Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Craggy Island 2 !

Last night saw the 'Better Bouldering' team on the Craggy Island crash mats for our final data collection session. We had a fantastic time and I was especially pleased as we now have 19 full sets of climbs, stretches and results!

I would like to thank everyone involved; it was great to work with you all and I look forward to reporting back in the near future with how it's all going. The dissertaion will be handed in on July 15th 2012 and I have a final presentation on October 5th 2012, but I am hoping to publish a paper on the findings through Craggy Island and Cornerstone Therapies in the summer. I'll keep you posted with news on the blog though, so do check up here as well through out the next 9 months.

Last night was centred around stretch. The week before we asked our climbers to climb a route twice so that they could learn the route, which meant that last night we could go back and see how they performed before and after the stretching sessions without having to factor in the route learning to such a high degree.

Lesley Don and I were stretching the Latisimus Dorsi, Trapezius and Pectoral muscles by use of either Assisted Active Isolated Stretches (AIS) or Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretches. The stretches were carried out in a very methodical approach so that I know each person was stretched in the same way. If we had given everyone differing treatments the results would not have shown anything comparable.

I have had a look at the videos that Robin took last night and we have 8 fantastic before and after clips. They are not available to anyone, but for me they are a clear way of viewing the effects of the stretching. The data that was recorded, both objectively and subjectively, are great as well which means that I can now enjoy the winter months going through some solid figures!

What I'm loving in the Treatment Room today:

I'm looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow :) . It's been great to have 7 days to study and get my head in some books, but I am realizing more and more that the place I love to be most is working in the treatment room looking after you all! Never fear; I am not going to run to a life of academia as I think I would go nuts. You guys are far more interesting!!

Music of the day:

I'm listening to our hens, Masie and Savvy, clucking away downstairs. I'm just off to give them so attention and some corn. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Confessions Of A Student

This is time for me to come clean; Thursdays are my day off for study. That basically means that instead finding me in my treatment room at 8:30am putting the hot stones on, making sure the linen has been freshly laid and getting the treatment notebooks in order for the day, I am in bed! I have a fresh cup of coffee next to me, my knees propped up on a pillow and the choice of either the 'Waitrose Weekend' Mag or an essay by a fellow student to read through on groin strains …..

The Waitrose Weekend mag is a personal favourite to flit through. It covers all you really need to know for a long weekend; which hotel to jet off to in Spain for a couple of nights, which wine to put with your Homely Pie and how to up-date your makeup in 10 easy steps (!) whilst reading the must have book of the week. I love it!

You will normally find me pouring over the “Living” section as it has about as much celebrity gossip as I can handle, (which is two paragraphs), and that sets me up for the next seven days. This week I definitely recommend it to you as on page 10 there is the best news ever …. the Plastic Pact!

The Plastic Pact has been taken by Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Rachel Weisz and they have said that they will not have plastic surgery as it sets a bad example. Emma Thompson has been reported to say: “We're in this awful youth driven thing where everybody needs to look 30 at 60”.

There could have been no better news at 8:30 this morning than reading that; in an age where you are considered past it if you are over the age of 25, it's about time someone stood up and said 'No!'.

So I shall sit here and now get my head around groin strains as my mood has certainly been up lifted for the day.

Waitrose Weekend is available for free at the check-out points at your local Waitrose store. 

What I'm loving in the Treatment Room today:

I'm meeting Lesley, my study partner and great friend today to go through the stretch routines for Craggy Island on Tuesday so we know how to look after all the climbers who have helped us out so much. So today the treatment room is resting so that it can embrace tomorrow with a fresh face.

Music of the day: Jakob Dylan, the son of Bob, is singing about 'Women and Counrty' as I type this out in bed :) . 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Craggy Island 1 !

Last night, Cornerstone Therapies hit the mats at Craggy Island in Guildford, Surrey! Along with my brave band of helpers; David (my one and only), Fenwick and Robin (2 of my bros), Anna (my climbing partner), and Edd (great friend and all round good egg), I asked 24 climbers who are interested in bouldering to help collect data for my dissertation.

It was great fun to be part of such a fantastic team, and that includes all of the people who climbed; you all did great and I thank you all! Also, thank you also to the Craggy team, including Rob and Ben; it was very kind of you all to let us in. 

Over 3 hours we managed to record 24 climbers climbing at the top of their ability twice, and this is why....

Over the next 9 months I will be looking at the data we collected last night and next Tuesday to see if resisted stretching (known as MET or PNF stretching) or Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) helps the performance of amateur Boulderers. My dissertation has a fancy long winded title, but that is the essence of it.

For those of you who are new to climbing, the art of 'Sport Bouldering' is to sit on the edge of a crash mat and then, by using handholds that have been drilled into a wall, climb a selected route to the top of the wall and then come back down. The climber has to start from a seated position and both hands have to touch the top hand hold before the climb is considered complete.

Bouldering is very different to Sport Climbing, not just because there are no ropes involved, but the climber has to use very explosive short twitch fibres within the muscles to perform the moves to get to the top.

For Bouldering the climbs are about 15 to 30 seconds long and so the muscles use an anaerobic method of contracting; meaning that within the 'Krebs Cycle' they don't use oxygen. Short twitch fibres in the muscles allow this method of movement and they are perfect for short explosive moves. Because of this my hypothesis is that short forms of stretching will help the performance of the climb.

Sport Climbers use ropes and as the routes are longer, (anything from a couple of minutes on a sport wall to a whole day on a mountain),they use long twitch fibres to allow them to climb over a longer period of time. This requires the muscles to use oxygen, and so the chemical balance in their body is a lot different to those bouldering.

Personally I would love to compare the two disciplines and see the way they can use stretching effectively to achieve different goals, i.e. Long yogic stretching for the sport climbers and the shorter stretching for the boulderers. But I think that may be a PhD … maybe in a few years time!

Anyway, last night we got the base data completed, which means that I got a lot of information about the route learning all the climbers went through, so next week we can see them climb once more, then stretch all the climbers, and ask them to climb again. Hopefully we will see differences that I can ponder over!

If you fancy popping down to see us in action at Craggy Island, it would be great to meet you! We'll be there next Tuesday between 6:30 and 9:30pm and we'll be in the fetching t-shirts you can see in the photos.

What I'm loving in the Treatment Room today:

Dreamy Lavender Foaming Bath; it was great last night to sink into after the climbing event.

Music of the day:

I haven't got round to that today; I'm still waking up! 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Hitting the Mattresses

It's now only 5 days until Cornerstone Therapies hits the Bouldering area at Craggy Island in Guildford!

Over the evenings of Tuesday 11th and 18th of October, I am taking 6 brave helpers to Craggy Island so that we can look into how stretching helps Bouldering performance. It is going to be great fun over the 2 weeks and I am hoping to seeing as many of you who can make it down there.

On Tuesday 11th we need to recruit 25 Boulderers who will commit to climb 2 bouldering routes that evening and then come back the following week to climb their chosen route twice more, but in between the last climbs they receive a stretching treatment with myself of Lesley Don.

We are asking these intrepid climbers to fill in a very simple questionnaire and my helpers are making sure all the climbs are recorded fully with video as well as writing down timings and completion levels.

Ben, the centre manager at Craggy has been amazingly helpful and very generous with by allowing us to invade the mats for two week day evenings; a big thank you goes to him and his team!

So, you may be asking “What is Jenny up to this time?”.

The answer is simple; I am looking at how two different styles of stretching help (or not) the performance of amateur bouldering for my dissertation. The climbing events are giving me the data I need to analyse over the next 6 months as I can then write up my conclusions.

The hand in date for the dissertation is July 15th with my final presentation on October 4th, so I have less than a year to go before I finish … wow …

I hope a load of you can get down to Craggy on Tuesday 11th and 18th and help me with getting some very nerdy, exciting and fun data!

I look forward to seeing you there. 

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