If there is one thing that natural bodybuilders (aka those that don’t take steroids) know, it is how to build muscle.
One of my friends is a personal trainer and natural bodybuilder, and can compete with those that aren’t “natural” by being super bright, with a deep understanding of the science of hypertrophy (fancy word for building muscle).
Muscle helps protect against injury, and as physical therapists, we need to understand how to help our patients build more when necessary.
What better way to learn than to test yourself? All physical therapists should try it on themselves first, right? My friend and I have been designing my training routine for the past year, and my back feels great.
As many of you know, my history of low back pain, beginning as a collegiate athlete, led me to become a physical therapist. In the past, strenuous weight training programs would irritate it. But I have been training harder than ever over the past year and feeling great.
People often experience back pain as they use their backs to support or lift weights. If I was using my back during an exercise, I wasn’t placing enough stress on my muscles to stimulate growth.
It is easy to cheat as exercises become more challenging. Maintaining quality technique when tired is a great way to remain resilient to injury. Check out this video for more on this.
Besides reducing injury risk and building strength, adding muscle is helpful for other reasons, including:
- Increased metabolism: More muscle equals a higher metabolic rate. This doesn’t just mean your body will burn more calories at rest. A higher metabolic rate provides more sustainable energy to the body throughout the day.
- Decreased fall risk: Increased muscle mass helps to reduce fall risk in the elderly population, and it is best to start this process early.
- Reduced risk of chronic disease: Increasing muscle mass has been shown to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Muscle tissue helps to regulate blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Ready to join me and enter a bodybuilding competition?! Just kidding. That is not necessary, but there is a lot we can learn from unexpected places!