Physiological problems during physical effort

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenics
problems physical effort

I recently read a book from 1974 that really resonated with me. It was written by Eugen Avramoff and focused on the physiological problems that occur during stereotype or cyclic physical effort to both trained and untrained individuals. I found it to be a really insightful read and wanted to share some of the ideas I synthesized from it in this article.

One thing that I think is really important to note is that just because a book is old, it doesn’t mean that it’s outdated or useless. In fact, many of our contemporary books are based on older works and wouldn’t exist without them.

The book makes it clear that in order to benefit from physical effort, you need to do cyclic or repetitive training. However, there are some “problems” that arise from stereotype training. By understanding these problems better, you can increase your training performance or even compete better if you’re a pro athlete.

Don’t jump steps in your progression

When it comes to training, it’s important to remember that your capacity to adapt is key. Mental stress can also play a role in how much training you can handle. If you push yourself too hard, you risk overloading your nervous system and soft tissue, which can lead to overuse and chronic fatigue. That’s why it’s important not to skip important adaptation phases. For example, if you’re struggling with bodyweight pull-ups, don’t rush to weighted pull-ups to increase your strength. Stick with bodyweight exercises for a few weeks or months before moving on. The same goes for lifting heavy weights at the gym. Train gradually and work your way up. And if you’re new to running, don’t start with sprints or long distances. Build stamina and perfect your technique before pushing yourself too hard. Remember, the correct order is always from easy to hard and from simple to complex.

Physical effort causes electrolyte imbalances

problems of physical effort

It’s important to keep in mind that continuous physical effort can lead to a decrease in electrolyte levels, which can ultimately reduce your work capacity. This is especially crucial during a race or sports competition, not just during a workout session. When you exercise intensely, your muscles lose potassium, but a study from 1963 found that more experienced individuals who are adapted to physical effort lose more intracellular potassium than untrained trainees. This makes sense since a more adapted and trained individual will always have a higher work capacity and can handle more volume or higher intensity training.

It’s also important to note that unadapted individuals tend to lose more sodium, particularly through sweating, which can cause muscle cramps. If you’re just starting to train, it’s important to progressively increase your volume and intensity. During aerobic efforts, you’re more likely to lose sodium, but as you continue with your training, you’ll gradually lose less and less sodium or other minerals.

To improve your stamina during aerobic efforts, it’s better to start with laps of 800 meters at a steady pace with pauses of 30-60 seconds between. Keep your heart rate at around 140 bpm. This method allows your body to learn to consume oxygen more efficiently. It’s also important to consume foods that are relatively rich in sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc.

Ionized calcium plays a crucial role in regulating the contractile function of muscle fibers. Trained individuals create the conditions of maximum ionic calcium during physical effort but also during rest periods. By consuming a diet rich in calcium, you’ll increase the efficiency of your working muscles, leading to greater strength and endurance, fewer risks of injuries, and more. If you’re curious about a sustainable diet, check out the video below.

Consistent physical effort improves the basal metabolism

Are you aware that constant physical effort can lead to an increased basal metabolism during rest? This is great news for those looking to burn body fat and manage their energy better. One way to achieve this is through aerobic physical efforts in the form of repeated endurance training, which should be done at 130-150 bpm. The effort involves being in continuous motion for some time, with the speed affecting the intensity and oxygen demand. To achieve this, during an endurance run, maintain a steady and easy pace. If you’re overweight and untrained, doing laps of 400-800 meters at the same pace with short breaks between (30-60 seconds) can be helpful. It’s important to note that untrained individuals consume more oxygen than trained ones. However, with stereotype training, oxygen consumption and transportation efficiency improve, leading to a boosted metabolism.

Keep a steady rhythm (cadence) when exercising

The more complex an exercise is, the quicker you fatigue your central nervous system. This is because the movements require more concentration and attention. To delay fatigue, it’s essential to have a rhythmic movement pattern. A constant and stereotypical cadence and tempo can provide effort economy, enabling you to exercise for longer.

However, if you add unnecessary movements to your workout, you’ll tire more quickly. So, if you want to resist fatigue, it’s best not to improvise. If you do incorporate short bursts of sprints into your run, make sure to do it in established intervals or defined distances. Breaking the rhythm will deplete your organism of glucose and utilize more resources, decreasing efficiency – which is crucially important if you’re a pro athlete competing in a race.

Train before the formation of lactic acid

If you’re doing high-intensity anaerobic exercise, it’s important to be aware of your body’s limitations. By pushing yourself too hard without proper rest and recovery, you can drain your anaerobic mechanisms or even block them entirely. This can force you to either interrupt your exercise or reduce its intensity.

One effective way to train for maximum speed and acceleration is by sprinting before the threshold of lactic acid formation. Lactic acid can form quickly at 90-100% intensity, typically in about 15 to 20 seconds. To avoid this, try doing sprints of 40 to 100 meters.

This type of training can help develop important motor qualities such as endurance, speed, strength, and muscle elasticity. Remember, recovery is just as important as the workout itself. Depending on your level of training, rest for one or two days before repeating a high-intensity workout.

If you’re looking for a free 2-week training plan that focuses on bodyweight exercises, check out the FREE 2-Week Calisthenics Plan. It’s a great way to get started on your fitness journey!

Never limit yourself to strength training only

Anaerobic physical effort

When it comes to resistance training, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about lifting weights or doing calisthenics. While these types of strength training are highly effective, they only focus on one aspect of physical fitness. In order to achieve overall fitness, it’s important to train your cardiorespiratory system as well. This means improving your capacity to transport oxygen, which is key to performing well in both aerobic and anaerobic efforts. By following the recommendations I’ve provided, you’ll be able to improve your cardiovascular system and perform at your best during any type of physical activity. Just keep in mind that during high-intensity efforts, oxygen demand can increase rapidly, so it’s important to monitor your heart rate and stay within a stable range for optimal performance.

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