GS-FITNESS: WAYS TO REDUCE MUSCLE SORENESS.

The beginning of each month I get a lot of new recruits into my CORE Boot Camp program in Newton CTR and Newton Lower Falls.  And each month there are at least a couple of people who feel muscles soreness to the point where it can last into the next workout.  In general, I make the program progressive so the first phase has more of a core activation, mobility and aerobic focus.  But, with the varied fitness levels it is difficult to cater to everyone’s level in the beginning.  It takes a couple of classes for everyone to be on a similar level.  Here are some ways those people can get through the fist couple of workouts:

Recovery exercise – This is probably the most effective, has the biggest and quickest impact.  The day after a workout if your muscles are really sore do a light walk, stationary bike or elliptical workout for 15-20 minutes.  Very light exercise, followed by some general static stretching of the sore muscle areas.  Just enough to promote blood flow and to heal sore muscles.  This will make a big difference.  Here is a stretch that can be done for the upper thighs and hip flexors.

 

Foam roll - If you don’t have one, not sure what it is take a look at the video below.  Basically, it is a convenient form of a massage.  Much less expensive too.  As a caveat to that, it is less specific than what a skilled therapist can do with their hands.

* NutritionLastly is consuming the right calories to promote protein/muscle synthesis.  If you can consume a 2-1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein ratio before, during and after exercise you will have created an anabolic environment in your muscles before hand.  You will have started the repair process during and you will be a step ahead on muscle recovery after.

 

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INCREASED INCIDENCE OF HIP INJURIES IN MLB PLAYERS. WHY?

Alex Rodriguez

Chase Utley

Carlos Delgado

Mike Lowell

This is the list of MLB players who have had hip surgery in the past few years.  All big name players who are important to their team’s success. (Lowell especially with Ortiz and his batting average).  In a previous blog I mentioned the increase in oblique strains in MLB players.  Is there a connection with the increase in hip injuries?  Or are doctors getting better at diagnosing hip pain? 

Professional athletes put their bodies through very high stress, high velocity activities on a daily basis.  No sport is that more true than baseball with the length of the season they have to endure.  Try and imagine how many times a position player swings a bat in a given day between batting practice and actual game action.  Now multiply it by 6 which is the average number of games per week.  Now multiply by 4 to get your monthly accumulation of high velocity rotational swings on a professional baseball players lumbopelvic joint.  I hope you now have a better appreciation for what their bodies have to go through on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.   I find it remarkable for someone like Julio Franco to play to the age of 50.

Just imagine how many swings this guy has taken in his lifetime.  For the better part of 40 years he has been swinging a bat.  Muscle imbalances?  Ah, yeah.  What makes someone  like Julio Franco survive 20 plus years in the MLB without a significant oblique or hip injury?  Hard to say for sure, but it is probably safe to say those who do endure the injury that there is some tight muscle tissue somewhere around the lumbopelvic/core area inhibiting proper function of these muscles during high velocity swings.  With the loss of function of needed muscle tissue, other muscles and joint structures are called upon to pick up the slack.  Strength training will take pressure off of joints, ligaments and tendons; but you need to have good tissue quality to start with in order for strength training to have it’s effect.  You can retain, gain and maintain good tissue quality from foam rolling and dynamic stretching muscles surrounding the hip.

 

I am not saying that these players would’ve avoided their injuries if they has performed the following stretches.  I am trying to demonstrate ways to reduce the incidence of this injury happening.  This information can be helpful to little league and high school level players.  Little leaguers obviously don’t swing the bat with the velocity of a major leaguer.  But the fact that kids with immature muscles, bones and joints are using such specialized movements can cause a similar issues in their bodies. 

The stretch below should be performed by either bracing your back foot against a wall or using your hand to pull the back ankle up.  Next, lean forward into the stretch and squeeze the glute muscle of the leg that is braced against the wall.  Hold for a 1-2 second count and release, and repeat 6 times.    

 

This stretch can be done by yourself or you can use a partner to VERY GENTLY, I  said VERY GENTLY  assist you with the abductor/adductor stretch.  The first stretch, abductors, a partner can gently assist you pushing knees inward to enhance stretch.  As you are pushing knees inward you want to make a conscious effort to contract adductor muscles.  Hold stretch for a 1-2 second count and release, and repeat 6 times.

The second stretch, adductors, a partner can very gently assist by pressing down on your knees as I am with my own hands to enhance stretch of groin/hip adductor muscle group.  To further enhance stretch as partner gently pushes knees towards floor make an effort to bring your knees towards the floor.  In other words;  contract hip abductor muscles as a partner pushes knees toward floor; hold for a 1-2 second count and release, and repeat 6 times.   

RESOURCES:

1.  New York Times article.  ”  Hips Injuries Bringing Athletes to Their Knees.”  Published May 31,2009.

2.  Eric Cressey newsletter # 157.

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GREAT STRETCH FOR YOUR LOW BACK

I’ve recently added this stretch into my post workout routine and it has made a big difference on how my back feels for the rest of the day, and the day after.  Great stretch for external obliques of the side that your twisting to, internal obliques of the side you are twisting way from.  Quadratus lumborum which houses the sciatic nerve and can be problematic to those who have sciatica. 

Cues:

*Position both legs bent

*Hands on floor looking over your shoulder away from your lower body.

*Exhale and twist away form your lower body.

*Return to where you stopped, exhale and try and twist just a little further than you just did.

*Repeat 4-5 times each side.

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