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Core Strength and Weight Conditioning Questions

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
First, I need to clarify that I am not a fitness professional.

There have been some great articles on this topic, especially the one by Lisamarie in the last PSIA magazine. I have been "educated" by sme trainers, and am somewhat shocked when I go to the gym and see most of the people swinging, jerking, and twisting when lifting weights. I am more careful now, especially since I had my left shoulder "scoped" last April. Most of the trainers have insisted on smooth, controlled movements. One trainer told me to "tighten my abs and my buttocks" on each excercise that I do. He said that it will create a more stable platform, and increase my core strength. I even became a sadist and have incorporated the stability ball and bosu into some of my gym routine. I have noticed that it is harder to lift when I do this, probably because I am not "cheating" by using muscle groups other than the ones I am currently concentrating on. Are there any comments on these statements? Is it really necessary to keep the abs tight while lifting weights? Any insights on this? This inquiring mind wants to know.
post #2 of 30
I am unclear whether you are saying that you lift less weight when tightening the abs OR when you're on a stability ball.

I was thinking about what I do when lifting. The ab contraction seems to come naturally during exhalation, which is tied to the positive phase of the exercise. Inhalation occurs during the negative phase (e.g. when lowering the dumbell during a bench press). If anything, I lift more weight this way.

The stability ball seems to divide my effort: one part to lifting the weight, the other to maintaining balance. I'm not surprised the weight is lower, despite a feeling of expending as much energy as in the previous exercise.

Combining the two makes sense for efficiency (in our time-crunched world), but I'd be hard pressed to believe you'd be as strong as you would by doing them separately (e.g. specific core/stability exercises and lifting routines). It all depends on your objectives. As I've said in other threads: I look to sprinters as the ideal model of power, speed, and reaction that I strive to apply in my skiing.

One question I have is: what do you use as your litmus test for progress? I like trampoline. If the cardio isn't there, you won't be able to bounce for long. If your core isn't strong, you won't be landing too many tricks. Speed and reaction show up in your bounce technique and ability to recover from a bad bounce. Besides, how many activities make you FEEL like a kid again?

Funny story: an old Ironman triathlete friend came to tramp class once. She didn't last five minutes. Completely gassed and embarrassed. I reminded her that her training was designed for endurance and to keep her relaxed under pressure. She expended most of her energy tightening up, trying to deal with the compression. Her midsection was sore for days...

I'm sure LisaMarie will weigh in shortly with some great thoughts.
post #3 of 30

Your trainer gave you excellent advice. By keeping the abs tight you increase your core strength, it also decreases your ability on any specific exercise to cheat. For example on a tricep push down tightening the abs will inhibit your ability to roll your upper body down on the bar and not isolate the triceps by incorporating your shoulders and upper body weight. Your observation about people swinging and jerking weights around is a good one. In weight lifting workouts there is no substitute for good form and isolating and targeting specific muscle groups.

Tomcat [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #4 of 30
Originally posted by Tomcat:
Your observation about people swinging and jerking weights around is a good one. In weight lifting workouts there is no substitute for good form and isolating and targeting specific muscle groups.

Tomcat [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
Good form also reduces chance of injury. Any time I have tweaked a muscle it is due to too much weight resulting in poor form.

[ October 13, 2003, 12:13 PM: Message edited by: Damato ]
post #5 of 30
Great Topic! Contracting your abs on exertion activates your deeper core musculature. These muscles are responsible for stabilzing the spine. Your goal is to make this contraction intuitive.

For those of you who did not get to read the PSIA articel, I spoke briefly about the research conducted by the Australian physiotherapist, Paul Hodges. Hodges discovered that in individuals who did not have low back pain, their transverse abdominal muscle activates milliseconds before any other muscle action. If this core reaction has not yet become instinctual, it can be trained. As Warren mentioned, exhaling on the positive phase of the movement will engage the transvers. Your goal is to gete to the point where the contraction becomes natural.

There are interesting reasons for the glute contraction. Many people have tight hip flexors, which restrict their movements. Tight hip flexors cause a pnenomenom called reciprocal inhibition.
As the hip flexors become too tight the glutes weaken in reciprocation. Actively "waking up" the glutes can be helpful.
post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
As Warren mentioned, exhaling on the positive phase of the movement will engage the transvers.
In my weight routine, I am currently doing what some trainers call 4-2's. There is a 2 second positive movement of the weight up, and a 4 second negative. When I do this, I concentrate on the slow, smooth movements, and a long slow exhale on the negative. I am doing this type of routine now for several reasons, endurance and the long rehab of arthroscopic shoulder surgery last April. I try to keep my abs contracted throughout the excercises.

I am still a little confused why you say to exhale on the positive, upward movement of the weights. Is it your advise for me to change? Please enlighten me as to your reasons why. As always Lisamarie, thanks again for your expertise and advise.
post #7 of 30
It is not at all incorrect to exhale on the negative in weight training, especially when doing programs which accent the eccentric phase of movement. In the Stott Pilates program,you inhale in preparation, then exhale on the exertion. Pause and inhale, then exhale to return.

But there can be some problems with inhaling on the positive phase.

*Very few people can engage their deeper core muscles during inhalation, which means you will be less stable in the phase of the movement where you have less strength.

*In some cases, inhaling on the positive phase of weight training can cause a dangerous raising of blood pressure.

Hope this helps!
post #8 of 30
One of the questions LM's article in TPS and this thread have opened to me is - what is an appropriate ratio of core/functional to cardio to weight training exercises for a skier? I'm pretty much directing this at Lm but I'd like to hear all responses.

I'll point out that I have almost always done every weight training exercise by tightening the abs before my first rep and keeping them tightened throughout. I will obviously focus on that more after readin the article above. Currently, my training consists of cardio of 20-60 minutes in duration followed by about 6 exercises then stretching 5 days per week - 3 upper body days and 2 leg days.

The cardio duration is based on workout phase or objective. It goes up to 60 minutes during the cardio phases. At this time it is down to 20 minutes since I'm in a leg power phase. The cardio consists of cycle ergometer, treadmill and/or Concept 2 rowgometer depending upon duration and objective.

The 6 exercises usually break down as 2-3 weight exercises, 1-3 functional or balance exercises, 1-2 traditional abs and obliques exercises. Weights and reps are adjusted to objective and sets are 3-4. Heart rate rarely goes below 120 bpm unless the objective of the phase is power.

Anyway, I recognize that the cardio, functional/core and strength objectives may be achieved through the way you do each exercise - intervals on Concept 2 are great for power and focusing on the core on that machine produces a very smooth, even application of power without raising heart rate. My question is along the lines if you are training an athlete for the single sport focus of skiing how would you adjust that workout? Would you eliminate all weight training, increase functional/core and introduce yoga, pilates and martial arts? Would you refocus the way the weight training is done to focus on the core? etc. I know everything is based on phases but if you are training a very fit skier what would the content of a workout designed for them look like?

post #9 of 30
Excellent question! The answer would be different for each individual.

For those of you who did not read my article in TPS, here's a bit of background. My first attempt at skiing happened back in 1989. I was living in NYC, comforming to every stereotype of a NYC aerobic instructor. In addition to teaching 20 classes a week, I would weight train for about 2 hours on the Nautilus equipment, run at least 30 miles weekly (more when marathon training) and spend 20 minutes to an hour on cardio equipment. From looking at me, any instructor would see an incerdibly fit person. They would assume I would be a skiing "natural".


I could not even stand on my skis without falling over! Why not? I performed thousands of crunches weekly, so I had excellent core strength, right?

Not exactly. A bit of exercise history: Back in the 1970s, the philosophy of fitness equipment design involved muscular isolation. When we taught group fitness classes, the instructors who were most popular taught classes that "really isolated certain muscle groups!"

But does skiing "really isolate muscle groups?"
And what about crunches for core strength? Crunches work your rectus abdominus, the superficial layer of abdominal muscle. We used to think that these muscles were responsible for balance, stability and lumbar support. We were wrong. The rectus abdominus flexes the spine. What happens if you flex the spine too much when you are on skis?

The muscles involved in core stability are the transverse, the pelvic floor and the multifidus. For the most part, these muscle groups keep the body in an upright position. You can challenge them by exercising in an "unstble" environment, such as the dyna disc, ball, bosu, etc. You can "wake them up" by performing isometric abdominal contractions or Kegels.

So, in answer to your question, if someone has been doing only weight training, especially if they use weight training equipment exclusively, they have trained there muscles to follow a neurological pattern of isolation, which can be counter productive to skiing. I would first take the person off the Nautilus type of equipment, and put them on free weight or cable machines. One or 2 sets of a traditional exercise would be performed, followed by one or two sets of an exercise using the same or similar muscle groups, while imposing a balance challenge.

If I saw postural alignment problems, i would have them take Pilates classes. Skiing involves strength with length and dynamic balance. Some of the static stretches in yoga can be detrimental to woman, who, for the most part, have far more flexibility than they need. And the day I see a skier standing still on top of the mountain while holding a yoga Tree pose is the day I give up the sport. Skiing involves transition balance, not static balance. Tai chi is great for this, as well as any form of martial arts.

In terms of cardio, it depends upon the type of skier, and where they ski. Keep in mind, everyone shoud do some cardio activity for general health. If you ski the long trails at Whistler, you may need longer endurance workouts. if you are a racer type, you may need some interval training.

Thanks to anyone who actually read all of this!
post #10 of 30
Originally posted by AarHead:
what is an appropriate ratio of core/functional to cardio to weight training exercises for a skier? I'm pretty much directing this at Lm but I'd like to hear all responses.

I no longer do any sub cardio weight training so it is difficult for me to distinguish cardio from my weight circuit training. My current workout is 45 minutes of cardio every other day and 1 hour of heavy circuit training every other day with a day off each week.

My cardio routine is essentially: 5 minutes of stretching, 5-8 minutes of power yoga (for stretching, warm-up and balance), and 35 minutes of kickboxing work, which includes fast foot work, balance, kicking, and punching. This cardio works my core and keeps my heart rate at the high end of my aerobic range. Post cardio, I work my abs for about 6 minutes (200+ varied crunches).

My strenght/circuit workout is essentially: three rounds of circuits of each major body part - chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and thighs. I have a fourth "special round" of forearms, calves, low back, and timed maximum push-ups and squats.

I believe both cardio and strength training are necessary to condition for skiing. The cardio I do prepares my endurance levels and works my balance. The strength training prepares my thighs for endless mogul runs. The stretching provides the flexibility necessary to recover where balance is difficult.

Note: I add extra squats/lunges to my strength days, as well as stretching, and an additional 30 minutes of stairmaster to my cardio days during the 2 months before the season opens.

So, I guess my ratio is 55% cardio/core to 45% strength. But you could get similar results if you only worked out for about 30 minutes per day.

post #11 of 30

Thank you for the input. While my workout exercises and methodology differ greatly from you I believe we are in the same neighborhood of strength to cardio percentages over a period of time. I tend to cycle my workout every 4-6 weeks from heavy cardio to power and back. Every other power phase focuses on the upper or lower half of the body. So, my workouts are not nearly as consistenet week in and out as yours but over a given period of time we probably wind up with similar percentages committed to each training phase.

Further, I don't typically circuit train but I take very little time between my non-power weight and functional/core sets - taking care to keep my heart rate constantly in my aerobic zone. Thus, when I do switch to a circuit phase for a change I have little trouble with the transition.

As a follow up question why do you do whole body circuits? I've found that my body responds better to body area isolation in my circuit training.

LM: Thank you for the thorough reply. You synopsis is about as god as the full article. I recognize that the answer is different for everybody - especially since very few of us have the time of a professional athlete to commit to conditioning and even if we did our physiology and temprament vary greatly.

This summer my training program has followed a progression similar to the one you suggest. I started the summer on machines and doing crunches. My trainer quickly transitioned me into dumbell and free weight exercises followed by balance/functional/core exercises of the same body area/part. I still use leg press and extension machines for heavy leg power conditioning though.

I hope to soon re-incorporate Pilates into my routine but currently my schedule just doesn't match the class schedule and I believe form is too important in Pilates to use videos. Your article and this post are giving me increased incentive to accept a friend's invitation to his aikido dojo. Your comment about yoga has opened some questions for me though.

Originally posted by Lisamarie:
Some of the static stretches in yoga can be detrimental to woman, who, for the most part, have far more flexibility than they need.
My sedentary wife is definitely not one of those over-flexible women. On her physician's advice she has used yoga videos to manage lower back, sciatic and bursitis pains. Twice recently I joined her in her yoga sessions and found the flexibility benefits worthwhile the following days. Since your comment above is addressed to women what are your thoughts about yoga for men? Mind you, I am no yogi and likely never will be one. I do believe it is worth inclusion in my training program for the flexibility benefits.

Originally posted by Lisamarie:
In terms of cardio, it depends upon the type of skier, and where they ski. Keep in mind, everyone shoud do some cardio activity for general health. If you ski the long trails at Whistler, you may need longer endurance workouts. if you are a racer type, you may need some interval training.
I have a pretty heavy background in cardio intensive sports. I ran 5 seasons of cross country and distance track in high school and continued into college. I also spent about 10 years riding a bicycle 2-5 hours almost every day (got out because I tired of the culture and solo is of questionable safety). Anyway, I found that rotating heavy cardio phases with heavy resistance phases generates fatser results in both areas over sustained periods of either type of training. For example I spent 8 weeks ending a week and a half ago with an hour of cardio in every workout then tapered down to a current level of 20 minutes. During the phase of high cardio I was doing high rep, low weight resistance sets. Now I'm doing high weight, low rep sets and plyometrics while the cardio is low. it is way too early to tell but I believe my results during the resistance phase will be very good. I know the constant change is very refreshing and it is keeping me interested in working out 5 days per week.

Thanks again for your comments and reading this mess.

post #12 of 30
Sounds like your trainer is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Although there are many excellent certifications, NASM is the absolute best for ski specific training. They are the organization that has a distinct and progressive protocol for integrating posture, strength, flexibilty, cardio and plyometrics with dynamic balance. The data base of exercises you receive in the certification process is enormous. NASM can take some of the credit for the current changes in philosophy within the fitness industry. I mentioned this in the article, but due to excessive length, it was cut.
You can go to http://www.nasm.org for a list of trainers in each state. Also, take a look at the Exercise of the Month page. Cool stuff!

As far as yoga goes, I came about my opinion in a rather interesting way. I used to teach it back in the early 70s. My knee were always a bit "achy". Also, much to my humiliation,I would sometimes faint while teaching the salutation to the sun.

At the time, I had a kinesiology teacher who was way ahead of his time in terms of his beliefs. One day, he brought me, and this very muscular, tight male student to the front of the class. He had me bend in different directions, and indicated the various ways that my muscles had been stretched to the point that there was very little integrity left in the joints. Then he took my blood pressure; 80 over 60! No wonder I was fainting. Yoga lowers your blood pressure and slow down your metabolic rate.But if you already have ridiculously low blood pressure and a low metabolic rate.....

In contrast, he felt that the guy absolutely needed to take yoga.
So in answer to your question, if you are tight, tend towards low blood pressure, and have a metabolic rate that takes excessive amount of weight off, no matter how much you eat, than yoga can be very beneficial.
post #13 of 30
I'm not sure which organization my trainer is certified through but I really like the way she has developed my training program. The gym I workout at is very progressive and usually trying new things. I've suggested to my trainer's manager with her support that they bring in a Bosu and a Pro Fitter but no luck yet.

For a guy I'm actually not on the tight side. I tend towards high blood pressure and to retain excess body weight. It sounds like some light yoga about weekly will be beneficial to me. I know my participation will be beneficial to my wife in the workout buddy way. Your intimation that yoga is not for everyone and definition of those parameters is very helpful.

Thanks again for your insight.

post #14 of 30
If your wife is sedentary, and does not seem to be hypermobile, than any type of exercise is preferable. Your participation with her can be a great motivator.
post #15 of 30
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
If your wife is sedentary, and does not seem to be hypermobile, than any type of exercise is preferable. Your participation with her can be a great motivator.
I hope it is.
post #16 of 30
Originally posted by AarHead:
As a follow up question why do you do whole body circuits? I've found that my body responds better to body area isolation in my circuit training.

Aar, I whole body train because it is quick and easy and preparing my strength workouts is simple. Further, I am mid 40’s so I don’t have anything to prove about my fitness. I tend to score in the 90% range or better for all age groups on fitness tests. While I did power lift 5 to 10 years ago, I have little interest in benching in the +400 lb range anymore. My goals are general fitness (strength, flexibility, and endurance) related to my sports of skiing, wakeboarding, hiking, sea kayaking. If I begin to focus on heavy weight lifting on upper body, even for as short a time as 8 to 12 weeks, I will bulk up more than I want. I really want my biceps to stay between 16” and 18” and not get any bigger. Same with my thighs – I have enough problems buying pants – if they fit the waist the legs are too small and if they fit the legs the waist is too big. I must be a true mesomorph. If I lift heavy I add muscle like crazy, if I don’t I become fat. So, my full body workouts are an attempt to add strength training without bulking up. The cardio work helps here as well.

Your lifting workouts meet my definition of circuit training: lifting weights while keeping the heart rate within the aerobic heart rate zone. During my lifts I keep my heart in the zone for 50-55 minutes of the 1-hour and 5 minute workout. The leftover 10 to 15 minutes is almost all above target zone. I get the impression that you are a bit younger than I am and are trying to excel competitively at sports or trying to increase your bulk. Is my impression correct?

My cardio work provides me with the opportunity to mix interval training, like fast feet work, fast cross hops, fast line to line lateral jumps, fast knee or other kicks or punches and other interval work with slower more aerobic work. These workouts tend to look like this: 15 sets of interval punches on a standing heavy bag, which might include light jab/tap, power cross, power jab. The punches would be done with a focus on power while attempting to maintain proper form. This would be followed by 3 sets of 30 aerobic front kicks to a heavy or head bag, 3 sets of side kicks to the heavy or head bag, and 3 sets of round house kicks to the heavy or head bag. The kicks would be done methodically with a focus on form/technique over speed and power. Then I would switch with interval kicks and form punches. And so on and so forth till I am done or exhausted or both.

I hope this answered your question.

post #17 of 30
[quote]Originally posted by Maddog1959:
I get the impression that you are a bit younger than I am and are trying to excel competitively at sports or trying to increase your bulk. Is my impression correct?
I'm actually in my mid-thirties.

I'm not a very competitive person in the traditional sense. I couldn't give a darn about my performance in comparison with others. The only competition I'm in is with myself. My last 6 years have been more sedentary than they should have been and I'm trying to avoid blood pressure medication (genetics as well as overweight and sedentary). So, I'm trying to decrease my bulk - not muscle bulk but the other kind.

My secondary workout emphasis is to improve my conditioning for skiing with the goal of improving my skiing well enough to attain a PSIA level 3 certification.

I hope to reach the maintenance phase of maintaining my body - like you - within a few years. Until then I feel the need to cycle my workouts as described in previous posts on this thread. It is my belief that this approach will take me a long way towards total body conditioning in a way that gets me lean, strong, improves my balance and at least keeps my blood pressure below the medication recommended threshold. Further, I get bored in gyms and cycling my workout emphasis keeps me engaged.

Thanks for your input.

post #18 of 30
Thread Starter 
Lisamarie's comments about the research on lower back pain being generally reduced by the people who engaged their core muscle groups first intrigued me. So today, while I was cutting some firewood with my chain saw, I tried to tighten my abs before I bent over, and before I lifted back up. Normally, my lower back is a mess after several hours of cutting wood, and I can hardly walk. Today was different. Even though my lower back was a little sore, it felt a lot better than before. I felt more stable and more in control. That is a good thing especially with a chain saw in my hands. Transfering this idea over to skiing...I am excited to see how attempting to engage the core muscle groups will affect my skiing. Hopefully more balance and control will also ensue.
post #19 of 30
Very interesting thread. Before I contribute my 2 pence (I am based in the UK) worth of opinion here is my background:

I condsider myself a health and fitness fanatic. i used to cross train 5-6 times a week (45-90min). I liked to think that it's in the variety, different activities train different aspects which can only be good. so i did some weight training, swimming, running, martial arts, Pilates and plenty of stretching - never the same on consecutive days. A few months ago I started to feel quite lethargic. I did not look forward to go out and do it, as I used to. I suspected that overtaining had something to do with this, even though I got plenty of sleep/rest. I began to re-assess my training programme.

I looked around the internet and came across this website www.superslow.com/main.html and the info I found there really shocked me. this is Ken Huchinson's site, the founder of Nautilus in the 1970s and by many considered a pioneer in the fitness industry.

In the articles displayed on his site he pretty much destroys many of the myths prevailing in the fitness industry today.

As a starting point I recommend reading the articles Exercise v Recreation which is appropriate to this thread. Basically, Ken claims that there is only one way of proper exercise and that's weight training with slow repetitions until fatigue. all other so called "sports" are recreational activites which are good for our mental state but are very inefficient ways of physiologically strengthening our bodies.

Also have a look at the "why not Pilates" article and the very negative articles about aerobics.

One other bit of info I came across in my quest for a better understanding of exercising is the view that there is no such thing as sports specific training. the only way to ski better is to practice skiing more often.

I would be very interested to hear your views.
post #20 of 30
Whew! Sounds like the writer has never correctly researched Pilates! Lets expose some fallacies:

1. Pilates is based on dance movements.
Pilates was NOT a dancer. He was a gymnast, martial artist, and AHEM a skier, amongst other things.

Pilates is not progressive.
Obviously the writer has never taken an advanced Mat class.

Flexibility is the priority of Pilates.
Nothing can be more incorrect! In NYC, Pilates used to go up to dancers and make them stretch LESS, since they had too much flexibility, and not enough strength.

Pilates applies incorrect breathing philosophy.
Breathing patterns are so ridiculously controversial, that nobody can truly say what "correct" breathing is.

Pilates applies incorrect neck protection.
The Pilates warmup pays extensive attention to neck alignment!!!

Pilates utilizes poor stabilization and bodily alignment.
Nothing can be more incorrect! MAJOR emphasis is placed on stabilization and alignment prior to exercise execution.

Pilates emphasizes the easy and fun social setting over the exercise requirement for control and hard work

Exercise should be based on the subject’s appreciation for the science behind a program. One should not be drawn to Pilates because of an unfulfilled childhood ambition to be a dancer or to associate with dancers or their practices.

Once again, total BS! If anything, gym members do not like Pilates because it is NOT social!

Now on to Super Slow. Athletic coaches have expressed absolute fury at trainers who use this technique. Anyone with even an elementary knowledge of biomechanics and motor learning understands the neurological basis of training! Training a muscle to perform at a speed that is radically different from the way it is performed while practicing the sport has been shown to have a highly negative effect on performance.

Now a bit of history. Back in the early 70s, when I began teaching, Nautilus made the claim of muscle isolation. Unfortunately, the muscles that Nautilus restricts are the very muscles essential for skiing: Your stabilizers. As people become more savy, they realize that they do not need to belong to gyms with fancy, overpriced equipment. Of course, equipment companies need their revenge.

[ November 03, 2003, 06:09 AM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]
post #21 of 30
Back in the early 20s, when I began teaching...

Lisamarie, I am very impressed: for someone approaching 100 years of age you seem to be extremely active and fit!

I seem to remember that Ken eventually sold Nautilus b/c he got disillusioned with the commercial direction the company was taking. also, his articles are written in a style (angry and arrogant) which does not endear him to the reader and and which also deflects from, I think, some very valid points which are based on scientific evidence and supported by other experienced industry participants (www.kieser-training.com).

I agree with you, the rant against Pilates is quite over the top. However, Pilates seems to attract a lot of women b/c of its history with ballet professionals and their sleek bodies. Many people believe that Pilates can lenghten muscles which is a physical impossibility (muscle lenght is determined by bone and tendon lenghts). Ballet dancers are not slim b/c they dance, they are dancers b/c they are genetic freaks with the right bodies and they are the surviviors of years of ruthless selection. of course, this is also true for all other Olympian athletes. many win not b/c of their training but despite their training. their genes are just so much better!

i think that the main point Ken is making is that muscles work in a certain way regardless of what sports you do (they are switched on or off) and therefore there is only one efficient way to train them which is weight training: performance is measurable (difficult with Pilates for example) and it's easy/safe and repeatable (once you got an intro on how to use the machines). again, with Pilates you need a one on one instructor to constantly check your alignment and correct technique is difficult but paramount.

Ken's other main point is that the cardiovascular system's only purpose is to support the muscular system. if you train the latter in an effective way you automatically train the c/v system (which means very short breaks between the exercises to keep pulse rate high). most of our c/v capability is genetic and therfore any specfic training will not make much of a difference. this is not the case for our muscles, they respond to overload (using them until failure) by growing.

one critical point i always underestimated is the rest period. after intense training Ken recommends several days of rest (no other sports) for the body to repair itself and for the muscles to make the necessay adjustments to the previous training session.

Just looking at the instructors in my local gym and at the way gym members go about their training regime I am shocked by the low standars prevailing today in the (UK) fitness market. it's now so commercial and there are so many myths around that for someone like myself it's very difficult to sort the useful from the useless advice.
post #22 of 30
YIKES! Looks like my writing career is going to be short lived! [img]smile.gif[/img]
I meant "70s."

As one who trains instructors, I would tend to agree that in some cases, industry standards are pretty low. As far as Pilates goes, yes, it is now possible to get "certified" over the internet. :

But if Hutchins ever took a look at the certification exams given by Stott or Polestar, he'd be humming a different tune.

Modern Pilates practitioners are trying to dispel the myth of the "long lean dancer's body." Unfortunately, there are still some women who buy into it.

I am always weary of anyone who says that there is only one way to train. In a sense, Hutchins has sbecome ethe Harold Harb of the fitness industry. There is validity to some, but not all of his points, and all of his ideas are far from being original.

You said that you were feeling "lethargic." Changing your program in any manner would be just as beneficial. Set your preferences on this page to "view all topics." You will see many types of exercise routinees, not just Pilates or Stability Ball. Varying workouts prevenets burnout. Its how I survived 31 years in the fitness industry.

Anyone who claims that aerobics is irrelevant is downright dangerous.

As far as the concept of sport specific goes, that's a whole other topic, which I may start later on. Suffice it to say that Hutchins once again shows his ignorance. Different sports require differenet muscle firing sequences. Training the muscles incorrectly can lead to serious injury, such as ACL tears.

I would agree that there is a limit to how much specific skill you can acquire from a fitness regimen. The only way to evaluate its true benefit is to see how many injuries you incur.
I've never had a sport or fitness related injury.
More later.
post #23 of 30
Lisamarie, many thanks for your replies.

I guess the best advice is still to incorporate some variety into the exercising regime and see what works for you to keep oneself motivated.

I am now taking longer rest periods between training sessions and am trying out a less extreme version of the superslow (4 sec pos/2sec hold/4 sec negative) and only do one or two sets for all major muscle groups to exhaustion which means I finish my weights training in half the time but still feel that i really have worked my muscles without the overall tiredness i used to feel. Intensity, by definition, can only be short duration.

i still do C/v but only 1-2/week.
post #24 of 30
Well... I paid a personal trainer at my gym to "kick my ass and get me ready for ski season"... and he is. :

I see my conditioning program in 3 parts:
- cardio
- muscle conditioning (strength and endurance)
- flexibility

I am a purist and I also crave efficiency. For me "cardio" is about working to make my heart stronger and utilizing oxygen more effectively. I take spinning classes and do some run/walk intervals on the treadmill. They are really the only 2 things that I feel pushes me hard enough.

I typically do my cardio first, then stretch for about 5 minutes, then do conditioning program, and end with at least 10 minutes of relaxed stretching. This amounts to about 2.5 hours typically 3x a week. I try to do cardio 2 more times a week.

I am very pleased with the results that I am seeing...
- my resting heart rate is 51
- I am comfortable with sustaining my heart rate at 160-165 for 20 or more minutes
- my musculature has increased
- my core strength and balance is at least 5x better

I worked out with the trainer on Thursday... here's my newest routine (I have been dong this kind of stuff since september-ish, FYI):

- isloated planks: 15 seconds in the middle (on forearms and toes), turn to right for 15 seconds (feet stacked, hips high, balanced on left arm), 15 seconds in middle, turn to left for 15 seconds (feet stacked, balanced on right arm), 15 seconds in middle ... repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 minutes and 45 seconds (no breaks! it's continuous)

- ab roll-outs with stability ball: (like that "ab roller" you see on TV) 2 sets of 15 reps

- isolated planks on smallest stability ball: balance in a push-up position on ball, close eyes, trainer manipulates the ball while I balance... 2 sets of 30 seconds

- leg lifts (for the back): put stability ball on a weight bench and lay on it so the ball is under the hips, hold onto the bench with my hands, raise and lower legs slowly... 2 sets of 12 reps

- knee tucks on stability ball: lay on stability ball with it under hips and hands on ground (like doing a push-up) roll legs forward, pulling knees under hips and then roll back (works lower abs)... 2 sets of 15

- (not sure of the name)... jack lunges? you lunge and then jump up and switch to the other leg lunge position and land (CRAZY HARD for me!!)... 2 sets of 10

- squats on bosu ball: stand on hard plastic side of ball and do 2 count (slow) squats while holding the ball VERY steady - trainer manipulates to make it unstable... 2 sets of 15 reps

- legs circuit: 3 sets
1. reverse lunges on "smith machine" (isolated benching bar) - no extra weight (bar weighs 45 lbs) - 10 on each leg
2. 10 lbs for tibia muscles (foot raises) - about 50-60 reps
3. 25 lbs seated calf raises - about 20 reps

- plyo circuit: 2 sets
1. 30 seconds of "toe taps" on the bottom stair of a flight of 15 steps
2. then run up and down the stairs (soft landing on each step) 5 times
3. return to 15 seconds of "toe taps"

Chest Press - 3 sets of 12 reps
Upright Rows - 3 sets of 10 reps
Assisted Pull-ups - 3 sets of 12 reps
Superset: Bicep/Tricep - 3 sets of 12 reps

that whole routine takes me about 70 minutes - depending upon the day.

If you have access to the equipment I mentioned - you should give it all a try!! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

Let me know how you like it...

and, of course, Lisamarie - your thoughts are always welcome!

post #25 of 30
I'm no expert on all this, but I've been through a bit of PT for core stability, and a simple tip that helped me is to suck in your bellybutton as if to draw it up underneath your ribs. Maybe suck is too hard a word. I try to do this whenever I remember -- while driving, sitting, watching TV, etc. In addition to improving strength even when you aren't "working out," I would guess it improves muscle memory so that these muscles are stimulated when you do anything -- which is the point, right?
post #26 of 30
Kieli; That is a superb program! What gym do you go to?
post #27 of 30
My only contribution here will be to tout Martial Arts, in particular Aikido.

I have been practicing Aikido for 11 years and have found that it has allowed me to 'relax' when I participate in other sports.

One of my points of focus when I practice Aikido is to breath in a controlled manner, and always from my 'center'(the abdominal area/hara/below the belly button). Also to keep my center low and stable.

When I focus on this while I ski ( or mountain bike ) I don't get tired as fast and I get 'into the groove' more.

I think relaxing will add so much more in a day of skiing then most exercise programs.

Now I just need to transfer this over to my Telemark skiing and then I'll be happy!
post #28 of 30
Iancruz, check out this thread! [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ November 08, 2003, 09:02 PM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]
post #29 of 30
hey Lisamarie

I go to the boston sports club in allston - my trainer is the fitness manager there. I trained with another trainer (as skier from CO in the spring - he has since returned to CO... so sad!!).

I was REALLY agressive when I bought the training - saying that I expected to have my butt kicked and that I specifically want ski conditioning.

I've seen amazing changes in my body and strength/endurance. I have a long way to go in my opinion - and I am frustrated with my lack of fat loss... cookies are soooo damn tempting sometimes! LOL [img]tongue.gif[/img]

any feedback or tips you have??

post #30 of 30
I will let you know when I see you. Women tend to think that they are much fatter than they really are. [img]smile.gif[/img] Your body may be staying at a level that's healthy for you.

If you are really concerned, you can try to increase the frequency of your cardio. But don't worry too much, since you are on a great program.
Boston Sports club trainers have to be NASM certified, which is the best certification for ski specific training.
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