Thursday, April 30, 2009

b2d: in transition - sorry for any weirdness

Just a quick note that is about to become
Apparently at the moment this is in "transition" - and i've noticed a few weirdnesses -

eg some links seem to direct just to the main page and not the specific URL

and the Folks Who Grok B2D

list of wonderful subscribers doesn't show up UNLESS you now go to "" or ""

apparently this is all temporary.

So thanks to folks who have just visited or folks who subscribe - if you're not exactly where you think you should be in the b2d blog, please hang in there. apparently all will be well in 48-72 hours.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Turkish Get Up a Good Cheap Movement Screen? Then whither the FMS?

Last week i wrote about questions that have come up around the RKC/gray cook way of teaching the turkish get up, in particular the high hip bridge. In Gray Cook's thoughts on this, motivated by Anthony Diluglio's challenge as to its efficacy and safety, Cook claims that the "speed bumped" TGU is a great diagnostic tool. This week, i'd like to come back to the Turkish Get Up (the TGU) as a diagnostic move, and at least set some terms to open up the question diagnostic of what, beyond itself? And if what, why need any other movement screen, like say the FMS? In a sense, this post is an experiment in testing "logical conclusions" of an idea.

My rationale for this query is that folks, including athletic groups, with whom i'm working, are asking about comparisons among screens, and wanting to get the most bang for their buck. If the TGU is a great diagnostic, what more is needed?

see UPDATE I below; Update II below

Indeed, i've suggested to Brett Jones myself, based on the case study i did for my ck-fms certification, that the TGU could replace the FMS as a screen - what if anything does it miss from the screen? Haven't quite had a final answer on that one, and didn't push it - more of a witty observation - but we're gonna come back to that question here.

One of the things the kalos-sthenos DVD on the TGU by Cook, Jones and manual by Cheng gives to practitioners/coaches is to say if you see problems with any of these positions in the TGU, here's the corrective strategies to fix these issues and enable better mobility and stability not just in the TGU, but beyond. From the manual:

For the fitness and medical professional, the TGU serves as a fundamental movement primer, a corrective exercise, a conditioning system, and a movement screen. It is a useful tool to both detect and address movement pattern asymmetries and weaknesses.

Doesn't that sound excellent (aside from the split infinitive)? Even cheaper than the FMS, the turkish getup DVD set lets a coach see where performance asymmetries may be in their athlete, and then fixing these addresses those issues. The assertion is, address these issues in this move, and you have great carry over to other moves. Again, from the manual:
Clinically, there's no shortage of patients who've made major breakthroughs with challenging rotator cuff problems thanks to the Turkish Get Up)...Any athlete who serves a tennis ball, spikes a volleyball, swings a golf club, or pitches a barseball will certainly appreciate the kind of coordinated strength that the TGU develops.
I would love to see some work that showed those claims can be directly attributed to work with the TGU, but it sounds reasonable, so let's go with it for a moment, and look at at least Cook's rationale for the functional movement screen: that just by reducing asymmetries in the screen (left side in something better than the right or just different than the right) reduces injury. At least in the NFL and for firefighters. Other sports, some researchers have suggested, not so much - so far - at least with the data that's been collected, showing no statistical improvement.

Quince to Granny Smith or Apples to Oranges: FMS and TGU
But if we set the mixed research results aside for a moment, and just agree with the assertion that a movement screen is a good thing, then let's take this back to the KS TGU as screen. Is the TGU unique its ability to act as a screen compared with any other isolateral moves? Perhaps not (consider the 7 moves of the FMS including the squat, push up and lunge variant), but it's hard to think off the top of my head what other movement focuses on one side of the body at a time and moves from supine to standing, upper body focus to lower body focus.

And it seems it's that particularity that's being claimed for the TGU: while the FMS isolates in its moves particular issues, one at a time, the TGU seems to get most of 'em in each part of one excercise, hence my query as to what's in the FMS that isn't caught in the TGU - or is there a vice versa?

Seven tests in the FMS; seven moves in the TGU. Do they map at all? Anything left out? How is the FMS sufficient or insufficient in comparison to the TGU, or vice versa?

Here's a quick check list from the FMS sheet on the FMS site paralleled with the TGU bits.
Test one: squat
The ability to perform the deep squat requires appropriate pelvic rhythm, closed-kinetic chain dorsifl exion of the ankles, flexion of the knees and hips and extension of the thoracic spine, as well as fl exion and abduction of the shoulders.
Ok, what part of the TGU maps to flexion of the knees and hips and extension of the thoracic spine and flexion and abduction of the shoulders? Well one side at a time, in the upper body part of the TGU, thoracic spine mobility and shoulder flexion and abduction are present. Indeed a corrective drill in the TGU is to do "thoracic glides" when up on the elbow and the weight is overhead. The ankles may well be tested when going to stand up or come back down.

Test two: hurdle step
Performing the hurdle step test requires stanceleg stability of the ankle, knee and hip as well as maximal closed-kinetic chain extension of the hip. The hurdle step also requires step-leg open-kinetic chain dorsiflexion of the ankle and flexion of the knee and hip. In addition, the subject must also display adequate balance because the test imposes a need for dynamic stability.
Where in the TGU is any part of the above checked? Well the high hip bridge certainly tests a kind of stance leg hip extension; the ability to keep the knee up and in good position could come back to dorsiflexion of the ankle and flexion of the knee and hip. ok. and balance, well that's throughout the movement, tho not as taxed as in the hurdle step.

Test Three: inline lunge
This test assesses torso, shoulder, hip and ankle mobility and stability, quadriceps flexibility and knee stability. The ability to perform the in-line lunge test requires stance-leg stability of the ankle, knee and hip as well as apparent closed kineticchain hip abduction. The in-line lunge also requires step-leg mobility of the hip, ankle dorsifl exion and rectus femoris flexibility. The subject must also display adequate stability due to the rotational stress imposed.
Of any of the tests, perhaps the closest match is in the inline lunge with the genuflecting part of the TGU. It's not inline, but you do have to get up and down gracefully with a weight overhead while laterally moving the trunk up from flexion back to neutral with the arm overhead. Lots of stability stuff. dorsiflexion, too.

Test Four - Shoulder Mobility
The ability to perform the shoulder mobility test requires shoulder mobility in a combination of motions including abduction/external rotation, flexion/extension and adduction/internal rotation. It also requires scapular and thoracic spine mobility.
It seems that the entire TGU is a test of shoulder mobility. How one might assess asymmetries is interesting to watch the position of the bell relative to the shoulder throughout the move.

Test Five: active straight leg raise
The ability to perform the active straight-leg raise test requires functional hamstring flexibility, which is the flexibility that is available during training and competition. This is different from passive flexibility, which is more commonly assessed. The subject is also required to demonstrate adequate hip mobility of the opposite leg as well as lower abdominal stability.
Hip mobility is shown again in keeping the knee from valgus collapse on the way up, and in the high hip bridge, as well as in the uprightness of posture while moving from high hip bridge up to upright kneeling, ready to step up. It's also shown in the ability to keep the leg out stiff without it having to leverage up (leave the ground) when getting up.

Test six: Trunk Stability Push Up
The ability to perform the trunk stability push-up requires symmetric trunk stability in the sagittal plane during a symmetric upper extremity movement.

Well i dunno what to say about this one. It seems the closest thing to the push up/ trunk stability is again the high hip bridge - that's the only part of the move as far as i can tell where the upper and lower parts of the body are working together - similar to a yoga table - with one arm and one leg for balance. Likewise getting up on the elbow with a bell overhead and keepint that post leg out straight and not coming up from the ground - that's pretty core activated, too.

Test Seven: Rotary Stability (elbow knee touch over a board, same side elbow to same side knee)
The ability to perform the rotary stability test requires asymmetric trunk stability in both sagittal and transverse planes during asymmetric upper and lower extremity movement.
This test too is a bit of a question mark since the tgu is isolateral but diagonal throughout. But again, if that high hip bridge is working its magic, shouldn't folks with a strong high hip bridge on both sides test well here?

Now this is just a first pass comparison, and the mappings mayn't be as good as they could be, so i'd be pleased to hear about refining/correcting what's proposed.

FMS /TGU close but no cigar? How close? How Far?

After the above excercise comes the obvious question: what are we missing in the TGU: Gray Cook to say whether the comparisons between TGU and FMS are sufficiently strong to be powerful? Consider what's missing with the TGU as given in the DVD: a scoring system on both sides of the move. That one might argue is a critical part to the bullet proofness of the FMS. THere are strict criteria for scoring how well a move is performed on both right and left. it's 0,1,2 or 3 and each of these have meanings. Each of the FMS neatly unpacks each set of issues. But so what? the TGU gets just about all of them and possibly some that the FMS doesn't get.

Eg, where is the psoas/glutes connection of the high hip bridge caught in the FMS? is that better amplified in the TGU than the push up since the push up is all about trunk stabilizers?

TGU cheap FMS?
So we come back to the assertion of the TGU as a cheap screen: we've seen - by my very rough calculations - that the TGU does seem to map pretty well to what's exposed in the FMS. So the next part of the screen equation would be: if you can apply the checks at each phase of the TGU, and correct them, your athlete will be in a better place for other activities, as asserted in the TGU manual - not just for doing a better TGU.

How do we test that?
What's the test for the benefit of being able to do a hard style TGU? where's the check to see if there's been good transference as claimed? It makes sense that there should be, but how do i evaluate this, and attribute it back to the TGU work rather than anything else?

While the KS dvd focuses on improving the TGU, i'd be curious to see in a DVD someone with crap shoulder range of motion who throws a football or poor hip mobility who likes to golf, see how they test on the TGU (if those issues show up there), do TGU work and see how their swing mobility improves in the golf stroke for instance.

Why is that testing of transference important? well, we're spending a lot of energy talking about the benefit of this new "speed bumped" TGU *as* a diagnostic, and it looks like there's a pretty good case to be made for it against the FMS when *used* as a diagnostic rather than as an execercise - and that should mean it works as a diagnostic for other issues that if fixed in this TGU context will benefit other contexts. How do we prove the correlation?

So, while working on fixing the TGU looks great, and why not? there seem to be two questions:
  1. If the TGU is a super diagnostic, why bother with the FMS? What's missing in the TGU-as-screen that is not in the FMS? Beyond the scoring system (couldn't that be adapted), what are we missing?
  2. Do the TGU fixes have transference?
These are questions that clients if not practitioners will be asking. At the university where i'm beginning a pilot program for team screenings, the sports groups are evaluating various movement screens (the FMS ain't the only show in town), and these are the kinds of value-for-money queries they have. Likewise RKC's and other practitioners who get that there's value in doing movement assessment may see the TGU as a more immediate value proposition than say the investment in the FMS: no special equipment, and it's a move already in the repertoire. No secrets of dvd's required, the reasoning might be, since the corrections are in the manual and across the two dvd's.

Coda: Teaching the TGU - correct move or corrective movement?
An intriguing consequence of developing the TGU-as-diagnostic is that the TGU is still a core move of the RKC Level 1 certification. It will be interesting to see how movement assessment moves into the RKC rather than simply teaching correct posture in a move. Which makes me come back to diluglio's critique of what he was seeing in his classes of people perhaps *attempting* to get the high hip bridge and not getting it - what diluglio models of what he's seeing is not a high hip bridge. The glutes and psoas do not seem all planked up and engaged.

So what's going on? Were there a bunch of similarly weak hip bridges in front of Anthony? or something else?

And if there are weaknesses in client performance - assuming folks doing this form went to an RKC (as the book/dvd wasn't yet out) where will RKC's get the training they need to deliver the corrective strategies to support rehabbing this move? Right now, i understand that the ck-fms will be going through the corrective strategies this year from the KS TGU manual. It will also be interesting to see how this work influences the teaching of TGU teaching, as it were, in the RKC.

And finally: the non-jock
If everyone who moves is an "athlete" does the TGU help all "athletes"? It seems we're talking about totally able bodied folks here who are interested enough to do a TGU and who can perform a TGU.

I work with clients who have mobility/stability issues, and who cannot complete a successful bodyweight TGU. Does this mean that their mobility cannot be assessed until their strength improves? Isn't that rather self-defeating? how address that building up of potential dysfunction ontop of strength if movement isn't assessed from the outset? It seems the TGU or the FMS become more niche instruments than initially anticipated. I think we forget sometimes how fortunate we are in our strength skills.

In this article i've attempted to ask the question what really is the TGU as diagnostic diagnosing?
  • If it's a "movement screen" and "corrective exercise" and "diagnostic" - what's it actually showing?
  • If it's hitting all the same bells and whistles as the FMS - or 90% of them - whither the FMS beyond a score card?
  • And if the FMS is far more clear than the TGU of what then can be read from the TGU that is transferable to other activities?
  • And what about clients for whom a deep squat or tgu is still the impossible dream?
Lest anyone think i'm poking a finger in the eye of the TGU as diagnostic again, let me contextualize - i'm one of about a dozen people out of 60 who have completed their CK-FMS certification, which means i'm both a cert'd FMS specialist and a CK-FMS certed specialist. I also hold an RKC cert and look forward to assisting at this year's Denmark RKC cert where Mark Cheng Team Lead will be the TGU source, and i'll be happy to screen anyone there gratis who asks, with the head instructor's permission. I also as said used the TGU as part of my corrective strategies in the case study i did for my ck-fms and have said why the FMS if you have the TGU? So, that should look like someone who's gotten pretty deep into the Program.

But as with any curriculum, its practitioners advance the field by asking (hopefully good) questions - before their clients/students do - and if the answers are wanting, well that's something to address. Likewise knowledge of multiple techniques helps enhance the view.

SO as you can see i don't entirely have complete answers to the questions i've raised, but hope there'll be some good informed discussion. This is less a complete statement than a working paper.


Update 1,
i asked Brett Jones in particular if he would cogitate on this comparison and look at a reply. He posted today as well on his blog with a pretty detailed comparison. Instead of going from the FMS to the TGU, he's gone from the TGU to the FMS
I'm looking forward to stepping through the response. Thanks Brett. In particular his summary comparison between the TGU and the FMS:

  • FMS tests stability (called coordination by some) in symmetrical stance, asymmetrical stance and single leg stance. Get-up only gets asymmetrical (and that doesn't ask for the same crossing of midline).
  • FMS tests mobility of the hip, knee, ankle and shoulder - in multiple positions - the Get-up does this to an extent but not the same and not in the symmetrical and single leg stances.
  • FMS tests reflexive core stabilization in the Trunk Stability Push-up - the Get-up doen't really get this. the Punch to Elbow is more rotary in nature but does have some reflexive stabilization in it but as I said it is more rotary in nature.
  • FMS tests Shoulder Mobility with a specific reach incorporating Thoracic extension, Shoulder abduction/external rotation and flexion and Shoulder addcution/internal rotation and extension. While the Get-up assesses shoulder mobility and thoracic mobility it misses some of the specific positions of the SM test but does incorporate moving the body around a stabile shoulder - unique to the Get-up.
  • FMS tests split you in to Right and Left halves in 5 of the tests looking for asymmetry - The Get-up does this to an extent and within the moves of the Get-up and the tie-ins as mentioned.
  • Any exercise that is performed on the right and then left side can be a chance for evaluation of symmetry.
  • FMS tests (once all 7 are performed) allow you to quickly identify the Weak Link and provides corrections for those weak link (s). The Get-up can find a weak link but it may just be specific to the Get-up and not as targeted as the FMS identified weak link.

Update II - Cpt Brett.

Have to thank Brett for taking the time to go over the FMS/TGU variants the way he has. Indeed, he's said in fact that he will also check out my question about what gets missed that the FMS would catch *that is meaningful* that the TGU misses.

Right now, we can certainly agree that the FMS has more going on in it. See Brett's careful analysis above, and i'd check out his blog post too.

But it seems that we're still *hypothesizing* that of course because the FMS tests more stuff more, it's better, more precise. More precise right now yes, but maybe less is also more, or maybe it's not? I'm still wondering what that "precision" from the FMS gets most of us. Is it an 80/20 thing?

When i did Z health R phase certification (review), i remember Mike T Nelson saying that the learning in the R phase cert would help *solve* the issues of 80% of the people i'd see. That's pretty durn good for a foundational cert. Is the TGU a kind of similar screen? An 80% (or more) of the FMS?

Brett talks passionately about being able to draw on the right tool for the client. His own background in Z, FMS, his uni education, all testify to how he's built a robust and rich tool box.

I guess i'm thinking - as someone whose invested in the FMS too - that i'd like to be able to say with some certainty, when is the FMS a *better* tool than the TGU? For which client?

Looking forward to more FMS/TGU comparison reports.

related posts: zhealth - about ||zhealth assessment

Monday, April 20, 2009

Turkish Get Up (TGU) High Pelvis or High Hip Bridge: Anthony Diluglio's Critique and Gray Cook's Comments - analysis

The Turkish Get Up (TGU) is a great full body move that develops strength, stamina, core and coordination. It's well worth adding to anyone's practice, whether that is mainly yoga, strength or endurance. Of late there's been an argument or debate about a particular variant that's become known as the "hard style TGU." The critique is lead by Anthony Diluglio of Art of Strength, and it's of the RKC's and Gray Cook's teaching of the high hip bridge as a move in the TGU. This piece is an effort to bring Dilugio's Critique of and Cook's Comments on the Bridge together for your informed consideration for how you'd like to practice.

(Update 1, on TGU as possible cheap movement screen)

The HardStyle/Maxwell TGU
Maybe because i did an overview post of the "hardstyle" turkish getup now being taught at RKC certs, folks know i'm interested in this move. Recently, a great colleague, Rannoch Donald, and i were talking about this move in terms of what Anthony Diluglio has said about one part of this move in particular: the high hip bridge, or the "three point bridge" as Gray Cook calls it (shown below, demo'd by the man who brought the bridge to the RKC, Mark Cheng).

Figure 1: Mark Cheng demoing Hip Bridge in TGU

Dilugio's critique was posted at his site's "Minute of Strength" bulletin #105 titled (alas) "the right way"

The Right Way from art of strength on Vimeo.

IF you don't have time to watch the vid, Diluglio prefers leaving the hip down before sweeping the leg under to get to the the half kneeling position.

Now ironically, Diluglio titles this piece "corrective strategies" which seems a rif on Cook's Functional Movement Screen Corrective Strategies - an approach that Anthony has himself celebrated and "has adopted" (see bottom of page), so it's provocative to refer to his presentation as the move "done properly." What does that mean (that's what i wanted to know)?

Diluglio says of this bridge, as he models it here (Fig 2) "there's no tension in your core right now"

Figure 2: Anthony Diluglio's Vid of Hip Bridge

But in his version, where the hip is dropped and the post leg lifted (shown below), he asserts, there is.
Figure 3: Diluglio showing the hover position with hip dropped

Maybe it's where the video cuts in on Diluglio, but i didn't see the high hip bridge that Cheng demo's above (fig 1), and so the psoas/glutes would not be as fired as in a properly executed bridge. But despite that, Diluglio's argument goes on that in his version with the dropped hip, he's "stabilized like hell." Stabilized what, for what? Let's assume it's "the core" - we'll come back to that too. But for what? possibly heavy loads?

Diluglio's main critique, besides historical accuracy of the move, is that, he asserts, the high hip bridge "disconnects the core" and that to pull the leg through you have to drop the hip anyway, so why bother? Why indeed! the point of this article. We'll come back to that.

And so, Diluglio concludes, that what he's demoing is a deliberate, connected "movement pattern." Since Gray Cook is rather the champion of movement patterns, saying that his version is doing the TGU properly as a movement pattern is rather throwing down a red flag. Especially when on his newsletter he says of this version that it represents a movement that "if left unaddressed would have led to injury for both them and whomever they taught afterwards. "

So since i repect Anthony Diluglio's work (and have reviewed his awesome newport workout elsewhere), i wanted to get a better understanding of the rationale for the hip bridge.

It turns out i'm in the middle of reviewing Gray Cook and Brett Jones Kalos Sthenos DVD set all about the TGU, so went there first for an answer. Unfortunately, while the DVD does present the hip bridge, and it does provide a great set of corrective strategies to achieve it, it does not go into detail as to WHY this part of the move has been introduced.

In the manual by Mark Cheng that is available for the DVD, mark writes that this "Post to High Pelvis" is to "develop hip extension and to serve tactical purposes." Mark goes on:

For tactical purposes, the high pelvic bridge develops the ability to drive the hips upward and forward to create space for moving the leg backward into a more favorable base.
Well hmm. I guess i'm not sure what a "tactical purpose" is in the TGU - that's not likely Mark's fault; i don't have a martial background, but as for movement for leg clearing, Diluglio makes a pretty compelling demo that the hip down offers no difficulty in getting the leg into position in that "more favorable base." Indeed his point is that he can achieve this "tactic" quicker and better with the hip down.

So, neither the DVD nor the manual provide a reply to the main critique of Anthony's: that the core is disonnected, and there is a consequent loss of stability.

After raising this with colleagues over at the RKC instructor forum, David Whitley pointed to a podcast by Gray Cook addressing these issues head on. Thanks to RKC Eric Moss for the link from the dragondoor site. I'm sorry i don't have a date for the podcast - will update as soon as i have one.

Here's an overview of what Cook says:

Rationale for the approach: it's a great (self) screen for any athlete:
  • the motivation for focusing on the TGU in Kalos Sthenos has been, in part, as a type of screen - it shows up alot of the same issues that come up in the poor movement screening
  • single leg bridges as Mark demo'd in the TGU are welcome because they put the hip flexor against the glute and "the hip extends as opposed to the low back; " a quad dominant athlete will give back rather than hip extension.
  • that move is likely controversial because it's hard
  • it's "an intensional speed bump" - to slow down and pay attention
  • It's a great corrective strategy to help with a weak thomas test that shows a hard time opening the hips
  • As a screen it shows the problem before you know what to correct
Historical Context
  • They didn't invent the three point hip extension - they've seen it and many other variants in their review of the TGU
  • People in the 19th Century doing calisthenics in the gym with indian clubs and rope climbing and deep squatting in unison had much better mobility than most folks do today.
It's not the only way to do it, but it honors each stage of the move so one can do any variant well:
  • Have encouraged Anthony Diluglio to look at WHY they're doing the move this way.
  • "Are we letting people through the get up, or are we catching them at a place that could hurt them later on in say more "extravagant" kettlebell moves?
  • The TGU is one of the few fullbody moves with the KB - it honors mobility and stability; hits the left and right side. It's not about strength; it's about moving and all three planes.
  • Once you've got this TGU variant totally down - all the corrections are there - DO WHATEVER GET UP YOU WANT
  • Don't skip it because you don't like it - it's challenging:
Some of the high hip bridge variant's physiology:
  • the Lat on the left = glute on the right (via anatomy trains), and that will be challenging for some folks
  • it also reveals janda's crossed syndrome: tight psoas with a glute that could be better.
  • puts athletes up against a problem
  • Use this as a Corrective strategy to see if you can clear your hips as well as you thought.
  • The get up is not about how quick or how much you can get up; it's about honoring each stage of the exercise.
  • No one's is more historically accurate or not; this one cleans up your movement.
Memorable Quote:
The purpose and nature of coaching is to hold you up against your weakest links, to expose you to a weakness to allow you to rise to a challenge so your opponent or life does not find your weakness.
Putting it Together:
Does the above address the concerns raised by Anthony Diluglio?

About the core disconnected: well, the high hip bridge, properly executed, is pulling the psoas with the glute to work hip extension rather than back extension. The psoas and glutes both are considered two of the big five of the core muscle sets in "the core" (pdf)
As part of the "upper core" - the lats are also well engaged with the shoulder, thoracic spine, scapula (word doc about upper/lower core)

As Cook points out, and as a survey will quickly show, hip bridge work is pretty common core training. So, don't quite see a disconnected core in a hip bridge.

The next assertion is safety: that people will hurt themselves. It's not clearly explained in the accompanying vid why a high hip bridge may lead to injury, and it's only asserted in the text on the page. There is a quick mention in the video about how this move is a strength move with weight and some speed ("boom boom boom") - perhaps the implication is that the high hip bridge can't be maintained with weight?

If that's the assertion, to go back to Cook, this movement isn't seen as a strength move; it's seen about "honouring each part of the move." In the RKC, and indeed in the CK-FMS and in Kalos Sthenos, a form of learning the move is "naked" (without weight) - in order to get each part of the move dialed in. After that, a shoe is balanced on a closed fist, to get arm position dialed in. In other words, when learning and checking movement issues, there's no point adding weight to dysfunction.

One might say, well ah ha, then you can't use this move for real heavy loads.

I dunno about that, but more particularly, i dunno if that's the point. Cook's point seems to be, the high hip bridge in the TGU is a great point to find your weakest link.

If it's showing up in lack of ability to get hip extension, maybe that should be a sign unto you. If you can get this version dialed in, as Cook states, go ahead and do whatever version you'd like. As Cook also says, he could make arguments in support of the high hip bridge, Diluglio's "hover" (as cook calls it) and the squat version (which he says he's often seen with a lot of valgus knee collapse and other issues because only 20% of the present population can do a deep squat properly). THe rationale for this version is to reveal the weakness and provide the opportunities to correct it.

This is actually how i've been using the TGU in my own practice - as a great way to look at an athlete's movement issues. It's great if i don't have the FMS kit, or want to illustrate something to an athlete graphically about left/right side differences in performance. I've also seen it as a great corrective strategy for the same reasons.

So, i can't quite follow the argument that it's not safe.
I could imagine that if folks have learned this high hip bridge method, but have not yet done the work to correct their performance to get that high hip bridge, doing it sort of the way we see Anthony in the photo above, then, well, as Cook says, that mobility/stability issue may show up as a performance limiter later on, that could lead to injury. But that's different than the move itself being unsafe.

It *is* a strength move, Dam it.
Cook talks about the move being about mobility/stability rather than strength - the way they're using it, as prepatory to other KB/strength work.

Now again some folks may say well i don't care about this corrective stuff; i just want to use it as a strength move (as demonstrated by John Wild Buckley TGU'ing a live lithe human being).

And that's fine. In fact it's kinda fun.

So, no advocacy of superiority of one form over the other here. Do what you do. It seems, however, the question Cook and Co. are asking is simply:
how's your mobility/stability getting there? And if you can back off the speed and the weight to really look, what do you see? and seeing it, what do you do?

(Anthony, if i've missed something, please shout, and i'll get it in.)

Hope this helps anyone else who may have been having the same questions about this approach.

update post: tgu's relation to the fms: cheap screen or not?

related posts: zhealth - about || zhealth assessment

Saturday, April 18, 2009

How to Prep for the RKC Certification Weekend - the other stuff

Folks interested in doing the RKC Certification Weekend regularly ask folks at the Dragon Door Forum how to prep for what is a pretty intense 21 hours/3day certification session (overview of the weekend experience here). The expression "bring your game" applies. Last year, Brett Jones did a fabulous article in Hard Style Magazine Winter 08 on how to prepare for the physical part of that game. Note: be SURE to focus on double kettlebell work as Brett presents the drills in that article. (And heh, if you're in the states, and you need extra KB's for doubles practice, DD has new 30% lower prices.) Also, be sure to consider your training plan to include a back-off week the week BEFORE the cert itself.

This post is meant as a quick overview of the attitude and practicailities side of that preparation, and is the bullet point version of a more in-depth article for Hard Style.

Basic Stuff:
Zinc Oxide Sports tape for your hands. Whether you've ever ripped calluses on your hands before or not, by the end of the cert, 99.9% of participants have tape on their hands. Bring your own. Also, learn how to tape. The best taping method is shown by Rif in this blog post on hand taping. PRACTICE taping AND snatching with the tape in advance of the cert - make sure you know how to use it, and that you have no reaction to the tape you use. There is a LOT of swinging in the course.

Hat. Not a baseball hat where the brim will get in your eyes and force you to change your head position learning the moves, but something to shade your nose and your neck. Alternatively, buffs are very good for head or neck cover for when you may be asked to doff your hat during testing.

Chalk. Again, you may want to bring your own and practice with it before hand so you know how you'll be with it. We watched a number of follks lose the bell on the snatch test who seemed not used to the chalk experience while trying to save their hands.
Bandaids/antibacterial ointment. You're your own best medic. If you get a cut or the skin pulls off your hands, putting sticky coaches' tape directly on the skin may not be fun. Some of the best new bandaids around are Bandaids AktiveFlex. They're waterproof and they really DO stay with the bendy twistiness of the skin. You can put coaches/zinc tape right over this.

Hydration System. Have a water bottle and refill it often. The ASCM has great recommendations about how to stay hydrated outdoors during sporting activities. Gulp rather than sip, too.

Snacks. You may want to think about making some homemade protein bars to nibble during the breaks - just don't be late coming back from break. If not that, nuts and raisins are a good protein/fat/carb (ratios in that order) way to stay energied up without getting full. The reason i like homemade protein bars from protein powder, egg whites and crushed nuts is that it's bioavailability is fast.

Sunscreen. Any red necks showing up get "punished" on site, per team. Sunburn is taken really seriously. Don't let it happen. Stay slathered. YOu may want to practice with the brand of choice.

Cotton Handkerchief. When a sweat gets going, and the persperation mixes with sunscreen and heads to your eyes, it can be grim. If you're wearing non-cotton shirts, there's nothing there to wipe up the sweat, so having a cotton hanky or bandana can be a good thing.
Camera. Whether disposable or on your phone or a small digital, bring one. You'll be glad you did.

Cultural Practice
There's really nothing like it. And there's not a lot of explanation about what to expect or what is expected in advance, so i hope this helps:

Orientation. From the start, folks are assigned to teams. if something unexpected happens, or if you're unsure about something, ask your team lead right away. Assume that the cert management wants to find a solution for you for whatever the issue may be.

ATTEN-TION/Hustle. Yes it does run in what one imagine might be a militaresque way. PRactice happens in teams, but there are sessions with the group lead for particular parts of the course. THis means dropping what you're doing in your team and RUNNING (not walking) to the teaching circle area and paying attention. This also means when someone leading says "is that clear?" the expected reply is a very harty, loud "yes" (ok, there's a lot of "yes sir'ing" too). Part of this call and response is (a) to optimize the time - no time wasted shuffling feet and (b) the other part is to make sure people are on the same page - there's a lot to cover. So to avoid additional drills assigned for tardy responses, hustle and reply loudly.

Technique Clinique: be prepared to participate fully. A huge part of the course is looking at how to address common issues in performing moves. Pavel leads most of these corrective sessions. They are big q&a sessions where the teams all look on, and are asked either to comment on what the problem is, what a fix is, or to ask any other questions they may have. Lack of comment or question is not taken as a good thing. Drills will be assigned. This is your opportunity to ask field leading experts about how to solve problems instructing with KB's. It's a gold mine opportunity. Be sure to be ready with questions and demonstrations that you have learned the corrective procedures.

Be Proactive. Assessment takes place throughout the course. Not just during the snatch test, not just during the teaching demo, not just during the test of the moves, but throughout. If someone's volunteering during a demo and they or the instructor need a kettlebell, hustle to go get it for them. If there's crap in the way, jump in and move it to safe place. In other words, look out for opportunities to offer service. You will see all the team leads supporting each other this way during the weekend. They're modeling the behaviour they want to see within the teams. Reflecting back that behaviour will ensure you have a great weekend.

Dragon Door Kettlebells on Sale? No, new prices from new production

Dragon Door kb's were one of the only KB's to have been made in the USA. While they have a rep of being the 'best' of all KB's in the US, they also have a rep as the priciest, putting them out of reach of many would be KB'ers.

Well, much to my complete surprise - it's a fluke i saw this - they're now about 30% less than they were before. Other percentages on various models.

So if you're looking to give these a try (that's you, Steve D), DD's have just become more reachable. How'd they do this? selling off old stock? nope. Moving to China, like everyone else. Well, moving production to China.

In the UK, colleagues at the awesome London Kettlebells and i were looking at getting locally produced KB's in the UK - cost was prohibitive, so Dragon Door was a unique producer. If you have a US made bell, treasure it. IT's just become rare.

John Du Cane of DD, however says that the quality is "even better" than the previous US ones. He's also said that if they could have afforded to stay in the US they would have done so.

One of the things i've liked about the DD's is that they have very good customer support. Of one of the DD bells i got, one had a flaw in the handle paint: a replacement bell was shipped out immediately with a label for ups to pick up the faulty one. No fuss no muss. They're pretty fast to reply to emails to "support" too.

So now all you (wouldbe) swingers have a chance to check out what DD's calling a "limited time offer"but is really apparently their new pricing - for good.

And if you already have one (or a few; they multiply), now may be the time to get that Beast you've been holding out for.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Preliminary Review: the Sedona Method, getting rid of crap around goals

We all set goals; we don't always achieve them. What's with that? It may not be because we don't have a great plan; it may be because we have a whole lot of beliefs and related crap around those goals that keep us from achieving them. Likewise sometimes we feel flat, stuck, and can't imagine getting to a new place of success.

Recently, i've been experimenting with an approach called the Sedona Method to check out issues around goals, and i've been surprised both by what i've been finding, and what's been coming back. The following is a very preliminary review/overview.

[UPDATE: overview detailing more specifically what's in the tin and experiences five months on now posted - Aug 09] [UPDATE AUG 2014 - there are NO affiliate links in this post unless indicated - and yup, five years i can't believe it - i'm still finding this approach incredibly valuable]

The Sedona Method kinda kicks the can of Positive Thinking and/or Visualization (or something called "The Secret" (!) which is aka "the law of attraction" - if you just think about it and "draw it in" you can have it).

The reason this challenge to "positive thinking" is intriguing from a health/athletic perspective is that sport psychology is infused with visualizing the goal; wanting the goal; tasting the goal. Wanting it badly enough. Perhaps these are folks who also think no pain, no gain?

To be fair, we've heard the great stories of lance armstrong and other cancer patients visualizing their cancer getting smaller; going into remission; going away. So there's likely much to be said for visualizing a goal. But the Sedona method suggests that we "bank in the bank, not in the head" - that we can get so into a visualization that we avoid what it frames as Right Actions. So how do we get to Right Actions?

Here's the surprise: we actually need to let go of the goal first and foremost. And that seems totally at odds with positive thinking's "draw it in."

Let go of the goal? Isn't the whole point of having a goal to achieve a goal?

The intriguing thing here, at least to me, is that letting go of the goal is a process of checking out what comes up around the expression of a goal.

Indeed, the whole way of expressing the goal is critical. For instance, the sedona approach is particular about avoiding framing a goal as "i want" rather than "i allow myself to." Why? "want" actually means "to lack" and to express a goal in terms of a lack apparently just assures that lack. Would you rather have the goal or want the goal, asks Hale Dwoskin who leads this process. Gotta give props on that one.

SO letting go...
Once you have a goal either as general as "i allow myself to have incredible health all the time" or as specific as "i allow myself to press the 24kg this term" the next step in the process is to check out FEELINGS around this goal - maybe it's disbelief; maybe it's fear; maybe it's a desire to fit in. A big (albeit simple) part of the process is just to get those sometimes uncomfortable feelings (lusts, fears, whatevers) sufficiently in view to be able to do something about them so they stop clogging the pipes.

So once those feelings are honestly identified, they can be addressed. And in the sedona method, being addressed doesn't mean figuring out WHY they're there. It means letting go of them, and letting them in and looking at them until they can be let go of, dropped.

That makes it sound so simple: dropping feelings as easily as one drops a KB after kenneth's vo2max workout. Right. Imagine someone saying "i'm really afraid of failing to make this lift by this date" or "i'm really afraid of not getting this contract" and someone says "can you allow yourself to have those feelings? and just for now, can you let go of that feeling as best you can?"

That's it?

Dwoskin's approach is that feelings are just that: feelings. Beliefs likewise are things that we choose to have. And they can get in the way of us being in the world and achieving our potential. Our success. Even *good* feelings, if we try to hang onto them, can be problematic, and reflect a kind of desperation that comes of a "scarcity rather than an abundance mentality."

To get back to the positive visualization thing for a sec: suppose we want to achieve that lift and we see ourselves making that lift, but in the background of our mind are feelings of fear, failure and all sorts of crap that gets in the way of our Right Action (in this case, rest, recovery, sensible practice). Imagine how much better our efforts would be if we got out of our own way.

Part of getting out of our own way in a goal process may also be to find too that the particular goal we had was not *our* goal, but came from somewhere else. That for us there may well be some other health goal we feel better about, but haven't let ourselves go for it, because it's not what we thought we should be doing.

Preliminary Review
Over the past month, i've been going through the Sedona Method 4 part course that promises to help with effortless wealth, health and relationships. This is not an overnight thing: there are 20CDs in the course and that's a lot of listening, pausing to work further on stuff, coming back to parts and so on. So a month is barely time to get through it all when i can only come back to it in the evenings. That's why this is such a preliminary review.

Intriguingly, the place that so far has had the biggest impact from this practice is relationships - at home and especially at work. This has been an unlooked-for bonus (despite being part of the package). When there's crap up at work, there are bound to be LOTS of feelings - lots of wants especially and wishing things were different, wanting people to be different. blah blah blah. How useful is that? where's the right action in that? SO being able to work through some of this (that is, "let go" of a lot of stuff) has been grand.

As for the wealth, well i really like the abundance instead of scarcity mentality. For one thing, that perspective takes the stress level way down - and what good has stressing out about a deadline ever done to get the thing done? And lots of good stuff has been coming in from surprising and unlooked for places.

As for health, well, i'm just getting over the worst cold of my life, but after not being able to move for days, and about 2 weeks away from serious kettlebelling, i came home to press the 20k twice yesterday. That's a record. And heck i wasn't even trying :)

I haven't had the knowledge/time to apply the approach to a specific goal, but i'll come back to this topic as stuff emerges. So far, the benefits in the little time i've spent with the program are really positive.

I'm keen to look at this approach with respect to staying with healthy living, and how it may help my clients who have an on and off the wagon approach to health and fitness.

Flake Alert
I'm really glad that this approach is not just "draw it in and the universe will provide." Maybe it will; maybe it won't, but in my experience there's a ton of combinations of the right place and the right time, and that fate favours the prepared mind, and so on and so on. So what i like about this approach is especially the notion that we have stuff, and that that stuff can be insidious in getting in the way of our achieving our success. Here's a simple simple process that can help surface and chuck that stuff; that helps us operate on the stuff where we have absolute choice about what we do. And that helps us take Right Action - another concept i like. It's not about pushing or forcing or begging. It's about getting with the Right Actions to achieve the goal once the stuff is out of the way. How simple, clear and sensible is that? Why would it need to be harder than that? We love our drama?

Getting Started on the Cheap with Letting Go
If any of what i'm saying is resonating with you, and you'd like to check out this approach, there are a bunch of ways to do it. You can dive right in and get the 4 course package, or you can get a sampler.
There are some free downloads, and examples on the website. There's also the book version (amazon us affiliate link || uk amazon affiliate link)- for me i found listening to the course more effective, but different learning styles

REQUEST: If you got to the end of this post, i'd really appreciate hearing from you about what you think - too - if you're interested in giving this approach a go. That would be a boon to thinking about incorporating this into training with others.

If you do get the CD or the course, let me know what you find. Or if you're already using this approach, please post a comment on how it's going. And all the best with your success.


Follow up Review: Sedona Method 5 Months on - more detailed review of what's in the package, including overviews of the Sedona Method Course, Effortless Wealth and SUccess, Effortless Relationships, Effortless HEalth and Well Being, , how it's laid out, and experiences/progress with the courses.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dealing with (a wretched) Cold

You've heard about "fighting a cold" - well it is possible. From a strong offense (including the right way to wash hands and upping vitamin D rather than C), to killing it before it takes hold, to getting into it, once it hits - just caring for of all things, nasal hairs, to help clear it out.

Going on the Offensive:
Hand Washing. The best defense is a good offense, and one of the best offenses is washing one's hands, and learning what that means. Not a fast pass under the tap and a shake, but washing 'em (cdc even has a video) There are actually five steps to hand washing: get the water going, get soap in hands, put hands together and rub the palms; then get the backs of the hands, then between the fingers and thumbs, then finger tips. It takes 20secs (singing happy birthday to yourself twice) to get a good hand washing done (try not to touch the facets or door handles in a public can after you've just washed your hands). And if you're curious, for repeated scrubbings, washing hands was shown to be better than using gels, but gels are better than a kick in the head in a pinch, and CDC is recommending the gels in hospitals.

Anecdotally a bunch of us last year committed to improving our hand washing practice, and watched the incidence of colds in our lives decrease. This ain't scientific but it does jive with what we know about cold bugs staying on surfaces for hours after contact with a carrier. It's cheap, it's easy, and seemingly effective.

Also, um, don't pick your nose. That's where the virus works. Touch a germy surface, go for the nose, well you get the picture.

Vitamin D and Vitamin C are both purported to help, but not as a superdose thing. In other words, the idea is to make sure you're getting enough vitamin D and vit C in your diet throughout the year, and in particular in cold season, rather than trying to superdose during a cold. But the really cool thing is that research is showing that C may be a fave, the money (and research) is supporting Vitamin D - something where we are chronically deficient

Indeed, more recent research shows what your mom or grandmom has known for generations: that codliver oil (or loading up on vitamin D) is what keeps away the winter sniffles. While some folks are happy with time release 1000mg of Vit C during cold season in particular, the Vit D question has really been interesting, with recent work suggesting that we need to hit 4000IU's a day - that's about 100 times higher than the current RDA. Other sources range from 2000-10,000, but whatever the number, it's substantially higher than current RDA

Likewise, is zoning down on stress is a great way to barricade against colds taking hold. Seriously, we all over motor our anxiety from time to time, and especially around a cold inflicted setting, that's a great way to improve access for germs. No time to get zen? You can induce meditative states with audio beats technology.

If Cold Symptoms Show Up.

Chelated Zinc. Timing here is everything.

If right at the moment you feel the ghost of a symptom, and you ingest 50mg of chelated zinc (you can get this from places like H&B in the UK or CVS in the States), you can kill off the effects of the cold - doesn't mean the cold doesn't pass through you, but the symptoms are neutralized or greatly reduced. You have to hit it *right* at the start - if the symptoms take hold it's too late. Also, you know if the strain of cold you have is going to be kilt if you feel symptoms lessen in about 30-60 mins after taking the zinc. If they don't lessen, well, hang on for a bumpy ride.

Again, anecdotally i can attest to chelated zinc working this past year to suppress the effects and fight off the efforts of at least 3 colds. The one i'm recovering from now - the worst i think i've had - was not a strain susceptible to zinc. oh man, talk about awful. I'm trying to look on the positive side as below about why it's ok to get the snot kicked out of one by a cold once in awhile.

In the mean time: be careful not to mix vitamin c and zinc. It's wild seeing lozenges that blend zinc and c: in lozenges they cancel each other's effects out at the local level (ie, in a lozenge, or for instance, sucking a zinc lozenge and then drinking OJ. Not optimal).

If a cold Takes Hold: hunker down when it gets bad
It's a false frickin' economy for someone to go to work or school when they are feeling like crap or oozing and coughing. I'm not talking about feeling a little stuffy or having a slight cough. I'm talking the full on symptoms where you're no use to yourself or anyone else.

I know folks who say they *have* to go to work even if they have a cold. That's awful. Where i work, there are few positions i can imagine being so irreplaceable that someone can't afford to miss a day. It's tough if it's for a killer meeting, but even there, some folks might say well life is about relationships that are on going rather than moments that are fleeting.

But philosophy aside, there are real benefits for YOU (and your colleagues) in staying HOME (or wherever) once those symptoms really kick in while you recuperate. First of all, colds are draining on your system: they are going after a lot of cells and that takes energy, so your resources are down. So on those couple of really crapy days, why not stay down and support your body to be able to focus its energy on repair rather than a bunch of other energy using activities?

Also, why spread infection? Spreading colds costs the economy Billions.

It's a myth that we're ONLY contagious before the symptoms happen. In fact, best science has it we're likely contagious one to three days BEFORE symptoms manifest and MOST CONTAGIOUS when symptoms are at their worst (2-4 days into it). So stay home! take care of yourself, get healthy faster.

If you've Got it, Have it
Avoid Taking Decongestants, etc. According to some sources, if you've got a cold (or flu) let it do it's thing: let your nose run, your lungs cough, your fever rise (within reason) - take an aceteminophin if needed, but otherwise let the symptoms go through you *while getting plenty of rest* Why? this is the natural way for your body to purge weak cells that would otherwise take much longer to get kicked out. A cold could be a good thing. Love your cold.

Neti Pots. Now, just because you're not taking a decongestant doesn't mean you want to be horking mucus all day. Something you can do for yourself that's quite natural, ancient and soothing is to use a neti pot for a nasal wash. Effectively, you pour a saline solution up one nostril and the saline comes out the other. Great to have a good blow so that clear stuff doesn't fester and go yellow up in the sinuses. Gross i know, but there it is.

The intriguing thing is, is that Neti Pots have been used for daily nasal douching for centuries apparently, and like other cool things, there's good science for doing so. Apparently our nasal hairs can get freaked out in a cold, pushing mucous in the wrong direction. A nasal wash helps get them circulating the right way again. As a sign of just how far this technology has moved into the main stream, in the US, CVS sells plastic neti pots with pre packaged sodium blends for saline douching.

Yup, love yourself, love your cold. And love your co-workers: stay home, get well.


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