Tag Archives: gym equipment

Building a Bigger Back with the Right Workout

Bigger Back

Back workouts can be complicated because of it being such a large body part. It has to be targeted from a number of angles in order to maximize growth and muscle mass. There are specific exercises which can be designed to cater to your workout needs and lead to that ‘bigger’ back. It will emphasize the different areas and look to work them hard. Everyone has a diverse approach ranging from barbells to free weights. This piece will discuss some of these exercises and how they target your back.

Dead Lifts

This should be on top of your list for back exercises.  This is a serious exercise and one that requires a lot of grit and determination. You have to ‘perfect’ the technique before progressing forward with heavy weights.

It is suggested to use an Power Rack  and do the dead lifts every so often and not lift to failure. If you do lift to failure, the chances of being able to do anything else for your back that day is minimal. Deadlifts take a lot out of you and should be targeted in a manner that is safe. This type of powerlifting can be intense.

Pull Ups

This is a simple solution to achieving those desired wider lats. Technique is important here as you want to keep the focus on the back. Many fitness enthusiasts will do pull ups that place more emphasis on the arms. Look to bring your chin above the bar at the top and be fully stretched at the bottom. The elbow should drive in towards the back, leading the shoulder blades to almost touch.

Pulls ups are an excellent tool to begin with at the start of a workout.  Look to throw in a few sets at the start to get the muscles loosened. If you are looking to add mass, toss in some weights and do weighted pull ups with a dip belt.

Back Extensions

To round out a workout, it is important to pinpoint a lower back exercise. Many individuals will forget to emphasize the lower back in the bid to get a V-shape look. Yet, the lower back is critical in maintaining balance and making your shape more aesthetic in nature.

How do you target the lower back? It is good to begin with back extensions using respectable weight. The goal here should be to go for a high number of reps because the exercise is generally less taxing.

Roman dead lifts are another option and one that can be beneficial. As with anything, technique is more important than extra weight.

Choosing a Belt: A Weightlifting Belt Size Guide

Belt Size

Wearing a well-fitted belt during lifting some weights on the power rack 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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

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.