Life by DailyBurn » Fitness http://dailyburn.com/life A better you, for life. Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:15:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

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

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

The post Inside the Brain of 93-Year-Old Athlete Olga Kotelko appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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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!

The post The Easiest 5K and 10K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed) appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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!

The post The Easiest 5K and 10K Training Plan Ever (Walking, Allowed) appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

]]>
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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What One Country Is Doing to Get People Fit http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/news-turkey-fitness-work-081215/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/news-turkey-fitness-work-081215/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 14:15:24 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42504 What One Country Is Doing to Get People Fit

[caption id="attachment_42508" align="alignnone" width="620"]What One Country Is Doing to Get People Fit Photo: Pond5[/caption]

We all know it can be a serious struggle to make time to exercise every day. Between rushing out the door in the a.m., putting in long hours at work and hurrying home to cook dinner at night, squeezing in a cardio session can feel close to impossible. (Hate running? Here are five other options you can try.) But what if your boss would let you come in late — as long as you promised to hit the gym beforehand?

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

That’s exactly what’s happening in one Turkish province this year. A new health initiative, called Our Cure is Sport, will allow government employees to arrive at work one hour late so that they fit in some exercise, according to a report from Fortune magazine. People participating in the program will also have access to a dietician — and get help finding a workout they love.

The campaign is part of a broader effort to help fight the rise of obesity in Europe. In Turkey, nearly 62 percent of adults are overweight, and about 28 percent are obese. (That may sounds like a lot, but in the U.S. more than a third of adults are considered obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) What’s most alarming in Turkey, though, is the obesity rate, which increased by 44 percent between 2002 and 2014, according to the Turkish Statistics Institute.

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

The usual culprits — increased consumption of processed foods and a lack of exercise — are likely to blame, according to reports. (Curious how bad the food you’re eating is, on a scale of 1 to 10? Use this food calculator to find out.)

However, there’s still no word on how employers will know if participants are actually using that extra a.m. hour to sweat, rather than sleep in. But for us, this sounds like a privilege we wouldn’t want to abuse.

Need inspiration? Check out these 19 ways to trick yourself into becoming a morning person.

The post What One Country Is Doing to Get People Fit appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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What One Country Is Doing to Get People Fit

[caption id="attachment_42508" align="alignnone" width="620"]What One Country Is Doing to Get People Fit Photo: Pond5[/caption] We all know it can be a serious struggle to make time to exercise every day. Between rushing out the door in the a.m., putting in long hours at work and hurrying home to cook dinner at night, squeezing in a cardio session can feel close to impossible. (Hate running? Here are five other options you can try.) But what if your boss would let you come in late — as long as you promised to hit the gym beforehand? RELATED: 19 Reasons to Work Out (Beyond the Perfect Body) That’s exactly what’s happening in one Turkish province this year. A new health initiative, called Our Cure is Sport, will allow government employees to arrive at work one hour late so that they fit in some exercise, according to a report from Fortune magazine. People participating in the program will also have access to a dietician — and get help finding a workout they love. The campaign is part of a broader effort to help fight the rise of obesity in Europe. In Turkey, nearly 62 percent of adults are overweight, and about 28 percent are obese. (That may sounds like a lot, but in the U.S. more than a third of adults are considered obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) What’s most alarming in Turkey, though, is the obesity rate, which increased by 44 percent between 2002 and 2014, according to the Turkish Statistics Institute. RELATED: 6 Weight Loss Success Stories to Motivate You Right Now The usual culprits — increased consumption of processed foods and a lack of exercise — are likely to blame, according to reports. (Curious how bad the food you’re eating is, on a scale of 1 to 10? Use this food calculator to find out.) However, there’s still no word on how employers will know if participants are actually using that extra a.m. hour to sweat, rather than sleep in. But for us, this sounds like a privilege we wouldn’t want to abuse. Need inspiration? Check out these 19 ways to trick yourself into becoming a morning person.

The post What One Country Is Doing to Get People Fit appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/underrated-exercises-for-beginners/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/underrated-exercises-for-beginners/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 11:15:29 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42333 The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers

[caption id="attachment_42473" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The best exercise might be the one you aren’t doing. Switching up your usual workout routine will challenge your muscles in new ways and battle boredom, which could make you more motivated to work out in the first place. So if you catch yourself on the elliptical for hours on end — or doing crunches ‘til your neck gives out — we’re here to intervene.

To honor the forgotten, overlooked or unappreciated movements, we asked top trainers to weigh in on the best exercises that fly under the radar. Not only will these moves build strength, improve endurance and burn calories, they’ll keep you making progress toward your goals. Whether you’ve been working out for three days or 30 years, we bet you’ll learn a tip or two from the 15 exercises below (listed in order of beginner to more advanced).

RELATED: The 5 Muscle Groups Guys Are Guilty of Ignoring

The Most Underrated Exercises You’re Not Doing

https://instagram.com/p/56vTpfS-ku/?tagged=supermans

 1. The Superman
Targets: Hamstrings, abs, lower and upper back muscles
Superheroes might have a reputation for abs of steel, but the superman exercise is all about the back. And that’s a good thing, according to Jonathan Angelilli, fitness trainer and founder of TrainDeep, a holistic fitness system. “[Supermans] are way more important than crunches,” he says, because the exercise does a better job of promoting good posture and strengthening the muscles in your back.
How to Get Started: Check out this article on back exercises to prioritize your posterior.

[caption id="attachment_42476" align="alignnone" width="620"]Brisk Walk Photo: Pond5[/caption]

2. The Brisk Walk
Targets: Cardio and endurance
Better health is literally just a few steps away. “Walking has been shown to have many of the same health benefits as running, such as reduced risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and improved cardiovascular health,” says Jen Sinkler, an author, personal trainer, former elite athlete and founder of Lift Weights Faster. A brisk walk won’t put undue stress on your body like running might, but taking some deep breaths while walking can help you “quiet a busy brain,” says Sinkler. “That’s a win for everyone, from newbie exerciser to veteran.”
How to Get Started: Hit the open road with this guide to urban hiking, with tips for making a walk through your hometown a little more epic.

https://instagram.com/p/4CVaaJQ_V7/

3. The Lateral Band Walk-Out
Targets: Glutes
Lateral band walks are about to become your glute go-to. “The exercise strengthens and targets the gluteus medius, or side of your butt, and does so without bulking. Instead, it helps chisel and tighten the booty and legs,” says Andrea Spier, trainer for DailyBurn Pilates. Best of all, you won’t need to spend hours hobbling around like a penguin to get results. Spier says you’ll feel the burn instantly once you start side stepping around. Keep it up for three sets of 10 reps and you’ll have a solid addition to any dynamic warm-up or lower-body routine.
How to Get Started: Check out this video for a demonstration of proper lateral band walk technique.

https://instagram.com/p/50HtL5O3zW/?tagged=deadbug

4. The Dead Bug
Targets: Core
No, there won’t be any insects harmed during this exercise. The Dead Bug is a core exercise performed on your back, where you want to engage your abs to resist extending your lumbar spine (or, arching your back) as you lower your legs to the floor. Translation: You’re keeping your back against the floor while raising and lowering your legs and arms. “There are enough variations that can challenge anyone ranging from a beginner to the most advanced trainee, yet very few people use it,” says Hunter Cook, a California-based trainer. He likes that it teaches athletes how to brace properly, a skill important for protecting the spine during heavy squats and deadlifts.
How to Get Started: Strengthen your core with the three variations in this video.

[caption id="attachment_36357" align="alignnone" width="620"]Rowing Machine Cardio Workouts_2 Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5. The Rower
Targets: Quads, glutes, arms and back
Row, row, row your way fit. Anja Garcia, trainer for DailyBurn’s Inferno program, says working out on a rowing machine has helped take her athleticism to the next level. “You can change the intensity of the exercise by playing with your stroke rate, adding in sprints to really target cardio or keeping a steady cadence to work on strength and power,” she says.
How to Get Started: Try out these three rowing machine cardio workouts to boost strength and endurance.

[caption id="attachment_42384" align="alignnone" width="620"]Deadlift Photo: Pond5[/caption]

6. The Sumo Squat with Drag
Targets: Glutes, quads and inner thighs
Level up your bodyweight squats, no equipment necessary. By adding a “drag” at the end of a sumo squat, you’ll challenge your inner thighs, says Larysa Didio, a celebrity trainer and fitness writer. “It’s really hard to target the inner thighs while standing and this exercise successfully does it,” she says. So, skip those seated adduction machines and drop it like a squat, stat.
How to Get Started: Try this 10-minute strength workout from Prevention, with tips on how to perform the sumo squat with drag.

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

7. The Stairs
Targets: Glutes, hamstring, calves and core
Waiting for a treadmill can get old, fast. So why not ditch the gym and explore a new part of town by heading to an outdoor stairwell or stadium for your next cardio fix? By running or walking up and down stairs, you’ll rev your heart rate, improve coordination and develop lower body strength. “There’s so much variety in how you can use [stairs] and they’re everywhere!” says Dyan Tsiumis, instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City, who’s been hitting the steps to help get in shape for her first figure competition.
How to Get Started: To take your fitness level to new heights, try these stair workouts from our friends at Greatist, designed for beginner and advanced athletes.

[caption id="attachment_33302" align="alignnone" width="620"]MetCon Workout Photo: Pond5[/caption]

8. The Plyo Workout
Targets: Cardio and strength training
Harder, better, faster, stronger aren’t just song lyrics — they’re also benefits of plyometric training. “It’s all about efficiency,” says Leanne Shear, founder and head trainer at Uplift Studio in New York City. By incorporating jump squats, broad jumps or other plyo moves into your fitness routine, you’ll fire up muscle groups that you wouldn’t ordinarily work moving in just one plane of motion. Plus, developing explosive power that will make you a better all-around athlete? Priceless.
How to Get Started: Get sweating with this no-equipment ploymetric workout designed to maximize your burn.

https://instagram.com/p/5k5TudwC6O/?taken-by=kirastokesfit

9.The Single-Leg Deadlift
Targets: Core, glutes and hamstrings
While regular deadlifts are great for building strength, balancing on just one leg means your core has to stay engaged throughout the movement. Kira Stokes, an instructor at BFX Studio in New York City, is all about firing up the posterior chain with single-leg deadlifts. “Added bonus: This is a fantastic exercise for ankle and knee rehab,” says Stokes, since the movement can help strengthen and stabilize your joints. And best of all, she notes that the single-leg deadlift is a “no-excuse exercise,” meaning you can do it anytime with just your own bodyweight.
How to Get Started: Master the single-leg deadlift technique with this Girls Gone Strong guide, then try the workout at the end of the article.

[caption id="attachment_42486" align="alignnone" width="620"]Kettlebell Swing Photo: Pond5[/caption]

10. The Russian Kettlebell Swing
Targets: Glutes, lower back, hamstrings, shoulders and legs
Want to reap the benefits of kettlebell training but not sure where to start? Let us introduce you to the Russian kettlebell swing. “It has a low learning curve,” says Kellie Davis, celebrity trainer and co-founder of GetGlutes.com. “[It’s] a full-body workout wrapped into a single exercise,” she says, noting it strengthens your posterior chain while also revving your heart rate and testing your endurance.
How to Get Started: Brush up on your form by following along with DailyBurn trainer Cody Storey in this video on beginner-friendly kettlebell exercises.

[caption id="attachment_42376" align="alignnone" width="620"]Track Workout Photo: Pond5[/caption]

11. The Track Workout
Targets: Cardio and endurance
Slogging through miles on the treadmill is far from the only way to run. There are plenty of ways to mix it up — sprint drills, distance runs and nature hikes — so it’s appropriate for all levels and fitness goals. “Running never ceases to amaze and challenge me,” says Justin Rubin, trainer for DailyBurn’s True Beginner program. Lace up your sneakers and you’ll likely live longer than more sedentary people! Baby, you were born to run.
How to Get Started: Learn how to set yourself up for success with these 50 running resources for increasing speed and strength and fueling up the right way.

[caption id="attachment_29445" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: Pond5 Photo: Pond5[/caption]

12. The Prowler Drive
Targets: Legs, core, back, hip extension
Push it, push it real good. The Prowler is that sled-like piece of equipment you’ve seen people shoving around gyms or CrossFit boxes. But it’s not just for bros chasing gains. Anyone can get started with the Prowler since there’s a quick learning curve, says Rob Sulaver, founder and CEO of Bandana Training. Unlike barbells, there’s no risk of falling weight once you run out of steam — push until you can’t push any more and the Prowler will simply come to a halt.
How to Get Started: For a demonstration of proper prowler technique, check out this video that breaks down how it’s done.

[caption id="attachment_42479" align="alignnone" width="620"]Back Squat Photo: Pond5[/caption]

13. The Weighted Back Squat
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, core, lower back and shoulders
Ladies and gentlemen of the gym, back squats are back. “A lot of women avoid this exercise in fear of growing their thighs and men skip it to focus on more vanity body parts like their chest and arms,” says Brett Hoebel, celebrity trainer and author of The 20-Minute Body. But the truth is, this full-body move can torch calories during and after your workout, while also helping you develop better mobility — which can lead to better performance for other workouts.
How to Get Started: Practice getting low with these tips on the back squat and other squat variations.

[caption id="attachment_39722" align="alignnone" width="620"]Deadlift Photo: Pond5[/caption]

14. The Deadlift
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, quads and lower back
Think deadlifts are only for advanced lifters? Think again. “Men, women, young and old can all benefit from this move,” says Ben Booker, trainer for DailyBurn’s LTF program. The multi-joint exercise works your upper and lower body, plus it’s one of the safest lifts you can perform, since you can simply drop the weight if you can’t complete the lift. Once you learn how to hinge properly at the hips, you’ll develop strength that can carry over for picking up heavy groceries or moving furniture.
How to Get Started: Master this lift with these beginner-friendly tips from our friends at Fitocracy.

[caption id="attachment_42385" align="alignnone" width="620"]Thruster Photo: Pond5[/caption]

15: The Thruster
Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, abs, shoulders, upper back, triceps
Want more bang for your buck with a barbell in hand? You get two-for-one with the thruster, which combines a front squat with a push press. “This full-body movement is very metabolically demanding and really gets the heart rate up,” says Eric Salvador, head instructor at The Fhitting Room in NYC. “The power that you generate from your legs in the squat propels the weight overhead where your abdominals, shoulders, upper back and triceps take over,” he says. This multi-joint movement isn’t for the faint of heart, though. “The thruster will literally floor you,” says Salvador, who became a believer in the exercise during “Fran,” a notoriously tough CrossFit workout.
How to Get Started: Experienced lifters can try “Jackie,” one of the CrossFit workouts you can do in under 12 minutes.

The post The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers

[caption id="attachment_42473" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers Photo: Pond5[/caption] The best exercise might be the one you aren’t doing. Switching up your usual workout routine will challenge your muscles in new ways and battle boredom, which could make you more motivated to work out in the first place. So if you catch yourself on the elliptical for hours on end — or doing crunches ‘til your neck gives out — we’re here to intervene. To honor the forgotten, overlooked or unappreciated movements, we asked top trainers to weigh in on the best exercises that fly under the radar. Not only will these moves build strength, improve endurance and burn calories, they’ll keep you making progress toward your goals. Whether you’ve been working out for three days or 30 years, we bet you’ll learn a tip or two from the 15 exercises below (listed in order of beginner to more advanced). RELATED: The 5 Muscle Groups Guys Are Guilty of Ignoring

The Most Underrated Exercises You’re Not Doing

https://instagram.com/p/56vTpfS-ku/?tagged=supermans  1. The Superman Targets: Hamstrings, abs, lower and upper back muscles Superheroes might have a reputation for abs of steel, but the superman exercise is all about the back. And that’s a good thing, according to Jonathan Angelilli, fitness trainer and founder of TrainDeep, a holistic fitness system. “[Supermans] are way more important than crunches,” he says, because the exercise does a better job of promoting good posture and strengthening the muscles in your back. How to Get Started: Check out this article on back exercises to prioritize your posterior. [caption id="attachment_42476" align="alignnone" width="620"]Brisk Walk Photo: Pond5[/caption] 2. The Brisk Walk Targets: Cardio and endurance Better health is literally just a few steps away. “Walking has been shown to have many of the same health benefits as running, such as reduced risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and improved cardiovascular health,” says Jen Sinkler, an author, personal trainer, former elite athlete and founder of Lift Weights Faster. A brisk walk won’t put undue stress on your body like running might, but taking some deep breaths while walking can help you “quiet a busy brain,” says Sinkler. “That’s a win for everyone, from newbie exerciser to veteran.” How to Get Started: Hit the open road with this guide to urban hiking, with tips for making a walk through your hometown a little more epic. https://instagram.com/p/4CVaaJQ_V7/ 3. The Lateral Band Walk-Out Targets: Glutes Lateral band walks are about to become your glute go-to. “The exercise strengthens and targets the gluteus medius, or side of your butt, and does so without bulking. Instead, it helps chisel and tighten the booty and legs,” says Andrea Spier, trainer for DailyBurn Pilates. Best of all, you won’t need to spend hours hobbling around like a penguin to get results. Spier says you’ll feel the burn instantly once you start side stepping around. Keep it up for three sets of 10 reps and you’ll have a solid addition to any dynamic warm-up or lower-body routine. How to Get Started: Check out this video for a demonstration of proper lateral band walk technique. https://instagram.com/p/50HtL5O3zW/?tagged=deadbug 4. The Dead Bug Targets: Core No, there won’t be any insects harmed during this exercise. The Dead Bug is a core exercise performed on your back, where you want to engage your abs to resist extending your lumbar spine (or, arching your back) as you lower your legs to the floor. Translation: You’re keeping your back against the floor while raising and lowering your legs and arms. “There are enough variations that can challenge anyone ranging from a beginner to the most advanced trainee, yet very few people use it,” says Hunter Cook, a California-based trainer. He likes that it teaches athletes how to brace properly, a skill important for protecting the spine during heavy squats and deadlifts. How to Get Started: Strengthen your core with the three variations in this video. [caption id="attachment_36357" align="alignnone" width="620"]Rowing Machine Cardio Workouts_2 Photo: Pond5[/caption] 5. The Rower Targets: Quads, glutes, arms and back Row, row, row your way fit. Anja Garcia, trainer for DailyBurn’s Inferno program, says working out on a rowing machine has helped take her athleticism to the next level. “You can change the intensity of the exercise by playing with your stroke rate, adding in sprints to really target cardio or keeping a steady cadence to work on strength and power,” she says. How to Get Started: Try out these three rowing machine cardio workouts to boost strength and endurance. [caption id="attachment_42384" align="alignnone" width="620"]Deadlift Photo: Pond5[/caption] 6. The Sumo Squat with Drag Targets: Glutes, quads and inner thighs Level up your bodyweight squats, no equipment necessary. By adding a “drag” at the end of a sumo squat, you’ll challenge your inner thighs, says Larysa Didio, a celebrity trainer and fitness writer. “It’s really hard to target the inner thighs while standing and this exercise successfully does it,” she says. So, skip those seated adduction machines and drop it like a squat, stat. How to Get Started: Try this 10-minute strength workout from Prevention, with tips on how to perform the sumo squat with drag. [caption id="attachment_15787" align="alignnone" width="640"]Switch Up Cardio Routine Photo: Pond5[/caption] 7. The Stairs Targets: Glutes, hamstring, calves and core Waiting for a treadmill can get old, fast. So why not ditch the gym and explore a new part of town by heading to an outdoor stairwell or stadium for your next cardio fix? By running or walking up and down stairs, you’ll rev your heart rate, improve coordination and develop lower body strength. “There’s so much variety in how you can use [stairs] and they’re everywhere!” says Dyan Tsiumis, instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City, who’s been hitting the steps to help get in shape for her first figure competition. How to Get Started: To take your fitness level to new heights, try these stair workouts from our friends at Greatist, designed for beginner and advanced athletes. [caption id="attachment_33302" align="alignnone" width="620"]MetCon Workout Photo: Pond5[/caption] 8. The Plyo Workout Targets: Cardio and strength training Harder, better, faster, stronger aren’t just song lyrics — they’re also benefits of plyometric training. “It’s all about efficiency,” says Leanne Shear, founder and head trainer at Uplift Studio in New York City. By incorporating jump squats, broad jumps or other plyo moves into your fitness routine, you’ll fire up muscle groups that you wouldn’t ordinarily work moving in just one plane of motion. Plus, developing explosive power that will make you a better all-around athlete? Priceless. How to Get Started: Get sweating with this no-equipment ploymetric workout designed to maximize your burn. https://instagram.com/p/5k5TudwC6O/?taken-by=kirastokesfit 9.The Single-Leg Deadlift Targets: Core, glutes and hamstrings While regular deadlifts are great for building strength, balancing on just one leg means your core has to stay engaged throughout the movement. Kira Stokes, an instructor at BFX Studio in New York City, is all about firing up the posterior chain with single-leg deadlifts. “Added bonus: This is a fantastic exercise for ankle and knee rehab,” says Stokes, since the movement can help strengthen and stabilize your joints. And best of all, she notes that the single-leg deadlift is a “no-excuse exercise,” meaning you can do it anytime with just your own bodyweight. How to Get Started: Master the single-leg deadlift technique with this Girls Gone Strong guide, then try the workout at the end of the article. [caption id="attachment_42486" align="alignnone" width="620"]Kettlebell Swing Photo: Pond5[/caption] 10. The Russian Kettlebell Swing Targets: Glutes, lower back, hamstrings, shoulders and legs Want to reap the benefits of kettlebell training but not sure where to start? Let us introduce you to the Russian kettlebell swing. “It has a low learning curve,” says Kellie Davis, celebrity trainer and co-founder of GetGlutes.com. “[It’s] a full-body workout wrapped into a single exercise,” she says, noting it strengthens your posterior chain while also revving your heart rate and testing your endurance. How to Get Started: Brush up on your form by following along with DailyBurn trainer Cody Storey in this video on beginner-friendly kettlebell exercises. [caption id="attachment_42376" align="alignnone" width="620"]Track Workout Photo: Pond5[/caption] 11. The Track Workout Targets: Cardio and endurance Slogging through miles on the treadmill is far from the only way to run. There are plenty of ways to mix it up — sprint drills, distance runs and nature hikes — so it’s appropriate for all levels and fitness goals. “Running never ceases to amaze and challenge me,” says Justin Rubin, trainer for DailyBurn’s True Beginner program. Lace up your sneakers and you’ll likely live longer than more sedentary people! Baby, you were born to run. How to Get Started: Learn how to set yourself up for success with these 50 running resources for increasing speed and strength and fueling up the right way. [caption id="attachment_29445" align="alignnone" width="620"]Photo: Pond5 Photo: Pond5[/caption] 12. The Prowler Drive Targets: Legs, core, back, hip extension Push it, push it real good. The Prowler is that sled-like piece of equipment you’ve seen people shoving around gyms or CrossFit boxes. But it’s not just for bros chasing gains. Anyone can get started with the Prowler since there’s a quick learning curve, says Rob Sulaver, founder and CEO of Bandana Training. Unlike barbells, there’s no risk of falling weight once you run out of steam — push until you can’t push any more and the Prowler will simply come to a halt. How to Get Started: For a demonstration of proper prowler technique, check out this video that breaks down how it’s done. [caption id="attachment_42479" align="alignnone" width="620"]Back Squat Photo: Pond5[/caption] 13. The Weighted Back Squat Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, core, lower back and shoulders Ladies and gentlemen of the gym, back squats are back. “A lot of women avoid this exercise in fear of growing their thighs and men skip it to focus on more vanity body parts like their chest and arms,” says Brett Hoebel, celebrity trainer and author of The 20-Minute Body. But the truth is, this full-body move can torch calories during and after your workout, while also helping you develop better mobility — which can lead to better performance for other workouts. How to Get Started: Practice getting low with these tips on the back squat and other squat variations. [caption id="attachment_39722" align="alignnone" width="620"]Deadlift Photo: Pond5[/caption] 14. The Deadlift Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, quads and lower back Think deadlifts are only for advanced lifters? Think again. “Men, women, young and old can all benefit from this move,” says Ben Booker, trainer for DailyBurn’s LTF program. The multi-joint exercise works your upper and lower body, plus it’s one of the safest lifts you can perform, since you can simply drop the weight if you can’t complete the lift. Once you learn how to hinge properly at the hips, you’ll develop strength that can carry over for picking up heavy groceries or moving furniture. How to Get Started: Master this lift with these beginner-friendly tips from our friends at Fitocracy. [caption id="attachment_42385" align="alignnone" width="620"]Thruster Photo: Pond5[/caption] 15: The Thruster Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, abs, shoulders, upper back, triceps Want more bang for your buck with a barbell in hand? You get two-for-one with the thruster, which combines a front squat with a push press. “This full-body movement is very metabolically demanding and really gets the heart rate up,” says Eric Salvador, head instructor at The Fhitting Room in NYC. “The power that you generate from your legs in the squat propels the weight overhead where your abdominals, shoulders, upper back and triceps take over,” he says. This multi-joint movement isn’t for the faint of heart, though. “The thruster will literally floor you,” says Salvador, who became a believer in the exercise during “Fran,” a notoriously tough CrossFit workout. How to Get Started: Experienced lifters can try “Jackie,” one of the CrossFit workouts you can do in under 12 minutes.

The post The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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#MondayMotivation: Meet This 77-Year-Old Bodybuilder http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/monday-motivation-ernestine-shepherd-77-year-old-bodybuilder/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/monday-motivation-ernestine-shepherd-77-year-old-bodybuilder/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 18:15:52 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42422 Ernestine-Shepherd Oldest Bodybuilder

[caption id="attachment_42426" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ernestine Shepherd Oldest Bodybuilder Photo: via Prevention Magazine[/caption]

We’ve seen lots of success stories. But watching the unlikely 79-year-old bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd (age 77 when she filmed this video for Prevention magazine) crush her goals is nothing short of amazing. Could you imagine starting every day at 2:30 a.m., eating the same breakfast — egg whites, water and a handful of walnuts — and then heading out for a headlamp-lit run? Neither can we, but that’s just the typical morning routine of this Guinness record-breaking champion. Shepherd's been competing as a bodybuilder ever since she was 56 years old — when her sister suggested the idea to help her feel more comfortable in a bathing suit. (Basically, the ultimate proof that it’s never too late to start something.)

RELATED: Train to Win: 4 Steps to Achieve Any Fitness Goal

But it’s not just that she’s bench-pressing 150 pounds or running 80 miles per week as a septuagenarian that makes this story so motivating. What’s really so special about Shepard is how she’s affected those around her. Instead of training a select few gym rats with goals similar to her own, she started teaching a beginner-friendly fitness class designed for her entire community. With only 10 participants initially, the class soon grew so big she had a line out the door.

Don’t take our word for it, though: Check out a day in the life of Ernestine Shepherd. This eight-minute piece from Prevention magazine is more than just a touching profile — it could be the small nudge you need to get up and kick some butt.

RELATED: 19 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming a Morning Person

And if weight lifting and long runs aren’t your thing, don’t worry. “It’s about finding what you love to do,” she says. We second that. On this Monday, and on every day of the week.

Ernestine Shepherd: The 77-Year-Old Bodybuilder

https://youtu.be/na6yl8yIZUI

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: Meet This 77-Year-Old Bodybuilder appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
Ernestine-Shepherd Oldest Bodybuilder

[caption id="attachment_42426" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ernestine Shepherd Oldest Bodybuilder Photo: via Prevention Magazine[/caption] We’ve seen lots of success stories. But watching the unlikely 79-year-old bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd (age 77 when she filmed this video for Prevention magazine) crush her goals is nothing short of amazing. Could you imagine starting every day at 2:30 a.m., eating the same breakfast — egg whites, water and a handful of walnuts — and then heading out for a headlamp-lit run? Neither can we, but that’s just the typical morning routine of this Guinness record-breaking champion. Shepherd's been competing as a bodybuilder ever since she was 56 years old — when her sister suggested the idea to help her feel more comfortable in a bathing suit. (Basically, the ultimate proof that it’s never too late to start something.) RELATED: Train to Win: 4 Steps to Achieve Any Fitness Goal But it’s not just that she’s bench-pressing 150 pounds or running 80 miles per week as a septuagenarian that makes this story so motivating. What’s really so special about Shepard is how she’s affected those around her. Instead of training a select few gym rats with goals similar to her own, she started teaching a beginner-friendly fitness class designed for her entire community. With only 10 participants initially, the class soon grew so big she had a line out the door. Don’t take our word for it, though: Check out a day in the life of Ernestine Shepherd. This eight-minute piece from Prevention magazine is more than just a touching profile — it could be the small nudge you need to get up and kick some butt. RELATED: 19 Ways to Trick Yourself Into Becoming a Morning Person And if weight lifting and long runs aren’t your thing, don’t worry. “It’s about finding what you love to do,” she says. We second that. On this Monday, and on every day of the week.

Ernestine Shepherd: The 77-Year-Old Bodybuilder

https://youtu.be/na6yl8yIZUI 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: Meet This 77-Year-Old Bodybuilder appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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Can’t Do a Push-Up? Here’s Where to Start http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/how-to-do-a-push-up-variations/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/how-to-do-a-push-up-variations/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 11:15:02 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42217 Here's Where to Start If You Can't Do a Push-Up

[caption id="attachment_42222" align="alignnone" width="620"]Can’t Do a Push-Up? Here’s Where to Start Photo: Pond5[/caption]

These exercises come to you from DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Michelle Hobgood. You can find more no-equipment moves from our elite trainers at DailyBurn.com.

Avoiding push-ups like they’re the plague? We don’t blame you — the bodyweight exercise is daunting if you’re new to fitness. But if you’re reaching for any crazy excuse to skip this bootcamp favorite, you might be cheating yourself out of a seriously effective workout. 

RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

The push-up is actually an ideal movement for beginners, says Michelle Hobgood, M.S., DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition coach. “It targets your chest, shoulders, triceps, core and legs,” she says. Translation: No muscle group goes untouched!

And truth is, there are plenty of ways to modify the movement to your skill level. You’re much better off completing a few sets of modified push-ups with proper technique than struggling through regular push-ups with incorrect form. By placing your hands on a wall or bench or bringing your knees to the floor, you’ll reduce the amount of bodyweight you’re pushing, making the movement the right amount of challenging. Everyone has to start somewhere, and we’ve got just the moves to help you work your way up to the standard push-up. Our motto: Stronger every day.

3 Beginner-Friendly Push-Up Modifications

If you can’t bust out perfect push-ups, one of these three modifications might be your best starting point, Hobgood says. Listed from easiest to hardest, it’s up to you which path you take!

RELATED: Taking the First Step With Fitness: DailyBurn True Beginner

hips-push-up2

1. Push-Up in Table Top

Not everyone can support their full body weight at first, and that’s OK. This variation will help lighten your load so you can effectively develop your upper body strength.

How to: Start on your hands and knees in table top position. With your arms straight, your shoulders should be over your wrists and your hips should be over your knees (a). Bend your elbows and lower your upper body slowly to the ground (b). When your nose reaches the floor, press up with your arms and return to the starting position (c). Perform three sets of 8-10 reps.

Coach says: You should start to feel the burn midway through the second set. If you are still struggling, Hobgood recommends performing the incline push-up (third option) on a wall. Breezing through your sets? Try the push-up on knees variation below.

knee-push-up-new

2. Push-Up on Knees

By putting some of your weight on your knees, you’ll be able to safely and effectively perform this beginner-friendly modification.

How to: Begin on your hands and knees in a modified plank position. Your arms should be straight, with your shoulders above your wrists. Rest your knees on the ground (preferably with a towel or mat beneath them), legs together, with your feet suspended in the air (a). Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor, while maintaining a straight line from the crown of your head to your knees (b). Next, press upwards, engaging your chest and core (c). Complete three sets of 8-10 reps.

Coach says: You should feel challenged midway through set number two. If you’re hardly breaking a sweat, try the incline push-ups below.

RELATED: 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

wall-push-up

3. Incline Push-Up

Look ma, no knees! Find a sturdy box, chair or other elevated surface to perform this modification — the taller it is, the easier the movement will be (and vice versa).

How to: Start by placing your hands roughly shoulder-width apart on the box or elevated surface. Engage your core so your body forms a straight line from head to toe, and keep your legs together. Your arms should be straight but not locked (a). Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest to the box (b). Next, press upwards and engage your chest and core (c). Complete three sets of 8-10 reps.

Coach says: Not feeling the burn midway through the second set? If you’re breezing through but still can’t perform standard push-ups, increase to 15 reps per set or find a lower, more challenging surface for your incline push-ups.

Push-Ups: Assessing Your Progress

push-up-new

Standard Push-Up

Mastered the exercises above? It's time to try the real deal.

How to: Begin in a plank position with your arms straight. Your shoulders should be over your wrists and your body should form a straight line from head to toe. Keep your core engaged and don’t let your hips sag (a). Next, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the floor (b). Then, press upwards back to plank position (c). Complete three sets of 8-10 push-ups.

Coach says: If you’re struggling before the end of your second set, make note of how many push-ups you completed with solid form (so you have a number to beat next time!). Then, drop to your knees or do another modification above to finish off your reps.

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 Can’t Do a Push-Up? Here’s Where to Start appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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Here's Where to Start If You Can't Do a Push-Up

[caption id="attachment_42222" align="alignnone" width="620"]Can’t Do a Push-Up? Here’s Where to Start Photo: Pond5[/caption] These exercises come to you from DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Michelle Hobgood. You can find more no-equipment moves from our elite trainers at DailyBurn.com. Avoiding push-ups like they’re the plague? We don’t blame you — the bodyweight exercise is daunting if you’re new to fitness. But if you’re reaching for any crazy excuse to skip this bootcamp favorite, you might be cheating yourself out of a seriously effective workout.  RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners The push-up is actually an ideal movement for beginners, says Michelle Hobgood, M.S., DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition coach. “It targets your chest, shoulders, triceps, core and legs,” she says. Translation: No muscle group goes untouched! And truth is, there are plenty of ways to modify the movement to your skill level. You’re much better off completing a few sets of modified push-ups with proper technique than struggling through regular push-ups with incorrect form. By placing your hands on a wall or bench or bringing your knees to the floor, you’ll reduce the amount of bodyweight you’re pushing, making the movement the right amount of challenging. Everyone has to start somewhere, and we’ve got just the moves to help you work your way up to the standard push-up. Our motto: Stronger every day.

3 Beginner-Friendly Push-Up Modifications

If you can’t bust out perfect push-ups, one of these three modifications might be your best starting point, Hobgood says. Listed from easiest to hardest, it’s up to you which path you take! RELATED: Taking the First Step With Fitness: DailyBurn True Beginner hips-push-up2

1. Push-Up in Table Top

Not everyone can support their full body weight at first, and that’s OK. This variation will help lighten your load so you can effectively develop your upper body strength. How to: Start on your hands and knees in table top position. With your arms straight, your shoulders should be over your wrists and your hips should be over your knees (a). Bend your elbows and lower your upper body slowly to the ground (b). When your nose reaches the floor, press up with your arms and return to the starting position (c). Perform three sets of 8-10 reps. Coach says: You should start to feel the burn midway through the second set. If you are still struggling, Hobgood recommends performing the incline push-up (third option) on a wall. Breezing through your sets? Try the push-up on knees variation below. knee-push-up-new

2. Push-Up on Knees

By putting some of your weight on your knees, you’ll be able to safely and effectively perform this beginner-friendly modification. How to: Begin on your hands and knees in a modified plank position. Your arms should be straight, with your shoulders above your wrists. Rest your knees on the ground (preferably with a towel or mat beneath them), legs together, with your feet suspended in the air (a). Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor, while maintaining a straight line from the crown of your head to your knees (b). Next, press upwards, engaging your chest and core (c). Complete three sets of 8-10 reps. Coach says: You should feel challenged midway through set number two. If you’re hardly breaking a sweat, try the incline push-ups below. RELATED: 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners wall-push-up

3. Incline Push-Up

Look ma, no knees! Find a sturdy box, chair or other elevated surface to perform this modification — the taller it is, the easier the movement will be (and vice versa). How to: Start by placing your hands roughly shoulder-width apart on the box or elevated surface. Engage your core so your body forms a straight line from head to toe, and keep your legs together. Your arms should be straight but not locked (a). Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest to the box (b). Next, press upwards and engage your chest and core (c). Complete three sets of 8-10 reps. Coach says: Not feeling the burn midway through the second set? If you’re breezing through but still can’t perform standard push-ups, increase to 15 reps per set or find a lower, more challenging surface for your incline push-ups.

Push-Ups: Assessing Your Progress

push-up-new

Standard Push-Up

Mastered the exercises above? It's time to try the real deal. How to: Begin in a plank position with your arms straight. Your shoulders should be over your wrists and your body should form a straight line from head to toe. Keep your core engaged and don’t let your hips sag (a). Next, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the floor (b). Then, press upwards back to plank position (c). Complete three sets of 8-10 push-ups. Coach says: If you’re struggling before the end of your second set, make note of how many push-ups you completed with solid form (so you have a number to beat next time!). Then, drop to your knees or do another modification above to finish off your reps. 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 Can’t Do a Push-Up? Here’s Where to Start appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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5 Running Tweaks That Took an Hour Off My Marathon Time http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/running-marathon-training-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/running-marathon-training-tips/#comments Sat, 08 Aug 2015 12:55:15 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=21502 NYC Marathon

[caption id="attachment_42400" align="alignnone" width="620"]Marathon Training Tips Photo: bobjagendorf[/caption]

In high school, I could barely run the timed mile test, walking most of it.

Five years ago, I ran my first marathon after losing 50 pounds. I finished in 4:59, and I was happy just to have finished. But I knew I had more in me.

RELATE: 15 Fun, Fast and Beginner-Friendly Marathons

Two years ago, I ran my fourth marathon in 3:56. I took more than an hour off my time in three years, without devoting my entire life to running. I work a full-time job, volunteer and have an active social life, but I never felt like I was giving anything up for running. If anything, it added to the quality of my life.

I trained hard to get there, but there are also a few important tweaks I made that helped. Of course, the marathon is a special beast, and anything can happen on race day. But most coaches agree that training smarter physically and mentally can get you to the starting line stronger and ready to tackle 26.2. Here are five strategies that can be effective across the board, along with insights from Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World.

1. Add Speedwork

When I started training for my first marathon, I was still pretty new to running. I’d been at it for about a year, and the thought of intentionally running faster sounded terrifying. I just wanted to finish. During subsequent training cycles, I learned that speedwork (pushing harder in the middle of a workout at a specific speed for a specific amount of time) would change everything. That’s right, running faster... helps you get faster. Crazy, right? Speedwork works best when you’re running hard at a distance relative to your race distance, so tempo runs or mile repeats are best for marathoners. “I always felt like I was getting a little bit of speed but lots of endurance from mile repeats,” says Yasso.

RELATED: A Runner's Guide to Speedwork

2. Log Race Pace Miles

How are you going to run your goal pace for hours on end if you don’t know what it feels like to run at that pace? Speedwork paces and goal race paces should be fairly different. Your speedwork pace is typically your pace for a 10K or a half-marathon, or, a pace you can hold for roughly one to two hours. Your race pace is something that you’re trying to hold for three-plus hours, unless you’re an elite athlete.

RELATED: The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

I practiced at my goal pace for mid-distance runs and at the end of long runs, so that I knew what it felt like to hold it for a sustained amount of time, and what it felt like to hold it on tired legs. On race day, while I checked my watch obsessively, I easily could have told you if I were running faster or slower than my goal pace by how I felt the cadence in my legs. By running race pace miles, says Yasso, “I always felt that innate sense of rhythm that I can carry this pace on race day.”

3. Up Your Days and Your Mileage

The first time around, I ran between two and three times per week, supplementing that with other forms of cardio at the gym and lifting with a trainer. I finished that marathon at an 11:25 pace, hitting the wall colossally at mile 18. I knew if I wanted to get faster, though, that I would need to run more. I used to be terrified of running two days in a row, but in order to reach my goal, I typically ran five days per week, and I maxed out my mileage at 47 miles one week. I got to run on tired legs quite often, which was a huge mental boost at mile 22 of the marathon, when my legs felt like someone had strapped massive sandbags to them.

Though there are many variables to determining weekly mileage, says Yasso, the key is to listen to your body and not overtrain.

RELATED: Why the 10 Percent Rule Doesn't Always Work

4. Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Running is hard. Running fast(er) is even harder. Miles 21 to 24 of the New York City Marathon were incredibly uncomfortable. Of course they were. I’d just run 20 miles! I reminded myself it was supposed to be uncomfortable and not to walk.

“The only way to advance in our sport,” says Yasso, “is to go to the uncomfortable zone. Embrace the pain, and you will be rewarded at the finish line.”

5. Never Set Limits

I took off 40 minutes between marathons 1 and 2. If I had believed that was impossible, I wouldn’t have had the guts to go for that time and make gutsier goals from there. But I thought about what I could do and shot high. I missed the mark the first time I tried, but if I hadn’t set such an audacious goal, it wouldn’t have lit the fire in my belly to chase, and achieve, the 3:56 time.

What strategies have helped you become a faster runner? Share them below! 

Originally posted November 2013. Updated August 2015.

The post 5 Running Tweaks That Took an Hour Off My Marathon Time appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
NYC Marathon

[caption id="attachment_42400" align="alignnone" width="620"]Marathon Training Tips Photo: bobjagendorf[/caption] In high school, I could barely run the timed mile test, walking most of it. Five years ago, I ran my first marathon after losing 50 pounds. I finished in 4:59, and I was happy just to have finished. But I knew I had more in me. RELATE: 15 Fun, Fast and Beginner-Friendly Marathons Two years ago, I ran my fourth marathon in 3:56. I took more than an hour off my time in three years, without devoting my entire life to running. I work a full-time job, volunteer and have an active social life, but I never felt like I was giving anything up for running. If anything, it added to the quality of my life. I trained hard to get there, but there are also a few important tweaks I made that helped. Of course, the marathon is a special beast, and anything can happen on race day. But most coaches agree that training smarter physically and mentally can get you to the starting line stronger and ready to tackle 26.2. Here are five strategies that can be effective across the board, along with insights from Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World.

1. Add Speedwork

When I started training for my first marathon, I was still pretty new to running. I’d been at it for about a year, and the thought of intentionally running faster sounded terrifying. I just wanted to finish. During subsequent training cycles, I learned that speedwork (pushing harder in the middle of a workout at a specific speed for a specific amount of time) would change everything. That’s right, running faster... helps you get faster. Crazy, right? Speedwork works best when you’re running hard at a distance relative to your race distance, so tempo runs or mile repeats are best for marathoners. “I always felt like I was getting a little bit of speed but lots of endurance from mile repeats,” says Yasso. RELATED: A Runner's Guide to Speedwork

2. Log Race Pace Miles

How are you going to run your goal pace for hours on end if you don’t know what it feels like to run at that pace? Speedwork paces and goal race paces should be fairly different. Your speedwork pace is typically your pace for a 10K or a half-marathon, or, a pace you can hold for roughly one to two hours. Your race pace is something that you’re trying to hold for three-plus hours, unless you’re an elite athlete. RELATED: The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S. I practiced at my goal pace for mid-distance runs and at the end of long runs, so that I knew what it felt like to hold it for a sustained amount of time, and what it felt like to hold it on tired legs. On race day, while I checked my watch obsessively, I easily could have told you if I were running faster or slower than my goal pace by how I felt the cadence in my legs. By running race pace miles, says Yasso, “I always felt that innate sense of rhythm that I can carry this pace on race day.”

3. Up Your Days and Your Mileage

The first time around, I ran between two and three times per week, supplementing that with other forms of cardio at the gym and lifting with a trainer. I finished that marathon at an 11:25 pace, hitting the wall colossally at mile 18. I knew if I wanted to get faster, though, that I would need to run more. I used to be terrified of running two days in a row, but in order to reach my goal, I typically ran five days per week, and I maxed out my mileage at 47 miles one week. I got to run on tired legs quite often, which was a huge mental boost at mile 22 of the marathon, when my legs felt like someone had strapped massive sandbags to them. Though there are many variables to determining weekly mileage, says Yasso, the key is to listen to your body and not overtrain. RELATED: Why the 10 Percent Rule Doesn't Always Work

4. Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Running is hard. Running fast(er) is even harder. Miles 21 to 24 of the New York City Marathon were incredibly uncomfortable. Of course they were. I’d just run 20 miles! I reminded myself it was supposed to be uncomfortable and not to walk. “The only way to advance in our sport,” says Yasso, “is to go to the uncomfortable zone. Embrace the pain, and you will be rewarded at the finish line.”

5. Never Set Limits

I took off 40 minutes between marathons 1 and 2. If I had believed that was impossible, I wouldn’t have had the guts to go for that time and make gutsier goals from there. But I thought about what I could do and shot high. I missed the mark the first time I tried, but if I hadn’t set such an audacious goal, it wouldn’t have lit the fire in my belly to chase, and achieve, the 3:56 time. What strategies have helped you become a faster runner? Share them below!  Originally posted November 2013. Updated August 2015.

The post 5 Running Tweaks That Took an Hour Off My Marathon Time appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
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The 5 Best Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/cardio-workouts-cycling-rowing-hiit-plyometrics/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/cardio-workouts-cycling-rowing-hiit-plyometrics/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 11:15:49 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42157 non-running-cardio-workouts-featured

[caption id="attachment_42182" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Workouts That Don't Involve Running Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Sure, running is a great workout to have as a part of your cardio repertoire — it’s not only a great way to get fitter, but it improves your mental wellbeing, too. (Read one woman’s story about how running saved her life.) But it’s not right for everyone, and more importantly, running is not the only way to stay in shape. In fact, there are many different types of dynamic cardio workouts that give you a stellar calorie burn, while sculpting muscle at the same time. Try these five workouts on for size — but, instead of going through the motions, maximize your efforts with the expert-approved tips below. Can’t make the modifications just yet? No problem. Work your way up incrementally, and bookmark this page for when you’re ready to take your sessions to the next level.

RELATED: Dread the Gym? Here’s What Might Motivate You

5 Killer Cardio Workouts — That Aren’t Running

[caption id="attachment_42169" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Workouts Not Running Indoor Cycling Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The Workout: Indoor Cycling

The Burn: 714 calories per hour
How to Maximize It: After setting up properly, boost your burn by “focus[ing] on pulling your pedals up behind you,” says Holly Rillinger, Master Instructor at Flywheel Sports. “Most times [when spinning] we are only pushing down with our quads, but when you’re clipped in [to a spin bike’s pedals], you have the advantage of using the full stroke.” Focusing on the upwards motion helps target your glutes and hamstrings, so you’ll increase burn more calories while sculpting your entire lower body, too. Rillinger also suggests adding more resistance during quick sprint sessions: “When you have momentum, you can handle more resistance than at the beginning of the sprint. It’ll raise your heart rate and blast more fat,” she says. And use your core to resist that urge to collapse onto the handlebars when you’re exhausted — your abs will thank you later.

[caption id="attachment_42170" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Workouts Not Running HIIT Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The Workout: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

The Burn: 554 calories per hour
How to Maximize It: HIIT, which involves drills like sprints, lunges, and speed skaters with brief periods of rest in between, “keeps your engine revved after [exercising], so you burn more calories than a workout at a steady, moderate pace, ” says Yusuf Jeffers, a trainer at HIIT studio Tone House in New York City. But make sure you’re giving your body its deserved rest periods, says Jeffers. You can’t push yourself hard enough if you’re not recovering fully between rounds. “Plus, insufficient recovery results in overuse injuries and diminished results.” What’s the right amount of rest? Catch your breath for at least half as long as you just worked. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a 2:1 work to rest ratio is ideal. (Remember, even though they’re meant to be quick workouts, don’t go too fast. Here’s how to time ‘em right.)

RELATED: Try Our Heart-Rate-Based HIIT Workout, Inferno HR

[caption id="attachment_42265" align="alignnone" width="620"]VersaClimber Rise Nation Photo: Courtesy of Rise Nation[/caption]

The Workout: The VersaClimber 

The Burn: 1,000-plus calories per hour
How to Maximize It: You’ll never go back to that dusty StairMaster once you get the hang of this interval-based workout. The key to getting the most from the VersaClimber? Simply keeping up. Because you’re working your lower and upper body together into one climbing motion, expect to get fatigued fast. But even though you’ll feel tired, you’ll be building strength, endurance and coordination, according to Jason Walsh, founder of Rise Nation, an LA-based VersaClimber studio. “The act of climbing on a VersaClimber not only makes you strong, but also reinforces better moving patterns while working against gravity,” Walsh says. “The motions on the VersaClimber build a stronger core and back which gives you better posture and makes you a more deadly athlete.” Win, win.

[caption id="attachment_42172" align="alignnone" width="629"]Cardio Workouts Not Running Indoor Rowing Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The Workout: Indoor Rowing

The Burn: 578 calories per hour
How to Maximize It: Hop on an indoor rowing machine to work your entire body in ways you didn’t think were possible. Every stroke you take incorporates about 84 percent of your muscles, says Helaine Knapp, founder and CEO of CITYROW. And unlike running, it’s super-low-impact on your joints. But just as with running, proper form is essential. “The stroke can [feel] counterintuitive if you're new to rowing,” Knapp says. “Most of the power should come from your legs as you push back, hinging forward at your hips. Your arms move last, pulling in, and are also first to release as you return to starting position.” Sit up straight with your abs pulled in tight, and focus on your power — not speed. Pick up your pace and you’ll likely take short strokes that don’t work the full range of muscle and can put excess stress on your lower back, according to a study in the Journal of Sports Sciences. “The minute you prioritize speed over proper form, your stroke breaks down and you're cheating yourself out of the full benefits of the workout,” Knapp says.

[caption id="attachment_42171" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Workouts Not Running Plyometrics Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The Workout: Plyometrics

The Burn: 550 calories per hour
How to Maximize It: See people cranking out jump squats, burpees, or box jumps at the gym? Those are all moves in what’s referred to as plyometrics, a method of metabolic conditioning reliant on explosive movements (think: hops, bounds and fast feet). The goal is to contract the maximum number of muscle fibers in the minimum amount of time. Plyometrics “‘trick’ your nervous into executing movements with maximum force very quickly,” says Jeffers. Channel the need for max force and quick feet by working out when you’re “fresh and ready-to-go, never tired or completing after another workout,” he warns. “Doing so trains your nervous center to react slower and weaker, which defeats the cumulative benefits of the workout.” Try doing these explosive moves on rubber flooring or grass; anything that’s too soft or too hard will diminish your power on each jump or push-off.

RELATED: 6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Shorter, More Intense Workout

All calorie counts are based on estimates from CalorieCount.com.

The post The 5 Best Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
non-running-cardio-workouts-featured

[caption id="attachment_42182" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Workouts That Don't Involve Running Photo: Pond5[/caption] Sure, running is a great workout to have as a part of your cardio repertoire — it’s not only a great way to get fitter, but it improves your mental wellbeing, too. (Read one woman’s story about how running saved her life.) But it’s not right for everyone, and more importantly, running is not the only way to stay in shape. In fact, there are many different types of dynamic cardio workouts that give you a stellar calorie burn, while sculpting muscle at the same time. Try these five workouts on for size — but, instead of going through the motions, maximize your efforts with the expert-approved tips below. Can’t make the modifications just yet? No problem. Work your way up incrementally, and bookmark this page for when you’re ready to take your sessions to the next level. RELATED: Dread the Gym? Here’s What Might Motivate You

5 Killer Cardio Workouts — That Aren’t Running

[caption id="attachment_42169" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Workouts Not Running Indoor Cycling Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The Workout: Indoor Cycling

The Burn: 714 calories per hour How to Maximize It: After setting up properly, boost your burn by “focus[ing] on pulling your pedals up behind you,” says Holly Rillinger, Master Instructor at Flywheel Sports. “Most times [when spinning] we are only pushing down with our quads, but when you’re clipped in [to a spin bike’s pedals], you have the advantage of using the full stroke.” Focusing on the upwards motion helps target your glutes and hamstrings, so you’ll increase burn more calories while sculpting your entire lower body, too. Rillinger also suggests adding more resistance during quick sprint sessions: “When you have momentum, you can handle more resistance than at the beginning of the sprint. It’ll raise your heart rate and blast more fat,” she says. And use your core to resist that urge to collapse onto the handlebars when you’re exhausted — your abs will thank you later. [caption id="attachment_42170" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Workouts Not Running HIIT Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The Workout: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

The Burn: 554 calories per hour How to Maximize It: HIIT, which involves drills like sprints, lunges, and speed skaters with brief periods of rest in between, “keeps your engine revved after [exercising], so you burn more calories than a workout at a steady, moderate pace, ” says Yusuf Jeffers, a trainer at HIIT studio Tone House in New York City. But make sure you’re giving your body its deserved rest periods, says Jeffers. You can’t push yourself hard enough if you’re not recovering fully between rounds. “Plus, insufficient recovery results in overuse injuries and diminished results.” What’s the right amount of rest? Catch your breath for at least half as long as you just worked. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a 2:1 work to rest ratio is ideal. (Remember, even though they’re meant to be quick workouts, don’t go too fast. Here’s how to time ‘em right.) RELATED: Try Our Heart-Rate-Based HIIT Workout, Inferno HR [caption id="attachment_42265" align="alignnone" width="620"]VersaClimber Rise Nation Photo: Courtesy of Rise Nation[/caption]

The Workout: The VersaClimber 

The Burn: 1,000-plus calories per hour How to Maximize It: You’ll never go back to that dusty StairMaster once you get the hang of this interval-based workout. The key to getting the most from the VersaClimber? Simply keeping up. Because you’re working your lower and upper body together into one climbing motion, expect to get fatigued fast. But even though you’ll feel tired, you’ll be building strength, endurance and coordination, according to Jason Walsh, founder of Rise Nation, an LA-based VersaClimber studio. “The act of climbing on a VersaClimber not only makes you strong, but also reinforces better moving patterns while working against gravity,” Walsh says. “The motions on the VersaClimber build a stronger core and back which gives you better posture and makes you a more deadly athlete.” Win, win. [caption id="attachment_42172" align="alignnone" width="629"]Cardio Workouts Not Running Indoor Rowing Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The Workout: Indoor Rowing

The Burn: 578 calories per hour How to Maximize It: Hop on an indoor rowing machine to work your entire body in ways you didn’t think were possible. Every stroke you take incorporates about 84 percent of your muscles, says Helaine Knapp, founder and CEO of CITYROW. And unlike running, it’s super-low-impact on your joints. But just as with running, proper form is essential. “The stroke can [feel] counterintuitive if you're new to rowing,” Knapp says. “Most of the power should come from your legs as you push back, hinging forward at your hips. Your arms move last, pulling in, and are also first to release as you return to starting position.” Sit up straight with your abs pulled in tight, and focus on your power — not speed. Pick up your pace and you’ll likely take short strokes that don’t work the full range of muscle and can put excess stress on your lower back, according to a study in the Journal of Sports Sciences. “The minute you prioritize speed over proper form, your stroke breaks down and you're cheating yourself out of the full benefits of the workout,” Knapp says. [caption id="attachment_42171" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Workouts Not Running Plyometrics Photo: Pond5[/caption]

The Workout: Plyometrics

The Burn: 550 calories per hour How to Maximize It: See people cranking out jump squats, burpees, or box jumps at the gym? Those are all moves in what’s referred to as plyometrics, a method of metabolic conditioning reliant on explosive movements (think: hops, bounds and fast feet). The goal is to contract the maximum number of muscle fibers in the minimum amount of time. Plyometrics “‘trick’ your nervous into executing movements with maximum force very quickly,” says Jeffers. Channel the need for max force and quick feet by working out when you’re “fresh and ready-to-go, never tired or completing after another workout,” he warns. “Doing so trains your nervous center to react slower and weaker, which defeats the cumulative benefits of the workout.” Try doing these explosive moves on rubber flooring or grass; anything that’s too soft or too hard will diminish your power on each jump or push-off. RELATED: 6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Shorter, More Intense Workout All calorie counts are based on estimates from CalorieCount.com.

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The 10 Most Incredible Hotel Gyms in the U.S. http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-hotel-gyms/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-hotel-gyms/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:15:57 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41981 hotel-gyms-featured

[caption id="attachment_42141" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 10 Most Incredible Hotel Gyms Photo: Courtesy of the EPIC Miami[/caption]

If the phrase “hotel gym” conjures up images of sad, dark spaces with a few dusty pieces of equipment, we’ve got some good news: that’s no longer the norm. Now you can find gorgeous, expansive spaces with top-of-the-line technology, creative new classes and alternative sporting experiences. So whether you’re on the road for work or for fun, go on and book a few days away at one of these 10 best hotels for fitness lovers (listed in no particular order). You may just end up going for the workouts alone.

RELATED: Work Out Anywhere With Your Free 30-Day DailyBurn Trial

10 Incredible Hotel Gyms

[caption id="attachment_42020" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Four Seasons Hualalai Photo: Courtesy of the Four Seasons[/caption]

1. The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Where to Find It: The Big Island, Hawaii

Why We Love It: Experience the great outdoors while you get your cardio fix at this open-air gym featuring some of the best views of the Big Island. Boutique fitness nuts: There’s also plenty of group classes, too — including spinning, Pilates, barre fusion and Bikram yoga (we suggest grabbing an all-access pass for the duration of your stay). Oh, and did we mention the 24-foot outdoor climbing wall? An instructional clinic is required, but it’s well worth the views of the Kona-Kohala coast when you reach the top. Of course, your stay won’t be complete without some seriously epic, locally inspired pampering. Count us in for the Hualalai Island Stone massage and Polynesian Niu (coconut) scrub.

[caption id="attachment_42024" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Fit W San Francisco Photo: Courtesy of W Hotels[/caption]

2. W San Francisco

Where to Find It: San Francisco, CA

Why We Love It: Guests at the W will feel like they walked into a metropolitan nightclub when they enter FIT Gym. The futuristic setting features color-changing light fixtures in the evening for a club-like atmosphere, while natural light streams in during the day from a dramatic skylight. Treadmills, bikes and other cardio machines are set up around the perimeter of the gym with modern furnishings (like a chaise to sprawl out on after a tough sprint) and a chic, self-serve juice bar in the center. Night owl? No problem. This tricked-out lounge is open 24-hours, so you can enjoy a late-night sweat session and healthy sips no matter what schedule you’re on.

[caption id="attachment_42125" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Philadelphia Bellevue Hyatt Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt[/caption]

3. The Hyatt at the Bellevue

Where to Find It: Philadelphia, PA

Why We Love It: Just as The Hyatt at the Bellevue has been an iconic gem in Philly’s history, its adjacent fitness center, The Sporting Club, is a landmark, too. Measuring a whopping 93,000 sq. feet in size, the real draw is the full-sized, NBA-worthy basketball court, as well as the impeccable boxing facilities that’ll have you channeling your inner Rocky for a few minutes of glory. There’s also a running track (great for speedwork), racquetball and squash courts, and, of course, a slew of typical equipment, too. And should you have forgotten some of your gear — or just want to buy something new — there’s an on-site shop filled with tons of functional (and fashionable) options.

RELATED: How to Get the Most Out of Your PTO

[caption id="attachment_42021" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms The Houstonian Club & Spa Photo: Courtesy of the Houstonian[/caption]

4. The Houstonian

Where to Find It: Houston, TX

Why We Love It: The world-famous Houstonian Club & Spa is reason enough to travel to south Texas — even in the summer, when temperatures soar to daily averages over 90 degrees. The outdoor pool complies to the weather, chilled during the warmer months while heated in the winter. Indoors, you’ll find more than 300 pieces of cardio and strength training equipment, including ellipticals, recumbent bikes, step climbers, treadmills, rowers and free weights. And if you’re more of a group exerciser, never fear: There are over 200 fitness classes including Spinning, various forms of yoga, and Tai Chi, plus small, semi-private personal training sessions. Hot tip: Splurge an extra $50 per night to stay on the Concierge Floor, where you’ll then receive complimentary food, drinks and even cocktails throughout the day.

[caption id="attachment_42124" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Las Vegas Canyon Ranch Palazzo Hotel Photo: Courtesy of Canyon Ranch[/caption]

5. The Palazzo Hotel and Resort

Where to Find It: Las Vegas, NV

Why We Love It: Take a break from the crazy, bustling Strip and try on this 40-foot rock climbing wall for size, located in the Palazzo. (Guests at The Venetian Hotel have access to as well — the two are sister properties.) And like the other Canyon Ranch locations, this outpost — despite being a day spa — can grant your every wellness wish. Think: healing thermal cabins, custom-concocted baths or one of 3,000 — yes, 3,000! — pieces of cardio equipment, all which have their own TV screens and pre-sanitized headphones. If you’re unsure of where to start, get a fitness assessment from an exercise physiologist who will tailor a program to meet your specific needs. Tough weekend warriors will appreciate the club’s Kinesis studio class, designed to improve balance, flexibility and stability with resistance moves using grips, cables and weights. And if you’re looking to up your spin game, take an indoor cycling class with RealRyder bikes, which lean from side to side just like a road bike does.

[caption id="attachment_42123" align="alignnone" width="620"]Exhale Spa Epic Miami Gym Photo: Courtesy of the EPIC Miami[/caption]

6. The EPIC Miami

Where to Find It: Miami, FL

Why We Love It: Despite being in the business-centric Downtown district, the EPIC has all the style of South Beach without the crowds. The gym — an Exhale spa outpost — boasts top-notch workouts with some of the best city views straight from the barre floor — not to mention some of the nicest instructors and best customer service in Miami. Located on a pool terrace off of the hotel’s sixteenth floor, this Exhale has the entire club’s signature classes for your endorphin-releasing pleasure, including Core Fusion Extreme, barre and Vinyasa Flow Fusion class. (And those top-notch facials and massages that Exhale is known for? Yup, available there too.)

RELATED: 5 Easy Tips for Healthy Travel

[caption id="attachment_42040" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Park Hyatt New York Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt[/caption]

 7. The Park Hyatt New York

Where to Find It: New York City

Why We Love It: Whether you’re training for a tri or just want to unwind after a whirlwind day in Manhattan, this sun-drenched pool on the twenty-fifth story of the iconic Park Hyatt is an absolute must-see — in fact, it's our favorite swim on this list. Underwater speakers play a curated Carnegie Hall soundtrack, courtesy of the world-famous concert hall that happens to also be across the street, so be sure to catch a performance while you’re in town. If details like that don’t have you sold, make sure to check out the hotel’s 1,845 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center that overlooks the pool. Once in your guest room, unwind from New York’s busy streets with your heated floors plus dual, spa-style showerheads. Treat yourself in the morning by ordering room service: We recommend the foie gras served with mushroom and boiled egg.

[caption id="attachment_42019" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gym Fairmont Princess Aerial Yoga Photo: Courtesy of Fairmont Hotels[/caption]

8. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Where to Find It: Scottsdale, AZ

Why We Love It: You’ll feel immersed in Southwestern culture upon arriving at this Hacienda-style wellness wonderland, which houses both its spa and its fitness center. Here, you’ll find trendy, innovative fitness classes like Aerial Hammock Yoga, in addition to Pilates, Spinning, body sculpting, Zumba and TRX, all regularly featured on the schedule. The space, which features Spanish Colonial touches like open plazas with fountains, also offers spa treatments with ingredients derived from the local environment. Try the Sedona Clay Mud Mask for its purifying properties and Desert Salt Scrub to reveal smooth, glowing skin. As if your post-workout glow needed it, anyway.

[caption id="attachment_42122" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Boston Ritz Carlton Equinox Photo: Courtesy of Ritz Carlton[/caption]

9. The Ritz-Carlton Boston Common

Where to Find It: Boston, MA

Why We Love It: New York- and L.A.-based business travelers flock to the centrally located Ritz, which is adjacent to (and provides its guests access to) a sun-lit, sleek Equinox health club. Like its other branches, the Boston location of the high-end chain comes with with all its signature create comforts: an amazing, varied class schedule, an impeccable, modern aesthetic and those insanely refreshing eucalyptus towels. It’s also got a basketball court, an indoor, 25-yard lap pool and four squash courts. But the best part, perhaps, is heading over there at sunset to catch epic views of the Commons from a treadmill or stair climber. Then, grab a favorite book and chill on the outdoor patio — it’s almost always empty, even during the warmer months, and makes for a great hang-out spot.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Sleep Better on the Road and Eliminate Jet Lag

[caption id="attachment_42132" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Los Angeles Athletic Club Pool Photo: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Athletic Club[/caption]

10. The Los Angeles Athletic Club

Where to Find It: Los Angeles, CA

The Best Feature: Yup, you read that right — the hotel itself is just one part of the state-of-the-art gym located in newly revitalized Downtown LA. Sports and fitness junkies should give this 100-plus year old athletic club, which is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, a spot on their travel bucket lists. Channel your inner LeBron James or Kerri Walsh-Jennings at the facility’s full basketball court (with an indoor track circling it), volleyball courts, squash courts, handball and racquetball courts, not to mention a pool Michael Phelps would kill to do a few laps in. Boutique fitness addicts will appreciate the wide variety of boot camp, dance and Pilates classes available. And if you need a little TLC or recovery work, meet with one of the on-site physical therapists for a form check, soft-tissue massage or a total-body refresh.

The post The 10 Most Incredible Hotel Gyms in the U.S. appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

]]>
hotel-gyms-featured

[caption id="attachment_42141" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 10 Most Incredible Hotel Gyms Photo: Courtesy of the EPIC Miami[/caption] If the phrase “hotel gym” conjures up images of sad, dark spaces with a few dusty pieces of equipment, we’ve got some good news: that’s no longer the norm. Now you can find gorgeous, expansive spaces with top-of-the-line technology, creative new classes and alternative sporting experiences. So whether you’re on the road for work or for fun, go on and book a few days away at one of these 10 best hotels for fitness lovers (listed in no particular order). You may just end up going for the workouts alone. RELATED: Work Out Anywhere With Your Free 30-Day DailyBurn Trial

10 Incredible Hotel Gyms

[caption id="attachment_42020" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Four Seasons Hualalai Photo: Courtesy of the Four Seasons[/caption] 1. The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Where to Find It: The Big Island, Hawaii Why We Love It: Experience the great outdoors while you get your cardio fix at this open-air gym featuring some of the best views of the Big Island. Boutique fitness nuts: There’s also plenty of group classes, too — including spinning, Pilates, barre fusion and Bikram yoga (we suggest grabbing an all-access pass for the duration of your stay). Oh, and did we mention the 24-foot outdoor climbing wall? An instructional clinic is required, but it’s well worth the views of the Kona-Kohala coast when you reach the top. Of course, your stay won’t be complete without some seriously epic, locally inspired pampering. Count us in for the Hualalai Island Stone massage and Polynesian Niu (coconut) scrub. [caption id="attachment_42024" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Fit W San Francisco Photo: Courtesy of W Hotels[/caption] 2. W San Francisco Where to Find It: San Francisco, CA Why We Love It: Guests at the W will feel like they walked into a metropolitan nightclub when they enter FIT Gym. The futuristic setting features color-changing light fixtures in the evening for a club-like atmosphere, while natural light streams in during the day from a dramatic skylight. Treadmills, bikes and other cardio machines are set up around the perimeter of the gym with modern furnishings (like a chaise to sprawl out on after a tough sprint) and a chic, self-serve juice bar in the center. Night owl? No problem. This tricked-out lounge is open 24-hours, so you can enjoy a late-night sweat session and healthy sips no matter what schedule you’re on. [caption id="attachment_42125" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Philadelphia Bellevue Hyatt Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt[/caption] 3. The Hyatt at the Bellevue Where to Find It: Philadelphia, PA Why We Love It: Just as The Hyatt at the Bellevue has been an iconic gem in Philly’s history, its adjacent fitness center, The Sporting Club, is a landmark, too. Measuring a whopping 93,000 sq. feet in size, the real draw is the full-sized, NBA-worthy basketball court, as well as the impeccable boxing facilities that’ll have you channeling your inner Rocky for a few minutes of glory. There’s also a running track (great for speedwork), racquetball and squash courts, and, of course, a slew of typical equipment, too. And should you have forgotten some of your gear — or just want to buy something new — there’s an on-site shop filled with tons of functional (and fashionable) options. RELATED: How to Get the Most Out of Your PTO [caption id="attachment_42021" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms The Houstonian Club & Spa Photo: Courtesy of the Houstonian[/caption] 4. The Houstonian Where to Find It: Houston, TX Why We Love It: The world-famous Houstonian Club & Spa is reason enough to travel to south Texas — even in the summer, when temperatures soar to daily averages over 90 degrees. The outdoor pool complies to the weather, chilled during the warmer months while heated in the winter. Indoors, you’ll find more than 300 pieces of cardio and strength training equipment, including ellipticals, recumbent bikes, step climbers, treadmills, rowers and free weights. And if you’re more of a group exerciser, never fear: There are over 200 fitness classes including Spinning, various forms of yoga, and Tai Chi, plus small, semi-private personal training sessions. Hot tip: Splurge an extra $50 per night to stay on the Concierge Floor, where you’ll then receive complimentary food, drinks and even cocktails throughout the day. [caption id="attachment_42124" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Las Vegas Canyon Ranch Palazzo Hotel Photo: Courtesy of Canyon Ranch[/caption] 5. The Palazzo Hotel and Resort Where to Find It: Las Vegas, NV Why We Love It: Take a break from the crazy, bustling Strip and try on this 40-foot rock climbing wall for size, located in the Palazzo. (Guests at The Venetian Hotel have access to as well — the two are sister properties.) And like the other Canyon Ranch locations, this outpost — despite being a day spa — can grant your every wellness wish. Think: healing thermal cabins, custom-concocted baths or one of 3,000 — yes, 3,000! — pieces of cardio equipment, all which have their own TV screens and pre-sanitized headphones. If you’re unsure of where to start, get a fitness assessment from an exercise physiologist who will tailor a program to meet your specific needs. Tough weekend warriors will appreciate the club’s Kinesis studio class, designed to improve balance, flexibility and stability with resistance moves using grips, cables and weights. And if you’re looking to up your spin game, take an indoor cycling class with RealRyder bikes, which lean from side to side just like a road bike does. [caption id="attachment_42123" align="alignnone" width="620"]Exhale Spa Epic Miami Gym Photo: Courtesy of the EPIC Miami[/caption] 6. The EPIC Miami Where to Find It: Miami, FL Why We Love It: Despite being in the business-centric Downtown district, the EPIC has all the style of South Beach without the crowds. The gym — an Exhale spa outpost — boasts top-notch workouts with some of the best city views straight from the barre floor — not to mention some of the nicest instructors and best customer service in Miami. Located on a pool terrace off of the hotel’s sixteenth floor, this Exhale has the entire club’s signature classes for your endorphin-releasing pleasure, including Core Fusion Extreme, barre and Vinyasa Flow Fusion class. (And those top-notch facials and massages that Exhale is known for? Yup, available there too.) RELATED: 5 Easy Tips for Healthy Travel [caption id="attachment_42040" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Park Hyatt New York Photo: Courtesy of Hyatt[/caption]  7. The Park Hyatt New York Where to Find It: New York City Why We Love It: Whether you’re training for a tri or just want to unwind after a whirlwind day in Manhattan, this sun-drenched pool on the twenty-fifth story of the iconic Park Hyatt is an absolute must-see — in fact, it's our favorite swim on this list. Underwater speakers play a curated Carnegie Hall soundtrack, courtesy of the world-famous concert hall that happens to also be across the street, so be sure to catch a performance while you’re in town. If details like that don’t have you sold, make sure to check out the hotel’s 1,845 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center that overlooks the pool. Once in your guest room, unwind from New York’s busy streets with your heated floors plus dual, spa-style showerheads. Treat yourself in the morning by ordering room service: We recommend the foie gras served with mushroom and boiled egg. [caption id="attachment_42019" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gym Fairmont Princess Aerial Yoga Photo: Courtesy of Fairmont Hotels[/caption] 8. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Where to Find It: Scottsdale, AZ Why We Love It: You’ll feel immersed in Southwestern culture upon arriving at this Hacienda-style wellness wonderland, which houses both its spa and its fitness center. Here, you’ll find trendy, innovative fitness classes like Aerial Hammock Yoga, in addition to Pilates, Spinning, body sculpting, Zumba and TRX, all regularly featured on the schedule. The space, which features Spanish Colonial touches like open plazas with fountains, also offers spa treatments with ingredients derived from the local environment. Try the Sedona Clay Mud Mask for its purifying properties and Desert Salt Scrub to reveal smooth, glowing skin. As if your post-workout glow needed it, anyway. [caption id="attachment_42122" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Boston Ritz Carlton Equinox Photo: Courtesy of Ritz Carlton[/caption] 9. The Ritz-Carlton Boston Common Where to Find It: Boston, MA Why We Love It: New York- and L.A.-based business travelers flock to the centrally located Ritz, which is adjacent to (and provides its guests access to) a sun-lit, sleek Equinox health club. Like its other branches, the Boston location of the high-end chain comes with with all its signature create comforts: an amazing, varied class schedule, an impeccable, modern aesthetic and those insanely refreshing eucalyptus towels. It’s also got a basketball court, an indoor, 25-yard lap pool and four squash courts. But the best part, perhaps, is heading over there at sunset to catch epic views of the Commons from a treadmill or stair climber. Then, grab a favorite book and chill on the outdoor patio — it’s almost always empty, even during the warmer months, and makes for a great hang-out spot. RELATED: 6 Ways to Sleep Better on the Road and Eliminate Jet Lag [caption id="attachment_42132" align="alignnone" width="620"]Hotel Gyms Los Angeles Athletic Club Pool Photo: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Athletic Club[/caption] 10. The Los Angeles Athletic Club Where to Find It: Los Angeles, CA The Best Feature: Yup, you read that right — the hotel itself is just one part of the state-of-the-art gym located in newly revitalized Downtown LA. Sports and fitness junkies should give this 100-plus year old athletic club, which is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, a spot on their travel bucket lists. Channel your inner LeBron James or Kerri Walsh-Jennings at the facility’s full basketball court (with an indoor track circling it), volleyball courts, squash courts, handball and racquetball courts, not to mention a pool Michael Phelps would kill to do a few laps in. Boutique fitness addicts will appreciate the wide variety of boot camp, dance and Pilates classes available. And if you need a little TLC or recovery work, meet with one of the on-site physical therapists for a form check, soft-tissue massage or a total-body refresh.

The post The 10 Most Incredible Hotel Gyms in the U.S. appeared first on Life by DailyBurn.

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