AC Separation – Pre Surgery

Recently one of our clients had a severe injury to his shoulder known as an AC Seperation. This is a very common injury to athletes who compete in contact sports. The injury was caused during some wrestling training for his upcoming MMA fight which was 3 weeks away.

10 days before surgery

It has been graded as a grade 4 seperation, which will require surgery. There are 6 grades of AC joint seperations ranging from a slight strain of the AC ligament up to complete dislocation of of the AC joint and a displacement of the clavicle. This has been noted in our client with part of the clavicle putting pressure into the trapezius muscle. After examination he will require surgery, but the earliest he can get in for the operation is 10 days away, so what do to do now?

Having any injury can be very hard to take as an athlete. From training up to 10 hours per week and being focused towards one goal to suddenly being told to rest with the possibility of not getting back to full training for over 12 weeks can have many detrimental effects. However this is where I feel both pre and post surgery strength training can have a profound effect on the athlete both physically and mentally from decreasing recovery time post surgery and also keeping the athlete focused so they don’t get hung up with their injury worries.

Considerations when planning a strength routine for someone with an injury:

  • Find out exactly what the injury is and what the surgery procedure is.
  • Have a plan, but this does not mean you have to stick to it.
  • Be sensible, now is not a time to be shooting for PR’s.
  • Give more attention to other areas or weaknesses if the injury allows itself, i.e hip mobility.
  • Up your coaching cues to make sure the injured area is not disturbed.
  • Good spotting.
  • If an exercise hurts then dont do it.
  • Keep the athlete focused.
  • The goal is to get the athlete back to 100% as soon as possible.
Check out the vid below, this is 10 days before his surgery, the aim here was just to get him back in the gym and show him that he can still train through this injury
Over these next few weeks I will keep you updated on the progress and the work we do with this athlete through his recovery.
Until Next Time
Lift Big Get Strong

What are you GOALS? and breaking down BARRIERS!

New layout

We have been very busy down at S&P lately from expanding the gym to nearly 5000 sqft and welcoming new members along the way. This is what I love about my job, everyday is a new challenge. Whether your goal is to lose fat, get stronger, jump higher we like to think we can help you along your way through our methods. Though this has come at a cost, forgetting about myself, so over this wknd I have had plenty of time to relax and think about where I am and what I want both in life and the gym, why? I dont know, maybe because I am currently reading The Four Hour Body book by Tim Ferris and this has triggered some thinking deep down. We all have small barriers that stop us from doing what we want, and these can be the smallest of things, as you will see below

The 4 Hour Body

So here is what I have done over the wknd

  • Goal Setting – Setting goals and knowing what you want is something I tell all of my clients to do, training towards a goal is much more rewarding than training for nothing, in addition writing a program with no purpose is like writing a program for someone who you have never met! So this wknd I have set myself some goals that I want both in life and training, both short term and long term.
  • Planning – Now that I know what I what I can plan towards them, eg if I want to start a family then I have to earn more money to support them
  • Food Preparation – Everyone knows you have to be organised with your food and I thought I have been, but when I sat down and really thought about what my goals were and if I was planning towards them, I was wrong, my food planning was way off track. So this wknd I cooked up a lot of food including chicken, turkey, sausages, sweet potatoe wedges for the week ahead.
  • Food Options – Something I always tell my clients is to cycle their food often as your body can build up intolerances to them  if eaten again and again. So to overcome this I spent a bit more time when I went shopping this wknd and bought some different foods, this way I have to eat them. This included buying a honeydew melon! How many people buy the same fruits week in week out, bananas, apples and oranges!!
  • Soft Tissue – If you need extra soft tissue work then I tell people to get a foam roller and do it at home. I have a roller at home along with a tennis ball but I never used them, why? Well because I have a wooden floor, and if you have ever tried to roll out on a wooden floor you will know that it is a pain cause the roller keeps sliding away. So this wknd I have borrowed a yoga mat, yes I did say a yoga mat. And its one of the best things I have used, 2 nights running I have done some major soft tissue work.

These are just a few barriers that have stopped me achieving my goals, its not rocket science, but I was taking things for granted and thinking I was somewhere when I wasnt. But after sitting down and some self realisation about where I am and where I want to be, there is a lot of hard work ahead. Now that I know this the drive and focus is now back and my goals will be smashed!!

One thing we all need to remember as coaches is dont forget abut yourself, our job is to help people but we also have to help ourselves.

Stop kidding yourself and thinking you are doing everything right, because you are probably not, write your goals down and see if you are planning towards them. Everything you do is either helping you towards your goal or taking you further away. Next time you do something, think which way this is taking you, forwards or backwards.

Drop a comment below to what has helped you break down barriers and achieve YOUR goals, not someone else’s!!

Until Next Time

Lift Big Get Strong


Is the Plank Exercise just for Beginners?

The plank exercise as we know it has become a staple in most programs, especially for beginners, but the big question is, should the plank exercise only be for beginners, and my answer is always NO!!

The plank is a great exercise to teach people to brace their core. Call it what you want but holding your abs tight is crucial for all the big exercises such as chins, deads, squats, bench, military press. So being able to hold them tight in a plank position is always a good place to learn. However most people will disregard the plank once they can do maybe 60 seconds or they think that doing a plank is too easy so they need to move onto something more challenging, when in fact the plank was sufficient enough for their needs.

Bad Plank

First thing to briefly chat about is how to do a standard plank?

  • Elbows tucked under your shoulders
  • Hips up, not sagging
  • Dont just think stomach here, think everything
  • Imagine someone is about to kick you in the stomach, what do you do?
  • Squeeze everything, you should be solid as a rock
  • Dont relax throughout the set
  • Head in a neutral position
  • Controlled breathing

Remember the plank is not just for beginners, here at S&P we do planks all the time ranging from simple ones for the beginners to advanced versions when they are needed. We always aim to hold the position for 60 seconds, unless a more specific reason is required. Below are a few advanced variations we use.

Basic Plank with Band – Attach a band to a solid object and then place around the body. You can attach the band from either side and different areas of the body. A great new challenge to the standard plank!

Basic Plank with Band

Single Leg Plank vs Band – Same as above except now just raise one leg, 30 seconds each side is good. Keep an eye on the hip dropping during this exercise

Single Leg Plank vs Band

Straight Arm Plank vs Band – This is great for shoulder stability as well as core control

Straight Arm Plank vs Band

Straight Arm Single Leg Plank vs Band

Straight Arm Single Leg Plank vs Band

Swiss Ball Plank vs Band – This just creates a more unstable surface to support yourself on, so tightness is crucial here for strong stability

Swiss Ball Plank vs Band

Leg Swiss Ball Plank vs Band – Same as above except now in reverse, this makes you really focus on your glutes to keep stability

Leg Swiss Ball Plank vs Band

Straight Arm Leg Swiss Ball Plank vs Band

Straight Arm Leg Swiss Ball Plank vs Band

Straight Arm Single Leg Swiss Ball Plank vs Band – A very challenging plank variation

Straight Arm Single Leg Swiss Ball Plank vs Band

If you take anything from this, remember the plank is NOT just for beginners, try some of the above variations and see how stable you are. Sometimes you ahve to think outside the box.

Let me know how you get on or if you have some other examples then let me know

Until Next Time

Lift Big Get Strong