Updated: Jun 13
Understanding as much about the human body as possible gives us a better idea of what exercises we should be applying to improve its capabilities. Increasing your knowledge by as little as only 10% will improve your fitness by as much as 100%.
With this added knowledge, you will better understand if specific exercises are doing what they should be doing and how to adjust the exercise to give you the maximum benefits.
Muscles Of The Body
To work a muscle correctly, you must contract the muscle along the line that the muscle fibres run. That allows the muscle to incorporate as many bres as possible, creating more significant strength gains.
Muscular contraction results in motion & the maintenance of posture. For a muscle to contract (the agonist), its opposing (the antagonist) muscle has to stretch. When the antagonist muscle lacks flexibility, the agonist muscle is unable to contract fully, therefore losing strength & power.
A correct balance between the flexibility and strength of different muscles is vital if muscular strength & endurance is to be achieved. An incorrect balance could also lead to an injury.
Maintaining the correct posture is also essential when it comes to working the correct muscles during an exercise.
Flexibility is a joint's ability to move freely in every direction or, more specifically, through a full range and normal range of movement (ROM).
Flexibility training minimises the factors that limit flexibility to help balance muscle groups that might be overused during physical training sessions or due to poor posture.
Benefits derived from increased flexibility:
1. A flexible joint requires less energy to move through the range of movement. 2. Decreased risk of injury. 3. Increased blood supply and nutrients to joint structures. 4. Increased neuromuscular coordination. 5. Improved muscular balance and posture. 6. Decreased risk of lower-back pain. 7. Reduced stress
Selecting the right flexibility programme is essential to gain all the above benefits.
Applying the wrong stretches could lead to more of a muscular imbalance and misalignment of the individual’s posture.
Identifying the imbalances at the start is imperative to a successful fitness programme. The right stretches can then be applied with greater success.
What is cardiorespiratory fitness?
To a lot of people, it means different things. Cardiorespiratory fitness best describes the health and function of the heart, lung and circulatory system, the capacity of the lungs to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the blood and the circulatory system’s ability to transport blood and nutrients to active tissue for sustained periods without undue fatigue.
So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that a more efficient cardiorespiratory system gives you more energy for everyday life as well as improving the body’s ability to use up stored energy eg: excess body fat.
Other benefits derived from an improved cardiovascular system:
• Decreased resting heart rate. • Decreased stress levels. • Decreased total cholesterol. • Increased maximum cardiac output. • Increased lung capacity. • Increased heart function.
Muscular Strength & Endurance Training
Every movement we make involves our muscular system. Muscles are unique in their ability to relax, contract and produce force. Strength training is the process of exercising progressively heavier resistance for the purpose of strengthening the musculoskeletal system.
The following are some of the benefits that can be derived from a well-constructed resistance training programme:
1. Increased muscular strength. 2. Increased muscular endurance. 3. Increased bone density. 4. Increased resting metabolic rate (RMR). 5. Increased energy levels. 6. Improved posture. 7. Improved balance & stability. 8. Improved function of the body.
With this new knowledge of how the body functions and the specific protocols for selecting the right exercises, you will now have a better understanding of the best exercises to improve overall fitness, strength and well-being.