Friday, February 23, 2007

STAND TALL …. FLEXIBILITY TRAINING


First a definition of flexibility: A measure of the range of motion (ROM) available at a joint or a group of joints (Cotton, 1997).

This is the most important component of fitness; poor flexibility can lead to many problems like postural abnormalities, difficulty to perform complex movement and many more.

In the past years I understood that people hate to wait and stretch after pumping iron or a jog/walk, especially the guys who train with high intensity weights.

Improper exercise that overdevelops one muscle group whilst neglecting the opposing group, results in an imbalance that restricts flexibility, for example when you train and over develop your chest muscles its flexibility is restricted.

This can have a huge effect on the posture. Do you see people walking with bulging chests and rounded back or inward rotated shoulders? It’s called adopted kyphosis.

For a movement to occur there is a muscle contraction no matter how light or small the movement is.

Imagine sitting in front of the computer or desk for hours every day, when you place your hands on the keyboard or desk your chest muscle contracts involuntarily, this contraction is normally maintained by people for hours without stretching in between. The same happens; adopted kyphosis.

Although always advocated to stretch within workouts, stretching can be performed at anytime of the day. It’s advisable to stretch at home, watching TV, or at office, in order to balance out periods of immobility in positions of poor posture.

Make you body functional … Stand tall with flexibility training...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

LETS GET PHYSICAL


I started workout yesterday!!! Interesting isn’t it? It’s a common statement from a friend while at a coffee. Let’s take a look why people decide that it’s time for them to start working out or get involved in a physical activity. Ask yourself if you fit in any of the category and lets make 2007 an active one.
Enjoyment: This is hard to believe for a beginner. Although there is a little initial enjoyment for a fresher during the learning phase, physical activity should be increasingly enjoyable and rewarding as the level of fitness improves. Experts believe that a light physical activity with the family or friends is a great way to enjoy and get started.
Health: People today are becoming much more aware that exercise has a lot of benefits to their health; also people understand that there are several health related reasons why you have to start exercising. Eg: heart disease, hypertension and stress related diseases. For an individual with such medical conditions it’s advisable to make exercise a part of their lifestyle, or sometimes strongly recommended by there doctor or specialist to do so, following medical examination or illness.
Appearance/weight control: Studies indicates a large number of those who are joining fitness centers or attending exercise session on any means are aiming to enhance their appearance by reducing the fat levels, general muscle tone and posture.
Social/fashion status: A large number of people take up exercise as others are doing so. They simply enjoy the benefits while exercising as a group, they may enjoy working out in a club with a partner or a jog outdoors as a group as often seen at the henvieru recreation area (Lonuziyaarai Kolhu) or they may enjoy attending group exercise classes (Step Aerobic, Body Pump, Body Jam). The positive sign is a number of social exercisers starts to enjoy exercise and continues with the great lifestyle.
Rehabilitation: It may only be following illness or injury, when the need of rehabilitation demands they participate in a workout routine. And its understood that a large number of individuals continue their exercise plan after the specific goal of rehabilitation is met.
General Fitness: Some take up exercise for general fitness goals. They might want to improve their aerobic fitness like to jog a 5km in 30 minutes, some might want to look better by improving their muscle tone, and some might want to get strong or loose body fat.
General Well-being: Have you ever felt lethargic and tired when you wake up from sleep before the day has begun. It is often for this reason people start an exercise plan, to improve their general well-being.
Sports Specific Fitness: Any individual taking up a new sport or an elite athlete have different ways of training out of their sports, it’s a misconception that we believe that footballers cannot train in a gym, a footballer has to train for power, strength and speed on a periodized plane to enhance the performance, likewise all sports has there sports specific training routines.

Despite of the many excellent reasons to exercise it’s surprising to see 66% of the new comers to exercise quit by the mid year which is understood to be lack of motivation to reach your training objectives. Let’s make this year a different one.
Here is the trick to keep you motivated. As a lot of experts believe I would say train SMART, this is the best way to keep you motivated and to achieve you training goals.
How do you train smart? Its about setting smart goals on training, here is how you do it.


SPECIFIC:
Set your goals in a specific area that is to either improve aerobic fitness, flexibility, strength, endurance or fat loss. Don’t just stop after saying to get fitter, be specific in your goals.
MEASURABLE
“I want to reduce fat” is not measurable, but I want to reduce 3% of body fat is measurable, or I want to fit into a size 29 jeans in measurable.
ACHIEVABLE
Your goal must be within possibility. Understand that every human-being is different and you might not be able to do what your friend does. Make sure your goal is within your ability.
REALISTIC
Be realistic, the goals you aim should be within the realistic limits of your performance.
TIME CONSISTANT
There must be a time scale for your goal, set a long term goal and within the long term goal set some short term ones. Like if your final goal is to jog around Male’ in 25 minutes within 10 months. Set some small goals in between, like to cut out 30 seconds from your timing in every 20 days. Once your long term goal is achieved set a new one.

ACHIEVING AWESOME ABS


As we all are looking into the best exercises to trim or define our abdominals there are several exercises which claim to tone & strengthen the abdominal. Then there are these so called AB machines advertised in many magazine which claims to give you the perfect Abs in just few days. Don’t believe the hype.



SMASHING THE MYTHS

Q – Will doing a lot of sit-ups reduce the fat around my waist?

Referring to the popular belief you cannot spot reduce fat from a certain part of your body, this is achieved by a good diet and aerobic exercise with strength exercises.
Yes doing a lot of sit-ups will give you rock hard Abs covered by fat, if you are happy with it.

Q – Will doing side bends reduce my love handles?

NO, Love handles (the pads of fat above the hip bone at the side of the abs) are fat and will reduce only as stated above with a good diet, cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Its not recommended to do side bents. Side bents may develop your obliques (muscle at the side of the abdominals) and there for will give you bigger love handles, as the muscle underneath increases. There has been proven fact that a lots of people who performs a lots of side bents ends up with bigger waist.

Q – Are the AB machines on the market better than a normal crunch?

No, The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recently made a study to see if the fancy Ab training devices live up to there claims. They compared the Ab Roller, Ab Sculptor, Ab Trainer & Ab Works against the traditional crunch using no equipment. The results indicated that the fancy devises on the market made no difference compared to a correctly performed traditional crunch. The researchers of course state that weight loss and muscle definition is achieved through combination of Aerobic Exercise, Strength Exercise & Proper Nutrition as stated above.
It is true that some machines help to perform the exercises correctly but they don’t do anything magical. Any exercise you can do with a fancy Ab machine you can also do without it.

Q – Do I need to do high repetition for greater results?

Depends, you should treat your abdominal muscles the same as any other muscle in your body. If you want your abdominal more defined with large groves in between them you will need to train them with extra weights [ie: holding weights when you do crunches and adding resistance to your leg raises, Advance trainers only please!]. If you want more endurance Abs for a sporting purpose than you may do high repetitions, but its always important to seek advise from your trainer before doing it.

Hope you guys have got the answers for the common myths about the abdominal training.

Reference:
American Council on Exercise (ACE),
Zef Eisenberg Science Publications,
Sports Injuries Prevention & Treatment 3rd Edition.
photography: http://www.nazeee.com/