Get Strong

The Importance of Training the Head, Neck and Jaw

describe the imageMike Gittleson was the Director of Strength & Conditioning at the University of Michigan for 30 years and was a part of 15 Football Championships in that time. The following is an article that he wrote for the NCAA on the "The Importance of Training the Head and Neck."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) – which is used interchangeably with the term concussion – as a complex pathophysiologic process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces secondary to direct or indirect forces to the head. A concussion or MTBI can be caused by a blow or a jolt to the head or body that disrupts the function of the brain.

There are methods for lowering the risk and reducing the number of sport-related concussions across America. Some of the factors are return to play, rules changes, the number of exposures, skill development, protective equipment and strength training to lower subconcussive forces. All of these considerations play a part in abatement of concussion. Exclusion of any one item affects the safety of the student-athlete. Each factor must be reviewed by the professional who, by using assiduity and diligence, can and will have a positive impact on risk.

Preventative sports medicine is the hallmark of any strength and conditioning program. The first goal of a professional is to develop effective and practical ways to reduce the number of sports-related injuries.

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In the 1970s, collegiate programs began introducing strength training into their athletic programs to enhance performance as well as reduce injuries. There was very little research on the subject of weight training and athletics and many misnomers about strength training in general. At the time, the majority felt strongly that the use of barbells and strength training devices would inhibit athleticism by bulking and stiffening the athlete. Women, in general, had a strong fear of becoming too muscular. Educators worked to dispel those fears and strength and conditioning programs are now commonplace throughout athletics. Though some wrongly conceived beliefs still linger today when it comes to training the musculature associated with the cervical spine.

The benefits of muscular development are far greater than initially purported since the inception of strength training into intercollegiate athletics. One of the important functions of strength training has become the development of the muscle and tendon as a unit. The muscle-tendon unit attenuates and dissipates force. Developing a strong musculoskeletal system is what is needed to protect joints and reduce injuries. This attenuation and dissipation of force is not exclusive to particular joints in the anatomical system.

Dawn Comstock, associate professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, collected data on 6,704 student-athletes in six sports: boys' and girls' soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Her results indicated that for every pound of improved neck strength, an individual reduces his or her concussion risk.

Dr. Comstock from her years of injury surveillance points out the primary mechanism for concussion injury is athlete-to-athlete contact. The researcher then asked, "Did the athlete see the blow coming?" And she found that for the athletes who saw the blow coming – those who had a chance to activate their neck muscles – experienced less severe concussion.

The attenuation and dissipation of force and bracing before impact by activating neck muscles can lower subconcussive trauma. This is a great reason for training the musculature that moves the neck and supports the head.

There are many more reasons for an athlete to train this region of the anatomy. ‘Where the head goes the body will follow’ is an athletic axiom that coaches teach. Stand straight, place your fingers lightly on the nape of your neck. Without moving your head quickly move your eyes left and right. You will feel the musculature in your neck begin to contract. The eyes are not connected to the neck muscles but the brain is preparing the body for movement. Like our limbs it is important to move the head quickly. Training the head and neck will enhance performance.

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The respiratory system’s process of inspiration and expiration involves much more than the diaphragm and the internal and external intercostal muscles. The scalene muscles in the neck are involved in almost every breath we take. The platysma and sternocleidomastoid are involved in heavy breathing. Injure or develop neck muscles and your body’s athleticism will be affected. 

Conventional wisdom suggests that strength training increases body mass index (BMI) in a positive way, but does it? BMI is a simplistic measure of body fat. It is calculated by dividing one’s weight in kilograms by the square of one’s height in meters. The derived results can then be compared to a chart of normative data provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). BMI is useful for the overweight and obese, yet it does have limitations. BMI may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have muscular builds. The problem is this simple tool does not differentiate between fat mass and lean body mass. It has long been argued that heavily muscled, weight-trained athletes are healthy despite their BMI classification.

At issue is the athlete that increases muscle mass and vascularity significantly in all areas of the body but the neck region alters peripheral vascular resistance in an acute way. Peripheral resistance is a function of the internal vessel diameter, vessel length and blood viscosity. Having a large body and an undeveloped neck changes the force of the delivery system’s blood flow to the head.

The cervical spine’s associated musculature is regarded as an important proprioceptive organ for postural processes. The muscles are small with a high spindle density. You can think of this region as the hotbed of proprioception. Disturbances of gait can occur by interfering with, damaging, weakening or fatiguing the muscles of the head and neck. Training this region augments static as well as dynamic posture – our ability to balance.

The head and neck muscular system is a complex anatomical structure and has apparent muscle redundancy; that is, more head and neck muscle than degrees of freedom. It is been postulated that individuals exhibit a large variation of neck muscle activation strategies for accomplishing the same task intra individually, as well as between subjects. The health practitioner’s return-to-play protocol after a concussion, whiplash, nerve or muscle trauma must contain a measurable strength component to restore each muscle to normalcy, redressing this tendency to substitute by the injured athlete. 

Head and neck muscles can be thought of as two distinct muscular units, the musculature that moves the head and the muscles that move the cervical spine. Each unit must be trained to maximize development and ongoing strength values collected. This aids in overall muscular fitness and post injury assessment in returning a student-athlete to their appropriate functional movement 

Injuries to the mouth, face and jaw are part of sport. Having a strong jaw helps in bracing, clenching against a mouth guard, and resisting the pull of the chin strap in helmets. Injured masseter muscles, strained temporalis, pterygoids, digastrics all must be rehabilitated and strengthened when damaged.

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To help lower subconcussive forces, protect the student-athlete returning to play, maximize performance and fitness, strength training of the head, neck and jaw must be inclusive when designing exercise programs. 

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

The Fighting Irish

The University of Notre Dame upgrades their weight room with a wide variety of Pendulum Strength Training Machines.


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They are Getting Strong in South Bend

Topics: Pendulum Seated Squat, Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum 4 Way Neck, Pendulum Hip Press, Pendulum 3 Way Row, Pendulum Combo Lat Pull

Weight Charts To Get Strong

Weightlifting percentage charts are used by coaches throughout the country.  They provide guidance in selecting loads to place on the bar for training.  Percentage tables can be chosen from multiple authors Stone & Bryant, Epley, Bryzcki, Prilepin, Mann, Westside, NSCA, and direction from Tendo, GymAware, Push, and others.  Based upon your beliefs, training style or who you may deem as the most credible source, the selection is up to each coach or indvidual. You may use 'standard weight lifting percentage charts' or 'velocity based percentage charts for training. 'Velocity charts' are based upon the relationship between the percentage of one's maximum lift (1RM) and the corresponding velocity of the bar or machine's work arm - meaning when the individual was tested for their 1RM, their velocity was tracked, and percentages of this velocity then are used to select training loads and speeds. Velocity based training requires the use of an accelerometer to measure the vector quantity of a bar, dumbbell, or other object of choice. 

Standard weight lifting percentage charts are derived in many ways. The following is an example of derivation of weight lifting percentage chart without a accelerometer:

First a population is tested in a single maximum repetition (1RM) of a given exercise.  Once the values are obtained the group is tested in maximum endurance at a percentage of their obtained 1RM.  A formula is gleaned that assigns a numerical value to each repetition.

Example :

A population of people found to have a max of 300 pounds on the bench press are further tested at 75% (225 Pounds) of their maximum .  The average result is 10 repetitions for the test.  The value of each rep is therefore 0.0333 or 7.5 pounds a rep.

0.0333 x 225 pounds = 7.5 pounds per rep.

7.5 pounds x 10= 75 pounds

225 pounds + 75 pounds = 300 pound max

Once a value is assigned to the repetition based upon the study, in this case 0.0333,  a 'Weight Lifting Percentage Chart' is constructed for the general population.

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To use a chart a weightlifter simply finds his or her maximum along the left side.  The load to workout with is selected based on the percentage and repetitions forthcoming from their workout plan.

Sample of an athletes instructions from a Coach...

Today we are going to use 75% of our maximum for 10 reps, then 85% of our maximum for 6 reps and 90% for 4 on the bench press.  The above chart tells you the weight you should be working out with based on your individual max to Get Strong.

The athlete with a 270 max chooses...

75% - 205 x 10

85% - 230 x 6

90% - 245 x 4

Exactly what these percentages really mean to the muscle tissue is a an ongoing question that has required continual research. 

Try this to explore the percentage chart that you may be using...

Find your one repetition maximum in a multi-joint exercise such as a free weight barbell squat or bench press.  Select a percentage such as 65%, 75% or 85% of that maximum and do as many repetitions as possible with that percentage and record your repetitions.

Now select a 'single-joint' exercise such as barbell curl and repeat the test.  Whether trained or untrained you will find you achieve fewer repetitions at the same percentage of 1RM with a single-joint movement and more repetitions with a multi-joint movement.   In other-words multi -joint and single-joint exercises have different values of a repetition.  The amount of muscle mass involved in a multi-joint exercise and the neural system alter the outcome.

If this same test is done with a large group of athletes, say a team, you will get a similar result.  You will also find a great deal of variability from athlete to athlete in the data. 

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Try this also......

Take all your athletes who's maximum is the same in a particular exercise.  Let's say their maximum is 270 pounds on the bench press.  Using 75% of their max in the above chart (205), test the maximum amount of repetitions they can do.

In general, most may achieve 10 reps as indicated on the chart, but you may find an athlete who can only do 6 reps or another who can do 15.  Very normal stuff, as we all have different neurological efficiencies and muscle-tendon invagination surface areas.

Charts are charts, they set a course.  They give direction. Understand that there are many many variables that affect each athlete each day. Numerically charted recommended weights and repetitions, as well as recommended repetition velocities are only guides.

The best chart to hang in your weight room is the 'Effort Chart'.  When you go to it, it says.... give a 100%  effort to any weight you choose........to Get Strong.

Topics: Pendulum Rack System, Muscular Strength

Weighted Dips Take Nerve

The 'dip' exercise is great for the chest, shoulders, triceps and rhomboids. Training this movement regularly can bring the desired physical results. As one gets strong there eventually becomes a need for a waist belt for adding resistance to progressively overload. 

The hand is innervated by three nerves - the median, ulnar, and radial. As one becomes extremely strong the ulnar nerve tends to be susceptible to the added pressure of weighted dips, which causes pain in the heel of the hand radiating upwards towards the elbow. This nerve compression and uncomfortable feeling does not allow an individual to continue making progress with the exercise. 

Having a dip bar that has a larger than normal circumference takes stress off the nerves in the hand and allows an athlete to Get Strong!

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Topics: Pit Shark, Pendulum Rack System, Rogers Wall Mounted Dip

Food For Thought

The human brain utilizes more energy than any other organ in the body. About 1/3 of its energy is used for maintaining cellular health and 2/3rds to provide energy to fuel neurons so they can communicate with one another. This energy needed represents about 20% of our resting metabolic rate.

Using some of the brains energy to think about gaining and losing weight, it is understood if you eat more calories then you expend you will gain weight. If you create a negative caloric balance or deficit your body will burn it's stored fat for energy and ultimately you will lose the desired poundage that you wish. Counting calories is certainly away to track what is happening when you diet, using dietary software, dietary programs, exercise wrist watches all help. Even with technology and professional dietary programs science says the relationship of counting calories and managing body weight is not as simple as one may think adding to what we already know, that diets, even with the appropriate caloric balance are frustrating.

Let's say, at the time you are 'moderately active' and begin precisely monitoring calories as you up your activity level to 'very active'. The goal is to increase energy expenditure by exercising more while keeping your food intake consistent. This should cause you to lose pounds. Having a new high energy level and watching your diet may initially give you your desired weight reduction, but other things begin to occur. Becoming more fit causes you to relax more completely, you also may nap and sleep through the night soundly. These positive outcomes of becoming in better shape and conserving more energy through rest, can reduce caloric needs. Suddenly the amount of calories from the food that you are taking in is reflective of the caloric needs of being 'moderately active' and the new activity adjustment no longer reduces your weight. The good news is that what is occurring fitness wise is certainly a plus. 

There is another caloric expenditure occurrence that happens as you become more fit that changes energy requirements. Becoming more active leads to becoming stronger and more skilled in movements which gives you what is deemed better economy of motion. This new economy of motion decreases your energy expenditure to perform the athletic skills that you are doing and also decreases the total caloric needs for daily tasks such as stair climbing, walking and a host of other normal activities above your basal metabolism.

Once you begin adding muscle due to your new 'activity level' change - caloric needs once again are modified. Gaining muscle requires additional calories each day to gain and maintain mass. Keeping the number of calories consistent to lose body fat becomes tricky as muscular gains are also an important part of fitness and require a caloric increase that you are trying to avoid.

The bottom line is - all diets have their ups and downs and require adjustments, patience, determination and consistency which are a must if you want to Get Lean and Get Strong.

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Topics: Muscular Growth, Muscular Strength

Lowering Weight To Lower Injuries

When a muscle lengthens under load during training it is called the eccentric phase of the movement. The controlled lowering phase of training is not only important for muscular growth, but has other training benefits.

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Following years of systematic reviews of the scientific literature, it has been determined that the act of stretching has "limited effectiveness in preventing injury or reducing the risk of injury."  What is becoming apparent is that eccentric training is an effective way of changing range of motion, as well as, reducing injury. This is accomplished through strengthening the tissue and changing the compliant end of the tendon. Injuries are reduced when you have a healthy myotendinous junction, that is, the connection between the muscle and the tendon. Maintaining the health of this region requires adding movements of low velocity to your athletic program. Get Strong and stay injury free by emphasizing the lowering phase of training.

Topics: Pendulum Seated Squat, Strength Training, Pendulum Hip Press, Pendulum Squat Pro

Outdoor Chin/Dip Station

The Pendulum outdoor chin/dip station allows a coach to bring strength training sessions to practice. Changing the training environment from the weight room to the field often motivates players. Having athletes do exercises such as push ups, free body squats, chins, dips and manual resistance on the field reinforces that when they are away from the facility there are solid ways to Get and stay Strong

Pendulum chin dip station

Pendulum outdoor chin dip station

Rogers chin dip station

Indoor outdoor chin dip station

 

Topics: Pendulum Chin/Dip Station

The 4th Annual Strength and Conditioning/Athletic Development Virginia Clinic

The 4th Annual Strength and Conditioning/Athletic Development Virginia Clinic will be taking place on Saturday, March 4, 2017. SMARTER Team Training will host a dynamic regional clinic that is more hands-on and practical than your typical lecture only format. This year's speakers will create hands-on, full engagement presentations that will have participants getting out of their seats and truly learn by doing. This will be a great opportunity for attendees to learn from those that work with professional athletes, collegiate athlete, and youth athletes. This clinic will highlight a multidisciplinary approach to sports performance training in a high energy and supportive learning environment. Attendees will leave with a true understanding of how to apply techniques to their training sessions immediately to add value to all their clients. This is going to be an exciting event - a chance to take your game to the next level!

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The 4th Annual SC/AD Virginia Clinic CEUs will be 0.8 NSCA, 3.25 CSCCa, and 8 NSPA.

7:45-8:00a Opening Remarks – Kevin Boyle/Robert Taylor, Jr.

8:00-8:55a "Add Intensity To Your Training Daily"
Mason Baggett, Asst. S&C Coach for Football/Performance Coordinator At The University Of Maryland

9:00-9:55a "Truths, Myths and Deceptions about Sports Supplements"
Mark Glazier, CEO of NutraBio

10:00-10:55a "Greater Knowledge Of Game Speed”
Dave Brixius, Owner of Explosive Sports Performance

11:00-11:55a "What You Need To Know About Current Research"
Mike Gittleson, Former University of Michigan Football Head S&C Coach

12:00-12:55p “Round Table” for Q&A – Presenters will field questions, provide advice, suggestions, and guidance where applicable. Lunch Provided.

1:00-1:55p "Assessments And Programming For Multi-Sport Athletes"
Explosive Performance Staff

2:00-2:55p "Microsoft Excel For Strength And Conditioning Coaches"
Steve Olson, Director of Performance at Fit Speed Athletic Performance and Founder/Owner of Excel Training Designs

3:00-3:55p "Implementing An Impact Oriented Program"
Robert Taylor, Jr., Founder and Owner of SMARTER Team Training

4:00p Closing comments – Kevin Boyle/Robert Taylor, Jr.

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You can pick up your CEU’s at the completion of the clinic where you registered by handing in your evaluation sheets of the sessions you attended. CEU’s will not be handed out prior to the end of the conference as directed by the NSCA.

"Mail-in" registration, hotel information, directions, etc for this event coming soon!

Refund Policy: Register on or before Friday, February 3 - 50%. After February 3, there is no refund.

For additional information, email Coach Taylor coachtaylor@smarterteamtraining.com.

Address:
Sport & Health - Brambleton
42365 Soave Dr.
Brambleton, VA 20148, USA

Topics: Clinics, Announcements, Pendulum Rack System

Train The Entire System To Get Strong

describe the image   Kaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School.  Their team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years.  She went to college at the University of Michigan.  Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.

FROM THE COACH'S DAUGHTER

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Growing up in a home with 40 exercise machines and a father that was a Strength and Conditioning Coach for the University of Michigan, I was always 'required' to lift weights and when I did, train my entire body. As a young women running track, instructed to train my grip just didn't make any sense as the only time I used my hands was when I got in my sprinter stance or handed off a 50 gram baton during a relay.

My father explained by having stronger hands during my weight training sessions I could handle more weight each workout and that would change the strength of my limbs used in running----also if I didn't do grip work I would not be allowed to have supper. 

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After college I moved to Utah and got involved in a sport that had many "hurdles', that is, the sport of rock climbing. I quickly found that having a powerful grip was everything he said and more. When your hands are strong you are able to do amazing things with your body and your overall strength and confidence accelerates. 

Now when I return home to Ann Arbor and see my dad struggling in the kitchen to open a jar I quickly say, "Let me get that for you old man." and of course remind him to Get his hands Strong and that he should be training the entire system.

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The Grip Cart

Train all of the musculature of your hands by using the Pendulum Grip Cart

Topics: Pendulum Gripper, Pendulum Grip Cart

The New Jersey Strength and Conditioning And Athletic Development Clinic

The 7th Annual Strength and Conditioning/Athletic Development New Jersey Clinic is headed back to The Pingry School on Saturday, February 18, 2017.

 CEUs will be 0.8 NSCA, 3.25 CSCCa and 8 NSPA.

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7:45-8:00a Opening Remarks – Doug Scott/Robert Taylor, Jr

8:00-8:55a "Implementing An Impact Oriented Program"
Robert Taylor, Jr., Founder and Owner of SMARTER Team Training

9:00-9:55a "Speed Development For Athletes"
Edward Grayer, Former Director of Speed Development for Rutgers Football

10:00-10:55a "Add Intensity To Your Training Daily"
Rick Court, Assistant AD/Head Football Sports Performance At The University Of Maryland

11:00-11:55a "What You Need To Know About Current Research"
Mike Gittleson, Former University of Michigan Football Head S&C Coach

12:00-12:55p “Round Table” for Q&A – Presenters will field questions, provide advice, suggestions, and guidance where applicable. Lunch provided.

1:00-1:55p "Truths, Myths and Deceptions about Sports Supplements"
Mark Glazier, CEO of NutraBio

2:00-2:55p "Strength Training For Injured Athletes"
TBD

3:00-3:55p "Working With The Multi-Sport Athlete"
Doug Scott, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for The Pingry School

4:00p Closing comments – Doug Scott/Robert Taylor, Jr.

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You can pick up your CEU’s at the completion of the clinic where you registered by handing in your evaluation sheets of the sessions you attended. CEU’s will not be handed out prior to the end of the conference as directed by the NSCA.

"Mail-in" registration, hotel information, directions, etc for this event coming soon!

Refund Policy: Register on or before Friday, January 20 - 50%. After January 20, there is no refund.

For additional information, email Coach Taylor at coachtaylor@smarterteamtraining.com.

Address:
The Pingry School
131 Martinsville Road
Martinsville, NJ 07920, USA
Sidenote: GPS may recognize address as Martinsville or Basking Ridge.

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Topics: Pendulum Seated Squat, Pendulum 5 Way Neck, Pendulum Gripper, Pendulum Shoulder/Incline, Pendulum Rack System, Pendulum Glute-ham, Pendulum Hip Press, Pendulum 3 Way Row, Pendulum Pulldown, Pendulum Squat Pro, Pendulum Grip Cart, Pendulum Combo Lat Pull, Pendulum Power Stack