Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Raising Your Heart Rate

I think an elevated HR due to lifting heavy weights is different than that of running or other activities. An elevated HR response can be caused by a number of things outside of the "exercise your heart model" - if you will. Body positioning has a lot to do with heart rate responses. If you’re performing a set of leg presses, the position of the body - knees tucked into chest - will cause the heat rate to elevate. If you are performing presses flat on your back your heart rate will be lower than if you were pressing standing up- even if the relative intensity is the same. Holding a heavy weight causes an increase in blood pressure with leads to an increased heart rate - just by the nature of the activity. During times or excitement or great stress the heart rate is also elevated because of the release of various hormones - not related to exercising the heart.

I think that heart rate is very specific and is only on factor when determining the effect on improving the fitness of the CV system. The other is oxygen consumption. This is where the term VO2 max stems from - heart rate has always been used because it is easier to monitor in the field. O2 consumption is done in the labs. During traditional modes of CV activity - running-biking- etc. (all but swimming) - the heart rate is elevated in proportion to oxygen consumption - do to the need to transfer oxygen and nutrients to working muscles. So if your heart rate is raised to 150 BPM than Oxygen consumption would also be raised. However, if the HR is elevated because of a specific body position than the oxygen consumption might not be as high. Therefore causing no improvement in CV fitness.

There is no doubt that HIT raises both heart rate and respiration - breathing heavy. I just don't know if it is enough to improve ones fitness without additional CV training. - Doug Scott

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Daily Activity

I am a big fan of daily exercise in some capacity. whether it be in the form of steady state cardio or high intensity strength training. I feel the body is meant to move and needs to exercised on a regular basis. Anyway here is a workout that I have been playing around with on my non lifting days.

at the local track - but it can be done anywhere.

jog a lap
push-ups ( not to failure or even close)
jog a lap
crunches ( not to failure)
jog a lap
body weight squats ( about a minutes worth)
jog a lap
stretch and cool down

for me this workouts out to about 15-25 minutes of activity and serves to get the "lead out" after a tough workout the day before. - Doug Scott, Strength Coach

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

An Under Rated Exercise

I think the pushup is one of the better exercises available for building strength not only in the chest, shoulder and triceps but in the stabilizing muscles such as the upper back, mid section (both abdominal and lower back) and the hip/leg area. For some odd reason, it is often overlooked. Maybe because it isn't high tech or complex enough or maybe it's under valued because a lot of people don't truly understand its worth.

It takes more than just upper body strength to perform a pushup and it can be quite challenging -especially at the end of a workout when the body is tired. A properly performed pushup involves the entire musculature and when incorporated in a strength - body building program it can provide tremendous results. I mean, c'mon, how hard is it to pop of some pushups a couple of days a week, right? – Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Something Old, Something New

Everyone is always looking for something new and improved to add to their fitness routine in order to spark new interest or get over a training plateau. Often times we look for some never before seen exercise, outlandish routine sequence, or new age exercise machine or gadget. However, sometimes something old can be something very new as in the case of one of my recent workouts. Not to long ago I purchased an Atlas Stone, a 40 lbs 10 inches in diameter, stone ball. This exercise devise could quite possibly be one of the oldest forms resistance training. I mean there is nothing new about picking up a “rock” and lifting it in various directions. However, the muscle stimulation is something that must be felt to truly understand. Lifting an odd shaped object forces the body to compensate and use muscles, especially the midsection and upper back, to stabilize the torso in a non-traditional manner. Simple exercises like, overhead press, curls, squats, rows, deadlifts, push-ups really force the body to work hard, which is what training is all about – right! Add to that some more complex or combination lifts and the heart and lungs will really get a workout as well. For example, squat/ press, or power cleans to shoulders, or even the arm curl and press combo will have you feeling the effects similar to any interval workout imaginable. So to get new results out of your training turn to something old and give odd lifting a try. Whether an Atlas stone, sand bag, or drift wood from the beach have fun and get moving. - Doug Scott, Strength Coach

To purchase a stone, contact Steve Slater

Friday, February 02, 2007

What Motivates You?

I would have to surmise that those involved in fitness have basically the same goals – staying fit, good health, feeling good – a quality of life that allows us to do what we want physically. These are all goals well worth the effort we expend. Now, I haven’t been pursuing this life style as many years as most, but feel fortunate to have met the right people to help me. Fred Fornicola is one of them who continues to work with me on an ongoing basis. When I drift from my focus of my workouts Fred will always re-center me with the question, “Why are you here and what are you trying to achieve?” Of course, I find myself going back to the important, and correct, answer of “good health”. Fred recently recommended I see a nutritionist to help with my diet and fueling for my cycling activities. In seeing this professional, again I was presented with the questions of what are my goals.

This brings me to the subject of this post. As I thought about what my goals are I realized, at least in my experience, there are different goals. Of course, I listed the obvious of good health. But as I wrote it out I knew, while it was the global goal, it wasn’t the goal that motivated me. When I’m trying to get one more rep and my body is screaming the thought of good health isn’t what makes me push the weight. When I’m in my weekly cycling training session and my heart rate is 172 beats per minute and my legs are burning, good health isn’t what inspires me to push one more gear for the final minute. What gets me to push is the visualization of not getting dropped by a peloton of good cyclists, or being the first one to crest a hill, or winning the final sprint after a 75 mile ride. Do I accomplish all these goals, of course not, but it’s what makes me push for that final rep. So is good health my goal – absolutely. But I have to admit it’s my ego that motivates me.

Competitive edges, prevent injury, mental discipline, staying in shape, pushing the envelope, the challenge – all great motivators but “because I can – where others can’t or won’t.” is an answer I use when someone who is inquiring about my cycling activities will ask why I choose to ride a century (100 miles) or some other physical activity that’s foreign to them. “Because I can” really says it all.

So, I’m curious, what motivates you to push that last rep or to sprint those last 50 yards? - Bob Vale, Fitness Enthusiast