Walking through gyms all across the CrossFit industry, you will see trainees of all persuasions and types undergoing different types of training. Amongst them are those, who use terrible exercise form such as doing barbell swings with arched backs, bouncing bars off their chests in bench presses, and many other mistakes. While everything may seem right, such extreme force tasks your tendons and joints and this may lead to ripped ligaments, muscular tears, and career-ending injuries. Enhanced muscular contraction can help you maximize your CrossFit training as you activate more muscle fibers. To help you understand muscular contraction, below are the different types of contractions. Isotonic Contractions This type of contraction occurs through the use of free weights. When you lift a free weight, you exert a force against gravity. What isotonic means is simple, equal tension throughout your CrossFit movement. However, specialists term this movement as inaccurate because the muscle tension changes relative to the angle of flexion. As the angle changes, the movement also ought to change and as such cannot be equal throughout. There are two main types of dynamic contractions one being eccentric contraction and the other one is a concentric contraction. Concentric Muscle Contraction This occurs whenever a muscle shortens. When overcoming a force or resistance such as gravity, individual muscle fibers usually contract. One of the examples of a concentric muscular contraction is when raising a dumbbell. The bicep branch contracts concentrically as it works against gravity. When the muscle shortens, it pulls the forearm bones thus decreasing the angle at the elbow. Eccentric Muscle Contractions This occurs when muscle fibers lengthen and still under tension. It happens against gravity such as when lowering a bicep curl. During the lowering phase, the bicep contracts eccentrically thus controlling the downward phase of the curl. Eccentric muscle contractions have a greater force production, and this allows you to lower heavyweights in a controlled manner. The greater force production during the eccentric contraction is due to the higher recruitment of the first twitch muscle fibers alternatively referred to as Type II. Because of the greater force production, it is mostly used as a cross fitness training technique, to place a more considerable stress on your muscle fibers. Eccentric contractions induce more significant levels of muscle damage and delay the onset of muscle soreness. When muscle fiber damage occurs, it leads to increased protein synthesis because the muscle overcompensates for the loss which results in muscle hypertrophy. Isokinetic Muscle Contractions This happens when a muscle contracts and shortens at a constant angular speed. To perform this type of muscle contraction, you need specialist equipment referred to an isokinetic dynamometer. This increases the load whenever it senses the muscle is speeding up. This ensures the speed of the movement is always held constant. Among the benefits of isokinetic muscle contraction in the CrossFit exercise include gains in muscle strength throughout the entire range of movement, reducing the risk of injury due to the controlled speed of action, and improved muscle strength, cardiac fitness, and endurance.
You’ve been spending tons of time in the gym trying to get John Cena arms, but you don’t seem to be building any muscle. What gives? 1. You’re mostly doing cardio Cardio is essential for keeping your body fat down and keeping your heart healthy. But when it comes to building muscle, hitting the treadmill won't help you much. Cardio tends to burn calories and puts your body in a deficit, which is good for leaning out, but not building muscles. 2. You’re not using heavy enough weights Those 5-pound dumbbells were a great place to start as a beginner, but if you've been lifting weights for a while, it's time to scale up the weight. If you aren’t lifting heavy weights, it doesn’t matter if you are primarily using free machines or weights. In order to build muscle, you have to break down muscle tissue using a weight that is challenging enough to cause micro-tears, which when reconstructed, form stronger and denser fibers. 3. You’re not having enough sleep The micro-tears that are responsible for muscle-growth need rest to reconstruct themselves and grow stronger. That happens when you are asleep! You have to rest and feed your muscles between exercises or workouts, or you’ll tear them down, and they will become weaker. Over time, you run the risk of over-training, which may result in injury, and probably even more sleep troubles. 4.You’re inconsistent with your routine If you are serious about adding on some muscle, then the best way to do this is with three intense resistance exercise sessions and two lighter intensity workouts weekly. You need to have consistency in your workout program, hitting at least each muscle group twice a week to build muscle. If you’re looking to switch up exercises, I suggest swaps such as sumo squats instead of traditional squats; step-ups on a bench instead of lunges. These types of variation are very useful in building muscles, but the weights you’re using must still be relatively heavy.