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What is the deal with free weight training? Is it right for me?

What is the deal with free weight training? Is it right for me?

This is a very common question. People think that lifting weights is for “body builders” and “athletes” I assure you that lifting free weights can be the best and safest thing for general health, helping to prevent injuries and increasing general strength.

Free weight training is a great way to strengthen all of your major muscle groups symmetrically so that you have more balanced strength which is important for joint integrity. Flexibility is also a major component of symmetry.

Lets first talk about your body’s symmetry(Balanced) and A symmetry(unbalanced) and how that affects your posture and general health. Bad posture or muscle imbalances inevitably become an injury or weak spot in the musculoskeletal system which can cause unwanted strain.

  1. Symmetry is important for your body because all of your joints and muscles are at their most advantageous position when in proper posture and alignment. Free-weight training allows you the opportunity to train in specific functional ranges of motion utilizing all of your stability muscles and allowing for a slow increase in weight.
  2. Asymmetry is the opposite of balance. When your body’s muscles are not balanced then your joints wear faster and the impacts of daily task become more harmful on your body particularly your musculoskeletal system. That is why it is Key to include both a stretching and strengthening routine to help your body’s symmetry.

Now that we know what symmetry is lets talk about the components to help the symmetry of your body.

  1. Even strength in your muscles is important for symmetry. Most muscles work in pairs. Two main functions of balance include agonist and antagonist muscles or Opposing muscles. If you have a weak agonist or antagonist muscles then that will lead to imbalance and eventually injury.
  2. Even flexibility amongst major muscle groups is important for strength and symmetry. Once again the rule applies that if you have a tight agonist and or antagonist that you are most likely going to be Asymmetrical and therefore are more susceptible to injury and or loss of function.

Simply put if your body has strength and flexibility deficits then it is impossible to have optimal symmetry/posture and joint integrity for maximal strength and injury free joints.

Well I hope that helps you decide if Free weights can be helpful for you.

If you need helping figuring out what you need to get back your good posture, strength and flexibility contact me.

Thanks for your time and energy…Be well

Jaime Hernandez

Health and Exercise Prescriptions®

Health and exercise prescription's Blog


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What is that knot in my neck and back? SELFCARE Myofascial/Triger Point Therapy Release For Managing Pain

Hello Readers I hope 2012 has treated you well. My prayers and thoughts go out to all of you over the holiday seasons. Let 2013 be a great year!

Self-care using myofascial release; myofascial means Muscle and Fasciae 

A knot is a shortened muscle/fasciae that is bound up.

This is a big subject so I am going to keep it really basic. 

Basic muscle and fasciae theory 101

  1. A muscle is cell is as long as the muscle from origin (begining) to insertion (the end) and each cell is wrapped with a special tissue called Fasciae and is richly supplied with blood.
  2. For a muscle to move it must contract or utilize the sliding filament theory which states that special motor protein ratchet up the muscle cells to make it Flex and relax. (So if muscles are to tight they can not ratchet up properly)
  3. There are three types of movements that muscle participate in while moving and standing. a.) Concentric means the shortening of your muscle b.) Eccentric means to lengthen your muscle. c.) Isometric means to not change muscle position.
  4. Muscles cells produce energy( less muscle less energy production potential)
  5. Muscles are meant to move daily and go through their full ranges of motion.

Ok well what does all of Muscle 101 have to do with my neck and back pain???

Hmmm good question! Lets put it all together for you so you can better understand what you are doing when you are giving your muscle self care to help get out those knots so that your muscle can function properly.

When a muscle tightens up(or does not go through a full range of motion regularly)  because of stress, repetitive motion or an injury the muscle is shortening it self and therefore the fasciae is shortening as well. If this shortening of the muscle/fasciae happens often enough the body trys to adopt its new position and creates adhesion’s or semi permanent shorting of fasciae/muscle.This is now the motor pattern that you body is trying to adopt and to break the cycle you must help lengthen the affected muscles to help reprogram them. This can take weeks and some times months.

With the muscle in this shortened position it can not function properly and it also loses blood supply.

So the knot in your back and neck need direct intervention on a regular basis to train your muscles to go back to their proper length so that they function properly and get adequate blood supply.

I am going to attach a couple examples of how you can release some of your muscles to help with pain and dysfunction. There are many different ways to release or stretch your muscles.

Foam Roller- “Myofascial Release” Hold on area that is knotty for 30 seconds, remove from area for 10-15 seconds and repeat tell you feel your muscles release.

Here is a hamstring foam roller technique.

Here is a IT band foam roller technique

Here is a Psoas and Upper Quads Technique.

There are other tools that you can use to help with your myofacial pain. This is just an example of how you can apply the idea.

People are very complicated and should always work with a professional to put together a complete health and wellness program to get the greatest benefit of this type of technique.

If you need help putting together a plan to help you get out of pain please contact me.

I hope this information is helpful so that you understand why you have knots and how to do self-care to get your self out of pain.

Thank you for your time and energy…Be well

Jaime Hernandez

Health and Exercise Prescriptions ®

Thank you

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