Category Archives: Gear Guides

Are Weight Lifting Gloves Necessary and What Size?

Weight lift gloves

You’ve decided to start going to the gym. You need to build some muscles so you’re thinking about weightlifting. But you need to get some gym gear first. What’s on your shopping list?

  • Sneakers
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Duffle bag

 Do you think anything is missing?

It is amazing how often weight lifting gloves get left off this list. Persons believe it is unnecessary. Wearing weight lifting gloves is a personal choice, but when you know that you’ll be lifting weights, it’s imperative that you have it.

Weight lifting gloves are beneficial for a number of reasons.

Weight lifting gloves are beneficial for a number of reasons. The gloves provide support to your wrists, assist in gripping weights, relieve the pressure placed on your hands while lifting weights and prevent the appearance of corns and calluses.

Most weight lifting gloves are made with a band that wraps around your wrists to provide extra support. The support is necessary to prevent injuries to your wrists as the band snugly fits to support the weights being lifted. When exercising, your body produces sweat and your palms sweat too.  The weight lifting gloves are made with a special material that grips the weights and allows you to do your workouts safely. Having constant pressure on your hands can cause you to have blisters of calluses. The weight lifting gloves prevents this from happening, as they act as a support for your palms.

 

Now that you’ve learned the benefits of weight lifting gloves, you’ve added it to your shopping list. However, there are some things you should consider when purchasing them:

  •  You must firstly determine your glove size. It is therefore important to walk with a tape measure.
  1. Measure your hand by wrapping the tape measure around your knuckles of your main hand (the one you use dominantly).
  2. Place your hand on a flat surface, with the tape measure still in place, so that your knuckles are spread.
  3. Finally, tighten the tape measure around your knuckles to get the correct measurement and note the measurement.
  • The gloves should fit comfortably on your hands. In order to increase the grip and prevent sweating, the weight lifting gloves should never be too tight or too slack. There should be a little amount of space – enough to flex your arms – between the gloves and your hands.
  • Weight lifting gloves come in leather and neoprene material. The leather material types are typically more expensive but will give better durability and longevity. Neoprene material is usually worn by persons whose aim is to prevent sweaty palms, and thus get a better grip of the weights.
  • Are the gloves “slip on” or “Velcro strapped”? This is usually done by preference, but if weights are heavier, it is best to purchase weight lifting gloves that have Velcro straps. These provide more support and it is certain that the gloves will stay on while you’re lifting weights.

You can now go to the gym with all your gym gear; knowing that you’ve got your weight lifting gloves for support and grip while building those muscles.

Happy lifting!

The Benefits Of Upside Down Inversion Exercises

Upside down Exercises

Inversion exercises are done while being hung fully upside down with the support of inversion boots on a horizontal bar. Sounds tricky? It is and can be quite a challenge, but the benefits gained from doing inversion exercises might encourage you to try it yourself.

Inversion Boots

When doing inversion exercises, inversion boots – otherwise called “gravity boots” – are worn to support your body. Inversion boots are made with straps to hold on to your ankles and attach to the horizontal bar. This is the only thing that is used to support you and keeps you safe while allowing you to do the various exercises that act as therapy for your body.

Types of Exercises

Inverted Squats

Squats are done the same way as standing. The only difference is that you are fully inverted instead of standing before starting each bend. In order to complete the proper form of each squat, start at a 180 degree angle then bend your knees while raising your body toward the bar. This exercise works on your hamstring and glutes.

Inverted Sit-ups

You are better able to stretch your body through inverted sit-ups. Fully invert your body and stretch through 180 degrees, brining your chest toward your thighs. This exercise works on your lower back and abs. 

Full Inversion

Full inversion means that you hang yourself completely; toward the floor. This exercise is one that takes very little work and allows you to take the time out and meditate. It releases stress and back pain, improves circulation and gives you mental alertness. The gravity also realigns your spine.

Three Points Hang

As a beginner, you can try the three points hang. This means that three different points of your body are supported by the horizontal bar at all times; your feet and one of your hands at a time.

Therapeutic Benefits

Inversion exercise falls under the category of core training. It works your legs (hamstring and glutes), abdominals, chest and back. Apart from inversion exercises physically molding your body, they are therapeutic. Inversion exercises help to realign your spine, improve blood circulation, reduce stress, increase flexibility, improve posture and rehydrates the vertebral discs (allows for flexibility of the spine).

Precautions

Although inversion exercises help your physical and mental health, there are certain precautions that must be considered before attempting the maneuvers. If you have hernia, glaucoma, high blood pressure or heart disease, it is not advisable for you to do the exercises. Also, pregnant women and persons suffering from obesity should not participate in inversion exercises.

The Battle between Power Racks and Smith Machines

Power Rack

Fitness enthusiasts are often seen mulling over the power racks and smith machines. There are varied opinion on these gym machines and their benefits. There are certain individuals in every gym that are seen religiously using one or the other. Everyone has an opinion on the matter and there is logic found in all viewpoints. This piece will discuss the advantages and disadvantages found with power racks and smith machines.

Power Racks

Power racks (or power cages) have certain advantages to them. These are commonly referred to as the ‘right way’ of doing things. There is a debate ongoing about the veracity of such a claim because of the benefits associated with smith machines.

Power racks are advantageous because the movements being completed are natural. There is no assistance along the way and it maximizes your entire core and working muscles. There is a safety precaution in place that will catch the weight.  Power cages help in producing balance and strength like nothing else.

The disadvantages have to be highlighted too. One of the biggest disadvantages with power lifting in power racks comes in the form of having a large learning curve. The movements require being able to handle 45lb right from the beginning. This is often too much for certain beginners and can scare them away.

Smith Machines

The biggest detail in a smith machine vs power rack cage debate revolves around balance. The smith machine is able to provide balance for those working out and the chances of hurting yourself are minimal. It is also easier for beginners to adjust to new movements such as squats because any weight can be used. The actual bar does not weigh much and is certainly lesser than the regular 45lb barbell.

Let’s move onto the disadvantages with a smith machine. There are many people that love to point these out in the gym. The joints can have unnatural stress placed on them during exercises such as the squat. Natural movement is not depicted with a smith machine because it is a straight ‘up and down’ set up. There is no swaying back and forth that is naturally done in the power rack to counteract stress on joints.  It is an expensive machine that tends to do minimal work and is useless for specific exercises. This is a grave concern for many gym owners and regular gym members.

Power Lifting Techniques

Power lifting is different to body building. The goal is not to gain mass, but to gain strength. There are specific techniques in place, while using these machines in order to gain strength. Let’s take a look at them.

Spotters are an excellent idea and can help in maximizing potential when lifting weight. Plus, no one wishes to get hurt while executing these exercises. Some individuals will like wearing knee wraps and/or belts to reduce the stress placed on other muscles.

Explosive movements are required as a power lifter. For squats and bench press, try exploding with the movements. Make sure the movement is being performed correctly; many power lifters will not go low enough during squats.

Give your muscles some needed rest. Do not go for a continuous schedule with power lifting moves. The results will be mediocre and injuries become a serious concern. Three days a week with rests in between is recommended for all power lifters.

Weighted Balls and Their Differences

BAlls

Gym routines are continuously being tweaked in a bid to maximize time spent in the gym. Weighted balls have been included by fitness enthusiasts looking to spice up their work out and make it increasingly rigorous. This piece will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both slam balls and medicine balls. Which one is better or are they both the same?

Slam Balls

They come in different weight classes ranging from 2lb all the way up to 50lb. It is up to the type of exercise one is conducting as to which slam ball is required. The largest one can be equated to being the size of a regulation basketball. It is easy to handle and is often preferred by people in the gym.

The advantage of a slam ball over a medicine ball is its ability to be thrown. You can easily toss it around for exercises requiring throwing motions. Athletes prefer slam balls for certain exercises because of this. It can be used in partner exercises in order to reinvigorate your workout and make it fun.

Explosive energy is necessary for athletes and even the average Joe in the gym. You do want to get that little burst of energy and this can happen with slam balls. Building up cardiovascular strength and overall muscle tone happens easier with a slam ball in comparison to a medicine ball.

Medicine Balls

Medicine ball sizes can range just like slam balls. The weights range from 2lb to 50lb just like a regular slam ball collection. Many people use medicine balls for exercises such as squats in a bid to add more resistance. It is a great core ball tool because it hits that core better than anything else.

The difference between a medicine ball and a slam ball comes in the form of holding vs throwing. A medicine ball is not designed or meant to be tossed. It is meant to be held close to your body while conducting movements in the gym. Medicine ball exercises have their own place in a workout program.

The material from which medicine balls are made makes them conducive for dead ball exercises. The leather provides excellent grip and is manufactured for this exact purpose.

These are not as good for weight-lifting programs because they are not designed for those particular movements. Most people will use these for light cardio workouts and getting the body warmed up.

In the end, it is all about preference and nothing more. Both have their uses and can be found at the local gym.

Which Size to Use?

As noted, weighted balls come in a range of sizes. Looking to gain strength? It is best to go with a heavier ball that will be around the size of a basketball. It will help in pushing the muscles to the limit.

Choosing the weight of the ball should be dependent upon the ability of the person. Do not select a weight will is causing instability and loss of control. This can lead to injury. The partner’s strength has to be taken into account too.

Best way to find the ‘perfect’ weighted ball is to do a little assessment. Hold the ball away from the body. Is it putting significant stress on the muscles? Is it better as you bring it closer? A weight is too heavy, if stress is placed regardless of where the ball is held. It is too light, if there is no stress placed at any point of the assessment.

Choosing a Belt: A Weightlifting Belt Size Guide

Belt Size

Wearing a well-fitted belt during lifting can help reduce the risk of injury to the spinal column. Belts help by increasing your intra-abdominal pressure, resulting in a tighter core. The intra-abdominal pressure supports your spine and reduces the risk of compression from vertical lifting, slipped disks, and various other injuries that can occur during a weightlifting session.

Step 1

Choose a material. Belts are constructed out of leather or nylon. Either material has its own benefits. Leather is sturdier, offering a stronger cinch suitable for heavier lifting. Nylon is a bit more flexible and will put less pressure on your hips.

 

Step 2

Put on your usual workout clothes. It’s important to take measurements while wearing what you will normally be wearing under the belt. This will provide accurate measurements and will aid in choosing the most comfortable belt.

 

Step 3

Wrap a tape measure around your waist, going over your navel. Do not “suck in”, or breathe deeply into your belly. Do not squeeze the tape measure too around your waist. Make sure it is secure, not drooping but also not too tight.

 

Step 4

Search for belts that meet your waist measurement and are constructed of the desired material.

 

Step 5

Try it on. Cinch the belt snuggly. Perform a few shadow lifts while wearing the belt to ensure it offers proper structural support. A well-fitted belt should offer support without cutting into your ribs or being uncomfortable.

 

Step 6

Break it in. A new belt will be extremely stiff. Rolling the belt is a good way to loosen up the stiffness and allow it to mold to the shape of your back. You could roll it up and leave it tucked under your bed or somewhere that will apply pressure.

 

 

 

 

Benefits of the Free Standing Bag and Workouts

Punching Bag

Free Standing Bags Vs Hanging Punching Bags

Free standing punching bags, or free standing boxing bags provide very similar resistance to the traditional hanging heavy bags found at the gym. Since they are free standing, they are portable, require almost no installation, and are ideal for home gyms. They work by containing a reservoir in the base filled with water, sand or combination of. This keeps the bag sturdy and provides resistance.

The main difference and benefit of a free standing boxing bag is the portability and convenience whether its in a gym or home. Where space is an issue or you may not wish to drill a boxing bracket hanger into the wall – the free standing punching bag is a great alternative to consider.

However if you are serious hitter, whether it’s boxing or kick boxing – a traditional boxing bag with bracket installed into a solid wall or surface will be your better option. It is more likely that any hard hits and repeated tough use will ensure that the product will be more durable.

Filling up the base of a Free Standing Punching Bag

From the beginning, the main purpose for self-supporting punching bags was to fill the tank with water —which is still a widespread technique. Water is the largest advantage over other choices. It’s simple to pour and you have a source right on hand.
Another popular filler is sand. Sand flows into the reservoir without difficulty if dry, but is less likely to escape when the bag is tipped and will not cause condensation.

Warming Up

It is extremely important to warm up before actually hitting the bag. There is a higher chance of injury from hitting the bag with a cold muscle. A good warm up consists of some stretching, shadow boxing, or shadow kickboxing. When fully warmed up, then it’s time to move to the bag.

Jabs

Fast jabs are a great way to get the heart pumping. The first thing you want to do is settle into a firm stance. You never want to face the bag head-on. Always put one foot in front of the other to promote balance. Once your position is firm, hit the bag straight out with the first two knuckles of your left hand. Do not lock your elbow; just let the punch flow from your core. The cross follows the jab with the right hand. The cross is a more powerful punch because it comes from the back of the body. Lift your heel on the cross to add more power. Alternate the jab and the cross in rapid succession for as long as you can, usually between thirty seconds to three minutes. Rest for one minute and repeat the sequence five to ten times.

Kickboxing

For a full-body workout, move to kickboxing exercises. This is a combination of jabs, hooks, uppercuts and kicking the bag. To add a front kick: face the bag head-on and kick straight ahead, aiming for the “stomach” of the bag. A sidekick consists of turning to side, with a shoulder facing the bag and kicking to the side, like a leg lift, and aiming again for the “stomach” of the bag. Roundhouse kicks are very powerful and are done by again turning to the side and having a shoulder facing the bag, making sure your feet are spaced out enough to give you a solid foundation, and kick with the farthest leg from the bag, aiming for the bag’s stomach. Continue a combination of these for three to five minutes then rest for one minute and repeat.

These are just a few examples of the many beneficial workouts a free standing bag can provide. Free standing punching bags engage your entire body. They’re great for cardio, and building stamina. Added benefits of free standing boxing bags are the reduction of stress and anger from channeling your negative energy into the bag.

MMA Training and Sandbag Equipment

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If you’re looking for a challenging and exciting physical activity, you should definitely consider what is recognized as the fastest growing sport: mixed martial arts training (MMA training).  But it’s not an easy sport to learn, and it’s arguably dangerous; this is why certain precautions have to be observed, such as wearing MMA gloves all the time. You will have to endure the grueling physical training, usually involving several MMA equipment for sand bag training and circuit training.

Sand bag training

Sand bag training is a staple start for mixed martial artists, as it develops strength, power, and muscle endurance Compared to weight lifting, sand bags are inexpensive and relatively safer to use. What makes sand bags a fitting MMA equipment is its material: because the sand moves inside the bag, they are harder to wrestle with and control. You will also have to grapple with and control the sandbag—which makes it more fitting for MMA, where grip strength is essential when fighting against one’s opponent. Just make sure you have MMA gloves on.

Sand bag training exercises

Another advantage of sand bag training, which makes it perfect for mixed martial arts training, is the several exercises you can try out. One is the sandbag shouldering, where you will have to lift the sandbag over your shoulder and throw it over like what you would do to an opponent. Sandbag loading, another exercise, involves picking up the sandbag from the floor and lifting it above the waist level. Bear-hug walking is an exercise that requires holding the sandbag close to the chest and walking with it as far as you can.

Circuit training

A great complement or follow-up to sand bag training is circuit training. Because MMA bouts can get quite extreme, the MMA training that goes with it comprises exercises that are very taxing and will develop muscular strength as well as endurance. They also allow very little rest between each set. All throughout, the fighter must be in proper MMA equipment, including MMA gloves.

Circuit training exercises

Ground and pound is a type of attack in mixed martial arts training that involves throwing one’s opponent to the ground and dealing a series of punches to the upper body.  To simulate this, the fighter can use a punch bag, and deal the same number of punches and strikes within the time allotted.

Duck walks are next in line. These involve squatting and walking across the plane. This activity may sound comical, but it will develop leg strength, which is important for dealing leg sweeps and kicks.

Wheel barrow is the third activity. This requires a partner. First, assume a push-up position, with the partner standing in between the feet. The partner will then grab your legs and move forward in the opposite direction. You will then have to keep up with his pace using your arms.

The fourth exercise, burpees, are essentially pushups, except that you will start by standing with your feet together, and bending down immediately, right before placing your legs backwards to assume a push-up position. After a single push-up, move your legs back up and stand straight.

Last are V sits. Sit on your back, with your legs and arms extended. Raise your arms and legs up as your body forms a letter V position. Balance your body, and let your abs contract. This completes a standard MMA training.

 

The Basics of Strength Training Equipment

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The first thing you need to know about gym and fitness when starting a strength training program is to familiarize yourself with the gym equipment. These exercise equipment that will help build your muscle mass, burn calories and tone your muscles. But the different types of strength training equipment can easily get confusing—so here’s a quick roundup of the different types of exercise equipment that will help you build your muscle mass.

1. Free Weights

Every activity related to free weights focuses on two areas: first, the primary movers, which are the muscles essentially involved in performing the exercise; and the stabilizer muscles, which stabilize the weight of the lifter. Some examples of fitness equipment are barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, wrist or ankle weights, and some adjustable pulley systems.

One of the more common types of free weights are dumbbells. Depending on the type of activity, dumbbells can develop pretty much any muscle in the body, including small stabilizer muscles. The range of weight for barbells is from 2.5lbs to 100lbs, although there are adjustable ones that can accommodate as many as 10 different types of conventional dumbbells. A variation of this exercise equipment is the kettlebell, which look like dumbbells except that the weights in both sides are ball-shaped. Kettleballs have been quite popular in gym and fitness, primarily because of the different forms of exercise that can be done with it.

Another type, barbells, comes in varying lengths—from 3 to 7 feet. Barbells differ from dumbbells in that weight plates are placed on both sides of the former to vary the weight. Another difference is that barbells can be either straight or curved, allowing for varied grip angles.  This fitness equipment is a free weight because of the wide range of motion that make it great for resistance training, added to the large amount of weight that it can accommodate.

2. Resistance Bands

Another thing you have to learn in gym and fitness is the difference between free weights and resistance bands, both popular gym equipment in strength and rehab training. Unlike free weights, resistance power bands do no rely on gravity. This means that you can do resistance exercises even in a horizontal plane. Despite this different, resistance bands are a popular type of strength training equipment, and can be found in home gyms.

Resistance bands are basically rubber bands with handles on both ends. You can then use these manipulate these handles in different ways to perform strength training exercises. With its versatility and handiness, resistance bands can pretty much be carried anywhere.

3. Weight Machines

Commonly found in gyms, weight machines are usually for novice lifters, as they are straightforward and have detailed instructions. Unlike free weights and resistance bands that can be used to focus on different muscles, weight machines focus on a specific muscle area depending on the machine. Another difference is that they only work on primary mover muscles, leaving the secondary muscles undeveloped during the exercise. Many of the fitness equipment you might’ve come across in the gym are for strength training. Before using them, make sure you’re on a training program, unless you want to start you resistance-building in a random, roundabout way.

4. Body Weight

Did you know that your body is a strength training equipment in itself. There are a number of resistance exercises that you can use without the assistance of any gym equipment, such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges, and pull-ups. As long as you follow the steps for each resistance exercise carefully, you will be able to achieve your strength training goals. However there are a number of great products that add a new dimension to body weight training such as ab wheels and weighted vests.