Tag Archives: mixed martial arts training

Wide vs Close Grip Pull Ups: Which is Best?

pull-up-

Pull-ups are difficult, demanding and strenuous exercises. You need to lift all your weight with the use of your back, chest and arm muscles. It might be a daunting challenge at first, but with a bit of work and perseverance, you will be able to benefit muscles that are otherwise difficult to reach.

Before you start, make sure you have warmed up properly. Strength training puts a lot of stress on your muscles, and jumping into it without the preparation of a gradual warm up could lead to injuries.

Once your arms, back and chest muscles are a bit warmer, it is time to do the pull-up challenge. As with every difficult exercise, do not overstress yourself. Begin slowly and rest if you need it.

Pull-ups are simple because all you need is a stable overhead bar and a good grip with your hands. But it is not as easy as it seems at first. If you want to get the full benefits from pull-ups, you need to pay attention to the grip. The way you place your hands greatly determines what muscles you will be using, how your body will be moving and the level of difficulty you will be facing.

There are two main types of hand grip:

Wide Grip

This is the more traditional grip method. Stand and reach up to the overhead bar with both hands placed slightly beyond the width of your shoulders by a few inches. Turn your palms around so that they are facing forward. When you pull yourself up, your shoulders will be performing a powerful adduction movement: that is, flexing towards you, and making your upper arms move towards your sides. This is really good for shoulder flexibility as well as muscle toning. And you will also be putting to work the large wing-like back muscles known as latissimus dorsi.

Close Grip

In this modality, your hands must grip the overhead bar exactly at shoulder level, with your palms facing forward the same way as in the wide grip. The close grip forces your upper arms to move behind you and your shoulders to extend. With the close grip you will also work on the latissimus dorsi, but there will be a big contribution from the large front chest muscles, the pectoralis major, and the biceps.

All three muscles will harmoniously work together and get toned in accordance.

Another version of the close grip is where your palms are facing you (otherwise known as chin-ups). The latissimus dorsi will still be doing most of the work, but this time the biceps will be more involved.

The close grip uses the mechanical benefit of two large and powerful muscles, front and back, which makes doing pull-ups a bit easier, and also for a greater number of repetitions.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to try a close grip before you move on to the wide grip.

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.

 

10 Exercises for Toning Your Body After Weight Loss

Body Toning

We are always given tips to losing weight; drink more water, do cardio, eat less, decrease your serving size. But after we lose the weight, what’s next? We have hanging arms, tummies and flabby legs. One obstacle has been overcome and another created.

Below is a list of exercises that you can do to tone your body after you have lost the weight. The exercises have been categorized into upper, lower and total body workouts.

Upper Body Workouts

  • Push-ups

Moving yourself from a full plank position, with your hands apart and your feet together, bend your elbows while you lower your body toward the floor without touching. Keep your back straight and avoid touching the floor with your inner body. Do 10-15 reps.

  • Chest Press

Lie on your back, knees bent at hip width and arms out at 90 degrees with dumbbells in hands. Lift arms towards the ceiling and press the weights to the center of your chest. Do 10-20 reps.

  • Kneeling Curls

Kneel, shoulder width apart, with your arms by your side with dumbbells in your hands. Do bicep curls, turning your palms up while lifting. Do 10-15 reps.

  • Quadruped Kickback

Start in a kneeling position with your hands on the floor with dumbbells in hands. Bend your right elbow upward with your palm facing in and extend your arm to your hip. Return elbow to original position and repeat on left side. Do alternate sides for at least 5-10 reps.

Lower Body Workouts

  • Rear Lunges

Holding dumbbells with your arms by your side, stand upright with your feet together. Take a wide step back with your right leg into a lunge while bending both knees. Keep left thigh parallel to floor. Return to standing position. Repeat using other leg. Do 10-20 reps.

  • Sumo Squat

Holding dumbbells, stand with your feet wide apart. Bend your knees so they go over your toes. Extend your arms and bring them slowly down towards the ground. Complete 20 reps. 

  • Side Lunges

Holding dumbbells with your arms by your side, stand upright with your feet together. Using your right foot, step to the side, while bending your knee and pressing back your hips. Return to start position and do the same with the left leg. Do 10-20 reps.

Total Body Workouts

  • Plank Inchworm

Start in full plank position. Slowly walk your hands in towards your legs as your hips are lifted in a pike position. Walk your hands back to the original position. Do 5 reps.

  • Lawnmower Row

Start in a lunge position with arms by your side. Reach left arm towards your right shin and row left elbow behind your body while rotating your torso to the right. Lower your left arm and do 15 reps.

  • Squat Curl and Press

Do a full squat holding dumbbells with your hands reaching downwards. As you stand, bend elbows to shoulder width, curling the dumbbells in with the palms facing each other. Press the weights overhead. Do 10-15 reps.

 

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.

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 do 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.

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.

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.