I went back to John Little's article - Done in One and I wanted to pull out some of the key principles that he stated there that might keep us on track:
What is the purpose of exercise?
- the purpose of exercise is to recruit and stimulate as many muscle fibers (in all categories – slow twitch, intermediate twitch and fast twitch) as possible
- for this to occur, a muscle or group of muscles must be given a load sufficient (but not excessive) enough to initiate a sequential recruitment of fibres, and
All that is illustrated in the parable that I wrote on the Size Principle.
- given a time frame that permits such fibres to be recruited.
Why are we doing this? To get certain benefits
- to stimulate your body to grow stronger; getting stronger makes everything easier;
- to employ fibres that otherwise might be left to decondition and atrophy and, thus, give your body a strong impetus to retain (or, in the case of sarcopenia, reclaim) these fibres and the multiple metabolic pathways contained therein. This is why we want to sequentially recruit all possible fibres.
However there can be negatives from exercise
- to empty the glycogen stores within muscle fibres, which can serve to stave off potentially health-threatening conditions such as Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, arterial plaque and heart disease.
- injury - acute injury from a movement. A strain, rupture, tear, fracture.....
- wear and tear - chronic problems that accrue from ongoing movement
So we want the benefits while minimising the risks.
How do we do this? What you do and how you do it
- What you do? - pick safe movements that take account of proper biomechanics, joint function etc. Read Bill DeSimone's work, or watch this:
- How do you do it? .....how indeed. How you perform each movement is important. Quoting John Little again:
Fibers can be recruited with motionless exercise (in which time and load are the only factors) [think TSC which is the latest fad], and they can be recruited with repetitions (in which case load, distance and varying leverage factors combine to accelerate the fatigue and recruitment process (i.e., in positions of poor leverage and higher levels of moment arm, the fatigue rate is accelerated, while in positions of good leverage and lower levels of moment arm, the fatigue rate is slowed).