OMG, 4 days left!

Monday, May 7, 2012

We will be closed this weekend for the Regional Competition!  Get your Tickets HERE!!

Mobility:
Row 250 meters
10 Wall Extensions
Leg Swings from DROM
10 Wall Extensions

Gymnastics Warmup:
Take 15 minutes to perform 3-5 Rounds of the following for QUALITY:
Tuck L-sit on rings OR Ring Support, 10 seconds
5 Tuck/Straddle Press to Headstand OR 10 Back Extensions
5 Headstand Pushups OR Handstand Pushups (partial ROM ok) OR Ring Pushups
5 Pistols each leg (add weight if necessary)

Workout of the Day:
5 Rounds of:
Row 500 meters
Rest is the same as the length of time it took to row.  For the busier classes, partner up with someone that is of similar rowing prowess and perform the 5 rounds each for time, rest when your partner is rowing.

Cool Down:
2 rounds of:
10 Wall Squats
10 Wall Extensions
Straddle Stretch, 60 seconds

IMG_3390
Big Thanks to LA Sports Massage for giving out free massages this weekend!

We are often talking about taking care of your body through proper recovery techniques.  Whether it is a proper cool down, epsom salt baths, icing, sleep or nutrition, if we want to behave like athletes, we have to take care of our bodies like athletes!  Massage should be a staple in any recovery program and there are a variety of techniques available.  I wanted to discuss the idea of self massage and the use of foam rollers and lacrosse balls.  This is also known as Self Myofascial Release (SMR).  By developing a framework and understanding for this process, we can get more comfortable with these techniques and begin to affect a positive long term change.  Here are a few excerpts from a Self Myofascial Release booklet on how this process works:

The release that comes from static stretching is called autogenic inhibition….Autogenic inhibition occurs when enought tension is held long enough in a tendon to set off a sensor called the golgi tendon organ.  This sensor sends a signal to the brain to release the tension in the muscle so that the tenon, bone, and muscle are not damaged.  The brain sends a signal to a sensor in the muscle called muscle spindles to turn them off, and the knot is at least partially released.

When muscles work at extreme loads or for extended periods of time, the smallest functional parts of the muscle called sarcomeres can tighten up and develop what’s called an ischemic condition, or oxygen deprivation.  When this happens, they tend to tighten up even more, furthering the shortage of proper blood flow and further decreasing oxygen supply to that area of muscle.  Without oxygen, the sarcomeres go completely anaerobic and exhaust all available sugars, and begin to fail….As one strand locks up, it pulls on the neighboring strand.  That strand now has an increased demand placed on it, and the cycle repeats until function is inhibited and proper movement is compromised…Stretching afterwards helps to open up some of the compromised muscle.  However…the knots in the center of the muscle may not ever get enough tension pulling on them to bring about the release they need to let enough blood flow through again to support full recovery.

Self-myofascial release, or SMR, is the process of applying pressure to muscular knots with implements such as balls or rollers to bring about a release of tension, essentially  the same release one gets from static stretching.  It can be likened to self-massage.  With the right instruction and caution, it can be an extremely effective skill set to have in your recovery tool box….Whether you use a roller or ball, the key is applying only enough pressure to trigger autogenic inhibition.  This can be tricky, especially for the deep knots, since you might need to apply a fair bit of pressure to get through the outer layers of tissue.

The muscle spindles have a protective response called the stretch-reflex.  If the muscle fibers are stretched too fast, the muscle spindles will tighten them to protect them from injury….During SMR we sense this reflex as a cramp.  So you need to press just hard enough to trigger autogenic inhibition, but not so hard that you trigger the stretch reflex.

NOTES:

-General guidelines for ‘rolling out’ a muscle are:  spend about 2-3 minutes on each area, NO MORE; when using the foam roller on larger muscle groups, use 2-3 inch strokes moving from one joint to another; when using a lacrosse ball, the ball will typically remain in one place while you move the muscle or joint around the ball.

-Can SMR replace a massage therapist or chiropractor?  No.  Do you need the dentist to brush an floss your teeth everyday?  No.  There are some things you should be able to do yourself, but you do need qualified assistance to diagnose and treat conditions other than a tight muscle.

-It is not a question of ‘if’ the muscles will develop an ischemic condition, but a matter of ‘when’ and ‘how much’ of the muscle will lock up.  SMR helps you to continue training, with fewer injuries by improving blood flow and biomechanical function.

-Take your time when implementing SMR into your program, and learn the limits of your self-care knowledge.  You can overdo SMR or damage yourself if you press too hard.  When you are not sure what to do, ask for help.

-There are multiple tools other than a foam roller and lacrosse ball, but no matter what you are using, the techniques remain similar:  find a tight muscle and apply pressure to achieve a release.  For deeper and/or smaller muscles, a lacrosse ball typically works better.

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