Many people perform resistance training for a variety of health and fitness goals including strength, power, muscle mass and muscle endurance. But how should you vary your resistance training program to make it specific to these goals? This article will help you be more specific with your resistance training when you are at the gym no matter what your health and fitness goals are.
Training for pure strength gains requires performing exercises with close to maximal resistance for low amount of repetitions. This form of training requires very good exercise technique and control and should allow longer rest periods between sets to ensure this is maintained.
Power training involves performing exercises with fast explosive movements, often with low to moderate resistances to allow for this high speed of movement. Power training should only be performed by people with a sound strength training background as it requires a sound level of base strength and excellent technique to be performed safely.
When the goal of training is to increase muscle mass or muscle hypertrophy (increasing size), a moderate amount of repetitions should be performed using moderate to high loads. As you progress with this type of training, rest between sets should be reduced and the frequency of training should be increased whilst still allowing for one days recovery between training sessions.
To train a muscle for endurance, low to moderate loads should be used but the amount of repetitions should be high to cause muscle fatigue. The amount of rest between sets should also be limited to promote faster recovery and increase muscle endurance.
Written by Jack Hickey Exercise Physiologist at MD Health
A frozen shoulder is a condition characterized by inflammation, scarring and tightening of the connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint, usually resulting in a large loss of shoulder movement. Frozen shoulders most commonly occur in people over 40 years of age and typically affect women more than men.
Causes of a Frozen Shoulder
The exact cause is not known, but it is thought to occur following injury or damage to the shoulder joint or adjacent soft tissue. In these cases, a frozen shoulder is more likely to develop if the initial injury is not treated appropriately.
Signs and Symptoms of a Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulders can generally be divided into 3 phases, each of which can last a number of months:
1.Pain – the shoulder typically becomes painful with most movements, and may also start to stiffen.
2.Freezing – a marked loss of movement of the shoulder, coinciding with scarring of the shoulder joint capsule. Patients typically experience difficulty when elevating the arm or taking their hand behind their back. Pain may decrease noticeably during this phase.
3.Thawing – In this final phase, the shoulder spontaneously begins to ‘loosen’ up and movement to the shoulder is gradually restored.
Treatment for a Frozen Shoulder
Once a frozen shoulder is established, little can be done to accelerate its course. Treatment is aimed at minimizing pain and maintaining range of movement and function. One of the key components of treatment is sufficient rest from ANY activity that increases your pain.
Prognosis of Frozen Shoulder
Most cases of frozen shoulder tend to settle after a number of months. In severe cases, symptoms may be present for 18 months or longer. Usually the painful stage of a frozen shoulder lasts 2 – 6 months. The frozen phase approximately 4 -12 months, whilst the thawing phase may last an additional 4 – 18 months.
Cycling is great way to improve your cardiovascular health and fitness as well as increase your leg strength. When starting out cycling for the first time or returning to cycling after an injury, it is important to ensure that your bike is set up correctly to prevent musculoskeletal injuries. Cycling on a bike which is not set up correctly or is an inappropriate size can lead to a range of musculoskeletal injuries which are common in cyclists including lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain and elbow pain.
Correct seat height is probably the most important variable when considering bike set up. If the seat is too low it can cause knee and hip pain as well as inefficient cycling as it will not allow for full contraction of the leg muscles. If the seat is too high it can cause lower back or pelvic pain from rocking in the seat due to overstretching the legs to try and reach the pedals. When sitting on your bike your knee should be slightly bent at about 20 degrees of knee flexion when at the bottom of the pedalling action.
When setting up the height of your handlebars you should be able to maintain a relatively neutral spine, which refers to a small phentermine 37.5 concave curve in lower back and small convex curve in upper back. Being in this neutral position with the spine will reduce the risk of lower and upper back pain. So for recreational cyclists who may prefer a more upright sitting position, a slightly higher handlebar height is more appropriate to maintain a neutral spine, where as competitive cyclists generally prefer a more crouched position, so a slightly lower handle bar height will allow them to maintain neutral spine.
Your handlebar position should also be considered so that you are not over-reaching for them when cycling. They should be in a position so that when you are cycling you can firstly maintain neutral spine as mentioned above but also have a small bend in your elbows and you are able to keep your shoulder blades down and relaxed. This will be important for preventing excessive shoulder and neck tension as well as elbow pain and discomfort when cycling.
This article provides just some brief guidelines to prevent cycling injuries. To get your bike set up or cycling posture professionally assessed, many local bike shops will be able to provide you with more specialised advice to prevent injuries and optimise your cycling performance when out on the bike.
Written By Jack Hickey Exercise Physiologist at MD Health
Benefits of Resistance Training for Elderly People
The benefits of resistance training for health and fitness are well known, especially for increasing strength and power. Often people only think of resistance training as being appropriate for young athletic individuals; however there are a number of very important benefits for the elderly population.
Weight baring exercise such as resistance training increases bone mineral density, which is very important for elderly people as this can help prevent the decline in bone mass with aging and prevent diseases such as osteopenia and osteoporosis. This means stronger bones and less risk of bone fractures which are often debilitating in the aging population.
Prevent Loss of Muscle Mass
As we get older, we experience a decline in muscle mass known as sarcopenia. This often results in significant declines in strength and function with increasing age. However it has been shown that regular resistance training can help slow and even partly reverse sarcopenia in elderly populations, meaning improved strength and function to perform daily tasks such as getting in and out of a chair.
Reduce Falls Risk
Resistance training should also include exercises to challenge coordination and balance. This includes exercises such as standing on an unstable surface such as foam and performing exercises such as bicep curls or squats and trying to maintain balance. This sort of training will help to prevent falls by improving balance and coordination, significantly improving functional capacity in elderly people.
Improve Health Status
Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and COPD are common in elderly populations. Regular participation in resistance training has also been shown to have positive effects on health status for people with these conditions, especially in terms of improving quality of life and functional capacity.
At MD Health, we offer seniors Pilates classes at a discounted rate between the hours of 11AM – 4PM Monday to Thursday. To book a free initial assessment, call us on 9857 0644.
Written by Jack Hickey Exercise Physiologist at MD Health