It is important to realise that safety is a very important factor when performing and type of exercise, as fault can result in injury. It is especially important to stress the importance of safety in weight training, as a resistance can cause greater damage to my body than no resistance. When judging the range of movement in any given exercise, it is important to look at the movement of the body’s joints and not at the bar, dumbbell, or machine. This is because I could injure myself if the joints and muscles involved in the exercise were stretched to their extreme limits during weight training.
Limits of motion The muscloskeletal system itself sets up certain anatomic and biomechanical limitations. As well as certain physiological and neurological factors there is a lot of debate about the extent of how much motion should be involved in each exercise. The bones Bones have certain sizes, shapes, and protective cartilage that allow for certain movements and restrict others. During exercise, my bones move more easily without resistance. Once a resistance is placed on my body, the narrow spaces between the bones become compressed and may limit their capacity for safe movement. This is particularly true for exercises involving movement at the shoulder joint.
The joints Since the connective tissues of the joints hold the bones in place as they are articulating or moving, the strength and stability of those joints determine a large degree of the possible range of movement. Like the bones, a joint’s range of motion when moving unresisted may become reduced once the movement becomes loaded. To increase my strength and stability of the joint, I may need to increase the range of motion of the exercise. Previous injuries and the overall condition of the connective tissues, capsule, and surrounding muscles will also affect the joint’s capacity for movement.
The muscles Muscles themselves can inhibit an exercise’s range of motion in several ways. The most noticeable way is by their flexibility. If a muscle is tight, it will restrict the antagonist movement or the joint motion. The best way to overcome that is by stretching. It is important not to attempt stretching muscles during resisted exercise by using weights to force the muscle to elongate. The muscles will attempt to prohibit the extreme movement and will be at a high risk for injury.
Physiological processes involved in muscular contraction also affect the range of motion. A muscle’s ability to contract is in direct relation to its present length. It is possible to stretch or lengthen certain muscles beyond their capacity to contract actively (via cross-bridging within the contractile units of the muscle fibres). This is termed ‘active insufficiency’. In such instances, the body may call upon other muscles to assist in the movement. This reduces the efficiency of the exercise for the targeted muscle and increases the risk of injury.
The nerves Since the body relies on nerve impulses from the brain to the muscles for any movement, logically they can also affect the motion of any exercise. Part of the benefit and a large proportion of the strength increases experienced due to resistance training are from developing stronger neuromuscular relationships. This means that we are able to use a larger proportion of the muscle we already have.
As the neuromuscular relationships develop and increase, the ability to control the muscle through a certain range of motion increases. Fatigue As you progress through a set of any exercise, you are gradually becoming more tired. The muscles and nerve impulses get weaker with each repetition. This is because there is less glycogen available in the muscles for any energy releasing reactions. Therefore, if all other factors such as positioning of the body, movement speed, and resistance all remain constant, then range of motion should decrease with the onset of fatigue. Each repetition should produce slightly less movement than the previous one, until the set is finished.
At the gym, I will be doing the same overall circuit each time I go. However, each week, I will be increasing the intensity, time and the amount of times that I will do the circuit. This is the circuit intensity for week one, where I will perform the circuit once. The circuit lasts roughly 40 minutes Warm-up This will include a five-minute cycle on the cycling machine, followed by stretching (see warm-up). The intensity and duration does not need to be increased, as this is only the warm-up.
Lower body exercises
It is important to increase the strength of the lower body. This is because it is always holding the weight of the upper body. Hamstrings and quadriceps in tennis are important, because they are needed especially when bending the knees for shots which are difficult to get into position, as the quadriceps cause the flexion or bending of the knee the hamstrings relax. Meanwhile, the glucteus maximus is also working as it extends the thigh as in a squat position, the position a tennis player is often in when hitting the ball. Therefore the machine horizontal leg press would subsidise this.
Running is an essential part of tennis, as you will always be running from side to side or forward to back of the court. Therefore the muscles which cause this- the quadriceps which cause the forward action, and the hamstrings which extend the leg behind and flex the knee in running should be trained to increase its efficiency- i.e. increase contractibility of muscle units and so increasing power of the muscles and ultimately speed. Other muscles associated with the actions of running should be trained also. These muscles include the tibialis anterior. In tennis, you should be constantly on your toes, lightly stepping from foot to foot when waiting for a return in preparation. This requires much endurance from the muscle which cause this, the gastrocnemius which causes plantar flexion of the foot, and also helps the knee flex. Therefore the machine seated calf extension is ideal.