Tag Archives: Powerlifting Belts

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, It’s more grateful if you have some Power Rack Cages.for this exercise,  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.

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.

 

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. All you need is some equipment and gym mats.

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.

 

The Benefits Of Upside Down Inversion Exercises

Upside down Exercises

Inversion exercises are done while being hung fully upside down with the support of inversion boots on a horizontal bar. Sounds tricky? It is and can be quite a challenge, but the benefits gained from doing inversion exercises might encourage you to try it yourself.

Inversion Boots

When doing inversion exercises, inversion boots – otherwise called “gravity boots” – are worn to support your body. Inversion boots are made with straps to hold on to your ankles and attach to the horizontal bar. This is the only thing that is used to support you and keeps you safe while allowing you to do the various exercises that act as therapy for your body.

Types of Exercises

Inverted Squats

Squats are done the same way as standing. The only difference is that you are fully inverted instead of standing before starting each bend. In order to complete the proper form of each squat, start at a 180 degree angle then bend your knees while raising your body toward the bar. This exercise works on your hamstring and glutes.

Inverted Sit-ups

You are better able to stretch your body through inverted sit-ups. Fully invert your body and stretch through 180 degrees, brining your chest toward your thighs. This exercise works on your lower back and abs. 

Full Inversion

Full inversion means that you hang yourself completely; toward the floor. This exercise is one that takes very little work and allows you to take the time out and meditate. It releases stress and back pain, improves circulation and gives you mental alertness. The gravity also realigns your spine.

Three Points Hang

As a beginner, you can try the three points hang. This means that three different points of your body are supported by the horizontal bar at all times; your feet and one of your hands at a time.

Therapeutic Benefits

Inversion exercise falls under the category of core training. It works your legs (hamstring and glutes), abdominals, chest and back. Apart from inversion exercises physically molding your body, they are therapeutic. Inversion exercises help to realign your spine, improve blood circulation, reduce stress, increase flexibility, improve posture and rehydrates the vertebral discs (allows for flexibility of the spine) and it is necessary to use some gym mats.

Precautions

Although inversion exercises help your physical and mental health, there are certain precautions that must be considered before attempting the maneuvers. If you have hernia, glaucoma, high blood pressure or heart disease, it is not advisable for you to do the exercises. Also, pregnant women and persons suffering from obesity should not participate in inversion exercises.

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.