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Michael Gonzalez-Wallace  
Male, 39
New York, NY

Specialties: strength training, neuroscience, special needs topics

Interests: Medicine, Exercise and Fitness, brain

Super Body, Super Brain
Health and Fitness Expert, Sports Medicine, Bachelor in Economics Science-Exercise: Author of Super Body, Super Brain
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Movement for greater Fitness. Biceps Curl with eyes closed: Close your eyes to train balance and biceps with one move

Nov 19, 2011 - 2 comments
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From Body Smart: Click here to read the best digital magazine from Nomad editions
My new Super Body, Super Brain move of the week from Bodysmart magazine is here! This week one of my most challenging moves from my book Super Body, Super Brain

A challenging move to train your body and your mind!. When your eyes are closed, your brain and body are missing their normal cues, so you have to work much harder to stay balanced. You will develop spectacular balance, upper body strength and toning in your leg muscles.

With feet close to each other, arms straight, and weights at your sides,  lift your right thigh until it's parallel to the floor then close your eyes while curling the weights to your shoulders. This is one rep. Do it 10 times. That's one set. Beginners (5lbs) do three sets advanced can do 5 (10lbs). If this move is too challenging try it with one closed first.
Click here to see this video copy and paste the following link

http://youtu.be/MHU3EBhnDh8
to see my philosophy, exercises and my whole plan check my book Super Body, Super Brain


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by nacelle, Dec 21, 2011
1- like any neuromuscular patterning, balance is context specific, therefore an almost useless blanket term. not much 'improves balance' (how do you measure?) globally- it's an individually realized and practiced skill. bosu balance does not equal tight rope balance does not equal ice skate balance does not equal skateboard balance.
2- 'righting' mechanisms are a series of low level facilitation/ inhibition sequences. using an ankle or hip strategy (on 1 leg, a combination of both, likely favoring the ankle strategy in the healthy individual) is how people will primarily maintain balance. People don't just 'tone up' their legs walking across a balance beam for 3 sets of 10 strides. At BEST, you're recruiting stabilizer function, the primary muscles of which have a far lower capacity for hypertrophy. The stimulus just isn't there. In short, if it doesn't burn a ton of calories (because thats the only way definition will increase in this scenario), your legs will not get 'toned'.
3- Destabilizing an object is a very good way to de-recruit high threshold motor units. You will almost never intrinsically produce a force through a joint that you can't stabilize. You never see a powerlifter (or any good one for that matter) do 1 leg squats on a bosu to increase strength. It may recruit the stabilizers more, but a 1 leg curl with eyes closed doesn't challenge glenohumeral/ scapulohumeral or scapulothoracic stability to the point where it makes you any better at curling, or challenge the stabilizers enough to allow for a heavier curl with eyes open and two feet on the ground. You're also much more likely to revert to compensation patterns in the spine for poor hip extension and possibly substitute for a weak portion of the strength curve for elbow flexion.
4-  #5 or #10 weights will do nothing for strength in all but the most severely deconditioned.
5- 1 joint movements like the curl wont make you strong in any appreciable, and especially functional way.



1741471_tn?1369660473
by Michael Gonzalez-WallaceBlank, Dec 25, 2011
HI Nacelle and thanks so much for posting this really interesting questions. I am going to try to address all of them individually but i truly love them since your questions are what we consider in the fitness world with New and Old school of fitness. Let me address the first one:

1- like any neuromuscular patterning, balance is context specific, therefore an almost useless blanket term. not much 'improves balance' (how do you measure?) globally- it's an individually realized and practiced skill. bosu balance does not equal tight rope balance does not equal ice skate balance does not equal skateboard balance.

First question: have you really tried this exercise that I am proposing here? Cause if you had tried this exercise for 2 weeks I wonder if you would keep asking me these questions that i truly love believe me....

Let me say first that the motor systems of the brain and spinal cord control every movement we make, from the simplest to the most complex. Movements define us as humans every bit as much as our intellect, or our art. Movements have allowed us to excel over animals throughout evolution.
. The motor system has many components, located in many different parts of the brain and spinal cord. One component is the cerebellum. It is important in coordination, among other things. The Cerebellum has three different parts. Why are these parts so important?
Each part contributes something different to the overall function of the cerebellum and the motor system. One for posture and balance, one for coordinating movements of our arms and legs, and a third for helping us to plan our movements.

I disagree with you that balance is context specific. Balance is an extremely complicated process that involves the neuromuscular system including brain structures and myofascial web: Balance is an internal physiological feature of the human body and context specific can help us improve it but is not "just context specific" like you are proposing. In other words we tend to forget that when we are training balance we are recruiting a powerful network called Fascia. Fascia  is a type of connective tissue that intertwines, separates and binds every muscle, organ and soft-tissue structure in the body (Myers 2001). I agree with you that context specific meaning proprioception would train balance in a specific manner increasing our possibilities of improving balance. How do we measure? Simple through observation. If you do a one leg stand while doing bicep curl for 10 seconds if that is easy you increase the time of the exercise so it is a time sensitive. In addition you can measure through observation from a proprioceptive exercise how much the fascia web meaning joints are stabilizing and moving, meaning that try to do a one leg stand for ten seconds if you are fit your leg barely will move, if you close one eye it would represent more challenge for the fascia so it will tend to have problems stabilizing and if you close both eyes like in the exercise it would even be harder. After a few of weeks of doing this exercise for few weeks you will experience how your joints will get better at the exercise.

Regarding your question about the bosu ball it doesn't equal walking in a tight rope.
I agree to a certain point with you of course it doesn't but when you are trying to affect a clients balance you don't need to put them walking in a tight rope or skating, you just need to train the proprioceptive systems by adding external stimuli that can be as simple as balance and coordination exercise and then adding more stimuli like bosu and so on. That is why it has been an explosion of proprioceptive gym tools since it has proven they are beneficial to individuals pursuing increase in balance following a really simple concept Adaptations of the Neuromuscular system check this study
"Human neuromuscular adaptations that accompany changes in activity.McComas AJ.Source Department of Biomedical Sciences, McMaster Health Sciences Centre, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
and this other study Physical training modulates structural and functional features of cell nuclei in type II myofibers of old mice.
Malatesta M, Fattoretti P, Giagnacovo M, Pellicciari C, Zancanaro C.

And also check this great article "Understanding Muscles & Movement: From Theory To Practice by Justin Price, MA

In other words if you are training athletes i would agree with you that bosu maybe it would not be enough but for most part of the population following fitness that non competitive this proprioceptive exercises are extremely beneficial to improve their neuromuscular adaptations that eventually will lead a better balance and health

I would agree with you that walking in a tight rope is not the same as the bosu but still are both beneficial. It is like you are comparing to be a non professional basketball player or play in the NBA. They both need to follow different types of training and impact exercise creates a deterioration of the joints but not balance that improves a better connectivity between the fascia and the muscles.

I will respond the rest of the questions later...thanks!






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