240918 Moving the curve

Moving the curve 240918

Power is developed according to the formula which is the mass moved divided by time it takes to do it. If, for instance, you are moving a two hundred pound barbell from point A to Point B in one second during your early training phase and you decrease the time it takes to move this the same distance then you have increased your power output.

This is important to any lifter as the ability to move massive amounts of weight depends on rapidly and almost instantaneously increasing the force necessary to move the bar from the starting position. This is termed moving the curve to the left. It is also one of the most basic concepts in developing a powerful athlete. You must apply all of your possible force immediately against a heavy weight or an opponent if you expect it to be influenced to any positive degree.

Explosive force is separate from starting strength.

270818 Smith machine explosive plyo benches

Smith machine explosive plyo benches 270818
The limitations to a forceful contraction straight through a move occur at the end of any concentric move. This is the joint activating the ‘braking effect’ about three quarters of the way through, as it nears the end of the movement. This is the mechanism the body uses to protect the joint from tearing itself apart.

Some of the more common ways to short circuit this muscle shut down is through the use of the supine medicine ball toss, and the plyo push ups. An off shoot of the plyometric method for the upper body, specifically for the bench press, is through the use of a non-cable, non-counterbalanced Smith machine.

Warm up as you would for a regular bench press session. After you have warmed up the shoulder and pectoralis regions move over to the Smith Machine. Begin by loading the bar with a LIGHT weight (30-40% of a five rep max to begin with). Make certain the bench is positioned exactly where you intend to bench from-there can be no room for errors from this point forward.

Take the weight and forcefully push it up wards. The difference from a regular Smith machine bench press is this:

Instead of holding onto the bar at the top of the concentric motion and slowing the bar down you let it fly upward. Then you catch it on the down stroke a little bit above your chest then by keeping the amortization phase nano-seconds short ram it up again.

This does two things for your power production:

1. It allows a utilization of the full Range of Motion
2. It helps you produce Power
Go slowly as you learn how to do this great training exercise.

Remember that injuries slow your progress down….

200818 Exercise clothing

 Exercise clothing 200818

Lifting weights implies wearing the correct attire to help prevent injuries from occurring. Some of the personal adornments that have shown up in the gym are just this side of ludicrous and certainly not appropriate in the weight room. Some examples are listed next.

*Large necklaces that make it difficult to rest a bar on the upper torso are something better left in the locker or at home.
*Rings on every finger that dig into the skin during a chin up, curl or dead lift.
*Flip flops or sandals of any sort have no place in the gym.

The last mentioned is in my opinion the most critical of those on the list. A shoe that fully encloses your foot provides a bit of security if a piece of equipment falls and hit the foot. A sandal gives you no protection at all.

Select shoes that give good ankle and solid arch support. They should also provide your foot with superior lateral stability by having good upper support; unlike the smaller low cut running shoes. The shoe also needs to have enough room in the toe box to prevent your toes from rubbing at the tips. If you plan to do lateral cutting drills in your program then make certain the shoes you chose have excellent traction capabilities.

060818 Building Athletic Movement-part3

060818 Building Athletic Movement

Physical athleticism requires precise mastery and powerful execution of specific sport movement/motor system patterns. In order to accomplish these multifaceted demands on the body each of the interacting sequential muscle groups within the kinematic chain and kinematic system have to be functioning and producing their peak tension at the exact right time.

In the beginning stages of learning a new skill or exercise the dynamic elements are weak, which makes the law of facilitation immediately relevant. This law states that each time a movement is performed wrong it becomes easier to repeat and harder to execute the right pattern in the future. With each repetition the movement becomes more difficult to correct. Fortunately these early mistakes don’t have long lasting effects on the system-if they are continually modified in closer approximations of the exact movement.

As the pattern becomes closer to perfect the body automatically finds more effective ways to reconcile the discrepancies of the motor unit’s interrelationships. These changes are the result of differentiations in, and increases within the emphasis of neuromuscular output at the varying times necessary to produce maximum power when needed in the chain of events.

It is at this time in the training sequence that performance of correct repetitions begins to take hold. The relationship between the movement strength amplitude curve and the execution time decreases indicating approaching movement perfection.

Once this takes place the process is complete and the movement is performed technically correct with little to no wasted energy.

Summary:

Continual training in the techniques of your sport at the closest equivalent to perfection requires constant attention to the detailed execution of each movement pattern.

Fundamentals of special strength training in sport, Y. V. Verkhoshansky

230718 Building Athletic Movement

230718 Building Athletic Movement

Physical athleticism requires precise mastery and powerful execution of specific sport movement/motor system patterns. In order to accomplish these multifaceted demands on the body each of the interacting sequential muscle groups within the kinematic chain and kinematic system have to be functioning and producing their peak tension at the exact right time.

Acknowledgment of the forgoing leads to these observations:

  • The body determines the most rational activation of the individual kinematic chains.
  • The individual parts that make up the chain will be integrated into this arrangement in a high powered flowing state of continuity.
  • Perfection in training continuously alters the organism’s responses.

While the successful intelligent athlete trains and continues to develop more highly defined skills the body is adapting by forming complex engrams within the neuromuscular system. These neural changes make major contributions to the rapid and fluid movements that are a necessary part of all sports.

Each exercise or sport movement is formed by and evolves from a cause and effect relationship with the individual elements making up the pattern. The line of force which is developed to successfully complete these movements depends on the efficiency of the neuromuscular system. The relationship between these mechanisms is constantly changing in an effort to find the most balanced response to the required movement pattern. Meanwhile additions to the dynamic element are being added to the equation.

020718 Avoiding Exercise Rhabdomyolysis

Avoiding Exercise Rhabdomyolysis

A classic case of too much, too often, and too soon is seen in those who suffer the ill and sometimes fatal after effects of working out far beyond their physical capacity.

Rhabdomyolysis in much simpler terms means that the exercise has been so extensive and strenuous that the muscle fibers themselves have not only broken down but have separated from the main fiber itself. This leads to these wayward fibers entering the circulatory system.

Some of these bits of tissue are toxic to the body and can result in kidney damage.

The person most at risk for this condition is inexperienced in exercise and is pushed either by themselves or an incompetent coach far beyond their limits. Others who may be put in the danger zone are military recruits in basic training, those who are dehydrated or suffering from heat related issues, and the circuit trainee under the supposed guidance of a personal trainer and of course the ultra marathon and triathlon athletes.

The clues of this dangerous condition are found in the abnormal and dark colored urine of the individual. This urine will have a dark, red or cola color to it.

This is a danger sign that should not be dismissed. If rhabdomyolysis is suspected, take immediate steps to have the symptoms and potential life threatening condition expertly evaluated by a physician.

Saving the life of another may be at stake here.

110618 The general principles of the warm up 2/4

110618 The general principles of the warm up 2/4

The general warm up

The runner’s may actually be onto something when they start out on a run-they normally begin at a slower pace than the main portion of the run will be. Any exercise that revs up the cardiovascular system is good except for the time-honored jumping jacks. As mentioned in Thomas Kurz excellent training manual Science of Sports Training, these are contraindicated as a warm up because there is NO technique in any sport that is similar or can be improved by doing these outdated exercises. This activity causes a neurological disorganization in an athlete by causing a regression to an out of sync, homolateral pattern of locomotion resulting in a vague feeling of confusion. Additionally, jumping jacks raise the levels of blood lactate before the main workout and are not a lead in exercise for any lifting technique.

Increased flexibility is a residual effect of the influx of blood into the muscles so after the aerobic warm up immediately begin with dynamic stretches. Arm and leg rotations to the front, side, rear and in large circles. More leg rotations can be done during this time than arm rotations due to muscle mass involved. Ten to twelve legs compared to five to eight arm rotations. Do as many as necessary to reach full range of motion in any particular direction.

Notice there was no mention of any isometric, relaxed or static stretches before an active workout. Recall the reasons for a warm up:

* Improved elasticity of and increased contraction capabilities of the muscles
*Reduced reaction times via improved neuromuscular connections and transmissions
*Higher breathing efficiencies

The goal is improved performance. Static stretches tend to relax the joints and decrease potential power output, by some estimates up to 8% and impair the activity of the tendon reflexes. Isometric stretches that are held make an athlete tired while at the same time decreasing coordination abilities. Whereas the passive, relaxed style of stretching has a calming effect on the athlete.

A relaxed, non-optimally coordinated joint and muscle tendon combination is just asking for an injury to happen.

If the temperature is low and the forthcoming activity intense, the warm up must be longer and more intense than if the temperature is high, and the session a low intensity one. Each exercise builds on the previous ones until the final effort has the body ready for the main part of the workout.

040618 Balancing Out Your Exercise Program

040618 Balancing Out Your Exercise Program

By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A.CSCS

It is well established that exercise benefits us in many areas such as increased self confidence, improvements in our moods, and longer healthier lives. Simply being able to do what you want to do physically and mentally may be made easier by engaging in a long term pattern of running, weight training, stretching/balance, and recreational sporting exertions.

During spring time the runners start hitting the road, especially those who are getting ready to run Bloomsday here in Spokane, Washington. While running is an admirable endeavor, it is not enough to keep your body in top physical condition. Our body needs physical and mental stimulation which is only achievable through the use of a variety of methods.

Cyclic exercise, similar to running, stresses the cardiovascular abilities thereby increasing the capacity to engage in lengthy activities through enhanced oxygen transfer to the working muscles. However, exercising in this manner will not increase the lean muscle mass composition of our body. In order to do that resistance training is necessary.

040618 The general principles of the warm up 1/4

040618 The general principles of the warm up 1/4

The warm up session starts with exercises that are low in intensity, progressing up to the actual work out movements. Starting with high intensity exercises leaves little left in reserve for the main work out. The body quickly uses its stored muscle glycogen and increases the lactate levels in the blood when engaged in high intensity work. When the lactate increases the free fatty acids decrease leaving less to help produce energy. You don’t get into your car on a cold morning and go racing out the drive way and onto the expressway at maximum speed. It’s the same for our bodies; warm them up for the tasks ahead.

General principles of arranging warm up exercises normally follow few these guidelines. Start from the distant joints and work toward the center or proximal portion of the body, from one end to the other or from top to bottom or vice versa. The exercises move from one into another so that the end of one move floats directly into the start of the next movement. This is also how a regular strength training session should be set up.

A solid warm-up will take anywhere from twenty to forty minutes. Many people don’t have the time to take this long so adaptations will have to be made by taking into account the total length of the exercise session. If the intensity of the workout is high then the warm up will, of necessity, be longer. Longer warm up periods would be in order for the explosive sports endeavors such as sprinting and the more difficult technical sessions. Aerobic and endurance exercise periods need much less, as the pre stages of these activities are in and of themselves a warm up.

Repeating the same warm up in successive workouts is not beneficial to the athlete as the goals of each workout are not necessarily the same, thus the warm up should reflect the workout goal. The warm up should prepare the athlete for the workout; bearing this in mind the last minutes of the warm up will be more or less specific to the first training exercises and ultimately blend into the actual workout itself. After the session has started then each different move will be preceded by its own specific but short warm up as the training continues onward.

280518 Relative strength-are you really as strong as you think you are?

280518 Relative strength-are you really as strong as you think you are?

Does your relative strength match these standards? In the following chart* you will find commonly accepted values for determining whether or not your strength is good, excellent or elite in the three power lifts.

Squat Male Female
Good greater than 2 x bdwt greater than 1.5 x bdwt
Excellent greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2 x bdwt
Elite greater than or equal to
3 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt
Bench Press Male Female
Good >1.25 X bdwt >0.8 X bdwt
Excellent greater than or equal to 1.75 X bdwt 1 X bdwt
Elite greater than or equal to
2 X bdwt
greater than or equal to
1.25 X bdwt
Deadlift Male Female
Good greater than 2 x bdwt greater than 1.5 x bdwt
Excellent greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2 x bdwt
Elite greater than or equal to
3 x bdwt
greater than or equal to
2.5 x bdwt

Relative strength means balancing out your lifting.  This requires adequate attention to each of the lifts; which in essence means your lifting should be in a ratio of one to the other across the board. It has been suggested by practitioners of the sport and the scientists who support these lifters that a ratio of 1:1.5:1.5 will provide the ratio for success. In this case the first number represents the bench press followed by squat and the dead lift 1 repetition maximum numbers.

*Adapted from Encyclopedia of Muscle and Strength by Stoppani, J Human Kinetics 2006