"1-2-3! Stability & Rehabilitation
"Anti-oxidants: A Key to Growth and Health?"
- ONE-TWO-THREE: JOINT STABILITY & MUSCLE REHAB
is very frustrating to watch clients or friends that are having
a hard time returning to form from injury. This is probably
the number one reason many people do not pursue physiotherapy
or athletic therapy. Unfortunately the reliance of people
on others to get them well leads to further exasperation,
especially when often only patience, diligent work, and effort
will restore muscle function or joint stability after injury.
athletes have been able to make remarkable comebacks, such
as female basketball players returning from ACL tears and
soccer players returning after having their leg broken multiple
times. The common themes in these successful rehabilitation
cases were persistence and a visualization of a return to
those of us that merely want to rid a nagging injury or regain
the ability to perform daily tasks, the same amount of hard
work is necessary and must be consistent. There will be lots
of hurdles to overcome, but have patience because there is
no shortcut in rehab. Set some goals, especially some for
2001 and make it a big year.
you come back from injury (under the guidance of the correct
professional - physio OR athletic therapist), begin to build
up your training volume and intensity of your workouts. Continue
to work on your abdominal and lower back strength if the injury
is outside of the core area so you set up a foundation for
future training. You should train on this plan for 2-3 weeks
then re-evaluate your injury. Properly address the injury
now so that it does not become a chronic injury. Correct it
now and then move to harder training if that is your goal.
Finally, if anything feels uncomfortable, immediately stop!
consider investing in some alternative therapeutic assistance
such as massage and ART. ART is "active release therapy"
and it may get covered in an upcoming newsletter. In my opinion,
all therapies are only as effective as the effort the injured
person puts into getting well. No therapy will be successful
if the injured individual does not adhere to proper exercise
form and rehab training parameters.
rehabilitation training, movement emphasis is on slow, controlled
repetitions. While there are certain times for explosive movements
in training programs, slow movements are paramount during
rehab and stability training. Continue with this philosophy
when you are healthy and include slow movements in the general
warm-up phase for all your workouts so that future injuries
can be prevented. Rehabilitation and stability training is
as simple as 1-2-3. So if you have 3 fingers, you can count
your way to injury prevention.
- The number of seconds in the concentric movement phase.
For example, if you are warming-up or rehabbing the posterior
deltoids with a bent-over dumbbell (DB) raise, you will spend
one second raising the weight to shoulder level. Similarly,
if you are performing bodyweight reverse lunges for leg stability,
you will spend one second returning to the starting position.
- The number of seconds spent in the isometric phase of the
exercise. Isometric means no movement, so you will hold the
muscle in the contracted position for a two-count. For example,
in the rear deltoid DB raise, the arms will remain parallel
for a two count. This is the most important phase of the "1-2-3
program" if your goal is joint stability. Holding the
isometric contraction may not provide the greatest stress
on the muscle fibers but it does provide the most beneficial
neuromuscular and kinesthetic stress to the joint to enhance
the contraction can simply be thought of "skill training"
for the joint. The skill taught is merely how to maintain
joint stability. In more advanced stability and rehab programs,
these isometric contractions can be held while the body is
in an unstable position (i.e. rear deltoid raise performed
seated on a Swiss ball).
- The number of seconds spent in the eccentric movement, such
as lowering the dumbbells in the rear deltoid DB raise exercise.
This is extremely important in lower body stability training
for athletes because it simulates (although at a much slower
speed) the braking action of the legs during deceleration
and turning. Go slow and you will get stable.
the guideline to a 6-second stability repetition. Don't worry
about getting your regular 10-15 repetitions per set with
this program, just concentrate on using a weight that allows
proper form. You may experience premature fatigue even with
light weights on this protocol due to the duration of the
isometric contraction, so expect to get only 6-8 reps. That
you are getting only 4 reps, decrease the weight. Do not compromise
the tempo of any movement phase in order to use heavier weights!
Remember this is a program designed for rehabilitation or
warm-up and not for serious muscle growth or maximal strength,
however by remaining injury-free you can meet your goals.
- YOU CAN'T GROW IF YOU ARE SICK
Vitamin C, vitamin E, ALA, and a variety
of other anti-oxidants scavenge free radicals in the body.
Though you have heard these many times, just what exactly
do they mean? An antioxidant is any chemical that neutralizes
free radicals thus protecting our cells from damage. Free
radicals are unstable molecules oxygen-containing compounds
that have been created through the process of oxidation. Two
common oxidative states are rust and the browning of an apple
when left half-eaten. Fortunately it is believed that antioxidants
can stimulate the body's own "healing" powers to
keep us free from acute and chronic illnesses.
Ironically, exercise can increase free radical
production, but we generally associate exercise with good
health, right? Perhaps the body responds to this increase
in free radicals by accelerating the body's ability to scavenge
the free radicals. However, the environment also lays a free
radical beating on the body.
example, cigarette smoke, fried foods, and x-rays all increase
free radical production and may damage DNA and arteries leading
to cancer and heart disease, respectively. In a healthy body,
most of the free radical damage is repaired, but some accumulates,
and over time this may lead to illness. It appears that man's
exposure to the stress of civilization has not yet been long
enough to trigger complete protective adaptations.
For some individuals, especially those seeking
to get bigger and stronger, maintaining overall health is
much more important to their goal than they believe. For example,
if, when seeking to gain 10 pounds of muscle, you are exposed
to environmental stress and illness, you may get ill and become
prevented from training.
too often hard working, generally healthy individuals completely
exhaust themselves in the gym so that they have no recovery
"reserve" left. And when a cold germ comes along
that would not cause sickness under ordinary circumstances,
these individuals develop illness because of their overtrained
state and end up losing weeks of progress.
illness be prevented by vitamin supplementation? Perhaps it
could. Could illness be prevented by a very healthy diet?
Likely...unfortunately healthy diets are few and far between
in the present society. Burgers and fries are much more convenient
and appreciated than preparing vegetables.
for a few extra dollars a month, many people could save themselves
a lot of lost training days. However, you can't use antioxidants
as an excuse for poor lifestyle choices, because that is not
their purpose. Eat as healthy as possible and use supplements
merely as an addition to a good diet. Realize that there will
be days when you eat poorly and use the supplements as dietary
insurance against minor illnesses.
will not cause you to gain 10 pounds of muscle in 7 days,
nor will it put 50 lbs. on your bench press, but with anti-oxidants
and vitamins, you can ensure your best chances of reaching
your full potential. Even good old Bill Phillips knows that
"you can't build muscle if you're sick in bed".
crazy as it sounds, doctors generally agree that for health,
you should eat a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables,
get regular exercise, get 8 hours sleep, limit exposure to
environmental toxins, and be stress-free. Take some advice
from Tom Incledon, CSCS, who knows his antioxidant info very
well, and "plan out your diet and include lots of fresh
fruits and vegetables." After all Tom points out, no
one goes into the gym without a plan, so why eat without a
plan? "For healthy
athletes in sports with a seasonal schedule, the primary goal
in the off-season and the pre-season is to eat five or more
pieces of fruits and vegetables every day."
Antioxidants are also an important aspect
of general health. In the book, "Antioxidants against
Cancer" by Dr. Ralph Moss, a "nutritional theorist",
there is motivating information for taking preventative steps
against all disease, not just cancer. As any good article
should, it will start with a scare tactic to keep you into
reading: By Moss's estimation, "Every other man and every
third woman in the US is now slated to get cancer". That's
quite a wake-up call.
cancer prevention appears much more difficult than diabetes
prevention (the lifestyle disease discussed in ISSUE #52).
A recent research paper stated that 90% of cancers are due
to non-genetic factors (sorry, forgot the reference!). So
even though we can eat nutritiously, quit smoking, and control
the water that we drink, there are still so many environmental
factors outside of our control that have been suggested to
Moss reports on foods and supplements that
have great antioxidant potential. Most striking is his comment
that with less than $1 dollar a day you can greatly improve
your body's antioxidant status. In theory, this improved antioxidant
status should lead to better health, and science does indeed
show a correlation between a diet high in antioxidants and
a high antioxidant intake is not guaranteed cancer prevention,
but by making small nutritional changes (consistent supplementation)
you may improve your everyday health and immunity to minor
illnesses. BUT, don't use antioxidants as an excuse to justify
smoking, poor eating, or a lack of exercise.
Bagels and yogurt, chicken and rice, and
pasta are all considered low fat "healthy" meals,
but these foods barely provide any "nutrients".
Processed bagels are almost completely devoid of vitamins
C, E, etc., most rice is stripped of nutrients during processing,
and pasta's only saving grace is tomato sauce. Substitute
fruit in place of the bagel, vegetables for rice, and add
fresh vegetables to your pasta sauce. This will provide an
antioxidant boost to the immune system, especially for those
under great stress (whether from work or from training).
to make foods the foundation of your antioxidant supply. According
to Dr. Ronald Prior, some of the foods with high antioxidant
capacities include; blueberries, strawberries, blackberries,
garlic, spinach, garlic, broccoli, oranges, grapes, and peppers.
Fruit juices are also packed with antioxidants (grape juice
was highest), but avoid those with added sugar. Green Tea
is packed with a lot of antioxidant power. It is cheap and
more powerful than most juices and vegetables. Oh, and one
more drink may help! Red wines may contain high levels of
an antioxidant compound called resveratrol.
According to Dr. Moss, antioxidants act together,
hence the term antioxidant "network". Therefore
taking smaller doses of many antioxidants is more beneficial
that taking megadoses of a single vitamin, especially because
vitamins A and E can be toxic in excess. Dr. Moss recommends:
A - 10000 IU
- There are 20 types in common foods, including beta-carotene
(broccoli), lycopene (tomato sauces), and alpha carotene (carrots).
40mg of lycopene per day was recommended (2 glasses of tomato
juice, 10 ounces of spaghetti sauce, or 13 tablespoons of
ketchup)! Moss recommends 10000 IU of mixed carotenoids.
C - Humans are one of the only animal species that can't make
vitamin C in their bodies, but almost all other animals produce
this compound themselves. In times of stress an animal will
increase vitamin C production by 2-3 fold suggesting that
an increased C intake is associated with disease prevention.
There is a strong correlation between a decrease
in stomach cancer and the popularity of vitamin C. Dr. Moss
notes that in Japan, where orange juice is not a common drink,
there remains a high incidence of stomach cancer. Vitamin
C is cheap, safe, and easy to use so get at least 250mg and
preferably 500mg per day. As far as food goes, a quality orange
provides 60mg and a cup of fruit juice provides 60-100mg,
thus it appears possible to get 250mg by food alone.
E - Along with C, this is one of the most important antioxidants
and is a generally accepted nutrient for disease prevention.
Dr. Moss suggests 200IU to a maximum of 800IU per day. According
to Dr. Moss, the average US diet supplies only 8 IU per day
because it is generally removed from food during the processing
of grains and the RDA is a miniscule 16 IU per day. Dr. Moss's
recommendations are based on recommendations from the highly
conservative and prestigious "Berkeley Wellness Letter".
Extra vitamin E should only be taken if extra vitamin C and
vitamin A are taken as well (to complete the antioxidant network).
for those that workout, 1200 IU of vitamin E had no effect
on strength and it did not prevent muscle damage or soreness
after a severe eccentric workout. In fact, no antioxidants
have a direct effect on performance, but they keep you well
so that you can train optimally.
- Don't mix vitamin C and vitamin E supplements with iron
supplements. In fact, according to Dr. Moss, you should not
take iron supplements unless you are deficient in iron. Vitamin
C increases iron absorption and excess iron in the blood can
- Dr. Lester Packer, from the University of California at
Berkeley, calls ALA, "the most powerful of all the antioxidants".
ALA acts as an antioxidant itself but also helps regenerate
vitamin C, vitamin E, and glutathione to continue their antioxidant
function ("network"). Dr. Moss recommends a very
small dose of 50mg per day.
And as a final recommendation: Take your
daily amounts divided into 2 or 3 doses, because some of these
are water-soluble (i.e. vitamin C) and excessively large doses
at once are simply lost in the urine. Divided doses permit
moderate blood levels.
book provided a lot of information on antioxidants and disease
prevention. Dietary and lifestyle changes are the most important
facets of improving health. A conscious effort to eat foods
high in antioxidants is the place to begin, and then you may
want to experiment with additional antioxidant supplements.
Supplements are the only way in which to reach the amounts
recommended by Dr. Moss.
you start a supplementation regimen now, you can observe your
health over time with respect to cold and flu avoidance. Its
not perfect science, but this trial and error method may lead
to a sickness-free winter, improved training, and increased
overall health. So listen to the experts, Dr. Moss and the
"Hulkster", and take your vitamins.
NOTE: This is not medical advice, just a "book report"
for this ISSUE.