Saturday, March 31, 2012

Exercise of the Week – Pistol squats

Stand on your right leg, with your left leg out in front and parallel to the floor. Hands are kept to your sides. You sit back down in performing a one legged squat. The range of motion depends on your mobility; if you can maintain adequate balance and form you could go deeper.
See to that you maintain adequate tightness in your abs to perform this challenging exercise.
Stand back up by maintaining proper form and balance.

Performance meter
Balance – this exercise requires balance and co-ordination from your end. It should be performed only intermediate to supplement your leg training.
This is a high risk exercise for a beginner and for someone suffering from a knee injury.

Frank Mapranny,
Fitness Head,

Sunday, March 25, 2012

10 Tips and Techniques for Better Eyes

Most computer users suffer from the problem of tired eyes, dark circles and headaches. Follow the ten tips to avoid them
Studies have shown that stress, active nightlife and above all, the fact that most of us spend maximum time in front of the computer lead to dark circles, puffed and tired eyes. Timely treatment is essential for such difficulties.
Specifically with computer users, physical and visual discomfort is experienced by many after just a few hours in front of computers. It appears that PC users suffer from repetitive stress of their eyes and want an immediate solution to revive the tired eyes.
Studies show that most computer users start to feel eye-muscle stress after two or more hours at the computer. This usually starts with tired eyes. With more time at the computer, discomfort frequently spreads to the head resulting in headaches, burning of the eyes, blurred vision, loss of focus, double vision, and neck and shoulder pains. Before it is too late, your stressed out eyes need to be relaxed and revitalized so that you feel fresh later in the day.

Tips to reduce eyestrain

·         Modify your workstation. Adjust your workstation and chair to the correct height.
Use proper lighting.
·         Match the computer screen to the brightness of the environment. The contrast between the background and on-screen characters should be high.
·         Minimize the glare. Use window shades, blinds or drapes to block excessive sunlight or install an anti-glare screen to minimize reflections.
·         Take frequent breaks. Full-time computer users should take a 10 minute break every hour.
·         Blink more often. Tears in the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and cause dry eyes.
·         Get an eye examination done.
·         Re-focus your eyes. Look away from your computer screen every 10-15 minutes and focus for 5-10 seconds on a distant object.
·         Exercise even when sitting. Move about or exercise frequently.
·         Get sufficient sleep. Fatigue promotes eyestrain.

Purvi Gala, 
HOD - Nutritionist, 

Bilateral Movement vs. Unilateral Movement- Phenomenon of Bilateral deficit

Our everyday weight training involves movement that requires both the extremities (Arms & legs) performing an action. Action in the gym requires the activation of muscles and it will be the executing muscles generating force to perform a movement.  For example to Squat 200lbs our leg has to generate more force than 200lbs to move that weight and control the weight. Any exercises performed when both the limbs are working in tandem will be termed as a bilateral movement. Even movements like getting up the chair will be termed as a bilateral movement.  Similarly, movement involving a single limb will be termed as an unilateral movement. Exercises like a single leg press, single DB curls, one arm overhead press and a single leg deadlift will be termed as a unilateral movement. In our day to day activities we perform movements that are unilateral movement; a beautiful example of this will be walking and running (3).

Bilateral Phenomenon
“Bilateral deficit is a slight decrease on the neural activation in the recruitment of motor units in the development of bilateral works, when compared to the sum of unilateral works" (1) .  For example, an unilateral (single) leg press movement (both left & right) added will be more than the force production of a bilateral movement on the leg press. We are able to generate more force production unilaterally as compared to bilateral. Incorporating single limb exercises quantifies the effort and the effectiveness of that particular exercise. In a single leg movement, the hip musculature will be more activated which will result in proper muscle activation. Depending on the intensity of an individual, he or she has to incorporate individual limb movement. 

Do we need to exclude bilateral movement?
 No, we do not exclude bilateral movement from our training program but we incorporate unilateral movement in our training program to enhance the rate of force development (2).

The advantages of unilateral movement in a leg workout would be the reduction of spinal compression and the recruitment of muscle contraction. Additionally, to achieve this contraction an individual wouldn’t require maximum poundage.  Hence, it would make sense to include single limb movement to improve the effectiveness of our lifts.

  1. Aagaard, P; Simonsen, E.B; Andersen, J.L; Magnusson, P & Dyhre-Poulsen; P. (2002). Increased rate of force development and neural drive of human skeletal muscle following resistance training.  Journal of Applied Physiology, 93, 1318-1326.

  1. 2.      Janzen, C.L., Chilibeck, P.D., & Davison, K.S. (2006).  The effect of unilateral and bilateral strength training on the bilateral deficit and lean tissue mass in post-menopausal women. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 97, 253-260.

  1. Seynnes, O.R., Boer & Narici, M.V. (2007). Early skeletal muscle hypertrophy and architectural changes in response to high-intensity resistance training. Journal of Applied Physiology, 102, 368-373.  

Frank Mapranny, 
Fitness Head,