Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Critical Understanding

The weakness of the human muscular system is usually not the heart -- but the skeletal (voluntary) muscles -- that one hopes to affect by exercising. The heart is always working -- and in out-of-shape individuals, may be the only muscle working, and that is the problem. Critically, the heart only pumps blood out to the extremities of the arteriole system -- but has no effect on the flow of blood coming back to the heart through the veins, that have valves to allow flow in one direction only -- back to the heart. It can be aided greatly in increasing the flow back to the heart by the operation of the voluntary muscles to enhance this effect by the alternation of muscle states between contraction and relaxation -- in effect, mimicking the function of the heart as a pump in doing so.

To achieve this greatest effect, one would begin a muscle contraction at the extremities of the feet, hands and head back towards the heart -- which is conveniently how the body is designed to effect a maximum muscle contraction. Rather than thinking about working the 600+ muscles in isolation, it would therefore be desirable to design movements that serve this essential and productive purpose of optimizing the flow throughout he body in a coordinated muscular contraction that effects all the muscles as though they were just one. In most out-of-shape people, what is typically concurrent with their condition is an apparent bloating of the tissues, indicative of poor circulation -- that is, fluid (blood and cellular fluids) is retained within the tissues rather than being efficiently circulated so that waste products can be filtered and eliminated out of the body. That difference has a profound effect on functioning and appearance of the condition of the body.

Until this excess fluid retention is reduced, it is not a true indication of the actual momentary condition of the individual -- because one doesn’t see them at their best. Well-trained bodybuilders are those most aware of this fact -- that there is a huge difference in function and appearance that can be achieved in just one session! The transformation is so great that it is entirely possible to take a “before” photo at the commencement of the workout and an “after” photo at the end of that one session, that could also be claimed and believed to be the results achieved after “only” six months of training. Obviously, such instant transformations are not only possible but done routinely by those whose aim is to achieve that effect.

The ramifications it has for more casual participants should be obvious -- that this result is not the product of several months on a regimen of poorly designed (random) movements and energy expenditures, but can be the “instant” results of precisely designed movements with this purpose and possibility in mind. Further training merely allows one to become more proficient at effecting a maximal response and transformation, which to some extent, every person will exhibit to some degree. Those who will exhibit it to an extraordinary degree, are naturally gifted bodybuilders. But I’ve never failed to witness an immediate effect in any body training with this intent and purpose.

That should be what one is exercising for -- and not just randomly to expend as much energy as possible -- doing what, and for what purpose? This is how the exercise discussion and instruction has seriously gone astray over these last 35 years, raducing it to almost a random activity, in the name of making it seem more “scientific.”