Monday, July 29, 2013

Wobble Wobble

After reading John's post on how a wobble board helped improve his technique on skate skis, I decided to pick up the same board he bought. It is a high-end product by Fitter First, very well constructed.  The fulcrum has three height settings, the lowest being the easiest. You can also use it on hard or carpeted surfaces, with padded carpeting being the easiest. I've had it several days now.

So how do I fare? Abysmally. I think the longest I've gone without dabbing is 12 seconds. And that is on the lowest setting on plush carpet. No wonder I squander my kilojoules on skis. I can't balance for shit. Here's a little snippet where I made it about six seconds.

Fitter First Wobble Board from D. Jansen on Vimeo.

Spending five minutes on the thing split between two legs leaves my ankles feeling a little achy. I have much work to do. Ironically, I seem to be more stable on my left ankle, the one I fractured, which is also the one I have most trouble gliding on when skiing. None of this makes sense.

I've tried to use the wobble board on a hard surface. The result is comical. Extreme over-corrections. No damping that carpet provides. John talks about moving medicine ball around or doing squats while balancing. I'm so far away from that. No wonder he's winning Weston Tuesday night sprint races and I flail away on the typical crud conditions there. It's all about balance.

Hopefully I can squeeze several minutes at a time each day on the board. It shouldn't take away at all from running or cycling. It is more about neuronal training than anything else.


Rob Hult said...

Good stuff. An old ski coach of mine (DH) used to say you need to practice being out of balance everyday to get good. It also helps with mtb. Even 60 seconds per day helps your balance.

btw, you can do this by doing stupid things like walking over logs across a river or balancing on a 2x4.

I have an old balance board that we used to use, sometimes with deadly results, hahaha

The Slow Cyclist said...

Hill Junkie,
I posted some info on your blog 1 year or so ago regarding caffeine and possible links to osteopenia. I ran across some additional info on osteopenia related to blood PH I thought you should be aware of on your quest to improve your bone health. Here is a quick summary:
-Your body is constantly trying to lock your blood pH in at 7.4 and has an elaborate set of systems to maintain this
-As cyclists we engaged in a highly “acidic” activities of things like doing interval that release lactic acid into our bloodstream for which the body has to compensate with alkaline sources
-Our diet drives our blood acidity/alkaline levels as well:
-Vegetables and fruits are generally alkaline
-Vegetable proteins also alkaline
-Meat proteins- acidic
-Whole grains (but wheat in particular) are highly acidic. Wheat specifically contains more sulfuric acid than a gram of meat.
-Wheat actually accounts for 38% of avg. Americans acid intake
-Studies show that increased gluten intake (from wheat) can cause a 60%+ increase in urinary calcium loss
Long story short, the modern form of wheat that we ingest is highly acidic and contains exaggerated proportions of gluten which spawns calcium urinary loss. A gluten free diet might be worth considering. Additionally altering your protein intake from meat to vegetable form may provide additional benefits. Recent studies showed bumping your vegetable to meat protein intake from 1:1 to 2:1 or 5:1 will reduce your chance of hip fractures by 95%.
I got all this data from “Wheat Belly” which I am reading b/c I recently went gluten free for different reasons. The thesis of the book is wheat has been so genetically modified in the last 50 years that it isn’t genetically close to what our healthier ancestors ate and it is causing chronic health havoc on all those who consume. After I quit a lot of things starting working that hadn’t in years. I thought this might interest you as well.

Caffeine Bob

dkpisko said...

I have a Wobble Board that I purchased years ago to help me with an ankle injury. Keep at it! It has helped me tremendously across the board on many sports, but probably the most in ice hockey. I can basically do anything I want on it at this point, including stand on it for an entire company conference call, alternating legs.

Hill Junkie said...

Caffeine Bob - Interesting you bring this up again. I was just discussing with my wife going on a gluten free experiment as soon as we ran out of gluten based items in our pantry, but more for anti-inflammatory reasons than bone health. There's no doubt I eat a pretty acidifying diet. The deal is, I can't tell if my bones benefit from a dietary change or not. Natural changes would take years to measure. I've read up quite a bit on this whole alkaline diet thing, and it seems there isn't much hard science to back up the claims, just anecdotal stories. An alkaline diet would tend to reduce foods that can trigger inflammation. My wife has RA and avoids many foods. My knees get cranky every now and then. I looked at things I could change that might influence joint health, and diet is certainly one of them. It won't be easy. My Dutch heritage has always been heavy on meat and dairy. I may have to pick up a copy of the book.

The Slow Cyclist said...

Wheat Belly is chocked full of clinical studies, case studies and stats. The author is a fairly data driven cardiologist. I found much of it compelling but you will have to decide for yourself.

It takes 3 genes to have celiac but 1/3 of us have 1 or more of those genes and are prone to some sort of issues. Given that wheat we consume has tripled the amount of gluten through the wonders of hybridization it is no wonder more of that 1/3 are starting to have chronic symptoms not present 15 or 30 years ago.

Let me save you some time on how to fuel if you take the plunge, go to Trader Joes or Whole Foods and buy the following:

Where to get carbs:
-Brown rice pasta (not corn based)
-Udi's sandwich bread toasted (not whole grain, trust me)
-Udi's bagels also tasty carb fix
-On the bike- Lara Bars (I prefer cherry pie) and gels (most are clean, I use GU)

Breakfast- Corn Chex or this very tasty GF granola that TJ sells in plastic zip lock bags in their cereal aisle.

Good luck.

The Slow Cyclist said...


He has a couple of sections on joint pain and inflammation. I didn't dwell on them but recall that his patients saw results quickly.

Hill Junkie said...

I was in TJ's the other day scoping out the gluten free stuff. Just like with organic, they have free license with price. Pretty crazy, probably 8x what I pay for whole grain bread at the Country Kitchen factory store.

One thing I don't understand is the fanaticism behind gluten free. I do get it for celiacs, but not for everybody else. If we peacefully ingested gluten in moderation for millenia, why then do we have to go to ZERO to be healthy? Wouldn't a low-gluten diet, say pre-1900's level, be sufficient?

The Slow Cyclist said...

Logical argument if you assume old gluten = new gluten, however, that is not the case. In one recent wheat hybridization 14 new genes appeared in the gluten of the new wheat strain that were not present in either of the parents. Wheat hybridization has literally undergone thousands of hybridizations in the last 50 years.

He does a clinical study in the book from a wheat strain an archeologist discovered recently in Israel that had basically gone untouched in the last 500 years vs. store bought wheat. 1 slice of each and measures the glycemic index (GI) on blood of patients of each. The wheat slice GI is greater than that of a snickers bar and straight table sugar. The old wheat bread resembled eating a vegetable in it's effect.

We have basically created a alien life form with a genetic structure previously unknown to man.