Emptying out the mailbag and clearing the history #10

Posted on November 20, 2015

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Other mailbags can be found hereKeep in mind a lot of this is email conversations, comment replies, or some random interesting things I’ve found. By their nature they are not as thorough or complete as a post on one topic.

Here’s what’s covered in this installment:

  • A comprehensive hamstring injury paper
  • A client asks me about the Prometheus program
  • “the healthcare equivalent of Google Earth”
    • Third leading cause of death in America is the healthcare system
  • The pendulum turns on fascia (as it does on everything)?
  • On the extreme consolidation of businesses in America

A comprehensive hamstring injury paper

Some really good stuff on hamstring strains in this:

Hamstring Strain Injuries: Recommendations for Diagnosis, Rehabilitation, and Injury Prevention

Probably not a good idea to look only at the hamstrings:

“In addition to persistent strength deficits within the previously injured muscle, we have recently demonstrated the substantial influence that lumbopelvic muscles can have on the overall stretch of the hamstrings. For example, activation of the uniarticular hip flexors (iliopsoas) during high-speed running induces stretch in the contralateral hamstrings. In particular, the iliopsoas muscle force directly induces an increase in anterior pelvic tilt during early swing phase, necessitating, in turn, greater hamstring stretch of the contralateral limb, which is simultaneously in late swing phase. This coupling may, in part, explain why rehabilitation exercises targeting neuromuscular control of muscles in the lumbopelvic region are effective at reducing hamstring reinjury rates. In addition, it is possible that passive tension due to stretch of the iliopsoas during late stance phase may have a similar effect (ie, produce anterior tilt of the pelvis and a stretch of the contralateral hamstrings).”

We probably worry about scar tissue too much:

“Because scar tissue is thought to influence both the passive and active force-length properties of muscle, the passive force-length relationship of the hamstrings was also measured in each limb. Despite significant bilateral asymmetries being present in hamstring and tendon morphology in these athletes, our preliminary findings showed no consistent asymmetries in joint kinematics or muscle activities during sprinting, or in passive hamstring musculotendon stiffness. While it is possible that joint-level analyses are inadequate at detecting changes that occur at the musculotendon level, continued investigations are needed to determine the influence that postinjury remodeling may have on functional performance and the resulting contribution to reinjury risk.”

A client asks me about the prometheus program

This is someone I work with once per week in person, but was curious about some other workouts to do on their own. They’ve been having trouble with the motivation to get in the gym more frequently. They emailed me a copy of this program, and here was my response,

I like the aspects of always trying to increase weight and intensity, but there are some things that I think will be hard to stick with long term on this.

-Training six days a week at this intensity is going to be very hard to keep up with.

-4 days of arms and only one day of legs isn’t ideal. A good frequency is each body part every 5 days, or roughly twice a week. Only hitting the legs once a week could be better.

-There is a lot of overlap on the arm days. I’d break them up to have a push day and a pulling day. This way you could overall get to two upper body and two lower body days. This would be a lot different than what you’re used to though, which has been full body days.

The advantage of a split routine is you can increase the intensity. For instance, when you’re doing only lower body for a day, the lower body inevitably gets a better focus. You wouldn’t have something like how our overhead pressing can take energy away from squatting. [We had been doing these exercises back to back in a circuit.]

The trade off is you have to be in the gym extra time, and more importantly, extra days.

Something else you could do is we keep the full body routine one day per week, then you could go a full upper body day one day, and a lower body day another. Something like Monday = Lower body, Thursday = Full body, Saturday = Upper body. This way everything gets hit twice per week, but you’re in the gym 3 days, not 4. Because if we add some running / hiking into this mix, we’re talking 6 + workouts a week. Not a bad thing, but can be hard to jump into that.

You also would get two – three days off between leg workouts (could throw a run in there), and Saturday it’s usually easier to get a workout in when you know it’s going to be a nice upper body pump day. You could then throw in some tenets of this (prometheus) program, such as the rep scheme and century workout (high rep day) on those days.

“the healthcare equivalent of Google Earth”

Craig Venter, who first sequenced the human genome, is getting into combatting aging and diseases that become more prominent with age. Like Alzheimer’s. He is “one of the world’s best-known living scientists,” who will help you “get a telling glimpse into the state of medical science in 2015.”

“Your entire genome will be sequenced with extraordinary resolution and accuracy. Your body will be scanned in fine, three-dimensional detail. Thousands of compounds in your blood will be measured. Even the microbes that live inside you will be surveyed. You will get a custom-made iPad app to navigate data about yourself.”

From here.

The biggest glimpse any of us will get into the current state of medical science is that this whole thing costs between 25 and 50 thousand dollars. Read around a little bit, and many aren’t sure there will be a single benefit of having this done right now either!

Humorous analogy,

“It’s the healthcare equivalent of Google Earth.”

Obviously, Craig is a smart person. I’m sure anyone working for him is a smart person. (This was said by an employee.) But Google Earth is free.

As the tale continues, technology makes healthcare more expensive. Not less.

Those who think we’re going to be able to cleanly predict the body, or write genetics to rid ourselves of ailments, may have a tough reality coming down the pipeline. The healthcare system is already the third leading cause of death. (If anything, we’ve underestimated this.) We already can’t keep everything straight. Genetics only makes things more complicated, more expensive. It’s a safe bet we’re going to harm more people with all this. Some can probably make an argument the healthcare system has done more harm than good.

The pendulum turns on fascia (as it does on everything)?

“I am so over the word ‘fascia’. I have touted it for 40 years – I was even called the ‘Father of Fascia’ the other day in New York (it was meant kindly, but…) — now that ‘fascia’ has become a buzzword and is being used for everything and anything, I am pulling back from it in top-speed reverse. Fascia is important, of course, and folks need to understand its implications for biomechanics, but it is not a panacea, the answer to all questions, and it doesn’t do half the things even some of my friends say it does.”

From Tom Myers.

 –

On the extreme consolidation of businesses in America

“It’s not about taking out or choking existing or upcoming competition. It’s not about dominating a space to the exclusion of all others. I’m not sipping sour grapes or feeling bad when a competitor hits its stride. In fact, it’s so much more interesting when Basecamp is just one of many, different choices for people to make progress together.

The world is better off when its not being held in the palm of a few dominating winners.”

From I don’t want to be a winner.

I was just talking with my girlfriend about this last week. It seems in America, in nearly every industry, you can trace it back to one or two companies who either own everybody, or have no competition. (The number of public companies has decreased by about half. ) We’ve all heard about wealth inequality and how much money has moved to not just the 1%, but the .01%. And this,

“Fewer than four hundred families are responsible for almost half the money raised in the 2016 presidential campaign, a concentration of political donors that is unprecedented in the modern era.”

“Just 130 or so families and their businesses provided more than half the money raised through June by Republican candidates and their super PACs.”

Even in the craft beer world, of which where I live (San Diego) dominates, more and more breweries are selling out to the big guys. While Budweiser runs ad after ad telling us we shouldn’t drink craft beer, they are buying up brewery after brewery. It’s hard to adequately describe the disdain craft beer makers and drinkers have for mainstream beer. Many breweries here will not sell Bud, Coors, etc. If you ask for it, many will go “We don’t sell water.” There are beer labels at the grocery store that say “Corporate beer still sucks.” That’s on the label!

Budweiser is the antithesis of craft beer, yet people are selling to them! I count 11 in the last few years.

That’s one reason this passage resonated for me,

“Number 1: Don’t sell out.

At some point in the past ten years, selling out lost its stigma. I come from the Kurt Cobain/“corporate rock still sucks” school where selling out was the worst thing you could ever do. We should return to that.

Don’t sell out your values, don’t sell out your community, don’t sell out the long term for the short term. Do something because you believe it’s wonderful and beneficial, not to get rich.

And — very important — if you plan to do something on an ongoing basis, ensure its sustainability. This means your work must support your operations and you don’t try to grow beyond that without careful planning. If you do those things you can easily maintain your independence.”

From here.

Few of us know enough about wealth inequality to say one way or another what’s causing it. Most economists can’t give a straight answer. But it’s not always politics. Our behavior is always part of the explanation. Sure, the housing crisis was to blame due to regulation issues. But it was also to blame by people accepting loans they had no rational thought of ever being able to pay back. “I mean, if the bank says I’m good, then I must be good?”

Maybe it’s not only the system giving the 1 and .01% so much. Maybe it’s people’s behavior too. When you make craft beer yet you’ve become cool with selling to a company that uses rice to make its beer (Budweiser), something’s changed in your mindset.

In the middle of typing this I got a text message that Ballast Point, a hugely popular brewer in San Diego, just sold as well!

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