Tag Archives: crossfit kettlebell exercises

How To Perform Cardio Exercises If You Have Bad Knees

Cardio exercise

Cardio exercise is a high-impact activity that can seriously backfire if you have bad knee problems. Cardio workouts with injury are always a gamble, even if you are otherwise young and healthy. Running or rope jumping with bad knees is not a good idea because of all the impact and pounding on your joints. Did you know that when you run, your body absorbs your weight x 7 every time you take a step? So if you weigh, say, 170 pounds— that would still be 1,119 pounds of pressure on your knees every single time your foot hits the ground.

Other exercises without impact and pounding, like cycling, still put a lot of repetitive stress on your joints, especially knees and ankles.

No joint stress cardio

To protect your knees from the impact and repetitive stress of cardio, here are three items you can easily work into your training routine. You will tone your muscles, burn calories and keep your knees in good shape.

1.     Battling ropes

Battling ropes need to be long and thick, the more the better.  Loop them around something stable that will not move and then take each end in your hands, pulling while doing the exercises. A good example of battling ropes cardio is rope slams— where you slam each end of the rope up and down on the floor, making waves. These exercises are quite aggressive for most people, so start slow and move up to longer sets as you feel more comfortable with it.

2.     Kettlebells

Cardio kettlebell exercises involve a lot of swinging and snatching. You can effectively strengthen the muscles in your hamstrings, glutes and lower back, but putting no stress whatsoever on your knees. Kettlebells come in different sizes and weights, but it is always a good idea to start slowly. Try 44 or 53-pound units and then move on to heavier ones as you see fit.

3.     Sledgehammer

Sledgehammer exercises, or sledgehammer swings, involve an eight-pound and a car tyre. The bigger the tyre, the better. You swing the sledgehammer hard against the tire, hard and rhythmically, in circular motions. Do a number of sets on each side (Twenty is good to start with). There will be no impact on your knees, but your pectorals, upper body and biceps will benefit tremendously.

Each of these three exercises can be part of a workout routine, or be the routine itself. You can include using Rowing Machines  as needed in your usual training, and feel all the benefits of cardio exercise without causing further injury to your knees.

High Intensity Training – CrossFit vs Powerlifting

Crossfit

If you think you’ve exhausted all the exercises out there and believe it’s time to graduate to something intense, you should definitely consider “CrossFit and Powerlifting”. After doing the same exercise workouts, routines and techniques, one can become quite bored and this can lead to complacency. CrossFit and Powerlifting exercises can get you back to the active and excited state that you once were in when you just started your exercise regime.

CrossFit vs. Powerlifting

CrossFit is a fitness program that combines a variety of endurance exercises, specifically targeting physical overall fitness. However CrossFit is more a training philosophy with scientific formulas that determine which types of exercises or movements meet the CrossFit criteria. In other words, not just any exercise with high intensity equals CrossFit. The exercises that you normally find include – but are not limited to – power lifts, squats, pull-ups, burpees and kettlebell swings. CrossFit exercises are usually done by those in the police force and military; and now has found it’s way into mainstream training. 

On the other hand, Powerlifting has been mainly categorized as a sport and incorporates three lifts using maximal weights; a deadlift, bench press and a squat. The winner is dependent on who lifts the greatest pounds for each weight class. Powerlifting is usually based purely on strength and does not incorporate any cardio or endurance exercises.

Advantages

Endurance is a major benefit of doing the CrossFit regime. Some of the other benefits include weight loss and increase in muscle strength. A high amount of calories are burned during the CrossFit program and it is this that mainly contributes to the decrease in body fat. The muscle strength is stimulated through the vigorous and high intensity exercises done, which creates and evens out the muscle distribution.

Powerlifting is great for muscle building, muscle strength and also burning fat. The main muscle groups that are strengthened are in the upper body, legs and back. The upper body muscles are strengthened through the bench press, the legs through the squats and the deadlift works on the muscles in the back. Powerlifting can also be used to improve speed and vertical jump. In 2004 the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” published a study that investigated the direct association between sprint speed and squat strength to powerlifting.

Equipment Required

Most exercises within the CrossFit program can be done without the use of equipment  and use body weight only. However, the equipment you will find in a CrossFit box would typically include, kettlebells, rowing machines, climbing ropes, dumbbells, barbells and bumper weight plates.

The main equipment used for powerlifting are barbells and weight plates. The weight plates, in pounds, are added to the barbells and is increased after each set to test muscle strength. Bodybuilders sometimes wear safety belts to protect their back while lifting weights and gloves to grip the barbells and avoid it from falling.

And the Winner is…

Unfortunately, you can’t name a winner of this competition, as both exercise regimes incorporate various exercises which contribute to the overall well-being of your body. CrossFit is mainly done for overall endurance and strength while Powerlifting is great for muscle strength. All in all, it comes down to your preference but you can add both CrossFit and Powerlifting are in your to-do list. The high intensity of both regimes can be really invigorating.

 

Skinny Guys Can Build Muscles Too

Build Muscles

A guy passes by with ripped muscles and the confidence shines all over him; his smile, his walk and his attitude. Then you look down at yourself and you wonder “What happened?” You’re as thin as a stick; no dimension – even though you’ve been hitting the gym and eating your proteins. Don’t worry. There’s hope for you. Chances are you’re not doing the correct things aimed at building muscles. It’s all hidden under there, somewhere.

 

Below is a list of tips to help you turn that skinny frame into rock hard muscles:

  • The key to building your size and strength is training more regularly. This means that you practice today, tomorrow the day after and so on. Getting the lean physique that you envision won’t come by in a day’s worth of exercise; it takes practice, endurance and discipline. Train several days per week instead of one. Training your body in turn trains your mind which then sends a message to your body that it’s time for a change. It’s a process and you have to follow through with your exercise regime to get the desired results you’ve been aiming for.
  • Many men aim to lift more pounds and therefore increase the weight on the barbells when working out with a Power Rack at the gym. This does help to get them stronger and bigger. But what you don’t realize is that this method cheats you out of building your strength. You’re still able to eat all the junk food and do barbell exercises and get thick but you’re really just adding fat to your body. You’re unable to keep track of your fat levels when you limit yourself to one exercise. It is important to do body-weight exercises, like push-ups and inverted rows, to strengthen your body.
  • Muscle fiber types can be categorized into two groups; fast twitch and slow twitch. Fast twitch muscle fibers are found in fast paced athletes, like sprinters, who quickly generate speed and strength, but get exhausted easily. On the other hand, slow twitch muscle fibers can be found in athletes like cyclists. It takes a while for them to exert energy and it also takes a long time for them to get tired. You can change your fiber type by training either more intensively or slower. However, in this situation where you’re trying to build muscle, it would be advisable to do exercises like the one arm dumbbell snatch, clean and press two to three days a week.
  • Using heavy carriers in your workout is another way of helping you build muscles. These form an essential part of increasing your body strength in a way that no other exercise can. Kettlebells and dumbbells, or any other heavy equipment, can be used while doing the Farmer’s Walk. This technique can be done for approximately 5 minutes after every workout. Some other positions that can be done are the kettlebell rack position and the bottoms up position. These exercises help you build abs, and muscles in your calves and arms.

Although you have personal goals and deadlines to get ripped, you must not overwork your body. There is something such as “over-training” and this can quickly lead you to feeling fatigued and injuring yourself.  It’s important that you pace yourself and think of exercising as practice instead of a sprint race to the finish-line. The muscles won’t come overnight and remember your aim is to create and maintain muscles.

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 one of the best home gym equipment 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.

Building Strength with CrossFit and Powerlifting

CrossFit can be scaled down and is accessible to any age or fitness level.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is an all-encompassing fitness program that utilizes and builds upon the ten basic elements of fitness. It is often used in police academies, military branches, and to condition competitive martial artists and other professional athletes. In a CrossFit gym, training is done in a group setting and at higher scales is a competitive sport within itself. In its non-competitive form, it is still high intensity but CrossFit can be scaled down and is accessible to any age or fitness level.

The Ten Basic Components of Overall Fitness

  • Balance
  • Agility
  • Accuracy
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Cardio
  • Speed
  • Power
  • Stamina
  • Strength

How CrossFit Utilizes These Elements

CrossFit takes the most beneficial training aspects of various sports and incorporates them into a well-balanced workout. The daily workouts are never the same and are rigorously structured to build up each of the ten elements.

Some CrossFit exercises include:

  • Kettle Bell Training
  • Gymnastics
  • Rowing
  • Barbell Training
  • Body Weight Resistance
  • Powerlifting

Powerlifting in CrossFit

Powerlifting is a form of competitive weightlifting. The athlete lifts as much weight as they can handle in three separate lifts. They start with a bench press, then a deadlift, and finally a squat. Since there are little to no cardiovascular benefits from weightlifting, CrossFit concentrates on powerlifting exercises as a way to increase the fitness elements of strength and power. In non-competitive CrossFit training, powerlifting exercises tend to completed twice a week. Starting light and gradually increasing in weight and intensity.

Interested in CrossFit or Powerlifting?

Always talk to your doctor about starting a new workout plan. Thoroughly understand what the workout demands of you and be sure that your overall health can meet those demands. Explain the workout routine to your doctor to ensure that is in alignment with any health conditions that may be present.

 

5 Best Kettlebell Workouts

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One of the recent innovations in the fitness category, Kettlebell exercises can make a great addition to your workout—but only if you know how to properly use them. Research shows that 20-minute kettlebell workouts will burn as much as 300 calories and can even increase to as much as an additional 50%.

Kettlebell workouts are also an excellent exercise regimen if you don’t have time to go to the gym. As long as you know crossfit kettlebell exercises, you can still achieve a toned body at the comfort of your home—making its convenience the main advantage in the fitness category.

Exercise #1: The Snatch
Start by placing the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Assume a position where your hips are pushed back, knees bent, and your butt almost touches the ground. Then swing the kettlebell from between your legs to the back of your forearm. Pull the kettlebell up to your chest, with your arms folded. Be sure to control the weight of the kettlebell all throughout so as not to hurt yourself.

Exercise #2: Clean and Press
With the kettlebell placed on the floor, spread your feet wider than your hip and slightly bent your knees. Grab the kettlebell using one hand and raise it to the level of your chest. Let it rest on your forearm, before you prop it above your head. This is one of the kettlebell exercises that focus on several areas: the quadriceps, shoulders, ankles, back, and hip.

Exercise #3: One Arm Swing
With your knees and hip slightly bent, hold the kettlebell with one hand between your legs. Swing the kettlebell upwards toward your chest as you stand up straight. At this point, let your other hand catch it mid-air as you assume the first position.

Exercise #4: Windmill
Crossfit kettlebell exercises usually focus on more than one area, and the windmill is one of them. First, place the kettlebell on the floor. With your legs spread wider than your hip and one hand over your head, push your hip back to pick up the kettlebell and raise it slightly as you look at your other hand above your head. Lower and raise the kettleball while keeping your back flat.

Exercise #5: Turkish Get Up
This is one of the crossfit kettlebell exercises that hold the rare distinction of focusing on many muscles. First, lie on your back, while you let the kettlebell rest on your forearm with one hand above your head. Bring your left leg toward your body, as you pivot to the right. Move your body forward using your left foot and your free hand, until you perform and lunge, and then stand on your feet. All the while, the kettleball must be above your head. After this, go back to your initial position by letting your free hand place you back to the ground.

Now that there are a number of kettlebell exercises for you to try, it’s becoming clear that they’re more than a fad in the fitness category. Kettlebell workouts are here to stay, and the sooner you get into it, the faster you can reach your goals.