Training Tip: From the Ground Up

Most things in life don’t allow the option of sitting or lying in a more comfortable position to do physical work.  Power is gathered from the ground up.  This means that any movement we do requires action through the entire body.  Sometimes this is as simple as performing exercises you might do seated while standing.  But what this really means is that when performing power exercises, movement should begin at the feet.  Many people make the mistake of performing upper body power exercises such as Med Ball Chest Passes with no lower body involvement.  Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.  This is not only true for skill but for training as well.  Why perform and reinforce movements that don’t improve general athleticism or mimic movement we want to occur naturally?

Jaime Gamache M.Ed., CSCS, is Owner and Head Strength Coach at The Way Human Performance Institute.  Follow us also on Facebook and Twitter.   Any questions or requests for future topics, please email jgamache@thewayhpi.com

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Training Tip: Just because you can, should you?

“Do No Harm.”

A quote from Martin Rooney, quoting the Hippocratic Oath.  As a strength coach my constant goal is to maintain the health and wellness of my clients above all else.  Like I’ve said from the very beginning, running faster, jumping higher, pushing more weight or dominating your activity of choice are all admirable pursuits of training, they are a side-effect, a happy coincidence.  When I make an athlete more stable, they become more efficient.  There are less energy leaks.  The goal of the training is the injury prevention, but with addition by subtraction they become faster by transferring more power into the ground and getting a greater return on every step.  The exercises are tiring and challenging but far from impossible.  The question of every workout is: “What is the goal?” That goal shouldn’t be: “To be tired.”

For myself, I can answer that, even if it not always apparent to my clients.  The ones who have been with me awhile get the process and see the results of that process.  Exercise selection is about creating specific change in the body, not just fatigue.  Accidents happen, we’ve had twisted ankles, a few pulled muscles, the usual aches and pains, but the majority of clients feel better when they walked out than when they walked in.  If you’re getting injured from working out (and we should all know the difference between being “hurt” and “Injured”), then you’re doing too much.  If working out is sending you to the doctor or physical therapist for reasons you can’t relate directly to an accident, then you need to re-evaluate your workout plan.  This is especially true if your life depends on being sharp and focused on the job.  You don’t have the luxury of a “recovery day”.  Being sore is part of working out, getting hurt is not.

Jaime Gamache M.Ed., CSCS, is Owner and Head Strength Coach at The Way Human Performance Institute.  Follow us also on Facebook and Twitter.   Any questions or requests for future topics, please email jgamache@thewayhpi.com

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Training Tip: Take a Breath

You know what workout advice I give to my clients the most often?

“Breathe.”

It’s staggering just how many people fail to do something as simple and vital as breathing. But try to maintain your systematic breathing while holding weight or controlling motion is often more difficult than it sounds.

Here’s a test: Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Put one hand under the small of your back and the other on tip of your stomach. Tighten your abs like you’re about to get punched in the gut and press your back into the hand on the ground as hard as you can. Now Breath. Not down through your diaphragm, but up through your ribcage. Now try it without the hand under your back. How about with your legs flat on the ground?

The movement of locking your abs in position is called an abdominal brace. Whether you feel it or not, that is the very first thing that happens when you make any kind of movement. Any kind. Your core musculature locks in position and allows the transfer of power between the upper and lower body. If you can’t maintain your breathing in a simple fixed position, how do you expect to do it while concentrating on a dozen other pieces of a movement. Simple, you can’t. You have to practice expanding your ribcage and not just breathing down through your stomach as part of either your warmup or cooldown or simply when you’re lying in bed. Making it a habit will ease the stress on your body during workouts and most other activities.

Jaime Gamache M.Ed., CSCS, is Owner and Head Strength Coach at The Way Human Performance Institute.  Follow us also on Facebook and Twitter.   Any questions or requests for future topics, please email jgamache@thewayhpi.com

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Training Tip: Return to Your Youth

Crawling is tough. It’s a primal movement that most of us haven’t had to do with any regularity for many years. However, the reason it’s our primary and initial means of locomotion is because it involves so many different muscle groups. It’s not just about the hips and legs, it trains the core to stabilize as well as build the strength of the shoulders and hands. It is a fundamental movement that is truly a total body exercise.
Returning to these movements can be done with the same variation and intensity as any other exercise. In fact, it is in the variation of this movement that it becomes effective. Bear Crawls, Army Crawls, Crab Walks, Dolley Walks and Lame Dogs (see the video) all teach the body to use all the musculature in coordination to generate movement helps to gain control and balance.

Jaime Gamache M.Ed., CSCS, is Owner and Head Strength Coach at The Way Human Performance Institute.  Follow us also on Facebook and Twitter.   Any questions or requests for future topics, please email jgamache@thewayhpi.com

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Training Tip: Keep Your Feet Moving

Plyometrics is a buzzword and everybody seems to want to do them, but how many people really understand what it means?  Plyometrics involves the eccentric stretch and elastic contraction of muscle (most often the hamstrings, though plyos can be done with a variety of movements).  Muscle can eccentrically load 140% of it’s concentric strength.  This means that when the foot strikes the ground and the hips drop, the hamstrings snap back and generate power through the hips.

As a learning drill (by learning, I mean teaching the Central Nervous System (CNS) to respond faster and more efficiently) one should not perform high volumes of excessive movement and repetition.  This becomes counterproductive to speed development and becomes simply a conditioning drill.  Also, as coordination degrades, the likelihood of injury increases due to poor form or control.  Plyometric movement should always follow good form for running, jumping, or similar triple-extension movements.

Jaime Gamache M.Ed., CSCS, is Owner and Head Strength Coach at The Way Human Performance Institute.  Follow us also on Facebook and Twitter.   Any questions or requests for future topics, please email jgamache@thewayhpi.com

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Logistics Nightmare

Have you ever wondered how to haul all that gear around?  I’ll cover a couple of solutions in this tip blog. 

I personally use an Eberlestock bag.  The model I have found that works best for 3-gun is the Phantom bag.  The bag has a large backpack with a removeable rifle sheath.  The important part of this bag is that It allows a separate sheath for the shotgun to be placed in between the rifle sheath and the backpack. This keeps the weight balanced in the middle as opposed to putting a shotgun sheath on one side or the other. 

I have my cleats in one side of the outer backpack pockets, and knee and elbow pads on the opposite pocket.  In the  large middle area I have two mesh bags, one for rifle accessories and one for shotgun accesories.  I also have a padded bag for my pistol.  This area is large enough to accomodate all three bags, as well as the ammo i need for one day’s shooting.  I have a seperate ammo box that I use for the entire amount of ammo I need for the match, as I usually double all ammo counts for the match.  (Sometimes you have to reshoot stages….sometimes you miss!) http://www.eberlestock.com/Phantom%20Backpack.htm

Another popular choice is the Safariland 3 Gun bag.  It looks more like a traditional long gun soft case, but Safariland has detailed this bag for the 3 gunner.  There are two long gun slots and there are external pouches for the handgun and accessories.  This pack also comes with backpack straps.  http://www.safariland.com/DutyGear/product.aspx?pid=4552 

As far as ammo goes, you can usually fit enough for the day in either of the packs, or just bring an ammo box.  Both of these packs are supplemented with the range cart or POLARIS RAZR!! See you at the range! 

Team FNH USA will be shooting at Midwest 3 Gun Championship and Bianchi Cup!  Come to our FB page and wish us luck!

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Training Tip: Get Off Your Ass

Having worked in performance training centers for nearly 15 years and currently being the owner and head strength coach of The Way Human Performance Institute, the line that never fails to both crack me up and infuriate me to no end is: “Oh, I have to get in shape before I work out with you.”

This line staggers me.  Do we have high end clientele?  Yes.  We train professional athletes, special forces members, SWAT teams, nationally competing high school and collegiate athletes, and we’re very proud of our association with all of them.  But do we have the Average Joe doing all the same things they are?  NO.

Well, yes and no.  What they do are exercises that fit their level and ability, but comply with the philosophy all our coaches have.  While every workout doesn’t work for every individual, every individual can be trained to be stronger and healthier, no matter what age or background.  Any trainer worth their salt understands that people need to be treated on an individual level.  If they don’t, find one that does.

A line I always say to incoming clients is: “We’re all born perfect and screw ourselves up along the way.”  What this means is that we all have a unique training history, sports history, injury history, and genetic potential.  All of these factor into what we can and can’t do athletically.  What that also means is that everyone starts somewhere.  Training is about time and dedication.  ”Time under tension” is a term trainers often use to describe muscular growth.  There are no shortcuts or quick fixes (at least not lasting ones).  But the process can begin with anyone, at anytime.  All it takes is a decision to make a commitment.  Like the title says, get off your ass and get started!

Jaime Gamache M.Ed., CSCS, is Owner and Head Strength Coach at The Way Human Performance Institute.  Follow us also on Facebook and Twitter.   Any questions or requests for future topics, please email jgamache@thewayhpi.com

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Training Tip 4/13/12: Hit the Ground Running

A common method of thinking about running is about pulling or “pawing” the ground. This is an outdated and disproven method that is unfortunately still employed by many individuals. Pulling the ground has a double edged sword effect of both using the hamstrings as an accelerant and plantar flexing the foot, exaggerating the stride and in effect, teaching the body to brake with the quads.
The forefoot strike should be done with the toes pulled up, where the leg action is a punch.  This allows full extension of the leg and the hips are pushed in front of the foot.  This also means that the quads and glutes are the predominant force generators and the hamstrings can be saved for deceleration and control.

Jaime Gamache M.Ed., CSCS, is Owner and Head Strength Coach at The Way Human Performance Institute.  Follow us also on Facebook and Twitter.   Any questions or requests for future topics, please email jgamache@thewayhpi.com

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FNH USA Training Tip #2

Here is a question we get alot, “What kind of guns can I use?”  Well, if you have a rifle, a shotgun and a handgun, there’s probably a division for you!  Most of the matches are considered “outlaw” matches and have their own rules and and not all recognize EVERY division I’m going to cover, but I will lay out the most popular. 

Tactical Optics- allows you to have ONE scope on ONE gun.  This division attracts the most shooters.  Usually a 9mm or similar handgun, 12g semi-auto shotgun, and a .223 caliber rifle are the weapons of choice.  I haven’t seen one shooter that chooses to put the scope on anything but the rifle.  The handgun can be a production, say FNH USA’s FNS, the new striker fire gun, or it can be a custom gun. 

Tactical Irons-same set up as Tactical Optics, but only iron sights on the rifle.  For those of you with good eyes or just “old school”!

“But I have race guns”

Open- allows you to do anything to any gun.  So, you will see bi-pods on rifles, dots on handguns and shotguns, and super high capacity magazines systems, such as the X-Rail that holds over 20 shotgun rounds!

“But I only have a pump shotgun” 

Heavy Metal- requires a pump shotgun, a .45 handgun, and a .308 rifle. 

So, odds are that you already have what you need to get started. Next post, we will talk about the logisics of hauling all this stuff around at a match.

USPSA 3 Gun Nationals (Vegas) and the NRA show (St. Louis) are this weekend!  Team FNH USA will be at the NRA show.  Teammate, Dianna Liedorff, is shooting nationals early and then heading to the NRA show!

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Training Tip 4/6/12: Nerves of Steel

Many of you played sports at one level or another during the course of your life.  Hopefully at some point you experienced being “in the zone”, that feeling of playing completely fluidly and stress free.  It is a state that can be achieved with practice and confidence.

The flip side of feeling in the zone is to be playing out of control, where stress builds and there is a distinct lack of control.  Both situations are caused by stress, or rather the ability to regulate it.  Everyone who’s ever played sports has gone through some kind of pre-game ritual.  Putting on a uniform of any kind is not really different.  We listen to certain music, go through certain movements, get ourselves ready to do a job.  This process is about generating stress.  Good stress amps us up and gets us ready for action.  Bad stress is when we’ve lost control and have become too excited, for better or worse.  Our blood pressure, heart rate, focus, reaction time and all sorts of of physiological responses are out of control.  Want to know how to fix it?

Take a deep breath.

That’s it.  Simply re-regulating your breathing has a profound effect on returning all those responses back to tolerable levels.  When we’re under stress, whether from mental anxiety or as a reaction to physical activity, we tend to hyperventilate.  This causes a fight or flight response of increasing adrenaline in the body.  Adrenaline can have a detrimental effect on any movement requiring skill, focus or reflex (ie. shooting and fighting).  Self-hypnosis and mental practice can also help trigger this relaxation response with practice and control.

Jaime Gamache M.Ed., CSCS, is Owner and Head Strength Coach of The Way Human Performance Institute and here on Facebook.   Any questions or requests for future topics, please email jgamache@thewayhpi.com

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