Sunday, November 29, 2009

Myofascial Release

Self Myofascial Release

If you belong to a gym, are involved in yoga or are addicted to foam you may have heard of Self Myofascial Release, which is a great way to stretch out your muscles (more specifically fascia). It is done by grabbing a foam roller (a long foam tube formed into a pipe-like shape), which most exercise facilities have now, and placing it on parts of the body that have lack of motion, the inability for the body to go/stay in anatomical neutral (a 'tip' for another time), or just bother you.

The most common area to 'foam roll' is the lower body. It is done by applying simple body weight onto the foam roller in the area where you desire to stretch. If you have seen this done before, I am sure you have seen people that roll back and forth on a spot to supposedly stretch. That is not the correct way to do it. When you foam roll, you are trying to find spots that hurt when the foam roller is below them, and then hold there until the pain subsides (no, I am not twisted and sadistic, try it). It is finding spots where your fascia has bonded to other fascia and is 'tight', and relieving those spots, which usually ends up hurting a good amount. Always perform Self Myofascial Release slowly. Here is what happens in your body when you foam roll...

You have thousands of muscle fibers in each muscle group in your body. When you lose range of motion or you are tight in certain areas of your body, you have what is commonly known as a 'knot'. Literally the muscle fibers get knotted up, begin to spasm and stop functioning properly. While that is occuring scar tissue begins to form around the spasming muscle fibers, which then become dormant and stop functioning with the rest of the crew. You also lose the ability to burn the calories/use the energy that those muscle fibers could be utilizing.

What foam rolling does is it relieves those muscle fibers of the 'knots'. Apply pressure to those spasming muscle fibers, and when held there it will generally produce discomfort in that area. As the foam roller is held for at least 30 seconds (up to 2 minutes) the spasming muscle fibers begin to loosen up as the scar tissue slowly breaks away from the spasming muscle fibers. The pain should then reduce significantly since the scar tissue has broken away from the muscle fibers, and then the 'Golgi Tendon Organ' (look it up) in each individual muscle fiber tells those fibers to relax, bringing them back into the game along with the rest of the muscle fibers of that muscle group.

Foam rolling increases range of motion, allows you to work harder, burn more calories, get/use more energy, get into shape quicker, move more does much good. Just make sure you drink water immediately after so that you don't get dehydrated. If you have more questions about this, please ask one of the Midtown trainers.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Do You BOSU?

BOSU is an acronym for "both sides up". The BOSU Balance Trainer can be used with the platform side either up or down for different types of balance challenge. Two recessed handles on the bottom of and towards the sides on the platform make it easy to turn over or carry. This hybrid fitness product has its genesis in the field of medicine, as well as balance, functional and sports specific training. Neuromuscular physiology, which helps to define human movement, provides the science that backs this remarkably complete approach to training. The BOSU Balance Trainer offers a different means to make exercise more appealing and effective for average people, fitness enthusiasts and highly trained athletes.

For more information on how to use the bosu stop by Midtown Fitness Center for serious training. Please consult a professional trainer before using this device.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ten Safety Tips For Weight Training

Please keep the following key points in mind when performing any strength training exercise:

* Never hold your breath while lifting weights. This can cause you to feel lightheaded, dizzy, and lead to fainting.
* Never lock your joints (knee, elbow, etc.) while lifting weights. Locked joints are put under an enormous amount of stress, which may lead to injury.
* Always use collars on the bar when lifting weights.
* Focus on controlling the weight. To avoid injury and maximize the effectiveness of the exercise weights should always be lifted and lowered slowly.
* Always have a "spotter" present when performing free weight exercises. Spotters can assist you with form and ensure that you avoid injury.
* Keep both hands at equal distance from the center of the bar when using free weights. Not doing so could result in harmful stress to one side of your body.
* Never excessively twist or bend the spine, which can cause lower back problems.
* When standing, always maintain a slight bend in the knees to reduce stress on the lower back.
* The knees should always remain in alignment with the toes when performing leg exercises.
* Always replace weights to the proper racks so that others do not trip over them. that others do not trip over them.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Midtown Fitness Video Tip

This is a "healthy back" video tip from Scott Fushi (nationally certified personal trainer). If you would like to see more please email with your ideas.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Biggest Loser Success

We are one week into our biggest loser contest. On Monday 13 participants will have to weigh in to check their progress. I happen to know several people are down at least a few pounds. Check back to hear about their successes and challenges. Thank God for the biggest loser program and their ability to empower people and give them hope.