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5 ways to make your planks harder and more effective

5 Ways To Make Your Planks Harder And More Effective!

Planks are more than just a static hold. Learn different variations on this core-burning exercise to challenge your entire body.

You problely know how to do a plank before.  Whether you’re aiming for a 1-minute hold or challenging yourself in the fully elevated position, a static plank can get a bit dull after a while.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of planks—and their modifications. These exercises are incredibly effective for overall core strength and can help to improve your posture. As a bonus, they can work your entire body, depending on what type of plank you do. This all sounds a lot more fun than just a static hold, doesn’t it? read more

Increase Power and Get Lean on the Airbike

Increase Power and Get Lean on the Airbike

As professional workout expert proved that the effectiveness of the airbike has been well documented over the last few years. Not only is it great for fat loss, it provides a gut check like no other piece of cardio equipment in the gym.

It doesn’t take many rounds before you can see who is focused on results and who is on a Sunday morning ride through the park. Most protocols use a “tabataesque” work to rest ratio, keeping rest periods much shorter than work periods. While this method is great for grinding out sets on the way to fat loss, it doesn’t do much in the way of developing (or maintaining) power. read more

Mobilizer in use

A Roller to Mobilize Your Muscles

Sometimes foam rollers and stretching aren’t enough to reach the deep, dark places of our screamingly sore muscles.  For many athletes of all levels, it is a critical component of training to supporte mobility through increasing blood flow to these areas. Have you ever had a massage and the therapist finds a sore spot you didn’t know existed? The Mobilizer by Simple Mobility Tools (SMT) replicates that concept and allows you to dig in to any area with tension relieving results. read more

Healthier Travel

10 Tips for Healthier Travel

Headed to a competition or trying to maintain your healthy lifestyle? There are 10 travel tips will help keep you at your best.

  • Some exercise is better than no exercise. Rememeber the workout because you cannot fit your full workout routine into your day. Even 10 minutes of cardio, stretching, or bodyweight exercises before you have to hit the road can help you stay on track.
  • Pack food to bring with you. Most of what you can find at the airport, gas station, or train station is very unhealthy or very expensive. Make sure you choose whole foods or foods with few ingredients. Apples, oranges, carrot and celery sticks, and nuts travel well, as do trail mix, and dried fruit. Breakfast bars can be good also, but look for 5+ grams of protein with less than 10 grams of sugar. A PB&J will fit nicely in a small container and will not get soggy if you spread peanut butter on both pieces of bread before you spread the jelly.
  • It is especially important to stay hydrated while flying. Bring a water bottle to fill at the drinking fountain after you have gone through airport security. You will save at least $4, and if you ask nicely, the flight attendants will refill it for you on the plane.
  • Many airports now have yoga rooms in the terminals. If you have a long layover, make the most of your time and do some stretching and yoga while you wait. You will feel much better, and much more mobile, if you do.
  • Wear your running or walking shoes to the airport (or at least bring them in your carry-on luggage). If your airport doesn’t have a yoga room, walking around the airport terminal is a great way to stay active while traveling. No one to watch your carry-on luggage? Bring it with you and think of it as weight training.
  • When you are traveling by airplane, especially if your flight is over an hour long, wear compression gear (socks or tights). Wearing them under your normal clothing will help keep the blood in your legs from pooling, and your legs will not feel as heavy and tired when you land.
  • Take advantage of the hotel gym. Sure, it might not have the squat rack and barbells you are used to, but you can still get in a killer lift with those dumbbells (think high-repetition; 3-4sets of 15).
  • If the hotel gym does not have a C2 for you to log your meters, believe it or not, you can get a great workout in on the elliptical. If you crank up the resistance above 10 and keep the strides/minute above 60, your heart rate will climb and you will get a great cardio workout. To maintain rowing fitness while cross-training, you will need to put in a few extra minutes. For reference, 1000m on the C2 equals 5 minutes of cross-training (so 10K on the C2 = 50 minutes XT).
  • Sleeping in a new or strange place can be difficult, especially if there are screaming children or a loud TV in the room next to you. But trying to maximize sleep quality is very important for recovery from both exercise and travel, especially if the quantity of sleep is low. Make sure you take advantage of those blackout curtains. You sleep better in total darkness. You can also download a white noise app on your phone. They have hundreds of sounds to choose from, so you are likely to be able to find a soothing sound that reminds you of home, the beach, or your favorite appliance.
  • Keep sleep sacred: no phones, computers, or TV in bed. That means in a hotel bed too. Most hotel rooms have a desk for you to set up your computer or a chair you can sit in to watch TV. When it is time for sleep, turn the TV off, put your phone away, and then get in bed. You will fall asleep quicker and sleep better because your body knows that crawling into bed means time for sleep, not movie time.
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    Keep in mind: Your body rocks no matter what shape you are.

    Moves to Shrink Your Belly, Butt and Thighs

    The bodies from about mid-thigh to mid-stomach is “The Zone” — that tricky area that has most people puzzling over how to tighten and shrink it. Personally, I have what you call a “pear shape,” so my inner and outer thighs, booty and lower abs have always been where I focus my efforts.

    It is pretty to have curves. And I don’t think anyone should ever feel like they have to thin out their body to look sexy. That being said, there are some great exercises that are fan-frickin’-tastic for these particular body parts, so read on to see what I incorporate into my own workouts as well as my clients’ to tighten and tone “The Zone.” read more

    10 Gym HAcks Homeostasis Graph

    10 More Creative Gym Hacks & Tips You Need to Know

    Life hacks have become an essential component to any routine endeavor as we are in the age of automation and simplification.

    No, they won’t turn you into Jason Bourne but odds are they might make your life easier by saving you time and money.

    So, while you may not turn into a CIA assassin overnight, your new found first world knowledge from this article will likely impress those around you as they witness your vast array of skills. read more

    The Popular Squat Tip You Need To Ditch Now!

    The Popular Squat Tip You Need To Ditch Now!

    When you do a squat, your head ,shoulders, and no knees past toes. If you are performing the “king of lifts” and your knees wander just an inch past your toenails, catastrophic injury is sure to occur…right?

    As a physical therapist, I’ve heard this countless times before, and I really wish the rumor would come to an end. Why? Quite simply, it’s not true! Here’s why you need to stop repeating this pre-lift mantra, and what you should be thinking instead. read more

    3 Keys To Skyrocketing Your Powerlifts

    3 Keys To Skyrocketing Your Powerlifts

    For those who have a weak core or grip, it limits the raw strength of your big powerlifts. Learn to improve all 3 types of essential strength.

    Your vision of lifting increasingly heavier weight on all your major barbell movements may be 20/20, but any number of obstacles can obscure your efforts. Improving the big three barbell lifts—bench press, squat, and deadlift—takes practice and patience. It means doing the little things that add more weight to the bar. To wit: read more

    Powerlifting is one sport where there are great stresses put on you

    Sports Do Not Equal Health

    Though this particular subject is one of the more popular misconceptions in American culture, it does not touch upon, It is the belief that sports participation somehow leads to enhanced health. Before proceeding further, it might be a good idea to settle on some definition of health. I think that we can find some common ground in agreeing that a healthy person is one who is free of injury and degenerative disease, and physiologically and psychologically sound. Now let’s take it a step further and look at the goals of sport.

    Sports Goals and Liabilities

    For many people, their goals of sports are to equal or exceed certain goal numbers, outperform other individuals, and to show consistent improvement under increasingly more challenging conditions. This almost always leads to situations in which the structural integrity of the tissues is tested, and frequently succumbs. It can also develop physiological conditions that are detrimental to health, and in all too many situations injurious to the psyche. In my own sport of weightlifting, it is not uncommon for practitioners to experience varying degrees of joint trauma that can lead to arthritis in the aging athlete’s body, not to mention connective tissue strains and sprains and ligament calcification and bone spurs. Sports that require reduced body fat can cause hormonal and glandular disruption among their practitioners, as well as eating disorders. Sports that require excessive bodyweight increases can also adversely affect the metabolism. Among youth sports and some adult athletes, parental and coaching psychological abuse can lead to damage to the psyche as well as difficulties with socialization and substance abuse.

    A Look Back in History

    At one point in American history (say in the mid-20th century), it was normal for sports to be regarded as adolescent activities played primarily by high school aged children, and subsequently by elite-level athletes at the university level. There was very little organized adult sports activity. At that time, much of the population was rural, and made a living through manual labor. Sports were also pretty much a male domain. If you took the athletes of that era who grew up performing physical labor, and where the elite ones were chosen for sport teams, some argument might have been made that the athletes were the healthiest individuals. This could probably make a convincing argument for the relationship between health and sports. Then came the ‘70’s. Sometime during the 1970’s, heart disease became the leading cause of death among Americans. This was undoubtedly due to the switch from manual labor to more sedentary occupations, as well as the move from rural settings to urban, and the incongruity of living in a city and eating a farmer’s diet. This led to the jogging craze that encouraged millions of adults to take up competitive and recreational running. There was no selection for this group, just the ability to buy expensive running shoes. When adults got bored of running and sought out other types of sports, the idea became firmly planted that sports could lead to improved health. While it may have proven true in many cases, the result is that far too many unsuitable individuals are involved in competitive sports at a level that is definitely not conducive to good health.

    Why the Connection Survives

    We have been able to learn a great deal about human physiology by studying athletes, and we’ve learned some training approaches that have benefits for general health. We also like to use specialized equipment and clothing developed for athletes for those that are not lifestyle athletes. Since physical fitness has emerged as a populist movement, the public’s desire to associate itself with athletes has also contributed to the association. Subsequently, many non-athletes have adopted what they believe are behavioral norms of athletes and inserted them into their own training regimens. The results in all too many cases are injuries and conditions that are hardly conducive to good general health. There are some valid connections between competitive athletics and physical activity for the improvement of general health. Be they training principles, clothing, gear, or attitudes, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish the blurred boundary between the two domains.

    Let’s Stop Confusing the Sports and Health

    I believe the confusion results because the leadership is not often clear about the two concepts.  When you have top athletes advertising exercise equipment, exercise clothing, food supplements, and training approaches, the association is very powerful in the minds of the uninformed. Likewise, many leaders in the field of physical fitness use sports imagery and sports association to market training facilities, equipment and strategies. At some point, a distinction should be drawn so that those interested in improving their general health and fitness are not misled into potentially dangerous pathways. Rather, they should place the filter of “Is this good for me?” on their approaches before embarking on them. Remember, the entire goal of sports is to “go beyond your limits,” and that’s where the damage is done.