Monday, October 31, 2011

Updated Exercise Guidelines by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

ACSM recently updated it's 1998 version of Exercise Guidelines. This post is trying to give you an overview of ACSM's current position regarding exercise quantity and quality.

 1. Health Benefits of Cardiorespiratory-, Strength and Resistance-, Flexibility- and Neuromotor Training
  • reducing the risk of developing cardio-vascular disease
  • improving insulin sensitivity
  • improving cholesterol values, elevating HDL-
  • reducing blood pressure values in hypertensive individuals
  • enhancing mental outlook - improving mood disorders
  • improving body-composition/weight-management
  • preventing, improving or reversing osteoporosis/osteopinea
  • preventing or improving osteoarthritis
  • reducing risk of falling
  • reducing risk for diabetes type 2 and metabolic syndrome
  • reducing risk of stroke as well as breast and colon cancer
Overall it can be said that regular exercising not only decreases a persons risk of developing diseases that can significantly reduce his/her quality of life, but that it leads to increased levels of well-being.

2. Cardiorespiratory Training Guidelines (for apparently healthy adults)
  • The ACSM recommends to train 3-5 days per week at moderate (Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale: 12-13) to vigorous (RPE: 14-17) intensity levels.  This can be done on 5 days/week at moderate levels, 3 days at vigorous intensity, or 3-5 days at a combination of both levels. Moderate exercise levels should be performed for 30-60 minutes, vigorous exercise intensity should be performed for 20-60 minutes. These exercise sessions can be continuous or be broken up into multiple sessions during the same day. The cardiorespiratory training should be done purposeful and rhythmic involving all major muscle groups of the body. The training program should be gradually progressing in intensity, duration of each session, and frequency until set goals are achieved.
3. Strength Training Guidelines (for apparently healthy adults)
  • The ACSM recommends to strengthen all major muscle groups 2-3 days per week with 48 hour rest intervals. The prescribed intensity depends on age, experience, and goals. In order to increase strength very light to light loads are recommended for novice older adult and novice sedentary adult exercisers. (40-50% of one Repetition Maximum)  moderate to hard loads (60-70% of 1-RM) are suggested for novice or intermediate adult exercisers and hard to very hard loads (80-100%of 1-RM) are reserved for experienced weight lifters. If trying to improve strength endurance light to moderate loads are recommended. For power training extremely light to light loads are suggested for older adults. Strength training is prescribed in repetitions, sets and rest. 10-15 repetitions and single sets to increase strength in novice and older adult exercisers. 8-12 repetitions and 2-4 sets to increase strength and power in most adults. 15-20 repetitions and 2 or more sets to improve muscular endurance. Each set should be followed by 2-3 minutes of rest.
4. Flexibility/Stretching Exercise Guidelines
  • ACSM recommends to stretch all major muscle groups at least 2-3 days per week, with greater improvements being achieved through daily stretches. The stretch should be done in a static fashion to the point of light discomfort or a feeling of tightness in the muscle being stretched. Stretches should be held statically for 30-60 seconds for older adults and 10-30 seconds for most adults. Repeat each stretch 2-4 times per muscle for a total of 60 seconds per target muscle group.
5. Neuromotor Exercise Guidelines
  • Neuromotor exercises are geared to improve balance, coordination, agility and gait and are therefore extremely beneficial especially for the older adult to prevent falls and maintain physical independence. ACSM recommends the inclusion of such types of exercises in the work-out routines on at least 2-3 days per week for 20-30 minutes. There are no known recommendations yet on intensity and volume. Keep in mind that more complex and difficult balance- and coordination exercises trigger greater heart rate and blood pressure responses.
  • This newly released ACSM statement is the largest evidence based guide (over 400 cited references of publications and studies) to health and fitness professionals in creating individualized exercise and training prescriptions for healthy adults of all ages. It highlights the importance of qualified leadership through well educated fitness professionals and it's positive impact on the exercise experience for all adults, especially the novice adult exerciser. If you have difficulties getting started on your journey to get healthier and improve the quality of your life please consider contacting a Personal Fitness Trainer to help you get on the right track.

À Santé

Hartmut Broring, M.S. Physio Therapy
Founder and President
Back In Form, Inc.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fitness Tips for Tennis Players

To find out how to prepare for Tennis let’s look at the physical characteristics of the game and determine what attributes of physical performance should be addressed through training. Keep in mind: “we get fit to play a sport not playing a sport to get fit!” Tennis like most racquet sports is characterized by fast explosive movements like jumps and sprints. Recovery time in between points is usually rather short and total playing time varies between 30 and 180 minutes per match. There is a great amount of lateral movement as well as overhead racquet movement. Both movements carry an elevated risk for injury. A tennis player has to focus in his/her training therefore on a multitude of goals. Good muscular strength and flexibility help with injury prevention and explosive movement. Coordination and balance are important while chasing the ball with multidirectional runs. Anaerobic and aerobic capacity need to be trained parallel due to the stress placed on both energy systems with each point and the total length of the game.

Power and Explosiveness:
These anaerobe qualities can be trained in many different ways. I usually have my athletes go through sprint and plyometric drills and emphasize multi directional/planar exercises. I prefer to take the player off the court as much as possible in order to prevent overuse injuries due to the hard surface. Shuttle sprints over short distances, North, South East & West (forward sprints, lateral quick steps, reverse sprints), or Reaction Sprints (a partner throws a tennis ball over the athletes head, he turns sees the ball and retrieves it by sprint) are great ways of improving the sprint qualities and reaction time of tennis players. In addition I use medicine balls, reaction balls, agility ladders, elastic resistance, parachutes, hurdles, BOSU® and Plyometric Boxes to improve lower extremity power.

Muscular Strength
Tennis specific strength training should focus on balance and joint/core stability. That means you should avoid focusing on muscles of either front OR back of the body but rather engage in a work-out treating all muscle groups as equally important. In athletic performance training I prefer multi joint exercises over single joint exercises (typical for Body Building) as they are a better way of preventing muscular imbalances. I also introduce different plains of motion into exercises in order to emphasize joint stabilization in a multitude of directions. A few examples.: Forehand-Backhand Lunges; Chest Flys and Reverse Flys with multi directional lunges using elastic resistance or cable; Snatch, Cling and Jerk using moderate workloads; Medicine Ball Throws.
In addition I like to introduce my tennis players to a variety of exercises that help with overuse injury prevention. Exercises to stabilize the shoulder and prevent rotator cuff injuries such as internal/external shoulder rotation and “empty the can exercise”. Exercises to reduce lateral epicondylitis (aka tennis elbow) include wrist flexor/extensor stretches and strengthening of same muscle groups.

Range of motion (ROM) is for a tennis player as vital as it is for most other athletes. A decrease in ROM due to tight muscles and tendons prohibits accurate biomechanics, diminishes your technique and reduces the accuracy and force with which you are hitting the ball. It furthermore leads to an increase in wear and tear on joints and muscles and therefore more time on the injury reserve list. Use dynamic stretching before your games in order to increase blood flow to the area and static stretching after your game to restore proper muscles length! Muscles groups in desperate need for stretching are hamstrings, quadriceps and gastrocnemius as well as pectoralis, rhomboids, trapezes and triceps.
I hope you find these tips helpful and wish you a lifetime of great tennis!

A Santé,
Hartmut Broring – M.S. Exercise Therapy