Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

Is your Exercise Program Safe? by Matthew Romans

There are a lot of things to take into account when deciding to start an exercise program. Most people place a great deal of importance on location, time investment, expectation of results, and financial cost. Some will also seek the advice of their doctor before starting a regimen. In my opinion, the most important question to ask before starting a workout program is this: is it safe? Based on the number of people I see that are still doing CrossFit, jogging, or riding a Peloton bike for several hours per week, I would venture to say that many people are either unaware of the dangers of these activities, or safety is not a high priority for them. There is a much better way.

It's important to understand how injuries primarily occur. Excessive force, sufficient to exceed the structural integrity of a muscle, tendon or ligament is what causes injury. Force is equal to mass times acceleration (f=ma); the greater the force involved with an activity, the greater the risk of injury. Every step that you take when jogging can result in a force equal to three times your body weight applied to your feet. This doesn't even take into account what it does to your knees, hips and back. The high forces and repetitive motion of running make it a question not if you're going to get injured, but rather when. Group exercise classes (such as aerobic dance or boot camps) are just as dangerous for the same reason. Explosive weightlifting (which exponentially increases force), such as that done in competitive powerlifting, Olympic-style weightlifting, and CrossFit, has resulted in countless injuries to the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, back, and knees. In this instance, the amount of weight that is lifted is really inconsequential; it is how you lift a weight that determines if what you are doing is safe or unsafe. The question to be asked is: is there a safe exercise protocol that has a minimal time investment, is reasonably priced, can help improve health and vitality, and is safe? The answer is a resounding yes.

Total Results is the exercise program that satisfies all of these criteria. The safety of our clients is our foremost concern, and our attention to detail is unmatched. Our exercise protocol involves high intensity weight training at an extremely slow speed of movement (ten seconds in each direction), and we regulate the variables of exercise volume and frequency to ensure that the client does not overtrain. It all begins with the initial consultation, during which we go over the client's medical history, discuss the ins and outs of our exercise philosophy, and have the client go through a sample workout. We also go over preliminary considerations, which are rules of the road as far as what they can expect from us, what is expected of them, and most importantly, safety. We explain to them, among other things, the importance of proper speed of movement, proper breathing, proper head position, and why we don't allow clients to exercise with gum or anything else in their mouths. The first few workouts are not very intense, as we are more concerned with helping the client get a feel for proper speed, getting their exercise settings correct, and making sure they understand the importance of moving efficiently between exercises. Only when this has been established will exercise intensity become a point of emphasis.

One important thing that is usually ignored by most fitness programs is the avoidance of unilateral loading. This entails one particular limb or side of the body at a time. We avoid unilateral loading at all costs, because it places an uneven load on the pelvis and spine, thus exponentially increasing the risk of injury. It is why we place a great emphasis on proper entry and exit of each machine and we typically avoid performing exercises with independent movement arms. While it is possible to both safely and unsafely use exercise machines (based on one's behavior), our machines do provide a greater amount of safety than do free weights, simply because you do not have to worry about dropping the machine's movement arms on yourself. In addition to that, our machines are engineered specifically for our exercise protocol, and they track muscle and joint function properly. We also have extensive experience in working around and rehabilitating joint injuries, particularly to the lower back, rotator cuff, knees, and neck. The best way to restore functionality is to improve strength.

There is no good reason that a person should get injured because of their exercise program. This is a failure on the part of the instructor, or due to inappropriate client behavior. Our most important task is to keep the client safe. If an exercise program causes you injury, it's time to stop that program. The Total Results exercise protocol is safer than stepping off a curb. Come learn about what our clients have been raving about for nearly twenty years. Exercise smarter with Total Results.

Posted January 29, 2020 by Tim Rankin