The key feature of proper squatting technique is the ability to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement. This becomes even more challenging if you’re trying to squat below parallel, and the difficulty that many people have with this only serves to perpetuate the myth that squatting is bad for your back. You may also have observed some really strong lifters performing a squat with a rounded back, which further complicates the issue. While it’s one thing to sacrifice a little bit of form when going for a near maximum-effort lift, this exception doesn’t apply to you if you’re not squatting triple your bodyweight, or if you’re still learning how to squat. Quality of movement should take precedence over the quantity of the resistance being moved.
This doesn’t mean that the lumbar spine should never move into flexion or hyperextension. But it’s probably wise to avoid extreme end ranges of motion when you’re supporting a …Read this post >>
Whether you want to run faster, jump higher, throw farther or play harder, you will need to move through an optimal range of motion to meet your performance objective. Flexibility is therefore an important factor in displays of physical performance along with strength, endurance, balance, agility and other fitness qualities. Static stretching may not be able to prevent injury or muscle soreness, but there’s no doubt about its usefulness when it comes to enhancing flexibility. Having said that, there are no universal requirements for flexibility, so the potential value of stretching must be evaluated in terms of individual needs and goals as well as any inherent limitations of stretching itself.
In that light, it’s worth examining the available evidence to determine if static stretching has any potentially negative effects on performance before engaging or continuing in a dedicated stretching program. Specifically, there are a few issues to consider: 1) the immediate short-term effects of stretching, …Read this post >>
Stretching may not be able to prevent acute injury, but what about ordinary muscle soreness that sometimes occurs as a result of physical activity, otherwise known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS? Just about everyone has had at least some experience with DOMS. After finishing a workout session without any noticeable discomfort, you develop increasing soreness and stiffness which peaks anywhere between 24-72 hours and then gradually subsides over the next couple of days. In the early 1960′s, researchers believed that exercise-induced muscle soreness was the result of restricted blood flow due to muscle spasm, and that normal blood flow could be restored to the muscle by stretching.
By the mid 1980′s, the muscle spasm theory was discredited but stretching continues to be recommended for the prevention and treatment of DOMS.Regardless of the actual mechanisms involved in producing DOMS, can stretching prevent or at least reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness? Again, rather than relying on …Read this post >>
Injury prevention is one of the most common goals of stretching, and many people regularly stretch before physical activity with the explicit goal of reducing their injury risk. In the meantime, a growing body of evidence has been calling many of the supposed benefits of stretching into question for the majority of the population. This may go against popular opinion in the health and fitness industries, as well as contradict what many in the public might consider as common sense, but there is turning out to be little credibility to the claim that stretching will prevent injuries.
Some individuals will surely object to this, stating that they don’t get injured as long as they stretch, as if other training variables have no bearing on the outcome. Congratulations on remaining uninjured, but if we are seeking supporting evidence for a mandatory stretching protocol, then we will have to use a sample size greater than one and …Read this post >>
Ross Tucker from The Science of Sport posted an excellent article yesterday that highlights the polarization that has taken place among the debate on barefoot running. This phenomenon is not limited to the running community, of course, and I really appreciated how Ross compared the barefoot issue to all the paleo diet dogma that is currently being promoted. It’s not that barefoot or minimal running doesn’t profoundly benefit some runners. Likewise, some people are truly much better off when following a low-carb or even a no-starch diet. The problem arises when these positive experiences become the basis for what are portrayed as incontrovertible laws for all humankind.
…Read this post >>
The squat probably gets more of a bad rap than any other strength training movement, especially the barbell back squat. Many people choose the leg press machine instead, blaming the squat on their knee or low back injuries. Others will only perform partial squats, fearing injury if they go too deep. Avoiding injury is always good, but avoiding the squat is like refusing to walk because you’ve seen other people trip and fall on the sidewalk. Millions of professional and amateur athletes around the world somehow manage to squat regularly without hurting themselves.
The fact that a properly performed squat is inherently safe has been presented many, many times by others who are much more qualified than I am. In spite of this, the misconceptions persist, so I believe that the available evidence bears repeating. This article will deconstruct what may be the three most common squatting myths: Squatting below parallel is bad for your …Read this post >>
Nothing is more important for your health than regular physical activity, and music feeds the soul. Unfortunately, school sports and music programs are seeing drastic cuts due to tough economic times. Anne McCarthy, a runner and music teacher in the Edison, NJ public school system, is taking the lead in supporting music education in the classrooms, while promoting a more active lifestyle for the youth in our New Jersey communities. Her non-profit organization, Miles For Music, is hosting a two-part event on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at Johnson Park in Highland Park, NJ. To be held first, at 9:00am, is a 20K race open to all runners. Following that, at 12:00pm, will be a 1-mile walk/run event that is open to school teams with 10 or more participants.
…Read this post >>
What have you learned in 2011? Hopefully, you know more now than you did one year ago. The real question is, how much of what you think you know is based on fact? Much of the information below will challenge some personal beliefs and popular opinions on health and fitness, and I believe that’s exactly what’s necessary if we want to continue learning. Anyway, it was hard to limit this list to only 10 items (9 articles and 1 video), but here are my top choices for 2011:
1) Power Balance: “We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims.” – Ross Tucker, The Science of Sport – Power Balance was forced to admit that their bracelets are a scam. This article explains why they can seem to “work”.
2) Reducing fats does not prevent heart disease or save lives – Dr. John Briffa, Healthier …Read this post >>