Can Ability To Lift Weights Quickly Equate To A Longer Life?

A new study - presented at EuroPrevent 2019, a congress of the European Society of Cardiology - claims that you can prolong your life by increasing your muscle power. Power depends on the ability to generate force and velocity - and to coordinate movement. It is the measure of the work performed per unit time - force times distance – and more power is produced when the same amount of work is completed in a shorter period or when more work is performed during the same period.

Climbing stairs requires power - the faster you climb, the more power you need. Holding or pushing a heavy object such as a car with a dead battery, needs strength. “Rising from a chair in old age and kicking a ball depend more on muscle power than muscle strength, yet most weight-bearing exercise focuses on the latter," says study author Professor Claudio Gil Araújo, director of research and education, Exercise Medicine Clinic - CLINIMEX, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. "Our study shows for the first time that people with more muscle power tend to live longer. Power training is carried out by finding the best combination of speed and weight being lifted or moved. For strength training at the gym most people just think about the amount of weight being lifted and the number of repetitions without paying attention to the speed of execution. But for optimal power training results, you should go beyond typical strength training and add speed to your weight lifts."

Muscle power gradually decreases after 40 years of age. "We now show that power is strongly related to all-cause mortality, but the good news is that you only need to be above the median for your sex to have the best survival, with no further benefit in becoming even more powerful," Araújo continued. The study enrolled 3,878 non-athletes aged 41 to 85 years who underwent a maximal muscle power test using the upright row exercise between 2001 and 2016. The average age of participants was 59 years, five percent were over 80, and 68 percent were men. The highest value achieved after two or three attempts with increasing loads was considered the maximal muscle power and was expressed relative to body weight. Values were divided into quartiles for survival analysis and analyzed separately by sex.

During a median 6.5-year follow-up, 247 men (10 percent) and 75 women (six percent) died. Median power values were 2.5 watts/kilogram for men and 1.4 watts/kg for women. Participants with a maximal muscle power above the median for their sex - in quartiles three and four - had the best survival. Those in quartiles two and one had, respectively, a four to five and 10 to 13 times higher risk of dying as compared to those above the median in maximal muscle power. This is the first time the prognostic value of muscle power has been assessed. Previous research has focused on muscle strength, primarily using the handgrip exercise. The upright row exercise was chosen for the study because it is a common action in daily life for picking up groceries, grandchildren, and so on. The researchers are currently examining the link between muscle power and specific causes of death including cardiovascular disease and cancer. "Doctors should consider measuring muscle power in their patients and advise more power training,” Araújo added.

Train To Increase Muscle Power

  1. Choose multiple exercises for the upper and lower body.
  1. Choose a weight with the load to achieve the maximal power - not so easy to lift and not so heavy that you can barely lift it.
  2. Do one to three sets of six to eight repetitions moving the weight as fast as possible while you contract your muscles - slow or natural speed in returning to initial position.
  3. Rest for 20 seconds between each set to sufficiently replenish the energy stores in your muscles to start the new set.
  4. Repeat the above for the other exercises.

How To Progress

  • Start with six repetitions in each set and when the exercise becomes easy, try to increase to eight.
  • If it becomes easy again, increase the weight and go back to six repetitions.
  • If you unable to complete the repetitions with the proper technique, avoid "cheating" and go back to less repetitions or less weight. This is important to prevent injuries.

Optimizing Weight And Endurance Training

James Cook University sports scientists have warned that fatigue from weight training can carry over to endurance training and the two activities must be better coordinated to maximize athletes' performance. JCU's Dr. Kenji Doma was part of a team examining concurrent training - which features both resistance and endurance training on the same or separate days. "The consensus is that concurrent training is beneficial for endurance development,” Doma says. “But we found that if appropriate recovery is not accounted for between each training mode, then it may impair endurance development.”

The findings appeared in the journal Sports Medicine. The researchers found studies showing reduced performance by athletes, including runners and cyclists, even several days after a single resistance-training session. The physiological stress caused by a typical resistance training bout of 40 to 60 minutes can continue for several days post-exercise, as opposed to a full recovery within 24 hours following a typical endurance training bout. "We want to increase the awareness of resistance training-induced fatigue in the hope of encouraging coaches to think about aspects such as the order of the training, the recovery period, and training intensity,” Doma continued. “We're trying to limit the carry-over effects of fatigue from resistance to endurance training sessions.”

The group was not saying that concurrent training should be discontinued. There are great benefits to it, but there can be some hidden dangers too. “What we want to see is fatigue from resistance sessions minimized so there can be even more benefits gained,” Doma added. The group could not tell athletes a specific recovery time as that was dependent on the individual, the code, and where the athlete was in the training cycle.

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Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.


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