Tag Archives: sports training traverse city

Elite Sports Performance – 2018 Athletic Enhancement Programs

It’s nearly summer which means vacations, cookouts, and the beach.  It also means our Elite Sports Performance program is back – this is one of the few times during the year that students actually have a chance to work on maximizing their athletic abilities!

The emphasis of this program will be on the following:

–  Speed and Agility                                         – Proper Running Mechanics

–  Power Development                                   – Flexibility and Injury Prevention

–  Plyometrics (jump training)                        – Strength Training Basics

 

World renown strength coach Mike Boyle made this comment recently: “Between 9th and 12th grades, an athletes skill level in their respective sports will only improve around 10%.”  That’s not much when you think about it!

“What can improve significantly is their strength, speed, and power with the proper training – which will improve their sport skills exponentially”.

Elite Sports Performance Maria Blazejewski will be coaching again this summer.  This is her 5th year with us and she has been an intern strength coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas as well.  Maria plays professional basketball in Europe and helps with a number of basketball clinics and camps throughout Northern Michigan.

 

 Where – Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance

4177 Village Park Dr. Suite B, Traverse City (next to Wuerfel Park)

 

When – Mondays/Wednesdays (July 9th – August 1st)

9:30-10:45 am – Junior High girls

11:00-12:15 pm – High School girls

 

Registration – email Joe Heiler:  Joe@elitepttc.com to sign up or call the clinic at 231 421-5805.

Cost – $80.  Multiple athlete families: 1 full tuition then 50% discount per child after that.  Payment can be mailed to the clinic or taken over the phone.

 

This is a unique opportunity for athletes to make gains in speed, agility, and power over the summer months that will carry over to fall sports programs.  We’ve had great success with this program in the past, and look forward to working with more local athletes this year.

We will push you to become the best athlete you can be!

 

Thanks,

Joe Heiler/Maria Blazejewski

joe@elitepttc.com

(p)231 421-5805

Annual Musculoskeletal Exam

You go to the dentist for check-ups and cleaning every six months.

I bet he’d rather be seeing his physical therapist!

The doctor sees you for an annual physical.

You see the eye doctor for an annual check up.

So why not see your physical therapist for an annual musculoskeletal health exam?

Here are a few startling statistics:

  • we lose .5%-1% of our muscle mass per year after the age of 30.
  • nerve conduction velocity decreases by 1m/s every 10 years
  • testosterone levels decline about one percent a year after age 30.  Growth hormone levels begin to decrease after the age of 20.

These are just a few examples of normal age related physiological changes.  The direct result is a decrease in strength and power with age.  Over time this can manifest itself as poor balance, poor movement ability, difficulty getting out of a chair or bed, limited endurance, and the list could go on and on.  These declines in performance can also lead to injuries and musculoskeletal problems over time which will lead to a further decline in performance.  The vicious cycle is in full swing now!

There is no way to stop these changes from happening, but we can certainly work to slow them down through smart exercise, nutritional strategies, proper recovery, etc.  The exercise component is where we come in.

Here is what this annual musculoskeletal exam would consist of:

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a battery of 7 screens to determine movement competency – or how well you move.  The FMS has been shown in the research to be highly predictive of injury in athletics and in the military.  We can’t necessarily pin point what the injury will be, but we do know that the wheels are much more likely to come off at some point.

The FMS is being used in all the major sports, in the military, and even at the NFL combine to look at injury risk and prediction in these populations.  The beauty of the screen is twofold:  1)  ability to identify poor movement patterns, and then apply corrective exercises to improve competency within these patterns thereby reducing future injury risk; 2)  ability to identify acceptable movement, and create exercise programs to further strengthen and add capacity to these patterns.

The Y Balance Test looks at single limb balance, strength, and motor control.  Right to left symmetry and poor reach distance are both predictors in injury.  The Y Balance test is a great way to evaluate both, and to compare scores to peers in the same sport or activity level.  There is also an upper body Y Balance test for shoulder stability which is a great way to test overhead athletes.  Depending on your sport, one or both of these tests would be appropriate.

Power Output is a measure of work over time.  In other words, how much work can you get done in the shortest amount of time.  Athletic measures of power include the vertical jump, standing broad jump, and medicine ball throws.  There are other measures that could be used as well depending on your chosen sport(s) or activities, goals, age, etc.  For older adults it may be as simple as how quickly one can get up off the floor and walk a certain distance.

There are certainly other things that could be assessed and measured including strength,  balance, and endurance but those will be specific to each individual case.

When all the testing has been completed, a report is generated using the Move2Perform software providing a movement and injury risk baseline.

This report also helps to generate a program to specifically address the identified needs.  The program would address movement deficiencies through corrective exercises, and also include options for strength training, power production, cardiovascular conditioning, and more.

Follow up appointments are an option to track progress throughout the year and increase the intensity of the program as needed.  Or if you just need a few pointers to get started, we’ll see you again next year.

Give us a call at 231 421-5802312231 590-1364 or shoot me an email:  joe@elitepttc.com for more information including how to get started.

 

 

 

Elite PT and Sports Performance Exercise of the Week – The Whip Snatch

I wrote this article for my SportsRehabExpert.com site a few weeks back, and figured it would be good to share here as well just to give you an idea of some of the more advanced strength and power methods we use here at Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance.

 

I picked up this exercise from strength coach Paul Longo at Central Michigan University about 8 years ago (and now at Notre Dame). This was one of his favorites since it was so simple to teach and really hard to do incorrectly. I’ve used this exercise over the years with my more advanced athletes, and they’ve really like it so thought I would share.

Couple prerequisites here:

1) Deadlift is first and foremost. As you’ll see in the video, a great hip hinge is a requirement so the athlete must be technically sound in the deadlift.

2) Swings are a favorite of mine and I really just see them as deadlifts for speed and power. The athlete must demonstrate a perfect hip hinge, good power as they drive the hips into extension, and also must be able to stop the kettlebell on a dime and throw it back down. The last point here just shows me that the athlete has the ability to coordinate and stabilize through the entire body in an instant. This is important to me now that they will be going overhead with a bar.

3) Hard Style Overhead Presses are also important, not just for upper body strength, but also for that ability to learn how to stabilize the entire body while driving a weight overhead. It’s one thing to press a weight, and an entirely different thing to catch a weight overhead. I want to know my athletes are rock sold with their arms overhead.

Now on to the Whip Snatch:

Teaching Tips:

1) I don’t get real technical with measuring for grip on the bar for this lift. Have the athlete get their hands at just the right width that the bar sits at the level of their hip crease.

2) Push the hips back with the bar as far as possible. I will have them just do reps of this hip hinge initially.

3) Jump and shrug!

4) Catch overhead.

I find that if we have the start position correct and we’ve worked through the progressions, the rest of the lift usually falls in place. The only other cue I find I need at times is ‘elbows to the ceiling’ after the jump shrug to keep the bar close to the body.

The whip snatch is a great power move and one that falls in line with many of the other lifts we talk about here on the site. Definitely one to give a try!

Shoulder Rehab Part I

Physical therapy of the shoulder using traditional rotator cuff exercises really gets me fired up, so I should probably warn any physical therapists, chiropractors, or physicians reading this to buckle up!  Actually I’m not going to try to offend anyone, I just like to challenge conventional thinking and ask questions – especially when it comes to dogma like rotator cuff exercises.

If you’ve ever been to physical therapy for a shoulder rehab then you’ve probably seen this one:

Shoulder External Rotation

and this:

Shoulder Internal Rotation

These are just 2 of many exercises that supposedly target the rotator cuff that are commonly provided by your health care provider.  In fact, many of you have probably been handed 2-3 pages of these and told to do 3 sets of 15 up to 3x daily.  Ever heard of the shotgun approach?  Your health care provider is hoping and praying that one of these might just work and make you feel better.

Now here is the reality of the rotator cuff:  It’s job is to stabilize the humeral head (the ‘ball’ of the shoulder) in the glenoid fossa (the socket)

The 4 Muscles of the Rotator Cuff

What most health care providers are going on are EMG studies that measure how hard a muscle can fire in isolation during a specific activity.  There is certainly great evidence that the rotator cuff muscles are firing during these exercises.  The problem as I alluded to before is that these muscles do not function in this way in real life.

These smaller rotator cuff muscles are stabilizers, not movers (like the larger deltoids, pecs, lats, etc).  The traditional rotator cuff exercises train the muscles like ‘movers’ which is not their true function.  I’m not going to argue that someone can’t show increased strength over time within these exercises, but I will argue is that there is no transfer to improved function (i.e. lifting, reaching, carrying, pushing/pulling, etc).

The reality of the rotator cuff again is to stabilize the humeral head (the ‘ball’ of the shoulder) in the glenoid fossa (the socket).  It performs this task reflexively meaning it happens without you having to think about it.  All four muscles quickly fire and relax in a specific sequence (depending on the activity) to stabilize the shoulder joint.  They never work in isolation like you have been trained in the past.

So what are the best ways to fire the rotator cuff reflexively?

  • Compression – this means putting weight through the arm.  Examples would include exercises that involve hands or forearms on the ground holding your body weight, any type of pressing, holding a weight (on your back with the shoulder flexed 90 deg. – think top of a bench press position; or with a weight overhead) just to name a few.
  • Distraction – this would include anything that pulls downward or outward on the shoulder (think traction).  This would include carrying weight by your side, pull-ups, horizontal rows, lifting from the floor, etc.

In any of the above activities, the brain immediately recognizes the need for stability and reflexively fires the cuff to prevent bad things from happening like dislocating your shoulder or falling on your face.  Now obviously I’m not trying to actually do these things to you, but forcing muscles to fire reflexively always works better when there is some sense of urgency.

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites below, and in part 2 I’ll tackle more of the dogma of shoulder rehab.

Arm/Leg Diagonals – a.k.a. the Bird Dog – Shoulder Compression for Reflex Stabilization

Farmer’s Walk – Shoulder Distraction to elicit reflex stabilization

 

Kettlebell Arm Bar – The goal is reflex stabilization of the glenohumeral joint through compression (using a kettlebell) while performing thoracic rotation.  Lots of great things happening here!

Feel free to email any comments or questions to me:  joe@elitepttc.com

 

 

Ankle Rehab Update

So last week I posted this message on Facebook:  “Limited ankle mobility is a very common reason for nagging foot, knee, hip, and back pain in runners. Unfortunately not too many PTs or doctors are looking there. Maybe it’s time to call us and rid yourself of that pain for good!”

In the past week I have been asked 3 separate times about what is the best way to check your own ankle mobility and then how to improve it.  So to bring you up to speed on why it is so important to have great ankle mobility I refer you to a previous blog post title “Movement Proficiency and the Ankle” which you can find here:  http://www.elitepttc.com/blog/?p=20

Now for the measuring and correcting!

The first video below shows how I measure ankle mobility in the clinic with the foot on the floor and controlling the ankle to prevent pronation (arch flattening out):

To measure your own ankle mobility, simply assume the kneeling position shown in the video.  Rock your knee over the foot to touch the wall measuring how far your big toe is from the wall with a simple tape measure.  The heel must stay down and arch not allowed to collapse.  The goal is 4 inches!

The next video demonstrates how you can quickly address the soft tissue component of the limitation.  Be sure to measure again as we did in the video as this is the only way you are going to know if it is effective or not.  Always follow the rolling with stretching.

If this does not result in an immediate improvement in ankle mobility, you may have a joint restriction that will not be resolved with rolling or stretching.  Another sure sign of joint restriction is pain or pinching in the front or side of the ankle during the testing.  This can often be resolved quickly with ankle joint manipulation and/or mobilization and certain taping techniques that I employ here at Elite Physical Therapy (in other words it’s time to call the professional).

If you have any further questions feel free to contact me:  joe@elitepttc.com

 

 

 

Great Lakes Burn Camp

On Sunday February 24th the Traverse City Coast Guard station hosted the Great Lakes Burn Camp for the second time in as many years.  It was a great event where kids from all over the state come together for a couple days of fun activities and comradery with other kids, the Coast Guard members, and folks from our community that have donated their time and money to the cause.

As you can see from the video below, the kids are having a great time:

Cody Thorpe, a rescue swimmer with the Coast Guard, is the main man behind the scenes and does a great job putting everything together.  Cody has been a good friend to us here at Elite Physical Therapy so we were more than happy to help out.  He’s hoping to keep the momentum going bringing this camp back to the Traverse City area every year so keep your eyes open for him next fall as he checks in with local businesses for support.

Does Gaining Range of Motion Really Have to Hurt???

Not all physical therapists are created equal, nor does gaining range of motion have to be extremely painful!  I know there is this idea amongst the public that PT has to hurt to effective, but in most cases nothing could be further than the truth.  Sadly enough there are plenty of PT’s out there who also believe ‘No Pain, No Gain’ to be true.

Here is why it does not have to hurt:

–  When the brain starts feeling ‘stress’ it goes into protection mode.  Pain signals coming in to the brain result in signals back to muscles, fascia, and joint capsule to literally tighten down to protect the painful structure.  So the entire time your PT is cranking on your new Total Knee Replacement, or you are cranking on it at home per their instructions, your brain is busy fighting back.  The result is lots of pain and minimal progress.

– Pain fires up your sympathetic nervous system, the part of the system that handles ‘fight or flight’ situations.   My good friend and physical therapist/strength coach Charlie Weingroff has been consulting with Nike and their athletes on this very topic.  What they have found is that athletes who are in this sympathetic state even at rest exhibit increased stress hormone levels that result in poor sleep patterns and poor recovery from workouts and games.  This elevated level of stress over the long term can have some serious effects not only on athletes, but on the rest of us as well.

Balance is good!

The moral of the story here is that increased pain and stress levels can delay healing and recovery.  Some pain is going to be present when you’re dealing with an injury or surgery, but your therapy should not be making you consistently feel worse  Not what you want when trying to recover from an injury or surgery, and certainly not an ideal situation for someone trying to gain range of motion, strength, and returning to work or athletics.

At Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Performance, we recognize that there are a number of soft tissue and joint mobilization/manipulation techniques that can improve range of motion and quality movement without creating excessive pain.  Some techniques may be a bit uncomfortable at the time of application, but what little pain there is should go away quickly with an obvious increase in joint motion and overall movement quality.

Graston Technique can be used to break up scar tissue and improve range of motion of the knee.

 

Graston Technique is also very effective for treatment of tendinopathies – in this case treating the posterior rotator cuff.

In most cases, there are better ways to gain range of motion and strength than trying to push through restrictions and pain.  If you’ve got any questions concerning our soft tissue and joint manual techniques, feel free to contact us.

C1-2 Thrust Manipulation – this one is money for headaches!

Trigger Point Dry Needling – Coming Soon!

 

The Best Mobility Drill Ever?

I’m into exercises that give you more bang for your buck since I know most athletes are pressed for time, and there are plenty of other training skills they would rather be working on.  The ‘Spiderman’ exercise happens to be one of those exercises that can address everything from hip mobility to thoracic spine mobility to shoulder stability. It is absolutely one of the best warm-up drills you can perform and it’s a staple in our programs.

Check out the video below for a short tutorial on how to perform the exercise, what you should be feeling, and what to watch out for as far as ‘cheating’ through the movement.

Previously posted on SportsRehabExpert.com (the video was originally shot for physical therapists and sports performance professionals so I apologize for all the medical lingo)

Elite Sports Performance

Sports performance training is one of the favorite parts of my job.  We definitely do some unique things here, and I happen to think we get some pretty good results too.

I put together a compilation video that you can check out below.  I doubt you’re going to see anything else like this in Northern Michigan!

 

Michael Phelps talks Graston Technique and Training

This article was sent to me yesterday, and I found it not only very interesting, but also validating what I do at the same time.

http://on.details.com/PLYA8S

Michael discusses the benefits of Graston Technique (GT) on relieving pain and freeing up his shoulders and back for swimming.  This is only his subjective report but who is more in tune with how they are performing and functioning than an elite Olympic athlete?  There is plenty of research being done on GT with great evidence based outcomes so I’m very confident that the benefits are real.

One more thing I do want to mention concerning the use of GT in the article, and Phelps’ comments on the pain and bruising that go along with treatment:  the research indicates that GT is just as effective without the pain and bruising.  Of course there will be some pain as you are trying to break up scar tissue, but there is no need to be ultra-aggressive and bruise.  The majority of my patients will tell you they have some mild to moderate discomfort during the treatment, but are rarely all that sore afterward.  The pain relief and improved motion following the treatment is well worth it.

On the subject of training, Michael talks about how his focus this time around has been on developing more power.  He specifically mentions performing the Olympic lifts and pulling/pushing sleds, both of which are mainstays in our sports performance programs.

At first glance you may wonder why in the world a swimmer would need to do power cleans and run with a sled?  Especially when he’s not even on his feet more than a split second to push off the platform.  Many of the benefits of this type of training are for the nervous system and the speed at which muscles can contract.  Training for power means moving a certain weight as quickly as possible.  The faster you can move it, the more powerful you are.  Strength is different in that time doesn’t matter, only how much weight can you move.  Strength is very important, but in swimming and pretty much every other sport out there, its the speed at which you can generate that force that is most important!

Here is a great example of a power clean (one of the Olympic Lifts – this from my buddy Cal Dietz at the University of Minnesota)

Aaron Studt Cleans 400lbs

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the article.  I can’t wait to see how he does this summer.