Our final Bio Motor Ability is strength. Strength is ability to overcome a force regardless of time. Strength training repetitions tend to blur the line between power and endurance training. With strength training we get the neural benefits of power training, but we also get the benefits of endurance, where we increase hypertrophy and muscle recovery. The reps scheme for strength training, is usually between 6-12 repetitions and the load, or the intensity is usually around 70% of your maximum. Rest periods for strength training are 1-3 minutes. Strength training is important to building muscle mass. Muscle mass can then be converted, or utilized in other Bio Motor Abilities. Strength training often incorporates compound movements, though it can be used in an isolated fashion.
I hope oped you have enjoyed the series on Bio Motor Abilities, next week we get into periodization….
A bit more on balance training. There are two major components in balance training beyond postural alignment. The first is righting reflexes. Righting reflexes determine your ability to compensate for changes in the environment as you move across it. Righting reflexes rely primarily on your proprioceptive abilities, that is, your bodies ability to quickly respond by changing the tonus in your musculoskeletal system. Imagine your walking down the street and you step off an unseen curb. The difference between a sprained ankle and continuing on your journey unscathed depends on how quickly your muscles can relax or stiffen which is determined by the proprioceptors within your muscles and tendons. A properly functioning proprioceptive or righting reflex profile will have you traversing the city injury free, limit your proprioceptive system with a lack of training or poor foot ware and you’ll be needing my services soon.
The other major component in balance falls under the category of tilting or vestibular reflexes. These reflexes are called upon when the environment is unstable. Standing up while a bus is moving, riding a skateboard, and walking on ice are all examples of tilting reflexes. Tilting reflexes are largely determined by the vestibular system which is essentially the interplay between the fluid, hairs, and bones in the ears. An unstable environment is not the only challenge met by the vestibular system. Surely you have (or at least seen some one who has) had a bit too much to drink and begin to stumble around. This is due to the fact that alcohol has passed the blood brain barrier and saturated the dendrites. With the dendrite (which are nerve endings) unable to communicate the vestibular system no longer functions. The same is true during head trauma. A sharp blow to the head can also throw off the function of the tilting reflexes causing the knees to buckle and one to sway about aimlessly. Be sure that you are training both of your balance reflexes appropriate to your needs.
next week will be the final installment of Bio Motor Abilities….
What’s the best way to train to improve ones balance? If you Google balance training you will find all the latest and greatest devices, Bosu balls, dynadisk, rocker boards, along with hundreds of websites filled with thousands of exercises utilizing the aforementioned devices. These devices allow us to challenge our bodies in some amazing ways, but before we jump into the world of balance training we may want to ask…what is balance?
Balance is essentially ones ability to maintain a constant center of gravity regardless of position. In order to maintain a center of gravity or an optimal axis of instantaneous rotation (OAIR) ones muscular system must maintain optimal length-tension relationships. So, what does all this mean? Let’s take a look. As you read this you will likely notice your shoulders being rounded and your head protruding forward. This is termed forward head posture (FHP), and is very common in our technology driven society. When one has adopted FHP as a motor engram the head leads the body and puts undo strain on the neck, as a result of the neck strain the shoulders start to round and so on down the body. This constant strain can make balancing very difficult secondary to joint instability.
If we look at the fact that instability + instability = more instability we have to ask, is the current trend in balance training increasing or decreasing our balance. Current balance training trends focus on putting the body on an unstable device and asking the body to compensate in an effort to increase neural output and hence balance. This is great for someone who already has a solid foundation and good balance, it can be a nightmare for someone with joint instability secondary to postural imbalances. Take a quick test, get up and see how long you can balance on one leg, then the other. You will probably notice a couple of things. You will likely notice that one leg is easier than the other and that you probably can’t balance for more than one minute an either. If this is the case then you will want to take a look at your posture and see if your body is out of balance. Look for your head being out in front of your body, look for one hip sitting higher than the other, and for any side bending. These will all affect your balance relative the the degree you are out of alignment. So, if you are really looking to improve your balance you should address your posture.
If your lacking this next Bio Motor Ability your are setting yourself up for injury. Endurance is the ability to repeat a task consecutively without rest, while maintaining proper technique. Endurance repetitions tend to be 15 or more and they tend to be roughly 30% of your maximum ability. So if you can bench press a 100 pounds. To work endurance, you would use 30 pounds, and you would do it at least 15-20 times. Endurance work tends to lead to hypertrophy of the muscle due to an increase in mitochondria which increases the muscles ability to recover. Endurance work would be a big part of a marathoner’s program. On the opposite end of the physique spectrum, endurance training is also a large part of the body builders program. They tend to do a light weight with high, high reps. Again, because this is what’s going to build hypertrophy. Endurance can also be broken down into short term and long term endurance. Sprinting endurance determines ones ability to sprint 100 meters verses 200meters, verses 400 meters. Long term or aerobic endurance would be 100 mile bike rides, marathons, things of that nature.
Endurance training is essential in any health or performance building program, just be sure not to overdue it. Excessive amounts of endurance activity without proper recovery produces large amounts of stress hormones. These stress hormones catabolize muscle tissue and can wreak havoc on the thyroid glad. Be sure to keep a log of your waking pulse and heart rate to ensure that your not overdoing the endurance portion of your training.
only three more weeks of Bio Motor Abilities to go….