June 26, 2011

Negatives For Positive Results - How To Increase Eccentric Overload Without Overtraining

While there are 3 types of muscular contractions – concentric, isometric, eccentric, in which muscles produce force while either shortening, lengthening, or remaining the same length, there are only 2 types of intended muscular actions – overcoming, yielding.

Concentric contractions consist of a shortening, overcoming action, in which the intent is to produce enough force to overcome the amount of resistance placed on the muscles, while eccentric contractions consist of a lengthening, yielding action, in which the intent is to produce enough force to yield the lengthening action of the muscles, while isometrics can be of an overcoming, or yielding nature (the intent to shorten, without an actual change in length occurring being of an overcoming nature, while the intent to prevent lengthening, without an actual change in length occurring being of a yielding nature).

In terms of motor patterns and motor unit recruitment, overcoming actions follow a hierarchy in that motor units are recruited as needed from smallest (and weakest) to largest (and strongest) based on the perceived demand. The greater the demand is perceived to be (which can be consciously controlled based on intention), the greater amount of motor units that will be recruited.

Yielding actions do not follow this hierarchy, as they are perceived as potentially dangerous and threatening by the nervous system, as it has no clue as to why a muscle is being stretched under load, all it knows is it that to prevent a potentially catastrophic injury, it must favor the recruitment of the muscle fibers which are capable of producing the highest levels of force – the fast twitch muscle fibers (which also happen to have the greatest size and strength potential).

June 19, 2011

Periodization - Basic Guidelines To Effectively Develop A Long Term Program

Periodization is basically a fancy word that means reverse planning. All you’re really doing is working backwards from the desired end result to where you are today, and that determines what exactly needs to be done to get there within a certain time frame (assuming all goes according to plan – although it never does, so take that into consideration as well).

The idea of periodization was developed to help prepare athletes for upcoming competition and maintain a certain level of physical strength and conditioning throughout a competitive season. But, even if you aren’t an athlete you can still benefit from this type of training model as it is extremely effective at producing results (when done properly), and avoiding stagnation, AKA hitting a plateau.

June 12, 2011

Drop Sets For Strength - How To Increase The Amount Of Maximal Voluntary Contractions Without Overtraining

What is a maximal voluntary contraction, and why is it important?
The term ‘maximal voluntary contraction’ (MVC) should be rather self-explanatory, but to clarify in case there is any misunderstanding, a maximal voluntary contraction is one in which another rep at a given intensity is not possible in that specific moment. Any set that is performed till failure typically consists on one maximal voluntary contraction - the last rep. Obviously if another rep can be performed without a brief period of rest to recuperate, then it cannot be classified as ‘maximal’.

Maximal voluntary contractions are essential for those looking to build as much muscle as possible, or gain the most amount of strength possible, as they are the ones in which the greatest amount of available motor units are recruited, therefore they are the ones in which increases the capacity of the nervous system to recruit them, raising the ceiling in terms of how much strength or size can be gained/built.

June 5, 2011

Basic Thyroid Gland (Metabolism Gland) Info

Thyroid disease can lead to heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, osteoporosis and, in extreme cases, coma or death, if left untreated. Some experts say between 10 and 40 percent of Americans have suboptimal thyroid function, half of which with hypothyroidism (producing less than adequate thyroid hormone) are never even diagnosed. Those who are, more often than not, are inadequately treated, resulting in partial recovery at best. Many of these folks may actually have nothing wrong with their thyroid gland at all – they may just be iodine deficient. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) affects roughly 80 percent of people with thyroid disease.