Thursday, January 21, 2010

Coming Soon: Sports Tips

Coming soon!
Sports Tips

If you have questions on how to improve the mechanics of a sport, or a particular muscle group for a specific sport related movement, feel free to submit your questions or concerns on the blog site — either via e-mail or as comments to existing blogs.

All inquiries are welcome.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Importance of Cardiovascular Training

Not to long ago, a client of mine had a great epiphany: two hours of cardio per day makes for a healthy person.

When I asked him how he came to that conclusion, he told me how much healthier he was when he was running 10-plus miles a day in the snow wearing shorts.

Now, I am not telling you to go run in the snow, but this client is definitely on to something. Let's take a look at what two hours of cardiovascular exercise can do for you.

  • Increased lung capacity for better oxygenation of the blood.
  • Healthier heart pumps more blood with better efficiency.
  • More oxygen rich blood delivered to the cells and organs.
  • Healthier cells and organs means better detoxification of the body.
  • Metabolism increases when the body is properly rid of toxins.
  • Increased metabolism makes weight loss becomes easier, prevents us from getting sick easily and keeps us from becoming easily fatigued during the day.
  • Feeling less fatigued during the day means we have a positive mood enhancement.
  • Mood enhancement gives us better relationships (work and social).
  • Better relationships makes us a happier people.
So, the next time you wonder why you are —or are not —working out, remember the importance of cardiovascular training.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gain More: Slow Down Your Reps

Looking for better gains? Try going slow.

Slowing your reps down is a great training technique for those exercises that are otherwise difficult to isolate the proper muscles.

Slowing down allows you to squeeze the muscle better at the top of the contraction, which works the desired muscle a bit harder.

Slowing down also recruits more muscle fibers. In the long run, this will make you stronger, so you will be able to lift a bit more.

Slowing down aids in avoiding injuries. If you are not throwing the weights, you won't have to worry about pulling or tearing muscles.

Next time in the gym try slowing down your reps to a 7-second count(3 seconds on the concentric contraction and four seconds on the eccentric).  I think you'll agree you will get a more thorough work out.  If you are already using this count and you still need more gains, try 10 second reps: 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down.

This makes for a very challenging workout, but here is a hint: use a a slightly lighter weight when lifting this slow. Chances are, you will not be able to lift the same weight at slower speeds.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Training Shoulders Properly

I am seeing more shoulder injuries every day, and I firmly believe this is the result of improper lifting.  Let's consider the rotator cuff and look at what exercises can help strengthen and protect it while lifting.

gave a brief description of the rotator cuff and its function last spring, so let's recap: rotator cuff muscles are responsible for keeping the glenohumeral joint in place during shoulder depression.

Here's how that works.  During a shoulder press, the rotator cuff group takes over as we lower our arms and as our elbows drop below 90 degrees. We hold the weight there for a second then we start our lift upward.  The bottom end of this lift is also more rotator (supraspinatus) than middle deltoid. The supraspinatus is a much smaller muscle than the middle deltoid and, therefore, can't take the same amount of stress.

Remember, also, that rotator cuff muscles are part of the shoulder girdle, and three of the four rotator cuff muscles originate behind the scapula.

For as much shoulder lifting as we do, we have to remember to treat our rotator cuff muscles as a separate muscle group. I have found very few people perform specific exercises for their rotator cuff muscles.

Here are a few tips on how to safely strengthen your rotator cuff muscles:
  • With light weight, practice a shoulder press from the very bottom position: elbows at your side and hands by your shoulders.
  • Using a band or light dumbbell, keep your elbow tight to your body and move your arm from your stomach to the outside of your body.
  • Lift light dumbbells and, with elbows bent, lift the weights parallell to the floor. Then slowly rotate the weights upward from the shoulder.
  • Include rows and rear delt exercises in your workout. This way, the rhomboids and rear deltoids assist in keeping the scapula in place — which in turn aids in keeping the rotators in place.
Protect your rotator cuffs by exercising properly.  Repairing is time-consuming, costly and never guaranteed, so avoid injuries in the first place.