Overall fitness isn't just about cardio. Although cardio is a major component of weight loss and heart health, it is important to incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen. Strength training builds muscle mass and helps you burn more calories post-workout. Follow these strength-training tips to amp up your workout and get a complete workout.
If you're just starting out with exercise, start out slow. Don't jump in head first and try to run five miles without having exercised before. You can wind up injuring yourself and doing more harm than good. Instead start with a short walk and slowly increase the length and the speed. Before you know it you'll be running five miles without any problems.
When rock or wall climbing, a great tip is to purchase shoes that fit your feet so tight that you can stand, however, you can not walk comfortably. Wearing shoes this tight will: give you the best control; and will help you use your legs in the most efficient way. Using your legs is crucial when climbing.
A great tip for optimizing your fitness is to wear a heart rate monitor when you work. With a quality heart rate monitor you can track your heart beat to see if you are getting the best workout for your goals. Many can be worn as watches so they are not a bother to workout in.
Work your stabilizers out first! Generally weights like dumbbells can tire your muscle stabilizers out first. A good work out plan uses dumbbells, then barbells, and then machines, simply based on how much the mechanism requires you to stabilize. Good balance and form are necessary for proper work out results and muscle development.
Your fitness program should include regular workouts with quality exercises. The length of the workout is not so important as what you do while you are working out. You should start at twenty minutes and gradually work your way up to an hour. You don't want to be exhausted when you work out or you will not get as much benefit from the exercises.
When you go to a vegetarian restaurant do not think that you have free reign over all of the options they present. Many of the foods at these types of restaurants are just as high in calories and saturated fats. This means you need to stay on guard about what you order.
There are three aspects to fitness that need to work in tandem in order to provide you with a healthy lifestyle. Each of these should be worked on and they are mental health, diet and exercise regimen. If you only work on one or two of these you will never reach your goals.
Obviously, there are many options when it comes to working strength moves into your fitness routine. Keep doing your cardio, but additionally, choose any number of the tips mentioned to keep your muscles strong and prevent injury. Not only will you increase your calorie burn, but you'll have awesome muscle definition to boot.
Fueling for Your Workouts
6 Tips to Build Grip Strength
When it comes to improving grip strength, many people consider isolation exercises the best route. These might include using a grip-strengthening device, squeezing a tennis ball in your palm, or stretching a thick rubber band looped around your fingers.
There’s a place for isolation work, but our experts prefer incorporating grip work into functional, full-body exercises. Chris Gagliardi, CPT, of the American Council on Exercise and Cori Lefkowith, NASM, a personal trainer in Mission Viejo, Calif. share some of their favorite tips.
1. Mix Up Your Handles
If you lift weights, simple tweaks to your equipment can add an extra grip challenge, says Gagliardi. For example, if you normally do rows with a dumbbell, try using a kettlebell. Or choose a barbell with a thinner or thicker diameter — swapping a 45-lb. barbell for a 35-lb. one, or mixing in some reps with an axle (“fat”) bar. Companies like Fat Gripz make sleeves to wrap around handles to increase their diameter.
For a different challenge, tie a dishcloth or gym towel around the handle of your dumbbell or kettlebell — or use a towel in place of a standard cable-machine attachment. This will help you strengthen your grip during rows, carries, biceps curls, pull-ups, swings, and deadlifts.
2. Take a Heavy Walk
One of Lefkowith’s favorite moves for grip and overall strengthening is the farmer’s carry. Pick up something heavy in one or both hands — a kettlebell, heavy bucket or can of paint, sandbag, weight plate, or packed suitcase or duffel bag are all great options. Hold the weight by your side(s), making sure that you’re not leaning to either side, hunching forward, or leaning back. Stand tall, shoulders away from your ears, and start walking. Set the weight down gently once you feel your grip loosen or your form deteriorate. (For more carry cues and variations, visit “BREAK IT DOWN: How to Do a Kettlebell Carry“.)
3. Hang Out in a Dead Hang
If you have access to a pull-up bar or monkey bars at a playground, try dead hangs or pull-up holds to build grip strength, Lefkowith says. To do a dead hang, jump or step up to grasp the bar with both hands; hang straight-armed for as long as possible, taking care to retract your scapulas to draw your shoulders down and back away from your ears. Add a challenge to the hang by doing a pull-up and holding the top position.
4. Reverse Your Biceps Curl
In this biceps-curl variation, instead of starting with palms facing away from your body, begin with palms turned toward your body. You can use dumbbells, a barbell, or an EZ bar for this challenging move.
5. Flip Your Kettlebell
The bottoms-up kettlebell press does double duty as both a grip strengthener and a shoulder mobilizer. Start with a light kettlebell and hold it upside down in one hand at shoulder height. When held upside down, the kettlebell will want to sway and fall back into a traditional rack position; keeping it bottom-side up will require your hand, shoulder, and core to engage. Once you have balanced the kettlebell at shoulder height, press it overhead in a straight line, taking care to keep your hips and shoulders level. Reverse the move and repeat. (For a refresher on overhead-press form, visit “BREAK IT DOWN: The Overhead Press“.)
6. Grab Some Battle Ropes
Battle ropes are typically used for muscular and cardio conditioning, but simply holding onto the ropes can be a challenge. Grasp an end of the rope in each hand and try doing double waves (simultaneously moving both arms up and down rapidly) and alternating waves (raising one arm up while lowering the other). ( For a battle-rope workout, visit “Using Battle Ropes“.)
This was excerpted from “Get a Grip” which was published in Experience Life magazine.
Have you tried this NEW workout plan that everyone is talking about?
A 10-Minute Core Workout You Can Do Right Now
If you want to build balanced strength, working your core is key—but it doesn't have to take forever. In fact, a 10-minute core workout can be a great way to challenge those muscles and reap the strength-building benefits.
Remember, your core consists of more muscles than just your “abs,” (your rectus abdominis, or the muscles which run vertically along the front of your abdomen) and your external obliques, which run along the sides of your abdominal wall. Your core also includes deeper muscles that you can't see, such as your transverse abdominis, your erector spinae in your lower back, and your pelvic floor muscles.
“Most people think about those external muscles when they think about a core workout, but working your internal core muscles is very important, too,” ACE-certified personal trainer Sivan Fagan, owner of Strong with Sivan, tells SELF. “They help you stabilize your spine and transfer energy throughout your body.”
If those deeper core muscles are weak, you can have what's called an “energy leak” when you're strength training, says Fagan. Think about what happens when you're squatting: You need all your core muscles to fire to help you push back up. If your deep core muscles are weak, your lower back will end up taking on too much of the work, which can lead to strain or injury.
The best way to train your core is to take it through both of its functions: creating movement and resisting movement, says Fagan. Many people focus more on creating movement—say, with moves like crunches—but forget about resisting movement (like with planks), which is necessary for building stability.
That's why this 10-minute core workout, created by Fagan, incorporates abs moves that both resist movement and create movement so you can build efficient, practical core strength that transfers to your other workouts and in everyday life.
Ready to get started? Here's what you need for a quick core workout you can do at home.
The WorkoutWhat you need: Just your bodyweight and an exercise mat for cushioning.
The ExercisesDeadbugPlank shoulder tapSide kick-throughBicycle crunchDemoing the moves below are Rachel Denis (GIF 1), a powerlifter who competes with USA Powerlifting and holds multiple New York State powerlifting records, Nathalie Huerta (GIF 2), a coach at The Queer Gym in Oakland, California; Tiana Jones (GIF 3), a dance and fitness instructor based in New York City; and Cookie Janee (GIF 4), a background investigator and security forces specialist in the Air Force Reserve.
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