Fitness centres, Wellness studios, Personal Training studios have been growing in numbers since many years especially in the urban cities.
Indeed there is a need for this service in our modern society due to seated jobs and a sedentary lifestyle where we practically sit all day long. We all are quite aware that we need to exercise for prevention and cure and also to create movement for our joints and muscles. As well as to balance out the musculoskeletal system due to various kinds of sports we indulge in, as recreation or competition or simply due to a sedentary lifestyle.
How do we exercise correctly and scientifically?
A question which everyone must ask themselves before they indulge in an exercise program by themselves or with a personal trainer.
Mehernaaz quotes “Whether you are 7 or 77 years old, a wrong exercise is like taking a wrong medication.”
1) Choose the right exercises which suit your posture, medical history, muscle imbalances, nature of work and stress levels. Why so?
Everyone has a different body structure, posture, nature of work, digestion, stress levels, etc. For example,
- An exercise program for a butcher and an accountant will not be the same due to different muscles used in their work
- An individual with an excessive thoracic or lumbar spine will not have the same exercise program
- Someone who is very exhausted would benefit more from a walk in nature or a Yoga class than by running or going for a Body pump class.., since the sympathetic nervous system will release catabolic hormones like cortisol to combat the stress in the body. Thus creating more fatigue, breakdown, depressed immune system and decreased growth and repair of the body and thus making him / her more exhausted
- Someone with gas or constipation, needs to clear out their digestion along with an exercise program. Otherwise they will not activate their deep core muscles effectively or not at all due to the incapacity of the body to do so due to bloated intestines
- Get a professional to assess which muscles are weak and tight in your body so you can program your exercises accordingly
- Take up group classes which are in small groups, where you are well corrected
- Do not exercise using DVD’s, the program is not made for your body or your specific needs
- Wrong exercise selection will cause injuries like aches and pains which may develop into herniated discs, back and neck pain, hip pain and distort one’s posture
- Make sure you have checked the certifications and experience of the professionals who you work with – Ask questions
2) Sequence the exercises in the right order. Why so?
The order in which you perform exercises is very essential so that the muscles work correctly, to not fatigue certain muscles and get the maximum out of your program. For example,
- all abdominal exercises must be always done at the end of your strength exercise program, never in the beginning
- the exercises using multiple muscles like squats, must be done in the beginning of the program
- Mobilize your joints first
- Follow up by a stretching program
- Stretch your tight muscles only
- Then go into the strength part of your program
- Strengthen your weak muscles only
- Finish with a few gentle movements to relax your muscles
If you skip the above steps, is when the muscle imbalances are created, therefore causing serious muscle and joint injuries, poor postures, aches and pains, etc.
We often see individuals in the gym with great muscle tone but extremely poor postures, cyclists often have very rounded mid backs… therefore, the above steps
are vital for the wellbeing of the musculoskeletal system whether one wants to exercise for general fitness or for improving their sport or posture.
3) Perform the exercises with good form. Why so?
Poor form will give poor result as well as injuries.
- Buy a good book which will teach you the correct form
- Get a qualified and experienced personal trainer to teach you
- There are plenty of personal trainers, one has to choose wisely, since all are not necessarily correctly trained. Some are not even certified. This is the sad truth of the fitness industry, where the courses are not standardised. Therefore an exercise for one trainer might be correct but for another might be totally wrong. Therefore ask questions
4) Change exercise program between 1 to 2 months approximately. Why so?
- To shock the muscles so that they react and not plateau out
- To take you to the next level of fitness
1) One can change the various components of an exercise program – the exercises itself, the number of repetitions, the number of sets, the speed, the intensity, etc.
2) One can mix these components effectively to get the client to the next level, however slowly, progressively and safely
WHAT IS IMPORTANT?
One must prioritize the 4 components of fitness –
Flexibility and Stability must always be given priority over strength and power. Why?
- This is so because if your flexibility is poor, your strength will suffer due to reduced range of motion in the joints
- Poor core and abdominal strength, will lead to reduced strength in the other muscles of the body. This is because the core and deep abdominal muscles are the power house of the body, poor strength in these muscles will lead to the collapse and weakening of the other muscles of the human body
- When flexibility is improved, muscle balance is restored in the musculoskeletal system and hence mobility of the individual improves
- Stability provides a strong base and support for movement and thus reduces the chance of injury
Strength building comes in next, after a strong foundation of Flexibility and Stability. Why?
- Once the body has developed sufficient flexibility and deep abdominal strength, that’s when the body can cope with strength exercises
- A strong foundation of core strength is needed for the human body to support the other muscles and joints of the human body. Without a strong base, no structure can hold itself for long
- Functional strength exercises help to improve activities of daily living like picking up children or boxes, pushing or pulling furniture
- To improve posture
- To improve sports performance
- It is important to strengthen the postural muscles regularly and all the other muscles which are weak in one’s body
If one is looking for general fitness, one must first work towards flexibility, mobility, and core strength, followed by a muscle strength program for your specific weak muscles
What about POWER training?
- Finally Power, which is only essential for those who are into high levels of sports performance and/or have jobs requiring high levels of power.
For example, construction workers, packers and movers, tennis players, rugby players, football players or any other sport at a competitive level
- Power training must be avoided, if one is not into the above activities, unless one desires to. However, progression from strength to power training or combination of both must be done gradually and under supervision
- Unfortunately, many individuals do power training in the gyms or studios or group classes, without any base whatsoever of flexibility, mobility, core strength and general strength. This will lead to serious injuries now or in years to come
Pay Attention To
1) Machine training will weaken the individuals from inside out and cause many muscle and joint imbalances, leading to injury and pain. Use machines very rarely and only in case of required physiotherapy
2) Many individuals often cycle, swim, play tennis, ski, hike, snowboard, etc… without following a stretching program before and after their sport. Thus leading to serious injuries, poor postures, and in many cases preventing them to follow their sport or passion in the long run due to pain or injuries. Stretching and mobilising the muscles and joints before and after are vital for muscle balance
3) If you wish to continue and improve your passion or sport activity, as
well as stay fit and mobile as you get older… START A FLEXIBILITY AND
STABILITY PROGRAM NOW!!!” quotes Mehernaaz. She runs a group class called Back&Abs, tailored for the same
4) TAILOR-MADE exercise programs is what one needs since our bodies are very different from each other
5) Combine weight training, resistance training, Hatha Yoga, Swiss ball training, free hand exercises, foam rollers and medicinal ball training to give your program a complete look and feel
All the very best!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mehernaaz Dugast Rouillé is a Personal Trainer, Back & Neck Pain & Posture Specialist and Hatha Yoga Practitioner with an experience of over 20 years in Lausanne, Paris and in Mumbai.
She works with individual clients personally as well as conducts small group classes in Lausanne. Her small group classes like the Back&Abs, Hatha Yoga and Body Toning are conducted keeping in mind that not all participants will perform the same exercises due to their differences.
She also extends her services to corporate houses and associations wherein she conducts various seminars and workshops on health, fitness and wellbeing.
- Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mobile – 078 842 18 78
- Website – www.meher4fitness.com