Monday, July 22, 2019

Shoulder injury amongst Athletes

Studies show that 21% of the general population have some form of shoulder injury but I would expect that the amount of athletes suffering are much higher.  The problem I see with most athletes is many sports coaches do not fix poor form movements or encourage prehab drills to reduce the risk of injury.  Sports coaches tend to know if their sport is a high shoulder pain sport yet I rarely see any form of fixing the problem.

As a Strength Coach I spot these issues with athletes daily but the most interesting thing is that as a Track and Field THROWS Coach my athletes suffer the least.   These are athletes who throw heavy objects 5-6 days a week while being the strongest most powerful athletes in the school and we still tend to see the lowest level of shoulder problems.  Below you will see a list of ways to avoid and fix shoulder issues before surgery ends a season.

1) 2:1 Ratio Pull to Push
If your sport involves the arm coming forward (basically every sport, Crew kids tend to be safe here) you better be rowing a lot in your weight room time.  If Monday is Bench day and there are 8 sets of different push exercises you better be doing close to 16 sets of pull exercises on Tuesday.  Ideally, hit it from all angles.  Seated row, barbell row, Dumbbell row, Pull-Ups, ect..

2) Specialty Bars
These you won’t see as often but they’re a must.  The best bar I have come across is Bandbell Earthquake Bar.  It’s effective, it’s fun, and it really gets into tiny areas and fixes the shoulder.  Multi-Grip bars are another great bench bar.  By putting the hands in a safer spot you can really reduce shoulder strain.  The best bars for athletes with shoulder pain aren’t actually used for shoulder movement exercises but for squats.  If you have shoulder pain, squat often, or play a shoulder driven sport you really need to add Safety Squat Bars and Cambered Bars to your training.  Why damage the shoulders during leg day.  By placing the shoulders in a less stressful position you can put all of your focus on the legs and glutes and give the delts a day off.

I cannot stress this enough.  It’s a $60-70 investment that will change your life.  I wear mine for about 15minutes 2x a day and have never felt better.  Don’t let sports or your job force your shoulders out of lineup.  Not only will this device reset your shoulders but it will create muscle memory which will cause you to readjust randomly throughout the day.  At least twice a day I catch myself pulling my shoulder blades back without even thinking about it.  If there is one thing you take away from this post it should be this.  BUY ONE ASAP.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New Zealand Champ, Ben Burnell

With our top Javelin Thrower officially making it into PENN RELAYS and Districts, plus a few guys right behind him, it seems fitting that we launch another Javelin interview.  Today we speak with New Zealand Track and Field Gold Medalist and 8th Place World University Games Thrower, Ben Langton Burnell.  As we reach the mid point of our season make sure to review Bens answer in question four.  You need to take care of your body.  One injury can sideline you for a year or more.  Flexibility and mobility are extremely important in this sport and neglecting your body will result in short short throws and big injuries.

Good Luck this season Ben,  I look forward to seeing how 2018 turns out for you, thanks for helping!

1: How did you get started in your Sport?
 Got started through school, I watched it on tv at the Olympic games

2: How do you overcome obstacles in your training/career?
I guess just loving what I do no matter what happens. Things are always going to go wrong but if you love it then it really doesn’t matter.

3: What is your favorite and/or most important exercise for your sport?
Throwing because it’s the only thing I’m good at, I’m not too flash at any other exercises.

4:  What advice would you give a young athlete?
Take care with the conditioning side of things, stretching and body maintenance etc is just as important as lifting heavy weight

5:  How big of a role is nutrition when it comes to your training?
 You only get out what you put in. Nutrition is key for the body to operate well and recover well. A lot of people underestimate this side of sport.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Guinness WR Holder and Lumberjill Champion - Erin LaVoie

Today we take a break from our weekly Track and Field post and meet with Guiness World Record Holder, Crossfit Affiliate Owner, and World Champion Lumberjill Athlete, Erin LaVoie.  The sport of Lumberjill/Jack takes strength, speed, skill, endless practice, and determination like no other and Erin has proven over and over again that she possesses all of those traits.

For our athletes:  Now that we are in competition season pay close attention to Erin’s take on Questions 2.  Obstacles will always pop up, something will always get in your way.  Fix it and move on!

Thanks a lot Erin, good luck this season!

1. How did you get started in your sport?

- I was going to school for Forestry at a local Community Collage (Spokane, WA.) The school had a Lumberjack team that practiced down the hallway from my classes.  I have always been in sports, any kind of sport as long as I can remember.  Whatever it was, I wanted to do it.  So naturally, I stumbled into the practice room one day to check it out.  That day was the first day I had picked up an axe.  All of a sudden I was standing on top of a log and swinging that axe in between my feet.  I was intrigued for sure.  I placed in a couple events in my first collegiate competition, then started signing up for some competitions on the Professional Circuit.

2. How do you overcome obstacles in your training/career?

- Some might say that I am pretty unemotional and very driven.  After my sights get set on something - that is all that matters.  If a problem shows up that interrupts my end goal I simply fix it.  It really is just that easy.  I also take set-backs as opportunities to grow - So they don't bother me, they are challenges (I love challenges), that I get to work through and come out stronger/better on the other end.

3. What is your favorite and/or most important exercise for your sport?

- I do CrossFit to stay in the best shape I can for life as well as my sport.  It really helps me keep fit in the off season, when wood is less available to train with.  CrossFit is an amazing "Core to Extremity" ideology, which transfers over to every sport - including swinging an axe, or moving a crosscut saw.  I can mimic a lot of the chopping/sawing movements inside the gym through certain movements, but I like to do everything to keep myself well-rounded.  I think the best type of workout for the sport is definitely interval training.  My favorite is the "Tabata" Clock.  Its a number of rounds of :20 of work, followed by :10 of rest.  I usually chose 2-4 movements, and repeat this interval for 8 rounds of each movement.  It most mimics the 0 to 100 to 0 output that is our sport.

4. What advice would you give to a young athlete?

- Win - Or keep trying!  Have Fun.  And shake everybody's hand along the way no matter what.

5. How big of a role is nutrition when it comes to your training?

- Huge!!!  You can not out train your diet!  Basically if you don't fuel the machine properly, it will not run properly, and definitely not at its best.  Like untying your shoes and going for a sprint.  Its do-able but it doesn't let you do your best, and it opens doors for potential set-backs - falling.  Or with food, the set back would be getting sick from not having all the nutrients you need.

Keep up with Erin’s training at: the_lumberjill on Instagram

Monday, March 19, 2018

Team New Balance athlete Emily Durgin

Coming off a 5th place win at the 2018 USA CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS, Emily Durgin of Team New Balance took the time to talk with us as we begin our 2018 Spring Track Season.  Emily has an impressive College and Pro background including multiple 1st place wins at both the Indoor and Outdoor American Athletic Conference Competitions and is already taking 2018 by storm.

You all read in this interview how she overcame obstacles by speaking with successful athletes who accomplished what she dreamed of.  If anything, that is the main purpose of this blog.  Remember that all athletes are faced with challenges but it’s the ones who work passed them and never quit that find/earn success.

Good luck this season Emily, thanks for speaking with us!

1: How did you get started in your Sport?

Track and Field has been a part of my life since I was 10-years-old.  In the summer I was part of the Windham Summer Track and Field team in Maine.  I was persuaded to join the team by one of my childhood friends.  She had done summer track for the past few years and was extremely happy when I committed to trying it out.  I started out like any other young Track & Field athlete by trying every event available in the sport.  This included high jump, discuss, and the 200 meter dash.  In USATF Track & Field they run the 1500 meter one week and the 3000 the next.  My dad had mentioned that I enter the 1500 to try the shorter of the two distance events.  As soon as the words came out of his mouth I started bawling, and I said that the race was way too far.  After this moment my coach who was on the high school track team at the time came up to me and stated that she thought I would do great in the 1500.  I instantly had a change of heart when the statement came from an athlete I admired.  I ended up entering the race and winning by over 10 seconds.  The following week I did the 3000 meter and took first place again.  This was the beginning of my career and how the sport of Track & Field came into my life.  Every race I compete in I fall more in love with my sport.

2: How do you overcome obstacles in your training/career?

Over the past 13 years I have had to overcome multiple obstacles including injuries, learning how to race at the next level, and trusting the process.  I have overcome all the injuries that I have had in the past few years by learning from them.  Injuries have taught me a lot about my training and how important it is to listen to my body.  I have been able to overcome obstacles such as bad races and questioning my training by communicating more with my coach and athletes that have accomplished what I evasion myself doing.  I think it is important to surround yourself with positive influences and understand that in life and in our sport there is always going to be highs and lows, and learn to own both equally.

3: What is your favorite and/or most important exercise for your sport?

My favorite and what I believe is the most important exercise is flexibility and core strength.  I think it is extremely important to do strengthening exercises that incorporate ankle and hip flexibility.  Being a distance runner I still like to do a few explosive type exercises but mainly do core and glute work in my lifting routine.

4:  What advice would you give a young athlete?

The #1 advice I would give to young athletes is to always look at the big picture.  If you plan to continue the sport in college and even post collegiately you cannot get so wrapped up in being perfect all the time.  Running has always been one of my biggest joys in life and this is because I never let the sport become a task.  I encourage young athletes to set their goals high and work hard because I know that to be successful you have to do these two things, but always remember to stop and ask yourself what you envision long term.

5:  How big of a role is nutrition when it comes to your training?

Nutrition is a huge part of running and for me one of the parts of training that I am constantly trying to work on.  It is so important to fuel your body with the right nutrients, and I continue to learn how to better my nutrition which will benefit my training.  Nutrition will forever be an ongoing topic for runners and non-runners.  It is constantly changing and everyone has different views on it.  For me I think it is most important to learn what works best for you as an athlete and make sure you are recovering properly with carbohydrates and protein after hard sessions.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

2 times OLYMPIAN Kim Conley

Today we speak with New Balance Pro Athlete and 2x OLYMPIAN, Kim Conley.  As a 5000m runner with the success record as Kim you’ll read in her answers how important Training, nutrition, and an athletes mindset is in Track and Field.  Question 2 features some great advice that our athletes should review.  Things will always pop up, bad weather, injury, sickness, ect… just keep moving forward and don’t let anything hold you back.

Good luck this season Kim, thanks for speaking with us!

1: How did you get started in your sport?

I joined the Santa Rosa Express track team, in my hometown of Santa Rosa, CA, when I was in 6th grade. Growing up, I played soccer, basketball, softball and volleyball but once I was in high school I narrowed my focus down to cross country and track.

2: How do you overcome obstacles in your training/career?

I keep my big goals in mind but ultimately try to focus on what I can control and do well on a given day to keep me moving forward. There are always going to be setbacks, and sometimes progress isn’t going to come as quickly as we hope. Maintaining a growth mindset at all times helps keep me focused on finding ways to keep taking steps forward.

3: What is your favorite and/or most important exercise for your sport?

Track workouts! I love doing repeats on the track at race pace. The feeling of physically and mentally rehearsing for a race offers challenging and necessary preparation for competition.

4:  What advice would you give a young athlete?

Do what you love. To be great at any sport it takes years of dedication to the training and the process of mastery. If the foundation of what you do is rooted in love then you enjoy the entire process and you don’t feel as though you’re forcing yourself to work hard.

5:  How big of a role is nutrition when it comes to your training?

I try to eat a healthy, well balanced diet. I don’t deny myself any foods I want, but I moderate foods that aren’t going to help effectively fuel my training. When I’m at home or at a training camp I cook rather than eat out, and when I’m traveling for competition I try to make healthy choices when it comes to where and what I eat.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

TEAM ADIDAS athlete Sofia Bonicalza

Coming to us today is TEAM ADIDAS, Sofia Bonicalza.  You’ll see in her answers just how important the tactical side of training is.  It doesn’t matter how hard you work if you are moving incorrectly.  Perfecting your form is a guaranteed way to increase your success in this sport.

For our athletes:  by now you should notice a consistency with the answer to #5.  EAT LIKE AN ATHLETE!

Good luck this season Sofia!  We look forward to seeing your races online.

1: How did you get started in your Sport?
I got started athletics when I was 11, after many years of classical dancing. I won the sprint competition of the school and I was so fascinate about this sport. At the beginning it was more a game then a sport, but all started to change when I was qualified for my first Italian championship.

2: How do you overcome obstacles in your training/career?
The best way to overcome obstacles in trainings and career is to have precise goals to reach. This help you to work hard and to never give up when something get wrong. The injures and others problems are part of the game, so the only thing we can do is to accept them an look forward. I think that in this my sport help even to overcome the obstacles of the entire life.

3: What is your favorite and/or most important exercise for your sport?
 My favorite exercise is the technical training : it's all about how to improve the movements of the body. And it's not so weary as others!

4:  What advice would you give a young athlete?
 To a young athlete I would say : believe in your dreams and never think you cannot do it. And of course enjoy your sport cause it will teach you a lot.

5:  How big of a role is nutrition when it comes to your training?
 Nutrition is part of training. We are made of what we eat, so if we want to perform we need to eat healthy. The figure of the nutritionist is important almost as the coach.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Six time All American Russ Winger

 Coming to us today is a SIX TIME ALL AMERICAN Shot Put and Discus Thrower, Russ Winger.  With an impressive 21.29m Shot Put and 66.04m Discus it is no wonder he is a University of Idaho Hall-of-Famer.  He made it to the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympic Qualifers and was also a 2015 IAAF World Championship Team Member with the best American showing in Beijing.  From watching Russ train online I’ve found his view on fitness for throwing very impressive.  In question 4 you’ll see the importance of training like an athlete.  To many throwers neglect speed training, balance drills, and anything that isn’t heavy only to find themselves lacking in the circle.  Don’t leave room for weak points, train everything.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to speak with us Russ!

1. How did you get started in your sport?
I had played other sports growing up, but never had a chance to try track and field, so the spring of my junior year of high school, I switched over from baseball for something new. As a bigger kid, I naturally gravitated towards the throws, and I enjoyed seeing quick improvement.
2. How do you overcome obstacles in your training/career?
I tried to keep everything in perspective and understand why I was doing certain things in training to make the best plan for me. I always just tried to do the best I could with what I had. There were also times in my career when I had to ask for help. Developing a good support system is critical to overcoming bigger obstacles.
3. What is your favorite and/or most important exercise for your sport?
I don’t think you can separate one exercise from the rest of training as being more beneficial than the others. A good training plan is a combination of exercises you’re good at and you like, and exercises that you’re not good at and can make major improvements in. Both are important. I truly do not have a favorite.
4. What is one aspect of training you feel everyone needs to do?
Anything and everything that promotes general athleticism; being an athlete first and a thrower second.
5. How big of a role is nutrition when it comes to your training?
I’d split nutrition into two categories: General/overall nutrition and training-specific nutrition. Overall nutrition encompasses hydration, timing of meals, and general quality of food. For me, that category was most important, especially early on in my career. Consistency is probably the most important thing.