WEEK 4 - ALL ABOUT THAT CORE
WEEK #4 AGENDA: Learn How to Talk to Your Muscles. David Shares His Story About His MS Diagnosis. Perform Exercise Sequence.
WEEK #4 GOALS: Exercises focus on Core, Upper Body & Foot Drop. Perform all exercise 2-3 times a week and write down your results!
SAFETY TIPS: Keep a fan on you. Turn down your A/C to 68 degrees or COLD. Keep your hair off your neck. Remove any sharp corners or tables from your exercise area. Drink ice cold water between every exercise. Make sure to continue to breathe during the exercise, continue to remind yourself not to hold your breath.
On Strength Training & MS
Did you know that scientific research has proven that Strength-Training // Resistance-Training improves muscle strength and functional capacity in multiple sclerosis?
A 12-week research study, performed by the Department of Sport Science at the University of Aarhus in 2009, sought to test the hypothesis that progressive resistance training can improve muscle strength and functional capacity in patients with MS. 1
The research consisted of having 2 different groups. Each group was made up of 19 people of moderately impaired patients with MS. One group performed resistance training exercises for 12-weeks while the other group performed no resistance training.
The result was that those in the group that performed resistance-training had significantly improved in knee extensions as well as functional capacity compared to the control group. The control group (those that didn't perform resistance-training) then performed resistance training and saw their knee extension and functional capacity improve!
Just like the participants in this study - you are strength-training! Keep it up and you will see results. Science proves it!!
Frequently asked questions
For the Armchair Push Up, what if I don't have a chair with arms on it?
What if I can only lift my leg or foot a little bit, or not at all?
Achieving full range-of-motion is not the most important thing. The most important thing is to perform the exercise in the range-of-motion that is available to you and to fully exhaust the targeted muscles. Even if you can't notice a lifting of your leg or foot, you need to ATTEMPT the movement. Try to actively THINK about lifting and flexing your leg or foot. Try to engage the muscles as best you can, even if you're not seeing any motion occur. If you are able to feel muscle fatigue by doing this - then you are on the right track! Over time, increasing muscular strength will increase your range-of-motion.
During the Crunch exercise, my neck starts to tire out before my abs do.
During the Crunch, you're going to want to focus on not lifting your neck, and instead, actively think about lifting with your torso. Generally, the neck muscles try to take over when the abs start to fatigue. Try tilting your head back so that your eyes gaze towards the ceiling and your spine remains in a neutral position. If this doesn't alleviate the discomfort you can place your hands behind your head to add support to it while continuing the flexion and extension movement with your torso. Allow your head to REST in your hands. Do not let your hands pull your head/neck forward towards your abs. If this does not alleviate the discomfort, simply stop the exercise and record how far you get to before feeling the discomfort and having to stop. (Don't forget to breathe! Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Breathe all the air out of the lungs during your exhales).
I need to add more difficulty to some of the exercises, but I don't have Therabands. Will ankle weights or dumbbells work?
Yes! Ankle weights can be used during the Abduction, Leg Extension and Kickback to increase difficulty - just attach the ankle weights to your ankle for any of the three exercises. Dumbbells can be used during the Shoulder Routine as well as be placed on your pelvic bone during the Hip Bridge. Remember, ideally, we want to reach full exhaustion of the targeted muscle during the Exhaust Range - that's between 1:00-1:29. If you are able to get to 1:30 without disengaging then you need to increase the resistance level.
The Heel Toe Rock is too hard for me to even begin. Is there an alternative version?
An alternative to the Heel Toe Rock would be the Heel Raise, which is relatively the same motion, but performed from a seated position. If you cannot perform the Heel Toe Rock, then perform the Heel Raise in place of the Heel Toe Rock, and just follow along with the same graphical timer. In order to perform the Heel Raise - sit with straight posture in a chair. Have both feet resting flat on the ground. While keeping your toes "glued" to the floor, slowly lift your heels up as high as you can. You should immediately feel your calves engage. Even if you are not able to physically lift your heels off the ground, continue to attempt the motion, and look for that burning sensationn / muscle fatigue. In order to add difficulty to the Heel Raise, place heavy items (books, ankle weights) comfortably above your knees. If you have issues performing the Heel Raise, please contact us at email@example.com or make a post about it in the Facebook Group so we can get you dialed in.
What if I'm able to finish the entire exercise without disengaging?
If you are able to finish the exercise with relative ease without disengaging then you need to add resistance so that you can make the exercise more challenging. In order to judge the right level of difficulty, we created the Exhaust Range. The goal, generally, is to find full exhaustion of the targeted muscle WITHIN the Exhaust Range, between 1:00-1:29.
What if I'm disengaging before I get into the Exhaust Range?
That's perfectly fine. After all, the goal is to FULLY EXHAUST THE TARGETED MUSCLES. You are on the right track. Just keep trying to push your time forward with each attempt of the exercise, whether that's at 45 sec or 10 sec. Everyone's starting point is different. Keep at it!
My muscles are really sore and tight the next day after performing the workouts. Help!
Although this could be annoying or even painful, try to look at it as a good sign: It means that you are strength training at the right level and properly communicating to the body to add muscular strength. As you begin to exercise more frequently, there won't be as much soreness after your workouts, because your body will be adapting. MAKE SURE to stretch after your workouts and during your active-rest days in order to reduce tightness and increase blood flow to the tissue. Stretching is not something you want to skip! You can stretch every day and even multiple times a day. Stretch to your heart's desire; just make sure not to perform any stretches first thing in the morning or before your workout. You want to warm up the body a bit before stretching your muscles; try getting some low-intensity movement and blood flow throughout the body before performing stretches.
Why is the sky blue?
When sunlight reaches Earth's atmosphere it get scattered in all directions by all the gases and particles in the air. Blue light is scattered more than the other colors because it travels as shorter, smaller waves. Because of the elements in our atmosphere, the color blue is scattered much more efficiently than all of the other colors. Sunsets are red, because as the sun gets lower in the sky, its light is passing through more of the atmosphere to reach you. Even more of the blue light is scattered, allowing the reds and yellows to pass straight through to your eyes.
The Assisted Dorsi Flexion is too easy, how do I make it harder?
To increase difficulty, try not using a band to assit the lifting of the foot. For further difficulty, try attaching an ankle weight to the balls of the foot.
I get too dizzy when I do the Crunch. Is there an alternative?
There is a SEATED variation called the Trunk Extension. Scoot forward in your chair so that there is room between your back and the chair. Very slowly lean back, hinging your upper body back towards the chair until your abdominals engage. Your back should not be touching the chair. Keep your arms out in front of you. You should not feel any pain in your lower back; if you do, ease off. To increase difficulty, try lifting your legs slightly off the ground.
I am not able to get up and down off the floor easily. What should I do?
For all of the floor exercises and stretches, like the Abduction, Kickback, Crunch, and Abdominal Stretch -- perform these on a BED -- so as to allow for easier transitioning.
I cannot extend all the way during the Abdominal Stretch without hurting my lower back.
If you are experiencing lower back pain/tension when fully extended (arms straightened all the way out), then lower yourself so that your forearms/elbows are planted on the floor. You can stretch from this position instead.
8 Week Challenge - SCHEDULE
WEEK 1 -- Laying Down the Foundation - Mobility & Balance
WEEK 2 -- Waking Up the Muscles - Foot Drop, Core, and Upper Body
WEEK 3 -- Walking Strong - Mobility & Balance
WEEK 4 -- All About That Core - Foot Drop, Core, and Upper Body
WEEK 5 -- Half Way Point - Mobility & Balance
WEEK 6 -- Perfect Form and Technique - Foot Drop, Core, and Upper Body
WEEK 7 -- Sticking with Exercise - Mobility & Balance
WEEK 8 -- Final Effort - Foot Drop, Core, and Upper Body
WEEK 9 -- Graduation!
"My mission is to change lives through strength training by providing safe and effective workouts to those living with Multiple Sclerosis all Across the World." - David Lyons
Certified Trainers With Years of Experience Treating Multiple Sclerosis
Founder of MS Fitness Challenge
Exercise Physiologist M. Ed - BS Exercise Science NSCA-CSCS, ACE-PT
Along with MS Workouts, David works with organizations such as Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Medical Fitness Network and MS Views & News to help educate and train both fitness professionals and MSers on the importance of fitness, nutrition, and mindset in battling this disease. David's goal is to bring exercise and healthy nutrition to every person living with MS.
In 2009, Jeff co-founded Practical Fitness in Austin, TX, a private personal studio specialized in strength training for busy professionals. Jeff has personally executed thousands of sessions with individuals dealing with many types of physical challenges, ranging from hip and knee replacements to lung transplants. Jeff also oversaw Practical Fitness strength training pilot program for individuals with MS sponsored by the MS Society.
Together with the Director of Physical Therapy at Central Texas Neurology Consultants and the personal trainers at Practical Fitness Studios, our mission is to bring safe & effective online exercise to those living with Multiple Sclerosis.