Michael Schletter – Life by Daily Burn https://dailyburn.com/life Sat, 31 Mar 2018 00:21:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/six-pack-ab-exercises/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/six-pack-ab-exercises/#comments Sat, 21 Jan 2017 14:15:25 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=17094 No-Crunch Ab Exercises

[caption id="attachment_55495" align="alignleft" width="620"]7 No-Crunch Ab Exercises to Sculpt a Six-Pack Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Spoiler Alert: Crunches and sit-ups are not the secret to six-pack abs. In fact, repetitive or excessive spinal flexion (e.g. bending your chest forward toward your knees) is just about the worst thing you can do for your back, says David Larson, CSCS, a strength coach at Pulse Fitness in Scottsdale, Arizona. In addition to swapping crunches for some more complex moves (detailed below), proper diet is essential for carving out that six-pack — just ask any fitness model or strength coach. Here are seven key exercises, as recommended by Larson, to help bring variety to your ab workouts.

The No-Crunch Core Workout

[caption id="attachment_39727" align="alignnone" width="620"]overhead squat Photo: Pond5[/caption]

1. Overhead Squat

Targets: Entire core
Grasp a barbell or weighted bar with an overhand grip that is about double your shoulder width. Raise the bar directly overhead and lock your elbows (a). Pushing your hips back the entire time, squat down bringing your butt as close to your heels as you can with a flat back (b). The bar should be directly over your heels (it should actually end up behind your head) the entire time. Drive your heels into the floor until you stand again (c).
Sets: 4, Reps: 10-12, Rest: 120 seconds between sets

RELATED: 6 Squat Variations for Total-Body Strength

2. Pull-Up

Targets: Entire core
Grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand, slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. Pull your shoulder blades down and back, bend your legs behind you, cross your feet, squeeze your butt, and brace your abs (this ensures your core gets worked). This is the start position (a). Pull yourself up until your collarbone reaches the bar, driving your elbows down towards your hips (b). Return to the start position (c). If you're unable to pull yourself up, loop an exercise band over the bar and step into the loop.
Sets: 3, Reps: to failure, Rest: 120 seconds between sets

RELATED: How to Do a Pull-Up (Or Add More Reps)

3. Medicine Ball Slam

Targets: Rectus abdominis (aka the six-pack)
Grab a fairly lightweight medicine ball and hold it up above your head (a). Keeping your torso totally upright with good posture, throw the medicine ball directly downward at the ground as hard as you can (b). Just be careful: some bounce back!
Sets: 3, Reps: 20, Rest: 60 seconds between sets

RELATED: The 15-Minute Medicine Ball HIIT Workout

4. Ab Wheel Roll-Out

Targets: Entire core
Kneel on the floor with your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders holding the handles of an ab wheel. Slowly push your hips forward and roll the ab wheel out, keeping your back flat and allowing your arms to extend in front of your body (a). As soon as it feels like you can’t roll anymore without the risk of falling, push your palms toward the floor, simultaneously squeezing your abs and pushing your hips back toward the start position until you reach it (b).
Sets: 4, Reps: To failure, Rest: 90 seconds between sets

RELATED: This Is How to Do Perfect Push-Ups (Even on Your Knees)

5. Pallof Press

Targets: Obliques, transversus abdominis (rotational muscles)
Attach a D-handle to a cable cross machine and adjust the pulley to chest height (a resistance band around a pole works, too). Stand about two feet away from the machine and pull the handle to your chest (a). If your right shoulder is closest to the machine, your right hand should hold the handle and your left should be more of a guide. While bracing your core, push the handle straight out, so the handle stays directly in front of your chest (b). Slowly return the handle to your chest (c).
Sets: 4, Reps: 10 on each side, Rest: 60 seconds between sets

[caption id="attachment_54602" align="alignnone" width="620"]No-Crunch Ab Exercises: Landmine Press Photo: Pond5[/caption]

6. Barbell Landmine

Targets: Obliques, transversus abdominis
Wedge one end of a barbell in the corner of two walls. Lift the barbell up by the other end and hold it at your chest (a). Next, press the barbell directly out from your chest with both hands, fingers laced (b). Keeping your arms straight, rotate from your shoulders to one side, then to the other. Return to the start position (c).
Sets: 3, Reps: 10 on each side, Rest: 120 seconds between sets

7. The Pendulum

Targets: Entire core
Lie on the floor flat on your back and raise your legs until you have a 90-degree bend at the hips. Keeping your legs straight, lower them to the right, allowing them to come almost all the way to the floor (a). Return the legs to the upright position and then lower them to the left (b). Repeat in this fashion until all prescribed reps are performed.
Sets: 4, Reps: 10 to each side, Rest: 60 seconds between sets

For more core-blasting moves and new workouts every day, try Daily Burn 365

Originally published November 2013. Updated January 2017. 

The post 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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No-Crunch Ab Exercises

[caption id="attachment_55495" align="alignleft" width="620"]7 No-Crunch Ab Exercises to Sculpt a Six-Pack Photo: Pond5[/caption] Spoiler Alert: Crunches and sit-ups are not the secret to six-pack abs. In fact, repetitive or excessive spinal flexion (e.g. bending your chest forward toward your knees) is just about the worst thing you can do for your back, says David Larson, CSCS, a strength coach at Pulse Fitness in Scottsdale, Arizona. In addition to swapping crunches for some more complex moves (detailed below), proper diet is essential for carving out that six-pack — just ask any fitness model or strength coach. Here are seven key exercises, as recommended by Larson, to help bring variety to your ab workouts.

The No-Crunch Core Workout

[caption id="attachment_39727" align="alignnone" width="620"]overhead squat Photo: Pond5[/caption]

1. Overhead Squat

Targets: Entire core Grasp a barbell or weighted bar with an overhand grip that is about double your shoulder width. Raise the bar directly overhead and lock your elbows (a). Pushing your hips back the entire time, squat down bringing your butt as close to your heels as you can with a flat back (b). The bar should be directly over your heels (it should actually end up behind your head) the entire time. Drive your heels into the floor until you stand again (c). Sets: 4, Reps: 10-12, Rest: 120 seconds between sets RELATED: 6 Squat Variations for Total-Body Strength

2. Pull-Up

Targets: Entire core Grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand, slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. Pull your shoulder blades down and back, bend your legs behind you, cross your feet, squeeze your butt, and brace your abs (this ensures your core gets worked). This is the start position (a). Pull yourself up until your collarbone reaches the bar, driving your elbows down towards your hips (b). Return to the start position (c). If you're unable to pull yourself up, loop an exercise band over the bar and step into the loop. Sets: 3, Reps: to failure, Rest: 120 seconds between sets RELATED: How to Do a Pull-Up (Or Add More Reps)

3. Medicine Ball Slam

Targets: Rectus abdominis (aka the six-pack) Grab a fairly lightweight medicine ball and hold it up above your head (a). Keeping your torso totally upright with good posture, throw the medicine ball directly downward at the ground as hard as you can (b). Just be careful: some bounce back! Sets: 3, Reps: 20, Rest: 60 seconds between sets RELATED: The 15-Minute Medicine Ball HIIT Workout

4. Ab Wheel Roll-Out

Targets: Entire core Kneel on the floor with your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders holding the handles of an ab wheel. Slowly push your hips forward and roll the ab wheel out, keeping your back flat and allowing your arms to extend in front of your body (a). As soon as it feels like you can’t roll anymore without the risk of falling, push your palms toward the floor, simultaneously squeezing your abs and pushing your hips back toward the start position until you reach it (b). Sets: 4, Reps: To failure, Rest: 90 seconds between sets RELATED: This Is How to Do Perfect Push-Ups (Even on Your Knees)

5. Pallof Press

Targets: Obliques, transversus abdominis (rotational muscles) Attach a D-handle to a cable cross machine and adjust the pulley to chest height (a resistance band around a pole works, too). Stand about two feet away from the machine and pull the handle to your chest (a). If your right shoulder is closest to the machine, your right hand should hold the handle and your left should be more of a guide. While bracing your core, push the handle straight out, so the handle stays directly in front of your chest (b). Slowly return the handle to your chest (c). Sets: 4, Reps: 10 on each side, Rest: 60 seconds between sets [caption id="attachment_54602" align="alignnone" width="620"]No-Crunch Ab Exercises: Landmine Press Photo: Pond5[/caption]

6. Barbell Landmine

Targets: Obliques, transversus abdominis Wedge one end of a barbell in the corner of two walls. Lift the barbell up by the other end and hold it at your chest (a). Next, press the barbell directly out from your chest with both hands, fingers laced (b). Keeping your arms straight, rotate from your shoulders to one side, then to the other. Return to the start position (c). Sets: 3, Reps: 10 on each side, Rest: 120 seconds between sets

7. The Pendulum

Targets: Entire core Lie on the floor flat on your back and raise your legs until you have a 90-degree bend at the hips. Keeping your legs straight, lower them to the right, allowing them to come almost all the way to the floor (a). Return the legs to the upright position and then lower them to the left (b). Repeat in this fashion until all prescribed reps are performed. Sets: 4, Reps: 10 to each side, Rest: 60 seconds between sets For more core-blasting moves and new workouts every day, try Daily Burn 365 Originally published November 2013. Updated January 2017. 

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7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Squat https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/how-to-improve-your-squat/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/how-to-improve-your-squat/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2016 14:30:30 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=18563 How to Squat Like a Pro

[caption id="attachment_49117" align="alignnone" width="620"]Here's How to Squat Better in 7 Easy Steps Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn[/caption]

If you’re no stranger to the gym, chances are the squat is a part of your regular routine. Not only does this powerful exercise build muscle in your lower body, it strengthens your upper half (abs included!) as well. But if adding reps, depth or weight hasn't come easy, it's likely you've hit a plateau. Here's how to squat with more confidence and skill, starting with seven simple, expert-approved techniques.

RELATED: Daily Burn 365: New Workouts, 7 Days a Week

How to Squat Like a Pro

1. Start Off on the Right Foot
Many people play around with their foot position during the squat. Some experts will tell you that pointing your toes outward is best, while others say to do what feels natural. The truth is though, there’s only one correct foot position for the squat. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes pointed out about 10 degrees, says Andrew Sakhrani, CSCS, a Montreal-based strength coach. “It is important to [have your feet] a little further than shoulder-width apart so that the groin muscle is involved as well,” Sakhrani says. This position allows you to effectively activate the proper muscles by putting pressure on the outsides of your feet.

2. Tighten Your Buns: Glute Bridges or Hip Thrusts
One of the most common issues people have with squatting is known as valgus collapse, or the knees collapsing inwards during the “up” phase of the exercise. This is caused by weak glutes. “Without sufficient strength in the glutes, muscles may fail and other muscles will try to overcompensate, leading to imbalance and possible injury,” says Sakhrani. To strengthen your glutes, try basic bodyweight glute bridges, or if you're ready for a little more resistance: barbell hip thrusts.

How to: Sit on the ground with your shoulder blades up against the side of a bench. Place a barbell across your hips with a pad in between you and the barbell. Slide your feet in so they are flat on the ground and your heels are under your knees (a). Lift your hips off the ground, so your butt is about three inches from the floor. Thrust hips up by squeezing glutes until your body is a straight line from shoulders to knees (b). Slowly lower yourself back to the start position.

RELATED: 5 Moves for Your Butt, Hips and Thighs

3. Strengthen Your Back: Prone Back Extensions
Experts agree that squats place a large load on the spine, which can be dangerous if done improperly. But there are ways to reduce the risk of injury, such as improving lower back strength. Simple prone back extensions will increase strength in your lower back, allowing the body to better manage heavy loads.

How to: Lie face down on the ground with hands at your sides. Squeeze your glutes and lift your torso and legs off the ground, simultaneously trying to touch your hands behind your back (a). Slowly return to the start position (b). Sakhrani tells us to “Breathe normally and take time with it. When at the contraction phase of the exercise, it's important to hold for 2-3 seconds to effectively work the muscle.”

4. Improve Imbalances in Legs: Single-Leg Pressing Exercises
Everyone has muscle imbalances; they’re unavoidable. These imbalances hinder your improvement in bilateral (two sided) exercises, such as the bench press, squat and deadlift. To correct imbalances, single-side exercises are a commonly used and effective. For example, on a day that you would do squats, try substituting a Bulgarian split squat. Make sure to take your time to do them correctly. “It’s important to make sure that the front heel is staying grounded,” says Sakhrani. “If it doesn’t, you need to stand further away from the box.”

How to: Stand a few feet away from a bench or box, holding dumbbells at your sides. Raise one foot and place it on the bench or box behind you. This is the start position (a). Keeping your torso upright and weight in the heel of the grounded foot, slowly lower your body down until you feel a deep stretch in the hip flexor of the raised leg (b). Press your heel into the floor to return to the start position.

RELATED: Is Your Mobility Holding You Back? 5 Tests to Find Out

5. Work on Your Quads: Front Squats
Although it’s generally rare, there are some people who have weak quads (as compared to weak glutes, a much more common problem). To correct this while continuing to do squats, shift the load a bit to put the emphasis on your quads by doing a front squat.

How to: Set up in a squat rack and place the barbell just below shoulder height. Hold the bar with an overhand grip and walk under it, allowing your elbows to come in front of your body to about your shoulder height. The bar should rest across your collarbone and shoulder muscles, pressing against the neck, says Sakhrani, to relieve some of the collarbone pressure. Un-rack the bar and take a couple of steps back. This is the start position (a). Keeping your elbows high, push your hips back and sink your weight into your heels, slowly bringing your butt towards the ground until the top of your thigh is parallel to the floor (b). Without letting your knees collapse inward, drive your heels into the floor to return to the start position.

6. Use Your Hammies: Hamstring Curls on a Stability Ball
In addition to needing strong glutes to really improve your squat, hamstring strength needs to be up to par, too. These muscles are powerful hip extensors when they work in conjunction with the glutes, and hip extension is an integral part of the squat. A great way to increase strength in the hamstrings is by using a move that creates high muscular tension, such as stability ball hamstring curls. “Super setting stability ball leg curls with squats is effective because no muscles will be neglected and neither exercise will affect performance in the other one,” says Sakhrani.

How to: Lie flat on your back with feet and calves on a stability ball. Lift hips off the ground so that your body forms a straight line from shoulders to ankles. This is the start position (a). Digging your heels into the ball, draw your feet in towards your body, rolling the ball towards your butt, while simultaneously lifting your hips to maintain that straight line from shoulders to knees (b). Slowly return to the start position. Trainer tip: You can superset these with squats, but do them after squats to get maximum benefit from squats.

7. Loosen Your Lats: Overhead Squats
You aren’t alone if you have tight lats and spinal erectors. However, when performing a squat, this will cause the lower back to round before getting to full depth, therefore causing back pain. To avoid this and loosen up those big, fan-shaped back muscles, use the overhead squat. (Note: This is an advanced move. If you're not ready to add weight perform the same movement detailed above holding a towel or dowel rod overhead.)

How to: Take a barbell, weighted bar or towel/dowel rod (for zero added weight) and hold it in front of your chest at shoulder height, hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping you feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly out, press the bar or towel/dowel rod overhead. This is the start position (a). Push your hips back as you lower your butt as far down towards your heels as possible (b). Return to the start position. Sakhrani suggests doing this after foam rolling, because “A foam roller is a useful tool for increasing mobility when used prior to exercise.” Trainer tip: If you cannot bend your knees more than 90 degrees, place a slightly elevated object under the heels of your feet (weight plates can do the trick). This will allow you to gradually work up your mobility to a point where you won’t need the objects under your heels. You can do these before your standard squat as part of a warm-up.

Originally posted September 2013. Updated April 2016. 

The post 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Squat appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
How to Squat Like a Pro

[caption id="attachment_49117" align="alignnone" width="620"]Here's How to Squat Better in 7 Easy Steps Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn[/caption] If you’re no stranger to the gym, chances are the squat is a part of your regular routine. Not only does this powerful exercise build muscle in your lower body, it strengthens your upper half (abs included!) as well. But if adding reps, depth or weight hasn't come easy, it's likely you've hit a plateau. Here's how to squat with more confidence and skill, starting with seven simple, expert-approved techniques. RELATED: Daily Burn 365: New Workouts, 7 Days a Week

How to Squat Like a Pro

1. Start Off on the Right Foot Many people play around with their foot position during the squat. Some experts will tell you that pointing your toes outward is best, while others say to do what feels natural. The truth is though, there’s only one correct foot position for the squat. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes pointed out about 10 degrees, says Andrew Sakhrani, CSCS, a Montreal-based strength coach. “It is important to [have your feet] a little further than shoulder-width apart so that the groin muscle is involved as well,” Sakhrani says. This position allows you to effectively activate the proper muscles by putting pressure on the outsides of your feet. 2. Tighten Your Buns: Glute Bridges or Hip Thrusts One of the most common issues people have with squatting is known as valgus collapse, or the knees collapsing inwards during the “up” phase of the exercise. This is caused by weak glutes. “Without sufficient strength in the glutes, muscles may fail and other muscles will try to overcompensate, leading to imbalance and possible injury,” says Sakhrani. To strengthen your glutes, try basic bodyweight glute bridges, or if you're ready for a little more resistance: barbell hip thrusts. How to: Sit on the ground with your shoulder blades up against the side of a bench. Place a barbell across your hips with a pad in between you and the barbell. Slide your feet in so they are flat on the ground and your heels are under your knees (a). Lift your hips off the ground, so your butt is about three inches from the floor. Thrust hips up by squeezing glutes until your body is a straight line from shoulders to knees (b). Slowly lower yourself back to the start position. RELATED: 5 Moves for Your Butt, Hips and Thighs 3. Strengthen Your Back: Prone Back Extensions Experts agree that squats place a large load on the spine, which can be dangerous if done improperly. But there are ways to reduce the risk of injury, such as improving lower back strength. Simple prone back extensions will increase strength in your lower back, allowing the body to better manage heavy loads. How to: Lie face down on the ground with hands at your sides. Squeeze your glutes and lift your torso and legs off the ground, simultaneously trying to touch your hands behind your back (a). Slowly return to the start position (b). Sakhrani tells us to “Breathe normally and take time with it. When at the contraction phase of the exercise, it's important to hold for 2-3 seconds to effectively work the muscle.” 4. Improve Imbalances in Legs: Single-Leg Pressing Exercises Everyone has muscle imbalances; they’re unavoidable. These imbalances hinder your improvement in bilateral (two sided) exercises, such as the bench press, squat and deadlift. To correct imbalances, single-side exercises are a commonly used and effective. For example, on a day that you would do squats, try substituting a Bulgarian split squat. Make sure to take your time to do them correctly. “It’s important to make sure that the front heel is staying grounded,” says Sakhrani. “If it doesn’t, you need to stand further away from the box.” How to: Stand a few feet away from a bench or box, holding dumbbells at your sides. Raise one foot and place it on the bench or box behind you. This is the start position (a). Keeping your torso upright and weight in the heel of the grounded foot, slowly lower your body down until you feel a deep stretch in the hip flexor of the raised leg (b). Press your heel into the floor to return to the start position. RELATED: Is Your Mobility Holding You Back? 5 Tests to Find Out 5. Work on Your Quads: Front Squats Although it’s generally rare, there are some people who have weak quads (as compared to weak glutes, a much more common problem). To correct this while continuing to do squats, shift the load a bit to put the emphasis on your quads by doing a front squat. How to: Set up in a squat rack and place the barbell just below shoulder height. Hold the bar with an overhand grip and walk under it, allowing your elbows to come in front of your body to about your shoulder height. The bar should rest across your collarbone and shoulder muscles, pressing against the neck, says Sakhrani, to relieve some of the collarbone pressure. Un-rack the bar and take a couple of steps back. This is the start position (a). Keeping your elbows high, push your hips back and sink your weight into your heels, slowly bringing your butt towards the ground until the top of your thigh is parallel to the floor (b). Without letting your knees collapse inward, drive your heels into the floor to return to the start position. 6. Use Your Hammies: Hamstring Curls on a Stability Ball In addition to needing strong glutes to really improve your squat, hamstring strength needs to be up to par, too. These muscles are powerful hip extensors when they work in conjunction with the glutes, and hip extension is an integral part of the squat. A great way to increase strength in the hamstrings is by using a move that creates high muscular tension, such as stability ball hamstring curls. “Super setting stability ball leg curls with squats is effective because no muscles will be neglected and neither exercise will affect performance in the other one,” says Sakhrani. How to: Lie flat on your back with feet and calves on a stability ball. Lift hips off the ground so that your body forms a straight line from shoulders to ankles. This is the start position (a). Digging your heels into the ball, draw your feet in towards your body, rolling the ball towards your butt, while simultaneously lifting your hips to maintain that straight line from shoulders to knees (b). Slowly return to the start position. Trainer tip: You can superset these with squats, but do them after squats to get maximum benefit from squats. 7. Loosen Your Lats: Overhead Squats You aren’t alone if you have tight lats and spinal erectors. However, when performing a squat, this will cause the lower back to round before getting to full depth, therefore causing back pain. To avoid this and loosen up those big, fan-shaped back muscles, use the overhead squat. (Note: This is an advanced move. If you're not ready to add weight perform the same movement detailed above holding a towel or dowel rod overhead.) How to: Take a barbell, weighted bar or towel/dowel rod (for zero added weight) and hold it in front of your chest at shoulder height, hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping you feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly out, press the bar or towel/dowel rod overhead. This is the start position (a). Push your hips back as you lower your butt as far down towards your heels as possible (b). Return to the start position. Sakhrani suggests doing this after foam rolling, because “A foam roller is a useful tool for increasing mobility when used prior to exercise.” Trainer tip: If you cannot bend your knees more than 90 degrees, place a slightly elevated object under the heels of your feet (weight plates can do the trick). This will allow you to gradually work up your mobility to a point where you won’t need the objects under your heels. You can do these before your standard squat as part of a warm-up. Originally posted September 2013. Updated April 2016. 

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10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Workout https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/common-workout-setbacks/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/common-workout-setbacks/#comments Fri, 09 Oct 2015 15:15:37 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=19906 Workout Setbacks

[caption id="attachment_44302" align="alignnone" width="620"]10 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Workouts Photo: Pond5[/caption]

If you’ve been working out for eight-plus weeks and haven’t started to reap the benefits yet, there’s a good chance that one or more of these silent setbacks has found its way into your fitness regimen. But by being aware of bad habits and the effect they have, you can work to get back on track and hopefully watch your progress start to soar again. Here are some of the most common culprits to look out for.

RELATED: The 20 Worst People at the Gym, According to Trainers

10 Sneaky Ways You're Stalling Your Progress

1. Not Warming Up
Any good trainer will tell you that an adequate and efficient warm-up is essential to any workout, especially dynamic ones that get you moving in the right movement patterns. “Not warming up can decrease the effectiveness of your workout and increases your chance of injury,” says Nick Ebner, NASM, PICP, New York City-based trainer. “Your muscles won’t be elastic enough, which could lead to tears, meaning long term setbacks and recovery."

2. Not Eating Enough
“The amount of energy you put into your body will dictate the training response," Ebner says. For example, if you want to build muscle, you need to take in more fuel. Also, to lose weight, you need the right kind of fuel. Without energy to burn, the body turns to the most readily available source: muscle protein.

RELATED: 9 Healthy Homemade Protein Bar Recipes

3. Not Training Opposing Movements
When working out, many trainers will advise working opposing movements, like pairing a bench press with a row. Neglecting certain movements and muscle groups (most commonly the back, hamstrings and glutes) can cause imbalances. “Muscle imbalances can lead to overuse injuries, such as PCL tears from quad dominance, which will keep you out of the gym for a minimum of nine months,” says Ebner. Nine months without a workout? That could mean reversal of the results you have already seen.

4. Working in Limited Range of Motion
More common in the bodybuilding community, partial reps, or working in a limited range of motion, can lead to “a limited range of strength and mobility,” says Ebner. He also cautions that when we use heavy weights beyond of the range we’re accustomed to, we are at a much higher risk of injury. By contrast, working on full-depth squats, for example, will help develop the stability needed to carry out multi-joint movements with ease, Ebner says.

5. Training Too Long
A common physiological response to training is the release of certain hormones into the bloodstream, such as testosterone and dopamine. “Going past 45 to 55 minutes per workout can put the body into a negative hormonal state,” says Ebner. This is more so true for those who stay in the gym for hours, taking one class after another, and then weight lifting or running on the treadmill to try to burn as many calories as possible. This could mean serious overtraining, adrenal fatigue and performance decrements in the long term. All of these things, both individually and when coupled together, make for a negative effect on your goals.

RELATED: 3 Sprint Workouts to Torch Calories, Fast

6. Training Too Frequently
You could train 30 minutes a day, seven days per week, but still not see the results you're looking for. “Adaptations happen during the recovery period,” Ebner says. No matter how quickly you want to put on 10 pounds of muscle or lose the weight you gained from having a baby, constant workouts won’t do it. You need to let the body recover and return to homeostasis, so it can efficiently build the muscle you want or burn the fat you don’t.

7. Not Sleeping Enough
We know there are never enough hours in the day to get through everything, but it’s important to shut down at a normal hour. Sleep is essential. “Certain hormones, the most important of which are growth hormone and IGF-1, which help us build muscle and burn fat, are active when we sleep and not active when we are awake,” says Ebner. That old wives’ tale of not growing unless you sleep — with muscles, it’s actually true!

8. Texting
Leave your phone in the locker. If you must have it, say for music, put it on airplane mode. Texting can lead to longer rest periods than normal, which could “allow your nervous system to return to homeostasis,” says Ebner. This could also mean your nervous system won’t be ready to lift heavy weight, and without a spotter, this can be risky, Ebner cautions. And did we mention 'text neck'?

9. Talking Too Much
Are you at the gym to change your body (and your life!), or to chit-chat? While workout buddies can be great for added motivation and accountability, talking during a workout can decrease the metabolic, or fat-burning, effect of your workout, Ebner says. The reason? When rest intervals increase, “the body will cool down, leading to a slowed metabolism,” Ebner says. Also, talking during a set of squats and shifting your focus from the exercise form to the conversation “can lead to form breakdown, and in turn, serious risk of injury,” he says. If you have a workout partner, be sure to save the small talk for those short and sweet rest intervals.

RELATED: 5 'No Excuses' Tricks to Stick to Your Workouts

10. Copying Others’ Exercises
There is an inherent danger of the “monkey see, monkey do” idea of working out: You might do the exercise wrong. “This is a great way to hurt yourself,” Ebner says. “Just because it looks cool doesn’t mean you’re ready for it.” When in doubt, keep it simple. And save the crazy moves for these Instagram pros.

Originally posted October 2013. Updated October 2015. 

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Workout Setbacks

[caption id="attachment_44302" align="alignnone" width="620"]10 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Workouts Photo: Pond5[/caption] If you’ve been working out for eight-plus weeks and haven’t started to reap the benefits yet, there’s a good chance that one or more of these silent setbacks has found its way into your fitness regimen. But by being aware of bad habits and the effect they have, you can work to get back on track and hopefully watch your progress start to soar again. Here are some of the most common culprits to look out for. RELATED: The 20 Worst People at the Gym, According to Trainers

10 Sneaky Ways You're Stalling Your Progress

1. Not Warming Up Any good trainer will tell you that an adequate and efficient warm-up is essential to any workout, especially dynamic ones that get you moving in the right movement patterns. “Not warming up can decrease the effectiveness of your workout and increases your chance of injury,” says Nick Ebner, NASM, PICP, New York City-based trainer. “Your muscles won’t be elastic enough, which could lead to tears, meaning long term setbacks and recovery." 2. Not Eating Enough “The amount of energy you put into your body will dictate the training response," Ebner says. For example, if you want to build muscle, you need to take in more fuel. Also, to lose weight, you need the right kind of fuel. Without energy to burn, the body turns to the most readily available source: muscle protein. RELATED: 9 Healthy Homemade Protein Bar Recipes 3. Not Training Opposing Movements When working out, many trainers will advise working opposing movements, like pairing a bench press with a row. Neglecting certain movements and muscle groups (most commonly the back, hamstrings and glutes) can cause imbalances. “Muscle imbalances can lead to overuse injuries, such as PCL tears from quad dominance, which will keep you out of the gym for a minimum of nine months,” says Ebner. Nine months without a workout? That could mean reversal of the results you have already seen. 4. Working in Limited Range of Motion More common in the bodybuilding community, partial reps, or working in a limited range of motion, can lead to “a limited range of strength and mobility,” says Ebner. He also cautions that when we use heavy weights beyond of the range we’re accustomed to, we are at a much higher risk of injury. By contrast, working on full-depth squats, for example, will help develop the stability needed to carry out multi-joint movements with ease, Ebner says. 5. Training Too Long A common physiological response to training is the release of certain hormones into the bloodstream, such as testosterone and dopamine. “Going past 45 to 55 minutes per workout can put the body into a negative hormonal state,” says Ebner. This is more so true for those who stay in the gym for hours, taking one class after another, and then weight lifting or running on the treadmill to try to burn as many calories as possible. This could mean serious overtraining, adrenal fatigue and performance decrements in the long term. All of these things, both individually and when coupled together, make for a negative effect on your goals. RELATED: 3 Sprint Workouts to Torch Calories, Fast 6. Training Too Frequently You could train 30 minutes a day, seven days per week, but still not see the results you're looking for. “Adaptations happen during the recovery period,” Ebner says. No matter how quickly you want to put on 10 pounds of muscle or lose the weight you gained from having a baby, constant workouts won’t do it. You need to let the body recover and return to homeostasis, so it can efficiently build the muscle you want or burn the fat you don’t. 7. Not Sleeping Enough We know there are never enough hours in the day to get through everything, but it’s important to shut down at a normal hour. Sleep is essential. “Certain hormones, the most important of which are growth hormone and IGF-1, which help us build muscle and burn fat, are active when we sleep and not active when we are awake,” says Ebner. That old wives’ tale of not growing unless you sleep — with muscles, it’s actually true! 8. Texting Leave your phone in the locker. If you must have it, say for music, put it on airplane mode. Texting can lead to longer rest periods than normal, which could “allow your nervous system to return to homeostasis,” says Ebner. This could also mean your nervous system won’t be ready to lift heavy weight, and without a spotter, this can be risky, Ebner cautions. And did we mention 'text neck'? 9. Talking Too Much Are you at the gym to change your body (and your life!), or to chit-chat? While workout buddies can be great for added motivation and accountability, talking during a workout can decrease the metabolic, or fat-burning, effect of your workout, Ebner says. The reason? When rest intervals increase, “the body will cool down, leading to a slowed metabolism,” Ebner says. Also, talking during a set of squats and shifting your focus from the exercise form to the conversation “can lead to form breakdown, and in turn, serious risk of injury,” he says. If you have a workout partner, be sure to save the small talk for those short and sweet rest intervals. RELATED: 5 'No Excuses' Tricks to Stick to Your Workouts 10. Copying Others’ Exercises There is an inherent danger of the “monkey see, monkey do” idea of working out: You might do the exercise wrong. “This is a great way to hurt yourself,” Ebner says. “Just because it looks cool doesn’t mean you’re ready for it.” When in doubt, keep it simple. And save the crazy moves for these Instagram pros. Originally posted October 2013. Updated October 2015. 

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The 20-Minute Tabata Workout You Need to Try https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/high-intensity-tabata-workout/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/high-intensity-tabata-workout/#respond Sat, 11 Jul 2015 11:15:12 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=18132 Tabata-workout_1

[caption id="attachment_41117" align="alignnone" width="620"]19 Ways to Get Workout Motivation Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Tired of slogging through long, slow jogs on the treadmill? Tabata may be just the answer. The popular high-intensity training protocol utilizes a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio — using 100 percent maximum effort during the work phase — to maximize fat loss. “It’s efficient — studies show that you can burn the same amount of calories as a long-distance run in a fraction of the time,” says Greg Johnson, CSCS, a Sacramento, CA based strength and conditioning coach. “This allows you to burn more fat while maintaining and gaining muscle mass.”

RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

Want to see what Tabata is all about? Try the routine below. Perform 20 seconds on each move, then 10 seconds off, repeated for four consecutive minutes. Once you complete the first exercise, immediately move onto the next. When you finish the full cycle, rest for five minutes, and repeat as desired. Pro tip: It’s not easy to sustain 100 percent max effort, so work at the highest effort output level you’re able to in order to sustain the interval pace of four minutes per cycle.

[caption id="attachment_30784" align="alignnone" width="620"]20-Minute Tabata Workout Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The Tabata Workout

1. Medicine Ball Slam
Targets:
Full body, cardio
How to: Grab a soft medicine ball and raise it overhead as high as you can (a). Keeping your torso straight and core tight, throw the ball as hard as you can at the ground (b). Pick it up and repeat until 20 seconds have elapsed. Rest 10 seconds (c). Repeat this cycle until four minutes total, including work and rest time.

2. Half Jacks
Targets:
Full body, cardio
How to: Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides (a). Jump and split your feet apart as if performing a jumping jack, while simultaneously lifting your arms up to shoulder level (b). Return to the start position, and repeat as fast as possible for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds (c). Repeat this cycle until four minutes total have elapsed, including rest and work time.

RELATED: 3 HIIT Workouts to Take to the Beach

3. Burpee
Targets:
Full body, cardio
How to: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Jump as high as you can, reaching your arms overhead (a). Land, then squat down, and shoot your legs out behind you to end up in a push-up position (b). Return to a standing position. Repeat as fast as possible for 20 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds (c). Repeat this cycle until four minutes total have elapsed, including work and rest time.

4. Battle Ropes Alternating Underhand Wave
Targets:
Arms, cardio
How to: While holding the two ends your battle ropes looped around an anchored object, assume an athletic position by pushing the hips back with a slight bend in the knees, shoulder blades back and down and lower back straight (a). Moving minimally from the shoulders (all the motion should be in your elbows), rapidly alternate waves with your hands as fast as you can for 20 seconds (b). Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this cycle for a total of four minutes, including both work and rest time.

RELATED: The Ultimate Battle Ropes Workout

5. Mountain Climbers
Targets:
Full body, cardio
How to: Get into a push-up position (a). Rapidly tuck one knee up under your chest while keeping your other leg extended (b). Repeat with the opposite leg. Switch back and forth, keeping your hips down and your back straight for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 (c). Repeat cycle for four minutes total, once again including both work and rest time.

For more quick and effective HIIT workouts, head to DailyBurn.com to try it free for 30 days. 

Originally posted September 2013. Updated July 2o15. 

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Tabata-workout_1

[caption id="attachment_41117" align="alignnone" width="620"]19 Ways to Get Workout Motivation Photo: Pond5[/caption] Tired of slogging through long, slow jogs on the treadmill? Tabata may be just the answer. The popular high-intensity training protocol utilizes a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio — using 100 percent maximum effort during the work phase — to maximize fat loss. “It’s efficient — studies show that you can burn the same amount of calories as a long-distance run in a fraction of the time,” says Greg Johnson, CSCS, a Sacramento, CA based strength and conditioning coach. “This allows you to burn more fat while maintaining and gaining muscle mass.” RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners Want to see what Tabata is all about? Try the routine below. Perform 20 seconds on each move, then 10 seconds off, repeated for four consecutive minutes. Once you complete the first exercise, immediately move onto the next. When you finish the full cycle, rest for five minutes, and repeat as desired. Pro tip: It’s not easy to sustain 100 percent max effort, so work at the highest effort output level you’re able to in order to sustain the interval pace of four minutes per cycle. [caption id="attachment_30784" align="alignnone" width="620"]20-Minute Tabata Workout Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The Tabata Workout

1. Medicine Ball Slam Targets: Full body, cardio How to: Grab a soft medicine ball and raise it overhead as high as you can (a). Keeping your torso straight and core tight, throw the ball as hard as you can at the ground (b). Pick it up and repeat until 20 seconds have elapsed. Rest 10 seconds (c). Repeat this cycle until four minutes total, including work and rest time. 2. Half Jacks Targets: Full body, cardio How to: Stand with your feet together and your hands at your sides (a). Jump and split your feet apart as if performing a jumping jack, while simultaneously lifting your arms up to shoulder level (b). Return to the start position, and repeat as fast as possible for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds (c). Repeat this cycle until four minutes total have elapsed, including rest and work time. RELATED: 3 HIIT Workouts to Take to the Beach 3. Burpee Targets: Full body, cardio How to: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Jump as high as you can, reaching your arms overhead (a). Land, then squat down, and shoot your legs out behind you to end up in a push-up position (b). Return to a standing position. Repeat as fast as possible for 20 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds (c). Repeat this cycle until four minutes total have elapsed, including work and rest time. 4. Battle Ropes Alternating Underhand Wave Targets: Arms, cardio How to: While holding the two ends your battle ropes looped around an anchored object, assume an athletic position by pushing the hips back with a slight bend in the knees, shoulder blades back and down and lower back straight (a). Moving minimally from the shoulders (all the motion should be in your elbows), rapidly alternate waves with your hands as fast as you can for 20 seconds (b). Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this cycle for a total of four minutes, including both work and rest time. RELATED: The Ultimate Battle Ropes Workout 5. Mountain Climbers Targets: Full body, cardio How to: Get into a push-up position (a). Rapidly tuck one knee up under your chest while keeping your other leg extended (b). Repeat with the opposite leg. Switch back and forth, keeping your hips down and your back straight for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 (c). Repeat cycle for four minutes total, once again including both work and rest time. For more quick and effective HIIT workouts, head to DailyBurn.com to try it free for 30 days.  Originally posted September 2013. Updated July 2o15. 

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5 Advanced Push-Up Exercises to Try Now https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/advanced-push-up-exercises/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/advanced-push-up-exercises/#respond Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:15:13 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=18821 Advanced Push-Ups

5 Advanced Push-Up Exercises to Try Now

The king of all upper-body pushing exercises, push-ups are extremely effective for increasing upper body strength, particularly for the chest, shoulders, triceps and core. However, once an individual learns how to properly perform a push-up and gets strong at them (i.e. able to perform three sets of 20-plus reps), the basic move no longer provides adequate stimulus for improvement. To keep challenging the body, forcing it to adapt and change, here are five variations that will take your fitness to the next level.

Elevated Feet Push-Ups

1. Feet-Elevated Push-Up

This challenging push-up variation can be used in place of an incline bench press in a pinch, but is particularly helpful for those who have difficulty pressing overhead. “Elevating the feet in a push-up helps transfer the load toward the upper chest and anterior deltoids,” says David Larson, CSCS, a strength coach based out of Pulse Fitness in Scottsdale, AZ. “This is essentially the push-up equivalent of an incline bench press.”
How to: Get in a push-up position, but instead of leaving your feet on the ground, place them on an object that’s about one foot high. This is the start position (a). Lower your chest towards the ground, keeping your forearms vertical (b), and push yourself back to the start position (c).
Sets: 3, Reps: 10, Rest: 2 minutes

Valslide Push-Ups

2. Valslide Push-Up With Reach

Using a Valslide under each hand puts an extra emphasis on the core, the first area that tends to give out once fatigue sets in. Larson cautions that the position becomes more unstable, but it gives the benefit of working more muscle fibers in the chest, shoulders and triceps.
How to: Place a Valslide under each hand in a push-up position. Begin to perform a push-up, and as you lower your chest towards the ground, slide one of your hands out in front of your body, keeping the extended arm straight, until your chest almost touches the ground (a). Push both hands into the ground and squeeze your abs to return to the start position (b). Repeat in an alternating fashion until all prescribed reps are completed.
Sets: 3, Reps: 5 each side, 10 total, Rest: 2 minutes

TRX Push-Ups

3. TRX Suspension Trainer Push-Up

For those who already have a strong core, the weak point of push-up may be the prime movers, or in the case of the push-up, the chest, shoulders and triceps. Larson says the TRX is an especially useful tool because it’s easy to find the ideal intensity. “Furthermore, there’s a moderate amount of instability provided by the device, thus enhancing motor unit recruitment,” he says.
How to: Set up a TRX or any suspension trainer hanging from a sturdy object so the handles are shoulder-width apart, about 12-18 inches off the ground. Hold onto the handles and extend your legs behind you in a push-up position. This is the start position (a). Lower your chest towards the ground, keeping your forearms perpendicular to the floor, until your chest is in line with your hands, then push yourself back to the start position (b).
Sets: 3, Reps: 8, Rest: 2 minutes

RELATED: The 20-Minute TRX Workout

Med Ball Push-Ups

4. Puncher’s Push-Up

Push-ups can improve stability and strength, but what about power? To get more bang for your buck, try a puncher’s push-up, a naturally plyometric move that can be effective for those seeking to increase power, Larson says.
How to: Take a firm medicine ball and place it under one hand in a push-up position with your feet spread wider than hip-width apart and core tight. This is the start position (a). Perform a push-up, exploding upwards so that the hand on the ground comes off the floor and lines up with the hand on the medicine ball (b). Pause for a second, then lower yourself back to the ground (c).
Sets: 3, Reps: 4 on each side, Rest: 2 minutes

Stability Ball Push-Ups

5. Stability Ball Push-Up

Got the above moves down pat? Test your strength, balance and coordination by placing a stability ball under your hands. “This is an effective variation for increasing shoulder and core stability while simultaneously training the chest,” Larson says.
How to: Place a stability ball under your hands and squeeze the ball (a). Keeping your forearms perpendicular to the floor, lower your chest so it lightly touches the ball, and return to the start position (b).
Sets: 3, Reps: 10 or more, Rest: 2 minutes

Photos by Jordan Shakeshaft

Originally posted September 27, 2013. 

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Advanced Push-Ups

5 Advanced Push-Up Exercises to Try Now The king of all upper-body pushing exercises, push-ups are extremely effective for increasing upper body strength, particularly for the chest, shoulders, triceps and core. However, once an individual learns how to properly perform a push-up and gets strong at them (i.e. able to perform three sets of 20-plus reps), the basic move no longer provides adequate stimulus for improvement. To keep challenging the body, forcing it to adapt and change, here are five variations that will take your fitness to the next level. Elevated Feet Push-Ups

1. Feet-Elevated Push-Up

This challenging push-up variation can be used in place of an incline bench press in a pinch, but is particularly helpful for those who have difficulty pressing overhead. “Elevating the feet in a push-up helps transfer the load toward the upper chest and anterior deltoids,” says David Larson, CSCS, a strength coach based out of Pulse Fitness in Scottsdale, AZ. “This is essentially the push-up equivalent of an incline bench press.” How to: Get in a push-up position, but instead of leaving your feet on the ground, place them on an object that’s about one foot high. This is the start position (a). Lower your chest towards the ground, keeping your forearms vertical (b), and push yourself back to the start position (c). Sets: 3, Reps: 10, Rest: 2 minutes Valslide Push-Ups

2. Valslide Push-Up With Reach

Using a Valslide under each hand puts an extra emphasis on the core, the first area that tends to give out once fatigue sets in. Larson cautions that the position becomes more unstable, but it gives the benefit of working more muscle fibers in the chest, shoulders and triceps. How to: Place a Valslide under each hand in a push-up position. Begin to perform a push-up, and as you lower your chest towards the ground, slide one of your hands out in front of your body, keeping the extended arm straight, until your chest almost touches the ground (a). Push both hands into the ground and squeeze your abs to return to the start position (b). Repeat in an alternating fashion until all prescribed reps are completed. Sets: 3, Reps: 5 each side, 10 total, Rest: 2 minutes TRX Push-Ups

3. TRX Suspension Trainer Push-Up

For those who already have a strong core, the weak point of push-up may be the prime movers, or in the case of the push-up, the chest, shoulders and triceps. Larson says the TRX is an especially useful tool because it’s easy to find the ideal intensity. “Furthermore, there’s a moderate amount of instability provided by the device, thus enhancing motor unit recruitment,” he says. How to: Set up a TRX or any suspension trainer hanging from a sturdy object so the handles are shoulder-width apart, about 12-18 inches off the ground. Hold onto the handles and extend your legs behind you in a push-up position. This is the start position (a). Lower your chest towards the ground, keeping your forearms perpendicular to the floor, until your chest is in line with your hands, then push yourself back to the start position (b). Sets: 3, Reps: 8, Rest: 2 minutes RELATED: The 20-Minute TRX Workout Med Ball Push-Ups

4. Puncher’s Push-Up

Push-ups can improve stability and strength, but what about power? To get more bang for your buck, try a puncher’s push-up, a naturally plyometric move that can be effective for those seeking to increase power, Larson says. How to: Take a firm medicine ball and place it under one hand in a push-up position with your feet spread wider than hip-width apart and core tight. This is the start position (a). Perform a push-up, exploding upwards so that the hand on the ground comes off the floor and lines up with the hand on the medicine ball (b). Pause for a second, then lower yourself back to the ground (c). Sets: 3, Reps: 4 on each side, Rest: 2 minutes Stability Ball Push-Ups

5. Stability Ball Push-Up

Got the above moves down pat? Test your strength, balance and coordination by placing a stability ball under your hands. “This is an effective variation for increasing shoulder and core stability while simultaneously training the chest,” Larson says. How to: Place a stability ball under your hands and squeeze the ball (a). Keeping your forearms perpendicular to the floor, lower your chest so it lightly touches the ball, and return to the start position (b). Sets: 3, Reps: 10 or more, Rest: 2 minutes Photos by Jordan Shakeshaft Originally posted September 27, 2013. 

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The 5 Keys to a Perfect Warm-Up https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/perfect-warm-up/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/perfect-warm-up/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 15:15:49 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=17388

[caption id="attachment_17428" align="alignnone" width="620"]Warm-Up Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Pop quiz: What’s the single most important part of your workout?

If you said the warm-up, you win! Without a proper warm-up, there are many risks associated with working out, including but not limited to injury, less-than-optimal performance, or slowed progress (aka plateauing). According to expert Greg Johnson, CSCS, a strength and conditioning coach based in Sacramento, CA, there are five integral parts of a warm-up that must be addressed before even touching a weight or setting foot on the treadmill. Start strong, finish stronger!

5 Tips for the Perfect Warm-Up

1. Dynamic Mobility
Dynamic mobility is the body’s ability to move in multiple directions safely. Closely related to flexibility (but arguably even more important),“dynamic mobility gently increases range of motion to reduce chance for injury,” Johnson says. Injuries caused by lack of joint mobility can be especially debilitating for long periods of time. According to Colin Eakin, MD, a physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, recovery from a torn labrum (a common shoulder injury), for instance, could take anywhere from four weeks post-operation rest plus two months of physical therapy to heal, or it could continue indefinitely. To up your chances of staying in the game, dynamic mobility can help. Try dynamic movements, such as arm circles and leg swings against a wall (working the upper and lower body is key!).

RELATED: The 7 Best Mobility Exercises You Haven't Tried Yet

2. Movement-Specific Preparation
You turn on your car before heading out for a drive. By the same logic, you need to turn on the parts of your brain that control motion in preparation for a workout. The main benefit to movement-specific preparation, Johnson says, is activating muscles that will be used in that day’s workout to ensure your workout is as effective as possible. For example, bodyweight squats would make sense if you are doing front barbell squats, and light band presses or push-ups for a day you’re doing a pressing motion, like a bench press.

3. Increase Core Temperature
It’s called a “warm-up” for good reason. “The increase in blood flow and higher muscle temperature makes muscles more pliable, and that pliability prevents strains,” Johnson says. A muscle strain may seem like a minor setback, but once strained, the likelihood of that strain reoccurring becomes much higher, Johnson says, which can lead to more strains, more time out of the gym, and slowed down (or nonexistent, gasp!) results.

RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

4. Proprioceptive Awareness
The concept of proprioception is, loosely translated, very similar to body awareness. However, a more strict definition is knowing where the body is in space. It’s the sense that allows you to touch your hands behind your back and is also responsible for hand-eye coordination on the court, on the field and beyond. Johnson says the benefit of waking up this sense is simple: You can minimize imbalance issues — and potential for injury — by using all three planes of motion. To start, try standing on one foot and touch your hands behind your back with your eyes closed. Or, you can perform the “lunge with reach back” move detailed below.

5. Joint Integrity
Not sure who or what to blame for joint pain? The culprit could be your warm-up.  “Increasing the efficiency of joint movement, essential for optimal joint health, is achievable through a good warm-up,” Johnson says. Try a combination of dynamic stretching and light impact exercise, such as jumping rope. This will remind your body of the elastic properties of your tendons and ligaments that prevents them from tearing every time you exercise, Johnson says.

RELATED: What Happens to Your Body When You Skip the Gym?

The Warm-Up

Ready to put it all together? Try this dynamic warm-up from Johnson to get you ready for vigorous activity (weightlifting, swimming, running and court sports included). For those who are especially tight, start off with 10 minutes of foam rolling to prep the body for movement. Then perform the following moves for 10 reps each (unless otherwise noted), with no rest in between.

  1. Half Jacks (or Jump Rope)
    These are your basic jumping jacks, but the hands only go up to shoulder height. Keep ‘em up for 30-60 seconds to get the body warmed up.
  2. Bird-Dog
    From your hands and knees, extend your right arm forward and your left leg back. Bring your right elbow and left knee together under your body, then extend them back out, then place them on the floor in the original start position. Repeat in an alternating fashion.
  3. External Rotation
    Squeezing a towel between your elbow and your side, grab the handle of a resistance band that is at elbow height. Rotate your body so that your forearm is resting on your stomach and there is tension on the band. Rotate your upper arm outwards so that your forearm is perpendicular to your body and slowly return to the start position. Repeat on the opposite side.
  4. Lunge with Reach Back
    Take a big lunge step out, drop your back knee almost to the floor, push your hips forward, and extend your hands overhead, leaning back as if reaching to your back foot. Hold for one second and return to the start position.
  5. Prayer Stretch with Rotation
    Place your hands together in front of your body, palms together. Lower them as far down as they can go, feeling a stretch in the forearms. Rotate the hands so the fingers face forward (if you can get them pointed towards the ground), hold for one second then rotate them back in towards you, attempting to point at your chest, hold for one second, return to the prayer position, and repeat.
  6. Inchworm
    Bend over with straight legs and a straight back as far as you can, then reach your hands towards the ground. Walk out into a pushup position, drop your hips to the floor, then straighten your body out into a pushup position again. From that position, walk your feet towards your hands, on your toes with straight legs, until you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings. Walk your hands out and repeat.
  7. Side Shuffle
    Get into a half-squat position and slowly walk laterally 10 steps out, not allowing your feet to touch, then 10 steps back.
  8. Carioca
    This one moves fast, but here’s the basic breakdown: Step your left foot over your right, turning your hips that direction. Now uncross your right leg from under your left so your feet and hips are shoulder-width apart, pointing straight ahead. Then step your left leg behind your right, once again turning your hips. Step your right leg out from over your left so your feet and hips are once again pointing forward, shoulder-width apart. Continue for about 30 feet and they head back in the other direction.
  9. Hitch Hiker
    Set up a resistance band so that it’s attached to something near the ground. Stand up and hold one of the handles in your right hand, letting the band pull your arm across your body towards your left pocket, thumb pointing backwards. Raise your arm up and out, turning your hand so that your thumb once again faces the wall and your hand is well above your head. Slowly return to the start position, complete nine more reps, and repeat on the other side.
  10. TRX/Assisted Squat
    Hold a TRX with your arms fully extended, standing upright. Squat down as low as you can, still holding the TRX. Return to the start position.
  11. Push-Up
    This one you know (and love, right?). Drop down, give us 10, and let the workout begin!

Originally posted on August 27, 2013. Updated March 2015. 

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[caption id="attachment_17428" align="alignnone" width="620"]Warm-Up Photo: Pond5[/caption] Pop quiz: What’s the single most important part of your workout? If you said the warm-up, you win! Without a proper warm-up, there are many risks associated with working out, including but not limited to injury, less-than-optimal performance, or slowed progress (aka plateauing). According to expert Greg Johnson, CSCS, a strength and conditioning coach based in Sacramento, CA, there are five integral parts of a warm-up that must be addressed before even touching a weight or setting foot on the treadmill. Start strong, finish stronger!

5 Tips for the Perfect Warm-Up

1. Dynamic Mobility Dynamic mobility is the body’s ability to move in multiple directions safely. Closely related to flexibility (but arguably even more important),“dynamic mobility gently increases range of motion to reduce chance for injury,” Johnson says. Injuries caused by lack of joint mobility can be especially debilitating for long periods of time. According to Colin Eakin, MD, a physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, recovery from a torn labrum (a common shoulder injury), for instance, could take anywhere from four weeks post-operation rest plus two months of physical therapy to heal, or it could continue indefinitely. To up your chances of staying in the game, dynamic mobility can help. Try dynamic movements, such as arm circles and leg swings against a wall (working the upper and lower body is key!). RELATED: The 7 Best Mobility Exercises You Haven't Tried Yet 2. Movement-Specific Preparation You turn on your car before heading out for a drive. By the same logic, you need to turn on the parts of your brain that control motion in preparation for a workout. The main benefit to movement-specific preparation, Johnson says, is activating muscles that will be used in that day’s workout to ensure your workout is as effective as possible. For example, bodyweight squats would make sense if you are doing front barbell squats, and light band presses or push-ups for a day you’re doing a pressing motion, like a bench press. 3. Increase Core Temperature It’s called a “warm-up” for good reason. “The increase in blood flow and higher muscle temperature makes muscles more pliable, and that pliability prevents strains,” Johnson says. A muscle strain may seem like a minor setback, but once strained, the likelihood of that strain reoccurring becomes much higher, Johnson says, which can lead to more strains, more time out of the gym, and slowed down (or nonexistent, gasp!) results. RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners 4. Proprioceptive Awareness The concept of proprioception is, loosely translated, very similar to body awareness. However, a more strict definition is knowing where the body is in space. It’s the sense that allows you to touch your hands behind your back and is also responsible for hand-eye coordination on the court, on the field and beyond. Johnson says the benefit of waking up this sense is simple: You can minimize imbalance issues — and potential for injury — by using all three planes of motion. To start, try standing on one foot and touch your hands behind your back with your eyes closed. Or, you can perform the “lunge with reach back” move detailed below. 5. Joint Integrity Not sure who or what to blame for joint pain? The culprit could be your warm-up.  “Increasing the efficiency of joint movement, essential for optimal joint health, is achievable through a good warm-up,” Johnson says. Try a combination of dynamic stretching and light impact exercise, such as jumping rope. This will remind your body of the elastic properties of your tendons and ligaments that prevents them from tearing every time you exercise, Johnson says. RELATED: What Happens to Your Body When You Skip the Gym?

The Warm-Up

Ready to put it all together? Try this dynamic warm-up from Johnson to get you ready for vigorous activity (weightlifting, swimming, running and court sports included). For those who are especially tight, start off with 10 minutes of foam rolling to prep the body for movement. Then perform the following moves for 10 reps each (unless otherwise noted), with no rest in between.
  1. Half Jacks (or Jump Rope) These are your basic jumping jacks, but the hands only go up to shoulder height. Keep ‘em up for 30-60 seconds to get the body warmed up.
  2. Bird-Dog From your hands and knees, extend your right arm forward and your left leg back. Bring your right elbow and left knee together under your body, then extend them back out, then place them on the floor in the original start position. Repeat in an alternating fashion.
  3. External Rotation Squeezing a towel between your elbow and your side, grab the handle of a resistance band that is at elbow height. Rotate your body so that your forearm is resting on your stomach and there is tension on the band. Rotate your upper arm outwards so that your forearm is perpendicular to your body and slowly return to the start position. Repeat on the opposite side.
  4. Lunge with Reach Back Take a big lunge step out, drop your back knee almost to the floor, push your hips forward, and extend your hands overhead, leaning back as if reaching to your back foot. Hold for one second and return to the start position.
  5. Prayer Stretch with Rotation Place your hands together in front of your body, palms together. Lower them as far down as they can go, feeling a stretch in the forearms. Rotate the hands so the fingers face forward (if you can get them pointed towards the ground), hold for one second then rotate them back in towards you, attempting to point at your chest, hold for one second, return to the prayer position, and repeat.
  6. Inchworm Bend over with straight legs and a straight back as far as you can, then reach your hands towards the ground. Walk out into a pushup position, drop your hips to the floor, then straighten your body out into a pushup position again. From that position, walk your feet towards your hands, on your toes with straight legs, until you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings. Walk your hands out and repeat.
  7. Side Shuffle Get into a half-squat position and slowly walk laterally 10 steps out, not allowing your feet to touch, then 10 steps back.
  8. Carioca This one moves fast, but here’s the basic breakdown: Step your left foot over your right, turning your hips that direction. Now uncross your right leg from under your left so your feet and hips are shoulder-width apart, pointing straight ahead. Then step your left leg behind your right, once again turning your hips. Step your right leg out from over your left so your feet and hips are once again pointing forward, shoulder-width apart. Continue for about 30 feet and they head back in the other direction.
  9. Hitch Hiker Set up a resistance band so that it’s attached to something near the ground. Stand up and hold one of the handles in your right hand, letting the band pull your arm across your body towards your left pocket, thumb pointing backwards. Raise your arm up and out, turning your hand so that your thumb once again faces the wall and your hand is well above your head. Slowly return to the start position, complete nine more reps, and repeat on the other side.
  10. TRX/Assisted Squat Hold a TRX with your arms fully extended, standing upright. Squat down as low as you can, still holding the TRX. Return to the start position.
  11. Push-Up This one you know (and love, right?). Drop down, give us 10, and let the workout begin!
Originally posted on August 27, 2013. Updated March 2015. 

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The Prehab Warm-Up: Your New Secret Weapon https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/prehab-workout-warm-up/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/prehab-workout-warm-up/#respond Wed, 12 Mar 2014 11:15:58 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=25834 Prehab Stretch

[caption id="attachment_25849" align="alignnone" width="620"]Prehab Stretch Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Ask any trainer what the most important aspect of a workout is. More often than not, the answer you’ll hear is: the warm-up. And it’s not just any warm-up that will do. In the last two years prehab-based warm-ups, a proactive approach to improving strength, mobility and flexibility in the body’s weakest areas, have become a go-to method for eliminating problems — before they arise. According to NYC-based physical therapist and strength coach Joe Vega, MSPT, CSCS, a prehab warm-up can help athletes avoid injury, while improving overall movement quality as well. And though injuries are inevitable, doing a prehab-focused warm-up can help create a stronger, more mobile, and therefore resilient body. It will also allow you to work your hardest, Vega says, meaning maximum benefits from your workouts.

Prehab Basics: The Three “S” Principle

So what constitutes a proper prehab warm-up? First and foremost, it should include a mix of movements geared toward improving mobility, strength and flexibility, Vega says. Translation: exercises that get your body ready to move, no matter what comes your way. To get started, 10 to 15 minutes of prehab work, following his Three “S” Principle, will get your workout started on the right foot, Vega says. These are: Soft-tissue work, Stretching and Strengthening. Before doing deadlifts, for example, this could include foam rolling the calves, hamstrings, glutes, mid/upper back and lats as the soft tissue work. Then, a prayer stretch and some light Romanian deadlifts would help provide an adequate stretch. Lastly, glute bridges and single-leg bodyweight squats will fire up the muscles needed to properly execute your workout — and perform at your best.

The soft tissue work, usually with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball, is to release tight areas in the body. By breaking up scar tissue and adhesions (knots) in muscles, this form of self-myofascial release has been shown to result in an acute increase in mobility (and range of motion), therefore improving quality of movement. And, improved movement will lead to better workouts, and in turn, more results in less time.

After the soft-tissue work, a series of dynamic stretches for the released areas will help ensure good mobility for the workout ahead (detailed below). Lastly, it’s all about movement-specific activation. Just like you would turn on your car before a drive (as opposed to greasing the gears in your bike), you have to activate the muscles that will be worked during the workout. For example, on a squat day, overhead bodyweight squats holding a towel or broomstick between your hands is a good way to start.

Putting It All Together: The Prehab Warm-Up

So how do we put this all into practice? If your gearing up for a leg workout, Vega recommends the following prehab-focused warm-up. 

1. Foam Rolling 

Focus on:
Upper/Mid-back
Glutes/Hips
Hamstrings
Calves
Quads

5 minutes total

2. Stretching 

Focus on:
World's Greatest Stretch for hip flexors
Ankle Circles for ankle mobility
Pigeon Pose for the lateral rotators of the hips
Doorframe Pectoral Stretch for the chest muscles
Toy Soldiers for the hamstrings

5 minutes total

3. Activation 

Perform:
Thoracic Spine Wall Slides, 2 sets of 10
Glute Bridges, 2 sets of 10
Bodyweight Squats, 2 sets of 10
Planks, 2 sets of 30-60 seconds

5 minutes total

Ready to try it for yourself? Let us know how you did in the comments section below!

The post The Prehab Warm-Up: Your New Secret Weapon appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Prehab Stretch

[caption id="attachment_25849" align="alignnone" width="620"]Prehab Stretch Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Ask any trainer what the most important aspect of a workout is. More often than not, the answer you’ll hear is: the warm-up. And it’s not just any warm-up that will do. In the last two years prehab-based warm-ups, a proactive approach to improving strength, mobility and flexibility in the body’s weakest areas, have become a go-to method for eliminating problems — before they arise. According to NYC-based physical therapist and strength coach Joe Vega, MSPT, CSCS, a prehab warm-up can help athletes avoid injury, while improving overall movement quality as well. And though injuries are inevitable, doing a prehab-focused warm-up can help create a stronger, more mobile, and therefore resilient body. It will also allow you to work your hardest, Vega says, meaning maximum benefits from your workouts.

Prehab Basics: The Three “S” Principle

So what constitutes a proper prehab warm-up? First and foremost, it should include a mix of movements geared toward improving mobility, strength and flexibility, Vega says. Translation: exercises that get your body ready to move, no matter what comes your way. To get started, 10 to 15 minutes of prehab work, following his Three “S” Principle, will get your workout started on the right foot, Vega says. These are: Soft-tissue work, Stretching and Strengthening. Before doing deadlifts, for example, this could include foam rolling the calves, hamstrings, glutes, mid/upper back and lats as the soft tissue work. Then, a prayer stretch and some light Romanian deadlifts would help provide an adequate stretch. Lastly, glute bridges and single-leg bodyweight squats will fire up the muscles needed to properly execute your workout — and perform at your best.

The soft tissue work, usually with a foam roller or a lacrosse ball, is to release tight areas in the body. By breaking up scar tissue and adhesions (knots) in muscles, this form of self-myofascial release has been shown to result in an acute increase in mobility (and range of motion), therefore improving quality of movement. And, improved movement will lead to better workouts, and in turn, more results in less time.

After the soft-tissue work, a series of dynamic stretches for the released areas will help ensure good mobility for the workout ahead (detailed below). Lastly, it’s all about movement-specific activation. Just like you would turn on your car before a drive (as opposed to greasing the gears in your bike), you have to activate the muscles that will be worked during the workout. For example, on a squat day, overhead bodyweight squats holding a towel or broomstick between your hands is a good way to start.

Putting It All Together: The Prehab Warm-Up

So how do we put this all into practice? If your gearing up for a leg workout, Vega recommends the following prehab-focused warm-up. 

1. Foam Rolling 

Focus on:
Upper/Mid-back
Glutes/Hips
Hamstrings
Calves
Quads

5 minutes total

2. Stretching 

Focus on:
World's Greatest Stretch for hip flexors
Ankle Circles for ankle mobility
Pigeon Pose for the lateral rotators of the hips
Doorframe Pectoral Stretch for the chest muscles
Toy Soldiers for the hamstrings

5 minutes total

3. Activation 

Perform:
Thoracic Spine Wall Slides, 2 sets of 10
Glute Bridges, 2 sets of 10
Bodyweight Squats, 2 sets of 10
Planks, 2 sets of 30-60 seconds

5 minutes total

Ready to try it for yourself? Let us know how you did in the comments section below!

The post The Prehab Warm-Up: Your New Secret Weapon appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
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7 Ways to Prevent Shoulder Pain and Injury https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/exercises-to-prevent-shoulder-impingement-injury/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/exercises-to-prevent-shoulder-impingement-injury/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:15:55 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=25353 Shoulders

[caption id="attachment_25362" align="alignnone" width="620"]Shoulders Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Our shoulders are the most mobile joint in the body, allowing us to carry out an endless list of motions. In fact, there are very few movements we make in the course of the day that don’t involve the shoulder joint. That also means they’re highly vulnerable to injury and generally take a long time to heal. Luckily, there are ways to keep your shoulders strong and healthy — for the long haul. Try these expert-approved tips to stay injury-free.

1. Strengthen External Rotators

One of the most common injuries that occurs within the shoulder is a subacromial impingement, which causes pain during internal rotation — the same motion that lets you throw a ball. By strengthening the external rotators, Morey Kolber, PT, PhD, associate professor in the physical therapy department at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, says it reduces the chances of shoulder impingement and pain. Try adding some band- or cable-resisted external rotations to your warm-up to start galvanizing your shoulders.

2. Avoid Lateral Raises Above 90 Degrees

A common cause of subacromial impingement is doing lateral raises too high. Some trainers instruct raising the arms to ear-level, therefore above 90 degrees, and many lifters listen for a simple reason — they work. However, as Kolber explains, “When we abduct our arms, or raise them out to the side, our shoulders need to externally rotate to prevent impingement.” Problem is, the most likely point of impingement is at 90 degrees, he says.

3. Fix Your Upright Row

According to Kolber, another move associated with impingement syndrome is the upright row. This is a safe and effective shoulder building exercise, as long as once again it is performed with good form and at a safe range. When doing an upright row, make sure your elbows never go above shoulder height. Or, opt for a different exercise altogether. "Try swapping it for a high pull instead to get some other muscles involved in the movement," says Kolber.

4. High Five! Or Not…

You know that position you assume when going to give your partner a high five after a great set? Elbow bent 90 degrees, hand raised in the air? Kolber suggests avoiding the 90/90 position during a dumbbell military press or behind-the-neck pull-down. This prevents anterior instability, a condition that has been linked to posterior tightness and several other shoulder injuries more serious than impingement syndrome. Instead, Kolber recommends shoulder presses with a neutral grip (elbows pointed towards the mirror), and performing lat pull-downs in front of the neck to avoid vulnerable positions and reduce the risk of injury.

5. Do What Momma Said

Did your mother ever tell you to stand up straight to make you look taller? Newsflash: It’s essential to long-term shoulder health too, says Karen Skolnik, MSPT, a physical therapist at the Infinity Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City. “It is key to all exercise, especially in regard to shoulder workouts,” she says. Maintaining good posture is the most stable position for your shoulders to be in, and the more stable they are, the lower the injury risk.

6. Slow Down

Many lifters and trainers know that eccentric muscle action, or “negatives” as they are commonly referred to, are great muscle-building moves. The science goes a little deeper than that, though. “Evidence suggests that eccentric training may offer a greater anabolic response at the tissue, which is needed for recovery and repair,” says Kolber. Try slowing down during the lowering phase of your lifts to see increases in size, strength and stability — and a decrease in risk of injury — in your shoulders.

7. Stretch It Out

According to preliminary results in his latest research, Kolber says, “individuals performing eccentric load training were found to have a loss of mobility lasting up to 24 hours after the exercise session.” Both he and Skolnik agree that active stretching is an extremely useful tool to maintain mobility. “Stretching is important after exercising because when you use a muscle, it contracts and shortens,” says Skolnik. “In order to maintain flexibility and proper body alignment, it is essential to stretch.” Long-term, the effect described above will lead to a loss of mobility if stretching is not performed in conjunction with the exercise.

Maybe your shoulders are bugging you already or maybe they’re just fine. Either way, these methods listed above are great ways to reduce your risk of injury (or further damage) and build ironclad shoulders that can stand up even to the worst positions you put them in.

The post 7 Ways to Prevent Shoulder Pain and Injury appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
Shoulders

[caption id="attachment_25362" align="alignnone" width="620"]Shoulders Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Our shoulders are the most mobile joint in the body, allowing us to carry out an endless list of motions. In fact, there are very few movements we make in the course of the day that don’t involve the shoulder joint. That also means they’re highly vulnerable to injury and generally take a long time to heal. Luckily, there are ways to keep your shoulders strong and healthy — for the long haul. Try these expert-approved tips to stay injury-free.

1. Strengthen External Rotators

One of the most common injuries that occurs within the shoulder is a subacromial impingement, which causes pain during internal rotation — the same motion that lets you throw a ball. By strengthening the external rotators, Morey Kolber, PT, PhD, associate professor in the physical therapy department at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, says it reduces the chances of shoulder impingement and pain. Try adding some band- or cable-resisted external rotations to your warm-up to start galvanizing your shoulders.

2. Avoid Lateral Raises Above 90 Degrees

A common cause of subacromial impingement is doing lateral raises too high. Some trainers instruct raising the arms to ear-level, therefore above 90 degrees, and many lifters listen for a simple reason — they work. However, as Kolber explains, “When we abduct our arms, or raise them out to the side, our shoulders need to externally rotate to prevent impingement.” Problem is, the most likely point of impingement is at 90 degrees, he says.

3. Fix Your Upright Row

According to Kolber, another move associated with impingement syndrome is the upright row. This is a safe and effective shoulder building exercise, as long as once again it is performed with good form and at a safe range. When doing an upright row, make sure your elbows never go above shoulder height. Or, opt for a different exercise altogether. "Try swapping it for a high pull instead to get some other muscles involved in the movement," says Kolber.

4. High Five! Or Not…

You know that position you assume when going to give your partner a high five after a great set? Elbow bent 90 degrees, hand raised in the air? Kolber suggests avoiding the 90/90 position during a dumbbell military press or behind-the-neck pull-down. This prevents anterior instability, a condition that has been linked to posterior tightness and several other shoulder injuries more serious than impingement syndrome. Instead, Kolber recommends shoulder presses with a neutral grip (elbows pointed towards the mirror), and performing lat pull-downs in front of the neck to avoid vulnerable positions and reduce the risk of injury.

5. Do What Momma Said

Did your mother ever tell you to stand up straight to make you look taller? Newsflash: It’s essential to long-term shoulder health too, says Karen Skolnik, MSPT, a physical therapist at the Infinity Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City. “It is key to all exercise, especially in regard to shoulder workouts,” she says. Maintaining good posture is the most stable position for your shoulders to be in, and the more stable they are, the lower the injury risk.

6. Slow Down

Many lifters and trainers know that eccentric muscle action, or “negatives” as they are commonly referred to, are great muscle-building moves. The science goes a little deeper than that, though. “Evidence suggests that eccentric training may offer a greater anabolic response at the tissue, which is needed for recovery and repair,” says Kolber. Try slowing down during the lowering phase of your lifts to see increases in size, strength and stability — and a decrease in risk of injury — in your shoulders.

7. Stretch It Out

According to preliminary results in his latest research, Kolber says, “individuals performing eccentric load training were found to have a loss of mobility lasting up to 24 hours after the exercise session.” Both he and Skolnik agree that active stretching is an extremely useful tool to maintain mobility. “Stretching is important after exercising because when you use a muscle, it contracts and shortens,” says Skolnik. “In order to maintain flexibility and proper body alignment, it is essential to stretch.” Long-term, the effect described above will lead to a loss of mobility if stretching is not performed in conjunction with the exercise.

Maybe your shoulders are bugging you already or maybe they’re just fine. Either way, these methods listed above are great ways to reduce your risk of injury (or further damage) and build ironclad shoulders that can stand up even to the worst positions you put them in.

The post 7 Ways to Prevent Shoulder Pain and Injury appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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5 Exercises to Build Better Grip Strength https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/forearm-workouts-grip-strength/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/forearm-workouts-grip-strength/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 16:15:41 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=25137 Kettlebell Grip Strength

[caption id="attachment_25141" align="alignnone" width="620"]Kettlebell Grip Strength Photo: Pond5[/caption]

How many pull-ups can you do? If your answer is less than five, the problem isn’t necessarily just how strong your back is — it could be all in the hands.

Grip strength, simply put, according to Travis Azzopardi, C.P.T., “makes it easier to apply your strength from the gym to the real world.” Need to open a jar, move a heavy table, or carry a stroller up a flight of stairs? All of this requires grip strength. And while resistance training can help build strength in the fingers, wrists and forearms, it won’t always challenge the muscles enough to adapt and be able to sustain heavier loads.

Exercises such as deadlifts, rows and pull-ups will build some degree of grip strength, but in the long run your grip will probably need some extra stimulus. And better grip strength will mean better workouts (win-win). Try your hand at these five moves, which will get you crushing it in no time. To get started, Azzopardi recommends selecting one exercise from the list below and perform it after your normal workout is completed. Go ahead, get a grip already!

1. Partial-Grip Pull-Up

How to: Grasp a pull-up bar with a palms-down, shoulder-width grip, but leave your thumb out. Perform pull-ups as normal.
Sets: 3, Reps: AMRAP (as many reps as possible), Rest: As needed

2. Plate Pinch

How to: Pinch a plate in each hand between your fingers without holding on to the handle or lip of it. Hold them at your side for as long as you can. When this gets too easy, try pinching two plates together.
Sets: 3, Reps: To failure, Rest: As needed

 3. Towel Pull-Up

How to: Loop a regular workout towel around a pull-up bar. Hold an end in each hand and perform pull-ups as normal. Just make sure to move your head to either side as you get closer to the pull-up bar!
Sets: 3, Reps: AMRAP, Rest: As needed

4. Farmer’s Walk

How to: Grasp a pair of heavy dumbbells or kettlebells. Keeping the core engaged, walk from one end of the gym to the other until you can no longer hold onto the weights.
Sets: 3, Reps: To failure, Rest: As needed

5. Push-Up

How to: Lie face-down on the floor, hands at shoulder-width palms on the ground, toes driving into the floor. Think about trying to grab a handful of the ground, as this will fire up the muscles in your forearms important for grip strength. Push yourself up, so your hands are under your shoulders, and your body is a straight line from the back of your head down to your heels. Slowly lower yourself down so your chest touches the floor.
Sets: 3, Reps: AMRAP, Rest: As needed

Remember, this is not one workout — incorporate just one of the above exercises into each workout you do. Azzopardi suggests farmer’s walks on leg day, push-ups on chest day, and towel pull-ups on back day. Or, you can mix and match. The bottom line, as Azzopardi puts it: “Get to pulling, squeezing and hanging because you don’t want to ask your girlfriend to open that jar, do you?” (Ladies, all the power to you!)

How has grip strength helped you, both inside and outside of the gym? Tell us in the comments below!

The post 5 Exercises to Build Better Grip Strength appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Kettlebell Grip Strength

[caption id="attachment_25141" align="alignnone" width="620"]Kettlebell Grip Strength Photo: Pond5[/caption]

How many pull-ups can you do? If your answer is less than five, the problem isn’t necessarily just how strong your back is — it could be all in the hands.

Grip strength, simply put, according to Travis Azzopardi, C.P.T., “makes it easier to apply your strength from the gym to the real world.” Need to open a jar, move a heavy table, or carry a stroller up a flight of stairs? All of this requires grip strength. And while resistance training can help build strength in the fingers, wrists and forearms, it won’t always challenge the muscles enough to adapt and be able to sustain heavier loads.

Exercises such as deadlifts, rows and pull-ups will build some degree of grip strength, but in the long run your grip will probably need some extra stimulus. And better grip strength will mean better workouts (win-win). Try your hand at these five moves, which will get you crushing it in no time. To get started, Azzopardi recommends selecting one exercise from the list below and perform it after your normal workout is completed. Go ahead, get a grip already!

1. Partial-Grip Pull-Up

How to: Grasp a pull-up bar with a palms-down, shoulder-width grip, but leave your thumb out. Perform pull-ups as normal.
Sets: 3, Reps: AMRAP (as many reps as possible), Rest: As needed

2. Plate Pinch

How to: Pinch a plate in each hand between your fingers without holding on to the handle or lip of it. Hold them at your side for as long as you can. When this gets too easy, try pinching two plates together.
Sets: 3, Reps: To failure, Rest: As needed

 3. Towel Pull-Up

How to: Loop a regular workout towel around a pull-up bar. Hold an end in each hand and perform pull-ups as normal. Just make sure to move your head to either side as you get closer to the pull-up bar!
Sets: 3, Reps: AMRAP, Rest: As needed

4. Farmer’s Walk

How to: Grasp a pair of heavy dumbbells or kettlebells. Keeping the core engaged, walk from one end of the gym to the other until you can no longer hold onto the weights.
Sets: 3, Reps: To failure, Rest: As needed

5. Push-Up

How to: Lie face-down on the floor, hands at shoulder-width palms on the ground, toes driving into the floor. Think about trying to grab a handful of the ground, as this will fire up the muscles in your forearms important for grip strength. Push yourself up, so your hands are under your shoulders, and your body is a straight line from the back of your head down to your heels. Slowly lower yourself down so your chest touches the floor.
Sets: 3, Reps: AMRAP, Rest: As needed

Remember, this is not one workout — incorporate just one of the above exercises into each workout you do. Azzopardi suggests farmer’s walks on leg day, push-ups on chest day, and towel pull-ups on back day. Or, you can mix and match. The bottom line, as Azzopardi puts it: “Get to pulling, squeezing and hanging because you don’t want to ask your girlfriend to open that jar, do you?” (Ladies, all the power to you!)

How has grip strength helped you, both inside and outside of the gym? Tell us in the comments below!

The post 5 Exercises to Build Better Grip Strength appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Why You Should Train Like an Athlete (Even If You Aren’t One) https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/benefits-athletic-training/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/benefits-athletic-training/#respond Fri, 20 Dec 2013 12:15:00 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=22698 How to Find the Best Workout Motivation for You

[caption id="attachment_22707" align="alignnone" width="620"]Sport Specific Training Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Just because we love sports and the athletes who dominate them doesn’t mean we can serve a ball like Serena, or sink game-winning shots like Kobe. The elite level of fitness and tenacity that top athletes possess can seem otherworldly, making it easy to doubt our own strength, skill and potential. But beyond their innate abilities, it's the training these pros undergo that allows them to succeed in their sport year in and year out — and reap the benefits long after they retire (hello, Michael Strahan, Michael Jordan, Erinn Smart and Jenny Finch).

So why aren’t you training like an athlete? Sure, you might not have the Olympics coming up, but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience the benefits of a tailored, task-specific and level-appropriate training program. Still not convinced? Here are four reasons you should be training like the pros.

1. Prevent Back Injury

One of the most common issues that people face in everyday life is lower back pain. It’s almost unavoidable if you sit at a desk all day, as this position forces the hipbones into a posterior tilt, compromising the integrity of the spine by taking it out of its natural arch. Andrew Sakhrani, CSCS, Montreal-based personal trainer and former collegiate strength and conditioning coach, says by using a sport-specific core training regimen (hint: skip the crunches), individuals will strengthen important stabilizer muscles, as well as the lower back. This, in turn, will teach those muscle groups to work together, "a phenomenon commonly referred to as reciprocal strength, which is an integral part of injury prevention and athletic performance,” he says. This strategy has proven effective in preventing low back pain and injuries in his athletes as well as his everyday clients, Sakhrani says.

2. Improve Lower-Body Strength and Coordination

On any given day, chances are you drop something on the floor you have to bend down to pick up, you walk up and down a flight of stairs or chase the bus down as it pulls away. All of these situations require lower-body strength and coordination, which is often neglected in most weight training regimens. Sure, running and cardio are good for your heart, but they certainly don’t count as lower-body exercises — the mechanical load isn’t great enough to stimulate change.

According to Sakhrani,“Doing [lower-body] exercises works on muscles that help maintain an active lifestyle as well as enhance athletic performance,” listing benefits such as gait improvement for easier walking, better balance, more eccentric control (the ability to absorb impact), and enhanced recovery through growth hormone production. He also notes that these exercises often hit muscles that we forget or intentionally avoid at the gym. More often than not, neglecting moves such as the squat or dreaded deadlift can lead to higher chance of injury. For example, back pain can be alleviated by strong glutes — a result of squatting and deadlifting.

3. Create Upper-Body Symmetry

When you lift weights, chances are you focus mostly on pushing motions, just like that gym rat on the bench press day in and day out. This short-sighted type of training often leads to imbalances, which can hinder progress in other motions and lead to injury down the road. “Symmetry, both front-to-back and side-to-side, helps us function every day and prevents injuries,” says Sakhrani. “Athletic upper-body exercise programs are often designed to balance strength and muscle development.” For example, instead of doing a just a regular bench press in the gym, football players mix in the incline bench press to improve their pushing strength from that angle, and therefore their ability to block. Baseball players do woodchops not only to work their abs and core but in hopes to increase their swinging power so they can hit home runs.

4. Retain Structural Maintenance

Great athletes are like well-oiled machines, and as such need regular maintenance to make sure they function at their best. This also applies to the rest of us. By lifting weights, our bones and muscles get stronger, our nervous system stays active, and our internal organs stay healthy. “Exercise, specifically weightlifting, has been proven to reduce the chance of osteoporosis in women and improve bone mass and density in both men and women,” Sakhrani says. So why not pick up some iron and take a page from your favorite athlete's book?

As the saying goes, "If you have a body, you are an athlete." So start training like one now.

Which athlete’s fitness program would you most like to follow? Tell us below!

The post Why You Should Train Like an Athlete (Even If You Aren’t One) appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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How to Find the Best Workout Motivation for You

[caption id="attachment_22707" align="alignnone" width="620"]Sport Specific Training Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Just because we love sports and the athletes who dominate them doesn’t mean we can serve a ball like Serena, or sink game-winning shots like Kobe. The elite level of fitness and tenacity that top athletes possess can seem otherworldly, making it easy to doubt our own strength, skill and potential. But beyond their innate abilities, it's the training these pros undergo that allows them to succeed in their sport year in and year out — and reap the benefits long after they retire (hello, Michael Strahan, Michael Jordan, Erinn Smart and Jenny Finch).

So why aren’t you training like an athlete? Sure, you might not have the Olympics coming up, but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience the benefits of a tailored, task-specific and level-appropriate training program. Still not convinced? Here are four reasons you should be training like the pros.

1. Prevent Back Injury

One of the most common issues that people face in everyday life is lower back pain. It’s almost unavoidable if you sit at a desk all day, as this position forces the hipbones into a posterior tilt, compromising the integrity of the spine by taking it out of its natural arch. Andrew Sakhrani, CSCS, Montreal-based personal trainer and former collegiate strength and conditioning coach, says by using a sport-specific core training regimen (hint: skip the crunches), individuals will strengthen important stabilizer muscles, as well as the lower back. This, in turn, will teach those muscle groups to work together, "a phenomenon commonly referred to as reciprocal strength, which is an integral part of injury prevention and athletic performance,” he says. This strategy has proven effective in preventing low back pain and injuries in his athletes as well as his everyday clients, Sakhrani says.

2. Improve Lower-Body Strength and Coordination

On any given day, chances are you drop something on the floor you have to bend down to pick up, you walk up and down a flight of stairs or chase the bus down as it pulls away. All of these situations require lower-body strength and coordination, which is often neglected in most weight training regimens. Sure, running and cardio are good for your heart, but they certainly don’t count as lower-body exercises — the mechanical load isn’t great enough to stimulate change.

According to Sakhrani,“Doing [lower-body] exercises works on muscles that help maintain an active lifestyle as well as enhance athletic performance,” listing benefits such as gait improvement for easier walking, better balance, more eccentric control (the ability to absorb impact), and enhanced recovery through growth hormone production. He also notes that these exercises often hit muscles that we forget or intentionally avoid at the gym. More often than not, neglecting moves such as the squat or dreaded deadlift can lead to higher chance of injury. For example, back pain can be alleviated by strong glutes — a result of squatting and deadlifting.

3. Create Upper-Body Symmetry

When you lift weights, chances are you focus mostly on pushing motions, just like that gym rat on the bench press day in and day out. This short-sighted type of training often leads to imbalances, which can hinder progress in other motions and lead to injury down the road. “Symmetry, both front-to-back and side-to-side, helps us function every day and prevents injuries,” says Sakhrani. “Athletic upper-body exercise programs are often designed to balance strength and muscle development.” For example, instead of doing a just a regular bench press in the gym, football players mix in the incline bench press to improve their pushing strength from that angle, and therefore their ability to block. Baseball players do woodchops not only to work their abs and core but in hopes to increase their swinging power so they can hit home runs.

4. Retain Structural Maintenance

Great athletes are like well-oiled machines, and as such need regular maintenance to make sure they function at their best. This also applies to the rest of us. By lifting weights, our bones and muscles get stronger, our nervous system stays active, and our internal organs stay healthy. “Exercise, specifically weightlifting, has been proven to reduce the chance of osteoporosis in women and improve bone mass and density in both men and women,” Sakhrani says. So why not pick up some iron and take a page from your favorite athlete's book?

As the saying goes, "If you have a body, you are an athlete." So start training like one now.

Which athlete’s fitness program would you most like to follow? Tell us below!

The post Why You Should Train Like an Athlete (Even If You Aren’t One) appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
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5 Exercises You Could Be Doing Better https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/better-results-exercises/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/better-results-exercises/#respond Mon, 09 Dec 2013 12:15:45 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=22312 Exercise Swaps

[caption id="attachment_22318" align="alignnone" width="620"]Exercise Swaps Photo: Pond5[/caption]

If you’re in the gym and you’ve noticed your progress has started to slow, chances are workout variety may be an issue. There are very small changes one can make to the most basic exercise moves in order to make them both safer and more effective in reaching goals. Here are a few exercise upgrades to take your program up a notch – safely.

1. What You’re Currently Doing: Stiff-Legged Deadlift

While this is a great move for building hamstring and lower back strength, the position of the knees in this move — having your legs fully locked out — can put undue stress on the back and cut off circulation between the heart and the legs. As a result the force you create diminishes with each rep, meaning less efficient work and minimal results.

Swap It With: Romanian Deadlift

Keeping the knees soft in the Romanian Deadlift, or RDL, takes pressure off the back and actually promotes good circulation between the heart and the legs, meaning you’re able to maximize force production for each rep of the exercise. And more force means more strength, which results in more muscle. “The RDL allows the lifter to go heavier so you get better glute activation,” says David Larson, CSCS, strength coach at Pulse Fitness in Scottsdale, AZ.

2. What You’re Currently Doing: Behind-the-Neck Seated Military Press

While this exercise might appear to be an effective shoulder developer, it has two prominent flaws. First, it puts your shoulders in a vulnerable position linked to impingement syndrome, says Morey Kolber, PT, CSCS, professor at Nova Southeastern University, an injury and condition that can keep you out of the gym for long periods of time. Also, being seated means less core stabilization and less force production — therefore, less muscle-building potential.

Swap It With: Standing Barbell Overhead Press

Moving the bar in front of your neck puts the shoulders in a safer position, meaning far less chance for injury. Also, standing up recruits more muscle fiber overall, and the more fibers you recruit, the more testosterone and growth hormone get released into the bloodstream. These two hormones together translate into huge gains.

3. What You’re Currently Doing: V-Grip Seated Row

Often a go-to "back day" exercise  for many lifters, this move has proven its worth in helping lifters develop greater musculature in their backs. However, the narrow grip restricts full retraction of the shoulder blades and does not allow your elbows to go back behind the rib cage. The V-grip seated row is basically a partial rep that can end up being more of a forearm builder than anything else.

Swap It With: Wide Grip Seated Row

Placing the hands wider than shoulder width in a seated row allows a lifter to pull his or her elbows back further than in a traditional seated row. Full range of motion with the shoulder blades allows for greater muscle activation. The more muscle activation there is, the more testosterone and growth hormone are released, leading to more strength and muscle gains long-term.

4. What You’re Currently Doing: Push-Up

There’s no question that push-ups are essential for developing a defined chest, cannonball delts and powerful triceps. However, one of the less-known benefits of the push-up is core work. This move hits your core harder than any crunch variation out there, so while there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing a push-up, if you can do three sets of 20 with ease, it’s time for a change.

Swap It With: Val-Slide Push-Up Reach

You know those sliding plastic disks at your gym that are the newest craze? According to Larson, “The Val-slide push-up reach is a great way to challenge both the core and increase the difficulty for the push-up at the same time, saving time on separating core work from the rest of your workout.” In addition to adding another core stability element to the basic push-up, the Val-slide push-up reach is a great way to work your lats while working your chest. Plus, it hits your shoulders way harder than the standard push-up ever will.

5. What You’re Currently Doing: Decline Bench Press

Bodybuilders have long known the benefits of working the chest from different angles. Doing so helps develop certain parts of the chest that need more attention. The decline bench press specifically targets the lower chest area — an area that most people have difficulty bulking up.

Swap It With: Low Cable Crossover

While the decline bench press is a good option for lower chest development, it lacks one essential part. In order to activate all the muscle fibers of the chest, especially the lower ones, the elbows need to be able to come together and a barbell limits motion. Using cables and really forcing the elbows together at the end of the movement enhances the contraction, recruiting more muscle fiber. Larson adds that, “while they are both good exercises, doing the low cable crossover promotes more metabolic stress and more tension at the peak of the movement.” The result: more muscle activation, leading to bigger gains in shorter time.

Did you give these swaps a try? Are you seeing results? Tell us in the comments below.

The post 5 Exercises You Could Be Doing Better appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
Exercise Swaps

[caption id="attachment_22318" align="alignnone" width="620"]Exercise Swaps Photo: Pond5[/caption] If you’re in the gym and you’ve noticed your progress has started to slow, chances are workout variety may be an issue. There are very small changes one can make to the most basic exercise moves in order to make them both safer and more effective in reaching goals. Here are a few exercise upgrades to take your program up a notch – safely. 1. What You’re Currently Doing: Stiff-Legged Deadlift While this is a great move for building hamstring and lower back strength, the position of the knees in this move — having your legs fully locked out — can put undue stress on the back and cut off circulation between the heart and the legs. As a result the force you create diminishes with each rep, meaning less efficient work and minimal results.

Swap It With: Romanian Deadlift

Keeping the knees soft in the Romanian Deadlift, or RDL, takes pressure off the back and actually promotes good circulation between the heart and the legs, meaning you’re able to maximize force production for each rep of the exercise. And more force means more strength, which results in more muscle. “The RDL allows the lifter to go heavier so you get better glute activation,” says David Larson, CSCS, strength coach at Pulse Fitness in Scottsdale, AZ.

2. What You’re Currently Doing: Behind-the-Neck Seated Military Press While this exercise might appear to be an effective shoulder developer, it has two prominent flaws. First, it puts your shoulders in a vulnerable position linked to impingement syndrome, says Morey Kolber, PT, CSCS, professor at Nova Southeastern University, an injury and condition that can keep you out of the gym for long periods of time. Also, being seated means less core stabilization and less force production — therefore, less muscle-building potential.

Swap It With: Standing Barbell Overhead Press

Moving the bar in front of your neck puts the shoulders in a safer position, meaning far less chance for injury. Also, standing up recruits more muscle fiber overall, and the more fibers you recruit, the more testosterone and growth hormone get released into the bloodstream. These two hormones together translate into huge gains.

3. What You’re Currently Doing: V-Grip Seated Row Often a go-to "back day" exercise  for many lifters, this move has proven its worth in helping lifters develop greater musculature in their backs. However, the narrow grip restricts full retraction of the shoulder blades and does not allow your elbows to go back behind the rib cage. The V-grip seated row is basically a partial rep that can end up being more of a forearm builder than anything else.

Swap It With: Wide Grip Seated Row

Placing the hands wider than shoulder width in a seated row allows a lifter to pull his or her elbows back further than in a traditional seated row. Full range of motion with the shoulder blades allows for greater muscle activation. The more muscle activation there is, the more testosterone and growth hormone are released, leading to more strength and muscle gains long-term.

4. What You’re Currently Doing: Push-Up There’s no question that push-ups are essential for developing a defined chest, cannonball delts and powerful triceps. However, one of the less-known benefits of the push-up is core work. This move hits your core harder than any crunch variation out there, so while there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing a push-up, if you can do three sets of 20 with ease, it’s time for a change.

Swap It With: Val-Slide Push-Up Reach

You know those sliding plastic disks at your gym that are the newest craze? According to Larson, “The Val-slide push-up reach is a great way to challenge both the core and increase the difficulty for the push-up at the same time, saving time on separating core work from the rest of your workout.” In addition to adding another core stability element to the basic push-up, the Val-slide push-up reach is a great way to work your lats while working your chest. Plus, it hits your shoulders way harder than the standard push-up ever will.

5. What You’re Currently Doing: Decline Bench Press Bodybuilders have long known the benefits of working the chest from different angles. Doing so helps develop certain parts of the chest that need more attention. The decline bench press specifically targets the lower chest area — an area that most people have difficulty bulking up.

Swap It With: Low Cable Crossover

While the decline bench press is a good option for lower chest development, it lacks one essential part. In order to activate all the muscle fibers of the chest, especially the lower ones, the elbows need to be able to come together and a barbell limits motion. Using cables and really forcing the elbows together at the end of the movement enhances the contraction, recruiting more muscle fiber. Larson adds that, “while they are both good exercises, doing the low cable crossover promotes more metabolic stress and more tension at the peak of the movement.” The result: more muscle activation, leading to bigger gains in shorter time.

Did you give these swaps a try? Are you seeing results? Tell us in the comments below.

The post 5 Exercises You Could Be Doing Better appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
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6 Exercises for Strong, Lean Arms https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/strong-lean-arm-exercises/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/strong-lean-arm-exercises/#comments Sat, 19 Oct 2013 18:15:42 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=16412 Chin-Ups

6 Moves for Lean Arms

So you go to the gym twice a week, hit the weights a bit, do some cardio and crunches, and on your off days yoga does the trick. But you look the same as you did a year ago — what gives? Turns out, the key to unlocking strength and tone is finding exercises that recruit a large amount of muscle fiber. For stronger, more visibly defined arms, try throwing these moves into the weightlifting portion of your workout for the next eight weeks, and watch your arms go from good to amazing!

The Workout

[caption id="attachment_16414" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Chin-Ups Photo by Eric LaCour[/caption]

1. Dead-Hang Chin-up
Grasp a pull-up bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. Pull your shoulder blades down towards your tailbone and draw them in towards your spine (a). Pull yourself up so that your collarbone is in line with the pull-up bar (b). Take four seconds to lower yourself down to the starting position, keeping the shoulders down and back throughout. That’s one rep. NOTE: If you cannot pull yourself up, loop an exercise band around the pull-up bar and place your knee in it to decrease the level of difficulty.
Sets: 3, Reps: As many as possible, Rest: 120 seconds between sets

2. Zottman Curl
Grasp a pair of dumbbells and hold them at your sides, palms facing inwards (a). Curl the weights up, turning your hands so that your palms face you (b). At the top of the motion, turn your hands so that the palms face away from you and take three seconds to lower the weights. That’s one rep.
Sets: 3, Reps: 8-12, Rest: 90 seconds between sets

[caption id="attachment_16417" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Bicep Curl Photo by Eric LaCour[/caption]

3. EZ-Bar Drag Curl
Grasp the two handles of a resistance band with palms facing in, standing on the midpoint of the band (a). Pull your elbows back as you perform a bicep curl, as if dragging a bar along the front of your body, shoulders down and back throughout, until your hands reach your breastbone (b). Hold the position for one second, then take three seconds to lower yourself back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Sets: 3, Reps: 8-12, Rest: 120 seconds between sets

4. Neutral-Grip Tricep Extension
Attach a rope attachment to the high pulley of a cable cross machine. Grasp the rope with two hands (one on each end) and hold the knobs at the bottom together. Push your hips back slightly and pull your elbows down towards your sides so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor and there is a 90-degree bend in your elbows (a). Without moving your upper arms, extend your arms until completely straight, and slowly return to the 90-degree bend in your elbows (b).
Sets: 4. Reps: 12-15. Rest: 60 seconds between sets.

[caption id="attachment_16419" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Tricep Kickback Photo by Eric LaCour[/caption]

5. Tricep Kickback
Grasp one end of a resistance band in your right hand and place your left hand on your hip with feet staggered, right leg back, so that you can bring your torso nearly parallel to the floor. Row the band up until your upper arm is in line with your torso; this is the start position (a). Push the band back so that your arm is totally straight, then lift the entire arm up so it is at a 10-degree angle to your torso (b). Slowly return to the start position. Repeat on the opposite side.
Sets: 4, Reps: 12-15, Rest: 90 seconds between sets

6. EZ-Bar Lying Tricep Extension
Grasp an EZ bar on the outside grips and lie face up on a bench. Press the bar over your chest. With the arms still straight, allow them to come back a bit so that your upper arms are slightly past perpendicular to your torso (a). From this position, slowly allow your elbows to bend, keeping the upper arms completely still, until the bar touches the top of your head (b). Return to the start position.
Sets: 3, Reps: 10-12, Rest: 120 seconds between sets

The post 6 Exercises for Strong, Lean Arms appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
Chin-Ups

6 Moves for Lean Arms

So you go to the gym twice a week, hit the weights a bit, do some cardio and crunches, and on your off days yoga does the trick. But you look the same as you did a year ago — what gives? Turns out, the key to unlocking strength and tone is finding exercises that recruit a large amount of muscle fiber. For stronger, more visibly defined arms, try throwing these moves into the weightlifting portion of your workout for the next eight weeks, and watch your arms go from good to amazing!

The Workout

[caption id="attachment_16414" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Chin-Ups Photo by Eric LaCour[/caption]

1. Dead-Hang Chin-up
Grasp a pull-up bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. Pull your shoulder blades down towards your tailbone and draw them in towards your spine (a). Pull yourself up so that your collarbone is in line with the pull-up bar (b). Take four seconds to lower yourself down to the starting position, keeping the shoulders down and back throughout. That’s one rep. NOTE: If you cannot pull yourself up, loop an exercise band around the pull-up bar and place your knee in it to decrease the level of difficulty.
Sets: 3, Reps: As many as possible, Rest: 120 seconds between sets

2. Zottman Curl
Grasp a pair of dumbbells and hold them at your sides, palms facing inwards (a). Curl the weights up, turning your hands so that your palms face you (b). At the top of the motion, turn your hands so that the palms face away from you and take three seconds to lower the weights. That’s one rep.
Sets: 3, Reps: 8-12, Rest: 90 seconds between sets

[caption id="attachment_16417" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Bicep Curl Photo by Eric LaCour[/caption]

3. EZ-Bar Drag Curl
Grasp the two handles of a resistance band with palms facing in, standing on the midpoint of the band (a). Pull your elbows back as you perform a bicep curl, as if dragging a bar along the front of your body, shoulders down and back throughout, until your hands reach your breastbone (b). Hold the position for one second, then take three seconds to lower yourself back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Sets: 3, Reps: 8-12, Rest: 120 seconds between sets

4. Neutral-Grip Tricep Extension
Attach a rope attachment to the high pulley of a cable cross machine. Grasp the rope with two hands (one on each end) and hold the knobs at the bottom together. Push your hips back slightly and pull your elbows down towards your sides so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor and there is a 90-degree bend in your elbows (a). Without moving your upper arms, extend your arms until completely straight, and slowly return to the 90-degree bend in your elbows (b).
Sets: 4. Reps: 12-15. Rest: 60 seconds between sets.

[caption id="attachment_16419" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Tricep Kickback Photo by Eric LaCour[/caption]

5. Tricep Kickback
Grasp one end of a resistance band in your right hand and place your left hand on your hip with feet staggered, right leg back, so that you can bring your torso nearly parallel to the floor. Row the band up until your upper arm is in line with your torso; this is the start position (a). Push the band back so that your arm is totally straight, then lift the entire arm up so it is at a 10-degree angle to your torso (b). Slowly return to the start position. Repeat on the opposite side.
Sets: 4, Reps: 12-15, Rest: 90 seconds between sets

6. EZ-Bar Lying Tricep Extension
Grasp an EZ bar on the outside grips and lie face up on a bench. Press the bar over your chest. With the arms still straight, allow them to come back a bit so that your upper arms are slightly past perpendicular to your torso (a). From this position, slowly allow your elbows to bend, keeping the upper arms completely still, until the bar touches the top of your head (b). Return to the start position.
Sets: 3, Reps: 10-12, Rest: 120 seconds between sets

The post 6 Exercises for Strong, Lean Arms appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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7 New Ways to Switch Up Your Cardio Routine https://dailyburn.com/life/cm/new-cardio-workouts/ https://dailyburn.com/life/cm/new-cardio-workouts/#respond Thu, 03 Oct 2013 15:06:48 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=18947 Switch Up Cardio Routine

[caption id="attachment_15787" align="alignnone" width="640"]Switch Up Cardio Routine Photo: Pond 5[/caption]

For years, steady-state cardio has been a go-to mode of exercise among fitness enthusiasts to get and stay lean. The downside: Maintaining the same pace for extra-long sessions is time consuming and can get boring quickly. To mix things up (and keep things moving!), here are a few methods of cardio that will make the most of your gym time.

1. Supersets/Circuit Training
Supersets are a great way to turn a traditional weightlifting workout into an intense fat-burning and heart-pumping session. A superset can consist of two or more exercises performed in sequence with little to no rest in between. For example, let’s take a push-up, squat, shoulder press, bicep curl and tricep extension. The workout would be: Perform 10 each of push-ups immediately followed by 10 squats, then 10 shoulder presses, then bicep curls, then tricep extensions. That’s one set. Complete that three times, resting two to three minutes between sets (not exercises), then you make the call on whether it was cardio or not!

2. Kettlebell Swings
According to the Russian Kettlebell Club, a properly done kettlebell swing is, in addition to being great for your glutes, one of the best fat-burning exercises around. Try doing a set of kettlebell swings (minimum 20) after each set of a weightlifting exercises, or bang out three sets at the end of your workout. The extra burn might make that post-dinner cupcake seem a little less sinful.

3. Cardio Between Sets
Grab a jump rope and make friends with it, because this could be your greatest ally in the war against body fat. Just look at any boxer or mixed martial artist and it’s easy to see that jumping rope, a fundamental exercise in boxing and MMA, develops lean, mean fighting machines (in combination with traditional weight training). Try adding one minute of jumping rope on the end of every weightlifting set, and get ready to sweat your worries away.

4. Cardio “Rounds”
It’s common to get bored with the treadmill, elliptical and bike, but there is a secret to making them more fun: Do them for a short amount of time, one right after the other! For example, jump on the bike for a minute, then run for a minute, then use the elliptical for a minute. Bring things home with a minute-long row. Do this five times That’s 20 minutes of cardio that will only feel like 10!

5. Timed Weightlifting
Think you know how long 30 seconds is? Think again. For a little bit of discovery, choose any exercise (such as a bodyweight squat or lunge) and have a friend time you for 30 seconds, in which you perform as many reps of that exercise as possible. Every week, try to increase the amount of reps done in that same amount of time, or increase the duration of the set. That will get your heart beating fast!

6. Class Act
This one’s pretty simple: Take a kickboxing or Muay Thai class! One hour of Muay Thai (a martial art from Thailand that closely resembles kickboxing) can burn as many as 1,200 calories. The group setting can also keep motivation high and encourage athletes to work even harder than they might flying solo.

7. Stairs
How many round trips do you take in the elevator each day? Try taking the stairs instead to get a little bit of cardio in throughout the day. For an added challenge, go two steps at a time while staying light on your feet. In a few weeks, you should notice that those stairs seem a whole lot easier than they did on Day 1.

For more workouts you can do anytime, anyplace, visit DailyBurn.com to start your free 30-day trial today! 

The post 7 New Ways to Switch Up Your Cardio Routine appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Switch Up Cardio Routine

[caption id="attachment_15787" align="alignnone" width="640"]Switch Up Cardio Routine Photo: Pond 5[/caption] For years, steady-state cardio has been a go-to mode of exercise among fitness enthusiasts to get and stay lean. The downside: Maintaining the same pace for extra-long sessions is time consuming and can get boring quickly. To mix things up (and keep things moving!), here are a few methods of cardio that will make the most of your gym time. 1. Supersets/Circuit Training Supersets are a great way to turn a traditional weightlifting workout into an intense fat-burning and heart-pumping session. A superset can consist of two or more exercises performed in sequence with little to no rest in between. For example, let’s take a push-up, squat, shoulder press, bicep curl and tricep extension. The workout would be: Perform 10 each of push-ups immediately followed by 10 squats, then 10 shoulder presses, then bicep curls, then tricep extensions. That’s one set. Complete that three times, resting two to three minutes between sets (not exercises), then you make the call on whether it was cardio or not! 2. Kettlebell Swings According to the Russian Kettlebell Club, a properly done kettlebell swing is, in addition to being great for your glutes, one of the best fat-burning exercises around. Try doing a set of kettlebell swings (minimum 20) after each set of a weightlifting exercises, or bang out three sets at the end of your workout. The extra burn might make that post-dinner cupcake seem a little less sinful. 3. Cardio Between Sets Grab a jump rope and make friends with it, because this could be your greatest ally in the war against body fat. Just look at any boxer or mixed martial artist and it’s easy to see that jumping rope, a fundamental exercise in boxing and MMA, develops lean, mean fighting machines (in combination with traditional weight training). Try adding one minute of jumping rope on the end of every weightlifting set, and get ready to sweat your worries away. 4. Cardio “Rounds” It’s common to get bored with the treadmill, elliptical and bike, but there is a secret to making them more fun: Do them for a short amount of time, one right after the other! For example, jump on the bike for a minute, then run for a minute, then use the elliptical for a minute. Bring things home with a minute-long row. Do this five times That’s 20 minutes of cardio that will only feel like 10! 5. Timed Weightlifting Think you know how long 30 seconds is? Think again. For a little bit of discovery, choose any exercise (such as a bodyweight squat or lunge) and have a friend time you for 30 seconds, in which you perform as many reps of that exercise as possible. Every week, try to increase the amount of reps done in that same amount of time, or increase the duration of the set. That will get your heart beating fast! 6. Class Act This one’s pretty simple: Take a kickboxing or Muay Thai class! One hour of Muay Thai (a martial art from Thailand that closely resembles kickboxing) can burn as many as 1,200 calories. The group setting can also keep motivation high and encourage athletes to work even harder than they might flying solo. 7. Stairs How many round trips do you take in the elevator each day? Try taking the stairs instead to get a little bit of cardio in throughout the day. For an added challenge, go two steps at a time while staying light on your feet. In a few weeks, you should notice that those stairs seem a whole lot easier than they did on Day 1. For more workouts you can do anytime, anyplace, visit DailyBurn.com to start your free 30-day trial today! 

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How to Build Muscle vs. Strength https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/build-muscle-vs-strength/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/build-muscle-vs-strength/#respond Tue, 03 Sep 2013 11:15:32 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=17777 Strength vs Size

[caption id="attachment_17781" align="alignnone" width="620"]Strength vs Size Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Everyone who goes to the gym regularly has a goal, whether it be to get big, get strong, lose weight, tone up, and so on. But more often than not, the program an individual chooses doesn’t deliver the results he or she hopes to achieve. Training to meet those goals is both an art and a science, and both need some decoding.

Training for Size

Becoming bigger and more muscular has long been an aspiration of many male and female gym-goers, the elite of which are called bodybuilders. These muscular athletes didn’t get that way overnight, nor did they get that way by running on a treadmill five times a week with no other exercise. Moderately heavy weights (60 to 75 percent of their one-rep max) and lots of sets (we’re talking 15 to 20 sets per muscle group) composed of a moderate amount of reps (8 to 12 generally speaking) and short rest periods (typically around 90 seconds) are what help make bodybuilders the size they are.

“The 8 to 12 reps done in a typical size program will give the muscles a good ‘pump,’ but more importantly it will push the muscles to their capacity,” says Andrew Sakhrani, CSCS, a Montreal-based strength and conditioning coach. “But remember, the weight needs to be heavy enough so the lifter can do the 12 reps and no more.” That’s a huge amount of volume for a person. However, doing that many reps forces the body to change. In this case, it increases the cross sectional area of the muscles being worked, and makes them bigger.

Training for Strength

Sure, getting bigger also means getting stronger, but what if the goal is to deadlift a thousand pounds, pull a fire truck, or simply set a new PR on the bench? For these individuals — many of whom are referred to as powerlifters — it's all about producing an immense amount of force from the legs or arms into a solid surface. Once again, going to spin class won’t increase the amount of weight you can lift. In order to do that, one must lift heavy (85 percent or more of your one-rep max), take long rest periods (three minutes between sets), and still do lots of sets (about five).

Sakhrani says, “Intensity is key to success with this program.” Because these sets are composed of very few reps (two to five), demand is placed on the nervous system to change. Your body adapts to this style of training by getting bigger, creating motor units, which are nerve endings that deliver instructions from your brain telling your muscles to move. The more of them there are, the stronger you become.

Training Programs

Sakhrani emphasizes two key components in his programs. Like any good trainer, first is proper form, and the second is that the programs will not be worthwhile or effective unless the lifter uses weights that will make him or her struggle to complete only the prescribed reps. The first of the following programs is for strength gains, and the other will add some muscle to the lifter’s frame. Both of these programs from Sakhrani are full-body and will produce results, but each will need to be tweaked as you progress.

Strength
The Moves:                                      Sets                 Rep Goal                     Rest

Dumbbell Press                                 5                          5                             3 min

Lat Pulldown                                     5                          5                              3 min

Barbell Overhead Press                     5                          5                              3 min

Wide-Grip Pull-Up                             5                          5                              3 min

Size
The Moves:                                      Sets                 Rep Goal                      Rest

Hang Clean                                        4                        12                             90 sec

Back Squat                                         4                        12                             90 sec

Trap Bar Deadlift                                4                        12                             90 sec

Dumbbell Press                                  4                        12                             90 sec

Lat Pulldown                                      4                        12                             90 sec

Dumbbell Shoulder Press                   4                        12                             90 sec

Barbell Skull Crusher                          4                        12                             90 sec

Barbell Curl                                        4                        12                             90 sec

To hear more from Sakhrani, visit his Facebook page, and keep an eye out for new strength programs coming soon to DailyBurn.com.

The post How to Build Muscle vs. Strength appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Strength vs Size

[caption id="attachment_17781" align="alignnone" width="620"]Strength vs Size Photo: Pond5[/caption] Everyone who goes to the gym regularly has a goal, whether it be to get big, get strong, lose weight, tone up, and so on. But more often than not, the program an individual chooses doesn’t deliver the results he or she hopes to achieve. Training to meet those goals is both an art and a science, and both need some decoding.

Training for Size

Becoming bigger and more muscular has long been an aspiration of many male and female gym-goers, the elite of which are called bodybuilders. These muscular athletes didn’t get that way overnight, nor did they get that way by running on a treadmill five times a week with no other exercise. Moderately heavy weights (60 to 75 percent of their one-rep max) and lots of sets (we’re talking 15 to 20 sets per muscle group) composed of a moderate amount of reps (8 to 12 generally speaking) and short rest periods (typically around 90 seconds) are what help make bodybuilders the size they are. “The 8 to 12 reps done in a typical size program will give the muscles a good ‘pump,’ but more importantly it will push the muscles to their capacity,” says Andrew Sakhrani, CSCS, a Montreal-based strength and conditioning coach. “But remember, the weight needs to be heavy enough so the lifter can do the 12 reps and no more.” That’s a huge amount of volume for a person. However, doing that many reps forces the body to change. In this case, it increases the cross sectional area of the muscles being worked, and makes them bigger.

Training for Strength

Sure, getting bigger also means getting stronger, but what if the goal is to deadlift a thousand pounds, pull a fire truck, or simply set a new PR on the bench? For these individuals — many of whom are referred to as powerlifters — it's all about producing an immense amount of force from the legs or arms into a solid surface. Once again, going to spin class won’t increase the amount of weight you can lift. In order to do that, one must lift heavy (85 percent or more of your one-rep max), take long rest periods (three minutes between sets), and still do lots of sets (about five). Sakhrani says, “Intensity is key to success with this program.” Because these sets are composed of very few reps (two to five), demand is placed on the nervous system to change. Your body adapts to this style of training by getting bigger, creating motor units, which are nerve endings that deliver instructions from your brain telling your muscles to move. The more of them there are, the stronger you become.

Training Programs

Sakhrani emphasizes two key components in his programs. Like any good trainer, first is proper form, and the second is that the programs will not be worthwhile or effective unless the lifter uses weights that will make him or her struggle to complete only the prescribed reps. The first of the following programs is for strength gains, and the other will add some muscle to the lifter’s frame. Both of these programs from Sakhrani are full-body and will produce results, but each will need to be tweaked as you progress. Strength The Moves:                                      Sets                 Rep Goal                     Rest

Dumbbell Press                                 5                          5                             3 min

Lat Pulldown                                     5                          5                              3 min Barbell Overhead Press                     5                          5                              3 min Wide-Grip Pull-Up                             5                          5                              3 min Size The Moves:                                      Sets                 Rep Goal                      Rest Hang Clean                                        4                        12                             90 sec Back Squat                                         4                        12                             90 sec Trap Bar Deadlift                                4                        12                             90 sec Dumbbell Press                                  4                        12                             90 sec Lat Pulldown                                      4                        12                             90 sec Dumbbell Shoulder Press                   4                        12                             90 sec Barbell Skull Crusher                          4                        12                             90 sec Barbell Curl                                        4                        12                             90 sec To hear more from Sakhrani, visit his Facebook page, and keep an eye out for new strength programs coming soon to DailyBurn.com.

The post How to Build Muscle vs. Strength appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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7 New Ways to Switch Up Your Cardio Routine https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/new-cardio-routines/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/new-cardio-routines/#respond Sat, 20 Jul 2013 11:15:18 +0000 http://daily-burn.sta.oomphcloud.com/?p=15783 Switch Up Cardio Routine

[caption id="attachment_15787" align="alignnone" width="640"]Switch Up Cardio Routine Photo: Pond5[/caption]

For years, steady-state cardio has been a go-to mode of exercise among fitness enthusiasts to get and stay lean. The downside: Maintaining the same pace for extra-long sessions is time consuming and can get boring quickly. To mix things up (and keep things moving!), here are a few methods of cardio that will make the most of your gym time.

1. Supersets/Circuit Training
Supersets are a great way to turn a traditional weightlifting workout into an intense fat-burning and heart-pumping session. A superset can consist of two or more exercises performed in sequence with little to no rest in between. For example, let’s take a push-up, squat, shoulder press, bicep curl and tricep extension. The workout would be: Perform 10 each of push-ups immediately followed by 10 squats, then 10 shoulder presses, then bicep curls, then tricep extensions. That’s one set. Complete that three times, resting two to three minutes between sets (not exercises), then you make the call on whether it was cardio or not!

2. Kettlebell Swings
According to the Russian Kettlebell Club, a properly done kettlebell swing is, in addition to being great for your glutes, one of the best fat-burning exercises around. Try doing a set of kettlebell swings (minimum 20) after each set of a weightlifting exercises, or bang out three sets at the end of your workout. The extra burn might make that post-dinner cupcake seem a little less sinful.

3. Cardio Between Sets
Grab a jump rope and make friends with it, because this could be your greatest ally in the war against body fat. Just look at any boxer or mixed martial artist and it’s easy to see that jumping rope, a fundamental exercise in boxing and MMA, develops lean, mean fighting machines (in combination with traditional weight training). Try adding one minute of jumping rope on the end of every weightlifting set, and get ready to sweat your worries away.

4. Cardio “Rounds”
It’s common to get bored with the treadmill, elliptical and bike, but there is a secret to making them more fun: Do them for a short amount of time, one right after the other! For example, jump on the bike for a minute, then run for a minute, then use the elliptical for a minute. Bring things home with a minute-long row. Do this five times That’s 20 minutes of cardio that will only feel like 10!

5. Timed Weightlifting
Think you know how long 30 seconds is? Think again. For a little bit of discovery, choose any exercise (such as a bodyweight squat or lunge) and have a friend time you for 30 seconds, in which you perform as many reps of that exercise as possible. Every week, try to increase the amount of reps done in that same amount of time, or increase the duration of the set. That will get your heart beating fast!

6. Class Act
This one’s pretty simple: Take a kickboxing or Muay Thai class! One hour of Muay Thai (a martial art from Thailand that closely resembles kickboxing) can burn as many as 1,200 calories. The group setting can also keep motivation high and encourage athletes to work even harder than they might flying solo.

7. Stairs
How many round trips do you take in the elevator each day? Try taking the stairs instead to get a little bit of cardio in throughout the day. For an added challenge, go two steps at a time while staying light on your feet. In a few weeks, you should notice that those stairs seem a whole lot easier than they did on Day 1.

The post 7 New Ways to Switch Up Your Cardio Routine appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
Switch Up Cardio Routine

[caption id="attachment_15787" align="alignnone" width="640"]Switch Up Cardio Routine Photo: Pond5[/caption]

For years, steady-state cardio has been a go-to mode of exercise among fitness enthusiasts to get and stay lean. The downside: Maintaining the same pace for extra-long sessions is time consuming and can get boring quickly. To mix things up (and keep things moving!), here are a few methods of cardio that will make the most of your gym time.

1. Supersets/Circuit Training
Supersets are a great way to turn a traditional weightlifting workout into an intense fat-burning and heart-pumping session. A superset can consist of two or more exercises performed in sequence with little to no rest in between. For example, let’s take a push-up, squat, shoulder press, bicep curl and tricep extension. The workout would be: Perform 10 each of push-ups immediately followed by 10 squats, then 10 shoulder presses, then bicep curls, then tricep extensions. That’s one set. Complete that three times, resting two to three minutes between sets (not exercises), then you make the call on whether it was cardio or not!

2. Kettlebell Swings
According to the Russian Kettlebell Club, a properly done kettlebell swing is, in addition to being great for your glutes, one of the best fat-burning exercises around. Try doing a set of kettlebell swings (minimum 20) after each set of a weightlifting exercises, or bang out three sets at the end of your workout. The extra burn might make that post-dinner cupcake seem a little less sinful.

3. Cardio Between Sets
Grab a jump rope and make friends with it, because this could be your greatest ally in the war against body fat. Just look at any boxer or mixed martial artist and it’s easy to see that jumping rope, a fundamental exercise in boxing and MMA, develops lean, mean fighting machines (in combination with traditional weight training). Try adding one minute of jumping rope on the end of every weightlifting set, and get ready to sweat your worries away.

4. Cardio “Rounds”
It’s common to get bored with the treadmill, elliptical and bike, but there is a secret to making them more fun: Do them for a short amount of time, one right after the other! For example, jump on the bike for a minute, then run for a minute, then use the elliptical for a minute. Bring things home with a minute-long row. Do this five times That’s 20 minutes of cardio that will only feel like 10!

5. Timed Weightlifting
Think you know how long 30 seconds is? Think again. For a little bit of discovery, choose any exercise (such as a bodyweight squat or lunge) and have a friend time you for 30 seconds, in which you perform as many reps of that exercise as possible. Every week, try to increase the amount of reps done in that same amount of time, or increase the duration of the set. That will get your heart beating fast!

6. Class Act
This one’s pretty simple: Take a kickboxing or Muay Thai class! One hour of Muay Thai (a martial art from Thailand that closely resembles kickboxing) can burn as many as 1,200 calories. The group setting can also keep motivation high and encourage athletes to work even harder than they might flying solo.

7. Stairs
How many round trips do you take in the elevator each day? Try taking the stairs instead to get a little bit of cardio in throughout the day. For an added challenge, go two steps at a time while staying light on your feet. In a few weeks, you should notice that those stairs seem a whole lot easier than they did on Day 1.

The post 7 New Ways to Switch Up Your Cardio Routine appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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