Life by DailyBurn » Exercise http://dailyburn.com/life A better you, for life. Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:19:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Beginner’s Guide to Playing Tennis (Or Faking It Well) http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/how-to-play-tennis-beginners/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/how-to-play-tennis-beginners/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:00:18 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41033 young woman playing tennis on a sunny day

[caption id="attachment_41095" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginners Guide to Tennis Photo: Pond5[/caption]

You’ve spent years watching Serena battle it out on the tennis court. Now, you’re ready to hit the ball yourself — but you have no idea where to start. Whether you’re intrigued by the outfits, the camaraderie of team play or the stress release of slamming that ball with all your might, tennis is also a great workout. You’ll burn up to 490 calories per hour playing a one-on-one match.

“Tennis is a unique sport that tests every part of your body,” says Maureen Diaz, National Coach at the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Player Development Training Center. “It will tone your shoulders, biceps, triceps, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps — using muscles you never knew you had.”

RELATED: U.S. Open Tennis Tips from the Bryan Brothers

Ready to get swinging? This tutorial from Diaz and Scott Hausthor, manager of the USTA Player Development Training Center in Flushing, New York will help you learn the most common grips and strokes you’ll need on the court. You’ll be rallying in no time!

Get a Grip

The first thing you’ll need to know is how to hold the racket. Sounds simple, but the proper “grip” will help you achieve maximum control and power on the court. The most common grips used by beginners include the Continental, Eastern and Semi-Western. The butt of your racket is shaped like an octagon, and players typically use the eight sides, known as bevels, to navigate the different grips. Practice your grips before hitting the court so you know what to do before a ball is flying at your face.

1. Continental
While you can use this grip for every shot, it’s best suited for serves, volleys and overhead swings. Think of it as though you were holding a hammer.
Benefits: This grip will give you a slightly open racket face, allowing for control for quick, defensive shots.
How to: As you’re looking at the butt of the racket, consider the top Bevel 1, and work your way clockwise for each subsequent bevel (a). Make a v-shape with your thumb and forefinger on top of the handle (b). The knuckle of your index finger and the heel of your hand should rest on Bevel 2 (c).

RELATED: 5 Major Benefits of Total-Body Workouts

2. Eastern
This grip is most commonly used for forehand strokes and is fairly similar to the Continental. It allows for fast, flat shots and the grip feels similar to as if you were shaking someone’s hand.
Benefits: This grip can help you flatten out the ball to make it more difficult for your opponents to return.
How to: Rest your index knuckle and heel of your hand on the third bevel (a).

3. Semi-Western
The semi-Western grip is an alternate option for forehands, and allows you to hit higher balls and gives you a bit more control than the Eastern grip. Your arm will be in the same position as a fist pump.
Benefits: Because of the topspin that the semi-Western grip generates from the closed racket face, this grip is best for more aggressive shots.
How to: Put your racket face flat on the ground and pick it up (a). Where you pick it up will naturally be with your index knuckle and heel of your hand on Bevel 4 (b).

The Right Strokes

Every tennis player, from first-timers to Rafael Nadal, relies on the same four basic strokes: forehand, backhand, volley and serve. Once you’ve got these down, you’ll be ready to take on your opponent.

Tennis Forehand Tips

1. Forehand

What It Is: You’ll rule the court with this is shot made by swinging the racquet across your body with your dominant hand, after the ball has bounced.

How to: Start with the racket in your right, or dominant hand, using a grip between Eastern and Semi-Western, and stand with feet parallel to the net (a). As the ball approaches, keep your elbow slightly bent and swing the racket back behind your body in a circular motion (b). Step forward onto your left foot, angling it slightly towards the net, and pivoting on the toe of your back, right foot, heel raised (c). Make contact with the ball just in front of your body with your racket parallel to the net (d). After contact, continue the swing across your body on an upward diagonal, finishing with your racket over your left shoulder (e).

Tennis Backhand Tips

2. Backhand

What It Is: If the ball is rocketing towards your non-dominant side, never fear. With this forceful two-handed shot, you’ll swing the racket from the opposite side of your body — with the back of your dominant hand facing forward. It’s also a groundstroke, meaning that it is used after the ball has bounced.

How to: Start with a two-handed grip, with your right, or dominant hand on the bottom in a Continental grip and your top, or left hand in an Eastern grip (a). Stand in your ready position facing the net, toes forward, shoulder-width apart (b). As the ball approaches, shift your stance, planting your left foot parallel to the net, as you bring the racket behind the left side of your body, keeping elbows slightly bent (c). Step forward with your right foot to meet the ball out in front of your body, keeping both hands on the racket (d). Follow through with your swing, ending with the racket behind and above your right shoulder (e).

RELATED: 7 Must-Have Products for Sun Protection

Tennis Volley Tips

3. Volley

What It Is: The ultimate power move, this shot requires just a slight swing. It’s executed before the ball bounces on the ground — and typically from close to the net.

How to: Hold the racket in a Continental grip with your right hand, placing your left hand above it (a). Your ready position will be with your racket in front of you and your feet facing the net, shoulder-width apart (b). Shifting your toes to the right, turn to your forehand side and swing the racket back slightly, until it is just in line with your body (c). Step forward with your left foot as you make contact with the ball (d). Cut off your swing just after making contact with the ball (e).

Tennis Serve Tips

 4. Serve

What It Is: This is the shot that starts each point. Your goal: To land the ball in the box diagonally opposite from you on the other side of the net. Grunting, optional.

How to: Your ready position will be holding the racket in your right, or dominant hand, using a continental grip, ball in your left hand (a). Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, parallel to the net (b). Swing the racket behind your body and above your head (c). Toss the ball just above head height, releasing at eye level (d). Tip your shoulders and pelvis back slightly, and make contact with the ball as you swing your racket over your head and in front of your body (e). As you hit the ball, your upper body will be fully extended as you plant your left foot, pivoting forward on your right foot (f). Follow through bringing your racket across your body, finishing with it near the court under your left arm. Recover back into your ready position (g).

The post The Beginner’s Guide to Playing Tennis (Or Faking It Well) appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
young woman playing tennis on a sunny day

[caption id="attachment_41095" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginners Guide to Tennis Photo: Pond5[/caption] You’ve spent years watching Serena battle it out on the tennis court. Now, you’re ready to hit the ball yourself — but you have no idea where to start. Whether you’re intrigued by the outfits, the camaraderie of team play or the stress release of slamming that ball with all your might, tennis is also a great workout. You’ll burn up to 490 calories per hour playing a one-on-one match. “Tennis is a unique sport that tests every part of your body,” says Maureen Diaz, National Coach at the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Player Development Training Center. “It will tone your shoulders, biceps, triceps, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps — using muscles you never knew you had.” RELATED: U.S. Open Tennis Tips from the Bryan Brothers Ready to get swinging? This tutorial from Diaz and Scott Hausthor, manager of the USTA Player Development Training Center in Flushing, New York will help you learn the most common grips and strokes you’ll need on the court. You’ll be rallying in no time!

Get a Grip

The first thing you’ll need to know is how to hold the racket. Sounds simple, but the proper “grip” will help you achieve maximum control and power on the court. The most common grips used by beginners include the Continental, Eastern and Semi-Western. The butt of your racket is shaped like an octagon, and players typically use the eight sides, known as bevels, to navigate the different grips. Practice your grips before hitting the court so you know what to do before a ball is flying at your face. 1. Continental While you can use this grip for every shot, it’s best suited for serves, volleys and overhead swings. Think of it as though you were holding a hammer. Benefits: This grip will give you a slightly open racket face, allowing for control for quick, defensive shots. How to: As you’re looking at the butt of the racket, consider the top Bevel 1, and work your way clockwise for each subsequent bevel (a). Make a v-shape with your thumb and forefinger on top of the handle (b). The knuckle of your index finger and the heel of your hand should rest on Bevel 2 (c). RELATED: 5 Major Benefits of Total-Body Workouts 2. Eastern This grip is most commonly used for forehand strokes and is fairly similar to the Continental. It allows for fast, flat shots and the grip feels similar to as if you were shaking someone’s hand. Benefits: This grip can help you flatten out the ball to make it more difficult for your opponents to return. How to: Rest your index knuckle and heel of your hand on the third bevel (a). 3. Semi-Western The semi-Western grip is an alternate option for forehands, and allows you to hit higher balls and gives you a bit more control than the Eastern grip. Your arm will be in the same position as a fist pump. Benefits: Because of the topspin that the semi-Western grip generates from the closed racket face, this grip is best for more aggressive shots. How to: Put your racket face flat on the ground and pick it up (a). Where you pick it up will naturally be with your index knuckle and heel of your hand on Bevel 4 (b).

The Right Strokes

Every tennis player, from first-timers to Rafael Nadal, relies on the same four basic strokes: forehand, backhand, volley and serve. Once you’ve got these down, you’ll be ready to take on your opponent. Tennis Forehand Tips 1. Forehand What It Is: You’ll rule the court with this is shot made by swinging the racquet across your body with your dominant hand, after the ball has bounced. How to: Start with the racket in your right, or dominant hand, using a grip between Eastern and Semi-Western, and stand with feet parallel to the net (a). As the ball approaches, keep your elbow slightly bent and swing the racket back behind your body in a circular motion (b). Step forward onto your left foot, angling it slightly towards the net, and pivoting on the toe of your back, right foot, heel raised (c). Make contact with the ball just in front of your body with your racket parallel to the net (d). After contact, continue the swing across your body on an upward diagonal, finishing with your racket over your left shoulder (e). Tennis Backhand Tips 2. Backhand What It Is: If the ball is rocketing towards your non-dominant side, never fear. With this forceful two-handed shot, you’ll swing the racket from the opposite side of your body — with the back of your dominant hand facing forward. It’s also a groundstroke, meaning that it is used after the ball has bounced. How to: Start with a two-handed grip, with your right, or dominant hand on the bottom in a Continental grip and your top, or left hand in an Eastern grip (a). Stand in your ready position facing the net, toes forward, shoulder-width apart (b). As the ball approaches, shift your stance, planting your left foot parallel to the net, as you bring the racket behind the left side of your body, keeping elbows slightly bent (c). Step forward with your right foot to meet the ball out in front of your body, keeping both hands on the racket (d). Follow through with your swing, ending with the racket behind and above your right shoulder (e). RELATED: 7 Must-Have Products for Sun Protection Tennis Volley Tips 3. Volley What It Is: The ultimate power move, this shot requires just a slight swing. It’s executed before the ball bounces on the ground — and typically from close to the net. How to: Hold the racket in a Continental grip with your right hand, placing your left hand above it (a). Your ready position will be with your racket in front of you and your feet facing the net, shoulder-width apart (b). Shifting your toes to the right, turn to your forehand side and swing the racket back slightly, until it is just in line with your body (c). Step forward with your left foot as you make contact with the ball (d). Cut off your swing just after making contact with the ball (e). Tennis Serve Tips  4. Serve What It Is: This is the shot that starts each point. Your goal: To land the ball in the box diagonally opposite from you on the other side of the net. Grunting, optional. How to: Your ready position will be holding the racket in your right, or dominant hand, using a continental grip, ball in your left hand (a). Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, parallel to the net (b). Swing the racket behind your body and above your head (c). Toss the ball just above head height, releasing at eye level (d). Tip your shoulders and pelvis back slightly, and make contact with the ball as you swing your racket over your head and in front of your body (e). As you hit the ball, your upper body will be fully extended as you plant your left foot, pivoting forward on your right foot (f). Follow through bringing your racket across your body, finishing with it near the court under your left arm. Recover back into your ready position (g).

The post The Beginner’s Guide to Playing Tennis (Or Faking It Well) appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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How to Fall in Love With Fitness in 4 Easy Steps http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/fall-in-love-with-fitness-4-steps/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/fall-in-love-with-fitness-4-steps/#comments Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:15:13 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=43123 4 Step Plan to Fall in Love With Fitness

[caption id="attachment_43135" align="alignnone" width="620"]How to Fall in Love With Fitness Photo: Pond5[/caption]

It’s a vicious cycle: First, in a fit of motivation, you decide this is it. You’re going to wake up at the crack of dawn to pump some iron, or hit up that new treadmill class after work, and go all out with your workout routine. But after a few months (or maybe weeks, no judgment!) of sticking to your exercise plan, things go awry. Life gets in the way, and your workouts are put on the back burner until that inner urge to get in shape hits you all over again. Frustrating, right? Know that you’re not alone in your struggle.

RELATED: 6 Reasons Why You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet

“People have a hard time sticking to fitness plans for two core reasons. One is because the motivation isn’t there,” says Michelle Segar, PhD, a motivation scientist and author of No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness. The second reason? “[They] don’t give themselves permission to prioritize self-care,” she says. But Segar proves you can fall in love — and stick with — a workout routine. Whether you’re an exercise newbie or a weekend warrior, here’s Segar’s cheat sheet to perfect motivation — or just a friendly reminder to keep going strong.

The 4 Steps to Fall in Love With Fitness

1. Find Meaning
The first step in revolutionizing your exercise routine is to determine what working out actually means to you. “You assign meaning to things based on your beliefs and past experiences,” says Segar. So there are a wealth of reasons you may harbor negative feelings towards exercise — even just thinking of a workout as one more thing to cross off a crazy-long to-do list can fill each one with a sense of dread. Instead, look for positive motivation (like how awesome exercising makes you feel in the short-term) to create an insatiable workout craving.

To pinpoint your purpose, start by asking yourself whether you see exercise as a chore or a gift. If you see it as a chore, motivation is likely your issue. If you think of it as a gift but still can’t make the habit stick, chances are you don’t feel comfortable prioritizing it in your day. But the good news: The next three steps can help solve both of these problems.

2. Raise Awareness
Once you’ve found your meaning, the next step is to increase your self-awareness. After all, acknowledging how strong, empowered or connected to your body you feel is one of the best ways to reap the short-term benefits of your time on the mat. “When you [immediately] get a positive reward for doing something, it unconsciously motivates you to keep wanting it,” says Segar, who notes that desire is a very powerful motivator. Focusing less on the long-term payoffs (like tighter abs or lower cholesterol), as great as they may seem, and more on the immediate mental and physical boost, can be the exact motivation you need.

RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers

[caption id="attachment_43132" align="alignnone" width="620"]4 Step Plan to Fall in Love With Fitness Photo: Pond5[/caption]

3. Give Permission
Exercise is so much more than just getting your body moving. It can reduce stress, amp up your happiness, and offer some solid proof of how much you can accomplish if you put your mind to it. “Yet people have a hard time sticking with exercise,” says Segar. Chances are you put your job, your family and what other people want from you ahead of your own needs. So go on, put yourself first with an hour (or even just 30 minutes a day!) of workout time.

“We’ve been socialized to not consider well-being important, but you have to [take care of] yourself in order to give your all to everything you care about,” says Segar. Once you realize the day-to-day effects exercise has on your mood, happiness and overall ability to get things done, it will be easier to give yourself the permission to always find time for a quick sweat session.

RELATED: 7 Reasons to Never Miss a Monday Workout

4. Make a Strategy
Bottom line: It all comes down making a plan of action. “You have to figure out the logistics of negotiating exercise within your complex life,” says Segar, otherwise you’ll put yourself back at the starting line. One of Segar’s top tips is to think about a space in your day where you could fit in just five minutes of exercise, like doing a loop or two around the office on your way to lunch. (Or this amazing two-minute routine. Carrying one of these amazing lunch boxes.) “Then ask yourself what excuses you come up with, like that you need to get lunch as quickly as possible so you can return to your inbox,” says Segar.

Part of your strategy needs to be uncovering your personal sneaky excuses, then removing whatever obstacles are standing in your way. It can sound potentially overwhelming, so taking baby steps is an ideal way to start. “If you were new to strength training, you wouldn’t start with a 20-pound weight,” Segar says. Learning to love exercise is a process, but the payoff is more than worth it. You’ll feel stronger, leaner and happier once you dive in.

The post How to Fall in Love With Fitness in 4 Easy Steps appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
4 Step Plan to Fall in Love With Fitness

[caption id="attachment_43135" align="alignnone" width="620"]How to Fall in Love With Fitness Photo: Pond5[/caption] It’s a vicious cycle: First, in a fit of motivation, you decide this is it. You’re going to wake up at the crack of dawn to pump some iron, or hit up that new treadmill class after work, and go all out with your workout routine. But after a few months (or maybe weeks, no judgment!) of sticking to your exercise plan, things go awry. Life gets in the way, and your workouts are put on the back burner until that inner urge to get in shape hits you all over again. Frustrating, right? Know that you’re not alone in your struggle. RELATED: 6 Reasons Why You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet “People have a hard time sticking to fitness plans for two core reasons. One is because the motivation isn’t there,” says Michelle Segar, PhD, a motivation scientist and author of No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness. The second reason? “[They] don’t give themselves permission to prioritize self-care,” she says. But Segar proves you can fall in love — and stick with — a workout routine. Whether you’re an exercise newbie or a weekend warrior, here’s Segar’s cheat sheet to perfect motivation — or just a friendly reminder to keep going strong.

The 4 Steps to Fall in Love With Fitness

1. Find Meaning The first step in revolutionizing your exercise routine is to determine what working out actually means to you. “You assign meaning to things based on your beliefs and past experiences,” says Segar. So there are a wealth of reasons you may harbor negative feelings towards exercise — even just thinking of a workout as one more thing to cross off a crazy-long to-do list can fill each one with a sense of dread. Instead, look for positive motivation (like how awesome exercising makes you feel in the short-term) to create an insatiable workout craving. To pinpoint your purpose, start by asking yourself whether you see exercise as a chore or a gift. If you see it as a chore, motivation is likely your issue. If you think of it as a gift but still can’t make the habit stick, chances are you don’t feel comfortable prioritizing it in your day. But the good news: The next three steps can help solve both of these problems. 2. Raise Awareness Once you’ve found your meaning, the next step is to increase your self-awareness. After all, acknowledging how strong, empowered or connected to your body you feel is one of the best ways to reap the short-term benefits of your time on the mat. “When you [immediately] get a positive reward for doing something, it unconsciously motivates you to keep wanting it,” says Segar, who notes that desire is a very powerful motivator. Focusing less on the long-term payoffs (like tighter abs or lower cholesterol), as great as they may seem, and more on the immediate mental and physical boost, can be the exact motivation you need. RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers [caption id="attachment_43132" align="alignnone" width="620"]4 Step Plan to Fall in Love With Fitness Photo: Pond5[/caption] 3. Give Permission Exercise is so much more than just getting your body moving. It can reduce stress, amp up your happiness, and offer some solid proof of how much you can accomplish if you put your mind to it. “Yet people have a hard time sticking with exercise,” says Segar. Chances are you put your job, your family and what other people want from you ahead of your own needs. So go on, put yourself first with an hour (or even just 30 minutes a day!) of workout time. “We’ve been socialized to not consider well-being important, but you have to [take care of] yourself in order to give your all to everything you care about,” says Segar. Once you realize the day-to-day effects exercise has on your mood, happiness and overall ability to get things done, it will be easier to give yourself the permission to always find time for a quick sweat session. RELATED: 7 Reasons to Never Miss a Monday Workout 4. Make a Strategy Bottom line: It all comes down making a plan of action. “You have to figure out the logistics of negotiating exercise within your complex life,” says Segar, otherwise you’ll put yourself back at the starting line. One of Segar’s top tips is to think about a space in your day where you could fit in just five minutes of exercise, like doing a loop or two around the office on your way to lunch. (Or this amazing two-minute routine. Carrying one of these amazing lunch boxes.) “Then ask yourself what excuses you come up with, like that you need to get lunch as quickly as possible so you can return to your inbox,” says Segar. Part of your strategy needs to be uncovering your personal sneaky excuses, then removing whatever obstacles are standing in your way. It can sound potentially overwhelming, so taking baby steps is an ideal way to start. “If you were new to strength training, you wouldn’t start with a 20-pound weight,” Segar says. Learning to love exercise is a process, but the payoff is more than worth it. You’ll feel stronger, leaner and happier once you dive in.

The post How to Fall in Love With Fitness in 4 Easy Steps appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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4 Lower Body Exercises You Can Do In Front of Your TV http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/lower-body-exercises-leg-workout/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/lower-body-exercises-leg-workout/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:15:36 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42984 4 Lower Body Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

[caption id="attachment_43002" align="alignnone" width="620"]4 Lower Body Exercises You Can Do Anywhere Photo: Pond5[/caption]

This workout comes to you from DailyBurn trainer Justin Rubin. You can find more no-equipment moves in his True Beginner program at DailyBurn.com.

Drop it like it’s hot? How about drop it like a squat? If you usually shy away from lower body exercises in favor of above the belt training, it’s time to wise up. Whether or not weight loss is your goal, you’ll get serious pay-off by training your lower half. Your quads, hamstrings and glutes are home to some of the biggest muscles in your body, and those muscles will torch calories both during and after your workout, thanks to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), the process by which your body replenishes its oxygen stores.

Plus, working your lower body will pay off in about a million different ways. “Lower body strength, much like your core, is a foundation for all fitness,” says Justin Rubin, DailyBurn trainer for True Beginner. Challenging your legs and glutes will translate to better balance, strength and agility — all of which are important for day-to-day activities like racing up the stairs (without burning thighs) or even getting low on the dance floor.

RELATED: 9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day

Best of all, you don’t even need a pimped-out gym to get started. We asked Rubin to demonstrate four beginner-friendly moves that can be done pretty much anywhere. (Translation: No equipment required!) For a solid workout, repeat each exercise for one minute, doing as many reps as possible. Then recover for 30 seconds. Complete five rounds and you’ll start to feel the burn! If you want an extra challenge, try the optional towel modifications listed below each description to engage your upper body as well.

4 No-Equipment Lower Body Exercises

Lower Body Exercises: Back Lunges
1. Reverse Lunges
Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core

How to: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Shift your weight onto your left leg and step your right leg straight behind you (b). Lower directly downwards until your front and back knees are at 90-degree angles. Hold for one second (c). Next, engage your left thigh and push off your right leg, coming back to a neutral, standing position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for a minute.

Extra credit: Hold a towel taut between your hands. When you step back for a lunge, twist your upper body in the opposite direction of your back leg. (Example: Twist to the left when you step back with your right leg.)

RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

Lower Body Exercises: Squats
2. Squats
Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings

How to: Begin with your feet under your hips, legs no wider than your shoulders. Your bodyweight should be in your heels and your arms should be relaxed by your sides (a). Keeping your chest upright and your shoulder blades pulled back, bend your knees and sink down, making sure your knees do not extend beyond your toes. Your arms should extend straight in front of you. Imagine you are touching your butt to a chair (b). Now, drive through your legs and squeeze your glutes to stand back up, letting your arms come down to your sides again (c). Repeat for one minute.

Extra credit: Hold a towel taut between your hands. As you squat down, bring your arms overhead, so your face is in between your biceps. When you drive upwards to stand back up, slowly let your arms come back to your sides. 

Lower Body Exercises: Side Lunge
3. 
Side Lunges
Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Take a wide step to the left, letting your left foot point diagonally away from you and keeping your right foot planted (b). Keeping your weight in your heels and your chest lifted upwards, turn your left foot and knee out slightly as you sink down into a lunge. Make sure your knees do not come over your toes (c). Next, push off with your left leg, engaging your inner thighs and glutes, and bring the leg back to the neutral starting position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for a minute.

Extra credit: Want to engage the muscles in your arms? Hold a towel taut between your hands, with your arms extended straight upwards. When you step to one side for a lunge, bring your arms down so the towel touches your outer thigh. Bring your arms upwards as you step in.

RELATED: 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

Lower Body Exercises: Curtsy Lunge
4. Curtsy Lunges
Targets: Glutes, quads, inner thighs

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Shift your weight to your right side and step your left leg behind your right leg so your legs are crossed. If you imagine a clock underneath you, your left toes should be at roughly 4 o’clock (b). Bend both knees, not letting them come over your toes, and sink into the lunge, keeping your chest upright (c). Engage your quads and squeeze your glutes as you drive off your left leg, standing up and bringing it back to the starting position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for one minute.

Extra credit: When standing upright, hold the towel taut in front of your chest. As you step to each side for the curtsy lunge, extend your arms and bring them down so the towel is in front of your shin. Be sure to maintain good upper body posture. Once you drive off your back leg, bring your arms and towel back to your chest.

To try True Beginner free for 30 days, head to DailyBurn.com/truebeginner.

Note to reader: The content in this article relates to the core service offered by DailyBurn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by DailyBurn.

The post 4 Lower Body Exercises You Can Do In Front of Your TV appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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4 Lower Body Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

[caption id="attachment_43002" align="alignnone" width="620"]4 Lower Body Exercises You Can Do Anywhere Photo: Pond5[/caption] This workout comes to you from DailyBurn trainer Justin Rubin. You can find more no-equipment moves in his True Beginner program at DailyBurn.com. Drop it like it’s hot? How about drop it like a squat? If you usually shy away from lower body exercises in favor of above the belt training, it’s time to wise up. Whether or not weight loss is your goal, you’ll get serious pay-off by training your lower half. Your quads, hamstrings and glutes are home to some of the biggest muscles in your body, and those muscles will torch calories both during and after your workout, thanks to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), the process by which your body replenishes its oxygen stores. Plus, working your lower body will pay off in about a million different ways. “Lower body strength, much like your core, is a foundation for all fitness,” says Justin Rubin, DailyBurn trainer for True Beginner. Challenging your legs and glutes will translate to better balance, strength and agility — all of which are important for day-to-day activities like racing up the stairs (without burning thighs) or even getting low on the dance floor. RELATED: 9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day Best of all, you don’t even need a pimped-out gym to get started. We asked Rubin to demonstrate four beginner-friendly moves that can be done pretty much anywhere. (Translation: No equipment required!) For a solid workout, repeat each exercise for one minute, doing as many reps as possible. Then recover for 30 seconds. Complete five rounds and you’ll start to feel the burn! If you want an extra challenge, try the optional towel modifications listed below each description to engage your upper body as well.

4 No-Equipment Lower Body Exercises

Lower Body Exercises: Back Lunges 1. Reverse Lunges Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core How to: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Shift your weight onto your left leg and step your right leg straight behind you (b). Lower directly downwards until your front and back knees are at 90-degree angles. Hold for one second (c). Next, engage your left thigh and push off your right leg, coming back to a neutral, standing position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for a minute. Extra credit: Hold a towel taut between your hands. When you step back for a lunge, twist your upper body in the opposite direction of your back leg. (Example: Twist to the left when you step back with your right leg.) RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners Lower Body Exercises: Squats 2. Squats Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings How to: Begin with your feet under your hips, legs no wider than your shoulders. Your bodyweight should be in your heels and your arms should be relaxed by your sides (a). Keeping your chest upright and your shoulder blades pulled back, bend your knees and sink down, making sure your knees do not extend beyond your toes. Your arms should extend straight in front of you. Imagine you are touching your butt to a chair (b). Now, drive through your legs and squeeze your glutes to stand back up, letting your arms come down to your sides again (c). Repeat for one minute. Extra credit: Hold a towel taut between your hands. As you squat down, bring your arms overhead, so your face is in between your biceps. When you drive upwards to stand back up, slowly let your arms come back to your sides.  Lower Body Exercises: Side Lunge 3. Side Lunges Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Take a wide step to the left, letting your left foot point diagonally away from you and keeping your right foot planted (b). Keeping your weight in your heels and your chest lifted upwards, turn your left foot and knee out slightly as you sink down into a lunge. Make sure your knees do not come over your toes (c). Next, push off with your left leg, engaging your inner thighs and glutes, and bring the leg back to the neutral starting position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for a minute. Extra credit: Want to engage the muscles in your arms? Hold a towel taut between your hands, with your arms extended straight upwards. When you step to one side for a lunge, bring your arms down so the towel touches your outer thigh. Bring your arms upwards as you step in. RELATED: 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners Lower Body Exercises: Curtsy Lunge 4. Curtsy Lunges Targets: Glutes, quads, inner thighs How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips (a). Shift your weight to your right side and step your left leg behind your right leg so your legs are crossed. If you imagine a clock underneath you, your left toes should be at roughly 4 o’clock (b). Bend both knees, not letting them come over your toes, and sink into the lunge, keeping your chest upright (c). Engage your quads and squeeze your glutes as you drive off your left leg, standing up and bringing it back to the starting position (d). Repeat on the other side, alternating sides for one minute. Extra credit: When standing upright, hold the towel taut in front of your chest. As you step to each side for the curtsy lunge, extend your arms and bring them down so the towel is in front of your shin. Be sure to maintain good upper body posture. Once you drive off your back leg, bring your arms and towel back to your chest. To try True Beginner free for 30 days, head to DailyBurn.com/truebeginner. Note to reader: The content in this article relates to the core service offered by DailyBurn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by DailyBurn.

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3 Great Moments from the 2015 World Track Championships http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/news-monday-motivation-running-world-track-and-field-championships-083115/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/news-monday-motivation-running-world-track-and-field-championships-083115/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:15:35 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=43073 Are You a Runner? Here’s Your Monday Motivation

[caption id="attachment_43085" align="alignnone" width="620"]Are You a Runner? Here’s Your Monday Motivation Photos: Instagram (left); Instagram (right)[/caption]

There’s nothing like witnessing a breathtaking feat of athleticism to rev you up for your next workout (a DailyBurn workout, of course!) — especially at the beginning of the week. That's why we’re looking back at the World Track and Field Championships, which wrapped up yesterday in Beijing. The exciting races and relays offered up some seriously inspiring moments that went way beyond just the thrill of cheering on a winner. (Though that is, of course, awesome in itself.)

RELATED: Hate Running? 25 Ways to Learn to Love It

So whether you’re training for your first 5K or are a total gym rat, you’ll relate to these hard-to-believe, but totally inspiring incidents. (Spoiler alert: One runner was forced to go shoeless!) The way these athletes reacted to the challenges at hand might just inspire you to recommit to dominating whatever workout you’ve got scheduled for this week. Check them out below.

3 Crazy Moments from the World Track Championships


1. Usain Bolt Rolls With the Punches
Did your heart stop for a second when watching the video above? Same. Mere moments after Jamaican track superstar Usain Bolt won the gold medal in the 200-meter race, a photographer on an out-of-control Segway scooter literally plowed him down on the track. Though it could have been a career-threatening moment, Bolt almost popped back to his feet. Later, he laughed at a press conference, saying, “The rumor I’m trying to start right now is that [American rival] Justin Gatlin paid him off.” He followed up with a Facebook post that said it all: “Unshakeable, Unbreakable, Unstoppable.” Carry that mantra with you — we’ve already put it in our pockets.

RELATED: 19 Reasons to Work Out (Beyond the Perfect Body)

 


2. Jenny Simpson Goes (Unexpectedly) Shoeless
American runner Jenny Simpson didn’t let the fact that she was only wearing only one shoe stop her from finishing her 1500-meter race at the World Championships. Her wayward cleat slipped off her left foot after another runner stepped on her shoe mid-course. Simpson, who came in first place in the event in 2011 and second in 2013, was a contender to medal in 2015 again. Despite her relatively disappointing finish in 11th place this time around, Simpson kept her cool and demonstrated what it truly means to tough it out. Next time you complain, think of Simpson and how she crushed her race in just one shoe.

RELATED: The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard


3. Emily Infield Claims the Bronze
Talk about an inspiring finish to kick-start your week! On Tuesday, August 25, American runner Emily Infield nabbed a bronze medal in the 10,000-meter race, overtaking fellow U.S. teammate Molly Huddle in the final seconds of the competition, after Huddle started celebrating early. Infield’s training partner, the elite marathoner Shalene Flanagan, told Runner’s World that Infield had been specifically practicing pushing herself at the end of her races. “I’m always telling Emily to run through the line and to pace herself so she has one extra gear in the last 100, so I’m taking partial credit,” Flanagan said. We’d say it paid off.

How’s all that for some #MondayMotivation?

Now we want to hear from you! Tell us how you get pumped up for the week and tweet us @dailyburn using #MondayMotivation.

The post 3 Great Moments from the 2015 World Track Championships appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Are You a Runner? Here’s Your Monday Motivation

[caption id="attachment_43085" align="alignnone" width="620"]Are You a Runner? Here’s Your Monday Motivation Photos: Instagram (left); Instagram (right)[/caption] There’s nothing like witnessing a breathtaking feat of athleticism to rev you up for your next workout (a DailyBurn workout, of course!) — especially at the beginning of the week. That's why we’re looking back at the World Track and Field Championships, which wrapped up yesterday in Beijing. The exciting races and relays offered up some seriously inspiring moments that went way beyond just the thrill of cheering on a winner. (Though that is, of course, awesome in itself.) RELATED: Hate Running? 25 Ways to Learn to Love It So whether you’re training for your first 5K or are a total gym rat, you’ll relate to these hard-to-believe, but totally inspiring incidents. (Spoiler alert: One runner was forced to go shoeless!) The way these athletes reacted to the challenges at hand might just inspire you to recommit to dominating whatever workout you’ve got scheduled for this week. Check them out below.

3 Crazy Moments from the World Track Championships

1. Usain Bolt Rolls With the Punches Did your heart stop for a second when watching the video above? Same. Mere moments after Jamaican track superstar Usain Bolt won the gold medal in the 200-meter race, a photographer on an out-of-control Segway scooter literally plowed him down on the track. Though it could have been a career-threatening moment, Bolt almost popped back to his feet. Later, he laughed at a press conference, saying, “The rumor I’m trying to start right now is that [American rival] Justin Gatlin paid him off.” He followed up with a Facebook post that said it all: “Unshakeable, Unbreakable, Unstoppable.” Carry that mantra with you — we’ve already put it in our pockets. RELATED: 19 Reasons to Work Out (Beyond the Perfect Body)   2. Jenny Simpson Goes (Unexpectedly) Shoeless American runner Jenny Simpson didn’t let the fact that she was only wearing only one shoe stop her from finishing her 1500-meter race at the World Championships. Her wayward cleat slipped off her left foot after another runner stepped on her shoe mid-course. Simpson, who came in first place in the event in 2011 and second in 2013, was a contender to medal in 2015 again. Despite her relatively disappointing finish in 11th place this time around, Simpson kept her cool and demonstrated what it truly means to tough it out. Next time you complain, think of Simpson and how she crushed her race in just one shoe. RELATED: The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard 3. Emily Infield Claims the Bronze Talk about an inspiring finish to kick-start your week! On Tuesday, August 25, American runner Emily Infield nabbed a bronze medal in the 10,000-meter race, overtaking fellow U.S. teammate Molly Huddle in the final seconds of the competition, after Huddle started celebrating early. Infield’s training partner, the elite marathoner Shalene Flanagan, told Runner’s World that Infield had been specifically practicing pushing herself at the end of her races. “I’m always telling Emily to run through the line and to pace herself so she has one extra gear in the last 100, so I’m taking partial credit,” Flanagan said. We’d say it paid off. How’s all that for some #MondayMotivation? Now we want to hear from you! Tell us how you get pumped up for the week and tweet us @dailyburn using #MondayMotivation.

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7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/diy-workout-props-home-gym/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/diy-workout-props-home-gym/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:15:19 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42892 7 DIY Workout Gadgets to Pimp Your Home Gym

7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym
Celebs and athletes love touting the benefits of fancy exercise systems and zillion dollar recovery treatments. But when you're not on a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous budget, your fitness regimen has to come in at a fraction of the price. Whether you're new to the workout game or you've been pumping iron for decades, a few basic tools can help give your routine that A-list boost.

RELATED: The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard

But before you fall down the QVC rabbit hole, get this: Much of the equipment you need for a great home workout is already right at your fingertips. Need a yoga block? Check the bookshelf. Want an ab roller? Head to the… kitchen? Check out these surprising everyday items that can up the ante at your next at-home sweat session.

7 DIY Fitness Props You Already Own

[caption id="attachment_42894" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption]

1. Books
Your DIY:
Yoga blocks
When you’re not reading, use that copy of Harry Potter in lieu of a yoga block. Dense foam cubes typically used to make poses more accessible, yoga blocks can set you back $10 or more (and we know you’d rather spend that on lattes). "The blocks can bring the ground to you, enabling [you] to experience the fullest and safest version of the pose possible," says Rachel VanCleave, instructor and studio manager at Yogamaya in New York City.

RELATED: 7 Beginner Yoga Poses to Get You Through Your First Class

[caption id="attachment_42896" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption]

2. Frozen Water Bottle
Your DIY: Foam roller (plus cold therapy!)
Chances are you've seen or heard of foam rolling (aka self-myofascial release), but you may not be ready to splurge on some of the pricier rollers out there. Foam rolling is all the rage for recovery, improving range of motion and more. It works by elevating your temperature to increase blood flow to the muscles, explains Noam Tamir, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and owner of TS Fitness New York City, Instead of investing in a "real" foam roller, use a large frozen water bottle, which could offer even better results, he says. Because the muscle is chilled, when it re-warms, the rush of blood is even greater than with foam rolling alone, Tamir says. This can help better prevent inflammation and boost muscle recovery.

RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong?

[caption id="attachment_42897" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption]

3. Swiffer or Broom
Your DIY:
Workout bar
Give your cleaning tools a whole new (way cooler) life by using that broomstick or Swiffer to improve mobility. Grab either one during your warm-up to open up your chest and shoulders (super important if you’re hunched over your keyboard all day). Try this: Stand up and hold the broom, hands hip-width apart. Then, extend your arms straight out in front of you. Next, draw your arms forward by spreading your shoulder blades and then retract them back in. You can also try adding shrugs, upright rows, and "pull-ups," to loosen up tight shoulders. Once you’re ready to get going, Tamir adds that you can also lay that Swiffer handle on the ground to jump over when doing plyometric movements.

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

[caption id="attachment_42898" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption]

4. Belt
Your DIY:
 Exercise strap
Take your lower body and core exercises to a whole new level by using a belt (yes, the one from your pants), to engage your upper extremities. Gripping the belt at shoulder-height with hands about shoulder-distance apart, hold your arms straight out in front of you, elbows extended, while doing exercises like sit-ups, lunges, and squats. Keep that belt around for your post-workout stretch, too. "We all have different proportions and levels of flexibility," says VanCleave. "Simply put, straps can provide a little more length to your arms or legs." Try wrapping a belt made of a pliable material, like rope, around the ball of your foot while stretching your hamstring.

[caption id="attachment_42899" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5. Rolling Pin
Your DIY:
Ab wheel, foam roller
When it comes to working out at home, less is more (as in, the less gear you have to shove into the coat closet when guests come over, the better). Most of us probably don't have an ab wheel lying around, even though rollouts are a great way to challenge the entire core. Instead of investing in the $40 gadget, Tamir recommends busting out that good old-fashioned rolling pin. While it's out, you can also use it as a foam roller — in case you didn't plan ahead and freeze that water bottle.

RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

[caption id="attachment_42900" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption]

6. Bag of Textbooks
Your DIY:
Weights
Anybody who ever rocked a backpack in middle school knows textbooks can be heavy. Tamir suggests piling one (or more!) into reusable grocery bags (or an old backpack) to create easy-to-lift weights. Hold a bag in each hand for a farmer carry (do a few laps of your yard or block carrying the bags), or use just one for a suitcase carry. Both will improve grip strength, and work your entire body, says Tamir.

[caption id="attachment_42901" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption]

7. Bungee Cord
Your DIY: Resistance bands
Unless you’re a serious baller, we doubt you’ve got a rack of free weights (or even resistance bands) lying around. Luckily, bungee cords can provide a great workout, too. Double- or triple-up on cords to increase resistance and make sure you only use the cords for exercises where you've got the band pinned down (e.g. one end in each hand, holding the cord down with your foot). Unlike a flat band, the cord can roll around, and trust us, you don't want it to come whizzing at your face.

Now that you've got a bunch of cheap DIY tools to add to your workout arsenal, here are 9 DIY projects for when you’re ready to really take your home gym to the next level.

The post 7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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7 DIY Workout Gadgets to Pimp Your Home Gym

7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Celebs and athletes love touting the benefits of fancy exercise systems and zillion dollar recovery treatments. But when you're not on a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous budget, your fitness regimen has to come in at a fraction of the price. Whether you're new to the workout game or you've been pumping iron for decades, a few basic tools can help give your routine that A-list boost. RELATED: The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard But before you fall down the QVC rabbit hole, get this: Much of the equipment you need for a great home workout is already right at your fingertips. Need a yoga block? Check the bookshelf. Want an ab roller? Head to the… kitchen? Check out these surprising everyday items that can up the ante at your next at-home sweat session.

7 DIY Fitness Props You Already Own

[caption id="attachment_42894" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption] 1. Books Your DIY: Yoga blocks When you’re not reading, use that copy of Harry Potter in lieu of a yoga block. Dense foam cubes typically used to make poses more accessible, yoga blocks can set you back $10 or more (and we know you’d rather spend that on lattes). "The blocks can bring the ground to you, enabling [you] to experience the fullest and safest version of the pose possible," says Rachel VanCleave, instructor and studio manager at Yogamaya in New York City. RELATED: 7 Beginner Yoga Poses to Get You Through Your First Class [caption id="attachment_42896" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption] 2. Frozen Water Bottle Your DIY: Foam roller (plus cold therapy!) Chances are you've seen or heard of foam rolling (aka self-myofascial release), but you may not be ready to splurge on some of the pricier rollers out there. Foam rolling is all the rage for recovery, improving range of motion and more. It works by elevating your temperature to increase blood flow to the muscles, explains Noam Tamir, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and owner of TS Fitness New York City, Instead of investing in a "real" foam roller, use a large frozen water bottle, which could offer even better results, he says. Because the muscle is chilled, when it re-warms, the rush of blood is even greater than with foam rolling alone, Tamir says. This can help better prevent inflammation and boost muscle recovery. RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong? [caption id="attachment_42897" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption] 3. Swiffer or Broom Your DIY: Workout bar Give your cleaning tools a whole new (way cooler) life by using that broomstick or Swiffer to improve mobility. Grab either one during your warm-up to open up your chest and shoulders (super important if you’re hunched over your keyboard all day). Try this: Stand up and hold the broom, hands hip-width apart. Then, extend your arms straight out in front of you. Next, draw your arms forward by spreading your shoulder blades and then retract them back in. You can also try adding shrugs, upright rows, and "pull-ups," to loosen up tight shoulders. Once you’re ready to get going, Tamir adds that you can also lay that Swiffer handle on the ground to jump over when doing plyometric movements. RELATED: Is Your Mobility Holding You Back? 5 Tests to Find Out [caption id="attachment_42898" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption] 4. Belt Your DIY: Exercise strap Take your lower body and core exercises to a whole new level by using a belt (yes, the one from your pants), to engage your upper extremities. Gripping the belt at shoulder-height with hands about shoulder-distance apart, hold your arms straight out in front of you, elbows extended, while doing exercises like sit-ups, lunges, and squats. Keep that belt around for your post-workout stretch, too. "We all have different proportions and levels of flexibility," says VanCleave. "Simply put, straps can provide a little more length to your arms or legs." Try wrapping a belt made of a pliable material, like rope, around the ball of your foot while stretching your hamstring. [caption id="attachment_42899" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption] 5. Rolling Pin Your DIY: Ab wheel, foam roller When it comes to working out at home, less is more (as in, the less gear you have to shove into the coat closet when guests come over, the better). Most of us probably don't have an ab wheel lying around, even though rollouts are a great way to challenge the entire core. Instead of investing in the $40 gadget, Tamir recommends busting out that good old-fashioned rolling pin. While it's out, you can also use it as a foam roller — in case you didn't plan ahead and freeze that water bottle. RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners [caption id="attachment_42900" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption] 6. Bag of Textbooks Your DIY: Weights Anybody who ever rocked a backpack in middle school knows textbooks can be heavy. Tamir suggests piling one (or more!) into reusable grocery bags (or an old backpack) to create easy-to-lift weights. Hold a bag in each hand for a farmer carry (do a few laps of your yard or block carrying the bags), or use just one for a suitcase carry. Both will improve grip strength, and work your entire body, says Tamir. [caption id="attachment_42901" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym Photo: Pond5[/caption] 7. Bungee Cord Your DIY: Resistance bands Unless you’re a serious baller, we doubt you’ve got a rack of free weights (or even resistance bands) lying around. Luckily, bungee cords can provide a great workout, too. Double- or triple-up on cords to increase resistance and make sure you only use the cords for exercises where you've got the band pinned down (e.g. one end in each hand, holding the cord down with your foot). Unlike a flat band, the cord can roll around, and trust us, you don't want it to come whizzing at your face. Now that you've got a bunch of cheap DIY tools to add to your workout arsenal, here are 9 DIY projects for when you’re ready to really take your home gym to the next level.

The post 7 Cheap DIY Workout Props to Pimp Your Home Gym appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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The 7 Best Strength Exercises You’re Not Doing http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-strength-training-exercises/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-strength-training-exercises/#comments Sat, 29 Aug 2015 13:15:34 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=32635 The 7 Best Strength Exercises You're Not Doing

[caption id="attachment_43097" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 7 Best Strength Exercises Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Every exercise in your strength program has a purpose — to help you build strength and muscle, burn fat, and improve your fitness. While there’s a time and a place for nearly any exercise under the right circumstance, some movements are simply more effective than others. And it should be no surprise that the ones that build a foundation for skills that you’ll use in real life will be the most beneficial for improving your fitness and quality of life.

RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises You're Not Doing, According to Trainers

So how does a lifter ensure they’re making all the right moves? If you’ve plateaued or just aren’t seeing the results you're banking on, it’s time to get back to basics with these seven moves. From increased strength, better core stability, greater athleticism, and improved overall health, these key exercises need to find their way into your routine.

[caption id="attachment_32693" align="alignnone" width="400"]Goblet Squat GIF: Scott Herman Fitness[/caption]

1. Goblet Squat

Squats are an exercise many people struggle to perform safely and effectively. Luckily, the goblet squat is a great progression from a bodyweight squat before squatting with a bar. Because the load is held in front, the core works double-time to keep you tall, while your legs work to control your movement down and stand back up.

How to: Hold a dumbbell with both hands underneath the “bell” at chest level, and set your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing slightly outwards (a). Push your butt back like you’re sitting in a chair and descend until your elbows reach the inside of your knees. (b). Keeping your heels flat, pressing jnto the floor, pause at the bottom of the squat, and return to a full standing position. If your heels rise push your hips further back and work on partial ranges of motion until mobility and form improve (c). Repeat for four sets of 8-10 reps.

RELATED: 9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day 

[caption id="attachment_32705" align="alignnone" width="400"]Pallof Press GIF: Tony Gentilcore[/caption]

2. Pallof Press

The Pallof press is one of those movements that looks confusing, but is actually incredibly simple and beneficial, says Mike Campbell, personal trainer and owner of Unleash Your Alpha. While you may not be hoisting heavy weight, the real challenge lies in resisting movement — in this case, rotation. That makes this an ‘anti-rotation’ movement, forcing you to engage through your entire core: obliques, abs, lower back, glutes and more. According to Campbell, the Paloff press will build great usable strength while adding athletic definition through the mid-section (in coordination with a sound diet).

How to: Stand perpendicular to a cable column with the column's arm set around shoulder height. Grab the handle with both hands and pull it in to the chest, maintaining tension on the cable. Feet should be shoulder-width apart, and the feet, knees, hips and shoulders all remain square and facing straight ahead throughout movement (a). Holding the chest high, squeeze through the stomach and press the handle away from the body, extending the arms straight while resisting any twisting or rotation (b). It's at this point the resistance will be highest. Continue to engage your core, and ensure you remain square and straight and resist the rotational force. Bring arms back in to the chest and repeat for three sets of 10 reps per side (c).

[caption id="attachment_32694" align="alignnone" width="400"]One Arm Dumbbell Row GIF: infosport[/caption]

3. Dumbbell Row

Most of us spend more time training the “mirror muscles” on the front of the body, and neglect what we can’t see, according to Campbell. But developing a strong back is key to balance things out, improve posture and avoid injury. The dumbbell row can help achieve all that, in addition building strong arms and a strong core. The main muscles being used are the lats, traps and rhomboids, which reinforce good posture by pulling your shoulders back and aiding the core in stabilizing your spine.

How to: Grab a dumbbell (20 pounds is plenty for most to start) and find a bench. Start with your left hand on the bench with left arm extended, while your right arm holds the dumbbell and right foot is on the ground (a). Retract your shoulders, brace your abs, and pull the weight up on the side of your body until the elbow passes the side of the body (b). Lower under control and repeat for three sets of 6-8 reps on each side (c).

[caption id="attachment_32695" align="alignnone" width="400"]Push Up GIF: DailyBurn[/caption]

4. Push-Up

The push-up might appear basic, but it’s one of the best exercises you can do. The functional movement is great for training the upper-body pushing muscles — the anterior deltoids, triceps and chest. It also requires you to engage your core and allows full range of motion in your shoulder blades, unlike the bench press.

How to: Start on your knees facing the floor with your hands at shoulder-width, planted directly under the shoulders. Assume a plank position by straightening your legs, supporting your weight with hands and feet (a). Squeeze your backside to keep your trunk engaged and lower your body slowly to the ground. The elbows should be slightly tucked — like arrows, rather than flared like the letter “T” (b). Descend until your chest is just above the ground and return to the starting position by fully extending your arms, and repeat (c). Note: If you can’t do five push-ups with good form, elevate your hands on a bench or chair to begin building up your strength. If push-ups are easy, try elevating your feet on a chair on adding a weight vest. Make sure you're able to perform three sets of 12 push-ups with your bodyweight before adding a vest or elevating your feet.

RELATED: 5 Advanced Push-Up Variations to Try Now

[caption id="attachment_32708" align="alignnone" width="400"]Split Squat GIF: Howcast Sports Fitness[/caption]

5. Split Squat

Traditional squats are great, but it’s important to incorporate single-leg movements to develop athleticism and minimize training imbalances. The split squat, a stationary lunge, does just that. The split stance requires you to balance with a narrow base of support, firing up stabilizing muscles of the hip and trunk while training your quads, glutes and hamstrings to perform the movement. In addition to building lower-body strength, the single-leg nature of the exercise helps improve balance and increase flexibility and stability in the hips.

How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Next, take a step forward with your right foot, and a large step backwards with your left foot — this is your starting position (a). Keep the front heel flat and descend into a lunge, bringing your back knee towards the floor. Stop just short of the knee touching the ground on the back leg with the front heel still flat on the ground (b). Pause for one second and return to standing. Perform 6-8 reps on your right leg, then 6-8 reps on your left leg, and repeat for three sets (c).

[caption id="attachment_32698" align="alignnone" width="400"]Lateral Squat GIF: Core Performance[/caption]

6. Lateral Squat

The lateral squat combines two movements: a lateral lunge and a squat. The difference? The lateral squat is stationary. It requires you to move side-to-side, providing a great stretch on the groin and inner thighs while training the hips, thighs and trunk to work together. Life isn’t strictly moving forwards and backwards. It’s best that your training isn’t either.

How to: Stand tall with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, heels flat on the ground and toes pointed forward. Initiate the movement by pushing your hips backwards, bending your left leg, and leaning to your left with your right foot angled out slightly (a). The left knee should be bent, left heel flat on the floor, and right leg extended with your weight over the left side of your body (b). This is one rep. Return to a standing position and descend doing the same movement on your right side to even things out (c). Perform six reps per leg for three sets.

RELATED: The Stomach Vacuum Trend: Crazy or Legit?

[caption id="attachment_32697" align="alignnone" width="400"]Glute Bridge GIF: Scott Herman Fitness[/caption]

7. Hip Extension (Glute Bridges/Hip Thrusts)

One of the most important muscle groups for any trainee — athlete, weekend warrior, or newbie — is the glutes. Yet they are often neglected and underutilized from sitting for long periods each day. According to Campbell, “When we attempt movements from running to squatting without optimal hip movement we risk injury to our hips, knees and ankles. Getting glutes that not only switch on when they should but are strong is crucial, and that’s where this simple yet powerfully effective movement comes in.”

How to: Position the back of your shoulders across a stable bench, feet planted firmly on the ground, about six inches away from your butt (a). Squeezing the glutes, push through your heels to rise up into a bridge position with the hips fully extended. The shoulders down to the knees should be in line, with the knees bent at 90 degrees. Hold the position at the top, glutes, core and hamstrings engaged (b). Lower the hips down and repeat for three sets of eight reps (c). Beginners can continue with just bodyweight, whereas more advanced lifters can progress to rolling a barbell over the top of the hips for added difficulty.

With all these exercises, pay close attention to form and execution. Continue to add weight to each lift once you can complete two more reps than prescribed with your training weight. Keep it up and after a few workouts you’ll start to notice rapid gains in strength and overall fitness. Within a few weeks you’ll have these exercises mastered and be on your way to having a body that better serves you!

Originally posted October 2014. Updated August 2015.

The post The 7 Best Strength Exercises You’re Not Doing appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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The 7 Best Strength Exercises You're Not Doing

[caption id="attachment_43097" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 7 Best Strength Exercises Photo: Pond5[/caption] Every exercise in your strength program has a purpose — to help you build strength and muscle, burn fat, and improve your fitness. While there’s a time and a place for nearly any exercise under the right circumstance, some movements are simply more effective than others. And it should be no surprise that the ones that build a foundation for skills that you’ll use in real life will be the most beneficial for improving your fitness and quality of life. RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises You're Not Doing, According to Trainers So how does a lifter ensure they’re making all the right moves? If you’ve plateaued or just aren’t seeing the results you're banking on, it’s time to get back to basics with these seven moves. From increased strength, better core stability, greater athleticism, and improved overall health, these key exercises need to find their way into your routine. [caption id="attachment_32693" align="alignnone" width="400"]Goblet Squat GIF: Scott Herman Fitness[/caption]

1. Goblet Squat

Squats are an exercise many people struggle to perform safely and effectively. Luckily, the goblet squat is a great progression from a bodyweight squat before squatting with a bar. Because the load is held in front, the core works double-time to keep you tall, while your legs work to control your movement down and stand back up. How to: Hold a dumbbell with both hands underneath the “bell” at chest level, and set your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing slightly outwards (a). Push your butt back like you’re sitting in a chair and descend until your elbows reach the inside of your knees. (b). Keeping your heels flat, pressing jnto the floor, pause at the bottom of the squat, and return to a full standing position. If your heels rise push your hips further back and work on partial ranges of motion until mobility and form improve (c). Repeat for four sets of 8-10 reps. RELATED: 9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day  [caption id="attachment_32705" align="alignnone" width="400"]Pallof Press GIF: Tony Gentilcore[/caption]

2. Pallof Press

The Pallof press is one of those movements that looks confusing, but is actually incredibly simple and beneficial, says Mike Campbell, personal trainer and owner of Unleash Your Alpha. While you may not be hoisting heavy weight, the real challenge lies in resisting movement — in this case, rotation. That makes this an ‘anti-rotation’ movement, forcing you to engage through your entire core: obliques, abs, lower back, glutes and more. According to Campbell, the Paloff press will build great usable strength while adding athletic definition through the mid-section (in coordination with a sound diet). How to: Stand perpendicular to a cable column with the column's arm set around shoulder height. Grab the handle with both hands and pull it in to the chest, maintaining tension on the cable. Feet should be shoulder-width apart, and the feet, knees, hips and shoulders all remain square and facing straight ahead throughout movement (a). Holding the chest high, squeeze through the stomach and press the handle away from the body, extending the arms straight while resisting any twisting or rotation (b). It's at this point the resistance will be highest. Continue to engage your core, and ensure you remain square and straight and resist the rotational force. Bring arms back in to the chest and repeat for three sets of 10 reps per side (c). [caption id="attachment_32694" align="alignnone" width="400"]One Arm Dumbbell Row GIF: infosport[/caption]

3. Dumbbell Row

Most of us spend more time training the “mirror muscles” on the front of the body, and neglect what we can’t see, according to Campbell. But developing a strong back is key to balance things out, improve posture and avoid injury. The dumbbell row can help achieve all that, in addition building strong arms and a strong core. The main muscles being used are the lats, traps and rhomboids, which reinforce good posture by pulling your shoulders back and aiding the core in stabilizing your spine. How to: Grab a dumbbell (20 pounds is plenty for most to start) and find a bench. Start with your left hand on the bench with left arm extended, while your right arm holds the dumbbell and right foot is on the ground (a). Retract your shoulders, brace your abs, and pull the weight up on the side of your body until the elbow passes the side of the body (b). Lower under control and repeat for three sets of 6-8 reps on each side (c). [caption id="attachment_32695" align="alignnone" width="400"]Push Up GIF: DailyBurn[/caption]

4. Push-Up

The push-up might appear basic, but it’s one of the best exercises you can do. The functional movement is great for training the upper-body pushing muscles — the anterior deltoids, triceps and chest. It also requires you to engage your core and allows full range of motion in your shoulder blades, unlike the bench press. How to: Start on your knees facing the floor with your hands at shoulder-width, planted directly under the shoulders. Assume a plank position by straightening your legs, supporting your weight with hands and feet (a). Squeeze your backside to keep your trunk engaged and lower your body slowly to the ground. The elbows should be slightly tucked — like arrows, rather than flared like the letter “T” (b). Descend until your chest is just above the ground and return to the starting position by fully extending your arms, and repeat (c). Note: If you can’t do five push-ups with good form, elevate your hands on a bench or chair to begin building up your strength. If push-ups are easy, try elevating your feet on a chair on adding a weight vest. Make sure you're able to perform three sets of 12 push-ups with your bodyweight before adding a vest or elevating your feet. RELATED: 5 Advanced Push-Up Variations to Try Now [caption id="attachment_32708" align="alignnone" width="400"]Split Squat GIF: Howcast Sports Fitness[/caption]

5. Split Squat

Traditional squats are great, but it’s important to incorporate single-leg movements to develop athleticism and minimize training imbalances. The split squat, a stationary lunge, does just that. The split stance requires you to balance with a narrow base of support, firing up stabilizing muscles of the hip and trunk while training your quads, glutes and hamstrings to perform the movement. In addition to building lower-body strength, the single-leg nature of the exercise helps improve balance and increase flexibility and stability in the hips. How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Next, take a step forward with your right foot, and a large step backwards with your left foot — this is your starting position (a). Keep the front heel flat and descend into a lunge, bringing your back knee towards the floor. Stop just short of the knee touching the ground on the back leg with the front heel still flat on the ground (b). Pause for one second and return to standing. Perform 6-8 reps on your right leg, then 6-8 reps on your left leg, and repeat for three sets (c). [caption id="attachment_32698" align="alignnone" width="400"]Lateral Squat GIF: Core Performance[/caption] 6. Lateral Squat The lateral squat combines two movements: a lateral lunge and a squat. The difference? The lateral squat is stationary. It requires you to move side-to-side, providing a great stretch on the groin and inner thighs while training the hips, thighs and trunk to work together. Life isn’t strictly moving forwards and backwards. It’s best that your training isn’t either. How to: Stand tall with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, heels flat on the ground and toes pointed forward. Initiate the movement by pushing your hips backwards, bending your left leg, and leaning to your left with your right foot angled out slightly (a). The left knee should be bent, left heel flat on the floor, and right leg extended with your weight over the left side of your body (b). This is one rep. Return to a standing position and descend doing the same movement on your right side to even things out (c). Perform six reps per leg for three sets. RELATED: The Stomach Vacuum Trend: Crazy or Legit? [caption id="attachment_32697" align="alignnone" width="400"]Glute Bridge GIF: Scott Herman Fitness[/caption]

7. Hip Extension (Glute Bridges/Hip Thrusts)

One of the most important muscle groups for any trainee — athlete, weekend warrior, or newbie — is the glutes. Yet they are often neglected and underutilized from sitting for long periods each day. According to Campbell, “When we attempt movements from running to squatting without optimal hip movement we risk injury to our hips, knees and ankles. Getting glutes that not only switch on when they should but are strong is crucial, and that’s where this simple yet powerfully effective movement comes in.” How to: Position the back of your shoulders across a stable bench, feet planted firmly on the ground, about six inches away from your butt (a). Squeezing the glutes, push through your heels to rise up into a bridge position with the hips fully extended. The shoulders down to the knees should be in line, with the knees bent at 90 degrees. Hold the position at the top, glutes, core and hamstrings engaged (b). Lower the hips down and repeat for three sets of eight reps (c). Beginners can continue with just bodyweight, whereas more advanced lifters can progress to rolling a barbell over the top of the hips for added difficulty. With all these exercises, pay close attention to form and execution. Continue to add weight to each lift once you can complete two more reps than prescribed with your training weight. Keep it up and after a few workouts you’ll start to notice rapid gains in strength and overall fitness. Within a few weeks you’ll have these exercises mastered and be on your way to having a body that better serves you! Originally posted October 2014. Updated August 2015.

The post The 7 Best Strength Exercises You’re Not Doing appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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DailyBurn Face-Off: Foam Rolling vs. Stretching http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/face-off-foam-rolling-stretching-workout/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/face-off-foam-rolling-stretching-workout/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 11:15:34 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42989 Foam Rolling vs. Stretching: Which Is Better?

[caption id="attachment_43015" align="alignnone" width="620"]DailyBurn Face-Off: Foam Rolling vs. Stretching Photos: Pond5[/caption]

You know you’re supposed to be foam rolling and stretching your muscles, to keep your body strong and healthy. But what if you can barely squeeze in your workouts in the first place — let alone 10 extra minutes at the beginning and end of each session?

RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong?

Before you give up on your recovery routine entirely, we’re about to make it easier for you to manage. While both foam rolling and stretching have their merits, if you’ve only got time for one, you should grab your trusty foam roller, says DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Sarah Snyder. “Foam rolling gives you all the same benefits of stretching as, well as added benefits,” she says.

Here’s why foam rolling comes out on top and how to do it right.

Foam Rolling vs. Stretching: Before and After Your Workouts

No matter how eager you are to start (or…finish) your workout, it’s important to resist the urge to jump straight in without warming up your muscles, Snyder notes. But, we’re officially giving you permission to scrap the minute-long hamstring holds you’ve been doing pre-run.

RELATED: The 5 Keys to a Perfect Warm-Up

“When you’re stretching a cold muscle, your body goes into defensive mode, and what happens is your workout performance is hindered,” Snyder says. Static stretches can essentially “freeze up” your muscles, preventing you from getting a full range of motion when you’re on the move, and potentially leading to injury.

That’s why foam rolling before a workout can be a better use of your time. “The techniques you have to use for foam rolling help engage your muscles, so you’re already doing a little bit of exercising when you’re warming up with foam rolling,” Snyder says. Bonus points if you can add some dynamic movements to your warm-up as well.

RELATED: 5 Mobility Training Tips from Kelly Starrett

After a workout, it may be tempting to collapse into a sweaty heap. But your body can reap real benefits from taking a few minutes to relieve the tension built up in your muscles. And while static stretches post-workout may help lengthen muscle and improve flexibility, foam rolling does all this and more by also targeting and relieving tension in the myofascial layer of your body. “Stretching doesn’t get the myofascial layer, the connective tissue that is protecting all of your muscles,” Snyder says. “With foam rolling, you’re able to break up some of the tension there that has built up.”

How to Foam Roll

While you’ve probably been stretching since sixth grade gym class, foam rolling is new to many people. But a few simple techniques will help make sure you’re rolling right, Snyder says.

Relax. “Sometimes, when you’re going over some of those areas that are tender, you tend to tense up,” Snyder says. “Try to relax.” As you’re foam rolling, concentrate on keeping your shoulders pulled away from your ears. Reminding yourself to inhale and exhale while you roll will also help ensure your muscles stay loose, too.

RELATED: 5 Foam Rolling Moves You Aren’t Doing (But Should)

Engage your core. As with any other exercise, you’ll want to keep your core tight and engaged while foam rolling, Snyder says. This will help ensure your hips aren’t sagging and throwing your alignment out of whack.

Pay attention to pain. We’re not going to lie; foam rolling doesn’t always feel great. After all, it’s not easy to work out kinks in your muscles. (Ever gotten a deep tissue massage? Ouch.) But if you ever start to feel serious pain, it’s time to stop, as you can make an already-aggravated area worse. “Another tip is to make sure you don’t roll over your joints or bones,” Snyder says, noting that putting undue pressure on your joints could cause injury.

RELATED: No Pain, No Gain? 5 Myths About Muscle Soreness

Roll slow. You only want to move about one inch per second while you’re using this recovery tool, Snyder says. Aim to spend about one to two minutes targeting each muscle group, rolling fully up and down the length of the muscle about four times.

The bottom line: “After a workout, in an ideal situation, if you did foam rolling and stretching that would be great,” Snyder says. But if you’re short on time, scrap the stretching and dedicate yourself to your foam roller instead.

The post DailyBurn Face-Off: Foam Rolling vs. Stretching appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Foam Rolling vs. Stretching: Which Is Better?

[caption id="attachment_43015" align="alignnone" width="620"]DailyBurn Face-Off: Foam Rolling vs. Stretching Photos: Pond5[/caption] You know you’re supposed to be foam rolling and stretching your muscles, to keep your body strong and healthy. But what if you can barely squeeze in your workouts in the first place — let alone 10 extra minutes at the beginning and end of each session? RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong? Before you give up on your recovery routine entirely, we’re about to make it easier for you to manage. While both foam rolling and stretching have their merits, if you’ve only got time for one, you should grab your trusty foam roller, says DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Sarah Snyder. “Foam rolling gives you all the same benefits of stretching as, well as added benefits,” she says. Here’s why foam rolling comes out on top and how to do it right.

Foam Rolling vs. Stretching: Before and After Your Workouts

No matter how eager you are to start (or…finish) your workout, it’s important to resist the urge to jump straight in without warming up your muscles, Snyder notes. But, we’re officially giving you permission to scrap the minute-long hamstring holds you’ve been doing pre-run. RELATED: The 5 Keys to a Perfect Warm-Up “When you’re stretching a cold muscle, your body goes into defensive mode, and what happens is your workout performance is hindered,” Snyder says. Static stretches can essentially “freeze up” your muscles, preventing you from getting a full range of motion when you’re on the move, and potentially leading to injury. That’s why foam rolling before a workout can be a better use of your time. “The techniques you have to use for foam rolling help engage your muscles, so you’re already doing a little bit of exercising when you’re warming up with foam rolling,” Snyder says. Bonus points if you can add some dynamic movements to your warm-up as well. RELATED: 5 Mobility Training Tips from Kelly Starrett After a workout, it may be tempting to collapse into a sweaty heap. But your body can reap real benefits from taking a few minutes to relieve the tension built up in your muscles. And while static stretches post-workout may help lengthen muscle and improve flexibility, foam rolling does all this and more by also targeting and relieving tension in the myofascial layer of your body. “Stretching doesn’t get the myofascial layer, the connective tissue that is protecting all of your muscles,” Snyder says. “With foam rolling, you’re able to break up some of the tension there that has built up.”

How to Foam Roll

While you’ve probably been stretching since sixth grade gym class, foam rolling is new to many people. But a few simple techniques will help make sure you’re rolling right, Snyder says. Relax. “Sometimes, when you’re going over some of those areas that are tender, you tend to tense up,” Snyder says. “Try to relax.” As you’re foam rolling, concentrate on keeping your shoulders pulled away from your ears. Reminding yourself to inhale and exhale while you roll will also help ensure your muscles stay loose, too. RELATED: 5 Foam Rolling Moves You Aren’t Doing (But Should) Engage your core. As with any other exercise, you’ll want to keep your core tight and engaged while foam rolling, Snyder says. This will help ensure your hips aren’t sagging and throwing your alignment out of whack. Pay attention to pain. We’re not going to lie; foam rolling doesn’t always feel great. After all, it’s not easy to work out kinks in your muscles. (Ever gotten a deep tissue massage? Ouch.) But if you ever start to feel serious pain, it’s time to stop, as you can make an already-aggravated area worse. “Another tip is to make sure you don’t roll over your joints or bones,” Snyder says, noting that putting undue pressure on your joints could cause injury. RELATED: No Pain, No Gain? 5 Myths About Muscle Soreness Roll slow. You only want to move about one inch per second while you’re using this recovery tool, Snyder says. Aim to spend about one to two minutes targeting each muscle group, rolling fully up and down the length of the muscle about four times. The bottom line: “After a workout, in an ideal situation, if you did foam rolling and stretching that would be great,” Snyder says. But if you’re short on time, scrap the stretching and dedicate yourself to your foam roller instead.

The post DailyBurn Face-Off: Foam Rolling vs. Stretching appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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5 Ways to Feel More Like Beyoncé in Cardio Dance Class http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/cardio-dance-beginner-workout-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/cardio-dance-beginner-workout-tips/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:15:49 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42744 5 Ways to Feel More Like Beyoncé in Cardio Dance Class

[caption id="attachment_42748" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Ways to Feel More Like Beyoncé in Cardio Dance Class Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Tabata this, bootcamp that. Lately, high-intensity intervals have been getting all of the group fitness love. But a good old-fashioned cardio dance class can still give you a crazy good burn — and it generally won’t involve endless rounds of burpees.

“High-intensity classes are great for people who are into that whole drill sergeant routine, but a lot of people have gone down that route and are now realizing they prefer something that isn’t quite as driven and intense,” says Kimberly Glick, national senior director of group fitness at Life Time Fitness. “They want to work out, sweat and smile. Not smile through the tears.”

RELATED: 6 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Fitness Class

Plus, unlike many HIIT classes, you can walk into a session with pretty much no experience. “You don’t feel like you need to get in shape just to sign up,” she laughs. Here’s what you need to know to walk into any cardio dance class with the confidence of Beyoncé (or at least one of her back-up dancers).

5 Ways to Feel Cooler in Your Cardio Dance Class

https://instagram.com/p/pwND3Wvw2V/

1. Arrive Early
Hiding your newbie status won’t get you anywhere. Show up a few minutes early so you can introduce yourself to the instructor. “Many instructors will give you an idea what to expect in class, and some will even go out of their way to teach you a few moves that will pop up throughout the class,” Glick says. That way, you won’t feel like you’re playing catch-up when the class launches into their usual routine. If, after class, you have some questions about that hip roll, just ask. That’s what instructors are there for.

RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers

2. Stand in the Middle of the Pack
No, not at the back of the room. Many dance classes involve directional changes (like in the Cupid Shuffle). So if you start the class at the back or far side of the group, when everyone turns around, you could wind up at the front (without any idea what you’re doing), Glick says. If you set up camp in the middle of class, you’ll always be able to follow along, no matter which direction the class might turn.

3. Don’t Stop Moving
It’s tempting to try to perform every move perfectly on the first go, but that’s not the point of cardio dance classes. The goal is to get your heart rate up and burn some fat. “If what you’re doing doesn’t look like what the instructor [is doing], who cares? As long as you move, you win,” Glick says. If you stand there scratching your head and trying to study the instructor’s dance combo, you might as well be sitting on the couch. While form and technique are super-important in some higher-intensity workouts, helping to protect you from injury, they’re not as crucial in a fun dance class. No matter how bad your twerking skills, you’ll probably still be OK.

RELATED: The 5 Best Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running

4. Bring a Friend
Not only will it be more fun to bust out your most ridiculous moves alongside your BFF, but it might also push you to work harder. “It just makes people more at ease and less afraid to look foolish,” Glick says. “Think about it: When you are walking through the mall alone, you aren’t going to skip. But if you’re with your friend and she starts skipping, you’re going to join in.” Plus, the two of you can practice that pop, lock and roll in between classes.

5. Put on Your Dancing Shoes
Ready to leave it all on the dance floor? It might help to get the right kicks. There are running shoes, cross-training shoes, and then there are dancing shoes. The latter come with less tread and traction, Glick says. By keeping your feet from catching on the floor, these slick-bottomed shoes a) Make moves easier, and b) Prevent you from twisting a knee or ankle mid-turn. Look for sneakers with “studio” or “dance” in the title (Zumba also has its own dance-worthy line).

Want to try cardio dance in the comfort of your own home? Head to DailyBurn.com for a free 30-day trial.

The post 5 Ways to Feel More Like Beyoncé in Cardio Dance Class appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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5 Ways to Feel More Like Beyoncé in Cardio Dance Class

[caption id="attachment_42748" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Ways to Feel More Like Beyoncé in Cardio Dance Class Photo: Pond5[/caption] Tabata this, bootcamp that. Lately, high-intensity intervals have been getting all of the group fitness love. But a good old-fashioned cardio dance class can still give you a crazy good burn — and it generally won’t involve endless rounds of burpees. “High-intensity classes are great for people who are into that whole drill sergeant routine, but a lot of people have gone down that route and are now realizing they prefer something that isn’t quite as driven and intense,” says Kimberly Glick, national senior director of group fitness at Life Time Fitness. “They want to work out, sweat and smile. Not smile through the tears.” RELATED: 6 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Fitness Class Plus, unlike many HIIT classes, you can walk into a session with pretty much no experience. “You don’t feel like you need to get in shape just to sign up,” she laughs. Here’s what you need to know to walk into any cardio dance class with the confidence of Beyoncé (or at least one of her back-up dancers).

5 Ways to Feel Cooler in Your Cardio Dance Class

https://instagram.com/p/pwND3Wvw2V/ 1. Arrive Early Hiding your newbie status won’t get you anywhere. Show up a few minutes early so you can introduce yourself to the instructor. “Many instructors will give you an idea what to expect in class, and some will even go out of their way to teach you a few moves that will pop up throughout the class,” Glick says. That way, you won’t feel like you’re playing catch-up when the class launches into their usual routine. If, after class, you have some questions about that hip roll, just ask. That’s what instructors are there for. RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers 2. Stand in the Middle of the Pack No, not at the back of the room. Many dance classes involve directional changes (like in the Cupid Shuffle). So if you start the class at the back or far side of the group, when everyone turns around, you could wind up at the front (without any idea what you’re doing), Glick says. If you set up camp in the middle of class, you’ll always be able to follow along, no matter which direction the class might turn. 3. Don’t Stop Moving It’s tempting to try to perform every move perfectly on the first go, but that’s not the point of cardio dance classes. The goal is to get your heart rate up and burn some fat. “If what you’re doing doesn’t look like what the instructor [is doing], who cares? As long as you move, you win,” Glick says. If you stand there scratching your head and trying to study the instructor’s dance combo, you might as well be sitting on the couch. While form and technique are super-important in some higher-intensity workouts, helping to protect you from injury, they’re not as crucial in a fun dance class. No matter how bad your twerking skills, you’ll probably still be OK. RELATED: The 5 Best Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running 4. Bring a Friend Not only will it be more fun to bust out your most ridiculous moves alongside your BFF, but it might also push you to work harder. “It just makes people more at ease and less afraid to look foolish,” Glick says. “Think about it: When you are walking through the mall alone, you aren’t going to skip. But if you’re with your friend and she starts skipping, you’re going to join in.” Plus, the two of you can practice that pop, lock and roll in between classes. 5. Put on Your Dancing Shoes Ready to leave it all on the dance floor? It might help to get the right kicks. There are running shoes, cross-training shoes, and then there are dancing shoes. The latter come with less tread and traction, Glick says. By keeping your feet from catching on the floor, these slick-bottomed shoes a) Make moves easier, and b) Prevent you from twisting a knee or ankle mid-turn. Look for sneakers with “studio” or “dance” in the title (Zumba also has its own dance-worthy line). Want to try cardio dance in the comfort of your own home? Head to DailyBurn.com for a free 30-day trial.

The post 5 Ways to Feel More Like Beyoncé in Cardio Dance Class appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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25 Athletes Redefining “Extreme” on Instagram http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-instagram-accounts-gopro-videos/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-instagram-accounts-gopro-videos/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:05:07 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=31745 25 Epic GoPro Instagrams You Must See

25 Athletes Redefining "Extreme" on Instagram

Adrenaline junkie? Head to Instagram and you’ll find real-life action heroes jumping out of planes and throwing down big tricks on the slopes. From epic, gravity-defying videos to barrel-of-the-wave POV pics and underwater shots, these definitely aren’t your average sweaty selfies! To honor the fearless individuals who inspire us to live on the edge, we present 25 of our favorite extreme athletes on Instagram. Let these 25 daredevil ‘grammers motivate you to take your fitness to new heights. Did we miss any of your favorite GoPro 'grammers? Let us know in the comments below.

RELATED: The Foodstagrammies: 25 Best Instagram Accounts to Follow

http://instagram.com/p/ru_QBkjLQg/

1. Ninja SUP

@kacycatanzaro
Paddleboard push-ups are no sweat for “Mighty Kacy,” the first woman to qualify for the finals of the hit TV show American Ninja Warrior.  Drop down and give us 10 more! For more exercise ideas from Kacy, check out her favorite bodyweight moves here.

http://instagram.com/p/rZkOXYsXwz/

2. Kite Rite

@leyroydamo
Accomplished kiteboarder Damian Leroy gets some airtime in this sick POV shot. When you see kite racing in the 2020 Summer Olympics, you’ll have this athlete to thank! He showcased the sport in front of the International Olympic Committee in 2012.

http://instagram.com/p/qzxgZQP-4C/

3. Sky High

@brent_falls
You might get vertigo watching Brent Witt cruise above the earth in a red squirrel suit. This professional skydiver’s feed is filled with breathtaking shots of his adrenaline-packed antics.

RELATED: The Fitstagrammies: The 25 Best Instagram Accounts to Follow

http://instagram.com/p/sKmhQpEkwM/

4. Wake 'N Lake

@melissa_marquardt
Want to catch a ride without getting wet? Follow pro wakeboarder Melissa Marquardt, who’s been shredding around the globe for over 10 years. She’s proof that ladies can drop big tricks!

http://instagram.com/p/qZwZN4C5md/

5. Hello Moto

@nateadams741
Pro motorcross rider Nate Adams burst onto the competitive scene at the tender age of 18, and he’s been racking up accomplishments — including gold medals at the X Games and Gravity Games — ever since. His Instagrams give you a sneak peek into this daredevil’s gravity-defying lifestyle.

http://instagram.com/p/sNb3Hbp-gB/

6. Hole in One 

@themichellewie
Swing by pro golfer Michelle Wie’s Instagram feed for some footage straight from the green. She demonstrates perfect putting form in the timelapse Instavid above.

http://instagram.com/p/sGr-3NKHS2/

7. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

@aaronchase
Sometimes freestyle mountain biker Aaron Chase gets air without his wheels. We wouldn’t mind zipping along with him through Whistler, British Columbia.

http://instagram.com/p/ln5Jg-s7Ne/

8. Board Bunny

@jamieanderson
From this vantage point, we feel like we’re shredding the slopes right alongside Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Anderson! Her ‘grams of yoga poses and rad mountain runs  inspire us to get outside and push our limits.

RELATED: Bethany Hamilton: Soul Surfer and Fitness Inspiration

https://instagram.com/p/5f3B2rSZ6C/?taken-by=robbiecrawford

9. Ride the Tide 'Till Dusk

@robbiecrawford
What’s almost as beautiful as riding the perfect wave? Snapping the perfect sunset shot of the perfect wave, of course. You might have spotted some of digital artist Robbie Crawford’s work in Urban Outfitters, but you can get your fill of stunning California sunsets on his Instagram feed, too!

http://instagram.com/p/qktxo0k-c2/

10. K9 Tug of War

@harleyingleby
Champion longboarder Harley Ingleby moved his GoPro from his board to his pooch and our hearts melted. Check out a game of tug of war in the Instavid above.

http://instagram.com/p/oqk0DnRRG8/

11. Urban Skimboarding

@lucasogomes
This photo from Brazilian pro Lucas Gomes makes us want to stop scrolling IG and start skimming! And the stunning capture has the best of both worlds: Beautiful beach and the buildings of Rio in the background.

http://instagram.com/p/ru7mj8hvY1/

12. Under the Sea

@elenahight
Hold your breath — you’re going underwater in this GoPro vid. Olympic snowboarder Elena Hight trades snow for sea on her trip to Hawaii, where she filmed this majestic snorkeling adventure.

http://instagram.com/p/owOoRBOtsc/

13. Snow Kayaking

@nicktroutmankayak
Baby on board! World freestyle kayak champion Nick Troutman is all smiles when taking his son out for a ride in the snowy Loveland Pass in Colorado.

http://instagram.com/p/pRqoMoBtsr/

14. Surf's Up

@lakeypeterson
Champion surfer Lakey Peterson has taken women’s surfing to new heights since she landed the first aerial maneuver in an amateur surfing event for women when she was just 14. Peep her carving up some barrel waves in the vid above.

http://instagram.com/p/rSqX5sB_uI/

15. Slack Attack

@skies_call
Free spirit and free skydiver Kristian makes slacklining look easy, but we know better. The killer sunset is no match for this athlete's core strength and balance.

RELATED: 20 Partner Exercises from the Fittest Couples on Instagram

http://instagram.com/p/gEeJSHF4Aa/

16. Speed Flying

@marshall_miller
Soar through the air with the greatest of ease alongside world-class paragliding pilot Marshall Miller. He’s well-versed in all things airborne and adrenaline — including BASE jumping, skydiving and speed flying, a hybrid sport that combines elements from parachuting and paragliding.

http://instagram.com/p/hdsoVHQG-l/

17. The Air Up There

@gabatronix
Heights ain’t no thing for Gaby James, a rock climber who posts about her adventures on the blog Dirt Barbies. We don't doubt she’s got the skills to get to the top before the sun goes down!

http://instagram.com/p/gYu7hPvK2p/

18. Way Off BASE

@jtholmesjr
Try not to feel exhilarated looking at this ‘gram. Experienced BASE jumper and skier JT Holmes drops into the fjords of Norway.

http://instagram.com/p/pUTr9mP2qg/

19. Boarding School-ed

@sagekostenburg
Rage with Sage on his gnarly IG feed. We can’t take our eyes off this shot of the Olympic Gold medalist grinning while upside down in mid-air.

http://instagram.com/p/rPrk0xnuSI/

20. BMX Heroes

@mikeescamilla
This skydiving pro BMXer sure knows how to snap a shot. The photo above is Kris Fox warming up at the bowl at the Van Doren Invitational, a pro skateboarding competition.

http://instagram.com/p/oBzl_bx3LB/

21. Rapid Fire

@rushsturges
This isn’t your grandma’s canoe trip. Pro whitewater kayaker and filmmaker Rush Sturges blasts through the Black Mass on the Misstassibi River in Quebec in this epic pic.

http://instagram.com/p/sIZaQXL2Im/

22. High on Life

@tomashavel
Got a case of wanderlust after look at photographer Tomas Havel’s feed? Us, too. BRB, going to go plan a hiking trip to Norway!

http://instagram.com/p/qyyNQBNQP-/

23. Tricks On A String 

@jakekelsick
Hit the ocean swell in the video above. Pro kiteboarder Jake Kelsick gets airtime while kiting, and with this POV, we can pretend we’re out in the sunshine with him.

http://instagram.com/p/lqCuJ4LjSR/

24. Jump Around

@bobby_brown1
Dreaming of a white winter even though it’s only September? Peep this ‘gram from champion freeskier Bobby Brown to get your fill of powder and big jumps.

http://instagram.com/p/lvsNuLFhce/

25. Hounding the Trails

@waynedevingo
Drop onto the trail with Wayne DeVingo and his yellow labs via his adventure-packed IG feed. Looks like a tail-wagging good time to us!

http://instagram.com/p/ryxRmXNebo/?modal=true

BONUS: Surfing Pig!

@kamathesurfingpig
When pigs fly? How about when pigs surf? If you don’t believe us, check out the feed of Kama, a pig who catches waves in Hawaii. Babe’s got nothing on this hog that can hang ten.

Originally posted September 2014. Updated August 2015. 

The post 25 Athletes Redefining “Extreme” on Instagram appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
25 Epic GoPro Instagrams You Must See

25 Athletes Redefining "Extreme" on Instagram Adrenaline junkie? Head to Instagram and you’ll find real-life action heroes jumping out of planes and throwing down big tricks on the slopes. From epic, gravity-defying videos to barrel-of-the-wave POV pics and underwater shots, these definitely aren’t your average sweaty selfies! To honor the fearless individuals who inspire us to live on the edge, we present 25 of our favorite extreme athletes on Instagram. Let these 25 daredevil ‘grammers motivate you to take your fitness to new heights. Did we miss any of your favorite GoPro 'grammers? Let us know in the comments below. RELATED: The Foodstagrammies: 25 Best Instagram Accounts to Follow http://instagram.com/p/ru_QBkjLQg/

1. Ninja SUP

@kacycatanzaro Paddleboard push-ups are no sweat for “Mighty Kacy,” the first woman to qualify for the finals of the hit TV show American Ninja Warrior.  Drop down and give us 10 more! For more exercise ideas from Kacy, check out her favorite bodyweight moves here. http://instagram.com/p/rZkOXYsXwz/

2. Kite Rite

@leyroydamo Accomplished kiteboarder Damian Leroy gets some airtime in this sick POV shot. When you see kite racing in the 2020 Summer Olympics, you’ll have this athlete to thank! He showcased the sport in front of the International Olympic Committee in 2012. http://instagram.com/p/qzxgZQP-4C/

3. Sky High

@brent_falls You might get vertigo watching Brent Witt cruise above the earth in a red squirrel suit. This professional skydiver’s feed is filled with breathtaking shots of his adrenaline-packed antics. RELATED: The Fitstagrammies: The 25 Best Instagram Accounts to Follow http://instagram.com/p/sKmhQpEkwM/

4. Wake 'N Lake

@melissa_marquardt Want to catch a ride without getting wet? Follow pro wakeboarder Melissa Marquardt, who’s been shredding around the globe for over 10 years. She’s proof that ladies can drop big tricks! http://instagram.com/p/qZwZN4C5md/

5. Hello Moto

@nateadams741 Pro motorcross rider Nate Adams burst onto the competitive scene at the tender age of 18, and he’s been racking up accomplishments — including gold medals at the X Games and Gravity Games — ever since. His Instagrams give you a sneak peek into this daredevil’s gravity-defying lifestyle. http://instagram.com/p/sNb3Hbp-gB/

6. Hole in One 

@themichellewie Swing by pro golfer Michelle Wie’s Instagram feed for some footage straight from the green. She demonstrates perfect putting form in the timelapse Instavid above. http://instagram.com/p/sGr-3NKHS2/

7. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

@aaronchase Sometimes freestyle mountain biker Aaron Chase gets air without his wheels. We wouldn’t mind zipping along with him through Whistler, British Columbia. http://instagram.com/p/ln5Jg-s7Ne/

8. Board Bunny

@jamieanderson From this vantage point, we feel like we’re shredding the slopes right alongside Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Anderson! Her ‘grams of yoga poses and rad mountain runs  inspire us to get outside and push our limits. RELATED: Bethany Hamilton: Soul Surfer and Fitness Inspiration https://instagram.com/p/5f3B2rSZ6C/?taken-by=robbiecrawford

9. Ride the Tide 'Till Dusk

@robbiecrawford What’s almost as beautiful as riding the perfect wave? Snapping the perfect sunset shot of the perfect wave, of course. You might have spotted some of digital artist Robbie Crawford’s work in Urban Outfitters, but you can get your fill of stunning California sunsets on his Instagram feed, too! http://instagram.com/p/qktxo0k-c2/

10. K9 Tug of War

@harleyingleby Champion longboarder Harley Ingleby moved his GoPro from his board to his pooch and our hearts melted. Check out a game of tug of war in the Instavid above. http://instagram.com/p/oqk0DnRRG8/

11. Urban Skimboarding

@lucasogomes This photo from Brazilian pro Lucas Gomes makes us want to stop scrolling IG and start skimming! And the stunning capture has the best of both worlds: Beautiful beach and the buildings of Rio in the background. http://instagram.com/p/ru7mj8hvY1/

12. Under the Sea

@elenahight Hold your breath — you’re going underwater in this GoPro vid. Olympic snowboarder Elena Hight trades snow for sea on her trip to Hawaii, where she filmed this majestic snorkeling adventure. http://instagram.com/p/owOoRBOtsc/

13. Snow Kayaking

@nicktroutmankayak Baby on board! World freestyle kayak champion Nick Troutman is all smiles when taking his son out for a ride in the snowy Loveland Pass in Colorado. http://instagram.com/p/pRqoMoBtsr/

14. Surf's Up

@lakeypeterson Champion surfer Lakey Peterson has taken women’s surfing to new heights since she landed the first aerial maneuver in an amateur surfing event for women when she was just 14. Peep her carving up some barrel waves in the vid above. http://instagram.com/p/rSqX5sB_uI/

15. Slack Attack

@skies_call Free spirit and free skydiver Kristian makes slacklining look easy, but we know better. The killer sunset is no match for this athlete's core strength and balance. RELATED: 20 Partner Exercises from the Fittest Couples on Instagram http://instagram.com/p/gEeJSHF4Aa/

16. Speed Flying

@marshall_miller Soar through the air with the greatest of ease alongside world-class paragliding pilot Marshall Miller. He’s well-versed in all things airborne and adrenaline — including BASE jumping, skydiving and speed flying, a hybrid sport that combines elements from parachuting and paragliding. http://instagram.com/p/hdsoVHQG-l/

17. The Air Up There

@gabatronix Heights ain’t no thing for Gaby James, a rock climber who posts about her adventures on the blog Dirt Barbies. We don't doubt she’s got the skills to get to the top before the sun goes down! http://instagram.com/p/gYu7hPvK2p/

18. Way Off BASE

@jtholmesjr Try not to feel exhilarated looking at this ‘gram. Experienced BASE jumper and skier JT Holmes drops into the fjords of Norway. http://instagram.com/p/pUTr9mP2qg/

19. Boarding School-ed

@sagekostenburg Rage with Sage on his gnarly IG feed. We can’t take our eyes off this shot of the Olympic Gold medalist grinning while upside down in mid-air. http://instagram.com/p/rPrk0xnuSI/

20. BMX Heroes

@mikeescamilla This skydiving pro BMXer sure knows how to snap a shot. The photo above is Kris Fox warming up at the bowl at the Van Doren Invitational, a pro skateboarding competition. http://instagram.com/p/oBzl_bx3LB/

21. Rapid Fire

@rushsturges This isn’t your grandma’s canoe trip. Pro whitewater kayaker and filmmaker Rush Sturges blasts through the Black Mass on the Misstassibi River in Quebec in this epic pic. http://instagram.com/p/sIZaQXL2Im/

22. High on Life

@tomashavel Got a case of wanderlust after look at photographer Tomas Havel’s feed? Us, too. BRB, going to go plan a hiking trip to Norway! http://instagram.com/p/qyyNQBNQP-/

23. Tricks On A String 

@jakekelsick Hit the ocean swell in the video above. Pro kiteboarder Jake Kelsick gets airtime while kiting, and with this POV, we can pretend we’re out in the sunshine with him. http://instagram.com/p/lqCuJ4LjSR/

24. Jump Around

@bobby_brown1 Dreaming of a white winter even though it’s only September? Peep this ‘gram from champion freeskier Bobby Brown to get your fill of powder and big jumps. http://instagram.com/p/lvsNuLFhce/

25. Hounding the Trails

@waynedevingo Drop onto the trail with Wayne DeVingo and his yellow labs via his adventure-packed IG feed. Looks like a tail-wagging good time to us! http://instagram.com/p/ryxRmXNebo/?modal=true

BONUS: Surfing Pig!

@kamathesurfingpig When pigs fly? How about when pigs surf? If you don’t believe us, check out the feed of Kama, a pig who catches waves in Hawaii. Babe’s got nothing on this hog that can hang ten. Originally posted September 2014. Updated August 2015. 

The post 25 Athletes Redefining “Extreme” on Instagram appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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#MondayMotivation: THIS Is How You Cross a Finish Line http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/monday-motivation-run-disney-finish-line-wheelchair-freewheel-082415/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/monday-motivation-run-disney-finish-line-wheelchair-freewheel-082415/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 13:15:00 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42836 RunDisney Finish Line MondayMotivation-Featured

[caption id="attachment_42838" align="alignnone" width="620"]MondayMotivation RunDisney Wheelchair Finish Line Photo: Courtesy of RunDisney[/caption]

When you train for a long-distance race, it’s easy to forget the real goal of the run: That sweet, sweet feeling of crossing the finish line. After all, you likely spent weeks prepping your body, improving your diet and religiously following a training plan, all in an effort to feel your best on race day. And there’s no greater reminder of that exact accomplishment than that epic finish line photo.

RELATED: #MondayMotivation: 60 Seconds to Greatness

Which is precisely why the above shot, shared by our friends at RunDisney, is our #MondayMotivation for the week. This finisher photo is the embodiment of what it feels like to achieve greatness — and that's just what this wheelchair participant did.

Even more exciting: Now wheelchair athletes can follow their training progress thanks to the launch of FreeWheel, a new tracker designed by Chaotic Moon Studios. Unlike other fitness trackers, the FreeWheel takes into account factors unique to wheelchairs, like the muscles needed to move the chair and the condition of the road or path. More specifically, FreeWheel has a barometer, a gyroscope and an accelerometer to measure speed, acceleration, distance, altitude, incline and decline. Bluetooth transmits the data to a corresponding app and can sync with data from other devices, such as heart-rate monitoring wearables like the FitBit Charge HR.

RELATED: Try DailyBurn’s Heart-Rate Workout, Inferno HR, Right Now!

Although there’s no official release date, expect to see FreeWheel launch in the next few months, and for now, get pumped by watching the video below. Inspired to sign up for a race? Check out our favorite 30 marathons across the globe, 50 favorite half-marathons in the U.S., or peruse the upcoming races RunDisney has on the calendar. Now that’s some #MondayMotivation, right?

Now we want to hear from you! Tell us how you get pumped up for the week and tweet us @dailyburn using #MondayMotivation.

The post #MondayMotivation: THIS Is How You Cross a Finish Line appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
RunDisney Finish Line MondayMotivation-Featured

[caption id="attachment_42838" align="alignnone" width="620"]MondayMotivation RunDisney Wheelchair Finish Line Photo: Courtesy of RunDisney[/caption] When you train for a long-distance race, it’s easy to forget the real goal of the run: That sweet, sweet feeling of crossing the finish line. After all, you likely spent weeks prepping your body, improving your diet and religiously following a training plan, all in an effort to feel your best on race day. And there’s no greater reminder of that exact accomplishment than that epic finish line photo. RELATED: #MondayMotivation: 60 Seconds to Greatness Which is precisely why the above shot, shared by our friends at RunDisney, is our #MondayMotivation for the week. This finisher photo is the embodiment of what it feels like to achieve greatness — and that's just what this wheelchair participant did. Even more exciting: Now wheelchair athletes can follow their training progress thanks to the launch of FreeWheel, a new tracker designed by Chaotic Moon Studios. Unlike other fitness trackers, the FreeWheel takes into account factors unique to wheelchairs, like the muscles needed to move the chair and the condition of the road or path. More specifically, FreeWheel has a barometer, a gyroscope and an accelerometer to measure speed, acceleration, distance, altitude, incline and decline. Bluetooth transmits the data to a corresponding app and can sync with data from other devices, such as heart-rate monitoring wearables like the FitBit Charge HR. RELATED: Try DailyBurn’s Heart-Rate Workout, Inferno HR, Right Now! Although there’s no official release date, expect to see FreeWheel launch in the next few months, and for now, get pumped by watching the video below. Inspired to sign up for a race? Check out our favorite 30 marathons across the globe, 50 favorite half-marathons in the U.S., or peruse the upcoming races RunDisney has on the calendar. Now that’s some #MondayMotivation, right? Now we want to hear from you! Tell us how you get pumped up for the week and tweet us @dailyburn using #MondayMotivation.

The post #MondayMotivation: THIS Is How You Cross a Finish Line appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/stability-ball-exercises-ab-workout/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/stability-ball-exercises-ab-workout/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 11:15:38 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42756 5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core

[caption id="attachment_42819" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core Photo: Pond5[/caption]

This workout comes to you from DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Angela Rubin. You can find more no-equipment moves from DailyBurn’s elite trainers at DailyBurn.com.

When was the last time you used a stability ball at the gym? Sure, shiny new gadgets and machinery might look fun, but some machines can be more trouble than they’re worth. (We’re looking at you, seated crunch machine!)

RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

The 90s called, and reminded us that the humble stability ball is actually an incredibly effective way to sculpt your way to a stronger core. Research shows that by performing basic moves like crunches on an unstable surface, you’ll increase muscle activity when compared to standard crunches. Talk about more bang for your buck!

But there’s plenty more where that came from — the Swiss ball is incredibly versatile. From planks to squats to glute bridges performed on the ball, you can work your midsection while challenging other important muscle groups.

Before going balls-to-the-wall, though, you’ll want to pick out the right size for you, says DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Angela Rubin, ISSA personal trainer and USAT Level 1 triathlon coach. Your legs should make a 90-degree angle when you sit on the ball with your feet flat on the ground. (So, go bigger or smaller as necessary.)

5 Stability Ball Exercises to Target Your Core

It’s no bouncy castle, but we guarantee you’ll come around to these five core moves from Rubin. Warm up your body with a minute of jumping jacks or jogging in place, then follow the GIFs below for a low-impact, beginner-friendly workout that will still challenge you in all the right ways.

Stability Ball Crunches

1. Stability Ball Crunches
How does the humble ball up the ante on the old standard? Doing a controlled crunch on this unstable surface boosts activation of the abdominals more than regular crunches, says Rubin.
How to: Sit on the stability ball and walk your feet forward so your shoulders, neck and thighs are parallel to the floor. With your neck relaxed, place your hands behind your head (a). Engage your core and lift your shoulder blades off the ball, pausing once your body reaches a 45-degree angle. Keep your gaze towards the sky or ceiling so you don’t put too much pressure on your neck (b). Pause, then gently lower your upper body back down. This movement isn’t about speed so the slower, the better (c). Repeat 10 times.

Stability Ball Y-T Extensions

2. Stability Ball Y-T Extensions
Tone your shoulders and core in one fell swoop by taking a cue from the alphabet and making “Y” and “T”s with your arms. By performing this move on a stability ball, you’ll work on range of motion more so than if you performed these laying on the floor, says Rubin.
How to: Lay your chest on a stability ball, with your legs extended straight behind you. Tuck your toes under your feet. Your body should be in a plank position and your head, a neutral position (a). Keep your core, glutes and back engaged, and have your arms hanging down from your shoulders but not touching the ground or the ball. Now raise your arms up and extend straight overhead, so your body makes a “Y”. Lower your arms (b). Next, raise your arms so they are extending straight out from your sides, so your body makes a “T.” Lower your arms (c). Repeat each letter 10 times.

RELATED: No Equipment? Try Cardio Sculpt on DailyBurn.com, Free for 30 Days

Stability Ball Roll-Out

3. Stability Ball Roll-Outs
Using an exercise ball for roll-outs can help engage smaller core muscles than traditional forms of exercise, says Rubin. Plus, we’d be lying if we said this wasn’t super challenging for those hamstrings, too.
How to: Start by kneeling on the ground with your toes tucked underneath your feet. The stability ball should be in front of you. Place your forearms on the ball so your arm makes a 90-degree angle (a). Push off from your toes and roll yourself forward, so you balanced on the ball in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels (b). Hold for one second, then bend your knees and slowly roll back to the original position (c). Repeat 10 times.

Stability Ball Glute Bridge

4. Stability Ball Glute Bridges
With your lower back balanced on the ball, you’ll need a stable core to perform this move, says Rubin. It packs a one-two punch by targeting your glutes and your core abs.
How to: Sit on the stability ball with your feet flat on the floor. Walk your feet forward and roll your back onto the ball so your shoulders and upper back are supported by the ball (a). Squeeze and lift your glutes off the floor. Your shoulders and back should still be resting on the ball while you hold for two seconds (b). Drop your hips to the floor, then squeeze and lift your glutes again (c). Repeat 10 times.

Stability Ball Squat

5. Stability Ball Squats
Drop it like a squat and you’ll work your quads, glutes and core. Rubin says that using the stability ball can help maintain proper form while also supporting your lower back.
How to: Stand with a stability ball in between a wall and your lower back. You should be facing away from the wall, standing tall with your shoulder blades pulled back. Lean against the ball and make sure your weight is in your heels (a). With your hands placed on your hips, slowly lower into a squat position until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and thighs are parallel to the ground (b). Next, squeeze your glutes, and engage your quads, hamstrings and core as you drive through your heels to standing (c). Repeat 10 times.

Want more beginner-friendly workouts? To try True Beginner free for 30 days, head to DailyBurn.com/truebeginner.

Note to reader: The content in this article relates to the core service offered by DailyBurn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by DailyBurn.

The post 5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core

[caption id="attachment_42819" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core Photo: Pond5[/caption] This workout comes to you from DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Angela Rubin. You can find more no-equipment moves from DailyBurn’s elite trainers at DailyBurn.com. When was the last time you used a stability ball at the gym? Sure, shiny new gadgets and machinery might look fun, but some machines can be more trouble than they’re worth. (We’re looking at you, seated crunch machine!) RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners The 90s called, and reminded us that the humble stability ball is actually an incredibly effective way to sculpt your way to a stronger core. Research shows that by performing basic moves like crunches on an unstable surface, you’ll increase muscle activity when compared to standard crunches. Talk about more bang for your buck! But there’s plenty more where that came from — the Swiss ball is incredibly versatile. From planks to squats to glute bridges performed on the ball, you can work your midsection while challenging other important muscle groups. Before going balls-to-the-wall, though, you’ll want to pick out the right size for you, says DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Angela Rubin, ISSA personal trainer and USAT Level 1 triathlon coach. Your legs should make a 90-degree angle when you sit on the ball with your feet flat on the ground. (So, go bigger or smaller as necessary.)

5 Stability Ball Exercises to Target Your Core

It’s no bouncy castle, but we guarantee you’ll come around to these five core moves from Rubin. Warm up your body with a minute of jumping jacks or jogging in place, then follow the GIFs below for a low-impact, beginner-friendly workout that will still challenge you in all the right ways. Stability Ball Crunches 1. Stability Ball Crunches How does the humble ball up the ante on the old standard? Doing a controlled crunch on this unstable surface boosts activation of the abdominals more than regular crunches, says Rubin. How to: Sit on the stability ball and walk your feet forward so your shoulders, neck and thighs are parallel to the floor. With your neck relaxed, place your hands behind your head (a). Engage your core and lift your shoulder blades off the ball, pausing once your body reaches a 45-degree angle. Keep your gaze towards the sky or ceiling so you don’t put too much pressure on your neck (b). Pause, then gently lower your upper body back down. This movement isn’t about speed so the slower, the better (c). Repeat 10 times. Stability Ball Y-T Extensions 2. Stability Ball Y-T Extensions Tone your shoulders and core in one fell swoop by taking a cue from the alphabet and making “Y” and “T”s with your arms. By performing this move on a stability ball, you’ll work on range of motion more so than if you performed these laying on the floor, says Rubin. How to: Lay your chest on a stability ball, with your legs extended straight behind you. Tuck your toes under your feet. Your body should be in a plank position and your head, a neutral position (a). Keep your core, glutes and back engaged, and have your arms hanging down from your shoulders but not touching the ground or the ball. Now raise your arms up and extend straight overhead, so your body makes a “Y”. Lower your arms (b). Next, raise your arms so they are extending straight out from your sides, so your body makes a “T.” Lower your arms (c). Repeat each letter 10 times. RELATED: No Equipment? Try Cardio Sculpt on DailyBurn.com, Free for 30 Days Stability Ball Roll-Out 3. Stability Ball Roll-Outs Using an exercise ball for roll-outs can help engage smaller core muscles than traditional forms of exercise, says Rubin. Plus, we’d be lying if we said this wasn’t super challenging for those hamstrings, too. How to: Start by kneeling on the ground with your toes tucked underneath your feet. The stability ball should be in front of you. Place your forearms on the ball so your arm makes a 90-degree angle (a). Push off from your toes and roll yourself forward, so you balanced on the ball in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels (b). Hold for one second, then bend your knees and slowly roll back to the original position (c). Repeat 10 times. Stability Ball Glute Bridge 4. Stability Ball Glute Bridges With your lower back balanced on the ball, you’ll need a stable core to perform this move, says Rubin. It packs a one-two punch by targeting your glutes and your core abs. How to: Sit on the stability ball with your feet flat on the floor. Walk your feet forward and roll your back onto the ball so your shoulders and upper back are supported by the ball (a). Squeeze and lift your glutes off the floor. Your shoulders and back should still be resting on the ball while you hold for two seconds (b). Drop your hips to the floor, then squeeze and lift your glutes again (c). Repeat 10 times. Stability Ball Squat 5. Stability Ball Squats Drop it like a squat and you’ll work your quads, glutes and core. Rubin says that using the stability ball can help maintain proper form while also supporting your lower back. How to: Stand with a stability ball in between a wall and your lower back. You should be facing away from the wall, standing tall with your shoulder blades pulled back. Lean against the ball and make sure your weight is in your heels (a). With your hands placed on your hips, slowly lower into a squat position until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and thighs are parallel to the ground (b). Next, squeeze your glutes, and engage your quads, hamstrings and core as you drive through your heels to standing (c). Repeat 10 times. Want more beginner-friendly workouts? To try True Beginner free for 30 days, head to DailyBurn.com/truebeginner. Note to reader: The content in this article relates to the core service offered by DailyBurn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by DailyBurn.

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Don’t Think You Have a Yoga Body? Here’s Why It Doesn’t Matter http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/yoga-modifications-all-body-sizes/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/yoga-modifications-all-body-sizes/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 15:15:19 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42555 Don't Think You Have a Yoga Body- Here's Why It Doesn't Matter

https://instagram.com/p/3-GpZfMuC3/

Just five breaths in downward dog felt like an eternity for Dana Falsetti when she first started attending yoga classes in 2014. “I remember feeling really defeated…. I think that’s a common thing for any beginner,” she says. Her shoulders felt weak attempting to hold her bodyweight — and her ego took a hit, too. “It was sort of a double whammy — I can’t do any of these poses and I’m also sort of the fat girl in the room.”

RELATED: Crow Pose, Made Easy: 3 Moves to Pull It Off

After years of struggling with her weight, which has fluctuated between 170 to 300 pounds since she was in eighth grade, Falsetti turned to yoga at age 21. Yet, as other students began kicking up into handstands, Fasletti feared that her body was too big for such feats.

Turns out her anxieties on the mat were unwarranted. Now, just over a year after she started practicing, Falsetti can easily pop upside-down to perform inversions (like the pose in the photo below). Her personal transformation — documented on her popular Instagram page — even motivated her to get her teaching certification and tour the country leading yoga workshops this summer.

https://instagram.com/p/5F6HnMMuA5/?taken-by=nolatrees

“People often ask me, ‘How do I get stronger?’, and I simply tell them to keep practicing, but practice smart,” says Falsetti. “Practice with alignment in mind, with body awareness [and] with integrity.”

“It starts making you wonder what other things in your life you’re telling yourself you can’t do, that you can do.”

Your Body on Yoga

Though you might picture all yogis as long and lean, yoga transcends size. Body type or gender do not automatically predict skill level, either. “I’ve learned that size doesn’t necessarily matter,” says Kent Katich, an LA-based yoga instructor who has worked with NBA players for over two decades. “I’ve been blown away by the grace and balance of [seven-foot tall] guys and amazed at how weak some of the supposedly powerful ones are.” Tap your way to #curvyyoga or #yogadudes on Instagram and you’ll see almost 100,000 posts from folks of all shapes and sizes, as they twist into gravity-defying arm balances, and crazy configurations.

https://instagram.com/p/4heRxgrVJd/?taken-by=nikebasketball

Roughly 10 percent of U.S. adults practice yoga, and for good reason. It delivers a slew of benefits, including improved blood circulation and better sleep. And plenty of those people are nowhere close to a size zero (like Olympic snowboarding champion Jamie Anderson and NBA star Lebron James, pictured above).

Yoga’s benefits extend beyond the physical, too. Falsetti’s journey has helped her feel more confident than ever. “It starts making you wonder what other things in your life you’re telling yourself you can’t do, that you can do,” she says.

Strike a Pose

Yoga can be a challenge for any beginner, no matter their body. Even the fundamental postures require a great deal of strength, says Falsetti. Luckily, modifications can help make yoga accessible to everyone. “Instead of seeing an advanced pose and thinking, ‘Impossible,’ break the asanas, all of them, down into shapes,” she says. "If you can understand the shapes, the alignment, the concepts, then you can practice with [more] body awareness.” The rest, she says, comes with a healthy dose of patience and discipline.

Where’s a yoga newbie to start? We asked Falsetti to share a few tips to help beginners of all sizes get started on their own yoga journey.

4 Ways to Make Yoga Poses Work for Any Body

Forward Fold

1. Forward Fold

How to: Stand at the top of your yoga mat. Your toes can come to touch or you can place your feet hip-width apart, making sure they are parallel (a). Engage your core by drawing your navel towards your spine. Bend forward from your hips, leading with the chest (b). Bend your knees as needed so your belly and thighs touch. Hands can come to the floor or can rest on blocks, or can wrap around your calves (c).

Pro Tip: The objective of this pose is to lengthen your spine, so don’t worry if you can’t straighten your legs completely. The best thing you can do is start with bent knees even if you think you don’t need to, says Falsetti. Once your chest and thighs are touching, you can then try to straighten your legs.

Downward Dog Pose

2. Downward Dog

How to: From a forward fold, place your hands shoulder-width apart on the mat (a). Step your feet back as though you are coming to a plank, but keep them hip-width apart or closer. Your legs do not have to be completely straight and your heels do not have to be flat. Maintain a nice flat back and long spine (b). Lift through your hips (moving upwards with your shoulders) and press the floor away from you, pouring your weight into your fingertips and not your wrists. Keep your head in between your upper arms and gaze towards your belly (c).

Pro Tip: Try bending your knees in order to get a flat back (it’s even OK to let your chest rest on your thighs), Falsetti says. Put a rolled-up blanket under your heels for extra support, she adds.

RELATED: Yoga 101: How to Fix Your Chaturanga Pose

Dolphin Pose

3. Dolphin Pose

How to: Start in downward-facing dog, then drop your forearms to the ground (a). Make sure they’re parallel to each other, since a lack of shoulder mobility may cause your elbows flare out slightly. (Correct this by engaging your triceps and broadening your shoulders.) Each arm should form a 90-degree angle (b). Press your shoulder blades out but away from each other. Like down dog, lengthen your tailbone and lift your hips to the sky. Keep your head between your upper arms (c). Gaze towards your belly to open your shoulders more.

Pro Tip: Keep your knees slightly bent and your heels slightly lifted if you find your upper back rounds when you try and straighten your legs. As you feel more comfortable in the pose, try and walk your toes closer towards your elbows, says Falsetti.

Camel Pose

4. Camel

How to: Kneel on the floor, legs hip-width apart, and place your hands on your hips. If you’re a beginner, place blocks next to your ankles or keep the toes tucked. Bring your hands to your chest and touch your palms (a). Draw your shoulders down, away from your ears, and lift your chest towards the sky. Lift up and out of the hips as you send them forward, initiating the back bend here (try not to compress the low back) (b). Breathe in, engaging your core and lengthening your spine, and slowly come back to an upright position. Hands can come to the low back or sides to encourage lifting the hips Slightly tuck your tailbone and draw your navel towards your spine (c). On the exhale, reach back and place your hands on your heels, or on the yoga blocks. Gently press upwards with your pelvis and take deep, controlled breaths. The neck can relax so let your head drop back, if that feels comfortable (d).

Pro Tip: Don’t worry if your body doesn’t want to assume a dramatic arc right off the bat. The important thing is to create space. Falsetti recommends using blocks to support your hands if you have trouble reaching your hands towards your heels, or keep your hands pressed together in front of your chest for a simpler lift.

The post Don’t Think You Have a Yoga Body? Here’s Why It Doesn’t Matter appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Don't Think You Have a Yoga Body- Here's Why It Doesn't Matter

https://instagram.com/p/3-GpZfMuC3/ Just five breaths in downward dog felt like an eternity for Dana Falsetti when she first started attending yoga classes in 2014. “I remember feeling really defeated…. I think that’s a common thing for any beginner,” she says. Her shoulders felt weak attempting to hold her bodyweight — and her ego took a hit, too. “It was sort of a double whammy — I can’t do any of these poses and I’m also sort of the fat girl in the room.” RELATED: Crow Pose, Made Easy: 3 Moves to Pull It Off After years of struggling with her weight, which has fluctuated between 170 to 300 pounds since she was in eighth grade, Falsetti turned to yoga at age 21. Yet, as other students began kicking up into handstands, Fasletti feared that her body was too big for such feats. Turns out her anxieties on the mat were unwarranted. Now, just over a year after she started practicing, Falsetti can easily pop upside-down to perform inversions (like the pose in the photo below). Her personal transformation — documented on her popular Instagram page — even motivated her to get her teaching certification and tour the country leading yoga workshops this summer. https://instagram.com/p/5F6HnMMuA5/?taken-by=nolatrees “People often ask me, ‘How do I get stronger?’, and I simply tell them to keep practicing, but practice smart,” says Falsetti. “Practice with alignment in mind, with body awareness [and] with integrity.”
“It starts making you wonder what other things in your life you’re telling yourself you can’t do, that you can do.”

Your Body on Yoga

Though you might picture all yogis as long and lean, yoga transcends size. Body type or gender do not automatically predict skill level, either. “I’ve learned that size doesn’t necessarily matter,” says Kent Katich, an LA-based yoga instructor who has worked with NBA players for over two decades. “I’ve been blown away by the grace and balance of [seven-foot tall] guys and amazed at how weak some of the supposedly powerful ones are.” Tap your way to #curvyyoga or #yogadudes on Instagram and you’ll see almost 100,000 posts from folks of all shapes and sizes, as they twist into gravity-defying arm balances, and crazy configurations. https://instagram.com/p/4heRxgrVJd/?taken-by=nikebasketball Roughly 10 percent of U.S. adults practice yoga, and for good reason. It delivers a slew of benefits, including improved blood circulation and better sleep. And plenty of those people are nowhere close to a size zero (like Olympic snowboarding champion Jamie Anderson and NBA star Lebron James, pictured above). Yoga’s benefits extend beyond the physical, too. Falsetti’s journey has helped her feel more confident than ever. “It starts making you wonder what other things in your life you’re telling yourself you can’t do, that you can do,” she says.

Strike a Pose

Yoga can be a challenge for any beginner, no matter their body. Even the fundamental postures require a great deal of strength, says Falsetti. Luckily, modifications can help make yoga accessible to everyone. “Instead of seeing an advanced pose and thinking, ‘Impossible,’ break the asanas, all of them, down into shapes,” she says. "If you can understand the shapes, the alignment, the concepts, then you can practice with [more] body awareness.” The rest, she says, comes with a healthy dose of patience and discipline. Where’s a yoga newbie to start? We asked Falsetti to share a few tips to help beginners of all sizes get started on their own yoga journey.

4 Ways to Make Yoga Poses Work for Any Body

Forward Fold

1. Forward Fold

How to: Stand at the top of your yoga mat. Your toes can come to touch or you can place your feet hip-width apart, making sure they are parallel (a). Engage your core by drawing your navel towards your spine. Bend forward from your hips, leading with the chest (b). Bend your knees as needed so your belly and thighs touch. Hands can come to the floor or can rest on blocks, or can wrap around your calves (c). Pro Tip: The objective of this pose is to lengthen your spine, so don’t worry if you can’t straighten your legs completely. The best thing you can do is start with bent knees even if you think you don’t need to, says Falsetti. Once your chest and thighs are touching, you can then try to straighten your legs. Downward Dog Pose

2. Downward Dog

How to: From a forward fold, place your hands shoulder-width apart on the mat (a). Step your feet back as though you are coming to a plank, but keep them hip-width apart or closer. Your legs do not have to be completely straight and your heels do not have to be flat. Maintain a nice flat back and long spine (b). Lift through your hips (moving upwards with your shoulders) and press the floor away from you, pouring your weight into your fingertips and not your wrists. Keep your head in between your upper arms and gaze towards your belly (c). Pro Tip: Try bending your knees in order to get a flat back (it’s even OK to let your chest rest on your thighs), Falsetti says. Put a rolled-up blanket under your heels for extra support, she adds. RELATED: Yoga 101: How to Fix Your Chaturanga Pose Dolphin Pose

3. Dolphin Pose

How to: Start in downward-facing dog, then drop your forearms to the ground (a). Make sure they’re parallel to each other, since a lack of shoulder mobility may cause your elbows flare out slightly. (Correct this by engaging your triceps and broadening your shoulders.) Each arm should form a 90-degree angle (b). Press your shoulder blades out but away from each other. Like down dog, lengthen your tailbone and lift your hips to the sky. Keep your head between your upper arms (c). Gaze towards your belly to open your shoulders more. Pro Tip: Keep your knees slightly bent and your heels slightly lifted if you find your upper back rounds when you try and straighten your legs. As you feel more comfortable in the pose, try and walk your toes closer towards your elbows, says Falsetti. Camel Pose

4. Camel

How to: Kneel on the floor, legs hip-width apart, and place your hands on your hips. If you’re a beginner, place blocks next to your ankles or keep the toes tucked. Bring your hands to your chest and touch your palms (a). Draw your shoulders down, away from your ears, and lift your chest towards the sky. Lift up and out of the hips as you send them forward, initiating the back bend here (try not to compress the low back) (b). Breathe in, engaging your core and lengthening your spine, and slowly come back to an upright position. Hands can come to the low back or sides to encourage lifting the hips Slightly tuck your tailbone and draw your navel towards your spine (c). On the exhale, reach back and place your hands on your heels, or on the yoga blocks. Gently press upwards with your pelvis and take deep, controlled breaths. The neck can relax so let your head drop back, if that feels comfortable (d). Pro Tip: Don’t worry if your body doesn’t want to assume a dramatic arc right off the bat. The important thing is to create space. Falsetti recommends using blocks to support your hands if you have trouble reaching your hands towards your heels, or keep your hands pressed together in front of your chest for a simpler lift.

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Inside the Brain of 93-Year-Old Athlete Olga Kotelko http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/news-olga-kotelko-brain-study-081815/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/news-olga-kotelko-brain-study-081815/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 20:15:17 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42702 Inside the Brain of a 93-Year-Old Athlete

[caption id="attachment_42704" align="alignnone" width="620"]Inside the Brain of a 93-Year-Old Athlete Photo: YouTube[/caption]

When you think about track and field athletes, you might envision young, muscled (and highly decorated) competitors like Usain Bolt or Lolo Jones. That is, until you learn about the legendary Olga Kotelko, who passed away in 2014.

The former teacher and mother of two was a record-holding competitor in World Masters Athletics events well into her 90s. And don’t think she was just moseying along a track either. Kotelko competed in the high jump, long jump, javelin, discus, shotput and hammer events — amassing 750 gold medals.

Yet, the most remarkable thing about Olga wasn’t her body — it was her brain.

RELATED: #MondayMotivation: Meet This 77-Year-Old Bodybuilder

In 2012, at age 93, Kotelko participated in a study comparing her brain to the brains of 58 other active women, ages 60 to 78 years old. Conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois, participants underwent a battery of MRI brain scans and cognitive tests, in addition to a treadmill fitness test. The goal of these was to determine whether Kotelko’s late-life athletic feats (she didn’t get involved in sports until her 60s) had helped delay the effects of aging in her brain.

"During dinner after the long day of testing, I asked Olga if she was tired, and she replied, 'I rarely get tired,'" study author Art Kramer, director of the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, said in a press release. "The decades-younger graduate students who tested her, however, looked exhausted."

RELATED: 10 Athletes Over 60 Who Can Kick Your Butt

In a study published this week in the journal Neurocases, researchers showed that Kotelko’s time at the track paid off in a big way. Compared to the younger women, Kotelko’s white matter tracts (areas of the brain that help with reasoning, planning and self-control) were “remarkably intact,” according to researchers. Her brain also didn’t appear shrunken (a typical sign of aging), and she performed better on tests of cognition and memory than other women her own age.

“I think it's very exciting to see someone who is highly functioning at 93, possessing numerous world records in the athletic field and actually having very high integrity in a brain region that is very sensitive to aging,” lead researcher Agnieszka Burzynska said.

In case you needed evidence, check out this video of Kotelko crushing it at her track workouts (and prepare to be seriously inspired).

Inside the Brain of 93-Year-Old Athlete Olga Kotelko

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Inside the Brain of a 93-Year-Old Athlete

[caption id="attachment_42704" align="alignnone" width="620"]Inside the Brain of a 93-Year-Old Athlete Photo: YouTube[/caption] When you think about track and field athletes, you might envision young, muscled (and highly decorated) competitors like Usain Bolt or Lolo Jones. That is, until you learn about the legendary Olga Kotelko, who passed away in 2014. The former teacher and mother of two was a record-holding competitor in World Masters Athletics events well into her 90s. And don’t think she was just moseying along a track either. Kotelko competed in the high jump, long jump, javelin, discus, shotput and hammer events — amassing 750 gold medals. Yet, the most remarkable thing about Olga wasn’t her body — it was her brain. RELATED: #MondayMotivation: Meet This 77-Year-Old Bodybuilder In 2012, at age 93, Kotelko participated in a study comparing her brain to the brains of 58 other active women, ages 60 to 78 years old. Conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois, participants underwent a battery of MRI brain scans and cognitive tests, in addition to a treadmill fitness test. The goal of these was to determine whether Kotelko’s late-life athletic feats (she didn’t get involved in sports until her 60s) had helped delay the effects of aging in her brain. "During dinner after the long day of testing, I asked Olga if she was tired, and she replied, 'I rarely get tired,'" study author Art Kramer, director of the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, said in a press release. "The decades-younger graduate students who tested her, however, looked exhausted." RELATED: 10 Athletes Over 60 Who Can Kick Your Butt In a study published this week in the journal Neurocases, researchers showed that Kotelko’s time at the track paid off in a big way. Compared to the younger women, Kotelko’s white matter tracts (areas of the brain that help with reasoning, planning and self-control) were “remarkably intact,” according to researchers. Her brain also didn’t appear shrunken (a typical sign of aging), and she performed better on tests of cognition and memory than other women her own age. “I think it's very exciting to see someone who is highly functioning at 93, possessing numerous world records in the athletic field and actually having very high integrity in a brain region that is very sensitive to aging,” lead researcher Agnieszka Burzynska said. In case you needed evidence, check out this video of Kotelko crushing it at her track workouts (and prepare to be seriously inspired).

Inside the Brain of 93-Year-Old Athlete Olga Kotelko

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The Easiest 5K and 10K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed) http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/run-walk-5k-10k-training-plan/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/run-walk-5k-10k-training-plan/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 11:15:39 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42491 The Easiest 5K and 10K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed)

[caption id="attachment_42495" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Easiest 5K and 10K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed) Photo: Pond5[/caption]

If you’ve got zero running experience, the thought of tackling a 5K or 10K can be pretty nerve-wracking. But even if you haven’t logged a mile since middle school, you can still cross the finish line happy and injury-free. Just try adopting a run-walk training strategy, says Denise Sauriol, owner and founder of Run for Change in Chicago.

Run-walk plans are just what you’d expect: They break down the miles into intervals of walking, followed by running.“[A run-walk plan] is not as intimidating and is more maintainable in the long run,” says Sauriol, who’s run 59 marathons and specializes in coaching newbie runners to their first race. “If you train this way you won’t hurt as much near the end of training or as much after the race.”

Plus, by choosing a plan that isn’t too intense, you might make running a habit that actually sticks. “My goal for runners is not just to help them do a 5K but make running part of their lifestyle,” says Sauriol.

RELATED: Hate Running? 25 Ways to Learn to Love It

How to Run-Walk Your First 5K or 10K

If you’re a newbie, it’s all about easing into your training runs. That’s why you’ll start both your 5K and 10K training plans with nine minutes of walking and one minute of running per interval. Sounds crazy easy, right? That’s the whole point. Someone who doesn’t have a running base can follow this plan comfortably. And building up slowly while increasing the total number of minutes you’re training will boost your confidence, while reducing risk of injury, says Sauriol.

RELATED: 5 Expert Tips for Proper Running Form

If you’re slightly more experienced or find the 60-second run interval too easy, you can start out with seven minutes of walking and three minutes of running, or five and five. “Runners usually get a sense of excitement that they can run more. That’s your cue that you’re ready to run longer intervals and cut down on walking,” Sauriol says.

You’ll focus on 10-minute intervals because Sauriol finds that longer stretches allow you to get into a nice groove without having to constantly switch back and forth between running and walking. (Besides, they’re easier mathematically and you don’t have to plot out mile markers or wear a GPS watch.)

RELATED: Running 15 Miles a Week Could Slash Alzheimer’s Risk

To make your training as effective as possible, make sure you’re walking with a purpose. Think: Hustling to a sale at Best Buy, but not quite booking it at a Black Friday speed. When you’re running, remember: Sprinting will only wear you down. Maintain a pace at which you can easily hold a conversation. Lace up your sneakers and prepare to hit the roads with two totally doable training plans from Sauriol.

Your Run-Walk 5K Training Plan

The Easiest 5K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed)

After you've conquered your first 5K, you might be ready to tackle something more challenging! If that's the case, check out the 10K plan below (don't worry, walking is still totally encouraged).

Your Run-Walk 10K Training Plan

The Easiest 10K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed)

3 Race Day Survival Strategies

You’ve made it through weeks of training — congrats! These simple tips will help you run-walk your way through any race.

First mile: “It’s easy to get pulled into the excitement of your first race and sprint out of the gate. Hold that energy back and run at the pace you’ve been training at,” says Sauriol. “Consciously let people pass you and run your own race,” she says.

RELATED: 13 Race Day Tips for Newbie Runners

Middle miles: Remember to stick to your run-walk plan because that’s what you’ve been training at this whole time. To avoid frustration (your legs are tired, so-and-so is passing you) remember why you came here: to enjoy the experience. “Thank a volunteer, high-five a kid. We’re not getting paid to do this, it’s all for fun!” says Sauriol.

Last mile: The last quarter of the race is the most mentally challenging, says Sauriol. “Think about how far you’ve come, and remember that everyone else is hurting, too!” Just as you think the race won’t end, the finish line appears, giving you a sudden burst of jet fuel energy. If you want to leave everyone else in the dust and run through the finish line, do it!

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The Easiest 5K and 10K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed)

[caption id="attachment_42495" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Easiest 5K and 10K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed) Photo: Pond5[/caption] If you’ve got zero running experience, the thought of tackling a 5K or 10K can be pretty nerve-wracking. But even if you haven’t logged a mile since middle school, you can still cross the finish line happy and injury-free. Just try adopting a run-walk training strategy, says Denise Sauriol, owner and founder of Run for Change in Chicago. Run-walk plans are just what you’d expect: They break down the miles into intervals of walking, followed by running.“[A run-walk plan] is not as intimidating and is more maintainable in the long run,” says Sauriol, who’s run 59 marathons and specializes in coaching newbie runners to their first race. “If you train this way you won’t hurt as much near the end of training or as much after the race.” Plus, by choosing a plan that isn’t too intense, you might make running a habit that actually sticks. “My goal for runners is not just to help them do a 5K but make running part of their lifestyle,” says Sauriol. RELATED: Hate Running? 25 Ways to Learn to Love It

How to Run-Walk Your First 5K or 10K

If you’re a newbie, it’s all about easing into your training runs. That’s why you’ll start both your 5K and 10K training plans with nine minutes of walking and one minute of running per interval. Sounds crazy easy, right? That’s the whole point. Someone who doesn’t have a running base can follow this plan comfortably. And building up slowly while increasing the total number of minutes you’re training will boost your confidence, while reducing risk of injury, says Sauriol. RELATED: 5 Expert Tips for Proper Running Form If you’re slightly more experienced or find the 60-second run interval too easy, you can start out with seven minutes of walking and three minutes of running, or five and five. “Runners usually get a sense of excitement that they can run more. That’s your cue that you’re ready to run longer intervals and cut down on walking,” Sauriol says. You’ll focus on 10-minute intervals because Sauriol finds that longer stretches allow you to get into a nice groove without having to constantly switch back and forth between running and walking. (Besides, they’re easier mathematically and you don’t have to plot out mile markers or wear a GPS watch.) RELATED: Running 15 Miles a Week Could Slash Alzheimer’s Risk To make your training as effective as possible, make sure you’re walking with a purpose. Think: Hustling to a sale at Best Buy, but not quite booking it at a Black Friday speed. When you’re running, remember: Sprinting will only wear you down. Maintain a pace at which you can easily hold a conversation. Lace up your sneakers and prepare to hit the roads with two totally doable training plans from Sauriol.

Your Run-Walk 5K Training Plan

The Easiest 5K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed) After you've conquered your first 5K, you might be ready to tackle something more challenging! If that's the case, check out the 10K plan below (don't worry, walking is still totally encouraged).

Your Run-Walk 10K Training Plan

The Easiest 10K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed)

3 Race Day Survival Strategies

You’ve made it through weeks of training — congrats! These simple tips will help you run-walk your way through any race. First mile: “It’s easy to get pulled into the excitement of your first race and sprint out of the gate. Hold that energy back and run at the pace you’ve been training at,” says Sauriol. “Consciously let people pass you and run your own race,” she says. RELATED: 13 Race Day Tips for Newbie Runners Middle miles: Remember to stick to your run-walk plan because that’s what you’ve been training at this whole time. To avoid frustration (your legs are tired, so-and-so is passing you) remember why you came here: to enjoy the experience. “Thank a volunteer, high-five a kid. We’re not getting paid to do this, it’s all for fun!” says Sauriol. Last mile: The last quarter of the race is the most mentally challenging, says Sauriol. “Think about how far you’ve come, and remember that everyone else is hurting, too!” Just as you think the race won’t end, the finish line appears, giving you a sudden burst of jet fuel energy. If you want to leave everyone else in the dust and run through the finish line, do it!

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Is Your Mobility Holding You Back? 5 Tests to Find Out http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/muscle-imbalances-functional-movement-screen/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/muscle-imbalances-functional-movement-screen/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 15:15:29 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=31972 Muscle Imbalances Functional Screen Test

[caption id="attachment_42542" align="alignnone" width="620"]Muscle Imbalances Functional Screen Test Photo: Pond5[/caption]

You probably wouldn’t pick sand as your top choice for the foundation of your dream house. It’s not sturdy for the long haul and could end in disaster down the road. Yet, according to certified athletic trainer Jason D’Amelio, MS, ATC-L, ART-C, many individuals are making a similar mistake every day in the gym. The dream house in this scenario is a healthy body and the sand is a metaphor for muscle imbalances.

"About 65 percent of injuries—both athletic and lifestyle-related—come from overuse."

Simply put, muscle imbalances occur when one muscle is stronger than its opposing muscle. For example, if you sit all day at a computer or overwork your mirror muscles (like the chest and abs), your shoulders are likely pulled forward creating a strength imbalance between the front of your body and the back. While these muscle imbalances may not be a problem at first, the real issue occurs over time. As D’Amelio explains, “Without a well-balanced foundation that focuses on stabilization and mobilization, you can strengthen as much as you want, but at some point, the foundation is going to break down.” In other words, unless you identify and fix whatever imbalances exist, you could be headed straight for injury.

RELATED: 5 Exercise Machines That Aren't Worth Your Time

According to strength coach Mark Verstegen, president and founder of EXOS and Core Performance, "About 65 percent of injuries — both athletic and lifestyle-related — come from overuse, which is repetitive use of joints that are rendered dysfunctional by muscular imbalances."

D’Amelio, who has worked with pro teams like the New York Yankees and the New York Giants, says identifying these imbalances early is key. Read on for the best strategies to get athletes of all levels moving in the right direction.

[caption id="attachment_26728" align="alignnone" width="620"]Muscle Imbalances Functional Movement Screen Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Move Right: The Functional Movement Screen

When an athlete comes into see D’Amelio for the first time, they might think they’re headed for a tough workout. In fact, they’re more likely to go through a series of bodyweight tests known as the Functional Movement Screen, developed by physical therapist Gray Cook. “With some of my new clients, I won’t even have them touch a weight or use any particular equipment until I can fully feel comfortable knowing we’ve corrected all movement dysfunctions,” he says.

To identify these improper movement patterns, therapists use the seven tests in the Functional Movement Screen (including deep squats and trunk stability push-ups), and grade participants on a scale of 0 (movement was painful) to 3 (perfect) for each one. The practitioner then totals up the grades for a composite score for the entire assessment. Some research has shown that the end score can be helpful in predicting injury rates on subjects ranging from children to professional football players, getting them one step closer to correcting potential issues before they manifest.

Ready to put your form to the test? D’Amelio highlights five of his favorite assessments from the Functional Movement Screen for diagnosing muscle imbalances and identifying injury risk. While these are great to practice at home, it’s always recommended to get assessed by a professional. The Functional Movement Screen requires a trained eye for spotting slight movement irregularities, and a certified coach or therapist will catch subtleties that other individuals will likely overlook.

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

Test: Deep Squat

_Deep-Squat

How it’s done: This isn’t your traditional back squat. For the deep squat, athletes will hold a dowel rod locked out overhead (like in an overhead squat). Then, they’ll sit back on their heels and drop into a squat before pushing through their heels to stand back up. Ideally, the bar should remain locked out overhead throughout the entire move.

What to look out for: While the movement seems simple, a lot can go wrong with the deep squat. For one, many individuals have trouble keeping their knees over their ankles due to weaknesses or limitations in their hips, says D’Amelio. This causes their knees to cave in. Spinal alignment is another common flaw. Ideally, your spine will be in a neutral (flat back) position, not leaning forward or rounding. Poor spinal position can indicate a weak core or inflexibility in the hips. Finally, your feet can reveal a lot about your quality of movement. If your heels are coming off the ground, for instance, that could be a sign that your calves are too tight.

RELATED: The 5 Most Important Lifts to Master

Test: In-Line Lunge (or Split Squat)

In-Line Lunge

How it’s done: Prepare for a real challenge. This movement pattern puts hip, knee, ankle and foot stability to the test. It also reveals mobility, flexibility and any asymmetries (as it’s performed on both the right and left sides). Start by standing with the right foot forward and left directly behind it (about a shin’s length apart). The feet must be in line with one another meaning if you drew a line from the heel of the right foot it would run right into the toe of the left foot. From that position, hold a dowel rod behind the back so that it runs up and down along the spine (if the right foot is forward the left arm is on top). Next slowly descend into a lunge, dropping the back knee straight down towards the ground, and then return to the starting position. 

What to look out for: Many individuals don’t have adequate strength in their hips and quads to control their knee during a lunge. In that case, the front knee dives in or out rather than staying directly in line with the foot. Like the deep squat, this normally indicates a weakness in the hips and quads. Lack of ability to control the knee can lead to trouble in sports where athletes are continuously jumping and landing on their feet (basketball and volleyball for example). Another error is allowing the torso to fall forward. In that case, the dowel rod would tip forward as opposed to staying perpendicular to the ground. This could indicate several things including tightness in the hip, a weakness in the legs, or both.

Test: Rotational Stability

Rotational Stability

How it’s done: Spoiler alert: Core strength is essential for almost everything from running to just preventing back injuries. This assessment is the ultimate test to see how your midsection measures up. Starting on all fours, extend their right arm and right leg at the same time until both are parallel to the floor. From that position, bring the right knee and elbow back underneath their body and touch them together before returning to the extended position. After a few reps, repeat on the left side. 

What to look out for: It’s hard to believe that the toughest test of the Functional Movement Screen might occur on all fours. The Rotational Stability test is incredibly challenging for the core in particular. It’s common for individuals to lean too far to one side or rotate excessively while going through the movement to compensate for an asymmetry or weakness in the core.

RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

Test: Hurdle Step Over

Hurdle Step Over

How it’s done: Unless you’re a track and field athlete (or a frequent mud runner), you probably haven’t cozied up to a hurdle in a while. Not to worry — these hurdles won’t require any jumping. But, they do provide a great assessment of symmetry between your right and left sides. Holding a dowel rod across the shoulders just like in a back squat, athletes will stand behind a hurdle set at knee height. From that position, they’ll raise one knee up, reach that foot over the hurdle, and touch their heel down on the other side. Then, they’ll slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. 

What to look out for: When D’Amelio puts his clients through this test, he’s evaluating two things in particular. First, iso-lateral strength, which indicates if your hips equally balanced. Individuals that are overly strong or weak on one side will likely wobble back and forth. This test also hones in on hip and ankle mobility. Those with movement restrictions won’t be able to lift their hip up high enough or point their toe while clearing the hurdle.

Test: Trunk Stability Push-Up

Stability Push Up

How it’s done: A push-up might be one of the most common exercises ever, but this particular variation is a bit different. Start lying on the ground like normal. But instead of placing your hands at shoulder height, men will start with their hands aligned with their forehead, and females with their hands directly under their chin. From there, participants simply push up while trying to maintain a flat back before dropping back down for another rep.

What to look out for: The trunk stability push-up measures a handful of attributes including upper-body strength. For one, the push-up should occur in one fluid movement. If the lower back dips down, it could be a sign of core weakness. Trained coaches can also watch how the shoulder blades move and how the shoulders are positioned to identify potential imbalances between the chest and upper back.

RELATED: 5 Mobility Training Tips from Kelly Starrett

What to Do Next

“Often, too much of the focus is on weight, and not enough focus is on movement quality.”

So, you’ve gone through all the tests and identified a few areas you need work on. Unfortunately, fixing these imbalances doesn’t happen overnight. They developed over years of improper movement. So, it might take a few months of well-focused training before you’re moving more optimally.

D’Amelio explains that part of the equation for fixing your movements is honing in on the right cues. While coaches won’t provide you with many instructions during the actual assessment since they want to see how you move naturally, you should come away with some specific pointers to keep in mind and you progress with your training. Simple cues like “Push your hips back when you squat” can go a long way in fixing your movement patterns.

At the gym, use what you have in front of you, D’Amelio adds. “Mirrors are there, not so you can check yourself out and see how good you look, but to give you biofeedback on performing the correct movement patterns.” Instead of flexing your muscles between sets, use the mirrors to see if your movement patterns are improving from the initial assessment.

The last part of fixing lingering dysfunctions might be the hardest point of all. It requires changing your entire mindset in the gym. As D’Amelio explains, “Often, too much of the focus is on weight, and not enough focus is on movement quality.” In order to improve your movement patterns and be injury-free for the long haul, you might have to take a hit to the ego and drop the weight for a few weeks while you refine your technique.

At the end of the day, it's all about being proactive in (and out) of the gym. Also known as "prehab," addressing common muscle or movement imbalances, such as the shoulders and hips, before they sideline you should be the goal, Verstegen says. 

Identifying muscular imbalances is tricky work. It takes a variety of assessments to really tease out what part or parts of the body aren’t functioning optimally. Fixing the issues can be even trickier, taking weeks or even months to fully correct. But, the struggle is worth it in the end. With a solid foundation, you’ll be stronger and less injury-prone than ever before.

Originally posted September 2014. Updated August 2015. 

The post Is Your Mobility Holding You Back? 5 Tests to Find Out appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Muscle Imbalances Functional Screen Test

[caption id="attachment_42542" align="alignnone" width="620"]Muscle Imbalances Functional Screen Test Photo: Pond5[/caption] You probably wouldn’t pick sand as your top choice for the foundation of your dream house. It’s not sturdy for the long haul and could end in disaster down the road. Yet, according to certified athletic trainer Jason D’Amelio, MS, ATC-L, ART-C, many individuals are making a similar mistake every day in the gym. The dream house in this scenario is a healthy body and the sand is a metaphor for muscle imbalances.
"About 65 percent of injuries—both athletic and lifestyle-related—come from overuse."
Simply put, muscle imbalances occur when one muscle is stronger than its opposing muscle. For example, if you sit all day at a computer or overwork your mirror muscles (like the chest and abs), your shoulders are likely pulled forward creating a strength imbalance between the front of your body and the back. While these muscle imbalances may not be a problem at first, the real issue occurs over time. As D’Amelio explains, “Without a well-balanced foundation that focuses on stabilization and mobilization, you can strengthen as much as you want, but at some point, the foundation is going to break down.” In other words, unless you identify and fix whatever imbalances exist, you could be headed straight for injury. RELATED: 5 Exercise Machines That Aren't Worth Your Time According to strength coach Mark Verstegen, president and founder of EXOS and Core Performance, "About 65 percent of injuries — both athletic and lifestyle-related — come from overuse, which is repetitive use of joints that are rendered dysfunctional by muscular imbalances." D’Amelio, who has worked with pro teams like the New York Yankees and the New York Giants, says identifying these imbalances early is key. Read on for the best strategies to get athletes of all levels moving in the right direction. [caption id="attachment_26728" align="alignnone" width="620"]Muscle Imbalances Functional Movement Screen Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Move Right: The Functional Movement Screen

When an athlete comes into see D’Amelio for the first time, they might think they’re headed for a tough workout. In fact, they’re more likely to go through a series of bodyweight tests known as the Functional Movement Screen, developed by physical therapist Gray Cook. “With some of my new clients, I won’t even have them touch a weight or use any particular equipment until I can fully feel comfortable knowing we’ve corrected all movement dysfunctions,” he says. To identify these improper movement patterns, therapists use the seven tests in the Functional Movement Screen (including deep squats and trunk stability push-ups), and grade participants on a scale of 0 (movement was painful) to 3 (perfect) for each one. The practitioner then totals up the grades for a composite score for the entire assessment. Some research has shown that the end score can be helpful in predicting injury rates on subjects ranging from children to professional football players, getting them one step closer to correcting potential issues before they manifest. Ready to put your form to the test? D’Amelio highlights five of his favorite assessments from the Functional Movement Screen for diagnosing muscle imbalances and identifying injury risk. While these are great to practice at home, it’s always recommended to get assessed by a professional. The Functional Movement Screen requires a trained eye for spotting slight movement irregularities, and a certified coach or therapist will catch subtleties that other individuals will likely overlook. RELATED: What Happens to Your Body When You Skip the Gym?

Test: Deep Squat

_Deep-Squat How it’s done: This isn’t your traditional back squat. For the deep squat, athletes will hold a dowel rod locked out overhead (like in an overhead squat). Then, they’ll sit back on their heels and drop into a squat before pushing through their heels to stand back up. Ideally, the bar should remain locked out overhead throughout the entire move. What to look out for: While the movement seems simple, a lot can go wrong with the deep squat. For one, many individuals have trouble keeping their knees over their ankles due to weaknesses or limitations in their hips, says D’Amelio. This causes their knees to cave in. Spinal alignment is another common flaw. Ideally, your spine will be in a neutral (flat back) position, not leaning forward or rounding. Poor spinal position can indicate a weak core or inflexibility in the hips. Finally, your feet can reveal a lot about your quality of movement. If your heels are coming off the ground, for instance, that could be a sign that your calves are too tight. RELATED: The 5 Most Important Lifts to Master

Test: In-Line Lunge (or Split Squat)

In-Line Lunge How it’s done: Prepare for a real challenge. This movement pattern puts hip, knee, ankle and foot stability to the test. It also reveals mobility, flexibility and any asymmetries (as it’s performed on both the right and left sides). Start by standing with the right foot forward and left directly behind it (about a shin’s length apart). The feet must be in line with one another meaning if you drew a line from the heel of the right foot it would run right into the toe of the left foot. From that position, hold a dowel rod behind the back so that it runs up and down along the spine (if the right foot is forward the left arm is on top). Next slowly descend into a lunge, dropping the back knee straight down towards the ground, and then return to the starting position.  What to look out for: Many individuals don’t have adequate strength in their hips and quads to control their knee during a lunge. In that case, the front knee dives in or out rather than staying directly in line with the foot. Like the deep squat, this normally indicates a weakness in the hips and quads. Lack of ability to control the knee can lead to trouble in sports where athletes are continuously jumping and landing on their feet (basketball and volleyball for example). Another error is allowing the torso to fall forward. In that case, the dowel rod would tip forward as opposed to staying perpendicular to the ground. This could indicate several things including tightness in the hip, a weakness in the legs, or both.

Test: Rotational Stability

Rotational Stability How it’s done: Spoiler alert: Core strength is essential for almost everything from running to just preventing back injuries. This assessment is the ultimate test to see how your midsection measures up. Starting on all fours, extend their right arm and right leg at the same time until both are parallel to the floor. From that position, bring the right knee and elbow back underneath their body and touch them together before returning to the extended position. After a few reps, repeat on the left side.  What to look out for: It’s hard to believe that the toughest test of the Functional Movement Screen might occur on all fours. The Rotational Stability test is incredibly challenging for the core in particular. It’s common for individuals to lean too far to one side or rotate excessively while going through the movement to compensate for an asymmetry or weakness in the core. RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

Test: Hurdle Step Over

Hurdle Step Over How it’s done: Unless you’re a track and field athlete (or a frequent mud runner), you probably haven’t cozied up to a hurdle in a while. Not to worry — these hurdles won’t require any jumping. But, they do provide a great assessment of symmetry between your right and left sides. Holding a dowel rod across the shoulders just like in a back squat, athletes will stand behind a hurdle set at knee height. From that position, they’ll raise one knee up, reach that foot over the hurdle, and touch their heel down on the other side. Then, they’ll slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.  What to look out for: When D’Amelio puts his clients through this test, he’s evaluating two things in particular. First, iso-lateral strength, which indicates if your hips equally balanced. Individuals that are overly strong or weak on one side will likely wobble back and forth. This test also hones in on hip and ankle mobility. Those with movement restrictions won’t be able to lift their hip up high enough or point their toe while clearing the hurdle.

Test: Trunk Stability Push-Up

Stability Push Up How it’s done: A push-up might be one of the most common exercises ever, but this particular variation is a bit different. Start lying on the ground like normal. But instead of placing your hands at shoulder height, men will start with their hands aligned with their forehead, and females with their hands directly under their chin. From there, participants simply push up while trying to maintain a flat back before dropping back down for another rep. What to look out for: The trunk stability push-up measures a handful of attributes including upper-body strength. For one, the push-up should occur in one fluid movement. If the lower back dips down, it could be a sign of core weakness. Trained coaches can also watch how the shoulder blades move and how the shoulders are positioned to identify potential imbalances between the chest and upper back. RELATED: 5 Mobility Training Tips from Kelly Starrett

What to Do Next

“Often, too much of the focus is on weight, and not enough focus is on movement quality.”
So, you’ve gone through all the tests and identified a few areas you need work on. Unfortunately, fixing these imbalances doesn’t happen overnight. They developed over years of improper movement. So, it might take a few months of well-focused training before you’re moving more optimally. D’Amelio explains that part of the equation for fixing your movements is honing in on the right cues. While coaches won’t provide you with many instructions during the actual assessment since they want to see how you move naturally, you should come away with some specific pointers to keep in mind and you progress with your training. Simple cues like “Push your hips back when you squat” can go a long way in fixing your movement patterns. At the gym, use what you have in front of you, D’Amelio adds. “Mirrors are there, not so you can check yourself out and see how good you look, but to give you biofeedback on performing the correct movement patterns.” Instead of flexing your muscles between sets, use the mirrors to see if your movement patterns are improving from the initial assessment. The last part of fixing lingering dysfunctions might be the hardest point of all. It requires changing your entire mindset in the gym. As D’Amelio explains, “Often, too much of the focus is on weight, and not enough focus is on movement quality.” In order to improve your movement patterns and be injury-free for the long haul, you might have to take a hit to the ego and drop the weight for a few weeks while you refine your technique. At the end of the day, it's all about being proactive in (and out) of the gym. Also known as "prehab," addressing common muscle or movement imbalances, such as the shoulders and hips, before they sideline you should be the goal, Verstegen says.  Identifying muscular imbalances is tricky work. It takes a variety of assessments to really tease out what part or parts of the body aren’t functioning optimally. Fixing the issues can be even trickier, taking weeks or even months to fully correct. But, the struggle is worth it in the end. With a solid foundation, you’ll be stronger and less injury-prone than ever before. Originally posted September 2014. Updated August 2015. 

The post Is Your Mobility Holding You Back? 5 Tests to Find Out appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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#MondayMotivation: 60 Seconds to Greatness http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/monday-motivation-60-second-inspiration/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/monday-motivation-60-second-inspiration/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 13:15:27 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42454 Monday Motivation 60 Seconds to Greatness

#MondayMotivation: 60 Seconds to Greatness

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” That’s what the great Victorian novelist George Eliot once said, but we’re feeling the sentiment on days when the struggle to motivate is all too real. (Read: Mondays.) In the 60-second video above from our friends at BuzzFeed, you’ll be reminded to start the week off with positivity, ambition and maybe a hit of bravery, too. With motivational words from Eliot as well as other great thinkers, you’ll be inspired to get moving. It’s a brand-new week — and besides, you should really never miss a Monday, right? It’ll set the tone for days to come. (Trust.)

RELATED: 19 Reasons to Work Out (Beyond the Perfect Body) 

So whether it’s that trail run you’ve been eyeing, that mountain you’ve been thinking of climbing, or the DailyBurn workout you know will take you out of your comfort zone (we’re currently obsessed with LTF at DB HQ), get after it. And even though there will be obstacles, as the above clip reminds us, be confident that you’ll overcome them. Because remember: You. Can. Do. Anything.

RELATED: 6 Weight Loss Success Stories to Motivate You Right Now

Now we want to hear from you! Tell us how you get pumped up for the week and tweet us @dailyburn using #MondayMotivation.

The post #MondayMotivation: 60 Seconds to Greatness appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Monday Motivation 60 Seconds to Greatness

#MondayMotivation: 60 Seconds to Greatness

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” That’s what the great Victorian novelist George Eliot once said, but we’re feeling the sentiment on days when the struggle to motivate is all too real. (Read: Mondays.) In the 60-second video above from our friends at BuzzFeed, you’ll be reminded to start the week off with positivity, ambition and maybe a hit of bravery, too. With motivational words from Eliot as well as other great thinkers, you’ll be inspired to get moving. It’s a brand-new week — and besides, you should really never miss a Monday, right? It’ll set the tone for days to come. (Trust.) RELATED: 19 Reasons to Work Out (Beyond the Perfect Body)  So whether it’s that trail run you’ve been eyeing, that mountain you’ve been thinking of climbing, or the DailyBurn workout you know will take you out of your comfort zone (we’re currently obsessed with LTF at DB HQ), get after it. And even though there will be obstacles, as the above clip reminds us, be confident that you’ll overcome them. Because remember: You. Can. Do. Anything. RELATED: 6 Weight Loss Success Stories to Motivate You Right Now Now we want to hear from you! Tell us how you get pumped up for the week and tweet us @dailyburn using #MondayMotivation.

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No More Sit-Ups: 7 New Moves to Work Your Abs http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-trx-abs-workout/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-trx-abs-workout/#comments Sat, 15 Aug 2015 13:15:53 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=38025 TRX Abs Workout

[caption id="attachment_38321" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Abs Workout Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption]

On the surface, the TRX Suspension Trainer looks pretty unassuming. But these two adjustable straps may just be the best piece of equipment to strengthen your abs and core. “When we work our core on the TRX, it’s really challenging” says Shannon Colavecchio, who is an AFAA and ACE-certified personal trainer and certified in TRX Suspension Training and TRX RIP Trainer.

“With your hands or feet in the TRX, you only have two points of contact with the floor to help you stabilize your body, which means you have to recruit your core muscles,” says Colavecchio. Constant instability means those abdominal muscles are always on.

RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

“What I really love about the TRX is that it engages so many muscles beyond just the specific one you’re working,” says Colavecchio. “It’s an efficient tool. You spend less time training, but you get more value from that training time,” she says. The owner of Badass Fitness Studio in Tallahassee, Florida also notes that TRX is accessible to people of all fitness levels. “I can have a class of 20 people ranging from pro football players to older women,” she says. “We can all work at our own level and progress, at our own pace. You can make the TRX work with you by making the exercise easier or harder — it’s all about changing the angle of your body.”

The 7 Best TRX Exercises to Work Your Abs

Tone up that six-pack to help improve core and back strength, as well as posture. Remember, form is key, especially on the TRX. “Just about every move requires that you be in a perfect plank position,” says Colavecchio. “You want a straight line from the neck all the way to the heels. Activate your glues, quads and hamstrings. If you are aware of this muscle engagement on the TRX, you’ll get so much more out of your workout.”

Colavecchio also recommends looking for modifications that will allow you to perform each move correctly and safely. “It takes some of the intensity away, but it allows you to perfect a move properly,” she says.

Activate those abs! Perform each of the seven exercises below in order with control. For those who are new to TRX, complete two rounds of 10 reps of each exercise. For those who are familiar with TRX training, complete two to three rounds of 15-20 reps of each exercise.

[caption id="attachment_38041" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Pikes Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption]

1. TRX Pikes
TRX pikes help you build a strong core by challenging your balance and stability, along with your abdominal muscles. “You can adjust the intensity of the exercise by how big your pike is,” advises Colavecchio. Plus, this is a great exercise to build strength for more advanced exercises such as handstands.

How to: Adjust the TRX straps to mid-calf length. Begin in a suspended plank position with your feet in the TRX loops, toes facing down and wrists directly underneath your shoulders. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe (a). Pressing down through your palms, lift your hips up towards the ceiling by drawing your legs towards your chest until you look like an upside-down V, or as high as you can go (b). Slowly lower your legs and return to the starting position (c). Repeat.

RELATED: The 20-Minute TRX Workout [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

[caption id="attachment_38159" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Atomic Push-Ups Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption]

2. TRX Atomic Push-Ups
They don’t call these atomic push-ups for nothing. It’s essentially a push-up followed by a crunch. This exercise is not only great for the core, but it works your shoulders, chest and hip flexors, too. For beginners, you can modify this exercise by performing the push-up with your knees on the floor.

How to: Start in a suspended plank position just like in the pike exercise, shoulders over hands, feet in the TRX with toes pointing down (a). Bending your elbows to lower your upper body towards the floor, perform the downward half of a push-up. Then, press up to straighten your arms and return to suspended plank position (b). Once you've reached the top of the push-up, draw both knees in towards your chest, then extend legs fully back out to return to plank position (c). Repeat.

[caption id="attachment_38044" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Hamstring Runners Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption]

3. TRX Hamstring Runners
Hamstring runners look like a mountain climber except on your back. As its name implies, this is a great exercise to fire up those hamstrings. But, since your hips are raised throughout the movement, it’s also good for your glutes, lower back and core. To make this harder, move your feet away from the suspension point to add more resistance. To make it easier, bend both legs in towards your body at the same time.

How to: With the TRX straps at mid-calf length, lie on your back, facing your anchor and place your heels into the foot cradles. Rest your arms flat on the floor alongside your body, palms facing down. Pushing through your heels, lift your hips off the floor (a). Contract your right hamstring to draw that knee in towards your body slowly (b). As you return your leg to the starting position, begin to draw your left knee in towards your body for one rep (c). The TRX straps should remain taut throughout the exercise. Repeat.

RELATED: 6 Common TRX Exercise Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

[caption id="attachment_38045" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Side Planks Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption]

4. TRX Side Planks
Just like a regular side plank on the floor, this exercise engages your abdominal muscles, especially the obliques. “The challenge is that your feet are in the TRX — they aren’t on the floor to help you stabilize your body,” says Colavecchio. You can perform the side plank on your elbow (easier) or on your hand (harder).

How to: With the TRX straps at mid-calf, place both feet in the TRX loops and come into a suspended plank position, shoulders over hands, body in a straight line from head to toe (a). Slowly, roll onto your left side so that your left elbow is directly under your left shoulder, top leg will be in front of your bottom leg, core is engaged (b). [The heel of the front foot can touch the toe of the bottom foot.] Keeping your bottom hip lifted to help stabilize your body, reach your top arm towards the ceiling (c). Hold the side plank for 15 seconds (easier) or 30 seconds (harder). Switch sides.

[caption id="attachment_38046" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Oblique Crunches Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption]

5. TRX Oblique Crunches
Crunches on the TRX require you to engage not only your main abdominal muscles but also the small stabilizing muscles in your core. If you want to make this exercise harder, Colavecchio suggests performing the oblique crunch at a slow pace. If you’re still working on mastering the TRX crunch (drawing both knees in towards the chest at the same time), Colavecchio recommends that you perform a regular crunch instead.

How to: Start in a suspended plank position, shoulders directly over your hands, feet in the TRX loops, toes facing down and hands directly underneath your shoulders (a). Bend both knees at the same time and draw them together towards your left elbow. Extend both legs straight again to return to plank position (b). Draw both knees towards your right elbow. Extend both legs straight and return to plank position for one rep (c). Repeat.

[caption id="attachment_38047" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Double Leg Raises Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption]

6. TRX Double Leg Raises
If you want to target those stubborn lower abdominal muscles, try these double leg drops. To make the exercise harder, bring your heels as close to the ground as possible without actually touching the floor. To challenge yourself even more, Colavecchio suggests performing the move with straight legs instead of bent legs.

How to: Adjust the TRX straps so that they are mid-calf length. Lie down on your back with your chest underneath the anchor point, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Grab the TRX straps, one in each hand and hold them outside of your thighs, hands open, palms facing down on the straps. Keeping your lumbar (lower) spine flat on the ground, push your hands down on the straps, and slowly lift your legs, keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees, until your knees are stacked over your hips, shins parallel to the floor (a). Keep your knees still bent 90 degrees and lower both heels towards the floor (b). Tap the floor with your heels for one rep (c). Repeat.

RELATED: 9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day

[caption id="attachment_38048" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Body Saw Photo: Courtesy  ofTRX[/caption]

7. TRX Body Saw
While the body saw doesn’t look like a difficult exercise, the subtle movement will make your core burn. “It’s often the smaller movements on the TRX that are more challenging,” says Colavecchio. “The goal is to hold a perfect plank the whole time as you rock forward and backwards. You’ll feel your muscles working more when you slide back because you’re changing the center of gravity and that forces you to engage your core more.”

How to: Begin in a suspended forearm plank position, elbows directly underneath your shoulders, hands flat, firmly pressing into the ground, feet in the TRX loops, toes facing down. Engaging your core, rock forward about 2 to 3 inches so that your shoulders are slightly in front of your elbows (a). Then, slide backwards so that your shoulders are about 2 to 3 inches behind your elbows for one rep (b). Repeat.

Originally posted March 11, 2015. Updated August 2015.

The post No More Sit-Ups: 7 New Moves to Work Your Abs appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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TRX Abs Workout

[caption id="attachment_38321" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Abs Workout Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption] On the surface, the TRX Suspension Trainer looks pretty unassuming. But these two adjustable straps may just be the best piece of equipment to strengthen your abs and core. “When we work our core on the TRX, it’s really challenging” says Shannon Colavecchio, who is an AFAA and ACE-certified personal trainer and certified in TRX Suspension Training and TRX RIP Trainer. “With your hands or feet in the TRX, you only have two points of contact with the floor to help you stabilize your body, which means you have to recruit your core muscles,” says Colavecchio. Constant instability means those abdominal muscles are always on. RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners “What I really love about the TRX is that it engages so many muscles beyond just the specific one you’re working,” says Colavecchio. “It’s an efficient tool. You spend less time training, but you get more value from that training time,” she says. The owner of Badass Fitness Studio in Tallahassee, Florida also notes that TRX is accessible to people of all fitness levels. “I can have a class of 20 people ranging from pro football players to older women,” she says. “We can all work at our own level and progress, at our own pace. You can make the TRX work with you by making the exercise easier or harder — it’s all about changing the angle of your body.”

The 7 Best TRX Exercises to Work Your Abs

Tone up that six-pack to help improve core and back strength, as well as posture. Remember, form is key, especially on the TRX. “Just about every move requires that you be in a perfect plank position,” says Colavecchio. “You want a straight line from the neck all the way to the heels. Activate your glues, quads and hamstrings. If you are aware of this muscle engagement on the TRX, you’ll get so much more out of your workout.” Colavecchio also recommends looking for modifications that will allow you to perform each move correctly and safely. “It takes some of the intensity away, but it allows you to perfect a move properly,” she says. Activate those abs! Perform each of the seven exercises below in order with control. For those who are new to TRX, complete two rounds of 10 reps of each exercise. For those who are familiar with TRX training, complete two to three rounds of 15-20 reps of each exercise. [caption id="attachment_38041" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Pikes Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption] 1. TRX Pikes TRX pikes help you build a strong core by challenging your balance and stability, along with your abdominal muscles. “You can adjust the intensity of the exercise by how big your pike is,” advises Colavecchio. Plus, this is a great exercise to build strength for more advanced exercises such as handstands. How to: Adjust the TRX straps to mid-calf length. Begin in a suspended plank position with your feet in the TRX loops, toes facing down and wrists directly underneath your shoulders. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe (a). Pressing down through your palms, lift your hips up towards the ceiling by drawing your legs towards your chest until you look like an upside-down V, or as high as you can go (b). Slowly lower your legs and return to the starting position (c). Repeat. RELATED: The 20-Minute TRX Workout [INFOGRAPHIC]   [caption id="attachment_38159" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Atomic Push-Ups Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption] 2. TRX Atomic Push-Ups They don’t call these atomic push-ups for nothing. It’s essentially a push-up followed by a crunch. This exercise is not only great for the core, but it works your shoulders, chest and hip flexors, too. For beginners, you can modify this exercise by performing the push-up with your knees on the floor. How to: Start in a suspended plank position just like in the pike exercise, shoulders over hands, feet in the TRX with toes pointing down (a). Bending your elbows to lower your upper body towards the floor, perform the downward half of a push-up. Then, press up to straighten your arms and return to suspended plank position (b). Once you've reached the top of the push-up, draw both knees in towards your chest, then extend legs fully back out to return to plank position (c). Repeat. [caption id="attachment_38044" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Hamstring Runners Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption] 3. TRX Hamstring Runners Hamstring runners look like a mountain climber except on your back. As its name implies, this is a great exercise to fire up those hamstrings. But, since your hips are raised throughout the movement, it’s also good for your glutes, lower back and core. To make this harder, move your feet away from the suspension point to add more resistance. To make it easier, bend both legs in towards your body at the same time. How to: With the TRX straps at mid-calf length, lie on your back, facing your anchor and place your heels into the foot cradles. Rest your arms flat on the floor alongside your body, palms facing down. Pushing through your heels, lift your hips off the floor (a). Contract your right hamstring to draw that knee in towards your body slowly (b). As you return your leg to the starting position, begin to draw your left knee in towards your body for one rep (c). The TRX straps should remain taut throughout the exercise. Repeat. RELATED: 6 Common TRX Exercise Mistakes (and How to Fix Them) [caption id="attachment_38045" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Side Planks Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption] 4. TRX Side Planks Just like a regular side plank on the floor, this exercise engages your abdominal muscles, especially the obliques. “The challenge is that your feet are in the TRX — they aren’t on the floor to help you stabilize your body,” says Colavecchio. You can perform the side plank on your elbow (easier) or on your hand (harder). How to: With the TRX straps at mid-calf, place both feet in the TRX loops and come into a suspended plank position, shoulders over hands, body in a straight line from head to toe (a). Slowly, roll onto your left side so that your left elbow is directly under your left shoulder, top leg will be in front of your bottom leg, core is engaged (b). [The heel of the front foot can touch the toe of the bottom foot.] Keeping your bottom hip lifted to help stabilize your body, reach your top arm towards the ceiling (c). Hold the side plank for 15 seconds (easier) or 30 seconds (harder). Switch sides. [caption id="attachment_38046" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Oblique Crunches Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption] 5. TRX Oblique Crunches Crunches on the TRX require you to engage not only your main abdominal muscles but also the small stabilizing muscles in your core. If you want to make this exercise harder, Colavecchio suggests performing the oblique crunch at a slow pace. If you’re still working on mastering the TRX crunch (drawing both knees in towards the chest at the same time), Colavecchio recommends that you perform a regular crunch instead. How to: Start in a suspended plank position, shoulders directly over your hands, feet in the TRX loops, toes facing down and hands directly underneath your shoulders (a). Bend both knees at the same time and draw them together towards your left elbow. Extend both legs straight again to return to plank position (b). Draw both knees towards your right elbow. Extend both legs straight and return to plank position for one rep (c). Repeat. [caption id="attachment_38047" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Double Leg Raises Photo: Courtesy of TRX[/caption] 6. TRX Double Leg Raises If you want to target those stubborn lower abdominal muscles, try these double leg drops. To make the exercise harder, bring your heels as close to the ground as possible without actually touching the floor. To challenge yourself even more, Colavecchio suggests performing the move with straight legs instead of bent legs. How to: Adjust the TRX straps so that they are mid-calf length. Lie down on your back with your chest underneath the anchor point, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Grab the TRX straps, one in each hand and hold them outside of your thighs, hands open, palms facing down on the straps. Keeping your lumbar (lower) spine flat on the ground, push your hands down on the straps, and slowly lift your legs, keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees, until your knees are stacked over your hips, shins parallel to the floor (a). Keep your knees still bent 90 degrees and lower both heels towards the floor (b). Tap the floor with your heels for one rep (c). Repeat. RELATED: 9 Reasons Not to Skip Leg Day [caption id="attachment_38048" align="alignnone" width="620"]TRX Body Saw Photo: Courtesy  ofTRX[/caption] 7. TRX Body Saw While the body saw doesn’t look like a difficult exercise, the subtle movement will make your core burn. “It’s often the smaller movements on the TRX that are more challenging,” says Colavecchio. “The goal is to hold a perfect plank the whole time as you rock forward and backwards. You’ll feel your muscles working more when you slide back because you’re changing the center of gravity and that forces you to engage your core more.” How to: Begin in a suspended forearm plank position, elbows directly underneath your shoulders, hands flat, firmly pressing into the ground, feet in the TRX loops, toes facing down. Engaging your core, rock forward about 2 to 3 inches so that your shoulders are slightly in front of your elbows (a). Then, slide backwards so that your shoulders are about 2 to 3 inches behind your elbows for one rep (b). Repeat. Originally posted March 11, 2015. Updated August 2015.

The post No More Sit-Ups: 7 New Moves to Work Your Abs appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/yoga-for-beginners-kundalini-yin-bikram/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/yoga-for-beginners-kundalini-yin-bikram/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 15:15:02 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42234 Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There

[caption id="attachment_42250" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There Photo: Pond5[/caption]

You’ve decided to finally start doing yoga — but after Googling classes in your area, your head is spinning. Should you try Ashtanga or Iyengar? And what’s the difference between hot yoga and Vinyasa? The array of options can be enough to scare newbies off the mat for good.

But here’s why you shouldn’t be scared: Like cross training, incorporating a variety of types of yoga into your regular practice can help keep you balanced, says Nikki Vilella, senior teacher at Kula Yoga Project and co-owner of Kula Williamsburg. “Try a few different studios, teachers and styles. Then, stick with the one that resonates with you for a good amount of time and be dedicated to the practice,” says Vilella. “The first day you don’t like a class shouldn’t be a reason to bolt and try something new.”

RELATED: The 11 Best Yoga Apps to Get Fit on the Cheap

Yoga isn’t necessarily a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice, either. Different types of yoga might be best for different people. “A 20-year-old and a 70-year-old probably don’t need the same things,” Vilella says. “Someone who is hyper-mobile and flexible doesn’t need the same thing as someone who’s muscular and stiff.”

So with all the choices out there, where do you start? Don’t lose your Ujjayi breath (that’s yogi speak for calming inhales and exhales). We’ve got your definitive list — plus, tips for identifying the style you might like best.

Yoga for Beginners: The 9 Types You Need to Know 

[caption id="attachment_42252" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There Photo: Pond5[/caption]

1. Hatha

It’s all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. In many studios, hatha classes are considered a gentler form of yoga. However, the Sanskrit term “hatha” actually refers to any yoga that teaches physical postures. “It’s a practice of the body, a physical practice that balances these two energies. So, in reality, it is all hatha yoga,” Vilella says.

Best for: Beginners. Because of its slower pace, hatha is a great class if you’re just starting your yoga practice.

RELATED: Hatha Yoga: The Best Workout for Your Brain?

"All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to do."

2. Vinyasa

Get your flow on in this dynamic practice that links movement and breath together in a dance-like way. In most classes, you won’t linger long in each pose and the pace can be quick, so be prepared for your heart rate to rise. Teachers will often pump music, matching the beats to the sequences of the poses.

Best for: HIIT lovers. Intense exercisers might enjoy Vinyasa because of its faster pace. Runners and endurance athletes are also drawn to Vinyasa class because of the continuous movement.

3. Iyengar

Here you’ll get nit-picky about precision and detail, as well as your body’s alignment in each pose. Props, from yoga blocks and blankets to straps or a ropes wall, will become your new best friend, helping you to work within a range of motion that is safe and effective. Unlike in Vinyasa, each posture is held for a period of time. If you’re new to Iyengar, even if you’ve practiced other types of yoga, it’s good to start with a level one class to familiarize yourself with the technique.

Best for: Detail-oriented yogis. If you like to geek out about anatomy, movement and form, you’ll love Iyengar — teachers share a wealth of information during class. Iyengar can also be practiced at any age and is great for those with injuries (though you should consult with a doctor first), Vilella notes.

RELATED: 5 Surprising Health Benefits of Yoga

[caption id="attachment_42253" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There Photo: Pond5[/caption]

4. Ashtanga

If you’re looking for a challenging yet orderly approach to yoga, try Ashtanga. Consisting of six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses, you’ll flow and breathe through each pose to build internal heat. The catch is that you’ll perform the same poses in the exact same order in each class. Some studios will have a teacher calling out the poses, while Mysore style classes (a subset of Ashtanga) require you to perform the series on your own. (But don’t worry – there will always be a teacher in the room to offer assistance if you need it.)

Best for: Type-A folks. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll like Ashtanga’s routine and strict guidelines.

Celebrity devotees including actor Russell Brand have given Kundalini a cult-like following.

5. Bikram

Prepare to sweat: Bikram consists of a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practiced in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to do once you unroll your mat. Remember, the vigorous practice combined with the heat can make the class feel strenuous. If you’re new to Bikram, take it easy: Rest when you need to and be sure to hydrate beforehand.

Best for: Amateurs. Those who are newer to yoga might like Bikram because of its predictable sequence.

RELATED: How to Get the Benefits of Hot Yoga — Without Passing Out

6. Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is similar to Bikram in that it’s practiced in a heated room. But teachers aren’t constrained by the 26-pose Bikram sequence. While the heat will make you feel like you can move deeper into some poses compared to a non-heated class, it can be easy to overstretch, so don’t push beyond your capacity.

Best for: Hardcore sweat lovers. If you love a tough workout that will leave you drenched, sign up for a beginner-friendly heated class.

[caption id="attachment_42256" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: Pond5 Photo: Pond5[/caption]

7. Kundalini

Celebrity devotees including actor Russell Brand and author Gabrielle Bernstein have given Kundalini a cult-like following. Yet, this physically and mentally challenging practice looks very different from your typical yoga class. You’ll perform kriyas —repetitive physical exercises coupled with intense breath work — while also chanting, singing and meditating. The goal? To break through your internal barriers, releasing the untapped energy residing within you and bringing you a higher level of self-awareness.

Best for: People looking for a spiritual practice. Those who are seeking something more than a workout may enjoy Kundalini due to its emphasis on the internal aspects of yoga, including breath work, meditation and spiritual energy.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Carve Out Time to Meditate

8. Yin Yoga

If you want to calm and balance your body and mind, this is where you’ll find your zen. The opposite of a faster moving practice like Ashtanga, Yin yoga poses are held for several minutes at a time. This meditative practice is designed to target your deeper connective tissues and fascia, restoring length and elasticity. You’ll use props so your body can release into the posture instead of actively flexing or engaging the muscles. Like meditation, it may make you feel antsy at first, but stick with it for a few classes and its restorative powers might have you hooked.

Best for: People who need to stretch and unwind. Keep in mind, Yin yoga is not recommended for people who are super flexible (you might overdo it in some poses) or anyone who has a connective tissue disorder, Vilella says.

RELATED: Yin Yoga for Beginners

9. Restorative

While it may feel like you’re not doing much in a Restorative yoga class…that’s the point. The mellow, slow-moving practice with longer holds gives your body a chance tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to experience deeper relaxation. You’ll also use a variety of props including blankets, bolsters and yoga blocks to fully support your body in each pose.

Best for: Everyone. In particular, Vilella says it’s a good yoga practice for anyone who has a hard time slowing down, who has experienced insomnia or who struggles with anxiety. It’s also great for athletes on recovery days.

Ready to try yoga? Head to DailyBurn.com for a free 30-day trial. 

The post The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There

[caption id="attachment_42250" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There Photo: Pond5[/caption] You’ve decided to finally start doing yoga — but after Googling classes in your area, your head is spinning. Should you try Ashtanga or Iyengar? And what’s the difference between hot yoga and Vinyasa? The array of options can be enough to scare newbies off the mat for good. But here’s why you shouldn’t be scared: Like cross training, incorporating a variety of types of yoga into your regular practice can help keep you balanced, says Nikki Vilella, senior teacher at Kula Yoga Project and co-owner of Kula Williamsburg. “Try a few different studios, teachers and styles. Then, stick with the one that resonates with you for a good amount of time and be dedicated to the practice,” says Vilella. “The first day you don’t like a class shouldn’t be a reason to bolt and try something new.” RELATED: The 11 Best Yoga Apps to Get Fit on the Cheap Yoga isn’t necessarily a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice, either. Different types of yoga might be best for different people. “A 20-year-old and a 70-year-old probably don’t need the same things,” Vilella says. “Someone who is hyper-mobile and flexible doesn’t need the same thing as someone who’s muscular and stiff.” So with all the choices out there, where do you start? Don’t lose your Ujjayi breath (that’s yogi speak for calming inhales and exhales). We’ve got your definitive list — plus, tips for identifying the style you might like best.

Yoga for Beginners: The 9 Types You Need to Know 

[caption id="attachment_42252" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There Photo: Pond5[/caption]

1. Hatha

It’s all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. In many studios, hatha classes are considered a gentler form of yoga. However, the Sanskrit term “hatha” actually refers to any yoga that teaches physical postures. “It’s a practice of the body, a physical practice that balances these two energies. So, in reality, it is all hatha yoga,” Vilella says. Best for: Beginners. Because of its slower pace, hatha is a great class if you’re just starting your yoga practice. RELATED: Hatha Yoga: The Best Workout for Your Brain?
"All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to do."

2. Vinyasa

Get your flow on in this dynamic practice that links movement and breath together in a dance-like way. In most classes, you won’t linger long in each pose and the pace can be quick, so be prepared for your heart rate to rise. Teachers will often pump music, matching the beats to the sequences of the poses. Best for: HIIT lovers. Intense exercisers might enjoy Vinyasa because of its faster pace. Runners and endurance athletes are also drawn to Vinyasa class because of the continuous movement.

3. Iyengar

Here you’ll get nit-picky about precision and detail, as well as your body’s alignment in each pose. Props, from yoga blocks and blankets to straps or a ropes wall, will become your new best friend, helping you to work within a range of motion that is safe and effective. Unlike in Vinyasa, each posture is held for a period of time. If you’re new to Iyengar, even if you’ve practiced other types of yoga, it’s good to start with a level one class to familiarize yourself with the technique. Best for: Detail-oriented yogis. If you like to geek out about anatomy, movement and form, you’ll love Iyengar — teachers share a wealth of information during class. Iyengar can also be practiced at any age and is great for those with injuries (though you should consult with a doctor first), Vilella notes. RELATED: 5 Surprising Health Benefits of Yoga [caption id="attachment_42253" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There Photo: Pond5[/caption]

4. Ashtanga

If you’re looking for a challenging yet orderly approach to yoga, try Ashtanga. Consisting of six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses, you’ll flow and breathe through each pose to build internal heat. The catch is that you’ll perform the same poses in the exact same order in each class. Some studios will have a teacher calling out the poses, while Mysore style classes (a subset of Ashtanga) require you to perform the series on your own. (But don’t worry – there will always be a teacher in the room to offer assistance if you need it.) Best for: Type-A folks. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll like Ashtanga’s routine and strict guidelines.
Celebrity devotees including actor Russell Brand have given Kundalini a cult-like following.

5. Bikram

Prepare to sweat: Bikram consists of a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practiced in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to do once you unroll your mat. Remember, the vigorous practice combined with the heat can make the class feel strenuous. If you’re new to Bikram, take it easy: Rest when you need to and be sure to hydrate beforehand. Best for: Amateurs. Those who are newer to yoga might like Bikram because of its predictable sequence. RELATED: How to Get the Benefits of Hot Yoga — Without Passing Out

6. Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is similar to Bikram in that it’s practiced in a heated room. But teachers aren’t constrained by the 26-pose Bikram sequence. While the heat will make you feel like you can move deeper into some poses compared to a non-heated class, it can be easy to overstretch, so don’t push beyond your capacity. Best for: Hardcore sweat lovers. If you love a tough workout that will leave you drenched, sign up for a beginner-friendly heated class. [caption id="attachment_42256" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: Pond5 Photo: Pond5[/caption]

7. Kundalini

Celebrity devotees including actor Russell Brand and author Gabrielle Bernstein have given Kundalini a cult-like following. Yet, this physically and mentally challenging practice looks very different from your typical yoga class. You’ll perform kriyas —repetitive physical exercises coupled with intense breath work — while also chanting, singing and meditating. The goal? To break through your internal barriers, releasing the untapped energy residing within you and bringing you a higher level of self-awareness. Best for: People looking for a spiritual practice. Those who are seeking something more than a workout may enjoy Kundalini due to its emphasis on the internal aspects of yoga, including breath work, meditation and spiritual energy. RELATED: 7 Ways to Carve Out Time to Meditate

8. Yin Yoga

If you want to calm and balance your body and mind, this is where you’ll find your zen. The opposite of a faster moving practice like Ashtanga, Yin yoga poses are held for several minutes at a time. This meditative practice is designed to target your deeper connective tissues and fascia, restoring length and elasticity. You’ll use props so your body can release into the posture instead of actively flexing or engaging the muscles. Like meditation, it may make you feel antsy at first, but stick with it for a few classes and its restorative powers might have you hooked. Best for: People who need to stretch and unwind. Keep in mind, Yin yoga is not recommended for people who are super flexible (you might overdo it in some poses) or anyone who has a connective tissue disorder, Vilella says. RELATED: Yin Yoga for Beginners

9. Restorative

While it may feel like you’re not doing much in a Restorative yoga class…that’s the point. The mellow, slow-moving practice with longer holds gives your body a chance tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to experience deeper relaxation. You’ll also use a variety of props including blankets, bolsters and yoga blocks to fully support your body in each pose. Best for: Everyone. In particular, Vilella says it’s a good yoga practice for anyone who has a hard time slowing down, who has experienced insomnia or who struggles with anxiety. It’s also great for athletes on recovery days. Ready to try yoga? Head to DailyBurn.com for a free 30-day trial. 

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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Fitness Class http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/tips-for-your-first-fitness-class/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/tips-for-your-first-fitness-class/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 15:15:27 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42424 What I Wish I Knew Before My First Group Fitness Class

[caption id="attachment_42434" align="alignnone" width="620"]What I Wish I Knew Before First Group Fitness Class Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The bright lights, wall-to-wall mirrors and spandex-clad regulars might leave you too intimidated to even step foot inside a boutique fitness studio. Which is totally understandable. (And why we love our DailyBurn workouts that much more.) It’s natural to feel like an outsider looking in: “There are so many unspoken rules, unfamiliar machines and potentially hard-to-navigate areas,” says Lisa Niren, head coach at Peloton Cycle. But don’t let your anxiety stop you from checking out that new HIIT class or stepping on a VersaClimber. Here, a few things you should know before you attend, plus tips from top boutique trainers on how to handle it all.

RELATED: 9 Trainer Tips to Get More From Your Fitness Class

6 Things to Know Before Your First Fitness Class

“Be patient, keep trying and know it will get less frustrating the more you practice.”

1. It’s OK to ask for help.
“When you first walk into a class, find your instructor or facilities staff and have them get you set up properly,” says Niren. She recommends arriving at least 10 minutes early — we’d even say 15 if you want to get comfortably situated before the sweat session begins. And your instructor is there precisely to help you, especially in terms of your positioning. “Proper form is everything [when it comes to avoiding injury],” says Marcy Modica, instructor at SLT NYC, a Pilates studio in New York City. “It is the instructor’s job to set you up for success; tell you where to put your hands, feet and body, where you should be feeling the exercise, or how to modify it for any injuries or sensitive spots,” she adds. Bottom line? If you need something, speak up.

2. Comparing yourself to others won’t make you feel better or worse about yourself.
While you may feel insecure, keep in mind that everyone is there for his or her own good, not to judge your performance. “No one cares how you look or what you’re wearing,” or, in the case of Pilates, how high your leg extension is. “Everyone is too busy focusing on their own form,” says Modica. So chill out and don’t worry if you can’t get into Crow Pose (most of us still struggle after years of regular yoga practice). We’re all at different levels, and the guy in a handstand next to you isn’t bothered by your newb status. If you’re still feeling unsure of yourself, Niren suggests bringing a workout pal along or first trying the class at non-peak hours.

RELATED: 7 Beginner Yoga Poses to Get You Through Your First Class

3. Getting frustrated is part of the process.
Remember: These pro-designed workouts are designed to be tough, not unlike our Inferno HR or Pilates: Phase 2 both are. Attending a new class is supposed to be challenging, explains Modica. In fact, it’s almost “like learning a new language," she says. "Be patient, keep trying and know it will get less frustrating the more you practice.” Whatever you do though, “just don’t quit,” says Niren. Frustration can sometimes be the ignition of true passion, even if you don’t recognize that at first. The key, says Niren, is to look for signs of change, soreness being the most obvious, and generally first, sign.

4. You’ll want to eat something before. Seriously.
“It makes me crazy when someone shows up to class and has to stop multiple times because they’re feeling faint. It signals to me that they are not taking care of themselves,” says Modica. “You can’t move nonstop for an hour without fueling your body.” Niren’s favorite pre (and post!) workout snack is a medium size banana. “They’re essentially nature’s Power Bar,” she says, “and are packed with digestible carbohydrates and loaded with potassium, which helps maintain muscle function.” Not a fruit fan? Try a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Pre and Post-Workout Carbohydrates

5. Dehydration can happen to anyone. And it ain’t pretty.
Drinking water is critical to a great workout: after all, it does make up about two-thirds of your body. (And forget those fancy flavors you’re seeing in the market — plain H20 is always best, says Modica, not to mention calorie-free.) Bring your own bottle, since each studio’s water supply may vary. And don’t worry about overhydrating, also known as hyponatremia. It’s unlikely you’ll drink too much group fitness setting, Modica says. It’s more commonly associated with endurance sports, she adds.

RELATED: 8 Cool New Fit Gear Finds on Kickstarter

6. There are good days, and then there are bad days.
It’s important to remind yourself that progress isn’t necessarily (and in fact, often not) linear. There will be classes when you can nail a resistance you hadn’t hit before or get into a new pose, and likewise, there will be classes that follow where you can’t get those same power numbers or move your limbs the same way. That's totally fine. Remember, there will be peaks and valleys. Enjoy the ride — and both the mental and physical rewards you’ll reap.

The post 6 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Fitness Class appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
What I Wish I Knew Before My First Group Fitness Class

[caption id="attachment_42434" align="alignnone" width="620"]What I Wish I Knew Before First Group Fitness Class Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The bright lights, wall-to-wall mirrors and spandex-clad regulars might leave you too intimidated to even step foot inside a boutique fitness studio. Which is totally understandable. (And why we love our DailyBurn workouts that much more.) It’s natural to feel like an outsider looking in: “There are so many unspoken rules, unfamiliar machines and potentially hard-to-navigate areas,” says Lisa Niren, head coach at Peloton Cycle. But don’t let your anxiety stop you from checking out that new HIIT class or stepping on a VersaClimber. Here, a few things you should know before you attend, plus tips from top boutique trainers on how to handle it all.

RELATED: 9 Trainer Tips to Get More From Your Fitness Class

6 Things to Know Before Your First Fitness Class

“Be patient, keep trying and know it will get less frustrating the more you practice.”
1. It’s OK to ask for help. “When you first walk into a class, find your instructor or facilities staff and have them get you set up properly,” says Niren. She recommends arriving at least 10 minutes early — we’d even say 15 if you want to get comfortably situated before the sweat session begins. And your instructor is there precisely to help you, especially in terms of your positioning. “Proper form is everything [when it comes to avoiding injury],” says Marcy Modica, instructor at SLT NYC, a Pilates studio in New York City. “It is the instructor’s job to set you up for success; tell you where to put your hands, feet and body, where you should be feeling the exercise, or how to modify it for any injuries or sensitive spots,” she adds. Bottom line? If you need something, speak up. 2. Comparing yourself to others won’t make you feel better or worse about yourself. While you may feel insecure, keep in mind that everyone is there for his or her own good, not to judge your performance. “No one cares how you look or what you’re wearing,” or, in the case of Pilates, how high your leg extension is. “Everyone is too busy focusing on their own form,” says Modica. So chill out and don’t worry if you can’t get into Crow Pose (most of us still struggle after years of regular yoga practice). We’re all at different levels, and the guy in a handstand next to you isn’t bothered by your newb status. If you’re still feeling unsure of yourself, Niren suggests bringing a workout pal along or first trying the class at non-peak hours. RELATED: 7 Beginner Yoga Poses to Get You Through Your First Class 3. Getting frustrated is part of the process. Remember: These pro-designed workouts are designed to be tough, not unlike our Inferno HR or Pilates: Phase 2 both are. Attending a new class is supposed to be challenging, explains Modica. In fact, it’s almost “like learning a new language," she says. "Be patient, keep trying and know it will get less frustrating the more you practice.” Whatever you do though, “just don’t quit,” says Niren. Frustration can sometimes be the ignition of true passion, even if you don’t recognize that at first. The key, says Niren, is to look for signs of change, soreness being the most obvious, and generally first, sign. 4. You’ll want to eat something before. Seriously. “It makes me crazy when someone shows up to class and has to stop multiple times because they’re feeling faint. It signals to me that they are not taking care of themselves,” says Modica. “You can’t move nonstop for an hour without fueling your body.” Niren’s favorite pre (and post!) workout snack is a medium size banana. “They’re essentially nature’s Power Bar,” she says, “and are packed with digestible carbohydrates and loaded with potassium, which helps maintain muscle function.” Not a fruit fan? Try a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter. RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Pre and Post-Workout Carbohydrates 5. Dehydration can happen to anyone. And it ain’t pretty. Drinking water is critical to a great workout: after all, it does make up about two-thirds of your body. (And forget those fancy flavors you’re seeing in the market — plain H20 is always best, says Modica, not to mention calorie-free.) Bring your own bottle, since each studio’s water supply may vary. And don’t worry about overhydrating, also known as hyponatremia. It’s unlikely you’ll drink too much group fitness setting, Modica says. It’s more commonly associated with endurance sports, she adds. RELATED: 8 Cool New Fit Gear Finds on Kickstarter 6. There are good days, and then there are bad days. It’s important to remind yourself that progress isn’t necessarily (and in fact, often not) linear. There will be classes when you can nail a resistance you hadn’t hit before or get into a new pose, and likewise, there will be classes that follow where you can’t get those same power numbers or move your limbs the same way. That's totally fine. Remember, there will be peaks and valleys. Enjoy the ride — and both the mental and physical rewards you’ll reap.

The post 6 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Fitness Class appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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The Stomach Vacuum Trend: Crazy or Legit? http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/stomach-vacuum-exercise-trend/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/stomach-vacuum-exercise-trend/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 11:15:35 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42314 The Stomach Vacuum Trend: Crazy or Legit?

[caption id="attachment_42317" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Stomach Vacuum Trend: Crazy or Legit? Photo: Pond5[/caption]

We’re all guilty of sucking in our stomachs every now and then to look a little leaner. (C’mon, you know you’ve done it.) But now, an extreme version of this move — known as the stomach vacuum — is sweeping the web. A decades-old phenomenon that recently resurfaced, stomach vacuuming, which involves drawing in in your abs as hard as you can while standing or lying down, purportedly promises to help you sculpt a six pack with nary a single crunch, plank or Pilates move.

Popularized by brawny legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane, the move was originally used by bodybuilders during competition. While striking a pose, Schwarzenegger and his cohorts would pull their stomachs concave, showing off tiny waists and serious six-packs (or in some cases...16-pack). “You’re trying to give the appearance of a thin and lean physique,” says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S, founder of Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts.

RELATED: Eating Clay: Absurd New Health Trend or All-Natural Cleanse?

Fans of the stomach vacuum, which is typically held for 20 seconds to one minute, claim that it will activate your transverse abdominis — the deepest, hardest-to-reach layer of your abs that hide beneath your obliques. Plus, one older study circa 1999, suggested that isolating the transverse abdominis might help alleviate back pain, since it wraps around the spine, helping with overall stability. Yes, the stomach vacuum sounds like a dream — but is it legit?

To Stomach Vacuum, Or Not?

Here’s the problem. While Gentilcore says the concept of stomach vacuuming is sometimes useful in post-injury rehab, it’s nearly impossible to pull off without the help of a pro. That’s because it’s hard to know if you’re actually engaging your transverse abdominis, without someone to guide you through the move and watch your form. Plus, research from Dr. Stuart McGill, a spinal expert, solidified the notion that improving back health isn’t about targeting a single muscle, the way stomach vacuuming does, but rather about strengthening your core as a whole.

RELATED: Waist Training: Can You Cinch Your Waist Thin?

“For lower back health and spine health, it comes down to working [muscles together],” Gentilcore says. In other words, learning how to properly engage your entire core by practicing Pilates, or other ab-strengthening moves, like planks, is probably more effective. In fact, something as simple as bracing your core when lifting heavy objects can help, he says. “That will get everything to fire and stabilize, transverse abdominis included.”

We hate to break it to you, but sucking it in won’t give you those abs you’ve been dreaming of. “When people start talking about, ‘Oh I want to get a six-pack,’ isolating or vacuuming the transverse abdominis is really a waste of time in my opinion,” Gentilcore says. You’re better off sticking to regular movements you know are effective, he adds. “You’re working your core even during traditional exercises, like squats or overhead presses. You have to isolate that area in order to train it.”

So unless you’re prepping to bare (almost) all in a bodybuilding competition soon, leave the stomach vacuuming to The Governator.

The post The Stomach Vacuum Trend: Crazy or Legit? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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The Stomach Vacuum Trend: Crazy or Legit?

[caption id="attachment_42317" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Stomach Vacuum Trend: Crazy or Legit? Photo: Pond5[/caption] We’re all guilty of sucking in our stomachs every now and then to look a little leaner. (C’mon, you know you’ve done it.) But now, an extreme version of this move — known as the stomach vacuum — is sweeping the web. A decades-old phenomenon that recently resurfaced, stomach vacuuming, which involves drawing in in your abs as hard as you can while standing or lying down, purportedly promises to help you sculpt a six pack with nary a single crunch, plank or Pilates move. Popularized by brawny legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane, the move was originally used by bodybuilders during competition. While striking a pose, Schwarzenegger and his cohorts would pull their stomachs concave, showing off tiny waists and serious six-packs (or in some cases...16-pack). “You’re trying to give the appearance of a thin and lean physique,” says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S, founder of Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. RELATED: Eating Clay: Absurd New Health Trend or All-Natural Cleanse? Fans of the stomach vacuum, which is typically held for 20 seconds to one minute, claim that it will activate your transverse abdominis — the deepest, hardest-to-reach layer of your abs that hide beneath your obliques. Plus, one older study circa 1999, suggested that isolating the transverse abdominis might help alleviate back pain, since it wraps around the spine, helping with overall stability. Yes, the stomach vacuum sounds like a dream — but is it legit?

To Stomach Vacuum, Or Not?

Here’s the problem. While Gentilcore says the concept of stomach vacuuming is sometimes useful in post-injury rehab, it’s nearly impossible to pull off without the help of a pro. That’s because it’s hard to know if you’re actually engaging your transverse abdominis, without someone to guide you through the move and watch your form. Plus, research from Dr. Stuart McGill, a spinal expert, solidified the notion that improving back health isn’t about targeting a single muscle, the way stomach vacuuming does, but rather about strengthening your core as a whole. RELATED: Waist Training: Can You Cinch Your Waist Thin? “For lower back health and spine health, it comes down to working [muscles together],” Gentilcore says. In other words, learning how to properly engage your entire core by practicing Pilates, or other ab-strengthening moves, like planks, is probably more effective. In fact, something as simple as bracing your core when lifting heavy objects can help, he says. “That will get everything to fire and stabilize, transverse abdominis included.” We hate to break it to you, but sucking it in won’t give you those abs you’ve been dreaming of. “When people start talking about, ‘Oh I want to get a six-pack,’ isolating or vacuuming the transverse abdominis is really a waste of time in my opinion,” Gentilcore says. You’re better off sticking to regular movements you know are effective, he adds. “You’re working your core even during traditional exercises, like squats or overhead presses. You have to isolate that area in order to train it.” So unless you’re prepping to bare (almost) all in a bodybuilding competition soon, leave the stomach vacuuming to The Governator.

The post The Stomach Vacuum Trend: Crazy or Legit? appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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