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Education

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Invention-Pictures-153-533x800_20151002-203038_1.jpgAn often overlooked exercise, the single leg squat, demands a come-back in the fitness community as it is possibly the best lower body exercise you can do, not only for the health of your spine, but also for its strength and balance building potential.  Moreover, with the proper set up and coaching, a single leg squat is an exercise everyone can do.  First though, it is imperative that you understand the value of the single leg squat.   Let’s start at the very beginning:

During motion in bipedal animals (like humans), the lower extremities are rarely doing the same thing at the same time.  Functionally speaking, since we alternate walking between one leg and then the other, instead of using both legs on the ground at one time, we are actually unipeds, using one leg at a time.  In essence, we create force with one leg and then accept it with the other. This form of motion creates unique challenges for our lower extremities, necessitating unique training with unipedal motion in mind in order to maximize our functional strength. 

 

 

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Squatting Properly:

 

The Fallacy of the Hip Hinge and the Function of the Patella

We’ve been squatting – perfectly at that – since we were babies, yet somewhere along the way in our weight lifting education we were taught not to let our toes go over our knees, and, as a result, we have lost the art of the perfect squat.  At risk isn’t just the “perfect squat,” at risk is the integrity and health of our spine and back.

If you go to any gym and observe people squatting you will observe, for the most part, a significant forward lean of the torso as one attempts to maintain one's center of gravity within their base of support. This occurs because it is widely taught that one's knees should not bend past the toes when squatting.

The claim to this myth is from a Duke University study from 1978 that revealed a reduction in shearing potential of the knee occurred when the knee did not go past the toes in the squatting movement.  By keeping the lower leg as vertical as possible, researchers believed such a movement was preserving the integrity of the knee. This theory – the idea that allowing the knees to move past the toes causes undue stress upon the patella and the ligaments of the knee – has been wildly maintained and still taught in many personal training certification courses.  It continues being demonstrated in gyms across the country.

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If you’re a man, you probably don’t want to read this article.  But you probably should.  Actually, a real man is willing to take a look at what he’s always done in consideration for a better way.  There is a better way to strengthen your chest and arms than bench pressing.  In fact, over time bench pressing can cause significant shoulder pain and dysfunction. 

It all started decades ago, with the popular floor press. In the 1930s the floor press evolved to a wooden “bench” or box with the use of a barbell.  By the 1950s bodybuilding was on the rise, and with it, the popularity of the bench press grew.  The bench press started becoming over-emphasized as a training exercise in the 1970s.  As a disproportionate amount of focus was placed on the bench press, the movement grew in popularity as a common benchmark of masculine strength.  For decades it has been considered the gold standard of upper body strength lifts. But it is not and should not be a standard of strength.

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Functional training is a buzzword in the fitness world.  According to Wikipedia, the resource most people will go to for a simple definition, Functional training is “an exercise that involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life.”  This definition of “functional movement” is dangerous because it is widely open to potential misinterpretation.  Functional movement should be thought of in relation to a movement continuum.

To get even more specific, the best assessment of whether a movement is functional or not is to determine whether or not it is conducted in a closed kinetic chain (CKC). Closed kinetic chain exercises are movements performed where one extremity is fixed in space and cannot move. During a CKC exercise, or functional exercise, the extremity stays in constant contact with the immobile surface, which is often the ground or the base of a machine.  Additionally, since CKC exercises are often compound exercises (they involve more than one muscle group at a time), they are known to be more beneficial to the body.  The human body was uniquely designed to function optimally in a closed kinetic chain movement.  The exception to this is for the upper extremity, where many movements are performed in an open kinetic chain (OKC).  Unfortunately, OKC training can compromise the integrity of the rotator cuff, leading to injury and a lapse in training. To optimize the “functional training” of you upper extremity we recommend that you program and plan with CKC exercise in mind.  

 

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The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. –Confucius

The urge to reach our full potential is innate in each and every one of us, although, as Confucius wrote, not everyone pursues it with enough tenacity to unlock his or her own personal excellence. 

Personal excellence is possible for everyone, and at CKC Fitness we take new possibilities of potential seriously.  Today is the best day to start being the best you possible. We wrote this article on muscular genetic potential according to the potential assessment performed on the Luedeka Body Weight Trainer to inspire you to be your absolute best based on your natural body type.

 

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The Luedeka Body Weight Trainer is the first functionally based all-in-one exercise trainer to incorporate the many scientific principles of progressive resisted exercise into functional closed chain training.

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CKC Fitness Systems
Crozet, Virginia 22932

804-833-4993

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