Why Shouldn’t Exercise Be For All?

As the leaves on the trees start to change and drop,and the weather is beginning to cool. It gets harder to climb out from under the warm cozy doona in the morning, to get the day started. Autumn/Winter sports season has started, and the Paris Olympics isn’t too far away. With many sports associations focused on targeting the post-Olympic high to motivate and inspire the next generation of potential sporting stars. What about the rest of us??? Shouldn’t we, that don’t fall under the next Olympians umbrella also continue to participate in regular physical activity?

It has been mentioned by a former colleague of mine that I record more hours of exercise on Strava weekly than I do working with paying clients. For some of us our chosen exercise comes easy, while for others it is the ultimate form of torture and of course there is everyone else in between.
I think that the way to help the latter groups is to make it achievable and a habit. Clarke (2016) found the time it takes to make a repeatable activity a habit, with noticeable changes to body morphology, is not evident until 8-weeks; while cardiorespiratory and metabolic changes were not evident until closer to 12-weeks of continued, consistent training. WebMD published a great piece about ways to assist in habit formulation for exercise (Bernstein, 2021). Recommending people choosing activities that were enjoyable and fun to make it less of a task to undertake.

So what does that mean? Ensuring your exercise is convenient to your location and lifestyle means you are more likely to fit it into your current schedule. Setting realistic goals that are achievable can be key to the formation of exercise habits. It is important to be open to the possibility that changes may be required at times, including the time of day when you exercise or if you need to step back your exercise levels due to unforeseen time off. Saying that, I have decided to step outside of my comfort zone and start practicing yoga. Admittedly the time and location of the class should work well for me and my household most weeks.

Larson et al. (2018) found if a person makes the commitment to meet with someone or a group to exercise, they were more likely to attend. Accountability and social support can be a powerful motivator and key in the forming of exercise habits. Promising to meet someone to exercise means a person is less likely to back-out, as they are also letting someone else down (Larson et al., 2018). This is a technique I use regularly, especially on cold winter mornings.

One thing that may help motivate people to really consider looking into their levels of physical activity is following the updated 2020 World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. The WHO recommendations are broken down into age groups:

  • Adolescents 5-17 years of age: 60 minutes of exercise, three days per week
  • Adults 18-64 years of age:
    • 150-300 minutes of moderately intense aerobic physical activity per week, or
    • 75-150 minutes of high intensity per week
  • 65 years and older: same activity amounts as 18–64-year-olds but with lower intensity.

By meeting and/or exceeding these guidelines, significant health benefits can be gained, including reduction in cardiovascular disease, hypertension, mental health anxiety and depression, and possible a reduction in adipose tissues (World Health Organisation. 2022).


Bernstein, S. (2021). Easy ways to make exercise a habit. Retrieved August 18. 2022 from https://www.webmd.com/women/exercise-habits
Clark, J.E. (2016). The impact of duration on effectiveness of exercise, the implication for periodization of training and goal setting for individuals who are overfat, a meta-analysis. Biology of Sport, 33(4), 309-333. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5143767/
Larson, H. K., McFadden, K., McHugh, T. L. F., Berry, T. R., & Rodgers, W. M. (2018). When you don’t get what you want-and it’s really hard: Exploring motivational contributions to exercise dropout. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 37, 59-66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.04.006
World Health Organisation (2022). Who guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour: At a glance. Retrieved August 20, 2022 from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/337001/9789240014886-eng.pdf

Reformer Pilates: 7 Reasons It’s For All Bodies

While Pilates, including reformer Pilates, has traditionally been associated with young fit women, there’s no reason why all bodies, both male, female, older or young, can’t benefit from it as well. Here are some reasons why you might consider practicing Reformer Pilates:

1. Strength and stability and balance: 

Reformer Pilates places a strong emphasis on muscular engagement and stability. Strengthening certain muscle groups can improve posture, mobility and aid in balance and control. 

2. Muscular Imbalance Correction:

It is very common that we can develop muscular imbalances due our occupational demands, sports or purely activities of daily living. Reformer Pilates offers a balanced approach to working multiple muscle groups, helping to address these imbalances. 

3. Flexibility and Range of Motion: 

Reformer Pilates incorporates stretching movements that can help improve flexibility over time. Enhanced flexibility can lead to better overall movement mechanics and reduced risk of strains.

4. Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation:

The controlled and low-impact nature of reformer Pilates can make it an excellent choice for injury prevention and rehabilitation. People recovering from injuries, such as joint issues or muscle strains, can benefit from the gentle yet effective resistance training provided by the reformer.

5. Athletic Performance Enhancement: 

Many professional athletes incorporate Pilates into their training routines to improve strength, agility, and overall performance. Reformer Pilates can enhance functional fitness, which can translate to better performance in various sports.

6. Mind-Body Connection: 

Reformer Pilates promotes mindfulness, body awareness, and breath control, which can be particularly helpful to improve their overall mind-body connection and stress management. 

7. Variation in Fitness Routine:

Adding reformer Pilates to a fitness routine can provide variety and a new challenge. Cross-training with different forms of exercise, including Pilates, can lead to well-rounded fitness and prevent plateaus.

It’s important to note that these benefits apply to both men and women. The idea that Pilates is primarily for women is a misconception, and men can gain just as much from incorporating reformer Pilates into their fitness regimen. 

As always, consulting with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program is recommended, especially if there are any pre-existing health conditions. If you have any further questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact our clinic- we are here to help and support all bodies on their health journeys. 

Reformer Pilates: Your 5 Burning Questions Answered

If you’ve ever wondered what sets Reformer Pilates apart from traditional Pilates or why it’s become such a popular fitness choice, you’re in the right place. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned practitioner, we’ve got answers to common questions and tips to enhance your Reformer Pilates experience. We’ll explore the core principles, benefits, and the mechanics of the reformer machine. Let’s get started on your journey to improved core strength, flexibility, and overall well-being through Reformer Pilates.

1. What is reformer Pilates and how does it differ from traditional Pilates

Reformer Pilates is a type of that incorporates exercises that focus on core strength, flexibility, and body awareness a specially designed machine called a reformer. It uses spring resistance to engage and strengthen various muscle groups. 

2. What are the benefits of practicing reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates can improve core strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, and balance. It may also help alleviate body aches and pains and improve postural alignment. 

3. Can you explain how the reformer machine works and its main components?

The reformer machine consists of a sliding carriage, springs for resistance, straps, and adjustable bars. The sliding carriage allows controlled movements while the springs provide varying levels of resistance. Straps and bars are used for different exercises that target different muscle groups. The machine’s design supports a wide range of motion and can be adjusted to accommodate various body types and fitness levels.

Yes, you may feel awkward on the machine, even after doing 100 classes. Don’t worry everyone is in the same boat. We are not here to judge, we just want you to have fun and move your body. 

4. What is the difference between beginner and open classes?

For beginners, we start with foundational exercises like pelvic rocks, leg work and arm work is a slower controlled way. This helps familiarise you with the machine’s mechanics and build strength and mobility. 

Gradually incorporating different layering options of exercises and spring options exercises can become more challenging in the open classes. 

We advise a minimum of 6 beginner classes before joining the open classes. 

5. What should I wear and bring to a reformer Pilates class?

Wear comfortable, form-fitting clothing that allows for ease of movement. Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated, and consider bringing a towel as you may sweat during the session. 

We ask all reformer participants to wear GRIPPY PILATES SOCKS as they provide traction on the reformer’s surface. These can be purchased at the studio before your first class if needed. 

Remember that while these answers are based on available evidence, individual experiences can vary. If you have any other questions or have any pre existing medical conditions, you can contact our clinic and one of our friendly Osteopaths will help you out. 

5 Ways Your Rehab is Helping

Rehabilitation exercises are a staple of injury recovery, however we’re all guilty of letting them fall by the wayside from time to time. This blog will show you the many interesting ways in which your exercises are effective, hopefully inspiring you to persevere with them! (And spoiler alert, its not all about strengthening weak muscles!).

1. Motor recruitment & coordination

Rehab exercises can rewire the brain maps responsible for controlling and recruiting certain muscles and patterns, improving the technique and efficiency of your movement. In early stage rehab, the use of external constraints can decrease the number of potential movement solutions – helping to offload painful areas and teach the body how to utilise pain-free movement patterns.

As you progress, the rehab should gradually increase the degrees of available motion to move from rigid movement to fluid and variable movement – more closely mimicking the requirements of a full and active life.

2. Cognitive restructuring

We often fear certain activities and movements as we believe they can make our injury worse. Frequent low load exercise can help to restructure our relationship with movement. By repeating safe movements we can change the way we think about exercise and physical activity, which allows us to do more of our necessary daily tasks and get back to our loved recreational activities.

3. Nociceptive desensitisation

Nociception is the process of nerves sending messages to the brain from a particular body part that something is harmful. The brain then processes and codes the nerve signal and can create a sensation of pain.

During injury these nociceptive nerves can become more sensitive, due to many factors including inflammation at the injured body part. Exercising the sore body part causes the brain to respond to this demand by acclimating to the sensation, thereby decreasing the body’s pain response to the particular stimuli. The body gets used to the stimulus and it therefore becomes tolerable, no longer eliciting the pain response.

4. Descending pain inhibition

This phenomena is similar to taking medications that are designed to decrease pain, like panadol. Exercise causes nerves and chemicals to be stimulated that have a hypoalgesic effect – meaning they directly dampen the sensation of pain.

5. Progressive strength

Although early rehabilitation isn’t focused on building strength, it sets the foundation for further exercise progression. A good rehabilitation program should always be progressing towards a higher goal. As the aforementioned characteristics are achieved, the exercise prescription should increase its intensity – either by increasing load/weight, increasing volume, decreasing rest periods, or progressing to a more challenging movement.


Rehabilitation exercises are not just mundane routines, but powerful tools that facilitate a holistic recovery journey. They serve as more than just a means to strengthen weak muscles; they actively engage the brain, reshape our perceptions, and recalibrate our pain responses. Through consistent practice, we not only rehabilitate our bodies but also transform our relationship with movement and pain. Embracing these exercises not only aids in physical recovery but empowers us mentally, allowing us to reclaim our lives, one pain-free step at a time. So, let these insights inspire you to persevere with your exercises, for they are not just a path to recovery, but a gateway to a stronger, more resilient you.

Pins and Needles?

Why do I have tingling in my hands?

Hand numbness can be caused by damage, irritation, or compression of one of the nerves or a branch of one of the nerves in your arm and wrist.

Diseases affecting the peripheral nerves, such as diabetes, also can cause numbness, although with diabetes, similar symptoms usually occur first in your feet.

Uncommonly, numbness may be caused by problems in your brain or spinal cord, although in such cases arm or hand weakness or loss of function also occurs.

‘Pins and needles’ (paresthesia) is a sensation of uncomfortable tingling, prickling, itching or skin crawling, usually felt in the hands or feet. The affected area is sometimes said to have ‘fallen asleep’.

A common cause of pins and needles is leaning or lying awkwardly on an arm or leg, which either presses against the nerves or reduces the blood supply to the local area. Changing position usually quickly restores normal feeling as the nerves start sending messages to the brain and spinal cord again.

Symptoms of pins and needles

Common features of pins and needles include:

  • prickling and tingling sensation
  • numbness
  • return of normal feeling a few minutes after changing position.

Hands, arms, legs and feet are the parts of the body most commonly affected.

Pressure-related pins and needles
The nerves of the body send information back to the brain and spinal cord. When a sensory nerve is pressed by being in a cramped or awkward position the messages are interrupted, which can cause pins and needles.

Once pressure is taken off the nerve, functioning resumes. An uncomfortable prickling sensation is caused by the restarting of pain messages from nerves to the brain. This usually resolves within minutes. An example of this is when you hit your elbow and feel a tingling sensation in your little finger.

Pinched nerves and pins and needles

Nerves can be compressed or ‘pinched’ by bones and other tissue. Some examples include:

Carpal tunnel syndrome – the main nerve that services the hand runs through a ring of wrist bones. Inflamed and swollen tendon membranes reduce the amount of room inside the wrist and irritate or compress the nerve. Symptoms include pins and needles, pain and weakness in the hand.

Cervical nerve root irritation – nerves in the neck exit the spinal cord via small holes between the vertebrae. These small holes can be narrowed by inflammation, injury or outgrowths of bone tissue (bone spurs). The nerves are irritated or compressed, causing pins and needles and, sometimes, referred pain into the arms

Sciatica – the legs and feet are serviced by the sciatic nerve, which starts between the vertebrae of the lower back. This nerve can be irritated or compressed due to problems in the lower back or pelvic or buttock area causing pins and needles, and sometimes pain, down the legs.

When to seek medical advice for pins and needles

The occasional bout of pins and needles is a harmless event. However, chronic pins and needles can be a warning of some other underlying disorder.

Always see your doctor if you experience frequent or persistent bouts of pins and needles.

Treatment for pins and needles

Treatment depends on the cause. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome may be treated with rest, splinting and medications such as anti-inflammatory and diuretic medications.

A compressed or irritated nerve may require treatment such as osteopathy, medication or (in some cases) surgery to ease the pressure and allow full nerve functioning to resume.

Pre/Post-natal Pilates

What is it?

Modified Pilates exercises, shifting the focus to what your body needs during this time. Classes are designed to help your body through all stages of your pregnancy and post-partum experience.

Key differences to general Pilates classes:

A focus on spinal mobility continues throughout pre/post-natal Pilates classes.

Where it differs are:

  • modified positions, for example, during second and third trimesters no exercises lying on your back or tummy,
  • focus shifts from exercises strengthening the core to exercises for postural awareness and pelvic strength, and
  • exercises to assist with post-partum recovery.

Key goals of Pilates exercises during pregnancy and post-partum:

To improve or maintain:

  • Pelvic floor muscle activation
  • Pelvic strength and support
  • Postural awareness/training

What if I have pelvic or back pain?

Modified pregnancy Pilates classes aim to assist with pelvic strength and spinal mobility to help prevent pregnancy-related pain but they can also be modified for women with pain to assist them through their pregnancy and to recover post-partum.

What does a pre/post-natal Pilates class at Peninsula Osteopathy and Allied Health look like?

Small class sizes so exercises can be easily modified and individualised to your stage in pregnancy, level of Pilates experience and how you are feeling on the day.

Participants may complete an individual assessment with an Osteopath before their first class. This will include discussing health/fitness goals and any injury or health concerns.

Simple Tips for Staying Active with Arthritis

Living with Arthritis

Living with persistent joint pain can make exercise seem like an impossible mission. However, movement is one of the best things you can do for a joint that has some arthritic changes. To better understand what arthritis is and what causes it, visit our previous blog “6 Golden Rules for Osteoarthritis“.

Motion is Lotion, Movement is Medicine

For too long the public have been led to believe that joints degrade as we age, and the more punishment you put it through, the more it degrades. However, movement is good for the joint.

  • Compression (eg: the impact on the knee during running and walking) stimulates growth of the good protective cartilage linings in the joint.
  • Movement can help with maintaining weight, which can help with reducing the load.
  • Building strength and muscle mass can help distribute the forces across the whole limb, rather than relying on the joint to take the weight.
  • Learning good movement patterns gives your body more options, so that it doesn’t rely on one joint too frequently.
  • Healthy lifestyle can decrease inflammation and have a direct improvement on pain and joint health.


The key to exercising or doing daily tasks is pacing. Pacing means slowing down and doing less. If you’ve been in pain for a long time, or if you’ve been less active than in previous years, then it’s unlikely that you can do the same amount of physical activity. It’s about breaking up tasks into a series of smaller bouts. If your goal is to vacuum the house, you may need to do it one room at a time, having a rest in between each – whether that’s for a few minutes, an hour, or a day.

Graded Exposure

The second key component to increasing your pain-free activity is graded exposure. Graded exposure means steadily increasing your exposure to a given task or physical activity. If you’ve been vacuuming one room per day for the last 2 weeks and it hasn’t stirred up your joint pain, then you’re likely ready to increase to 2 rooms per day. After a couple more weeks you can likely do 3 rooms, then in another fortnight doing half the house. Over a period of weeks and months, you can slowly expose your body to the task that was once flaring it up.

Try This

Walking is often an aggravating activity, but usually people have an amount they can cope with before pain sets in. Think about your baseline, can you walk your block? Maybe walking to your letterbox is as far as you can handle? Whatever is your current yardstick, do that consistently for 2 weeks and then slightly increase the time or distance by 5-10%. Every 1-2 weeks increase your time and distance, ensuring you have lots of rest and recovery to complement it.

How to Overcome Your Hatred of Exercise

Being physically active is an extremely daunting prospect for many people. A lot of us have had very negative experiences with exercise over our lifetime. Social pressures, perceived failures, injuries, pain, and being forced into sports and activities that we genuinely don’t enjoy, has tainted exercise for many of us. Now, into our adult life, there are other responsibilities that soak up so much of our time and energy. It can feel almost impossible to carve out enough time to get a workout in.

Unfortunately, our aversion to exercise is really hurting us. The benefits of physical activity are so broad and encompassing, and so extremely meaningful and powerful. If scientists were able to design a pill that provided the same physical, mental and social benefits as exercise, every person on the planet would be taking it.
Although it’s not as easy as taking a pill, physical activity doesn’t need to be hard and complicated either. Physical activity should be as easy and as painless as possible. It can, and should, fit into your life in a way that becomes second nature.

Exercise can become something that anyone can enjoy, it just needs to be reframed and rethought. These tips are here to help you form a positive habit and build exercise into your lifestyle.

1. Start small

Image: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/67661/16-little-words-and-phrases-describing-small-amounts

Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you’re fairly inactive at the moment, just take the first step. It doesn’t need to be grand. In fact, habits are more likely to stick if they have a low barrier-to-entry and a good chance of immediate success. That means, don’t worry about fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships. What’s the most simple activity that you can think of that involves moving your body? Walk, dance, crawl, roll, sweep, dig, run, jump, swim, ride, play, pilates. Anything. Just move a little bit more than you did yesterday and you’re becoming physically active! Achieving a meaningful goal, no matter how small, will unlock the brain’s neurotransmitters to 1) make you feel good about yourself, and 2) rewire the neural circuitry of the brain to make that habit more permanent.

2. Have fun

Image: https://host-students.com/dance-workouts-you-can-do-at-home/

In what way could you move your body that will provide you with a feeling of happiness and fun? It’s different for everyone, and it can often take a long time to find the activity that lights you up. So be ready to experiment. And think outside of the box, it doesn’t need to be an organised form of exercise – like running, golf, kayaking, rock climbing, frisbee, etc – it can be any random activity that involves movement; kicking a ball around with your dog, dancing in the kitchen, walking to the supermarket, rearranging furniture in your house… Absolutely anything. Don’t restrict yourself to the schoolyard parameters of beep tests and team sports.

3. Team up

Image: https://www.austinfitmagazine.com/March-2015/stay-in-shape-by-walking-with-friends/

More often than not, you’re not the only person in your social circle who is looking to get more active. Be vulnerable and ask a mate if they’ll start going on a morning walk with you once or twice a week. Having an accountability partner makes it easier to get out of bed when the alarm starts ringing. It’s harder to bail on a buddy than it is to bail on yourself. Plus, the benefits of chatting, laughing and spending time with other people compounds the mental and emotional benefits of exercise!

4. Be forgiving

Image: https://centerforliving.org/blog/5-best-self-care-tips-this-fall/

It’s OK to miss a day, a weekend, a week, a fortnight… Don’t sweat it. We’re all human, fallible and imperfect. Sometimes life gets in the way – you get tired, become distracted, unmotivated or lazy. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Your self-worth doesn’t depend on you being perfect, or exercising every day, or being kind and calm and caring to every person you interact with! You are allowed to stuff up. You’re allowed to be selfish. You’re allowed to sit on the couch eating ice cream and watching telly. You’re enough, regardless of these behaviours. So when you miss a day, wrap a metaphorical arm around your own metaphorical shoulder and forgive yourself – there’s always tomorrow, and every day thereafter, to go out and exercise. Habits aren’t built in a day, so having one off won’t derail the train. In his book Tiny Habits, leading behavioural expert B.J. Fogg says it best; “people change best by feeling good, not feeling bad”.

The Nuts and Bolts

Adult Australians are recommended to do 2.5-5 hours of moderate intensity exercise per week, or you can halve that time and do your exercise at an intense level for 1.25-2.5 hours.

Image: https://www.amhf.org.au/essa_helps_men_move_with_new_male_specific_exercise_resource

So what does that look like in practice? Here’s a couple of suggestions to get you up to the baseline requirement for physical activity without breaking a sweat.

  • You can briskly walk 15-minutes from your car to your workplace (and vice-versa) 5 days a week, and you’re hitting the low-level guideline. If you haven’t walked much for many months or years, start with a 5-minute walk and build up over a few weeks.
  • In the morning before work, put some music on while making breakfast, and dance around like a fool for 15 minutes til you get a little breathless. Do the same when you get home that evening, and bingo, there’s your 30-mins of daily moderate intensity activity.
  • Go for a 5 minute walk in the morning sun. Put on your favourite song and dance for 5 minutes. Do 2 push ups. Quickly vacuum the hallway. Throw a ball to your dog 5 times. Park 500m away from work. Do 5 squats on your lunch break. Get home and go for a 5 minute walk in the afternoon sun. Water the garden. Surely that’s 30 minutes all up?

Take Home Message

Don’t make it complex. Don’t make it hard. Make it fun, make it silly and make it likely to succeed. Once you get a few wins on the board you’ll be even more likely to start adding in more, higher intensity, activities.

5 Must-do Exercises for Beginner Runners

Some people might say I’m crazy but I seriously love running. It sets up my day, drags me out of bed, and gives me a boost of endorphins that allow me to drive all the way to work with very few road rage incidents. I use it as a way to catch up weekly with friends, meet new people, and keep myself relatively healthy. It’s easy, basically free, and accessible to almost anybody.

There are a myriad of benefits to running! It’s a safe and effective way to improve cardiovascular health, bone density, muscular endurance, boost mood, and improve energy. With these few exercises, some smart programming, and a few expert tips you too can enjoy all of these benefits – physical, mental and social.

But beware, all of the exercises in the world won’t make up for doing too much too soon. An estimated 60% of running related injuries are linked to increasing mileage too quickly. Get a running plan in place that is tailored to your needs and slowly increase your weekly load in 10% increments. If you’re new to running altogether, start by increasing your daily walking before beginning to add small bouts of running.

Every individual has their own unique injury history, strengths, weaknesses, and running goals. Therefore it may be helpful to speak to the team at Peninsula Osteopathy + Allied Health, to get screened and assessed on your current capacity, and provided with an individually tailored plan to ensure you hit the ground running! (Pun intended).

Single leg sit-to-stand

Single leg strength, stability, and endurance is a huge component of running efficiency and capacity. The average runner should be aiming to take around 160-180 steps per minute, so for a 25-minute jog, each leg must support the weight of the body approximately 4000+ times! The single leg sit-to-stand is the perfect way to begin loading the muscles of your hip, buttock and leg – in a similar fashion to the way they are required to work during running. Your health practitioner can help ascertain when and how to progress the exercise, by adding weights, increasing the range of motion, and more!

Sit to stand demonstration

Glute bridge

This exercise focuses on hip extension and increasing the control of your lumbopelvic region (from your low back into your hips and buttock). Our hip extensors, such as the gluteus maximus, are the powerhouse of the running stride. The glute bridge can be altered to become single leg, weighted or with different tempos, all of which may be smart progressions for your practitioner to explore with you.

glute bridge demo

Hamstring bridge

Weakness in the single leg hamstring bridge test has been shown to predict hamstring related injuries in AFL players and military personnel. While we may not be reaching the pace of an AFL player, hamstring strains, tendinopathies, and niggles are still very common amongst casual runners. Start double leg and work towards a single leg variation.

hamstring bridge demo

Copenhagen adduction

Hip and groin pain is another common running niggle. This exercise increases the strength and control of your adductors (groin) while also providing a side plank core control exercise – bang for buck! Begin with a short lever (knee on the chair) and progress to long lever when ready (ankle on the chair).

copenhagen demo

Calf raises

calf complex

The calf complex is made up of the gastrocnemius (the big two headed muscle you can see) and the soleus (underneath and severely under-appreciated). The soleus actually produces the majority of force in the ankle during running. To strengthen the soleus do calf raises with a bent knee and to strengthen the gastrocnemius do them with your knee straight. Did anyone notice that I snuck in 6 exercises?

calf raises demos     Bent Knee Variation    |   Straight Leg Variation


Training for strength

Strength training uses the most weight with the least amount of repetitions with long rest periods in-between. Aiming for the ability to lift large amounts of weight for less time. Following the process of task-specific training, this is most effective for people who are trying to increase their overall load to be moved.

Training for Muscle Hypertrophy (growth)

Hypertrophy refers to muscle size as well as strength, you may see this in body-building where they utilise lighter weights, more repetitions and less time resting for particular muscle groups. Muscles require metabolic stress to increase in size, thus as a result of lactate acid build up and micro tears, the muscle then uses its repair process to rebuild and grow larger. This principle is best used for those beginning any exercise program as this utilises the aims of both muscle strength and movement, combining components of strength and endurance principles.

Training for Power

Power training involves using reasonably lighter weights and longer rest periods whilst the aim of the movement is to encourage speed. Power generally refers to the ability to move at high speeds. Power also includes the use of physics where force equals mass times acceleration and power training aims to practicing the acceleration part of the lift. Power principles are usually seen in athletes or powerlifting where weight is increased but require a high speed to move a certain weight. Power based exercises can also be found in HIIT workouts where explosive movements are completed with reduced rest.

Training for Muscular endurance

Endurance training requires more repetitions to ensure muscle functioning can last longer, usually with lighter weights. Rest is usually less for this principle as endurance is suggestive for long durations with little recovery. Endurance based programs for created for marathon runners, or for the everyday person to be able to withstand loading for an extended amount of time.

Which one is for you?

Consider your goal – what do you want to achieve out of your exercise program?
Consider your day-to-day activities – what do you do each day that requires a specific exercise program relative to your daily routine?
Consider what you have done previously – exercise, work and medical history can all have an impact on the physiological systems used within each of the above principles.
A training program is a variety of structured exercises using the principle FITT will guide you towards achieving your goals better.
• Frequency
• How many times a week for an activity?
• For sedentary individuals, start with 2-3 days/week of aerobic exercise and build up to 5 days/week. Build an exercise regime suited to your lifestyle.
• Intensity
• How hard to exert?
• Someone new to exercise should start at a low intensity, but health changes occur at a moderate exercise intensity
• Type
• Which type of activity should you do?
• Should be enjoyable, affordable, and achievable
• Time
• How long in minutes
• This does not include the warm up or cool down.
• 10 min bouts of exercise can be accumulated throughout the day
• If walking is the exercise – first increase the time before increasing the intensity (walking uphill/at a quicker pace)

Training or exercise programs are always most efficient when tailored specifically for individuals and their goals.

Medical Clearance and assessment is always advised prior to beginning any new exercise regime
Individuals unsure of the correct technique, exercise programming or structuring of a resistance program individual to their goals should consider receiving information and education from a qualified health/fitness professional, or Exercise Physiologist.

Any questions or concerns or if you would like to book in for an appointment to discuss your exercise goals, please contact the clinic on 5253 2345. You can also book online on our website!

Written by Tiarna Preer, Exercise Physiologist


American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Philadelphia :Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000.

This pronouncement was written for the American College of Sports Medicine by: William J. Kraemer, Ph.D., FACSM (Chairperson); Kent Adams, Ph.D.; Enzo Cafarelli, Ph.D., FACSM; Gary A. Dudley, Ph.D., FACSM; Cathryn Dooly, Ph.D., FACSM; Matthew S. Feigenbaum, Ph.D., FACSM; Steven J. Fleck, Ph.D., FACSM; Barry Franklin, Ph.D., FACSM; Andrew C. Fry, Ph.D.; Jay R. Hoffman, Ph.D., FACSM; Robert U. Newton, Ph.D.; Jeffrey Potteiger, Ph.D., FACSM; Michael H. Stone, Ph.D.; Nicholas A. Ratamess, M.S.; and Travis Triplett-McBride, Ph.D. Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: February 2002 – Volume 34 – Issue 2 – p 364-380