The main benefits of strength training, the first most positive benefit of strength training is it will increase that metabolism that people want elevated. The caloric expenditure per day, which is going to lead to the ability to generate more loss of body fat is probably one of the best benefits that strength training can do. And a lot of the general public still don’t know about it. The most obvious one is, of course, the improving of physique. That’s what most people actually want in strength training is the physique. Of course people, who don’t think physique is worth working on, I would probably switch that towards posture. I put that in the roll of physique is posture. People take it for granted that poor posture is just an aspect of aging and that’s not necessary true. It’s just that when musculature is not being used and not being worked, then like any other type of gravitational concept, its going to drop lower and lower and lower. The worst form of poor posture known to humans today is improper exercise patterns /techniques. The bad trainer or coach, or the useless group x class is making this more progressive.
I tend to see poor posture with most of the office workers with sit down jobs. This leads to the atrophy or the shrinkage of the muscle tissue. Sadly this leads to altering ones mood. We tend to see that people tend to be a lot happier when they feel better. I am a professional and I train and educate people who are looking to get fit, lose 20 pounds, who have arthritis, people who have other types of joint disorders alike. When we do a proper strength program, it causes protection and the ability to take away some of these pain aspects upon the nerves. I tend to see people with osteoporosis, as well osteoarthritis. Some think the strength training would further impact or maybe make some of the pain factors worse. This is so far from the TRUTH when done correctly and under the right supervision, it actually improves joint integrity. Weight training 5 -days per week or more will elevate positively the outlook upon life. Strength training also improves the output upon physical performance, as well as the overall factors of improving just movement in itself. So can muscular development actually increase flexibility?
Absolutely!! So those are some major benefits of strength training that maybe some people are not thinking about that can really aid in terms of overall functioning.
A stupid buzz word. However great for marketing! Center of gravity a person’s center of gravity, it’s been around for many, many years. A lot of people think it’s another term for abdominal workouts and its not. However, core is actually 29 hip muscles not just your abdominals. It deals with your back portion of the spine called your spinal erectors. It deals with the gluteus maximum, which is your butt. It deals with your hamstrings, the upper thighs, that we call the quadriceps, as well as the sides, which are the love handles, which are the inter-costals, as well as the obliques. It goes way beyond this as well. Training core properly is in a standing position, and you can’t see any of those muscles in a mirror! That’s more of your core. Your abs really are more superficial, and that’s not core. . What you really need to do is to make sure that you truly work more the lower limb area, because the rest of the time, the spine will maintain itself, because it usually does. And it works as a stabilizing mechanism, or more of support factor, where, in this case, it’s going help you keep everything aligned and make sure that the abdominals are working in conjunction with the rest of the body for you to do your activities. So… core exercise is really nothing new. As long as you have a well rounded exercise program, you’re going to work something called the core.
If you were going to ask me, what in my opinion, is the best core exercise for you, I would say walking up stairs. And people would probably be flabbergasted to figure out that’s actually core body stability work? Absolutely!!! You’re working coordination, you’re working balance, you’re working flexibility. You’re actually working abdominals. You might not be bending at the spine, doing a sit up or some kind of major type of abdominal type of workout, where the abs truly get worn. But you are working abdominals as you walk up the stairs, because, again, it takes a lot of work for your abdominals to maintain the leg lifting. And that’s a lot leg lifting. So instead of just going on the ground and doing abdominal exercises, (a waste on my watch) you’d probably get more caloric burning and probably a little more caloric expenditure through fat utilization if we start walking steps for longer period of time versus doing maybe 30 seconds of sit-ups, getting them overly fatigued thinking you just worked the core.
What we tend to see atare activities longer than an hour: long distance running, long distance cycling, that we can actually burn off muscle tissue. So it sometimes becomes counter productive when we have people who want to get some bulk in certain areas, but, yet, again, whatever bulk they have they’ll use because they’re on the elliptical for over an hour and a half; they’re on a Jacobs ladder for an hour and a half. And they don’t realize that usually at around the hour time they’ll switch to a different fuel system and we’ll go from a majority of maybe some fat storage and some carbs and we’ll now start saving on some of the carbs and the fat and we’ll start going with protein because your body thinks it’s getting a little excessive. So, therefore, another reason why we look at sports specific athletes, you don’t see extremely muscular and bulky long distance runners. You don’t see bulky and muscular tri-athletes. You don’t see really muscular developed type ultra- endurance type of athletes based upon these fuel systems switching over a period of time.
Generally, what we tend to see bio chemically is that when we’re trying to use up body fat, it’s very very difficult for the body to take it at a specific site. So a good general example of this is when someone starts to do some running or do some brisk walking, most women, not always, but most women, will start losing fat around the neck, around the cheek bones, around maybe the shoulders, before it even even touches, aspects, what they would think of legs – as it is a leg motion. Most women think that it will affect the legs. Not necessarily. Why? Because the human body loses fat in the reverse order that it puts it on. So, based upon that and how the body works we tend to say that there is not such thing as spot reduction. So the best thing that I would advocate is a combination program where we are working caloric burning, as well as, strength. So as we are losing at certain areas, we are also showing a little bit of hypertrophy, or increase, or tone and definition of that muscle cell or cells, so we are seeing a little bit of definition improving on those body parts that people want to see. So, if it’s the arms, and people are complaining that their arms are soft, or they’re not really toned, should they specifically be working on just arm exercises? I would say you need a combination of both, which is working a little bit of muscular development through some toning or some strength training of arm exercises as well as a very moderate cardiovascular fitness program to accentuate some of the metabolism of the fat loss.
Muscle and fat are two different components. So just because one is lost does not mean the other one turns in terms of the other. So that’s another false statement… ” if I don’t exercise muscle turns into fat” or if I do exercise fat turns into muscle. They are two separate tissues! So one can increase, one can decreases and vice versa. Or they both can technically increase too. So we can build muscle and we can build fat at the same time. Especially if you’re doing strength training but you have an excessive amount of caloric type consumption that we are going to be storing away calories. So we can actually, unfortunately, do both.
You would be amazed if you were to go to maybe a regional bodybuilder contest and see 70 and 80 year old bodybuilders, who still have very good tone and definition, low amounts of body fat and good range of motion. They are just normal. They just happened to adapt a very healthy life style. And they happen to watch what they eat. They happen to train at higher intensities than what older people would want to train at. And that’s still extremely, I would say, unacceptable right now for even most exercise scientists. They don’t want older people training aggressively and training very intensely. This is probably going to be the new theme in the next 10-15 years, where we’re going to see more and more studies showing that older people can train extremely intensely. They can train extremely with short bouts and high intensity and heavy lifts and still get some great overall effects from that. It’s just that, they have to be a little more cautious than, of course, the younger person who’s maybe doing a very similar routine. But we’re probably going to see more and more of these type of implementations for older senior fitness involved, because, again, more and more studies are coming out there where showing that it’s going to improve their exercise metabolism, its going show that, again, its going improve their reaction time, its going to improve their coordination and their balance, and its going to give them overall probably feeling of wellness and positive self esteem. Because they still think sharp and they still can react quicker than possibly someone who’s not doing a physical workout routine.
There have been many studies showing that exercise can make people smarter – what we call cognition. We need to develop an exercise program that causes more of cognitive, or what we call thinking components. We need to change up different types of exercise that makes you think about the intensity, duration and the type of mode. This way you are causing more neural factors to be affecting more of the brain stem. We encourage people to do a variety of activities, to make changes in their workouts, to include different types of new training systems. Change up your routine and change up your exercise, try different workouts. Yes, exercise can make you smarter. Made me smarter!
Things have changed over the last several years regarding strength training and pregnancy and to this day even though there are some researchers out there who have some documentation and studies showing how different types of strength training can be effective with soon-to-be mothers, I am on the side of caution where they ought to be still using moderate to light weights. They should be supported either through a machine, or maybe very light type weights where they can handle without being on their back, without putting any kind of compression on their spine, without having to place a whole lot of emphasis upon standing or gravitation forces. So if they could be in a seated position, if somehow they could be in a supported machine, if they could be in proper alignment where, again, it’s not putting any kind of undue pressure upon the spine, the lower back, upon the abdominal girth, then women in their second and third trimester can still perform resistance exercises. They can, even though it was contra indicated meaning it was against that 15-20 years ago. Things have now changed. I would probably side on the error of caution with doing certain types of cardiovascular exercises as long as they monitor their heart rate. But we do have women out there who will be running up until the day they deliver, but that tends to be extremely on the aversion side and I really truly won’t recommend that.
I probably would not advocate any kind of real true strength training – maybe muscular endurance training, not working on the strength. So I would really push more of toning, the high repetitions, the lowering of the weights, probably in that period of the second or third week, versus going towards more of a strength training routine. Maybe after the sixth week I think they would be fine with the strength training routine. Strength training, post natal, muscular endurance for new moms, past the post partum period of 6 weeks, I would say that they are able to do truly anything that any female can do. I would be cautious about those women who maybe had C-sections, as long as they get checked out by their OBGYN, making sure that if they had a C-section and they are okay to have exertion upon the lower extremities, then it would be fine. But that would be probably the only cautionary note that I would make. But anyone else who had normal vaginal deliveries they should be fine with doing any kind or form of strength training as long as they are able to get a clear clearance from their physician.
Functional training is a term that’s been around now for going probably 10 years and it’s just another term for what is going to allow you to be able to do your daily routines without pain and without pain as effectively and efficiently as possible. That’s functional training. In regards to athletic performance, functional training would be taking an athlete and allowing them to do their best effort in as least resistance as possible. So if we take a golfer and we want to apply functional training, we’re going to advice certain of resistive exercises… maybe through dumbbells, maybe through barbells, maybe through power sticks weighted type medicine balls, maybe through cable work to elicit and identify movements that are going to be related to what they do. For the average human being, functional training would be something that you do on a daily basis. If it’s climbing upstairs, we want to be able to mimic that. If it’s carrying luggage, we want to be able to somehow identify and replicate something of that movement. When it comes down to occupational type things, those are the things that functional training is most the effective for. There are just normal people who aren’t professional athletes like waiters and waitresses, who should be doing functional training at the gym. Meaning they should be concentrating on those joints and the muscle groups of what they’re going to be using during their occupation. If they think that way, they’re going to be more efficient, they’re going to have fewer workers comp claims and they’re going to have fewer injuries.
We tend to see carpal tunnel as a major factor in waiters and waitresses, in computer work, and dentistry. Because they’re carrying 40, 50, 60 pound plates on their wrists and their wrists were never trained to carry that kind of load. And with that load as a repetitive type of motion over and over and over again, then, over time, if you ever watch waiters and waitresses who haven’t been doing their functional training, they’ll put their trays in a place on their shoulder. So not only are they having wrist and elbow problems, now they’re having shoulder problems. What people should say is … what do I do on a regular basis and what should I be doing to incorporate certain exercises to fix that? So on the job, if you sit behind a desk and that’s your job for 6-8 hours to sit behind desk, then you should be working on things that involve the shoulder, things that involve the upper back, things that involve the lower back, its pretty obvious that when you sit in a chair, things start to ache, and things start to cause pain within a period of time and your able to withhold and withstand and tolerate these pains if you strengthen these muscles groups (correctly) in the off time at the gym, in the fitness facilities that truly is functional training. When we’re taking a certain type of workout routine and your taking any type of protocol and you’re using so, therefore, you’ll be efficient in terms of whatever you’re doing outside the gym – that’s functional training.
Over the last five to ten years there’s been a lot of research and a lot of studies showing there are differences with regards to muscular development and reproductive functions, however with regard to physical activity and training there are no differences. There are times where men are going to be different from other men and there are going to be women who are going to be different from other women. However, with regard to gaining strength, gaining muscular endurance, gaining tone, definition, flexibility and body composition you can train together and I would encourage all genders to train together to get accomplished goals. In other words, there really shouldn’t be any diverse training systems that are strictly legitimized for just men, or just woman only.
Dave Parise CPT FPTA MES