Performance Research for April : Central Fatigue during Exercise part 2

More info for yas on why do you actually stop a heavy training set, high intensity exercise etc.

I have some comments to get to yet on the treadmill post, so hang in there with me. Excellent comments by all and much appreciated!

I am excited that I have 7 exercise tests for the Energy Drink study in the lab this week, which brings me closer to wrapping up the data collection portion, although it equals more cat naps in my car and more coffee.

Congrats to all the new RKCs that passed this past weekend! Sorry I was not able to stop down there, but excellent work! If anyone is around here for the next one and is interested in a Z Health session to optimize your performance, drop me a line—first come first serve.

On to the studies….

Voluntary activation and cortical activity during a sustained maximal contraction: an fMRI study.

Post M, Steens A, Renken R, Maurits NM, Zijdewind I. Department of Medical Physiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Motor fatigue is an exercise-induced reduction in the force-generating capacity. The underlying mechanisms can be separated into factors residing in the periphery or in the central nervous system. We designed an experiment in which we investigated central processes underlying motor fatigue by means of magnetic resonance imaging in combination with the twitch interpolation technique. Subjects performed a sustained maximal abduction (2 min) with the right index finger. Brain activation was recorded with an MR scanner, together with index finger abduction force, EMG of several hand muscles and interpolated twitches.

Mean activity per volume was calculated for the primary motor cortex and the secondary motor areas (supplementary motor, premotor, and cingulate areas) as well as mean force and mean rectified EMG amplitude. Results showed a progressive decline in maximal index finger abduction force and EMG of the target muscles combined with an increase in brain activity in the contralateral primary motor cortex and secondary motor areas. Analysis of the twitches superimposed on the sustained contraction revealed that during the contraction the voluntary drive decreased significantly.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, our data showed that despite an increase in brain activity the voluntary activation decreased. This suggests that, although the central nervous system increased its input to the relevant motor areas, this increase was insufficient to overcome fatigue-related changes in the voluntary drive.

My Notes: Hmmm, perhaps we are seeing a blend of peripheral and central fatigue out in the really real world?

Estimation of critical torque using intermittent isometric maximal voluntary contractions of the quadriceps in humans.

Burnley M. Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion, United Kingdom.

To determine whether the asymptote of the torque-duration relationship (critical torque) could be estimated from the torque measured at the end of a series of maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) of the quadriceps, eight healthy men performed eight laboratory tests. Following familiarization, subjects performed two tests in which they were required to perform 60 isometric MVCs over a period of 5 min (3 s contraction, 2 s rest), and five tests involving intermittent isometric contractions at approximately 35-60% MVC, each performed to task failure. Critical torque was determined using linear regression of the torque impulse and contraction time during the submaximal tests, and the end-test torque during the MVCs was calculated from the mean of the last six contractions of the test.

During the MVCs voluntary torque declined from 263.9 +/- 44.6 to 77.8 +/- 17.8 N x m. The end-test torque was not different from the critical torque (77.9 +/- 15.9 N x m; 95% paired-sample confidence interval, -6.5 to 6.2 N x m). The root mean squared error of the estimation of critical torque from the end-test torque was 7.1 N x m. Twitch interpolation showed that voluntary activation declined from 90.9 +/- 6.5% to 66.9 +/- 13.1% (P indicating the development of both central and peripheral fatigue.

CONCLUSION: These data indicate that fatigue during 5 min of intermittent isometric maximal voluntary contractions of the quadriceps leads to an end-test torque that closely approximates the critical torque.

My notes: see my comment above!

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Active Release Technique (ART), Z Health, Hands on Work (Massage, Guided Exericse)

What are your thoughts about ART?

This was a good question that I received about 3 times in the past week, so I thought I would address it here.

It is a general question, so I will answer it in relation to general prinicples. Again, everything needs to be custom to the athletes that you work with of course.

For more info, click the links below

Get Off the Foam Roller

Myth Busters-Painful Soft Tissue Work

Some have believed based on my posts above that I am against soft tissue/hands on work; and that is not true at all. I am against PAINFUL soft tissue work!

All of the ART therapists that I have met so far have been great and extremely knowledgeable. Some do painful soft tissue work and others do not (although they are much less common). I don’t believe pain is needed to get a result and will actually diminish your results. You are normally seeing an ART person to get out of pain or change a motor pattern/pain.

Don’t try to blow up the safe when you just need the correct combination to open the door.

Here is another great post by Carl Valle at Elite Track and my response to it.

Soft Tissue Therapy by Carl Valle (click the title to open it)

My response to Carl.

Hi there Carl! Thanks for the kinds words as it means a lot coming from someone such as yourself.

In relation to experience with athletes that is an excellent point. To date, I have done a fair amount of Z Health sessions (I do have the exact number documented and not pulled out of thin air if you need further info).

Note that when I say Z Health this may apply to dynamic joint mobility work, visual testing/movements, vestibular work or even hands on work (which means that I am holding
tissue/joint/muscle in a specific orientation while they perform an exercise).

I agree that most of these are not what would be considered high level athletes and more weekend warriors types. I was able do a session with a recent Olympic competitor and was able to get her out of pain for the first time in years (see link below)

Z Health and Marathon Running

The same principles would apply to high level athletes.

I agree 100% that soft tissue work done correctly can have HUGE changes for people. No question about that!

You point about most businesses is a good one. I do run a business in the private sector.

Clients/athletes come to a professional in the field for results. My guarantee is that if I can’t get your pain to less than a 2 on a 1-10 scale in ONE session, it is FREE. No results=no money for me=out of business.

Down with foam rollers! Preach on.

Yes, there is research on eccentric stimuli to help encourage remodeling, esp in the case of
tendonOSIS as you know. I like to think upstream—-what causes tension on the muscles/tendons?

Control from the nervous system, so if we can alter that signal, over time the structures will adapt.

Carl said “..but the direct approach WITH motor changes and other elements is a full approach.”

Yes! I have had cases where I’ve needed to do hands on (touch an athlete just as you would touch them to guide them during an exericse) to get a result. In one specific case I held the hamstrings in a specific orientation with the athlete doing an opposite elbow circle (joint mobility), with her head turned to the right and eyes in the up position.

Her hamstrings worked much better afterward and total time of the drill was about 1 minute (getting to that point was about 40 minutes in that case though). She had to follow up and do a similar drill (without hands on work) 3xs a day for about 3-4 weeks for it to “stick”—there is never a free lunch

In general, I do the minimal approach to get the maximal results. Precise joint mobility work seems to get me there about 70% of the time ( I mean 72.8958859% of the time, hehee). The more times I work with athletes and as their movement progresses, the more other work they will need—hands on (guided exercises), visual (eyes held in a specific position), and vestibular (head motions) ; but with all things “it depends” as I may skip around depending on the client. I like to start simple and then only add complexity when the simple looking things do not work.

I hope that answers the ART question!

Any follow up points, thoughts, clarifications, please post them in the comments below.
Mike T Nelson

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2009 Predictions for Health, Fitness and Athletic Performance

So I wrote this back in November and have not had time to even proof it and get it out and now 1/4 of 2009 is over! Time flies.

I have only listed 5 here and if you want to see the rest of the list I will only be sending it out to my loyal newsletter subscribers. It only takes a few seconds to sign up to my newsletter, so go to the upper right hand side of this blog and enter in your name and email. I HATE spam and will never sell your address or send you crap. Plus you will be the first to hear about any upcoming events, products and news.

The rest of the list will go out to my newsletter on Monday, March 23 at noon CST, so sign up now.

Here ya go!

Mike T Nelson’s Predictions for Health, Fitness and Athletic Performance in 2009

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” Niels Bohr

In no particular order, here are my thoughts

1) Movement and Mood
I think more people will look at the connection between movement and mood. All things being equal, the better your movement, the better your mood. Notice your movement when you are sick–usually not very good. How do you know when Fido is sick? Fido’s movement goes in the hopper as he mopes around. Fido can’t speak to you and tell you he is sick, you infer that from his movement. Fix your movement and note the difference! This is a huge reason why I love Z Health. See also

Mood and Mobility

Dopamine, Mood, Movement and Exercise

2) Kettlebells are here to stay

Every year, more and more people learn about kettlebells and they are here to stay. Kettlebells are not new, and have been used for well over 300 years.

The kettlebell appears in a 1704 Russian Dictionary (Cherkikh, 1994). I love KBs, but I agree that they are NOT the ONLY implement to use. If you only use KBs–great, but it is not a requirement. KBs provide a great way to perform many great exercises like KB swings, KB snatches, presses, cleans, etc.

Just make sure to find a good instructor to show you have to use them properly. And be sure to stay far far away from jokers like this below (click on it to open)

Kettleworx As Seen on KARE 11 TV Can Kiss My….

3) Painful hands on (massage) work will be used less
As more people investigate the nervous system, there will be less and less use of painful techniques for hands on work.
Creating pain is NOT needed to get the desired result
, and many times it may be going in the wrong direction.

If you are trying to get OUT of pain, why would you do things that put you IN pain?

If you come in to see someone and complain about a painful right shoulder, I could take a hot poker and stab your right ankle with it. The pain in your right shoulder will feel much less. I know this is an extreme example (and no I don’t use red hot pokers or branding irons) , but the idea is similar.

Despite popular belief, even scar work does NOT need to be painful. I’ve had great scar work done on myself and none of it was painful.

If someone wants to use an implement on you, I would politely pass. Check that, I would actually get up off the table and run out the door as fast as you could. Send a check in the mail for payment later.

You don’t need someone with a dull spoon digging around your rotator cuff area. It is true that these techniques can result in temporary relief, but long term I believe there is a better way. cough cough, insert Z Health Level 4 plug here.

Don’t try to blow up the safe when you just need the correct combination to open the door.

For more info, see the links below
Myth Busters: Painful Soft Tissue Work

4) Mechanical vs Neurological Solutions
The current trend seems to still be in the mechanical realm for performance and pain reduction. Oh, your hip flexors are “tight” and that further causes your glutes to be inhibited (reciprocal inhibition) so we need to stretch your hip flexors and strengthen your glutes.

While I believe you can get good results with this approach in many cases, but remember that the WHOLE body is HIGHLY INTEGRATED and it is very rarely that simple (although sometimes it is). We need to take a WHOLE BODY approach. Many times I see hip flexor and glute issues traced back to the feet/ankles being goofed up.

A pure biomechanical approach will provide some results, but at some point you will run into a ceiling (stole that one from Dr. Cobb). At some point we need to think WHY is a certain muscle tight/weak, etc and we end up at the nervous system.

The nervous system is what is TELLING the muscles to be tight, so for OPTIMAL results we need to use a system that targets the nervous system (hence, why I love Z Health, I know some are tired of hearing that by now).

If you believe that the nervous system holds all the keys, and most will agree with that, why would you go back to a pure biomechanical approach then?

When I started college many years ago (ok, it was 1992 and I suddenly feel old now since I am STILL in freaking college.) I was convinced that the biomechanical approach was the best and even completed a MS in Mechanical Engineering focusing on biomechanics. I soon realized that I needed to go further upstream into the brain and nervous system since that is what is really controlling the show! Hence that part about me still being in college.

5) Vision Training will be more mainstream
Rumor has it that Nike has a vision training system due out in 2009. Most people think of vision as only visual acuity (how well you can see the numbers and letters at the doc’s office). I am 20/20, so I am all good, right?" onclick="javascript:urchinTracker('/outbound/3._br_/');">

There are actually many more components to vision such as the ability to see in 3D (since we have 2 eyes), the ability to switch from a close to a far target (looking up from my laptop here my eyes have to change focus to see who is walking towards me for example) and other components.

Remember that the eyes are controlled by MUSCLES! Muscles can be trained.

Keep in mind the SAID principle—-ALL visual work will have to be made SAID specific as part of the progression! This point will most likely be lost. Z Health S Phase contains many many great visual training skills. Drop me a line if you are interested—awesome stuff

I have more predictions, but you will have to sign up to my newsletter by entering your name and email in the box on the upper right hand side. Do so by this coming Monday, March 23 at noon CST as I will be sending out my newsletter with the rest of list then.

I promise I will NEVER send you any spam because I hate stupid spam.

That is it for my crystal ball look into 2009. What are your predictions/thoughts? Agree or disagree? Am I off my rocker completely?

Rock on
Mike T Nelson

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Big Announcement: Mike T Nelson Online Training Now Available

Big Announcement
Alright, I know you have waited long enough. If I was better at marketing I would have some long speech and then after 40+ pages I would finally get to the point; but I don’t have time for that right now.

I have a few spots open now for online coaching.

To be perfectly honest, I have turned down online coaching up until recently. I’ve had requests from many in the past as I did not feel it was a fair way to train people as I could never see them move! How could I write a custom program for someone that I knew so little about?

But I have found a way around it, although the downside is it’s still somewhat limited by location.

I am in the process of working out a deal with the local Z Health trainer in your area to bring you the best of both worlds and it will be custom to YOU!

Here is how it works
If you are interested, drop me an email by clicking the text Email Mike”

I will check if the local Z Trainer has room for an appointment

If so, we will get you scheduled and I will get feedback from them about your movement

I will take the information and write a custom program for YOUR MOVEMENT!

All programs include mobility work, strength training and nutrition (I use the Precision Nutrition
System from Dr. John Berardi and it is top notch all the way).

Why Should I Do This?
There is so much information out there today, probably more than at any point in time really. It
can be a full time job to just sift through it, try stuff, more sifting, try more stuff, etc before you even find something that is effective (assuming you do find something that works!)

Skip the mess, save yourself the time and hire a professional.

The Catch
There is always a catch. The deal is since I am finishing up my PhD (on track to finish this
August) and I work at the University of Minnesota also as a Teaching Assistant, train others, etc, my “free time” is extremely limited so I only currently have 3 openings for online clients.

This is not some marketing hype or a way to get you to take action, it is that limited since I want to make sure I deliver the highest quality possible to those that sign up. There may be more openings in the future, but right now I honestly have no idea as I need to graduate!

Ok, What is the Cost?
The cost is $330 per month and there is a minimum of a 3 month commitment. Here is what you get EACH month

  • Customized mobility drills based on YOUR body and YOUR movement
  • Customized strength work based on your body. I never use any cookie cutter programs
  • Full nutrition work with the Precision Nutrition system.
  • Full customized (notice a trend here) supplement recommendations

Heck, just by dumping the supplements that don’t work or switching to an alternative you may even pay for half or all of the program alone!

I will walk you through each step of the process and hold you ACCOUNTABLE! Let’s face it, if you could do it on your own, you would have done it by now!

Testimonial Time
I will have some testimonials coming along this week, but here is a great one to kick it off.

“I am confident to say that I would trust any Z-Health® Master Trainer to work with my family or myself above any other industry practitioner.”

Dr. Eric Cobb, Founder/Creator

For those of you that know Dr. Cobb, I have not seen him publicly write a testimonial for ANYTHING since he takes it VERY seriously. I know that he would not personally put his “seal of approval” on just anyone. To date, there are only 5 Z Health Master Trainers in the world and all of them have the Dr. Cobb seal of approval (and yes I am one of the five).

If you are interested in reading about the Z Health Master Trainer experience, see this link below:

Z Health Master Trainer Evaluation Review

How Do I Sign Up or Get More Information?
To see if this is available in your area, please email me by clicking this link Email Mike”
In the subject line put “Online training”
I will get back to you within 24-48 hours with the next steps. First payment relieved secures your spot. If there is still a tie, anyone who is on my newsletter list (sign up on the upper right hand side of this blog) gets it.

Any Questions?
Any questions at all, let me know. Feel free to post them here in the comments.

Rock on!
Mike T Nelson
Z Health Master Trainer

I can guarantee the price will be going up if any spaces happen to open up later. Once I complete my PhD this August, I can guarantee the price will go up once again! I am absolutely relentless about bringing the greatest information that you can use to achieve your goals.

To date, I’ve spent well over $150,000 on just tuition alone (BA Natural Science, MS in Mechanical Engineering/Biomechanics, post graduate work in Biomedical Engineering, and PhD Candidate in Exercise Physiology). Scary to think I started college full time in 1992! Yikes!

Add in about $17,000 in further certifications (NSCA-CSCS, RKC, Z Health Level 1-4, Z Health Master Trainer) and this doesn’t even count other seminars, presenting at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), countless books, DVDs, etc. My goal is cut your learning curve down as fast as possible; so email me today by clicking Email Mike”

If it is out of your price range, just stay tuned here for more great research and insights almost every day FREE of charge!

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Erasing Human Fear Response? New Study

It’s Coming!
Just a heads up that I will be having a very special announcement in the next few days here on my blog. Until then, it will be top secret. For coaches/trainers or neuro freaks, I have an announcement at the end here just before the latest study also.

New Videos
I am working on updating my You Tube Channel, so check it out here

The newer videos can be found on the lower left hand side and more to come, so let me know what YOU want to see.

Z Health R Phase in Minnesota this August and September
Just got word from the fine folks at Z Health, that the Z Health level 1 R Phase cert will be here in Minnesota on Aug 14-16 and the second part on Sept 18-20.

If you are a personal trainer/fitness professional in the Twin Cities area, now is a perfect time to sign up for the course. Heck, it is well worth traveling for too as I’ve done almost all of my Z Health certs in AZ, CA or NC. I can honestly say that I have no regrets from doing any Z Health cert and I fully recommend them.

Full disclosure: I don’t work for Z Health and I make ZERO money off of recommending the certs to anyone. I do however, get some money off further certifications for myself. I will be at the 9S Nutrition course they are doing for 5 days in AZ this July to further my own knowledge once again.

Any questions about the R Phase, please feel free to email me directly. If you talk to Z Health directly, tell them hello and that I sent ya. Email me by clicking HEREl

Below is MC’s excellent review of R Phase, so don’t just take my word for it.

What is Z-Health R-Phase: not your daddy’s joint mobility

Z Health Information on this blog

Brand New Study on Fear Response
Below is an amazing new study, thanks to Andrew Schimming for sending it to me.

I’ve been following this research since about 4 years ago now when I was taking an advanced neurology course here at the U of MN. A researcher in the class brought this topic as he was working on it with mice. Fast forward several years and now we have HUMAN data on it!

Why Should I Care?
In general, you can learn by 2 different mechanisms
1) Fear based
2) Positive based

Now this it not in a classical sense, it is just the way I divide them up to illustrate a point.

For fear based learning, it is primarily driven by the amygdala in the brain aka “the fear center.”

An example is to have an instructor teach you a deadlift, but now he says to deadlift 315 lbs for 4 reps or else he will shoot you. Ok, so this is an extreme example, but you will probably be able to do it.

A more positive based learning experience would be for him to take you through the steps of learning a deadlift by using positive exercise cues. So instead of putting a gun to your head or yelling “YOU SUCK”, the coach would show you the CORRECT way to do the lift and address areas of the lift where you can improve.

Both methods will work, but at what cost? Everything has a cost. My argument is that learning via positive based emotion will have a much lower cost and long term will be better. You may deadlift 315 lb for reps, but you may not get out of bed the next day if it is your first time and you are not Andy Bolton (world record deadlift holder who was rumored to have deadlifted 500lbs the first time he ever did the lift–that bastard!).

The amazing part about this study below is that it hints at a mechanism that may decrease the cost of fear based learning. This could have huge implications for post traumatic stress disorder also as the memories stored could be “retrieved” later with a much lower cost (less anxiety, stress, etc).

Anyone Want More? (Coaches Read Here)
If people are interested in coaching cues based on neurology, let me know. I have a whole presentation already completed. It literally took me quite some time to pull all the literature, do some experiments myself, consult with other really smart trainers and steal their ideas (hey, you think I come up with all of this stuff on my own).

If you are interested, drop a note in the comments section or email me directly. I have not seen this material presented anywhere else and feel it is very valuable.

Beyond extinction: erasing human fear responses and preventing the return of fear

Merel Kindt1, Marieke Soeter1 & Bram Vervliet1

Abstract Animal studies have shown that fear memories can change when recalled, a process referred to as reconsolidation. We found that oral administration of the beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist propranolol before memory reactivation in humans erased the behavioral expression of the fear memory 24 h later and prevented the return of fear.

CONCLUSION: Disrupting the reconsolidation of fear memory opens up new avenues for providing a long-term cure for patients with emotional disorders.

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TRX Suspension Trainer: Train Like the Pros.

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