Tag Archives: gym machines

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.

Advice About Training From The Experts

advice training

When it comes to finding the perfect fitness plan for you, there is a lot you can learn from experienced professional trainers.

These little tips will help you put together a much better workout routine and fitness plan, while at the same time improving your quality of life more than you could ever imagine.

1.     Start slow and organize yourself.

a.      Make small changes. If you are new to fitness training, start little by little. Gradually introduce activities and changes to your day.

b.     Plan ahead. When you have time to spare, plan your fitness schedule for the week. You will be able to do it more efficiently.

2.     Intensify your workout.

  • Work out harder, and you will burn more.  A hard, intensive workout using some home gym equipment will keep you burning calories for hours even after you leave the gym.
  • Start your day with exercise. Do your fitness routine first thing in the morning, and you will not have to make room for it in your busy schedule. It will also be much more intense and effective.

Do your fitness routine first thing in the morning.

3.     Focus on your inner body and mind, and enjoy it.

  • Fitness starts from the inside. Working out will improve your physical appearance, but that should not be your reason to do it. You do it to be healthy.
  • Meditate. Your mind is part of your body –don’t leave it behind.  Re-connecting to your source will give you peace of mind and heal emotional wounds.
  • Do the things you like. Working out does not have to be a self-imposed obligation; not if you find something you really like to do.

4.     Don’t procrastinate, just do it. And do it well.

  • Don’t give yourself unrealistic goals, but stick to your plan as much as possible. Share your goals with friends: it will keep you motivated.
  •  Combine cardio and strength training. Your workout will be shorter and more effective.
  • Picture your goal, then break it down into smaller goals. Step by step, you will get where you want.

5.     Pay attention to your posture, your diet and your commitment.

  • Watch your feet. Proper foot placement is paramount to good balance and spinal alignment.
  • Eat well. Eat clean, unprocessed food – fruit and vegetables, lean meat, good fat and grains. Think of food as fuel, not a reward for your cravings.
  • Set a two-day rule: Don’t go for more than two days without training. Stick to that rule no matter what you do and where you go.

If you do this well, your strength endurance will certainly increase and then all you will need to do is repeat this circuit two to four times.

 

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.

 

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 using a Power Rack.

Happy lifting!

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.