structural issues.

How?

  1. The increased diameter of the Globe Gripz forces your hands to work harder to hold onto the implement – dumbbell, barbell, kettlebells, band, chin-up bar, etc. The increased workload leads to increased muscular strength in forearm, hand, finger strength.
  2. The baseball shape of the Globe Gripz allows my clients to use a neutral grip (see middle image) which reduces the strain, impingement and chance of injury on their elbow and shoulder joints.

It’s a really simple piece of fitness equipment and for less than the price of a single physical therapy session, I have seen my single pair of Globe Gripz help a whole bunch of clients get rid of sore shoulders while make significant gains in grip and overall upper-body strength. They’re a must-buy.

2. BECOMING A SUPPLE LEOPARD

For the past 27 years, I have lifted heavy things, sprinted up hills, jumped over obstacles and bashed into trees, fences and other human beings. And as a result of my somewhat insane behaviour, I have developed more than a few aches and pains. And up until about two years ago, I spent a fair amount of cash on physical therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, massage therapists, etc, to help minimize those aches and pains.

But since I discovered Kelly Starrett and his MobilityWOD videos, I spend a lot more time fixing my own aches and pains and a lot less money having someone else to do it for me.

Imagine my surprise when I heard rumours that Kelly was working on a book that would take all that video goodness and re-assemble it into book form…complete with an index chapters dedicated to specific injuries/treatments along with step-by-step pictures showing how to perform all of his painful yet awesome rehabilitation exercises.

I was totally geeked. Unfortunately, those rumours started about a year ago and the book was only released on April 23.

Since April 23, I have read the book at least 10 times. Seriously.

If you have aches and pains..or if you exercise on a regular basis..or if you are aging like the rest of us..or you want to be fitter/healthier..or you know someone who fits this description…

BUY THIS BOOK  and save a TON of money on physio, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc….

3. YOGA TUNE UP

yoga-tune-up

Jill Miller and her Yoga Tune Up program was introduced to me when Kelly Starrett  featured her in a few of his MobilityWOD videos. In particular, it was this video on diaphragm mechanics that really captured my attention.

Such a simple movement…with a truly powerful impact on the type of aches and pains that sitting in a chair inflicts upon all of us.

After seeing this video, I contacted Jill via Twitter and asked if she would be willing to send me a bunch of Yoga Tune Up stuff with the promise that if I loved it, I would write up a review article. She said yes…and sent me a bunch of videos and therapy balls. And for the past month or so, I have been beta-testing the videos.

The verdict?

Everyone who has tried these videos more than three times has raved about them…me included. And this is coming from a guy who hates, hates, hates yoga classes.

        

Jill’s program is a weird and wonderful combination of yoga, calisthenics, corrective exercise, movement techniques and body therapy….designed to repair damaged muscle tissue, increase overall strength, create balance, increase flexibility, improve coordination, reduce stress and bolster the immune system.

And while I can’t comment on the immune system boosting, I sure as heck can confirm that doing Jill’s dvds 3 x per week will loosen up your knots, reduce that pain in your neck/back and have you moving, standing and sitting in weirdly graceful manner. I will continue to use her dvds and therapy balls and have recommended them to all of my clients.

Like Kelly Starrett and the folks at Globe Gripz, Jill has put together a unique program that produces massive results with a minimal time and financial commitment…..unlike all of those D-Bags who sell crappy fitness gear on late-night infomercials.

Training Around A Chronic Injury

When I was a young(er) man, I played sports just about every day…hit the weight room just about every day…went running just about every day…and felt great all the time. Even after having reconstructive surgery on both knees (thank you football), I was right back at it…eventually getting strong enough to squat 760 lbs and fit enough to go running with the gazelles.

Fast forward to today…and I am constantly modifying workouts to help me and my clients…

  1. Get as fit as possible…
  2. While training around a variety of chronic injuries.

For example, this morning, I was chatting with someone on Twitter who tore their hip labrum back in 2009 and is now dealing with grade 4 arthritis in the joint…OUCH.

hip-labrum

 

They were wondering how they would be able to keep up their squat workouts…and not be in excruciating pain from their chronic injury.

Here’s my advice:

  • Find the best orthopedist / physio that you can and make sure that the joint is healthy. Dealing with the arthritis is bad enough without worrying about re-tearing the labrum.
  • Noteher labrum is fine…but if it wasn’t, we would need to focus exclusively on maximizing hip range of motion while improving hip strength and stability. I would work with her physio to specify which exercise movements work best with her specific injury.
  • Since the labrum is in good shape, we don’t need to focus on specific rehab exercises, however I still want her to focus her leg training on minimizing the impact of her chronic injury by improving…
  1. Range of motion – with daily muscle flexibility (stretching) & joint mobility (myo-fascial work)
  2. Hip strength –  by using a variety of hip extension exercises based on Bret Contrera’s hip thrust model.

NOTE: The 2-legged barbell version is not the only way to perform this movement – if we use 1 leg instead of 2, we introduce all sorts of instability to the working hip and challenge it from all sorts of new angles…very effective. We can also perform this exercise standing using a cable stack or heaving rubber-strength band as resistance. This version of the movement brings increased focus on the core and helps improve hip function for squats, lunges, etc…

As her hip became stronger, I would re-introduce squatting while teaching her how to modify her squatting form to shift the load from hips to knees and vice versa. We would do a variety of different squat versions to generate a more thorough development of the muscles around her hips. Odds are her good hip is significantly stronger & more muscular than her damaged hip. We want to minimize that difference asap.

What does this have to do with you???

We all get older. And as we get older, almost unnoticeable acute injuries from our youth often reappear as chronic injuries. And while this fact of life sucks big-time, it’s something we’re going to have to deal with…whether we want to or not.

And like our friend with the torn labrum, you’re going to need to put on your thinking cap and start looking for ways to keep minor aches and pains from becoming major aches and pains.

Train smarter…not harder.

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9 Ways to Make Your Workouts Super Awesome

1.  Reduce Rest between Sets

Reducing rest between sets will:

  • improve your anaerobic endurance,
  • allow you to do more work in a shorter period of time,
  • increase your EPOC
  • and force you to burn fat faster.

Unless you’re trying to get huge, cutting your rest periods to 30 seconds or less is a great thing to do.

skinny exercise weightlifter

2.  Start doing some Unilateral Training

Working one limb at a time is a great way to correct muscle imbalances, turn a bench press into a core exercise and get you stronger with less strain on your joints

See the 1 Arm Shoulder Press & 1 Leg Squat in this article

3.  Get Serious about Peri-Workout Nutrition

3 meals a day isn’t going to cut it if you want to get the best results from your workouts.

To maximize performance, recovery & fat loss, you need to get smart about what you eat and when you eat it.

This article goes into lots of detail about Peri-Workout Nutrition

4.  Improve your Joint Mobility

Most gym-goers barely find time to stretch their muscles.

Almost none of them try to mobilize tight or impinged joints.

And that’s too bad. Because I bet 9 out of 10 people at your gym have at least one bad joint that could be magically healed with a proper joint mobility program.

Kelly Starrett is my favorite guru when it comes to joint mobility

5.  Buy a Foam Roller

Seriously…buy a foam roller. Your muscles and your bank account will thank you

Lately, I have been using a Rumble Roller. It’s softer than my previous roller, but those knobs really do the trick on my IT bands and tight hip muscles.

rumble foam roller

As well, one of my clients used it on her tight trap muscles to help eliminate tension headaches.

Next PageTips 6 – 9…

A Solution for Skinny – Fat Runner Syndrome

In spite of two major knee reconstructions, I love running long distances.

Even though I am built like an hypermuscled Clydesdale, I still love throwing on a pair of shoes, hitting the trails and watching the world slow down as I ground out the miles. Aside from the numerous health & fitness benefits, I love how I “feel” when I run.

So, I can understand why a LOT of runners:

  • Focus exclusively on running
  • Ignore the other components of physical fitness
  • Allow muscle mass to waste away
  • And end up with a Skinny-Fat body

But…it doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible for long distance runners to hold onto a decent amount of muscle mass and avoid looking like a anorexic Hollywood actress

Here’s how.

Nutrition

  • The Paleo Diet should form the base of your eating plan. The high nutritient : calorie ratio makes it the best choice for repairing muscular damage brought on by your workouts.
  • Fish oil and a quality green food are two base supplements that I recommend to all clients – runners or not.
  • While Paleo is your best choice throughout the day, when it comes to your pre & peri-workout nutrition, Paleo carbs (except for fruit juice) aren’t going to work. Too much fiber, slow digestion, full belly. Not good when you’re running for miles & miles.
  • What you need is Sugar and BCAAs before, during & after each work – cardio & resistance.
  • Buying tip – My favorite BCCA supplements are Scivation XTEND and Biotest Surge Workout Fuel.
  • Supplement daily with Creatine. Improved ATP storage. Improved muscle cell hydration. Better looking muscles. What else do you want?
  • Buying tip – Choose a micronized creatine powder from a reputable brand

Training

Here’s where we stimulate muscle growth.

And we’re going to use either of these two programs to do that.

But, we’re going to make some modifications:

  1. You’re going to do a maximum of two weightlifting workouts per week. You pick which bodyparts you want to work on.
  2. You’re not going to do the leg workouts during your running season.

I have tried to have clients do both and it almost never works. Without a pile of performance enhancing drugs, your legs won’t recover from the combination of weight lifting & running.

Post Workout Recovery Techniques

  • Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake
  • Hot/Cold Contrast Showers
  • Fish Oils
  • Meditation / Sleep
  • Epsom Salt Baths
  • Ice
  • Massage
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic / Acupuncture
  • Traumeel

Sleep

GET 8 HOURS SLEEP!!!!

And consider switching to a “barefoot” running technique

Ever since I switched to…

  1. running in barefoot / minimalist shoes and
  2. landing on my forefoot / midfoot instead of using the standard “heel-toe” running gait

…my knee pain & shin splints have disappeared.

Well, there you go.

A solution for Skinny-Fat Runner Syndrome.

Follow the plan and within no time, you’ll be a lean-muscular runner.

 

 

Exercising in Bed

A friend of mine is stuck in bed recovering from surgery on her foot – OUCH!!!

And seeing as:

  1. She’s an exercise junkie, and
  2. She can move from her bed or put weight on her feet…

I have put together today’s post on exercising in bed especially for her.

So here we go… Exercises that can be performed in bed (and get your mind out of the gutter)

LEGS

  • Hip Thrusts / Hip Bridge – 2 leg/1 leg
  • Side Lying Leg Lifts – both legs / both directions
  • Supermans – aka prone (face down) arm & leg lifts
  • Leg Press with Bands – loop band around feet (or foot in this case)

  • Calf Press with Bands – loop band around feet (or foot in this case)

 


ABS/CORE

  • Rolling Like a Ball
  • Crunches
  • Reverse Crunches
  • Toes to the Sky

CHEST

  • Isometric Chest Squeeze
  • Push-ups – from the knees for my toe-injured friend
  • Band Chest Presses – band behind your back while lying face up


ARMS/SHOULDERS

  • Supine Plank + Tricep Dips – take his last pose & bend the elbows to do a “dip”
  • Band Snatches  – imagine the video guy lying down instead of standing – loop band around good foot


  • Band Bicep Curls – loop band around good foot
  • Band Close-Grip Chest Presses – same as chest press – keep grip narrow
  • Band Skull-Crushers – band behind your back while lying


  • Band External Rotation



BACK

  • Band Reverse Flys  – band behind your back while lying face up


  • Scapula Retraction – like the external rotation exercise, except you focus only on pushing your elbows into the bed


 

A Cure for Tennis Elbow?

tennis_elbow

Tennis elbow is a condition where the outer part of the elbow becomes sore and tender. It is commonly associated with playing tennis and other racquet sports, though the injury is not unique to racquet sports.

The condition is more formally known as lateral epicondylitis (“inflammation to the outside elbow bone”) , lateral epicondylosis, or simply lateral elbow pain.

And with the pain comes weakness and decreased function of the affected arm. When it’s bad, you can forget about holding a suitcase or playing tennis or even shaking hands.

In a nutshell, it’s a real pain in the….lateral epicondyle.

Current treatments include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin
  • Heat or ice
  • A counter-force brace or “tennis elbow strap” to reduce strain at the elbow epicondyle, to limit pain provocation and to protect against further damage.
  • Rest
  • Acupuncture
  • Blood injection (possibly augmented by plateletpheresis)
  • Botulinum toxin
  • Extra-corporeal shock wave therapy (lithotriptor)
  • Heat therapy
  • Immobilization of the forearm and elbow using a splint for two to three weeks
  • Local injection of cortisone and a numbing medicine
  • Low level laser therapy
  • Occupational therapy, primarily for stretching and strengthening of the wrist extensor musculature.
  • Physical therapy
  • Platelet-rich plasma[9]
  • Pulsed ultrasound to break up scar tissue, promote healing, and increase blood flow in the area
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Electrical stimulation combined with acupuncture
  • Soft-tissue physical therapy
  • Massage
  • Cortisone injections
  • And a variety of resistance exercises and stretches

And sadly, up until this point, there has been little evidence to support the value of any of these interventions for prevention, treatment, or avoidance of recurrence of lateral epicondylosis.

That is, up until researchers (Timothy Tyler, Stephen Nicholas, Gregory Thomas & Malachy McHugh) from the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma/Pro Sports Physical Therapy created a brand spanking new wrist extensor exercise that they hoped would provide an effective and inexpensive treatment for chronic lateral epicondylitis.

The new exercise is a low cost/high creativity variation on a $50,000 isokinetic exercise machine found in high end physical therapy clinics.

And to test their new isolated eccentric wrist-extensor strengthening exercise, they designed this study.

  • They separated 21 patients with tennis elbow, into two groups.
  • Both groups  received wrist-extensor muscle stretching, ultrasound, massage, heat and ice for treatment.
  • Group 1 performed the isolated eccentric wrist-extensor strengthening exercise using a rubber FlexBar from Thera-Band.
  • Group 2 did standard isotonic strengthening exercises.

The FlexBar group had significantly better results.

  • 76% improvement compared to 12% improvement.

In fact, given the disparity in results, the researchers terminated the randomization of the study and put everyone onto their new isolated eccentric strength training exercise.

So, for all of those people out there suffering from tennis elbow, here’s what you need to do:

tennis elbow eccentric twist exercise - the tyler twist

But first, we need to come up with a new name.

Isolated eccentric strength training exercise for the treatment of Tennis Elbow isn’t going to work. We need something snappy.

How about The Tyler Twist™?

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If you like what you see here, click here for updates

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Reference

Say Goodbye To Lower Back Pain with Band Training

An effective way to prevent lower back pain is to stretch and strengthen all of the muscles in the lower back and core region.

One of the best ways to accomplish both of these modalities is with band training.

Here are a couple of videos from Dick Hartzell, the founder of Jump Stretch.

Dick has been at this for years. His training methods may seem a little unorthodox at first. But that’s okay. because they work.

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Lower Back Stretch & Strengthen

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Lower back Traction

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