Monday, July 22, 2019

How to Make Your Stress-Related Headaches Disappear

Did you know that headaches are the third most common pain complaint throughout the world? They can impact your quality of life and make it difficult to function normally. Luckily, headache relief can be found through physical therapy. Your trained physical therapist will work with you to provide pain relief from headaches, in addition to any other aches and pains you may be suffering from. In this guide, we’ll outline the different types of headaches and the causes for them, in addition to explaining how physical therapy can help.

Different types of headaches:
Any type of pain that occurs within the head can be referred to as a “headache.” Most headaches will resolve on their own without medical intervention; however, severe or recurrent headaches that interfere with one’s quality of life should most certainly be evaluated further. The challenge lies in identifying which type of headache you’re experiencing and then devising a treatment plan accordingly. Physical therapists are adept at diagnosing different types of headaches and can develop pain relief strategies for stress-related headaches.

There several different types of headaches that can be treated with physical therapy. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Stress (tension)
  • Post-traumatic
  • Migraine or sinus
  • Caffeine
  • Hormone
  • Exertion
  • Cluster
  • Rebound
  • Hypertension

What are stress-related/tension headaches?
Tension headaches are some of the most commonly treated headaches by a physical therapist. They occur when the neck and scalp muscles contract or become tense, and they can happen at any age. Stress-related headaches generally start at the back of the head and progress to the top of the head and eyes, sometimes accompanied by facial pain along the jaw and cheeks. This type of discomfort has been compared to having hair pulled or wearing a very tight hat. These types of headaches can occur as a result of:

  • Increased stress.
  • Poor posture.
  • Neck or jaw problems.
  • Fatigue.
  • Arthritis.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.

How physical therapy helps:
At your initial visit, your physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation of your physical abilities, in addition to reviewing your health history. He or she will ask you a series of questions to determine the type of headache you’re experiencing. After your physical therapist determines what type of headache you’re dealing with you’ll work together to develop a treatment plan for meeting your physical health goals.

During your first visit, you can expect to undergo some of the following:

  • Inquiries about the location of the pain, in addition to any other symptoms you are experiencing.
  • Questions regarding previous injuries to your neck, head, jaw and/or back.
  • Measurements regarding the range of motion of your shoulders, neck, and other relevant parts of the body.
  • Examination of your posture while engaged in different activities.
  • Tests of your muscle strength and sensation.
  • Manual therapy to ascertain the mobility of joints and muscles in your neck.

A physical therapist’s mission:
While the end goal of physical therapy is pain relief, there are some important steps along the way that your physical therapist will help you with, in order to decrease pain and improve function. These include, but are not limited to:

Posture improvement. Your posture throughout the day greatly impacts your likelihood for pain and stress-related headaches. Your physical therapist will teach you methods of improving your posture in order to function more comfortably in your daily life.

Strength improvement. You’ll learn exercises to help strengthen the muscles that control your neck and upper back, in order to improve posture and increase your ability to stand or sit comfortably for longer periods of time.

Neck improvement. Using manual therapy, your physical therapist will stretch the muscles in the back of your neck to relieve pain and increase movement.

Different types of physical therapy treatments
Your physical therapist may suggest any combination of specialized treatment services, including but not limited to:

  • Heat or ice compressions.
  • Soft tissue mobilization.
  • Muscular releases.
  • Muscle energy techniques.
  • Body mobilization.
  • Cervical traction.
  • McKenzie-based therapies.
  • Stretching.
  • Strengthening.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Product Review: GymNext Flex Timer Gym Edition

Product Details
This is the timer your coaches and members have been asking for!

The GymNext Flex Timer combines a large, crystal-clear LED display with an easy to use interval timer app creating the best, most powerful gym timer ever made.

The 4.0" LED digits (same as the Rogue Echo or MDUSA No Limits timer) in blue/red are visible from hundreds of feet away and the 95db buzzer is extremely loud. With bluetooth range of over 100 feet, you aren't tethered to the clock. Move throughout the facility and easily control and setup the timer from our convenient and FREE mobile app.

You can save an unlimited number of custom workouts spanning 6 different timer modes: Standard, Round, Interval, Tabata, EMOM and Laps. Configurable prelude times, round warnings, and a 3-second segue between rounds are just the beginning of the options available to create the most customized experience ever.

The audio sync feature allows you to use a wired or bluetooth speaker to augment or replace the timer's built in buzzer. Play your music from your phone and now you can listen to your music as loud as you want. The app will automatically fade the music in and out at the end of each round so that you never miss an indicator again.

Large gyms will love the ability to link multiple timers together and have them display the same workout or run the timers separately to easily manage different workouts or heats. And the included wall brackets make mounting your clock a breeze.

For the utmost convenience, go hands-free with a Pebble timepiece or Apple Watch. You'll enjoy the natural feeling you get from initiating the timer from your wrist just like a stopwatch.

For the data lovers and elite athletes, integrate heart rate monitoring into your workouts and have your heart rate periodically or permanently display on the clock so you know how hard you're working and can set a proper pace.

When not in use for timing purposes, the Flex Timer reverts back to a 12h or 24h clock.

But there's even more...

The Flex Timer app is updated all the time unlocking new features and functionality so that your timer actually gets even better with age.

My Review:
I avoided purchasing a clock for my gym too long. Didn't think it was necessary. I was constantly using my phone timer, an app, a stop watch, or even a stop watch website on my computer.  But after using my GymNext clock I can't imagine a workout without it. It is easy to use, not a distraction, and infinite programming possibilities for any type of workout.

I like that you can set up a custom welcome message and that the timer automatically takes local time from your phone. Be aware that the timer will only connect with one phone at a time. This means that if someone was using the timer and you go to connect with your phone, you won't be able to connect. In a big gym setting this would mean you have to reboot the timer or hunt down the person who retains control.

I researched a number of cheaper alternatives but what makes this worth the price is the app. The timer easily connects to your phone and then you can create whatever type of timer you need. Plus the built in timers make it easy to quickly get started, or you can edit them if need be.
The app works flawlessly with the GymNext Flex Timer application. Connection to the timer is so simple a monkey could do it. Everytime I open the app, it connects immediately with zero lag. It's programmable to every interval training mode known to man and has loud audible beeping that can also be programmed to discretion. It does not interfere with music and once the timer is going, you can still use your phone normally as long as the app is running in the background. It connects to a heart rate monitor and can display your heart rate periodically to your discretion. This is extremely helpful especially when you're trying to maintain a certain heart rate zone.

Bottom line, this timer is outstanding in value, usability, build quality and customer service. I've contacted their friendly customer service to tell them how impressed I am with their product and you can tell they are a Just as excited as you will be once you get your hands on it.

- Very bright numbers (I actually use the reduced brightness setting)
- LOUD (I put tape over the buzzer and it is still highly audible)
- App supports any imagineable interval combination
- Kid-safe as there is no remote to play with, damage, or hide
- Robust construction with top and bottom aluminum profiles / extrusions
- Wide-range input power supply for worldwide use

No more fumbling with an awkward remote control. Competitive price superior functionality = unbelievable value. If you're on the fence about this one, do yourself a favor and pull the trigger on the purchase, you won't be disappointed.

I must say it's even more impressive than I thought! Easy to use, 110-220V global electricity support, fast connection to iPhone, ample phone-to-LED display connection range even without the need for line of sight, straightforward LED display design, clear/visible display and audible alarm for large gym. The best timer in my opinion all around. My only critiques are not being able to sync multiple phones and not being able to adjust the beep volume.

It was pretty cool to see the time update instantly once I connected my phone to the clock and when I open the app, the response is quick, accurate and makes everything so hands free. The app user interface is easy to use and quick to learn. Additionally, if I have music playing from my phone, the app automatically quiets the music for the 3-2-1 countdown and then cranks back up for the WOD. What I love about this clock is that it doesn't take time away from my workout time. I don't know it's there until I use it, and when I'm done, it's done. Goes right back to clock time until I need it again.

Order your GymNext Flex Timer!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Product Review: Living.Fit Battle Ropes

Product Details:
1.5 Inch Diameter, 50 Foot Length Canvas Covered Battle Rope

All ropes are 50 feet in length, which is the best length for improved frequency, physics, and dynamic movement capacity (if you need a shorter rope because of space, you can always tie off your rope at shorter length, but you cannot make a short rope longer). The longer rope will not necessarily make the workout harder, but will definitely make your movement better with improved wave frequency, shorter ropes do not allow for this.

The shorter lengths can slap and catch because your undulations won't make it all the way down the rope before they hit the anchor point and send feedback back through the rope. The canvas cover protects the rope by preventing dirt, sand, bark, and grass from the rope fibers, which seriously degrades the rope quality and longevity.

This is a triple strand twist battle rope with a canvas cover. Ropes without canvas covers that are used outdoors or in harsher environments will fray and come apart. The canvas cover on the rope protects it from friction and fraying, ensuring longer user of the rope. Each rope has comfortable rubber grips on the end to help with grip during intense workouts. Battle ropes are ideal for building muscle, burning fat in home gyms or group settings! Make sure to add our FREE Battle Ropes Level 1 download with your purchase at the bottom of this page!
  • 1.5" in Diameter
  • 50 ft
  • Sourced by Master Battle Ropes Trainer Aaron Guyett for the highest quality
  • Comfortable rubber grips on ends for better workouts
  • One Year warranty

Product Review:
There are two types of rope making: Triple Strand Twist and Braided

The triple stranded twist is the most common style of rope making, as it is cheaper and faster than braiding a rope. The downfall, is that if your rope begins to untwist it is nearly impossible to twist it back to its original shape and length. This poses a big issue, if you are attempting any cyclonic or circular style of exercises: i.e. full body circles, triple wrapped rope pulling, or outside circles.

Image result for living fit 50ft battle rope
The braided rope is another method of making a rope, and it creates equal forces directing down the length of the rope when creating waves, circles, static engagement, and rope pulling exercises. It also is more durable. The only issue, is when performing circular waves, you will feel the rope wanting to twist inside of your hands. This is part of the tension that is being “held” by the rope. It will not twist the rope, so therefor your grip has to fight to keep the circles going.

Living.Fit by Kettlebell Kings had witnessed the shortfalls in the battle rope production, so they ordered over 30 ropes from 5 different manufacturers to find the very best battle rope and made their choice after hours of testing and many uses of each rope.

For indoor use, we selected the poly-dacron braided rope.  For outdoor use, we selected the poly-dacron triple strand twist with a canvas covering.

Each rope is manufactured with over 20 key specifications to keep the quality high, as well as three different thicknesses for your continued progressive overload training.

1 ½ inch thick starter battle ropes (this size has humbled the strongest men and women in gyms around the world)

2 inch thick battle ropes for 50% extra mass and more than double the effort needed to send the waves all the way to the anchor.

3 inch thick ropes for double the mass, and an insane amount of effort needed to send the waves all the way to the anchor.

All ropes are 50 feet in length, which is the best length for improved frequency, physics, and dynamic movement capacity (if you need a shorter rope because of space, you can always tie off your rope at shorter length, but you cannot make a short rope longer).

Premium Battle Ropes are great conditioning tools that not only improve your cardio but will provide a full body workout with a focus on improving muscle endurance and strength. It helps build core and arm strength and is excellent for burning tons of calories.

Built tough for your workouts, these battle ropes are durable, effective and fully portable and will last many years of usage and give you the results you want. Highly recommended for crossfit, strength and fitness training, athletes, military, boxers and gyms

Image result for living fit battle ropeConditioning Ropes began as a mainstay tool in Mixed Martial Arts, and then Functional Fitness. It is now used by the majority of athletes who train for power and explosiveness. The battle rope is universal because it has an ability to build core strength and improve core-to-extremity strength that helps you to hit your next workout, or opponent, hard. Power rope training is brutal in its hit to an athlete's conditioning and is an excellent developer of grip strength.

I have used battle ropes in the past at other gyms for workouts but having this Living.Fit Battle Rope brand new out of the box was pretty amazing.  The grips definitely helped me keep a solid hold during the workout. The main thing with having these as a personal item is having the space to extend them out and something sturdy to loop it around. Personally I used the anchor kit in my garage gym and strapped it around my storage unit  I believe that battle ropes are a great addition to any home gym and creates versatility in my workout routine. It may seem simple but battle ropes are as challenging as you make them. If you push yourself and get creative you can achieve a great cardio workout that will also leave you with your muscles burning.

The Living.Fit Battle Rope has given me some great high intensity work outs that I like to pair together with either explosive movements involving weights, or moderate paced cardio in between rounds. What I love about these ropes is that you can really target any body part that you want to if you focus on that muscle group. This is the perfect cardio for those who hate the normal jog or elliptical session, and it allows you to really attack your muscles while burning massive calories throughout the rest of the day. The quality of the rope is perfect, handles have a great texture and are easy to hold onto even when sweaty. I couldn't recommend this enough if you're in the market for one!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

WOD Wednesday #107

5 rounds of continuous movement of:
2 legless rope climbs, 15-ft. rope
20 controlled, slow AbMat sit-ups

STIMULUS: When I see something that has a set number of rounds on it – especially something unfamiliar like this workout – I usually assume it works best if the volume is preserved. So as backwards as this could sound, the easy bet for scaling would be to turn this thing from a task priority inside a task priority, to a time priority inside a task priority (Inception, anyone?) For example, 5 rounds of 45 sec. rope climbs and 1 minute of AbMat sit-ups. Or for easier counting, 1-minute and 1-minute. If you’re working out by yourself, you could do what I am now calling Ricky-style Reps (named after one of our 8th graders) where you just do one movement until you would have to rest due to fatigue then move to the next one. Again, the retest value is tough when doing that, but this doesn’t seem like an easy one to retest anyway. The Ricky-style would also help with the “continuous movement” part.

GROUP: Equipment might be the limiting factor here. When this is an issue, it’s best to look at each exercise not as the specific thing prescribed, but as something to be grouped into a large, inclusive general movement pattern. So really, what’s the difference between rope climbs and pull-ups and ring rows and farmer’s walks and grabbing your dogs’ leashes while they pull you as you’re trying to walk? Lots of things obviously, but they one thing they have in common is they’re all expressions of pulling. So as long as you’re doing something most of the group can do that makes them feel like they’ve been pulling with their arms, you’re on the right track for the rope climb sub. Then the closer you can get to the specifics the better. So strict pull-ups with an alternating grip (flipping hands each round), jumping and hanging from a bar (flexed or extended), halfway up rope climbs using your legs, full climbs with the legs… think general not specific and then the specifics will come to you. When I get around to doing this, I’ll go legless as high as I can then use my feet to finish. Or maybe just call it good where I end up haha. Depends how I feel. As for sit-ups, I find it hard to keep a good position while using an AbMat, and some people have complained about back pain after doing lots of regular sit-ups. So we do hollow body variations; only going as far back as you can maintain a hollow body (low back staying in contact with the ground, among other things). Try those if you don’t have AbMats. On a very important note, I really hate sit-ups. Probably my worst exercise for some dumb reason. 

INJURY: Looks like spine/hip stuff and shoulder/arms are going to be the only issues I can think of. Static plank/hollow hold would be a good sub for sit-ups if need be. As for the rope, anything one-arm would be good. If it’s a broken finger that can’t wrap around a bar or rope, you can try doing slow descents from a push-up or handstand. It’s technically pulling as far as I understand.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Crossover Symmetry - The Basics

Shoulder Info
Nagging shoulder pain is commonly addressed with ice and stretching, and taking time off from
the gym.  But this doesn’t address the underlying issues behind most shoulder problems,
leaving pain to return sooner or later.

Underlying many cases of shoulder pain is a weakness of the scap and rotator cuff muscles that
move and stabilize the joint. If these important stabilizers cannot adequately support the training
loads or become fatigued during training, it increases the stress placed on the shoulder which
commonly leads to pain and injury.

Additionally, the forward shoulder posture plagues our society and wrecks a good shoulder
position. Time spent working at a desk, driving, texting, eating, and other typical sedentary
activities in our day results in a chronic state of shoulder impingement.  This leads to mobility
issues that limit overhead movement

The CS Shoulder System focuses on the muscular imbalances of the scapular stabilizers and
rotator cuff and improves the mobility of the shoulder and upper back.  This will help correct and
permanently fix the causes behind most shoulder pain.

Hip & Core Info
The largest and strongest muscles in the body act on or attach around the hip. It’s also the
second most mobile joint in the body. For those reasons, the hip and core is the primary
movement hub and power source for sports and life activities. Unfortunately, we spend too
much time sitting, and isolated to moving in only single plane—forwards and backwards. This
creates dysfunctions in strength and mobility. Addressing these weaknesses fast tracks
performance progress, but also an important fix for pain around the knee and low back.

Related to the knee, hip weakness combined with core stability, is now considered the largest
modifiable risk factor for a non-contact knee injury. Specifically, weakness of hip abduction and
external rotation results in a condition in which the knees collapse inward, an issue termed
“dynamic valgus”. This often affects dynamic movements such as squatting, cutting, jumping,
and landing.

For back issues, the stabilization facilitated by the Hip and Core System often inhibits muscle
guarding that occurs from instability surrounding the hips & back. Lessening the muscle
guarding not only improves issues of low back pain, but improves mobility of the hips better than
stretching. In less than 5-minutes, the CS Hip & Core System will maximize your warm-up to
reduce pain and injury, and build the strength you need to overcome your biggest limiters.

Monday, July 1, 2019

What is a Pood? - Kettlebell Kings

This is common question for folks new to kettlebell, especially if you have been getting your workouts from Crossfit. 'Pood' originated in Russia along with kettlebells and is a unit of measurement for kettlebells in Russia. More specifically it is a unit equal to 40 funt (фунт, Russian Pound). A funt is a Russian pound

What is a Pood in Kilograms and Pounds?
It is approximately 16.38 kilograms. A kilogram is 2.2 pounds. So one pood is also 36.11 pounds.

Often times you will see a Crossfit workout call for 1 Pood, 1.5 Pood or 2 Pood. So, the common kettlebell weights closest to this would be a 16 Kg Kettlebell, 24 Kilogram Kettlebell and a 32 Kilogram Kettlebell respectively.

Bye Bye Pood, Hello Pood

Sadly, the good ol' pood was abolished by the USSR as a unit of measurement in 1924.

The term has had some resurgence as kettlebells have become more popular because it is still used in reference to sporting weights in Russia. That is it! Pretty simple!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

WOD Wednesday #106

On a 50-minute clock, with no rest between:

  • 15 minutes of handstand practice
  • 10 minutes of L-sit practice
  • 5 minutes of double-unders
  • 20 minutes of stretching

STIMULUS: This is going to be rough. I am very guilty of scaling time domains down to stay around 20 minutes (even daring so much as to go for 25 occasionally). Why? I don’t know. I’m just a pansy sometimes. I’m scared of seeing “30” in the minute column for me or my athletes probably due to an assumed lack of intensity. CrossFit is constantly varied. The best results tend to land somewhere in the 8-12 minute range, and sometimes in the 12-20 minute range. But constantly varied means we need to touch all time domains at some point. I think the 50-minute thing needs to stay intact. There will be a lot of resting but since you’re probably holding your breath on handstands and L-sits, you should be breathing pretty heavy once you get to double unders. Then on the stretching, the tough part is being able to control your breathing Awhile 1) under tension and 2) while already tired from the previous 30(!) minutes of work. Also, if you’re a serious athlete you’ll do this without music. There’s a lot of things your body will tell you in this workout if you listen closely.