Thursday, December 30, 2010

Favorite Books of 2010

I hope everyone is having fun over the holidays. I was at home in Stowe, Vermont enjoying the snow and winter wonderland and getting in some good snowboarding.

(Ahhh home sweet home..... but freakin cold)

I am very excited for 2011 and have started to list out some goals that I will finish in the next couple of days, and I hope you do the same. Remember to make them specific and to track them throughout the year to see if you are actually progressing. Most new years resolutions are forgotten after 6 weeks but it's up to you to make it go longer.

Last year I made a goal of reading/listening to 50 books in 2010. If you knew me when I was in high school or college you will know this is a huge accomplishment for me as I was the kid who found a way not to read the whole book. By my third year in college I would only buy 1 book a semester, I was good at saving money.

(My college thought process ^)

Now I have realized the important of self improvement and constant learning by reading. Below is a list of my favorite books in 2010 that I read.

1. Goals! by Brian Tracy- I read it, gave it to a friend to read, and then found the audio version in the library and listened to it! It brings up questions that you must ask yourself and gives you a great plan to get thing in action.

2. The Alchemist- Such a great story. It's a contemporary classic that is short and a great read. Helped put in my mind that you can do whatever you desire.

3. Talent is Overrated/Outliers- Geoff Colvin and Malcolm Gladwell each wrote a book that shows how people develop skill and why the best are the best. Over the past year I've realized it's less about genetics and more about how you developed as a child and how hard you work over time.

4. Who moved my cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson- A great short story that helps you deal with change. Do you respond or react?

5. The E-myth- If you have, want to, or are starting a business this is the first book you should read.

6.Never Let Go by Dan John- Shares his principles that every trainer/coach should follow.

I am going to continue this goal this year to 50 books again. If you drive more than 20 minutes a day you should listen to audiobooks (go to your library to rent for free, and bring a book with you at all times because all of those 5-10 minutes during the day that you are waiting for something can equal a book read every month!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Core Exercise Progression- Rollouts

Trainers and strength coaches always get asked what should they do for their abs or core. One of my favorites is a rollout. A rollout works the anterior core, AKA the abs you see (or want to see) in the mirror. It also targets them without flexing at your spine, which can lead to low back pain and dysfunction.

I want to give you a proper progression to work from. If you haven't done these before, PLEASE don't jump to the hardest variation. Just because you can rep out 60 sit ups in a minute doesn't mean you will be good at these. This challenges your body to resist extension and maintain body control which is a completely different movement than traditional core work.

Progression #1- Rollouts with a physioball

This step is critical! Most people jump to the ab wheel and just aren't strong enough yet. Try a big physioball then work your way down to the smaller one. Sets of 8-12 should be fine.

Progression #2- Ab dolly roll outs

Try your elbows first because the level arm is much shorter making an easier transition to the ab wheel.

Progression #3- The Ab wheel (got a bad rep because people didn't do progressions 1 and 2)

Make sure you are not letting your low back or hips sag! Keep your stomach and glutes tight. Try and get up to sets of 12 touching your nose to the ground


Progression #4- Unilateral Rollouts with ab wheel or valslides(furniture movers)
The first video is a guy I trade ideas with in Boston, Ben Bruno, doing them with Valslides on turf with 80lbs weight vest (he's freakin' strong!) You also get a one arm push up and some anti-rotation work.

Here is another great version from a couple guys with a hand wheel.

(just don't do this in a spandex suit please)

Last one is one I was messing with with medicine balls. Its very challenging and demands a lot of your core and arms.

Remember start with the beginning and don't jump progressions until you have earned the right to. If not it can lead to injury but give them a try and let me know how it goes!!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Youth Battle of FMS.... Fundamental Movement Skills Vs Fine Motor Skills

In today’s VERY competitive world of sports, kids are being pressured at a very young age to be highly skilled. Coaches are pressured to develop athletes at a much faster rate, which can often be detrimental to long-term athletic development.

Either that was a personal record or someone soiled themselves

Istvan Balyi coined the term “Peak by Friday,” meaning that parents and coaches try to prepare young athletes for the upcoming game, rather than teaching them the fundamentals of movement and athletics to succeed long term.

For some reason, a lot of parents these days feel their kid is the next child prodigy ready for an “elite” program that will ensure their kid will play collegiate or professional sports. I do have that program it’s called “Denial for Parents.”

Lets say I am a volleyball coach. You bring me your 7 year old and want to me to teach her to perform a jump serve (probably in under an hour). I then have the young grasshopper perform a regular warm up and see that they have problems skipping, hopping, and throwing, which we would agree are fundamental movements. Now the parents wants me to teach a fine motor skill that involves coordination of multiple limbs, timing power, etc. Meanwhile little Timmy can’t coordinate his legs and arms together to skip correctly.

Kids need to learn these fundamental movement skills like skipping, hopping, throwing, striking, sprinting before we introduce a skill that requires a lot of coordination and focus.

Remember it's harder to do this as we get older

How can you do that? I know what you’re thinking; an intense program ran by a ex world champion. Actually playing on the playground, gymnastics, martial arts, movement games (red light green light), ball games, etc are fine. I know this seems like a far-fetched idea to let kids just play instead of intense training at a young age. But ask yourself if you pressured a kid to solve an algebra equation and they weren’t very good at basic arithmetic, do you think they would enjoy math and want to get better?

Step back and look at the big picture with youth athletics. Make athletics fun for kids by giving them the ability to perform basic coordinated movements, and I promise you they will be better at the fine motor skills in the long run.