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Gift Ideas for an Ultimate Holiday

December 12, 2009

Tis the season to get e-mails with gift ideas (like UPA’s most recent eNews) and see blog posts with shopping guides a plenty, such as this one from Squat Rx. Here are a few holiday gift ideas for the Ultimate trainee in your life =)

1) the Valslide!

Invented by trainer Valerie Waters, these neat little sliders (gear review here) can “effectively double your lower-body repertoire”, as Alwyn Cosgrove puts it.

A portable version of the slideboard, valslides let you ease-in and ease-out of compass lunges in any direction–reverse, lateral, anterior 45, with minimal jarring stress on your joints. Sure, single leg squats (whether RFESS or Russian Pistol-style) will make you strong, but it’s more likely that the Ultimate trainees in your life want to develop some strength-endurance in their legs, grease the lunging groove, and get a little cardio and anterior core training in on the side.

Holiday priced at 27.95 USD at PerformBetter.com. So go and “work your tush” =)

Next up…

2) the TP (TriggerPoint Performance) Quadballer

Sure, you can always start doing anterior core progressions on furniture sliders and soft tissue “therapy” on a PVC pipe, but if you’ve already worn out your gym’s foam roller and carry around a TigerTail with you at all times, you might want to check out this little device from tptherapy.com. Designed to feel more like the hand of a human masseur/masseuse, the Quadballer is an easy-to-carry way of releasing those tricky lil trigger point buggers.

I’ve been testing out the Quadballer for some weeks now, as passive soft tissue therapy before I do active joint mobility work, and it’s particularly nice to release tension in the soleus (which people tend to forget, focusing instead on the larger gastroc above it). tptherapy.com also carries a massage ball which is harder than a tennis ball but harder than a lacrosse ball, for piriformis / upper-body work.

You can get this through store.tptherapy.com or at a specialty running store dealer near you.

Finally, we have…

3) S-Phase, The Complete Athlete from Z-Health Performance Systems

I’ve talked about some S-phase concepts before (bone rhythm) and you may have seen mc’s review of this 2-DVD set, but I’ll mention it more explicitly right now. The S-phase DVD covers basic athletic transitional movements as a skill, from linear acceleration to hip turns, from rotational steps to the so-called plyo step.

In theory you should work with a Z-certified trainer in your area who has taken the 4-day S-phase course as well as the 6+4 day R- and I- course prerequisites, and/or have a solid mobility grounding first in both R-Phase and I-Phase, but in practice it’s hard to see why it’s worth investing in ankle and t-spine mobility when all you do is want to hit the ground running. In cleats.

That said, while I applaud the rise of Ultimate sports coaches, most of us have never been taught to accelerate, sprint, stop, or turn “properly” with good biomechanics, nor do we practice these movements in a way that honors them and yet unpacks them joint-by-joint for maximal efficiency and minimal strain. Z-Health is a performance system that begins with joint mobility and ends with optimal athletic performance, and S-phase at least gives you a peek of that.

You can pick up S-phase from the Z-health web store.

Other gift ideas:

Cheers!

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