Get Strong

Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University introduces their new Wildcat football program and new Pendulum weight room. They will be Getting Strong in Marion, Indiana.

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Topics: Announcements, Success

Don't Drop Drop-sets From Your Program

In April of this year the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness published - Effects of drop set resistance training on acute stress indicators and long-term muscle hypertrophy and strength. The findings were..."Superior muscle gains might be achieved with a single set of DS (drop set) compared to 3 sets of conventional RT (resistance training), probably due to higher stress experienced in the DS protocol."

Drop-sets are done in numerous ways, in general it is a simple technique whereby you perform a set of an exercise and then reduce or 'drop' the weight and continue for more repetitions with less poundage or greater leverage. 

There are many many methods how drop-sets are accomplished; stripping of weight from a barbell, quickly grabbing lighter and lighter dumbbells, changing pin settings on selectorized machines, continually changing grip or stance during an exercise, changing the range of motion and more.

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The Pendulum 'Set Extension Technology" is an ideal training method especially for in-season reduced training time and obtaining the desired results in a shorter interval. With an athletes normal weight, the spotter simply changes range of motion once the athlete cannot finish a repetition. All Pendulum strength machines with their 'S.E.T. Extension System' are made to simply and quickly change the length of movement. A Drop-set on the Pendulum strength equipment is an easy and efficient way to Get Strong.

Call or 'drop-in' at the Pendulum showroom in Clare, Michigan to find out about or try out the Rogers Athlete strength equipment.

 Pendulum S.E.T. Technology

Topics: Strength Training, Pendulum 3 Way Row, Muscular Strength

Lateral Neck Flexion And Leverage

Training the head and neck is complex and leverage must be managed. In head and neck exercises we often use our traps and torso to accelerate and decelerate weight, either consciously or unconsciously, interfering with development. Coaches therefore teach proper form of exercise to achieve a desired amplification of force by putting us in appropriate leverage advantage and disadvantage positions to maximize muscular output. 

We elevate our traps by shrugging to protect our cervical spine, which keeps our head and neck from going to far into extension. We also use our traps to assist in accelerating our head and neck forward into flexion, protective actions that are reflexive in nature. These movements can readily be seen through the example of a loud noise occurring. Upon hearing a strange sharp noise you quickly shrug to assist in ducking your head and the quickly elevated traps protect the head and neck from being whiplashed backwards.

We also use our torso to move our head in space, this allows us to fully flex the muscles of the head and neck while dodging anything that is about to make contact with our countenance. Against a load on a neck machine it is very difficult to have lateral flexion of the head and neck without lateral flexion of the spine accompanied by some rotation, this is simply how our structures move as we contract our muscles.

In studies on training the neck, it has been found that the greatest electrical activity in the targeted musculature is achieved sitting.  But though this is the effective position, coaches know that even in a seated posture and properly addressing the leverage of the traps and torso ...... it is the arms that are often used to what in the 'exercise world' has been labeled as 'cheating'. 

Bryan Fitzpatrick is the Associate Strength & Conditioning Coach for Football and Coordinator of Speed/Agility Development for Navy. Bryan has coached at Penn State, the Minnesota Vikings and West Virginia before arriving at the Naval Academy. Bryan is extremely sharp and recently talked about a training technique that he uses with the Midshipmen to teach form, address leverage and get the most out of lateral neck flexion when using the Pendulum Neck Machine.

Bryan simply takes a dowel or PVC Pipe and creates the shape of a goal post with the arms before beginning lateral flexion (an approximately 40 degree movement). The face pad's work arm is placed in the fourth hole on the cam of the Pendulum 4 or 5 Way Neck machine. When the exercise begins the pipe may tilt a few degrees during the movement as the torso begins to flex - which is normal - yet the coach has the trainee keep the pipe as close to parallel to the floor as possible. 

The athlete trains several weeks with the acquired posture. Once picture perfect form is obtained and the weight has been increased the athlete understands how it feels to train lateral neck flexion with the desired motion.  Accomplished, the trainee alters his or her style by holding on to the bottom of the seat pad to stabilize the torso.  Using both arms to stabilize the trunk and depress the traps (not assist in the motion) allows lateral neck flexion to become the incredible neck developer that it is. 

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                                 A great way to teaching the skills of Getting Strong.

Topics: Head/Neck/Trap/Shop, Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Neck training

Deep Neck Flexors

The deep cervical neck flexor muscles longus capitis, longus colli, rectus capitis anterior, rectus capitis lateralis are not only important neck stabilizers and postural muscles, but impaired and/or delayed activation of these deep cervical flexors can cause headaches and/or neck pain and lead to a reduction of the tissues size (atrophy).

There are more muscles in the neck than degrees of freedom. The degrees of freedom refers to the number of ways we can move our head and neck in space. Having more muscles than movement allows us to substitute, that is, assist an action with muscles that are not deemed to be prime in an action. A simple illustration would be, waking up in the morning with a ‘stiff neck’ and though having discomfort, still have the  ability to function, moving the head and neck while the injured area recovers throughout the day.

Being able to substitute as muscles recover post strain or injury is a wonderful aspect of human function, but it is also imperative that we return our structures to normalcy once traumatized. Continual alteration of normal neural flow can and will lead to atrophy of the affected area and a lingering alteration of neural pathways. These deep cervical flexors are keys to neck pain relief and restoration of muscular activity and structural posture -- their function must be addressed.

The craniocervical flexion test (CCFT) is a clinical test of the anatomical action of the aforementioned deep cervical flexor muscles. The craniocervical flexion examination tests the isometric endurance of these inmost muscles and looks at their interaction with the superficial cervical flexors.

In a study in the 2016, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, researchers used this test and electromyography and found that “Individuals with smaller deep cervical flexor muscles exhibited increased activity in the sternocleidomastoid during the CCFT.” The sternocleidomastoids are much more powerful and assist the weaker musculature in movement. It is also known that those with ‘neck pain disorders’ alter their neuromotor control and movement strategies and have reduced activity in the inner cervical flexors, factors that lead to substitution.

Neck trauma is commonplace whether it be due to aggressive participation in sport, occurrences such as whiplash, concussions or be it neglect. This reformed neuromotor control, increased activity in the superficial flexors and atrophy ensures that strength training must be done.

Include in the athletes training protocol a 10-15 degree movement that flexes the head.  This head action is a short distinct movement that is disassociated from a neck exercise. It is done by placing the neck pad work arm in one of the last four holes on the Pendulum 4 or 5 Way Head and Neck Machine's cam. Once the weight is set the athlete performs the exercise by flexing the head leading and pulling with his/her chin.

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The Pendulum 4 and 5 Way Neck Machines were designed to be able to address head and and neck movement to properly train the complex region of the upper spine.

Topics: Head/Neck/Trap/Shop, Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Neck training

Neck Muscle Strength

On January 31, 2014 the American Journal of Sports Medicine published an article on neck strength titled, Effect of Neck Muscle Strength and Anticipatory Cervical Muscle Activation on the Kinematic Response of the Head to Impulsive Loads. The findings indicated that male and female athletes could potentially modify risk factors for concussion by developing neck musculature. It was shown that having greater neck strength when bracing for impact reduces the magnitude of the head’s kinematic response.

The anticipatory act of bracing for a violent collision is important in protecting oneself from the effects of whiplash, yet bracing in itself is a common occurrence.  When you run, neck muscles contract before your foot hits the ground. The process of running is inherently bouncy as our muscle tendon units act as springs to propel us up and forward. This aerial phase neck muscle contraction is in anticipation of the ground reaction force.  Ground reaction force causes a vertical acceleration of the head that actually pitches the head forward at foot strike.

The human head uses a self-stabilizing system that does not rely on muscular reflex to control the pitching action during running. Reflex alone cannot control the action of the head once ground strike occurs – having fewer than then 10 milliseconds to control the up and forward action of the head is not enough time for our natural reflexes.

Our head, which is pitched forward upon landing, also rolls and yaws. This requires contractions of neck extensors, as well as flexors and a downward swing of an arm that dampens vertical acceleration. Each arm constitutes about eight percent of total body mass, roughly the same relative percent as the 5 to 6 kilogram runner’s head. If you consider the head in running as the primary mass then the downward swing of the stance side arm becomes the counter mass accelerating in the opposite direction, thereby dampening the skull’s oscillation. The athlete then alters their running form by bending and swinging his or her arms in movements with the appropriate power and speed to counter these varying vectors of force.  Changing the mass or active stiffness of the arms through strength training and not addressing the mass and/or muscular system of the head and neck can be problematic. The coach and athlete will spend countless hours trying to achieve a particular running form that cannot truly be corrected unless they address the musculature that is controlling the movement of the skull.

There is another issue that the neck must attend to during running. When we land during sprinting we avoid falling down by utilizing the muscles of the lower back and hip – particularly the largest muscle of our body, the powerful gluteus maximus – to decelerate the trunk. As the trunk accelerates forward and then backward the head and neck accelerates backward then forward. Try this at home: Sit in your car and accelerate quickly forward then step on the brake. Vehicle acceleration provides example that the more the trunk pitches the more the head reacts. Increasing the strength and/or mass of the trunk and not addressing the strength and/or mass of the head and neck adversely effects athleticism.

As mentioned, the head also rolls and yaws during running, usually towards the stance side foot at foot strike.  Once the runner is in the aerial phase one leg quickly swings forward while the opposite leg is thrust behind the body, causing angular momentum around the vertical axis. We counteract this by swinging our arms in an opposite phase to the legs to have an equal and opposite angular momentum. The neck must not only rotate in the opposite direction of the trunk but quickly prepare for being thrust vertically and forward upon landing.

The human brain is encased in a rigid skull and covered by a muscular scalp which is surrounded by three layers of membranes and floats in a protective cushion of cerebrospinal fluid. Though protected, brain trauma can occur with sudden acceleration or deceleration within the cranium. Control of head stabilization is one important line of defense for protecting the brain from perturbation.   During activity, it remains relatively stable as we integrate information about the head and body from our eyes, vestibular system and proprioceptors of the neck. For athletes involved in any sport with an associated head trauma risk, protecting the brain from excessive subconcussive forces through strength training head and neck musculature for bracing is the first job of a strength and conditioning coach.

For any athlete to excel in sport, they must train the structures that decelerate opposing masses. This means that athletes must have head and neck training as part of their exercise regime. The head and neck muscles are countering arm swing, trunk pitch and rotation, as the arms are countering head pitch, leg swing and trunk movement. Developing one area and neglecting another is not conducive to optimal athletic development or performance. Train the entire system. 

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 Make Neck Training an Integral Part of your Program

Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Neck training

The One-Arm Overhead Press

In overhead pressing movements the humeral head is pushed towards the socket. Depending how an object is held the joint space can be increased or decreased by the lifter to obtain shoulder pain relief if needed. Pain inhibits function, promotes atrophy and if not properly tended to the shoulder will become worse. 

If an athlete has a shoulder issue and is encouraged to train the Pendulum Core Developer can be ideal.  Kneeling varying elbow and/or hand placement the athlete can alter the path the bar takes to full extension. A variable line of execution allows the athlete to train around the deficit, strengthening as many pain free structures of the joint as possible. 

A great way to Get Strong.

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Topics: Pendulum Core Developer

Go To The Grip Cart To Get Strong

The gripping capabilities of individuals are associated with heart health, longevity, overall strength and power, performance - even hormone levels, sleep and more. It is no wonder that hand grip weight training tools grace performance centers throughout the country. Keeping all these unique, seemingly simple training devices presented in an orderly fashion to accentuate their importance is imperative in administration of a program.  

To maximally develop all the musculature required to obtain powerful hands and forearms obligates us to address how we grasp implements.  Each grip -- hook, ball, pinch, precision, wrist extension, finger extension and finger adduction and abduction must be targeted. This necessitates us to train our hands in particular manners, which is by no means different than selecting from a wide variety of exercises to fully develop the upper or lower torso.  

The ideal storage area to keep all the handgrip equipment logically placed is the Pendulum Grip Cart. The 'cart' can be moved throughout the weight room during a workout, there the athlete easily finds and chooses which tool needed to augment the appropriate musculature.

Pendulum Grip Carts come in a variety of manners:

They can come empty for you to fill with your existing weight room tools.

They can come completely filled by Rogers Athletic addressing each hand grip.

They can be custom designed adding labels, team logos or inspirational quotes.

They can be built to a variety of customer specifications.

Get the hands Strong....at the Pendulum Grip Cart.

 

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Power Grip Wrist Roller

The Pendulum Grip Cart

 

Topics: Pendulum Gripper, Pendulum Grip Cart

Water, Water, 'Every Where'

From 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'

"Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink."

"Water, water..." hydration has always been a tremendous concern for coaches, trainers and athletes in sport. Attempting to maintain the goal of keeping athletes in the less than 2% body mass loss. Studying football, rugby, basketball, tennis, ice hockey - sports with reported high sweating rates - fluid balance disturbances generally have been low and water replacement opportunities sufficient. During exercise in the heat, core body temperature and heart rate increase by 3 to 5 beats/min for every 1% of body mass lost, yet performance remains stable unless metabolic demands can no longer be met. 

When exercising in the heat, internal temperature and heart rate increase. A water deficiency results in the deep structures of the body increasing in temperature, decreasing blood volume and physiological adjustments must be made to ward off dehydration. Dehydration increases the heart rate, followed by a decrease in stroke volume (that is the amount of blood pumped with each beat), this causes the heart to pump faster to move the blood, leaving less filling time for the heart. If a depleted state continues, our system heads toward the 3-4%, a state of hypohydration and athletes are put at risk.

When this cascade of physiological events begins to occur the athlete suddenly perceives the necessity to alter pace and intensity, which may or may not be seen in the performance of a highly skilled or motivated sportsperson. What we often see as the effects of a significant water loss accrue is muscular cramping, but it is important to note that during the contest the participant may also be suffering from visuomotor, psychomotor, and disrupted cognitive performance.

Cognitive function is a relatively new area of research regarding the understanding of hydration's impact on physical performance and is more difficult for the coach and athletic trainer to identify. It is important to remember there are physical ramifications, but the more difficult to recognize is the mental ramifications of dehydration. Keep your athletes properly hydrated so they can physically and mentally play well and above all keep them safe.

Avoid a Neck Strength Deficit - Use the Pendulum 5 Way Neck Machine 

 

 

Topics: Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Running, Pendulum 4 Way Neck

Testing Grip Strength

Two important components of muscle function are muscular strength, that is, the peak force a muscle group can produce, and muscle power—how rapidly the force comes to fruition. Testing is accomplished in a multitude of ways: laboratory-based dynamometery, linear position transducers, force plates, Tendo units, Nottingham power rig, fly wheels and much more.

For those who like to test their athletes, assessment of upper and lower body strength and power can be derived with one simple tool, a hand-held dynamometer. In recent studies it has been shown that hand-held dynamometry has good to excellent reliability. It has demonstrated validity in most measures of lower and upper limb strength and power in healthy populations.

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The Pendulum Foot Pedal as seen above Makes the Machine a great Testing Device 

The Pendulum Gripper has advantages over hand-held dynamometry. Not only are you able to measure hand strength accurately, you are able to train and improve force as well. The following is a simple test to measure the grip strength of your team:

. First, you will have to find the amount of weight that only your strongest athlete can hold. The grip handles must touch and be held together with exactly zero movement, for 60 seconds. This weight will become the standard amount that your entire team must try to accomplish.

. With the standard weight selected, the athlete uses the foot pedal on the Pendulum Gripper to join the handles. The athlete squeezes the handles tightly and releases the foot pedal when instructed to begin the timed test. Using a stop watch the administrator carefully watches the 'attempted 60 second hold' looking for any separation of the steel handles. Once the handles break apart in any manner the test stops and the time is recorded.

.  Each athlete is aspiring to accomplish the 60 second hold of the teams strongest athlete.  Their test time reflects their grip strength in relation to the teams highest handclasp (ex.33 seconds vs. 60). The entire teams poundage is raised when the strongest athlete can hold the standard weight for 90 seconds. If 90 seconds is eventually achieved by anyone in the group then the teams 60 second testing load is increased by 2.5 pounds for the next grip evaluation.

. Upon appraisment you will find some athletes only capable of keeping steel on steel for a few seconds, many will be graded as average, and some athletes will hold the handles together not far off of the teams best. The results will inspire all to strengthen their hands, and all will quickly find hand training to improve other lifts.

. Administering this assessment, the Pendulum Gripper, and grip strength suddenly take on a new training importance very similar to what occurs when athletes know they will be evaluated by a bench press or squat.

Challenge your team.  Get them Strong.

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Use the Foot Pedal to close the Gripper to begin the Test

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The Handles are squeezed tight -Steel touching Steel.

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 The Handles have separated - Test is Over

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Pendulum Grippers Getting Ready to be Shipped 

 

Topics: Pendulum Gripper, Pendulum Grip Cart

Sleds Are For Training

Sometimes we forget that training tools, like the Rogers Athletic Drive Sled, are not just for football. Conditioning and developing power and strength are for all athletes. 

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Topics: Drive Sled