Week 6: Front and back hip in gait

Week 6 has completed and it was great to learn more about  the hip joints and muscles. This region has some of the biggest muscles in the body and is the powerhouse for movement. The way the body moves from the feet to head, or the head to the feet, loads the hip joints (eccentric) in preparation for an explosive (concentric) unload. The triplane motion of this joint and, in particular the transverse plane internal rotation in gait, enables the buttock muscles to perform ecocentrically. This means the muscle uses its eccentric lengthening to perform concentric shortening, both at the same time.


The primary movement assessed this week was gait. We looked at the front hip and back hip in gait. We took our knowledge of what happens at the foot in gait and learnt the chain reaction up to the pelvis. It was clear that the movements through the chain reaction prepare the buttock muscles to load and then unload powerfully. We also looked at golf and how both hips are loaded in the back swing, in preparation for an unloading powerful stroke.


The webcasts on 3D squat looked at the various combinations of bilateral squat movements using combinations of saggital, frontal and transverse plane positions. (There are 27 possible combinations).

We also added in arm motions and also did triplane motion using single leg balance positions.


We grew our understanding of nomenclature using the SaFTey syntax. The key to assessment is to make the tweaks small at the start and see the clients response and then make the tweaks bigger later. We know the most powerful tweaks can be those planes of motion which are not the primary plane of motion of the joint.

We increased out understanding of nomenclature by learning how to describe exercise movements and how movements are done in reference to a common point called a Tripost.


In AFS Strategies we learnt about the desire of the body for success, to have fun, to be avoid pain. If we can have all these elements in our approach the body will unconsciously want to do the movement.


We finished the Sign language alphabet. It was not that difficult to learn and I look forward to learning some great new phrases.


Overall this week took the concepts of AFS and put it into the function of gait. Great week to consolidate some key principles in tweaking for success








Physical Edge starts training with the Gray Institute

This blog will follow the Journey of Rhys Chong, from Physical Edge, through his 10 month training in GIFT, with Gary Gray and the Gray Institute. GIFT is a course designed to encourage the transformation of others, through unique environments, using drivers to create biomechanical chain reactions. The course will achieve faster and functional results in Physical Therapy.
There will be a weekly update for those clinicians or clients interested in following the journey.
Week 0-3
In the first three weeks of GIFT we were introduced to the concept of Principles, Strategies and Techniques. There was an emphasis on the Scientific truths from Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Behavioural Sciences. From these Principles (Truths), Strategies were formed and then Techniques created. 
GIFT involved an understanding of the Mind, Body and Spirit. When one was altered, the other two would also be altered. This 3 Dimensional relationship was taken into treatment to create an encouraging transformational environment.
We were shown Lunge Matrices (logical 3D sequencing of movements) which opened up the possibility of assessing two sides of the body at once in a weight bearing position. To understand what to was happening at each joint in the body we were taught about bone motion and relative joint motion. 
There were some European clinicians on the course, but mainly American clinicians. The team at the Gray Institute pride themselves on giving the best possible course and service. They are all very approachable and easily contacted. They respond to emails quickly. 
The training is on webcasts with three trips to the USA to study. The webcasts had issues initially, but now a working with Vimeo.
So far the training is excellent and I look forward to the weekly training which starts each Thursday of the week.


Final day of training at Delucci Retreat and stll learning new skills

It’s my last day at the Delluci Retreat and Gary, my coach, planned a two hour climbing ride. The mountain we climbed twisted and turned and all I could see around each corner was another never-ending incline. I was getting used to this demoralising sight ahead and focussed on my climbing technique. I had to keep my head up so oxygen got into my lungs. I used my pacing and recovery skills when the climb got tough. It was by no means a fast climb but I did it smoothly and still had strength in my legs at the top. This is important to practice because the Etape is 208km long and having the endurance and strength is important.

The descent down the mountain went badly. Gary followed my descent and wanted me to practice the skills he had taught me. I went too fast and braked too late around a corner. The back wheel skidded out and I slid across the opposite side of the road towards the mountain wall and a large ditch. Thank goodness I stayed upright and as I neared the ditch I was able to play with the brakes to tip the bike away from the ditch at the very last minute. I got a stern verbal reminder of what I was doing wrong from Gary.

My confidence was knocked from the skid and I followed Gary down the rest of the mountain. We analysed what happened all the way home. I learnt on sharper descents I can not go as fast and I must break at the right time. I can use 70% on the front brake and stick my bottom backwards over the seat to spread my body weight along the length of the bike when braking. In the Etape I would have taken 100 riders out of the race with a skid like the one I just had. In the Etape other riders could make the same mistakes. In the race I plan to slow down and take corners wide so I don’t get caught in any accidents caused by others.

There was a big learning curve with my skid today and even though I made a mistake I have sharpened my downhill riding skills even more. Back at home Gary looked at my back tire. I had completely stripped the tread down to it’s base lining in two places. I was fortunate not to have blown it.

On leaving the Delluci Retreat Gary showed me how to replace my brake pads. Even more valuable information to take back to London. It has been a very worthwhile experience being with a coach and cycling proper mountains. It has helped me learn faster before the Etape. The Reteat is very relaxing and Gary and Sussie were alot of fun. They catered for all my needs. The rooms were fantastic and so was the food. I will be adding the Delluci Retreat to my recommended places to train for cyclists and triathletes.

Thank you Gary and Sussie for a wonderful time.

First day in Portugal training. What did I learn?

Got into accommodation at 3am last night due to flight delays. Up at 9am for breakfast and riding by 11.30am. 6 hours sleep not enough but felt good. Took duo’s oil, mamnitech sports products to boost endurance, and multivitamin. Hydrated well as the heat was going to pick up on the ride.

Hired a bike and had my own pedals and handle bar adjuster put on. The seat height was adjusted and we started the ride. I had lots of questions to ask Gary the coach with my main aims to learn how to hill climb and descend safely.

Gary knew we had 4 days of riding so today was a steady 4 hour ride. There were 3 climbs from 45 mins to 1 hour long. I had never ridden this long on hills before so I was looking forward to testing my body.

I have come to realise training is about preparing your body. When you go out to train you can consciously tell your body what to do and it will respond depending on the training it has had. I did not know how my legs would respond to hill climbing so just waited to find out. The goal of today was to get distance in my legs with hill climbing and riding a steady pace.

We took on the first hour climb and I could feel I wad getting sore between the legs on the saddle. Gary looked from behind and could see my saddle was too high and each down stroke of my leg put pressure on my groin. We adjusted the seat and the pain eased. A loo stop also helped. Gary get me in the easiest gearing and high cadence and we chatted all the way up the hill. This was a good sign my VO2 max was good. This was the type of condition I was too sustain through the entire ride.

I could feel the pave I was maintaining up the hill and as we took on more hills my body was reacting well. My legs felt strong and even though my heart rate elevated I was comfortable. On one ride my legs were starting to fatigue and I was looking for the top of the hill but as soon as we hit flatter sections of road I recovered quickly.

Gary taught me to get out of the saddle and pedal to give my back a break and vary the load on my body. It actually felt very comfortable and helped me climb better. I usually dropped the gear two down to make pedalling out of the saddle smoother.  I definitely was eating and drinking more on these rides.

Going downhills has been a great learning curve today. On the first long decent I was leaning the wrong way around each corner and I was finding the line of my turning made me break too much. I was less confident turning corners to my left.

Gary told me to turn and aim for the apex of bend. Break before the apex but not at the apex as the back wheel can skid out and this is a common problem when cyclist break with the rear breaks. He told me to lean with the bike and relax. I followed his lines of biking down the hills and could feel the turns better. It was best to choose safety over speed when descending so I did break if I felt unsure.

By the end of the day I was staying closer to Garys bike when descending and I was beginning to know the lines to take leading into the bends.

I got home and felt strong finishing with no bonking. I had paced myself well and Gary thought my cadence and speed up the hill was good.

I learnt a lot today and finishing the ride with a nice cup of tea and biscuits sitting in the sun was idyllic.I am looking forward to practicing what I have learnt tomorrow. Gary did live in London and is going to introduce me some guys who will show me the big hills in Surrey to ride to maintain my momentum when back in London.

Gary is a great coach and very entertaining. He had me laughing riding up the hills and  he is an uber experienced  professional triathlete, duathlete and cyclist. He has a new purpose built home and cycle workshop for athletes to stay and train. Could not have come across a better place to prepare for the Etape. I will be posting videos on YouTube soon. Garys business name is Delucci and can be found on the net. Until tomorrow it is time to put on the compression leggings, get in the nutrition and recover for tomorrow.

Training before riding in Portugal

Last weekend I went on a 4 hour ride in the hills in Surrey. In the ride we purposely looked for the biggest hills and climbed one after the other. I have to admit I bonked. It was a tough ride home. My coach then set me another 4 hour ride in two days time and then time trials around Richmond Park. All this before heading to Portugal and riding 4 days of hills.

I was worried my body would tighten up with extreme increases in training and after bonking. I rode to box hill for my 4 hour ride and could feel my legs tired at the end. They did not have great energy to push hard and in fact they ached as I was coming home.

Today I attacked Richmond Park and I was determined to beat my best time of 19.53mins for 1 lap.  I did not know if my legs would cope with only two days rest. I accelerated out of my seat and set the stop watch going. I did not look at the watch until I crossed the finish line and just thought about pushing hard. I am learning to pace myself and at times when it was painful I think if I go faster this is when I actually make up time at the end.

I rode anti clockwise and the wind was almost neutral if not slightly a head wind. I stayed low on the handle bars and controlled the gear changes while in this position. I could feel my legs were tiring at the tops of hills but on the flats I recovered fast and my heart rate was easily maintained. On the flats I accelerated and was staying above 40 km/h on them. In the final straight a rider was pushing hard in front of me and I picked him out to catch. In the last 10 meters I passed him. My time 19.10mins. I was definitely stronger today and that was after doing two 4 hour rides in the space of 6 days.

My legs are adapting to the training and in Portugal I hope to get the climbing muscles working and learn how to pace myself for the long accents. My next goal is to get to 18 mins around Richmond Park. I will then officially be faster than my coach.

In the next blog I will talk about my training and what I learnt about hill climbing on the bike.

Reentering the Etape

It has been a great week. At first I thought the Etape wasn’t possible this year but things have evolved and I have been given the opportunity and time to race again. I have snapped it up with eager hands and am back into training again.

I feel I am not in the best condition for the event because I have not entered any other events to prepare me for the hill climbing. I have rested for 2 weeks and my hill climbing in and around London is no comparison to the hills in France.

I spoke to my Coach (Fran) and he has said I must commit 3 x week t training, plus one gym session and train overseas to get to know what real hill climbing is all about. The advice he has given me has stimulated me into action. I am checking I still have an entry into the Etape next week. If it is still available I will be on a flight out of London on Friday to train in Portugal with Sigma sports associated coach, Flash. He will train me 3 full days on hill after hill until I break. I hope this gives my body the experience it needs to learn how to hill climb  in France.

This week I have done a time trial around Richmond Park. I finally cracked 20 minutes with an anticlockwise lap of 19.52. I have told to do 3 laps in 60 minutes. If my coach sets me three laps I will aim to complete this target.

Today I went out for a 4 hour bike ride with my Ironman friend. I decided to ride as many hills as I could find in Surrey and we did long hills ranging in gradient from 3%-13%. We avoided boxhill as there were more challenging hills to climb. On the way home I ran low on energy. My legs were painful climbing  up the hills and I pushed hard t get to Sigma Sports in Kingston. It was a pleasure to get off the bike after such a hard ride. It hit home again how much hill climbing I have to do before the event.

I went to the Sigma Sports sale and picked up half price Specialized bike shoes and a racing top. The shoes were so comfortable to wear and gripped my foot with three straps to help me hill climb. On the way home I took three gel shots as I felt like I needed them. It was a slow ride home and finally getting home I ate a big plate of pasta with cheese. Probably not the best food but I was soooo hungry.

I noticed hill climbing made me eat and drink more than normal and because I did no crab load I ran out of energy. I plan to crab load on future rides and take more food with me.

I am interested in what my coach gives me next week and if I go to Portugal this will be a totally new training experience. This is helping me understand the effect of cycling on the body and what to do best to prepare for rides and recover. Until next week I will sign off  a much happier cyclist.

Racing the West Cornwall Middle Distance Triathlon

Yesterday I raced the Middle Distance Triathlon in Marazion, West Cornwall. I got to Marazion the day before the race and prepared myself for the event. It was important to be organised with my transition kit and to have my equipment in good working order.

I tested my bike and it was making a crunching noise with each downward stroke of the pedal. I tightened the pedals and crank but it still was making this unusual noise. I did everything I could to fix the problem so hoped on the day it would be ok. My bike would need to be serviced back in London.

I got up at 5.15 am and had breakfast. I took my own breakfast, quinoa  with sultanas and seeds. I then packed up my gear and headed to transition to prepare. The pre-race brief was at 6.30am and the race started at 7am.

I was well prepared for the race brief and I was relaxed. My coach, Fran, had said to treat this like a B race. It was a training run and it was for me to learn how to transition, prepare for the race and get  race experience. I knew I wanted to do everything I would do in the Ironman and if anything goes wrong I could learn how to do things better.

The bike course had been changed because of road works. The swim had been tested for temperature because it possibly was too cold. In the end 13 degrees celsius allowed a full 1900m swim but it was going to be very cold.

The race started just after 7am with a run into the water from the beach. I entered the water and my face immediately froze. I was so happy my wetsuit actually kept my body warm. My feet  froze under the water. I tried to get in a rhythm but swimming against the incoming tide, the murky water, sea sickness and finding it difficult to spot the markers made the start of the swim very uncomfortable.

The swim got worse because the waves were splashing over my face after rounding the first marker. I was most comfortable when swimming with space around me and being able to see the markers. I tried following another swimmer but this made the water more turbulent than it already was and I swallowed even more salt water.

I was glad my arms were not tiring even though my technique was less than ideal. I was breathing erratically to sight the marker, spot other swimmers and stop swallowing more water. I was relieved to pass the second marker and be heading for home. This time the tide was behind me and I was looking forward to getting out of the water soon.

Everyone around me was swimming faster to get home. I started to tire about 200 metres from shore. It think it was more the elements around me rather than the length of the swim that was tiring me. I stood up as soon as I could and ran 200m to transition.

My hands were so cold and I had cramps in legs towards the end of the swim. In transition my left hamstring cramped once and putting on my cycle gloves was challenging with cold and weak fingers. I finished the swim in 36 minutes and was out on the bike after a 2 min transition.

The bike course had completely changed from last year. My coach did not know it was going to be a very hilly course.  I set my watch to alarm every 20 minutes and I ate my power bars and drank electrolyte or Carbohydrate fuel each time it went off.

Riding the first 10 km with steep hill climbs started to take it out on my legs. In my head I was hoping around the next corner the hills would stop but I was in Cornwall and it is hilly country everywhere.

I had not prepared for hill climbing like I was experiencing on the race. I climbed at least 70km of hills in the 84km bike leg. The wind was against me on exposed areas in the hills. On two occasions my quadriceps went into spasm I almost came off the bike. 35 minutes from the end my hamstring and quad spasmed on the same leg and I had to stop briefly to rest it before cycling slowly to finish. I eased pressure on the left leg by cycling more with my right leg. All these cyclists were passing me and I wanted to go faster but my legs did not allow me. The hard training session I did 4 days earlier had tired my quadriceps and now I was paying for it.

I transitioned into my running kit. Again my hamstring spasmed and as I ran out the gates both my VMO’s (inner quadricep muscles) were making my knees collapse. I walked briefly up a steep hill and then started running again.

I noticed the more I ran the less the quadriceps were cramping. I think my muscles were getting used to the running after the hard cycle. I found running downhill the hardest as it made my quadriceps work more. The first 10kms I was running well.

My run was more a shuffle than a normal striding run because of the tightness in my hamstrings and the care I was taking to prevent cramping in my quadriceps. I started the final 10 km of the run with a plan to finish strong. However after 3 steep hill climbs my legs were getting more painful. I knew what was ahead because the run was two 10km loops. I had to get through another 4 km and my legs were wanting to give up all the time.

I was starting to get dehydrated and the temperature was in the mid 20’s. I felt my body had been running for a very long time. It was in automatic mode and if I stopped I was afraid it would be hard to start again. It was mind over matter and knowing what was ahead that kept me going.

I liked having runners ahead of me to pull me along. I did overtake other runners who had started walking or were suffering from running and cycling too hard earlier in the race.

I had 300m to run and finish. This even seemed a long way off. I ran down the finishing straight and the people around clapped me home. It felt a relief to cross the finish line. I was feeling good and energetic but my legs were in pain.

I drank straight away, ate a Pastie and went to see my time for the race. If lay down I was afraid my legs would cramp and that is painful. I kept moving and planned to pack up transition and head home.

My total time for the race was 5.59hrs. I was happy with the time as it was a tough course and I had overtrained the week before. I had suffered cramps on the race but got through it. This was a great training run and I learnt many things which I can take into the Ironman.

My kit and transitions were good. Next time I would put more vaseline on my toes after the cycle to stop friction between my toes on longer runs. I would also have a plastic box to keep my transition gear together and dry.

The week before would be an easy training week. The speed work and faster than race pace training fatigued my legs and led them to cramping in the race. I would have one bottle of water, electrolyte and carbohydrate on the bike for variety when hydrating. I must try drinking gels for the run. On the swim I would  sight the markers better and then get into a my rhythm as soon as possible. Breathing to both sides gave me flexibility to see other swimmers and stop water splashing in my  face.

I must do more strengthening for hill climbing on the bike. I want to talk to my bike mechanic to get my areo bar position improved or get new bars completely. I would like to eat other foods on the bike leg. My bike must be checked at the place of the event by a bike mechanic to avoid any mechanical failures.

Today I have very tight legs. It is painful to get up from sitting, stair climb and walk fast. My right hamstring is painful to stretch. I am resting and eating well to recover and I have a massage booked for tomorrow.

I pushed myself hard on this race and it has been a huge benefit to test where I am for the Ironman. I have just over two months before the full Ironman. I must organise my life to have the time to recover when I increase my training. It is not long to go and I can not imagine I will be ready to double these distances in two months. It is a serious challenge ahead I need all the support I can get from friends and family.

My coach has said I get the week off to recover. He will contact me in 4 days to see how I am and then put a plan in place for the next step in my training.

I feel motivated and ready to take on the full Ironman. It still amazes me that I will run a marathon after a 180km bike ride and 4km swim. Recovery is important now so lets hope my legs muscles get better soon.