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Issue: #2 February 2010
Thank you for being part of our community. ASEP is the specific voice for (historically under-represented) Exercise Physiologists. Please use this Newsletter as a link to ASEP resources from scientific journals to professional papers, to employment and related opportunities. And be sure to click on "More On Us" at the left for the ASEP-Newsletter's parent web site.
Yours in health, 
-Lonnie Lowery and Jonathan Mike, ASEP-Newsletter Editors 
 Editor's Corner

editorialCooperation Among Allied Health Scientists

This month I'd like to relate some thoughts on the lack of awareness among allied health scientists. After reading some interesting research proposals recently, submitted by nurses, I was struck with the absence of exercise physiologists (and others) from the research teams. One proposal specifically sought to analyze the impact of physical activity and lifestyle in a corporate wellness environment. Another, focusing on diabetes (a condition strongly improved with appropriate exercise interventions), gave a relatively small nod to dietitians but again did not include exercise physiologists (EPs). Although I can appreciate the level of expertise required at high levels of nursing, would it not be best to include exercise and nutrition specialists at the highest levels on such projects?

To me, when an academic or a practitioner wants to answer a particular health question, particularly if it has obvious trans-disciplinary components, she or he should understand and/ or respect other disciplines enough to defer to their expertise. Whether it's the magnitude or time frame for expected adaptations (training results) during a study or barriers to exercise compliance or unique physiological exercise-nutrition interactions or new findings only obtainable from exercise physiology laboratories and conferences, there are real advantages to including EPs.

Some educators have gone so far as to suggest "problem-oriented" rather than discipline-oriented research and curricula. As someone who has studied in two disciplines and seen the differing perspectives on given issues, I for one would seriously consider this approach.

Of course, this boundary-crossing inclusion of specialists is a two-way street (or even four-way or six-way intersection). Exercise physiologists need to recognize and include nurses, dietitians, counselors and physicians where possible. Indeed, as the least-licensed profession among the group (even if we are perhaps the most research-focused), we need to make ourselves known to health professions that otherwise may discount us because of our lower profile "professional footprint".

So, this month I would like to call for greater awareness and respect among allied health researchers, just as I have done in the past regarding groups who grant specialist certifications to their constituent practitioners. Human knowledge and public safety are best served when specialists with years devoted to a given topic are invited to join in the process.


Lonnie Lowery, PhD

ASEP-Newsletter Editor 

Ask the EP 
Q:  This month we change pace and offer another personal essay from our "Ask the EP" Assistant Editor. 

Squatology 101- Part 1

Still today, many will state that "squats are the single worst exercise ever invented for sports performance". Or perhaps even better, that "squats are bad for the knees", or the ridiculous claim that if you "roll your knee too far forward, you will BLOW OUT YOUR PATELLA TENDON" ..and causes as much damage as it does, etc, etc" - Are you serious? I hope that individuals making these preposterous statements are joking. Let's examine this more closely.

In Squatting, the bar has to remain over the mid-foot. Knees too far forward would shift the bar to a position vertically forward of the mid-foot; too horizontal of a back would do the same thing. Too vertical a back would shift the bar behind the mid-foot, as would insufficiently forward knees.

The problem with knees too far forward is not only more torque on knees, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, it has a detrimental effect on hip extension. This produces a more acute knee angle and decreases the contribution of the hamstrings contraction to hip extension.

Some people talk about loading the heels. Although this statement alone is not specific enough to understand what can occur during the execution of the lift. Many people try to load all the weight on their heels. As result, this shifts the weight way too much on the heels and therefore they start to fall back, although stance, and bar position may be correct. Or the opposite can occur, they shift too far forward on the toes, which shifts weight forward on the knee and take away from hip extension, which is vital to the overall lift. They must learn to distribute the weight on the entire foot, while shoving the knees out upon the concentric and eccentric phases.

Now, some well known coaches and trainers discuss how the back tends to be the weakest link in the squat and posterior chain. I tend to agree with this position, but it also depends on the amount of weight used, and amount of volume , etc. If the back is the limiting factor/can be a limiting factor/weakest link, then simply do the things that enhance low back strength and core strength. Besides additional core exercises, heavy SLDL's (stiff leg deadlifts) or heavy DB SLDL's, Glute-Ham Raise and reverse Glute-Ham raise are excellent assistance exercises for increasing low back strength, not to mention Good-Mornings, which are more specific to squats (deadlifts too) Rotating these exercises are tremendously helpful to squatting, especially when heavy loads are involved.

It is important to understand the role of the erector spinae muscles as well. They serve to lock the pelvis and lower back together into rigid structures, to protect the vertebral column from movement under load and prevent the intervertebral column from excessive damage. As squat depth increases, and the torso assumes a more forward tilt, the bottom of the pelvis, locked into the rigid spine, tilts away from the back of the knee. If the hamstrings lack adequate extensibility, they will exert enough tension on the bottom of the pelvis to pull it out of its locked position in the lower back, breaking muscular tension, thus this is one way the "rounding" will occur.

If the knees move forward at the bottom of the squat, then hamstring relaxation has occured, because they pull the knee back. They insert on the tibia and provide posterior tension, which has to increase (or at least should) with the squat depth as the other attachment points on the pelvis tilts away. If the tension is inadequate to keep the knees from sliding forward as the bottom position, reexamination and thorough assessments have to be made. In addition, when the knees travel forward at the bottom, tension is put on the hip flexors as they insert of on the anterior superior iliac spine. So the big muscles, rectus femoris, sartorius, and TFL cross both the hip and knee joints and produce movement around each. So, in the squat, their knee extensor function is the main concern, since active hip flexion does not occur (hopefully). At the bottom position though, if the knees move forward, tension is increased on these muscles and their attachment at the hip and the knee angle is shortened (more acute). Then the anterior superior iliac spine is therefore pulled on tremendously and can produce tendinitis. Which is why some people feel tension or perhaps uncomfortable pain in the hip flexor area during or even after squatting.

Stay tuned next month for Squatology Part 2!

Jonathan Mike, MS, CSCS, USAW, NSCA-CPT,
Doctoral Student, Assistant Editor
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Opportunities Related to Exercise Physiology

Community Announcement: Iron has issued a call for brief submissions from EP students or professionals interested in getting their first involvement in legitimate Internet / pod casting settings. Opinions on professional issues or micro reviews and recent research are welcomed. Students' audio submissions (see National Public Radio (NPR]) and / or the Iron web site for examples) will be editor-reviewed by ASEP-Newsletter Editors Dr. Lonnie Lowery and Jonathan Mike. The submissions should be 300-500 word essays read aloud and recorded with Windows Sound Recorder or similar software and sent via email to Iron is not ASEP-affiliated.

The Department of Kinesiology at the University of New Hampshire... is currently seeking applicants for a tenure track appointment in Exercise Science at the Assistant or Associate Professor level. ...more information...
NOTE: ASEP Board of Directors with approval of The Center for Exercise Physiology-online developed the "EPC Petition Guidelines" for doctorate exercise physiologists to become Board Certified.

Thank you for perusing our opinions, facts and opportunities in this edition of the ASEP-Newsletter.

Lonnie Lowery
American Society of Exercise Physiologists

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