Monthly Archives: May 2014

ARPWave Search and Destroy for Left Shoulder Part II

After I finished Search and Destroy on my left knee, I started working on left shoulder.
My left shoulder has been plagued with soreness in the pec minor area. The pec minor feels always tight and sore, and I can feel it pull my shoulder forward and out of position. This results in compensations in which muscles activate whenever I swim or do pull-ups and I get sore there. In my search for a solution, I decided to turn ARPWave therapy on it to see what would come out.
I setup the machine and started the Search protocol all around my left shoulder. I used an electrode and scanned my left shoulder, my left chest, my left shoulder blade, and also down the left arm. I didn’t find any hotspots except down my arm where I found a problematic medial head of the tricep, and on the bottom edge of the upper forearm.
These two hotspots were pretty “hot” – they caused my ring finger and pinky to contract strongly and convulsely without my control. My hand turned into a claw! There was no way to straighten them out and I could feel the power buzzing all around the electrode in my muscles. In many ways, I was not looking forward to this!
After the Search phase, I put stim pads on my hotspots and prepared for Destroy. The movement was 5 wide grip pull up motions, and then 5 freestyle strokes on each side, and the total time was 7 minutes. I then turned on the ARP Trainer and turned it up as high as I could take it. My left hand immediately turned into a claw and I turned it into a fist to stop it from hurting. Then I did the movements, first pull up movements and then swimming with firsts instead of open hands. It was extremely difficult as the stim power tried to prevent my arms from extending. I did 5 of each, then tried to turn the power higher. The contractions got stronger and my hands were harder to control. I did 5 more of each movement and then turned up the power more, and repeated until 7 minutes were up. By the end of 7 minutes, the power was causing my hands to move of their own volition! It was very disconcerting – my ARP therapist reassured me that no one ever got hurt doing this, even if my hand was moving around like it was possessed and was cracking as it moved!
After turning off the power, my fingers and hand were still buzzing from the strength and high frequency of the electricity. I couldn’t yet move my fingers yet, and they seemed to wiggle on their own.
As soon as they calmed down, I downed 37g of protein (to match the 37g I took before the session) to prevent undue soreness from the treatment.
This continued for 7 sessions at which time I plateaued on power. With these muscles, I was struggling to reach max power which came a lot easier with my bigger leg muscles. Increases came in inches so we decided to move on to the strengthening phase.
For this strengthening phase, I mirrored the pad placements on my left arm on my right arm. I would use a move called the Statue of Liberty. It involves holding a light 1lb dumbbell, and placing it across my waist with thumb turned down, and then raising it across the body while turning my thumb upright to the finish overhead position, as if I were holding the torch like the Statue of Liberty. I would do 1 min with the left hand, then 1 min with the right hand. After this, I would attempt to increase power, and then repeat the Statue of Liberty on both hands. This would go on for 5 intervals for 10 minutes of work, with power increases in between.
The first session was incredibly tough. My left arm was already adapted somewhat to the stim, but my right arm was first encountering it. So while it was relatively easy for my left arm to the do the movement, the right arm was having a ton of trouble as it caught up with the power of the stim. I strengthened for 11 sessions and by the end I reached max power. But it would a tough ride. There were a few times where my right hand was stimmed so hard that I could not even hold onto the dumbbell. I would drop it and then my right hand would turn into an uncontrollable claw! I would then quickly turn off the power and stop for the day.
The test at the end of this therapy was either to swim 10 lengths at 50%, 75% and 100% effort or to do 10 pull ups at 50%, 75%, and 100% load as fast as possible. I did the swim test and there were no issues, only that my endurance was severely lacking and keeping up at the end was tough.
I am unfortunately not optimistic with pull ups. A few tests with a band to assist still left me with a little bit of soreness. So something else must be wrong or missing.
What I learned:
1. A proper mindset is required to able to achieve high power at high frequencies. You must relax and let the energy course through your muscles. To react to it will cause instant seizing up of the muscles for sure, which is not what you want and VERY uncomfortable. It is better to think of it as an irritant and relax into it. That is the first phase.
The second phase is, in order to achieve movement in the presence of the powerful stim, you can’t force the movement. Compensations will occur as will contractions that will resist the movement. Instead, try to send the mental command strongly to move the limb and I think you will find that the limb will move.
2. If you are training with the POV, Search and Destroy can help you adapt faster and reach POV max power. This happened on my VMOs which were, before S&D, very resistant to high power. Now I can turn up the machine to max power on the VMOs every time.
In seeing the differences between S&D and POV training, I spent a focused time with the ARP Trainer on one thing. I find that my POV programs don’t allow me to spend enough time often enough to get to adaptation faster. I am wondering what would happen if I took each of my protocols and just did them nearly every day – wouldn’t I adapt faster and get to max power quicker?
3. I think that the therapy, while it does create benefits, is not a total cure just because you did it. You still have to pay attention to proper positioning and imprint proper movement. If you fall back into poor movement patterns, the problems will come back. In the case of my shoulder, I was still feeling soreness if I did particular movements. On the other hand, I do not think we properly duplicated the stress and movement pattern of the pullup to really have addressed the pullup issue. Doing air pull ups really didn’t have the same effect on muscles and the CNS as hanging from a bar and pulling upward.
I am working on imprinting the proper movement patterns so that the soreness won’t come back. However, in working on the tricep and forearm, now they are turning on whereas before they were not functioning correctly.
4. Again, I think that if you do ARP therapy, you should live with a machine for an extended period of time. Going once or twice isn’t a guarantee of a longer cure for problems. Make sure that the movement patterns you use during treatment closely mimic the movement pattern(s) that give you problems. Use perfect movement when you do the movements. Execute them flawlessly. This may require a good coach or movement specialist to watch you VERY carefully and correct you.

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization: Awesome!

This last weekend I spent 4 days learning the basics of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, or DNS. It was a fantastic 4 days and not only did I learn the basic techniques, but also got to see a group of experienced PTs in action using methods I had not seen before, and giving out information in ways I had not heard before.
DNS was developed at the Prague School for Rehabilitation by Professor Pavel Kolar through watching how newborns develop their stabilization and movement skills, from lying down to finally figuring out how to stand up. The techniques are based on the stages the child goes through and they are named as such like 3 months, 4.5 months, etc. They have shown that most people, if they have gone through proper development when they were babies, still have this basic movement capability burned into their nervous systems. It’s just that over the years after childhood, we have either forgotten or muddied up those beautiful movement patterns from our childhood. The techniques enable us to bring back those good movement patterns and help re-burn them into our current nervous system. Watch the videos on the Prague School site for more detailed information.
There are many classes to take. I took DNS Exercise Level 1 and 2, which is more for fitness professionals. Clinicians take another set of DNS classes. We went through a whole set of assessment positions, which can be also used for treatment as well.
Some of the really interesting things I learned:
1. There was the best discussion I’ve heard yet about Intra-Abdominal Pressure (IAP), how to test for it and then how to generate it. Then everything follows from there. Their view is that without IAP, then everything else cannot happen: movement, lifting, walking, etc.
In the fitness world today, we hear a lot about “bracing” before doing a lift. After learning about IAP, I think we need to change the word “bracing” because I think it evokes too much of the wrong thing, which is activating core muscles that can stabilize the torso, BUT you can’t breathe because you’ve squeezed the wrong ones. If you stabilize correctly with IAP, you will also be able to breathe.
2. In order for healthy movement to exist, there must be proper co-activation of opposing muscle groups. In any movement, there are agonists, or muscles that are providing the major force to create movement, and there are antagonists, which are muscles that oppose the agonist.
As an example, in the case of a bicep curl, the agonist is the bicep which concentrically contracts (shortens as it contracts) to flex the lower arm up to the upper arm. The antagonist is the tricep, which must eccentrically contract (lengthens as it contracts), to let the bicep move the lower arm up to the upper arm. If either one doesn’t do whatever supposed to do in perfect timing, then problems can occur like compensatory actions (using other muscles that shouldn’t normally be used) and can lead to injury. Imagine if your hamstrings are very tight, and then you swing your straight leg forward up – the hip flexors raise the leg up but if the hamstrings are so tight and can’t eccentrically contract fast enough, you could pull them as you whip your leg up. So proper function is that over your entire body, your muscles are co-activating as agonists and antagonists in balanced way with proper timing, and can both concentrically and eccentrically contract at will.
DNS contains techniques to help fix issues in co-activation. Here is a shot of one of their PTs working on my left shoulder, which I’ve been trying to fix for a while now.

My left shoulder has a tendency to drift forward and my pec/pec minor feels always tight. It gets sore when I swim, and sometimes really acts up during pull ups. In the pic, she is using one of the DNS positions and encouraging the eccentric contraction of my external rotators, while setting my shoulder in the correct position.
The moment I got out of that position, my shoulder felt great! Wow!
3. The spine must be properly aligned, from pelvis to the top of the head. The moment you break from proper alignment, compensations start popping up and inefficient movement occurs. All of the DNS moves involve setting the spine in as perfect alignment as possible, and then a movement is performed where we encourage the person to not break from spinal alignment, and to learn how to maintain spinal alignment in non-static situations.
4. Joints must be centrated in order to perform proper movement, support maximal loads, and protects structures. Decentrated joints cause problems! So the upper arm must be in the proper location in the socket to move efficiently and safely, as does the head of the upper leg bone must be in the proper place in the hip socket.
We went over how to centrate joints properly and how to observe the body for signs that joints are not centrated.
It was amusing to see how these PTs would get right up on you, using their whole body to hold you in place as you performed movements, holding your spine in position and your joints in centration! But it was necessary – it’s the only way the person can feel the proper position of the body as you go through the movements. The PT would first align and centrate you in static position, then hold you in position with their entire body and lead you through movement to the end position of a DNS developmental position.
After taking the class, my mind was filled with new ideas and possibilities. I contacted another DNS certified trainer to run me personally through all the DNS positions, checking me and making sure I am holding proper position in each one. I figure if I am to use DNS on someone, I may have to demonstrate and if so, it better be as close to perfect as I can get it!
I am also looking forward to applying DNS IAP development on some of my swimmers. Without IAP, it is impossible to efficiently transfer energy from the kick through to the spear of a stroke; you have energy leakage all along the way. But with IAP, you will be able to have a great base to transfer energy as well as make great swimming movements in the water.