ATHLETIC CONSULTING TRAINING REPORT
"INTERNET links to Human Anatomy"
"Fast- & slow-twitch muscles"
"ACTIVE RELEASE TECHNIQUES: Have you tried
"NOTE: New phone number at bottom!"
- SURFING THE WEB FOR ANATOMY & INFORMATION
is not the only informative site on the Internet! Check
out Men's Health magazine and their fitness message board:
www.menshealth.com. This site is especially relevant to
males that are seeking to GET LEAN! - www.cbathletics.com/whatsnew.htm.
If you are a bodybuilder, athlete, student, health professional,
or just curious, these sites have great pictures and descriptions
of the muscles of the human body.
Human Anatomy Online
Anatomy: Basic Human Anatomy
entire Gray's Anatomy Textbook
Dimensional Human Reconstruction
Exploration of the Heart
Exercising and in other Action
Anatomy Resources and Links
- SLOW- & FAST-TWITCH MUSCLES: THERE ARE NONE!
following chart details the percent of slow-twitch muscle
fibers in several human muscles. This data is from muscle
biopsies of athletes and untrained individuals. For an overview
of muscle fibers and definitions, refer to ISSUES #52 &
#55. Note the great range in the measurement of fiber type
indicating a highly variable quality in humans. In fact,
the range can determine athletic success because fast-twitch
fibers help in strength and power sports while slow-twitch
fibers help in endurance performance.
% Type I Fibers
spinae 54 (Range 31 - 94!)
Gastroc 55-60 (Sprinters/Jumpers
may be only 25-50% slow-twitch!)
take-home message is that most human muscles are composed
of approximately 50% slow-twitch and 50% fast-twitch fibers.
There really are no muscles in the human body that can be
considered "fast" or "slow", although many animal muscles
contain only 1 fiber type. The triceps may be as high as
60% fast-twitch while the soleus may be as high as 80% slow-twitch,
but that is as close as the human gets to a "fast" or "slow"
studies have shown time and time again that the fast-twitch
fibers (type II) respond to weight training by growing significantly
more than type I (slow-twitch). Therefore, if muscle growth
is the goal, training programs should focus on developing
hypertrophy in the fast-twitch fibers. Thus, it is still
most effective to train the muscle with heavy weights because
heavy weights will provide the greatest growth stimulus
to these fibers. Give a person a solid program and sound
nutritional advice and forget about fiber composition.
- ACTIVE RELEASE TECHNIQUES: POPULAR, BUT IS IT PERFECT?
Release Techniques(r) (also know as ART(r)) is a rehabilitation
method that has been promoted on several training websites
and by the Society of Weight-training Injury Specialists
(SWIS). As time has passed, more and more "hardcore" weightlifters
and strength and conditioning colleagues have given praise
to this therapy.
following information has been gleamed from the ART website
and others. Dr. Michael Leahy is the originator of ART,
but unfortunately Dr. Leahy did not respond to an email
containing questions and concerns on ART. Therefore, the
following information is a summary of available INTERNET
note, a search of MEDLINE (an INTERNET resource for scientific
research) produced no findings for "Active Release Techniques"
or Dr. Michael Leahy. However, it is quite possible that
the journals containing information on ART may not have
been explored with this search function. If anyone does
have peer-reviewed research on the ART technique and its
effectiveness, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
has been described as a technique that uses motion and manual
tension to fix soft tissue injuries. But do not mistake
it for massage! ART is promoted as a type of therapeutic
manipulation that breaks down scar tissue that has formed
around your muscles. Therefore, ART is supposed to help
increase the pain-free range of motion of the joint and
may decrease muscular pain.
Leahy promises almost immediate improvement (within 1-2
sessions). According to Dr. Leahy, if improvement does not
The problem source is still unknown.
The treatment has been ineffective.
The patient needs to have an increase in strength.
Leahy believes that by resolving the soft tissue problem
at the source of the pain, this will eliminate all future
problems because the source of the problem has now been
adequately dealt with. After reading about ART on several
websites, this therapy sounded like a miracle cure for injuries.
Some claimed that only 5 minutes of therapy could eliminate
the need for surgery, thus preventing months of rehab. One
website went so far as to claim it was "a medical technique
on par with the x-ray"!
treated by ART insist that it can be a very painful procedure.
However, practitioners suggest that aggressive treatment
of most soft-tissue injuries with ART may eliminate the
need for surgery. If ART really does help, it's likely that
a few "uncomfortable" sessions with a competent ART specialist
will still be much less painful than any surgery! Don't
worry though, to become an ART provider practitioners must
go through some extremely in-depth, hands-on seminars.
SUMMARY - www.activerelease.com
is promoted as a highly successful treatment for injuries
of muscles, tendons, fascia, nerves, and the surrounding
soft tissues. Examples of these injuries (referred to as
cumulative trauma disorders -CTD- by ART practitioners)
are carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff problems, and chronic
lower-back pain. The belief is that ART can help these CTD
where other modalities such as traditional massage, movement
therapies, and passive rest have failed.
is a novel approach, involving diagnosing and treating the
underlying mechanism of the trauma disorder rather than
just trying to relieve the pain. To become proficient in
ART one does not attend a traditional school of medicine
or therapy, but it is likely that most ART providers have
post-graduate training in rehabilitation. In fact, more
and more physical therapists and chiropractors are learning
trauma disorders are due to cumulative injury cycles. The
"cycles" are initiated by acute musculo-skeletal injury,
repetitive injury, and constant tension/pressure and may
lead to adhesions (adhesions are scar tissue). The injury
is proportional to the volume and intensity of the "insult"
and inversely proportional to the length of recovery between
= Number of reps x force of reps / amplitude of rep x relaxation
if you continuously "insult" the tissue (by applying a high
volume of stress to the tissue) you initiate an injury cycle.
Continuous vibration and poor posture are 2 examples of
increased insult due to high volume. Therefore, to decrease
injury, you must decrease volume and intensity, or increase
relaxation between "insults" (decrease the pressure and
tension on the tissues).
provide a clear example in less technical terms, imagine
that you type for several hours a day, but you use a very
poor keyboard and improper technique. This results in a
high volume of stress and very little recovery between each
period of stress. Therefore, you may enter a "cumulative
injury cycle". Thus, a key in the prevention of any injury
would be to use proper technique in whatever it is that
you do, and also to take many rest intervals and breaks.
the end result of "insult" is the build-up of adhesions
and fibrinogen formation. This can cause tightness and weakness
in the tissue but is poorly understood. There are various
textures and origins of scar tissue/adhesions and Dr. Leahy
documents soft-tissue changes & nerve entrapment symptoms.
Unfortunately, one of the problems with the theory behind
ART is the wide variety of novel and vague terms used by
Dr. Leahy in his ART material, including many just used
in the preceding paragraphs!
are offered to practitioners that work hands-on with soft-tissue
injuries in order to provide an additional method of treatment.
Through training, providers learn to diagnose the presence
of abnormal inflammation and adhesion (scar tissue) by examining
tissue texture, tension, and movement.
Leahy recommends that you get study materials several months
in advance; otherwise, you may be overwhelmed by the amount
of information covered in the course. Furthermore, it is
not just 1 seminar. Instead, it is actually a number of
seminars for the entire body (i.e. one seminar is devoted
strictly to the upper extremities), thus a provider can
become an accredited ART provider for a single body part
or for the entire body.
the educational workshops, participants learn the ART diagnostic
and treatment protocols for 105 upper-extremity structures
and 75 spine structures. At the completion of seminar courses,
instructors grade each participant on knowledge and protocol
utilization. ART Soft-Tissue Workshops combine 25 percent
classroom teaching with 75 percent hands-on skill training,
presented in three eight-hour sessions.
final testing protocol includes written examinations and
practical evaluations. ART can also be learnt through a
manual and an instructional video library (upper extremity
and spine are separate). Prior to taking a workshop, participants
should study the manual and videotapes that are provided
in order to be on track during the workshop sessions.
the workshops, ART instructors go over protocols, applicable
anatomy, and demonstrate the required skill and treatment
before having the students practice themselves. The seminars
sound pretty intense and not something that anyone can breeze
through. Fortunately, the ART website promises there will
be one instructor for every ten students.
everyone is eligible to become certified in ART. This is
a change from the past when everyone was eligible and it
was just recommended that you have a lot of experience with
anatomy and hands-on diagnosis and treatment of injuries.
Regardless, the less experience you have with injuries,
the more likely you are to have difficulty with the course.
Leahy states that it takes years to become successful and
proficient at ART, but he also believes that students should
be able to provide some benefits after their initial course.
After hearing plenty of feedback from people having ART
performed on their injuries, it is recommended that you
seek out only a very experienced therapist or chiropractor.
These people should know the difference between healthy
and injured tissue.
are some of the guidelines set forth by Leahy that are indicated
as necessities for proper treatment:
The practitioner must learn the techniques hands-on. While
someone can save money and simply watch the videos for instruction,
in all likelihood this will merely produce poor practitioners
and unsuccessful treatment.
The practitioner must work longitudinally on the tissue
with a slow motion. It is pertinent that this specific technique
is learnt hands-on.
The practitioner can learn up to 13 different contact methods.
The most basic is the thumb and the most advanced technique
is "palmer" contact. There are also different pressures
& tensions and variable movements that can be applied.
The patient should be active in the rehabilitation and in
control. By being in control, the patient can simulate movement
(of soft tissue and neurally), and this enables the provider
a free hand. When the patient is passive the practitioner
must move the structure for the patient.
- ART TESTIMONIALS: MIXED VIEWS
McGinnis, a student at McMaster University with lower back
pain, says that, "Immediately after seeing ART specialists
I feel noticeably better. My back does not feel as cramped
and I move more freely. I feel much more relaxed although
in a few hours I feel a little sore in the areas where the
doctor was working, however after the therapy my muscles
are much stronger."
what Dr. Leahy said about ART's ability to help prevent
or heal lower back injuries: "The major cause of back problems
is a process called cumulative trauma disorder. When you
work all day (standing or sitting), typically the deeper
back muscles are weak and become tight, forming scar tissue
in the muscle. Next, the scarring shrinks so it makes the
muscle short and it blocks the circulation and hurts. Then
you begin altering the mechanics of the spine resulting
in disc degeneration. This is a chronic condition that builds
up "silently" and is finally expressed in an "acute" injury.
Now, instead of having to treat the back after the injury,
ART has been designed to fix the soft-tissue and thus fix
the root of the problem. "
ART sounds really great and may be just what is needed for
some people, however this is what Greg Scott, a high school
physical education teacher had to say. "Just a comment on
ART for you, I had it done when I was having a nagging lower
back pain looked at. The chiropractor I was seeing decided
to do it on my hip flexors as a way to loosen up and realign
my hips. He did so much damage that each subsequent visit
was just to try and relive pain rather than work on the
problem...therefore I stopped seeing him and went to the
Canadian Back Institute instead to correct my back pain.
I am sure that ART is effective given that you have a therapist
or whoever who listens to the patient and goes easy at first,
if not it can be really painful and set back your rehab."
believes that chiropractors and massage therapists may take
a different approach to ART (based on their formal training
backgrounds) and therefore results may differ between professions.
Something to think about and look into, says Greg. The more
experience the ART provider has, the better your ART experience
will likely be. The problem with any rehabilitation technique
is that the practitioner improves with experience. Perhaps
in the future this chiropractor may become an excellent
ART provider, but it appears Greg did not benefit from an
over-enthusiastic and inexperienced practitioner.
find a successful ART provider you should ask around at
your gym or at work. Perhaps someone else has had a positive
ART experience and can suggest an experienced rehab specialist.
Otherwise, do your homework and find someone that has the
right credentials, and a lot of experience. In addition,
make sure to communicate with the ART practitioner or the
massage therapist or whatever specialist you are using.
They can't tell how your body feels, you must convey that
to them. Communication and knowledge will help you get back
with all therapy, ART should be focused on PRO-active rehabilitation
and not just reactive. That means that you must do what
you can to help the therapy, and you should not rely solely
on others to solve your problems. Do the exercises that
are recommended to you. ART should be applied on alternate
days at most. This comes back to the magnitude of insult
being proportional to intensity and volume. If the tissue
is treated while inflamed from a previous session, then
it will be detrimental.
to Shawn Thistle who is studying to become a chiropractor,
"I am planning on taking ONE of the three seminars (spine,
upper, and lower extremities) - they are VERY expensive,
so lots of people try to do it just by watching videos.
I have had ART done to me by someone who has taken the course
for that part of the body, and someone who hasn't - quite
a difference." Shawn's comments indicate the disparity between
practitioners at present and also highlight one possible
flaw that some people may not have had hands-on teaching.
Gough, CSCS, www.optperformance.com, "ART is a good addition
if you are consistently treating athletes, but if you not
doing it all the time, then what's the point. For example,
some certified individuals that only practice ART sporadically
might end up only giving you pain and no results."
of your injury, get it properly diagnosed so you can properly
treat it! Furthermore, always be "PRO-active" in your rehabilitation
and follow the exercises outlined by your therapist. There
is no point in returning to the clinic with the same injury
time and time again. It only becomes a waste of energy that
could be spent better off trying to heal the injury in other
manners. Of course, the best thing to do is to avoid injury
in the first place. Remember that if you keep using bad
form, you are going to keep getting bad injuries!"