Explosivelyfit Strength Training

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130617 Exercise suggestions for increasing bone mineral density

130617 Exercise suggestions for increasing bone mineral density

Before engaging in any new exercise program consult with your primary health care provider.

To increase your lean body mass, add strength and power, follow these guidelines for the suggested group of exercises:

1. Full body resistance training program on a schedule of at least two times per week, with three times to optimize the results.
2. Utilize correct exercise technique at all times
3. Three sets of ten to twelve repetitions each exercise unless otherwise noted.
4. Work to rest ratio is 1:2, meaning if you work out for ten seconds you then rest for twenty seconds.
5. If you are able to add weight after completing the series three times, then do so the next session.
6. If you have added weight then do only ten repetitions and work up to twelve.

Warm up for 5-8 minutes
Squats
Calf raises
Dead lifts
Military presses
Shoulder shrugs
Abdominal work-15-20 reps for two sets
Bench presses
Bar bell rows
Barbell curls
Triceps extensions
Abdominal work again to end the session-15-20 reps for two sets

 

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300517 The stimulus for new bone formations.

300517 The stimulus for new bone formations.

Minimal essential strain (MES) refers to the threshold amount of stress applied to the structure which is necessary to elicit growth of new bone material. A force exceeding MES is required to signal the osteoblasts to move toward the periosteum and begin this transformation. MES is thought to be 1/10 of the breaking force needed to fracture the bone. Training effects have a positive relationship to bone density just as sedentary living habits play a role in the loss of bone density.

Training to increase bone formation

Programs designed to stimulate bone growth, also known as bone mineral density (BMS), will incorporate the following characteristics:

  1. Specificity of loading
    2. Proper exercise selection
    3. Progressive overload
    4. Variation

Specificity of loading will see the exercise patterns emphasizing specific areas in need of assistance. New or unusual forces in varying angles of stress will enable your bones to adapt to the greater intensities. Military presses, bench presses, upright shoulder shrugs, push ups, chin ups, plus other similar exercises would help develop stronger upper body bones. Lower body exercises selections would be along the lines of these types of movement patterns: squats, calf raises, dead lifts, and straight leg dead lifts.

Exercise selection promotes osteogenic stimuli (factors that stimulate new bone formation) and will exhibit these characteristics: Compound exercise muscle movements consisting of multi joint, structural loading and varying force vectors. Such exercises are the squat, dead lift, military press and the bench press along with the Olympic style moves.

Progressive overload

Greater than normal loads force the body to adapt in a positive manner regarding new bone formation. This response is greater if the load changes are dramatic and repetitive in nature. Younger bones may be more receptive to osteogenic changes in the load variance than older bones.

Variations of exercise selections

The body adapts quickly to imposed loads per the SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Loads) principle. In order to prevent accommodation the exercises need to be varied on a periodic basis. There are many individual differences in the same exercise. As an example the squat has at least seventy variations! And these variations do not include any machine versions.

230517 Adaptation of Bone to Exercise

230517 Adaptation of Bone to Exercise

By Danny M. O’Dell, MA.CSCS*D

Background information-briefly stated

Bone is considered a connective tissue that when stressed, deforms and adapts as a result of the load. To meet the strain imposed upon the external structure caused by the bending, compressive, torsional loads and the muscular contractions at the tendinous insertion point’s osteoblasts migrate to the surface of the bone.

At the point of the strain, immediate modeling of the bone begins. Proteins form a matrix between the bone cells. This causes the bone to become denser due to the calcification process occurring during the growth response to the load.

The new growth occurs on the outside of the bone to allow the manufacture of new cells to continue in the limited space with in the bone itself. This outer layer is commonly known as the periosteum.

Adaptations take place at different rates in the axial skeleton (skull/cranium, vertebral, ribs, and sternum) and the appendicular skeleton (shoulder, hips, pelvis and the long bones of the upper and lower body-essentially the arms and legs). This is due to the differences in the bone types- trabecular (spongy) and cortical (compact) bone.

191216 Moderation is NOT the key to getting stronger

191216 Moderation is NOT the key to getting stronger

Moderation in all things in life has been the advice of many a parent over the years. It is almost a certainty that you have been exposed to this as you grew up. In most cases the saying has merit but not when it comes to getting stronger. When it comes to getting stronger, throw moderation[1] out the window. Your muscles don’t act in a moderate manner, so why should you?

Now just because I said to throw moderation out the window I did not say to throw caution out with it. Use your head while you train or suffer the consequences of your imprudent actions.

The all or nothing theory of muscle activation

Before we move on let’s review the all or nothing theory of muscle activation. This states that when a specific set of muscle fibers within a motor unit reaches its threshold of activation either all of the fibers in that unit fire or none do. There is no such thing as a ‘maybe firing’. This is similar to a woman being pregnant; she either is, or is not…there is no middle ground.

Once this concept is understood it’s time to consider what happens when the motor units are all firing to move the weight. Without something to protect the body from excessive loads it would be possible to damage the integrity of the joints.

The protective joint sensors

The body has built in feedback loops to help protect it from harm. The most significant are the Golgi tendons and the muscle spindles. Both of which are ultra protective of the joints. Resetting the levels of activation for these protective mechanisms may be the key to greater lifting achievements.

The muscle spindles are located, actually intertwined within the muscles themselves and can sense when the muscles are being stretched (lengthened) rapidly. When this happens a signal is sent to the spinal cord which then tells the motor neurons to tighten up, i.e. to ‘reflexively contract’. (Strength Training, Brown, L. E. et al 2007). This helps prevent the muscle from being over stretched to the point of injury. However this only works during rapid lengthening of the fibers. A fiber that is slowly stretched doesn’t receive the signal to contract and is thereby susceptible to damage. The opposite reaction to the muscle spindle comes from its counterpart in the joint protective association; the Golgi Tendon.

The Golgi tendon, located at the junction of the tendon and muscle fibers intersection, senses when there is high tension on the tendon. When this sensation of excess is noted a signal is immediately sent to the spinal cord to inhibit further contraction of the muscles attached to the tendon. Additionally another signal is sent to the antagonist muscles telling them to contract. Here in lies the problem of moderation.

It may be that the Golgi tendon response is set too low. Readjusting this could be the answer to greater strength outputs. But this is dangerous territory as injury is just around the corner if the limits are pushed to far upward and the joint is damaged by a disproportionate, in relation to training experience, weight. The question before us now is how can we make these two seemingly incompatible protective devices work for us, and not against us, in our training.

The relationship between strength training and muscle activation

Since we know that the smallest and lowest threshold muscle motor units activate first we have to figure out a way to bypass this process. Secondly we have to figure out how to reset the Golgi Tendon response so more weight can be lifted. Is this a possibility? Yes to a certain extent it is. The answer is through proper training practices.

Periodization of the training load intensity, volume and rest to work ratios will allow this training effect to take place. Remember only those motor units that are recruited to lift the weight are trained. If they aren’t activated they won’t be exposed to the stress of the training. Recruitment of the type two fibers is the goal for the strength athlete.

The order of recruitment is thought to be genetically fixed however this may be altered by using heavy weight and/or placing a high power demand on the muscles. Variations in the recruitment order and small changes in fiber type composition are also thought to be possible through a well designed training program.

A competent strength coach will be able to design strength program for you that meets the needs of the prior discussion. If you are interested and motivated enough to follow through with the plan you will reap the benefits.

Summary:

Resistance training, i.e. strength training can be a valuable asset in your sports activity program. These strength cycles will generate changes in the physiological make up of the body if they are properly planned. Moderation is not what will elicit these changes. Only maximal training effort will lead to maximal change in the muscle fiber recruitment and composition. The plan should involve periodization principles for the greatest effect and outcome.

[1]] Moderation is a relevant term in this context. Don’t be stupid with your weight training or you will get hurt.

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.

200816 Getting stronger

200816 Getting stronger

It may come as a shock to you but you don’t need a lot of fancy machines, stability balls, balance pads or hundreds of dollars worth of supplements each month to get strong. What you do need, along with a plan, is the desire and persistence to keep working out with weights -that’s all. Pure and simple isn’t it?

While there may be a bit more to the equation than offered up above it’s still a lot simpler than most commercial training facilities will have you believe. Take a look at what you already may have in your training arsenal:

  1. If you can walk, jog, run or ride a bicycle then you have your cardio component covered.
  2. If you can bend over or move in various directions the flexibility portion is available and
  3. If you have a set of barbells from one to three hundred pounds the resistance piece is in place.

Each of these three parts is essential to a well rounded fitness program and neglecting any one of them will make your efforts at becoming fit unbalanced.

For example, if you are able to run miles on end but can’t carry your groceries from the car to the house then all the cardio work you have faithfully performed over the years is wasted. You need strength to maintain a healthy living from day to day.

Further more if you are unable to bend over and pick up the newspaper from the walk or have a hard time tying your shoes because you can’t reach down that far then your flexibility is in dire shape and needs to be addressed.

Spring time in this great Country of ours is a time for renewal, a time to get away from the winter doldrums and start going again on your fitness aspirations. You do want to be in better shape don’t you?

Here is a quick and down to earth training program that most anyone will be able to follow. If in doubt though check with your doctor and run it past them. In most cases you will be able to do this program without much difficulty.

At the get go this program will take up approximately five minutes of your time each day. I realize that five minutes is not much but the idea is to get used to doing something for yourself every single day. Pick a time that you know you can set aside every day. It can be five minutes as soon as you wake up or just before going to bed. Some people find that by exercising just before bedtime that it keeps them awake. So you might want to take this into consideration.

Once you have decided on this particular time slot stick with it. The first time you make an allowance for not exercising in ‘your time slot’ the next excuse for missing soon appears. It won’t be long before you are no longer exercising. This is the slippery slope of foregoing a session.

The five day per week program will change the training emphasis every week. During the first week you do your strength training three times, your cardio twice and your flexibility every day. On the next week do cardio three times and strength training twice with flexibility every day. Keep a work out logbook.

On the strength days work the major muscle groups, i.e. shoulders, chest, upper back, lower back, legs arms and abdomen for two to three sets of eight to ten repetitions. Work quickly and keep your heart rate up in the target zone for your age.

When working on your cardiovascular choice of exercise add only ten percent to the time or distance every other week depending on your progress.

Emphasizing your range of motion at the end of each training session will result in noticeable range of motion increases. Hold each stretch for around ten to fifteen seconds but not in positions of pain. Mild discomfort is the lesson to be learned here.

150816 The metabolic syndrome and what it means to your health

150816 The metabolic syndrome and what it means to your health

The metabolic syndrome is the name given by the medical profession to a group of health risks having a strong potential to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. These unhealthy conditions are for the most part avoidable simply by eating less and getting more exercise.

The five components of the syndrome are:

  • A waist that is larger than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men. Some men may be at risk even if their waist is greater than 37-39 inches.
  • Low cholesterol readings of the good HDL. Women should have numbers under 50 and men should have their numbers under 40.

Higher than normal, but not necessarily high numbers in the following categories:

  • Systolic blood pressure of 130 or higher and a diastolic reading of 85 or higher.
  • Fasting blood sugar count of 110 or higher
  • Tested triglycerides of 150 or above after fasting.

According to the doctors, a person with three or more of these five categories raises their risk of becoming diabetic and developing heart disease.

The research specialists believe the root cause of this syndrome is an inefficient insulin response.

The metabolic syndrome is the consequence of our body being ineffective in processing fats and sugars. The research shows that belly fat creates increased inflammation and a greater risk of heart disease in those with big bellies. These fat cells also release a product that can drive up blood pressure by reducing the blood vessels ability to relax between strokes. Additional problems with belly fat cells occur because they generate proteins that increase the process of insulin resistance.

In case you are wondering what the term insulin resistance means here is a brief explanation.

The hormone insulin makes it possible to remove glucose, also known as blood sugar, from the blood stream and put into the muscle tissues. The muscle uses this as energy for movement. If too much glucose is in the blood stream it is stored as fat. Therefore, the term insulin resistance means the body is having a hard time delivering the glucose to the muscle tissues (insulin resistance) so the amount of blood sugar rises in the blood stream.

The cause is the waist is too big! Our bellies are too fat, too large, too much over the belt, hanging out too far, you can call it whatever you want to, but the fact remains we are a nation of too much fat. And it is all in the wrong place.

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

281013 Increased belly fat raises your risk for heart disease and cancer

Increased belly fat raises your risk for heart disease and cancer

A study of 3000 Americans, recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on 10, July, concluded that those with excess belly fat had a greater risk of developing heart disease and cancer in comparison to those who had excess fat elsewhere on their body. These citizens, average age of fifty, were followed for seven years during the study.

During this time, ninety of them had some sort of a cardiovascular episode, one hundred and forty one were diagnosed with cancer, and there were seventy-one deaths out of the original 3000 participants. It is unknown what caused these deaths.

Belly fat, the fat surrounding the organs in the abdominal cavity, is associated with raising the risk of both heart disease and cancer. The researchers admitted that this study did not show a clear cause-and-effect but there are strong connections.

Belly fat is also often an issue found in those with the metabolic syndrome, which is a grouping of known risk factors for poor health such as unhealthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. Each of these puts one in jeopardy of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and a strokes.

Changing the diet and getting more exercise each day can have significant influences on these health conditions.

Risk factors that you can control toward keeping your heart healthy

• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• High triglycerides
• Diabetes
• Smoking
• Being over weight
• Alcohol consumption
• Excess stress
• Physical inactivity

You can take steps to mitigate each one of these if you have the mind to do so. Some may have to use various forms of medical interventions to help control their high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and diabetes. But the remainder, smoking, being overweight, alcohol consumption, excess stress and physical inactivity are squarely within your ability to change.

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.

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