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By gzt (Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 02:06:39 PM EST) gzt, statistics, strength, yoga (all tags)
Ah, Captain Kirk, you always have the best bits of advice for emo teens with supernatural powers.


So I had a physical this morning. Apparently I'm 6'3". I had always listed my height as 6'2" and suspected I was more like 6'1", but I was wrong. I also got a tetanus shot and an H1N1 shot. Woo. I weighed in right at 250#. BP was 117/74. They'll get back to me about the blood test results. I like numbers. I like the way my doctor works, because he wants me to have as little medication as possible, which is my philosophy as well, so we're tapering off and seeing whether that's enough. But I will still have the meds on hand if I can't breathe.

I did not watch the State of the Union address. I don't think I missed much. Instead, we watched Star Trek. It was important.

Teh Wife is thinking of taking some yoga classes or something at this place down the street. It's one train stop away, but awkward to walk to because of the river. Should be cool, though I do tend to look down on yoga as a complete fitness solution. Here's why: there are a number of components of fitness, and while flexibility and the components improved while you move around a little bit are important, that's hardly everything, and yoga classes are fairly expensive for the benefits you receive. Most notably absent in yoga is a significant strength component. Strength is the most important component of physical fitness for a variety of reasons, but one of them is that improvements in strength will drive improvements in most of the other components of fitness (to a point, but especially with people who have low levels of fitness). I know some of you will say, "But... yoga makes me stronger!" Well, yes. When you're very weak, even going for a walk might make you stronger. If you can only do 5 pushups, doing pushups will make you stronger. When you can do several sets of 20 pushups, pushups are not making you stronger. The exercises you will typically do in yoga classes are incapable of making you strong because there is no progressive overload. Most people, especially women, desperately need to get stronger more than they need almost any other adaptation. Accordingly, yoga is less than ideal if it is all you are doing.

Anyway. I think it's a good idea, though, because moving around is better than not moving around, there are some specific benefits to yoga, and it's likely to be something she will actually do. The hardest part of any program is conformance, so the last one is especially important. It's much better than "jogging" because jogging makes you weak, inflexible, and injured, besides the fact that even athletes in running sports don't train the way stereotypical "joggers" do. Further, though I'm not exactly spending a lot on my strength training (my gym membership is $210 for the entire year, though that's not all that I'm spending), I should be willing to plunk down some money for Teh Wife's training even if I don't believe it's the most effective way to achieve general fitness. At least it's not Crossfit. That makes you weak, injured, and broke. I think I would prefer jogging. Anyway.

Today: first day of class. Mildly excited. I hope my lack of prerequisites isn't going to be a problem. I've done non-formal statistics and regression stuff in an academic and a business setting and looked at statistics formally on my own, so that should be enough to fake the pre-reqs, in my opinion, despite the skepticism of the professor, so, well, anyway. The worst that can happen is that I have to treat this as two courses. Woo graduate class in statistics...

< For lack of other things | Work anxiety >
There's no right way to hit a woman. | 39 comments (39 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Er....what!? by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:29:18 PM EST
Missing a strength component!?  Not if done right!

Yoga when done right is particularly good for "core strength", i.e. abs/back muscles.  There also is progression in that you move to harder and harder poses.

(Yoga does emphasize muscle endurance rather than muscle power.)
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

You don't get 70s big with yoga though by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:37:32 PM EST
sure, you can get 70's hippie hooie vegan flakey with yoga, but not 70s big.


[ Parent ]
you don't get strong with yoga, either. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:07:12 PM EST
You do get stronger if you were weak. But anything that relies on bodyweight simply cannot get you as strong as stuff that, you know, can be progressively loaded heavier than bodyweight. It is possible to get fairly strong using only bodyweight conditioning exercises, but it requires quite a lot of skill and is beyond most people who are too old to be young gymnasts.  You can only get so far with planche pushups, front levers, and handstand pushups and you simply can't develop your legs like that. This is more a commentary on gymnastics at this point, but yoga doesn't get people as strong as gymnastics.

[ Parent ]
depends on the school of yoga by lm (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:17:01 PM EST
Admittedly, picking up heavy things and putting them down is better at strength building.

That said, there are plenty of yoga postures that build strength. For example: http://www.fitsugar.com/4515354


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
not particularly. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 06:00:09 PM EST
It builds strength until you're strong enough to hold a handstand. See my comments on bodyweight movement. What percentage of yoga practitioners who don't already have handstand skills coming in develop the strength to do that pose, by the way?

[ Parent ]
Probably not much lower than . . . by lm (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 06:29:39 PM EST
. . . the percentage of folks that start lifting weights that can end up being able to dead lift 300 pounds that couldn't do so when they came into it.

That's a goofy metric.

Almost as goofy as ``it doesn't make you as strong as a weight-lifter, or even a gymnast, therefore it doesn't build strength.''


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
among men... by gzt (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:33:06 PM EST
...if they train properly, that's attainable in a few months, tops, barring pre-existing injuries.

[ Parent ]
Sure by lm (2.00 / 0) #32 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 03:26:23 PM EST
I bet a reasonably active person could do it on the first day they go into a gym.

Yet, when I go to the gym, most people are lifting far less than I do and I don't do that large of a load.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
It depends. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #33 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 03:37:41 PM EST
On how reasonably active they are. If it's a group that does anything that involves throwing weight around, it's probable that a good proportion can pick up 300#. But dev trash could almost certainly deadlift 300# within a couple months (this depends on his back injury).

Most people at the gym aren't doing strength training (ie training programmed to increase strength).

[ Parent ]
Sure, most people lifting weights . . . by lm (2.00 / 0) #34 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 03:41:48 PM EST
.  . . and most people doing yoga have something in common.

This why you're metric was so goofy.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
It was an aside. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #36 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 03:54:52 PM EST
Out of curiosity.

[ Parent ]
the point... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:37:40 PM EST
...is that yoga doesn't have a strength component.

[ Parent ]
But that is just not true by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #16 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 01:01:21 AM EST
It doesn't have a weight-lifting component, yes, but many of the poses are primarily meant to build strength.  For instance, "chair pose" and "plank pose" do nothing for flexibility.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
no, but the plank doesn't build strength... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 12:12:08 PM EST
...unless you're incapable of holding it for like 15 seconds or something.

[ Parent ]
So... by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 12:26:45 PM EST
You're saying that if you can hold it for 15 seconds, then you can hold it for an hour?
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
No. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 12:37:55 PM EST
I'm saying that muscular endurance is different from strength. Holding planks for long periods of time is useful. Muscular endurance has some sort of relation to maximal strength. But increasing your plank time from 60 seconds to 120 seconds is not going to result in a meaningful increase in maximal abdominal strength.

[ Parent ]
and the point is that you can't progressively load by gzt (2.00 / 0) #28 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 12:44:19 PM EST
The plank isn't a strength move because the only thing you can effectively vary is how long you hold it. There is no progressive loading, which is what your body needs to get stronger.

[ Parent ]
"Maximal abdominal strength" by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #29 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 12:45:28 PM EST
Is not the same as health.  The only thing that's been shown to benefit overall health is %body fat and overall weight.  Gaining muscle mass helps with this regardless of whether that muscle mass is built to lift heavy things quickly or hold lighter things for a long time.

If you want to be "strong", that's fine, but if your goal is to extend lifespan and be less sick, yoga is going to get you more bang for the buck.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
We're talking about fitness. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #30 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 12:54:08 PM EST
Not health. Keep up.

But strength training builds far more lean body mass than muscular endurance training. Strength also has a significantly higher impact on quality of life, especially in the elderly. I'm not saying people shouldn't do yoga. I'm not even trying to make them compete. I'm saying that most people desperately need more strength and people coming off the couch would do better to spend a copule months getting a baseline level of strength which can then easily be maintained than to do other stuff first (like yoga), or at least work on strength independently while doing other stuff (like yoga) because strength is a parameter that will drive your other performance.

[ Parent ]
really? by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #35 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 03:50:06 PM EST
most people desperately need more strength

what's the evidence for this?

I mean, shit, yes, when I started lifting weights I couldn't do a 10lb biceps curl. I desperately needed more strength.

But I find it implausible that 'most people' do.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
perhaps despair is a bit strong. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #37 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 03:56:26 PM EST
But, then, check in on them again when they're 70.

[ Parent ]
or 90: by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #38 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 05:21:01 PM EST

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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
This reminds me of a movie . . . by lm (2.00 / 0) #31 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 03:24:14 PM EST
``That's not strength.''

``This is strength.''

Or maybe it was a knife. It was so long ago . . .


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
You heard me right. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 03:56:59 PM EST
If you can't hold a plank for 15 seconds, working until you can hold it for 1 minute probably improved your c*re strength somewhat. But it's mostly muscular endurance that's improving, and further enhancements to your plank time are almost completely endurance.

Let me put it this way: a novice female strength trainee coming in without any injuries on a strength program will probably be able to squat her bodyweight in a couple months. This is a very modest goal and a very conservative estimate. Somebody doing yoga for years will likely develop some additional leg strength, but is unlikely to be able to perform a squat with bodyweight. Because it does not develop strength. Also note that a bodyweight squat - a very modest and unimpressive goal - displays more c*re strength than most anything you see in yoga.

[ Parent ]
and, again... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #5 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 04:42:37 PM EST
...I want to reiterate that there are a lot of good things about yoga. Yudhishthira used it to float over mountains on his journey to heaven or something like that. It's just not good for developing strength on its own and strength is very important if you don't have it. But it can certainly have a place in a well-balanced fitness program.

[ Parent ]
that aside is why i still come here = by nathan (2.00 / 0) #39 Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 09:54:32 AM EST



[ Parent ]
What's the goal? by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:40:09 PM EST
In my wife's case, yoga gave her a direct increase in muscle mass and a direct decrease in body fat.  Yes, she probably can't bench as much as a lifter, but if the goal is health, then it's muscle mass and body fat that are the indicators, not the amount you can lift.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
well, okay. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 05:56:17 PM EST
First, body composition is health, not fitness, you're right about that. Yes, doing yoga will give you some increase in strength, which almost always gives some increase in lean muscle mass. I've said as much. It's not a strength program. It won't get you strong. It will give you some increase in strength.

My point is this: a couple months on a strength program will give the average couch potato a lot of strength, and that strength is easy to maintain (it is a more persistent adaptation than, for instance, cardiorespiratory endurance). That strength will drive most of the other components of fitness up and will enable you to get more productive work done in whatever other program you do, including yoga. If you're interested in fitness, you really do need to do real strength work.

[ Parent ]
look: by gzt (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 06:05:29 PM EST
slow running, if you were previously sedentary, will increase your muscle mass and decrease your fat. it will probably drive up your squat and even your bench if you were sedentary. neither yoga nor jogging have a significant strength component. They both presume a certain baseline of strength that they will work you up to if you lack them (the ability to stand on your hands for the former, to stand on your feet for the latter). But, otherwise, they don't have a strength component.

[ Parent ]
What is the evidence by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #17 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 01:23:17 AM EST
That strength training will drive up the other elements of fitness?

Sure, picking up heavy things will incidentally build up a bit of cardiovascular fitness. But not much, because if you're doing it to build muscle you're doing few reps.

If she wants the health benefits of that, to help against blood pressure and heart problems, she needs to be running or cycling or something, not doing weightlifting or yoga.

I'm not convinced the constant overloading of weight training is that healthy. It doesn't seem to mimic anything a human does in nature. And weight trainers seem to spend an awful lot of their time crippled by their latest injury.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
well... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 11:00:42 AM EST
...you need to specify what you mean by cardiovascular fitness. If you mean aerobic endurance, not a ton, but that's also a very fleeting adaptation: it drops off significantly after a week of inactivity.  But increased strength does carry over to a stronger heart.

Depends on what you mean by weight trainers. Competitive strength athletes are no different from any other competitive athletes: training for competition and competing means risking injury to push up their performance. You can't win if you don't push the limits, and that means some small risk of injury. I'm not advocating that everybody become a competitive strength athlete or even a competitive athlete of any sort. I'm saying that strength training is an important part of any fitness program and probably the most important part of the first few months of a sedentary or weak person's fitness program because 1. at that point it's terribly easy to gain strength 2. it drives up all the other aspects of fitness 3. it makes it possible to work harder, which is probably going to greatly benefit your health and fitness goals. Strength training plus yoga or strength training for a few months followed by yoga would certainly be far more beneficial than straight yoga - by the yoga performance metric.

[ Parent ]
Well by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #19 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 11:44:02 AM EST
You say things like "it drives up all the other aspects of fitness" but I haven't seen any evidence for that.

"Increaed strength carries over to a stronger heart": where's the evidence for that too? Looking at the American Heart Association advice it says "Aerobic exercises benefit your heart... Strength and stretching exercises are best for overall stamina and flexibility."

I think you're getting a bit evangelical about weight training. I'm a bit skeptical when fans of one particular form of exercise start implying that it somehow has all the benefits of other forms too.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
this is a 3-yr-old review by gzt (2.00 / 0) #20 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 11:54:23 AM EST
http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.185214v1 from the AHA on the effects.

More information on the effects of strength training on the various aspects of fitness can be found in the late Mel Siff's Supertraining, which is a sort of review of a hell of a lot of exercise science research. Pretty much any effective sports preparation program includes a significant amount of strength training, except for elite endurance athletes and basketball players (they're just lazy), and that's why.

I'm not claiming it has all the benefits of other forms of exercise. I'm saying that it's quite important for people who lack strength to develop strength and that previously sedentary people should, perhaps, consider prioritizing it, no matter what their goals are.

[ Parent ]
That study says the same thing by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 12:14:13 PM EST
"Aerobic endurance training weighs higher in the development of maximum oxygen uptake and associated cardiopulmonary variables, and it more effectively modifies cardiovascular risk factors"

It advocates including resistance training along with aerobic training because it has other benefits. It's a useful complement, not a substitute.

Unless your missus wants to get Seventies Big, or get a job involving heavy lifting, or has some specific goal needing strength; weight training isn't really the obvious top priority.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
I said stronger heart. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 12:23:02 PM EST
Not maximum oxygen uptake or or modifying cardiovascular risk factors.

We'll just have to agree that you're wrong about strength training.

[ Parent ]
Stronger heart by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #25 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 12:29:40 PM EST
The heart is a muscle like any other and it gains strength like any other muscle: through use.

The way to use the heart is to make it beat faster.  You have to make it beat at 70-85% of max for long periods.  The way to do that is aerobic exercise.

To think that weight lifting will make your heart stronger is like thinking that curls will make your calves stronger.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
thicker heart walls by gzt (2.00 / 0) #27 Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 12:42:11 PM EST
stronger heart. Though a quick glance at more recent research indicates that the effect may be questionable. It is mentioned in passing in the review article.

[ Parent ]
More to yoga than physical health, too. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:42:18 PM EST
In addition to what ucb and lm have said about how yoga can improve physical health, I'll just say that since I've been practicing yoga, I've needed no anti-anxiety medications, and I've been noticeably calmer and happier. Just sayin'.
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The amount of suck that you can put up with can be mind-boggling, but it only really hits you when it then ceases to suck. -- Kellnerin
right right right. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:30:49 PM EST
There are many reasons to do yoga. It has positive benefits to health and fitness and some people report benefits in other areas. Great. That's not something I disagree with.

[ Parent ]
There's no right way to hit a woman. | 39 comments (39 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback