Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Focusing on Hip Flexors

Tight Hip Flexors affect Athletes as well as the general population. In Evolutionary terms humans have not been standing fully upright long enough to have perfectly adapted hip flexors. With the amount people sit nowadays (driving, couch, computer, etc) our hip flexors are consistently closed allowing them to shorten. They almost never receive any kind of stretching unless your a very conscious athlete or rehabbing from injury.

When the Hip Flexors tighten the Pelvis is put into a tilt partially disengaging the Glute complex which is a major stabilizing group. This affects the arches of the feet as well as strains the Hamstrings and puts the back in Hyperextension. Injuries can occur including ACL, low back, and Piriformis issues. Other issues that Athletes should be aware of is while your body mechanics are altered due to the torso Hyperextending the Diaphragm is in a partial inhalation position that affects breathing which will alter your endurance.

To prevent adaptive shorting of the Hip Flexors include stretching plus corrective exercises to the Glutes, Hamstrings and Adductors - which are Posterior to Hip Flexor function.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Utilizing fat stores

Want to maximize the amount of fat you lose in training?  It is often assumed that low-intensity exercise is best for burning fat.  During exercise at a very low intensity, fat does account for most of the energy expenditure, while at a moderate intensity fat accounts for roughly 50 percent of energy used.  However, at the moderate intensity, the number of calories used per minute is much greater compared to the low intensity, so the total number of calories expended is also greater.  The rate of energy expenditure, rather than simply the percentage of energy expenditure derived from fat, is what’s most important.  Furthermore, endurance-trained individuals rely less on carbohydrates and more on fat as fuel during submaximal exercise.  So, the more running you do, the more fat you will use during subsequent runs.

Now, ignore that preceding paragraph, because to decrease body fat percentage, you don’t necessarily have to use fat during your run.  (After all, sprinters have very little body fat and they do little aerobic exercise)  Most of the fat used during exercise is in the form of intramuscular triglyceride (fat droplets stored within muscle).  Much of the fat from adipose tissue (e.g., around your waistline) is lost during the hours following exercise.  The amount of fat loss depends, in part, on the exercise intensity.  Following high-intensity exercise, there is a higher rate of fat oxidation than following low-intensity exercise.  Because a greater intensity of work can be performed by breaking up the work with periods of rest, interval training is a great way to help decrease body fat percentage.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Quassy Rev 3 Tri and running

I ventured to the Quassy Rev 3 Triathlon in Connecticut to watch the Pro's compete in the 70.3 part of the event. I'm always amazed by how precise the pros are. Seconds wasted can mean the difference between winning and losing positions. Watching them in the transition area switch from swim-bike to bike-run is really an art. Speed, fluidity and just pure determination. Mounting theTri bikes and dismounting them is something that needs to be practiced until perfect. It's really something to see. After all this is their livelihood. Joe Gambles took the men's victory while Heather Wurtele the women's title. Spectacular efforts in the heat and one of the hardest 70.3 distance events in the country due to the excessive climbing while biking and running. 

The running form of the pros is pretty impressive no matter what shoes they were wearing. Of course my analytical minds takes over at times and I began observing the running style of the non - professionals. Lately the craze is to run in minimalist running shoes which effectively change the foot strike position to a more midfoot strike (which is another debate in itself) but I was really amazed by the people running minimalist shoes exhibiting a defined heel strike. It's as if they were still running in stability or cushioned shoes. This more or less raises the question about the ingrained mechanics in our physiology. Is it possible some people cannot change their mechanics of running no matter what the shoe? A heel landing in minimalist shoes puts more impact on the human framework which is not a good thing, read - injury. Not to mention it increases the time required for recovery. Even if midfoot striking is better than heel striking I truly believe not everyone’s body can adapt over to it. The transition of switching over to minimalist shoes should be a careful and thought out process, it's just not that simple.
Pros Bikes

Joe Gambles winner

Heather Jackson 2nd place

Recovery area