How to Squat with Good Form

Love or hate them; the squat is one of the most effective exercises for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. They are completely versatile. You can do them anywhere, at any time—with or without weights.  Also, the squat can help tone your legs and glutes, allow you to log a few more miles, increase speed, boost power, and prevent injury. However, to reap all the benefits from this one move, you must perform it with proper form.

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Compex Athlete Josh Amberger’s Favorite Program

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We caught up with Compex triathlete Josh Amberger to talk about his favorite Compex program he uses and how he incorporates it into his weekly workout routine. Here’s what Josh had to say:

I love the strength mode on my Compex and I use it twice weekly to compliment my strength sessions on the bike. We can only stress the heart and lungs to a certain point before fatigue, but I find I can use the Compex in strength mode to get a little bit more from the muscles without stressing the heart and lungs beyond the bike ride. Once I get in the door from a key bike ride, I prepare a meal and then sit down to eat whilst dialing the Compex into a strength program. The strength program has different levels of operation, which I can adjust depending on how hard and low I pushed on the bike, what training I have tomorrow, and how far away from a key event I am. It’s the perfect mode for going one step further in my training.

Connect with Josh and follow him on Facebook.com/Josh.Amberger and Twitter.com/JoshAmberger

To learn more about the different Compex units and which electric muscle simulator device is right for you, check out our product comparison page. There we talk about the differences and benefits to using the Comepx Edge, Performance US and our Sport Elite unit. ShopCompex.com/Muscle-Stimulators

 

Compex Athlete Recovery: IRONMAN AZ

Photo Courtesy of: Eric Wynn
Compex athlete Jordan Rapp. Photo Courtesy of: Eric Wynn

IRONMAN Arizona is one of the most popular triathlon events in the world because the spectator friendly non-ocean swim, atypical flat and fast bike route and its relatively flat running course. Compex athletes Jordan Rapp, Timothy O’Donnell, Amanda Stevens, Mike Zafirovski, and Neily Mathias competed this year under unusually adverse conditions ranging from cold temps to high winds on each leg of the race. Learn more about how Compex athletes Jordan Rapp and Timothy O’Donnell incorporated Compex into their post-race recovery programs after IRONMAN Arizona.

Congratulations to all Compex athletes:

3rd Place:  Jordan Rappor
5th Place: Timmothy O’Donnell
5th Place: Amanda Stevens
10th Place: Mike Zafirovski
21st Place:  Neels Mathias

Compex triathlete Jordan Rapp, who placed 3rd,  talks about his IRONMAN Arizona post-race recovery and how he incorporated Compex into this recovery plan:

“Post race, I typically wait to see how the body sorts out for a few days. In the immediate aftermath, everything hurts. If there’s long travel involved (not the case in this race), then I’d use the Recovery Plus or massage settings on a very low current just to keep the muscles moving my legs on the plane ride. I thought of this after racing IMMEL in 2013, and sitting on that 16 hour plane ride after the race and just locking up, I thought, “I have to figure out how to do this differently.” And that’s when I started experimenting, and the Compex is so easy in that regard. But since I fly to Tempe and it’s just an hour flight, there’s a lot of walking – too much! – at the airport and such and so I don’t worry as much about keeping the muscles moving. This race is also different because as the last race of the season, I’m less worried about bouncing back as quickly as possible. I try to mentally unwind as well and just sort of let things flow. I take this approach with vitamins and stuff as well. I just sort of step back away from being an athlete for a couple weeks at the end of the season.

Photo Courtesy of: Kerry Yndestad
Compex athlete Jordan Rapp. Photo Courtesy of: Kerry Yndestad

But I’m very keen to get back into swimming, since I find that is a great way to stay active, recover fast, and continue to work on my biggest weakness. So I’ll probably start to getting back into swimming before the end of the week. For swimming, I personally have found the Compex to be great for obliques. All the rib muscles take a beating with the various demands and super long day of an Ironman, but I seem to have particular trouble with some of my obliques. So again, I’d start with using that to get those firing. Some light massage, recovery plus, and then maybe some potentiation before I swim. Mid-season, I’d probably focus more on doing something with my legs, especially in the peroneals and anterior tibialis to get my toes and sub-talar joint control working again. But since I’ll take at least a week off of running and cycling, I’ll just wait to use the Compex as normal and as needed once I start back up there.

I’m sure that as I unwind from the race, sore spots will crop up – like in my neck from lugging the bike box and suitcase on a beat-up body – and I can just get some relief with massage or recovery plus modes, again with super low current.

And, at least for this time of year, it’s also good to use the Compex to get your abdominals working after you stretch your gut out to 5X its normal size at Thanksgiving!”

Photo Courtesy of: Kerry Yndestad
Compex athlete Jordan Rapp. Photo Courtesy of: Kerry Yndestad

Compex triathlete Timothy O’Donnell, who placed 5th, talks about how he speeds up his post-race IRONMAN Arizona recovery with the Compex Active Recovery program.

“Recovering from an Ironman is never quick or easy, especially IM Arizona where the concrete run course take a huge toll on your legs.  I rely heavily on my Compex post to get me moving and speed up my recovery.  The active recovery program is my go to for my calves and to increase blood flow across my IT band and quads I rely on Recovery Plus Program. Thanks Compex!”

About Compex:

Compex is the Neuromuscular Electrical Muscle Stimulation (NMES) device of choice for athletes, coaches and trainers around the world.  Pioneering electrotherapy techniques through extensive research and innovation spanning the last three decades, Compex’s flagship “Muscle Stim” devices are used to improve physical performance, speed recovery in preparation for the next performance, and for rehabilitating the muscle for peak performance.

Compex enables athletes to safely customize their training, exercise more muscle fibers in less time, and recover faster. The result is a more efficient workout with less risk of injury and virtually no cardiovascular fatigue.  Learn more at www.ShopCompex.com

Compex sponsored athlete Mirinda Carfrae wins Ironman Hawaii for a 3rd time

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Compex, the leader in electric muscle stimulation devices, is proud to announce that its sponsored athlete, Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae, 33, has won the 2014 Ironman World Championship title in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. On October 11, more than 2,100 high performance athletes began the grueling course, which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile marathon run. The Ironman World Championship in Kona is known to be the most physically demanding, single day sporting event and the choppy water conditions, extremely windy bike ride, and hot and humid run made for an even more arduous experience.

Carfrae, an Australian native known for her exceptional marathon times, blew past Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf four miles before the finish line winning her second straight and third overall world title. During the 2013 Ironman World Championship, Carfrae set the women’s record for the run portion at 2:50:38. This year, she finished the 140 mile race in 9:00:55, with a 2:50:26 marathon time, making her the fourth woman in history to have won the Ironman Hawaii three times or more. She joins Paula Newby-Fraser, Natascha Badmann and Chrissie Wellington in this highly elite group.

Rinny says that crossing the finish line in Kona and defending her 2013 title was a dream. “When I started the run, I knew I had to dig and hope for the best,” she says. “I am so thrilled about the day and how it ultimately unfolded. Now it’s time to celebrate and recover!” In addition to celebrating her victory in Kona, she says she’ll be using her Compex muscle stimulator as she travels home.

Carfrae has competed in the Ironman six times and has received podium positions each time (with three gold, two silver and one bronze medal). She began competing at the age of 19 and has since dominated in marathon and half Ironman competitions.

World Champion Triathlete Timothy O’Donnell credits Compex muscle stimulation for recovery during training

Training for a triathlon is no easy feat and there are many elements that come into play when you’re working to become the best athlete possible. World champ triathlete, Timothy O’Donnell recently spoke to Outside Magazine about how he prepares for these strenuous races and credits Compex’s portable electrical stimulation machines during training.

“I have a lot of calf issues,” O’Donnell says in the magazine article. “When they get tight, I hook up the machine and it sends electrical pulses into the muscles.”

Triathlons require stamina and endurance leading up to and during the race so it’s important to maintain strength and health. The Electro Muscle Stimulation maximizes your muscle recovery so you can realize all of your fitness goals. It also flushes lactic acid by increasing blood flow to fight against the sensation of heavy legs, keeping you on top of your game. Compex recovery products also help to stimulate your endorphins to deliver pain relief, further relax muscles and even reduce anxiety.

O’Donnell will be competing in the Ironman Kona October 11on a 140.6 mile journey and we wish him all the luck. For the full article, click here.

Score Big this Football Season with Compex

CompexFootball

Whether you’re a football player or a football fan, the season is just about to start. Excitement is already building as the first pre-season games take place and Fantasy leagues are readying to pick their teams. American football is arguably one the most intense, full contact sports out there. Because of the aggressive nature of the game, being in peak physical condition is not only a benefit but also a necessity. If you’re not on the top of your game, someone else will be.

Training and conditioning are not only key for performance but also injury prevention. A full contact sport like football wracks up a number of injuries.  According to the San Francisco Spine Institute, up to 1.5 million men participate in football each year. In addition, there are an estimated 1.2 million football-related injuries per year. Injuries range from minor like sprains to severe like concussions, spinal injuries and broken bones.

So how do you keep your edge while extending your career? By building strength and allowing yourself proper recovery. Compex muscle stimulators can help you do both…and more. Adding Compex to your training program can help you up your game significantly.

Building Strength

Football requires a tremendous amount of strength, regardless of position. For example, if you’re a linebacker, you need to be ready to inflict and withstand hard hits. If you’re a quarterback or a receiver, you need to be able to handle being tackled or break through clusters of players to make a play. Most players look to lifting as a way to build muscle strength. However, when you lift, no matter the weight, there is only so much muscle you can recruit, usually around 30%. By using Compex, you can not only recruit more muscle, but target underutilized muscles as well. Compex mimics the signals your brain sends to your muscles to make them contract, but this allows you target exactly which muscles you want to strengthen. Compex can be used in addition to lifting, instead of lifting or even while you lift to build strength while reducing impact. Since Compex allows you to recruit more muscle to lift, you do not have to lift more weight, reducing the strain on joints and connective tissue.

Increased Muscle Contraction Speed

If you need jump to catch a pass or take off down the field, you need to be able to go in a split second. The faster your muscles contract, the faster your legs are propelled in the direction you want to go. Compex can help increase the speed of muscle contraction, making quick movements even faster. It does this by training your muscles to fire a certain way; the more your muscles do it, the faster they will do it. If you’re a running back or a receiver, this can make a difference in your ability to sprint down the sidelines, maneuver around the defense or catch a pass in the air while under pressure.

Recovery

Recovery is a critical part of a training program. After beating your muscles down, they need time to rebuild. Compex helps you recover by increasing blood flow to your muscles. Increasing blood flow removes waste products that build up from intense physical activity like lactic acid or debris from muscle fibers. With those obstructions removed, fresh blood is moved in to help your muscles heal. Compex can increase that blood flow up to 600% helping speed your recovery time and getting you back on the field faster. In addition, using Compex releases endorphins, making you feel good while your body recovers.

Check out our recommended training program:

compex football training program

 

Compex Recovery Series: Plantar Fasciitis

FootPain

If you feel a sharp pain in your heel when you take your first steps in the morning, you might have a condition called plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is one the most common causes of heel plain and approximately 2 million patients are treated for it every year.

Plantar fasciitis is caused when the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed. The plantar fascia connects your heel bone to your toes and is designed to act like as a shock absorber, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension on it becomes too great, small tears can occur in the fascia. Plantar fasciitis is often common in runners and people who are on their feet for extended periods of time.

If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, you’ll notice a stabbing pain after you get out of bed in the morning and begin walking. The pain may subside once you walk around a bit and your foot loosens up, but it may return standing or getting after sitting down for a while or when you go up stairs. If your are experiencing foot pain at night, you may have a different problem. Consult with your doctor as you may have arthritis or tarsal tunnel syndrome, not plantar fasciitis.

There are several additional factors that may increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis. This condition is most common between the ages of 40 and 60. In addition to runners, risk is increased for dancers, particularly ballet dancers because dance can increases stress on the heel and attached tissue. Dancers may also have high arches, another factor. If your job requires you to be on your feet all day, your risk of plantar fasciitis increases as well.

TREATMENT

Despite it being a painful condition, most people recover from who plantar fasciitis recover in just a few months with treatment. First and foremost, resting and getting off your feet for a while is recommending. The following can also help soothe the symptoms and prevent plantar fasciitis in the future.

Medications

Taking ibuprofen or naproxen, common pain relievers, may ease pain and reduce inflammation.

Stretches

Just like with your Achilles tendon, stretching out your calf muscles can help to reduce the stress on your fascia by allowing more flexibility in your foot.

  • Calf stretch
    • Try leaning forward against a wall with one knee straight and the heel on the ground. Then place the other leg in front, with the knee bent. Push your hips toward the wall in a controlled fashion and old the position for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat this exercise 20 times for each foot. You should feel a strong pull in the calf during this stretch.
  • Plantar fascia stretch
    • Sit down and cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grab the toes of your painful foot and slowly pull them toward you in a controlled fashion. If you cannot reach your foot, wrap a towel around your big toe to help pull your toes toward you. Place your other hand along the bottom of our foot. The fascia should feel like a tight band when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds then release. Repeat it multiple times per foot. For best results, try this exercise in the morning before standing or walking.

Night splints

Just like with the exercises listed above, a split may help stretch your calf and the arch of you foot. Night splints do this for you while you sleep by holding the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight that helps them stretch out.

Supportive Shoes and Orthotics

Supportive inserts like heel cups or custom arch supports can help reduce pain by increasing foot support and distributing your weight more evenly. Also, wearing worn out running shoes actually increases your risk of plantar fasciitis as well as aggravates it so make sure you are wearing shoes with proper fit and support.

Electric Muscle Stimulation

Using an electric muscle stimulator Compex can also help you recover from plantar fasciitis by breaking up adhesions without impact. Here is how to use your Compex unit to help with recovery:

compex-plantar-fasciitis-recovery

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/basics/definition/con-20025664

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/plantar-fasciitis-topic-overview

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00149

Reach Your CrossFit Goals with Compex

CrossFitJump

Whether you’re a die-hard or more of an enthusiast, CrossFit is not for the faint of heart. Intensity is the name of the game and the goal is to push your body as far as it can go; you’d be surprised at what you’re capable of!

With any intense workout program, proper form, training and conditioning is crucial to achieving results and preventing injury. First and foremost, make sure your CrossFit program, gym, and coach are the right fit for you.

Once you’ve solidified a good workout / rest routine and dialed in your diet it might be time to consider taking your training to the next level with Compex electric muscle stimulator. Compex is not only designed to help you recover, but also to build strength; strength you can use to lift more, to jump higher and to exceed your fitness goals.

If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. Here is how Compex can help you with CrossFit.

Recruiting More Muscle

Compex can help you to build strength by recruiting more muscle but how? What does that mean exactly?

Say you are looking to increase the amount of weight you can lift. To be able to lift more weight, you need to train your body to recruit more muscle to the task. By lifting progressively more weight in the same motion, you more develop pathways from your brain to recruit more muscle, which is essentially what building strength is. This takes time and even at your fittest, you’re probably only recruiting around 30% of the muscle.

With Compex, you can recruit more muscle because the stimulation is direct and does not involve weight increases. The device works as the signals telling your muscles to fire instead of your brain. Targeting of these muscles is also easier because you are placing the pads over the muscles you want to contract. This is also helpful for underutilized muscle groups like gluteals that are important for strength but not as easy to build.

You can either use Compex to build strength instead of weight training, in addition to your weight training program or while you lift.

Lifting with Compex muscle stim can help you build more strength by firing more muscle while you’re lifting, thus allowing you to lift more weight. If you’re working on your deadlifts or clean and jerks, this can help you reach new weight goals.

Reducing Impact

Typically, in order to build strength, you need to lift more weight. However, this can lead to soreness and recovery time, pressure on joints and connective tissue, and possible injury. Compex muscle stim can help you work passed some of those hang ups and still increase your strength.

Using Compex muscle stim while you are training helps you have more muscle contraction without adding more weight. This reduces the impact on joints without sacrificing performance. Because of the impact reduction, this can also lead to a shorter recovery time. Get the most from simple bodyweight exercises or make your lifting sessions count more.

Balance

We all have a stronger side. When you are doing CrossFit, even if you are aware of which side is weaker, you body will still automatically compensate as soon as you lift, land or run. If you’re not balanced, there is risk of injury. If you have a weaker side, you’re not truly maximizing your strength.

Compex muscle stim has 4 different channels; that means you can hook the device up to both sides of the body at the same time. Use Compex to either strengthen a weaker side or to keep both sides of the body balanced while building strength.

Speed of Contraction

How fast your muscles contract is not crucial, but it is important for quick movements like clean pulls or jumping. Training your muscle to fire a certain way every time is the best way to increase the speed of contraction. Practice makes perfect and the same is true for your muscles; the more times they fire a certain way, the faster they’ll do it.

For example, when you jump, your leg muscles need to fire right away in order to send your body upwards. Jumping repeatedly to increase your jump or using weights can have a negative impact on your knees, feet or ankles before you reach your goals. However, training with Compex muscle stim allows you to train those muscles to fire how you want and as fast as you want.

Early this year, we told you about how volleyball player Brandon Talbot used Compex to increase his vertical leap and potentially break three world records. Talbot didn’t want to use weights so he chose electric muscle stimulation to increase his explosive strength. By doing so, he increased his jump using just Compex and ultimately was able to leap onto a 61’’ platform from the ground.

Recovery

As important as training is to reaching your fitness goals, so is giving your body time to recover. When you’re in the zone, it might be hard to a take a day or two off to rest your muscles but Compex can aid in recovery and help you get back on the floor faster.

Using an electric muscle stimulator like Compex helps increase blood flow up to 600%. This means you’re moving out waste products that build up from intense physical activity like lactic acid or debris from muscle fibers. This leaves more room for fresh blood to help your muscles heal.

Foam rolling is a great way to break up adhesions that can cause muscle pain and soreness. However, foam rolling is a very mechanical process where you physically roll out your muscles like you would with a rolling pin and dough. While this is very effective, it can be painful. Using the Active Recovery program helps break up some of the adhesions, but it only targets the muscle, not any connective tissue, making it less painful. At the same time, it helps to release endorphins, making you feel better and want to get back out there.

Got questions or want to tell us about how Compex has upped your CrossFit game? Talk to us on @CompexCoach on Twitter.