May 30, 2012 | Filed Under GRIPAD Weight Lifting Gloves, Hand Protection | No Comments
When it comes to getting the most out of your workout, every detail matters. The gym you choose should be inspiring and pleasant and should appeal to your specific personality. Your workout partners should be encouraging and supportive. And your gear should be carefully chosen to help you meet your workout goals. At the very least, your clothes, shoes, and equipment should not stand in the way of your progress.
This is especially true of your chosen form of hand protection. Lifting weights and handling gym equipment barehanded is fine for some people, especially those who don’t visit the gym very often and who don’t engage in sustained weight training with high reps and heavy weights. But if your workout routine is a bit more intense, going barehanded is probably not an option. After even a few minutes, rough bars and equipment can leave your palms with blisters and abrasions, which are not fun and can compromise your technique. If you favor an injured hand, you don’t get as much out of your workout. But if you don’t, blisters and small wounds can get worse or become infected.
So cover your hands when you head to the gym. And if you can, leave your traditional weight lifting gloves behind. Gloves that cover the whole hand can constrict your range of motion and prevent your skin from breathing properly. When moisture and sweat build up inside of a glove, they can lead to mildew, bad smells, and sliminess.
Try Gripads instead. A tough, soft layer of moisture-wicking neoprene is all you need to protect your hands from damage. While safely covering your palms, the pads allow the rest of your hand to move and breathe freely, which means you can forget about your hands and focus on your technique. Peel off those musty, worn out gloves once and for all and toss a pair of Gripads into your bag the next time you head to the gym. Your hands will thank you.
May 27, 2012 | Filed Under Tips for Beginners, Workouts | No Comments
No matter who you are, how old you are, how busy you are, or how much you weigh or don’t weigh, the decision to exercise is always positive and healthy. Always. If you have a specific health concern like high blood pressure, you’ll need to consult with a doctor before you begin a workout plan, but for most of us, the act of getting up from the couch and off to the park or gym can only lead to good things.
So if you’re taking control of your health and starting an exercise plan, good for you! You’re making an excellent move for yourself and those who care about you. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you tackle the fun and fulfilling challenges that lie ahead.
Tips for Exercise Beginners
- Set goals, but keep them realistic.Even without clear goals, exercise is fun and it feels great. So don’t feel obligated to turn your exercise plans into a pass-fail endeavor. But if you do, make sure your goals are balanced. They should provide the challenge you need to stay motivated while still being attainable. If you’d like, get goal setting help from a professional coach or trainer.
- Be steady.
When it comes to a healthy relationship with exercise, steadiness wins the race. Don’t burn yourself out by overreaching then then stop due to boredom or discouragement. Pace yourself.
- Get support.
Find a gym with an atmosphere you like, and surround yourself with supportive workout companions. And remember, the only thing that feels better than receiving support and encouragement is giving it.
- Make things easy.
Schedule your workout for the time of day that best fits your schedule. Don’t force yourself to head to the gym on your lunch break when it’s easier to go at night.
- Pay attention to your lifestyle.
Working out is easier and more fun if the rest of your lifestyle is built on healthy foundations. Try to eat well, drink plenty of water, and get at least six hours of sleep every night.
May 24, 2012 | Filed Under Weightlifting | No Comments
There’s nothing wrong with heading to the gym to workout with no specific goals and no long term plan in mind. Exercise is always healthy, and resistance training can build strength, boost circulation, elevate your confidence and release positive endorphins regardless of your goals or how long you keep it up.
But if there’s something specific you’d like to gain from your workout routine, your goals can and should play a role in what you lift and how you do it. For example, many people begin a workout regimen with the sole intention of developing large, defined muscles. If that’s your plan, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Building Muscle Mass and Size
First, recognize that listing for mass is not the same as lifting for strength. If you want a fast path to big muscles, you may have to let go of a total focus on muscle strength or athletic performance. But muscle mass is a great goal. Defined muscles make your clothes fit better, they make you look good and feel great, and they’re the first step on the way to competitive body building.
Second, since muscle mass is caused by hypertrophy, or miniscule tearing and damage to the muscle fibers, you’ll need to put your muscle tissue under high levels of stress. This will mean lifting to failure, or lifting heavy weights until you simply can’t do it anymore.
Lifting for muscle mass is often called the “burn-down” or “drop-down” method. Your trainer can provide you with specific instructions that match your own goals, but in general, your focus will be on low reps with very heavy weights.
Lifting for muscle mass requires extra attention to safety. If you’re using the burn-down method, you may be lifting weights that exceed your capacity, so make sure you lift with a spotter. You’ll also need to protect your hands. Use non-slip, moisture-wicking Gripads to keep your hands safe and your weights and equipment under control.
May 21, 2012 | Filed Under GRIPAD Weight Lifting Gloves, Hand Protection | No Comments
We can all agree that hand protection is a vital component of a great lifting workout. If you’ve ever tried to lift weights bare handed, you may have been okay after the first few reps. But if we lift continuously for more than about 15 minutes, we begin to feel the effects of repetitive friction in the form of blisters and chafing. And when that happens, no matter how indifferent we are to callused hands or discomfort, our hands are making miniscule adjustments and compensations that we may not even recognize, and these compensations can interfere with our technique.
Protecting your hands while lifting can do more than just prevent blisters. It can also help you get the most out of your workout. So toss a few durable, moisture-wicking Gripads into your bag before you hit the gym, and your hands will thank you.
Why Not Just Use Exercise Gloves?
If you’ve been using standard weightlifting gloves to protect your hands, you may have noticed how the gloves collect moisture and prevent your skin from breathing naturally. We need a pad to insert between the equipment and our palms at the point of contact, but don’t actually need hand protection that covers the entire hand. When our hand is covered by a full glove, sweat and mildew accumulate, bacteria thrive, and our movements may actually be constricted in a way that can compromise our lifting ability.
Gloves serve a purpose, and they’re certainly better than nothing at all. But if you’re interested in serious lifting with minimal compromise, try a pair of Gripads instead. The lightweight, flexible straps hold the pad securely against your hand, so when you slide on a pair of Gripads, you can forget you’re wearing them and focus your full attention on your workout. The pads allow your hands to move freely and breathe freely, while the tough, moisture-wicking neoprene stands between you and the rough surfaces of gym equipment. Try a pair today and experience the difference.
May 18, 2012 | Filed Under Weightlifting For Women | No Comments
Most practical advice about weight training applies to women and men equally, but there are a few areas, specifically pregnancy, where the training needs of women may diverge. And at different ages, the weight training process evolves for both genders, with corresponding shifts in goals, approach and technique.
With that in mind, consider the following as you shape workout plans for yourself, your children, and your teenage girls.
Just like young boys, little girls should not be encouraged to do strenuous weight training until the developing areas of their long bones, called growth plates, have stopped changing. Usually this happens by early puberty, or about age 10. Before that time, weight training can be fun. It can also encourage a sense of competition and build self-confidence. Just focus on reps and keep weight levels low.
The Teen Years
At this point, there’s no inherent danger in heavy lifting, and in fact, young girls should be encouraged to balance their workouts between weight training and cardio. This is especially important for girls who become involved in cardio-heavy sports. Encourage your active teen to lift or do resistance training for at least 15 minutes at least three times a week.
There’s no need to stop weight training during pregnancy, and in fact, exercise can help the muscles stay strong and keep the ligaments flexible, which can ease the labor process. Just make sure you consult your doctor and gain her approval for every aspect of your workout plan.
The Senior Years
Weight training can be an excellent way to build and maintain bone health throughout life. This becomes especially valuable as we age and the calcium required by our bodies is sometimes leached away from our bones. Along with a healthy diet, an exercise routine with a weight training component can help ward off osteoporosis and other bone health issues.
May 15, 2012 | Filed Under Nutrition | No Comments
A great body, defined muscles, and peak athletic performance aren’t created by workouts alone. Of course the gym can offer plenty of what you need to stay in top shape, from weights to motivation to professional instruction. But a tight body doesn’t just come from cardio and resistance training— it also comes from a healthy lifestyle. To function at your best, you’ll need plenty of water and at least six hours of sleep every night. You’ll also need to pay attention to what you eat.
A nutritionist or trainer can help you put together a complete diet plan that supports your workout goals, but in the meantime, you’ll gain plenty of ground by keeping these simple diet tips in mind.
Nutrition Tips for Athletes
- Eat breakfast! No matter what the day brings, start your morning with food. If you can, choose whole grains, fruit, and a lean protein like peanut butter. Yogurt also works well, and so does a serving of eggs or some whole grain toast with honey. Just eat. And drink coffee. A simple glass of juice isn’t enough, but it helps. Skip anything with corn syrup on the ingredient list.
- Don’t be afraid to snack throughout the day, but don’t snack mindlessly. It’s actually better to eat several small meals throughout the day then three big heaping plates with nothing in between.
- Don’t drink soda. Reach for water instead. Or milk. Or juice. Or a sports drink. Or anything at all really. Just leave the soft drinks alone.
- Protein is important, but make sure you’re choosing the right proteins. Go lean and opt for turkey, chicken, and fish. Try to eat at least three servings of fish per week, like wild caught salmon. And load up on almonds and other healthy nuts and legumes. Skip the beef and pork.
- If you’re about to head into a strenuous activity that will last more than two hours, load up on carbs and pasta beforehand to build your glycogen reserves. If not, moderate carbs are fine, just make sure you select whole grains when you can.
May 12, 2012 | Filed Under Weightlifting | No Comments
When you head into the resistance-training portion of your workout routine, do you do so with long- term goals in mind? If you’re lifting for maintenance or just trying to keep your body healthy, that’s great. But if you’re working your way toward specific goals, these goals should play a strong role in your approach to lifting, including your weight, reps, diet, and technique.
Mass and Strength: What are the Benefits One versus The Other?
Lifting for mass means building the size of your arms and legs without worrying much about making them stronger or improving your athletic performance. Big muscles are like a fashion accessory—They stand out, they change the way your clothes fit, and they can help you gain an edge in competitive body building. If you want a muscular look, you can definitely get it, but you won’t get there very fast if you choose moves and techniques that are designed for strength.
On the other hand, strength and performance don’t always translate into huge bulky muscles. In fact, the opposite may be true depending on your unique physiology. Choose this path if you want powerful muscles and are fine with a look that’s lean and toned.
To build strength in your chosen area, the first move will be finding the right guide. A knowledgeable coach or mentor can keep your training regimen—which may be complex—on track. Don’t just throw yourself into new moves on your own. Consult the internet or talk to someone who excels in your chosen sport.
Meanwhile, you’ll be lifting with a focus on reps and technique, not weight. You’ll usually be lifting lighter and longer than your bulked-out counterparts. Avoid questionable supplements, and eat plenty of chicken, fish, leafy green vegetables, and plant proteins like nuts and legumes.
To build volume and mass, use heavier weights and lower reps. Have your coach or mentor walk you through the drop-down or burn-down method, which will mean lifting until you experience muscle failure. This will contribute to the hypertrophy, or miniscule tissue damage, that builds volume. Be safe—lifting for mass often means lifting weights outside your comfort zone, so make sure you lift with a spotter.
May 9, 2012 | Filed Under Nutrition, Strength Training | No Comments
Do your workout goals include building strength and/or adding muscle mass? If so, you’re probably spending plenty of time on resistance training and lifting heavier weights in shorter reps. But there are also some of steps you can take outside the gym that can support your training goals and help you build the powerful guns you’re looking for.
For example, let’s talk about food. Try adding these proven muscle-builders to your diet every day and see what happens.
Muscle Building Foods: Lean meats
Lean meats provide an excellent source of healthy, low calorie protein. But take note: by “lean meat,” we mean chicken, turkey, and fish (especially wild caught salmon). We don’t mean beef or pork, which can add excess unhealthy fats and set your progress back. When you’re hungry for a burger or chili, choose ground turkey instead of beef. And eat a serving of fresh fish at least three times a week.
Muscle Building Foods: Coffee
Coffee is one of the most misunderstood and also highly researched foods in the world. Even though we don’t know everything about how it works, coffee appears to increase endurance, especially during anaerobic activities like lifting and short-distance running. This means that after a cup or two, we can complete more reps. So the benefits are indirect, but clear.
Muscle Building Foods: Eggs
Eggs are packed with vitamin B12, B6, Iron, phosphorus, and choline, which are all essential to strong muscles and connective tissue. But don’t skip the yolks. That’s where the most powerful benefits lie.
Muscle Building Foods: Nuts and Legumes, Especially Almonds
A handful of almonds a day will help you stock up on vitamin E, and vitamin E contains powerful antioxidants that help damaged muscle tissues heal after intense workouts. The vitamins and phytonutrients in almonds are also great for your brain.
May 5, 2012 | Filed Under Workout Routines | No Comments
Have you ever wondered if some of your aches and pains may actually be caused by your workout? If you’re relying on any of these dangerous moves, you might be right.
The Incorrect Bench Press
When you complete a bench press, keep your arms close and tight to your body. As you lift the bar, your forearms should be rising straight up and back down. Remember, the bench press is not an exercise for the shoulders, and it isn’t about the back; it’s designed to target the pecs, arms and chest. An out-of-control bench press that taxes the back and shoulders will be less effective, and can cause serious damage to your joints.
The Lat Pull-Down
If you’re doing lat pull-downs and bringing the bar down behind your neck, stop. This places too much strain on your neck and upper spine. This move can also place questionable pressure on your shoulder joints, which can lead to rotator cuff problems. If you must do lat pull-downs at all, bring the bar down in front of your neck, and make sure you keep your back slightly arched in a natural way. If your back is arching unnaturally, reduce the amount of weight you’re lifting.
The Kettle Bell Swing
To complete this move properly, you’ll need to hinge your hip, keep your feet at shoulder width, and bend at the waist without bending your lower back. This is a precise set of instructions, amounting to a skill that’s best perfected with trained supervision. If you don’t have that supervision, skip this move for now. Your back will thank you.
The Squat with Knees Forward
Squats can be an excellent move for balance, tone and full body conditioning, but never let your knees creep further forward than your toes. This isn’t always easy, especially for those with long torsos or comparatively short legs. If you’re having trouble keeping those knees in line, that means you’re placing undesirable strain on your back. Try another move that provides the same benefits.
The Upright Row
Shoulders that have been rotated inward should not be elevated. Our rotator cuffs aren’t designed to work this way, and the benefits of this move are so limited (if they exist at all), that there no harm in letting it go altogether.
May 2, 2012 | Filed Under Workout Routines, Workout Tips | No Comments
The summer is only a few months away, and if you’d like to strut your stuff on the beach this year, now is the time to start planning ahead. There are some things about our bodies that we can’t change, and it’s best to make peace with those sooner rather than later. But there are a few things that we can exercise (at least a little bit) of control over. Let’s start with these four.
If you already work out at least three times a week, then you’re on the right track. If not, it’s time to get started. Find a convenient 10-15 minutes of each day and occupy those minutes with activities that elevate your heart rate, cause sweating, and cause a burning sensation in your muscles. Try a run followed by a brief session of resistance training and bodyweight exercise like crunches and push-ups.
Stretching for at least five minutes every day elevates circulation and increases balance, flexibility, and posture. Formal yoga instruction can help, but even a little bit of self-guided stretching can provide a streamlined profile, some extra confidence and an improved sense of well-being.
Start with three servings of green vegetables a day. At least. Add some fruit, whole grain carbs and lean proteins like chicken and fish. Say no thanks to beef and pork, and skip the sugary soft drinks.
- Lighten up
When you’re working out to improve your performance in a specific sport, that’s one thing. When your goals include attracting glances, that’s another. In addition to your workout, pay some attention to stress management and get at least six hours of sleep every night. And lighten up. Laugh at least a few times a day. Look for the best in everyone you speak to. This can have a remarkable effect on your skin tone, posture, and overall impression.