Last Tuesday I had a few hours to kill, so I figured I would mock-screen myself. I have a fairly good grasp on what my specific “issues” are, but it never hurts to go through things and encourage some healthy deductive reasoning! I am also working on bullet-proofing my body for the 2013 Tri season, so I am taking on myself as a Rippel Effect client. 🙂
In addition to both static and dynamic postural/movement assessments, I look at gait, and am constantly watching people move in general. The assessment process is an ongoing one. It all comprises the overall picture, and some may feel static postural assessments are a waste of time if one also does movement screening, but I feel that’s baloney!
I like to get as much information as I possibly can on each of my clients. I mean, I am apt to ask you on which side you carry your child or purse, how you typically sit while driving, and how you tend to sleep! If you sit at a desk for eight hours a day, it most definitely will be reflected in your static posture, which if less-than-desireable, will negatively impact the way you move.
It all adds up!
So, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to share my findings with you, in case you’re curious!
Static Left Lateral:
Static Left Lateral OH:
Static Left Lateral SL:
NOTE: findings on R Lateral weren’t much different from L
Static Posterior HOH:
Static Posterior OH:
Static Posterior SL R:
(Scored as 0-3 for each of the 7 screens; no major asymmetries, thank goodness!)
Deep Squat – 2 (got to 90, torso parallel to tibia, dowel passed toes)
Hurdle Step – 2 (more stable on R/moving L)
Inline Lunge – 2
Shoulder Mobility – 2 (more ROM L; scored prior)
ASLR – 2 (more ROM R)
Trunk Stability Push-up – 3
Rotary Stability – 2
Decreased activity of Anterior Oblique Sling (L external oblique/R internal oblique/R Add), Posterior Oblique Sling (L lat/TL fascia/R glute max), and Lateral Sling (L QL/R GMed/R Add)
Increased activity of Deep Longitudinal Sling (especially L)
Specific Correction Protocols:
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Lateral Pelvic Tilt
Limited Shoulder Flexion
R SL Stance
R Scapular Winging:
Limited Shoulder Flexion & Adduction
Strengthen AOS (especially L external oblique/R internal oblique/R Add)
Strengthen POS (especially L lat/TL fascia/R glute max)
Strengthen LS (especially L QL/R GMed/R Add)
Inhibit DLS (especially L)
L Ext Oblique
R Int Oblique
L Sacrotuberous Ligament
L Biceps Femoris
L Peroneus Longus
L Tib Anterior
R Erector Spinae
The follow-up to this post will focus on my protocols to address my specific issues!
Until then, it pays to know what’s goin’ on with your bod!
Currently, there seems to be this battle going on in the fitness industry (big surprise there, lol). Some people seem to be overly-emphasizing corrective exercise and assessment, while others at the opposite end of the spectrum are saying it’s hogwash.
In true fitness industry fashion, too many people blindly adhere to a guru’s school of thought, while a few “renegades” diss it (some without having done much research, others probably just to draw attention). Furthermore, social media has enabled everyone to become an expert.
Those of us who do not profess to be renegades for the attention, nor sheep who cannot think for themselves seem to fall into the middle of the fitness professional spectrum. Here we somewhat-quietly conduct our own research via working with our clients and applying the methods of those we respect.
The result is a synergy of approaches, in essence, our own unique training methodologies…each a unique shade of grey.
I feel that the thought processes of those at either end of the fitness professional spectrum are flat-out ignorant. Nothing in life is black nor white, and to utilize such an approach is limiting to one’s personal and professional growth, as well as the lives they touch.
The FMS (Functional Movement Screen) has become one of the major whipping boys of this debate. Some want research proving that it is effective. There is no research proving that it is not effective, nor any stating that it is not safe. To be honest, I do not feel that there could be a realistic study focused on the FMS in the first place. This is one of those instances where I feel that “in the trenches research” may be more convincing.
The FMS is a tool. It doesn’t cure cancer, create the best athletes, or allow anyone to become a personal training genius.
The FMS does, however, allow the fitness professional to provide a simple, standardized method of screening movement. This is more than 80% of personal trainers/group fitness systems do out there in the real world!
It has most definitely impacted my programming in a positive manner. Do I need scientific proof to back this up, or is the fact that I am able to more effectively prescribe exercises for my clients sufficient?
Here’s my $0.02 on fitness assessments:
They are an essential part of establishing a baseline for a client’s fitness program.
If you’re skipping this important part of the process, you’re crazy.
You wouldn’t seek the help of an MD when you have the chills and are throwing up all over the place, and then take their advice if they didn’t perform some sort of test, would you?
Obviously we are always assessing clients when they are training with us. That should be a given.
The initial assessment DOES NOT diagnose anything (we are not MDs), nor does it allow us to accurately pinpoint specific issues, but it DOES allow us to devise a strategy to safely troubleshoot a client’s postural/movement/strength/whatever discrepancies.
The initial assessment gives us the ability to narrow down the possible reasons for any issues and subsequently formulate a plan of action to minimize them.
It gives the client an ongoing measure of their progress and gives the fitness professional a list of checkpoints for each client.
The information gathered in the initial assessment serves as a reference for those who wish to progress their clients safely and effectively towards their goals.
My career as a fitness professional began in 1995. I started my clients’ programs with an initial assessment back then, and I do not see any reason why this should change. My protocol has morphed over the years (I no longer have clients perform the 1-min crunches and sit & reach, for obvious reasons), but the idea of starting a client’s program without an assessment? Ludicrous!
The fitness industry would be better served by professionals who were more concerned about forming their own conclusions and finding methods that best serve their clients…instead of constantly trying to inflate one’s ego by slamming this or that method and/or worrying so much about whatever everyone else is doing, more of us need to look inward…identify our core values and shape a philosophy that helps people.
All of the back and forth “look at how much I know” and “I’m right and you’re wrong” BS by some is a attempt to fortify a broken sense of self, and quite frankly, it is embarrassing.
We should not be in this profession not here because we want to be standing on top of some podium of egotistical supremacy, although it’s forever obvious that many have the mistaken notion that this is the case.
We should be here because we want to improve the lives of others. The Internet is an open arena for anyone and everyone to make claims and throw out their opinions, just as I am doing right now.
There are many brilliant minds in this industry, but there is way too much testosterone-laden petty nitpicking…and way too many fragile egos.
Education should be the cornerstone of our profession, and it most definitely sets the cream of the crop from the mediocre. Education in this field should be viewed as a means of bettering ourselves so that we may better serve our clients. It should not be viewed as something to acquire more and more of, in the attempt to come across as “better than” others and/or put to use without a sound grasp of the principles and application behind it.
Keep an open mind and keep your BS detector powered up. I have come to the point in my career where I do not feel the need to play the Internet “proving” game. We are all right in many ways, and we are also wrong in others. It all boils down to how one looks at things. No one is ever going to have all the answers, no one is ever going to be “smart” enough, and no one is ever going to have “enough” experience.
Lets do our best to keep the focus on the reason we are all here – improving the health and lives of our the people who have come to us for our expertise, experience, and genuine passion for what we do! Do not lose sight of the fact that as fitness professionals, we are given a plethora of opportunities to learn, grow, and (gasp) change the way we see things…each and every day. Those who are unwilling to admit they are wrong are fools, for they will never truly be able to grow, adapt, and improve as fitness professionals AND as human beings.
Our clients are our most precious resource, not only because they fund our livelihood, but more importantly, THEY teach us…they allow us to practice what we preach…they enable us to translate all of what we have learned from our studies and continuing education into REAL LIFE.
In closing, I realize that some people take offense to my outspoken and unabashedly-honest takes on various topics that pertain to everything under the sun…from politics to nutrition to training dogma to fitness guru-worship to religion…to chiropractic to methods of endurance programming to “functional” training to client assessments…on Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen! The list can go on and on.
Haters gonna keep on hatin’…I hope they are able to channel that negative energy into something constructive!
I am very well aware of the fact that I have been unfriended on Facebook by several Crossfit-loving people. No biggie. Not surprising that those who fall into this category are in their 20’s and did not seem to give a rat’s butt about what I had to say…until I brought up my thoughts on their beloved fitness dogma. Quite hypocritical, don’t you think? Not surprising, this seems to be “the” way I am treated by similar folk. Fortunately, most people I interact with seem to have their heads less in the clouds and more in the real world, where the plethora of viewpoints is so vast, it seems no one sees eye to eye!
PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: SARAH DOES NOT HATE CROSSFIT!! (gasp)
This is what I have come to appreciate as a fitness professional…the fact that there simply is no ONE way of doing things. To attempt to isolate oneself by adhering to a certain belief system at the exclusion of all others is proof of a lack of real-world experience.
PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT NÚMERO DOS: SARAH DOES INDEED DISLIKE CLOSED-MINDEDNESS AND A KNOW-IT-ALL MENTALITY.
Anyone who knows me in person knows that I am not an asshole, I know what I’m talking about because I do my research and appreciate both the art AND science of exercise, and tend to not speak up unless I feel strongly about something. The people who are so closely-tied to their love of a specific group (or religion/fraternity/cult/whatever you wanna call it) that they cannot stand hearing from anyone who challenges their beliefs need to grow up and get outa little bit more. I have been around the block plenty of times in my 36 years on this planet, and am happy that I am secure enough in myself to welcome opposing thoughts and actually (gasp) appreciate them! The world would be a nicer place if more people could do this.
Bottom line: THIS IS MY BLOG. THESE ARE MY THOUGHTS. THE WORLD WOULD BE PRETTY DARN LAME IF WE ALL AGREED.
Until next time, stay healthy and CHOOSE to be happy!
Today was the second day of “Wise Traditions 2012,” the 13th annual conference of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
So, I’m here in Santa Clara, CA with one of my rockstar clients, Eddie, who is the reason I am here! He basically forced me to attend this conference with him. Just kidding, he didn’t force me. I owe him a great deal of thanks for the opportunity.
To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect yesterday as we were on our way to Cali. I assumed there would be a plethora of “granola” people in attendance. You know, the “real” Whole Foods shoppers, not the “I shop at Whole Paycheck because it’s trendy and I wanna be seen” types). I was right. I had also joked about people not wearing deodorant and in true ironic fashion, I realized while unpacking my suitcase I had forgotten to pack mine. Hippie jokes aside, it hit me pretty fast that I had landed smack-dab in the middle of some damn genuine people.
Heck, people look at me and assume all sorts of things. We are human. It’s what we do.
There are most definitely no fake, plastered-with-makeup people here! It’s quite refreshing. I have also smiled a lot at strangers. I normally do this anyway, but the environment lends itself to the exchange of a smile with most everyone you meet here. No one is in a hurry (except for when it’s time to get into the line for lunch or dinner, lol). Everyone for the most part seems cheerful and relaxed (except for the grouchy older man who was behind us in the “breaking fast” line yesterday morning). I’m sure he was in better spirits once he got some grass-fed beef broth into his tummy.
So far, I have attended the following lectures:
“Seminar on Traditional Diets, Pt. 1” (partial) – Sally Fallon Morrell, MA
“Gut & Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), Pts. 1 & 3” – Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD
“The Depression and Anxiety Epidemic: How, Why, and What Works Better Than Anti-Depressant Drugs” – Julia Ross, MA
“The Role of Sugar Intolerance & Addiction in Chronic Illness, Pts. 1 & 2” – Theresa Vernon, LAC
Some of the awesome foods I’ve gotten to experience:
Grass-fed beef broth (people sure line up for this schtuff!)
Grass-fed raw milk (I’ve never been a milk drinker, since one of my friends told me it was “cow pee” in the first grade, but this schtuff is great!)
St. Benoit Creamery French-style yogurt (amazing, and I kept the little crock in which it was packaged)
Cashew sprouted nut butter (yum)
Sauerkraut (they love this schtuff around here)
Kombucha (grape flavor was delish, and there are others to try)
Meatloaf with organ meat (sounds gross, but was yummy)
Mashed potatoes with butter & cream (duh, heavenly)
Pumpkin panda cotta made with coconut oil (quite good!)
Braunschweiger (dad and I used to eat braunschweiger on saltines and when I was older I learned that it was liver and was grossed out…funny how we go through a “lame” stage as teenagers/20-somethings and think we know everything)
Fermented beets (Eddie scolded me for not getting any, so I tried some of his and realized I was dumb to have passed them up)
Cornichons (delightfully-yummy pickled baby gherkins)
Traditional WAPF Conference Cheesecake on almond-date crust (YUM)
We are having curry chicken tonight, and I’m excited about that!
So, aside from the food, my mind is so full of schtuff that I don’t know where to begin! I will probably be breaking this post up into a few parts.
Now, before anyone is quick to assume that I am a fool who is quick to have my head filled with quackery or voodoo, let me just say a few things:
1. I have ALWAYS questioned mainstream thought. I think I was probably rolling around in my crib and very happy with the fact that I was breast-fed and wore cloth diapers. 🙂 I will probably be talking about breast-feeding somewhere in this series, but let’s just say that I owe my dear mother a debt of gratitude for being as smart as she was in breast feeding me.
2. My inability to simply go along with the crowd made it difficult for me to feel entirely comfortable speaking my mind until I came to grips with my issues. I went through years of being very self-conscious, withdrawn, and skeptical of most everything. Once I was able to come to grips with my demons and was sick of living in fear, I made the decision to just be REAL. It’s been liberating and those who “get” me appreciate the fact that I am genuine, but my haters hate it when I speak my mind. Always gonna be those damn haters, lol 😉
3. I have always had a big beef with the persistent myths and misinformation that plagues the fitness/diet industry. I have been involved in the fitness industry since the age of 17, and began working with clients as a personal trainer at 19. From the get-go, I have been a bit obsessed with learning as much as possible about anything pertaining to exercise/nutrition/health. I still cannot get enough. I find myself poring over books, articles, and blog posts seeking out information on a certain topic one day…and then it’s something else the next. I get overloaded and it’s my own fault, but I don’t know how else to be! 🙂
4. I have always felt that it is irresponsible to recommend anything to a client without having a sense of how it affects myself. I am my best guinea pig. As a former anorexic/exercise bulimic/perfectionist who still has her OCD moments and tends to be her own worst enemy, I’ve pretty much experienced it all. Starvation dieting? Yup. Diet pills, laxatives, and all sorts of other scary crap? Yep. Bodybuilding and a bodybuilding diet, including drinking a ton of Met-Rx and eating scads of tuna, veggies, brown rice, and protein bars? Yep yep. Twice-a-day cardio for “getting ripped”? Yeppers. “Eat clean during the week and cheat on Friday?” Yes. Atkins? Uh-huh. (And I felt good on it, go figure) The list goes on and on and always will.
5. I grew up healthy. I was born in 1976. Again, I was breast-fed. Mom was very nutrition-conscious. My brother always seemed to eat whatever mom fixed, and I was the rebellious one who refused to eat steamed artichoke. I remember sitting at the table, having made my stand. Mom made me stay there until I ate it. I didn’t. I’m sure I got a spanking. Yes, we got spankings. Not sure how that ties in, but I feel it does. We didn’t go out to eat except on special occasions. We didn’t get sugary cereals (but every so often we would, and I would inhale the box in two days flat). We played outside a helluva lot. Now, we had our share of dysfunction and I have always struggled with anxiety, but I rarely got sick and didn’t suffer from allergies. I truly believe that my healthy childhood nutrition from day one was responsible for that.
6. I run run run away if anyone comes at me with an MLM pitch. I had a brief career selling Advocare years ago, and I believe the products are top-notch, so please do not take this as a slam. Hell, when I was broke living in Austin, I responded to an ad and found myself in a room with creeps hawking aloe vera juice. I got out of there as soon as I could get away from the shady guy who cornered me and asked if I was “ready to be successful.” Point is, I do not buy into a scheme that borders on suckering people in by preying on their need to create a living. These types of businesses almost always lead to nothing but headaches for the “little guy” and more money for the man at the top. No thank you.
7. I have always felt that Americans, as a society, are impatient, selfish, and lazy.I feel we are slowly killing ourselves and have much to learn from the people of “less amazing” countries (aka all the others) that are healthier and seem to be enjoying life way more than we are. Obviously I am being sarcastic about non-Americans being beneath us, because I feel it is often the other way around. I truly believe that our society is toxic. We have disease rates rising every year, despite the fact that our healthcare is top-notch. The obesity rate doesn’t do anything but inflate, even though we have every stinkin’ resource available to counteract the disease. Yes, obesity is a disease. Big pharma and the GMOs make scads of moolah, so they can afford the advertising that is forced upon us at every opportunity. The messages are so wrong, and we are so busy and stressed to think otherwise. WAKE UP, AMERICA! WHAT WE ARE DOING IS NOT WORKING! Here, have some more processed carbs, stay awake because you’re so stressed that insomnia is your best friend, and continue to experience numerous health issues for which you’re told to pop another pill. IT IS RIDICULOUS!
8. It frustrates me that I have friends and family members who have all sorts of health conditions and never seem to get any better. I want so badly to be able to just take the reins and do it for them. If I could do that, I wouldn’t be living in Baton Rouge, lol…I’d be living it up in a mega-mansion on some sunny beach! Anyhow, it’s not because people do not want to get better, although I do feel that we can become attached to our issues/diseases and they serve a “purpose” as an escape route, means of foregoing responsibility, and/or coping mechanism. Seriously, does anyone actually WANT to smoke? Of course not, but it becomes a very serious habit and the idea of quitting can seem to be too much for many who are addicted. The same rings true for other health issues. Many people become so controlled by their numerous issues that they seem to merge with them. Ever been around one of those people who seems to always talk about their aches and pains, allergies, or whatever? It’s annoying. It’s as if all they can think about are their negative conditions. I can say this because I’ve been there and lived that way for a long time. I was depressed and in a very dark place from the age of 17-25, and even though I rarely talked about how miserable I was, it was clear to those around me. Bottom line: People do not like to be around unhappy and/or unhealthy people! Bottom line número dos: The body and the mind are interconnected. If the mind is sick, the body is sick, and vice versa. Until a person is mentally able to take control of their health, they will do nothing but get worse.
I am going to stop here for now. So, yes…there will be a Part 2 tomorrow! I haven’t even started talking about the schtuff that’s hit more with me (and with my gut)!
Have a great weekend’
As I have stated before, being able to regress every exercise you program into your workouts is vital to not only the success of your clients but also your success as a fitness professional. The same holds true for progressions as well. Working with groups makes this an even more important skill, along with being able to do so at any time and for any client. I have never had a single group where everyone could do the same exercises, and it is naïve to expect that to ever be the case. I almost always have someone with a “bad” knee or back, and I have had to work around so many different issues it makes my head spin! That’s just the way things go.
The popularity of “boot camp” programs means that people of all levels of ability are interested. Although I do my best to incorporate exercises that serve to benefit general posture and mobility issues and “wake up” muscles that need to be more active in my clients, the point needs to be made that group training is not and will not ever be as individualized as one-on-one training. There is simply no way to devote as much time to each person in your groups, therefore you must become as proficient as possible at sound programming and “tweaking” exercises on the spot.
I typically offer three “levels” of progression, but am always able to tweak these up or down depending on the individuals in my groups. I make a point of having my groups know that if their form starts to break down on any exercise, slow down. If this doesn’t help, then take a few seconds to catch your breath and try again, and if that doesn’t help, then hold a given position or stop altogether. In the group setting, people generally do not want to be seen stopping before the time is up, so this gives them plenty of options.
In going through the circuits, you will probably notice that I favor a 45/15 work-to-rest interval for “strength” exercises. I have found this to be a favorable interval in that it allows for sufficient work while allowing technique to stay clean. In my opinion, a strategy of high reps done in a state of fatigue is simply not smart. I typically have to get people in my groups to slow down rather than speed up (again, the group environment tends to get folks fired up)! I abhor sloppy reps and do not believe it is beneficial for people to sacrifice form for intensity. Yes, intensity is most definitely important, but if the emphasis is always on “GO GO GO,” then the quality of exercise execution tends to fall by the wayside.
Now, for “intense” exercises such as sprints and rope waves, I feel that 20-30 seconds of all-out work is optimal. These exercises cannot be performed for an extended period of time, so please keep this in mind when planning workouts.
A final note: I do my best to incorporate exercises that provide the most “bang for the buck,” in terms of total-body strength, metabolic impact, and overall benefit to my clients. This does not mean that I seek out exercises that are “hardcore” and/or highly technical. One visit to YouTube will offer you plenty of off-the-wall exercises if that is what you seek. I do like to provide my clients with an ever-changing and non-monotonous workout experience, but I believe strongly in the basics and their variations. I am a former gymnast and it is nothing for me to attempt pretty much any exercise, but I would be insane to expect the same from my clients! Furthermore, why spend the time trying to explain a complicated “single-leg burpee to leg kick to toe touch to tuck jump” when you’re the only one who should even attempt it? Why waste workout time trying to dazzle your clients with “impressive” circus-act exercises when they are just wanting to get their sweat on? Use sound judgment and realize that you can never, ever go wrong with the basics.
You will see that I most definitely like some unique variations, but they aren’t ridiculous. Also, you will see that I throw in the occasional single-joint exercise (gasp)! Remember, your clients are there to get a great workout, and this means you must always keep your eyes and ears open when you are with them.
Keep an eye out for my upcoming book of boot camp workouts!