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PhysioSlow Performance & Safety Essentials

When properly performed, PhysioSlow Strength Training can deliver significant improvements in muscular strength, size, endurance, bone strength, cardiovascular efficiency, flexibility, and body composition. However, when improperly performed, it can produce injury.  The prevention of injury during exercise is just as important as stimulating the production of physical improvements. Although your personal trainer will be closely monitoring your exercise and coach you through each exercise, it is critical that you are familiar with the safety considerations as well. 

There are several performance and safety considerations which must be observed to maximize results and to reduce the risk of injury:

1. What is PhysioSlow Strength Training Method?

  • PhysioSlow Strength Training is both safe and highly effective.  It is a total body, 30 minute workout that only needs to be performed twice a week for optimal results.  It is done with a certified PhysioSlow personal trainer on our specialized slow method equipment.  Each routine includes 8-11 exercises.  PhysioSlow Strength Training works all major muscle groups, strengthens bones and increases cardiovascular function.
  • Each exercise is performed using extremely slow movements.  A single repetition takes about 20 seconds.  This eliminates momentum and acceleration, which makes it possible to completely load the muscles that are being worked.  The muscles are then able to go to complete exhaustion within 2 minutes of each exercise.  As a result, force is minimized to the tendons and joints, while targeting strength and growth to the muscles.

 2. Proper Form & Customized Equipment Settings

  • Pay close attention to proper body positioning, as well as alignment in single movement exercises.
  • While learning and practicing a new exercise, your trainer will select a weight that you can easily handle while monitoring your form and instructing you on how to perform the exercise. 
  • Your trainer will also need to determine your customized machines settings based on your body, range of motion and any limitations. 
  • Your goal during the first few workouts is to learn the proper form on each exercise and concentrate on the target muscles at work, while breathing properly.  After you have achieved a sufficient level of proficiency in the exercise, your trainer will increase the weights gradually over the course of several workouts until the appropriate rep time is achieved.

 3. Slow & Controlled Speed

  • Injury results when a tissue is exposed to a force which exceeds its structural strength. Slower repetition speeds expose the body to less force, decreasing the risk of injury.
  • To minimize the amount of force the body is exposed to during an exercise, move slowly while raising and lowering the weight, and perform the turnarounds (the reversal of direction at the start and end of each movement) in a smooth and controlled manner.  Attempt to barely move at the start of each repetition, and then move just slowly enough to avoid using momentum to help lift the weight.  Don't yank, jerk, heave, reload, or bounce out of the starting position. Take your time and concentrate on contracting the target muscles over the full range of motion.
  • When it seems almost impossible to produce any further movement against the resistance, do not sacrifice form for the sake of completing the repetition.  Concentrate on contracting the target muscles as hard as you can and try to keep the resistance moving, even if it seems to barely move at all.  Once you have achieved muscular exhaustion and positive movement ceases, your trainer will motivate you to hold the position for 10 more seconds and then tell you to slowly set down the weight.

4. Breathing

  • It is very important never to force air against a closed glottis (throat), grunt or restrict your breathing with your teeth or lips during exercise.  This is called Val Salva.  Val Salva dramatically raises your blood pressure and in the worse case, can cause a stroke.  
  • Take big, deep, full breaths that will oxygenate your muscles and produce the most efficient workout. 
  • It is also necessary to breathe continuously during exercise, in a relaxed and natural manner.  It is preferable to breathe through the mouth, with the mouth wide open. Do not purse your lips as you exhale, as this increases the amount of force required to expel the air from the lungs, increasing intra-abdominal and thoracic pressure, and thus blood pressure.

 5. Proper Positioning and Stabilization of the Head and Neck

  • Your head and neck musculature are under load, either directly or indirectly, during most exercises. To decrease the risk of neck strain or headache, it is necessary to minimize tension in this area when performing exercises for other areas of the body. This can be accomplished by maintaining a relaxed and neutral position of the head and neck. The ideal head and neck position relative to the body differs slightly between exercises, but generally consists of the head facing straight forward, with the neck slightly flexed and the chin about fist-distance from the sternum.
  • During exercises where the back of the head is resting on a seat, bench, or head support, it is essential that you do not push back with the head, increasing tension in the neck.
  • When on a machine, do not make eye contact with your trainer and position head facing straight forward  

6. Benefits of Moving Quickly From One Exercise to the Next

  • In order to maximize the cardiovascular benefit, it is important to move quickly from one exercise to the next.  This will minimize resting periods and keep the heart working.
  • During a PhysioSlow workout, cardiovascular exercise is performed.  Increased demands placed on the muscles mean that those muscles need more oxygen. That oxygen is delivered via the oxygenated blood pumped from the heart.  The harder the muscles work, the harder the heart must work to supply oxygen, resulting in an increased heart rate and blood volume.  Ultimately, this results in enhanced cardiovascular efficiency.

 7. Concentration 

  • In effort to maximize your workout, it is beneficial to concentrate on your target muscles at work and relax the rest of your body.
  • Be respectful of other’s session, and keep conversations to a minimum.

8. Frequency

  • It's possible that some people can do PhysioSlow training 2-3 times a week especially in the beginning of a program (first 6 months) and get "better" results.  Training more often in the beginning can be beneficial for learning purposes but after a time you'll need to remember a very important concept, revitalization. 
  • Health and fitness gains are not attained during the actual workout.  The body makes changes during the revitalization period when your body rests and recovers, typically for 48-72 hours.  During the actual workout process the muscles are broken down.  Through rest and proper nutritional habits, the muscles develop and become stronger.  The quality of your workouts is the key. 
  • Two high quality workout sessions a week is more than adequate to obtain optimal results.  Working out more than twice a week provides little, if any, additional benefit.

 9. Muscle Exhaustion/Burn

  • When you train hard, you usually get that burning sensation in the muscles that you're working.  This "burn" is caused by an excess of lactic acid in those muscles.
  • If you are exercising past the point where you cannot provide a sufficient supply of oxygen to the working muscles, lactic acid will accumulate in the working muscles and the blood stream. 
  • Bear in mind when training to total muscle exhaustion that muscle exhaustion cannot be achieved without feeling a burning sensation. 

 10. Understanding Why Revitalization Phase is So Critical

  • Building recovery time into your PhysioSlow training is important because this is the time that the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place.  Recovery or revitalization also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues.  Exercise or any other physical work causes changes in the body such as muscle tissue breakdown and the depletion of energy stores (muscle glycogen) as well as fluid loss.
  • The revitalization period allows these stores to be replenished and allows tissue repair to occur.  Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise.
  • Symptoms of overtraining often occur from a lack of recovery time.  Signs of overtraining include a feeling of general malaise, staleness, depression, decreased sports performance and increased risk of injury, among others

 11. Hydration

  • It is very important that you hydrate yourself everyday.  Increased water consumption has been shown to help in overall fat-loss.  It is also important to make sure you are well-hydrated before a PhysioSlow workout.
  • You will not dehydrate during a PhysioSlow workout if you come in properly hydrated.  Your mouth may become dry, which is more likely caused from your breathing techniques.  This is normal and okay.  If you must get a drink, do it quickly.
  • After your PhysioSlow workout, it is essential that you recover with a balance of fluids, carbohydrates and protein.  Talk to the in-house dietitian for specific recommendations.    

 12. Understanding Why It Is Not Necessary To Stretch Before Working Out

  • It is not necessary to warm-up or stretch before a PhysioSlow workout because of the slow, controlled movements during the work-out.   This prevents explosive, forceful movements, which minimizes injury and the need to stretch or warm-up.  The slow movements allow for the muscles to warm-up during the first few repetitions.  The warm-up and stretching are built into the PhysioSlow workout. 

13. What to Expect at your First Few Sessions

  • During your first few workouts, you will learn about PhysioSlow Strength Training.  Don’t be concerned about getting the most intensive workout.  You will be learning about proper technique and form.  You may or may not feel an exercise effect such as muscle burning or fatigue during these sessions.  These sessions also give your trainer an opportunity to set up the machines according to your size and fitness condition. 

 14. Dress Cool

  • We keep the facility very cool to minimize sweating and to prevent the body from overheating.  The process of perspiration is needed in order to cool the body temperature, requiring extra energy.  Instead, this energy can be applied to effort during the workout. 
  • We advise that you wear cool, comfortable clothing and footwear.  Be prepared to take a layer of clothing off if you get hot during your exercise session. 

15. State of Health

  • Safety is our #1 concern.  If you have a pre-existing headache prior to your workout, contact your trainer to discuss.  Your trainer may ask that you reschedule your session.  Not only will you not get the full benefit of your workout, you risk increasing the severity of your headache during the workout.

16. Understanding How to Prevent Exercise Induced Headaches (EIH)

  • If during an exercise you feel you are beginning to get a headache, or feel any kind of dull sensation, tingling sensation, or stiffness/pressure in the back of your neck or head, it is critical that your notify your trainer immediately.  If you attempt to work through this head pain it may develop into an exercise induced headache (EIH).
  • Exercise induced headaches can be twice as severe as a migraine and last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. It was previously believed that EIH was related to tension in the muscles of the neck, similar to tension headaches, and was often addressed by performing a neck extension and/or flexion exercise at the beginning of the workout, to produce fatigue induced relaxation of the neck muscles.  This was done to minimize tension in the neck muscles during the more intense exercises involving greater body masses, such as the leg press.

 17. Muscular Soreness

  • Our trainers try to introduce exercise routines and weight levels slowly in effort to minimize muscular soreness.  It is not uncommon to experience some stiffness or soreness 1-2 days after your workout. 
  • If you experience adverse levels of soreness, please inform your trainer.  You may be asked to come in and workout again to reduce your soreness.

18. Understanding the Distinction Between Muscular Exertional Discomfort and Pain

  • When properly performed, an exercise should produce an intense burning, fatiguing sensation in the muscles, labored breathing, and/or elevated heart rate.  These are all natural responses to intense muscular stress, and should not be considered cause for alarm within the context of a high intensity workout.  Exercise should not, however, produce any sharp, sudden pain, pain or discomfort in the joints, or any type of pain in areas of the body not being directly worked during an exercise.
  • If you suspect an injury, stop the exercise and slowly lower the weight.  Have it checked by a medical doctor.  If you feel something that may be an injury and ignore it or attempt to work through it, you may cause even further damage to the injured structure.

19. Proper Nutrition

  • By increasing lean body mass through PhysioSlow workouts, it will supercharge your metabolism to burn calories and trim fat faster.  But shedding those stubborn pounds still requires smart, balanced nutrition.  Losing unwanted pounds of body fat is almost a matter of eating the proper amount of calories per day.  This is best achieved with the proper ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat.  It is recommended to balance all your meals and snacks with protein, carbohydrate and healthy fats.  Your plate should be about half filled non-starchy vegetables, ¼ filled with lean protein and ¼ with complex carbohydrates (whole grains or fruits).  For a customized nutrition program, please see our dietitian for a simple, realistic plan.   

20. Gum & Candy

  • Do not have anything in your mouth while exercising (ie: gum or candy).  During labored breathing, you might aspirate it.

This is for informational and educational purposes only. The information provided is not intended as a substitute for the care of a doctor. If you suspect that you have a health problem, we urge you to contact your physician or local hospital for care.