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Showing posts from September, 2011

Caleb Ewan's Sprint Position - Revealed through Kinesiology

Low Bone Mass in ROAD Cyclists and Ways to Fix it

It may come to a surprise that many professional road cyclists are at risk for osteoporosis.  Even with their amazing endurance and the ability to maintain very high average speeds, the combination of endurance training and non weight-bearing exercise is a recipe for reduced bone mass density (BMD) (2).  In a study by Bryant et al, 30 professional road cyclist (~29 years old) were compared to 30 young healthy males of similar age.  When comparing BMD values from multiple sites, they found that professional road cyclists had a similar head BMD, but lower values in the following locations:
ArmsLegsSpinePelvisLumbar SpineFemoral neck (most affected site -18%)Road cyclists who neglect strength training are at risk for osteoporosis and may already be osteopenic:
Another study produced similar results.  Smathers et al. measured total body, lumbar spine and proximal femur BMD in male competitive road cyclist and compared their values to age-/ body mass-matched controls.  Despite having at le…

Weight Training Methods for Muscular Endurance

While lifting for 12-15 reps at approximately 60% 1RM is great for developing localized strength and endurance within specific muscle groups, there are other methods just as effective at improving muscular endurance.  If you lift regularly with minimal to no professional supervision, I recommend avoiding method #1, heavy weight training.  Same recommendation follows for variable load training unless you decrease the load. 
Heavy weight training80-90% 1RM, 4-8 repetitions.100% 1RM produces the greatest improvements in both endurance and strength, but greatly increases risk of injury.High repetition training30-50% 1RM, 30-50 repetitions, 3-4 setsMay be used to develop power.  Reps and sets may stay the same, but use a load of 30% 1RM for optimal power development.  Full rest between sets is required.A variation of this set to a time limit (interval training)Variable load trainingCombines both methods.  Progressively lower loads are lifted consecutively with little to no rest.  Repetition…

Personalize Your Target Heart Rate Zones

I compared a few books that discussed heart rate training and was surprised to see the BIG differences between recommended target heart rate zones.  Apparently no one could agree upon a universal zone that would work for everyone, and there's a reason for this.  Individual variability.  While some people are elite athletes, some are elite couch potatoes- their cardiorespiratory systems are obviously the same and will definitely need personalized zones to work with.  What the books below lacked was a method of personalization.  Below are some rules that I created which helped me personalize my own target heart rate zones.
Rule 1:  There are three energy systems... so there really should only be a three zones.There should be a zone for each metabolic system; the ATP-PC, lactic acid and aerobic system.  NASM followed this rule, but didn't give much room within the aerobic zone to allow for recovery.Rule 2:  The ATP-PC and aerobic zones should be designed around lactic threshold.Yo…

Get Started with these Heart Rate Equations

Heart rate training might seem like rocket science, but it's actually easy to learn.  The hardest part is getting accurate estimates of heart rate max and the percentages that will produce the desired training effect.

Heart Rate Maximum Equations
The most well known equation that estimates maximum heart rate is:

220 - age = HRmax

This equation assumes that no matter the fitness level, everyone loses one beat per minute from their maximum heart rate for every year they get older.  The rate of loss does not happen to everyone and is the reason for this equation's large standard deviation (+/- 12-15 bpm)- a measure of variability.  For both sexes younger than 40 years, this equation underestimates HRmax; for both sexes older than 40 years old, this equation overestimates HRmax (5).  This equation was created mainly for convenience purposes.  If the number calculated from this number happens to be your actual maximal heart rate, you're very lucky!
The most accurate equation (2)…

Polar FT2 Heart Rate Monitor Review

The Polar FT2 heart rate monitor falls within the category "Fitness & Cross-Training".  It doesn't boast any advanced features like computer uploading, second-by-second HR recording or sensor compatibility- all of the things necessary to perform sub-maximal graded tests and determine aerobic/ power weak spots.  Instead, this HR monitor provides the essentials needed to get the fitness benefits from any form of aerobic exercise.  I found that in specific cases, a basic model such as the FT2 could even be used for competitive purposes.  By saving money and going with a lower model, you also won't have to worry about poor quality- all Polar heart rates have the ability to measure with ECG accuracy.

To see Polar's full line of heart rate monitors, visit their website, PolarUSA.

I initially purchased the Polar FT2 for 5k training.  Because 5k's are short in duration, I chose the FT2 because I needed something that could ensure that the w…

Heart Rate Training and The Limitations to Know

With the advances in technology, heart rate monitors have the ability to measure heart rates with ECG (electrocardiogram) accuracy.  Unfortunately, HR monitoring technology moved so fast that physiologist still have not found a way to interpret the data.  As of now, heart rate training is still an imperfect science and has limitations that are important to know prior to training with a HR monitor.
220 - age = HRmax... maybe?  Although this empirically based equation is recommended by ACSM to estimate maximal heart rate, it has a large standard deviation of plus or minus 12-15 bpm (4,5).  This is not very accurate, so it leaves many people working easier or harder than they need to.  This best way to verify this number is to test it in a lab.Cardiac drift.  Cardiac drift is a phenomena that causes changes in HR and SV (strove volume) to occur when exercise exceeds 30 minutes at the same workload.  As a result of heat stress, SV declines due to vasodilation, plasma loss, and redirecting …

About Me

My name is Vincent Vergara.

I provide personal training locally and nationally through web-based online personal training.  I specialize in general health and sport specific programs such as my personal favorites- running and cycling.

My mission might surprise you.  My ultimate goal is to help clients become independent exercisers that can exercise safely and make sound decisions without the close watch of a trainer.  Exercise and living a healthy lifestyle is like riding a bicycle for the first time, the personal trainer is the training wheel and once the beginner has the balance and skills to ride, it's ok to take the training wheels off.

As a certified personal trainer from a nationally recognized organization with a Fitness Specialist degree, I developed rules that I follow as a trainer:

Always study.  Many of the physiological topics in exercise science have already been identified, but many fads try to hide it by offering a quick-fix magic pill.  One revelation that catches most…

The Metabolic Systems and Their Role in Exercise

We get our energy from food and use that energy to perform work.  The carbohydrates, fats and proteins found in food are eventually converted into a molecule called ATP, the main energy source that allows humans to do work.  We get energy from ATP whenever this molecule loses one phosphate to become ADP.

There are three energy systems that we use to breakdown ATP which vary in dominance based on the intensity.  To determine which metabolic system is in dominance, especially with the lactic acid and aerobic system, heart rate monitors are often used to measure intensity.  Knowledge of heart rate training will allow the user to target specific metabolic systems to produce the desired training effect such as weight loss, reduced resting blood pressure, increased speed, power or overall endurance.  Many times, those with weight loss goals religiously train within the "fat burning" aerobic system and never get the results they want- this occurs mainly because the rate of energy …

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Timer

Typically, an interval timer may costs anywhere from $15 to $100+.  Now, interval timers are free as long as you have a smart phone.  There are a lot of interval timer apps on the android market, but many of them either have an obnoxious alarm or fail to alarm if the work and rest intervals are set to 3 and two seconds, respectively.  Short intervals are important for targeting eccentric or concentric muscle contractions to produce the appropriate training effect.  I was surprised to find that this timer could function even if the interval was set to the shortest possible duration (1s work/ 1s rest).

To get the same app, search "hiit interval training timer" on the android market and download the app with the square icon, silhouette of a runner and the letters "HIIT" underneath the trailing leg of the runner.

PROS:It's free!Easy to useNo obnoxious alarm at the end of each timerLoud enough to hear outdoors while running or cyclingApp can operate in the background

Lezyne Alloy Floor Drive Pump Review

Compared to pumps at the same price range, this pump screams (or tries to scream...) simple and that's exactly why I like it.  Nothing is worse than repairing a pump that has more components than you can keep track of.  Rather than using hard-to-find gaskets, the Lezyne Floor Pump pump utilizes o rings which can be found in virtually any hardware store.

Aside from the wooden handles and embossed logo, this pump feels very solid and will pump a bicycle tire very fast.  Although it takes longer to attach the threaded chuck to the valve, it creates a better seal and guarantees that the valve won't be damaged.  Just for demonstration purposes, I was able to pump my tires from zero to max (145 psi) in less than one minute with moderate effort (I don't ride at max- I still use the tire pressures based on a 15% drop and weight distribution).

Lezyne did a great job with designing this pump so that it would be easy to use.  The hose is nea…

Do you have the Kreitler vs. Travel Trac dilemma?

This post explains the reasoning behind why I chose to get a Travel Trac roller instead of a Kreitler roller.

Why do Kreitler rollers cost significantly more than Travel Trac? Branding and material selection (1).  For a company to build its reputation and image, it needs to use a marketing strategy called branding.  Branding can be in the form of a logo or icon like the Nike swoosh.  This marketing technique can be seen on Kreitler rollers.  Branding can be expensive because custom printed parts need to be made.  Kreitler's come at a high price because of the custom printed end cap in each drum.
Unlike the aluminum frame used on the Travel Trac, Kreitler's steel frame can rust.  To prevent rust, a powder coat finish can be used. Although aluminum is strong and doesn't rust easily, most people don't know how strong aluminum really is and usually associates it as weak or fragile when compared to steel.  All of the most advanced lightweight automotive racing wheels like the 

Travel Trac Technique PRO Alloy Roller Review VS. Kreitler Rollers

Remove the cheap stickers and the rubber anti slip strip and underneath is a high quality roller made entirely of lightweight aluminum which is both rust resistant and strong.  This is a big reason why it is so durable and affordable.  Where they saved money, they invested money where it matters- choosing the most accurate machining process to cut the drums and frame.  For those who are unfamiliar with CNC machining, these machines can make consistent cuts accurate to much less than the width of a strand of hair.  Knowing that the Travel Trac was CNC machined helped me make my decision.  As far as looks go, the company stickers looked a little cheap.  No complaints though because using fancier methods to slap the company name on their product would only increase the price.  Stickers aside, this roller looks great in the eyes of anyone who appreciates an machined finish.  I got mine on sale for $120 in store at Performance Bike, but heard that they get as low as $100- …