171216 Sport and lifestyle activity-range of motion exercising

171216 Sport and lifestyle activity-range of motion exercising

Your joints and muscles are meant to function within standardized degrees of movement, commonly referred to as the range of motion (ROM). The stronger you are within these ranges, the better protected you will be in preventing injuries from occurring. Therefore when doing your exercise routine keep in mind the following two guidelines:

1. You gain the most strength within the range of motion (ROM) at which you exercise.

2. The smaller the range of motion you in the joint, the less will be the carry over strength throughout the rest of the movement.

The basis of every quality strength training or fitness program relies, in part, on these two premises. As an example, let’s look at the squat while explaining these principles.

Many lifters do short range squats, known as high squats, in the gym. They get into a machine or in rare cases under a bar and drop down a few inches and call it good. In many instances this isn’t even to a parallel position, let alone below parallel where they should be before starting back up again. Depending on the load of the bar or on the machine, strength may be increased within this small range of motion but its unlikely this will happen.

This range of movement is too little and does not support normal living activities such as sitting down in a chair and then getting back up. If the strength is not developed within a range that is vital to living an active lifestyle then it is not useful. This group of fitness enthusiasts would be better served by going deeper in their squats, thereby getting a transfer of useable strength into their daily lives. This naturally leads in to the second principle.

An individual or strength athlete will become stronger when training the full range of motion. This expands the strength curve and transfers more useable muscle activity across greater degrees of the joint angle. Greater degree angles of strength protect the joint from injury, especially at the far ranges of motion.

The take home message is don’t cut yourself short with limited range of motion exercises.

141116 Working out at home

141116 Working out at home

It’s nice to walk into a well-equipped gym and be able to hit your session with unbridled enthusiasm. Normally the costs are within reason and if it has highly qualified trainers all the better. But what if you don’t have the money, the transportation or even the time to go to one of these places for your daily exercise? The solution can be found right in your own home.

If you are just starting out you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get into shape. And you certainly don’t have to have the latest in workout clothing. Sweats and an old Tee shirt complement one another perfectly. I would recommend, however, investing in a good pair of cross trainer or basketball style of shoes.

Next, start saving a few plastic milk containers. These make ideal adjustable weights and setting them up is easy just put a ruler along the sides and measure and mark out inches all the way to the top.

Before you exercise add water or other material up to any of the marks and weigh it. Both containers should weigh about the same. Now you’ve got a set of dumbbells.

I’d suggest getting a skip rope. Buy a length of half to three quarter diameter sized nylon rope at the hardware store. The right length is about twice your height off the spool. It’s long enough when you can stand in the middle and each end comes up to your shoulders. Cut it off and then have the ends sealed to prevent it from fraying. You’re all set to go for the cardio portion of your exercise program.

If you have the inclination, then buy a set of exercise tubes. An alternative is to go to a medical supply store and get a few lengths of different sized latex surgical tubing. Make certain you aren’t allergic to latex.

Grab a big juice container of plain water and get started because every day wasted is one you’ll never get back.

291016 Reasons to exercise

291016 Reasons to exercise

The benefits of regular exercise are well known in today’s society. It has been consistently demonstrated that it leads to a healthier more productive life. Being active lowers your risk of developing heart disease, adult on set diabetes, sometimes referred to as type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. It’s not only these benefits that result from exercise, others fall into place as well.

Those who are regular participants in moderate to vigorous activities have the ability to deal with the stresses of daily life and are less likely than non-exercisers to suffer from anxiety and depression. Longevity has a direct correlation to being active. The more active you are throughout your life the greater your chances of staying healthy and living a longer life.

Following a plan of regular exercise and eating healthy foods and fluids can lower the actuary[1] predictors of coronary heart disease and stroke. Exercising regularly often times means your critical health numbers will become lower. These numbers include your blood pressure, body weight, fat composition, blood triglyceride levels, and low-density lipoproteins (LDH).

The numbers indicating good cholesterol (HDL) rise with good exercise and a healthy diet.

Blood sugar tolerance, also known as glucose tolerance, is the ability of your body to regulate the level of sugar circulating in the blood. When this tolerance becomes lower, the amount of sugar in your blood becomes higher, which may lead to diabetes. Currently, about one in four older adults are at risk of developing type-2 diabetes in the US. The studies are clear in their findings: physically active people are less likely to develop this disease then those who are sedentary. Exercise improves the ability of the body to use insulin, which is a hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. This process maintains the blood sugar at the recommended levels.

The benefits of exercise far outweigh the time spent working out. Just of few of the reasons to exercise, include stronger bones and better mental health.

Improved bone density

Osteoporosis, a disease where the bones become fragile and fracture easily, is of concern to many older adults. This affects more women than men even though men still suffer from the disease.

Once osteoporosis has progressed to a dangerous level, even a small slip and fall can cause a broken bone, especially in the hips and wrists of a female.

Weight bearing exercise has been well documented in both medical and scientific literature to be of value in strengthening the skeletal bones. Strength training and impact exercises have a direct positive relationship to building stronger bones, particularly the long bones in the body. These types of exercises can help prevent further skeletal bone loss in those with osteoporosis.

Mental well-being is enhanced when you exercise. The release of natural chemicals into your body helps improve your outlook on life. They make the minor momentary pain of exercise feel good all day long. That’s not all there is to the role of activity and exercise in making your life batter. An added outcome of regular exercise is the ability to control your weight.

Less body weight means less stress and trauma on your lower torso joints, i.e. the hips, knees and ankles. It makes sense that the more you weigh the more these joints have to work to stay healthy. Too much bodyweight can damage the cartilage, which in turn fosters the onset of arthritis and osteoarthritis and leads to joint implants.

Remember you will never exercise your way to more lean muscle mass through a high calorie diet. Eating or drinking too many calories will not be exercised away, contrary to what the machines are telling you about the caloric expenditure for X-amount of time on them.

120916 Conditioning principles and suggestions

120916 Conditioning principles and suggestions

Each session length should vary between forty five and sixty minutes. Try to keep them below 60 minutes.

Begin each session with a DYNAMIC warm up, not a static stretch.

Perform technique and/or skill exercises or work first.

Pay strict attention to your form. Once the form begins to degrade move onto the next selection of exercises. Continuing with bad form simply teaches your body to lift incorrectly with the poor technique that is brought on by fatigue.

Strength selections are next-major muscles of the body-neck, arms, chest, shoulders, upper back, lower back, abdominal’s, quads, hamstrings, calves.

Full range of motion must be performed in all the angles and speeds that are possible. Concentric, eccentric and isometric. Avoid the ‘slow moves’. Keep the bar speed fast. Very few sports require a slow move.

Sets and repetitions will vary every single time. The repetitions will change the most between the two, from a low of two reps for six to nine sets up to eight reps for four to five sets.

If you are keeping weight gain down then work in the higher intensity load sets for fewer repetitions (85%-95% 1 RM for two to three reps with long rest periods of two to three and even five minutes).

Work on the energy systems that are most used in the sport by manipulating the work to rest ratios for each exercise session-this can be used as a session intensifier when combined with the previous section.

End each session with static stretches or PNF stretches. This helps cool the muscles, ligaments and tendons and may decrease the soreness after effects of exercise.

Give priority consideration to good nutrition and rest after the exercise period has been completed. It during the rest that muscle growth occurs.

Other things to consider

The greater increases in strength will bring about larger increases in strength endurance.

A strength endurance athlete can easily over-train using high repetition weight training. This may result in an increased risk for injury and a notable decrease in performance.

Exercise session sequence

Dynamic warm up

Technique work

Power work

Strength-structural exercises first

Static or PNF stretches (ONLY with trusted partners and after a lesson in how to do these)

Cool down

A basic program for a strength endurance athlete: Notice the sequence and the low repetitions of the exercises.

Power cleans to develop speed of movement- 3-4×2-3

Back squats- 6×2-5

Dead lift- 6×2-5

Military press- 4×6-8

Pull downs or chin ups- 3-4×5-10

Bench press- 4×2-5

Leg curls or stiff legged dead lifts (twenty degree flex in the knees to prevent hyper extending the knees) or good mornings- 5×8

Bar bell rowing- 4-5×5-8

050916 Fall fitness begins at home

050916 Fall fitness begins at home

The kids are off to school and finally you have some free time to yourself. Now is your chance to get fit. So where do you begin? Start with a consult with your doctor to see what they think of your new physical activity plans.

After you have discussed the situation with your doctor and if your health is such that you can become engaged in a fitness program start with a low intensity schedule so you aren’t so sore the next day you can’t move.

Each day set aside a time just for YOU. Make this a priority to follow through with your exercise plans unless a true emergency presents itself.

Write on your calendar what you plan to do or better yet write it down in a logbook that can be as simple as a three-ring notebook. Put down your weight, your goals for the day, week, month, and year.

Start with a dynamic warm up which means you aren’t just static stretching in a passive mode. A dynamic warm up, for example can be skipping rope, rotating your arms and legs around in big circles. The objective of this part of the exercise session is to get your heart and breathing rate up, to loosen up your muscles and get ready for a more rigorous physical endeavor.

If this is the day, you have decided to do aerobic conditioning, i.e. cardiovascular then skipping rope is not necessary. Start out slowly and gradually build up your speed of movement until you are at your target heart rate. Maintain this heart rate for twenty to thirty minutes for at least three to four times a week. Do this on alternate days between resistance training days, which now follow.

You can resistance train without weights or any other types of equipment using body weight moves such as the common push up and chair squats.

Do this entry level ‘no equipment’ fitness schedule for one month and I guarantee you will feel better! Write all that you do down in a workout logbook diary.

Monday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Tuesday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
    • One leg chair squats-one leg held out in front as you descend
    • One leg squats-one leg held behind you on the chair as you descend into the squat
  • Calf raises
    • Two legs standing
    • One leg standing
    • Seated with a small child held securely on your knees
  • Hamstring bridges
    • With feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
    • With feet on the floor as above described
  • Push ups
    • Regular
    • Modified (pivot on your knees)
    • Modified wall lean against a wall and do a push up at an incline
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Wednesday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Thursday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times a piece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Friday

  • Walk or jog for five to ten minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Congratulations, week one is behind you and now its time for a small two-day break then at it again Monday. This week though change it around by doing three resistance days of training instead of just two like last week.

Monday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair-as described above
  • Calf raises-as described above
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)-as described above
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Tuesday

  • Walk or jog for five to fifteen minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Wednesday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises-as described above
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)-as described above
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Thursday

  • Walk or jog for five to fifteen minutes
  • Stretch as you cool down
  • Don’t forget to write it down in your log book

Friday

  • Warm up with a skip rope, do arm and leg rotations until your heart and breathing rates are up

Do each of the following exercises fifteen times apiece, one right after another. If you feel up to it then repeat the series two to three or maybe even four more times. All with correct exercise form.

  • Chair squats-don’t use your hands and arms to get backup off the chair
  • Calf raises
  • Hamstring bridges with feet on the coach, knees bent ninety degrees and shoulders on the floor. Raise your hips up until the upper body is straight from shoulders to the bent  knees
  • Push ups either regular or modified (pivot on your knees)
  • Curl ups
  • Arm extensions
  • Leg extensions

Cool down with passive stretching.

Yahoo you have now made it to your SECOND weekend break. Now repeat for next week by doing three days of cardio work and two of resistance training. Be sure to write it all down.

Keep it up for the rest of the month and notice how much better you are feeling about yourself.

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.

220816 Healthy movement

220816 Healthy movement

Healthy movement is beneficial to your body and at its lowest level, even some activity is better than doing nothing. If you are just starting out then gradually build up your endurance with 5 to 10 minute exercise breaks throughout the day. At the 10-minute level, your body begins to adapt and then noticeable changes become evident.

After you are able to exercise aerobically for at least 10 minutes, it is time to branch out by adding resistance exercises to the daily routine. One way to begin is by doing one 10-minute session of endurance work and then later on in the day doing 10-minutes of resistance training.

Alternate between aerobic and resistance training for at least thirty minutes for the day.

The aerobic exercises can be brisk walking, skipping rope, riding a bike or any other activity that is continuous and places a demand on your breathing and heart rate. After you are finished then cool down with static stretches, holding each one for fifteen to thirty seconds. Do this three to five times for each stretch.

For the resistance training start out with body weight calisthenics by doing 3-5 sets of fifteen to thirty bodyweight squats, push ups, calf raises, prone back extensions, curl ups, leg raises or others of your choosing. You can do these in a circuit or one exercise at a time. Stay with it for the full 10 minutes.

If you are over sixty-five, the health benefits of activity are just as important to you as they are to the younger people. Start slowly and build up your fitness levels over time. If you have chronic health problems, work around them and do what you can.

If you aren’t able to ride a bike or have access to a treadmill or other such equipment, then get one of the hand ergometers available at Costco for about $49.00 and exercise your upper body. Do counter top pushups by standing two or three feet away from a counter top and then doing pushups on it.

Do chair sits. Sit in and stand up from a chair without pushing on your legs with your hands as you stand up. Practice sitting down on a chair; standing up, walking away briskly for 10 feet, and then coming back and sitting in the chair again. Repeat this for a minute or more. This builds up leg strength and helps with your balance.

Practice your balance to help prevent falls by walking sideways, standing heel to toe; practicing the stork stand on one leg with the other bent ninety degrees at the hip and knee or any of the many other balancing exercises.

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.

130816 Coordination and Fall Prevention

130816 Coordination and Fall Prevention

The premise is development and continued training of coordination and strength will help prevent falls from occurring.

Coordination is made up of many aspects, all of which contribute to the safe and efficient execution of daily tasks and sport participation. An oft-used definition describes coordination as the ability to successfully accomplish movement patterns that require the interrelated cooperation of various parts of the body to complete. These movements are completed with a minimum of effort and without tension or mental mistakes while doing so.

A properly constructed coordination training program will involve continual learning and subsequent perfecting of the basics which will follow a well thought out plan of attack. Consideration must be given to the following attributes of the program.

Continuous variation of the movement patterns, meaning inclusion of the acts of balancing, throwing, catching, jumping, and marching
Perfection of the basics of coordination as mentioned in an earlier paragraph (maintain a sense of rhythm, spatial orientation…)

Combinations of strength, strength speed, and endurance integrated within the coordination training will use the repetitive methods of achieving success in the development of coordination abilities. By using various methods during practice the body increases its repertoire of skills.

A very basic but productive coordination program is a combination of balance, quick controlled movements, mirroring another’s hand, arm and leg motions or executing familiar exercises in new positions. Other additions to the routine which are phased in on an irregular basis will be adding extra moves to an already mastered technique or exercise or doing them in different conditions such as on a balance pad or with perturbations via personal contact or elastic bands.

Of course each of these suggestions needs to be carefully evaluated by the individual or the individual and their doctor if osteoporosis is an issue. Broken bones derived from an exercise are not conducive to good bone health!
As would be expected the physiological basis of this component of living lies in the synchronization of the neurological motor processes of the body. These processes must function in such a manner as to excite one motor control center without a residual effect on another motor center directing another part of the body. Most individuals include agility and balance in the mix with coordination. Typically one will not see a well-coordinated person with deficits in agility, balance or strength. Additional attributes will also be seen in the coordinated ability to maintain a sense of rhythm, spatial orientation and kinesthetic differentiation along with proper reactions to sound or visual cues.

Coordination training has its roots in diversified movements, versatility and large global, expansive and expressive movements. The more exercises and movements that are mastered the better prepared the body will be to learn more complicated ones in the future. In order to vary the training, incorporate these twelve features into the program. Not all at once though. Explanations and examples follow.

1. Direction of movement changes
2. Vary the starting positions going into the movement
3. Change the finishing positions
4. Utilize larger ranges of movements
5. Fluctuate the pace of movement
6. Place time limitations on the movements
7. Add additional moves
8. Add additional tasks
9. Environmental changes
10. Practice coordination in an environmentally disturbed state
11. Changing responses to various cues for exercises that require a reaction to a signal
12. Performing another movement requiring coordination that upsets the balance and coordination of the previous move.

Direction of movement changes

Once a move is mastered it becomes second nature to repeat. Enlarging upon this natural pattern then becomes the training goal. For example when doing dumbbell curls it is easy to move both up and down at the same time or to do alternate arms but try moving one up for one repetition while simultaneously moving the other up for two repetitions.

Change the starting positions

Every exercise has a start, middle and finish position. A regular squat begins by standing upright with the bar on the back. And it normally ends the same way. Now start it in the down position. You will experience new challenges.

Change the finishing positions

As mentioned before all exercises have the three elements of start, middle and finish. In the previous example we started at the bottom of the lift. Now finish at the bottom instead of in the standing position.

Utilize larger ranges of movements

In some exercises the movements are very small compared to the larger gross movements of the body. The barbell curl can be made into a much greater range simply by ending with the elbows held high at shoulder level.

Fluctuate the pace of movement

Cadence counting is a reminder to keep smooth and on track with the exercise. The use of a metronome is a handy device for altering these patterns. Set one up for 30 beats per minute and keep up with it. Next set it for 50 beats and repeat the exercise or have your trainer or partner count in an off cadence manner as you exercise. The eccentric motion can be at a count of 1,2,3,4 where as the concentric is 1, 2. The next count could be at 1, 2 with the eccentric and the concentric also at 1, 2. The point is to disrupt the natural flow and force the body to accommodate to the new speed changes.

Place time limitations on the movements

This is similar to the preceding but in this case the exercise is executed an exact number of repetitions during a precise amount of time. Jumping up and landing ninety degrees from the starting position four times in fifteen seconds. Sticking the landing and in the correct ending position with each repetition.
Add additional moves

Additional moves added into an already mastered exercise develop the coordination process by adaptation of an altered motor control sequence. Jumping up and down while moving one arm up and the other down, or kicking the legs outward as you move your arms to the sides are examples of such added moves.

Add additional tasks to the exercise

This is a commonly used tactic for trainers on a limited time line. In the military press you could add shoulder shrugs top and bottom as the extra movements

Environmental condition changes

This implies adding extra weight to the athlete, altering the height of an obstacle that must be jumped, doing the exercises in water, in a very limited space or with distractions surrounding the athlete such as noise, crowded conditions in water.

Practice coordination in an environmentally disturbed state

Do the exercises while blindfolded, with added perturbations using tubing, elastic bands or partner disturbances to the balance practice positions. One example out of hundreds will be while standing heel-to-toe have a partner gently tug or push various parts of your body as you remain balanced and continuing on with the exercise.

Changing responses to various cues for exercises that require a reaction to a signal

In this case we are making the body adapt to external cues before performing a maneuver. For instance, a light could signal a squat whereas an audio signal would mean a jump squat was to be performed or both signals at the same time could mean a twisting jump squat where the athlete jumps up and turns a specific number of degrees before landing.

Performing another movement requiring coordination that upsets the balance and coordination of the previous move.

For example, spinning in a circle and then standing on one foot, doing a rolling forward somersault and then standing heel to toe immediately thereafter.

Each of the preceding examples are parts of a coordination training program; but simply practicing coordination is not enough to prevent falls from happening. It seems as though some falls are inevitable. Those that aren’t are the ones we are working on fixing at this juncture. Coordination without strength is an oxymoron; the two are mutually supportive and must be included in any sensible program.

Strength and coordination

A well coordinated person implies adequate strength to maneuver the body in such a fashion as to move gracefully with the utmost of efficiency while doing so. Adding extra weight to the body increases the demands made upon the coordination processes within the organism particularly if the balance properties are being challenged to any degree.

060816 Beginning a Strength Program

060816 Beginning a Strength Program

Often times a person thinks long and hard before beginning a strength program. Along the way these questions invariably arise:

  • How do I start?
  • Where do I begin?
  • What do I do?
  • What exercises should I be doing?
  • How do I do them?

Women generally ask how do I flatten my stomach, get rid of the flab on the backs of my arms or strengthen my bones. Men are asking how to get a six pack and want to know how to bench press more weight.

These questions can be answered by a certified and competent trainer. Notice I did not say just a certified trainer but a competent one as well. A certification from a recognized source such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association implies the trainer has demonstrated superior knowledge, is competent to coach and is well up to the training task. Competency and results are the ‘proof in the pudding’ as the saying goes.

A needs analysis from each participant starts out the process in helping to identify health issues, goals, and previous exercise experience.

Next will be the first strength training session. During this phase each individual is shown the exercises in the correct fashion. The trainee will practice the exercises with little to no weight until the technique is correct.

Properly designed exercise protocols start with a dynamic warm up; not static stretching. Static stretching, as seen with many runners standing on one leg while pulling the other up towards the buttocks, is NOT the way to begin an exercise session. Static stretches relax the joints and the nervous system. This is exactly the opposite desired outcome of a strength program.

Engaging in static stretching before any explosive sport such as gymnastics, sprinting or wrestling is even worse. It opens these athletes up to injury due to the neuromuscular confusion resulting from the relaxation and opening up of the joints.

Dynamic warm ups, on the other hand, involve moving the body and its limbs around the joints range of motion, getting the pulse up and raising the respiration rates in preparation for the resistance exercises. Skipping rope is an excellent way to start because it helps develop coordination and endurance with the use of minimal equipment.

A beginning routine is made up of large muscle group exercises featuring balanced applications of sets and repetitions for both agonist and antagonist groups. After a movement specific warm up where each exercise is performed ten to twelve times do eight to ten repetitions for two to four sets. A set is one group of eight to ten repetitions.

Follow each set with a rest period of sixty to ninety seconds, depending on your present conditioning status and then begin the next set of the same exercise. Move through the list at a steady pace. You should not be in the weight room much longer than forty five to fifty minutes.

Not all exercises will be performed each session but these are the essential ten and form the foundations of any strength program.

Consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.

  • Military presses
  • Chin ups or pull downs
  • Bench presses
  • Barbell rows
  • Squats-only with your doctor’s full knowledge and consent
  • Deadlifts- only with your doctor’s full knowledge and consent
  • Curl ups or full range sit ups- only with your doctor’s full knowledge and consent
  • Back extensions- only with your doctor’s full knowledge and consent
  • Laterals- only with your doctor’s full knowledge and consent
  • Calf raises

Keep a log book of your progress.