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Author Topic: A different theory of weight and athletic training  (Read 864 times)

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Offline Query

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A different theory of weight and athletic training
« on: October 27, 2016, 08:19:49 AM »
I recently joined a gym with a weight training room. (A pool center; for a little extra, you can use the weight training gym.) I got one free session with one of the athletic trainers, to show me how to use the equipment. (The deal that Planet Fitness offers you sounds even better – unlimited use of the trainer’s group lessons, and unlimited private training if you come when he isn’t busy. Too bad they don’t do aerobic training classes too.) At my prompting, he gave me his take on methods of weight training, and attaining athletic goals.

I'd like your comments on his opinions!

He says:

1. Most people who join gyms hardly ever come. I already knew this from several other sources: It's a major part of the economics that makes gyms economically viable. (Just like most people who buy exercise machines hardly ever use them, after the first few weeks.)

2. Most people who do come often don't achieve their athletic goals, because they train inefficient. It is most effective to do exercises and weight training more often and differently than most of the experts say. Experts emphasize safety over athletic goals, to avoid legal suits. What they tell you is fairly safe for almost everyone to do, with a wide range of anatomies and physiologies, but is largely ineffective for most people.

3. Gyms and exercise machines are run and marketed by people who emphasize making money for themselves over the athletic goals of their customers, even relatively inexpensive local-government-run gyms like the one I joined.

(You don’t need to go to a gym to do what he says, once you have figured out what you need to do.)

4. Experts suggest weight training about 3 times a week. They say to pick the amount of weight so you can do sets of 8 repetitions at a time, and to do 3 sets, resting between. Based on his experience, that isn't enough for most people to attain their athletic goals.

5. Different people benefit best from different regimens, but it is better for most people to train at least twice a day. In addition, it is better to pick smaller weights, but to use higher repetitions, and more sets. About 50 repetitions per set works better for most people. More sets train you more effectively, and the smaller weight lets you use full range of motion, rather than just the range over which your muscles are strong enough to work against larger weights. Higher weights do train different muscle fibers, and if you want to push strength to your limits, you can do that too, but more repetitions should form the basic core of your training.

(Obviously more frequent training, and higher repetitions take more time. But if you make more effective use of your time as described below, and you eventually do stuff at home rather than travelling to a gym, perhaps you can make it up.)

6. Rather than resting between sets, it is a more effective use of your time to better to alternate between exercising different parts of your body (e.g., upper, lower).

7. Free weights are a much more effective use of your time than weight training machines. (I heard something before from another trainer, who had a military background, but thought that he was an outlier.) Trainers don't normally say that, because they mostly work through gyms that profit by convincing them that they need many expensive weight training machines, for which they must join a gym, but I was prompting him for the results of his experience.

8. Free weights train more of your body than weight machines, because weight machines limit your motion too much. (The other trainer told me that weight machines are very good for people recovering from an injury, and who have to be careful of the way they move, for the same reasons.)

9. Free weights let you exercise more things at once, making more effective use of your time. For the most part, weight training machines only exercise one part of your body at a time. I found a cool on-line example of an exercise routine using this:   

  http://www.vitalityadvocate.com/2016/27-minute-full-body-burner/ (https://youtu.be/yAfaiq8UxUI)

(I notice that most exercise machines don't fit my small body very well. People in gyms also waste a lot of time adjusting each machine to try to fit their bodies.)

10. Use exercises of similar motions in different orientations (e.g., standing, lying down), to use different muscles in different ways.

I showed him something I had tried, where instead of laying down flat on a surface, I rotated so that I started my dumbbell lift below the plane of the surface I was lying on, and he said that was quite common - but that I should be careful not to hurt myself when trying out alternate orientations at first.

11. He didn’t mention this, but I think it helps to look at different exercise machines, and figure out how to exercise similar muscle groups using free weights, bands, similar simple gear or using body weight alone.

I found a number of examples of free weight exercises on the Internet: 

  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_weight_training_exercises

  http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/multimedia/weight-training/sls-20076904

  http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/dumbbellexercises.html

12. You can't strengthen everything with free weights alone. For example,

  A. [Assisted] pull-ups. (I have so far found these to be the most effective ways of exercising my upper core muscles.) You need something above you to hang onto. (I'm not strong enough to do a real pull up, so I am using an assisted pull up machine in the gym; if you do use a gym, I suggest you pick one that has such a machine. But for home use, you could hang a strong bungee cord from something high, or use something a bit closer to the ground, and keep your feet on the ground to help, or maybe use something like a broom, which you can plant on the ground, and hang on to while using your feet and legs to help - though the hand position is wrong.)

  B. Running. I've been jogging, but that only uses my lowest core muscles. I tried jogging with high steps, but that still omits upper core muscles. He said running, including full arm swings, uses the whole core.

  C. Stretching. He stretches a lot, multiple times per day, and says you should stretch more often if you weight train, because that reduces flexibility.

  D. It helps to roll out your muscles, to loosen them before training and stretching. I've seen skaters do this with sticks, they run along their muscles, and have seen videos do this by rolling their body above a foam cylinder. He rolled across one of the inflated balls they had at the gym to do the same thing.

  C. Standing on balance half-balls, like

http://www.power-systems.com/p-4440-bosu-pro-balance-trainer.aspx?varid=8513&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=s2RkgUCF1_pcrid_92473286412_pdv_c&gclid=CO7J7qT7-s8CFcpbhgody-oHhg

I had asked him whether it was all right that my body shakes when standing on these things. (I stand on the flat surface, and place the round surface on the floor.) He said shaking is OK, but would partly disappear when I got stronger core muscles. I tried standing with the flat surface horizontal, as well as tilting and rotating the tilt - he said those were typical exercises. I've also tried dance-like routines with my upper body while using my lower body to stabilize the half-ball.)

So, how do you folks feel about his comments?

Offline Query

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Re: A different theory of weight and athletic training
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2016, 02:38:33 PM »
Incidentally, he told me a couple other things:

13. In line with his feeling that experts are over-cautious, he says that a good strength training workout should leave you sore for about 24 hours. Given that he does it over once/day, I guess he is always sore. I guess he doesn't worry about DOMS (Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness).

14. He also says that if I don't have back problems, I shouldn't worry about stretching with a curved spine. (Many exercise gurus now say you should do things like toe touches and forward bends with straight spines, to protect the back.)

I've now tried his methods for all of one day. :)

(By the way, I'm taking advantage of the lower weights to do more rapid repetitions.)

Results, so far:

1. I produced sweat. In the past, strength training did not make me sweat. This is more like aerobic training than pure weight training.

2. I feel sore. In line with 13 above, that isn't supposed to be a problem.

3. I feel more tired.

I need more time to know how this will work out.

Offline dlbritton

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Re: A different theory of weight and athletic training
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2016, 03:06:10 PM »
I need to find out how swimming fits into a good training regimen. The past 3 months I have been swimming 3 days a week (between 20 and 24 lengths in a 25 yard pool) but have cut back on gym visits.

My post injury transition back to exercise in preparation for returning to the ice was: chair aerobics when I was still on crutches and no or limited weight on my injured foot; water aerobics once I could put 50% weight on my foot; once I could put 100% weight on injured leg I started physical therapy. I have since then been "graduated" (booted out by insurance) from PT.

I have continued doing the exercises from PT which require no "gym" equipment plus started going (back) to Planet Fitness and working out on the leg press, calf machine and other leg machines. I have a limited set of free weights at home that I use in the evenings and have been doing 3 sets of 12 reps for various lifts. I can drop the weight back a little and aim for more reps based on the information above.

While in PT I continued with water aerobics and added lap swimming in after the water aerobics class was over. I then transitioned to swimming laps at least 3 days a week but have cut back visits to the gym to once a week at best.

Anyone have opinions on swimming laps for building strength and endurance for figure skating. I just completed Adult 6 and am looking forward to adding more jumps plus really focusing on figures. Fortunately (I guess) I injured my jumping leg and not my landing leg. I presume the forces are greater on landing than on take off, especially where the injury involved torn ligaments.

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Offline Query

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Re: A different theory of weight and athletic training
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2016, 06:26:19 PM »
I can drop the weight back a little and aim for more reps based on the information above.

It wasn't so much verified information as that one trainer's opinions! I want to know if anyone has tried out similar techniques, and what the results were.

(Besides, I have no injuries or chronic conditions. Perhaps a dramatically different case from a person returning atrophied muscles to use while protecting a partially healed limb.)


Offline dlbritton

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Re: A different theory of weight and athletic training
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2016, 07:07:42 PM »
It wasn't so much verified information as that one trainer's opinions! I want to know if anyone has tried out similar techniques, and what the results were.

(Besides, I have no injuries or chronic conditions. Perhaps a dramatically different case from a person returning atrophied muscles to use while protecting a partially healed limb.)

I'll try to get by Planet Fitness and ask a trainer for their opinion.
Working on USFSA pre-bronze MITF, PSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor, PSIA Childrens Specialist 1.

Offline Sk8ingPsych

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Re: A different theory of weight and athletic training
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2016, 05:41:13 PM »
Wow! All interesting information. I do find that exercising vigorously three times a week is challenging logistically, and I wonder about training twice a day. Ultimately it's all about being efficient based on one's goals.
"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life."

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Offline AgnesNitt

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Re: A different theory of weight and athletic training
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2016, 05:50:48 PM »
The Livestrong web site has a page about this, I think the countervailing view of the original (only?) research (beginner lifters, all young men with high testoserone) would have made the subjects gain muscle regardless of the technique used has merit.
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Offline Query

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Re: A different theory of weight and athletic training
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2016, 07:52:01 PM »
I tried searching for citations of the 2012 article. There are an endless supply of these, with confusing contradictory opinions.

Part of the problem is that people have different goals, e.g.:

1. Some people, like bodybuilders, seek the appearance of big muscles and "definition" - i.e., that you can see the outline of the muscles againt the skin.

2. Some people, seeking a different type of appearance, want "muscle tone". I.E., long term continuous contraction of the muscles. Fantastic appearance is a lost cause for me :( , so I'll skip #1 and 2.

3. Some people, like competitive weightlifters, want big maximum short-time-span weight lifting capability.

4. Some people want to be able to jump better. A little bit of this would be nice, so I could jump better, but it isn't my priority.

5. Some people want to be able to be able to use greater core strength, spread over longer periods of time, with a lot of aerobic AND anaerobic endurance. I think that's mostly what I want, for pretty much all kinds of non-jump skating and my other sports.

Given my emphasis on #5, high-rep low-weight training, combined with running, sort-of makes sense, since it reflects better what I want to do. But I'm not sure it works that way. I can't do some of the things I want, because I'm not strong enough to get very far- which means trying to do the sports themselves is not sufficient training.

For example, I can't go down and up in a a single leg deep knee bend, which is pretty basic to certain skating moves. I think - but am not sure - that greater core strength would let me center spins - I've tried everything else - but that is purely hypothetical. I think greater core strength would let me do vertical kayak moves (e.g., squirt turns, cartwheels, etc.) - also hypothetical. I'm not exactly sure what would let me backpack up and down steep hills without exhaustion again - perhaps a combination of aerobic fitness, quad strength, and core strength.