Wednesday, October 26, 2005

An Overview of Charles Staley's Annual Training Summit

An Overview of Charles Staley's Annual Training Summit

A report from well-known strength coach Charles Staley's latest "boot camp". Those who have been following Scott Sonnon's and Pavel Tsatsouline's training methods will recognize several references:

- Quality over quantity in exercise
- Intelligent load cycling (no excessive jumps)
- Intelligent exercise selection (Olympic lifters should not waste time on Cybex machines, MMA fighters should not waste time on Olympic lifts, etc.)
- Include RPE (Rate of Perceived Effort) in your training log
- You can increase exercise difficulty without changing the load (especially applies to bodyweight exercise) by changing some parameters
- The CNS (Central Nervous System) is your real source of power, not the muscles.

I can vouch for Dr. Eric Cobb, who has been instrumental in my successful shoulder rehab and recovery effort. The section on Dr. Cobb goes into more detail on the role of the CNS in strength training.

Russian Kettlebells: The Need To Train Like a Man - Especially If You Are a Woman!

Russian Kettlebells: The Need To Train Like a Man - Especially If You Are a Woman!

Very good strength training article for women, written by a certified Russian kettlebell trainer who happens to be a woman. She has her own website.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A little update on my low back rehab

Around the end of September, I visited an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal disorders. I printed out a summary of my training log for him to read. After he read the summary and evaluated my back, he said my progress was good enough that no further visits or treatment, other than a 10-day prescription of Motrin (an anti-inflammatory) would be needed.

My back rehab routine is mostly based on the concepts of Dr. Stuart McGill, supplemented with Jumpstretch band work using ideas in this PDF. I believe the McGill exercises achieved their goal of stabilizing my spine enough to progress to safe exercise with my Clubbells, Kettlebell, and Power Wheel.

As far as my pain progress, the irritation that I feel in my left or right hip (varies from day to day - always one side but never both at the same time) after more than 5 min. of sitting in my chair at work is a bit diminished from about 2 months ago. It hasn't gotten any worse since I reintroduced weight training (Clubbells) into my exercise routine nearly 2 weeks ago.

My plan of attack is to continue building on the McGill exercise concepts. The very basic rehab program is built on what he calls the Big 3:

1. Side Bridges for working the obliques and other muscles along the sides of the spine, with minimal load on the spine.
2. Bird Dog for working the back extensors, again while minimizing spinal load.
3. Ab Curlups for working the abdominals without involving the lower spine.

What all 3 have in common is they are used to build muscular endurance for holding the position in the targeted area, rather than limit strength. I believe they are meant to be used in the beginning of a rehab program, for those whose backs are in really bad shape. So what I am doing to build upon those ideas include:

1. Side Bridges with a 36lb. kettlebell for added resistance
2. Power Wheel Hand Walks to train endurance for the core (abs, back, etc.) as it works to maintain the straight body position

I also plan to use a Clubbell Swipe Density program to rebuild strength-endurance in my hips and low back. I have not entered the density program proper, as I am still in the "strength practice" phase of the preparatory program for density training.

I also plan to do more band Good Mornings with my Jumpstretch bands. The band good morning, as taught in the booklet I got from Elite Fitness Systems, is basically starting with the band around the neck and the feet on the band in a squat position, standing up, then squatting down again. I plan to work up to 20 reps with my purple (light) band then move up to my green (medium) band and work up to 20 reps with the green.

Finally, I'll continue using select exercises from Rmax's Be Breathed and Body-Flow for their restorative and tension releasing properties.

Art De Vany on Sports and Spines

Art De Vany on Sports and Spines

Good summary of the effects of various sports on the spine. Elsewhere in the blog, De Vany cites the work of Dr. Stuart McGill, an expert in spinal biomechanics. I have been making good progress using McGill's concepts in my own back rehab. Check out McGill's site here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My new kemancheh

I picked up my new kemancheh at the office of my Persian music teacher. Here is a picture of the famous Iranian musician , Kayhan Kalhor, playing kemancheh:

I figured that the playing method for this instrument would be different than playing viola, but it was a real shock to me when I actually tried it for the first time. Among the differences between playing kemancheh and viola/violin:

1. You rotate the kemancheh itself when you move to a different string. You move the bow around the viola/violin when you move to a different string.

2. Because your left hand has to rotate the instrument, it is less free to move around for vibrato and glissando. Because the viola/violin is supported between the shoulder and chin, the left hand is freer for those techniques.

3. You control the bow tension with your hand instead of setting the tension with a knob and leaving it there.

4. Violin/Viola is a bit louder than kemancheh

5. The sound is more "exotic" than the violin/viola

I'm excited to add this instrument to my arsenal.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Amazing I/O Brush

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

An amazing new drawing tool. You'll have to see this for yourself.