Posts tagged strength training
Should Women with Osteoporosis Engage in High Intensity Resistance and Impact Training?

Despite the fact that bones respond favorably to high impact exercise and high-intensity resistance training these types of exercise are typically avoided in women with osteoporosis due to concerns that heavy loading of ‘fragile’ bone may result in increased risk of fracture. The LIFTMOR trial (Watson et al 2017, J Bone Mineral Research) calls into question this traditional belief that osteoporotic females should not lift heavy weights.

 This high-quality trial investigated the effects of an 8-month, 2x/week high intensity, progressive resistance and impact weight-bearing training (>80-85% of 1 rep max) in women with osteoporosis compared to women participating in low-resistance (<60% 1 rep max) exercise targeting mobility and balance. The high-intensity exercisers gained bone mass where their low-intensity counterparts lost bone mass. The high intensity group also had significant improvements in measures linked to fall risk as well as height.

 Importantly, in the over 2600 high-intensity training sessions, only 1 mild adverse event was noted and that participant returned to high intensity training to complete the study without concerns.

 High-intensity exercises included (*all exercise sessions supervised by a physical therapist):

Dead lift

Overhead press

Back squat

Jumping chin-ups with drop landings

 

Contact your exercise experts at Mend to get started on improving your bone health now.

Skipping Breakfast Impairs Subsequent Resistance Training Workouts
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The basics of sleep, hydration, and nutrition are the low hanging fruits of performance. Easy to access, albeit hard to change at times, but extremely impactful on our overall health and wellbeing. The cognitive and physical benefits of breakfast are well established and the timing and contents of the meal has been shown to influence future athletic performance. A previous blog discussed the importance of pre and post workout protein intake and a new article further supports the utilization of pre workout meal.

Authors in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research studied the impact of a pre workout meal on resistance trained men (Naharudin et al. 2019). Participants were included if they performed strength training at least 3 days per week and ate routinely ate breakfast prior to their workouts. In the study, each participant’s 10 rep max was found during a back squat and bench press exercise. They were then randomized to either a breakfast containing 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kg of body weight or water only. 2 hours post meal each participant performed 4 sets at 90% of their 10 rep max on each of the 2 exercises. As expected, total work performed and performance was significantly lower in the group who skipped breakfast.

No Strength Gain Differences Found Between Low and High Load Exercise IF Reps Are Taken To Failure
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In our previous blogs we have discussed the errors most exercise participants make when selecting intensity (amount of weight) while at the gym. Humans are often poor estimators and when it comes to strength training they often select weights below the intensity required to promote optimal strength and muscle gains. Trying to base a weight off a one repetitions maximum is time consuming, impractical, and possibly contraindicated for some weight training participants. Conversely, research articles continued to support using fatigue as an alternative to the 1 repetition maximum weight selections. Fatigue takes the guesstimation out of exercise weight selection and can be very effective at promoting optimal strength gains.

Dinyer and colleagues in The Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research randomized untrained women to either a low or high intensity weight training program (2019). All of the women underwent clinical and body mass (% fat free mass) testing before and after the 12 week training program. Each group was assigned to a weight equaling a low (30% of 1 rep max) or high (80% of 1 rep max) intensity for 2-3 sets during 4 exercises (lat pulldown, military press, leg extension, and leg curl). Both groups took their workout sets to fatigue. Authors reported while both groups improved their maximum strength at the end of the 12 weeks there were no differences between the low or high intensity groups. In addition no changes in fat free mass were noted in the groups.

This study highlights the importance of working with a sub maximal weight and lifting it a maximum number of times for optimal strength gains. We recommend selecting a repetition range first (ex. 8-12 reps) then selecting a weight, but adjusting this weight higher if you can perform more repetitions than your established rep range.

Click Here To Learn More About How To Optimize Your Current Strength Training Program

No Differences Found Between Surgery Or Physical Therapy For Tendon Injury
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Overuse tendon injuries can present as an acute inflammatory response (Tendinitis) or a chronic degeneration condition (tendinopathy).   These injuries result when an individual’s volume of activity (type, duration, frequency, and intensity) exceeds the strength and integrity of the tendon.  At MEND, we commonly see these injuries in the tendons of the rotator cuff, knee, ankle or elbow.  Recent studies summarized in our previous blog posts have highlighted the importance of a Physical Therapy exercise program.  Optimal, progressive loading of these injuries is critical to the healing process (remodeling) resulting in decreased pain and improved function.  Despite overwhelming evidence supporting exercise interventions patients may still be provided with a surgical treatment.

A recent study from the British Medical Journal reviewed the available medical evidence to determine the effectiveness of Physical Therapy compared to surgery or no treatment in patients with tendinopathy (Challoumas et al. 2019).  Authors included 12 studies of over 1000 patients to determine the impact of these treatments on a patient’s pain, function, range of motion, strength and quality of life.  Authors reported Physical Therapy was as effective as surgery in both the mid and long term for improving pain, function, and quality of life.  Authors report surgery should be reserved for patients who do not improve with 12 months of a loading program. 

Research Shows Most Participants Select Inadequate Weights For Strength Training
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Money and time is some of the finite resources in life. As our lives become busier with work, family, and life commitments our exercise time must become more effective and efficient. One of the biggest and most common mistakes individuals make in the gym is an ineffective cardiovascular or strength training intensity selection. Although any movement of large body parts will contribute to a caloric deficit, selection of a low intensity of exercise will prevent participants from developing cardiovascular or strength gains. Research shows both novice and experienced weight trainers choose inadequate weights for strength development.

Glass and colleagues found novice lifters selected weights between 42-57% of their 1 repetition maximum (J Strength Cond Res. 2004). A second study found similar mistakes in sedentary individuals who initiated a strength training program (Elsangedy et al. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016). These self selected weights were all found to below the 60% value shown to create muscle growth and strength gains among novice lifters. Surprisingly, the influence of a personal trainer does not ensure participant reach intensities recommended by the strength and conditioning research. Ratamess and colleagues randomized females with weight training experience to either a self selected or a weight intensity selected by a personal trainer (J Strength Cond Res. 2008). Although selected weight intensities were improved (51% vs. 42%) in the personal training group authors found both groups selected weights below recommended intensities.

In our previous blog we discussed the value of using repetition in reserve to determine an appropriate intensity during weight training. This method of selection reduces the human error associated with weight training ensuring selected weights are appropriate for strength gains.

Click Here To Optimize Your Weight Training Workouts With The Experts At MEND

Optimizing Strength Gains Using Repetitions In Reserve
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Strength training remains one of the most important components of your exercise program. Research supports its’ utilization for improving pain, function, flexibility, strength, injury rates, and overall health. While a single session of strength training can lead to significant gains in strength and muscle hypertrophy research supports training large muscle groups 2-3 days per week. Another important component of strength training exercise prescription is intensity. Selecting an appropriate weight for a set of exercises can be challenging for most individuals and errors often lead to less than optimal improvements in injury and sports performance.

Traditionally, individuals would select a weight based off their tested 1 rep max on a given exercise which may or not be appropriate for every individual. More recently Physical Therapists have been advocating for a repetitions in reserve prescription where weights are selected based on how many repetitions an individual could complete at the end of a given set. For example, if a weight was selected and performed 5 times the individual would be asked how more repetitions they could complete with good form. If the answer is more than 2 repetitions the weight would be increased to dial in the appropriate intensity. A recent study compared the benefits of these two methods of repetition selection.

Graham and Cleather in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research randomized 31 experienced weight trainers to one of two programs (2019). The first program, fixed load, based weights on a percentage of the athletes 1 rep squat max. Conversely, the second group adjusted their weights based on the number of repetitions in reserve at the completion of their set. Volume (reps, sets, days per week) was standardized between groups. Each individual completed their 12 week squat training program based on these prescriptions. Authors reported both groups improved their front and back squat performance, but significantly better results were found in the repetitions in reserve group.

This study highlights the benefits of the repetitions in reserve model. In short, this model reduces operator error in weight selection because intensity is always adjusted to the individual.

Click Here to learn how strength training can improve your injury or performance