Game Changers

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Fat Cat
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Game Changers

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:22 pm

For me, a recent development that has definitely improved my training and quality of life has been stretching. I successfully avoided stretching for 40 years, and never, ever did really any from white to black belt in BJJ. On the surface, stretching is easy to dislike: it's slow, boring, and uncomfortable, so really, what's to like?

Of course, I had made a few abortive attempts to start, but it was always on the back burner, and I would drop it after a session or two having dealt with whatever cramping had led me to begin in the first place. I even bought Pavel's Relax Into Stretch as a resource, but only ever applied it haphazardly.

Unfortunately, it started to catch up with me in the past few years. At some point, general muscle tightness got so bad that I would have strange spasms in my upper back, had lost range of motion, and worst of all, would have to get up out of bed in the middle of the night to warm up my shoulder and hip before I would be able to go back to sleep. They would cramp up painfully, but I didn't immediately think of it as a lack of flexibility, more as an "aches and pains" thing.

Finally, for the past several months I have been trying different things to get my shit together. I find I really don't have the patience for yoga anymore, but doing a regular program of stretching for my quads, hamstrings, hips, and back has been amazingly rewarding. So much so that it has truly improved my quality of life. Less pain, better mobility, better sleep.

I share this for two reasons:

1. Some of you may have the same problem.
2. We've all been training for a long time, it's nice when you can discover a new wrinkle that makes things better; are there game changing things you've encountered recently?
Last edited by Fat Cat on Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bram
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Bram » Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:53 am

That's great you're feeling better from stretching! I'm a big fan too.

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The biggest game changer I've experienced in the past few years is focusing my attention via having a mantra of a few key words.

It all started with an older surfer telling me to feel the speed of the wave when I was surfing, to stay where the wave was fastest and let the wave tell you what to do.

The basis of not just my surfing, but how I deal with anything now is to remind myself to feel. I've added quite a few more to my mental check-list, and although there's been A LOT of missteps, my surfing has skyrocketed since I started doing this. And my personal training business has improved quite a bit as well.
"Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there its sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops." - H.L. Mencken

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Wild Bill
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Wild Bill » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:54 am

About year ago i was foolish enough to participate in the challenge "split in the year".
So, i got... something. Sprain or a strain or a tear, don't know what exactly, but since then i can not stretch my legs.

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Re: Game Changers

Post by Really Big Strong Guy » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:15 pm

Absolutely fantastic.

The older I get, the more I focus on the flexibility/mobility side of the human condition. Started yoga and tai chi 18 years ago and am so happy I did. I now keep yoga mats in my office, my truck and my living room. I also keep foam rollers of various degrees (rumble, PVC pipes, and hyper ice versions) around and recently made a percussion massager out of a 12v battery powered reciprocating saw that's simply the tits.

I now do up to three sessions a day now. Before lifting/training, immediately after lifting/training, and during the afternoon/evening before dinner.

Embrace the suck. Aging doesn't have to be painful. But it is what it is. The only need to is to be better than we were the day before.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by syaigh » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:49 pm

After years of only working out in my basement gym, I joined a commerical gym so I could use the machines. Hamstring curls and quad extensions have been the key to rehabbing both of my knees after beating the crap out of them training for a half marathon. I couldn't go up or down stairs without sharp shooting pains. I was doing plenty of RDL's , squats, deadlifts, cleans, etc., but isolating those muscles has made a big difference. Likewise, adding in a bunch of shoulder and upper back work has mitigated most of my shoulder pain and range of motion problems. Bodybuilding for the win. :)

I read in a book on neurophysiology that the body wants to adapt to get more efficient at movements over time and will stop engaging stabilizers and smaller muscles. while consistent movement is a good thing, variation is what keeps all the muscles firing correctly.

I don't think there is any one true way, but I do think that periodically changing our approach to things is a great way to keep everything in check. I am usually good about rotating different activities throughout the year, but my strength work was pretty basic. I still use barbells and dumbbells in the commercial gym, and I still squat, deadlift, and bench, but adding in those two machines and a few others has made a huge difference for me.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:35 pm

syaigh wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:49 pm
After years of only working out in my basement gym, I joined a commerical gym so I could use the machines. Hamstring curls and quad extensions have been the key to rehabbing both of my knees after beating the crap out of them training for a half marathon. I couldn't go up or down stairs without sharp shooting pains. I was doing plenty of RDL's , squats, deadlifts, cleans, etc., but isolating those muscles has made a big difference. Likewise, adding in a bunch of shoulder and upper back work has mitigated most of my shoulder pain and range of motion problems. Bodybuilding for the win. :)
I know a bunch of people who SWEAR that you cannot rehabilitate knees without a knee flexion/extension bench. I've been fortunate that knees have not been my problem--yet and hopefully ever--but I'm not surprised that you had success using them. While obviously, if people want to compete in strength sports a certain amount of specificity is king, most people who be better served by doing a wider variety of exercises instead of just #benchsquatdead chimpouts. And when I say "better served" I mean that they would both look and feel better, and as a consequence, possibly even become stronger in the long run.

I know that my shoulder absolutely requires variety from me, and a lot of people I have heard mention similar experiences. Pressing at all angles, sure, but also rowing, curling, front, lateral and rear raises. I believe it was BD who talked about curls being a major component of getting his shoulders in order.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Bram » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:28 am

syaigh wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:49 pm

I read in a book on neurophysiology that the body wants to adapt to get more efficient at movements over time and will stop engaging stabilizers and smaller muscles. while consistent movement is a good thing, variation is what keeps all the muscles firing correctly.
I saw something similar where they took two groups of athletes, had one lift and one lift and do plyometrics. The plyometrics group had a totally different firing pattern in their muscles and a lower-rate of injury.
syaigh wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:49 pm

Hamstring curls and quad extensions have been the key to rehabbing both of my knees after beating the crap out of them training for a half marathon. I couldn't go up or down stairs without sharp shooting pains. I was doing plenty of RDL's , squats, deadlifts, cleans, etc., but isolating those muscles has made a big difference.
I feel that leg extension strength is something I lack, but every time I do the motherfuckers my knees hurt. I wish it wasn't the case. Happy you have got some mileage out of them.
"Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there its sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops." - H.L. Mencken

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Re: Game Changers

Post by JimZipCode » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:40 am

Bram wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:28 am
I feel that leg extension strength is something I lack, but every time I do the motherfuckers my knees hurt.
Do them lighter.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Fat Cat » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:56 am

I have actually had good success with doing them with no weight, just sitting on a bench and holding the top position for a five count, when I have dinged them up doing de zhoozheetsoo.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Bram » Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:20 am

Doing them lighter sounds reasonable, but it hasn't worked for me. Just an unfriendly machine for me for whatever reason.

I have done the top of the stack which is almost like just straightening your leg and sitting in a chair and my knees still say fuck you.

I sometimes do slow front kicks, that and the way Fatttts mentioned are the only ways I can do the motion that doesn't bug me.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by syaigh » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:06 am

Before I joined the commercial gym, I did the leg extensions sitting on a bench with a band around my toe and connected to the squat rack behind me. I used the lightest band possible and this helped to get started as they really hurt with any real resistant.

Prior to starting on this program, I had taken four months off from training after dealing with some overly dramatic athletes for a bit too long, one of whom committed suicide so I was completely deconditioned and the knee pain ramped up to the extreme during this time. FWIW, the guy who committed suicide literally went out in a blaze of steroids, hookers, and blow and although I felt completely awful about it, seemed to have been a long term plan
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Fat Cat » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:41 am

One thing I’ve seen over and over is that painful joints rarely improve with inactivity and that strengthening the surrounding muscles nearly always helps. Even in a situation that is completely degenerative doctors will advise staying active and mobile as possible.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Bram » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:24 am

I like the band idea, fixed motion machines can be sketchy, but that seems like a good way to add resistance. Thanks for sharing :)
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Sangoma » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:44 am

My game changer in the last year is BJJ. I am more flexible, more agile and my endurance is better than it was a year ago. I am also leaner without really trying. Mind you, when I squeeze in five sessions in one week it becomes difficult to get out of bed in the morning, but I am fine with it - gets better as the morning progresses. Many drills used in BJJ - hip escapes, bear/crab walks, shoulder/backward/granby rolls - to name a few, would be valuable additions to any workout, especially for older guys.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:27 am

Orbit buffer cured pretty serious piriformis pain in a few sessions. Did a second time a couple years later, and fix was permanent. Pretty startling result at the time.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:45 pm

Grandpa's Spells wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:27 am
Orbit buffer cured pretty serious piriformis pain in a few sessions. Did a second time a couple years later, and fix was permanent. Pretty startling result at the time.
What's an orbit buffer?
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:52 pm

Used on cars for polishing like a sander but with a pad:
https://www.top5reviewed.com/orbital-buffers/
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Fat Cat » Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:18 pm

Oh damn. Just what it sounds like then.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:24 pm

Yeah we had a thread or two about them a few years back, after somebody was using a really expensive horse massager to good effect. Shortly thereafter it went through the Internet fitness guru grapevine so you can see youtube videos, but it went away quick like a fad. But IMO the results far exceed a roller.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Shafpocalypse Now » Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:49 pm

The car buffer is real. Black and Decker is what I have and will occasionally use

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Re: Game Changers

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:13 pm

Bumping for McGill Big 3. I was getting a little worn down recently with work/kid tempo and my back was generally achy but was starting to really bother me. Few minutes of big 3 and 80% improved, 99% the next morning after 5 minutes. I'm certain people with similar symptoms are heading to a surgeon all the time.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Ryan » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:32 pm

Like the Mcgill Big 3, Andrew Lock (Australian physical therapist) has the shoulder Big 3 that I have found quite helpful. This is the only video I could find of them.

https://www.facebook.com/TheyCallHiimX/ ... 358780403/
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:18 am

Terminal Knee extensions with band.

That machine is an abortion and one of the very worst things if you've had a knee injury affecting the patella.

Trap Bar Jumps for power development.

Stair jumps and runs

Heavy Rucking

All of these are a sensitive to where you apply them over the story arc of your own personal "athletic" journey. For me, each of these made massive difference when I applied them. Several still do.
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:04 pm

What's the rucking benefit?
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Re: Game Changers

Post by Boris » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:36 pm

Blaidd Drwg wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:18 am
All of these are a sensitive to where you apply them over the story arc of your own personal "athletic" journey. For me, each of these made massive difference when I applied them. Several still do.
Thinking in this way (the bigger picture) makes it easier for me to note specific things. They aren't always game changers, but they have been and some still are.

*More protein - I came off the "Eat (carbs) To Win" craze an overtrained and undernourished mess. If I had eaten sensibly when I was younger, I'm sure I would have been faster.

a slow cooker - I think I mentioned this in the other thread we had on this years ago. Knowing how to cook a few meals for myself that were nutritious and good was a huge boon as far as time and diet. For the family, it's essential unless you can reliably depend on others for all your food prep.

technique - technique is something everyone ALWAYS needs to work on. I've been lucky that I've always been more aware of this than most.

something is better than nothing - as I've gotten older, this is imperative. I try to do something every day. I define 'something' as something strength training or conditioning related (walking the dog or stretching in front of the tv usually won't count for me, unless it's something exceptional). Doesn't have to be much, just has to be something.

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