Not getting results you want in the gym? You need to shake up your workout!

Not getting results you want in the gym? You need to shake up your workout!

This article outlines one of the major principles of how to get change with exercise over time, and that is progressive overload.

But, what does this mean?

When you exercise, the normal response from your muscles is to cause some disruption of the muscle fibres. 

This is normal and should happen and is what can lead to DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) the day or two after exercise.  Over then next couple of days, the body repairs and builds the muscles up to a higher state than before so it can withstand greater load.  So, the next time we exercise, we are able to do more than originally and need to be challenged to have further gains.

Variety is very important to both keep an exercise program fresh and to facilitate further changes in your body over time, however, there are 3 major things that should be kept in mind for a long-term program:

  • You need a good base of strength in the major postural muscles – A good, strength-based program should be the foundation of any exercise program. If you do not have a good base of strength in the core stabilisers, such as the core stabilisers (the multifidus and transversus abdominis muscles) and the pelvic stabilisers (gluteus maximus, medius and minimus), you just won’t get the full benefit of your gym program and have the potential for back injury.
  • Moderate changes each time, don’t over do it – Progressive overload, means exactly that, progressive changes. It is important to make incremental changes in your program each time, not huge leaps every time.

    For example: if you are running, change either the time, speed or hills, not all over these at once.  Changing all these aspects at one time leads to injuries such as tendinopathies (breakdown of the muscle tendons), which can take months to recover and really pull you backwards.

  • Regular assessments are very important – The only way to know how you are progressing and to make such you are on the right track is with regular assessments with your instructor/health professional. Initially every 6-7 weeks, then after a while, at least every 3 months means that you are always on track and the exercises appropriate for what you want to achieve.  It is the job of the instructor/health professional to see the things you do not see and adjust your program accordingly.

So, if you are serious about getting the most from your workout in the long term, make sure these principles are a foundation to your program.

Want to know more?

If you want more information or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au

Not getting results you want in the gym? You need to shake up your workout!

Recently a friend approached me with a pretty standard conundrum: he wasn’t seeing any results from the work he was putting in at the gym.

Work Out Tip – How Many Sets/Reps Should I Complete

Work Out Tip – How Many Sets/Reps Should I Complete

The number of sets and reps that you do for each exercise is highly dependent on what you are wanting to achieve out of your training program.

Someone who plays a high intensity, power based team sport such as netball or basketball would ideally want to increase their strength and then progress to improve their power and speed. However, perhaps you enjoy hiking or running marathons where endurance based program is more suited to allow you to continue at a constant speed for longer.

Here is a description of each fitness goal to allow you to select the correct sets and reps for your gym program:

• Endurance- Ability to maintain a certain activity at a constant speed for longer
• Hypertrophy – Increasing the size of a muscle
• Strength – Ability to move a certain amount of weight
• Power – Ability to more a certain amount of weight quickly

The following table demonstrates the required number of sets and reps needed to focus on each specific goal:

Fitness goal Sets Repetitions Rest between sets
Endurance 3 15-20 30 sec
Hypertrophy 3-4 8-12 1 min
Strength 4-5 6-8 2 min
Power/Speed 5-6 6-8 2-4 minutes

Make sure you read our previous article ‘What weight should I choose’ http://www.mdhealth.com.au/weight-using/ and you will be able to apply this general rule of weight selection:

“If the last 2 reps of each set are hard to complete without losing technique you have the correct weight however, if it was too easy to complete or you could not complete all of the repetitions your weight is too light or too heavy!”

Written by Beth Chiuchiarelli
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health

Common Exercise Technique Mistakes

Common Exercise Technique Mistakes

This Week: The Push-Up

Push-Ups are one of the most commonly prescribed upper body exercises as they can be performed anywhere with no need for any exercise equipment. However because of this many people perform push-ups on their own, with no supervision and may be unaware of any technique mistakes they may be making, reducing the effectiveness and safety of the exercise.

1. Dropping The Lower Back and Head Forward

When performing a push-up it is important to use your trunk and neck stabilising muscles to maintain a straight line through your body. If you don’t do this, you will place extra pressure on the lower back and neck which can result in pain and injury.

2. Sticking the Backside in the Air

Some people will cheat on this exercise by keeping their backside up in the air as they go down onlinepharmacytabs into the push-up. A straight line should be maintained through the body, throughout the movement. If you are unable to do this, reduce the difficulty of the exercise by performing it from your knees rather than toes or reducing the depth of your push-up to the point where you are able to maintain good technique and control

3. Hunching Shoulders and Neck

People with poor strength in the stabilising muscles around the shoulder blades will tend to shrug their shoulders up towards their ears as they perform the movement. To avoid this keep your hands right under your shoulders and think about keeping your shoulders down as you go through the push-up.

For more information check out our Workout Wednesday video on “The Perfect Push- Up”

Written by Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist

Time Efficient Exercise

Time Efficient Exercise

We are all busy and can struggle to find time to fit everything in to our day, so when it comes to exercise we want to get as much from our workout as possible. The following tips will help you to make your workout more time efficient, whether it is in the gym, swimming, cycling or going out for a run.

1. Time Your Rest Periods Between Sets and Exercises

Sticking to a set rest period between your exercises at the gym or work periods when doing interval training will not only improve the efficiency of your workout, but it will actually improve your program as rest between sets is a critical exercise variable. Use an alarm on your phone or wear a stopwatch to keep your rest periods on time during your workout.

2. Superset Your Exercises

Supersets are a great way to make the most of your time in the gym. This can be done by alternating between sets going from an upper body exercise straight into a lower body exercise. This allows you to complete two exercises in the time it would have taken to do one, while your upper body is recovering between sets your lower body is exercising.

3. Have a Planned Workout

When you go to the gym it is good to have a plan of the exercises or planned out the amount and type of intervals you will perform when running or swimming. Having your exercises written down and ticking them off as you do them ensures that you don’t waste time during your workout wondering what to do or doing more than you really need to.

4. Leave Your Phone Behind

With today’s smartphones and social media just a finger swipe away, having your mobile with you in the gym can be very distracting and can slow down your workout. It is very easy to use your phone to procrastinate and while you should be doing your next set of squats you are too busy telling your friends on Facebook that you are at the gym!

By Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates

Correct Bike Set Up to Prevent Cycling Injuries

Correct Bike Set Up to Prevent Cycling Injuries

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

Injury Prevention Advice For Runners

Injury Prevention Advice for Runners

Running is a popular form of exercise to improve cardiovascular fitness and is performed by a wide range of people. Here at MD Health we often see clients who have injuries from trying to return to running or after completing large amounts of running without appropriate preparation. Here are some handy tips to prevent injuries for people who are preparing to run a marathon, half marathon, their first 5km run or even those looking to just give it a go for the first time.

Select Appropriate Footwear

It is important to consider the type of shoe you will be wearing when running to ensure it is appropriate for your foot type and running style. For example if your feet are somewhat flat and pronated, you may require a shoe with more support through the arch, or if your foot posture is quite normal you may be able to run in a shoe with little structural support. Running in a shoe which is not suitable can lead to many injuries including plantar fasciitis, shin splints and knee pain. Ideally you can get this checked by a qualified professional such as a sports podiatrist who can guide you towards selecting an appropriate shoe rather than just choosing the shoe which looks the nicest!

Manage Your Training Load

Monitoring your training load is important to continually improve towards your goals but also to ensure that you are not over training and placing yourself at risk of over-use injuries which we often see in recreational and competitive runners. For someone just starting regular running, intervals of jogging then walking is a good way to ease your body into running and then gradually increase the jogging time vs the walking time until you can run a certain distance continuously. For the recreational or competitive runner training for a 10km fun run or marathon event, slowly building up your training load and recording your distance, time and how you felt after each run is a good way to monitor for any signs of over-training during your preparation.

Strengthen Your Body

Because running is such a repetitive movement, it is important to have adequate strength and endurance in the main muscle groups involved in running. This includes appropriately strengthening your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes to ensure you have power and strength in these muscles to accelerate. It is also really important to have a good level of pelvic stability to prevent lower back pain when running as there is a lot of pressure on this area when running. This would involve having good strength and control of your glutes and abdominal stabilising muscles.

Quality Over Quantity

Many people think that running for longer periods of time is the best way to increase your fitness. However in the untrained runner this can lead to a lot of injuries as running with poor technique when fatigued can place excessive pressure on the joints of the body including the knees, ankles and hips. It is far better to run with good technique at a slightly higher intensity for a shorter period of time as you will not only use more calories but also reduce your risk of injury by not excessively loading your joints.

Written By Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates

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