Get Strong

The Coach's Daughter

Balance Your Fatigue                                                                                              

describe the imageKaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School.  The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years.  She is now a junior 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

My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years.  I literally grew up in a home that was a gym with furniture.  Kaylee explains, if you get in shape and work on your sport skill you will dramatically improve your balance.

 

I have always wondered why people stood on boards, foam, rubber balls and did curious exercises to work on balance.  Our track team did nothing of the sort yet running hurdles is quite a balancing act, you have to continually fight to hold form as you run.

I decided to ask my father what are the best ways to improve your balance for sport.

"Do you mean Posture-movement during repetitive activity?"...my father replied"

My father likes to make me read stuff before we talk, so he dug out what he called his favorite article on balance, which was actually an article on posture and fatigue.  The article he handed me was about a simple repetitive motion task of having subjects raise there arms over and over.  What wasn't simple was how the researchers analyzed the motions as they used force plates, electromyography and whole body kinematics to study each movement.

What was interesting was as each subject raised a fatiguing arm they would accompany this with a shift of their body's center of mass to decrease the the load on the fatigued musculature.  They did not think about this they all just did it.  It was like they were all in cahoots.

It suddenly made sense to me.  So, I ran my thoughts by my Dad.........To optimize your performance you must optimize your form.  Form is optimized by practicing your skill as close to competition speed as possible and developing the muscular endurance and strength to hold form as your fatigue increases.  If you don't your body will shift its center of mass to assist in each movement.  Your body's shift to assist in fatigue throws you out of balance.  So, the best drills to improve balance are to get in great shape practicing your sport.  This is why everyone looks great going over the first hurdle in our track meets and most looked quite different when they got to the last.   

So, it is practice practice practice and there is no better way to improve balance right Pops?

My father looked at me and said...

Yep....  Go run you need to learn how to balance school and exercise.

 

 chest

The Pendulum Chest Press Keeps Your Chest In Balance When You Get Strong


Oh Yeah.... My dad says, "Do not contact me." So, I can't address your comments.

 

Topics: The Coach's Daughter

The Coach's Daughter

Helmets help....but only help...Get Strong                                                                       

describe the imageKaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.

FROM THE COACH'S DAUGHTER

My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture. Kaylee explains, sometimes you cover up problems instead of address them.

My father is extremely interested in concussions and neck training to protect athletes. He piles articles beside the computer, which I describe the imageperpetually have to stack and clean, so I can find the computer to use the internet, when at home.

I happened to glance at one of the articles as I was picking up that peaked my interest. The story was about a basketball player that had sustained a series of concussions and wanted to continue the sport he loved, so instead of quitting, adorned a helmet. The solution seemed strange to me so I decided to ask my father if this was the best resolution to the issue.

 

"Sometimes people cover up problems instead of addressing them...my father replied"

bball
My father began digging in another pile and showed me the following picture of a girl playing hoops who also had suffered multiple head injuries. Placing helmets on athletes seemed to be a common practice.

bball2

I have followed my fathers work so I was not ignorant to the concussion crisis.  My response to my father was this..."So what you mean by that comment about covering up problems Dad, is that, concussions can be sustained with or without helmets. Helmets reduce forces applied directly to the head by lengthening the time of impact or deflecting some of the force."

"Yet brain trauma can occur  without ever even getting hit in the head through whiplash. This is because the brain floats like jello inside the head and slams into the skull if shook hard enough regardless where the force comes from. And brain trauma can occur even while wearing a helmet."

"Placing the helmet on the head seems to cover up the problem of a head injury, but does not address all the facets of the issue. As a daughter of a strength coach, and growing up with a neck machine a few feet from our couch, it is easy to extrapolate from your comments and  immediately recognize that strength training the neck and traps to dissipate force and damper the oscillation of the brain is absolutely imperative  if you want to lower the concussive forces."

As a college student I was feeling pretty smug about the above explanation and my patter of parlance I had just presented to my father.

 

  He replied,"Did you workout today?"

 

 

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Pendulum Shoulder/Incline

Topics: The Coach's Daughter

GET STRONG And Be Athletic.

I guess there are a lot of ways to GET STRONG and be athletic.

 

describe the imageKaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.

FROM THE COACH'S DAUGHTER

My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture.

I ran track for the most successful track program in the history of our state. Our strength training program wasn't complex, we had a bunch of machines and some dumbbells that we were assigned to lift on at school. Once a week my father would strength train me at home and do similar exercises. I figured he was doing it just to be mean.

In high school physcical education classes, I listened to lectures about core and ground base training.  I was told to develop core strength to transfer power from my hips to my shoulders or transfer power from the ground through the trunk to my upper extremities. In physical science I learned that force was instantaneous and my teacher told me there wasn't a 'transfer', so to speak, going on. The development of force from the ground up was more in line with the successive summation of the levers involved.

I also learned in PE how to train on physioballs and do total body strengthening, which they called functional exercise.

As a matter of fact, we have a big Swiss ball on the porch that my father uses as a foot rest while drinking his morning coffee.

I decided to ask my father about ground base and functional training. I was curious because it was the opposite of the way I trained.

"Get your muscles strong... Use your brain to develop your skill... Your body will function well... make no mistake about it".....he said

My father took me to his library and had me read from his thick Neurophsiology text book.  It said that under the control of the brain’s central nervous system, skeletal muscles can learn to contract in a specific order with great precision.

I went back to my Phys Ed notes. The notes indicated the fundamental premise of the effectiveness of core training, and functional training for that matter, is that there are muscles in the human body which need multi-joint strength training exercises to properly activate and coordinate them.

My father stopped me and handed me a Neuromechanics book that said nope to my PE class. Each muscle force causes reactive forces throughout the body affecting all other muscles. The brain’s central nervous system coordinates the musculature. Strength training is just strength training.

Well, the conversation continued and then abruptly stopped as Sunday night football was on. As I sort of watched I saw offensive tackle Jake Long, of the Miami Dolphins, playing. I knew Jake. The announcers were saying how he was 'all this' and 'great that', while my dad was saying the two time All Pro, 1st player taken in the draft, was too heavy and couldn't move. That's typical dad.

My father trained Jake on the same machines I used growing up and as I watched him play he looked... pretty 'athletic'  to me.

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I guess there are a lot of ways to GET STRONG.

 

My dad says, "Do not contact me." So I can't address your comments. 
 

 

 

 

 

Topics: The Coach's Daughter

The Stride Length Can Change Everything

describe the imageKaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.

FROM THE COACH'S DAUGHTER

My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture. I asked my father, "Why did I get tired so quickly when I tried to match my brother's stride?"

 

When I run with my brother he tries to bury me.  Understand, I said he "tries", so it is not quite like he thinks. He also spends a lot of time thinking about how he is going to do it. And casually asks, "Would you like to go for a little run?" I am competitive and he knows it.

waterAbout a mile and one half from our home is a water tower with a mile long 'parcours' laced through the park surrounding it. So we are talking 1.5 miles to the tower + 1 mile with exercise stations + 1.5 miles home , plus I don't know where he's taking me. All I know is that if he can do it, so can I.

As we ran I decided to try and match his stride length. When I did it just made me tired so I quickly abandoned that strategy. I decided I'd better just run the way I always do and then close in for the kill.

When I got home I asked my father why I got so tired when I took big strides or even short ones?

 

"Changing your stride length even a slight bit increases oxygen consumption" ....he said.


Dad showed me some literature that said 8 out of 10 runners already had located their optimal stride length. The optimal stride length meant the minimum oxygen uptake.

 

If you Change the stride length, you change the action of virtually every muscle in the body"...he said


When you make a mechanical change, a tiny insignificant, innocent-looking change, it is really powerful in terms of the consequences on the body, and when you do it you better also look at the physiological consequences.

My father discussed with me why new mechanical techniques on the football field required practice and preparation because they affected the players fitness. He emphasized how important it is that new skills be learned and perfected before the athlete is thrust into competition. 

As I read the literature, it ulitimately said the performance in any sport boils down to adapting to your own anatomy, to your own physiology, and to the peculiarities of your own body. The body knows.

 

"The 'body knows' Kaylee because it is so lazy... make no mistake about it"......he said

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Rogers Wall Mounted Dip Bar




Topics: The Coach's Daughter

How Did We Get So Out Of Balance

describe the imageKaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.

FROM THE COACH'S DAUGHTER

My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture. I asked my father why people lift weights on unstable surfaces like exercise balls.

 

"Get the exercise ball"....he said.

We have a 26 inch exercise ball that kind of rolls from room to room. He handed me one of our fixed barbells, from our fixed barbell set, that was much lighter than I could normally press with. Dad had me sit on the swiss ball and lift the barbell overhead. It seemed hard, though it was light. Hard because I was trying to balance and press the barbell while on a ball. In actuality, more than anything I was worried about my safety. Fortunately or unfortunately I did have a spotter.

Then, my father had me sit on the adjustable bench.  He handed me what I told him was my normal weight, and I pressed it overhead.

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"The more you have to balance the less weight you can use,....he said


kayl3My father then took me to his paper pile and asked me to read the latest study on muscle activation patterns while lifting on stable versus unstable surfaces.

It showed the upper extremity muscle EMG decreased as the stability decreased.

What interested me was that the exercises performed on the stable surface, our exercise bench, required more abdominal activation, just the opposite of what I thought was going to happen.

My father told me the abdominals require greater activation with greater loads during an overhead lift.

The study concluded that exercise balls or unstable surfaces should not be used during the overhead press exercise when the goal is to increase muscle activation of the arms or abdominals.

The authors ended by remarking, "The findings provide little support for training with a lighter load using unstable loads or unstable surfaces."

 

Being curious, I asked Dad, "Seriously, why do people lift weights on a ball when you could easily lose your life?"

 

He Answered........

describe the imageWell girl, back in the 1920s, a reporter from the New York Times felt that climbing the World's highest peak might not be the best idea because it was so dangerous.  The reporter asked the great mountaineer, George Herbert Leigh Mallory, who by the way died doing it, "Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?"

Mallory replied,  "Because it's there."

 

 

"That's why they do it Kaylee...because it's there girl...because it's there..make no mistake about it ....he said"

 

 


Topics: The Coach's Daughter

The 20 Rep Set

Kaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.

FROM THE COACH'S DAUGHTER

My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture. I watched my father train football players ever since I can remember. One day while I was lifting I stopped and asked him how did he get the athletes to try so hard when they strength trained? I asked him mistakingly.

 

"The 20 Rep Set make no mistake about it.  Let me show you" .....he said.

 

I was about to train on the Pendulum Chest Press, which is in our back yard mixed in with the outdoor lawn chairs.

 

"What is your best set of 8 reps"....he said.

 

I put on a weight I knew I could barely achieve 8 reps with, full well knowing, my father would make me pause at the top of each rep and lower it feeling tension on the way back. "Make every rep count" he would say.

My father counted each rep that I did, and I struggled as hard as I could to get number 8. I wanted to show him I still knew how to train well.

 

 "Okay that was a good 8 Kaylee, now lets get 12 more great reps before you get off the machine." he said. 

 

My Dad sat in the lawn chair and critiqued every additinal repetition. Some would count, some would not. The best I ever managed was 2 in a row. I wanted to kill him, which made me try harder. I finally got to 20 reps, which was more like 30, and then he wanted me to.. thank him!

He explained, the rep range was always 8-10. If you could achieve 10 perfect reps without setting the weight down you would add weight the next workout. 8 - 10 was your goal but you always stayed there until you achieved 20 reps. A sick fatherly concept. 

The truth is, I learned much more about training that day than the effort that I gave... once the soreness wore off. 

 

Pendulum Vertical Chest Press

 

 

 

Topics: The Coach's Daughter

Chains, Cams, and Strength Curves

Kaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.

 

 

 FROM THE COACH'S DAUGHTER

My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture. You can't always accept your environment. Sometimes you gotta ask questions.

 

 

We have quite a few chains that are hanging on the walls in our home. As a kid you kind of accept the décor of your house. You seldom ask 'why is this picture here' and 'why do we have that vase'. I have never asked why there are big rocks on pedestals or why there is a huge Ironmaster Dumbbell in our living room. One day curiosity got the better of me and I asked my dad about the chains that graced our walls.

"Chains are crude cams for free weights, make no mistake about it." he said.

Crude cams for free weights? I looked up and read about cams on exercise machines. The purpose of the cam on an exercise machine is to vary the resistance based on the lever system of the targeted musculature. Cams allow you to maintain muscular tension. The exercise feels smooth and joint friendly.

Tension makes you grow.  Tension triggers protein synthesis and gets you strong.

Cams can vary the strength curve and make it harder at the top or harder at the bottom of a movement.

Hooking the chains over one of our barbells, I began my own experiment. Now it all made sense what people were doing. People were making exercise machines with free weights using chains. As each link of the chain comes off the floor, while lifting a given weight, the resistance becomes greater. 


My father took me to the garage and showed me how you could make a cam with linkage or even thick rubber bands. He also showed me Tyler Hobson’s Pendulum method which allows you to make a machine that is hard at the top or bottom, which ever you preferred.  By preferential loading on Tyler's machine any strength curve you desire could be made, even a curve that matches the free weight squat.

Photo Courtesy of Kathy Leistner

He showed me the 'yoke' on the Pendulum Squat Pro and how it moved to accommodate the variations of the human lever system. This way tension is not lost and you Get Strong.




Wow, I learned some stuff about exercise. A few days later it dawned on me:


My father never answered why he had all the chains on our walls!

Topics: The Coach's Daughter

Memorial Day a Cause to Remember

Kaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.

 

 FROM THE COACH'S DAUGHTER

My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture. My Father and I were listening to a motivational speaker on the radio. My Father said, “If you have a cause you will be motivated.  Kaylee, as a coach, I always discussed the cause. Motivation comes if your athletes believe in the cause.” 

 

When I joined our high school track team we had a cause. We had a storied history of Regional and State track success. It seemed that every day we had to work, we pressured each other. Our cause was to defend our tradition and our coach talked about it.


My father said, “If freedom is the cause, men and women will die for it.”

My Father is a Veteran, Memorial Day is important. It is a day set aside to honor our fallen heroes who died for us.

My sister wrote this poem and it was published by the American Red Cross. It is about a conversation she had with my Father on their cell phones. She was at ‘The Vietnam Memorial’ in Washington DC on her 8th grade class trip.  She was given names by her dad to find with her friends. One name was Billy Joy. Billy went to high school with my dad.

 

Class trip to the Vietnam Memorial
by Josie Gittleson
 
Class trip to D.C.
My friends and me
We went to the wall
And on my cell
I called
We hunted and squealed
and found
Billy Joy a boy
My friends and me
Told my dad
He heard the excited sounds
When we found
My dad’s friends name
On the wall
Billy Joy still a boy
My friends and me
We heard not a word
But my fathers
Silent tears
Through the phone
My friends and me

 

Always Remember Memorial Day.

Remember to coach the cause and your athletes will be motivated to Get Strong.

 

Topics: The Coach's Daughter, Success

All Exercise is Graffiti.

  


Kaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.

 

 FROM THE COACH'S DAUGHTER

My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture. My father knows I love art, so he likes to talk to me in pictures.

 

I couldn't decide what exercise was going to be the best for my legs. At school I just did what the Coach said, but at home I had to make a decision. We have a wide variety of stuff in the house and my debate was one of four exercises. At least I narrowed my choices down to four. I could use the Box Squat, the Pendulum Hip Press, Pendulum Squat Pro, or Squat with a Barbell. Confused, I decided to ask my dad.

My father was in Iowa, I sent him a text and I quickly received his Text with this photo:

The Graffiti Barn; east of Columbus Junction, Iowa, is a car-stopper for photographers. A splash of colors against the rural background.
 
His next Text:

"Graffiti is Art make no mistake about it." .....he said.

Text:

Properly performed exercise builds muscle make no mistake about it '.....he said.

The next Text:

“Look up the Overload Principle.”

The Overload Principle stated, systematic and progressive things cause adaptation if of a proper magnitude. 'Load', 'Tension', 'Intensity', were words I was reading.

He was telling me to lift hard and choose any exercise I wanted, but lift hard and be systematic and progressive, and I would get the right result.

Graffiti, even though it may look like scribble is Art . Muscles adapt to any sufficient load even if the exercise doesn't seem to me to look as special as another. My choice of exercise didn't matter. I could choose what I liked.

 

                       Photo Courtesy of Kathy Leistner

 

 

The next text was:

 

  “Choose all four exercises.".......he said.

 

 

  

Topics: The Coach's Daughter

Little Movements Make Great Changes

 

 

Kaylee Gittleson ran hurdles for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. The team won three out of four Division I State Championships during her four years. Kaylee was told by her dad to write about training from her perspective on the Rogers Blog.

 

FROM THE COACH'S DAUGHTER 

My Dad was a Strength Coach for 30 years. We literally live in a gym with furniture. I remember when my brother asked to play contact sports, my father agreed, but said, “You will have to train that neck.” Shortly afterwards a neck machine appeared about 8 feet from our living room couch.

 

 

“Little Movements Make Great Changes"".....he said

 

 My Dad said this to me when I was running track,”Little movements cause great changes, make the little stuff count.”

 

When I first started hurdling, I had a lazy trail leg. I didn't have to bring it very far to make my step over the hurdle quicker, and lower my time. Of course, this took years to perfect, but the results were clear: small movements make great changes.

When my brother began neck training on our neck machine, my father also showed him an exercise for scapula retraction. He said, “KC, you need to include Kelso and Hise shrugs in your neck routine.”

He marched KC down the steps to the downstairs lat machine, I followed. Dad showed KC this little shrug movement that made me laugh; it seemed so silly.

He had my brother keep his arms straight and and try to pinch his scapula together, “Retraction” he called it. “Keep your arms straight. Now squeeze. Again squeeze. I began to giggle and crack jokes.” Dad got mad and went to his library, in what we call the. ‘gun room.’ You know the exercise-for-your-arms room. He threw KC this book, "Kelso's Shrugs". “Read it,” he said.

Materials exhibiting characteristics that are both solid and fluid-like, are simply categorized as viscoelastic materials. Most of the biological tissues, such as your muscle tendon unit, and ligaments, are viscoelastic materials. The human head-neck system is a fluid-filled spherical cavity supported by a viscoelastic neck.


Viscoelastic materials possess time dependent, or rate sensitive stress-strain relations. In other words, the stress-strain relationship will change as the loading speed, or strain rate, changes. The goal in a collision is to deflect and dissipate force, and effect the strain rate. Building up the size of the cylinder, that is, the upper neck muscles, is only part of the goal.

Strengthening the muscles that run down the cervical and thoracic spine, the rhomboids major and minor, middle and lower traps, are all tremendously important. Therefore, scapula retraction is a must-exercise for the dissipation of a deflected force. Remember, it's not easy being in head-on collisions.

Now that I am older, and have been in athletics, I don’t giggle when KC is doing his tiny lifts.

 

“Little Movements Make Great Changes”.....he said

 

G Force deflection and dissipation exercises for the cervical spine:

(1)Front of the neck

(2)Right side of the neck

(3)Left Side of the neck

(4)Back of the neck

(5)Shrugs

(6)Scapula retraction

(7)Hise shrugs. (KC does these on our Pendulum Squat Pro; it is in the garage. Dad asked if he could put it in my bedroom...seriously!)

My Dad says, “Do not contact me.” So I can’t address your comments.

Topics: The Coach's Daughter