Tag mike kohm

Consistancy = Success

In my 11 years of racing triathlon, I have come to realize that a huge part of success is consistency. If you are able to train in all aspects of the sport consistently, your ability to achieve great things dramatically increases. One of the biggest hurdles that stands in the way of this consistency is injury and I find this rather amusing.

How can an injury be amusing? Well because most of the time its predictable and preventable. If you choose to let it happen, that is silly… to the point of being kind of funny. Obviously crashes, accidents, and extreme circumstances aren’t necessarily preventable because then they wouldn’t aptly be named so, but for many of those training related injuries, if athletes would take the time to get to know their bodies a bit more many of those obstacles could be completely avoided. So how do you “get to know your body more?” Try seeing an experience physical therapist and/or chiropractor. Their job is knowing all about the human body. I have starting seeing three of the PT’s at Alta Physical Therapy and Dr Lisa Erikson at LifeSport Chiropractic. Charlie, Mike, and Erin at Alta have been helping me to diagnose and treat potential problem areas to help avoid any show stopping injuries and Dr Lisa has been adjusting me. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been blogging about them a lot lately and there is good reason – I’m injury free!

Four of the things that we have done so far to help predict and prevent injuries are Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), Functional Movement Systems (FMS), Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN), and Active Release Technique (ART) .

Both SFMA and FMS are ways of assessing fundamental patterns of movement, such as bending and squatting, that can be associated with known musculoskeletal pain. We’re able to identify meaningful impairments that may be seemingly unrelated to the main musculoskeletal complaint, but contribute to the associated disability. In other words, we do a few simple tests and are able to find major weaknesses. From these assessments, I’m given specific exercises to do and areas to focus on when it comes to supplemental training. We find the weakness and eliminate it. Potential problem solved!

I’ve talk about TDN in a previous blog. We’ve been using this to focus on areas that I have been absolutely pounding in training. By helping the muscle to recover faster, I’m able to progress through training smoother and with greater success.

And the newest treatment that I’ve been trying is ART. ART is a movement-based soft tissue treatment technique that smooths out tissue thickness, releases trigger points, lengthens tight muscles, frees scars, mobilizes nerves, and improves range of motion. Here Charlie is working on my quads and calves.

I have definitely noticed two distinct differences between ART and TDN as recovery tools. ART is far less “intense” and is much more comfortable to go through, but TDN has greater effects for me in the long run. With TDN, I’m pretty sore for the following 48 hours, but then see outstanding results. With ART, I’m not very sore right away, but I do see differences almost immediately. Both are great techniques that I’m using for the same purpose, but who know what they can do for you!

With Dr Lisa, we’ve been working on a lot of areas. Check out the pictures and see what she has been working to correct. We’re making good progress (you should have seen me before)!

As triathletes (although this applies to pretty much any endurance athlete), we spend exorbitant amounts of time trying to get faster. Whether it be the latest and greatest training program, the next big break through in bike design, or the new super food (in my best cheesy commercial voice) to help you lose weight and build muscle at the same time, triathletes are willing to try it. Bigger, better, faster! Gotta have it! If we’d just spend a little bit more time on our body itself rather than all the things we put on it, do with it, and come out of it, we’d be able to really fine tune that racing machine. I’m doing it, and I’m seeing a huge difference in performance already. Can’t wait for race season!



Da Power of Da Needle

At my training camp in Tucson (video to come), Craig, Matt, and I absolutely destroyed ourselves in 4 days. I can honestly say I have never been that sore from training alone! To help take full advantage of all that training, I wanted to recover properly.

I went into Alta to see Mike 2 times for Trigger Point Dry Needling. I was kinda sore the following days after each treatment, but WOWSERS! It made a world of difference! Let me start by explaining TDN.

Trigger Point Dry Needling, or TDN for short, is a technique that uses acupuncture needles to release tight muscles and deactivate trigger points. Trigger points are irritable, painful spots within a taut band of skeletal muscle. When the needle is inserted into the muscle and through the trigger point, the muscle involuntarily contracts causing a twitch. When this happens it promotes healing by creating a local inflammatory response.  So this means when they stick you with a bunch of needles, you’re gonna spaz, and then feel really good in couple of days. That simple.

During my first treatment, Mike focused on lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. The sensation you get from those tiny little needles is kind of hard to describe. I wouldn’t use the word “painful,” but rather “intensely uncomfortable.” It doesn’t really hurt, but I was squirming around on the table a lot. In this picture, you can see how Mike lines up exactly where he wants the needle to go with a little tube. Once that’s lined up, he just taps the back end of the needle and VOILA! Its in and you can barely feel it… you can barely feel it until he starts moving it around. Then  you get that twitchy, jumpy response from the muscles as he hits the trigger points. Again, I want to emphasise that it is “intense”, but not “painful.” Two totally different things.

About a week later, I went in for a 2nd treatment. This time around Mike focused on my Gastrocnemius (aka calves) and my Soleus. These areas were far less intense during the session, but I felt them a lot more the next couple of days.  I can’t say enough good things about this method of treatment. I think it’s a fabulous way to prevent injury, help speed up recovery, prevent injury, and specifically target an injury to treat it. I listed prevent injury twice because I a big fan of it. I’ve referred to it as “pre hab,” in previous blogs and I totally believe in it. If you do the extra little things ahead of time, they will make a BIG difference in the long run.

Mike needling my calves. I was sore for a couple of days afterwards, but then I was ready to rock and roll! I can’t imagine how long it would have taken for them to recover if I hadn’t done TDN.

Close up of the needle. It doesn’t really hurt. It was funny to see this picture because my first thought was “That was in me?!?” I’m glad I didn’t watch because I have a slight fear of needles.



Feelin The Flow, Ridin The Bull… I Mean Bike

Like most professional triathletes and cyclists, I spend exorbitant amounts of time on the bike. With copious hours spent building calluses on my gluteus maximus, you can really feel when something is even the slightest bit out of whack anywhere on the bike. A few degrees off here, slightly misaligned over there and after 4 hours in the saddle its a pretty big deal. To get my gear dialed in, I usually just make minor adjustments until everything feels pretty good. But since I have Alta as a sponsor now, I thought I’d stop in to see Mike Kohm and have him do a quick bike fit to help put the finishing touches on my position and boy did it make a big difference!

We started out by using a laser to check the overall alignment of my bike. We discovered that after I had cleaned my bike earlier that week, I had misaligned several key things. The handlebars/stem and saddle were slightly off. If you looked at them without the laser they didn’t look too bad, but with the laser it was pretty obvious what was going on. Then Mike used the laser to check a few more things…

After playing with the laser for a while, we adjusted the cleats. These were new pedals/cleats and shoes that I was trying out, so there was a bit to work on. It was quite a process, but in the end everything feels great! Originally I was getting some slight numbness on the outside of my right foot prior to Mike’s adjustments, but afterwards it was totally gone! I was also getting a slight bit of pain in my left knee after about 2 hours or so in the saddle. The day after Mike’s tweeks to my cleats, I rode for nearly 3 hours completely pain free.

The final modification of the day was the hoods on the handle bars. Turns out that the right one was slihgtly lower than the left one. By leveling them out, it helped to releive some of the work that my back has to do to keep me straight and even in the cockpit. We also rotated the bars back just a little and WOW! Just a few degrees difference and I could feel it big time!

There were several other things that Mike checked (seat height, back angle, etc), but I had got those almost spot on myself, so we didn’t have to adjust them. I couldn’t believe that in less than 2 hours we made just a few minor adjustments that now make each and every ride so much more enjoyable! I thought things felt good before, but now…



Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall…

…Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, All the Kings horses and all the Kings men, Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Well they just didn’t have the right people, but I do!

I’m really excited to have signed a new sponsor for 2011 – Alta Physical Therapy & Pilates.  I’m fired up to be working with them on several different levels. They will not only help me with any injuries I have, but we will also be doing what I like to call “pre-hab.” Rather than waiting til you are injured and have to do re-hab, do preventative work first to stop the injury from ever happening in the first place. Being able to train day in and day out without having to slow down or reign things back because of injury is paramount. Working with the PT’s at Alta, I will (knock on wood), stay injury free all season and be able to Rock the Casbah!

I had my first session with Mike Kohm at Alta on Monday. We started with a Selective Functional Movement Assessment. SFMA for short, is a comprehensive assessment that classifies movement patterns. This system helps the clinician recognize meaningful impairments and integrate the current best evidence (manual therapy and therapeutic exercise) for treating musculoskeletal conditions. It is designed to target and identify dysfunctional movement patterns. So what does all that mean?

It means, they run a short series of tests to find weaknesses and imbalances in your body. You then are given some exercises to help correct these dysfunctional movement patterns. That way they can get your body firing on all 16 cylinders (I like to pretend I’m a Bugatti Veyron), so that when you are in full on training, you are less likely to get injured.

Right now I am in the early stages of training for the 2011 season (8 days in), so I’m feeling pretty good and am completely injury free  (which I hope lasts a long time). As the season continues to progress and little twinges develop or don’t develop, I’ll document all the treatment and things we do to fix them and prevent more in the future.