Survival of the Flexible

  • By Dynamic Sports Training
  • 20 Jan, 2017

Written by guest author Pam Owens, Pam Owens Fitness

I noticed a long time ago the stronger and more flexible a person is the more they thrive and “rock at life.”

In fact, I changed the phrase “survival of the fittest” to “survival of the flexible.” Being flexible opens up a whole lot of possibilities, definitely keeps you in the game longer and even improves mortality rate.

Baby humans are born flexible. Remember putting your toes in your mouth or sitting in a deep squat to pet your dog or play in the dirt? But then we hit the growth spurt, grow up and start working, we become less active with less variety of movement. Gradually, we lose flexibility, hunch over and start shuffling … unless we move a lot and work out to maintain it!

Yes, it’s easy to see how world-class athletes are mobile. When you add strength to range of motion, a whole lot of possibilities open up! Strength + Flexibility = MOBILITY which means…..better movement quality, resilient joints, greater capacity to generate power from multiple joints for greater overall power.  Examine the long strides of a world-class runner, a first basemen doing the splits to make a catch and get the runner out or the incredible backswing reach of PGA Tour players swing. All are mobile and able to control great range in order to do difficult things.  

But how is mortality rate tied to mobility? Well, test yourself right now with this mobility challenge. Attempt to get down to a seated position on the floor and get up off the floor with no arm or hand assistance. The more assistance you need in getting down or getting up correlates to less mobility which correlates to less independence. Basically, when we get to the point we cannot get up or down even with assistance then we must rely on outside care. This is why mobility affords one more longevity and a higher quality of life.

Everyone can create more mobility. Remember the phrase “use it or lose it”. By "using it" - or going through all joint ranges - you will be able to maintain what you have and even create more.

Do your daily C.A.R.S. The best way to create more mobility is to strengthen all ranges of motion. Traditional exercises are typically done in one or two directions or planes and not done in all ranges. Learn the C.A.R.S (controlled articular rotations) routine for all joints. By slowly moving and contracting all joints (from head to toe) through all end ranges, you will gain control and strength of those ranges as well as develop greater ranges, i.e. mobility.

Here are some examples:
Pam Owens is a personal trainer, a nutrition coach and a proponent of all things fitness. She has more than twenty-four years of fitness experience with a specialization in golf-specific fitness training since 2007. She is currently the Fitness Director for Royal Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. Visit her website here .

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Dynamic Sports Training Blog

By Dynamic Sports Training 25 Apr, 2017
The muscle-up is an advanced upper body exercise mainly seen in the gymnastics and CrossFit communities. The application of the muscle-up to team sports is limited, however we can break the movement down into its more basic components and achieve a positive training effect.

The muscle up is comprised of two basic components: a pull up , followed immediately by a dip . These are two very simple and very effective exercises in their own right. The pull up is one of the biggest 'bang for your buck' exercises in building a strong, muscular back. Dips are a great exercise for building the pressing muscles such as the chest, triceps, and front delts.

If you’ve ever watched men’s gymnastics, it is pretty easy to see the high level of upper body strength and musculature development that these movements have contributed to. Even these athletes were not able to achieve a flawless muscle-up on their first time trying. They started with the basics of these movements and progressed as they mastered the beginner variations.

This is something we see being skipped in many CrossFit classes and from enthusiastic individuals roaming your local gym. If we put the muscle-up (done properly) on an exercise continuum and compare it to an education continuum, it would be equivalent to a master’s level education. No one gets their masters, or even gets to practice the core curriculum, without first passing the required prerequisites. This approach should be no different when picking exercises to include in a well-designed strength and conditioning program.

So whether you want to achieve your first muscle-up or to simply have a strong upper body, make sure you are mastering the basics first.
By Dynamic Sports Training 25 Apr, 2017
It's no surprise to us here at Dynamic Sports Training when we see one of our athletes' names (or multiple) in an article headline, spotlighting him or her for doing something great in their respective sport. We've been with them through the offseason grinding and know they're capable of achieving greatness. 

Even though it doesn't surprise us, we still get pumped whenever we see our athletes in the media. This last week, we had a few baseball clients achieve a bunch of 'firsts' and we'd like to highlight their recent accomplishments:

Austin Pruitt (RHP) - First Career MLB Win (Tampa Bay Rays)

Austin has been training with DST since his college days at UofH. While a Cougar, Pruitt worked with DST Owner Lee Fiocchi who was the Head Strength Coach for the baseball program at the time. Pruitt has worked with DST North Director of Operations and Sports Performance Specialist, Kevin Poppe, for the last four off-seasons. He was drafted in the 9th round in the 2013 MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, earning his spot in the Big Leagues this Spring Training (2017) and making his major league debut on April 2, 2017.

Three weeks after his debut, Pruitt earned his first career win while striking out five against the Detroit Tigers on April 19 (video). A short three days later, earned his second career win against the Houston Astros, both at home at Tropicana Field. 

"Pru has overachieved other people's expectations his entire career," Poppe comments. "He's a guy that will have a chance to play a long time in the big leagues. He has worked extremely hard over the past several off-seasons to get to this point. He's added velocity, and we are all extremely excited to watch such a good guy get to chase his dream."

DST Sports Performance Specialist, Dennis Koenck, has also been able to see Pruitt's work ethic first-hand. 

"I had heard stories of Pru from Poppe that seemed almost Chuck Norris-like," Koenck jokes. "When I first met Pru, I knew that he was a command guy because he wasn't that much taller than me, until I saw his work ethic and how hard he grinded this off-season. Knowing the odds were against him in Spring Training, the hard work this off-season followed him wherever he went, and it shows a lot with his character. Pru is the man...He sets goals every day, continues to climb, and we're pumped for him!"  

Ryan Tepera (RHP) - First Career MLB Win (Toronto Blue Jays)

Ryan Tepera spent his 2016-17 offseason with Dynamic Sports Training in Houston, Texas, at our West location working with DST Sports Performance Specialist, Sammy Knox. Tepera was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 19th round in 2009, making his MLB debut with the club in 2015. 

"I have worked with Ryan each of his last four off-seasons," Knox comments. "Each year he has evolved and progressed into a more well-rounded and complete athlete. It's been fun to watch."

On April 21, 2017, Tepera tossed three scoreless innings to garner his first-ever Big League win against the Los Angeles Angels in extra innings. 

Josh Graber, Director of Business Operations at DST, commented how exciting a time this is. "Ryan's the kind of guy you like to cheer for. He's humble and hard-working. We're so excited to see one of the good guys capitalize on a well-deserved opportunity like this."

Tepera was pretty pumped about Friday's performance when he took to Twitter. "What a game last night! W's are always special, but when they include your first career win and 3 scoreless innings, it's unforgettable" -(via @RTepera

"Ryan Tepera pitches three scoreless frames in extras, striking out three while allowing just one hit to earn his first Major League victory." - MLB.com (video)

Robert Dugger (RHP) - First Midwest League Win (MiLB - Clinton LumberKings)

Robert Dugger was drafted in the 18th round of the 2016 draft by the Seattle Mariners. On April 23, 2017, Dugger tossed two scoreless innings to earn his first Midwest League win against the Quad Cities River Bandits. 

DST Sports Performance Specialist, Dennis Koenck has a special connection to Robert Dugger, being his first minor-league client he trained on his own as a one-on-one.  

"Rob is the type of guy that found a way to stay even keel, no matter how intense the workouts got I couldn't tell if he was tired or not. It's rewarding to see him go out there and get this first win under his belt -- it takes the pressure off and now he gets to continue to grind, and go out there and perform. From the jam-sessions during the re-eds, explosiveness during the workouts, to the handshakes before he'd take off - I'm pumped for him to continue to build off of his first win."

"Dugger is meticulous in his offseason work at the Texas Baseball Ranch and here at DST," Poppe adds. "He is just a focused kid and is extremely competitive. No doubt he'll be able to have continued success at higher levels."

---

We are very proud of all of our athletes. We love seeing their success on and off the field, and are looking forward to seeing what other accomplishments they have this season. Way to go, DST Family!
By Dynamic Sports Training 18 Apr, 2017
For all you competitors, creatives, and wannabe fashion designers, we're going to have ourselves a little contest to let YOU -- our athletes -- design our next shirt for our 2017  #SummerofSeparation . (Yes, there will be some nice prizes!)

DST Design Contest Rules

1) Create the very best possible design for our 2017 Summer of Separation shirt each athlete will receive at summer training

2) Submit your design via social media (don't forget to tag us! @DST_Houston) by May 1st.

3) The DST Team will review all entries and choose 4 Finalists .

4) The 4 Finalists will be posted on social media and put to a vote.

5) The contest winner  will be announced on Tuesday, May 2nd. The winner will receive FREE summer training and $50 cash!

What if I'm not very creative?

Don't worry about it! We want everyone to participate. That means we'll take something even if you made it in paint! If your concept is good enough, we'll have our designers work with you to get it the way you want it if you're voted a finalist.

What are the guidelines for my design?

None, really. You can hand-draw it, use an editing software, whatever you want to do! If you need someplace to start, we'd recommend a couple of free design softwares: Canva or PicMonkey

Any recommendations?

Just make sure you use our logo (below) -- but feel free to use it however you'd like!  Bonus points if you incorporate #SummerofSeparation

Other Questions?

 Send Josh Graber an e-mail at josh@dynamicsportstraining.com with the subject line: DST Design Contest

By Dynamic Sports Training 18 Apr, 2017
This week's exercise is the lunge, which is a great lower body strength exercise for all fitness levels.

In order to properly perform a lunge, make sure the knee, shin, and ankle of the front leg are all in alignment when lowering your body. It is also important to keep the chest up and shoulders back to avoid injury. When going down into the lunge, make sure to lower your body straight down the center of gravity, not shifting any weight forward or backward. When at the bottom of the lunge position, focus on engaging the glute and hamstring to explode back up. Remember to keep an upright posture throughout the entire movement, on the way down as well as on the way up.

To make this movement more challenging, try holding onto weights. Grip the weights tightly, not letting them just hang down by the side. This forces additional muscle engagement in the upper body and core, turning this lower body strength exercise into a full body strength exercise.

The lunge is important for building lower body strength, which translates to lower body power and explosiveness down the line. The lunge can be incorporated into any workout regimen, commonly used in its simplest form with beginners, as well as used in other variations, incorporating added weight/bands with more advanced athletes. 
By Dynamic Sports Training 13 Apr, 2017

To keep and improve flexibility.

When we are born, we have excessive joint mobility and flexibility. As we grow up, we lose the mobility we don’t use and retain some based on the activities we do and sports we play. This plays a role in the compensations we develop. For example: As a baseball player, you partake in thousands of reps of swinging and throwing using one side of your body prior to high school -- this is what we would label “functional compensations” --  as the excessive range of motion a pitcher gets in the shoulder is a big contributor in how well they can throw a baseball. On the flip-side, it is likely to cause certain issues when performing other activities that require more symmetry. Lifting weights and learning how to perform your basic movement patterns properly will help to improve and maintain joint mobility while building stability and strength.


Mobility without stability is just as much an injury risk as an overly stiff body that lacks mobility.


By creating stability in a given range of motion, you are more likely to retain that joint mobility. Think of resistance training as pressing the save button. If you only quarter squat, you will likely lose the ability to achieve full hip flexion compared to someone that squats with load through a full range of motion. By training from a young age, we develop the functional mobility and strength that sets the athlete up for greater improvements down the road, along with a decreased risk of injury.


Gravity is resistance

I had a parent ask me recently, after seeing one of our youth athletes doing cleans, when the time was right to start resistance training. I explained to him that everyone does resistance training in life as soon as they are born. Let me explain. How does a baby stand up for the first time? Well, after trying over and over and failing to overcome their own bodyweight and gravity, they eventually build up enough strength and coordination to stand up and walk without falling. Fast forward a few years and those kids are running, jumping, and exploring the world through movement. Each ground contact during running is upwards of three times your bodyweight. Even some of the strongest NFL players will never lift anything that heavy in the weight room. Ever seen a young child jump off the monkey bars or from the swing and land on the ground from high up in the air? Did you worry about them and the health of their body? These are joint forces that are much more extreme than anything they could do in a controlled weight training session with a knowledgeable trainer. By participating in resistance training, a good coach can teach proper mechanics and help build a more resilient body, thereby reducing the risk of injury in sport.


Where are all the farm boys with stunted growth?

It doesn’t matter if we are lifting barbells or a bail of hay, resistance is resistance. Most people have heard that lifting weights at an early age will stunt the growth of a growing child. If this were the case, why aren’t children who grew up on farms (or other scenarios where physical labor was unavoidable) deformed and broken? Bails of hay, buckets of water, and wheelbarrows full of dirt all add up and are relatively heavy just like barbells and dumbbells. We have yet to see an epidemic where these children grow up to be hindered by it. Most of them reap the benefits of a strong mind and body as well as a robust general capacity to do physical work.


Let me emphasize that I am not condoning jumping into resistance training blindly. Everything is about progression. Loading the spine with back squats will not be on the agenda on day one or maybe even year one. An experienced eye will know when someone has earned the right to progress and, when that day comes, that is exactly what should be done. Do your research and find a good coach to guide your young athlete. I firmly believe you can find just that here at Dynamic Sports Training.
By Dynamic Sports Training 11 Apr, 2017

The bird dog is a rotary stability movement that resists movement of the spine, moving from four points of contact with the ground to two points of contact. Start with both knees and both hands on the ground. Alternate between raising the opposite arm and leg off the ground and reach as far as you can in opposite directions.  Make sure to keep the core tight, limiting the amount of body movement from the original position.


The alternate leg lower is a core stability movement. The goal is to help maintain a neutral spine and resist against extension in the lumbar spine (lower back). Start with the back flat against the ground, the lower back pressed into the ground and the core tight, both legs straight in the air at a 90 degree angle from the ground. Keeping one leg straight in the air (knees locked), slowly lower the opposite leg until just above the ground. Raise the same leg back to the starting position and repeat with the other.


Both movements improve core strength and stability to help prevent injuries as well as help address other minor issues, including reducing energy leaks during athletic performance or exercise. Incorporating these exercises into a workout regimen can decrease chance of injury, as well as improve the body's ability to function through exercises involving the core.


Effective application of these exercises can help a wide range of people -- including youth, professional athletes, and the general population. Constructing pillar strength is essential to maintaining proper posture. 
By Dynamic Sports Training 10 Apr, 2017
This month's spotlight athletes are long-time DST athletes Kris and Cody Nguyen. Both brothers have been training with DST for over four years, working with several Sports Performance Specialists including Kevin Poppe, Jeff McCollum, and Sammy Knox.

The 21-year-old brothers currently attend Houston Community College together.  Both are extremely dedicated to their training, coming into the gym regularly five times a week and keeping each other accountable as workout partners. Sammy Knox, who currently writes their programs, was very complimentary of the brothers. "Kris and Cody are some of the most consistent and focused athletes I have seen," Sammy said. "They truly exemplify what it means to be DST athletes."

Their strength and speed have increased greatly from working with our team over the past four years, maximizing the time they spend in the weight room and improving their performances on the baseball diamond. It's been exciting to follow their journeys and to see how much they've accomplished. Team DST is looking forward to continue to help Kris and Cody reach their goals and, with their work ethic? Nothing can stop them!
By Dynamic Sports Training 07 Apr, 2017

I was recently asked the question, "How has the journey been so far?"


Well, it’s the beginning of April, so it’s been about three months since I started my journey here at DST.


I had no clue what I wanted to do with my degree after graduating from UTSA last December. A mutual friend introduced me to Dennis "DK" Koenck who told me that his company was looking for a business intern, so I applied and got an interview with Josh Graber, the Director of Business Operations. I showed up dressed as a business professional because this was my first big interview right out of college. I remember meeting Poppe (Kevin Poppe, Director of DST North) that day and him telling me "nice tie." Turns out, I was a little overdressed for the interview!


Beginning the new year, I was your stereotypical “new guy” at the company: a little shy, timid, and uncertain of myself. Eventually, I opened up and started to fit in nicely with the staff here. Since I played baseball in high school and club ball in college, I knew I should be working out, but I could never find the motivation to do so consistently. When I started working at DST, I knew that I should take advantage of what was in front of me: a top-class weight room, helpful trainers, and great motivation from the entire DST staff.


I started out using a generic program designed to get me moving and sweating. Then one day as Josh, Rachel (another business intern), and I were brainstorming during a meeting, we decided to challenge each other to a health and fitness competition utilizing the trainers we have on staff. Josh teamed up with Sammy, Rachel teamed up with Stephen, and I teamed up with Garrett.  And thus, the DST Three Month Challenge was created. We would be competing against each other for three months to promote DST and our trainers. We were each assessed, took a BMI test, and all took before photos to compare when we’re done.


We decided we needed more than just pride on the line, though. The losing team has to bear the shame of singing karaoke in front of our summer camp -- Oh, and the other teams get to decide the song! If this wasn't going to motivate me, I don’t think anything would have!


So Garrett and I got to work. He built me a personalized training program along with a nutrition plan. He couldn’t stress enough to me that I needed to commit to the diet in order to thin down and get strong. So I did.


The first day I weighed in at 203 lbs, which is considered overweight for my height. I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me. The first day was honestly the toughest because I was extremely out of shape and I hadn’t trained hard in over five years! I was able to tough it out and finish the first week without actually dying. I can't even express to you how sore I was. When I got home that first night, I couldn’t get up from my chair without immediately falling back down. Day one was so bad my legs had given out on me!


Another surprise to me was just how hard it is to stay to a good diet! It’s tough to cook and eat as healthy as Garrett wants me to! My first time meal-prepping for the week took me over five hours to shop, chop, and cook all of my food. 5 weeks in, I’ve cut that down to 3 hours, which is a big difference.


Typical Day :


  • Breakfast Shake: 1 scoop of protein, a cup of strawberries, half a cup of blueberries, two cups of milk, and 5 macadamia nuts.

  • My first snack is an ounce of deer sausage, half an orange, and 15 cashews.

  • Lunch is a bag of frozen veggies (broccoli, water chestnuts, and carrots steamed), usually 5 ounces of chicken, a handful of grapes, a handful of carrots and a cup of strawberries.

  • My second snack of the day is the same as my first snack, 1 oz of deer meat, the other half of orange and 15 cashews.

  • Dinner is 5 ounces of meat, a cup of onions that I steam with 12 spears of asparagus, and a half cup of green peppers. A cup of strawberries or half a cup of watermelon and a handful of grapes with 25 peanuts or 15 almonds.


I’ve never had what you’d call a “healthy diet” so this was all very new to me, but it’s been a huge success so far.


So here we are, halfway through our challenge, and I feel great! My weight is down to 191, I've lost a little bit of my belly, my arms are toned again, and I haven't felt better since my senior year of high school. I’m motivated to stay active and competing against some pretty awesome people is motivation as well. With Josh already in good shape and Rachel just coming back from Iceland after playing professional soccer there, I knew this competition was going to be challenging, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I need Garrett to push me hard, but I also know I have to bust my butt to get on their level. You have to be resilient and relentless if you want to be successful, and this challenge has definitely tested me on that.


“How has the journey been so far?” I would say that this is one of the most fun things I have ever been a part of. Losing weight, looking good, getting stronger, and competing against my coworkers has been a heck of a ride. And let me tell you something: they don’t stand a chance. I'm very excited for May when I'll bring home the bragging rights as champion of our three month challenge!
By Dynamic Sports Training 06 Apr, 2017
Mindset Principle: Relentless
By Josh Graber

“A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” —James N. Watkins

Have you ever known one of those people who just refuses to give up? Has to play "just one more game" until they win? Sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them, but you will  always respect their tenacity and never-say-die attitude. That mindset of relentlessness is exactly what we'll be focusing on this month.

Last month , we discussed resilience and the importance of bouncing back after getting knocked down. Relentlessness and resilience are definitely closely related, but there's also a distinct difference between the two: the resilient person withstands all sorts of setbacks and doesn't falter while the relentless person fights through all obstacles no matter what they may be.

Still sound the same? Think of it in terms of the proverbial meeting between an immovable object and the unstoppable force. The immovable object is the resilient athlete and the unstoppable force is the relentless athlete. 

Let's go back to that person you know who refuses to quit. What's always the end result? They win. They accomplish their goals. Always. Why? Because the narrative is never over until they're on top. It doesn't matter if they lose 19 games before finally winning one. At the end of the day, they won. 

Have a goal? Be relentless. Don't stop until you reach it. Babe Ruth had it right when he said, "You just can't beat the person who never gives up." Be that person.

Nutrition Principle: Nutrient Timing
By Chelsea Bellinger

Nutrient timing is all about the dispersion and distribution of calories and macronutrients throughout the day. This is a complicated concept because, like most things regarding diet and exercise, there is no "one-size-fits-all" guideline on how someone should consume their nutrients throughout the day. The type of athlete, intensity of the training program (or performance days) and time of day the athlete is expending the most energy are just a few factors that go into evaluating an individual's nutrient timing. Nutrient timing is important to ensuring the athlete's body is fueled properly during training sessions, competition time and also during recovery time. 

Physical Principle: Tempo

By Sammy Knox

When discussing tempo in training, we are referring to the speed at which we execute the exercise. Training with different tempos is important because it will provide the athlete with a different stress, therefore causing a specific adaptation to that stress. There are three different tempos we utilize in our training because there are three different types of muscular contractions.

  1. Eccentric – a muscle that is lengthening while contracting
  2. Isometric – a muscle that does not change in length while contracting

  3. Concentric - a muscle that is shortening in length while contracting

Let's use a squat exercise as our example:

- The better you are at eccentric strength (a slow descent in the squat), the better you will be at absorbing force. This is important for both preventing injury and increasing performance. When sprinting, we want to spend very little time on the ground while still being able to apply enough force to be fast. The stronger the athlete is eccentrically, the better they will be able to achieve this.

- Isometric strength (holding the bottom of the squat) is beneficial to being a well-rounded athlete, as you are required to hold static postures under high forces and velocities while sprinting. Our core muscles must be strong isometrically during sprinting and other athletic feats to transfer force in the most efficient and effective way.

- Concentric strength (standing up from the bottom of a squat) is all about force production and can also be referred to as  “starting strength.” This is very important in the acceleration phase of sprinting, which is the first 10-20 yards. This is the case since we are not able to utilize the stretch reflex as effectively to propel us in the direction we want to go; therefore, we must use more concentric strength to get us going.

As you can see, all three tempos are important and useful for athletes to develop maximum strength.

By Dynamic Sports Training 04 Apr, 2017
The medicine ball slam is a great full-body, compound exercise that generates explosive power in the sagittal plane (movement done from front to back). The athlete contracts their core/lats to throw the ball downward to the ground. The athlete will rotate through the thoracic spine (upper back) while bringing the ball overhead and keeping their hips in line. They'll also achieve triple extension through the ankle, knees and hips. Then, forcefully contracting the core to keep the torso rigid, the athlete will slam the medicine ball down.

Medicine ball slams are a total-body movement, emphasizing the bracing of the core and generating explosive power by coordinating the movements of the athlete's upper and lower halves. We never use just one muscle or one part of the body in sports, so training total-body movements is imperative to improvement.  The medicine ball slam is a great exercise that translates from the weight room to a game scenario.

3 main keys to this exercise:

1. Be athletic.
2. Gain triple extension.
3. Slam the ball as hard as you possibly can.
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