Saturday, August 31, 2013

How to Test Your Present Level of Fitness Bleep Test

The Bleep Fitness Test
There is Good Reason it is called Bleep

The Bleep Fitness Test (BFT) is a great fitness app for measuring your present level of fitness. This is a field test that is commonly used for Fitness Testing the Soccer Athlete. I have also used for fitness testing basketball players.  It is a great test to see how fit you are, providing a fitness index of aerobic capacity (VO2). It also provides a qualification of good, excellent, essentially how you measure up to others.

The Bleep Fitness Test is also commonly referred to as the Beep Test. The Test is can be continuous or discontinuous. The BFT is a continuous test performed on a soccer/football/basketball field or court within 2 cones set 20-meters apart. The App used here can be downloaded onto you phone. The test protocol is essentially progressive speeds of running up and back between the two cones. The speed progressively increases, and the individual must keep pace. There is an audible sound that lets you know if you are keeping pace. When you are no longer able to keep pace the test is terminated. Your test results are displayed and saved for future reference.

The Bleep Fitness Test Application: Google Play

Bleep Test Free: Apple

The discontinuous test is the Intermittent Recovery Test. This test has a walk-around zone of 5-meters that is performed after the up and back phase of the 20-meter run. This test is not used in establishing your aerobic fitness. The Intermittent Recovery Test (Yo-Yo Test) has been used by US Soccer, and is the test I commonly used when field testing the soccer athlete.

The Nature of the BFT is a Gut Check to Measure your Fitness Level. This will establish your baseline that can be measured at a future date. Establishing this index of fitness is an essential component to purposeful fitness and sports conditioning. If you do not know your physical conditioning level prior to your sport season you do not have an honest picture what conditioning goals to set, or training protocol to follow.

There are  only two people that have completed the full 21 levels of the Bleep Test, and they are Beckham and Armstrong. Do not expect to even come near this level unless you are a highly conditioned athlete. 

Give the Bleep Fitness Test a try. Let me know how you performed, and if you have any questions on the test protocol or on How to Boost Your Training Level. There are more Fitness Testing Protocols that I will share with you in the future. Until then, Get Bleeping Fit.

Recommended Reading and Resources

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How SmartBells Work For Physical Therapy

How SmartBells Work for Physical Therapy

I was introduced to SmartBells over 5 years ago in my Physical Therapy practice, Bauer Physical Therapy. In no time was hooked by the innovative and genius design, and began to understand how I could use the SmartBell, not only with my Physical Therapy clients, but also for specialized fitness and sports conditioning programs, and work conditioning.

In my practice I have developed functional routines for a variety of rehabilitation implementation. This has included teaching body mechanics of lifting, postural re-education, and upper and lower core conditioning for baseball players. The design of the SmartBell allows for a variety of functional grasping techniques. This instills ergonomic gripping unlike the conventional use of bars and dumbbell.

The SmartBell also is sturdy, making it literally unbreakable. Place it on the floor and it becomes a platform for push-ups, plank rows, and even standing to promote balance. In the manner of upper extremity weight-bearing the wrist is assumes a more neutral position, unlike the standard push up posture where the position of the wrist is more extended.

The SmartBell can be used with a bilateral grasp, or you can grasp two SmartBells in the middle portion. This allows for bilateral symmetrical and asymmetrical exercises (bent-over flies, alternating flies). This functional emphasis provides for a variety of movement patterns. Developing protocols to meet the demands of your clients, or your own fitness needs are only limited by your own innovations.

You can visit ThinkFit if you are interested in purchasing your own SmartBells. If you have questions regarding the use in your own setting or fitness program do not hesitate to comment below, and I will be glad to answer your questions or comments. If you choose to purchase a SmartBell at ThinkFit use the coupon code: RBPT on check out and you will be provided a 10% discount on purchase.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Start Lean Fitness

Start Lean Fitness

Start = The intention to begin. Come into being.

Lean = Trim the excess, make do with what You have for the journey. The quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task to rely for support or inspiration. Thin in a Healthy way.

Fitness = The condition of being physically sound and healthy, especially as the result of exercise and proper nutrition.

The first step to any change process is the decision to “Start-Up” in the first place. A lawn mower does not start until we pull the cord. That is the first and most important step, start your engine. Once this is accomplished you are on your way, as long as there is fuel in the tank, a general plan or direction, an appreciation to learn from yourself and others, and a trust in the path that You have chosen. The return on investment  is your own Well-Being.

    Consider Start Lean Fitness the act of taking yourself from where you are now to where you would like to be. Consider that being able to lean on someone for help and support will help in overcoming obstacles. Now ask your self a few questions:

    • “What do I want to become?”
    • “What do I want to be able to do, that I am having difficulty, or unable to do now?”
    • Who am I beginning to rely upon now, more and more, due to my present physical state, or disability?”
    • What is that image that I want to keep in my head of that person I want to be?”

    Complete the Form Below and Commit Yourself to Change

    Initial 30-minute consultation is complimentary upon completing the questionnaire.

    Complete Form, Type in Text below Form, and Submit Email

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    Sunday, August 18, 2013

    How to Recover and Thrive Post Joint Replacement

    How to Recover and Thrive Post Joint Replacement

    How to recover and thrive post joint replacement is not different than an athlete returning to play after sustaining an injury. This athlete is faced with a change of activity level, loss of normal play, and the trial of post-operative care in the form of physical therapy, and compliance to a medical treatment plan. The progression of return to activity following Joint Replacement Surgery (JRS) requires the same preparation, focus, discipline, compliance and patience as athlete. It Takes a Positive Mindset.

    Baby boomers in 2013 are of at the age of 49-67. This is the age when we, yes I am a Baby Boomer, are experiencing health effects of aging. Arthritis and degenerative joint changes are a leading health condition reported by this group. The fact is that young people are requiring joint replacement surgery due to advanced degenerative joint disease. The other fact is that our older population, while aging, is maintaining an active lifestyle by traveling, participating in sports and work activities, and participate in an active social life. Joint replacement is often elected as a treatment of joint to manage pain and decline of functional ability. The ultimate goal is to thrive in our aging years.

    Hip and Knee Joint Replacement by Doc Mike Evans

    Preparation for Replacement

    The benefit of going into a JRS is you can prepare for the event. Your surgery is elective, and you have the opportunity to prepare for a successful outcome. The pre-operative phase of JRS requires pre-habilitation. This phase is a preparatory phase that gets the body, and mind, prepared for, and ready to meet the demands of the surgery.

    It is much easier to learn how the knee is expected to move and what exercises you will be expected to perform on a daily basis after the surgery, if you prepare in a pre-operative state. This preparation must include increasing fitness - Randy Bauer, Bauer Physical Therapy

    It is also a time to address your exercise capacity and body weight. These two issues, body weight and fitness level, are important predictors of how you will recover from surgery and restore your physical capacity.

    Pickle Ball, Any Body

    Your engagement in activities such as golf, tennis and pickleball, swimming and walking are all possible post joint replacement. Keeping in mind the normal post-operative obstacles of pain, limited mobility and a decline in functional mobility and gait, the return to your desired activities and sports will not be easy, but definitely possible with hard work and compliance to your treatment plan.

    Thrive Post Joint Replacement Surgery

    Pain Management is an important phase of the post-operative course of treatment. Limiting pain post-operatively is important for achieving successful outcome following joint replacement.The surgery is an open procedure and requires some major work performed by the Orthopedist. Pain is to be expected. Following a pain management program prescribed by the physician and instructions by your physical therapists are essential in getting through this phase. "Cold packs are your friend", I tell my clients. Cold packs are beneficial in reducing pain and inflammation. Due to the nature of the surgery swelling is expected, and cold packs are useful in reducing the swelling that causes pain and limitation of joint mobility.

    Tools: Polar Ice Standard Knee Wrap

    *Ice pack is best applied to hip with a standard ACE Wrap

    Balance & Strength

    Restoration of Joint Range of Motion will begin almost immediately post-operatively. There are protocols that are offered by your Orthopedist and Physical Therapist that are based on the exact procedure that was performed. Exercises will include passive range of motion with assistance of your PT and progressive assistive exercises that help in restoring your range of motion. The improvement of joint mobility must be given importance early in the recovery process. As your joint mobility improves so to does your circulation in the extremity. A great mode of restoring joint mobility is a stationary or recumbent bike. Initially the bike is used for range of motion alone. I find that normal mobility on a stationary bike is gained once you achieve >100 degrees of knee flexion. It is of particular emphasis to gain full knee flexion in the case of a Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA) early in the post-op course. This is aided by avoiding placement of a pillow under the knee. Instead, place the pillow under the foot allowing the knee to fully extend for multiple periods of duration through the day.

    Tools: Anti-Burst Gym Ball (55-75cm)

    Increased Strength and Endurance of the lower extremity muscles, and upper extremity muscles are introduced to improve the functional demands of increased daily activities. Strong upper extremity muscles come in handy when using gait aides (walkers, crutches and cane). As the lower extremity muscles are strengthened there is greater capacity to withstand weight bearing tolerance of the lower extremity. The use of a gait aide, such as a crutch, will allow for this normal return to weight bearing, and provides some strengthening effect. Strengthening the muscles to perform normal activity will include open chain exercises(Example: Straight Leg Lifts) and progress to Closed Chain Exercises (Example: Step ups and short squats). This will carry over to improved ability to negotiate steps and stairs at home, as well as increasing your walking duration. An excellent mode of exercise post-JRS is a stationary bike. The stationary bike allows for range of motion, muscle endurance and progressive resistance to muscles for strengthening.


    Improved Balance and Proprioception is part of the post-operative course of any joint replacement surgery. The effects of surgery change the way you perceive motion and weight bearing sense in the joint. Gains in your balance and joint awareness are provided through core stabilization and protective activities that challenge you in an unsteady environment. It is important to restore these functions of balance to prevent the likelihood of falls in and out of the home. Improved balance will be of benefit as you return to your active life style; playing golf, gardening or household chores.


    Normal Gait begins with increasing your weight bearing tolerance post-operatively. Assistive devices such as walkers, crutches and cane are helpful at restoring your normal gait pattern, weight bearing and ambulating over varied terrain. Returning to full weight bearing with normal gait allows for greater function in all of your daily activities, as well as an active lifestyle, and this is of great importance to your total well-being. A normal goal of physical therapy is to walking 1-mile within two months post-op joint replacement without gait assistance.


    Functional Recovery and Training begins with basic daily activities. This includes getting out of bed, bathing and dressing. In essence, you are starting from scratch. Learning new strategies to do the basic of daily activities progresses quickly to more advanced activities. It is not long before you are practicing elements of your golf swing, side-stepping across the floor to mimic your favorite dance step, or to practice your moves on the court. Going into a JRS requires preparation, and understanding that it will not be easy and some patience and hard work will be required. Teamwork is required from medical professionals, physical therapists, and those that are close to you to help your along the way. Consider some of the tools that can be used to help regain your functional capacity, and before long, you will be thriving, and returning to play.

    Before engaging in any exercise and activity pre-operative or post-operative Total Joint Replacement it is advised that you consult with your Medical Specialist. The above activities can be used with the approval of your medical and rehabilitation specialist. 


    Multimodal Pain Management after Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty at the Ranawat Orthopaedic CenterAditya V. Maheshwari, MD, et al, Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2009 June; 467(6): 1418–1423.

    Monday, August 12, 2013

    The Genius of SmartBells for Fitness,Therapy and Training

    The SmartBell by ThinkFit is up to some new genius in the applications of resistive strengthening for the fitness, sports training and physical therapy industry. I was originally introduced to the SmartBell in 2007, and have been hooked by the simple and diverse application in my physical therapy office(Bauer Physical Therapy, Laguna Hills). In my practice of have used the SmartBell, a sculpted weight that provides fluid movement, and a variety of grip options, applying this to rehabilitation clients recovering from injury, and returning to activity; in the gym, at home or on the athletic field.

    The Genius Applications of SmartBells

    This weekend I attended the IDEA Fitness World Convention 2013 in Los Angeles and discussed with David Grove, President and CEO of ThinkFit, some of the new developments that are taking place with The SmartBell by ThinkFit.

    The big change is the ability to attach your smartphone to the front of the SmartBell. This will allow you to perform HIIT, listen to your mp3 player, or watch a video of SmartBell specific training videos. There is now a downloadable application to not only watch a video, but create an video. You will also be able to track your caloric expediture.

    You can visit ThinkFit and purchase your own SmartBell and begin to discover the creativity that exists when you place one, or two of these in your hand(s).

    SmartBells and ProBells

    SmartBell Lite (1.5-lb.)
    SmartBell (5 and 12-lbs)
    ProBell (ranges from 10 to 72-lbs.)

    If you choose to purchase online at use the Coupon Code: RBPT (10% off).

    When my staff was first introduced to the SmartBell I was immediately engaged its' versatility and application to the clients I served. I will use the SmartBell on a daily basis for:

    Physical Therapy

    Physical Therapy & SmartBells

    • Post-operative back and neck, and spine conditions
    • Post-operative knee patients(ACL reconstruction, Meniscal Repairs)
    • Ankle sprains and post-operative reconstruction
    • Balance, coordination and home exercise tool
    • Scapular dysfunction and shoulder disorders(rotator cuff repair

    Athletic and Sports Conditioning

    Sports Conditioning

    Fitness Programs


    Genius Design for Creative Program Design: SmartBell

    There are some fun and exciting group activities that add spirit and zen to the SmartBell Training.
    • Try choreographing music to your group routine.
    • Partnered dance and fitness routines.
    • Physical education and dance practice for endurance, flexibility and functional capacity.
    Pick your music to set the mood, or energy that you want to create during your individual, partnered, or group training session. Try Brent Lewis from his album Drum Sex

    If you have questions regarding the SmartBell, and would like to hear of my first hand applications of its' use in the fitness,sports conditioning and physical therapy setting please contact me through my google plus profile. +Randy Bauer . 
    You may also contact me to schedule specialized training for your staff and/or fitness trainers.

    Monday, August 5, 2013

    The Why and How Behind Your Squat

    The Why and How Behind Your Squat

    The Beauty of the Squat
    The squat exercise gets a bad rap in the medical community and blamed as a source of back and knee pain. When incorrect technique is used this may be the case. Youth athletes are engaging in squat regimens with little preparation, technique instruction, or with excessive weight. In this case, injury can be the cause of musculoskeletal injury. This may include vertebral body injury(spondylolisthesis or spondylolytic lesion) or soft tissue injury(muscular strain, disc tear, ligament sprain).

    The purpose of the Why and How Behind Your Squat is to provide understanding of safe squat principles that will:
    • reduce the risk of injury
    • improve your performance in sports and general daily function 
    • provide an overview of a squat preparation routine
    By understanding the Squat you will gain a greater appreciation of the Beauty of the Squat.

    Lift with Your Legs and Not Your Back

    From the time I was a kid I was instructed to "lift with my legs". It was my Dad that provided this biomechanical advice when performing some lifting chore around the house, or lifting weights in the garage. This advice I pass on to my clients in my physical therapy clinic (Bauer Physical Therapy, Laguna Hills), as poor lifting mechanics are not only important for the athletic, but is important for efficient lifting at work and home. The Squat Mechanic is essential for proper lifting whether this is a heavy object, sustaining a squat position, or just bending to pick a piece of paper from the floor. Squatting is an innate function of humans. Somewhere along our evolutionary path we have neglected our ability to squat correctly.

    A Few Reasons that May Explain the Lack of Squat

    • There is a decrease in the physical demands of our work.There is less required lifting and sustained bending in our work.
    • Our work and home postures demand more sitting. These postures are often associated with flexed back positioning.
    • Squatting is just not part of the social norm in western civilization. We do not spend time in sustained squat postures unless we are working in the yard, catching behind the plate, or possibly relieving yourself in the wild.

    Do You Know Squat?

    The performance of a squat is essential to normal daily function. We must squat to lift objects from the floor, squat to and from a low seated position, and well, if you are an infant you squat to play.
    The ability to squat, and do so with proper technique, must be taken seriously. Youngsters must be instructed in physical education classes on the proper technique of the squat. What good is it to test the ability to reach your toes. I can tell you that I am unable to reach my toes, but I do have decent squat technique. 

    The Capacity to Squat

    The inability to squat as we age is the sign of functional loss and dependency. As the body ages joint mobility and muscular strength decrease at a faster rate in those that that do not engage in moderate physical activity. The result is stasis of the large muscles that stimulate the cardiovascular system(elevate heart rate and provide oxygenated blood to the large muscles). This promotes deconditioning,  progressive loss of function,  and dependency at home and in the community. This is a cause of the cascading events that lead to the decline of health and disease(diabetes, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease). Without argument, the capacity to squat can help combat an your functional and health decline.

    Squats and Athletic Performance

    Squat Test for Mobility
    The squat is a primary element of all athletic strength development and performance programs. Engaging muscles responsible for strength and power is an element of most sports for success in performance outcome and injury prevention. Excessive knee valgus has been shown to be related to diminished hip muscle strength and implicated as a contributor to knee injuries, including ACL injury and patellofemoral joint dysfunction.

    Developing strength of the hips in knees with the back squat exercise promotes power for speed, jumping, change of direction, deceleration, and promotes the readiness posture of the "athletic position". The popularity of plyometric training requires development of the squat muscles used in the jumping and landing phase of vertical and horizontal body displacement, as well as bounding type drills. Research has demonstrated that an individual should be able to squat 1.5 times body weight prior to engaging in a plyometric-based program to reduce the risk of injury.

    There are many young athletes that are ill prepared for plyometric drills, and this leads to knee, hip and back injuries as a result. Randy Bauer, Physical Therapist

    The squat is a closed kinetic chain exercise that involves multiple joints moving together to achieve proper form. Proper form requires varied joints moving together to achieve maximum benefit of the exercise. When performing the back squat exercise the posterior muscles of the hips(gluteus maximus) and quadraceps muscles are the primary movers. There are stabilizers acting to provide coordinated movement. These are stabilizers act at the trunk, back muscles and abdominal muscles, and at the hip, adductors and abductors(gluteus medius).

    Poor Squat Mechanics Increases Risk of Injury

    Poor squat mechanics can be the result of weakness and/or restricted joint mobility and tight muscles that influence back, hip, knee and ankle action. Weakness of the posterolateral hip muscles(glut medius and maximus) can result in unwanted hip adduction that creates excessive valgus stress at the knee. This can result in increased loads over the patellofemoral joint. 

    Another cause of excessive loading of the anterior knee is seen when the knees passing over the toes during the lowering, or eccentric component of the squat movement. In this case the ground reaction forces would pass more posterior to the knee joint. This results in increased demands of the knee extensors and decreased demands of hip extensors(less glut maximus activity). This imbalance of can place excessive loading over the anterior knee (patello-femoral joint).

    Excess Knee Valgus

    Excessive forward lean of the trunk can have a negative effect on the hip joints. Poor hip flexibility when sitting back into the lowering phase of the squat can create hip impingement, labral tears and can lend to loss of lumbar neutral spine positioning. Incorrect lifting mechanics and poor preparation are a leading cause of low back injury 

    Squat Preparation Routine

    Performing a Squat Preparation Routine can be useful as a warm-up, instruction of proper mechanics and reduction of risk for sustaining injury. All too frequently the athlete or individual engaging in squats jumps right into the activity without proper preparation. It is recommended that engaging in a pre-workout stretching and prep phase to your leg strengthening routine be included prior to variations of squats, dead lifts, lunges, and power cleans, and plyometric training.

    Stationary Bike or light jog 10-15 minutes

    Isolated Stretching
    Performed to increase the general mobility of the muscles that cross the back, hips, knees and ankles.

    Wall Squat Test: The goal of this exercise is to maintain balance with the forehead, and in some cases the nose, knees and toes in contact with the wall. The feet are positioned shoulder width apart, and the knees are directed toward the 2nd and 3rd toe as you squat. The hands are allowed to lightly touch the wall. Notice the spine and shin angle remain parallel. It is the goal to descend to knee level, butt to the horizontal line, without loosing balance. Measuring the thigh to horizontal line angle is Your Objective Measure.
    Wall Squat Test

    Assisted Squat Stretch: The assisted squat stretch provides a warm-up, stretch mobility activity using a deep squat position. Grasping a pole, or fixed object while standing at your belly level provides stability while you descend into a squat stretch. This will bring the arms to approximately horizontal. It is important to maintain a lordotic to neutral position. In this deep stretch the hips, knees and ankle are allowed to experience squat mobility prior to engaging in your squat, or leg routine.
    Assisted Squat Stretch

    Lunge Stretch: The lunge stretch provides good endrange motion of hip flexion and extension. The hands are placed inside the front foot. The front knee should be directed toward the same-side shoulder. The back leg is maintained in extension(straight). Hold the position 20-30 secs for 2 reps each side.

    Lunge Stretch

    Squat with Butt Lift: The squat with butt lift is a dynamic squat movement followed by a hip, or butt lift, movement. Perform by squatting bringing the finger tips to the floor, or a 8 to 10-inch stool/step. Maintaining the lumbar spine in a neutral to slightly lordotic position. You will then lift the hips while maintaining the back in this position until you feel a light to moderate hamstring stretch(For most people you will not be able to fully extend the knees). You then come to a standing position as if performing a reverse dead lift. Repeat this movement 10 times. 

    There is Beauty to the Squat when performed with sound technique. The Why Behind the Squat may vary according to your fitness or athletic pursuits. The ability to squat remains a foundation to functional ability whether you are lifting furniture or moving boxes in your garage. Just remember that not using your legs and paying attention to proper back positioning and knee alignment can lead to injury.

    The How Behind the Squat requires practicing solid technique. If you are new to the squat seek the watchful eye a your physical therapist, sports conditioning trainer or coach. Preparing the joints and muscles to perform a training program must include a proper warm-up and squat preparation routine. The squat is one of the most important exercises for performance on the field or for your fitness development.

    Squat Methodology and Training References: