• Paul & Jenny Dowey

It isn’t all about the weight; why loading before you're ready doesn’t work



When we imagine the gym environment, we often form a picture in our heads of muscle bound humans hogging the bench press or squatting the equivalent weight of a small family car.


At Peak for Life we have prided ourselves in becoming a fitness community free from the intimidation of those kinds of situations. We believe that we can perform functional exercises that can make you stronger, more toned and well on the way to your health goals.

Of first importance is to start out small and test how your body will react in the initial stages of developing a routine. The key to better health will be your ability to be consistent with your plan. The American College of Sports Medicine (2011) advocates a gradual progression of time, frequency and intensity to maximise adherence. It's of no benefit to absolutely smash it one day and spend the next week recovering, the health returns will be minimal. (We also offer sports massage for times when you have over done it but we also want to help minimise your injury risk.) Find a routine you can stick to, start small, and give yourself time.

Many exercises have different variations that your trainer can use to challenge your brain further, it's not all about how heavy you can go. Neuromotor exercise, sometimes called “functional fitness training” can be completed two or 3 days per week for around 20-30 minutes. They should challenge the ABC motor skills of agility, balance and coordination. Proprioceptive exercise training and multifaceted activities such as yoga (Tuesdays 9:15am) Strength & Stretch (Thursdays 9:15am) and Stretch (Fridays 6am) can also improve physical function (ACSM, 2011) .By challenging the stabilizer muscles that keep movements in the correct plane of movement and the nervous system that controls them, not only can we make the exercise more difficult, but also help protect the joints and other structures from injury. Our personal trainers are skilled to challenge you mentally as well as physically.

On the flip side, in order to see progress you need to continue to challenge yourself and your boundaries. A 10% rule has been adopted by most trainers as a suitable increase for progression while minimizing injury risk. However the origins of such a rule have been lost in history. Buist et al (2007) found that regardless of the progression 1 in 5 runners was still likely to get injured. Training load is a complex factor. There are a number of intertwined variables that can be manipulated. In the absence of evidence, we still find ~10% will be a helpful guideline for the general population on increasing training loads although there is room to be dynamic. Some people may be able to tolerate higher loads than others, so communicate with your trainer.

Ego can often get in the way of sensibility when it comes to selecting the right dumbell. When we look at the rack and our favourite 8kg is not there, do we go up or down? In truth we should consider our training history, injury risk and exercise we are completing, alternatively could we make it harder but with a lighter weight?

We do identify with ACSM (2011) who state that we should be targeting at least 150 minutes of exercise per week (met through 20 mins of easier exercise over 5 days or 60 mins 3 days per week of more intensity). At Peak for Life our classes sit right in middle, 45 mins long and this year we introduced our "Unlimited Group Fitness" programme and many people opted to upgrade.

Peak Points

References

American College of Sports Medicine (2011) Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,July 2011 http://www.acsm-msse.org

Buist, I; Bredeweg, SW; Lemmink, KAPM; Pepping, GJ; Zwerver, J; Mechelen, W; and Diercks, R. (2007) The GRONORUN study: is a graded training program for novice runners effective in preventing running related injuries? Design of a Randomized Controlled Trial, BMC Musculoskelatal Disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1821023

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