NASM Pros: The NBA’s Go-To Trainers
Michael Oviedo has spent much of his career as a personal trainer to
celebs, execs and athletes, including Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles
Lakers, who made Oviedo his exclusive practitioner on his 2015-16 farewell.
"When working with an athlete, instructors might think that they should add
more resistance or weight during sports-specific skill training. That's not
what you want to start with," says Oviedo, MS, LMT,NASM-CPT,CES,
PES and director of clinical services
at the Sports Performance Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. If an
athlete is out of alignment, piling on weight will just increase the risk
of injury. "The intake part-the assessment-is really important. That preps
your client down the road to be a better, stronger, faster athlete." His
Go beyond OHSA.
This and the single-leg squat assessment provide a good start, but consider other tests, too.
For the vertical-jump test, don't just record height; watch how the athlete lands.
The Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) test-explained in the NASM-CES and PES
courses-highlights 17 points where movement can break down before, during
and after a jump.
Assess and correct before game play.
"Before every game, I would literally get Kobe up on the table and use a
goniometer and move those joints around to see what needed to be
addressed," he says. The one time Oviedo couldn't do this, Bryant tweaked
his back and took 3 days to recover. "After that, I was with him for every
game," says Oviedo.
Read clients' signals.
piece is as important as the training piece," he says. "If they're worn out
and tight, you don't want to train them again." Scrap your original plans
if it's not what the athlete needs that day.
Don't just cue; inform. Yes, you want to cue the athlete throughout each exercise,
but also explain what you're doing. (Why, for instance, you're having them
stand on one foot and balance.) "You want them to start understanding how
their body is responding," he says.
Be a lifelong learner. Oviedo has a BA in physical education and an MS in exercise science, in
addition to the NASM certification and specializations, and training in the
Fusionetics Performance Health System. He also earned his massage therapy
certification so he could do the soft-tissue work that was out of scope for
him as a CPT. "Don't rest on your laurels," he advises. "Learn as much as
you can about human movement science, and stay on top of the research."
5 Ways to Stop the Spread of Gym Germs
Humans aren't the only ones "on" the exercise equipment. Microbiologist
Charles Gerba, PhD, says numerous studies have found weights, machines,
doorknobs and other surfaces teeming with microscopic trespassers such as
cold and flu viruses, E. coli and MRSA. But don't freak out: The University
of Arizona professor says using disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer a few
times a day is an easy way to break the germs' "cycle of movement." In a
study Gerba co-authored in 2013, a virus was spread from one infected
worker throughout half of an office building in just 4 hours. Here, Gerba's
tips for avoiding gym germs:
Use disinfectant wipes on often-touched objects at the gym
and anywhere else you go (airline tray tables, he says, are particularly
gross). Unlike spray cleaners, these wipes "provide the right dose of
disinfectant every time," he says. Use them on treadmill displays,
elliptical handles, weight benches and even personal equipment such as yoga
mats. They can pick up germs if you use them in a common area.
Don't put athletic shoes on your desk or stuff them in
your gym bag with clean clothes. Most shoes have E. coli on their soles.
Choose a screw-top water bottle, not the flip-top kind,
which allows bacteria to transfer from your fingers to the spout every time
you open it. Wash it in the dishwasher to kill germs.
Never share towels. "Blood-borne diseases have been
transmitted to family members through sharing of towels," says Gerba. Wash
all dirty towels, gym clothes and underwear in hot water.
If you catch a cold virus, stay home for at least the
first 2-3 days, which is when you're most contagious. A co-worker is sure
to prefer covering your class over catching your germs.
Enlightening Yoga-Injury Stats
I mean…we love yoga. Research finds that, in addition to building
strength and flexibility, yoga can reduce lower-back pain, heart rate and
blood pressure, and it may help people with anxiety, depression and
insomnia. But it's not without its risks. A recent review of U.S. injury
reports found that 29,590 hospital emergency room visits from 2001 to 2014
were due to yoga-related injuries. Study authors Thomas A. Swain, MPH, and
Gerald McGwin, MS, PhD, from the University of Alabama, Birmingham
published these findings in Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine [2016; 4
(11), 2325967116671703], noting that the number of injuries has been
growing over that same time period and that the highest injury rate is in
the over-65 age group.
In Yoga Journal, McGwin theorized that, among other things, "More people
perhaps are gravitating toward yoga who are not more prepared, or teachers
or the studios that are opening perhaps aren't at the level they should
If yoga is part of your programming, ensure instructors are well-trained
and older adults, in particular, have gained clearance from their
physician. For all ages, modifications should be shown for each pose; see
sidebar on page 68. Want to learn how to lead a safe, challenging
multilevel yoga class in a variety of settings? Check out the
AFAA Practical Yoga Instructor Training course.
Put “Sleep” on Young Athletes’ Training Plans
College athletes need a minimum of 8-9 hours of sleep per night, say
experts. Less may reduce physical and mental performance on and off the
court. It can also slow injury recovery because the body repairs itself
Last year, researchers discovered simple interventions that can
significantly improve student-athletes' sleep. Michael Grandner, assistant
professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Sleep Health
Research Center at the UA College of Medicine, and Amy Athey, director of
clinical and sport psychology services for Arizona Athletics, created
Project REST (Recovery Enhancement and Sleep Training).
They enrolled 40 student-athletes in the program, which included a 2-hour education and
Q&A kickoff session, using a FITBIT® sleep tracker, sleep diaries, text-messaged sleep facts and 24/7 access to
support. But the initial sleep-facts seminar had the biggest impact, say
participants. The message here: In addition to discussing nutrition and
sports performance with young athletes, you may want to talk about how
sleep can affect their game. Visit the website of the National Sleep
for Healthy Sleep Tips on sticking to a sleep schedule, creating a
bedtime ritual and making a bedroom (or dorm room) more conducive to sleep.
Improve Deadlift Form With These Moves
"The deadlift movement is one of the more difficult compound exercises to
teach because there are many areas where form can break down," says Mike
Fantigrassi, NASM-CPT and Master Instructor. Here are his thoughts on cuing
Start with stabilization.
When you follow the NASM Optimum Performance Training™ model, start
with Phase 1: Stabilization.
This can help clients avoid most form breakdowns because they will
practice the exercise with higher reps and with a slow tempo that will lock
in good form.
Build strength and good form.
Before doing deadlifts, use planks, cobras and floor bridges to prep.
Planks teach how to draw in, activate the core, and brace. Cobras require
pulling shoulder blades back and down. Floor bridges use the hip-hinge
movement that's done at the top of the deadlift.
Next, try the Romanian deadlift, which emphasizes the top portion of the
traditional deadlift movement pattern so the client won't turn the move
into a squat. "People who are really good at squatting are usually not good
at the deadlift, and vice versa," notes Fantigrassi.
Keep the bar close.
During the part of the deadlift where the bar is dragged up toward the
knees, it should almost graze the shins. If it's too far forward, balance
shifts to the toes. If this is a real problem, try a trap-bar deadlift,
which has clients step inside the bar, making it easier to stay balanced.
Watch the lower back.
"When you see overarching or rounding, stop the movement and regress it,"
says Fantigrassi. The back (and the neck) should stay in a neutral position
during the exercise.
The client should grab the bar, inhale, hold breath while standing up, then
exhale near the top of the move. Breathing should take place in the bottom
and top positions of the movement. "You want air in the lungs while lifting
and lowering to help stabilize the core," he says. Timing of breathing
becomes more important as the load increases.
If she is doing a full deadlift, make sure her hips don't come too far
forward at the top (hyperextending the back). But make sure she finishes
the move, pauses and squeezes the glutes (and breathes) before starting the
Exercise, Not Opioids
We often think of exercise as lengthening life-span by reducing disease
risk. But it may also help prevent accidental opioid overdoses. This year,
the American College of Physicians published recommendations reminding
doctors that nondrug options should be the first-line treatments for acute
or subacute lower-back pain [2017; 166 (7), 514-530]. These included tai
chi, yoga, motor-control exercise, massage, acupuncture, progressive
relaxation and others.
"Physicians should consider opioids as a last option for treatment and only
in patients who have failed other therapies, as they are associated with
substantial harms, including the risk of addiction or accidental overdose,"
says ACP President Nitin S. Damle, MD, MS, MACP.
When Wayne Snyder founded CSS Group Fitness in 2013, he named it for the
three pillars of its well-rounded fitness program: cardio, strength and
stretch. Though CSS is based in northeastern Pennsylvania, you won't find a
gym address on their website. "As a mobile fitness company, we bring all
our fitness programs directly to the customer, wherever they might be,"
says Snyder. "As our slogan states: We bring fitness to you!" What
started out as one fitness truck with one instructor and one client has
flourished into a 10-instructor operation serving a dozen medium-to-large
corporate accounts and multiple public locations. Some businesses fund it
100% for employees, while others simply provide space. In public venues,
clients pay per session or buy discounted bundles. "The time we save
clients by bringing our program to the workplace or local mall is precious
to them," says Snyder.
Here are some lessons learned from life on the road. Hang out before and after.
Building a community can be challenging without a "community building."
Amanda Grant, AFAA-CPT and indoor cycling and Pound® Pro instructor
for CSS, arrives 20 minutes before each class to catch up with regulars and
introduce them to new participants. "At the conclusion, I'll stick around
to answer questions," she says. "All of this creates a warm sense of
belonging and keeps our people coming back."
Use brands to build interest.
Branded programs give instant street cred: All CSS instructors are
certified by AFAA, NASM and/or in the disciplines they teach, including
various bootcamps, Pound, YogaFit®, Zumba® and the AFAA course
G.E.A.R. Indoor Cycling.
Point out added perks.
Corporate workouts build camaraderie that carries through the workday, and
clients report increased productivity. "They don't experience that
afternoon-low-blood-sugar fog," says Snyder.
Make it doable.
People often feel overwhelmed by nutrition info, so Snyder's team usually
keeps it simple, suggesting cutbacks on high-calorie, low-nutritive foods.
Most of all, says Grant, the business model has taught her to expand her
horizons-geographically and personally. "As a CPT, I didn't like public
speaking or being on a microphone teaching a class, but I put myself out
there and now I'm really enjoying it," she says. "You can't just stay in
your comfort zone. Expand your marketability. Try something new that might
make you a little bit nervous."