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Strength Training for Beginners (and Experts, Too)

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Chiropractic Care and Strength Training

Regular vigorous exercise is a requirement for good health. Ideally, every adult is exercising for at least 30 minutes five times per week. Regular chiropractic care provides fundamental support for this necessary level of physical activity.

Regular exercise requires optimal functioning of muscles, joints, and bones. In turn, such optimal performance requires full and free functioning of your nerve system. The nerve system sends timely instructions to all the rest of your body systems, informing cells, tissues, and organs as to when to do their jobs and exactly how much of a job to do. Regular chiropractic care removes irritation and inflammation from spinal nerves and other critical nerve tissue, helping ensure that exercising muscles receive the information they need to do their jobs well. By helping keep your nerve system healthy, regular chiropractic care helps you get the most out of your investment in exercise.

Strength training, otherwise known as weight training, is one of those activities that provides a wide range of benefits for the person who does it regularly. Like yoga, strength straining makes all your muscles stronger, enhances flexibility, and improves cardiovascular capability and capacity. In fact, two strength training sessions per week combined with one or two yoga classes per week will lead to super-fitness for most people within only a couple of months.

Strength training is beneficial for teenagers, young adults, and older adults.1 Many strength training exercises are done in a weightbearing position, and the process of doing reps and sets with a modestly or moderately heavy load makes your bones stronger. Not only muscles, but also the soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system, including tendons, ligaments, and joint cartilage, are made sturdier by receiving increased supplies of oxygen and other nutrients. Engaging in a regular program of strength training will provide more restful sleep, rid your metabolism of accumulated toxins, add sparkle and tone to your skin, and improve your overall sense of well-being. All at the low price of two to three hours per week.

The key question is how to begin. Many books and online training videos are available. Most fitness centers offer a complimentary lesson or two with a personal trainer to enable you to learn the basics. Simply put, you want to train all of your major muscle groups once per week. For example, you can exercise your chest and back muscles on one day and your shoulders and arms on another day. If you're also doing one or two yoga classes per week, or one yoga class and two walking or running days per week, your leg muscles are covered.2

Let's say this is your chest and back day. Ideally you'll do three different exercises per body part. For your chest you could do lying-down (supine) bench presses with dumbbells, supine flies (in which you hold the dumbbells overhead and then open your arms out to the side), and incline bench presses with dumbbells. For your back, you could do one-arm rows, supine dumbbell pullovers (in which you use both hands to hold one dumbbell overhead and then lower the dumbbell all the way behind your head), and lat pulldowns on a machine. All together, doing these six different exercises, three sets per exercise, should take about one hour.

Then, two or three days later in the week, you do strength training for your shoulders, biceps, and triceps. Shoulder exercises could include seated overhead presses, standing lateral raises, and seated bent-over rows. Bicep exercises could include seated alternate incline curls, machine bicep curls, and seated concentration curls. Tricep exercises could include push-ups, lying (supine) tricep extensions, and machine tricep pressdowns. Again, these nine different exercises, three sets per exercise, should take about one hour.

There are many video clips available on the internet that demonstrate the mechanics of each of these exercises. Good form is critical. In fact, making sure your posture is balanced and your abdominal muscles are activated is more important than the amount of weight you are lifting.

Beginners, especially, need to know how much weight they should be using on each exercise.3 Importantly, lifting too much weight too soon will usually lead to injury. Of course, we want to work-out as safely as possible. Choose a weight at which you can comfortably do eight repetitions. If you can't do eight, the weight is too heavy. If eight repetitions with a particular weight seems ridiculously easy, try again with a weight that is 10% heavier. Repeat the process until you find the starting weight that is comfortable for you. There are many types of weight progression programs that you will employ as you become accustomed to the weight-training process. The main point is to begin to engage in this highly beneficial form of exercise. As your mastery of these techniques slowly improves, a new world of fitness, fun, and satisfaction will be revealed.

1Conceicao MS, et al: Sixteen weeks of resistance training can decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome in healthy postmenopausal women. Clin Interv Aging Epub Sept 16 2013

2Karavirta L, et al: Heart rate dynamics after combined strength and endurance training in middle-aged women: heterogeneity of responses. PLoS One 2013 Aug 27;8(8):e72664. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072664

3Van Roie E, et al: Strength training at high versus low external resistance in older adults: Effects on muscle volume, muscle strength, and force-velocity characteristics. Exp Gerontol Epub ahead of print

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We value our patients' experience at Stamford Sports & Spine. If you are currently a patient, please feel free to complete the following Client Experience Questionnaire. The Questionnaire is in Adobe Acrobat format, and requires the free Acrobat Reader to view.

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Dr. Andrew Zomick & Dr. David Avallon

I have been coming to Stamford Sports and Spine for almost 10 years. I am active and have unfortunately been in a few car accidents. The care and treatment offered at Stamford Sports and Spine is world class and without them I would be living with an inordinate amount of pain and discomfort. Going to Stamford Sports and Spine has made my injuries manageable.

--James


Very good team of therapists. Flexible and available schedule. They helped get my teenage athletes back on the field in half the time.

--Shawn


I was experiencing some pain in my right shoulder and numbness down my arm to my hand. The range of motion in my shoulder was limited and I could not participate in volleyball. Dr. Z came to our office offering a free chair massage and a chance to come in for an evaluation. I did this and we worked out a treatment plan that included therapy and adjustments. I noticed in the first few weeks the pain subsided greatly in my shoulder. The numbness in the arm and hand were present but noticeably better. After three weeks, the range of motion in my shoulder was back to normal and the pain was gone. Now after one month of therapy the numbness in the arm is extremely better and I do not notice the symptoms as often as I used to. Coming into the office has helped tremendously. I can now play volleyball pain-free.

--Mary


After moving from London to the USA, two weeks into living in Stamford and having carried and unpacked a lot of heavy boxes my shoulder froze and I was in a great deal of constant pain. After finding Stamford Sports & Spine on the internet I made an appointment and the corrective programme S.S.S. put together for me meant that I immediately had some pain relief, and over the next few weeks the pain left completely. The programme is also ensuring that I am not only pain free but fully corrected so as this problem should not occur again. Very friendly staff and very detailed assessment programme that has ensured my full recovery.

--Laura


From my first visit to Stamford Sports & Spine I was extremely impressed and pleased with their service. Everyone including staff and doctors were very knowledgeable with their chiropractic services. I learned a great deal about my symptoms and overall care more than I expected. I have visited a few other chiropractors but none were as thorough as Stamford Sports & Spine. I was experiencing severe pain in my shoulder and arm and after a few visits my pain decreased substantially. I really appreciate all the services from the adjustments, rollers and even exercise room. I would highly recommend this facility to everyone. The entire staff are friendly, professional and just simply great!

--Sherri


Everyone was incredibly professional and helpful.  The staff is friendly and goes beyond what was expected to meet my needs and education me about my condition.

--Jon


Came in with severe and constant numbness and tingling in my legs and feet. The treatment worked quickly and resolved all of my symptoms. Thanks!

--Erik


My arms were falling asleep every night and had numbness and tingling during the day. I no longer have any of those symptoms during the day and have very rare episodes of pain at night due to my treatment here at Stamford Sports & Spine

--Eric


I came in for hip pain and stiff neck that also affected my right arm and hand. Using the relaxing rolling / traction bed and electrical muscle stimulation along with stretching and the adjustments my hip pain is gone. I can walk without sharp pains running up and down my legs. My neck range of motion has improved and my muscles are more flexible and less spastic.

--Karen


I had severe neck pain which was aggravated by a recent move. I have been coming to be adjusted for a few weeks now and not only has it helped with the neck pain I had been experiencing, but it has also made me feel better overall. I feel like I am able to sit up straighter, and my muscles are looser and less tense. I no longer have the intense pain I had once been experiencing

--Kim


When I came in my pain was a 10 out of 10. After just one week of care my pain went down to a 4 and has been improving ever since. The staff are very friendly and great educators. I learned a lot about my body and how to take better care of myself.

--Heidi


After a car accident,  I had to seek help for my upper back and neck pain. Slowly but surely I started to feel better, not immediately, but by keeping up with my visits with Dr. Q & Dr. Z. Now I can tell you that I feel leaps and bounds better, and am now looking forward to a pain-free summer.

--Rudy


I have been with Stamford Sports & Spine for more than a year now. I still remember how much pain I was in during my first session. I can now walk in and out without any aches or pains.

--Rick


When I first started going to Stamford Sports & Spine, my back had been seizing up with alarming regularity. After just a few months of working with Dr. Z and Dr. Q, I feel much more confident in my daily activities and have even been able to return to the gym.

--Dan


Thank you to Dr. Z, Dr. Q and the whole Stamford Sports & Spine team! For many years, I have been suffering from severe back pain that would sometimes keep me from going to work. The recurring pain would come and go and I couldn't figure out what I was doing to cause it. When I came to the office, Dr. Z took x-rays, did a complete examination and educated me as to what was happening and why. I began treatment and was given exercises to prevent these injuries from happening in the future. Since starting the treatment, I have seen a great improvement in my back. The pain is gone and I have an increased range of motion. Thanks again to the entire staff who are very friendly and always willing to accommodate my hectic schedule when I make appointments.

--Ron


The strabismus in my eyes caused a vertical deviation in my eye placement.  This resulted in my head naturally tilting to the right and throwing my muscular structure in my neck and shoulders off.  I had accepted the tilt and tightness as a way of life and a natural dis-figuration of my spine.  I almost didn't sign on for initial treatment.  After 3 visits I have already noticed a difference in the position of my head, my posture and regular comfort levels.  There is still a ways to go to rid that area of  a lifetime of dysfunction, but what a relief to know it's treatable and already improving.

-Jenn


I found Dr. Z and Dr. Q earlier in the week after experiencing some back pain and sciatica. After the consultation and x-rays I began therapy. After just 2 treatments I felt much better and had a significant reduction in discomfort in the area of concern. I am looking forward to continuing my treatment in an effort for long term recovery and a return to my heavy exercise routine.

--Tom


FANTASTIC. When I leave I feel like a whole new woman. I have been going there for my neck pain and headaches for about 1 year now; off and on and ever since I started treatment there my headaches have been reduced to one every few months instead of a few every month. The intensity of of my pain has also been reduced to almost nothing. The doctors seem to have a very friendly relationship with all of the patients and I feel very welcomed by the staff as well. Not to mention I love how they incorporate therapeutic massages into my treatment. I have since sent over many of my colleagues and family, who also share the same feelings. Thank you.

--Bri


I had a great experience. My low back pain is completely gone. I found the staff extremely knowledgeable, accommodating and friendly. I would highly recommend them.

--Jay F.

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