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as a warm up because there is NO technique in any sport that is similar or can be improved by doing these outdated exercises.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 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.

140518 Muscular strength-continued from last week

140518 Muscular strength-continued from last week

Here is the bottom line for those of you who don’t have the time to read it all. This is akin to eating your dessert before your meal and before you get too full to actually enjoy it.

Successful overload occurs by increasing these components above the normal:
1. The load on the bar
2. The frequency of lifting
3. The duration of time under the load.

The load on the bar must be high enough that it creates a maximal muscular tension, or nearly so, on the body. Train at these intense levels by using low repetitions and more sets. For example, an effective form of high intensity strength training uses load levels between 85-100% of the one rep max (1RM) for two repetitions for six to twelve sets.

Lifting frequency is increased according to a periodized plan based on the desired outcome. A method that has produced excellent results for many years is one that has multiple lift times a day. These training plans are for elite or highly trained athletes. Heavy lifts performed up to four and seven times a day are possible under these strictly controlled situations.

Each session emphasizes just ONE exercise per period in this type of a sequence throughout the day. The following five exercises depict an example of such a daily lifting schedule.

  1. Squats, rest and recovery
    2. Military presses, rest and recovery
    3. Deadlift’s, rest and recovery
    4. Bench presses, rest and recovery
    5. Front squats, rest and recovery

Here are the prerequisites for the schedule.

Warm ups are required for each session
Rest periods from fifteen minutes up to one hour in duration between each lift period (morning (2)-afternoon (1)-late afternoon sessions (2))

Separate the morning sessions from the afternoon ones by up to three hours.

The afternoon is separated from late afternoon by the normal fifteen minutes to one hour

Recovery methods are used between each session

300418 Physiological factors affecting strength gains

300418 Physiological factors affecting strength gains

The organism rapidly adapts to the load or intensity due in part to ‘an enhanced level of to neural facilitation’… which ‘probably accounts for the rapid and significant strength increase early in’ the ‘training, which is not necessarily associated with an increase in muscle size and cross-sectional area’.

These neural adaptations are thought to be by-products of improvements in the efficiency of the neural recruitment patterns, increased activation of the nervous system, greater enhancements in the motor unit synchronization capabilities of the muscle fibers, a lowered inhibition of the neural reflexes and an inhibition of the Golgi tendon organs. Taken in order then we have the following psychological neural factors that are thought to influence the development of strength in the human body.

Improvements in the efficiency of the neural recruitment patterns

The central nervous system and the muscles will adapt to the load imposed upon them during the training process. Employing the greatest possible loads within tolerance levels (maximal effort training) evokes the greatest rewards. During this time the maximum amounts of motor units are recruited and the central nervous system inhibition, if it exists in the athlete is thereby reduced with this approach. The highest number of motor units, activated with the greatest discharge frequency within the “biomechanical parameters of movement and intermuscular coordination are similar to the analogous values in a main sport exercise”.

An athlete must have the ability to learn to magnify and memorize these changes in the motor recruitment patterns and firing order in order to succeed in the strength sports. These changes have to come at a subconscious level of thinking. Proper training cycles and intensity of effort will develop this subconscious thought process.

160418 Adrenaline[1] lifting

160418 Adrenaline[1] lifting

Lifting more than normal is not unusual under certain circumstances. This is frequently seen on the platform by athletes who make excellent use of their powers of generating positive result producing psychological and physical energy. In the gyms though, unless testing for a one repetition maximum, this is not a good training method.

The release of adrenaline, a hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla when stimulated by the central nervous system responding to stress, comes with limitations. It is not produced in great quantities and what is there is in limited supply until the body manufactures more over a period of time. If this is used too often, and excessively, it will eventually cause the body to use it but not realize the benefits.

This happens because the body begins to tolerate the initial stress response that caused the secretion in the first place and then disregards it. But the substance has still been released into the system. An increase in heart rate, blood pressure, carbohydrate metabolism and greater heart output results. All of which are stress responses. Essentially the body habituates to the influx of adrenaline and the energy that it provides is no longer realized by the lifter.

Left unattended these cause high blood pressure and heart problems.

[1] A hormone secreted in the adrenal gland that raises blood pressure, produces a rapid heartbeat, and acts as a neurotransmitter when the body is subjected to stress or danger

121217 Balance out your exercise program

121217 Balance out your exercise program

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.

Weight training helps build strong bones.

Bone density responds directly to increases in intensities of load and site specifically to the greater pressures required to move the load. Adaptations take place within the structures of the bone that make it more resistant to the imposed loads and thus stronger.

Women in particular need this load bearing weight on their long bones, the spine and hips to stave off and help prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis from occurring. Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that progressively decreases the bone density which in time leaves them weakened and vulnerable to fracture.

 

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.

Flexibility

Getting stronger helps in other ways too. The strength to recover from a slip may prevent a bone damaging fall. Postural muscles that are strengthened through weight training inevitably lead to improved posture and a reduced potential of lower back problems. Even though strength training is high on the list of maintaining a strong fit body other pieces of the equation are important too. For instance being flexible enough to tie your shoes or even scratch your back is an important part of living a full and healthy lifestyle.

Work the joints normal range of motion each day by following a stretching program. But be cautioned that static stretching performed before a strength training session has been found to lower the power output by as much as 8%. If you are a sprinter, thrower or recreational handball or tennis player stay away from these at the start of your activity. The proper place for a static stretch is at the end of the workout when the muscles are warm and receptive to change. Doing so before hand, is an invitation to injury.

Find a good stretching book; read up on the proper way to stretch and start applying these to your exercise program. Brad Walker’s Stretching Handbook or Bob Andersons Stretching are two of the premier ones on the market and each one has stood the test of time. Even though flexibility is important it is not the end of the line. Maintaining your balance becomes harder as we age.

Balance

Prevention begins with daily practice. Standing on one foot or with heel to toe for multiple seconds at a time (60-120) will help stave off this decline in balance. Leaning toward the floor on one leg with arms to the side or rear will change the center of gravity and will change the feel of the exercise. In each instance it is important to have the ability to catch yourself on something solid to prevent a dangerous fall from happening in the event you do lose your balance while doing these.

Of course there are many other ways to practice balance training but this article is not being written to list them all. Suffice it to say balance is a critical part of living a healthy life.

Bodily balance. A physical state or sense of being able to maintain bodily equilibrium