Archives for posts with tag: smart exercise for men

Stretch3

 

What really is flexibility? – Well to put it succinctly – flexibility is a measure of the range of motion around a joint or series of joints. Flexibility is usually most limited by the joint’s physical structure which includes the bone, connective tissue and muscle. And what’s most important is that both men and women can improve flexibility with training.

It is truly important for all of us and especially those of us in our ‘prime’ to make flexibility training a regular part of our workout routine – or as I like to say our ‘Living Well’ commitment.
Did you know that there is scientific evidence that the incidence of injury actually decreases when we include flexibility training in our regular daily routines? The reason for this is that flexibility training gives us an enhanced ability to move better through a wider ROM – or range of motion.
The last thing that any of us wants to do is lose our mobility as we age, and the simple fact of the matter is that flexibility decreases as we age. Being flexible and mobile increases and enhances our lives as we age and helps ensure our independence. In addition – flexibility reduces our chances of experiencing occasional and chronic back pain.
Increased flexibility can increase and improve our performance of everyday activities as well as our performance in exercise and sport. It can also reduce our risk of injury during exercise or our daily activities because muscles are more pliable and supple. Further – flexibility training helps balance the musculature of our body and improves our posture!
Keep in mind a few things:
• Stretching should be included after every workout to improve and maintain overall flexibility.
• Stretching should never be painful – remember it is best to bring your muscle to a point of tension and above all-  breathe through your stretching.
•Don’t cut your stretching short – doing so is just cutting yourself short. Stretch for at least 5 – 10 minutes, preferably longer than shorter. This is esp. true for all of you ‘prime’ time stretchers out there.
•And for optimal results give ‘dynamic stretching’ a try – this involves using increasingly dynamic moves through the full ROM of a joint.

Activities such as Pilates are great to incorporate into your daily stretching and strengthening routine – remember Joe Pilates used to say that ‘a man is as old as his spine is flexible!’.
If you need some further advice don’t hesitate to contact me.

imagesSummer is in full swing and the 4th of July is almost upon us. Being cool and staying cool this summer is probably on your mind. With the plethora of ways to stay cool this summer and be cool – make sure that you keep hydration on top of your to-do list. Outdoor activities and exercises are a great way to take advantage of the warm and sunny days of summer. Did you know that the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has determined that for every 1% body mass you lose through ‘sweat’ that your heart rate ticks up 3 beats per minute which of course means that your heart has to work harder?

Staying hydrated is your best defense – hydration helps your body hold in more water and thereby allows your heart not to work so hard. That means if you really like the outdoor strenuous activities, hydration is VERY helpful and will actually allow you to exercise with a higher intensity. Remember that it’s important to hydrate before your workout – not just during your workout. Something interesting to do would be to weigh yourself before you begin your workout and then again after your sweat inducing workout and make a note of how much ‘sweat weight’ you actually lose. Then the first thing you should do before your next workout is to take in that amount of water first. While water is your best go to choice for hydration the following liquids work as well!

Iced Coffee – that’s right I said ‘Iced Coffee’ – some recent research has noted that regular coffee drinkers (3 – 6 cups per day) get just as hydrated from coffee as water – and you also get an endurance boost from the caffeine.
Coconut Water – offers the same amount of hydration as a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink and water.
Watermelon Juice (my personal favorite) – Just 17 ounces before exercise can lead to less soreness after your workout. You can make this with seedless watermelon and a blender!

Oh and one other thing – when your outside – please don’t forget the sunscreen! Remember a proper warm-up and stretching is key to maintaining your flexibility and long term positive effects of your workout – especially in your Prime!

Back again with some more gym equipment that would be best for you to avoid gentlemen.

The Seated Lat Pull Down (behind the neck): This machine is supposed to train your upper back, back – (think lats) and biceps. The problem is that unless your shoulders are extremely flexible it can cause an impingement in your shoulder joint and possibly even damage the rotator cuff. Further prime males most of us, even the ladies have some form of a rotator cuff injury or tear by the time we reach 50 anyway – so why make it worse? If you are insistent upon using this machine then do the pull down in the front leaning back slightly with a straight back and engaged torso for support. Better yet – why not try incline pull-ups? Begin by  placing  a bar on a squat rack at waist height, grab the bar with both hands and then hang from the bar with your feet stretched out in front of you. Next, keep your torso engaged and pull your chest up to the bar 10 – 15 repetitions. You can make this exercise more difficult by lower the bar or easier by raising the bar.

Smith Machine Squats: This exercise is predominantly supposed to train your legs – (hamstrings, glutes, quads). What actually ends up happening is because the bar is attached to a vertical sliding track – the movement arc is very linear and therefore does not create a natural or arched movement plane. This unnatural movement then puts undue stress on not only the back but also the knees and the shoulders.

A better alternative would be to do body weight squats where you focus on descending (squatting) with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back. You can do 15 – 20 repetitions per set and increase sets as you get stronger.

Seated Hip Abductor Machine, Seated Rotation Machine, Seated Leg Press.

  • The Abductor machine is supposed to train your outer thighs – what actually happens is that because you are seated it trains a movement that has no functional use and if used incorrectly it could put undue stress on your spine. A better alternative, place a heavy, short looped resistance band around your legs and sidestep out 20 paces and back with control.
  • The Rotation Machine is supposed to train your abdominals and obliques – what actually happens is because the pelvis doesn’t actually move with your chest it can put excessive twisting forces on your spine. A better alternative would be the cable wood chop, letting your heels turn freely with your torso.
  • The Leg Press is supposed train the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings – what actually does is force th spine to flex without engaging any of the necessary stabilization muscles of the hips, glutes, shoulders, and lower back. Abetter alternative would be body weight squats. Focus on descending with control as far as you can without rounding your lower back.
Stay tuned for part III!