Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Z Health Interview, S Phase, Research, USAPL Results

Greetings! I am off to AZ for Z Health Level III (S Phase) where the S stands for “sports” training tomorrow! Whoo ha! Can’t wait. I will get a report up here once I am back or possibly while I am down there. Time will be at a premium since I have a Biostats II exam 9 hours after I get off my flight back to MN here. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, TONS of great stuff today! Research, USAPL meet results, Z Health testimonial and an interview done with yours truly.

Z Health Interview

I was recently interviewed for the Z Health newsletter, which was a true honor. I have published it below also if you are not on the Z Health list. If you want to sign up to the Z Health newsletter, click here

Z-Health Evolution: Interview with Mike T. Nelson

We interviewed Mike T. Nelson, MS, CSCS. Mike is a PhD student in Kinesiology, RKC, and Z-Health Level 1, 2, & 4 certified trainer, who shared with us how he found Z-Health, as well as his personal evolution.

Mike, what brought you to Z-Health?

I was in Charles Staley's coaching group, and some of the lifters were saying that they felt better and were breaking PRs (personal records) after doing Z-Health, so I got the R-Phase DVD. I started waving my limbs around to it like a bird having an epileptic seizure, and began feeling better and movement was easier. I now know that the "bird approach" probably wasn't best –and that precision is key. But, as Dr. Cobb says, even Z done badly is better than not doing it at all.

Clearly you have advanced from there, so what were your next steps?

In June 2006 Brad Nelson (no relation) arranged for Dr. Cobb to come to town for some private sessions. I remember Dr. Cobb doing a muscle test on my left hamstring, and it was horribly weak. He had me do some elbow circles, and I thought he was out of his mind. I could not believe I was paying big money for this -- he knew I had a hamstring issue. When he retested my hamstring, it tested strong and I had no cramping. I was astounded.

I ended up paying on the spot for R-Phase training that fall. To be honest, I had no idea what I had signed up for, but thought if I could learn HALF of what I had observed by the end of certification, I would be thrilled.

That sounds like quite an experience. How did R-Phase go?

At the time I went to Arizona for the first weekend of R-Phase, I was physically a mess. Training was taking its toll on me; after doing heavy deadlifts it was almost impossible to wash my face in the sink the next morning since I could not bend at the waist without lots of pain. On bad days, my WARM-UPS ALONE were taking me close to an hour – and that was just to get to the point where I could actually start my "work out". By the time I went back to Arizona for the R-Phase second weekend, I was doing the drills with more precision, and the results were much, much better. While I had left the first weekend feeling great, by the time I got back to Arizona again I was pretty messed up. I remember asking Dr. Cobb at dinner one night, "If you were me and you know what you know, what would you do?" His response was basically to walk off the plank, give it a shot 100%, and see what happens. I realized that I was on a short path to driving myself into the ground, so what did I have to lose?

And what DID you do? Did you actually start over?

I emailed Brad Nelson, who was already R-Phase certified, and asked for his help on relearning all my exercise technique. Basically, I was not using the correct technique and adding WAY too much tension to compensate. Most of my lifts were "technically" correct, but there was a better and more efficient way. So I started doing deadlifts with the bar only, and then with only 135 lbs, for several weeks. That was a huge blow to the ego, but I stayed the course. I felt great, and my lower back was also feeling pretty good now. There was more work to do, but progress is always good!

In March, I opted to do the Tactical Strength Challenge and ended up pulling 365 lbs, even though my heaviest deadlift during training was only 225 lbs. It's amazing what happens when your body is more efficient! I woke up the next day and felt tired, but my movement was not in the hopper and soreness was very minimal. Washing my face in the sink was easy and pain-free! Life was great.

That is really impressive that you were willing to just start over like that. Can you give me just a bit of a sneak peek into the I-Phase (Level 2) and T-Phase (Level 4) Certifications?

I-Phase is where you integrate movement and work with the visual and vestibular (inner ear balance) systems. It was incredible--visual and vestibular input can have profound effects on movement. Everything was starting to make sense. Z-Health was not just mobility drills, it was a system for ALL movement, based upon how the body takes in information – proprioceptive (joint info), visual (eye movements), and vestibular (inner ear input). Brad Nelson summed it up well when he said, "R-Phase is a great tool; I-Phase is the whole tool SHED".

T-Phase work involves lots of hands-on work from soft tissue to lymph to cranial work. Since much more learning takes place when you do something under your own active control, we also learned how to do ACTIVE work to follow up on all the hands-on passive work. I also realized that Z-Health is not just a system -- it is a complete way of dealing with movement on virtually any issue. Just like R-Phase, everything is tested, so you know if you made good changes or not. That is when I fully began to understand how to look at movement and potential solutions just at a glance.

Thank you so much for your time. We look forward to catching up with you again after S-Phase!

You can learn more about Mike at www.miketnelson.blogspot.com or www.miketnelson.com.

USAPL Results

Wanted to a give a HUGE shout out to the following for doing the USAPL meet held here at the Press a few weeks back. It takes some huge cajones to walk up in front of a large crowd of people wearing just a wrestling singlet (which if you are guy looks like you are carrying grapes int the wrong place) and perform strength feats on command! My hats off to EVERYONE that competed. A special shout to the following

Joe Warpeha
Fawn Friday
Maura Shuttleworth
Anna White
Steve Reishus
Tony Williams
Jacob Chatterton

There is a great write up of the meet at The Minnesota Power Pages

A very cool testimonial from Fawn Friday also and Z Health and her deadlift.

This is a true story. After missing 281 pounds at the Minnesota State Open powerlifting Competition, I asked Mike Nelson (who came as a spectator) for a quick Z adjustment. He tested my hamstrings and glute medius. Neither were firing as well as they should. Toe pulls and ankle tilts with visual adjustment, corrected both muscle groups. I went back to pull the 281lbs on my next attempt! Setting the Minnesota Record for raw Deadlift at 123lb class!

~Fawn Friday

Thanks again Mike!

Blog family update
I have added more blogs to the blog role call on the right. Be sure to check these out

Awesome training info from Steve at his blog, complete with lots of videos! I predict even more great things to come from his blog Steve's blog

I met Aaron (with Steve and others) recently at the NSCA Minnesota conference. We were chatting afterwards about training and Z Health. Aaron is really bright guy and very passionate, so be sure to check out this blog. Aaron's blog

If you are interested in a review of the NSCA state conference, check out Aaron’s review here

Sean Schniederjan is a big KB guy and has been able to join us for the infamous Friday Night Deadlift Party at the Press and on his first time showing up pulled 405! Nice work!! Check out his blog at The Russian Kettlebell Room

It is a true honor to be able to exchange info with everyone!

Research Update!
More research than you can shake a stick at

Funny research

Using heart cells, researchers create a beating heart
Results from a recent experiment may represent breakthrough for regenerative medicine.

My comments--I was able to take a Muscle Physiology class where the lead researcher was a guest speaker. Truly amazing advance!!

I’m a Powerlifter by Chip Conrad from EliteFTS

Excellent article by Chip Conrad!!

Weight Lifting and Aortic Dissection: More Evidence for a Connection

Carbs and Cardio Bunnies--Low Carb and Endurance Performance?

Can you really have optimal endurance performance while on a ketogenic (very very low carb) diet? Most would say--heck no; but this research study says otherwise.