Hey fellow men, I provide for my family working as a certified athletic trainer. We are allied health professionals certified in the recognition, management, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. I work at a small NCAA D2 school in Charlotte and would love to field any questions you all might have about sports injuries or athletic training in general! I will do my best to answer truthfully and accurately.
Disclaimer: answers are not a substitute for appropriate medical care and I assume no responsibility for your injuries!
In general I would say that there is no "set" ratio for opposing muscle groups. I think what is more important is that the extremity as a whole is functional; for if that means for you to have more strength in one particular muscle group, then that would be more preferential for you.
I will say that when rehabbing knees, we generally look for a 2:1 ratio of quad:hamstring strength. Usually the deficit is seen in the hamstrings where they are not as strong as they need to be. Specifically speaking, the hamstrings are the main muscle group involved with preventing ACL tear, so a high imbalance of quad to hamstring strength may put you at a greater risk of tearing the ACL at an otherwise normal load.
Thanks for offering up your help! I have been trying for a while to gain weight, preferably as much lean muscle mass as possible. I am 23, 6 feet tall, about 151 pounds and have a BMI of about 21%. What do you believe would be a healthy goal weight for someone my age and height? I've received different answers from different sources, but I've guessed I could stand to gain 10 or 20 pounds. I engage in weekly/near daily exercise involving jogging, weight training and light yoga/stretching and have been doing so for about 9 months. I'm just not putting on as much weight as I would like to. I'm vegetarian, have a fairly balanced diet and usually drink 1 protein (~25-30 g of protein) shake after my workouts.
Do you have any advice for helping to pack on some extra pounds? I want to avoid going to a nutrient store or buying any creatine or supplements if possible. Thanks.
Ok there's a few things to touch on from your post. Ill try to hit them all.
1. I would also recommend avoiding supplement stores like GNC and the like. The warning that we give to our athletes is that you take the products at your own risk. There is no agency that regulates the labeling or contents of the package so there could be other "stuff" in there that is not labeled. This also applies to protein shakes.
2. I would recommend getting your nutrients from as many "natural" sources as possible. I airquote not to mean organic or stuff like that, but rather you should be able to get all the nutrients you need from regular food sources. As such, I would recommend not using the protein shake. Your body is only able to absorb so much protein after a workout and much of the protein you drink usually ends up in the toilet, literally.
3. I do commend you on the timing of your protein intake though. Consuming protein within 30 minutes after the workout is the best time to do so. If you are able to pack some nuts or peanut butter, or some other source of food that is high in protein, that would be more ideal than the shake.
4. Gaining weight is as simple as calories in > calories out. Weight gain of 1 pound week is roughly equivalent to an additional 3500 calories per week. Because you are looking to gain muscle mass, a good portion of your additional calories should come from protein sources (nuts, beans, cheese, fish?). Using the 3500cal/week as a guide, you can figure out how much you need to be adding to your daily menu.
5. If we are strictly talking about gaining muscle, the jogging and yoga can go. All the jogging does it burn needless calories. Focus more on high weight and low reps at the gym. Give yourself some variety as well.
I know I'm not a fitness or weightlifting authority but I recently read an article that stated it did not matter if you used low weights or heavy weights to bulk up. The key ingredient is that you use the muscles until fatigued. By using lower weights and more reps you can concentrate on the movement whereas with heavy weights you tend to 'throw' the weights. I've noticed an improvement on my technique and the results by reducing the weight and pushing to exhaustion of the muscle group. Additionally by increasing the reps you build stamina (at least in my opinion).
I'm probably at the other end of the scale from the problems you usually hear about. I'm 54 years old and have been a weight lifter for the past 33 years. I also studied martial arts and have a black belt in Shorin Ryu karate and competed in kumite until I was 43 years old. Now I'm hurting like a son-of-a-gun in many places but especially my shoulders and arms. I've tried accupuncture and got some relief but not enough to feel like myself again. I find my arms "going to sleep" when I keep them in one position too long, like reading a book or newspaper, and I wake up frequently at night due to arms sleeping or shoulder pain. I still go to the gym 3 times a week but I'm finding I can do less and less on the weights and still feel comfortable. I look and feel younger than I am but all of a sudden it feels like my body is aging rapidly. I've upped my aerobic exercise but I'm not ready to give up the weights yet. Help!
First off, it sounds like your body is just now catching up to the years of pounding that youve put it through! :)
For you I would recommend cutting back on the weight lifting a bit to focus more on tone that pure strength. Take the weight down to about 3 percent of your max and do about twice as many reps. Another great exercise for you would be swimming or water aerobics. The pool would significantly decrease the stress on your joints and would probably increase the range of motion in your extremities.
As for the arms going to sleep, it sounds like it might be a touch of thoracic outlet syndrome which occurs because the nerves/blood supply to your arm gets pinched as it runs underneath your collarbone and into your armpit. Common in pitchers and other overhead athletes. For this I'd recommend some strengthening for your shoulder blade. This will help stabilize your shoulder and position it correctly when it is in the positions that it falls asleep in. One simple exercise you can do would be to lay on your stomach with both arms straight out to your side and your thumb pointing down. Then pinch your shoulder blades together and raise your arm up about 8 inches and do not let it fall down below your shoulder. Repeat with your thumbs pointing up.
Thanks for your advice Adam. I think you nailed this one. I googled Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and found it also occurs in people who use computers for extended periods of time. I'm a writer and sit at a computer all day, five days a week and sometimes on weekends. I'll start those shoulder strengthening exercises right away. One question though, did you mean to take the weight I typically use in the gym down to three percent of max or is that a typo and maybe should have been 30 percent?
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