Should we be using the or the ACSM Risk Stratification
Method for screening Participants or is the PAR-Q adequate?
The PAR-Q or the Exercise Participation
Questionnaire would be considered the minimal standard for
entry into a moderate-intensity exercise program (40-60% VO2
max). The ACSM and ACE suggest this type of questionnaire can
be used as pre-participation health appraisal in a non-medical
setting. I noticed you work in a medical setting. The ACSM, AHA,
or AACVPR would offer a more comprehensive screening questionnaire.
You may choose to use the Modified
ACSM Risk Classification Calculator which can be used in
conjunction with a comprehensive Medical History Questionnaire.
The ACSM urges the pre-participation health appraisal be both
cost-effective and time efficient, so unnecessary barriers to
exercise can be avoided (ACSM, 2001).
I have a question concerning the low
volume training article on your site. It is very appealing
to me as I am familiar to Dorian Yates' training technique. I
am curious, however, about warm-up sets. Is it recommended to
to do a warm-up set of 50% prior to every exercise you do? An
example would be for back/bicep day. Would I need to do a warm-up
prior to every bicep exercise? I am somewhat confused on that
issue. It seems I could induce overtraining that way, but wanted
to find out your opinion on the matter.
I believe it was Arnold Schwarzenegger who advocated the use
of the warm up set, citing he once foolishly thought he was too
advanced for a warm up set, until he hurt himself.
I personally perform and recommend a warm
up set before every exercise. Not only are you warming up
those specific muscles used in the exercise, but you are also
warming up the joint structures in the exact mechanics unique
for that particular exercise. In addition, the warm up set can
give you an opportunity to rehearse your motor skill on that
specific exercise, ideally, allowing you to perform the subsequent
set(s) in better form. In any case, the warmup set is so light
it would pose a relatively low risk in overtraining. It will,
however decrease the chance of injury and prepare the body to
work at a greater intensity during the workout set. Now, what
would more likely increase your chances of overtraining is performing
multiple warm up sets on the majority of your exercises over
a period of time.
If the subsequent exercise is even slightly different in the
mechanics and the involvement of the assisting muscles, certainly
perform a warm up set for that next exercise. If the exercise
is very similar, sure, you could probably get away without performing
an additional workout set with little danger. Though, I would
question the use of performing such similar exercises within
the same workout, particularly if your concern is to avoid overtraining by abbreviating
There must be something about the angle of the grips for
the lever triceps extension and lever preacher curl because there
is discomfort in my elbows when doing both these exercises that
I don't experience when using barbells, dumbbells, or cable.
I am unable to directly observe your form or examine these machines,
I can only make some suggestions you can look at during your
Make sure the pivot points of your joints are aligned with
the fulcrum of the lever. This alignment can be more forgiving
if your machines have an accommodating
lever to compensate for any misalignments. Make sure your
seat is adjusted so the back of the upper arm is parallel to
the arm pad. You could experience more stress in the joint if
these settings are off on these machines. Also if the machine
permits, experiment with placing a slightly wider or narrower
grip to determine if the discomfort is better or worse.
As with any new exercises, maintain very strict form at a
slower repetition speed, particularly when just getting used
to or coming back to an exercise you have not performed for a
while. Perhaps, in this case, you could consider lightening the
weight 10 or 15 pounds for the first week, so your joints may
have an opportunity to adapt.
On the lever preacher curl (or other preacher curls for that
matter), it is important to go throughout the full range of motion
from the very beginning, allowing the joint and tendons to adapt.
Some people, mistakenly do not go through full range of motion
(ie failing to extend the elbow straight at the bottom). Later,
they may inadvertently go through the fuller range of motion
and end up hurting their biceps tendon or joint; not because
of the full range of motion, but because their joints and tendons
never had an opportunity to adapt to the full range of motion.
Likewise, make sure you are not shrugging your shoulders before
(or during) the initial flexion. This again does not allow adaptation
throughout the full range of motion, since the elbow is already
flexed slightly when the shoulders are shrugged.
Perhaps, on these exercises, you should back down to a trial
weight and check your form and progress upward 5 lbs or 2.5 kilos
every workout (keeping an eye on your form) until you find your
workout weight. Certainly, if they continue to give you problems,
you should switch to another exercise, preferably one that is
still not too familiar. Also see changing
weight training exercises.