News & Events

The Magical Balance Between Strength and Cardio Training

Looking for the “toned look?” We have been asked many times how to tone a specific body part. In reality, the answer is…you cannot. So how can you maximize your training program and see the results you so desire? Cardio and strength training are both useful tools when it comes to maximizing your goals. Let’s break it down…

As easy as it may sound, the body does not pull fat from specific areas we are working. During training the body will use fuel from all sources and areas, depending on the type of workout, how much you eat before training, the time of training, etc. By utilizing both cardio and strength training, we can maximize the body’s system and start seeing results.

There is a delicate balance between strength training and cardio which is different for everyone. The only way to “tone” a specific area is to lose fat and increase muscle size for that area. You are probably saying, “I do not want to get bigger, I just want to lose fat.” In a perfect world that would be nice, but as we all know, this world is not perfect. Building muscle is required to see the definition of the muscle and gives you the actual “toned” look you are looking for.

How do we reach such a magical balance?

Resistance training, although not as calorically demanding as cardio, will burn fat for the long term. With an increase in muscle or fat-free mass, your body’s resting metabolic rate will increase. Resting metabolic rate is your metabolism at rest, basically the amount of energy needed to sit around the house all day.

Increasing cardio and monitoring your food intake is the best way to reach the toned look you have been striving to get. Cardio is a great way to quickly burn extra calories throughout the day. 

Again, you may be asking yourself, “I cannot run, so I can’t achieve this dream look?” OF COURSE, YOU CAN! Cardio has become this scary word that no one wants to do because they do not have time to go run five miles a day.

“The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 min a day for 5 days a week.”  This can be anything that gets you moving and gets your heart rate up. Now, you are probably saying, “I do not have a 30-minute chunk of time in my day!” My question is, “Do you have at least six, 5-minute chunks?” That is enough time to take a break and at least walk around the block or a couple of laps around the office.

As stated before, everyone is different when it comes to how much training is required to meet your goals. I would recommend starting with MET-FIT training with our performance coaches with the goal of building a routine that is safe, comfortable and manageable. Then, use our expertise to help provide programming to help you achieve the body you have always wanted.

Written By: Trevor Krzyzanowski, BS, CSCS, USAW-1 Performance Coach

The Dark Side of Athletic Injury

I’m sixteen years removed from graduate school. The running joke in my family is I have a Master’s degree, thesis pending. True, I completed my coursework with flying stars and started my thesis… but never finished it. Life events got in the way and I had to focus on other priorities.
 
Anyone in academia knows the key to having a worthwhile thesis is to have a really long title to it.  Mine was “Certified Athletic Trainers’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs About Post-Injury Depression”.  That was a bit on the short side, so it was probably doomed from the beginning.  All joking aside, however, the topic of post-injury depression still intrigues me today. 
 
I have many years of experience in a high school athletic training room and have seen first-hand what a season-ending injury can do to a young person. They do not get through the process emotionally unscathed.
 
I remember a particular athlete and watching her story unfold.  Her dad stopped coming up to practices so she felt she lost her relationship with him.  His approval seemed to only be for athletic achievements.  Two of her “best friends” abandoned her.  Her boyfriend broke up with her because he was not capable of supporting her through the emotions she was experiencing.  Her grades began to suffer and I saw her starting to make choices with alcohol that were going to be damaging.  Thankfully, her story turned out okay, but what about all those athletes who don’t have anyone around them to connect the dots and get them help?
 
Here are just a few of the things athletes go through in this situation (definitely not all-inclusive). 
  • Loss of identity 
    Most athletes’ identities are rooted in athletics, especially if they are not involved in other activities.  An injury happens and they are no longer an “athlete”, so who are they now?
  • Loss of friendships and their support system 
    The athlete is injured, but the team can’t just stop.  The team has to go on and continue to practice, battle together in competition and develop the bonds that athletics creates.  If the injured athlete is spending considerable time on rehab or doesn’t get to travel with the team they miss out on these opportunities and drift from their friends and teammates.
  • Extreme feelings of guilt 
    The athlete feels they are letting their team down.  They can no longer contribute to the team’s success or goals and they have to miss team activities or practices due to balancing time in rehab.
  • Impatience, irritability, and rapid mood swings 
    There is a lot of emotion swirling around during this time and many athletes lack coping skills outside of physical activity .  Having to be dependent on others, the slow pace of rehab, not having control over the situation, and the general state of where things are at contribute to these feelings.  Sometimes, it’s made even worse by pain and/or pain control medication.
  • Increased risk of suicide, alcohol or drug dependency, or other self-harming activities 
    Unfortunately, most athletes are already considered to be part of a high-risk age group for these things.  So, when compounded by a significant injury at a time where they have little to no coping skills can be a bad recipe.  It is very important for the people around the athlete to be diligent in recognizing the warning signs of these types of behaviors. This link provides some additional sites and organizations that can be used as resources:  http://athletesconnected.umich.edu/how-you-can-help/help-a-student-athlete/
 
During long rehabs I took some very intentional steps with athletes, including finding them a role with their team, setting lots of short-term goals so we had lots of “wins”, and connecting with their friends and family outside of the sports platform.  I also was not afraid to refer someone for professional help.  Just as someone would seek a surgeon for a torn ACL and a therapist for their rehab, it is okay to address the mental health side of the injury with an expert in that area.  
 
And, lots of times, I just had to be there for them while they felt their feelings.
 
The good news is the sports community is talking about athlete mental health more than ever before.  In recent years the NCAA recognized the importance of addressing mental health issues in athletics and enhanced available resources.  Today, there are so many phenomenal resources available to athletes struggling with depression and other mental health issues.  I recently learned about Athletes Connected and it has quickly become one of my favorite resources available to athletes, especially the videos that share real athlete’s stories about battling depression or other mental health issues.  (Thank you Dr. Erin Haugen of www.drerinhaugen.com for the reference).
 
If you are a parent and have a child that is enduring an injury, don’t forget this aspect of their care.  If you are an athlete, you are not alone and there is help out there for you!  
 
Question: If you’ve experienced a season ending injury, what things did you experience?
 
Written By: Danielle Kleber, ATC

How Do You Define An Athlete? It’s Not What You Think

Without fail, it happens about once every couple of weeks.  I meet a new patient and one of the first things they say is “I am not sure why my physician recommended me to come here. I am not an athlete.”
 
As the conversation progresses, the patient tells me about how they go to the gym and work out 3-4 times a week and how during the summer they regularly play in a golf league.  But, you’re not an athlete? I think maybe you are.
 
In this blog, I will explain three reasons why you fit our definition of being an athlete. 
 

Two men playing paddle tennis in wide angle shot image

 
I get it.  Normally, when we think about an “athlete”, we think about someone who participates in organized sports, are between the ages of 12-22 years old, or are paid, professional athletes.  
 
But what about the police officer who (injured his back on duty as a patrol officer) is on patrol?  
 
What about the (mother of three who is ready to get back to her pre-children fitness level to keep up with her family) stay at home mom who works out regularly at the nearby gym?  
 
How about the guy who can get a senior discount at most restaurants but lives to play tennis with his buddies three times a week?  
 
Or how about me? A 41-year-old (at the time of this writing) who enjoys working out a couple times a week, plays men’s league hockey, and has frequent wrestling matches with his kids?
 
In my eyes, everyone listed is an “athlete”.
 
Being an athlete is not defined by our age or whether we are in organized sports.  It is a mindset. It is a mindset that you want to perform at your optimal level, regardless of where you are in the cycle of life.
 
Every single person, traditional athlete or not, is on a performance continuum.
 

On one side of the continuum you have an injury or pain that is limiting your function and performance.  On the other end of the continuum is when you are feeling great and you are physically performing everything in life you desire to do.

How high your continuum reaches might vary compared to someone else, but you are still somewhere on it.  
 
I founded Athletes’ Training Center Sports Performance & Physical Therapy with that continuum in mind so that we had solutions for anyone who wanted to shift their place on the continuum to the far right. We don’t just see professional athletes or 12 to 22 year old athletes who are in organized sports.
 
We see so many more “athletes.”
 
Here are 3 easy ways to know if you are our kind of athlete:
 

1. You value feeling good and performing at your best 

2. You want to be challenged in a way that helps you reach your best

3. You want an environment where like-minded people come striving to get better
 
Help us continue to be the destination where athletes and their families could turn to get unmatched rehabilitative care, training, and service by commenting below in our feed or sharing this link with a fellow athlete. 
 
Thanks for reading! 
 
Written By: Travis Manners, PT, SCS, CSCS, President and Founder 

Myths about Youth Strength Training

I have heard some concerns and confusion from parents about the proper age to begin strength training for their daughter or son.  Everyone has heard horror stories of kids who started strength training at a young age and thus had negative effects on their health as adults.   With proper guidance, strength training for young athletes and children, in general, can be very beneficial to their on-field performance and overall health.

We are going to cover three common myths associated with youth strength training and how Athletes’ Training Center is overcoming those challenges.

Myth #1 Strength Training is all about Moving Heavy Weight and Increasing Size.

When it comes to high school and collegiate strength training, this phrase is true: A part of those programs is to develop the athlete’s overall strength and power development.  During the off-season of these programs, we want to make the athlete as strong as possible.  This is true for experienced athletes who can handle that amount of load.

Youth strength training is a whole different ball game. When it comes to strength training for children who are prepuberty and beginners, a different tactic is used to produce strength gains.  Youth strength training commonly uses body weight or light free weights, with an increase in total volume, i.e. increased reps per set.  With the watchful eye of a certified strength coach, these moves are performed in a safe manner to eliminate the dangerous stress put on the body.

Myth #2. Strength Training Will Stunt the Growth of Young Athletes.

The only time this would happen is if the growth plates are affected during exercise.  Again, with proper coaching and weight selection, growth plates will continue developing at a natural pace.  In a 2009 literary review, the risk of injury during strength training for youth athletes was explored.

This review looked at a multitude of different training procedures and the injuries reported from those studies (Faigenbaum).  The authors comment on the growth plate injuries as being caused by improper technique and loading procedures for the athlete themselves.

Myth #3. Strength Training is Dangerous.

Strength training, just like any practice or daily movement has a risk of injury.  Just how we can stub our toe by getting up off the couch, tweak our ankle as we go for a walk or simply slip as we walk up our front steps; strength training safety all boils down to coaching and exercise selection.

To wrap things up, youth strength training is a very good thing for young athletes as long as they have proper guidance through a scientifically based and personalized program.  In the study stated above, a very small amount of injuries were reported during the studies.  At Athletes’ Training Center, we take on youth strength training in the safest manner.

We make sure the athletes are moving correctly before we load the movement, thus decreasing the risk of injury and establishing proper muscle control and memory to maintain safety throughout their athletic endeavors.

With strength training, the athlete can develop the proper strength and stamina needed to minimize this risk of injury.  Our athletic development programs focus on meeting the goals of each athlete.  We accomplish this by utilizing a comprehensive evaluation to gain valuable information to develop a custom program that is progressed to meet the athlete’s specific goals.

Learn more about our programs and sign up for a FREE Trial today.

Written By: Trevor Krzyzanowski, BS, CSCS, USAW-1

Bibliography

Faigenbaum, A., & Myer, G. (2009). Resistance training among young athletes: safety, efficacy and injury prevention effects. Journal of Strength and Contioning.

Featured Success Story – Donald Chamberlain

Meet Donald. He’s 38, a basketball player, an avid shoe enthusiast, works three part-time jobs and is committed to reaching his fitness goals. 
 

Donald’s Story

Donald, how did you hear about Athletes’ Training Center?
 
“I saw a commercial while I was at work and I was convinced this was the place to help me reach my goals. At the time I was playing on an all Native-American traveling, basketball team. I wanted to improve my vertical, get stronger, quicker and improve my stamina. I came in for a free trial, met my coaches and after that, I was hooked and came to workout three days a week for 23 straight months.
 
Then, I took a 7-year break and really didn’t do anything fitness wise.
And with 7 years of not doing anything, I started to notice a decline with my strength. That’s when I knew that I had to start back up with my fitness routine again, and I knew just where I wanted to go.”
 
Can you tell us about where do you work?
 
Currently, I work 3 part-time jobs at Chesterman Company (Coca-Cola), UPS and the Cheesecake Factory. I am called a sweeper at UPS where I throw up 50-150 lbs of materials. I have really noticed a difference with my strength there. 
 
What goals do you have set for yourself?
 
Currently, I am working toward squatting 500 lbs, improving my 10-yard dash and benching 300 lbs. I’m a very committed person, so once I have my mind set towards something I have to achieve it. 
 
What do you want people to take away from your story? 
 
“I’d say for anyone who is thinking about working out and making a positive change with their fitness routine, you just have to get started.  There are days where I don’t want to come in, I really dread it. But, that feeling once I am done with the workout – it is simply rewarding. When I wake up the next morning sore I knew it was worth it. It’s tough, it is a lot of work, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without challenging myself and by working with the coaches at Athletes’ Training Center.
 
Now fitness is a part of my life again. I passed my 500th workout session at Athletes’ Training Center! I couldn’t do what I loved without getting back in shape. Fitness is just a part of my life now and it’s been rewarding. 
We have had the pleasure of working with Donald for the past year and a half. In that time he has reached the milestone of accomplishing 500 workouts. Today, he is still working towards his 500 lb squat goal and his bench goal of 300 lb.  
 
Donald is committed to staying healthy and wants to continue to get stronger.

11 Ideas to Get You & Your Family Moving

Make your life a happy one by participating in physical activity! We all know summertime is the easiest time of the year to be physically active. Whether we are outside playing with our kids or going on a walk, being active when the weather is nice is easy.

When the temperature starts to drop is the time when many people lose motivation to be active. We are going to cover the benefits of physical activity as well as 11 ideas on how you and your family can get moving and reap the many benefits of physical activity. 

There are many benefits to physical activity. Long-term physical activity has been shown to have a positive influence on the quality of life.

According to the World Health Organization, physical activity can help deter and prevent the most severe diseases long in duration and slow to progress such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

Being physically active also helps lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, lung cancer, and helps control weight gain.

Along with proper nutrition, physical activity plays a large part in losing weight or maintaining weight.

Here are a couple of tips for weight management.

  • If maintaining your current weight is your goal, try to work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week.
  • If losing weight and trying to keep it off is our main goal, you may need to increase the amount of physical activity you participate in each week, as well as adjust your diet so that you put your body in a state of caloric deficit. This means that you are burning more calories throughout the day than you consume.

I would like to challenge you to be more physically active. Here are a few ideas that will help you get out and get moving either by yourself, with your pet or family, or any friend who you would like to spend more time with!

Physical Activity Ideas for the Family

  • Play a backyard game of football, basketball, soccer, or any other sport in which your kids are interested.
  • Enjoy the great outdoors! Get outside and into the woods for a nature hike. Encourage your kids to do research on different types of plants or animals in the area and look for them while you are hiking.
  • Limit the time children are allowed to spend in front of a screen (TV, computer, video games).
  • Tend to a garden or make yard work less of a chore and more fun! 
  • Take a family walk or bike ride in the evening after dinner.

Physical Activity Ideas for an Individual

  • Set an amount of time to go for a walk each day. Start with a short amount of time and work your way up throughout the summer.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Join a gym (Athletes’ Training Center offers some great opportunities to be active and competitive with others).
  • Set a goal to run a 5k and stick to it!

These are a few easy ideas to help get you started. Over the course of the summer and fall months, try and spend more time moving around and get in the habit of being active so that when the temperature starts to drop you will continue to stay involved in a daily physical activity and keep your body happy and healthy!

Written By: Parker Victor, MA, CSCS, USAW Head Performance Coach

Concussion Focus, What Is It? 

Over my five years as a physical therapist, I have been a part of many teams and have taken on many different roles, each of which has grown me as a professional and as a person.  One of my favorite roles is serving with the Concussion Focus team. Today I want to tell you a little about the team and what we do!  

Concussion Focus was originally started in the midst of a rising awareness of concussions. At that time, there were few multidisciplinary options for concussion treatment. Concussion Focus brought together physicians, physical therapists, psychiatrists, athletic trainers, and people passionate about and well trained in concussion management.

The Concussion Focus team continues to meet every other month.  The team is unique as we each represent separate organizations, but when we gather to meet we all take off those hats and come together to do our best to impact concussion treatment. In our meetings, we discuss ways to support each person’s individual efforts in regard to concussions, share current research and swap case studies. We also set a goal each year as a group to get the word out about advancement in concussion treatment.

This year we will be writing a series of blogs as a team with the intent of helping to provide resources to people dealing with concussions.

If you would like to learn more about concussions or Concussion Focus, please go to concussionfocus.org. Be on the lookout for more blogs to come from my colleagues on the Concussion Focus team!

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT, DPT


What can a physical therapist do for a concussion?

If you are suffering from post-concussion symptoms, you may feel helpless and think there is no way to help speed up the process of recovery. But there is a way! 3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussions – That Work!

The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)

pt_concussion

Concussions are now more widely recognized in the world of sports, in work safety and in the medical world than ever before. According to the CDC, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works.

 

1 out of every 5 people who sustain a concussion WILL NOT recover in the normal 2-3 week time frame.

Though they may appear to be functioning just fine, people suffering from a concussion may be dealing with an array of symptoms. These symptoms include time lost from school/work, time out of sports, headaches, dizziness, nausea, balance problems, fatigue, and the list could go on.

If you have had a concussion and are struggling with fully recovering, don’t wait any longer. Click the button below to schedule a consultation.

Schedule a Consultation

3 Ways We are Hurting our Backs

Lower Back Pain? Don’t Drag Your Feet!

Okay, that sounds more like the start of the motivational speech my parents used to give me when I was younger. Many of you may be asking yourself what does shuffling my feet on the ground have to do with low back pain? Well, a lot more than you might think. 

When referencing lower back pain, this is the speech I find myself giving to more and more of my patients.

When we look down at the ground, we tend to bring our body into a position of trunk flexion. By this, I mean that your chest is coming forward over your toes. When this occurs, our center of mass starts to move forward and we create an anterior tilt through our pelvis.

When our center of mass comes forward we adjust our body position to maintain our balance by extending through our lower back and, on occasion, by going up onto our toes. The body corrects its position to maintain balance with changes being processed by the change in our visual field by looking down.

When we shuffle our feet, we typically create the habit of making our initial foot contact with the toes pointed down and then sliding the foot forward instead of actually rolling across the foot as one would walk with a normal gait.

A normal gait is to make initial contact with the heel and push off the toes. When I see people shuffle their feet, there is also a tendency toward reducing the amount of contact the heel makes with the ground. We refer to this as an ‘early heel rise gait’ and will often see this gait pattern in toe walkers. These individuals will hardly make contact with the ground through their heels. When we ambulate with this gait pattern, much like when we look down, we translate our center of mass forward. Again, to correct we typically go into back extension. 

These tendencies toward back extension are what lead to the long-term potential problems.

First, there are the anatomical stresses that long-term extension can create. These conditions are often seen in increased arthritic changes in the lower back due to the increased stress through the facet joints in the spine.

Next, there is the tendency toward using you back extensors to perform lifting activities. Since these muscles are already being engaged to help you maintain your balance they will often fire more when you are lifting something leading to the increased likelihood of a potential muscle strain.

The next time you are out for a run or a walk my advice is to look up and enjoy the scenery and think about that nice heel to toe gait pattern. Your back and the rest of your body will appreciate you for it in the long run!

Written By: Nick Wegener, Director of Physical Therapy – PT, ATC, OCS, CSCS

How to: Improve Your Health Through Breathing

Is your breathing helping or hurting your daily performance?

The average person will take more than 8 million breaths per year! Yet, chances are you may not be taking the proper steps for your breath to properly serve you in day-to-day activities and workouts. Today, I will go over three simple tests you can use to improve your workout, mood and manage stress levels. 

Breathing Test:

  • Start by lying on your back.
  • Place your right hand with the thumb below the ribs and the center of the palm on the abs (as if you had a tummy ache).
  • Take the left hand and place it on the chest, centered on the ribs.
  • Finally, inhale through your nose and out through your mouth.

What did you feel?

Ideally, you should feel your stomach begin to expand before your chest and shoulders move. There should have been minimal movement in your upper hand. This means your extremely strong breathing muscle, called the diaphragm, is doing its job!

The diaphragm pulls the lungs down during proper breathing, expanding the lungs in a 3-D like a pattern, top to bottom, front to back, and to the sides

Breathing is an involuntary muscular action, meaning we don’t have to think about it. Because of this, many people are not able to fill their lungs to full volume. When this occurs, it is called a “chest breath”.

A chest breath is a type of breathing when the diaphragm is not involved, and we are not using our lungs to their full capacity. This type of breathing causes the body to enter a response state called “Fight or Flight”. This type of body response is what we feel when we encounter a bear and must make the choice to defend ourselves or run. When our bodies are in this type of response, it causes a release of stress hormones to the body. These stress hormones are highly inflammatory and negative to the brain and body’s performance over a long period. 

3 Breathing Exercises:

To help eliminate the release of stress hormones throughout the day, try this exercise.

  • Inhale for 6 seconds
  • Hold that breath for 4 seconds
  • Exhale for 10 seconds

If you feel groggy or tired, try this exercise. 

  • Inhale for 6 seconds
  • Hold for 2 seconds
  • Exhale forcefully

Finally, to prepare your body for a workout, try this breathing exercise. 

  • Inhale for 4 seconds
  • Hold briefly
  • Exhale forcefully

As we breathe all day without much thought, it is important we become aware of how we are breathing. Being able to control breathing will help you become more mindful and feel better throughout the day!

Try these three exercises out and see a difference in your mood and activity.

Happy breathing,

Parker Victor, MA, CSCS, USAW-1, Head Performance Coach

3 On-The-Go Vacation Exercise Circuits

No Gym, No Weights, No Problem!

As we begin setting up our summer vacation travel plans, it is also important to plan ahead for making sure we keep our strength training and exercise plan in action during our trip. Today, I will outline simple steps needed in order to plan your vacation exercise routine and I will cover a 30-minute vacation exercise circuit. 

Before you take off on your travels, be sure to let your coach or trainer know at least two weeks in advance you will be out of town. Why is this important?

Two reasons. The first is so they aren’t wondering where you are or if you are skipping out on your sessions. The second reason is so they can provide you with a training routine to complete during your vacation.

Once you have let your coach or trainer know you will be out of town, the second step is to research if there are any gyms in the area you will be traveling. Is there a gym in the hotel you are staying? If there is not, you may have to plan for implementing body weight exercises inside your hotel room.

No matter what amenities you have available, it’s all about utilizing what you have to continue toward your exercise goals. Your coach or trainer will then give you the routine with enough time in advance, in case you may have questions before leaving on vacation.

I have put together a body weight exercise plan you can complete anywhere. Remember, vacation is a time to relax.  But, with a little effort each day you can also continue working towards your exercise goals. Even if it comes down to a few 30-minute routines during a week-long trip, you will not regret the effort once you get back to your everyday routine. 

Warm-up:

  • 30 sec. Imaginary Jump Rope
  • 10 Body weight Squats
  • 10 Arm Hugs
  • 30 sec. Imaginary Jump Rope
  • 5 each Leg Split Squats
  • 20 sec. Front Plank
  • 20 sec. Each Side Plank
  • 30 sec. Imaginary Jump Rope

Body Weight Strength Training:

Circuit 1:

  • 10 Squats with three sec. isometric hold
  • 8 each High Plank Shoulder Tap
  • 20 sec. Bottom Push-up Hold
    *Repeat circuit three more times

Circuit 2: 

  • 8 each Single Leg RDL
  • 8 each Side Plank Top Leg Lifts
  • 8 each High Plank Renegade Row
    *Repeat circuit three more times

Circuit 3:

  • 5 each Split Squats with three sec. isometric hold
  • 10 Straight Leg Sit-Ups
  • 5 each Quadruped Thoracic Rotations
    *Repeat circuit three more times

Finisher: Energy System Development

This is a perfect exercise finisher if you feel like adding another element to your routine.

  • 15 each Mountain Climber
  • 15 each Seated Twist
    Rest 30-40 seconds after those exercises and complete 5 times through

Written By: Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance

5 Reasons to Prep For Football During Baseball

I got a great question from a parent the other day I wanted to share with you:
 
“What are your thoughts about strength and conditioning during baseball season to prepare my 14-year-old son for football?”  
 
I think every parent has an assumption about this topic that is either rooted from their personal experience as an athlete and what they were exposed to and/or what they have researched on the internet.   
 
What is your assumption?
 
The truth is, if your player is in a good program that is tailored to them, then strength training and conditioning can be powerful in helping their performance in-season on the field or court.  In breaking down this parent’s question as it pertained to her son, here are five reasons why I said “yes” he can and should be training.
 

football, baseball glove and baseball
5 Reasons to Train For Football During Baseball Season

 
1. Helping to maintain body weight
 
Often baseball players will lose weight over the course of a baseball season. Some of that weight will be water volume and some will be lean muscle tissue. Losing body weight via water or lean tissue loss will negatively affect performance.  A dehydrated and thinner body will not produce the same power and explosiveness as a healthy, hydrated body. This parent’s son will be transitioning right from baseball season into football. This transition time is not enough time to likely restore the body to where it was prior to baseball season.
 
2. Maintaining strength
 
Maintaining strength directly ties to the first point.  Strength training is the stimulus the body needs to continue to build lean muscle tissue and reverse the natural decline that happens when strength training is stopped.  Maintaining strength really is not the most accurate way to phrase it.  In reality, we are either gaining strength or losing strength.  For this parent’s son, to walk into a football season in the “losing strength” mode is not going to lead to the performance outcome he is looking for.
 
3. Helping the body adapt to football demands faster
 
Football and baseball are very different in their physical demands and athletes transitioning from baseball to football will have a shock to their bodies that they will have to overcome.  That shock comes from the lack of preparation of the specific physical intensity football creates.  An in-season program has the opportunity to progressively build the athlete’s body up to those more intense requirements without overtaxing them physically for their in-season sport.  This preparation will help the athlete adapt sooner, be less sore, and perform closer to top performance right away when football practice starts.
 
4. Preparing the athlete to get into “football shape”
 
The fitness demands in football easily exceed that of baseball.  In baseball, there could be upwards of a 1:20 work to rest ratio whereas in football the ratio is closer to 1:6.  In football, a 1-way player will have about 70 plays while in baseball there might be 30 balls put into play in a 9-inning game.  In football, a player will run twice as many plays with 70% less time between plays.  An in-season strength and conditioning program will help the athlete’s fitness to be gradually built up so they will be at or close to “football shape” when making the transition between sports.
 
5. In-season training should not affect your performance
 
The first goal of in-season training is to make sure the athlete can continue to perform when it matters at a high level.  An athlete cannot do that if they are sore. 
 

Soreness comes from inappropriate exercise selection, inappropriate progressions in volume and/or intensity, and an inability to recover from previous bodily stresses (which could be exercise or sports induced).   

 
In a youth baseball season the schedule can be erratic, so the in-season program has to be constructed in such a way that takes into consideration the weekly volume and intensity as well as game and practice schedules.  
 
If an athlete normally trains Monday and Wednesday and this week only has games on the weekend, then our volume and intensity could be a little more intensified as the athlete will have time to fully recover.  On the flip side, if a makeup game is scheduled for Tuesday then we know we need to have less volume and intensity Monday but on Wednesday we could amp it back up and focus on those key area needed to prep for football.  
 
In-season training is something that many parents and coaches tend to overlook the value in.  For a multi-sport athlete who goes from one in-season to the next, they inevitably will see a drop in performance.  
 
Remember, your athlete is either “gaining” or “loosing”. 
 
Written By: Travis Manners, PT, SCS, CSCS, Owner & Founder 

How to Self-Diagnose Your Athlete’s Arm Pain

Late spring into early summer is one of the most common times we see shoulder and elbow injuries.  A lot of parents often ask me what “warning signs” they should be looking for with their son or daughter’s arm pain. Most importantly they want to know if the pain is serious or not. 

To a certain extent, we come from a place where we believe the motto “no pain, no gain”, and in some cases, I fully agree with that mindset. But at other times, this mindset can be very detrimental. How do you determine which pain is okay to play through and which pain is not? Here are four common arm pain areas to evaluate and guidelines to help you decide if your athlete should get the area checked out.

Pain Area #1:
Front or the back of the shoulder

Back of Shoulder Pain 

Pain and soreness in the shoulder are not uncommon with athletes, but the key is where the pain is located. Pain and soreness in the back of the shoulder usually occur when athletes use their arm to throw or serve. The muscles in the back of the shoulder often get strained.  They are small muscles and take on a lot of force when the arm is stopping after a throw or a swing.  Typically, this soreness gets better by the next day and eventually the muscles get stronger so the pain does not return.  

Front of Shoulder Pain

Front shoulder pain is a whole different issue.  We consider this pain to be concerning, and it should be closely monitored. Structures like the front ligaments of the shoulder, the labrum (cartilage in the shoulder), and parts of the rotator cuff are all stressed during overhead movements.  If your athletes are complaining of pain here, this is NOT the pain they should try to play through.  The pain can go away on its own; however, if the pain persists for more than three days or if it occurs every time they try to play their sport, go have it furthered examined by a physical therapist or a licensed health care professional. 

Pain Area #2:
Outside of the upper arm

Pain and soreness aren’t commonly experienced on the outside of the upper arm as the deltiod muscle is just about the only muscle in that area. Pain here, especially in adolescent athletes, is usually a sign of an injury to the growth plate of the upper arm.  Have you ever heard the term “little leaguer’s shoulder”?

Little leaguer’s shoulder can have delayed healing and significant downtime if left unaddressed.  Again, like in the shoulder, this pain can go away fairly quickly.  However, if it becomes persistent or happens every time the athlete tries to use their arm for activity, it is time to have it checked out.

Pain Area #3:
Inner or outer elbow  

Inner elbow pain

Pain and soreness in the elbow are not as common as the shoulder and tends not to be bothersome – unless the athlete is throwing or serving. This infrequency is why I think people don’t have this area looked at as much or soon enough.  The inner elbow is home to some key structures that are stressed during overhead movements.  The ulnar collateral ligament (Tommy John ligament) and the inner elbow growth plate (little leaguer’s elbow) are the most significant.  Once these areas start developing pain, they are usually past the mild stage and are typically in the damage stage.  

Outer elbow pain

The outer elbow rarely develops pain and usually does not develop pain without previously having inner elbow pain.  Pain in the outer elbow can be significant such as a cartilage lesion on one of the forearm bones.  This damage happens from over-compression in the joint, commonly due to a loose ulnar collateral ligament.  Like the inner elbow, by the time this area becomes painful, the damage has already set in.  

Pain localized to the inner or outer elbow should not be dismissed as the consequences can be detrimental to the longer term health of the elbow.

Pain Area #4:
Biceps or triceps muscles

Pain and soreness in muscle tissue is rarely a “red flag” for us.  Injuries to muscles can definitely be painful but more times than not, they will resolve on their own in a reasonable amount of time.  The biceps and triceps are the muscles most susceptible to getting strained in sports like baseball, softball, and tennis.

 

A lot of the time the pain is located in the middle of the muscle or, for tricep pain, down by the elbow joint. Again, these pains usually go away quickly and usually respond well to light to medium massage.  If for some reason, the pain is not fully gone in a couple weeks, then I would recommend getting it checked out.


Conclusion:

As your athlete participates in the common summer sports, pain and soreness can and will happen.  The key as parents is to continuously monitor the symptoms and use the guidelines above to help determine severity.  If the pain falls into one of the key areas, don’t be that parent that finally takes their kid in only to find out they fractured their growth plate.  On the flip side, if the pain isn’t too bad, “go rub some dirt on it” is sound advice!

When in doubt give us a call 402.932.7111 if you have any questions about your athletes’ arm pain.  We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have! 

Written By: Travis Manners, PT, SCS, CSCS

Concussions and the Classroom: Bridging the Gap

Concussion Focus & Athletes’ Training Center
Guest Blog Author: Becky Docter, MA, ATC, Sports Medicine Athletic Trainer Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

Becky Docter is an Athletic Trainer who joined Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in 2016.  Previously, she spent a decade working as an Athletic Trainer in the secondary school setting in Omaha. She continues to advocate for education in youth concussion across the state of Nebraska.  She Co-Chairs the Metro Brain Injury Regional School Support Team (BIRSST) and serves on multiple concussion education groups including Concussion Focus.org and Concussion Coalition.  Becky received her Bachelor’s degree from Doane College and her Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  She is very involved in professional service on the state level serving on the education committee for Nebraska State Athletic Trainer’s Association, (NSATA) serving on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Athletic Training Board, and working with the Board of Certification (BOC) to create standards for professional education in athletic training.  Becky and her husband just welcomed their first baby boy to their family this May.

Return to Learn

What is it?

Return to Learn is an amendment to the Concussion Awareness Act that was passed in July 2012.  The Return to Learn Amendment was added in July 2014, stating that a return to learn protocol be established for students that have sustained a concussion.  The protocol shall recognize that students who have sustained a concussion and returned to school may need informal or formal accommodations, modifications of curriculum, and monitoring by medical or academic staff until the student has fully recovered.

Download Full .pdf Blog: Concussion and the Classroom Bridging the Gap


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

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Shin Splits, How to Reduce Your Risk – 3 Strategies

I have two words for you.  Two words which give runners everywhere nightmares.  “Shin splints”. Most people are familiar with this diagnosis; and if you have had them before, you know that they are highly irritating!

In this blog, I want to talk about three strategies you can use to help reduce your risk of developing shin splints symptoms. 

1st: Buy a Good Pair of Running Shoes

Just like anything else shoes break down and need to be replaced. How often they need to be replaced depends on how far you are running in a week.

As a general rule of thumb, running shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, which means you can’t simply replace them once a year (if you are averaging 50 miles a week).

2nd: Slowly Ramp up Your Running Distance

Have a plan for building up your running distance. If you want to run a half-marathon this summer, but have not been putting in any miles during the winter, you should not start off running 30 miles a week.  You should instead begin by building up your walking tolerance, move to walk/run intervals, then build your running distance from there.

Going from spending most of your time sitting on the couch and binge-watching Netflix straight into hardcore run training is a sure fire way to end up with a case of shin splints.

3rd: Stretch Your Calf Muscles 

Finally, make sure you stretch out your calf muscles before and after your run. When stretching out your calves, it is important to ensure you stretch out both of the major muscles which reside there, your gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

The gastrocnemius is stretched when your toes are pulled toward your head with your knee straight as this muscle spans across the knee. In order to stretch the soleus, you must have your knee bent as this muscle stops short of the knee.

soleus stretch

gastrocnemius stretch

 

Each of these three strategies can play an important roll in helping you to avoid shin splints and helping runners everywhere to get a better night’s sleep!

 

 

If you or someone you know is already dealing with this condition, then set up an appointment today to be seen by one of our physical therapists.  There are many strategies to help speed up recovery!

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT, DPT

One Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken with Asparagus

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT Positive Nutrition

Recipe Adapted from: chelseaysmessyapron.com

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko or bread crumbs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Grab three bowls. Add the flour to one bowl.
  3. Combine panko, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, dried parsley, garlic powder, about 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. In the final bowl, add 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest, 4-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on lemon flavor intensity desired), minced garlic, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir.
  5. Slice chicken breasts to the size of tenders (about 1 inch strips) or use chicken tenders.
  6. Coat chicken in flour, heavily dredge in garlic lemon mixture, and then coat in the Parmesan panko mixture.
  7. Place on prepared sheet pan. Use any remaining Parmesan panko mixture and sprinkle over tenders.
  8. Place the asparagus next to the tenders and drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.
  10. Optional sauce: whisk 3 tablespoons melted butter, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 tablespoons honey in a small bowl. Add some pepper and parsley if desired.
  11. Remove pan from the oven and top with the honey lemon mixture, if desired, and enjoy immediately.

**Do not top chicken breasts with the honey lemon mixture unless eating immediately and aren’t planning on having leftovers since it will make it soggy.

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT – Positive Nutrition of Omaha 

Jennie A., Collegiate Track & Field Athlete

Athletes’ Training Center has worked to specialize workouts to fit my athletic needs. The strength coaches have a one on one personal connection to fix minor details that have had a major impact on my athletic performance.