Establishing A Routine For Long-Term Training
Have you ever thought about how well you move? Just naturally. How is your gait when walking? How well can you reach for something from a high cabinet or shelf? How do you feel when you bend over to tie your shoe? If any individual has trouble functioning with their own bodyweight or performing everyday activities, how well can that individual function with using additional weights? Before properly progressing your training program, consider being able to master most body weight and lightweight exercises.
This message is not to discourage you, but to help renew your mind to think confidently about your approach to training. So many times, we want the long-term results in the shortest amount of time. To keep you in the gym more frequently, and to maximize the longevity of your training, we need to understand the concepts of range of motion and mobility while lifting weights.
Establishing mobility to use larger range of motion with all exercises
Research, and evidence included will suggest that the larger the range of motion, the higher the benefit for the musculoskeletal system in the human body. When the muscle is able to withstand a stimuli with a greater range of motion versus a smaller range of motion, there is more benefits for strength, hypertrophy (muscle growth), and soft tissue health (tendons, ligaments). Achieving a shorter range of motion while lifting weights will still receive some benefit, but not near the same as using full range repetitions.
We can work on achieving a greater range of motion by working on mobility. One of the most common ways to work on mobility, is to stretch. If you don’t already have a stretching routine, this is your hint to get one, and implement it. Over the years, I have had clients and others reach out with a very serious problem. Their problem was the desire to use a full range of motion was, but they were having trouble or are unable to move their joints. Have we found ourselves too busy too stretch? If it would help you feel better, and move better, would you do it? Of course you would!
2. The starting point
What should your stretching routine look like? A stretching routine doesn’t need to be complicated, it just needs to be a consistent practice. Your stretching routine may look familiar to your physical education classes during your elementary school years. Focusing on basic stretching, and holding the stretch for 20-25 seconds is a great start. We call this concept, static stretching.
If you are an athlete skimming through this literature, please know that your stretching routine may vary depending on your sport. Prior to your contest it may be favorable to participate in a dynamic warm up or stretching. Why should you dynamic stretch before your contest? Here are a few reasons why:
- Preparing your body for a sport specific contest.
- Helping prepare yourself mentally
- Improving your nervous system and motor abilities
Although both static and dynamic stretching have their pro’s and con’s, they both are beneficial, just at different times. Dynamic stretching should be your choice prior to contest, and static stretching should be after a contest or training to help prevent stiffness and cramping.
A proper warm up is a critical part of mobility and executing at your sport or routine in the weight room. Your warm up should be specific to you, the individual, and the time spent on it is specific as well. This part of your routine will enable better movement and help prevent injury. So make sure you take your time, rather than rushing. Be aware there are a few bench-marks you should be focusing on when warming up to make sure that it is sufficient enough.
Increase heart rate
Find your preference on how you would like to move. From cardio machines, to sprinting, to shooting hoops in the gym. All movement will certainly bump up your heart rate, and help get your blood circulating.
2. Increase body temperature
This concept happens naturally when you start moving. Especially with cooler climates or rooms with a cooler temperature, you want to make sure you take the time on keeping your body warm. Not just prior to the workout or contest, but also during, helps to keep the muscles and soft tissues working more efficiently.
3. Range of motion
Depending on your mobility or dynamic stretching routine, you can master this. Look to first increase your heart rate and body temperature before or as you ease into you stretch. By completing it in this order, you will have the most efficient warm up. And having a more efficient warm up along with consistency will keep you doing what you love longer.