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Speed of Movement & the Mighty Metronome.
By: John Paul Catanzaro

Tempo refers to the speed of movement and is usually represented by a 4-digit number: eccentric (negative) contraction - isometric (pause between negative and positive) contraction - concentric (positive) contraction - isometric (pause between positive and negative) contraction. For example, a tempo of 3-1-2-0 means to lower the weight for a count of 3, pause for a count of 1, raise the weight for a count of 2, and do not pause before starting the next repetition. An "X" designation denotes eXplosive, meaning to lift the weight as fast as possible.

It's not uncommon for people to race through their sets in order to get done sooner. Although this could benefit power development, hypertrophy might be sacrificed. For instance, if two individuals were to perform the same number of repetitions, but one completes the set in 6 seconds and the other takes 60 seconds, is the training effect the same? Obviously not! Tempo is a training parameter that is quite often neglected. You can calculate total time under tension (TUT) of a set simply by multiplying tempo (add all 4 digits) and the number of repetitions performed.

The problem with tempo prescription is that cadence tends to vary among individuals and also between reps and sets. (Generally, the count speeds up as you fatigue!) For this reason, I recommend that you purchase a metronome - the Robic SC-700 Sports Chronometer available at Creative Health Products is a good choice. Set the watch to 60 beats per minute so that it beeps every second and try to keep the cadence uniform throughout the entire range of motion.

John Paul Catanzaro is a certified kinesiologist and professional fitness and lifestyle consultant with a specialized honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health Science. He owns and operates a private gym in Toronto, Ontario providing training and nutritional consulting services. For additional information, visit his website at www.BodyEssence.ca or call 416-292-4356.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/


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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape

 

Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.


Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
shocks.

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
speaking.

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
time.

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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