Core Strength Training: A Brief Overview
The human body consists of many different parts which work together to provide the functions needed for survival. These functional units are called musculoskeletal system or muscles. Muscles act on each other through connections known as muscle fibers. Muscle fibers have two types of end plates called myofilaments and sarcomeres.
Myofilaments are long strands of protein fibers that connect one muscle fiber to another. Sarcomeres are short strands of protein fibers that link up with other sarcomeres to form longer filaments. Each type of sarcomere has its own specific function, but they all serve the same purpose: They allow muscles to contract efficiently when required.
Muscle fibers themselves do not produce any energy. Energy is produced by contracting other muscles, organs, bones and so forth. When a muscle contracts it produces force against the resistance of your body. Force is used to move objects around inside your body such as moving food from one place to another or pushing yourself up off the floor.
The most important function of the skeletal system is supporting our bodies weight. The skeleton supports us by keeping our spine straight and joints stable during movement. The muscles keep the skeleton firmly connected to our bones and also help stabilize the skeletal structure.
What Is Muscle Memory?
Muscles play a huge role in human movement, not just in adults but also in children. During the formation process of a child’s body, muscle memory is being developed every day. Each of these small movements that your child makes on a regular basis helps to develop his or her muscles. Exercising in adulthood can help develop muscle memory and make it easier to perform certain physical actions.
Neuromuscular Junction: Your Nerve Cells and Muscle Fibers
The body is an amazing thing. It can move, see, smell, taste and do many other things.
How is this possible?
It is because of nerves and muscles. Nerves carry messages from your brain to the rest of your body. Muscles respond to these messages by contracting. Without the brain and muscles, nothing would happen. They are vital to the human body.
The nervous system contains two major parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of sensory neurons, which send messages from sensory receptors to the brain, and motor neurons, which send messages from the brain to muscles.
The complex interaction of sensory and motor neurons allows you to do things such as walk, run, jump and even just sit and read this article. Sensory neurons respond to pressure, heat, pain and any other stimuli and send a signal to the brain. The brain then deciphers what the message means. If the stimulus is something harmful, the brain sends a message to the motor neurons, which send a message to various muscles to respond.
This is called reflex action and it happens in less than a second.
The three types of muscle fibers are skeletal, smooth and cardiac. Skeletal muscles allow you to move your body, smooth muscles allow you to maintain your internal organs and cardiac muscles keep your heart pumping.
Skeletal muscles are attached to bones by tendons. When a message is sent from the brain to a skeletal muscle, the muscle contracts and pulls on the bone to which it is attached. For example, when you move your hand, messages are sent from the brain to the muscles in your arm causing them to contract, pulling on the bone and moving your hand.
There are three types of skeletal muscles: skeletal muscle fibers, smooth muscle fibers and cardiac muscle fibers. Each responds differently to stimuli such as touching, heat and cold.
Most muscles in your body are made up of more than one skeletal muscle fiber. These fibers have many nuclei and are multinucleated.
Skeletal Muscle Fibers:
Skeletal muscle fibers are multinucleated and striated. This means they contain several nuclei and have distinct light and dark bands running perpendicular (90 degrees) to the fiber. These bands are called sarcomeres. Sarcomeres are the basic units of contraction and stretching in a muscle fiber.
The sarcomeres are connected by thin bridges of cells called “tendons.” When a message is sent from the brain to a skeletal muscle, the sarcomeres in the muscle fibers contract, causing the entire fiber to shorten and become thicker.
Smooth Muscle Fibers:
Smooth muscle fibers are not striated and do not have as much coloring. They are found mostly in the walls of hollow internal organs such as the stomach, intestines, bladder, and uterus. The muscles contract to move contents through these organs.
Cardiac Muscle Fibers:
These fibers are only found in the heart. They do not have as many mitochondria or nuclei as skeletal and smooth muscle fibers. This is because they work constantly to keep the heart beating. They are able to do this through an interaction of the cells themselves (auto-transmission) without needing the brain to tell them when to contract.
Skeletal Muscle Exercise:
The more you use a skeletal muscle, the stronger it becomes. One way to strengthen skeletal muscles is isometric exercise. Isometric exercise involves pushing or pulling against an immovable object. For example, when doing a push-up you are pushing your body weight against gravity to strengthen the muscles in your arms and chest.
Another way to strengthen skeletal muscles is isotonic exercise. Isotonic exercise involves moving an object or part of the body against a constant resistance. For example, when lifting weights you are moving the weight up and down, while the weight itself is resisting the movement by providing an opposing force. This causes the muscles to contract repeatedly and get stronger over time.
Skeletal muscles can also be strengthened by aerobic exercise. Aerobic literally means “with oxygen.” These exercises are done at a low to moderate intensity for a long period of time. For example, jogging around a track involves aerobic exercise for the muscles in your legs.
The more you exercise a particular group of muscles, the stronger they become. The more you use a particular muscle, the more apt it is to experience a shortening. For example, if you are a professional tennis player, your shoulder and forearm muscles may become shorter (and stronger) than the muscles in your back. This may result in a condition called “tennis elbow.” A coach or trainer can recommend exercises that will keep the length and strength of all your major muscle groups balanced.
Skeletal Muscle Facts:
Skeletal muscles are attached to our bones by a thick, ropelike tissue called collagen. This is the protein that keeps our bones strong and helps them grow in size as we get bigger or taller.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and can be found in tendons, ligaments, skin, hair, cartilage, bone and blood vessels.
Our bones are living organs that are always changing. At birth, a bone can be up to 90% collagen, but by age 30 it is down to about 15%. This is one reason why it is so important for children to get lots of exercise to build strong bones.
Skeletal muscles make up about 50-75% of our body weight.
There are about 650 muscles in the human body.
Skeletal muscles are voluntary muscles, which means we control them. The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary functions such as breathing and the beating of your heart.
Your brain sends out tiny electrical signals to cause a muscle to contract and relax. (This is called a nerve impulse or action potential.) Each time a muscle contracts and relaxes, it gets a little shorter. This is called a muscular contraction.
When muscles don’t get enough oxygen or nutrients, the brain tells the muscles to shorten to pull more blood into that area. This is called a muscle spasm.
Some people who continuously contract their muscles, such as people with Parkinson’s disease, have difficulty relaxing them. This causes the muscles to become rigid. This process is called a catatonic state.
The average person’s muscles are strong enough to lift about 800 pounds.
Muscles can’t contract without a nerve impulse, but they can keep working for a short time after the nerve is cut. This is why severed muscles often leak a whitish goo–it’s melted collagen.
The human body is capable of exerting about twenty times its own weight on arm and leg muscles.
The strongest muscle in the human body is the gluteus maximus (the butt muscle). This is the main muscle that people use to kick with.
It is not possible to permanently lengthen a muscle.
There are eight skeletal muscles that connect to each rib. These are called the intercostals muscles. They help bend and straighten the ribs during breathing.
Some children are born with extra ribs. In fact, some people have up to ten extra ribs. They begin to grow in the womb, but usually fuse together with the rest of the ribs by the time the child is born.
A person can raise his or her arm because of the clavicle (or collarbone). The bone is connected at the top to the shoulder, and at the bottom to the sternum (or chest bone). Between these two connection points is a little ball and socket joint. When the muscles in the shoulder contract, they pull on the clavicle.
This causes the arm to lift up.
Sources & references used in this article:
Weighted Vest Workouts: Supercharge Your Workout for Weight Loss, Muscle Building, Cardio Endurance and Core Strength by S Bartram – 2015 – Dorling Kindersley Ltd
The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book: 300+ Quick and Easy Exercises You Can Do Whenever You Want! by J Thompson – 2015 – books.google.com
Muscular balance, core stability, and injury prevention for middle-and long-distance runners by J Price – 2008 – books.google.com
15 Minute Abs Workout: Get Real Results Anytime, Anywhere by M Fredericson, T Moore – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation …, 2005 – pmr.theclinics.com
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