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Timberman 70.3 and a Lesson in Functional Strength

We always love a good success story, and FLPT patient Michael Olzinski is here to deliver one! Michael is a trainer, coach and triathlete who works as an assistant coach with the elite team purplepatch fitness. In a recent blog post, he shared how prehab work in building functional strength helped his training for Timberman 70.3 and sets him up for success at his other races this season.

You can read Michael’s entire post, “Timberman 70.3 and a Lesson in Functional Strength,” over on his blog, The Endurance Journey. Here is an excerpt as it relates to functional movement for endurance training:

Seeing the Light

So I have known about Finish Line PT for quite some time. I pay attention to the New York training scene, I have raced with numerous impressive Finish Line athletes, read lots of Michael’s work, and at a little office event at Active.com got to meet Brynn and hear her talk about the facility. Finally I think to myself, well, I guess it’s time to really get smart and utilize someone who is not me, because clearly I am not to be trusted with my own body.

I was not injured, I was still executing all of my sessions, just not that greatly. Yet through my entire training career I always talk about people being “ticking time bombs” due to imbalance and movement insufficiency. I was a bomb that was on the edge of some type of major injury, and getting into Finish Line was the best thing that could have happened to me at this stage in my career. I actually never viewed or spoke that I was going in for “Therapy,” but more so that I was getting involved in a sport-specific functional movement training for triathletes. Every experience that I’ve had since then has epically impacted the type of season that I am having this year, my Timberman race, and races for years to come.

My Strength and Mobility Program

Upon getting started at FL, I was matched up with Jason Lakritz. Jason has been working with me now since April, and I am excited to come in any time. Not only is he a drop-dead runner who I cringe at his splits, but he can actually communicate with me and my obsession with Track and Field and anything related the the human body or movement training. Jason has set up a program and movements for me that I simply have never seen or done, and then some that I have but neglected for stupid unfounded reasons.

One key issue that Jason noticed was when he looked at my running form that since (maybe) my hips and torso were so tight and immobile, I wasn’t extending through my hip and glutes while running and thus most of my propulsive forces were happening at my calf. Hmmmm makes sense why my lower leg would blow up from time to time. As a result Jason started me out on some intricate hip flexor and trunk mobility movements that I do on a regular basis now a days.

This stretch is of my favorites from Jason. Basically sitting in a ‘couch stretch’ where my hip flexor is on a great stretch, as my quads also at near end range of motion. The tri-planar arm/shoulder stretch adds to ensure that I am keeping my torso loose and mobile.

To compound that, my glutes are so tight that it pulls my femur into weird places, so I needed to release some tension in the glutes. I do some regular trigger point movements to help ease that and create better movement at the hip.

Also my trunk is stupidly immobile, so he has me on several thoracic mobility-type movements to ensure that the overloading I do from biking and swimming does not compound my issues.

Things started to turn around in July, and I started getting more comfortable, so he now has me doing some swimming/biking/running enhancement drills for balance, quickness, and power. Along with some great trunk stability work.

And then there’s the ViPR!! One of the tools that I USED TO work with almost every week when I was in the gym, and one of my favorite tools. I do some really excellent functional movements that not only target running power and balance, but also continue to push mobility in my thoracic region (this started to give me a little more issues in the summer as my hips started to loosen a bit).

Check out this excellent movement for running-specific counter-balance, agility, glute/hip loading and rotation in the thoracic spine. This is a movement that just FEELS like you are becoming a stonger runner and athlete, not to mention 30 seconds quickly will jack up your HR! Doing 30 seconds in both directions can really assist your balance, both anatomical and neuromuscular.

At this point, I will continue working on those mobility issues that I started with. I understand that these items take a long time to progress, so why wouldn’t they take a long time to correct? It just makes sense. But going into this most recent race at Timberman, I actually felt as truly functional as I have in the past 2-3 years. Nothing was hindering me, and I felt ready to race!!!

Read Michael’s entire post, “Timberman 70.3 and a Lesson in Functional Strength,” over on his blog, The Endurance Journey.

4 comments

  1. Michael ConlonAugust 26, 2014

    Great recap Michael… and great job at Timberman.

  2. GarenAugust 27, 2014

    Congrats on an excellent race!

  3. Michael OAugust 29, 2014

    Thanks Mike and Garen! Its a pleasure to be part of such a great and inspiring team. You guys are awesome, and love reading your works also!

  4. AndreSeptember 5, 2014

    Congrats on Timberman Michael! Great blog too explaining how prehab helped you in your training. Nice job!

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