You have probably heard the saying that a mechanics car is the first one to break down. The thought is that they are good at fixing other peoples cars but run out of energy for their own.

I have to say that I usually have the energy to train myself but over the years I have suffered from recurring back issues and at times could be just like the aforementioned mechanic. This is probably a function of years of one sided sport and the imbalances encouraged by such pursuit and when combined with a refusal to accept any degradation in previously achieved functional ability, you get …… inappropriate loading and intensity leading to repetitive injury and backward steps. Needless to say a very frustrating journey! Perhaps some of you can relate?

Well I am not sure if it is a coincidence or not and I certainly don’t want to jinx myself, but with my recent change in approach to my own personal training routine  involving a greater emphasis on progressive strength training and in particular strength of legs and lower back, my back feels stronger than it has for a long time. See a previous entry on the deadlift and you will see the type of exercises I am talking about.

I was brought up on a sometimes punishing cardio training schedule with what was, in retrospect a misguided training routine in my youth. Tennis was ill defined as an aerobic sport at the time and after closer scientific scrutiny revealed the greater importance of anaerobic training [read strength, short burst cardio efforts, high energy power repetitions and agility performance], the folly of what I had been doing became obvious. But, old habits die hard. I never really felt like I was training hard enough unless it involved serious lactic acid and feelings of nausea after a 10k run. I now train more for strength and the changes it is making in my functional ability is significant. I do still put in the tough cardio but even that is feeling more tolerable.

Look at how you are training and know that if you aren’t both, moving towards heavier weights and improving your technique in the tried and true movements of the dumb bells and barbells, you are probably losing muscle. Also note whilst there is always a place for exercises that build the core like Pilates and Yoga [and the different forms of cardio] your program is not complete unless you are pumping some iron designed to be progressive and build muscle.

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