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Finish First Insider, Issue #53
April 13, 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.

Does dysfunction of the foot and ankle affect the shoulder?

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

Recently, I wrote an article explaining specifically how a condition such as left foot hallux valgus (left big toe points to the outside of the foot) can affect the entire kinetic chain, which includes the joints, nerves, and muscles from the foot up to the neck and head.

Kinetic Chain Dysfunction

I am going to share that article with you, but want you to look past the specific issue being described and apply this more globally to the body. The body is wired to find a way to execute movement, regardless of whether it is correct or faulty. Imbalances and dysfunctions force the brain to alter normal movement patterns (mechanics) in order to fully execute the movement. For example, in the article below, the condition of hallux valgus does not prevent a person from walking, running, jumping, etc., but due to the associated compensatory movements, altered muscle lengths, and force-coupling relationships, the movements may not be as efficient, as fast, explosive, etc. as normal, and they may result in pain or dysfunction elsewhere in the body.

Total Body Integration

This supports the fact that the kinetic chain is INTEGRATED and that dysfunction in the foot affects the knees, hips, low back, spine, arms, shoulders, etc. That is why it is so important to not only evaluate each athlete for underlying issues, but also to address these through sound programming, proper flexibility training, and some may need specific corrective exercises.

Again, the take home message here is that weight distribution, muscle length (or tightness), joint positioning, neural innervations, inhibition, weakness, etc. in the foot, ankle, or knee affects the kinetic chain above that location.

The body will compensate to make movements happen, but these compensatory movements do not address the underlying issue, and may result in more issues over time. It is important to find the issue and address it.

The article:

Hallux Valgus

A distal segment with poor muscular integration [left foot hallux valgus] can result in the dysfunction or impairment of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, the cervical spine, or even resulting in shoulder or elbow pain.

Hallux valgus is a deformity of lateral deviation of the first toe. A person with hallux valgus changes the way they displace weight in standing posture, and gait. These individuals avoid placing weight over the hallux and medial foot, and instead place a greater proportion of the load on the lateral portion (supination) of the foot, and also the posterior portion of the foot.

These changes in normal weight bearing movements affects the entire kinetic chain, from the ankle, knee, hip, and spine to the upper extremities.

HV creates weak hip lateral rotators as a result of excessive hip medial rotation. This affects the normal length-tension relationships of the lateral subsystem and the anterior oblique syb-system (gluteus medius, abductors/adductors, and tfl). The deep longitudinal subsystem is also affected because the biceps femoris becomes the dominant synergist in push-off phase of gait. This also affects the erector spinae and sacrotuberous ligament in stabilization of the SI Joint. The posterior oblique sub-system is also affected in creating stability of the SI Joint during gait (gluteus max, latissimus dorsi, thoracolumbar fascia). Overactive SI Joint stabilizers (affected synergistic and force-couple relationships between the deep longitudinal subsystem and the posterior oblique subsystem) may result in fatigue and directly affect neuromuscular control resulting in less stability during gait and movement.

Changes in gait due to changes in load placement on the foot may result in excessive lumbar lordosis (underactive glute max, tight, strong hip flexors to compensate for ROM of gait), excessive thoracic kyphosis or head forward position due to compensation to allow for upright eye positioning and posture/balance around an altered center of mass. Due to the nature of the body finding ways to move and to balance regardless of the dysfunction, several compensatory postural “shifts” may occur. Anterior head positioning may result in cervical or thoracic compression or mis-alignment, which may impinge the neural innervations of the shoulders, arms, elbow, and/or hands. These impingements may cause pain and affect neuromuscular control.

There are many possibilities for integrated dysfunction in the body, especially when the underlying problem begins from the ground up. All sub-systems are affected with altered synergistic dominance, force-couple relationships, length-tension relationships, and neuromuscular control.

For more information on integrated kinetic chain evaluations and performance screening, please call Jeremy at 412-787-5070.

Eating For Endurance

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

With the Pittsburgh Marathon right around the corner (May 3rd to be exact), I thought now might be a good time to talk about eating for endurance. Athletes train well in advance to get in shape and gain that competitive edge, often forgetting one very important component……PROPER NUTRITION! Overlooking adequate nutrition and hydration can lead to an increased risk of injury, a decrease in overall health and yes, extra minutes on the clock. Unfortunately, some athletes that are new to endurance training may turn to nutrition supplements hoping to gain that competitive edge, but may overlook what they are actually eating. A good nutrition program is important months before a marathon, days before the race, during the race and after the race.

With the marathon quickly approaching, many runners may wonder if they should be changing the way they eat. The answer is yes. Nutrition should match training. That is, if hard workouts are on the agenda, it’s really important to have enough protein available for muscle repair as well as carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen stores. Typically training is going to taper for the race about 4-5 days out in order to rest up. Three days out you can start thinking about carbo-loading. Carbo-loading is not about depleting your fuel stores but over-compensating your fuel stores. In other words, your training load has decreased and you really want to fill up your muscle stores with glycogen. Glycogen is the limiting factor that can cause a runner to “hit the wall” during the race. Muscle glycogen is one of the major fuels that will be used to get you to the finish line. You do not want to run out!

So how many carbohydrates should you have?

The average person who is not training the day before the race should plan on consuming ~8-10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight two days before the race and possibly the day before. This is a relatively high amount of carbohydrate with the intent to supersaturate the muscle with glycogen stores. Some athletes will feel very full and bloated initially from this amount of carbohydrates. If that is the case, the day before the race the carbohydrate level should be slightly lower (which is typically what I find is needed). A trained muscle is capable of holding more glycogen than an untrained muscle. This technique will work well for those active individuals that are well trained. Supersaturating the muscle will not work as well for the individual that has not trained efficiently. The most important thing to remember in regards to eating the days before the marathon is not to try any new or strange foods. This is not the time to be experimenting with what might work. For those athletes that are having GI upset, you can try to decrease the fiber intake and choose complex carbohydrates that are easily digested. An average female runner will want to plan on consuming ~450-500 grams of carbohydrates for the day while carbo-loading. The average male runner should plan on consuming 600-700 grams of carbohydrate while carbo-loading. So, if you break that up into six meals for the day, you will want to consume ~75-150 grams of carbohydrates per meal.

The last big meal, what to eat?

I get a lot of questions regarding the last big meal. I typically suggest going really heavy on the carbohydrates two days before the marathon. If you have an early start time, which most marathoners do, finish eating your last meal by ~six o’clock. You can even have the big meal earlier in the day (2 or 3 o’clock) and have another high carbohydrate snack around 5 or 6 pm. Marathon morning you should wake up feeling a little hungry and can eat a pre-race meal.

Marathon morning, what to eat?

You will want to consume at least 100 grams of carbohydrates. Runners with larger bodies will need more. Other considerations are fluid and electrolytes. Are you a heavy sweater? If so, consider higher sodium foods. The meal should be low fat. Be sure that you are well hydrated.

The following are a few suggestions:

• Oatmeal
• Bagel with jelly or honey
• Easy to digest cereal with soymilk or rice milk (which is often preferred over cow’s milk)
• Banana or fruit juice
• High carbohydrate sports drinks

Although it is breakfast:

• Salty soup (the added benefit of the sodium and the fluid)
• Salted baked potato
• Low-fat ham sandwich with mustard

While this article focuses primarily on carbohydrate sources and intake, you will need to evaluate yourself to see exactly what amount is right for you. And remember, practice the foods that you will consume to make sure they are well tolerated.

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!

You can see his 1st NHL goal HERE.

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

"Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that."
-- Norman Vincent Peale

"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success."
-- Henry Ford

"The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual."
-- Vince Lombardi

"When he took time to help the man up the mountain, lo, he scaled it himself."
-- Tibetan Proverb

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 Please visit 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

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

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