At lot has been happening in the last few months, so here's a round up of life at Chorlton Personal Training in Spring 2018!
Sports Massage client and middle distance runner, Xavier O'Hare, has been in great form of late. Perhaps the crowning achievement of his year so far has been claiming his first North of England title. Xavier won the North of England Under 17 Mens 5k Road Running title in style in March. Xav has taken this form into the track season by taking three seconds off his 1500m personal best in his first race of the season.
Way to go Xav!
Sports Massage client and 400m sprinter, Rick Beardsell, has dominated the World Masters sprinting scene in recent years. Things were no different this year as Rick won the European Masters Indoor 400m title this March in a time of 49.53 seconds. Rick will be looking to claim yet another world title at the outdoor championships in the Summer later this year.
Some you may have also seen Rick on Dragons Den this winter. Rick is the inventor of the uniquely designed Shakeshpere Shaker Bottle. Rick took this product to the Den and got the investment of two Dragons.
Fair play Rick!
We now offer Shockwave Therapy, a revolutionary injury treatment method. See ourprevious post on Shockwave Therapy, or watch our Manchester Shockwave Therapy video below to find out more.
Group Fitness Class
Chorlton Personal Training now offers an outdoor group fitness class. This takes place on Wednesdays at 7.15pm in Longford Park. It's just £5 to attend.
We do all kinds of cool stuff, such as rope slams, kettlebell swings, medicine ball routines and bodyweight work. We put in a continuous circuit format so that you get a toning benefit from the resistance work, whilst ramping up your metabolism for a great fat loss workout.
If you want to find out more about the outdoor group fitness class, then just leave a message on the Chorlton Personal Training Contact Form.
For the final part of this Chorlton Personal Training spring update, i'd like to leave a lovely testimonial written by one of my fantastic personal training clients, Gail O'Hare.
Thanks so much for the great testimonial Gail, it means a lot.
I am delighted to announce that we have a new service available.
In addition to our Personal Training and Sports Massage services, we are now providing Shockwave Therapy. This new service is being provided in partnership with Manchester Shockwave Therapy.
Shockwave Therapy is a treatment modality that provides Shockwaves, via a handheld device, to a site of soft tissue injury.
A Shockwave occurs when an object moves faster than the speed of sound. It can be thought of as a pressure wave that moves faster than the speed of sound. It is this movement speed that differentiates a Shockwave from a Sound Wave.
When Shockwaves are applied to a site of injury, soft tissue healing is stimulated through a variety of mechanisms. Firstly, the Shockwaves inhibit afferent pain-receptor function, and so can provide some initial pain relief. This can be useful in allowing patients to commence their rehabilitation programmes. However, this initial pain relief is expected to be short lived, and patients are not encouraged to participate in intense activity within 48 hours of Shockwave treatment.
Shockwave Therapy also increases blood flow to the treated site and induces an inflammatory-mediated healing process. As such, anti-inflammatory medication should not be taken in conjunction with Shockwave Therapy.
Shockwave Therapy has been shown to be particularly effective in treating Chronic Tendon injuries. Shockwave Therapy is recommended in cases where long term tendon injuries have not responded to conventional physiotherapy treatments. In these scenarios, it is recommended to have three to four Shockwave treatment sessions, with one week in between each session. Long term positive outcomes are usually seen within a month of the final treatment session.
As Shockwave Therapy is a safe treatment modality. In stubborn cases, patients can return for further bouts of three to four Shockwave treatment sessions, keeping a one week gap in between each Shockwave session.
In partnership with Manchester Shockwave Therapy, we are providing this new Shockwave treatment at our usual South Manchester treatment base, in Chorlton.
Our Shockwave treatment sessions are very competitively priced, at £100 for an individual Shockwave treatment session or £300 for a block of four Shockwave treatment sessions.
You can contact us here, to book your Shockwave Therapy treatment, or to find out more about the treatment.
Happy New Year!
I hope you have had a great Christmas.
I have had a very relaxing Christmas spent with the family in Norway.
I must admit I did very little in the way of exercise or training over the Christmas period. However, It's the new year now and i'm back on it. In fact, I have created a little challenge for myself (and for anyone else that wants to do it too...) to train every single day in January. So far it's gone well. I haven't pushed the training too hard yet - as I am aiming to sensibly and gradually increase the training load after my lay-off over the Christmas period. But it's now a week into January and I have been sticking to my goal of training every day.
I have been posting on social media my daily workouts using the Hashtag #tedjan18 - so start following that hashtag, and follow me on my various social media channels to stay in the loop with how i'm getting on with the challenge.
I'd really like it if some of you guys got on board with the challenge too. Don't worry if you havn't started the challenge yet - it's not too late - just try and train every day for what's left of the month (and don't forget to use the hashtag #tedjan18).
No doubt you are intending to start the new year right - with lots of exercise and fitness training. However, most people have already given up on their new years resolutions by the second half of January. So this challenge could really help give you the impetus to stick at it all the way through that all important first month. If you make it through to the end of January, then you will be well on the way to having set up a positive habit for the rest of the year - or even the rest of your life!
So I hope to interact with lots of you on social media during the rest of January - lets help each other and support one another in order to get the most out of this challenge.
May 2018 be your best year yet.
Body maintenance for musicians... a little off topic compared to my previous articles. However, I do have several musicians on the books at my Manchester Personal Training base at Longfords Gym and my Sports Massage base at Trafford Athletics Club.
So why is it important for musicians to look after their bodies, and how should they go about doing so?
Well of course, it's important for everyone to look after their bodies. However, musicians have a unique set of circumstances that require consideration. These include:
So what can be done?
Well there's not much that can be done about the fact that long hours need to be spent playing your instrument. However, when practicing do try to make sure you take regular breaks. Harpist Angelina Warburton is a strong advocate of the Pomodoro technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980's. It involves using a timer in order to break down work intervals into manageable chunks. These chunks are traditionally 25 minutes long, and are separated by short breaks before resuming work again.
I would highly suggest considering the Pomodoro Technique. Not only will it give you greater focus during practice, but it will also give your muscles and joints a break from playing your instrument and some respite from what is most likely less than ideal posture.
If you want to take things a step further with the Pomodoro Technique, I would suggest performing a short Yoga routine during your breaks from work... or at least some other form of exercise that will help to counteract the likely poor posture encountered during the practice period.
My final suggestion with regards to practice is simple.
Listen to your body!
If you schedule in two hours of practice per day, that's great. But if, one day, you begin to encounter pain after, say, 1 hour 40 minutes of practice... then stop! Let's face it, the 2 hour per day practice target you decided on is probably an arbitrary amount of time anyway. So it's not worth soldiering on and risking an overuse injury just so you can reach your daily target.
Aside from these practice tips, what else can you do to take care of your body?
I strongly recommend engaging in a regular strength training routine. A good routine for musicians will be one that emphasises your postural muscles to counteract the long hours hunched up practicing. Send me a message on the personal training contact form if you need advice on this front.
Aside from this I would encourage you to take part in whatever fitness activities you find you enjoy the most. You might find going for a run really helps you to de-stress during super busy times. Or maybe a Yoga class is what hits the spot for you. Or maybe you need to take some aggression out on a punch bag!
The key is to make sure you do something you enjoy.
Finally, I would strongly recommend a regular sports massage. Almost every musician I know complains of getting tight back, shoulder and neck muscles. A regular sports massage, perhaps once a month, will really compliment all of the above suggestions by working out those tight muscles which get sore from long hours of practice.
If you need to book a sports massage, you can use our contact form to get in touch.
Here's to your health!
At our Manchester Personal Training and Sports Massage base, in Longford Park, Chorlton, we have a very varied client base. Personal Training clients include busy mums looking to tone up and train for fat loss. The sports massage client base includes many of the Track and Field athletes at Trafford Athletics Club. And I also work closely with a number of the sprints coaches at the athletics club.
So with that in mind, I thought it was time for me to write a few thoughts about strength and conditioning training for sprinters and sprinting.
A good starting point would be to take a look at the strength qualities that are required for high level sprinting. It makes sense to establish what qualities are important for sprinting before deciding how best to train those attributes.
You see, we can express strength in many different ways. Optimal training methods will depend on which expressions of strength are of most importance.
Maximum strength is about producing the greatest possible amount of force and muscular tension. It takes time to build up to such a peak. As such, maximum strength is best expressed when lifting very heavy weights. Such weights cannot be moved quickly, and it may take several seconds to complete a lift using a maximal or near maximal weight. As such, maximum strength is not directly related to sprinting performance, since the sprinter simply does not have sufficient time available to express this quality. In fact, the sprinters foot only remains in contact with the ground for approximately 0.1 to 0.2 seconds with each stride (a far cry from the amount of time needed to express maximum strength).
However, maximum strength is the foundation for all other strength qualities. So even though it is not a direct determinant of sprint performance; it is an important base quality to build in the early part of a sprinter's off season.
Power is the product of both force and velocity, and so it would be easy to assume that power development is of more direct relevance to sprinting. And, of course, it is. Sprinters do need to be capable of producing large power outputs. But a word of caution. Training for power may not be the most important aspect of a sprinter's strength and conditioning programme...
For the same reason that we de-prioritised maximum strength... Explosive strength is perhaps the most important strength quality a sprinter can develop. Explosive strength is the interaction between peak force and time to peak force. Explosive strength can be calculated using the following formula...
So in essence, producing more force in a shorter period of time represents a greater expression of explosive strength. The ability to produce high levels of explosive strength translates very well into being able to produce large amounts of force in very sports- specific time frames... such as the 0.1 seconds in which a sprinter's foot is in contact with the ground when sprinting at top speed.
Of course, there is a crossover between power and explosive strength. Powerful athletes are generally also explosive athletes and vice versa. However, there is a difference in the way in which the two qualities are trained (especially in the context of sprint training). The reason for this comes back to that point on very short ground contact times during sprinting.
Research has consistently shown that ground contact times are a key determinant of elite sprint running performance. Faster top speeds are associated with shorter ground contact times. We also know that a quality known as stiffness is associated with shorter ground contact times during sprinting.
We can apply this concept of stiffness to muscles, joints and tendons. We are particularly interested in knee joint stiffness with regards to sprinting performance. The more stiffness the sprinter can generate at the knee joint upon ground contact, the less movement there will be about the knee joint during ground contact. This in turn results in a reduction in ground contact times (since it is time consuming for the knee to flex and extend through a large range of motion... if we can reduce that range of motion then we are saving time).
We express high levels of explosive strength by producing high levels of force in as short a period of time as possible. In the context of sprinting, this is achieved by generating high levels of knee joint stiffness. This means the sprinter needs to be capable of producing, and controlling, very high levels of force about a very small range of motion. This requires high levels of isometric and eccentric strength. SInce isometric training is a type of training in which muscle length doesn't change during the contraction, this is the polar opposite from power training, where the objective is for the muscle to contract at a high velocity.
So the strength and conditioning programme of a high level sprinter needs to take multiple approaches in order to develop the separate qualities of explosive strength and power.
The explosive strength exercises in the left hand column of the above column represent a progression in terms of specificity to sprinting. Drop Jumps involve stepping off a box, and then attempting to stick the landing as quickly as possible upon ground contact. This specifically trains the eccentric strength that is needed to develop knee stiffness and explosiveness in maximum speed sprinting. Depth Jumps are a progression from Drop Jumps, since they involve a rapid rebound back into the air upon ground contact. These can then be made more specific to sprinting by moving on to tuck jumps - which are arguably less intensive... but that allows for force to be produced during a shorter period time with very little knee movement during ground contact.
Of course, there are many more plyometric exercises that a sprinter could use in their strength and conditioning programme. However, they will all be very different in nature to the type of power exercises listed in the right hand column in the above table. Power movements such as squat jumps and countermovement jumps involve working through a much larger range of motion. This means that the movements take longer, and so time to peak force will be much longer (i.e. less explosive), but the longer time period provides more opportunity to build up to a greater peak velocity... hence why these exercises are more useful for developing POWER.
So generally speaking, once an initial base of maximum strength has been developed, the strength training programme of a sprinter needs to include two very distinct types of training in order to ensure both Power and Explosive Strength are being adequately trained.
There are perhaps a very small number of exceptions to the rule. Certain exercises such as olympic lifting movements and also resisted sprinting (such as hill sprints or sled sprints) are actually very useful for training both Power and Explosive Strength. Perhaps they wont overload either quality to the same extent... but they can be very useful tools for integrating the two qualities together as the training programme becomes more sprinting specific. This provides us with a means to structuring the strength and conditioning programme over the course of a training year. This structure is depicted in the diagram below.
Of course there will always be many routes towards achieving the same goal. However, using the above structure would mean starting out by building a base of maximum strength during the early part of winter training. Following this Power development and explosive strength development can be focused on separately. I would favour developing power in the weight room at this stage and developing explosiveness with plyometric exercises. Later into the winter, with a heavy emphasis on olympic weightlifting style movements, hill sprints, sled sprints and the like, we can attempt to integrate the two qualities of power and explosive strength. These would then usually be gradually phased out as high end speed training becomes more of a feature in the training programme.
This represents a logical approach to the planning of strength and conditioning training for sprinters. It wont suit all programmes of course, as the strength training needs to fit around the sprint training and not vice versa. I hope it offers some food for thought though... And it would be great to open a dialogue on strength training for sprinters in the comments below, should anyone have any different opinions on how to approach things.
Thanks for reading!
Up until now our Manchester personal training location has been at Longfords Gym, Chorlton. Our Sports Massage base has also been right next door, in the old clubhouse of Trafford Athletics Club!
Well, we have changed premises!
Personal training is still taking place at Longfords Gym. However, we have a new and improved space for sports massage.
We now have a nice, private room, specifically for massage, which can be found upstairs in the new clubhouse of Trafford Athletics Club. Although the old space was lovely, as it had a fantastic view of the athletics track...
There were drawbacks to using the old clubhouse for sports massage. The biggest one being that it was a shared space with the athletes from Trafford Athletics Club. So there was limited privacy for massage treatments, as athletes would often be training in the room at the same time.
The new room is now my own private room, just for sports massage! So there's full privacy during massage treatments, and I have plans to spruce it up to create a nice ambience over time as well. Furthermore, there's toilets right next door, and changing and showers below as well. It's still within the grounds of Trafford Athletics Club too, so can easily found by parking in the main Longford Park car park (off Ryebank Road).
My working hours for sports massage bookings are 8am until 8pm on week days, with limited availability on weekends as well.
If you need some sore, tired or tight muscles to be worked on, then you can book a sports massage session using the Chorlton Personal Training Contact form.
It's Mid October, which in my books, is the perfect time to kick start your fitness training programme and maybe even get started with a personal trainer!
Granted, early Autumn doesn't seem, at least at first glance, as the perfect time to get started with (or ramp up) your fitness training... But that's part of the beauty of this time of year! Because there are not many people really targeting their fitness right now, the gym is likely to be much more quiet at this point in the year.
We all know the gym will be packed in January with so many people making fitness related new years resolutions. Late Spring is also a busy time in the gym, with lots of people desperately trying to get in shape for their Summer Holiday. But Autumn? Not so much.
It's much easier to get in a great workout when the gym is not overcrowded. It's also much more difficult to book a session with a personal trainer in January because we get so busy with bookings. So October really is the perfect time to book in with a personal trainer and start crushing some great workouts in the gym.
The gym tends to be especially quiet right now also, because the nights are starting to close in, and people seem to want to to stay at home indoors a bit more at this time of year. The summer party season has also come to an end by now, and it's a good six to eight weeks until the Christmas party season starts to kick in. So that gives you a good block of time to really focus on your fitness, with less social commitments to railroad your progress.
I hope I have managed to convince you that October really is the perfect time of year to start prioritising your fitness! If I have, and you are based in Manchester, then do get in touch. Our Manchester Personal Training base is located in Chorlton, and we would love help you achieve great results. You can leave a message on the Chorlton Personal Training Contact Form.
See you soon!
I have been producing a short series of video tutorials on training techniques for building muscle and size. It is just a little experiment to see whether or not a video tutorial is a useful (and enjoyable) way for people to pick up training tips.
I am not sure whether I will add any more videos to this muscle building tutorial series. So if you particularly like the videos, you could help sway my decision by leaving a comment below to let me know what you think of them!
There are currently three videos in this muscle and size tutorial series. I hope you will agree they provide a good foundation to help you get started on your muscle building journey!
Muscle Building Tutorial #1
Muscle Building Mechanisms