Where Physical Therapy
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Farmer’s Walk Forerunners

Filed under: Exercise Instruction,Exercise Technique,Random,Strength Training,Uncategorized — Shon @ 1:08 pm December 12, 2011

First, thanks to everyone on the positive feedback related to my first published T-nation article, "Quantifying the Farmer's Walk".  Again, the purpose of the article was to give some options that challenge core stability in a more biomechanically friendly way during everyday training.  It was obviously not meant to supplant the traditional Farmer's Walk as a test of strength endurance, but to serve as a way to challenge frontal/saggital plane stability while moving through space. 

I don't write about or espouse the virtues of an exercise, drill or physical therapy intervention unless I have used it myself, and the variations I covered have been implemented with patients, training clients and athletes very successfully.  I'm no historian when it comes to the Farmer's Walk, but I am approaching 30 years as a traditional karateka; Farmer's Walk variations (with large ceramic pots known as "Nigiri Game") have been used for a long time in traditional Okinawan karate systems such as Uechi Ryu and Goju Ryu as Gushi sensei demonstrates below: 


Shinyu Gushi going old school with Nigiri Game.  I think I'll pass on fighting him…

Actually Nigiri Game is only a small part of Okinawan karate's "Hojo Undo", or supplementary exercises.  Hojo Undo is basically the Okinawan equivalent of GPP and/or SPP, utilizing paddocks, clay jars, and even rudimentary dumbbells and barbells integrated with traditional stance work and whole body isometrics, such as seen in "Sanchin" kata. 

Hojo Undo implements in good working order at the Higaonna Dojo.   

Getting it done with the Chi-Shi

I have read several interviews with Mr. Gushi (pictured above) and he states he never trained with weights.  Now, we know physiologically and biomechanically that there is massive co-contraction, irradiation, overload and strength being built in the carry performed above, but I don't think I would really get into a debate  with sensei whether or not we were "weight training" with such implements.  Here is a more recent picture that I stumbled upon of Gushi sensei in his late 60's:




Contemplating Age 70 While Simultaneously Opening Up a Can of Whoop Ass!


I think a steady diet of what he is doing is better than 90% of what is being done most other gyms.  I also think he probably doesn't have any problems with frontal plane stability, hip mobility or poor glute function.  My guess is that his mid and low traps are well developed, and I bet he never did a proper "YTWL" in his life. 

Again, it goes to show that a mix of basic, biomechanically correct, physiologically taxing training  can bring up just about any weak point that a person has, and that what is perceived as new isn't actually so new. 


Why Case Studies?

Filed under: Random — Shon @ 11:53 am January 27, 2011

Welcome to my first blog post! After encouragement from several well known friends in the profession, I'm moving forward by presenting some interesting cases I have seen over the past 22 years in athletic training, physical therapy as well as strength & conditioning settings.

Why case studies? If I really think about what I have done on a daily basis from the late 1980's through the present day, it is to see patients, clients and athletes and help them with problems related to mobility, strength, function, pain and the impact of these factors in their lives.

The way I practice today has been influenced by my experiences both personally and professionally in the fields mentioned above, as well as many years training myself independantly. Outcomes I have had with patients and clients are where "the rubber meets the road".

Conservatively, I have evaluated over 7,500 individuals in the past 20 years, performed at least 100,000 tests of strength, mobility and function with these people, and had the pleasure of leading them through the process of recovery where mobility is restored, strength is gained, and increased function (relative to each person's unique set of needs and circumstances) is regained. Of course, not everyone gets better, so failures as well as sucesses will be discussed and dissected.

Among the most important elements throughout the cases discussed will be the critical thought processes I used, based on my unique training and experiences, as well as based on the best available research and evidence.

My intent is to provide great content to physical therapists, strength and conditioning professionals, as well as to people suffering with mobility, strength and pain impairments, opening up additional dialogue, problem solving, and subjects for further research.