Dat Dere IT Band Thing?

“Yea I have IT band issues when I run.”  “I have IT band syndrome.”  “You should foam roll your IT band like every day man!” “IT banditis sucks!”  “How do I like work my IT band so it gets better?”  I hear and see crazy thoughts and ideas on this structure all of the time.  IT Band issues and foam rolling the IT Band are pretty commonly tossed around topics nowadays. There are many misconceptions out there about what goes on with this band of tissue when there are problems and how “rolling it” actually affects it.

First, lets briefly look at what this band is. The Iliotibial band is a dense band of tissue that runs from the top of the iliac crest down to the tibial tubercle below the knee (just look at the name: ilium to tibia). The superior fibers of the glute max, the glute medius and the tensor fascia latae (tfl) all insert into this band and control the tension that is in the band. The band then runs down to the tibial tubercle while covering the majority of the vastus lateralis, the most lateral quad muscle. It functions to provide stability to the lateral portion of the pelvis, thigh and patella (it provides support so our patella doesn’t fly sideways when we step). Every time we take a step, whether walking, running or whatever it is you like to do, these abductor muscles just mentioned, along with the rest of the band, provide support to the pelvis to prevent adduction and pelvic tilt. With any imbalances or movement dysfunction with gait, problems are likely to occur with this whole lateral region. We can go all the way up into the obliques and higher or lower if we want to get real in depth. This lateral hip and thigh is part of a lateral line of fascia that travels the length of the body from head to toe.  For the purposes of this article, we shall stick with this particular region.

So, we have an idea of what this lovely structure does. Now, what happens when someone has problems with “stiffness” or pain in this region. There are a few different scenarios that are possible here.

      1. TFL or glute are angry: actually overactive, stiff or a combination of the two due to overuse, movement dysfunction or a certain prolonged posture, etc. When this is the case, they will tense up the band (especially tfl, just look at the name: tensor fascia lata) and the band will pull all the way down to the lateral knee. Hello knee pain! In this case, some tissue work will usually help to release them and in turn, the band tension. If a synergist or antagonist to these muscles is not firing properly or is weak, that will need to be taken care of as well or you will keep returning to square one.     Some examples: Glute med may be weak so tfl is overactive; even though they both have attachments to the band, the tfl would tense up the band when overactive, especially the anterior portion. The opposite adductors may be weak or inhibited, so our abductors on this side are overactive (ab and adductors work together to stabilize the pelvis in single leg stance). Looking lower down the lateral line, the peroneals (muscles on the lateral lower leg) may be misfiring or weak, causing the part of the lateral line in discussion to be overactive.  Rib position, oblique function, breathing and multiple other things will need to be evaluated as well as they can all have effects.  These are just a few examples to look at.  Bottom line here: Some tissue work is usually beneficial here.
      2. TFL or glute and/or the entire band are out of normal resting position due to pelvic rotation, tilt or shift. When this is the case, the pelvis needs to be returned to neutral in order to get things back to normal. While tissue work on these muscles may help in certain cases, its not always the case. For example, if the left side of the pelvis is tilted inferiorly, the right side will be tilted superiorly and the entire right lateral hip and thigh will be on stretch. It may feel “tight” or painful because of the constant stress that is there. In this case, you have to get that pelvis back to neutral to clean things up (which ironically might involve working on the left lateral side)  This is going to require specific stability and control exercises to make things right. Rollling or stretching this side already being pulled would make things worse.
      3. With any of these scenarios, the vastus lateralis and IT band can get caught on each other and the IT can compress the lateralis muscle. When these tissues are healthy, they should be able to slide freely and move independently of one another. In this case, some foam rolling (or hands on work is even better) along this lateral region can be beneficial. The difference is, we are focusing on hitting the vastus lateralis and getting it to move relatively to the IT band and just to relax in general. Instead of just blindly “rolling the IT band,” we are focusing on affecting this specific muscle and its relative motion with the band.
      4. If something such as running gait or squat technique is faulty, then that will need to be cleaned up to prevent issues from coming back.  You can work on this tissue until the cows come home but if you keep returning to your faulty movement patterns, your problems will surely return.  Shift to one side when you squat?  Try some single leg and offset work to fix your movement there.  Favor one side and have pelvic instability when you run?  Get stronger, develop some stability, learn some better running technique then come back to running.
    When it comes down to it, there are various culprits that can cause issues in this region.  I go through information and some basic rolling techniques in the following video.
Hope this give you guys some good insight and can help out with some problems you may have!

Shopping for a Fitness Professional

nick coach    (Repost from July 2013)

I am currently on a trip in Chicago to partake in my third Active Release Techniques course. This evening, I got a workout in at the hotel fitness center. While there, I observed as a “trainer” watched his client perform multiple exercises with terrible form or just useless exercises in general. He simply stood there with his arms crossed and did absolutely NOTHING the entire time. Not one bit or hint of coaching to speak of. Call me crazy but paying someone to stand there and stare at you is kind of a waste of money. I don’t know if he was a hotel trainer or traveled with the client, or whatever. Whatever it was, it inspired me to write this article.  As you probably already know, I take a lot of pride and have a lot of passion for what I do.  The fact that there are tons of unqualified “fitness professionals” out there taking uneducated people’s money and time really bothers me.  I like to educate people so here’s what I’m going to do with this article.  Here are some of the most important things someone should look for when they are hiring a fitness or strength and conditioning professional.  (Notice I didn’t say personal trainer or trainer as I think those terms absolutely suck and do not begin to do a truly legit professional in this field justice)  As I sit here next to my 18th floor hotel window looking over Chicago, I shall enlighten you. While this is definitely not an exhaustive list, I think it should give out some pretty important points.

1. They need a good education and need to know the bodyA degree in exercise science or something related is ideal along with plenty of constant continuing education and personal learning. That being said, there are coaches out there who have other degrees but are still very highly educated with the body and its movement/performance. When it comes down to it, a deep education in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and the science behind strength and conditioning is essential. Programming and coaching training modalities without knowing the science behind it is unacceptable and ineffective. Plain and simple, you can’t write a program or prescribe exercises without understanding how they are affecting the body.  Thats like putting random liquid into your gas tank or engine without knowing what it is or how its going to effect your car. Bottom line: Make sure whoever you hire knows the body. In this profession, we deal with client’s bodies more frequently and more in depth than probably any other health profession out there, yet the requirements that there are to train people are pretty much nonexistent. Its up to you to make sure you hire someone who is educated.

2. They need to practice what they preachh. While an academic and scientific education is very important, if you haven’t spent years in the trenches learning under a bar, you are still going to suck training people and you probably have no business training people.  The best professionals have a good blend of both academic knowledge and in the trenches experience. Bottom line: You gotta have both.

3. They should do a thorough screen and assessment If you work with someone and they just start giving you random workouts right off the bat without evaluating your specific needs and limitations, then run for the hills.  There is no way to know what someone needs to be doing with a program without an assessment.  A good assessment is essential when it comes to developing a proper, individualized program to optimize goals being reached and injuries being prevented.  The assessment might look at movement dysfunction (or lack thereof), muscle imbalances, appropriate performance tests, bodyfat, blood pressure, heart rate, posture/bodycomp photos and anything else deemed necessary for the client.  These things obviously will vary depending on who you are talking about but the bottom line is that they should have some form of assessment to get you started.

4. They should design professional and rationalized programs.  If your trainer simply picks random things for you to do each  day, run for the hills.  A properly designed, planned out program based on specific needs and progressions should always be a part of your training.  Random training gets random results.  Any good professional should be able to design great programs.  If you don’t even have one, then you are throwing money away.  A good program should include appropriate soft tissue and mobility drills, appropriate strength training, appropriate conditioning/energy systems training and should address fundamental movement patterns (i.e. if you are spending an hour sitting on machines, stop wasting  your time; though there are some that have their place for certain goals).  If you don’t have a good program, move on.

5. They should be engaged during all of your training.  They should be analyzing movement, coaching you and teaching you how to move and perform exercises correctly. They should be able to explain the why behind everything that you do.   I  take pride in the fact that most of my clients could probably walk into any average gym and straight up school most of the trainers there.  Every client that walks through our doors gets educated every time they come in.  Ask them about why you are doing what you are doing.  If they can’t tell you or don’t tell you to begin with, then get out now.  If your trainer just stands there and does nothing but count reps and shout “ALL YOU” then move on.

6. They should be able to progress and regress exercises on the spot.   If you are clearly struggling with something beyond the point of a little tweaking with coaching, then they should be able to regress to something more doable on the spot. If  something is extremely cakeish then they should be able to progress you appropriately on the spot.

7. They should be professional. In addition to all of these things listed, if your coach shows up with a tank top, shorts and  a backwards hat, they probably aren’t a true professional. Most of the top notch coaches that I work with dress professionally with a nice looking sports polo, professional athletic pants and a clean cut appearance.  Other professions dress as professionals, so should fitness pros.  Having an uplifting, professional attitude is also essential.  Changing mindsets is half the battle of training.  They should have a positive mindset that you want to mirror.

In conclusion, if you are going to invest your time and money into improving your body and life, make sure you are doing it with someone who is truly qualified. You wouldn’t take your car to a mechanic who doesn’t understand how an engine works. You definitely shouldn’t take your body to someone who doesn’t know how it works. Hopefully this can help you make some good decisions with your body and training.

Timed Reps for Fresh Results

Most people look at setting up training one main way: sets x reps.  This is great and works well; however, there are other ways to increase strength and work capacity.  One great way is timed reps.  You can find awesome information on this method in older russian books such as Explosive Power and Jump Training for All Sports by Starzinski and Sozanski.  Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell has also talked about its effectiveness.  With timed reps, you try to complete as many reps as possible of a given exercise or pairing of exercises in the alotted amount of time.  As an example, if you are doing it with front squats: pick a weight you could do 15 reps with and do sets of 10; resting for about 10-20 seconds as you need to, for 5 minutes.  If you did a 3 week cycle with this; you should aim to get at least 20 more total reps in that 5 minute window by the end of the third week.  You can do 2 to 3 rounds of 5 minutes for a few big bang exercises. This can be done with squats, presses, rows, pullups or any compound exercise (not as big of a fan with deadlifts because risk to reward ratio gets worse as fatigue sets in though romanian deadlifts can work ok). 

Another great way to do this is with a good superset pairing.  In the video below, you will see Joy completing her second round of 5 minutes with barbell hip thrusts and chest supported rows.  She completes 8-10 reps for one exercise followed by reps of the other exercises and goes back and forth nonstop.  She did 2 rounds of 5 minutes of bench press and front squat before this pairing.  Next week she will try to get one more “set” during the 5 minutes and beat her total reps.  If your total reps go up, your work capacity, strength, and conditioning will go up; they have no choice.  Once she completes her round here, she jumps into assistance exercises for her scapulae, cuff, abs, arms, etc.   Timed reps provides an awesome metabolic effect, sets up a fat burning hormonal environment and will get you in shape, plain and simple.  It can be a nice change up if you are coming off of a high intensity/heavy cycle of lifting or if you just need to provide your body with a new challenge to adapt to. 

Her  Day One workout looked like this. 

1a) Front Squat 2x5minutes
1b) Bench Press 2x5minutes
2minutes rest between rounds

2a) Barbell Hip Thrust 2x5minutes
2b) Chest Supported Row 2x5minutes
2minutes rest between rounds

3) Waiters Carry w/ kettlebells 2x20yards
4) Face Pulls 2×8
5) Db Curls/Db Extensions 3×8-10

Her Day Two workout features different exercises and she alternates between the two days for a 4 week cycle.

There you have it: A killer workout with good anatomical balance and killer results.  Give timed a reps a shot and reap the rewards.

Earn Your Life Back

Today we have a combined article from Dan and Nick:

The state of the fitness industry is a complete mess. There are self proclaimed “experts” everywhere arguing that their method is God’s gift to fitness. Everywhere you turn there is someone under qualified trying to hand out advice: on tv, at the store, and probably a close friend. Even if you escape the noise from all of the fitness “genuises,” there is no way to get away from the bombardment of overpriced supplements, fad diets, and one month gym memberships being sold as a solution to lose those stubborn extra 50 to 100 lbs. that have accumulated for many YEARS.

But is it fair to completely blame the fitness industry, or should the consumer, who continuously pays for bad advice and subpar products, take part of the blame? Enter the hard work paradox. The hard work paradox is a simple concept. People display hard work and consistency in most areas of their life yet they don’t apply the same principles to their health and fitness. So, how does this add to the “fitness industry” problem? People want to believe that results are achieved by some other fashion than hard work, consistency, and a well thought out plan. What does this do? It creates a positive feedback loop for the industry to just keep pumping out garbage to people who want to believe results are achieved by quick means and a secret pill. The question is where else in life does this work? (Crickets) So it seems foolish to keep believing in this system where resolutions are made and never kept by the client, and results are promised quickly by the fitness professional but never achieved.

So where does this leave us? Does this mean its an industry problem or does the blame fall solely on the effort of the client? The short answer is, the blame falls on both; the fitness professional and the client. The client should understand that results happen when they work hard, are consistent in their training, and they adhere to what the fitness professional is telling them to do in and probably more importantly outside of the gym. The fitness professional should have the proper knowledge and training to help the client reach realistic goals they wish to achieve. This should be done with well thought out plans which have very specific individual considerations. They should have the integrity to explain how results are achieved and not over promise on their programs. These are the bare minimum circumstances needed for the client and fitness professional to have a successful relationship and probably a gross oversimplification of what is really needed.

Now you are probably asking where can I find a fitness professional that I can trust, has the skills to get me to my goals, and has lots of prior experience getting people real world results? Well, I truly believe that here at Rosencutter Ultra Fitness we can provide everything that people need to be successful in reaching their fitness goals. (This includes everything mentioned in the previous paragraph) We have helped hundreds of clients from all different backgrounds do everything from becoming the Greater Metro Baseball Player of Year to dropping double digit levels of bodyfat to getting rid of pain that has plagued them for years.

So why am I telling you all this? I want to let you know about a couple of opportunities coming up that can help change your health, performance and life this summer. I want you to stop wasting your time and hard work with unqualified “trainers” and programs that don’t get results. Lastly, I want to let you know how you could push yourself to win $1000!

Enter the Rosencutter Ultra Fitness Transformation Contest. How does it work? We develop strength training and conditioning with a properly designed, balanced out program that is intense enough to give your body the stimulus it needs to change, along with sound nutrition to help facilitate the changes that your training wants your body to make. All of this is done at an individual level to make sure you are getting exactly what you need to see significant changes in your body.

The question is if everything you need is in front of you, and all you need to do is put the work in and follow through will you do it? If you had the RIGHT guidance and help, do you think you could make some amazing changes to your body, mind and life? If you’ve been desiring to make a change in your body and your life, this is the perfect time to do it. Beginning in June, our 2013 Summer Transformation Contest will begin. With a grand prize of $1000, a second prize of a free month of training and a third prize of 2 free manual therapy treatments, you will have more motivation than ever. While these prizes are all great, the real grand prize will be a new and improved you along with a more positive and more productive life.

In addition to our Transformation Contest, we are launching the Rosencutter Boot Camp. Why? While our core offering of completely individualized semi private training is the most optimal investment that you can make in your body and self, we realize that some people want some quicker express workouts that they can drop in on at a more affordable price. With our classes, you can get an amazing group based workout while still learning how to move efficiently and effectively and balance out your body.

How is this boot camp going to be different? How are we going to provide the best boot camp experience?Classes will feature expert coaching incorporating strength training and conditioning based on professionally planned out blocks of training with development of specific energy systems and strength qualities. In other words, instead of just doing a bunch of random exercises each week and day, the exercises, the intensities, the workloads, the rest periods and everything within the class will be specifically planned out. You will not find another group based class around that does something like this. All clients that come to our boot camp will be exposed to effective coaching from true professionals with real credentials. Everyone’s movement will be assessed to ensure proper technique and to maximize results. All training sessions and workouts will be part of pre-planned, thought out blocks of training with specific purposes NOT just a bunch of exercises thrown together last minute. We will also provide nutritional support and guidelines.

At Rosencutter Ultra Fitness we truly have a family atmosphere where everyone pushes each other to get better. So whether you choose to do the Transformation Contest. join our camp or get started with your own in depth assessment and individualized program, we would love you to come join our family this summer and above all help you change your life. All you need to do is get here and put in the work.

5 Ways to Increase Compliance for Fat Loss

Today we have a blog post by Rosencutter Ultra Fitness coach Dan Zwirlein on increasing compliance with a fat loss nutrition program.  Take it away Dan…….

                                            5 Ways to Increase Compliance For Fat Loss

The story usually sounds the same. A person becomes dedicated to training, they start to see good results and then what happens? They stall. Think about it, if you are consistent with your training then what could be holding you back? No, its not what you are doing in the gym; its what you are doing outside the gym that is killing your progress. For most people, this has to do with dietary choices and ultimately, lifestyle choices. Think about it. You spend probably around 3 hours of the week total at the gym putting in your sweat equity. So its only logical to think that the other 165 hours outside the gym is what is haulting your progress. It takes full dedication and consistency to reach your true potential and it is no different for reaching your fitness goals. Here are 5 ways to increase your compliance with proper lifestyle choices for the majority of the time that you aren’t spending in the gym.

1. Adhere to the 90% rule when practicing clean eating

Here is how the 90% rule works. Think about how many meals a week you are eating. At least 90% of those meals should be clean. So if you eat 5 times a day for all 7 days that would be 35 meals a week. Using simple math, you can see that you could have about 3 snacks that aren’t clean for the week. Now, that doesn’t mean your snack turns into a meal either; remember, one meal won’t effect much but getting into long term bad habits does.

2. Take pictures of all your meals

Before you eat anything take a picture of it. This will force you to think hard about whether or not this meal is getting you closer or farther away from your goal. It will be much harder to “cheat” if you consciously have to look at and think about what you are eating.

3. Practice your compliance as a group

There is nothing more powerful in helping to reach a goal then people who believe in you and support your goal. To make this work for your fitness goals, have someone practice clean eating and an overall healthy lifestyle with you. They say you posses the average traits of the 5 people you spend the most time with so why not a loved one? It doesn’t really matter who it is but human psychology dictates that practicing things in a group is easier than alone. So find someone to keep you on track and compliant while you do the same for them.

4. Keep temptation out of your house

One way to get side tracked is to buy things that will derail your progress. If you have things in your house like sweets, soda, and alcohol or what ever your vice is, its only a matter of time before you will break into them. However, if you don’t buy them, the temptation won’t be there. If you want a treat and it falls within your 10% meal, buy in a single serving. For example, buy one ice cream cone versus a pint. Remember, if there are things in your house now its better to just throw them away and get rid of temptation.

5. Make things really easy on yourself

Overhauling your lifestyle can be very difficult, especially if you are taking on new things all at once like trying to practice clean eating and starting a new training regimen. So make your goals small and as easy as possible. For example, your goal could be to lower your daily soda intake from 5 to 3 or it could be increase the amount of sleep you are getting by 30 min each week. Making goals that you can actually achieve creates positive momentum which is important to keep progressing forward. A lot of times people will try to change everything at once and after a month they stall and return to old habits. By making small goals that are attainable and progressing slowly it allows behavioral patterns to actually change, which in turn increases long-term compliance. Think about it. If you make small changes from week to week or month to month, those small changes then turn into big changes over long periods of time IF you stay compliant. By making goals easy it will make compliance more likely.

Now, go and try to implement as many of these tips into your daily routine as you can. But remember, like I mentioned in the last tip, start slow and see your progress increase. The ultimate goal is long lasting change.

Want help with this and getting your training set to get in the best shape of your life?  Come join our transformation challenge and summer RufCamp classes and get started with a chance to win $1000.

Transform Your Body This Summer

Transforming your body is not as hard as many think it is; at least from the standpoint of figuring out what needs to be done to make the transformation. Does it take a lot of work? Yes. Does it take discipline? Yes. But is it hard to figure out how to do it? Without professional help, it can be because of all of the misinformation out there. With the right help, its as easy as following the gameplan that is put in front of you.Strength training and conditioning with a properly designed, balanced out program that is intense enough to give your body the stimulus it needs to change, along with sound nutrition to help facilitate the changes that your training wants your body to make is exactly what is needed. If you have it all in front of you, all you need to do is put the work in and follow through. If you had this kind of guidance and help, could you make some amazing changes to your body, mind and life? What if you had the chance to win $1000 while doing it?Well, this summer you can have this chance and you can have the guidance you need to transform your body and life. Research is clear: when you make positive changes in your body and you get stronger, leaner or more muscular, and get rid of aches and pains, it has positive effects on every other aspect of your life: Your confidence, your relationships, your sex drive, your work performance and your daily motivation to live life to the fullest.

So if you’ve been desiring to make a change in your body and your life, this is the perfect time to do it. Beginning in June, our 2013 Summer Transformation Contest will begin. With a grand prize of $1000, a second prize of a free month of training and a third prize of 2 free manual therapy treatments, you will have more motivation than ever. While these prizes are all great, the real grand prize will be a new and improved you along with a more positive and more productive life. So contact us today and come do it!  Don’t believe its possible? You could make a transformation like this!  And this did not come with the added motivation of a $1000 prize!  Check out some others on our testimonials page and search our blog for even more! Take the jump and change your life!


Exercises to Improve Your Running

Single leg stability and control, the ability to resist pelvic and rib rotation and strong and solid hip flexion are 3 very important components of an effective runner. They are also 3 very commonly missed components when it comes to a strength program for runners. Here are a couple of great exercises you can throw in to help your running performance.

2 to 3 sets of 8-15 reps towards the end of a workout work good for these depending on what you are trying to do.
Maintain good shoulder posture, stay tall and keep the down hip extended as you flex the working hip. Control the lowering. The angle and range of motion can be changed to be more specific for a sprinter versus a marathon runner, etc. with a sprinter having a much higher degree of flexion than a distance runner. 
2-3 sets of 5-8 reps towards the end of a workout work well with these. Grip the floor with your foot/pull your arch up, get tall, hold the handle straight in front of you for a 3-5 count and repeat. Be sure to get a good breath in through the nose before pushing out to get good stability from the diaphragm. Exhale through the mouth between reps.  Everything from the shoulders and ribs down to the foot should engage to help keep you stable.  These also work great to clean up any difference in abilities side to side. If you haven’t done double leg, half kneeling or tall kneeling holds, definitely do them first and work your way up.

These exercises actually work well for many sports, since most sports involve running and single leg components.

Fifth Dimension Fitness presents...

Tired of not getting the results you want?

Get our FREE e-book when you sign up for our newsletter and get started on the road to success!

Get the FREE book!