Jackie Wright: Build muscle and improve flexibility
November 6, 2009
Last week we covered the basic guidelines for cardiovascular endurance components essential to physical preparation for winter sports. This week, we will highlight the muscular strength/endurance and flexibility components essential to physical preparation for winter sports. As always, consult your physician prior to participating in any exercise program.
Muscular strength is the capacity of a muscle to exert force against an outside resistance and is usually measured in a one repetition maximum. Muscular endurance is the capacity of a muscle to exert force against an outside resistance a number of times.
• Muscular strength and endurance exercises should incorporate every major muscle group and joint of the body. This includes exercises specifically targeting the abdominals/core muscles to train the body for balance and stability. If the abdominals/core muscles are strong, then you will have a foundation from which to train the other muscle groups of the body safely and effectively.
• Muscular strength and endurance exercises should be performed two to three times per week for all major muscle groups/joints of the body. You can perform upper body one day and lower body the next if you cannot commit enough time to a full body muscular strength/endurance training program at one time. The key is to allow for 24-48 hours of rest and recovery between workouts. Therefore, if you work the chest and back on Monday, you would not work it again until Wednesday or Thursday. This ensures that you are working the chest and back two to three times per week and providing the body with time for growth and repair which is what may occur during rest.
• To concentrate on strength gains, choose a weight increment that will cause the muscle to hit momentary muscle failure by the 6th to 8th repetition.
• To concentrate on endurance gains, choose a weight increment that will cause the muscle to hit momentary muscle failure by the 8th to 15th repetition.
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• It is believed that when training for muscular strength you may realize some muscular endurance benefits as well, but the reverse of that may not be true.
• Sport specific skills/drills for agility, power and improvement in reaction time should be included in the cardiovascular endurance/muscular strength/endurance components of the program.
Flexibility is the range of motion possible about each joint of your body.
• Flexibility exercises/stretches should be performed as often as every day but certainly following all workouts. Static stretches, which are held stretches, for 15-30 seconds tend to provide the body with the time to safely stretch to a point of tightness, never pain and may over time improve the range of motion about the joints of the body.
• Flexibility is joint specific. Consequently, you may be very flexible at the hip joint and very inflexible at the shoulder joint. Concentrating on safely performing stretches for all major muscles/joints may eventually improve your range of motion at those joints.
Over the next three weeks, look for the complete winter sport preparation program in this column.
-Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She can be reached on her Web site at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her e-mail at NSFGL@comcast.net and her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com
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