Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Great Question from A Fantastic Client! I would love to hear other opinions on my response!

A great couple points and a great question from one of my most unique older clients....


11 minutes on the rowing machine was an eye opener.  I set the tension on 10 from the start and was amazed at how easy it was.  A few minutes later it was a little less easy.  And then I reduced the tension to 5 in stages and it still felt about the same.  Then the machine taught me how to sit differently, at first I had been leaning too far back and after a few minutes I felt like I was doing sit ups.  I'm just a bit sore today but I'll have another go tomorrow and see if my improved technique can get me to 15 minutes.

I did the same bike course several times while you were away and it is a bit easier when you get used to it.  You might be pleased to hear that I may still not like working out I do like how much better I feel in between workouts.  I know that I was not in terrible condition but I'm surprised that most of this extra work doesn't leave me dragging and I generally feel better.  It's not the result that surprised me but how quickly it's coming.

Just before you left you showed me how you used a stick or pipe or rod to work your shoulders.  I would very much like to work on getting increased shoulder flexibility.  I have just one question, there seems to be three possibilities and I need to know if there are important differences between them or if any old way is good.  Should I increase shoulder flexibility before trying to increase the strength of the shoulder muscle groups (push-ups, pull-ups...), or should I work on strength first then flex, or slowly increase both together (my best guess)?


My response(and I am very much open to comments on this response, I did have to compose it rather quickly)

I am so happy you enjoyed the rower, it's a great total body workout and as you saw will raise your heart rate quickly.  Don't worry too much about the fan setting [ed. note he was working out on the Concept II Rowing Ergometer - and in this case he was working out unsupervised] it is not a measure of intensity per se.  Think of intensity as the amount of work your legs, hips, back and arms do.  The higher settings do increase the wind resistance say equivalent to moving a larger boat through the water, and require more muscular/strength input.  The lower settings are more like a smaller quicker performance boat at the the same level of effort you will go faster incur less muscular demand but quite likely a higher cardio/respiratory load and higher heart rate.  The settings affect more the kind of workout you are trying to get as opposed to the total work done.  

All that being said

Set the damper setting for the type of work you want to do.

In General:

Higher numbers = More strength demand
Lower numbers = More Cardio/Vascular demand

The monitor makes corrections to account for total power output.  You should work toward higher power output(shown in Watts on the Monitor) for each set distance. 

The most general Setting would be about 3-5.

See Also Damper Setting 101 from the Concept II Website

Regarding your question on shoulder flexibility(mobility) v. strength.  You want to work on both flexibility(mobility) and strength simultaneously.  You want to be both flexible and strong in the end range position to avoid injury.  The goal should not to be to have an elongated flaccid muscle, you absolutely want strength in that end range position as well.  This is what will protect you from injury in your daily activities if say you grab on to something and your arm gets yanked back(I don't know, say getting off of the merri-go-round to quickly).

If you find pain in any of the movements, say overhead press, stop and lets discuss where this happens and how to fix it.  There is no point, and it could be damaging, to try to work trough and pain.  Some people do have physical limitations that no amount of mobility work can compensate for, this is relatively rare, but it does happen.  If this is the case we can always modify or scale the exercise (say with dumbells) to avoid the trouble area.  

[Ed. note: I'd love to see any comments or things I missed in this brief response, again I did feel I had to get back to him quickly]

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