MY CRANE ANALOGY - AND WHY STRUCTURALISM WORKS
As the first of many blog posts to come I decided that I would tell my story of the building site crane. It's an overly simplified analogy comparing an immensely strong machine that we see active on construction sites all over the developing world to our muscular-skeletal system of the human body. I bring this story into conversation early on with new clients when helping them into understanding the process of building real applicable strength and stability into their bodies, and why a precise, controlled and patient work(out) ethic necessary in order to achieve this.Mechanics is everywhere. It is so common to the point that the majority of us don't even pay attention to mechanics at work. The obvious examples that spring to mind might be the cars we drive, or appliances in our houses such as washing machines or heating units. But how often do we appreciate the reason why our buildings don't fall down or how the brackets holding our TV to the wall are so strong. When was the last time you considered how electricity cables don't pull down pylons or how bridges span distant expanses without collapsing? This is before we even look into the natural environment (where incidentally many man made structures have been designed based on support systems inspired by nature).So going back to the good old crane. For simplicity just imagine a standard high rise crane with one vertical leg and a long arm across the top. It is designed to haul loads of thousands of tonnes high into the air with ease. Now just for one minute imagine that the leg of that crane had a kink half way up and the arm at the top was moved off centre. It doesn’t take a huge amount of understanding to realise this is a recipe for disaster and will inevitably lead to the collapse of the crane as soon as it comes under load or tries to move.At this point I want you to imagine that our bodies are that crane, our spine is the leg, and our arm is the arm. When we know how to stand well, to control and maintain a neutral spine position and structural integrity from the ground up our bodies can be incredibly strong, powerful and efficient. But introduce that leg kink (as a bend in the spine), or an off set lifting arm (a shoulder joint that is permanently internally rotated) then we immediately lose our integrity and our potential power and strength is significantly diminished. Load up your body whilst in this state and you’re asking for damage, and the pain and weakness that follows.Whilst biomechanics is an infinitely diverse and complex subject, with more varied parameters and environmental influences to take into account, it still easy to understand why structural integrity is so important in order to maintain an efficient and strong body.One school of thought says that physical therapists, personal trainers, chiropractors and osteopaths should all be working with the same goal in mind. To restore or maintain the natural function and ability of the human body in order that we are able to live as strong, capable, and pain free as possible contributing to overall healthy lifestyle.I have seen time and time again that by correcting peoples movement patterns and eliminating damaging habits and dysfunctions that clients are able to workout, perform well in sports and enjoy a happy and healthy life. For this reason I urge you to embrace structuralism within your training program in order to see the most effective and longest lasting results .
TOP 10 TIPS FOR LOOKING AFTER YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
Our top ten for living a healthy life and moving well!
** Isractive postural awareness and correction course **
2 month course that will take you from slouch to stature by improving your structure. Could this benefit you?
HOW DAN GOT IT RIGHT!
What makes you a successful training client?
TEL AVIV 10KM NIGHT RUN 31.10.2017 WITH ISRACTIVE
Is 2017 going to be the year that you overcome all those mental and physical obstacles and achieve a level of physical fitness and endurance like you’ve never held before?In preparation for the Tel Aviv annual Night Run Isractive presents a couch to 10km training program specifically designed for beginners to running (and or fitness in general).Come and train with us and learn and perfect your running technique whilst improving your physical strength and stamina to a level that speaks for itself. Our running group will provide you with the motivation, commitment and continuity in a fun and friendly environment promising to bring you all the abilities you will require to succeed.Starting in July 2017 (02.07.2017) this 4 month program will hand hold you through the necessary training in order to participate in the annual Tel Aviv Night Run on 31st October 2017. In addition to teaching you good running technique and helping you build your overall fitness, you will be hand held through the process ensuring constant improvement to your ability whilst minimising the risks of injury that often occur whilst training alone. What are the training times and locations?The program consists of 3 training sessions per week - Sunday evenings 19.30Tuesday evenings 19.30Friday mornings 9.00 The program will consist of a combination of running technique and physical conditioning sessions along with intervals and endurance training sessions, and finally of course distance run sessions where we put all our conditioning work to the test.Whilst the days and starting times of each workout will be consistent each week, the choice of workouts (technique, intervals and distance) will change frequently throughout the program. This will cater for those that cannot be available every week for 3 sessions to still benefit from all the necessary disciplines. Similarly, the meeting point for each session will change from session to session but will always be located around the Old North of Tel Aviv. The locations will be announced and sent out by WhatsApp in advance of the session (typically decided before the start of each week but may be subject to change). How much does it cost?400nis/month = 33nis/workoutEarly Bird (registration before 02.07.2017) 25nis/workout = 300nis/monthCommitment is required for the whole 4 month program and is non refundable after registration but can be split into monthly payments. Payment can be made in by credit or debit card. Those registering to join after the start of the course will be required to commit to the full remaining time.(Note the above price is for the training program only. To register for Night Run itself click here.) What should I bring?Sports wear suitable for running. Shoes - durable running shoes, ideally with a neutral/flat step as to not interfere with your technique.WaterTowel (for technique and interval sessions only). Why Isractive and not another running group?Isractive operates on the foundation of improving human movement abilities and efficiency. With this in mind, our program is built to carefully take you through the stages of training and ensuring consistent progress whilst minimising injury. You can read more about trainer Rob’s methodology on the Isractive homepage. How do I sign up?Contact us here (below) or call/whatsapp 0542951511 for more information and registration. (Note places are limited to a maximum of 20 runners so early registration is recommended).
WHY HIIT IS NOT FOR YOU - NOT YET ANYWAY.
Its been the rage for years now, with gyms and personal trainers selling their group sessions as the only way to get in shape. But is HIIT causing you more damage than it is good?The evidence is clear. Multiple sports college and medical institutions have conducted research on the effectiveness of High Intensity Interval training. In most cases there is a marked improvement in post workout metabolic rate, improvement in VO2max and cardiovascular capacity (endurance), and (depending on the types of exercises chosen for the workout) usually in improvement in all round strength.HIIT as a concept is great for conditioning, so don’t misunderstand this as a suggestion that HIIT should be banished as a training technique from the fitness world. HIIT (also often concealed within the WODs of Crossfit) should be weighed up carefully against the following factors:-What level are your physical abilities? (Joint mobility, motoric abilities and movement habits, current level of cardiovascular fitness, integrated total body strength, injuries…)Age? - It should be noted that age shouldn’t prevent the use of interval training as a technique as long as the physical abilities issue in point #1 has been addressedWhat are your overall goals? (if fat loss is your main focus then nutrition is key. HIIT training on a diet that excludes carbs will be counter productive for fat loss, and likely to bring injury as a direct result of fatigue during the workout. Consult a professional for appropriate nutritional guidance); again referring to point #1, if you have already worked on your movement abilities then HIIT can be a sure way to challenge overall endurance and stamina now that you are ready. Injury rates are poorly recorded as people often don’t consider themselves as injured until an issue repeats itself or becomes chronic, and that often the causing factor has been halted and time passes before our self esteem allows us to admit that our physical condition has taken a hit. Anecdotally though I come into contact daily with trainees showing up to HIIT classes with pre-existing conditions (often accompanied by a compensatory bandage of strip of KT tape) or complaints during a particular exercise of when a knee or a shoulder doesn’t enjoy repeated poor movement control. (As a side note, HIIT classes are not the time to learn technique, they are too high paced and by definition ‘intense’ to allow time for educating and learning new skills). Time and time again I advise these participants to go away and address their skills deficiencies and when they are ready to come back to HIIT training as a complimentary element to an overall well planned workout regime.Feel free to post comments or questions or be in touch for specific guidance on if your approach to fitness is appropriate for your goals.
STAYING FOCUSSED ON YOUR GOALS
So heres the thing. Im doing it even now as I write this blog. Its called distractions. This post isn’t specifically about fitness but can be applied to your training as much as it can to most other aspects of life. I’ve noted many times that good habits formed in the gym create a whole host of positive and transferable skills for the ‘real world’. For me personally, I don’t have a problem with committing to my body, improving my movements patterns, building applicable strength and allocating the time to progressing my performance. Since focusing on me I’ve attained a level of patience that I never knew I had, I’ve learnt to analyse movements and apply them into real life strength, and I’ve understood how to break down difficult skills into attainable stages in order that I am able to pass on my knowledge and skills to others. There is however a “but”. The “but” is that all these skills I have sometimes get lost along the way of building my business and the less stimulating tasks of my day get pushed to one side time and time again. Finding ways of powering through when theres so many other lights flashing in the background is not easy. Heres a few tips on how to stay focused and and on track. Note- these skills can be applied both in the gym with your fitness program, and out in the real world. Constantly remind yourself of how far you have come and how good that achievement feels. Especially when those tired and lazy moments try and strike its important to keep in mind how easy it is to keep on track and also how easy (and destructive) is to fall off. With the positive mindset of tip #1 actually set aside an appropriate amount of time to work towards your goal. For example, you could say to yourself ‘I’m not going to do *fun thing X* until Ive completed this task.” OR My phone/computer/TV/social arrangements only get attention once I’ve done everything on my important list today.Break down large tasks. See the individual stages as separate tasks. Tackle them one at a time until all have been complete. With exercise and movement in mind this could be breaking down each part of a movement and then putting back together the perfected motions once each part is accurate.Sleep and Nutrition - Getting plenty of quality sleep at the right times and balanced nutrition is key to staying alert and energised. Keeping point #2 in mind, learn to say no to things that get in the way of good sleep patterns and healthy eating habits.ASK FOR HELP - take the support of a professional to analyse your downfalls and teach you new tools and techniques to lift you out of your rut and push you on to new achievements. Theres no shame in admitting you can’t do everything alone, and even a small financial investment in training can reap huge savings elsewhere. So before you click on another link or continue scrolling down Facebook, ask yourselves these questions - Have I eaten well yet today, and have I planned my next few meals (including meal times, buying the necessary goods, and preparing in advance what ever will save time later on)?Have I moved enough today? Did I stand, walk, lift, stretch like i need to in order to keep my body efficient? (if not get up, go for a walk, put the gym in your schedule)What am I going to achieve before the day is out in order to remind myself of the sense of satisfaction that helps maintain a positive attitude and a drive to succeed? And on that note and until the next time, Good Luck!
Massage, Mobilise - THEN Move!
Ever feel like your workout routine is making you tight? You’re getting stronger, your endurance is improving but its hard to start your workout each time because you feel tightness or short muscles as a result of a previous workout and and towards the end of your session either localised or distal pain or discomfort is experienced around your joints and tendons?Usually lacking joint mobility (due to poor muscle flexibility) is the main factor that holds us back in our workouts and improving our all round abilities and efficiencies. Without even discussing whether your workout program is appropriate for you, (as that is an entirely different debate), we can all agree that developing further dysfunctions, pains and injuries is something that we must avoid in order to maintain continuity and consistency with our workouts and therefore continue to progress and improve.So how do we ensure that we are in a fit state to move and perform at our best? It’s simple - Massage, Mobilise, then Move.MASSAGE - (Self) Myo-fascial release or deep tissue massages are the first step. Muscles should never just be stretched if already tight. To understand why simply think of an elastic resistance band or a stretchy rope. There is a loosely tied knot in this rope. Then you pull it. What happens? The loose knot gets tighter and tighter and tighter. When we replace the word rope for ‘muscle tissue’ suddenly it becomes clear that stretching knotted muscle is only going to increase the tension of the knot and make it more difficult to remove and painful to work with. So whether alone or assisted, massage of all short/tight zones is imperative as the first step towards mobilisation and functionality.MOBILISE - With knot free muscles we can now work effectively to mobilise our joints. Various stretching techniques can be implemented, whether it be static stretching, PNF activity or even more dynamic or ballistic movements. What is important to remember is that we want to be stretching muscle tissues and NOT contorting our joints and ligaments. The key here is understanding the full range of motion of the joint, and also being aware of the point where mobility becomes hyper-mobility. Stretch your muscles to their fullest within the normal/mobile range of the joint, but avoid contortion as stretched and therefore damaged ligaments and joints can not be repaired.MOVE! - Free of restrictions and mobilised to our fullest our this is the time to start working on our movement abilities and applicable strength. Chose exercises that will improve our basic primary functions and movement patterns of walking, running, throwing and punching. Initially the focus should be on the mind muscle connections to activate/stabilise the right parts of your body at the right time, and then once these sequences become more subconscious turn up the heat for faster, more powerful and longer periods of work to improve your all round endurance and efficiency.For further guidance of the correct way to implement any three of these stages, or questions about other workout elements, feel free to get in touch below and discover how the ISRACTIVE workout system and personal training can be tailored and applied to your needs.Rob
HARNESSING HUMAN EFFICIENCY IN THE WORKPLACE Why employers should take an active role in improving their workers health
There is endless amounts of anecdotal and statistical evidence supporting the claim that healthy and therefore happy staff will result in happy and satisfied customers and inevitably increased profits from repeat business and the powers of recommendation and reputation. Additional benefits include:Decreased rates of illness and injury resulting in lower employee absenteeism, reduced healthcare and staffing cover costsImproved physical fitness and stamina, reduced levels of stress, and inflated self esteem along with individual and team morale. Whilst considering how to develop a staff wellness program (and one that will bring return on investment - requiring high levels of consistent participation) a number of points should be considered:What are the main business activities? Is your business desk based with staff sitting dormant for hours on end or are your tasks more manual, standing, lifting, carrying etc? It is important to provide a program that is relevant to their current lifestyle in order to maximise the effectiveness of the activities you provide.Consider the daily routine of your staff both during and out of business hours? The time and location of fitness programs will play a huge part in ensuring high levels of participation so inconvenience must be minimised at all costs.Can the activities be combined with team building, staff bonding and fun?Inclusivity?- It is important to provide an option or options that benefit the most and least able at the same time.Compulsory participation - Is it possible to allocate time within standard work hours to ensure maximum attendance of staff?Does the rest of the work environment contribute to efficiency and enable staff to harness skills and attributes attained during the activities and transfer them into the workplace? (For example :- chairs and desks that encourage good posture, standing desks that allow workers to change position regularly, specialist ergonomic equipment allowing the operator to move without strain) ISRACTIVE recommendations for an effective and beneficial workout program:Allocate time within work hours for some of the activities to take place. Additional options for activities outside the typical work day will also allow flexibility for those with time critical roles and also encourage continuous participation for those involved.With point one in mind, make some of the activities compulsory (for example attendance at one session per week is a must, and an additional session is encouraged).Ideally the activity should be based at the same premises as your business. If this is not feasible then the location should be close by, convenient for transport and parking and with good facilities (lockers, showers, food amenities, new equipment etc). If conducting the activity at your existing location, install changing and wash facilities. Without them your program will fail to start well.POSTURE POSTURE POSTURE! This is a must. Any program must focus on increasing body awareness, addressing structural deficiencies (lack of movement) and missing flexibility. Without building a sound base, any movement or strength activities could actually be more damaging than they will be helpful.FUN! - Find activities, coaches, equipment or locations that captures your staff’s attention and draws interest and determination. This way you ensure longevity of health benefits and overall effectiveness of the program. For further guidance and information on providing a health and fitness solution for your staff, get in touch using the contact us form below.
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