I am always the first to admit when I am wrong or science has proven there to be a better, more efficient way of getting things done.  I just came across this article basically downplaying interval training, such as tabatas, as a key component of fat loss.  Mark Young presents an interesting point of view that basically picks apart all of the studies that have been done regarding interval training and fat loss.  Check it out at T-Muscle.com here.

I keep an open mind to everything I read and hear and although Mark presents one point of view I still say the proof is in the pudding.  Although I don’t believe there is a “best” way, I do believe that there is always a “better” way.  Now believe me, I am all about the intervals and tabatas and yes, I still do believe they aid in fat loss and here is why:

  1. You are doing intense cardio such that you would not be doing if you were at home on the couch watching reruns of Entourage.
  2. It is more time efficient then doing long, steady state cardio and therefor you are more likely to sneak in a quick workout.
  3. You actually build lean muscle mass while performing sprints or tabata style intervals which studies have proven to decrease bodyfat.
  4. Interval training is more efficient and leaves you time to focus on other areas of fitness such as strength training, flexibility, mobility, and stability work.
  5. You are completing more work in less repetitions for example running a mile will place a greater load on your knees if your are not built to run.  Just think, you are doing almost 1,500 repetitions to propel your body.
  6. High intensity interval training has also been shown to suppress appetite when compared to endurance training.  Hmmm, burn more eat less.

Another interesting article that I came across yesterday suggests that elliptical trainers may not be the best form of exercise for people with chronic low back pain.  They were nice about it, I say elliptical trainers suck.  Now the problem that was presented states that those with low back pain should a.) avoid the flexed hip poition and b.) avoid rotating at the lumbar spine.  The problem with using the elliptical is that most tend to be super flexed at the hips and use excessive rotation about the lumbar spine around a fixed point.  Now the article doesn’t bastardize the use of elliptical trainers for otherwise healthy individuals but I believe that there are better modes of exercise that provide a greater range of motion to keep our bodies fit.

While we are on the topic, I’m sure you have at some point heard me ramble on about tight hip flexors and a stable core.  The reason is that our body is basically made up of a stack of joints.  Some of which need to be mobile and others that need to be stable.  Interestingly enough, this pattern alternates as you go up the body.  Here is an article that presents the joint-by-joint approach to training.  Looking at this model do you now understand why we are focusing more on core stability at the lumbar spine rather than crunches and situps?  These are the basics of the joint by joint approach:

  • ankle-mobility
  • knee-stability
  • hip-mobility
  • lumbar spine-stability
  • thoracic spine-mobility
  • shoulder-stability

Here is one last article by Martin Rooney called 100 reps in 100 seconds.  This article presents some pretty badass challenges that you should try.  They vary from body weight to barbell and challenge you to complete each rep as quickly as possible, with perfect form of course.  Doing exercise for speed in this way will train your core and muscles to be more proactive than reactive.  I will get into that more in depth in another post but basically you want your core muscles firing before you need to ask them to.  Think diving out of the way of a moving vehicle after you have tripped crossing the street.

Peace, love and training.

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Written by Steve