Tag Archives: fitness equipment

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.

 

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.

Powerlifting Belts: Help or Hinder?

Powerlifting Belt

Powerlifting is a competitive type of weightlifting. Athletes are judged by lifting as much weight as possible in a number of different lifts such as; bench press, dead lift, and squat. Because the goal is to lift as much as you can , there is a lot of pressure on the lower back and spine with high potential for injury.

How Power lifting Belts Can Help

Wearing a powerlifting belt helps reduce the risk of injury while training or competing. Essentially, it helps tighten your core causing an increase your intra abdominal pressure. This supports your spine and in turn, reduces the risk of compression, slipped disks, and other injuries associated with lifting large amounts of weight. Users also notice a strength increase during deadlifts and squats when using the belt. The increase can range anywhere from ten to twenty pounds.

How Power lifting Belts Can Hinder

It’s important to only use the belt when exerting maximal effort. For example, maximal effort would be 350+ pounds for someone who currently squats 400 pounds. Continuous use of the belt when it is not completely necessary can cause your core to become dependent on it. This will work against you and actually promote the possibility of injury when not using the belt. Be mindful and make sure to use a belt as a tool and not let it become a crutch.

Who Should Not Use a Belt

Beginners should not use a belt until proper form has been established. It’s important to first master techniques before utilizing a belt during a lift. If your technique is undeveloped, a belt will not reduce the risk of injury because your improper form is what will inevitably cause injury.

 

 

 

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.