What Is Resistance Band Training – Will It Work For Me?

There are lots of terms floating around in the fitness and workout world. Resistance training is one of them. So what is resistance training exactly? The true meaning of resistance training is working out in such a way as to force your muscles to contract against a resistance that is external.

Resistance workouts can be performed with weight machines, free weights, your own body weight, or with bands or tubing. This article is going to focus primarily on resistance band training.

Band training is using stretchy bands, or tubing, as the resistance for building up your muscles. Instead of using weights, or machines, the workouts are performed with the bands. Although this system sounds deceptively easy, the resistance and results are still there. Bands can be easily bought at any fitness store.

Benefits of resistance training.

There are so many health benefits to be gained from resistance training in general that the American College of Sports Medicine now recommends that all American adults should be incorporating this type of activity into their workouts two to three times weekly.

* Resistance, or strength training not only tones up your muscles, making them appear toned and taut, it will improve your muscle mass.
* Increased strength.
* Band training not only burns calories at the time of the workout, but will lead to a higher metabolic rate. In other words, your metabolism will start to run faster and more efficiently which is a great benefit for weight management.
* Improved balance for the elderly.
* Improved bone mass, which helps alleviate osteoporosis.

Advantages of bands (or tubing).

* Cost effective. Tubing or bands are much less expensive than weights and machines. Generally, you should be able to purchase a set of 4 for about $20.
* Color coded. Bands and tubes come in different colors, which denote different thicknesses, and strengths, which in turn will result in varied resistances.
* Light weight. Bands weigh next to nothing, make them easy to use for the elderly, and any one with joint problems or lacking in a lot of strength.
* Portable. One of the best things about bands is that you can throw them in your suitcase when you are traveling and continue on with your workouts while you are away.
* Adjust to size. No matter whether you are 7 foot tall or 4 foot 10, unlike some machines, which only cater to specific heights, bands will still be effective.
* Easy to store. Tubing and bands take up no room whatsoever. You do not need a dedicated room or garage for your home gym exercise equipment. You can use these pretty much anywhere in the house.
* Won’t damage anyone or anything if dropped. Whereas, free weights and dumbbells can cause significant injuries and damage if dropped on toes, feet, or the floor.
* Don’t require a lot of coordination to use them effectively. While some weights and machines may require some dexterity to change plates and pins etc, bands are pretty simple to use.
* Don’t need to be strong to use them. Free weights and dumbbells require some initial strength to be able to set everything up and get started, with bands you don’t need any strength at all to get cracking.

* Versatile. There are many exercises that you can perform with the one set of bands. You can exercise all the major muscle groups of your body.

Disadvantages of bands.

* Tubes can be damaged with sharp edges or rough surfaces.
* Tubing or bands will eventually need replacing as they lose their stretch and resistance.
* Over time they may start to perish, like any rubber product.

Who can use them.

One of the best features of bands for training is that anyone can use them. Even the wheelchair bound can use the bands to work out their arms. No matter your age, size, or strength, there will be plenty of workouts that you will be able to utilize. Those with injuries can also selectively use the tubing to keep the strength in their other non injured muscle groups.

Conclusion.

Resistance band training has many health benefits when performed 2-3 times per week. Working out with tubing or bands is suitable for just about everybody no matter size, age, or strength.

High Intensity Training – Go Harder For Better Results

Have you hit a plateau in your training program? Not losing any more weight? Not seeing an improvement in muscle mass? Been doing the same workout for quite some time? If you have answered “Yes” to any of these, it is probably time to reassess your workout program. You may well be working at a lower intensity than is optimal for your goals. Try some of these tips for a more effective high intensity training.

* Add extra weight. Obvious, yes. But many people get stuck in a rut with their workouts and it doesn’t occur to them that they need to start lifting more. Your muscles get used to lifting certain weights and then after that they are just cruising on auto-pilot. Give your muscles a jolt.

* Alter the speed of the reps. If you cannot possibly lift heavier weights for whatever reason, try changing the speed of the repetitions to increase your workout intensity. For example, instead of letting gravity help on the way down, slow the negative part of the exercise right down. You will be in control of the weight, not gravity, and you will really feel a difference. This is one strategy that has endless variations to keep your muscles from getting complacent and lazy. When asking yourself  how to get a six pack, you will be much more effective at getting rid of the love handles if you play around with the speeds of your crunches.

* Change the exercise pattern. Your muscles get used to doing things in a certain order. Many people always workout in the same pattern. For those skeptics out there, just try reversing your whole workout routine and see how much harder it is. Your muscles will not be doing what they expected and will have to work harder. Try it and see. This is another strategy that has plenty of variation.

* Shorten your rest intervals.
Decreasing your rest periods means that your muscles will have to work harder. As an added bonus you will also be able to do more in the same workout time.

* No pain, no gain.
Cliched but true. If you are cruising through your workout you are definitely not going to progress. It should be hard and it should burn. Do a few more reps at the very least.

* Hire a trainer. Get a trainer to give you an assessment to see where you can improve. This can be invaluable for those people who have been doing the same old same old for a long time. Sports medicine techniques have changed and you could possibly benefit.

* How long is too long for a workout routine? A very fit person will need to increase their intensity every 3-4 weeks. Experts state that it takes about a minimum of 3 weeks for the body to reap the benefits of the change in routine. Beginners may take as long as 2-3 months before they hit their first plateau. This is because at the start it is all new and their muscles are getting it all together.

* Keep a journal.
This is pretty important when you are playing around with rest intervals, your speeds, your weights, and your routines. How can you possibly remember? If you can you are possibly doing too much of the same thing on a regular basis. Logging your progress will give you a better idea of how much stronger and fitter you are getting. Keeping a journal will also allow you to look back over time and see which tactics work best for you.

* Are you working hard enough?
If you are not out of breath or sweating then it goes without saying, you are not working yourself hard enough. You should be working at such a level that you are capable of short answers only. If you can carry on a whole conversation you need to be harder on yourself. If you feel faint or breathless you are overdoing it. Obviously, chest pain would mean stopping immediately and possibly a visit to the doctor.

Conclusion.

Pushing yourself harder in your workout will yield results. Those stuck on the scales or not seeing an improvement in the bathroom mirror will benefit from upping their workout ante to a higher intensity.

Work Out With Proper Form For Better Definition

Are you lifting those weights correctly? It is important to work out with proper from if you want to minimize injuries and maximize results. It really doesn’t matter how heavy that weight is if you are doing it all wrong. Guys tend to fall victim to poor form more often than the girls. The reason? Men tend to get a bit carried away with the amount of weight they are lifting.

What is good form?

Form is the quality with which you perform an exercise or routine. The better method you employ while performing a specific exercise, the better the workout for the targeted muscle group. So in other words, you are better off lifting a lighter weight perfectly and with good form than a heavier weight incorrectly, or with poor form.

Tips for good form.

There are three main components that determine your form when lifting weights or performing an exercise (like crunches).

* Control your speed. Slow measured and accurate movements are best. The faster the motion the less chance you are in control. The heavier the weight and the faster the motion the more chance that the weight is controlling you as opposed to you being in control. Don’t let gravity assist you with the downwards part of the motion. Stay in charge. Steady movements are best.

* Stability. The part of your body that you are exercising should be moving. The rest of your body should be still. It can be very easy to use other muscle groups to assist (or cheat) with the exercise, which only detracts from the effectiveness of the workout. Your body should not be rocking backwards or forwards.

* Full range of motion. The whole motion needs to be performed. Halfway is only half a workout. Go all the way through, and then all the way back.

Good form for the gals.

Females are generally not quite so guilty of working out with poor form as the men. Generally, women tend to not complete the full range of motion. It is important to complete the range, otherwise the exercise is pretty much a waste. Keep an eye on that mirror and ensure you are fully extending and flexing. If you are unsure get a trainer to watch you for one session to ensure you are doing it right.

Good form for the guys.

Men’s poor form pretty much stems from the fact they attempt to lift weights that are too heavy for their strength. As a direct result, many men rush their lifts. Another popular example of poor form is enlisting the aid of other muscle groups to help with the lift. You should only be using the specific and targeted muscles. If you can’t, lessen the weight and go back to the basics. Once you can lift the weight perfectly, then start upping the weight.

Rocking your body weight is poor form, as is ”jerking’, “bouncing” or “kicking” where the momentum of body weight is used to finish the lift and then the weight returns using gravity. These sorts of cheating movements are not only totally defeating the purpose, but are also high risk for joint strains.

How to achieve good form.

* Start out with light weights that you can manage until you have perfected the movement.
* Seek the advice of a professional when first starting out. Once you have the moves down you can go it alone.
* Use mirrors to keep your motions in check.
* Don’t train when you are injured or sick. In both instances you will be unable to give your all to the workout.
* Concentrate on the correct motions and isolate the muscle group you are working on. Taking your mind off the job can easily lead to sloppy workouts and injuries. For example, how to get a six pack? When doing crunches, really focus on those core muscles and abdominals, concentrate on your breathing and do not allow your neck muscles to take the pressure off.
* Breathe. Remember to keep breathing while you are doing your routine. Holding your breath will result in your muscles being deprived of oxygen faster.

Conclusion.

Proper form is essential to both lessen injuries and to define muscles. Lifting a lighter weight perfectly is far more effective than lifting a heavier weight with poor form.

Skipping Rope Exercises – Low Cost For High Results

For those who are financially, space, or time challenged, skipping rope can be a highly effective method of burning calories. Not only do you not need the space for a home gym, you don’t have to have the cash for one either. A simple rope from any large sports store can start from as little as $10. Not only is this form of exercising cheap, there are literally hundreds of skipping rope exercises that you can challenge yourself with to escape the boredom factor.

Benefits of skipping rope:

* improves coordination and agility.
* increases the heart rate.
* burns calories. A 10 minute session with a skipping rope can burn as many calories as a 30 minute jog.
* cost effective.
* portable.
* works many different muscle groups.
* huge variety of motions and techniques to prevent boredom.
* can easily be incorporated as the cardio component in interval training.

Disadvantages of skipping rope:

* can take some practice to get the hang of it.

Getting started:
* to get started you will obviously need a skipping rope and a good quality pair of cross trainers that will absorb the impact.
* you may like to watch some DVD’s or videos on various tricks and techniques to exercise various parts of your body.
* wooden floors or gym type flooring is great to help with the impact of landing.
* 9 foot clearance needed for height. (Approximately.)
* to determine your ideal rope length, each end of your rope should come level with your armpits when you place one foot on the ground on the middle of the rope.

Types of skipping ropes:

* woven ropes are usually made from nylon, cotton, or hemp, are slower, and hurt the least if they hit you. They are not so suitable for outdoors as the wind can lift them.
* speed ropes are fast, inexpensive, popular, fairly durable, and usually made from plastic. The only disadvantage to a speed rope is that they sting when they collide with your skin.
* leather ropes are traditionally used by boxers. These are the second fastest of the skipping ropes. They are the most expensive, sting on your skin, and can become easily twisted with tricky techniques. They can also take some time to unstiffen.
* weighted ropes either have weights in the handles, or are made from heavier rope, and are purported to benefit working the muscles in your arms while twirling the rope. Weighted ropes are great for outdoors on windy days. Weighted ropes will hurt more if they hit you. Generally it is better to start with a regular rope and work up.
* beaded ropes are flexible and well weighted for both low speed turning and tricks. The inner nylon cord is strung with beads making it a little heavier than a standard rope. These ropes will sting at high speeds. The heavier rope can also be more tiring on the arms when performing endurance routines.

Conclusion.

Skipping rope is both a cost and time effective calorie burning workout. For $10 you have an easily portable piece of exercise equipment that with practice, can be used instead of jogging, and as a cardio component in interval training. A great investment for anyone looking to burn calories fast.

Exercise And Aging – Slow Down The Clock

Recent research has shown that exercise and aging may be even more related than we previously thought. A study performed in the UK on sets of twins showed that the twin who regularly exercised had longer telomeres than the twin who didn’t. What’s a telomere? A telomere is the cap that protects the ends of your chromosomes. As you get older, as in the case of the sedentary twin, these telomeres become shorter. However, the twin who participated in regular sport had longer telomeres than their slothful twin, and from a cellular level appeared up to 9 years younger.

It is never to late to start exercising. If you haven’t exercised in a while, you are probably wise to get a clearance from your medical practitioner before you start. Even as little exercise as 10 minutes a day can have a positive impact on your health.

Apart from making you look and feel younger, exercise has many other benefits to help slow down the hands of time: