Originally Posted by RicB
Personaly I'm not into weights much anymore. I have lifted moderate weights in the past, but find now that I'm much more productive using gravity and my body weight. There are still some things I do with weights, but few. Another interesting thing I expereinced when I started tai chi was that I was startng the season in much better functional shape than I ever did when I was just going to the gym. Last season I had hardly touched a weight for the off season and I started off in my best functional shape ever. Tai chi has done for me what doctors and trainers never seemed to be able to do. Doctors all seemed to say stop doing things that hurt and take pills, the trainers just wanted to work me out on machines. So I'm on the road to certifying myself.
I think any soft martial art would have the same results.
Yes core strength is a big one. Ball work, tai chi, yoga and pilates will all help here. I am trying try to mix up this so I'm not stuck with certain movement patterns.
Someone really interested in funtional fitness for skiing should have all of these in their regimen in some form or another. You seem very knowledgable BigE, care to share your regimen with us. Later, RicB.
I'm also past the weights -- for now. There may be a few machines in my distant future.... Core work and stationary biking make up my entire training regimen. I'm inlining with the kids ever so carefully -- cross-overs make my knees swell up. You are making me interested in picking up a soft martial art. It's something I could do with my kids too. I love playing with them!
Here's my reasoning as to why core strength is so important:
Strength of the prime movers becomes functional ONLY when the stabilizer muscles are capable of providing a stable platform for the prime movers to function. eg. The reason that many lifts are aborted is not because of lack of strength of the prime movers, but due to a lack of stabilty in the weight being lifted. The body senses that a catastriphic event is about to happen ( the weight bobbles ever so slightly), and the body aborts the lift dropping the weight. In short, the bobble signifies stabilizer failure, and the body realizes it's out of control and has to remove the danger. (Note: always lift with collars on.) Self preservation is hard wired.
So if functional strength is that closely tied to stabilization, then it is critical that the stabilizers are fully functional. Many things then happen with good stabilizers -- you know how strong you really are, you can better sense what your COM is doing, you can control the position of the CoM with less effort, balance is easier.
The reasons why compound exercises like the squat/lunge are so good in the first place is that they involve coordination, full ROM, and demand that the stabilizers are working. So, when you squat, as your coordination goes up, so does the weight. As the stabilizers improve their function, the weight goes up. As you learn to recruit more muscle fibres each contraction, the weight goes up. Eventually, the prime movers are actually get overloaded enough to grow. But not much happens with the prime movers until that point -- which is 6-12 weeks after starting the program!
So, if the main focus of development via compound weight bearing exercises is that the stabilizers and coordination get strengthened, why not do something less risky that focusses precisely on stabilizers and coordination?
I've been doing the workout I posted in another thread, and the results in my capacity to move under control are nothing less than remarkable. Better posture too....
That explains why you're in your best functional shape ever -- your stabilizers are working well.
For me, aerobics is essential -- I have had chronic lung issues - COPD. Thankfully no asthma. There is nothing like stress to motivate: imagine being told -- in your thirties -- that you were going to die soon if you did not quit smoking, and that an O2 tank was in the very near future. Then being told that the test results showed improvement after aerobic exercise, and you don't notice severity of the problem because you are so very strong.
You exercise. Alot. Intense aerobics and strength training. The COPD has been cleared up with great effort, over a span of 7 dedicated years by quitting cigarettes, allergy control (shots and avoidance), and aerobics. Allergy control was the critical feature -- quitting smoking and aerobics alone were NOT enough.
I primarily used weight training to make sure I would not notice the COPD, and also for raising the metabolism during my incessant diet phases. I really loved lifting..... unfortunately I got hurt deep squatting during a modified ketogenic diet -- the dehydrating effects of such a diet compromise the elasticity of soft tissue and the dehydrated cartileges tore easily. I was not even lifting heavy that day -- 50% of Max.
Take that as a warning to those that are lo-carbing and lifting. And it does not matter how much water you drink. Low carbing reduces glycogen to which water binds. Less and less glycogen => less and less water storage capacity => more and more dehydration. Trying to refill water supplies while low-carbing by chugging water is like trying to keep a collander filled -- the water won't stick.
This made me very depressed, I stopped working out and got really fat. Given that I know enough about how the body works, and how to train, it is surprising the effect of this injury is so very intense, and has had such a deep impact. It's very tough to get to the gym, even with the noticeable improvements of my current program.
Maybe Tai Chi with the kids could do the trick! It's always about the kids.