Ease of breath's dictation of load progression for joints.

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Ease of breath's dictation of load progression for joints.

Postby tyciol » Aug 18, 2007 05:39


In his column related to squats for martial arts, Mr. Kurz says that you shouldn't progress with loads too rapidly because the different human tissues progress at different rates... that muscles may develope too rapidly compared to other tissues like their tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules. I presume also bones, since they're even less soft...

At first I was confused at 'why'? After all, why would the genetic design of the human body adapt so flawed as this? The best explanation I could come up with is... perhaps our gaining strength and muscle rapidly is sort of more of a recent phenomenon. Perhaps in past days, we simply had plenty of the components for the other tissues, but the shortage of components for muscular development were low. Perhaps there was a lack of protein and/or calories, or something different in the diet that caused adequate hormones for other soft tissue's development but not for muscle's contractile proteins.

In this sort of case... would there be a method of designing exercises that get the most muscular development out of the least joint strain? Other is... perhaps it is due to this bias in exercise selection that joints are weak? Possibly if we picked exercises that abused the soft tissues, couldn't they adapt just like muscles do? If we started bouncing at the bottom of a squat, or whatever. In a lot of sports people do rely on things like tendon elasticity, for example. I guess I just get curious about it.

But even presuming that it is good to limit progress so that soft tissues will adapt... I think there's a problem with gauging it by how well you're breathing. I'm not sure I understand why. Surely yeah, it's a limit, but how is it tied to it? After all, even when champion olympic sprinters sprint... they breathe hard. The elevation in breath just seems like an inherant part of surpassing your aerobic threshhold, especially when you're doing full-body exercises like squats.

It gets further confusing because things like breathing squats are advocated... how is doing breathing squats avoiding doing exercise that makes you breathe heavy?

Perhaps there's something I don't know about, an instinctive thing that causes elevated breath independant of muscle cells actively taking up their maximal aerobic supplies, related to loads that are destabilizing inadequately supported joints, which causes a hormonal release or something. I really don't know, I was just hoping the link might be explained...

Another thing I see that might be problematic in this, is the effect of people with high cardiovascular endurance. Someone could build an intense cardiovascular endurance by doing things like bicycling, running, ellipticals, etc.... in their lower body, and then try an exercise using muscles that their cardio work did not. Like... a triceps kickback or a bench press or a chinup or a curl. These joints have not had time to adapt to the exercise, but I don't think this person would breathe incredibly hard compared to someone who hasn't done this cardio. The muscle cells will be as inefficient, sure, and the lactate will make them sore, but why would they breath harder? I just don't understand what would make them do that.
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Ease of breath's dictation of load progression for joints.

Postby Thomas Kurz » Apr 16, 2008 18:21

It is easy to confuse having “control over one's breathing” with the “ease of breathing.”

Breath rate may be elevated or one can breathe hard while still breathing “well,” in a controlled fashion.

The breath holding I advise against is involuntary and results from reflexive (involuntary) bracing to compensate for weakness of stabilizers in a given movement. This is different than a deliberate, voluntary breath holding designed to stiffen up the body under extreme loads.
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