Fit Thoughts

Bob's random blog from the gym



Insanity
Albert Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Does that ever sound like your workout? Strength is a learned skill. The adaptations that occur with resistance training are neuromuscular, changes in the nervous system as well as in muscles and tendons. Remember how, when you started working out, you got stronger by the day for quite some time. Your muscles didn't grow appreciably in those first few weeks. That takes more intense training over a longer period of time. It was your brain learning how to apply the strength you already had that improved your functional strength so quickly. A stale workout routine, where nothing changes but the clock, no longer offers the brain the challenge it needs, and you reach a plateau in your training. Changing the routine every few weeks to a few months will keep the brain as engaged as the muscles, and you will break through to new performance.
 
Strength & Resistance
"Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile." Well, maybe for Trekkers facing down the Borg, but for those wishing to improve their fitness level, strength is critical and resistance training is the way to build it. We're not just talking about sports performance. In our daily activities, we're constantly lifting things, moving things, balancing things... and the strength to move, balance, and maintain good posture comes from exercising our muscles. The endurance to run a 5K or 10K race is an important element of fitness, but we need to complement our endurance conditioning with strength conditioning. And for those at risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis, loading the spine and long bones with (appropriate) weight is an important part of maintaining bone health.
 
Adding Instability
Almost anything you can do seated, you can do seated on a stability ball. Many things you can do standing, you can do standing on one leg. Less stability means more helper muscles will be involved in the exercise. A good example is the pushup - a military pushup with hands and feet on the floor is a great upper body exercise. Hands on a stability ball or, more challenging, feet on the ball, adds core conditioning to the pushup, as the abs contract isometrically to maintain balance.
 
Posture
Posture is more than alignment through muscular strength and endurance. Conscious awareness is equally important. For instance, tuck the chin and straighten the torso if you notice or feel a forward tilt. In the gym you can observe your posture in the mirrors from different angles. If you see a problem, correct it and note how it feels. Then, whenever you don't feel that way, you know what to correct and how to do it.
 
Weighttraining
Weighttraining. What an odd idea. You can't train the weights - I've been doing it for years and they don't learn a thing. Knock yourself out, gravity always wins. You can, however, train yourself. Isn't that what we do in the weight room? We train ourselves to acknowledge limits and then overcome them.