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Personal Training | The Science of Exercise

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For those science buffs among you, Sean Durkan, one of the osteopaths we refer clients to, sets out what the Bodydoctor Fitness Programme does for your body.

Each personal training exercise has a positive and negative effect.The positive effect is the action - the contraction of specific muscles. When contraction is sustained for 25 repetitions, muscle is strengthened (the positive effect) and causes a negative effect, which is the shortening of muscle fibres and a build-up of toxins such as lactic acid and metabolites (the residual chemicals from cellular metabolism).These negatives have to be cleaned or removed, or we're left with shortened and sore muscles after a workout. The cleaning effect occurs in two ways: by thoroughly working all the muscle fibres, and by 'cleaning as you go' - when the next exercise acts to clean the muscles used in the previous exercise.

1 Cleaning the muscles

In all the fitness exercises in the Bodydoctor exercise sequence, muscle is cleaned as it performs its full range of movement during the contraction and stretching phases of an individual exercise.

2 'Cleaning as you go'

The cleaning effect is enhanced when you perform the next personal training exercise in the sequence, as this cleans up the negative effect - the contraction - by directly stretching the affected muscles from the previous exercise. The benefit is enhanced muscle function as strength and flexibility are increased in a balanced manner.This is 'cleaning as you go': the first nine exercises in the workout sequence and the stretches work on this principle.

Reducing pain, improving circulation

The stretching cleans because it helps speed up the body's toxin transport system. Stretching releases residual muscle tension, which in turn eases the pressure on the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels.Their diameters increase, and toxins can flow more readily into the relevant lymphatic vessels and veins.The exercise sequence therefore promotes efficient detoxing as muscular pressure on the lymphatic drainage vessels is eased.

In the same way, stretching also helps improve the supply of nutrients and oxygen for muscle metabolism and reduces congestion in the veins. Blood pressure is defined by the heart rate multiplied by the body's resistance to blood flow - and the majority of this resistance is muscle tension. As stretching eases muscle tension, the heart doesn't have to work so hard, so you'll have more energy.Your body will also be in a more balanced state.

Stretching and cleaning the muscles also combats nerve irritation and resulting pain, as well as paresthesia, numbness and pins and needles.The build-up of toxins in the muscles being worked can activate the body's pain receptors, which inform the brain about the location of pain in the body: the tell-tale signs include muscle ache and soreness, which is often the 'morning after' result of a workout that isn't designed to work with your body.The Bodydoctor exercise regime is a muscular detox in itself so it's highly unlikely that you'll experience any residual pain, aches or stiffness after your workout, providing you follow it correctly and on a regular basis.

Protecting joints and bones

The personal training exercise sequence also reduces the amount of abnormal wear and tear, degeneration of joints and inter-vertebral discs by improving muscular function and properly balancing the whole joint complexes involved. It also reduces abnormal leverage on joints, preventing subsequent straining or tearing of ligaments: for example, if certain muscles in a joint complex work harder or are stronger than the antagonistic muscle (the muscle that moves in the opposite direction), one side of the joint gets worn away faster than the other. Using the sequence balances the body, and improves your body's structure.This enhances your body's function as a whole, and helps you perform more efficiently.

Throughout the personal training workout sequences, you'll see diagrams that show which muscles you're working during the exercise; it can be helpful to visualize your muscles as you do each movement, so you mentally focus on your technique.These diagrams are intended to be simple, so only the primary muscles involved are shown. The story beneath the skin is, of course, more complex, as many principal muscles have more than one job. For example, parts of the same muscle in the shoulder girth have multiple actions due to the range of joints they connect with, such as the elbow, shoulder, rib cage and clavicle. So when we move any part of our arm, the majority of shoulder muscles contract; simply raising your arm activates 11 of the 17 major muscles in the shoulder girdle. For ease of reference therefore, only the primary muscles are illustrated to demonstrate the basic mechanics of each exercise.

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