Rhabdomyolysis is a very serious disorder, which until recently used to be very rare, but unfortunately, is becoming more prevalent due to people training at much higher Intensity Levels then their bodies are conditioned to handle.
“Rhabdo” as some are calling it, is a very serious disorder that occurs from the breakdown of muscle fibers and the release of the damaged cell’s contents into the blood. It is characterized by muscle pain, weakness, swelling and possible excretion of what may appear to be blood through urethra. This is not blood; it is the destroyed muscles cells that cannot be processed by the kidneys. These muscle cells cannot be replaced and can place a very high load on the kidneys. If these levels build up high enough concentrations, it may/can cause kidney failure and even death.
In previous Fitbits, I described research that presented High Intensity and relatively Low Volume workouts leading to greater over-all gains in terms of improving strength, size and body composition: increasing muscle mass and decreasing fat mass. This included research that High Intensity workouts of 45 minutes or less were safe and effective. However, the basic exercise physiology principles you learned in your IFPA Personal Trainer Certification Course still apply: S.A.I.D. Principle (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands), the G.P.O Principle (Gradual Progressive Overload), and the F.I.T.T Principle (Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type) must always be followed.
No beginner or anyone who has not worked out for a long duration of 3-6 months, dependent on age and condition should begin strength training at a time (Volume) of greater than One Set of One Exercise per body part; a Frequency of greater than three times/week; an Intensity greater than 15RM; or a Program Type greater than Concentric Contraction of 2 seconds, and an Eccentric Contractions of 4 seconds, unassisted.
The Progression should never increase greater than 10% /week & no more than one Factor of the F.I.T.T. Principle can increase at the same time/week. We have all heard “Work Smart, Not Hard.” But too many never heed this advice. Like any Drug Prescription, it is imperative you find the correct and safe dose for you and your current condition.
Trying to do too much, too hard, too soon can have devastating and deadly consequences for you and your clients. Some are treating “Rhabdo” as a “Badge of Courage.” This is a huge mistake. Not only does “Rhabdo” cause a Permanent loss of muscle fiber, it could end your life.
Dr. Jim Bell, CEO IFPA