Tag Archives: strength training equipment

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 them 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 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.

 

Reinvigorate Your Dietary Choices

Diet Choices

Looking for a clean diet to go on as the year progresses forward? There are countless methods of tackling this issue and heading towards a path of beneficial weight loss. Dietary choices can appear to be complex, but they are easier than one would naturally assume.  With a series of steps to refresh your diet, the results will become noticeable. This piece will discuss dietary choices that can be made in order to enhance one’s diet and reach their weight loss goals.

What Are You Currently Eating?

Before progressing any further, it is important to assess the food that is currently being consumed. What is the nutritional breakdown of your present diet and what foods are predominantly a staple of your meals? This can paint an excellent image of the issues residing over your current situation and the modifications needed to be made.

Look to break down the items into little groups. Find out how much protein is being consumed, vegetables, grains, and calcium. It is a part of the process and should not be overlooked for the sake of moving onto the ‘reinvigorating’ bit.

Start Cutting Back and Removing

It is now time to start eradicating certain parts of the current diet. These are foods that have no place in a weight loss diet and will only harm your endeavors.

These foods come in different shapes and sizes with a diverse range of impacts on your health when trying to make the right dietary choices.

Begin by removing all forms of processed foods. These are horrible for your health and will lead you down a path that is difficult to come out of. Added sugars have to slowly be eliminated from your diet.

Remember, completely eradicating these sources is baseless. It has to be a slow and steady process for the body to accommodate the changes without fighting back (i.e. getting ill).

Make the Additions

Now it begins, you are able to start adding healthy foods to your diet. Your dietary intake will begin to alter as you start including these foods into the diet. Which foods might these be?

The goal has to be to have a balanced diet. You need to look for good sources of protein, fruits/vegetables, dairy and whole grain products. Without the right balance, you will always struggle to lose weight and excess fat.

Look to start including ‘power foods’ such as bananas, celery and lentils. These are foods for weight loss that are packed with nutrients.

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.