Keep your shoulders and spine happy and strong by following Mike O’Hara’s advice in “Pushing Up Performance”. Video explanation and performance of pushups and their variations included. Jeff Tirrell discusses the proper performance of pull ups in his article. “Movement You Should Master”. Is your mobility limited? Try massage sticks or foam rollers with the information provided in “Pain, Pressure, and Pliability”.
Slant and Pant
HIIT Methods: Incline Treadmill Walking
Fitness centers present the client with an endless array of cardio training entertainment. You can spin a bike, wheel around on an elliptical, run on a treadmill, row, ski,… My recommendation is that we all start performing more incline treadmill walking intervals. There are three big benefits you get from incline treadmill intervals that you do not get from any of the other cardio contraptions.
Single leg stance stability is a skill we all need to keep in our fitness programs. Our independence and well-being is based upon being able to repeatedly balance, load, and then drive forward off a single leg. Since we are all sitting more, we need to make an effort to practice the elaborate leg to leg “game of catch” that happens when we walk. It is a sad fact that most of the more popular training devices in the gym have made exercise easier by eliminating the single leg stability demand.
Hip extension is the movement of your thigh bone (femur) behind your body. Hip extension keeps your hamstring and gluteal muscles strong and responsive. Well functioning hamstrings and gluteals keep your knees and lower back healthy and happy. In the age of perpetual sitting and very little squatting and sprinting, hip extension has become a lost movement pattern. Improving hip extension strength should be part of every training session.
Walking on an incline reboots the postural reflexes that hold us tight and tall. Prolonged sitting, improper training, and weakness shuts down the team of muscles that keep our spine stable and upright. As fatigue sets in, you can slouch over on a bike, slump onto the elliptical, or fold into a rower and continue to exercise. If you lose your posture on the incline treadmill walk, you slide down the belt. Many fitness clients report this is the hardest part of an incline treadmill session–their muscles in the middle fatigue before their legs.
Finding your initial incline and walking pace will be a trial and error endeavor. My suggestion is that you start easy. I find most newbies to incline treadmill intervals do well with a 5% incline and a 3.5 mph pace. Incline treadmill training makes you stronger in all of the most neglected places. Many people report they are able to significantly advance incline and speed with four months of dedicated training. For the best results, frequently vary the intervals that you perform. These are some of the sessions I have found work well for fitness clients.
90 seconds on / 45 seconds off
Walk for ninety seconds. Step off the treadmill and rest for forty five seconds and repeat for three to six intervals. The two to one work / rest ratio works well for nearly all fitness clients that are new to incline treadmill walking.
Quarter Mile Repeats
Get a stopwatch and track your performance on this interval session. Set the treadmill speed and incline. Walk ¼ of a mile. Rest as needed and then repeat. Perform four ¼ mile incline walks. Record your time to complete all four ¼ mile walks. I find this to be a good test of cardiorespiratory recovery capacity. Work toward a faster performance.
10 seconds on / 10 seconds off x 10
This comes directly from Dr. Gibalas research on HIIT. This protocol has been shown to be as or more effective at improving insulin sensitivity and cardiorespiratory capacity than longer training sessions. Set the treadmill at a slightly higher incline. Walk ten seconds and then step off and rest for ten seconds. Perform ten of these ten second intervals.
2/10th, 3/10th, 5/10th Mile Interval Session
Get a stopwatch and track your performance on this interval session. Set the treadmill speed and incline. Walk 2/10th of a mile. Rest as needed and then perform 3/10th of a mile. Rest as needed and then perform 5/10th of a mile. Record your time to complete all three intervals. As you get stronger your times will improve.
For more information on the many benefits of HIIT read the The One Minute Workout by Dr. Martin Gibala.
Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS
Train your hip adductors and bulletproof your legs by following the advice in Mike O’Hara’s article Adductors Galore. Video demonstration and explanation included. Mobilize your upper body by foam rolling. In Foam Roll T W I, Mike explains the importance of adding foam rolling to your exercise program.
Americans are far behind the rest of the world when it comes to the number of steps we take in a day. The body mass index numbers and mortality rates of our fellow citizens are rising in direct proportion to time spent seated. Human physiology operates optimally under the physical demands of a significant amount of standing and walking. Much of the now rampant obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome can be linked to our species sudden fall into sustained sitting. Standing for most of your workday and a daily habit of walking pays huge health and fitness benefits.
We are de-evolving into a nation of sitters. Between internet, television, driving, and computer work, it is not uncommon for many of my physical therapy patients and fitness clients to sit for ten hours a day. Unfortunately, you cannot train away the metabolic and physical damage created by prolonged sitting with a few 45 minute exercise sessions every week.
Seventy years ago, the London Transit Workers Study provided the initial scientific insights into the powerful health benefits of sitting less and standing more. Take the time to read the recent *article by Gretchen Reynolds in the March 23, 2017 edition of the New York Times. Ms. Reynolds’ provides some valuable information on the benefits of standing up and moving as much as possible. Now go for a walk and then Google Varidesk.
–Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS
*Should 15,000 Steps a Day Be Our New Exercise Target?, Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, March 23, 2017
In this issue, Mike O’Hara, PT gives ten reasons to love lunges. Video of lunge exercises/progressions are included. In Going Grizzly, Mike presents the exercise combination of Crawls and Sandbag Carries; a combination that helps you train more efficiently and move better. Watch the video for instruction on these exercises.