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Learn more about Rehab, Sports Medicine & Performance

athlete

Play It All

How To Keep Your Child On The Field And Out Of The PT Clinic

Taylor was recently referred to physical therapy with a painful shoulder and a right hand that frequently went numb. For the last five years, she had been a year round participant in softball. At the age of fifteen, she was missing out on softball and a good night sleep secondary to the pain and limited function in her right arm.

Andy played soccer, and at the age of thirteen, he developed knee pain that prevented him from changing directions and sprinting. Andy practiced or played soccer four days a week for 50 of the 52 weeks in a year. It took four years of year round soccer to create the knee damage that required surgery and an twelve week rehab.

Many of the young athletes we treat in physical therapy are the victims of over exposure to the same training stimulus for far too long a period of time. Gymnastics, dancing, baseball, soccer, and softball are worthwhile endeavors, but a developing body needs a break in order to stay healthy. This becomes even more important as the athlete becomes stronger or more skilled.

Take a moment and read the *article by Jane Brody in the May 7th, 2018 edition of the New York Times. Jane interviews several Orthopedic Surgeons that are treating younger patients with injuries that usually occur ten or fifteen years later in an athlete’s career. The research they present is clear; year round single sports participation is not the best way to excel in athletics or remain healthy.

The recent popularity of the club system has children playing the same sport year round. In the clinic, we are treating more young athletes with old person overuse injuries. Participation in a variety of athletic activities is infinitely more beneficial and safer than single sports specialization. It is no coincidence that most successful collegiate and professional athletes are the product of multi-sport participation.

*New York Times, Jane Brody, May 7, 2018, How to Avoid Burnout in Youth Sports. View article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/07/well/how-to-avoid-burnout-in-youth-sports.html

Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS

 

 

The Wisdom of Frank

I met my friend Frank when I was 21 years old and working out at a local gym.  Frank was sixty-eight years old and in great condition.  He had been a professional boxer, army fitness instructor, and then a physical education teacher.  Frank was an incredibly well read student of fitness and human performance.  He was stronger, more agile, and fitter than most people in their twenties.  Success leaves footprints, so I was eager to learn from a master.

Frank’s biggest lesson was that no matter how busy, over worked, and over scheduled you were, there was no excuse not to perform some type of exercise.  The crucial component of lifelong fitness is consistency.  You can slow down but never stop.  Do something, even if it is only ten minutes–every day.  As Frank traveled through his eighties, he performed twenty minute sessions of mobility work and some calisthenics on a daily basis.

A recent *article by Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times reinforces this lesson.  Older athletes that maintain the lifelong fitness habit have remarkable fitness assessment scores.  Many have posted VO2 max tests that make researchers rethink the present expectations for testing standards.

*Age Like a Former Athlete, Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, August 23, 2107.

View the NY Times Article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/23/well/move/age-like-a-former-athlete.html?_r=0

Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS

 

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” –John Wooden

Amy Warner, Jeff Tirrell, and I recently attended the three day Perform Better Summit in Chicago.  This gathering showcases presentations from experts in the fields of fitness, sports medicine, athletic training, nutrition, and rehabilitation.  All of these presenters work with clients and patients on a daily basis and, as is often the case, their “in the trenches” experience precedes the findings of research studies.  I attend the Summit every year and always walk away with new ideas and knowledge.  We present a brief review of some of the more memorable aspects of the presentations.

Training Athletes In GroupsIMG_1847

Mike Boyle, Body By Boyle Performance Centers and Strength Coach for the Boston Red Sox

  • Know and be able to teach a progression and, more importantly, a regression of every exercise.
  • Don’t put load on top of poor movement.  If the movement looks bad you must fix it before you load it.
  • If you are not foam rolling your athletes, you are a dumbass!
  • Power training is essential if you train older adults, but you must choose the appropriate method.  Know the risk / benefit ratio of your power activity selection.
  • The purpose of the program is to reduce injuries and improve performance.  We are not trying to create power lifters, Olympic lifters, bodybuilders, or strongmen.  We are trying to create athletes.  Strength training is simply a means to an end.

The Best Functional Exercises In the World

Gray Cook, MPT, OCS, CSCS, Co-Founder of the Functional Movement Screen

We need functional exercise because we erode our environment to make life easier:

  • Posture fails because we slouch in chairs.
  • Endurance falters because we simply do more of it instead of performing it better.
  • Coordination dissipates because we train in a supported state or, worse, sitting down.
  • Strength is blunted as we perform all tasks with exterior support and easy access handles.

Posture/Balance/Alignment/Coordination

1. Balance beam

2. Bottoms up kettlebell activities

3. Farmers carry

4. Indian club exercises

5. Jump rope

6. Bear crawl—especially uphill

7. Turkish Get Up

8. Overhead carries

Strength/Endurance/Power/Speed

1. Push ups

2. Pull ups

3. Deadlifts

4. Push press

5. Sprints

6. Agility work—physical jigsaw puzzle

Cracking the Coordination Code: Pre Pubescent Athletes

Brett Klika, CSCS, Creator of Spiderfitkids

  • Coordination is how the brain synchronizes and controls movements through muscular activation. It is a set of physical skills that can be practiced, learned and improved.
  • Neural plasticity is at a high point between ages six and twelve.
  • PAWs–Preferential Adaptation Windows– are age phases in which certain coordinative skills can be preferentially developed.
  • Accelerated periods of brain maturation: 15-24 months, 6-8years, 10-12 years, 18 years.
  • If you take children and enhance their movement efficiency and performance, then you increase the likelihood of participation, reduce the propensity to become obese, and make injury less of a concern.

How To Develop Agile Strength

Michol Dalcourt, University of Alberta Exercise Physiologist, Founder and Director of the Institute of Motion, Creator of the Vipr

  • The shape and stability of the human body is produced by the myofascia systems that are woven through the body.
  • The layers of fascia are connected to the nerves that transmit signals of tensile stress and compression that occur as we move.
  • Muscles rely on nerve sensitivity and nerves rely on the fascial sensitivity.
  • Agile strength involves loading and unloading the myofascial lines is a three dimensional activity that trains the muscles, nerves and fascial systems to work together as a team.
  • Athletic activities are multiplanar and three dimensional, but most training is uniplanar and one dimensional.
  • Get better at creating better fascia-nerve-muscle communication and you become better at all activities.  Not just weight room strong but farm boy strong.

Paleo, Vegan, Intermittent Fasting: What’s the Best Diet?

Dr. John Berardi, PhD, CSCS, Founder of Precision Nutrition–my favorite source for nutrition information

  • There’s no such thing as a universal best diet.
  • Most popular diets have a lot in common.
  • Coaches should never lock into a single philosophy.
  • Habit-based coaching is better than diet-based coaching.
  • Proper nutritional coaching involves formulating a plan based on your needs, what you want to accomplish, how you live, and what is personally important.

-Michael O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS

The Best Training Partner For Endurance Athletes

A Stronger Immune System With Probiotics

A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism* found that athletes who took a probiotic supplement during the winter had fewer colds and other upper respiratory tract infections.

LactobacillusThe study included 84 athletes that trained an average of ten hours per week in endurance sports such as running, cycling, or swimming.  They were divided into two groups: a probiotic group and a placebo group.  Over the course of sixteen weeks, the frequency of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) was measured, as well as markers of immune function in the blood and saliva.

Research Findings
People in the probiotic group had far fewer cases of URTI (66%) than the placebo group (90%).

When they did get an URTI, the probiotic group reported fewer days with symptoms and spent less time on medications for the symptoms.

People taking probiotics who did get sick were less likely to have their training schedule interrupted by the URTI.

The probiotic group had higher levels of infection- fighting antibodies in their saliva.

The probiotic bacteria that was used in this study was lactobacillus casei Shirota.  There are 125 known lactobacilli species and many of them have been studied for their positive effects on health.  How can you get and keep more of these helpful training partners in your gut?

Eat foods that are cultured or fermented with lactobacilli.  These include yogurt, beer, wine (yeah!), cider, sourdough bread, and some sauerkraut (bleah!) and kimchi.  Eat foods that lactobacilli thrive on–the fibers in fruits and vegetables.  Lactobacilli are especially vulnerable to antibiotics, so take them only when necessary.  If you are going to supplement with probiotics, choose a quality product.  Keeping bacteria alive in a store and on its pathway to your gut involves some special handling.

*International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 2011, 21:55-64

B. O’Hara RPh

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