GIFT: week 36 Measurement of the foot, Rhomboids, Improving breathing, Pelvic translation and rotation, assessing and treating the shoulder  

This week we looked at measurement of the foot. If we want to be objective we can assess the angulation, verticality and horizontal measurements of various joints to assess the motion at the foot e.g. measuring the knee position with a single knee bend. The GIFT institute using a 3D testing system but it is no longer on sale. Making your own and using goniometers etc will be required.

The Rhomboids are a muscle we don’ t often think about as we cannot separate its function from other scapulothoracic and humeral muscles. We want to know what will load these muscles and we can consider translations and rotations e.g. lateral and inferior translation and rotations of superior, internal rotation will lengthen them. It is ideal to look at the TZ and see what ecconcentric activity is happening with the Rhomboids.

Here are some secret strategies when improving breathing……….

  1. Load with breathing in to explode or exhale
  2. Improve mostablity of the Thoracic Spine, rib cage, pelvis, hips and rest of CRB
  3. Do the CRB allow normal relative motion between the Thorax and pelvis. Can the rib cage and diaphragm move normally with the Thoracic spine insync when inhaling and out of sync when inhaling
  4. Look at bottom up and top down strategies
  5. Assess ecconcentric and integrated isolation techniques

Gary highlighted pelvic translation and rotation this week. It is important to remember that roation and translation will occur on different planes. I can use these in rehabilitation strategies with FMR.

The shoulder can be a difficult joint to assess. DT discussed important assessment strategies. Here is my summary…..

  1. Remember to look at full body motion with assessment and you can get the shoulder to move in one plane or more than one plane
  2. To assess the influence of the legs on the shoulder you can use a sinle leg stand and toe touch. This will also look at mostability
  3. Use your hands on the body to feel Scapulothoracic and scapulohumeral motion. Use FMR to influence this motion
  4. You can assess humerus on scapula and scapula on thorax motion if you place the hand on a wall and move the pelvis or thorax. This is, in theory, proximal acceleration. If this is easier for the client to perform, compared to open chain hand motion, then this could indicate GHJ instability
  5. If there is winging and, when I hold it down with my hand, the winging stops, this could inidicate a weakness issue. If the winging persists, this could indicate GHJ stiffness
  6. Assess good arm before bad arm
  7. You can take the feet out by kneeling and hips out by sitting
  8. Add load and reps to see more dysfunction

DT highlighted that impingement is often a result of poor CRB. In other words increased GHJ excursion due to poor load to explode of friends of motion. Quick tips to treating impingement are…

  1. Correct the feet, hips and Thoracic Spine. Preposition these joints out of restriction to get quick successful shoulder motion. Then use FMR to get the restricted motion back in these areas.
  2. First goal is to get some painfree motion rather than increase in motion, therefore, reduce gravity by placing hand on the wall or moving the shoulder in supine.
  3. When fixing the hand on a wall there can still be pain as the scapula is not moving correctly and allowing impingement. you can use FMR to help control normal CRB at the scapulo-thoracic and scapulo- humeral joints. If the GHJ is stiff then you can move the scapula with the trunk and pelvis and slow down the humeral motion
  4. Look for successful strategy first and then build on that success
  5. Use Load to explode to regain motion. If I want to increase external rotation I could load into internal rotation first and then as speed increases explode into external rotation. Remember be subtle.
  6. Work above or below 90degrees of shoulder flexion to reduce the effects of gravity

Finally being able to measure knee motion using the 3D analysis tenchnique and using a tape measure to measure chest Ap and lateral will enable clear objective indication of changes post treatment.

GIFT: Week 35 breathing, looked at lateral epicondylitis, motions of the lumbar spine and the Pecs

Breathing is an integral motion of the body, which can be influenced by stress. When we are stressed we have an increase in our rate of breathing (normal 10-12 breaths per minute) and CO2 production. The pH levels in our bodies will lower because there is more Co2 in the bloodstream. As a consequence our mediastinum pressure increases.

There are three chambers we want to balance when our breathing patterns are correct. These are the cranium, mediastinum, and abdominal. If we lose pressure in these our exoskeleton (muscle and bone) would collapse. We want to have appropriate pressure in each chamber. Too much or too little in one or more chambers will influence the body negatively.

There are three bones related to each of these chambers; the Sphenoid, Sternum and Sacrum. Each bone must be balanced in all three planes.

It was interesting to learn mouth breathing alters the length tension relationships around the neck and will create more upper chest breathing. Nose breathing is best.

The movement of the rib cage and the position of the scapula, with associated muscle attachments, will influence the body’s ability to breathe. There will be other friends of rib cage motion and we want to be sure they are all supporting good breathing patterns.

Epicondylitis of the elbow is a common injury in raquet sports, golf and repetitive overload. In the Thrower there can be a restriction through the Chain Reaction Biomechanics which leads to an overload of the elbow structures. If the medial ligament is repetitively injured, this could lead to an increase in laxity of the joint and early joint damage. A key to treating Epcondylitis is to look at the offending Transformational Zone and determine what drivers you can use to create successful Chain Reaction Biomechanics.

The Lumbar Spine will be influenced by motion of joints above and below. When there are areas of the body not contributing to normal Chain Reaction Biomechanics there is an overload to the Lumbar Spine and pain. When we just treat the Lumbar Spine we are missing a huge piece of the puzzle, to prevent long-term pain and fast recovery.

The Pectorals are a powerful muscle group which can be loaded in three planes of motion to function optimally. They can be loaded with extension, flexion, horizontal abduction, and external rotation. They will explode in the opposite direction. Remember the effect of proximal acceleration in increasing this loading mechanism. The Pecs will need it’s friends the feet, hips, thoracic spine, rib cage , scapula and neck working to fully load it.

GIFT: week 34 Serratus Anterior, Breathing, the Throwers Elbow and Assessment strategies

This is an excellent week covering a variety of subjects from the loading phase of the Serratus Anterior to Respiratory function to assessing the Thoracic Spine.

To understand how to load the Serratus Anterior you must know the 3D function of the scapula, and what the SA will do to the scapula. To load the SA you then place the scapula in the position to lengthen the SA, and use the Thoracic Spine and Pelvis as Drivers to create the load. Sounds complex but the beauty of this strategy is it is backed by sound principles of biomechanics and muscle function. It is knowing the Chain Reaction Biomechanics of the body.

In throwing, the elbow can be overloaded in a valgus stress and injure soft tissues, bone and/ or neural tissue. What are the probable suspects of this type of injury. Consider the same side overpronation, reduced 3D motion in the same side hip and Thoracic Spine, and reduced proximal deceleration. Again, the Chain Reaction Biomechanics are key knowing what would increase the valgus extension stress to the elbow.

Breathing is more complex than we realize. Transdiaphragmatic breathing is understanding that the pressure of the diaphragm on the right will compress the liver, send transverse pressure across the viscera, and create and upwards force on the ribcage, thus assisting in expansion of the left lung. The right diaphragm is larger due to the size of the Liver. The Diaphragm is influenced by the fascial trains of the body, along with the position of the spine. Remember there is an appropriate amount of Diaphragmatic motion for each person. We want to avoid over or under inflating the lungs.

In training we can isolate the load on specific muscles by prepositioning joints to shorten or lengthen their friends. This is also called Integrated Isolation. This is a great strategy for training a muscle for sport specific function. Overload it to create a buffer of muscle function i.e the muscle can take extreme muscle loading.

Other topics covered this week included Mostability and taking away support in a subtle manner. Assessing the motion of the Thoracic Spine and Skun (Skip and run). These topics consolidated our knowledge, by drawing together several concepts into a full assessment strategy.

The weeks get better and better as we head towards GG3.

Longest day of training yet and still legs stay strong

Yesterday I completed my last full day of training. It was a 6.5 hour ride over 85 miles. I started the day with my usual nutritional supplements. They do make a difference because my legs feel strong everyday.

We climbed for 2-2.5 hours and then descended into the most delightful Portuguese village for lunch. If I was back packing around Europe this is where I would want to come to see beautiful scenery, have sunny days and pay 2 euros for lunch.

The ride went smoothly until one of our cyclist got knee pain. We called for the car to pick him up. Up until this point I had been climbing smoothly at a good pace and feeling strong. When the car came my coach said “Rhys time for some madness”. I hated those words as this meant hard and fast riding as he wanted to beat the car down the mountain and into the next village.

We took off and I glued myself to his back wheel. We were cornering like rally drivers around the twisting downhill descents. In-between the descents were slight inclines which meant climbing 500 to 1000 metres as fast as possible. This was when the pain in my legs kicked in. I pushed as hard as I could and managed the first incline. I rested on the following descent in preparation for the next climb. My coach said “Rhys let’s get on it!” and accelerated again.

The lactic acid built up in my legs with each extra effort I made to push faster. With 200 meters to go to the end of the next climb I broke. The pain in my legs and my high heart rate were too much and I blew. My intensity of riding dropped and the car caught me up. My coach probably would have made it to the village but he waited for me. The moment of madness was over….so I thought.

We relaxed and I followed my coaches slip stream into the village. My legs were fatigued after 80 miles of riding. We still had the climb back to the house to go. I chose to take on the beast of all mountain routes just to finish the day hard. It was stupid but that is cycling for you. It took me 18.30mins with 11-14% gradients. If I stopped pedalling I would fall over. The final push to the top was mighty. Another hard day of climbing finished.

It was encouraging to find my legs still had strength in them and I knew the last ride tomorrow was going to be another good test. I learnt more about pacing myself today and following good lines on the descent. I learnt how to slow my breathing down again and regain composure when I am gasping for air when climbing. Keeping weight on the front handle bars was important to stop speed wobbles down hill.The training has made me stronger over three days.

I put on compression leggings when I finished and relaxed. We headed for dinner and we all ate mountains of food. Our metabolisms were going ballistic. I am enjoying this experience and I can see cycling is very technical when riding in mountains. There is nothing that beats practical experience and that is exactly what I am getting here at the Delucci retreat.

Swimming 1500 and weight training assessment

Tested myself in the swimming this week with a 1500 metre swim for the first time. I went to the Putney Leisure Centre which has a 33 metre pool. The first 8 lengths of the swim were horrific. I had practiced swimming in a 17.7 metre pool which made 33 metres very tiring. My technique and breathing fell apart and I wanted to give up.

The reason I did not give up the swim were the words of my Coaches girlfriend, ” the first 8-10 lengths will be hard but after that it gets easier”. I kept swimming and my breathing eased. My technique got worse and  I was breathing every 2nd stroke instead of 3rd stroke. My goggles were filling with water and I had to stop to empty them from time to time.

I counted the lengths I completed in my head. 5..10…15…20..25…I found the lengths passed by very quickly. My arms were tiring and my fingers started to cramp as I was holding them so tightly together. By length 40 I knew I was going to complete the 45.5 lengths which made 1500 metres.

On completing the 1500 metres I sent my coach a text….

“Fran did swim. Not great. Thought I would have to stop at 8 laps. Guts it out and got better. Fingers cramped trying to hold them together. Fatigued Lats from weight training yesterday. Did not feel good form and  technique went to pot. Goggles kept filling with water and had to stop occasionally to empty them. Good points are, finished it and breathing not bad towards the end. Going to join Putney pool as have to get in longer lengths. Got to talk to Emile (swim coach) about these issues. R”

I want my technique to improve and also to feel natural when I swim. I am going to join Putney Leisure Centre to swim longer lengths. Fran said I will be fine as I am swimming 2 km when I add the distances I am swimming with all my drills. If I can swim 2 km I can add another 1-2 km easily. He makes it sound simple. It is up to me to make it happen.

Had a review of my gym training. We are shifting to power training. I have cable woodchops, single arm swiss ball dumbbell press, Clean and push, PLanks on swiss ball, upper body extensions on swiss ball and jack knifes with swiss ball.

The next month of training is going to pick up now. Fran is taking me out next weekend for a ride to Surrey. Looking forward to some variety on the bike course.

Week 26: Week after snow boarding

The training for the week after snow boarding was the following

Tues 26 Jan: 45mins easy run. You need to start thinking of doing at least one run outdoors.
Wed 27 Jan: turbo session as follows  10mins wu  ms 2x20mins at 70-75%MHR (5mins recovery)  10mins easy cd
strenght session
Thurs 28 Jan: 1h swim as follows: 40mins Emile drills/15mins swim non stop/5mins cd
Fri 29 Jan: 35mins moderate run  1h easy bike ride (outdoor if possible otherwise in the turbo easy at 80-90RPM)
Sat 30 Jan: off
Sun 31: 2h 30min outdoors bike ride

I noticed ITB pain on the left knee as I did outdoor running. I was also tight after the snow boarding so I am stretching more now. It is so cold outside the fascia and muscles are tight at the start of the runs.  I had to buy ear warmers and longer socks to cover my Achilles tendons for the runs (purchased from Wiggle on the internet).

I tried using chaffing cream on the bike ride and I was more comfortable. I had less saddle pain and even after 2.5 hours. I out the cream on the shorts but next time I will apply to the affected areas. I am glad my coach recommended using the cream. I noticed the friction is worse when on the turbo trainer as the bike is held stationary and friction increases.

I swam for 15 minutes non stop this week, it was a big achievement. I want to find a 50 metre pool as the 20 metre pool does not allow me to get into a rhythm and my breathing is still unsettled. I spoke to my swim coach Emile and he said to slow down and get my breathing right. In the past I have swam with a slower arm stroke so I am adjusting to the new speed.

The plan from here is to increase my volume of training. It is a sobering thought having 26 weeks remaining in training.