Sunday, February 28, 2016

Do You Think Music Helps You Lift Better?

Music Helps You Lift Better? Mystery or Truth?mandl.jpg

Have you ever wondered if music plays a role in heavy lifting? ould you be more likely to throw around a massive amount of weight to some headbanging screamo or a lovely ballad? My guess for your choice of music while lifting is probably going to be something that has a fast tempo with a good beat and lyrics. Whether it be rock, pop, or hip hop music, (depending on the lifter), there is  science behind the effects of the tempo of a song versus the genre.
“Researchers at Brunel University (London, England) found that faster tempo tunes and  higher intensity of music before performance affects certain brain structures that may enhance the athlete's visual perception, attention, and motor control during reactive performance.” says Greg Chertok, M.Ed., CC-AASP, and a sport psychology consultant with Telos Sport Psychology Coaching.1 In other words, the short bursts of high tempo songs can increase reaction time and muscle contraction. The same pertains to  motivational music as well, while the reaction tends to remain mostly  the same with different effects, depending on the individual.
Another study tested the effects of music while lifting while physically exerting   the body. In the study, they found that athlete’s muscles were using less energy and becoming more physically effective. "Music is like a legal drug for athletes," Costas Karageorghis of London's Brunel University School of Sport and Education told Ace Fitness. "It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent." Karageorghis lists three properties of music that influence exercise performance including an athlete's tendency to move in tempo with synchronous sounds, music's ability to increase a desire to move rather than sit, and music's distracting effect from workout-related pain.2music and lifting.jpg
Believers in music and the   physical abilities of the athlete should research this science which proves   the effects music  has on the mind and the physical capabilities of the human body. My musical preference includes screaming at the top of their lungs rock. , Something about this genre   of music pushes my mind and body to lift an amount of weight I didn’t think I could. Music is a magical thing when putting the body under the stresses of lifting, it helps the athlete to forget about the physical demands,improves focus on the sounds, and solos. What music makes you push yourself in the weightroom?

1Can Music Help you Lift More Weight? (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2016, from
2Music Reduces Perceived Physical Exertion While Exercising: Is Your Playlist Impacting Your Workout? (2013). Retrieved February 22, 2016, from

Is it genetic?

“Diabetes runs in my family, so I know for a fact I will have it also.” When the subject of diabetes is brought up, many people assume that just because some of their family members have diabetes,  they too will eventually become diabetic. Although diabetes may run in your family, it does not necessarily mean that you too will become diabetic. Type one and type two diabetes are diseases with genetic underlining, but there has been no clear pattern of inheritance.1 Type two diabetes is starting to become more and more common over time. Genes from the common type two diabetes are usually regarded as ‘susceptibility’ genes rather than ‘disease’ genes.1

There has been no specific explanation as to if diabetes is genetic or not. This subject is a very difficult and confusing topic to study.2 Although two parents may not be diabetic, their offspring may develop type one diabetes. Without the basic defect if diabetes is elucidated, no further studies will be made possible to show this type of result. There has been a hypothesis that there is a genetic, heterogenous group of disorders that represents diabetes.2
Without further research, we may never be able to tell if type one diabetes is really genetic, or if it is how your pancreas functions from person to person. People with low insulin in their pancreas may become type one diabetic or the amount of insulin is not being used properly in order to control the glucose levels in the body. As mentioned before, type two diabetes might actually be more of susceptibility genes instead of a disease gene.


1Horenstein, R. B., & Shuldiner, A. R. (2004). Genetics of diabetes. Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, 5(1), 25-36.

2Rimoin, D. L. (1967). Genetics of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes, 16(5), 346-351.

Mental Toughness Makes Great Kickers


“The brain is the most important muscle in your body” is a phrase that is most commonly used by coaches and exercise trainers to motivate their athletes or clients to push beyond their limits.  It sounds like good motivation, in fact it pretty encouraging to know that even though your leg and arm muscles may be fatigued and ready to give up, you brain comes to the rescue and helps you push through the set.  Except there is one problem, the brain is technically an organ, not a muscle.1  
The reason it is referred to a muscle by many is because the brain along with your spinal cord is what makes up the central nervous system, which essentially makes your muscles move. The brain is a very delicate organ yet it’s function is vital to human life.  The brain causes the human being to think, to speak, to perform any action, to feel, and retains special memories; all in all it is in charge of basically everything and anything.  
Kicking footballs isn’t really a complicated movement. You must be explosive but it’s not a complex movement compared to other movements in other sports. So why is the brain relevant to kicking?  Here’s why- a kicker can be really good and by good I mean accurate, powerful, and consistent.  Having all these attributes are what make a mediocre kicker a great kicker.  Now those attributes can be made better by practice to the point where they can be almost perfect, but what will separate a great kicker from a good kicker is how strong his mind is.  Kicking has been often referred to as a mental game, and that is exactly what it is.  In a kicker’s career, they are going to miss a field goal, it's going to happen.  But they must be able to overcome their failures because their name will most likely be called again later on in the game.  Also, if kickers cannot block out the noises of the stadium and get distracted, they won’t be able to execute their job to the best of their ability.  

Overcoming past failures and cancelling out the distractions can only be done by having a tough mental state, otherwise the kicker will be looking at a short career and left without a team to play for.  So even though the brain isn’t necessarily a muscle, it is, a tough organ.  

1Philips, H. (2006, September 4). Introduction: The Human Brain. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

Testing Depression in NFL Retired Athletes

Marc Martinez
Testing Depression in NFL Retired Athletes
American football is one of the most watched sports across the world. People will dedicate one day to lay up on the couch just to watch people sacrifice their bodies for the game they love. The game may just seem all fun and games, but fans hardly ever see the blood, sweat, and tears that are involved behind the scenes. Concussions are a huge issues in today’s game and their effects later down the road for retired NFL athletes can be even more detrimental.

The relationship between concussions and current symptoms of depression in retired professional athletes was tested through BDI-II (Beck Depression Inventory-2).1 BDI-II is a 21 question self-report inventory which measures the severity of depression. The subjects tested consisted of thirty retired NFL players (that represented twenty-three NFL teams) and twenty-nine control participants that met the criteria for the study. They all were tested using the BDI-II as well as a widely used self-report questionnaire assessing cognitive, affective, and somatic symptoms of depression. The results showed that the number of lifetime concussions and the total scores on the BDI-II were significantly correlated with each other. The athletes drastically showed more percentages on the BDI-II than those of the controls. There was even the difference in percentages between the two in concentration difficulty, which was 34%. Overall, retired athletes obtained significantly higher scores on all three Buckley factors on the BDI-II in comparison to the controls.1

Throughout the past decade, the spotlight has really focused on concussions in the game of football. This is due to the increasing amount of short and long term health complications athletes at all levels are continuously facing. Today’s athletes are constantly being pushed to hit harder, run faster, and lift heavier; however, the pressure put on these athletes to perform day in and day out can often take its toll when you add up the number of hits these players are taking each week.

With a severe case of former NFL players who have committed suicide because of depression symptoms, the NFL had to re-examine the relationship with their players and its attack from the sports world on concussions being a health issue not properly examined. In a research article by Richard Weinmeyere, the struggle of depression leading to suicide took aim for families to have their lost ones’ brains analyzed to have a better understanding what exactly might have ignited these former great football players depressions and suicide. This presented article points out the case of former San Diego Charger Junior Seau, Philadelphia Eagles Andre Waters, and Arizona Cardinals Dave Duerson who all took their lives after dealing with depression for so many years after their playing career. Examining the brains of these former great stars lead to finding a condition of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which is a disease found in the brain suffered from blows to the head.

NFL players have grown up to be known as the “tough guys” and sometimes when they’re not feeling good they will just ignore something wrong with them. This could lead to players sustaining multiple concussions. “In my opinion, taking professional football players as a cohort, I think over 90% of American football players suffer from this disease. Over 90% of players who play to the professional level have some degree of this disease. I have not examined any brain of a retired football player that came back negative”.2

1Didehbani, N. (2013, May 3). Depressive Symptoms and Concussions in Aging Retired NFL Players.
2Gregory, S. (n.d.). Concussion Expert: Over 90% of NFL Players Have Brain Disease. Retrieved February 21, 2016, from

Do Distance Runners Need to Lift Weights?

Do Distance Runners Need to Lift Weights?
What comes to mind when you think about lifting weights? Most think about bulking up or increasing muscle mass. This isn’t always the case with lifting weights. Do you believe that distance runners should lift weights? This question is one that some coaches might not know the answer to and young athletes might stray away from lifting weights because of their lack of knowledge in the matter.
Some athletes and coaches believe that lifting weights will bulk up their distance runners and cause them to run slower due to the added weight of the athlete. Studies have shown that weights can be beneficial to distance runners by improving their running economy, performance, better body composition, body imbalances, and injury prevention. If your athletes are running enough they won’t become bulking. Runners might gain a couple of pounds but it is lean muscle that will benefit them. When dealing with weights for distance runners you need to look at it as being sport specific and work all the major muscles groups that are used for running. These runners don’t need to spend a great amount of time in the weight room like other athletes might need to. Having 2 sessions a week for a total time of an hour can be beneficial. This is an example of a few exercises1:
1.     Split squat / lunges
2.     Physioball Leg Curl
3.     Dumbbell Bench Press
4.     1 Arm, 1 Leg Dumbbell Row
5.     Dumbbell Squat to Press
6.     Split Dumbbell Curl-Press
7.     Dumbbell Pullover Extension
8.     Core Exercises
9.     Push Ups
10.  Pull Ups
These exercises work the major muscle groups that are used for running. “If you are smart with mileage you can run more. As you get stronger you can run more. As the years go by without injuries, you can run more.”2 A lot of runners are always wanting to increase their mileage, because they believe the more miles they run the faster they will be. Adding weight lifting into your program can help you increase your weekly mileage and provide other benefits for you.
1"Strength Training for the Runner." Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training. Web. 20 Feb. 2016. <>.
2Braden, Forest. "Strength Training for Distance Runners." Web. 20 Feb. 2016. <>.

Did the image of the NBA change for the good?

February 28, 2016
From trash talk, hard fouls, random altercations, and a good old man to man fist fight can sum up the physical style of play in the 80’s and 90’s era of basketball. The era where competition was at an all-time high. Intimidation was still an essential part of the game. No direct path to the goal without any contact being given. Yes, this was the National Basketball Association that I grew up watching. Now, things are different but not necessary better. Rules are stricter, violations are often given, and suspensions are stiffer. Zero tolerance can sum this up. Has this caused the fan base to increase or decrease for the NBA?
On November 19, 2005 the infamous brawl took place between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers. Nine players were suspended, five players were charged with assault and five fans were banned from  Pistons’ home games. Many coaches and players around the league had stated that this was the worst brawl in NBA history. Fans began to refer to the Pistons and Pacer basketball teams as thugs. This resulted in David Stern, NBA commissioner, working quickly to clean up the image of National Basketball Association. A dress code was implemented and enforced. A zero tolerance policy for behavioral altercations was in full effect.   
“It’s no longer a man’s game, it’s a baby’s game. Its softies everywhere. “–Metta World Peace1 Known as one of the main participants in the brawl, Metta World Peace believes the level of toughness has decreased due to  the strict rules changes. Many fans believe that the intimidation factor is no longer apart of the game.
Who doesn’t mind a good fight or two every now and then?2 I’m not saying that fighting is good but it does display a form of competitiveness. Two teams leaving everything out on the court and doing whatever it takes to win, makes for good entertainment and TV.
1Gaither, S. (2015 October 11). Metta World Peace: NBA isn’t a man’s game anymore. Retrieved from

2Pandian, A. (2016 February 21). Gary Payton says playing is this soft era would get him fined. Retrieved from

Shoulder Injuries: Rotator Cuff Tear

“The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that connects the four muscles of the upper shoulder to the bones.”1  The four muscles of  the rotator cuff are known as the infraspinatus, the subscapularis,  the teres minor, and the supraspinatus.  These muscles come together as tendons to cover the head of the humerus and help keep the shoulder in its socket.  “When the tendons or muscles of the rotator cuff tear, the patient is no longer able to lift or rotate his or her arm with the same range of motion they had prior to their injury.”1  For some people, rotator cuff tears happen as a result of the tendons weakening in the shoulder.  Other injuries happen when the shoulder is overused after high repetitions of overhead activities.  Some of these activities may include a tennis player constantly doing overhead serves, a quarterback repeatedly having to throw the ball, or even a powerlifter doing heavy overhead lifts.  A rotator cuff injury can also happen when somebody falls on an outstretched arm; which would be an example of an acute tear.  When an acute tear happens, there may be a “snapping sensation and immediate weakness.”2  When someone experiences a chronic tear, they will experience a little bit of pain when lifting their arm over their head.  Over time that little bit of pain will increase, and the movements that require you to raise you arm will become increasingly difficult.  In some cases, the rotator cuff will only slightly tear and no surgery would be required.  If this scenario happened to an athlete, the athlete could take medications, receive a cortisone steroid injection, and do some physical therapy and would still be able to play in his/her game as long as he/she could tolerate the pain.  When an athlete completely tears their rotator cuff, then that is when they would have to get surgery.  

Last year NBA star Kobe Bryant tore his rotator cuff and missed most of the 2014-2015 season as a result.  Kobe had a lot of damage done to his shoulder, from years of constant dunking and shooting.  But in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans in  January of 2015 he suffered from an acute tear after dunking the ball.  After Kobe dunked the ball, he started showing immediate signs of pain in his shoulder while running down the to the opposite end of the court.  Kobe finished the game and contemplated playing the rest of the season, but ultimately decided to have surgery.  Kobe missed the rest of the season, but successfully rehabbed and made it to the starting lineup at the start of the 2015-2016 season and to this point has not shown the viewers any pain on that shoulder.   Recovering from rotator cuff repair is not an easy process but can be done with patience and discipline.


1Rotator Cuff Tears. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2016, from

2Rotator Cuff Tears-OrthoInfo - AAOS. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2016, from

3Kobe Bryant expected out 9 months. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2016, from

The Conjugate System- "Understanding Repetition Effort Method"

Going back to a previous blog, I want to point out a mistake I have made in the explanation of repetition method days. Repetition work is meant to substitute a dynamic day in order to build muscular hypertrophy. In this blog, I will explain what the repetition work will do and how you can  implement it into your training programs.
Implementing a repetition effort day into your program can be beneficial if you, or your athlete happen to be lagging with size. You simply take the dynamic effort day out of the program and replace it with a repetition method for that desired upper body day. Joe DeFranco says, “dynamic days just aren’t that productive for weak, skinny bastards!”1 He has found it to be one of the keys to success for muscular growth in younger athletes.1 In my mind, I would prefer to have an athlete with greater muscular hypertrophy since this results in a stronger athlete. Compared to  smaller muscles,  bigger muscles have a better chance of becoming a stronger muscle.1
Jim Wendler explained that he doesn’t completely kick the dynamic work out of the program since it showed how slow he had become.2 Wendler even mentioned that in approximately three weeks using the dynamic day, his speed returned.2 So if you were wondering if your speed would deplinish while using the repetition method, then yes it will, however you can gain it back.
The two strength professionals I have researched only talk about using the repetition method for the upper body, but I would assume that you could see similar results for the lower body as well. I have implemented the repetition work with my track and field throwers program and I like utilizing it during their early off-season. Joe DeFranco also implements repetition effort training in a similar matter  for his NFL athletes early off-season. This is because repetition work is easier on the joints following a grueling season, and it’s a great way to pack on any muscle that was lost during the season.1 There are many different strategies on what you can do for the certain day. Figure out what works best for you or your athletes and just remember keep it simple and effective.

  1. DeFranco, J. (2004, April 30). Westside for Skinny Bastards 1. Retrieved February 21, 2016, from
  2. Wendler, J. (n.d.). Repetition Work - Retrieved February 21, 2016, from

Natural Cures for Allergies

Most people do not typically associate allergies with diet. For the most part, allergies are simply the result of environmental substances which in some may lead to a variety of symptoms including congestion, sneezing, headache, coughing, sore throat, and itching eyes. While allergies in individuals are fairly mild and non-harmful, some individuals have fatal responses to allergy attacks within the body.1

The most familiar of allergies today include seasonal allergies deriving from grasses, weeds, or pollen.2 An appropriate diet and natural treatment of any allergies will not only prevent future attacks, but they will improve the recovery time from existing attacks as well.

Foods to Avoid with Allergies:

  1. Gluten: Gluten ranks at the top of all allergy causing foods and is most commonly found in packaged foods.
  2. Eggs: Eggs may produce mucus for some people which may only amplify the symptoms of allergies.3
  3. Processed Foods: Processed Foods contain dyes, natural flavors, and other potentially harmful chemicals which may not be suitable for the allergy-prone individual.
  4. Trans Fats: Trans fats increase inflammation which may cause negative immune reactions. 4
  5. Dairy: The pasteurization of dairy in our country destroys the good bacteria and enzymes which should be present in milk and other dairy products. Milk tends to cause allergies because of the histidine amino acid which triggers food and seasonal allergies.

Foods to Help with Allergies:
  1. Fresh fruits and vegetables: Organic fruits and vegetables provide important nutrients to the body which inhibit the symptoms and signs of food and seasonal allergies.
  2. Protein: Clean, lean proteins help the immune system to function at it’s optimal level. Aim for 3-4oz of protein per meal.
  3. Flax and Chia Seeds: These seeds can reduce inflammation and can easily be added to a salad or smoothie. 5
  4. Cold-Pressed Oils: Cold-pressed oils include coconut oil, palm oil, and olive oil which reduce inflammation and are easy to digest.
  5. Ginger: Ginger is a  great anti-inflammatory. It also can be used in a smoothie, green juices, or in tea.

Top 5 Natural Remedies for Allergies:

  1. Raw Honey (2 tbsps daily) : Raw honey is fairly accessible as it is locally found. Local, raw honey is vital for helping the body learn to deal with common allergies.
  2. Bromelain (250 mg daily): This enzyme is typically found in pineapples which reduces swelling, specifically in the sinuses.
  3. Vitamin C (2,000 mg daily): This powerful antioxidant has anti-histamine properties along with supporting the immune system. 6
  4. Quercetin (1000 mg daily): This anti-inflammatory flavonoid is found in green tea, citrus, red wine, and onion. It is proven to help with hay fever.
  5. Stinging Nettles (300-500 mg 2x daily): Stinging nettles reduce hay fever while also diminishing histamine production. 7

Essential Oils for Allergies:

Essential oils have also been proven to help those suffering from food and/or seasonal allergies. Eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil are the two top essential oils which open up the lungs and sinuses. Tea tree oil can also help destroy airborne pathogens which cause the symptoms of allergies.


Home Remedies for Allergies: What Works? (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2016, from,,20677556,00.html

Natural Allergy Cures - (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2016, from