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Lower Weights for Greatest Strength Gains

Many weight lifters do not realize that lowering a weight slowly, called negative lifting, is a greater stimulus to grow your muscles than raising it. The only stimulus that makes a muscle stronger is to exercise it against increasing resistance. The greater the resistance without injury, the greater the gain in strength.

You can lower heavier weights than you can lift. As you raise a weight, you have to slow down because gravity works against you so that the weight feels heavier as you continue to raise it. On the other hand, when you lower a weight, you tend to move faster as gravity works with you and the weight feels lighter. You can take advantage of this to build stronger muscles.

Heavy negative lifting workouts put so much stress on your muscles, heart and blood vessels that they should be done only by experienced lifters who are healthy and well-trained, and have appropriate supervision and their doctor’s approval. Pick 10 to 15 lifts that you do regularly. Start out by lifting the heaviest weight that you can lift ten times in a row. You will struggle to get through the last three or four lifts. Then add five to 15 pounds, which may be too heavy for you to lift. Two friends should lift the weight with you, and then you try to lower it six times. You'll really hurt and you may want to quit. Add another 10 pounds and try lower the weight three times. This workout will hurt and can injure you, so ask for help if you need it. Allow at least two days to recover before you lift again.


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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Are there any particular vitamins or minerals that I should take to help me control my diabetes?

Lack of vitamin D impairs a person’s immunity and ability to produce insulin and respond to insulin. A study from Bulgaria shows that giving vitamin D supplements to diabetics during the winter markedly improved control of their blood sugar levels (International Journal of Clinical Practice, Volume 57, Issue 4, 2003).

Most people require sunlight to meet their needs for vitamin D because it is very difficult to get enough from food. This means that many people in the northern latitudes are deficient in vitamin D by the end of winter, particularly people with dark skin. This study shows that giving vitamin D pills to Type 2 diabetics during the winter improved control of blood sugar levels by increasing the first response of insulin from the pancreas to a rise in blood sugar, and by improving cell response to insulin. If this study can be confirmed, doctors will recommend that diabetics take vitamin D supplements whenever they cannot get adequate exposure to sunshine. More on controlling diabetes


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Do the machines that stimulate muscles with electricity cause you to lose weight?

No. The US Federal Trade Commission ordered the makers of belts that send an electrical impulse into the belly muscles must stop advertising that the devices build muscle and get rid of fat. The manufacturers have agreed to stop promoting these devices as a weight-loss and muscle-building tool. They had spent $12 million on half-hour television spots, to make their ad one of the most aired infomercials in the country.

Muscles contract when your brain sends an electrical impulse down nerves. Muscles also contract when an electric wire sends electrical impulses over muscles. However, there is no data to show that the contractions caused by electrical impulses will enlarge muscles or get rid of fat the way that exercise does.


Recipe of the Week:
Incredible Creamy Clam Chowder
(you really have to try this to believe it)

More soups, main dishes, salads and desserts . . .

June 27th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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