Why we yoga

Your own positive future begins in this moment. All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here.

–Lao Tzu

The difference between being a good athlete and a great athlete can be as little as 30 well spent minutes a day. It can be the difference between the guy that comes in and lifts cold and the guy that spends time warming up through the range of motion needed for the days training session. This sounds easy enough right? Well most of the time I get a “I just don’t have time after the workout to do this” and here is my response:

  • 24 hours in a day
    • Ideally 8 spent sleeping
    • Around 8 at your desk job
    • 2 hours (give or take) for food prep and cooking
    • 1 hour getting ready for work
    • 2 hours for a  workout (which includes warm-up)
    • 1-2 hours of misc. stuff (just for purposes of this post)
  • This leaves you with one hour of left over time, or crazy thought, mobilization time.

But the truth is, it honestly depends on if you want to get better. If you are happy with where you are at, with your current numbers/abilities, and with your overall performance, then you do you.

But if you want to get better, to be able to do more, to get to that next PR or keep injury free, then maybe this is something you should try and fit in day to day.


 

That being said, the following took about 15 minutes this morning and would serve as a great pre-work mobilization option for those that want to start fitting in some flexy time.

Start with a foam roller and go over each of the following areas for 10-15 passes (making sure to pay special attention to any areas that might be a little tighter than others).

  1. Upper back with arms down
  2. Upper back with arms up
  3. Lower back
  4. Both Shoulders
  5. Both Lats.
  6. Glutes
  7. IT Bands (great time for a coffee break during the roll)
  8. Quads (rolling on the inner, outer, and middle of the leg)
  9. Hamstrings
  10. Calves (this one is always a little painful for me, so I take some extra time to give them a little more love)

After the rolling and mashing, we move to some borrowed yoga poses to increase our range of motion in specific areas. I like to try and hold the poses for at least 30 seconds if not more (and feel free to go through these two or three times depending on the amount of time you have available):

  1. Reclined Hero’s (My quads and hips flexors are extremely tight due to the increase in my volume recently, so I use this as my test pose for my morning flex practice)
  2. Childs pose
  3. Thread the needle (on both sides)
  4. Cat/Cow (Go through this series at least 5 times)
  5. Downward dog (walking the heels out for a calf stretch)
  6. Downward dog (focusing on driving your head through)
  7. Forward fold
  8. Forward fold (focusing on wrist mobility)
  9. Garland pose
  10. Cobbler pose
  11. Seated forward fold
  12. Reclined Hero’s (test to see if you have increase ROM in your target area for the day)

 

As you can see, 15 minutes can do wonders for your body, and is not as hard to come by as some make it seem (you just have to MAKE time, not FIND it).

 

 

You’ve got your own back

Prevention is better than cure

–Desiderius Erasmus

To think that someone else can constantly pick up your pieces and put you back together again is pure insanity. Think about all the times that you acquire an ache or a pain. Think about all the Saturdays that you wish you could go get a massage at the drop of a hat or call up your chiropractor just to make whatever ails you feel better. The funny thing is, you might be able to help yourself more than you know.

Now, I am not saying that what you can do with the items I will list below can ever replace a chiropractor, massage therapist, or physical therapist, but they can help with your minor aches and pains that might not call for a visit to one of these fine medical professionals (some consider them allied health, but I would consider them a front line before a visit to the doctor, especially for bone, joint, or muscle).

If you ask any half-way decent coach, trainer, chiropractor, PT, or massage therapist most will come up with a very similar list of must have items to help with your mobility and injury prevention, because lets face it, taking a trip every other day to one of the above professionals is not realistic for most people.


Foam Roller

By now, most anyone that is involved in fitness/training/or rehab has heard of or used a foam roller. Foam Rollers are a super simple and cheap way to help aid in recovery, warm-up, cool-down, and injury rehab. If the $18 price range is just absurd to you, you can always get a large diameter piece of PVC pipe and glue some old yoga mat down to the surface and you have your own home-made roller (although, I warn you, that this will be a very, very deep tissue massage).

Another option for travelling is to have a stick or hand roller on hand (not as effective, but it fits in a suitcase very nicely)

Tiger Tail


Lacrosse Balls

For deeper, more pin-point issues, one can turn to the use of a lacrosse ball. Now different balls can be used for different areas of the body:

  • Lacrosse ball- Forearms, feet, chest, upper back, hip flexor, (tape two together for your erectors), piriformis
  • Golf ball- bottom of the foot or forearms
  • Soft ball or mobility ball- piriformis, hip flexor, abdominal, upper/lower back

I have on hand at our gym:

  • Multiple single lacrosse balls (about 5)
  • 2 sets of 2 lacrosse balls taped side by side
  • A softball sized mobility ball
  • 1-3 Golf balls

BALL ON WALL

The idea is that sometimes you need a little more of a targeted release than say just rolling over it with a foam roller. The different types and sizes of mobility balls help to allow you to choose that perfect line between discomfort and pain (mobilizing is never going to feel awesome, but we are not looking to be in pain for 30-45 minutes).


Yoga Mat

The one in the link above is the brand that I prefer. They are a little more expensive, but have a couple of benefits over other mats:

  • They are resilient and don’t tear up like cheap mats
  • They come with a warranty
  • They don’t slide around on the floor like other mats
  • They are extra long, so they fit tall and short alike

BoundSideAngle

Other items that are nice, but not necessary to have for you yoga/mobility practice:

  1. Cork Yoga Blocks
    1. The cork is a little more stable than the cheap foam blocks
  2. Yoga Strap
    1. With poses that you might not be able to quiet get into, the strap can help you with the proper alignment.

 

These are just a couple of tools that can help keep you in the game on a daily basis (if you have a serious injury, make sure and go see someone, don’t try and fix it with a foam roller…). Tell your friends and family and just maybe, you can get them as a stocking stuffer and help roll out some of that tension acquired through hours of driving.


 

Little Yoga video with ques for all those travelers and athletes with chronic lower back issues. Check it out, do it, and see if it does not help a little.

NOTE: We only provide about 7 minutes worth of video. I would suggest moving through the modified sun salutation 8-10 times to really get warmed-up before going into the static postures (you will also get a little more out of the static postures if you are a little more warm).

Performance over fitness

I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.

–Frank Lloyd Wright

Just like your taste for clothes and certain foods evolves with time, so does your appetite for lifting. You start with goals of perfect form, that weight you think is heavy, and a goal to be fit. This is your goal at the start of your journey. Now fast forward to today, look at where you are, at the numbers you have put up, and at your current level of performance. Are you further than you were when you started? If not, something needs to change, but most likely you are leaps and bounds away from that person you wanted to become, because you are so much better. But the real question becomes: Are you done growing? Are you happy with where you are at? I don’t ask this question to evoke a negative response, but rather to ask, are you as great as you can be? This is the basis of our performance team we plan to start in the new year.

The concept for this team is simple:

We want to find the most dedicated athletes around town to come in at given times and train together. We want to breed an atmosphere of success, one in which the possibility of failure is impossible. Can you imagine the PR’s that will be made? Can you imagine the weaknesses that will be over come? What about the mental fortitude that will be strengthened?

And the best part…

It is free.

But there is a couple of caveats:

  1. You must have a gym you train at and program you follow
    1. One or two days of greatness a week does nothing if you don’t follow it up with other days.
    2. This is not meant to be a “come get some free training and go about your merry way”, this is meant for dedicated athletes.
  2. You must make the training sessions
    1. If you only come once in a blue moon, then this is probably not going to be your thing… If you are not willing to put in hard work on say, a Friday night before going out, then this group is probably not for you.
  3. You must leave negativity and your aches and pains at home
    1. If you have a structured program then you know that soreness and pain are part of the process, so since we are all hurting, please leave those comments somewhere else. 
  4. Come ready to compete and push others
    1. The whole point of this team is to come and be pushed by others, to find the biggest fish in the pond and try to beat one another, so come ready to compete!
  5. You must represent Pure Health at your competition of choice and give back to those who helped strengthen you
    1. Since we are putting time and effort into your development, we would like it if you gave a little shout out back toward those that helped you along the way.
  6. And last but not least, you must help out those that want to become better.
    1. This group is not meant to bash anyone willing to train for a goal, so if you only squat 135 but have a dream of putting 300 on the bar, then we want to help you out!!

NOTE: This group is not meant to push anyone away from the gym or to make a special clique of elite lifters. However, in my years of training and coaching, I have found that there are always certain individuals that want more out of training than others. If you think about lifting all day, if this is your passion and love, if your main goal is to become elite, compete in competitions, and crush PR’s, and you are willing to put in long hours to do it: this is the group for you!! 


 

On a different note:

Taylor Tran and I were talking the other day about warming up and how it is really important and the better you get, the more warming up you have to do, but everyone knows this….. right?

We often come into the gym, start doing are warm-up, get to chatting with one another, check our phones, and then start are training for the day. Here are a couple of issues with that:

  • There is no attention paid to HOW you are warming up
  • You have skipped over many of the much needed mobilization exercises or have done them in haste.
  • If you have a phone in your hand, how effective is the warm-up really?

If you have trouble coming up with a warm-up pre-workout, follow a couple of the tips below to get a little more out of your warm-up and ultimately your training session.

  1. Start with a foam roller
    1. Hit all the major muscle groups for 30 sec. a piece. My list looks like this:
      1. Upper back
      2. Shoulders
      3. Lower back
      4. Glutes
      5. Hamstrings
      6. Quads
      7. IT Bands
  2. Activate the GLUTES:
    1. Get some lunges going and make sure to get that full ROM. This has personally helped me with a hip injury I caused myself by decreasing my warm-up time and trying to jump to heavy squats. 2 or 3 sets of 10-12 each leg
    2. Throw in some weighted hip raises pre-workout to help get those hips firing! 2 or 3 sets of 10-12

    3.  

  3. After all of this is done, now get a bar in your hands and start working your motions! I personally start with some squat jerks, some good mornings, and some deep pause squats
    1. CGOHS

 

Again, if the competition team peaks your interest, make sure to PM us on facebook or email us at purehealthperformance918@gmail.com!

 

Warriors, Come Out To Play (Yoga Flow)

 

First, lets through out some info and a tentative schedule for the event:

Weight Class Vindiagrams

Schedule of Event:

  • 8 a.m Female warm-up and weigh in for morning session
  • 8:30 a.m First Snatch
  • 9:15 a.m Clean and Jerk Warm-up
  • 9:30 a.m First Clean and Jerk
  • 10:15 a.m Male warm-up and weigh in for morning session
  • 10:45 a.m First Snatch of Male session
  • 11:30 a.m Clean and Jerk Warm-up
  • 11:45 a.m First Clean and Jerk
  • 12:30 p.m Female Warm-up and Weigh in for Afternoon Session
  • 12:40-1:10 p.m Female Squat
  • 1:20- 1:50 p.m Female Bench
  • 2:00- 2:30 p.m Female Dead lift
  • 2:30 Male Warm-up and Weigh in for Afternoon Session
  • 2:40-3:10 p.m Male Squat
  • 3:20-3:50 p.m Male Bench
  • 4:00- 4:30 p.m Male Dead lift

We will do awards at the end of each session for that session. The only change to the original rules is that as a Super Total participant, you will be able to medal in the morning session, the afternoon session, and then we will have a first and second place overall for the combined total of all the Olympic movements as well as the power lifting movements.

We will be providing coffee and donuts for the morning session and will have a taco bar set up for lunch and the afternoon session. We will also have beer and cider available for individuals that are 21 or older (but don’t drink and lift) for after you are done competing.


Alright, we are getting close to this weekend’s competition! I’m sure most everyone is moving into the portion of the week where we take things a little easier, work on mobility, rest, eat, and recover in preperation for Saturday’s events. In order to help you do that, Kaleigh has posted a “working” Warrior yoga flow to keep your muscles engaged and flexible over the next few days.

Watch the video below and then read further for a breakdown12on the postures. We suggest you move through this flow on each side of the body two times at least, adding an aerobic component rather than just static stretching.

Key Postures & Benefits for Strength

1) Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Śvānāsana)

DownDog

Downward Dog decompresses the spine, lengthens then entire back line, increases shoulder flexibility (for that overhead Snatch position!), and benefits ankle mobility which is critical for low position squat stability.

2) Upward Facing Dog (Ūrdhvamukhaśvānāsana)

UpDog

Working on actively drawing the shoulders away from the ears, Upward Facing Dog works to strengthen our spine, arms, and wrists while stretching our chests, shoulders, and abdomen and engaging our glutes.

3) Warrior 1 (Vīrabhadrāsana I)

Warrior1

Warrior 1 will assist with the front squat by increasing hip flexion. Additionally, there are benefits for thoracic extension and shoulder flexibility. Here our goal is to keep our hips in line with the front of our mats.

4) Warrior 2 (Vīrabhadrāsana II)

Warrior2

Warrior 2 also helps with hip flexibility and stretches the groin, shoulders, legs and ankles. In this pose, we focus on keeping our shoulders down and away from our ears, opening our chest and our hips to the side of our mat.

5) Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)

ReverseWarrior

Reverse warrior improves our overhead position by lengthening our lats. Similarly to the other Warrior postures, hip and ankle flexibility are increased.

6) Humble Warrior

HumbleWarrior

Humble, or Devotional, Warrior adds a chest expansion to the traditional Warrior posture and the low forward bow helps increase range of motion in the hips. Here we try to drive our hands as high overhead as possible, increasing the chest expansion and shoulder flexibility.

7) Side Angle (bound) (Utthitapārśvakoṇāsana)

Side Angle increases mobility in hip flexion, abduction, and external rotation, which will assist with squat technique. Binding the pose behind your back (by interlacing your fingers) will add increased shoulder flexibility and chest expansion.

 

8) Pyramid (Parsvottanasana)

Pyramid

Pyramid aids in IT band and hamstring flexibility with the goal of driving your head toward your knee. Make sure to support your back by resting your hands on the floor, your foot, or your shin.

9) Triangle/Twisted Triangle (Trikoṇāsana)

Triangle deepens the hip hinge movement pattern, which can assist with deadlift. Twisted Triangle can be a challenge, but if you can’t twist all the way around, using a block, coffee table, or your cat for support is always an option.

10) Extended Child’s Pose (Bālāsana)

Child'sPose

Extended Child’s Pose brings our hips toward the mat, increasing hip and low back flexibility. Additionally, the extension overhead assists with our overhead stability by lengthening our lats and stretching our shoulders.


As a reminder, if you are wondering to yourself what gear is appropriate for the competition, here is a list:

  • Knee sleeves or Knee Wraps
  • Belts (tapered, 3in, 4in)
  • Wrist wraps
  • Chalk

Things that will not be allowed:

  • Powerlifting suits
  • Gloves or hand protection
  • liquid grip
  • elbow sleeves

If you have any questions make sure to message us on facebook or send us an email at purehealthperformance918@gmail.com.

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday!

To gear, or not to gear

There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path, DO NOT allow yourself to become one of them

–Ralph Marston

Before I start talking about what today’s topic, I want to make sure that everyone knows we are down to the last week of sign-ups for the PHP Super Total Lift-off. Make sure to take a second and get signed up by:

Paying in person at Pure Health Locations:

  • Cash
  • Check
  • Card

Google Wallet your fees and information to:

  • Daniel.West.PT@gmail.com
  • Include your name, competition preference, and box affiliation (if applicable)

Paypal your fees and information to:

  • Purehealthperformance918@gmail.com
  • Include your name, competition preference, and box affiliation (if applicable)

Once you have sent your info, check The Sign-up sheet to make sure that you are registered and ready to go!

If you have questions about the rules of the competition make sure to message us or email us or you can check the Rules and Regulations pageNOTE: Power lifting session is a RAW session, the only gear allowed will be wraps (knee and wrist) and belts.

We want this to be a fun, competitive competition for new comers, veterans, and lovers of the sport. Make sure and tell your friends to sign-up (and make sure that they get that way).


If you are involved in any sport, especially weightlifting, you know that all the major athletes have tons of gear. Watch a video of the IWF training hall and you will see the most elite in the world squatting, snatching, clean and jerking, and pulling in belts, wraps, straps, etc… So yes, at some point gear is a necessity, hell, I think everyone aspiring to the sport of weightlifting or power lifting should invest in a quality belt, knee sleeves or wraps, and some type of wrist wrap and pull strap.

IMG_20151120_195023

What I mean to say is that often times we gear up when we get into the gym, right after warm-up, because we ache. We gear up because, for some reason, it mentally or, in some cases, physically helps us with issues we are having in the lift, and this is no good. The idea of gear is to help support once we get to extremely heavy weights, it is not meant to band-aid a mobility issue or pain we are having. This is not to say that if you come into the gym after a long week of killing weights and your back, knees, or wrist are killing you, to not strap up and get your training session in. I simply want to address the idea that you should be able to perform sub maximal attempts without gear, or you might be that person walking around with the belt on doing dumbbell curls for core support, because…you know…it helps.?.?


Belt/mobility/correction

Lets start with what a belt actually does, help to increase the Intra abdominal pressure.

breath-control-revised_750x500-750x0

As we close our Glottis (reference the picture above), we start to increase are abdominal pressure, which in turn pushes on the Lumbar spine and creates a support. This being said, notice that we can accomplish this WITHOUT belt. The goal of the belt is to artificially help to increase the pressure and support when we need it, at maximally attempts. If you tend to wear a belt from the time your warm-up at 100lbs to the time you max at 285lbs, you might be masking issues that we can address below. 

  • Glutes/Hips

When we wear a belt, the most common problem is lower back pain. When we have pain in a joint, the best thing to do is to look up-chain or down-chain to see if we can find the source of the issue. It is extremely common that the source of your lower back pain is in fact not in your lower back (unless you have some existing Facet issues or a disk problem). Try a couple of these stretches, pre and post training, to see if you can start to alleviate your need for support and ultimately become pain free.

Other options not pictured: Pigeon stretch (make sure that your hips are flexible enough for this stretch)

 


 Knee wraps/sleeves/mobility/correction

If you follow a “squat every day” program, you will know that your knees, from time to time, will take awhile to warm-up. This is due to the fact of, you know, putting them under large amounts of stress on a daily basis, and this is okay. The body is built to handle this type of stress, IF, you take proper care to make sure everything is running smooth. Wearing some type of loose fitting knee wrap or knee sleeve is a great way to keep the knees warm, loose, and ready to lift on the daily. However, wearing these items can often mask the underlying cause of the soreness/tightness which is usually tight quadriceps.

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Notice that the musculature which makes up the “Quadriceps group” attach in and around the knee joint. Furthermore, notice that the Rectus Femoris attaches to the patella (knee cap) and down to the Tibia. I point this out because often times this is a great source of pain, and below is how to remedy:

The first 4 tiles are the same pose (Reclined Hero’s), just at 4 different levels (notice my quads are rather tight compared to Kaleighs). The last two tiles show rolling techniques used to mash the individual quad muscles (paying attention to mash both the medial and lateral quad group as well).


 

Wrist wraps/mobility/correction

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If you look at the picture above, you will notice why we go up or down chain in order to look for mobility issue. If you have “tight wrist” or immobile wrist we have to look up chain to the forearm due to the fact that there is not actually much musculature in the wrist (tendons that connect to the phalanges, but not much actual muscle). Tight forearms can present a great problem, especially when trying to front rack weight or bench press large amounts of weight. Try a couple of the stretches below to see if you can help your immobile wrist before resorting to wrist wraps and masking the issue:


We have touched on all of these topics in past articles, but wanted to bring it all together and give examples of how we tend to mask issues that present themselves. Make sure that you are constantly doing your mobility work, because you can mask with gear for a good amount of time, but eventually, the equipment is not enough and blowing out a knee or bulging  a disk  becomes a real possibility.

We look forward to seeing everyone in 2 weeks time at the Lift-off. Make sure and bring your friends and family out (we will have food and drinks available) to come and cheer you on as you break through some PR’s and fight for one of these bad boys:

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Yoga Flow: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

H.Jackson Brown Jr.

As a coach this is my favorite line to hear, “I don’t have time”. I get it, I do. However, here is the thing; you DO have time, it is how you spend that time that either gets you to the numbers that will make you great, or keeps you at those numbers that make you good.

This time it is not just about mobility, although setting aside at least 30 minutes a day to work on your mobility weaknesses is a must (especially if you want to be a better weightlifter or keep power lifting without any injuries). This time it is about deciding what is important. To many times do I get to hear as a coach “I had a bad day and I am tired”, unfortunately while I fully understand that, the game does not stop.

We had a member of the gym the other day post about how she came into the gym having an awful day, wanted to do nothing but cry the entire time she was there, but still manged to get in and bust out arguably one of the better training sessions she had in a long time, and I could not have been more proud of one of my athletes.

This is what training is about, finding a way to push past a shitty day to come in and keep grinding toward that goal. You don’t get to give up on life when you feel down, just like you don’t get to drop your goals just because you had a bad day. The gym is an outlet. It is the place you get to push your frustration. It is the best therapy. It is the only place that despite your day, despite your boss yelling at you, and despite things being out of control in your life, it will be the same. When you get to the gym, you get to decide how the session is going to go, no one else gets to make that decision for you!

So make time for the things that matter. Make time for the things that will make you better. Make time for partying and having a good time, but make sure that these times don’t hold you back from what is truly important to you. Make time for these things because you enjoy them, but also because if you want to be the best you have to beat others that are willing to put all of these things at the top of their list.


Since we are in a pretty hard cycle at the gym leading up to the competition, we decided to shoot a video of a yoga flow late last night that incorporated almost all the major joints in the body that come under stress with heavy training. While this is intended to aid in the recovery and mobility of our powerlifters and weightlifters, this yoga flow can also be used in many other applications and for various sports. The purpose of the video is to be used during off days, mobility sessions, or pre/post workout to increase the range of motion in the joint or to aid in recovery from a long stress inducing workout. The video is only a minute or so long, but we encourage you to hold the poses a little longer to get the benefit of the stretch (especially if one or more of the poses target an area that needs improvement).

Moon Salutation Breakdown:


We included a couple of stills to show the breakdown of the moon salutation for anyone that is not familiar with it. Moon salutation is great for opening up the hips, lats, obliques, and shoulders (which means it is great for pretty much all of lifters)!

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If you are using this as a warm-up for a training session or to start a mobility practice, I would suggest moving through moon salutation 2-3 times each side. If you are using this as a cool-down to a training session I would do 1-2 times each side, holding the poses a little longer (20-30 seconds) to get the stretch desired.


The next couple poses are to help specifically with mobility in the wrist, hips, lower back, and shoulders:

Standing Straddle Split (Prasarita Padottanasana):

IMG_2088

Take as wide of a stance as you comfortably can, working your feet out toward the edges of the mat. Take your hands and place them on the floor so that your fingers are facing through your legs and lean forward (giving your wrist a nice, deep stretch). Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds going back in and out of it at least 3-4 times.


Garland Pose (Malasana):

IMG_2092

Garland Pose is a great pose to show you where your squat mobility is (obviously). Are you pitching forward? Do you have the ability to sit in a complete squat? Can you hold it for longer than 5 seconds? All of these are problem areas that can be addressed by sitting in this position for a couple of minutes a day (especially if you sit at a desk). Start standing with your hip a little wider than hip width apart, with you toes pointed slightly outward. Sit back and down until you are in a comfortable position that you can maintain for a while (make sure your heels are still on the ground). Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds, going back in and out of it at least 3-4 times.


Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana):

IMG_2089 IMG_2090 IMG_2091

We have previewed this pose once before (since I am not gummbie girl, I cannot get into the last two modifications for this pose and use a Dynamax ball to help support my torso.). This pose will help with tight hip flexors that might cause you to pitch forward during garland pose, or use this pose if you have a hip pain during squatting heavy. Start as shown in the far left picture, driving those hips up toward the ceiling, making sure to feel a deep stretch in your quads and hip flexor area. If this is comfortable to you, you can start to lean further back, intensifying the stretch. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds, going back in and out of it at least 3-4 times.


Couple of updates for the event: 

  1. The rules for both the Weightlifting portion of the event and the Powerlifting portion can be found HERE. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules we will be following to make this as smooth of an event as possible (and for the safety of the judges if we have to call a lift no good).
  2. You can sign-up a couple of different ways:
    1. Paypal: Send to purehealthperformance918@gmail.com. Make sure to include name, event, and box affiliation (if applicable).
    2. Google Wallet: Send to daniel.west.pt@gmail.com. Make sure to include name, event, and box affiliation (if applicable).
    3. In person: We can take cash, check, or credit card up at the gym, just stop by during gym hours and get signed up!
  3. We will have Pure Health Performance T-shirts going on Pre-order sometime today and tomorrow, so keep a look out on the Facebook page if you would like to order one and help support your local gym!
  4. The medals for the competition will be ordered next week, so make sure and get everyone you can signed-up so we can order as many as possible!
  5. We are 3 weeks out from the competition, so I would advise finding some type of max this week and knowing what your openers will be for the competition!

If you have any questions about the event or just training in general, email one of the emails above or contact us via Facebook! See everyone tonight for lifting and yoga or in a couple of weeks at the competition!!

Why do we do what we do?

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.

― Theodore Roosevelt

So yesterday I posted a video of a snatch fail in which I have a very intimate meeting with the platform, and boy did it get some back lash. Among the many things I heard the best were:

“That is so dangerous” (Ya, and diabetes and lethargy are a great alternative)

“Did it hurt” (Actually, it felt fantastic and I hope to do it every single day)

“What an idiot”

“That is why I don’t do stuff like that” (Sure, that is the reason you don’t do stuff like that….)

I expected backlash, hell, I expect to see myself put into some idiots Crossfit fail video. However, the real reason I posted the video was for all of the athletes I train.

Weightlifting is hard. Weightlifting requires power, speed, coordination, timing, flexibility, and strength all within a 3 second lift. It is not an easy sport to get into to and the learning curve is insane, but this is what I teach. I go to the gym and coach individuals that want to learn how to do something they have never done before, how to push their body to the limits, how to put their body weight or more over their head in less than 3 seconds, and I coach them hard.

I expect a lot out of the athletes I train. I expect them to listen, to perform mobility outside of the gym, and to do the lifts right. As you can imagine, there are more than a few of these athletes that want to punch me in the face on any given day. They are frustrated. They are tired. They are sore. Sure, as a coach you give out praise every now and again, but for the most part (especially with athletes that have been with you for a while) you give out cues and corrections. You sit there and say “again”, “keep it close”, “faster”, “be intentional”. What I’m saying is that for them, it is nice to see that even the person yelling at them six days a week is still looking to improve. I get frustrated. I am tired. I am sore. Hell, I fail A LOT. But when all is said and done, it is not the failure that makes you, it is what you do after you fail. Do you bitch and moan about how dangerous your sport is? Do you feel sorry for yourself? Or do you get up, finish your training day, and feel grateful that you are even able to do the things you can do?

So think about why you do what you do. Would a small mishap make you stop? Would it make you rethink your sport? Or would a small mishap push you to want it even more?

That being said, lets check out some fixes for your wrist issues:

Wrist anatomy

As you can see above, and if you are unfamiliar with human anatomy, there is not a whole lot of musculature down in the hand and wrist area. For the most part, everything that flexes and extends your wrist is located in your forearm area. So, when sitting at a desk for multiple hours a day with your hands propped up on a keyboard, you can develop some issues that might transfer over into your after work training days. Below are a couple of ways I help to warm up my wrist before, during, and after my Weightlifting sessions in order to better maintain my front rack position and help with my overhead stability.


Wrist Circles:

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Wrist circles are a pretty easy, great way to start to warm-up before lifting. Interlace the fingers and rotate in a figure 8 style pattern. I usually do about 15-20 rotations one way and then 15-20 rotations the opposite way.

Prayer:

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As simple as it sounds. Start by placing the palms of your hands together at chest level. Slowly lower your hands toward your abdomen, making sure to keep your palms together. Once you reach a spot where your hands start to drift apart, hold for 15-20 seconds and then come out of the stretch. I tend to do this 3-4 times in order to get my wrist into the extension I need for the front rack position.

Other options:

Screenshot_2015-09-28-19-45-07 Screenshot_2015-09-28-19-44-55 Screenshot_2015-09-28-19-44-46

After your workout, these poses are great for some additional ROM training. Notice that she places her wrist in three different positions, and leans toward the direction of her pointed fingers. Hold for 20 seconds on and relax for 20 seconds, moving through this 3-4 times in each position.

Short and sweet today, make sure and add a couple of these into your everyday routine and enjoy the benefits!

Sign-ups are live for the Super Total Lift-Off so make sure and go check it out at our Facebook Page. This event is for everyone of all levels (beginning lifters to expert lifters) and should prove to be a very fun, exciting atmosphere!

Mid-Week Mobility: Shoulders

  Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.

Mark Twain

A couple of my athletes and myself were talking about this the other day. You get to a point when training becomes most of what you do. You wake up and eat, go to work, go to the gym and train, go home and eat and mobilize, and then sleep just to wake up and do it again the next day. Some people will look at you and call this boring, but some will call this ambition. Surround yourself with like minded individuals that want that something as bad as you want it, and you will breed an atmosphere that is contagious, follow the nay-sayers and you will soon become one of them. 

That being said, topic of today is shoulder mobility. Who does this apply to? All of my swimmers that walk around like wounded baby T-rex, any person looking to improve on their snatch or clean and jerk, to the guy on your floor that decided 4 years ago that everyday was chest day and now physically can’t move his arms out of his silver back gorilla stance, or to anyone that is wondering if this applies to you, it does…

Below we have a yoga pose, a mobility stretch, and a strengthening exercise to help you get those shoulders into their proper position!

First off: Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) and Puppy pose (Uttana Shishosana)

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I included a picture of Kaleigh and not myself because my poses look nothing like this and I wanted to give a good example of shoulder mobility. The overall goal in both of these poses is to bring the chest as close to the floor as you can, resulting in a stretch in the Lats, shoulder musculature, and Pectorals (all of which, if tight, will cause us to have poor shoulder mobility). You can move through these as you like or add This Yoga Flow into your routine to loosen up before an after a heavy overhead day.

For mobility we have to go with: Shoulder Pass Through

shoulder pull through SPT TRANSITION 2SPT FINISH

Taking as narrow of a grip as you can to physically bring it around your body without bending your elbows, wrap your whole hand around the pvc pipe or wooden stick, and proceed to bring it up and over your head, holding behind  the body for 10-15 seconds before bringing it back around. The goal is that as you do this, you will be able to inch your hands a little further in and get a very deep stretch in the shoulder/pec area.

Last but not least: Overhead Press

OHP STARTOHP TRANSITIONOHP FINISH

Now if you are following a Weightlifting program, you know that you get enough overhead movement as it is, in which case I would suggest adding in some Bench Press or dips (to develop the pectoral muscle) to help counter-act all of the pulling motions we do. Furthermore, if you are a swimmer, it is probably not the best idea to do heavy overhead motions due to the amount of reliance you have on your shoulders during swimming, so I would go for nice overhead stability motions and full range of motion push-ups (chest to the floor). The overhead press is for anyone lacking in this very basic, foundational movement, as it is the best way to fully develop the shoulder musculature.

Start with the bar in a front rack position. As you start to push the bar upward, keep it as close to your face as possible, with the bar ending directly above your shoulders (which will happen to be in-line with the heel of your foot).

Make sure to stop by and donate those gently used clothes for the kiddos, we need them by Saturday at Noon! Also, check out the Facebook page for up-to-date info on the Super Total Lift Off on Dec.5th, sign-ups start next week!

Those hips don’t lie: Hip accessory exercises

Do or Do Not, There is no Try

Yoda

Now, I am not usually a fan of saying “There is no try”, but when it comes to certain things; I believe this to be true. When I ask some of my swimmers “Did you do the mobility exercises at home”, “I tried”…… When I ask athletes at the gym “Did you finish your accessory work” and they say “I did most of it”…. You either do it or you don’t. If you do 50% of the work, it DOES NOT mean that you get 50% of the return or strength gain–that is not how the body works. I said this last week and the week before and in most of posts before this one (actually, I don’t know that there is a day that I don’t say this); a well rounded, elite athlete HAS TO work on more than just the given movement they intend to compete in.

I was talking with one of my female athletes at the gym and she said “It sucks to do things that you are not good at, especially when you go from heavy dead lifts one day to light weight cleans the next” , but you cannot only do the things you are good at and expect to ever get past the point you are currently at. Think about it, that would be like MJ just giving us the moon walk and calling it good; never to grace us with all of that hip to toe, dirty-dancing goodness.

Sorry, had to make a point. Today’s post is really an extension of what I talked about last week, The Hip. We all ready provided some exercises for the posterior chain  and some mobility exercises for the hip flexor, so you can refer back to those as needed while reading this article. I think the best way to illustrate what we are trying to work is with some anatomical pictures:

Musculature_Deep_Hip

Anterior

glutes1311417224424 Posterior

This is the musculature that surrounds the hip and keeps it stable and functional. When we have hip pain it tends to be from the over development of one group of musculature (usually the Anterior side) and the under-development of another group of musculature (the posterior side). That being said, here are some auxiliary exercises that you can add in to your routine to help rehab a current injury or keep building strength and avoid some imbalances:

Start with an OH Lunge:

oh lunge down oh lunge up oh lunge down 2

Benefits:

  • Mid-line stability
  • OH Mobilization
  • Strengthening of the Glute, Quads, and Core musculature

As humans, we are most comfortable with being on both feet at the same time. This is the way we are built, it is the most stable position and gives us the best mechanical advantage. This is also how we can start to develop issues, especially in our squat. (Second picture was captured mid-sneeze, enjoy)

Start by taking a weight and placing it overhead with locked elbows. Take your first lunge forward and make sure that your leg comes to a solid 90 degree bend, step up, and repeat on the other side. Notice that I am stepping out from my mid-line, this helps to activate the glute musculature, which in turn helps keep us from kicking one hip or the other out during a squats and pulls. 3-4 sets by 8-15 reps.

Step-ups:

step up down step up up

Benefits:

  • Strengthening of the Glute, Quads, and Core musculature
  • Hip stabilization
  • Taking up a squat rack so people can’t curl in them

This is the one time that it is okay to take up a squat rack with something other than squats (although you can do this with dumbbells as well). This exercise can be used to greatly strengthen the legs or can be used as a rehabilitation exercise if you have an issue with kicking one hip out while you squat.

To start, grab a barbell and place it on your back like you were going to squat. Take one leg and place it on a box that will give you a little more than a 90 degree bend in that knee (if using this as a rehab exercise, start with a smaller box and if need be, start without a bar). Step-up, then step back down and repeat. The biggest thing to watch for while doing this is hip kick-out of the elevated leg. 3-4 sets by 8-15 reps

Waiter Squats:

  • waiter squat down waiter squat up

Benefits:

  • Mid-line Stability
  • Increase squat depth
  • Front rack mobility

Take a KB, place it in one hand, keep that elbow high, and squat. Make sure to keep the hips in line and that elbow up nice and high. When I do these, I like to squat down and hold for a 2-3 count to get a little bit of a squat mobilization exercise as well. 3-4 sets by 8-15 reps. 

3 simple exercises that you can add post-workout to help those hips out. Remember, “There is no try”, so do the accessory work even if your tired, because it will pay off in the long run.

Make sure to stop by the gym this week and get those gently used athletic clothes to us so we can give them to some kids in need and they can get there sweat on in style!

Also, make sure and keep a look out for the sign-up for this:

PHP Lift Off

Registration starts next week, so make sure and tell some friends who lift about it, it is going to be a blast!!

Mid-Week Mobility: Hip Flexors

Weakness in the Hip Flexors usually results from a problem that plagues most of the working world: sitting all day. When you are squatting, this can show up in a couple of different ways depending on the person:

  • Hip pain
  • Forward trunk lean
  • General Tightness in the Anterior Hip area down to the Quadriceps area

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So, how do you fix this? Below we cover a Yoga pose, a mobility technique, and a strengthening exercise to help mobilize and strengthen the area so you can put some more weight on the bar!

 

Yoga Pose: Reclining Hero (Supta Virasana)

RECLINED HERO

Starting with your knees slightly wider than hip width, place your palms behind you (as depicted above) and begin to recline back at hips (back stays flat and structured). Depending on your level of hip tightness, you can recline onto a ball (as shown above), back onto your elbows, or even further onto the crown of your head (however, if you can do this, hip discomfort probably is not something you are plagued by). I general hold this position for about 20 seconds and relax for 20 seconds, repeating this 4-5 times.

Mobility: Foam roller hip mash

QUAD SMASH TOPQuad smash bottom

Start with the foam roller right below one of your hips (the other leg will be splayed out in a spider man style fashion), and roll down to right above the knee-joint. Notice that my foot is turned slightly out so that I am rolling over the major problem area (refer to the first picture in this post and notice the area we are mobilizing runs down the medial side of the leg). I usually give about 15-20 rolls per leg, paying extra attention to any tender areas.

Strengthening: Hanging Knee Raises

HANGING LEG RAISEHanging leg raise 2

Pick a bar that you can be fully extended and off the ground. In a controlled manner, lift your knee as far up and into your chest as you can, squeeze, and slowly lower them back down to the starting position. This exercise can be added at  the end of any workout and can be done for 15-20 repetitions, by 3-4 sets.

Try adding one or all of these into your daily routine and see if this helps alleviate some of your hip dysfunction!