Category: Fitness

Benefits of Single Limb Body-Weight Exercise

Many sports require largely single limb execution. Most of the action is one limb at a time while the other limb acts in a supporting manner, or is moving into the ready position. For example in basketball, the players jump off one foot (usually), shoot with one hand (using the other only for balance), and pass with one hand. Running happens one leg at a time. The same is true for soccer, football, rock climbing, golf, obstacle course racing, bowling, etc. So it makes sense to devote some training to getting stronger with single limb movements.

How exactly does training one limb at a time help enhance performance? Body-weight exercise, using one or both limbs, train not only the larger muscles, but the smaller supporting muscles to work as a unit to enhance overall performance and strength. You’re strengthening a whole kinetic chain. Ignoring the smaller muscles leads to weaknesses along the chain. Single limb training takes this one step further by training chains of muscle that more closely imitate common movements in many athletic endeavors. This leads to enhanced athletic performance, because all these kinetic chains are not just stronger, but have been trained to work together efficiently.

Now let’s talk about how the physique is shaped by this type of training. I mentioned the work of the smaller supporting muscles in single limb body-weight training. This leads to greater development of these smaller muscles, more on pace with the larger muscle groups. Because this work is a coordinated effort, there is more of an even development, rather than the major muscle groups standing out so much like you see in bodybuilders, for example. The physique is shaped differently, leading to a more capable look. The body looks ready to perform.

The third benefit I would like to talk about is the spill-over effect from single limb body-weight training and its application to other physical movements. For example any movement that can be done well with one limb, can be done well with two, at least from a strength point of view. If you can do a pull up with one arm, you can do a pull up with two, the reverse is not true. You also have a spill-over with unrelated skills where the movement patterns are similar. For example leaping, which is jumping off one leg, can help you get over a pile of bodies on the football field, over a parkour obstacle, or into someone’s face in a cage match.


Medicine Called Zumba

This Latin inspired zumba performance classes get’s its root & style from different music styles like cumbia, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, chachacha, reggaeton, soca, samba, hip hop music, axé music and tango. Music is core to the resources required necessary to perform zumba. This is more a performance class then fitness class; so it keeps the interest of the user occupied and thus achieves the objective of wellness and better health. The fitness classes are designed to address all age groups from the young ones to up to the old ones. Zumba is all about building balance and coordination. The workout intensity it provides targets the upper body and lower body strength. Maintaining body postures while performing zumba is critical such that the entire body gets exposure to the movements and intensive workout.

Zumba fitness was started in 1990’s by Colombian fitness trainer Alberto “Beto” Perez. Since then it has taken the fitness market by storm. Today it is made available in almost every country and is being offered as a special feature by most of the fitness centers. There are a nine different type of classes to address the different age groups and cohorts. Zumba gold is very elementary and progressively styled fitness session which targets the beginners and the older people; it begins with easy workout steps till the body gets used to its rhythm and then explodes. Zumba step targets the lower body and the workout involves routines and step aerobics performed over Latin music. Zumba toning is a workout performed with toning sticks and targets abs, thighs, arms and other muscle throughout the body.

All it demands is an hour long commitment and commitment towards a healthy & clean meal plan. Zumba fitness classes are also available online and on digital media like DVDs; this is for those who prefer to workout at home. A load of people subscribe to digital classes and operate from their respective homes at ease and convenience. Although it is difficult to stick to schedule when operating from home; however it depends on the individual to make a decision. The fitness class objective usually revolves around improving one’s coordination, mobility, agility, and posture and muscle strength.


Avoid Injuries Working Out

  • Do some warm ups before you begin. If you are going to the gym, running/jogging, riding a bike or starting a round of golf, gently stretch your leg, back and arm muscles to limber them up. It’s also a good idea to have a cool down period when you finish to help prevent any muscles from tighten up. Especially if you haven’t used them in a while.
  • Don’t overdo whatever activity you have chosen. Start slow and increase your exercise or workout as you build up your endurance. Too much too soon and you will have those aches and pains the next day which may cause you to skip your next workout or quit altogether.
  • If you have invested in exercise equipment, read the manual and make sure you are using it correctly. Become familiar with all the resistance levels and again start slow. A trainer or coach can be a big help to getting the most out of your equipment.
  • Make sure you wear the proper clothing, especially footwear. Most injuries occur to the knees and ankles so wearing the proper shoes is important. Wearing the wrong clothing probably won’t cause a physical injury but could create a rash or skin irritation. You want to allow for maximum freedom of movement when you exercise.
  • If you have suffered an injury, make sure it is fully healed before you start to work out again. The last thing you want to happen is to be re-injured and maybe have to succumb surgery or wind up wearing a brace.

Do You Overlook Calf Training?

Your calf muscles support you through each and every step you take, so they are always working. The stronger they are, the less likely you will be to suffer fatigue as you are walking around doing your daily tasks and the more balance and agility you will have.

If you participate in any sports or recreational activities, chances are your calf muscles are playing a vital role in keeping your body upright and moving in the direction you want to go. This said, how can you make the most of your calf training? What needs to be in place to optimize your results?

Let’s look at a few key points to keep in mind about calf workouts…

  • Seated And Standing Calf Extensions. First, note both seated as well as standing calf raises should be carried out as you go about your workout session. They are going to work different parts of your calf muscles so by doing both; you ensure you are getting a full level of stress placed on the muscle. Better overall strength development will result, as well as enhanced overall muscle definition.
  • Multiple Rep Ranges. Next, you should also be varying your rep ranges. Generally speaking, you will want to focus on heavier weights and lower reps when doing seated calf raises, and higher reps and lighter weights when doing standing calf raises. Your muscles will respond best to this type of training, leading to naturally increased performance. When doing your reps you want them to be slower and controlled when using heavier weights, and when using the lighter weights, focus on short intense contractions, speeding up the rising part of the calf raise to help build explosive power.
  • Half Reps. Finally, take note you can also perform half reps whenever you hit a point of fatigue. Half reps will help bring total exhaustion to the muscles, getting you past any plateaus you may be experiencing.


Isolation vs Multijoint Exercises

They are more natural and more effective at any of the three goals (muscular strength, size, or endurance). Our muscles are made to work together, in combination, to best perform strenuous tasks like deadlifting. Multijoint exercises allow you to stimulate the maximum number of muscle groups in a minimum amount of time. They allow you to manipulate heavy weights. The also allow you to work within a range of motion where your muscles can best express their full power.

Because muscle mass comes into play, they are the hardest exercises physically. This is why many people avoid these exercises. Because of the number of muscles these exercises stress, it’s not always possible and rarely easy to target the specific muscles you wish to develop.

For example, push-ups use the elbow and shoulder joints. Therefore, this is a multijoint exercise. The movement works the chest, triceps, and shoulders, primarily. Nearly impossible to determine is how much work each of those muscle groups is performing. For some people, the chest muscles will perform the majority of the work. For others, the triceps will be mostly stressed. Some yet will feel it all in their shoulders. Based on this, calling push-ups a chest exercise could be spot on or completely incorrect, depending on who you are talking to.

In multijoint exercises, the range of motion is often less than that of isolation exercises. This range may not be what is needed based on the particular sport you may be focusing on.

By using fewer muscle groups at one time, isolation exercises use less strength and energy. They are therefore much easier than multijoint exercises. Isolation exercises target muscles better than multijoint exercises. In general, it is difficult not to feel a muscle targeted by an isolation exercise. Isolation exercises are also better for developing individual muscular control. If a muscle is not developed by a multijoint exercise, a few weeks of training with isolation exercises can wake it up. When you begin conducting multijoint exercises again, you will likely feel that muscle taking on more of the work. The muscle will then be more likely to respond to the work required by exercises that involve multiple joints.

Generally, isolation exercises are less effective than multijoint exercises for increasing strength and size. Muscle isolation is an artificial phenomenon. As stated before, when performing work requiring strength, your muscles are made to work together, not in an isolated fashion.

If you attempted to reproduce the work performed by multijoint exercises with only isolation exercises, you would waste a lot of time. In the example of the push-ups, you would have to conduct a chest exercise, plus a shoulder exercise, and a triceps exercise.

The greater range of motion in isolation exercises does not allow you to use as heavy a weight as you would use in multijoint exercises.

In conclusion, strength training programs should consist of primarily multijoint exercises as they allow for intense work on a maximun number of muscle groups in a minimum amount of time. Isolation exercises can later be added into the program to target specific areas you want to further develop.


How You Can Ease Your Gym Fear

  • Book A Session With A Trainer. If not knowing how to use the equipment is what is stopping you, that is an easy fix. Just book a session with a trainer to help show you. They will help you learn the ropes, and before you know it, you will look like a pro. One or two sessions with a trainer can make any beginner feel far more confident in going to the gym.
  • Wear Clothing You Feel Comfortable In. Next, be sure you wear clothing you are comfortable in. At the start, it is not about fashion. Instead, it is about function. Worry about how you look later. Right now, focus on comfort. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you will be, and that is what most people will notice anyway.
  • Start Slow. It is important you start slow. The last thing you want to do when you first start at a gym is to try every piece of equipment and then find you cannot walk the next morning. If you are learning a bunch of new exercises, try just doing two or three first. Get used to those and then add more to the mix. This will help to limit your post-workout muscle soreness and make going to the gym a far more positive experience.
  • Get A Training Partner. Finally, consider getting a training partner. Going with a friend to the gym is a fast and easy way to feel more comfortable and take the pressure off you. When you are with someone else, it will not feel like everyone is watching you (which, chances are, they are not anyway!).

Booty Shaping Exercises

  • Lunges: This exercise really does tone and shape your butt. When you first start doing lunges don’t add any extra weight. Your body needs to get used to this type of exercise first. Lunges put extra stress on your knees so it is important that you do this exercise properly. There are plenty of free exercise videos on YouTube which can teach you the correct way to do a lunge.
  • Squats: Squats are the most popular exercise to tone up muscles. Use your own body weight for resistance training. Remember to keep your back straight while doing squats. This takes the pressure off your lower back and puts it on your buttocks were it is most needed. Other things to remember when doing squats are: distribute your weight evenly by keeping your feet flat on the floor and using your heels to push you up out of the squat. Don’t drop into a squat; use controlled movements so that your knees will not be put under a lot of extra pressure.
  • Stair Climbing: Instead of taking the elevator why not climb a few sets of stairs instead? Alternatively you can use a stair climber at the gym or in your home if you have one. The muscles in the backs of your legs and buttocks get an excellent workout when climbing stairs.
  • The Isometric Butt Squeeze: You can do this while watching T.V. Lie face down on the floor and squeeze your butt cheeks together for 30 seconds at a time. Alternatively, you can do this exercise while sitting in a chair or standing. Butt squeezes are exceptionally good for women; it tightens the pelvic floor area and tones the buttocks at the same time.
  • Step-ups: For this exercise you will need a step or bench. You start with one foot on the ground and the other on the stair. Push off with your foot that is on the ground until it reaches the same height as the one on the stair. Slowly lower back down until your foot is back on the floor. Change feet and repeat as many times as you can.

Benefits of Using Outdoor Fitness Equipment

Free exercise

The public parks that install this type of equipment are providing a completely free option to get fit and healthy. This helps to save on the monthly or yearly cost of buying gym membership. It has the ability to encourage more people to get active because there is no cost involved. Most of the outdoor fitness equipment is relatively easy and simple to use to avoid potential injury and doesn’t require the need to hire a personal trainer. Even though the exercise options will be limited compared to a full gym, it is still a great introduction to different exercises and helps to get fit.

Mix strength and cardio training

Exercising outdoors usually means there is a lot space to combine a varied range of workouts. The use of equipment like bikes or rowers is great for cardio. But, this exercise is also achieved by running about the park. This activity should be combined with strength training to tone-up and build muscle. Useful equipment can include pull-downs and leg presses to help target the different muscles throughout the body. Mixing the different forms of exercise is the most effective way to help build muscle and lose weight. Plus, muscle is more effective at burning calories, so the body naturally burns more calories when a mix of exercises takes place.

Family friendly environment

The less confident children are more likely to be encouraged to use the outdoor fitness equipment in a park or similar space compared to a traditional gym environment. It is a great way to get children to exercise. The children can learn by seeing others exercising and see this as a normal part of day-to-day life. Also, it gives families with grown children the opportunity to be outside and exercise in a fun and relaxed environment.


How to Do Pull-Ups

The only way to get strong enough to do pull-ups is to actively train for it. You need patience, but if you can invest in this for a few weeks, you’ll easily conquer this exercise.

Phase 1: Eccentrics Only

  • To begin with, you need to focus on the eccentric portion of the movement, which is when you lower yourself to the bottom. This is also called a ‘negative’, and is where you start to build a lot of the strength required for pull-ups.
  • Simply jump up and grab the bar and using either momentum from your jump or with a chair, position yourself at the top of the movement with your chin at the bar.
  • Then, release your legs from the chair (if using one) and lower yourself to the bottom AS SLOWLY AS POSSIBLE.
  • This is a single rep exercise, and you want to try it no more than 4 times, so 4 sets during a session.
  • Your goal is to work towards stretching your negative from top to bottom for as close to 20 seconds as possible. Meaning – it should take you 20 seconds to get from top to bottom. Once you can do this on all four sets, you’re ready for the next phase.

Phase 2: Eccentrics with Pauses

  • Same as Phase 1, get to the top of the bar, but this time, while lowering yourself, pause half-way down.
  • Hold your pause for 8-10 seconds.
  • Then lower yourself two-thirds down.
  • Hold for another 8-10 seconds.
  • Then lower to the bottom.
  • Rinse and repeat, 4 sets the same way.
  • Once you can do this, move to Phase 3.

Phase 3: Spotter + 2-ankle hold

  • By now – you should be ready to start cranking out full range pull-ups with support. Here’s where having a friend or a spotter really helps.
  • Grab the bar, assume the bottom position of the chin-up and crook your ankles together, and have a friend/buddy grab your ankles with a firm grip.
  • This way, when you push down your ankles into their hands, you’ll push yourself up.
  • Do this and work towards getting out 12 reps in a set. When you can do that, move to Phase 4.

Phase 4: Spotter + 1-ankle hold

  • This phase is the same as the previous, but now your spotter will only grab 1 ankle to support you.
  • This forces you to use more of your stabilizer muscles to generate the power for the lift.
  • Do this version till you can get 12 reps in a set.
  • Then move to the next phase.

Phase 5: Spotter + waist support

  • Final phase – the spotter will now support you by holding you at the waist, while you pull yourself up towards the bar.
  • Once you can get 12 reps this way, you are ready

Test

Now, you should try to perform a un-supported strict pull-up. If you followed the program you will already be able to do about 4-5 clean reps with no help at all.

From here on, it’s all about practice and practice. Keep at it and watch your numbers go up!


Make Exercising Fun

  • Trying Something New and Doing What You Love
    On way to make your exercising fun it to try something new. If you’re just going through the motions of a workout you are bored. Chances are you’re doing the minimum and getting minimum results. Switch it up. If you’re excited about what you’re doing in the gym, on the track or on the trail, you’ll be more into it, and you’ll get more out of it. Another way to make exercising fun is to do what you love. The biggest benefit to doing something you love for exercise is that you’ll actually do it and like it. The psychological benefits suggest that “forced exercise” isn’t as helpful and voluntary exercise. Voluntary exercise attributes to well-being while forces exercise does just the opposite.
  • Finding a Partner and Playing Games
    Getting a workout partner can always add an extra spice to your workout routine. A like-minded individual to push you, offer encouragement, suffer and succeed with you will make things a lot easier and much more interesting.

You can also incorporate games while you workout such as lifting odd-shaped weights, or playing a team sport such as basketball. You can also add a little competition between the two of you which can always make things a little more riveting.

  • Go Outside and Make it Count
    Go camping, or take in a sunset. Simply being outside has health benefits. Sunlight increases testosterone levels via vitamin D production. It also helps recharge your body and soul. There are many volunteer projects that require lots of physical efforts that will give you a workout, while contributing to the community such Habitat for Humanity for example. Not only will you get exercise while being outside, but you will be contributing to your community as well. Positive all the way around.