Sunday, 30 May 2010

Injured Again, but once an Athlete always an Athlete!

If you have a cool training video then email it to me or send me your Youtube link

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Should I re-operate after three pec-major ruptures?

I have rested the chest for 8 weeks now, only doing light shoulder stability exercises – it is amazing how quickly one can lose muscle mass –I am going for an MRI scan on 4 June to see what has happened to the allograft (the cadaver tendon that was implanted during the previous operation).
My surgeon, Dr Len Funk*, is hesitant about re operating due to the build up of scar tissue now after 4 operations and the fact that both of the last 2 repairs have been a success, but the rehabilitation has failed. So even with another successful operation, if the rehab process is not successful, I could end up in the same situation again...
As a private (non contracted) athlete, it is extremely difficult to find the same level of medical support that one is accustomed to in a professional team environment. In addition, unfortunately no physiotherapist in Loughborough has had previous experience of treating a similar injury.
My goal now is to try to find the appropriate medical support that I require prior to considering another operation...

* Dr Len Funk is one of the best shoulder surgeons in Europe and based in Manchester UK, his details can be found on his website, I would recommend Len Funk to any athlete with a shoulder or chest injury

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Chest Rupture #3

6 Weeks after surgery, following my re rupture of my pectoralis major tendon, I had yet another setback with my rehabilitation - unfortunately during physio the shoulder was overstretched doing end of range mobility in shoulder flexion. This resulted in having to refrain from treatment for 3 weeks while the chest/shoulder settled down, and from then on my rehab was never quite the same. There was also a visual indentation just above the axilla, which was not apparent during the first 6 weeks. Determined to overcome the setback, I continued to rehab hoping to try to make it back to competing in the Louis Vuitton World Series in Sardinia in May, but 8 weeks later while in the gym with my physio, it got worse! either the loads were too great or the damage done 8 weeks earlier was now revealed, either way it was evident that the repair had come away... DEVASTATING

Friday, 16 April 2010 – the answer to monitoring athlete’s recovery

“The founders of Restwise™ teamed up with Dr Vern Neville from Loughborough University, Sports Technology Institute to develop the first non-invasive web-based software to quantify an athlete’s state of recovery. Restwise analyzes a number of known markers of fatigue, stress and over-reaching and weights them appropriately to calculate a personalized Daily Recovery Score™. With this tool, athletes and coaches are able to make better, more informed training decisions: Superior Performance through Intelligent Recovery™”
As athletes we are all aware that performance enhancement is the result of a balance between training load and recovery. But when to rest and how much recovery is needed is difficult to determine. The science of training/coaching has advanced massively over the past few years as has recovery protocols, but no one really understands how much or when rest is required for optimal performance, and as a result many of us end up over-trained or injurred.
The signs and symptoms of fatigue, stress and over-reaching in athletes are well documented, and despite the hundreds of studies and publications on identifying markers of fatigue and over-reaching, as yet no single reliable marker has been determined (although numerous have shown empirical evidence in specific circumstances or cohorts). In addition, there are few (if any) reliable diagnostic tools available. With this in mind, a diagnostic tool which has a combination of markers is likely to increase the accuracy of identifying an athlete’s state of recovery.
Restwise is the first tool to combine a number of evidence based signs, symptoms and markers of fatigue, stress and over-reaching into an on-line daily assessment tool.
The markers include:
1. Changes in resting heart rate
2. Sleep duration and quality
3. Changes in body mass
4. Blood oxygen saturation
5. Urine colour
6. Appetite
7. Muscle soreness
8. Illness or well being
9. Subjective energy levels
10. Subjective mood state
11. Subjective rating of training performance

The product login includes a small pulse oximeter, ideal for measuring resting heart rate and SPO2.

The data can be entered on-line using an iPhone (or any other mobile device) and the results are automatically generated in a useful format. An overall daily recovery score is given as a percentage and coloured according to the risk of over-reaching, i.e. red being high risk and green being low risk. The results are also displayed graphically which can be compared to previous days/weeks (see image below).

There is also a new Coach Platform which allows coaches to view the recovery scores of all their athletes. Coaches can also set threshold values for individual athletes which are then flagged if the athlete scores below the threshold. This is really cool!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Loughborough University: potential to be the best centre for sport in Europe

I am still training mostly at LA Fitness Loughborough and occasionally workout at Loughborough University PowerBase. Loughborough University sport has very few weaknesses and is considered the centre for sport in the UK with World class Olympic standard sport specific facilities for most sports, yet the strength & conditioning facilities are clearly outdated. Not only is the equipment outdated but there are insufficient machines to cater for the increased requirements of specific athletes/sports. With the Olympics only 2-years away, performance could be greatly enhanced by improved facilities! One only has to train in almost any USA University (or College) strength & conditioning centre to understand what great strength facilities could be. Understandably funding is 'tight' for educational institutions in the UK at the moment and there may not be funds available to invest in upgrading a S&C facility, however, in my opinion this could be a great opportunity for a commercial enterprise to become directly involved in the success of many of Brittons medal hopefuls; the opportunity to capitalise on the Olympic movement leading up to 2012 and to be involved in a lasting legacy. If the Loughborough University S&C facilities were state-of-the-art one would expect that the University would be able to attract more athletes and teams to Loughborough, and athletes like myself and others would thrive on training there. There is real potential to capitalise on the Olympics and to create a world class S&C centre at Loughborough Uni!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Rehab - week 9 post op

After having taken most of week 8 ‘off’ from rehab and training, partly due to having been ill for 5 days and partly because I felt that I needed to psychologically remove myself from the injury for a few days, I feel great and back into full training now.
My schedule of Physiotherapy, Massage and Chiropractor is similar to previous weeks. I am now using the blue theraband for most of my rehab exercises and begun using resistance machines, such as: chest press, seated rows, shoulder press, lat pulldowns, biceps curls and triceps. I have also picked up the grinding intensity a little to ~140 W and have begun chest strengthening exercises (eg, cable presses and machine chest press) and chest proprioception exercises.

Friday, 19 February 2010

33rd America’s Cup - greatest yachts in history

I have just returned from watching the greatest yacht race of our generation; the 33rd America’s Cup ‘Deed-of-Gift’ race in Valencia, Spain. USA is once again the defender of the America’s Cup! This was an amazing piece of history; the two most technologically advanced racing yachts ever built went head-to-head in a best-of-three series to decide who would defend the 34th America’s Cup. There are simply no words to describe... the BMW Oracle Racing trimaran was incredible – I was one of the fortunate few to have been invited onboard and was totally blown away with the engineering; the wing sail and the hydraulics control system were seriously impressive! The Alinghi catamaran was also an engineering masterpiece (although I only got to see it from the dock).
But the real talent was my good mate Jimmy Spithill; he steered the BOR ‘beast’ with perfection. Jimmy has got to be by far the World’s best match racing helmsman, in fact I have said many times before, he could have been a top pro athlete in almost any sport had he chosen!
Well done to Russell Coutts and all the BOR team for an amazing effort. Regardless of all the personalities, egos, legal battles and side shows, one has got to feel sympathy for Brad Butterworth, my good friend Jan Dekker and the Alinghi crew; it’s a hard way to lose the Cup!
I can only hope that the 34th America’s Cup is going to be the biggest and best America’s Cup ever, and of course, I will be ready. I’m feeling good!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Pec major rehab - week 6 post op

It is now 6 weeks since my last op and rehab is progressing well.
My daily treatment/therapy for this past week has included:
Physiotherapy (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) - gentle assisted range of movement of the shoulder joint/girdle (flexion & extension, external & internal rotation, abduction & adduction), soft tissue massage of the pec muscle and scar, upper traps, rhomboids and scapular trigger point release;
Massage (Tuesday, Friday) - neck, back, non-injured shoulder, gluteus and hamstrings;
Chiropractic adjustment (Thursday) - realignment of cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine and pelvis.
My training has been as follows: Friday – Rehab + Upper body strength (non injured side), Saturday – (no rehab as my chest was very tender after yesterdays physio) + Cardio (50 mins), Sunday – Rehab + Upper body strength (non injured side), Monday – Rehab + Legs strength, Tuesday – Rest, Wednesday – Rehab + Upper body strength (non injured side).
My rehab exercises have picked up a little in intensity and I am using the Red Theraband for most exercises. I usually start with the grinder (arm erg) for 5-10 mins at ~110W (mainly pushing with non-injured arm and following with injured), then pendulum swings and gentle rollout stretching on knees with a FitBall, then I do a three circuits of band exercises, beginning with lateral raise (thumb down) x20, front raise (thumb down) x20, upright row x20, horizontal scapular retraction and row x20, external scapular rotation x20, internal scapular isometric pulsing 30s, biceps curls x20, triceps pushdowns x20, shrugs x20, shoulder extensions x20, forearm spring grips x100.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The America's Cup - marketing genius!?

Over the past 12 months, where ever I have gone in the world and everyone I have spoken to has had an opinion or commented on the current 'state' of the America's Cup. Many wonder whether the America's Cup will ever truly recover from the past two years of litigations and disputes. One of the greatest concerns for pro-sailors, teams and commercial partners is the long-term affect that the current situation of the America's Cup will have on sponsorship. But, what amazes me is the number of people that are aware of the ongoing crisis and aware that the 'Americans' and 'Swiss' are going to be sailing against each other in the world’s most technologically advanced racing yachts. In fact, people that may previously have had little idea of the America's Cup are now intrigued. So, apart from the fact that more than 2500 sailors and support staff (me included) have been out-of-work for the past two years, the current state of the America's Cup may just have increase the marketability of the event...
Sponsorship is all about exposure and increasing revenue; if the Deed of Gift race between BMW Oracle Racing (USA) and Alinghi (Swiss) on February 8th in Valencia is half the spectacle we are all expecting, then Russell Coutts (skipper BOR) and Brad Butterworth (skipper Alinghi) may actually succeed in elevating the global exposure of the sport way beyond what may have otherwise occurred. Call it what you will, but in my opinion, history may just look back at this event and call it “marketing genius”!