Why Would You Use Mirrors In The Gym?

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the strongest of them all? Why would you use mirrors in the gym? There are quite a few good reasons to have some mirrors installed where you workout. No, it isn’t just to admire your great physique. Read on to see why gyms and health clubs have walls and wall of mirrors:

* Check form.
Probably the most important reason for having mirrors is to keep an eye on your from. This is especially important when you are training at home or on your own. It can be incredibly easy to slip into bad habits quickly when working out or lifting weights. Incorrect motions not only result in injuries, but are also pretty much a waste of time. There is no point lifting those weights if you are doing it all wrong.

Poor form can lead to long term and insidious injuries and weaknesses, as well as more noticeable short term injuries that can sideline you while you are recovering. Incorrect form will also mean that the muscle group you are trying to focus on will not tone up as fast as is optimal. The other disadvantage to poor form is that when you are using other muscles to help you with your workout, you will not be burning as many calories as fast as you would be if you were completing the motion correctly.

Mirrors also enable you to see the back half and both sides giving you an all round view of what you are doing. Another benefit of mirrors is that they assist you with your balance. You can easily see that your weight is evenly distributed and that your feet and shoulders are evenly spaced.

* Posture. Keeping your tummy tucked in is important for many workouts. Letting it all hang out is not usually considered an option. This is important when you are asking yourself how to get a six pack of abs, doing abdominal and core work, and the mirrors will come into their own. Correct alignment will ensure that there is no unnecessary pressure placed on crooked backs and necks.

* Cheaper than a trainer. Mirrors play a critical factor when there is no trainer or spotter present. Keep your eye on yourself literally and make sure those reps are being done right. No bending, no cheating, and no cutting corners. Any parts of you that are being lazy or slack are instantly demonstrated. This will prevent you from getting into bad habits that are then difficult to break.

* Determine progress.
Once you get into a workout or training routine you will be able see for yourself how much better you are going through the motions and how much stronger you are getting.

* Stay motivated.
Mirrors really allow you to see just how pumped you are getting. Sure, you can check yourself out in the bathroom mirror, but that is not the same as seeing those muscles bulging when you are doing the exercise correctly. The better the muscles start looking in the mirrors, the more you will be inspired to keep on going.

* Brighten room. Mirrors can also be an excellent way to brighten up a dark space and make it look bigger. Since many of us are working out in basements, or small spaces, this can be worthwhile on its own. A pleasant workout space is much more appealing and inviting, and you will be much more inclined to hang out there. No-one wants to work out in a dungeon.

* Mirrors on a budget.
Try your local hardware store for cheap mirrors that you can attach to the wall in sections. This can be much more cost effective than going to a fitness store. Don’t forget that there will also be bargains to be had on EBay, and possibly garage sales.

* How to use those mirrors.
How you view yourself, will depend on the exercise you are doing. Standing straight on can be great for many while others are best seen from the side. Care should be taken to not be trying to turn your neck around 90 degrees to peer into the mirror. This sort of activity will strain your neck very quickly. For this reason it can be a great idea to mount mirrors on a couple of walls at right angles to each other so you can easily see yourself from more than one angle at a time.

Conclusion.

There are plenty of good reasons for gyms to have those walls of mirrors. No, it isn’t so you can keep an eye on that hot body on the other side of the room. Mirrors in a home gym play a crucial component in keeping proper form. Mirrors are invaluable when trainers and spotters are not around. Being able to track your progress will also keep you motivated and feeling good about your workout program.

Simple Yet Essential Core Strength Training Exercises And Tips

As the word would suggest, your “core” muscles are central to your body’s ability to move effectively, and to be adequately protected. Your core muscles protect your lower back, allow you to run faster, make you stronger, more flexible, and will provide you with better posture and balance. Weak core muscles can result from a sedentary lifestyle, excess weight, poor posture, previous injury, pregnancy, not enough flexibility,and low fitness. Read on for these simple core strength training exercises and tips.

* Classes such as Pilates, and kick boxing can all be excellent and fun ways to strengthen your core muscles.

* Frequency. Core exercises should be performed at least three times weekly. A well rounded exercise program would incorporate stretching, cardio, and strength training, in addition to working out those core muscles.

* Add resistance. You will build up your core strength by incorporating resistance into your abdominal exercise routine. Machines, weights, medicine balls, and resistance bands can all be used to increase your strength. As a generalization, if you are looking for strength as opposed to endurance, your repetitions should be only about 6-12 before you are feeling fatigued.

* Add a fitness ball.
Fitness balls are a great piece of equipment for core muscle workouts. The firmer the ball, the harder the workout will be. Generally a fitness ball that allows you to sit on it with your knees bent is about the correct size for you. When starting out exercising these muscle try doing 5 of each. As you become stronger and more proficient you can work up to 10 or 15. Abdominal crunches performed while balancing on your ball are a great and simple form of core exercise. Even sitting on a fitness ball and retaining your balance is giving those core muscles a workout. Why not replace your office chair with a fitness ball for improved balance and stability?

For even more inspiration on how to work out with a fitness ball, you may want to visit the Mayo Clinic site here.

Strength Training Exercises – How Much Weight Do I Need To Lift?

When starting out with strength training it can be a little confusing and daunting. One of the simplest ways to determine how much weight you need to be using is to identify your goals. Are you performing strength training exercises to battle the bulge, to increase your muscle bulk, or to increase your strength? Each goal will require a different weight range and technique. Read on for further clarification.

* Starting out.

When just starting it is vital to get the movements right. A personal trainer, or a gym supplied trainer will be able to help you. It is important to remember that you cannot do weight training on consecutive days. You must have at least 1 day of rest in between. 1-3 sessions per week is the recommended frequency.

To determine your starting weight you should select a weight that allows you to only perform the selected number of repetitions in 1 set while maintaining the correct motion. The last exercise in the repetition should feel impossible, but still be achievable. Start off with a reasonably light weight and keep adding the pounds until you reach your starting weight, as we have just described.

* Increase strength. Your ideal weight will only allow you to perform 12-16 repetitions, resting for 20-30 seconds between 1-3 sets.

* Increase muscle mass. Your ideal weight will only allow you to perform 4-8 repetitions, resting for 1-2 minutes between a minimum of 3 sets. Beginners will need to work up to these sorts of weights and will also need to have a spotter looking out for them to prevent accidents and to ensure correct form.

* Tone up, lose fat
. Your ideal weight will allow you to perform 10-12 repetitions, resting for 30-60 seconds between 1 and 3 sets.

* Warming up is essential to prevent strains, tears, and other injuries. Your first set of exercises should be done with very light weights to warm the muscles up and get the blood flowing. Your second set of exercises should be done with heavier weights that are going to start to tire your muscles.

* Momentary muscle failure (MMF).
Unlike organ failure, this condition will not kill you. (Although it may well feel like it at the time.) MMF is what serious strength trainers set out to achieve, because it is at this point that the muscle group you are working will not be able to continue with the exercise. At this stage it is important to not cheat or alter your form. Just stop. Your muscle has just been stimulated into doing something it couldn’t, and it will reward you by adding extra fiber and strength.

MMF is a serious technique used by strength trainers to increase the lean muscle tissue. MMF is not to be confused with muscle fatigue, when your muscles are tired but still capable of performing. MMF is at that moment when you cannot physically do anymore and follows on from muscles that are tired.

* Upping the weight.
Roughly every week, you should be adding extra weight and repetitions. Once you can comfortably perform 16 repetitions perfectly, it is time to add on more weight. Once you are lifting considerable weights you can drop your repetitions back to 12. Strength training will only succeed if you keep your body challenged. Change your routine about every 6 weeks to keep your muscles challenged.

Conclusion.

The weight that you should be using for your strength training exercises will be determined by both your goals and your initial levels of fitness and strength.

The Benefits Of Strength Training Increase Enormously With Age

Lifting wights, or strength training, is no longer just the domain of body builders. More and more research is showing that the benefits of strength training are enormous for everybody. Interestingly enough, the elderly and those in poor health may well benefit the most.

Lifting weights 2-3 times per week increases the density of bones and increases muscle mass. Muscle mass is important for increasing the metabolic rate of the body. Healthy bone density is important to counteract osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) and the associated fractures that go with the decrease in calcium in the bones.

Other benefits of strength training are:

* weight maintenance. Not only does the activity of lifting weights burn calories and fat, but the resulting increase in muscle mass can increase the body’s metabolic rate by as much as 15%. Muscle is a tissue that requires calories to function, whereas fatty deposits do not.

* anti-depressant. Current research has shown that strength training can be as effective for treating some depression as anti-depressant medication. Strength training results in an elevated mood from the production of the feel good hormones, or endorphins.

* glucose control. Type 2 diabetes has skyrocketed by over 300% in the last 4 decades in the US. This translates to 114 million adults living in the US with type 2 diabetes. Strength training has proven to be just as effective as medication for treating early stage type 2 diabetes and many people in the early stages can reverse their blood results with strength training and dietary changes alone. (If you have diabetes type 2 you need to consult your practitioner before embarking on a strength training program and altering your medications.)

* better balance is another positive benefit from lifting weights. Strength training improves flexibility and coordination, which contribute enormously to better movement and less falls in the aging process.

* arthritis relief. Many people associate joint disease with having to cease exercise. However, studies have shown that people with painful knees caused by osteoarthritis noted a significant reduction in their pain levels after courses of strength training exercises. Disability, signs, and symptoms, were all additionally dramatically reduced. Many participants felt that that the strength training exercises were more beneficial than their arthritis medications.

* heart health. Strength training promotes a healthy heart by assisting with a healthier body weight. The leaner the body, the less strain on the heart. Indeed, the American Heart Association recommends strength training not only as part of a preventative healthy heart regime, but also as cardiac rehabilitation for those recovering from heart disease.

Types of Strength Training

There are various forms of strength training. All have advantages and disadvantages. Different types serve different purposes and individuals. If you have never done any strength training work it is a great idea to either visit a physiotherapist, hire a personal trainer, or get a temporary membership at a health club to be properly informed. It is easy to use weights inappropriately and suffer injuries.

* Resistance bands are portable, inexpensive, and easy to store for the space challenged. There are many varieties of movements that you can perform with a set of bands. There are many DVDs and books to give you plenty of inspiration. Bands will improve strength and muscle tone, but if you want to be a body builder, you will obviously want something heavier. Over time, bands will need to be replaced when they lose their elasticity.

* Free weights improve coordination as the exercises must be performed correctly. Free weights are not as limiting as machines and offer more versatility with routines. However, weights take up space, can prove costly if you are lifting extremely heavy weights, and require knowledge and skill. Serious injury is easy with free weights. When starting out you will need a trainer. Free weights ideally require a spotter to prevent fatal injuries.

* Machines can be relatively simple to use, and to alter weights. However they do require a lot of space and money, unless of course you go to a gym. Machines do not require as much coordination as free weights. The downside is that usually numerous machines are required to work out all major muscle groups. Machines are generally safer, and it is harder to seriously injure yourself than with free weights.

Conclusion.

Strength training is excellent for people of all ages and health. Enlist the help of a professional to start a program to minimize injuries and maximize performance. Strength training has been found to be helpful in fighting heart disease, obesity, depression, and type 2 diabetes.

 

Benefits Of Strength Training With Hydraulic Fitness Equipment

Hydraulic fitness equipment has some great advantages for strength training. But firstly, what are the main differences between hydraulic and free weight systems? Hydraulic systems use oil filled cylinders (much like the shock absorbers in a car) to provide the resistance in your training. Free weights use the weights themselves as the resistance. While it is possible to over lift with free or stacked weights, a hydraulic system will never cause an injury from too heavy a weight.

Hydraulic systems are not going to suit everybody. Likewise free or stacked weights are not for everybody either. Your choice of strength training equipment will be decided by several factors: previous experience, age and fitness, previous injury, and your goals. Read on to see which system is going to be best for your purposes.

Advantages of hydraulic equipment:
* Hydraulic systems can be much safer for the less experienced.
* You do not need to use a spotter, so they are much more suited for beginners and home use.
* Smoother range of motions due to the hydraulics.
* Will still raise your metabolism and tone your muscles without any cables or adjusting of weights.
* The harder and faster you work the machine, the more resistance you will encounter, and the more of a workout you will get.
* Less chance of injury with hydraulic systems. Stacked weights can easily cause injury from over exertion or improper use.
* Great for those just starting or coming back from an injury because the resistance is always suited to the strength of the user.
* Safe for any age group, ability, or fitness level.
* Less likely to result in sore muscles.
* Excellent for circuit training, as there is no need to stop and readjust weights for individual users.

Disadvantages:
* May not be challenging enough for long term regular free weight users, and body builders.
* May not be ideal for the person looking to add muscle bulk.
* More costly.
* Take up more room.

Conclusion:
Hydraulic fitness equipment can be ideal for those who are recovering from injuries, prone to injuries, or anyone looking for muscle toning. Hydraulic systems are safer than stacked weights as there is no chance of improper lifting or over lifting your weight. The harder and faster you use the equipment, the more effective your workout will be. Hydraulic systems do not require spotters and will raise your metabolism. For the serious bodybuilder, or long-term weight lifter, free weights are going to be more challenging.