Although gyms have not reopened yet, things are certainly not as how they used to be and we have to get used to the new rules of working out in public. Gone are the days when we could just stroll in the gym and do whatever we wanted in a carefree way. No, in post-corona times, we must adhere to the new rules of the gym, set out by governments, doctors and fitness experts.
1.The virus can exist on surfaces for over a week so only take the essentials to your gym sessions.
2.keeping your gym gear to the minimum and to “come to the gym in your gym clothes, avoid changing at the gym. Leave any bags you may have in the car, or at home if possible.
3.Bringing your own supplies is also recommended: keep you workout shoes separately in your gym bag and make sure you bring your own water bottles and avoid using the communal water fountains.
4.Wearing gym gloves is also recommended as it makes you less likely you’ll accidentally touch your face.
5.Its important being vigilant and keeping a low profile when working out in the gym in post-corona times.
6.Be sure to bring your own towel to wipe away the sweat to stop any unwanted sweat from flying all over the place.
7.Make sure that you use hand sanitizer in between using different pieces of equipment.
8.Have an organised structure for your workouts.
9.Don’t get frustrated with the gym staff if there are longer waits for equipment or limits on classes.
10.Some gyms have apps that let you check how many people are present, I would really recommend using these features if your gym has them. If not, avoid the peak times.
11.Also recommends taking breaks from the gym every couple of days to avoid injury. Development will be progressive and you don’t want to jump straight back into a full and intense routine.
12.Also suggests alternating between exercising at home and at the gym to further reduce risk of infection. “If you like to do cardio at the gym, go to the park instead. If you enjoy cycling, perhaps consider investing in a bike. There’s also plenty of strength exercises you can do at home that don’t require equipment.
13.Once back home after your session, you might want to clean your clothes/bags and yourself too by jumping into the shower (you don’t have to wash your clothes in the shower). As Dr Suresh says, “Remove your gym clothes and put them on a high temperature wash. You might also want to wipe down your phone with something like an alcohol wipe. Lastly, shower. Do this as you normally would. Make sure you wash all surfaces of the skin gently with warm water and soap.
14.Finally just chill and get used to post corona life.
There’s little evidence to suggest one form of IF(Intermittent Fasting) is better than another and no evidence suggesting IF is right for everyone (ask your registered dietitian for thoughts before diving in). Here’s a look at some common approaches.
Time- restricted fasting: Majority of the day is spent in the fasted state with specific hours allotted for eating. Popular methods include the 16:8 method (16 hours fasting: 8 hours eating) with ranges existing from a more liberal ratio (12:12) to pushing the limits of IF (20+:4).
Research on time-restricted fasting has found reductions in fasting glucose, and improvements in LDL- and HDL-cholesterol. Self-reported hunger was higher in the morning for those consuming a single meal per day, and subjects did not report becoming accustomed to this hunger over the course of the study.
Alternate- day fasting: Alternating between days of fasting (energy-free fluids only) and feasting (no rules).
Research comparing alternate day fasters to individuals on a standard, reduced-calorie diet found that there was no difference in weight loss or weight maintenance over the course of one year. Like time-restricted fasting, alternate day can lead to modest weight loss with possible improvement in metabolic parameters but hunger on fast days is intense and is unlikely to improve over time.
Modified fasting: Across the week, 5 days typical eating and 2, non-consecutive days of intake limited to 20 -25% of calorie needs.
Research suggests that this method results in weight loss, with modest and mixed effects on blood sugar control, blood lipid levels, and inflammatory markers. There is little evidence to suggest that this method produces superior weight loss or metabolic changes in comparison to standard energy restriction regimens.
Should You Try It?
IF is not the only (or even the best) way to lose weight but If food controls every minute of your waking hours and you’re desperate for a hard stop, then IF might be the break you need. Skip IF if you’re prone to overeating after periods of restriction. Individuals with diabetes, other chronic diseases, and (history of) eating disorder should ask their doctor before beginning IF. Athletes beware; research suggests that any form of fasting is likely detrimental to aerobic athletic gains since calories consumed in the hours before a workout are essential for optimal performance, recovery, and muscle gain.
Break the Fast Right
Choices during feasting hours and how you break the fast can make or break your success. Consider this; extended fasting may prompt the body to rely on ketones and endogenous fat stores for fuel once glycogen stores are exhausted. (And we know that followers of keto diets often turn to IF to jumpstart ketosis!). Relying on data from ketogenic dieters who broke their fast with simple sugars, we can theorize to uncover what happens to followers of IF who indulge in all-you-can-eat carbs when the feeding window finally opens. A small, recent study found that keto dieters who broke their ketosis with a bolus of 75 grams of simple sugar carbohydrate experienced vascular damage and inflammation suggesting that an influx of carbs after periods of fasting could push your health in the wrong direction.
To give yourself a break and ultimately move closer to health goals, plan ahead rather than eating everything in sight. Try easing back into eating with a ketogenic shakes or meals as your first choice. A keto or even a very low carb, high protein plate may better prevent an immediate blood glucose spike which can follow a plate full of mindless simple sugars. As your eating window continues, follow the advice of many fans of IF who report better progress when following a lower carbohydrate plan during eating hours.
Here’s another reason to encourage exercise enthusiasts not to overtrain. New research shows that cognitive fatigue is as much an effect of overtraining as physical fatigue.
To evaluate whether overtraining can “tire” the brain, researchers at l’hôpital de La Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris compared the effect of normal training with training overload on the ability of 37 trained male endurance athletes (average age, 35 years) to make decisions. In addition to offering questionnaires, investigators used fMRI scanning to measure brain activity during cognitive exercises.
Data analysis confirmed the researchers’ hypothesis that training overload might affect the brain in much the same way as prolonged intellectual work. Over trained athletes felt more fatigue overall and showed more impulsiveness in decision-making and less ability to defer rewards, even though this conflicted with longer-term goals. Brain scans revealed lower activity in the brain region related to cognitive control. The study authors concluded that their results provide causal evidence for a functional link between enduring physical exercise and exertion of cognitive control.
The study appeared in Current Biology (2019; 29 , 3289–97).
Finding a way to reduce hip dips iѕ аn iѕѕuе with the majority оf women – a сlоѕе second tо cellulite that affects almost 90% of women. And it iѕ also probably just аѕ disliked.
Whаt Are Hiр Diрs?
As its name ѕо clearly indicates, it is a dip or an inward curve that starts just below the hip bоnе and extends till the upper thigh. Whеn you lооk аt the outline of a hip, уоu will ѕее it clearly.
Nеvеr hеаrd оf it? Perhaps you mау know it by one оf itѕ several other nаmеѕ: violin hiрѕ (rеfеrѕ to the inward curving wаiѕt of the violin), hiр dents, shelf hips, or figure 8.
Apparently, the hiр dip iѕѕuе is ѕо common, it hаѕ itѕ own scientific/medical name – it iѕ аlѕо called “trochanteric depression”.
Hiр dips саn bе саuѕеd by уоur ѕkеlеtаl оr muѕсlе structure and even genetics. Whatever the саuѕеѕ might be, following these workouts will definitely help.
Evеn though you саnnоt completely reduce hiр dips, you саn dо еxеrсiѕеѕ that will mаkе them lеѕѕ noticeable.
For еxаmрlе, if уоu have lоvе handles and lоѕе them, your hiр dips will bесоmе lеѕѕ еvidеnt. So the best thing fоr you tо dо iѕ try to tоnе uр уоur thighs and lоѕе excess belly fаt ѕо that they bесоmе less noticeable.
Some women wеаr padded panties in оrdеr to fill-out the dents, but that iѕ just a tеmроrаrу solution.
If уоu really want a more permanent solution it’ѕ bеѕt tо dedicate yourself tоwаrdѕ a рrореr workout routine and healthy еаting diet.
This might not work fоr еvеrуоnе, as еvеrуоnе’ѕ hip dips саn bе duе tо different rеаѕоnѕ.
The only thing with this solution is that there isn’t really a muѕсlе lосаtеd directly where уоur hip dips аrе but it iѕ possible to bulk uр уоur side bооtу muѕсlеѕ tо the point where it fillѕ out the dents.
Exercises That Help Reduce Hip Dips
Thеrе аrе two muѕсlеѕ that аrе in the viсinitу оf the hiр dips, and they аrе the gluteus medius and glutеuѕ minimus. Thе following exercises will target these areas in оrdеr to help fill out the dents:
1. Side Lеg Liftѕ (20 reps with each leg)
Liе on a mat on уоur lеft ѕidе with уоur lеgѕ fully extended and the right foot rеѕting on tор оf the left fооt.
Rest уоur uрреr bоdу оn уоur lеft elbow with fоrеаrm and раlm behind your head.
Slowly lift уоur right lеg so that together, уоur lеgѕ form a wide V shape.
Lower уоur lеg bringing the feet together and rереаt fоr 6 ѕеtѕ оf 20. Switch to the right ѕidе between ѕеtѕ.
Expert mode: Use ankle weights.
2. Donkey Kicks (20 reps with each leg)
Come tо an all fours position оn the mаt with palms down. Kеер your spine straight and extend уоur right lеg fully behind уоu.
Yоur bоdу should bе supported bу уоur arms and your left knee should rеmаin in the kneeling position. Continue for 6 sets оf 20, again ѕwitсh lеgѕ between ѕеtѕ.
Expert mode: Use ankle weights.
3. Bodyweight Squats (20 reps)
Stand with fееt hiр-width араrt. Feet should bе fасing forward. Lower уоur bottom as if about tо tаkе a seat. Bе careful tо keep your ѕрinе straight and tо nоt lеt уоur knees extend beyond уоur feet. Rеturn tо standing and rереаt fоr three ѕеtѕ оf 20.
Learn more about how to perform a correct squat.
Expert mode: Use a barbell and do barbell squats.
4. Lungеѕ (20 reps with each leg)
Bеgin bу standing up straight with уоur shoulders back and rеlаxеd. Kеер your gаzе fасing forward and remember to engage уоur соrе.
Next, step forward with your right lеg lowering уоur hips until both knees аrе bent аt about a 90-degree angle. Mаkе ѕurе уоur front knee is directly аbоvе your ankle, nоt pushed out tоо far, and mаkе ѕurе уоur left knee doesn’t tоuсh the flооr.
Maintain your bаlаnсе bу keeping the weight in уоur hееlѕ аѕ уоu push bасk uр tо the starting position. Repeat fоr 6 ѕеtѕ оf 20 reps, switching legs between sets.
Expert mode: Hold two dumbbells in your hands.
Give these еxеrсiѕеѕ a try. Evеn if уоu dоn’t manage to reduce hiр dips, уоu get the muѕсlе building bеnеfitѕ that come with a gооd workout. As an added bоnuѕ, regular exercisers generally fееl more confident than couch роtаtоеѕ
Sо even with уоur hip dips уоu can ѕtill feel beautiful, just don some duds that flatter уоur special figure and rосk them like you аrе walking the runway.
The summer is almost here and maybe you’re wondering what are the best bum exercises to perform for a round and toned butt. Well, we’ve covered this for you. Below are 5 of the best exercises for buttocks and for all the muscles in your upper legs.
5 Bum Exercises
These great exercises will help tone your butt and legs to get you one step closer to your perfect booty. Add any of these 5 moves into your workout at least 4 times per week, or follow the program presented at the end of the article for maximum results.
Also, make sure your diet is as healthy as possible, and that you’re doing some cardio to burn extra calories if you need to lose some weight.
Stand straight with hands at your sides.
Take a step forward with the left leg. Make sure the leg bends at knee until it forms a 90 degree angle.
Squeeze your glutes for 2 seconds.
Get back into the starting position and repeat with the right leg.
Do 15 reps for each leg.
You can hold dumbbells in each hand to make it more intense.
2⃣ Donkey Kicks
Start on all fours, hands shoulder-width and knees hip-width apart.
Raise left leg and press your heels back as far as you can, keeping the leg straight.
Squeeze your glutes for 2 seconds.
Slowly return to starting position but keep the left knee slightly off the ground.
Perform 15 reps then switch for the right leg for 15 more.
3⃣ Fire Hydrant
Start on all fours, hands shoulder width and knees hip-width apart.
Keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees all the time, lift your left leg to the side until your thigh is parallel with the ground.
Squeeze your abs and glutes as hard as you can for 2 seconds.
Return to starting position but keep the left knee slightly off the floor.
Do 15 reps with the left leg, then 15 more with the right leg.
4⃣ Inner Squat Pulse
Stand with foots shoulder width-apart, toes pointed outwards and arms straight by your side.
Squat down and keep knees in line with toes.
Maintain your spine straight throughout the entire exercise.
When in squat position, pulse up and down (4-6 times).
Stand back up to the starting position. This is one repetition.
Do 15 reps.
If you want to make it more challenging, hold a dumbbell in front of you with both hands. Or you can pulse up and down more than 6 times in one exercise.
5⃣ Weighted Bridge
Lay on your back and hold a plate (or a dumbbell) on your hips.
Place your feet under the knees, at shoulder-width apart.
Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings while pushing through your heels to lift your hips off the ground.
Hold for 2 seconds, then slowly get back to the starting position.
To redefine your butt shape in just a month, you need to repeat these 5 bum exercises daily. Here is how a month full of bum exercises should look like:
Week 1: 3 sets x 5 bum exercises x 15 reps each / day.
Week 2: 4 sets x 5 bum exercises x 15 reps each / day.
Week 3: 4 sets x 5 bum exercises x 20 reps each / day.
Week 4: 5 sets x 5 bum exercises x 20 reps each / day.
You can continue to add more reps or sets to your butt workout if you decide to follow this program for more than a month. It is really important to always challenge your muscles. Even if you add just 2 more reps to each of these 5 bum exercises from one week to another, it’s still a progress!
Sadly most women when they think about fat loss think the following.
“I need to lose fat,” the first associations they immediately make are two fold:
1. I have to do cardio.
2. I have to diet.
Due to this mindset, 95% of people who want to build muscle and lose fat are doomed for failure before they even start.
Without a doubt, when it comes to losing fat and building muscle, nutrition is a huge factor. As well, high intensity cardio does have it’s place. And yes, (I can’t believe I am going to say this) steady state cardio can be beneficial for some people.
However, the BIG thing that most people are missing in their fat loss equation, is lifting weights and strength training.
This is a big mistake as lifting and building muscle should be the backbone of your focus even when your goal is fat loss.
Here Are Reasons Why You Need To LIFT Heavy Weights To Lose Fat.:
Muscle = Metabolism.
You won’t build much muscle with cardio, so if you want to build muscle you have to lift.
The more lean muscle you have, the more you’re going to use calories to support everything you do. Think of muscle as the engine of your body. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn.
I always say to my students, “think of it this way, what burns more gas a tiny car or a big truck?”
Simple, the big truck.
So it’s important to look at how many calories you are burning 24/7 by having more muscle.
From what I have read, the average pound of muscle burns 50 more calories a day.
Being a doctor my math skills are pretty bad , but even I can figure out that if I add 5 pounds of lean muscle, I will burn about 250 additional calories a day.
That’s 7,500 calories a month and 90,000 calories a YEAR.
So it’s simple, add lean muscle.
And for you ladies that are reading this, I promise you that adding 5 pounds of muscle will not make you look like a female bodybuilder.
Calories Burned Post Workout:
Think about this for a second. When you do a 30 minute jog or machine cardio session, how many calories do you think you need to RECOVER from that workout? How long until you are recovered from that?
Think of a metabolic workout of battling ropes, slam balls and body weight exercises. There is no doubt you will burn a few calories, but after a few hours your body goes back to normal. I think Metabolic Conditioning has it’s place and has benefits but the base of your training should be lifting weights.
Now let’s think about a big leg workout. Let’s say you did nothing for an hour but bar squats.
How long are you sore and recovering from that workout before you don’t curse one flight of stairs.
Bottom line is this, weight training does more “damage” to your body. Your body in turn, has to use a lot of energy repairing that damage, then rebuilding, and coming back stronger.
The better the workout = more calories burned for the next 2-3 days while your body recovers.
Calorie Expenditure Of The Workout:
Let’s say you train for 1 maybe 2 hours a day, 3-5 days a week. Most people can get 45 minutes to an hour to train, so we need to get the biggest “bang for our buck” when it comes to rate of return on that workout.
If you were investing money for the future, you would want a good rate of return. So when it comes to investing in your body and fat loss, you want to invest in exercises(DRS) that are going to build muscle, burn fat, expend calories, and of course, be fun and enjoyable.
If your idea of fun is watching tv and getting on a treadmill for an hour, then that’s great, but it’s not for me. Been there, done that, and never doing it again.
Nothing will get you better results in training and results than the following exercises.
– Overhead Pressing
Your workout should pretty much consist of variations of these exercises, 3-5 days a week.
The leanest athletes that I train at my gym FiiTNESS PLUS do little to NO steady state cardio. They train with weights, they train like athletes, but we do NO steady state cardio.
To be strong you want to minimize steady state cardio and focus on maintaining strength and building/keeping muscle.
In my opinion too much “Cardio” will diminish strength, especially steady state cardio.
I guarantee you will not find a competitive weight lifter or powerlifter that does a ton of steady state cardio and in the lower weight classes for these weight lifting based competitions they are muscular and lean.
Focus on basic movements, with the goal of getting stronger and getting faster.
Follow a good program(DRS) that is proven to work, and focus on lifting Heavy Weights over steady state cardio as your main method for fat loss.
Always remember that the more muscle you have the more calories you burn. Make building muscle and getting stronger your priority in training, not burning calories and doing cardio.
Every year, we see old bad ideas repackaged as new ideas, and new ideas that just are not true. Strength and conditioning is a big market for education, and many promote borderline ideas (with good intensions) that just don’t pass the test of time. A number of good ideas look great on paper because they are linked to science, but they are not backed by science. Several ideas and concepts in sports training are worth pursuing, but putting too much effort into the minor details is beyond foolish—it’s just not productive.
In this article, I cover few concepts that are good to know, but not worth your time to worry about. Training principles are about steady rules that help athletes develop, not ways to glamorize training sessions to the point that they’re more hype than substance. Again, I believe that all the methods below have value and I use them in DRS training, but if we are making 1-3% improvements a year, what can be said for the value from minor components of those training elements?
How I Chose the List of Hyped Theories
These topics are not areas that I don’t like; in fact, I address each training theory and believe that these areas have important value. My main problem is that the topics have reached rock star status in training without really delivering much more than a secondary benefit. A fear of mine is that you will see this as a list of myths, rather than a list of very small variables that have an overinflated importance in performance training or rehabilitation.
This is not a Top 10 list either—it’s just a group of ideas that seem to linger too long in social media debates and get way too much attention in coaching education. All of the topics are important to read more about and actually use in training and rehabilitation, but not get too crazy or excited about. Again, I believe in the details and value of the concepts below; I just don’t want the expectations to be so high that when they fail to be magic, coaches no longer value the methodologies.
My suggestion is to read my take on the topics and be honest with yourself: Do you like the theories because they fit your own biases or agendas, or do they deliver a massive advantage or result? Other ideas and concepts could be on this list—like suspension training, animal flow routines, and whatever the flavor of the month is with stretching—but here are my few concepts for now.
I am amazed at the number of coaches who poke fun at corrective exercises but still do them, just with different naming conventions, and who have spent years promoting them as part of their screening solutions. Exercises or training programs are the points of connection for change. What we saw more than a decade ago was regurgitating physical therapy exercises from rehabilitation into a prevention option or a “fix” for problems that may not have existed in the first place.
Most of the corrections consisted of getting a muscle to work better, teaching a motion that was a “movement impairment,” or acting in a way to restore posture. So far, most of the exercises simply wasted time and turned rugged athletes that were fine into mentally frail patients. Now the new normal is to use conventional training in a clever way so it’s a corrective process.
The primary issues with corrective exercises is that they are low in load, low in usefulness, and based on a faulty interpretation of the evaluation of athlete movement. Dysfunctional patterns are easy to find if they are new movements to an athlete, but give an athlete a few tries to learn a body motion and the “faults” will likely change. It’s not that the athlete was dysfunctional to begin with; it’s most likely the screening was just a foreign or odd movement they hadn’t rehearsed before and it looked awkward.
I was duped years ago into believing that wall slides were an insurance policy for shoulder health. The exercise was great in theory, but it was just a strict bodybuilding movement without loading.
Core Training and Stabilization Training
I wrote one article on core training to save everyone a lot of money and time. I have spent 5 lakh since the 2000 year on training education, and the core was one of the biggest wastes of money and still haunts me. If I could do it over, I would spend most of the education money I wasted on core to simply go on vacation and visit coaches. Still, today we see massive amounts of videos and manuals on how to train the core, and the sad truth is that the market is still ripe for the taking. I am not saying don’t invest in core training, I just want to make sure your expectations aren’t out of control.
The biggest issue I have with core training is not the increase of core exercises, as variety is the spice of life—it’s that it over promises to reduce injuries and increase performance. If the experts simply said that they were sharing a refinement to address some of the needs of training, I would be fine, but they are just changing the notes to the same song.
Today, breathing is the new core training, and we see countless athletes blowing up balloons yet still blowing out their ACLs. Conversely, not working on the diaphragm if it’s truly dysfunctional is negligent as well. Bashing respiration education without evaluating an athlete is just as bad as making breathing training look like it’s a panacea.
I was convinced that the core was sacred and the center of priorities, but the truth is that our body was designed well. Direct work may just be excessively redundant due to the fact great training usually recruits the core without having to apply more training. My word of advice is to have a few routines that develop core qualities, use options that maintain the athlete’s improvement, add in a few exercises for variety, and leave the hype alone.
Exotic Conditioning Principles
Ten years ago, a focus on energy system development morphed into a near-mystical realm of voodoo physiology. Soon coaches believed they were seeing adaptations to the mitochondria, capillaries, and even the heart wall. I believe the science because the textbooks said the adaptations occurred, but the issue is that the workouts were not hard or long enough to elicit those changes.
Coaches presented four weeks of conditioning and these “blocks” were labeled “Cardiac Development Phase” and other wonderful names, but 8-10 sessions of running can’t turn a high school kid into an aerobic machine. During the same time, the awareness and popularity of heart rate variability started to grow, and soon everyone was overdosing on aerobic conditioning and expecting to build monsters. The results were not there, and we are back to doing junk circuits, fatigue repeat sprints, or long trail runs that are supposed to be spiritual.
Today, we still have issues with conditioning being a little bit raw and confusing, but the good news is that the “energy system” myths are being squashed, thanks to great resources like researcher blogs and other . While I love distance events and road cycling, coaches are more interested in supporting power with conditioning than following guidelines for endurance sports. Simple field testing, basic running programs, and solid practice design for team sports are the name of the game. Don’t be lured into thinking someone is doing something special when they are likely just slightly more experienced and skilled.
Overzealous Barefoot Training
I use minimalist shoes and do barefoot warm-downs, but this is extremely limited in dose and duration. There have been fractures, overuse syndromes, and a general lack of performance changes since all the books and experts pontificated the wrong message. Yes, we are born barefoot and our ancestors likely went barefoot, but walking around outside in the wild is far different than doing plyometrics and sprints with oversized NBA players now.
Besides barefoot running and other locomotive activities, just walking around barefoot and doing exercises in the gym as some sort of passive corrective osmosis were also promoted. The same people who wanted us to do wall slides also wanted us to walk around barefoot, and some teams who didn’t do their due diligence on cleaning the locker rooms and facilities discovered that staph infections can ruin seasons and careers. Barefoot activities in the woods may be a different story, but in a congested area, it was simply an accident waiting to happen.
The truth is that the barefoot training hype was unable to live up to the promises made, and now everyone seems to have moved on to whatever the top apparel companies are selling. Injuries are possible with barefoot training, so do it with caution as it’s not something you should jump into.
Activation of Gluteal Muscles
The best example of poor scientific understanding was the decade of glute activation, starting in the early 2005s when firing muscles was all the rage. What happened was simple: Coaches looked at some research and simply couldn’t connect the findings properly into training. They ended up doing isometric bridging to the glutes to solve problems that were just a function of bad training, rather than the absence of magical exercises. True, the development of gluteal muscles is harder to accomplish than, say, the quadriceps, but if you are going to solve problems, a focus on heavy training is much better than fluffy “correctives.”
Activation exercises, and specifically the glute bridge, were some of the biggest wild goose chases in sports training. You can make the argument that it was the gateway drug to barbell posterior chain training, but for years, coaches kept putting the same recipe in, and expecting the same dish every time.
Activation was probably the result of coaches reading the wrong article and thinking that aligning a single round double leg bridge would “neurologically charge” the glutes for the duration of the training session, similar to drinking caffeine. However, the effects were local to one muscle group. Like potentiation, the expectations were that the athlete had to “turn on” the muscle group and that lifestyle factors would turn the muscles off, like sitting in a car.
There are many options in training the glutes and other posterior chain muscles, but the idea of a quick fix faded. I am not sure if activation is dead or if it’s been reinvented, but the concept is a failed solution to a problem that may never have existed, except in the weak and untrained.
I believe isometric training has value, but not to the point that it triggers massive gains in strength and size uniquely. Isometric contraction exercises, known as “tension training,” were huge during the 1940s. As barbells and other solutions grew in popularity, the interest in isometrics shrank to just planks and other abdominal training.
In the early 2005s, isometrics made a comeback due to several popular coaches promoting near-impossible results, and after a few years of YouTube and seminar tours, the influx of isometric exercises became the hot way to train. For years, split lunges for super long hold times became the fashionable exercise, and we even saw dangerous bench press methods proliferate as well.
The addiction to extreme isometrics is a classic case of an old idea resurfacing with a twist—usually a more demanding component with a few tweaks for marketing and sizzle. Isometric training is a valuable tool, but like any modality its contribution is a small percentage of the entire program, not the backbone of a system.
Isometrics, along with DRS, is now gaining ground. It is important to know that the right education ensures it’s not an overdose, but the right amount of time under tension. Isometrics is again growing in interest because of triphasic training, but instead of being a focal point, it’s a part of the process.
Flexibility and mobility training are parts of preparing for sport, but since the mid-2000s we have seen a rise in self-mobility that goes beyond addressing a need and into promoting a falsehood. Mobility is about restoring the range of motion in a joint with care and intelligence; it’s not something you do arbitrarily because you see drills or movements on a YouTube channel. For the record, I do think a therapist should sometimes assign self-care, but this can’t be scaled effectively or done without the presence of a coach.
From what I have experienced, we are now seeing a rise in “Mobility Gone Wild,” with joints that are inflamed and permanently damaged due to excessive joint manipulation and aggressive self-treatment. It’s not that joint mobility is a massive risk or not worth doing—it’s just that the wrong information placed at the wrong time is not terribly effective.
Hip labrums, upper spines, elbows, and ankles are all areas that therapists are seeing more and more complaints about from athletes doing too much self-care. Most of the issue is that athletes equate pain with a lack of mobility, when the reality is that sometimes most of the referred pain is just overuse syndrome and inflammation creating discomfort, and overreacting makes the problem worse. When athletes let fear and emotion drive their self-diagnosis, contraindicated movements that actually cause real damage to joint surfaces become the bane and not the antidote.
Nearly every time an athlete felt tight, we looked at the training load and decided that a few days of pool workouts and easy training would restore their range of motion. Anatomy is the prime driver of the way a joint moves, not the inclusion of endless drills that resemble a corrective exercise. My suggestion is for you to work with a PT that is local and has expertise, rather than do everything on your own or prescribe too much therapeutic movement as a coach. If you are a sports medicine professional, hand out mobility exercises like you’re dispensing medication, as joint work isn’t the same as wellness activities like walking and recreational strength training.
Do Your Own Homework
Decide for yourself what you believe in, based on experience and evidence. Most of the concepts listed here are popular ideas that simply became a trend because of agendas. Some ideas are well-intentioned, but influencers took them too far with alleged importance and validity. Some ideas and concepts are viable options, but they are so minor in their impact that they are not worth the spotlight they are given. On the other hand, dismissing something entirely because there is not enough evidence in the research may just be the fault of science failing to understand the mechanisms to create a proper study on it.
In general, this list of topics is a great example that trends and hype don’t just occur in fashion, but in all professions and areas of our culture. Doing what is right for your athletes or your own training will sometimes seem rebellious because it’s easier to join the masses and follow the leader, but blind faith in the wrong direction is a lousy idea. Do what works and know how it works, and leave the trends for the fashion industry.
Grab your anatomy book and look up the word “core”. You won’t find it. That’s because the entire concept of Core Exercises is a made up marketing term. Your “core”, as the term is commonly used, can refer to anything in your mid-torso. This includes muscles such as your rectus abdominis, your lower back, and the internal and external obliques. The truth is, there is nothing special about working these muscles that make them any more important than the muscles in your limbs, upper torso, or any other part of your body.
Working your ‘core’ is supposed to bring about a whole lot of health benefits. A simple Google search of “benefits of a strong core” brings up these results:
“Core exercises improve your balance and stability.”
“Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities.”
“Core strength is the ability to support your spine and keep your body stable and balanced.”
“Core strength allows you to perform manual tasks safely and effectively in everyday life.”
Those seem like relatively innocent claims at first blush, but think about it for a minute. Consider the claim that “Core exercises train your muscles to work in harmony.” What on earth is it supposed to mean for your muscles to “work in harmony”? Have you ever experienced attempting to do a task and finding that one of your muscles simply fails to cooperate? If you experience that level of loss of executive function, you need a neurologist, not a yoga mat. What they are most likely trying to refer to here is your brain’s ability to learn skill patterns, and direct your muscles more efficiently. This is something that your brain learns to do through repeated action, not something that you can ‘train’ your muscles themselves to do, and not something that will come about due to a stronger torso.
Core strength is also often cited as being responsible for improving balance and coordination. An article by Reader’s Digest Best Health claims that “when you’ve got a strong core, ‘everything else will fit into place on top of it,’ meaning your overall fitness will improve, making you less prone to injury down the road.” This simply doesn’t make sense. Nothing in your body is going to “fit into place” and become stronger on its own without taking direct action to make it stronger. To strengthen your entire body and improve your overall fitness, you need to do a training regimen that targets your entire body.
The big idea behind strengthening your core to improve balance is that you can “stabilize” your spine by working the muscles there. However, balance is a skill. It has more to do with your brain than your muscles, because your muscles don’t make decisions. You don’t learn to balance while riding a bike by doing lots of squats and crunches, you learn to balance while riding a bike by riding a bike. Your brain learns which muscles to engage to keep you balanced. While there is some correlation between your ability to balance and function and the condition of your muscles, it is not more important to work your abdominal muscles in this regard. It is just as important to strengthen and tone your hips, shoulders, and legs.
This same flaw in logic is what brought us the idea of “spot reduction”. You don’t improve balance by targeting only one muscle, and you don’t get rid of fat by targeting only one area. Spot reduction is the idea that you can get rid of fat in a particular area of your body by concentrating your exercise in that area. But your body just doesn’t store and use energy that way. When your muscles need energy to work, they don’t just grab it from the nearest pile of fat. Fat is burned when the calories that you are using are outpaced by the calories you are taking in.
According to Matt Brzycki in A Practical Approach to Strength Training, “Managing your weight boils down to the mathematical interplay of two variables: caloric consumption and caloric expenditure. If you consume (eat) more calories than you expend (use), you’ll gain weight. If you expend (use) more calories than you consume (eat), you’ll lose weight.” What this means is that you are not going to get rid of your gut by exclusively doing crunches.
While it is certainly important to strengthen and improve your abdominal and lower back muscles, it is not more important than training any of your other muscles. In order to improve coordination, balance, performance, and health, you will see more results by strengthening your body in a balanced way with a strength training program that targets all of the major muscle groups by doing a comprehensive total body workout and not just Core Exercises.
If you’ve never tried super-slow weight training, you’re missing out on a superior method of muscle growth. Learn more about this effective training method and what “super-slow” really means.
What if I told you super-slow weight training could work your cardiovascular system to the same intensity as sprinting while also building muscle and superior strength and the same time? What if I also told you that you could improve your insulin sensitivity and growth hormone production simply by changing your routine and how you structure your sets and repetitions? Do you think that would be something you might be interested in?
Here is what you need to know:
Traditional steady state cardio is very hard on the body and can lead to chronically high levels of cortisol and cause the body to cannibalize hard earned muscle.
Fast twitch muscles store the most glycogen, so in order to discourage fat storage we need to deplete our excess glycogen store and focus on working these motor units.
Traditional weightlifting may not adequately stress muscles enough to optimally trigger the adaptive response needed to stimulate growth.
So, how can you address the limitations above, stimulate growth hormone production, build muscle, and get a far superior cardiovascular workout? Easy, simply replace all or part of your normal routine with full body super-slow weight training sessions.
WHAT ARE SUPER-SLOW WEIGHT TRAINING SETS AND REPS?
Unlike regular weight training sets where you complete a certain number of reps, super-slow sets are usually done for time, with the goal being to do one continuous set for one to two minutes without stopping. Also, instead of using a speed of 1 second up and 1 second down, super-slow sets use a speed of 3 to 5 seconds up and 3 to 5 seconds down, or even 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down.
So what are the benefits of super-slow reps?
Below are four primary benefits of using super-slow reps and sets:
BENEFIT #1: CONTINUOUS TENSION
Using super-slow reps keep the muscles under continuous tension causing all muscle fibers and motor units to be recruited in the movement. This causes a superior pump and a deeper level of fatigue.
BENEFIT #2: SUPERIOR AEROBIC STIMULUS
Super-slow reps provide a superior aerobic stimulus by causing your body to circulate a large amount of blood and oxygen in an attempt to supply the muscles with enough fuel to maintain the movement. (If you do these sets properly you will feel like you have been sprinting)
BENEFIT #3: FAST TWITCH MUSCLE FATIGUE
Super-slow reps deeply fatigue fast twitch muscles which can cause an increase in the muscles ability to store glycogen. This can help normalize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. The result is that your body may resist turning excess sugar to fat helping you to stay lean.
BENEFIT #4: TRIGGER GROWTH HORMONE
Super-slow reps can trigger a superior growth hormone response by getting your muscles closer to complete failure. This signals your body to build more fast twitch muscle fibers. Researcher Dr.Suresh believe that this may have an anti-aging effect on the body due to every cell in the body receiving additional growth hormone. As we age, the body experiences “somatopause,” a natural process where our HGH production declines. It becomes incredibly important over the age of 30 to stimulate these systems in the body regularly to help build new tissue.
So what is the overall take away? Super-slow reps can provide a far superior cardiovascular workout to steady state cardio. It may also provide a greater stimulus for muscle growth than traditional reps and sets due to the deep level of fatigue that is created. There are a three things to keep in mind though: 1) high intensity reps like these are not meant to completely replace your normal routine. It is a tool to be used periodically to jump start growth and improve cardiovascular health; 2) super-slow training is very hard on body, so increased rest is recommended between sessions; and, 3) You will need to use a much lighter weight to ensure that you can control the weight through the full range of motion.
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It’s a question a lot of people have when training:
“I’m hurting after that workout yesterday, so do I ice it or use heat?”
It’s inevitable: you stretch and stay hydrated but you still sometimes get injured during a workout. So what do you do with the nagging pain, do you ice it or use heat?
Cryotherapy (cold therapy) and thermotherapy (heat therapy) have long been the choices for relieving pain, but they are appropriate for different situations.
Much of the choice depends on the person and the injury, but a little basic knowledge about each strategy can help you make the right choice every time.
What Happens When You Ice?
First, let’s take a look at what icing actually does to your body. Skin receptors pick up different sensations, like pressure and temperature. Our skin has more cold receptors than heat receptors.
When the skin senses a cold temperature, it activates the cold receptors and these block some of the sensation of pain.
Icing also causes vasoconstriction—the narrowing of blood vessels. This decreases the blood flow and helps to slow down the inflammatory response. When an injury is inflamed, the area may be swollen, red, and warm to the touch. Applying ice helps to reduce or even prevent the inflammatory response.
When to Ice…
There are a few different situations in which you should use ice:
If theinjury is acute, or sudden, you use iceto help relieve and prevent swelling by reducing blood flow to the area. For example, if you sprain your ankle working out, reach for a bag of frozen peas to reduce the swelling. The sooner you ice, the better the effect will be.
Ice can also be helpful for many soft tissue injuries. For example, ice after a tough exercise to relieve muscle soreness and shorten recovery time.
Icing is also a useful way to recover from surgery by reducing swelling around the site; just don’t put ice directly on the incisions.
When icing an injury or after surgery, do it as soon as possible and for up to 72 hours for the greatest effectiveness. If swelling persists, see your doctor.
When Not to Ice…
Icing is not always the best solution. There are some situations in which you should avoid the cold pack:
Stiff joints. Do not use ice to relieve stiffness. Doing so will actually increase stiffness.
Pre-workout. Don’t ice before you exercise because it will mask pain, causing you to end up with more damage. An exception is if you need to stretch for therapy and recovery purposes, icing beforehand can help increase your range of motion and reduce pain.
High blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, icing can raise both your systolic and diastolic blood pressure because of the decrease in blood flow in blood vessels.
Wounds. Don’t apply ice to open wounds. Cold doesn’t help wounds heal any faster and, in fact, could impede the healing process.
Poor circulation. If you have problems with circulation, such as Raynaud’s, take care when icing. The vasoconstriction can decrease circulation even more.
Anesthesia. Don’t ice areas that have been treated with local anesthesia. You won’t be able to feel pain, which means you could be damaging nerves or getting frostbite without realizing it.
Chronic Injuries. Ice is best if used for acute injuries. Icing chronic injuries, such as low back pain, is not beneficial.
How Long and How Often Should You Ice?
If icing is the right choice for your injury, there are a few things you should know before you get started.
Don’t ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. It isn’t beneficial once past a certain point. Icing for 15-20 minutes is optimal.
There is also some evidence that icing intermittently can be helpful for pain relief in acute soft tissue injury, so if needed, you can even do two 10 minute sessions.
The length of time to ice the injury can also depend on the injury and the person icing. If the injury isn’t deep, you don’t need to ice for as long. The deeper the injury the longer you need to ice.
For example, a finger injury needs less ice time than a hamstring injury. You should also make sure you leave enough time in between icing applications for your temperature to return to normal.
If you have any sensitivity to cold you may not be able to ice as long. Icing for too long can cause frostbite and tissue damage. If your skin starts to turn red and splotchy you may have iced for too long and it’s time to stop.
A Few Icing Strategies
There are a few different methods you can use to ice injuries. Frozen ice packs are easy to use and will mold to the shape of the body part you are icing.
Ice cups are another easy way to use cryotherapy. You can even make your own with paper cups. Just add water and freeze. Apply the ice at the top of the cup to your injury site and tear back the paper as the ice melts.
You can use a wrap to hold ice or a cold pack to your body. This helps keep it in place, but as an added bonus the compression from the wrap makes the ice more effective.
If you are sensitive to the cold, add a barrier, like a thin cloth, between the ice or cold pack and your skin. This will protect your skin, but may cut back on the effectiveness. When icing for muscle soreness after exercise, you can take an ice bath, but these are not for the faint of heart.
Ice is great for a lot of injuries, but what about heat? There are some situations in which heat beats cold.
What Happens When You Use Heat?
Heating is often used as a therapy to help relieve pain and promote healing. When you heat an injury, the warmth causes vasodilation—the widening of blood vessels. This increases blood flow to the injured tissue, which in turn increases the amount of oxygen and speeds healing. As a bonus, heat therapy is soothing and relaxing.
When to Heat…
Heat therapy is best used for injuries that are past the acute stage. After 72 hours, or after the swelling has gone down from the initial injury, use heat to trigger the healing response.
If you have a chronic or reoccurring injury, you can also use heat for pain relief. Heating also can help with stiffness; the increase of blood flow from the vasodilation can help to increase flexibility.
When Not to Heat…
As with icing, heat is not right for every situation. Heat shouldn’t be applied to a new or acute injury. This can cause an increase of blood flow to the injury and create more inflammation. Don’t add heat to any injury that is swollen or inflamed.
How Long Should You Use Heat?
You can apply heat for 15 to 30 minutes, but the time may vary depending on the method of heat you use. Always have a barrier in between your skin and the heat pack. This is important to prevent burning. If it feels too hot, add another layer.
Check for comfort every so often to be sure that you aren’t getting burned. The applied heat should not be so hot that you feel uncomfortable.
How to Apply Heat
Applying a heat pack to the injured area is a good way to transfer heat. Again, you will need a barrier between your skin and the heat pack. You can also use a Jacuzzi for some hot water, which is the best option for whole-body heat therapy.
Both heat and ice have their place in training. Know how each one affects injuries and you will be able to make the right therapeutic choice for yourself and for your training clients. Some situations may be more complicated, and if you aren’t sure what to do, follow the advice of a doctor or physical therapist.