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Finish First Insider, Issue #52
April 06, 2009
Welcome Back

Please enjoy another issue packed with evidence-based information about sports performance training and news about current events at Finish First Sports Performance. If you find value in this e-newsletter, please forward this message to your teammates, coaches, or other parents of hard working athletes.


Slouching Posture Negatively Affects Performance

By Coach J. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Poor sitting posture is rapidly growing issue as a result of the amount of time people spend using a computer or a cell phone (text, blackberry, iPhone) on a daily basis. Also contributing to the problem, is the over-caffeinated younger generation. Disturbances in sleep affect the ability to maintain proper sitting posture during school and normal activities.

Some of the resulting problems from exposure to repeated poor sitting posture include lumbar disc problems, reduction in hip mobility/stability, rotator cuff impingement, and cervical headaches.

Due to the anterior lean of the torso, the lumbar spine loses it natural lordotic curve and its position ranges from neutral alignment to large degrees of flexion, depending on the amount of ‘slouch’ or lean. In this position, the segmental stabilizers and lumbar spine extensors are stretched and fatigued, altering their length tension relationship, ultimately affecting their ability to provide stability for normal movements of the lumbar spine—which increases the risk of injury to this area. I have seen instances of people sitting at a computer where emphasis was placed on trying to maintain the natural lordotic curve. Unfortunately, in an effort to do this, they increased their posterior pelvic tilt and had high degrees of flexion in the cervical spine.

Increased rotation of the pelvis/hip places the hip flexors in a shortened position with lack of neuromuscular activation for prolonged periods of time. This shortened position leads to weakness that affects the normal force coupling and length tension relationships necessary for efficient (normal mobility, force reduction, force production, stability) kinetic chain alignment during movements such as walking, running, etc., and because of the lumbar relationship with the iliopsoas muscle(s) may also result in low back pain (LBP). As a result of the combination of abnormal length-tension relationships, improper kinetic chain alignment, and force couple imbalances of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, some people will initiate movements of flexion and extension through the lumbar spine instead of the hip—the musculature surrounding/supporting movement of the lumbar spine is not designed for movement capabilities, nor force production or dynamic force reduction capabilities similar to that of the hip, which greatly places the lumbar spine at risk of injury.

Exaggerated thoracic kyphosis and anterior flexion positioning of the arms (depending on where the techno device is located in relation to the seated person) may result in anterior tilt, protraction, and rotation of the scapula, along with potential slight internal rotation of the humeral head. This positioning may lead to short/tight, weak internal rotators of the shoulder, and fatigued external rotators of the shoulder, increasing the risk of potential injury. This poor alignment may also decrease the space (subacromial) where the tendon attachment(s) of the rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) normally passes, resulting in potential impingement.

Due to the increased anterior positioning of the head in this posture, the normal curvature of the cervical spine is altered, which places continuous stress on the extensors which causes them to become lengthened and fatigued. The flexors of the cervical spine become shortened and tightened which results in weakness and tightness. As a result, there are altered length-tension relationships and altered force couple relationships that would normally provide correct cervical spine alignment. The forward positioning of the head in this posture may result in impingement that may lead to inflammation of the vertebral arteries that would affect blood supply to the head. Decreased blood supply may lead to cervical headaches. This positioning may also cause impingements to the cervical nerve roots, which may also lead to cervical headaches.

It has also been shown that the forward positioning of the head increases the stress on the lumbar spine musculature, resulting in fatigue and placing the spine at a greater risk of injury.

There are several subsystems that can be affected by imbalances due to poor sitting posture. Altered length tension and force coupling relationships at the hip due to posterior pelvic tilt and affected lumbar spine curvature (flexion for a long period of sitting) may affect the posterior oblique subsystem, anterior oblique subsystem, deep longitudinal subsystem (weakened, fatigued erector spinae, and effect on the thoracolumbar fascia), and the lateral subsystem (tight, weakened hip flexors).

As you can see, poor posture has many negative effects on performance. Again, some of the resulting problems from exposure to repeated poor sitting posture include lumbar disc problems, reduction in hip mobility/stability, rotator cuff impingement, and cervical headaches. It is important to focus on proper sitting posture (or standing posture) throughout the day. If you are repeatedly exposed to poor posture, take time to stretch and perform exercises to increase the endurance in your postural support tissues. For more information, please stop by Finish First Sports Performance or call 412-787-5070.


The Female Athlete Triad: Are you at Risk?

By Heather R Mangieri, MS, RD, LDN Finish First Sports Performance Nutrition Advisor

Recently I visited with a group of female collegiate soccer players to discuss proper fueling for improving muscular strength. At the end of my talk, as I always do when I talk with female athletes, I mentioned the female athlete triad and discussed the signs, symptoms and physical effects of the syndrome. Not surprisingly, I had a few athletes talk with me after the presentation more about their personal issues, wondering if the symptoms they experience fit the criteria for the diagnosis. What continues to surprise me is that many female athletes are not familiar with the triad and therefore their symptoms go dangerously undiagnosed. For that reason, I hope that this article will provide some insight to those unfamiliar with the disorder.

In simple terms, the female athlete triad is a combination of disordered eating, amenorrhea (or menstrual dysfunction) and low bone density or osteoporosis. It manifests slowly as an athlete develops one or more harmful eating behaviors in an attempt to lose weight. It may also manifest unknowingly as an athlete fails to meet their high energy needs of training. The result is an energy deficit. The insufficient energy leads to a decrease in estrogen production, eventually resulting in menstrual irregularities and amenorrhea. Also, a lack of estrogen decreases calcium absorption and retention. Due to the distorted eating patterns, is also common for the athlete to decrease the consumption of calcium rich foods. Left untreated, this lack of calcium and hormonal irregularities leads to bone loss and osteoporosis.

The conditions of the triad exist on a continuum of severity, meaning that the progression along the three continuums can occur at different rates. For example, an athlete may show signs of restrictive eating but deny having any changes or dysfunction of her menstrual cycle. Though the conditions represented by each continuum may appear independent of each other, it is likely that due to the clear association between all three conditions, the athlete will suffer from all of them. The root cause for the development of the triad is a negative calorie balance. Athletes that are very thin but that consume adequate calories will be protected from developing the syndrome. Therefore, physical appearance of an athlete is not a suitable way to identify someone “at risk.” Due to this and many factors, athletes suffering from the triad often go undiagnosed. For example, poor eating patterns are not always easily identified, even by the athlete. Another problem is that many female athletes begin taking birth control pills that mask menstrual dysfunction. Lastly, not all female athletes are being monitored for osteoporosis. In some unfortunate incidences, a bone fracture is the first clue that the triad exists.

Read the following risk factors and signs/symptoms to become more familiar with this syndrome.

Risk Factors:

*The desire to win at all costs

*Pressure from another person to win

*Participation in a sport that require body weight monitoring

*Excessive exercise

*Restricting food

Signs and Symptoms of the Female Athlete Triad:

*Irregular or absent menstrual cycles

*Fatigue

*Difficulty Sleeping

*Weight loss due to food restriction

*Recurrent injuries or stress fractures


Congratulations Christian Hanson!!!

Unless you live under a rock, you should be aware that Pittsburgh's own Christian Hanson recently signed a two year contract with the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs.

Having known Christian for some time, now, it is very satisfying to see him achieve a goal that he has set, planned for, and worked very hard to attain.

Congratulations, Christian, from all of your friends here at Finish First Sports Performance! You make us all very proud, and we look forward to working with you again in the off-season!


Finish First Sports Performance Trains RMU Men's Division 1 Hockey Team

Finish First Sports Performance would like everyone to welcome our newest team:

RMU Men's Hockey

We look forward to continuing to help you prepare for your best season ever!


Important!!! New Hours Effective March 30th, 2009

Attention All:

Beginning March 30th, 2009, and continuing through April 24th, the world headquarters training facility will not open until 3pm, Monday through Friday.

There will be teams using the facility prior to 3pm on these days, so no one else will be permitted to use the facility during these times.

Again, beginning March 30th, 2009, regularly scheduled workouts will not begin until 3pm.

Normal hours will resume following the week of April 24th, and summer hours will begin mid-may. The new summer hours will be disclosed at a later date.

I apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to continuing to better serve your needs.


Scheduling for ALL Workouts

Effective April 1, 2009, all athletes will need to be scheduled for ALL workouts.

By scheduling all workouts, we will be able to better plan to prevent overcrowding and allow for optimal training conditions.

If you have any questions, please call Jeremy (412-787-5070).

Additional information will be available with details of how to schedule online!--Coming Soon!!!


Motivational Quotes

"Greatness does not approach him who is forever looking down."
-- Hitopadesa

"I can't believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary."
-- Lou Holtz

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."
-- Aristotle

"Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of"
-- Anonymous



ATTENTION: April Member Referral Bonus

Attention All Members:

During the month of April, all new member referral fees are doubled--yes--that is not a typo. Instead of the normal $50 credit towards your next membership, for every new member you introduce to Finish First Sports Performance, you will receive a whopping $100 credit towards your next membership (renewal).

Remember, in order to qualify, you must be a current/active member (with no outstanding balance) and the new member must commit to a minimum of 8 sessions or 1 month.

Spread the word and get $100!

(for more details, contact Jeremy 412-787-5070)


2009 NSCA PA State Clinic, April 4th, 2009

Coach Jeremy recently presented at the 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association's PA State Clinic on April 4, 2009.

Coach Hoy presented on the topic of performance training for ice hockey, with relevance to training program design for all sports.

Thanks to all who attended and the other speakers who helped make it a success!


WPIAL Wrestling Legends Night

Saturday evening, April 4th, 2009, Chartiers Valley High School and Thiel College Wrestling hosted the 2nd Annual WPIAL Legends wrestling classic which featured some of the best WPIAL wrestlers ever assembled under one roof!!!

Finish First Sports Performance sponsored a weight class and cheered on our sports psychology advisor, Dr. Mark Marshall, as he won his wrestling match.

Highlights, including interviews with the participating wrestlers, can be found here.

Additionally, if you would like to see/hear Coach Hoy's better half open the evening with the singing of the National Anthem, click here.


Thank You for Your Support

Thanks again for subscribing to this free e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. I look forward to your feedback as I continue to research to bring you the most current scientific training information available.

Should you have any specific article requests or questions, email me at jhoy@finishfirstsports.com. Please visit www.finishfirstsports.com for detailed sports performance training information and programs offered exclusively by Finish First Sports Performance.

Yours In Training,

Coach Jeremy S. Hoy, CSCS, USAW, Jump Stretch, Inc. Certified,
Elite Performance Scientist

Finish First Sports Performance
jhoy@finishfirstsports.com
866-468-2231
412-787-5070

For Finish First Insider backissues #1 - 29, click here

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