Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Z Health Level II Update #3--the final one

I am writing this while flying back from the Z Health Level 2 (www.zhealth.net) cert in AZ. All I can say is that my head is swimming just trying to comprehend all the information. It was insane! At the risk of this making no sense, below are just a few more take aways

It can't be emphasized enough that you need joint mobility work! Jammed joints cause muscular weakness via the arthrokinetic reflex. The OPPOSITE of this is true also, as open and mobile joints ENHANCE strength! How cool is that!

Joint mobility work IS strength work. Not in a direct sense, but based on the point above.

A vast majority of athletes (athlete is defined as ANYONE that uses their body to make a living, so that counts virtually everyone), NEED more PRECISE joint mobility work. Again, waving your hands around like an ostrich trying to take off does not count. While I at it and destroying dogma, get off the foam roller too. That is another blog topic coming soon (start the hate mail now if you like, hehehehe)

The Z Health Bone Rhythm method will revolutionize lifting as we know it today. Is that a bold statement--yes, and I stand behind it even though it sounds like I went swimming in the Z Kool Aid pool. It is the most radical change to lifting I have ever seen and my guess (I have no evidence of this yet) is that most elite lifters are already doing it and they probably don't realize it.

What is it? Basically you think about levering the bones in your skeleton to lift the weight. Wow, on a surface level that seems so darn simple. Let's take the squat as an example. For the squat you think about levering the femur (thigh bone) to move up the weight or bring it down. In a tall (neutral spine, that includes the head so no looking at the ceiling due to the extensor reflex--a whole different topic that I will cover soon), as you lower the weight you think about moving the top part of the femur near the hip back as you move the bottom part of the femur forward. Think of a teeter totter, as one end goes down, the other end MUST go up (assuming it is rigid and some fat ass did not break it). For optimal efficiency, BOTH ends MUST move at the same rate. This takes some practice and cueing for a coach to get it down, but it feels awesome.

Why is this so cool? You can lift more INSTANTLY and there is LESS stress on your joints! Read that again. Sounds like a win win to me if I have ever heard one. You can also increase your neural drive to the motion since your brain is only thinking of two things 1) neutral spine, 2) bone rhythm of the femur (in this case)! This allows you to use more of your brain (increased neural drive) to move the femur, thus moving the weight! You are much stronger than what you think you are.

Chad Watebury (1) pointed this out when he took athletes and had them do a set of squats normally, and then one other group that had to count backwards WHILE doing squats. Guess which one had their performance go into the hopper--yep, the ones counting backwards which makes perfect sense.
Find a Z Health trainer near you and ask about Bone Rhythm. I guarantee you will not regret it. If you live in MN, click here for more info (shameless plug I know, but I would have paid huge money to know this 10 years ago).

I Phase
Now on to I Phase stuff as the above info is covered in Level 1, but we did more bone rhythm work for different joints and lifts. Need more evidence? 2 FEMALE clients who were relatively strong but had not done any powerlifting work (and minimal strength work recently) were deadlifting. The first women deadlifted 225 lbs and the second women deadlifted 175lb!!! They had been doing Z Health for awhile and also had 3 days of pure Z Health I and R Phase work, but they still deadlifting a lot of weight with no to very little experience in that lift. They did have expert coaching from Dr. Cobb and Geoff Neupert , but that is amazing. Amazing. Man, my first deadlift years ago was a pathetic 95 lbs in college (college the first go round) and it looked horrible. It took me a full year of training to hit 225 lbs and my form was still not the best. Again, it is hard to put a price on good coaching and great information.

Just by doing some visual and vestibular testing you can dramatically enhance the effectiveness of any Z Health drill in minutes. The results are jaw dropping. For myself, I had to do my Z Health drills with a specific eye position and head position since I had a positive eye and vestibular test. By doing only 1 precise Z Health drill, my posture, ROM and gait improved dramatically. My head alignment even got better and felt like a space alien took my head and screwed it back on "wrong" since I was not used to that position (even though it felt MUCH better, just very odd). The best part is I now have drills to do to keep improving it and update my "neurological software".

No one that I can see (bad pun I know) is currently integrating eye movements, vestibular, proprioception and visual training for optimal results. Some are doing some of each, but you need a SYSTEM to know when to use each one. Always using a screwdriver when you have nails is not optimal.

Your peripheral vision is better at detecting movement, so some people (myself included) will switch at the last minute away from focusing on an object coming towards them (like a ball) and use their peripheral vision. Yep, this makes for some bad timing, but you can train to get better at it! Remember that you eye movements and focus is controlled by muscles; so you can train these muscles!

Kids that are piss poor at sports at a young age probably have a visual and/or vestibular issue. See the above info. If you suck at baseball, do you really think you are going to enjoy it? Wow, this explains why I hated baseball, softball, and most sports that have a ball in the equation and was always picked dead last for every sport growing up! Correct their visual and vestibular issue and enjoyment goes up. Imagine that.

There is still more beyond this, but that should keep your head spinning for awhile. If you have any questions about the certification process for Z Health, please drop me a line and I will be happy to answer any questions you have. The best part is that once you have passed a certain level, you can retake that level as many times as you want for free currently. I know I will be doing I Phase again for sure.

If you live in Minnesota and are interested in a session, click here. If you are in other parts of the country and want to locate a Z trainer click here

I am all signed up for Level 4 (T Phase) this Nov and Level 3 (S-Phase) next year. APPLIED information is power. I can't wait. Sign up for a Z cert today. Click here for info
Rock on!

1 Waterbury, Chad "Building Your Rep Part 1" Testosterone Nation accessed on July 31, 2007