Imagine designing opening ceremony uniforms for a whole Olympic team! They would need to be pretty versatile to suit all the different sizes and shapes that athletes come in. High jumpers: tall and lean with long legs; weight lifters: muscle-bound arms and short, muscle-bound legs for a low center of gravity; gymnasts: small, light, and lean; swimmers: wide shoulders. A designer could make these assumptions because physical characteristics such as height, weight, limb lengths, and the amount and distribution of muscle mass or body fat help the performance of various types of exercise. So athletes, particularly at the highest level of competition, will tend towards the physique that favors the demands of their sport.
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What is a desirable body-fat level?
In terms of sports performance, extra body 93 Achieving an ideal physique fat can improve flotation, provide insulation against the cold, and protect body organs from damage during contact sports. However, these benefits must be balanced against the increased effort required to move additional body weight. Being heavier increases the energy cost of movement.
In particular, extra body fat causes a decrease in the ratio of body weight that is active to body weight that isn’t often referred to as your power-to-weight ratio. (At this stage, we should note that when we jump on the scales, we actually measure our body mass.
However, since most people refer to it as weight, we will use that term throughout this book.) Participants in some sports will not be disadvantaged by a higher level of body fat, particularly if the sport is based on skill rather than aerobic fitness. Think of golf or archery. By contrast, a low level of body fat is crucial for athletes such as triathletes and marathon runners, who expend energy in transporting their own weight over long distances
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ideal shape and body composition. Therefore, it is dangerous to establish compulsory body-fat and body-weight targets for each sport. Rather, individual athletes should be monitored over their career and over the different parts of a season or specialized training to see the range of characteristics that are associated with good outcomes. Within this range, each athlete can probably find his or her own ideal weight and body-fat levels, guided by the following questions
What is a desirable muscle mass?
Weightlifters, sprinters, rowers, and rugby players all need to develop muscle mass so they can generate explosive power. In other sports, muscle mass is required to achieve the right ‘look bodybuilding exemplifies 95 Ach I evening an ideal physique for this need. Of course, some athletes, like rugby forwards and gridiron football players, simply need to be big for momentum and protection and have some leeway for carrying body fat.
An increase in muscle size and strength occurs naturally during adolescence, particularly in males. However, in sports where size, strength, and power are important, athletes want to achieve specific muscle hypertrophy (growth) through a program of progressive muscle overload or resistance training. As is the case for body-fat levels, many athletes and coaches have unrealistic expectations about how muscular an individual can get, and how quickly. Genetics can make it harder or easier for any athlete to respond to a muscle-gain program, and it takes years for most athletes to achieve their ideal muscle mass.