Napoleon Complex. How much is enough?

As I write this, my 1RM on the deadlift is 385 lbs (stop snickering). My 3RM on weighted pull-ups is bodyweight plus 105 lbs. I would say my pull-up numbers are respectable, the deadlift numbers, not so much. I’m hoping a couple months of Jim Wendler’s “5/3/1 training program” will help. My goal? I would like to start that deadlift number with a 4…405 sounds nice. At 170-175 pounds, pulling 405 is respectable strength in my eyes…isn’t it?

How much is enough?

I’ve felt this way for a couple months now…eyeing that “400” barrier and it got me to thinking, “how much is enough?” Do I need to lift nearly 2 ½ times my bodyweight? When I pull that 405, will I become that much faster, or jump much higher, or be much more injury proof? Maybe 385 is enough…

The importance of goals

It comes down to your goals. Everyone is unique, everyone responds a bit differently to exercise modalities, and most people have different goals and different things that motivate them. For me, I train for life. I train to stay healthy and to have the ability to take a grappling class or muay thai class without any problems. If I want to hop into a pick up soccer game or shoot some hoops, I should be able to without any troubles or be sore for the following 4 days. Like I said, different goals for different people. Different strokes for different folks. Many of my “everyday population” clients would like to lose a couple pounds; they sit at a desk during the week and need to get through their daily activities of purchasing groceries, taking care of the kids, and playing in a weekend softball league. How “strong” do they need to be to reach their goals? Another client of mine, UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, competes in a sport of weight classes. Our strength training goals are to have him injury-free, quick and as efficient as possible, and as strong as possible without packing on too much mass. If you are a strongman competitor or powerlifter, then the answer to the “how much is enough” question is dealt with differently. There is no limit here. Moving as much weight as possible is absolutely functional to your sport.

I have no words…I mean, really? My hat’s off for the determination.

Big picture

Let’s look at a typical client that is married with 2 kids and has an office job that has him seated for 8 hours per day. The heaviest things he’s lifting in a typical week are the bags of groceries, taking the trash out to the curb (he’s a good husband), and picking up his 4 year old for a hug. If his primary fitness goals are to lose 5-10 pounds, stay healthy, and run in an upcoming 5k, does he need to pull 3x his bodyweight? Because of his busy schedule and seated posture 40+ hours per week, I think our main points of focus should be on his nutritional habits and maintaining consistency with a full body strength training program. I realize that being stronger will boost metabolism, increase fat loss, enhance self-esteem, and trigger loads of other fantastic benefits…however, a healthy, 40 year old client will receive these benefits pulling 1½  or even 2x his own bodyweight from the floor.

Ironically, I recently came across a great thread exchange between two people who I admire, Bret Contreas and Rob Panariello. They touched on this very topic and brought up some great points.

Link here

http://bretcontreras.com/2011/06/strength-goals-dont-be-afraid-to-abandon-them/#comment-10821

Is this a small man’s cry? Admittedly, perhaps a little bit. At the end of the day, I realize what my “big picture” fitness goals are and I’m feeling pretty good with where I’m at. The take-away here is that your program and methods should be developed around your realistic goals. Follow this important rule and you will be fine. I will admit I’d still like to pull that 405 before the year is out. Damn ego.

About Doug
Doug currently works at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE). He is also the strength coach for Alliance MMA in Chula Vista, CA. He earned a B.S. in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Management from Westfield State University and completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU. Certifications and specialties  include the ACE Personal Trainer Certification, NSCA-CSCS Certification, TRX instructor training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, Spinning certification, FMS training, and CPR/AED instructor status. He has appeared in multiple fitness videos, manuals and magazines; produced his own 2-DVD Set on strength & conditioning for combat athletes, completed a MMA Conditioning Coach certification program, and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.

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Coaching Tomorrow’s Elite Athletes

Hi everyone, it’s Adrian again! As I said previously, I’ll be writing about the summer camps we have here at Fitness Quest 10. This week I’ll be talking about the FQ10 Elite Camp.  My last blog post was about the camp for our young athletes, but this week is about our camp for our oldest athletes. This camp consists of athletes ranging from senior year of high school up to individuals in their 2nd year of college. At their age, these athletes have keyed on one sport. Since these athletes play at higher levels than all the other camps, we schedule the class four days a week rather than three days a week. The first day of camp we test them on vertical jump, pro shuttle, 20 yard dash and the 300 yard shuttle. After they go through testing, we give them their personal workout schedule that they will go through during the duration of camp. The program is designed by our athletic director, Brett Klika. He has designed the program where the athletes work as a team on upper body plyometrics, lower body plyometrics, strength training, acceleration mechanics, and agility training. In our upper body plyometric modules, the athletes always work with some type of medicine ball. Lower body plyometric vary from hurdles and bands to simple squat jumps… it depends on the athlete’s workout schedule.

The elite athletes definitely have the most demanding workout.  Their conditioning is so exhausting, but we always try to add some type of fun element to it. Elite kids make it very competitive so it’s almost not even a game, but the goal is still conditioning. One unique characteristic of the elite camp is that they all share the common goal of getting better. They are all highly motivated athletes striving to become better athletes. As a whole, they finish strong and I’ve noticed that they like to push each other. Well, I kept this blog short and sweet! Have a great week everyone!

Best,

Adrian Vera

Mobility Matters – Identifying The Cause Rather Than The Symptom

By Dr. Jennifer Reiner

In the last ten years, the term mobility within the fitness and sports performance community has been pushed to the forefront.  Foam rollers, slant boards, rolling sticks, baseballs, and other torture devices are a mainstay in gyms to improve flexibility and mobility.  As a chiropractor that works primarily with athletes and the active population, I feel the hierarchy of movement begins here.  In school, we spend years understanding the basis of joint movement, how to assess it, and ways to improve upon it.  I hope to provide a little insight from a clinical chiropractic perspective on mobility and perhaps give you a few exercises to add to the toolbox.

A wide variety of philosophies and therefore treatment and assessment protocols exist in the chiropractic profession.  While some are deeply rooted in the older chiropractic philosophy of maintenance care and wellness, others focus on rehabilitating neuromusculoskeletal problems.  To provide a little background into my methodologies and techniques, I graduated from chiropractic school with a focus on sport related injuries.  This led me to a series of seminars, specifically Active Release Technique and Graston.  I spent a three-month internship with the University of Miami and later moved to San Diego to work with the University of California San Diego’s athletic training staff.  A few years of Active Release and manipulations on 300 pound offensive linemen and 6’9” basketball players took its toll on my 5’3,” 115 pound frame.  If I continued at this rate, I knew my career would be short-lived.  It was time to treat smarter, not harder.

I began questioning the soft tissue techniques I utilized as well as my own abilities.  Common areas, such as the IT band or hip flexors, would be resistant to repeated treatments using Graston and Active Release.  I blamed the athlete’s mechanics, the sport, or a previous injury for the recurring issue.  Bottom line, my hands and body were taking a beating only to achieve temporary improvement in the athlete’s condition.  Around this time I returned to my roots of exercise science and obtained my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification.  A plethora of information related to functional movement and corrective exercise existed opening my eyes to many physical therapists, strength coaches, researchers, and other like-minded chiropractors.  Gray Cook, Mike Boyle, Craig Liebenson, Greg Rose, Stewart McGill, and Mike Reinold are just a few whose research, articles, seminars, and philosophies I took interest in.  I believe my “aha” moment came during the FMS/SMFA (Functional Movement Screen/Selective Functional Movement Assessment) seminar when the discussion began on joint mobility and stability.  Finally, objective findings coinciding with our understanding of biomechanics, to effectively provide a rationale for repetitive soft tissue and joint tightness, pain, and/or injury.  It wasn’t so much my treatment techniques that were in question, but rather the assessment.  Evaluating movement in relation to mobility and stability would be the guiding factor as to which area was the weakest link.  As such, treatment directed towards the cause utilizing objective evidence rather than symptoms, would produce long-lasting, efficient, and effective results.

Whether the FMS/SFMA is your evaluation tool or another, mobility limitations must be considered before progressing to motor control problems.  For those unfamiliar with the joint-by-joint approach described by Gray Cook and Mike Boyle, each segment of the body is viewed by its role in providing mobility or stability.  To begin, our ankle, hip, thoracic spine, and glenohumeral joint should be mobile while the knee, lower back, cervical spine, and scapulae should be stable.

The hips can be tricky, however, as this region serves both a mobility and stability purpose.  Based on these patterns, it is no wonder that disrupting the sequence creates compensation elsewhere.  For example, clinicians (me included) can get caught up at the site of the patient’s symptoms.  Insidious onset of anterior knee pain is a great example.  If orthopedic tests fail to reveal instability, compromises in range of motion, meniscal problems, etc., we often categorize the issue as patellofemoral pain, tendonitis, and so forth.  These diagnoses are more of the symptom rather than the cause.  Typical treatment including ultrasound, myofascial release, rest, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may provide short-term relief, but often the same issue rears its ugly head a short time later, perhaps even worse.  Well it is time to take a step back both figuratively and literally to view the areas above and below the site of complaint.  It is time to include an assessment of the fundamental movement patterns our patients and athletes are utilizing in their every day activities.  Sure, standard orthopedic tests, isolated muscle strength, and range of motion are integral to each examination, but often these do not provide the rationale for the cause of injury.  A movement screen can provide foreshadowing of a potential problem to come.  Utilizing this information begins to tell the story of the mechanical breakdown producing the dysfunction.

After performing a movement screen or assessment and evaluating your results, addressing joint mobility limitations and/or soft tissue extensibility problems is the first step in treatment.  Let’s get back to the basics, if the range of motion at a particular joint is significantly lacking, the motor control of the muscles surrounding the joint will also be compromised.  Unfortunately, you cannot exercise yourself out of poor movement patterns.  The system must be reset at the most basic of levels.  The lack of mobility may be due to several factors including a poorly managed injury, posture, stress, or inefficient stabilization.  Over time, our body detects the lack of movement and begins to compensate by making up for it elsewhere.  This is our innate ability for survival.  Compensation, however, was designed for short-term management…. i.e. running away from a pack of wolves.  Nowadays, however, when our bodies begin to signal signs of distress by way of pain, tightness, and discomfort, we run for the nearest bottle of Ibuprofen.  Silencing the alarm system leads to ongoing distress at the joint or soft tissue priming us for that disc rupture, ACL tear, meniscal derangement, rotator cuff injury, and the list goes on.

As babies, we are born with ample mobility throughout our spine and extremities.  Personally, I think God was doing us a favor (being a woman that is) providing substantial movement to be able to twist, turn, flex, and extend during the birthing process.  Mobility provides the platform by which we build our stability.   The developmental process involves movement milestones beginning with the mobility of the hips and shoulders and progresses to rolling patterns and core stability.  Therefore, we must address mobility before expecting a new level of motor control in order to overcome movement dysfunctions.

Generally speaking, many of the mobilizations/manipulations I perform are directed towards the ankles, hips, thoracic spine, and glenohumeral joint.  As such, the videos below are examples of a few exercises commonly prescribed to patients.

Whether you are a “top down” or “bottom up” believer, I’m sure we can all agree that limited dorsiflexion of the ankle can produce a number of issues up the kinetic chain.  Many athletes I treat present with low back, hip, knee, and/or ankle issues that relate to the limited mobility of the talocrural joint.  This is a modified hinge, synovial joint, comprised of the talus and distal tibia and fibula.  While the articular geometry of the ankle limits the amount of inversion and eversion, the mobility lies primarily in the sagittal plane (plantarflexion and dorsiflexion).  Dorsiflexion in the non-weight-bearing position is 20 degrees and plantarflexion is 50 degrees.  Perhaps a more functional measurement, closed chain dorsiflexion, is standard at 43 degrees with the knee flexed and 36 degrees with the knee extended (Reischi, Noceti-DeWit).

For many individuals, especially those who have played sports, an ankle sprain is as common as a winter cold.  Left untreated, scar tissue forms around the joint and soft tissues impeding dorsiflexion, an imperative component to shock absorption in running and jumping and in fundamental movements such as squatting and lunging.  Rather than strengthening the supporting musculature and improving the proprioception of the foot and ankle, patients subscribe to heavy taping and ankle braces.  In his book, Movement, Gray Cook reports a direct connection between the stiffness of a basketball shoe and the amount of taping and bracing that correlates with the high incidence of patella-femoral syndrome in basketball players.  Therefore, improving the movement within the sagittal plane improves knee tracking creating less stress at the knee, hip and lower back.  Soft tissue extensibility and joint mobility techniques are both essential for improving ankle mobility.  The video below includes stretches directed towards the flexibility of the lower leg musculature and ankle mobilization techniques directed toward the joint.

For patients presenting with lower back pain, the hip and thoracic spine must be considered.  The lumbar spine is wedged between these two generally stiff joints and is forced to make up for the insufficiency of mobility.  Increased movement at the discs creates shearing forces and aberrant movement at the facet joints.  It comes as no surprise that some of most common spinal regions for disc pathologies and degenerative changes is in the lumbar spine. The body’s natural response to excessive movement at the joint level is to tighten down the surrounding soft tissue, particularly the musculature.  If poor trunk stability is added to the equation, low back symptoms are inevitable.  Here we begin to tap into the cause of chronic mechanical lower back pain and stiffness.  It’s no wonder repetitive manipulation or soft tissue mobilization of the lumbar spine fails to solve the root of the problem.  These treatments are simply addressing the symptoms.   The hip joint is designed for multiplanar movement, as it is a multiaxial ball-and-socket joint.  In a society of chronic desk sitters, many people lack mobility in hip extension, abduction, and external rotation.  Again, where the hips do not move, the low back will.  So, provide that foundational mobility to protect the stability of the lumbosacral spine.  Here are several hip stretches and mobility exercises to improve upon these commonly restricted movements.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), repetitive strain injuries are the nations most common and costly occupational health problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of American workers and costing more than $20 billion a year in workers compensation.  The typical workstation is not ergonomically designed, and even when it is, a conscious effort in correct sitting posture is not at the top of most people’s list.  Poor sitting habits are considered a repetitive stress injury.  Although the amount of stress is minimal (literally the weight of ones head, upper extremities, and torso), the repetition or duration, in this instance, is extreme.  Insistent flexion stress to the spine causes deformation of the supportive anatomy that holds us upright.  This phenomenon is known as creep, a condition where passive, supportive structures such as ligaments and joint structures are stretched.  As a result, the mobility of our spine becomes more limited and the supportive musculature cannot function properly.  Compromising the movement of the thoracic spine only increases the stress to the adjacent joints and tissues.  As previously mentioned with the lack of hip mobility and subsequent stress added to the lumbar spine, the cervical spine suffers a similar fate.  Clinically, in the cervical spine, the most frequent degenerative changes and disc pathologies occur at the mid to lower cervical spine as a result of increased shearing and movement.  Thoracic flexion should measure 20 – 45, extension 25 – 45 degrees, lateral flexion 20 – 40 degrees, and rotation 35 -50 degrees.  Compared to other joints, this is a wide range for accepted movement, so erring towards the higher number is to our benefit.  To quote Mike Boyle on thoracic mobility, “almost no one has enough, and it’s hard to get too much.”  From a chiropractic perspective, I feel joint manipulation is very effective here, particularly at the cervicothoracic and thoracolumbar junction.  Daily mobilization and stretching techniques are just as important and can easily be given to patients/clients for homework.  In fact, most of my patients, whether they are coming in for a shoulder, neck, or lower back problem, will receive a home exercise program including thoracic mobility.

Because shoulder mobility is closely tied to thoracic mobility, I will address the glenohumeral joint here as well.   The shoulder could easily be a whole other article so, to keep it short we’ll discuss it in relation to the thoracic spine.  Before beginning to consider the movement of the shoulder, we must look at the posture and movement of the thoracic spine.  Patients with poor thoracic extension often present with impingement (secondary) issues.  In essence, improving your thoracic spine mobility will also improve shoulder mechanics.  For example, try flexing the shoulder while sitting in a slouched posture and you will experience limited motion and possibly discomfort or pain as you raise the arm.  Conversely, forward shoulder flexion with an extended thoracic spine clears the subacromial space allowing the glenohumeral joint to move freely.  Once this is established, we can move distal to the scapula stabilizers and the glenohumeral joint when considering movement dysfunctions and other pathologies.  Below are some of my favorite thoracic mobility exercises that also benefit the shoulder.

Sometimes clients may reach a plateau in their flexibility and mobility or they complain of pain (not the typical discomfort felt during a stretch).  If this is the case, be sure to refer to a clinician who is licensed to evaluate musculoskeletal conditions.   There are a variety of pathologies, which affect bone, joint, and soft tissue that can underlie movement restrictions and/or produce pain.  There are also a variety of manual techniques to mobilize soft tissue and joints such as Active Release Technique, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization Techniques (IASTM), belt mobilization, and manipulation/adjustments that will go beyond self-mobility work.  These can often break through soft tissue barriers including scar tissue and capsular restrictions, which can be resistant to stretching, foam rolling, and the like.

Most importantly, and the answer to my issue of repetitive “tightness,” consider your evaluation process when clients/patients complain of persistent IT band issues or chronic lower back stiffness.  Stop blaming his/her exercise regime or work environment and look deeper into their movement patterns.  Evaluating fundamental movements may actually reveal joint mobility issues or underlying stability problems away from their site of complaint. Your hands and client will thank you when you find the cause of the tightness and offer a solution to their problem rather than continuing to treat their symptoms.

Cook, Gray. Athletic Body in Balance. Champaign: Human Kinetics. 2003.

Cook, Gray. Movement. Lee Burton, Kyle Kiesel, Dr. Greg Rose, and Milo Bryant. Santa
Cruz: On Target Publications. 2010.

Magee, David J. Orthopedic Physical Assessment. 4th Edition. Philidelphia: Saunders.
2002.

Reischl, Stephen F.  Noceti-DeWit , Lisa M., Current Concepts of Orthopaedic Physical
Therapy. The Foot and Ankle:  Physical Therapy Patient Manageemnt Utilizing Current
Evidence. Orthopaedic Section, APTA, Inc. 2006.

Sahrmann, Shirley.  Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes. St.
Louis: Mosby. 2002.

Dr. Jennifer Reiner is the chiropractor for Water and Sports Physical Therapy and Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, California.  She obtained a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida and went on to pursue a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic West.  As a member of the Palmer West Sports Council, Dr. Reiner focused her studies on sports injuries and rehabilitation.  She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

She spent five years as the official chiropractor for the University of California San Diego, providing care to a variety of sports including swimming, soccer, volleyball, track and field, tennis, and basketball.  Dr. Reiner is certified in Graston Technique as well as Active Release Technique (ART).  She also holds certifications in FMS (Functional Movement Screen), SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment), TRX suspension training, and K-laser therapy.

Shove it! Top Pushing Moves

By Doug Balzarini

Over the years I’ve made clear my preference to posterior chain/pulling movements over pushing exercises. I feel that, for the majority of the population, the benefits of backside exercises far outweigh their anterior chain counterpart. Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t like pushing exercises. In fact, pressing and pushing are staple movements in all my programs. They are essential for a well balanced routine.

Whether you are a professional MMA athlete or an “everyday population” client, make sure you include effective, functional pushing exercises into your workouts. The list could go on for pages with all the variations and various tools that one could use…I’m going to share four of my favorites.

1. Chest Press

The chest press is the “go to” exercise for developing the pecs, anterior deltoids, and triceps muscles. If you want a well-rounded routine, you should include some form of a chest pressing movement into your weekly program. In the video below, you will see the ‘Dumbbell Floor Press’. Compared to the traditional bench press, you will lose some leg drive with this variation; however, I feel it’s a bit safer for the shoulder joint and still extremely effective for developing strength and power in those upper body pushing muscles. Exercise in video below: Dumbbell Floor Press

2. Pushup

I love bodyweight exercises and pushups have been a staple bodyweight exercise for years and years. Search on YouTube and you can find hundreds of pushup variations out there…some I question the reasoning behind and some I love. When done properly, pushups force you to really engage the entire body, testing you from feet to fingertips. This variation below will add an additional challenge to the shoulder joint, your obliques, and your hip mobility. Keep the entire body “stiff” and engaged throughout the movement to protect your lower back and shoulders. Exercise in video below: Pushup with Toe Taps

3. Get-Up Variations

Kettlebells and sandbags are my tools of choice when talking about the get-up. This exercise is a great full body exercise in terms of both strength and mobility, especially for the glutes and hips. I included it in with these “pushing” exercises simply due to the fact that we are pushing our bodies away from the ground and working the anterior chain a great deal. It is essentially a static press exercise for the shoulder.

My two get-ups of choice:

Sandbag ½ Get-Up  

This is the closest “crunch exercise” you will see in my consistent routines. As long as you lead with movement with your chest and roll onto your elbow and post up onto your hand, you will limit the spinal flexion that occurs during the movement. Check it out in the video below.

Full Kettlebell Get-Up

I love this version for shoulder-health reasons. When performed correctly, you must keep your shoulder “packed”, which will ensure the scapula is stable on the thoracic spine and the surrounding muscles are fully engaged. It helps keep the shoulder strong and safe. Be sure to include Get-Ups to ensure you are getting a true core workout.

Exercise in video below: Sandbag ½ Get-Ups

4. The Prowler

The prowler is the best tool for developing both pushing power/acceleration and metabolic conditioning at the same time. The Prowler, and all its variations, is a lock to always make my list for best equipment on the market today. The exercise below is the most standard movement you can do with the Prowler. Simply load up the weights, grab the handles, get in a proper forward lean position, and get pushing. I like to incorporate the Prowler into a circuit, as a stand along exercise, or as a finisher at the end of a workout (see “finisher” article here). Be careful not to get the “Prowler Flu”!

Exercise in video below: Prowler Pushes

To see these exercises in more detail, as well as 100’s of other movements, click here.

“Everyday Population”

Proper pulling/posterior chain movements are a must if you fall into the “9-to-5 client” category. As long as your program is sensible, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t include a couple pushing exercises into your weekly routine. Incorporate with proper flexibility exercises for the chest, hips, and ankles (another article in itself) and you are on your way to reaching your goals.

“MMA Athlete”

We want to build both the strength and endurance in your front side. “Long strong” is a favorite term of mine in the industry. It refers to your ability to stay strong in the later rounds of a fight; to have the will and endurance to fight on…a lot of that is mental preparation and a lot of that is proper strength training. Incorporate these movements into your routine and you are more likely to stay “long strong” and have your arm raised in victory after the bell rings.

Make sure you incorporate pushing exercises into your weekly routine to ensure you are maintaining balance in your program.

About Doug
Doug currently works at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE). He is also the strength coach for the Alliance Fight Team in Chula Vista, CA. A Massachusetts native, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Management from Westfield State University. Since moving to San Diego he has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU, obtained an ACE Personal Trainer certification, the NSCA-CSCS certification, a Spinning certification, TRX instructor training, EFI Gravity instructor training, FMS training, and received his CPR/AED instructor status. He has also appeared in 8 fitness videos, written numerous fitness articles, completed a MMA Conditioning Coach certification program and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments.

Prior to working at Fitness Quest 10, Doug worked for the American Council on Exercise as the Continuing Education Coordinator where he was responsible for managing over 400 continuing education providers.

For more information please visit www.todddurkin.com, www.fq10.com, and www.dbstrength.

Coaching The Future Leaders

Hey everyone! I hope you guys are having a good week. Big shout out to all the fathers out there! One of our coaches, Coach Jeff, just celebrated his first father’s day as a father! I wish you and your family the best. I also just want to take a second to thank my dad. I wouldn’t be here in this position without my dad, so I just want to say I love you, Dad and you are the world’s best dad!

Ok, now that I’ve got out all the shout outs it is time to talk about the camps. I’ll be writing a weekly blog about the summer camps happening here at Fitness Quest 10. This week I’ll be writing about the Quest 10 kids summer camp. The Quest 10 kids camp was the first of our summer camps to get started, starting on June 15 and going for four weeks. Camps start at 8:30 a.m. and last an hour. The Quest 10 camp uses both the upstairs and down stairs facilities, as well as the park on Fridays.  The constant change of scenery for the kids is great because they don’t get comfortable with just one place. I know kids get bored a little faster than adults, so this process keeps them excited. This is the only camp that goes by this protocol…all other camps use the downstairs facility. Personally, I think the park is a great tool because it shows the kids that they can get a great workout with just a field. We bring some equipment down to the park, such as ropes, ladders and hurdles, but with or without the equipment the kids can still get effective work done.

We have eight stations at every facility. On Mondays and Wednesdays, we use the workout and plyometric equipment. We partner the kids up and they go through an eight-exercise circuit. Each intern is responsible for one station. Interns are instructed to teach the kids the proper technique in the beginning, but after that we just want the kids moving, whether it’s slamming dynamax balls or performing TRX rows. Fridays are the only days we have some type of game for the kids. Last week we played “Simon says.” Everyone had a lot of fun with that came, and I actually was the first person out!

We have some great athletes in this camp and I can’t wait to see all the progress that they make. One of the kids did over a 100 jump ropes in 60 seconds and two kids did over 50 “real push-ups” in 30 seconds. These kids are amazing! They always come with a smile on their face and it gets all of us as coaches really excited. For those days that some of the kids aren’t as excited, it’s our jobs as coaches to get them excited and focused for the one hour they are with us at the camp. We give them small challenges to keep them interested and the competition aspect really excites them. I’m constantly timing them or keeping a tally on their reps and telling them to try to beat their own score. They love to see their own progress just as much as I like to see it. Anyway, I could talk all day about this great group of kids so I’ll end it here.

Have a great weekend everybody! I look forward to all that these camps have in store for me and for the kids!

Best, Adrian

Free Fitness And Athletic Camp

Wanna Jump Higher? 3 Ways to Improve Vertical Jump

By Brett Klika, C.S.C.S. Director of Athletics, Fitness Quest 10

One of the most common questions I get as an athletic performance coach is “How can I/my child, improve my/their vertical jump?”  The most effective intervention would be to travel back in time and select a man and a woman with superior vertical jump abilities to parent either you or your child. In short, genetics is by far the greatest determining factor in an individual’s vertical jump ability.  Since time travel is not currently available (to the general public) we have to work with what we’ve got.  Here are the 3 most effective tried and true ways to improve vertical jump.

1.  Improve strength-to-weight ratio.  The vertical jump involves culminating muscle force quickly to propel body weight off the ground against gravity.  If the muscle force ability is low and the body weight is high, gravity will win.  Proper nutrition, frequent activity, and developmentally appropriate resistance training will aid improving strength and decreasing excess weight.  Get stronger, get leaner.

2.  Work on jumping technique.  There are biomechanically advantageous positions in which to jump as well as land.  Proper arm action alone can account for 20% of vertical jump ability.  Quite often, there are strength and mobility limitations that can limit the body’s ability to go into biomechanically advantageous position to jump.  For example a proper bodyweight squat is a pre-requisite to vertical jump technique.  If you don’t have the strength or mobility to do the first one right, you won’t be able to do the second one right.  Work on jumping and landing in proper squat position, then progress from there. Click here for a video on vertical jump technique. Do it right to do it better.

3. Jump!  Make sure to incorporate plyometrics into your program.  Think of your plyometric training in two phases:  Plyo prep and max effort plyometrics.  Plyo prep is activities like jumping rope, hurdle hops, and repeated sub-maximal jumps, hops, skips, etc.  These function to prepare the involved tendons, ligaments, and muscles for the force demands of jumping and landing.  These activities help you get off the ground quicker, not necessarily higher.  Max-effort plyometrics are those that require a near-maximal effort to achieve.  High hurdle hops, high box jumps, high backboard touches and other jumping activities in which you have to achieve a certain height criteria are examples.  You may even add resistance through bands, cords, or external weight.  This functions as “practice” for propelling your body against gravity with a true maximum effort. Maintain technique.  Practice makes perfect!  Youth should perform plyo prep activities for quite some time with proper technique prior to max effort work.

There is no “magic” machine, device, program, or funny-looking shoe that supersedes any of the above.  Get in shape, jump correctly, and practice it with intensity and frequency.  Unless, of course, you have access to a time machine.

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10, is a human performance specialist, motivator and educator. A graduate from Oregon State University, Brett has directed sport camps all over the nation. While in college, amidst playing club soccer and lacrosse, Brett worked with the strength and conditioning department for 3 years. A year long resident sports performance internship at the Olympic Training Center brought Brett to San Diego. Brett’s work with the Olympic athletes, as well as local high school athletes nurtured a passion for creating excellence in individuals.