Mature Athlete

mature athlete

What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in biomechanics to avoid injuries. I read « Sport Medicine Media Guide » and I learned some good stuff.

Physical exercises are for everyone, including the mature population. Exercises allow older people to keep a healthy body and maintain their independence. The main health problems of the mature population are arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, depression and hearing and sight loss. With the exception of hearing and sight loss, all these health problems can be serious decrease with an adequate workout program.

All mature athletes should have a complete medical and musculoskeletal assessment before starting any workout program. Having a complete medical examination, medical advice and a workout program helps to avoid serious injuries and health accidents. These 3 things should meet the needs of a mature athlete to avoid disease, increase endurance, strength, body image and competitiveness.

Exercises are beneficial

It’s important that a qualified personal trainer create a specific workout program to improve strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. If the workout program includes sports such as golf or tennis, the technical knowledge of the golf/tennis instructors is helpful to avoid injury and improve performance. For results, workout programs must be consistent for at least 30-45 minutes, 3-4 days a week.

If physical conditions require correction, a cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation program or physical therapy may be helpful before starting a workout program. These rehab programs should be taught to mature athletes at a fitness level where they could continue with their own workout program.

Exercise type for the workout program

physical exercise type

An athlete should use types of exercises based on his/her desire, pre-existing conditions and his/her ability to exercise without pain. For an athlete with lower extremity joint problems such as arthritis or instability, it’s recommended to avoid exercises with repetitive impacts like running. For athletes with an unstable shoulder, it’s recommended to avoid overhead exercises such as military press and pull-ups.

Using several types of exercise to improve strength, can allow better recovery of muscle and tendon tissue. If a mature athlete wants to make a sport that can aggravate a pre-existing problem on a muscle, tendon or bone, that athlete should be in a good condition before doing this sport. It’s recommended to decrease this sport’s frequency to reduce the painful symptoms.

What equipment to use

Having shoes that fit with the exercise and/or the sport is beneficial. If the person has a foot with significant deformity such as flat feet (fallen arches), using orthopedic shoes helps to reduce stress on the entire lower extremity. The symptoms of arthritis in the knee may be decrease by the use of specialized braces.

Prevent injury or discomfort during exercise

If there is discomfort during or after physical exercise, this should be analyzed to prevent it from starting again or getting worse. Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory can be used in the short term if there is no interference with other medical conditions. It’s important to know that the use of ice, heat, massage and flexibility programs can decrease several symptoms caused by exercise.

There is more aggressive treatment with narcotic analgesic and/or cortisone injections but this should only be used to treat a specific lesion. This shouldn’t be used to allow an athlete to complete in the short term.

Summary

Creating a customized workout program with a medical professional and/or a qualified personal trainer helps a mature athlete to :

  • Keep independence

  • Increase physical abilities

  • Prevent injuries

  • Improve the quality of life

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food. Click here.

Tear Of Hamstring Muscle

hamstring muscle anatomy tear

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

In bodybuilding, tears of hamstring muscles are common. This often happens during squat when the torso is too much inclined. All hamstrings muscles (except biceps femoris short head) are extremely stretched and squeeze strongly to straighten the pelvis. Precisely at this point, there may be a muscle tear in the upper or middle part of this muscle group.

It’s possible that the tear of hamstring muscle occur with machine (leg curl). There may be a muscle tear with a heavy weight at the beggining of the movement when legs stretched and muscles stretched.

Usually, tears of the muscular fibers of hamstrings are small and not serious (it’s rare to see a major muscle tear or tendon disinsertion) but these tears are always painful and causes complications.

Indeed, often after a tear on this muscle group, there is a fibrous scar that causes a painful and disabling rubbing for sport practices. And it’s important to note that this scar isn’t elastic and can tear again during an intense effort.

Tip to avoid hamstring tears

To avoid theses muscle tears during squat or deadlift, it’s important to make specific stretching movements for hamstrings, before or between sets.

There are also other exercise like « Good-morning », stiff-legged deadlift or Romanian deadlift which helps because of their combined actions of muscle building and stretching.

After a tear of hamstrings

To avoid having a fibrous scar, it’s necessary to do a re-education a week after the tear. It’s important to do stretching exercises for the back of the thigh slowly. This allows you to stretch the injured muscles and to soften the scar so that it doesn’t tear when you start again the training.

feedback of hamstrings muscles

hamstring muscle anatomy tear pelvis

In modern societies, we sit for several hours. This can create in some people a feedback of hamstrings muscles. This muscles retraction of the back of the thigh puts the pelvis in retroversion and this creates a bad position of the spine.

This poor position of the spine causes the natural curvature of the spine to be lost over time. This results in poor posture, flat buttocks and round back that can trigger spinal pathologies.

To limit this feedback of hamstrings muscles, it’s recommended to do exercises that have a combined action of muscle strengthening and stretching at the back of the thigh as the « Good-morning », stiff-legged deadllift and Romanian deadlift. Then after this exercise session, it’s advisable to do some sets of stretching for hamstrings.

Action of hamstrings at squat

hamstring muscle anatomy tear squat

During squat, hamstring muscles squeeze to straighten the pelvis. This prevents the torso (in this phase the torso is bound to the pelvis by the contraction of the abs and lumbar) from bending too much forward.

hamstring muscle anatomy tear

Note

Fibrous scars can also be treated in parallel by a physiotherapist with manual or mechanical massages to soften the lesion.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Back To The Source Of Human Strength (Part 2)

source river

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

If you didn’t read part 1, click here 

Hypertrophy

When I started to train, I thought I can increase the amount of muscle fibers with strength training program. The truth is we have a specific number of muscle fibers. We can only increase the size of our muscles fibers, this is hypertrophy.

I discovered that there were several hypertrophies. Usually when people talk about hypertrophy, it’s sarcoplasmic hypertophy.

  • Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy

    This hypertrophy allows you to increase the amount of sarcoplasmic fluid in your muscles. This can increase the size of one of your muscles by 30 %.

  • Myofibril hypertrophy

    This hypertrophy allows you to strengthen your myofibril, the part of the muscle that contracts. This increase the strength of your muscle fibers, build strong muscles and super dense.

  • Transient hypertrophy

    This hypertrophy allows you to increase temporary the size of one of your muscles during and immediately after an exercice due to an accumulation of fluid (I still don’t know if it’s the sarcoplasmic fluid or glycogen) in the intercellular space. This is what gives the effect « the pump ».

To summarize to buid a muscle super dense and strong, it’s myofibril hypertrophy. To have bigger muscle, it’s sarcoplasimic hypertrophy. Transient hypertrophy is temporary and appears in the other 2 hypertrophies during the training.

During a strength training, here is what happens :

  • During an exercice you’ll break muscle tissue. Your body will repair this muscle and it will become stronger. Whenever you break muscle tissue, your body will do this process.
  • When you increase the number of repetitions, you increase the storage of glycogen in your muscle. This is where you muscle gets bigger.

For the training program

Strength training isn’t just lift weights. It’s more interesting and more complex than that.

Here are details :

chart hypertophy starting strength rep 1rm

A little help for this Excel’s table

  • Repetition (Rep) => An exercice is composed of a starting position and an arrival position. A repetition is when you make the movement from the starting position to the arrival position and you return to the starting position. All that make a repetition. For exemple when you squat, the starting position is standing. The arrival position is when your thighs are parallel to the floor and you return to the starting position, standing.

  • X Rep Max => This is the number of repetitions with the heaviest weight you are able to control. By exemple, 1 Rep Max (1RM), is that the weight is so heavy that you can do only one repetition. 10RM, is that you can control the weight successfully to do 10 repetitions. In the 11st, it’s the failure.

With this Excel table, you can have an idea to how you can do to gain stength (myofribril hypertophy) : A low number of repetition and heavy weight. To increase the size of your muscles (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy) : A high number of repetition and light weight.

ATTENTION : This Excel table give us an idea of how to do to reach our goal. It’s not something specific. When you do a high number of repetition to increase the size of your muscle, you gain also a little strength. Our body is smarter than us.

It’s for this reason I never understand girls or women who don’t want to « get bulk », so they do 3 sets of 16 repetitions or 5 sets of 1000 repetitions with a dumbbell of 2kg (4.4lbs).

It’s hard for a girl to bulk, no matter the weight or the number of repetitions, if they want to increase the size of muscles, that’s exactly what they have to do because it would make sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

Recovery

recovery sleep

I’m sure you’ve already heard that muscles are built in the kitchen, not in the gym.

It’s because when you’re in the gym, you break your muscle fibers. When you’re outside of the gym, your body heals and your muscles become bigger and stronger. So it’s important to take a recovery’s day in your strength training program.

The general rule is to wait 40 hours before to work the same muscle group again.

Remember that your muscles works in team, which means that when you work your chest, you also work shoulders muscles and arms muscles.

Everyone at his own pace to recover, it depends on diet, sleep’s quality, age workout and other items like stretching or massage.

The basis of strength training is 4 days of training per week and one recovery’s day.

Sore muscles or DOMS

DOMS is the acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Sore means that your muscles haven’t recovered to 100 % (hence the « delayed onset »). This can last 1-2 days after your workout and this is normal. The process for your body to rebuild your muscles takes several days after a workout.

It’s normal that you have sore muscle for several days after your first training or after a long break. With each exercice, your muscle gets used to a movement and adapts to the stress caused by this movement so that you have less sore muscles. Stretching helps you to decrease sore muscles.

I think you motivated now, to start a strength training. Don’t worry, there is a lot of stength training program great for beginners on internet. The book « Starting Strength » is excellent for beginners, the Excel’s table of this article comes from this book.

 

 

I also put free strength training program at your disposal. Click on the links below.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Shoulder Injury (Part 1)

shoulder

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and there is good stuff.

Shoulders injuries are frequent in bodybuilding because we want develop all deltoid muscles. To do this, we must perform a signigicant number of repetition and movements thus multiplying the risk of injury.

It’s worth remembering that, in comparison with the solid hip’s articulation where the femur head is deeply embedded in the pelvic cavity of the pelvis, shoulder’s articulation, which must be very mobile to allow arms to move in all direction, is very little embedded.

Shoulders can thus be defined as a joint to muscular fixation, the maintenance of the humerus head on the scapula’s glenoid cavity is mainly ensured by a complex musculo-tendinous ensemble.

Although in bodybuilding most injuries occur during shoulders training, it’s rare to see this muscle directly injured. The wound are generally much deeper and appear most often during a false movement or after a long wear by friction of tendon structure reinforcing the articular capsule.

While in other sports of violent contact (such American football) or rapid arms movements (such as throwers) can result in serious injuries with dislocations and enven tendon pull. The main lesion observed is what we call subacromial bursitis.

Some people when performing elevated arm movements, such as back press or lateral raise, the supra-spinous tendon is rubbed and compressed between humerus head and osteoligamentous vault formed by the underside of the aromion and the coracoacromial ligament.

Consequence

shoulder anatomy

The result is an inflammation which generally begins with the synovial bursa, which normally protects the supra-spinous tendon from excessive friction. And it continue by the supra-spinous tendon itself and ends, if this inflammation isn’t treaed, by touching the adjacent tendons of the infraspinatus at the back and the long portion of the biceps at the front.

Arms elevation becomes extremely painful and there may be an irreversible deterioration of the supraspinatus tendon with calcification and sometimes even rutpure. The latter being observed in general only with people over 40 year old.

The space between the humerus and osteoligamentous vault can vary from one individual to another. Some athletes will not be able to lifte their arms laterally without generating excessive friction. These individuals must therefore avoid all back press, lateral raise to high and also when they train back, pulldown behind the neck.

All exercices with barbell for shoulders should be done in front of, with elbows slightly forward. With dumbbells lateral raise, the correct working angle should be sought, the right movement being the one that is realized painless.

It’s interesting to note that for the same shoulder injury all individuals don’t respond in the same way. Some people can perform all sort of arms raise, compressing and sometimes even deteriorating their tendons without ever triggering a painful inflammatory process. Thus, in the course of an examination, some people have discovered a rupture of the supra-spinous muscle’s tendon without ever having complained of any pain.

Another cause of shoulder pain may be due to an imbalance in the distribution of muscle tension around the joint capsule. Recall that the humerus head is firmly held against the scapula’s glenoid cavity by a muscular system with tendons adhering or passing through the articular capsule. This set is composed at the front by the subscapular, a little more on the outside by the long portion of the biceps, above by the supra-spinous and finally at the back by the infraspinatus and the teres major muscle. Spasm, hypertonicity or, on the contrary, a lack of tonicity of one or more of these muscles, can lead to a bad position of the shoulder joint. This bad position will be the cause, during the movements of the arm, of friction likely to generate inflammatory pathologies.

Exemple : A contracture or a spasm of the teres major muscle and infraspinatus will cause an external rotation of the humerus head which will generate during the movements of the arm, friction in the front of the shoulder joint. And with the time can injure the tendon of the long portion of the brachial biceps.

It will therefore be necessary to ensure to train in a balanced way all the muscles of the shoulder avoiding all the exercices where one will feel a discomfort, a pain or a friction.

Note : Hand massage or better with a vibrator, as well as electostimulation, give very good results to diminish and eliminate spasms and contractures of teres major muscle and infraspinatus.

-Steph

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