2nd Annual Longest Day Fundraiser- Lifting Weights for a Great Cause

SAPT is excited to announce our second annual Alzheimer’s Association’s Longest Day fundraiser! We’ll fill all of the daylight hours on June 17, 2017 with free workouts In return, we’re asking for donations that will go to support the Alzheimer’s Association’s vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.

Did you know

  • Over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
  • Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s. 
  • Alzheimer’s is currently the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. 
  • As many as 16 million people will have the disease by 2050.

The Alzheimer’s Association helps to fund support for those with the disease and their caregivers. They also fund research into treatments and a cure for the disease. 

The staff at SAPT feels strongly about supporting the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission. Our owner, Sarah Walls, lost both of her grandmothers to the disease and our office manager Emily Rusch’s mother passed away in 2015 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Read more about Emily’s family here

Everyone at SAPT knows that exercise can improve your quality of life in many ways.  Scientific research has proven that exercise is one of the best ways to reduce improve your brain health, so join us for a day of lifting heavy things! 

Want to join our Longest Day team and help us towards our fundraising goal? Visit our team page and sign up! Everyone that joins our team and raises $500 or more will get a free t-shirt/! Want a faster way to get to that free t-shirt? Donate $150 and the t-shirt is yours!

We raised over $5000 last year! Help us beat that this year by joining our team and help us raise money, donating to our team in advance, or working out and donating on June 17!

A Blog Post That Does NOT Contain Politics

As a coach, the majority of my job consists of teaching. Actually, I wager about 90% of being a coach is teaching- skills, movements, and intangible things like attitude-  and the other 10% is goofing around with the kids. We have fairly regular dance parties during training sessions.

via vomzi.com

via vomzi.com

I came across this interesting article on Thefederalist.com about learning styles. The main focus of the article centers around the idea specifically relating to how we intake information: auditory, visual, or kinesthetic. I, too, learned about these various styles and employ them while coaching the various athletes I work with on a daily basis as well as teach interns how to coach using the three styles as a framework for conveying information.

Well, turns out that a lot of us are operating out of a theory that’s mostly a myth.

According to the article, systematic studies over past several years have debunked the idea that presenting material in a manner to fit the particular learning style of an individual is more advantageous or effective for learning than others. The thrust of the author is that despite the wealth of new information debunking the learning style theory, it is still being taught in teacher education and it believed by 90% of the population. In fact, a neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist, Daniel Willingham, from the University of Virginia has a very helpful (and short) video within the article explaining why the theory is incorrect. (If you don't want to read the whole article, the video sums up the argument pretty well.)

In short, the theory really is only valid if we wanted to test someone on the characteristics of the delivery method- auditory, visual, or kinesthetic- not the actual content of the message. This is the whole point of using these "learning styles": to help people learn information more effectively. If the goal is information retention, the method of conveying information seems to be, according to the research, much, much less important than we thought. Willingham does note that there are absolutely people who are predisposed to retain information in one of the three areas more than the other, but it doesn’t mean they can’t learn via another method.

How does this relate to fitness?

I see two applications.

The first being that whenever you’re teaching someone new information, the method you use is not nearly as important as how you present the content; the content within the message is much more of a determinant whether or not someone will understand.

For example, even if you use a fancy powerpoint with visual cues and fun sounds at strategic points, if the content that you’re sharing is confusing (i.e. using language that is too technical for a lay person, presenting information out of order, or just flat out hitting them like a firehose with words) the target pupil will have no idea what he or she is supposed to learn. In contrast, speaking precisely, using devices such as analogies or metaphors, and breaking down complex concepts into simpler ones, even spoken in monotone to a blind-folded student would be easier to receive and understand.

The second, I have ranted and raved in the past about misinformation being spread throughout the fitness industry. Myths are perpetuated by uniformed individuals or media groups because of either sensational headlines or emotion-based “tips” that have little to no actual evidence of efficacy or truth. I am, selfishly, slightly happy to see that we’re not the only industry plagued with myths that refuse to die.

Give the article a read; it’s a nice break from all the political bruhaha that’s dominating the interwebz. It’s definitely worth it and will spark thoughtful discussion.

Want to Blow Up Your Arms and Chest? Try This Pushup Challenge

Ah, the humble pushup. It doesn't receive nearly as much credit as it deserves when it comes to muscle building. Shall I sing its praises? 

Relative Upper Body Strength

The most obvious of the benefits. Pushups, primarily, challenge the triceps, delts, pecs (sort of, depending on the angle of your feet). I would even argue that your biceps receive a piece of the action as antagonist muscles (aka: slowing down the decent and counteracting the triceps). It's relative strength since the ability to perform a repetition(s) is based on your bodyweight as opposed to an external load, such as a dumbbell. Possession of a high relative strength is a key quality not only for athletes, but for anyone. It's a fantastic thing to be able to control and move your own bodyweight. 

Core Strength

Pushups are essentially moving planks. When I say "core" I mean all of it, front and back: rectus abdominus (the coveted "six pack"), obliques, transverse abdominus, as well as the glutes, erector spinae, multifidi... I could go on. Pushups engage all the muscles surrounding your spine and pelvis to maintain a neutral position of both (or, ahem, they should).

Pushups connect the core and the upper body into one solid movement. Oftentimes trainees have pretty decent upper body strength (thanks to our collective love-affair with benching, curls, and tricep push downs) but fairly poor core strength. Having the former without the latter is like trying to drive a car on flat tires: you can have the most powerful engine in the world, but if you can't transfer that power to the ground, that car stays in the driveway. 

Poor pushup form includes saggy hips or a banana-shaped back (here's our car with flat tires).

Classic Banana-Back    from greatist.com

Classic Banana-Back    from greatist.com

Often in this situation, a person's hips will drop more quickly than the chest during the descent in a pushup. This is indicative of both a lack of strength and spine and pelvic stability. Now the lower back is in a compromised position and is ripe, like a banana left in a paper bag for too long, for irritation or injury. Core strength and spinal stability are essential for both athletic success and injury prevention. You would do well to improve both!

Remember! Practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent. Therefore, training perfect pushup form is the antidote to poor pushup form. 

Shoulder Stability and Health

Two major players are involved in shoulder health: the rotator cuff and the scapula (shoulder blade). The rotator cuff keeps the humerus (the upper arm bone) in its proper place in the socket, like a suction cup. The pushup is one of the best exercises to challenge and strength the RC, both statically and dynamically. The shoulder blades should glide along the rib cage (and not stuck up by our ears) and pushups encourage and reinforce this movement- when done properly of course. Muscles surrounding the scaps (mid- and lower-traps, serratus, ect.) act as both movers and stabilizers of the scapulae to corral them into the correct positions throughout the movement. Pushups require these bad boys to activate too in the form of antagonists to the "pushing" muscles in the front (mentioned above). 

Ok, ok, enough praising. Assuming that you have mastered the pushup, let's get to the challenge. Ready to blow up your upper body? 

I stole this pushup ladder from Dan John, as I do most thing since he's pretty much Yoda of the strength world. 

from strengthnet.com

from strengthnet.com

The Ladder:

1 --> 10 --> 1 pushups. Start at 1 rep, stand up. Two reps, stand up. Three reps, stand up... and so on up to 10 reps. Then, repeat 9 reps, stand up. 8 reps, stand up... back down to 1 rep. 

Note that your "rest" period is the time it takes to stand up and get back down into the pushup position. The other rest position, is holding the plank at the top off the pushup. Yeah...

The Challenge:

Perform the full ladder, up to 10 reps, in under 5 minutes. 

Good. Luck. And enjoy the pump!

If you can't perform it in under 5 minutes, well, keep practicing. If you can't finish the ladder, go as far as you can with good form. My advice to complete the challenge? Get stronger. 

Below is a video of me doing the challenge, if you want to watch me struggle, feel free to watch the whole thing. I start to sag a bit towards the end and I was hurtin'. I should note that, in my defense, that I naturally have a more pronounced kyphosis (upper back rounding) and my shirt only accents it so it looks like I'm reaching my neck forward. Trust me, that's as far back as my neck will go, it's a perpetual struggle.