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Ask Me Anything - September

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    #31
    wannabeArtemis what you're asking is deeper than it may appear at first so thank you for that. The answer covers any speed/strength or endurance exercise though here I will apply it to strength. What we do physically is more than just physical. Our body is a complex neural network that is powered by muscles that respond to mental commands. In order for our muscles to perform to a high level of output so that we can then be fast or strong or have great endurance we need to: A. Train the body to do that, so the muscles themselves must adapt and change to meet the mechanical load being demanded of them B. Train the brain, so that our central nervous system sends the right commands in the right order to specific neural nodes that will activate our muscles in a precise sequence C. Train the mind, so that we can keep ourselves focused and motivated even when our muscles ache, our lungs labor and we want to quit.

    Doing anything to the maximum we can day after day is a recipe for injury. The muscles will not get enough time to recover and adapt. The central nervous system will get fatigued and this will de-strengthen our muscles. The combination of de-strengthened muscles and fatigued CNS will also demotivate us neurochemically and we are (thankfully) unlikely to want to continue doing that. I say thankfully because this is how injuries occur. Maximal output is a test to see how we are progressing: i.e. can we run that long/fast, can we punch that quickly, can we lift that much? To get to it we need to work consistently at the component parts that lead to that.

    Sprinters, as an example, work on their explosiveness by doing strength exercises and practicing coming off the blocks. They run 60 yard races again and again and again but do the full 100m sprint occasionally so they can see what it is they need to work on. Same with all other athletes in their respective sports.

    I really hope this helps but please let me have any follow-up questions as necessary.

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      #32
      Damer Thanks for the response and I appreciate all the hard work you put into everything. If there is any help that I can give with testing or helping rework things just let me know. Thank you for all the hard work you do!

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        #33
        Damer thanks for the response, it's definitely helpful! So you shouldn't go to your max every day, that makes a lot of sense. Some of the programs on here will occasionally have "to fatigue" exercises. Is that the same as to the max reps you can do or should you stop earlier? And is it better to stick to the same version of pushups throughout or decide to do an easier version only for the last set, for example, when you notice you could otherwise only do one or two at that point? (Basically I'm having a lot of frustrations with pushups lately, bc I'm doing great on other exercises but pushups are HARD and I can barely do 10 and those only on good days and I'm not sure if it would be better to do more of an easier version or just stick to the normal ones even if I can only do a few).

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          #34
          Damer Your answer was very helpful, thank you!

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            #35
            Should there be a DND infused rpg as a program or as a thing I run in playground?

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              #36
              Two very basic questions:
              1) if I want to train for a martial art with a good cardio component in it, other than kick boxing/ Muay Thai what is best? Krav Maga or TKD?
              2) how should I lift, if I want to be stronger for martial arts? heavy/low or light/high? Can you give us a definitive list of differences?
              TIA

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                #37
                I've had this pain in both my knees for about 3 weeks now. I don't know how I got them injured. Sometimes it gets better, other times it comes right back.
                Are there exercises I can do to help it? I really don't want to lose my streak.

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                  #38
                  wannabeArtemis Let's tackle the "to failure" first. Workouts that use exercises to failure take you to the point where you can no longer do a single rep. So they max our muscles' ability to respond to the command given by the central nervous system (CNS). It is interesting to understand the mechanism. When a muscle contracts it is always in response to a command that in the brain begins as neurochemicals that send out an electrical signal in the body (through an increase in polarity at the point of the neuron in the brain). The contraction is the result of a binding action between a protein called actin which forms, in this case, thin filaments in muscle fibers and myosin which is a motor protein. Myosin uses adenosine triphosphate (ATP), breaking it down in a process known as hydrolysis which then produces directed movement. Elaborate as all this may sound, picture it as velcro where actin provides the hooks and myosin the loops that bind in order to produce the contraction of a muscle. The trigger of all this is the electrical signal of the nerve that triggers the process, as long as the nerves signal for the muscle to tense this process keeps happening. When the nerve no longer signals for that to happen calcium is pumped by the body into cellular body within which the actin/myosin bind happens (which is called the sarcoplasmic reticulum). Calcium breaks down the bond between actin and myosin and the muscle relaxes.

                  All this detail shows what happens when consciously we ask muscles to tense and then relax as we perform an exercise. Now this process is not limitless. ATP does run out and needs to be replenished, mechanical damage does occur as the muscles work again and again and they begin to become fatigued and de-strengthened and metabolites accumulate and cannot be cleared away quickly enough and this creates a bottleneck that stops signals from getting through. Usually we can no longer tense the muscle (hence "to failure") but sometimes we cannot relax it and we get muscle cramps. Exercises "to failure" tend to break the calcium channels that break the actin/myosin bond. The increased ions around muscle fibers lead to 'the burn' we feel when we exercise to the limit. It takes a few days to recover but the calcium channels are then built up again stronger and we find that our strength and endurance have increased.

                  To tailor all this to your question now, is it better to do a version of push ups that pushed you to the edge of your ability or it better to switch to an easier version and do more? It depends. If you want to increase strength and endurance you need to work "to failure" so you have to do the ones that are hard to the point that you cannot do them any more. If you're just exercising then switch to an easier form and keep on going. The principle works with everything. When I do strength training and use dumbbells I use the same weight throughout to the point where I cannot do a single rep. If I am just training and I do get tired I switch to a lighter weight and carry on so I can continue to train. Science says that the second way is as valid as the first but the first delivers better results, faster.

                  As for your frustration with push up, you're doing them. Be patient. It takes a long time for the body to truly adapt to what we call "easy strength" where you can pump them out without thinking about them. Stick with it and be kind to yourself in the process. I hope this helps.

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                    #39
                    Soloakel I am not sure I understand your question. Could you please elaborate?

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                      #40
                      GiorgosD All martial arts have a strong cardio component (as does ballet) because we have to move our body fast and that utilizes oxygen-intensive, large-muscle group movement. They are all more or less the same. Martial artists add running to their training to condition their body to meet the oxygen demand.

                      Lifting heavy/low or light/high both produce strength. Strength is strength regardless how we get to it. So, when you ask: how "to be stronger for martial arts" you're not asking about lifting. You're asking about power which requires coordination which requires kinetic chain exercises. If the issue is strength then the process is you use what you have in terms of weights to increase your muscle strength and you then have high repetitions of specific martial arts moves. This helps translate your strength gains into power. I really hope this helps you.

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                        #41
                        BelloPeace without getting precise symptoms and being there to examine you I am shooting a little in the dark here. However, it is highly unlikely that you have injured your knees. If both of them are hurting and if the pain comes and goes we are most probably looking at an inflammatory response. Inflammation is the way muscles and tendons use to heal and get stronger but, while they are doing so they hurt and are weaker. So, really, you need to do two things. First, identify the trigger. What sets the pain off? Have you increased your exercise load, got a new pair of running shoes, changed what you normally do in your workouts? Second, without stopping what you are doing you need to ease off a little bit so that the load is lighter. This gives your knees the chance to recover. I hope this helps.

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                          #42
                          I will keep this thread open for a few more hours in case anyone has any follow-up questions or there are any late comers.

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                            #43
                            Guys I am closing this thread now. If you can bookmark it so you can refer to it from time to time or use it in your answers as you help our newbies in The Hive, that would be awesome. As always, I am indebted to you for being so forthcoming and open in your questions and for always striving on, both physically and mentally. All of us in the Darebee team do a lot of work each day, behind the scenes, it is the thought of all of you being so amazing that keeps us going when the days get difficult or things get bleak. So, thank you for being such awesome Bees!

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