Physiology and Anatomy


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Does a Cool Down Period Help You Recover from Training?

Answer: It probably does, though of course it depends on the level and type of training.

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Soda Loading (Bicarbonate Loading, Buffer Boosting) for High Intensity Anaerobic Endurance

During high intensity anaerobic events, the muscles fatigue and energy supply is compromised because of the buildup of lactic acid from glycolysis. Athletes in high intensity events that last 2 to 10 minutes, such as a 400 to 800 or 1500 meter running races or middle distance swimming races sometimes use soda loading in an attempt to neutralize the lactic acid that accumulates in the blood. Depending on interpretation of the research, some experts suggest that the benefit is limited to events of 1 to 7 minute duration. Soda loading is also called buffer boosting or bicarbonate loading. It is also called, more rarely, soda doping or simply acid buffering.

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All-Or-None Response (Of Muscle Fibers)

All-or-none Response: Phenomenon in which a muscle fiber contracts completely when exposed to a threshold stimulus, or not at all. When a skeletal muscle is stimulated to contract by a motor neuron a minimum amount of stimulus is needed to start the process of muscle contraction.

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Allodynia is pain caused by a stimuli which does not normally cause pain. An example is cutaneous allodynia which is pain caused by normal activities involving the skin such as brushing the hair, shaving, showering and other daily grooming activities. Sometimes intense pain can occur from the slightest brushing against the skin so that even clothing can cause agony. Sometimes this pain occurs in areas other than the area where the stimulus occurs but it is not the same thing as referred pain.

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Autogenic Inhibition

Autogenic inhibition, also called the inverse myotatic reflex, is the stimulation of a muscle which causes its neurologic relaxation. It is the reflex inhibition of a motor unit when excessive tension, as monitored by the Golgi tendon organs, is applied to the muscle fiber that it triggers.

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Afferent Nerves

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Active Insufficiency

Active insufficiency occurs when a multi-joint muscle reaches a length (shortened) where it can no longer apply an effective force. To demonstrate active insufficiency one can fully flex (bend) the knee on one leg while simultaneously trying to bring that leg back to achieve full hip extension. Hip extension will be limited because the hamstrings are unable to shorten enough to produce a complete range of motion. Some will also notice a cramping in the hamstring muscles during this maneuver. By the same token, if you try bringing back your hip into a hyper-extended position (bringing your leg behind you), and then bending your knee, you will find that your knee flexion is limited. The hamstrings can only perform one of these functions well at one time. When both are attempted at the same time, the muscle essentially goes "slack" and is unable to contract effectively because it is already well shortened. Straightening the leg (extending the knee) should restore full range of hip extension motion and the difference will be significant. Active insufficiency reflects the inability of a multijoint muscle to apply an adequate force in all degrees of motion.

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Action Potential

An action potential is an electrical signal that passes along the membrane of a neuron or muscle fiber. When an applied electrical stimulus is beyond a certain level called the threshold of excitation, a massive depolarization of the membrane occurs.

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