Archives for : November2015

Safety Squat Bar for Triceps?

Can you use the Safety Squat Bar for your triceps? Absolutely, yes. Doing a JM Press with the SSB eliminates any confusion you may have with JM press technique and hits the triceps hard.

Safety Squat Bar Squats

The safety squat bar is a great specialty bar. It eliminates any unnecessary stress on the lifters shoulders (due to not needing to externally rotate to grasp the bar) and the elbows. It will also hammer your hips and strengthen your back. It has similar benefits to the front squat. It’s a great builder for muscle and strength, but the technique does differ from a squat/straight bar and may take some getting use to.

Here I’ve completed 7 sets of 6 reps and a 8th set with 8 reps. Using a narrower than competition width stance to challenge myself with something different:
Strengthen your hips and posterior chain by adding in a box:
Also, good morning variants are brutally awesome with the bar:

Chronic Ankle Sprains? Fix Your Feet With These Simple Drills

Most active people have suffered an ankle sprain at one time or another accompanied by swelling, pain, weakness, and a long road to complete recovery!  Many runners and athletes may find themselves more susceptible to future sprains and strains even after the initial problem has resolved. This is because soft-tissue healing can take anywhere from 12-18 months and there is usually always involvement of one or more ligament!

A bit about the anatomy of your ankles. The ankle is held together by several ligaments: on the inside of the ankle you have the deltoid ligaments (less likely to sprain) among others, and on the outside of the ankle you have the anterior and posterior talofibular ligaments a long with the calcaneofibular ligaments to name a few. Most sprains/strains of the ankle occur from excessive plantar flexion and inversion (about 80%) affecting the lateral ligaments (most commonly the anterior talofibular ligaments). These ligaments (even when over-stretched and not torn) take a very long time to heal and when no treatment is given to promote healing will cause the tissue to heal abnormally (think of a patch over a hole) causing less tissue extensibility and improper function. Remember, there is no blood supply to the tendon itself.  Over-time this exacerbates muscle imbalances and leads to a chronic biomechanical deficit. This being said, some intervention is necessary to ensure that the tissue heals properly to prevent future sprain/strains.

In the early stages of an ankle sprain your doctor or therapist should advise a couple of days of rest and elevation. In addition to resting and elevating at home your doctor should also recommend manual therapy techniques to facilitate healing. This may include manipulation of the joint, traction, heat, myofascial release, and eventual therapeutic exercise. It is very important to address joint stiffness early on to ensure proper movement and healing.

“Weak ankles” become an issue when the tissues discussed above heal improperly; usually because no treatment was received. This will exacerbate existing muscle imbalances leading to dysfunction making you more susceptible to injury. The solution to this issue is to reestablish appropriate movement and fix muscle imbalances. Most athletes I see that suffer from chronic ankle sprains exhibit deficits in their gait, hips, and lower leg muscles. These deficits have likely been an issue for a long time and have continued to build until an injury occurs.

Does this sound like you? First, have your gait evaluated by your doctor or therapist, then try these simple drills to help balance the muscles in your feet and lower leg. You will notice a stronger, more athletic ankle!

All drills to be performed shoes-off (except for walking on your heals) and for a length of about 25 meters; preferably on grass or any hard surface:

  1. Walk with feet inverted
  2. Walk with feet toe-in
  3. Walk backwards on your toes
  4. Walk with feet everted
  5. Walk with feet toe-out
  6. Walk on heels

Dr. James Ellis

A Healthy Diet for a Busy Lifestyle

“I don’t have the time” is one of the most common excuses people make when trying to lose weight and/or improve their over-all health. It’s no secret, dieting can become very tedious; but it doesn’t have too. When it comes to weight-loss planning is key. Often times, people are not sure where to start. I covered some basics in another post so if you missed it click here.

In order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you are taking in, it’s no secret. In order to determine the optimal amount of calories to take in we will look at the Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is how many calories per day your body burns doing your normal activities, sleeping, working, exercising, etc. This is a more specific number than the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which tells us how many calories our bodies burn just being alive, not accounting for lifestyle. To lose weight, you can begin by subtracting 15% of your TDEE, this will be sufficient enough to put you in a caloric deficit for weight-loss. Once we have determined this number, we can then begin to talk about manipulating the macronutrients: proteins, carbs, and fat. I recommend figuring out protein consumption first, this is going to require the most calories to digest and keep you satiated; stick to lean sources such as chicken, eggs, turkey, etc. We will next figure out your fat intake, I recommended around 30% of your total calories come from fat. Fat is essential to life and is needed for nervous system health. Finally, we will figure out our carbohydrate intake by looking at what calories you have left. This will also be the macronutrient that I will manipulate first (increase or decrease) in order to continue progression of weight loss.

Figuring out these figures (TDEE and BMR) is essential to your success. Once you have determined you’re caloric needs you can then come up with an appropriate plan that will fit your lifestyle. I have touched on intermittent fasting in past posts (click here.) This is a great option, but as I stated not for everyone. Everyone’s body is different and there really is no such thing as a “cookie cutter diet.” Once the macros have been figured out, you are already on your way to results. In order to monitor your weight loss you have to track your calories. Fortunately, technology makes this easy for us! There are many great free apps that allow you to enter your food choices for the day and keep track for you. Most people will find that they eat the same foods most days, which is fine as long as they fit your macros.

Finding Balance

Everyone tends to get sick of eating the same “diet foods” day in and day out. The great thing about tracking macros is you can essentially eat what you enjoy, as long as you stay within your calorie goals. I recommend incorporating some foods that you enjoy each day. This will give you some satisfaction and something to keep you on track throughout the week. If it is something sweet such as a piece of fruit, position it pre-workout for example so that you can put those calories to good use! I recommend that people also give themselves a “free meal” once or twice a week. This will be a meal that they will not count towards their daily goals (Tip: position this meal the night before a big workout such as a back or legs day; something that requires a lot of energy.

Tips For Success:

1.) Plan for your success! Preparation is key. I recommend picking two days a week to cook. I like Sundays and Wednesdays. This will supply your food for the week so you aren’t always worried about cooking. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!

2.) Download a food journal app to help you keep track of your calories and goals

3.) Exercise! Plan for an hour every day to exercise. . The goal is to get your heart rate up to assist in weight-loss.

4.) Consider hiring a coach or nutrition expert to help you plan. Most people find this much less stressful as it eliminates the guess work.

Keep Moving


Dr. James Ellis