Increasing Weights Versus Increased Range of Motion

People who lift weights for muscular gain tend to limit their range of motion (the ability of a joint to articulate through an unhampered area of movement) when they perform an exercise. This practice can lead to improper muscular development, lack of tendon strength and limited joint mobility. There is nothing wrong with this form of training on an occasional basis, but when you regularly shorten range of movement in favor of heavier weights, you are training your body to only work that way.

First, muscles trained in a shortened state tend to form scar tissue or adhesions in the muscle, which greatly compromises range of motion. These adhesions are a normal part of muscle development and are created when the muscle is traumatized. They allow the muscle to heal and form strong bonds in the muscle to facilitate muscle function. But in the case of shortened RoM lifting, they actually limit range of motion and muscle function.

Second, tendons that connect muscle to bone are not trained to handle heavy loads through a large range of motion. This often results in torn tendons, tendonitis or, in some cases, a torn muscle. This can be very detrimental, especially when we look at athletic performance. If someone who trains in a shortened range of motion attempts to perform their sport in a full range of motion, the tendons have not been trained to handle those strains and injuries are likely.

Third, by affecting the above factors, joints cease moving in their optimal movement pattern and can create improper joint movement. This can be very harmful and lead to improper wear patterns which affect cartilage. Joints have optimal movement patterns, and once that pattern is changed, the joint suffers.

In conclusion, training with lighter weight through a full range of motion on a regular lifting program can be more beneficial that continually lifting heavier through a short range of motion.

Vic Spatola, Director of Personal Training

Yoga for Athletes

Yoga can be incredibly beneficial for athletes of all levels. It can assist in everything from visualizing success at your specific sport to breathing properly during the course of a stressful game. Yoga can improve:

  • Flexibility and range of motion– Yoga improves joint and muscular flexibility which are crucial to the body’s overall structural soundness. Enhanced joint and muscle pliancy translates to greater range of motion.
  • Balance– Balance exercises are often overlooked by athletes, but are an effective way to correct muscle imbalance or body mechanic problems.
  • Core stability and strength– Yoga is all about building core stability and strength. The slow, focused movements require a strong mid-section and the isometric contractions of many exercises will add a new form of resistance training to athletes’ workouts.
  • Correct imbalances– Yoga can also correct imbalances in the body caused by repetitive use of some muscle groups (overuse) while other muscles are ignored (underdeveloped).
  • Endurance– Vinyasa styles of yoga are a continuous workout that brings a muscular endurance element to the practice.
  • Improved mental focus and breathing techniques– The physical benefits are just a “side effect” of this powerful practice; yoga sharpens an athletes’ concentration, giving them tools to focus and stay relaxed even during high- intensity situations.

All GATC Yoga Instructors will lead you through a safe, effective yoga class and help you accomplish your goals. Not sure where to begin or what style of yoga to try? Send me an email and I can help you find the right class to achieve your goals.

What Yoga has done for competitive athlete Callen Borgias- “While having heard of the many benefits, I didn’t think yoga could help me as a cyclist and triathlete since I was already stretching…or so I thought. After incorporating yoga into my routine twice a week, I was stunned to regain flexibility in my lower back, hamstrings and hips. Running and cycling were once again, after years of just accepting pain and tightness, easier, happier, fun and FASTER! The proof was evident in my racing times. I was producing times that I hadn’t see in 20 years because my muscles weren’t working extra hard to overcome tightness and limited range of motion.”

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager