What’s your weakest link?

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

When it comes to physical activities like any kind of sports training, exercise or physical work you are only as strong as your tendons and ligaments allow you to be. You are only as strong as your core strength allows you to be. You are only as strong as your flexibility allows you to be.

Think of it. You must have heard this phrase countless number of times and guess what? Yes, it is true! Imagine a very strong chain made of titanium with only one link made of silk. So what happens when you apply forces pulling on each end of this chain?  Yes, you got it right, it will snap of course. Why? Because that one silky link is neither strong nor flexible enough to withstand those pulling forces.
Now you are really getting the point.

Very similar rule applies to your own body although there is one great difference. There will be a few more planes of movement for your body to cope with. It will be pulling, pushing, swinging, bending, squatting, jumping, twisting and most likely doing few of those moves at the same time. Even if your muscles are strong you need a little bit more than that to actually be strong. You need those tendons and ligaments to be strong and flexible and you need your core to be strong as well so it all together can give you the support you do need while moving in so many planes while exercising or working physically. So to speak, pretty much in everyday action.

How do you build that overall strength in each link of your chain (body)?

Multiple strategies are available. One I do believe in is a combination of weight training, calisthenics and stretching, or even better yoga.
Of course all structured in a well periodized training plan.

Actually combination of calisthenics workout with real yoga practice (NOT talking about those “yoga based” gym programs!) is a fantastic way to give you amazing results in overall performance.
Let’s see how this happens.

Ania Stan dragonfly

Calisthenics training engages your core at all times. It also makes multiple groups of your muscles work together which in turn improves greatly intermuscular coordination. This simply means that your muscles become accustomed to working together and become more efficient working as a team. That alone is one of the things your strength depends on.

Yoga, like any other body weight practice, does similar thing for your body plus allows you to increase flexibility to. Not to mention that mental health will benefit from doing yoga to a great extend allowing you in turn build strength beyond the physical level.

If you follow well-designed (periodized) training plan and include calisthenics routines and yoga practice into it you will grow some serious strength within your body. And your mind.

The plan should be based on principles of periodization to allow you building strength foundation gradually making it possible for the body to adapt to increments in loads and training intensities. That is achieved through improved: neuromuscular coordination, joints flexibility, tendons and ligaments strength and core strength. The body grows stronger and injury is less likely to occur.

Periodization of training plan also allows both progress and adequate recovery. In terms of any exercise regimen NO progress is possible without adequate recovery. If you are a self- disciplined person and you know how to work hard you also apply same rule to resting.
I’m not talking about being lazy and finding excuses “not to do it”, I’m talking about understanding that your body needs to recover- needs time to rest, sleep well and it does certainly needs you to feed it well. We will look deeper into a proper nutrition in a separate post, click here if you want to find out what are the basic rules.

One of the myriad benefits of yoga practice is you learn self-discipline. You learn there is a time to be strong and there is a time to let go and just relax.
You understand that rest is good for your body. It is essential for it in order to heal and grow stronger.

Keep that all in mind and remember this is your training!

There is only one way you can walk your life. It is your way.

There is only one way you can walk your life. It is your way.

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Physical performance. It doesn’t have to look pretty.

It doesn’t have to look pretty.

When you are training your face will be expressing all sorts of emotions, you will be sweating or red on your face, and you may be placing yourself in poses and positions that might seem strange to those who have no idea what you are doing. But is that actually important what do they think?
Of course it is not. It does not matter.
What matters then?
You are supposed to be concentrating on your technique and correct form.
Whatever sport/activity you choose to do it is your technique and engagement with what you are doing that matters.

Correct form and 100% of your presence while you are training are the things you need to pay attention to.
How others see you, what you are wearing, if your top matches your shoes, what haircut do you have, whether you 20, in your 30’s, 68 or 79, man or a woman  should not be of your concern at all.
Only your PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE determined by your mental engagement matters. And that is what brings the results you expect from your activity.

Whatever you are able to perform do at your best.

Walk and Stretch

Move, Stretch & Breathe program is a concept which I developed over years of performing various sports with high frequency and intensity and years of teaching. I took my inspiration mostly from any martial art I have ever been involved with, yoga, children’s movement, extensive knowledge of stretching and working on warm ups to improve joints range of movement, and more…

Human body amazes me and there is no single day I wouldn’t try to analyse and understand more of its anatomical, physical and physiological abilities. The way this whole great system operates without any break for all our life is just incredible.  Often we forget how wonderful it is and how much it has to work to overcome the hardship of serving our not so healthy lifestyle these days.

You and your body are meant to work together for your own betterment. The body tries to. Will you?

Your physical performance is determined by the connection you can establish with your body. You have a choice to listen to it and perform well or don’t listen to it and …

Move, Stretch & Breathe is a gentle form of physical activity that will help you to establish that connection.

And here are some other

benefits of taking part in Move, Stretch & Breathe program:

  • lightens mood and makes everything look better
  • strengthens your body by helping to increase your range of motion and improve circulation; wards off heart disease, brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart
  • improves your breathing; when walking, your breathing rate increases, causing oxygen to travel faster through bloodstream, helping to eliminate waste products and improve your energy level and the ability to heal
  • supports your joints; the majority of joint cartilage has no direct blood supply. It gets its nutrition from synovial or joint fluid that circulates as we move. Impact that comes from movement or compression, such as walking, “squishes” the cartilage, bringing oxygen and nutrients into the area. If you don’t walk, joints are deprived of life-giving fluid, which can speed their deterioration.
  • can lead to weight loss
  • improves sleep
  • increases flexibility
  • increases range of motion in your joints
  • brings relief from pain
  • increases energy levels
  • relaxation and stress relief
  • enhances muscular coordination
  • improves posture
  • brings greater sense of well-being.

Most of my Move, Stretch & Breathe programs are deeply restorative, designed to strengthen joints, ligaments, tendons, improve blood circulation, bring greater range of motion to stiff and restricted joints and muscles, improve posture and increase energy levels.

Move, Stretch & Breathe programs are perfect for anyone regardless of age, sex or physical ability.

Although for interested ones I take it to another level where it becomes pretty intense calisthenics based workout on its own. So if you think you can train hard come and try!

walk and stretch and calisthenics

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How to prevent injuries? The importance of periodization in any sport training.

Who wants to get injured? Being unable to participate in your favourite sport or even to attend to your usual daily activities because of an injury is really frustrating. A serious injury can mean more than a long time off training and other things you like. It also means pain and a lot of rehabilitation. I don’t know anyone who wants to go through this and I believe that education on preventing injuries and the importance of preparing the body to exercise is vital for everyone.

I know many people who don’t want to go through warm up, stretches and warm down (cool down). The sooner you realise that those three plus proper rest are part of taking care of your body and minimising the risk of getting injured the safer you stay.

Did you know that

most common causes of injury:

  • No warm up before training session
  • Excessive loading which applies forces to your tissues for which they are not prepared
  • Overtraining
  • Poor exercise technique
  • Muscle weakness or imbalances
  • Lack of flexibility (causes decrease in joint Range of Movement and limits body capabilities)
  • Previous injury
  • Inappropriate equipment
  • Accident
  • Genetic factors – may influence shape and structure of your joints
  • Joint laxity – condition which can make it difficult to control and stabilize your joints.

Best way to prevent an injury is to address points listed above and

prepare your body for exercise:

  • Asses your level of health and fitness or rather get a professional to assess those two for you.
  • Choose or get an exercise professional to choose and create a specific training program suited for your capabilities and your chosen sport requirements (if that’s the case).
  • Always warm up properly before your training.
  • Make sure you eat well and get enough rest to recover from your workouts.
  • Stick to the exercise program designed for you – build up gradually and don’t overdo it.Now we got to the concept of periodization.

Periodization is the process of varying a training program into specific time intervals to bring optimal gains in physical performance. The aim of periodization is to achieve improved biomotor skills such as: strength, endurance, speed, motor performance, and also muscle hypertrophy. In short words- to achieve improved physical performance. Periodization is a concept developed to aid a competitive athlete in reaching a peak physical performance at a particular point in time, such as for a major competition. The same concept works if your goal is overall health and fitness.

How does a periodized training program help preventing injuries?

If properly designed, a periodized training plan will engage a person in gradually progressing physical activity allowing all body systems to adopt in their pace to new stimulants. Muscles grow stronger and bigger, bones, tendons and ligaments become stronger, nervous system learns how to recruit more efficient neural connections, motor skills and coordination improves.

On the contrary, if a person trains with an extensive load instead of increasing it from low to maximum gradually their bone density and strength may decrease. And the loss in bone strength leaves them prone to injuries (fractures).

Quite a similar story is true for tendons. They adopt new stimulants over a long period of time. If the muscle growth exceeds the rate of tendons adaptation, tendons may not become strong enough to withstand the force of the muscle movement.

Every periodized training plan is based on strength. There are few types of strength. General strength is the foundation for all the rest. If it is not in the centre of attention during early stages of any training plan the body will become susceptible to injuries.

On the other hand, a well-designed periodized training plan allows to build that foundation gradually thus making it possible for the body to adapt to increments in loads and training intensities. That is achieved through improved: neuromuscular coordination, joints flexibility, tendons and ligaments strength and core strength. The body grows stronger and injury is less likely to occur.

Periodization of training plan also allows both progress and adequate recovery. Without this balance a person can reach undesirable state of overtraining which again increases the risk of injury.

As you can see safe training options are available. You can use periodization concept to plan your training smart and stay safe or alternatively, you can put yourself at risk and suffer for a long time.

ACL reconstruction rehab

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