Monday, October 8, 2012

Fitness training schedules for T20 aspirants

The advent of T20 cricket has truly changed the fitness landscape of today's cricketers. 

Along with building a skill set to compete on the world stage, international cricketers also need to be genuine athletes with strength, agility, speed and flexibility all at a premium. Fitness training is no longer only confined to the 'pre-season' but requires dedicated and committed attention all year round. 

To compliment skill development and game sense training, the following core fitness parameters are crucial to be able to prepare a cricketer to be able to make runs, take wickets and field up to the standards of the modern game. 



Strength and Conditioning (6-10 weeks) 

A sport, specific program is ideal for focusing on improving speed, strength, endurance, power and agility. 

In brief, an individual needs to build their base strength. Moreover, as the athlete progresses in the program, multi-joint (compound) exercises would be added to improve on the overall strength of the player. 

Plyometrics (6- 10 weeks) 

Cricket involves explosive actions and requires sudden generations of speed. Acceleration is crucial and a plyometric program would ensure that the athlete is ready for these ballistic movements during match time. 

Core Conditioning program (6- 8 weeks) 

Whether it be batting, bowling or fielding, a cricketer is required to move quickly and effectively in all directions. Researchers have posited that a movement in the distal limbs is originated from the core (rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis and the erector spinae). Hence, a program that focuses on challenging the core needs to be implemented. 

Cardiovascular Conditioning (6- 8 weeks) 

player needs to continually improve on their cardiovascular functions. A fast bowler losing breath after an over is not a good sight and without good cardiovascular base, a player will be unable to stay at the top of their game for the full 40 overs. 

Therefore, interval training would be an interesting addition to the routine, high intense cardio mixed with long continuous bout would imitate the metabolic demands of cricket. 

A strong cardiovascular base will also assist in a cricketer being able to recover quickly after a match thus allowing them to perform at their best continuously with today's heavy playing schedule. 

Flexibility 

Mobility/ Injury prevention drills in a program would assist an athlete to recover and be injury free. Moreover, inclusion of Pilates & Yoga based programs would also help the player to recover and remain fresh from a gruelling fitness regime. 

Mental Practises 

The requirement of mental training techniques such as imagery, relaxation and self talk is paramount. The role of a sport psychologist can be to improve the positive attitude of the players and help them in their performance. 

Typically, off season is the usual time where fitness is heavily focused. However, with an elite cricketer in today's environment, a genuine 'off season' doesn't really exist. Therefore, its important that well planned fitness training programs focused on the above principles are incorporated into a player's yearly schedule to ensure he is at his peak and able to perform at his best when the game demands it.


Frank Mapranny & Martin Gleeson 

Cricket injuries and Prevention


We are a Cricket crazy nation and our cricketers are treated like gods. Cricket has been part of the Indian lifestyle since the inception of Cricket in 1700’s. Our cricketing rich tradition can boast of cricketing heroes since the 1970’s. Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni have all become household names. India won their first world cup in the 1980’s. In comparison, to the 1980’s a cricketer in today’s era has a tight season schedule.

A batsman can get hurt at the crease when he is facing bowlers bowling at a speed of about 140 km/h. A fielder can get hurt has he chases the ball towards the boundary. A bowler can suffer from injuries due to the repetitive stress that the body has to experience in a match. Injuries can occur by a direct hit of a moving ball, fielding injuries, getting hit by the bat and overuse injuries. These hazards have resulted in the players wearing protective gears to guard themselves.


Types of Injuries
Injuries can be categorized under the following parameters
Bone Injuries
A cricketer can suffer from a fracture that would require immobilization of the affected body part. In severe cases, a fracture may require surgical intervention. Stress fracture is another injury that can affect a cricketer, especially a bowler. They occur because of repetitive stress on the bones.
Joint Injuries
They normally include sprains and dislocations and are normally associated with fielders.
Muscle Injuries
They can be a muscle pull or strain and can be recovered by proper medical attention.
Injuries such as these can be experienced by both amateurs and professional cricketers. In such an event, the standard treatment of R.I.C.E is followed.
Rest
The first step in the R.I.C.E treatment is rest that requires a player to rest the injured body part. This would help in the relieving pain, under no circumstances the player is supposed to resume normal activity.
ICE
Ice acts as an analgesic and would slow down the metabolism around the injured area. This would help in reducing the swelling and fasten the process of recovery. Icing the injured body part by chemical cold bag or a bag of ice wrapped in towel would help. 15 minutes session of icing the injured area at hourly intervals can take place.
COMPRESSION
Compressing the injured area with elastic bandage would aid in recovery and help in reduced swelling.
Elevation
Elevating the injured area above your heart level assists in reducing the fluid around the injury. This done on a frequent basis would assist in recovery.

If a player suffers from an injury there should be a rehabilitation program that would help in getting back the player to competition levels. Cricket is played at many levels in the country and one of the most important parameter to avoid any kind of injuries is prevention. One of the most important factors in preventing an injury is fitness or a conditioning programme that can be implemented before and during the season. Moreover, coaches and sport authorities need to identify the type of injuries that are sustained at different levels.  This would result in the necessary countermeasures that would improve the performance quality of the players. For instance, a bowlers workload could be controlled during the season giving the bowler adequate rest. Protective gear can be used at competitive and at grass root levels to reduce impact injuries. In the end, the important thing that matters is the safety of the players and make the game more enjoyable.

Frank Mapranny,
Training Head,

YFC Pvt.Ltd

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Exercise in Prenatal and Postnatal Care


“Should I exercise while I’m pregnant?”
The answer is yes. A well-structured prenatal fitness program can make pregnancy both healthier and easier. 



Benefits of exercise during pregnancy
Psychological well being
-Increased sense of control and relief tension
-Control of excess weight gain.
-Decreased water retention.
-Improved posture and appearance.
-Decreased incidence of back pain.
-Decrease complications during labor.
-More rapid postpartum recovery. 

Enhance your mood:  Exercising before you are pregnant can give you an all-around better feeling. Physical activity changes the brain chemistry and stimulates endorphins, which directly affect your mood. Combined with the blessings of better sleep and reduced stress, you just may find yourself in a good state of mind.

Step-1 planning for pregnancy
The best time to start planning and implementing your pregnancy health, weight and exercise program is immediately after we’ve decided to try to become pregnant.
Having a strong, fit and healthy body will not only prepare us for the strength and stamina required during our pregnancy, but it will also increase our chances of conception and make for a generally easier pregnancy, labor and most importantly birth!
Research shows that being significantly overweight during pregnancy has potentially detrimental effects on the health of both the mother and their unborn children.
Step-2 Personal Training and pregnancy
When starting an exercise program at any stage in your life especially during pregnancy, using a Fitness professional experienced with pre and post natal clients is a must at least six months prior to your planned pregnancy.
This will make sure you are exercising correctly, appropriately and safely at all times.
As well as being providing motivation, encouragement and support, a good personal trainer will be fully versed in the safety aspects of exercising while pregnant and can provide valuable advice on things like nutrition, proper exercise technique, and plan suitable and practical exercises aimed directly at preparing us for giving birth.

Step-3 Exercises and pregnancy:
For instance

1. Squats-
This exercise is done using chairs to assist with the technique, help with balance and reduce range of motion. Place one chair against a wall. Sit on it with another chair in front of you, with the back facing you. Place your feet about shoulder width apart angled at approximately 45 degrees. Grab the top of the chair in front of you, using it to help with your balance on the up and your abs tight. Push up down movement of the squat.
Stand up using your legs, keeping your knees at the same angle as your feet. Do not lock your legs out. Keep your knees slightly bent at all times. Then squat down, lowering yourself towards the seat of the chair. Keep your back straight and your abs tight. Push up through your legs just before you are about to touch the seat.

2. Lunges
Lunges during pregnancy can be done using a chair to help with balance. Stand next to a chair, placed on your left hand side. Put your left hand on the top of the back of the chair. Step back with your left leg into the lunge position, keeping your front knee in line with your second toe and your back knee under your hip. Keep your feet on parallel lines as wide as your hips. Always keep your back straight and remember to push up through the heel of your front foot. Repeat on the other side.

3. Horse Stance
This exercise is performed on all fours, hands under shoulders, spine parallel to the floor, thighs perpendicular to the floor. Tighten your abs and push your lower back up into a flat position. Hold for 1-3 minutes. Great to help maintain your core strength during pregnancy!

Repeat exercises 1 and 2 with 15 - 20 reps x 2 sets 2- 3 times a week

Some other important exercises of during pregnancy
-Low impact aerobics
-Water aerobics
-Walking
-Kegels
-Pilates
-Yoga
-Cycling
-Swimming

Kegels- Help prepares body for labor and Strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

Yoga-  Help with breathing and relaxation.
-Energizing
-Stress relief
-Improve posture
Note:  Avoid position lying on the back.

Swimming- Uses large muscles group of legs and arms..
-         No strain on ligaments.
-         Feeling of weightlessness.
-         Improved circulation.
-         Water temp should be 18-25 Celsius

Stop exercising when you experience-
-Vaginal bleeding
-Dizziness
-Decreased fetal movement
-Amniotic fluid leakage
Step-4 Strength training and pregnancy
Strength training is now recommended by the American College of Obstetricians. 
• Making pregnancy easier • Helping avoid excessive pregnancy weight gain • Decreasing time in labor • Making labor easier • Quicker recovery after giving birth • Reduces tiredness • Better control over body-fat fluctuations • Increased strength to perform daily activities during and after pregnancy. • Strength to cope with the lifestyle changes of a new baby.
Step-5 Postnatal exercises guidelines
It is very important to start slowly and listen to your body. It is important to start being active, but do not over do it. It takes about six weeks for uterus to shrink back to normal size. If you had stitches from tearing, you will need to wait until they heal, if you had a c-section, you will need to wait until your doctor removes the stitches and approves for physical activity.

Exercise Schedule-
1 day after normal delivery, 2-3 days after c-section

-Walking
-Simple abs contraction

After 1 week
-Slowing increases walking length
-Breathing exercises

After 6 weeks-

1. Pelvic floor exercises (Strengthen your tummy muscles)
-Breathe in and as you breathe out, tighten your pelvic floor muscles. The feeling is one of squeeze and lift. Imagine that you are stopping yourself from passing wind. Once you have tightened your pelvic floor, gently pull your belly button in and up. You should feel your tummy muscles tighten.

2. Pelvic tilt (Strengthen your pelvis and back)
-Lie on the floor or your bed. Place a pillow under your head. Bend your knees by sliding your feet up towards your bottom.
-Tighten your pelvic and pull in your lower tummy muscles, before squashing the small of your back down into the floor or bed. Hold this for a count to three and then arch your back away from the floor or bed.
Note-
Don’t exercise in a hands-knees position for the first six weeks. There is a small risk that a little clot of air can form at the site where your placenta was attached.

Get your body back after: Maintaining fitness during your pregnancy will prepare your body for an easier time of rebounding back to the way you want it. It also helps keep off unnecessary weight gain during your pregnancy which would only make bouncing back more difficult. 
It took nine months to grow your baby and it may take you up to nine months to return to your pre-pregnancy shape. Be sensible and take it slow.

References-
1.  Acsm book
2. Acsm obstetricians.


Dr. Meenakshi Sharma,
Fitness Manager,
Your Fitness club





Imagery, Exercise Imagery and its positive effect on Exercise performance


'Conceive, believe and achieve’.
Quasi- sensory or Quasi-perceptual experiences that we are self-consciously aware of, and which exist in our minds even under the absence of those stimuli that could lead to the production of these sensory or perceptual counterparts can be termed as imagery (Richardson, 1969). Simply stated, Imagery is the mental representation of certain action that happens in a perceptual mechanism without the execution of a response or a movement. It is considered to be one of the most frequently used performance enhancement technique. Imagery normally involves all the senses (i.e. “seeing, feeling, touching, hearing and tasting). Paivio (1985) posited that imagery mediates behaviour through either cognitive or motivational mechanisms, which affect the specific skill set of the general response systems. Imagery was segregated to understand the underlying affects of its practise. Cognitive Specific imagery (CS) was suggested to be primarily of images of skills or techniques. Cognitive general (CG) was suggested to be imagery that worked on the cognitive plans (strategies) of athletes. Technique that works specifically on goals and goal oriented behaviours are termed as Motivation Specific (MS) and Motivational General includes images associated with affect and arousal (Short et al., 2006).



An athlete goes through different types of training to improve his/her performance i.e. technical training, conditioning training and mental training. Sport has a long history of athlete’s that have been successful in their endeavours. An athlete goes through tremendous amount of pressure when entering a sporting arena. They have to strike a balance between anxiety and confidence. A performance based athlete would definitely include training stimulus that can improve his/her training abilities. Studied have posited that a mature athlete would use imagery naturally to improve their efficacy beliefs in a competitive environment.

Athletes or individuals tend to have preferences over the type of imagery experienced. Imagery can be practised with an internal view, external view or with kinaesthetic imagery. Internal imagery can be termed as an imagery where you see the world through your own eyes, External imagery can be termed as an imagery where you can see yourself as a third person and Kinaesthetic imagery is a type of imagery practise that makes you aware of your body or body segments.

Exercise and Imagery
Imagery besides sports is used in developing language, enhancing motivation and learning motor skills. Moreover, research has suggested that imagery has a significant effect on exercise behaviour. It can be used for three primary reasons in exercise, one is to improve exercise energy, appearance and exercise technique. Mentally practising the aspect of having a leaner body through visualization can improve efficacy beliefs and outcome expectancy of the exerciser Giacobbi et al. (2003). If outcome expectancy is positive it would have an overall positive experience has a gym user. Furthermore, an experienced exerciser automatically uses appearance, energy and technique than less experienced, frequent users (Gammage et al. 2000; Hausenblass et al. 1999). Adherence to exercise improves if an individual practises exercise imagery (Rodgers et al. 2001).

A research conducted by Giacobbi et al. (2003); hinted that imagery that focused on exercise techniques was a powerful tool. One of the athlete mentioned that they broke down the form to imagine and visualize the perfect technique. The sensation that the person would experience while performing that perfect technique and every movement was broken down into segments to understand the proper form. Appearance imagery used by exercisers improved the positive experience of an exerciser. Having a healthy body image which is more toned would result in increased motivational functions. Associating emotions/feelings had a beneficial affect on the individuals. Feelings those are associated with reduction of stress due to exercise, excitement of finishing a workout or run would improve exercise participation. Moreover, the ability to complete a challenging task i.e. exercise with the use of imagery improved confidence.

As a regular gym user, how would I use it to my benefit?

If I need to improve the form of a certain exercise, I would imagine the movement the effort involved in that particular movement. This could be done before the start of a set. I would break down the segments in an exercise to improve my exercise form. Additionally, if I am trying to break my PR. I would see to that I would imagine the effort involved in that particular movement. Imagine for a positive outcome, imagine the strength involved, and imagine I am getting stronger for that lift. A positive outcome would have a positive effect on performance.

Faith in your CNS and in yourself – is called CNS training.

References
[1] Gammage, K. L., Hall, C. R., & Rodgers, W. M. (2000). More about exercise imagery. The Sport Psychologist,
14, 348.359.
[2] Giacobbi Jr., P.R; Hausenblas, H.A., Fallon, E.A. & Hall, C.A. (2003). Even more about Exercise Imagery: A Grounded Theory of Exercise Imagery. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 15, 160-175
[3] Hausenblas, H. A., Hall, C. R., Rodgers, W. M., & Munroe, K. J. (1999). Exercise imagery: Its nature and measurement. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 11, 171.180.

[4] Paivio, A. (1985). Cognitive and motivational functions of imagery in human performance.Canadian Journal of applied Sport Sciences, 10, 22s-28s.

[5] Richardson, A. (1969). Mental Imagery. New York: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.

[6] Rodgers, W. M., Hall, C. R., Blanchard, C. M., & Munroe, K. J. (2001). Prediction of obligatory exercise by exercise-related imagery. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 15, 152.154.

[7] Short, S., E., Ross- Stewart, L., & Monsma, E.V. (2006). Onwards with the Evolution of Imagery Research in Sport Psychology. Athletic Insight, 8, 47-63.


Frank Mapranny,
Fitness Head,

YFC

Fitness training schedules for T20 aspirants

The advent of T20 cricket has truly changed the fitness landscape of today's cricketers. 





Along with building a skill set to compete on the world stage, international cricketers also need to be genuine athletes with strength, agility, speed and flexibility all at a premium. Fitness training is no longer only confined to the 'pre-season' but requires dedicated and committed attention all year round. 

To compliment skill development and game sense training, the following core fitness parameters are crucial to be able to prepare a cricketer to be able to make runs, take wickets and field up to the standards of the modern game. 

Martin Gleeson, Chief Executive Officer, Sports Education Development India Limited (SEDIL) and fitness trainer Frank Mapranny, who trained cricketers from Cricket India Academy team as apart of Cricket Australia list out fitness tarining schedules for all you aspiring T20 players who wish to swing the bat for their country, city or may be your gully! 

Strength and Conditioning (6-10 weeks) 

A sport, specific program is ideal for focusing on improving speed, strength, endurance, power and agility. 

In brief, an individual needs to build their base strength. Moreover, as the athlete progresses in the program, multi-joint (compound) exercises would be added to improve on the overall strength of the player. 

Plyometrics (6- 10 weeks) 

Cricket involves explosive actions and requires sudden generations of speed. Acceleration is crucial and a plyometric program would ensure that the athlete is ready for these ballistic movements during match time. 

Core Conditioning program (6- 8 weeks) 

Whether it be batting, bowling or fielding, a cricketer is required to move quickly and effectively in all directions. Researchers have posited that a movement in the distal limbs is originated from the core (rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis and the erector spinae). Hence, a program that focuses on challenging the core needs to be implemented. 

Cardiovascular Conditioning (6- 8 weeks) 

player needs to continually improve on their cardiovascular functions. A fast bowler losing breath after an over is not a good sight and without good cardiovascular base, a player will be unable to stay at the top of their game for the full 40 overs. 

Therefore, interval training would be an interesting addition to the routine, high intense cardio mixed with long continuous bout would imitate the metabolic demands of cricket. 

A strong cardiovascular base will also assist in a cricketer being able to recover quickly after a match thus allowing them to perform at their best continuously with today's heavy playing schedule. 

Flexibility 

Mobility/ Injury prevention drills in a program would assist an athlete to recover and be injury free. Moreover, inclusion of Pilates & Yoga based programs would also help the player to recover and remain fresh from a gruelling fitness regime. 

Mental Practises 

The requirement of mental training techniques such as imagery, relaxation and self talk is paramount. The role of a sport psychologist can be to improve the positive attitude of the players and help them in their performance. 

Typically, off season is the usual time where fitness is heavily focused. However, with an elite cricketer in today's environment, a genuine 'off season' doesn't really exist. Therefore, its important that well planned fitness training programs focused on the above principles are incorporated into a player's yearly schedule to ensure he is at his peak and able to perform at his best when the game demands it.



Frank Mapranny & Martin Gleeson

Monday, June 4, 2012

Body Image & Muscle dysmorphia – I’m no Superman


Human body is a graceful culmination of evolution and years of hard work in the gym can result in the development of an impressive physique. Gruelling workouts in the gym and adherence to exercise can result in a very discipline approach to life. It makes you confident, improves your self-esteem and your body image. Thanks to media, our body image has evolved throughout the years. An ideal image for a woman these days would be thinness and for a man would be increased muscularity. A perfect example in mens’ muscularity would be the comparison of Charles Atlas, Eugene Sandow to Arnold Schwarneger and Sylvester Stallone or to our current famous bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman [1]. Muscularity through the years has gone from muscular to acute muscularity. This can be easily identifiable in action or superhero figures egs – GI Joes, Superman etc. 



What is Body Image?
Body Image here defined is a multidimensional construct that reflects how we see our own body, and how we think, feel and act towards it.

As per some research, a discrepancy in a person’s body image would result in an autonomous exercise behaviour that would result in improved exercise adherence [1].
If I perceive myself has thin or overweight, I would like to do something about it to fit in the socio-cultural expected standards of a male/ female body image. An Ectomorph would like to become more muscular, while as an Endomorph would like to lose fat to get muscular. There has been an increase predominance or a shift to a Mesomorph type of a body. Further, research has posited that young men get influenced by the media and tend to aspire for the V-shaped broad shoulders, muscular upper torso and a narrow waist. Due to the persuasive power of the media there is a possibility of young men be dissatisfied with their body. This onset of body dissatisfaction could then lead to muscle dysmorphia, substance abuse and disordered eating [3] [5].

Muscle dysmorphia
Muscle dysmorphia (MD) is a preoccupation with the idea that one’s body is insufficiently lean and muscular and considered as a body image disorder in men. Some individuals are pre-occupied with their entire body being small or puny while as the truth is they tend to be normal or unusually muscular. This mental issue affects their social commitments and lifestyle [2].  An individual suffering from Muscle dysmorphia or Bigorexia or Reverse anorexia will be obsessed on his physique that his weight training and diet would consume major amount of his time. This individual will have an uncontrollable focus on pursuing his body building lifestyle by sacrificing his career, social and other activities. Situations that would require exposure of that individual’s body will be avoided (for example - beach). Person’s behaviour in social settings will be diminished because of their preponderance on their presumed body deficiencies. For example an individual suffering from a wrist injury would go with bench pressing through the pain, so as not to skip his workout routine [3] [4].



Muscle Dysmorphia and Substance abuse
A high discrepancy in an individual’s body image dissatisfaction may result in that particular individual resorting to Androgenic – Anabolic steroids.  These individuals tend to depend on these harmful substances which may hamper their growth and cause injury. Some researchers have even supported psychological issues among steroid users [5]. These behaviours are very harmful to the younger generation and could lead low self esteem, substance abuse and disordered eating.

Our main idea to write this article is to bring awareness amongst gym users; we do not pathologize working out, weight training or fitness. It is our aim to inform YFC members about these psychological issues. We strongly believe that fitness or your desired goal can be achieved through a healthy sustained approach.

References
[1]  E. Halliwell., H. Dittmar & A. Orsborn (2007). The effects of exposure to muscular male models among men: Exploring the moderating role of gym use and exercise -motivation, Body Image, 4, 278-287.

 [2] V.Hitzeroth., C.Wessels., N. Zungu-Dirwayi., P. Oosthuizen & D.J. Stein (2001). Muscle dysmorphia: A South African sample, Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 55, 521-523.
[3] J.E. Leone., E.J. Sedory & K.A. Grady (2005). Recognition and Treatment of Muscle Dysmorphia and Related Body Image Disorders, Journal of Athletic Training, 40, 352-359.
 [4] D. Wolke & M.Sapouna (2008). Big men feeling small: Childhood bullying experience, muscle dysmorphia and other mental health problems in bodybuilders, Psychology of Sports and Exercise, 9, 595-604.
[5] A.M. Wroblewska (1997). Androgenic-Anabolic Steriods and Body Dysmorphia in Young Men, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 42, 225-234.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Exercise of the Week – Pistol squats


Stand on your right leg, with your left leg out in front and parallel to the floor. Hands are kept to your sides. You sit back down in performing a one legged squat. The range of motion depends on your mobility; if you can maintain adequate balance and form you could go deeper.
See to that you maintain adequate tightness in your abs to perform this challenging exercise.
Stand back up by maintaining proper form and balance.





Performance meter
Balance – this exercise requires balance and co-ordination from your end. It should be performed only intermediate to supplement your leg training.
This is a high risk exercise for a beginner and for someone suffering from a knee injury.

Frank Mapranny,
Fitness Head,
YFC

Sunday, March 25, 2012

10 Tips and Techniques for Better Eyes





Most computer users suffer from the problem of tired eyes, dark circles and headaches. Follow the ten tips to avoid them
Studies have shown that stress, active nightlife and above all, the fact that most of us spend maximum time in front of the computer lead to dark circles, puffed and tired eyes. Timely treatment is essential for such difficulties.
Specifically with computer users, physical and visual discomfort is experienced by many after just a few hours in front of computers. It appears that PC users suffer from repetitive stress of their eyes and want an immediate solution to revive the tired eyes.
Studies show that most computer users start to feel eye-muscle stress after two or more hours at the computer. This usually starts with tired eyes. With more time at the computer, discomfort frequently spreads to the head resulting in headaches, burning of the eyes, blurred vision, loss of focus, double vision, and neck and shoulder pains. Before it is too late, your stressed out eyes need to be relaxed and revitalized so that you feel fresh later in the day.

Tips to reduce eyestrain

·         Modify your workstation. Adjust your workstation and chair to the correct height.
Use proper lighting.
·         Match the computer screen to the brightness of the environment. The contrast between the background and on-screen characters should be high.
·         Minimize the glare. Use window shades, blinds or drapes to block excessive sunlight or install an anti-glare screen to minimize reflections.
·         Take frequent breaks. Full-time computer users should take a 10 minute break every hour.
·         Blink more often. Tears in the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and cause dry eyes.
·         Get an eye examination done.
·         Re-focus your eyes. Look away from your computer screen every 10-15 minutes and focus for 5-10 seconds on a distant object.
·         Exercise even when sitting. Move about or exercise frequently.
·         Get sufficient sleep. Fatigue promotes eyestrain.


Purvi Gala, 
HOD - Nutritionist, 
YFC




Bilateral Movement vs. Unilateral Movement- Phenomenon of Bilateral deficit





Our everyday weight training involves movement that requires both the extremities (Arms & legs) performing an action. Action in the gym requires the activation of muscles and it will be the executing muscles generating force to perform a movement.  For example to Squat 200lbs our leg has to generate more force than 200lbs to move that weight and control the weight. Any exercises performed when both the limbs are working in tandem will be termed as a bilateral movement. Even movements like getting up the chair will be termed as a bilateral movement.  Similarly, movement involving a single limb will be termed as an unilateral movement. Exercises like a single leg press, single DB curls, one arm overhead press and a single leg deadlift will be termed as a unilateral movement. In our day to day activities we perform movements that are unilateral movement; a beautiful example of this will be walking and running (3).

Bilateral Phenomenon
“Bilateral deficit is a slight decrease on the neural activation in the recruitment of motor units in the development of bilateral works, when compared to the sum of unilateral works" (1) .  For example, an unilateral (single) leg press movement (both left & right) added will be more than the force production of a bilateral movement on the leg press. We are able to generate more force production unilaterally as compared to bilateral. Incorporating single limb exercises quantifies the effort and the effectiveness of that particular exercise. In a single leg movement, the hip musculature will be more activated which will result in proper muscle activation. Depending on the intensity of an individual, he or she has to incorporate individual limb movement. 

Do we need to exclude bilateral movement?
 No, we do not exclude bilateral movement from our training program but we incorporate unilateral movement in our training program to enhance the rate of force development (2).

The advantages of unilateral movement in a leg workout would be the reduction of spinal compression and the recruitment of muscle contraction. Additionally, to achieve this contraction an individual wouldn’t require maximum poundage.  Hence, it would make sense to include single limb movement to improve the effectiveness of our lifts.

  1. Aagaard, P; Simonsen, E.B; Andersen, J.L; Magnusson, P & Dyhre-Poulsen; P. (2002). Increased rate of force development and neural drive of human skeletal muscle following resistance training.  Journal of Applied Physiology, 93, 1318-1326.

  1. 2.      Janzen, C.L., Chilibeck, P.D., & Davison, K.S. (2006).  The effect of unilateral and bilateral strength training on the bilateral deficit and lean tissue mass in post-menopausal women. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 97, 253-260.

  1. Seynnes, O.R., M.de Boer & Narici, M.V. (2007). Early skeletal muscle hypertrophy and architectural changes in response to high-intensity resistance training. Journal of Applied Physiology, 102, 368-373.  

Frank Mapranny, 
Fitness Head, 
YFC

Friday, February 3, 2012

Synopsis of Low Back pain



 Back Pain is a common musculoskeletal disorder affecting 80% of people at some point in their lives. It is the most common cause of job-related disability, a leading contributor to missed work, a price mankind has to pay for their upright posture.

Causes of Back Pain: The specific etiology of most back pains is not clear the common causes like postural and traumatic back pains are among the common, could be a feature of an extra-spinal disease like a gynecological disease.                                                                                                                                                
Age:  some diseases are commoner at a particular age. Back pain is uncommon in children.

Sex:  Back pain is commoner in women who have had several pregnancies. Lack of exercise leading to poor muscle tone. Some women put on a lot of weight during pregnancy and later develop mechanical back pain. As one gets further along in the pregnancy, due to the additional weight of the baby, one’s centre of gravity will shift forward causing one’s posture to change. This change in posture leads to increasing lower back pain.

Occupation: People in sedentary jobs are more vulnerable to back pain than those whose work involves varied activities. Back pain is common in Surgeons, Dentists, Miners, Truck drivers etc.

Treatment- Physical therapy treatment for LBP often involves a wide range of techniques including heat therapy, ultrasound, massage, mobilization, exercise, infra red radiation and education about posture and body mechanics.

Exercises to reduce low back pain: The low back exercise program is a series of stretching exercises and strengthening exercises .The purpose of this exercise program is to improve the flexibility and strength of your trunk musculature essential for your low back care.
1. Mackenzie exercises
2. Cat camel exercises
3. Isometric and dynamic exercises
4. Aquatic exercises
5. Pilates

Stretches:
1. Back  flexion exercise
2. Knee to Chest Stretch Hips and Gluteus Stretches
3. Piriformis muscle stretch
4. PNF stretching, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching, is an occupational therapy and physical therapy. It is often a combination of passive stretching and isometrics contractions.


Remember:

1.      While Sitting
Healthy sitting posture is based on the neutral spine position by positioning your hips and knees at 90 degrees. Remember this position is balanced between the extremes of lumbar movement. Remember to choose a properly designed chair to help support the lumbar spine. 


2.      While Walking
Proper body mechanics are also important while walking - try to maintain the neutral spine position while walking. In the neutral position, the legs and arms swing naturally during forward motion. Conditions that alter the normal way of walking, and cause a limp, can severely stress the spine. While walking, always try to maintain your spine in the neutral position.

3.      When lifting 
First find the neutral position. Bend at the hips by rotating the pelvic wheel at the hip joint axis. Keep the safe posture, hold the object securely, and use the large leg muscles to generate power. Tighten the abdominal muscles during the lift to create a stabilizing corset around the trunk.


References:

1.Book Carolyn Kisner
2.Book Karim kha
3.Wikipedia

Dr. Meenakshi Sharma,
Fitness Manager,
YFC - Bhopal

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Squatting myths !!!

Squat is the crowned king of lower body exercises. The benefits of this powerful exercise are associated to hypertrophy - overall increase in lean muscle mass, calorie expenditure and hormonal release. Squats invariably can be performed with different variations, these variations include Back Squat, Front Squat, Ball Squat and Unilateral squats. The movement involved in squatting is a co-ordinated natural movement that is normally practiced while performing activities of daily living. In an Asian population, an average individual do certain movements to a full flexion of the knee (111degree – 165 degree). A perfect example would be sitting cross legged; one requires 90 degree – 100 degree of hip flexion and a full knee flexion [1]. However, there has been a healthy debate amongst coaches, strength athletes and fitness professionals that squatting is bad for your knees. Specifically, the knee joint goes through a lot of stress that will invariably compromise the stability of the knee joint, if it passes the toe line.







Squatting is a compound and a multi-joint movement exercise that requires the involvement of three joints – ankle, knee and the hip where flexion and extension is involved. Moreover, the movement is initiated on all three joints. Any pre-dominance of any joints, especially, during the initiation of the movement would result in the over loading of that specific joint.

Knee joint
Restricting the knee joint (not ahead the toe-line) while squatting invariably with a dominance on hip flexion. The body has to then compensate that leads to increase spinal loading, especially, lumbar loading. Researchers have suggested that the knee torque was slightly less in squat when the forward displacement of the knee was restricted [2]. However, hip torque was substantially increased. They suggested that restricting the knee resulted in the forces being inappropriately transferred to the hips and the lumbar region. Therefore, appropriate joint loading while squatting may require freedom of movement on the knees i.e. to move slightly passed the toes.

Squatting deep is bad for the knees
In our activities of daily living (ADL), we normally squat deep and this happens on a regular basis. Researchers have suggested that the force experienced on the knee in 70, 90 and 110 degree flexion of the knee joint. 70 degree can be explained as a quarter of a squat, 90 degree can be explained as a parallel squat where the femur is parallel to the floor and 110 degree can be explained as a full squat. In 110 degree, knee flexion the knee passes the toes. This study suggested that the amount of stress or force experienced on the joint was not that significant in all the three range of movement. In simpler terms, the amount of stress experienced by the knee joint did not warrant an immediate contraindication on this particular movement restriction.

Now as a trainer we need to be aware that the tibiofemoral and patellfemoral compressive force are greatest in the closed kinetic chain exercise at full flexion and squat is a good example of a closed kinetic chain exercise. Interestingly, the greatest tension on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was actually found in the open kinetic chain exercises, at or near the full extension position [3]

Now the question that keeps arising is should we allow a clients’ knees to go past the toe line? The answer to this question is subjective. An individual with specific knee based issues have to go through rehab to develop the muscles and ligaments surrounding the knees. The job of fitness trainers are multidimensional and the trainer has to be aware of the clients’ condition to assess and analyse the functionality of the exercise. This can be only done through proper counselling and health screening of the clients. It is very important to teach a member to squat using their body weight, as this is an important preconditioning before loading the members with weight.

 It is common knowledge that the body is not designed to work in just one plane but it is designed to work in quite a few planes together. Hence, exercises like the hack squat, leg press and smith machine are fixed axis machine and makes the body adjust to one line of axis. This unnatural movement makes the body to compensate and in time may lead to injury. 

References

[1] S.J. Mulholland and U.P. Wyss (2001). Activities of daily living in non-Western cultures: range of motion requirements for hip and knee joint implants. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 24, 191 – 198.

[2] Fry AC, Smith JC, Shilling BK. (2003). Effect of knee position on hip and knee torques the barbell squat. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,17(4): 629-633.

[3] Escamilla R, Fleisig G, Zheng N, Barrentine S, Wilk K, Andrews J. Biomechanics of the knee during closed kinetic chain and open kinetic chain exercises. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 30(4); Pp 556-569. 1998.


Frank Mapranny
Fitness Head, 
YFC