Tid Bits of Info
- Maximum heart rate can be calculated with the simple formula: 220 – your age = MHR.
- To gain muscle mass and power, workout with heavier resistance and low repetitions.
- To target fat burn during cardiovascular exercise: keep your heart rate at approximately 60 – 65% of the MHR.
- Perform dynamic stretching before exercise and static and/or dynamic after performing the exercise routine.
- Seek the advice of a Physical Therapist or certified personal trainer if you have questions about your routine.
The initial excitement of New Year’s Resolution is starting to fade. Congratulations to those are continuing to pursue workout goals. This is a good time to review Exercise 101 or the basics that will protect you from injury while moving your toward your goals. Performing a well-rounded, thorough routine will increase your strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness while reducing the chances of suffering an injury. You can improve the quality of your life with this type of program!
The goal of a cardiovascular exercise program is to enhance the cardiovascular system, enable the body to utilize oxygen, and increase blood flow throughout the entire system more efficiently. The heart is a muscle that needs to be “trained.” Using the simple formula for maximum heart rate (MHR), you can determine how hard to train based on your physical condition and your fitness goals. To target fat burn you should work out at approximately 60-65% of your MHR for 40 -60 minutes or longer per session for a minimum of 4x/week. To develop increased cardiovascular power you should train at 70-80% of your maximum for a minimum of 30 minutes per session. If you have to be able to perform at maximal or near maximal HR for very short periods of time (less than 1 minute) you need to train at those levels.
Strong or well-conditioned musculature is needed to move efficiently which protects our joints and enables us to get from point A to point B without expending too much energy. Developing strength and muscular endurance must be a goal of any strengthening program. Some muscles generate explosive power while other muscles deliver long-term performance. The “power” muscles are responsible for gross movement of our joints. The prolonged endurance musculature is usually smaller in size and responsible for more controlled motion at the joint level. These must be trained as a “marathon runner” and not a “sprinter.”
When a strength program is designed for the sole purpose of someone developing more “brute” strength and power, the type of exercise used requires greater resistance and less repetitions. To develop muscular power it is not uncommon for someone to perform 3-8 repetitions of a particular exercise and perform 5-8 sets of the exercise. The amount of resistance used to stimulate a muscular change often times is so great that a “spotter” or training partner is needed to ensure safety throughout the routine. If developing more muscular endurance is required or desired than the number of repetitions can easily exceed 15 and the exercise might be performed 3-5 sets. To achieve the desired increase in muscular endurance the exercises must train the muscle to utilize oxygen more efficiently. High repetitions and low resistance are the way to go.
Flexibility involves pliability of all soft tissues both elastic and non-elastic in nature. Our bodies require static and dynamic stability but lack of flexibility can cause a host of problems. The body needs proper flexibility to move efficiently and without it there can be an imbalance of support around a particular joint. Any imbalance pre-disposes that joint to a higher susceptibility of injury.
Stretching and strengthening “tight” or “taut” muscles and soft tissues is needed to achieve proper flexibility in a joint. “Tight” muscles are shorter than they should be and “taut” muscles are elongated and under a lot of tension. In either case, the muscle is weak. The short muscle should be stretched and strengthened and the elongated muscle should be primarily strengthened. Two styles of stretches should be incorporated into a workout. Prior to exercise, the use of dynamic stretching is more effective. This type of stretching involves movement of the joints through motions that are similar to those that will be used during the exercise routine. Static stretches can be used after the muscles and joints are “heated” up from the exercise routine. This type of stretching involves holding the muscles in a stretched position for a minimum of 15-20 seconds. The longer the stretch is held the more effective the stretch.
The heart of exercise 101 is performing exercises properly and consistently over time. The routine should be performed a minimum of 3x per week and doing it more frequently can help you see positive results more quickly in most instances. The positive results that your body experiences when you exercise properly over a long period of time can greatly improve the quality of your life!