Category:

5 tools to get the most out of your heart rate

July 27, 2021 in ATHLETES, General, HEALTH, P:REHAB

When exercise is prescribed, if it is for either performance or health purposes, its given with different details and structures about how to do that task. The importance of its intensity is fundamental and the information is crucial to actually reach the exercise goals and most importantly its benefits. Here are 4 points to get the most out of your heart rate.

1. Heart Rate

Heart rate has become a popular and well know biomarker over the years to target exercise intensity. Although nowadays it might have been overshadowed in sport performance by mechanical markers, specially by endurance sport tech trends, it is a powerful tool to measure exercise intensity.
Heart rate is a dynamic adaptable continuum dependant of metabolism demand, highly effected by muscle requirements and its demands, in synergy with the respiratory system. Heart rate is measured in beats per minute (bpm) and it rises as demand increases.
Heart rate is limited by multiple factors heart pump capacity, cardiovascular conditions, breathing physiology efficiency and the energy demand to supply. Its functional capacity generally decreases with sedentarism, aging, stress and the maturity of the nervous system regulations which affect our life sustaining systems.
An estimate of your maximum heart rate can be withdrawn out of:

Maximal Heart Rate (HRmax) = 220 – age

What is important for you to know is that your heart rate range is composed by a large variety of benefits. Going at your maximal ain’t necessary, nor safe without a proper training adaptation and tolerance.
F
or this reason different exercise intensities ,light, moderate or sever, correspond to a percentage grading out of your maximal heart rate, ex.: 45% of HRmax, 70% of HRmax, 88% of HRmax.

Example for a 35 year old person:
Maximal Heart Rate (HRmax) = 220 – 35 = 185 bpm
45% of HRmax = 185 * 0.45 = 83 bpm
88% of HRmax = 88 * 0.88 = 163 bpm

Targeting the right intensity is fundamental, less or to much intensity might not trigger what is meant to, leading the work effort and time towards another end, even increasing stress and injury risk. It is important to note that intensity in biological structures and systems does not always respond to linear responses and each one of us reacts differently to exercise bouts.

2. Heart rate reserve (HRR)

Heart rate reserve or HRR is a very interesting and more precise way to target your response and exercise intensity range. It differs from regular Heart Rate because its counts your rest base line and cardiovascular adaptations.
Your HRR is the difference between your resting heart rate and your maximal. This two limits set up a precise range or heart rate drift which define the adaptable continuum depending on activity intensity and its metabolic demand. HRR is usually expressed in percentage although it can be read by bpm¡ too. Here is an example:

Resting HR: 55 bpm = 0%HRR
Maximal HR: 185 bpm = 100%HRR
HRR drift: 130 bpm
45% of HRR = 114 bpm
88% of HRR = 169 bpm

3. How to measure your heart rate

Generally, to figure out whether you are exercising within the target heart rate zone, you must briefly stop exercising to take your pulse unless you use a heart rate monitor device which directly reads you heart rate and provides you instant feedback by bpm, HR% or HRR%. You can take your pulse at your neck, wrist, or chest. From the side of your neck, just under your jaw your neck, you can feel the artery pulse. Place the tips of the index and middle fingers over the artery and press lightly. Take a 30 seconds count of the heartbeats and multiply by 2.

4. Ratio of perceived Exertion (RPE)

Heart rate is a very useful and precise tool for sports training and health-fitness alike. But it requires from an investment on wearables and gear. The Ratio of Perceived Exertion or RPE is a subjective qualitative tool to measure your intensity, not only guessing out of your maximum (known or unknown), also by physiological markers. Where breathing and speaking can help to precisely measure exercise bout intensity.
Despite its initial reluctance, it end up being that scientific literature found out and supports strong correlations between measured intensity and RPE scales.
RPE is a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is null or rest and 10 is sever response due to exercise intensity and demand, here is  your guide throughout physiology and speaking markers:

5. Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

Heart rate variability or HRV is a powerful tool that uses heart rate, specifically recording beat to beat, to process its data over a period of time. It allows to read further and deep details about ,not only about individual response to exercise, as well to how your nervous system is reacting and adapting to certain stressors, conditions, adaptations and even into clinical settings and diagnosis. HRV is a powerful complex tool.
However, HRV is hard to read on the go, it needs a bunch of data for posterior insightful readings versus HR, HRR and RPE markers, which ones can be used and provide feedback straight away.
HRV tracking plays a big role on tracking fatigue, adaptations and optimal timings to optimize health and performance.

 

* Cover photo for divulgation purposes. No copyrights intended.

About the author:
Albert Piñol – MSc in Physical Activity and Sports Science, MSc in Exercise Physiology, MAT Certified, DHE Snowboard Coach, DE Mountain Guide and Mountain Bike Coach. Specialized in exercise physiology, hypoxia, neuromuscular system and motor skill development. IG: @albert_pinol

4 things you have to know about resistance training.

May 25, 2021 in ATHLETES, General, HEALTH, P:REHAB

When exercise is prescribed, if it is for either performance or health purposes, its given with different repetitions and details structures about how to do that task or exercise. The importance of resistance training is fundamental and the information is crucial to actually reach the exercise goals and most importantly its benefits. Here are 4 things you have to know to attain your goals when exercising.

1. Intensity matters

Physical exercise is a task or an activity deliberately planned, structured and repetitive that seeks to improve or maintain an adaptation contributing to enhance performance or health.
Physical exercise provides the building block for the fitness spectrum and Strength & Conditioning profile, which are ultimately applied to performance and functional capacity in a variety of scenarios as prevention, health and athletics.
However in order to fulfill physical exercise goals certain conditions prevail. Exercise is completely dependant to each individual condition, functional capacity, physiological response and tolerance to exercise. Therefore EXERCISE WILL ALWAYS BE INTENSITY DEPENDANT. Less intensity might no trigger what is mean to, leading the work toward another end meanwhile too much can lead the work toward another end, increase stress and injury risk.

Exercise intensity will condition the dynamic response of biological function and therefore the adaptations targeted. It is important to note that intensity in biological structures and systems does not respond to linear pathways. Intensity does apply to all fitness spectrum pillars ( Balance, Strength, Metabolism, Endurance and Recovery) as the exercise prescribed within every each one of them targets physiological and biological functions.

2. Reps vs RM

As seen, repetition is an inherent and fundamental factor in the exercise or training prescription.
Reps are reps. Its a quantitative repetition detail of the exercise or training prescription. On the other hand, RM or Maximal Repetitions stands for quantitative and qualitative repetitions providing the information of a detailed intensity framework adding or adapting the resistance to complete the number or reps targeted. This exercise or training prescription details prevail intensity thresholds, which is the most individual important marker to target the exercise outcome. RM aims to prevail the intensity as the final end whereas the means can be variable to maintain the final goal.

Reps are reps, but the demand needed to achieve whatever is set will be be different. Lets explain with an example, your physiological response will not be the same if you do 3x10reps of Air Squats Vs. 3x10RM Front squat. Mechanically the exercises are the same. the demand and stress are completely different as the workload to provide the muscle contraction needed to complete 3x10RM Front Squad is increased.

Does this mean that reps in scopes of the Balance, Strength, Metabolism, Endurance and Recovery are useless? ABSOLUTELY NO. But you should be aware of what intensity, whatever exercise it is you do, represent for you.

3. Timing

Timing is another qualitative feature that modulates exercise intensity and therefore the final demand.
Timing adds up information of how to do what you have to do. Timing in resistance training can involve  information about how long you do each exercise and/or how each rep will be timed during the execution of  each phase of movement. Its not the same doing 3x30sec, 3x30sec t414s than 3x10RM t414s Front Squats. For example, t414 will be an example of slow rep execution.

4. Rest

Rest is another qualitative feature that can modulate exercise intensity increasing or reducing the span of an in-set and in-session exercise bout demand. This feature is important to help to line up targeted goals having large impact on rest.

About the author:
Albert Piñol – MSc in Physical Activity and Sports Science, MSc in Exercise Physiology, MAT Certified, DHE Snowboard Coach, DE Mountain Guide and Mountain Bike Coach. Specialized in exercise physiology, hypoxia, neuromuscular system and motor skill development. IG: @albert_pinol

4 points to understand Imbalances & Injury prevention

April 27, 2021 in ATHLETES, General, HEALTH, P:REHAB

Balance is often a misplaced concept in meaning, popularly only limited to a qualitative, quantitative and challenging description of a movement. However balance is based on fundamental sensory information, these regulators are critical and dynamic components for movement. It transcends to optimal biological function. It approach not only relates to qualitative evaluation of how the movement is made, it explains how and why movement is managed. Imbalances or “the lack of relation of corresponding things” have a direct connection with injuries and its prevention. Find out why.

1. A magnificent piece of “integrity” artwork

Our own biological and structural design has the ability, above all, to “keep us in the game” at all costs. Under that survival concept balance or the right relation of proportions applies to health and our ability to move.
The incredible adaptations and mechanisms of the neuromuscular system to maintain body integrity are far beyond one can imagine. Balance truly defines what is seen as well as what remains hidden to the human eye. Adaptations and compensations arefixings” that lead us to decreased performance and function, discomfort, acute and chronic pain, injury and even disease from a health view. Long story short, instead of treat the cause, lets fix the consequences.

The true mission of our own organism existence is, above all to “keep us in the game”, maintain above all this magnificent piece of biological artwork. But be aware that what we see does not necessarily explain how, through which way it happens nor be sure that stands for what is thought to be unless studied or analyzed. To keep it simple if detrimental consequences and symptoms appear it can be too late.

2. Cause vs consequence

From a locomotion system perspective, often imbalances can not be identified until they show visible consequences and patched motor patterns are consolidated. These motor control dysfunctions can be caused by micro-traumatic, trauma, fatigue, injuries, neurological inhibitions, sedentarism among other factors. Those processes have different and relative time spans, as a matter of fact are not optimized learning processes. Each one has its own timing and learning curve. For example an athlete might trigger early consequences due to increased physical activity and structural demand, meanwhile for a sedentary or low active individual, consequences can appear delayed in time, where chronified or persistent harmful stress is an additional risk. In both scenarios alike the examples are in equal condition relative to its activity, developing imbalance adaptations with potential negative and harmful consequences if no investment towards an outright performance and functional capacity is taken.

3. Finding balance

Find out the cause, prevent the cascade of failure and avoid its negative consequences. Imbalances can be detected on few fronts before consequences appear, a high standard of a Strength & Conditioning program has the ability to assess, test, retest, track and provide the accurate feedback and line of action. Actually this application ain’t new and is a mechanism implanted in almost all information processes, even machines, at all levels. Its a fail safe mechanism, a loop of precise information gathered to find out what needs to be known providing a platform for decision making.

Not everybody will have the skills and success when finding a hidden treasure as well as not everyone has to have deep understanding about exercise science, muscle function and performance. If you are not into Exercise Science, contacting a professional to guide you and assist you is a good option for helping you find out the cause/s and not to fight the consequences. If consequences are already in place, a qualified professional can guide you to regulate and even revert overtime the symptoms, consequences and optimize function.

4. Prevention is efficiency

Strength & Conditioning are programmed interventions and methodologies targeting physical or skill fitness aiming to develop a selected set of attributes. Strength & Conditioning programs are composed by the integration of multiple fitness attributes and its physiological adaptations to serve a purpose. This interventions have as a goal to improve performance and function, Develop systematic interventions, Assess performance and progression and Reduce injury risk.
With in these goals the 5 pillar ATHL S-Core fitness spectrum of Balance, Strength, Metabolism, Endurance and Recovery have an important role. The ultimate goal of reduce injury risk is related to provide within the general program the beneficial, physiological and structural adaptations needed. This approach will help to reduce the risk of injury upon a certain toll or demand with detailed individualized evaluation to control prescription, progression and the tolerance efficacy of the prescribed exercise.

When prevention is applied on larger scale the imbalance concept has wider impact and the lack of relation spreads and affects all body systems which can ultimately lead to health conditions. Preventive Strength and conditioning programs within a prevention scope will focus on health, normal readiness and functional capacity before enhanced performance goals take place. Therefore it is important to assess and find out, if its unknown, whats your performance and functional capacity to adapt a plan to your needs and optimize exercise potential.

About the author:
Albert Piñol – MSc in Physical Activity and Sports Science, MSc in Exercise Physiology, DHE Snowboard Coach, DE Mountain Guide and Mountain Bike Coach. Specialized in exercise physiology, hypoxia, neuromuscular system and motor skill development. IG: @albert_pinol