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     The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2010 issue 7



Weight Loss Reduces Knee Pain

I'm told that they mentioned this stat on The Biggest Loser... "1 Pound Weight Loss Unloads 4 Pounds of Joint Stress from your knees".  Sure, it may not sound like much at face value, but that means that those 10 extra pounds that you're carrying is roughly 40 pounds of knee pressure!  Hey... coming from a guy with a bad knee, I can tell you for a fact that my knees felt significantly better after I dropped 30 pounds back when I got control of my fitness, and why shouldn't they when that equates to a whopping 120 pounds on my knees!

One of my favorite exercises that I saw them do early on during the Biggest Loser was when they gave the contestants a weighted vest towards the end with the equivalent amount of weight that they lost during the show.  Then they proceeded to make them do laps around the track as they were panting an wheezing the whole way.  Seriously... once you get a taste of the way that you feel after loosing that extra baggage, I can guarantee that you won't want to go back to the good 'old days in a hurry!

A new study shows that for each pound of body weight lost, there is a 4-pound reduction in knee joint stress among overweight and obese people with osteoarthritis of the knee.  Researchers say the results indicate that even modest weight loss may significantly lighten the load on your joints.

This is particularly true if you have had a cartilage or meniscus operation or injury.  This is the spongy cushion between your "femur" (bone of your upper leg) and "tibia" (bone of your lower leg) that prevents the bones from rubbing together.

"The accumulated reduction in knee load for a 1-pound loss in weight would be more than 4,800 pounds per mile walked," writes researcher Stephen P. Messier, PhD, of Wake Forest University in the July issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism. "For people losing 10 pounds, each knee would be subjected to 48,000 pounds less in compressive load per mile walked."

Although there are no studies that have shown weight loss can slow the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee, researchers say a reduction of pressure on the joints of this magnitude would appear to have a major impact on the disease. Obesity is one of the most important risk factors for osteoarthritis of the knee.

Weight Loss Takes Pressure Off the Knee

Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. The disease progressively destroys the cartilage that acts like a shock absorber in the joints and results in pain, stiffness, and eventually loss of movement in the affected joint.

The study involved 142 overweight and obese older adults with osteoarthritis of the knee who participated in an 18 month weight loss program.  By the end of the weight loss program, the participants lost an average of nearly 3% of their body weight.  But when researchers measured the load on the knee joints, they found that each pound of weight loss was associated with a 4 pound reduction in knee-joint load.

Accumulated over thousands of steps taken each day, researchers say the effects of this reduction of pressure on the knees should have a significant impact on the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee. They say more studies are needed to confirm this assumption.

Ref: Jennifer Warner - WebMD

On The Flip Side

Call it a mid-life crisis or something, but I've really been enjoying messing around with the old school, strong man, training tools lately.  I just picked up another tire for my collection back behind my shed.  I'm not sure how much this bad boy weighs, but it's a perfect size for me to use for tire flipping!

Many people get the wrong idea about the proper form for flipping a tire.  The first impulse might be to stand next to the tire, squat down, and deadlift it while trying to also pull with your arms.  This would be incorrect.  Flipping a tire properly is a great exercise for leg and hip power... the arms really don't do too much.

So here are some tips to the proper flipping technique:

  • position your chest on the tire
  • arms should be straight as possible, allowing you to hook your hands underneath
  • while in this position, your legs should be back away from the tire and coiled under you
  • as you drive with your legs and chest, the tire will dig in and naturally lift your body up
  • run through the tire, switching your hands to an overhand position when the tire is verticle
  • finish the flip with an explosive chest press movement to send the tire over (grunt optional)

Hey, I'm not going to lie to you... besides the outstanding leg, hip, and total body power that this primal exercise helps you to develop... it's just fun to do!  And since these used tires are completely FREE, the only thing you have to work out is whether or not your wife will let you put a big truck tire behind your house : )



Partner Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Partner Deadlift

This one's a beast if you are working out with someone around your size!  The Deadlift is a favorite exercise for athletic power and strength in any gym, but here's a very functional option that can be used in a practice room, or anywhere you want to get a good leg, hip, and low back workout without weights.  The focus should be on an explosive upward pull, with a slower return to the floor.  It's not nice to drop your workout partner!


Target:  legs, hips, low back (hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteals, erector spinae)

Count:  2 count

Description:  The partner being lifted lays on their back with their inside knee up and foot hooked under the back of their knee (figure 4 position).  Their inside elbow should be up while they grab their own wrist with the outside hand (gable lock).  The person doing the lifting locks hands under the partner's knee and over the partner's up elbow.  With knees partially bent, explode upward, focusing on a straight back and head up as the target of the lift.  Return partner to the ground, in control, and repeat for desired repetitions.

Clubbells - Ancient Tool For The Modern Athlete

One of the methods of this millennia old tradition originating in ancient Persia was “club swinging.” The Clubbell resurrects the centuries proven tradition of swinging weight in three dimensions rather than lifting it in only one or two.

I was exposed to Clubbells by Bruce Pahl of Immortal Martial Arts recently while picking up my battling rope.  I really found the variety of movements and exercises to be a refreshing challenge that I wanted to find out more about.

Unlike conventional weight-lifting, where you must increase the weight lifted, the Clubbell is swung. Swinging weight increases torque. Increasing torque increases force production. Clubbell training increases force exponentially: swinging them twice as fast produces four times the torque. Superior force production means superior strength conditioning in a fraction of the time and without the litany of injuries associated with conventional weight training. Traction pulls apart the joints, rather than compressing them which increases connective tissue strength.

The obvious benefits of Clubbell training include the development of the arms, shoulders, upper back and chest. However, the most misunderstood difference between Circular Strength Training (Clubbells) and conventional weight-lifting is that the Clubbell is specifically designed to connect the superior force production of torque to one's core.  Furthermore, all exercises are full bodily intensive: creating incredibly powerful glutes, hams, quads and calves from the leg drive.

Circular Strength Training comprises three dimensional strength (tri-planar movements) which develop rotary and angular/diagonal strength to assist the prime movers.  Developing tri-planar strength of the prime movers increases stability, enhances injury prevention, multiplies force production abilities and most importantly, stimulates the neuromuscular patterns required of athletes. 

With dumbbells, the weight can be supported by your skeletal structure, as if sitting on top of a column. With dumbbells your grip is located directly upon the center of gravity which remains constant throughout the exercise for the entire range of motion.  The Unique Balance Scheme of Clubbells forces athletes to use proper technique and concentrate on complex skills during the movement.  The Displaced Center of Gravity forces you to keep the weight inside of its proper groove throughout the entire lift. 

One of the single most defining characteristics of athletic performance in sports especially contact sports and tool-using sports, is grip strength & endurance which elite coaches consider the measuring stick of one’s total functional strength. However, most strength programs overlook hand, wrist and forearm conditioning.  Due to the displaced center of gravity and the effect on hand and grip strength, Clubbells present very functional and challenging exercises for grip and hand strength. 

Although you can pick up a club or two from the official Clubbell website, I was able to find plans for a do-it-yourself club on the internet... and you know that I'm all about the do-it-yourself stuff : )  I posted the plans for this club at this link if you are so inclined to give it a shot.


It's Go Time!

Work Hard - Play Hard... That sounds like a fair trade, doesn't it?  Unfortunately, many people feel like they deserve summer... like somebody owes them something.  Don't get me wrong, we all deserve to enjoy ourselves... but do you really want to slide down that hill and lose all the results that you worked so hard to achieve?  Not me!

There are plenty of opportunities to Play Hard over the summer.  Vacations, BBQs, parties... all filled with MORE.  MORE food, MORE drink, more stuff that you wouldn't normally eat... especially in those size portions!  I'm not saying that you have to pass it up, but keep an eye on yourself and know when you are just getting out of hand.  Discipline is not fun, and I'm not saying that you have to go hard core, just be smart about it!

In addition... take some time out of each day to WORK HARD.  Come on... you can afford an hour of discomfort to offset your indulgence, right?  If you get the Work Hard part down, then you don't feel as guilty with the Play Hard part!  Make some time for both this summer and ENJOY!

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Exceed Your Potential!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT

"When the Going Gets Tough,
The Tough Get Tougher

youtube of the month --> Clubbell Science
Good video with demonstration of clubbell exercises and positioning. | Personal Training | News | Tips & Tools | Fitness Stuff




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