October 22, 2012 | Filed Under Strength Training | No Comments
If you’ve been engaged in the workout scene for a little while, you’ve probably heard trainers and athletes talking about the importance of the “core”. What exactly is this mysterious core, and why is it so vital to the success of a healthy workout routine?
What is the Core?
The core is actually a set of four muscle groups that create a cylinder around the lower torso. The abs form the front of the cylinder and the back and sides are composed of the multifidis and obliques, the strong muscles that curve around our rib cage and support our lower back. The top of the cylinder is formed by the diaphragm that draws air into the lungs, and the base is formed by a sling-shaped set of muscles that run from the tail bone to the front of the pelvic bowl.
The core muscles surround the internal organs and support the spine, and as they do this, they form a strong anchor point for the motion of every other muscle in the body, including the arms, legs, hands, and even the head.
How does core strength contribute to strength, agility, and overall health?
When the core is strong and conditioned, the muscles around the lower spine contract involuntarily every time we move, even in our sleep. This constantly realigns the spine, and when the spine is straight and supported, our entire range of motion improves. A better range of motion and a stable base contribute to a more productive workout in every part of the body. Every activity radiates from the center and depends on the health of the spine, so when the core is strong, the entire body is agile, responsive, balanced, and under control. The more core-focused activities we include in our workout plan, the more mileage we gain from every move.
To know how Gripad fitness gloves can help improve your workout plan, call our toll free number at 877-703-GRIP (4747).
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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.
March 21, 2012 | Filed Under Strength Training, Weightlifting | No Comments
Children and teenagers who are still growing often want to improve their athletic performance, tighten and tone their bodies so they look better, and improve their strength. Should parents and coaches encourage them to lift weights? The answer is almost always yes… but only within certain limits. As your child starts picking up weights and leaning toward lifting equipment, you’ll need to keep these considerations in mind:
- First, there’s a big difference between resistance training and competitive weightlifting, or body building. Light resistance training is a positive move in almost every way (read on), but intense weightlifting should be skipped. Heavy weights, lifting to failure, and overtaxing a child’s muscles can damage her growing tendons and the still-developing areas of her bones called growth plates. Put off the intense lifting for a few more years, and focus instead on proper technique, light resistance, and controlled movements.
- That being said, mild resistance training is generally great for kids. A regular routine of cardiovascular exercise supplemented by controlled resistance training can strengthen muscles and bones and improve athletic performance in almost every sport. It can also protect a child’s joints and muscles from sports-related injuries.
- Resistance training offers long-term lifestyle benefits as well. Children who engage in mild lifting workouts tend to have an easier time controlling their weight later in life. They also have healthier blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and they demonstrate improved confidence and self-esteem.
- Children can safely begin resistance training around the age of 7 or 8, as long as they’re mature enough to control their movements and know the difference between mild resistance and bulking up. If you aren’t sure your child is ready, or if he has a health issue, talk to your doctor before he begins.
March 13, 2012 | Filed Under Strength Training, Workout Tips | No Comments
When we talk about the bicep, or the upper arm, we’re actually referring to a team of three strong muscles that work together to flex the elbow: the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. A good bicep workout targets these three, and since no muscle in the body works independent of the others, a great bicep workout will also target muscles that support the back and strengthen the hand grip.
Here are a few simple guidelines that can help you bring out the best in your biceps:
- First, set clear goals. Do you want huge mass with no regard for strength? Or are your ideal biceps lean and strong as iron? The answer will help you develop your workout plan.
- Next, make a plan. Be sure you stay goal-focused and strike a balance between realism and ambition. You’ll want to challenge yourself and push your limits, but keep your expectations reasonable and prepare to be patient.
- To build mass, choose the burn-down or drop-set method: load on the heavy weights and lift until you can’t do it anymore. Then take off a little weight and lift to failure again. Do this over and over, and you’ll generate the hypertrophy that contributes to size. If you’re looking for strength, don’t take this route. Instead, reduce the weight and increase your reps.
- Balance your workout between preacher curls, alternate hammer curls, and barbell curls. These are three great bicep building moves that improve the handgrip and don’t place unhealthy strain on the wrist, elbow or back. Change your routine frequently, and give equal attention to both arms.
- Pay attention to your lifestyle. Get at least six hours of sleep every night, and never skip breakfast. Load up on whole grain carbs and plant nutrients, and keep your protein sources lean. Choose poultry, fish and legumes. Steer clear of red meat, soda, and corn syrup.
Choose your gym and your gear with care. For safety and better results, don’t lift anything heavy without a spotter or a companion. And use your Gripads to maintain a tight, sweat-free grip on all bars and equipment.
February 15, 2012 | Filed Under Strength Training | No Comments
We know that increasing and maintaining adequate muscle mass is one of the best ways to keep body fat at bay and to improve overall fitness, particularly as we age. We also know that weight lifting is the best way to build muscle mass. Still, the number of women who actually participate in any formal or consistent weight training workout is still extremely low. Most women who exercise are spending most of their gym time on cardiovascular exercise. Whatever your reasons for avoiding the weights, if you are a woman, here are five good reasons for taking strength training seriously.
- You will be physically stronger.
Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for assistance in daily living. If your maximum strength is increased, daily tasks and routine exercise will be far less likely to cause injury. Research shows that women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.
- You will lose body fat.
As your lean muscle increases, so does your resting metabolism, and you burn more calories all day long. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. That can really add up.
- You will gain strength without bulk.
Researchers also found that unlike men, women typically don’t gain size from strength training, because compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause muscle hypertrophy. You will, however, develop muscle tone and definition. This is a bonus.
- You will reduce your risk of injury, back pain and arthritis.
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury.
- It is never too late to benefit.
Women in their 70s and 80s have built up significant strength through weight training and studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age.
January 3, 2012 | Filed Under Motivation, Strength Training | No Comments
Strength training can be an important aspect of a balanced workout, and most experts recommend adding at least twenty minutes of resistance to your cardio workout at least three times a week. While you plan out and follow through on your goals, bear the following tips in mind to help you stay on track.
Target Specific Areas
It’s okay to drift randomly from one machine to another, but you’ll get better and faster results if you target specific areas and dedicate deliberate attention to each one. If your abs or arms need extra work, think about this as you plan out your routine and the rest of your day.
Make Frequent Changes
Don’t let yourself get bored. Change your workout at least once a month so you stay balanced and aren’t tempted to start going through the motions.
If you’re not getting the results you want or if you’re in pain or demotivated at the end of every session, something’s wrong. Make sure your goals are challenging enough to yield change and progress, but also within realistic limits.
Protect Your Hands
Hand protection is an important part of any strength training plan. Weights and machines can be rough on your palms, and a loose grip on heavy objects can be dangerous. Make sure you choose a glove or pad that stays put, allows full range of motion, and is clean, comfortable and durable. Gripads offer all of these benefits. Don’t let injuries, blisters and abrasions get between you and your goals.
Get Help When You Need It
Lifting weights and working out on your own can be a great way to get started, but eventually, it may be a good idea to get some professional advice and coaching. A trainer at your local gym can help you set and attain reasonable goals. Meanwhile, working out with a friend or partner can be a great way to get and give mutual support and objective feedback.