Saturday, November 9, 2013

Flexibility and Stretching Part 2: Corrective Flexibility

Flexibility is important. This is obvious in how we move everyday; if we have poor lower flexibility we can't bend over and touch our toes, and poor shoulder flexibility makes it harder to reach that top shelf. Too many people come into the training studio I work at and simply state that they want to be more flexible. This is fine, but understand that this does take time! Flexibility, like fitness, doesn't appear overnight, you do have to work for it. According to the method of practice most personal trainers use, there are three types of flexibility (usually practiced in this order): corrective, active, and functional.
Let's start with corrective flexibility. Corrective flexibility deals mostly with correct joint motion, increasing joint range of motion (ROM), and correcting muscle imbalances. As I've stated before these are all quite important concepts when it comes to fitness and flexibility. This type of flexibility tends to use something called self-myofascial release (in other words, foam rolling) which allows for muscle relaxation and is also used to handle knots found in the muscles. Corrective flexibility also used static stretching, which is when we hold one position for an extended period if time attempting to lengthen the muscles. This type of flexibility is most used for people who are just beginning flexibility training, when the client is working on stabilizing their muscles and joints.
The next level if training is active flexibility. This involves the same self-myofascial release, as well as active-isolated stretching. Active-isolated stretching is used for increasing muscle flexibility as well as increasing joint rang if motion. During this type of stretching, two different groups if muscles are stretched. For example, holding your leg straight out in front if you stretches your hamstrings but also works your quads and hip flexors as they hold up your leg in that position. If you were to use your arms to hold up your leg then you would still stretch your hamstrings but instead your shoulders and biceps would be working to hold up the leg. This type of flexibility is used mainly for clients working on their strength, who have mastered the stabilization phase if training.
The third and final type if flexibility is called functional flexibility. This type of flexibility is used once a client has enough control over their muscle moments so as to prevent possible injury.  Finctional flexibility uses again self-myofascial release and something called dynamic stretching. This is the type of stretching you see soccer and football (or other sport) players use before a game or match, when they walk down the field in a sort of line kicking their legs up or moving their bodies in a particular way. Dynamic stretching uses the force produced by a muscle movement (momentum) and moves that joint in whatever the full available rang of motion is. An example would be butt kicks or high knees or even high-knee skipping. This type of stretching is most often used before an athletic competition or in a training studio where the client has proved they have enough muscular control to not hurtthemselves.
As can be seen, working on flexibility is helpful but can also be risky if one does not understand what they are doing. As in any sort of exercise, the risk of hurting oneself is always there no matter what one is attempting when it comes to fitness. Now, I'm not trying to scare you away from this, I just want to make sure you understand that, as with any hobby, there are risks with exercising too. I do encourage everyone to do the best they can to take care of their bodies since we only get one. Good luck and stay safe!

Also, quick update: my CPT test is tomorrow morning! Wish me luck!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Flexibility and Stretching Part 1: 3 Types of Flexibility

I've been pretty terrible at using this blog lately, but I've been hitting the books for my upcoming CPT test so I have new material for you all if anyone is still here to read it. If not, I can only blame myself, my other blog has been doing much better!

I'm going to be talking about flexibility for a little while because I think that it is a bit misunderstood as far as importance and practice. When we think of flexibility, what first comes to mind? Those girls (and boys) in the olympics for gymnastics doing the splits, the crazy poses figure scatters can put themselves into while they spin (which actually involves their core, but that's not the point here), or maybe it's walking past a yoga studio and seeing the crazy positions the instructors can put themselves and their class into. These are all good examples of flexibility, but they are more extreme examples. Did you know that stretching is what allows these athletes and normal people to be this flexible? When we stretch properly, our bodies become more and more flexible. When we are children our bodies are naturally more flexible because we are still growing and out muscles are looser and replace faster.
There are three different types of flexibility: corrective flexibility, active flexibility, and functional flexibility. These three types of flexibility work together to allow your body to both prepare for and recover from a workout or athletic performance. I will go deeper into the types of stretching involved in these types of flexibility later.
I do want you all to remember something about flexibility training, as well as about every other type of training there is out there. No matter what type of training you choose, there is always a risk of you getting hurt, be it on the football field, in the weight room, on the treadmill, or in the yoga studio, there is no workout that is entirely without risk. I don't mean to scare you, but there is always the risk that if a person were to stretch incorrectly, they would for sure hurt themselves, just like if you were to run head-long into another football player on the field you would risk a spinal injury. Injuries don't take a lot, but they can be prevented if you are careful and take directions from a personal trainer or other fitness professional, they are there not to criticize everything that you do but to help you get to where you want to be while keeping you safe. Use your resources! More information on stretching and flexibility to come!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Basics on Assessments

Anyone who visits a personal trainer will go through was are referred to as assessment tests. These tests, though they seem quite mundane and random and even out of place in the opinions of some, are how a personal trainer learns about your body and it's muscles. We use our muscles every day but we don't use them equally. This is no real fault if our own, it is simply how the human body works; when we walk we use our legs more verses a person in a wheelchair who would have better arm muscles from pushing their chair around. Through tests such as the one-legged squat assessment, pulling assessment, pushing assessment, the overhead squat assessment, and posture assessments, personal trainers can learn which muscles are overactive and which are underactive from the compensations your body will make when doing certain actions. This tells the trainer what muscles should be focused on during the training. These tests fall under the category if posture and movement assessments.
Another type of assessments are the performance assessments, during which the personal trainer tests a client's endurance, agility, stabilization, speed, neuromuscular control, as well as strength if lifting is an option for you. These are measured by the following basic tests: the push-up test, the Davies test, the shark skill test, and the bench press and squat assessment tests. These tests tend to be used more for athletic improvement rather than rehabilitation or direct injury recovery.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sit Up Straight!

"Don't slouch!" "Sit up straight!" "Shoulders back, stand up tall." How many times does the average teenager hear this in a week? Too many! Is there validity to a parent's concerns over their child's posture? Turns out, yes! Having good posture has been proven to improve and help with muscle health. Not only are you less likely to suffer an injury if you practice good posture, but proper posture allows the muscles to stretch and maintain their proper length, which ensures that the ,pmuscles can work together correctly and that the joints move correctly.
How someone presents themselves posture wise is known as their stoic posture. This provides a base from where your limbs and extremities. Basically, if there is something wrong with this base, meaning posture, this can lead to problems in other parts of your body. As we know, the body relies on itself in the sense that if one part of the body is malfunctioning it affects the rest of the body as well. So watch your posture, cause it really is important!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

End of My First Coaching Season

Well, today marked the end of my first season of coaching. It was hard and frustrating at points but I had a great time and learned a lot! Plus I got invited back next year to coach which must mean I didn't do too bad :P
In all seriousness, it was time consuming and required a lot from me both physically and mentally and emotionally at points, but I would and will do it all again next year. Not only that but I might be helping with a pre-season camp or two next summer since it looks like I will be around.
I'm not sure what will come in the future but I know that I want to keep doing this type of thing for a while. Anyone who has an interest in coaching, go out and give it a try! You never know what you'll think of it until you go for it :P it could end up being one of the most relaxing parts of your day or it could be the most stressful, I guess it all depends on the day!
I also learned that the rule book changes after four years of not playing and I should really relearn them before I start teaching them....oh well! Good thing to know for next year!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Important General Terms 2

Today's terms are muscle actions. These terms include: isotonic, eccentric, concentric, isometric, and isokinetic.

Isotonic - force is produced, muscle tension is developed, and movement occurs through a given range of motion. It includes two phases: eccentric and concentric phases.

Eccentric - moving in the same direction as the resistance, decelerates or reduces force

Concentric - moving in opposite direction of the force, accelerates or produces forces

Isometric - no visible movement with or against resistance, dynamically stabilizes force

Isokinetic - the speed of movement is fixed, and resistance varies with the force exerted. Requires sophisticated training equipment often seen in rehabilitation of exercise physiology laboratories.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Coaching Job!!!

Hey guys! I know I've been gone a while from here, but I wanted to quick update you on something quite exciting. I'm coaching for the first time!! I got hired by my old school (k-12) as a third coach for the girl's middle school field hockey teams! We have 53 girls as of now and that may increase before our first game (next week!). I'm super excited about this opportunity and look forward to having fun but also learning about how to help out middle school athletes.
Anyways, that's my quick update. I promise I'm working on something for this blog pertaining to vegetarians and fitness, so stay tuned for that to come later :P