How can MUSE make it easier for you to meditate?

muse and meditation

When we lift weights, it strengthens our body. Meditation is like lifting weights for your brain: the more you do it the stronger your mind grows. The hard part about meditation is that it’s very difficult to get the same kind of feedback that we get when weightlifting. When I can lift more than I used to, I know I’m getting stronger. But how do I know I’ve gotten better at meditating?

This is what makes the MUSE so valuable for people who are interested in starting a meditative practice. The system senses your brain activity while you’re meditating and then gives you feedback in real time.

Are you staying calm, or are you is your mind active?

While using MUSE, you plug headphones into your tablet or smartphone, open the app, connect the headset, and you’re off and running. When MUSE sees that your brain is calm, you will hear serene weather, as though you’re sitting at the beach on a peaceful day. When you hear birds chirping, you know that you are remaining calm. When your mind wanders, the waves begin to crash louder and the weather begins to sound stormy.

This simple mechanism provides instant and clear feedback on the quality of your meditation. Suddenly you have a way to know if you’re meditating “well.” MUSE also tracks and stores data on your sessions so you can see your progress over time. While it would normally be very difficult to know when we have learned how to stay present for longer periods of time, with MUSE it’s easy. You can, for instance, look at the number of birds that “chirp” during your sessions; more birds equals better quality meditation!

The app then gives you challenges to encourage you to build a regular habit of meditating. Starting with just three minutes at a time, you earn rewards for practicing daily or for practicing multiple times a day. High frequency is vital to forming a successful habit. Just like anything new, it takes practice to get good at it. The important thing is that you carve out time out of your day to meditate. Over time you will get better at hearing more birds and being able to be still and meditate for longer periods of time, but only if you cultivate a meditation practice each and every day.

The benefits of meditation are many and varied. At Velocity, we recommend it because of its benefits on sports performance. Learning how to deal with frustration, loss, and adversity are necessary skills for anyone who wants to compete at the elite level. Meditation is one tool that helps our athletes learn how to calm their minds when the pressure is on, but just like any skill, it has to be practiced regularly. No competitive athlete would expect to get physically stronger by training sporadically or infrequently, and the same is true for meditation. Caring for your mind can be a powerful tool in taking your performance to the next level.

Research Proves How Strength Can Make You Faster

agility

 

Research Proves How Strength Can Make You Faster

Research from the worlds leading sport scientists at places like Harvard University and SMU’s Locomotor Performance Laboratory have shown that faster sprinters are able to apply more force to the ground. They’ve proven that if you want to maximize your speed, you need the strength to apply big forces to the ground quickly.

The Velocity Speed Formula has 4 main components and two of those are BIG FORCE and SMALL TIME. In multiple studies over the last decade, researchers have confirmed that these 2 components of the Speed Formula are a big difference between faster and slower sprinters.

To propel your body forward, and to keep you upright, your leg has to produce a lot of force into the ground on each step. That’s what builds your momentum during acceleration phases and keeps it going during your full speed sprinting.

You create that big force, by first getting your leg up into the right position on each stride. Picture a sprinter with their front thigh up high, about parallel with the ground. Then you use the explosive strength in your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings to generate power and drive your foot down into the ground.

Your speed dictates why the big force you generated has to be applied in a small time. Think about. As you sprint faster, your body is moving over that piece of ground your foot hit faster. The faster you sprint; the less time your foot is in contact with the ground. That’s just simple physics.

Now let’s combine that big force with the small time. This is the hard part, and where some athletes fail. You need the explosive strength to get the leg attacking down at the ground as hard as possible AND you need the reactive strength to apply it efficiently and quickly.

When your foot hits the ground, it’s driving down with a lot of power. There’s only 90-150 milliseconds of time to get all that force into the ground. Your ankle, knee or hip all have to stay “stiff” enough to apply the force and not bend or absorb it.

This doesn’t mean stiff as in lack of flexibility. It means that the muscles and tendons in your lower body can hit the ground and deliver all your power without stretching or relaxing. An analogy to help visualize this is to picture 2 bouncing balls. One is a bouncy, superball made of a “stiff” rubber. The other is more like a beach ball and soft. Which one bounces higher when it hits the ground?

The stiffer superball does because it applies the force to the ground and stores elastic energy. The beach ball absorbs some of the force and doesn’t have the eastic energy to rebound. That’s like reactive strength. Your muscles and tendons don’t relax and absorb the force. They store elastic energy and use it to help you go faster.

To generate a big force with your lower leg you will need explosive strength and to apply it you need reactive strength. The good news is that research has also shown that getting stronger correlates with getting faster. You can develop these specific strength qualities by working in the weightroom using Olympic lifts, doing plyometrics properly, and learning the optimum mechanics for sprinting.

The Velocity Speed Formula is built on science and proven in sport. The research is starting to catch up and show why we can help you get faster.

Selected References
Faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid leg movements
Weyand, et. al , J Appl Physiol 89: 1991–1999, 2000.
Are running speeds maximized with simple-spring stance mechanics?
Kenneth P. Clark, Peter G. Weyand, Journal of Applied Physiology Published 31 July 2014
Relationships Between Ground Reaction Impulse and Sprint Acceleration Performance in Team Sport Athletes, Kawamori, et. al, The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 27(3), April 2012
Increases in lower-body strength transfer positively to sprint performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis, Seitz, et. al., Sports Med. 2014 Dec;44(12):1693-702

 

Discover 4 Types of Regen You Need To Know

how do you recover image

 

Discover 4 Types of Regen You Need To Know

Athletes from pros through weekend warriors have recognized the importance of using regeneration techniques to recover faster, feel better, and train harder. However, with all the different options to choose from, it’s hard to know which one works best.

The first thing to remember is that everything isn’t for everyone all of the time. So, when someone asks “what kind of regen tool is best?” the answer is, it depends.

Here’s what you need to understand to get more benefit from your regen strategies.

Regen works by helping your body through it’s natural processes of returning to a state of internal balance. Training, competition, injury, and even life, are all stresses that add up and push your systems out of balance. Regen means something to help bring you back into balance.

Returning the body to a state of equilibrium after stress requires you to address the specific type of stress you just endured. This is where a lot of regen plans and techniques fall apart. If you don’t target the right type of stress or systems in the body, the regen you try won’t make a difference. It’s like putting more insulation on a house when the real problem is a hole in the roof.

The Velocity regen methodology was developed for the world’s elite athletes – to keep them at their best under enormous pressure. One of the foundations of is that there are 4 big categories of stress. We classify them as:

• Tissue
• Physiological
• Mindset
• Neuromuscular

Tissue
This is physical damage to your tendons, muscles, bones, and joints caused from contact, pressure, and tension in sports. It might be microscopic, but it takes a toll. Repeated foot strikes while running, repetitive tendon stress on a pitcher’s elbow, or contusions and damage from collisions in rugby, football, or MMA are exactly the kinds of things that add up to potential or actual injury. Tissues need to heal properly on the microscopic level after each practice or competition.

Physiological
When you are putting in long hours of training, doing high intensity MetCons, or logging long distances, there’s a large metabolic and biochemical demand on your system. The numerous physiological elements all need to be returned to normal and metabolic wastes need to be removed.

Mindset
Whether it comes from sport or life, mental and emotional stresses have an impact on both mind and body. It can come from from emotional challenges, learning new tasks, or just intense focus for practice and competition. Our bodies’ physical recovery mechanisms are tied to our mental state. States of mental stress and anxiety trigger particular functions of our nervous system and release stress hormones. While these can be useful during competition or training, they inhibit or even completely block natural recovery mechanisms. Therefore, in order to achieve physical recovery, the mind must be in a state of relaxation.

Neuromuscular
Often overlooked, neuromuscular fatigue doesn’t necessarily make you feel tired in the way you might think. Instead of feeling stiff, sore, or a generally fatigued, you just might lose that “snap” in your movement. When you perform high power exercises like sprinting, jumping, and weightlifting, you stress the nervous system as well as your muscles. Until you recover, you won’t be able to fire them at full speed or intensity.

Make your regen specific
Knowing that all regeneration methods aren’t the same or equal is the first step towards getting it right. Make sure you know the specific type of regen you need at different stages of training and even different days of the week to make to make your recovery process better.

At Velocity, our coaching and sports medicine staff can help you decide which combination of regen and recovery tools you need to help you stay at your best.

30 BIG REASONS NOT TO SPECIALIZE EARLY. FROM THE NFL.

youth training and specialization

 

30 BIG REASONS NOT TO SPECIALIZE EARLY. FROM THE NFL.

30 Big Reasons Not to Specialize Early. From the NFL

The debate over specializing in a single sport at an early age, isn’t a debate. The ones who think you should specialize in one sport are parents who mean well but, who are uninformed.

The 2017 NFL draft just helped reinforce that fact.

In the 2017 NFL draft, teams put their money behind multi-sport athletes, showing that the idea of young athletes giving up other sports to just play football was a bad idea. Take a look at the numbers;
• 30 of the 32 players were multi-sport athletes in high school.
• All of the top 20 played at least 2 sports.
• 14 of the players played 3 sports in high school.
• 92% of the 107 players taken in rounds 1 through 3 were multi-sport athletes.

Yes, there are some sports where you will have to specialize early to be elite. Think about gymnastics or figure skating for example. However, in team sports, such as football, this is not the case. Yes, you probably need to be exposed to the sport or develop some of the skills early, but you don’t need to give up every other sport and just play one.

It’s understandable how people could think early specialization would be good.

How is a parent, or a maybe a local travel coach supposed to know better? There is the popular myth about having to specialize for 10,000 hours to be elite. On the surface, it also seems to make sense that if you start specializing in one skill early, you’ll be better at it. Then there’s the fears of falling behind or getting shut out if you take time to do another sport.

What a lot of individuals do not know is that team sports and athletic development are far more complex and dynamic. We have motor learning, motivation, repetitive injuries, movement dysfunction, cognitive development and just plain fun that all need to be part of this equation.

Some will of course continue to make the case for picking one sport early. The science of development and motivation, the experience of successful coaches, and the choices of NFL teams, all say “don’t specialize!” Instead go play multiple sports if you want to increase your chances of having an athletic career.

Flexibility & Range of Motion, Do You Have Any?

flexibility arms raising

 

Flexibility, do you have any?

Flexibility: the ability to flex bend and move through a full range of motion. As humans, all of our bodies are designed for the most part the same. With a few differences between men and women obviously. Why then if all bodies are the same can some bodies move better than others?

Let’s ask Aristotle. “We, are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit?”

If all our bodies are the same, then the difference between flexible people and inflexible people are their habits!
I imagine during Aristotle’s day there were not many issues with flexibility because back then people moved around more. Today in our society we sit. When we sit down for hours at a time we are constantly telling our body that this is the position we want to be in. Then gravity takes its toll on us. We round our shoulders, and hunch forward making us less mobile in the t-spine. Sitting tells us to shorten the hip flexors, and turns off the glutes because we are sitting on them.

Sitting is human nature now, and is a bad habit that has consequences. We don’t make this connection that sitting is making us immobile. We just assume that our bodies don’t move through full ranges of motion anymore as we age! Or when we move it hurts because we have created muscle imbalances from all that sitting!

We wake up one day and everything hurts when we move because we are not movers anymore we are sitters. We want to get up and move because we know it is good for our health, but our limited range of motion makes it hard.
So what do we do to help restore our flexibility? Well we need to move! We need get up out of our chair and relearn how to move our body through a full range of motion. We have been inactive so long that a full range of motion is no longer achievable and some muscle groups are then forced to work harder than normal to compensate! How can we fix this limitation we have placed on ourselves?

Everyone knows the answer to how to get more flexible, and that is to STRETCH! We pick an area that is tight and we stretch it painstakingly for 2 min a side and viola! We are magically fixed. WRONG! Stretching for 2 minutes never helped anyone get more flexible. Think about it how many times have you reached down and tried to touch your toes hoping that they would come closer? It just doesn’t happen. The 2 minutes you spend on each side stretching, even if it is daily, will never add up to counteract the hours of sitting we do each day!

So then how do we become more flexible? By moving. By getting up and taking your body through a full range of motion! You need to move everyday through a full range of motion. Now be warned it is going to take time to get back to where your body used to be just as it took years of sitting to get you where you are now! But, by moving and doing something every day you can start the good habit of getting back to being flexible.

What should I do then to help improve my flexibility? I really suggest everyone learn how to squat properly. Dr. Kelly Starett says everyone should try to spend 10 min in the bottom of a squat every day. Your body knows how to do this it has just forgotten! You need to reteach it how to be mobile and move through a pain free full range of motion. You can use some assistance with weight to help you get all the way down there or hold on to a chair to get into a good position.

So you’re saying I shouldn’t stretch at all? Now, stretching can facilitate moving better, and there are plenty of good stretches that can help you relearn how to squat by bringing awareness to a certain muscle group by stretching it for a bit. But, if we never actually squat and move, all the stretching in the world won’t help us understand how to move better because we are not moving.

If you want to be more flexible try to sit less and move more. Re-teach yourself how to squat properly and use stretching to help this endeavor. It will take time but it is time you are investing into yourself to make you a healthier more mobile you!

Those interesting looking tools & Graston Technique

graston technique

Graston Technique

Ever Wonder What the Graston Technique is?

The Graston Technique® is an innovative, evidence-based form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to detect and effectively break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions, as well as maintain optimal range of motion.

The unique protocol uses specially designed stainless steel instruments, along with appropriate therapeutic exercise, to specifically detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. The instruments also are used diagnostically to follow the kinetic chain, to locate and treat the cause of the symptom as well as the specific area of pain. Graston Technique® is also frequently used as an effective protocol to maintain range of motion.

Graston Technique® does not need to be considered “painful” to be effective. Please inform your clinician if you are experiencing discomfort anytime during treatment. Patients usually receive two treatments per week during a four-to-five-week period. Most patients have a positive response by the third to fourth treatment. Graston Technique® is accepted nationwide by elite athletes and everyday patients, as one of the most effective treatments for rehabilitation and range of motion maintenance, especially when combined with other treatment modalities such as exercise.

Graston is just another effective way for athletes to recover faster. Combined with other recovery techniques, athletes can return to play much quicker than with traditional rest and icing techniques. If you are interested in Graston contact your nearest Velocity Sports Performance.

Is your injury ready for the GAME READY system?

game ready system

 

Game Ready Technology

The Game Ready system and getting you back to competition.

Game Ready’s innovative ACCEL® Technology (Active Compression and Cold Exchange Loop) sets a new standard in injury and post-op treatment, integrating active pneumatic compression and cold therapies in one revolutionary system. The system progressively increases and releases pressure while also rapidly circulating ice water through separate wrap chambers.

Until now, the RICE (Rest–Ice–Compression–Elevation) principles have been used only to passively control symptoms, moderating pain and swelling. But Game Ready® does more. Going beyond static cold and compression applications, ACCEL Technology mimics natural muscle contractions while cooling the tissue, helping the body to proactively aid lymphatic function, encourage cellular oxygen supply, and stimulate tissue repair. That is, it helps accelerate and enhance recovery.

Technology is advancing, and that means your recovery should be too. Don’t be scared of trying new things, and learning to be healthy.

What is the NormaTec?

NormaTec

 

What is the NormaTec?

You have probably seen thousands of pictures of individuals sitting in a chair with giant pants that look like balloons. They claim they are working on recovering their muscles, but what exactly are they using? The Normatec.
NormaTec is the leader in rapid recovery—the system gives a competitive edge to the world’s elite athletes, coaches, and trainers. The NormaTec Recovery Systems are dynamic compression devices designed for recovery. All the systems use NormaTec’s patented PULSE technology to help athletes recover faster between training and after a performance.

So how does the NormaTec actually work?

The systems include a control unit and attachments which go on the legs, arms, or hips. They use compressed air to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid, and speed recovery with the patented NormaTec Pulse Massage Pattern. When you use the systems, you will first experience a pre-inflate cycle, during which the connected attachments are molded to your exact body shape. The session will then begin by compressing your feet, hands, or upper quad (depending on which attachment you are using). Similar to the kneading and stroking done during a massage, each segment of the attachment will first compress in a pulsing manner and then release. This will repeat for each segment of the attachment as the compression pattern works its way up your limb.

The NormaTec is used to help athletes recover as quick as possible to get them ready to train again. Are you interested in trying a NormaTec? Call your local Velocity Sports Performance!