Archive | January, 2016

Exercise for the Health of It. Is TABATA TRAINING for you?

29 Jan

There are all kinds of exercise routines from which active people can choose, and the choice depends on what you want to accomplish. For example, some exercise routines are specifically designed to help you lose body fat by improving aerobic energy systems, and yet another may help you to gain muscle mass or power output by improving anaerobic systems. But for those of you who have no health problems or physical limitations that would limit exercise performance, and who want to improve both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, the Tabata exercise routine may be for you.

Named after the Japanese researcher who published his findings in 1996[1], Tabata is a type of interval training comprised of a combination of high-intensity bouts of exercise and alternating rest periods. Its benefits were demonstrated by Tabata’s research team who compared the training results of two groups of individuals put on two different exercise regimens. One group was placed on a typical endurance exercise program that comprised of submaximal intensity cycling on a leg ergometer for 30 minutes per day, five days per week. The other group was placed on an intermittent high intensity exercise routine that comprised of eight sets of maximal intensity cycling for 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest, five days per week. Each group underwent pre- and post- VO2 max and anaerobic capacity tests. Results of the study indicated the endurance training group improved their aerobic capacity (e.g., VO2max) as expected, but not their anaerobic capacity, and the high-intensity training group demonstrated improvements in both aerobic capacity and anaerobic capacity.

The Tabata research protocol used a leg cycle ergometer, but you can use any form or mode of exercise in your Tabata routine. Simply use the Tabata protocol of 20 seconds maximal intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest (totaling 240 seconds or four minutes) , repeating seven more times with no lapse between sets. Because timing is so important, you will need a stopwatch or a clock with a second-hand. The number of reps in each set is not stipulated, but be sure to do them in good form, slowing down if you start to get sloppy. Never sacrifice form for speed or number of reps.

Each four-minute cycle is called a Tabata, and beginners may want to start out with one Tabata per exercise session. For the more adventurous, highly trained, and athletically inclined, you may add Tabatas to your exercise routine. For example, a Tabata session may include one Tabata of leg cycling plus a Tabata of jumping jacks with no lapse between Tabatas. A Tabata circuit can be created by adding other modes of exercise.

Here is a sample Tabata circuit that could be used:

Exercise at maximal intensity 20 seconds Rest 10 seconds >>Repeat 7 times for a total of 8 sets >>Go directly to next exercise mode.

Exercise #2 Stair Climbing

Exercise at maximal intensity 20 seconds Rest 10 seconds >>Repeat 7 times for a total of 8 sets >> Go directly to next exercise mode.

Exercise #3 Jumping Jacks

Exercise at maximal intensity 20 seconds Rest 10 seconds >> Repeat 7 times for a total of 8 sets  >> Go directly to next exercise mode.

Exercise #4 Stationary Cycling

Exercise at maximal intensity 20 seconds Rest 10 seconds >> Repeat 7 times for a total of 8 sets >> Go directly to next exercise mode.

Exercise #5 Pull-ups

Exercise at maximal intensity 20 seconds Rest 10 seconds >> Repeat 7 times for a total of 8 sets >> Go directly to next exercise mode.

Exercise #6 Abdominal Crunches

Exercise at maximal intensity 20 seconds Rest 10 seconds >> Repeat 7 times for a total of 8 sets >> Go directly to next exercise mode.

Exercise #7 Rowing

Exercise at maximal intensity 20 seconds Rest 10 seconds >>Repeat 7 times for a total of 8 sets >> Go directly to next exercise mode.

Exercise #8 Push-ups

Exercise at maximal intensity 20 seconds Rest 10 seconds >> Repeat 7 times for a total of 8 sets >> Go directly to next exercise mode.

Benefits of Tabata: These short, intense workouts have not only been shown to improve aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, but also provide improved glucose metabolism and increased fat burning



9 Jan

1. Yoga is very friendly to your heart whether its in great shape or its in need of help.

2. Yoga exercises hardly increases the Workload on the Heart especially once you are a bit more seasoned in combining breathing with your Poses or Suryanamaskars.

3. Yogic Suryanamaskars combines the benefit of Cardiac Strengthening with Cardio vascular Endurance.

4. Yoga is very calming on the nerves that connect the heart and the Brain as well the Blood vessels and the other Spinal nerves. Because of this with regular practice of Yoga the Blood

pressure is regulated.

5. Yogic forward bends ie the poses that brings the head close to foot are observed to act on the Para sympathetic nervous system and bring about Para symnpathetic dominance. This helps a

person to Stay calm even during adverse situations.

6. Yogic pranayama techniques can improve the blood oxygen levels as well as the Prana content in your blood.

7. Yoga works the heart at a comfortable rate as against other Aerobic activities hence it is suitable for even people with some Heart conditions.

8. The topsy turvy poses in Yoga upon holding for a specific duration, directly reduces the gravitational effects on the heart and hence it actually eases the Heart muscles.

9. Anahatha Chakra located on the Physical Heart upon blossoming transcends a Human mind to Godly qualities and opens up the conduit for Universal love.

10. Yoga is the best for your Heart! Sincerely practice it everyday.


6 Jan

It is well known that body composition is a major component of fitness and that excess body fat is not healthy. However, the distribution of body fat, e.g., where fat is located, is also an important health factor. Overall excess body fat can give someone a “pear” shape –where fat is deposited on the hips and buttocks, or an “apple” shape—where fat is deposited around the middle of the body. Research has shown that these two shapes have very different health implications.

Clinically known as central obesity, this location of excess fat has been associated with the incidence of a wide variety of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, in particular, hypertension, dyslipidemia, insulin insensitivity and diabetes, as well as the presence of knee pain and osteoarthritis and asthma. Most recently, central adiposity hasalso been linked with Alzheimer’s disease.

A percent body fat measurement will not distinguish between the two body shapes. It is more useful to determine the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) which takes a person’s body structure into account (see WHR measurement protocol below). According the World Health Organization, abdominal obesity is defined as a WHR above 0.90 for males and above 0.85 for females.

Other ways of determining abdominal obesity includes:

  •  Absolute waist circumference (>102 cm in men and >88 cm in women)
  •  Index of Central Obesity
  •  Sagittal Abdominal Diameter

It is important to note here that a differential diagnosis includes distinguishing central obesity from ascites and intestinal bloating, either of which could influence the WHR measurement.

There are two types of central abdominal fat, visceral and subcutaneous. Subcutaneous fat is located underneath the skin and can easily be measured in millimeters by skinfold calipers. A common

abdominal measurement is a vertical skinfold taken just to the right of the umbilicus. Visceral fat, also known as organ fat, is located inside the peritoneal cavity, packed in between internal organs

within the torso. A skinfold measurement on the abdomen of a person with a pot belly would not take the visceral fat into consideration. But visceral fat can be seen with powerful imaging techniques

such as magneticresonance imagining (MRI). It is this type of fat that makes the abdomen protrude excessively and is jokingly known as a beer gut or pot belly.

Of the two types of centrally located fat, it is believed that intra-abdominal fat conveys the bigger health risk. Research has shown that

  • Surgical removal of visceral fat, but not subcutaneous fat, has been shown to extend the mean and maximum lifespan of rodents.
  • Visceral fat, unlike subcutaneous fat, is implicated in many aging-associated diseases, for example, abdominal fat is a major source of increased inflammatory Interleukin associated with aging.                as well as other inflammatory responses;
  • Higher volumes of visceral fat, regardless of overall weight, has been associated with smaller brain volumes and increased risk of dementia
  • There is a relationship between abdominal obesity and lung function.

Though there are medical treatments which have proven to be successful in reducing fat weight, a lifestyle change of increasing caloric expenditure through a permanent exercise routine and moderately reducing caloric intake is still necessary in order to maintain a target weight and percentage body mass when it is achieved. A combination of aerobic/cardio exercises and resistance training has been shown    to be more effective than either mode alone. Your trainer should be able to prescribe an exercise program that will help you reach your weight goals.

WHR Measurement Protocol: Proper placement of a stretch-resistant measuring tape is important: for the hips, place the tape at the widest portion of the buttocks (usually at mid-point of buttocks from the side view), and for the waist, place the tape at the narrowest point (from the front view). If the waist is not apparent, place the tape at the midpoint between the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the iliac crest. For both measurements, the individual should be standing with feet close together, arms at the side, body weight evenly distributed, and wearing little clothing. The person should be relaxed, and the measurements should be taken at the end of a normal expiration, with tape measure placement parallel to the floor.

Fascia, the new fitness focus.

2 Jan

Fascia is a systemic net of connective tissue an extra-cellular matrix (ECM), which includes everything in your body that isn’t cellular. It’s a web that wraps your muscle and attaches to the bone. Its also found in internal structures, the viscera etc.

Remodeling and Tensegrity

Just as your muscles remodel themselves in response to training, the fascia remodels itself in response to direct signaling from the cells ; injury; long-held mechanical forces; use patterns; gravity; and certain chemistry within your body

The idea of tensegrity (tension and integrity) and the phenomenon of remodeling are the basis for structural therapy, including yoga and the forms of soft tissue manual therapy, including foam rolling. Change the demand and the fascial system responds to that new demand.

How to Train the Fascia

1.      Specific training can enhance the fascial elasticity

What’s in: Plyometrics: Make use of elasticity of the muscle

Jump drills:  When you land on the ball of your foot, you decelerate and accelerate in such a way that you not only make use of but actually build elasticity into the tendons and entire fascial system.

Stretch – Shorten Fascia:  : Preparing for a movement by making a countermovement—for example, winding up before a pitch makes maximum use of the power of fascial elasticity to help make and smooth out the movement.

2: The fascial system responds better to variation than to a repetitive program.

The evidence suggests that the fascial system is better trained by a wide variety of vectors—in angle, tempo and load

What’s in

Whole-Body Movements. Engaging whole-body movements is the better way to train the fascial system. Every exercise is stimulating multiple nerves, involving multiple muscles and employing fascial tissues all around the site of effort, as well as “upstream” and “downstream” from it.

Proximal Initiation. It’s best to start movements with a dynamic pre-stretch (distal extension) but accompany this with a proximal initiation in the desired direction, letting the more distal parts of the body follow in sequence, like an elastic pendulum. Imagine Throwing.

Adaptive Movement. Complex movement requiring adaptation.

Variable loads build different aspects of the fascia. Sticking with near-limit loads will strengthen some ligaments but weaken others. Varying the load is the better way.

Varying the tempo of your training allows different fascial structures to build strength and elasticity.

3: Proprioception and kinesthesia are primarily fascial, not muscular.

What’s in:

Skin and Soft Tissue Stimulation Enhance Proprioception. Rubbing / foam rolling and moving the skin and surface tissues is important to enhance fascial proprioception.we have seen our ancient wrestlers and kabaddi players rubbing some sand and tapping the muscle before performance.

Feel the Fascial Tissues. Focusing on multiple joint/fascia stretch in a yoga pose can help prevent injury and make the perception of kinesthesia more accurate and fully informed, rather than focusing on an isolated muscle stretch.

Shift from ligaments to Joint-Receptor for stability. Given that the ligaments are often tensed by the muscles, the emphasis on joint receptors for joint position sense, co-ordination and balance with a more general attention to the whole area, from the skin on down to the joint.

A deeper understanding of the role of fascia in training changes your perspective, your work, your words and your effect. Fascia is not just a sling or a wrap. It has a life of its own!!

4. Stretch as a Whole

What’s in

Fascia is a wholistic structure, not starts from one joint and finishes in the next like the muscle. Stretching the biceps or quadriceps alone are not the way ahead.

Stretch your body as a whole, your posterior chain of muscles, anterior, lateral, spiral chain etc.,

Isolated muscle stretches are out and wholistic stretches like yoga, taichi, gymnastic (ballistic) stretches are in!!