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If you want to have a healthy sperm count you need to think about ditching the Y-fronts. It’s not just poor nutrition, drinking, stress and smoking that can lower your sperm count but tight pants too.
In a study by the university of Sheffield covering 200o men tighty whities lowered sperm counts acreoos the board. The testicles hang outside the body to keep the sperm factories slightly cooler than the rest of the body, as this is the temperature at which they work the best. Tight pants mean that they stay at a higher temperature and can reverse millions of years of genetic evolution by keeping the testicles too hot.
Plus there’s the fashion aspect too..
But if you would like a pair anyway, order here – photo from http://www.bellsofalnwick.co.uk/product/jockey_y-fronts.aspx?category=136
Rule 4 – train synergists and fixators last
If synergists (the little muscle that helps the big muscle perform a movement, eg the triceps in a push up) are trained before the agonist (main muscle) in a strength training session then the fatigue that they will suffer makes them ineffective at performing their synergistic role. In the push up example this would mean that if you have trained triceps first, you will only be able to do so many repetitions before they fail, leaving the main mucle that you are trying to work out (chest) unchallenged. Thus it will not improve.
Other smaller muscles, as well as being synergists (the helper muscles) are also fixators. These contract in a mainly isometric (holding) manner to fixate or stabilise the joint and/or the rest of the body. Quite often the core muscles are fixators in an exercise, providing a solid platform to work on. This occurs particularly in free standing or free weight exercises, particularly ones that involve more than one joint. A good example of these exercises would be a bent over row,squat or a deadlift.
Thus, these exercises are great to make you fitter and stronger as they chalenge lots of areas at once, and work the core functionally, as a stabiliser, just as in real life.
However, if you were to train these core fixators before a compound workout, fixator fatigue would decrease the ability of the body to keep the spine in safe alignment during exercise. This increases the risk of injury as well as decreasing the efectiveness of the exercies being performed.
This is why, with a good personal trainer, core exercises should always come at the end of a session!
Building core strength is important in prevention of back pain and injury. Your core also plays a vital role in supporting and connecting your trunk to your legs, providing stability and effecient transference of energy not just in sports but in everyday movements too.
The important thing to remember is that you should spend just as much time planking and strengthening your lower back as doing “vanity” exercises like crunches. Performing plank exercises for 5 minutes per day, with good form, coupled with abdominal crunches will help improve your core strength and help prevent injuries to your back.
Image from http://sdchiropracticcare.com
Exercise order – perform high complex or unstable exercises first when strength training.
Complex and dynamic exercises (like a lunge, kettlebell throw, ballistic or balancing exercies) require more energy and greater neuromuscular co-ordination to perform safely and effectively when compared to isolation or more stable exercises. Thus compound and complex moves are best performed at the start of ay given session when you are fresh, both in a neural and metabolic way. This is especially true for beginners who potentially have a limited capacity to perform exercises well when fatigued, as well as having poorly established (or no!) motor patterns (technique) for the exercises.
Thus caution should be followed when putting strength training exercises in sequences that heavily involve the same stabilizing muscle groups, regardless of the prime movers or main muscle groups involved; an example of this poor exercise order would be a barbell squat, then a straight legged dead-lift followed by a bent over row. The lower back is a synergist in the first, a primary mover in the second and a synergist holding an isometric contraction in the third. The risk of injury to the lower back here is significantly increased. It would be better to throw in some pushing (chest press) in between the first and the last strength training exercise, while leaving the lower back exercise (straight legged dead-lift) in isolation to the end of the session. Supersetting exercises like this are also more time efficient, as muscles are allowed recovery while their opposing ones are trained.
If you are doing an integrated strength training programme (where you are doing all the major and some minor ones all in one session) the larger muscle groups should be trained first. The consideration here is that large muscle groups need the most energy to be trained properly, so by training them when fresh or not fatigued (early in the workout) you will obtain the greatest benefit overall, ie in terms of increased fat burning both within and without training, functional fitness, health benefits and overall strength.
Conversely is you train the smaller muscle groups first, you will be pre-exhausting synergists and fixators. These are the smaller muscles that either stabilise the larger ones during movement or assist in the actual movement. This pre-exhaust will prevent you from getting maximum fatigue from the larger muscles, as failure will occur early and be caused by the smaller muscle failing first.
A practical example of this order when strength training would be to do a seated or bent over row (or pull ups/seated pull down) before doing bicep curls. The biceps are the synergist during the first exercise – if you train them first then your arms will be buggered and you won’t be able to fully fatigue the back muscles targeted by the main exercise.
Strength training should be part of and exercise routine. Whether you want to lose weight, prevent disease and illness, tone up, increase the strength of connective tissue, increase bone density and reduce the chance of injury both in everyday movements and sports.
Don’t be confused by the myth that strength training will make women bulky – very few women have the genetic capability to bulk up, and even those that do need to work at a professional level to make this happen. Rather, for the vast majority of women strength training will give the muscles the appearance of tone. Many parts of the body (under arms for example) appear flabby. Often this flabbiness is just muscle that lacks any tone. Strength training will improve this. Here are some rules for strength training.
Exercise selection – promote muscular balance.
In strength training it’s important to work all of the major muscle groups equally. This ensures that the body will progress as a whole unit as opposed to a group of isolated muscles. Focusing on a small number of “glamour” muscles (biceps for the boys, triceps for he girls) is counterproductive in the long term as it promotes imbalance within the body. These imbalances can promote dysfunction and adverse postural issues that will not only reduce the rate of progress but also lead to poor posture and ongoing injury risk. Many men who focus on the chest muscles, for example, end up with these muscles overpowering the muscles of the upper back, causing a hunched over neck less posture. Not a good look.
So if you push, pull. If you kick forwards, kick backwards too.
Over-training can happen to all of us, even part time exercisers. It can hamper progress and improvement, as your body adapts and changes for the better only in the recovery phase of exercise. In training we are actually damaging ourselves, so the improvements don’t happen then, but when you are resting. Here is an account of over-training first hand.
I always thought over-training was something that only applied to “serious” athletes – not ordinary mortals like us. But I was wrong, yes, positively wrong!
I never thought I was doing too much. And I was having at least one day off every week with no exercise. But for some weeks now I’ve had little “niggles”, with my hip flaring up, ITB playing up, lower back complaining, little muscles tears (or what felt like that) and so on. Nothing so serious as to stop me from doing things but all contributing to feeling as if the effects of what Adam so politely calls ROT (= Ravages of Time) were really catching up with me.
More significantly in retrospect though was that I was sleeping badly, constantly waking up and tossing and turning as if I couldn’t relax – and that in spite of propping up the profits of the manufacturers of ibuprofen. And while my body was doing what it had to do in the PT torture sessions, they were beginning to feel like real torture – legs always like lead and a mindset “all this is boring; I really don’t want to be here”. The only reason I was still functioning at all was out of habit and discipline – I was weary and bored and even the endorphins that I normally enjoy as my just reward were refusing to kick in.
Finally, after several (extremely painful!) weekly sessions of sports massage were still achieving very little relief, I accepted the combined advice of PT and sports therapist that what was wrong with me was that I was over-trained and my body needed a REST!
They said “2 weeks”; I said “4 days”. But at least I accepted the principle and made a start. This meant ZERO exercise – I was allowed to walk but that was about it!
Bear in mind that I normally get what I describe as “grumpy” after 36 hours of no exercise. But this time, the 2 first days passed in a blur, with my body feeling totally wrecked and exhausted. No desire to move a muscle. Quality sleep still eluding me. Luckily, this was over that glorious hot weekend so I spent my time moving between the hammock and the deck chair with my weightlifting restricted to a book.
Next two days, I started feeling a bit more alive but still with none of the “I need to get some exercise” restlessness I’d normally feel. And by the 3rd night I started getting some sleep – wow!
Day 5 it was clear that my rest cure was going to have to be extended but I was allowed a gentle bike ride round Virginia Water, which was a relief. So my regime this last week has been a bike ride every other day and … no other exercise.
But I’m off ibuprofen an
A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips? Not quite, but nearly; and faster. Have a big mac for lunch, and by tea time the fat will be on your middle. Scientists at Oxford University have discovered that fat from food can be converted into fatty tissue that sits on our waist and hips in as little as three hours, much quicker than previously thought. That’s how quickly you can get fat.
For the research, volunteers were given food that contained fatty acids that had been “marked” with slightly heavier isotopes of carbon that are easily tracked in the body, so scientists could follow their route. The study found that it took about an hour for the fats to be broken down in the gut, then entering the bloodstream as tiny droplets. These droplets were then carried around the body until caught by adipose cells in the waist and stored.
The good news is that this storage is temporary – the fat is broken down and used during exercise. But if the subjects continued to eat to excess and did not do enough activity, the fat will then be moved into long term storage around the hips, thighs and buttocks.