Better Aging With Resistance Strength Training

November 19th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Sarcopenia refers to the loss of muscle as we age. The average adult experiences a 5 lb muscle loss, a 5% reduction in metabolic function, and a 15 lb fat gain 10 years.  This leads to chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, compromised health and vitality, among other things.  It is no wonder we feel less than our best the older we get.

The good news is that there is a way to stop and even reverse sarcopenia: Resistance Strength Training.

Studies have shown that even brief bouts of strength training(performed at the right intensity) lead to a whole host of adaptations within the body.  The improvement in muscle quality due to proper strength training leads to improvements in brain function, bone density, hormonal levels, metabolic function, and even gastrointestinal function!

As time passes, our bodies are either on a steady decline or are improving.

The key to keeping your body functioning at its best is to find a strength training program that is safe, effective, and measurable.  Today’s technology allows us to use Smart measures to strength train with the perfect intensity to produce the positive adaptations we all need.  Seek to find an atmosphere where you will have expert guidance and accountability to keep you on track, like DBM Strength Training.

If you are feeling the effects of age, let us help you change your life, 30-minutes at a time!


Importance of Proper Form When Strength Training

August 8th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

I am a stickler on proper form!

In both my classes and sessions, you will hear me correcting my clients form as needed. You’ll see me demonstrating proper form, you’ll even occasionally hear me tell a client to drop down a “click” in their weight to maintain proper form.

This article from the NFPT blog explains why proper form is so important.

I’m sure we’ve all witnessed it before, and we may even be guilty of doing this ourselves – improper form and technique when attempting to lift heavy.

Sure, the only way to increase muscle mass is by lifting heavy but what’s the point if you’re going to have sloppy form? Not only can we potentially cause injury to ourselves or clients with improper form, but we’re not working the intended muscle groups with improper form either. When strength training any area of your body, having proper form and technique is crucial to make sure you’re working the intended muscle groups that you want to develop and grow.

There are several factors that play important roles when strength training.

Prevent Injury

One of the most important reasons to maintain proper form during weight lifting exercises is to prevent injury. When we lift a heavy weight, this can cause the body to become misaligned, and that can place your tendons, muscles, and joints in positions that can potentially cause strains or tears. Rule of thumb here is to lower the weight if you have to sway your body in order to lift the weight. You want to avoid lifting by swaying your back to gain momentum.

It is always better to lift lighter weights with proper form than to lift heavy weight with sloppy form.

For example, if you’re performing bicep curls with dumbbells, and you have to swing your whole body into the exercise to lift the weight- then this is a sign that the weight is too heavy and you should find a lighter weighted dumbbell.

Muscle Targeting

Proper form also ensures correct muscle targeting. Going back to the bicep curls, if we’re swinging our whole body into the intended bicep curl movement, chances are that our bicep is not getting worked, and you’re working more of your shoulder girdles and core. By doing this you can potentially cause injury to the intended muscle that you are trying to work and strain other areas in the body that aren’t intended to be worked, with the example of bicep curls.

Proper Breathing Techniques

One area I’d like to discuss also is breathing. Proper form helps to ensure proper breathing techniques during our reps and sets. This is essential for weight training exercises because it helps to generate more force and reduce the chance of heart problems, aneurysms and severe increases in blood pressure. When you use the correct form you will be able to breathe the air in easier, and you will be able to focus on the exercise at hand with much greater detail. Rule of thumb here is to inhale just before the positive (lift) and exhale after the negative (lowering the weight) and keep this pace for each rep of each set.

Everyone likes to use heavyweight in the gym, but in order for us to lift the maximum weight, our muscles need to be in the ideal position to generate force. When movements become unaligned, muscles are placed at awkward angles decreasing functionality. By maintaining proper form you will be able to lift heavier that will be noticed with visible results in a shorter timeframe.


Why lowering weights slowly is so important!

February 19th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

It is not only about how you LIFT those weights, its about how you LOWER them, too! Slow, controlled lowerings help build muscle and strength faster.

I found this article from Self Magazine interesting and you may too. I’ve hit the highlights below.

An eccentric movement is the lowering part of a move. It’s when your muscle works as it’s lengthened like your glutes do when you’re lowering into a squat, or like your biceps do as you’re lowering a dumbbell after a curl. And, it turns out, every muscle fiber in your body is the strongest as it moves eccentrically.

It’s not just because of gravity. When muscles work eccentrically, more of the parts of the muscle used for contracting remain attached to each other at any given time, so together they can produce more force. There may also be increased tightness in some proteins within the muscle fiber during eccentric actions, which make the muscle tauter (aka strong). Hence why lowering into a squat feels a heck of a lot easier than getting back to standing.

Through eccentric training, you turn the focus of every rep away from the concentric (contracting) portion to the eccentric (lengthening) portion. Why should you do such a thing? Check out these five body-rocking benefits of eccentric training:

1. Faster muscle gains

Rep per rep, eccentric training is superior to concentric training at building both muscle size and strength, research shows. After all, since your muscles are strongest as they move eccentrically if you want to push your limits, you’ve got to work eccentrically. Warning: Eccentric exercises increase delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), that soreness you feel up to 72 hours after a tough workout, in a big way. That’s because, in eccentric actions, the weight is greater than the amount of force produced by the muscle, so it creates more microscopic damage to the muscle.

2. Greater metabolic boosts

To recover from your sweat sessions, especially those that leave you riddled with DOMS for days, your body has to work super hard to recover. Although the studies are small (fewer than 20 subjects), some research shows that found that slowing down the eccentric phase of your lifts can significantly increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR)—the number of calories you burn at rest binge-watching Kimmy Schmidt. One study of 16 participants in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that eccentric training boosts RMR for up to 72 hours post-exercise. In the study, subjects performed the concentric phase quickly over one second and slowed down the eccentric over three seconds. Another study of 16 male participants published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found significant increases in RMR for up to 48 hours after leg presses that stressed the eccentric movement. Even though the research is limited, the mechanisms make sense: Eccentric exercise does more muscle damage, which then requires more energy to repair it.

3. More flexibility

Perform eccentric exercises, and you may reduce the need for performing dedicated “flexibility” workouts. After all, in one North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy study of 75 athletes with tight hamstrings, those who performed eccentric hamstring exercises improved their flexibility twice as well as those who stuck with static (bend-and-hold) stretching. The trick is to move through your entire range of motion as you perform the eccentric phase of your exercise. Over time, that range of motion will get bigger and bigger. A research review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine confirmed that eccentric training is an effective way to increase flexibility, although it noted that more research is needed to determine how eccentric strength training compares to static stretching or other types of exercise.

4. Lower risk of injury

Eccentric exercises strengthen not just your muscles, but also your body’s connective tissues, helping to both rehab any aches and pains as well as prevent injuries ranging from tendinitis to ACL strains, per one comprehensive review in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. It notes that eccentric exercises are vital in sports rehab settings and are great even for people sidelined with exercise injuries.

5. Better sports performance

Eccentric actions aren’t just something you do in the weight room. They are a given in any workout—from beach volleyball to 10K races. (Eccentric actions are why your quads feel destroyed after a long run downhill.) So, by performing strength training routines and focusing not just on concentric or isometric, but also eccentric moves, you better prepare your body for any challenges to come. Plus, a 2015 review in BioMed Research International shows that eccentric moves are critical to increasing your body’s ability to produce power, which is critical to delivering hard-hitting volleyball serves and setting new race PRs.