Pushing yourself – is it better to increase reps or weight in strength training?

weight or reps in strength trainingIt may be a matter of personal preference that you like to lift low weights for many repetitions, or you may prefer to try and increase your maximum weight for a small number of repetitions. These styles may fit different moods or sentiments – your competitive nature may simply be triggered more by going further, or training for longer, for instance, or by lifting higher weights. Preference for these styles should take into account their different results, though. As with everything we want you to take away from this site, it’s important to make your training personal, but you must personalise it for the right reasons. Continue reading

Can’t afford to treat an injury? Here’s why DIY rehabilitation is a good thing  

treat injury without moneyTreating an injury, there are all sorts of problems that you have to overcome, with both psychological and physical hurdles. Not least in what holds many people back on the road to recovery can be limited financial resources. Not having the money to pay for a professional trainer, or for some of the perceived necessary equipment, can certainly hinder your progress – but if you use it as a reason not to put in the effort to overcome your problems, it is an excuse, not an insurmountable obstacle. And we don’t care for excuses here. Here’s why money should not be an issue when it comes to taking care of your body:

Continue reading

Top 9 excuses for avoiding exercise – and why they don’t hold up

exercise excusesSometimes it’s hard to find motivation to exercise. It can seem like a chore, something that needs to be done rather than something you want to do. You want to see results, you don’t want to spend the time working on them. We’ve covered that attitude a few times – in our various articles on Motivation. But to help you understand why excuses don’t hold up, here’s our list of the top 9 excuses for avoiding exercise: Continue reading

Trial and Error: The Most Effective Training Method  

trial and error effective trainingLots of people seem to be on an endless search for the ‘perfect’ training method; the ‘secret’ training program; some sort of holy grail knowledge that is going to take the results of their training to another stratosphere. It may surprise you to hear that this magical training method does exist although it might not be quite what you expect. It’s something that can be explained in a short article, but requires personal effort to apply. It follows a simple principle, with strong results. Yet it’s something that is always changing, and will never be complete. Continue reading

Is it ever a good idea to use an exercise mirror in training?

exercise mirror in trainingMirrors are a contentious area when it comes to training. Gyms are generally lined with them, and it’s difficult to avoid the temptation to watch yourself moving, to better understand your movements. Yet most articles and books on training the body to perform movements such as squats and presses are against the idea of using exercise mirrors to help you learn your technique.

This is generally because:

  • To have proper neuromuscular control and understanding of the exercise you need to “feel” the position of your body not “see” it.
  • A mirror can give misleading feedback, as it reflects images back differently depending on what angle you see them.
  • Looking into the mirror may encourage incorrect (and potentially unsafe) head and neck positioning for some exercises.
  • Mainstream health clubs use mirrors for aesthetics, not for health considerations.

We at KneeStrength agree with most of these points, but think it is unwise to dismiss the use of mirrors totally, as they do have some applications in particular circumstances. Continue reading

Don’t “just do it” – why drill instruction is bad coaching

drill instructor coachingIt’s important to have an instructor or training partner who keeps you going, and pushes you to reach your goals. But it’s also important to recognise that a good coach should do much more than just that. A coach, a trainer, or even a casual spotter, should never be there just to spur you on. If you truly want to succeed in your fitness and health goals, to achieve your maximum potential and avoid injury, you need someone to give you technical guidance as well as motivation. A good coach is not a drill instructor. Here’s why: Continue reading

Movement training – where will it move to next?

movement trainingThe techniques on this website, designed to help people fix their knee problems, all centre on improving the way in which a person moves, including correcting a soft-tissue restriction, re-cueing the form of a body movement, and strengthening corrected movements. The conscious practice of such techniques has been around for centuries, although it may have focussed primarily on improving movements to aid the performance of a specific task, such as throwing a spear or striking with a sword, rather than the practice of improving movements purely to fix injuries as a means in itself. Training to correct the way a person moves is rising in popularity, though, and it has become more and more accessible with the rise of the internet. Our opinion at KneeStrength, however, is that it is not yet popular enough. Continue reading

The Twilight Twins:
a short story that asks “Are you really fit?”

helping old man walkAll too often we hear positive feedback about the exercises and lessons on this site, but when we ask if people are actually doing the exercises they reply “There’s nothing wrong with my knees.” These people insist that their other regular exercises, whatever they may be, are enough to keep them fit – without thinking about form of movement. Unless you’ve mastered perfect posture, and a perfect strength balance, however, whether you’ve got knee pain or not, there is likely something imperfect with the mechanics of your knees. Those who claim otherwise just don’t know it yet. Here is a little story we wrote to illustrate this point. Please read it, and consider the message carefully, because resolving knee pain through strength training is not just for today: it could affect all of your tomorrows. Continue reading

The counterintuitive truth behind treating trigger points with strength training

trigger points strength trainingIf you’ve been following our guides to healing patella maltracking, particularly our foam rolling articles, you should already be aware of trigger points. These are the knots that are created when your muscles are overworked. They tighten your muscles and can cause referred pain, and can be treated with foam rolling or other forms of massage – including the more intense use of PVC piping, broomsticks, or localised lacrosse balls. These methods are excellent ways of removing knots from the muscles, but if you rely on them too much you are left dealing with the symptoms of the problem and not the cause. Continue reading

How better knee positioning could make Usain Bolt run faster

GE DIGITAL CAMERA We all know Usain Bolt is fast. Really fast. But he could be faster. A quick look at his start, out of the blocks, tells us that. By considering the positioning of his knees, and the alignment of his legs, he could improve his speed – and his future health. Here’s how:

What’s the issue?

After he pushes against the blocks for his immediate start, for the next few steps his foot and leg are turned out when pushing back against the ground. This rotates his body, so the knee of the lead leg has to come in. It drives across his body (as shown in these pictures) in order to counter the rotation. Continue reading