Get In Shape With Ageility
2/10/2020 – By: Chris Parchmann, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Specificity of Fitness Training Programs
What’s the only think smarter than getting in shape? Getting up to speed on all the techniques, training theories and even tricks that can make it easier and more efficient to achieve your fitness objectives. At Ageility, we are passionate about helping adults to unlock their physical potential and we are focused on crafting great solutions to meet each individual athletes’ specific needs. It’s helpful to partner with experts like our therapists and trainers to understand how to avoid injuries, and to understand some of the secrets of effective fitness training.
Specificity is a great example of a theory or idea that can really make one’s training program more effective. In the context of fitness, specificity refers to the concept that the types of training undertaken should be tailored specifically to the activity in which improvement is desired. For example, if you are looking to improve your tennis game you might want to focus on specific exercises for racket strokes such as the dumbbell fly, reverse fly, and the wrist flexion and extension. This probably seems obvious, but we are always surprised by how often fitness programs are undertaken without considering what the desired end result is. The better we can define this, the more likely we’ll all be pleased with the results.
Our trainers and therapists are adept at helping to identify key joint actions, muscles, energy systems, and injury sites most relevant to a particular sport. The more similar the training activity is to the actual sport movement, the greater the likelihood that there will be a positive transfer to that sport. Running can be improved with unilateral lower body exercises such as lunges. Jumping can be trained through power cleans and back squats. Ball passing and dribbling is trained with upper body exercises such as the bench press with various width grips, triceps pushdown, and reverse curl.
Working with a qualified trainer can make putting together a good program much easier since the mechanics of the human body can be complex and can start seeming overwhelming very quickly. Leveraging specificity begins with a strong understanding of the human body’s anatomical planes of movement. Sagittal plane, for example, is an anatomical boundary that runs parallel to the longitudinal axis from the head to the feet, dividing the body into left and right sections. Joint actions that occur in the sagittal plane are flexion and extension. Some examples of sagittal plane sport activities are sprinting, kicking, and throwing. Frontal plane is a vertical plane that divides the body into front and back sections. Joint actions that occur in the frontal plane include abduction and adduction. Laterally shuffling the legs and feet when playing defense in basketball is a sport related movement occurring in the frontal plane. Transverse plane bisects the body perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis creating upper and lower sections. All joint actions involving rotation occur in this plane. The tennis forehand and backhand swing are example movements taking place in the transverse plane. If all this last bit sounded a bit complicated to you, you aren’t alone, which is why it’s always great to have an expert’s assistance when you are crafting a program.
Specificity isn’t just for competitive athletes. In fact, older adults can really benefit since they need to be more efficient and set aside more time for recovery. Fewer sets or reps means that each has to be as focused as possible on delivering the desired improvement. Any individuals seeking quality of life improvements among daily living activities can benefit from the concept by applying the same principles to their training. Specificity can be applied very successfully to address some of the unique challenges and requirements of fitness for older adults.
Sport-specific training exercises are designed to provide resistance to relevant movements through the appropriate range of motion. This can also be applied if one’s goal is to train weak areas that may be susceptible to injury. The exercises aren’t always the same, but the goals are. In fact, many older adults must modify exercise range of motion due to degenerative conditions associated with age. Older adults should always be careful with end range of motion activities to minimize risk of injury and also be concerned with movement speed. With care, explosive exercises that generate higher power outputs can be incorporated into training programs for older active adults with excellent results. Medicine ball throws from various angles are one great way to include power training into your fitness program.
Specificity is just one of the many ways to make a fitness program more impactful and effective. It might seem complex, but the benefits can be enormous and a certified expert, like one our Ageility therapists or trainers can help put together a program that is objective driven and focused on delivering the results you want. Our team members are passionate about helping adults of all ages to unlock their physical potential and enjoy the benefits of a healthier and more active life. Contact us to see how we can help craft a fitness program for your specific goals and personal needs.
1/20/2020 – By: Chris Parchmann and the Ageility Team
OSTEOPOROSIS EXERCISES FOR ACTIVE, AGING ADULTS
Getting in shape is always a great idea, but it pays to be well informed about some of the potential pitfalls and challenges that might get in the way of a more active and enjoyable lifestyle. At Ageility, we are passionate about helping adults unlock their physical potential no matter their age or condition, and we are focused on crafting great training solutions to meet each individual athlete’s specific needs. It’s helpful to partner with experts like our therapists and trainers to understand how to avoid injuries, overcome physical challenges, or even to understand some of the hidden benefits of a more active lifestyle, such as reducing the threat of falls and fractures because of osteoporosis.
What Is Osteoporosis & Who Is at Risk?
Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that can impact older adults and is caused by a natural reduction in bone mineral density and bone quality. It is a common condition, and although postmenopausal women over the age of 70 need to be especially vigilant, anyone over fifty should be aware of its potential effects since it can lead to increased frailty, falls and debilitating fractures.
Fortunately, osteoporosis can be treated in a number of ways including various medications, diet, vitamin supplements, and exercise. Although you should consult your doctor on a full course of preventative measures, exercise plays an essential role in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Jogging & Resistance Training
Exercising on a regular basis has been shown to improve bone mineral density. Several studies have shown that resistance training exercise programs and weight bearing activities such as jogging are effective for maintaining bone mass that resists deterioration and osteoporosis. Fitness programs with older men and postmenopausal women can actually change bone loss to bone gain with regular training over time.
We generally recommend resistance training two to three nonconsecutive days each week. Multi-joint and single-joint movements are both effective. Exercises that load and strengthen the musculoskeletal system, particularly prone areas of the wrist, hip, and spine, are important when treating osteoporosis.
An example of a good lower body multi-joint exercise is the squat, which involves the musculature of the hip, knee, and ankle joints and provides an axial load through the spine (as opposed to a single joint exercise like the seated leg extension that only uses the knee joint and is not weight bearing).
An example upper body exercise is the overhead press that loads musculature of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints while also loading the spine. Each exercise must induce some type of overload to promote adaptation and bone formation.
Do Multiple Sets and Take Your Time!
Performing single to multiple sets for a variety of exercises that comprise of major muscle groups including the hips, legs, chest, upper and lower back, abdominals, shoulders and arms are appropriate. Movement speeds are of a slower tempo lasting up to 5 seconds per repetition and full range of motion movements. Avoid movements that cause discomfort and end ranges of motion. Older adults may train with a wide range of repetitions depending on physical condition and experience. Beginners and less fit individuals can start with light loads that allow many repetitions. Advanced individuals can perform fewer repetitions with greater loads. The load typically dictates the number of repetitions in strength training and anywhere from 5 – 15 repetitions is suitable for older adults.
Ageility Is Here to Help
Preventing or reducing the impact of osteoporosis is just one of the many reasons why it’s always a good idea to get into better shape. If some of this seems complex, you may find it helpful to connect with a certified expert, like one our Ageility therapists or trainers. Our team members are passionate about helping adults of all ages to unlock their physical potential and enjoy the benefits of a healthier and more active life. Contact us to see how we can help craft a fitness program for your specific goals and personal needs.
1/6/2020 – By: The Ageility Team
It’s Never Too Late To Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life
Adults who want to adopt a more physically active lifestyle often start with some form of fitness program. That’s a great idea, but it’s important to approach things in a thoughtful manner, especially in the beginning. We always recommend carefully considering what your individual fitness goals are as a first step since exercise programs should be designed to target the areas each person wants to see the biggest improvement, such as mobility, strength, balance, flexibility, or endurance. It’s always a good idea to work with an expert trainer or therapist, but here are a few important factors to consider as you set out on your personal fitness journey.
Which Exercises Should I do?
There are hundreds of different ways to work out and dozens of specific exercises that are probably appropriate for your age, physical condition and individual goals. Generally exercises are either multi-joint or single-joint. Multi-joint exercises involve more than one joint such as the squat that requires the hip, knee, and ankle joint to work synchronously in the execution of the movement. Single joint exercises involve only one joint such as a leg extension that only exercises the knee. Both types are important in a well rounded fitness program, but there may be situations when a multi-joint exercise is more suitable and vice versa.
When and How?
Generally we recommend that you start with large muscle multi-joint exercises first and then move onto small muscle single-joint exercises. This is because of the greater physical demand, complexity, and skill needed to complete multi-joint exercises when compared to single-joint exercises.
Older athletes will benefit from starting with higher demand exercises to ensure they have the energy to complete the exercise with proper technique. There are instances where single-joint exercises that are simple in nature may come first such as in a
warm-up to prepare the muscles for the higher demand exercises.
How Much To Do.
The number of sets performed often varies for each exercise and is one of the factors, along with number of reps and resistance, affecting the volume of exercise. A set is a cluster of repetitions done before a period of rest or moving on to another exercise. Multiple sets have been shown by numerous studies to be superior to single sets. Older active adults beginning in an exercise program may need to begin with a single set in order to minimize fatigue. Over time, a progression may be to increase the number of
sets with different exercises.
Rest and Recovery is the Key.
No matter how fit you are your body needs time to recover between exercise sessions. Anywhere from 24-72 hours to recover is normal, but age and fitness level can impact this. Older athletes generally need more recovery time between workouts and this needs to be factored when putting together an exercise program.
Rest periods during your work out are important as well. Depending on the intensity of your work out and your physically condition, we generally recommend a short break of 1 to five minutes between each set to allow your body to recover.
Intensity Isn’t Always Ideal.
It’s always tempting to stack on more weights or repetitions early, but it’s important not to over do things, especially when you are just starting out. Older athletes beginning an exercise program should start by using lighter resistances that allow for 10-15 repetitions. This helps to build local muscular strength-endurance and prepares muscles, tendons, and ligaments for heavier resistance as the individual progresses.
As you build strength and your body becomes accustomed to the exercises, you can increase resistance to a point that allows 6-8 repetitions. No matter what your age, it’s important to remember that increasing the intensity should always be a gradual process.
The First Steps Are the Most Important.
It’s always a good idea to get into better shape. For most of us it’s never too late to start a fitness journey. It can seem complicated at first, but the benefits can be incredibly rewarding and the simple guidelines we’ve outlined in this article will help get you started on the right path. Working with a certified trainer or therapist can take a lot of the guess work out of the process and can potentially help you avoid injuries, frustration and false paths.
At Ageility we are passionate about helping adults of all ages to unlock their physical potential and enjoy the benefits of a healthier and more active life. Contact us to see how we can help craft a fitness program for your specific goals and personal needs.