Thursday, February 23, 2012

Congruent Exercise - Wisdom from Bill DeSimone 2

Ok the next instalment of my thoughts on Bill's book.  (The series started here)

Summary of Chapter1 - Avoiding the Tragic Accident: Biomechanics you need to know

  • You need to avoid injury.  Some exercises, even those promoted in magazines, books and website make injury almost inevitable.  There are basic rules that need to be recognised
    • Free weights get heavier as you bend - this is basic mechanics and leverage.  When the lever arm is longest - the maximum moment arm - it will feel the get into that hard position to start the movement;  go from hard to easy or else you may go from easy to hard and never get out of that position
    • You can lower more than you can lift - so start with the positive movement not the negative.  Lift first, don't lower.  If you lower first you might be handlin a weight that you will not be able to lift.
    • The spine is not designed to support top heavy loads - the bones of the spine are set up as a pyramid, the whole design is for stability.  The lumbar spine is made for stability, the thoracic for some mobility and the cervical for great mobility.  The muscles are built in layers, the rotatores, multifidis, erectors.  The whole set up is for stability vertebrae to vertebrae, not overall movement.  These small muscles are about posture and holding the spine stable, it is the big muscles of the hip that move weight.   When you pile a weight on top of all this, the bones and muscles are loaded in a way that they were never intended to cope with.
    • Balance - on one leg the small muscles of the hip and spine are at work.  The glute medius for example has a primary role of pulling the pelvis down to maintain the centre of gravity ove the grounded foot when you are on one leg.  The spine follows this motion.  In bodyweight moves it is all about stabilisation.  Add weight and you are forcing motion and loading that is inappropriate.  So keep added weight near your centre so that the prime mover move you while the stabilisers stabilise....
  • Weights Load Limbs, while the deep muscles stabilise allow the superficial muscles to move those loaded limbs.  Don't confuse the two.
  • Adopt proper function with respect to bones, muscles and joints and you will avoid catastrophe, reduce strain and more effectively load the muscles.
    The take away:

    • Start motions with a positive / concentric motion, from the position of maximum moment arm. 
    • Don't load the spine with weight on your shoulders
    • Let the postural muscles stabilise, not act as prime movers 

    Quote from Bill

    There's no magic attached to one technique or tool vs the other.  There are however, specific, documented ways that muscles and joints are supposed to function, and walking into a gym doesn't change that.


      Stephen10557 said...

      So what are the recommendations for developing leg strength if squats are a no-go?

      Chris said...

      Wall sits
      Hip belt squats
      split squats
      leg press
      reverse lunge

      Big Vanilla Athletic Club said...

      Good advice! Exercise should make you feel better, not hurt you!