Personal trainers and fitness coaches often get questions about various fitness or nutrition topics. However, some topics come up more often than others. Although the internet has countless number of resources, each trainer as their own take on different topics. Below are three topics that are hotly debated in the fitness industry that I would like to share my knowledge and experiences on.
Static stretching vs. Dynamic stretching
We always get this question about “which stretching is more beneficial?” and “which stretching will get me more flexible?”. Let’s begin this topic by defining both types of stretches. Static stretching is when a stretch is hold isometrically (non-moving) for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Dynamic stretching is when an individual moves through the range of motion of a stretch without stopping.
So when would we perform each specific stretching? Generally, dynamic stretching would be performed before a workout session or a sporting event. This is to ensure maximum injury prevention, blood flow into muscles and retention of power. To increase flexibility of a joint, static stretches are performed. Static stretches are recommended to be performed after a working or a sporting event. This is because the body is warm and there is fluidity in the joints. Generally you would see athletes doing these dynamic stretches out on the field or court. From here they transition into sport specific type of movements, such a skill they would use in the game. Other than warming up their body, they can get their mind-to-muscle connection synced up as well.
There is a specific scenario to perform each specific stretch and each have their own benefits. A personal trainer in Richmond Gym can describe the differences.
“Just Squat, Bro!” vs. Corrective Exercise
There is often a conflict between “Bro workout science” and proper “exercise science”. The former will encourage you to train through pain with no prescription to address deficiency while the latter will help correct any mal-alignment and allowing you to perform at your best, pain-free. For example, a client has lower back and hip pain on one side. Simply getting this client under the bar and allowing the weight to sort out any deficiency is definitely a one-way street to further injuring them. It is recommended that they see a physiotherapist to have a thorough assessment before applying any physical activity. Further, it is important to prescribe proper corrective exercises to combat these deficiencies. Perhaps this client can start out with bird-dogs and unilateral hip abductions for hip trengthening. Progressively they can perform box squats to build strength in the glutes and hips with a limited range of motion. Finally they can perform body weight squats with full range of motion then add on weight progressively. A personal trainer in Cloverdale will differentiate the difference.
Compound Exercises vs. Isolation Exercise
There is often a conflict between whether one should do more compound or isolation exercise. Let’s begin this topic by defining each one. A compound movement is when two or more joints are being used, for example bench press or squat. An isolation movement is when only a single joint is being used, for example a bicep curl or a quad extension. In my opinion, there is always a good time to use each one and there are a number of factors to determine that. Compound exercises are great for developing overall body strength as well as greater caloric expenditure. Isolation exercises are great for increasing the volume of work for a certain muscle group. Compound exercises are generally performed in the beginning of the workout as our bodies and minds are fresh, thus less chances of error and injury. As we get through the training session, fatigue will set in which then we would want to move into isolation movements because they require less concentration. Repetitions for the movements also change depending on whether it is a compound or isolation exercise. Generally, repetitions using a compound exercise will be lower than an isolation exercise. Why? Because with isolation movements, it takes longer for a muscle to reach failure (unless you’re using very heavy weights which we don’t recommend). So with isolation exercises, it is recommended to use higher repetitions (15 – 25). A personal trainer at Crux Fitness will prescribe both during a training session.
By Marco Ng
Personal Trainer, Kinesiologist