Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Assessment & Exercise Edition

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Trilogies usually suck. Sure we have the golden standards like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars (the first one, don’t even get me started on that piece of crap Phantom Menace that Lucas tried to pawn off on us), The Godfather, and The Dark Knight. But for every one that raises the bar, we have ten “sequels” that are just absolute garbage: Police Academy V, anyone?????

So what the heck does this have to do with anything?

Well, as far as fitness info products are concerned, you’d be hard pressed to find any series more impressive than the Muscle Imbalances Revealed franchise.  Having been a part of the last installment – Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Upper Body – I can attest that the information routinely provided is top notch and will undoubtedly help any professional take his or her “game” to the next level.

I mean, if you want to become the best, you need to learn from the best.  Right?

Today, as well as sporadically throughout the rest of the week, I’m going to be discussing the latest in the series (the third, in fact), Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Assessment & Exercise, which includes presentations from the likes of Rick Kaselj, Anthony Mychal, John Izzo, and Nick Rosencutter.

Assessment and Exercise for Knee Injury Recovery – Rick Kaselj

Since Rick is the “Oz” behind the Muscle Imbalances Revealed curtain, doing all of the behind the scenes work that never gets recognized (as well as serving as the figurehead of the series) I figured it only made sense to start here.

Before I begin, though, I just have to say that Rick is probably one of the most genuine and jovial human beings I’ve ever met, and his thirst for knowledge (and spreading it to others) is unparalleled.

As such, Rick has a lot of experience working with injured people (and healthy ones, too) and he’s recognized as one of the “go to” professionals with regards to assessment and rehabilitation.  For those who aren’t familiar with Rick’s work, you can check out his website HERE.

Rick’s presentation spoke volumes to me personally because I’ve had a history of knee issues for the better part of the past decade, and he has an uncanny ability to break things down into manageable, “why the hell didn’t I ever think of that!?,” nuggets of information that can easily be implemented on day one

After giving a brief overview of general knee anatomy, here are a few bits of awesome that Rick provided:

1. When it comes to assessment, it’s important to test the knee in both PASSIVE and ACTIVE ranges of motion.

Passive = gravity or someone else is doing the movement.

Active = the individual themselves is doing the movement.

2.  In terms of general ROM guidelines, we’re typically looking at an individual to be able to get to -5 degrees of knee extension, and around 140 degrees of knee flexion.

This is important because we need anywhere from 2-70 degrees of flexion in order to walk, and a loss of around ten degrees of extension can result in a limp, which, not surprisingly, will place a lot of undue stress on the ligaments and muscles.  Not to mention put a damper on your ultimate frisbee plans this weekend.

Rick also noted we need 93 degrees of flexion to get out of chair, 106 degrees to tie shoe, 136 degrees to take bath, and 141 degrees to swift kick someone in the face.

I made that last one up, but the key point is that having full knee ROM is important for every day activities.

3.  Speaking in more specific terms, Rick noted that a lack of knee extension also results in loss of what he referred to as the “screw home mechanism,” which serves its purpose by reducing stress on the quads and placing more on the passive restraints (cartilage, menisci, and bones).

This seems counterintuitive, and when I first heard Rick say this I tilted my head to one side and was like “what the what!?!?!?”

But once he explained his rationale in more detail, I was picking up what he was putting down.

In short, in stealing a line from Mike Roberston:  stacked joints, are happy joints.

4.  As far as the actual assessments are concerned, I like Rick’s approach because he takes more of a simpleton approach, which I dig.  A lot.

There’s no smoke machines, or laser show,or any theatrics for that matter. I think a lot of fitness professionals fall into the trap that the more advanced or seemingly “cool” the assessment looks, the better it must be.  I disagree.

Using one example from Rick’s presentation (and there are several):  he likes to incorporate a bilateral standing calf raise into the mix to see whether or not someone can get onto their toes and attain knee extension.

For the record:  When Rick demonstrated this, I couldn’t help but notice that basketballs he has for calves.  Well played, sir. Well played.  I hate you.

5. Rick then goes into several common exercises to regain ROM, and then progressing depending on how the knee responds.

I’ve poo-pooed on Terminal Knee Extensions (TKEs) is the past – namely because I feel they’re woefully OVERemphasized  in knee rehab – but Rick does a good job of demonstrating several variations progressing from unloaded (d0ne actively) to loaded, to adding resistance.

On top of that, he even demonstrated several Terminal Knee FLEXION exercises using a towel that I thought were pretty neat.

If anything what I took most from Rick’s presentation is that we can’t always be meatheaded with our rehab. It’s REHAB for crying out loud!!!  But there’s also a lot to be said about not treating our clients and athletes like they’re patients, and giving them a training effect.

As much as we want to think that squats cure everything from global warming to cancer, when it comes to knee pain and fixing it, that’s not necessarily the case.

More often than not, we must take it down a notch (or 20) to re-teach the body proper motor learning engrams, to teach it which muscles actually need to fire, and to prevent someone from overreaching their pain threshold.

Muscle Imbalances Revealed: Assessment and Exercise is on sale starting TODAY (Tuesday, August 14th) until this Friday for a redunkulous introductory price of $37.  Considering you can get your learnification on from some of the industry’s best, all in the comfort of your own home, without having to spend an inordinate amount of money travelling, and you’ll simultaneously earn some CECs in doing so, well, that’s a bargain if there ever was one.

—> Muscle Imbalanced Revealed: Assessment and Exercise <—

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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