3. Aerobics: Myths,Lies and Misconceptions

3. Aerobics: Myths,Lies and Misconceptions

By Mike Mentzer

If you seriously doubt that overtraining may have long-term medical implications, bear in mind that exercise is a form of stress. While most think of a suntan or muscles as merely cosmetic, that’s not why they exist. Suntans and larger muscles are defensive barriers the body erects to protect itself from future assaults from the same stressors, but they can be overwhelmed. Someone who repeatedly overexposed himself to intense August sunlight would soon die, as the sun’s rays would literally cook his skin and underlying tissues. By the same token, chronic overtraining could inordinately tax the overall physical system and result in a breakdown somewhere, such as the glandular system. Cooper (Dr Kenneth -Aerobics Inst.) has gone so far as to attribute the Hodgkin’s disease of hockey great Mario Lemieux and distance runner Marty Liquori to chronic overtraining.

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A widespread myth among fitness enthusiasts has it that one must train one way for increasing muscular size and strength and another way for improving cardiovascular condition: lift weights to build strength and jog to enhance aerobic condition. As Arthur Jones (Nautilus Strength) stated, “Half of that belief is true, since jogging will do nothing to build strength and size and will, in fact, if overdone, as it usually is, do quite a bit in the way of reducing both muscular strength and size. But it’s not true that proper strength-building exercises will do nothing for improving cardiovascular condition.” How did Jones arrive at that conclusion?

In 1975 Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries funded one of the most important studies in the history of exercise science. Project Total Conditioning was conducted at the United States Military Academy at West Point and was overseen by Colonel James Anderson. The purpose of the study was to pin down how to use Nautilus exercise equipment properly and identify the physiological consequences of a short-duration, high-intensity-training program. It asked such questions as
– How much skeletal-muscle strength can be achieved from brief, intense workouts? and
– How does strength training affect cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and overall body composition?

The subjects included 18 varsity football players who trained all of their major muscle groups with 10 different strength exercises three times a week for eight weeks. The workouts were brief but very intense, with each exercise performed for only one set to failure. An extensive battery of tests and measurements was administered to the subjects after two weeks of training and at the conclusion of the study. According to the study report, “The prestudy testing was not scheduled until after two weeks of workouts to minimize the influence of what is commonly referred to as the learning effect on individual performance.”

Results? After only six weeks of training, the 18 subjects had increased the amount of resistance they used in the 10 exercises by an average of 58.54 percent. What’s more, despite such a tremendous increase in their strength—and the associated increase in overall physiological stress they were exposed to—the duration of their training dropped by nine minutes.

As a measure of the functional application of intense, brief strength training, the exercising subjects and a control group—which didn’t train at all or did so on their own—were tested in three areas: a two-mile run, a 40-yard dash and a vertical jump. On the two-mile run the exercising subjects’ improvement was four to 32 times greater than the control group’s. On the 40-yard dash it was 4.57 times greater, and on the vertical jump it was close to two times greater.

What about cardiovascular improvement? While conventional strength-training practices preclude cardiovascular improvement, especially when trainees take long, arbitrary rest periods between sets—which keeps them from maintaining an elevated heart rate—at the end of the study the training subjects tested better than the control group in all 60 indices of training effects on cardiovascular function.

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So, don’t get on a Cardio machine to improve your Aerobic capacity and endurance- just rest less and move quicker when you weight train! You’ll save time, stimulate more muscle and get LEAN.

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Thanks. Jax

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HIT Training – West Point Experiment Proof?

The West Point Experiment proving HIT works.

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After the Colorado experiment, Arthur Jones wanted to do another controlled study at a university, he sent out feelers to Ohio State, Georgia Tech and Clemson but they were slow to commit. Then he was told that West Point had bought a full line of Nautilus equipment, after negotiations where everything would be funded by nautilus and also provide training, West point would provide subjects and measurement evaluations for the 1975 study.

Jones believed that HIT would strengthen muscles, heart and lungs and increase flexibility without the pounding of running. The study was to test this contention. He even obtained some of Dr. Ken Cooper’s (Aerobics creator) colleagues to conduct the cardio fitness tests, to head off skepticism about results. The majority of subjects were 2nd and 3rd string football players, the coach wouldn’t let 1st stringers take part. The workouts were brutal HIT, AJ (Arthur Jones) style. Don Shula the Miami Dolphin football coach came in for a day. Jones even set up an after hours program so other West Point coaches, faculty and families could take part. That program was called Project Total Conditioning.

After 6 weeks the study was complete 19 subjects doing HIT with 16 in a control group. The results:

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Muscular Strength. After 17 workouts, the HIT group increased an average of 59% on ten exercises. There was no strength gains by the control group.

Cardiovascular Endurance. Subjects were wired with continuous EKG and blood pressure, tested several ways including an all-out test on stationary bike and a two mile run. The HIT group was significantly better on all heart rate and blood pressure tests than the control group during all types of exertion. The two mile run showed the only negative, The Hit group’s average time was reduced by 88 seconds, while the control group ran it 20 seconds faster than their average.

Joint Flexibility. The HIT group improved their average trunk and shoulder flexibility by 11%. The control increased their average by only 1%.

It was felt that he showed HIT and the nautilus machines build strength, cardo improvements and flexibility at a higher rate than standard training.

Several members of the West Point faculty wrote books on HIT they were sold on HIT including Dan Riley a premier strength coach at Penn State, Washington Redskins and the Huston Texans, always teaching HIT to players and other trainers along the way.

The beginning of HIT – High Intensity Training

The beginning of HIT. High Intensity Training

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I do have a chuckle every time I hear someone talking about high intensity training as a ‘new’ concept!
As you will read below, the concept of HIT has been around for a long time. I’m particularly interested as I aim to build lots of lean, metabolically active tissue in my clients as it’s THE best way to burn all their unwanted fat fast!

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The Colorado Experiment was a bodybuilding experiment run by Arthur Jones using Nautilus equipment at the Colorado State University in May 1973.[1]
It is of interest due to its claims that incredible results can be achieved with a small number of sessions using single sets of high intensity repetitions to momentary muscle failure focusing on negative or lowering multi-joint exercises. The first subject, Casey Viator, was said to have gained 63 pounds of muscle in 28 days and the second, Arthur Jones, gained 15 pounds in 22 days.
These claims are considered controversial because it was only performed with two subjects who were not “average,” but regaining pre-existing muscle mass.[2]
The results of the experiment do not appear to have been repeated in a scientific study.
References[edit]

[1] http://baye.com/colorado-experiment/
[2] http://blog.legendarylife.com/the-colorado-experiment

In the next part we’ll look at the West Point Experiment by Arthur Jones in Colorado which set out to prove HIT in a bigger group of subjects.