Studies show workouts improve strength and conditioning leading to greater success in LIFE!
Good workouts will improve your strength, flexibility, and athleticism. Kinesiology, or the study of body movements, have helped strength and conditioning coaches design programs for specific sports movements. All of us can benefit from those lessons.
Training for sports goes beyond getting fit. It involves specific exercises to build speed, explosiveness, strength, agility, and balance. It is important to be fit because it will enable you to participate in athletics well into your senior years. You could golf, swim, play baseball or softball, ski, or do a host of other athletic endeavors.
Being fit will also make life's daily grind more bearable. Whether it is the physical demands of your job, gardening or doing household work having worked your body makes those tasks much more bearable if not enjoyable.
Workouts help you in many ways - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Good fitness programs improve your heart, strength, and flexibility. You can lose fat and gain muscle. If you are overweight you will reshape your body, which will generally improve your self-image.
There are many options when choosing a fitness program. Your over-all health and goals will help you determine which program you will want to participate in. More and more professionals are using light weights or their own body weight when working out.
Below are several excellent workouts you can do at home. Each offers something a bit different, but they all work your heart and body.
Congratulations! Given the fact that you have read this far is an indication you are one of the few who is actually determined to begin an exercise program. The next step is to get started, now!
You can also get quite a bit of information by looking at any of JackLalanne's books, old television series, or other products.
Restoring fitness entails clarifying exactly what it means to be fit. Most fitness experts generally agree that the days of isolation movements are gone as part of a good workout. Working on machines or at free weights doing the standard bench press and leg curls simply doesn’t help us become more fit. With all do respect to Jack Lalanne, who invented some of these machines, the workouts he did on his television show are much more in-line with where we are headed.
If you walk into a gym, sit on a bench and bang out 3 sets of chest presses followed by 3 sets of incline presses topped off with a few sets of flies you’re not weight lifting – you’re body building. Listen carefully, if you walk out of the gym thinking you’ve just gotten a workout because you’re most certainly in denial, and you have done nothing to gain fitness.
The Loss of Physical Fitness
The loss of physical fitness was not intentional. rather it was accidental and most certainly unbeknownst for many years. The old “strongman” workouts involving weight lifting were developed in such a way that the entire body was enlisted to perform the task. Nothing was being isolated, nothing was being left out, the exercises required not only great physical strength but a tremendous amount of cardio vascular strength. It is this cardio vascular strength that was the greatest loss in the transition from weight lifting to body building workouts.
In his book “The Development of Physical Power” Arthur Saxon wrote:
“I shall teach you to judge a man by his capabilities as an athlete, whether a weightlifter, wrestler or not, and not by the measurement of his biceps or chest. ... My idea will be, and always has been, to leave the muscles to look after themselves, but I place a premium upon the possession of untiring energy, great staminal (sic) and vital power, and a sound constitution."
Later, Edward Aston (Britain’s Strongest Man) writing for The Superman Magazine in December 1930 wrote of a “muscle cultivator” named Percy Whittaker who by his account “looked big enough and powerful enough to beat any Professional Strong Man”, but was hard pressed to beat Aston at even some of the simplest weight-lifting tests despite the rather obvious size advantage Whittaker had over Aston.
“Whittaker had cultivated muscle at the expense of strength”, he said. Aston also went on to say, “…here I would point out that these ‘muscle cultivators’ are the men who have given Physical Culture such a bad name as it possesses and who have, to no small extent, retarded the progress of weight-lifting as a sport.”
There is the story of Chris Barr, a 17 year old high school junior Providence, RI. He’s the captain of his football team and star of his track and field team. Recently he set his school record for the deadlift. At 165lbs Chris deadlifted 365lbs – 100 pounds heavier than the previous record.
If you don’t find anything impressive about that then perhaps you’ll be surprised to know that Chris never, never, practices the deadlift. As a matter of fact, it was the first time he had ever even attempted it, and it was only at the request of his coach that he even tried.
Chris, since the age of 13, has worked out exclusively with kettlebells. He has more strength built into his 165 lb frame than someone twice his weight. This combined with his extraordinary stamina (something built with kettlebells) and speed is what has made him the star of his track and field team, a sport he tried out for the first time this season.
What athletic trainers are doing now are changing their approach to strength building. They are going back to the past and taking workouts done by Charles Atlas, the Saxon Brothers, Edward Aston and of course Eugene Sandow among others and are implementing them into their personal and group personal settings. Walking in on one of these classes is like stepping back in time.
When you watch a 50 year old woman perform the “one-hand anyhow lift” or how about a “bent press” with nearly 100 pounds you know the approach is right. It’s about quality of muscle not quantity of muscle. It’s time to bring things back to the beginning, to fix the wrongs that were created. They had it right in the beginning, but because of our need to make things easier we managed to make it worse.
It is not easy, it shouldn’t be, and it can’t be. This takes effort, it takes sweat and determination it takes time but so does everything else that’s worth doing. Gone are the days of muscle cultivation…lets all be strong men and women. Let’s be as fit as we look.
Excerpted from Article by Anthony Diluglio at http://www.artofstrength.com/info.php?id=224
If you really want to understand a strength building workout, you need to understand that our muscles are made up of different types of muscle fibers: Type I, Type II, and Type III.
The Type I fiber contracts slowly and have a high resistance to fatigue. They are better known as slow-twitch muscles.
Type II fibers have a quicker contraction time than type I fibers and a low resistance to fatigue. They are better known as fast-twitch fibers.
Type III muscle fiber behaves like a cross between Type I and Type II muscle fibers. It's stronger, more powerful, and more resistant to fatigue than the others. This is muscle that has been reconfigured by adding mitochondrial density, which results in a bigger, stronger muscle with more endurance capacity.
Mitochondria are your cells' powerhouses. They take in nutrients, break them down and create energy in the process. The more mitochondria there are in the muscle cells, the greater the energy capacity, which fuels both strength and endurance. By adding mitochondria your muscles are able to grow larger and are able to resist getting tired for longer periods. If you are interested in workouts to build strength isn't that what you want?
Resistance training combined with intense, short bursts of cardio, is the single best way to increase this mitochondrial density. By combining cardio, strength training, and resistance activities you cause the composition of muscles to morph into this hybrid Type III fiber. One of the best forms of resistance training is simply doing body weight exercises.
Simple Get Started Workouts for the beginner
Here are a few classic, and simple exercises to help you get started. If you were to just do these 4 to 6 days per week you would see a noticeable change in both your strength and stamina in 60 days.
Keep a journal and track your progress. Use an excel spreadsheet and you can graph your progress.
This is a great stretching exercise to get warmed up and loosen your body. If you begin with this exercise and follow through with the rest of these simple exercises your entire workout can be done in about 15 minutes, excluding your walking.
How toPerform Yoga Sun Salutation
The pushup is one of the foundational exercises you can do. There are a number of versions and variations that can be added to a workout routine. Remember to keep your back straight and bring your chest within 6 inches of the floor.
Crunches or sit ups:
The situp or crunches are still a basic exercise for strengthening your core. They do need to be done properly.
If putting your hands behind the head while doing crunches be careful not to strain your neck. There are a number of trainers who will recommend putting your arms to your side or crossing them across your chest while doing them.
Planks: a back saving alternative to crunches
If anyone has any disk or back issues crunches are not used in physical therapy. The forward bending motion is not good for the spine. What the physical therapist will recommend are exercises like planks.
A plank is simply when you lie on your stomach and lift yourself up using your forearms. Your back stays very straight and you are supported by the tips of your toes and your forearms. You WILL feel this through out your stomach muscles.
Hindu Squats (deep knee bends):
This workout is seeing a bit of a re-emergence. For a time they went out because it was thought to put too much strain on the knees. However, you don't need to go into a deep bend to get a good workout from doing these. You also never have to use weights. You can simply do more and more body weight squats.
Stability ball walkout with pushups
You can replace the planks and push-ups with one exercise. You will need to get an exercise ball for this, but it is a fabulous exercise that really works your body.
Begin by lying on your stomach on the ball. Stretchout so your hands and toes are touching the floor. Then walkout rolling over the ball so just your the top of your feet are on the ball. Then do a push-up or two and then roll back to your starting position. Repeat as many times as you can when you first start.
Walk at a brisk pace. Focus on using your arms, maybe even carry some very light weights.
Look for ways to walk further and more often. Park farther away from your destination. Walk to work. Walk to the store. Find someone to walk with and get out and walk.
Walking by itself may not cause you to lose weight, but it will, combined with the other exercises and a good diet will allow you to manage your weight.
If you want a full body workout learn about Nordic walking.
Here are more advanced programs to investigate
Anyone that is familiar with kettlebells will know that actually one of the oldest types of weight lifting equipment. If you are unfamiliar with a kettlebell, imagine a cast iron shot put (of various size and weights) attached to a very thick iron handle.
Kettlebells have become resurrected as an important option in choosing weight lifting equipment. This is especially true if your goal is relative strength.
I first learned of kettlebells through a gentleman who was working to for Punch KettlebellGyms. He had been involved in the gym scene for years and was working to help open franchises for Punch Kettlebell Gyms. We were coaching baseball and he was using some really interesting strength and conditioning techniques that caught my attention.
As it turns out there are numerous strength and conditioning coaches at the professional level who are using kettlebells and ropes (more on this later) as major weight lifting equipment.
If you are a rookie considering kettlebells and want to give them an honest trial you might want to at least purchase the video of Pavel Tsatsouline's TheRussian Kettlebell Challenge. Pavel is an expert with kettlebells (he was a nationally ranked kettlebell lifter in Russia) and with training elite special forces units. You can also check out the art of strengthwebsite.
Watching the video you will notice that many of the lifts were variations of the classic Olympic lifts. If you were an experienced weight lifter you would notice in the video that many of the kettlebell ballistic lifts were much easier to learn than the traditional Olympic lifts, and it seems believable that anyone could learn these lifts. There were some very interesting other exercises as well, such as the bent press, several different overhead pressing exercises, the windmill.
The movement of the kettlebell versus a dumbbell is different. The flipping of the kettlebell and the leverage was quite different along with the extra grip work that was performed because of the thick handle. Many people have been sold immediately that kettlebells are very useful weight lifting equipment. The other great benefit of using a kettlebell is the ability to perform many different hybrid exercises. With a dumbbell the movements are not as smooth or easy to perform because of its shape. The kettlebell allows one to transition to many various exercises very quickly. This is not only effective for strength, but outstanding for dropping body fat because of the high caloric expenditure and the increased level of intensity.
They are terrific for body fat loss, improving lean body mass, and helping teach proper speed of the hips (very important for speed and power sports). I would not get rid of barbells and dumbbells, but do feel that kettlebells have and SHOULD be used by any serious lifter.
Just make sure that you find a qualified instructor if you are wanting to incorporate some of the more challenging lifts.
Benefits from kettlebells versus regular free weights include:
* Greater body rhythm
* Increased grip strength
* Different leverage stimulates the muscles differently
* Ability to perform hundreds of hybrids and exercises
We have an entire page on jump rope that you should check out. Jumping rope is a simple, portable, inexpensive, full body workout for people of any age. It can work your strength, endurance, and balance. If you want a more challenging workout read on.
Ropes Gone Wild is a workout developed by Art of Strength. It is strength building and endurance training. The only weight lifting equipment you need is a heavy and long rope. Just a few minutes of Ropes Gone Wild is as good as running on the treadmill at high speed for a half-hour, and it’s a lot more fun!
The ropes are not your standard rope. The reason this helps build strength as well as endurance is they are heavy guage. The weight lifting equipment is the rope.
At home you would loop a rope through a couple of heavy kettlebells to anchor it down, and then I go right to undulating it. That gets my heart rate up immediately. It’s a full-body workout. The movement comes from my core and radiates out into the ropes.
At Punch, workouts generally end with Ropes Gone Wild, Tabata style – 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest, 8 times. That’s about 4 minutes building up serious endurance. This intense interval-training also burns a lot of calories, not only while we’re training, but for hours afterwards.
Regardless of age, fitness, or skill level, anyone, strongman or not, can benefit from Ropes Gone Wild. It beats the monotony of treadmills or ellipticals, and it burns far more fat and calories while increasing endurance. That’s why ropes were named the best cardio tool of 2009, by Men’s Health magazine.
Ropes are convenient, economical, and simple. They can be used inside or outside, looped around a tree, a pole, or through kettlebell handles. That’s all there is to it. Ropes are another example of how you do not need fancy and expensive equipment to develop genuine strength and endurance. Simple equipment, huge effort, and lots of attitude are all that’s required.