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Using Exercises bands for Strength Gains

By LIUJJ

Using Exercises bands for Strength Gains

Benefits of Resistance Band Exercises

Whether you're using superbands or old-school resistance tubing, the benefits of performing resistance band exercises are largely the same.

Transport

Bands are lightweight and easy to transport. Just roll a few up and throw them in a suitcase or gym bag and you'll have resistance training equipment available wherever you go.

Effectiveness

A band's resistance increases as it continues to stretch, with the greatest resistance at the apex of each exercise. When you lift a dumbbell, you know you're lifting a set amount of weight through a full range of motion. What you may not realize is that at the apex of each movement, you get a little break.

Take, for instance, a shoulder press. As you lift the dumbbells, pressing them overhead, you're working against gravity to push the weight up. When your elbows extend fully, your well-aligned bones help support the weight before you reverse the movement and work with gravity to lower the weights (in a controlled manner) back to your shoulders.

When performing a resistance band shoulder press, the resistance level is relatively light at the beginning of the movement. It gradually increases as you press the band up, reaching its peak resistance when your elbows are fully extended. To maintain form, your stabilizing muscles have to remain engaged at the top of the movement, helping increase joint stabilization, which, over time, can reduce the chance of injury.

Mobility

Bands can be moved in directions and patterns that weights can't be moved. Gravity is an inherent factor you can't ignore when lifting weights. When you perform a barbell squat, you load up the weight before using gravity to act on that weight to make the squat more challenging. As such, certain movement patterns and exercises are hard, if not impossible, to perform with standard weights.

For instance, you're going to have a hard time performing a heavy dumbbell or barbell chest press while standing upright. Gravity will pull the weight of the barbell or dumbbell toward the floor as you extend your elbows in front of your chest, and you simply won't be able to lift as much weight (or work for the desired muscle groups) because of the physics of the exercise change.

Resistance bands are different. Because even heavy-duty resistance bands are lightweight, as long as one side of the band is anchored, you can easily perform a standing chest press, extending the band to create resistance, rather than relying on gravity to act on a predetermined weight. This means the movement patterns and exercises you can perform with resistance bands are practically endless.

Versatility

Bands can be used during power and mobility training. Resistance bands aren't just good for strength training. Bands can also add resistance to anaerobic power exercises, such as sprinting and jumping, and agility exercises, like side slides and grapevines. Again, the possibilities are practically endless.

Assistance

Most superbands specify a resistance amount in pounds or kilograms. This "resistance" number becomes an "assistance" number when using superbands for pull-ups. For instance, a band that provides 15 pounds of resistance during strength exercises effectively assists you during pull-ups by decreasing your body weight by 15 pounds.

Heavy Duty Resistance Bands, or "Superbands"

Some fitness magazines popularized the concept of super straps and introduced them to the box style as a way for athletes to perform pull-ups. But soon, the use of heavy belts expanded and the market exploded. When buying a super band, please consider the following:

  • Colors and weights aren't standardized. Every brand has a different color-coding system to identify different resistance levels. And from brand-to-brand, resistance levels vary between bands. When making a purchase, pay attention to what the color-coding and resistance levels are for the bands you're purchasing.
  • Use several different bands. Because different muscle groups tend to be stronger than others (for instance, your quads are typically stronger than your biceps), having several different bands on hand is helpful for full-body training. Generally speaking, it's a good idea to purchase a light, medium, and heavy band to enjoy a well-rounded routine.
  • The long loops can be anchored to vertical or horizontal posts. Simply wrap the band over a horizontal post (like a pull-up bar) or around a vertical post (like a sturdy street sign or jungle gym post), then pull one side through the other side until it's secure. Once in place, you can do many of the exercises that normally require a cable system such as biceps curls, triceps push-downs, and seated rows.

6 Resistance Band Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

If you're ready to give superband training a try, the following exercises provide a full-body workout routine.

Squat Press

To perform a squat press, stand with your feet on the resistance band, securing it in place. Position your feet roughly shoulder-distance apart, toes angled slightly outward. Grip the top of the resistance band in both hands, bending your elbows and "racking" your palms at your shoulders, your palms facing forward. The vertical portions of the band should be positioned to the outside of your body, almost as if it's boxing you in.

Press your hips back and lower your glutes toward the floor as you bend your knees. When your hips drop just below parallel with your quads, press through your heels and drive your hips forward to return to standing. As you do, press your arms straight up over your head, extending your elbows fully. Bend your elbows and lower the band back to shoulder-height. This is a single repetition.

Banded Push-up

Kneel on the ground and wrap a superband behind your back, gripping one side of the looped band in each hand, with your palms "hooked" inside each loop so the band can't get away from you. As such, you should have two lengths of band flat across your upper back, right where your scapulae (shoulder blades) are located.

Get into a push-up position with your palms under your shoulders, your knees lifted, and your body forming a straight line from heel to head. Or modify by starting on your hands and knees. The band should feel tight in this position. If not, adjust the band in your hands as needed.

From here, bend your elbows, lowering your chest toward the floor. Just before your chest touches down, reverse the movement and press yourself back to the starting position, pushing against the band's resistance.

Assisted Pull-up

If you're unable to perform a traditional pull-up without assistance, superbands can make it possible. Securely attach your superband to a pull-up bar. Place one knee inside the stretched resistance band as you reach up to grip the pull-up bar with both hands. If you're unable to reach, use a step or box to get in position. When hanging from the bar, the band should be stretched, your knee inside the provided loop.

Banded Deadlift

To do a banded deadlift, lie a heavy band flat on the floor, positioned horizontally in front of you. Stand on top of the band with your feet hips-distance apart so the band is secured to the floor. Engage your core and keep your back straight and shoulders back. Press your hips back, allowing your knees to bend and your torso to hinge forward until you can reach down and grasp the looped ends of the band in each hand, pulling them taut just outside your shins. This is the starting position.

Press your feet hard into the ground, using your hamstrings and glutes to pull your torso to standing as the bands stretch. Reverse the movement, pressing your hips back, bending your knees, and hinging forward from the hips to return to the starting position.

Lateral Band Walks

Take a long, looped band and loop it over itself once or twice until it creates a smaller circle. Step both feet inside the circle, and position the band around your shins, just above your ankles. Adjust it for comfort, making sure the band's loops lie flat against your skin. Position your feet roughly hips-distance apart, so the bands are taut but not tight. Bend your knees and hips slightly.

Take a step laterally to the left with your left foot, just far enough to stretch the bands and create resistance. Plant your left foot, then step your right foot laterally to the left, planting it so your feet are again hips-distance apart. Continue stepping to the left for a full set of repetitions before changing directions to step to the right. Keep tension in the band the entire time to provide proper resistance.

Band-Resisted Sprint

Securely attach a superband to a sturdy vertical post, positioning it at roughly hip-height. Step into the band and face away from the post with your feet staggered and hips-distance apart, your knees slightly bent. Adjust the band and your position so the band is taut, but not tight, and so the band lies flat across the front of your hips. Bend your elbows, one arm reaching forward and the other back, as if you're about to take off from a starting line.

When you're ready, begin running forward against the band's resistance, pumping your arms as fast as you can as you drive your knees forward. Run forward until the band is tight, then run in place against the band's resistance.

 

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How to Improve Your Stamina

By LIUJJ

How to Improve Your Stamina

What Is Stamina? 

Stamina is defined as “the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort,” according to Oxford Dictionary. What this means in practical terms is that good stamina allows you to:

  • Run faster for longer distances
  • Lift heavier weights for more reps
  • Take longer, tougher hikes 
  • Push through perceived pain, discomfort, and fatigue
  • Perform daily activities with high energy levels

The better your stamina, the more efficient you become at just about everything, mentally and physically. 

Stamina vs. Endurance

People often use the words “stamina” and “endurance” interchangeably, and while the two terms are similar, they aren’t the same. Endurance is defined as “the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way,” and there are two types of endurance related to fitness: cardiovascular and muscular.

Cardiovascular endurance refers to the ability of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to support rhythmic exercise such as swimming, cycling, and running. Muscular endurance refers to the ability of your muscles to sustain repetitive movements under a given load, such as during weightlifting or hiking. Both types of endurance are important and both represent a component of stamina. 

Stamina vs. Strength

“Strength” has lots of different definitions, but in regard to fitness, it essentially defines how much weight you can lift. People who are very strong can lift heavier weights and can also lift lighter weights for many reps. People with less strength can’t lift as much and may not be able to lift as many reps. 

Stamina vs. Speed

Speed, as you probably know, refers to how fast or slow you move while walking, running, swimming, or performing other cardiovascular exercise. Genetics may influence speed more than they influence strength and endurance,although you can improve your speed with hard work just like you can improve any other part of your fitness. 

Stamina mainly comprises endurance and strength, because the definition refers to your ability to sustain a given effort. The stronger you are, the more reps you’ll be able to lift with a given load. The better endurance you have, the longer you can sustain a given speed during a run. Stamina is less of a function of speed, but speed certainly still plays a role in your overall fitness.  

How to Improve Your Stamina

The key concept here is to challenge yourself. If you’re trying to improve your stamina (or any aspect of your fitness) you’ll need to follow the “principle of progressive overload,” a physiological rule that explains how the body gets stronger, faster, and fitter. 

You must change something, be it frequency, intensity, volume, weight, distance, speed, or rest intervals. 

For example, if you can barbell squat 10 reps at 100 pounds, you should next try to squat 12 reps at 100 pounds or 10 reps at 105 pounds. Small tweaks like this lead to significant improvements over time. 

Here are 16 ways to change up your workout routine and induce improvements in your stamina. 

Go for Long Walks 

Here’s a simple way to improve your stamina: Simply move your body for long periods of time. Going for long walks of 30 to 60 minutes is a phenomenal way to build endurance, especially for beginners. Even advanced exercisers can enjoy the stamina-boosting effects of long-distance walking if they amp up the speed and intensity. 

Add Running Intervals

If you don’t feel walking is enough to improve your stamina, try tossing in a few running intervals throughout your walk. Interval training is proven to be one of the best methods for improving overall fitness, at least in a time-efficient sense.  Next time you head out for a walk, add a 30-second sprint every three or four minutes.

Increase Your Running Distance or Time

Go the distance for stamina. Since stamina is a combination of endurance, speed, and strength, challenge yourself to maintain your usual running pace for a minute longer. When you can do that, add another minute. Your stamina should continue to improve this way for a while, although everyone has limits on how far and fast they can run.

Run Hills and Stairs

If increasing your running distance or time doesn’t sound fun (we don’t blame you), vary the type of running instead.

Try High-Volume Weightlifting

Studies show that volume is the number-one variable in resistance training that improves fitness.  Volume refers to the total load you lift in a given session, day, or week. It’s calculated by multiplying weight by reps.

For example, if you perform three sets of 10 squats at 100 pounds, find your total volume by multiplying three by 10 by 100. The total volume comes out to 3,000 pounds. In general, continually increasing your volume benefits your fitness. 

Practice Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercise refers to any exercise during which muscles fiber, but don’t extend or contract. Planks and wall-sits are two good examples of isometric exercises. Incorporating isometric work into your fitness routine can teach your muscles to sustain a position under stress for longer periods of time. 

Decrease Rest Intervals During Workouts

One surefire way to improve your stamina is to allow yourself less rest time (unless you’re lifting very heavy weights, in which case you should rest three to five minutes between sets for optimal strength gains).

Try Cycling 

Riding a bike in any fashion—mountain biking, road biking, or indoor cycling—can improve your stamina if you push the pace (and the terrain if you’re outside).

Swap Cycling for Rowing

If you’re already an avid cycler, you may want to add rowing to your workout rotation. Scientists have long hypothesized that rowing is a more effective workout than cycling because rowing recruits more muscle groups in a more intense fashion.Rowing seems to improve cardiovascular capacity more than cycling, so next time you have the opportunity to hop on an erg, go for it!

Dancing is a phenomenal mode of exercise that will leave your lungs and muscles burning—and it’s fun! Dancing may also require you to assume new positions and challenge your range of motion, which can improve your overall fitness.

Several scientific studies have shown dancing to have significant impacts on health and fitness, from better mobility and balance to improved cardiovascular endurance.Dance as exercise may also increase adherence for some people, because the cost and transportation barriers to entry are low.

Play Sports

Again, destructuring your fitness routine could, if counterintuitively, improve your stamina and fitness. Most sports require complex skill sets that may be outside of your comfort zone. If you’re used to lifting weights, running, or other relatively monotonous movements, swapping one workout each week for a sports game is a great way to hone other physical skills. 

For instance, a game of soccer includes sprinting, jogging, walking, cutting, kicking, dodging, and even throwing, depending on the position you play. The intermingling of these different movements provides a fun and challenging way to improve your stamina. 

Add Meditation to Your Fitness Routine

Remember how we mentioned that the word “stamina” refers to both physical and mental pursuits? This is where that tidbit of information comes in. Adding mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to your overall wellness routine might improve your mental stamina. 

If you’re used to fast-paced, engaging workouts, mindfulness practices will challenge you to push through perceived boredom and handle stress, two factors that play a role in how long you’re able to exercise at a near-maximal level. In fact, a 2016 study in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that medical students reported improved mental stamina (less stress and improved patience and wellbeing) after six weeks of yoga and meditation.

Don’t Forget to Rest and Recover

Finally, make sure you have recovery days scheduled into your workout routine. Contrary to popular belief, the actual act of exercising isn’t what improves your fitness—it’s the repair and rebuild phase that does. If you perform an intense workout every single day, your body never gets the chance to recover, thus it never has the opportunity to repair your muscles. Rest days are critical to your improvement over time. 

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The Best Barbell Pad For Squats, Lunges, And Hip Thrusts

By LIUJJ

The Best Barbell Pad For Squats, Lunges, And Hip Thrusts

A barbell pad, sometimes called a hip thrust pad or barbell squat pad, is an essential item for making your at-home workout more comfortable, especially once you’ve started lifting heavier weights.

Purchasing a barbell pad for hip thrusts or a neck pad for a squat bar will keep the pressure off your hips, neck, and upper back so your workouts can be even more intense.

Barbell pads come in various lengths, thicknesses, and even materials.

Why Use A Barbell Pad?

A barbell pad is a cushion for your barbell that protects your body from the weight bar. They reduce pressure on your body where you may be resting a particularly heavy barbell for exercises like squats or hip thrusts.

You may not need a barbell pad when you are first beginning your at-home workout journey. But as you get stronger and want to add more weight or start to work out more frequently, you’ll want to invest in a barbell pad so you can continue to make progress.

When Can You Use a Barbell Pad?

Barbell pads are only necessary for barbell exercises that make direct contact with your body and require heavyweights, like squats, hip thrusts, and lunges.

Although it may not seem essential to purchase a barbell pad for this shortlist of exercises, these exercises are critical to a workout routine for building full-body strength. Investing in a barbell pad will ensure that you can continue to practice these exercises without hurting yourself or wearing yourself out.

What Does a Barbell Pad Do?

Barbell pads help protect your body in many ways by providing comfort and support and reducing your risk of bruising or injury.

Comfort and Support

The barbell pad’s thick, cushiony material prevents direct or intense contact with your body from the barbell, reducing the pressure on your body. This makes it much more comfortable to lift heavier weights or include more reps or sets in your workout routine since there won’t be physical pain from the bar itself.

Barbell pads also provide support when lifting, reducing the chance of the barbell slipping and causing an accident. This additional support becomes extra essential when you begin to lift heavier weights.

Reduce Risk of Bruising and Injury

When applying direct pressure to your body from your heavyweights, bruising can become a common occurrence. If you are battered and bruised from your previous workout sessions, it will be painful to do those exercises again.

A barbell pad will act as a soft barrier between the barbell and your body, reducing bruising and ensuring you can keep working out without taking time off for the bruises to heal.

Barbell pads also reduce the risk of injury during a workout. Barbells can get slippery, and if the barbell falls while you’re mid-exercise, it could do a lot of damage to your body. Barbell pads consist of a material that grips onto the body well, even despite the sweat. They will reduce the chances of your barbell falling during even high-intensity, sweaty workouts.

What Should You Look For in a Barbell Pad?

With so many barbell pads on the market of all different shapes, sizes, and materials, it can be overwhelming to pick the barbell pad that works best for you, especially if you’re just beginning your workout journey. There are several elements of a good barbell pad that you should look out for when evaluating your options.

Material

The material of your barbell pad is the most important thing to consider. You want a durable material yet one soft and thick enough to act as a sufficient cushion between yourself and the barbell.

The best materials for barbell pads are rubber and foam, but barbell pads come in all thicknesses, so pay extra attention to how thick it is before purchasing.

Coverage

While many barbell pads have no cover, some barbell pads come covered in another material around the foam or rubber. Although they may be more expensive, covered barbell pads are generally more comfortable, durable, and easy to clean, especially if they come covered in a long-lasting material like leather or vegan leather.

Although having a cover on your barbell pad isn’t absolutely necessary, investing in a barbell pad with a cover will ensure that your barbell pad lasts longer and is even more comfortable for your heavy workout sessions.

Security

Some barbell pads come with velcro or straps to secure the pad around your barbell, but some simply slide on and off with no way to secure the pad. Barbell pads without any security run the risk of sliding around or even coming off during your lifting session, so it may be worth it to invest in a barbell pad with a strip of velcro or straps to ensure that you are getting the most out of your workouts.

Product Reviews: Best Barbell Pad

Now that you know what you should be looking for in a barbell pad to fit your specific needs, you can evaluate your options for purchasing one. Here are our top choices for a barbell pad.

Top Choice – Power Guidance Hip Thrust Pad

Key Features:

  • 1. Bench press pad is perfect either for weightlifters and also for beginners. It has enough weight so everyone can carry this without much difficulty.
  • 2. This barbell pad is made up of premium quality PU leather which gives this strong durability, It is non-slip which gives you a guarantee that will remain stable when you exercise.
  • 3. This square barbell pad is better than other foam barbells, It can protect your chest and your hip when you are practicing Bench Press and Hip Thrust.
  • 4. Our square barbell pad foam is thick and light, Dimension: Length 16.5 inches, Width 5.3 inches, Height 3.7 inch, Weight 1.2LB.
  • 5. There are two colors for you, black and pink barbell pads. If you don’t absolutely love the Barbell Squat Pad, just send it back and we’ll promptly refund you in full. That’s right – no hassles with us!

MOST AFFORDABLE – Power Guidance Squat Pad Barbell Pad

Key Features:

- High-elastic foam liner, not deformed, thickened design, more comfortable to use.
- Buffer shoulder pressure, the effective protection of the shoulder, neck and chest.
- Allows for proper form of squats and lunges with comfort.
- Middle groove design, more suitable for neck, the neck more comfortable.
- For fitness barbell weight groups.

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7 Body-Weight Moves That Are Perfect For The Smaller Guy

By tangfloyd

7 Body-Weight Moves That Are Perfect For The Smaller Guy

If you look at the best jeans a man should wear for his body type, you’ll see there’s a pretty big difference between the things a shorter, stockier man should look for compared to a taller, lankier guy. What does that have to do with fitness? The same idea carries over to the weight room, too. Height plays a major role when trying to increase lean, muscular mass.

If you’re 5’8″ or under, we have good news for you: You’re better at working out. When it comes to lifting weights, a stouter guy doesn’t have to travel as far during moves like squats, bench presses, and deadlifts compared with a guy who is 6′ or taller.

Because of this, you can lift heavier weights with a better form for more reps. Also, a shorter range of motion means that shorter guys can achieve better positioning, which reduces the chance of injury. But we’re not here to help you move big weights. So grab your jumbo-size buddy and show him up by tackling these seven weights-free moves.

Plyo Pushup:

They’re a true testament to the explosive power and a great way to get more out of the chest and triceps than normal pushups. Small guys don’t have to deal with insane eccentric forces on their landing, which can impact a bigger guy’s joints and connective tissue and risk injury.

How to:

  • From the bottom of a pushup, explosively press up until your hands leave the floor.
  • Aim for maximum height off the floor using good form.
  • You may clap (as shown), but keep in mind a missed rep could break your fingers.
  • Instead, you should let the hands stay where they started and prepare to cushion the landing.
  • 3–5 x 15 seconds.

Pistol Squat:

Easy—because you probably can, and everyone else probably can’t. Long legs and long ranges of motion make pistol squats near impossible for tall—heck, even average-size—guys. And this move is worth doing, as it works one leg at a time and can correct size and symmetry imbalances.

How to:

  • Hold one leg out in front of you, with both arms extended in front of you for counterbalance.
  • Sit back on your grounded leg and squat down slowly.
  • Don’t let the knee cave inward.
  • Reach full depth and return to your start position.
  • 3 x 6–8 (per leg).

Handstand Pushup:

This is a fantastic demonstration of strength, control, and stability. Shorter arms and lighter bodyweight make this much more possible than having to struggle with 200-plus pounds and a greater distance to travel.

How to:

  • Plant your hands on the floor next to your head and kick up so that your feet are resting against the wall in a pushup position.
  • Set your arms farther out so that your hands are at, or slightly wider than, shoulder width.
  • Slide up and down the wall as you perform inverted presses.
  • Your head should nearly reach the floor on each rep.
  • Feel free to place a mat under your contact point.
  • 3–5 x AMRAP.

Dragon Fly:

These absolutely brutalize the core, and due to a lifter’s shorter height, they impose far less strain on the lower back than they do on a taller, longer-legged body.

How to:

  • Set up on the floor with your hands secured around an immovable object.
  • (You can also lie on a bench as long as there’s a secure place to hold on to.)
  • Lever your entire body up as one rigid unit, until you’re nearly vertical, and lower yourself slowly to the floor, using your abs to brace.
  • Your body shouldn’t “break”—it should appear as a straight line from shoulders to toes.
  • 3 x 6–8.

Ab Wheel Rollout:

Rollouts zero in on anti-extension core strength, and shorter guys have less of a risk of hurting their lower backs since they don’t have to travel as far.

How to:

  • Set your ab wheel close to your body while kneeling on the floor.
  • Keep a round back so your rib cage stays packed and not flared.
  • Leading with your hips, “fall” in toward the floor, reaching overhead with the ab wheel.
  • At full extension, pull hard with the arms to bring the wheel back in.
  • If you’re a real rock star, then try doing these rollouts from a standing position, as shown, and not while kneeling.
  • 3 x 6–10.

Ring Dip:

The ring dip creates an immense amount of instability—resulting in more muscle damage and therefore more growth—but is easier for guys with a reduced range of motion.

How to:

  • These are performed like normal dips but on rings.
  • It’s important to keep your shoulders brushing the straps that hold the rings at all times.
  • If you don’t feel the straps rubbing against you, it won’t be easy to complete reps.
  • 3 x AMRAP.

Sternum Pullup:

These pullups have the lifter pull their chest all the way up to the bar, requiring a more exaggerated range of motion—the payoff is a better lat contraction.

How to:

  • Start from a dead-hang position as with a typical pullup, then pull while simultaneously raising your body to face the ceiling.
  • Your goal should be to make your body as horizontal as possible to combine a pullup with an inverted row.
  • Make contact on the lower chest.
  • Return to the start position.
  • 3 x AMRAP.

 

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NEAT Ways to Burn More Calories

By tangfloyd

NEAT Ways to Burn More Calories

In 2020 the world came to a halt and people stayed inside their homes to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Many jobs shifted to work-from-home and schools around the world transitioned to virtual learning.  Gyms, parks and outdoor recreation areas also closed for a number of months limiting the ability to experience exercise outside of the home. As a result, we sat, a lot. Up to four more hours per day than before COVID-19 shutdowns.

It’s known that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a host of physical and mental health problems including Type 2 Diabetes, depression, and heart disease. But prolonged inactivity, like what most of us experienced in 2020, can lead to back and neck pain, loss of muscle mass, and an increased risk of injuries. Combine that with more frequent trips to the pantry or fridge during the lockdown and it can result in unwanted weight gain.

As the world emerges from COVID restrictions, many people will still work, go to school, and enjoy life from home at their desk, on the couch, or around the kitchen table. So it is more important than ever to find ways to add more movement to your day and combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

The good news is that movement doesn’t always mean an hour-long sweat-inducing workout that requires a change of clothes and a trip to the gym. It can be as simple as walking the dog, playing with your kids, or tidying up the kitchen. It’s the everyday NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) movement that can help us burn calories, keep our joints and muscles flexible and fend off some of the pitfalls of sitting all day.

Before discussing NEAT and how to get more of it, it’s important to understand how the body burns calories or energy. While everyone is unique, it’s widely accepted that a person’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) burns the majority of their calories. BMR is simply the amount of energy it takes to keep the body alive and functioning, and it accounts for about 60-75% of the calories burned per day. The thermic effect of food (TEF) which is the energy needed to digest and absorb food consumed, is another source of caloric burn and can account for approximately 10% of the body’s metabolism.

The remainder of a person’s calories burned come from activity -- both scheduled exercise like running, cycling, fitness classes at the gym, and NEAT which can contribute up to 15-30% of a person’s daily caloric burn.

The Power of NEAT 

To demonstrate the power of NEAT, take the example of a 40-year-old woman who weighs 150 lbs. In a single 45-minute spin class she may burn up to 425 calories. If the same woman walks her dog for 15 minutes (42 calories), leisurely plays basketball with her child after dinner for 30 minutes (127 calories), and does some light cleaning around the house for 15 minutes (30 calories) she can burn about 200 additional calories.

For someone who is actively trying to lose weight, her total calories expended would be over the 500 that is recommended per day to safely lose 1 pound per week. In addition, she’s participating in functional activities that incorporate movements like pushing, pulling, bending, and twisting which improve strength, balance, and flexibility. Not to mention the benefits she receives from being outside, interacting with her family, and breaking up what could be a long day working from home or supervising remote learning with the kids.

Other NEAT ideas include:

  • Do a few flights at home in between video calls.
  • Alternate between sitting on an office chair and a stability ball.
  • Stand while you work.
  • Pace around your home while on a conference call (be careful not to get breathless).

In addition to the added calories burned, NEAT keeps your body moving in a way that can help prevent dangerous chronic diseases, improve quality and longevity of life as well as mental health. Knowing that the extra things we do daily may help us live longer and healthier makes NEAT a really neat idea.

  • Sources

    https://healthyeater.com/calories-burned
    https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-a-sedentary-lifestyle-during-covid-19-can-quickly-affect-your-health#The-danger-of-too-little-activity
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279077/

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9 Slam Ball Exercises For A Full Body Workout

By tangfloyd

9 Slam Ball Exercises For A Full Body Workout

One piece of workout equipment that gives users a full-body workout is a slam ball.

A slam ball is a tough rubber or leather ball that typically contains sand. It is fairly similar to lifting a heavy rock or sandbag.

Slam balls are durable enough to take the beating of being slammed onto the ground repeatedly.

The Perfect Slam Ball

In your workout, utilizing slam balls uses the same muscle groups as other complicated weightlifting movements such as cleans and presses. Since slam balls are a little more unstable than a barbell, you have to adjust quickly to make up for it. Slam ball exercises tend to focus on utilizing hips, back, posterior chain, core, lats, and arms all at once.

There are two common types of slam balls: rubber ones that bounce and deadweight slam balls that do not bounce. Both are very useful for both strength and cardio training.

9 Slam Ball Exercises to do at Home

You are now ready to try some at-home slam ball exercises on your own. Once you have determined your ideal weight, grab your slam ball and try these nine exercises that are sure to improve your core strength and cardio without leaving the comfort of your home-based workout area.

1. Medicine Ball Slams

This movement is great for activating your entire body as it forces you to pick up the ball and slam it down to the floor. It is one way to teach your body how to move the weight quickly and explosively. It is also a great way to get some pent-up anger out.

How To Do A Med Ball Slam

  1. Begin the movement with the ball resting on the floor immediately in front of you
  2. While ensuring that your back is kept straight, squat down to the ball
  3. Pick the ball up from the floor and stand up, raising the ball above your head as you do so (utilize your legs and hips to thrust the ball over your head)
  4. Slam the ball back to the floor as hard as you are able
  5. Catch the ball on the bounce while lowering back into the squat position
  6. Repeat as many times as you have allotted

2. Slam Ball Air Squats

Air squats or squats are a very common go-to for building glutes and quads. When you do this movement with weighted objects such as a slam ball, you add extra resistance to the movement.

Holding a slam ball while you do a simple air squat is also a fantastic way to keep your core engaged and torso upright throughout the entire squat movement.

How To Do A Slam Ball Air Squat

  1. Begin with your feet about hip-width apart (this can vary by person and anatomy) while holding the slam ball at your chest
  2. Squat down until your butt is just below parallel, ensuring that you keep your back straight, chest up, and your heels planted firmly on the ground.
  3. Stand up the engage in full extension with your hips extended and your legs straight.

If you find yourself compromising your form during this movement at all, slow down and focus on moving correctly. You should be able to wiggle and move your toes throughout the movement.

3. Overhead Lunges with a Slam Ball

Much like an air squat, lunges are another example of a way to feel the burn in your quads and glutes. When you add the slam ball overhead, you also work your core and shoulder strength.

Overhead slam ball lunges are a good way to fire up multiple areas of your body with a not overly complicated movement and do not require much knowledge. To get the most from this movement, keep your core engaged and your torso upright the whole time.

How To Do A Slam Ball Overhead Lunge

  1. Begin standing tall while holding the slam ball immediately over your head (you should fully extend your arms.)
  2. While holding the ball overhead, take a step forward while deliberately lowering your back knee to the floor. Your shin should remain vertical on your front leg.
  3. Slowly step back up with your front leg to your original position.
  4. Repeat this movement leading with the opposite leg, switching legs every repetition

You can also do this movement as an overhead walking lunge.

4. Slam Ball Twist

The slam ball twist is perfect for those looking to engage their oblique core muscles in addition to glutes and hamstrings.

It is a great movement to practice if you struggle with balance because you work your stabilizer muscles, which improves your coordination and balance.

How To Do A Slam Ball Twist

  1. Begin by lunging down with the slam ball extended out from your body at about chest height
  2. Slowly rotate the ball from side-to-side engaging the entire waist
  3. Rotate as far as you comfortably can without losing balance or inhibiting form
  4. Stand back up and switch legs and to repeat the movement on each side

5. Alternating Push-up on a Slam Ball

If you are doing all of these movements in one day, your arms and shoulders should be feeling some burn. This movement should push them even more. Push-ups are difficult movements, but doing them with one hand elevated on a slightly unstable surface is a great way to engage your stabilizer muscles and force you to focus more on balance. Alternating arms also forces you to focus on form and moving through the workout correctly.

How To Do Slam Ball Pushups

  1. Begin in a push-up position (you can do this on your knees as well) with one of your hands on the slam ball and the other firmly on the floor
  2. Lower your body until your best is about an inch away from the floor
  3. Push yourself back up into the starting position
  4. Walk your opposite hand over onto the slam ball and repeat the movement.

To make this workout easier, you may do it on your knees instead of a full push-up position. If you wish to make it more challenging, switch hands in a “jumping” motion to force your hands off the floor and move to the ball.

6. Slam Ball Toe Touch

A toe touch is a movement that forces you to engage your abs and core. When you add a slam ball into the mix, you begin activating your core muscles and stabilizer muscles and arms.

This movement is a great way to engage all of your body while focusing more on core strength. There are a few ways to do this movement, but the most common involves coordination and focus on ensuring that you do not injure yourself or get too tired.

How To Do Slam Ball Toe Touches

  1. Begin by lying flat on your back with your arms above your head on the floor and the slam ball resting between your hands
  2. While ensuring that you have a firm grip on the slam ball, lift your arms and legs at the same time, keeping your core tight and your arms and legs extended.
  3. Your toes and the slam ball should meet in the middle with your shoulder blades slightly off of the ground.
  4. Slowly lower yourself back into the start position and repeat the movement as many times as you are able.

If you are unable to lift your arms and legs simultaneously, you can do this movement by keeping your legs raised at a 90-degree angle and bringing the ball to your toes.

7. Slam Ball Burpee

When you do a typical burpee, you focus your muscles on strength and endurance simultaneously, both in your upper body and lower body. Standard burpees focus on your legs, hips, glutes, abs, arms, chest, and shoulders in one movement.

When you add the slam ball movement into it, burpees gain more of a challenge and force you to utilize all of those muscles even more. It is a great movement to build muscle while continuing to improve on your cardio.

How To Do Slam Ball Burpees

  1. Begin with a deadweight slam ball overhead
  2. Slam the ball to the ground as hard as you can
  3. Squat down and place your hands on the ball
  4. Jump out with both legs into a push-up position
  5. Jump your legs back into the lower squat position
  6. Jump vertically as high as you are able while holding the ball over your head
  7. Repeat this movement as many times as you are able

8. Slam Ball Snatch

A snatch is an Olympic weightlifting movement that utilizes almost all of your body at once. Snatches allow you to focus on deliberate movement while maintaining proper form.

When you do a snatch with a slam ball, it still works for every muscle group but leaves less of an opportunity for injury and is easy to incorporate into your home workout.

How To Do A Medicine Ball Snatch

  1. Begin in a low squat with a slam ball between your heels and your head looking straight ahead
  2. Keep the ball close to your body and drag it up your body, jumping when you get it to chest level.
  3. As you jump, continue to bring the ball to the ceiling until it is above your head with your arms in full extension. This should be one fluid motion.
  4. Bring the ball back down by reversing these steps and dropping the ball onto the floor in between your heels
  5. Repeat as able

9. Slam Ball Flutter Kicks

At this point, your entire body is probably feeling fatigued. This movement is a great one for a lighter ball, which gives all of your muscles a chance to recover from all of the work they just did. Flutter kicks are a movement that forces you to focus on coordination while engaging your core. Adding a slam ball to this movement ups the difficulty a bit by forcing you to stay engaged.

How To Do Slam Ball Flutter Kicks

  1. Begin by lying on your back
  2. Hold the slam ball between both hands above your head.
  3. Engage your core and raise your arms directly above your chest
  4. Lift your legs about four to five inches off of the ground
  5. Keeping your upper body still, squeeze your glutes and your legs to move them in a flutter kick motion for about thirty seconds
  6. Bring your legs and the ball down and rest until you can go again

That’s A Wrap!

By including these slam ball workouts into your home exercise routine, you can get a fuller, tougher workout for your whole body.

Start by practicing just a few of these exercises, and see how much of a difference they make to you. If you enjoy them, try adding a few more to your workout routine each week. By doing so, you’re upping your game and adding some variety to your at home workouts.

 

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Hangboard Training for Beginners: A Simple 8-Week Plan

By tangfloyd

Hangboard Training for Beginners: A Simple 8-Week Plan

Why Use a Hangboard?

Many people get by fine without any hangboard training, but there are definitely a few areas in climbing that will benefit from the exercise.

Has finger strength always been your downfall in climbing?

Does overhangs and small holds terrify you?

Have you been stuck at a plateau since before you can remember?

In all of the strength metrics measured by climbing coaches, the only one which has a strong correlation with the ability to boulder 8A (V11) is whether or not the climber can hang an 18mm edge with 1 arm.

There is no question that hangboarding is one of the best ways to increase grip strength and upper body power. If you aren’t a genetic triumph built for climbing, it is very likely necessary to reach your full climbing potential.

The Essentials: 6 Tips for Preventing Hangboarding Injuries

Hangboarding done wrong can be a first-class ticket to injury town — a lonely place where you can never try hard. Here are 6 tips to help you prevent hangboarding injuries.

1. Do Not Full Crimp

There are 3 main types of grip used in climbing:

1. Open hand

2. Half crimp

3. Full crimp

Only the first 2 grips are safe to use on a hangboard. You are welcome to choose between them to tailor to your weaknesses but, if you’re a hangboarding beginner, I recommend using half crimp.

If you are having a couple of hangboarding sessions a week, it could be a good idea to have one session with each grip. There is a massive difference between the 2 and, all the training in the world on one might still leave you as weak as a kitten on the other!

2. Retract Your Shoulders

When doing any form of hanging exercise your shoulders should be locked down, not sagging up by your ears. If this is a limiting factor for you then alternative training for scapular retraction should be your priority before doing any hangboarding.

On the other hand, try to make sure you are not retracting your shoulders so far as to activate your chest and arch your back.

Done correctly, you should end up with a slight bend in your elbow as a result of correct muscle activation. The bend it slight! We aren’t looking for 90° lock offs here. See the correct and incorrect examples below.

If you aren’t sure about this then ask someone (who looks like they know their way around a hangboard) how your form is. The climbing angels weep every time someone hangs on sagged shoulders.

3. Warm Up

Hangboarding takes no prisoners, so you’re risking injury every time you don’t warm up properly.

A good warm-up has 3 components:

  1. Pulse raiser (cardio)
  2. Limbering up (dynamic stretching)
  3. Easy, strength-based movement such as pull-ups/shrugs on jugs or low-grade climbs

Your warm up should be at least 15 minutes long and even after this, I feel like my fingers still need more warming up. I’ll usually do some easy to medium-difficulty climbs for half an hour and then some short hangs on increasingly harder holds.

4. Warm Down

You should always be doing some form of warm down after any training session, but having one after a hangboarding session is particularly essential. Your fingers are delicate joints which won’t have a massive amount of blood flow through them on normal, daily activities.

This means that you’ve gotta put that little bit of extra effort in to clear that lactic acid and other gunk out before your arms cool down and it stays there.

If I have a hangboard session without warming down, I can feel it the next time I try to climb. My fingers and forearms will feel extra heavy, stiff and almost sticky. This is a direct effect of not warming down and trying to climb or train in this state can leave you very prone to injury!

After every hangboard session, take a bit of time to do some easy climbing and some low-level cardio for 5-15 minutes, if you’ve got the facilities. I find jump-roping to be one of the best and easiest exercises for getting blood flow around the body.

Massage improves blood flow and eases muscle sorness by pushing out those sticky exercise juices, so I also like to massage my forearms after a particularly finger-intensive hangboarding session. By this I mean I lightly squeeze and rub my forearm with my other hand. No fancy equipment or techniques. The low-level exertion this requires is also beneficial for the hand doing the massaging.

5. Stretch

No warm down is properly complete without some stretches. There are 2 main types of stretches.

  1. Dynamic stretches, which you should be doing during your warm up to limber up
  2. Static stretches, which you should be doing during your warm down to maintain flexibility

Dynamic stretches involve movement and the idea is to not bend or stress a joint too hard. Instead, you want to smoothly flow through the joint’s range of movement and see if it increases after a few cycles.

Dynamic stretches for the wrists and forearms are pretty straightforward. They involve things like wrist circles, flicking your fingers and making fists. Anything that uses the joint’s movement range without stress can be a good dynamic stretch as it will loosen the joint and increase blood flow.

Jazz hands are an excellent thing you can do to limber up while still being fabulous.

Static stretches are what your idea of a more typical stretch would be. Here the intention is to move the joint into a position that is towards the end of its movement range and hold it here or slowly let it ease in a bit further for an extended period of time.

These stretches should not be done before training and definitely shouldn’t be done before warming up! They are much more effective as part of the session warm down.

Static stretches should be held for 30 seconds each time and you should aim to carry out 3 or 4 sets after a hangboard session.

I recommend stretching all parts of the forearm and fingers (not just the flexors) so you should be doing a few different stretches here. An example of each could be holding your hands in a prayer position for the flexors, and then later pressing the back of your hands into the ground for the extensors.

You can find a much more detailed explanation on static stretches here and I highly advise you use the forearm stretches in that article.

6. Don’t Advance Too Fast!

This is what gets everyone.

It should take at least 2 months before noticing any significant improvements in hangboarding and there is never a point where you are not prone to overdoing it.

The healthiest way to look at hangboarding is as something in the background to facilitate climbing. Especially at the start, your goal with hangboarding should be to climb harder routes, not to hang from the smallest edge possible. If you decide to try a tougher edge every week, it’s possible to be caught off guard!

With many finger injuries, there aren’t any warning signs. One minute you’re feeling psyched about how you’re so much stronger than you thought you would be — and the next you can’t even lift the kettle to make a cup to tea to deal with the traumatic event that was your finger pulley exploding!

If you’ve not thought about training for climbing before then I would just go for one of the easiest edges (that aren’t jugs) on the board and work off of those.

If you have quite a bit of climbing experience but have never hangboarded, then it might be worth testing some of the thinner or less positive edges. Don’t worry about pushing yourself though. Even a relatively easy hangboard routine will still give you big improvements if you’ve never done it before!

Trust me, the people who develop these training plans have experienced enough injuries to know which rates of progression work and which don’t.

The 8-Week Hangboard Training Plan for Beginners

When I first looked into hangboarding, I was overwhelmed by the number of different boards and variations in training plans. Truth is, your first hangboard training plan doesn’t need to be complicated at all. Here is a simple 8-week plan to give you the foundations for more advanced training.

Each week consists of 2 hangboard sessions. Make sure you are rested beforehand (don’t have your hangboard sessions the day after a massive climbing session) and always warm up properly.

Preparation

Choose a pair of holds on your board that you can hang with good form (remember The Essentials) for 10 seconds but struggle or fail by 14-15. Then follow this week-by-week progression.

Week 1

  1. 10 second hang
  2. 30 second rest
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 for 4 reps overall
  4. 2 minute rest
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for 3 sets overall

Weeks 2-3

Repeat the steps in Week 1, this time for 4 sets overall

Week 4

Repeat the steps in Week 1, this time for 5 sets overall

Week 5

  1. 10 second hang
  2. 20 second rest
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 for 4 reps overall
  4. 2 minute rest
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for 3 sets overall

Weeks 6-7

Repeat the steps in Week 5, this time for 4 sets overall

Week 8

Repeat the steps in Week 5, this time for 5 sets overall

Remember to have a good warm down and stretch after each session to flush all that lactic acid out of your hands
There you have it, your very first hang boarding program.

Not complicated at all!

After this, it is advisable to have a rest period before increasing the difficulty or moving onto another plan, but you should already be feeling more comfortable on those nasty overhangs that always got the better of you.

Happy hang boarding!

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Lat Pulldown Machine Exercises

By tangfloyd

Lat Pulldown Machine Exercises

Lat Pulldown Machine is functional training equipment for the whole body. Often users perform only basic exercises, using only part of the available features. In fact, this equipment allows training almost all muscle groups.
We decided to collect all the exercises in one place and clearly show them so that anyone can get the most out of training with this equipment. We will show the principle of its performance for each exercise, the main muscle groups used in the correct technique. We will try to give a brief description and recommendations for the exercise.

1. Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Down

Muscle Worked: Lats, Biceps

One of the main exercises with this equipment. Allows you to train high-quality broad back muscles. To perform, take the initial position, grasp the handle with a wide grip and slightly tilt the body back. If possible, adjust the height of the seat to allow sufficient muscle tension at the top. When you exercise do not swing and as the blade comes down. Possible with the development of technology will be useful if the assistant or coach will watch from the sidelines and give advice on technique. Often the work included the bicep. But it should not perform a basic function.

Additional tip: if you can’t eliminate the biceps and back muscles get a little load use pre-exhaustion. Follow a few exercises for the biceps or do approaches in turn.

2. Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down

Muscle Worked: Lats, Traps

This exercise will further involve the trapezius muscle. It is not advised to master the technique with more weight. Consider injury.

3. V-Bar Pull-Down

Muscle Worked: Lats, Brachialis

The main difference is the formulation of hands. Most often used the additional handle. In addition to the width of the back muscles, their depth is also studied.

4. Triceps Pushdown

Muscle Worked: Triceps

Basic exercise for triceps. The proper technique involves all three bundles of muscles. Use either a narrow grip straight neck or Tricep Rope. In any variation, the shoulders should be fixed. Movement is carried out in the elbow joint. The hull is motionless. The allowable difference is the placing of the feet. In some they are parallel, others put one leg slightly forward.

5. Cable Rope Face-Pull

Muscle Worked: Shoulders

In this exercise, it is important to try to keep the shoulders parallel to the floor. To feel this angle of loading it is recommended to start with a small weight.

6. Cable Front Rope Raises

Muscle Worked: Shoulders

7. High cable crunch

Muscle Worked: Abdominals

Constantly hold the abdominal muscles in tension, do not work the back muscles. For proper technique it is better to start with a small weight.

※ For more information about high-position pull-down accessories, please pay attention to the page:
https://www.powerguidance.com/collections/exercise-machine-attachments

 

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