YouthFit at Athletic Lab

Welcome to beautiful North Carolina in 2017. We have miles of sandy beaches, beautiful mountains, quaint towns, and the 23rd highest overweight and obesity rates among children aged 10 to 17 in the nation. More specifically, about one in three (32.3%) North Carolina high school students are either overweight or obese (Eat Smart, Move More NC). One in three! In other words, if your high schooler has two best friends, it is likely that one of the three of them is overweight or obese. Our nation is currently experiencing an obesity epidemic. The definition of an epidemic is “a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.” The startling point is that obesity is a disease within our control. Although I am just one person in our world of more than seven billion, I am making it my mission to do what I can to tackle the childhood obesity issue and put a dent in this epidemic. The obesity epidemic has numerous effects on our nation, from our health to our wallets. The chronic disease costs the United States approximately $190 billion in health-related bills each year (Understanding the American Obesity Epidemic). Our ever-growing bodies are developing Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, respiratory problems, in addition to social and psychological problems, to name just a few. But you knew that. Everyone knows the risks, yet we keep letting ourselves and our children eat more, exercise less, and, all the while, grow bigger and bigger. In the table below, you can clearly see this trend of rising percentages of obesity prevalence in American adolescents over the past three decades (The Psychiatric clinics of North America). The current generation [...]

By | 2017-05-20T09:44:19+00:00 May 20th, 2017|News, Training Info|0 Comments

Frontal Plane Knee Motion and ACL Tears by Chris Graham

[Chris Graham is currently a graduate student at The University of Texas at Tyler where he is studying Kinesiology. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA and is currently a coaching intern at Athletic Lab.] Over the last decade or so, Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears have skyrocketed even with increased training programs. A reason for this is that a disproportional amount of ACL tears occur in female athletes, who have increased participation in sport since the passing of Title IX. But why do so many ACL tears occur to female athletes? There has been research for many variables including looking at Q angles, hormonal differences, whether the athlete is menstruating, and also muscular imbalances. In this article, I’m going to explore the role of frontal plane motion at the knee in preventing ACL injuries. When it comes to ACL tears there, has been a significant correlation between excessive dynamic valgus forces and tears in elite female athletes (Hewett, 2005). This excessive abduction of the knee is considered to be a neuromuscular inefficiency as when they compared trained female and male athletes they found that there were different landing patterns between the genders. Joseph et al. found was that during a drop jump followed by an immediate vertical jump, the timing and organization of ankle eversion, knee valgus, and hip adduction varied significantly between the two groups. In the women’s group, they found that they went through first knee valgus, then ankle eversion, and finally hip adduction whereas the men went through ankle eversion, knee valgus, and then hip adduction. This pattern, shown by the male group, is more optimal since we touch the ground with our feet first and the [...]

By | 2017-05-14T16:23:50+00:00 May 15th, 2017|Training Info|0 Comments

High Intensity Interval Training by Matty Golden

[Matty Golden is in his third year as a sports strength and conditioning student in Setanta College, Ireland and is due to graduate in May 2018. He is currently an Athletic Development Intern at the Athletic Lab.] High intensity interval training is a method used to supplement maximal efforts in training. This is a method of training that involves repeated bouts of high intensity efforts that range from 5 seconds to 8 minutes followed by recovery periods of varying length of time. It is quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by rest periods. HIIT trains the body at high heart rates which aids the burning of fat in shorter periods of time. As quoted in a study done by Martin, J Gbala, “High Intensity Interval Training is a little pain for a lot of gain”. Billat (2001) points out that as early as 1912 that Olympic long distance runner, Hannes Kolehmainen, was employing interval training in his workouts. Often times high intensity interval training is emphasised as “less is more”. Meaning a fast paced 30 minute workout is more beneficial to fat loss then something of a slower pace with a longer duration. In a paper done by Micah Zuhl and Len Kravitz they explain how HIIT can not only provide performance benefits but it can also improve the health of recreational exercisers. They go on to state that it is also very suitable for endurance training or continuous aerobic exercise.  HIIT is a method of training I have used in Ireland both with sport teams and individuals. With highly trained athletes and individuals, increasing volume of the training does not appear to further enhance their endurance performance or peak their oxygen uptake. I am [...]

By | 2017-04-19T09:47:11+00:00 April 18th, 2017|Training Info|0 Comments

Why the Deadlift is for You: A Mechanical Analysis by Zach Chokr

[Zachary Chokr is a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in Psychology, minoring in Sports Science, and a Certified Personal Trainer under the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He is currently an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] The deadlift is one of the truest measures of total body strength as it recruits muscles from all regions of the body from the ground up. On the surface, the goal of the deadlift is essentially to pick up some weight off the ground to an erect, standing position. “While bending over and hoisting a weight off the floor may seem simple, form and technique can be different for each individual” (DuVall, 2017). However, the complexity of this lift can be easily overlooked. Some of the most important factors of the deadlift, and any exercise for that matter, is not just strength but form and technique. In my last blog post, I talked about the high bar and low bar squat. Now I am going to introduce two basic forms of the deadlift, and how you can benefit the most dependent on a variety of factors including your goals. The conventional deadlift is performed with your feet roughly shoulder width apart, with your hands outside of them; whereas the sumo deadlift typically requires a wider stance, and hands placed on the bar between the feet. This difference in positioning places varying demands on the muscles. Escamilla et al. (2000) found that the primary lower extremity muscles involved during the conventional deadlifts are the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, gastrocnemius, and soleus, compared to the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, and tibialis anterior during the sumo deadlift using electromyography (EMG). The conventional deadlift requires greater spinal flexion, about 5-10%; whereas [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:26:38+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Training Info|0 Comments

Weight Training for Preadolescents by Brandon Gremillion

[Brandon Gremillion is a student at the University of Mount Olive majoring in Exercise Science. He is currently an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] You may not think to use resistance training with weights in preadolescents, but there are many benefits to implementing it into a workout regime. A preadolescent is someone who usually falls between the ages of nine and twelve years of age. Utilizing weights during training for these individuals has not always been supported “because of the concerns for injury and the questionable efficacy of this type of training to improve strength” (Sibte, 2003). However, it has been shown that the combination of resistance training and cardio in regards to preadolescents can have long term health benefits (Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness [CSMF], 2001).  This belief has further been backed up with research that has shown that, “strength training, when properly structured with regard to frequency, mode (type of lifting), intensity, and duration of program can increase strength in preadolescents” (Sibte, 2003).   Resistance training with weights increases the risk of muscle strain and compression, but that risk is not as significant as the risk of injury associated with sports and recreational activity. In regards to preadolescents and resistance training the most common injuries seen are muscle strains, low back injury, and growth plate injuries (CSMF, 2001).  Tendonitis can occur when a child is tasked with the high demands of competition and training without proper rest and recovery. Another issue that can arise is a diminished flexibility and muscle-tendon strength mismatches which in turn could cause injury (Sibte, 2003).  The good thing is that “most of these injuries are uncommon and are largely preventable by avoiding maximal lifts, improper technique, and [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:26:57+00:00 March 15th, 2017|Training Info|0 Comments

Exercise Prescription for Young Athletes: Combating the Prevalence of Childhood Obesity by Carlyn Waffa

[Carlyn Waffa is a senior at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is majoring in Exercise and Sport Science, and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She is currently an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] In the United States, childhood obesity affects roughly 12.7 million children and adolescents between the ages of two and nineteen years old, with the rate of obesity positively correlated with age (Ogden, 2015). Since 1980, the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled (MDH, 2013). Recent research suggests that a child’s body composition by the time that they are just five years old is telling of what their body composition will be for the rest of their life. In one study, almost half of the children who were overweight in kindergarten grew into obese adolescents, and so on (Cunningham, 2014). An alarming pattern of inactivity has consumed the nation – with daily participation in physical education classes declining across America (CDC, 2011). The negative effects of physical inactivity are numerous and include an increased chance of developing hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis, colon and breast cancer, type II diabetes and obesity.  What has become evident is that children need to be engaging in more physical activity in order to dodge the looming consequences of physical inactivity later in life. In the 1970’s and 1980’s resistance training for adolescents was stigmatized because of a presumed high risk of injury. In 2017, this notion is erroneously cited, despite being obsolete. Typically, resistance training injuries occur due to poor training, excessive loading, poorly designed equipment, or free access to equipment. Nevertheless, these injury factors do not have any correlation with an athlete’s age, [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:27:18+00:00 February 24th, 2017|Training Info|4 Comments

Exercise Induced Asthma in Athletes by Ryan Burkholder

[Ryan Burkholder graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University receiving a BA degree in Health and Human Kinetics. Ryan also ran Cross Country and Track for Ohio Wesleyan University. ] In the last twenty years, the prevalence of exercise-induced asthma (EIA) in teenage distance runners has increased dramatically. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that has an affect 14.6 million Americans. Of that number, 10.4 million are under the age of 45 and 4.8 million in children. Asthma cost more than $4.6 billion per year in medical care and time lost from school and work. There is no known cure for asthma, but it can be controlled.(Gordon, 2015) EIA, more specifically, is an intermittent narrowing of the airways accompanied by the individual experiences wheezing, chest tightness, coughing with of presence of lung inflammation (Bernhardt 2016). EIA occurs when you are mainly working out and exercising. The time that people would experience these symptoms would be around 5 to 20 minutes after they started the workout or 5 to 10 minutes after a short exercise that has stopped. (DerSarkissian, 2016) EIA will mainly occur when you are in a cold weather or where the air is pretty dry. You should keep an inhaler on hand in case you have symptoms while you're working (Benaroch 2015). When an asthma attack does occur the best thing to do is to stop what you are doing and take the inhaler. If you do not have your inhaler the best thing to do is to take deep breaths, drink cold water, put your hands on head to open up your lungs, and remain upright. To potentially prevent an asthma attack from happening you should make sure you take your [...]

By | 2017-02-24T11:46:03+00:00 February 22nd, 2017|Training Info|0 Comments

Common Injuries in CrossFit and Methods of Prevention by Brandon Gremillion

[Brandon is a student at the University of Mount Olive majoring in Exercise Science. He is currently an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] CrossFit is an exercise phenomenon that has sparked interest in many people and gyms across the nation. CrossFit was designed with the goal to, “build a program that would best prepare trainees for any physical contingency-prepare them not only for the unknown but for the unknowable as well” (Glassman, 2007). This sounds pretty good, right? It gets even better with the fact that CrossFit offers competitions on a reginal, national, world scale, and of course on a personal scale. As with any form of exercise there will be some downsides to a program; for CrossFit this is the gained reputation for its tendency to cause injuries. The reasons for injury in CrossFit are often a combination of poor technique combined with heavy loading. The overuse of a muscle can also lead directly to injury in an individual. Common injuries include but are not limited to the following: shoulder, low back injuries, knees, wrist, elbow, neck, chest, and foot injuries (Weisenthal, Beck, Maloney, DeHaven, & Giordano, 2014). Shoulder and low back injuries consume the majority of CrossFit related injuries. The common injuries of the shoulder include subacromial impingement, labrum tears, and rotator cuff tears (see Figure 1, 2, & 3 for common injury sites). The shoulders are mostly injured due to a result of a gymnastic movements performed during training (Weisenthal, Beck, Maloney, DeHaven, & Giordano, 2014). Examples of gymnastic movements commonly seen in CrossFit would be muscle ups and pull ups. A technique commonly performed during muscle ups and pull ups is “kipping” which if done incorrectly can severely damage the upper [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:27:31+00:00 February 15th, 2017|Training Info|0 Comments

Low Bar vs. High Bar Squat by Zach Chokr

[Zachary Chokr is a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in Psychology, minoring in Sports Science, and a Certified Personal Trainer under the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He is currently an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] The squat has biomechanical and neuromuscular similarities to a wide range of athletic movements. Thus, it is one of the most frequently used exercises in the field of strength and conditioning; and is a core exercise designed to enhance athletic performance. In addition, it is an indispensable component of competitive weightlifting and powerlifting that is regarded as a cardinal test of lower-body strength (Schoenfeld, 2010, p. 3497). For some reason, the first question ‘gym bros’ always seem to address is how much someone can bench press, but is that really defiant of your strength? There is no greater love-hate relationship than that of leg day; waking up in the morning with your legs so sore that you are forced to waddle helplessly like a penguin. But hey, on the bright side it shows you’re working hard and I commend you for that. I promise, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. On the more technical side, once you are familiar with the back squat, there are variations that can be performed to adjust the angles and torques placed on the joints that affect the force applied to the low back, legs, and hip musculature by shifting the location of the bar on the back which can provide specific advantages to your personal goals. By changing the location of where the bar sits on your back, you are also changing the bar’s center of gravity and where the load is placed through the body which [...]

By | 2017-04-12T19:27:36+00:00 February 14th, 2017|Training Info|0 Comments

The Importance of Isometrics in Preventing Injury by Brandon Gremillion

[Brandon is a student at the University of Mount Olive majoring in Exercise Science. He is currently an Athletic Development Intern at Athletic Lab.] It appears now that eccentric training is thought to be most effective in reducing the risk of injury to athletes. In a study of hamstring strains it is stated that “biomechanical observations suggest that eccentric contraction is a necessary condition for a hamstring strain injury during running and this claim is strengthened by the lack of strain injuries in concentrically biased sports, such as swimming and cycling” (Opar, Williams, and shield, 2012). Eccentric training improves the amount of force that a muscle can absorb which makes it a clear benefit to preventing injuries in athletes. If you have heard of Cal Dietz method to tri-phasic training you will know that every muscle action has three phases: eccentric, isometric, and concentric. An eccentric action occurs when the “proximal and distal muscle attachments move away from one another” (Verkhoshansky & Siff, 2009). An isometric action occurs when the “proximal and distal muscle attachments do not move relative to each other” (Verkhoshansky & Siff, 2009). A concentric action occurs when the “proximal and distal muscle attachments move towards each other” (Verkhoshansky & Siff, 2009). Training a muscle through a full range of motion is typically the best way to see improvement throughout the entire muscle. This just makes sense because if you are using the entire muscle then the entire muscle will become stronger. However there may still be a need to focus on each phase of the muscle action during workouts. “Most muscle strains occur in an eccentric contraction and are affected by muscle strength and contraction velocity” (Liu, Garrett, Moorman, & Yu, 2012). [...]

By | 2017-02-07T09:43:16+00:00 February 7th, 2017|Training Info|0 Comments