As you may know, I spent most of the last week at the IDEA World Fitness Convention and Blogfest. I had an amazing time at both events! Here’s a recap of my first day. On Friday I will share my top takeaways from Blogfest. Today I want to report on what I learned at the IDEA Convention and how it will help your running.
After two intense days of blogging education, I spent the weekend focusing on fitness. I’m not sure whether it’s because of my own clients, my personal fitness interests or my own age, but when I took note of my class schedule it was very evident where my interests lie. My sessions included:
- Smart Solutions for Improved Mobility and Stability
- Mobility and Injury Prevention for Lifelong Health
- Championship Core – Core Training for Athletes and Weekend Warriors
- Leveraging Instability: Maximizing Strength Through Balance
- Flexibility Fast!
- I also spent some quality time at the Trigger Point booth and came away with some new knowledge, a Grid foam roller, and a MB1 TriggerPoint ball.
Notice a trend there?
So, without any further ado, here’s what I learned and how it can help your running.
What I Learned at IDEAWorld
SMART Solutions for Improved Mobility and Instability with Sevak Khodabakhshian, DC
The first thing that I learned at this session was that my class would be the first to be certified in Spine-First Functional Training, level 1! Hooray! A new certification!
I still have lots of studying to do because time was short and we couldn’t make it all the way through the course. My main takeaway from this class is really the importance of a neutral spine throughout all training. When your spine is not in neutral, your back muscles are not engaged and therefore cannot assist and protect during core movement.
SMART is actually an acronym that stands for Stability, Mobility, Alignment Assessment, Recovery, Timing. Stability first, meaning to understand how to find and maintain neutral in your spine. Mobility and flexibility in the joints and muscles through the proper use of stretching and SMR (self-myofascial release). Assessment of Alignment is understanding posture abnormalities like Upper Cross and Lower Cross Syndrome, Pelvic Obliquity and Scoliosis. Recovery includes both active and complete rest. Timing for a progressive program, knowing where to start and how to know when to progress.
Mobility and Injury Prevention for Lifelong Health with Michael Cummings
In many ways, this session reinforced what I learned in the previous one. We focused on Mobility (range of motion within the joint) and Flexibility (range of motion outside the joint). We learned more about using tools like foam rollers, sticks, and balls to break up adhesions and improve mobility.
We learned that different joints have different functions of either mobility or stability. For example, the shoulder/scapular, lumbar, knee, and foot provide stability, while the role of the thoracic spine, hip, and ankle is mobility.
We also discussed the importance of recovery, active rest, and actual rest, including getting enough sleep. Then we spent time using the tools to practice different SMR techniques.
Championship Core – Core Training for Athletes and Weekend Warriors with Marty Miller, DHSc
We started with a review of the muscles that make up the core. Many people automatically think abdominal muscles when they refer to the core, but in actuality, the core is the lumbo-pelvic hip complex, and includes the rectus abdominus, obliques, transverse abdominus, erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, as well as pelvic floor muscles, abductors, and adductors. The core is our center of gravity and it is where all human movement should begin.
Core training should be progressive. Start by building a foundation (stabilization), then proceed to strength, then to power, and progression should be used even within each phase. Exercises should be done in all three planes of motion. A variety of exercises were suggested for each progression.
I was happy when our instructor indicated that he felt the same way as I did about eternal planks (meaning trying to hold your plank for as long as possible). I have felt for a long time that once you first learn to do a plank properly, meaning good form, neutral spine, with all of your core muscles, quadriceps, and glutes engaged, not only do you not need to hold it forever, you probably cannot do so. Instead, strive for that perfect form and once you can do it for 30 seconds to a minute it is time to increase the challenge, by adding movement or other methods.
Leveraging Instability: Maximizing Strength Through Balance Training with Shanti Rainey
In this session, we learned about the benefits of instability training. This goes way beyond just balance, instead using instability tools (BOSU, balance boards, or, the session sponsor, the pivoting, rotational ZeSa® Activator Training Platforms) to achieve the maximum benefit of functional training.
We learned the key benefits of instability training include muscle recruitment and stimulation, balance and strength enhancement, muscular synchronization, rehab and prehab, and body awareness. The best instability programs are progressive, unilateral, and work in multiple planes.
Flexibility Fast! with Aileen Sheron
This was my last class at the IDEA Convention and perhaps the best timed. It was on Sunday morning. On Saturday, I had started my day with a three-mile run, followed by a day of walking around the convention center attending each of the classes above, sitting on the floor throughout each session, even though there was a practical part of each so some movement was involved.
Later that evening, I, along with Jill and Pauline first headed to Vegenation, a vegan restaurant near downtown Vegas, then decided to walk to the Strip. We spent two hours walking (and totally enjoying the strange spectacle that is the Las Vegas Strip). I, stupidly perhaps, wore flip flops. By the time we got back to where I was staying it was all I could do not to limp. I ended the day with over 28,000 steps!
Fast forward to Sunday and the Flexibility Fast class. Almost all of the class was spent using different techniques and using a variety of tools to improve flexibility and mobility. The tools were simple: a foam roller, a couple tennis balls, rubber tubing. We learned that we should approach stretching and SMR from different angles, positions, and with different tools to get the best results.
Trigger Point: The Grid and MB1
Finally, I was invited to a reception at the Trigger Point booth at the IDEA Expo on Friday. They are introducing a new tool, the Trigger Point Grid Vibe vibrating foam roller, and I’ll tell you right now, I’m in love. Basically, it offers a one-two punch of mobility. The Grid Vibe maximizes recovery by relaxing muscles, helping to reduce pain, and increasing the effectiveness of your foam rolling program. And it feels really, really good.
Many thanks to Elizabeth, my photobomber and scene setter.
I also received a Trigger Point Grid and an MB1 ball, and I love both of them. The Grid foam roller feels like getting a massage. A deep tissue one for sure, but yes, a massage. And the MB1 is the perfect size for targeted SMR, providing a safe level of deep tissue compression.
How It Will Help Your Running
I’m sure that many of my regular readers already know the benefits of mobility, flexibility, balance and core strength for their running. While running is a wonderful thing, without some body care, including massage, fascial stretch therapy, stretching, and self-myofascial release, runners increase their risk of building adhesions, causing stiffness and lack of mobility which can affect your running by causing pain, increasing the risk of injury, possibly to the point of ending your running “career.” Increased mobility will also improve your running form and cadence, which will help you run faster.
Increasing balance and functional strength will also help improve your running. Since running is basically jumping from one foot to the other, balance is essential, and increasing stability in your joints through functional instability training will help prevent injury, as well as improve your form.
A strong core is essential to all runners. Holding yourself upright, with good posture, helps you avoid injuries, allows you to run faster for a longer period of time, prevents back pain, improves your form and your speed.
Are you sold on mobility, flexibility, balance and core training? I know that I am! So much that I plan to help your running in one more way. Each week I will create and share a “Body First” video that will include a self-care tip, exercise, and instructions! Each video will be short, easy to understand, and will help you on your own Body First journey. I’ll use a variety of tools, like the Trigger Point Grid and MB1, tubing, tennis balls, and more. We’re starting next Wednesday with tips on keeping your feet and ankles healthy. They’re our base, after all.
Do you foam roll? What tools do you use?
And Now It’s Time for the Running Coaches’ Corner
My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!
Meatless Monday with Sarah and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie and Dixya
Tuesdays on the Run with Marcia, Erika, and Patty
Inspire Me Monday with Janice
Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie, Jen, and Nicole
The Plant-Based Potluck Party with Deborah
The Running Coaches’ Corner with Rachel, Suz, Lora Marie, and Me!
Friday 5 2.0 with Rachel and Lacey and Meranda