Understanding the Confusion Regarding Back Pain and Strength Training
A general foundation in exercise science required is for those interested in back development and performance. This chapter is intended to introduce and discuss some of the more salient elements of this foundation to justify the general approaches to training that are documented in later chapters. Some readers will find this chapter long, while others will find it brief in places. For those readers wanting the highest level of background expertise in general exercise science, I wish to recommend some excellent sources. For general neuromuscular function with relevance to training, it is hard to beat Dr. Roger Enoka's book Neuromechanical Basis of Kinesiology. Some of the introduction into the Russian systems of training presented here can be found in more detail in Dr. Mel Sift's excellent book entitled Supertraining, a "must read". There a notable contrast in developments within exercise science between the West (North is America and Western Europe) and the East (the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc), particularly since WWII. The East continued to perform scientific investigations into performance development in what we would consider today the fundamental understanding of motion and motor patterns. In contrast, the West increasingly focused on cardiovascular components, with the Swedish influence and the publishing and promotion of very popular fitness books such as Dr. Cooper's "Aerobics". To be "fit" in the West required a high MV02 score. We have measured many people with high MV02 scores who do not have command of some simple motor patterns, and while they could run a distance, they literally would have trouble running with another simultaneous challenge - be it carrying a load or chewing gum! As a consequence, the exercise physiologists became fitness experts - many of whom had little or no expertise beyond cardiac and muscle hypertrophy issues. Their general ignorance of musculoskeletal function has led to the proliferation of exercises which replicate injury mechanisms. Many machines have been developed to isolate muscle and enhance hypertrophy to the detriment of performance. In contrast, the East continued to develop science on all aspects of fitness and with application, produced enviable results in international competition during this period. Certainly over the last decade, the 'Western" science has broadened and has created a place for an approach contained in this book. Too much effort directed towards training the "muscle" in many performance programs. is Isolating a muscle about a joint and training it with progressive overload purely a body building is hypertrophy approach. Functional training incorporates the goal of enhancing strength throughout the body segment linkage.
This post was created by Zach Cooper, a coach and author of fitness material.
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