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Weekend warrior athletic treatments

SHANNON GALPINspecial to the daily

Once limited to the realm of professional athletes and coaches, many of the tricks of the trade that push athletes to the top of their game, while staying healthy and injury free, are now commonly available to the average weekend warrior. Therapies and techniques such as prolotherapy, online coaching, Gyrotonic and lactate-threshold testing are all widely available, if not widely known about. While most individuals do not hesitate to seek out advice from an accountant, lawyer or physician, when it comes to training they often chose to do it alone. Though many self-coached athletes see improvements in performance, often these gains are less than optimal or hindered by chronic fatigue and overtraining injuries. A coach can maximize the benefits of training by taking into account an individual’s current fitness, short, intermediate and long term goals, specific strengths and weaknesses, and life’s other demands, and then develop a long-term training plan using the proven principles of “periodization.” Workout sessions are planned in terms of duration, frequency, intensity and recovery to appropriately stress the different energy systems at the right times to allow for optimal adaptation. Time spent training becomes quality time as each workout has a specific purpose. This purpose sustains motivation and adherence to the training schedule that ultimately helps an athlete reach his or her full potential. Organizations such as Carmicheal Training Systems have developed key online coaching software that allows for different levels of individual coaching for athletes of all levels, from competitive Ironman competitors to the person wanting to complete their first 5K road race. As professional coaches become accessible to the everyday athlete, so does their testing. One of the most effective is lactate-threshold testing. The test is done on a bike or treadmill, or even in the field for Nordic skiers, swimmers and mountaineers. An athlete’s lactate threshold determines his or her maximal, sustainable exercise intensity. Knowing the exercise intensity at which an athlete’s lactate threshold occurs is an important component in optimizing both training and competition. This is important for training, because it provides a way to fine tune effort to target particular energy systems and optimize workout time. For example, heart-rate ranges can be set for aerobic base building, boosting the lactate threshold, establishing race pace, VO2 max training, and active recovery. Repeat lactate threshold testing can be done every 6 to 8 weeks to ensure training is on track and the athlete is making appropriate gains. In the realms of athletic conditioning, Gyrotonic has become the new movement therapy du jour. The method builds upon the functional benefits promoting by the Pilates method, namely core strength, improved range of motion, and decreased back pain. It adds in free-flowing, three dimensional movements that challenge the athlete’s ability to fluidly strengthen their body. The method has a huge following in the medical field. In Germany, many physical rehabilitation clinics utilize the pulley tower as an integral part of their injury prevention and rehabilitation programs. Special attention in increasing the functional capacity of the spine results in a body that is significantly less prone to injury, and the rotational movements encouraged by the rotating wheels and pulleys work to increase functional range of motion in the shoulder and hip joints.Consequently it’s been extremely beneficial to those suffering from arthritis. Marc Darrow, M.D., and assistant clinical professor at UCLA School of Medicine states, “As we age, the collagen in our ligaments and joints wears down. Gyrotonic methodology counters that by gently stretching the areas and bringing additional blood and nutritional supply.”And in the unfortunate event that injuries occur in the course of training and competing, prolotherapy may be the cutting edge alternative for you. Used by Bode Miller and three other U.S. ski team members, prolotherapy is a non-surgical alternative to ligament damage and repair. Prolotherapy is an injection technique that strengthens injured ligaments and tendons by promoting blood flow to the area. This technique can be used to treat chronic pain from musculoskeletal injuries including; mechanical low back pain, neck pain, hip pain, rotator cuff tears, and ACL sprains. This technique is an alternative to surgery or can be used if surgery is not an option. No longer limited to the professionals, you can benefit from the knowledge that you, too, have these specialists at your service. All of these tools and therapies are available in a variety of communities, bringing the best of wellness and performance to your doorstep.Shannon Galpin is a conditioning specialist and owner of Oasis 9600 performance and wellness center in Breckenridge. She can be contacted at (970) 453-5563, or visit http://www.oasis9600.com.


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