I encourage my clients and running friends to try barefoot running whenever they can. They don’t have to be a “total convert” to gain some of the benefits. The strength that develops in the feet and lower legs, the lighter landing while running that reduces stress and the sheer fun of going without shoes is worth it.
A common goal among male exercisers is to increase muscle mass and strength. For many men, achieving this goal can be a struggle. IDEA author Lance Breger, MS, head private trainer at MINT Fitness & Spa in Washington, DC, suggests some out-of-the-box techniques to help clients overcome strength and hypertrophy plateaus.
How often has a client or student approached you and asked, “What type of shoe would be best for this workout?” At the university where I teach, I am asked this question every quarter by several hundred students, all of whom have different needs, different feet and different histories.
Anatomy. Many fitness professionals would rather read about something else. They know they “have to learn this stuff,” but the thought of studying the origin, insertion point and action of each muscle fills them with dread. And it just doesn’t seem that important when helping clients lose weight, build muscle or improve their function and/or performance. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The problem isn’t the actual study of anatomy—it’s the way in which anatomy has traditionally been taught.
Several research studies and articles have emerged about the potential benefits of tossing the “tennies” and running barefoot. On the heels of these claims, many consumers and fitness professionals are joining the barefoot revolution. But what about potential road hazards, such as broken glass and sharp rocks? One company offers a slightly more protective alternative to the naked foot.
Maintaining bone health and avoiding fractures are important concerns for older adults. For those who have experienced fractures, research has found that the potential for a second fracture can increase fourfold. Help your older-adult clients remain strong and healthy with Own the Bone™, a Web-based registry that features tools for reducing future fractures.
Lots of research has emerged about the kinematics of running, fueling debates over footwear and strike patterns. A recent study published in The Journal of Experimental Biology (2010; 213, 790–97) sought to slow things down a bit and look at the energy costs of different gait patterns. “Our heel touches the ground at the start of each step,” stated David Carrier, biology professor at the University of Utah and lead study author.
WWhen I was a kid, I used to show girls my biceps. Boys do silly things to impress girls. As adults, both men and women search for countless ways to make their biceps, and the rest of their muscles, look
appealing to themselves and each other. To most people, muscles are external structures, admired from the outside. But what lies within a shapely biceps is a wonderfully complex structure responsible for everything from metabolism to movement.
Have you or has your
facility promoted any mind-body movement classes specifically to strengthen the back
or to prevent low-back pain? For example,
have you designed any programming to target people who are interested in addressing
low-back pain issues?
Share your examples with editor Sandy Todd Webster, email@example.com.