Do slight changes in body position affect muscle activation during strength exercises? The only way to truly know which muscles are used during an exercise is to measure their electrical activity with an electromyogram (EMG), the skeletal muscle equivalent of an electrocardiogram for your heart. Well, guess what? Scientists have done just that. Let’s take a look at how different body positions affect muscle activity during some common weight training exercises.
Teenagers who participate in weight-bearing activities may have stronger bones later in life, suggests a new study in the January 2009 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Japanese researchers examined the bone structure of 46 postmenopausal women, who were grouped according to their sport participation levels during the physically formative adolescent years (12-18 years).
At the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton, Florida, we believe there are many great approaches to strength development and performance enhancement. There is no need to pick sides; all methods of training are effective to some degree. Traditionally, strength and function have been treated as mutually exclusive: stability and core weakness have usually been treated in the rehabilitative or corrective movement setting, while hypertrophy and strength have been trained in the gym.
Want to challenge your clients to see how they rate against exercisers throughout the United States? The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport has unveiled a fitness challenge for adults, similar to the one you might remember from grade school. The test examines cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition.
As we age, our hearts beat more slowly and pump less blood. Our lung capacity also decreases. These changes result in decreased maximal oxygen consumption, which causes less oxygen to reach muscles. Oxygen is the life fuel for muscles; without it, they simply cannot work. The decrease in muscle oxygen consumption is one of the main reasons why we slow down, grow weak and lose stamina as we age. Without speed, strength and stamina, we cannot do the basic activities of daily living that allow us to enjoy life, maintain health and remain independent.
Largely thought of as a female disease, osteoporosis currently affects 2 million men
in the United States. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), an estimated 12 million more are at risk. Despite the large number affected, the NOF
reports that osteoporosis in males is still “underdiagnosed and underreported” (www.nof.org/men/index.htm; retrieved May 21, 2008).
The next time your client complains that lactic-acid buildup is keeping her from doing her best, take it with a grain of salt. According to the August 20 issue of Science (2004; 305 , 1112–13), lactic acid just may be “the latest performance-enhancing drug.”
This assessment was based on a study published in the same issue of Science (pp. 1144...
Have you ever wondered if the effects of strength training differ between men and women, and among people of various races? Researchers in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland sought to determine whether specific groups benefited more from strength training. The findings, printed in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2008; 40 , 669–76)...
While free weights and machines can
certainly make you stronger, don’t dismiss the effectiveness of exercises that
use only your own body weight. As you master your own weight, you will not only
look better; you will also learn how to train three-dimensional movement,
acquire a greater kinesthetic awareness and become empowered as you perform
tasks with your body. M...