Explosivelyfit Strength Training

Explosivelyfit strength training builds powerful bodies!

Archive for the category “bone health”

180417 Osteoporosis: The risk factors

180417 Osteoporosis: The risk factors

Some risk factors are under your control whereas others are not. Here is a brief list for your consideration.

1. Gender-of the ten million people with osteoporosis in the United States 80% of these are women. Particularly affected, and at increased risk for the disease, are Caucasian and Asian women.

2. As you grow older your risk increases.

3. Your diet and health history habits make contributions to the disease. Drinking alcohol and smoking, along with a lack of calcium and vitamin D and exercise hasten the onset of this bone weakening condition.

4. Other health conditions such as hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis seem to predispose a person to osteoporosis.

5. Medications such as thyroid medication and oral steroids can damage the bones.

More to follow.

241016 It is never too late to strength train

241016 It is never too late to strength train

There are numerous studies showing that people who do resistance training have significantly improved their muscle strength and performance. These changes show up in as little as two months. This held true even with the frail and over age 80 population. Not only does resistance training improve strength it can also help prevent and treat sarcopenia.

According to an analysis conducted in 2010 by the Aging and Research Reviews, strenuous, intense workouts are the most effective. You can bet they did not use soup cans in these intense workouts. However, if you are seriously out of condition you probably will have to start out gradually. Find a qualified strength trainer, one with good credentials from a nationally recognized association, and get started.

In order to help prevent or treat sarcopenia, strength train regularly and make sure that you are getting enough protein and your system on a daily basis.

A basic strength program stressing the major muscle groups, consisting of three sets of eight repetitions, performed 2 to 3 times a week will show increases in strength and functionality within a short period. These targeted muscle groups should involve the shoulders, arms, upper back, chest, abdominals, lower back, the quads and hamstrings of the legs and the calves.

Begin with a warm-up with some sort of an aerobic exercise to the point where you are breathing heavier, your pulse is going faster and you have a slight sweat. Now it is time to start lifting.

Begin with the weight that you can handle 10 to 12 times. In over the course of a week or so add weight until the last two repetitions of the set are difficult. Rest 2 minutes and repeat the exercise set again. If you’re able to complete three sets of eight repetitions with a specific weight then that weight is to light and more needs to be added to the bar.

On the days that you are not strength training, do some sort of aerobic exercise for 20 to 30 minutes. Keep track of what you’re doing. You are going to notice improvements in your strength level and in your ability to move a lot easier in your daily life.

270816 An introduction into strength and power training for all ages

270816 An introduction into strength and power training for all ages

It turns out there are effective actions you can do to positively alter your health. They can help improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, help improve your mood, make you stronger and more powerful, and at the same time make your bones stronger to help ward off fractures.

These are not the only benefits these actions, not by a long shot.

They can potentially help you avoid disability, frailty and retain that precious independence we all want to have as we age.

Strength training can do all of this.

It is a well-known fact that strength training offers all of the benefits previously mentioned, in addition to many others such as are listed in the following section from the Harvard Medical School.

“Practically any regular exercise benefits your health. Strength training specifically helps in the following ways:

  • Strengthens muscles
  • Strengthens bones
  • Prevents falls and fractures by improving balance and preserving power to correct missteps
  • Helps to control blood sugar
  • Relieves some of the load carried by the heart
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Improves the body’s ability to pluck oxygen and nutrients from the blood stream
  • Boosts metabolism even while sleeping  and thus helps keep weight within a healthy range
  • Prevents or eases lower back pain
  • Relieves arthritis pain and expands limited range of motion
  • Raises confidence , brightens mood, and helps fight mild to moderate depression
  • Wards off loss of independence by keeping muscles strong enough for routine tasks”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there is now a heightened awareness of the benefits of strength training. There is also the fact that only a small percentage of the American population have actually started a strength training program. This percentage is estimated at just slightly under 22% for men and 18% of the women in our nation who are strength training twice a week on a regular basis.

This percentage figure is way below the U.S. governments Healthy People 2010 goal of 30% of the adults in America who make strength training a part of their exercise program.

If you’ve never lifted weights before or done any type of resistance training the biggest barrier to starting may be knowing where to begin. This may be your situation, if so all you need to start is a comfortable pair of shoes and clothing. Adding to this, a solidly built chair, a few dumbbells and if you’re able to skip rope, a skip rope. This is all you need to get started. There, that wasn’t so difficult was it?

Since the health benefits of strength training are founded on its ability to protect against the onslaught of frailty, while at the same time making everyday tasks easier and more manageable it is essential that you begin sooner rather than later. The longer you wait the more your muscle tissue, bone density, and strength dwindle. If you don’t do something about your strength and power abilities you will soon find it difficult to walk upstairs, get up from a chair, carry groceries, and fend for yourself as an independent person.

Not only will you find it difficult to do the aforementioned tasks but also lacking strength leads to falls and that can mean incapacitating fractures. This in turn further compromises your ability to lead an active life. Strength training has a wealth of research backing its ability to effectively slow down and possibly reverse these life altering events.

Even if you are in your 70s, 80s, 90s and above, research has shown a dramatic increase in strength, power, agility, and mobility within 10 weeks of lifting weights 2 to 3 times a week. Now you have to admit that this is not a tremendous time commitment, especially considering the benefits to your health.

040716 A better you, by you

040716 A better you, by you

Introduction

This group of exercises was designed specifically for the traveler, or for those who cannot get to the gym every day to work out. Some are pretty easy but they rapidly become more difficult depending on the particular one a person may choose from the list of options available. A length of surgical tubing or a jump stretch band enhances the difficulty of these exercises.

Background

These exercises have been used on the road by the author and by the students in his strength training classes as an introduction into bodyweight exercises. They are enjoyable and challenging to do. Simply changing the rest time in between each movement offers an unending scale of difficulty while at the same time helping to increase the aerobic capabilities of the series.

Many are ideal for the busy Mom with a small child used as added resistance. For example, the calf raises, push ups and squats provide a fun way for a Mom and her child to have fun and for her to model the healthy lifestyle by exercising together. As a precaution the child obviously has to be held carefully so as not to fall and get hurt.

This series of exercises will encompass these major muscle groups: Chest, arms, shoulders, abdominals, back, and legs. Pick one or two different exercises out of each group and do ten to twenty repetitions for each one unless stated otherwise.

Gradually decrease the time it takes to do the exercises so your pulse rate is kept high, but keep good form throughout the session on all the movements.

It is also recommended that you keep a logbook as it will help guide you along in your quest for better health by showing you where you started and where you are at now. It provides incentive and encouragement.

Warm up

Rope skipping three to five minutes of single hit hops. Do these as rapidly as possible while maintaining control-added difficulty is gained by double spins on one hop multiple times in succession

Neck three to ten times each direction for all the neck warm-ups

Move your neck in circles

Move your neck up and down on your chest

Move it from side to side

Move it around in both clock wise and counter clock wise directions, analog, not digital

Limb rotations; dynamically move them around in circles-begin slowly but add speed as you continue to warm up. Ten to fifteen each limb

Cat and camel for the low back

Bodyweight squat; full range of motion rapidly performed ,but without a bounce at the bottom-maintain the solid back brace position for ten to twenty repetitions.

Chest/triceps/shoulders

Push up and down the stairs-five to ten repetitions at each step both up and down, add a clap between the up and down portions (Description: start in an incline pushup position at the top of the stairs or at least six to seven steps up from the bottom. Drop down a stair after each five to ten push ups. Continue down each stair until you reach the bottom and are in a regular push up stance on the floor. Now place your feet on the lowest stair step. Work your way back up to the top or six or seven steps up by doing a clap in between each repetition. Added difficulty may be gained by doing these on a medicine ball at each step of the way-a play on words so to speak.

Off set push-ups; one hand under the shoulder the other one to three hands out from the shoulder.

Added difficulty; with a ball under either hand, especially the farthest out hand perform the push up

Added difficulty; extend your offset arm farther to the front of your head beginning with one to two hands offset to the side and in front and execute the push up

Pike push ups; maintain straight legs throughout the series. Begin in the normal stretched out starting point, after each push up move your hands back toward you feet one hand space. Continue until you are in a pike position.

For added difficulty on all but the offset push ups, hold your hands close to one another, touching together

Abdominals/lower back

The big three; Dr. Stuart McGill’s adapted from Ultimate back fitness and performance available at http://www.backfitpro.com

Curl ups

Side bridges

Arm and leg extensions

360’s; hold each position for three to five seconds for five to ten repetitions for two to three sets. Do multiple sets ONLY if the form is perfect for each repetition. These are also referred to as ‘Planks” in some training literature.
Upper back/biceps/forearms and grip

Chin up with the rope; hold onto the rope doubled up and held with both hands on the single double rope. Progress to holding onto a single rope end in each hand as you do a chin up.

Added difficulty

Adding external weight

Legs held to the front at a ninety degree angle to the upper torso

Swinging side to side or front to rear on the rope as you do a chin up.
Legs

One leg bench squat; move the forward leg both in and out from the bench for added difficulty and avoidance of boredom.

One leg wall squats; added difficulty by standing on a balance pad and leaning against a stability ball or standing on the toes.

Toe squats with hands held over the head add an extra measure of difficulty for all the squats, as will doing these on a balance pad or a big pillow with the feet touching one another.

Hamstring strength; hook feet under a couch bottom, and then lean forward. Try to go farther each time until you are able to go all the way down and then rise back up again without assistance.

Calves sets of twenty-five to one hundred repetitions per set. Begin by first standing up right, other variations are done bent over the kitchen cabinet in a donkey calf raise, on stair steps, on one foot, during a lunge, wall squat, ball squat, or squat

Lower back/abdominals

Walk outs; begin in the regular push up position with the arms held straight, move your buttocks go up and down. Gradually, while still keeping your arms straight, move the rest of your lower body farther and farther away from the top of your head. Maintain the solid and controlled body position at all times. These are not meant to be ballistic movements.

Added difficulty

Place your straight arms on a couch or chair that is secure against a wall and gradually move your feet backwards. This drastically increases the difficulty of the exercise and should only be done by those without back or shoulder problems.

Back extensions from the floor; hold for increasing lengths of time to build lower back endurance. DO NOT raise your legs at the same time as your back is raised upward.

Cool down

Static stretch

Walk around to finalize the cool down process

Get on with your day

251013 An introduction into strength and power training for all ages-part 2

An introduction into strength and power training for all ages-part 2

If you’ve never lifted weights before or done any type of resistance training the biggest barrier to starting may be knowing where to begin. This may be your situation, if so all you need to start is a comfortable pair of shoes and clothing. Adding to this, a solidly built chair, a few dumbbells and if you’re able to skip rope, a skip rope. This is all you need to get started. There, that wasn’t so difficult was it?

Since the health benefits of strength training are founded on its ability to protect against the onslaught of frailty, while at the same time making everyday tasks easier and more manageable it is essential that you begin sooner rather than later. The longer you wait the more your muscle tissue, bone density, and strength dwindle. If you don’t do something about your strength and power abilities you will soon find it difficult to walk upstairs, get up from a chair, carry groceries, and fend for yourself as an independent person.

Not only will you find it difficult to do the aforementioned tasks but also lacking strength leads to falls and that can mean incapacitating fractures. This in turn further compromises your ability to lead an active life. Strength training has a wealth of research backing its ability to effectively slow down and possibly reverse these life altering events.

Even if you are in your 70s, 80s, 90s and above, research has shown a dramatic increase in strength, power, agility, and mobility within 10 weeks of lifting weights 2 to 3 times a week. Now you have to admit that this is not a tremendous time commitment, especially considering the benefits to your health.

231013 An introduction into strength and power training for all ages

An introduction into strength and power training for all ages

It turns out there are effective actions you can do to positively alter your health. They can help improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, help improve your mood, make you stronger and more powerful, and at the same time make your bones stronger to help ward off fractures. These are not the only benefits these actions, not by a long shot.

They can potentially help you avoid disability, frailty and retain that precious independence we all want to have as we age.

Strength training can do all of this.

It is a well-known fact that strength training offers all of the benefits previously mentioned, in addition to many others such as are listed in the following section from the Harvard Medical School.

“Practically any regular exercise benefits your health. Strength training specifically helps in the following ways:

• Strengthens muscles
• Strengthens bones
• Prevents falls and fractures by improving balance and preserving power to correct missteps
• Helps to control blood sugar
• Relieves some of the load carried by the heart
• Improves cholesterol levels
• Improves the body’s ability to pluck oxygen and nutrients from the blood stream
• Boosts metabolism even while sleeping and thus helps keep weight within a healthy range
• Prevents or eases lower back pain
• Relieves arthritis pain and expands limited range of motion
• Raises confidence , brightens mood, and helps fight mild to moderate depression
• Wards off loss of independence by keeping muscles strong enough for routine tasks”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) there is now a heightened awareness of the benefits of strength training. There is also the fact that only a small percentage of the American population have actually started a strength training program. This percentage is estimated at just slightly under 22% for men and 18% of the women in our nation who are strength training twice a week on a regular basis.

This percentage figure is far below the U.S. governments Healthy People 2010 goal of 30% of the adults in America who make strength training a part of their exercise program.

260713 Blood pressure, daily walking and the connection with being overweight

Blood pressure, daily walking and the connection with being overweight

If you are overweight, then daily walking may not dramatically decrease your blood pressure. The healthy benefits that walking has on the blood vessels of a normal weight person may be lost on the overweight individual.

In general terms this means that your arteries are not widening and the blood flow is not improved with walking, thus your blood pressure may not change to more optimum numbers.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern conducted a study that analyzed over 35,000 Caucasian men and women. Each person in the study had regular checkups that included measurements of their Body Mass Index (BMI) and readings of their systolic blood pressure each visit. Additionally these participants exercised at each visit so their fitness levels could be assessed. The results may give anyone who is overweight a reason to reassess their situation.

The results were published in the American heart journal and they revealed that a normal weight person had an average of 12 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure than one who was obese. The blood pressure of the fittest was only 6 mmHg lower than for those who were least fit. Still, that wasn’t all they found.

After analyzing the blood pressure, BMI, and fitness data of the participants, they found that physical fitness was an important element in lowering blood pressure in those of a normal weight person. However, it was not as effective of a component in those who were overweight. Interestingly enough, many in this overweight group were physically fit yet their blood pressure was still high.

The take-home message here certainly indicates that diet alone may not help lower your blood pressure. The combination of losing weight, by engaging in regular exercise, and calorie counting will need to be in place before you begin to notice the beneficial effects of exercise on lowering your blood pressure.

300513 Do you need reasons to exercise?

300513 Do you need reasons to exercise?

Some people just naturally seem to be able to stay active every single day with their exercise program. For these folks it’s a daily part of their routine and if they miss a day, they feel terrible for doing so. For reasons unknown, others don’t have that same drive to stay on the fitness path.

If you are one of these people then perhaps, looking at some of the reasons to exercise may encourage you to reconsider your choice of not exercising.

The number one reason on this short list is the fact that exercise reduces the risk of dying prematurely. Notably, this is true of the diseases that are associated with your heart and the circulatory system.

Regular activity reduces the risk of developing colon cancer and diabetes.

Physical activity plays a prominent role in weight control while at the same time building and maintaining healthy bones, joints and muscles.

High blood pressure is often called the silent killer because most people don’t know they have high blood pressure. There are no symptoms until the disease has progressed to a dangerous degree. Get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. Spend some money and get a home model blood pressure monitor. If you do this, make certain the readings are consistent with your doctors. Take yours in and get the readings at the doctor’s office so you know if yours is reading the same.

Regular exercise can reduce these readings or reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. Losing weight has a similar effect on some blood pressure numbers.

Exercise produces endorphins (1), the feel good chemicals your body manufactures. These not only help promote a feeling of wellbeing, they may diminish depression and help with anxiety issues.

Recent studies have shown increasingly beneficial results of cardiovascular and strength training for the elderly populations in the prevention of falls, increased balance, confidence and flexibility.

(1) en•dor•phin, noun \en-ˈdȯr-fən\
Definition of ENDORPHIN: any of a group of endogenous peptides (as enkephalin) found especially in the brain that bind chiefly to opiate receptors and produce some pharmacological effects (as pain relief) like those of opiates; specifically : beta-endorphin

290513 Six stretches that will improve your mobility-2

290513 Six stretches that will improve your mobility-2

Our bodies were built to move gracefully and efficiently throughout our lives. Preserving this ability requires daily effort. In this particular instance, it does not require much time, space or equipment.

Effortless movement relies on a normal range of motion and flexibility from each of the joints in our body. Exercise is an essential part of staying healthy.

These are not listed in any specific order; therefore, you can begin with any stretch at any time of the day. Remember, none of these are jerky movements, they’re all slow and controlled.

Turning your head
Being able to move your head within its range of motion from side to side involves standing straight and looking over your shoulders without moving your shoulders. Slowly look to the side, continue looking further, and further to the side until you feel tension. At this point hold for 5 to 10 seconds and then repeat.

Half circles
Standing tall and with your chin on your chest slowly begin making a circle with your head. You do this by rolling your head from your chin to one ear, to the back of your head, to your other ear and then back to the chin again. With this stretch go both, clockwise and counter clockwise two to three times.

Arm crossovers
Be careful with this one if you have any type of a shoulder injury as it will tend to aggravate the joint. Begin with your right hand holding onto your left arm; slowly pull it across your chest until you feel the tension building in your left shoulder. Now switch hands and do it with your left hand holding onto your right arm.

Chest and shoulder stretch
Stand tall with your hands held straight behind your back. Once in this position, raise your arms toward the ceiling. Go as high as you can without leaning forward and without pain. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and then lower down.

Calf stretch
Keep both feet parallel and step forward about a foot and a half to two feet with either foot. Move your body weight forward and lean on the front leg, which is now bent. By keeping the rear leg straight and the heel on the floor, you will feel your calf muscle being stretched. Maintain a natural arch of your back to avoid low back problems.

Hamstring stretch
Begin this stretch by extending one leg forward and keeping the toe pointed upwards. Now bend the opposite knee and lean forward at the hips. Continue to lean forward until you feel mild discomfort, just below the buttocks, in the straight leg. While leaning forward, maintain the natural lordosis of your lower back to prevent any type of low back injury.

As can be seen by reading the descriptions of each of the stretching exercises they can all be done with minimal space and with minimal disruption in your life. Nevertheless, they are all effective if you do them consistently, you will notice a gradual improvement in your range of motion.
With this added range of motion, many daily tasks will be easier to perform.

270513 Six stretches that will improve your mobility-1

270513 Six stretches that will improve your mobility-1

Our bodies were built to move gracefully and efficiently throughout our lives. Preserving this ability requires daily effort. In this particular instance, it does not require much time, space or equipment.

Effortless movement relies on a normal range of motion and flexibility from each of the joints in our body. Exercise is an essential part of staying healthy.

Generally it is recommended that you start your exercise session with a general body warm-up, the goal of which is to raise your breathing, pulse and temperature levels to a degree that allows efficient, injury free movement.

However, none of the following stretches requires this type of preliminary warm-up and furthermore none of the stretches should be used before exercising unless there is a specific reason to slowly stretch out an area.

Bearing the above in mind, none of these are dynamic movements; they are all semi-static, slow and meant to be pain-free. To get started, move into each of the positions at your own pace and then push the stretch until you start to feel mild discomfort. Hold this position for five to fifteen seconds and then relax.

Do these stretches three to four times throughout the day for the first week and then once or twice every other day for the next week. Afterwards a maintenance schedule of twice a week should be sufficient.

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